Deputy FM: Ahmadinejad’s visit to Abu Musa is an internal affair – Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, described Ahmadinejad’s official trip to the island of Abu Musa as “an internal affair, done as part of his schedule of provincial tours.” The comments came after the UAE recalled its ambassador to Tehran in protest to Ahmadinejad’s trip. The Emirati Foreign Minister criticized the visit as a “violation of UAE sovereignty over its territories.” Amir-Abdollahian stressed that the Persian Gulf islands of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa have historically, and will eternally belong to Iran…
Iranian Deputy Chief-of-Staff: “Imperialism failed in its war against Syria” – Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Armed Forces and Defense Diplomacy, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, emphasized that imperialism had failed in its battle against Syria. He stated:
They are attempting to compensate for their failure through diplomatic efforts, sending envoys and engaging in consultation. No hope should be pinned on these diplomatic talks. The solution in Syria will only be meaningful when it comes from within the country itself. Others have no right to intervene in the affairs of this country that is at the forefront of the resistance. Anyone who is involved in any way in the outbreak of hostilities in Syria will be punished. The people in the region will not forget this interference. If Syria’s enemies had the ability to continue the military action, they would not, even for a moment, stop the pressure being applied to the resistance front. The enemy knows that it is within the target of the resistance.
Supreme Leader’s representative to the IRGC: Syria is paying the price for its resolute stance against Israel – In an interview with the Mehr News Agency, Hojatoleslam Ali Saeedi discussed a plot by corrupt Arab leaders and Western nations to provoke riots in Syria. He said that:
Unfortunately, one of imperialism’s constant aims has been to lead and create streams and movements in other countries, with the goal of placing their mercenaries in positions of power. Corrupt Middle Eastern nations could never oppose Israel however for the last sixty years Syria has faced the Zionist regime, and is thus at the forefront of the resistance. In light of the Islamic awakenings in the region, the reinforcement of the resistance front, and Iran’s increased ability to maneuver in the Middle East, the West devised a new scheme to restrain the Islamic awakening in the region. In this anti-Syrian plot, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are serving as emissaries of the US. The Middle Eastern situation is not moving in a direction serving the interests of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and several other nations, and the legitimacy of these regimes has lapsed. The Syrian nation is faithful to the resistance (against Israel and the US), and possesses a good understanding of the circumstances. Additionally, on several occasions, the majority of the Syrian people have expressed support for their President. Thus, I believe that the moral support provided to Iran support, coupled with the steadfast positions of both Russia and China, will contribute to the failure of the American, Qatari and Saudi plot.
Saeedi further criticized Turkey’s position on Syria in saying that:
Erdogan’s statements portraying the events in Syria were unexpected. No one anticipated that Turkey would play a two-faced game. On one hand it created an anti-Israeli impression and argued with Israel, while on the other hand, it adapted its position to correspond with those of the UK and the US. This hypocrisy will not serve the best interests of the Turkish Prime Minister, and citizens of Turkey will not tolerate this type of behavior and statement of positions. The Muslims of Turkey expect Erdogan’s party to support the Islamic awakening, to resist the Zionist regime and to lay the groundwork for additional victories with Iran and the resistance front.
Press TV: Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera fabricate facts about Syria – Contradictory figures on the death toll in Syria, as released by the Saudi affiliated Al Arabiya and Qatari Aljazeera channels, indicate how the two Arab media outlets fabricate news reports about the developments in Syria by deriving information from obscure sources.
According to press TV, increased suspicion shrouds the credibility of the reports when it is realized that neither of these Arab media sources has a correspondent within Syria. The pro-Western media has also remained silent as to the number of Shiite citizens, as well as security and police personnel killed in clashes with armed terrorists in Syria.
Basij commander responds to Rafsanjani’s call to negotiate with the US: Iran would be foolish to show flexibility with “The Great Satan” in light of its political, military and economic weakness – Basij Commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi discussed statements made by Iranian officials regarding relations with the US, and in particular, those of Rafsanjani, who stated that Iran ought to engage with the US. After nearly two weeks, these comments continue to elicit strong reactions within Iran. He said:
When the US was the world’s superpower, had the strongest economy in the world, and had a military, political superiority, etc., we identified their true nature and rose up against them. We struck a mighty blow against the US and launched our (Islamic) Revolution. Now, the US is one of the weakest countries. It is hated around the world, has a bankrupt economy, and a declining military. Under these circumstances, it would be foolish to show flexibility with this Satan. Today’s Iran is a superpower, and the conditions for any dialog with the US will be US expression of remorse for the crimes it committed against all nations, the end of its imperialism and military aggression and a withdrawal of all of its military forces around the world. Only once the Americans abandon their beastly identity, will we be able to consider dialog with it.
