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US Navy base in Bahrain would be ‘razed to ground’ by retaliatory Iranian missiles – MP

US Navy base in Bahrain would be ‘razed to ground’ by retaliatory Iranian missiles - MP

An Iranian long-range shore-to-sea missile called Qader (Capable)

If Iran were attacked, it would retaliate against the US Navy base in Bahrain as well as Israel, a senior Iranian MP warned. It comes amid an escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran over new anti-Iranian sanctions imposed by the US.

“The US Army’s [sic] Fifth Fleet has occupied a part of Bahrain, and the enemy’s farthest military base is in the Indian Ocean, but these points are all within the range of Iran’s missile systems and they will be razed to the ground if the enemy makes a mistake,” Mojtaba Zonour, a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian parliament, said on Saturday evening as cited by the semi-state news agency FARS.

FILE PHOTO: Launch of an Imad missile, Iran. © HO / Iranian Defence Ministry

Zonour, a former senior figure in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, added that Iranian missiles would also attack Israel in case of an open war.

“Only seven minutes is needed for the Iranian missile to hit Tel Aviv,” he said.

The belligerent rhetoric comes after a heated exchange of hostile gestures by Washington and Tehran last week. On Friday, the Trump administration slapped sanctions on 25 individuals and entities allegedly involved in Iranian ballistic missile development.

The move is viewed by many observers as an opening salvo in an expected anti-Iranian campaign by US President Donald Trump, who said Iran was “playing with fire” by testing their missiles and had been “put on notice” by the White House.

Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile.Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!

The Iranian government responded with defiance, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif stating that his country’s was “unmoved by threats” from Washington. The Iranian military conducted as planned military exercise in the Semnan Province on Saturday, testing its new radar and missile capabilities.

Iran unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people. We’ll never initiate war, but we can only rely on our own means of defense.

On Sunday, Trump upped the ante, calling Iran the “number one terrorist state” in an interview with Fox News. The designation followed a similar comment by his Pentagon chief James Mattis. The US president also reiterated his criticism of a nuclear deal with Iran, but would not go as far as pledging to scrap it.

READ MORE: Iran is biggest state sponsor of terrorism – Pentagon chief Mattis

Trump was among Republican critics of the Obama administration’s willingness to negotiate the deal with Iran, which lifted economic sanctions in exchange for placing restrictions on Iranian nuclear industry aimed at preventing its capability to create a nuclear weapon.

The 2015 agreement was sponsored by world leading powers hailed internationally as a breakthrough. Israel’s government repeatedly criticized it, calling it a “bad deal,” but failed to derail it.

(Source / 07.02.2017)

Iranian-backed Terrorist Group Assassinates Bahraini Officer

Bahrain

Manama – Bahraini police officer was shot dead in an attack claimed as a “terrorist attack” by authorities.

Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said Sunday that First Lt. Hisham al-Hammadi was killed in the Bilad al-Qadeem village near the capital Manama, and a preliminary investigation indicated he died as a result of a “terrorist attack.”

The Ashtar Brigade, a militant group that has claimed a number of bombings and attacks in the tiny Gulf nation, claimed responsibility in a statement on social media.

Notably, the Ashtar Brigade is classified buy Bahrain as a terrorist group that receives support and training from the Iranian National Guards.

“Police responded to the crime scene and took the necessary legal steps and the Public Prosecution was notified. Initial details indicate that it was a terrorist act,” a statement from Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior read.

“The deceased was not on-duty at the time of the shooting.”

“The Interior Ministry mourns with great sadness and sorrow the martyr Lt. Hisham Hassan Mohammed Al-Hammadi, who was shot and killed in the Bilad Al-Qadeem area, southwest of the capital Manama,” the Interior Ministry said.

On the other hand, Bahrain’s High Criminal Court issued Sunday life sentences against six suspects and bound them to pay 1551 BD.

The court issued the verdicts against the suspects over the alleged charges of “attempted murder, carrying out a blast, using explosives and possessing ammunition without authorization for terror purposes, illegal gathering and rioting.”

According to Chief Prosecutor of the Terror Crimes Prosecution Mishaal al-Mannai, three other suspects stood trail over same charges, of whom one defendant received three years sentence in prison and the remaining two were acquitted.

The suspects, however, can challenge the court ruling at the country’s High Court of Appeals and might also protest against the verdict of the Court of Appeals at the Court of Cassation.

