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Iranians feel strain of turmoil and sanctions

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Iranian official: The electricity agreement with Iraq
is currently suspended

 

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18th February, 2020
 
 
The head of the Iranian Electricity Industry Union, Payam Bagheri, announced today, Tuesday, that the agreement signed with Iraq in the field of electricity is currently suspended due to economic and political changes in Iraq.


Bagheri said in an interview with the Iranian "Mehr" news agency: "Part of the Iranian-Iraqi electricity agreement has been implemented, and the other parts have been suspended due to economic and political changes in Iraq."

Bagheri pointed to the latest developments in the electricity agreement between Iran and Iraq, noting that "the changes in the Iraqi cabinet can affect this agreement, and we are waiting for the Iraqis to take action."

"We are awaiting the stability of the political situation in Iraq, and we will follow our positions, but only one part of the agreement was to synchronize the electricity networks in the two countries by the end of 2019," he added.

According to the Iranian official, Iranian and Iraqi officials met last November, but the next part of the agreement between the two countries deals with reducing the losses of the Iraqi electricity network, which is scheduled to be completed in 2020, and despite their preparations and plans to implement them by Iran, they have been suspended Currently due to Iraqi conditions.

Bagheri said that Iran follows a memorandum of understanding with Syria similar to the one concluded with Iraq, which recently sent a committee of experts from the Ministry of Energy, to look into the Syrian electricity industry, noting that "when the delegation returns, senior Iranian government officials will go to Syria to sign a protocol Similar to the protocol on Iraq. "

And the United States decided, last week, to extend Iraq’s exemption from sanctions related to importing gas and electricity from Iran for 45 days, on which it depends to secure about a third of its electricity needs.

Washington imposed severe sanctions on the Iranian energy sector in the year 2018, and threatened to punish countries dealing with Tehran in this field, but it granted Iraq a series of consecutive temporary exemptions, which started with 45 days, then expanded to 90 days, and 120 days.

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'If Donald Trump won't talk to Iran, someone should.' Democratic senator Chris Murphy reveals he met Tehran's foreign minister and brushes aside criticism by Mike Pompeo

 

Sen. Chris Murphy defended a weekend meeting he had with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif on the sidelines of a conference in Europe  'If Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should,' Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, argued  Murphy said he wanted to see Zarif because there has been no U.S. diplomatic channel with Iran since Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal 

 

 

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

PUBLISHED: 13:17 EST, 18 February 2020 UPDATED: 20:20 EST, 18 February 2020

 

Sen. Chris Murphy on Tuesday defended a weekend meeting he held with Iran's foreign minister in Europe, after his actions were questioned in conservative media and as President Donald Trump suggested they may have violated U.S. law.

The Connecticut Democrat said his Saturday meeting with Mohammed Javad Zarif was important because it is 'dangerous not to talk to one's enemies.' 

Murphy said he wanted to see Zarif because there has been no U.S. diplomatic channel with Iran since Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal two years ago.

'I have no delusions about Iran - they are our adversary, responsible for the killing of thousands of Americans and unacceptable levels of support for terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East,' he wote in a Medium post. 'If Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should,' he also said. 

 

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Sen. Chris Murphy is defending a weekend meeting he held with Iran's foreign minister in Europe. The Connecticut Democrat said Tuesday his meeting with Mohammed Javad Zarif was important because it is dangerous not to talk to one's enemies

On hearing of the meeting, Trump said it sounded as though Murphy had violated an obscure, little-used federal law known as the Logan Act that bars private citizens from conducting official diplomacy. 

The 1799 law makes it a felony for unauthorized Americans to negotiate with governments in disputes with the U.S. Logan Act charges have only been filed against two people, both in the 19th century, and neither were convicted.

'Is there anything that I should know because that sounds like to me a violation of the Logan Act,' Trump said, recalling his reaction when he was told of the meeting. 'Did you hear about Sen. Murphy met with the Iranians? Well, they ought to find out about it - if it's true. I don't know.'

Murphy's meeting with Zarif was first reported in the conservative publication The Federalist. 

Asked about that report, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Tuesday during a trip to Ethiopia that he hoped anyone who meets with Zarif would be reflecting the U.S. position with Iran.

'If they met, I don't know what they said. I hope they were reinforcing America's foreign policy, not their own,'Pompeo said, noting that the U.S. has long designated Iran a state sponsor of terrorism and that it had recently shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet over Tehran. 

Pompeo has criticized other Americans for meeting with Zarif, including his immediate predecessor, John Kerry.

Perhaps expecting criticism for the meeting from the administration, Murphy wrote that he 'cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I don´t pretend to be in a position to do so. But if Trump isn´t going to talk to Iran, then someone should.'

Murphy said he raised numerous contentious issues in his conversation with Zarif on the sidelines of an international security conference in Munich, Germany. 

The meeting came as the Trump administration seeks to increasingly isolate Iran through the re-imposition of sanctions under its 'maximum pressure campaign' on the Islamic republic.

Murphy has been a harsh critic of the administration's policy toward Iran. 

He said in a Medium post that he had raised the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian general in Iraq and told Zarif that despite differences, Congress and the administration are united in sending a message that any Iran-backed attack on American troops in Iraq would be 'an unacceptable escalation.'

The senator also said he had raised Iran's support for Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen and Americans held prisoner in Iran.

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Edited by DinarThug
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Is America withdrawing from Iraq?

