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Tag Archive: Iran


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EU warns of visas for US citizens if Washington implements visa waiver reforms

© Fred Greaves
The EU says it may retaliate if the US goes ahead with plans to impose visas for some members of the bloc who are currently part of the Visa Waiver Program. Brussels says it will not increase security and that US nationals may require visas to enter the EU.

A letter signed by 28 European member state ambassadors to the US was published in The Hill after Europe reacted furiously and with disbelief to plans by Washington to tighten-up the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which currently lets millions of citizens from the bloc travel to the US each year without a visa.

 

OP-ED: EU warns of visas for US citizens if Washington implements visa waiver reforms

 

Last week, the US House of Representatives adopted a bill to reform the visa program that would ban certain EU nationals from entering the US without a visa if they had visited Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan after March 2011. Some US politicians want the legislation introduced to tighten security following the November 13 Paris terror attacks.

“A blanket restriction on those who have visited Syria or Iraq, for example, would most likely only affect legitimate travel by businesspeople, journalists, humanitarian or medical workers while doing little to detect those who travel by more clandestine means overland,” the letter signed by the 28 ambassadors stated.

At present, 23 of the EU’s 28 member states enjoy visa-free travel to the US, with the remaining five nations keen to join the VWP. The bloc says it is imperative to keep the visa waiver program intact for business and tourism purposes, while the current system does not mean that it is “a license to enter the US with nothing more than the wave of a passport of an allied country.”

 

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PressTV News Videos PRESS TV

Mon Dec 7, 2015 7:18PM
A digital rendering of the H1N1 virus
A digital rendering of the H1N1 virus

At least 33 people have lost their lives following an outbreak of swine flu mainly in two southeastern Iranian provinces in the past three weeks, Iran’s deputy health minister says.

Ali Akbar Sayyari said on Monday that the flu left 28 people dead in Kerman Province and five, including four pregnant women, in Sistan and Baluchestan.

He added that there are more cases of infection across the country.

 

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Swine flu outbreak nears Tehran as Iran death toll tops 40

AFP
The World Health Organisation declared the swine flu pandemic over in August 2010

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View photo

The World Health Organisation declared the swine flu pandemic over in August 2010 (AFP Photo/Sam Panthaky)

Tehran (AFP) – An outbreak of swine flu in Iran has claimed 42 lives since mid-November, including in a province neighbouring Tehran, Health Minister Hassan Hashemi said Thursday.

Hashemi, quoted by ISNA news agency, said 33 deaths from the H1N1 virus were recorded in Kerman and five in Sistan-Baluchistan, both provinces in southeastern Iran.

The other four deaths were in three northern provinces, including one in Karaj, near the capital, he said in an update recording nine new fatalities since Monday.

Hashemi has said the number of deaths from flu was similar to previous years, but that it was becoming harder to treat.

“This flu comes from beyond our borders, especially from Sistan-Baluchistan” near Pakistan, the minister said Monday. “But every year it becomes wilder and more resistant” to treatment.

 

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Putin: US missile defense aimed at neutralizing Russia nukes, N. Korea & Iran just a cover

Russian President Vladimir Putin. © Alexei Druzhinin
Vladimir Putin said the US is trying to “neutralize Russia’s nuclear potential” with its on-going deployment of a missile defense shield in Europe. The Russian president has promised a response.

“References to Iran and North Korea nuclear threats are just a cover for the true purpose [of NATO missile defense]. That is to neutralize the potential of other nuclear states not the US or its allies – primarily Russia,” Putin said during a meeting in Sochi dedicated to national military development. “The US is attempting to achieve strategic military superiority, with all the consequences that entails.”

Vladimir Putin has reminded that Iran reached a landmark nuclear deal with world powers in July. The agreement would remove sanctions that have crippled its economy, in exchange for severe restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Russia has been repeatedly told Iran is the main threat.

“Now, the Iranian problem is off the table – treaties have been signed and ratified. Yet, the work on missile defense continues, as before,” Putin said.

The Russian leader promised Russia would take the “necessary measures to respond by strengthening its own missile defense.”

“And at the first stage we are also going to develop strike weapons that can penetrate any missile defense shield.”

 

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Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:6PM
Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan says the Iranian Armed Forces always stand ready to respond to any malicious moves by the US and the Israeli regime.

The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to “boost its defense capability” and is prepared to respond to any mischievous acts by Washington and Tel Aviv, Dehqan said on Saturday.

