DGCA asks Indian airlines to avoid Iranian airspace

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

DGCA asks Indian airlines to avoid Iranian airspace

Indian carriers’ decision follows a warning by the American aviation regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration to a possibility that commercial aircraft can be mistakenly targeted in Iranian airspace.

INDIA Updated: Jun 22, 2019 23:06 IST

Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
New Delhi
DGCA,Iranian airspace,Indian flights
Amid rising geopolitical tensions between the US and Iran, India’s aviation regulator DGCA Saturday said Indian airlines have decided to avoid the “affected part of the Iranian airspace” and reroute their flight “suitably”. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

Aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), announced on Saturday that Indian airlines had been asked to avoid parts of Iranian airspace, a day after several countries imposed similar restrictions over a region where military tensions have been heightened since the downing of an American drone by Iran.

The region falls in the path of west-bound flights from India, a route that has already been constrained by the closure of Pakistani airspace since tensions spiked in February and the two countries carried out airstrikes on each other’s soil.

“All Indian operators in consultation with DGCA have decided to avoid the affected part of Iranian Airspace to ensure safe travel for the passengers. They will re-route flights suitably,” the DGCA said in a tweet.

Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani said the move will not have a “substantial effect” on the airline’s flights. “Details being worked out for rerouting on incoming flights,” he said.

According to industry experts flights of Air India – the only Indian carrier flying long distances – will need to take a longer route to avoid the closed areas, which would add to its operating costs.

The airline is already spending an additional ₹6 crore per day due to the Pakistan airspace closure.

WATCH | Iran shows US drone debris, Trump says ‘we were cocked, loaded to retaliate’

Iran shows US drone debris, Trump says ‘we were cocked, loaded to retaliate’
Tension between Iran and United States of America seems to be increasing by the day.
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Some of the world’s leading carriers including British Airways, Qantas and Singapore Airlines on Friday suspended flights over the Strait of Hormuz, as US President Donald Trump confirmed that he backed down at the last moment from launching airstrikes on Iranian targets.

American carrier United Airlines also indefinitely suspended its flight between New York/Newark and Mumbai from Friday evening.

The suspensions announced on Friday will affect thousands of passengers.

Experts have raised concerns about flying over troubled regions since the 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which killed 298 people on board. The aircraft was shot down over Ukraine by rebel forces, who are believed to have mistaken it for a military aircraft.

The drone that Iran shot down using a surface-to-air missile had a wing span larger than a Boeing 737 aircraft – a commonly used jet by airlines – and had the capability to fly higher than altitudes typically used by commercial flights.

With agency inputs

First Published: Jun 22, 2019 17:03 IST

Trusting The Government: U.S., Russia, China, North Korea, All The Same?

Trusting The Government: U.S., Russia, China, North Korea, All The Same?

 

I was born in the mid 1950’s and grew up watching Walter Cronkite deliver the evening news. Mr. Cronkite was by most considered to be the “most trusted man in America.” Whom is it that you totally trust the most in American news media or within the political realm today? With all the news outlets of today all trying to get you to watch or listen to them I find it difficult to put much trust in any of them. There are two main reasons for that, one is that each of these outlets are companies, they are ‘for profit’. Two is the consideration of where are they getting their information?

 

I am in my early 60’s now so during the past 50 years or so we here in the U.S. have been constantly told that we are the good guys and governments who are Communist are the bad guys. From all of the reading and studying that I have done over the years I really don’t doubt that these Communists governments are far less than friendly toward their own population nor to others. Communists seem to think military first and usually military only and it is a proven fact that very few people who are military oriented are very good public leaders. Military frame of mind and civilian frame of mind seldom seem to end up within the same person. Then again within the non-communists countries the people have to put up with politicians who seem to change their mind like farts in a breeze. Here in the U.S. we the people have learned a lot since the NSA murdered John and Bobby Kennedy back in the 60’s. When Nixon was President he illegally expanded the war in Vietnam into Laos and Cambodia. We had military personal who died there or were captured there that our government turned their back on as well as their families basically saying they must have deserted. When the U.S. officially left Vietnam Nixon got on TV and said there were no more POWs in southeast Asia, knowing very well that he was lying to the people. Reality comes down to the fact of truth or not the truth, trust or not being able to trust.