The Public Prosecution accused the suspects of taking part in an assembly on February 12, 2016, attacking policemen and luring them to the site of an explosive device that they had already placed.

They then detonated the explosive device as soon as the security personnel drew near for the purpose of murdering policemen.

The prosecution said that it relied on hearsay evidence, the attesting witnesses as well as confessions of one suspect.

(Source / 30.01.2017)

U.N. Report: Iran Smuggles Thermal, Anti-Tanks Missiles

Iran

An armed man loyal to the Houthi movement holds his weapon. August 25, 2016

Riyadh – A recent U.N. report revealed that Houthis robbed 68% of the Yemeni Army weapons — they also received arms shipments from Iran.

The experts’ panel of the Security Council committee entrusted with imposing sanctions on restrainers of Yemen’s peaceful transition showed that there is a high possibility that Iran provided Houthis with arms that the guided missiles are proven to be Iranian products.

In a letter to the Security Council, the experts’ panel affirmed that the coalition of Abdulmalek al-Houthi and ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh has got involved in a strategic action to use the missiles against Saudi Arabia since June 16 2015.

Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces succeeded in resisting and destroying Yemen-sourced missiles, an estimate of 60 missiles since the mentioned date.

The usage of these missiles is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law because missiles lack accuracy and fail to differentiate between military and civil targets.

Money laundering operations were also monitored by the report. These operations were conducted by Khaled, the son of Saleh, who also transferred funds to his father even after his name was added to the sanctions’ lists on November 7 2014.

The panel visited the Yemeni-Saudi border and sent an official request to Oman to visit the frontier district of Yemen but didn’t receive a response until the moment the report was issued.

The panel also visited 11 countries: Bahrain, Colombia, Djibouti, France, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, UAE, Britain and U.S.

Five shipments of arms were captured by the Australian, France and U.S. navy operating in the region – Also, the Saudi navy has seized two sailing ships loaded with Iranian manufactured weapons that include: Rocket-propelled grenades, sniping riffles and thermal rockets.

(Source / 26.01.2017)

Revolutionary Guard Spokesman Warns Dangers of Iran’s ‘Inner Enemies’

Iran

The IRGC spokesman, Ramezan Sharif

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Spokesman Ramezan Sharif warned from the spreading deprivation and corruption describing them as “Iran’s inner adversary” that could widen the rift between the people of Iran and the ruling authority.

Even though Sharif acknowledged the widespread poverty, corruption and deprivation, other officials saw it as appropriate to label Iran “the safest in the region, overcoming challenges on a daily basis,” Iran Tehran based Mehr news agency reported.

Sharif attempted dodging criticisms directed against national Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on the unwarranted interference of his proxy bodies in government departments saying that it was only “Khamenei’s support and guidance that enabled the government to provide services to Iranian citizens.”

The IRGC spokesman held rivals plotting against national interest accountable to the popular discontent registered nationwide. He said that the schemes aim to drive a wedge between Iranians and local authorities. Sharif said that the people of Iran will be the core defense standing in the face of those conspiring “plans”.

Khamenei’s uncle Hassan Mirdamadi also relayed a message calling for his nephew to alter course before it is too late and end his reign, knowing that the nation’s best interest is at stake.

Mirdamadi demanded that Khamenei issues a release order for prisoners held captive for the sole reason that is their belief system, in addition to ending the house arrest of former presidential candidates and leaders of the «green movement» Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard before it is too late, reported ‘al-Kalima’ (Arabic for the Word) reformist website.

In his message Mirdamadi also criticized Khamenei’s unwarranted and controversial alteration in verse reading at the Rafsanjani funeral prayer last week.

(Source / 20.01.2017)

Bahraini, Yemeni Officials: Iran Is the One to Change Its Policies

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (Reuters)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani

Manama –Iran should change its policies in the region and Saudi Arabia plays an important role in fighting terrorism, two Bahraini and Yemeni officials confirmed.

The officials’ statement came in response to President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement asking Saudi Arabia to “take the right decision”, end its military intervention in Yemen and stop what he called its meddling in Bahraini affairs.

Bahraini Minister of Information Affairs Ali al-Rumaihi told Asharq al-Awsat that it’s about time Iran change its policies in the region so that everyone can cooperate with it. He pointed out that Saudi Arabia has never interfered in the domestic Bahraini affairs, and is rather a supporter of what is best for the Bahraini kingdom.

