Iranian president’s visit to Russia in the offing: Kremlin
The visit of Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi to Russia is being worked out, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
In an address to reporters, he added the Kremlin will announce the dates of this visit in due course, tass.com reported.
“It is true that the possibility of such a visit is being worked on. We will keep you updated about the dates of this trip in due course,” he said.
The negotiations on trade relations and financial agreements will be key topics of the upcoming Iranian president’s visit to Russia, according to Vice President of the Iran-Russia Joint Chamber of Commerce Kambiz Mirkarimi.
“Raeisi’s visit to Moscow is crucial,” IRNA cited him as saying.
He added that among the features of the upcoming visit is that the negotiations will be held at a high level on trade relations and financial agreements.
“We expect that these negotiations will succeed in the development of bilateral economic cooperation.”
In December, Peskov said Moscow and Tehran are preparing contacts at the highest level.
Prior to that, Iranian government’s spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi said Raeisi is set to make an official visit to Moscow in early 2022 to hold talks with senior Russian officials on ways to promote bilateral strategic relations.
He added Russian President Vladimir Putin had invited his Iranian counterpart to travel to Moscow “in line with the continuation of strategic interactions” between the two countries.
“Raeisi will probably pay a visit to Moscow early in the new year (2022) within the framework of strengthening international relations with the world, especially regional countries,” Bahadori Jahromi noted.
Iran and Russia have in recent years managed to bolster relations in various fields. Moscow has on many occasions supported Tehran’s stance on the right to develop a peaceful nuclear program.
In a phone call with his Russian counterpart in September, Raeisi said Tehran was determined to boost relations with Moscow in all fields, including in the production of a joint vaccine to fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Iran can increase rock sugar, candy exports: Union head
Iranian producers of rock sugar and candy can increase export of their products with promotion of infrastructures, said the head of the Tehran Rock Sugar, Candy and Sugar Producers Union.
Talking to Iran Daily, Habib Eslami added that over 50 percent of the union members are not equipped with modern technology, as they need governmental support for upgrading their equipment.
Referring to the effects of COVID-19 on the activities of his union, he said that this pandemic has led to the closure of about 30 percent of production units in this field.
“Iran’s rock sugar has many customers in the region who purchase the commodity in bulk, repackage it and sell it with added profit,” he said, adding that producers must move towards packaging their goods in different weight packages.
“The byproducts of a rock candy production line can be used to manufacture chocolate and other types of candy, effectively turning what would be production waste to profit,” Eslami said.
Eslami noted that Iraq, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan are the main export destinations of Iranian rock sugar and candy products, adding that Iran has plans to cover more target markets in the region.
The elimination of subsidized forex, which was dedicated for imports of sugar, has resulted in a notable hike in prices for Iranian production units, he said, noting that this problem has deprived Iranian producers of the development of candy exports.
Eslami stated: “Sanctions have increased production problems in the country, yet on the other hand, we have deprived ourselves from production.”
We have restricted the import of raw materials that we could easily buy, and this has led to an increase in prices in the domestic market, he continued.
He asked for some facilitation in paying taxes for members of the union, adding that many Iranian production units are in dire need of government support during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Unfortunately, the previous government did not provide any services or facilities to the producers of this union, and they even created problems for producers; for example, about 250 tons of citric acid as raw material in the country are needed per day by production plants, while there is only one citric acid factory active in the country, with a daily capacity of 30 tons,” Eslami criticized.
He said the price of citric acid has increased by 400 percent in recent years.
“Another issue that has provided major barriers for the industry is energy companies, whose high prices for electricity, water and gas have led to increased costs for manufactured products,”
Rock sugar, or crystal sugar, is a type of confection composed of relatively large sugar crystals. This candy is formed by allowing a supersaturated solution of sugar and water to crystallize onto a surface suitable for crystal nucleation, such as a string, stick, or plain granulated sugar. Heating the water before adding the sugar allows more sugar to dissolve, thus producing larger crystals. This sweet additive is highly in demand in Asia, as it is often dissolved in tea in Iran and China, and consumed as a common candy or mouth freshener in India.
