Iranian Lawmaker: US Sanctions Don't Affect Our Ability To Purchase Weapons | Page 2 | Iran International

Iranian Lawmaker: US Sanctions Don't Affect Our Ability To Purchase Weapons

A member of the national security committee at Iran’s parliament claimed that the sanctions have had no impact on the military and defense, and said Iran will maintain its connections with neighboring countries and also Russia and China in the military sector. 

Fada Hossein Maleki stated that despite the banking sanctions, Iran can still purchase weapons from countries like Russia and China, and said: It is true that we are under US sanctions, but due to the competent management of the country, we will continue our relations with the countries of the region, even in the military sector. 

Previously, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic Mohammad Javad Zarif had claimed that “it is unlikely that the American sanctions would prevent other countries from selling weapons to Iran, and with the expiration of the arms embargo against Iran, there will be no obstacle for Russia and China to sell weapons to Iran.”

Maleki also pointed out the long history of cooperation between Iran and Russia and said: “Just as we are sanctioned, America has Sanctioned the Russians in a way, but it doesn’t mean we can’t cooperate and share technological and military science. 

However, so far, Iran's most powerful allies China and Russia have generally observed the US sanctions and have substantially decreased their economic ties to the Islamic Republic. Banks in the two countries avoid doing business with Iran.

The member of parliament claimed that Iran currently has the most advanced technology in the military field and emphasized that Iran is willing to transfer its knowledge to other countries. 

Doctor Transferred For Execution In Iran, Call For Action To Save Him

The wife of an Iranian-Swedish medical doctor, Ahmad-Reza Djalali (Jalali), said on Tuesday [December 1] that Djajali’s lawyer had been informed of his transfer to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj in preparation for his execution.

Vida Mehrannia told Iran Human Rights that her husband would be transferred on Tuesday afternoon to Rajai Shahr, where executions are routinely carried out. Djalali, 49, was detained in 2016 and later sentenced to death for alleged espionage.  

A world-renowned emergency-medicine and disaster specialist, and lecturer at Karolinska University in Sweden, Djalali was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence agents while visiting Iran on the invitation of the University of Tehran and Shiraz University. The father of two young children was initially charged with “collaborating with hostile states” and later convicted of “enmity against God through espionage for Israel” by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. He was sentenced to death on October 21, 2017.

Mahmoud Amiri-Moghadam, Director of Iran Human Rights, on Tuesday said Djalali was in imminent danger of execution and that his life might be saved only if the international community showed a strong and urgent reaction. A social-media campaign has been underway with the hashtag #FreeAhmadreza.

On November 25 United Nations rapporteurs issued a statement pleading for a stay of execution. “We are horrified by the reports that Mr. Djalali is soon to be executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” it read. “His torture, arbitrary detention, death sentence and now reported imminent execution are unconscionable acts that should be condemned by the international community in the strongest terms.”

Iranian state television (IRIB) aired a video of Djalali supposedly confessing, but the doctor subsequently released an audio message from prison alleging he had been coerced.

Journalist Arrested For ‘Spreading Lies’ About Iran’s Revolutionary Guards

Iranian media on Tuesday reported that Mehdi Mahmoudian, a prominent reformist journalist and political activist who had been summoned by the judiciary, was arrested due to his failure to present a ‘guarantor’ who would promise he would not abscond if left at liberty.

In a Twitter post on Monday, Mahmoudian had published an image of a letter summoning him to the office of the Culture and Media Prosecutor to answer a charge of “spreading lies with intention of disturbing the public’s mind,” brought against him by the Legal and Parliamentary Bureau of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

The case goes back at least to July, when Mahmoudian in a series of tweets said the IRGC had filed a complaint against him over his disclosure that the Guards and the Intelligence Ministry were prosecuting five managers and journalists in the official news agency (IRNA) for publishing an interview on May 30 with Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the Coordinating Deputy of Iran’s regular Army (Artesh). The following day an IRGC spokesman denounced Mahmoudian’s claims as “fake news” that was aimed at “affecting the unity of the Army and the Revolutionary Guards.”

