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Archive for Iran

Newsline: South African’s ex-ambassador to Iran arrested

Pretoria’s former ambassador to Iran has been arrested in South Africa on charges he took a bribe to help telecoms company MTN win a $31.6 billion license to operate in Iran. Yusuf Saloojee, now retired, was arrested on Thursday, police said on Friday, in the latest legal blow for MTN, which has faced a host of such problems in recent years. It denies the latest allegations (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mtn-iran-arrests/south-africans-ex-ambassador-to-iran-arrested-in-mtn-investigation-idUSKCN1Q41PK). Police said Saloojee was given 1.4 million rand ($100,000) to help MTN win the 15-year contract to operate in Iran, worth $31.6 billion, from Turkish mobile operator Turkcell. He used the money to buy a house in Pretoria, police said.


Newsline: Australian embassy visa office in Iran shut down amid warning of possible corruption

The Government has shut down its visa processing operations in Iran after it was warned some migration agents were boasting of corruptly obtaining visas through a contact in the Australian embassy in Tehran. The ABC understands the allegations, outlined in a letter sent to the embassy in January 2017, were then referred to Australia’s peak corruption watchdog, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI), for investigation (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-31/australian-embassy-in-iran-shuts-down-visa-processing-office/10761994). The visa processing section at the embassy was shut down in July last year. The ABC has been told that investigators — believed to be from ACLEI’s Visa Integrity Task Force — have questioned several Iranians in Australia about the circumstances in which they obtained their visas.

Newsline: Tehran summons Dutch ambassador over embassy attack

Iran has summoned the Dutch ambassador to Tehran over an attack on the Islamic Republic’s diplomatic mission in The Hague. Following an assault by a number of individuals affiliated to a separatist group on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Embassy in The Hague, Dutch Ambassador to Tehran Jacques Werner was summoned by the director general for Europe affairs at the Iranian Foreign Ministry. The ministry expressed Tehran’s strong protest over the incident and called on the Dutch government to fulfill its duties to protect diplomats and diplomatic missions and increase the security measures for the Islamic Republic’s missions. The Dutch envoy, in turn, expressed his regret over the attack and offered a report on the Dutch police’s measures to arrest the attackers.


Newsline: Tehran Urges Netherlands to Protect Iranian Diplomats

Iran’s ambassador to The Hague called on high-ranking officials of the Netherlands to preserve the security of Iranian diplomats and the country’s embassy in the European country after Wednesday’s attack on Iran’s embassy building. The call by Alireza Jahangiri came after supporters of a terrorist group called Al-Ahvaziya attacked the Iranian embassy in The Hague on Wednesday afternoon. The attackers gathered in front of the embassy building and chanted anti-Iran slogans and threw rocks and bottles. They also tried to climb the adjacent embassy building but were immediately arrested by the Dutch police. According to one of the embassy diplomats, none of the embassy staff was hurt during the incident. Meantime, the Dutch authorities regretted the attack and emphasized the necessity of safeguarding the security of the representative offices and embassy staff.


Newsline: Russian, Iranian embassies in Canberra told use empty land or lose the lease

The Russian government could lose its right to land for a new embassy if it doesn’t show signs of using its existing vacant plot, according to the chief planner for the National Capital Authority. Andrew Smith has threatened to have the lease withdrawn if the Russians didn’t show signs of building on the prime Yarralumla block in the diplomatic enclave. The saga of unused land in a prime Canberra area has been long-running. Russia was reported to be starting work back in 2015, but then, last year, it said that the builder had gone broke. Since then, there has been some dialogue with the Australian authorities but not progress on the site. “We’ve gone back to them and said, ‘Look, you’ve got to start’,” Mr Smith said. He was waiting for a response. The Russian embassy didn’t respond to requests from The Canberra Times for comment. The National Capital Authority chief planner was also exasperated by delays in getting work started on a new Iranian embassy. “We continue to pressure the Iranians,” he said after the hearing. In the Iranian case, one of the difficulties has been the death of the original architect, though the allocated land has been empty for decades. It was given a deadline for work to at least begin in 2015 and plans were produced but the death then set everything back.


Newsline: Iran decries Canberra’s decision to move Israel embassy

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasimi says Australia’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would, if carried out, represent a violation of international resolutions. Speaking to Iran’s Azad News Agency on Wednesday, Qasimi described the proposed move by Canberra as a “wrong and miscalculated decision”. If implemented, he warned, the decision would be seen as a “violation of all international resolutions related to Palestine and the Israeli-occupied territories”. “Such a move would not help resolve the longstanding issue of Palestine and the wider Middle East,” Qasimi added. “It will only serve to raise tensions in the region.” On Saturday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his country’s decision to formally recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He went on to assert, however, that Australia would not relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem until Palestine/Israel peace was achieved.


Newsline: Pakistan Complains To Iranian Ambassador About Militants’ Border Attack

Islamabad has lodged a formal protest with Tehran about an attack by militants who killed six Pakistani paramilitary troops as they were patrolling a mountainous area near the Iranian border. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry says it summoned Iran’s ambassador to demand that Tehran take action against the armed group responsible for the attack in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan. Pakistani authorities say about 30 militants attacked a convoy of forces from Pakistan’s Frontier Corps on December 14, killing six soldiers and wounding 14. Islamabad says four attackers were killed in the clash. There was no immediate claim of responsible for the ambush along a mountainous stretch of road in Balochistan Province’s Kech district. Neither Pakistan nor Iran has identified who they believe was responsible and there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Iran on December 15 condemned the attack and vowed to cooperate with Islamabad.