 

Now I am going to talk about current events here in the U.S. and this reality of trust or no trust. On a personal level can you trust a person on really serious matters when you absolutely know as a fact that they have lied to you many many occasions?  In the last 24-36 hours we have been hearing on the news that Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. spy drone. The early news strongly hinted that the drone was over Iranian land which by all forms of international law would have been a violation committed by the Americans and Iran would have had every right to shoot it down. By international law every country which borders a body of water has 12 miles sovereignty except for China’s Communists government who seems to want to claim at least a few thousand miles sovereignty but that is another story for other articles. Now the U.S. government is saying that the drone was 21 miles off of Iran’s coast and if this is true then basically Iran committed and act of war against the U.S. and the U.S. government would have the right to retaliate against Iran. The issue is, how can we trust our own government when they and especially our President is a habitual liar? President George W. Bush’s lies paved the way for us to start a war with Iraq. Personally I believe that he was just trying to show his Daddy that he could ‘one-up’ him and take out Saddam. Think of the cost of those lies in terms of thousands of people dead and about a trillion dollars of taxpayer money thrown into that bloodbath. Today’s news headline said that some of the Republicans in the Senate were upset that President Trump called off a bombing raid in Iran that would have started an all out war with them and their allies. Going to war with anyone should not be a partisan matter and going to war should not be in the hands of one person. If we are going to enter a war this war should be voted on and passed by at least 2/3 of the Congress and the Senate. This is not a computer game, many thousands of people will die. So, what is the truth on this matter, can you or I honestly trust anything that Mr. Trump says? Personally I don’t. Credibility is something that our leaders no longer have, their word is not good enough any more. If we go to war with Iran they have many allies including many sleeper cells within our own borders, many Americans on American land will die, life as we have always know it here in the States will be over. But, how the hell can we the people ever know if what we are being told is the truth, or just another lie.

 

Eryani: Tehran Uses Yemen As Platform to Threaten International Shipping Corridors

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Eryani: Tehran Uses Yemen As Platform to Threaten International Shipping Corridors

Friday, 21 June, 2019 – 10:30
Yemeni Information Minister Muammar al-Eryani (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Washington- Asharq Al-Awsat
Yemeni Information Minister Muammar al-Eryani warned against Iran’s continued practices in the region during his meetings with US officials at the White House on Thursday.

“Iran is spreading terrorism through its Houthi agents and is using Yemen as a platform to threaten neighboring countries and international shipping corridors, and continues to smuggle weapons and support the Houthi militias,” the Yemeni minister said during a meeting with US National Security Council officials.

Eryani warned of the terrorist practices of the Iranian-backed coup militias, their promotion of sectarian terrorist ideology and the recruitment of children in schools.

He stressed that the Yemeni legitimacy “cannot accept any role of Iran in Yemen,” adding that the Iranian regime has “given our country and our people only death, destruction, and sectarian feelings.”

The Iranian minister briefed US officials on “the legitimate government’s efforts to normalize public life in liberated areas, combat terrorism and extremism, rebuild devastated villages and restore the social fabric,” which he said the militias were destroying.

He also pointed to the Saudi-sponsored rehabilitation program for children and its role in reintegrating formerly recruited children in the society.

The Yemeni minister called on the international community and the United States to exert all forms of pressure on Iran to stop its destabilizing activities in Yemen and the rest of the region.

About Iran Shooting Down That U.S. Drone

About Iran Shooting Down That U.S. Drone

 

This is just a short commentary about Iran shooting down a U.S. drone. President Trump seems to be all upset about Iran doing that but should he or we be upset about it?  By what I have been able to read on this issue I would like to bring two points to light. First is the cost of that drone, said to be $222.7 million dollars, thats crazy expensive, there are countries that don’t have a GDP that big. To me it seems that the maker of the drone is laying the screws to the American taxpayer. But second, by the material being put out to the public so far it seems that this drone was over Iranian land cruising and spying at 60,000 feet. If Iran, Russia, China or any other country did this spying over U.S. property we would be very pissed about it and maybe even threatening military payback for this ‘crime’. If this drone was over Iranian territory they had every right to shoot it down. Who the hell do we (the American government) think we are talking crap about retaliation when it was us that was in the wrong? I know that the Iranian government is a friend to no one and that their government is a pariah on the human race but we still have no ‘legal’ right to be flying over their land. What did we expect from their military, to look up, smile and wave while flipping the drone the Bird?

