Iran Leader urges ‘exemplary punishment’ in building collapse tragedy
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei offered condolences over the loss of lives in a building collapse in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan, calling it an “unfortunate incident”.
In a message on Thursday, which was read in a meeting chaired by President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, Ayatollah Khamenei called for the rescue operation to be accelerated and the casualty toll minimized, Press TV reported.
The death toll from the Monday collapse of the 10-story commercial building, known as Metropol, in the city of Abadan has now reached 24, making it one of the deadliest disasters in Iran in recent years, ISNA quoted Abadan’s Governor Ehsan Abbaspour as saying.
Abbaspour added that 37 people have so far been injured in the tragic incident.
The exact number of people trapped under the rubble is still not known, as the search operation has been going slowly and carefully for fear of the Metropol and adjacent buildings falling down.
Condoling with the families of the victims, the Leader urged the concerned authorities to prosecute those responsible and hand them punishment.
He also called for necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of such tragic incidents, saying it was the responsibility of all the officials of the country.
“The unfortunate incident in Abadan, along with the need for expediting action and the use of all capacities to reduce casualties, which is now of paramount importance, lays the responsibility on all of us – the officials of the country – to pursue the culprits of the incident and to give exemplary punishment to them, with the cooperation of the Judiciary, and to make a concerted effort to prevent its recurrence in all parts of the country,” the statement read.
“I deem it necessary to thank the government officials for their many days of activities to demand full follow-up and seriousness in this regard and to extend my condolences to the bereaved families of the victims of this tragedy,” it added.
The building, which partially collapsed on Monday, included two towers, one already ready and the other under construction.
The state television said at the time that at least 80 people were trapped under the rubble.
After the incident, several teams of medics and rescue workers were dispatched to the scene to assist with rescue and relief efforts.
An investigation is underway by a team of experts from the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development to determine the cause of the collapse, according to officials.
The provincial judicial officials say at least 10 people have been arrested so far, including the mayor and two former mayors, over the incident.
Iran, Russia explore avenues to boost cooperation
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak explored all avenues with Iranian officials in Tehran to promote bilateral cooperation.
Heading a high-ranking delegation, Novak visited Tehran to attend the Iran-Russia Joint Economic and Trade Cooperation Commission.
Novak told Russia’s official TASS news agency that Moscow and Tehran had agreed to “move to the highest possible level of mutual settlements in national currencies”.
Novak said Iran and Russia will continue talks to connect their electronic payment systems as well as their financial messaging systems.
Iran and Russia may introduce major barter arrangements to facilitate trade between the two countries, including a plan that could allow Iran to import steel from Russia in return for exports of car parts and gas turbines to the country.
Iranian Trade and Industry Minister Reza Fatemi Amin said that Iran will use barter trade with Russia to ensure supplies of raw materials for use in its metals and mining sector, Press TV reported.
Speaking on the sidelines of Iran-Russia Joint Economic and Trade Cooperation Commission in Tehran, Fatemi Amin said Iran will need to import raw metals like zinc, lead and alumina from Russia to respond to a growing domestic demand.
He said, however, that Iran and Russia had agreed to introduce barter arrangements for certain goods and commodities, including for Russian steel.
The minister said Iran will be able to export car parts and gas turbines to Russia in return for Russian steel imports.
He said some Iranian companies have signed deals to supply or repair gas turbines in Russian power plants.
Iran and Russia are planning to increase bilateral trade as they seek to offset the impacts of American sanctions targeting their economies.
Meanwhile, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji announced that Iran and Russia have signed three major memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to expand energy and banking ties.
The MoUs were signed on Wednesday during a meeting in Tehran attended by Owji and Novak, according to reports by Iran’s IRNA and Shana news agencies and reports in the Russian media. The two officials serve as co-chairs of the Iran-Russia Joint Economic and Trade Cooperation Commission.
IRNA quoted Owji as saying that Iran and Russia had agreed to use national currencies for settlement of trade and energy payments.
Owji said that Iranian and Russian government delegates had also signed MoUs on joint projects in the upstream and downstream of their oil and gas sectors.
He told Shana that under the deals, Iran will be able to export petrochemicals and technical and engineering services to Russia, including a homegrown technology on catalyst manufacturing.
Novak said he and Owji had discussed issues related to swap supplies of oil and gas between Iran and Russia, as well as ways to attract investment in the implementation of oil and gas projects.
Iranian sources indicated that under new agreements with Russia, Iran will be able to use the Russian territory to carry out swap deliveries of natural gas to other countries.
Under a similar agreement, Iran currently supplies gas to Azerbaijan in return for gas delivered to its northeastern border from Turkmenistan.
Novak’s discussion of investment issues with Owji comes amid growing interest in Russian companies to become involved in Iranian in oil and gas projects.
The Iranian oil minister did not elaborate on further details about joint projects but said that Iran and Russia will seek to reach a target of $40 billion in annual value of economic ties as part of a joint efforts by the two countries to offset the impacts of American sanctions on their economies.
Iran urges Biden to ditchTrump strategy for deal on JCPOA
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Thursday urged US President Joe Biden to lift economic sanctions and abandon his predecessor Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign, which was launched in 2018 after Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, in order to revive the accord.
“The most important thing is that the economic sanctions need to be lifted in an effective way. The most important thing is that the maximum pressure policy of the Trump era... needs to be removed,” Amir-Abdollahian said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“If you are talking about direct talks, then you have to prove to us that you’re different from Trump,” he said, according to AFP.
A day earlier, Robert Malley, the US point man on Iran, told US lawmakers that Biden’s administration still supported the 2015 accord and was ready to lift sanctions if it secures an agreement.
But he claimed “excessive Iranian demands” made the odds of success lower.
Malley, who has led Washington’s delegation more than a year of indirect talks with Iran in Vienna, also noted that Trump’s approach had demonstrably failed.
In Davos, Amir-Abdollahian said the US blacklisting of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) was a “secondary issue”, rejecting reports that it had stalled the Vienna talks.
“In fact, the IRGC being on the US blacklist of terrorist groups is a secondary issue that has been magnified by the pro-Israeli lobby and our main priority is the interests of the Iranian nation,” Iran’s foreign minister said.
Kyrgyzstan, Iran back political solutions for conflicts
Kyrgyz ambassador to Iran
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kyrgyz Republic to the Islamic Republic of Iran T. S. Sydykov dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Kyrgyz Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran (May 10, 1992). The following is his opinion on Bishkek-Tehran ties.
Since ancient times, Kyrgyzstan and Iran have been united by ties of friendship, common historical and cultural ties, which have become a solid foundation for modern Kyrgyz-Iran relations.
The Islamic Republic of Iran was one of the first foreign states in the world to officially support and recognize on December 21, 1991 the state sovereignty and independence of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Diplomatic relations between the Kyrgyz Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran were established on May 10, 1992.
In February 1993, the Iranian Embassy was opened in Bishkek, and in May 1996, the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic in Tehran.
In 2002, the Declaration on Friendly Relations between the Kyrgyz Republic and Iran was adopted in Bishkek.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, political contacts at the level of heads of state, parliamentarians and relevant governmental bodies have been stable and regular.
In this context, I would like to note that relations between Kyrgyzstan and Iran are a worthy example of successful interaction and cooperation between the two friendly countries and peoples. They are cemented by a high level of trust in each other, the coincidence of approaches to a wide range of international problems and the desire for joint development. kov
Iran summons Swiss envoy over US seizure of Iranian oil
Iran on Friday summoned the envoy of Switzerland, which represents US interests in Tehran, to protest against the US seizure of Iranian oil from a Russian-operated ship near Greece.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry called for the immediate release of the ship and its cargo, IRNA reported.
“The Islamic Republic expressed its deep concern over the US government’s continued violation of international laws and international maritime conventions,” the ministry said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Iran summoned the Greek charge d’affaires over the matter.
A day later, a Greek official said that following a “judicial intervention by US authorities concerning the ship’s cargo” the ship’s oil was being transferred to another vessel off the port of Karystos on the Aegean Sea island of Evia, AP reported.
Three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday that the US plans to send the cargo to the United States aboard another vessel.
IRNA quoted Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization as saying the tanker had sought refuge along the Greek coast after experiencing technical problems and poor weather, adding that the seizure of its cargo was “a clear example of piracy”.
World must stand up to US unilateralism: Iran
Iran’s top security official decried US sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, calling on the international community to stand up against Washington’s unilateral policies.
“The world must unite against US unilateral policies. Iran has been subject to sanctions for the past 43 years, and has become an epitome of the ineffectiveness of sanctions,” Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said in a meeting with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in Tajikistan on Friday.
Shamkhani stressed the need for strategic cooperation between Tehran and Moscow, the two all-weather allies, in the face of US unilateral policies, Press TV reported.
“It seems as if sanctions against Russia will not be lifted once the [Ukraine] war end. Therefore, it is necessary to devise a coherent system of cooperation between targeted countries on a long-term perspective,” he said.
Patrushev said Western sanctions against Russia would have most likely been enforced even if the Ukraine crisis had not broken out.