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Iran rejects US human rights critique as ‘biased by political objectives’

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Bahram Ghasemi, the Spokesman of Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denounced, on Saturday, the latest report of Department of State on human rights as a partial, politicized, and rejected report. “The Human Rights report of US Department of State is partial, politicized, and unacceptable,” said Bahram Ghasemi, the Spokesman of Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Saturday. “The Islamic Republic of Iran sees the annual report issued by American Department of State and especially the parts of it with anti-Iran human rights claims as a particle document with political intentions to relay a distorted and unreal image of the conditions in our country,” reiterated the Iranian diplomat denouncing the claims in the report as baseless accusations. “The American government is not only the biggest violator of human rights according to credible reports issued by international entities, but also is the biggest supporter of notorious violator of human rights in our region like the Zionist regime and some reactionary countries of the region; countries whose crimes are still entangling the region,” asserted the spokesman.

Haidar Al-Abadi announces military operation in eastern Iraq

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Iraqi Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi announced on Tuesday a military operation to hunt for dormant Islamic State militants in Jazira area northeast of Baghdad and Euphrates heights. “We have started an operation in Jazira area and Euphrates heights to prevent the emergence of any terrorist group,” said Abadi at his weekly press conference in Baghdad. ISIS’ self-proclaimed “caliphate” effectively collapsed, when US-backed Iraqi forces completed the takeover of the militants’ capital in Mosul, after a nine-month campaign. Iraqi forces discovered a bomb-making factory in western Mosul, interior ministry said on Sunday. Iraqi Ministry of Interior said in a statement that a unit of Mosul directorate police found a factory where vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) were made by Islamic State in New Mosul neighborhood. The factory had 150 kilograms of ammonium nitrate used in the VBIEDs in Mosul, the ministry added.

Rouhani: Iran-Turkey cooperation must stop escalation of tensions in Syria

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President Hassan Rouhani said that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey enjoy ample historical and cultural commonalities and further deepening of bilateral, regional and international relations between the two countries would be beneficial for peace and stability in the region and the world. Rouhani made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci in Tehran on Wednesday, the president’s official website reported. “Fortunately in recent years, relations between the two countries have been developing in all fields of mutual interest and we should continue along this path to serve both nations’ interests,” the president said. “Without a doubt, development of banking relations is very important for deepening of economic relations and ties between the private sectors,” he said.

President Rouhani said the continuation of consultation and coordination between the two countries in regional issues has an effective role in establishing sustainable peace and security in the region. The Turkish economy minister, who is visiting Iran as the head of a high-ranking economic delegation, said Turkey is determined to remove the obstacles on the path of further development of relations between the two countries and take major steps in boosting cooperation. Zeybekci added that Turkey attaches great importance to deepening of relations and cooperation with Iran in all fields and intends to further cement these ties by laying out a roadmap.

Iraq will not allow its soil to be used for attack on Syria

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The Iraqi government spokesperson, Saad Hadithi, said on Tuesday that Baghdad will not allow the country’s soil to be used for attacks on Syria. Hadithi said in a statement that the Syrian conflict allowed ISIS extremists to emerge and flourish into Iraq in 2014. Baghdad will not launch any attack on Syria and let any operation from Iraqi soil against its neighbor Syria, Hadithi added. Baghdad attempts to maintain unity and stability for Syria in an effort to completely defeat ISIS and create the circumstances that will prevent its return, he said

Mogherini: Keeping Iran nuclear deal in place vital for EU

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The European Union foreign policy chief said preserving Iran nuclear deal is vital for the European bloc. Federica Mogherini told reporters on Monday ahead of the bloc’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg. “On the Iran deal, we’re doing all we can to work with our American friends to make sure that all parties stay fully committed to the full implementation of the agreement,” Mogherini was quoted by European External Action Service (EEAS) as saying. “As it is the case so far as we know the last joint commission that we chaired was positive, everybody recognized that Iran is fully compliant with its nuclear commitments as has been confirmed by the IAEA for 11 times,” she said.

