Posts Tagged ‘Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’

Iran leader calls for boosting of naval forces

November 28, 2018

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Wednesday for the country to boost its naval forces as a deterrent against its enemies and hailed the deployment of new ships.

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“Increase your capabilities and readiness as much as you can so that the enemies of Iran will not dare threaten this great nation,” Khamenei said in a meeting with Iran’s naval chiefs, quoted on his official website.

The Islamic republic was confronted by “a vast lineup of enemies and rivals”, he said.

Khamenei, quoted in English on his Twitter account, stressed that Iran “has no intention of launching a war against anyone”.

But the country “should increase our aptitudes so that enemies will fear attacking Iran and threats against Iranian nation will perish”.

He welcomed the commissioning this week of a destroyer and two submarines, all three manufactured in Iran, as signs of “ever increasing progress”.

Defence Minister Amir Hatami, quoted by the official news agency IRNA, said two Ghadir-class submarines are to enter service on Thursday and a new destroyer two days later.

Iran considers itself the historic guardian of the Gulf and regularly condemns the US deployment of naval and air forces in the strategic waterway.

AFP

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Iran rejects law banning terrorist financing

November 5, 2018

Iran’s powerful Guardian Council on Sunday rejected legislation to join the UN convention against terrorist financing, just a few hours before the reintroduction of tough US sanctions on Tehran’s oil trade and banking sector.

Joining the convention is crucial to Iran’s hopes of obtaining European support in evading the sanctions, which came into effect at midnight on Sunday. But conservative hawks on the council fear it would prevent them from funding groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, by forcing greater financial transparency.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commander Mohammad Ali Jafari speaks during a rally in front of the former US Embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 2018, marking the 39th anniversary of the seizure of the embassy by militant Iranian students. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The council said aspects of the bill were against Islamic law and the constitution and sent it back to Parliament for revision. The legislation “has flaws and ambiguities,” spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaie said.

The bill, narrowly passed by Parliament last month, is one of four proposed by President Hassan Rouhani’s government to meet demands set by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which monitors countries’ efforts to tackle money-laundering and terrorist financing.

Rouhani’s government says the law is vital after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions. The other parties to the deal — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — have demanded that Iran accede to the FATF if it wants to maintain trade.

“Neither I nor the president can guarantee that all problems will go away if we join the UN convention, but I guarantee that not joining will provide the US with more excuses to increase our problems,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during the parliamentary debate last month.

Previous legislation on money-laundering and organized crime has also been delayed by higher authorities, including the Guardian Council, after being approved by Parliament.

The council is made up of six clerics appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and six lawyers appointed by the judiciary.

Iran’s failure to pass the FATF “is only symptomatic of the larger issue of Iran’s support for extremist and terrorist groups and organizations,” the security analyst Dr. Ted Karasik told Arab News.

“The legislation is good for domestic consumption by particular groups of officials, but the whole process is of course a sham.

“Its funding for terrorist militias and its acts of espionage make Iran, and specifically the Quds Force, simply unqualified for FATF status.”

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1399246/middle-east

US sanctions on Iran come into force

November 5, 2018

The United States is reimposing punitive measures targeting the Iranian oil and financial sectors in what US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called “the toughest sanctions ever placed” against Iran.

© AFP | US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said new sanctions against Iran will be the “toughest ever”

Taking effect Monday, the measures are the most concrete result yet of US President Donald Trump‘s controversial decision in May to abandon the multi-nation nuclear deal with Tehran.

They will directly affect companies from third countries doing business with Iran. They could upset world oil markets, though the US has granted temporary waivers to eight jurisdictions to continue importing Iranian oil.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced the measures on Saturday, saying Trump had “disgraced” US prestige and would be the ultimate loser in the long-running quarrel between the countries.

The US side was unmoved.

“Sanctions from the United States will be reimposed at midnight tonight,” Pompeo told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” He said what he called “the terror regime” in Tehran must change its ways.

Oil markets on alert

World oil markets were on alert, nervously set to gauge the consequences of the sanctions.

“All eyes will be on Iranian exports, whether there will be some cheating around US sanctions, and on how quickly production will fall,” said Riccardo Fabiani, an analyst for Energy Aspects.

