Tel Aviv top-level politicians have resurrected the idea of an independent Kurdish state, after years of direct and indirect support for the cause.
The Minister of Justice of the Jewish State, Ayelet Shaked, has stated that he strongly supports a Kurdish state, seen to be a way to weaken Israeli rivals in the Middle East, local media reported on Tuesday.
“We should promote steps that would correct the injustice that made Kurds the biggest nation without a state. We must call on nations to set up a [Kurdish] state,” Shaked announced, as quoted by BasNews.
The new country would be between Turkey and Iran, she suggested.
“We have cultural global ties and they are strategic partners on a mutual front,” Shaked explained, referring to the Kurdish standoff with Daesh and other jihadist groups.
Shaked showed sympathy toward the Kurdish people by appealing to them as “a peace seeking nation.”
“The Kurds have a perfect democracy and give equal rights to women,” she added.
In the past, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu advocated the establishment of Kurdistan, but did not specify boundaries.
“We should… support the Kurdish aspiration for independence,” Netanyahu stated, calling the Kurds “a nation of fighters [who] have proved political commitment and are worthy of independence.”
Netanyahu’s statement was made when Daesh seized large parts of Iraq and Syria in a blitzkrieg 2014 campaign. Kurdish units were the only ground force that stopped the violent extremists.
Kurds in Iraq call loudly for independence. Kurds in the war-torn Syria constitute some 10% of the population and have formed what they call Rojava, a self-governing autonomous area. Turkey’s Kurds, who represent 20% of the population, have been immersed in bloody clashes with the current government. Kurds in Iran are seen to easily become a destabilizing factor within that country.
In light of the current state of affairs, Israel is thought to have chosen the right time to call for the creation of Kurdistan. A moderate Sunni Kurdish state in the heart of the Middle East could be seen to become the sole Muslim ally of the Jewish state of Israel.
The Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq has been reportedly supplying Israel with three quarters of its crude oil. Israeli special forces’ trainers have been present in the region for over a decade, advising the Kurdish military in Iraq, according to local media. Moreover, multiple reports suggest that there is a constant flow of arms from Tel Aviv to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Adding to this, Kurdish authorities have expressed religious freedom in their region, allowing Kurdish Jews to return to their homeland unmolested.
Kurdish animosities with the Arabs are well-known, and Israel will benefit from the diplomacy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Is the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, a RINO — a revolutionary in name only?
So they must be muttering around the barracks of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps today.
For while American hawks are saying we gave away the store to Tehran, consider what ayatollah agreed to.
Last week, he gave his blessing to the return of 10 U.S. sailors who intruded into Iranian waters within hours of capture. He turned loose four Americans convicted of spying. And he gave final approval to a nuclear deal that is a national humiliation.
Ordered by the U.S. and Security Council to prove Iran was not lying when it said it had no nuclear weapons program — an assertion supported by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies “with high confidence” in 2007 — the ayatollah had to submit to the following demands:
Decommission 12,000 Iranian centrifuges, including all the advanced ones at Fordow, ship out of the country 98 percent of its enriched uranium, remove the core of its heavy-water reactor in Arak and fill it with concrete, and allow U.N. inspectors to crawl all over Iran’s nuclear facilities for years to come.
Iran is being treated by the great powers like an ex-con on parole who must be monitored and fitted with an ankle bracelet.
Why did the ayatollah capitulate to these demands?
Comes the reply: To get $100 billion. But the money Iran is getting back belongs to Iran. It is not foreign aid. The funds had been frozen until Iran accepted our conditions. The sanctions worked.
There is another reason Tehran may have submitted.
When Iran said it did not have a nuclear bomb program, it was telling the truth. Indeed, it is Iran’s accusers, many from the same crowd that misled and lied to us when they said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, whose credibility is in question today.
Iran’s accusers should produce their evidence, if any, that Iran had, or still has, a nuclear bomb program.
Otherwise, they should shut up with the lying and goading the U.S. into another war that will leave us with another trillion-dollar debt, ashes in our mouths, and thousands more dead and wounded warriors.
Yet, if Iran does not have a nuclear bomb program, we must ask: Why not? And the answer suggests itself: Because Iran concluded, years ago, that an atom bomb would make it less not more secure.
