Navy Sends New
Fleet to Int'l Waters
TEHRAN (Fars) -- The Iranian navy dispatched its 25th
flotilla of warships to the Gulf of Aden and the high seas
to protect the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against
The 25th fleet of warships, comprised of Alborz missile
warship and Larak logistic ship, left the army's first naval
zone for a mission in the high seas on Thursday morning
after the 24th flotilla returned home.
The Iranian flotilla is tasked with patrolling the Gulf of
Aden to provide security for Iran's shipping lines and to
also take Iran's message of peace, friendship and
consolidation of regional cooperation to the regional
The Iranian navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in
the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders
hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off
the coast of Yemen.
According to UN Security Council resolutions, different
countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and
coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with
prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial
waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.
The Gulf of Aden - which links the Indian Ocean with the
Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea - is an important
energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is
shipped to the West via the Suez Canal.
Delegation to Probe Deaths of
TEHRAN (Press TV) -- A senior Iranian lawmaker said Saturday
a foreign ministry delegation will travel to Saudi Arabia’s
capital of Riyadh to probe the deaths of two Iranian
pilgrims in Jeddah.
Chairman of the Majlis Committee on National Security and
Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi said that the Saudi
government is obliged to provide security for Iranian
pilgrims since the time they enter the country and should be
accountable in this regard.
He added that the delegation would precisely investigate the
case and that Iranian pilgrims will be relocated, through
negotiations with the Saudi authorities, if their current
accommodation is not safe.
Two Iranian pilgrims were killed and four others injured
after a service truck crashed into a passenger lounge of
Jeddah international airport in Saudi Arabia on Thursday,
reports quoted the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority as saying
Two of the wounded pilgrims were treated on the spot and
were able to board a flight to Tehran. The other two were
The incident followed a recent deadly car crash caused by a
drunk Saudi diplomat in Tehran.
A drunk Saudi embassy staffer killed an Iranian driver and
injured a passer-by in a car accident in a northeastern
neighborhood in Tehran.
The Saudi staffer rammed his vehicle into the Iranian car
before veering off the road. The Iranian driver was killed
on the spot.
Four bottles of alcoholic beverage have been found in the
Saudi embassy employee’s car. Police were present at the
scene and started an investigation into the case.
New Defense Achievements to Be
TEHRAN (Fars) -- Iranian defense officials announced on
Saturday that the country would display its first 500-ton
submarine in the next few months.
Deputy Defense Minister for industrial and research affairs
Muhammad Eslami said the designing and construction of
Iran's new indigenous submarine is in its final phases and
the new submarine will be launched by August 22, marking the
National Day of the Defense Industry.
"All related works of this new submarine from designing to
production of basic materials and equipments have been
accomplished by local experts and proportionate to our
conditions and needs," Eslami stated.
He added that the subsurface vessel with a weight of 500
tons will be Iran's first semi-heavy submarine and is a
final ring in the china of the country's defense needs,
given the other submarines, including Qadir-class light
submarines and Tareq-class heavy submarines, that Iran
In September 2012, the Iranian navy officially launched a
heavy submarine after the subsurface vessel was overhauled
by the country's experts.
Tareq-901 submarine was launched in Iran's southern port
city of Bandar Abbas at the order of Leader of the Islamic
Revolution and Commander in Chief Ayatollah Seyed Ali
In May 2012, Iranian navy commander Rear Admiral Habibollah
Sayyari lauded Iranian experts' success in repairing heavy
submarines, saying their outstanding capabilities and
mastery of the hi-tech used in naval vessels display the
failure of enemy sanctions and pressures.
He said the submarine, called Tareq, is now fully ready to
be dispatched to the high seas.
He pointed to the Leader's recent alarming remarks that
enemies are trying to display Iranians as an incapable
nation, and said, "Today we show that 'We Can', and that our
ability is way beyond the enemy's imaginations."
In 2011, the Iranian navy's Tareq-class submarine Younus
managed to set a new record in sailing the international
waters and high seas for 68 days.
Iran's Younus submarine, sailing alongside warships of the
14th fleet of the Iranian navy, returned home in early June
2011 following an over two-month-long mission in the Red Sea
and the Gulf of Aden.
The deployment of the Iranian submarine in the Red Sea was
the first such operation by the country's navy in far-off
New Drones to Be Unveiled
Eslami said Iran plans to start unveiling a series of new
home-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and fighter jets
The country plans to unveil different types of defense
achievements during the current Iranian year, which started
on March 21, 2013, he added.
Eslami said home-made fighter jets as well as new indigenous
modern drones will be unveiled this year.
He said Iran will start displaying new defense achievements
from Khordad 3 (May 24), marking the anniversary of the
liberation of Khorramshahr city from Iraqi occupation during
the eight-year Iraqi imposed war (1980-1988).
Salafists Attack Iran's Mission in
CAIRO (Dispatches) -- A crowd of protesters has attacked the
residence of Iran’s charge d'affaires to Egypt Mojtaba Amani
in a suburb of the capital Cairo in protest at the warming
relations between the two countries.
The crowd staged the protest in front of Amani’s residence
on Friday and tried to scale the walls and break into the
building, but was blocked by the police.
The protesters also attempted but failed to raise a flag of
the militants in Syria over the building.
Amani said the crowd mostly comprised Salafi supporters as
well as the supporters of the militants fighting in Syria.
He added that they had been provoked to stage the protest by
certain countries that are unhappy with the warming
relations between Tehran and Cairo.
