Iran Daily expresses its heartfelt condolences on the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Ali (PBUH), the first infallible Imam of Shia Muslims. Our next issue will appear on Wednesday.
Rouhani: Supplying COVID-19 jabs government’s main priority
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the government’s top priority is supplying sufficient doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
He made the remark in an address to the 222nd meeting of the Government’s Economic Coordination Headquarters in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Sunday, IRNA reported.
Rouhani added the government has resolved the problem faced by the country in importing COVID-19 vaccines by allocating sufficient foreign currency funds.
He stressed that fighting the coronavirus effectively hinges on observing the health protocols and inoculating the people, noting that the former is a responsibility of the people and the latter a duty of the government that has determined importing and developing COVID-19 vaccines as its highest priorities.
Rouhani expressed hope that the domestic economy would return to the same path of equilibrium and growth it used to tread during 2014-17 in view of the enemy’s defeat in the economic war it waged on Iran and failure to achieve the desired result through its “maximum pressure” campaign.
He also referred to the ongoing Vienna talks on the nuclear agreement -- Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – discussing removal of US unilateral sanctions.
Since a few days ago, Iran and the remaining signatories to the JCPOA, signed between Tehran and the P5+1 in July 2015, have renewed efforts to revive the nuclear deal, from which the US withdrew in May 2018 and reimposed its unilateral sanctions — including the ones targeting the oil and banking sectors — on the Islamic Republic, through negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna.
Being part of Washington’s maximum pressure against Tehran, the sanctions failed to produce the desired result thanks to Iranian people’s maximum resistance.
Rouhani added that among important objectives of his administration and the Central Bank of Iran are balancing foreign currency prices in the domestic market, raising the value of the national currency and reducing goods prices.
He gave the assurance that through solidarity and coordination in the country, “we will able to witness major breakthroughs in coming weeks.
The secretary-general of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), Hassan Qosian, said on Sunday, Iran received the largest COVID-19 vaccine shipment since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country in late February 2020.
The consignment, including one million doses of the vaccine, has been provided by the Red Cross Society of China, he added.
The cargo arrived at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on Sunday morning.
Iran has already granted emergency use authorization to Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, COVAXIN made by India’s Bharat Biotech, Oxford/AstraZeneca developed by R-Pharm Group and the AstraZeneca-SKBio made in South Korea.
The Health Ministry announced on Sunday that over 2,700 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized in the country over the past 24 hours.
Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, the Health Ministry’s spokeswoman, Sima Sadat Lari added the total number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Iran exceeded 2,534,800 after the detection of 18,698 new cases since yesterday.
Of the newly detected cases, 2,711 patients have been hospitalized, she added.
At least 1,988,000 patients have so far either recovered from the disease or been discharged from hospitals across Iran, the spokeswoman added.
She put the total death toll from COVID-19 in Iran at 72,484, saying the disease took the lives of 394 patients over the past 24 hours.
Among those currently undergoing treatment in Iranian medical centers, 5,443 patients are in critical condition, Lari noted.
She also said that more than 16.1 million coronavirus diagnostic tests have so far been carried out in Iran and over 956,000 people have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The number of people infected with COVID-19 across the world has surpassed 152 million, with the death toll exceeding 3.2 million.
Leader stresses massive turnout in forthcoming presidential election
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei called for the massive participation of the Iranian people in the forthcoming presidential election, warning against efforts made to dissuade people from participating in high numbers in the polls.
Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a live televised speech on Sunday while reflecting on the forthcoming presidential election (June 18), saying that nobody should dissuade people from taking part in the election in high numbers, Press TV wrote.
Calling for a massive turnout in the upcoming election, the Leader said, “When people take part in elections [in multitudes], no power can harm the country.”
Ayatollah Khamenei also warned against efforts made to discourage people by casting doubts on various aspects of elections, including the governing bodies.
The Leader noted that despite some bids launched in a number of past elections to influence the voting process and the poll results, none of those efforts were important enough to affect the final result of the polls.
Ayatollah Khamenei added that those who want to run for the election must believe in the basic principles of the Islamic Establishment and do not cast doubt on them.
The Leader noted that unfortunately, some remarks made by certain officials in the run-up to the presidential election reflected previous statements made by enemies of the Islamic Republic, especially those statements, which were made to undermine Iran’s Quds Force and its martyred commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force has been the main force preventing Iran’s diplomatic apparatus from following a passive diplomacy in the West Asia region.
The Leader said enemies of Iran do not want the Islamic Republic to boost its ties with the world and this is why “when we want to expand relations with Russia or China”, they complain and they even complain “when we want to expand relations with our own neighbors”.
