Saudi King Salman Invites Iranian President to Visit Riyadh

 March 20, 2023

By Staff, Agencies

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia invited Iranian President Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi to visit the kingdom, following the recent China-brokered rapprochement deal between the two countries.

Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, made the announcement in a post on his Twitter account on Sunday, saying the Saudi king has extended the invitation in a letter.

“In a letter to President Raisi, the king of Saudi Arabia welcomed the deal between the two brotherly countries, [and] invited him to Riyadh,” Jamshidi said, adding that the Saudi king has called for establishing economic and regional cooperation between the two countries.

The senior Iranian official said Raisi has welcomed the invitation.

The latest invitation is seen as a significant step towards improving ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

After several days of intensive negotiations hosted by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia finally clinched a deal on March 10 to restore diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions within two months.

According to a joint statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia underscored the need to respect the national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of one another.

They agreed to implement a security cooperation agreement signed in April 2001 and another accord reached in May 1998 to boost economic, commercial, investment, technical, scientific, cultural, sports, and youth affairs cooperation.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr by the Saudi government, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

The two sides had held five rounds of negotiations in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad since April 2021.

Poisoning Iranian schoolgirls is an ‘unforgivable crime’: Khamenei

March 6, 2013

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Iranian leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim stress that the poisoning of Iranian schoolgirls amounts to a crime.

Iranian leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei meeting with the head and members of the Assembly of Experts, Feb. 23, 2023 (

    Iranian leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei on Monday considered the poisoning of Iranian schoolgirls in recent months an “unforgivable” crime amid the spread of suspected poisoning across the country with hundreds of girls hospitalized.

    “Authorities should seriously pursue the issue of students’ poisoning. This is an unforgivable crime… the perpetrators of this crime should be severely punished,” Sayyed Khamenei was quoted as saying by state media.

    Over a thousand Iranian girls in different schools have suffered “mild poison” attacks since November, according to state media and officials.

    In most cases, the schoolgirls suffered respiratory problems, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness.

    The spreading attacks that started in November in the city of Qom in central Iran have spread to at least 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces.

    An Iranian official revealed that a suspicious fuel tanker that was found near a school in a suburb of Tehran, after being spotted in two other sites near other schools in Qom and Bourjerd, is suspected to be responsible for the poisoning. The tanker was reportedly apprehended and the driver was arrested.

    Read more: Secret US contingency plan for war with Iran unmasked: The Intercept

    Poisoning schoolgirls amounts to crime, inhumane act committed by enemies

    On his part, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday underlined that the poisoning of Iranian schoolgirls amounts to a crime and an inhumane act committed by Iran’s enemies.

    “The enemy’s new conspiracy of creating fear in the hearts of students… and their parents is a crime and an inhumane act,” Raisi said in a cabinet session.

    The Iranian head of state ordered officials to swiftly investigate the matter and inform citizens about its whereabouts to alleviate their concerns, underlining the importance of pursuing the main culprits and dealing with them seriously.

    Raisi pointed out that the poising of schoolgirls is “another link in the chain of the enemy’s plots” aimed at creating chaos in the country, manipulating public opinion, and infusing fear among the students.

    On Friday, the Iranian President said he had tasked the ministers of intelligence and interior with pursuing the matter, adding that “through its hybrid war, the enemy sought to create despair among the people. And recently through its psychological war… the enemy sought to create stress and fear among students and parents so as to spark riots.”

    Read more: CNN reports about riots in Iran ‘biased, false’: Iranian FM

    Window for JCPOA Revival Won’t Remain Open Forever – Amir Abdollahian

    March 3, 2023

    By Staff, Agencies

    Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian cautioned the United States that the window of opportunity for an agreement on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will not remain open forever, urging Washington to adopt a constructive approach to salvage the accord.

    In an interview with CNN aired on Wednesday, Amir Abdollahian said Iran has informed the US through mediators that the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action are “on the path to reach an accord,” but warned that this might change if the US side hangs back.

    “Our relationship with the IAEA is on its correct, natural path, and we have said this to the US side through mediators that we are on the path to reach an accord but if the Iranian Parliament adopts a new law, then we’ll have to abide by the parliamentary act,” he said.

    “So, the window for an accord is still open but this window will not remain open forever,” the top Iranian diplomat added.

    Amir Abdollahian also made clear that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been and is the most committed of all the parties involved in the diplomatic endeavors to restore the JCPOA, which was abandoned by the United States in 2018.

    “The party that left the JCPOA was [former US president Donald] Trump and the United States,” he said. “The United States should not adopt a deceptive behavior and instead should return to the JCPOA and adopt a constructive approach.”

    “The US party has been sending us positive messages through diplomatic channels but in its media remarks, they made very deceptive remarks that are totally different, and really, as the Iranian foreign minister, sometimes I have serious doubts,” he added.

    He also noted that even though the administration of President Ebrahim Raisi sees some flaws and shortcomings in the JCPOA, it has decided to continue with the dialogue in order to restore the multilateral accord, provided that all the parties come back to the negotiating table and do their utmost to reach an agreement.

    Iran showed to the world the peaceful nature of its nuclear program by signing the JCPOA with six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China. But, Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in May 2018 and its subsequent re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran left the future of the deal in limbo.

    Elsewhere in his interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Amir Abdollahian criticized the United States for playing the blame game and accusing Iran of not having the “necessary resolve.”

    “I will tell you expressively that in the past few years, we saw that the US officials were unable to make a decision because of their own internal problems and the pressures they are under. They are still unable to make a courageous decision to return to the JCPOA,” he said.

    The Iranian foreign minister added that the country has shown its initiative on many occasions and “the fact is that we are still on the path of dialogue and we still want to reach an accord.”


    Raisi in Beijing: Iran-China strategic plans go full throttle

    February 17 2023

    Raisi’s visit to Beijing, the first for an Iranian president in 20 years, represents Tehran’s wholesale ‘Pivot to the East’ and China’s recognition of Iran’s centrality to its BRI plans.

    Photo credit: The Cradle

    By Pepe Escobar

    The visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Beijing and his face-to- face meeting with counterpart Xi Jinping is a groundbreaking affair in more ways than one.

    Raisi, the first Iranian president to officially visit China in 20 years, led an ultra high-level political and economic delegation, which included the new Central Bank governor and the Ministers of Economy, Oil, Foreign Affairs, and Trade.

    The fact that Raisi and Xi jointly supervised the signing of 20 bilateral cooperation agreements ranging from agriculture, trade, tourism and environmental protection to health, disaster relief, culture and sports, is not even the major take away.

    This week’s ceremonial sealing of the Iran-China comprehensive strategic partnership marks a key evolution in the multipolarity sphere: two Sovereigns – both also linked by strategic partnerships with Russia – imprinting to their domestic audiences and also to the Global South their vision of a more equitable, fair and sustainable 21st century which completely bypasses western dictates.

    Beijing and Tehran first established their comprehensive strategic partnership when Xi visited Iran in 2016 – only one year after the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iranian nuclear deal.

    In 2021, Beijing and Tehran signed a 25-year cooperation deal which translated the comprehensive partnership into practical economic and cultural developments in several fields, especially energy, trade and infrastructure. By then, not only Iran (for decades) but also China were being targeted by unilateral US sanctions.

    Here is a relatively independent analysis of the challenges and prospects of the 25-year deal. And here is an enlightening perspective from neighboring Pakistan, also a strategic partner of China.

    Iran: gotta modernize everything

    Beijing and Tehran are already actively cooperating in the construction of selected lines of Tehran’s subway, the Tehran-Isfahan high-speed railway, and of course joint energy projects. Chinese tech giant Huawei is set to help Tehran to build a framework for a 5G telecom network.

    Raisi and Xi, predictably, stressed increased joint coordination at the UN and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which Iran is the newest member, as well as a new drive along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

    While there was no explicit mention of it, underlying all these initiatives is the de-dollarization of trade – in the framework of the SCO but also the multipolar BRICS group of states. Iran is set to become one of the new members of BRICS+, a giant step to be decided in their upcoming summit in South Africa next August.

    There are estimates in Tehran that Iran-China annual trade may reach over $70 billion in the mid-term, which will amount to triple the current figures.

    When it comes to infrastructure building, Iran is a key BRI partner. The geostrategy of course is hard to match: a 2,250 km coastline encompassing the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Sea of Oman and the Caspian Sea – and huge land borders with Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Every think tank in China sees how Iran is irreplaceable, not only in terms of BRI land corridors, but also the Maritime Silk Road.

    Chabahar Port may be a prime Iran-India affair, as part of the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) – thus directly linked to the Indian vision of a Silk Road, extending to Central Asia.

    But Chinese port developers do have other ideas, focused on alternative ports along the Persian Gulf and in the Caspian Sea. That will boost shipping connections to Central Asia (Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan), Russia and the Caucasus (Azerbaijan).

    And that makes perfect sense when one combines port terminal development with the modernization of Iran’s railways – all the way to high-speed rail.

    An even more revolutionary development would be China coordinating the BRI connection of an Iranian corridor with the already in progress 3,200 km-long China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), from Kashgar in Xinjiang to Gwadar port in the Indian Ocean.

    That seemed perfectly plausible when Pakistani Prime Minister  Imran Khan was still in power, before being ousted by a lawfare coup. The key of the whole enterprise is to build badly needed infrastructure in Balochistan, on both sides of the border. On the Pakistani side, that would go a long way to smash CIA-fed “insurgents” of the Balochistan Liberation Army kind, get rid of unemployment, and put trade in charge of economic development.

    Afghanistan of course enters the equation – in the form of a China-Afghan-Iran corridor linked to CPEC. Since September 2021, Beijing has explained to the Taliban, in detail, how they may profit from an infrastructure corridor – complete with railway, highway and pipeline – from Xinjiang, across the Wakhan corridor in eastern Afghanistan, through the Hindu Kush, all the way to Iran.

    The core of multipolarity

    Iran is perfectly positioned for a Chinese-propelled boom in high-speed cargo rail, connecting Iran to most of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan).

    That means, in practice, cool connectivity with a major logistics cluster: the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of Khorgos, only 330 km from Almaty on the Kazakh-China border, and only four hours from Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital.

    If China pulls that off, it would be a sort of BRI Holy Grail, interconnecting China and Iran via Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Nothing less than several corridors in one.

    All that is about to happen as the Islamic Revolution in Iran celebrates its 44th year.

    What is already happening now, geopolitically, and fully recognized by China, might be defined as the full rejection of an absurdity: the collective west treating Iran as a pariah or at best a subjugated neo-colony.

    With the diverse strands of the Resistance embedded in the Islamic Revolution finally consolidated, it looks like history is finally propelling Iran as one of the key poles of the most complex process at work in the 21st century: Eurasia integration.

    So 44 years after the Islamic Revolution, Iran enjoys strategic partnerships with the three top BRICS: China, Russia and India.

    Likely to become one of the first new members of BRICS+, Iran is the first West Asian state to become a full member of the SCO, and is clinching a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

    Iran is a major strategic partner of both BRI, led by China, and the INSTC, alongside Russia and India.

