Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Tuesday that Iran cannot be dropped from the global energy market.
“Given the current international situation, it is impossible to ignore Iran which has the world’s second largest natural gas reserves and fourth major oil deposits,” Mehmanparast told reporters in his weekly press conference in Tehran.
He referred to a recent energy deal between Iran and Switzerland and said the agreement was made due to a request from the European country.
The Oil Ministry, on Friday, said that Iran finalized a deal to deliver natural gas to Switzerland.
“We are currently in talks with Turkey to win the right for gas transit via this country [to Europe],” Javad Owji, deputy oil minister and managing director of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), said.
Iran is trying to boost gas production by attracting foreign and domestic investments, especially in South Pars Gas Field.
South Pars covers an area of 9,700 square kilometers, 3,700 square kilometers of which is in Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. The remaining 6,000 square kilometers, i.e., the North Dome, is situated in Qatar’s territorial waters.
Reaction to Canada Claim
Mehmanparast strongly rejected a recent claim by the Canadian government about alleged links between the suspects in a foiled terrorist attack in Canada and Tehran.
Canada said on Monday that its police had arrested two ‘foreign nationals’ who were planning to derail a Via passenger train traveling between Toronto and New York, claiming that the suspects had links to ‘Al-Qaeda elements inside Iran’.
Mehmanparast dismissed the unfounded allegation, saying, “Al-Qaeda’s mindset is by no means congruent with [the ideology of] the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the spokesman stated.
He also noted that Canada has even failed to provide any reliable evidence on the suspects claimed to have been detained in relation with the case.
The official said Tehran was opposed to any type of terrorist act that jeopardized the lives of people.
Mehmanparast rejected Canada’s allegation as part of its Iranophobia campaign.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is the biggest victim of terrorism, but the extremist administration of Canada has put Iranophobia on its agenda over the recent years,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Mehmanparast also slammed the West’s double standards in dealing with terrorism, calling on western countries, particularly Canada, to stop supporting terrorist activities in the world, specifically in Syria.
Mehmanparast further downplayed US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s war rhetoric against Iran, underlining that the country’s powerful Armed Forces will never allow enemies to make an aggressive move against Iran.
“Iran is powerful enough and can defend its rights and doesn’t allow any enemy to make any aggression,” Mehmanparast said.
His remarks came after Hagel supported Israel’s warmongering rhetoric against Iran, claiming that the US and Israel see ‘exactly the same’ threat from Tehran.
Hagel said on Sunday that Israel can make its own decision about whether and when to launch an attack on Iran. “Israel will make the decisions that Israel must make to protect itself.”
Israel and its close ally the United States accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Both Washington and Tel Aviv possess advanced weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads.
Iran strongly denies the charges, insisting that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population once fossil fuel eventually runs dry.
Iran has, in return, warned that it would target Israel and its worldwide interests in case it comes under attack by the Tel Aviv.
Warning to Iraq
Elsewhere in his remarks, the spokesman blasted Iraq for inspecting Iranian planes flying to Syria, and called on Baghdad to stand against foreign pressure and avoid such illegal acts.
“That Iranian airplanes bound for Syria for humanitarian purposes are forced to land due to the (foreign) pressures on Iraqi officials cannot be overlooked or justified,” Mehmanparast said.
He said that Iran considers the move as a violation of international rules and conventions and has, thus, complained to Baghdad.
Mehmanparast called on Iraqi officials to resist foreign pressures exerted on Baghdad to inspect Iranian planes, and said, “It has been repeatedly observed that the claims raised against Iran and the independent regional states are baseless and the inspected planes (none of which carried any weapon for the Syrian government) has proved the baseless nature of these claims.”
Recently, Iraq inspected Iranian cargo planes at the request of US officials, who claim that Tehran uses the Iraqi airspace to send weapons to the Syrian government. The Iranian planes, however, carry only humanitarian goods.
Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles Fitted on Army Aircraft
Army equipped its warplanes with advanced anti-ship cruise missiles in a bid to boost its capabilities to confront naval threats.
Iran began equipping its Air Force fighter jets with air-to-surface Nour cruise missiles in a project called Qaem. Nour has a range of 120 kilometers, Fars News Agency reported.
Nour is a well-known cruise missile used by the Iranian army and the Islamic Revolution’s Guards Corps (IRGC) in different wargames and can be launched from coast, vessels and aircraft against enemy vessels, oil facilities and naval positions.
In September 2011, Iran unveiled its 200-km range Qader anti-ship cruise missile with a high-precision striking capability and the Iranian defense industries have mass-produced the powerful missile. The missile enjoys automatic digital pilot system, high-precision navigation systems, high-precision striking capability, anti-jamming radar systems and a rapid deployment capability.
Its coast-to-sea and surface-to-surface versions have previously been tested by Iranian armed forces and now the air-launched version of the Qader missile was unveiled by the Iranian Army during the military parades held in Tehran on April 18 on the occasion of the National Army Day.
Arming Iranian aircraft and choppers with 200-km range Qader cruise missile will boost the Iranian Armed Forces’ power for combating and repelling naval threats.
US Seeks Israel-Turkey Alliance Against Iran
An analyst said the warming up to Turkey is to enable Israel to have a military base on Turkish soil to be in closer proximity to attack Iran.
In the background of this United States Secretary of State John Kerry said the unrest in Syria and Iran’s nuclear program are mutual threats to the security of the United States, Israel and Turkey in the region. The British Sunday Times newspaper meanwhile said Israeli officials are seeking to use a military base in Ankara for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
John Kerry refused to comment on that report, instead promoting strong mutual interests between the US, Turkey and Israel in his speech.
Press TV interviewed Franklin Lamb, political analyst and international lawyer in Beirut about this issue. The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Looking at this situation, first of all let’s look at this trio that John Kerry is saying that basically they have so many mutual security interests--Israel, Turkey and the United States talking about security interests--What does that say about Ankara?
Lamb: Well, I’d just like to say what it says about American policy and John Kerry because he omitted from those national security interests of the Americans a resolution of the question of Palestine.
It is the occupation of Palestine that leads to some of these other problems, but unfortunately he ignored it.
I don’t think that Ankara is influenced by his words. Of course, he wants to placate the lobby domestically in the US and in the region. But I think the Turks, they have their own idea about full normalization of relations anytime very soon.
Of course, Netanyahu announces it a fait accompli. I think it’s less than that, I think it remains and will remain for a while, a contentious issue.
But let’s see about the next question, which is the compensation which has been slow in coming.
I want to concentrate in general--you just talked about the compensation--but it is interesting that it took several years for Israel to actually apologize. And as we have seen some of the relatives of those who have been killed are saying they do not want to accept monetary compensation because it basically is almost as if they had forgotten their loved ones.
The point of it is, why is the United States--obviously they are very encouraged and they are trying to push this--but in general there was no condemnation to begin with, not from the United States. And now they are trying to push this relationship.
Why is it so important for Washington that Tel Aviv and Ankara have very close ties?
Yes. And of course as you recall one of the victims of that Israeli attack on the boat (Mavi Marmara) was an American. But very little was said about him.
But I think the interests of Obama in the administration right now is to push this reconciliation to pressure who? Iran.
Why? Because the Israelis want a base near Ankara where they can target possibly, the Iranians.
You don’t get results out of the Israelis by talking sweet. Americans are the subject of jokes amongst the Zionist occupiers when they try to persuade them. Those guys are tough--the Zionists--and if you want to get their attention, threaten to cut off American aid, threaten to cut off American arms and then they’ll get serious.
But I think this is a part of the hope of ratcheting up yet more and more layers of pressure against the Islamic Republic (of Iran). It’s not going to work any more than the non-military aid that they’re threatening the regime in Syria with.
And if I could just mention just one thing about the new 135 million dollars worth of non-military aid... As you know, the language of the American government is English and any middle school student who studies English knows what a ‘non-sequitur’ is—it’s a group of words that contradict each other. There’s no such thing as ‘non-lethal military’ aid.
They want night goggles. Who likes night goggles? The snipers so they can kill people at night. Who likes the armored vehicles that the Americans are saying are non-lethal?
Those that want to transport troops and weapons. Who likes the non-military humanitarian aid of telecommunications equipment? Those who are organizing ambushes and bringing in troops and advancing.
So, there is no such thing as non-lethal military aid and the administration knows that.
Iranian, Egyptian FMs Discuss Syria
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamel Amr exchanged views on key regional and international developments including the ongoing crisis in Syria.
In a Monday telephone conversation, the two foreign ministers called for an immediate end to almost two years of violence in Syria.
They emphasized that political channels and dialog would be the most appropriate ways to resolve the crisis in the Arab country.
Salehi and Amr agreed that the foreign ministers of Iran, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia will resume negotiations in the near future to find solutions to the Syria crisis. Both sides also stressed the need to stop of violence in Syria, and described political solution and talks as the most appropriate way to settle the Syrian crisis. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iran, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia will soon resume negotiations to find solutions to the ongoing crisis in Syria.
During a summit of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca in August 2012, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi put forward the initiative of forming a contact group on Syria comprising Iran, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
A high-level meeting of the group was held on September 17, 2012 about a week after preparatory talks in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, by lower-ranking officials from the four countries.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Al-Jazeera on Saturday, Morsi highlighted Iran’s role in resolving the ongoing crisis in Syria.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of militants fighting in Syria are foreign nationals.
Several international human rights organizations say the foreign-sponsored militants are committing war crimes in Syria.
Iran’s Regional Role Stressed
Salehi also held talks with Australian Ambassador to Tehran Marc Innes-Brown on Monday. During the meeting, Innes-Brown underlined Iran’s key role in the region, and called for the consolidation of ties between Tehran and Canberra.
He described Iran as an influential and important regional country, and hoped that the two countries would witness further development and strengthening of their relations, specially in the field of economy, Fars News Agency reported.
Salehi, for his part, called for further expansion of ties with Canberra, and described trade and economy as among the important fields for developing cooperation between the two countries.
He expressed the hope that Iran and Australia would use their capacities to further reinvigorate their bilateral relations.
Iran and Australia have had good cooperation in settling some problems in the region, specially in Afghanistan.
Expansion of Tajik Ties
Iranian Ambassador to Tajikistan Ali Asghar Sherdoust, addressing a ceremony in Dushanbe on Monday, called for the further broadening of ties with the Central Asian state.