As London lures Saudi oil giant, RT looks at UK’s history of rule-bending for its questionable ally

As London lures Saudi oil giant, RT looks at UK’s history of rule-bending for its questionable ally
Serious questions are being raised over controversial proposals that could lure the multi-trillion share listing of Saudi Arabia oil giant Aramco to London. RT UK looks at some other times Britain has been accused of bending the rules for its close ally.

London is battling with stock exchanges around the world to host the lucrative float of Saudi state-owned Aramco, which is said to be valued at more than £1.5 trillion – a figure that would make it the biggest share floatation in history. A listing in the capital would be seen as a major victory for the City and boost the UK economy in the wake of Brexit.

Aramco plans to list five percent of its shares in London or another stock market in the West. Current UK rules state more than 25 percent of shares should be listed to stop a single shareholder having too much dominance.

However, proposals put forward by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) could allow for Aramco to sidestep the rules and qualify for a “premium” listing.

It is certainly not the first time Britain has let Saudi Arabia play by its own rules. From ignoring human rights abuses in the country to burying terrorism reports, the UK is not afraid to turn a blind eye to preserve its lucrative relationship with the Gulf kingdom.

What terrorism report?

A report into terrorism funding in the UK has been permanently shelved, sparking widespread condemnation amid claims the government is trying to cover up substantial evidence of Saudi Arabia funding terrorist organizations in Britain.

The report, commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron, will not be published because of “national security reasons” and the “vast amount of personal information” it contains, according to the government.

READ MORE: Theresa May denies suppressing report on Saudi terrorism funding to protect UK arms deals

However, critics say Prime Minister Theresa May is sitting on the report in order to protect diplomatic ties and lucrative trade deals with Saudi Arabia.

Britain and Yemen

When Britain’s part in the Middle Eastern crisis is mentioned, many people would think of Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria. But Britain’s role in the destabilization and destruction of Yemen is often lost in the mainstream media.

In the last two years, the UK has licensed the sale of £3 billion (US$3.86 billion) worth of arms to the Saudi government. The sales have come under sustained scrutiny since the start of the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen.

Amnesty International says the airstrikes are killing and injuring thousands of civilians, adding that some attacks are“indiscriminate, disproportionate or directed against civilian objects including schools, hospitals, markets and mosques.”

The United Nations estimates around 2.5 million people have been displaced during the conflict, and 17,000 people have died.

Despite this, Britain appears to be turning a blind eye to the conflict, with Saudi Arabia remaining the UK’s most important weapons client.
Arms sales have included Typhoon and Tornado jets and the UK has had military personnel embedded in Saudi headquarters throughout the Yemen conflict.

Silence over human rights abuses

Saudi Arabia’s human rights record has repeatedly been called into question.

Saudi authorities continue their arbitrary arrests, trials and convictions of peaceful dissidents, curbing freedom of expression. Dozens of human rights defenders and activists continue to serve long prison sentences for criticizing authorities or advocating political and rights reforms.

Women face discrimination, as do religious minorities. Women cannot drive a car, wear clothes that “show off their beauty,”interact with men they are not related to in public, or try on clothes when shopping.

Sharia law is national law. Judges routinely sentence defendants to floggings of hundreds of lashes. Children can be tried for capital crimes and sentenced as adults if there are physical signs of puberty.

Despite this, May has no problem traveling to Riyadh to mingle with Saudi Arabia’s leaders. One of her first international visits since triggering Article 50 was to Saudi Arabia for a visit she hoped will “herald a further intensification” in relations.

Blair drops arms investigation

In 2006, Tony Blair’s government abandoned a corruption investigation into a multibillion-pound arms deal between British Aerospace Systems (BAE) and Saudi Arabia, after Saudi threats of “repercussions.”

The Serious Fraud Office was looking into allegations of fraud, corruption and bribery allegations involving the Saudi royals and BAE in its Al Yamamah arms deal.

According to court documents released in 2008, Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless the probe was dropped – and Blair caved, claiming “British lives on British streets” were at risk.

