Rouhani: Iran determined to boost economic ties with Turkey
Iran’s president said that Tehran is resolved to promote economic relations with Turkey, adding that the expansion of bilateral ties will play a major role in promoting stability and security in the region.
Iran and Turkey are two “powerful and influential” countries in the Muslim world, Hassan Rouhani said in a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday, Tasnim News Agency reported.
He added that Tehran is determined to strengthen economic cooperation with Ankara and use the two countries’ national currencies in their transactions.
Iran and Turkey have agreed to step up their economic cooperation with the aim of reaching a $30-billion target set for their annual trade, voicing concern over the reimposition by the US of unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic, a move which they say could affect the entire region’s economy.
The Iranian president further expressed sorrow for the continued bloodshed and the killing of people in Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan and said Iran and Turkey, in cooperation with other friendly countries, can put an end to the ongoing “unfortunate and dangerous” situation and properly solve the issues of the region and the Muslim world.
He also stressed the importance of bolstering cooperation between Iran and Turkey in the fight against terrorism in the region and promoting security at the common borders.
In a meeting with his Turkish counterpart in the Russian resort city of Sochi in February, Rouhani lashed out at Western states, especially the US, for throwing their support behind terror groups.
The Turkish president said the expansion of Tehran-Ankara relations would serve the interests of the two nations and the entire region.
Erdogan added that the two countries can increase their cooperation to play further role in boosting stability and security and fighting terrorism across the region.
He slammed the unilateral and cruel sanctions imposed by the United States against Iran and emphasized that his country would not accept such restrictions.
Minister: Exports to regional states among top priorities
Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani said that the government has planned to concentrate on exporting products to regional and neighboring countries.
He made the remarks in Sunday’s open session of the Parliament regarding the review of setting up a free trade zone between Iran and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and reiterated, “Strengthening economic cooperation and focusing on exporting products to the regional countries are of the main programs devised by the 12th government,” Mehr News Agency reported.
The government makes its utmost efforts to broaden and develop its relationship with the regional and neighboring states, the issue of which has been emphasized and reiterated by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Rahmani added.
He pointed to the agreement which is going to be inked between Iran and EEU with the aim of setting up a free trade zone and said, “This agreement is the most comprehensive and detailed agreement that has thus far been concluded by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Approval of this agreement does not mean Iran’s membership in Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), rather, it is a trade and business agreement for preferential trade, he stressed.
Under the agreement, Iran’s membership will be for a period of three years and after that, Iran can either decide to renew its membership or terminate it, Rahmani stated.
Legislators in the Parliament agreed with the generalities of the temporary agreement for setting up a free trade zone between Iran and EEU.
Zarif urges Europe to normalize Iran economic ties, says diplomatic visits opportunity to find solutions
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that Europe is in no position to censure Iran for its military capabilities and called on European leaders to normalize trade ties with the Islamic Republic despite US sanctions, or face consequences.
“Europeans are not in a position to criticize Iran for issues that have nothing to do with the JCPOA,” Zarif told reporters in Tehran, using the acronym for the 2015 nuclear deal.
“The Europeans and other signatories of the JCPOA should normalize economic ties with Iran ... We will halt our commitments, or will take action in accordance with their measures,” he said.
US President Donald Trump last year withdrew the United States from the world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sweeping sanctions. Trump condemned the accord, signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, as flawed for not being permanent and for not covering Iran’s ballistic missile program or its activities in the Middle East.
The West European signatories to the deal – France, Britain and Germany – share the same concerns. However, they have defended the nuclear accord as a basis for future negotiations on a broader palette of security and other issues.
Last month, Iran scaled back some commitments under the 2015 deal and warned that in 60 days it would resume enriching uranium to a higher degree than that permitted by the accord if the Europeans failed to shield it against the US sanctions, which aim to cripple its oil-dependent economy.
Iran insists its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful, and has repeatedly refused to discuss its missile program.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will visit Iran on Monday to explore options for preserving the fraying nuclear pact. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also set to fly to Tehran in an effort to ease tensions between Iran and the US.
