Islamic Revolution’s Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Army plan to hold a massive seven-day nationwide maneuver in the eastern parts of the country, a senior Iranian commander said.
Commander of Khatam ul-Anbia Air Defense Base Command Brigadier General Farzad Esmaeili told reporters on Thursday that the maneuver dubbed ‘Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 4’, (Defenders of Velayat Skies 4) will be held later in November with the participation of units from the IRGC and other forces of the Army, IRNA reported.
He added that the military exercise will be carried out in an area of more than 850,000 square kilometers to display the full strength and preparedness of Iran’s air defense forces to defend the Islamic Republic’s eastern borders.
The Iranian commander noted that various long-range radars and electronic surveillance systems will be tested during the drill.
Esmaeili further said that the maneuver will display Iran’s defense policies in the air defense sector.
He added that the units would practice modern tactics in proportion to the recent threats made in certain parts of the world.
Earlier in July, the air defense units conducted a three-day drill with the successful downing of the mock enemy’s unmanned stealth aircraft by the army’s artillery units.
Iran has held several major defense drills in recent months amid threats made and accusations leveled against the country’s peaceful nuclear program by the US and its allies.
Tehran maintains that the maneuvers are defensive in nature and meant to convey a message of peace and friendship to regional countries.
Russia Advocating Continuation Of Nuclear Dialog
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has called for the continuation of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group.
Ryabkov said Thursday that there was no reason to postpone a new round of talks between Tehran and the six major world powers over Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, IRNA reported.
He underlined the need for the immediate continuation of talks without any delay.
Iran and the P5+1 group, comprising Britain, China, France, Russia and the US plus Germany have held several rounds of multifaceted talks mainly over the Iranian nuclear energy issue.
Tehran has repeatedly voiced its readiness for negotiations based on mutual respect while maintaining that it will not give up its inalienable rights under any circumstances.
The United States, Israeli regime and some of their allies have accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran argues that as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of International Atomic Energy Agency it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
FM’s Condolences On Guatemalan Quake
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi conveyed Iran’s condolences to the Guatemalan government and nation over the recent earthquake which killed and injured dozens of people in the Central American country.
In a Thursday message, Salehi extended his heartfelt condolences to his Guatemalan counterpart, Harold Caballeros, and expressed Tehran’s readiness to dispatch humanitarian aid to the quake-hit areas, ISNA reported.
At least 50 people have been killed, 150 injured and 20 gone missing after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Guatemala’s Pacific coast on Wednesday morning.
The quake struck 163 kilometers (101 miles) west-southwest of the capital Guatemala City and some 23 kilometers (15 miles) south of the coastal town of Champerico, according to the US Geological Survey.
The victims died in six towns in San Marcos Department, located at the border with Mexico and some 250 kilometers (155 miles) west of the capital.
India Trip, Iran Talks
By Davood Baqeri
I went to India to cover the 12th ministerial meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC). I covered the important regional event in the incredible country along with dozens of journalist from more than 16 countries.
During the seven-day tour of India, journalists from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE and Yemen visited many places in New Delhi, Gurgaon and Agra and had constructive interactions with Indian officials, journalists, intellectuals, scholars and students.
The visit changed our minds about India and we saw that the country is on the path of progress despite its social and economic problems.
Indian officials had good interactions with journalists and briefed us about the ongoing developments in the great country and India’s relations with its neighbors and our counties.
But the focal part of this event for journalists in press briefings with Indian officials was Iran and developments surrounding my great country.
For example in one of the press briefings with Indian officials in New Delhi, four of the questions asked were about Iran.
Everyone wanted to know what is going on in Iran and about Tehran’s plan to deal with the threats facing the country due to the western-backed sanctions and the Israeli rhetoric against the Islamic Republic.
My answers to my foreign colleagues were very simple, Iran has not been after military nuclear program and that the sanctions mostly are biting people and the western-backed embargoes are crimes against the humanity.
Another angle of my trip to India was the feelings and knowledge of journalists, academics and politicians about my country.
I have a good conversation with my colleagues from other countries about Iranian culture, history and civilization. One of my colleagues from Yemen told me about famous Iranian poets, filmmakers and cities.
He read me a poetry by famous Iranian poet Omar Khayyam (1048-1131). I was very excited when I saw people who know my history and culture maybe better than me.
During a visit to Amity University in Gurgaon near the Indian capital New Delhi, when the Indian academics knew that Iranian journalists were also among the media team they came to talk with me and my colleague from Iran about my country.
One of the professors teaching art in the university told me that Iranian movies changed the mind of his students about many things and they were excited when they saw ‘the brilliant movies’ that made by Iranian filmmakers such as Majid Majidi, Asghar Farhadi, Abbas Kiarostami, Jafar Panahi and …
I also met with a number of politicians in an official dinner party hosted by Indian External Affairs Ministry. They also were so interested in knowing about Iran’s internal and external political situations and at the same time some of them expressed support for Iranian people against the US-led sanctions.
One of the diplomats told me that he believes that the pressure put on Iran by the West will not work and the westerners have no choice but to return to the negotiation table.
Hearing such things about my homeland and the feelings of the people who love my culture and history really exited me and made me proud to be an Iranian.
Envoy Raps West Human Rights Situation
The Iranian mission to the United Nations strongly criticized the human rights situation in western countries, including those in the US and Canada.
Addressing the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee on Thursday, a member of the Iranian mission denounced human rights violations in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and EU member states, IRNA reported.
The Iranian envoy listed various cases of human rights abuses in certain western countries, criticizing the West’s biased approach and double standards toward the issue of rights in other countries.
The representative pointed to Islamophobia, racial and ethnic discrimination as well as crackdown on peaceful demonstrations in Europe and the US.
The envoy said that such countries that have a long record of human rights violation both inside and outside their territories are in no position to claim advocating human rights in other countries and they had better work toward the improvement of the grave human rights situation in their own countries.
The Iranian envoy also criticized Canada’s violation of the rights of its indigenous people and racial minorities and censured Ottawa’s call for the resignation of the UN Palestinian rights envoy.
Nothing Can Weaken Azerbaijan Ties
Iran’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mohsen Pakayeen stressed the age-old and friendly relations between Tehran and Baku, and said nothing can weaken the strong ties between the two countries.
“Tehran-Baku relations are historical and have roots in the two nations’ religious beliefs; nothing can weaken friendly relations of Azerbaijan Republic and Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pakayeen said in a meeting with Head of the Clerical Department of the Caucasian Muslims Allah Shakour Pashazadeh, Fars News Agency reported on Friday.
He also welcomed the exchange of views between the two countries’ religious centers as well as those among the Iranian and Azerbaijani religious individuals and scholars.
Pashazadeh, for his part, underlined the importance of development of ties between two brotherly countries of Iran and Azerbaijan, and said, “The relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Azerbaijan Republic are age-old and cultural; Iranian thinkers are welcome to attend the religious conferences in Baku.”
The Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region located at the crossroads of western Asia and eastern Europe. It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Islamic Republic of Iran to the south.
Iran has an embassy in Baku and a consulate general in Nakhichevan City. Azerbaijan has an embassy in Tehran and a consulate general in Tabriz. Both countries are full members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in September called current relations between Iran and Azerbaijan as friendly and constructive, and said that Tehran tries to explore new avenues for expansion of bilateral ties. The minister pointed out that despite attempts by the enemies to sow discord between the two brotherly nations and governments, Tehran is eager to boost and strengthen mutual ties in various political, economic, business and cultural arenas with Baku.
Two consecutive tremors measuring 3.7 and 3.4 on the Richter scale jolted the southern county of Patkoyeeye in Hormuzgan province on Friday.