Iran raises oil output from West Karun fields
There has been a steady rise in crude production at Iran’s West Karun fields, said Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.
Oil production from West Karun oil fields has quintupled over six years, Zanganeh was quoted as saying by spglobal.com on Monday.
“The amount of oil production from West Karun fields in 2013 was 70,000 bpd. This amount has reached 355,000 bpd in the current Iranian year (started March 21, 2018),” the minister said.
In 2018, Iran said output from the main West Karun fields including Yadavaran, Yaran and Azadegan fields had hit 305,000 bpd, up from 120,000 bpd in 2017.
Despite US sanctions that have capped Iran’s oil sales by restricting its oil customers, Zanganeh has said the country has not stopped raising output.
Iran crude production has averaged 2.72 mbd so far, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.
Iran’s plans to make the Jask terminal operational in two years are on track, Zanganeh added.
“We hope that this terminal [Jask] will become operational in two years and for the first time Iran’s oil will be exported through Makran [Gulf of Oman],” he said.
This will give the sanctions-hit oil producer an alternative outlet for its exports.
Mogherini:EU, China to ensure implementation of Iran nuclear deal
European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini once again threw the bloc’s weight behind the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on Monday, saying that EU will work to ensure the continued implementation of the agreement.
She made the remarks at a press conference following the EU-China Strategic Dialogue held in Brussels earlier in the day.
“We continue to work hand-in-hand together to ensure the continued implementation of the nuclear agreement with Iran that we together negotiated for long nights and days” Mogherini said, according to eeas.europa.eu.
Mogherini also hailed cooperation between the EU and China in maintaining multilateralism, fighting climate change and supporting the nuclear deal.
US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in May from the landmark Iran nuclear agreement, reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – China, Russia, France, Britain, the US and Germany –and decided to reimpose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.
European Union has repeatedly announced that it will support the implementation of the agreement.
In February, Mogherini said that the bloc is determined to preserve the “full implementation” of the deal, saying it was vital to European security and an effective guarantor of peace.
“I believe if it was not for the European Union and its member states, starting with France, Germany and the UK, I am sure that the nuclear deal with Iran would have been dead long ago,” she said. “We believe it is fundamental and crucial for our security.”
Following the US pullout from the nuclear deal, the European bloc has taken several steps to keep the deal alive.
Austria urges EU to counter Trump over JCPOA
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen called on the European Union to stand tall against US President Donald Trump over his actions including his withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
In an interview with the German newspaper Welt, Van der Bellen said Trump’s moves have gone “too far”, urging the Europeans not to dance to Trump’s tune.
When asked about “the headache” that the US president gives the EU, the Austrian politician, who was called the “conscience of Austria” by the interviewer, lashed out at Trump for leaving the 2015 nuclear deal and putting pressure on European businesses.
“US President Trump has pulled out from Iran’s nuclear deal, which Washington had negotiated and coordinated for years, with no reason and subsequently banned European companies from doing business with Iran, threatening with grave sanctions. I think that this goes too far. The Europeans do not have to dance when Trump whistles. This also applies to other points of discord”, Van der Bellen said.
Under to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran curbed its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of international and US sanctions.
It was signed in 2015 after years of consultation, but in May 2018, Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the JCPOA, prompting other parties, including Russia, China and European signatories, to scramble to try to save it. These efforts have focused on measures to bypass stringent US sanctions, as well as American threats to bring Iranian oil exports down “to zero”.
Recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel received a standing ovation for her speech at the Munich Security Conference for statements echoing Van der Bellen’s sentiment. She condemned the unilateral moves made by the US, namely the withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran.
Sputnik contributed to this story.
By Sadeq Dehqan &
Norouz is the most important and ancient event left from ancient Iran. Although it is deeply rooted in Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest religions, the holiday is celebrated by numerous people in Iran and elsewhere.
Different countries celebrating Norouz have a lot in common and all their rites are rooted in ancient Iran. However, a number of symbols and meanings of Norouz are still unknown, even to Iranians.
The ancient Persian festival is a great historical opportunity; if grasped properly, it results in a lot of economic, political and social consequences for Iran as well as countries celebrating Norouz.
Perhaps the most profound, and most important of this ancient, sacred tradition is its message. The message of Norouz, which is deeply rooted in its origin, is for all mankind. Norouz reminds us of love, peace, joy, happiness, prosperity and selfless dedication to others. After all, we as humans belong to one family: Humanity.
On February 28, at an international ceremony on Norouz, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on different nations to learn from the peaceful nature of Norouz and set aside their differences, as there is no room for violence in the culture of Persian New Year celebrations.
“We should make the culture of Norouz global. This is a duty upon all of us as heirs to the Norouz heritage,” he noted.
Zarif pointed out that Norouz is not a natural phenomenon, but a humane transformation that has been put on top of UNESCO’s agenda.
“The spring of love arrives, to transform the dust into a garden. The call is heard from the heavens, to bid the wings of soul to fly.”
Iran Daily conducted an exclusive interview with the head of the cultural heritage committee of the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, Bahman Namvar-Motlaq, who is also the writer of ‘An Overview of Mythology’, to know more about Norouz, its meanings and symbols.
