Laughter at Trump’s UN Speech Sign of Growing US Isolation – Tehran

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Laughter at US President Donald Trump’s claims of US achievements during his speech at the UN General Assembly is a sign of his country’s deepening isolation, the chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps said on Wednesday, according to the Tasnim news agency.

Mohammad Ali Jafari called laughter heard during Trump’s address to the assembly "a major political scandal" that spelled "further isolation of the US."

The commander also slammed the US leader for his "cheap comments" on Iran’s alleged villainy, saying the United States and its Gulf allies were the ones destabilizing the Middle East.

READ MORE: UN Sec. Council Will Isolate Trump, Not Iran, Against US Wishes — Iran Deputy FM

In his speech at the general assembly on Tuesday, the US president praised the "extraordinary" work of the current White House administration, while some delegates laughed and muttered. He then accused Iran of sowing "chaos, death and destruction" in the Middle East.

According to the media reports, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan left the hall of the UN General Assembly while Trump was talking, however, later correspondent of the Turkish government newspaper Sabah Ragip Soilu stressed that Erdogan left in order to prepare his own speech, not to protest against the US statements.

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Cuba Rejects Military Doctrines Base on Nuclear Deterrence

Statement by H.E. Mr. Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba, at the United Nations high level meeting to celebrate and promote the International Day for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. New York, September 26, 2018.

Mr. President;

Mr. Secretary General;

Distinguished Heads of Delegations;

Delegates all;

It is said that when the eminent physicist Albert Einstein was asked with what weapons a hypothetical Third War would be fought, he answered that he only knew that the Fourth would be fought with sticks and stones.

Sadly, he did not live enough to see that his emphatic calls to put an end to the arms race using the nuclear technology would be unheeded and that the manufacturing of those weapons would grow dramatically, to the point of eliminating any possibility of survival if hardly a small part of them were to be used.

That is why we think it is our unavoidable duty to join the commemoration of the International Day for the Complete Elimination of Nuclear Weapons every September 26, for it contributes to achieve the purpose pursued by the UN of preserving international peace and security.

We are proud that such an achievement is based on an initiative first promoted by the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, which was later on embraced by the international community.

To Cuba, this appeal that is launched every year is also a much deserved tribute to the memory of the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who struggled tirelessly in favor of nuclear disarmament, an issue to which he devoted numerous Reflections and all of his energy.

Cuba supports the statement made by the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Seventy three years after the criminal atomic bombings over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, humanity continues to be threatened by the existence of approximately 14 400 nuclear weapons; 3 750 of them have been deployed and almost 2 000 are in a state of operational alert.

Cuba rejects the security policies and military doctrines based on nuclear deterrence. We embrace the words expressed by Fidel in 1979 when he stated, and I quote: “The clashing of weapons, the threatening language and the overbearing behavior in the international arena must cease. Enough of the illusion that the problems of the world can be solved by nuclear weapons! Bombs may kill the hungry, the sick and the ignorant; but they cannot kill hunger, disease and ignorance”, end of quote.

Mr. President:

Latin America and the Caribbean takes pride in having been the first densely populated region in the world proclaiming itself as a Nuclear Free Zone under the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which was enacted in 1967. Our peoples’ willingness was ratified in the “Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace”, a document that was signed by the Heads of State and Government of the region on the occasion of the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held in Havana in January of 2014.

Cuba is strongly committed to strengthening and consolidating multilateralism and complying with international treaties on disarmament, particularly to the goal of a nuclear free world. On January 31, 2018, as an expression of that willingness, Cuba became the fifth State to ratify the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

We will persist in our aspiration that this Treaty, which proscribes the use, existence and development of nuclear weapons and reiterates that these are inhuman, immoral and ethically indefensible, could be some day implemented and complemented with efficient measures conducive to the complete elimination of those arsenals in an effective, transparent and irreversible way.

The use of nuclear energy and technology has contributed to the social and economic development of our nations. Consequently, we reaffirm the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy without any discrimination.

We reject the decision of the US Government to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the Iran Nuclear Agreement. The non observation of these international commitments goes against the rules of coexistence among States and will have serious consequences for stability and security in the Middle East.

Mr. President:

Before concluding, I would like to share with you some excerpts of the speech delivered by Army General Raúl Castro, the First Secretary of our Party, at the Rio + 20 Summit: “Let’s put justifications and selfishness aside and work for solutions. This time everyone, absolutely everyone, will suffer the consequences (…) May plundering end; May the war end; let’s move towards disarmament and destroy the nuclear arsenals.”

Thank you, very much.

