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September 28, 2016 / 25 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Tehran’

European Airlines Flying Back to Iran

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

European airlines are flying back to Iran this spring, with British Airlines leading the way — although its corporate office tried very hard to convince media otherwise.

Deputy Aviation and International Affairs Chief of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said Wednesday the UK carrier will resume London-Tehran flights in two months, quoting BA representatives from a visit on Tuesday.

British Airways (BA) CEO Willie Walsh told media two days ago that BA officials were “very interested in flying to Tehran and we are hopeful that it will form part of BA’s network in the very near future. We are actively looking at it as a destination,” he told the International Business Times. Other Heathrow slots are likely to be dropped in order to way for the service, which was stopped in 2012, a spokesperson had said.

“The related memorandum of understanding was signed between the two countries ‘a while ago,’” Mohammad Khoda-Karami told the semi-official IRNA news agency.

He added that Spanish, Japanese and Malaysian (Air Asia) airlines have announced readiness to resume direct flights to Iran on a regular weekly basis.

A separate government official had earlier announced that Iran welcomes aviation cooperation “with all countries, save for the Zionist regime’s El Al airlines.”

The state-owned IRAN daily newspaper reported Thursday that Air France and KLM Airlines of Netherlands are on track to resume flights to Tehran this April. Both airlines had already announced the new route back in December.

“Air France is showing its ambition to develop itself in a country with dynamic growth and for which the European Union is Iran’s fourth economic partner,” the company said in a statement. France has a long history of commercial, political and social links with the Islamic Republic of Iran, dating back to the 1970s, when then-revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei lived near Paris.

“We’re happy to welcome you in our new AIRFRANCE KLM office in central Tehran,” announces a new website displaying a map with an address, phone numbers, hours and an email address – but little else. “We’re swapping our old office space for brand new, bright and spacious facilities to make you, our passengers, most comfortable from the moment you book your flights.”

 

Iran Air has been flying three times a week to London and twice a week each to Amsterdam and Paris.

 

In 2008 European airlines stopped flying to Iran after international and U.S. sanctions were imposed on the country in response to its defiance of United Nations nuclear mandates.

Hana Levi Julian

US Navy Vessels Seized in Persian Gulf, Held by Iran

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Ten crew members of two U.S. Navy vessels were picked up by the Iranian Coast Guard on Tuesday while in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian state-run FARS News reported the two vessels were two kilometers (1.2 miles) inside Iranian territorial waters. Nine men and one woman are being held, according to EA Worldview.

The incident occurred while the two crews were trying to sort out mechanical trouble with one of the boats near Farsi Island, in the middle of the Persian Gulf.

U.S. officials told the Associated Press Tuesday that both crews and vessels were being held by Tehran.

However, “We have been in contact with Iran and have received assurances that the crew and the vessels will be returned promptly,” said Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook.

A senior American official said Secretary of State John Kerry “personally engaged with [Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Javad] Zarif on this issue to try to get to this outcome.”

The boats were in the process of traveling between Kuwait and Bahrain when the U.S. lost contact with them. The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain.

Farsi Island is home to an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps base, EA Worldview reported.

Senior U.S. military officials said the boats were on a training mission Tuesday night when one vessel lost power and drifted into Iranian territorial waters.

One official said the Iranians ‘understand the territorial incursion was not deliberate’ and have agreed to release the Americans in international waters within hours.

“We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel.

“We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey,” the unnamed American official said.

Less than a month ago, Iran fired a rocket towards U.S. vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Hana Levi Julian

Bahrain, UAE, Sudan Join Saudi Arabia, Sever Ties with Shi’ite Iran

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Several Gulf Arab nations and at least one African country have downgraded their ties with Shi’ite Iran after Saudi Arabia cut its ties with the Islamic Republic, with the possibility that more may follow.

