Iran’s envoy: Countering world drug problem requires shared responsibility
Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations underlined that Tehran bears the brunt of fighting narcotics trafficking without much help from the rest of the world, saying that confronting the world’s drug problem requires shared responsibility by all countries.
“Yesterday, 3 police officers were martyred in Iran in a clash with drug traffickers,” Kazem Gharibabadi tweeted on Thursday, a day after they were killed and two others were injured in a clash with drug traffickers in Kahnuj County in southeastern Kerman Province, according to Press TV.
“In the absence of [such] dedicated effort, the Europeans have to go after every gram of narcotics on their streets. Countering world drug problem requires shared responsibility by all,” Gharibabadi underlined.
Iran, sitting on a major drug trafficking route between Afghanistan on the one side and Europe and the Persian Gulf Arab states on the other, has been a pioneer in fighting the crime despite losing thousands of its security forces in clashes with traffickers and suffering heavy costs for battling the illegal trade of narcotics.
Last month, Tehran announced that narcotics seizure at Iranian border crossings and airport gateways had increased by 523 percent in the quarter to May 21 year-on-year.
Iran’s Embassy in Austria, in marking the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which falls on June 26, strongly criticized Western countries, as the main destination of narcotics seized by Iran, for their little support for the costly fight.
“Iran is at the forefront of the fight against illicit drug trafficking, which mainly enters Europe, while Iran receives little support for this costly fight,” the Iranian mission said in a tweet.
During a speech on the occasion, Gharibabadi said Western countries are not serious enough in confronting drug trafficking despite being the main destinations for the narcotics passing through Iran.
Back in March, the Iranian envoy said the unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran by Western countries, especially the US, are hampering the Islamic Republic’s fight against drug trafficking.
The imposition of unilateral sanctions, according to Gharibabadi, has proved an obstacle to Iran’s fight against narcotics and the country’s efforts to boost its capabilities and its anti-narcotics campaign.
Iranian officials have time and again censured Western states over their antagonistic policies toward the Islamic Republic, whereas the country protects them by halting the flow of narcotics into their territories.
In remarks in November 2020, Iran’s then-Judiciary chief Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi said the United Nations hypocritically praises Iran’s performance and sincerity in fighting narcotics while at the same time issuing anti-Iran resolutions.
Raeisi also pointed out that if Iran holds back, “all Europe and America will be swallowed up by narcotics”.
“Our youth stand up to drug trafficking and drug rings by their self-sacrifice and we are the victims of this problem. Indeed, it is a strange phenomenon that they pass resolutions against us instead of being thankful,” he said.
Prominent football pundit, film critic Hamidreza Sadr dies at 65
The high-profile Iranian football pundit and movie critic Hamidreza Sadr passed away at the age of 65 after years of battle with cancer.
Her daughter announced his passing through an Instagram post on Friday.
A former writer and editor in football newspaper Jahan-e Football (World of Football) and film monthlies Film and Haft (Seven), Sadr was best known for his TV appearances during major football tournaments in recent years.
A Ph.D. in urban planning from the University of Leeds in the UK, Sadr authored numerous books about football and cinema.
His book ‘Once Upon a Time Football’ (2000) was a brief historic look at the sport in societies across the world, while in ‘The Eternal Jerseys’ (2018), Sadr looked in the careers of some of the greatest players in the history of football.
He also wrote several books about cinema, namely ‘Against the Wind: Politics of Iranian Cinema’ (2002), and ‘Iranian Cinema: A Political History’ (2006).
Sadr also translated American author Laurie Halse Anderson’s 1999 novel, ‘Speak’ to Farsi, as well as ‘The Damned Utd’ (2006), a novel by English writer David Peace, which depicted the unsuccessful 44-spell of legendary English manager Brian Clough in charge of Leeds United in 1974.
Sadr won a Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literature Prize for his non-fiction, ‘You Will Die in Cairo’ (2014).
Iran urges end to violence as Afghanistan clashes intensify
Russia: US, NATO ‘hasty withdrawal’ put Afghanistan at risk
Iran reiterated its supports the Afghan peace talks aimed at ending the violence in Afghanistan amid an unprecedented spike in violence in the eastern neighboring country.
“Iran supports an end to the violence in Afghanistan and a solution to the crisis through dialogue,” Seyyed Rasoul Mousavi, the head of the West Asia Department at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said in remarks carried by IRNA on Thursday.
