Tag Archives: Iran

Iran warns will hit ‘militant safe havens’ inside Pakistan

The head of the Iranian armed forces warned Islamabad on Monday that Tehran would hit bases inside Pakistan if the government does not confront militants who carry out cross-border attacks.

Ten Iranian border guards were killed by militants last month. Iran said Jaish-al-Adl, a militant group, had shot the guards with long-range guns, fired from inside Pakistan.

The border area has long been plagued by unrest from both drug smuggling gangs and separatist militants.

“We cannot accept the continuation of this situation,” Major General Mohammad Baqeri, the head of the Iranian armed forces, was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

Read more >> DAWN
See more >> https://www.dawn.com/news/1331829

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Pakistan lifts sanctions on Iran

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan formally lifted sanctions on Iran on Friday, a move which is expected to open a new era of cooperation between the two countries in the areas of banking, trade and energy.

“Pursuant to UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution of 2231, Pakistan has decided to lift sanctions against Iran,” read a finance ministry announcement. The modalities for the restrictions sanctions were finalised in an inter-ministerial meeting, it said.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/1050792/pakistan-lifts-sanctions-on-iran-2/

First ‘Silk Road’ train arrives in Tehran from China

Tehran (AFP) – The first train to connect China and Iran arrived in Tehran on Monday loaded with Chinese goods, reviving the ancient Silk Road, the Iranian railway company said.

The train, carrying 32 containers of commercial products from eastern Zhejiang province, took 14 days to make the 9,500-kilometre (5,900-mile) journey through Kazakstan and Turkmenistan.

“The arrival of this train in less than 14 days is unprecedented,” said the head of the Iranian railway company, Mohsen Pourseyed Aqayi.

“The revival of the Silk Road is crucial for the countries on its route,” he said at a ceremony at Tehran’s rail station attended by the ambassadors of China and Turkmenistan.

The journey was 30 days shorter than the sea voyage from Shanghai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, according to Aqayi.

The railway will not stop in Tehran “as we are planning to extend the railway to Europe in future,” generating more income for Iran from passing trains, he added.

Read more » Yahoo News
See more » http://news.yahoo.com/first-silk-road-train-arrives-tehran-china-134703954.html

KSA lacks courage to send ground troops to Syria: Head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard

BY REUTERS

DUBAI: The head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard said on Saturday Saudi Arabia lacked the courage to go through with a plan to send ground troops to Syria, and warned they would be wiped out if they went in.

Mohammad Ali Jafari’s blunt words on the Fars news agency were Iran’s first official reaction to a statement from its regional rival Saudi Arabia this week that it was ready to join ground operations in Syria if a US-led military alliance decided to start them.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1237813/

Canada to lift Tehran sanctions, allow Bombardier to export to Iran

By Randall Palmer and Allison Lampert

OTTAWA/MONTREAL (Reuters) – Canada confirmed for the first time on Tuesday that it plans to lift its sanctions on Tehran and said that if Airbus is allowed to sell to Iran, then its aircraft maker Bombardier Inc should be allowed to export there as well.

“If Airbus is able to do it, why (will) Bombardier not be able to do it? In which way (is it) helping Canada, or the Iranian people, or Israel, or anyone, that Canada is hurting its own industry?” Dion said in an exchange with reporters.

Read more » Reuters
See more » http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKCN0V42IL

Iran receives $400m frozen funds along with $1.3bn interest

BY ANWAR IQBAL

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama confirmed on Sunday that the United States had lifted certain nuclear-related sanctions from Iran after the Islamic Republic successfully implemented a deal signed in July last year.

At the same time he announced a settlement between the US and Iran at The Hague, in which Iran received $400 million in funds frozen since 1981 plus $1.3 billion in interest. This, he said, would save US money and time, as there was no point in dragging out this dispute and continuing to pay interest on the money.

“Now that Iran’s actions have been verified, it can begin to receive relief from certain nuclear sanctions and gain access to its own money that had been frozen,” said Mr Obama while addressing his nation from the White House.

“And perhaps most important of all, we’ve achieved this historic progress through diplomacy, without resorting to another war in the Middle East,” he said.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1233733/iran-receives-400m-frozen-funds-along-with-13bn-interest?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dawn-news+%28Dawn+News%29&utm_content=FaceBook

UNDERSTANDING IRAN-PAKISTAN RELATIONS

By Sattar Rind

Persian, now Iran’s, history goes back to the Iron Age – the world’s oldest continuous major civilization, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 4000 BC, at least.

