The Iranian army calls the protests “a conspiracy” | Page 4 | Iran International

The Iranian army calls the protests “a conspiracy”

 

The army of the Islamic Republic of Iran issued a statement regarding the recent events in Iran, calling them a “new conspiracy by the anti-revolutionaries”. The statement says the protesters are either mercenaries or people tricked by the satanic media who have risen against the Islamic Revolution.

The army has expressed content with the attempts by the security forces to silence the conspiracy and added that it will stand against any aggression by the enemies.

Saudi Arabia Says Intercepts Houthi Drones Aimed At Southern Region

DUBAI, Oct 25 (Reuters) -

The Saudi-led military coalition engaged in Yemen said on Sunday night it intercepted and destroyed a second, explosives-laden drone launched by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement towards southern Saudi Arabia, Saudi state media reported.

No casualties or damage were reported.

The coalition said earlier it had intercepted the first drone launched by the Houthi movement towards the southern region after the group said it had struck the kingdom's Abha International Airport.

The coalition, in statements carried by Saudi state media, said the attacks were aimed at civilian targets but did not specify the sites or mention any damage.

In recent days the coalition said it had intercepted and destroyed several explosive-laden drones launched by the Houthis towards southern border areas.

The Western-backed coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from power in the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.

The United Nations is trying to secure a nationwide ceasefire to pave the way for reviving political negotiations to end the conflict, which is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system.

Saudi Arabia Says Intercepts Houthi Drones Aimed At Southern Region

DUBAI, Oct 25 (Reuters) -

The Saudi-led military coalition engaged in Yemen said on Sunday night it intercepted and destroyed a second, explosives-laden drone launched by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement towards southern Saudi Arabia, Saudi state media reported.

No casualties or damage were reported.

The coalition said earlier it had intercepted the first drone launched by the Houthi movement towards the southern region after the group said it had struck the kingdom's Abha International Airport.

The coalition, in statements carried by Saudi state media, said the attacks were aimed at civilian targets but did not specify the sites or mention any damage.

In recent days the coalition said it had intercepted and destroyed several explosive-laden drones launched by the Houthis towards southern border areas.

The Western-backed coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from power in the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.

The United Nations is trying to secure a nationwide ceasefire to pave the way for reviving political negotiations to end the conflict, which is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system.

Iran Central Bank Not To Increase Interest Rates To Fight Inflation, Governor Says

Iran' Central Bank (CBI) Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati on Sunday said to lower inflation the CBI is looking for other methods rather than pushing up interest rates.

"At the moment increasing interest rates [to absorb superfluous liquidity in the market] is not a policy that can have definite success. For this reason, [the CBI] is seeking other methods to reduce the pressure of inflation in the markets," Hemmati said in an Instagram statement on Sunday.

In his statement Hemmati stressed that in the past two years the CBI has come under increasing pressure and enumerated the increasing impact of US sanctions, budget deficits, the pandemic and a drop in investment as factors contributing to the increase in liquidity and inflation.

The government's budget deficit in the first six months of the Iranian calendar year which started 21 March is estimated to be between 150 and 250 trillion rials. In the first four months of the year liquidity increased by 225 trillion rials, a report by Eghtesad News said on August 3.  This would be between 1.1-1.5 billion dollars.

In recent weeks many had been speculating that the CBI may push up interest rates in order to create a safer outlet for superfluous liquidity other than the failing investment market and highly volatile foreign exchange and gold markets.

Some experts blame the CBI decision in April to reduce interest rates from 20 percent to 15 for the drop in bank investments and speculation in parallel markets where many small and inexperienced investors are likely to incur losses.

IRGC Commander Warns Iran Will Not Accept A Geopolitical Change In The Caucasus

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards ground forces, General Mohammad Pakpour visiting border regions in the northwest near the battlefield between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Sunday warned, “Iran have no reservations [in how it will treat] anyone.”

Tasnim news agency in Tehran, close to the Revolutionary Guards, reported October 25 that during his inspection tour of the border region Pakpour said, “From the beginning of the [Karabagh] conflict we warned both sides through our border officials that any action disturbing the peace and security of our people in the region will not be accepted.”

More than 100 mortars and rockets have hit Iranian towns and villages since the fighting broke out in late September. Iran has not blamed any of its two northern neighbors but has warned both to be careful during their targeting.

Iran’s army (Artesh) conducted a 24-hour drill involving its ground forces in Western Azerbaijan Province, northwest Iran, bordering Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Fars news agency reported on Sunday, October 25.

