0559 GMT December 14, 2019
President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday brought into operation two projects during a trip to the southern Hormuzgan Province.
After addressing a large crowd of people in the provincial capital Bandar Abbas, Rouhani went to the Persian Gulf Saba Steel Complex where he opened Iran's first hot-briquetted iron factory.
With the first phase coming on line, the plant can produce 1.5 million tons of sponge iron in the form of hot briquette annually. The production capacity is planned to increase in 4.5 million tons after next phases are launched.
The factory is estimated to create 400 direct jobs and around 1000 indirect jobs for the people of the province.
Morteza Yazdkhasti, the managing-director of the Persian Gulf Saba Steel Complex, said Iran is the third country in the Middle East and the ninth country in the world that can produce hot briquettes.
At Bandar Abbas Refinery, President Rouhani also inaugurated a unit aimed at boosting the facility’s gasoline and diesel production capacity and enhancing the quality of its outputs.
More than $730 million has been spent for the unit which include nine cylindrical tanks, two spherical reservoirs, one desalination plant, three flare stacks, one cooling tower and one nitrogen unit.
The unit has increased Bandar Abbas Refinery’s petrol output to four million liters a day with Euro-4 standard.
The first phase of the project has created more than 600 jobs directly.
During his two-day visit to Hormuzgan, Rouhani is expected to inaugurated 15 projects and break the ground for 15 others.
Talks with Arab neighbors
Speaking with local people in Bandar Abbas, Rouhani said Iran is ready to discuss regional security issues with its Persian Gulf Arab neighbors as long as foreign powers are kept out of any potential talks.
"We don't need foreigners to guarantee the security of our region," Rouhani said.
"When it comes to regional security arrangements, we are ready to talk to our neighbors and friends, without the presence of foreigners," he added.
"We are, have been and always will be good neighbors," Rouhani said, addressing Persian Gulf Arab countries including Saudi Arabia.
Stop arming Saudi Arabia
Rouhani also called on the Western countries to stop providing Saudi Arabia with weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) for the sake of Yemeni people, who have been suffering under Riyadh’s attacks and siege.
“We say to Europe and the world that if you truly care about the people of Yemen; Don’t give Saudi Arabia destructive bombs. If you really think of Yemenis, don’t give Saudi Arabia banned Napalm bombs, don’t give Saudi Arabia cluster bombs,” he said.
The comments came two days after Russia vetoed a British-drafted resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that seemed more to target Iran rather than address the Yemen crisis. The failed document called for “additional measures” against Iran over accusations that it violated the 2015 arms embargo on Yemen.
Rouhani further hailed the “prudent and rightful” positions taken by Russia and some others at the UNSC, denouncing the hostile stance taken by the UK and the US during that session.
The US sought a condemnation of Iran at the Security Council over the issue of Yemen, but it “was once again left alone,” he added.
The president said those who “have sympathy for the Yemeni people” should put pressure on the aggressors and facilitate the delivery of food and medicine to civilians in the Arab state.
The US, Rouhani said, has made three attempts over the past months to advance its plots against Iran, but in vain.
“Such plots will lead nowhere so long as the Iranian people are united and stand side by side in solidarity,” Rouhani stressed.
Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015. The military campaign, which is accompanied by a land, aerial and naval blockade of Yemen, has so far killed more than 13,600 people and led to a humanitarian crisis.
Several Western countries, the US and the UK in particular, have been complicit in the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment.
AFP and Press TV contributed to this story.