Islamic Awakening Conference Stresses Campaign Against Extremism
The participants at the ‘Muslim Ulema (religious scholars) and Islamic Awakening’ conference in Tehran underlined the need to fight extremist sects and ideologies, stressing that such faiths and approaches run counter to the Holy Qur’an and the tradition of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
“Restoration of moral and educational schools which are committed to the holy Qur’an and the tradition (of Prophet Mohammad PBUH) should be paid serious attention as a mechanism to decrease radical materialistic tendencies and attraction to alien behavioral rituals which run counter to Islamic principles,” participants in a commission of the conference titled ‘the Role of Ulema in Islamic Awakening’ said in a statement on Tuesday, Fars New Agency reported.
Also, the Ulema should use all scientific means, including reciprocal meetings, specialized scientific forums and general conferences, to spread moderation and use the institutions linked with the International Forum for Proximity of Islamic Denominations to reform the public opinion approach towards ideological, jurisprudential and educational faiths, the statement said.
The ‘Muslim Ulema (religious scholars) and Islamic Awakening’ conference kicked off in Iran on Monday in a ceremony attended by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
The two-day conference was attended by over 500 Iranian and 200 foreign scholars.
Ayatollah Khamenei addressed the audience at the beginning of the conference.
The Islamic awakening in Muslim countries and the role of Muslim Ulema is among the topics under discussion in the conference.
The participants in the conference in Iran are also likely to set up a contact group on Syria, Secretary of the conference Hojjatoleslam Ali Karimian announced last Tuesday, saying that the Syrian crisis is one of the main topics of discussions at the gathering.
Call for Unity
Meanwhile, Leader of the Islamic Revolution’s advisor for international affairs on Tuesday called on Muslim nations to maintain unity and keep vigilant against extremist groups who strive to create a rift in the Islamic community.
“Many extremist groups want rift and separation among Islamic nations, thus maintaining unity is one of the most important tasks of the Muslims,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, who is also secretary general of the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening, in separate meetings with Russian and Turkish Muslim religious scholars on the sidelines of the ‘Muslim Ulema (religious scholars) and Islamic Awakening’ conference in Tehran, Fars News Agency reported.
In a meeting with the Grand Mufti of Russia, Skeikh ul-Islam Talgat Tajuddin, Velayati lauded Russian Muslim scholars for their efforts to spread a moderate version of Islam, and said, “Muslims should do their best to prevent extremist and illogical (versions of) Islam.”
Velayati also held a meeting with Chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia Ravil Gainutdin, and Chairman of the Supreme Council of Turkey’s Felicity Party.
The ‘Muslim Ulema (religious scholars) and Islamic Awakening’ conference kicked off in Iran on Monday.
The two-day conference is attended by over 500 Iranian and 200 foreign scholars.
FM for Dialog Among Iraqi Groups
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has called for dialog among all Iraqi political groups to address the current critical situation in the country.
In a meeting with Ammar Hakim, the chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, on Monday, Salehi stressed the need to adopt peaceful approaches to Iraq’s issues, Press TV reported.
Hakim, for his part, urged understanding among all political groups in Iraq and the use of regional capacities to resolve the issues.
Iraq has witnessed a wave of violence since April 23, when security forces clashed with militants and protesters in the northern town of Hawija, near the city of Kirkuk. The incident in Hawija sparked widespread turmoil, which has killed more than 200 people since.
On April 27, Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki called for national unity and said the deadly clashes are orchestrated from outside the country.
Meanwhile, the Iranian foreign minister congratulated the Iraqi government on the recent successful elections in the country and expressed hope that the polls could be an important step toward political and economic development in Iraq. Referring to the elections, Hakim stated that the recent violent developments in Iraq were a targeted move planned by foreign groups including Al-Qaeda in order to overshadow the victory of the Iraqi nation in the polls.
Iraq held elections for provincial councils on April 20, with 8,000 candidates contesting for 378 seats. It was the first elections in Iraq since US troops withdrew from the country.
Salehi also stated that the turnout in the elections will lead to the neutralization of external and internal plots.
The foreign minister said holding the elections for the first time since the withdrawal of US troops demonstrates the capability of the Iraqi nation and government to run the country without foreign involvement.
Hakim also had a meeting with Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili on Tuesday, during which they discussed on issues of mutual interest, regional developments.
Attack on Syrian PM Condemned
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has condemned the assassination attempt against Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader Al-Halqi.
On Monday, Mehmanparast denounced the incident, in which six people were killed, and expressed his condolences to the victims’ families.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that the attack reveals the true face of terrorists, and responsibility for the attack rests on the shoulders of those elements that are openly backing them.
He also called on all countries and international human rights organizations to support a political solution to the Syria crisis and to make efforts to bring a halt to the bloodshed in the country.
Earlier in the day, a bomb attack targeted Al-Halqi’s vehicle in Damascus, but he survived.
The bomb was detonated in the Al-Mazzeh neighborhood as Halqi’s convoy was passing through the area.
On Tuesday, another car bomb explosion also hit the Syrian capital, leaving a number of casualties, Syrian media reported.
The bomb went off near the Syrian Interior Ministry in the central district of Al-Marjeh on Tuesday, the Syrian media said.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
US Human Rights Approach Rapped
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry spokesman also criticized the politicized and double standard approach of the US on the issue of human rights.
In its annual human rights report released on April, the US State Department accused countries such as Iran of clamping down on rights activities.
In reaction to the report, Mehmanparast said the US is one of the main ‘violators of the most basic principles of human rights and international law’.
“It would be better for the US government to be responsible for its own human rights performance instead of continuing with its wrong and repetitious attitude of accusing other countries,” he said.
“The politicized approach and double standards by the US on human rights in the world is not new and has turned into the political tradition for the country,” he added.
The official pointed to numerous human rights violations by the US including support for the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) and removing it from the list of terrorist groups, the establishment of illegal and extraterritorial detention centers, torture and human rights violations in Guantanamo prison, and the brutal massacre of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
He added that the abduction of citizens of other countries and illegal rendition flights, violence against immigrants, crackdown on anti-Wall Street protests, harassment of Muslims, racial discrimination, and the bad situation of prisoners in the US are other instances of human rights violation by the US.
Bushehr Plant Meets Safety Standards
Regarding Iran’s first nuclear power plant’s safety, Mehmanparast on Tuesday said Bushehr nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr enjoys a maximum level of safety.
He added that the facility complies with the latest safety rules and standards, Fars News Agency reported.
“The Bushehr nuclear power plant is one of the best atomic facilities given the highest safety standards,” he said at Bushehr airport on Tuesday, where he was due to attend a ceremony to mark the National Day of the Persian Gulf on April 30.
He underlined that the safety and high standards of the Bushehr nuclear power plant serves as a role model for other ‘peaceful nuclear activities in Iran’.
Referring to the recent strong earthquake in Bushehr, he said the tremor served as a successful safety test for the power plant.
On April 9, a powerful 6.3 magnitude quake struck southern Bushehr province, killing at least 37 people, injuring more than 900 and devastating two villages.
The Nuclear Safety and Security Department of the IAEA in a recent visit to Iran approved the standard safety levels of all Iranian nuclear sites and installations, and lauded the country’s measures and special efforts in this regard.
“We realized that Iran’s safety system responsible for inspecting Iranian nuclear facilities and installations acts very well and is strong,” head of the IAEA’s Nuclear Safety and Security Department, Olena Mykolaichuk said in March 2012.
“I, as the head of the (inspection) team, assure the Iranian society that Iran’s installations are safe…,” Mykolaichuk added.
She also stressed that her team has visited the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran and inspected the safety and security control system at the installations.
Bushehr nuclear power plant officially began operations in September 2011, generating electricity at 40 percent of its capacity.
The 1,000-megawatt plant, which is operating under the full supervision of the IAEA, reached its maximum power generation capacity in August 2012.
Iran and Russia have assured the international community that the plant is fully compliant with high-level safety standards and IAEA safeguards.
Al-Nusra Terrorists Accountable For WMD Use in Syria
Deputy foreign minister for Arab-African affairs said the Al-Nusra Front terrorist group in Syria has used chemical weapons against the Syrian people and army.
“We have precise information that certain foreign sides have supplied terrorist groups [with such weapons]so that they can use chemical weapons against the Syrian people and army and in this manner create [public outrage] in order to call for foreign intervention to determine the fate of Syria,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in a recent interview with Iran’s Al-Alam Arab-language news channel.
Amir-Abdollahian further stated that Al-Nusra and some other armed groups have used the weapons against the Syrian nation and army.
The official said the issue of chemical weapons is aimed at creating hype to make way for foreign intervention in Syria.
Commenting on the UN delay in sending an investigation team to Syria to probe the use of chemical weapons by the militants, Amir-Abdollahian said one of the reasons of the delay could be the pressures by some foreign countries that do not favor the clarification of the situation so that they could claim the Syrian government has used the weapons.
The Syrian government requested the UN to dispatch a fact-finding mission to the country after reports circulated that the foreign-backed militants had used chemical weapons against civilians in Khan Al-Assal district of the northwestern province of Aleppo on March 19. Over two dozen people were killed and more than 100 injured in the chemical attack.
The US, Israel and Britain accuse Syria of using chemical weapons against foreign-backed militants. This is while two Syrian officials on Friday denied allegations that the government has used chemical weapons against militants, saying Damascus has no need for them.
Warning Against Intervention
Amir-Abdollahian further warned of the dangerous consequences of foreign military intervention in Syria.
“Having an understanding of Syria and the region, we can say that in the event of any attack, dangerous, unanticipated and unexpected developments will take place for the opposing front,” he said.
He said that actions of regional and trans-regional sides have turned Syria into a hub of extremism, Al-Qaeda, terrorist activities and exporting violence to neighboring countries.
He added that these parties now seek to drag Syria into a new war to finish up their already taken tasks.
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.
Iranian border guards seized over 1.1 tons of different types of narcotics at the country’s borders with Pakistan during the last three days, a police official Hamid Sharafi said on Tuesday.