For, as soon as Iran tested a bomb, a nuclear arms race would be on in the Mideast with Saudis, Turks and Egyptians all in competition.
The Israelis would put their nuclear arsenal on a hair trigger. And most dangerous for Iran, she would find herself confronting the USA.
Yet, no matter how much the mullahs may hate us, they are not stupid, and they know a war with America would leave their country, as it left Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, smashed and broken.
Iraq is today splintered into Sunni, Shiite, Kurd and Arab. And Iran, after a war with the USA, could decompose into a tribalized land of warring Persians, Arabs, Baluch, Kurds and Azeris.
Yet, if a war with America would be a disaster for Iran, detente with America might bring a time of peace that could enable this largest nation on the Persian Gulf, with 80 million people, and an ally now of its old rival Iraq, to achieve hegemony in the Gulf.
Which brings us back to the ayatollah.
From his actions, he appears to have blessed Iran’s taking the same road on which Deng Xiaoping set out some four decades ago.
After Mao’s death, Deng found China with a backward economy in a booming world led by Reagan’s America and a Japan on the march.
To save Communism, Deng decided to embrace state capitalism.
And as there is nothing new under the sun, Deng had a model.
In 1921, in the wake of Russia’s crushing defeat in the Great War and bloodletting in the Civil War between “Reds” and “Whites,” Lenin saw his regime imperiled by a rising revolution against the Bolsheviks.
He dumped “war Communism” for a New Economic Policy, opened Russia to Western investors, while assuring the comrades that the capitalists “will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”
Similarly, Iran’s regime seems to have concluded that the path to power and permanence of the regime lies not in conflict with the United States, but in avoiding conflict — and taking the China road.
President Hassan Rouhani, who also sees Iran’s future as best assured by resolving the nuclear issue and reengaging with the West, described his triumph to the Iranian parliament:
“All are happy except Zionists, warmongers, sowers of discord among Islamic nations and extremists in the U.S. The rest are happy.”
If this deal is truly in the interests of the United States and Iran, whose interests would be served by scuttling it? Who seeks to do so?
And why would they want a return to confrontation and perhaps war?
Copyright 2016 Creators.com.
Most people around the globe are relieved by the prospect of peace following the lifting the embargo against Iran. Two groups, however, are not so happy. The Saudis and the Jews. The Saudi unease is based on geopolitical terms: Sunni/Shia conflict, oil market competition, and so on. However, it is puzzling that NY Jewish leaders are pretty upset by the prospect of putting this never ending conflict to sleep.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC), a body that claims to represent American Jews, reacted to the nuclear deal with a statement that it should not mean a return to “business as usual.”
“We call on governments to make it clear – to their countries’ business sector – that the JCPOA does not represent a return to ‘business as usual’ with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. A range of tough US sanctions, which AJC supports, remains in effect; Iran’s non-nuclear activities, which are ongoing and destabilizing, are subject to continued – and likely escalating – sanctions,” read a statement by AJC on Sunday.
The AJC and the ADL are apparently concerned with ‘human rights’ issues. Both pointed to “Iran’s on going human rights abuses and expansionism in the Middle East, in part through proxies like Hezbollah.” One would actually expect these Jewish organisations to deal first with the inhumanity of their Jewish State that’s a leading force in abuse of human rights, brutal racism and expansionism.
AIPAC declared that the lifting of sanctions is a “dangerous moment for America and our allies.” The group called on policymakers to confront “regional proxies” while taking “firm action to support our allies, especially Israel.”
B’nai B’rith, yet another Jewish American institution, said the US decision to slap sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile tests last October and December reinforced their skepticism about Iran’s willingness to go forward in compliance with the JCPOA. Seemingly American Jewish institutions are collectively distressed by the resolution of the conflict with Iran. Peace and reconciliation must be foreign to their lexicon. Perhaps someone should take a second and explain to these intrusive foreign lobbies that for America and the West, Iran is the last hope for stability in the region. Iran is the only regional power that can help to reverse the disaster created by the Jewish State and its lobby. But then it is not surprising to find Jewish lobbies locating themselves at the forefront of the pro war camp. As I have been saying for years, shalom doesn’t mean peace, it means security for the Jews.
