FM: Defense prowess foils enemies’ aggression
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Islamic Republic will not allow enemies to launch an act of aggression against the country’s territory.
Speaking during a visit to different sectors of the Iranian defense industries on Wednesday, Zarif praised the achievements of the Islamic Republic in the defense sector over the past few years.
“[Our] defense achievements will not allow any country to be tempted to penetrate Iran’s borders,” Zarif said.
“Every Iranian takes pride in the country’s progress … and scientific and technical capabilities. Our defense industry has made vast and considerable achievements for not only the defense of the country but also the development of various other industries as well,” he added.
In recent years, the country has made great achievements in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in the production of essential military equipment and systems.
Iran has also conducted several military drills to enhance the defense capabilities of its armed forces and to test modern military tactics and equipment.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly said that its military might poses no threat to other countries, reiterating that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence.
Deadly nightmare for Israel
A senior Iranian commander said any Israeli act of aggression against the Islamic Republic will turn into “a deadly nightmare” for the Tel Aviv regime.
Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s Aerospace Division Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said Wednesday that Israel is incapable of launching an attack against the Islamic Republic.
“The Zionist regime’s officials have time and time again threatened Iran but they know full well that the cost of any attack on Iran and our response to that will be so severe that it would be a deadly nightmare for them to even imagine it,” he said.
He added that even in the unlikely possibility that Israel does act on an “immature decision” to attack Iran, the Islamic Republic is fully prepared to give a crushing response to the aggression.
“The Zionist regime may have it in mind to attack Iran but after evaluating the repercussions of that and given the Islamic Republic of Iran’s very severe response [to it], it will definitely come to the conclusion that it has made an immature decision,” Hajizadeh said.
Israel has repeatedly and openly threatened Iran with military strikes, citing the pretext that Iran’s nuclear energy program is geared toward non-civilian purposes. Iran, however, has always said its nuclear program is entirely peaceful but promised a devastating response to any aggression.
Nuclear medicine benefits one million Iranians annually
One million Iranians receive nuclear medicine services each year, deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Mohammad Ahmadian said on Tuesday.
Addressing the Sixth Conference on Iran Electricity and Electronics Engineering Tuesday, Ahmadian said that peaceful use of nuclear energy in Iran followed scientific studies launched in the post-Revolution era.
He said that the achievements Iran has made in science and technology is praiseworthy and source of national pride and self-reliance, IRNA wrote.
He singled out the economic preferences of the nuclear electricity as significant, and said that nuclear energy can have economic justification because it is cheaper compared to the depleting fossil fuels.
He noted that although huge investment is needed to construct nuclear power plants, they will provide the people with cheaper energy, unlike gas-powered plants which run on expensive fossil fuels.
Referring to 13-percent rise in nuclear energy production, Ahmadian said, currently, 429 nuclear plants worldwide are generating 380,000 megawatts, 76 plants with a capacity of 7,800 megawatts are under construction and 95 plants with a capacity of 108,000 megawatts are designed to be built.
Meanwhile, Secretary of the Sixth Conference on Iran Electricity and Electronics Engineering Javad Rouhani said that some 1,462 articles were submitted to the secretariat of the conference, of which 559 were accepted for presentation during the three-day event.
Iran gas output rises 30%
Iran’s gas production has increased considerably during March 21-July 22, compared with the corresponding figure of last year.
Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Rokneddin Javadi also told Fars News Agency on Tuesday the country produced 30 percent more gas in this period, which has resulted in saving nearly one billion liters of diesel.
Javadi, who is also a deputy oil minister, said, “As soon as restrictions are removed, we can produce 200,000 barrels of oil more per day in the fields located in West Karoun by mid-March 2016.”
West Karoun oilfields include North Azadegan, South Azadegan, Yadavaran, Yaran and Mansouri.
The NIOC managing director noted that Iran plans to increase the South Pars (SP) gas output to 100 million cubic meters per day (cm/d).
Last month, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh announced that Iran plans to boost production in the South Pars Gas Field to overcome gas shortage in the country.
“We hope to add another 100 million cubic meters per day to the country’s national grid before the end of the year,” he said.
The Iranian oil minister also said SP’s output will rise to 540 million cm/d by mid-March 2016.
The SP, divided into 28 phases, is located in the Persian Gulf and shared by Iran and Qatar. The field is estimated to hold 14 trillion cubic meters of gas as well as 18 billion barrels of condensates.
The field covers an area of 9,700 square kilometers, 3,700 square kilometers of which lie in Iran’s territorial waters. The rest, better known as the North Dome, is located in Qatar’s territorial waters.