Mousavi made the comments during a Kabul meeting with Abdullah Abdullah, the head of Kabul’s High Council for National Reconciliation, Press TV wrote
“The Iranian people and government want an end to the long war in Afghanistan,” he reiterated.
Abdullah thanked Iran’s support for the peace process in Afghanistan and underscored the importance of cooperation between regional countries to establish peace and stability in Afghanistan.
War is not the solution and no side can benefit from the continuation of the clashes, he said.
He also stressed the necessity of a peaceful solution to end the disputes, adding that the Afghan government will not allow anyone to impose its will on the country.
Last week, Tehran hosted a new round of intra-Afghan talks between the country’s government and the Taliban in hopes of a better future for Afghanistan.
‘US made Afghanistan reliant on others’
Iran’s former head consul in Herat, Afghanistan, said the United States prevented the formation of a strong government and a professional army in Afghanistan.
“If the Afghan Army is not capable of fighting instability as it should, it is due to the policies of the US, which has made Afghanistan’s defense and military power dependent on itself,” Hassan Kazemi Qomi told IRNA on Friday.
He noted that the legacy that the American forces left behind is a crisis of political, economic and security dimensions in Afghanistan, making the Afghan government, army and police dependent on foreign forces.
Kazemi Qomi also said the US withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan is based on several reasons, including its failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Palestine, which inflicted heavy costs and losses on the Americans.
“By implementing the New Middle East plot, the US was seeking to secure the domination of the Zionist regime over the region and to confront the Axis of Resistance and the Islamic Republic, but it did not succeed,” he noted.
The former diplomat said another reason behind the withdrawal is that the US wants to reduce its vulnerabilities in the region and also focus on dealing with its domestic economic and social crises.
The remarks came two weeks after US-led coalition forces vacated the largest military base in Afghanistan, located in the ancient city of Bagram, about 45 miles north of Kabul.
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Russia: Vienna talks prove US overestimated impact of ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran
Russia said on Thursday the talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal showed that the United States overvalued the impact of its “maximum pressure” campaign on the Islamic Republic.
“The course of the Vienna talks proves once again that US overestimated the influence of maximum pressure on Iran. Pressure continues but Iran isn’t in the rush although it knows that the sooner the talks are completed the sooner sanctions are lifted,” tweeted Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s lead negotiator to the talks in the Austrian capital.
Ulyanov underlined that sanctions are not the only factor being taken into consideration by the Islamic Republic, which has been negotiating the restoration of the nuclear deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with the remaining signatories of the deal since early April, three years after the agreement was ditched by the previous US administration in pursuit of the “maximum pressure” policy, Press TV wrote.
So far, six rounds of negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital, as a result of which, according to participants, “significant progress” has been made in the course of the “constructive” and “businesslike” talks.
However, disagreements have persisted over a number of issues, including how to sequence the US sanctions removal, with Tehran arguing that since Washington was the party that violated the terms of the agreement, it should take the first step back into compliance with the deal by removing its unilateral sanctions.
Tehran has also asked for guarantees that the US won’t again leave the JCPOA under a new administration but the administration of President Joe Biden says it cannot give such guarantees.
Iran is also dissatisfied with the scope of sanctions that the US is willing to remove, saying the US sanctions removal must cover all the sanctions that were slapped on the Islamic Republic after the JCPOA went into force in January 2016.
The US has asked for follow-on talks about other issues, such as Iran’s missile program, which Tehran has strongly rejected.
In another tweet later on Thursday, Ulyanov pointed to the latest reports on the possible continuation of the talks under the next Iranian government and urged Iran not to let the talks get protracted for a long time.
The long break between the sixth round of the Vienna talks and the expected seventh has given rise to the assumption that Tehran might be waiting for the incoming government of Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi to take office before resuming the talks.
Ulyanov said Tehran “needs more time for preparations” following its June 18 presidential election. The sixth round was concluded two days after the election.
“According to the latest reports Iran will be ready to resume the Vienna talks on #JCPOA only after August 5. The question is when exactly,” he said.
If the break in the talks lasts too long, the Russian diplomat continued, the negotiators “can lose the momentum and the process would take much longer time than expected.”
Iran’s outgoing President Hassan Rouhani expressed hope that the new government will achieve the final favorable conclusion.
“The job is [nearly] done,” Rouhani said during a cabinet session. “Although they took the opportunity away from the 12th administration, we hope the 13th administration would be able to get this job done.”