American Jewish lobbies such as AJC, AIPAC, ADL and B’nai B’rith appear convinced that America fighting Iran is good for the Jews. However, it seems that, contrary to the wisdom of its Jewish lobbies, the American administration eventually gathered that peace is patriotic.
Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan says the Islamic Republic will unveil new domestically-designed and manufactured missiles in the near future in defiance of new US sanctions against the country over its missile program.
“[Any] attempt to impose new sanctions [against Iran] under irrelevant pretexts is indicative of the continued US hostile policy and acrimony toward the Iranian nation, and a futile effort to undermine Iran’s defense might,” Dehqan said on Monday.
He added that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s missile industry is fully domestically-manufactured and anchored in science and expertise of the country’s defense sector.
“Hence, sanctions against [certain] people and companies will have no impact on the development of the industry, and we will actually demonstrate [their ineffectiveness] by displaying new missiles,” he added.
Earlier on Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country will continue to enhance its missile capabilities in defiance of the “destructive” US sanctions over the Islamic Republic’s missile program.
“We will respond to such propaganda stunts and disruptive measures by more robustly pursuing our lawful missile program and promoting our defense capabilities and national security,” the statement added.
It further noted that Iran’s missiles serve defensive and deterrent purposes and have not been designed to carry nuclear warheads.
“The Iranian missile program has by no means been designed to carry nuclear weapons and is not in contravention of any international principle,” the statement pointed out.
The US Department of the Treasury said in a statement on Sunday that it has imposed new sanctions on several individuals and firms over Iran’s ballistic missile program, claiming that the program “poses a significant threat to regional and global security.”
The statement said five Iranian citizens and a network of companies based in the United Arab Emirates and China were added to a US blacklist.
On October 11, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) successfully test-fired its first guided ballistic missile dubbed Emad. Washington slammed the test, claiming the projectile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. It vowed to respond with more sanctions.
In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly said its military might poses no threat to other countries, reiterating that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence.
The US Department of State has no comment on the recent accusation of Tehran on the “illegal” nature of the new US sanctions against entities involved in ballistic missile procurement for Iran, the Office of Press Relations told Sputnik on Monday.
Earlier on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Hossein Jaberi Ansari stated the US sanctions have “no legal or moral legitimacy.” Moreover, the country’s foreign ministry said that Tehran will reply on the sanctions by a more robust approach to the national ballistic missile program and its national defense and security capabilities.
“We have no comment on this,” the press relations office said, highlighting the country’s President Barack Obama’s Sunday statement on Iran.
On Sunday, Obama stated that the nuclear agreement reached by Iran and world powers in July proved possibilities of US diplomacy.
On the same day, the US Treasury Department sanctioned 11 entities and individuals, including six Iranians and one Chinese citizen, over their involvement in procurement on behalf of Iran’s ballistic missile program.
In November, media reported that Iran allegedly tested a surface-to-surface Emad (Pillar) missile in violation of a UN Security Council resolution.
The United States has earlier weakened sanctions targeting Iran as global nuclear watchdog IAEA verified on Saturday Tehran’s compliance with a nuclear agreement reached last July.
This has been the most dramatic week in US/Iranian relations since 1979.
Last weekend ten US Navy personnel were caught in Iranian waters, as the Pentagon kept changing its story on how they got there. It could have been a disaster for President Obama’s big gamble on diplomacy over conflict with Iran. But after several rounds of telephone diplomacy between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, the Iranian leadership – which we are told by the neocons is too irrational to even talk to – did a most rational thing: weighing the costs and benefits they decided it made more sense not to belabor the question of what an armed US Naval vessel was doing just miles from an Iranian military base. Instead of escalating, the Iranian government fed the sailors and sent them back to their base in Bahrain.
Then on Saturday, the Iranians released four Iranian-Americans from prison, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. On the US side, seven Iranians held in US prisons, including six who were dual citizens, were granted clemency. The seven were in prison for seeking to trade with Iran in violation of the decades-old US economic sanctions.
