SHAFAQNA - An Iranian industry official says the country has dealt with Western sanctions on its oil industry by ramping up non-petroleum exports, adding the country is able to run its economy by reliance on non-oil revenues.
The US and Western powers have admitted that Iran has overcome the toughest pressures they have put on the country, saying Iran is shifting from petrodollars to revenues from non-oil exports, said Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Alireza Shojaee.
“ … foreign Researchers have acknowledged that Iran has taken a new step, and even if it completely halts its oil exports, it will be able to run its own economy as an at least average country, and have a say in the world,” he said.
He said the country’s non-petroleum exports grew by 20 percent in the last Iranian calendar year (which ended on March 20, 2013).
Highlighting that non-oil exports are projected to cross the 50-billion-dollar mark by March 20, 2014, the deputy minister underscored that Iran currently exports more than 3,300 types of goods to well over 150 countries, which, he added, shows the country has “a very good trading system.”
He underlined that Iran’s industrial and mineral exports show a tremendous growth, which makes up for a drop in revenues in other sectors.
He said handicrafts and agriculture are among other sectors contributing to the country’s non-oil exports.
At the beginning of 2012, the US and the European Union imposed illegal sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors in a bid to prevent other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.
The illegal US-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Nevertheless, Iran has cushioned the impact of sanctions by pumping up non-petroleum exports and developing economic ties with other countries.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) Syrian military forces have killed at least 200 terrorists in the western coastal province of Latakia, media reports say.
Reports said on Saturday that the government troops inflicted heavy casualties on the militants and destroyed their equipment during an operation in Latakia countryside.
The clashes came as Syrian forces and foreign-backed insurgents have been engaged in heavy renewed fighting in several parts of the country.
In other operations, army troops have targeted militants gatherings at al-R'oneh valley, west Qara, al-Mal valley, as well as Tel al-Malouhi in Nabek, killing and wounding a number of them.
Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed in the violence.
Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants.
In an interview recently broadcast on Turkish television, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that if the militants fighting against the Syrian government take power in his country they could destabilize the entire Middle East for decades.
"If the unrest in Syria leads to the partitioning of the country, or if the terrorist forces take control… the situation will inevitably spill over into neighboring countries and create a domino effect throughout the Middle East and beyond," he added.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Palestinians have burned an effigy of the Qatari emir in the West Bank to protest against Doha’s foreign policy in the region.
A group of Palestinian students hanged and burned an effigy of the Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in a university in the West Bank city of Tulkarem on April 1.
Reports say the students had links with Fatah party.
This comes as Palestinians say Qatar keeps favoring Israel over Palestinians.
Qatar is in fact the chief financier of extremist militant groups for the past 3 decades including al-Qaeda.
While Qatari state-owned news channel Al Jazeera applies a veneer of progressive pro-democracy to its narratives, Qatar itself is involved in arming, funding, and even providing direct military support for sectarian extremists from northern Mali, to Libya, to Syria and beyond.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Italian newspaper, west, wrote in its website that 51% of insults towards Muslims are carried out by the media and they are the main culprits for these types of actions. This newspaper added that studies by European Network Against Racism (ENAR) showed Islam is under attack in 27 countries of European Union. The Italian newspaper believes the main cause for these insults are based on racism by the media and political groups. It added that in most occasions the decisions made or opinions expressed in these countries are based on racism against religions. The Italian newspaper also said that a member of European parliament, Mario Purgizo, suggested increasing taxes for Muslim families who have many children in order to stop Muslims entering Europe.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Israeli troops have killed a Palestinian and injured at least eight others during clashes in a flashpoint district of the occupied West Bank.
Twenty two-year-old Mahmoud AlTiti was killed after Israeli forces broke into a camp in Fuwar near the city of Hebron on Tuesday, and opened fire on a group of Palestinians who were throwing stones.
The hospital where AlTiti died said that he was shot by some kind of an explosive bullet to the head.
An Israeli military spokeswoman, citing the results of an initial investigation, said the troops had been attacked with fire-bombs on a nearby road and pursued the assailants into Fuwar, where they encountered the stone-throwers.
"Those that were in need of medical attention were evacuated to a (Palestinian) hospital where one of the suspects died," she said, adding that the Israeli military was conducting an inquiry into the incident.
Palestinians have complained in recent weeks of the use of live fire by Israeli forces, who say they only use live fire in situations considered life-threatening.
According to Palestinian officials, Titi was the sixth Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in clashes in the Occupied West Bank since the beginning of this year.
The incident has stoked tensions ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama next week that has been billed as a bid to encourage new peacemaking.
Obama is expected to fly in on March 20 for separate talks with Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and, in the West Bank, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinian frustration at the stalled diplomacy has been fanned by Israel's expansion of West Bank settlements.
They have also taken to the streets to protest against Israel's jailing of thousands of their countrymen.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – An analyst says that the US is making a threatening move against independent countries by trying to have NPT rules changed to control the uranium-enrichment and nuclear fuel cycle.
”What Western countries are trying to do is to change the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) so that the enrichment of uranium can only be carried out by a few countries such as the United States and it’s allies.” Dr. Mohammad Marandi, lecturer in University of Tehran, Iran said.
