Speaker hails Qatar’s regional role
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani appreciated the positive role played by Qatar in the region, stressing the need for developing bilateral political and economic relations with Doha, IRNA reported.
During his meeting with Qatari Speaker of the Advisory Council Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid al-Mahmoud, Larijani described any hegemonic temptation in the world as ineffective.
The Qatari speaker also said that his country has great respect for Iran.
During Tuesday’s meeting with a Pakistani Senate official on the sidelines of a conference of Eurasian states’ parliaments in Turkey’s Antalya, Larijani blamed the United States for obstructing the sale of Iranian gas to Pakistan, Tasnim News Agency reported.
Iran’s section of the Iran-Pakistan pipeline was complete and the gas supply is also ready, according to Larijani.
Larijani said certain parties are opposed to cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad.
“Under the contract between Iran and Pakistan, the gas pipeline (on Iran’s soil) has reached the border, and the gas (supply) is also ready, but the US is said to be putting obstacles, because it is mad at your (Pakistan’s) progress and is against the export of gas to Pakistan,” Larijani told Deputy Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan Saleem Mandviwalla.
The senior Pakistani lawmaker said his country’s new government is behind the project and wants it completed immediately.
Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, which stretches for 900 kilometers only in Iran, has been designed to help populous Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs.
Pakistan has fallen short of constructing the 700-kilometer part of the pipeline on its territory.
In August, Iran’s Ambassador to Islamabad Mehdi Honardoost said Iran has spent more than $2 billion on the gas pipeline project and fulfilled much of its commitments, noting that only a 180-kilometer part of the pipeline on the Iranian soil remains to be completed.
“Should Pakistan take a positive step, we will rapidly finish the remaining section,” the envoy said at the time.
Iran world’s top exporter of rose water
By Sadeq Dehqan
Iran is the top exporter of rose water in the world, said the head of Rose Water and Herbal Essences Union in Kashan, central Iran.
Reza Navvabi told Iran Daily that Iran exports rose water to 30 countries, mainly to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.
The UAE imports rose water in bulk, then repackages and exports the product to ensure a more efficient and lucrative trade, he added.
Navvabi noted that despite efforts to introduce the product to the world, rose water is not in high demand since many nations are unaware of its use — unlike rose essence which is well-known and widely consumed in perfume industries of Bulgaria and Turkey.
He added that China began importing rose water from Iran two years ago, along with Korea that uses the comforting and refreshing effect of the product in saunas, and Germany which has recently imported it to meet food industries’ demand.
Iran produced 30,000 tons of rose water in Kashan in the year to March 20, 2018 and the figure is expected to reach 33,000 tons this year, he noted.
Navvabi further said the country exported 4,300 tons of rose water, and 35,000 tons of herbal essence in the one-year period; adding that overseas sales of the latter increased by 42,000 tons during the last six months.
Currently 75 percent of rose water is produced in 730 traditional workshops and 68 factories of Kashan, and the neighboring cities of Qamsar, Neyasar and Bazrak, he added.
Primarily used either in confectionary and ice-cream industries or as a natural medicine, rose water is also common during funerals and religious ceremonies.
In addition, 80 types of herbal essences are produced in Kashan. They are used to cure many kinds of ailments such as diabetics, kidney disorders, heart disease, obesity and depression, Navvabi concluded.
Iran: US trying to escape accountability at ICJ
Rome Appeal Court rejects US appeal to seize Iran’s property
On the second day of the UN top court session on Iran’s complaint against the United States over the seizure of $1.7 billion of Iran’s assets, Iran’s lawyers said Washington is accusing Tehran of supporting terrorism in order to escape accountability for charges against it.
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Expect ‘extreme volatility’ in oil prices due to Iran sanctions
Uncertainty surrounding Iran’s oil industry ahead of forthcoming US sanctions could prompt “extreme volatility” in oil prices, BP’s chief executive said on Wednesday.
“I think it’s going to be 45 days of extreme volatility, it could spike up, it could also go the other way,” Bob Dudley told CNBC.
Dudley’s comments come at a time when oil market players are closely watching what happens when US sanctions on Iran’s oil industry come into force on November 4.
It’s hard to be precise over how much of Iran’s production will be affected by the sanctions. It largely depends on whether the country’s oil-buying customers are afraid of secondary sanctions from the US if they do business with Iran. BP’s competitor Total announced in August that it was pulling out of a giant oil and gas project in Iran.
But BP and Serica Energy were granted a new license Tuesday to run a North Sea gas field partly owned by Iran showing the US is willing to make some exemptions to the reach of the sanctions.
Three days ago, India also said it will buy nine million barrels of Iranian oil in November, two industry sources said, indicating the world’s third-biggest oil importer will continue purchasing crude from Iran despite US sanctions, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, a US government official said on Friday the administration is actively considering waivers on sanctions for countries that are reducing their imports of Iranian oil.
“If waivers were granted to others, to big oil-consuming countries, you could see it [the price] go down, there’s a lot of uncertainty right now,” Dudley said.
Some analysts predict as much as 1.5 million barrels per day could be removed from the market, an event that could cause prices to rise further. On Wednesday, Brent crude futures were trading at $84.96 per barrel while US West Texas Intermediate was trading at $74.92.
No fall in demand
Dudley didn’t see demand falling as a result of high prices due to global GDP growth (seen at 3.7 percent in 2018 and 2019 by the International Monetary Fund) still being robust. “It’s still growing demand; it might be a little bit off but we don’t see that destruction yet,” he said.
“You look at the GDP (gross domestic product) growth in the world and that’s a very indicator on the demand growth for oil and it has been for decades and decades… If you start to see half a percent come off GDP growth around the world, it might be a 200,000 barrel-a-day drop in demand, the way our economists view it, and it’s not that much,” he said.