This mutual release came just hours before the United Nations certified that Iran had met its obligations under the nuclear treaty signed last summer and that, accordingly, US and international sanctions would be lifted against the country.
How did the “irrational” Iranians celebrate being allowed back into the international community? They immediately announced a massive purchase of more than 100 passenger planes from the European Airbus company, and that they would also purchase spare parts from Seattle-based Boeing. Additionally, US oil executives have been in Tehran negotiating trade deals to be finalized as soon as it is legal to do so. The jobs created by this peaceful trade will be beneficial to all parties concerned. The only jobs that should be lost are the Washington advocates of re-introducing sanctions on Iran.
Events this week have dealt a harsh blow to Washington’s neocons, who for decades have been warning against any engagement with Iran. These true isolationists were determined that only regime change and a puppet government in Tehran could produce peaceful relations between the US and Iran. Instead, engagement has worked to the benefit of the US and Iran.
Proven wrong, however, we should not expect the neocons to apologize or even pause to reflect on their failed ideology. Instead, they will continue to call for new sanctions on any pretext. They even found a way to complain about the release of the US sailors – they should have never been confronted in the first place even if they were in Iranian waters. And they even found a way to complain about the return of the four Iranian-Americans to their families and loved ones – the US should have never negotiated with the Iranians to coordinate the release of prisoners, they grumbled. It was a show of weakness to negotiate! Tell that to the families on both sides who can now enjoy the company of their loved ones once again!
I have often said that the neocons’ greatest fear is for peace to break out. Their well-paid jobs are dependent on conflict, sanctions, and pre-emptive war. They grow wealthy on conflict, which only drains our economy. Let’s hope that this new opening with Iran will allow many other productive Americans to grow wealthy through trade and business ties. Let’s hope many new productive jobs will be created on both sides. Peace is prosperous!
The US Treasury says it is imposing new ballistic missile sanctions on Iran after Tehran released five American prisoners. The move also comes less than a day after some of the sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program were removed by the US and EU.
Washington has imposed sanctions on 11 companies and individuals for helping to supply Iran’s ballistic missile program, the Treasury Department stated.
“Iran’s ballistic missile program poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions,” Adam J. Szubin, acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a press release.
“We have consistently made clear that the United States will vigorously press sanctions against Iranian activities outside of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – including those related to Iran’s support for terrorism, regional destabilization, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile program.”
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control says it will also block the assets of Mabrooka Trading, a company based in the United Arab Emirates, for providing Iran with parts used in their ballistic missiles. Others sanctioned include companies and individuals involved in the program, which supervised testing of two ballistic missiles in 2015.
President Barack Obama’s administration delayed implementing the sanctions for more than two weeks, while negotiations to release two US prisoners being held in Iran were taking place, Reuters reported, citing its sources.
Obama is also expected to make a statement later on Sunday, regarding the Iran deal and the release of five prisoners.
According to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal represents a “dangerous moment” for America.
The implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal represents a “dangerous moment” for America, and it is essential to make Iran meet the commitments it made when it accepted the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said Sunday.
“This is a dangerous moment for America and our allies. We need to hold Iran to the commitments it made when it accepted the JCPOA,” AIPAC, America’s most influential pro-Israel lobbying organization, stated following the implementation of the Iran deal.
The statement stressed that “Congress and the executive branch must also live up to their own commitments,” which means it has to respond to Iranian violations of the JCPOA “with certain, swift and severe penalties.” The organization also noted it is necessary to shut out the possibility of Iran building up “its ability to pursue regional dominance” as a “terrorist state”.
“Iran can repatriate tens of billions of dollars from frozen foreign accounts, fueling its efforts to expand its reach across the region. The international community will dismantle its elaborate sanctions regime, and Iran will start down the path to legitimize its illicit nuclear program,” the statement reads.
AIPAC also asserted that Iran demonstrated its irresponsibility in the past when it violated mandatory United Nations Security Council resolutions by conducting prohibited ballistic missile tests.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made skeptical comments on the implementation of the Iranian nuclear deal as well, saying that Iran hasn’t yet abandoned its ambitions to possess nuclear weapons.
