Tag Archives: Iran

Iran says Islamic State-linked groups at Riyadh talks: Fars agency

ANKARA Iran mentioned on Thursday that some groups linked to the Islamic State militant group had been involved in the talks in Riyadh to discuss forming a delegation for negotiations on the future of Syria, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Syrian opposition and rebel groups met in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh on Thursday to discuss forming a unified position against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“Some of the terrorist groups linked to Islamic state are involved in the talks … These terrorist groups will not be allowed to choose Syria’s future,” deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said, according to Fars.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi)

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U.S. conducting ‘serious review’ of alleged Iran missile test

UNITED NATIONS The United States is reviewing and in search of to confirm reports that Iran launched a ballistic missile last month in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said on Tuesday.

“The U.S. is conducting a significant review of the reported incident,” Energy told reporters after a meeting of the Security Council on unrelated issues.

She added that if Washington confirmed the reports that Iran tested a medium-variety ballistic missile on Nov. 21 in violation of U.N. resolutions, the United States would bring the concern to the 15-nation council and seek appropriate action.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols Editing by Alistair Bell)

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France says ‘very attentive’ to Iran U.N. ballistic missile curbs

PARIS France will pay close consideration to guarantee Iran respects a U.N. Safety Council resolution banning it from ballistic missile tests, the Foreign Ministry mentioned on Tuesday soon after U.S. officials mentioned Tehran had performed a new launch in November.

Iran tested a new medium-range ballistic missile on Nov. 21 in a breach of two U.N. Security Council resolutions, two U.S. officials stated on Monday, the second since October. France’s view is crucial as it is one of 5 worldwide powers that are permanent, veto-wielding members of the Council.

“France will be very attentive that Iran respects its international obligations in line with U.N. Safety Council Resolution 1929,” ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said in response to a query on the test.

He did not especially confirm the launch and officials declined to comment when pressed.

All ballistic missile tests by Iran are banned below a 2010 Safety Council resolution that remains valid till a deal between Iran and six globe powers meant to restrain its nuclear system is implemented.

Beneath that deal, reached on July 14, most sanctions on Iran will be lifted in exchange for curbs on its nuclear activity aimed at guaranteeing it can’t be put to developing bombs. Sanctions are due to start becoming lifted at the begin of 2016.

According to a July 20 resolution endorsing that deal, Iran is still “called upon” to refrain from operate for up to eight years on ballistic missiles that could be developed to deliver nuclear weapons.

In October, the United States, Britain, France and Germany known as for the Safety Council’s Iran sanctions committee to take action over a missile test by Tehran that month that they mentioned violated U.N. sanctions.

So far, no action has been taken by the committee.

Nadal mentioned at the time that the October test sent “a worrying message” to the international neighborhood.

Paris took 1 of the hardest lines of the six powers negotiating the nuclear agreement with Iran.

(Reporting by John Irish Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Saudi to host Syria rebel talks, riling Iran

BEIRUT A Syrian opposition meeting due to start in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday marks the most critical work however to unify President Bashar al-Assad’s fragmented enemies, a step observed as essential to peace talks sought by world powers but which has riled Iran.

While the outlook for the political track lately launched in Vienna appears bleak – international divisions more than Assad persist and the war in Syria has escalated – the Riyadh meeting delivers the prospect of forging a a lot more united opposition far better in a position to negotiate with the government.

Assad’s opponents and the governments that back them see it as a lengthy-overdue step towards ending the disunity that has obstructed diplomacy: the Turkish-primarily based political opposition that led the last round of failed peace talks two years ago was widely criticised as out of touch with forces on the ground.

The Riyadh meeting is meant to bring rebels, or those who represent them, to the table when negotiations start.

However Iran, whose Shi’ite-led government is an arch rival of the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has stated the meeting is aimed at harming the Vienna peace talks and would trigger their failure. The Vienna approach envisages formal talks amongst the Syrian government and the opposition by Jan. 1.

The participants invited to Riyadh consist of powerful Islamist factions Islam Army and Ahrar al-Sham – a group whose founders had links to al Qaeda. Ahrar al-Sham nevertheless fights alongside the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, even though espousing a nationalist agenda.

Islam Army stated in a statement that its commander, Zahran Alloush, would not attend since the group had lost control of the road he had been organizing to use to exit the location in the Damascus suburbs where the group is primarily based. Members of Islam Army’s political workplace will attend as an alternative, it said.

