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The Foreign Ministry spokesman, however, did not mention the date of the next round of the talks.
“The deputy of [EU foreign policy chief] Mrs. [Catherine] Ashton is expected to inform us of the P5+1 response about the venue of the talks so that we could resume the negotiations,” he added.
Iran and the P5+1 have held several rounds of multifaceted talks mainly over Iran’s nuclear energy program.
On January 4, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili said that Tehran welcomes the readiness of the six major world powers to hold constructive talks with Iran.
“Just as Iran feels obligated to act within the framework of IAEA regulations and in line with the NPT, it insists on asserting its rights within the same framework,” Jalili stated.
Terrorist Attacks in Pakistan
Mehmanparast also called on the Pakistani government to make greater efforts to combat terrorism.
“Unfortunately, terrorist attacks in regional countries have endangered the lives of innocent people and we expect Pakistan’s government to make more efforts to fight terrorism,” he said.
“All regional countries should cooperate to uproot this ominous phenomenon,” Mehmanparast added.
“Terrorism stems from the interference of foreign countries in the region; they created this ominous phenomenon in order to achieve their political objectives,” Mehmanparast said, adding that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) can play a major role in mobilizing regional countries in the fight against acts of terror.
On January 10, nearly 130 people were killed and many others injured in a wave of deadly attacks targeting both Pakistani security guards and civilians in the country.
More than 90 of the victims lost their lives in twin bomb attacks that targeted Shiite Muslims in a crowded place in Quetta. The outlawed terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack. Widespread protests were held across the country to denounce the violence against Shiites, with protesters accusing the Pakistani government of failing to take enough action to prevent terror attacks on Shiites.
Shiites make up 20 percent of the country’s 180-million-strong population.
Violence has escalated against Shiite Muslims in different parts of the country in recent months. Since the beginning of 2012, hundreds of Shiites have been killed in Pakistan. The attacks have targeted many doctors, engineers, high-ranking government officials, teachers, and politicians.
Commenting on the crisis in Mali, the Mehmanparast said, “Our foreign policy is based on respecting the territorial integrity of countries,” adding that foreign countries must cease their support for armed groups that threaten the stability and security of countries.
Chaos broke out in the West African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012.
The coup leaders said they had mounted the coup in response to the government’s inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.
French President François Hollande announced on Friday that his country had launched military intervention in its former colony to fight the rebels.
Mehmanparast added, “We believe security and stability must be established, the territorial integrity of countries must be respected and any popular demand must be met through democratic process.”
Referring to the ongoing unrest in Syria, the Iranian official said, “We should all make efforts and continue consultations in order to restore peace in Syria.
“Those countries that support violent means and seek to escalate conflicts and are dispatching arms to Syria should know that this approach is futile.”
Mehmanparast stressed that the rights of the Syrian people must be respected by holding fair elections, adding that those who are against elections in Syria fear its results and are trying to undermine the prospects of such polls by increasing violence in the Arab country.
The official said that ‘defending the rights of the people in the region’ is a principle for the Islamic Republic.
He further demanded an end to the violence in the Arab country to protect the lives of the Syrians and the prevention of any foreign meddling in the Arab country.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 and tens of thousands of people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the turmoil.
The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
Damascus blames western countries and some of their regional allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey of arming the opposition and fueling the crisis in the country, as reports indicate that a large number of insurgents fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals.
Several international human rights organizations have accused the foreign-sponsored insurgents of committing war crimes.
Iran has repeatedly rejected foreign intervention in Syria’s internal affairs, calling for national dialog as the only way out of the country’s prolonged impasse.
In a key speech on January 6, Assad stated that Damascus was always ready to hold talks with the opposition and political parties and that he would call for a ‘comprehensive national dialog’ after the terrorist activities stopped in the country.
The Syrian president also urged ‘concerned states and parties’ to stop funding, arming and harboring militants.
Allegations About Yemen
The official dismissed as ‘baseless’ the US claims about Iran’s interference in Yemen.
“These baseless and unfounded remarks are aimed at leveling accusations at our country and creating a rift among regional countries,” Mehmanparast said. US Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein on Sunday accused Iran of interfering in Yemen’s domestic affairs.
Mehmanparast noted, “We should remind the US envoy to Yemen that the movement by the people in the region and the wave of the Islamic Awakening are the result of the Americans’ long-term support for regional dictators that has led to the regional nations’ hatred of the policies of the US officials.”
He lashed out at the United States for seeking to interfere in the internal affairs of regional nations, urging Washington and its allies not to interfere in the region and allow the people to determine their own fate.
ICRC, IRCS Share Ideas On Helping Migrants
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRCS) are jointly hosting a meeting in Tehran from January 15 to 17 on helping migrants maintain ties with family members.
“Migrants face a variety of problems, including separation from their families, that make them very vulnerable,” said Olivier Dubois, deputy head of the ICRC Central Tracing Agency and Protection Division.
“The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has a unique network of National Societies along migration routes, that are committed to providing humanitarian services to migrants in need, regardless of their status.”
Representatives of the National Societies of Afghanistan, Australia, Britain, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Pakistan, Spain, Sweden and Turkey, of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and of the Platform for European Red Cross Cooperation on Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers (PERCO) will attend the meeting.
“The ICRC and the Iranian Red Crescent Society have years of experience in this area. Since the beginning of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, the ICRC has exchanged millions of Red Cross messages between prisoners of war and their families in cooperation with the Iranian Red Crescent,” said Joanna Durao Caruio Trindade, an ICRC delegate in Iran.
“This is the first time that the two organizations are jointly holding an event in which the National Societies directly concerned by migration routes gather to discuss their current practices, identifying strengths and limitations, in order to improve the services they can offer the migrants most in need.”
Issues such as the recognition of the needs of migrants and the identification of the main challenges that National Societies are facing in their efforts to meet those needs are being discussed, and the tools and methodology used by participants to trace members of migrant families are being shared.
Now as ever, strengthened cooperation among National Societies and ICRC delegations is a top priority.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has a 10-year strategy to better meet the needs of people separated from their families.
The strategy involves enhanced coordination and cooperation within the Movement, and strengthened support for tracing services.
US Allegation Of Interference in Yemen Baseless
An Iranian lawmaker has rejected as unfounded US claims about Iran’s interference in Yemen, describing Washington’s presence as the actual cause of instability in the region.
Ahmad Shohani said on Monday that US allegations about Iran’s interference in Yemen’s domestic affairs are unfounded and based on political agendas, Press TV reported.
Shohani said the US officials are trying to score political points by making anti-Iranian remarks.
“Over the past few years, the US has tried to create Iranophobia among regional countries by leveling accusations against Iran,” Shohani said, adding that Washington has, over the past year in particular, made the allegation of Iran’s interference in Yemen by ‘inciting Yemeni officials’.
US Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein on Sunday accused Iran of interfering in Yemen’s domestic affairs.
Shohani added, “The US and the West are trying to influence regional public opinion by creating a negative anti-Iranian climate by using the media under their control and justify their meddlesome presence in the region by exploiting this blurry atmosphere,” Shohani said.
“The US seeks to create tension in the region, because tension serves this country’s interest as it can sell its weapons,” the lawmaker added.
Commenting on the same issue, another Iranian lawmaker, Seyyed Baqer Hosseini, said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is against the disintegration of any Muslim country, because it considers the breakup of regional countries, including Yemen to be against the interests of the Muslim world and in the interests of enemies.”
Hosseini added, “Tehran respects other countries’ sovereignty and the nations’ right to determine [their] own fate and will never approve of interference in other countries’ internal affairs.”
Ahamadinejad Invited To OIC Summit in Egypt
An Iranian official said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been invited by his Egyptian counterpart to participate in the upcoming summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Cairo.
During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had invited Ahmadinejad to attend the summit, which is scheduled for February 6-7.
Mehmanparast said the summit would provide a good opportunity for the two presidents to hold talks.
During the February summit, Egypt will assume OIC presidency for the next three years.
The OIC, which was established in 1969, is the second-largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations and has 57 member states spread over four continents.
“Continuous consultation among influential regional countries, including Iran and Egypt, can be effective and beneficial to the expansion of bilateral relations and the resolution of regional crises,” Mehmanparast added.
Tehran and Cairo resumed ties after the Egyptian revolution that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Iran had severed ties with Egypt because Cairo signed the 1978 Camp David Accord with the Israeli regime and offered asylum to Iran’s deposed monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Morsi visited Iran for the 16th Non-Aligned Movement in August 2012, which was the first trip by an Egyptian president to Tehran since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
FM to Visit Moscow
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi is scheduled to visit Moscow to take part in the annual meeting of the Russian-Iranian Business Council (RIBC) on February 11-12.
Iran’s Ambassador to Moscow Reza Sajjadi said the RIBC is holding its 10th meeting in the Russian capital Moscow, IRNA reported.
The Russian delegation will be led by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Sajjadi said on Monday.
He added that the RIBC is expected to discuss expansion of trade, industrial, transportation, energy as well as consular cooperation between the two countries.
Sajjadi also announced that Russian Minister of the Interior Vladimir Kolokoltsevis is expected to pay a two-day visit to Tehran on January 20-21 to exchange views with Iranian officials about police cooperation.
In December 2012, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industries said nothing could prevent the development of trade relations between Tehran and Moscow.
Head of the Foreign Relations Department at the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industries Vladimir Padalko had also dismissed the impact of US-led sanctions against Iran on bilateral ties, saying Moscow observes the situation and does not allow cooperation between the two countries to decrease.
Russian government has defiantly declared its intention to continue trade with Iran, rebuffing US attempts to force Russia to cut economic ties with Tehran over its nuclear energy program which Iran maintains is for peaceful purposes.
The 9th meeting of the RIBC was hosted by Tehran in September 2011.
Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab-African affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian arrived in Beijing on Tuesday to review issues of mutual interest with senior Chinese officials.