Zarif said the trips are an opportunity for Iran to “outline its policies” and “look for a solution to counter policies that have targeted the whole world.”
The trips come amid escalating tension between Iran and the United States. Fears that the war of words could flare into a military clash escalated when Washington dispatched the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier group, an amphibious assault ship, a Patriot missile battery and B-52 bombers to the region.
Stop using dollar
Zarif also said much of America’s undue economic influence will be taken away if countries stop using the US dollar in their international transactions.
“America’s power rests on the dollar; a great part of America’s economic power will go away if countries eliminate the dollar from their economic systems,” he said.
Trump has been attempting to exert economic pressure on Iran ever since he withdrew from the JCPOA. While Iran has been internationally verified to uphold its obligations, it has undergone the US pressures mainly because America has forced its trade partners — who use the US dollar — to stop or cut back on their own trade with Iran.
But the Islamic Republic is not the only country to face such pressure. Russia and China have been subjected either to US sanctions or unfair trade practices.
On Friday, President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China voiced unanimous concern about “inequalities” in the global economic system, a reference to the US dominion. President Putin specifically called for the elimination of the US dollar from international trade.
China, which faces a trade war by the Trump administration, has said that the US practices constitute “economic terrorism” — a term earlier used by Foreign Minister Zarif of Iran to refer to the US sanctions pressure on the Islamic Republic.
In his Sunday remarks, Zarif reiterated that labeling and said the US was trying to pile up pressure on Iran “out of desperation.”
Zarif said that Trump had, by his own admission, declared that the US was launching “an economic war” on Iran. This, he said, amounts to “economic terrorism” on the part of Washington.
“It amounts, by definition, to economic terrorism because the United States is putting pressure in terms of what its president calls warfare on normal ordinary Iranians in order to change the policies of their government,” Zarif said.
Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.
Pressure will not work with Iran
Former CIA director John Brennan said the US President Donald Trump administration’s policy of pressure against Tehran is a failed policy because there is “a culture of resistance” in Iran.
In an interview with The Irish Times published on Saturday, Brennan said the Trump administration has been moving down a “cul-de-sac” with its policies toward Iran.
“The United States has gone down this cul-de-sac with Iran, by putting pressure on the regime, in the false belief that they will change. It’s a culture of resistance in Iran,” he said, Press TV reported on Sunday.
He referred to some of Trump’s policies specifically.
“By reneging on the Iran nuclear deal, by designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization, by tightening sanctions on Iran and forcing European parties to the agreement to renege on their obligations, the perception in Iran is that the Trump administration ultimately wants to overthrow the regime,” Brennan said.
Since taking office in 2017, Trump has taken a progressively bellicose posture toward Iran. A year-and-a-half into his term, he unilaterally withdrew the US from an international nuclear deal with Iran — the JCPOA — and imposed sanctions against Tehran. He then began pressuring the other co-signatories, including European states, to also abandon the deal.
The US president also listed Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “foreign terrorist organization.”
Furthermore, Trump appointed as close aides a coterie of individuals known for their acrimony toward the Islamic Republic. Those figures, who include national security adviser, John Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in turn worked to reinforce the administration’s anti-Iran posture. In his interview, Brennan singled out Bolton and Pompeo as “Iran zealots.”
In May, the US announced highly provocative plans to dispatch military reinforcements to the Middle East, including an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force, citing an alleged, unspecified Iranian threat.
At the same time as taking those anti-Iran measures, Trump has also offered new talks with Tehran. At different times, his administration has offered talks, with or without preconditions.
Iran has rejected the preconditions and has said offers of talks do not go with threats and pressure.
China calls in foreign tech firms after Huawei sales ban
China summoned global technology companies for talks last week following last month’s US ban on selling technology to China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday.
The blacklisting of Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecoms network equipment, bars US companies from supplying it with many goods and services due to what Washington said were national security issues, a potentially crippling blow that sharply escalated US-China trade tensions.
Huawei denies that its equipment poses a security threat.
