New organization seeks to help stateless Baloch people in southwest Asia.
WASHINGTON DC — Americans concerned over the ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing in Balochistan have joined hands with the Baloch living in the United States to launch the American Friends of Balochistan.
The stated goal of the new organization is to create awareness of the need of a safe, independent, and secular peaceful Balochistan in southwest Asia . The organization will advocate for the establishment of an independent and impartial War Crimes Tribunal to try individuals responsible for crimes against the Baloch people.
The organization will be headed by Bob Selle, contributing Editor of the World & I, a publication of the Washington Times Corporation. Dr Wahid Baloch, a prominent Baloch activist, would be the general secretary of the American Friends of Balochistan.
The new organization comes in the wake of the August 26 killing of former governor and chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, the highest elected official to be killed by the Pakistan Army. Since March 27, 1948 when Balochistan was forcibly annexed by Pakistan, many top Baloch leaders, including Baloch ruler Khan of Kalat Mir Ahmedyar Khan and Chief of Jhalawan Nawab Nauroz Khan were arrested and humiliated by the Pakistan Army. Thousands of Baloch freedom fighters and more than 3000 Pakistan soldiers have been killed in five army operations to crush the Baloch resistance movement.
The thee-member advisory board, along with the chairman and general secretary, will help with the day to day running of organization. The advisory board members are Brother Irving Sylvia, Mir Maqbool Aliani and Ahmar Mustikhan.
The organization will focus on all occupied Baloch territories, specifically Pakistan and Iran and one of its main aims is to help the world end the nuclear programs of both Pakistan and Iran. “Nuclear testing on the soil of Balochistan is a common practice by both Iran and Pakistan,” the new organization notes.
The organization’s mission statement is to “Unite Americans and Baloch living in the U.S. into a non profit volunteer based organization, the goal of which is to create awareness of the need of a safe, independent, and secular peaceful Balochistan in
Baloch in Pakistan and Iran fear they will lose their national identity if Pakistan and Iran’s militaristic ambitions go unchecked.
The American Friends of Balochistan goals and programs would be:
1. Provide a continuous flow of information to the U.S. government,
public, and non profit institutions about the situation in Balochistan
which is occupied as a colonial possession of Pakistan and Iran.
Promote Baloch visitors to the United States to speak before public
organizations with the intent of building support among existing non
profit organizations that would take Baloch under their wings.
2- Monitor and highlight the human rights conditions of the Baloch in
Iran and Pakistan. Interface with existing human rights organizations
who rarely consider Balochistan so as the help break the silence that
facilitates impunity for those who kill and torture. Help Baloch
opposition groups that are targets of victimization by Pakistani and
Iranian state forces.
3. Advocate for the establishment of an independent and impartial
War Crimes Tribunal to try individuals responsible for crimes against the
Baloch people. Network with existing organizations that might address
legal aspects of evidence and procedures that war crimes tribunals
require to participate.
3- Help end the nuclear programs of both Pakistan and Iran. Nuclear
testing on the soil of Balochistan is a common practice by both Iran
and Pakistan. At the least, the Chagai test range should be opened for
international inspections. But inspections should not diminish the goal
of making the entire region a nuclear free area.
4- Counter the state-sponsored trend of promoting Talibanization and
fanaticism in Balochistan by government of Pakistan.
The alternative to Pakistan’s machinations can only come from an
informed and involved western influence. Sadly, most Baloch feel that
the western world does not appreciate their community, human rights and
culture of civility that is most closely related to modern western
world values. VOA and other media need to communicate with Baloch to
help rectify this misconception.
5- Find peaceful but effective ways to help Baloch resist Pakistani
army expansion (cantonments) on Balochistan soil. Advocate the
immediate withdrawal of all Pakistani and Iranian army personnel from
Baloch soil. This might be considered as a counterpart of what the
United States did, very successfully, for the Kurds prior to the
overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
6- Through public media, such as the VOA, sponsor programs that emphasize the age-old Baloch traditions of respect for all great religious traditions of the world,
especially Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism and sufi Islam.
