Khamenei: We Will Shred ‘Nuclear Deal’ if Trump Tears it Apart

London – Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday Tehran would commit to its 2015 nuclear deal with international powers as long as the US Congress did not impose sanctions against his country.

However, he threatened to “shred” the agreement if the United States pulled out, state TV reported.

Khamenei’s remarks came five days after US President Donald Trump decertified the Iranian nuclear deal, asking the Congress to address the “many serious flaws” in the international agreement.

“I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws,” Trump warned.

“In the event, we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.”

In his first response to Trump, Khamenei said: “I don’t want to waste our time to respond to the rants and whoppers of the foul-throated president of the United States.”

“If the US tears up the deal, we will shred it… Everyone should know that once again America will receive a slap in its mouth and will be defeated by Iranians,” the Iranian leader added.

Although Khamenei expressed his relief with the position of the European Union countries in support of the nuclear agreement, he said that it not enough to tell Trump not to tear up the agreement.

“European states stressed their backing for the deal and condemned Trump … We welcomed this, but it is not enough to ask Trump not to rip up the agreement. Europe needs to stand against practical measures (taken) by America,” he stated.

Following a closed-door meeting on Monday, EU foreign ministers appealed to the US Congress to maintain the nuclear deal with Iran and avoid a return to the sanctions option.

“This agreement is necessary for the security of the region,” EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said, without elaborating on the role the EU could play in countering Iran’s regional activities.

In a joint statement, Paris, London, and Berlin have also expressed concern about the “repercussions on the security of the United States and its allies” that would result from the actions demanded by Trump.

In decertifying the nuclear deal last week, Trump gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to impose economic sanctions on Tehran, which were lifted under the 2015 agreement.

During their meeting on Monday, EU foreign ministers also discussed the need to dismantle Iran’s missile program.

“They must avoid interfering in our defense program … We do not accept that Europe sings along with America’s bullying and its unreasonable demands,” Khamenei said, as reported by Reuters.

“They (Europeans) ask why does Iran have missiles? Why do you have missiles yourselves? Why do you have nuclear weapons?” He asked.

IRGC Says No to Abandoning Ballistic Missile Program, Military Base Inspection

Commander of the Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Division says Brig.Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh, confirms the refusal of his forces to give up the development of the ballistic program in Qom Monday speech

London- Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani vowed on Monday that Tehran will end its nuclear obligations should the United States withdraw from the nuclear deal, while the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards refused to halt the cleric-led nation’s development of its ballistic program.

Commander of the Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Division says Brig.Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that Tehran will not stop boosting its missile capabilities under any circumstances, shrugging off US President Donald Trump’s call for constraints on Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Speaking at a cultural ceremony in the city of Qom on Monday, Brig.Gen.Hajizadeh said that “[even] if a wall is constructed all around the country, the production of missiles will not be halted because this is a completely indigenous and domestic industry,” he said.

The Iranian official’s remarks were made as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Washington will be working with allies to face threats posed by Tehran.

“We’re going to work with our European partners and allies to see if we can’t address these concerns,” said Tillerson.

On the other hand, Brig.Gen.Hajizadeh pointed to Washington’s hostile approaches to Tehran and added that “the US enmity is an unchangeable issue and strategy. [Therefore,] its tactics may change but the strategy itself never changes.”

The IRGC commander was also cited as playing down concerns about a possible war against Iran, saying “this is the enemy’s psychological warfare and our country is so strong that no one will dare attack or confront the Islamic Republic.”

He emphasized that US statesmen were under the influence of Zionists blasting US policy as “dictated by the Zionists.”

US President Donald Trump on October 13 refused to formally certify that Iran was complying with the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and warned that he might ultimately terminate the agreement.

While Trump did not pull Washington out of the nuclear deal, he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to re-impose economic sanctions against Tehran that were lifted under the pact. Re-imposing sanctions would put the US at odds with other signatories to the accord and the European Union.

Trump also said his goal was to ensure Iran would never obtain a nuclear weapon, adding: “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.”

Rouhani Rejects Trump’s Speech: We will Remain in Nuclear Deal as Long as Interest Demands it

Rouhani

London – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made little on Friday of US President Donald Trump’s new strategy on Tehran, saying that the nuclear deal was “stronger than the US president believed.”