“Let me add that preserving the agency credibility is crucial especially in a time when we enter maybe hopefully, some interesting discussions with DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]. So work is ongoing and we believe it would be essential to stay united in this,” she noted. The top EU diplomat continued, “Let me also add the Europeans have always made it clear for us that keeping the agreement in place is vital. It is a strategic interest for the EU and we will stick to it.” On the sanctions, the top official said, “I do not foresee any decision to be taken today on this. As you know, we have already sanctions in place on Iran – non-nuclear related. I do not expect [foreign] ministers to take decision on this today.”

China is the biggest trading partner of Iran in Asia

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Chairman of Iran-China Joint Chamber of Commerce Asadollah Asgaroladi said China is now the biggest trading partner of the Islamic Republic in Asia. Asgaroladi hailed the recent rise in Iranian exports to China. He added that currently, Iran is the top exporter of goods to China among Middle Eastern countries. The official described the past Iranian year (which ended on March 20) as “a good year for the country’s exports”. He also predicted that in the current year, the volume of exports would increase by 5 to 7 percent compared to the last year. China has imported $18.579 billion worth of goods from Iran in 2017, around 25 percent higher than 2016. 

Back in January 2016, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Tehran and said, “We predict that the value of economic exchanges between Tehran and Beijing would rise to $600 billion within the next 10 years”. 

Iraqi Oil minister says Ira completes southern crude pipeline

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Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said the country has completed the construction of a pipeline that will boost its oil exports from southern ports, Reuters reported. Oil-rich Iraq, which declared victory against Islamic State (ISIS) nationwide in December, is seeking to boost production and exports to fund its reconstruction after years of war.

In 2013, an Iraqi official said his country would pump 850,000 barrels per day down the pipeline to Jordan, which would be enough to cover Jordan’s needs and export the rest via Aqaba. Iraq sits on one of the world’s largest oil reserves — 153 billion barrels by Baghdad’s own estimates. Iraq delivered oil to Jordan for preferential prices under the UN oil-for-food programme during the rule of late dictator Saddam Hussein.

Iran: Qasemi condemned Israel’s invasion against Syria

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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi strongly condemned Israel’s fighter invasion against Syria and called it a clear violation of international law and in the direction of strengthening terrorism. Qasemi said undoubtedly this action of the Israel, when field developments are beneficial to the Syrian legal government, is to strengthen terrorist groups with the aim to deviate public opinion from Gaza catastrophe and its tens of martyrs and thousands of injures. The spokesman underlined again Iran’s full support for territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Syria and called on all countries and international community to avoid being indifferent towards such clear invasion against a UN member. 

The government accused of having no plan for the industrialists

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The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) accused the government of having no plan to support the domestic products and industrialists in the country. During the inauguration ceremony of marble production town on Monday in Kabul, Khan Jan Alokozay, Deputy Head of ACCI said that the National Unity Government plays a double game with the investors adding that the government should make way for investment and capacity building in the country. According to him, since shut down of AISA (Afghanistan Investment Support Agency), the government has not distributed any land for industrialist. The inaugurated town includes 30 marble production houseworks which have been built on 300 acres of land with a cost of $50 million by the investors. The Commerce Ministry’s General Director for Private Sector Development said that the government welcomes and ensures to support the marble industry in the country. 

Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey: trilateral meeting to discuss the peace process

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During a press conference with CEO Abdullah Abdullah, Turkish Prime Minister Binali said Turkey has suggested a trilateral meeting of officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey to discuss the peace process in Afghanistan. Afghan Executive Office has expressed optimism over the trilateral meeting and hopes the summit will reduce tensions between Kabul-Islamabad. During the visit to Kabul, the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said that Turkey strongly supports the Afghan government’s efforts for peace in the country, and called on the Taliban to start dialogue with the Afghan government. Bashir Ahmad Tayenj, a Member of Parliament believes that Turkey can play a key role in Afghan peace process because is a powerful Islamic country with an effective role in regional politics. Furthermore, analysts stress on Turkey’s pressures over Pakistan to stop interfering in Afghanistan’s affairs and fight against terrorism. Turkey’s call for peace in Afghanistan comes as the Taliban still maintained its silence and has yet to formally respond to the peace offer. 

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