Iranians are assumed to be Aryan and lived in the existing central Asian steppe area. In ancient history they had observed different emperors. However, Cyrus the Great was the first Persian Emperor in history who embraced all the previously civilized states of the ancient Near East and vastly expanded Persian rule and made part of the existing Iran. It was the largest empire that had ever been seen in this world.

Seleucid emperors were the next to Cyrus, then the Parthian and the Sasanians who governed Iran for more than a thousand years.

Following the Sasanians, Iran once again unified as an independent state in the fifteenth century, this time from a Sufi saint family from Azerbaijan, a person named Ismail, who politically manipulated his followers – the Shiite militants Qizilbash, and had captured Tabriz and declared himself as Shah of Azerbaijan, becoming founder of the Safavid Dynasty in July 1501.

Since then this dynasty never looked back and ruled Iran until the Islamic revolution of Imam Khomeini on April 1st, 1979 ended their rule forcibly exiling the King Raza Shah Pahlavi from Iran.

At their peak the Safavid Dynasty ruled and controlled all of modern Iran, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Armenia, most of Georgia, the North Caucasus, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, as well as parts of Turkey, especially Anatolia, Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the existing Afghanistan and Pakistan up to Indus valley.

His followers, Qizilbash, preferred to be called the ‘army of Haider’ – a name of Hazrat Ali – the first Imam of Muslim Shiites. Thus they developed Shiite Islam as the official religion of the empire which marked a great turning point in Islamic history.

However, the new Islamic state of Iran and its spiritual leader Imam Khomeini was the first head who enhanced more militancy in an already militant Muslim sect but was intolerable for the Arabs as they were for centuries rivals of one another.

But mostly it was the Arabs – being tribal oriented they used to taunt and hate civilized people. It is a trait of tribal people and could be observed still today in the same situation.

Iran undoubtedly has a great rich heritage – art, poetry, music and collective manners. They always remained proud to their civilization and history – what great philosopher Friedrich Hegel termed them “the first Historical People.”

Perhaps due to this or many other reasons, the Arabian people for centuries never liked the Iranians. It is not a secret but an open fact. It is even being said that the Iranians became Muslim, but in their own way. It was not ‘Arabized’. The Persian remained Persians. In a sense, Iranian Islam is a second advent of Islam itself, a new Islam sometimes referred to as Islam-i-Ajam.

Again this conflict and rivalry went in opposite directions to each other on the issue of the Islamic sect. The Shiites are the second largest Muslim sect in the Muslim world. Nevertheless in this conflict Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab worsened at a great level, especially if we look at a concise history then we could not forget the massacre of Karbala, believed to be led by the Al-Saud leader Abdul Aziz Ibn Al-Saud, the son-in-law of Ibn Wahhab.

He damaged Imam Hussain’s tomb (the Grandson of Muhammad (PBUH) and son of fourth Caliph Hazrat Ali of Muslim history), it is claimed, in return, one man killing him by a stiletto in revenge.

For the existing Pakistan, Iran was the first country that accepted Pakistan as a sovereign state and never went against one another. They developed the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) which later changed into the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and widened with many other Central Asian countries as members.

Both countries when required supported each other either locally or internationally. As Iran was a natural ally and was given the status as ‘Most Favorite Nation’ for trade purposes, both helped each other in wars, in different ways. The relationship within the countries though remained very cordial but reached its peak in the days of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

However in the Zia era even if both countries never intended to damage one other at state level, a resentment was for the first time noticed in the relationship between the two.

The reason was obvious in that Zia was the ultraconservative and very close to the Wahhabi school of thought and perhaps was the first Pakistani ruler of such mentality who tried to be part of the Saudi Arabian ideology and impose the same ideologue in Pakistan fearing the new Islamic revolution of Imam Khomeini may influence the people. It was him who sent 40 thousand army personnel to defend Saudi Arabia from the internal and possibly external threat in 1980, although it was condemned as an act and not accepted by the people of Pakistan, even including army personnel within the ranks.

Zia however was claiming the Iranian revolution as Islamic but he was the person who had created sectarian groups, protected and enhanced them to kill the Shiite Muslims in Pakistan. This could still be observed today. It is believed that when Zia met with Imam Khomeini in Iran he tried to recognise his role for Islamic service but Khomeini, without caring for diplomacy, snubbed Zia that he knew him and was the puppet of Saudi rulers, playing an important role on their behalf killing Shiite Muslims in Pakistan.