“The problem really is that this makes all the independent countries of the world reliant on the West and also it forces these countries to steer away from high tech industries.” He added.
He stated that basically the West and key countries in the world can take the rest of the world hostage - or any country hostage - whenever they wish to refrain from giving them nuclear fuel.
”20 percent enrichment is crucial because Iran needs it to fuel the Tehran reactor, which itself produces medical isotopes for cancer patients. Almost one million cancer patients per year use these isotopes.” He daid.
Marandi noticed that in the past when the Tehran reactor actually ran out of fuel or was on the verge of running out of fuel, Iran asked the IAEA to provide it with fuel. Western countries blocked this attempt and effectively took Iranian people hostage and thus tried to force Iran to stop producing enriched uranium altogether.
“So the Iranians obviously do not accept this because first of all Iran itself needs uranium for energy for producing electricity as well as producing medical isotopes and it’s also an infringement upon the rights of independent countries.”
Iran has renewed its call for stronger international action to promote nuclear disarmament. This comes at a time when the US attempts to have the NPT rules changed to better suit its own imperial stance and potentially achieve an oligopoly by restricting locations of where enrichment is permitted to take place.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – US President Barack Obama is going to demand a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank during his visit to Israel later this month, a report says.
The World Tribune quoted on Monday an unnamed Israeli official as saying that "Obama has made it clear to [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu that his visit is not about photo-ops, but the business of Iran and a Palestinian state”.
“The implication is that if Israel won’t give him something he can work with, then he’ll act on his own,” the report quoted the source as saying.
According to the report, an Israeli pullout plan could be part of an imminent US push to form a Palestinian state in the West Bank in 2014.
More than half a million Israelis live in more than 120 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Meanwhile, violent acts are carried out on a weekly basis in the Palestinian territories by Israeli settlers.
The Israeli settlements are considered illegal by the UN and most countries because those territories were captured by Israel in the 1967 war, and are thus seen as being subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.
The Israeli regime increased its settlement activities after an upgrade in the Palestinian status at the United Nations General Assembly on November 29, 2012. The 193-member General Assembly voted 138-9 with 41 abstentions to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state. -www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A political analyst tells Press TV West’s campaign of taking Iranian networks off the air is part of a strategy to exert control over what the public opinion perceives about the realities in Iran.
In a Thursday interview, Danny Schechter, the editor of the Media Channel.Org, slammed the removal of Iranian channels off the air as “a strategy to try to isolate Iran and to try to deny people in the world from hearing what Iran has to say.”
According to Press TV, he added: “its part of a strategy called PM, not PR (public relations), but PM - Perception Management. And the idea is to try to manage the perception of other people...of managing the perception of the public, so that, they’re not really aware of what Iran stands for.”
Schechter argued that such strategy seeks to monopolize the media for the analyses offered by powers hostile to Iran, so that “other perspectives and other points of view won’t be heard or won’t be seen.”
On Wednesday, the Arab satellite provider Gulfsat banned Iranian channels iFilm and Al-Kawthar under direct pressure from the European satellite company, Eutelsat.
The fresh encroachment upon freedom of speech targeting movie channel, iFilm, and Iran's Arabic-language Al-Kawthar came one day after Eutelsat, owned by Franco-Israeli Michel de Rosen, asked Nilesat to pull Press TV off the air. -www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The third International Seminar of “Economy and Islamic Banking System in West Africa” to be held in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, reported Taqrib News Agency (TNA).
During this seminar, 15 countries from Western Africa talk about their activities and attempts in the realm of Islamic Economy.
“Investing in the realms of agriculture, industry, mining and helping to small institutes are the issues participants deal with in the seminar.
It is worth to noting that the religion of most of countries in Western Africa is Islam and that is the main reason the governments deal with this issue.
The names of the countries which participate in the seminar are as follows:
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Papua New Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Princess Nora is the latest member of the royal family who took part in a series of torture scandals highlighted in a report by the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights. A 55-pages report titled ‘Citizens in the Grip of Torture’ is based on the nine interviews with named and anonymous witnesses.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Princess Nora Bint Ebrahim al-Khalifa who serves in Bahrain’s Drugs Control Unit, together with another officer tortured three activists held in detention following a pro-democracy rally against the Bahraini monarchy. Her victims were Doctors Ghassan Daif and Bassem Daif, who helped the wounded people after the guards opened fire with teargas and bullets during protests in 2011. They were taken into custody in March of that year when al-Khalifa tortured them. The third victim, 21year old, Ayat al-Qurmazi, was arrested for reading a poem in public criticising the royal family. She was blindfold while tortured but she managed to catch a glimpse of Nora al-Khalifa.
Princess Nora is the latest member of the royal family who took part in a series of torture scandals highlighted in a report by the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights. A 55-pages report titled ‘Citizens in the Grip of Torture’ is based on the nine interviews with named and anonymous witnesses. It was published both in English and Arabic. The report said that two of the Bahraini King’s sons Nasser Bin Hammad Al-Khalifa and Khalid Bin Hammad Al-Khalifa, as well as two other members of the royal family, Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa and Nora Bint Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, directly took part in torturing the activists and other innocent people.
