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Weekly Contemporary Developments

11 - 20 January, 2020

  • ‘I wished death’ after realizing Ukrainian passenger plane had been mistakenly shot down: IRGC Aerospace Force chief Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, said after the Ukrainian passenger plane had been shot down erroneously by the Iranian air defense system “I wished death”. He told a press conference “I will accept all the responsibilities for this incident”. He added, “We will obey any decision by officials.” (TEHRAN TIMES, 11th January, 2020)
  • Rouhani urges collective efforts to de-escalate tensions Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for collective efforts to stabilize the region and reduce tensions. Rouhani told Pakistan’s visiting Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Tehran “In the current situation, we should all strive for peace and stability in the region and work together to reduce tensions”. “We fully welcome Pakistan’s efforts to promote peace and stability in the region,” he said. (IRAN DAILY, 14th January, 2020)
  • Japan’s Abe warns conflict with Iran will impact entire world Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said, according to Ohtaka “Any military confrontation in the region that includes a country like Iran will have an impact not only on peace and stability in the region but the peace and stability of the whole world”. He visited the Middle East in the hope of easing tensions spiked by the recent US assassination of a top Iranian general. Abe called “on all relevant countries to engage in diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions”, Ohtaka added. (IRAN DAILY, 14th January, 2020)
  • Rouhani signs law designating Pentagon as terrorist organization Iranian President Hassan Rouhani signed a law bill designating the Pentagon as a terrorist organization. Rouhani instructed the relevant bodies to implement the resolution, which was passed during an open session of the parliament on January 7 and was endorsed by the Guardian Council on the same date. On April 8, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump said he had designated the IRGC a foreign terrorist organization. (TEHRAN TIMES, 14th January, 2020)
  • Iran, Iraq discuss ways to continue trade without dollar Iraq’s Ambassador to Iran Saad Jawad Qandil told Sputnik that Baghdad and Tehran were holding negotiations to continue trade cooperation without resorting to the US dollar, adding that Iraq did not consider the US sanctions imposed on Iran compliant with international law. (IRAN DAILY, 14th January, 2020)
  • Kerry calls JCPOA the ‘strongest’ and ‘most transparent’ agreement in the world Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the JCPOA, is the “strongest” and “most transparent” agreement on the planet. “Britain, China, Russia are all still trying to keep the agreement in place because they recognize it's the strongest, most transparent, most accountable nuclear agreement on the planet,” he told CBS News in an interview published on Sunday. (TEHRAN TIMES, 14th January, 2020)
  • Soleimani was architect of U.S. defeats: IRGC chief Chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami said that Lieutenant General QassemSoleimani was architect of defeats suffered by the United States, the Zionist regime of Israel and their allies in the region. In a meeting with Syrian Prime Minister ImadKhamis in Tehran, Salami noted that Soleimani’s path will continue powerfully. (TEHRAN TIMES, 15th January, 2020)
  • Rouhani urges end to US military presence for return of regional security Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on the United States to terminate its military presence in the region for the restoration of peace and security. (IRAN DAILY, 16th January, 2020)
  • Iran not interested in escalation of tensions: Cmdr. Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said the Islamic Republic is not interested in escalation of tensions in the region, but is ready to give a crushing response to any act of aggression. (IRAN DAILY, 18th January, 2020)
  • Iran enriching more uranium than before 2015 deal: Rouhani President Hassan Rouhani said Iran is now enriching more uranium than it did before inking a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, as the remaining signatories of the landmark accord fail to fulfill their commitments. Rouhani said Tehran faces no restrictions today when it comes to atomic energy. (IRAN DAILY, 18th January, 2020)