Iran Says It Will Exceed Nuclear Deal’s Limit On Uranium ‘In 10 Days’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR)

 

Iran Says It Will Exceed Nuclear Deal’s Limit On Uranium ‘In 10 Days’

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi, pictured at a July 2018 news conference in Tehran, said Monday: “We have quadrupled the rate of enrichment and even increased it more recently.”

Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET

Within days Iran will exceed the limit on its stockpile of uranium under a 2015 nuclear deal, according to a spokesman for the country’s atomic energy agency, who also said Tehran would increase uranium enrichment levels in violation of the agreement, “based on the country’s needs.”

The remarks come amid increased tension between the U.S. and Iran, particularly after last week’s attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman that Washington has blamed on Tehran. Iran has denied any involvement.

Under the multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that the U.S. withdrew from a year ago, Iran can keep no more than 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of uranium enriched no higher than 3.67% — far below the 90% level considered suitable for building nuclear weapons.

At a news conference at the Arak Nuclear Complex that was carried live Monday on Iranian television, Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said that stockpile limit could be exceeded within 10 days.

“We have quadrupled the rate of enrichment and even increased it more recently, so that in 10 days it will bypass the 300 kg limit,” Kamalvandi said.

He added that his country needs uranium enriched to 5% for its Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, built in the 1990s with Russian help, and uranium of 20% purity to be used as fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which the U.S. supplied to Iran in 1967.

Although not weapons-grade, 20% purity is generally considered “highly enriched” uranium, and as The Associated Press notes, “going from 20% to 90% is a relatively quicker process, something that worries nuclear nonproliferation experts.”

Even so, Kamalvandi held out the possibility that “there is still time … if European countries act.”

“Iran’s reserves are every day increasing at a more rapid rate. And if it is important for them (Europe) to safeguard the accord, they should make their best efforts. … As soon as they carry out their commitments, things will naturally go back to their original state,” he said, according to AP.

That sentiment was echoed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday. “It’s a crucial moment, and France can still work with other signatories of the deal and play an historic role to save the deal in this very short time,” he was quoted by the Fars News Agency as saying during a meeting with France’s new ambassador in Iran.

Reuters reports that Rouhani said the collapse of the nuclear deal would not be in the interests of the region and the world.

In response to Iran’s announcement on uranium enrichment levels, National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said in a statement: “Iran’s enrichment plans are only possible because the horrible nuclear deal left the their capabilities intact. President Trump has made it clear that he will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. The regime’s nuclear blackmail must be met with increased international pressure.”

Following last week’s reported attack on the tankers Front Altair and Kokuka Courageous near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “there’s no doubt” that Iran was responsible for disabling the vessels.

“The intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence,” Pompeo said on Fox News Sunday. “The world will come to see much of it, but the American people should rest assured we have high confidence with respect to who conducted these attacks as well as half a dozen other attacks throughout the world.”

On CBS’ Face the Nation, Pompeo said the U.S. was “considering a full range of options.”

“We are confident that we can take a set of actions that can restore deterrence, which is our mission set,” he said.

On Monday, Iran’s armed forces chief of staff again denied the country’s involvement in the attacks.

“Regarding the new incidents in the Persian Gulf … if the Islamic Republic of Iran decides to block exports of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, it is militarily strong enough to do that fully and publicly,” Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri said, according to Fars News Agency.

Oil Tankers Attacked Again in Gulf of Oman, Raising Fears of Wider Conflict

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Oil Tankers Attacked Again in Gulf of Oman, Raising Fears of Wider Conflict

One of the tankers involved in the latest attack, the Front Altair, at a port in Estonia in 2018.

CreditArtjom Lofitski/EPA, via Shutterstock

Image
One of the tankers involved in the latest attack, the Front Altair, at a port in Estonia in 2018.

CreditCreditArtjom Lofitski/EPA, via Shutterstock

LONDON — Oil tankers came under attack on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, the Iranian news media and a shipping industry official said on Thursday, a month after four tankers were damaged in the same waterway, a vital thoroughfare for much of the world’s oil.

The Iranian state news media reported that multiple tankers had been seriously damaged. A shipping industry official, who was not authorized to speak publicly to the news media, said that at least two tankers had been hit. The nature of the attack was not clear.

