Raeisi, Putin discuss joint vaccine production, hope to meet soon
Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi discussed with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin the continuation of cooperation between the two countries in the production of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.
In a phone conversation on Tuesday, the two sides also expressed hope to meet in the near future, IRNA reported.
Raeisi said Iran pursues expansion of cooperation with Russia in all fields.
He also stressed the necessity of continued collaboration between the two countries in the fight against the coronavirus, including in the field of vaccine production, noting that such cooperation is required to continue at full strength until the complete eradication of the pandemic.
The Russian president noted that he is in quarantine due to a probable contraction of COVID-19, calling for arrangements for a future meeting with his Iranian counterpart at the earliest opportunity.
Commenting on the two sides’ cooperation in the battle against the virus and also joint vaccine production, Putin emphasized the importance of continuing such efforts.
Iran has already imported several consignments of COVID-19 vaccines, including batches of Russian Sputnik V doses. Russia has launched a production line for manufacturing the vaccine in Iran.
Iran’s COVID casualties
Iran’s Health Ministry announced in a statement on Tuesday that the country’s daily COVID-19 deaths and infections reached 408 and 22,329, respectively, in the past 24 hours.
The statement added the total COVID-19 death toll and infections since the beginning of the outbreak in the country in late February 2020 stand at 115,167 and 5,340,656, respectively.
It added that 7,123 COVID-19 patients are in critical condition, and of the newly-detected cases, 3,436 individuals have been hospitalized.
The ministry said 4,627,027 COVID-19 patients have so far either recovered from the disease or have been discharged from hospitals.
The statement added that 30,445,641 coronavirus diagnostic tests have so far been carried out in the country, and 37,866,551 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, of which 1,229,203 doses were given to people during the 24-hour period to Tuesday.
The Health Ministry said 168 cities in the country are coded red (very high-risk), while 209 are in the orange zone (high-risk).
The number of the country’s yellow (medium-risk) cities is 71, according to the ministry.
Iran has been grappling with a fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic since a few weeks ago, mainly sparked by the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant, known as Delta, seeing a resurgence in deaths and infections.
Iran to manufacture new large warship, destroyers: Army chief
The commander of the Iranian Army unveiled plans for the production of a new forward base ship and destroyers for naval missions.
Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi told defapress.ir that the Navy is gearing up for more missions in oceans, days after a flotilla of warships returned home from an Atlantic mission, Tasnim News Agency reported.
The 75th flotilla of military vessels, including Sahand destroyer and Makran forward base ship, returned to Iran on September 9 after a mission that lasted 133 days. It sailed 45,000 kilometers in three oceans, passing by 55 countries in three continents.
The army chief said the Navy has plans to manufacture a new forward base ship similar to Makran as well as new destroyers for future overseas operations.
Major General Mousavi added Iran has gained such experience in manufacturing military vessels that it can make new destroyers and naval equipment in the shortest time possible.
The new homemade destroyers would be equipped with upgraded systems, he noted, saying the naval units must be furnished with advanced gear fit for missions in all oceans.
First VP: Army ready to nip conspiracies against national security in the bud
The Iranian Army forces’ powerful presence in the high seas and oceans indicated that they are prepared to nip any conspiracy against the country’s security and interests in the bud by relying on domestic capabilities, said the first vice president.
Making the statement in a message to congratulate the glorious return of Iran’s 75th naval group to the country on September 9 after a 133-day mission, Mohammad Mokhber added that the flotilla conveyed the Islamic Republic’s’ message of peace and friendship for the neighboring and regional states, IRNA reported.
He noted that, undoubtedly, the powerful presence was a turning point in regional and international security developments.
Mokhber said that by carrying the message of peace and friendship through its naval group, Iran seeks to announce that it is willing to expand relations with other countries through diplomacy and based on mutual respect to ensure the security of the region and, particularly, the high seas and major waterways through enhanced cooperation.
He described as another glorious achievement among the numerous and heroic accomplishments of the Iranian Army the Navy’s powerful and honorable presence in international waters as well as major and strategic waterways and its voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.
The first vice president stressed that the army forces also show that through relying on God Almighty and under the guidance of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, they are ready to ensure the country’s security, develop its power and preserve its honor.
Iran’s 75th naval group, featuring the country’s most advanced indigenous destroyer Sahand and support vessel Makran, began its mission on May 2 by sailing to the northern Indian Ocean, according to Press TV.
The flotilla sailed 45,000 kilometers (24,000 nautical miles) along 55 countries in three continents. The vessels were berthed at the southern Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on Sunday.
In an address to the ceremony to welcome back the flotilla on Sunday, Navy Chief Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said the 75th naval group managed to “powerfully” accomplish its mission, stressing that the country’s naval forces will uphold their international presence “with loftier goals”.