Rouhani pledges prosperity, fall in inflation
President Hassan Rouhani said the inflation rate will drop to below 20 percent by mid-March.
The president made the remarks on Wednesday while addressing a public gathering in the northwestern city of Ardabil, IRNA reported.
He said inflation stood at the critical point of 40 percent last year when he took office amid deep recession.
Referring to the conditions in the region, he said while the region is suffering from instability and unrest especially in places such as Iraq and Syria and Muslims are killed in Palestine and Gaza by Zionist bombs and bullets, Iran maintains its position as a strong and peaceful country.
Pointing out that he principally promised the people that his government will be in friendly terms with the whole world, he said Iran was now extending its hand of friendship to any state and nation which respected the rights of the Iranian people.
He said the Iranian Muslim nation will strongly confront any state which would even think of violating its rights or attacking regional Muslims.
President Rouhani further said Iran enjoyed very close relations with its neighboring countries.
On the nuclear issue, the president underlined that Iran will powerfully continue the talks with the six world powers (the US, Russia, China, France and Britain plus Germany), but it would never give up its inalienable nuclear rights.
“We will sit at the negotiating table with the world powers with our distinguished and powerful diplomats who have sufficient experience in different areas and God willingly we will protect our nuclear rights and will bring back calm and welfare to the people,” President Rouhani said.
He noted that although Iran is under the West’s sanctions and the government has made good progress in the removal of the embargoes, the obstacles still exist.
Rouhani said that the structure of the sanctions against Iran has cracked, and added, “We will release $7 billion of Iran’s frozen assets by November 24.”
He hoped the two objectives of safeguarding the nation’s nuclear rights and providing prosperity to it will be achieved concurrently. President Rouhani arrived in Ardabil Wednesday morning for a two-day visit. It is his seventh provincial visit since assuming power in August last year.
Police arrest more in Ferguson protests
Iran voices concern about targeted discrimination against blacks
The top US law enforcement official was to visit on Wednesday the Missouri town where at least 47 people were arrested on Tuesday following the violent protests over killing of a black teen by police.
Attorney General Eric Holder, who is himself black, will oversee the federal response to the August 9 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, a day after the latest protest proceeded largely peacefully but ultimately degenerated as tension rose and police made 47 arrests, AFP reported.
Holder was to visit the St. Louis suburb amid an ongoing federal investigation into possible civil rights violations in Brown’s shooting death.
Also Wednesday a grand jury was to begin hearing witnesses to Brown’s killing, with widespread calls for the police officer, Darren Wilson, to be put on trial for murder.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry voiced deep concern about targeted discrimination against the blacks in the US and the state suppression of popular protests as a violation of human rights and the rights of colored Americans.
“The targeted discrimination against the blacks in the US by the police and the judiciary and suppression of popular protests after the recent events are flagrant instances of the violation of human rights and the rights of the colored population in the US, a country which annually releases numerous reports on the violation of human rights in independent countries and governments,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said on Wednesday.
She expressed sympathy for the families of the unarmed black teenager and called for a fair trial for his killer.
“Racism is an issue which has raised much concern in the US society and the demands of the blacks who want justice and elimination of discrimination should be heard and responded based on human rights criteria,” Afkham said.
Brown’s remains are undergoing three separate autopsies – by local authorities, the family and Holder’s Justice Department. In Tuesday’s protest three guns were seized and protesters threw glass and plastic bottles of water and urine at police towards the end of the demo, prompting officers to intervene and make the arrests, said Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Johnson stressed that unlike a violent protest Monday night, this time protesters did not fire guns at police and officers refrained from using tear gas to break up the rally.
“Tonight we saw a different dynamic,” he said.
“Hands up, don’t shoot!” protesters chanted, holding their hands in the air in what has become the signature slogan of Ferguson’s frustration with its overwhelmingly white police department.
Meanwhile Brown’s family was preparing for his funeral, which their lawyer said would take place on Monday.
In contrast to previous nights, rather than firing tear gas head-on into the crowd, police with riot shields and armored vehicles kept a lower profile.
They finally intervened around midnight, pushing the remaining crowd towards a newly designated public assembly area in a former car dealership.
Mingling with citizens at the outset of the march, Johnson – who is charged with restoring order in this mainly black town of 21,000 – denounced what he called “criminal elements” who, after dark on Sunday and Monday, had ignored police orders to disperse.
Earlier Tuesday, in St. Louis a few miles (kilometers) away, officers shot dead an agitated man who yelled “kill me now” as he rushed at them with a knife during an apparent convenience store robbery.
