Rouhani: Outgoing administration sharing experience with president-elect
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said his administration is offering a general outlook of the country’s economy to its successor and will share experiences with the next government’s officials.
Speaking at a Sunday meeting of the Government’s Economic Coordination Headquarters, Rouhani added his administration has made arrangements for the transition of power with a national outlook and seeks to realistically outline the country’s macroeconomic plans for the next administration, Tasnim News Agency reported.
Commenting on his cabinet’s efforts to give transparent reports about its activities over the past eight years, Rouhani said the country’s people are required to be informed of the problems that the administration has dealt with and of the measures it has taken to make the sanctions ineffective and counter the economic war.
In May 2018, US, under former president Donald Trump, pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1, and reimposed its unilateral sanctions, as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign, on Tehran in a bid to bring the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table and hammer out a new deal.
Mostly targeting Iran’s oil and banking sectors, the sanctions failed to produce the desired result thanks to Iranians’ resistance.
Rouhani gave the assurance that the outgoing administration will share its experiences in coping with the sanctions, the economic war and the VOCCOVID-19 outbreak with the next government’s authorities.
In comments in June, Rouhani said the next administration will have a much easier job in running the country, since his cabinet has handled the situation under an unprecedented economic war and while facing problems in importing medicine and foodstuff.
He also noted that the next administration will take office under more favorable circumstances with regard to the pandemic’s woes.
Rouhani added efforts will continue for supplying the COVID vaccine, saying the homemade jabs will be soon available in the market.
Ebrahim Raeisi, the former Judiciary chief of Iran, won the June 18 presidential election by a landslide.
Tashkent conference a step toward regional connectivity
Regional connectivity is regarded as the level and effectiveness of regional networks to facilitate flows of goods, services, people and knowledge. This extends the traditional focus of public policies beyond either physical or non-physical parameters to encompass both dimensions.
The two-day international conference “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities” wrapped up in Tashkent on Friday at the initiative of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Attended by the presidents of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan as well as the prime minister of Pakistan, foreign ministers and high representatives of the Central and South Asian countries, other foreign states, heads of authoritative international and regional organizations, global financial institutions and companies, leading research and analytical centers,
the forum was aimed at strengthening historically close and friendly ties, trust and good neighborliness between Central and South Asia in the interests of all peoples and countries of the regions.
During the plenary and breakout sessions, the forum participants discussed the possibilities of promoting initiatives aimed at developing trade, economic, transport, communication, cultural and humanitarian cooperation in the context of further deepening regional connectivity.
The agenda included a comprehensive exchange of views and joint development of proposals for enhancing cooperation in trade, investment, transport, energy and innovation, green technologies, implementation of specific projects and cooperation programs, enhancing interaction in tourism, education, health care, science and culture, ensuring the stability and security of the regions.
Connectivity is central to trade, economic growth and sustainable development. But connectivity is not just about economics. It drives regional cooperation and encourages friendly relations among neighbors, near and far.
Enhanced connectivity that is environmentally sustainable and based on the rule of law can contribute to building long-term peace, stability and prosperity in Central and South Asia. This is crucial now more than ever.
The countries of the region can only fully benefit from potential opportunities if the region at large is at peace.
The countries should work together to ensure that the potential benefits of peace are well enough understood by all so that the promise of connectivity itself becomes a counterbalance to the threat of further deterioration in the region.
Tashkent’s conference was an important step in that direction. Supported efforts will strengthen interconnectedness in the region for the benefit of all.
Asghar Farhadi’s ‘A Hero’ grabs Cannes Grand Prix award
Iranian officials congratulate Oscar winner filmmaker
Arts & Culture Desk
Iran’s two-time Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi’s ‘A Hero’ won Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix award jointly with ‘Compartment No. 6,’ Juho Kuosmanen’s follow-up to his debut, ‘The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki,’ which won the Un Certain Regard prize for best film in Cannes in 2016.
The film is the story of Rahim who is in prison because of a debt he was unable to repay. During a two-day leave, he tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint against the payment of part of the sum. But things don’t go as planned, IMDB wrote.
Renowned actors such as Amir Jadidi, Mohsen Tanabandeh, Fereshteh Sadr-Orafai and Sarina Farhadi starred in the drama, IRNA reported.
‘A Hero’ competed with 23 films by filmmakers from France, the Netherlands, Finland, Japan, the United States, Chad, Thailand, Australia, Russia, Belgium, Hungary, Italy and Norway.
Continued on Page 8
China, Iran vow joint effort against unilateralism, bullying
China is ready to work with Iran to continue to oppose unilateralism and bullying behaviors, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
During a phone call, Wang stressed Beijing and Tehran are eager to “resolutely safeguard multilateralism and international justice, so as to better safeguard the common interests of China, Iran and other developing countries,” a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
Noting the positive contributions Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Iranian government have made to the development of bilateral relations over the past eight years, Wang said that China will continue to strengthen communication and cooperation with the new government led by Iran’s President-elect Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, CGTN reported.
“China is willing… to carry forward the good tradition of mutual trust and support between the two countries, strengthen friendly exchanges and cooperation, continue to jointly oppose unilateralism and bullying practice,” he said.
Wang also thanked Tehran for supporting Beijing on issues concerning China’s core interests.
He said China “will, as always, support Iran in safeguarding state sovereignty and national dignity, choosing a political system and development path that suits its national conditions, and defending its legitimate rights and interests.”