  • Zarif: Iranian bank to open branch in India Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Bank Pasargad plans to open a branch in India to facilitate bilateral trade between the Iran and the South Asian country. Zarif said “We had a good meeting with the prime minister of India and they had a positive view on Iran-India relations,” reported Tasnim News Agency. (IRAN DAILY, 18th January, 2020)
  • Eleven US troops hurt in Iraq last week during Iran’s retaliatory strike At least 11 US forces were injured in Iran’s retaliatory missile strike last week on an Iraqi base housing American troops, the US Central Command said, although Washington had previously maintained there were no casualties. (IRAN DAILY, 18th January, 2020)
  • Germany blasts US over Iran strategy German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas criticized US President Donald Trump on his policy of maximum pressure against Iran. He told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that “pure threats” and “military actions and threats” against Iran did not work. (IRAN DAILY, 20th January, 2020)

01 - 10 January, 2020

  • U.S. officials vow to intensify Iran sanctions in 2020 U.S. State Department officials have said Washington’s maximum pressure policy against Iran will intensify in 2020. A senior State Department official said, “There will be more sanctions to come, and Iran’s economic problems and challenges are going to compound in 2020” he also added, “They are already deep into a recession, and we are also seeing Iran come under greater diplomatic isolation” according to CNBC. (TEHRAN TIMES, 1st January, 2020)
  • Advisor condemns U.S. attacks in Iraq Hossein Amir Abdollahian, a senior foreign policy advisor to the Iranian parliament speaker, has condemned the U.S. attacks on Iraqi soil, suggesting that the U.S. has been supporting Daesh (ISIS) all along.“During #ISIS crisis in #Iraq, the #US was informed abt its commanders' links w/Daesh leaders in Mosul. No convincing response was given,” Amir Abdollahian tweeted. He also said “The US is now violating Iraqi territorial integrity, independence & bombing antiterrorism stronghold”. “#White House apparent backing for ISIS,” he added. (TEHRAN TIMES, 1st January, 2020)
  • IRGC slams U.S. attacks as violation of Iraq’s sovereignty Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has strongly denounced the U.S. attacks on the Iraqi popular forces. According to international law and charters, the people of Iraq and al-Hashd al-Shaabi reserve the right to take revenge and respond to the recent crime committed by the Americans, the IRGC said in a statement, Tasnim reported. The statement also described the attacks as a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. (TEHRAN TIMES, 1st January, 2020)
  • Germany has turned blind eye to U.S. illegal interferences: Iran Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said that Germany has turned a blind eye to the United States’ “illegal interferences” in the Middle East region. Mousavi tweeted, “Germany accuses Iran of destabilizing the region while it has turned a blind eye to the United States’ illegal interferences as the main reason behind instability in West Asia”. He added, “Continuation of adopting such stances will seriously question Berlin’s claim about playing effective role on the path of peace and stability.” (TEHRAN TIMES,1st January, 2020)
  • Protests rage around US Embassy in Baghdad after air raids Several thousand protesters irate over US airstrikes on Iraq staged a demonstration outside of the US Embassy in Baghdad, hurling stones as security forces others chanted, “No, no, America! No, no, Trump!” and embassy guards hit back with stun grenades and tear gas. They waved flags in support of the Hashed al-Shaabi, a network of armed groups that has been largely incorporated into the security forces. (IRAN DAILY, 1st January, 2020)
  • Iran, Pakistan hold 23rd session of joint border commission Iran and Pakistan held 23rd meeting of their joint border commission in Pakistan’s city of Quetta. Representatives from different Iranian organizations, especially from Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan Province, are part of the 20-member delegation with Pakistani officials during the three-day meeting who would discuss various issues and make important decisions on border issues, counterterrorism measures, illegal trade, drug smuggling, illegal border crossing and human trafficking according to IRNA.(IRAN DAILY, 2nd January, 2020)
  • Top anti-Daesh Commander Qassem Soleimani assassinated in U.S. state-terrorism Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC Quds Force, was assassinated in a U.S. air raid on his vehicle in Baghdad’s international airport. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), was also martyred in the air attack. General Soleimani was at frontline positions in battles against Daesh (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria. He was considered a champion in the war on terrorism.Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, “The U.S. has crossed the red line. The Iranian nation will give crushing response to them in due time.” (TEHRAN TIMES, 3rd January, 2020)
  • Pompeo claims U.S. committed to ‘de-escalation’, hours after assassinating Soleimani U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed that the United States is committed to “de-escalation” hours after U.S. airstrike at Baghdad International Airport killed General Qassem Soleimani. Pompeo made the claim in a number of tweets. (TEHRAN TIMES, 3rd January, 2020)
  • Intelligence Ministry: Resistance Front to continue Soleimani’s path The Intelligence Ministry, in a statement said that, the Resistance Front will not abandon the honorable path of IRGC Quds Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani. “The enemy should realize that Haj Qassem’s path and mission won’t be abandoned. The Resistance Front’s commanders will continue Soleimani’s path,” the statement underscored. (TEHRAN TIMES, 3rd January, 2020)
  • Iraqi PM hails Soleimani, Muhandis as symbols of victory against ISIS Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi on Friday condemned the assassination of IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU). He said, “the two martyrs were huge symbols of the victory” against the Daesh (ISIS) terrorist group. Abdul-Mahdi also said the strike was an outrageous breach of the conditions for the presence of U.S. forces in the country. He invited parliament to convene an extraordinary session, calling on them to take legislative actions that would safeguard Iraq’s dignity, security, and sovereignty. (TEHRAN TIMES, 3rd January, 2020)
  • Iran’s Supreme National Security Council: U.S. won’t get rid of miscalculation of killing Soleimani Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), in a statement, announced that the U.S. is “solely responsible” for the consequences of the criminal act of assassinating Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC Quds Force. (TEHRAN TIMES, 3rd January, 2020)
  • 170 Iraqi MPs sign resolution motion to expel U.S. troops from Iraq “There is no need for the presence of American forces after defeating Daesh,” said Ammar al-Shibli, a lawmaker and member of the parliamentary legal committee, Reuters reported. “We have our own armed forces which are capable of protecting the country,” he said. Around 5,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, most of them in an advisory capacity. (TEHRAN TIMES, 5th January, 2020)
  • Israel was involved in Soleimani assassination, says ex-IRGC chief A former chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards (IRGC) has suggested that Israel was also involved in the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani. “Israel should not think it can hide itself, because Iran’s finger is also pointing toward Israel,” Mohsen Rezaee said, ISNA reported. (TEHRAN TIMES, 5th January, 2020)
  • Iran lifts all nuclear deal limits on uranium enrichment “Iran will continue its nuclear enrichment with no restrictions ...and based on its technical needs,” the government statement said. (IRAN DAILY, 7th January, 2020)
  • IRGC targets US airbases in Iraq Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has targeted the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq after launching a wave of attacks to retaliate the US assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. (TEHRAN TIMES, 8th January, 2020)
  • Iran strikes back at US with missile attacks at bases in Iraq Ukrainian airplane crashes near Iran’s capital killing all 176 on board (IRAN DAILY, 9th January, 2020)
  • Iran’s defense chief vows ‘proportional response’ to any U.S. action Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami has vowed a “proportional response” to any action the United States might take against the Islamic Republic. “The next measures of the Islamic Republic of Iran will be proportional to the Americans’ actions and this can go on,” Brigadier General Hatami said after the cabinet meeting. (TEHRAN TIMES, 9th January, 2020)
  • Iran’s vice president: IRGC missile attacks on U.S. base was a crushing, deterrent operation The Iranian first vice president announced on his official Twitter account that; the IRGC airspace force’s missile attacks on the Ain al-Asad base in Iraq was a crushing and also a deterrent one. Es’haq Jahangir attached Iran’s flag to his Twitter and wrote: “The first slap was strong, crushing and of course warning and deterrent.”(TEHRAN TIMES, 9th January, 2020)