Police have identified the white police officer who shot Brown in broad daylight on a residential street as Darren Wilson, 28, in the force for six years.
Brown’s family wants Wilson – who reportedly has been granted leave from his duties – charged with murder for “executing” their son.
Police contend that Brown was rushing at the officer, but other witnesses say the teenager – who was about to start vocational college – had his hands up, ready to surrender.
Landslides hit Hiroshima, killing at least 36
At least 36 people, including several children, were killed in Japan on Wednesday, when landslides triggered by torrential rain slammed into the outskirts of the western city of Hiroshima, and the toll could rise further, police said.
Seven people were missing after a month’s worth of rain fell overnight, loosening slopes already saturated by heavy rain over the past few weeks, Reuters reported.
“There was rain and thunder all night, beating down so hard I was scared to go outside,” a resident told Fuji TV. “Great big drops. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Helicopters clattered overhead, lifting out survivors, as rescue workers searched through mud and piles of stones in residential areas about 5 km (3 miles) from the city center.
Among those dug out of the debris were two brothers, aged eleven and two, whose house was struck as they slept.
A child’s red school bag, covered in mud, lay in the debris. Houses had been pushed 100 meters (yards) by the landslide in the worst-hit area, where thick, knee-high mud hampered rescue efforts.
“The rain was just pouring down and the street in front of my house turned into a river,” a man in his 70s told national television NHK.
Hiroshima city authorities issued an evacuation advisory notice about an hour after the first landslide on Wednesday.
“Something went wrong in our analysis (of the situation) ... We failed to issue an evacuation advisory ahead of the disaster. Looking back, I believe this is something we need to amend,” an official at the city’s fire department said.
The soil in the area was of a kind that absorbed water until it suddenly loosened and slid, increasing the danger, disaster management experts told NHK.
Cities in land-scarce Japan often expand into mountainous areas, leaving such development vulnerable to landslides.
About 240 mm (9 inches) of rain fell in the area in the 24 hours up to Wednesday morning, a record-breaking level equivalent to a month’s worth of rain in a usual August, the Meteorological Agency said. Roughly half of that rain fell in one hour on Wednesday.
The force of the landslide crumbled asphalt roads, while streams of mud tore through neighborhoods, turning houses into piles of twisted wreckage. Boulders with a diameter of as much as three meters (yards) lay scattered around.
More rain was likely in western Japan later on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cut short his summer vacation to head back to Tokyo. He said he would dispatch several hundred military personnel to help with rescue efforts. By Wednesday evening, about 500 such troops had been sent in.
Landslides killed 31 people in Hiroshima in 1999, including six in the same area hit this time.
Iranian woman gets COMEST membership
Science & Technology Desk
Professor Azam Irajizad has become a member of the World Commission on Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST).
She got her BS in Physics from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran in 1977.
Irajizad received her MS and PhD in physics from Sussex University in the UK in 1986 and 1990 respectively and obtained her post-doctorate degree in surface physics from the university in 1991.
Her research interests are as follows:
- Thin films deposition and characterization, andelectrical, magnetic and optical properties of thin films,
- Surface investigation using techniques like Auger, XPS electron spectroscopies, and low electron energy diffraction,
- Surface roughness study using atomic force microscopy and optical methods,
- Study and fabrication of gas sensors and biosensors based on metal oxides, porous silicon, carbon nanotubes and graphene,
- Fabrication of solar cells based on CdS/CdTe, dye sensitive TiO2 layers, nanostructured solid state solar cells, and
- Nanoparticles formation using various methods, including pulse laser ablation, arc discharge, Sol Gel and CVD.
Irajizad has published more than 120 papers in international journals and about 20 in national journals.
She also presented more than 200 papers in national and international conferences and workshops related to physics and nanoscience.
COMEST is an advisory body of reflection set up by UNESCO in 1998.
Chaired by Rajaona Andriamananjara, the commission comprises 18 leading scholars from scientific, legal, philosophical, cultural and political disciplines from various regions of the world. They are appointed by the UNESCO chief in their individual capacity, along with 11 ex-officio members representing UNESCO’s international science programs and global science communities.
The commission is mandated to formulate ethical principles that could provide decision-makers with criteria that extend beyond purely economic considerations.
COMEST works in several areas: environmental ethics, with reference to climate change, biodiversity, water and disaster prevention; ethics of nanotechnologies along with related new and emerging issues in converging technologies; ethical issues related to information technology; and gender issues in the ethics of science and technology.
Documentary reviews lives of Latin American Muslims
By Sadeq Dehqan
The ‘Jahanshahriha’ (Transnational Muslims) is a documentary series directed by Iranian filmmaker Shahab Esfandiari.