Oil is Iran’s main source of income. But the sword has two edges: Iran is also the OPEC cartel’s third-largest producer.

The US stance has already inflicted serious pain on Iranians, with the country’s currency, the rial, losing more than two thirds of its value since May.

Iranian oil exports have fallen by about a million barrels a day in that time, though India and China have continued to purchase it. Most Europeans, as well as Japan and South Korea, have stopped.

Asked if the US had firm commitments from India and China to stop all oil purchases from Iran within six months, Pompeo replied: “Watch what we do. Watch as we’ve already taken more crude oil off the market than any time in previous history.”

Saudi Arabia is the only country with the capacity to make up for lost Iranian oil production.

‘Utter disregard’

Hours before the fresh sanctions went ahead, thousands of people in Iran marked the anniversary of the 1979 hostage-taking at the US embassy by carrying placards mocking Trump and burning American flags and fake dollars.

Trump has long argued that the 2015 nuclear deal is badly flawed, in part because its provisions would expire in 10 to 15 years and partly because it does not adequately constrain Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region.

His decision was widely criticised abroad and by Democrats at home, who said that while imperfect, the pact had placed the Iranian nuclear program under the tightest scrutiny ever.

In parallel with the imposition of the crude oil sanctions, the US Treasury Department is placing more than 600 Iranian individuals and entities on a black list.

And Pompeo said that any Iranian banks involved in “sanctionable behavior will be sanctioned by the Department of Treasury, period, full stop.”

The European Union has established a mechanism to permit its multinational companies to maintain presences in Iran, but all signs are that the US sanctions will be dissuasive. Both Airbus and Total have announced plans to leave Iran.

A first set of sanctions announced August 7 prompted European automakers Daimler and PSA to quit Iran.

To continue exporting crude oil, Iranian tankers in recent weeks have been turning off their transponders to avoid detection. But satellites have continued to track them.

(AFP)

Iranian marchers chant ‘Death to America’ on eve of U.S. oil sanctions

November 4, 2018

Iranians chanting “Death to America” rallied on Sunday to mark both the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy during the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the imminent reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s key oil sector.

Thousands of students in the government-organized rally in the capital Tehran, broadcast live by state television, burned the Stars and Stripes, an effigy of Uncle Sam and pictures of President Donald Trump outside the leafy downtown compound that once housed the U.S. mission.

Hardline students stormed the embassy on Nov. 4, 1979 soon after the fall of the U.S.-backed Shah, and 52 Americans were held hostage there for 444 days. The two countries have been enemies, on opposite sides of Middle East conflict, ever since.

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FILE photo: Iranians burn a US flag outside the former US embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran during a demonstration marking the anniversary of its storming by student protesters that triggered a hostage crisis in 1979, November 4, 2015. (Photo by AFP Photo / Atta Kenare)

Iranian state media said millions turned out for rallies in most cities and towns around the country, swearing allegiance to the clerical establishment and its hardline top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The turnout figure could not be independently confirmed by Reuters.

Rallies replete with “Death to America” chants are staged on the embassy takeover anniversary every year. But U.S.-Iranian rancor is especially strong this time round following Trump’s decision in May to withdraw the United States from world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

The deal brought about the lifting of most international financial and economic sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran curbing its disputed nuclear activity under U.N. surveillance.

The restoration of U.S. sanctions on Monday targeting Iran’s oil sales and banking sectors is part of a wider effort by Trump to force Tehran to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile programs outright as well as support for proxy forces in conflicts across the Middle East.

The biggest anti-American gathering in Iran in years displayed domestic opposition to President Hassan Rouhani's policy of detente with the West

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Iranian demonstrators burn US and Israeli flags during a demonstration marking the 34th anniversary of US Embassy takeover in front of the former US embassy in Tehran, Iran, November 2013. Photo: EPA/ABEDIN TAHRKENAREH

The top commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said at the Tehran rally that Iran would resist and defeat a U.S. “psychological war” and the return of U.S. sanctions, meant to cripple the Islamic Republic’s oil exports and financial institutions.

“America has launched an economic and psychological war as a last resort … But America’s plots and its plans for sanctions will be defeated through continued resistance,” said Jafari.