    With the JCPOA all but dead, and all western “promises” lying in the dust, Tehran is consolidating its pivot back to the East at breakneck speed.

    What Raisi and Xi sealed in Beijing heralds Chinese pre-eminence all across West Asia – keenly perceived in Beijing as a natural consequence of recognizing and honoring Iran’s regional centrality.

    Iran’s “Look East” strategy could not be more compatible with BRI – as an array of BRI projects will accelerate Iran’s economic development and consolidate its inescapable role when it comes to trade corridors and as an energy provider.

    During the 1980s Tehran was ruled by a “Neither East nor West” strategy – faithful to the tenets of the Islamic Revolution. That has now evolved, pragmatically, into “Look East.” Tehran did try to “Look West” in good faith, but what the US government did with the JCPOA – from its murder to “maximum pressure” to its aborted resuscitation – was quite a historical lesson.

    What Raisi and Xi have just demonstrated in Beijing is the Sovereign way forward. The three leaders of Eurasia integration – China, Russia and Iran – are fast on their way to consolidate the core of multipolarity.    

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    Iran-China strategic partnership: The big picture

    Thursday, 16 February 2023 5:57 PM  [ Last Update: Thursday, 16 February 2023 6:03 PM ]

    The national flags of China and Iran fly in Tiananmen Square during Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi’s visit to Beijing, China, February 14, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

    By Pepe Escobar

    The key takeaway of President Ebrahim Raeisi’s state visit to Beijing goes way beyond the signing of 20 bilateral cooperation agreements.

    This is a crucial inflexion point in an absorbing, complex, decades-long, ongoing historical process: Eurasia integration.   

    Little wonder that President Raeisi, welcomed by a standing ovation at Peking University before receiving an honorary academic title, stressed “a new world order is forming and taking the place of the older one”, characterized by “real multilateralism, maximum synergy, solidarity and dissociation from unilateralisms”.

    And the epicenter of the new world order, he asserted, is Asia.  

    It was quite heartening to see the Iranian president eulogizing the Ancient Silk Road, not only in terms of trade but also as a “cultural bond” and “connecting different societies together throughout history”.

    Raeisi could have been talking about Sassanid Persia, whose empire ranged from Mesopotamia to Central Asia, and was the great intermediary Silk Road trading power for centuries between China and Europe.

    It’s as if he was corroborating Chinese President Xi Jinping’s famed notion of “people to people exchanges” applied to the New Silk Roads. 

    And then President Raeisi jump cut to the inescapable historical connection: he addressed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), of which Iran is a key partner.

    All that spells out Iran’s full reconnection with Asia – after those arguably wasted years of trying an entente cordiale with the collective West. That was symbolized by the fate of the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal: negotiated, unilaterally buried and then, last year, all but condemned all over gain.

    A case can be made that after the Islamic Revolution 44 years ago, a budding “pivot to the East” always lurked behind the official government strategy of “Neither East nor West”.

    Starting in the 1990s that happened to progressively enter in full synch with China’s official “Open Door” policy.

    After the start of the millennium, Beijing and Tehran have been getting even deeper in synch. BRI, the major geopolitical and geoeconomic breakthrough, was proposed in 2013, in Central Asia and Southeast Asia.

    Then, in 2016, President Xi visited Iran, in West Asia, leading to the signing of several memoranda of understanding (MOU), and recently the wide-ranging 25-year comprehensive strategic agreement – consolidating Iran as a key BRI actor.  

    Accelerating all key vectors

    In practice, Raeisi’s visit to Beijing was framed to accelerate all manner of vectors in Iran-China economic cooperation – from crucial investments in the energy sector (oil, gas, petrochemical industry, pipelines) to banking, with Beijing engaged in advancing modernizing reforms in Iran’s banking sector and Chinese banks opening branches across Iran.

    Chinese companies may be about to enter the emerging Iranian commercial and private real estate markets, and will be investing in advanced technology, robotics and AI across the industrial spectrum.

    Sophisticated strategies to bypass harsh, unilateral US sanctions will be a major focus every step of the way in Iran-China relations. Barter is certainly part of the picture when it comes to trading Iranian oil/gas contracts for Chinese industrial and infrastructure deals.

    It’s quite possible that Iran’s sovereign wealth fund – the National Development Fund of Iran – with holdings at estimated $90 billion, may be able to finance strategic industrial and infrastructure projects.

    Other international financial partners may come in the form of the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB) and the NDB – the BRICS bank, as soon as Iran is accepted as a member of BRICS+: that may be decided this coming August at the summit in South Africa. 

    The heart of the matter of the strategic partnership is energy. The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) pulled out of a deal to develop Phase 11 of Iran’s South Pars gas field, adjacent to Qatar’s section.

    Yet CNPC can always come back for other projects. Phase 11 is currently being developed by the Iranian energy company Petropars.

    Energy deals – oil, gas, petrochemical industry, renewables – will boom across what I dubbed Pipelineistan in the early 2000s.

    Chinese companies will certainly be part of new oil and gas pipelines connecting to the existing Iranian pipeline networks and configuring new pipeline corridors.

    Already established Pipelineistan includes the Central Asia-China  pipeline, which connects to China’s West-East pipeline grid, nearly  7,000 km from Turkmenistan to the eastern China seaboard; and the Tabriz-Ankara pipeline (2,577 km, from northwest Iran to the Turkish capital). 

    Then there’s one of the great sagas of Pipelineistan: the IP (Iran-Pakistan) gas pipeline, previously known as the Peace Pipeline, from  South Pars to Karachi.

    The Americans did everything in the book – and off the books – to stall it, delay it or even kill it. But IP refused to die; and the China-Iran strategic partnership could finally make it happen.

    A new geostrategic architecture

    Arguably, the central node of the China-Iran strategic partnership is the configuration of a complex geostrategic economic architecture:  connecting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship of BRI, to a two-pronged Iran-centered corridor.

    This will take the form of a China-Afghanistan-Iran corridor and a China-Central Asia-Iran corridor, thus forming what we may call a geostrategic China-Iran Economic Corridor.

    Beijing and Tehran, now on overdrive and with no time to lose, may face all manner of challenges – and threats – from the Hegemon; but their 25-year strategic deal does honor historically powerful trading/ merchant civilizations now equipped with substantial manufacturing/ industrial bases and with a serious tradition in advanced scientific innovation.

    The serious possibility of China-Iran finally configuring what will be a brand new, expanded strategic economic space, from East Asia to West Asia, central to 21st century multipolarity, is a geopolitical tour de force.

    Not only that will completely nullify the US sanction obsession; it will direct Iran’s next stages of much needed economic development to the East, and it will boost the whole geoeconomic space from China to Iran and everyone in between.

    This whole process – already happening – is in many aspects a direct consequence of the Empire’s “until the last Ukrainian” proxy war against Russia.  

    Ukraine as cannon fodder is rooted in Mackinder’s heartland theory:  world control belongs to the nation that controls the Eurasian land mass.

    This was behind World War I, where Germany knocking out Russia created fear among the Anglo-Saxons that should Germany knock out France it would control the Eurasian land mass.

    WWII was conceived against Germany and Japan forming an axis to control Europe, Russia and China. 

    The present, potential WWIII was conceived by the Hegemon to break a friendly alliance between Germany, Russia and China – with Iran as a privileged West Asia partner.

    Everything we are witnessing at this stage spells out the US trying to break up Eurasia integration.

    So it’s no wonder that the three top existential “threats” to the American oligarchy which dictates the “rules-based international order” are The Three Sovereigns: China, Russia and Iran.  

    Does that matter? Not really. We have just seen that while the dogs (of war) bark, the Iran-China strategic caravan rolls on.

    Pepe Escobar is a Eurasia-wide geopolitical analyst and author. His latest book is Raging Twenties.

    (The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV)

    Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:


    Iran, China sign 20 new agreementsated Stories

    14 Feb 21:59 

    Source: Agencies

    By Al Mayadeen English 

    The leaders of China and Iran agreed to boost bilateral cooperation in the service of their mutual interests.

    In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Ebrahim Raisi, left, shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in an official welcoming ceremony in Beijing, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023 (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

    Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited Beijing, on Tuesday, where he met his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, and signed 20 new bilateral cooperation agreements as well as a memorandum of understanding.

    The Sino-Iranian meeting sought to discuss the implementation of a comprehensive strategic partnership between Tehran and Beijing. The bilateral cooperation agreements covered, according to Tasnim, fields namely economy, information technology, crisis management, tourism, fields, environment, international trade, intellectual property, agriculture, exports, health and medical sector, media activities, as well as sports and cultural heritage.

    Tasnim also reported that according to the head of the Iran-China chamber of commerce in Tehran, Iran will establish a commercial office in China to promote economic dealings with Chinese businessmen.

    Sovereignty, integrity, cooperation

    Jinping and Raisi, in a joint statement, held that they stand against foreign interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign states. In that regard, the two leaders vowed mutual efforts to protect the territorial integrity of both countries, China and Iran.

    Raisi, according to China Central Television, said “Both Iran and China are strongly against the policy of unilateral actions, hegemony, and bullying as well as foreign interference in domestic affairs.”

    In turn, Xi explained that Beijing will boost cooperation with Tehran in the service of mutual interests.

    “China supports Iran in its effort to protect state sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national dignity. It supports Iran in confronting the policy of unilateral actions and intimidation. China is also against the interference of foreign powers in Iran’s domestic affairs,” Xi stated.

    Raisi, during his visit, also thanked China for its support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic as well as acknowledged Chinese efforts in the international arena, specifically, on matters pertaining to the Vienna talks.

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    Iran celebrates 44th anniversary of Islamic Revolution with nationwide rallies

    Saturday, 11 February 2023 6:25 AM  [ Last Update: Saturday, 11 February 2023 10:49 AM ]

    Iranians mark the 44th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in the capital Tehran on February 11, 2023. (Photo by IRNA)

    Millions of Iranians have taken to the streets across the country to celebrate the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed Pahlavi regime in 1979.

    The rallies in the capital Tehran began at 9:30 a.m. local time (06:00 GMT) on Saturday, with demonstrators from various social strata and different parts of the city marching toward the iconic Azadi (Freedom) Square.

    People waved photos of the late founder of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, and legendary General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in a 2020 US terrorist attack in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, as well as the martyrs of the Revolution.

    Iranian people mark the 44th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in the capital Tehran on February 11, 2023. (Photo by Fars news agency)

    The flight of colored balloons and iridescent papers from the Azadi Tower, the performance of professional parachutists of the Armed Forces and the mass recital of Iran’s national anthem were among the celebratory events held in the Azadi Square.

    On the eve of the 44th anniversary, fireworks displays were performed in Tehran and other cities at 9:00 p.m. overnight, as people chanted Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest) in an expression of support for the Islamic Revolution. 

    Covered by 6,000 media personnel across the country, the foot processions, which came after three years of motorcade marches due to the coronavirus pandemic, were held in 1,400 Iranian cities and 38,000 villages.