  • Published in Cuba

Major Powers, Iran Meet To Salvage Nuclear Deal Without US

UNITED NATIONS: Iran has ample reason to stay in the 2015 nuclear deal despite the U.S. withdrawal and the remaining parties on Monday will discuss ways to blunt the effect of impending U.S. sanctions on Tehran, the European Union's foreign policy chief said.

Speaking before a gathering of senior officials from Britain, China, Germany, Russia and Iran, the EU's Federica Mogherini made the case for Iran remaining in the deal that US President Donald Trump abandoned on May 8.

"An essential part of the agreement and its implementation regards Iran having the possibility of benefiting from the lifting of sanctions, and this is exactly why we are discussing tonight, operational concrete steps that we can put in place," Mogherini told reporters before the talks at the United Nations.

"Iran has good arguments and good reasons to remain in the agreement. ... the more operational decisions we will manage to take and ... implement, I believe the more Iran will have reasons to do," she added.

The European Union, however, has so far failed to devise a workable legal framework to shield its companies from US sanctions that go into effect in November and that, among other things, seek to choke off Iran's oil sales, diplomats said.

Highlighting just how difficult it will be for the Europeans to come up with concrete solutions, French state-owned bank Bpifrance on Monday abandoned its plan to set up a financial mechanism to aid French companies trading with Iran.

The crux of the deal, negotiated over almost two years by the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama, was that Iran would restrain its nuclear program in return for the relaxation of sanctions that had crippled its economy.

Trump considered it flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran's ballistic missiles program or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.

The United States began reimposing economic sanctions this summer and the most draconian measures, which seek to force Iran's major customers to stop buying its oil, resume Nov. 5.

Their impending return has contributed to a slide in Iran's currency. The rial has lost about two-thirds of its value this year, hitting a record low against the U.S. dollar this month.

There are limits to what the EU can do to counter the oil sanctions, under which Washington can cut off from the US financial system any bank that facilitates an oil transaction with Iran.

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Iran warns U.S., Israel of revenge after parade attack

LONDON (Reuters) - The deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned U.S. and Israeli leaders on Monday to expect a “devastating” response from Tehran, accusing them of involvement in an attack on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz.

Thousands of people packed the streets of the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz to mourn the victims of Saturday’s assault that killed 25 people, including 12 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards.

The assault, one of the worst against the most powerful military force of the Islamic Republic, struck a blow at its security establishment at a time when the United States and its Gulf allies are working to isolate Tehran.

“You have seen our revenge before ... You will see that our response will be crushing and devastating and you will regret what you have done,” Hossein Salami said in a speech before the funeral of the victims in Ahvaz, broadcast live on the state television.

Iran’s intelligence minister, Mahmoud Alavi, said a large network of suspects had already been arrested in connection with the attack, the judiciary’s news agency Mizan reported.

Iran has declared Monday a national day of mourning. Public offices, banks, schools and universities will be closed in Khuzestan province.

Four assailants fired on a viewing stand in Ahvaz where Iranian officials had gathered to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic’s 1980-88 war with Iraq.

Islamic State’s Amaq agency posted a video of three men in a vehicle who it said were on their way to carry out the attack.

A man wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with what appears to be a Revolutionary Guard logo discussed the impending attack in Farsi in the video.

“We are Muslims, they are kafirs (non-believers),” the man says. He adds: “We will destroy them with a strong and guerrilla-style attack, inshallah (God willing).”

Ahvaz National Resistance, an Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province, also claimed responsibility.

Senior commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have said the Ahvaz attack was carried out by militants trained by Gulf states and Israel, and backed by America.

But it is unlikely the IRGC will strike any of these foes directly.

The Guards could put on a show of strength by firing missiles at opposition groups operating in Iraq or Syria that may be linked to the militants who staged the attack.

They are also likely to enforce a tight security policy in Khuzestan province, arresting any perceived domestic opponents including civil rights activists.

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'Hope they come to their senses': Tehran summit ends with call for Idlib terrorists to lay down arms

Turkey seems to have prevailed during tripartite talks with Russia and Iran, convincing the other parties that a major offensive in Syria's Idlib governorate would not be the wisest move at the moment.

The situation in Syria was discussed in Tehran on Friday by Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani as part of the so-called "Astana process." The leaders of Iran and Turkey disagreed on what action should be taken in Syria's Idlib, the last major stronghold of armed groups in the country, which is dominated by hardcore jihadists.

 
FILE PHOTO: The US flag on a military vehicle in Manbej countryside, Syria © Aboud Hamam

All three nations agree that the threat of radical Islamists in Syria must be eliminated, but differ as to how this should be achieved. Rouhani advocated a strong-arm approach, claiming it would secure an end to major hostilities in the seven-year-old conflict.