In a speech on Saturday, Khamenei said Trump’s policies faced opposition around the world. “America’s goal has been to re-establish the domination it had (before 1979) but it has failed. America has been defeated by the Islamic Republic over the past 40 years,” he said.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi with additional reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Mark Heinrich

Reuters

Million-barrel oil sale by Iran ends in failure

October 29, 2018

An attempt by Iran on Sunday to counter new US sanctions on its crucial oil trade ended in failure.

Tehran offered a million barrels of oil to private buyers on IRENEX, the Iranian energy index, at an initial base price of $79.16 per barrel.

Iran’s sales flop is a blow to its hopes of circumventing renewed US oil sanctions, which begin on Nov. 4.  (Reuters file photo)

The offer attracted limited bids of $16 below the base price as trading began. A final buyer emerged after the price was dropped to $74.85 per barrel in the closing hours — and for only 280,000 of the million barrels on offer.

Iran refused to disclose the identity of the buyer, and said only that a conglomerate of private companies had made the purchase through three brokerages.

The sales flop is a blow to Iran’s hopes of circumventing renewed US oil sanctions, which begin on Nov. 4. They follow US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal in May from the 2015 agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

The plan to sell oil on the energy exchange once a week was proposed in July by vice president Eshaq Jahangiri to “defeat America’s efforts … to stop Iran’s oil exports.” Tehran hopes selling to private buyers will make it harder for the US to monitor and stop its sales.

“With the imminent return of a new wave of sanctions, the government is determined to utilize the maneuvering ability of the private sector to sell Iran’s oil and find new markets,” said Hamidreza Salehi, director of Iran’s energy exports federation.

Iran’s oil exports are estimated to have dropped by a third since May.

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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Utopian future

Meanwhile, a plan unveiled by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for Iran to be a world leader in science, technology and innovation by 2065 has been greeted with widespread ridicule.

The plan promises the elimination of poverty and corruption, with the Iranian economy among the world’s top 10. “The environment, natural resources, clean water, energy, and food safety will be no problem anywhere in the country and everyone will equally benefit from these resources. New resources will be discovered, and a surplus of opportunities will be created that leaves no one empty handed,” the plan says.

Khamenei “went public with the plan when the country is in the throes of a severe economic, social, political and environmental crisis — a situation many regard as being so dire that it is an extreme challenge to even predict what the next year will look like,” Ali Ranjipour, an analyst with the BBC Persian service, told the US-based Iran News Wire.

“This is a utopian future with no link to reality, a fantasy scenario bolstered by nostalgia.”

The Iranian-American Harvard scholar Dr. Majid Rafizadeh told Arab News: “This is not the first time Iranian leaders have used such rhetoric and made promises that cannot be fulfilled.

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Majid Rafizadeh

“Khamenei failed to address the underlying reasons behind Iran’s poor economy, which include political and financial corruption at the top, support for foreign militia groups, mismanagement of public funds, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ military adventurism across the region.

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Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

“As long as these factors exist, Iran’s economy will continue to deteriorate and ordinary people will suffer. The regime is facing significant pressure from the public due to the misalignment between the fortunes of the Iranian regime and the ordinary population.

“Khamenei is attempting to appeal to the public through collections of words rather than actions.  His plan is doomed to fail because the regime’s economic problems are systemic and deeply embedded within the theocratic establishment.”

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1395456

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Iran points finger at Arab separatists for deadly attack

September 23, 2018

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday appeared to blame Arab separatists for a deadly attack on a military parade, accusing an unnamed US-backed Gulf state of supporting them.

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Tehran also summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain for allegedly hosting members of the group suspected of links to Saturday’s attack near the Iraqi border, which left at least 29 people dead.

Four militants attacked a parade commemorating the beginning of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, launched by Baghdad, in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan Province.

Officials and an eyewitness said the gunmen were dressed in Iranian military uniforms and sprayed the crowd with gunfire using weapons they had stashed in a nearby park.

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The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group claimed responsibility for the rare assault.

But from early on, Iranian officials saw an Arab separatist movement, the Ahwazi Democratic Popular Front (ADPF) or Al-Ahwazi, as the main suspect.

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“It is absolutely clear to us who has done this, which group it is and to whom they are affiliated,” Rouhani said on state television on Sunday, shortly before leaving Tehran for the UN General Assembly in New York.