    An Iranian demonstartor flashes the victory sign on the 44th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in the capital Tehran on February 11, 2023. (Photo by Fars news agency)

    The mass rallies on the 22nd of Bahman in the Solar Calendar, which corresponds with February 11, are held each year with tremendous patriotic fervor in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    The Iranian nation overthrew the despotic regime of Pahlavi, which was fully supported by the United States in the winter of 1979. The struggle against the shah regime reached full fruition on February 11, 1979.

    By December 1978, millions of Iranians had taken to the streets in protest against the policies of the shah – Shah – on a regular basis.

    Imam Khomeini returned to Iran from exile on February 1, 1979. He was received by millions of people weeks after the departure of the shah in mid-January 1979.

    The collapse of the Pahlavi regime became certain on February 11 when the military renounced its loyalty to the shah and joined the Revolution.

    Raeisi: Bahman 22nd day of victory of ‘truth over falsity’

    Delivering a speech at the Azadi Square, Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi lauded the 22nd of Bahman as the day of the triumph of “truth over falsity,” the day of the victory of “the oppressed over the arrogant,” and the realization of the “miracle of the century.”

    Raeisi said the epic day put an end to tyranny and dependence and marked the beginning of independence, freedom and the Islamic Republic, adding that the day brought about the crystallization of the will of the great nation of Iran.

    Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi delivers a speech at the iconic Azadi (Freedom) Square on the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in the capital Tehran on February 11, 2023. (Photo by
    Crowds of millions in Iran… Why?

    Stressing that both the establishment and the continuation of the Pahlavi regime was against the nation’s will and accompanied with a coup d’état, the Iranian president said, “They committed crimes and treason during their rule, and they were unconcerned about [Iranian people’s] great capacities, and only cared for the pleasure of the global hegemony and the United States.”

    “Pahlavi’s despotic rule only brought backwardness to this nation and country,” Raeisi added, “They came to power against the principles of the Constitution and with a coup.”

    ‘Enemy cannot stand Iran’s achievements’

    Pointing to the country’s achievements in various areas, including science and technology, economy, defense, health and medicine, Raeisi said, “Today, we rank first in the region in many fields and we are in the fourth, fifth and sixth place in many arenas in the world. This is for our self-discovery, self-confidence, and reliance on God. Our dear nation has conquered many peaks but the enemy cannot stand it.”

    The president said when the enemy saw that the country was progressing in all fields and was not stalled, they started hatching another plot and thought that they could stop the country with chaos.

    “They implemented the chaos project and thought that they could bring the country to a standstill with turmoil, and for this reason, they launched a hybrid war in this field,”

    Raeisi noted, referring to the recent violent riots after the mid-September death of a woman in Tehran.

    “They initiated a combined work in the form of a political, economic, media, psychological and perceptual warfare, unaware that the Iranian nation knows them and their tricks.”

     The president underlined, “Today, despite the threats and sanctions, Islamic Iran enjoys the growth of fixed capital, investment growth, economic growth, and growth in other indices.”

    Iran in ‘claimant’ position in nuclear issue

    Elsewhere in his speech, Raeisi said Iran stands in the position of a “claimant” in the nuclear issue, adding, “We have accepted the inspections of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and these inspections continue. The agency has for 15 times announced that Iran has no involvement in nuclear activities, but this is you who have a nuclear warhead, you have a nuclear bomb, and you are in the position of the accused.”

    Pointing to the fight against terrorism, Raeisi said Iran is also in the position of the claimant, noting, “You formed, supported and armed Daesh; and scourged the lives of Muslim people, but the Islamic Republic sacrificed dear General Soleimani in the fight against Daesh. You are the accused and must be held accountable to the world and humanity.”

    The Iranian president also touched on the issue of Palestine and Afghanistan, saying, “Seventy years of oppression of the Palestinian people as well as 35,000 disabled children is the result of your presence in Afghanistan…You committed crimes and acted against human rights, you must answer why you violated human rights so much.”

    Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

    Iran commemorates the victory of the revolution.. What messages?

    The Big Stiff: Russia-Iran dump the dollar and bust US sanctions

    February 09 2023

    News of Russian banks connecting to Iran’s financial messaging system strengthens the resistance against US-imposed sanctions on both countries and accelerates global de-dollarization.  

    Photo credit: The Cradle

    By Pepe Escobar

    The agreement between the Central Banks of Russia and Iran formally signed on 29 January connecting their interbank transfer systems is a game-changer in more ways than one.

    Technically, from now on 52 Iranian banks already using SEPAM, Iran’s interbank telecom system, are connecting with 106 banks using SPFS, Russia’s equivalent to the western banking messaging system SWIFT.

    Less than a week before the deal, State Duma Chairman Vyachslav Volodin was in Tehran overseeing the last-minute details, part of a meeting of the Russia-Iran Inter-Parliamentary Commission on Cooperation: he was adamant both nations should quickly increase trade in their own currencies.

    Ruble-rial trade

    Confirming that the share of ruble and rial in mutual settlements already exceeds 60 percent, Volodin ratified the success of “joint use of the Mir and Shetab national payment systems.” Not only does this bypass western sanctions, but it is able to “solve issues related to mutually beneficial cooperation, and increasing trade.”

    It is quite possible that the ruble will eventually become the main currency in bilateral trade, according to Iran’s ambassador in Moscow, Kazem Jalali: “Now more than 40 percent of trade between our countries is in rubles.”

    Jalali also confirmed, crucially, that Tehran is in favor of the ruble as the main currency in all regional integration mechanisms. He was referring particularly to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), with which Iran is clinching a free trade deal.

    The SEPAM-SPFS agreement starts with a pilot program supervised by Iran’s Shahr Bank and Russia’s VTB Bank. Other lenders will step in once the pilot program gets rid of any possible bugs.

    The key advantage is that SEPAM and SPFS are immune to the US and western sanctions ruthlessly imposed on Tehran and Moscow. Once the full deal is up and running, all Iranian and Russian banks can be interconnected.

    It is no wonder the Global South is paying very close attention. This is likely to become a landmark case in bypassing Belgium-based SWIFT – which is essentially controlled by Washington, and on a minor scale, the EU. The success of SEPAM-SPFS will certainly encourage other bilateral or even multilateral deals between states.

    It’s all about the INSTC

    The Central Banks of Iran and Russia are also working to establish a stable coin for foreign trade, replacing the US dollar, the ruble, and the rial. This would be a digital currency backed by gold, to be used mostly in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of Astrakhan, in the Caspian Sea, already very busy moving plenty of Iranian cargo.

    Astrakhan happens to be the key Russian hub of the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), a vast network of ship, rail, and road routes which will drastically increase trade from Russia – but also parts of Europe – across Iran to West Asia and South Asia, and vice-versa.

    And that reflects the full geoconomic dimension of the SEPAM-SPFS deal. The Russian Central Bank moved early to set up SPFS in 2014, when Washington began threatening Moscow with expulsion from SWIFT. Merging it with the Iranian SEPAM opens up a whole new horizon, especially given Iran’s ratification as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and now a leading candidate to join the extended BRICS+ club.

    Already three months before the SEPAM-SPFS agreement, the Russian Trade Representative in Iran, Rustam Zhiganshin, was hinting that the decision “to create an analog of the SWIFT system” was a done deal.

    Tehran had been preparing the infrastructure to join Russia’s Mir payment system since last summer. But after Moscow was hit with extremely harsh western sanctions and Russian banks were cut off from SWIFT, Tehran and Moscow decided, strategically, to focus on creating their own non-SWIFT for cross-border payments.

    All that relates to the immensely strategic geoeconomic role of the INSTC, which is a much cheaper and faster trade corridor than the old Suez Canal route.

    Russia is Iran’s largest foreign investor

    Moreover, Russia has become Iran’s largest foreign investor, according to Iranian Deputy Finance Minister Ali Fekri: this includes “$2.7 billion worth of investment to two petroleum projects in Iran’s western province of Ilam in the past 15 months.” That’s about 45 percent of the total foreign investment in Iran over the October 2021 – January 2023 period.

    Of course the whole process is in its initial stages – as Russia-Iran bilateral trade amounts to only US$3 billion annually. But a boom is inevitable, due to the accumulated effect of SEPAM-SPFS, INSTC, and EAEU interactions, and especially further moves to develop Iran’s energy capacity, logistics, and transport networks, via the INSTC.

    Russian projects in Iran are multi-faceted: energy, railways, auto manufacturing, and agriculture. In parallel, Iran supplies Russia with food and automotive products.

    Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, is fond of reminding anyone that Russia and Iran “play complementary roles in global energy and cargo transit.” The Iran-EAEU free agreement (FTA) is nearly finalized – including zero tariffs for over 7,500 commodities.

    In 2022, the EAEU traded more than $800 billion worth of goods. Iran’s full access to the EAEU will be inestimable in terms of providing a market gateway to large swathes of Eurasia – and bypassing US sanctions as a sweet perk. A realistic projection is that Tehran can expect $15 billion annual trade with the five members of the EAEU in five years, as soon as Iran becomes the sixth member.

    The legacy of Samarkand

    Everything we are tracking now is in many ways a direct consequence of the SCO summit in Samarkand last September, when Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, in person, placed their bet on strengthening the multipolar world as Iran signed a memorandum to join the SCO.

    Putin’s private talks with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Samarkand were all about deep strategy.

    The INSTC is absolutely crucial in this overall equation. Both Russia and Iran are investing at least $25 billion to boost its capabilities.

    Ships sailing the Don and Volga Rivers have always traded energy and agricultural commodities. Now Iran’s Maritime News Agency has confirmed that Russia will grant their ships the right of passage along the inland waterways on the Don and Volga.

    Meanwhile, Iran is already established as the third largest importer of Russian grain. From now on, trade on turbines, polymers, medical supplies, and automotive parts will be on a roll.

    Tehran and Moscow have signed a contract to build a large cargo vessel for Iran to be used at the Caspian port of Solyanka. And RZD logistics, a subsidiary of Russian railway RZD, operates container cargo trains regularly from Moscow to Iran. The Russian Journal for Economics predicts that just the freight traffic on INTSC could reach 25 million tons by 2030 – no less than a 20-fold increase compared to 2022.

    Inside Iran, new terminals are nearly ready for cargo to be rolled off ships to railroads crisscrossing the country from the Caspian to the Persian Gulf. Sergey Katrin, head of Russia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is confident that once the FTA with the EAEU is on, bilateral trade can soon reach $40 billion a year.

    Tehran’s plans are extremely ambitious, inserted in an “Eastern Axis” framework that privileges regional states Russia, China, India, and Central Asia.

    Geostrategically and geoeconomically, that implies a seamless interconnection of INSTC, EAEU, SCO, and BRICS+. And all of this is coordinated by the one Quad that really matters: Russia, China, India, and Iran.

    Of course there will be problems. The intractable Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict might be able to derail the INSTC: but note that Russia-Iran connections via the Caspian can easily bypass Baku if the need arises.

    BRICS+ will cement the dollar’s descent

    Apart from Russia and Iran, Russia and China have also been trying to interface their banking messaging systems for years now. The Chinese CBIBPS (Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payments System) is considered top class. The problem is that Washington has directly threatened to expel Chinese banks from SWIFT if they interconnect with Russian banks.