Soon afterward, Beijing announced it would release its own list of “unreliable” foreign entities. It also has hinted that it will limit its supply of rare earths to the United States.
A person at US software giant Microsoft Corp. said the company’s session with Chinese officials was not a direct warning but it was made clear to the firm that complying with US bans would likely lead to further complications for all sector participants.
The company was asked not to make hasty or ill-considered moves before the situation was fully understood, the person said, adding that the tone was conciliatory.
Microsoft declined to comment.
The New York Times first reported on the meetings led by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), saying major foreign tech firms were warned against complying with a US ban on selling American technology to Chinese firms or potentially face what the newspaper described as dire consequences.
It is not unusual for China to summon representatives of foreign and domestic companies, sometimes in groups, to make its views heard.
One person with another US tech company in China who was briefed by colleagues on the company’s meeting told Reuters that the tone was “much softer” than expected.
“No mention of Huawei. No ultimatums. Just asked to stay in the country, contribute to the win-win negotiation,” the person said, declining to be identified by name or company given the sensitivity of the matter.
“I think they realize they still need US tech and products for now; self-sufficiency will take a long time, and only after then they can kick us out,” the person said.
The New York Times reported that other companies summoned for meetings last Tuesday and Wednesday included US computer maker Dell Technologies Inc., South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and SK Hynix Inc., and British chip designer ARM, which last month halted supplies to Huawei.
Samsung and SK Hynix declined to comment. Dell did not immediately respond on Sunday to an emailed request for comment and a spokesperson for ARM could not immediately be reached.
Separately, the editor of China’s Global Times tabloid said on Saturday that Beijing was preparing to curb some tech exports to the United States. In a tweet, Global Times editor in chief, Hu Xijin, said that China “is building a management mechanism to protect China’s key technologies.”
“This is a major step to improve its system and also a move to counter the US crackdown,” he added. “Once taking effect, some technology exports to the US will be subject to the control.”
Hu did not cite any named sources in his tweet. The Global Times is a newspaper published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily.
Also on Saturday, Chinese state media outlet Xinhua reported that the NDRC would organize a study to establish a “national technological security management list system.”
Last week, Reuters reported that Facebook Inc. was no longer allowing the pre-installation of its apps on Huawei smartphones.
Iran Daily will have a sale price of 10,000 rials as of Monday, June 10.
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Hamas slams US envoy for condoning Israeli settlements
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas condemned the US envoy for his remarks condoning Israel’s expansionist policy on illegal settlements, saying they reflect Washington’s extremist view on the issue.
Member of Hamas’ International Relations Office Basem Naim said that remarks earlier in the day by David Friedman, who serves as the US ambassador to the occupied Palestinian territories, represented “the destructive thinking of the extreme American leadership.”
“The statements of the American ambassador are completely consistent with the view of the most extreme Israeli right-wing and a disregard of the US government for all Arab positions,” said Naim, whose Hamas government sits in the besieged Gaza Strip but is allied to the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, according to Press TV.
The statement came after Friedman said Israel has a right to claim parts of the occupied West Bank as it seeks to annex the territory despite all international bans on the move.
“Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” Friedman said in an interview published by The New York Times on Saturday.
The remarks have caused an outrage both in the Middle East and around the world at a time when many believe Washington is violating international regulations by allowing Israel to expand its settlements into territories occupied after the 1967 Six-Day War.
Palestinian officials in the West Bank reiterated that Friedman’s remarks represented a crime under international law.
Saeb Erekat, a top PA negotiator, said the remarks showed that US government was heavily biased in favor of Israel despite pretending that it seeks peace in the occupied territories.
“Their vision is about annexation of occupied territory, a war crime under international law,” Erekat said in a tweet.
Usameh al-Ghawasimi, a spokesman for the West Bank-based Fatah party, said Friedman was trying to mislead the truth and violate international law.
“Friedman has become the mouthpiece for racism and the Israeli apartheid system, instead of being the US ambassador,” said Ghawasimi, adding, “Friedman’s remarks violate the foundations agreed upon for the creation of an independent Palestinian state and international and regional peace and stability.”
