Iran’s Ambassador to Qatar Mohammad Javad Asayesh said power transfer in Qatar heralds a positive prospect in relations between Tehran and Doha.
“It seems that following this change, a new generation will take over the helm in different positions and we hope that there will be some developments in relations between Iran and Qatar and they will lead to promotion of ties,” Asayesh said on Tuesday, Press TV reported.
Earlier in the day, Qatari ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani officially abdicated in favor of his son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The 61-year-old emir, who had overthrown his father in a coup in 1995, handed over power to his 33-year-old son after 18 years of rule.
The Iranian diplomat hailed the shift in power as beneficial to Tehran-Doha ties and noted that since Iran’s June 14 presidential election has also been widely welcomed in Qatar, both developments can be considered as highly positive factors for mutual ties.
“We closely monitor developments in Qatar and wait for further details through announcements.
Qatar is our close neighbor in the Persian Gulf and tranquility and stability in this country or in any other neighboring country is important to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Asayesh said.
Tamim is currently the joint commander of Qatari armed forces and the head of the kingdom’s Olympic Committee.
Sources, meanwhile, have stated that the Qatari emir further plans a major cabinet reshuffle in an effort to bring in a considerable number of younger ministers following the father-to-son power transfer.
Qatar’s international standing has been greatly undermined, particularly across the Muslim world, because of its deep involvement in supporting the foreign-backed militancy against the Syrian government.
Poll: Palestinians Back Nuclear Program
A new opinion poll showed the majority of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories support Iran’s nuclear energy program, despite Israeli accusations of military diversion in Tehran’s nuclear activities.
The survey conducted by Professor Sami Samoha of Haifa University indicates that 63 percent of Palestinians in Israel believe that Iran should push ahead with its nuclear development, Press TV reported on Wednesday.
Israel and its traditional ally, the United States, accuse Tehran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. The accusation has been used by Washington and the European Union as a pretext to impose illegal sanctions against Iran.
Iran, however, rejects the allegation and maintains that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
The opinion poll also shows that 70 percent of respondents oppose Tel Aviv’s attempt to maintain a Jewish majority in Israel. According to the poll, 70 percent of Palestinians in Israel believe that Israeli authorities are treating them like second-class citizens or militants not deserving equal rights.
About 58 percent of the surveyed Palestinians voiced support for a third intifada (uprising) against Israel, if a diplomatic process does not make progress.
Iran Alone at War On Drug Trafficking
By Sadeq Dehqan
Deputy Police Chief Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Radan said Iran is in the midst of a large-scale war on drugs whose outcome has proved to be beneficial to the entire world while it is under tough sanctions and the UN and the West shrug off extending practical assistance to the country.
“The countries and the UN officials merely give slogans and issue statements about fighting drugs, while they have placed sanctions on (export of) drug campaign equipment to Iran.
Yet, Iranians continue the fight with their lives and properties,” Radan said in Tehran on Wednesday at a ceremony to mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking during which some 100 tons of narcotics were incinerated.
He questioned the seriousness of the world states in fighting drugs, and lamented that if there were a global resolve to fight illicit drugs, Iran’s neighbors would not contribute such a large share to drug production.
Radan underlined Iran’s will and seriousness in the campaign against drugs, recalling that over 3,700 security forces have been killed and 12,000 others injured in the war on narcotics since the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
He noted that the entire world is enjoying the benefits of Iran’s tough campaign against drug, and added, “Were Iran not resolved in fighting illicit drugs, today the European countries would definitely need to collect their addicted youths from the streets and alleys.”
Radan blasted western countries for imposing sanctions on Iran despite such sacrifices, and said, “They have embargoed export of different equipment to Iran from drug sniffing dogs to electronic devices.”
He further complained why the UN refrains from specifying the share that each country is contributing to the campaign against drugs.
“Sanctions might be the share they (the western countries) have contributed to the war on drugs,” the Iranian deputy police chief said sarcastically.
Eastern Iran borders Afghanistan, which is the world’s number one opium and drug producer.
Iran’s geographical position has made the country a favorite transit corridor for drug traffickers who intend to smuggle cargoes from Afghanistan to drug dealers in Europe.
Iran spends billions of dollars and has lost thousands of its police troops in the war against traffickers.
Owing to its rigid efforts, Iran makes 81 percent of the world’s total opium seizures and has turned into the leading country in drug campaign.
Sistan-Baluchestan province, where Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan come together, has porous borders, where bandits and drug traffickers operate despite frequent entanglements and intense efforts of the Iranian law enforcement police.
Iran has recently established a central database and strengthened police-judiciary cooperation in a new effort to combat organized crime.
Every year, Iran burns dozens of tons of seized narcotics as a symbol of its determination to fight drugs.
UK Blamed for Afghan Drug Production
Chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi lambasted the US-led forces for their lack of care and action in combating drugs in Afghanistan, and said drug-production has skyrocketed in the war-torn country since the British forces took charge of drug combat in Afghanistan.
“The maximum volume of drug production in Afghanistan stood at between 200 to 2,000 tons before, but today that Britain is present in Afghanistan, it has exceeded 8,000 tons,” the senior lawmaker said in an address to the same ceremony.
He criticized European countries for lack of efficient and serious investment in the campaign against the cultivation and trafficking of drugs, and said the money they spend to this end is quite meager compared with Iran’s expenditure in the war on drugs.
Iran has long complained that the global community, specially the western nations, do not contribute to the campaign against drugs, saying that Iran is making lone efforts to block the transit of narcotics from Afghanistan to Europe and the US.
Iranian police officials have long cautioned that drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 40-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.
According to the UN statistics, since the US-led invasion, drug production has always been on the rise in Afghanistan. In 2007, the opium trade reached an estimated all-time production high of 8,200 tons.
Afghan and western officials blame Washington and the NATO for the change, saying that allies have ‘overlooked’ the drug problem since invading the country over a decade ago.
Army Self-Sufficient in Chopper Maintenance
Commander of the Army’s Ground Forces said the air force has achieved self-sufficiency in repairing helicopters.
“The [Islamic Republic of Iran] Army Aviation has attained a level of progress where it can repair its helicopters without any need for [assistance from] other countries,” Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan said on Tuesday.
Pourdastan, who was visiting the Army Aviation’s base in Abyek, Qazvin province, also praised the Iranian aerospace experts for their accomplishments, Mehr News Agency reported.
Over the past years, Iran has made important breakthroughs in its defense sector and unveiled a variety of domestically produced military equipment and systems, including tanks, sophisticated destroyers, submarines, unmanned aerial vehicles and advanced missile and radar systems.
The country has also held several military exercises to enhance the defense capabilities of its armed forces and to test modern military tactics and equipment.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly assured other nations, especially its neighbors, that its military might poses no threat to other countries, stating that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence.
Ministry Condemns Iraq Bomb Attacks
Iran condemned twin bombings that killed at least 11 people in a Turkmen-majority region in Iraq’s Salahuddin province as a ‘targeted’ crime aimed at sowing divisions among the Iraqi nation.
Continuing bombings in Iraq and the killing of innocent people on account of their religious beliefs is a crime against humanity and aimed at sowing sectarian violence in the Muslim country, Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Araqchi stated on Tuesday.
The Iraqi nation managed to pass through the ‘dark age of [US] occupation and sectarian sedition’, Araqchi noted, calling on the Iraqis to unite against their ‘real’ enemies and foil the plots they have drawn to target the country’s stability and political process, ISNA wrote.
The official also called on the international community to respond to developments in the region, and help restore calm and stability and fight terrorism and extremism by adopting a constructive approach.
At least 11 people, among them a former deputy provincial governor, were killed and 55 others injured on June 25 after two bomb blasts hit Tuz Khormato, which is located some 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of the capital Baghdad.
In a separate incident, a bomb explosion targeting Shiite pilgrims south of Baghdad killed three and wounded 15 others.
Iraq is experiencing an upsurge in car bombings and other terrorist attacks, mostly targeting Shiite Muslims.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki has blamed the latest wave of violence in the country on militant groups and remnants of the former Ba’athist regime.
The United Nations says a total of 1,045 people were killed and nearly 2,400 were injured in violent incidents across Iraq in May.
Anti-Iran Bans Negative For Korea Economy
South Korean officials said the US-engineered sanctions against Iran over its nuclear energy program have had negative effects on the economy of South Korea.
“The Korean economy is harmed in a sense because we had strong economic ties with Iran that have been hampered by the sanctions. The Korean economy could not benefit enough from the economic relations with Iran,” said, Jong Seok Kim, dean of the Economics Department of Hongik University in South Korea.
He made the remarks in the 12th Conference on South Korea and the World Economy toward Broader and Deeper Economic Collaboration in Asia, held in the capital, Tehran, on Tuesday, Press TV reported.
The two-day conference, which is aimed at enhancing Tehran-Seoul economic ties, was organized by the Association of Korean Economic Studies (AKES) and Iran’s Monetary and Banking Research Institute (MBRI).
The conference will also be held in the Iranian cities of Isfahan and Shiraz until June 29. Also, President of the Association of Korean Economic Studies Insill Yi said, “Iran and South Korea have more than fifty years of economic relations.”
She said that small and medium-sized Korean companies have suffered most from a drop in exports and imports.
At the beginning of 2012, the US and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors aimed at preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.
The illegal US-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi slammed Saudi Arabia for supporting extremist and deviant Salafist current in the Muslim world.