Rumaihi pointed out that Saudi Arabia is fighting terrorism and has a vital role in the stability and security of the region.

The Bahraini minister added that Rouhani’s statement should be directed at Iran, because it should change its strategies.

Yemeni government spokesperson Rajeh Badi said that Iran ignited the war in Yemen, adding that Rouhani’s announcement is the biggest evidence of its involvement in the ongoing struggle.

The spokesperson confirmed that Riyadh didn’t intervene in Yemeni affairs and is fighting terrorism.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Badi said that Saudi Arabia backed the legitimacy in Yemen and led an Arab coalition to support Yemen. He added that Iran and its militias, Houthi and Saleh, have been defeated in Saada, Maerib, and other districts.

According to Badi, what Rouhani said reflects Iran’s suffer due to its failure.

The spokesperson wondered who initiated the war, stressing that if Tehran seriously intended to stop the war, it should have suspended Houthi and Saleh’s militias. He added that both Houthi and Saleh formed a coalition sponsored by Iran.

(Source / 18.01.2017)

IRAN REPOPULATES SYRIA WITH SHIA MUSLIMS TO HELP TIGHTEN REGIME’S CONTROL

New communities are settling in areas where Sunnis have fled or been forced out as Tehran seeks an arc of control stretching from its borders to Israel

By Martin Chulov

n the valleys between Damascus and Lebanon, where whole communities had abandoned their lives to war, a change is taking place. For the first time since the conflict broke out, people are starting to return.

But the people settling in are not the same as those who fled during the past six years.

The new arrivals have a different allegiance and faith to the predominantly Sunni Muslim families who once lived there. They are, according to those who have sent them, the vanguard of a move to repopulate the area with Shia Muslims not just from elsewhere in Syria, but also from Lebanon and Iraq.

The population swaps are central to a plan to make demographic changes to parts of Syria, realigning the country into zones of influence that backers of Bashar al-Assad, led by Iran, can directly control and use to advance broader interests. Iranis stepping up its efforts as the heat of the conflict starts to dissipate and is pursuing a very different vision to Russia, Assad’s other main backer.

Russia, in an alliance with Turkey, is using a nominal ceasefire to push for a political consensus between the Assad regime and the exiled opposition. Iran, meanwhile, has begun to move on a project that will fundamentally alter the social landscape of Syria, as well as reinforcing the Hezbollah stronghold of north-eastern Lebanon, and consolidating its influence from Tehran to Israel’s northern border.

“Iran and the regime don’t want any Sunnis between Damascus and Homs and the Lebanese border,” said one senior Lebanese leader. “This represents a historic shift in populations.”

Key for Iran are the rebel-held towns of Zabadani and Madaya, where Damascus residents took summer breaks before the war. Since mid-2015 their fate has been the subject of prolonged negotiations between senior Iranian officials and members of Ahrar al-Sham, the dominant anti-Assad opposition group in the area and one of the most powerful in Syria.

Talks in Istanbul have centred on a swap of residents from two Shia villages west of Aleppo, Fua and Kefraya, which have both been bitterly contested over the past three years. Opposition groups, among them jihadis, had besieged both villages throughout the siege of Aleppo, attempting to tie their fate to the formerly rebel-held eastern half of the city.

The swap, according to its architects, was to be a litmus test for more extensive population shifts, along the southern approaches to Damascus and in the Alawite heartland of Syria’s north-west, from where Assad draws much of his support.

Iran is engineering population swaps in Syria

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Labib al-Nahas, the chief of foreign relations for Ahrar al-Sham, who led negotiations in Istanbul, said Tehran was seeking to create areas it could control. “Iran was very ready to make a full swap between the north and south. They wanted a geographical continuation into Lebanon. Full sectarian segregation is at the heart of the Iranian project in Syria. They are looking for geographical zones that they can fully dominate and influence. This will have repercussions on the entire region.

“[The sieges of] Madaya and Zabadani became the key issue to prevent the opposition from retaking Fua and Kefraya, which have exclusive populations of Shia. Hezbollah consider this a security zone and a natural extension of their territory in Lebanon. They have had very direct orders from the spiritual leadership of Iran to protect them at any cost.”

Iran has been especially active around all four towns through its Hezbollah proxies. Along the ridgelines between Lebanon’s Bekaa valley and into the outskirts of Damascus, Hezbollah has been a dominant presence, laying siege to Madaya and Zabadani and reinforcing the Syrian capital. Wadi Barada to the north-west, where ongoing fighting is in breach of the Russian-brokered ceasefire, is also part of the calculations, sources within the Lebanon-based movement have confirmed.

Elsewhere in Syria, demographic swaps are also reshaping the geopolitical fabric of communities that, before the war, had coexisted for centuries. In Darayya, south-west of Damascus, more than 300 Iraqi Shia families moved into neighbourhoods abandoned by rebels last August as part of a surrender deal. Up to 700 rebel fighters were relocated to Idlib province and state media announced within days that the Iraqis had arrived.

1851

The Sayeda Zainab mosque has been heavily fortified by Hezbollah

Shia shrines in Darayya and Damascus have been a raison d’etre for the presence of Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed Shia groups. The Sayeda Zainab mosque on the capital’s western approach has been heavily fortified by Hezbollah and populated by families of the militant group, who have moved in since late 2012. Tehran has also bought large numbers of homes near the Zainab mosque, and a tract of land, which it is using to create a security buffer – a microcosm of its grander project.

Abu Mazen Darkoush, a former FSA commander who fled Zabadani for Wadi Barada said Damascus’s largest Islamic shrine, the Umayyad mosque, was now also a security zone controlled by Iranian proxies. “There are many Shia who were brought into the area around the mosque. It is a Sunni area but they plan for it to be secured by Shias, then surrounded by them.”

Senior officials in neighbouring Lebanon have been monitoring what they believe has been a systematic torching of Land Registry offices in areas of Syria recaptured on behalf of the regime. A lack of records make it difficult for residents to prove home ownership. Offices are confirmed to have been burned in Zabadani, Darayya, Syria’s fourth city, Homs, and Qusayr on the Lebanese border, which was seized by Hezbollah in early 2013.

Darkoush said whole neighbourhoods had been cleansed of their original inhabitants in Homs, and that many residents had been denied permission to return to their homes, with officials citing lack of proof that they had indeed lived there.

“The first step in the plan has been achieved,” he said. “It involved expelling the inhabitants of these areas and burning up anything which connects them to their land and homes. The second step will be replacing the original inhabitants with newcomers from Iraq and Lebanon.”

In Zabadani, Amir Berhan, director of the town’s hospital, said: “The displacement from here started in 2012 but increased dramatically in 2015. Now most of our people have already been taken to Idlib. There is a clear and obvious plan to move Sunnis from between Damascus and Homs. They have burned their homes and fields. They are telling people ‘this place is not for you anymore’.

“This is leading to the fragmentation of families. The concept of family life and ties to the land is being dissolved by all this deportation and exile. It is shredding Syrian society.”

At stake in postwar Syria, with the war beginning to ebb, is more than who lives where when the fighting finally stops. A sense of identity is also up for grabs, as is the bigger question of who gets to define the national character.

“This is not just altering the demographic balance,” said Labib al-Nahas. “This is altering the balance of influence in all of these areas and across Syria itself. Whole communities will be vulnerable. War with Iran is becoming an identity war. They want a country in their likeness, serving their interests. The region can’t tolerate that.”

(Source / 16.01.2017)

Iran’s Violations of Arms Embargo to Be Discussed by Security Council

United Nations Security Council. Reuters

United Nations Security Council

New York- Few days after former Secretary-general of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern regarding the fact that Tehran might have violated an arms embargo by supplying weapons and missiles to Lebanese Shi’ite group so-called Hezbollah, the topic is set to be discussed by the council on January 18.

The second bi-annual report, due to be discussed by the 15-member council, also cited an accusation by France that an arms shipment seized in the northern Indian Ocean in March was from Iran and likely bound for Somalia or Yemen.

Regardless that the session was aimed at following the implementation of U.N. resolution 2231, which endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Reuters confirmed on Monday that the report submitted every six months by U.N. chief included U.N. concern from Iran violating an arms embargo.

According to Reuters, the report was submitted to the Security Council on Dec. 30 by Ban Ki-moon before he was succeeded by Antonio Guterres on Jan. 1.

It came just weeks before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has threatened to either scrap the nuclear agreement or seek a better deal, takes office.

“In a televised speech broadcast by Al Manar TV on 24 June 2016, Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, stated that the budget of Hezbollah, its salaries, expenses, weapons and missiles all came from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Ban wrote in the report.

(Source / 10.01.2017)

Global reactions pour in over Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s passing

rafsanjani

Condolences pour in from across world over the passing of Chairman of Iranian Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, as Iranian people and authorities pay tribute to the late iconic cleric.

On Monday morning, large groups of people from all walks of life gathered at Jamaran prayer hall in northern Tehran, where the body of Ayatollah Rafsanjani was transferred, to mourn his demise.

President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet members as well as Ayatollah Rasfanjani’s family also took part in the mourning procession at the mosque.

A mourner touches the coffin of Ayatollah Rafsanjani at the Jamaran mosque in northern Tehran, Iran, January 9, 2017 

Iran is observing three days of national mourning in honor of the late cleric. He will be laid to rest on Tuesday, with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei set to lead the funeral prayer.

Ayatollah Rafsanjani passed away on Sunday at the age of 82 due to a heart condition.

He was one of the key aides to the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, and played an influential role both during the anti-Shah struggles before the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and afterwards through various stages of the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Rafsanjani was also a key figure during the eight years of the Iraq-imposed war (1980-88), serving as the acting commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Many Iranian and world figures have expressed condolences over the death of the former president.

Ayatollah Khamenei offered his condolences over the sudden demise of an old friend, comrade and ally. The Leader noted that Rafsanjani’s loss was overwhelming and very hard to bear, adding that their cooperation and friendship had lasted for 59 years.

President Rouhani also expressed condolences over Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s demise, which he described as a “great loss” for Islam, Iran and the Islamic Revolution.

A handout photo provided by the office of the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) shows him arriving at the Jamaran mosque in Tehran during a mourning ceremony for Ayatollah Rafsanjani on January 9, 2017 

The Iranian president further said Ayatollah Rafsanjani was among the prominent architects of the Islamic Revolution, and a symbol of “patience, faith and moderation.”

The influential cleric had no fear of war, but always remained a peace advocate, who had a “rich knowledge of the world,” added Rouhani.

Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, Chairman of the Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani and many more also expressed their condolences.

Meanwhile in a statement on Monday, Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah offered condolences to the Iranian nation, praising Ayatollah Rafsanjani as a firm supporter of the anti-Israel resistance front.

Nasrallah said Ayatollah Rafsanjani was a flag-bearer of the Palestinian cause, as the main issue of the Muslim world, and stood by the resistance movement facing Israeli plots against Palestine and the entire region.

Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, also sent a message of condolence to Ayatollah Khamenei, in which he hailed the late cleric as a well-known supporter of the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance.

He added that the Iranian cleric made great endeavors towards reinforcing unity among Muslim nations in the face of plots by the US, the Israeli regime and the mercenaries supporting Takfiri terrorists in the Middle East.

Iranian officials and cabinet ministers attend a mourning ceremony for Ayatollah Rafsanjani at Jamaran Mosque in Tehran, January 9, 2016

Condolences were also offered by former Turkish president Abdullah Gül, Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Iraq’s former prime minister and current Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, Turkish Minister of European Union Affairs Omer Celik, the UN resident coordinator in Iran Gary Lewis, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Among other foreign officials and dignitaries who also sent their messages of condolence to Iran were Tajikistan’s President Imomali Rakhmon and, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Meanwhile, the Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and Palestine’s Islamic Jihad Organization also expressed their sympathies over the passing away of Iran’s former president.

In a statement, a US State Department official referred to Ayatollah Rafsanjani ‎as a “prominent figure” throughout the history of Iran. “We send our condolences to his family and loved ones,” read the statement.

(Source / 09.01.2017)

If Not in Syria, We Should Have Fought Takfiris in Iran: Leader

رهبر انقلاب نخبگان

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said Iran could have fought a war inside its borders if the enemy threats had not been thwarted in Syria.

“If the ill-wishers and seditionists, who are the puppets of the US and Zionism, had not been confronted (in Syria), we should have stood against them in Tehran, Fars, Khorasan and Esfahan,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in remarks published Thursday.

The Leader made the remarks this week during a meeting with the families of Iranian commandos killed in Syria, in which he paid tribute to the memory of those who lost their lives in the battle against Takfiri terrorists.

“Not only the army, but also the entire nation is proud of these martyrs,” said Ayatollah Khamenei, whose remarks were reported by several Iranian news agencies, Press TV reported.

Earlier Thursday, a senior military commander said Iran’s armed forces are capable of thwarting any US threats due to the Islamic Republic’s achievements in enhancing the country’s military might.