The second part of the documentary, centered on the lives of multinational new Muslims in Latin America, is being aired on Iranian national TV. The 25-episode documentary portrays an illustrated travelogue of Latin America. Edgardo As’ad, an Argentinean Shia preacher, familiarizes the audience with history and culture of some of the regional countries as well as the conditions of Shia Muslims. Hundreds of these people have embraced Islam since two decades.
Esfandiari received his M.A. in cinema from Tehran’s Art University and later went to Britain for Ph.D. in cultural studies. In ‘Jahanshahriha’, the director tries to address the revival of Islam in the modern world, and the impact of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on the awakening of nations.
In an interview with Iran Daily, he discusses his ideas and plans. Excerpts follow:
IRAN DAILY: Please elaborate on the documentary and how the second part was produced.
Esfandiari: The first part was shot in England. Each episode featured an interview with people of different backgrounds who had embraced Islam. They were active and faithful Muslims living in a multi-cultural environment. Twelve personalities were interviewed in 14 episodes broadcast on national TV in 2012.
The second part is in form of a travelogue with the religious preacher Edgardo As’ad as the narrator who reviews the history, culture and lives of Latin American Muslims. A brief introduction on the social, economic and geographical status of these countries is presented in each episode for further acquaintance with the region.
Why did you focus on characters such as Edgardo As’ad in the second part?
Our familiarity with a Venezuelan Muslim woman in the first part marked our acquaintance with Edgardo who is of Lebanese descent, but he was born and raised in Argentina. In the course of his 18 years of activity, he has paved the way for the acquaintance of hundreds of people with Islam in over 20 Latin American states.
His efforts in Bolivia and Peru are quite outstanding. Today, there are venues for Muslims to gather and exchange views in such countries. Thus, he was the best character who could collaborate on the project. Together, we traveled to Venezuela, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru.
And, why did you choose Latin America?
Our studies indicated that there were few religious programs made in this region. Many Latin American Muslims are living in an environment far from the Islamic culture. Even, their names have nothing to do with Islam and our culture.
Given the growing number of Muslims in such countries, we decided to highlight Latin America. This was the first time that a group from the Islamic Republic of Iran went to Peru or Costa Rica to make a documentary, because we don’t have an embassy or even a cultural center in these countries.
The documentary provides opportunities to get acquainted with new Muslims who embraced Islam and are interested in the Iranian Islamic culture.
How are people in countries with no proximity with Islam inclined to the religion?
Majority of people in these countries are Catholics and based on the current trend, religion is totally separated from politics and social issues. One can still observe injustice and inequity against people from different walks of life. In this case, when people hear about a religion that is established based on justice they are automatically attracted to it.
Of course, it is quite difficult to speak of Islamic values in countries with no knowledge of the religion and where media and commercial sectors are constantly trying to introduce Islam at par with terrorism in their propaganda, and induce that the religion is an obstacle to all social activities of women. Despite all these, sometimes when even one person converts to Islam, he or she helps 70 others embrace the religion.
How long did the second part take, and do you intend to make another sequel?
Shooting began in 2010 but the entire project, including the research, pre-and post-production phases took about four years. So far 11 episodes, each lasting 25 minutes, have been aired on Channel 3 of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.
The first part of the documentary has been dubbed into Kurdish, Urdu and French for IRIB’s Sahar network. The second part will soon be dubbed into several languages. IRIB’s Jamejam and Documentary (Mostanad) TVs have also made requests for broadcasting the series.
The second part was time-consuming and required a huge budget. We are still dealing with financial issues but I hope that another series be made in the future.
Kurdish ministers rejoin Iraqi government
Kurdish ministers who suspended their participation in the government of outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki rejoined the administration, Iraq’s outgoing foreign minister said on Wednesday.
“I am back in Baghdad as foreign minister,” Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd, told Reuters. Maliki infuriated Kurdish leaders by accusing them of harboring terrorists after Islamic State militants swept through northern Iraq in June.
The Kurdish ministers had suspended their cooperation with the government after Maliki accused them of supporting and harboring ISIL Takfiri terrorists operating in the country.
The premier had said that the Kurds were allowing the militants to base themselves in Erbil.
Reports indicate that since last week, ISIL militants have killed at least 500 members of the Kurdish Izadi ethnic minority of Iraq.
Philippines ambassador summoned over citizen’s death
Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Philippines Ambassador in Tehran Eduardo Martin Menez to protest the death of an Iranian national in that country’s prison.
