Iran to Hit Anyone Involved in Gen. Soleimani’s Assassination: IRGC Chief

IRGC chief commander says Iran is serious in its promise to avenge the US assassination of top Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, and will hit anyone involved. Major General Hossein Salami said on Saturday, “Our promise to take revenge for the assassination of General Soleimani is final, serious and real.” “Mr. Trump! Don’t doubt about our [vow to take] revenge because it is final and serious,” said General Salami, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Major General Salami then touched upon a report by the American news website Politico which, citing US officials, had accused Iran of plotting to assassinate the US ambassador to South Africa. “Do you think we will hit a female ambassador in South Africa in revenge for the murder of General Soleimani,” General Salami asked rhetorically. “We only target those who were directly or indirectly involved in the assassination of top commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani,” said the commander. “The Americans should know that we will strike anyone who contributed to the cowardly assassination of General Soleimani, and this is a serious message.” he noted. Addressing US President Donald Trump, General Salami said “If you harm a hair of an Iranian’s head,” the Iranian military will give a crushing response. Subscribe

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US Objection to ICJ’s Jurisdiction Aimed at Buying Time: Iran

Iran’s representative in the International Court of Justice has rejected what he calls “inadmissible” reasons the US government has given to challenge the ICJ’s jurisdiction to consider a complaint lodged by Tehran against the re-imposition of American sanctions. In remarks on Wednesday, director of the Iranian Presidency’s Centre for International Legal Affairs and the country’s representative in the International Court of Justice, Hamidreza Olumi Yazdi, said the US has questioned the ICJ’s jurisdiction with the purpose of delaying the legal procedure for hearing Iran’s complaint and the strong evidence for the US violation of the 1955 Treaty of Amity. The US’ reasons to object to the ICJ’s competence to rule in the case either lack legal basis or are based on groundless allegations against Iran, he added. Denouncing the “illegal” re-imposition of US sanctions after its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Olumi Yazdi said the “cruel” sanctions have already targeted all sectors of Iran’s economy, including the oil and gas industries, financial and banking sector, automobile and shipping industries, metal production and construction. The US sanctions have inflicted widespread financial and non-financial damages on the Iranian people and companies, he deplored. The Iranian official finally reminded the ICJ president and judges that the international court has now a “historic opportunity” to stand against the US government’s unilateralism and law-breaking, to dismiss Washington’s baseless objection, and begin to hear the case. The International Court of Justice has begun weeklong sessions on the issue of its jurisdiction to consider the complaint filed by Iran against the re-imposition of US sanctions. Iran began a legal battle before the International Court of Justice in July 2018, after US President Donald Trump re-imposed harsh unilateral sanctions on Tehran, which were suspended under the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. In May 2018, Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear agreement. Later in October, the US faced its first setback in the highest judicial body of the United Nations after the International Court of Justice ordered the suspension of some of the sanctions that were re-imposed on Iran, including goods used for “humanitarian purposes.” Washington responded immediately by canceling a friendship agreement signed between the two countries in 1955, which the court had relied on to justify its decision. Iran had asked the International Court of Justice to suspend the sanctions temporarily until the judges decide on the content of the case, which could take years. The court will consider these sessions within its competence to rule in the case, which Washington strongly opposes, Right Now Times reported. The International Court of Justice was established after the Second World War and examines disputes between states, but it does not have the binding means to implement its decisions. Subscribe

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Pompeo’s Anti-Iran Tweets ‘Psychotic’ Reaction to US Defeats: Official

