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Forty-eight Iranian pilgrims were kidnapped by foreign-backed Syrian armed men on August 4, 2012, while they were traveling on a bus from Damascus International Airport to the shrine of Hazrat Zainab (SA) on the outskirts of the Syrian capital.
The Iranian abductees were released in a swap deal between the Syrian government and armed opposition groups.
Turkish parliament speaker, for his part, stressed the importance of improving relations with Iran and said he would visit Tehran in the near future.
“Iran is an important country and we are trying to expand ties,” Cicek added.
He noted that Iran and Turkey are concerned about developments in the region, expressing hope that regional problems would be resolved through negotiations.
Military Solution Opposed
Meanwhile in a meeting with Hezbollah Member of Parliament Walid Sukkarieh in Khartoum, Larijani once again voiced strong opposition to military solutions to the Syrian crisis.
He said unrests in the Muslim country should be resolved through political and democratic means.
Stressing that the Syrian problem has no military solution, Larijani added that those countries which financially support opposition groups in Syria and dispatch arms to them should be responsible for the bloodshed in that country.
“There are certain countries which lack democracy but it is not obvious why they feel pity for Syria,” Larijani told reporters on the sidelines of the 8th General Assembly Meeting of the IIPU on Tuesday.
Source of Inspiration
In a meeting with Egypt’s Parliament Speaker Mohamed Saad El-Katatni, the Egyptian official lauded Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution as a source of inspiration for all the popular revolutions across the region and defended Tehran’s nuclear rights.
At the Monday meeting, El-Katatni also underscored the Egyptian nation’s opposition to any interference by global powers in Iran’s internal affairs and slammed the West’s double standards with regard to the Islamic Republic and Israel.
The top Egyptian legislator pointed to the North African nation’s resolve to consolidate ties with Iran and hailed the two countries’ common principles as a good ground for further enhancement of bilateral relations.
Larijani, for his part, underlined the importance of Egypt for Iran and expressed optimism that political reforms in the North African country will bring about prosperity.
“Since the beginning of the developments in Egypt, we have been constantly following up on the situation and changes in Egypt and consider your victory as a political earthquake for the country,” he added.
Iran severed ties with Egypt after Cairo signed the 1978 Camp David Accords with the Israeli regime and offered asylum to Iran’s deposed monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
However, the Egyptian revolution in February 2011 which led to the ouster of Egypt’s former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, has caused relative thaw in frosty ties between Tehran and Cairo.
An Islamic Model
The Majlis speaker also met the Speaker of National Assembly of Sudan Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir in Khartoum on Tuesday.
The Sudanese official advised the regional states to consider Iran as an example, adding Sudan believes in Iran as an Islamic model, IRNA reported.
Al-Tahir said the enemies try to make problems for Iran.
He described Tehran-Khartoum relations as amicable, hoping brotherly ties between the two nations would further expand.
On economic ties with Iran, the Sudanese official said his country is ready to welcome Iranian investors.
As to the latest Syrian developments, he lauded Iran’s efforts to help restore peace and tranquility to that country.
Larijani, too, said Tehran is willing to widen economic relations with Khartoum and is eager to carry out various projects in that brotherly country.
Security Cooperation Deal With Moscow
The Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to increase security cooperation between the two countries.
Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Alexandrovich Kolokoltsev signed the MoU during a meeting in Tehran on Tuesday, Press TV reported.
Heading a political delegation, Kolokoltsev arrived in Tehran on Monday for a two-day official visit at the invitation of the Iranian interior minister.
“The signing of the security MoU is a cornerstone in expanding cooperation between the two countries,” Mohammad-Najjar said.
The Iranian interior minister added that the good relations between Iran and Russia require that Tehran and Moscow cooperate to provide security for the region.
“Training police forces and providing security in the region were among the main issues of the talks [in Tehran],” Mohammad-Najjar said, adding that various other issues such as the Caspian Sea, fighting organized crimes, and human and drug trafficking were also discussed in the meeting.
During the Monday meeting, Kolokoltsev said Iran and Russia face common challenges and reiterated, “Today’s crimes, particularly the issue of anti-drug campaigns, human trafficking and terrorism require a swift reaction.”
The Russian minister described the establishment of ‘legal unions’ as ‘a first priority’ for the enhancement of cooperation between Iran and Russia.
Kolokoltsev’s visit is the first to Iran by a Russian minister of internal affairs since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The Iranian interior minister visited Russia at the invitation of his Russian counterpart in January 2012 and held talks with former Russian interior minister Rashid Nurgaliyev and Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service Viktor Ivanov.
Eutelsat Briefly Takes Hispan TV Off Air
The French-based satellite provider Eutelsat has resumed the broadcasting of Iran’s Spanish-language Hispan TV on the Hotbird satellite after briefly taking the channel off the air.
Eutelsat initially said on Monday that it had been ordered to take Hispan TV off Hotbird. However, it later rejected its initial statement and blamed the move on technical problems, Press TV reported.
Hispan TV, along with Iran’s 24-hour English-language news channel Press TV, has already been targeted by Hispasat’s fellow European satellite providers Eutelsat and Hotbird.
Hispasat is partly owned by Eutelsat, whose French-Israeli CEO is blamed for the recent wave of attacks on Iranian media in Europe.
Spain’s satellite provider took Iran’s Press TV and Hispan TV off the air on December 21, 2012 and ordered Overon, a subsidiary satellite company, to stop the transmission of the two international TV channels.
Overon said the ban on Press TV and Hispan TV followed a similar move by France’s Eutelsat company, which had already taken several Iranian satellite channels and radio stations off the air. It said the channels were removed because of ‘a wider interpretation of EU regulations’.
In November, the Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (AsiaSat) also took Iranian channels off the air in East Asia.
In October, 2012, Eutelsat SA and Intelsat SA stopped the broadcast of several Iranian satellite channels, citing pressure by the European Union.
The EU has, however, denied the claims by the European satellite companies.
Israeli UAVs in AzerbaijanGrounded by Iran Fear
Israel has grounded its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Azerbaijan following the capture of two US-made RQ-150 drones by Iran.
Israeli drones, including its medium size multi-payload Hermes 450, have stopped flying after senior Azeri Defense Ministry experts notified the Zionist regime of their concerns about the possible seizure of the drones by the Islamic Republic of Iran, Press TV reported.
Israeli officials are concerned that Iran is trying to seize their drones, currently under Azerbaijan’s control.
Iranian military experts are capable of disrupting the navigation system of the Israeli drones even before takeoff and when parked in the hangar. That has infuriated the Israeli military brass.
Designed for tactical reconnaissance missions, surveillance and communications, Hermes 450 has an endurance of 20 hours.
Equipped with global positioning system (GPS), this UAV can take off from 260-meter taxiways and due to its composite structure, anti-aerial batteries cannot detect it.
Earlier this month, Iran Navy’s aerial defense division announced it has downed two US RQ-11 drones in the last two years. The drones were respectively captured in August 2011 and October 2012.
In December 2012, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi announced that a ScanEagle drone had been captured after it entered the country’s airspace over the waters of the Persian Gulf.
US Judiciary Should Account For Iranian National’s Death
Judiciary spokesman and Prosecutor-General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeii underlined on Monday that the US judiciary system should account for the death of an Iranian national, Daryoush Sarreshteh-Dar.
Sarreshteh-Dar died in the US two days after being intensely interrogated by customs officers at Dulles International Airport.
“The US judiciary system should account for the way he died and the cause of his detention, and we are also pursuing the case,” Ejeii told reporters in Tehran on Monday, Fars News Agency reported.
He said that Iran’s diplomatic apparatus has pursued Sarreshteh-Dar’s death case in the US since the day it was informed of it.
On US Election Night in November, Sarreshteh-Dar and his wife Sakineh, arrived at Dulles International Airport after 11 hours of flight from Tabriz, Iran. They were looking forward to seeing their daughter and granddaughter in Falls Church. Sakineh Sarreshteh-Dar is a naturalized US citizen and his husband had a green card, though he had not been in the US in three years, Washington Post reported in December.
Empty HR Claims
Ejeii also said the West’s support for the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) displays that its slogans about respect for human rights are mere words without any action.
“How is it possible that the US and Israel as well as some western countries consider themselves as supporters of human rights, while they paved the way for the killing of and harm to a large number of Iranian citizens through their support for the MKO in the past years,” he said.
Instead of blocking the attempts of terrorists groups in line with their slogans about supporting human rights, western countries recognize these groups and endorse the acts of these terrorist groups through this recognition, he complained.
The MKO is responsible for numerous acts of terror and violence against Iranian civilians and officials.
Members of the MKO, who had murdered over 17,000 Iranians since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, fled to neighboring Iraq in 1980s, where they received military training from the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and set up Camp Ashraf in the eastern province of Diyala near the Iranian border. The cult, which was described by the US State Department as a ‘foreign terrorist organization’ for the past 15 years, was formally removed from Washington’s list of terror organizations on September 28.
The European Union also took the MKO off its list of terrorist organizations in 2009.
Lebanon’s Minister of Public Works and Transportation Ghazi El-Aridi described Iran as the most influential country in the Middle East which plays a major role in determining developments and the future of the region.