Naqdi continued, “Against the enemy’s missiles, we have missiles of values, ideology and Islam. Nothing can protect them against these missiles. The button on the enemy’s missiles is in our hands, and we control the hearts that are supposed to fire them. The enemy needs to know that they will never be able to stand against Iran.”
Foreign Minister reiterates firm opposition to nuclear weapons – In an article published in the Washington Post, Ali Akbar Salehi reiterated Tehran’s strong opposition to the acquisition, proliferation and use of nuclear weapons, mentioning the Supreme Leader’s fatwa (religious edict) forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of such weapons.
“Iran has the scientific and technological capability to produce a nuclear weapon”
Gholam-reza Mesbahi Moqaddam said that:
Iran has the scientific and technological capability to produce a nuclear weapon, but will never choose this path. Nuclear weapons have no place in the Islamic Republic’s military doctrine, and we will never need to produce and use nuclear weapons. I firmly declare that Iran is in no way looking to produce, stockpile or use nuclear weapons. A nation that can pursue its goals through its scientific and political power as well as innovative capabilities, creativity, unity and integrity, and does not plan on attacking any country, does not need nuclear weapons… I refute anything statements attributed to me that go against this. Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, as the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic and as this nation’s and the Muslims’ grand religious authority, has issued a fatwa that production of nuclear weapons is haram (religiously forbidden), and no one will ever transgress his fatwa.
“Negotiations will take time”; “demands for zero-enrichment or not offering anything substantive just won’t work” – A conservative Mehr News Agency editorial published in advance of the nuclear talks examines the positions of each side and maintains that:
…the stage has been set, and there is a good deal of harmony between what Iran is prepared to give and what the US wants. But it is vital that US officials do not make the same mistakes they made the last time they met with Iranian diplomats: pushing hard and expecting quick results… In 2009 …the ‘fuel-swap’ deal…fizzled out over a few – in retrospect, relatively minor – technical issues. When Iran agreed to a Turkish-Brazilian mediated deal that was almost identical to the deal offered by the Americans, it was ignored by the Americans who were busy putting together “crippling” sanctions to impose upon the Iranian people… Negotiations take time, especially those between two parties with tenuous relations. Obama may feel pressure from the hawks in the US Congress (meaning most of them), the truculent Israeli Prime Minister and his Defense Minister, but he needs to convince these critics that negotiations will take time if both sides are to agree. He also needs to respect Iran’s bottom line: going in with demands for zero-enrichment or failing to offer anything substantive just won’t work… Both sides have much to be gained from the talks, but they must be given time to be executed correctly. Otherwise, the next time Iran and the US or the 5+1 group approach the table, it will be that much more difficult to find a middle ground.
Saeed Jalili arrives in Istanbul – The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and head of the Iranian delegation arrived in Istanbul Friday morning. Accompanying Jalili were Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Asian and Oceanic Affairs in the IRGC, Abbas Araqchi, and his Deputy of Foreign Policy and International Security Affairs, Ali Baqeri.
– China’s Deputy Foreign Minister meets with Jalili deputy – On Friday afternoon, Ali Baqeri met for one hour with China’s Deputy Foreign Minister. The Chinese official emphasized the need to reduce the level of hostility against Iran, and added that the first round of talks must focus on establishing general guidelines and goals to ensure a calm commencement to the talks.
– Head of the Russian delegation meets with Baqeri – Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and head of the Russian delegation, Sergei Riabkov, met with Ali Baqeri at the Consulate General on Friday afternoon. The Russian official emphasized the need for all parties to work to ensure successful talks.A source close to Iran’s nuclear negotiating team reports that the positions of American and European officials were not encouraging.
Kayhan: Iran approaches talks in a position of power, while West is weak; Iran has no interest in a nuclear weapon program and could have one if desired – Kayhan states that instead of the “Istanbul 1 and 2″ talks, the outlook for the current talks will be determined by the answer to the question of what has changed in the international arena over the past 15 months.
– Iran has made significant progress in its nuclear weapons program – During the last talks which took place in January 2011, Iran was only beginning to enrich uranium to 20%, for the purpose of manufacturing medicine through the nuclear reactor in Tehran. It seemed that the US and its allies took advantage of Iran’s needs, but were despised more than ever by the Iranian people due to the violation of promises, and because of the exploitation of Iran’s needs. Iran began enriching uranium and by the time of the commencement of the talks had already produced 40 kg of 20% uranium. While improving the quality and quantity of its centrifuges, Iran led the complicated nuclear chess game, activating the underground Fordo site. The West had already grown exasperated with the Security Council resolutions that were passed 22 months ago. For obvious reasons, the West was forced to play outside the UN and Security Council, under illegal conditions.