A dozen Free of charge Syrian Army rebel groups will also attend, like groups vetted by the United States that have received foreign military help. They include recipients of U.S.-created anti-tank missiles supplied to rebels in bigger quantities considering that Russia intervened militarily on Assad’s side on Sept. 30.

“It is the initial time there is a meeting in Saudi – a meeting of soldiers and politicians – and it has a higher chance of achievement because Saudi is hosting it,” stated the head of 1 of the FSA groups.

“Saudi is a pivotal state in the area and for it to take this step – to host a conference of the Syrian opposition factions – definitely one thing genuine will outcome from it.”

He declined to be named due to the fact of political sensitivities surrounding the conference. Underlining the complexities, media access to the conference is anticipated to be very restricted.

An initial list of 65 invitees has grown to many much more than that, sources familiar with arrangements say.


Even with backing from Saudi Arabia, the United States and others, analysts nonetheless see scope for friction in Riyadh, notably in between groups battling to unseat Assad and members of the Damascus-primarily based opposition who are expected to attend.

“Attempting to get these two poles to agree to the exact same platform and to negotiate as one particular unit is going to prove really challenging if not not possible, it’s not entirely clear to me whether it is even advisable,” mentioned Noah Bonsey, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group.

A Syrian Kurdish group that has taken over wide areas of northern Syria and which has fought Islamic State with U.S. assist meanwhile says it has not been invited to the talks at all. One of the Kurdish-run enclaves in Syria declared the Saudi talks “doomed to fail” with no Kurdish involvement.

Diplomacy towards ending the almost 5-year conflict has accelerated considering that Russia deployed its air force to mount strikes in support of the Syrian army.

Iran has also intervened with more forces considering that then. Hundreds of its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps are fighting alongside the Syrian army in ground offensives getting waged with Russian air cover in several regions of western Syria.

Saudi Arabia has in turn boosted support to the rebels. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir mentioned on Nov. 26 that a military choice in Syria was nonetheless viable and help for the opposition fighting to topple Assad would continue.

Russia’s air campaign has mostly hit areas of western Syria that are critical to Assad’s survival and exactly where the Islamic State group – the stated target of the Russian intervention – has small or no presence.

All the rebels attending the meeting are enemies of Islamic State, which controls swathes of eastern Syria seized mainly from other insurgent groups. The Nusra Front, listed as a terrorist group by the United States, has also not been invited.

A diplomat who tracks Syria stated Russia would object to the participation of both Islam Army and Ahrar al-Sham due its hyperlinks to the Nusra Front and al Qaeda. “The Iranians really feel uncomfortable with the Saudis top,” the diplomat added.

“The aim of agreeing the parameters of negotiations with the regime is challenging to achieve.”

But the spokesman for a single of the FSA groups due to attend said Ahrar al-Sham have been portion of the Syrian folks.

“We did not take portion ahead of in conferences before, but we hope that this conference will be essential for the future of Syria and ending the war,” mentioned Abu Ghaith al-Shami of Alwiyat Seif al-Sham, which operates in southern Syria.

(Additional reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman and Sylvia Westall and John Davison in Beirut Writing by Tom Perry Editing by Giles Elgood and Jonathan Oatis)

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Russia expects Iran nuclear deal to be implemented in January

VIENNA Russia’s envoy to the U.N. nuclear watchdog stated on Monday he anticipated a historic nuclear deal amongst Iran and planet powers to be implemented in January, top to sanctions against Tehran getting lifted.

At talks in Vienna, senior officials from those key powers discussed with Iran a text they have prepared that would close the International Atomic Power Agency’s 12-year investigation of Tehran’s previous activities whilst guaranteeing the IAEA could still verify for signs of suspicious behavior.

Beneath the deal, Iran must scale back its nuclear system, like its stockpile of low-enriched uranium – which it plans to do by means of a swap for non-enriched forms of uranium with Russia, to remove issues it could be put to developing nuclear bombs.

That swap will be done prior to the finish of the year, the Russian envoy to the IAEA, Vladimir Voronkov, told reporters.

Iran has stated it will fulfill all its commitments under the July agreement only if the IAEA’s Board of Governors passes a resolution formally closing its investigation into Iran’s nuclear past when the board meets on Dec. 15.

The draft resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors drawn up by the key powers — France, Britain, Germany, the United States, Russia and China — and sent to other states on Monday contained provisions that both sides could claim as victories.

“(The board) also notes that all the activities in the road-map for the clarification of past and present outstanding troubles regarding Iran’s nuclear plan were implemented in accordance with the agreed schedule and further notes that this closes the Board’s consideration of this item,” the text said.

The draft resolution, obtained by Reuters, also said the board would sooner or later no longer be seized of “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Safety Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, referring to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

That phrase, and a shorter version prior to the relevant U.N. Safety Council resolutions have been passed, has been the title of the IAEA’s standard reports on its investigation of Iran’s nuclear activities because 2003.

Anything FOR Absolutely everyone

The draft resolution did, nevertheless, also give for the board to tackle a new item covering “implementation and verification and monitoring” of the July deal in Iran, and for the IAEA to offer quarterly reports on Iran’s implementation of its commitments below the accord.

More generally, it requests the head of the agency to “report, in this regard … to the Board of Governors for proper action, and in parallel to the United Nations Security Council, at any time if the Director General has affordable grounds to believe there is an issue of concern.”

Earlier on Monday, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, who met with senior officials from significant powers in Vienna, told Reuters soon after the meetings he was happy with the draft resolution and anticipated it to be adopted subsequent week.

For sanctions on Iran to be lifted, the IAEA have to initial verify that the Islamic Republic has honored all its commitments below the July deal, like dismantling large numbers of its centrifuges for uranium enrichment and filling parts of its Arak nuclear site with cement.

The IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear previous, which was issued last week, strongly recommended Tehran had a secret nuclear weapons system before 2003, but, in a sign of the shift in relations since July, Western powers voiced small concern.

Araqchi mentioned Iran rejected the findings of the report about its plan ahead of 2003, but added that, in Iran’s view, overall the document showed the peaceful nature of Iran’s atomic activities.

“We think that primarily based on this final assessment the Board of Governors should close the so-called PMD issue,” he told reporters, referring to the report into what is also known as the “attainable military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear past.

(Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau in New York Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Iran arrests 53 people for running pro-Islamic State sites: TASNIM

Planet | Mon Dec 7, 2015 3:55am EST


ANKARA Iran’s cyber police chief said on Monday some 53 folks had been arrested for allegedly running sites supportive of the Islamic State militant group, Tasnim news agency reported.

“They were primarily based in provinces near border areas or near our borders,” Hossein Ashtari mentioned.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi Editing by Catherine Evans)

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Iran says Riyadh meeting of Syrian opposition could harm peace talks: Fars

ANKARA Iran said a meeting of Syrian opposition figures in Riyadh will lead to failure of Syrian peace talks among significant Western and Middle Eastern countries, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted a senior official as saying on Thursday.

“The peace talks are an chance to find a political solution to finish the war in Syria … such meetings in Riyadh … are aimed at harming the Vienna talks,” deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told Fars.

“The meeting in Riyadh … will lead to the failure of Vienna peace talks on Syria and it is not element of Vienna agreement.”

Iran’s Sunni regional rival, Saudi Arabia, has invited 65 Syrian opposition figures to gather in Riyadh to try to bring with each other rival groups ahead of subsequent round of Syrian peace talks.

The first two rounds of the Syria peace talks were held in Vienna. In a November meeting on Syria in Vienna, participants agreed on a political procedure top to elections in Syria inside two years, but variations remained on essential concerns such as President Bashar al-Assad’s fate.

The United States, its Gulf allies and Turkey say Assad, whose crackdown on initially peaceful protests in 2011 triggered the war, have to step down as component of any eventual peace deal.

Iran and Russia back the Syrian president, saying that worldwide powers should not impose their political will on Syria.

“Only Syrian people need to choose about their country’s fate,” stated Amirabdollahian, echoing Iran’s official stance.

The disunity among the Syrian opposition has been a hurdle in searching for a peaceful answer to the Syrian war that has killed more than 250,000 men and women and displaced millions.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Iran had coordinated effort relevant to nuclear weapons function: IAEA

VIENNA Iran produced a coordinated, if limited, work just before the end of 2003 relevant to the creating of nuclear weapons, the U.N. nuclear watchdog mentioned in a confidential report seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

The report, essential under a July deal in between Tehran and six globe powers, was aimed at answering questions about the true nature of Iran’s past nuclear activities, some of which have dogged the Islamic Republic for a lot more than a decade.

“The Agency assesses that a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device have been performed in Iran prior to the finish of 2003 as a coordinated work,” the International Atomic Power Agency (IAEA) report mentioned.