The dropping of the inquiry triggered an international outcry, with allegations Britain had broken international anti-bribery treaties.
In 2008, the High Court ruled Blair’s government broke the law when it abandoned the investigation.

Courtesy, RT

Saudi-led coalition can’t claim ‘clean hands’ over Yemen airstrikes until transparent inquiry – HRW

Saudi-led coalition can’t claim ‘clean hands’ over Yemen airstrikes until transparent inquiry – HRW
A rights group condemns the Saudi-led coalition for unwilling to probe its “unlawful attacks.” Although the coalition admitted a recent “technical error,” which led to dozens of casualties, HRW says Yemen needs more than “generic expressions of sympathy.”

“Members of the Saudi-led coalition have sought to avoid international legal liability by refusing to provide information on their role in alleged unlawful airstrikes in Yemen,” reads the Human Rights Watch report, published Friday. It added the group had urged the coalition to release data on their investigations and laws-of-war violations, to which it didn’t reply.

READ MORE: Saudi-led coalition admits killing civilians in airstrike in Yemen ‘by mistake’

The report particularly mentions the August 25 attack on the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, conducted by the Saudi-led coalition. According to HRW, more than two dozen residents were killed or injured in the airstrike on Faj Attan area, which the coalition spokesman described as “collateral damage” in an “unintentional incident.”

Following the global condemnation, the coalition command admitted “a technical mistake” and claimed that “all post-action procedures” and “comprehensive review of selected military objects” were completed.

With the spokesman, Colonel Turki al-Maliki, having expressed “deep sorrow” to civilians and “sincere sympathy”with their relatives, the coalition didn’t furnish any detail on member forces, who took part in the bombardment.

“No coalition member can claim clean hands in Yemen until all its members explain their role in scores of documented unlawful attacks,” HRW Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson argues in a statement accompanying the report.

Saudi-led bombers keep killing Yemen civilians & covering up.
No investigation.
No information.
Total stonewalling.http://bit.ly/2eL6Wi9 

“It borders on the absurd for the coalition to claim its own investigations are credible when it refuses to release even basic information like which countries participated in an attack and whether anyone has been held accountable.”

Sixteen people were killed and 17 more wounded, including children, says one of the civilians, Muhammad Mea’sar, whose house was destroyed in the airstrikes on August 25.

“Yemeni civilians who are paying the price of this war deserve far more than blanket denials or generic expressions of sympathy,” Whitson said.

“UN member countries should make crystal clear to coalition members that they are failing to meet even basic standards for transparency, and that – as none of the warring parties seem willing to do so – the Human Rights Council will step in and make sure these violations are investigated,” she added.

READ MORE: Yemen: War crimes the world can no longer ignore

Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan, with Saudi Arabia in the lead have been carrying out an aerial military campaign in support of ousted Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi since March 2015. The campaign targets the remnants of the country’s military loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthi rebels.

The constant airstrikes have brought the nation to what the UN called “the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.” The extent of devastation is staggering. Since March 2015, the conflict saw 13,609 civilian casualties, including 5,021 killed and 8,588 injured, according to the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner figures, which note, however, the death toll might exceed more than 11,000.

The UN Office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs says some 20.7 million people need some sort of humanitarian aid, with 17 million, or 60 percent of Yemen’s population, suffering food insecurity.

As Yemen turned into a fertile breeding ground for bacterial infections, an estimated 5,000 new cases of cholera occurs every day, with the total reaching half a million in August, according to WHO. The disease has already claimed 2,000 lives. An estimated 14.8 million people are feared to lack access to basic healthcare in the future, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

The bombings, including “scores that appear to violate the laws of war, some of which may be war crimes,” as HRW says, destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure, damaging the country’s already-crippled economy.

With no end in sight for the conflict, HRW along with 56 other rights groups earlier called on the UN to look into alleged “violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” committed both by the coalition forces and Houthi.

Fifty-seven signatories urged the Human Rights Council to create an independent international inquiry, since “the victims of abuses in Yemen cannot afford to wait longer.”

Courtesy, RT

Qatar and Russia to bolster economic ties

Two of the world’s largest energy producers have vowed to increase trade relations. Qatar is under pressure amid an economic boycott by neighboring Gulf states over its alleged support of terrorism.