"We have to realize that only the destruction of the terrorists, a military victory against them, can ensure stability and peace in the future in Syria and not only in that country," he said.

Erdogan reiterated his government's concern over the potential death toll of an offensive in highly populated Idlib, where an estimated 3.5 million people are currently living. Turkey, which borders the Syrian governorate, is also objecting to a major operation there because it would likely cause a major exodus of refugees across the border, with extremists potentially sneaking in with refugees.

"[The refugees] would have no other way to go but Turkey. But we have already accepted 3.5 million refugees. Turkey cannot take in more," said President Erdogan.

"Our goal is to resolve the situation in Idlib according to the spirit of the agreements we made in Astana," Erdogan added, warning that "mistakes in Idlib may derail the political process in Syria."

The Iranian president eventually agreed that civilians living in Idlib should not become victims of an anti-terrorist effort.

Call to end violence

At Erdogan's suggestion, the final communique of the summit was amended to include a call for all armed groups in Idlib to lay down arms and seek a political transition in the country. Putin and Rouhani agreed, which may indicate that a major offensive in Idlib is not likely to be launched in the immediate future, unless some major development happens on the ground. The Russian president remarked that the call is addressed to all armed groups in the Syrian province, including UN-designated terrorist groups.

"Let us hope that the members of the terrorist organizations would have enough sense to stop resistance and lay down weapons," he said.

"Our agreements on Syria were always based on a premise that we are seeking to ensure peace between all belligerents, but kept the terrorist organizations bracketed out," he remarked.

@Khaaasteh While final statement of was about to be passed, Erdogan suddenly questioned the text and called for inclusion of "ceasefire" in the statement. The presidents are now negotiating and bargaining live on TV !

As he was arguing against an offensive in Idlib, Erdogan acknowledged that armed groups controlling the governorate pose a credible threat, including to Russian military personnel stationed at Khmeimim Airbase. He suggested that regular drone attacks on the Russian military site should be stopped by pushing those launching them out of range.

During the summit, Rouhani and Erdogan were united in their criticism of the presence of US troops in Syria. The Iranian president repeatedly stressed that foreign influence was a major factor in escalating the war in Syria, and called on the US to withdraw the troops that it has illegally deployed in Syria. Erdogan reiterated Ankara's objection to the support that the US gives Kurdish militias in northern Syria, which are perceived as a major security threat by the Turkish government.

Return of refugees key to resolving violence

Putin's remarks on the situation in Syria tilted towards humanitarian aspects and the necessity to reconstruct the country. He said that many people who had fled violence in Syria to other nations may now return to their homes.

 
© Umit Bektas

"Conditions have been made in Syria to take in up to a million of refugees. The government has provided security guarantees to all returnees, assuring that they would not be subjected to discrimination, including in terms of property rights," he said.

The Russian president argued that, if as many Syrians as possible get a chance to return to peaceful lives, it would give an impetus to a political resolution of the conflict between the Syrian government and the so-called "moderate opposition." Erdogan disagreed with Putin, saying that the return of refugees to Syria would only be possible after a new constitution is agreed and adopted, and an election held to form a new government.

Russia, Turkey and Iran are seeking to end violence in Syria and facilitate negotiations between its government and opposition groups, which agree to cease hostilities and seek a political transition for their country. The desired outcome is a peaceful Syria under a government that properly represents all its minorities and is in control of all its territory. The final resolution of the conflict, which was greatly complicated by foreign interference and the rise of jihadist groups, is expected to be negotiated in Geneva under the aegis of the UN.

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‘No need for aliens’: Iran says it doesn't want foreign ships in Persian Gulf

The Iranian navy are “vigilantly controlling” the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz and there is no need for the naval presence of “alien” countries, Tehran’s new naval chief has declared.

“We can ensure the security of the Persian Gulf and there is no need for the presence of aliens like the US and the countries whose home is not in here,” Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, head of the naval branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said on Monday, according to the Tasnim news agency.

Having “outsiders” operate nuclear-powered ships in the Gulf creates potential environmental problems not just for Iran but its Arab neighbors as well, Tangsiri said. He also accused Iran’s enemies of misrepresenting reality “in order to deploy forces to the region and sell their weapons.”

Tangsiri’s comments were reported with alarm in the US media, complete with warnings that Tehran might decide to close the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane for Gulf oil exports. Tankers carry 18.5 million barrels of crude oil through the strait every day.

 
FILE PHOTO. © Hamed Jafarnejad

The Iranian admiral’s words are guaranteed to ruffle the feathers of the US military, which sees itself as the principal protector of “security and stability” in the Gulf. The US and its Arab allies “stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows,” Lieutenant Chloe Morgan, spokesperson for the US Naval Forces Central Command, told Fox News on Monday.