    The success of SEPAM-SPFS may allow Beijing to go for broke – especially now, after the extremely harsh semiconductor war and the appalling balloon farce. In terms of sovereignty, it is clear that China will not accept US restrictions on how to move its own funds.

    In parallel, the BRICS in 2023 will delve deeper into developing their mutual financial payments system and their own reserve currency. There are no less than 13 confirmed candidates eager to join BRICS+ – including Asian middle powers like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia.

    All eyes will be on whether – and how – the $30 trillion-plus indebted US will threaten to expel BRICS+ from SWIFT.

    It’s enlightening to remember that Russia’s debt to GDP ratio stands at only 17 percent. China’s is 77 percent. The current BRICS without Russia are at 78 percent. BRICS+ including Russia may average only 55 percent. Strong productivity ahead will come from a BRICS+ supported by a gold and/or commodities-backed currency and a different payment system that bypasses the US dollar. Strong productivity definitely will not come from the collective west whose economies are entering recessionary times.

    Amid so many intertwined developments, and so many challenges, one thing is certain. The SEPAM-SPFS deal between Russia and Iran may be just the first sign of the tectonic plates movement in global banking and payment systems.

    Welcome to one, two, one thousand payment messaging systems. And welcome to their unification in a global network. Of course that will take time. But this high-speed financial train has already left the station.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    Exclusive: Resistance culture undergoing war – Jamileh Alamolhoda

    January 23, 2023

    Source: Al Mayadeen

    Private Dialogue | Dr. Jamila Alamolhoda – Wife of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

    By Al Mayadeen English 

    Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s wife, Jamileh Alamolhoda, tells Al Mayadeen that Iran is standing in the face of western patriarchal hegemony through cultural resistance.

    Iran is one of the few countries that want to stand in the face of the West’s patriarchal standards, and this is why the West is suppressing Iran, Dr. Jamileh Alamolhoda, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s wife, told Al Mayadeen during an interview that aired Monday.

    Alamolhoda explained to Al Mayadeen that there was a widespread media campaign aimed at undermining the culture of Iranian resistance, especially resistance stemming from Iranian women.

    She went on to explain that media patriarchy was “taking over the world, and truth be told, they founded a new definition of the woman and introduced a new feminist culture based on their own standards, demanding that all other cultures yield. In the event that someone stands up to them, they suppress them.”

    Alamolhoda underlined that if Iranian, Arab, Chinese, or Japanese women reject the Western standards regarding media patriarchy, they would be condemned because of the prevalent form of media repression, which props up only two options: fall in line or perish.

    “This attack on women targets all cultures, but the culture of resistance against the culture of hegemony, or in better words, the cultural hegemony that America wants to impose on other cultures is manifested today in the countries of the axis of resistance and is engaging in cultural resistance,” she said.

    “They usually look at the issue of resistance from the military aspect only, but the basis of that military resistance is cultural resistance acquired from women within the family and in their upbringing methods,” she stressed.

    Furthermore, according to Alamolhoda, the culture of resistance may be acquired from schools and universities, allowing the main supporters of cultural resistance to be the mothers or wives of those martyred in occupied Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq, among other countries.

    She also explained that both cultures were prevalent in Iran, “and the question remains, what is the woman’s true choice? But when some resort to riots and violence with the aim of destabilizing security and order, the government cannot but intervene.”

    The doctor touched on the rallying of the media against Iran, saying there were around two hundred TV channels that were inciting the masses against the culture of Iranian resistance, especially when it comes to Iranian women. “We have a few friends in the world who share the same thinking, such as Al Mayadeen and Al Manar channels.”

    Finally, she directed a message to the women of Iran, the Arab world, and the resistance, which she said also included the women of Africa and Latin America – “everyone seeking salvation from the hegemony of American culture.” She said: “we advise them to review the principles set by Imam Khomeini and those of the leader of the Revolution, reciting the Quran again, and going through the Hadiths to remind themselves of the views and opinions of the Noble Prophet (PBUH).”

    This comes against the backdrops of the riots that took place in Iran over alleged violations of human rights and amid accusations of misogyny directed at Iran. 

    Iran’s Intelligence Ministry and the Intelligence Organization of the IRGC issued a statement in late October taking a jab at the role of foreign spy agencies, especially the CIA, in puppeteering the riots in Iran that took place in September.

    “Numerous examples and undeniable references of the all-out role of the American terrorist regime in designing, implementing, and maintaining” the riots were exposed as part of “continuous and precise” intelligence monitoring in the past year, supported by documents, the statement read.

    The statement pointed fingers at the CIA as it “played the main role” while being buddy-buddy with the espionage services of the UK, “Israel” and Saudi Arabia.

    “The main perpetrators were the CIA, the British and Saudi intelligence services, the Israeli Mossad, and the intelligence services of other countries,” it read. “the planning and the execution of the majority of the riots were carried out by the Mossad in collaboration with terrorist organizations.”

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    Iran to designate EU armies terrorist if anti-IRGC resolution passes

    January 22, 2023 

    Source: Agencies

    By Al Mayadeen English 

    The Iranian Parliament Speaker says Iran will use its tools to counter decisions such as the European Parliament’s anti-IRGC decision.

    Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf

      Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf underlined on Sunday that Iran will designate European armies as terrorists in response to the European Parliament’s decision to pass a resolution calling on the European Union to classify Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) as a “terrorist” organization.

      During an open parliament session, Qalibaf condemned the European Parliament’s decision and considered it showed that the pro-Zionist front has caused European countries to commit serious miscalculations.

      The Iranian Parliament Speaker stressed that his country will use its tools to counter such decisions, adding that European countries have taken the wrong way against Iran’s interests.

      Qalibaf noted that the IRGC and regional people have overthrown the US-backed ISIS terrorist group, highlighting that the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps is the most unique anti-terrorist organization in the world that eliminated ISIS’ global threat.

      Elsewhere, the Iranian official condemned the European countries’ sponsoring of media terrorism against Iran during the recent riots in the country.

      Any anti-IRGC moves are doomed to failure: Raisi

      Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi said on Sunday that the IRGC plays a key role in combating the terrorists.

      Iran’s President made the remarks in the Iranian parliament in reaction to the recent move by the European Parliament to designate the IRGC as a “terrorist” entity.

      Any anti-IRGC moves are doomed to failure, he stressed, and no armed forces have combatted the terrorists like the IRGC did and still does, he further noted.

      Regional armies admit the reality, he said, noting that any measures against the IRGC, like the other miscalculations of Europe, are doomed to failure.

      The region would witness a different situation if the IRGC and martyr Soleimani were not on the scene, he underlined.

      European Parliament shot itself in the foot: Amir-Abdollahian

      On his part, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned that Tehran will respond to the European Union Parliament’s blacklisting of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

      Referring to his presence in a closed session of the Iranian parliament (Majlis) on Sunday, FM Amirabdollahian said on Twitter that the European Parliament shot itself in the foot by proscribing the IRGC in a vote held earlier this week.

      “The Majlis plans to reciprocate by including army elements of the European countries in (Iran’s) terrorism list,” said the Minister in his tweet that was written in Farsi, adding that parliament members had appreciated efforts by the IRGC to protect Iran’s national security.

      Qalibaf’s remarks came one day after he issued a joint statement along with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Judiciary Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, deeming the European Parliament’s anti-IRGC decision as a part of the bigger anti-Iran hybrid war.

      During their meeting at the Iranian presidential compound, Raisi, Qalibaf, and Mohseni-Ejei condemned the decision and underlined support for the IRGC.

      “The IRGC is a part of the military power and armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has been the source of meritorious service with a brilliant record in the defense of the glorious land of Iran for more than 40 years,” the three said in their statement.

      On Friday, a member of the Iranian parliament’s presidium, Ahmad Naderi, also warned that the Iranian parliament will enforce legislative amendments that would recognize the armed forces of EU member states under the category of terrorist organizations if the EU proceeds to place the IRGC on its “terror list”.

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      Saudi Crown Prince Defies the US Policy against Syria

      Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

      In November 2022, Saudi Arabia formally changed its stance on Syria. Saudi Arabia is the political powerhouse of the Middle East, and often shares positions on foreign policy and international issues with the UAE, which has previously re-opened their embassy in Damascus.

      “The kingdom is keen to maintain Syria’s security and stability and supports all efforts aimed at finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told the November Arab League summit in Algeria.

      Syria was suspended from the Arab League in 2011 following the outbreak of conflict instigated by the US, and portrayed in western media as a popular uprising of pro-democracy protesters.

      Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said, “The developments in Syria still require a pioneering Arab effort. It is necessary to show flexibility from all parties so that the economic collapse and political blockage can be dispelled. Syria must engage in its natural Arab environment.”

      The next Arab League summit will be held in Saudi Arabia, and there is a possibility of Syria once again taking its seat at the round table.

      On January 16, the Syrian Foreign Ministry agreed to resume imports from Saudi Arabia after over a decade of strained relations, and Syria planned to import 10,000 tons of white sugar. This development signals a new beginning between the two countries.

      Saudi and the Syrian tribes

      The Arab tribes in the north east of Syria have traditionally had strong ties with Saudi Arabia, and have received support from the kingdom. The tribes have opposed the ethnic cleansing and forced displacement of Arab villages which the US-led YPG militia has conducted for years. Even though Saudi Arabia has been viewed as a US ally in the past, this has changed since the US military has supported the Marxist YPG who have oppressed Syrians who are not Kurdish.

      The US occupied oil wells in north east Syria may come under attack by Arab tribes who are demanding their homes, farms and businesses back from the US-supported YPG.  Some analysts foresee the US troops pulling out of Syria after the Kurds find a political solution with Damascus.

      Turkey and Syria repair relationship

      Turkey and Syria have begun steps to repair their relationship, which ended after Turkey supported the US-NATO attack on Syria for regime change, and hosted the CIA operations room funneling weapons and terrorists into Syria, under the Obama administration.

      Syrian President Bashar al-Assad demanded recently the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syria to begin to repair the relationship.

      Russia is brokering the reconciliation between Erdogan and Assad, which began with the Moscow hosted meeting of the three defense ministers, and a meeting between the three foreign ministers is upcoming.

      The developments between Turkey and Syria are being watched by Iran. Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said his country was “happy with the dialogue taking place between Syria and Turkey.” Amirabdollahian will travel to Damascus on Saturday for talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Mekdad.

      Iran is looking to establish a new role in the recovery process in Syria. President Ebrahim Raisi will visit both Turkey and Syria soon, his first visit to Turkey since taking office two years ago.  While analysts see Saudi Arabia and Iran as antagonists, some feel the kingdom will ultimately realize they have to work with Iran in Syria and Lebanon.  Iran is part of the region and can’t be excluded from the geo-political sphere.

      Saudi Arabian reforms 

      Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) said on April 27, 2021 that the country was undergoing a sweeping reform which would restructure the role of religion in Saudi politics and society.  The process began a few years before he became crown prince, but under his leadership it has accelerated. Islamic institutions in the Kingdom have seen changes in procedure, personnel, and jurisdiction.  All of these reforms are in line with the future vision of the country.

      Some analysts feel the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1960s eventually gave rise to support for domestic religious institutions, and eventually led to funding of religious activities abroad, while religious leaders at home wielded power over public policy.