“We will respect the nuclear deal as long as our rights are guaranteed and as long as our interest demand its,” he said during a televised speech hours after Trump declared his new strategy.

Rouhani added that Tehran was cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency to that end.

He warned however that Iran would abandon its nuclear agreement with world powers if it failed to serve the country’s national interests.

Responding to Trump’s claims that the authorities in Tehran had violated the rights of the Iranian people, he announced that the US president “will not be able to come between the people and Supreme Leader.”

Furthermore, he criticized Trump for labeling the Persian Gulf as Arab, urging him to brush up on his history and geography.

“His speech only had insults and false accusations against the Iranian people,” stated Rouhani.

In addition, he renewed his defense of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, stressing that they are “combating terrorism in the region.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi reiterated Rouhani’s stance, warning that Tehran would withdraw from the nuclear deal if it had to.

“Iran’s main policy backs peace and stability in the region and it confronts destabilizing activities,” he stressed.

The Iranian military forces, including the Revolutionary Guards, are a symbol of strength and preservation of Iranian national security, he declared.

“Any military move against the military and Revolutionary Guards will be met with the appropriate and resolute Iranian response,” he stressed.

Moreover, he accused the US of supporting terrorism in the region, saying that it cannot blame others for its action and shy away from its responsibilities.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani warned on Friday that Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal will mark the end of the agreement, reported the Russian TASS news agency.

“Washington’s withdrawal would lead to chaos in the world,” he warned from St. Petersburg in Russia where he is attending an international parliamentary conference.

He hoped that Russia will play role in resolving the disputes related to the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, deputy chief of Iran’s Quds Force, the external branch of the Revolutionary Guards, Esmail Qa’ani said that Trump’s threats to Iran will harm the US, reported Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.

“We are not warmongers, but they will regret any military action against Iran,” he warned.

Iran’s Judiciary Chief to Rouhani: You are Ineffective, in Pursuit of Nuclear Agreement

​London — Iran’s Judiciary chief Sadegh Larijani delivered a direct response to statements of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a quick return of skirmishes and deep disputes among high-rank officials in Tehran.

“Someone said that the judiciary body is summoning people due to its unemployment. If someone has to be unemployed then it is you, who have abandoned the country affairs four years ago and pursued the nuclear agreement as if Iran has no other problems and affairs,” Larijani stated.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized, during his speech at the University of Tehran on Saturday, the imposed restrictions on former President Mohammad Khatami and mocked arresting some people close to him. “Maybe some bodies are unemployed and need to occupy themselves so they summon people,” he said.

Rouhani demanded to reward all political blocs that took part in the elections, expressing annoyance at the way the authority is dealing with his followers. “In the name of political blocs, we created an unhealthy competition. They reward a bloc and punish the other. Is this an election?” he exclaimed.

Addressing Rouhani, Larijani said that it is his duty to defend the judiciary body since it is of the regime elements, just the way he did when he defended the government in the past years.

He added that fighting corruption is among the judiciary body goals but at the same time he pointed out that there are obstacles when it comes to fighting the economic corruption without providing further details. “Unfortunately, in corruption-related cases, once you summon someone, interest owners start causing personal and political tension,” Larijani stated.

The Iranian Judiciary arrested Rouhani’s brother and advisor after announcing his victory in the presidential elections in May, before releasing him on a bail of EUR7.6 million.

Tehran: Military Sites Inspections are Mere ‘Dreams’

Haley

London – Tehran has stepped up its criticism of Washington’s positions, especially following the visit of US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week.

On Tuesday, three senior Iranian officials reiterated their rejection of the US request to enter military sites.

While government spokesman Mohammad Reza Nobakht described the American aspiration to search the sites as “dreams,” the Iranian supreme leader’s adviser for international affairs said the US was undermining the security of these facilities.

In the same context, new Defense Minister, Amir Hatemi remarked that Haley “is not in a position to raise the issue of inspection of Iranian sites.” A spokesman for the National Security Committee in parliament had meanwhile stated that the committee had agreed on a timetable for the inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Hussein Naqvi Hosseini, said the committee “agreed to a timetable for the inspection of nuclear sites and facilities,” adding that the dates would be announced later.

