Sunday, 27 Jun 2021 21:38
ROME, June 27 (Reuters) – Israel has serious reservations about the?Iran?nuclear deal being put together in Vienna, new foreign minister Yair Lapid told his America counterpart, as he pledged to fix “the mistakes made” between the two countries over the past few years.
In their first face-to-face meeting since Israel’s new government was sworn in two weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Lapid said they would also discuss Israel’s normalization accords with Gulf Arab states. Blinken said he would also be raising the issue of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.
Iran?and the United States have been holding indirect talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers that imposed restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting international sanctions.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a nationalist atop of a cross-partisan coalition, has hewed to the opposition of his conservative predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, to the 2015?Iranian nuclear deal, whose caps on projects with bomb-making potential Israel deemed too lax.
”Israel has some serious reservations about the?Iran?nuclear deal that is being put together in Vienna. We believe the way to discuss those disagreements is through direct…conversations, not in press conferences,” Lapid said in his brief remarks before the meeting in Rome began. He also said Israel will be working to improve ties with Washington.
”In the past few years, mistakes were made. Israel’s bipartisan standing was hurt and we will fix those mistakes together,” he added.
Sunday, 27 Jun 2021 20:46
Iran?has developed drones with a range of 7,000 km (4,375 miles),?Iranian state media cited the top commander of the Revolutionary Guards as saying on Sunday, a development which may be seen by Washington as a threat to regional stability.
Tehran’s assertion comes as?Iran?and six major powers are in talks to revive the?2015 nuclear deal that former US?President Donald Trump exited three years ago and imposed sanctions. Independent observers and media are not allowed to verify such claims.
Western military analysts say?Iran?sometimes exaggerates its capabilities, but drones are a key element in Tehran’s surveillance and power projection, especially in the Gulf waters around the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s oil supply flows.
Iran?and regional forces it backs have increasingly relied on drones in Yemen, Syria, Iraq in recent years. Yeme’s Houthis often launch armed?drones with Iranian origin against targets in Saudi Arabia.
”We have unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) with long range of 7,000 kilometres. They can fly, return home, and make landing wherever they are planned to,” the Guards commander-in-chief Hossein Salami was quoted as saying by state-controlled media.
US?President Joe Biden is seeking to revive and eventually broaden the nuclear pact to put greater limits on?Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes, as well as constraining its activities.
Tehran has ruled out negotiations over ballistic missiles and its role in the Middle East, where Sh’ite-led?Iran?and Sunni Saudi Arabia have been involved in proxy wars.?
With reporting by Reuters
Sunday, 27 Jun 2021 15:02
Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has issued a statement Sunday warning the government about the consequences of strikes by oil and refinery workers in Iran that started on June 22?and spread to many plants and companies across the country.
Ahmadinejad in his statement defended the demands by temporary contract workers in the oil and petrochemicals sector, who are so far the main striking group of workers. They demand higher pay amid skyrocketing inflation in Iran.
While workers in the sector currently receive under $300 salaries monthly, they demand around?$500 and other benefits. The strike campaign is dubbed “Campaign 1400”, as it is the year 1400 in Iranian calendar.
Ahmadinejad said that oil industry workers are one of the most committed and technically qualified workforce in the country and they are right in demanding a change in their status to be treated like regular employees.
Over the past two decades, the Iranian National Oil Company, a government entity, stopped hiring regular employees in many fields as older workers retired and turned thousands of new hires into temporary-contract employees. The practice began spreading among smaller, newly emerging companies in the sector.
Ahmadinejad also criticized the oil and interior ministries for the nationwide protests in 2019, when security forces killed up to 1,500 people protesting a sudden increase of gasoline prices. He also warned the authorities that when people have no legal way of making demands, the consequences would not be good for those in power.
Sunday, 27 Jun 2021 13:24
Livestock farmers on Sunday held protests in several Iranian provinces demanding lower prices for animal feed and higher prices for their products.
Protests took place in Esfahan, Fars, Yazd and Khorasan Razavi provinces and videos from the scene showed farmers poured milk on the streets of Shiraz, capital of Fars province in protest.
Protesters were chanting slogans against high prices, saying farmers have become bankrupt and have lost all hope. On Saturday, livestock farmers had held a protest in Kerman.
Iran imports most of its animal feed and because of inflation and the depreciation of its currency is unable to afford subsidizing animal feed for farmers. Iran’s currency has lost its value eightfold in the past three years, mainly due to US sanctions.
The chairman of animal farmers union, Mojtaba A’ali said on Friday that milk production has decreased by 50 percent because of drought and shortages and high prices for animal feed and other farm necessities.
In Iran’s state-controlled economy, the government always set prices for wholesale imports of essential goods that received cheaper dollars from the state, and also set prices of essential food items, such as sugar, flour and rice. But with loss of oil revenue due to US sanctions, there is a shortage of dollars for imports and prices rise, impacting farmers.
Dairy industry officials have warned that milk prices will increase above the current 80 cents per gallon, which is still cheap compared with Western counties. However, an average Iranian worker makes around $200 per month.
Saturday, 26 Jun 2021 23:12
Thousands of members of Iraq’s Iran-aligned Shiite militias known as Popular Mobilization Forces have marched in a parade in the largest show of strength since the founding of the controversial paramilitary group.
Tanks, boats and ammunition were on display in the Saturday parade north of Baghdad. The event was held to mark the seventh anniversary of the PMF, an umbrella group formed after a 2014 call to arms by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to defeat the Islamic State group.
But Iran financed and supplied the militia, which became a strong lever of influence for Tehran.
There has been a standoff recently between the paramilitary force and the government following the arrest of the force’s commander Qassim Musleh last month on terrorism charges.
The pro-Iran militia have periodically targeted US interests in Iraq during the Trump and the Biden administrations. After a series of attacks in December 2019 led to an air attack by the US that killed Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s top operator in the Middle East, in January 2020.
The marchers held large posters of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top militia leader killed in the airstrike that killed Soleimani, whose slaying came close to pushing Iran and the U.S. into full-blown conflict.
Reporting by AP