Leader praises Iran’s Paralympic athletes
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei praised Iran’s Paralympic athletes, who set the country a new record with their performance in this year’s Asian Para Games.
On Wednesday, the Leader met with the athletes, who reaped 136 medals for the Islamic Republic, including 51 golds, in the Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, last month. The results landed the country in the third place after China and South Korea in medal count, Press TV reported.
“The valuable work you did was to show that if the capacities lying dormant either in human beings or in a country are put into action, it will definitely pave the way for great progress and success,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Elsewhere, the Leader lauded the female athletes for maintaining their Islamic dress code during the competitions and said that by doing so, they stood up to the global arrogance and confidently preserved their religious and national values.
The Leader expressed confidence that many of the country’s current economic problems will be cured if the innumerable national capabilities are put to use.
Ayatollah Khamenei advised everyone to model their performance after that of the Iranian athletes and to engage their inactive resources in order “to achieve progress and welfare in this world and beyond.”
The Leader finally asked that the country’s sports and youth minister to diligently address the athletes’ demands.
ISA chief: Iran keen on cooperation in international joint space projects
Science & Technology
Iran welcomes regional and international cooperation in all fields, including that of the space industry, and is willing to collaborate with other states in this sector, said the head of the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) on Wednesday.
Addressing the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization’s (APSCO) 10th Anniversary High-Level Forum and 9th International Symposium (November 14-16) in the Chinese capital of Beijing, Morteza Barari invited all regional and international entrepreneurs, innovators as well as public and private businesses to, based on providing Iran with a long-term support, begin peaceful scientific and technical cooperation with the country in implementing joint space projects and offering space-based services, IRNA reported.
He said Iran’s space technology owes its improvement to efforts and participation of its young talents.
Barari noted that thanks to the development of the required sufficient infrastructure in APSCO, member
countries are properly prepared for further cooperation with each other in different sectors of the space industry.
He urged that such a cooperation is required to be actively expanded.
ISA chief added, as
stipulated explicitly in the United
Nations Development Program (UNDP), capacity expansion requires an active environment and cooperation at individual and organizational levels.
To create an active environment people and organizations in a country should cooperate effectively, he said, adding for over three decades, more than 20 universities across Iran have been offering education in the field of aerospace engineering.
Barari noted that currently, 1,500 students are studying in the field of aerospace engineering in Iran.
APSCO is an intergovernmental organization operated as a nonprofit independent body with full international legal status. It is headquartered in Beijing.
Its members include
agencies from: Bangladesh, China, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru and Thailand.
Indonesia and Turkey have also signed the APSCO convention.
In 2005, the APSCO convention was signed in Beijing.
Representatives from Argentina, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia and Sri Lanka also attended the founding ceremony.
NPC: Iran’s seven-month petchem exports at $7.4b
Domestic Economy Desk
Iran exported 12.64 million tons of petrochemicals worth $7.44 billion during March 21-October 22, 2018.
According to a Wednesday report by IRNA quoting National Petrochemical Company (NPC), Iran produced over 32 million tons of petrochemicals during the period.
The report put Iran’s petchem output during September 23-October 22, at 4.49 million tons.
In the same period, it added, Iran exported over 1.6 million tons of petrochemicals valued at over $1 billion.
Iran’s petrochemical industry is the trump card during the sanctions period as US cannot easily impose unilateral sanctions on the sector and international demand is quite high for such products.
On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and P5+1 in July 2015, and announced that the White House will impose unilateral sanctions on Tehran in two phases — both already in place.
Following the completion of new projects, Iran’s capacity to produce petrochemicals has increased to 65.5 million tons per annum that can earn over $13 billion for the country.
At present, petchem companies are the major suppliers of foreign currency to Iran’s market.
Rouhani: US chose wrong path on sanctions, will be defeated
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday the United States has chosen the wrong path in reimposing sanctions on Iran and will be defeated.
“The Americans will definitely be defeated on this path. The path they have chosen is wrong and incorrect,” Rouhani told a cabinet meeting in Tehran. “If they are being honest and they are looking for regional security, this is not the path. If they are being honest and respect the Iranian people, this is not the path.”
Rouhani said the “cruel” US sanctions will only harm the Iranian people.
He added, “They have made themselves more infamous in the world and in front of our people. It’s clear for everyone that the incorrect and cruel sanctions of America will harm the dear and honorable people of our country.”
President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions after he withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, reached before he took office. The other signatories – Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China remain committed to the deal. Iran has said it will stay in it only if the other powers preserve its economic benefits for Iran against US pressure.