The Iranian national, Parviz Khaki, was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in the Philippines more than two years ago and kept in a Manila jail at the request of US officials, IRNA reported.
The inmate died after a cardiac arrest on Tuesday. According an NBI official, Khaki, a 47 year old Iranian from Tehran, suffered a heart attack before being taken to a hospital in Manila, where he later died, the Inquirer reported.
Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour, in his meeting with Menez, said the country has acted inappropriately and against international norms in dealing with the inmate. Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said Iran is investigating the case of the Iranian national who died in a Philippine prison.
Speaking at her weekly press briefing on Wednesday, Afkham said the US was seeking extradition of Khaki to America and brought strong pressure to bear on Filipino officials on the issue.
Science minister ousted by 145 votes, appointed advisor to president
Minister of Science, Research and Technology Reza Faraji-Dana failed to obtain a vote of confidence from lawmakers in an impeachment vote.
Faraji-Dana attended an open session of the Majlis on Wednesday to respond to the lawmakers’ questions.
The session was attended by 270 lawmakers and chaired by Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, Press TV reported. The minister failed to win a vote of confidence as 145 lawmakers voted in favor of his dismissal while 110 were against and 15 abstained. Faraji-Dana needed half plus one of the votes to continue as minister.
The impeachment proceeding against Faraji-Dana was approved at a Majlis open session earlier this month with 51 signatories.
Faraji-Dana was blamed for politicizing the academic environment and the waning of the country’s scientific progress with his policies. He was also criticized for appointing some political figures as his advisors and deputies, and pursuing policies that ran counter to the country’s interests and impeded science production.
Born in 1960 in the holy city of Qom, Faraji-Dana is a politician who served as chancellor of the University of Tehran and former president of Iranian branch of the New York-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
He studied electrical engineering at the University of Tehran, and at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo in 1993.
He is currently a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Tehran.
On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani in a decree appointed Reza Faraji-Dana as his advisor for scientific and educational affairs.
Rouhani appreciated Faraji-Dana for his unsparing endeavors during his tenure as minister of science, research and technology.
Under the Iranian Constitution, lawmakers can impeach an individual minister when they deem necessary. An impeachment motion can be submitted when it has at least ten signatures.
The minister must appear in Majlis within ten days after the submission of the impeachment motion to respond to questions by the lawmakers, explain his action and seek a vote of confidence.
In October 2013, Majlis granted a vote of confidence to Faraji-Dana after the lawmakers refused to approve the qualifications of President Hassan Rouhani’s initial nominee for the position.
ISIL beheads US journalist
The US, UK and France expressed abhorrence at the apparent beheading of American journalist James Foley by a terrorist form the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The terrorist group released a video of Foley, missing in Syria since 2012, saying his killing was revenge for US air strikes on its fighters in Iraq.
France said, if confirmed, it was barbaric; the UK said it was depraved.
Foley’s mother Diane said he “gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.”
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said: “If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist.”
Foley, 40, has reported extensively across the Middle East, working for US publication GlobalPost and other media outlets including French news agency AFP.
In a statement, GlobalPost asked for “prayers for Jim and his family”, adding that it was waiting for the video to be verified.
In the video, titled A Message to America, a man identified as James Foley is dressed in an orange jumpsuit, kneeling in desert-like terrain beside an armed man dressed in black.
He gives a message to his family and links his imminent death to the US government’s bombing campaign of ISIL targets in Iraq.
Fears that the fatal police shooting of a knife-wielding black man in St. Louis itself on Tuesday might renew tensions failed to materialize, after successive nights of clashes with police in Ferguson.
Clearly under duress, he says: “I call on my friends, family and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the US government, for what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality.”
Then the masked militant, who speaks with a British accent, delivers a warning to the US government: “You are no longer fighting an insurgency. We are an Islamic army and a state that has been accepted by a large number of Muslims worldwide.”
“So any attempt by you Obama to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.”
After he speaks, the militant appears to start cutting at his captive’s neck before the video fades to black. His body is then seen on the ground.
Another captive, identified as American journalist Steven Sotloff, is shown at the end, with the warning that his fate depends on President Barack Obama’s next move. Sotloff was abducted in northern Syria a year ago.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, if confirmed, “this cowardly assassination would show the true face of this caliphate of barbarism”.
President Francois Hollande told the Le Monde newspaper there should be an international conference to tackle ISIL terrorists.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said “if true, the murder of James Foley is shocking and depraved.” Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond acknowledged the militant appeared to be British. The involvement of a significant number of UK nationals in Syria and Iraq was “one of the reasons why this organization represents such a direct threat to the UK’s national security”, he said.