US President Donald Trump has called on OPEC to increase production to mitigate any Iranian shortfall and impact on prices.
Saudi Arabia, the de-facto leader of OPEC, says it has the spare capacity to fulfill any shortfall created by Iran, but Iran has disputed that.
Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh dismissed Saudi claims, saying that the global market will never believe such claims.
Trump announced in May that Washington was pulling out of the nuclear agreement and reimposed sanctions against Tehran.
A first round of American sanctions took effect in August, targeting Iran’s access to the US dollar, metals trading, coal, industrial software, and auto sector. A second round, forthcoming on November 4, will be targeting Iran’s oil sales and its Central Bank.
The Trump administration is pushing on all buyers of Iranian oil to cut imports to zero. But Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, has repeatedly announced that its oil exports cannot be reduced to zero because of high demand levels in the market.
UN: No military solution for Afghanistan war
More than 8,000 Afghan civilian casualties so far this year
Top UN official in Afghanistan said there is no military solution to the fighting in the Asian country, renewing the UN’s call for an immediate settlement to the war.
“As there can be no military solution to the fighting in Afghanistan, the United Nations renews its call for an immediate and peaceful settlement to the conflict,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the top UN official in Afghanistan, Reuters reported.
A report from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said on Wednesday that at least 8,050 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first nine months of 2018, almost half of them targeted by suicide bomb attacks and other improvised devices that may amount to war crimes.
Seventeen years after US forces led a campaign to overthrow the Taliban following the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the figures underline how dire the security situation remains.
The number of casualties was roughly in line with the same period a year earlier, when there were 8,084 casualties, with deaths this year rising five percent to 2,798 and injuries falling three percent to 5,252, UNAMA said.
While the figures show little change in the overall trend of violence, the UN highlighted the indiscriminate use of suicide and IED attacks, which killed 1,065 civilians and wounded 2,569 in the first nine months, a total of 3,634 casualties, compared with 3,007 casualties in the same period of 2017.
“UNAMA recalls that attacks deliberately targeting civilians and the murder of civilians are serious violations of international humanitarian law that amount to war crimes,” it said in the report.
With parliamentary elections due on Oct. 20, security officials warn that attacks are likely to pick up on polling stations and other election sites, many of which are located in schools, mosques or health clinics.
A wave of suicide attacks in the eastern province of Nangarhar and in the capital Kabul this year has hit students preparing for exams, spectators at sporting events, people waiting to register for elections as well as Shia mosques.
The mainly Shia Hazara minority has been especially heavily targeted by attacks claimed by the local affiliate of Daesh terrorist group.
The report attributed 65 percent of casualties to the Taliban, Daesh and other anti-government forces.
As casualties from suicide attacks and improvised explosive devices rose, casualties from ground fighting fell by 18 percent to 2,311 (605 deaths and 1,706 injured). At the same time, there was a 39 percent rise in the number of casualties from airstrikes, which have risen as air operations have been ramped up, to 649 (313 deaths and 336 injured).
British ambassador favors strengthening relations with Iran
Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Iran called for strengthening the UK’s trade relations with Iran, and said that the British government is committed to supporting the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
According to IRNA, Rob Macaire said in a meeting with Governor General of Yazd Province Mahmoud Zamani on Wednesday, “We are trying to develop Iran’s trade relations with Britain and other European countries.”
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Turkish newspaper names 15 Saudis in missing journalist case
Turkish newspaper Sabah said on Wednesday it had identified a 15-member intelligence team it said was involved in the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi was last seen a week ago entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to get documents related to his forthcoming marriage. His fiancée, waiting outside, said he never emerged and Turkish sources said they believe Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi policies, was killed inside the mission.
Saudi Arabia has dismissed as baseless accusations that it killed or abducted Khashoggi. Saudi authorities have so far not commented on the 15 nationals reported to have come to Turkey.
A Turkish security source had previously told Reuters that a group of 15 Saudi nationals, including some officials, arrived in Istanbul and entered the consulate on Oct. 2, the same day Khashoggi was there, and later left the country.
Sabah newspaper published the names and years of birth of 15 Saudis it said arrived at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on Oct. 2. Twelve of them arrived early on Tuesday, based on photos captured at passport control which it published. The 15 departed at four different times, Sabah reported.
The report also said that the Saudis stayed at the Wyndham and Movenpick hotels in Istanbul, in the same neighborhood as the Saudi Consulate. Both hotels declined to comment on the report.
One of the men identified by name and photo in the Sabah report is a Saudi forensic expert, according to Saudi media reports, and is on the board of the Saudi Society of Forensic Medicine.
Turkish NTV broadcast videos of what it said were the men arriving at the airport and checking into one hotel, as well as videos of what it said was a large van arriving at the consul general’s residence two hours after Khashoggi had entered the consulate.
AFP reported on Wednesday that Turkish investigators are examining CCTV footage showing the moment missing Saudi journalist entered the kingdom’s consulate and the movements of a team suspected of involvement in his disappearance.
Government sources said at the weekend that police believed Khashoggi was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and thought to consist of 15 Saudis.
CCTV released on Wednesday by Turkish TV showed a man believed to be Khashoggi enter the consulate as well as a vehicle of interest entering and leaving the building after Khashoggi went inside.
Khashoggi, a former Saudi government adviser, had been living in the United States since last year, fearing arrest.
He has been critical of some policies of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Riyadh’s intervention in the war in Yemen.
Turkish police were looking into two private aircraft that landed at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on October 2 at different times, carrying the individuals of interest in the case.
A source told the Washington Post that US intelligence “intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture him.”
The same source said the Saudis hoped to “lure” Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia “and lay hands on him there.”
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