Connection of landlocked economies to seas and neighboring regions among Iran’s ‘neighborliness policy’: Deputy minister
Uzbek president: Strengthened cooperation needed for overcoming challenges
ECO head: Joint economic activities need interconnectivity
India working on Chabahar project: Minister
The smooth, reliable, predictable and inexpensive connection of landlocked economies to the seas and neighboring regions constitute one of the key elements of Iran’s “neighborhood policy,” said Iranian deputy foreign minister for economic diplomacy on Friday.
Speaking in the two-day conference of ‘Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities’ started in Tashkent on Thursday, said Seyyed Rasoul Mohajer, adding, the accumulating transit capacities of Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Russia and other transit countries in the region illustrate a promising prospect for efforts of the landlocked countries of Central Asia to connect themselves to regional and trans-regional markets.
The second day of the conference was also attended by President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, UN Secretary General António Guterres, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan as well as high-ranking ministers and officials from other countries.
The conference involved a plenary session, three breakout sessions and a final part on Friday.
Mirziyoyev has proposed an initiative to strengthen regional connectivity in the context of the dynamic foreign policy strategy of Tashkent, while regional countries will play a key role in that strategy.
The idea aims at further deepening economic cooperation in Central Asia, with access to South Asia, which has historically been closely linked to the Central Asian region in economic, social, cultural and civilizational dimensions.
Our region inherits a rich civilization and culture, as well as a historical continuity. We need to give impact to this valuable heritage through new regional architecture, the Iranian official said.
“I would like to point out two important pillars of this new architecture: First, promotion of intra-regional trade; despite abundant regional capacities, the level of trade among countries of the region is not satisfactory, and we are in need of serious measures to remedy the situation. Second, transportation and transport infrastructures, which are prerequisites for facilitating and enhancing intra-regional trade,” Mohajer noted.
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Iraq discusses US troop withdrawal one day after talks with Iran
Tehran stresses support for Baghdad on all fronts
Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and US envoy Brett McGurk discussed the withdrawal of troops, his office said, one day after top Iraqi and Iranian officials met.
“Discussions took place about mechanisms for (US) combat troops’ withdrawal from Iraq, and moving forward to a new stage in strategic cooperation,” the Iraqi prime minister’s office said in statement on Thursday, AFP reported.
McGurk is the Middle East and Africa coordinator in the White House.
Some 3,500 foreign troops are still on Iraqi territory, including 2,500 Americans, who have been posted to help fight the Daesh terrorist group since 2014.
Kadhimi is scheduled to visit Washington later this month to push for a concrete timetable of troop withdrawal. The implementation of their withdrawal could take years.
Iran backs Iraqi stability
The meeting came after Iraq’s National Security Agency chief, Abdel Ghani al-Assadi, met Wednesday in Baghdad with Iran’s Intelligence Minister Seyyed Mahmoud Alavi.
The Iranian minister assured Tehran’s support for security and stability in Iraq, according to an Iraqi National Security statement.
Alavi also met other Iraqi officials including President Barham Salih and Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi.
The minister told Salih that he conveys Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s support for Iraq’s security and stability.
Alavi underlined “the importance of strong relations between the countries and their peoples.” He also expressed Ayatollah Khamenei’s supportive stance in favor of “reinforcement of the bilateral cooperation and coordination towards confronting terrorism, extremism, and establishment of peace in the region”.
Salih stressed the depth of the two sides’ historical ties, and likewise underlined “the need for the development of the outlook of bilateral cooperation between the countries in all fields”.
In his meeting with Halbusi, Alavi reaffirmed Iran’s full support for Iraq on all fronts.
Halbusi said it is imperative to help Iraq promote security and stability in Iraq, adding that a stable Iraq would have positive impacts on the entire region’s stability.
Floods leave at least 126 dead in Europe
The death toll from devastating floods in Europe soared to at least 126 on Friday, most in western Germany where emergency responders were frantically searching for missing people.
Unsuspecting residents were caught completely off guard by the torrent dubbed the “flood of death” by Germany’s top-selling daily Bild, AFP reported.
Streets and houses were submerged by water in some areas, while cars were left overturned on soaked streets after flood waters passed. Some districts were completely cut off from the outside world.
“Everything was under water within 15 minutes,” Agron Berischa, a 21-year-old decorator from Bad Neuenahr in Rhineland-Palatinate state, told AFP.
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