The already uneasy relations between Washington and Tehran have plummeted since May, when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama. Though European powers, Russia and China have not repudiated the deal, the US has already reimposed some of the sanctions that were suspended and is threatening to punish anyone doing business with Iran.

Tehran has responded by unveiling new homemade weapons, including a fighter jet and a short-range ballistic missile, as well as conducting naval drills with small boats in the Strait of Hormuz.

Earlier this month, Obama’s former national security adviser General James Jones described Iran as an “existential threat” to the region, in an interview with the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National.

“I personally would like to see, if they ever did something in the Strait of Hormuz, I would like to see their navy disappear,” said Jones, who now serves as the interim chairman of the Atlantic Council think tank.

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Iran To Open Lawsuit Against US Sanctions In World Court

The Hague: Iran will argue Monday against renewed sanctions imposed by the United States, as a bitter legal battle between Tehran and Washington opens before the UN's top court.

US President Donald Trump reimposed a wave of tough unilateral sanctions on Iran three weeks ago, bringing back into effect harsh penalties that had been lifted under a landmark 2015 agreement.

A second round of measures is to come into effect in early November, targeting Iran's valuable oil and energy sector.

Tehran filed its case before the International Court of Justice in late July, calling on the Hague-based tribunal's judges to order the immediate lifting of sanctions, which it said would cause "irreparable prejudice."

The US had no right to reinstate such measures, Tehran added, as it demanded compensation for damages.

Iran maintained restoring the penalties lifted under the historic 2015 deal, aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear ambitions, violated a decades-old treaty signed between the two nations in 1955.

The ICJ -- set up in 1946 to rule in disputes between countries -- is expected to take a couple of months to decide whether to grant Tehran's request for a provisional ruling, while a final decision in the case may actually still take years.

Trump described the 2015 deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, as well as Germany, as a "horrible one-sided deal (that) failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to a Iranian nuclear bomb."

Even though all of the other parties pleaded with him not to abandon the pact, Trump pulled out and announced he would reinstate sanctions.

'Neither war, nor negotiations'

Tehran -- which argues that the move violates the little-known 1955 Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations -- says that the new sanctions are already hurting its economy. Iran's currency the rial has lost around half its value since April.

A raft of international companies -- including France's Total, Peugeot and Renault, and Germany's Siemens and Daimler -- have suspended operations in Iran in the wake of the move.

Both Air France and British Airways announced Thursday they were halt flights to Tehran next month, saying they were not commercially viable, but the British carrier added the decision was unrelated to the new tranche of sanctions.

In his executive order, Trump argued that the sanctions would turn up the financial pressure on Tehran to come to a "comprehensive and lasting solution" regarding activities that the international community regarded as "malign" such as Iran's "ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism."

Earlier this month, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared to rule out any immediate prospect of talks, saying "there will be neither war, nor negotiations," with the US.

Washington's lawyers will present their case on Tuesday, with experts believing they are to challenge the ICJ's jurisdiction.

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Ormuz Strait in Iran's Sight due to U.S. Sanctions

Tehran, Aug 3 (Prensa Latina) Iran repeated the possibility of closing the Strait of Ormuz, waterway moving 20 percent of the world''s oil, in response to the threats and sanctions of the United States.

'If the tap of oil and petrodollars is opened, they only go to the pocket of those threatening Iran. It will logically affect the security of the Strait', stressed the chief of Iran's Navy, Counteradmiral Hosein Janzadi, quoted by the IRNA News Agency.

This week, Janzadi launched a similar warning that the 'unjust sanctions (of the U.S.) against Iran' can have consequences on the navigation through the geographic accident separating this nation from Oman.

That point is the sea outlet of the countries with coasts in the Persian gulf, great producers of oil and gas.

At the beginning of last month, the deputy chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, general Ismail Kosari, declared that if restricted the Iranian oil exports, they will not allow the extraction of crude through the Strait of Ormuz.

In a similar sense spoke Iranian deputy minister of Foreign Relations, Abbas Araqchi.

Tension in the zone escalated after the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump, to abandon unilaterally the nuclear pact signed with Tehran three years ago, and imposing new sanctions against Iran, actions rejected by the international community.

Among them, stand out the pressures of Washington on other nations to stop buying Iranian oil, main export item of this nation.

Recently, during a brief visit to the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, threatened with a military response if Iran closes the strait.

'We will make sure that maritime routes stay open, this is a long-standing U.S. policy and we are prepared to keep it', underlined Pompeo in an interview with the Emirate newspaper The National.

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