Putin, Macron Discuss Situation in Syria, Iran Nuclear Deal

MOSCOW, (ST)-Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed in a telephone conversation on Thursday the situation in Syria and stressed principal importance of political settlement and efforts to overcome the consequences of the crisis in the country.

The two presidents also discussed the situation around Iran nuclear deal after the United States’ withdrawal from it, the Kremlin press service said on Thursday.

Iran, regional countries should improve cyberspace to fight unilateralism

TEHRAN – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined that in a bid to resist against those who are fans of unilateralism in the world, Iran and regional countries should stand beside one another and improve cyberspace.

Making the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 25th Iran International Exhibition of Electronic, Computer & E-Commerce (ELECOMP 2019) in Tehran on Wednesday, the Iranian President noted that “today we are dealing with a digital world and this new platform can be an opportunity for our young generation, our country, the region and the world.”

US anti-Iranian Line behind Flare-up of Tensions in Mideast: Lavrov

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the hostile policy being pursued by the United States against Iran has fueled tensions in the Middle East, warning that such an approach could have “catastrophic consequences” in the region.

In an interview with the Russian ‘Argumenty i Fakty’ weekly published on Wednesday, Lavrov said the current flare-up of regional tensions is the “direct consequence of Washington’s and some of its allies' anti-Iranian line, Press TV reported.

He also warned that Washington’s muscle-flexing against Tehran may lead to a “dangerous situation.”

"The US is flexing its muscles, it has launched a campaign to discredit Iran, has accused the Islamic Republic of all the sins,” Lavrov said. “It creates a dangerous situation where a spark would be enough to light a fire. The US would be responsible for any possible catastrophic consequences.”

Germany's Von der Leyen Confirmed as Next EU Commission President

The European Parliament has confirmed model centrist liberal politician Ursula von der Leyen as the next president of the EU Commission, narrowly exceeding the 374 votes she needed to take one of the bloc’s top jobs.

Von der Leyen, a former German Defense Minister who came to politics after a career in medicine, was confirmed by a vote of 383 to 327, speaker of the assembly David Sassoli said on Tuesday. Sassioli also said there were 22 abstentions and one blank vote, according to RT.

Hawks around Trump won’t Succeed in Selling War, Says Zarif

While warning against a potential military attack targeting Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the warlike officials around US President Donald Trump will not succeed in enabling such a course of action against the Islamic Republic, according to Press T.V.

 “People know that Iran is a big, proud country…We will not take a military attack lightly," Zarif told NBC News on Monday.

He, however, observed that he did not think that Trump was seeking such one either, instead pointing the finger for such malign intentions to “people are around him (Trump) who wouldn't mind."

"But I don't think they'll succeed because at the end of the day, I think prudence will prevail,” the top diplomat stated.

Russia Supports Urgent Crisis Withdrawal by Sides in Venezuela, Says Lavrov

MOSCOW - Russia welcomes consultations between Venezuela’s government and the opposition and wants the sides to withdraw from the crisis as soon as possible, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference after negotiations with Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson-Smith.

"Of course, we discussed Venezuela. We want Venezuela’s government and the opposition to agree on the withdrawal from the current crisis as soon as possible," the diplomat said. "We welcome the negotiations that are taking place under the so-called Oslo process."

In May, at least two rounds of indirect negotiations between Venezuela’s authorities and the opposition, organized with the Norwegian authorities’ intermediacy, were held in Oslo. On July 8, a new stage of dialogue was launched in Barbados. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stated that the negotiations were tight; not ruling out that the consultations may culminate in agreements.

Umakhanov, Haddad Discuss Situation in Syria, Counterterrorism Developments

MOSCOW, (ST)- Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Ilyas Umakhanov and the Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad have discussed the situation in Syria and developments of  counterterrorism process.

The two sides stressed the need to completely uproot terrorism from Syria, reiterating that solving the crisis will only be done by the Syrians themselves pursuant to the results of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi as well as the Astana talks and the Security Council resolution No. 2254.

Russia, India Agree to Ink Arms Deals in Own Currencies to Skirt US Sanctions

Russia and India have already signed several arms contracts worth the equivalent of billions of dollars using rubles and rupees, and have sought other ways to increase trade in national currencies amid concerns in Delhi that Washington could slap sanctions on India for buying Russian-made defence equipment.

Russia and India have devised a new mechanism which will allow payments for multi-billion dollar deference deals to be made using their own national currencies, Bloomberg has reported, citing a Russian source and two Indian sources said to be familiar with the matter.

According to the business newspaper, settlements in rubles and rupees are designed specifically to allow Moscow and Delhi to skirt the Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a 2017 US legislative measure designed to slap severe restrictions on Russia's ability to sell arms abroad.