He said the preparedness of the Iranian Armed Forces is based on its defense doctrine and the need to counter threats and also in line with its policy to support the anti-Israeli resistance movement in all fields.

He made the remarks in response to statements made by Israel’s Minister of Military Affairs Moshe Ya’alon and US Defense Minister Ashton Carter regarding a nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six world powers in mid-July and the possibility of a military action against the Islamic Republic in case of Iran’s alleged non-compliance with the agreement.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Washington on October 28, Carter claimed that the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries removed “just one source of uncertainty and risk.”

 

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CounterPunch

ap_putin_obama_looking_away_thg-130831_16x9_992

 

Why is John Kerry so eager to convene an emergency summit on Syria now when the war has been dragging on for four and a half years?

Is he worried that Russia’s air campaign is wiping out too many US-backed jihadis and sabotaging Washington’s plan to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad?

You bet, he is. No one who’s been following events in Syria for the last three weeks should have any doubt about what’s really going on.  Russia has been methodically wiping out Washington’s mercenaries on the ground while recapturing large swathes of land that had been lost to the terrorists.  That, in turn, has strengthened Assad’s position in Damascus and left the administration’s policy in tatters.  And that’s why Kerry wants another meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pronto even though the two diplomats met less than a week ago.   The Secretary of State is hoping to cobble together some kind of makeshift deal that will stop the killing and salvage what’s left of Uncle Sam’s threadbare Syrian project.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Iran had been invited to the confab which will be held in Vienna on Thursday.  The announcement is bound to be ferociously criticized on Capital Hill, but it just shows to what extent Russia is currently setting the agenda. It was Lavrov who insisted that Iran be invited, and it was Kerry who reluctantly capitulated. Moscow is now in the drivers seat.

And don’t be surprised if the summit produces some pretty shocking results too, like a dramatic 180 on Washington’s “Assad must go” demand.   As Putin has pointed out many times before, Assad’s not going anywhere. He’s going to be a part of Syria’s “transitional governing body”  when the Obama team finally agrees to the Geneva Communique which is the political track that will eventually end the fighting, restore security, and allow millions of refugees to return to their homes.

 

 

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Voice Of America

 

Iran: Missile Test Not in Violation of UN Resolution

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (C-R) welcomes with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier (C-L) in Tehran, Oct. 17, 2015.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (C-R) welcomes with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier (C-L) in Tehran, Oct. 17, 2015.

Lou Lorscheider

Iran has rejected U.S. and French allegations that its recent long-range missile test violates United Nations resolutions, saying the Security Council restrictions only apply to missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Speaking Saturday in Tehran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said “none of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s missiles have been designed for nuclear capabilities.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has proved and shall prove again that nuclear weapons have no place in our defense doctrines and never shall have a place, therefore our missiles have never been designed for carrying nuclear warheads because we have never planned on having nuclear warheads and shall not either,” said Zarif.

Zarif’s comments came a day after U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power referred to the October 10 launch of a medium-range missile.  She said the missile was “inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon,” and said Washington will respond with “appropriate action” in the U.N. Security Council.

 

 

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REUTERS

Iraq using info from new intelligence center to bomb Islamic State: official

Iraq has begun bombing Islamic State insurgents with help from a new intelligence center with staff from Russia, Iran and Syria, a senior parliamentary figure said on Tuesday about cooperation seen as a threat to U.S. interests in the region.

The center has been operational for about a week, and it provided intelligence for air strikes on a gathering of middle-level Islamic State figures, Hakim al Zamili, the head of parliament’s defense and security committee, told Reuters.

The new security apparatus based in Baghdad suggests the United States is losing clout in a strategic oil-producing Middle East, where it has been heavily invested for years.

Two weeks ago Russia started bombing anti-government rebels in neighboring Syria, including the ultra hardline Islamic State, to support its ally, President Bashar al-Assad, to the consternation of the West.

 

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“[T]he administration has shown a dangerous naivety regarding who it is dealing with,” Ed Royce said in a statement. (AP Photo)

GOP to Obama: See, we told you Iran would cheat

Top Republicans in Congress criticized the administration’s strategy in Iran on Monday, saying recent actions prove President Obama made a mistake in securing a nuclear deal with a country that cannot be trusted.

Over the weekend, Iran tested a long-range ballistic missile, prompting some to wonder if it had already broken the newly-signed nuclear deal. Iran also announced the conviction of American reporter Jason Rezaian, who has been held in an Iranian jail for more than a year.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., said these moves demonstrate that the Obama administration has failed in its negotiations with Iran.