About the chairman, general secretary and advisory board members:
Robert R. Selle, Chairman, has been a newspaper and magazine journalist for 24 years. Most recently, he has been editor of The World & I Online, a monthly e-zine that focuses on current issues, world cultures, the arts, and the sciences. He is also editor of The Africa Dispatch, a newsletter that presents positive news about Africa. He has been a current issues editor for The World & I, a monthly print magazine; a Special Sections editor for The Washington Times daily newspaper; and managing editor of the New York City Tribune, once a daily based in Manhattan. He and his wife Angelika have four children (3 sons and a daughter) and live in Bowie, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC, where he continues to edit and write.
Dr Wahid Baloch, General Secretary, is also the founder of the BSO-NA (Baloch Society of North America) one of the first Baloch human rights organization in North America. He hails from the coastal Makuran division in Balochistan. He graduated in medicine from Bolan Medical College, Quetta in 1990 and immigrated to the USA in 1992. He is a US citizen, working at the Mayo Clinic in Florida. Dr Baloch is in constant touch with the Baloch Diaspora in and outside both Pakistani and Iranian-occupied Balochistan, North America and Europe. He was earlier active in the Baloch nationalist movement from the platform of the Baloch Students Organization.
Advisory Board members:
1- Brother Irving Sylvia, 80, calls himself an uncle of the Baloch. He first learned about the Baloch people in 1943, while he was a student at university in Seattle, USA. “My heart strangely warmed toward them,” he recalls. He read as much as he could about Baloch culture, literature and history and says he was impressed by their traditions of loyalty and hospitality as well as their courage. “I was also saddened to learn of the injustice and oppression they had suffered,” Brother Sylvia said. “I determined that I would do whatever I could to benefit them.”
In 1947, he along with his young wife and baby daughter arrived in Pakistan during the difficult days of Partition. “Early in 1948 we came to live in Quetta and made friends with many Baloch,” he recalls. The family spent about two years there learning the language and visiting villages. Upon return to the USA, he obtained an advanced degree in the teaching of English, and began a career of teaching in universities in Turkey, Iran and the U.A.E.. While teaching at the University of the U.A.E., he was helped by several Baloch young men to translate the New Testament into Balochi. In 1989, Brother Sylvia was welcomed as a Visiting Research Scholar to the University of Balochistan and continued his research into Balochi language and literature under the mentor ship of Professor Abdullah Jan Jamaldini. “In 1991, I was able to publish the New Testament in the Balochi language for the first time,”Brother Sylvia said. He taught English at colleges in California, USA from 1991 to 2001 at which time he retired, and is now living with his wife in a retirement community. In 1995, he was able to visit Balochistan for a short period and visited many of his Baloch friends in Panjgur, Turbat and Pasni. “Although I am now advanced in age, I am ready to serve the Baloch people in any way I can and support the Baloch struggle for freedom and justice,” Brother Irving Sylvia said.
2- Maqbool Aliani is currently a board member of the Washington, DC based World Sindhi Institute (W.S.I.) and World Baloch Jewish Alliance. He resides in Fairfax, Virginia. He has been active in advocating human and democratic rights for the people of Sindh and Balochistan. Maqbool is a strong critic of Pakistan’s military establishment and their Jihadist cronies. He is a strong supporter of a secular democratic Sindh and Balochistan.
In 2002, Maqbool testified at Capital Hill before the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs and the House Committee on Appropriations.
Maqbool Aliani received his Master’s in Electrical Engineering from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He then went on to pursue a doctorate in Information Technology while working as a research staff at The Institute of Public Policy at George Mason University. At the institute, he worked on several defense related projects such as designing and evaluating Wireless Interactive Electronic Technical Manual (I.E.T.M.) and maintenance system for the U.S. Marine Corps. He also assisted Defense Information System Agency (D.I.S.A.) with internet and multi-media tools.
Later on, Maqbool worked 8 years in the wireless industry as a Senior Manager with Nextel Communications where he received several achievement awards. Currently, he is serving as Director of Wireless Strategy and Technology at Current Communications based in Germantown, Maryland.
Maqbool’ family is well-known in Lasbela district of Balochistan as his ancestors once ruled over the area.