“Those who have caused this catastrophe … were Saddam’s mercenaries as long as he was alive and then changed masters,” he said, referring to late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

“One of the countries in the south of the Persian Gulf took care of their financial, weaponry and political needs.”

“All these little mercenary countries we see in this region are backed by America. It is the Americans who incite them,” he said.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the attack had been carried out by “terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime”.

London-based opposition channel Iran International TV on Saturday aired an interview with Yaqoub Hor Altostari, presented as a spokesman for ADPF, indirectly claiming responsibility for the attack and calling it “resistance against legitimate targets”.

Iran military parade attack aftermath. AFP photo

– Diplomats summoned –

Iran in response summoned diplomats from Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain to complain about them “hosting some members of the terrorist group” and “double standards in fighting terrorism,” the foreign affairs ministry said.

The British charge d’affaires “was told that it is not acceptable that the spokesman for the mercenary Al-Ahwazi group be allowed to claim responsiblity for this terrorist act through a London-based TV network,” said the ministry’s spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi.

“It is expected that (the Danish and Dutch) governments hand over the perpetrators of this attack and anyone related to them to Iran for a fair trial,” he added.

State television gave a toll of 29 dead and 57 wounded, while official news agency IRNA said those killed included women and children who were spectators at the parade.

Three attackers were killed at the scene and the fourth died later of his injuries, said armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi.

IS had claimed the attack via its propaganda mouthpiece Amaq and, according to intelligence monitor SITE, said the attack was in response to Iranian involvement in conflicts across the region.

The Revolutionary Guards accused Shiite-dominated Iran’s Sunni arch-rival Saudi Arabia of funding the attackers, while Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also blamed Iran’s pro-US rivals.

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Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Khuzestan was a major battleground of the 1980s war with Iraq and it saw unrest in 2005 and 2011, but has since been largely quiet.

Kurdish rebels frequently attack military patrols on the border further north, but attacks on government targets in major cities are rare.

On June 7, 2017 in Tehran, 17 people were killed and dozens wounded in simultaneous attacks on the parliament and on the tomb of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini — the first inside Iran claimed by IS.

AFP

Iran blames Gulf foes for deadly Ahvaz attack — Supreme Leader condemns “puppets of the US”

September 23, 2018

At least one of the attackers was wearing a Revolutionary Guards uniform

Iranian leaders have accused US-backed Gulf states of being behind an attack on a military parade that killed 25 people, including a child.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “puppets of the US” were trying to “create insecurity” in Iran.

Gunmen opened fire at Revolutionary Guard troops and officials in the south-western city of Ahvaz.

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Earlier an anti-government Arab group, Ahvaz National Resistance, and Islamic State (IS) both claimed the attack.

However neither group provided evidence to show they were involved.

Earlier Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blamed “terrorists paid by a foreign regime”, adding that “Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable”.

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Iran has summoned diplomats from the UK, the Netherlands, and Denmark, accusing their countries of harbouring Iranian opposition groups, state news agency Irna reports.

“It is not acceptable that these groups are not listed as terrorist organizations by the European Union as long as they have not carried out a terrorist attack in Europe,” said foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi.

Reports say nearly half of those killed were members of the Revolutionary Guard, who are under Mr Khamenei’s command.

Mr Khamenei did not name the “regional states” that he believed were behind the attack.

Soldiers run for cover during the attack
The attack targeted Revolutionary Guard troops. EPA photo

However Iran has previously accused its regional rival, Saudi Arabia, of supporting separatist activity amongst Iran’s Arab minority.

What happened?

Fars news agency said the attack started at 09:00 local time (06:30 BST), lasted about 10 minutes, and appeared to involve four gunmen.

The attackers fired at civilians and attempted to attack military officials on the podium, Fars reports.

A soldier carries an injured child at the scene of the attack
At least one child was injured in the attack. AFP photo

Civilians including women and children, who were watching the military parade, were among those killed, Irna news agency said.

The victims included a four-year-old girl and a military veteran in a wheelchair, a military spokesman said.

Local journalist Behrad Ghasemi told AFP that firing continued for between 10 and 15 minutes and said at least one of the attackers was wearing a Revolutionary Guards uniform.