The full text of the interview follows:
IRAN DAILY: Would you please explain what features of Norouz distinguish it from other New Year celebrations around the world? Why do all people around the world pay special attention to it?
NAMVAR-MOTLAQ: Norouz was an innovation made by ancient Iranian culture, so the festival of spring was placed at the very first day of the year. This indicates our ancestors’ intelligent thought and creativity that Norouz coincides with the rebirth of nature.
In fact, our forefathers recognized nature’s rebirth as a very pleasant occurrence, and thus made great efforts to expand such a felicitous occasion to the lives of people in the society. This is rarely seen in other countries; Norouz is the best manifestation of nature’s rebirth.
This ancient event received UNESCO’s attention and finally in recognition of the importance of this ancient rite, Norouz was inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2009 and 2016, respectively.
UNESCO registered Norouz celebrations as shared practices of 12 countries.
Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan were listed by the UN agency in 2009 as countries where Norouz is celebrated, but later five more countries, namely Afghanistan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan were also included.
A few other countries also sent their requests to be included on the list.
What are the messages of Norouz and what are its potentials for Iran and other countries?
Norouz brings the messages of hope, peace, rebirth, prosperity, interaction and friendship. We should do our best to develop the traditions of Norouz which are the most important cultural heritage.
Norouz is a tradition that can promote peaceful coexistence among countries where this traditional festival is observed. Artists can play a crucial role in the promotion of peaceful coexistence by observing Norouz. Countries that observe Norouz celebrations should seize this opportunity to boost their cultural and economic ties.
Iranians may not only protect their identity, but also boost their cultural, economic and political relations by celebrating Norouz.
Today, China and India gained many financial benefits through the Silk Road. China could also strengthen its relations with the Silk Road countries. Iran can also use the capacity of Norouz to improve its relations.
UNESCO registered Norouz celebrations as the shared practices of 12 countries; is Iran’s pivotal role accepted internationally?
Almost the whole world accepts Iran as the main contributor to Norouz. The word ‘Norouz’ and the thought behind it developed in Iran and then expanded to other parts of the world. Fortunately, everyone knows it without an iota of a doubt. But we do not seek, and there is no need, to register it only in Iran’s name. The fact that Norouz is a not limited to a specific region made a lot of countries practice its celebration. If we insist on registering it only in Iran’s name, this would question the unity, solidarity, and friendship that Norouz entails.
As a researcher and mythologist, would you please explain the symbols of Norouz?
Each and every tradition of Norouz, ranging from Chaharshanbe Suri and visiting the tombs of the dead, up until the moment of the Persian New Year, and designing the Haft Seen, people carry an important symbol which has not been thoroughly discovered yet.
Norouz is related to the Persian myths of Siavash and Jamshid. According to Persian mythology, the former is the symbol of rebirth in nature, and the latter was the legendary figure who defeated the demons on the very last day of winter; on the day of Norouz people celebrate this victory by carrying his throne toward the sky. All these symbols signify the triumph of Good over Evil. They all mean that on the day of Norouz we will see great changes.
To what extent are these symbols known?
Norouz means change, self-construction and communication with people. It means peace, interaction, and respect for the elderly, and visiting the graves of loved ones.
House cleaning on the threshold of Norouz is the symbol of freshness, cleanliness and comfort. In line with nature’s rebirth in the spring, our houses must be fresh and clean.
In addition, our officials evaluate their performances during the past year in order to make the necessary changes for the coming year. We must be familiar with the original form of Norouz and its myths. It is better to let Norouz experts explain the details of this Persian ritual, which cannot be considered a simple holiday.
Norouz means fine communication with others in terms of family and the world; it means peace among family members, among people in the society and throughout the world. We do not recognize Norouz unless its meanings and symbols are felt and practiced in society.
As you mentioned, many of the symbols of Norouz are unknown to us; how can the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO and other organizations help people understand them better?
When I was the deputy head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, I introduced an initiative called ‘Norouz-Gah,’ which aimed to expand the culture of Norouz from houses to the society. One of the reasons behind it is that Norouz is largely family-oriented. We should expand Norouz activities to the level of cities.
Nowadays, the Tajik people are much more active in terms of holding Norouz celebrations than Iranians. It is highly recommended that throughout the cities, there should be specific arenas that people celebrate Norouz, with outdoor theatrical performances and other programs.
Given that people show great enthusiasm for these national celebrations, their interest in foreign trips during the Norouz holidays would decrease, on one side, and foreign tourists would become eager to travel to Iran.
Several organizations including ICHHTO, the Ministry of Culture and the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting play a very substantial role in promoting the culture of Norouz to attract higher numbers of domestic and foreign tourists.
In previous years, Norouz celebrations, with the presence of world leaders of Norouz countries, were held; why doesn’t the trend continue?
Indeed, the absence of global Norouz celebrations is highly felt. The last time it was held was during the first year of the 11th administration. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his team, in which I was also present, traveled to Afghanistan, which was hosting the celebrations. Unfortunately, no more global celebration was arranged for Norouz.