3- Ahmar Mustikhan, 46, is founder of the World Baloch Jewish Alliance. A professional journalist, he now works for a local newspaper in Maryland. Local people have nicknamed him “Genghis Khan” as they say his pen is as sharp as the sword of the Asian warrior. In his career, spanning more than 16 years, he has won two journalism fellowships, one at the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute, Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tenn., and an earlier fellowship of the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Before escaping to U.S. safety in the fall of 2000, as an online journalist, he was writing for nearly two dozen international publications, including
ABCNEWS.com; The World & I, affiliated with The Washington Times corporation; Environment News Service, Hawaii; The New Internationalist, London; Gemini News Service, London; and Inter Press Service, Italy; The Week, Cochin, India; and Mid-Day, Mumbai, India; besides being a political commentator for Radio Singapore International. He was for a year Academic Editor at the Oxford University Press, Karachi Pakistan.
Mustikhan was born in Rangoon, Burma, to a leading Baloch business family. Fond of playing chess, travelling and making friends, he is a firm believer in inter-faith reconciliation.
Media queries: 904-928-0260 & 703-591-6675
A famous journalist Narges Baloch from Balochistan talking about her new book the Death of Lion which is about the life and martyrdom of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akber Bugti.
Tuesday, 3 October 2006
Tribesman say they are fighting for greater economic rights
Tribal militants have shot dead three members of the Pakistani security forces in the troubled province of Balochistan, officials say.
The officials said the soldiers were on their way to fetch water when their jeep came under attack, in a mountainous area in Kohlu district.
Baloch nationalists have been fighting for more autonomy for decades.
They want more control over the economy, particularly Balochistan’s rich gas reserves.
In August, Pakistani security forces killed one of the most important tribal leaders in the area, Nawab Akbar Bugti, which led to widespread protests.
Editor-in-chief of Guardian newspaper
This press release has been sent to BPP’s web site.
As your newspaper has made allegations about our Organisation, we issued the following statement to clarify our positions and clear our name. We request that according to the principles and traditions of journalism, you publish our statement regarding these allegations.
We categorically reject the claim by the Guardian newspaper that Jondollah of Balochistan has any connection with the Taliban groups. In a report by Delcan Walsh, the Guardian’s reporter in Afghanistan, on Monday October 2, 2006, it was reported that the “They also have ideological ties with the Taliban, especially through Jundullah (Soldiers of God), a militant group with an extremist interpretation of Islam”.
It is obvious that all Sunni people share Islam as a religion like all followers of other religions. There are 1.2 billion Moslems in the world who believe in the same principles. The different individuals and groups have their own specific interpretation of Islam. It is clear that the Taliban have their own interpretation and their own organization. We, the Jondollah of Baluchistan, are not “a militant group with an extremist interpretation of Islam. “We are a Political Organisation with strong ties with civil society institutions, human rights groups and political organizations. We believe in civil society principles and we strive to establish a system in Iran in which the principles of civil society direct the functioning of the system and the government.
We do not have any sort of ties with the Talibans. As Moslems, we share Islam with all Moslems with moderate views. We believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all other conventions of United Nations. We believe in freedom of speech and freedom of association. We also believe in self-defense as it has been recognised by many United Nations conventions. The right to self-defense has been also recognised in almost all countries and all cultures.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has systematically tried to eliminate our religious and national identity. We, the Baluch as Sunnis, have a right to preserve our identity, our culture, our religion, our land and our dignity. Our campaign against the regime in Iran is the campaign of a national entity and identity whose survival is under serious threat. The world has lost many civilisations, tribes, ethnic groups, religious groups, cultures and languages. Baluchi identity, culture, language and values have contributed enormously to the world’s civilization. It will be a pity if this noble race and identity is eliminated by a regime that is well-known for its international terrorist activities. We do not want to have the fate of the civilisations that are extinct.
We are striving and campaigning to preserve our human dignity, human rights, national identity and religious beliefs.