Katar Doha - Sergey Lavrov und Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (Reuters/N. Zeitoon)

Qatar and Russia announced the new agreement, which will see closer trade ties, during a visit by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the Gulf Nation on Wednesday.

Lavrov made the commitment after a meeting in Doha with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

The Russian foreign minister told reporters that Moscow “attached great importance” to economic and energy cooperation between the two countries.

Sheikh Mohammed, for his part, said Qatar could no longer rely on neighboring states to support its economy or guarantee food security.

The two nations are among the world’s top oil and gas producing countries.

Last year, Qatar bought a stake worth billions in Russia’s state-controlled oil company, Rosneft.

Read more – What is the Qatar crisis?

Qatar is looking to expand its economic relations after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirate severed diplomatic and trade ties with the Gulf nation in June.

The Arab countries accused Qatar of destabilizing the region by supporting “terrorists,” a charge dismissed by Doha.

The diplomatic rift, aimed at isolating Qatar, has disrupted supply chains and affected flow of goods into the tiny emirate. The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday transportation costs in Qatar have gone up about 9 percent and food prices have risen 2 percent due to the boycott.

Read – Qatar resumes full diplomatic ties with Iran

‘Arab allies not willing to negotiate’

With no signs of tensions easing, Sheikh Mohammed said his country was willing to negotiate an end to the diplomatic crisis, but had seen no sign that Saudi Arabia and its allies were open to mediation.

“Qatar maintains its position that this crisis can only be achieved through a constructive dialogue … but the blockading counties are not responding to any efforts being conducted by Kuwait or other friendly countries,” the Qatari Foreign Minister told reporters at a news conference with his Russian counterpart.

Lavrov – who has also visited Kuwait and the UAE as part of his Middle East tour – called for all parties to find a solution.

Read – Beyond Libya: Russia’s strategy in the Middle East

He said if face-to-face negotiations started, Russia would be ready to contribute to the mediation.

“It’s in our interests for the GCC to be united and strong,” the Russian top diplomat said, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Russia has long sought to establish itself as a major player in the region’s affairs, most notably in Syria’s six-year civil war, where it backs President Bashar al-Assad.

ap/kms (AFP, Reuters)

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Yemen: War crimes the world can no longer ignore

Catherine Shakdam
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. A regular pundit on RT and other networks her work has appeared in major publications: MintPress, the Foreign Policy Journal, Mehr News and many others.Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She is the author of Arabia’s Rising – Under The Banner Of The First Imam
Yemen: War crimes the world can no longer ignore
For all the lobbying Saudi Arabia may have exerted in turning Yemen into an unspoken graveyard so it could proclaim itself a liberator over Southern Arabia, Yemen’s suffering has become too grand, and too grave to dismiss.

Beyond the many and despicable sectarian adjectives the media may have wielded since 2015 to frame Yemen’s war within a binary that has the region locked in fictitious crusadic dynamics: Shiite Iran versus self-righteous Saudi Arabia, truths have had a way of eroding at such a construct.

In the throes of a conflict that has ravaged more than just its infrastructure, civilians, military and otherwise, Yemen is quite simply being bled dry of its people so one kingdom could manifest those political realities it once dreamed up. Yemen’s barren land, its destroyed villages and silenced streets all testify to the horrors that befell a nation whose ambition was merely to rise independent within the confines of its sovereignty.

Seyed Hassan Ali al-Emad, the founder and secretary general of Yemen’s growing new political faction, the Future of Justice, noted in an interview with me how dishonesty has so far prevented countries backing any real negotiations on Yemen. “Until all war crimes and abuses against civilians are acknowledged peace will remain a distant mirage. The law and our commitment to hold to justice principles is what can stop the bloodshed,” he stressed.

“Truths matter … Yemen has lost many more lives than what the United Nations has conceded. Casualties run in their tens of thousands, and the death toll is nearing those figures as well if we consider that famine and cholera have been turned into weapons of war.”

