US ‘maximum pressure’ policy defeated by Iran’s resistance strategy: Shamkhani
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani highlighted the ineffectiveness of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic and said Washington’s policy of “maximum pressure” has been defeated by Iran’s strategy of active resistance.
“The US policy of ‘maximum pressure’, which was followed by false assumptions about the collapse of Iran’s national economy, kneeled down in the face of (Iran’s) strategy of active resistance,” Shamkhani said at a meeting with members of a parliamentary faction tasked with counteracting US sanctions in Tehran on Saturday, Tasnim News Agency reported.
He stressed that the Western media has mounted “a fierce perception war” to support the US policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran.
“Despite suffering heavy economic pressures, the resilient people of Iran, because of their awareness, insight, and wisdom, were not defeated by this war and shattered the enemy’s hopes to achieve its goals,” the official added.
“The resistance leads to success when it is accompanied by an approach of continuous activity and mobility, which can be considered an effective step in the path of continuing the strategy of active resistance,” Shamkhani noted.
The remarks come against the backdrop of increased tensions between Iran and the US with Washington imposing new sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The US has ratcheted up pressure on Iran since last year after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Since then, the administration of US President Donald Trump is trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports to “zero,” and has 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.
Iranian officials, however, have dismissed such moves as psychological warfare, saying the country has its own ways of circumventing the American bans and selling crude oil.
Iran dismantles foreign fuel smuggling ring, seizes Philippine ship
Iran said it dismantled a fuel smuggling ring after seizing a Philippine tanker in the Persian Gulf and taking its crew into custody.
Colonel Hossein Dahaki, the commander of Hormuzgan Province coastguard, said on Saturday that his forces had detained 12 Philippine nationals and their towboat, Press TV wrote.
An illegal shipment of nearly 284,000 liters of smuggled diesel fuel, worth about 323 billion rials ($2.8 million), was also confiscated as part of the operation.
The coastguard chief added that much observation and intelligence work had been done in order to identify the large-scale fuel smuggling ring.
“Smuggling, be it in any field, has destructive consequences on the country’s economy. A firm stance is required to be adopted against organized networks smuggling goods, currency and, particularly, fuel,” Dahaki said.
The coastguard official added that the case would be followed up through legal procedures.
The devaluation of the Iranian rial, as a result of US sanctions on the country over the past year, has helped turn smuggling into a lucrative business across Iran’s borders.
Despite massive efforts to counter the illegal trade, the cheap prices of fuel in Iran still encourage traffickers to smuggle the product out of the country.
Gasoline is currently pumped into cars in Iran at a price of $0.09 while diesel is sold at even a lower price of $0.03. The government has considered reducing subsidies on the two types of fuel mainly to curb the illicit trade.
Iranian border guard killed in clashes with armed elements
An Iranian border guard was killed in clashes with armed elements in country’s northwestern Kurdestan Province.
In a statement released on Saturday, Iranian police identified the guard as Majid Shiripaz from the city of Khomein in Markazi Province, central Iran, Press TV wrote.
Shiripaz, police said, was killed in a shootout with counterrevolutionary forces at the zero point of the Iran-Iraq border in the town of Marivan.
Another border guard was injured in the battle, the police statement added.
The armed counterrevolutionary elements were trying to illegally enter Iran but had to go back after the border guards opened fire on them. The militants suffered heavy casualties, according to the statement.
Iranian forces usually engage in clashes with terrorist groups in border regions and most of times manage to thwart their attempts to infiltrate the country and carry out attacks.
MP: Possessing 98 nuclear reactors, US opposes Iran’s nuclear program
While the US owns 98 reactors, it is a flag bearer in mounting opposition against the peaceful nuclear program of Iran, a country which has only one reactor, tweeted an Iranian MP.
In a Twitter post on Friday, Alireza Rahimi, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said the US has violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, at a time when it ranks first in the world in terms of having the largest number of nuclear reactors.
He noted that in addition, Europe with 183 reactors has also adopted a tough stance toward Iran which is in possession of only one reactor and has signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in July 2015, with the P5+1.
Citing reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the lawmaker said to IRNA, following the US with 98 reactors, are China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and India with 46, 38, 36, 24 and 22 reactors respectively.
He added China, India and South Korea are constructing, respectively, 11, seven and five reactors, noting that according to reports by the IAEA the total number of the reactors operating across the world stands at 450, of which 28 belongs to the Middle East.
Rahimi said 55 nuclear reactors are currently under construction across the world.
In May 2018, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the JCPOA and reimposed Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Iran.
Since then, the White House has been constantly struggling to push other countries, particularly European states, toward opposing Iran and its peaceful nuclear program. It has also put pressure on Iran’s oil customers to stop their crude imports from the country.
Envoy: Caracas-Tehran ties unbreakable
Venezuelan envoy to Tehran, Carlos Antonio Alcalá Cordones, described as unbreakable relations between Caracas and Tehran, saying US hostile measures against Venezuela and Iran will not shatter the unity between the two countries.
Speaking to IRNA on Saturday, the envoy stressed that the US unilateral acts, which are aimed at stopping progress in the expansion of relations between Venezuela and Iran and are targeting the lives of people in the two countries as well as their welfare, have only made the two governments and nations more united against imperialism.
Describing Venezuela and Iran as two of the world’s important energy hubs and also prominent members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said although both countries are under the most intense economic, financial and trade pressures imposed ever by the US, Venezuela and Iran have been able to stand against Washington’s maximum pressure campaign.
Elaborating on Venezuela-Iran relations, the ambassador noted that the diplomatic and trade ties between two countries is developing significantly.
“Both countries are cooperating closely in energy, defense and trade sectors.”
Commenting on the exchange of high-ranking delegations between Venezuela and Iran, he said the two countries’ technical committee meeting will be held in Tehran in the near future.
The Venezuelan diplomat described Iran as a united and powerful country in all fields.
Iran’s success, stability and endurance over past four decades have been the outcomes of its integrated existence which has been ensured and is being reflected by the country’s culture, Islam, wise and prudent Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and ongoing development, the envoy noted.
“I have no doubt that the people of Iran will continue their progress and surmount all obstacles.”
He added the resumption of direct flights between Caracas and Tehran by Conviasa and Mahan Air airlines is a step toward strengthening ties between two countries in the field of tourism.
IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami said on Saturday Iran has no weakness in any war or in the face of any foreign threat, saying that country is well-prepared to defend its people as strongly as it can, IRNA reported.