Iran Daily congratulates its readers on the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Our next issue will be published on Feb. 12.
Baghdad not to be part of anti-Iran sanctions: Iraqi PM
Compiled from Dispatches
Iraq will not be a part of the anti-Iran sanctions, said Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdol-Mahdi in a meeting with Iran’s Central Bank Governor in Baghdad on Wednesday.
Abdolnaser Hemmati conferred with the Iraqi prime minister on the latest situation of banking and monetary relations between the two countries, IRNA reported.
Hemmati and his accompanying delegation also met the Iraqi President Barham Saleh, who called for the removal of barriers to economic and commercial cooperation between the Iranian and Iraqi private and public sectors.
The Iraqi President expressed his satisfaction with the agreement reached between the central banks of the two countries on Tuesday.
Iran and Iraq agreed on a payment mechanism that will enable the two neighbors to do business in the face of US sanctions on Tehran.
The mechanism was discussed in a meeting between Hemmati and his Iraqi counterpart Ali Mohsen Ismail al-Alaq in Baghdad and the details were signed off on a document Tuesday night.
Hemmati arrived in the Iraqi capital on Tuesday to discuss banking relations and payments backlog related to Iran’s gas and electricity exports to the Arab country, he wrote on his Instagram account.
Iraq is Iran’s biggest trade partner, but their relations are increasingly coming under pressure from the US which imposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran in May after abandoning an international nuclear agreement.
On Tuesday, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh summed up the tricky situation.
“Every month, $200 million worth of Iranian gas is exported to Iraq which does not pay it, saying you are under sanctions. At the moment, we have $2 billion owed by Iraq for the gas and electricity sold to the country,” he said.
Nevertheless, Iraq relies on Iran for electricity and consumer goods and trade ties are still strong.
Accounts in Iraqi banks
The governor of Iran’s central bank said on Wednesday that Iranian traders can open accounts with Iraqi banks to carry out their transactions under the new payment system agreed between the two neighbors, Press TV reported.
“According to an agreement reached with the Central Bank of Iraq, Iranian exporters can operate through Iraqi banks, and in this regard, Iranian banks can have dinar-denominated accounts in Iraqi banks,” he said.
Hemmati met Iraqi bank directors, members of chambers of commerce and traders on Wednesday, saying the two sides had reached “good agreements.”
“According to the agreement, the Central Bank of Iran will have euro- and dinar-denominated accounts in Iraqi banks and gas and oil exchanges will be carried out via these accounts,” he said.
“Iraqi companies can also open accounts in Iranian banks and do trade in dinars,” said Hemmati who also announced that he agreed with a request for Iraqi banks to open branches in Iran.
“Therefore, with these agreements and the blessing of the Iraqi prime minister, banking relations between Iran and Iraq will be much stronger, and the expansion of trade relations between the two countries will take shape on this basis,” he added.
Gas imports from Iran generate as much as 45 percent of Iraq’s 14,000 megawatts of electricity consumed daily. Iran transmits another 1,000 megawatts directly, making itself an indispensable energy source for its Arab neighbor.
Basra was hit by violent protests which spread to other cities last summer, partly because of a halt of Iranian electricity exports.
Iranian officials have said the country is pushing forth with a 2025 vision plan to raise its exports to Iraq to $20 billion a year despite US pressures on Baghdad to keep Tehran at arm’s length.
Foodstuff, livestock, construction materials and plastic products constitute the bulk of Iran’s exports to Iraq. Iranian vehicles and food items are a ubiquitous sight in Iraq.
Iran ready to accept US if it changes course
President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that Iran’s motto is “Iran with the entire world” and even if the US repents and changes its course, Iran is ready to accept its repentance.
He made the remarks in a meeting with ambassadors and heads of missions of foreign countries to Tehran on Wednesday, marking the 40th anniversary of the victory of Islamic Revolution of Iran.
“Despite the US adaptation of unjust policies towards Iran for years, we are ready to accept US repentance if Washington makes precise calculations, apologizes to Iran for its past inferences, recognizes the glory and dignity of the Iranian nation and the great Islamic Revolution and talks to the Iranian people respectfully,” the president said, according to president.ir.
