Iran news headlines on Monday include new Iran sanctions targeting industry for restricting nuclear program; Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman remarks over Patriot missiles in Turkey protecting Israel; Iran welcoming Assad peace plan for Syria; Iran urging all foreigner out of Afghanistan after 2014; Iran’s oil minister statements on oil exports slashing 40 % in 9 months and the head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organization speech on Iran halting scientist death plots.
New U.S. sanctions have broadened the front in the West’s escalating economic conflict with Iran, targeting large swaths of the country’s industrial infrastructure even as Iranian leaders are indicating a willingness to resume negotiations on the country’s nuclear program.
NATO, at the behest of Western countries, deployed Patriot missiles along Turkey’s border with Syria in order to protect Israel in the event Iran retaliates to any preemptive strike on its nuclear facilities, Turkish daily Today’s Zaman, citing an interview with Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, reported Sunday.
Iran welcomed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s television address, saying he had rejected violence and offered a “comprehensive political process” to end his country’s conflict, Iranian media reported on Monday. Assad’s speech on Sunday was billed as the unveiling of a new peace plan but the president offered no concessions and dismissed the prospect of negotiations with Syrian opposition groups, which described it as a renewed declaration of war.
As Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai prepares for a visit to the United States, Iran has made it plain that it opposes the presence of American troops on Afghan soil after a formal exit in 2014. Using a convoluted formulation, the visiting head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili said in Kabul that not only should “aliens” leave the country, Afghanistan’s national sovereignty must also always be respected.
Iran’s oil exports have been slashed 40 percent in the past nine months because of tough Western sanctions, Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi was quoted as saying on Monday, in a reversal of his previous denials of any decline at all. “There has been a 40 percent decrease in oil sales and a 45 percent decrease in repatriating oil money,” Qasemi told the Iranian parliament’s budget commission, according to the ISNA news agency citing MPs.
Iran foiled some assassination plots against its nuclear scientists, the head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organization said. “At present the military and intelligence forces are doing their duty and they have discovered some assassination plots,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Fereidoun Abbasi as saying Sunday in Tehran.
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