President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad extended congratulations to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on his victory in the country’s presidential election.
“This great victory is another endorsement of your successful leadership, during your term in office, on the path of justice-seeking… humanitarian values, progress, and the prosperity of the country,” Ahmadinejad said in a message sent to Chavez on Monday.
The president called the Venezuelan people’s vote another step in the pursuit of the goals of the Bolivarian Revolution and the continuation of the social, economic, scientific, and cultural development of Venezuela as a sovereign nation.
“In light of the effective role of Venezuela, your election is undoubtedly very important for the continuation of the constructive movement toward independence, justice, and progress of the nations and governments in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the other freedom-seeking nations,” the message read.
Ahmadinejad also pointed to the enormous potential of Iran and Venezuela and said Tehran is interested in expanding its relations with Caracas.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi also welcomed Chavez’s victory in the presidential election.
Addressing a meeting in Tehran on Monday, Salehi said that ‘Iran is pleased’ to see Chavez as the winner of Venezuela’s presidential election.
“We felicitate all the people of Latin America on this triumph,” Salehi stated, and hoped that the development would help Chavez achieve further success.
On Sunday, Chavez comfortably won a fourth consecutive term in office, which runs from 2013 to 2019.
The National Electoral Council announced on Sunday that President Chavez won 54.42 percent of the vote and opposition candidate Henrique Capriles got 44.97 percent.
US Seeking Revival Of MKO Terrorist Group
Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said the US plans to revive the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) by removing the group from its list of terror organizations.
“The US has always been in contact with the MKO and supported the group, but had listed it as a terrorist organization due to some political considerations,” Vahidi said on Tuesday.
“The members of the MKO terrorist group were active in the US in the past and received various kinds of help,” Press TV quoted the defense minister as saying.
Vahidi said removing the MKO from the list proves that Washington is not honest in its fight against terrorism.
“The US is the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world, therefore it cannot be regarded as the flag-bearer of the fight against terrorism,” Vahidi said.
On September 28, the US formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations one week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Congress a classified communication about the move.
Members of the MKO fled to Iraq in the 1980s, where they had the support of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and set up Camp Ashraf in the eastern province of Diyala near the Iranian border.
The group, which is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community, has also carried out countless terrorist acts against Iraqi civilians.
The European Union removed the MKO from its list of terrorist organizations in 2009.
Iran has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to expel the MKO, but the US has been putting pressure on Baghdad not to take the measure.
Vahidi: Whose Nuclear Activities Are Mad?
Vahidi rapped his British counterpart Philip Hammond for his remarks against Tehran’s peaceful nuclear program despite London’s stockpiles of atomic arsenals, and asked him: “Whose nuclear program is mad, ours or yours?”
“The actions of the British government which has over 200 strategic nuclear warheads and over 64 strategic launchers, is the third country which has tested nuclear weapons, has produced 2.3 million cubic meters of nuclear waste and has (devised) a comprehensive plan which costs billions (of dollars) to access new nuclear weapons is crazy or Iran’s merely peaceful nuclear activities,” Vahidi asked, addressing his British counterpart.
He advised the British officials not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, and said, “The British defense secretary had better think of reducing the suffering, pains and fears of the British people, specially the independence-seeking people of Northern Ireland and ending the occupation of those islands which belong to others instead of making such cheap and frail statements.”
His remarks came after Hammond acknowledged that the western sanctions on Iran are targeted at the livelihood of the ordinary people, which he said are necessary so that Tehran feels an ‘existential threat’ from economic pressure and ends its nuclear activities.
“We can definitely make the pain much greater. Nobody wants to cause the Iranian people to suffer unnecessarily but this mad scheme to build a bomb has to be brought to an end,” Hammond claimed in an interview with the Guardian.
Military Readiness Will Deter Attack
A senior commander said the enemies of the Islamic Republic will not dare launch an attack against the country’s nuclear installations, as they are aware of Iran’s military preparedness.
“The enemies, particularly the US and Israel, have recognized the prowess and progress of [Iran’s] Armed Forces,” Commander of the Army’s Ground Forces Brigadier General Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan said, Press TV reported on Tuesday.
