Head of Egypt’s Interest Section in Tehran said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s upcoming visit to Cairo will strengthen relations between the two countries.
Khalid Al-Said Ibrahim Amari said on Sunday that Iran’s president would visit Egypt on February 6-7 at the official invitation of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, IRNA reported on Sunday.
During the visit, Ahmadinejad will attend the 12th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. He is also expected to hold talks with Morsi.
Iran severed ties with Egypt because Cairo signed the 1978 Camp David Accords with the Israeli regime and offered asylum to Iran’s deposed monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. However, Tehran and Cairo resumed ties after the Egyptian revolution that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
The presidents of Iran and Egypt will address current regional and international issues, Amari said.
The Egyptian official further stated that if Iran and the six major world powers (P5+1) are willing to proceed with negotiations in Cairo, the Egyptian government would be ready to host the talks.
Egypt supports Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy and believes that outstanding issues pertaining to Tehran’s nuclear energy activities should be settled through negotiations, Amari said.
Iran and the P5+1 (Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany) have held several rounds of talks on Iran’s nuclear energy program. The last round of negotiations was held in Moscow in June 2012.
The United States, the Israeli regime and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran has strongly rejected the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Lebanon Wards off Spillover Of Syrian Conflict
Iranian ambassador to Lebanon praised the prudence of Lebanese authorities to protect the country against spillover of the Syrian crisis.
In a meeting with Lebanese lawmaker Boutros Harb in Beirut on Saturday, Ghazanfar Roknabadi said Lebanese statesmen, thanks to discretion and forethought, could avoid the adverse effects of the turmoil in Syria, Mehr News Agency reported.
He further stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran was doing its best to help Lebanon maintain its unity and territorial integrity against the Israeli regime.
Meanwhile, Harb said the Lebanese government welcomed any plan seeking to stop the violence in Syria and restore calm there. He added that Lebanon’s stability is intertwined with Syria’s tranquility, noting that insecurity in Syria inevitably affects the situation in Lebanon.
The Lebanese official also thanked Iran for its aid and assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon who have fled the violence in their home country.
“Helping the Syrian refugees is a humanitarian responsibility and we thank the Islamic Republic of Iran for its assistance and aid in this respect.”
Earlier, Roknabadi expressed the Islamic Republic’s readiness to provide help to Syrian refugees in Lebanon until they return to their homeland.
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 crisis in the country.
According to a UN report, militants from 29 countries have so far infiltrated into Syria to fight against the Damascus government, most of whom are extremist Salafists.
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, Syrian President Bashar Al-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.
Iran to Open Embassy in Myanmar
Iran is working to open an embassy in Myanmar, said a spokesman for Iran’s Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.
Seyyed Hossein Naqavi-Hosseini said that the government of Myanmar has taken into consideration Iran’s offer to establish an embassy in the country and that initial preparation have been made, Press TV reported on Sunday.
Thai government has also provided great help in this respect, the lawmaker stated.
He also pointed to a recent visit by an Iranian parliamentary delegation to Myanmar and said the delegation examined the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar during the visit.
Earlier this month, a group of MPs visited Myanmar to examine the situation of the Rohingya Muslims and find ways to help them.
Officials of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the country’s Red Crescent Society (IRCS), and the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee accompanied the Iranian lawmakers during their visit to Myanmar.
Naqavi-Hosseini called on the Muslim world and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to take proper steps on the issue of Rohingyas.
The legislator said the parliamentary delegation had also discussed with Myanmar authorities ways to address the situation of the Rohingya Muslims through Iran’s embassy.
Some 800,000 Rohingya Muslims are deprived of citizenship rights and suffer from a policy of discrimination that has denied them the right of naturalization and made them vulnerable to acts of violence and persecution, expulsion and displacement.
They have faced torture, neglect and repression in Myanmar since it achieved independence in 1948. Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by Buddhist extremists.
Buddhist extremists frequently attack Rohingyas and set fire to their homes in several villages in the troubled region. Myanmar government has been blamed for failing to protect the Muslim minority.
Myanmar’s army reportedly provided extremists with containers of petrol to torch the houses of Muslim villagers.
Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the eighth century.
Myanmar’s government has been accused of failing to protect the Muslim minority.
