Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mohsen Pakaein stressed a potential US military intervention in Syria will have serious consequences for the region, and drive the crisis in the Arab country out of control.
Operators Hope for More Tourists
At the top of the agenda of Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, is fixing the country’s economy and promoting international tourism is part of his solution.
Rouhani wants the number of foreign visitors to more than double, to 10 million from four million, each year, according to a report last month in The Washington Post. Such an increase, The Post reported Rouhani as saying, would ‘create jobs for four million people, solving the problem of 3.5 million unemployed people in this country’.
That goal is welcome news to Hamid R. Tavassoli, founder of Iranian Tours, a Tehran-based agency that runs guided trips to cities like Yazd and Shiraz.
“I believe the Iranian culture, nature, hospitality and infrastructure very well deserves a much larger number of tourists to visit the country,” he said.
Tavassoli said he credits Rouhani’s election in June for an increase in inquiries that he has received from foreign tourists, mostly from neighboring countries and from Europe.
Rouhani, a moderate cleric, has indicated that he is open to working with the outside world to lift the international economic restrictions connected to Iran’s nuclear program. The Iranian parliament’s recent confirmation of an American-educated diplomat as foreign minister suggested that Rouhani was moving forward in his campaign promise to engage with the United States.
The shift has led the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, an educational organization, to resume tours to Iran, starting with a trip in April 2014. The organization had suspended such tours in 2011 after tensions between Iran and the United States escalated over the imprisonment of three Americans who had been detained for two years on espionage charges, but who were later released that year.
Iran, once a popular stop along the overland ‘hippie’ trail from Europe to India in the 1970s, has plenty to pique the interest of foreign tourists. It boasts 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the ruins of Persepolis dating to 518 B.C. and the 17th-century monumental arcades of Imam Square in Isfahan.
MKO Executor of US-Israeli Anti-Iran Plots
The anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) colludes with the US and Israel to carry out their destructive policies against Iran, a former member of the terror group said.
Speaking at a press conference in Tehran, two former MKO members, Ebrahim Khodabandeh and Maryam Sanjabi, elaborated on the terrorist nature of the group which has a long history of hostility and terrorist attacks against the Iranian nation.
“The MKO is not seeking a social position inside the Iranian society, but rather it is only trying to ensure the interests of the US and Israel,” Khodabandeh said, Press TV reported on Friday.
“The group was initially established on the platform of fighting imperialism three decades ago, but today the group’s leaders do not follow this policy anymore and instead they have become the partners of the US and Israel in carrying out their destructive policies against Iran,” he added.
Sanjabi said the MKO does not observe human rights at all even in recruiting its forces.
“The group doesn’t care how old you are. We had a number of children from seven to ten years of age who’d been forced to join the group and indeed they were raised according to the group’s plans.”
She said that the leaders of the group believe that families are ‘the nest of corruption’ so they try hard to disrupt family bonds and force members to forget their family.
The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community and has committed numerous terrorist acts against Iranians and Iraqis.
Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attacks since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, some 12,000 have fallen victim to the acts of terror carried out by the MKO.
The terrorist group still continues its acts of terror against Iran under the support of certain western powers.
Zarif Discusses Syria With Counterparts
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held phone talks with his regional and European counterparts on developments in Syria, specifically the US and its allies’ threats to initiate a war against the country.
Zarif talked with foreign ministers of Jordan, Kuwait, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, Greece, France, Azerbaijan Republic and Algeria late Wednesday, Fars News Agency reported.
He condemned the use of chemical weapons by anybody in Syria, and recalled that Iran had been a victim of such weapons.
Zarif stressed that UN inspectors should conduct a comprehensive inspection without any delay.
Referring to Syrian government’s agreement to Iran’s request to allow the UN inspectors to visit the stricken area, Zarif warned against any hasty decisions.
He added that the final result of the investigation would depend on further inspection by international inspectors.
He added that preliminary inspections indicated that the materials used were hand-made and were not ordinary chemical bombs, so nobody should jump to conclusions and accuse the Syrian government and army.
Zarif continued that the Syrian crisis has no military solution and all should try to find a political settlement with the aim of restoring tranquility to Syria, so Iran will support any initiative to stop violence and hold dialog between both sides in Syria.
