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Iran takes “effective steps” to produce COVID-19 vaccine: minister



Iran has taken “effective steps” in producing vaccine for novel coronavirus disease, Iran’s Minister of Health and Medical Education, Saeed Namaki, announced on Tuesday.

“I have observed in close the work of Iranian scientists in producing the vaccine for COVID-19 over the past four months,” Namaki was quoted as saying by official IRNA news agency.

“The results are very much promising. Tests in animal model were successful. Clinical trials on human will be carried out soon,” said Namaki.

Iran’s confirmed COVID-19 cases hit 227,622 on Tuesday, with 10,817 total fatalities so far.

Iran announced its first cases of COVID-19 on Feb. 19.

Iran and China have offered mutual help in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. In mid-February, at the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak in China, Iran lit up the Tehran Azadi (Liberty) Tower to show its solidarity with China, and donated 3 million masks to China. In return, China has delivered several shipments of medical supplies to Iran.

On Feb. 29, a five-member Chinese medical team visited Iran for a month-long mission to help Iran fight the pandemic.


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2 executed in Iran after bomb attack



Two men have been executed in Iran after a bomb attack in the city of Mahabad in West Azerbaijan province in 2010, the local judicial agency said, according to the ISNA news agency.

Both were hanged in the provincial capital Urmia on Tuesday after their death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court.

According to the judiciary, 12 people were killed and more than 40 injured in the attack.

Isna gave no information about the background to or the motive for the attack.


Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Iran’s top court confirms death sentence for 3 demonstrators



Iran’s Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed the death sentences of three Iranian protesters accused of taking part in days of unrest in November, 2019.

The sentences of the three suspects were upheld by the country’s top court, spokesperson Gholam-Hussein Ismaili told the ISNA news agency.

The verdicts could still be revised, he added.

The death sentences have been the subject of widespread international condemnation, criticism Ismaili rejected.

The three suspects were violent ringleaders, he said, and had set fire to a number of buildings and transport facilities.

The men had recorded their actions on their phones, Ismaili added, and the evidence was considered by the court.

Iran was rocked by days of unrest following a hike in petrol prices in November, 2019.

The protests were violently suppressed by security forces.

Iran’s government referred to the demonstrators as paid mercenaries of its arch enemies, the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia and claimed the protesters’ true aim was to weaken or even bring down the government.

Iranian authorities have still not released reliable information on the numbers of fatalities during the unrest.

Unconfirmed reports put the number of dead at 200, including demonstrators and police. Foreign sources put the number even higher, although neither estimate can be verified.

More than 1,000 demonstrators were arrested at the time.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Ondo poll: You can’t dictate mode of primary, APC tells aspirants



The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State says no governorship aspirant  can dictate the mode of primary to be used for the party’s July 20 governorship primary in the state.

The party said this in a statement by Mr Alex Kalejaiye, the state’s Publicity Secretary,  on Sunday in Akure.

The statement said in part: ” The attention of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been drawn to an aggressive agitation for a mode of primary ahead of the governorship election in October this year.

“We wish to place it on record that it is inconceivable that aspirants would dictate to the party on which mode to adopt.

“The chapter is duty-bound to underscore a salient point; that it is the prerogative of the national secretariat to decide which ofthe modes, pelt out in the party constitution should be adopted for each state at any point in time.

“For the sake of emphasis, the party’s constitution approves three modes of primaries to select its candidates for an election: direct, indirect and consensus.

” Any of these could be chosen at random, depending on the discretion of the supervising authority.

” The supervising authority in this regard is the Gov. Mai Mala Bunni-led Caretaker Committee, and saddled with the responsibility to decide the option for Ondo State 2020.”

Kalejaiye added that the state was disturbed by the inflammatory statements credited to some of governorship aspirants,  “especially those laden with threats to ensure that the state chapter is brought down where their wish is not granted.”

According to him, a committed party member would not embark on actions or utterances that would cast aspersions on its leadership at all levels.

“He would rather prefer to work assiduously towards the victory of his party at any election.

“It is imperative for aspirants, like students preparing for examination, to abide by the rules and guidelines from the national secretariat, so long these rules are not at variance with the contents of the party constitution.

