Iran on Tuesday launched an overhauled and modernized destroyer named ‘Bayandor’ in the southern waters of the country in a ceremony attended by Army Commander Major General Ataollah Salehi and Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.
Army officials said the Iranian Navy’s power of safeguarding the country’s territorial waters as well as maintaining security in regional and international waters will increase with the launch of new warship, Fars News Agency reported.
Overhauling the main engines, heat exchangers and fuel and oil systems as well as optimizing the monitoring control systems are among the measures adopted before launching the destroyer.
Navy experts have also mounted a fire control system for the destroyer’s weapons, a 76-mm and a 40-mm canons and new missile systems on the destroyer.
Sayyari said that Nour (Light), Qader (Mighty) and long-range Qadr (Magnitude) missile systems have been installed on the new destroyer.
Anti-ship Nour and Qader cruise missile systems are ultra-advanced and self-reliant systems which have significantly improved in radar, satellite, precision, range and navigation terms compared to their predecessors.
Sayyari also elaborated on other optimization measures adopted to overhaul and modernize the destroyer, and said ‘mount of 76-mm and 46-mm artilleries and some other special systems are among the other measures taken to renovate and modernize the destroyer’.
“The 40-mm cannon mounted on the destroyer is also among advanced artilleries in air defense,” he underlined.
Sayyari also said the destroyer will possibly be sent on missions to the Pacific, southern Indian or Atlantic oceans in the next few days or months.
Tuesday’s report by state TV quotes Rear Adm. Abbas Zamini as saying that during its 20-month overhaul, experts had equipped the destroyer Bayandor with anti-ship missiles capable of firing 160 kilometers (100 miles).
Zamini says the destroyer joined Iran’s navy in 1964 and is named after a World War II war hero.
In May, Sayyari had declared that Iran can use the destroyer on missions in international waters in the future.
He said the destroyer is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment such as missile, torpedo, artillery, sonar and other information and communication systems.
In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in the production of essential military equipment and systems.
Iran’s first home-made destroyer, Jamaran, was launched in late February 2010. The Mowdge Class vessel has a displacement of around 14,000 tons and is equipped with modern radars and electronic warfare capabilities and is armed with a variety of anti-ship, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles.
Defense Ministry officials had said earlier that the third generation of the home-made vessel, Jamaran-3 destroyer, will come into operation by the end of the current Iranian year (March 21, 2013-March 20, 2014).
Iraq Urged to Ensure Security Of Pilgrims
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi called on the Iraqi government to provide security for Iranian pilgrims visiting holy sites in the country.
In a telephone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari on Monday, Salehi denounced Friday’s deadly terrorist attack against Iranian pilgrims in Iraq, Mehr News Agency wrote.
“It is essential that the Iraqi government puts necessary effort into carrying out its responsibilities to ensure the security of pilgrims of holy sites,” the foreign minister stated.
Zebari, for his part, expressed regret over the recent terrorist attack on Iranian pilgrims and said Baghdad would spare no efforts to counter this ominous phenomenon and to protect Iranians on pilgrimage to holy sites.
The two ministers agreed that an Iranian delegation would travel to Iraq to discuss ways to ensure security for pilgrims.
Sixteen Iranian pilgrims were killed in a terrorist bomb attack in the Iraqi city of Muqdadiyah in Diyala province, about 80 km northeast of the capital Baghdad, on Friday morning.
The blast, killing nearly 20 people overall, ripped through the pilgrims’ bus, which was heading for the holy city of Najaf. At least 45 others, many of them thought to be Iranians, were also wounded in the bombing.
Aref Out of Presidential Race
Mohammad Reza Aref has withdrawn his candidacy from Iran’s June 14 presidential election in order to give the reformist camp a better chance to win.
The former vice president announced his decision to drop out of the election in a statement issued late on Monday, in which he said the decision was made after he received suggestions from former president Mohammad Khatami, who advised him to stand aside, Press TV reported.
The reformist also called on the Iranian people to vote en masse in the upcoming presidential election to create a political epic and maintain the dignity of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Earlier in the day, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel withdrew from the presidential race in favor of principlists.