 

- 21 Hours Ago
 
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Regardless of whether or not the government of Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi passes a parliament in Iraq, regardless of the nature of this government, and the conflicts in which you will find itself stuck in it since its first day; there is another conflict going on behind the scenes at times, and at other times in front of it, boils down to an urgent Iranian desire In a complete American withdrawal from Iraq, this conflict, which some political blocs set as a condition for Allawi to pass his government in Parliament.

Even before the United States assassinated the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, General Qassem Soleimani, near Baghdad Airport early last month (January of last year), Iran was expressly announcing that it was with the American withdrawal from Iraq, this desire that was often known as Iraqi political blocs close to Iran announces it from time to time, until the assassination of Soleimani came, to constitute a greater leverage for such a claim, which Iran did not find better than this incident as an opportunity to use it to press for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

Against the background of the scene, these ruling political forces and those controlling the Iraqi scene today would not have had an impact or impact had it not been for the American occupation of Iraq in 2003 and its overthrow of its regime. Likewise, Iran would not have had any authority in Iraq, or its choices, had it not been for this abhorrent occupation,

“ISIS provided an opportunity for the United States to return to Iraq after 2014 ″ and had it not been for the stupid American withdrawal implemented by the former President, Barack Obama, to fulfill his electoral promises. This withdrawal, which took place at the beginning of 2011, gave Iran the golden opportunity to fill the great void left by these withdrawing forces, and the Iranian semi-absolute domination that followed over the political and sovereign decision of Iraq, as well as its control over the economic and commercial joints of Iraq, in addition to the political.

The Islamic State (ISIS) provided an opportunity for the United States to return to Iraq after 2014; an opportunity that did not seem to be complete and exemplary, as Iran had penetrated and penetrated in a way that nobody can share in its major share of the Iraqi cake, and after the end of ISIS on Earth, the talk of the American forces in Iraq has returned. Today, Baghdad, with its various spectrums and political parties, is experiencing a conflict between those who are under Iranian pressure to accelerate the withdrawal and those who fall under various fears returning to it the bar of Iranian power, through its various militias on all joints of daily life in Iraq, and sees the survival of these forces as a necessity for Iraq and its stability, and even In it,

"the revolution may not constitute a pressure factor on the various parties that want to leave the American forces and the other that they want to keep," Iranian unilateralism.

This conflict comes at a time when Baghdad and other southern cities live a massive popular youth revolution that has completed four months without stopping, despite all the methods of repression practiced and exercised against it by the authority and its parties, which means that this revolution may constitute a pressure factor on the various parties that You want to leave the US forces and the ones you want to stay. The United States does not seem to want, this time, to leave Iraq, for although it fears that these forces are armed operations carried out by militias linked to Iran, it is well aware that Iraq is going through a transitional stage in which many details may change at all levels, due to the youth revolution, A change may affect the overall area map. Thus, you do not want a breakout escape now. On the other hand, Iranian dignity will continue to suffer a deep wound, if it fails to remove the American forces from Iraq, after the sudden and massive assassination of its most prominent leader, Qassem Soleimani.

The competition will not be easy, and it may be prolonged, and many political and economic papers may be used, and even military, if necessary, as long as Iraq, with its new government and current parliament, does not
“Trump announced times that he does not want to withdraw from Iraq, but it is also true that he passes With an electoral year that might compel him to make tough decisions "who has his own decisions and choices, things will remain subject to further escalation and surprises.

It is true that the American President, Donald Trump, has declared times that he does not want to withdraw from Iraq, but it is also true that he is going through an election year that might compel him to make tough decisions, and it is true that Iran has more playing cards in Iraq than America, but it is also true that it suffers from Harsh US economic sanctions. And between the suffering of Tehran and Washington and their options, the suffering of Baghdad remains the most painful and harsh, as it can only be a playground for both, and therefore the new Allawi’s government will be around the corner from the fall, even before it begins to do the big intersections between the various political forces, as well as International intersections on several files.

The fear is all the fear that the political struggle over the presence of the American forces and their withdrawal from Iraq will turn into a rough conflict, especially since each side of the game has its armed tools, then Iraq can slip beyond the war, and we may reach what everyone fears, partition.

Iyad Al-Dulaimi

New Arab

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Pompeo: The Iraqi government has "repeatedly failed" to
maintain the security of our mission

 

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19th February, 2020

 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed today, Wednesday, that the Iraqi government was unable to protect the Washington embassy and military installations on its soil.

"The Iraqi government must take responsibility for maintaining our embassy and military installations, and they have not been able to achieve this repeatedly," Pompeo said, expressing his hope to arrest those who attacked the US embassy in the capital, Baghdad. It is natural for the Iranians, through their proxies in Iraq, to endanger the lives of Americans, "stressing the need for accountability to be linked to attacks on US interests in Iraq.


It is worth mentioning that the Washington embassy and its military bases have been repeatedly targeted by two missiles during the last period.

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Pompeo: We are ready to start negotiations with Iran at any moment, but the pressure will continue

 

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19th February, 2020
 
 
Today, Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo showed that the United States is ready to negotiate with Iran immediately, but on condition.
 

Pompeo told a news conference before leaving the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to Saudi Arabia, that "Washington is ready to launch negotiations with Tehran" at any time, "but that would require the Islamic Republic to" fundamentally change its behavior."

The US Secretary of State stressed that the administration of President Donald Trump does not intend in any case to reduce its punitive measures taken against Iran, saying, according to Reuters news agency: "We are not in a hurry, and the pressure campaign will continue. The talk is not only about economic sanctions, but about isolating them." (Iran) is also a diplomat."  
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Rouhani acknowledges the impact of US sanctions on
his country's economy


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19th February, 2020

 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged, today, Wednesday, that the US sanctions have strongly affected the country's economy, but stressed that it can be broken, considering that they are unprecedented sanctions that  affect us and we cannot escape from them.