      Vision 2030

      Saudi King Salman, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and his son, MBS have a plan for the country which is known as Vision 2030.  MBS is also Prime Minister and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs.

      The days of unlimited oil and markets are in the decline. Education, training, and employment opportunities are the stepping stones to building a thriving country and MBS is determined to plan for a long future of growth and innovation.


      The Crown Prince is young and has new ideas.  He is instituting sweeping reforms to the society which have included more rights and freedoms for women. He has championed projects to place Saudi Arabia as a tourist destination, year round golf and soccer venue, and encouraged cultural arts such as musical productions. MBS is breaking the mold: no longer will Saudi Arabia be a breeding ground for Radical Islam.

      Extremist preachers

      Saudi Arabia had hosted many extremist preachers.  Some were featured on satellite TV channels located in Saudi Arabia, and others were local preachers, authors, or scholars.  Some had traveled abroad preaching in pulpits and exporting their hatred and sectarian bigotry.

      One of the most famous preachers was Muhammed Al-Arifi, who has had an electronic surveillance device attached to him by Saudi intelligence agents, after they seized all of his social media accounts. His last tweet is said to be on May 6, 2019, when he had 20 million followers, and 24 million likes on Facebook, which ranked him as tenth in the Arab world and in the Middle East. The kingdom is shutting down clerics who are extreme.

      In 2014, Great Britain banned Arifi from entering the UK following reports that was involved in radicalizing three young British citizens who went to Syria as terrorists.

      A YouTube video in 2013 showed Arifi preaching in Egypt and prophesying the coming of the Islamic State.  Egyptian TV reported Arifi meeting with the former Muslim Brotherhood prime minister Hisham Qandil in his office.

      Arifi is best remembered for his statement on the media Al Jazeera in which he called for jihad in Syria and supported Al Qaeda.

      Adnan al-Arour is another extremist preacher who had appeared regularly on two Saudi-owned Salafist satellite channels. Arour was originally from Syria before settling in Saudi Arabia, and in the early days of the Syrian conflict he would stand up on camera, shake his finger, and called for his followers to ‘grind the flesh’ of an Islamic minority sect in Syria and ‘feed it to the dogs’.

      These extremist preachers made it clear that the battles being waged in Syria had nothing to do with freedom or democracy, which the western media was pushing as the goal.  The truth was the conflict in Syria was a US-NATO attack for regime change and utilized terrorists following Radical Islam, who fought a sectarian war with the goal of establishing an Islamic State in Syria.

      The previous Crown Prince

      Muhammad bin Nayef Al Saud (MBN) served as the crown prince and first deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia from 2015 to 2017.  On June 21, 2017 King Salman appointed his own son, MBS, as crown prince and relieved MBN of all positions.

      MBN met with British Prime Minister David Cameron in January 2013. He then met with President Obama in Washington, on 14 January 2013. The discussion focused on the US-NATO attack on Syria and its support from Saudi Arabia.

      In February 2014, MBN replaced Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then intelligence chief of Saudi Arabia, and was placed in charge of Saudi intelligence in Syria. Bandar had been in charge of supporting the US attack on Syria. Bandar had been trying to convince the US in 2012 that the Syrian government was using chemical weapons.  However, research has shown that the terrorists used chemical weapons to push Obama into a military invasion, based on his speech of ‘The Red Line’.

      In March 2016, MBN was awarded Légion d’honneur by French President François Hollande, another partner in the US-NATO attack on Syria.

      On February 10, 2017, the CIA granted its highest Medal to MBN and was handed to him by CIA director Mike Pompeo during a reception ceremony in Riyadh. MBN and Pompeo discussed Syria with Turkish officials, and said Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the US was “historic and strategic”.  Just months later in June MBS would depose MBN and strip him of powers, in a move considered to be “upending decades of royal custom and profoundly reordering the kingdom’s inner power structure”.

      US diplomats argued that MBN was “the most pro-American minister in the Saudi Cabinet”. That is what brought MBN down. The days of blindly following the US directives are over in Saudi Arabia.  MBS has refused to bow down to Biden when he demanded an increase in oil production.  The Vision 2030 that MBS developed does not include financing failed wars in the Middle East for the benefit of the Oval Office. MBS has a strained relationship with Biden, and he wears it as a badge of honor.

      Saudi role in the Syrian war

      Saudi Arabia played a huge role in the large-scale supply of weapons and ammunition to various terrorist groups in Syria during the Syrian conflict.  Weapons purchased in Croatia were funneled through Jordan to the border town of Deraa, the epi-center of the Syrian conflict.

      At the height of Saudi involvement in Syria, the kingdom had their own militia in Syria under the command of Zahran Alloush. The Jaysh al-Islam are remembered for parading women in cages through the Damascus countryside prior to massacring them.

      In summer 2017, US President Donald Trump shut down the CIA operation ‘Timber Sycamore’ which had been arming the terrorists fighting in Syria. About the same time, Saudi Arabia cut off support to the Syrian opposition, which was the political arm of the terrorists.

      Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, expressed his view at the time that “Saudi Arabia is involved in the ISIS-led Sunni rebellion” in Syria.

      Syria has been destroyed by the US and their allies who supported the attack beginning in 2011.  Now, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are looking to find a solution which will help the Syrian people to rebuild their lives.  Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia have turned away from past policies which found them supporting the conflict in Syria at the behest of the US.  There is a new Middle East emerging which makes its own policies and is not subservient US interests.

      Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist

      Putin Tells Raisi in Phone Call: Russia Ready to Upgrade Cooperation with Iran

      January 20, 2023

      By Staff, Agencies

      Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country is ready to upgrade cooperation with Iran in different fields as he held talks with President Raisi for the second time in less than ten days.

      The Iranian and Russian presidents discussed bilateral ties and regional developments during a phone conversation initiated by the Kremlin on Thursday.

      During the phone conversation, Raisi stressed the need to boost bilateral cooperation and coordination in various fields.

      He also described as “positive and constructive” the agreements between the two countries for expanding cooperation in the fields of energy and transit.

      For his part, Putin said Moscow is ready to boost cooperation with Tehran in the areas of energy as well as transit.

      Iran and Russia are working to advance the North-South corridor which will facilitate transportation and greatly reduce transportation time.

      In 2002, Russia, Iran, and India signed an agreement for the International North-South Transport Corridor [INSTC], a 7,200 km multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road route for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

      The INSTC is seen a game-changer that will shorten the distance and lower the cost of transportation from South Asia to Europe through Iran and Russia and potentially serve as an alternative to the Suez Canal for East-West trade.

      The two leaders also discussed the situation in Syria during the conversation. Raisi stressed that Iran supports solving the Syrian crisis through the Astana Format.

      Putin also highlighted the role of Astana talks in solving the Syrian conflict, noting that all sides are committed to the format.

       Iran and Russia, as the allies of the Syrian government, as well as Turkey, which sides with the opposition, set up the Astana peace process in January 2017 intending to put an end to the Syrian conflict through the involvement of the Syrian government and the opposition.

      The leaders of Russia and Iran also agreed “to maintain contacts at different levels,” the Kremlin’s press service said, TASS reported.

      The two leaders had discussed issues of mutual interest on January 18. Raisi had then expressed Iran’s readiness to play a positive intermediary role in ending the war between Russia and Ukraine.

      “The Islamic Republic invariably lays emphasis on the [importance of] strengthening of regional convergence and [points out] the detrimental effect of the foreign intervention [in the region],” he said then while referring to developments in the Caucasus region and Syria.

      The latest phone conversation comes a year after Raisi made a two-day visit to Moscow. After arriving in Tehran on January 21, 2022, Raisi told reporters that “fundamental agreements” on expanding all-out bilateral relations were clinched during the trip.

      أمير عبد اللهيان من دمشق: تدخلنا للحيلولة دون عملية عسكرية تركية في سوريا

      السبت 14 كانون الثاني 2023

      وزيرا خارجيتي إيران وسوريا يؤكدان أهمية تجديد وثيقة التعاون الاستراتيجي، ويشددان على أهمية التحالف بين دمشق وطهران على مستوى البلدين والمنطقة.

      وزيرا خارجية إيران حسين أمير عبد اللهيان وسوريا فيصل المقداد خلال مؤتمر صحافي في دمشق

      أكّد وزيرا خارجيتي سوريا وإيران، فيصل المقداد وحسين أمير عبد اللهيان، أهمية العلاقات الثنائية واستمرار التعاون المشترك في قضايا متعدّدة، أبرزها المشاكل الحدودية والخدمات والشؤون الإقليمية.

      وجاء تصريحا الوزيرين خلال مؤتمر صحافي مشترك، اليوم السبت، في العاصمة السورية دمشق.

      من جهته، أعلن أمير عبد اللهيان أنّ الرئيس السوري، بشار الأسد، وجّه دعوة إلى نظيره الإيراني إبراهيم رئيسي من أجل زيارة دمشق.

      وأكد أنّ طهران “ستبذل كل الجهود لإجراء هذه الزيارة”.

      وأوضح وزير الخارجية الإيراني أنّ “العلاقات بين دمشق وطهران في أفضل أحوالها”، وأنّ “الرئيس الأسد أكّد أنّ قيادتي البلدين عازمتان على تعزيز العلاقات الثنائية”.

      وأضاف أنه توصّل “مع الوزير المقداد إلى الاتفاق على تجديد وثيقة التعاون الاستراتيجي بين البلدين”.

      وشدد على أن هناك “عدداً من الاتفاقيات التي وُقِّعت بين البلدين، ويتمّ تنفيذها حالياً”.

      وتطرّق الوزير الإيراني إلى التوتر الحدودي بين تركيا وسوريا، على خلفية التهديدات التركية بعمليات عسكرية في الأراضي السورية، واستمرار الاعتداءات على مناطق حدودية بين البلدين، وقال إنّه “عندما علمنا باحتمال شنّ القوات العسكرية التركية هجوماً في شمالي سوريا، تدخلنا للحيلولة دون ذلك”.

      وأعرب أمير عبد اللهيان عن “سعادة إيران بنجاح اتصالاتها بسوريا وتركيا في ترجيح الحوار بين البلدين”.

      وتحدّث الوزير الإيراني عن التعاون بين إبران وسوريا في المجال الخدماتي، وأكّد أنّ “التعاون بين طهران ودمشق مستمر في كل المجالات، ولا سيما في مجال الطاقة”.

      وكشف أمير عبد اللهيان أنه أجرى “مباحثات بشأن إنشاء محطات للكهرباء في سوريا”.

      وضع سكة جديدة للعلاقات

      بدوره، أكد وزير الخارجية السوري، فيصل المقداد، أهمية التحالف بين إيران وسوريا، متسائلاً  أمام الصحافيين “تصوروا لو لم يكن لسوريا بلد حليف كالجمهورية الإسلامية. ماذا كان سيحدث؟”.

      وقال إنّ اللقاء الذي جمعه بنظيره الإيراني يهدف إلى “وضع سكّة جديدة للعلاقة بين إيران وسوريا”.