– US’s strategic position gradually weakened – The past 15 months witnessed major regional and global events that weakened the strategic position of the US. These events include the withdrawal from Iraq, the revolutionary victory in Egypt and Mubarak’s downfall, the failure of the great American-Israeli-Saudi project to break the resistance in Syria, the Occupy Wall Street movement and the severe economic crisis in the West, the successful Iranian Majlis elections, and Israel’s approach to the edge of the abyss. These events, in addition to the collapse of the power and influence of the West, resulted in Iran’s increased influence and might in the region and around the world. Despite this, the West might view sanctions as its only effective card, but it must be said that here, too, although the sanctions caused some restrictions, they ultimately benefited Iran. In terms of oil, they led Iran to make two important decisions: saving on fuel and independent production. In the petroleum sector, sanctions did not negatively impact Iran, but have instead had a devastating effect on the West itself.
Kayhan later proposed steps for managing negotiations, including noting that the US is the only country to have used nuclear weapons and vehemently stating that if Iran had intended to produce nuclear weapons, it would be similar to the countries that have the weapon and to the country that had already used it. Even if Iran is not producing this nuclear weapon, it is not because it fears the West, but because of the Islamic and humanitarian ideal that conflicts with the anti-human and criminal ideology of the West. Nuclear weapons are compatible with the intelligence of Western politicians and are not in the style of Iranian politicians. The Iranian government should take the families of the nuclear scientists who were killed with it to these talks to show some innocent Iranian people. The delegation should also include a victim of chemical weapons that the West supplied Saddam, victims who were forced to breathe through gas masks. The delegation can also bring two films to the talks, one depicting the major event of the Majlis elections and the second showing the last 22 Bahman demonstrations (organized demonstrations in support of the Iranian regime) as a symbol of real influence of hostile sanctions against the Iranian people. The Iranian delegation should also place two symbolic items on the negotiating table, a sample of 20% enriched uranium and a nuclear fuel rod as well as a barrel of oil!
DM: Deployment of missile defense shield in the Persian Gulf is in line with preserving Israel’s security – Defense Minister, Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, said that “Iran’s Armed Forces will not permit foreign troops to undermine security and peace in the Persian Gulf region… US-Zionist plots such as (a plan to deploy) a missile shield system in the Persian Gulf will harm security in the region and provide security for the illegitimate Zionist regime…”
Iranian Army Ground Forces Commander: Sanctions increased Iran’s proactiveness and capability – Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, who was one of the speakers at the Friday prayers in Tehran, stressed that “Iranian experts and scientists who are in close contact with scientific and academic centers, with the help of Iranian industry, have been able to take important steps in producing new equipment as well as upgrading and improving existing equipment.” According to Pourdestan:
The enhanced capability as well as combat and operational readiness is at the heart of the military’s activities. We are preparing ourselves to defend Iran’s independence and integrity. This is why we will never launch a war. This, however, does not mean that we are not closely monitoring threats. Our experts are closely monitoring all air, land and sea movement. As a soldier in Islamic Iran’s glorious army, I need to emphasize to Iran’s precious citizens that its soldiers in the armed forces are ready and highly capable of defending and striking the enemy at sea, on land and in the air. We will crush any practical and tangible threat from the outset.
Land mines in Iran claim three more victims – In the past month, three people have fallen victim to land mine explosions in the Kurdistan region.
Iran has cut oil exports to EU countries – Iran’s decision to cut crude exports to six EU countries (the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal) was reached after EU foreign ministers agreed on January 23 to ban oil imports from Iran and freeze the CBI’s assets across the EU.
Iran to boycott 100 European companies – An Alalam (the Iranian Arabic-language channel) report quotes sources as saying that in response to recent EU sanctions, Iran is planning to boycott imports from 100 European companies. According to Mehr statistics, Iran has imported from 69 countries and exported to 169 countries.
Press TV: “15 European countries apply for Tehran’s oil show – April 17-20 – despite sanctions” – Eshaq Rouyvar, Director of the 17th International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition, said that oil and gas companies from 15 European countries have to date submitted requests to participate in Tehran’s “17th International Oil, Gas, Refining, and Petrochemical Exhibition”. He added, “So far, 1,255 domestic and foreign companies from 44 countries have registered to take part in this international exhibition… Companies from Austria, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, Italy, Iran, Germany, Turkey, Switzerland, China, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, France, South Korea, Malaysia, Norway, the Netherlands, India, Uzbekistan, Australia, Ukraine, Indonesia, the US, Brazil, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Romania, Zambia, Japan, Sudan, Iraq, Oman, Finland, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, Canada, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Mongolia, Mexico, and Nigeria have registered” to take part in the exhibition. The 17th International Oil, Gas, Refining, and Petrochemical Exhibition will be held at Tehran’s permanent International Fairgrounds on April 17-20. Iran still uses its SWIFT code in its participation Tariffs.
