Zarif: Arms suppliers to ME cannot ask Iran to abandon defensive weapon
Iran’s foreign minister said countries that are speaking about Iran’s defensive power are those that send billions of dollars of arms to the Middle East, which has led to insecurity in the region.
Mohammad Javad Zarif said that those countries that have sent this large volume of weapons to the region cannot ask a “great and independent” country such as Iran to abandon its defensive weapons, IRNA reported.
He underlined that Iran’s defensive power is not negotiable, adding that the country will continue its policy in this regard.
“Resolution 2231 of the United Nations Security Council has not put limitations on Iran’s missile program,” Zarif told reporters on the sidelines of the cabinet meeting in Tehran.
On December 4, the UN Security Council held a meeting behind closed doors, called by the United States, France, and the UK to discuss Iran’s latest alleged missile test, which they claimed may have been in violation of UN Resolution 2231. The session ended with no statement.
The Iranian foreign minister said that the US is making such ‘baseless’ claims because it wants to cover up its own violations of the UNSC resolution after withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.
Iran’s mission to the UN in a statement released on Tuesday said all ballistic missile-related activities of the Islamic Republic are in full conformity with the relevant provisions of UN Resolution 2231, which endorses the nuclear deal.
The mission described the US as the gross violator of the resolution, emphasizing that “portraying Iran’s ballistic missile program as inconsistent with Resolution 2231, or as a regional threat, is a deceptive and hostile policy of the US.”
It further noted that the US unlawfully quit the nuclear agreement, and is in absolute violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
Second CLI Expo 2018 opens in Tehran
Domestic Economy Desk
The Second International Exhibition of Chemical and Laboratory Industries (CLI Expo 2018) was inaugurated in Shahr-e Aftab International Exhibition Center in Tehran on Wednesday with the participation of 85 domestic companies and representatives of nine countries.
Companies from Germany, the UK, India, China, the US, Italy, Singapore, Hungary and France are taking part in the exhibition which is organized by Iran Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization in cooperation with Iran’s Innovation and Prosperity Fund and several guild and industrial unions.
Masoud Mostofi, the event’s manager, told IRNA that the abundant capacity of Iran’s petrochemical industries has helped develop chemical manufacturing units operating in various fields nationwide.
He said based on the figures released by the Industry, Mine and Trade Ministry, 322 investment priorities have been determined for the country in 17 industrial fields.
He noted that chemical industries, with 29 investment opportunities, ranked third among the investment priorities of the country.
“Based on a report released by the Statistical Center of Iran, about 10 percent of the jobs created in the industrial sector pertain to chemical industries,” he said.
Mostofi said Iran exports close to $2 billion worth of chemical products annually.
He added that Iran is considered to be in possession of one of the world’s largest laboratory networks, pointing out that more than 145 calibration laboratories, 2,450 labs cooperating with Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran, 5,000 clinical labs, 120 environmental labs, 280 nanotechnology labs, 300 labs cooperating with Iran Food and Drug Administration and 480 labs which are the members of Iran’s National Laboratory Network are operating across the nation.
Referring to the present economic condition of the country, Mostofi pointed out that the exhibition will provide a suitable opportunity for introducing Iranian products and services, increasing sales of industrial goods, establishing link with current and future customers and identifying their main requirements and compiling information about the market.
In a bid to boost relations between industrial sector and universities, several research centers active in the field of chemical development have been invited to participate in the Second CLI Expo which will continue until December 8, he concluded.
Iran won’t discuss its OPEC quota while under sanctions
OPEC works on deal to cut output by 1.3m bpd
Iran will not discuss its OPEC quota as long as it is under sanctions, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Wednesday.
“As long as Iran is under sanctions, the Islamic Republic’s OPEC quota will not be discussed with anyone,” Zanganeh said, speaking ahead of a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna which is due to debate oil production cuts, Reuters reported.
OPEC meets on Thursday, followed by talks with allies such as Russia on Friday, amid a drop in crude prices caused by global economic weakness and fears of an oil glut due largely to a rise in US production.
The exporters’ group and its allies, known as OPEC+, see themselves at the same juncture they did in 2016. However, this time there is less certainty of a consensus to cut amid the exit of Qatar on January 1. Qatar was on board in 2016 when OPEC agreed to reduce inventories by slashing 1.2 million barrels per day out of its production. On top of that, allies cut 600,000 bpd.
Four sources said OPEC+ is working toward a deal to reduce oil output by at least 1.3 million barrels per day. The sources added that Russia’s resistance to a major cut was so far the main stumbling block.
Qatar said on Monday it will quit OPEC to focus on gas in a swipe at Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of the oil exporting group which is trying to show unity in tackling an oil price slide.
Reacting to Qatar’s decision to pull out, Zanganeh said on Tuesday OPEC has problems with some oil producers, and the reasons for Qatar’s exit from the organization must be examined.
“Examining the reasons for Qatar’s exit from OPEC is a necessity,” Zanganeh said. “OPEC has big problems from some oil producers which Qatar is not a part of.”
Zanganeh did not elaborate but he appeared to be noting that Qatar is not one of the problematic oil producers in OPEC.
In an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, Falih said Moscow backs output curbs “in principle,” but it’s “premature” to say what they will agree to in Vienna this week.
Meanwhile, Falih met with US special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, in Vienna on Wednesday, sources familiar with the meeting said.
US President Donald Trump has urged Saudi Arabia to refrain from output cuts in order to keep oil prices low. He said higher oil supplies were a payback from Riyadh for US support for Saudi Arabia against Iran.
The United States reimposed sanctions on Tehran last month. The measure has severely reduced Iranian oil flows and Washington has said it wants ultimately to drive Iranian shipments down to zero.