“The Agency also assesses that these activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific research, and the acquisition of specific relevant technical competences and

capabilities,” it stated.

The wording of the report was clearer than some diplomats had anticipated, provided that any indication Iran had sought to get nuclear weapons could make it more difficult to implement the July accord, which supplies for a lifting of sanctions against Tehran in exchange for a shrinking of its atomic activities.

Final week, IAEA Director Basic Yukiya Amano had stated that the report would not provide a “yes or no” answer to the query whether Iran’s nuclear energy system has had military dimensions.

(Reporting By Francois Murphy and Shadia Nasralla Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Iraq blames Iran after thousands of pilgrims storm border crossing

BAGHDAD Iraq’s interior ministry blamed Iranian authorities on Monday for permitting tens of thousands of Shi’ite Muslim pilgrims to storm a border crossing and enter the nation with no visas, in a rare public confrontation amongst the two neighbors.

The ministry stated in a statement that the pilgrims, traveling on foot toward the Shi’ite shrine city of Karbala to take element in the annual Arbaeen religious ritual, overwhelmed safety forces on Sunday, pulling down fences and injuring border guards.

It accused them of deliberately rushing the border crossing in order to pressure security forces to allow them to enter illegally, and it said the border guards had refrained from working out their correct to use force against them.

“We hold the Iranian side responsible due to the fact they did not fulfill their duties and obligations” to avert these without visas from approaching the crossing, the ministry said.

Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government is heavily backed by Iran, which also gives coaching, arms and cash to Iraq’s effective Shi’ite militias, noticed as a bulwark in the battle against Islamic State militants in the country’s north and west.

Numerous major Shi’ite politicians in Iraq like former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki developed close ties with Iran although living in exile there in the course of the rule of Saddam Hussein, from the Sunni minority, who brutally repressed Shi’ites before he was toppled by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Video posted online on Monday appeared to show hundreds of pilgrims dressed from head to toe in black forcing open a big gate and running through the checkpoint. Few safety forces appeared to be present.

Reuters could not independently verify the footage.

1 local official said the quantity of pilgrims who entered Iraq illegally at the Zurbatiya crossing had exceeded half a million.

Kut governor Malik Khalaf referred to as the incident “an infringement of Iraqi sovereignty”.

Hundreds of Iranian pilgrims every single day obtain $ 30 entry visas to pay a visit to southern Iraq, where the most revered shrines in Shi’ite Islam are positioned.

The pilgrims this week are partaking in Arbaeen, the end of a 40-day mourning period following the commemoration of the death in battle of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussein in 680.

Hussein’s death entrenched the schism amongst Shi’ites and Sunnis which has sharply divided Iraq for years.

The sectarian conflict gripping Iraq, mostly among the Sunni minority and the now dominant Shi’ites, has been exacerbated by the rise of the ultra-hardline Sunni militants of Islamic State.

(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and Stephen Kalin Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Iran to back Palestinians ‘in any way we can’: Khamenei

DUBAI Iran’s supreme leader said on Wednesday that Iran would support the Palestinian uprising against Israel “in any way we can”, and rejected U.S. accusations that a recent wave of Palestinian knife and auto-ramming attacks amounted to “terrorism”.

Khamenei was speaking a day right after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, during a go to to Israel and the Palestinian territories, described the spate of attacks as “terrorism” that ought to be condemned.

Israel and the United States have lengthy accused Iran of supplying arms to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, regarded by Washington as a terrorist organization. Tehran says it gives only moral, monetary and humanitarian assistance.

“In spite of all the efforts of the Arrogance (the United States) … and even with cooperation from Arab countries, the Palestinian intifada (uprising) has began in the West Bank,” state television quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying.

“We will defend the movement of the Palestinian folks with all of our existence, and in any way and as long as we can,” Khamenei reportedly told a gathering of the Basij, Iran’s volunteer militia.

Khamenei criticized these who get in touch with Palestinians “terrorists” saying they were individuals protesting the occupation of their land.

Since Oct. 1, at least 86 Palestinians have been killed, some while carrying out assaults and other folks in clashes with Israeli forces. At least 19 Israelis and an American have been killed in Palestinian attacks.

The bloodshed has been fueled by Muslim agitation more than increased Jewish visits to East Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound – Islam’s third holiest spot which is also revered by Jews as the website of two biblical-era temples.

The Palestinians are also frustrated by the failure of decades of peace talks to deliver them an independent state.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom Editing by Sami Aboudi)

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