Washington reinstated sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry on Nov. 5 as it seeks to force the Islamic Republic to accept tougher curbs on its nuclear program, halt its development of ballistic missiles as well as its regional activities.
US national security adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that Washington intends to step up enforcement of sanctions on Iran and “squeeze them until the pips squeak.”
The sanctions reinstated by the current US administration target 700 individuals, banks, aircraft, ships and companies tied to Iran’s energy and financial industries.
Rouhani, however, gave assurances that Iran will prevail over the restrictive measures and will continue to sell its oil.
“The Americans thought they could completely cut Iran’s oil exports, but they realized themselves in the days [ahead of the reimposition of the sanctions] that this is neither practical nor possible,” he said, referring to the waivers which the US has granted to major buyers of Iranian crude after the sanctions against Tehran snapped back into place on November 5.
Rouhani further emphasized that the US sanctions will fail to affect Iran’s oil sales, saying, “We have so many ways of selling oil that would render their sanctions ineffective.”
Continued on Page 2
Envoy: Iran has enough leverage to sell oil
Iran’s ambassador to the UK said that the US has failed to rally the world community behind its new sanctions against Iran, and that the Islamic Republic possesses “enough leverage” to keep its oil sales going despite US attempts to reduce them to “zero.”
In the face of American sanctions, “We have lots of alternatives because we have had some experiences from the past,” Hamid Baeidinejad told CNN’s Christian Amanpour in an interview published on the network’s website on Wednesday.
“We know that, in fact, the difference, this time, is that countries are not ready to comply with the United States’ request. So, we have enough leverage to continue our exports,” he said, according to Press TV.
The envoy said that the US intention of bringing Iranian exports to a halt has been “unsuccessful.”
On November 4, the US returned its sanctions against Iran’s energy and banking sectors, which it had lifted under the 2015 multilateral nuclear accord with the country. Washington exited the agreement back in May.
The US has been lobbying frantically with major international buyers of the crude to have them stop their purchases.
Earlier in November, however, it granted waivers from the sanctions to eight of Iran’s customers, including China, India, Japan and South Korea, saying it sought to prevent the oil market from facing sudden setbacks.
Washington has said the exemptions were to last for only six months, and that the countries would have to gradually stop buying Iranian oil.
The envoy, meanwhile, pointed to the psychological pressure that Washington has been exerting on the Iranian nation parallel to its sanctions policy.
“The importance here is the psychological impacts rather than very practical [effects] on the ground. So, they started a kind of psychological warfare to frighten our people and to sabotage our economy,” he said.
Continued on Page 2
Tensions high as Rohingya fear looming return to Myanmar
The military’s presence at vast Rohingya camps in Bangladesh has been bolstered, stoking fears among refugees as authorities prepare to return them to Myanmar despite strong UN objections, leaders of the Muslim minority said Wednesday.
Bangladesh said it will start repatriating refugees from an initial group of 2,260 from today despite warnings the Rohingya face almost certain persecution in Myanmar, AFP reported.
Many of the million refugees in the teeming camps have expressed terror at the prospect of returning to Myanmar, where UN investigators say they were targeted in a military campaign that amounted to genocide.
Bangladesh said only those who volunteer will be returned, but the UN rights chief said many refugees are panicking at the prospect of being sent back against their will.
Some families listed to return have fled, community leaders and refugees have told AFP, hiding in the hills where more than 720,000 Rohingya sought refuge from a Myanmar military crackdown launched from August last year.
They joined some 300,000 Rohingya already living in squalid camps in Bangladesh’s southeast for years, having fled previous waves of violence in Rakhine state.
Additional police and soldiers were seen patrolling the camps and checking identity cards, stoking anxiety as the deadline for repatriation looms, refugee leaders told AFP.
Bangladesh officials remain optimistic the large-scale refugee returns will start as planned today.
They plan to send 150 people on the opening day.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday urged Dhaka to reconsider.
“With an almost complete lack of accountability – indeed with ongoing violations – returning Rohingya refugees to Myanmar at this point effectively means throwing them back into the cycle of human rights violations that this community has been suffering for decades,” she said in a statement.
She said the violations against the Rohingya “amount to the worst atrocities, including crimes against humanity and possibly even genocide.”
US Vice President Mike Pence told Aung San Suu Kyi the violence against the Rohingya was “without excuse”, adding pressure to Myanmar’s civilian leader who this week had an Amnesty International honor revoked.
Federer takes ‘day off’ to bounce back in ATP Finals
One may wonder how Roger Federer bounced back from his first-ever straight-sets defeat in round-robin play at the Nitto ATP Finals.
After recovering well with a 6-2, 6-3 victory against Dominic Thiem, the Swiss said that the answer was simple: a day off, atpworldtour.com reported.
“I will do the same again tomorrow because it worked. [The] important [thing] was not my forehand or my backhand or my serve or anything. I guess it was my head. For that sometimes, you need a break,” Federer said.
“I’ve been playing a lot of tennis the past two months… I saw the [Kei] Nishikori match on the way back to the hotel. A good, long trip. That was positive. Had a lot of time to talk. We came to the conclusions, or the coaches thought, ‘Take it easy, enjoy the day with your family, and come out happy’.”
At 37 years old with 99-tour-level titles to his name, Federer knew it was not about fixing his tennis. The Swiss canceled his Monday practice and cleared his head, hitting the refresh button instead of a tennis ball.
“When you play Thiem, that’s what we care about, the head, not the shots. The shots are there,” Federer said his coaching team told him. “I felt that way today. So I’m very happy that that was the right decision and I was able to show a reaction from my first-round match.”
Federer did well to break Thiem four times in a matchup that had previously favored the Austrian, with Thiem winning two of the pair’s three previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. The six-time season finale winner maintained his hopes of qualifying for the semifinals at this event for the 15th time, but he is not looking ahead to the next four just yet. His sole focus is on Kevin Anderson, who is 2-0 in Group Lleyton Hewitt.
“I feel like I’m ready to go for the day after tomorrow [against Anderson],” Federer said. “I don’t know what happened against Nishikori. Maybe it’s the round-robin format that got to me. You don’t feel like you have the knife here, like in another tournament, where if you’re struggling in the first round, you know if you don’t get your act together, you’re home in 30 minutes.”
And after turning things around against Thiem, Federer will hope to add another win to his total against Anderson today.
35th Tehran International Short Film Festival announces winners
The 35th Tehran International Short Film Festival (TISFF) named the winners in its national and international categories at the closing ceremony of the event.
Several top cinematic officials and actors, including the Director of the Cinema Organization of Iran Mohammad Mehdi Heidarian, Alireza Rezadad, Mohammad Mahdi Tabatabaei, Ebrahin Daroghe Zadeh, Ladan Mostofi and Mahtab Keramati attended the ceremony, IRNA reported.
Addressing the ceremony, the Secretary of the 35th TISFF Sadeq Mousavi appreciated Iranian artists, filmmakers and fans for taking part in the festival.
He also hailed the members of the domestic and international panels of jury for watching over 1,600 Iranian films and selecting the best.
Mousavi reiterated that the festival is considered the most important cinematic event in the Middle East.
Also speaking at the same gathering, Heidarian appreciated Sadeqi for his significant role in the festival, adding that bright days await Iran’s cinema industry.
Commending Iranian cinema officials, he said no one can isolate Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iranian cinema researcher, translator and faculty member of Tehran University Ahmad Alasti was commemorated at the ceremony.
The event’s first prize was awarded to ‘Short Wave’ by Mohammad Esmaeili and written by Gholam-Hossein Saedi based on his own novel.
Saman Salur and Hooshang Golmakani received the Arts and Experience Award for Sadeq Javadi’s ‘Fox’.
Iranian Short Film Association (ISFA) introduced the ISFA Award at the 35th TISFF. ISFA Medal and Honorary Diploma both went to ‘Dissect’ by Siavash Shahabi.
Members of the panel of jury also appreciated the films ‘The Scout’ and ‘Banoo’ for focusing on Iran’s Sacred Defense.
Best Film in the Art and Experience section was given to ‘The Fox’.
‘Dissect’ received Iranian Short Film Association Award and Grand Prix in the International Competition section.
UNICEF granted special mention to ‘Fellow Citizen of War’ by Ahmad Zaeri while the main award went to ‘Dolly’ by Ali Delkari.
In International Competition section, ‘And What is the Summer Saying?’ by Payal Kapadia (India) received the Best Documentary award while the Best Animation award went to ‘Weekends’ (US).
The 35th TISFF was held in Tehran from November 9-13.
Firefighters battle blazes in California, 50 dead
Thousands of firefighters battled blazes in northern and southern California as body recovery teams searched the remains of houses and charred cars for victims of the deadliest wildfire in the history of the US state.