In the IRNA interview, which disappeared from the IRNA website a few hours after publication, Sayyari had implicitly criticized the Revolutionary Guards for their role in the country’s political and economic affairs. He also expressed dismay at the state media for ignoring the achievements of the Army while constantly praising the IRGC.

Mahmoudian is no stranger to prison. His journalism has included documenting allegations of rape and abuse of detainees at the Kahrizak Detention Center, which was closed in 2009.

 

Saudi Arabia Condemns Killing Of Iran Nuclear Official As ‘Act of Terror’

Abdallah al-Mouallimi, the permanent representative of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, has in a short video message condemned Friday’s assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top Iranian nuclear official, which many believe was planned by Israel.

Saudi Arabia “does not accept terror acts and every Muslim scientist who is attacked, is a loss for the whole Muslim world,” al-Mouallimi told RT Arabic on Tuesday.

Iran has called on other countries and international organizations to condemn the killing. The European Union has said it was incompatible with the EU’s commitment to human rights.

While Saudi Arabia’s ally, the United Arab Emirates, had condemned the attack, Riyadh had been silent. Al-Mouallimi’s remarks are the first Saudi statement on Fakhrizadeh’s killing.

The Saudi diplomat’s condemnation of the assassination, however, did not temper his criticism of Iran. Al-Mouallimi said the Islamic Republic was responsible for “launching missiles” and supporting “troublemakers and terrorism.” He also dismissed last year’s Iranian proposal for a non-aggression pact. “We do not believe in these kinds of plans and promises,” he insisted, citing Saddam Hussein making a similar proposal weeks before invading Kuwait in 1990.

Saudi Arabia, other Persian Gulf Sunni-led states, and Western countries all accused Iran of being responsible for a destructive drone and missile attack on Saudi oil installations in September 2019. Relations between Riyadh and Tehran have worsened since January 2016 when protestors attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran, prompting Riyadh to cut off diplomatic relations.

Al-Mouallimi repeated earlier Saudi denials of a secret meeting in late November between  Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Iran Speaker Asks International Organizations To Condemn Killing Of Nuclear Official

The Speaker of Iran’s parliament Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf in letters to international organizations following the assassination of a top nuclear official has insisted that Iran has the right to retaliate against acts of “organized terrorism”.

It is not clear which international organizations were the recipients of Ghalibaf’s message, which also asks for the condemnation of Mohesn Fakhrizadeh’s killing, who was a top manager and operative in the secret aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, as well as high-tech military projects.

However, Ghalibaf in his letter does not mention Fakhrizadeh’s role in the nuclear program. Instead, the speaker repeats a claim made earlier in state-controlled media that Fakhrizadeh played an important role in the scientific effort to develop an Iranian coronavirus test kit and vaccine, and “in international efforts” to control Covid-19.

Iranian officials have accused Israel and the United States for the targeted killing, vowing revenge at a time of their own choosing. Although some Islamic Republic sources have claimed to have evidence of an Israeli plot, they have not produced any. Ghalibaf does not accuse any country in his letter.

The brazen operation last Friday in which attackers ambushed Fakhrizadeh convoy north of the capital Tehran, has come as a shock for the Islamic Republic and its multiple intelligence agencies that have always spoken of their omnipotence to the local audience. This year there have been multiple incidents of mysterious explosions in sensitive installations in Iran thought to be directed from abroad. In July, an explosion ripped through a building at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant.

Iran Has Nothing To Gain From Halting Inspections: UN Nuclear Watchdog

Iran has nothing to gain from ending inspection of nuclear facilities, said the head of UN nuclear watchdog IAEA in response to the calls by Iranian members of parliament to end nuclear inspections after the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear official last Friday.