The foreign ministers of the aforementioned states also expressed their concern over the situation in Syria and expounded on their country’s stance on recent developments in Syria.
Foreign ministers of Italy and Switzerland explicitly expressed their opposition to military attack on Syria.
Nahavandian: Boycott Foreign...
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Nahavandian added that the country should start a moderately smooth transition to an economy without oil exports.
“Our economy is based on oil (revenues), but reliance of the economy on oil should reach to a zero level and we should use oil as a capital,” he said.
The comments came a week after President Hassan Rouhani reiterated that his administration is implementing a series of prompt measures to tackle the immediate economic problems in less than 100 days.
“We pledge to the people that, in the first 100 days [of the new administration’s tenure] or even less, we will take necessary and urgent actions with regard to the economy and inform the people of the result,” said Rouhani in a ceremony on the occasion of Government Week (August 24-30) at Imam Khomeini’s Mausoleum in Tehran.
The president noted that in the course of two sessions last week, the administration made all the required arrangements to provide the basic goods in the country until the end of the current Iranian calendar year (ending March 20, 2014).
Rouhani described the economy as being in the situation of stagflation and noted that the administration faces ‘complications’ in overcoming the current economic problems.
“Nevertheless,” he added, “the administration is determined to form a workgroup in the first session of the cabinet this week (on Sunday) tasked with preparing in 15 days a list of all the obstacles to economic prosperity, job creation, the establishment of small and large enterprises, economic dynamism in the sectors of industry, agriculture and public service and attending to the involvement and activation of the private sector,” the chief executive pointed out.
The 100-day economic plan was among the campaign promises of President Rouhani.
The plan also incorporates reviving the Management and Planning Organization, six years after the controversial dissolution of the strategic planning body.
All Options on The Table?
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5-Why in fact has the UN Charter--and other sources of international law dating back to the 1928 Paris Accord--have prohibited the use or threat of force? Is this a wishful idealism of a bunch of lawyers? Or is it in fact a legal reflection of a political reality? In other words, is war a useful instrument to advance foreign policy or humanitarian responsibilities in the 20th and 21st centuries? Or have war and the use of force been prohibited because they lost their practical utility?
6-Have those who maintain ‘all options on the table’ noticed what these options have brought them and others in the past 100 years? Have they examined empirical evidence of the outcome of wars in the 20th and 21st century, all of which were initiated by those who were assured that their military might will lead to ‘shock and awe’ and a quick victory? Have they not examined the fact that initiators of wars were totally annihilated or failed to achieve their objectives in 85% of the cases?
Let us hope that we can avert another catastrophic adventurism.
Rouhani, Putin Vow Greater Anti-War Efforts
President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have agreed to step up efforts to prevent any military action against Syria.
In a telephone conversation late on Wednesday, the two presidents stressed that any use of military force against another country without a mandate from the United Nations is a blatant violation of international law, Press TV reported.
Putin and Rouhani underlined that the Syrian crisis must be resolved only through diplomatic means.
The remarks came shortly after the five permanent members of the UN Security Council held a closed-door meeting to discuss a British proposal for a draft resolution demanding a swift response to an alleged chemical weapon attack near Damascus on August 21, which killed hundreds.
Rouhani said Tehran strongly condemns any use of chemical weapons anywhere, but warned against reaching a judgment before all aspects of the alleged attack have become clear.
The Iranian president expressed concern over reports that the West is preparing to launch a war against Syria and warned that any military intervention in the strategic Arab state could destabilize the entire Middle East.
Putin also rejected claims by the US and its allies accusing the Syrian government of being behind the August 21 chemical attack. Moscow believes that the Syrian Army, which has the upper hand in the battle against foreign-backed militants, has no need to use chemical arms, he said.
The Russian leader said if the United States has evidence proving its claims that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, it should share the intelligence with UN inspectors investigating the case.
Meanwhile, Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution’s Guards Corps (IRGC) Mohammad-Ali Jafari warned that the United States will face another Vietnam war if it attacks Syria.
The IRGC commander said Washington’s new warmongering will cost the demolition of Israel.
Jafari’s remarks were echoed by Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, who said any military action against Syria would burn Israel in flames.