Syria offers opportunities to Iran’s private firms: Speaker
The Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said economic opportunities have been provided in Syria for Iranian firms.
Commenting on his visit to Syria upon arrival in Tehran, he added, “During the trip to Damascus, our mission was to resolve the problems facing [Iranian] private companies,” IRNA reported.
Heading a parliamentary delegation, Qalibaf arrived in the Syrian capital on Tuesday for an official visit to hold high-level talks on various issues, including economic cooperation between Tehran and Damascus.
He noted that given its time and objectives, the visit was of great importance to Iran, as it was paid following the May 26 presidential election in Syria, which ended in Bashar al-Assad’s victory, and “we know that, after a tough battle against the terrorists backed by the US and the Zionist regime, the Syrian people have achieved victory”.
Stressing that at present, economic issues are the most important topic in Syria, Qalibaf said no doubt, under the present circumstances, Iran has been provided with a favorable opportunity and it can make maximum use of the economic prospects offered by the Arab state as it supported Damascus in the fight against the terrorists.
He urged those Iranian private firms, which used to be active in Syria in the past, to use the new economic opportunities provided by the country, saying Iran’s public sectors and organizations should also do the same.
The Parliament speaker added during the visit, it was necessary to discuss and finalize the grounds for the implementation of the all-out agreements previously signed between Tehran and Damascus, emphasizing that he held important meetings with the Syrian president, prime minister and foreign minister as well as Speaker of the People’s Council of Syria Hammouda Youssef Sabbagh.
“We also held comprehensive meetings with Iranian and Syrian traders and businessmen.”
Qalibaf gave the assurance that within the next three months, an agreement, finalized between the two countries 18 months ago, will be implemented, saying the two states’ legislative bodies will pursue the process of approving the deal.
Expressing satisfaction with the visit, he noted that in general, comprehensive and fruitful negotiations were held and good coordination was ensured.
Qalibaf listed the Syrian sectors offering lucrative opportunities to Iranian private firms as tourism, mining, industries and agriculture.
In his meeting with Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous in Damascus on Wednesday night, Qalibaf said the US and Israel have turned to economic war and sanctions following failure to defeat the resistance front on the battleground, according to Press TV.
He stressed the need for enhanced trade ties among countries of the resistance axis to foil the pair’s economic plots.
“They [the US and Israel] are convinced that they cannot defeat Iran or the [broader] resistance front militarily, and that is why they have resorted to economic war and sanctions.”
Commenting on the US military’s unlawful presence on the Syrian soil, he said such measures “will bring them no results. That is the reason why they have stood up against the people using media and economic wars”.
“Today, the resistance front is facing an economic war,” Qalibaf added, noting, “We can defeat the enemy in the economic war as well through joint cooperation in the economic and trade sectors.”
The top Iranian parliamentarian said although countries of the resistance front enjoy good political and security cooperation, their economic interactions do not stand at a satisfactory level, warning, “If this situation continues, the resistance front will be facing a serious risk.”
Just hours after Qalibaf met the Syrian president, the US Treasury Department announced new sanctions against the Syrian government and other groups operating alongside the Syrian Army against terrorism in the Arab country, which is recovering from almost a decade of foreign-sponsored militancy.
The Syrian prime minister said efforts were underway to solve the problems facing tradesmen and enterprises of the two countries’ private sectors with the purpose of improving trade cooperation.
He also said Syria would also adopt measures to settle some banking issues hampering trade between the two states.
On the Syrian president’s order to forge closer relations with Iran in all fields, Arnous said Tehran and Damascus should work to increase economic cooperation as much as possible.
He also commended Iran’s support for Syria in the Arab state’s efforts to stand against terrorist groups.
Enhanced ties stressed
The Iranian Parliament speaker expressed the same positions in a separate meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad.
Qalibaf said defeating the US- and Israeli-backed terror groups following a decade of “difficult battles” marked “a great victory” for the Syrian nation.
In the face of the victory, he added, the US and Israel have concluded that they will not be able to defeat the resistance front through warfare or proxy war.
“They have, therefore, dragged the war to the economic field in order to exert pressure on the people of the Muslim states, especially the resistance front,” said Qalibaf, describing increased interactions among those countries as the only way to foil the plot.
To achieve that goal, he said, there is a need to remove the obstacles and pave the way for businessmen, industries, and all those active in the private economic sector.
The Syrian foreign minister said Tehran and Damascus currently enjoy the best level of political and security ties and should promote relations in all fields to the highest possible level.
Mekdad added that the resistance front is gaining more power in the region.
Porto’s Taremi wins UEFA Goal of the Season award for wonder goal against Chelsea
Porto’s Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi won the UEFA Goal of the Season award for his stunning bicycle kick against Chelsea.
Taremi scooped the prize as a reward for scoring Porto’s last-gasp winner in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie with Chelsea on April 13, goal.com reported.
The Portuguese outfit ultimately exited the competition 2-1 on aggregate to the eventual winners, but their talismanic frontman has secured a place in European football history after receiving 30 per cent of the final vote for the best goal of 2020-21.