The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi said: “We understand the distress but at the same time it is clear that no-one, starting with Iran, would have anything to win from a decrease, limitation, or interruption of the work we do together with them."

“It is essential to give the world the necessary and credible assurances that there is no deviation from the nuclear program to military uses,” Grossi added.

Iran's parliament on Sunday decided tp consider a bill halting IAEA inspections of nuclear sites in the country, signaling another potential retreat from a key commitment in its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

“This is not the first time that parliamentarians have expressed themselves in this way or in very similar ways," Grossi pointed out.

According to Grossi, the IAEA has not received any signal from Iranian officials that would indicate a change in inspections of nuclear facilities after the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

"We haven't received any indication of restriction or limitation of their cooperation with us," he said. "I do not see any reason to believe that this would be the case now."

Regarding the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, Grossi said: "Let me say that we abhor violence of any type, we are an international organization for peace and security.”

 

NYT Op-Ed Tells Biden: This Is Not The Middle East You Left Four Years Ago

In an opinion piece in the New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman advised President-elect Joe Biden that if he wants to return to the Iran nuclear deal he has to take note that the Middle East has changed in the past four years when he was not in the government.

Friedman argues that the all-important issue now is not Iran’s nuclear program, but its development of precision-guided missiles and weapons systems that pause a clear threat to Israel and the Persian Gulf Arab states. The clear proof for this threat was demonstrated in the September 2019 attack on Saudi oil installations by precision-guided Iranian drones and missiles, he says.

That incident was a pivotal turning point that the columnist says united America’s regional allies into a “loose coalition” against Iran, especially as President Donald Trump decided not to respond militarily to the brazen Iranian attack, signaling that Saudi Arabia and others could not necessarily count on American protection. This led to even closer security cooperation between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“Trump forced Israel and the key Sunni Arab states to become less reliant on the United States and to think about how they must cooperate among themselves over new threats — like Iran — rather than fighting over old causes — like Palestine. This may enable America to secure its interests in the region with much less blood and treasure of its own. It could be Trump’s most significant foreign policy achievement,” Friedman writes.

“President-elect Biden knows the region well, but if I had one piece of advice for him, it would be this: This is not the Middle East you left four years ago.”

Iran's Zarif Slams Hardline Rivals For Making Overtures To US

In an exclusive interview with an Iranian website, published on Sunday, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif alleged that some hardliners have been sending "signals" to the United States to convince them that working with a hardliner administration in Iran will be easier than working with the administration of President Hassan Rouhani.

"Some people send signals to the United States [saying] they are easier to work with. We have kept silent about these [overtures] but it doesn't mean that we don't notice such signals," Zarif told Entekhab news website in the long interview, which appears to have taken place before the assassination of Iran's nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on Friday, as Zarif does not mention the incident.

"I'm not accusing any individual but I know and have been informed that they have told [the Americans or European powers?] that [our moderate rivals] are not going to remain in power and their influence will be short-lived," he added while stressing that those who make such overtures enjoy having "a propaganda machine and political cover" to accuse him of being a "spy" or "agent of globalists". "They believe that [Joe] Biden's victory [in the US elections] will help moderates and reformists to gain power in the [upcoming] elections.”

Zarif added that country’s foreign policy should be pursued in a “cohesive manner”. Iran-based political commentator Mohammad-Sadegh Javadi-Hessar in an interview Sunday told Iran International TV that hardliners have attempted such moves in the past and Iran’s foreign relations are influenced by several “centers of power”.

In another part of the interview Zarif reiterated that he has no intention to run in the presidential elections of June 2020 although many have tried to encourage him to run.

Iran Guards General Says Revenge For Slain Official Should Not Be 'Based On Emotions'

A high-ranking official of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Brigadier-General Mohammad-Esmail Kowsari, on Sunday said reaction to the killing of senior nuclear operative Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on Friday is certain but should not be "based on [immediate] emotions". Iranian officials have blamed Israel and the United States for the assassination without providing evidence.