At least 50 deaths have been reported statewide so far from the late-season wildfires, and with hundreds of people unaccounted for, the toll is likely to rise, AFP reported.
Most of the fatalities have been caused by the so-called “Camp Fire” in and around the town of Paradise, population 26,000, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of the capital Sacramento.
“Today an additional six human remains were recovered, which brings the total to 48. All six of those remains were located in Paradise, and they were located within homes,” Sheriff Kory Honea told a news conference.
Another two deaths have been reported from the “Woolsey Fire,” north of Los Angeles.
Paradise, which is home to many retirees and has experienced an unusually dry fall, was virtually razed to the ground by the fast-moving “Camp Fire” blaze.
Others escaped by driving through tunnels of smoke and fire as flames licked at their vehicles on gridlocked roads dotted with abandoned cars.
The “Camp Fire,” which erupted on Thursday, has ravaged 130,000 acres (50,600 hectares) of land and is 35 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.
The “Camp Fire” has destroyed some 7,600 homes and 260 commercial properties. Battling the blaze are more than 5,600 fire personnel, some from as far away as Washington state and Texas.
The “Woolsey Fire,” which also began on Thursday, has razed 97,114 acres (39,300 hectares) and has been 40 percent contained.
Cal Fire said more than 3,500 fire personnel were battling the “Woolsey Fire.”
The fires have forced a quarter of a million people to flee their homes and seven evacuation shelters have been set up in Butte County, three of which are already full, according to the authorities.
OPEC+ discusses oil supply cut of up to 1.4m bpd
OPEC and its partners are discussing a proposal to cut oil output by up to 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) for 2019, three sources familiar with the issue said, a larger reduction than previously thought to avert a price-sapping oversupply.
Worried by a drop in oil prices due to record supply from Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is talking of a U-turn just months after increasing production, Reuters wrote.
Such a shift could anger US President Donald Trump, who urged OPEC on Monday not to cut supply. It also risks handing market share to the United States, while the sources said Russia might need persuading to back such a move.
A steep slide in oil prices has surprised many oil market participants. Brent crude has fallen from a four-year high of $86 a barrel in early October to $66 on Wednesday. Just weeks ago, some trading firms were talking of $100 oil.
The sources, who declined to be identified by name as the talks are confidential, said a cut of up to 1.4 million bpd was one option discussed by energy ministers from Saudi Arabia, non-OPEC Russia and other nations in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
“I believe a cut of 1.4 million bpd is more reasonable than above it or below it,” one of the sources said.
OPEC and a group of non-OPEC nations, led by Russia, have been cooperating to limit oil supply since the start of 2017. They partially unwound their reduction in June after pressure from Trump to lower prices.
The OPEC-led deal got rid of a supply glut that built up in 2014 as supply from the United States and other countries outside the group soared. The then Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi blocked an OPEC supply cut to preserve market share.
This time, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih has publicly spoken of a need to lower supplies, showing price support is trumping market share. OPEC meets on Dec. 6 to set policy for 2019.
A new round of OPEC-led supply cuts in 2019 would further support US shale oil production, potentially repeating the cycle that played out in 2014.
Oil prices LCOc1 rose on Wednesday, after Tuesday’s 6.6 percent drop, the largest one-day loss since July.
Figure yet to be agreed
OPEC and its partners have not settled on a final figure for a new supply cut, the sources said.
One of the three sources said a minimum cut of 1 million bpd was being considered and it could be larger than 1.4 million bpd. Another source, an OPEC delegate, agreed that a larger cut than 1.4 million bpd was possible, depending on the market.
Nigeria and Libya, which are exempt from the current supply limiting accord, could be included in a new agreement, two of the sources familiar with the matter said.
“We are talking about a cut from everyone, including Nigeria and Libya because their production has exceeded the cap in recent months,” one source said.
While Nigeria and Libyan output has risen, another OPEC member Iran is facing lower exports due to US sanctions that started this month. Tehran might not deliver a voluntary cut, another of the three sources said.
OPEC officials were not sure whether Russia will join another round of supply cuts. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday no emergency action was warranted to stem the decline in prices.
“The market is quite volatile today. We remember that the oil price was sharply rising in the same way, now it is going down. We have to look into long-term development, into how the price will be stabilized,” he said in Singapore.
But OPEC officials hope Moscow will come round eventually.
One of the three sources said any cut for Russia could be gradual, citing the example of the 2017 output reduction deal when Moscow delivered its share of the cuts in phases.
“There are a few challenges to the proposal and Russia is one of them,” another source said.