The move came after a Tehran mob stormed and torched the Saudi Arabian embassy and consulate buildings. In response, Saudi Arabia suspended all air traffic between the two countries. A letter was also immediately sent to the United Nations Security Council, accusing Iran of failing to protect the Saudi embassy.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Jaberi Ansari denied the charges, saying no Saudi diplomats were harmed in the incident; he added that none were even present during the attack.

He neatly sidestepped the fact that the building was torched and that all the interior furnishings were completely smashed by the mob that stormed the building. Instead, Ansari claimed Saudi Arabia was “looking for some excuses to pursue its own unwise policies to further tension in the region.”

But Iranian security personnel did nothing to stop the destruction of the embassy until after the embassy offices were completely smashed; at which point, authorities called for “calm.”

The destruction of the diplomatic properties came in response to Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shi’ite cleric on Saturday. Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was one of a total of 47 who were executed on charges of terrorism.

Nimr was known as a vocal activist who opposed the Saudi regime, and who led a vigorous Shi’ite Muslim minority movement in Sunni Muslim-led Saudi Arabia. Iran threatened at the time of the execution that Saudi Arabia would “pay dearly” for Nimr’s death.

By Sunday, Saudi Arabia had cut its ties with Iran and expelled the ambassador, giving him 48 hours to leave the kingdom.

The United Arab Emirates and the island nation of Bahrain – Sunni-ruled monarchies – also both notified Iranian diplomats they had 48 hours to leave the kingdom.

The UAE recalled its ambassador from Tehran and announced it would reduce the number of diplomats stationed in Iran, according to the WAM state news agency. The government said in a statement, the UAE “has taken this exceptional step in light of Iran’s ongoing interference in internal [Gulf Cooperation Council] and Arab affairs that has recently reached unprecedented levels.”

Iran was was also accused by Bahraini officials of “increasing, flagrant and dangerous meddling” in the affairs of Gulf states – again, not the first time Iran has been accused of such activity. A similar charge was leveled against the Islamic Republic during the Arab Spring revolutions, when Tehran was accused of stirring uprisings among Shi’ite populations within the Sunni-led kingdoms and emirates. Bahrain also severed its ties with Iran.

Likewise, the majority Sunni Muslim nation of Sudan also expressed its disapproval of the Iranian attack on the Saudi embassy, calling the mob action “barbaric”. As with Bahrain and the UAE, Sudan also severed its diplomatic ties with Iran, expelling the Iranian ambassador and the entire Iranian diplomatic mission from the country. Sudan also recalled its own ambassador from Tehran.

Russia and China have now both released statements calling for “restraint” on the parts of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Both have expressed concern about escalation of tensions in the region, and have asked both parties to work together to “safeguard the region’s peace and stability.”

Hana Levi Julian

Saudi Arabia Cuts Ties with Iran, Gives 48 Hours for Iranian Diplomats to Leave Kingdom

Monday, January 4th, 2016

The two mighty Middle Eastern Muslim powers are now officially and publicly at each other’s throats, and their minor minions are lining up alongside the major powers, as the sunni Muslim Kingdom of Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with the Shiite Islamic Republic of Iran on Sunday, Jan. 3.

The final straw, at least for the Saudis, was the storming of the KSA’s Embassy in Tehran and its Consulate in Mashhad by Iranian protesters on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Those protests, in turn, were at least ostensibly motivated by the execution of a popular Shiite Muslim Cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, by Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The cleric had led protests against unequal treatment of Shias in an eastern part of the KSA, where the majority of Saudi Shiites are concentrated.

The Kingdom recalled its diplomats on Sunday, all of whom arrived in Dubai later that day, according to the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir. The Saudi Foreign Minister gave Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave Saudi Arabia.

Protesters began rioting outside the Saudi Embassy on Saturday, then hurled Molotov cocktails, and eventually stormed the building, smashing furniture and setting fires. The protesters burned pictures of the Saudi king. A slightly less violent riot broke out the following day at the Saudi Consulate in Mashhad, in the Khorasan province of Iran.