Iran, Syria call for cooperation to safeguard joint interests
The minister of roads and urban development said on Wednesday that Iran seeks to bolster cooperation with Syria in all areas that serve the interests of the two nations.
Rostam Qassemi made the comments as he met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
Qassemi expressed Iran’s unwavering support for “the steadfastness of the Syrian people” in their fight against terrorism, Syria’s Sana news agency reported.
Assad highlighted the importance of launching new joint projects that would serve the strategic interests of Syria and Iran and link business sectors in both countries.
The meeting also dealt with ways to expand bilateral work in the public and private sectors and encourage joint investments with the aim of giving new impetus to trade and economic ties.
Qassemi arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus on Wednesday at the head of a high-ranking economic and trade delegation and was welcomed by Syria’s Economy and Trade Minister Mohammad Samer al-Khalil.
Upon arrival, he said Tehran and Damascus are determined to reach real trade agreements and expand their economic relations.
“The end of the war in Syria is the beginning of a new era of economic relations between the two countries, especially given that Iran and Syria have been beside one another throughout the era of fighting international terrorism,” Qassemi said, Press TV reported.
During his three-day visit, Syrian industry, construction, and infrastructure will be the main focus of bilateral talks.
Khalil hailed the inseparable ties between the two nations and expressed gratitude for the sacrifices made by the zealous Iranian youth on his country’s soil.
“In Syria, we want extensive cooperation with Iran,” the Syrian minister stated.
“We hope that the meetings of Mr. Qassemi and his accompanying delegation with the Syrian officials will lead to agreements aimed at reaching economic and trade partnerships between the two sides,” he added.
Last month, Syria’s Minister of Industry Ziyad Sabbagh invited Iranian companies and advanced industries to invest in the Arab country’s process of reconstruction and recovery from the Western-sponsored war on Syria, which began in 2011.
The Syrian minister called on Iranian companies to “have partnership and cooperation with the public and private sectors in the Syrian Arab Republic and use the benefits provided by the law, which gives a great opportunity for investment in Syria” to further promote bilateral ties.
Days later, Mohammad Hosseini, Iran’s vice president for parliamentary affairs, said Tehran was ready to implement reconstruction projects in Syria.
Ex-Iranian envoy: China a reliable power for Iran
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is set to meet his Chinese counterpart during a visit to that country on Friday. China is among important countries in the Iranian government’s “Look to the East” approach. A long-term strategic agreement between the two nations, Iran’s talks with the P4+1 in Vienna and pursuing a multipolar world strategy against a unipolar outlook are expected to top the agenda of the two ministers’ negotiations.
Iran Daily has conducted an exclusive interview with Hossein Malaek, Tehran’s former ambassador to China on the forthcoming visit.
How do you see the foreign minister’s upcoming trip to China and how important is it for Iran?
This is the second such visit by a senior Iranian official to China since the inauguration of Iran’s new government [in August]. Earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Baqeri [Kani] also visited Beijing. Given the significance of Iran-China relations, the foreign minister’s visit to China appears to be taking place rather late and it could be even appropriate for President Raeisi to travel to China before his visit to Russia.
Relations with China are important in various ways. Currently, as the country is under sanctions, most of Iran’s oil products are exported to China. In addition, China has bought an average of 600,000 to 700,000 barrels of Iranian crude oil per day over the past ten years, when the country has been subject to a US policy of “maximum pressure”. As a matter of fact, Beijing has been the hub from which Iran procured foreign currencies as it faced tough sanctions.
With regard to the pursuit of a “multipolar world” strategy instead of a “unipolar” approach, China is one of the most important countries upon which Iran can rely. The Chinese themselves are among those who initially raised and pursued such a strategy in the world. Moreover, with respect to international alliances, Beijing should be on Tehran’s radar. Given the fact that the West, spearheaded by the United States, has formed a front against Iran, it is quite natural for Tehran to have its own coalitions. China is one the world’s major countries that can make a big difference for Iran in this area.
