Protesters Attack Police Stations In Iran

Media and News agency have reported that Iranian protesters attacked police stations late into the night on Monday.

Videos on social media showed an intense clash in the central town of Qahderijan between security forces and protesters who were trying to occupy a police station, which was partially set ablaze.

There were unconfirmed reports of several casualties among demonstrators. In the western city of Kermanshah, protesters set fire to a traffic police post, but no one was hurt in the incident, Mehr news agency said.

Some 13 people were reported killed on Sunday in the worst wave of unrest since crowds took to the streets in 2009 to condemn the re-election of then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The protests have put pressure on the clerical leaders in power since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

President Hassan Rouhani made a televised call for calm on Sunday, saying Iranians had the right to criticise but must not cause unrest.

In the central city of Najafabad, a demonstrator opened fire on police with a hunting rifle, killing one and wounding three others, state television said.

Earlier, state TV said armed demonstrators on Sunday had tried to seize police and military bases but were stopped by “strong resistance from security forces.”

It gave no further details and there was no independent confirmation.

State TV had reported that 10 people were killed in protests on Sunday.

On Monday, that death toll rose when the deputy governor of the western Hamadan Province, Saeed Shahrokhi, told ISNA news agency that another three protesters were killed on Sunday in the city of Tuyserkan.

Hundreds have been arrested, according to officials and social media. Online video showed police in the capital Tehran firing water cannon to disperse demonstrators, in footage said to have been filmed on Sunday.

Protests against economic hardships and alleged corruption erupted in Iran’s second city of Mashhad on Thursday and escalated across the country into calls for the religious establishment to step down.

Some of the anger was directed at Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, breaking a taboo surrounding the man who has been supreme leader of Iran since 1989.

Video posted on social media showed crowds of people walking through the streets, some chanting “Death to the dictator!” Reuters was not immediately able to verify the footage.

The Fars news agency reported “scattered groups” of protesters in Tehran on Monday and said a ringleader had been arrested.

People protest in Tehran, Iran December 30, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media.

“The government will show no tolerance for those who damage public property, violate public order and create unrest in society,” Rouhani said in his address on Sunday.

Unsigned statements on social media urged Iranians to continue to demonstrate in 50 towns and cities.

The government said it was temporarily restricting access to the Telegram messaging app and Instagram. There were reports that internet mobile access was blocked in some areas.

Iran is a major OPEC oil producer and regional power deeply involved in Syria and Iraq as part of a battle for influence with rival Saudi Arabia.

Many Iranians resent those foreign interventions, and want their leaders to create jobs at home, where youth unemployment reached 28.8 per cent in 2017.

Among reported fatalities, two people were shot dead in the southwestern town of Izeh on Sunday and several others were injured, ILNA news agency quoted a member of parliament as saying.

“I do not know whether yesterday’s shooting was done by rally participants or the police and this issue is being investigated,” Hedayatollah Khademi was quoted as saying.

Regional governor Mostafa Samali told Fars that only one person was killed in an incident unrelated to the protests, and the suspected shooter had been arrested.

Iranian police arrested 100 protesters in capital on Monday, official told ILNA

Almost nine years since the “Green movement” reformist protests were crushed by the state, Iran’s adversaries voiced their support for the resurgence of anti-government sentiment.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted: “The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years.

They are hungry for food and for freedom.

Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the “brave Iranians” taking to streets to protest a regime that “wastes tens of billions of dollars spreading hate”.

I wish the Iranian people success in their noble quest for freedom,” he said in a video posted on his Facebook page.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel urged “all sides (to) refrain from violent actions”.

 

Lebanese Prime Minister Resigns

Lebanese two-time Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whose father Rafik was assassinated when he held the same position in 2005, has announced his resignation Saturday, citing Iran’s “grip” on the country and threats to his life.

 

“I announce my resignation from the post of prime minister,” he said in a speech broadcast from Saudi Arabia by the Al-Arabiya news network.

 

“I felt what was being covertly plotted to target my life,” Hariri said.

 

He accused Iran and its powerful Lebanese Shiite ally Hezbollah of seeking hegemony in the region. The 47-year-old Sunni politician’s resignation comes less than a year after his government, to which Hezbollah’s political wing belongs, was formed.

 

 

“Iran has a grip on the fate of the region’s countries… Hezbollah is Iran’s arm not just in Lebanon but in other Arab countries too,” he said. “In recent years, Hezbollah has used the power of its weapons to impose a fait accompli,” he said, reading a speech from behind a desk. Hezbollah is a vital ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the war the Syrian regime is waging against the Islamic State group and armed opposition movements.