Asre Iran publishes commercial data for Iran’s non-petroleum products for this past year – Export of 77,754,000 tons of merchandise valued at USD 43,796 billion from Iran to other countries – a 10.8% increase in terms of weight and 8.29 in terms of value:
This year, Iran imported 38,307,000 tons of merchandise valued at USD 61.8 billion. Iran’s trade deficit stands at USD 18 billion.
The majority of these imports to consisted of cars and electronic equipment, followed by iron and steel, electrical appliances, liquid fuels and oils. Over the past year, rice imports increased by almost 37%.
The main export was liquid propane, followed by petroleum gases and methanol. Pistachio exports dropped by almost 3.14%. Jewelry and precious metals were one of Iran’s top selling products, comprising 2% of all exports.
Iran’s main customers: China, Iraq, UAE, India and Afghanistan were the five top export markets.
The five major exporters to Iran: UAE, China, South Korea, Germany and Turkey.
(Source : http://tinyurl.com/ck76pg4)
Iran to boost trade ties with Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Libya and Turkey – Mohammad Nahavandian, Chairman of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines (ICCIM), said that Iran is planning to expand trade ties with Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Libya and Turkey. He stated that “delegations from the five countries will soon visit Tehran to discuss topics of interest, including enhancing trade relations.” Nahavandian also announced that the 16th Board of Directors and 29th General Assembly of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industries will be held in Tehran.
Khatam al-Anbiya wins another desalination plant project – Commander of the IRGC Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Command, Engineer Abolqasem Mozaffari, announced that the cabinet had approved the project involving desalination of the waters of the Caspian Sea on the shores of Mazandaran Province. He also stated that that this project would be amongst the most important offshore projects to be carried out by the Khatam al-Anbiya command. The project is expected to take 24 months.
Internal security forces increase collection of satellite dishes and equipment – Acting Commander of the Internal Security Forces Ahmad Reza Radan, announced that internal security forces would expand the operation to collect satellite dishes and receivers used by Iranian citizens to view television stations broadcast via satellite.
Imprisoned Internet and social network expert re-launches hunger strike in protest to his arrest – Internet and social network expert Mohammad Soleimani-Nia, who has been imprisoned for the past three months, launched another hunger strike to protest his arrest. According to “Reporters Without Borders”, Soleimani-Nia has been subjected to pressure by the regime to cooperate in establishing a national internet. Prior to his arrest, Soleimani-Nia was frequently summoned for interrogation by the Intelligence Ministry and sites under his management were transferred to the Ministry agents. “Reporters Without Borders” called for his immediate release as well as that of 19 other bloggers and Internet activists imprisoned in Iran.
6-year prison sentence given for harming national security
National Front of Iran member Koroush Zaim was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of harming national security through membership in the National Front as well as distributing anti-regime propaganda.
Prison authorities prevent emergency medical treatment of political prisoner – Misagh Yazdan Nejad, who is imprisoned in Rajaï Shahr Prison and is in need of emergency surgery, was taken to the ICU unit in hospitals three times in recent weeks, but was returned to prison in handcuffs without being allowed to undergo surgery. Additionally, the conditions of imprisonment of the past four years, of which 6.5 months were spent in solitary confinement, have resulted in Nejad’s increasingly severe emotional problems. Misagh Yazdan Nejad, a student and English translator, was arrested on charges of participation in a memorial service for political prisoners who were executed in 1988 and sentenced to 14 years in prison on charges of connections with the Mujahideen-e Khalq.
Student activist hospitalized in prison clinic instead of hospital – Imprisoned student activist Javad Alikhani in Evin Prison, was again hospitalized in the prison clinic due to internal bleeding. According to his mother, Alikhani needed to be hospitalized, but he refused to leave in handcuffs and was therefore hospitalized in the prison clinic. Javad, a veterinary student in Ahvaz, was arrested for the second time following post-election, and sentenced to three years in prison.
Chief Editor of newspaper, MELATE MA, sentenced to six months in prison – In addition to the prison sentence, he was also sentenced to 50 lashings and a fine in the Press Court on charges of false advertising in order to divert public opinion.
Reformists look into possible return to the political arena – Reformists say they are planning to muster their resources around former president Mohammad Khatami and run in the presidential elections next year. Mohammad Reza Khabbaz, a reformist Majlis Member and member of the National Trust Party said:
If Khatami is placed at the center of this movement, we can rebuild ourselves for the next elections and compete in the 2013 elections with a minimum number of candidates… Currently the best person available to the reformist movement is Mohammad Khatami; therefore, if Khatami agrees, the reformists can prepare for the coming presidential elections… Khatami’s voting in the last elections opened a path for the re-entry of reformists into the political arena.