A day earlier Pakpour confirmed the deployment of IRGC units to Khoda Afarin county near the border with Azerbaijab “for the protection of national interests and providing for the security and safety of citizens in the area.”

On Sunday Pakpour went a step further and stressed that in addition to the security of its population in the border regions and respect for the territorial integrity of Armenia and Azerbaijan, “We will not accept a change in the geopolitics of borders and this issue is the red line of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Pakpour also added it is obvious that if necessary, the IRGC can boost its build-up on the border.

A few days earlier, Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev had announced that his forces have retaken all Azerbaijani territory under Armenian control on the Iranian border since 1994. If Azerbaijani forces reach the international border with Armenia, there could be potential danger of cutting off Armenia from Iran.

Iran Holds Infantry Drills Near Armenia, Azerbaijan Conflict Region

Iran’s army (Artesh) conducted a 24-hour drill involving its ground forces in Western Azerbaijan Province, northwest Iran, bordering Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Fars news agency reported on Sunday, October 25.

Iran’s armed forces are composed mainly of the traditional Army (Artesh) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) or the Revolutionary Guards.

The Fars report does not say when exactly the military exercise took place or how long ago it was pre-planned. Iran has announced the deployment of IRGC units near the battlefield between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces on southern banks of the Aras river, which separates Iran from its two neighbors to the north.

Iranian officials have also warned the two countries not to harm civilians in Iran. More than 100 mortars and rockets have hit Iranian towns and villages since the fighting broke out in late September.

General Kiumars Heydari, commander of the army’s ground forces was quotes by Fars as saying that following orders by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who is also commander in chief of the armed forces, major restructuring, turning mechanized infantry units into mobile attack forces. He added the exercise had both nighttime and daytime phases.

It is not clear to what extent the army drills are related to the ongoing war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but Heydari himself was reported to be inspecting the border region four day ago.

Iran has good relations with both of its northern neighbors and is generally neutral in the current conflict, calling for talks and offering mediation. But any significant change in the balance of forces in the Caucasus could be cause for concern for Tehran.

General Kiumars Heydari inspecting Iran's northern border, October 21, 2020

Iran Spokesman Says Any Arms Sales Would Be ‘Moral And Responsible’

Iran’s government spokesman, Ali Rabiei, on Thursday October 22 said any weapons sold by Iran after the recent expiry of a United Nations arms embargo would be “moral and responsible,” “non-provocative and defensive,” and in “full compliance with the international framework and rules.”

In an interview with the news agency of state-run television (IRIB), Rabiei said that United States policy aimed to turn “the region into a weapons depot to make money for American arms manufacturers” whose interests would “always take precedence over human lives.”

The UN arms embargo expired as a consequence of Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was sanctioned by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Reflecting President Hassan Rouhani’s portrayal of the ending of the embargo on October 18 as a diplomatic victory, Rabiei said Iran had achieved “a great deal of self-sufficiency and knowledge in the field of defense.”

Ali Hatami, the defense minister, insisted on October 19 said Iran was keener on selling than buying weapons. Abbas Farajpour, a spokesman for an air-defense exercise currently underway, told state-run TV that Iran had successfully tested an anti-aircraft missile system named Bavar 373, which had “detected, identified and hit the target which flew at a very low altitude from a long distance.”

Despite its home-grown arms industry and its military assistance to allies around the Middle East, Iran still uses dated hardware like the F14 Tomcat, which first flew 50 years ago. Russia is a likely new supplier, with Tehran in talks with Moscow over supply of the S400 missile-defense system. 

The US, which withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 and opposed lifting the UN embargo, has threatened to sanction anyone supplying weapons to Iran, while Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said Israel will take “whatever measures [are] necessary” to prevent “Iranian expansion and armament.”

Iran Vows To Provide Full Information To Ukraine On Downed Airliner

Ukrainian officials have voiced some optimism after two days of talks with Iranian officials in Tehran over the downing of a passenger airline in January by Iran’s anti-aircraft fire.

Talks between The Ukrainian and Iranian delegations on October 19 and 20 focused on Ukraine’s demands of full information from Iran on the details of its investigation into the incident and the pursuit of those responsible for firing two missiles that brought down the Ukrainian (UIA) flight PS752.

Iran has promised to provide full and detailed information within a week of its legal investigation and criminal proceedings, according to members of the Ukrainian delegation. Iran has agreed to also provide “documentary evidence” of the detention of six people who were involved in shooting down the jetliner.