Iran’s enemies ‘do not dare attack the country’, he stressed.
Pourdastan pointed to the presence of US military forces in the region and reiterated the readiness of Iran’s Army in case of any offensive against the country.
The commander also called on all regional countries to thwart the enemies’ conspiracies in the region.
The US, Israel and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with the Tel Aviv regime repeatedly threatening Iran with a military strike.
Iran has rejected the allegations and has promised a crushing response to any act of aggression against the Islamic Republic.
US Can Ill Afford Israeli War
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by a prominent US university revealed that the majority of American people believe a potential Israeli attack against Iran will have dire economic and strategic consequences for the US.
According to the survey that was conducted by the University of Maryland in mid-September, a majority of the Americans believe that a potential Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would result in a drastic rise in oil prices.
The survey also revealed that Americans believe such an attack would worsen Washington’s strategic position in the Middle East.
Israel has recently stepped up threats of carrying out a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear energy facilities.
The threats are based on the unfounded claims that the peaceful nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic have been diverted toward military purposes.
On September 19, Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said the Islamic Republic currently enjoys the defensive military capacity to obliterate the Israeli regime.
Vahidi said, “The defense capability of the Islamic Iran against threats by the Zionist regime [of Israel] has been developed to an extent that it will be able to wipe the [Israeli] regime off the scene.”
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney threatened to impose new sanctions against Iran if he wins the US election.
“I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran and will tighten the sanctions we currently have,” Romney said in an address at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington on Monday.
He added that he would restore the permanent presence of US aircraft carriers in the eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.
The comments come as US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warned on Saturday that more sanctions would be imposed against Iran.
At the beginning of 2012, the US and the EU approved new sanctions against Iran’s oil and financial sectors. The embargoes aim to prevent other countries from purchasing Iranian oil or transacting with the Central Bank of Iran.
Washington and the EU have declared that the bans are meant to force Iran to abandon its nuclear energy program, which they claim includes a military component.
Iran has strongly rejected the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful objectives.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran’s civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.
Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan To Hold Anti-Narcotics Meeting
Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said on Tuesday Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan will hold a joint meeting to intensify fight against narcotics and smugglers.
The meeting will be held on November 5-6 in Tehran, he said.
He made the remarks in the 9th international meeting of anti-drugs liaison officers in Tehran.
Mohammad Najjar said the meeting aims to make use of opportunities and proposals to intensify the campaign against drug trafficking.
Quake Hits Northwestern Iran
An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale jolted the town of Varzaqan in East Azarbaijan province, northwestern Iran, on Monday.
Syria War Will Harm Turkey’s Security
A senior lawmaker said Turkey will face a ‘security crisis’ within its borders if the country launches a cross-border military operation against Syria.
On October 4, the Turkish parliament approved a motion that authorizes military operations outside the country’s borders ‘when deemed necessary’.
The one-year mandate authorizes military operations in Syria if the Turkish government deems such measures necessary.
“It is not a wise measure for the parliament of a country to devise measures for war on [its] borders,” said deputy head of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Ahmad Reza Dastgheib.
In case of a war against Syria, Dastgheib added, “Turkey will not only face problems within its borders but will also encounter a security crisis in the country in the future.”
The lawmaker urged Turkish officials to seek a solution to the country’s security and ethnic problems rather than meddle in the internal affairs of Syria and other countries.
On Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his nation to be prepared for a possible war with neighboring Syria if necessary.
Several Syrian soldiers were reportedly killed in an attack by Turkish forces on a military post near the border town of Tel Abyad early Thursday.
The exact number of the Syrian soldiers killed in the attack has not been reported.
Turkey’s attack came after a Syrian mortar hit the southeastern Turkish town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa province on Wednesday, killing five people and wounding at least 10 others. Syria said it had begun investigation into the cause of the incident that led to the landing of the mortar in Turkey.
Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi sent a message of condolence to the Turkish people and the families of the victims late on Wednesday, stating that Damascus respects the sovereignty of its neighbors and wants its own sovereignty to be respected in return.