Following this Zia started believing that it would be better for him not to give any space to expanding Shiites in Pakistan. Another factor was also involved that somehow most Shiite communities or almost all were supporting Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto either directly or indirectly.

Whatever happened in the Zia era in the recent past or what is currently going on against the Shiite people in Pakistan, one thing it is very clear and important to note is that the people of Pakistan, from the depths of their hearts, are not interested in being part of any proxy war against the natural ally and neighboring country Iran. This is something every ruling authority in Pakistan knows.

Therefore on each occasion in the past, Pakistan has been a very close ally to the US and Saudi Arabia, but has never opposed Iran. In the recent action of Saudi Arabia killing a Shiite leader, Nimr al-Nimr, a spat between Iran and Saudi spread throughout the world, most Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (GCC) disconnecting diplomatic ties with Iran. But for Pakistan it would be impossible due to the people of Pakistan, as it would be difficult for security reasons.

The Balochs of Balochistan have been fighting for their independence since 1948 and have a long history of fighting against the Pakistani army. The total bordering area of Pakistan is connected with Iran from the Balochistan province. There is also a Baloch province in Iran. In the past, and especially in 1974 against the Baloch insurgency, Iran helped Pakistan giving guns, helicopters and fighter jets to curb such an uprising.

If Pakistan decided to go against Iran it could be possible that Iran supports Balochistan. We know the proverb ‘Enemy of the enemy is a friend’. Shiite Muslims are the second largest sect and cover more than 20% of the populace of Pakistan and would be aggravated by this, no Pakistani leader being in a position to provoke them. Thus it will be observed there is no possibility a Pakistan leader will stand up for Saudi Arabia, openly at least. However, it is said that only God knows the secrets of the inner core of the soul.

Courtesy & Thanks » Tuck Magazine
Read more » http://tuckmagazine.com/2016/01/12/understanding-iran-pakistan-relations12172/

 

Russia hits back at Turkey by changing Syria ‘game’

Moscow’s retaliation after Turkey downed its military jet could tie Ankara’s hands in Syria.

By Zeina Khodr, Roving Correspondent

Russia is striking back after a “stab in the back by an accomplice to terrorists” by changing the “game” in Syria.

Moscow’s retaliation is not just about severing economic and diplomatic ties. It is pursuing a policy that could tie Turkey’s hands in Syria.

Ankara never received international backing for a safe zone across its border, but Russia has now ruled that out.

The deployment of S-400 anti-air missiles means Russia has effectively imposed a no-fly zone over Syria.

And now, Moscow seems to be moving closer to a group that has been the US-led coalition’s main ground force in Syria – a group which Turkey, itself a member of that coalition, calls “terrorists”.

The Syrian Kurdish forces (YPG) is a US-backed Kurdish group that has pushed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) back from areas along the border with Turkey.

Read more » Aljazeera
See more » http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/europe/2015/11/russia-hits-turkey-changing-syria-game-151129172933416.html

Gulf Arabs ‘stepping up’ arms supplies to Syrian rebels

Saudi Arabia is responding to the recent Russian air strikes on Syrian rebels by stepping up its supplies of lethal weaponry to three different rebel groups, a Saudi government official has told the BBC.

The well-placed official, who asked not to be named, said supplies of modern, high-powered weaponry including guided anti-tank weapons would be increased to the Arab- and western-backed rebel groups fighting the forces of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian, Iranian and Lebanese allies.

He said those groups being supplied did not include either Islamic State (IS) or al-Nusra Front, both of which are proscribed terrorist organisations. Instead, he said the weapons would go to three rebel alliances – Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Southern Front.

The official added that Qatar and Turkey have been instrumental in maintaining Saudi support for Sunni rebels fighting both Assad’s forces and, at times, the extremists of IS. Russia brands as terrorists all rebels opposing its ally, President Assad, including those trained by the US.

The Saudi official did not rule out supplying surface-to-air missiles to the rebels, a move resisted by many in the West for fear that they would fall into the hands of IS and end up being used to shoot down warplanes of the US-led Coalition or even civilian airliners.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34479929

US ‘willing to work with Russia and Iran’ on Syria

President Barack Obama has said the US is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict in Syria.

He told the UN General Assembly in New York compromise would be essential for ending the long civil war.

But he said realism required a “managed transition” away from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to an inclusive leader.