“First we thought it’s part of the parade, but after about 10 seconds we realised it was a terrorist attack as bodyguards [of officials] started shooting,” he said.

“Everything went haywire and soldiers started running. I saw a four-year old child get shot, and also a lady,” he added.

All four attackers were killed, state media said.

Iran is marking the anniversary of the beginning of the 1980-88 war with Iraq with several military parades across the nation.

How will the US react?

By Siavash Mehdi-Ardalan, BBC Persian

There have been two conflicting claims of responsibility: one from a low profile Arab militant group in Iran’s Khuzestan region and one from IS. It makes some difference.

The former would suggest a resurgence of separatist militancy after a seven-year lull. If it was IS, it would represent a failure by Iran’s intelligence community to prevent a second major IS attack in its soil.

Iran has not provided any evidence of foreign collusion but has vowed revenge. The Saudi reaction and more importantly the wording of the US administration’s response may prove important as leaders of all three countries are set for a possible diplomatic clash at the UN General Assembly next week.

Who is behind the attack?

There have been conflicting claims.

A spokesman for the Ahvaz National Resistance, an umbrella group that claims to defend the rights of the Arab minority in Khuzestan, said the group was behind the attack.

The spokesman did not say whether the group had links to other countries.

IS’s Amaq agency has also claimed it carried out the attack. However the group provided no evidence that it had been involved.

IS has carried out a major attack in Iran before. In June last year, suicide bombers attacked parliament and the mausoleum of the Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini, killing 18 people.

Map of Iran

Iranian government and military officials have pointed the finger at Gulf states, the US and Israel, with all of whom Iran has longstanding tensions.

A Revolutionary Guards spokesman claimed the attackers were “trained and organised by two Gulf countries” and had ties to the US and Israel.

The US and Saudi Arabia accuse Iran of supporting Houthi rebels in the conflict in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are fighting on the side of the internationally-recognised government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-45613866

Khamenei urges Iran’s military to ‘scare off’ enemy

September 10, 2018

DUBAI (Reuters) – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iran’s armed forces on Sunday to increase their power to “scare off” the enemy, as the country faces increased tension with the United States.

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His statement came just before Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said it fired seven missiles in an attack on Iraq-based Iranian Kurdish dissidents that killed at least 11 people on Saturday.

“Increase your power as much as you can, because your power scares off the enemy and forces it to retreat,” Khamenei’s official website quoted him as saying at a graduation ceremony for cadets of Iran’s regular armed forces.

U.S. President Donald Trump in May withdrew from Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers — a deal aimed at stalling Tehran’s nuclear capabilities in return for lifting some sanctions — and ordered the reimposition of U.S. sanctions that had been suspended under the deal.

“Iran and the Iranian nation have resisted America and proven that, if a nation is not afraid of threats by bullies and relies on its own capabilities, it can force the superpowers to retreat and defeat them,” Khamenei said during a visit to Iran’s Caspian port city of Nowshahr.

State television also showed Khamenei praising Iranian naval forces in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Yemen, while speaking to their commander via videolink.

Shi’ite power Iran rejects accusations from Saudi Arabia that it is giving financial and military support to Yemen’s Houthis, who are fighting a government backed by a Saudi-led military coalition of Sunni Arab countries.

Meanwhile, a senior military official said Iran had capability to export the know-how to produce solid rocket fuel, the state news agency IRNA reported. Solid fuel rockets can be fired on short notice.

“In the scientific field, today we have reached a stage where we can export the technology to produce solid rocket fuel,” said Brigadier General Majid Bokaei, director-general of Iran’s main defense university, quoted by IRNA.

Iran said earlier this month it planned to boost its ballistic and cruise missile capacity and acquire modern fighter planes and submarines to boost its defense capabilities.

On Saturday Iran dismissed a French call for negotiations on Tehran’s future nuclear plans, its ballistic missile arsenal and its role in wars in Syria and Yemen, following the U.S. pullout from Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement.

Reuters

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by David Goodman and Raissa Kasolowsky

Iran’s Khamenei says ready to abandon nuclear deal if needed

August 29, 2018

Iran’s supreme leader warned Wednesday the country could abandon its nuclear deal with world powers if it no longer served its interests, even as economic and political pressure mounted on the government.