Iran won’t bow to US under sanctions
President Hassan Rouhani decried the US for imposing sanctions on Iran, adding that the Iranian people will weather the hardships without bowing to pressures.
“The Iranian people are familiar with sanctions and know what sanctions and pressures mean,” the president said on Wednesday.
“While under sanctions, we need to turn threats into opportunities. It is not an easy job, but one of the most complicated tasks in the world … However, I am convinced that Iranian people manage to do it,” he said.
The president made the remarks in his visit to the central province of Semnan that has seen him taking harsher lines against the US.
Rouhani on Tuesday warned that no crude will find its way out of the Persian Gulf should the US attempt to target Iranian crude exports.
Washington has reimposed its unilateral anti-Iran sanctions, including an oil embargo, after withdrawing from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers in May in defiance of international objections.
The US had initially vowed to reduce Iran’s oil sales to “zero” under the bans, but it later backed down and granted waivers to almost all of Tehran’s major crude buyers.
Iranian MPs pass amendment to CFT bill
Iranian lawmakers have approved an amendment to a bill on Iran’s accession to the Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) convention, which was earlier rejected by the Guardian Council.
In an open session on Wednesday, the legislators gave the thumbs up to the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee’s amendment to the first clause of the CFT bill after the supervisory Guardian Council announced some of the provisions needed to be changed, ifpnews.com reported.
The ratified amendment will now go to the Guardian Council again for approval.
Meanwhile, lawmakers did not accept the changes that the Guardian Council had demanded be made to the second clause of the bill. So, the second clause will be sent to the arbitrative Expediency Council, which will make the final decision on the controversy.
The bill is part of four sets of legislation proposed by the government of Hassan Rouhani to get the country out of the blacklist of the global anti-money laundering body, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Two other bills had been approved by the Parliament, but rejected by the Guardian Council. After the Parliament refused to change the bills, they were referred to the Expediency Council, which is entrusted with acting as an arbiter between the two bodies.
The fourth bill, an amendment to the country’s law against financing terrorism, was earlier approved by the Parliament and the Guardian Council, and signed into law by President Rouhani.
Iran entered into talks with the G7-created FATF to join the body following the January 2016 implementation of the JCPOA, the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. However, Iran’s adoption of FATF standards has slowed down in recent months, over concerns among conservative politicians that the move could endanger Iran’s national security interests. The FATF has requested Iran to implement necessary reforms until February 2019.
Trade official:India to pay Iran entirely in rupees
By Sadeq Dehqan
The history of trade transactions between Iran and India date back to a long time ago. The two countries’ trade links are not easily breakable. Proof of this is the US failure in forcing India into ceasing its oil imports from Iran by imposing unilateral sanctions on Tehran.
On May 8, US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of a multilateral nuclear deal with Tehran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil industry last month.
Continued on Page 2
Turkey seeks arrest of two allies of Saudi crown prince
US senator: ‘Smoking saw’ links Saudi prince to Khashoggi’s murder
A Turkish prosecutor has demanded that arrest warrants be issued against two Saudi nationals close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Turkish source close to the investigation said Wednesday.
Khashoggi, 59, was killed shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage.
The chief prosecutor’s office in Istanbul filed an application Tuesday to obtain the warrants for Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, described in court documents as being “among the planners” of the murder of the Washington Post contributor Khashoggi.
Assiri often sat in during Prince Mohammed’s closed-door meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries and Qahtani was a key counsellor to the crown prince. Both were sacked after Riyadh admitted Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate.
According to Turkey, a 15-member Saudi team was sent to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi.
The Istanbul prosecutor in charge of the investigation said in late October that the Saudi former insider turned critic was strangled then his body was cut into pieces. The remains of Khashoggi’s body have not been found. There has been speculation in pro-government media that his body was dissolved in acid.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government, but has insisted it was not King Salman.
Riyadh has since detained 21 people over the murder. Despite speculation that the powerful crown prince ordered the hit, the kingdom has strongly denied he was involved.
But two key US Republican senators said a Tuesday briefing by the CIA’s director only strengthened their conviction that Prince Mohammed directed the murder.
Rejecting President Donald Trump’s efforts to play down the prince’s role, Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee said that if a jury were to consider a case against Prince Mohammed, he’d be convicted of murder in 30 minutes.
Continued on Page 3
Putin: If US builds missiles, so will Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the United States that if it walks out of a key arms treaty and starts developing the type of missiles banned by it, Russia will do the same.
Putin’s remarks on Wednesday came a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a NATO meeting that Washington will suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days, citing Russian “cheating.” Russia has denied that it has been violating the treaty.
President Donald Trump earlier this year announced his decision to withdraw from the INF, which has been described as a cornerstone of global security, accusing Russia and China — which is not a signatory to the treaty — of violating it.
Putin, in televised comments, said that the US decision to ditch the INF means that American authorities have decided that the US “has to have these weapons.”
“Now it seems our American partners believe that the situation has changed so much that the United States must also have such a weapon. What’s our response? It’s simple: in that case we will also do this,” he said.
Putin accused the United States of blaming Russia for violations as a pretext for Washington to exit the pact.
He noted that many countries produce missiles banned under the INF treaty, but that Moscow and Washington had undertaken to limit themselves with the accord signed in 1987.
Russia has denied US and NATO allegations that it is violating the landmark treaty that banned an entire class of weapons.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Wednesday that Moscow has been received an official notice from Washington that quotes unspecified evidence of Russian violations. Zakharova insisted that Russia has always respected the treaty and considers it “one of the key pillars of strategic stability and international security.”
AP and Reuters contributed to this story.