On January 8, Iran fired ballistic missiles at American bases in Iraq in retaliation for the United States’ killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad and was expecting a possible US retaliation. However, it did not close the civilian airspace and both civil and military aviation authorities allowed the Ukrainian plane to take off. All 176 passengers and crew were killed in the crash.

Iran first denied the plane had been shot down and after three days it admitted the incident but ascribed it to “human error” but never released a full report and there has been no evidence of a real legal pursuit of those responsible for issuing the order to fire missiles.

According to Ukranian officials, Iran has also promised to return a key piece of evidence, the crew deck of the plane recovered after the crash.

 

Women Prisoners Tricked Into Move From Iran’s Evin Jail

Four female political prisoners have been tricked into leaving their wards in Tehran’s Evin prison and transferred, contrary to Iranian law, to other locations, their attorney and families have said.

The women were told either that their attorney wanted to meet them or that they were being taken to the prison hospital. Once they left the general ward of Evin, they were moved against their will to jails elsewhere the country.

Babak Paknia, an attorney who represents many political prisoners, tweeted late on October 21 that a prisoner in Evin had informed him that three inmates - Samaneh Norus-Moradi, Monireh Arabshahi and Yasman Aryani – had been summoned to meet their lawyer and had therefore voluntarily left the general ward without their medication or belongings.

According to Iranian law, a prisoner has the right to refuse transfer to another prison where sanitary and other conditions may be far worse or where its location is far from their home. Arabshahi and Aryani were arrested in 2019 and each convicted to ten years in prison for challenging Iran’s rules on wearing hijab in public.

Paknia said the prisoner contacting him had asked him to tell all his clients he would not meet them in prison for two weeks, to prevent the same trick being used against other prisoners.

A similar incident happened with well-known human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, according to her husband Reza Khandan, who tweeted same day, that she had been transferred from Evin to Qarchak prison near Tehran after wardens said they would take her to the infirmary. Qarchak, where many female common criminals are kept, is notorious for its lack of facilities and services.

FBI Says Iran And Russia Have Interfered In US Presidential Election

US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said on Wednesday that Russia and Iran have both obtained US voter registration information and tried to interfere with the 2020 presidential election.

Ratcliffe said in his press conference, accompanied by the Director of FBI Chris Wray, that Iran was responsible for the email campaign. Wray and Ratcliffe did not describe the emails, but officials familiar with the matter said the U.S. has linked Tehran to messages sent to Democratic voters in at least four states, including battleground locations like Pennsylvania and Florida. The emails falsely purported to be from the far-right group Proud Boys and warned that “we will come after you” if the recipients didn’t vote for Trump. The emails also attempted to spread disinformation about voter fraud through a video linked in some of the emails.

“This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy," Ratcliffe said.

Ratcliffe said that government officials “have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump,” but did not say how. One possibility is the messages may have been intended to align Trump in the minds of voters with the Proud Boys after he was criticized for failing to unequivocally denounce the group during the first presidential debate.T

White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in a statement that as part of his “America First policy”, President Trump “has directed the FBI, DOJ, and defense and intel agencies to proactively monitor and thwart any attempts to interfere in US elections, and because of the great work of our law enforcement agencies we have stopped an attempt by America's adversaries to undermine our elections."

With reporting by AP

US Democratic Senator Supports Biden Joining A Tougher Nuclear Deal With Iran

US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Wednesday that if Joe Biden becomes president, he would support the Biden administration rejoining the Iran nuclear deal if the deal is revised to correct the shortcomings of the Obama-era agreement, the Hill reported.

Senator Menendez said that a Biden administration would have to confront the challenges of Iran in the present and not in the parameters of the deal as it was signed in 2015. 

"I'm sure that Vice President Biden, should he become president, will want to deal with the totality of all of those issues, and that to me, suggests a JCPOA-plus," he said, referring to the Obama-era deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

Biden has said, and his campaign website states, that as president, he would rejoin the Obama-era nuclear agreement with Tehran if it returns to compliance with the deal.

"Anyone who believes that just going back to the JCPOA, including some of my strongest colleagues who supported the JCPOA, recognize that more has to be done than just the JCPOA," Menendez said.

Menendez said that the realities of Iran today require a JCPOA-like agreement with the U.S., but he underscored the need for one that goes further in restricting Iran's military and nuclear capabilities.