There did not appear to be a lot on when Porto substitute Nanu raced down the right wing in stoppage time at Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, but he managed to produce a perfectly weighted cross that found its way to Taremi with his back to goal.
The Iran international could have tried to bring the ball down before letting fly, but instead trusted his goalscoring instincts to unleash a sensational first time overhead kick, which flew into the top corner and left Blues goalkeeper Edouard Mendy rooted to the spot.
60,000 votes were cast for the UEFA prize in total, with Italy talisman Lorenzo Insigne coming in second for his superb individual goal against Belgium in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals, which ultimately gave the Azzurri a 2-1 victory before they went on to secure the trophy with wins against Spain and England.
Rangers star Kemar Roofe completed the top three, having been recognised for the spectacular long-range effort he produced in a Europa League group stage clash with Standard Liege.
Taremi joined Porto from Rio Ave last August, and quickly established himself as the focal point in Sergio Conceicao’s set-up at Estadio do Dragao.
The 29-year-old scored 23 goals in his debut season with the Primeira Liga club, including his wonder goal against Chelsea, while also recording 18 assists.
Leader: Trust in West misplaced
Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that one key lesson for future governments is that there is no benefit in putting one’s trust in the West.
Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks during his last official meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet members on Wednesday.
“There is a specific experience... that I have noted to you and the people many times before, and let me repeat the same thing here, which is [the need for] a lack of trust in the West,” Ayatollah Khamenei told the meeting, according to Press TV.
“This is an experience for posterity. As it became manifest during the tenure of this government, nothing can be gained from putting one’s trust in the West,” he said.
President-elect Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi’s swearing-in ceremony will be held on August 5.
The Leader added that domestic programs should in no way be tied to Western states, under any circumstances, due to the proven failure of such an approach.
“Wherever you tied your work to the West, you failed, and wherever you rose and moved forward without trusting the West, you succeeded,” he said in an address to members of the outgoing government.
“Wherever you tied issues to an agreement or talks with the West, America and the like, you failed to move forward,” he said, “because they don’t help. They are the enemies, of course.”
Referring to the ongoing talks in Vienna, Austria, to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Ayatollah Khamenei acknowledged the great endeavors made by Iranian diplomats, saying, however, that the Americans insisted on their hostile stance against Iran, and did not move even one step forward during the talks.
So far, six rounds of talks have been held in Vienna, three years after the US unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal, officially called the JCPOA, and brandished what it called a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.
“The Americans say and promise that ‘we will remove the sanctions,’ but they have failed to do so,” said the Leader, denouncing the US attempts to add new terms to the agreement to push Iran to begin talks on other issues.
By adding such a clause, according to the Leader, the Americans are seeking to gain an excuse for further meddlesome acts regarding the JCPOA, Iran’s missile program and regional issues
“And if Iran refuses to talk about [those issues], they would say ‘you have violated the JCPOA and, therefore, there won’t be an agreement anymore,’” he added.
Ayatollah Khamenei drew attention to the fact that the US has refused to provide Iran with a guarantee that it will not violate its commitments again.
He noted that Washington will not shy away from violating its contractual commitments in the same manner it did in 2018, a move that was “completely costless” for them.
Zarif sends last letter to UN chief, documenting Western breach of JCPOA
In his last letter to the United Nations secretary-general, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif compiled all documents about six years of Western non-compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal signed between the Islamic Republic and world powers in 2015, from which former US president Donald Trump withdrew and reimposed sanctions lifted under the accord.
Zarif’s last letter to Antonio Guterres was released in the form of a 200-page book.
Titled “Letter to the UN Secretary-General: Documenting Six Years of Western [Non-] Implementation of the ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’”, the book was published by the Institute for Political and International Studies.
“On the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015), I wrote a summarizing letter to the UN secretary-general and annexed to it an issue-based compilation of the aforementioned letters. This book is comprised of that letter and its annexes, which are being circulated, as I write this preface, as documents of the General Assembly (A/75/968) and of the Security Council (S/2021/669),” Zarif wrote in his book, referring to the resolution that was passed to endorse the JCPOA.
“My letters are self-explanatory, representing a chronology of implementation issues, which started long before Trump took office in January 2017. The letters substantiate every assertion that has been made, but I do not claim to present the whole story.
I am confident that my domestic and international detractors will find much to disagree with and criticize in this book – which is being published in English and Persian simultaneously for transparency, and ease of reference.”
“Yet I can make one categorical statement: None of my letters to the coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission, all of which were distributed to every JCPOA Participant, were ever rebutted by any one of them.
This may be the result of either having nothing legal or logical to say in response at the time of each letter – particularly as I was only stating self-evident facts in each instance,” the outgoing minister explained.
Iran slams UN’s ‘decades-long silence, inaction’ over Israeli crimes
An Iranian envoy to the United Nations said the UN Security Council’s “decades-long utter and inexcusable inaction” in the face of Israeli unlawful acts against Palestinians has emboldened the regime to commit more crimes.