The governments of both countries verbally attacked the other for supporting terrorism and being oppressive regimes. Each government has executed hundreds of prisoners over the past several years.

The Egyptian, Jordanian and Kuwaiti governments condemned the breaches of the Saudi diplomatic compounds, and the United Arab Emirates summoned the Iranian Ambassador to protest Iran’s “interference in Saudi internal matters,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

And Iranian supporters such as Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah, criticized Saudi Arabia for executing Nimr, which he said “shows the real oppressive, terrorist and criminal face of the Saudi regime.”

Iraq’s top Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, described Nimr’s execution as an “unjust aggression,” and the former prime minister of Iraq Nuri al-Maliki, said that Nimr’s will be the downfall of the Gulf kingdom’s government.

Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei called Nimr a “martyr” who acted peacefully.

The United Nation’s top human rights official, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, also criticized Saudi Arabia for the 47 executions which took place on Saturday, including Nimr’s.

There have been more than 750 executions in Iran since the so-called moderate Hassan Rouhani became president in 2013.

Nimr had been sentenced to death by a Saudi court in October of last year. He was arrested in 2012 for his role in anti-government protests, including at the start of the Arab Spring protests. His trial began in the spring of 2014.

In response to the executions in Saudi Arabia and the storming of the Saudi Embassy in Iran, the U.S. called for restraint.

The State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. government “reaffirm our calls on the Government of Saudi Arabia to respect and protect human rights, and to ensure fair and transparent judicial proceedings in all cases.” He expressed concern that the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric would “exacerbate sectarian tensions” at a time when they “urgently need to be reduced.”

The statement ended with a predictable exhortation to all “leaders throughout the region to redouble efforts aimed at de-escalating regional tensions.” No doubt that will do the trick.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Thousands of Trucks Enter Gaza Weekly From Israel – No Excuse for Turkish Freeze

Monday, December 28th, 2015

The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories reported last week 3,750 trucks with 127,623 tons of goods entered Gaza through Israel via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

“There were 35 crossings of ambulances between Gaza and Israel last week,” according to a tweet by the COGAT.

Last Thursday alone, 24,629 tons of goods in 744 trucks were delivered to Gaza through Israel via the overland crossings. In addition, 2.2 million liters of fuel were delivered as well.

Delivery statistics at Kerem Shalom Crossing Dec. 20-24 2015

Delivery statistics at Kerem Shalom Crossing Dec. 20-24 2015

Can Turkey Justify Its Continued Diplomatic Freeze?

Turkey has used the so-called Israeli “blockade” of Gaza as its excuse for refusing to normalize its diplomatic ties with Israel. But the truth is, the crossings between Israel and Gaza are open every day and for a long time now, active commerce has been taking place.

What is not being allowed to enter the region are materials that can be used to manufacture weapons with which to attack the Jewish State – and which have been used for that purpose in the past.

In this regard Turkey is no different in its own methods of self-defense and controlling terror within its borders. In fact the Ankara government is more aggressive: Turkey has no problem attacking PKK terrorists when it perceives a threat.

For Ankara to suggest it has a right to dictate a domestic security policy to another sovereign nation is pretentious, if not outright chutzpah.

Since Israel has already opened the crossings on a daily basis – which by the way, even Egypt does not do with the lone Rafah crossing on its border – Turkey has no reason to complain. But Israel does: Hamas still operates its terrorist organization freely and maintains an active international office within Turkey’s borders, despite a request from Israel to close its doors.

Perhaps Turkey is simply searching for excuses not to formally renew its ties with the Jewish State? There would certainly be many reasons it might be reluctant to do so, beginning and ending with its oily handshake in Tehran. At least the Arab nations in the region are far more honest in their anti-Semitism…

Hana Levi Julian

IAEA Chief Warns No Guarantee All of Iran’s Nuclear Material is for Peaceful Activities

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

The head of the United Nations agency monitoring the Islam Republic’s compliance with the deal signed with world powers in July warned in prepared remarks on Thursday that he cannot guarantee that “all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

Yukiya Amano, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the November meeting of the agency’s 35-member board of governors in Vienna in his introductory statement that he was “not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” (Italics are Amano’s)

“The Agency has continued its monitoring and verification activities in relation to the Joint Plan of Action,” he continued.