"How could the Egyptian security allow these Syrians to mess
up with security?" Amany said in a phone interview with
Al-Masry Al-Youm. He denied that the protesters’ claims that
Iran seeks to spread the Shia faith in Egypt.
Late in the afternoon, minor clashes erupted between
security forces and protesters demonstrating in front of the
home Amani's home in Heliopolis.
Egyptian troops fired teargas to disperse protesters. The
clashes then died down.
Tourism Minister Hesham Zaazou said the Salafi’s fears of
the spread of the Shia faith in Egypt were unfounded. He
said it would be impossible for the new influx of tourists
from Iran to change Egyptian’s beliefs, adding that the
tourists’ movements within the country would be carefully
He said that the Freedom and Justice Party had issued a
statement on Wednesday declaring that national security and
the defense of the country’s Sunni beliefs were lines that
could not be crossed.
Hussein Ibrahim, the party’s secretary general, agreed that
the Salafi’s fears were not legitimate, as no one would be
able to lead the Egyptian people away from the Sunni path.
Iran severed its diplomatic ties with Egypt after the 1979
Islamic Revolution because Egypt had signed the Camp David
Accords with the Israeli regime and offered asylum to Iran's
deposed monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Bilateral relations, however, have been on the mend
following the 2011 Egyptian revolution that resulted in the
ouster of the country’s dictator, Hosni Mubarak.
In August 2012, Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi visited
Iran to attend a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
It was the first visit of an Egyptian president to Iran in
more than three decades.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also visited Egypt in
February to attend the 12th summit of the Organization of
Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as the first Iranian head of state
to visit Egypt in 34 years.
Over the years Egyptian Salafis, who are close to Saudi
wahhabism, have voiced a rejectionist discourse against
Iran. Although this was convenient for Mubarak’s regime
Salafis, then mainly an underground movement had no public
say on the issue. In post-revolution Egypt, where they not
only have a voice but exercise considerable influence, their
anti-Iranian stand is as aggressive as ever.
This probably explains why the tourism agreement between
Egypt and Iran effectively prevents Iranian tourists from
visiting what for them would be the major draw, Cairo
mosques dating from the time of the Fatimids (969 to 1171)
when Egypt was officially Shia. If Cairo’s aim was to boost
its faltering tourism sector it makes no sense at all to
place prime attractions off limits, even when doing so
placates the Salafis.
Tehran's officials are far more interested in seizing a
post-revolution opportunity to improve ties with Cairo.
“Egyptian-Iranian relations have been progressing over the
last two years,” Iran's Deputy FM Hussein Amir-Abdollahian
told a press gathering at the Iranian embassy in Cairo
recently. He described relations as “good” and “suitable”.
Iran, he said, is fully prepared to cooperate with, and help
President Mursi, the Egyptian government and people.
In desperate need of help to shore up its economy Cairo,
still a U.S. ally, hasn’t been responsive. How long this
will last remains to be seen. Assistance promised by
supposedly “friendlier” states has yet to materialize,
leaving Egypt’s economy on the brink.
Not that Tehran appears nonplussed. The decades-long barrier
between two of the region’s most powerful states has been
broken. Charter flights are only one symbolic, if
politically loaded, aspect of this development. The next
step will be signaled by strategic and economic agreements.
According to Abdollahian, the volume of trade between both
countries in 2012 was only $400 million. “It’s not as much
as it should be but this is a result of the holdover of fear
from Mubarak days. If the fear subsides the volume of trade
will double,” he told Al-Ahram Weekly.
An Egyptian-Iranian agreement was initially signed in
October 2010 under Mubarak. Ahmed Shafiq, the then minister
of civil aviation, signed a memorandum of understanding with
Iran's vice president and head of tourism Hamid Ghavabesh.
The agreement provided for up to 28 private flights a week.
Insiders say a powerful business tycoon close to Gamal
Mubarak was behind the deal. The aim was purely financial,
the tycoon motivated by profit. It signaled less a shift in
Egypt’s position towards Iran but Mubarak increasingly
giving way in the face of pressure exercised by his son’s
semi-ruling business clique.
The agreement never came into effect. Three months after it
was signed the January 2011 uprising which toppled Mubarak
began. Now another businessman, Rami Lakah, owner of Air
Memphis, has stepped in to replace the now jailed NDP
It has taken post-revolution Egypt two years to implement
the agreement: the delay must inform any assessment of how
far Mursi is willing to go with Iran, especially given that
the initial steps were taken by his predecessor.
MP Blasts Attack on UK Embassy
TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- The deputy speaker of Iran's
parliament has condemned an attack in 2011 by Iranian
protesters on the British embassy in Tehran.
"No one has the right to raid another country's embassy, it
is our duty to protect them," Muhammadreza Bahonar, a
presidential hopeful, said.
His comments came on the eve of Iran's nuclear talks with
The attack followed Britain's decision to impose further
sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
In the wake of the incident, Britain shut down its embassy
in Tehran and expelled all Iranian diplomats from London.
On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said
that Iran has "repeatedly" asked the UK to reopen its
embassy. "What happened was a very grave event that should
not have happened," said Salehi.
Iranian officials expressed regret immediately after the
attack on the British embassy and another British diplomatic
compound, but no one has been held accountable.
A number of conservative members of the parliament were
among the protesters.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said at the time that
relations between the UK and Iran were at their lowest
level, but that the UK was not severing relations with