      وتطرّق الوزير السوري إلى الأزمات الخدماتية التي يعانيها أبناء المناطق السورية في الشمال، قرب الحدود التركية والعراقية، من جرّاء ممارسات المجموعات المسلحة التي ترعاها قوات الاحتلال الأميركي.

      وتوجّه المقداد بالتحية إلى “أهلنا في الجزيرة السورية على ما يتحمّلونه من قطع للمياه”.

      وأكّد أن “سياسة الذين يقطعون المياه عن أهلنا ستصل إلى نهايتها قريباً”.

      التحرّك التركي في اتجاه إعادة العلاقات بسوريا

      وفيما يتعلق بالتحرك التركي في اتجاه استعادة العلاقات بدمشق، والذي بدأ منذ أشهر برعاية روسيا وتأييد إيراني، أكّد المقداد أنّ سوريا “في كلّ تحركاتها منذ عام 2011 حتى هذه اللحظة، تسعى لإنهاء الإرهاب الذي عكر علاقاتنا بتركيا”.

      وأكّد المقداد أنّ “اللقاء بين الرئيس الأسد والقيادة التركية يعتمد على إزالة أسباب الخلاف”.

      وشدد على أنه “يجب خلق البيئة الملائمة من أجل عقد لقاءات على مستويات أعلى مع القيادة التركية”.

      وأوضح الوزير السوري أنه “لا يمكن الحديث عن إعادة العلاقات الطبيعية بتركيا من دون إزالة الاحتلال”.

      وأضاف أنّ “التنسيق مع طهران في مختلف الإطارات الإقليمية والدولية يؤكد التزام إيران وحدة أراضي سوريا وسيادتها”.

      ولفت المقداد إلى أنّ الشأن الفلسطيني كان حاضراً في اجتماع الوزيرين، مشيراً إلى أنّ “الرئيس الأسد كرّر موقف سوريا بشأن الجرائم التي يرتكبها الاحتلال بحق الفلسطينيين” خلال اللقاء مع نظيره الإيراني.

      التنسيق مع طهران يكتسب أهمية قصوى

      وكان الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد استقبل، في وقت سابق اليوم السبت، وزير الخارجية الإيراني والوفد المرافق له. وأكّد الجانبان، خلال المحادثات، “العلاقات الوثيقة والتاريخية بين البلدين، والتعاون الثنائي القائم في مختلف المجالات”.

      وأكّد الأسد، خلال اللقاء، أنّ دمشق “حريصة على التواصل المستمر وتنسيق المواقف مع إيران بصورة دائمة، ولا سيما أنّ إيران كانت من أوائل الدول التي وقفت إلى جانب الشعب السوري في حربه ضدّ الإرهاب”.

      وشدد على أنّ “هذا التنسيق يكتسب أهمية قصوى في هذا التوقيت بالذات، الذي يشهد تطورات إقليمية ودولية متسارعة من أجل تحقيق المصالح المشتركة للبلدين”.

      وأوضح الرئيس السوري أنّ “الدولة السورية تنطلق دائماً في كل مواقفها من حرصها على مصالح الشعب السوري”.

      وبيّن أنّ دمشق “لن تسير إلى الأمام في الحوارات (مع تركيا) إلا إذا كان هدفها إنهاء الاحتلال ووقف دعم التنظيمات الإرهابية”. 

      بدوره، أكّد الوزير عبد اللهيان أنّ “سوريا بلد مهم ومؤثر، ولذلك فإن قوة وتنمية سوريا يعني قوة وتنمية المنطقة عموماً وإيران خصوصاً”.

      وأكد أنّ “البلدين يقفان في خندق واحد ويتبادلان الدعم القوي لبعضهما الآخر”.

      كما شدد عبد اللهيان، بعد لقائه الأسد، على أنّ بلاده “لديها ثقة كاملة بالمواقف والقرارات السورية، وهي ترى أنّ أيّ حوار جاد بين دمشق وأنقرة هو خطوة إيجابية لمصلحة البلدين والمنطقة”.

      وتطرق الحديث أيضاً، خلال اللقاء، إلى المحادثات التي أجراها وزير الخارجية الإيراني مع مختلف الأطراف في مؤتمر “بغداد 2″، والذي انعقد في عمّان أواخر الشهر الماضي، والمناقشات الجارية من أجل استئناف المحادثات المتعلقة بالملف النووي الإيراني.

      ونقل الوزير الإيراني إلى الرئيس الأسد تحيات المرشد الإيراني،ـ السيد علي خامنئي، والرئيس الإيراني إبراهيم رئيسي.

      وكان أمير عبد اللهيان وصل، مساء الخميس، إلى بيروت، في زيارة رسمية للبنان استمرت ثلاثة أيام، التقى خلالها نظيره عبد الله بو حبيب ورئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري ورئيس حكومة تصريف الأعمال نجيب ميقاتي، بالإضافة إلى عددٍ من الشخصيات السياسية وممثلي الأحزاب اللبنانية والفلسطينية. 

      كذلك التقى الوزير الإيراني الأمين العام لحزب الله، السيد حسن نصر الله، بحيث تم عرض آخر التطورات والأوضاع السياسية في لبنان وفلسطين ‏والمنطقة.

      ومن المقرر أن يتوجّه أمير عبد اللهيان بعد زيارته بيروت ودمشق إلى موسكو، الأسبوع المقبل، ليلتقي نظيره الروسي سيرغي لافروف، من أجل استئناف خطة العمل الشاملة المشتركة بشأن الاتفاق النووي الإيراني، والاتفاق على منطقة تجارة حرّة بين إيران وروسيا.

      اقرأ أيضاً: أمير عبد اللهيان من بيروت: مستعدون لتزويد لبنان بالفيول وتأهيله بمعامل للكهرباء

      فيديوات متعلقة

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      Raisi promises to avenge assassination of martyr Soleimani

      January 3, 2023

      Source: Agencies

      By Al Mayadeen English 

      Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi commemorates IRGC Quds Force commander martyred leader Qassem Soleimani on the third anniversary of his martyrdom.

      A child carrying a poster commemorating martyred leaders Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis

      Martyr Major General Qassem Soleimani was a prominent and influential figure on the battlefields of resistance, and he took incredibly unique steps in his line, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Tuesday on the third anniversary of the martyrdom of Maj Gen Soleimani and Popular Mobilization Forces Vice President Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.

      “Martyr Soleimani worked on and developed the structure of resistance in the region without religious or sectarian discrimination, and it wanted to defend the region from evil,” Raisi underlined. 

      Furthermore, the Iranian President highlighted that Soleimani was a prime model in combatting arrogance and terrorism, noting that he defeated ISIS and undermined the US all over the world.

      “The Americans wanted to rob the peoples of their identity, but martyr Soleimani was working on building and underscoring peoples’ identities,” Raisi said.

      “Just as commander Soleimani fended off your expansionist plans, today, martyr Soleimani will quell you once again,” Raisi said. “The Iranian people thwarted your plans of war that you waged in all areas,” Raisi told the enemies of the Islamic Republic.

      “We will never forget the blood of martyr Soleimani and know that he will be avenged eventually,” the Iranian President added. “This large crowd and those similar to it all over the world are telling you that you have lost all of these wars, and you will meet a similar fate in all of your upcoming wars.”

      Meanwhile, martyr Soleimani’s daughter, Zeinab, called on all of the leaders of the axis of resistance to adhere to the path and line of the martyr and to safeguard his views while fulfilling the rights of the Iranian people.

      “The Iranian people have made strides this year, and I thank you dearly for all you have offered so far,” Soleimani added.

      During a meeting with the family of martyr Soleimani and the officials of the General Soleimani Commemoration Ceremonies, Iranian leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei considered that breathing a new spirit into the Resistance front was an outstanding and essential part of Soleimani’s endeavors.

      The Iranian leader explained that “by strengthening the physical, spiritual and mental aspects of the Resistance, the General preserved, equipped and revived this everlasting and growing phenomenon against the Zionist regime and the influence of the US and other arrogant countries.”

      Khamenei pointed out that the testimony of Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah about General Soleimani’s struggles is a great means for understanding the importance of the martyr’s work in reviving the Resistance.

      “General Soleimani used the experience that he had attained during the period of the Holy Defense as well as the advice of his comrades to strengthen the Resistance by relying on the internal capacities of these same countries,” he highlighted.

      The Iranian leader praised Soleimani’s accomplishments and referred to the manner in which the martyr uprooted the terrorist acts of ISIS, pointing out that General Soleimani had done very well in that test.

      On January 3, 2020, the US carried out a drone strike authorized by former US president Donald Trump targeting a car carrying the commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC General Qassem Soleimani, and his Iraqi trench-mate and the second-in-command of Iraqi PMU (Popular Mobilization Units), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

      Martyr Soleimani was on an official visit to Iraq and was transported in a car with Martyr al-Muhandis from Baghdad’s International Airport upon his arrival before being assassinated by the US.

      Days after his martyrdom, the anti-terror icon’s body was transferred to Iran and was laid to rest in his hometown of Kerman. On Saturday, the head of the special committee in charge of the case, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, confirmed Iran is in the final stages of releasing an official indictment on the murder of IRGC’s Quds Force Commander. 

      The US, as it does business, as usual, has attempted to block the legal case prosecution. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, noted that “unfortunately, both the Americans and some other western countries are creating obstacles in the way of judiciary procedure, but the Islamic Republic of Iran, too, is not hand-tied.”

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      Iran: Indictment on case of Martyr Soleimani’s assassination near

      31 Dec 2022


      By Al Mayadeen English 

      The head of the Iranian special committee in charge of the case, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, says that the US committed an unforgivable crime.

      The head of the Iranian special committee responsible for pursuing the legal case of the assassination of Martyr Qassem Soleimani, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei.

      Iran is in the final stages of releasing an official indictment on the case of the murder of IRGC’s Quds Force Commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, by the United States back in 2020, according to an Iranian official.

      The head of the special committee in charge of the case, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, said on Saturday that the Judiciary in the Islamic Republic and the foreign ministry have taken measures to accurately follow the case.

      “In the criminal aspect, the indictment related to this case is nearing its final stages and we hope that it will reach good result,” he said.

      Kadkhodaei made the announcement during an event on the fight against terrorism and extremism in West Asia.

      On January 3 of 2020, the US carried out a drone strike authorized by former US president Donald Trump targeting a car carrying the commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC General Qassem Soleimani, and his Iraqi trench-mate and the second-in-command of Iraqi PMU (Popular Mobilization Units), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

      Martyr Soleimani was on an official visit to Iraq and was being transported in a car with Martyr al-Muhandis from Baghdad’s International Airport upon his arrival, before being assassinated by the US.

      “This is an unforgivable crime and the American officials who committed this crime and accepted responsibility for it must be tried and punished for their action,” Kadkhodaei, who is an advisor to the foreign minister, continued.

      “The US tries to resort to every means to secure its illegitimate interests.”

      During an address to the 77th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last September, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi raised a picture of the former commander of the Quds Force and called for punishing former US President Donald Trump, who ordered the assassination of Soleimani in a barbaric and illegal manner.

      “The previous president of the United States [Trump] effectively managed to sign the document of the savage crime, an illegal crime, an immoral crime,” he indicated.