Last week, the US ambassador to the United Nations pressed the IAEA to seek access to Iranian military bases to ensure that they were not concealing activities banned by the 2015 nuclear deal reached between Iran and six major powers.

During a weekly news conference broadcast on state television on Tuesday, Nobakht said: “Iran’s military sites are off limits. All information about these sites are classified. Iran will never allow such visits. Don’t pay attention to such remarks that are only a dream.”

Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told reporters on Tuesday: “The Americans will take their dream of visiting our military and sensitive sites to their graves… It will never happen.”

US Informs IAEA of Concerns on Tehran’s Commitment to Nuclear Deal

Ambassador to the United Nations NIkki Haley speaks at the AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, March 27, 2017.

London- US Ambassador the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday arrived at the UN’s atomic watchdog offices in Vienna, to receive a briefing as to whether the agency is willing to inspect Iranian military sites as a part of the Iran nuclear deal.

Haley’s visit came after Tehran defiantly test-fired ballistic missiles.

Before Haley landing in Vienna, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano that the US ambassador’s visit violated the nuclear agreement.

“Even before the visit takes place, the way it is planned and publicized and the signal that it sends has notable detrimental consequences for the successful implementation of the JCPOA,” Zarif wrote in a letter to Amano, the Post reported.

Haley had closed-door meetings with Amano, at which IAEA international observers, including experts monitoring Iran’s implementation of the terms of the Vienna nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the international group of six attended.

In a statement released after her meeting with Amano, Haley stressed US “concerns about ensuring Iran strictly adheres to its obligations.”

One of her primary missions — not just in Vienna but back at UN Headquarters — is to persuade the international community that Iran is not adhering to those obligations, and to ensure that it does.

CBS News wrote that, for now, Haley is focused on trying, along with Western partners, to make what President Trump has called the “worst deal,” better, by pressing Iran to stop test launching ballistic missiles. Haley also pushed against Tehran’s violation of the UN resolution 2231.

The UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR 2231) on the nuclear pact calls on Iran, “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”

In the letter she penned, Haley argued that “Iran’s longstanding program to develop ballistic missiles continues to be inconsistent with UNSCR 2231,” and she called for the issue to be taken up at the Security Council.

Iranian Deputy Speaker Calls for Reformists’ Leaders Trial

Iran

London – Iranian judiciary denied allegations stating that it responded to the demands of two reformists leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Musavi, while deputy Speaker Ali Motahari asked Iran’s Judiciary Spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Eje’i why a request for public trials for both politicians has been denied.

For the first time, Motahari hinted that permanent house arrest could be enforced on Musavi. The deputy speaker said that the High Council for National Security can’t replace the judicial system and decide on permanent house arrest without trial.

Motahari contested Eje’i’s statements and said that the house arrest requires a judicial ruling and enforcing it till now violates Articles 32 till 37 of the Iranian constitutions, according to ISNA news agency.

According to Motahari, the way it is handling the case of Motahari and Mosavi, Iranian authorities are providing US additional alibis to convict Iran on human rights.

Judiciary Spokesman denied news that security forces left the house of Karroubi and renounced his family’s allegations of government’s approval to meet his demands.

Meanwhile, former President Mohammed Khatami called upon Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to end the house arrest of opposition leaders who disputed the results of the 2009 presidential elections.

Khatami’s statement is the first time a senior figure asks Khamenei to intervene. He urged Khamenei to “resolve” the house arrest of Karroubi and Musavi.

On Wednesday, Karroubi began a hunger strike requesting a trial rather than remaining under house arrest where he has been held since 2011.

Karroubi underwent heart surgery last month and has suffered several health problems in the past few years.

Karroubi’s son, Mohammad Taghi Karroubi announced his father’s hunger strike saying he began it demanding again to be put on public trial and has also asked for the security forces to leave his house.

On Thursday, Karroubi’s family announced the end of his strike and his son Mohammed tweeted afterward that officials promised to expend “all their efforts” to give him a public trial.

Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi visited Karroubi and said he was in good health.

