Iran: Trump playing ‘very dangerous game’, risking ‘devastating war’
The United States is playing a “very dangerous game” as it attempts to “drag Iran into an unnecessary war,” a senior Iranian official said Tuesday.
Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, told reporters that the Trump administration’s deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group, B-52 bombers and other military personnel and equipment to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged, unspecified Iranian threats risked “serious miscalculation,” according to USA Today.
Baeidinejad denied that Iran was behind what Washington has described as the possible Iranian-backed “sabotage” of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf belonging to Saudi Arabia, Norway and the United Arab Emirates.
“We are prepared for any eventuality, this I can tell you,” Baeidinejad said, amid growing tensions between the US and Iran.
He said from the Iranian perspective it appeared that some of President Donald Trump’s closest advisers such as National Security Advisor John Bolton were actively “trying to convince” Trump to start a military confrontation that neither country wants and would be “devastating” for both Iran, the US and the region.
The conflict between Washington and Tehran is a “complex file” that Iraq is working hard to find solutions for, Iraq’s state news agency INA quoted Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi as saying on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
Neither the US nor Iran want war and Iraq is in contact with both, Abdul Mahdi said.
Brian Hook, US special representative for Iran, said on Tuesday, “We are not looking for a fight. We’re not looking for a war with Iran or with anyone. But we know that the world does have an interest in a peaceful and stable Middle East that includes our European friends here that we met with yesterday. So we are putting in place defensive measures, prudential moves to ensure that if we’re attacked we can respond but that’s only if”.
Iran says Israel root cause of regional crises
On the anniversary of the day when the Israeli regime declared existence 71 years ago, Iran has described Tel Aviv as the root cause of crises in the Middle East and a real threat to world peace.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry released a statement on Tuesday, on the eve of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), when back in 1948, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their homeland and when Tel Aviv proclaimed existence, Press TV reported.
“On Nakba Day, an illegitimate entity called the Zionist regime [of Israel] supported by the United States came into being by occupying the Palestinian land and continued to exist with war, crime and occupation, and has turned into the main source of all regional crises and a real threat to international peace and security,” the statement read.
The statement expressed Iran’s support for the Palestinian cause, calling on the international community, the United Nations in particular, to shoulder its responsibility to take major steps to end Israeli occupation and aggression, restore the Palestinian people’s rights, and establish an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital.
The Israeli regime has been building settlements deep into occupied territories, defying international demands and complicating the Palestinians’ aspirations for an independent state.
Over the course of nearly two and a half years since it took over, the administration of US President Donald Trump has also taken an aggressive approach against the Palestinians and in favor of the Israeli regime.
The Trump administration has unilaterally recognized Al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and has moved its embassy there, further alienating the Palestinians.
Iran rejects report on condition for staying in nuclear deal
The Iranian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman rejected a report by Reuters about Tehran’s condition for staying in the 2015 nuclear deal, saying such reports can spoil “the needed atmosphere for serious diplomacy”.
“The points of view and legitimate demands of Iran have been clearly and explicitly stated in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s May 18 letter to the leaders of the countries remaining in the JCPOA,” Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said in a statement on Tuesday, Tasnim News Agency reported.
Mousavi further emphasized that such “incomplete and inaccurate speculations” in the media not only are not constructive, but also can lead to “spoiling the needed atmosphere for serious diplomacy in the current situation.”
In a report on Monday, Reuters claimed that Iran insists on exporting at least 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, triple May’s expected levels under US sanctions, as a condition for staying in nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) issued a statement last Wednesday, saying Iran is no longer fulfilling some of its obligations under the JCPOA, and setting a two-month deadline for the remaining parties to fulfill their undertakings.
“At the current stage, we are not committed to complying with restrictions on the keeping enriched uranium reserves and heavy water supplies,” the SNSC stated.
The statement came a few days after the US administration renewed five of seven sanctions waivers that allow Russia and European nations to conduct civilian nuclear cooperation with Iran but revoked the other two as part of its pressure campaign against Tehran.
Washington also stopped issuing waivers to buy Iranian crude oil on May 2.
INSTEX to have first transactions in few weeks
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Employing the approach, the US left a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran, which has the UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany as its other signatories, last year. It then reinstated the sanctions that had been lifted under the accord. The moves came while the deal had been ratified in the form of a United Nations Security Council resolution, making Washington culpable for violating international law.
Washington has also been trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports to “zero,” and sent an aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber squad, an amphibious assault ship, and a Patriot missile battery to the Middle East to try to stack up pressure on Tehran.
The Europeans have, time and again, declared that they would be staying true to the deal and make up for the US withdrawal from the agreement.
Mogherini likewise said, “There is full determination on the European Union’s side, and also all the member states expressed that today very clearly on continuing to implement it at full the nuclear deal with Iran.”
Iran, however, has complained about Europe’s failing to act on its verbal support for the deal by continuing trade with Iran despite the US sanctions.
On May 8, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced a decision made by the Supreme National Security Council, the country’s top security body, to suspend the implementation of some of the Islamic Republic’s commitments under the multinational agreement.
In January, the UK, France, and Germany announced the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX), a non-dollar direct payment channel with Tehran.
Rouhani: Islamic Revolution does not belong to a special religion
President Hassan Rouhani said that the Islamic Revolution does not belong to a special religion, stressing that all of the people and religions are owners of the country and the Islamic Revolution.
In a meeting with Sunni scholars and elites, he highlighted the active presence of Sunnis in the Islamic Revolution, saying that “Sunnis have active presence in all stages, especially elections, and choose their representatives,” IRNA reported.
“I have said on several occasions that the dignity and social status of all ethnic groups and religions should be safeguarded so that they will actively engage in the country’s affairs,” he said.
He also pointed to the remarkable presence of Sunnis in the political and social arenas during the past couple of years, making a reference to the appointment of two Sunni Iranian ambassadors.
“The government and the Islamic Republic of Iran consider you as the faithful border guards of the country. Sunnis have been faithful border guards of Iran since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, and they will continue to do so,” Rouhani told the audience.
“Today, we are witnessing how Shias and Sunnis are working together for the country’s development and advancement,” he added.
Playing down the hostile threats against the country, the president underlined that Iran will overcome the hard stage with dignity and pride.
India to decide on resuming purchase of Iranian oil after elections: Source
India said on Tuesday it will decide on its oil imports after elections end this month, in line with its economic interests, a government source said.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif held talks on the issue with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj during a visit to New Delhi, Reuters reported.
India has suspended imports of Iranian oil from May because of renewed US sanctions on Iran.
“On purchase of oil from Iran, EAM (External Affairs Minister) reiterated the position that a decision will be taken after the elections keeping in mind our commercial considerations, energy security and economic interests,” a government source said.
Head of Iran’s Strategic Council of Foreign Relations Kamal Kharrazi said it is still possible for the European companies to buy oil from Iran and their decision about halting their purchases seems to be due to political reasons.