“We are aware of the reported attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman,” the United States Fifth Fleet said in a brief statement. “U.S. Naval Forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12 a.m. local time and a second one at 7 a.m. U.S. Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance.”

By The New York Times

An arm of the British Navy, United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, reported that “U.K. and its partners are currently investigating” an incident in the gulf, about 40 miles east of the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah, but offered no details.

Oil prices spiked early Thursday on the news.

In the region, Iran, on the northern side of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, has long been at odds with its adversaries and neighbors to the south, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They support opposing sides in the civil war in Yemen.

The attacks in May worsened those tensions, raising concerns that they might lead to a violent clash between regional powers.

One of the tankers involved in the latest attack, M. T. Front Altair, was on fire, and the crew had abandoned ship and been rescued, according to the industry official. The ship, registered in the Marshall Islands, was carrying naphtha, a petroleum product, he said.

He said that contact had been lost with another tanker, the Panamanian-flagged Kokuka Courageous. There were news reports that it, too, was on fire and had been abandoned.

Pakistani FM to AAWSAT: Islamic Summit to Avoid War

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Pakistani FM to AAWSAT: Islamic Summit to Avoid War

Friday, 31 May, 2019 – 10:30
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Reuters
Jeddah- Mohammed Al-Ayed
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has affirmed that the summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) hosted by Saudi Arabia in attendance of Arab, Gulf, and Islamic leaders is an opportunity to address the tensed conditions in the region and avoid the breaking out of the war.

Amid the tension arising from the Iranian interventions in the region, Qureshi said that the war won’t be in the best interest of anyone, and won’t serve the region or the global economy. In fact, it would weaken the investment and increase the threat of terrorist activities, he added.

Despite all, Iran remains part of the region and can’t be removed and that’s why there should be a way to deal with it, Qureshi asserted.

As for the ballistic missiles launched by Houthis – Iran’s arm in Yemen – towards Makkah, Qureshi told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that any attack against the kingdom and the Two Holy Mosques is equivalent to an attack targeting Pakistan.

Qureshi stressed that his country will be ready in case any danger threatens the Saudi territories, lauding the continuous Saudi support to Pakistan.

Commenting on the attacks against energy sources and passages in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, the Pakistani FM stated that these energy sources don’t only contribute to economy and trade development on the level of Saudi Arabia but the world overall.

Further, he considered that the Iranian intention to close the Strait of Hormuz would escalate regional crises — Qureshi urged Iran to desist from escalation and to open up to diplomacy because extremist means would not be constructive.

Qureshi noted that the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, to Pakistan brought several achievements to both countries, adding that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have key roles in the Islamic world that could boost stability and security in the region.

Former high-profile Iranian official admits to murdering wife

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AL JAZEERA)

 

Former high-profile Iranian official admits to murdering wife

Former Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi, 67, has admitted to killing his wife over ‘domestic’ issues.

by

Najafi turned himself in to police after shooting his wife to death [Hamed Ataei/Mizan]
Najafi turned himself in to police after shooting his wife to death [Hamed Ataei/Mizan]

A prominent Iranian political figure has grabbed the headlines over shocking reports that he murdered his wife.

Former Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi was taken to a preliminary Criminal Court hearing on Wednesday, the judiciary’s news website Mizan Online reported.

Najafi, 67, was arrested on Tuesday while walking to the Tehran Police Department, where he admitted to shooting Mitra Ostad over what the police referred to as “domestic issues”.

This came a few hours after news agencies reported that Ostad’s body had been found in the bathroom of her apartment in a high-rise apartment in northern Tehran.

One bullet reportedly pierced her chest, while another hit her arm, out of five gunshots fired.

Ostad, 35, was one of Najafi’s two wives. Photos of his second marriage were leaked last year after he stepped down as Tehran’s mayor. It stirred criticism, even though polygamy is permitted by Iranian law.

Najafi is known as a competent reformist technocrat who led the ministries of science and education among other top posts in several administrations.

But hardliners had him in the crosshairs ever since he became Tehran’s mayor in August 2017.

Calls for divorce

In the Wednesday hearing, Najafi gave a more detailed account of what happened. He said had asked Ostad for a divorce several times, but that she had refused.

“My second wife frequently threatened me to initially destroy the lives of my first wife and my daughter, and then ruin mine by cheating on me,” Najafi was quoted as saying.