“[T]he administration has shown a dangerous naivety regarding who it is dealing with,” Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement. “The administration didn’t get Jason released when it had the leverage of the nuclear agreement. It must redouble efforts to get Jason and the other imprisoned Americans home now.”

 

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US says missile test by Iran ‘likely’ violated UN resolution

Regime is banned from developing long-range ballistic weapons; official says Tehran not in breach of nuclear deal

October 13, 2015, 5:40 am 9
Screen capture of an the launch of a new Iranian missile, named Imad, October 11, 2015. (YouTube/PressTV News Videos)

Screen capture of an the launch of a new Iranian missile, named Imad, October 11, 2015. (YouTube/PressTV News Videos)

Iran over the weekend “likely” violated a UN Security Council resolution which prohibits the Islamic Republic from carrying out any military activity related to the use of ballistic missiles, a US official said Monday.

Based on information gathered by the White House so far, the Iranian regime appeared to have violated the international body’s Resolution 1929 when it recently conducted testing on a new, long-range, surface-to-surface ballistic missile, the official told US news outlet CNN.

Nevertheless, the US believes the Islamic Republic’s illegal activity does not breach the terms of a landmark nuclear accord between Iran, the US and five other major world powers.

The official indicated that the July agreement did not place restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities, as it was aimed at blocking the regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.

 

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Sputnik

Iran Emad ballistic missile with high precision guidance and control systems till reach its target

US Suspects Iran of Violating UN Resolution by Missile Test

© Photo: Youtube/ ali javid
Politics

08:04 13.10.2015(updated 09:15 13.10.2015)


The test-fire of a new long-range ballistic missile by Iran likely represents violation of a UN resolution, an official from US President Obama administration told CNN.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Sunday, Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said that the country test-fired a new surface-to-surface Emad (Pillar) missile. According to Dehghan, the rocket, indigenously designed and manufactured, represents “the first Iran’s long-range missile that can be directed and controlled till it strikes the target.”

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Consortium News

Exclusive: President Obama’s Syrian strategy is getting roundly denounced as incoherent, which – while true – is really a reflection of his failure to fully break with neocon-style interventionism even when he realizes the futility of the strategy, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The mystery of the Obama administration’s foreign policy has always been whether President Barack Obama has two separate strategies: one “above the table” waving his arms and talking tough like Official Washington’s arm-chair warriors do – and another “below the table” where he behaves as a pragmatic realist, playing footsy with foreign adversaries.

From the start, Obama surrounded himself with many hawkish advisers – such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Gen. David Petraeus, National Security Council aide Samantha Power, etc. – and mostly read the scripts that they wrote for him. But then he tended to drag his feet or fold his arms when it came to acting on their warmongering ideas.

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Friday’s decision to tank the hapless $500 million training program for “moderate” Syrian rebels is a case in point. Obama joined in the hyperbolic rhetoric against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, lining up with the neocons and liberal interventionists demanding “Assad must go,” but Obama has remained unenthusiastic about their various wacky schemes for overthrowing Assad.

 

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© Stringer
Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria have agreed to establish a joint information center in Baghdad to coordinate their operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) militants, according to sources.

“The main goal of the center will be gathering, processing and analyzing current information about the situation in the Middle East – primarily for fighting IS,” a military-diplomatic source told Russian news agencies on Saturday.

The information center in the Iraqi capital will be headed by an officer of one of the founding countries on a rotating basis. Rotation will take place every three months. According to the source, Iraq will run the center for the next three months.

Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria may also use the information center to coordinate anti-IS combat plans, the source said, adding that the agreement is a milestone for uniting the region’s countries in the war on terrorism – primarily on Islamic State militants.

The Iraqi army’s joint operations command confirmed the agreement on Saturday, saying that it came with “increased Russian concern about the presence of thousands of terrorists from Russia undertaking criminal acts with Daesh [Islamic State],” Reuters reported.

READ MORE: Upper House: No request from Putin to dispatch troops in Syria

Meanwhile, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari announced in New York on Friday that Iraq has not received any Russian military advisers to assist Baghdad’s operations.

On Friday, the US TV-Channel Fox News reported the four countries were establishing a “coordination cell” in Baghdad, but Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Vladimir Putin, denied this. “We have already said there are many reports which are not true,” he told news agencies.

Recent media reports indicate Russia is boosting its cooperation with Syria and other Middle East countries in the fight against terrorism.

 

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