Iran announces new fighter jet

Sanctions imposed on Iran have forced it to create a highly productive weapons industry of its own. (AFP/File)
Updated 20 August 2018
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Iran announces new fighter jet

  • Defense minister dismisses the idea of an “Arab NATO”
  • Minister reveals a new fighter jet “will fly on National Defense Industry Day”

TEHRAN: Iran will unveil this week a new jet fighter and upgrade its missile defenses to meet threats from Israel and the US, Tasnim news agency said Sunday quoting the defense minister.
“Our first priority is our missile capability and we must enhance it... given the enemy’s efforts in missile defense,” said Amir Hatami in an interview on television late Saturday, according to Tasnim.
He added that a new fighter jet “will fly on National Defense Industry Day,” which falls on Wednesday.
Hatami said the defense program was motivated by memories of the missile attacks Iran suffered during its eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, and by repeated threats from Israel and the United States that “all options are on the table” in dealing with the Islamic republic.
“We have learned in the (Iran-Iraq) war that we cannot rely on anyone but ourselves. We saw that wherever we are not capable, no one will have mercy on us,” he said.
“Our resources are limited and we are committed to establishing security at a minimum cost.
“We upgrade our missiles according to our enemies’ threats and actions, as a deterrent and to give a crushing response to the enemy,” he added.
Hatami added that regional rival Saudi Arabia “has the largest military budget in the world after America and China... while our defense budget is limited.”
“What would any nation with such a situation and past do in our place?” he said.
The defense minister dismissed the idea of an “Arab NATO” — an old concept that has recently resurfaced as Washington tries to push regional countries to accept a greater share of their defense.
“Arab NATO is part of the game of creating discord by the enemy and it’s not worth paying attention to,” said Hatami.
“It is unlikely that America and the Zionist regime (Israel) allow Muslim countries to come together. They know well that the aim of Muslim nations is to destroy the Zionist regime and defend Palestine,” he added.


British-Iranian aid worker moved back to jail from hospital ward — husband

In this undated photo provided by the Free Nazanin Campaign, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe hugs her daughter Gabriella, in Iran. (AP)
Updated 23 July 2019
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British-Iranian aid worker moved back to jail from hospital ward — husband

  • British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament the fact she had been moved back to prison was “a positive sign”

LONDON: British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been transferred back to an Iranian prison from a hospital psychiatric ward, her husband said on Monday.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was moved to the psychiatric ward of Imam Khomeini hospital in the capital on July 15, the “Free Nazanin” campaign group run by her husband said last week.
“Nazanin has been returned from psychiatric hospital, and is now back in Evin prison,” her husband, Richard, said in a statement. She was discharged at her request and the request of the hospital doctor, the campaign group said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was told she had been admitted to hospital for a 10-day period of assessment. She received psychotherapy sessions, had physical checks and was prescribed some medicines, the campaign group seeking her release said.
In its release, the group quoted Zaghari-Ratcliffe saying that she was kept in a private room measuring 2 meters by 3 meters (6.5 feet by 9.8 feet) and was handcuffed and chained to the bed day and night.
The Iranian embassy in London declined immediate comment on the case.
“They did all they could to me – handcuffs, ankle cuffs, in a private room 2x3m, with thick curtains, and the door closed all the time,” she was quoted as saying. “I wasn’t allowed to leave the room, as I was chained to the bed.”
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament the fact she had been moved back to prison was “a positive sign.”
“The way that she was detained for a week without being able to have any access to her family was totally unacceptable and I am afraid all too predictable from the Iranian regime,” he said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter after a family visit, and was sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment.
Her family and the Foundation, a charity organization that operates independently of Thomson Reuters and Reuters News, deny the charge.