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Iran opposed to U.S. participating in guarding de-escalation zones in Syria

Tehran (ISNA) - Iran was not in favor of the U.S. military participating in guarding de-escalation zones in Syria, said Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.

“No,” he said in an interview with the newspaper Kommersant in answer to a question about whether Iran would have agreed to America participating in guarding de-escalation zones.

Shamkhani stressed that “Syria has a government, and only it can decide who has the right to be present in their territory. The Americans, who support terrorism and destabilize Syria, do not want to see the Syrian authorities anywhere near them,” he explained.

During the international talks in Astana on May 3-4, representatives of the guarantor countries in Syria (Russia, Iran, Turkey) signed a memorandum on the creation of four de-escalation zones in Syria. They include the province of Idlib, as well as certain areas of the neighboring provinces of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo, certain areas in northern Homs Province, East Guta, and parts of the Deraa and Quneitra provinces in the south of the country.

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A seal of approval on IME’s performance by annual general meeting

Tehran (ISNA) - Holding the IME’s annual general meeting, its shareholders approved its performance and new members of Board of Directors were elected.

According to the report by the IME’s International Affairs and PR, the IME’s annual general meeting was held on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, in Niroo Research Institute Conference Hall.

During the meeting, the CEO of IME Dr. Hamed Soltaninejad presented the board of directors’ report from March 20, 2016 to March 21, 2017 and explained the IME’s highlights and developmental practices over the year.

After that, the financial statements, independence auditor’s report and explanatory notes were presented and it was announced that the IME's financial position, over the period and its financial performance and cash flows for the fiscal year, in terms of all important aspects and in accordance with accounting standards is desirable.

Moreover, the IME’s annual general meeting approved a 150 riyals dividend per share. Also, over the meeting, Behrad Moshar Auditory Firm was chosen as the independent auditor and legal inspector of Ettelaat Newspaper and donya-e-eqtesad Newspaper as the government gazette.

At the end of the meeting, shareholders approved by majority the election of new members of IME’s Board of Directors, so that representatives of Isfahan Steel Company, Tamin Petroleum & Petrochemical Investment Company (TAPICO), Mobarakeh Steel Company, Agricultural Bank Brokerage, National Development Investment Group, Mellat Brokerage Firm, Mehr Ayandegan ( Naft Fund)were elected as board members.

IME’s Highlights during previous year

On the IME’s annual general meeting, CEO of IME announced that the total value of IME in the previous year hit 817,000 billion Rials (approximately23.3 billion USD) and experienced a significant growth of %73.

Dr. Hamed Soltaninejad pointed to IME’s strategic practices on the spot and futures market and expressed that during last year trade value of the IME’s spot market reached 371,000 billion Rial, facing 25% growth. He said that in the metal and mineral trading floor in addition to iron ore, its products also were listed and offered in the domestic market.

He added that during the period the transaction of oil and petrochemical products experienced %26 growths in trade volume and %34 growths in trade value, breaking a record in trade value and volume for petrochemical products.

He said that the ratio of trade volume to offer volume for petrochemical products increased from %49 to %67. Furthermore, the long-term contracts and retail transactions for these commodities were launched and National Competition Council announced its final decision regarding the continuity of offering of petrochemical products in IME.

Meanwhile, CEO of IME referred to the status of trading agricultural commodities over the previous year in IME and stated that trade value and volume of agricultural commodities witnessed growth of %229 and %199, respectively, and 422,000 MT of wheat were traded on this market. Also, over that last year, the guaranteed price plan was implanted for feed barley and maize from all over the country as well as trading pistachio in this exchange. Technical Inspection and listing 73 warehouses for maize and feed barley, as well as collaboration with poultry market players in order to complete supply chain for poultry products in IME are among the other IME’s practices in the agricultural commodities market.

Afterward, CEO of IME pointed to IME’s initiations in the derivatives market and explained that in the derivatives market important measures have been taken in IME leading to an unprecedented record in 4 years for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly trade volume of gold coin futures contract.

In addition, call and put options contracts were launched and the required instructions for the contracts and their collaterals were prepared. Also, instructions regarding listing commodity based exchange traded funds (ETFs) were reformed and administrative regulation for launching and trading commodity based funds were developed and approved by the board of director.

According to the Soltaninejad, evaluating oil and petrochemical products to be listed in futures market, conducting feasibility studies, specifications and prospectus of futures contracts on bitumen, linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), as well as maize and saffron are among other measures of IME in the derivatives market.

Pointing to IME’s achievements in certificates of depositary receipts (CDRs), Soltaninejad said that that launching online trading system for trading certificates of depositary receipts, a %185 growth in trade value of CDRs, launching CDRs on saffron as well as launching continuous trading for maize on the domestic production are among the most important achievements of IME in this market.

He outlined the other initiations as signing MoU with Iran Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization and the Investment Guarantee Fund for, Pakistan Mercantile Exchange, Mellat Bank, Iran Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Indonesia Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (ICDX).

IME’s Priorities in last year

IME’s CEO, on this meeting, pointed to the exchange’s hopeful events over the last year and said: “launching derivatives market on foreign currencies, trading options contracts on maize and feed barley, launching online trading system for options contracts, trading forwards contracts and commodity swaps, bitumen futures contracts, lunching commodity based funds are among the IME’s priorities in previous year”.

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Public awareness necessary to save the environment

Tehran (ISNA) – Adjunct Associate Professor of University of South Australia stressed Desertification is a phenomenon that is happening all over Iran because it is located in the semi-arid and arid region.

“We are very susceptible to climate change and desertification. So we need to be careful and do a proper management to stop and at least reduce the rate of desertification otherwise in the near future we would not have a good situation in terms of natural resources,” Adjunct aAssociate Professor of University of South Australia Dr. Ali Hasanli said.

“Now a day technology can be very useful in this field. As you know climate system is a complex which includes very complicated processes and interactions that some of them are not known for us, if we use well advanced software, historical data and have good advance model then we can project the effect of this process and manage it better. Historical data is another gap because we don’t have access to historical precise data. We can’t manage without any measurement, monitoring and understanding,” Dr. Ali Hasanli added in an exclusive interview with ISNA.

Dr Hasanli is also Emeritus Professor of Shiraz University, Iran. His interest and academic experience is in water engineering, water sensitive urban design, recycled wastewater reuse and environmental management, sustainable irrigation management, salinity management, climate change and adaptation strategies for water and environment.

“So I would like to emphasize on public awareness which is very important issue. People should understand what’s going on. Government and institute and universities should try more to transfer this knowledge to people and then all together we can act to control the issues,” he went on to say.

“Participation of people can be very helpful. Governments cannot be able to handle this problem alone so it could be quite useful if local people do not cut the trees, do not do the deforestation, conserve and protect the environment. Therefore first we need to increase the awareness about the problems and challenges in the community then the participation could work,” Hasanli continued.

“I visited many countries and I think Iran is fortunately working well in this field, although we still need work match. Iran’s government, academy and some agents that are involved in environment, natural resources and forest management are aware and doing well. But the extent of desertification and the effect of climate change are growing fast so we need much more work,” he insisted.

“In conclusion we can say Iran is doing well comparing to the other countries but it is not enough. We need to match work, to use the experience of the other people, to define the issue, to increase the awareness and understanding of people of surrounding area and then we should help people and encourage them to participate. In this case we can try altogether to stop this issue,” the professor noted.

“One of the important thing is that climate change is not a regional thing but it is widely extended so we need to have regional collaboration otherwise if we close the door and just focusing on small area then our action would not be affective. So I can say collaboration of regional agents could be very important particularly about dust storm which is very challenging issue that we are facing with it,” he said.

“Desertification is progressing and extending gradually. In Climate change and desertification we have a tipping point which means sometimes something is happening but you don’t realize and you can’t see unless we reach the final phases of it. In that time the affect would be very sudden, severe and impossible to reverse,” Hasanali added.

“Desertification is a process of decreasing the capacity of resources.Also when soil is solid, water quality is dropped, ground water is finished and erosion is happening, these are types of desertification so perhaps we can see some effect of it but when It is extended and spread and when it is very hard to control, so we need to realize and find a solution to stop it,” he went on to say.

“June 17 is a good day to know more about desertification and climate change and is good opportunity to  have some presentation and show, to invite local people and explain them what’s happening to save our county and to less to be decertified,” Hassanli added.

He emphasized Iran is so susceptible to desertification because of its geographical location so not only in terms of erosion but in terms of water scarcity and soil solidity and dropping water quality and our exploitationof ground water level, in any aspects Iran moving toward desert area so we need to be careful and that day is good day to try gather all researcher and scientists and local people and those who are interested to share experience and explain the issue and try to raise the publicawareness about this challenging issue.

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Iranians, Russians, Turks to draw borders of ‘de-escalation zones’ in Syria

پرچم روسیه

Tehran (ISNA) - Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov emphasized that experts from Iran, Russia and Turkey will draw the boundaries of the ‘de-escalation zones’ in Syria, Al-Arabiya reported.

Bogdanov said barriers would be built to prevent armed infiltration, adding that task forces would be responsible for ensuring security on the ground.

There will also be demarcations of borders to stop the escalation, he added.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said in mid-May that Moscow intends to expand the “de-escalation zones” established in four zones across Syria after an understanding was reached between the guarantor countries during the Astana Syria talks in Kazakhstan early in May.

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Rouhani’s message to heads of Islamic states commemorating Ramadan

دیدارهای روحانی در حاشیه کنفرانس حمایت از انتفاضه فلسطین

Tehran (ISNA) - President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani sent separate messages to the heads of Islamic states in commemoration of the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.

In his message that was sent on Saturday, Rouhani called on the heads of Islamic countries to attempt to present a clear image of the merciful religion of Islam in order to confront the enemies' attempts for making crisis by promoting Islamophobia.

The Iranian president also wrote: "I hope in this month that is full of greatness and blessings, we all be entitled to the Almighty God's blessings and be able to get assistance from the Divine Being with cooperation, empathy, and solidarity".

Rouhani also asked the Almighty health and prosperity for the heads of Islamic countries and all Muslims.

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Iranian “AniMal” wins prize at Cannes Cinefondation

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian short film “Heyvan” (AniMal) written and directed by Bahram and Bahman Ark, students at the Iranian National School of Cinema snagged the Second Jury Prize at Cannes Cinefondation.

Capturing the indignities of migration, it turns on a man who attempts to cross a frontier disguised as a ram.

The Iranian short film “Heyvan” in a competition with Slovak, Brazilian, Japanese, Indian, French, American, Argentinian, British, Taiwanese and Belgian films won the Second Jury Prize worth €11,250 ($12,262).

“Paul Is Here,” from Costa Rica’s Valentina Maurel, a student at Belgium’s Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle et des Techniques de Diffusion (INSAS), snagged the First Jury Prize at Cannes Cinefondation worth €15,000 ($16,350).

 “A study of a relationship in crisis, which has complications, which I hope will touch spectators,” Maurel said. her short turns on a girl whose life is turned upside down by the return of Paul. an old flame, who moves in for a few days, though why he’s back isn’t very clear.

Maurel faced multitudinous competition: An effective annual world cup of film school shorts, “Paul Is Here” won out over 2,600 other works submitted by 626 film schools around the world. These were whittled down a 16 title Cinefondation showcase at Cannes.

Cinefondation’s Second Jury Prize went to “Heyvan,” (AniMal), written and directed by Bahram and Bahman Ark, students at the Iranian National School of Cinema. Capturing the indignities of migration, it turns on a man who attempts to cross a frontier disguised as a ram.

Third Prize worth 7,500 ($8,175) went to “Deux Egares Sont Morts” (Two Youths Died), from Tommaso Usberti, a student at Paris’ celebrated La Femis school.

Winning films will be screened at the Cinema du Panthéon in Paris on May 30. All the films in the Cinefondation selection will play at the Cinematheque Française on May 31 and June 1.

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Total CEO confirms target of concluding Iran gas deal before summer


Tehran (ISNA) - French oil major Total still plans to conclude the Iran South Pars gas deal before summer, its chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told journalists on the sidelines of the company's annual general meeting, Reuters reported.

Pouyanne said the signing of U.S. sanctions waivers, among other hurdles, cleared the path for the deal to be signed. 

Total said earlier in February that a final decision on the deal hinged on the new U.S. administration renewing the waivers. 

Pouyanne also added he had met Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh in Vienna on the sidelines of the OPEC meeting. 

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Iran condemns terrorist attack in Egypt as supported sectarianism

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi condemned the terrorist attack on a convoy of Christian Egyptians as a case of supported sectarianism.

Extending sympathies to the bereaved families, nation and government of Egypt, Ghasemi strongly condemned the terrorist attack and said: “armed attack on a bus carrying Christians in the south of Egypt is a clear manifestation of supported sectarianism”.

Referring to the concurrent trip of U.S. President Donald Trump to the Persian Gulf and terrorists attacks in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Manchester, the spokesman added: “frequent occurrence of such incidents can attest that sectarianism has been given morale and the other side of these events is bloody crackdowns in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen”.

 “The recent mockery measures in Riyadh which are labeled in a hypocrite cover-up as war on terrorism and countering extremism, have yielded in practice nothing more than spreading the ideology of Takfiri Wahhabism and providing logistical and financial support for armed terrorism in all over the world,” he went on to say.

He said that it was a fruitless hope to expect any positive contribution to the peace and security of the world from such meetings.

Reminding the international responsibility of governments and international organizations about countering terrorism, Ghasemi highlighted that the direct results of sectarianism and extremism has been shedding the blood of innocent Christians, Muslims, and the followers of other religions all over the world.

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Iranian officials meet Syrian PM

ایران و سوریه

Tehran (ISNA) –Iran’s Economic Development Committee chairman Saeed Ohadi met Syrian prime minister Imad Khamis on Wednesday.

Iranian ambassador to Syria Javad Tork Abadi has also participated in this meeting.

During the meeting, Khamis congratulated president Hassan Rouhani’s re-election as Iran president and praised the country’s supports to Syrian nation and government in fighting terrorism.

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There is debate over length of OPEC-led oil output cut extension: Iran

Tehran (ISNA) - Iran's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said Wednesday that OPEC will continue its production curb but there is debate among members about how long it will continue, Reuters reported.

"It could be three, six or nine months. Iran will not decrease its own production and that regional rival Saudi Arabia is trying to drive up oil prices " Zanganeh said.

“The re-election of president Hassan Rouhani last Friday helped remove obstacles to oil contracts,” he added.

With the aim to produce quality machinery and equipment for the oil and gas industry, the National Iranian Oil Company signed an agreement with a Spanish consortium to manufacture special pipelines using corrosion resistant alloys (CRAs).

The contract, estimated at around $550 million, was signed between the NIOC, Spain-based industrial group Tubacex and Iran's Sepahan Steel Company to provide Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) with 600 kilometers of CRA pipelines in three years.

The deal would be the most significant measure toward self-sufficiency in production of oil and gas equipment at home after the state-owned Oil Turbo Compressor Company was established in 2001 to manufacture gas compressors and turbines.

As per the terms of the agreement, Tubacex, in collaboration with Japan's JFE, will transfer the knowhow to produce corrosion resistance alloys used in manufacturing oil and gas pipelines to its Iranian business partner, Sepahan Steel Co.

Reportedly, producing such pipelines requires cutting-edge technology and only a handful of companies in the world, including JFE -- Japan's second-biggest steelmaker -- have the knowhow.

CRA pipelines are among widely-used equipment in the petroleum sector that cannot be produced by domestic companies yet. CRAs can be characterized by their resistance to specific environments. If carefully selected, these pipes permit safe containment of oil and gas process fluids. Their durability ensures improved efficiency and long life.

According to Zanganeh, domestic companies have the potential to manufacture 85% of equipment needed by oil and gas industry.

"Nearly two-thirds of demand for oil and gas equipment is now met by domestic manufacturers," Zanganeh said in a statement.

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Iran-China trading rises by 50 percent in 4 months

TEHRAN, May 27, YJC - The volume of trade exchanges between Iran and China grew by 50 percent in the first four months of 2017.

Iran-China trading rises by 50 percent  in 4 months

TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Over recent years, commercial exchanges between the two sides reached 66.35 million tons, showing rise in both volume and value.

China has been Iran’s first crude importer in 2016, 63.1 percent of Iran’s whole exports to China.

Commercial exchanges between the two countries grew by 49 percent in the first 4 months of 2017, showing 49 percent rise comparing to similar period last year, reaching $12.1 billion from $8.1 billion.

The two sides had already vowed to increase bilateral trade exchanges to $60 billion annually which needs settlement of some banking challenges and issuing visa.

Attack on Christians in Egypt indicates sponsored sectarianism: Iran

TEHRAN, May 27, YJC - Iran has denounced an armed attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, saying the criminal act was a clear example of sectarianism supported by certain powers.

Attack on Christians in Egypt indicates sponsored sectarianism: IranTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Friday that the recent terrorist attacks in the British city of Manchester, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Egypt have all been carried out after US President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia.  

"The unrelenting repetition of such incidents can be signs of the reanimation of the supported sectarianism whose other side we are witnessing in the ongoing crackdown and killing in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the bloody war in Yemen," he added.

He emphasized that the recent gathering of over 50 states in the Saudi capital Riyadh, held under the pretext of fighting extremism and terrorism, had in fact had no outcome but support for the source of the promotion of the Takfiri ideology of Wahhabism and financial and logistic aid for armed terrorism throughout the world.

It should not be expected that such a spectacle would help enhance security in the world, he said.

The Iranian spokesperson said supported extremism and sectarianism would directly result in the killing of innocent Muslims, Christians and followers of other religions.

Qassemi urged countries and international organizations to fulfill their international responsibilities vis-à-vis collective security and a genuine campaign against terrorism.

He also expressed his sympathy with the Egyptian government, nation and the bereaved families of the victims.

At least 28 people, including children, were killed and over two dozen others wounded after unknown gunmen attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians on a visit to a monastery south of Cairo on Friday.

According to Egypt's Interior Ministry, the assailants in three pick-up trucks attacked the bus as it carried visitors to the Saint Samuel monastery in Minya province, more than 200 kilometers from the capital.

The attack came after church bombings in December and April claimed by the Daesh group that killed dozens of Egypt's Coptic Christians. The Takfiri terrorists have threatened more attacks against the Arab country's Christian minority.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday's attack.

Total to ink $4 billion Iran gas deal before summer

TEHRAN, May 26, YJC - Iran will sign a $4 billion deal with France’s Total to develop phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field before summer, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said.

Total to ink $4 billion Iran gas deal before summerTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Zangeneh and Total Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne met in Vienna on the sidelines of the OPEC meeting on Friday night and discussed the deal, Fars news agency reported on Saturday.

"The signing of the contract with Total is very close and will be done in less than a month,” Zangeneh told reporters.   

Total signed a heads of agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) in November 2016 but said earlier in February that a final decision on the deal hinged on the new US administration renewing sanctions waivers on Iran.

Pouyanne told journalists on the sidelines of the Vienna meeting that the signing of the waivers had cleared the path for the deal to be concluded.

Zangeneh said a major European bank will provide guarantees, but did not disclose its name. He also said foreign countries have reached a consensus on Iran’s new oil contract called IPC.

Other Iranian officials have already said that they expected the first contract under the new formula to be signed soon, marking a turning point in months of anticipation as the country reopens its oil and gas sector to business.

Zangeneh said some companies had worries about the new contract but those concerns have been removed now.  

Iran has named 29 international firms as being eligible to bid for oil and gas projects but they have been waiting for the country to finalize the new model, known as the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC).

The new model has been the subject to repeated reviews amid fears that it might compromise Iran’s national interests at the expense of making business with the country more flexible.

Total became the first Western oil major to sign an energy agreement after the European Union and the United States eased sanctions as part of a nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic.  

The South Pars 11 project will have a production capacity of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day, or 370 000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The produced gas will be fed into Iran's gas network.

Total will operate the project with a 50.1% interest alongside Petropars at 19.9% and the Chinese state-owned oil and gas company CNPC at 30%.

The French oil major also plans to invest in the South Azadegan oil field. Zangeneh said the tender for development of Azadegan oil field will be implemented soon, for both the southern and northern sections.

The oil minister further reiterated that Iran has no problems for the participation of American companies in its oil and gas projects.

"We have no problem for the presence of US companies in oil and gas projects in Iran.

They are limited by their own government,” he said, adding Iran’s preference is to sign deals with noted international companies.

Rouhani stresses Iran’s resolute for cooperation with Russia in regional issues

TEHRAN, May 27, YJC - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated Tehran’s principled policy on relations with Moscow, saying the Islamic Republic is “more determined than ever” to promote bilateral and regional cooperation with Russia.

Rouhani stresses Iran’s resolute for cooperation with Russia in regional issues

TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - "More determined than ever, Iran is prepared to boost mutual and regional cooperation with Russia,” President Rouhani said in the telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Saturday.

"In the near future, we will witness much closer cooperation between the two countries,” he added.

The Iranian president further pointed to joint efforts made by Tehran and Moscow to promote peace in Syria and fight against terrorism, describing the enhancement of the cooperation in Syria as very significant.

He added that Iran is resolved to continue its trilateral cooperation with the Russian and Syrian governments.

Putin, for his part, offered his congratulations to Rouhani on his re-election, saying the results of the presidential election proved that Iranians are supporting Rouhani’s economic and social measures as well as his regional and international plans.

Rouhani emerged victorious in the elections held last Friday and secured a second term by winning 57 percent of the votes.

Iran and Russia have formed a strong alliance in recent years and have ramped up efforts to boost defense cooperation, trade ties, and cultural interaction.

They both support the Syrian government against foreign-backed militancy. Tehran and Moscow insist that the Syrian nation is the only side that has the right to shape the future of the Arab country, which has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including Daesh (ISIL), currently controlling parts of it.

<div>Trump's Riyadh visit proves 'terrorists serve to promote Washington's policy'</div>

TEHRAN, May 27, YJC - US President Donald Trump's first official trip to Saudi Arabia proves that "terrorists" sent by Riyadh to Syria and Iraq play into US hand, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani said.

Trump's Riyadh visit proves 'terrorists serve to promote Washington's policy'TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Shamkhani added the Arab monarchy was sending young people to conflict zones to radicalize and convert them to terrorists.

"Iran has been fighting against terrorism for already 40 years… The US citizens got to know what terrorism is after September 11, 2001. However, Trump made his first visit to the country which generates terrorists like a factory… Terrorists in Syria and Iraq are instruments that serve to promote Washington's policy," Shamkhani told Russia's Kommersant newspaper.

Shamkhani noted that public dissatisfaction with the hereditary transmission of power and Wahhabi mentality, among other issues, encouraged radicalization of young people.

Tehran will not agree on the participation of the United States' forces in guarding de-escalation zones in Syria, Shamkhani added.

"No. Syria has government, only it can decide who has right to be on their territory," Shamkhani said answering the question on Iran's agreement on the participation of the United States in guarding the de-escalations zones.

According to Shamkani, Syrian authorities do not want to see the "Americans supporting terrorism and destabilizing Syria." He added Tehran was ready to consider the deployment of military troops for guarding the perimeter of the de-escalation zones.

Iran, alongside Russia and Turkey, is a guarantor of the ceasefire regime in Syria. At the latest Astana talks on Syria which took place on May 3-4, the three ceasefire guarantor states signed a memorandum on the establishment of four safe zones in Syria. It came into force on May 6.

On Saturday, Trump flew to Saudi Arabia, the first country he visited as the president of the United States. The trip also took in Israel and the Palestinian lands, Brussels, the Vatican, and will end in Sicily where he will attend a G7 summit of industrialized nations on Friday

Iran signs deal on constructing first air logistics center

TEHRAN, May 27, YJC - Iran has signed an agreement with Swiss and Dutch companies to design, develop and construct its first freight logistics center at Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA).

Iran signs deal on constructing first air logistics centerTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - IKIA signed the agreement with Swiss-based ADI Consulting GmbH and the Netherlands Airport Consultant Company (NACO) in Tehran on Saturday, vice president for investment and economic affairs of the airport Hossein Tajik said."Logistics development actually means the country's development and is an essential element for this purpose,” he said.

Tajik touched on the significance of logistics, saying transporting 100,000 tonnes of cargo at the airport would create added value equal to that generated from about a million passengers for the country.

"On the other hand, we are in an area that has a market value of about 400 million people around the country,” he said, adding Iran has failed to make use of this advantage both due to internal and external factors.

Jean Godart of ADI Consulting said the project is focused on logistics which is "a way to success”, saying it could mark a big step for Iran.

ADI Consulting GmbH was established in Switzerland in 1999 to manage cargo capacity in the airfreight sector. Since then, the company has expanded into other logistics areas such as consulting in logistics business building, infrastructure development and management.

The deal came after officials said earlier this month that Iran had canceled a preliminary agreement with the French industrial group Bouygues to expand IKIA.

The company had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in January 2016 to build and operate a terminal at IKIA to handle 20 million passengers a year.  

Managing Director of IKIA Airport City Company Mahmoud Navidi said Bouygues had failed to fulfill its commitments under the agreement.

IKIA, about 40 kilometers southwest of the Iranian capital, currently handles 6 million air travelers.

After the cancellation of Bouygues' agreement, Iran put out calls for investment in the terminal which received a warm welcome from Iranian and foreign companies.

"Currently, 50 domestic and foreign companies have announced readiness to invest in the Iranshahr terminal in the form of BLT (build, lease and transfer)," Navidi said.    

The idea to build IKIA was conceived before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, with original designs prepared by a US consortium in order to make it a regional air travel hub but the airport was inaugurated only in May 2004.

In December 2015, Iran awarded the development of a town in the vicinity of IKIA to NACO which undertook to provide consulting services for the development of Phase 1 of IKIA Airport Town for a period of five years.

France’s AccorHotels opened Novotel and Ibis near IKIA in September 2016 with the participation of business leaders and representatives of 150 aviation companies such as Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer.

French-based Airbus also struck a $19 billion sale deal last year to give 100 commercial aircraft to Iran. The multinational European company has already delivered three planes.

Iranian President Rouhani urges peace, moderation as Ramadan starts

TEHRAN, May 27, YJC -Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has written to the leaders of Muslim countries on the occasion of the start of the holy month of Ramadan, calling on them to follow the path of peace and moderation to counter Islamophobia.

TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -In separate congratulatory messages on Saturday, Rouhani urged the Muslim leaders to present the face of moderate Islam to the world and to bring about a world free of violence and extremism.

"Undoubtedly, it is upon all leaders, intellectuals, and religious scholars in Muslim countries in this month of divine mercy and forgiveness to counter the false crises being created and the Islamophobia [being propagated] by enemies,” he wrote.

That, he said, should be carried out "by explaining and promoting the lofty goals of Islam, employing moderation in behavior and action, and providing a vivid image of this holy religion.”

The Iranian chief executive also expressed hope that Muslim leaders would collaborate toward the establishment of peace, calm, and security.

He further wished the people and leaders of Muslim states success and happiness.

Ramadan, a holy month on the Islamic lunar calendar, began in several Muslim countries, including Iran, on Saturday.

During the holy month, adult Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sundown as an effective way of practicing self-discipline. They are also expected to avoid sinning and to strengthen their souls through praying, charitable deeds, and introspection.

Muslim people mark the Eid al-Fitr festival at the end of Ramadan.

Source:Press TV

Saudi rulers to take war dreams in Iran to grave: Qassemi

TEHRAN, May 26, YJC - Iran's Foreign Ministry said Saudi leaders will take their wish to provoke a military attack against the Islamic Republic to their graves.

Saudi rulers to take war dreams in Iran to grave: Qassemi

TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - The strong-worded reaction by Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi came after Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a recent interview that his country "will work to have the battle in Iran.”

"Some have been entertaining such wishes for quite a long time, but they will take them to their graves,” Qassemi said on Friday, describing the remarks "unwise and wrong".

"They are trying to buy security for themselves with these methods and such statements but security to be bought is not enduring and will be of no consequence," he added.   

The spokesman was referring to a $110-billion arms deal which US President Donald Trump clinched with Saudi Arabia during his recent visit to the kingdom.

"Naturally, security will not be achieved by purchasing numerous weapons.

Contemporary history is witness that countries with a large arsenal and military capabilities had their situation totally changed in the end and this can happen to others as well," he added.

The Saudi kingdom could only achieve lasting security by relying on its own people and establishing democratic mechanisms that enable popular electoral participation, Qassemi said.

The spokesman also said Iran will maintain its missile work with utmost determination, and will not pay heed to "empty” interventionist statements about the program.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on President Hassan Rouhani to end Iran's missile tests after he was re-elected for another four years this month.

"Such remarks are void, groundless, fallacious, and deceitful,” Qassemi said, adding

Iran’s missile work falls within the country’s national policy and defensive programs.

Iran's defense program, he said, is a deterrent endeavor, which contributes to the regional stability and security and the fight against terror.

"We will continue this program with utmost strength and sternness, and will not allow others to pass comments on it,” Qassemi said.

He also slammed Tillerson for attempting to vindicate the countries which promote terrorism and extremist ideologies.

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan on Thursday hailed the country’s self-sufficiency in producing ballistic and cruise missiles, including those with a range of 300 kilometers (186 miles).

"All efforts in the region today are directed at weakening Iran, and preserving Israel’s security and the US arms market, but Iran is standing strong," he said.

Dehqan said, "Turning Saudi Arabia into a stockpile for American weapons is not a thing for them to be proud of,” the minister said.

"We tell Arab rulers to submit to the demands of their nations," Dehqan said, reminding them of the fate of the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and urging them to abandon "servitude" to big powers.

Iran has learned that acceding to the hegemonic powers equals a negation of national identity, the minister said.

US arms deals will fail to make Saudi secure: Iran FM

TEHRAN, May 26, YJC - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the recent US arms deal with Saudi Arabia will fail to guarantee lasting security for Saudi Arabia as claimed by the US Department of State.

US arms deals will fail to make Saudi secure: Iran FMTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - On his first overseas trip since taking office, US President Donald Trump attended a signing ceremony on May 20 for almost $110 billion worth of defense capabilities to be conveyed to support Saudi Arabia's defense needs."If past performance is an indicator of future success, another $110 billion worth of weapons will neither reduce 'the burden' on the American military nor support 'the long-term security of Saudi Arabia'," Zarif said in an article in the New York Times on Friday.

He added that Saudis provided billions to the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to arm his war of aggression against Iran in the 1980s, saying, "Look what that bought them and the world."

US State Department claimed that the package of military equipment and services supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf region in the face of the alleged Iranian threat, adding that it also bolsters Saudi Arabia's ability to provide for its own security and continue contributing to counterterrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on US military forces.

The Iranian foreign minister further said in the best-case scenario, the US president is "extorting our Saudi neighbors" and in the worst one, Trump "could be turning the United States into Saudi Arabia’s mercenary in the Middle East."

"Let me be clear: What President Trump called 'lots of beautiful military equipment' won’t drain the swamps in which terrorism and extremist militancy fester. Neither will golden chains or glowing orbs provide a magical solution to the socioeconomic and political challenges that drive radicalization," Zarif pointed out.

He stressed the importance of making a genuine effort to forge inclusive engagement among regional countries based on coexistence and the acceptance of futility of military approaches to regional crises.

He added that the recent crackdown on Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain indicated that the "region’s despots feel that they’ve been given carte blanche to stamp out peaceful dissent."

Bahraini forces raided the northwestern village of Diraz on Tuesday, clashed with people who had gathered to protect Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of the country’s Shia majority, and killed five of them, and then stormed into his house.

Read more:

•    Bahrain uses military tactics to quash dissent

The top Iranian diplomat urged responsible leaders in regional and world capitals alike to step up efforts to tackle the momentous challenges at hand in order to avoid the spread of terrorism and militant extremism.

He said at a time that Riyadh spends countless millions to promote fear of Iran to distract from its global export of Wahhabism, Iran has been aiding the victims of extremism in Iraq and Syria.

The Iranian foreign minister added that Iran is actively promoting a political solution to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria by helping to prevent Daesh Takfiri militants from seizing Baghdad and Damascus.

Zarif pointed to the two options that the United States and its allies face and said, "They can continue to lend moral and material support, and encourage the perpetrators to intensify their war efforts, though this has proved futile and only brings more death and destruction and further complicates the path to a lasting solution."

"Or, as Iran has stated from the start, these governments can focus on helping to forge inclusive political solutions with the participation of all the political groups involved."

Iran blasts attacks on world medical centers

TEHRAN, May 26, YJC - Iran’s UN mission strongly condemned military attacks on medical centers across the world as well as attempts at justifying the atrocities as “unintentional mistakes.”

Iran blasts attacks on world medical centers

TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gholam-Ali Khoshroo made the remarks on Thursday at a UN Security Council debate on the protection of civilians in armed violence.

Also attending the meeting were United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Vice President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Christine Beerli, and Deputy Executive Director for Advocacy of New York-based body Human Rights Watch Bruno Stagno Ugarte.

Khoshroo denounced the targeting of health facilities in conflict zones, especially in Palestine, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria, describing such assaults as one of "the banes of our time.”

He said UN Security Council 2286, which was ratified last year, meant to prevent such attacks, but they have seen a rise ever since. The same year witnessed 23 such attacks, of which the Middle East took the brunt, the senior diplomat added.

Khoshroo said the perpetrators try to justify the atrocities by billing them as "operational mistake,” adding that their repeated use of the pretext makes it hard to believe the claims.

He referred to the October 2015 US airstrike against a hospital in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, which killed dozens of people, including staff serving the Doctors Without Borders organization.

Khoshroo said none of the perpetrators of the attack, which has likewise been described as a "mistake,” have so far faced punishment.

As another example, the envoy said, Israel targeted Palestinian medical centers, staffers or equipment more than 416 times last year alone.

He also pointed to Saudi Arabia’s brutal military campaign against Yemen, which has taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure and health facilities.

"This invasion has been taking place right before the Security Council’s eyes. More importantly, the US has been increasingly lending military, logistical and training support to the invaders,” Khoshrou added.

Also addressing the event was the UN chief, who said 15 people including three medical staff were reported killed when a hospital in Yemen was hit in an airstrike, just a few months after the adoption of Resolution 2286,

Guterres said parties to conflicts are treating hospitals and clinics as targets rather than respecting them as sanctuaries.

"Despite our efforts, civilians continue to bear the brunt of conflict around the world,” Guterres told the 15-member council, adding that the root causes of conflicts must be addressed.

Iran Giving Turkey Free Gas for Past Debts: Minister

-- 3,743 price_dollar -- 4,227 price_eur (-0.04%) -2 4,832 price_gbp -- 1,035 price_aed (-0.17%) -20,000 11,790,000 sekeb (0.01%) 1,000 12,055,000 sekee (-0.08%) -5,000 6,490,000 nim (-0.13%) -5,000 3,705,000 rob (-0.2%) -5,000 2,545,000 gerami (-0.01%) -110 1,146,830 geram18 (-0.01%) -150 1,529,090 geram24 (-0.01%) -500 4,967,500 mesghal (-0.01%) -10 1,267.70 ons (0.1%) 100 964.00 platinum -- 17.41 silver

Total Says to Conclude Iran’s South Pars Gas Deal before Summer

-- 3,743 price_dollar -- 4,227 price_eur (-0.04%) -2 4,832 price_gbp -- 1,035 price_aed (-0.17%) -20,000 11,790,000 sekeb (0.01%) 1,000 12,055,000 sekee (-0.08%) -5,000 6,490,000 nim (-0.13%) -5,000 3,705,000 rob (-0.2%) -5,000 2,545,000 gerami (-0.01%) -110 1,146,830 geram18 (-0.01%) -150 1,529,090 geram24 (-0.01%) -500 4,967,500 mesghal (-0.01%) -10 1,267.70 ons (0.1%) 100 964.00 platinum -- 17.41 silver

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