"We are under pressure to change our current conditions, and the government alone is not able to achieve this and needs coordination and cooperation with Parliament," Rouhani said during a government meeting, adding that "US sanctions are unfair and illegal, and those who deny their impact on the country like someone who exonerates America," he said.

Rouhani revealed, "We received dozens of messages from America during the past year calling on us to negotiate with them" and that "America continues to this day to send mediators to negotiate with Iran." ?, And called Rouhani to participate in the elections on Friday, and considered it one of the ways to withstand America. He said: "The heavy participation in the elections will anger America and our participation will not delight it." This call comes as the parliamentary elections approach, as the Iranians still seem reluctant to go to the polls.

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US Department of State: Pompeo will visit Saudi Arabia
from February 19 to 21

 

US Department of State: Pompeo will visit Saudi Arabia from February 19 to 21 
 
 
02/19/2020 12:47:30
 
 
The US State Department announced, on Wednesday, that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Saudi Arabia from February 19 to 21.

 

The US State Department said Pompeo will meet with Saudi King King Salman, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan during a three-day visit to the Kingdom that begins today, Wednesday. This comes, after a visit by bin Farhan Al Saud to Washington on February 12, during which he discussed the US-Saudi partnership in confronting Iran.

The State Department said, in a statement, that the two ministers "discussed the need to confront the destabilizing actions of the Iranian regime."

The statement also stated that the two ministers expressed concern about the violence in Yemen, especially the Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, and agreed on "the need to reduce the escalation quickly." For his part, the Saudi foreign minister said that the meeting was fruitful and constructive, and we look forward to the continuation of the work to achieve the common goals.
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Saudi-American naval exercises next week


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09:34 - 20/2020

 

The "Marine Cannon" mixed exercise exercises will start next week, where the Saudi Royal Naval Forces will host the King Abdulaziz Naval Base in the Eastern Fleet, compared to the US Navy.

The "Marine Defender" exercise exercises are an extension of a series of previous joint exercises and exercises between the two countries.


The exercise includes a number of exercises and exercises that "enhance maritime security measures in the region, and unify the concepts of naval combat work," according to Saudi media.

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Iran conservatives hope to harness popular anger to win elections

 

Hardliners aiming to take advantage of fury over corruption to take power and keep President Rouhani on a tight leash

 

 

Thu 20 Feb 2020 05.00 GMT

by Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/20/iran-conservatives-elections-popular-anger-corruption

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The "Financial Action Group" approach to dealing with Iran must combine engaging with it and pressuring it


- 3 Minutes Past
 
When the "Financial Action Group" ["Financial Action Team" / "Financial Action Working Group"] meets in Paris this week to attend its quarterly plenary session, its agenda will include a review of Iran's progress in compliance with international standards to combat illegal financing. Despite the stern warning from the organization responsible for controlling standards at its previous plenary session in October, Iran failed to ratify international agreements that could prevent the full re-imposition of the "countermeasures" of the "Financial Action Group" .

If the organization takes the necessary measures, it will be right. (It should be noted that the Financial Action Working Group keeps such deliberations confidential, but it is expected to announce its decision publicly on February 21.) Iran has not made progress on the key items of the mutually agreed-upon action plan, which was supposed to expire in 2018. Since the Financial Action Group suspended implementation of countermeasures taken against Iran in June 2016, it called for special attention to the necessity of [assistance Iran to address shortcomings related to terrorist financing. This means, first and foremost, the criminalization of the acts stipulated in the United Nations "International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism", whose ratification is considered part of the legislation that Iran has been stalling on to pass.

Keep engaging

Iran has obtained multiple exemptions in recent years. The "Financial Action Group" has called on member states to impose gradual restrictions on the ability of Iranian banks to operate across national borders [outside the country]. However, given the severe US sanctions, Iran today is overwhelmingly isolated from the global financial system, so full implementation of the "FATF" countermeasures is unlikely to have a significant operational impact on the banking and financial sector in Iran. As noted by US State Department special envoy Brian Hook in December, Iran can only access 10 percent of its foreign reserves at present because banks refuse to transfer these funds on its behalf.

However, it would be a mistake for Iran and the international community to exclude any additional engagement if measures were imposed against the "Financial Action Group". Iran may look down on US unilateral sanctions, but blacklisting it by a respected multilateral organization is another matter. The decisions of the "Financial Action Working Group" are technocratic provisions that are passed unanimously by international experts, and therefore cannot be rejected as political or biased. Moreover, when sanctions were partially suspended during the implementation of the nuclear deal in 2016, Iran's inclusion in the Financial Action Group's blacklist was seen as a major obstacle to Iranian banks re-establishing ties with foreign banks.

If Tehran hopes to benefit from the easing of future sanctions, it must demonstrate its ability to adhere to international standards related to "combating money laundering" / "combating the financing of terrorism". This includes acknowledging and implementing international sanctions, as well as imposing the necessary transparency to restore their credibility to the international financial system.

These steps also serve the interests of Europe and America. For sanctions pressure to actually change Iran's behavior, Western governments must pair it with a credible offer of help - a challenge that still hinders the current push for maximum pressure. Europe has always seen in economic relations a basis for political dialogue with Tehran and acknowledged that Iran's compliance with the "Financial Action Group" criteria is a prerequisite for such a move. Moreover, such easing will not undermine the pressure created by US sanctions, which will continue to be an impediment to economic activity even if Iran improves with the Financial Action Group.