Our nation seeks friendly and humane relationship with all great nations, particularly our neighbors, he said.
President Rouhani said the Islamic Republic of Iran advocates a Middle East free from nuclear weapons and WMDs and a world against violence and extremism.
The United States seeks to put pressure and disappoint the Iranian nation, but our people are more united than ever.
Referring to the victory of the Iranian nation in the revolution, he said it was the victory of the right over wrong and democracy over dictatorship.
“The Islamic Revolution was actually popular and a symbol of independence in the bipolar world order.”
The people of Iran achieved victory over a regime armed to teeth through unity and devotion,” he said, The Islamic Revolution inspired the oppressed peoples and was like an earthquake for the US and Israel.
Continued on Page 2
Zarif: US supporting dictators, extremists
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif delivered a strongly-worded response to US President Donald Trump for once again accusing Iran of sponsoring “terror.”
The top Iranian diplomat says Washington is itself supporting dictators in the Middle East region to advance its hostile anti-Iran policies, Press TV reported.
“Iranians – including our Jewish compatriots – are commemorating 40 yrs of progress despite US pressure, just as @realDonaldTrump again makes accusations against us,” Zarif tweeted on Wednesday, in reference to the upcoming 40th anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which toppled the Washington-backed Pahlavi regime.
Zarif further said Washington’s decades-long hostility toward Iran has led it to support “dictators, butchers and extremists” in the Middle East.
Zarif’s tweet comes in reaction to Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, during which he called Iran “the world’s leading state sponsor of terror,” and said the Islamic Republic “chants death to America.”
Under the Trump administration, the US has stepped up its pressure campaign against Iran.
The campaign reached its peak in May 2018, when he unilaterally withdrew America from the 2015 nuclear deal in defiance of international criticisms.
During his State of the Union Speech, Trump also defended the decision for America to abandon the “disastrous” Iran deal and “place the toughest sanctions ever” against the country.
Trump’s White House is also preparing to host a so-called Middle East security conference in Warsaw, Poland, next week to discuss ways of piling pressure on the Islamic Republic.
‘Terror in Mideast rooted
in US policies’
Also reacting to Trump’s latest anti-Iran rhetoric, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said that terrorism in the Middle East and Western Asia is the outcome of the wrong policies adopted by the US and its regional allies over the past years.
The US, he added, has caused “erosive instability” in the region by creating Al-Qaeda, Daesh and other extremist and terrorist groups.
Qassemi further said Judaism like other Abrahamic religions is respected and enjoys a lofty position in Iran based on the country’s Constitution.
“Unfortunately, what has brought notoriety to the true followers of Judaism is the inhumane and criminal actions committed by the Zionist regime. That [behavior] has tarnished the image and position of Jews in the world in the name of religion,” he said.
The official further emphasized that Iran has over the past four decades held more elections than any regional country, including close US allies.
He added that Trump’s “empty, delusional and illogical accusations” against Iran’s people and the Islamic establishment will fall short of covering up the crimes being committed against regional nations by the US and its allied dictatorships, which promote violence and extremism.
Amnesty accuses UAE of diverting arms to ‘militias’ in Yemen
Amnesty International accused the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday of diverting arms supplied by Western and other states to “unaccountable militias accused of war crimes” in Yemen.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are leading a military coalition that is trying to restore former government, Reuters reported.
“Emirati forces receive billions of dollars’ worth of arms from Western states and others, only to syphon them off to militias in Yemen that answer to no one and are known to be committing war crimes,” Amnesty said in a statement.
“The proliferation of these fighting forces is a recipe for disaster for Yemeni civilians who have already been killed in their thousands, while millions more are on the brink of famine as a direct result of the war,” the human rights group said.
The UAE government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Amnesty statement.
The UAE has trained and armed thousands of Yemenis, mostly in southern provinces and western coastal areas, as part of the forces battling the Houthis, who control most urban areas including the capital Sanaa and the main port of Hodeida.
Western nations, many of which provide weapons and intelligence to the coalition, have pressed for an end to the almost four-year war after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi increased scrutiny of Saudi activities in the region.
Amnesty called on states to suspend arms sales to the warring parties until there is “no longer a substantial risk” they may be used to breach humanitarian or human rights law.
Tusk: ‘Special place in hell’ for Brexiteers without a plan
European Council President Donald Tusk spoke of a “special place in hell” for “those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it out safely.”
He was speaking after talks with Irish premier Leo Varadkar in Brussels, according to BBC.
Brexit-backing MPs reacted with anger to the comments, accusing Tusk of “arrogance.”
Downing Street said it was a question for Tusk “whether he considers the use of that kind of language helpful.”
The prime minister’s official spokesman said, “We had a robust and lively referendum campaign in this country. In what was the largest democratic exercise in our history people voted to leave the EU.”
He added that everyone should now focus on delivering that.
And at the end of their press conference, Varadkar was picked up by the microphones telling Tusk: “They’ll give you terrible trouble in the British press for that.”
Tusk nodded at the comment and both laughed.
Former UKIP leader, and now an independent MEP, Nigel Farage, tweeted back at Tusk: “After Brexit we will be free of unelected, arrogant bullies like you and run our own country. Sounds more like heaven to me.”
Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, who also campaigned for Britain’s exit from the EU, said Tusk should apologize for his “disgraceful” and “spiteful” comments.
“I’m sure that when he reflects on it he may well wish he hadn’t done it,” she told BBC Radio 4’s World at One.
The Democratic Unionist Party’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said, “This devilish Euro maniac is doing his best to keep the United Kingdom bound by the chains of EU bureaucracy and control.
“It is Tusk and his arrogant EU negotiators who have fanned the flames of fear in an attempt to try and overturn the result of the referendum.”
But Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald backed Tusk, arguing that it was the position of “hardline” Brexit-supporting MPs like Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg that was “intemperate” and “untenable.”
“They are people who have acted with absolute contempt for [Ireland], utter disregard for the experiences of Irish people, north and south, with utter disregard for the peace process that has been collectively built over decades,” she added.
Tusk began his remarks by telling reporters there were 50 days to go until the UK’s exit from the European Union.
“I know that still a very great number of people in the UK, and on the continent, as well as in Ireland, wish for a reversal of this decision. I have always been with you, with all my heart.
“But the facts are unmistakable. At the moment, the pro-Brexit stance of the UK prime minister, and the Leader of the Opposition, rules out this question.
“Today, there is no political force and no effective leadership for Remain. I say this without satisfaction, but you can’t argue with the facts.”
Theresa May – who supported the UK staying in the EU during the 2016 EU referendum but has always insisted that Brexit must be delivered because that was what people voted for – is due to arrive in Brussels on Thursday to seek legal changes to the withdrawal deal she signed with the EU. She hopes these changes will help her get it through the UK Parliament.
Tusk said that the other 27 EU members had decided in December that the withdrawal agreement was “not open for renegotiation”.
He said, “I hope that tomorrow we will hear from Prime Minister May a realistic suggestion on how to end the impasse.... following the latest votes in the House of Commons.”
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Envoy: Germany to boost economic ties with Iran despite US sanctions
German Ambassador to Tehran Michael Klor-Berchtold (L) and Iran Technical and Vocational Training Organization (ITVTO) head, Soleiman Pakseresht (R), exchange documents of a memorandum of understanding on vocational training in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Feb. 6, 2019.
The German ambassador to Tehran Wednesday said his country will continue to expand economic relations with Iran regardless of US anti-Iran sanctions.
Michael Klor-Berchtold, who made the remarks on the sidelines of a two-day workshop in the Iranian capital, added, “We have been consulting France and Britain to facilitate trade with Iran.”
The envoy said Berlin is also trying to encourage other EU member states and even non-EU states to boost their economic ties with Tehran.
Klor-Berchtold pledged that Germany will help Iran in the vocational sector as it did during negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program leading to the conclusion of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The Iranian and German officials signed a memorandum of understanding on vocational training.
The memorandum was inked by Soleiman Pakseresht, the head of Iran Technical and Vocational Training Organization (ITVTO), and Georg Schütte, the German state secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.