The visit comes as talks between Iran and the P4+1 countries are underway in Vienna. Do you think that the meeting of the foreign ministers of China and Iran could positively impact the Vianna talks and contribute to the removal of sanctions on the Islamic Republic?
The talks in Vienna revolve around whether or not Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon, though Iran insists it is seeking peaceful nuclear energy. Therefore, the agenda of the Vienna talks are different from Tehran-Beijing bilateral ties. On the nuclear issue, countries speak of a global commitment that no more governments should obtain a nuclear bomb. China is of the same opinion. Russia could apparently be more useful than China for Iran in Vienna. Because Moscow is more determined in forging a coalition against the West than Beijing. However, the Chinese can help Iran over the issue of removing or easing sanctions. Because trade and economic relations between Tehran and Beijing can be further expanded as sanctions are lifted or eased.
You seem to believe that a deal in Vienna that lifts sanctions on Iran could provide China with greater leeway in implementing the long-term cooperation agreement and further develop its relations with Iran.
Definitely, the removal of sanctions or any other major breakthroughs in Vienna will have far-reaching effects on the development of Iran’s relations with other nations. China has complied with liberalist norms, particularly in the economic field, and Iran has been sanctioned with the very same liberalist norms. Consequently, China naturally welcomes the lifting of sanctions on Iran. So, the Chinese are striving in the Vienna talks to get those sanctions removed.
Considering all these different and important aspects of relations between the two countries, and the Iranian foreign minister’s visit to Beijing, in what areas can Iran rely on China to press ahead with its development plans?
The answer to this question, and even the way the 25-year cooperation agreement between the two countries is implemented, depend on our outlook on China and its potentials. One approach could be viewing China as a large supermarket that stocks everything, from which we can import whatever we like. This approach might be handy at times in order to alleviate the pressure of sanctions and overcome some shortages in the short term, but in the long term, it is not politically appropriate.
Another approach could be development-oriented, meaning that the Chinese help us improve the quality and quantity of our infrastructure and advance our planned development projects in certain sectors. For instance, Iran has drawn up a macro development plan for its Makran shore on the Persian Gulf. A development view dictates us to look into the potentials the Chinese have for developing Makran. China is interested in investing in this project as it has taken part in the development of Saudi Arabia’s planned city of Neom through investment.
Could China be a reliable power for Iran in terms of technological and financial capabilities?
Yes. China is a significant power in the world, both in terms of technology and investment potential, and the expansion of Iran-China ties would definitely benefit both nations. I hope the foreign minister’s visit to China will be successful. This trip underscores Iran’s willpower to give China a more important position in its foreign policy. This willpower certainly arises from China’s potentials and capabilities.
Peace, stability return to Kazakhstan: Ambassador
The Kazakh ambassador in Iran said that peace and stability have returned to his country, adding that over 9,000 people were detained by police during protests that descended into violence last week.
Speaking at a press conference on recent developments in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Askhat Orazbay noted that in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, protesters stormed and briefly seized the airport and some important offices.
The demonstrations began on January 2 over a near-doubling of prices for a type of vehicle fuel and quickly spread across the country, apparently reflecting wider discontent with the government.
Orazbay said following talks with protesters, the government announced a 180-day price cap on vehicle fuel and a moratorium on utility rate increases.
The authorities of Kazakhstan declared a state of emergency over the unrest, and President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev requested help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance of six former Soviet states.
The group which sent about 2,030 troops to Kazakhstan as peacekeepers will leave the country by January 23, as normal life has returned to Kazakhstan.
Tokayev on Monday described the events of last week as a “terrorist aggression” against the country and dismissed reports of the authorities fighting peaceful demonstrators as “disinformation.”