Najafi said in an interview he intended to use the pistol only to “scare” his wife and end days of “argument”.

He said he followed Ostad to the bathroom with the handgun and fired after she panicked and “scuffled” with him.

The multifaceted case of gun violence and politics has appalled many Iranians, not only because it involves a bloody crime by a public figure close to the camp of President Hassan Rouhani, but also because of its strange coverage by national television.

The conservative Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting was granted access to the police station where Najafi was held, an unusual occurrence considering the case was still in the interrogation stage.

‘Not believable’

Videos by Iranians expressing their anger at the handling of the case made the rounds on social media.

“It’s not believable at all! Since when, and based on what law, before a court is held and the investigation of the case [is complete], they interview the defendant and publicize his confessions in the media?” Journalist Moein Khazaeli asked in a tweet.

Mehdi, a 37-year-old graduate of philosophy of science, said he found it hard to believe someone he thought of as a calm, decent politician committed such a crime. But he denounced the apparent preferential treatment.

“I understand that he is an old, famous official in the Islamic Republic, and they need to maintain some sort of caution for his political position … But he is a murderer after all,” he told Al Jazeera.

Hassan Assadi Zeydabadi, a political activist and analyst close to the reformist camp, told Al Jazeera Najafi’s case will likely stir public opinion for a while.

“But it will not have meaningful influence on political dynamics in Iran,” he said.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

Iran: President Rouhani Suggests Talks with US Possible if it Lifts Sanctions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Rouhani Suggests Talks with US Possible if it Lifts Sanctions

Wednesday, 29 May, 2019 – 11:00
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (AP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
President Hassan Rouhani suggested on Wednesday that talks with the United States may be possible if it lifted sanctions against Iran.

“Whenever they lift the unjust sanctions and fulfill their commitments and return to the negotiations table, which they left themselves, the door is not closed,” he told a cabinet meeting without explicitly naming the US.

“But our people judge you by your actions, not your words,” he said according to state television.

Rouhani’s website also quoted him as saying that if the US chooses “another way and returns to justice and law, the Iranian nation will keep the road open to you.”

He made his comments days after US President Donald Trump said a deal with Tehran on its nuclear program was conceivable.

Washington withdrew last year from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Tehran, and is ratcheting up sanctions in efforts to shut down Iran’s economy by ending its international sales of crude oil.

Trump said on Monday: “I really believe that Iran would like to make a deal, and I think that’s very smart of them, and I think that’s a possibility to happen.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Tuesday that Iran saw no prospect of negotiations with the United States.

Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States since Washington deployed military resources including a carrier strike group and bombers and announced plans to deploy 1,500 troops to the Middle East, prompting fears of a conflict.

Iranian Stances Vary on Rouhani’s Demands for More Powers

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iranian Stances Vary on Rouhani’s Demands for More Powers

Thursday, 23 May, 2019 – 10:00
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (Reuters)
London – Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani faced criticism after he renewed demands to reinforce his powers, while pro-government newspapers endorsed his call amid the increasing pressure by the US on Tehran.

Two weeks ago, the president criticized his limited influence in foreign policy and on Tuesday the IRNA news agency reported that he was seeking expanded, wartime executive powers to better deal with an “economic war” sparked by the US administration’s pullout from the nuclear deal and imposition of severe sanctions

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei expressed his dissatisfaction with Rouhani and how his team handled the nuclear deal also known as JCPOA.

“I did not believe in the way the JCPOA was done, and I have made this clear to the president and the foreign minister on many occasions,” he said.

Referring to a letter he sent to Rouhani, Khamenei stated: “Read my letter regarding the JCPOA and the conditions set for its ratification. But, if these conditions were not met, it is not the Leader’s responsibility to intervene.”

The government has been insisting on powers that allow it to form an operations room to confront the economic war.

Guardian Council Spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei tweeted that former presidents enjoyed wide powers according to the constitution, and currently Rouhani has more powers that can meet the country’s demands.

He also blamed former presidents for not using their full powers to resolve the issues of the country.

Reformist Mostafa Hashemi Taba said that the government powers are “below expectations”, adding that the situation in Iran today is more difficult than the time of war.

The Kayhan newspaper slammed Rouhani for demanding more powers, accusing him of failing to provide solutions to Iran’s economic woes even before the US pulled out of the nuclear deal.