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Saeed Khatibzadeh has slammed US State Secretary Mike Pompeo’s tweets on Iran’s internal affairs as a psychotic reaction to Washington’s successive defeats. In a statement on Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson described Pompeo’s recent tweets about Iran’s internal issues, which were filled with anger at Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as a psychotic reaction caused by disappointment and depression following the US Department of State’s successive defeats and as an attempt to cover up those failures. “Unfortunately, the US state secretary, who is witnessing the failure of the policy of maximum pressure and unilateralism on Iran more and more, is attempting desperately to retrieve part of the lost prestige of Trump’s regime by claiming to advocate human rights,” he noted. The spokesman underlined that the US government itself has the darkest human rights record as there is no single day without protests from the American people against violence, discrimination and racism. “In spite of the dire situation inside the US, Mr. Pompeo who has received training in fabrication, deception and lying at the CIA, is seeking to divert the public opinion’s attention based on ‘the bigger the lie, the more it will be believed’,” Khatibzadeh concluded. His comments came after Pompeo slammed the execution of Iranian convict Navid Afkari as a despicable act, calling for consequences for what he called the Iranian government’s barbarity. The US state secretary claimed that world leaders have taken the first step to counter Iran and have cancelled Foreign Minister Zarif’s European visits. Zarif was due to visit Germany this week, but cancelled his visit for what the Iranian Foreign Ministry says was “logistical problems”. Subscribe

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US to Suffer Humiliating Defeat This Weekend: Rouhani

The Iranian president says the United States will suffer a humiliating defeat this weekend, which marks the day when the US claims all UN sanctions against Iran will return. Speaking in a Wednesday cabinet session, President Hassan Rouhani said Washington failed in its attempts to reinstate a UN arms embargo as well as international sanctions on Iran, and these failures amount to major victories for Iran. “The US suffered ignominious defeats,” he said. “Our people should pay attention. this Saturday and Sunday will be days of the Iranian nation’s victory and days of humiliating defeats for the US,” he added. “So, I urge anti-Iran news channels abroad not to fabricate stories that would indicate that the US has made a claim and has waited for a month, so it can use this mechanism,” the president said. “After all, no mechanism ever started in the first place to be producing any results,”“I congratulate the Iranian nation, in advance, on the success that Iranians will secure on Saturday and Sunday, the same way that I congratulated Iranians on their resistance during the eight-year Iraqi imposed war on Iran [in the 1980s],” he added. Elsewhere in his remarks, the president fulminated against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain for normalizing their relations with Israel. “They (Israeli authorities) are committing more and more crimes in occupied Palestine every day. How come you (the UAE and Bahrain) are extending your hands to Israel? Then you want to give Israel bases in this region. You will be responsible for all grave consequences of this move. Your action is against regulations and regional security,” he said. Subscribe

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Iran Vows to Respond If US Makes Any New Strategic Mistake

Iran’s government spokesman has warned the United States against making any fresh strategic mistakes, vowing to respond proportionately if that ever happens. “We hope the US will not make a new strategic mistake, and if it makes any strategic mistakes, Iran’s resistance [front] will give an appropriate response,” Ali Rabiei said while slamming Washington’s policies against Iran. Rabiei also lashed out at US President Donald Trump for making unfounded remarks about Iran. “In the first place, it is regrettable that the president of a country which claims to be handling world management and order is making such baseless, straightforward, distorted and probably dictated comments,” he said. “If you look at this text, you will realize that it is not based on a report by a foreign policy apparatus or an intelligence service. It is simply a hasty reaction to something heard on the grapevine,” the president said. He said unsubstantiated claims by US officials also touched off the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Our historical experience in our region also shows that remarks by the US government based on distorted reports triggered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We saw that the US started the Iraq war based on unfounded comments, and at the end US authorities announced that they had found nothing in Iraq (WMDs),” he said. “Unfortunately, this is a common practice by the US, especially by the incumbent American president, which only stirs up tension in the region and upsets the psychological calm across the world,” he said. “Such moves could only be a propaganda and election ploy. We urge Washington to avoid new adventures, not to provoke killings and not to disrupt psychological tranquility in the region to win the upcoming presidential election,” he added. “Such a move is unforgivable and amounts to a betrayal of humanity. He also touched upon Washington’s assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.“This disgrace cannot be obliterated and the Iranian nation will never forget this,” he added. Subscribe