To the dismay of the US and other countries which had predicted Iran was unable to fulfill the mission, “the mission was thoroughly accomplished,” Admiral Irani said.
On Saturday, Ayatollah Khamenei congratulated “the mighty and honorable return” of the naval group from “the grave mission of navigating in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in the history of the country’s seafaring”.
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The official then went on to enumerate the international community’s political and humanitarian duties toward the Central Asian nation amid the situation.
On the political level, members of the international community have to endeavor towards helping create an inclusive government that features all the concerned parties in Afghanistan, he said.
The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic, itself, concerning the country also relies on support for an Afghanistan that is free from terrorism, and narcotics, where the Afghan people can fully exercise their right to self-determination, the foreign minister said.
It is only one such government that could guarantee safety, stability, and development in Afghanistan, urged the Iranian official.
On the humanitarian level, the world has to scramble immediately to ensure the flow of aid to Afghanistan, he said, and expressed the Islamic Republic’s readiness to help in the area by facilitating the transfer of the supplies towards the country.
Amir-Abdollahian, meanwhile, deplored the poor quality of the international community’s performance concerning the situation of the Afghan refugees.
Iran expects IAEA to reflect Tehran’s positive measures in its report: MP
Iran expects the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to deliver a report of the country’s positive measures to the Board of Governors given the goodwill the Islamic Republic has shown in the past and present, said a member of Parliament.
Abolfazl Amouei, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, made the remarks in an interview with IRNA on Tuesday, commenting on the recent visit by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi to Tehran, and the issuance of a joint statement by the agency and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
Grossi arrived in the Iranian capital on Saturday to hold talks with new AEOI Chief Mohammad Eslami.
Iran and the IAEA announced on Sunday that they have reached an agreement according to which Tehran will allow international inspectors to service the UN nuclear agency’s surveillance equipment installed at the country’s nuclear sites and replace their storage media, Press TV reported.
Amouei added that Grossi’s visit was within the framework of the technical cooperation between Iran and the IAEA.
The lawmaker noted, however, that the main target of the IAEA’s mission must be technical, as the politicization of the agency will harm its status and cooperation with Iran.
He said that according to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Islamic Republic is authorized to perform peaceful nuclear activities, adding that in return, the agency is required to monitor and supervise Iran’s nuclear program, as it does with regard to all other countries.
The IAEA monitors nuclear activities by its members within the framework of the safeguards agreements it has with them, Amouei noted, stressing that based on the safeguards, the Islamic Republic has its own supervision and nuclear program.
The MP said under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1 in 2015, Tehran accepted allowing supervision over its nuclear activities by the agency beyond the scope of the safeguards agreements and voluntarily implementing the Additional Protocol.
Nevertheless, the violations of promises by the US and Europe made Iran stop its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, he added.
In 2018, the US, under former president Donald Trump, withdrew from the nuclear deal and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran in a bid to cripple the country’s economy and bring Tehran to the negotiating table to hammer out a new deal.
Being part of the former US administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran and mainly targeting the country’s oil and banking sectors, the sanctions failed to produce the results desired by Washington thanks to Iranians’ resilience.
Since the US pullout, the European sides have failed to safeguard Iran’s interests within the framework of the deal despite their claims of willingness to preserve the JCPOA. Disappointed with Europe, Iran began implementing retaliatory measures, involving a phased reduction of commitments under the deal, to compel the other sides to honor their pledges.
Since April, several rounds of talks have been held in the Austrian capital of Vienna between Iran and the remaining signatories to the JCPOA, aimed at the restoration of the deal and returning the US to the deal.
Amouei said earlier, Grossi proposed the initiative that although Iran would continue limiting access by the IAEA inspectors to the surveillance equipment, the cameras keep recording and saving the videos so that in case of any agreement between Tehran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA, the agency could have access to the storage media.
He added several months have elapsed since Grossi made the proposal and during this period, the agency has not had access to the cameras.
“In the recent visit, however, it was proposed that Iran would temporarily allow the IAEA to service its surveillance equipment installed at the nuclear sites and replace their storage media although without having access to their contents.”
Commenting on Iran’s full cooperation with the agency, the MP noted that in 2020, over 23 percent of the entire inspections by the IAEA of nuclear programs across the globe pertained to Iran, making the country the world’s most inspected state.
Upon arrival in Vienna, Amouei noted, Grossi said he will definitely present a report of Iran’s goodwill to the IAEA’s Board of Governors, adding that cooperation between the two sides are at a favorable level.
Some 700 housing units in Quchan, northeastern Iran, have sustained
minor or serious damage due to an earthquake measuring 5.2 magnitude that jolted the city on Monday, said Governor Aminreza Merati, IRNA wrote.