He and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is a key ally of Syria, are to hold rare talks later.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34378889

US On The Ropes: China To Join Russian Military In Syria While Iraq Strikes Intel Deal With Moscow, Tehran

by Tyler Durden

Last Thursday, we asked if China was set to join Russia and Iran in support of the Assad regime in Syria.

Our interest was piqued when the pro-Assad Al-Masdar (citing an unnamed SAA “senior officer”), said Chinese “personnel and aerial assets” are set to arrive within weeks. To the uninitiated, this may seem to have come out of left field, so to speak. However, anyone who has followed the conflict and who knows a bit about the global balance of power is aware that Beijing has for some time expressed its support for Damascus, most notably by voting with Russia to veto a Security Council resolution that would have seen the conflict in Syria referred to the Hague. Here’s what China had to say at the May 22, 2014 meeting:

 For some time now, the Security Council has maintained unity and coordination on the question of Syria, thanks to efforts by Council members, including China, to accommodate the major concerns of all parties. At a time when seriously diverging views exist among the parties concerning the draft resolution, we believe that the Council should continue holding consultations, rather than forcing a vote on the draft resolution, in order to avoid undermining Council unity or obstructing coordination and cooperation on questions such as Syria and other major serious issues. Regrettably, China’s approach has not been taken on board; China therefore voted against the draft resolution.

In other words, China could see the writing on the wall and it, like Russia, was not pleased with where things seemed to be headed. A little more than a year later and Moscow has effectively called time on the strategy of using Sunni extremist groups to destabilize Assad and given what we know about Beijing’s efforts to project China’s growing military might, it wouldn’t exactly be surprising to see the PLA turn up at Latakia as well.

Sure enough, Russian media now says that according to Russian Senator Igor Morozov, Beijing has decided to join the fight. Here’s Pravda (translated):

According to the Russian Senator Igor Morozov, Beijing has taken decision to take part in combating IS and sent its vessels to the Syrian coast.

Igor Morozov, member of the Russian Federation Committee on International Affairs claimed about the beginning of the military operation by China against the IS terrorists. “It is known, that China has joined our military operation in Syria, the Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, aircraft carrier follows it,” Morozov said.

According to him, Iran may soon join the operation carried out by Russia against the IS terrorists, via Hezbollah. Thus, the Russian coalition in the region gains ground, and most reasonable step of the US would be to join it. Although the stance of Moscow and Washington on the ways of settlement of the Syrian conflict differs, nonetheless, low efficiency of the US coalition acts against terrorists is obvious. Islamists have just strengthened their positions.

As Leonid Krutakov told Pravda.Ru in an interview, the most serious conflict is currently taking place namely between China and the US. Moscow may support any party, the expert believes, and that is what will change the world order for many years.

Clearly, one has to consider the source here, but as noted above, if Beijing is indeed set to enter the fray, it would be entirely consistent with China’s position on Syria and also with the PLA’s desire to take a more assertive role in international affairs.

Meanwhile, it now looks as though the very same Russian-Iran “nexus” that’s playing spoiler in Syria is also set to take over the fight against ISIS in Iraq, as Baghdad has now struck a deal to officially share intelligence with Moscow and Tehran. Here’s CNN:

Iraq says it has reached a deal to share intelligence with Russia, Iran and Syria in the fight against ISIS militants.

The announcement on Saturday from the Iraqi military cited “the increasing concern from Russia about thousands of Russian terrorists committing criminal acts within ISIS.”

The news comes amid U.S. concerns about Russia’s recent military buildup in Syria and would appear to confirm American suspicions of some kind of cooperation between Baghdad and Moscow.

We’d be remiss if we failed to note the significance here. The entire narrative is falling apart for the US, as Russia and Iran are now moving to transform the half-hearted Western effort to contain ISIS into a very serious effort to eradicate the group.

Read more » Zero Hedge
Learn more » http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-27/us-ropes-china-join-russian-military-syria-while-iraq-strikes-intel-deal-moscow-tehr

Long-thwarted project gets go-ahead as Islamabad anticipates lifting of sanctions on Iran

By SAEED SHAH

ISLAMABAD—China will build a pipeline to bring natural gas from Iran to Pakistan to help address Pakistan’s acute energy shortage, under a deal to be signed during the Chinese president’s visit to Islamabad this month, Pakistani officials said.