Work not yet done

However, there are significant obstacles for Iran to prevent it from moving forward in compliance with the criteria of the "Financial Action Group". The debate taking place inside the country on this issue touches on basic revolutionary ideals and entrenched interests, and therefore it will be difficult to deal with.

In recent weeks, Iranian supporters of their country’s adherence to the “Financial Action Group” standards have launched a campaign in the hope of influencing Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to use his influence and pushing for passage of pending legislation with the “Interest System Diagnostic Council,” the hardline body concerned with settling disputes between parliament and The Guardian Council. This pending legislation ratifies the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (also known as the Palermo Convention, which was adopted in 2000) and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, at the request of the Financial Action Group. Supporters argue that avoiding the reforms demanded by the Financial Action Working Group and returning to a blacklist would threaten remaining Iranian relations with international banks and opportunities for foreign investment.

The bills were referred to the Expediency Council - after the "Guardian Council" - which ensures that the legislation was in line with the constitution - had twice rejected it. In this context, a representative of the Expediency Council Diagnostic Council announced in late January that the one-year period devoted to looking into the dispute had ended, and that the extension "does not appear necessary".

One of the issues raised is the exclusion of "liberation organizations" from the provisions of the "International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism" - which in practice means terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Iraqi Shiite militias, Hamas, the Taliban, and so on. Although the amendments to the Iranian Law to Combat the Financing of Terrorism of 2018 apparently abrogated this exclusion, they continued to indicate that terrorist classifications would be issued in accordance with Article 154 of the Constitution, which supported "the oppressed struggle for Their rights against the oppressors anywhere in the world ”- and this is really just another way to allow the same exception. In addition, the proposed bill to ratify the "International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism" and the "Palermo Agreement" includes a "reservation" that argues that Iran's recognition of "the struggle of peoples against colonial domination and foreign occupation" does not allow it to recognize the "linear framework of terrorism" Stipulated in the agreement. The militants have even rejected these conditions, saying they are "worthless" and equal to calling for the disarmament of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah.

But perhaps what the militants are most concerned about is the threat to the commercial interests associated with the Iranian "Revolutionary Guard" and semi-governmental organizations when they adhere to the "Financial Action Group" guidelines. These vested interests benefit from underutilized or ambiguous ownership conditions that reforms of the Financial Action Task Force will eliminate by necessity.

Conclusion

Until Iran addresses these issues, the "Financial Action Group" is right to include it on the blacklist and call on member states to impose countermeasures. However, these measures do not necessarily mean the end of the "financial work group" engagement with Iran. The organization must do what it has done so far, which is to use the general statement issued this week to clarify the future path for Iran and its member states. In turn, these countries must remain engaged with Iran individually, and make every effort to ensure that Iran understands the benefits of compliance and the price of continued delay in passing laws.

Catherine Power

The Washington Institute

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The US Treasury Department imposes new sanctions on Iran

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20th February, 2020


On Thursday, America announced new sanctions against Iranian figures, including Ahmed Jannati, head of Iran's Guardian Council.

Among the Iranian figures that were included in the sanctions were Muhammad Yazdi, a member of the Iranian Leadership Experts Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhadai, Siamak Rahbik, and Hassan Sadagadi Moghaddam.

A note posted on the website of the US Treasury mentioned the names of the Iranian figures.

The US memo stated that punished Iranian officials forbid free and fair elections.

 

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Treasury Designates Senior Iranian Regime Officials Preventing Free and Fair Elections in Iran

 

Action follows the disqualification of several thousand candidates by Iran’s Guardian Council

 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today took action against five members of Iran’s Guardian Council and its Elections Supervision Committee, which are appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader or his appointees.  The Guardian Council, which is responsible for “vetting” candidates, uses this power to disqualify Iranians from competing in elections.  Treasury’s action targets Ahmad Jannati, the Secretary of the Guardian Council, and Mohammad Yazdi, a member of Iran’s Guardian Council who was formerly Iran’s first Judiciary Chief, and three additional members of its Elections Supervisory Committee.  The Supreme Leader uses his appointees to deprive the Iranian people of free and fair elections by blocking candidates that do not mirror his radical views.

“The Trump Administration will not tolerate the manipulation of elections to favor the regime’s malign agenda, and this action exposes those senior regime officials responsible for preventing the Iranian people from freely choosing their leaders,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.  “The United States will continue to support the democratic aspirations of Iranians.”

This action is being taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13876 of June 24, 2019.  The E.O. imposed sanctions on the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Supreme Leader’s Office (SLO) and authorized the imposition of sanctions on certain others determined to be associated with the Supreme Leader or the SLO.  Today’s action complement Treasury’s previous sanctions targeting senior regime officials who support the Supreme Leader and maintain the regime’s control of Iranian political institutions, including the Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif; the head of Iran’s Judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi; and the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.

AHMAD JANNATI AND MOHAMMAD YAZDI

Today, OFAC designated Ahmad Jannati, the longtime Secretary of Iran’s Guardian Council, who was originally appointed to the Council by the Supreme Leader in February 1980 and reappointed to a six-year term in 2016.  As Secretary of the Guardian Council, and a member of the Elections Supervision Committee for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, Jannati oversaw the disqualification of nearly half of potential parliamentary candidates, including several incumbent legislators.