“The efforts to set a terrible precedent for the party by allowing aspirants to dictate what mode to adopt for an election, should be invested in quality and decent campaigns to sell their candidacy to party elders, leaders and members.

“These groups will definitely speak, directly or through the party structures,” he stated.

The spokesman noted that the state secretariat’s concern was to promote all genuine efforts geared  toward a rancour-free primary election and produce a candidate who would retain the state for the party on Oct. 10.

Edited By: Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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UN arms embargo extension: Iran warns Europe against succumbing to United States pressures



Iran on Saturday vowed retaliatory measures if Europe were to give in to the United States pressures for extending a UN arms embargo on Iran, Tasnim news agency reported.

“We have warned the European countries that if they give in to the political and diplomatic pressures from the United States, Iran has effective measures in response,’’ Abbas Mousavi, spokesman of the foreign ministry, told Tasnim.

According to Mousavi, Washington wants to portray Tehran as a threat to security in the region when the United States forces are the real threat to regional peace, stability and security.

The United States has recently pressed the UN Security Council for the extension of the UN arms embargo on Iran that will expire in October.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Iran will develop oil industry despite United States sanctions – Zanganeh says



Iran is determined to develop its oil industry in spite of United States sanctions imposed on the country, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said.

Zanganeh, who said this in a televised speech on Saturday, added: ”We will not surrender under any circumstances.

“We have to increase our capacity so that when necessary with full strength we can enter the market and revive our market share.”

The minister said this before the signing of a 294-million dollars contract between the National Iranian Oil Company and Persia Oil & Gas, an Iranian firm.

He also stressed that the contract was to develop the Yaran oilfield that is shared with neighbouring Iraq’s Majnoon field.

“The agreement aims to produce 39.5 million barrels of oil from the Yaran oilfield in Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran,’’ the Iranian Oil Ministry’s news agency SHANA said.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Ondo 2020: APC disqualifies 1, clears 11 gov aspirants



All Progressives Congress (APC) Screening Committee, headed by Alhaji Tijani Tumsa, has disqualified one out of the 12 governorship aspirants that participated in the exercise.

Tumsa, who declined to disclose the name of the disqualified aspirant, said this on Friday while submitting the committee’s report to the APC Caretaker Committee Secretary, Sen. Akpan Udoedehe, at the Party’s National Secretariat in Abuja.

The aspirants who participated in the screening included incumbent Gov Rotimi Akeredolu, Joseph Olusola Iji, Odimayo Okunjimi, Olayide Owolabi Adelami, Issacs Duerimini Kekemeke, Olusola Oke Alex,  lfeoluwa Olusola 0yedele and Olajumoke Olubusola Anifowoshe.

Others are Awodeyi Akinsehinwa Akinola Colinus, Olubukola Adetula, Dr Abraham Olusegun Michael  and Dr Nathaniel Adojutelegan.

Tumsa said that the aspirants were scored based on their presentations, education qualifications, among others but one of the 12 aspirants failed to meet up with the requirements set by the party.

“We commenced the screening exercise two days ago. There were 12 aspirants in all and I’m glad to report that they all showed up for the exercise and we were able to conduct the screening within the two days stipulated.

“The committee decided that the aspirants be scored based on their presentations, educational qualifications, their commitment to the party, knowledge of the constitution, community service, manifesto of the APC, their team spirit and working experience.

“Of the 12 aspirants for the election, the committee has deemed it possible to qualify 11 of the aspirants to contest for the primary. We understand of course that the 12th aspirant has the option of appealing the decision of the committee.

“I will like to emphasise and to commend the aspirants who cooperated in no small measures for the success of this exercise. I will like to seize this opportunity to thank the party for finding us worthy to conduct exercise.”

Receiving the report, Udoedehe commended the committee for what he described as diligent exercise.

He, however, assured that the report would be transferred to the appeal committee for necessary action.

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Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Ondo 2020: 11 APC gov aspirants reject indirect primary



Eleven out of twelve aspirants seeking the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress Congress (APC) in Ondo State have rejected the indirect mode of primary adopted for the July 20 primary in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria  reports that only incumbent Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu was left out of the arrangement.