 

 

It enjoys broad support from Iran and is the only Lebanese party to have kept its weapons after the 1975-1990 civil war. Its arsenal has since grown exponentially and now outstrips that of the nation’s own armed forces. It claims it is the only credible rampart against neighbouring Israel and its refusal to disarm is the main political crux in Lebanon. Hezbollah members have been accused over the 2005 assassination in a massive car bomb blast of Rafik Hariri, the dominant figure of Lebanon’s post-war political landscape.

 

 

He made his fortune in Saudi Arabia, where his son Saad was born. Riyadh is Iran’s main regional rival and the two powers’ tussle for influence has played out in ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

 

OPEC: Iran Request To Address Nigeria And Libya’s Output

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its commitment of the to cutting production to clear a global glut are working, but the group needs to address rising output from Libya and Nigeria, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has said.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries should focus on “the situation in Libya and Nigeria,” he said, referring to the two countries exempted from capping production due to their internal strife. Compliance with the output cuts is “acceptable,” Zanganeh told reporters in Tehran.

“OPEC’s actions are working and compliance is acceptable overall, although there needs to be some change,” Zanganeh said, referring to OPEC members’ compliance with their pledges to pump less. “Changes are really related to Libya and Nigeria and the 100 percent compliance of everyone.” He didn’t elaborate.

OPEC and other global producers including Russia agreed to maintain output cuts through March to end a price rout that has battered their economies since 2014. Iran was part of the deal reached last year, though it was given special permission to raise output by 90,000 barrels a day. Libya and Nigeria were not part of the deal and have since increased production, complicating the efforts of the suppliers to reduce the glut. Benchmark Brent crude has dropped by about half from its 2014 peak.

OPEC backs any action to help stabilize the oil market, and if a meeting is needed for the group to decide whether to extend the cuts that expire in March, “we’ll arrange it,” Zanganeh said.

Iran “will consider everything within the framework of our national interest and cooperation with OPEC,” he said when asked whether the country would adjust its output.

Iraq supports OPEC’s efforts to pare oil output and clears a global glut even as the group’s second-biggest producer plans to expand its own capacity to pump more, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said Sunday at a news conference in Baghdad.

The country’s plan to boost capacity to 5 million barrels a day by the end of the year won’t affect crude markets, he said. Iraq won’t export all of its additional output, he said. The nation pumped 4.49 million barrels a day in August, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“The oil market’s status is stable, and we don’t accept that any country exceeds its share” under OPEC’s deal to cut production, he said. “We support OPEC’s position to stabilize markets.”

Iraq is seeking to rebuild its energy industry after decades of conflict, and al-Luaibi sought to reassure oil markets a day before the country’s energy-rich, self-governing Kurdish area plans to vote on a referendum on independence. The central government opposes the vote, which many global powers say could create further instability in a region convulsed by war. The Kurds plan to include the disputed Kirkuk region, home to Iraq’s oldest producing oil fields, in the referendum.

Oil should be left out of the political wrangling over control of Kirkuk, al-Luaibi said. Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens are all competing to control Kirkuk, making it a potential flashpoint for conflict. The Baghdad-run North Oil Co. is currently pumping 500,000 barrels a day in northern Iraq, he said.

Iraq’s government is still in discussions with Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which quit Iraq’s southern Majnoon field and plans also to withdraw from the West Qurna-1 deposit, al-Luaibi said. It’s not talking with any other oil companies about replacing Shell, he said.

“We have no problems in finding international companies” to replace the oil major, al-Luaibi said, adding that Iraqi staff are capable of taking over from Shell.

Iraq will soon sign a deal with Iran to jointly invest in two oil fields, he said, without giving a date. It’s also in talks with Kuwait to jointly develop four fields and to ship surplus natural gas to Kuwait, he said.

Israel’s Netanyahu Vows To Fight ‘Iranian Curtain’

 

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, addresses the 72nd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York September 19, 2017.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Tuesday to fight an “Iranian curtain” descending on the Middle East, pledging to prevent Tehran from ever establishing a permanent foothold in Syria.

Netanyahu — who in recent years has coined his own sort of theater at the annual United Nations speech marathon with podium props and dramatic warnings — was in a lighter mood for 2017, cracking jokes and rejoicing over the rise of US President Donald Trump.

But his message was ultimately no less severe as he chose to echo Winston Churchill’s 1946 speech that declared that communist Eastern Europe had come under an “Iron Curtain” of Soviet subjugation.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, addresses the 72nd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York September 19, 2017.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Tuesday to fight an “Iranian curtain” descending on the Middle East, pledging to prevent Tehran from ever establishing a permanent foothold in Syria.

Netanyahu — who in recent years has coined his own sort of theater at the annual United Nations speech marathon with podium props and dramatic warnings — was in a lighter mood for 2017, cracking jokes and rejoicing over the rise of US President Donald Trump.

But his message was ultimately no less severe as he chose to echo Winston Churchill’s 1946 speech that declared that communist Eastern Europe had come under an “Iron Curtain” of Soviet subjugation.

“From the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, from Tehran to Tartus, an Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East,” Netanyahu warned the General Assembly.

“Those who threaten us with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril. Israel will defend itself with the full force of our arms and the full power of our convictions.

“We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces,” he said, also vowing to prevent Iran from producing any weapons that could hit the Jewish state.

Iran has been aiding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iraq’s government in their fights against the Islamic State group, which has claimed responsibility for a slew of bloody attacks around the world.

Iran’s ruling Shiite clerics have also sworn foes of Israel and have supported the militant movement Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

Netanyahu has long insisted that Iran, which also has tense relations with major Sunni Arab states, is the pre-eminent threat and unsuccessfully fought to scuttle Iran’s 2015 deal with global powers to give up its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

Netanyahu said he was proven right and that Iran since the agreement has been “like a hungry tiger unleashed, not joining the community of nations but devouring nations, one after the other.”

The right-leaning Israeli leader heaped praise on Trump, who in his own speech hours earlier said the deal with Iran championed by his predecessor Barack Obama was an “embarrassment” and separately threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the regime attacks.

In years of listening to UN speeches, “none were bolder, none were more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today,” Netanyahu said.

UN inspectors say Iran has fulfilled its commitments to give up its nuclear activities under the agreement, which was reached with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

Netanyahu has doubted Iranian intentions and voiced concern that some provisions on curbing uranium enrichment do not go beyond 2025.

Netanyahu directed his barbs at Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iranians in May overwhelmingly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who has campaigned on the nuclear deal and better relations with the West.

The Israeli leader drew a distinction between Iranians and their government, saying in Farsi to the Iranian people: “You are our friends.”

Netanyahu opened his speech not with his often booming voice but a grin. He boasted of further breaking his country’s diplomatic isolation by visiting six continents in the past year — a first for a prime minister of Israel.

“Now, it’s true, I haven’t yet visited Antarctica, but one day I want to go there too because I’ve heard that penguins are also enthusiastic supporters of Israel,” he said, explaining that the birds can see black-and-white moral distinctions.

 

 

Source: The Guardian

Earthquake Hits Iran With 10 Injured

Ten people were injured when a 4.7 magnitude earthquake shook Iran’s the Western City of Nahavand on Friday, semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

The earthquake in Iran’s Hamadan province took place at 05:34 local time (0104 GMT) and featured a depth of two km.

Habib Masoumi, the head of Emergency Medical Centre of Hamadan, said that out of the 10 injured, six were hospitalised.

The earthquake has caused damage to the buildings in neighbouring regions and villages, Mehr reported.

Medical services along with disaster relief forces have been dispatched to the hit area.

 

 

Rouhani Among 6 Candidates Selected For Iran Election

President Hassan Rouhani was among six candidates approved Thursday by Iran’s conservative-dominated Guardian Council to run in next month’s election while former leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was barred, state media reported.

The approval of Rouhani, a moderate, and Raisi, a political hardliner thought to have the backing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sets up a showdown between rival political camps.

Khamenei had advised Ahmadinejad not to run and his attempt to register as a candidate was widely seen as a public snub to the Supreme Leader, which is nearly unheard of in the Islamic Republic.

Iran Registers Candidates For Presidential Election

The first phase of Iran’s presidential elections got under way on Tuesday with candidates registration at the Interior Ministry in Tehran.

The four-day registration process will be followed by committee deliberations to decide which candidates fulfil the necessary requirements and ideological criteria for the May 19 election.

Report says a final list of candidates may take weeks to appear.

The approved candidates would then launch their nationwide election campaigns on May 11.

Observers expect a three-way race between reformist candidate President Hassan Rowhani, conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, and hardliner, Hamid Baghaei.