“October 18th was Adoption Day for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was agreed between Iran and six countries and the EU in July this year. On the same day, Iran informed the Agency that, effective on Implementation Day, it will provisionally apply its Additional Protocol and fully implement the modified Code 3.1.

“The Agency is conducting preparatory activities related to the verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, including verification and monitoring of the steps Iran has begun taking towards the implementation of those commitments.

“The activities set out in the Road-map between Iran and the Agency for the period to October 15th were completed on schedule. A wrap-up technical meeting took place between Iran and the Agency on November 24th.

“Next week, I expect to provide my final assessment on all past and present outstanding issues, as set out in my report of November 2011, for action by the Board.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States and the other five world powers involved in negotiations with Iran over the nuclear deal from the outset that the terms being considered — and which were eventually agreed upon — left inspectors no way to assure Iran’s compliance with the agreement.

The deal was allegedly intended to prevent Iran from completing its race to achieve an atomic weapon of mass destruction, and from gifting or selling the technology or the weaponry itself to other enemy entities, such as radical Islamist terrorist organizations like Hamas, whose charter includes a declared intent to annihilate the State of Israel.

In other ways, however, it was more likely intended to get ‘business as usual’ back on track with the Islamic Republic, which has since seen European nations politely rushing to invite Tehran to gradually renew economic and diplomatic ties.

Hana Levi Julian

With US Tacit Approval, Iran Tests Ballistic Missile to Reach Tel Aviv

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

(JNi.media) On Sunday, Iran tested a new precision-guided ballistic missile, named Emad, its first precision-guided weapon that can strike at Tel Aviv, Iranian state news outlets reported. Iran’s missile program has been the largest in the region, but it lacked the accuracy and range required to pose a real threat to the Jewish State. Now, it appears the Islamic Republic has overcome that hurdle. State television proudly displayed a reportedly successful launch of the new missile, followed by a press conference with Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, who announced: “The Emad missile is able to strike targets with a high level of precision and completely destroy them … This greatly increases Iran’s strategic deterrence capability.”

The test constitutes a clear violation of UN Security Council resolution 2231, which states that “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,” said ban holding for the next eight years. But despite Washington’s protests, an administration official was quick to assure CNN that the test does not violate the nuclear agreement reached in July between Iran and the 5+1 world powers, because that accord has nothing to say about ballistic missiles, focusing instead only on restricting Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon.

The White House, the EU, and the Iranians insist that the nuclear deal does not include language banning Iran from building ballistic missiles capable of carrying the nuclear devices Iran is not allowed to produce over the coming decade, even if the same Western signatories say so in their capacity as permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The Tower pointed out that the Iranians use opposite theories, depending on their needs, regarding the connection between their missile and nuclear programs. Theory 1 says the two programs are separate, the UN ban and the nuclear deal have nothing to do with each other. As was evident this past weekend, this permits Tehran to boast of its newly realized threat against the Jewish State without fear of US retribution. Theory 2 says the two programs are linked, and by approving one, the US and its Western allies have, in effect, approved the other. On occasion, Iran takes both positions concurrently, suggesting the UN missile ban and the nuclear deal are linked, but only as far as Western obligations go, not Iranian commitments.

Minister Dehghan told Iranian press on Sunday: “To follow our defense programs, we don’t ask permission from anyone.” And it appears that this sentiment, despite all the official Western rebuke, is receiving nods of approval from Washington and the EU.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/with-us-tacit-approval-iran-tests-ballistic-missile-to-reach-tel-aviv/2015/10/13/

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