“The Security Council has been dead silent against all unlawful acts committed by that regime, and the council’s decades-long utter and inexcusable inaction has seriously emboldened that regime to commit more crimes with more brutality,” Zahra Ershadi, the deputy permanent representative of Iran to the UN, said on Wednesday before a UN Security Council session.
Ershadi told a session on “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” that Israel commits all such crimes because its “unlawful acts go unpunished” as it has received “total impunity” for “over seven decades”.
She added that the Security Council’s inaction against Israel’s grave breaches stems from “unwavering support” of the United States for the regime, which the envoy said is “against the inherent rights of the oppressed Palestinians, including their right to life, to dignity, to liberation, to self-defense, to self-determination, and to establish their own independent state”.
“It is evident that the decades-long silence and inaction of the Security Council against such grave breaches of the peace constituting a serious threat to international peace and security, is because of the fact that the United States has systematically shielded the Israeli regime against any action by the council,” the envoy said.
“The latest example of such measures was the act of the United States, in May 2021, in blocking the Security Council from issuing even a simple press statement calling for an end to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.”
Ershadi urged the Security Council to “put an immediate end to this unjustifiable and unacceptable trend”.
She also urged the top body to “compel the Israeli regime to cease, immediately and completely, all its crimes against Palestinians, remove the unlawful and inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip, [and] end the occupation of all Palestinian territories”.
The envoy said the Security Council must hold Israel accountable for committing “the gravest international crimes for over several decades.
Ershadi stressed that Iran condemns in the strongest possible terms all crimes of the Israeli regime against Palestinians and reiterates its support for the just cause of the Palestinian people and the full realization of all their inalienable rights, particularly their inherent right to self-determination and to establish an independent Palestinian state throughout Palestine, with Al-Quds as its capital.
Kim stresses military preparations ahead of U.S.-South Korea drills
North Korea said Friday that leader Kim Jong-un called for stronger capability to cope with any foreign provocation as he met with military officers ahead of annual drills next month between South Korea and the United States that Pyongyang views as an invasion rehearsal.
Earlier this week, Kim reopened suspended communication channels with rival South Korea, raising hopes of reduced animosities on the Korean Peninsula, AP reported.
The official Korean Central News Agency said Kim held the workshop of military commanders and political officers from July 24-27 to discuss ways to enhance the North’s military strength. It said it was the first such meeting since North Korea’s military was founded.
During the meeting, Kim “stressed that commanders and political officers should focus all efforts on completing preparations for actively and offensively coping with any military provocation of enemies,” KCNA said.
Kim accused “the hostile forces,” an apparent reference to the U.S. and South Korea, of bolstering their capabilities for making a preemptive attack and intensifying “all sorts of frantic and persistent war drills for aggression.” Kim ordered the workshop attendees to put greater efforts to boost their units’ combat efficiency, KCNA said.
In the past few years, South Korean and U.S. militaries have canceled or scaled back some of their regular military exercises to support the now-stalled diplomacy on North Korea’s nuclear program or due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asked over a possibility for next month’s drills being canceled or downsized, Boo Seung-Chan, a spokesman at South Korea’s Defense Ministry, told a briefing Thursday that Seoul and Washington were reviewing factors like the pandemic’s current status, efforts to achieve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and their combined military readiness.
Some experts say North Korea could test-fire powerful missiles if the United States and South Korea conduct the drills in a full-fledged manner.
Diplomatic efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula remain stalled for about 2 ½ years due to disputes over international sanctions on the North. During the diplomatic impasse, North Korea threatened to build up its nuclear arsenal if Washington doesn’t withdraw policies it considers hostile to Pyongyang.
Iran faces must-win volleyball clash with Japan after Italy loss
Iran, in its fourth outing at the volleyball contests of the Tokyo Olympics, suffered a 3-1 defeat against European powerhouse Italy.
Having the lost the first two sets 30-28 and 25-21, Vladimir Alekno’s men rallied to win the third 25-21, before failing to push the tie into a decider, losing the fourth set 25-21.
Friday’s result leaves Iran’s chances of progress into the last eight of the competition hanging in the balance, as Alekno’s team will now have to beat the host on Sunday to go through.
Meisam Salehi topped the scoring for Iran with 14 points, followed by Milad Ebadipour and Saber Kazemi, who chipped in 12 points apiece.
Italian Osmany Juantorena made the biggest contribution to his team’s victory with 20 points.
Iran had gotten off to a flying start in the Games, beating gold favorite Poland in a five-set thriller before cruising to victory against Venezuela in straight sets.
However, Iran was stunned by Canada, falling to a straight-set defeat, before suffering a second loss in the competition on Friday.
Poland, which easily beat Japan in three sets earlier in the day, tops Pool A with three wins, followed by Italy, which has also won three.
Canada also secured a place in the quarterfinals with a 3-0 victory over Venezuela, with the fourth spot at stake when Japan and Iran square off.
In Pool B, the Russian Olympic Committee and Brazil have also sealed their last-eight spots, with USA, Argentina, and France chasing the remaining two knockout spots.