The Islamic Republic of Iran, Russia and Turkey on Thursday examined details of a new document on ‘reduced-conflict districts in Syria’. Delegations from Iran, Russia and Turkey met in Astana on Thursday to study the document. Iranian delegation led by Hossein Jaberi Ansari met delegations from Russia and Turkey in Astana to exchange views on the latest developments in Syria. During the four-hour meeting, the participants examined details of the new document focusing on “reduced-conflict districts in Syria’. These delegations will also study the plan for the last public meeting in Astana. According to the declared timetable, the public meeting on Syrian developments is to be held this afternoon. According to the released information, these four districts have been identified as Idlib, North of Homs, Eastern Ghouta and south of Syria. The fourth Astana talks on Syria hosting Iran, Russia and Turkey kicked off in Astana on Wednesday.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi has said Iran respects the results of Turkey’s referendum, as it is the decision of the Turkish nation. Ghasemi, who was attending his weekly press conference on Monday, made the remarks announcing Islamic Republic’s stance toward the referendum held in Turkey on Sunday; “it is an domestic issue of Turkey and Iran respects whatever the Turkish people vote for; it is too early to discuss the effects of the act yet we hope it would help peace and stability in the region and Turkey as well”. On trilateral military cooperation between Iran, Russia and Syria, Ghasemi, while underlining that the trilateral cooperation is a normal and longstanding one that also would include military collaborations when needed. “Iran objects any movement threatening territorial integrity of regional states; Iraq is not an exception and its sovereignty is an absolute rule for Islamic Republic; therefore Iran backs coexistence of all ethnic and religious groups within the frames of Iraqi government and its constitution”, the spokesman said while responding to a question of Iraqi Kurdistan. On US and its recent military measures in the region, Ghasemi said “they seem to stem from US’ bewilderment and its domestic issues rather than being a pure military action; they were to do something in Middle East to earn at home and deliver certain messages to their allies in the region; yet they are the ones who will lose at the end”, condemning US attacks on Syria and Afghanistan calling them politically-motivated. “Iran’s stance on recent developments in Syria is clear; we strongly condemned the attacks and called for establishment of a fact-finding committee”, he said adding, “Moscow visit by Foreign Minister Zarif was necessary as consultations were needed between key players of Syrian issue; Turkey also would join the three states in Astana talks scheduled for May”. “Iran would not violate JCPOA and anyone who would preside the country is expected to take the same approach”, the Foreign Ministry spokesman reaffirmed when asked on violations of the deal by other parties.
In a news conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi condemned the U.S. for threatening the security of the region, saying Washington must pay for its wrongdoings. Qassemi’s remarks came days after the head of the MKO, Maryam Rajavi, met with John McCain, a senior U.S. senator who was the Republican nominee for the 2008 U.S. presidential election. “You have stood up, fought, and sacrificed for freedom, for the right to live free, for the right to determine your future”, said McCain, referring to Rajavi. Qassemi further said the meeting came of no surprise to him, since the United States has supported various terrorist groups in recent decades. Once an important political actor inside Iran, the MKO fought the rule of Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, before the Islamic Revolution. However, after the 1979 revolution, it resorted to acts of terror and assassinations, killing thousands of innocent Iranians. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, MKO members were trained in the United States from 2005 to 2009, under former President George W. Bush. Their training included intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics. Following the election of Donald Trump as president, anti-Iran warmonger became much more vocal in U.S. politics, which in turn has empowered the MKO-like groups and individuals who are now calling for “regime change” in Iran.
The EU has proven that it has no realistic and true understanding of the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, Qassemi said in a statement in response to the EU move to extend its sanctions against Iran until April 2018 over alleged claims of “serious human rights violations”. “The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns the repetitive and improper trend of double-standard and politically-motivated approaches and instrumental use of human rights by the EU, including the extension of unilateral sanctions under the pretext of human rights violations (in Iran), which is a failed and ineffective policy”, he noted. In a statement on Tuesday, the 28-member bloc extended by a year its travel ban and an asset freeze on 82 Iranian people and one entity, as well as a ban on exports to Iran of equipment for monitoring telecommunications and other gear, according to Reuters. It added that the blacklisted names would be published on Wednesday in the EU’s Official Journal. The EU imposed the restrictions on Iran for the first time in 2011.
Corker, who is currently the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said on Tuesday that the bill will not move forward for now. The bill was introduced by a group of Democratic and Republican senators in March seeking to slap tighter sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its ballistic missiles. This is while Iran repeatedly says that none of its missiles have been designed to carry nuclear warheads because nuclear weapons have basically no place in the Islamic Republic’s defense doctrine. “We’ve got a Iran sanctions bill that has a number of co-sponsors that wasn’t able to markup at present because of concerns about how the European Union might react and (Iranian) elections that are coming up”, Corker said. Iran will hold its next presidential election in May 2017, when principlists hope to defeat moderate President Hassan Rouhani. In 2013 presidential election, Rouhani promised to develop better relations with countries across the world, and partly succeeded to deliver what he had promised after the nuclear agreement went into effect, which led to expansion of ties with mostly Western countries. New sanctions, however, could seriously hurt Rouhani’s chance of victory.
Most participants of the meeting of ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC oil producers, which took place in Kuwait City on Sunday, supported the extension of an agreement on oil output cut by six months but the final decision will be taken in May and will depend on the situation on the market. The Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) includes ministers of three OPEC member states – Venezuela, Kuwait and Algeria – and two countries that not part of the cartel, namely Russia and Oman.
Iran’s permanent representative envoy to the UN said Iran together with Russia and Turkey as Guarantor States will spare no efforts to guarantee the Ceasefire Regime in Syria, agreed on 30 December 2016. Here a citation: “The Islamic Republic of Iran, with the aim of ending the ongoing crises in Syria and within the framework of its principled policy based on respecting the Syrian territorial integrity and sovereignty, finding a political solution to the crisis through intra-Syrian talks and objection to the instrumental use of terrorism for political gains; has taken effective measures upon the request of the Syrian Arab Republic in different political, humanitarian and anti-terrorism areas, including sending humanitarian assistance to Syrian civilians”.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry rejected the recent accusations made by Saudi Arabia’s defense minister as complete nonsense resulting from a sense of frustration and part of Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud’s “delusive policies that are based upon lies”. History shows that trans-regional powers’ interference brings about nothing but insecurity in the very same countries that have invited the aliens, the Iranian spokesman noted, adding that foreign interference in the region leads to “instability, division, and the spread of terrorism and violence”. In recent meetings in the US, bin Salman and American authorities accused Iran of seeking expansionist moves in the Middle East and of sponsoring terrorist organizations.
At least 30 people were killed and 45 others injured in a suicide attack targeting a courthouse in the center of the Syrian capital. According to Tasnim dispatches, Takfiri terrorists detonated a bomb in the Hamidiyeh neighborhood and targeted the Arab country’s Palace of Justice, killing 35 people and injuring 45.
The third round of Syria reconciliation talks in Astana is being extended for one day in the anticipation of arrival of Syrian armed opposition representatives to the negotiations, with the talks participants expected to discuss differentiation between terrorists and armed groups, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s Asia and Africa Department Director General AidarbekTumatov told Sputnik. “Tomorrow, on the 16th, the talks will be continued with a military aspect included, which, I think, is important, given the issues of terrorist groups’ location, including that of the IS and the Jabhat al-Nusra, and the location of moderate opposition are expected to be discussed”,Tumatov said. The future of the document will depend on the participants of the talks, but the humanitarian aspect is the most important in this process, the official added.