In early August Auke Lootsma, UN Development Program (UNDP) Country Director attested to Yemen’s deepening crisis when he said“the Yemeni people are enduring incredible hardship, with 70 percent of the population, some 20 million people, in need of humanitarian assistance. Additionally, some 400,000 cases of cholera recorded in the past few months have resulted in 1,900 deaths.”

“The current food security crisis is a man-made disaster not only resulting from decades of poverty and underinvestment, but also as a war tactic through economic strangulation,” he added.

If the international community is, how should I put it: late to the party when it comes to speaking up about Yemen’s war, Saudi Arabia’s organized blackout has now waned enough for information to swim through that unspoken ocean of misinformation we all have been drowning in.

A confidential UN report obtained by Reuters last week confirmed what many already knew, if not suspected, that Saudi Arabia’s war crimes have become much too unpalatable for any responsible power to entertain. According to UN experts, 51 percent of all child deaths and injuries in Yemen last year were the result of the Saudi-led military operation; a figure that the report calls “unacceptably high.”

“Attacks carried out by air caused over half of all child casualties, with at least 349 killed and 333 injured,” said the report.

If I may quickly stray from the subject at hand, I would like to point out that no information coming out of the UN is ever unwittingly leaked to the press. Rather, that ‘confidential’ report was put in the hand of the media so its content could be shared without its consequences bearing upon its source.

Although such detail may seem inconsequential, I read in it a clear sign that Saudi Arabia’s lobbying machine is fast running out of room to operate. Blood has come too fast and too thick for the most radical of neocons to back Riyadh’s adventure and still paint it as lawful.

No matter how loudly Riyadh will argue that it is operating within international law, few now will listen.

An analysis by the researchers at London’s Queen Mary University found that eight out of ten cholera deaths in Yemen occur in areas controlled by Sana’a’s popular government, those infamous rebels the mainstream yammer on about.

“Both sides have been accused of disregarding the well-being of civilians and breaching international humanitarian law. However, the government is supported by a Saudi-led coalition, and this alliance commands far greater resources than the rebels. As a result, Houthi-controlled areas have been disproportionately affected by the conflict, which has created conditions conducive to the spread of cholera,”wrote researchers Jonathan Kennedy, Andrew Harmer, and David McCoy.

“Saudi-led airstrikes have destroyed vital infrastructure, including hospitals and public water systems, hit civilian areas, and displaced people in crowded and unsanitary conditions. A Saudi-enforced blockade of imports has caused shortages of, among other things, food, medical supplies, fuel and chlorine, and restricted humanitarian access.”

Saudi Arabia’s abuses in Yemen are not a figment of anyone’s imagination; they are a fact – a reality that if not addressed will allow for the genocide of a people. Yemen’s war proper has long gone beyond the political or the geopolitical. Communities have been earmarked for the slaughter while US officials argue jobs creation.

Yes, Mr. President Donald Trump the award goes to you as far as cold pragmatism. “That was a tremendous day. Tremendous investments in the United States. Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments in the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs,” I recall a joyful President Trump declared as Riyadh signed its name to a lucrative weapons deal.

If one can understand the pull money can hold over state officials, politics, after all, is not child’s play, empowering fanatical despots is still counter intuitive. However stomach-churning the idea of an alliance with Sana’a’s popular government may be to the international community it rings better than the backing of a genocide made in Wahhabist Saudi Arabia.

Time will tell.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Courtesy, RT

 

WHO: Yemen cholera infections exceed 500,000

The World Health Organization reports that Yemen’s cholera outbreak has infected more than 500,000 people since April. Nearly 2,000 people have died.

Jemen Cholera-Ausbruch (Reuters/K. Abdullah)

The UN health agency reports that Yemen’s cholera epidemic has gotten worse. According to a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, 503,484 people have become infected and 1,975 have died in the months since the outbreak began in April.

“Yemen’s health workers are operating in impossible conditions,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “Thousands of people are sick, but there are not enough hospitals, not enough medicines, not enough clean water,” he added.