Read more » THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Learn more » http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-to-build-pipeline-from-iran-to-pakistan-1428515277

Iran offers 3,000MW of electricity to Pakistan at low rate

QUETTA: Iranian top official at the Quetta consulate has announced that his government would supply 3,000 megawatts of electricity at a low price to end power crisis in Balochistan.

“We can increase the power supply anytime if requested by the Pakistan government,” Consul General Islamic Republic of Iran at Quetta Consulate Seyed Hassan Yahyavi told reporters on Thursday.

He said Iran is willing to help Pakistan to end persisting power crisis in the country by supplying sufficient electricity at a cheaper price.

“Iran has already increased the power supply to Gwadar from 70MW to 200MW and this process is nearly completed which will put an end to the power problem in the port city,” pointed out the Iranian diplomat.

Iranian and Pakistan electricity companies, he said, are working together. “The country is providing electricity to districts which share the border with Iran.”

Yahyavi said he met Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and discussed issues of mutual interest, adding that the border trade and economic activities would be improved in the coming months.

He said the issue of border security was also thoroughly discussed with the chief minister. “We agreed to jointly fight to end the menace of terrorism from the bordering areas.”

Courtesy: The Express Tribune
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/913950/iran-offers-3000mw-of-electricity-at-low-rate/

First Silk Road rail cargo enters Iran

The first cargo carried on the Silk Road railway has entered Iran from the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, local officials said.

The cargo, including 45 freight wagons, crossed the Incha-Burun border with Turkmenistan into Iran, local officials in the Golestan province said.

It followed the signing of a document for cooperation between Iranian and Kazakh railway officials, head of the Northeast Railway 2 Mohammad Reza Qorbani said.

In their joint session, the mode of cooperation between Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan and other countries for transit and rail transportation was discussed.

“At the session, existing infrastructures and potentials of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways and neighboring countries, Iran’s development plans and active transit corridors passing through Iran were discussed,” Qorbani said.

They also decided to work on developing the Incha-Burun-Bandar Abbas line as the new Silk Road route, he said.

The railway linking Iran to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan at a length of 926 kilometers was inaugurated last year.

Iran and Central Asian nations have stepped up work on establishing an integrated freight railway network to link Asia to the Persian Gulf, Europe and Africa.

It is part of an ambitious Chinese plan to revive the Silk Road which would require building of a network of roads, railways, ports and airports.

Continue reading First Silk Road rail cargo enters Iran

China’s Xinjiang launches cargo train service to Moscow

URUMQI, June 10 (Xinhua) — Railway authorities in China’s far western Xinjiang region on Wednesday launched a cargo train service linking its regional capital of Urumqi with Moscow.

The one more cargo train service westward can help boost the development of the northwestern autonomous region, a “core area” of the Silk Road economic belt, said Liu Jianxin, vice governor of Xinjiang, at the launch ceremony.

Since March 2014, Xinjiang has opened cargo train service to Kazakhstan, Georgia, Iran, Turkey and also Chelyabinsk of Russia.

The first train, loaded with 1,300 tonnes of PVC, left Urumqi at 6:15 p.m. and is scheduled to reach Moscow more than 4,000 km away in about ten days. It will return with wood pulp from Russia.

Wang Hongxin, chairman of Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Co., Ltd., said the cargo service can help drive the company’s annual sales of PVC by 10 percent.

By the second half of the year, more than three cargo trains will run between Xinjiang and the destinations in Russia and also central and western Asia per week.

The trains can then transport 50 billion yuan (8.1 billion U.S. dollars) of cargo a year, Liu said.

Editor: yan

News courtesy: Xinhuanet
Read more » http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-06/10/c_134315616.htm

Taliban to the rescue: Iran reportedly arms Afghan militants against US, ISIS

Tehran is reportedly betting on the Taliban’s rise and is providing the militant movement with arms and training to secure leverage over it. Iran wants influence to counter the US and have fighters ready for a possible offensive by Islamic State.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Iran has been providing the Taliban not only with money, but also hosted training camps in its territory since at least the fall of 2013. The US newspaper cites Western and Afghan officials and also a Taliban commander, who, the report says, was recruited by Iranian intelligence and is currently on Iran’s payroll.

“Iran is betting on the re-emergence of the Taliban,” a Western diplomat told WSJ. “They are uncertain about where Afghanistan is heading right now, so they are hedging their bets.”

Iran’s support of the Taliban is an alliance of convenience, according to the report. Iran is a Shiite country while the Taliban is Sunni, a difference that is difficult to bridge. In 2001, Tehran didn’t object to the ousting of the Taliban from power by a US-led invasion.

However, things have evolved, and with Taliban influence in Afghanistan growing, having a hand in it is becoming a useful asset. In 2013, the Iranians officially invited a Taliban delegation to an Islam conference.

WSJ interviewed Abdullah, a Taliban commander, who said he was an Afghan illegal immigrant in Iran, who was recruited by Iranian intelligence. He currently receives $580-a-month salary as well as necessary supplies from his sponsors, he said. Among the weapons he can order are 82mm mortars, light machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and rifles, he added.

Abdullah and Afghan official said Iran operates four training camps for the Taliban in the Iranian cities of Tehran, Mashhad and Zahedan and in the province of Kerman.

The report points to Tayeb Agha, the head of the Taliban’s office in Qatar, as the main connection between the movement and Iran.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/news/266812-iran-arms-taliban-isis/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

India to sign deal with Iran on Chabahar port project soon

India is moving closer to finalizing a crucial plan to invest in Iran’s southern Chabahar port – a project that would open a new economic corridor rival to what China plans to do in Pakistan’s Gwadar port. 

India’s Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari is expected in Tehran within the next few days to formalize a deal for the project, the New Delhi-based Business Standard newspaper reported.

India is also likely to engage in discussions with the US to secure a waiver of sanctions on activities at Chabahar, the report added.

“Talks about the proposed speed and manner in which the US government plans to free up the sanctions might also be on the cards, so that India does not run the risk of attracting punitive sanctions,” it said.

Read more » Press Tv
See more » http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/04/25/408007/Iran-India-Chabahar-Corridor-Trade-economy-sanctions-washington-zarif-kerry

US warship heads to Yemeni waters; could block Iran weapons

Associated Press – By LOLITA C. BALDOR

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a stepped-up response to Iranian backing of Shiite rebels in Yemen, the Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen to beef up security and join other American ships that are prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels.

The deployment comes after a U.N. Security Council resolution approved last week imposed an arms embargo on leaders of the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels. The resolution passed in a 14-0 vote with Russia abstaining.

Navy officials said Monday that the Roosevelt was moving through the Arabian Sea. A massive ship that carries F/A-18 fighter jets, the Roosevelt is seen more of a deterrent and show of force in the region.

The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea in response to reports that a convoy of about eight Iranian ships is heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis. Navy officials said there are about nine U.S. warships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels.

Read more » Yahoo News
See more » http://news.yahoo.com/us-warship-heads-yemeni-waters-block-iranian-weapons-182036698–politics.html

China to build Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline: report

ISLAMABAD: In an attempt to curtail Pakistan’s severe energy shortage, China has agreed to build a pipeline bringing natural gas from Iran to Pakistan. The final deal is to be signed during the long-sought visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Islamabad in April, Pakistani officials said.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/866893/china-to-build-pakistan-iran-gas-pipeline-report/

The award-winning bridge connecting Iranians

Project dubbed as ‘the third symbol of Tehran’ earns international recognition for architect Leila Araghian.

Ted Regencia

As an architecture student, Leila Araghian, 31, recalls roaming the sycamore-lined boulevards of her hometown, Tehran, looking for the next adventure. Once, she and a friend were passing by a bridge along Zafar Street, when they spotted a brown leather sofa outside a building.

So they got an idea, and dragged the sofa onto a small bridge, one of many that dot the creeks running through Tehran. As they sat there watching the water flow beneath them, they thought how much better it would be, if people could actually hang out on bridges, rather than just cross over them.

That friend, Alireza Behzadi, would become Araghian’s collaborator in her most important project so far, the Pol-e-Tabiat, or Nature Bridge, which opened in late 2014, and is now being called “the third symbol of Tehran“. The pedestrian bridge has won three awards in Iran.

And on Tuesday, it picked its first international recognition, winning a 2015 A Popular Choice prize in highways and bridges category, from a New York-based architectural organisation, Architizer. A panel of international jurors also nominated it as one of the top five finalists in architecture and engineering category.

Araghian recalled that late afternoon stroll with Behzadi many years ago, as she explained the inspiration behind her project, which she designed when she was only 26.

“Usually, bridges are designed in a straight line. And that straight line will produce a one point perspective that will tell you to just go. But we want to keep people on the bridge,” she told Al Jazeera.

“The bridge is not just a structure to connect from one point to another, but also a place to stay and enjoy.”