Iran and six major international powers (the US, Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany) reached an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program in July 2015. The deal entailed Iran agreeing to ensure that its nuclear program is of a peaceful nature.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for new sanctions on Iran over its recent ballistic missile test. Her comments come as earlier economic sanctions are being partly lifted, after Iran fulfilled measures set by the nuclear deal.
“Iran is still violating UN Security Council resolutions with its ballistic missile program, which should be met with new sanctions designations and firm resolve,” Clinton said in a statement.
The former US secretary of state stressed that if she is elected president this year, she will take on Iran with a “distrust and verify” attitude.
Clinton also applauded Iran’s release of US citizens. “I am greatly relieved by the safe return of American prisoners from Iran.”
Latest media reports indicated that a detained American student, Matthew Trevithick, has already left Iran, while “logistical steps” are in process to send four other prisoners, including the jailed Tehran bureau chief for the Washington Post, Jason Rezaian, home.
While lashing out at Iran for its missile tests, Clinton has apparently been fine with weapons being sent to some of its Middle Eastern neighbors, despite them being criticized for dismal human rights records.
Amid Clinton‘s presidential campaign, media reports have surfaced claiming that regional players, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have donated billions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. At the same time, those same nations had weapons deals approved by the US State Department when it was headed by Clinton.
“Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents,” International Business Times wrote in May 2015, citing a review of available records.
Meanwhile, US Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal joined Clinton’s call for more sanctions on Iran on Saturday, arguing its missile tests violated UN resolutions.
“Without delay, the United States should enforce sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program,” Blumenthal said.
Both Clinton’s and Blumenthal’s statements come as international economic sanctions imposed on Iran earlier due to suspicions that its nuclear program was being used to develop atomic weapons were formally lifted after the UN nuclear watchdog – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – released a statement saying Iran has fulfilled all of the measures required under its deal with six world powers.
“The report was submitted to IAEA board of governors and to the United Nations Security Council,” IAEA director general Yukiya Amano said on Saturday, adding that “it was issued after agency inspectors on the ground verified that Iran has carried out all measures required under the JCPOA to enable implementation day to occur.”
The JCPOA, known as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed between Tehran and six world powers (the so-called P5+1 group comprised of China, France, Russia, the UK, the US and Germany) on July 14, 2015. The deal entailed Iran shrinking its atomic program in return for the US, EU and UN lifting economic sanctions.
Russia says the Iranian missile program constitutes no basis on which the US can impose potential new sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
“We have no confidence that there are any grounds for the imposition of sanctions against Iran in connection with its missile program,” Interfax quoted a Russian diplomatic source as saying.
Talk of new US sanctions against Iran emerged after the Islamic Republic successfully test-fired a precision-guided long-range missile on October 11, 2015.
Several US politicians have said the test violated a United Nations resolution against Iran, and called on the US administration to introduce new sanctions against Tehran.
“The Americans interpret the relevant provision of Resolution 1929 as prohibiting any ballistic missile launches, whereas the text speaks about a ban on launches of ballistic missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads,” the Russian source also said, referring to the UN resolution adopted against Iran in June 2010.
The US administration, however, announced last month new sanctions against nearly a dozen companies and individuals for their alleged role in developing Iran’s missile program.
Fearing Iran’s reaction, the White House delayed implementing the sanctions for an unspecified time.
The sanctions would be the first ever since Iran and the P5+1 group reached a nuclear deal, dubbed as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in July 2015.
The agreement would see the removal of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran in return for enhanced transparency by Iran in its peaceful nuclear program.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had warned that any new sanctions against Iran under any pretext would be interpreted as a violation of the JCPOA.
The unnamed Russian source further said the Kremlin is against “any exacerbation that can obstruct the beginning of the implementation” of the JCPOA that “should apparently happen in January, around its middle.”
Iranian officials say no limits can be imposed on the country’s conventional military capabilities.
They say none of the Iranian missiles have been “designed for a nuclear capability,” and thus their production and test are not in violation of the UN resolution.
As Washington sends mixed signals on whether or not it will introduce new sanctions against Iran, Tehran is considering other options should a new round of penalties come to pass, says Seyed Mohammad Marandi, professor at the University of Tehran.