This year, the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO held a program on February 28, an international ceremony on Norouz, with the participation of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and delegates from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Iraq, India, and Afghanistan.
Rouhani: Iran to file legal case against US over sanctions
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the government would file a legal case in Iran against US officials who imposed sanctions on the country as a precursor to action in international courts.
Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on national television that he had ordered the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice “to file a legal case in Iranian courts against those in America who designed and imposed sanctions on Iran… These sanctions are crimes against humanity.”
The United States reimposed sanctions on Iran after President Donald Trump chose last May to abandon the 2015 nuclear accord, negotiated with five other world powers.
The sanctions target Iran’s energy, shipping and financial sectors among other areas.
Rouhani said Washington thought that abandoning the nuclear deal would prompt Tehran to also abandon the agreement and that it could eventually have all UN sanctions removed under the deal to be reinstated.
“We spoiled their plan; they didn’t expect us to act like this,” he said.
The US, Rouhani said, expected Europe to follow its lead in quitting the nuclear deal but, except for a few countries, the world stood in solidarity with Iran.
“Let the world know that what America has done is not against Iran or nuclear technology; rather, it is against the well-being, environment, food, medicine and the lives of the Iranian people,” he said.
Rouhani said US sanctions had created difficulties including a weaker currency, the rial, which has created higher inflation.
If the Iranian court rules against US officials, Iran would pursue the case in international courts of justice, the president said.
Iran’s litigations against the US have already succeeded in international tribunals. In October, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the US to exempt exports of humanitarian and civil aviation supplies to Iran.
“We were able to win in both the International Court of Justice in The Hague and the European courts, which means that we were able to legally defeat America and, of course, this trend should continue,” Rouhani said.
He said the enemies will never succeed in their attempts to weaken the Iranian nation despite having tried everything in their power over the past 40 years.
The Iranian people, Rouhani said, have long resisted outside pressure and will keep up the fight until the enemy is defeated.
Continued on Page 2
‘Clear similarities’ between Boeing crashes in Ethiopia, Indonesia
Flight recorder data recovered from the wreckage of Boeing 737 MAX planes that crashed in Ethiopia and Indonesia shows “clear similarities,” Addis Ababa said Sunday as the US maker announced it was finalizing a software update for its under-fire anti-stall system.
Pressure was mounting meanwhile on the US Federal Aviation Administration, which insisted it had followed standard procedures in certifying the plane model, even as it was reported to have come under investigation by the Department of Transport.
“The 737 MAX certification program followed the FAA’s standard certification process,” the agency said in an email to AFP.
It said its procedures were “well established and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs.”
But reported similarities between the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8, killing all 157 on board, and the Lion Air crash in October of the same model of plane in Indonesia, leaving 189 dead, have raised serious doubts and triggered Boeing’s biggest crisis in decades.
The 737 MAX is a relatively new aircraft, having entered service only in May 2017 as Boeing’s answer to Airbus’s medium-haul A320 Neo.
Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges said Sunday that a study of the flight data recorder retrieved from the Ethiopian plane had shown “clear similarities” to that of the Lion Air flight in Indonesia.
She said the parallels would be the “subject of further study.”
As investigators continue their work, preliminary findings in the Lion crash have focused on a possible malfunction of an anti-stall system known as the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System).
Boeing developed that system, because of the unusually forward placement of the plane’s engines, to avoid a stall.
The manufacturer said Sunday it was close to releasing a long-awaited software patch to the system.
Experts have questioned the FAA’s certification process after learning that American pilots had lodged serious complaints about the system.
According to a Wall Street Journal report Sunday, the FAA had come under an “unusual inquiry” by the Department of Transport over the issue, and has warned officials to safeguard computer files, according to sources quoted by the paper.
The Journal said the probe would zero in on Seattle-area FAA offices. Boeing airliners are built near Seattle.
A Seattle Times report Sunday said the FAA had delegated part of the certification process for the plane – including the MCAS – to Boeing engineers.
The original safety analysis provided to the FAA by Boeing contained “several crucial flaws,” the newspaper said, adding that the process was carried out hastily as Boeing struggled to catch up with Airbus’s more advanced work on the A320 Neo.
The report was dated 11 days before the Ethiopian Airlines accident, the newspaper reported.
The FAA refused on Sunday to comment on the newspaper reports, noting the various investigations still under way.
In the face of budget cuts, the FAA since 2009 has delegated some certification work to aircraft manufacturers or to outside experts, a procedure known as ODA (Organization Designation Authorization).
On Sunday, the agency defended its practice, insisting that the 737 MAX had to pass multiple tests and reviews before being authorized to fly.
It said the aircraft’s design was minutely examined, ground and flight tests were conducted, and other civil aviation authorities were consulted to ensure the “airplane complies with FAA standards.”
A statement provided by Boeing to The Seattle Times said that “the FAA considered the final configuration and operating parameters of MCAS during MAX certification, and concluded that it met all certification and regulatory requirements.”
It said, without elaborating, that there had been “some significant mischaracterizations” of the certification process.