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He is the president of the Expediency Council’s Center for Strategic Research as well.
Commenting on a delay by the US Congress in issuing a new annual sanctions bill against the Islamic Republic of Iran, he said this in addition to a letter written by a number of Congress members for establishing better relations with Iran, are indicative of the US’ tendency towards adopting a more realistic and rational policy on Iran.
Araqchi recalled that Iran is not deceived by the US elocution and charming words.
“Our criterion is to see a change in the US’ policies and strategies on Iran.”
The US people have always paid the price of their government’s devastating policies, measures and radical tendencies, he said.
He noted the US nation is calling on the government to alter its destructive policies.
On July 19, The Washington Post reported that the US Congress has postponed sending its annual sanctions legislation on Iran to the White House.
Citing Congressional Quarterly, the report claimed that the legislation will not be considered until October at the earliest.
While no specific reason has been officially announced as to why the sending of the legislation has been delayed, The Washington Post report said it might have been due to certain considerations by the Congress following the Rohani’s victory in Iran’s June 14 presidential election.
The daily further said more than a hundred US lawmakers called on the White House to opt for diplomatic channels on Iran.
The request was made this week in a letter co-authored by Charlie Dent and David Price and signed by 131 lawmakers at the US House of Representatives.
“We believe it would be a mistake not to test whether Dr. Rohani’s election represents a real opportunity for progress toward a verifiable, enforceable agreement. … In order to test this proposition, it will be prudent for the United States to utilize all diplomatic tools to reinvigorate ongoing nuclear talks,” the letter read.
EU’s Anti-Hezbollah Move
The spokesman further slammed a recent decision by the European Union to blacklist Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement as ‘unprofessional and biased.’
“This action is against the noble Lebanese nation, since Hezbollah is part of the country’s socio-political fabric and is respected and accepted by the people of Lebanon, the region and the Muslim world and the legitimate resistance of the movement against the Zionist regime (Israel) has been appreciated among the people in the region and the Muslim world,” Araqchi said.
He further described the EU action as ‘irrational and strange’, likening it to blacklisting anti-Nazi resistance groups during World War II.
The official emphasized, however, that the European move would not generate any doubts about the popular character of Hezbollah, but would rather ‘further complicate the crisis in the Middle East.’
“We hope that the EU will reconsider its decision. “
Hezbollah’s legitimate resistance against the Zionist entity has always been respected by Lebanese people, he said, adding, “We despise this measure and believe that it will not change Hezbollah’s stances and the attitude of the people of the region towards Hezbollah. “
Nuclear Energy Program
On the speculations of foreign media about Iran’s new nuclear team, Araqchi said, “Regarding this, we must wait for the new government to take office and appoint its cabinet.”
The spokesman also denied reports about the transfer of Iran’s nuclear case from the Secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) to the Foreign Ministry, saying that no decision has been adopted on the issue, yet.
He further indicated, however, that the president-elect has the authority to assign the case to any government institution, but the decision-making on the nuclear case and any other significant and security issues would remain in the SNSC, although negotiations can be pursued by either the SNSC or the Foreign Ministry.
He added Iran has reached no new agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to allow for more frequent inspections of its nuclear installations.
“Our cooperation with the IAEA will continue in the framework of the agency’s agreements with Iran and nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. No further measures will be acceptable. “
Crisis in Egypt
Responding to another question on the recent events in Egypt and growing calls for the freedom of its ousted President Mohammed Morsi, Araqchi said the Islamic Republic of Iran has always stressed a national unity in Egypt through dialog among all political blocs.
He further expressed optimism that calm and stability would soon return to Egypt.
Egypt has been the scene of rival rallies, often resulting in deadly clashes, since July 3, when the army ousted Morsi in what has been described by his supporters as ‘a military coup’. The military also installed Chief Justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court Adli Mansour as the interim president on July 4.
Diplomat Abducted in Yemen
During his press conference, Araqchi also called for the safe return of an Iranian diplomat abducted this week in Yemen, reiterating the responsibility of the Yemeni government to guarantee his safety.
He added that the Iranian embassy in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a is in ‘close contact with Yemeni security officials’ on the case.
Iranian diplomat Nour Ahmad Nikbakht was earlier traveling in the diplomatic quarter in southern Sana’a when armed men blocked the road, forced him to get out of his vehicle and took him to an unknown location.
Relations With Hamas
Araqchi also pointed to the ties between Iran and the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement of Hamas and noted that the Islamic Republic continues to recognize Hamas as a suitable element against the Zionists and its (Iran’s) friendly relations with the movement stays strong despite some misunderstandings on regional issues, which are on the verge of being resolved.
Congress, Obama at Odds Over New Sanctions
Congress is considering a new series of Iran sanctions on everything from mining and construction to the Islamic Republic’s already beleaguered oil industry, despite concern from the Obama administration that the measures could interfere with nuclear negotiations.
House and Senate bills are both advancing at a time President Barack Obama’s national security team is gauging whether Iranian president-elect Hasan Rohani is serious about halting some elements of Tehran’s uranium enrichment activity, AP reported.
Those involved in the process said the administration wants to temper Congressional plans until Rohani takes office in August and has an opportunity to demonstrate whether his government will offer concessions.
The legislation would blacklist Iran’s mining and construction sectors, effective next year. It also would commit the US to the goal of ending all Iranian oil sales worldwide by 2015, targeting the country’s biggest revenue generator and prime source of money for its programs.