For his part, Zarif thanked China for providing vaccine and anti-COVID-19 materials to Iran and supporting its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, adding that Iran hopes to continue to strengthen cooperation with China in this regard.
Tehran attaches great importance to Iran-China relations and believes that bilateral relations will be further deepened after the new Iranian government takes office, he added.
The two sides also exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan.
Vienna talks must await Iran’s democratic transition: Chief negotiator
Iran’s top negotiator said on Saturday that the next round of talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal must wait until the new Iranian government takes office in August.
“We’re in a transition period as a democratic transfer of power is underway in our capital. Vienna talks must thus obviously await our new administration. This is what every democracy demands,” Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi tweeted on Saturday.
Iran has held talks since April in the Austrian capital with Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia to restore the troubled nuclear agreement, officially called the JCPOA.
A sixth round of talks concluded on June 20 and dates for the next round have not been fixed.
The JCPOA offered Tehran international sanctions relief in exchange for limiting its nuclear program, but was torpedoed in 2018 when former US president Donald Trump withdrew from it and reimposed sanctions, AFP wrote.
Trump’s successor Joe Biden has signaled his readiness to return to the deal and has engaged in indirect negotiations.
Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, a conservative, won Iran’s presidential election in June and will on August 5 replace moderate President Hassan Rouhani.
Rouhani had repeatedly promised that he would succeed in getting the US to lift sanctions before the end of his term, but on Wednesday indicated this would no longer be possible, noting that negotiations would not be complete before he left office.
Earlier this month, Iran s’ Foreign Ministry said the policies it has been pursuing on the JCPOA are among the “fundamental positions” of the Islamic Republic and thus will not undergo any change when the new government takes over.
Disagreements have persisted over a number of issues in the course of the talks, 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 Biden administration says it cannot give such guarantees, Press TV wrote.
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.
Taliban leader says ‘favours political settlement’ to Afghan conflict
The Taliban’s leader Hibatullah Akhundzada on Sunday said he “strenuously favours” a political settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan even as the hardline movement has launched a sweeping offensive across the nation.
The announcement comes as representatives of the Afghan government and Taliban militants sat down for a new round of talks in Doha over the weekend, stirring hopes that the long stalled peace talks were being resuscitated, AFP wrote.
“In spite of the military gains and advances, the Islamic Emirate strenuously favors a political settlement in the country,” Akhundzada said in a message released ahead of next week’s Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
“Every opportunity for the establishment of an Islamic system, peace and security that presents itself will be made use of by the Islamic Emirate,” he added.
For months, the two sides have been meeting on and off in the Qatari capital, but have achieved little if any notable success with the discussions appearing to have lost momentum as the militants made enormous gains on the battlefield.
The Taliban leader said his group remained committed to forging a solution to end the war but slammed “the opposition parties” for “wasting time”.
“Our message remains that instead of relying on foreigners, let us resolve our issues among ourselves and rescue our homeland from the prevailing crisis,” he added.
The militants have capitalized on the last stages of the withdrawal of US and other foreign troops from Afghanistan to launch a series of lightning offensives across large swathes of the country.
The group is now believed to control roughly half of the nation’s 400 districts, several important border crossings, and have laid siege to a string of vital provincial capitals.
The leader’s statement notably made no mention of a formal ceasefire call for the Eid holidays.
Over the years, the Taliban have announced a series of short truces during Islamic holidays that initially spurred hopes that a larger reduction of violence would be implemented in the country.
However the group has more recently been criticised for using the temporary ceasefires to resupply and replenish their members, allowing them to launch withering onslaughts on Afghanistan’s security forces once the truce expires.
The US-led military coalition has been on the ground in Afghanistan for nearly two decades following an invasion launched in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Iran ready to proceed with prisoner swap deal with US, UK: Spokesman
Iran rejected the United States’ denial of an agreement on a humanitarian prisoner exchange, expressing Tehran’s readiness to immediately proceed with the deal already agreed with Washington and London.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh in a tweet on Sunday denounced as “outrageous” the US denial of the fact that “there is an agreed deal on the matter of the detainees” and “even on how to announce it,” Press TV reported.
“Humanitarian swap was agreed with US & UK in Vienna-separate from JCPOA- on release of 10 prisoners on all sides. Iran is ready to proceed TODAY,” Khatibzadeh said referring to the talks in Vienna that aims to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
In a pair of tweets on Saturday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araghchi also said the US and Britain are holding a prisoner swap “hostage to political aims” and urged them to “stop linking a humanitarian exchange — ready to be implemented — with the JCPOA.”
He also held out hope of a quick release of ten prisoners on all sides if the US and the UK “fulfill their part of deal.”
However, US State Department spokesman Ned Price denied there was already an agreement on a swap, saying, “We see just another cruel effort to raise the hopes of their families … There is no agreed deal yet.”
“These comments are an outrageous effort to deflect blame for the current impasse on a potential mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA,” he alleged.
Price then acknowledged that “we had been engaged in indirect talks on the detainees in the context of the Vienna process, and the delay in restarting that process is not helping.”
“While it would be more effective to make progress if we were meeting in Vienna, we are also prepared to continue with talks on detainees during this period,” he said.
Observers believe the US is seeking to tie the release of Iranian assets illegally frozen under its draconian sanctions to the issue of American prisoners in Iran or open a channel for negotiations with Tehran on issues which the Islamic Republic has declared as absolutely non-negotiable.