Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi warned of a “special surprise” if the Trump administration goes ahead with its threat to scuttle the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “The enemies should know that in case of a JCPOA rollback – even though we are never looking for such a situation – special conditions will arise, and when the high-ranking officials decide, there will be a special surprise for those who scuttle the agreement,” he said Thursday, Press TV reported. “We are seriously looking to preserve our national interests and sovereignty, but if the United States withdraws and Europe and other great powers retreat from this agreement, we will definitely do something different,” he added.
Iraqi President Fuad Masum said relations between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region are now “normal,” after ties between both sides deteriorated following the Kurdish independence referendum in September 2017. During an interview with the Saudi newspaper Arab News, published on Thursday, Masum said that there is a “calm and unpublicized dialogue” between Baghdad and Erbil. “With regards to ties between Baghdad and Kurdistan, relations are normal and there is dialogue between the two sides,” he said. Baghdad and Erbil need each other, the Iraqi president added, and that neither side will give up on the other.
No country has the right to decide on the future of Syria that belongs to the Syrian people, Rouhani told reporters in Ankara on Wednesday after a trilateral meeting of the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey. Maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity, national sovereignty and unity and independence should be appreciated by everyone as a major demand of the Syrian people, he added. “In view of the Islamic Republic of Iran, … Syria (crisis) has no military solution and should be resolved politically. We should all help to bring the war to an end.”
Rouhani went on to say that it would be a great celebration day for the region when the war in Syria ends, terrorists leave the region, Syrian refugees return home and the Syrian people can determine their fate and future in a free election. The Iranian president further hailed the efforts made by Iran, Russia and Turkey on the path of fighting terrorism and establishing ceasefires in Syria, including through the Astana peace talks and the trilateral summits in Sochi and Ankara.
The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey reiterated their commitment to work toward achieving a sustainable cease-fire between warring sides in Syria and bringing peace and stability to the war-torn country. Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and his Russian and Turkish counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “reaffirmed their determination to continue their active cooperation on Syria for the achievement of lasting cease-fire between the conflicting parties and advancement of the political process envisaged by UN Security Council Resolution 2254,” said a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting of the three leaders in Ankara on Wednesday. In the statement, Rouhani, Putin and Erdogan also emphasized their “strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and non-sectarian character of Syria.”
They also stressed that there could be “no military solution” to the Syrian conflict and that the conflict could be settled only through a “negotiated political process.” The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey, whose countries act as guarantors of the Syria cease-fire, also reaffirmed their determination to continue their cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate Daesh, Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, and entities associated with Al-Qaeda or Daesh as identified by the UN Security Council and underscored the success of their collective efforts in the fight against international terrorism. Addressing the summit, Rouhani said the Syrian region of Afrin, captured by Turkish forces, should be handed over to Syria’s Army. “The developments in Afrin can only be useful if they do not violate Syria’s territorial integrity, and control of these areas should be handed over to the Syrian Army,” Rouhani said.
During the session of executive committee for development of private sector, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said that Afghanistan should seek ways for prioritizing of economic indexes and solving of problems before private sector. Dr. Abdullah said there were eye-catching growth of private sector and small entrepreneurships as well as production and imports, adding more works needed to improve and accelerate the process. Dr. Abdullah told the officials to pay attentions to boosting of imports and exports as well as growth of domestic production and ways to ease transportation of goods. He added to focus on prevention of time elapsing during security check of the importing and exporting goods. Minister of Commerce and Industries held the session on achievements, challenges and progress of the Executive Committee on development of private sector, adding 10 documents were prepared to ease the process of export and import of goods. The documents included acceleration of the security check process of goods, technical standard, custom license, license of entrepreneurship and transit, prepared in consultation with traders. World Bank representative to Kabul praised Chief Executive’s support of the private sector, saying the process would take time and require joint efforts. The Chief Executive also instructed the Ministry of Commerce and Industries to present the problems in Council of Ministers meeting, so that to be discussed in detail.
The Afghan Defense Ministry says Monday’s attack by the government air force on a Taliban meeting in Dasht-i-Archi district of Kunduz province, killed at least 18 fighters, including a senior commanders of the group Quetta Shura member Mawlavi Baryal. The Defense Ministry’s Deputy Spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said that the Afghan Air Force did not target civilians but Taliban members that opened fire on Afghan air force helicopters and then on civilians after the airstrike. Radmanish showed photographs and aerial footage of the targeted area, saying that people photographed were Taliban leaders and fighters. During the attack, civilians, including children, lost their lives so the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is investigating the incident amid reports of civilian casualties. UN said that UNAMA actively looking into disturbing reports of serious harm to civilians, adding that all parties have to respect the obligations to protect civilians from impact of armed conflict. The President’s office, meanwhile in a statement on Tuesday said that it has appointed a task team to investigate Monday’s airstrike in Dasht-e-Archi of Kunduz province. The assigned commission is headed by General Khudaidad Hazara, the Inspector General of the National Security Council, and include presidential advisors Tahir Safai and Sayed Sulaiman Hamid.
In November of last year delegations from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia met in Cairo to approve a study by a French firm tasked with assessing the environmental and economic impact of the dam on downstream countries. But negotiations stalled. Now FM Shoukry will fly to Khartoum for talks with Sudanese and Ethiopian officials aimed at resolving the impasse over the hydroelectric dam Addis Ababa is building on a Nile tributary. Cairo fears that the dam will reduce the supply of Nile water. Ethiopia, which is the only one financing the dam, affirms that the project will not harm Egypt, while Sudan underlined that it will provide the country with energy and irrigation.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani strongly condemned the “criminal” and “inhumane” Israeli acts against peaceful Palestinian protesters on Land Day. “Such acts are the continuation of the Zionists’ repeated crimes (against Palestinians) under the support of the US administration”, Larijani added in his remarks on Sunday. He further described the Israeli regime’s policy of creating tension in the region as well as US President Donald Trump’s decision to move his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as plots orchestrated by Tel Aviv and Washington to undermine the region’s security and stability. “The terrorists ruling Tel Aviv only understand the language of force”, the top Iranian official noted, adding that only resistance can stop the “power-mad” regime. Larijani further called on Muslim countries to take the necessary measures and back the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi said his country’s military forces have plans to launch a cross-border operation to fight against terrorists on the territory of Syria. “The situation in Syria remains a real challenge and we are focused on finding a solution,” Abadi said, speaking to reporters during his weekly press conference on Sunday night. “We have gone from fighting terrorism in Iraq to fighting terrorism in Syria,” Abadi said as quoted by Rudaw news agency. He explained that the matter in question was discussed on Saturday with Iraqi military commanders for countering terrorism beyond Iraq’s borders. “Our project has developed from fighting terror in Iraq to fighting terror in the region,” the premier said, stressing that the aim is not to violate other countries sovereignties. “We do not want to exceed our limits, and we will not transgress those of other countries,” the prime minister emphasized, saying his country is playing a pivotal role in countering terrorism.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman strongly condemned the recent Israeli actions against Palestinian people. “Although Israel has a long record in occupation, killing and committing crimes, Mr. Trump and the US ruling elites’ unwavering support as well as shameful efforts by some regional leaders in order to establish overt, covert, disgraceful and ignominious relations with Israel have unfortunately further emboldened Zionist regime leaders to turn Palestinian youth’s peaceful rally into a bloodbath on the Eve of Passover,” said the spokesman.