Nasser Bin Hamad, the fourth son of the King Hamad, is a colonel and commander of Bahrain’s royal guard. His 23-year-old brother has also held a number of senior positions despite his young age and is married to Saudi Arabian King’s daughter. The other two Al-Khalifas directly responsible for cases of torture and violence as stated in the report are Colonel Khalifa Bin Ahmed, a high-ranking police officer dismissed from his post in September 2011, and Lieutenant Nora Bint Ebrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain’s Drug Enforcement Administration.
Poet Ayat Al-Qurmozy was arrested in March 2011 after reciting a poem against the Bahraini regime during a peaceful demonstration in Pearl Square. She was detained by masked men dressed in civilian clothing. On her release, al-Qurmozy told of tortures used on her by both men and women. One of the women involved was identified as Nora al-Khalifa. The report states that Nora spat on al-Qurmozy and into her mouth, slapped her in the face repeatedly, administered electric shocks and shouted anti-Shia insults.
The report stated that on the eighth day of her arrest, al-Qurmozy was brought blindfolded into a room full of men where they shouted abuse at her and demanded she tell them who gave her the poem and how much she was paid for reading them. “I was surprised by a woman grabbing me and slapping me hard in the face. When she was screaming, cursing and slapping me hard on my face, the blindfold came down off my eyes and I saw her face a bit but they rushed to lift it,” al-Qurmozy later said, as revealed in the report. Al-Qurmozy was then brutally beaten, and Nora gave her electric shocks every time she lost consciousness, the report says.
After that Nora went on torturing the young poet every night, beating her on the face and spitting on her every time she found her without a blindfold. Threatened by rape, the poet was forced to confess in front of a camera. The report revealed how Nora slapped her victim on the head, threatened to cut out her tongue, spat and put a wooden broom into her mouth and beat her continuously. All these abuses were witnessed by another arrested woman, Jalila Salman.
Sheikh Mohammad Habib al-Meghdad, President of Zahra Association for Orphans, was arrested at his home in April 2011 by a group of 50 to 60 all wearing civilian clothes and covering their faces with masks. He was still in detention at the time of the report. Al-Meghdad was stripped naked and beaten, and then put in dark prison cell, where he was continuously tortured, the report says. According to al-Meghdad, he was hung head down, beaten for hours, and had his sensitive body parts exposed to electric shock.
Prince Nasser Bin Hamad came to interrogate al-Meghdad and other detainees, making sure they recognised him before their questioning, the report says. On learning that al-Meghdad took part in a Safriya protest march in front of the Bahraini king’s palace, where some people shouted “Down with King Hamad,” the prince began beating him. Prince Nasser then supervised the torture in person, Al-Meghdad told the court at a trial on February 2012. There he showed more than 50 electric shock traces on his body and told the judge he was tortured by a drill piercing his leg and humiliated by spitting in his mouth. Prince Nasser forced al-Meghdad to kiss pictures of the royal family in between the torture sessions. None of these words were taken down in the court, and the judge asked al-Meghdad to remain silent, saying that “this court has its respect,” the report stated.
In Bahrain even a suspicious text message in a phone can lead to prosecution and torture, as the story of a man speaking on condition of anonymity to RT network reporter revealed. According to the report, the man was stopped at a checkpoint near Safriya Palace in May 2011 while in a car with his wife and children. Amongst the security forces was Prince Khalid Bin Hamad when the car was stopped for inspection. Unsatisfied with the fact that nothing was found in the car, the prince started searching through text messages on the man’s phone, and found an old text regarding the Pearl Square demonstration.
The prince then ordered the man’s brother be called to take the woman and children home, but on his arrival both were arrested, the report says. They were thrown to the ground, beaten and forced “to repeat the royal greeting,” with Khalid Bin Hamad ordering to beat them again for every royal family member’s name they didn’t know. The men were also forced to eat hot chili peppers and insult opposition figures. Both were sentenced to 60 days in prison and dismissed from their jobs. Another man mentioned in the report was also arrested at a checkpoint after guards noticed his car was parked near Pearl Square and took the car’s registration number. For that reason alone he was put in al-Qalaa prison and tortured daily with the use of special devices and techniques, including chaining, limb piercing and beating with clubs, the report said.
He was also deprived of sleep and his religious practices, the report adds. Prince Nasser Bin Hamad supervised the man’s torture, which was carried out by foreigners. “This is not Iran, we came to you from Iraq, and we are Saddamists,” they shouted as they tortured him, according to the report. The man was quoted as saying that his friend Karim Fakhrawi, who was also detained, died during one such torture session. The shocking accounts of innocent people being prisoned, tortured and abused in Bahrain is not hidden to the world, especially to the so called ‘free and democratic world’! There are hundreds of cases of torture backed by plenty of undeniable documents but the West still ignores the facts and look the other way, only because Bahrain is an ally and an important source of cheap oil with plenty petro dollars to invest in the West.