"We cannot react to this issue based on [immediate] emotions. But we will never forget. We will take revenge for these cherished [slain nuclear scientists] but the time, place and kind of revenge will be decided by the authorities. People want the authorities to definitely demonstrate [Iran's] power to make them regret what they have done," Kowsari, Deputy Commander of IRGC's Sarallah Headquarters of Tehran, said in an interview with the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) on Sunday.

Other IRGC top brass have also promised "hard revenge" for Fakhrizadeh's killing. IRGC Commander-in-Chief Major-General Hossein Salami on Friday in a statement said "perpetrators [of the killing] will be severely punished, while Major-General Abdolrahim Mousavi, Commander-in-Chief of Iran's regular Army, said Iran "reserves the right to take revenge from the enemy in any other arena."

In reaction to the January targeted killing of IRGC's Qods Force commander, Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stressed "revenge" but in his message after the killing of Fakhrizadeh he has urged "investigation and definite punishment" of those "who ordered and perpetrated" the assassination.

Some Iranian hardliners have been urging immediate reaction to Fakhrizadeh's killing by targeting Israeli and American interests. In an opinion piece on Sunday, the hardline Kayhan newspaper urged a destructive "deterrent" attack on Israel's port city of Haifa.

Iran Hardliner Paper Urges Destructive Attack On Haifa To Deter Israel

The hardline Kayhan newspaper in Iran published an opinion piece on Sunday urging a destructive “deterrent” attack on Israel’s port city of Haifa, after the assassination of the country’s top nuclear operative on Friday.

The piece, written by a commentator Sadollah Zarei, advocated a large-scale attack on Haifa to inflict maximum pain and civilian casualties, as the only way to establish a deterrence against “the Zionist enemy” and the United States. It added that previous Iranian reactions to Israeli air attacks in Syria targeting Iran-backed forces were weak. Zarei argued that even Iran’s January 8 ballistic missile attack against US bases in Iraq was not sufficient warning.

Iran claims it has evidence that Israel was behind the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, considered the father of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Although he is called a scientist by Iran’s officials and state media, in fact he was a high-ranking member of the notorious Revolutionary Guards or IRGC. Israel has not acknowledged or denied its role in the attack.

Kayhan is financed by the office of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and its editor has the title of Khamenei’s representative at the newspaper. It usually advocates uncompromising and even extremist domestic and foreign policies.

President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday said that although Iran should avenge the killing, now would not be the right time as the assassination was planned to force Iran to react, thus reducing chances of any negotiations with the incoming Biden administration. But in a statement Khamenei directed all officials to find and punish those involved in the operation and those who issued the order.

 

Flood Shuts Down Four Cities In Iran's Khuzestan Province

 

After heavy rain in several cities of the southwestern province of Khuzestan in Iran, all businesses were shut down on Sunday in the cities of Ahvaz, Mahshahr, Ramshir, and Omidiyeh.

At the same time, local officials in Bushehr province also reported houses flooding in two cities and in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, first responders are on full alert.

The chairman of Khuzestan’s crisis management office announced that due to the flooding and the problems that it will cause the citizens, all government buildings and banks in Ahvaz, Mahshahr, Ramshir, and Omidiyeh are closed on Sunday; the shut down does not include hospitals and centers of the relief operation.

The director of Red Crescent in Khuzestan province said the aid workers of Red Crescent have provided relief to 729 people stuck in the flood and 133 people were moved to safer locations. It also reported that nine houses were destroyed in Izeh and Baghmalek counties.

The governor of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province said the meteorologists have projected heavy rains and floods in the rivers in the upcoming days and people need to be more careful.

Local officials in Lorestan province in the west of Iran have also issued flood warnings and asked people to avoid unnecessary travel.

Iran witnessed heavy rain and flooding last year in 10 provinces across the country which caused millions of dollars in damages and many dead or injured.