The Kazakh ambassador noted that evidence indicates that there were trained terrorists among protesters which caused lots of destruction.
“The main purpose of these terrorists was to carry out armed operations to overthrow the constitutional-based government of Kazakhstan,” Orazbay added.
The Kazakh diplomat said that weapons were used just to counter armed terrorists and that protesters who were protesting peacefully had never been shot.
Tokayev on Tuesday delivered an address at a special session of the Mazhilis (lower chamber of Kazakhstan’s parliament) and elaborated on plans to address damages following the terror attacks at the earliest.
Orazbay said the Kazakh people expect the proposed plans to be completed in a short time, adding that the goal of the new program is to support lower-income groups.
The ambassador said that according to new decisions, Kazakhstan will take every measure possible to restore confidence in domestic and foreign investors and trade partners in Kazakhstan’s economy.
“Within two months, the government and the Chamber of Entrepreneurs will develop a plan to increase the income of the general public and will prepare concrete proposals to reduce poverty in Kazakhstan,” Orazbay said.
“A systemic effort will be made to reduce inflation and ensure the stability of the national currency of Kazakhstan,” the diplomat noted.
The imbalance in the economic development of various regions of Kazakhstan will be addressed by the government, he said, adding that the government has been instructed to prepare a set of measures to level up the regions that are lagging behind economically.
The ambassador said that in order to strengthen national security and efficiently counter all types of threats, the entire national security system will be reorganized, including the armed forces, law enforcement agencies, national security agencies, and intelligence service.
The artist is alive in his or her work
By Mohammad Memarian*
There is something peculiar about art: while being human-made, it survives turbulences in collective human life and helps people get through tough times. “That may have something to do with the fact that art, sometimes subconsciously, reflects the deepest treasures of the human psyche,” says Behdad Najafi Asadollahi, painter and gallery manager in Tehran. “The deeper it goes, the more original it becomes.”
Born in 1971, he has a doctorate in business administration, which helps him with the commercial side of the art industry. “Now that COVID preventive measures are relatively relaxed, we expect art events to quickly return to their pre-COVID vitality,” he told me in a short talk on the occasion of a new group exhibition in Ragadid gallery in Enghelab Cultural and Sports Complex, Tehran, which will be open to the public from January 17 until January 30, 2020. “We actually anticipate a good attendance. In fact, we decided to premiere it in the middle of the week to avoid a crowded opening,” he said.
* Mohammad Memarian is a staff writer at Iran Daily.
How did you get into arts?
My mother is a sculptor and owner of an anthropological museum in Nowshahr, northern Iran. And my father had a screen printing factory. Therefore, I’ve grown up in an artistically creative environment since I remember.
How did you become a professional artist?
I have a dozen years of experience in painting. Since some four years ago, I became more focused on painting, and it has been my primary profession for the last couple of years.
So, the beginning of your professional art activity coincided with the pandemic, right?
Lucky me! But things are getting better. Since last march, I have organized more than 10 group exhibitions of paintings and attended several more.
Tell us about your upcoming event: The artists and their pieces.
In this exhibition, we showcase 45 paintings and 5 sculptures from 50 artists. They are between 35 to 75 years old, and include 36 male and 14 female artists, each with at least about 20 years of experience.
Is this gallery a for-profit venture?
The investor is a private sector holding, but it doesn’t seek return on investment. They only hope that it would break even. You see, each piece has a fixed price for sale, predetermined by our art experts in consultation with the artist. The price range is from 250 to 2,500 US$ in this exhibition, and we would receive a commission on their sales. They are all good works by renowned artists.
Speaking of renowned artists, do you really care about the brand name of an artist?
I can’t afford not to care about it! And that’s applicable to almost any business. But I must admit something: I’ve been trained in management, and if I like a brand, I somehow subconsciously like the work as well.
Even on personal level?
Ok, to choose an item for exhibition in my gallery is one thing, and to choose an item to hang in my house is another story. In the latter case, I care about the character of the artist, but not their brand name.
