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Tehran seeks solutions to oil sales, revenue transfers
LONDON, Aug 19, (Agencies): Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said on Sunday that a new Iran Action Group in the US State Department aimed to overthrow the Islamic Republic, but would fail. He was speaking on the 65th anniversary of a US-backed coup that overthrew a democratically elected Iranian prime minister, an occasion when anti-American sentiment runs particularly high in the Islamic Republic.
Comparing fresh US sanctions on Tehran imposed by President Donald Trump with the 1953 coup that ousted nationalist Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, Zarif said Tehran will not let history repeat itself. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday named senior policy adviser Brian Hook as special representative for Iran in charge of the Iran Action Group to coordinate Trump’s pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic following Washington’s withdrawal from an international nuclear deal with Tehran. Zarif tweeted: “65 years ago today, the US overthrew the popularly elected democratic government of Dr. Mossadegh, restoring the dictatorship & subjugating Iranians for the next 25 years.
Now an “Action Group” dreams of doing the same through pressure, misinformation & demagoguery. Never again.” The United States and Britain orchestrated the removal of Mossadegh after he acted to nationalise Iran’s oil industry, restoring to power Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The Westernbacked shah was toppled in Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said the coup was the best historical lesson that Americans cannot be trusted. “How dare you talk about the freedom of the Iranian nation with your dark record of the Aug 19 coup, and the appointment of a puppet totalitarian regime,” Larijani was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA, referring to the shah’s rule.
“Americans are imposing sanctions but they claim they are supporting freedom, human rights, and global and regional security,” Larijani said. The 1953 Anglo-American coup remains an open wound in Iran’s relations with the West. In March 2000, then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright became the first senior American official to acknowledge the American role in the coup, calling it “a setback for Iran’s political development”.
Washington and Tehran have had no diplomatic relations since the shah’s fall. Decades of hostility eased somewhat with the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and then-US President Barack Obama’s administration and five other world powers. But high tensions resumed after Trump pulled Washington out of the deal, calling it flawed in Iran’s favour.
New fighter jet
Iran will unveil a new fighter jet next week and continue developing missile capabilities as a top priority, the defence minister said on Saturday, defying new US sanctions aimed at curbing Tehran’s missile programme and regional influence. Iran’s navy also announced on Saturday that it has mounted a locally built advanced defensive weapons system on one of its warships for the first time, as tensions mount with the US military in the Gulf.
US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in May from a 2015 accord between Iran and world powers that curbed Tehran’s nuclear activity in exchange for sanctions relief. Trump said the deal was deeply flawed as it had not curbed Iran’s ballistic missile programme or reined in its support for proxies in conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Iran has dismissed any direct talks with Washington to resolve the issues raised by Trump.
“Our top priority has been development of our missile programme. We are in a good position in this field, but we need to develop it,” Brigadier General Amir Hatami was quoted as saying by Fars news agency on Saturday. “We will present a plane on National Defence Industry Day, and people will see it fly, and the equipment designed for it,” Hatami added. Iran celebrates National Defence Industry Day on Aug 22. Iran unveiled in 2013 what it said was a new, domestically built fighter jet, called Qaher 313, but some experts expressed doubts about the viability of the aircraft at the time.
Iran’s functional air force has been limited to perhaps as few as a few dozen strike aircraft, either Russian or ageing US models acquired before the 1979 Iranian revolution. Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said on Saturday that “coastal and sea testing of the short range defence Kamand system were concluded successfully, and said this system was mounted … on a warship and will be mounted on a second ship soon,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said earlier this month it held war games in the Gulf aimed at “confronting possible threats” by enemies.
The US military’s Central Command said it had seen increased Iranian naval activity, extending to the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway for oil shipments the Revolutionary Guards have threatened to block. Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international sanctions and embargoes that have barred it from importing many weapons.