US’s own allies sponsoring terror, not Iran: Foreign Ministry

Sat Apr 1, 2017 10:22AM
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has called on the United States to pressure its regional allies into abandoning their support for terrorism and not to level “malicious” allegations against the Islamic Republic.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi made the remark on Saturday, reacting to earlier comments by US Defense Secretary James Mattis that Iran continued to sponsor terror.

“We urge the American official to — instead of making unwarranted and biased accusations against Iran — oblige some of the countries in the region that are friendly and close to the US and whose unwavering and widespread support for terrorist groups is clearly evident to halt their financial, ideological, and military support for these terrorist-Takfiri outfits,” he said.

Washington’s allies in the region, most notably Saudi Arabia, are accused of sponsoring terrorism — both materially and ideologically.

Takfirism, which is a characteristic of many terrorist groups operating in the region, is largely influenced by Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by government-sanctioned Saudi clerics.

The Riyadh regime has also been a supporter of the violent militants operating in the conflict-ridden countries of Syria and Iraq.

During a press conference in London on Friday, Mattis had said that North Korea was the number-one threat to the US. He was then asked about his comments back in 2012, when he enumerated the three primary threats the US faced as being “Iran, Iran, Iran.”

“At the time when I spoke about Iran I was a commander of US central command and that (Iran) was the primary exporter of terrorism; frankly, it was the primary state sponsor of terrorism and it continues that kind of behavior today,” he said in the Friday remarks, trying to explain his apparent shift of opinion.

Qassemi, nevertheless, described Mattis’ new claim against Iran as baseless.

He said Iran believed that one main reason for the failure of the international efforts to combat terrorism was “giving the false address” when speaking about the financial and ideological sources of terrorism.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Iran had itself been a victim of terrorism and had been involved in non-stop efforts to fight the scourge.

Sat Apr 1, 2017 8:19AM

PressTv User

The US political establishment is concerned that President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn could provide information that can expose and be harmful to the US “deep state”, says a political analyst in California.

Flynn’s “testimony can effectively expose, cripple and destroy the deep state within the CIA, within the NSA, within the intelligence agencies that have been harming the American people and the world and it will also expose the duplicity and treason that has been involved in the US’ 15-year campaign in the Middle East – in Libya, in Syria, in Iraq,” said Scott Bennett, a former psychological warfare officer at the US Army.

“This is a huge opportunity to expose all of the darkest secrets and criminal acts by the CIA, by the deep state, by the NSA,” Bennett told Press TV on Friday.

“This is a chance, not necessarily for prosecution, but for correcting the gross negligence and crimes and corruption that the deep state has been doing. That is why the Senate is fearful and they’re trying to stop Flynn from testifying without immunity,” he added.

Some political scientists, writers and journalists in the United States have for decades expressed concerns about the existence of a so-called deep state or state within a state, which they argue exerts control and influence over public policy, regardless of which political party controls the country’s democratic institutions.

Under the Trump administration, the term deep state has been used by some news organizations to refer to intelligence officials and executive branch bureaucrats guiding policy through leaking or other means of internal dissent.

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Flynn is in discussions with congressional investigators on receiving immunity from “unfair prosecution” in exchange for agreeing to testify about ongoing probes into possible contacts between Trump’s election campaign and Russia.

Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, said in a statement Thursday that his client was facing “claims of treason and vicious innuendo” and that has been a factor into his negotiations with the intelligence committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate in Congress.

The FBI, as well as the Senate and House intelligence committees, are investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and any possible ties between Trump’s associates and Moscow.

Flynn was forced to resign in February from his position as Trump’s first national security adviser after it was revealed that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador to the US in late December.

The conversation, which took place before Trump’s inauguration, centered around lifting then-President Barack Obama’s sanctions against Russia. Any discussion of sanctions at that time would have amounted to a breach of US law barring private citizens engaging in foreign policy.

Flynn’s tenure of just 24 days as national security adviser is the shortest in the history of the office.

Sat Apr 1, 2017 10:4AM

PressTv User

A Syrian refugee has set himself on fire in a camp for refugees and asylum seekers in Greece in protest at the dire living conditions there as there is no end in sight to the plight of the refugees stranded across Europe.

In a video released by Athens News Agency (ANA), the Syrian refugee is seen self-immolating on the Greek island of Chios in the Aegean Sea, where thousands of asylum seekers remain stranded.

The footage shows a young man with a fuel container and a lighter inside the Vial refugee camp, warning security forces and asylum seekers to stay back. The unidentified Syrian refugee then sets himself on fire after a short tussle with a policeman who struggles to grab him from behind in an attempt to prevent the tragedy.

The refugee was reportedly transferred to hospital for treatment and his condition was described as critical with burns of 85 percent all over his body. The officer who tried to save him was also hospitalized with burns.

The incident comes as an estimated 62,000 refugees and asylum seekers are currently in limbo in mainland Greece and its islands as a result of border closures and a controversial deal between the EU and Turkey on March 20, 2016, aimed at stemming the flow of refugees to Europe in return for financial and political rewards for Ankara.

Refugees look through a barrack window in a refugee camp near the Serbian capital of Belgrade on January 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Elsewhere in Europe, Serbia, which is deemed as a Balkans gateway for asylum seekers, has also been the scene of violence against refugees struggling to reach wealthier states in the continent.

Some 8,000 refugees are trapped in the southeast European country after the 27-member bloc closed its borders, hoping to block the so-called Balkans route taken by hundreds of thousands of people waiting to cross the border to Hungary and rich EU countries.

Documented claims by refugees and asylum seekers indicate that police use batons and snarling dogs to subdue frequent revolts in camps and smugglers rob and abuse the victims.

“I could not imagine that European police could be so violent,” said a 21-year-old refugee from Pakistan. “They beat us, took us to a police station and then to a closed center. They beat us again during transfers.”

The intolerable and seemingly endless waiting in tough conditions has forced many hapless refugees to seek help from human rights institutions.

Rights activists say refugees are setting up tents on the streets, abandoned warehouses and makeshift camps as shelters in the Balkan country are full.

Serbian authorities, who have requested more help from the EU, have promised to provide 6,000 beds to accommodate the refugees stranded in the country.

Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees, most of whom are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria. The conflicts they are fleeing are usually instigated by the very European and non-European countries they seek to finally settle in.

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