Then, you don’t seem to believe in the death of the author theory!
Nope, the author is pretty much alive in his or her work, while enlivened by it on another level! You know, an expert eye can even see the intensity of brush strokes on the canvas and discern how professional had been the artist who applied the strokes. Quite like in sports, where it’s clear if the player is an authority of the field or a newcomer.
So you interpret the work with regards to the author. Let’s take it the other way around. Without knowing the author, I wonder, what characteristics of a painter can you infer from the painting?
Almost nothing. If pressed, perhaps, in some certain cases, I would care to make a guess about the gender of the artist. And that’s all. For example in a painting here, subtle treatment of often overlooked details of a female body suggest that it might be a female artist.
Or a very astute male observer!
OK, I take that only back!
Tell us about the styles or schools of arts displayed in this exhibition.
For many of today’s artworks, it’s actually difficult to pinpoint a certain source of inspiration because the lines between the artistic movements are blurred and they are overlapping. In one single painting, a critique may find several elements, each of which owing to realist, expressionist, impressionist, or abstract traditions.
Does it pay to be a painter?
In any line of work, if you put in enough effort and passion, you will be successful. Actually, there are now Iranian painters with long waiting lists for their next works of art to come out.
But it seems that art could only be a preoccupation of the middle and upper classes.
All people can experience art and express themselves artistically. But I generally agree with your premise. And there might be a business explanation for it: Across globe, there is a surplus supply of artworks. That makes it difficult to generate a revenue, as it takes a good amount of time and patience to earn a decent income. And perhaps only the relatively privileged can afford to invest that amount of time and patience.
The Feminine Spirit by Saeideh Arian, born in 1986
Repetition is the common denominator of the feminine life: repetition of occupations, relationships, responsibilities and motherhood. Ingrained with personal creativity, it breathes color into life. Repeating the motifs derived from tradition, culture and Suzandozi (needlework) of the Iranian ethnicities, ‘The Feminine Spirit’ artwork pays homage to the women of my land who tie repetition to color and creativity in order to create a new work each and every time.
The Blind Shepherd by Javad Nobahar, born in 1966
There’s an order in the rhythm, a peace in watching the herd, and a harmony between the shepherd and his cattle that turn this take on a scene into a new outlook toward reality. In my paintings, creatures are combined from anew. The colorful grays and the simple backdrop erase any sign of time and space from the mind. Order, peace and silence can be hopefully drawn from every element of the painting.
Scarecrow by Behnam Valadvand, born in 1977
My Scarecrows are the manifestation of humans who have been transmuted from a state to another on their way to evolve themselves… from darkness to the light, from the depths to the zenith. It’s the hidden layers of humanity that we must all face, lest we happen to be ignorant of a part of ourselves. To soar is to dream of immortality, attainable just by breaking away from this wooden
The Bulls by Parviz Moazez, born in 1971
This is a more abstract rendition of a bull that is in keeping with my
previous paintings. I enjoy sharp and stirring elements, hence my desire to make use of many lines and other forms that conjure up sharp images. This is specifically embodied in the horns of the bull. I’ve done figurative works
before but now I’m once again returning to paintings that are both figurative and have hints of sharpness and onset.
Peace by Hamid Jafari Shakib, born in 1979
As the symbol of peace and friendship, the bird is depicted symbolically in this work. It now bears a resemblance to the figure of a totem, and its floral backdrop calls into mind a heavenly space. The overall structure of the work is inspired by the Persian Miniature as well, and the encompassing letters are a free-form and formalistic adaptation of texts that are so common in the
Iranian competing films at the French Vesoul festival announced
Arts & Culture Desk
A prestigious international film festival in France will host several Iranian feature films, documentaries, and animations.
The 28th edition of the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinemas in France is scheduled for February 1-8.
