PHOTO: Last Friday’s international conference in Vienna on the Syrian crisis
- Kentucky Fried Chicken Closed, 1 Day After Opening in Tehran
- Rouhani: We Must Have 8% Growth…But We Need $150 Billion in Investment Each Year
Days after it joined international talks on Syria’s crisis, Iran has warned that it may withdraw from “unconstructive” discussions.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Monday that some countries were “counterproductive” in last Friday’s conference in Vienna, with “Saudi Arabia specifically play[ing] a negative role”: “The main problem during the negotiation was that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir did not support democratic solutions for Syria.”
Abdollahian said that participants put forward a process of six to 18 months for a political transition, with President Assad leaving after a year. The Syrian regime’s allies Russia and Iran are pressing for Parliamentary and Presidential elections, possibly allowing Assad or a member of his inner circle to retain power.
Another Deputy Foreign Minister, Abbas Araqchi, spoke on Monday night about the positions and a “quarrel” between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Saudi Arabia’s al-Jubeir in which “voices were raised”:
Had the preliminary draft been published, one would have seen how different it was from the final text, where our principled demands can be seen.
The foreign minister of one of the countries [al-Jubeir] even declared angrily that ‘It seems we are here to bring about the realization of Zarif’s demands. Everyone admitted that Mr. Zarif’s demands were being met.
Abdollahian denied “leaked news” that Iran had agreed to remove Assad, assuring that”discussions on this issue will be in accordance with UN resolutions and the reality on the ground”.
Iran had been excluded for years from international talks about the Syrian conflict, but the US relented last week to ensure Tehran’s presence at the table.
Despite mounting casualties among Iranian commanders and fighters in a six-front Syrian military offensive, supported by Russian airstrikes, Abdollahian denied that Tehran’s forces were on the battlefield:
We are not fighting, but [have] military advisors in Syria to support the Syrian government in combating terrorism…. We also made it clear in recent weeks that the number of military advisors has increased in Syria.
Head of Revolutionary Guards: We Must Support Assad
Meanwhile, the head of the Revolutionary Guards told a conference in Tehran that Iran must continue backing Assad: “After him, we do not have anyone to fill that hole.”
General Mohammad Ali Jafari added, “Bashar al Assad wholeheartedly believes in the resistance front and opposing the arrogant powers and the West….The resistance is completely dependent upon Bashar al Assad in Syria, and we cannot ignore this issue.”
The commander assured that Iran “will help the people and government of Syria through advisory assistance with all of its power”. He praised Russia for its military intervention, including bombing in support of Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah ground offensives, although he admitted, “It is possible…that [Russia] is not looking for Assad to remain.”
Kentucky Fried Chicken Closed, 1 Day After Opening in Tehran
Kentucky Fried Chicken has been closed in Tehran, a day after its first branch opened:
— Abas Aslani (@abasinfo) November 3, 2015
In February 2012, Iranian media reported that KFC had opened a branch. However, the CEO of an Iranian firm said, that while a franchise was established after obtaining permission “from the mother company”, it was “100 percent Iranian and not American.”
KFC warned that it would take legal action against individuals or companies who took advantage of the brand in Iran.
Rouhani: We Must Have 8% Growth…But We Need $150 Billion in Investment Each Year
President Rouhani said on Tuesday that the the Sixth Development Plan, submitted by the Government last week to Parliament, must achieve “8% growth”.
However, Rouhani cautioned that the 8% rate requires “$150 billion in annual investment”.
The five-year Plan succeeds the 2010-2015 program, which was beset by inflation, mismanagement, sanctions, and alleged corruption. Iran’s GDP fell by more than 4% in 2013-2014 before making a small recovery last year.