US penalties that went into effect last year already have cut Iran’s petroleum exports in half, but that still leaves billions of dollars coming in every month from Turkey, China and several other Asian countries.
The House’s bill may pass before Congress’ August recess. The Senate version won’t get a vote until at least September, said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading advocate of tougher Iran sanctions. The Senate Banking Committee, which will put forward the package, is in ongoing consultations with the administration, according to one US official who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about the sanctions.
Iranians insist their nuclear program is solely for energy and research purposes.
The State Department wouldn’t comment specifically on new legislation while it said it was waiting for Rohani to be sworn in. “We will see what he does once in office,” spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
A senior US official said the administration’s concerns were about the timing and content of the legislation.
If Rohani is serious about talks, setting new sanctions in advance of talks risks undercutting him, the official said. Even if the new Iranian leader isn’t serious, the oil measures in particular are problematic, turning a potential US diplomatic success into a failure.
If China or Japan, for example, decides to flout the US demand to stop all importing from Iran, the administration would then have to weigh enforcing the law by blacklisting Chinese and Japanese banks and companies at the risk of widespread economic harm--including for Americans. The likelier result is that the US does nothing, making the sanctions look hollow and eroding international solidarity on pressuring Iran.
Despite wide bilateral support in Congress for tougher sanctions, some Democrats and Republicans are embracing the administration’s cautious approach. In a letter last week to Obama, 18 GOP House members joined more than 100 of their Democratic colleagues in urging the president to ‘reinvigorate US efforts to secure a negotiated nuclear agreement’ and give Rohani a chance.
Rohani’s election clearly has bolstered hope of solution.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said last week his country would be ready to resume talks once Rohani, who takes office the first weekend in August, puts together a negotiating team.
World powers want the meeting ‘as soon as possible’, Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said last week. Ashton has served as the point of contact for the US, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia since talks with Iran restarted last year. They’ve yet to make significant headway despite four rounds of discussions.
Embassy Condemns Anti-Iran Article in Afghan Daily
The Iranian Embassy in Kabul strongly condemned the recent publication of an anti-Iran article in an Afghan newspaper, stressing that the Islamic Republic backs stability and security in Afghanistan.
In a statement on Monday, the Embassy denounced the move by the Kabul-based 8 Sobh daily, and emphasized that Tehran’s principled policy is to support stability, security, and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, and it has spared no effort to cooperate with the Afghan government in this respect.
The statement further noted that the Islamic Republic of Iran pursues a very clear and transparent policy towards extremist and terrorist groups, like the Taliban, and denounces acts of violence and sabotage in Afghanistan, Press TV reported.
It also pointed to the 1998 assassination of 11 Iranians during the takeover of the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i Sharif by Taliban forces, and described it as a clear proof of extremist groups’ hostility towards Iran.
“Trans-regional powers have fueled the flames of war in Afghanistan by creating and supporting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Secret and direct talks between trans-regional powers and extremist groups are underway at the same time as their subservient journalists are either keeping mum or misleading public opinion to win the favor of their western masters,” the statement read. The Afghan daily alleged in its Monday edition that Iran is fanning flames of insecurity in Afghanistan, and has financially and militarily assisted Taliban militants over the past few years.
FM: Egypt Can Weather Crisis
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has expressed optimism that Egypt will weather the ongoing crisis through convergence among the Egyptian people.
“Egypt holds an important position in the region, and we hope that all sides [to the Egyptian conflict] and the political elite can, through convergence, take steps toward strengthening national unity,” said Salehi in a Tuesday telephone conversation with Egypt’s interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy.
Egypt has been the scene of rival rallies, often resulting in deadly clashes, since July 3, when the army ousted President Mohamed Morsi in what has been described by the supporters of Morsi as ‘a military coup’. The military also installed Chief Justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court Adli Mansour as interim president on July 4.
The Egyptian military has said that it is holding Morsi ‘in preventive detention’. Meanwhile, Morsi’s family has said they plan to sue the military for having ‘kidnapped’ the ousted president.
The latest clashes in Egypt took the lives of at least seven people on Monday.
In his conversation with Fahmy, the Iranian foreign minister also expressed hope that Iran and Egypt would soon be able to discuss issues of key bilateral concern, including the issue of Palestine and a political solution to the crisis in Syria.
Fahmy, for his part, expressed satisfaction with the conversations held between Iran and Egypt so far, and said, “We hope we can exchange views, as soon as possible, on issues of [mutual] interest and important regional matters in an appropriate opportunity.”
Salehi had discussed the latest developments in Egypt with the North African country’s interim Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei on July 13.
Congrats on Royal Birth
The Foreign Ministry extended felicitations to British Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William on the birth of their royal baby boy.
Judiciary Critical of Western HR Claims
Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani dismissed claims by western states and media that people in Iran are executed for their political views.
Ayatollah Amoli Larijani said that attacks against Iran over its human rights situation is totally erroneous since they are based on cases of executions which are carried out for those responsible for insecurity or involved in drug-trafficking, Fars News Agency reported.
Late in April, Amoli Larijani said that the US and the European states accuse Iran of violating human rights by executing drug lords, whereas most of the seized drugs in Iran are destined to the US and Europe.
Iran leads international efforts in fighting drug networks and narcotic traffickers. According to UN figures, Iran ranks first in the world in preventing the entry of drugs and decreasing demand for narcotics.
The United Nations credits Iran with the seizure of 89 percent of the opium netted around the world.