The United States delayed the announcement of new penalties, which reportedly seeks to punish several companies and individuals from Iran, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates that the US believes have been involved in Iran’s ballistic missile tests.
However, such an announcement comes as no surprise to Tehran, according to Marandi, who said that even as the [nuclear] negotiations were taking place between Iran and the P5+1, the general consensus in Iran was that “the United States would move towards increasing sanctions through other excuses than that of the nuclear program.”
Marandi provided a list of methods the United States was using to target Iran, including the recent passage of a law restricting visas for people that have visited Iran, as well as for Iranian citizens that have dual nationality. Also, Iranian assets are being confiscated abroad, which the Iranians “believe… is theft by the United States through using different excuses.”
The professor at the University of Tehran says such actions could “severely damage the chances for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action bearing fruit.”
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an agreement designed to oversee Iran’s nuclear program reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany), and the EU.
Marandi believes that Washington’s aggressive stance towards Iran must be explained by other reasons because, he says, “there’s never been any evidence to show that Iran’s nuclear program has been anything but peaceful. The United States has been making many accusations against Iran that have been unfounded.”
The real reason the US is fundamentally opposed to Iran is because the Islamic Republic successfully freed itself from Washington’s rule many years ago, he argues.
“The United States has not forgiven the Iranian people over three and a half decades for gaining their independence from the United States and becoming an independent actor in this part of the world.
“Therefore, the Iranians expect the United States will use all sorts of excuses – whether it’s the nuclear program, terrorism, human rights.”
Marandi exclaimed with a hint of irony that the only thing Iran has not been blamed for by Washington is “global warming.”
Yet the nuclear issue, he says, is not the main point of contention between the two countries. What really irks Washington about Iran “is not the nuclear program, but rather Iran’s political independence of the US,” he asserts.
But the international community will see through the actions of the United States that – despite the agreement between the two countries – is “trying to make ordinary Iranians suffer until Iran bows down to the will of the US.”
Marandi is adamant that such a thing “is not going to happen.”
In fact, according to the academic, Tehran has many options open to itself should the US impose a new round of sanctions, including seeking the cooperation and partnership of other countries – both non-Western and Western alike.
“If the US continues to go down this road, we will see greater tensions and probably it will be an important incentive for Iran to increase and develop its ties with Russia and China, as well as other non-Western countries.”
Marandi concludes that due to Washington’s support of countries in the region that are guilty of “supporting al-Qaeda and ISIL [Islamic State/ISIS],” Tehran is of the opinion that countries like Russia, China and increasingly India, and even many European Union countries will begin to “look more to Iran as a reliable partner and this is making it far more difficult for the US… to impose sanctions on Iran in a way in which the international community would abide by those demands of the US.”
The US government prepared sanctions against Iran because of its ballistic missile defence program, but has now postponed their implementation, the US press reported on Wednesday.
The Obama administration is still intent on punishing Iran for developing the missiles, which it allegedly tested earlier this month. However, sanctions in connection with the ballistic missile program have been delayed, according to US officials.
On Wednesday the US Treasury announced a list of companies and individuals in Iran, the UAE and Hong Kong that are to be targeted by sanctions because they are alleged to have assisted Iran in the development of the missiles. The sanctions would freeze the US-held assets of those entities, and forbid US companies from trading with sanctioned firms.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called the sanctions an example of the US’ “hostile policies and illegal meddling,” and instructed Iran’s Defence Ministry to step up the development of the missiles.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari on Thursday stressed that Iran’s missile program is for purely defensive purposes, and is only capable of firing conventional rockets, not nuclear warheads.
“As the US officials have mentioned before, [the Iranian] missile program is not related to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” said Jaber Ansari.
“There is nothing to prevent Iran from pursuing its legitimate right to reinforce its defensive strength and national security.”
In July the Iranian government and the P5+1 group of countries reached a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, in which Iran agreed to restrictions on its capability to enrich uranium in return for the eventual lifting of economic sanctions.
Last week Iran shipped nine tons of low-enriched uranium to Russia as part of the deal, and in return received 137 tons of natural uranium for use in nuclear energy reactors.
December 9, 2015: