Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili called for constructive dialog among the Iraqi groups to settle the country’s political crises.
He made the remarks in a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s spouse, Hiro Ibrahim Ahmed, who is a member of the political bureau of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in Tehran on Sunday, Fars News Agency reported.
Jalili said Iraq had managed to overcome all the challenges facing the country thanks to the participation of all groups and tribes.
Ahmed Ibrahim, for her part, briefed Jalili on the latest developments in Iraq.
She described Iran-Iraq relations as deep-rooted, stressing expansion of ties in all areas with Iran.
Meeting With FM
Ahmed Ibrahim also had a meeting with Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday.
The Iranian foreign minster urged all Iraqi political groups to remain united to safeguard the interests of the Iraqi nation against enemy plots.
The minister pointed to the enemy conspiracies to undermine stability, security and development in the region; and called on political factions in Iraq to come together and remain vigilant to thwart the plots.
It is the policy of Iran to support Iraq’s territorial integrity and all-out political and economic development, Salehi underscored.
Denouncing the recent Israeli military aggression against Syria and the ongoing acts of terror committed by foreign-backed militants against innocent civilians in the Arab country, Salehi called for closer interaction among key regional states to help defuse the unrest in the Arab county.
The Syrian state television reported on Sunday that Israel attacked the Jamraya Research Center, located northwest of Damascus. A number of people were reportedly killed and wounded in the attack, which caused widespread destruction.
The center had been targeted by another Israeli airstrike back in January.
The foreign minister also inquired after the health of Jalal Talabani, who suffered a stroke on December 17, 2012, wishing him a rapid recovery.
Salehi further praised Talibani for his key role in protecting the interests of the Iraqi people in the most complicated circumstances.
For her part, Ibrahim Ahmed underscored that Iran and Iraq significantly contribute to regional stability, security and development.
She further expressed gratitude to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for supporting Iraq.
Iraq’s first lady, heading a high-ranking delegation, arrived in Tehran Sunday.
The visit by Ahmed Ibrahim, who is heading a senior delegation from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), takes place at the official invitation of the Iranian government.
The PUK officials are due to hold several meetings with senior Iranian officials to discuss bilateral ties and regional developments.
Iran and the Iraqi Kurdistan region have enjoyed growing ties ever since the overthrow of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, during the 2003 US invasion of the Muslim country.
IRGC Ready to Counter Threats
An Iranian commander has stressed that Iran’s Islamic Revolution’s Guards Corps (IRGC) is ready to counter all enemy threats and defend the country against them.
“The most important mission of the IRGC is to protect and safeguard the Islamic Revolution and its achievements,” head of the IRGC Public Relations Department, Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif, said on Sunday, Press TV reported.
The commander added that Iran’s achievements in missile defense, individual warfare and ground forces equipment have resulted in the enemy giving up on its plots against the Islamic Republic although it still continues anti-Iran rhetoric.
“The IRGC is ready to defend and counter all enemy threats [against the country in proportion to the type of threats posed by the enemies of the Revolution and the Islamic establishment,”he added.
In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.
Tehran has repeatedly assured other nations that its military might poses no threat to other countries, insisting that the Islamic Republic’s defense doctrine is entirely based on deterrence.
New Recce, Combat Drone Coming Soon
Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi on Monday revealed plans to unveil a new indigenous reconnaissance and combat drone, dubbed Hamaseh, in the coming days.
Vahidi said that several other achievements in the defense sector, including maritime and missile equipment, are also set to be unveiled, Press TV reported.
On Saturday, the minister said Iran has manufactured a new indigenous medium-class submarine, which will be launched in the near future.
“In the near future, we will also witness the achievements of domestic experts in the Air and Ground [forces] and in the construction of unmanned aerial vehicles,” he added.
The Navy had earlier launched the indigenous Tareq 901 and Ghadir class submarines as part of efforts to upgrade the country’s defense capabilities.
In recent years, Iran has made important breakthroughs in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in the production of important military equipment and systems.
The country unveiled its first indigenous long-range drone, Karrar, in August 2010. The aircraft is capable of carrying out bombing missions against ground targets, flying long distances at a high speed, and gathering information.
In September 2012, the country also unveiled a new homemade unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Shahed 129, with a 24-hour nonstop flight capability.
Describing the recent Israeli aggression against Syria as a ‘dangerous game’, Vahidi added that Damascus has the right to respond, and can give a crushing response to Tel Aviv.
“In such a scenario, we must expect important developments in the region… The Zionist regime cannot escape this adventurism easily,” the defense minister added.
The Syrian state television reported on Sunday that Israel had attacked the Jamraya Research Center, located northwest of Damascus.
The center had been targeted by another Israeli airstrike back in January.
The Israeli aggression ‘is aimed at loosening the noose around the terrorists’ in the eastern Ghouta region, near Damascus, the state television added.
Sunday’s aggression came shortly after Tel Aviv confirmed on Friday that its warplanes had hit a ‘game-changing’ target in Syria.
Media Claims on Syria ‘Psychological Operation’
Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri strongly dismissed as ‘psychological operation’ the reports by western and Israeli media on the destruction of an Iranian missile cargo for Hezbollah during the recent Israeli air raid on Syria, stressing that the anti-Israel resistance front in region doesn’t need Iran’s weapon aids.
The rejection came after western and Israeli media quoted unknown American officials as claiming that the airstrike that Israeli warplanes carried out in Syria overnight on Thursday was directed at a shipment of advanced surface-to-surface missiles from Iran that Israel believed was intended for Hezbollah, Al-Alam reported.
An American official told the New York Times that the targeted shipment consisted of Iranian-made Fateh-110s, a mobile, accurate, solid-fueled missile that has the range to strike Tel Aviv and much of Israel from Southern Lebanon.
Jazayeri told Al-Alam that the allegations are part of an anti-Iran propaganda campaign.
“Basically speaking, the Syrian government does not need Iran’s weapon assistance.
These types of reports mostly serve psychological and propaganda campaign,” Jazayeri said, adding that the enemies of Syria are trying to link the ongoing resistance in Syria with other countries.
He praised the capability of the anti-Israeli resistance movements in the region, and added, “Fortunately, the Resistance movement has become mature enough to defend itself very well against any kind of aggression.
What Hamas (Palestinian resistance movement) employed to defend itself or (the Lebanese) Hezbollah (movement) military capabilities are totally home-made.”
US Talks Under Pressure Ruled Out
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast once again ruled out the possibility of talks between Tehran and Washington under the US-led western pressures against Iran.
“The negotiation plan that the US is pursuing is from the standpoint of threat and pressure and such talks are meaningless and futile,” Mehmanparast told reporters in the southern city of Ahvaz on Sunday.
“If the US is willing to establish good ties with Iran it should relinquish its animosity against Iran,” he added.
“As Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said ‘although we are not optimistic, but we are not against it’, the negotiations can take place, but under what circumstances it takes place so that it would be beneficial for our nation and it will have suitable achievement is important,” the diplomat added.
On March 21, Ayatollah Khamenei alluded to the oft-repeated US offers of direct talks with Iran and said, “Through different ways and messages, the Americans try to negotiate with us on the nuclear issue, but I am not optimistic about these talks.”
“I am not opposed to talks with regard to the nuclear issue, but certain issues must be clarified,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader added, “Negotiation is an American tactic for deceiving the public opinion and if it is otherwise the Americans should prove it.”
A day after the Leader’s remarks, US Secretary of State John F. Kerry expressed Washington’s ‘strong’ commitment to settle its differences with Iran. “Despite the difficult history of the last decades between the United States and Iran, there is an opportunity to work diplomatically to reduce tensions and address the mistrust between our two countries, to the mutual benefit of both of our people,” Kerry said in a statement.
Crushing Response Awaits Israel
Meanwhile, Mehmanparast also said Israel’s acts of aggression against Syria will not go unanswered and Tel Aviv will receive a ‘crushing response’.
Mehmanparast on Sunday called for vigilance against Israeli plots to create instability in the region, adding, however, that ‘oppression and crime in the region will not endure’, Fars News Agency reported.
“The Zionist regime must realize that the atrocities it committed in Syria will not go unanswered and it must await a crushing response.”
Referring to Israel’s recent military aggression and targeting of Syria’s scientific centers, the official said Tel Aviv is trying to weaken the country’s defense and undermine its progress.
The spokesman underlined the fact that trans-regional countries have triggered the crisis in Syria because of Damascus’ influential role in the region.
Mehmanparast added that Zionist elements were behind the recent desecration of a revered Shiite Muslim figure’s shrine in Syria, adding that such an act demonstrates Israel’s hatred toward Islam and Muslim countries.
“This regime is trying to deal a blow to the Muslim world and [sow] discord among Islamic sects by using all means at its disposal,” he said, warning that such moves would have dire consequences for them.
Inalienable Nuclear Rights
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Fereidoun Abbasi reiterated Iran’s firm stance on utilizing nuclear technology for civilian purposes.