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A trip to consolidate cordial relationship
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is the first high-ranking Russian official to travel to Iran since the incumbent Iranian administration took office. I believe this is a favorable opportunity for both countries to strengthen their bilateral, regional, and international cooperation in the face of Western pressures.
Since Russia launched its military operation against Ukraine, which jeopardized Russia’s relationship with Europe, Moscow is recruiting allies with open arms. Coincidentally, Iran has many common interests and positions with Russia in the areas of security, politics, and economy.
For one thing, both countries are under sanctions. Although, I personally believe that having faith in the long-lost efficacy of sanctions is a delusion. In reality, Europe and the US depend on Iran and Russia. Tehran and Moscow are major sources of energy for consumers globally. Europe is currently dealing with an inflation crisis, and the price of energy has gone up by 30 percent. The prolongation of this situation is not in favor of European countries, which are large consumers of oil and gas.
Despite having remarkable technological capabilities, Iran and Russia have been selling their crude oil for years while both countries could have exported petroleum products with a higher added value, bringing in more revenues. As such, Tehran and Moscow can help each other out in this respect.
In addition to the issue of energy, which is the ace in the hands of both countries against the West, Tehran and Moscow can cooperate in the field of agriculture, jointly supplying food to their friends. Both countries also have manifold opportunities for industrial cooperation. Iran manufactures many products including medication that Russia currently imports from Europe. Considering its complicated relationship with Europe, Moscow is eager to import high-quality Iranian products, which is another opportunity for Iran’s economy.
I imagine that in Lavrov’s constructive meeting with the Iranian president and foreign minister, some mechanisms will surely be worked out to increase trade volume and strengthen cooperation, thereby offsetting Western sanctions.
The Foreign Ministry acts as a compass for a country’s international relations. When experts at Iran’s Foreign Ministry have assessed that expanding cooperation with Russia will secure the country’s economic and political interests, other Iranian institutions should adjust themselves to the assessment.
Now, Tehran and Moscow evidently have a better chance to promote their cooperation, as pro-West figures in Iran and Russia are no longer in charge. On top of that, Lavrov’s visit can build up momentum for efforts to boost Iran-Russia cooperation.
Afghanistan quake kills at least 1,000, deadliest in decades
A powerful earthquake struck a rural, mountainous region of eastern Afghanistan early Wednesday, killing at least 1,000 people and injuring 1,500 more in one of the deadliest quakes in decades. Officials warned that the already grim toll may still rise.
The epicenter of the magnitude 6.1 temblor was in Paktika Province at a depth at just 10 kilometers, AP reported.
Rescuers rushed to the area by helicopter Wednesday and a Taliban official asked for international help.
“When such a big incident happens in any country, there is a need for help from other countries,” said Sharafuddin Muslim. “It is very difficult for us to be able to respond to this huge incident.”
Footage from Paktika showed men carrying people in blankets to waiting helicopters. Others were treated on the ground. Some images showed residents picking through clay bricks and other rubble from destroyed stone houses, some of whose roofs or walls had caved in.
Iran offered its condolences to Afghanistan and said it sent two aircraft containing humanitarian aid.
The Italian medical aid group Emergency, which still operates in Afghanistan, said it dispatched seven ambulances and staff to the areas closest to the quake zone.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said his nation would provide help. At the Vatican, Pope Francis offered prayers for all those killed and injured and for the “suffering of the dear Afghan population.”
Iran’s spring non-oil trade hits $25.5b; 19.5% up
Iran’s non-oil trade reached $25.5 billion in the first quarter of the Persian calendar year (starting on March 21), posting a positive trade balance of $605 million, the customs office said on Wednesday.
Alireza Moqaddasi, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, Iran traded 36 million tons of commodities valued at $25.5 billion with other countries during the spring – 19.5% up versus the same period a year ago.
“Iran exported 27.7 million tons of goods worth over $13 billion [over the past three months] which indicates a 21% surge compared to the spring of last year,” said Moqaddasi, adding that the overall amount of imports topped 8.1 million tons of goods, totaling nearly $12.5 with an 18% jump.
With exports outdoing imports, Moqaddasi added that Iran’s trade balance remained in surplus.
“This three-month continuity is unprecedented,” he said.
China was Iran’s largest trade partner. Exports to China exceeded $4.2 billion over the period while imports from the Asian economic powerhouse was more than $3.1 billion, the official said.
The United Arab Emirates, the main re-exporting hub in the Persian Gulf, was the largest supplier of goods to Iran in the spring Moqaddasi said, adding that UAE exports to Iran amounted to over $3.4 billion.
The official added that Iraq and Turkey were also among Iran’s maid trade partners during the three-month period
Iran’s EB foundation urges US oil expropriation in favor of patients
The EB Foundation of Iran called for the expropriation of a seized US oil shipment in damages for the harm inflicted upon Iranians suffering from epidermolysis bullosa due to Washington’s inhumane sanctions.
In its appeal, the foundation referred to one of the two Greek-flagged oil tankers that Iran seized in the Persian Gulf last month.
It said the adverse impacts of the sanctions have deepened the wounds of the patients suffering from the rare skin disorder, Press TV reported.
“Our minimum demand is that the cargo of the ship be confiscated in favor of EB patients, so that perhaps a small portion of the material and spiritual damage to them will be compensated,” the foundation said.
It explained the “criminal” sanctions which were imposed on 2018 have prevented EB patients from accessing special dressings and, as a result, have inflicted “numerous severe physical and psychological wounds on these patients and their families”.
“The barbarity of America’s irrational sanctions has even gone so far as to prevent access to humanitarian items that are vital to patients’ lives,” it lamented.
Iran has repeatedly denounced the sanctions as an act of “economic war”, “economic terrorism”, and “medical terrorism.”
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