The Guardian newspaper also alleged that “The Baluch nationalists are violently struggling against the Tehran government and are also believed to be involved in the drugs trade.” We categorically reject this claim by the Guardian newspaper. The Baluch resistants who are involved in campaign against the Iranian regime are not involved in any sort of drugs trade. We practically live in tough and hard conditions but we do not believe that drugs trade must be used as a legitimate source for generating income for these purposes. It is true that Baluchistan is stretched in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan and this land is a transition route for smugglers. But this transition route in Balochistan is very short in comparison with the long routes which go through the central Iran and other countries to Europe .
In fact the whole land of Iran, Turkey, Eastern Europe and many parts of Central Asia constitute the drugs routes to Europe, Middle East and Asia. But nobody labels the people of other countries and other provinces of Iran as drug trafficking smugglers. The Iranian government has been trying to define the Baluch people as killers and monsters. Our enemies are projecting the Baluch people as drug traffickers and drug traders to justify their massacres in Baluchistan .
To reveal the facts about the Baloch people and Baluchistan we demand that the Guardian newspaper shall be allowed to travel in Baluchistan freely and talk to the Baluch people freely. If the Iranian government allows the Guardian newspaper to send its reporters in Baluchistan , they will see the depth of the destruction and discrimination that the government has created in our land. The Iranian government does not allow any foreign reporter to go into Baluchistan and therefore, nobody knows clearly what the government has been doing in Baluchistan for the last 27 years.
We demand that not only the newspapers must be allowed into Baluchistan but also the United Nations must be allowed to go and find out the massacres that have been organised by the Iranian regime against the Baluch people.
Our struggle is the struggle of a nation for its survival. We are on the brink of extinction and we need the support of the whole world to preserve our people from humiliation.
The Iranian regime has shot or executed or hanged more than 150 Baluch in public only in the last three months according to reliable sources of Iran Focus and Iran Press News. Nobody has raised any voice against these massacres. The international community has chosen to be totally silent.
The Jondollah Organisation of Iran is determined to preserve the national identity and dignity of our people and fight for a democratic system in Iran in which all people of different races, collars, religions and beliefs have equal rights in managing the affairs of their country.
The Jondollah Organisation of Iran
By Our Staff Correspondent
QUETTA, Oct 5: Khan of Kalat Mir Suleman Daud has said the supreme council formed by the grand Baloch tribal jirga has approached lawyers in the Netherlands for filing a case in the International Court of Justice regarding on alleged violation of an accord signed with the Khan of Kalat by the British and Pakistani governments in 1948.
He said relevant documents had been sent to the lawyers for preparing the case. He said the Baloch jirga had empowered the six-member supreme council to take the issue to the ICJ.
He said the jirga had formed two other bodies — the national council and the grand national council — for solving problems of the Baloch people.
Baloch Sardars will be members of the national council and it will meet twice a year. The grand national council will compromise Baloch Sardars, politicians, intellectuals, students and labourers and will meet once a year under the chairmanship of the Khan of Kalat.
Mir Daud said the supreme council would meet every month to review the situation in the province and implementation of decisions taken by the grand Baloch jirga in Kalat on Sept 21.
By Ahmed Rashid in Kabul
Commanders from five Nato countries whose troops have just fought the bloodiest battle with the Taliban in five years, are demanding their governments get tough with Pakistan over the support and sanctuary its security services provide to the Taliban.
Nato’s report on Operation Medusa, an intense battle that lasted from September 4-17 in the Panjwai district, demonstrates the extent of the Taliban’s military capability and states clearly that Pakistan’s Interservices Intelligence (ISI) is involved in supplying it.
President Pervez Musharraf
Commanders from Britain, the US, Denmark, Canada and Holland are frustrated that even after Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf met George W Bush and Tony Blair last week, Western leaders are declining to call Mr Musharraf’s bluff.
“It is time for an ‘either you are with us or against us’ delivered bluntly to Musharraf at the highest political level,” said one Nato commander.
After the September 11 attacks in 2001 America gave Mr Musharraf a similar ultimatum to co-operate against the Taliban, who were then harbouring Osama bin Laden.
“Our boys in southern Afghanistan are hurting because of what is coming out of Quetta,” he added.