Ayatollah Khamenei said nowhere in the world a foreign ministry sets a country’s foreign policy outlines, but there are higher authorities that set the main lines of a country’s foreign policy and a foreign ministry just carries out those policies.
“We must not talk in a way as if we do not accept the country’s policies and in doing so, make our enemies happy,” the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei also advised hopefuls running for the election to avoid giving promises they cannot keep.
At the beginning of his speech, Ayatollah Khamenei first elaborated on the spiritual status of Imam Ali (PBUH), Shia Muslims’ first infallible Imam, whose martyrdom anniversary is on Tuesday, noting that the most important characteristics of the Imam were strict justice, courage, wisdom, as well as taking care of the oppressed people.
The Leader noted that those who proclaim to be true followers of Imam Ali (PBUH) must get as close as possible to his spiritual characteristics, especially his zeal to administer justice.
Ayatollah Khamenei noted that Imam Ali (PBUH) was martyred while praying at mosque, noting that there have been “many people in our time”, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, who also followed suit with their Imam and sought martyrdom.
The Leader mentioned Lieutenant General Soleimani as one of the true followers of Imam Ali (PBUH), saying that when enemies threatened to kill him, he reacted by saying “they are threatening me with something that I am seeking”.
Lieutenant General Soleimani was martyred — along with Deputy Commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and a number of their comrades — when his vehicle was hit on January 3, 2020 by a drone strike ordered by former US president Donald Trump.
The Leader also talked about the National Teachers’ Day, which marks the martyrdom anniversary of Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari, who was assassinated soon after the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.
Ayatollah Khamenei noted that Motahhari, as one of the main thinkers of the Islamic Revolution, spent his time on studying all schools of thought, and endeavored to give answers to questions posed by his young audience, both at the university and at the seminary of Qom.
The Leader said teachers’ most important task is to transfer their trove of knowledge to the next generations and also to pay attention that they must safeguard the thought and ideas of their young audience.
“Therefore, we can say that teachers are the officers of the country’s progressive forces,” Ayatollah Khamenei added.
The Leader noted that teachers are now playing a more prominent role, because there have been few junctures in history when “our young people have been exposed to such relentless cultural invasion”.
Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized that teachers, along with workers, enjoy a lofty and important status in the society and the society and people should recognize this, adding that in addition to recognizing their lofty status, efforts must be made to solve the livelihood problems teachers are facing, especially under the conditions created by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reflecting on the Workers’ Day, the Leader noted that workers enjoy a lofty status in Islam, which prompted the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (PBUH) to kiss their hands.
“One of the most important roles in an independent economy is played by workers... because an independent economy depends on domestic production, which in turn depends on workers,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader noted that the Islamic Republic’s enemies did their best to pit workers against the Islamic Establishment, but they never stopped backing the Islamic Republic and played their prominent role in this regard.
Ayatollah Khamenei added that one of the most important ways to support the country’s domestic production is to support the labor force.
“We must note that supporting workers is actually supporting the national wealth, because if workers are supported, they promote national wealth, which will make any country proud,” the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei noted that special attention should also be paid not only to the livelihood and economic problems of workers but also to their professional training.
“The issue of job security is a form of labor support, meaning that workers should not be concerned that they would lose their job ... and they should enjoy job security and know that their employment is guaranteed.”
Provision of housing for workers and establishing equitable relationship between the labor force, employers and government was another point on which the Leader laid special emphasis.
Ayatollah Khamenei noted that various administrations should take advantage of all available potentialities to create new jobs, because of both its economic outcomes and social impacts, including boosting vibrancy of people in the society.
The Leader also warned against efforts made to shut down Iranian factories, noting that those who close a factory for their own personal benefits, are knowingly or unknowingly doing an act of treason against the country’s independence and production.
Ayatollah Khamenei exhorted executive officials and relevant ministries to take necessary action to deal with those who want to shut down production units and factories on any grounds.
The Leader said the best way to thwart sanctions imposed on Iran by Western countries, especially the US, is to boost domestic production in true sense of the word, noting that this will first render sanctions inefficient and then will make enemies to remove sanctions.
North Korea says Biden has ‘hostile policy’, warns of response
North Korea on Sunday accused US President Joe Biden of pursuing a “hostile policy”, dismissing “spurious” American diplomacy and warning of a response.
Biden had said Wednesday that his administration would deal with the threat posed by Pyongyang’s nuclear program “through diplomacy as well as stern deterrence”, according to AFP.
The White House said Friday that the president was open to negotiations with North Korea on denuclearization following the completion of a policy review, but Pyongyang said Biden had made a “big blunder”.
