Posts Tagged ‘Hassan Rouhani’

Iran’s Rouhani says U.S. isolated on sanctions — But as the sanctions bite Iran will still be compelled to change

July 14, 2018

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday the United States was more isolated than ever over sanctions against Iran, even among its allies, in remarks carried live on state television.

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“Today, we are in conditions in which the United States is more isolated than ever over the sanctions issue. America’s illegal actions … have even isolated it among its own allies as we just saw,” Rouhani said, referring to protests held in Britain against the visit of President Donald Trump.

Reuters
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Netanyahu to Putin: Assad is safe from us, but Iran must quit Syria

July 13, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told Russia that Israel would not seek to topple its ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, but Moscow should encourage Iranian forces to quit Syria, a senior Israeli official said.

Netanyahu conveyed the message in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the official said.

Israel has been on high alert as Assad’s forces advance on fighters in the vicinity of the Golan Heights, much of which Israel captured from Syria in 1967 and annexed in a move not recognized internationally. Israel worries Assad could let his Iranian and Hezbollah reinforcements entrench near Israeli lines or that Syrian forces may defy a 1974 Golan demilitarization.

Israel is seeking Russia’s help to get Iran to remove its forces from Syria. (AP)

“They (Russia) have an active interest in seeing a stable Assad regime and we in getting the Iranians out. These can clash or it can align,” said the Israeli official.

“We won’t take action against the Assad regime,” the official quoted Netanyahu as telling Putin in Moscow.

David Keyes, a Netanyahu spokesman, denied that the prime minister made that statement to Putin.

Asked to summarize Israeli policy on Syria, Keyes said: “We don’t get involved in the civil war. We will act against anyone who acts against us.”

The Israeli official who requested anonymity said Russia was working to distance Iranian forces from the Golan and had proposed that they be kept 80 km away but that this fell short of Israel’s demand for their full exit along with that of Tehran-sponsored militias.

Russian officials had no immediate comment on the meeting.

Since turning the tide of Syria’s civil war by intervening militarily in 2015 on Assad’s behalf, Russia has turned a blind eye to scores of Israeli airstrikes against Iranian and Hezbollah deployments or arms transfers, while making clear it wanted Assad kept immune.

Israeli Cabinet ministers threatened this week to fire on Syrian forces that enter the Golan buffer zone set up as part of a 1974 UN-monitored armistice. The UN last month renewed the mandate of its Golan observer force UNDOF and on Wednesday called on all parties to abide by the armistice.

“There should be no military forces in the area of separation other than those of UNDOF,” a UN spokesman said.

Israel has signaled openness to eventual ties with Assad, a tacit acknowledgement that he is re-consolidating power as he routs Syria’s fighters.

Under Assad family rule, Syria held direct negotiations with Israel in the US in 2000 and indirect talks mediated by Turkey in 2008. Netanyahu’s government has made clear it would not now cede the Golan and has been lobbying for US recognition of Israel’s claim of sovereignty there.

On June 24, Israel’s military said it launched a Patriot missile at an incoming drone from Syria, which turned away unscathed. A Syrian commander said the drone was engaged in local operations.

On July 6, Israel struck a Syrian post that it said had shelled the Golan buffer zone.

Hours after conferring with Netanyahu about Iran’s presence in Syria, Putin received Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Velayati handed Putin letters from Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Peskov said in a conference call with reporters that the letters dealt with bilateral relations and the situation in the region, but refused to elaborate.

“Our opinion is known that Iran needs to leave Syria — that is not something new for you,” Netanyahu said at the start of Wednesday’s talks in the Kremlin.

The Iranian presence in Syria is expected to top the agenda of Monday’s summit in Helsinki between Putin and US President Donald Trump. Both the US and Israel want Iran to pull out from Syria, but Russia has warned it would be unrealistic to expect Iran to fully withdraw from the country.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1337956/middle-east

Reuters and AP

China Tells Iran To “Get Along With Neighbors” For A Change

July 7, 2018

Iran should make more effort to ensure stability in the Middle East and get along with its neighbors, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Friday, as Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned they may block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz.

Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait are among China’s most important oil suppliers, while Qatar supplies liquefied natural gas to China, so any blockage of the strait would have serious consequences for its economy.

But Beijing has had to tread carefully with Arab nations like Saudi Arabia as China also has close ties with Iran.

The Strait of Hormuz plays a key role. (Reuters)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and some senior military commanders have threatened to disrupt oil shipments from the Gulf countries if Washington tries to strangle Tehran’s oil exports.

Carrying one-third of the world’s seaborne oil every day, the Strait of Hormuz links Middle East crude producers to key markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond.