The Taliban use the southern province of Balochistan to co-ordinate their insurgency and to recuperate after military action.
The cushion Pakistan is providing the Taliban is undermining the operation in Afghanistan, where 31,000 Nato troops are now based. The Canadians were most involved in Operation Medusa, two weeks of heavy fighting in a lush vineyard region, defeating 1,500 well entrenched Taliban, who had planned to attack Kandahar city, the capital of the south.
Nato officials now say they killed 1,100 Taliban fighters, not the 500 originally claimed. Hundreds of Taliban reinforcements in pick-up trucks who crossed over from Quetta – waved on by Pakistani border guards – were destroyed by Nato air and artillery strikes.
Nato captured 160 Taliban, many of them Pakistanis who described in detail the ISI’s support to the Taliban.
Nato is now mapping the entire Taliban support structure in Balochistan, from ISI- run training camps near Quetta to huge ammunition dumps, arrival points for Taliban’s new weapons and meeting places of the shura, or leadership council, in Quetta, which is headed by Mullah Mohammed Omar, the group’s leader since its creation a dozen years ago.
Nato and Afghan officers say two training camps for the Taliban are located just outside Quetta, while the group is using hundreds of madrassas where the fighters are housed and fired up ideologically before being sent to the front.
Many madrassas now being listed are run by the Jamiat-e-Ullema Islam, a political party that governs Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province. The party helped spawn the Taliban in 1994.
“Taliban decision-making and its logistics are all inside Pakistan,” said the Afghan defense minister, General Rahim Wardak.
A post-battle intelligence report compiled by Nato and Afghan forces involved in Operation Medusa demonstrates the logistical capability of the Taliban.
During the battle the Taliban fired an estimated 400,000 rounds of ammunition, 2,000 rocket-propelled grenades and 1,000 mortar shells, which slowly arrived in Panjwai from Quetta over the spring months. Ammunition dumps unearthed after the battle showed that the Taliban had stocked over one million rounds in Panjwai.
In Panjwai the Taliban had also established a training camp to teach guerrillas how to penetrate Kandahar, a separate camp to train suicide bombers and a full surgical field hospital. Nato estimated the cost of Taliban ammunition stocks at around £2.6 million. “The Taliban could not have done this on their own without the ISI,” said a senior Nato officer.
Gen Musharraf this week admitted that “retired” ISI officers might be involved in aiding the Taliban, the closest he has come to admitting the agency’s role.
By Anadolu News Agency (aa), London
Monday, October 09, 2006
The United States is planning to divide Iraq into three autonomous regions in an attempt to prevent escalating violence and sectarian conflict in the country. According to this plan Iraq will be divided into three regional administrations along Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish lines.
The British newspaper The Times has reported that the Iraq Study Group (ISG), an independent commission set up by the U.S. Congress, will propose a plan foreseeing the division of Iraq into three autonomous regions after the congressional elections.
The Times reports that the ISG commission, headed by former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Lee Hamilton of the Democratic Party, thinks that the division of Iraq into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish regions is the only alternative to end the deadlock in Iraq.
Additionally, the commission is seen as a last opportunity for “fresh thinking” to end the turmoil in Iraq where kidnappings are on the rise and even the police is suspected of responsibility in increasing numbers of murders.
According to The Times’ article, the commission will not propose a “division” of Iraq. However, it presumes that setting up autonomous regions along with a national administration will provide better security and governance in the country. The national administration will be responsible for protecting borders and the distribution of oil revenues.
The commission has not yet given its final decision about the issue, the Times’ article reported, underlining the fact that there is now a consensus for having more American military advisors rather than soldiers in Iraq.
In the meantime, violence is without an end in Iraq. A total of 51 bodies were found in the Iraqi capital Baghdad yesterday.
In Divaniye province, 30 militiamen were killed in clashes between U.S. and Iraqi forces and Shiite militia forces.
11 Oct 2006
Erbil, Kurdistan Region (Iraq)
PNA- The Kurds are building a new $300 million airport in Erbil city, Kurdistan Region (Iraq) that will take the biggest aircraft in the world, including the Russian Antonov 225 cargo plane and the American C-5 Galaxy, which is so big that the Wright brothers could have made their entire flight within its cargo bay.
