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Iran hosts nuclear safety forum

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Iran’s central city of Isfahan is hosting the 24th annual meeting of the Forum of the State Nuclear Safety Authorities of the Countries Operating WWER Type Reactors, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) reported. The meeting, which was launched on Tuesday, will continue until Wednesday afternoon with the participation of all member states, namely Iran, Armenia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, China, Finland, Hungary, India, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Germany’s GRS are also present in the two-day event. Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, most of the international nuclear cooperation with Iran was cut off. However, after a nuclear agreement was reached between Iran and six world powers in 2015, Tehran has been able to enhance nuclear cooperation with other countries. This is the first time that Iran’s nuclear safety center is hosting the annual meeting. The forum was established in 1993 in a bid to foster the enhancement of nuclear safety and radiation protection through the utilization of the collective experience, information exchange, and consolidation of efforts of the national nuclear safety authorities. It holds annual meetings hosted by its member states.

: Iran’s Top Military Commander Urges Syrians’ Vigilance against Divisive Plots.

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Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Foreces Major General Mohammad Baqeri called on Syrian nation to maintain unity and reject divisive plots hatched by foreign enemies. Speaking at a meeting with his Syrian counterpart General Ali Abdullah Ayoub in Tehran on Monday, Baqeri denounced the attacks by the Israeli regime and US against the Arab country and underlined that Syrian people “should maintain unity and national solidarity and conduct Syrian-Syrian talks and keep vigilance about divisive plots hatched by foreign sides”. Baqeri said the Syrian Army and nation have shown brave resistance in the face of Takfiri terrorists’ crimes, and hailed achievements made by the Syrian Army and nation in fully liberating the city of Aleppo from the control of terrorists and releasing the people in the Shiite-populated villages of al-Foua and Kefraya. Also at the meeting, the Syrian commander Ayoub, said Iran’s military advisory support for his country had played a decisive role in the continuation of the Syrians’ resistance and their major victories against terrorists and the Israeli regime. The two commander further underscored the necessity to boost and expand the cooperation between the two countries’ armed forces. Heading a high-ranking military delegation, Ayoub arrived in Tehran on Monday to hold talks with Iranian officials on ways to strengthen relations between the two countries’ armed forces.

President Hails Islamic Democracy in Iran

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Addressing a gathering of the Iranian people, government officials, and ambassadors from Islamic countries, held in Tehran on Tuesday, President Rouhani pointed to the 12th presidential election and the 5th City and Village Councils elections slated for next month and said the country’s “great nation” is resolved to create “a new epic” in the polls. He made the remarks in a meeting attended by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on the occasion of Eid al-Mab’ath, the anniversary of the day Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was chosen as God’s messenger. “The Islamic Republic of Iran is proud that all high-ranking officials have reached their legitimate power directly or indirectly by the people’s votes”, the president said. He further described “Islamic democracy” as one of the holy gifts given to Muslims on the day of Mab’ath. The presidential vote and the City and Village Councils elections are slated to be held in Iran on May 19. President Rouhani is running for a second term in office. The Interior Ministry released his name on the final list of candidates, who were approved by the Guardian Council (GC) to run in the presidential election.

Copenhagen and Tehran have considerably broadened the volume of their trade transactions and cooperation

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Danish Ambassador to Iran Danny Annan announced that Copenhagen and Tehran have considerably broadened the volume of their trade transactions in the post-sanctions era. During the meeting in the Danish capital, Chitchian and Lilleholt explored avenues for bolstering and reinvigorating of bilateral ties, specially in the field of renewable energies. “Cooperation in the field of renewable energies serves as the pivot of cooperation between Iran and Denmark in the future”, Chitchian said. The Iranian energy minister also called for collaboration on renewable energies, promoting water resources quality and recycling waste water. He pointed to the energy ministry’s commitment to observe environmental considerations while implementing projects and Iran’s voluntary participation regarding Paris International Forum’s agreements, and said, “Given Denmark’s capabilities as well as Iran’s unparalleled capacities in the fields of wind and solar powers, promoting renewable energies application can serve as the basis of mutual cooperation in future”.

Banking problems persist despite JCPOA: Iran’s Oil Minister.

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Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said banking problems created by anti-Tehran sanctions are “still in place” despite the enforcement of the nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and six powers known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “The banking problems are still in place after JCPOA”, Zanganeh told reporters on the sidelines of the 13th Iran Petrochemical Forum in Tehran on Saturday. He further emphasized that to some extent, the problems have to do with foreign banks’ cautiousness about cooperating with Iran. While the JCPOA, a 159-page nuclear agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) came into force in January last year, some Iranian officials complain about the US failure to fully implement the accord. Back in March 2016, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said Americans have yet to fulfill what they were supposed to do as per the nuclear deal.


US defense secretary: Syria still has chemical weapons.

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U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis landed in Israel on Thursday as part of his first official visit to the Middle East. Mattis met Friday with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Tel Aviv, before heading to Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Pentagon chief was also scheduled to meet with President Reuven Rivlin. While in the country, Mattis plans to discuss U.S. Israel ties and the challenges facing the Middle East, chiefly Iran and its attempts to consolidate its regional dominance.During a press conference in Tel Aviv, Mattis said Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of a 2013 agreement to get rid of its entire stockpile. He reiterated the U.S.’s “unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and its qualitative security advantage over Iran”, adding that Washington looks forward to increasing its defense ties with Israel and to “strengthen our alliance with Israel as a cornerstone of our cooperation with Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf states. My goal is to increase regional cooperation.”Lieberman thanked Mattis for his “friendship, support and understanding of the complexities and challenges Israel faces. There is no doubt that the main problem is the axis of evil from North Korea to Tehran, Damascus and Hezbollah in Beirut. The common thread is Iran, which is trying to erode stability throughout the Middle East. We [Israel and the U.S.] share the same positions and values, and we hope that with your support we will be able to overcome the threats and bring stability to the region”. Lieberman went on to say that “on behalf of the Israeli public and myself, I would like to express my appreciation to the Trump administration. We are delighted to see the first visit by a [Trump] cabinet member, and we hope President Donald Trump visits Jerusalem this year as well”.

Azerbaijani defense minister meets Iran’s parliament speaker.

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Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister on Monday met with Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament) of Iran as part of his visit to this country. Touching upon security issues in the region, the minister informed the Iranian parliament speaker about the ongoing negotiations on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in particular about the incidents that have occurred recently on the line of contact between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops. Ali Larijani, in turn, reiterated Iran’s support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, stressing that Tehran supports a peaceful solution to the conflict within the norms and principles of international law.

The press conference in Tehran, President Rouhani: Some reforms necessary in Syria

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The press conference is underway in Tehran with over 200 local and international press covering the event. The press conference comes ahead of the presidential elections, scheduled to be held on May 19th. Rouhani is the incumbent candidate. The President commenced the press conference by hailing his administration’s various achievments including higher payments, better conditions for farmers, increase of trade balance from – 8.1 at the start of his government to – 2.6 this year, increase of agriculture products and foodstuff from 97 million tons in 2013 to in 95 118,000m tons in 2016, better healthcare and environmental conditions, and more progress in technology, especially in the field of nuclear technology after the implementation of the JCPOA. To The Wall Street Journal’s question on Iran’s next move after the US missile attack in Syria, and what measures Iran and Russia have agreed upon in regard to the Syrian conflict following the US attack, President Rouhani stressed that Iran still believes the only viable solution to end the crisis in Syria is a political approach and the progress of peace talks. He expressed regret that the US attack had hurt the process of Syrian peace talks and aided terrorists into thinking they had now an upper hand during the negotiations. President Rouhani noted that Iran-Russia-Turkey cooperation is focused on the success of Astana peace talks, while Iran-Russia-Syria cooperation is concerned with fighting terrorism on the ground; “During my recent visit to Moscow as well the telephone conversation with President Putin, we agreed on more coordination about the operations in Syria”, he added.

Hungary starts nuclear cooperation with Iran.

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Hungary has started to put into practice an agreement brokered in 2015 in Tehran during the visit of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to Iran which outlines constructing a mini-nuclear plant with scientific and educational purposes, said János Lázár on Thursday. The Hungarian official responded to the questions posed by reporters that whether the agreement is within the framework of Iran-5+1 agreement and told the media that the agreement was brokered in Tehran in 2015 after Iran and 5+1 signed the nuclear deal in Vienna.  Meanwhile the Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi announced that a new cooperation document will be signed between Iran and Hungary in the future meeting of the head of AEOI and Hungarian deputy PM. Following the landmark agreement between Iran and 5+1, signed in Vienna on July 2015, the international cooperation on developing Iran’s peaceful nuclear program has significantly hiked.

Iran to host Astana meeting over Syria on April 18-19.

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Iran will host the next round of Astana meeting over Syrian settlement on April 18-19, 2017. The meeting on expert level will be held in Tehran following the agreement that has been reached in previous meeting in Kazakhstan. The next high-level international meeting on Syrian settlement reportedly will be held in Astana on May 3-4. Iran’s delegation was headed by Iranian deputy foreign minister for Arab and Africa Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari during the previous three meetings. Representatives from Iran, Russia, and Turkey participate in Astana meeting and as guarantor-states supervise the Syrian ceasefire.


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