Soaring 270m across Modarres Highway, Pol-e-Tabiat, which connects two parks in the northern district of Iran’s capital, reflects her aspirations about Iranian architecture, Araghian said.

Mohammad Mohammadzadeh, an architect, author and critic, told Al Jazeera that projects like Araghian’s “reveal a huge capacity in the emerging generation of architects, who have been willing to form a progressive trend in Iran”.

Read more » Aljazeera
See more » http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/04/award-winning-bridge-connecting-iranians-150414121934153.html

Putin lifts ban on delivery of S-300 missile systems to Iran

The Russian president has repealed the ban prohibiting the delivery of S-300 missile air defense systems to Iran, according to the Kremlin’s press service. The ban was introduced by former President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010.

“[The presidential] decree lifts the ban on transit through Russian territory, including airlift, and the export from the Russian Federation to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also the transfer to the Islamic Republic of Iran outside the territory of the Russian Federation, both by sea and by air, of air defense missile systems S-300,” says the information note accompanying the document, RIA Novosti reported.

The decree enters into force upon the president’s signature.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/news/249229-russia-s300-delivery-iran/

Iranian guards killed on Pakistan border

Eight Iranian border guards have been killed in a clash with gunmen near Pakistan
Eight Iranian border guards have been killed in a clash with gunmen near Pakistan

Eight Iranian border guards have been killed in a clash with gunmen near Pakistan, Iranian media say.

They were shot dead after the attackers crossed into Iran’s Sistan Baluchistan province, according to reports.

The gunmen then fled back across the border, Iranian official said. The identity of the attackers is not known.

Sistan Baluchistan has seen frequent clashes in recent years between Iranian security forces and drug smugglers and Sunni rebel groups.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32200996

The Persian Paradox: Iran Is Much More Modern Than You Think

by Erich Follath

People in the West tend to have a monolithic view of Iran. But there’s a lot more to the country than the mullah-led theocracy, and it often gets ignored. And national pride is alive and well.

Read more » Spiegel International
See more » http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/caught-between-history-and-modernity-the-persian-paradox-a-1027050.html

Iran issues fresh warning to Pakistan: Deal with terrorists within your borders or we will.

Iran again warns of crossing into Pakistan if border is not secured

Iran issued a veiled threat to Pakistan on Thursday that it might cross the border to contain terrorists if Pakistan fails protect its border and stop terrorists from entering into Iran, Iranian state media reported.

Second-in-command of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Hossein Salami on Thursday said that border security is a common and pressing need for neighbouring countries. He warned that if any neighbouring country fails to fulfill their obligation to protect their border than Iran will have no choice but to act on its own.

We are, in principle, against intervening in the affairs of any country, but if they fail to abide by their obligations we will have [no choice but] to act,” said Salami, adding that “Terrorists, wherever they may be, even on the soil of neighbouring countries, we will find them, and if they do not give up acts of terrorism, we will deal with them without reservation.”

In May this year, Iranian border guards trespassed three kilometres into Pakistani territory and shot dead a Pakistani citizen while injuring another in the Prom tehsil of Panjgur district in Balochistan.

Iran, on many counts, has threatened to send forces into Pakistani territories.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/776867/iran-again-warns-of-crossing-into-pakistan-if-border-is-not-secured/

Syria President Bashar al-Assad sworn in for third term

Bashar al-Assad has been sworn in for a third seven-year term as president of Syria, after an election last month that opponents dismissed as a “farce”.

State television broadcast what it said was a live ceremony from the presidential palace in Damascus.

Mr Assad vowed to fight “terrorism” until security was restored to all of the country, but also promised to offer “national reconciliation” to opponents.

He has defied calls to step down since an uprising began in March 2011.

The conflict that erupted after the authorities launched a brutal crackdown on protests has left at least 170,000 people dead and driven more than nine million others from their homes.

‘Monstrous faces’

Mr Assad won 88.7% of the votes cast in the first multi-candidate election in decades, which took place only in areas of Syria that were under government control.

After taking the oath of office on Wednesday, Mr Assad told his supporters: “Syrians, three years and four months… have passed since some cried ‘freedom’.”

“They wanted a revolution, but you have been the real revolutionaries. I congratulate you for your revolution and for your victory,” he added.

“Those who lost their way can now see clearly… the monstrous faces have been unveiled, the mask of freedom and the revolution has fallen.”