The Kurds are hoping their dramatic mountain region, the one tranquil part of Iraq, will become a tourist haven as
well as a transit refueling stop for international carriers between Europe and Asia or Australia.
But Kurdistan Regional Government Civil Aviation Director Zaid Zwain hopes the airport, scheduled for completion next year, will intrigue another potential customer: NASA.
When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s military aircraft developed technical problems in Erbil last week, Zwain took advantage of the two-hour delay to tell U.S. officials and journalists about his goal of becoming a backup landing strip for NASA shuttles for emergency landings.
The runway will be about three miles long — just a bit longer than the length required by the space shuttle, he told members of the U.S. delegation. “If you have any trouble,” Zwain offered, “you can land here free of charge.”
New Delhi, Oct 14, IRNA-Multimillion-dollar gas pipeline projects bringing gas from both Iran and Turkmenistan to India have virtually been stalled because of the unrest in Baluchestan after the killing of Baluch leader Akbar Bugti by the Pakistan military.
The continuing violence in this northern province of Pakistan as well as the increasing hold of the Taliban in Afghanistan has placed plans and negotiations between participating countries on hold.
“Even though it is a difficult task, we are doing our best to see that it goes through,” India’s Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said here in an interview with Asian Age.
He was referring to both the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline as well as the more ambitious Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, which will pass through what is now hostile terrain and will need tremendous manpower for round-the-clock security.
Deora has been holding talks on the gas pipeline projects and had detailed discussions with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and with the Asian Development Bank on the TAPI project. The last, he said, was very productive.
Price is a factor worrying for both India and Pakistan and has held up implementation of the IPA pipeline to date, but now the growing violence in Baluchestan is the unvoiced deterrent that has effectively stopped progress on this front.
The Baluch have been clear from the very beginning that their province should get royalties from the gas pipelines and, in June this year, the Baluchistan Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution demanding such payment for the IPI gas pipeline.
Members of the assembly pointed out that under Article 172 of their constitution, the IPI pipeline which would pass through Jewani to Hub in Baluchestan which belongs to the province.
Citing international guidelines, they also demanded free gas for the Baluch living in the vicinity of the pipeline.
Security concerns had been raised with Pakistan by both Iran and India. Pakistan had insisted that this would not be an issue and full security would be ensured.
But the violence and the anger after the death of Baluch leader Akbar Bugti, sources here said, had changed the situation for the worse and the security of the project could not be guaranteed even by the Pakistan military within Baluchestan.
Sat. 21 Oct 2006
Tehran, Iran, Oct. 21 – Agents of Iran’s State Security Forces (SSF) have killed three rebels in the east of the country, state media reported.
The three men, referred to as “trouble-makers” by the state-media reports, were killed during a ground and air raid on their hideout in Khorassan Jonoubi Province.
Among the items discovered at the site were a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, numerous heavy hand-weapons and one battle grenade, the reports said.
Three military helicopters took part in the offensive against the rebels.
The men, one of whom was identified as Baluch Zahi, operated in the towns of Saravan and Iran-Shahr, according to the reports.
In recent months, Iranian authorities have stepped up executions in Iran’s restive eastern provinces.
Mon. 23 Oct 2006
Tehran, Iran, Oct. 23 – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is aware of “enemy movements”, the elite military force’s Supreme Commander declared on Sunday.
“As the superior military force in the Persian Gulf region, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Armed Forces is aware of and has intelligence on movements by the militaries of enemies from beyond the region. It is closely monitoring their movements”, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi told a group of IRGC commanders.
General Safavi said that Middle East was facing “sensitive” months and years ahead.
“The enemies which were defeated in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon have reached the conclusion that the Muslim peoples of these countries have learnt the lesson of resistance and standing steadfast against foreigner’s domination from our great and sacrificing nation”, he said.
“From a political perspective, Iran’s political influence in the equation of the Middle East involving Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf has bewildered the enemies of the Islamic revolution. Thus, they have accepted Iran as an effective, influential, and determining power in this equation”, he added.