Asked about the Iranian threat to the strait, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong said that China and Arab countries had close communications about Middle East peace, including the Iran issue.

“China consistently believes that the relevant country should do more to benefit peace and stability in the region, and jointly protect peace and stability there,” Chen told a news briefing, ahead of a major summit between China and Arab states in Beijing next week.

“Especially as it is a country on the Gulf, it should dedicate itself to being a good neighbor and co-existing peacefully,” he added. “China will continue to play our positive, constructive role.”

Ministers from 21 Arab countries are attending the summit, as well as Kuwait’s elderly ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah. Chinese President Xi Jinping will give the opening address on Tuesday.

Having previously been a bit player in past years, China has stepped up its involvement in the Middle East since Xi came to power six years ago, including sending a frigate to evacuate foreign nationals from Yemen in 2015.

Adding another layer to the careful diplomatic dance China will have to perform, Chen said Qatar will be represented at the summit too, though he did not say by whom.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a boycott on tiny, gas-rich Qatar in June 2017, severing diplomatic and transport ties and accusing it of supporting terrorism, which it denies.

“We call on all sides to meet each other halfway and give consideration to each other’s concerns, and find a way to alleviate the problem via dialogue,” Chen said.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

Reuters

US vows to keep oil lanes open after Iran threatens to block key strait

July 5, 2018

IRGC commander says Iran could halt crude going through Strait of Hormuz, after Rouhani warns of ‘consequences’ to US sanctions

 

In this Tuesday, March 21, 2017 photograph, an Omani naval vessel sails alongside the USS George H.W. Bush as it travels through the Strait of Hormuz.  (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

In this Tuesday, March 21, 2017 photograph, an Omani naval vessel sails alongside the USS George H.W. Bush as it travels through the Strait of Hormuz. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

The US military on Wednesday reiterated its promise to keep Persian Gulf waterways open to oil tankers, after an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander vowed to disrupt global oil trade if the US prevents Iran from exporting its own oil.

Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the US military’s Central Command, said that American sailors and its regional allies “stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows.”

Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Ismail Kowsari on Wednesday appeared to clarify Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s warning of “consequences” if the United States convinces its allies to stop buying Tehran’s oil.

“If they want to stop Iranian oil exports, we will not allow any oil shipment to pass through the Strait of Hormuz,” Kowsari said, according to the Young Journalists Club (YJC) website.

General Ismail Kowsari, Deputy Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Tharallah base, seen on Al-Alam TV on September 27, 2017. (YouTube screenshot/Middle East Media Research Institute)

Rouhani said Tuesday that regional oil supply could be jeopardized if the US continues to pressure Iran.

“It would be meaningless that Iran cannot export its oil while others in the region can. Do this if you can and see the consequences,” he said according to an English-language report of his statements provided by Iran’s Press TV.

When pressured in the past, Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which one-third of the world’s oil supply passes.

Since the US pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Washington has been pushing allies to cut oil imports from the Islamic Republic altogether by November.

The Trump administration vowed Monday to stick with its pressure campaign against Iran, affirming its strategy to change Tehran’s behavior by gutting its oil revenue and isolating the country globally.

“Our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue on crude-oil sales,” said Brian Hook, the State Department’s director of policy planning, at a briefing with reporters.

He also suggested, however, that there would be some wiggle room to allow some countries that import Iranian oil to avoid immediate sanctions, once they are set to be re-imposed come November 4.

“We are prepared to work with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis, but as with our other sanctions, we are not looking to grant waivers or licenses,” Hook said, in comments that were seen as a softening of the United States’ prior demands.

Iran is OPEC’s second-largest crude exporter with more than 2 million barrels a day.

Rouhani has asserted that Iran will not buckle under US pressure and urged dialogue to resolve the differences between the nations.

“Iran’s logic has not changed, one party without logic has left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the goal of putting pressure on the Iranian nation,” he said Tuesday.

“We told all our foreign parties that if they speak to the Iranian nation with the language of logic and respect, then we can get problems solved… and that threats, pressure and humiliation will never work against the people of Iran,” he said.

Notable countries that import Iranian crude include Turkey, India, China and South Korea.

Since a US State Department official first told reporters on June 26 that the US was preparing to ask allies to cut their oil imports from Iran, the price of US crude jumped more than 8 percent.

Trump subsequently expressed concern about oil prices last week, announcing in a tweet that he and King Salman of Saudi Arabia had agreed to raise daily oil production by 2 million barrels.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference…Prices to high! He has agreed!

“Prices [too] high!” he said. “He has agreed!” It is not clear when that agreement will begin implementation.

Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-vows-to-keep-oil-lanes-open-after-iran-threatens-to-block-key-strait/
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Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Prepared To Stop Hormuz Oil Exports After U.S. Threat

July 5, 2018
Strait of Hormuz is a chokepoint for 30% of global oil exports — U.S. wants Iran’s oil revenue to be zero: Brian Hook

Iran will stop oil exports from the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil chokepoint, if the U.S. succeeds in halting crude sales from the Persian Gulf nation, according to a Revolutionary Guards official.

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“Any hostile attempt by the U.S. will be followed by an exorbitant cost for them,” said Esmail Kowsari, deputy commander of the Sarollah Revolutionary Guards base in Tehran, according to the Young Journalists Club, affiliated with Iran’s national broadcaster. “If Iran’s oil exports are to be prevented, we will not give permission for oil to be exported to the world through the Strait of Hormuz.”

The Strait of Hormuz is at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the world’s biggest concentration of tankers that carry about 30 percent of all seaborne-traded crude oil and other liquids during the year. President Donald Trump decided in May to back out of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, with sanctions set to be renewed in November. The U.S. threats come amid rising tensions, pitting Iran against Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab nations who maintain close ties with Trump.

Image result for Esmail Kowsari, iran, revolutionary Guards
Esmail Kowsari

Kowsari comments follow remarks by Brian Hook, the State Department’s director of policy planning, who said Monday that the U.S.’s “goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue from crude oil sales.”

The U.S.’s threat recently to prevent Iranian oil exports “called for a swift and smart stance” from Iran, Kowsari said, praising Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s reaction on Tuesday who said “it’s an incorrect belief that all oil producers would be able to export and Iran would be the only country unable to export oil.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-05/iran-guards-says-can-stop-hormuz-oil-exports-after-u-s-threat

Iran’s Persistent Protests

July 4, 2018

More demonstrations as the regime scrambles to beat new sanctions.

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

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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.

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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.

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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 says to hold talks with world powers on nuclear deal

July 3, 2018

The foreign ministers of Iran and five world powers still party to the 2015 nuclear deal will meet in Vienna on Friday for talks on the troubled accord, state media in Tehran said.

The top diplomats of Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia will join Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the Austrian capital, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported, for their first talks together on the deal since Washington pulled out earlier this year.

© AFP/File | An Iranian flag is seen outside the building housing the reactor of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in April 2007

During the meeting the ministers will discuss an “incentive package” the European Union is offering to try to persuade Iran to stay in the agreement, IRNA reported.

The meeting will seek “solutions to preserve the Iran nuclear deal after the illegal US action to withdraw,” it said.

The announcement came with President Hassan Rouhani in Europe to rally support for the deal.

Rouhani, accompanied by Zarif, was in Switzerland on Tuesday and due to head on Wednesday to Vienna, where the accord was signed in 2015.

US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the agreement two months ago, to the ire of the other signatories which along with the European Union have continued to back the accord.

Iran has warned it is ready to resume uranium enrichment to 20 percent — above the level permitted in the deal — “within days” if the agreement falls apart.

AFP

Don’t Fear Regime Change in Iran

June 12, 2018

For the past century it has been in a struggle between oppressive rulers and a freedom-hungry public.

President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran deal, and to relentlessly pressure the Islamic Republic, has elicited a predictable response. Critics cite history, particularly a counterproductive 1953 coup, as a reason to oppose the strategy. But looking more closely at the past shows that a regime-collapse containment policy is the best way to effect change.

Westerners often look at Iran as an island of autocratic stability, as they once did with the U.S.S.R. American and European officials tend to see the mullahs’ tools of repression as indomitable. But for much of the past century Iran has been locked in a convulsive struggle between rulers wanting to maintain their prerogatives and the ruled seeking freedom.

The Constitutional Revolution of 1905 first injected the notions of popular representation into Iran’s bloodstream. During the first half of the 20th century, feisty Parliaments had little compunction about flexing their muscles. The local gentry would marshal the peasants, laborers and tribesmen into polls that would choose each Parliament. It wasn’t a Jeffersonian democracy, but the system had legitimacy. Bound to each other by land, family, tradition and the vote, the governing class and the people created mechanisms for addressing grievances. Consequently the Parliaments were sensitive to local concerns.

The first Pahlavi monarch, Reza Shah, challenged this system by imposing his will in the name of modernity. After his abdication in 1941, constitutional rule again gained strength. Yet it was Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, deposed in the 1953 coup, who tried to derail Iran’s democratic evolution. Forget for a moment the nefarious Central Intelligence Agency intrigue; what happened in 1953 was an Iranian initiative.

Former Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh on trial in Tehran, 1953.
Former Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh on trial in Tehran, 1953. PHOTO: BETTMANN ARCHIVE

There is a fundamental rule about American interventionism today: It takes two to tango. The 1953 coup proves it. Mossadegh, who had once been a champion of the rule of law and national sovereignty, became increasingly autocratic and vainglorious after Parliament nationalized the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. in 1951. In trying to navigate the financially ruinous aftershocks of that decision, the prime minister rigged elections, sought to disband Parliament, and usurped the powers of the monarchy.

Iran’s politicians, military men and mullahs then came together to take down the premier. The public mostly rallied to the monarch, Mohammad Reza, a figurehead around whom diverse forces gathered. The CIA was involved in the coup planning but gave up once the initial operation failed. Iranians took control and removed the prime minister. In doing so, they sought to revive their economy and protect their political institutions. Mossadegh fell not because of a plot hatched in Langley but because he lost elite and popular support within his own country.

After naming himself “king of kings” in 1971, Mohammad Reza did his best to subvert good governance. He wasted much of Iran’s oil wealth on arms. He reduced the venerable Iranian Parliament to a rubber stamp. His secret police managed to be incompetent and hated. He alienated the clergy and replaced the old elite with a coterie of sycophants.

Yet the 1979 revolution, which overthrew the shah, was bound to disappoint a public clamoring for democracy. The first constituency to give up on theocracy was the students, whose protest in 1999 ended the attempt by the regime to reform itself. Then came the titanic Green Movement of 2009. A fraudulent presidential election sparked a massive protest that discredited the regime among the middle class. In December 2017, nearly 100 Iranian cities and towns erupted in protest. The poor were thought to be the regime’s last bastion of power, tied to theocracy by piety and the welfare state. Yet this time they hurled damning chants.

President Hassan Rouhani, a lackluster apparatchik of the security state, once thought that a nuclear deal would generate sufficient foreign investment to placate discontent. That aspiration failed even before the advent of President Trump. The Islamic Republic—with its lack of a reliable banking system or anything resembling the rule of law—is too turbulent to attract enough investors. It is probably internally weaker than the Soviet Union was in the 1970s.

The essential theme in modern Iranian history is a populace seeking to emancipate itself from tyranny—monarchal and Islamist. Devising a strategy to collapse the clerical regime isn’t difficult: The U.S. can draw on Persian history and on experience with the Soviet Union. It will require patience. Iranians usually don’t hold 1953 against the U.S. Neither do the children of the revolutionary elite, who so often find their way to the U.S. and Britain. The biggest hurdle for Washington is self-imposed: It needs to take seriously the Iranian quest for democracy.

Mr. Gerecht is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Mr. Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/dont-fear-regime-change-in-iran-1528756928

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Trump’s Iran policy pushes Tehran into the arms of China

June 8, 2018

This weekend, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani heads to China to participate in a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. Will China and Iran bolster their ties in light of Trump pulling the US out of the nuclear deal?

    

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Iran (picture-alliance/Photoshot/W. Ye)Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Iran — during a welcoming ceremony on January 23, 2016 in the capital Tehran

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security bloc led by China and Russia, is set to hold its 18th annual gathering in the Chinese city of Qingdao on Saturday (June 9) and Sunday. Iran is currently an observer member of the SCO, though it has long sought full membership.

The event will be chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The participants — including leaders from four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics and two new members, Pakistan and India — will discuss matters of international security and trade, with shoring up the Iranian nuclear deal likely to be on the top of the agenda. In May, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States will withdraw from the deal, which aimed to contain Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting Western sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

China, along with the European Union and Russia, also signed onto the deal with Iran. The Chinese had been ardent supporters of the agreement, according to Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese Studies at King’s College, London.

“In 2015 when the deal was signed, China was a leading party and it was one of first international collaborations that China got involved in,” Brown told DW. “It thus has a symbolic importance, because it is really the first time that China had participated in a multi-party deal. So I think that the Chinese are quite disappointed that Trump withdrew and felt that it was a squandering of diplomatic effort,” he said. Brown believes that the Chinese will reassure the Iranians of their commitment toward the deal at the SCO summit.

Read moreIran lists tough conditions for Europe to save nuclear deal

‘Advantages’ of Chinese-Iranian ties

Bernt Berger, a senior fellow at the German Council on Foreign Affairs, told DW that China actually can draw some advantages due to the US withdrawing from the deal. “With the US pulling out of the deal China has noticed a range of advantages,” Berger said. “In the past, Tehran has preferred European over Chinese technologies. However, European firms have avoided possible Iranian contracts because of the uncertainties about US policy. These uncertainties are now gone,” Berger said.

Iran and China already have a strong relationship, as China is Iran’s biggest trading partner. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an ambitious project launched by President Xi aiming to link China with other parts of Asia and Europe through multibillion dollar investments in infrastructure, also plays a role in strengthening their economic partnership.

Iran is a key transport hub between Asia and Europe. According to Berger, “Iran provides maritime access to land-locked countries and if China manages to build a high-speed railway across Central Asia, the Central Transport Corridor is faster and poses less hurdles in terms of rail-track standards and customs than the Northern route via Moscow.”

Furthermore, Iran and China can trade in the Chinese yuan, which means that they can avoid US control that looms large over US dollar transactions. The SCO conference is an opportunity for Tehran and Beijing to further deepen economic ties and draw on the unique mutual advantages of their relationship.

Still, analysts like Brown contend that Tehran and Beijing are unlikely to get too warm with each other. They believe China would not like to put its economic and political relationship with the US on thin ice by getting too close with the Islamic Republic. “China is a cautious actor, and at the end of the day it needs to maintain a good relationship with the US and it would not like to jeopardize that because of Iran. Iran is not so important for the Chinese; their relationship with America is far more important,” Brown said.

Iran has ‘no choice’ but to turn eastward

According to Holly Degres, an Iran analyst and curator of The Iranist newsletter, Iran is under pressure as America renews harsh sanctions intended to “crush” the Iranian government. The Iranians therefore will have to lean on countries like China in order to make up for the economic losses due to the sanctions. “Tehran has no choice, but to refocus its economic ties on countries like China and Russia,” Dagres told DW. “These are allies that receive the same amount of scrutiny from the US government to an extent, and working together makes them stronger together,” she said. She said that Iran told Total, a French energy company, that if they don’t secure a sanctions waiver, the South Pars oil field project will go to a Chinese state-owned company.

Renewed American sanctions might also jeopardize Iran’s bid to join the SCO club, the expert said.

“The Iranian government and its people would like to be recognized as a regional power and major economy, but given that they are almost back to square one with the US withdrawal, it’s going to be hard to see it making headway any time soon,” Dagres said. “Iran will now try to push harder to join groups like the SCO, but given that they were denied entry due to sanctions in the first place, it’s hard to see Beijing changing its mind.”

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Says Supporting Palestine a Souce of Great Pride

June 7, 2018

KHAMENEI: SUPPORTING PALESTINE IS A SOURCE OF PRIDE FOR IRAN

Iranian troops, advisers and Iran-affiliated Shi’ite militias have been instrumental in preserving President Bashar Assad’s regime in the midst of Syria’s ongoing civil war.

BY SAMUEL THROP

 JUNE 7, 2018 13:26

 Iran’s Khamenei: Those who attack Tehran will be struck 10 times harder

 Khamenei: Iran will boost enrichment capacity if nuclear deal falls apart

IRANIAN SUPREME Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death

IRANIAN SUPREME Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of Islamic Republic founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran on June 4, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS)

“Support for Palestine and the resistance forces facing the Zionist Regime, and defending the independence and territorial integrity of the countries of the region, is a source of pride for the Islamic Republic,” Khamenei said at an event Monday. “But our enemies try to castigate it as ‘Iran’s interference in the region.'”

Iranian troops, advisers and Iran-affiliated Shi’ite militias have been instrumental in preserving President Bashar Assad’s regime in the midst of Syria’s ongoing civil war.

Khamenei also threatened rival Arab states that have recently thawed relations with Israel in the face of the perceived Iranian nuclear and missile threat.

“Some Arab governments have become the enemies of their own peoples,” Khomeini said. “In such a situation, passionate and devout Arab youth have the responsibility for destroying these ’empty entities.'”

Khamenei also underlined the importance of Friday’s Quds Day saying, “Participation in the parade and defending the resistance of the oppressed and struggling Palestinian people, is truly an important step on the path towards building a better future.”

According to the published Quds Day schedule, the day will be marked with ten marches through the streets of the capital Tehran and other events. The official slogans for the marches are “Victory for the resistance front, defeat for the American-Zionist front” and “The Palestinian people are determined to return.”

According to Iranian media, groups from across the Iranian political spectrum have pledged their participation in the Quds Day, including President Hassan Rouhani, who has locked horns with the Supreme Leader over the country’s engagement with the West, loosening social restrictions, and other issues.

“All Iranians, of whatever political stripe or belief, should participate widely in the great Quds Day march,” said Rouhani.

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https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Khamenei-Supporting-Palestine-is-a-source-of-pride-for-Iran-559372

 

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An Iranian made ballistic missile is launched from Yemen by Houti rebels into Saudi Arabia