Posts Tagged ‘Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’

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.

Image may contain: 4 people, outdoor

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

Advertisements

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

Iraq PM Abadi caught in the crossfire as Iran sanctions pressure grows

August 13, 2018

Iraqi officials denied on Sunday that Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi had canceled a trip to Iran as Tehran’s allies in Iraq ramped up pressure on him over US sanctions.

Al-Abadi has faced a fierce campaign of criticism since last week over his decision to stick to new economic sanctions imposed on Iran by Washington.

Defying the sanctions would put Iraqi banks on a US blacklist and stop the sale of Iraqi oil, while making Baghdad unable to pay its external and domestic financial obligations, including salaries, Iraqi officials said.

Al-Abadi last week issued instructions to stop the financial transactions of state-owned banks with Iran and halt the import of any materials from Iran that required payment in US dollars, financial officials told Arab News.

Al-Abadi has come under fire after last week issuing orders to abide by the sanctions. (Reuters)

But the prime minister’s decision to abide by the US sanctions may cost him his political future and end his ambition to win a second term as prime minister.

The campaign of criticism led by Iran-backed forces in Iraq started when Al-Abadi said on Tuesday that his government had to abide by US sanctions “to protect the interests of the Iraqi people.”

But it escalated Sunday after an Iraqi government official told AFP that Iran had refused to welcome Al-Abadi on a visit to discuss the common interests of the two countries.

The unnamed official said Al-Abadi was planning to visit Iran on Tuesday, but Iranian officials expressed they were uncomfortable about the visit, so it was canceled.

Both Al-Abadi’s office and the Iranian foreign ministry denied that there was even a visit planned.

“We did not announce a visit to Iran and Turkey, so how can we announce its cancellation?” one of Al-Abadi’s senior staff   told Arab News.

“Until this moment, we have not been

informed (by Al-Abadi) that there is a visit scheduled for the coming days.”

All Iraqi political forces and Iranian-backed armed factions have expressed their rejection of Al-Abadi’s decision to abide by the sanctions in recent days.

The most aggressive statement came from Sayed Mujtaba Al-Hosseini, a representative of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the holy Iraqi city of Najaf.

Image result for ayatollah ali khamenei, photos

The critcism, which was circulated on Sunday, could mean Al-Abadi’s loss of any possible Iranian support for his second term.

Husseini described Al-Abadi’s position as “irresponsible” and incompatible with Iran fulfilling its positions in its defense of Iraq against Daesh.

“Before everything, we are sorry for the prime minister’s position, which shows his weakness and expresses his psychological defeat toward America,” he said.

Iraqi political forces that triumphed in May’s parliamentary election have been waiting for ratified results, so they can conclude their negotiations to build the biggest coalition, which could then form the next government.

Iraq is a battlefield for international powers in the region, particularly America and Iran since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

No stable government could be formed without the approval of the two nations. Al-Abadi openly enjoys the support of the US.

“Everyone knows that Abadi needs the support of both Iran and US to win a second term. One of them is not enough,” Abdulwahid Tuama, an Iraqi analyst told Arab News.

“Abadi did not manage the crisis in a clever way this time, and all signs indicate that he lost any chance to get the Iranian support.”

Iraq PM cancels visit to sanctions-hit Iran

August 12, 2018

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has cancelled a visit to Iran, his press office said Sunday, as the premier came under strong Iranian criticism over his stand on renewed US sanctions against Tehran.

Abadi will still go ahead with a planned visit to Turkey on Tuesday but has scrapped the Iran leg of the trip “because of his busy schedule”, his office said.

An Iraqi official had said Saturday that Abadi would visit both neighbouring Turkey and Iran to discuss economic issues.

© AFP/File | Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said Iraq will reluctantly comply with US sanctions against its ally Iran

According to Iraqi political sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, Iran initially agreed to the visit but changed its mind because it was unhappy about Abadi’s remarks.

The premier said last Tuesday that Iraq — which relies on neighbouring Iran as a source of cheap imports — would reluctantly comply with US sanctions against Tehran that took effect the same day.