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Iran Denies Alleged Attempt to Assassinate US Envoy to S Africa

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Saeed Khatibzadeh has dismissed the accusation, raised in a report by Politico, that it has tried to kill the US envoy to South Africa. In a statement on Monday, the Foreign Ministry spokesman described the Politico report as “custom-ordered, biased and purposeful”, which cites the remarks made by a purportedly US government official in an attempt to make it look real. “We advise the American officials to stop resorting to hackneyed and worn-out methods for anti-Iran propaganda in the international arena,” he added. “As a responsible member of the international community, the Islamic Republic of Iran has proved its constant commitment to the international diplomatic principles and norms. Conversely, it is the United States and the incumbent regime at the White House that has ignored the basic diplomatic principles and has become a rogue regime in the international arena, particularly in recent years, with numerous measures out of line with internationally-accepted methods and norms, including masterminding and implementing tens of plots for assassination and military and intelligence interference, withdrawal from many international agreements, violating the territorial integrity of nations, and the cowardly assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the honourable commander of the fight against terrorism,” the spokesman said. Khatibzadeh then denounced such baseless allegations as those made in the recent anti-Iran report in the US media as part of the “Trump administration’s counter-intelligence campaign against Iran”, adding, “It was predictable that the United States regime would resort to anti-Iran accusations and falsification ahead of the US presidential election, coupled with that (US) regime’s pressures to abuse the United Nations Security Council’s mechanisms with the purpose of intensifying pressure on the people of Iran.” “However, such measures and news fabrication that would possibly continue in the future will undoubtedly get nowhere and will add to the long list of Washington’s continuous defeats in the face of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the spokesman noted. “As announced repeatedly, the Islamic Republic of Iran will press on with international legal action at all levels in connection with the criminal and cowardly assassination of General Soleimani, and will neither forgive nor forget the act of terrorism,” he concluded. His comments came after American magazine Politico cited the US government officials as saying that Iran is weighing an assassination attempt against the American ambassador to South Africa to avenge the assassination of Lt. General Qassem Soleimani. The top Iranian general was assassinated in a US airstrike near Baghdad airport on January 3. Subscribe

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Iranian Drone Chases Away 3 US Aircraft on 2nd Day of Naval Drills

Iran’s military says it has intercepted three US aircraft that had intruded into the country’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in violation of rules that regulate large-scale naval exercises. In a statement on Friday, the military said the aircraft, including P-8 Poseidon and MQ-9 and RQ-4 drones, were intercepted by a domestically-manufactured Karrar turbojet-powered drone. On the second day of the exercises, dubbed Zolfaqar-99, the three aircraft entered the ADIZ while they had already been monitored by the Iranian integrated air defense network from kilometers away, the statement said. It noted that the intruding aircraft were intercepted after they ignored warnings to stay away from the drills area. The Iranian military said the aircraft veered away and left the drills area after the Karrar drone was launched. The three-day exercises kicked off on Thursday under the command of the Army’s Zolfaqar base, with observers from the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base in attendance. The drills cover an area of two million square kilometers in the eastern waters of the Strait of Hormuz near the Persian Gulf, Makran coast, the Sea of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean up to 10 degrees north. On the second day of the maneuvers, the Army’s coastline missile sites fired the Qader anti-ship cruise missile, successfully destroying a mock enemy vessel more than 200 kilometers from the coast. The Nasr anti-ship cruise missile was also fired from Iran’s Najm missile boat, destroying its designated target in the country’s southern waters. The Kaman-12 drone, which is the Iranian Army’s first combat drone, also conducted surveillance operations within the perimeter of the maneuvers. With a pin-point attack capability, the Karrar is a strategic combat drone which can deliver payloads comparable to manned aircraft. Prior to the drills, American and all other extra-regional military aircraft were warned to avoid the exercise zone, resulting in a noticeable shift in behavior of the American UAVs operating in the area. Subscribe

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