“His statement clearly reflects his intent to keep enforcing the hostile policy toward the DPRK as it had been done by the US for over half a century,” Kwon Jung Gun, a Foreign Ministry official, said in a statement released by the official KCNA.
“The US-claimed ‘diplomacy’ is a spurious signboard for covering up its hostile acts, and ‘deterrence’ touted by it is just a means for posing nuclear threats to the DPRK,” Kwon added, using the official name of North Korea.
“Now that what the keynote of the US new DPRK policy has become clear, we will be compelled to press for corresponding measures.”
The White House said Friday that its goal remains “the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”.
Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki gave little indication of what kind of diplomatic initiative this could entail, but suggested that the president had learned from the experience of his predecessors, who struggled to deal with North Korea’s leadership and its nuclear weapons program.
But Psaki said Washington would not “focus on achieving a grand bargain”, apparently referring to the kind of dramatic over-arching deal that former president Donald Trump initially suggested was possible when he met with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.
Neither would the White House follow the more standoffish approach espoused by Barack Obama, she added.
Third round of Vienna talks reaches ‘level of maturity’ on different issues: Iran’s lead negotiator
Tehran, P4+1 agree to continue talks with more speed, seriousness
Iran’s chief negotiator said the third round of negotiations in Vienna to fully restore the 2015 nuclear agreement has approached certain “maturity” and “clarity” while there remains a lengthy and bumpy road ahead.
“I can say that the discussions have reached maturity, both on the issues that are contentious and the issues over which there is agreement,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi added on Saturday afternoon, after the conclusion of the third round of talks in the Austrian capital, Press TV reported.
This comes as representatives of Iran and the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), agreed to continue the next round of Vienna talks with more speed and seriousness.
Saturday’s meeting began at the Grand Hotel in Vienna in the afternoon with the aim of summarizing the latest progress made during the talks that began early last month.
According to Iran’s Foreign Ministry, participants in the Saturday meeting agreed that the delegations would return to their respective capitals to receive instructions and resume talks on Friday.
In recent days, expert negotiations were held within three working groups that were formed to resolve technical issues hampering a full restoration of the nuclear agreement, signed in July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1.
Bilateral and multilateral meetings were also held to exchange views and coordinate efforts aimed at reaching a consensus on the path forward.
Araqchi said the third round embodied “very intensive negotiations” at different levels and with diverse formats.
He said differences between the sides, as they dived into technical issues, have become clearer and more specific.
“We have specific subtle technical points and details on issues relating to [Iran’s] nuclear activities and the [US unilateral] sanctions, which need to be discussed,” he added.
The US has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Iran since the JCPOA went into effect in January 2016. Washington began to adopt what it called the “maximum pressure” policy against the Islamic Republic under former President Donald Trump after he withdrew from the nuclear accord in May 2018.
Iran argues that salvaging the JCPOA, which the US President Joe Biden’s administration has promised a return to, requires full and effective removal of all US sanctions imposed after the deal went into force. It says that only then, Tehran would reverse the “remedial measures” it has taken in response to the sanctions.
Araqchi explained that although it is not predictable when and how the two sides can reach an agreement on the full restoration of the 2015 pact, “the format of any agreement will be definitely in accordance with the [Iranian] establishment’s positions”.
He said the two sides are currently drafting texts over certain issues that they agreed upon.
“This is where things move ahead very slowly because drafting a text needs precision,” the senior diplomat added.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Araqchi said based on the agreements made so far, all of the sanctions that targeted specific sectors, such as energy, finance, banking and insurance sectors, must be removed.
But talks are ongoing about a long list of individuals and institutions that have been put on the sanctions list, he said, adding that Iran seeks their removal from the list as well.
‘Success not impossible’
Meanwhile, senior European diplomats said in a statement that the talks have not progressed as much as they expected.
“We have much work, and little time, left. Against that background, we would have hoped for more progress this week,” the diplomats said, according to Reuters.
“We have yet to come to an understanding on the most critical points. Success is by no means guaranteed, but not impossible,” they added.
Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s top negotiator at the talks, said the sides should not expect breakthroughs in the coming days.
“We need simply to continue diplomatic, day-to-day work, and we have all the reasons to expect that the outcome, (the) final outcome, will be successful and it will come quite soon, in a few weeks,” Ulyanov told reporters after the meeting.
In a tweet following the meeting, he talked of “indisputable progress” made at the negotiations.
Ulyanov also said that the JCPOA Joint Commission will reconvene at the end of the next week while “experts will continue to draft elements of future agreement”.
The US is not negotiating directly with Iran, but is participating in the discussions led by the other parties to the treaty.