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Weekly Contemporary Developments

1 - 31 March, 2020

  • Pakistan reopens borders with Iran after a week of closure

    Islamabad reopened the border crossings to bring a sum of 300 passengers back. The Pakistani passengers had traveled to Iran but faced border closure after novel corona virus spread across the country, including the border province of Sistan-Balouchestan. (Tehran Times, March 01, 2020)
  • US leaving Afghanistan after two decades of humiliation: Zarif
    Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US is leaving Afghanistan after two decades of “humiliation” following a so-called peace deal between the Taliban and the United States. He said in a tweet “US occupiers should’ve never invaded Afghanistan. But they did, and blamed everyone else for consequences”. (Iran Daily, March 03, 2020)
  • Students call on Zarif not to be indifferent toward Indian Muslims
    The Islamic society of students at Shahid Beheshti University, in a letter, urging Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to take more serious actions towards the violence against the Muslim community in India Also provide diplomatic support for the Indian Muslims. The students said in the letter, “Defending rights of the entire Muslims is a part of Article 152 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran” (Tehran Times, March 04, 2020)
  • Zarif, Lavrov underlines peaceful settlement of Idlib battle
    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov over developments in the Syrian northwestern province of Idlib, urging an immediate de-escalation of tensions in the region also emphasis on implementation of the Astana ceasefire agreement preventing more tensions in the war-hit region. (Tehran Times, March 05, 2020)
  • Pakistan supports Zarif’s stance on violence against Indian Muslims
    Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has supported Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s stance on the wave of organized violence against Indian Muslims. Qureshi tweeted “Fully share the concerns expressed by my brother Javad Zarif on safety and well-being of Indian Muslims facing naked violence from RSS mobs. India is in throes of grave communal violence. Their sinister and systematic killing of Muslims is inhuman and dangerous for whole region”. (Tehran Times, March 05, 2020)
  • Iranian MP urges Indian govt. to prevent cruelty against Muslims
    Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, has urged the Indian government to take action in stopping a continuation of cruelty against the Muslims. In an interview with ISNA, Falahatpisheh condemned killing of the Indian Muslims and said the extremist Hindus’ actions are violation of the United Nations Charter. (Tehran Times, March 09, 2020)
  • IAEA: Iran providing access to active nuclear sites
    Iran continues to provide international inspectors access to its active nuclear facilities, the head of the UN’s atomic watchdog said. Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also told board members in Vienna “The agency has not observed any changes to Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA in connection with this announcement, or in the level of cooperation by Iran in relation to agency verification and monitoring activities under the JCPOA”. (Iran Daily, March 10, 2020)
  • Pakistan, Iran to promote rail trade: Minister
    Railways Minister of Pakistan Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad met to Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mohammad-Ali Hosseini in Islamabad, the minister invited a technical team from Iran to upgrade Quetta-Taftan section of the railway track, according to The Nation daily. The Iranian ambassador expressed hope to restart Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul container train, saying that it would also promote tourism and freight services. (Iran Daily, March 11, 2020)
  • Iran’s Justice Ministry condemns anti-Muslim violence in India
    Iranian Justice Ministry Department for Human Rights and International Affairs issued a statement condemning the anti-Muslim cruelty in India. The Justice Ministry also urged the international community to take a transparent stance and condemn such crimes which are being taken in line with “Islamophobia and annihilation of the Muslims”. (Tehran Times, March 12, 2020)
  • Trump’s policy has made Iran stronger and U.S. weaker: senator
    U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has said in his “Trump’s Iran policy has done nothing but make them stronger and America weaker,” He also noted, “Time to change course.” In another tweet, Murphy said that strike on Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani “was supposed to restore deterrence against Iran”, adding, “It didn’t.” “The idea that killings another Iranian general will end the escalation is contradicted by the facts,” he added in his tweet. (Tehran Times, March 15, 2020)
  • Iran, Pakistan discuss fight against terrorism, corona virus
    Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan Mohammad-Ali Hosseini made the remarks in a meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, he stressed the need for strengthening cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad in a bid to counter the menace of terrorism, especially the threat posed by the Daesh terrorist group in the region. He stressed that after Daesh’s defeat in Syria and Iraq, these terrorist groups was relocated to Afghanistan which shares common borders with both Iran and Pakistan. Regional countries have repeatedly expressed their concern about the Daesh emergence in Afghanistan. PM Pakistan also praised Iran’s stance on the Kashmir issue. (Iran Daily, March 15, 2020)
  • U.S. to keep two aircraft carriers to ‘deter Iran’, says Gen. McKenzie The top U.S. military commander in the Middle East General Frank McKenzie says the U.S. military plans to keep two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf in order to deter Iran from taking retaliatory action for an earlier attack against Iraqi forces. He said “We’re going to keep them for a while. And I’m not going to comment on exactly how long that will be, because we typically try to avoid talking about tactical operations” (Tehran Times, March 16, 2020)
  • Russia, China, Pakistan urge US to lift Iran sanctions
    Russia, China and Pakistan pressed the US to remove its unilateral sanctions on Iran amid the new corona virus outbreak. Countries urge that, Iran is wrestling with lack of medical equipment and medicine it needs to import to battle the deadly disease, known as COVID-19. (Iran Daily, March 17, 2020)
  • Zarif: Even pandemics won’t stop Pompeo’s propagand
    The Iranian minister of foreign affairs has lashed out at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying, “Even a pandemic won’t stop him from spouting third-rate propaganda.” Zarif made this remark in a Twitter post in response to a tweet by Pompeo, in which he has made disrespectful remarks about Iranian President Hassan Rouhani saying instead of blaming the US, he should say yes to Washington’s offer of humanitarian aid. (Iran Daily, March 26, 2020)
  • UN chief urges rolling back sanctions to contain corona virus pandemic
    UN Secretary-General António Guterres wrote in a letter to the G-20 economic powers “I am encouraging the waiving of sanctions imposed on countries to ensure access to food, essential health supplies, and COVID-19 medical support. This is the time for solidarity not exclusion”. He also added “Let us remember that we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected world” (Tehran Times, March 30, 2020)
  • Zarif: ‘US goes from economic terrorism on Iran to medical terror’
    The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif lashed out at US inhumane sanctions, saying Washington has gone from waging economic terrorism on Iranians to promoting medical terrorism against them at a time when the country is in a fight against corona virus. He twitted; “US has gone from sabotage & assassinations to waging an economic war & #Economic Terrorism on Iranians—to #Medical Terror amidst #covid19iran. This even ‘exceeds what would be permissible on the battlefield’. STOP aiding WAR CRIMES. STOP obeying IMMORAL & ILLEGAL US sanctions”. (Iran Daily, March 30, 2020)