The collapse of Yemen’s infrastructure during two years of war between the Saudi-backed ethnically Sunni government and the Shiite rebels who control the capital, Sanaa, has created the conditions for the epidemic to become the world’s largest, with as many as 5,000 infections contracted per day. In his statement, Ghebreyesus said Yemen’s lack of a functioning state meant that many of the doctors and nurses needed to rein in the outbreak had not received salaries for nearly a year. “They must be paid their wages so that they can continue to save lives,” he said.

In a grim milestone, suspected  cases in  this year reached 500,000 http://bit.ly/2vTVACI  pic.twitter.com/OuC008zQEl

‘Around the clock’

On Monday, WHO warned that cholera had spread rapidly because of Yemen’s deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions, with millions of people cut off from clean water across the country. Cholera spreads quickly through contaminated food and water. WHO and its partners have continued “working around the clock” to support the national efforts to halt the outbreak.

Read – Yemen’s war explained in 4 key points

Though children, the elderly and people with suppressed immune function are especially vulnerable, WHO reports that over 99 percent of people who contract cholera in Yemen could survive with health services. However, more than 15 million people in the country have no access to basic care.

The WHO’s Ghebreyesus called on all sides in Yemen’s conflict, which has directly led to the deaths of more than 8,300 people since March 2015, to urgently seek a political solution. “The people of Yemen cannot bear it much longer,” he said in his statement. “They need peace to rebuild their lives and their country.”

WHO has also reported that about 60 percent of Yemen’s population of 27 million people have been left vulnerable to undernourishment by the war.

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mkg/kms (AFP, epd)

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Qatar says list of demands by Arab states not realistic

An aerial view of high-rise buildings emerging through fog covering the skyline of Doha, as the sun rises over the city, in Doha, Qatar, 15 February 2014Image copyrightEPA
Image captionQatar, which is rich in natural gas, is home to 2.7 million people

Qatar’s foreign minister has rejected a list of 13 conditions set by four Arab states for lifting sanctions, saying it is neither reasonable nor actionable.

Qatar is under strict sanctions from Saudi Arabia and its allies, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain. They accuse Qatar of backing terrorism.

Among other things, they have demanded the closure of Al Jazeera TV, which is funded by the Qatari government.

The UAE’s foreign minister has suggested they may cut ties completely.

But Anwar Gargash added that the countries were not seeking to overthrow the Qatari leadership, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Qatar has been under unprecedented diplomatic and economic sanctions for more than two weeks, with Iran and Turkey increasingly supplying it with food and other goods.

It denies accusations that it is funding terrorism and fostering regional instability.

The four countries also want Qatar to reduce its ties with Iran and close a Turkish military base, setting a deadline on Friday of 10 days.

What has Qatar’s government said?

The government is reviewing the demands, a spokesman has said.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, quoted by Al-Jazeera, said: “The US secretary of state recently called upon the blockading nations to produce a list of grievances that was ‘reasonable and actionable’.

“The British foreign secretary asked that the demands be ‘measured and realistic.’ This list does not satisfy that [sic] criteria.”

Media captionGiles Trendle of Al Jazeera: “We’re not partisan to any particular group or ideology or government”

He said the demands were proof that the sanctions had “nothing to do with combating terrorism… [but] limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy”.

Al Jazeera accused them of trying to silence freedom of expression, adding: “We assert our right to practise our journalism professionally without bowing to pressure from any government or authority.”

What effect are sanctions having?

Qatar’s main import routes – by land from Saudi Arabia and by sea from container ships docked in the UAE – have been disrupted, and much of the surrounding airspace has been closed to its air traffic.

Map showing Qatar and other Gulf states

However, the small but wealthy country has so far avoided economic collapse by finding alternative routes.

Qatari citizens living in neighbouring countries or with family living there have been hit harder, Reuters news agency notes, because of ultimatums issued for them to leave.

What happens if the demands are not met?

The UAE’s foreign minister said there would be a “parting of ways” with Qatar if it failed to meet them.

“The alternative is not escalation,” he said. “The alternative is parting of ways. It’s very difficult for us to maintain a collective grouping with one of the partners… actively promoting what is an extremist and terrorist agenda.”

He described Qatar as a “Trojan horse” within the group of Arab monarchies.

Where is the US in this?