“Naturally, if we reach the conclusion that (the nuclear deal) is no longer maintaining our national interests, we will put it aside,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a meeting with the cabinet, according to his website.

He said Iran must not “pin its hopes” on Europe, despite European efforts to salvage the nuclear deal following the withdrawal of the United States.

© KHAMENEI.IR/AFP | Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting in Tehran on August 29, 2018

The government of President Hassan Rouhani has been battered by the return of US sanctions, which has triggered a rapid departure of foreign firms and ended his hopes of attracting large-scale investment.

His political enemies are circling, with parliament announcing that two more of his ministers could be impeached in the coming days.

The labour and economy ministers have already been sacked by parliament this month and motions have been accepted to vote on impeaching his industries and education ministers in the coming days.

Khamenei insisted the political tumult was a sign of the strength of Iran’s democracy.

He praised the tough questioning Rouhani received in parliament on Tuesday as “a glorious show of the power of the Islamic republic and the self-confidence of officials.”

Differences between officials are “natural”, he added, though he said they should not be covered by the media “because the people would become worried”.

Tuesday’s grilling in parliament was the first for Rouhani in five years as president, and lawmakers slammed his handling of five economic issues, ranging from unemployment to the collapsing value of the currency.

In voting at the end of the session, they declared they were unsatisfied with four of his responses.

– ‘Day and night’ –

Under parliamentary rules, the issues could then have been referred for judicial review, but parliament speaker Ali Larijani — a close ally of Rouhani — said on Wednesday there were no legal grounds for doing so.

Parliament can theoretically impeach Rouhani, but he has the protection of Khamenei, who has previously said removing the president would “play into the hands of the enemy”.

Instead, Khamenei called on officials to work together “day and night” to resolve the country’s economic problems.

Iran’s currency has lost around half its value since the US announced it was withdrawing from the nuclear deal in May, and further pain is expected when sanctions on its crucial oil sector are reimposed in November.

Conservative opponents of Rouhani, who have long opposed his outreach to the West, are smelling blood.

Next in their sights is his minister of industry, mines and business, Mohammad Shariatmadari, who is accused of failing to prevent high inflation, particularly in the car industry.

A motion was also filed on Wednesday to vote on the impeachment of Education Minister Mohammad Bathaei, over a series of issues linked to school budgets, the curriculum and alleged mismanagement.

AFP

Khamenei blames Rouhani for economic crisis in Iran

August 14, 2018

Iran’s supreme leader on Monday accused President Hassan Rouhani’s government of mismanagement, after a string of angry public protests over the dire state of the economy.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s statement was an apparent attempt to deflect public anger over the plunging worth of the rial — the currency has lost about half of its value since April — and wider economic woes due to tough new US sanctions on Tehran.

“More than the sanctions, economic mismanagement is putting pressure on ordinary Iranians … I do not call it betrayal but a huge mistake in management,” Khamenei said.

The leader’s speech adds to the growing pressure on Iran’s beleaguered government. Aside from the economic concerns, footage of protests indicates a more fundamental dissatisfaction with the regime, with chants of slogans such as “death to the dictator” and demands for an end to Iran’s costly regional interventions in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen while Iranians suffer economic pain.

The blame against Rouhani comes at a time when US sanctions have once again hit. (AFP/File)

The Iranian leader also ruled out any talks with the US, following last week’s reimposition of sanctions after President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

Thousands of Iranians have protested in recent weeks against sharp rises in the prices of some food items, a lack of jobs and state corruption.

The rial has lost about half of its value since April in anticipation of the renewed US sanctions, driven mainly by heavy demand for dollars among ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.

Meanwhile, Iran on Monday unveiled a next generation short-range ballistic missile. State broadcaster IRIB said the new Fateh Mobin missile had “successfully passed its tests” and could strike targets on land and sea. Previous versions of the missile had a range of about 200 to 300 kilometers.

Theodore Karasik, a security analyst and senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, said Iran was developing a “robust” defense industry despite the country’s “severe” economic problems.

“The missile is launched from a mobile launcher that provides for denial and deception tactics to hide such launchers from overhead surveillance … much like the Houthi militias are doing in Yemen,” he said.

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1356031/middle-east