European governments have repeatedly criticized US President Donald Trump for his policy on the Palestinian issue, especially his move in late 2017 to recognize the occupied Al-Quds as Israel’s capital.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Saturday reiterated France and the European Union’s opposition to the decision and said Trump administration’s still-secret plan for creating peace in the occupied territories was “an approach that cannot grant serenity.”
Iran routs Japan, moves up to second in VNL table
Iran overcame Japan in straight sets in Tokyo to move up to the second spot at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
On Sunday, Igor Kolaković’s men beat their host 25-22, 25-21, 25-19 to make it five-out-of-six at the end of Week 2 of the competition.
Milad Ebadipour and Pouria Yali chipped in 14 and 13 points, respectively, and topped the scoring chart for Iran, while Yuki Ishikawa got 14 points to his name in the Japanese outfit with Yuji Nishida scoring 10.
The Asian powerhouse jumped up one spot in the table, overtaking France on sets ratio, as the European giant conceded its first defeat of the competition at the hands of Bulgaria by a 3-2 scoreline in Ningbo, China.
Brazil, meanwhile, continued its perfect run as it edged past Argentina in five sets (25-20, 21-25, 26-28, 25-23, 15-12) for sixth successive victory in the league.
Iran heads back home for Week 3 where it will be playing Canada, Poland and Russia in Urmia, West Azarbaijan Province, on June 14-16.
7,000-year antiques found in western Iran
Signs of human life dating back to 4th and 5th millennia BC were discovered in a construction in Azna County, Lorestan Province, western Iran, said the head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of the province.
“Architectural structures, stone tools, clay figurines, counting token, human and animal bone remnants, stone stamp and its impression, and clay items are a part of the unearthed antiques in Keyvan Hill,” said Amin Qassemi.
He added that the items were found in a construction site.
According to the preliminary inspections, items dating back to Copper Age until Islamic era were discovered in the area.
UK’s Boris Johnson says would withhold Brexit bill as PM
Boris Johnson, the leading candidate to succeed Theresa May as Britain’s next prime minister, said he would withhold a previously agreed 39-billion-pound ($50-billion) Brexit payment until the European Union gives Britain better exit terms.
The EU has repeatedly said it will not reopen discussion of the Brexit transition deal it reached with May last year, which British lawmakers have rejected three times, prompting May to announce her resignation earlier this month, Reuters wrote.
May stepped down as leader of the governing Conservatives on Friday.
Johnson, a former foreign secretary in May’s cabinet, is popular with ordinary Conservative Party members, who will decide between the two candidates who come top in a series of votes by Conservative lawmakers over the coming weeks.
“I always thought it was extraordinary that we should agree to write that entire check before having a final deal. In getting a good deal, money is a great solvent and a great lubricant,” Johnson told the Sunday Times.
Britain is due to leave the EU on Oct. 31. If Parliament does not approve a deal – and the government does not ask the EU for another delay – there risks being major economic disruption from a disorderly departure.
The 39 billion pounds represents outstanding British liabilities to the EU, which would be paid over a number of years according to the withdrawal agreement negotiated by May.
Johnson also said border arrangements with Ireland should be settled only as part of a long-term agreement, rejecting a “backstop” which would avoid checks on Northern Ireland’s border but which Conservative lawmakers fear is a backdoor way of requiring Britain to continue to follow EU rules after Brexit.
The EU has said guarantees to keep the border open between Ireland and Northern Ireland are an essential part of the transition agreement.
Separately, one of Johnson’s rivals, Environment Minister Michael Gove, said he would scrap the value-added tax (VAT) levied on most goods and services and replace it with a lower US-style sales tax.
Gove told the Sunday Telegraph he wanted to use “the opportunity of life outside the EU to look to replace VAT with a lower, simpler sales tax, ensuring our business tax structure is the most competitive in the G20 and reducing marginal tax rates for the poorest families to reward work.”