In addition to chairing the Guardian Council, Jannati is the chair of the Assembly of Experts, an entity responsible for choosing the next Supreme Leader.  Jannati was also appointed by the Supreme Leader to the Expediency Council, which is an advisory body for the Supreme Leader with an ultimate adjudicating power in disputes over legislation between the parliament and the Guardian Council.

Mohammad Yazdi was most recently re-appointed by the Supreme Leader to the Guardian Council in July 2019 as a religious jurist.  Yazdi also served on the central supervisory committee for the upcoming presidential and midterm elections.  Additionally, as Iran’s Judiciary Chief from 1989-1999, Yazdi abolished the Office of the Prosecutor, effectively rendering all judges prosecutors and leading to the widespread violation of basic human rights.

Jannati and Yazdi are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13876 for being persons appointed by the Supreme Leader of Iran to a position as a state official of Iran.

SIAMAK RAHPEYK, ABBAS ALI KADKHODAEI, AND MOHAMMAD HASAN SADEGHI MOGHADAM

Siamak Rahpeyk is a legal expert appointed by Jannati to the Guardian Council’s Central Committee for Election Supervision and as deputy head in charge of executive and election affairs.  Rahpeyk has justified the Guardian Council’s role to disqualify election candidates.

Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei is also a legal expert appointed by Jannati to the position of deputy head of the Guardian Council, speaker of the Guardian Council, and to the Central Committee for Election Supervision.  Before initial parliamentary disqualifications were announced on January 27, 2020, he stated that insults, defamation, or inflammatory remarks towards the Supreme Leader would be considered when vetting candidates.  

Mohammad Hasan Sadeghi Moghadam is also a legal expert appointed by Jannati to the Guardian Council’s Central Committee for Election Supervision.  Sadeghi Moghadam also serves as a senior advisor to Jannati.  He has defended the practice of candidate disqualification, stating that it is the Guardian Council’s legal responsibility to vet candidates.

Rahpeyk, Kadkhodaei, and Sadeghi Moghadam are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13876 for being persons appointed to a position as a state official of Iran, or as the head of any entity located in Iran or any entity located outside of Iran that is owned or controlled by one or more entities in Iran, by Jannati, a person appointed by the Supreme Leader.

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

All property and interests in property of these persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.  OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons. 

In addition, non-U.S. persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to designation.  Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly conducts or facilitates a significant transaction for or on behalf of the persons designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent or payable-through account sanctions.

Read identifying information on the entities designated today.

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Iran is a cancer that should be eradicated, not dialogue with

 

- 4 Hours Ago
 

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What is required from Iran from the Arabs?

 

 

Accept it as it is. This means that they accept their policy of interfering in their internal affairs. This is an equation that a living country cannot be part of. Iran, which does not act with the Arabs as a country that respects the rules of work in international law, will not be able to reach a language of dialogue with them.

Iran wants dialogue, but from one side. This is a farce that confirms that those who rule Iran are talking about peace and their minds of war. They see relations between states as a battlefield, so they look at the other in terms of their ability to respond and lengthen the military in war. This corrupted their political minds, and they considered war the first solution to their problems. The Iranians only think of war.

A quick look at their followers in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen makes us sure that Iran is providing nothing but as it mobilizes society with explosives. Its followers from the youth of these countries have turned into mines. And if they occupy high positions in a country, which is what is actually taking place in Iraq, then that country will be at risk of explosion.

Sectarian washing has caused some Arabs to convert to Iranians more than Khamenei, so that the criminal Qassem Soleimani overlooks Lebanon with his statue, to confirm that his project to kill Arabs is still standing. And if Hassan Nasrallah had publicly narrated his dream that relates to Suleimani, then he knows that someone is listening to him about ignorance, stupidity and sectarian obsession.

That is exactly what Iran wants for us. Therefore, any dialogue with her will be fruitless and futile.

This is a country that has long had to withdraw from the United Nations General Assembly, because it does not believe in its charter calling for peace. It is a country whose policy is based on war.

And if some of its deceptive politicians propose a dialogue with the Arabs, then they forget that their country has not presented, in forty years, a goodwill gesture. Rather, everything I did was just the opposite.

What happened to Iraq under Iranian hegemony was the worst in history. Iran's followers have spread and printed corruption in society, so that all manifestations of corruption are pointing to them without being held accountable because of Iranian protection. The ideological state protects the corrupt. This is what Iran sees as appropriate for societies that wish to destroy it.

Neither in the present nor in the future, normal relations can be established between the Arab world and Iran as long as its regime is determined to continue its shabby, vulgar policies that are contrary to international law.

As I see it, Europe is tired of its political hypocrisy. The Iranian regime is not reliable. She will always have to face her relationship with him as a disgrace in terms of human concepts, values and principles. It is a system that does not believe in a person, his rights, or the international law that guarantees those rights.

It will be the right of the Arab countries that Iran asks of the dialogue to apologize for the absence of common factors. You cannot negotiate with a predator on terms of a normal life. Iran under the regime of the mullahs is that animal.

If it was up to Iran, Dubai would turn into a kind of southern suburb of Beirut. If it were for Iran, the worshipers in Jeddah would offer their prayers in tattered places. If the matter was for Iran, the Mohammed V Mosque in Rabat would be converted to Husayn for slapping, crying and crying.

Iran is a cancer that should be eradicated, not dialogue with

The Arabs

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In Iran ... even oranges are bought with credit cards

 

- 4 Hours Ago
 
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After hours of moving from one square to another, one region and another to monitor the opinions and options of the Iranian people in the parliamentary elections, we stopped to drink juice at an orange stand in the street and paid with a credit card, in an unfamiliar scene.

The matter does not stop at a street or vegetable shop, as street vendors provide "subway" stations with card payment through machines that have become one of their main business tools.

This is unprecedented in the rest of the countries, but if we know that more than 90% of the financial transactions between citizens are carried out with credit cards for local banks away from the internationally famous American and European companies, the matter becomes justified.

If you are visiting Iran for the first time, be surprised that there is an integrated banking and financial system that serves tens of millions of Iranians, and the most important thing is that it is completely separate from the global system because of the sanctions that started to descend on the Islamic Republic for many years.

Most people do not carry cash, especially after its price rise against the dollar, in addition to the facilities provided by the government in using credit cards and directing the citizen to depend entirely on it and give up the paper currency completely.

people's opinion?
Muhammad - who works in the field of trade and spices - says that he pays the card to the taxi driver, he does not mention the last time I carry a large amount of cash. Someone asks me to pay cash for any service he provides me or a commodity that I buy, so I do not need a paper currency. ”

He also says, "It is clear that our banking system is good and the government has made a great effort to establish such services in light of the stifling financial and economic blockade of the country that deprives us of many external transactions."

"I was studying at the university in one of the Arab countries, and I went to the bank to ask for a credit card, but I was rejected only because I am Iranian, and this means that foreign countries besiege the Iranian and pursue him in the most basic of his rights."

He concluded, "I was hoping to use my credit card outside my country to buy the goods I needed, but what the government is doing in this field will have a positive impact on the citizen."

Mir Hussain (a hotel worker) says that despite carrying paper money, he does not use it, and it is preferable to rely on credit cards "because they are easier and faster." He continued that his father and every person who receives aid from the government must have a bank account and a credit card to pay through it or withdraw the money. "Our banking system is independent and developed," he added.

There is an additional advantage to this banking and financial system that it works "within the national internet and has no connection whatsoever with the World Wide Web," according to Dr. Saeed Leylaz, professor of economics at the "Shahid Beheshti University" in Tehran, in reference to the percentage of security and safety that this system has.

However, Laylaz revealed something unknown to many is that "some ATMs were installed and started working before the revolution in 1979, and the relationship of the Iranian banking system with the SWIFT system and the global banking system has not yet been severed, that is, the sanctions have nothing to do with the establishment of the current banking system."

He continued, "This banking system began about twenty years ago and expanded with the coming of President Hassan Rouhani to power seven years ago. This system had many benefits, most notably: Reducing the volume of trading in banknotes, and this is important because using them leads to high inflation rates in the country." .

The use of credit cards - according to Laylaz - contributed to the government's attempts to contain inflation and reduce the number of customer visits to bank branches, which closed hundreds of them during the current year, after the services became available electronically.

He explained that it is not possible to manage the country's economy without this electronic banking system "In Iran there are more than forty million smart phones, so credit cards and ATMs have become an integral part of the citizen's diary."

Source: Al-Jazeera

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Edited by DinarThug
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Global watchdog places Iran on terrorism financing blacklist

 

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21st February, 2020


A global dirty money watchdog on Friday placed Iran on its blacklist after the country failed to comply with international anti-terrorism financing norms.

The decision comes after more than three years of warnings from the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) urging Tehran to enact terrorist financing conventions.

However, the FATF appeared to leave the door ajar for Iran saying “countries should also be able to apply countermeasures independently of any call by the FATF to do so.”

 

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An international organization intends to include Iran on
its blacklist


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21st February, 2020

 

The American Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, February 21, 2020 that an international organization for monitoring the financing of terrorism intends to include Iran on its blacklist, in a step that will enhance the US efforts to isolate Tehran financially.

The newspaper quoted officials in the United States and allied countries that it is expected that the Financial Working Group "FATF" will announce its decision to impose additional supervision on financial transactions with Tehran, with the aim of intensifying pressure on banks and companies that have not yet cut ties with Iran to reduce their number gradually.

She added, if FATF takes this step, Iran will become the second country after North Korea to be included in the group's list of countries that are subject to restrictions due to its failure to monitor and prevent terrorist financing and money laundering by criminal organizations.

She noted that this comes after European officials in the past few weeks showed the US State Department their government’s willingness to join the American pressure campaign against Tehran and support the adoption of strict new measures against its financial system by FATF, in an effort to save the 2015 nuclear agreement that Washington withdrew from it and Tehran significantly reduced its unilateral obligations.

She continued, that the international community had previously accused Iran of failing to implement the commitments it made in 2016 to review its standards related to combating illicit financial flows, especially with regard to criminalizing terrorist financing and freezing the assets of those accused of terrorism, but European support until recently, was protecting Tehran from measures Punitive by FATF.

The group confirmed at its last meeting last October that Iran may include its sanctions list if it does not pass a law confirming its adherence to the UN agreement to combat illicit financial transactions, but the Iranian Guardian Council rejected this law when it was approved by the Shura Council (Parliament).

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'Nothing will change': apathy and a lack of queues on election day in Iran

 

While some want to show solidarity with the supreme leader in face of US pressure, others feel their voice won’t be heard

 

Patrick Wintour in Tehran

Fri 21 Feb 2020 17.26 GMT

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/21/nothing-will-change-apathy-and-a-lack-of-queues-on-election-day-in-iran

 

 

 

 

Iran's leaders warn low turnout in election will boost Trump

 

Voters set to shun Friday’s parliamentary poll in sign of protest or indifference

 

Patrick Wintour in Tehran

Fri 21 Feb 2020 05.00 GMT

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/21/irans-leaders-warn-low-turnout-in-election-will-boost-trump

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On 2/17/2020 at 1:51 AM, NoviceInvestor said:

I hope it Iran will move from a Mullah regime of Government to a Civilian Government JMO..

 

We all wish such a thing but unless a real revolution starts  that will only remain a pious dream I'm afraid.....PTB are too powerful and they strangle the People's free will of expressing their stances.....

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Financial Working Group" re-punishes Iran on charges of "financing terrorism"
 

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The blacklist of the commission includes North Korea and Iran


February 21, 2020

 

 
The Financial Action Group said on Friday that Iran will remain on its blacklist, concerned with controlling the movement of funds and banking transactions across the world, and called on member states to impose sanctions on the country.

The group reimposed all sanctions on Iran, considering that it had not taken the expected measures against money laundering and terrorist financing.

"In view of the failure to implement the Palermo Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in accordance with our standards," the commission said in a statement at the conclusion of a meeting in Paris, "the commission decided to" cancel the suspension of all sanctions and calls on member states to implement them effectively. "

Gavi, the government body created in 1989 and which includes ministers of member states, temporarily suspended sanctions in 2016 to give Iran time to comply with international standards.

The blacklist of the authority includes North Korea and Iran.

In conjunction with the hardening of President Donald Trump's administration towards Iran, the panel sent several warnings to Tehran before deciding last summer to abolish a first sentence and keep two comments suspended until autumn.

The group gave Iran a February deadline to approve anti-terrorism legislation or remain on the blacklist. Although the Iranian parliament passed the legislation, a supreme religious body voted against it.

American acclaim

The United States praised the group's call for urgent effective countermeasures to protect the international financial system from terrorist financing threats emanating from Iran.

Washington has called for the regime to face consequences for its continued failure to comply with international standards, particularly its failure to ratify the Palermo and terrorist financing agreements.

Blacklisting could complicate Iranian plans to avoid US sanctions by engaging with European countries instead. France, Britain and Germany have announced that they will continue to deal with Iran as long as the country removed itself from the blacklist.

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If not already, God is going to take it personally for using the name supreme leader. This Iranian bunch will get a clue one of these days.

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8 hours ago, jmartin1145 said:

If not already, God is going to take it personally for using the name supreme leader. This Iranian bunch will get a clue one of these days.

:bump:      :twothumbs:    :bravo:

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Iran elections: conservatives heading for large majority

 

Likely outcome reflects frustration at collapsing living standards and relations with the west

 

Patrick Wintour in Tehran

Sat 22 Feb 2020 10.26 GMT

 

 

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Iranian men vote at a polling station in Tehran
Photograph: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images
 
 
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Report: America will establish three new military bases in Iraq near the Iranian border

 

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12:33 - 02/22/2020
 

(Burnsa Latina) website revealed, on Saturday, the intention of the United States of America to increase its military presence in Iraq through three new military bases, despite requests from the Iraqi government to withdraw American forces from the country. And the site stated in its translation report / information / that, despite the protests of millions of Iraqis to demand the American withdrawal, it has been announced that the Pentagon is planning to build three new military pockets in Iraq.

He added that "the locations of the new bases will be in Arbil, Sulaymaniyah, Halabja, northern Iraq, andnear the border with Iran, while the announcement ignores the decision of the Iraqi parliament issued in January and overwhelmingly to expel American forces from the country." And he continued," Despite the parliamentary decision, the White House still refuses to withdraw and states that "any delegation is sent to Iraq" at this time will be dedicated to discussing the best ways to re-commit to our strategic partnership, and not to discuss the troop withdrawal, "according to US State Department spokesman Morgan Ortigas. 

It is noteworthy that, in early January, the Pentagon sent an additional 3,000 soldiers to the region, while President Donald Trump threatened Iraqis with severe punishment, while the number of US forces is about 6300 in the countries neighboring Iran.
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"Abovdak" Iranian guard man leads the crowd

 

- 13 Hours Past
 
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BAGHDAD - The Iranian footprint was evident in the selection of Abdulaziz Al-Mahmoudawi, "Abu Fadak", a leader in the Iraqi Hezbollah militia, a successor to Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis in the post of Deputy Chairman of the Popular Mobilization Committee in Iraq. Tehran.

Since the engineer’s death, in a raid in which the commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, General Qassem Soleimani, was killed on January 3, the popular crowd has been searching for a field commander for his operations, and two names have been put up for the position, but they have not been accepted by field commanders.

Initially, the Iranian Intelligence Service, according to informed sources, proposed naming the leader of the Badr Hadi al-Amiri organization as the successor to the engineer, but he refused because he hoped to assume the position of head of the Popular Mobilization Authority, held by National Security Adviser Faleh al-Fayyad.

Later the nominations turned to Abu Ali al-Basri, a security figure who mastered the work out of the limelight, and successive governments had previously relied on him in sensitive positions, such as overseeing special cells to prosecute wanted persons and carry out assassinations and secret liquidation.

But Al-Basri’s choice disturbed many in the PMF, especially the pro-Iranian streak, given his previous experiences in coordinating with American forces during the confrontation with Al Qaeda in Iraq and later ISIS.

I will send you a nickname

A leader in the Hezbollah Brigades was one of Qassem Soleimani’s arms who worked in the Badr Corps during the Iran-Iraq war. He was involved in the killing of demonstrators in al-Khilani Square.

The organization announced on Friday the name “Abovdak”, deputy head of the popular crowd, a prominent leader in the Hezbollah Brigades militia, whose name was recently linked to the administration of Organized operations to kidnap and assassinate activists participating in the popular protests, which has been going on for five months.

Perhaps the most prominent of the “virtues” of “Abu Faddak”, as those close to him say, is that he worked for a long time under the direct leadership of the engineer in the Hezbollah Brigades, and he came close to his contacts with Soleimani and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards leaders in general, which increased his chances to fill The vacant position since the beginning of the year.

People close to “Abu Fadak” describe the man as a member of the Badr Corps before the fall of Saddam’s regime, and that he was involved in “resisting the Americans after the fall of the regime within the ranks of the Hezbollah Brigades.”

And "Abovdak" continued within the Hezbollah brigades, until Iran launched a wide process of structuring the factions loyal to it in Iraq, about a year from now, to provide the persons able to participate in the staff of the Popular Mobilization Forces, which are intended to be a substitute for the official armed forces.

And took "Abovdak" about a year ago from now, his mission within the Staff Council of the Popular Mobilization, to form one of the vital links between this force and the armed factions loyal to Iran, where the public treasury of Iraq is the source of joint financing for the two parties.

The name “Abovdak” appeared about three times during the Iraqi demonstrations between October 2019 and February 2020, in a different form, “Al-Khal”, which is the first when the Hezbollah Brigades launched a night campaign against protesters in Al-Khilani Square near Jisr Al-Sinak in central Baghdad, and killed and arrested a number of them, and the second On the wall of the American embassy when the PMF organized a demonstration inside the Green Zone against the American presence in Iraq, and the third when it was named deputy head of the PMF.

Usually, the Iraqis use the adjective “uncle” when talking about Iranian figures who are directly concerned with the Iraqi file and are involved in its details, which means that “Abu Fadak” is classified among the Iranian personalities, even though he holds Iraqi nationality.

Observers say that filling the void left by Soleimani’s killing may be impossible, given the complex network of field relations that he has woven for years, but maintaining communication channels between the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Iraqi popular crowd, as well as ensuring that money continues to flow from the state’s treasury to the loyal factions For Iran, they are two basic tasks, they are assigned to "the uncle."

And reveals the way in which "Abovdak" was chosen to fill the void left by the absence of the engineer, the rush of official allegations that confirm that the crowd is an Iraqi institution.

And the Iraqi political writer, Farooq Yusef, considered that it was clear that what happened in choosing "Abu Fadak" is an Iranian matter in which the Iraqi government does not enter, and that that government only has to see the Iranian decision and implement it in the context of a mysterious relationship based on the equation of government funding for the independent Hashd Foundation.

The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces is not aware of the decisions of the Hashd Foundation and does not have the ability to control its movement. Also, government financial institutions that finance the crowd are not allowed to know the numbers of fighters belonging to the militia loyal to Tehran and to verify their presence except through what is provided by the crowd leadership.

Youssef added in a statement to “Al-Arab” that the security services and other institutions of the Ministry of the Interior were infiltrated early by the militia leaders that are part of the crowd, so that it can be said that the largest part of the Ministry of the Interior belongs to the popular crowd.

This widespread penetration leads to the truth of the mission entrusted to "Abu Fadak", which is managing the security file in a thorny and complicated circumstance, in which a peaceful dialogue seems unlikely between the ruling parties and young protesters.

Youssef emphasized that what matters to Iran at this stage is that the crowd defends its interests by selecting a leader who was brought up to obey it, and it is not important for her that this choice be made against a notorious man.

The Arabs

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See you a million ... the demonstrators are preparing to raise the pace of their protests by February 25

 

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22nd February, 2020


Iraqi demonstrators are preparing to raise the pace of their protests by leaving with a "millionaire" on February 25th, activists on social media called on them, while others talked about their intention to go from their southern provinces to Baghdad.

Activists launched on Twitter, and tagged #Relcom_million, in order to call for the planned demonstration, to reach the list of hashtags most commonly traded on the site. With their tweets, which came under this tag, the tweeters attached photos and video clips documenting events that occurred after the first of last October, the day the demonstrations began so far, some of the demonstrators killed during their participation in the protests, among more than 500 dead and about 25 thousand wounded. And February 25 coincides with the anniversary of the start of the 2011 demonstrations in Baghdad, affected by the wave of the "Arab Spring" in Arab countries, most notably Egypt and Tunisia, and toppled the presidents of the two countries, Hosni Mubarak and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

At the time, Nouri al-Maliki was in charge of his second government, and the demonstrators had demands, most notably the amendment of the Iraqi constitution and the end of sectarian quotas in the sharing of positions between political parties, and the protesters were subjected to violence inside Tahrir Square, and some were stabbed with knives. School students, universities, and institutes are keen to renew the spirit of demonstrations, through mass marches towards the sit-in areas, in addition to feminist marches that roam the streets of some governorates heading to the same squares and denounce the abuse of women demonstrators by parties and religious groups.

The call to organize a million, with the aim of lifting the pace of protests on February 25, comes at a time when the official in charge of forming the government, Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi, "rejected in the demonstration squares," faces Kurdish and Sunni political protests over his mechanism in choosing his cabinet, with a pledge not to give his government confidence in Parliament. , Which is scheduled to be brought to the vote before March 2. While Allawi describes his cabinet, the names of whose members are kept by himself until now, as a "historic achievement" and says that they are completely independent and free from the dictates of political parties, the head of the caretaker government, Adel Abdul Mahdi, recently vowed that he will not continue his work after 2 March, and that he will resort to "the solutions stipulated in the constitution and the internal system of the Council of Ministers." 

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