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Raeisi: U.S., NATO to blame for Afghanistan underdevelopment
Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi said if the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had allowed the Afghans, they would have built strong houses for themselves.
He made the remarks in an address to reporters at the end of his visit to the northeastern Iranian province of North Khorasan on Thursday evening reacting to the adverse impacts of years of occupation and interference by the United States and NATO on Afghanistan’s development and the heavy casualties of a Wednesday earthquake in the eastern part of the country, president.ir reported.
Expressing condolences with the Afghan government and people over the lives lost in the deadly quake, Raeisi said the people of Afghanistan are “truly oppressed”.
The Iranian president noted that the Islamic Republic has always been among the first countries to provide humanitarian assistance to other states during disasters.
He urged the Iranian provinces along the common border with Afghanistan to provide the Afghan people with any kind of assistance they can.
In a message on the same day, Raeisi gave the assurance that Iran will stand by its neighbor in this “huge affliction”, sympathizing and condoling with the Afghan people and government over the tragic disaster.
He noted that he has ordered the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) to assist at full capacity the disaster-stricken people in Afghanistan.
The Iranian president deeply regretted that years of U.S. occupation have prevented development of urban and rural development in Afghanistan, which, per se, has made it difficult at present to carry out rescue and relief operations in the country.
In the 5.9-magnitude earthquake that jolted parts of Afghanistan including the capital city Kabul early Wednesday, more than 1,000 people have been confirmed dead and over 1,500 others injured in Paktika and the neighboring Khost provinces.
Under the pretext of combating terrorism, the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, starting nearly two decades of occupation.
Twenty years after that, the Afghans find their country ripped apart by the protracted war, being heirs to a destroyed economy and wrecked political structure.
Although the war ended with a chaotic and irresponsible U.S. withdrawal in August 2021, its knock-on impact continues to take its toll on the country as it infrastructure remains regrettably underdeveloped.
On Thursday, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said the Islamic Republic is standing by the people of Afghanistan under the present tough situation and has, so far, sent two first aid supplies to the quake-hit areas in the country on board two cargo planes, according to IRNA.
Making the remarks in an address to a UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan, Majid Takht-Ravanchi added the need for the formation of an inclusive government in Kabul, which would represent all ethnic and political groups, is quite evident.
He regretted that this comes as despite the frequent international requests, the caretaker government of Taliban has so far failed to make considerable efforts to guarantee the real ethnic and political inclusiveness of the governance system in the country, which is a prerequisite and vital element for gaining international recognition.
The envoy said Iran, as Afghanistan’s neighbor, has been standing by the country’s people using all its capacities and resources to help it overcome the challenges it has been facing over the past four decades.
He added despite having been host to millions of Afghan refugees over the past 40 years, Iran has received least international aid in this regard.
Takht-Ravanchi stressed that the United States must release Afghanistan’s frozen assets as they belong to the country’s people.
In remarks on the same day, Zahra Ershadi, the deputy permanent representative of Iran to the UN, also urged the United States to release Afghan people’s assets.
She said some countries’ move to freeze Afghanistan’s assets is against humanitarian and international law.
Iran FM calls for greater cooperation with Oman, China
The Iranian foreign minister called for expansion of cooperation and bilateral relations in talks with his Omani and Chinese counterparts on Thursday.
In a phone conversation with Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr al-Busaidi, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Iran highlights the necessity of regional cooperation and dialogue, IRNA reported.
He stressed that regional countries are the ones that must decide about the future of the region.
Amir-Abdollahian added Tehran and Muscat are determined to deepen bilateral relations, underlining the importance of implementing the agreements signed between the two countries during the late May visit by Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi to
He described Oman’s role in the region’s developments as important, praising efforts by the Arab state to ensure peace and stability in West Asia and encourage cooperation among regional countries.
Busaidi said Iran’s approach toward improving relations with regional countries is very important, saying Oman is serious about doing the follow-ups on the agreements signed between the two countries during Raeisi’s visit.
In remarks in a separate phone call with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Amir-Abdollahian expressed hope that the two countries would facilitate expansion of cooperation and bilateral relations, including in the fields of air transport and exchange of students, as soon as possible in view of their success to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said dialogue between the two countries’ officials provides a favorable context for the development of bilateral ties, hoping that during the period China is holding the presidency of the BRICS alliance, it would be able to promote multilateral cooperation.
Amir-Abdollahian thanked China for inviting the Iranian president to take part in the 14th BRICS Summit, commending Beijing’s initiative to ensure global development and security.
Turning to the Vienna talks on the revival of a 2015 nuclear deal, he said the Islamic Republic is ready to reach a lasting agreement with goodwill and seriousness while ensuring the Iranian nation’s interests.
The minister described a recent anti-Iran resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as unconstructive.
The Chinese minister expressed optimism that after the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions in Beijing, the two countries’ presidents would be able to hold an in-person meeting.
Wang rejected unilateral approaches within the international community, describing as constructive and useful for boosting bilateral ties a comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Iran.
He voiced China’s support for the continuation of the Vienna talks, hoping that the path of diplomacy would lead to the achievement of an agreement.
The Chinese foreign minister also described as a source of tensions the IAEA’s anti-Tehran resolution.
IRGC intelligence gets new chief
The chief commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) appointed a new chief for the IRGC Intelligence Organization.
General Ramezan Sharif, the IRGC’s spokesperson, announced on Thursday that Major General Hossein Salami appointed General Mohammad Kazemi as the new head of the organization, Tasnim News Agency reported.
General Kazemi has replaced Hojjatoleslam Hossein Taeb, a cleric that held the post for over 12 years.
The IRGC spokesman added Major General Hossein Salami appointed Hojjatoleslam Taeb as his adviser.
General Sharif said the new IRGC Intelligence Organization chief used to run the IRGC Intelligence Protection Organization for years and has considerable experience in intelligence, security and protection affairs.
Parliament seeking to neutralize, lift sanctions: Speaker
The Iranian Parliament speaker said since the beginning of its term in May 2020, the legislative body has been pursuing two policies of neutralizing and lifting the U.S. sanctions on the country.
Making the remarks in an address to a conference attended by Iranian university professors and elites on Thursday, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf added over the past months, all measures by the Parliament have focused on these two approaches, Mehr News Agency reported.
He said with regard to the removal of the sanctions, the Parliament passed a law in December 2020 to counter the coercive measures and safeguard the Iranian nation’s interests within the framework of a 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Qalibaf added experts can attest that what is said in the law is entirely logical, humane and scientific, noting that after 20 years, the Parliament managed to detach Iran’s peaceful nuclear program from the impacts of political approaches through passing the law.
Iran signed the JCPOA with the world powers in July 2015 accepting to put some curbs on its nuclear program in return for the removal of the sanctions on Tehran. However, former president Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement in May 2018 and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran, prompting Iran, after a year of strategic patience, to reduce some of its nuclear commitments under the agreement in retaliation based on the law passed by the Parliament.
Since April 2021, several rounds of talks have been held in the Austrian capital between Iran and the remaining JCPOA parties to revive the deal.
Iran insists on obtaining guarantees that the succeeding U.S. governments would not drop the deal again and calls for lifting the sanctions in a verifiable manner.
After witnessing good progress making everyone believe that an agreement was only a few days away, the diplomatic process has, however, faced a pause since March, raising concerns over the talks’ failure to come to fruition.
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