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has also come under fire for her stance on the violence. The Nobel Peace laureate has consistently refused to condemn the Myanmarese military for its persecution of the Rohingyas.
On December 25, the United Nations General Assembly issued a resolution expressing concern over the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar. The resolution called on Myanmar’s government to ‘protect all their (the Muslims) human rights, including their right to a nationality’.
The unanimously adopted UN resolution expresses ‘particular concern about the situation of the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state, urges the (Myanmar) government to take action to bring about an improvement in their situation and to protect all their human rights, including their right to a nationality’.
The UN resolution also stated that there are ‘systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms’ in Myanmar.
The resolution was identical to one approved earlier by the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which focuses on human rights.
Camp for Rohingyas
Meanwhile the deputy chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said the Islamic Republic plans to set up a camp in Myanmar to help the efforts to provide relief to the Rohingya Muslims.
Mansour Haqiqatpour said agreements have been reached with senior Myanmar officials to set up a camp in Rakhine state that can accommodate thousands of Rohingya refugees and where food can be provided for them.
He stated that Tehran will soon put forward its own plan for the cessation of violence against Rohingya Muslims and the restoration of the social rights of the Muslim community.
Qatar, Turkey Seeking Chaos in Iraq
Qatar and Turkey receive orders from the United States and NATO to create insecurity in Iraq, said an Iranian lawmaker.
Nozar Shafiei, a member of the Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, said on Saturday that Doha and Ankara play a major role in creating chaos in Iraq at the behest of Washington and the NATO alliance. The same thing happens in Syria, the lawmaker added, IRNA reported.
Shafiei pointed out that Iran has no intention of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. However, the Islamic Republic should monitor the developments in Syria and Iraq in view of the spillover of the events in those countries.
Several anti-government demonstrations have been held in Iraq since December 23, 2012, when bodyguards of Finance Minister Rafie Al-Issawi were arrested on terrorism-related charges.
The demonstrators allege that the arrests were made on sectarian grounds. They demand an end to anti-terrorism laws, but the government in Baghdad says it is up to the Iraqi parliament to decide on abolishing those laws. The government says there are foreign agendas behind the protests.
Supporters of the Iraqi government have also held demonstrations in several cities over the past few weeks.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki promised on January 2 to consider some of the protesters’ demands but he warned of police intervention if protesters abused their freedom, caused chaos, and compromised national security.
On January 15, an Iraqi lawmaker and five others, including three of his bodyguards, were killed in a bomb attack in the western province of Anbar.
Iran Ready to Mediate In Karabakh Dispute
Iran’s Ambassador to Baku Mohsen Pakaien has underlined Tehran’s readiness to mediate between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Karabakh dispute.
Pakaien said on Saturday that transregional powers do not seek the resolution of the Karabakh dispute, stressing that continuation of the conflict will be harmful for regional countries, Press TV reported.
He added that foreign powers use the dispute as a mechanism to pursue their objectives in South Caucasus.
If requested by the parties to the dispute, Iran is ready to mediate in and put forward its plan to settle the conflict, the envoy said.
Both Azerbaijan and Armenia claim the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is largely populated by Armenians but located in Azerbaijan.
Ethnic Armenian forces took control over the enclave, which accounts for 16 percent of Azerbaijan, in the early 1990s during a six-year war with the country that took place from February 1988 to May 1994.
The conflict left an estimated 30,000 people dead and one million displaced before the two sides agreed to a cease-fire in 1994. However, a peace accord has never been signed and the dispute still remains unsettled.
Iran has on several occasions offered to mediate in the dispute.
“We believe that the Karabakh issue will be resolved through dialog and the commitment of both sides to justice, and Tehran is ready to negotiate with them within this framework,” Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a joint press conference with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev in November, 2010.
Assad’s Future ‘Redline’ for Iran
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“Anyone who comes to the talks cannot negotiate on the table and support the armed elements, but must enter the negotiations and stop supporting the armed elements,” he added.
The Islamic Republic has sought international backing for its six-point plan to resolve the Syrian conflict. The plan calls for an immediate end to violence and negotiations between all parties to form a transitional government, but does not call for Assad to step down.
War on Drugs
Security forces have seized over five tons of narcotics in eastern and southeastern border areas over the past month, police said on Sunday.