In an official statement, former Majlis speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel said he would continue to make efforts to help the principlist camp win the election.
Haddad-Adel said he stepped aside after evaluating the situation and the reality on the ground.
The six candidates in Iran’s presidential election are Hassan Rohani, who is the president of the Expediency Council’s Center for Strategic Research, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili, Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei, Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and former telecommunications minister Mohammad Gharazi.
The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election after the Guardian Council vets the candidates.
Nearly 50.5 million Iranians are eligible to vote in the upcoming presidential election.
Deputy FM in Russia For Talks on Syria
Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab-African affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian left Tehran for Moscow on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing Syria crisis as well as bilateral ties.
During his visit to Moscow, the official was scheduled to hold talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on the Syria unrest and peaceful solutions to settle the crisis, Press TV reported.
Amir-Abdollahian will also hold talks with senior Russian officials on the Geneva 2 conference on Syria.
The Iranian official’s visit to Moscow comes at the time when top Russian officials have underlined the need for Iran’s presence in the conference, stressing that the international event would not bear fruit in the absence of the Islamic Republic.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference on June 6 that Moscow will continue to push for Iran’s participation in the conference despite opposition from some western states.
Late last month, Lavrov had stressed the need for Tehran’s presence in the upcoming Geneva talks, saying, “The issue of Iran is key for us. Iran, without question, is one of the most important nations.”
On May 7, Russia and the United States agreed in Moscow to convene an international conference on Syria, which will serve as a follow-up to an earlier Geneva meeting held in June 2012.
Turmoil has gripped Syria since March 2011, and tens of thousands of people, including large numbers of Syrian security forces, have been killed in the unrest.
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 expressed its opposition to any foreign intervention in Syria’s internal affairs, stressing that inclusive dialog and national reconciliation as well as free elections are key to settlement of the unrest in the Arab country.
FM: Regional Security Iran’s Top Priority
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the establishment of peace and security in the region is the top priority of the Islamic Republic.
Salehi made the remark in a meeting with the new Australian Ambassador to Iran Paul Foley on Monday, during which he also stressed the importance of Iran’s geopolitical position in the region, Press TV reported.
The Iranian foreign minister also commented on the ongoing crisis in Syria and said terrorism and extremism were two major risks that threatened the entire region.
Foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria has been taking its toll on the lives of many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, since March 2011.
Salehi expressed hope for collective efforts by the international community to bring peace and stability to Syria.
Iran has repeatedly voiced opposition to any foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Syria.
Tehran says inclusive dialog and national reconciliation as well as free elections are the keys to resolving the unrest in the country.
Meanwhile, the new Australian envoy to Tehran praised Iran’s historical and cultural grandeur and hoped for further development of ties between Tehran and Canberra.
In a separate development, Iran’s foreign minister also met Germany’s outgoing Ambassador to Tehran Brand Erbel on Monday.
During the meeting, Salehi called for the development of relations in the trade and industries sectors between Iran and Germany.
Erbel, for his part, lauded Iran’s numerous capacities and said Germany would proceed with efforts to promote relations with Iran in the field of science and technology.
Salehi also met Brazil’s new Ambassador to Tehran, Santiago Morao. He told the incoming envoy that Brazil should employ its high economic capacities to advance bilateral ties.
Noting that the actual capacities and potentials of the two countries have not been fully employed yet in expanding bilateral ties, Salehi said the two countries have to use their potentials in different areas including trade, economy, technology, academy and scientific activities.
He referred to Brazil as an influential country in the Latin American region and said Iran is happy with Brazil’s rapid development in technological and scientific areas which is turning the country into a regional power.
The Brazilian diplomat, who submitted a copy of his credentials to Salehi at the meeting, said his country looked at Iran as a major player both in the region and the world.
Defusing Anti-Iran Propaganda
Member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mansour Haqiqatpour said Tuesday that on June 14, Iranian voters will neutralize western media plots against Iran’s independence and sovereignty.