In April 2016, Karroubi sent an open letter to President Hasan Rouhani asking for a trial.

He also described Khamenei as a tyrant and selfish.

He said: “these days the regime uses thugs every day across the country to attack the homes of religious authorities, political figures who have been critical of the regime, embassies, and artistic and cultural centers in the name of ‘values.’ They violate the sanctuary of mosques for their political ambitions and know no boundaries in their desperate behavior.”

Head of Iran’s Assembly of Experts Ahmad Jannati stated back in December of 2016 that both Karroubi and Mousavi deserve a trial.

Karoubi’s Hunger Strike Forces Iranian Government to Comply with His Demands

Karoubi

London – Iranian opposition figure Mehdi Karoubi broke his hunger strike on Thursday after forcing the Iranian government to comply with his demands and withdraw security guards from his Tehran residence, which has been under 24-hour surveillance since 2011.

The authorities also vowed to accept his second demand of putting him on a public trial.

After launching a hunger strike this week, Karoubi was hospitalized on Thursday when his blood pressure dropped.

Karoubi and another reformist leader Mirhossein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard have been under house arrest since February 2011, when they protested against the results of the 2009 presidential elections, in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected for a second term.

On Thursday, the Iranian opposition figure was visited by the health and deputy intelligence ministers after he was taken to hospital. Both men negotiated with Karoubi to convince him to end his hunger strike, his son Mohammad Taghi Karoubi tweeted on Thursday, adding that the government has promised to do its best to fulfill his father’s demand for a public trial.

The 79-year-old had started his hunger strike only two weeks after suffering from a heart attack.

His wife, Fatemeh Karoubi said that her husband had gone on hunger strike on Wednesday, as he could no longer tolerate the conditions of his house arrest.

On Thursday, Karoubi’s hunger strike threw its weight on an Iranian parliament session aimed at discussing the government lineup presented last week by President Hassan Rouhani.

The Hope reformist bloc demanded Rouhani and Sadegh Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary to take urgent steps to resolve the house arrests of Karoubi, Mousavi and his wife.

Karoubi’s hunger strike also received wide support in the Iranian streets and among political figures.

Former President Mohammad Khatami and Hasssan Khomeini, the grandson of the Islamic Republic’s founder, addressed two separate letters to Rouhani, demanding him to order security guards to leave Karoubi’s house.

Rouhani: Iran Could Quit Nuclear Deal if New US Sanctions Imposed

Iran

London– The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was the focus point of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s speech before the Iranian parliament as he threatened to withdraw from the agreement if the US administration continued to impose sanctions on Tehran. At the same time, he reiterated the importance of the nuclear deal in enhancing both the foreign and domestic situations.

A week after announcing his list of suggested ministers, the Iranian Parliament started on Tuesday morning a series of sessions to weigh the credential of Rouhani’s choices for the vote of confidence.

Rouhani addressed the parliament and explained in a lengthy speech the government’s program for the upcoming four years. He also defended his choices of ministers and the new cabinet formation.

Eight hours after ongoing debate between members of parliament and suggested cabinet, the confidence vote’s session was postponed to be adjourned on Wednesday.

During his speech, Rouhani said that it’s now clear under the presidency of Donald Trump, US was showing the world or even its allies that it is not a good partner and a trustworthy negotiation party.

He went on to say that Iran has lived up to its commitments and will monitor any violation by other sides of the agreement.

Criticizing Trump’s threats, Rouhani said: “Those who are trying to return back to the language of sanction and threatening, are imprisoned in their own past illusions and are depriving themselves of the benefits of peace by making up enemies and promoting fear.”

He also said: “Those who have been speaking about tearing up the JCPOA in recent months are accusing Iran of violating the spirit of the agreement.”

The President stated that the last 7 reports issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have verified that Iran has been completely working within the JCPOA.

Iran’s president waived the possibility of withdrawing from the agreement “if America wants to go back to the experience (of imposing sanctions),” declaring that Iran would certainly return in a short time, not a week or a month but within hours, to conditions more advanced than before the start of negotiations.

This is the first time Rouhani suggests withdrawing from the JCPOA, especially after he said last week that Iran won’t be the first to withdraw the deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, however, mentioned last month few options which Iran is suggesting in case of imposed sanctions, including the choice to withdrawal.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the nuclear agreement, and after a missile test at the end of January his administration declared that the US would no longer turn “a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions”.

Also, last week, Trump stated that Iran is not committed to the spirit of the agreement, days after US has lodged a complaint at the UN on behalf of UK, France and Germany following Iran’s successful missile launch test. The four countries considered Tehran to be in violation of the UN Resolution 2231 which requires Iran to stop any tests of missiles capable of carrying nuclear heads.

Over the past week, Iran had been under fire from conservative newspapers for not referring to the sanctions during his inauguration speech.

During his approval session for Rouhani’s second-term presidency, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei didn’t oppose the president’s aspirations for an active foreign policy, given that confronting the US administration is a priority of that policy.

Rouhani took a more balanced approach during the confidence vote session by confirming his country’s commitment to the deal, but at the same time threatening to withdraw.

He stressed that Iran wanted to abide by its commitments under the nuclear deal saying that JCPOA is the model for priority of peace and diplomacy over war and unilateralism. “Although this is what the Islamic Republic of Iran prefers, it will not be its only choice,” he stressed.

Rouhani also pointed out the impact of nuclear deal on Iran’s struggling economy, and promised a more targeted approach to social welfare and job creation, responding to attacks during the campaign that his agenda was mostly benefiting the rich.

He stated that the cabinet’s program was derived from his campaign program adding that Iran has been ruled by different presidents of distinct visions and affiliations.

He promised to eradicate absolute poverty and improve the conditions of the poorest “by five times” by the end of his term in 2021.

“The government is determined to carry out structural reforms. It sees the all-out fight against corruption as an absolute prerequisite for progress and social justice,” he said.

When introducing Minister of Economy and Finance Masoud Karbasian, President Rouhani called on the minister to prioritize combating money laundering, reforming banking system, organizing taxing system, and improving insurance industry. He asked the minister to prepare the country to adapt to a $50 billion budget of selling oil.

Rouhani stated that the country’s biggest challenge lies in an unbalanced budget, pointing out that his government failed to reduce its expenses after oil prices’ reduction.

The president also denied rumors that Iran’s Supreme Leader overlooked the suggested ministers’ list. Khamenei’s office issued a statement addressing the issue in which it said that the Supreme Leader only consults the President on three ministries: intelligence, defense and foreign.

In the speech Rouhani said that he wished to have three female ministers in the cabinet, but this is how it turned out to be.

Following the presidential speech, ten MPs, five proponents and five opponents, took the podium to speak for or against the ministerial nominees and the president’s plans.

Khamenei Tightens His Grip on ‘Expediency Council’

London- Iran’s Spiritual leader Ali Khamenei appointed on Monday Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi as the new chairman of Iran’s Expediency Council, a move that means the leader has once again tightened his grip on Iranian decision-making.

Khamenei’s decision brought to an end seven months of anticipation that followed the death of leader Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who headed the council for 27 years.

The Expediency Council serves as an advisory body for the Supreme Leader and mediates on legislative differences between the Parliament and the oversight Guardian Council.

The Council’s chairman is directly appointed by the country’s supreme leader every five years.

On Monday, Khamenei also appointed the new lineup of the 44-member Expediency Council, including 38 political figures. The list included for the first time conservative presidential candidates, Ebrahim Raisi and Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf in addition to Mohammad Sadr, an adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Iran’s armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri.

In a surprising move, the Supreme Leader renewed the membership of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad contrary to estimates that he would be placed outside the council, particularly after an Iranian election committee had rejected the former president from running in last May’s presidential elections.

Khamenei also reinstated Mohsen Rezaei as the secretary of the Expediency Council, whose last term has ended in March when it was headed by acting chairman Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani.

On Monday, the new lineup was welcomed by conservatives, but saw some reservations in the ranks of parties that backed the presidency of President Hassan Rouhani, especially the reformists.

In his decree issued Monday, Khamenei urged the new chairman to help reform the general policies of the system.

He also called for organizing the procedure for monitoring the implementation of policies and creating a mechanism for evaluating their effectiveness, a statement issued by his office said.