‘No Choice,’ directed by Reza Dormishian, in the competition section of feature films, ‘Hit The Road,’ by Panah Panahi, in the preview section, ‘Asho,’ by Jafar Najafi in the competition section of documentaries, and ‘The Green Wave,’ by Ali Samadi Ahadi, in the history section are works from Iranian cinema attending the event, ISNA reported.
‘Once Upon a Time a Crow,’ directed by Abdullah Alimorad, ‘A Raven Who Wanted to Be the Most Powerful,’ by Mohammad Ali Soleimanzadeh, and ‘Sparrow and Cotton Seed,’ by Morteza Ahadi Sarkani are also Iranian animations competing in the audience section of the international festival.
This year, well-known Iranian actress Leila Hatami has been selected as the head of the jury panel at the 28th edition of the Vesoul film festival. Palestinian screenwriter Soha Aref, Filipino director Zig Dulay, and Kazakh director Yerlan Nurmukhambetov are the other members of the jury panel.
Established in 1995, the goal of the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinemas is to promote the cinema of Asian territories.
General: Israel’s hue and cry due to its inability to confront Iran
All the moaning and clamor by Israel is due to the regime’s failure to compete with Iran militarily and the fact that it knows that if it receives a furious blow from the Islamic Republic, it would not be able to rise again.
Deputy Chief of the Iranian Army Brigadier General Mohammad Hossein Dadras made the remarks in an address in a Wednesday ceremony, saying, “Today, we are in a situation in which we can respond to any threat,” IRNA reported.
He added, “We do not purchase any weapons from outside the country as we build the best ones domestically.”
The brigadier general noted that, at present, if the world’s major powers want to talk to Iran, they do it at the negotiating table, “which is due to the honor given to us thanks to our resistance, national unity, solidarity and sage Leader [of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei]”.
The army deputy chief said everybody has witnessed that despite all the unrest and turmoil in neighboring states, Iran is in utter security.
He stressed that Iran has domestically developed its military equipment, noting that even if the Islamic Republic possesses something capable of impacting regional equations and giving strong responses to the threats in the region, it must not be presented overtly, as a country’s real might is its hidden power.
Brigadier General Dadras added, “Our capabilities are secure and can be used in proportion to threats.”
Commenting on homegrown military equipment, he said Iranian scientists monitor needs, and design and develop gears and weaponry accordingly.
Those who are weak, moan and shout and compromise global security are more aware of the level of Iran’s capabilities, Brigadier General Dadras remarked.
He expressed hope that peace would be maintained in the region so that Iran would not be compelled to demonstrate its capabilities on the battleground, saying, “However, our abilities are great enough to enable us to give a strong response to ill-wishers.”
North Korea’s leader calls for more ‘military muscle’ after watching hypersonic missile test
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for boosting the country’s strategic military forces as he observed the test of a hypersonic missile, state media said on Wednesday, officially attending a missile launch for the first time in nearly two years.
On Tuesday, authorities in South Korea and Japan detected the suspected launch, Reuters reported.
The second test of a “hypersonic missile” in less than a week underscored Kim’s New Year’s vow to bolster the military with cutting-edge technology at a time when talks with South Korea and the United States have stalled.
After watching the test, Kim urged military scientists to “further accelerate the efforts to steadily build up the country’s strategic military muscle both in quality and quantity and further modernize the army,” KCNA news agency reported.
It was the first time since March 2020 that Kim had officially attended a missile test.
Despite their name, analysts say the main feature of hypersonic weapons is not speed – which can sometimes be matched or exceeded by traditional ballistic missile warheads – but their manoeuvrability, which makes them an acute threat to missile defence systems.
Photos released by state media appeared to show the same type of missile and warhead that was first tested last week, analysts said.
“The test-fire was aimed at the final verification of overall technical specifications of the developed hypersonic weapon system,” KCNA reported.
After its release from the rocket booster, a hypersonic glide vehicle made a 600km (375 mile) “glide jump flight” and then 240km of “corkscrew maneuvering” before hitting a target in the sea 1,000 km away, the report said.