      It’s noteworthy that earlier this month, former Iraqi PM Mustafa Kadhimi had local lawmakers contemplating his arrest for allegedly being involved in the assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani by the US in 2020.

      A senior official in the State of Law Coalition, Fadel al-Zerigawi, stated during an interview with Iraqi news outlet Shafaq News last Monday that Kadhimi is hiding inside the US embassy.

      Although Kadhimi previously vowed to expel all foreign military forces from the country, US troops remained but were given the option to “rename” their position as “advisory roles”.

      Read more: 

      Raisi Meets Shia, Sunni Clerics of Kurdistan

      December 2, 2022

      By Staff, Agencies

      Iranian President Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi held talks with Sunni and Shia clerics in Kurdistan Province during his one-day trip to the western region on Thursday.

      The president met the clerics after taking part in the congregational prayers at noon.

      During the talks, the clerics spoke about their issues of concern and raised their demands. The president listened to them patiently and issued required orders to address their problems.

      Before that meeting, Raisi met with the families of some of the victims of the recent unrest in Kurdistan, including the families of the security forces killed in the violence.

      He said that security is a red line for the Islamic Republic, adding that all those who have caused trouble for people during the recent riots should be brought to justice.

      Raisi also said that the same movement, which has always been hostile to the Islamic Republic and tried to create insecurity in Kurdistan during the first years after the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, tried to misuse the recent events to again target the security in the province.

      But the movement failed in its attempts due to resistance by the people of Kurdistan province, Raisi underlined.

      Also, during his trip to Kurdistan, the president inaugurated the project to supply drinkable water to the provincial capital Sanandaj.

      The project, which transfers water from Azad Dam to the purification facility in the city, was completed over a course of 20 months.

      It is among mega water projects that Raisi’s administration is conducting in urban areas.

      Interaction of Independent States to Neutralize Sanctions: Raisi

       November 23, 2022

      Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi

      President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi described closer cooperation among independent countries facing cruel embargoes as an effective way to counter the sanctions.

      In a meeting with Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko, held in Tehran on Wednesday, Raisi said, “The promotion and strengthening of relations among the countries that have been the target of cruel sanctions because of their efforts to preserve their independence is an effective way to nullify and evade the sanctions.”

      Hailing the friendly ties between Tehran and Minsk, the president highlighted Iran’s major economic progress under the pressure of cruel and unprecedented sanctions, and noted, “Today, Iran and Belarus have diverse and remarkable capacities for the promotion of interactions.”

      He also said that the “serious determination” of the Iranian and Belarusian officials would remove the obstacles to the expansion of ties between the two countries.

      For his part, Golovchenko said Iran’s push to strengthen regional cooperation has opened up new vistas for the enhancement of ties between Belarus and Iran.

      Pointing to the friendly relations and constructive cooperation between the two countries at the international level, the prime minister said the time has come for the expansion of economic ties considering that the political coordination has reached the highest level.

      He went on to say that Belarus has formulated a road map to the promotion of relations with Iran and seeks to implement it rapidly.

      Source: Iranian media (edited by Al-Manar English Website)


      Russia, India, China, Iran: the Quad that really matters

      Tuesday, 15 November 2022 3:55 PM 

      By Pepe Escobar

      Southeast Asia is right at the center of international relations for a whole week viz a viz three consecutive summits: Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Phnom Penh, the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Bali, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok.  

      Eighteen nations accounting for roughly half of the global economy represented at the first in-person ASEAN summit since the Covid-19 pandemic in Cambodia: the ASEAN 10, Japan, South Korea, China, India, US, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand. 

      With characteristic Asian politeness, the summit chair, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (or “Colombian”, according to the so-called “leader of the free world”), said the plenary meeting was somewhat heated, but the atmosphere was not tense: “Leaders talked in a mature way, no one left.”

      It was up to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to express what was really significant at the end of the summit.

      While praising the “inclusive, open, equal structure of security and cooperation at ASEAN”, Lavrov stressed how Europe and NATO “want to militarize the region in order to contain Russia and China’s interests in the Indo-Pacific.”

      A manifestation of this policy is how “AUKUS is openly aiming at confrontation in the South China Sea,” he said.

      Lavrov also stressed how the West, via the NATO military alliance, is accepting ASEAN “only nominally” while promoting a completely “unclear” agenda. 

      What’s clear though is how NATO “has moved towards Russian borders several times and now declared at the Madrid summit that they have taken global responsibility.”

      This leads us to the clincher: “NATO is moving their line of defense to the South China Sea.” And, Lavrov added, Beijing holds the same assessment.

      Here, concisely, is the open “secret” of our current geopolitical incandescence. Washington’s number one priority is the containment of China. That implies blocking the EU from getting closer to the key Eurasia drivers  – China, Russia, and Iran – engaged in building the world’s largest free trade/connectivity environment.

      Adding to the decades-long hybrid war against Iran, the infinite weaponizing of the Ukrainian black hole fits into the initial stages of the battle.

      For the Empire, Iran cannot profit from becoming a provider of cheap, quality energy to the EU. And in parallel, Russia must be cut off from the EU. The next step is to force the EU to cut itself off from China.

      All that fits into the wildest, warped Straussian/neo-con wet dreams: to attack China, by emboldening Taiwan, first Russia must be weakened, via the instrumentalization (and destruction) of Ukraine.

      And all along the scenario, Europe simply has no agency.     

      Putin, Raeisi and the Erdogan track

      Real life across key Eurasia nodes reveals a completely different picture. Take the relaxed get-together in Tehran between Russia’s top security official Nikolai Patrushev and his Iranian counterpart Ali Shamkhani last week.

      They discussed not only security matters but also serious business – as in turbo-charged trade.

      The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) will sign a $40 billion deal next month with Gazprom, bypassing US sanctions, and encompassing the development of two gas fields and six oilfields, swaps in natural gas and oil products, LNG projects, and the construction of gas pipelines.

      Immediately after the Patrushev-Shamkhani meeting, President Putin called President Ebrahim Raeisi to keep up the “interaction in politics, trade and the economy, including transport and logistics,” according to the Kremlin.

      Iranian president reportedly more than “welcomed” the “strengthening” of Moscow-Tehran ties.

      Patrushev unequivocally supported Tehran over the latest color revolution adventure perpetrated under the framework of the Empire’s endless hybrid war.

      Iran and the EAEU are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in parallel to the swap deals with Russian oil. Soon, SWIFT may be completely bypassed. The whole Global South is watching.

      Simultaneous to Putin’s phone call, Turkiye’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan – conducting his own diplomatic overdrive, and just back from a summit of Turkic nations in Samarkand – stressed that the US and the collective West are attacking Russia “almost without limits”. 

      Erdogan made it clear that Russia is a “powerful” state and commended its “great resistance”.

      The response came exactly 24 hours later. Turkish intelligence cut to the chase, pointing out that the terrorist bombing in the perpetually busy Istiklal pedestrian street in Istanbul was designed in Kobane in northern Syria, which essentially responds to the US.

      That constitutes a de-facto act of war and may unleash serious consequences, including a profound revision of Turkiye’s presence inside NATO.

      Iran’s multi-track strategy

      A Russia-Iran strategic alliance manifests itself practically as a historical inevitability. It recalls the time when the erstwhile USSR helped Iran militarily via North Korea, after an enforced US/Europe blockade.

      Putin and Raeisi are taking it to the next level. Moscow and Tehran are developing a joint strategy to defeat the weaponization of sanctions by the collective West.

      Iran, after all, has an absolutely stellar record of smashing variants of “maximum pressure” to bits. Also, it is now linked to a strategic nuclear umbrella offered by the “RICs” in BRICS (Russia, India, China).

      So, Tehran may now plan to develop its massive economic potential within the framework of BRI, SCO, INSTC, the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), and the Russian-led Greater Eurasia Partnership.

      Moscow’s game is pure sophistication: engaging in a high-level strategic oil alliance with Saudi Arabia while deepening its strategic partnership with Iran.

      Immediately after Patrushev’s visit, Tehran announced the development of an indigenously built hypersonic ballistic missile, quite similar to the Russian KH-47 M2 Khinzal.

      And the other significant news was connectivity-wise: the completion of part of a railway from strategic Chabahar Port to the border with Turkmenistan. That means imminent direct rail connectivity to the Central Asian, Russian and Chinese spheres. 

      Add to it the predominant role of OPEC+, the development of BRICS+, and the pan-Eurasian drive to pricing trade, insurance, security, investments in the ruble, yuan, rial, etc.

      There’s also the fact that Tehran could not care less about the endless collective West procrastination on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as Iran nuclear deal: what really matters now is the deepening relationship with the “RICs” in BRICS. 

      Tehran refused to sign a tampered-with EU draft nuclear deal in Vienna. Brussels was enraged; no Iranian oil will “save” Europe, replacing Russian oil under a nonsensical cap to be imposed next month.

      And Washington was enraged because it was betting on internal tensions to split OPEC.  

      Considering all of the above, no wonder US ‘Think Tankland’ is behaving like a bunch of headless chickens.  

      The queue to join BRICS

      During the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand last September, it was already tacit to all players how the Empire is cannibalizing its closest allies.

      And how, simultaneously, the shrinking NATO-sphere is turning inwards, with a focus on The Enemy Within, relentlessly corralling average citizens to march in lockstep behind total compliance with a two-pronged war – hybrid and otherwise – against imperial peer competitors Russia and China.

      Now compare it with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Samarkand presenting China and Russia, together, as the top “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity.

      Samarkand also reaffirmed the strategic political partnership between Russia and India (Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it an unbreakable friendship).

      That was corroborated by the meeting between Lavrov and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar last week in Moscow.

      Lavrov praised the strategic partnership in every crucial area – politics, trade and economics, investment, and technology, as well as “closely coordinated actions” at the UN Security Council, BRICS, SCO and the G20.

      On BRICS, crucially, Lavrov confirmed that “over a dozen countries” are lining up for membership, including Iran: “We expect the work on coordinating the criteria and principles that should underlie BRICS expansion to not take much time”.

      But first, the five members need to analyze the ground-breaking repercussions of an expanded BRICS+. 

      Once again: contrast. What is the EU’s “response” to these developments? Coming up with yet another sanctions package against Iran, targeting officials and entities “connected with security affairs” as well as companies, for their alleged “violence and repressions”.

      “Diplomacy”, collective West-style, barely registers as bullying.

      Back to the real economy – as in the gas front – the national interests of Russia, Iran and Turkiye are increasingly intertwined; and that is bound to influence developments in Syria, Iraq, and Libya, and will be a key factor to facilitate Erdogan’s re-election next year.

      As it stands, Riyadh for all practical purposes has performed a stunning 180-degree maneuver against Washington via OPEC+. That may signify, even in a twisted way, the onset of a process of unification of Arab interests, guided by Moscow.

      Stranger things have happened in modern history. Now appears to be the time for the Arab world to be finally ready to join the Quad that really matters: Russia, India, China, and Iran.