Correspondents say there has been frustration in Washington over the time taken by the Saudis and others to formalise their demands.

Media captionThe disruption could have an impact on Qatar if the dispute drags on

US President Donald Trump has taken a hard line towards Qatar, accusing it of being a “high-level” sponsor of terrorism.

However, the Arab states involved in the crisis are all close allies of the US, while the largest US base in the Middle East is in Qatar.

US seeks to ‘milk’ terrorism sponsor Saudi Arabia – Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to RT

As the US influence in the Middle East wanes, it increasingly associates itself with dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, whose “dark face” and “role in supporting terrorism is known to everyone in the region,” a high ranking Iranian Revolutionary Guard official told RT.

The United States and President Trump in particular consider only one “dimension” of convergence with Saudi Arabia, ignoring the “ideological and intellectual” challenges and costs such ties entail, media adviser to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Commander-in-Chief Hamid Reza Moghadam Far told RT in an exclusive interview.

“That was one of Trump’s senseless moves. He was just seeking to milk this cow and thinking about only business,” Moghadam Far said.

“The first challenge is that Trump goes to such a country as his first trip after being elected… That is the behavior shown towards a dictatorial regime in which democracy is meaningless and no elections take place and the people have no presence on the scene. The next challenge is that they claim that they are combatting terrorism. It is no secret that Saudi Arabia has provided the most support for terrorism.”

The recent naming of Mohammed bin Salman as Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince might be another “outcome of Trump’s visit” amidst internal disputes among Saudi princes and with other Arab countries.

“This replacement is one of the internal political impacts of the [Trump’s] visit on Saudi Arabia. I mean the replacement of the crown prince. But Saudi Arabia is facing certain conditions today that I think the development would create further problems for the country,” Moghadam Far said, pointing out that this decision would hardly be beneficial for the Saudi people.

While the appointment might push Saudi Arabia into further radicalization, it would unlikely lead to an armed conflict with Iran, Moghadam Far believes, as the Saudi army is “not fit for military action.”

“There is no possibly of conflict. Today many Arab countries are complaining about Saudi Arabia’s inexperienced and radical moves. They consider Saudi Arabia as callow,” Moghadam Far told RT.

“A number of inexperienced people who are ruling Saudi Arabia lack the resolve and determination to initiate a war on Iran. They lack the courage and power. I do not think they will come up with such conclusion, even if all global powers support them.”

Saudi Arabia’s policies in the Middle East only bring instability to the region and its alliance with the US only diminishes the already dwindling American power and influence, Moghadam Far believes.

“[The US policies] definitely have a negative effect. What matters more, however, is that the US is not as influential a player as it used to be and it can no longer manipulate regional equations. Today, it does not enjoy such a sway at all and its influence in the region has waned,” Moghadam Far said.

READ MORE: US stirring up ‘Iranophobia’ to boost arms sales to Arab nations – Tehran

“It now has to associate with countries like Saudi Arabia whose negative role in supporting terrorism, whose dictatorship, and whose dark face is known to everyone in the region.”

Tehran’s recent Iranian missile attack on Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists in Syria should have weakened the resolve of the Saudis and other powers to go to war with Iran. A key “message” of the attack was to clearly demonstrate Iranian military capabilities to those who doubted them, Moghadam Far said.

“In the past, when these missiles were test-fired in Iran, the US and certain western countries used to usually announce that Iran was lying that its launches had been successful and tried to create this impression that Iranians do not have such a capability and their missiles cannot strike their targets with precision,” he said.

The strike also demonstrated Iran’s resolve to fight terrorism, rubbishing usual US accusations that Tehran supports terrorist elements.

“As in the past, whenever Americans want to mount pressure on Iran, impose new sanctions and proceed with an issue in the region and beyond, [the US] accuse Iran of backing terrorism,” Moghadam Far said.

“But I think that today’s conditions are such that the world’s public opinion does not accept this. The world has come to realize that the US, despite leading a coalition against [IS] and terrorism in Syria and Iraq, Syria in particular, does not fight terrorism in practice and is in fact is supporting it… They cannot both take an opposite stance against terrorism and accuse Iran.”