Mr Assad also promised that Arab, regional and Western countries who are helping the rebels trying to topple him would soon “pay a high price for supporting terrorism.

Over the past year, Mr Assad’s forces – backed by Iran and the Lebanese Shia Islamist movement Hezbollah – have consolidated their control over a corridor of territory stretching north from the capital to the city of Homs and then into Hama and Latakia provinces.

However, large swathes of the north and east remain under the control of rebel forces, including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

The powerful al-Qaeda breakaway declared the creation of a “caliphate” in its territories last month after launching an offensive that saw it capture parts of northern and western Iraq.

Western-backed and more moderate Islamist rebels in Syria, who have been engaged in deadly battles with the group’s fighters since the start of the year, rejected the announcement.

Courtesy: BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28328138

More » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/world/2014/07/140716_syria_president_assad_rwa.shtml

US company signs billion-dollar energy deal with Iran

US company World Eco Energy has signed a preliminary agreement to invest $1.175 billion to generate electricity in Iran. The plan is to turn solid waste into power.

Representatives from the American company and the Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari Province Governor General, Malek-Mohammad Qorbanpour, signed the deal, the Tehran Times reported.

It is expected the project will create 650 immediate jobs, with another 2,000 emerging over the next two to three years, Oorbanpour told the IRNA news agency. Local companies will also be investing the same amount of money into the project.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/170768-iran-energy-deal-usa/

Undeclared warfare between Iran and Turkey

By Mahir Zeynalov

Turkey’s strange ties with Iran, still presented as a significant pillar to the region’s stability, have deteriorated into virtual unacknowledged warfare, with two countries literally waging a proxy war beyond their borders in the region.

Throughout the last century, Iran and Turkey had difficult times to understand how they relate to each other but couldn’t risk severing ties despite numerous confrontations over a wide range of regional issues. In the past few years, Turkish government officials used a treaty signed between Ottoman and Iranian delegates in the city of Qasr-e Shirin to describe how the borders of the two countries have remained unchanged since the agreement was signed in 1639, a widely accepted myth.

Turkish officials frequently refer to the Qasr-e Shirin agreement to illustrate how their relationship is solid and based on mutual respect. Since the famous agreement, six states have been established in both countries (two in Turkey and four in Iran) and the borders had changed for ten times, the last time in 1931. Presenting the Qasr-e Shirin myth as a cover for a number of wars the two countries fought in the past four centuries also characterizes today’s relationship between Iran and Turkey.

Unrestrained

While Iranian political and military officials are unrestrained in their critical remarks about Turkey, often tantamount to threats, Turkish officials are much softer while talking about their relationship, emphasizing the importance of cooperation between the two nations. It is unclear how false description of ties helps prevent further confrontation at a time when the two nations are even fighting a proxy war in Syria, where more than two years of civil war has left at least 100,000 people dead, mostly civilians.

When Turkey kicked off its ambitious foreign policy in the region under the leadership of its popular prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his then adviser and later Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu tried to assure the neighboring countries that Turkey’s rise is peaceful and that it only aims to advance peace in the region. Davutoğlu’s goal was to cultivate relations among countries in Turkey’s vicinity by abolishing visa requirements, creating free trade zones, and constantly holding high-level political consultations. Deepening ties with Iran was a cornerstone of this project that is now crumbling after Iran has started to sabotage Turkey’s interests in the region.

Continue reading Undeclared warfare between Iran and Turkey

Baloch need to struggle within Pakistan, says chief minister

By Anwar Iqbal

“Democracy is the only option for Baloch nationalists,” says Balochistan’s new chief minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch. “We need to connect with national democratic forces to achieve our objectives. We need to work within Pakistan. We have no other option.”

In an interview to Dawn.com, Dr Malik said that a move by US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to create a separate state for Balochs will further confuse the Baloch struggle for their rights.

“In the past, we were told the revolution will come from Moscow. Now we are told it will come from Moscow. I disagree with such suggestions. We need to struggle for our rights within Pakistan. We need to work with other democratic forces in the country.”

He said that relations with neighboring states, particularly India, Iran and Afghanistan have a direct impact on the situation in Balochistan.

“Our institutions need to sit together and work out a new foreign policy if we want peace, particularly in Balochistan.”

The sectarian violence, he said, was directly linked to the Iran-Saudi conflict and “we need to device a balanced approach to prevent these two countries from fighting their war on our turf.

Continue reading Baloch need to struggle within Pakistan, says chief minister