      (The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

      Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:


      “بوليتيكو”: طهران ستسلم موسكو سلاحها الفعّال في وجه العقوبات

      الاحد 13 تشرين ثاني 2023

      المصدر: وسائل إعلام أميركية

      ذكرت صحيفة “بوليتيكو” أن طهران ستسلم موسكو مخططات سلاحها الأكثر فعالية للتهرب من العقوبات، في الوقت الذي تواجه فيه روسيا عقوبات أميركية وغربية بعد بدء الحرب على أوكرانيا.

      “بوليتيكو” تقول إن تسليم إيران روسيا مخططاتها لتخطي العقوبات سيعطي بوتين الوقت والمرونة في الحرب ضد أوكرانيا.

      نقلت صحيفة “بوليتيكو” الأميركية، عن دبلوماسيين غربيين إنّ “إيران تستعد لتسليم موسكو مخططات سلاحها الأكثر فعالية ضد الغرب التي تتمثل بالشبكة المالية السرية التي تعتمد عليها للتهرب من العقوبات”.

      وأشارت الصحيفة إلى أنّ “طهران، أحبطت لسنوات الجهود الأميركية لعزلها وتجويع اقتصادها من خلال بناء عالم مواز من الشركات والبنوك، بما في ذلك المؤسسات المالية الكبرى التي تتخذ من أوروبا والولايات المتحدة مقراً لها، والتي تستخدمها الشركات الإيرانية للتهرب من الضوابط الدولية وإجراء الأعمال التجارية في الخارج”.

      وأضافت أنه “في الوقت الذي تواجه فيه روسيا عزلةً دوليةً متزايدة بسبب الحرب في أوكرانيا، عرضت إيران، كما يقول دبلوماسيون غربيون، مشاركة خبراتها في فن التهرب من العقوبات”. 

      ونقلت الصحيفة عن الدبلوماسيين إنّ “سلسلة من الاجتماعات الأخيرة بين كبار المسؤولين الروس والإيرانيين، بمن فيهم رئيس البنك المركزي الإيراني علي صالح الله آبادي ونائب وزير الاقتصاد علي فكري، تضمنت وضع الأساس لهذا التعاون”.

      كما أضافت “بوليتيكو” أنّه “إذا تمكنت موسكو من نسخ النظام الإيراني، فقد تأمل في تخفيف تأثير العديد من العقوبات التي تواجهها، خاصةً في قطاعي النفط والغاز، الذي يشكل العمود الفقري لاقتصادها”.

      واعتبرت أنّ “من شأن مثل هذا النظام أن يمنح الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين قدراً أكبر من المرونة والوقت في الحرب ضد أوكرانيا”.

      وأشار الدبلوماسيون الذين أصدروا التحذير بشأن تقنيات التهرب من العقوبات، إلى أن البنوك الغربية، مثل “كومرتس بنك” الألماني و”دويتشه بنك”، وكذلك “سيتي غروب” في الولايات المتحدة، لعبت دوراً في مساعدة إيران على الاستمرار في جني عائدات التصدير من خلال المعاملات السرية، بحسب ما ذكرت الصحيفة.

      وقالت إنّ “الخطر يكمن في أن نفس البنوك الغربية – سواء عن قصد أو عن غير قصد – يمكن أن تنجر من قبل روسيا إلى نفس النمط من التجارة”.

      كذلك، ذكرت الصحيفة الأميركية أنه “في حين أثّرت العقوبات الأميركية سلباً على الناتج الاقتصادي الإيراني، فإن شبكة الظل المالية في طهران ضمنت استمرار الاقتصاد”. 

      وأشارت في معرض حديثها عن الاقتصاد الإيراني إلى أن “التضخم والبطالة في إيران مرتفعان، إلا أن اقتصادها أظهر مؤخراً علامات على الحياة، حيث نما بأكثر من 4% في السنة المالية الماضية وحدها وفقاً للبنك الدولي”.

      وبلغت التجارة الخارجية الإيرانية نحو 100 مليار دولار العام الماضي، ووصلت إلى أعلى مستوى لها منذ أن أعادت واشنطن فرض العقوبات، بحسب “بوليتيكو”.

      كما ذكرت أن “صادرات النفط الإيرانية انخفضت إلى النصف تقريباً في ظل العقوبات إلى حوالي 1 مليون برميل يومياً، إلا أن طهران نجحت في الوقت نفسه في الحفاظ على تجارةٍ قوية في مجالات أخرى، مثل البتروكيماويات والمعادن”.

      وقالت إنه “على الرغم من انخفاض حجم النفط، استفادت البلاد مؤخراً من ارتفاع الأسعار، حيث تضاعفت عائدات التصدير العام الماضي إلى حوالي 19 مليار دولار”، مذكّرةً بتصريح للبنك الدولي يقول فيه إن “ما يدفع تعافي النفط الإيراني هو الصادرات غير المباشرة إلى الصين”.

      وذكرت في هذا السياق، إنّ “النفط الإيراني جذابٌ للصين، ويرجع ذلك أساساً إلى أنه رخيص نسبياً” بالنسبة للسوق العالمي.

      وقامت الولايات المتحدة ودول أوروبية، بفرض عقوبات واسعة على روسيا بسبب حربها على أوكرانيا.

      وناقش الرئيسان الروسي فلاديمير بوتين والإيراني ابراهيم رئيسي أمس في اتصال هاتفي، تعزيز العلاقات التجارية والتعاون الاقتصادي المستدام، بالإضافة إلى زيادة وتيرة الزيارات الدبلوماسية والاقتصادية بين البلدين.

      مواضيع متعلقة

      Rewiring Eurasia: Mr. Patrushev goes to Tehran

      The meeting this week between two Eurasian security bosses is a further step toward dusting away the west’s oversized Asian footprint.

      November 10 2022

      Photo Credit: The Cradle

      By Pepe Escobar

      Two guys are hanging out in a cozy room in Tehran with a tantalizing new map of the world in the background.

      Nothing to see here? On the contrary. These two Eurasian security giants are no less than the – unusually relaxed – Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

      And why are they so relaxed? Because the future prospects revolving around the main theme of their conversation – the Russia-Iran strategic partnership – could not be more exciting.

      This was a very serious business affair: an official visit, at the invitation of Shamkhani.

      Patrushev was in Tehran on the exact same day that Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu – following a recommendation from General Sergey Surovikin, the overall commander of the Special Military Operation – ordered a Russian retreat from Kherson.

      Patrushev knew it for days – so he had no problem to step on a plane to take care of business in Tehran. After all, the Kherson drama is part of the Patrushev negotiations with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Ukraine, which have been going on for weeks, with Saudi Arabia as eventual go-between.

      Besides Ukraine, the two discussed “information security, as well as measures to counter interference in the internal affairs of both countries by western special services,” according to a report by Russia’s TASS news agency.

      Both countries, as we know, are particular targets of western information warfare and sabotage, with Iran currently the focus of one of these no-holds-barred, foreign-backed, destabilization campaign.

      Patrushev was officially received by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who went straight to the point: “The cooperation of independent countries is the strongest response to the sanctions and destabilization policies of the US and its allies.”

      Patrushev, for his part, assured Raisi that for the Russian Federation, strategic relations with Iran are essential for Russian national security.

      So that goes way beyond Geranium-2 kamikaze drones – the Russian cousins of the Shahed-136 – wreaking havoc in the Ukrainian battlefield. Which, by the way, elicited a direct mention later on by Shamkhani: “Iran welcomes a peaceful settlement in Ukraine and is in favor of peace based on dialogue between Moscow and Kiev.”

      Patrushev and Shamkhani of course discussed security issues and the proverbial “cooperation in the international arena.” But what may be more significant is that the Russian delegation included officials from several key economic agencies.

      There were no leaks – but that suggests serious economic connectivity remains at the heart of the strategic partnership between the two top sanctioned nations in Eurasia.

      Key in the discussions was the Iranian focus on fast expansion of bilateral trade in national currencies – ruble and rial. That happens to be at the center of the drive by both the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS towards multipolarity. Iran is now a full SCO member – the only West Asian nation to be part of the Asian strategic behemoth – and will apply to become part of BRICS+.

      Have swap, will travel

      The Patrushev-Shamkhani get together happened ahead of the signing, next month, of a whopping $40 billion energy deal with Gazprom, as previously announced by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mahdi Safari.

      The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has already clinched an initial $6.5 billion deal. All that revolves around the development of two gas deposits and six oilfields; swaps in natural gas and oil products; LNG projects; and building more gas pipelines.

      Last month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak announced a swap of 5 million tons of oil and 10 billion cubic meters of gas, to be finished by the end of 2022. And he confirmed that “the amount of Russian investment in Iran’s oil fields will increase.”

      Barter of course is ideal for Moscow and Tehran to jointly bypass interminably problematic sanctions and payment settlement issues – linked to the western financial system. On top of it, Russia and Iran are able to invest in direct trade links via the Caspian Sea.

      At the recent Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, Raisi forcefully proposed that a successful “new Asia” must necessarily develop an endogenous model for independent states.

      As an SCO member, and playing a very important role, alongside Russia and India, in the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), Raisi is positioning Iran in a key vector of multilateralism.

      Since Tehran entered the SCO, cooperation with both Russia and China, predictably, is on overdrive. Patrushev’s visit is part of that process. Tehran is leaving behind decades of Iranophobia and every possible declination of American “maximum pressure” – from sanctions to attempts at color revolution – to dynamically connect across Eurasia.


      Iran is a key Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partner for China’s grand infrastructure project to connect Eurasia via road, sea, and train. In parallel, the multimodal Russian-led INSTC is essential to promote trade between the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia – at the same time solidifying Russia’s presence in the South Caucasus and the Caspian Sea region.

      Iran and India have committed to offer part of Chabahar port in Iran to Central Asian nations, complete with access to exclusive economic zones.

      At the recent SCO summit in Samarkand, both Russia and China made it quite clear – especially for the collective west – that Iran is no longer going to be treated as a pariah state.

      So it is no wonder Iran that is entering a new business era with all members of the SCO under the sign of an emerging financial order being designed mostly by Russia, China and India. As far as strategic partnerships go, the ties between Russia and India (President Narendra Modi called it an unbreakable friendship) is as strong as those between Russia and China. And when it comes to Russia, that’s what Iran is aiming at.

      The Patrushev-Shamkhani strategic meeting will hurl western hysteria to unseen levels – as it completely smashes Iranophobia and Russophobia in one fell swoop. Iran as a close ally is an unparalleled strategic asset for Russia in the drive towards multipolarity.

      Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are already negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in parallel to those swaps involving Russian oil. The west’s reliance on the SWIFT banking messaging system hardly makes any difference to Russia and Iran. The Global South is watching it closely, especially in Iran’s neighborhood where oil is commonly traded in US dollars.

      It is starting to become clear to anyone in the west with an IQ above room temperature that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal), in the end, does not matter anymore. Iran’s future is directly connected to the success of three of the BRICS: Russia, China and India. Iran itself may soon become a BRICS+ member.

      There’s more: Iran is even becoming a role model for the Persian Gulf: witness the lengthy queue of regional states aspiring toward gaining SCO membership. The Trumpian “Abraham Accords?” What’s that? BRICS/SCO/BRI is the only way to go in West Asia today.

      The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

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