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the second-in-command of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), touched on US strategies against Iran during the imposed Iran-Iraq war in 1980s.

“They (the US) sought to undermine us in the war, but we managed to build an immense missile and marine power and an endless ground force,” he said in the Iranian city of Yazd, adding Iran has built up so much power that has made it “capable of overcoming the US.”

“Today, no one talks about overthrowing the (Islamic) establishment and military invasion of Iran, because the more the enemy fought with this nation, the stronger the Iranian nation became,” he added.

Salami pointed to Iran’s awareness of the extent of Washington’s real power. “We know that the capacity of the US, Europe and their regional allies for the dominance over the Muslim world is diminishing.”

The commander said US attempts to undermine Iran’s influence in the region have prompted the Islamic Republic to promote its weight in different parts of the Muslim world, including in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

“In Iraq, we witness what kind of power has been created. The Americans are not capable of taking action in Iraq, but the Iraqi popular mobilization forces, inspired by Iran’s Islamic Revolution, have now taken the initiative in Iraq’s field developments,” Salami added.

Another IRGC commander praised Iran’s military prowess. Speaking at a conference in Fars Province in southern Iran, commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Division Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh elaborated on Iran’s success in achieving self-sufficiency in its defense industry.

“Today, we are capable of designing and manufacturing any missile and aircraft that we need,” Hajizadeh said.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.

The Islamic Republic has repeatedly assured other states that its military might poses no threat to other countries since the Islamic Republic’s defense doctrine is based entirely on deterrence.

(Source / 06.01.2017)

Syria at forefront of fight against terrorism, Zionism: Larijani

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani (R) shakes hands with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in Tehran on January 1, 2017. (Photo by ICANA)

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani (R) shakes hands with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in Tehran on January 1, 2017

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has hailed the recent advances by the Syrian army and pro-government forces against foreign-backed terrorists, saying Syria is the flag-bearer of the war on terrorism and Zionism.

In a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in Tehran on Sunday, Larijani stressed the importance of pursuing a political approach based on intra-Syrian negotiations to solve the crisis in the Arab country.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always stood by the Syrian nation on the resistance battleground and various political stages, and will continue its support in the future and the Syrian people will be the final victor in this arena,” the top Iranian parliamentarian added.

He said there are good grounds for the restoration of stability and security to Syria, adding that the presence of terrorist groups such as Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, is at odds with peace and security in the Arab country and the entire region.

Larijani further stated that the upcoming peace talks scheduled to be held in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, between parties to the Syria conflict would be an important step toward finding a political solution to the crisis and establishing sustainable peace in the country.

He also called for adopting measures to control and protect Syria’s borders and prevent the infiltration of terrorists into the country.

Larijani urged all Muslim and regional countries to reinforce their unity and make widespread efforts to counter terrorist groups.

Need for more Iran-Syria cooperation on terror fight

The Syrian foreign minister, for his part, commended Iran and Russia’s support for his country in the fight against terrorism and called for more such cooperation and coordination.

With an international resolve to fight terrorism, the vicious phenomenon would be uprooted in less than one year, Muallem said.

During the meeting, the two senior Iranian and Syrian officials also exchanged views on the current nationwide ceasefire in Syria and a resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council endorsing the truce agreement.

On Saturday, the Security Council approved the resolution, which also aims to pave the way for new talks in the Kazakh capital city of Astana next month, ahead of the resumption of UN-brokered peace talks in the Swiss city of Geneva in February.

The text of the resolution “welcomes and supports the efforts by Russia and Turkey to end violence in Syria and jump-start a political process.”

The nationwide ceasefire in Syria, which came into effect on Thursday midnight, has been largely holding, with most of the country witnessing a relative calm.

There were, however, sporadic clashes between Syrian government forces and their allies on one side and Takfiri militants on the other in the mountainous Wadi Barada region near the capital, Damascus, as well as the southern city of Dara’a.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain, also said on Saturday that most of Syria remained calm, despite limited clashes.

Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the al-Nusra Front, and Daesh terrorist groups are excluded from the ongoing truce, mediated by Russia and Turkey, in the country.

The Syrian foreign minister arrived in Tehran on Saturday at the head of a high-ranking delegation. He held talks with senior Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani on Saturday. Muallem also met with Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, on Sunday.

(Source / 02.01.2017)