“We don’t support the sanctions because they are a strategic error, but we will comply with them,” said Abadi, whose country is an ally of both Tehran and Washington. “In general, sanctions are unjust.”

On Sunday, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative in Baghdad lashed out at Abadi as the Tehran visit was called off.

“These irresponsible remarks have already been condemned by many people. It’s a disloyal attitude towards the honest position of Iran and the blood of the martyrs this country has spilt to defend the land of Iraq” against jihadists, said Moujtaba al-Hussein.

“We are saddened by this position which shows he has been defeated psychologically in the face of the Americans,” he said.

The US sanctions were reimposed after President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

In Tehran, the foreign ministry was more guarded about a possible visit by Abadi.

A ministry spokesman said he had “so far not received any official news or information whatsoever about this trip”, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

AFP

Sanctions Start Making Impact in Iran — Protesters shout “Death to the dictator”

August 6, 2018

Iran is staring into the economic abyss as the US today restores crippling sanctions that have already sparked protests countrywide and sent the value of the Iranian rial tumbling.

The US Treasury Department’s new sanctions are wide-ranging and block Tehran from acquiring US dollars, and trading in gold and other precious and industrial metals.

They also cover the automotive sector and debt markets — effectively preventing the country from seeking relief at home by raising international capital. The measures even extend to the sale of pistachio nuts and Persian rugs. Further sanctions targeting the banking and energy sectors will follow on Nov. 4.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran had treated its people “very poorly” as he wrapped up a three-day trip to Southeast Asia in Indonesia.

A man takes a glance at a newspaper with a picture of US president Donald Trump on the front page in this July 31, 2018 photo. Iran has been gripped by protests countrywide amid an economic crisis that is expected to worsen as economic sanctions by the US take effect Monday, August 6, 2018. (AFP/ATTA KENARE)

“President Trump has always said he is prepared to talk, but it’s important that Iran has to be committed to changing its ways in order for those discussions to prove of any value,” he said.

The crisis has led to protests around the country demanding regime change. Iranians complain that they face economic deprivation while their government squanders cash on military adventures in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

Iran has witnessed angry protests over the past week over rampant inflation that is being made worse by the weakening of the Iranian currency.

Footage posted online showed people in Tehran shouting: “Death to the dictator,” in a reference to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

President Donald Trump announced in May that the US was withdrawing from an international accord struck in 2015 under which sanctions would be lifted in return for curbs to Iran’s nuclear program.

Meanwhile corporations have been racing to finalize deals before sanctions resumed and Iran bought five new commercial planes on Sunday. The ATR72-600 aircraft are made by a company jointly owned by European consortium Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo.

Tensions have risen in the Arabian Gulf and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confirmed on Sunday they had held war games in the region in recent days. A US military spokesman said they had detected increased Iranian naval activity in the Gulf.

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1351701/middle-east

Related:

 

Iran’s Persistent Protests

July 4, 2018

More demonstrations as the regime scrambles to beat new sanctions.

.

Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei PHOTO: SUPREME LEADER OFFICE HANDOUT/EP/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

.

.

Iranians are protesting in the streets again, only a few months after the regime crushed nationwide demonstrations over the country’s sagging economy and widespread corruption. The periodic eruptions are a sign of discontent that may spread as the pressure from renewed U.S. sanctions increases.

Image may contain: 6 people, crowd and outdoor

Protests in Iran. AP file photo

The latest upheavals centered in the southwestern city of Khorramshahr over the weekend, after brown fluid started running out of taps. Hundreds of residents gathered in a public space reserved for Friday prayers and blamed local officials for the lack of potable water, chanting such anti-government slogans as “in the name of religion, they plundered us.” Protests also broke out in nearby Abadan.

The weekend demonstrations are part of a larger pattern of discontent with the ruling theocracy in Tehran. In December and January, demonstrations erupted in more than 100 cities and towns over inflation, joblessness and graft. Women staged hijab protests, ripping off their veils. In March farmers from Isfahan province in central Iran protested long droughts. In May truckers went on a nationwide strike to protest stagnant wages and rising costs.

    Image may contain: outdoor
An Iranian made ballistic missile is launched from Yemen by Houti rebels into Saudi Arabia — Reuters file photo

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani promised that the 2015 nuclear deal, which funneled tens of billions in hard currency to Iran, would usher in better economic times. Instead, the regime used the money to finance its Quds Force operations and Shiite militias in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

President Trump’s May decision to exit the nuclear deal and reimpose financial sanctions is already increasing pressure on the regime. Protestors swarmed Tehran’s Grand Bazaar last month after the local currency, the rial, slumped to 90,000 to the dollar in the black market. The rial has fallen roughly by half since the end of 2017, as traders and banks anticipate a harder time getting dollars. Economist Steve Hanke estimates annual inflation has spiked to 126%.

In August the U.S. Treasury plans to reimpose sanctions on gold and other precious metals, U.S. dollar dealing, trade in Iranian sovereign debt, and autos. In November U.S. sanctions will kick in on ports, shipbuilding, petroleum, energy, insurance, and more. A State Department official suggested last month that the U.S. wants to halt all Iranian oil exports, but on Monday policy planning director Brian Hook said it will consider waivers for countries on a case-by-case basis.

Mr. Rouhani responded Tuesday by threatening to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries in the Middle East, but that would court U.S. intervention to keep oil flowing through the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. doesn’t want an oil-price spike with a barrel already selling for nearly $75. But the risks are far greater for Iran if it doesn’t change its marauding behavior because its political control at home is far from certain.

Iran: Unclean Drinking Water in Oil Rich Khuzestan Sparks Protests; Government Calls For Calm

July 1, 2018

Iran called for calm on Sunday after protests in a southern city over water shortages turned violent overnight with reports of police shooting at demonstrators who attacked banks and public buildings.

Image result for Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, Iran, photos

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli

“No one has been killed in the unrest and just one person has been wounded in a shooting,” said Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, quoted by the state news agency IRNA.

“Our effort is to bring these protests to an end as soon as possible with restraint from police and the cooperation of authorities, but if the opposite happens, the judiciary and law enforcement forces will carry out their duties,” Rahmani Fazli was quoted as saying.

Shots could be heard on videos circulated on social media from the protests in Khorramshahr, which has been the scene of demonstrations for the past three days, along with the nearby city of Abadan. The videos could not be authenticated by Reuters.

Image result for unrest in Iran, photos, june 2018

Thousands of people rally in support of Iranian anti-government protests in Los Angeles, California U.S. January 7, 2018. REUTERS/Monica Almeida

State television showed banks with broken windows and footage appearing to shows an identified demonstrator armed with a rifle.

Police fired tear gas as protesters set fire to a bridge, and to a garden surrounding a museum which is a memorial to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, state media said.

A number of protests have broken out in Iran since the beginning of the year over water, a growing political concern due to a drought which residents of parched areas and analysts say has been exacerbated by mismanagement.

Oil-rich southwestern Khuzestan province, where Khorramshahr is located, is the home of many members of Iran’s ethnic Arab minority, who have long complained of alleged discrimination and tight control by security forces.

Speaking before the clashes, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday that the United States was acting together with Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab states that regard Shi’ite Muslim Iran as their main regional foe in trying to destabilize the government in Tehran.

“If America was able to act against Iran, it would not need to form coalitions with notorious and reactionary states in the region and ask their help in fomenting unrest and instability,” Khamenei told graduating Revolutionary Guards officers, in remarks carried by state TV.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom, Editing by William Maclean

Reuters

Rudy Giuliani: “We see an end to the regime in Iran” — National Council of Resistance of Iran meets in France

June 30, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump will suffocate Iran’s “dictatorial ayatollahs”, his close ally Rudy Giuliani said on Saturday, suggesting his move to re-impose sanctions was aimed squarely at regime change.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and text

Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, delivers his speech as he attends the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), meeting in Villepinte, near Paris, France, June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

The former New York mayor who is now Trump’s personal lawyer was addressing a conference of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an umbrella bloc of groups of exiled Iranians opposed to the Islamic Republic.

“We are now realistically being able to see an end to the regime in Iran,” Giuliani said, pointing to recent protests in the country sparked by a currency collapse after Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, delivers his speech as he attends the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), meeting in Villepinte, near Paris, France, June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

“When the greatest economic power stops doing business with you then you collapse … and the sanctions will become greater, greater and greater,” he said.

At the same conference last year, John Bolton, who was appointed Trump’s National Security Advisor in April this year, told NCRI members they would be ruling Iran before 2019.

Bolton, who at the time was with the American Enterprise Institute think tank, told Fox News in January: “Our goal should be regime change in Iran.”

But, freshly appointed to the Trump administration, he told ABC’s “This Week” in May: “That’s not the policy of the administration. The policy of the administration is to make sure that Iran never gets close to deliverable nuclear weapons.”

European countries which signed the 2015 Iran deal along with the United States, Russia and China, are sticking with it, saying the agreement prevents Iran developing weapons-grade nuclear fuel. But Giuliani said Europe should be “ashamed” of itself.

“This president doesn’t intend to turn his back on freedom fighters. The end of appeasement is over,” he told the conference of the NCRI, whose main faction is the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI) once deemed a terrorist group by Washington and Europe.

Maryam Rajavi, who heads the group, told reporters: “Regime change in Iran is within reach as never before … The wheels of change have started turning.”

In Tehran, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Trump would fail in any attempt to turn the Iranian people against the ruling system.

“They bring to bear economic pressure to separate the nation from the system … but six U.S. presidents before him (Trump) tried this and had to give up,” Khamenei said on his website. [nL8N1TW082]

Iran’s leaders seek ways to defend economy from US sanctions

June 30, 2018

Iran is studying ways to keep exporting oil and other measures to counter U.S. economic sanctions, state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday.

Image result for Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, photos

FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. EPA-EFE

Since last month, when U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear which lifted most sanctions in 2015, the rial currency has dropped up to 40 percent in value, prompting angry protests by bazaar traders usually loyal to the Islamist rulers.

Speaking after three days of protests, Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the U.S. sanctions were aimed at turning Iranians against their government.

“They bring to bear economic pressure to separate the nation from the system … but six U.S. presidents before him (Trump) tried this and had to give up,” Khamenei said on his website Khamenei.ir.

With the return of U.S. sanctions likely to make it increasingly difficult to access the global financial system, President Hassan Rouhani has met with the head of parliament and the judiciary to discuss counter-measures.

Image result for President Hassan Rouhani, photos

President Hassan Rouhani

“Various scenarios of threats to the Iranian economy by the U.S. government were examined and appropriate measures were taken to prepare for any probable U.S. sanctions, and to prevent their negative impact,” IRNA said.

One such measure was seeking self-sufficiency in gasoline production, the report added.

The government and parliament have also set up a committee to study potential buyers of oil and ways of repatriating the income after U.S. sanctions take effect, Fereydoun Hassanvand, head of the parliament’s energy committee, was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Image result for Iran, nuclear, photos

“Due to the possibility of U.S. sanctions against Iran, the committee will study the competence of buyers and how to obtain proceeds from the sale of oil, safe sale alternatives which are consistent with international law and do not lead to corruption and profiteering,” Hassanvand said.

The United States has told allies to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday.

Khamenei said the United States was acting together with Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab states that regard Shi’ite Muslim Iran as their main regional foe of trying to destabilize the government in Tehran.

Image result for Iran, photos

“If America was able to act against Iran, it would not need to form coalitions with notorious and reactionary states in the region and ask their help in fomenting unrest and instability,” Khamenei told graduating Revolutionary Guards officers, in remarks carried by state TV.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

Reuters

Related: