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Oil output capacity seen rising 25% in 5 years: Zanganeh

TEHRAN – Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has said he sees the country adding 25 percent to its oil production capacity in the next five years.

Development of new fields as well as improved oil recovery from mature reservoirs should allow the country to have the capacity to pump about five million barrels per day (bpd), he added.

He made the remarks in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the 172nd official OPEC meeting which was held in Vienna on May 25.

Iran is currently producing four million bpd.

The country is also going to ink deals with oil majors this year to help reaching its planned goals for the oil industry. 

“Hopefully this year Iran will sign oil deals with France's Total, Russia's Lukoil as well as Danish Maersk and maybe Indonesia's Pertamina.”

Iran sees no limitations in negotiation with the U.S. oil companies and these companies are limited by the laws of the United States Congress, Shana reported.

On Thursday, IRNA quoted Zangenh as saying that Iran’s main policy in oil industry for the upcoming years is to expand destination markets.

“We don’t want our markets to be limited to just a few Asian countries anymore.” 


Iran tops OPEC nations in Q1 oil revenue increase

TEHRAN – Iran’s oil revenue has increased about $15 million per day (m/pd) in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the last quarter of 2016, Bloomberg reported citing International Energy Agency (IEA).

IEA has recently released data for changes in oil revenue from Q4 2016 to Q1 2017, according which Iran has topped OPEC nations like Saudi Arabia and Iraq in terms of positive changes in oil revenues.

According to Bloomberg, although at first glance it seems that OPEC’s cuts haven’t worked, global oil inventories remain well above normal levels. “But the policy’s made a difference where it really counts: juicing the coffers of finance ministries from Baghdad to Caracas.”

The International Energy Agency, which advises rich countries on oil policy, said earlier this month that OPEC has a “financial motivation to extend the supply cuts.” The IEA calculates the cartel earned almost $75 million extra a day in the first quarter of this year than in the last quarter of 2016, despite collectively cutting output to 31.9 million barrels a day from 33.3 million. Consultant IHS Markit said Russia, the largest country outside the cartel to join the cuts, also earned more.

OPEC and its allies believe they can continue earning more while pumping less. Even those countries that question whether an extension can re-balance the market and bring down elevated stockpiles don’t oppose an extension. While oil ministers have a sense of defeat in their battle against high inventories, finance ministers are happy, one OPEC delegate said.

OPEC members will meet today to discuss whether to extend output cuts agreed in December last year between OPEC and 11 non-member countries, including Russia.

Many oil market analysts believe that OPEC is going to extend the cuts for another nine months.


Iran, Belarus sign co-op agreement on customs data exchange

TEHRAN- Iran and Belarus signed a cooperation agreement on exchanging customs information in Tehran on Wednesday, IRNA reported.

The agreement seeks electronic exchange of customs documents between the two countries and providing Iranian and Belarusian tradesmen with customs services on the way to ease and accelerate bilateral trade.

The volume of trade between the two countries during the almost past two years stood at about $40 million, the same report confirmed.


Tehran, Yerevan in accord for boosting co-op in agriculture

TEHRAN – In a meeting on Tuesday, Iranian Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati and Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia Ignati Araqelyan agreed on expansion of cooperation in agriculture sector.

According to IRNA, Iranian Ambassador to Yerevan Kazem Sajadi was also present at the meeting which was held in the Armenian capital.

In the meeting, Araqelyan expressed hope that bilateral relations between Tehran and Yerevan would excel to the good past levels.


Xi congratulates Rouhani on re-election as Iranian president

شي جين پينگ، رئيس‌جمهور چين

Tehran (ISNA) - Chinese president Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on his re-election as president, which will give him a second four-year term, Xinhua reported.

Xi said in the message that Iran has gained new socio-economic achievements over the past four years under Rouhani's leadership, and that the China-Iran relationship has maintained sound momentum of development thanks to the two countries' joint efforts.

Recalling his state visit to Tehran in January 2016 and the in-depth talks he had with Rouhani during the trip, Xi noted that they have reached important consensus on bilateral ties, and that the two countries have formally established comprehensive strategic partnership.

“I attach great importance to developing the China-Iran relationship, and I am willing to join hands with Rouhani to push forward the development of the China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership,” Xi added.

End Item

Iran is ready to present peace to Saudi Arabia as a gift: Zarif

Tehran (ISNA) – Iran is ready to present peace as a gift to the entire region, foremost to Saudi Arabia, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif emphasized in an article published on the London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed media outlet.

Here is the full text of Zarif’s article:

A Saudi official has recently threatened to 'have the battle in Iran'. I declare formally and in the name of the government of Iran today that we are ready to present peace as a gift to the entire region, foremost to Saudi Arabia.

The realization of this issue, however, depends on the Saudi government ending its futile war and deadly attacks against the Yemeni people and abandoning its crackdown on the pro-democracy majority in neighboring countries. 

Some Arab governments have drawn our region into instability in recent years through escalating their destructive policies and measures.

Promoting and supporting extremist ideologies and presenting a violent and unrealistic image from Islam on the one hand, and sacrificing the interests of the regional countries through promotion of instability, bloodshed and fratricide on the other sums up these policies.

These bellicose measures altogether would ultimately result in nothing other than serving the greatest enemies of the Muslim and Arab nations.  

The policy line currently being pursued by Saudi rulers is helping the Iranophobia project which has been initiated and promoted by the Zionist regime for years.

Today, the stable Iran is seeking stability in the entire region because it knows that achieving security at home at the expense of insecurity among neighbors is basically impossible.

If the American president sees himself as a friend of the Riyadh regime and is loyal to his election campaign slogans, he should talk to it about the ways of containing Takfiri terrorists in the region and preventing other 9/11s from being repeated in Western countries by Saudi citizens.

Iran is ready to cooperate with regional and extra-regional countries on fighting terrorism and extremism and helping restore peace and tranquility in Syria.

End Item

General Jazayeri reacts to Tillerson’s remarks on Iran’s election


Tehran (ISNA) - Deputy chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri reacted to the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent remarks on Iranian presidential election.

“Today, the resistance of the region is in the best condition and can deal with military and terrorist actions,” General Jazayeri said.

“The only way to reach the peace in the region is the withdrawal of Americans and cessation of terrorist and aggressive operations of dependent and reactionary regimes in the region against independent countries,” he stated.

General Jazayeri emphasized that Islamic Republic of Iran’s policies and goals were in progress in a clear and defined way and no one can obstruct it.

“Regarding the current situation in the world and region and existence of Islamic revolution’s enemies, continuing and accelerating defensive goals including missile defense systems are our priorities,” he continued.

End Item

Tillerson reaction to Rouhani re-election

Tehran (ISNA) – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reacted to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani re-election by raising Washington’s delusive and hostile claims against Iran.

“What I would hope, is that Rouhani use that new term to begin a process of dismantling Iran’s network of terrorism, dismantling its financing of the terrorist network, dismantling the manning and the logistics and everything that they provide to these destabilising forces that exist in this region,” Tillerson claimed in a statement in Riyadh.

“We also hope that he puts an end to their ballistic missile testing,” Tillerson claimed at a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart, on the first day of a visit by President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia.

US authorities reiterate the allegations against Iran while the facts show the main supporters of terrorism in the Middle East and the whole world are America, the West and their regional allies. These countries have always tried to create differences among different groups in the region with using interventional and divisive policies to achieve their goals in the region. Their policies have no results but emergence and development of terrorism.They always made the allegations against Iran to take the attention of international community away from the reality.

End Item

Reformists winner of Tehran City Council

شورای شهر

Tehran (ISNA) – A total of 21 reformist candidates who run for Tehran City Council were elected as the main members of the council, governor of Tehran province, Issa Farhadi announced Sunday.

Mentioning that 2523 ballot boxes from 3957 were counted, he said: “according to the early result, 21 reformist candidates who run for Tehran City Council were elected as the main member of the council and all of them won the seats”.

But the current chair of City Council of Tehran Mehdi Chamran failed to win a seat in 21-member council.

 End Item

France: Rouhani re-election strengthens hope of Iran nuclear deal application

Tehran (ISNA) - French president Emmanuel Macron congratulated Iranian president Hassan Rouhani for his re-election on Saturday and said this reinforced the hope his government would apply the international nuclear agreement, Sputnik reported.

The reelection of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian president gives hope for the country's compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed at settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, the office of French president Emmanuel Macron said in a statement.

"The reelection of president Rouhani strengthens the hope that his government will abide accurately by the historic agreement of July 14, 2015, which allowed to regulate through the diplomatic means the disagreements on the nuclear issue and to engage in the new stage of the relations between Iran and the international community. France, in turn, will continue to exercise vigilance over the strict implementation of [the agreement's] elements," the statement distributed by Macron's press office read.

In the document, the French president expressed hope for the improvement of the economic, scientific and cultural ties between Tehran and Paris.

Rouhani was reelected for the second term with 57 percent of votes at the election which took place in Iran on Friday.

End Item

Iran condemns US air attacks on Syrian convoy

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi strongly condemned the US airstrikes on the Syrian military convoy.

Condemning the move, Ghasemi said: “if the international community keeps mum and continues its silence and indifference in dealing with such issues, it will deal a very serious blow on the recognized global and international norms”.

“The recent US air strike on Syrian military convoy in southern Syria is regarded as blatant violation of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity of an independent Arab state which is a member of international community,” said Ghasemi, adding: “The US move is an example of the country’s unilateralism at the international community and ignoring recognized international norms and regulations”.

“The US is to change military balance in the battle field to purchase more time for terrorists,” he went on to say.

“The attack occurred under a baseless pretext and putting a cover on the problems of the US administration at domestic and international scenes and is also a blatant interference of the US administration in the region which tries to change the regional equations at a specific juncture,” Ghasemi continued.

Referring to destructive consequences of such measures on Syrian developments in fight against terrorism, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman stated: “under such circumstances where Syrian government tries to adopt a moderate and stable stance to help lessen tensions in order to create grounds for Syrian-Syrian talks to encourage other parties before Geneva talks, the US repeated aggressions not only ruins such trend but will embolden terrorist groups inside Syrian territory and make them stronger”.

End Item

Iranian people and the Islamic establishment winners of elections

Tehran (ISNA) - Following the magnificent and epic presence of Iranian people in the 12th presidential election and the 5th City and Village Council Elections, Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei issued a message of gratitude and appreciation in which he underscored a number of important points.

The full text of the Leader’s message is as follows:

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Dear Iranian nation, epic celebration of yesterday’s elections once again exhibited before the eyes of the world the shining gem of [your] national resolve and determination. Your widespread and enthusiastic participation [in elections] and fervent swarming of the polling stations and forming long lines to reach ballot boxes across the country, and [participation] of all walks of life, are all clear signs of the solidity of the foundations of the Islamic democracy and public attachment to this great blessing of the Almighty, which made Iran and Iranians proud and dignified through this practical test. Through the packed presence [of the people] and casting of more than forty million votes in ballot boxes yesterday, a new threshold was achieved in the presidential election, which demonstrated the daily-growing progress of the Iranian nation with regard to powerful presence [in elections].

The Iranian nation once more pushed backed ill-wishers and the spiteful and jealous [elements] and filled the hearts of its friends and admirers with joy and pride. The [real] winners in yesterday’s elections are you, the Iranian people, and the Islamic Republic establishment, which despite the enemies’ plots and effort has succeeded in profoundly winning the trust of this great nation and showing new brilliance in every round [of elections]. Yesterday’s outstanding test was not only about widespread participation, but serenity and soberness and decency of the participants that guaranteed the security of the elections, also constituted an important part of this dazzling test. People from every [social] stratum, [as well as every] taste [and] political affiliation entered the arena side by side and voted for the Islamic Republic establishment shoulder to shoulder.

With humbleness before the Almighty God, I express my gratitude and pray for a deserving beneficence, blessing and reward for the Iranian nation, and express my regards and greetings to Hadhrat Mahdi (Peace Be Upon Him), before enumerating a number of points:

I say to the dear people to thank God for the success in holding elections and think about public unity and consensus after tensions [that were rife] in the days and weeks leading to elections, because undoubtedly, this is one of the reasons for national solidity and might. All of you are proud under the aegis of the Islamic Republic establishment and the offspring of this land [and] should try to identify and follow through your share in advancing the country toward [its] major objectives. The fulfillment of all national aspirations depends on this way of thinking and acting in this manner.

I emphasize and recommend the respected president and all of those, who will be part of the next administration, to pursue motivated, thoughtful and youthful work and effort to do away with country’s problems and do not neglect this straight path even for a single moment.  Having consideration for lower classes, paying attention to villages and impoverished areas, taking into account the priorities and countering corruption and social maladies should be placed atop of all agendas.

National dignity and practice of wisdom in global communications and paying attention to [preserving] international might [of the country] are also among the priorities of Islamic and revolutionary management.

I deem it necessary to thank each and every one of the participants in elections and those who played a role in encouraging them to fulfill this duty, particularly the grand [religious] sources of emulation and great clerics as well as academic and political and cultural and artistic elites.

I also deem it necessary to express my gratitude to the esteemed presidential candidates who played a serious role in this [process of] enlightenment and creating enthusiasm for [participation in] elections.

I deem it necessary to thank all those involved in executive and supervisory stages of the presidential election as well as the city and village elections, who made overwhelming efforts in this regard.

I deem it necessary to express gratitude to those providing security for the elections and the national medium (the state-run broadcasting) to whose round-the-clock and dexterous efforts [these] enthusiastic elections are owed.

In conclusion, I invite myself and everyone to piety and struggle on the path of the divine and social duty and commitment to the path of the [1979 Islamic] Revolution, which is the valuable legacy of the great Imam Khomeini and [our] precious martyrs, and pray to the Almighty God for their souls to rest in peace and their ranks [in the Hereafter] to be elevated.

Peace be unto you and so may the mercy of Allah and His blessings

Seyyed Ali Khamenei

End Item

Putin congratulates Rouhani on re-elction

روحانی و پوتین

Tehran (ISNA) - Russian president Vladimir Putin has congratulated Hassan Rouhani on the victory in the national presidential election held Friday, the Kremlin's press service said Saturday.

"Russian president Vladimir Putin has sent a message to Hassan Rouhani congratulating him on a victory in the Iranian presidential election," the statement read.

The Russian president expressed readiness to further develop Russian-Iranian partnership on bilateral and international issues, Sputnik reported.

End Item

Iran wins 74 medals at Baku Islamic Solidarity Games

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian team claimed 74 medals over the four days of 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.

4th Islamic Solidarity Games began May 12 and will last until May 22 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Iranian national team has claimed 74 medals including 20 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze at the Islamic Solidarity Games and is ranked in the third place.

Iranian national team has 128 representatives in 16 different sports such as karate, judo, gymnastics, swimming, shooting, weightlifting, taekwondo, boxing, water polo, basketball, volleyball, diving, tennis, table tennis, wrestling and wushu.

More than 3,000 athletes from 54 countries of the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation are competing in 21 sports at the Games.

End Item

US exit, sole path to peace in region: Iranian general

TEHRAN, May 21, YJC - An Iranian military official scorned the US secretary of state’s ignorance of Iran’s policies and positons after Tillerson’s call for a shift in Tehran’s conduct during President Rouhani’s second term, saying the only way to peace in the Middle East is a pull-out of Americans.

US exit, sole path to peace in region: Iranian general

TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - In comments on Sunday, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said Rex Tillerson’s expectations from Iran signify his ignorance of the Islamic Republic’s policies.

It came after the senior US diplomat said on Saturday he hopes the reelection of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would prompt changes to what he called Tehran’s approach to terrorism and human rights. Speaking at a news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Tillerson also urged Iran's president to dismantle the alleged "network of terrorism" and to end ballistic missile tests.

Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri underlined that the only things leading to peace and calm in the Middle East would be American forces’ withdrawal from the region and an end to the "aggressive and terrorist operations against independent states” by the "reactionary regimes” in the region.

He also made it clear that Iran presses ahead with its defense policies and programs within a definite process no factor could hinder.

The general also described the plans to boost Iran’s missile defense systems as a top priority given the world’s current situation and the existence of "sworn enemies” seeking to harm the Islamic Revolution.

Iranian officials have repeatedly underscored they will not allow foreigners to interfere in the country’s defense affairs.  

Messages of congratulation pour in after Iran polls

TEHRAN, May 21, YJC -Messages of congratulation are pouring in from around the world following President Hassan Rouhani's victory in a presidential election which saw a huge voter turnout.

Messages of congratulation pour in after Iran pollsTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Rouhani garnered 23.5 million votes out of 41.2 million ballots cast. Iran has 56.4 million eligible voters.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to his Iranian counterpart, saying Iran had gained new social and economic achievements under Rouhani.

Xi also said his country attached great importance to boosting ties with Iran and expressed his keenness to join hands with Rouhani to further develop bilateral relations.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe felicitated Rouhani on his election victory, voicing hope that the Iranian president will continue to play a constructive role for peace and prosperity in the Middle East.

Abe said he was looking forward to working with Rouhani on bolstering cooperation between Tehran and Tokyo in various fields. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida sent a similar congratulatory message to the Iranian president.

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah and Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah sent separate messages of felicitation to Rouhani.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan also commended Rouhani for scoring a decisive victory in Friday's presidential election.

"I am confident that during your tenure in office, Iran will continue to develop, bringing its considerable and important contribution to the establishment of regional peace and stability,” Sargsyan  said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in his message, said Rouhani's victory had reinforced hopes for the implementation of a 2015 nuclear accord between the Islamic Republic and the group of P5+1 countries. 

In a statement released on Saturday, Macron's office said the French president would seek to strengthen economic, scientific and cultural ties with Iran.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also congratulated Rouhani for being elected for a second term in office and encouraged him "to continue Iran’s engagement with the international community."

Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said his country "welcomes President Rouhani’s commitment to continue implementing Iran’s nuclear obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and to improve the lives of ordinary Iranians."

Secretary General of Hezbollah resistance movement Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the high turnout had proved to the world that the Iranian nation and the government enjoy freedom, awareness and sovereignty, in contrast to other parts of the region which are ruled by dictators.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate his Iranian counterpart both in English and Persian languages, while Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev offered his congratulations. 

Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm paper, said the Iranian people chose the path of moderation and gave the most democratic and civilized answer to the war campaign pursued by US President Donald Trump and his regional allies.

While Saudi Arabia is beating on the war drums, the Iranian nation has chosen the path of dialog, he said. 

Source:Press TV

Iran world’s most affordable tourism destination

TEHRAN, May 21, YJC -Iran’s tourism industry has been identified for a third straight year to have the most affordable prices in the world for foreign visitors.

Iran world’s most affordable tourism destinationTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -A biannual report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) gave Iran a score of 66.6 in terms of price competitiveness and put it ahead of global tourism players such as Egypt, Malaysia, Russia, Turkey, Greece, Spain, the US, Franc and Italy. 

The last 10 countries at the bottom of the list in the same category included Peru, Australia, Denmark, Senegal, Norway, Iceland, Barbados, Britain and Switzerland. 

The price competitiveness of countries in the WEF’s "Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017” were measured by comparing costs relating to travel to and from a destination (travel costs including ticket prices, taxes, fuel rates, etc) and those relating to prices within the tourism destination (ground costs including hotel prices, service rates, food prices, etc).

Iran was also given a ranking of 38 in terms of cultural resources – the number of World Heritage natural sites, total known species, total protected areas and attractiveness of natural assets.  

The country outperformed several European countries including the Czech Republic (42), Denmark (43), Hungary (45), Romania (46) and Norway (47) in the same category.

At the top of the list in the same group were China, Spain, France, Japan, Italy, Germany, Britain, Brazil, India and Mexico. 

Overall, the WEF report showed that Iran’s overall travel and tourism competitiveness ranking had improved by four points over the past two years.

It identified Iran as the 93rd country with the appropriate set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector.  Those factors, it said, include business environment, safety and security, health and hygiene, human resources and the labor market as well as its readiness in terms of information and communication technology (ICT).   

The country’s closest rivals in the Middle East with lower rankings are Lebanon (96) and Kuwait (100) and those with higher rankings include Jordan (75), Oman (66), Saudi Arabia (63), Bahrain (60), Qatar (47) and the UAE (29).

The top 10 best performing countries are Spain, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Italy, Canada and Switzerland.

The bottom 10 worst performing countries are Benin, Lesotho, Nigeria, Mali, Sierra Leon, Mauritania, Congo, Burundi, Chad and Yemen.

Overall, the report said the Middle East and North

Africa, led by the United Arab Emirates (29th), had improved its travel and tourism competitiveness. Better ICT infrastructure, lower prices, partial improvements in international openness and some progress in nurturing cultural heritage have created better conditions to develop the tourism sector overall. Still, natural and cultural resources remain mostly underexploited, international openness is still limited and security perceptions remain the biggest hurdle, it emphasized.

Source:Press TV

Iran offers peace after bellicose Saudi threats

TEHRAN, May 21, YJC - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran is ready to present peace to Saudi Arabia as a gift after the kingdom's crown prince threatened to draw war into the Iranian territory.

Iran offers peace after bellicose Saudi threatsTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - "A Saudi official has recently threatened to 'have the battle in Iran'. I declare formally and in the name of the government of Iran today that we are ready to present peace as a gift to the entire region, foremost to Saudi Arabia," he said.

Zarif's announcement came in an article published on the London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed media outlet on Saturday, in which he spelled out Iran's conditions for peace.

"The realization of this issue, however, depends on the Saudi government ending its futile war and deadly attacks against the Yemeni people and abandoning its crackdown on the pro-democracy majority in neighboring countries," he added. 

He was reacting to Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman who recently said, "We will work to have the battle in Iran rather than in Saudi Arabia." 

Zarif said, "Some Arab governments have drawn our region into instability in recent years through escalating their destructive policies and measures."

"Promoting and supporting extremist ideologies and presenting a violent and unrealistic image from Islam on the one hand, and sacrificing the interests of the regional countries through promotion of instability, bloodshed and fratricide on the other sums up these policies," he said.

"These bellicose measures altogether would ultimately result in nothing other than serving the greatest enemies of the Muslim and Arab nations," Zarif wrote.  

The minister said the policy line currently being pursued by Saudi rulers is helping "the Iranophobia project which has been initiated and promoted by the Zionist regime for years."

"Today, the stable Iran is seeking stability in the entire region because it knows that achieving security at home at the expense of insecurity among neighbors is basically impossible,” the article read.

Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have escalated since the kingdom executed a prominent Shia cleric in January 2016.

The execution triggered angry protests in many countries, including Iran. Protesters attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad, prompting Riyadh to cut diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.

The rupture was followed by exceedingly belligerent remarks against Iran by Saudi officials, including Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

On Monday, though, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said its response to such comments was that it did not seek tensions with Saudi Arabia.

Iran is critical of Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen which has killed thousands of civilians and destroyed the impoverished nation's infrastructure over the past two years.

Tehran has also lashed out at Riyadh's assistance to militants fighting to topple the Syrian government as well as its contribution to the ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Bahrain.   

Zarif touched on US President Donald Trump who is currently visiting Saudi Arabia on his first foreign tour since taking office. 

"If the American president sees himself as a friend of the Riyadh regime and is loyal to his election campaign slogans, he should talk to it about the ways of containing Takfiri terrorists in the region and preventing other 9/11s from being repeated in Western countries by Saudi citizens."

Zarif said, "Iran is ready to cooperate with regional and extra-regional countries on fighting terrorism and extremism and helping restore peace and tranquility in Syria."

Source:Press TV

Rouhani supporters win city council seats in Tehran

TEHRAN, May 21, YJC -Vote counting in Iran's city and village council elections is winding down across the country, with supporters of President Hassan Rouhani ruling supreme in the capital Tehran.

Rouhani supporters win city council seats in TehranTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -The event went underway on Friday to elect the people responsible for overseeing urban and rural affairs countrywide.

Most of the candidates belonged to the Hope and Service Lists, which represent the country’s mainstream political factions, namely Reformists and Principlists. The rest ran as independents.

The contested seats number more than 39,500, upwards of 37,000 of which belongs to village councils.

Tehran’s City Council holds 21 seats, ranking the highest in the country. Mashhad’s comes next with 15.

Tehran’s Governor Issa Farhadi said on Sunday that out of more than 3,900 ballot boxes assigned to the city and its periphery, more than 2,500 had been counted, giving all the seats to the Hope List’s contestants.

Leading the table is Mohsen Hashemi, the son of late Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, followed by former Tehran mayor Morteza Alviri and former culture minister Ahmad Masjed-Jame'i.  

Only two Principlist candidates, namely Alireza Dabir and Mahdi Chamran, have scraped in a place among 11 reserves.

The results have further jeopardized the position of current Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf who ran in the presidential race only to withdraw in favor of Rouhani's leading challenger, Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi.   

The polls were conducted in tandem with presidential election, which saw incumbent Hassan Rouhani score a resounding victory.

Rouhani garnered 23.5 million votes out of 41.2 million ballots cast. Iran has 56.4 million eligible voters.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei praised Iranians for their big turnout after voters queued up for hours to cast their ballots. The strong turnout of around 73% of eligible voters was "massive and epochal”, the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei said "massive and enthusiastic" participation of the Iranian people, who stood in long lines to reach the ballot boxes throughout the country, was "a clear indication of the strength of the pillars of the Islamic democracy."

President Rouhani and his supporters in city councils now face the gargantuan task of living up to their promises which they gave during their election campaigns.  

Although Rouhani brought inflation down from around 40% when he took office in 2013, prices are still rising at nine percent a year.

Oil sales have rebounded since the nuclear deal took effect in January last year, but growth in the rest of the economy has been limited, leaving unemployment at 12.5% overall, and at almost 30% among young people.

Source:Press TV

US air strike an example of malicious intervention in Middle East: Iran FM Spokesman

TEHRAN, May 21, YJC - Iran’s FM Spokesman condemned the US fighter jets strike on a convoy of pro-Syrian government fighters.

US air strike an example of malicious intervention in Middle East

TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Iranian FM Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi condemned the US fighter jets attack to a group of Syrian army forces in south of Syria. He called the attack as an act of sheer invasion and violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the US international unilateralism as well as its disrespect to the internationally recognized norms.

Stressing that the very act has been carried out with the aim of changing the regional equations and purchasing time for the terrorists, Ghasemi said that the attack was done under some weak pretexts to cover up the American politicians’ stumbling, either nationally or internationally. The invasion, he added, was an example of US’s malicious interventions in Middle East to change the equations in the region.

He noted that in a condition that all of the influential sides including Syrian government and moderate opponents are trying to pave the way for constructive Syrian-Syrian talks to mitigate the tensions, these repetitive acts of invasions from the US side will not only be pursued to spoil the process of peace talks, but also to reinforce the terrorist groups in Syria.

On Friday US military aircraft carried out an airstrike on a convoy of pro-Syrian government fighters advancing toward the positions of foreign-backed militants in the south of the Arab country.

Iran blasts US jets attacks on Syrian forces convoy

TEHRAN, May 20, YJC - Iran categorically condemned US jets attack on Syrian forces convoy in southeast of Syria.

Iran blasts US jets attacks on Syrian forces convoy

TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - "The attack on Syrian forces is blatant aggression and violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Arab Republic of Syrian as an independent country of the international community. It also shows US unilateralism in the international system and disregarding internationally-recognized principles,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said.

He said that the move came with the aim of changing balance in the scene and buying time for terrorists.

Qassemi further continued that such destructive measures could overshadow Syrian developments and fighting terrorism.

Repeating such moves and the international community’s silence would pose irreparable damages to internationally-recognized structures and principles, he warned.

Iranian nation seeks respectful interaction with world: Rouhani

TEHRAN, May 20, YJC - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the Iranian nation has chosen the path of interaction with the rest of the world away from violence and extremism.

Iranian nation seeks respectful interaction with world: Rouhani

TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - The Iranian president made the remarks in a televised speech on Saturday following his landslide election victory and winning a second term in office through presidential polls held on Friday.

Iranians clearly and explicitly sent their message to the world through the Friday elections, he said, adding, "Our nation wants to live in peace and friendship with the world, but at the same time, it will accept no humiliation or threat."

"This is the most important message that our nation expects to be heard correctly by all governments, neighbors, and particularly, big global powers," Rouhani pointed out.

He noted that Iran's polls declared to the neighboring countries and the entire region that the way to establishment of security in this region was to reinforce democracy and showing respect for the people's votes, instead of relying on foreign powers.

Rouhani said the Iranian people proved that they were united and despite political polarization, no one could drag them into useless class, ethnic, sectarian, tribal, urban or rural skirmishes.

He emphasized that the Iranians' decisive vote throughout the country proved that they were "one nation” that had "one administration” and wanted "on president,” who would be president of all people and, of course, serve all people.

"Great nation of Iran, the main winner of these elections is you, the great nation,” the incumbent president said, noting that this victory was the triumph of peace and reconciliation over tension and violence. "This victory was the victory of national unity and solidarity over division."

Rouhani also stated that the Iranian people had chosen their future path after understudying different views, stressing that everybody must respect people's demand and decision.

He called on all Iranians, even those who were against his policies, to help him advance his plans.

Rouhani noted that he would remain committed to all promises he had made during campaigning, vowing to implement his declared plans with firm determination and in the best interest of the Iranian people.

The president concluded his address by praising efforts made by all officials involved in holding elections, particularly the Guardian Council and Interior Ministry as well as governors, governors general, police and security forces, and mass media.

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