The other candidates that have yet to be known stand only a slim chance.

Over 55 million Iranians aged 18 or older are eligible to vote in the election.

Iran, China Threaten Trump With Military Actions

China and Iran, two countries that top President Trump’s enemies list, are pushing back against his tough talk this week with showy and provocative military drills.

Iran conducted military exercises and rolled out new weapons that its leaders said would help national defense, and China tested a new missile following Trump’s Twitter assault on Beijing’s expansion in the South China Sea.

Iran’s defense minister, Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan, displayed the country’s newest weapons, including a guided missile, a grenade launcher, a rifle and a pistol.

The arms would boost the military’s capabilities in individual combat and in air defense, he said, according to the Tasnim News Agency.

Iran on Saturday warned Washington against any hostile actions.

“If the enemy makes a mistake our roaring missiles will hit their targets,” Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Aerospace Force, said during massive air defense drills, the state-owned Fars News Agency reported.

Iran also warned that if attacked, its missiles would target the U.S. 5th Fleet based in Bahrain, American installations in the Indian Ocean and the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.

“These points are all within the range of Iran’s missile systems, and they will be razed to the ground if the enemy makes a mistake,” Mojtaba Zonour, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission. “And only seven minutes is needed for the Iranian missile to hit Tel Aviv.”

The threats came after the Trump administration imposed sanctions Friday on 25 Iranian individuals and entities supporting the Revolutionary Guards’ ballistic missile program.

The sanctions were triggered by an Iranian ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that the U.S. said violated a United Nations Security Council resolution that prohibits launching missiles capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.

Iran said the missile was not capable of carrying a nuclear weapon and that testing defensive weapons is its right.

USA Today

Trump Threatens Iran over Missiles

S. President Donald Trump has threatened Iran over its ballistic missile test that violated a UN Security Council resolution.

Trump, in his tweets on Thursday, said “Iran has been formally put on notice”..

“Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!” Trump tweeted.

The president blamed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for giving life-line to Iran through a 150 billion dollars deal.

“Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: 150 billion dollars,” he said on his Twitter handle.

Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had on Wednesday threatened Iran over the ballistic missile test, saying that the action violated a UN Security Council resolution.

“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” Flynn told reporters at the White House press briefing on Wednesday.

The controversial missile test carried out by Iran has been said to be nuclear-capable with the capability of travelling up to 3,000 kilometres and is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Cruise missiles are harder to counter than ballistic missiles since they fly at lower altitudes and can evade enemy radar, confounding missile defense and hitting targets deep inside an opponent’s territory, the U.S. in this instance.

The Security Council’s sanctions against Iran’s nuclear programme was lifted in 2016 following the 2015 pact brokered by Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the U.S.

Under the 2015 UN resolution endorsing the deal, Iran was asked to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for lifting of most sanctions.

Iran has, however, insisted that the pact between it and the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council as endorsed by the UN, did not mention cruise missiles, insisting that the ban was only for ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. (NAN)

Iran open to Americans – Foreign Minister

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that all those with valid Iranian Visas, including Americans are welcome to come to Iran.
The foreign Minister took to his twitter handle to say that the country would gladly welcome anyone with a valid visa.
“Unlike the U.S., our decision is not retroactive. All with valid Iranian visa will be gladly welcomed,” he said.
This is coming hours after Tehran vowed to respond in kind to the U.S. ban on visitors from Iran and six other Muslim dominated countries.
He however said that Iran would take reciprocal measures to protect its citizens while also taking into account that it is the U.S. policies that are hostile not Americans.
He added that the ban showed that U.S. claim of friendship with Iran was baseless.
“International community needs dialogue & cooperation to address the roots of violence & extremism in a comprehensive & inclusive manner.
“Collective discrimination aids terrorist recruitment by deepening fault-lines exploited by extremist demagogues to swell their ranks.
“This ban will be recorded in history as a great gift to extremists and their supporters,” he said in a series of tweets’
Recall that U.S. President, Donald Trump on Saturday, barred refugees and visitors from Syria and six other nations from entering the United States for the next four months.
While signing the executive order, Trump said the move would help protect America from terrorist attacks while it adopts more stringent ways of screening refugees, immigrants and visitors.
The countries under this ban are: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan: travellers from these countries were thrown into confusion on Friday after Trump gave the order.
“I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. Don’t want them here,” Trump said earlier on Friday at the Pentagon.
“We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people,” he said.

NAN