In a letter signed by the governorship aspirants to the APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, in Abuja on Friday, the aspirants requested the party to adopt direct primary for the nomination of the its governorship flag bearer.

The letter was signed by Joseph Olusola Iji, Odimayo Okunjimi, Olayide Owolabi Adelaml, Issacs Duerimini Kekemeke, Olusola Oke,  lfeoluwa  0yedele and Olajumoke Olubusola.

Others are Awodeyi Akinsehinwa, Akinola Colinus, Olubukola Adetula, Dr Abraham Olusegun Michael and Dr Nathaniel Adojutelegan.

NAN recalls that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on Thursday published on its website that the APC had adopted indirect mode for the governorship primary.

The 11 governorship aspirants said: “Having interfaced with party members as aspirants, we can confidently inform you that overwhelming majority of our party members prefer Direct Primary for the nomination of the party’s candidate for the 2020 governorship election.

“It is our position that adopting Indirect Primary Election in Ondo State, given the prevailing mood and circumstances is hazardous and result to litigations which will not help our party.

“We most humbly insist that Direct Primary be adopted as was peacefully utilised in Edo, Osun, Lagos, Oyo and Ogun States.”

According to them, the direct primary will provide a level playing ground for all aspirants and assist in no small measure in mobilising party members to own the candidature of whoever emerges from the process.

“The consequence of knowingly opening the race to all willing members of the party by allowing them to invest time, energy and huge resources only to hand over victory to one of the aspirants by adopting a mode only favourable to that aspirant, is too grave to imagine given the prevailing mode generally in the state and particularly in the party,” they said.  

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Edited By: Buhari Bolaji/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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Governorship primary: Ondo APC Aspirants’ Forum calls for peace



The All Progressives Congress Aspirants Forum (APCAF) in Ondo State, on Thursday advised all those jostling for the party’s ticket in the forthcoming governorship primary to shun violence while pursuing their political ambitions.

The APC’AF’s State Coordinator, Retired Commander Tunde Giwa-Daramola, gave the advice in a statement, saying that party’s primary should be family affairs.

The APC’AF is an umbrella body of aggrieved aspirants in Nigeria under the leadership of Retired Col. AbdulAzziz Yar’adua.

Giwa-Daramola also urged members of the forum to shun money politics and vote for aspirants of their choice based on integrity, performance and loyalty to the party.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the APC primaries is scheduled for July 20.

“The state cannot afford to fall into the hands of opposition in the forthcoming governorship elections.

“The ongoing mudslinging and name calling among the party’s aspirants must stop, because we cannot afford to lose the election to the opposition party.

“Loyalty to the party and discipline should always be put on the front burner to ensure the party’s victory in the Oct. 10 governorship election.

“We should not forget the gory tale of the 1983 election in the state, which not recur,” the forum coordinator said.

Giwa-Daramola, also an aspirant of the Federal House of Representatives in Akoko North-West in the 2019 general elections, advised youths not to allow themselves to be used as agent of violence.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Iran promise to boost military links with Syria



Iran on Wednesday said it would assist Syria in boosting its air defence systems, the Chief of Staff of Iran’s armed forces said.

Iran is the main backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Its elite Revolutionary Guards and Iranian-backed militias have been fighting alongside al-Assad’s forces against rebels in Syria since 2011.

Earlier, Gen. Mohammed Bagheri met in Damascus with Syrian Defence Minister, Gen. Ali Ayoub.

“We will strengthen the Syrian air defence systems in the framework of strengthening military relations between the two countries,’’ Bagheri said.

He expressed his determination to enhance links with Syria against the United States unwanted pressure by the people of the region.

The Syrian Defence Minister said the United States had failed to subjugate Syria and Iran, adding that relationship between Tehran and Damascus were strategic and could not be sabotaged,’’ Ayoub said.

Syria’s state News Agency, SANA, reported that Bagheri and Ayoub had signed an agreement to boost military and security cooperation between the two countries.

Meanwhile, outposts manned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, their allied militias and al-Assad’s army had been targeted over the past few years by Israeli and United States airstrikes in war-torn Syria.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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