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Institute for International Law & International Relations


Dr. Yvonne Schmidt


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This News - Archive  covers the period from 1 January 2007 until June 2007.
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News - Archive - 2007

June 2007
May 2007
April 2007

March 2007
February 2007
January 2007

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June  2007

Iran speeds up nuclear enrichment -  30 June 2007 -  PressTV - 
Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali Asghar Soltanieh says Tehran has stepped up uranium enrichment. "At the moment Iran has sped up its enrichment activities, so Security Council resolutions have had a positive effect on this work," Ali Asghar Soltanieh told the student ISNA news agency. Soltanieh added that construction work on a heavy water reactor in Arak, in central Iran, was continuing immediately. "There has been no stop to our work in Arak," he said. "If the United States and the Europeans insist that Iran not have a heavy water reactor they should accept that we enrich uranium to a higher level." He said the Arak reactor, due to be completed in 2009, would replace a research reactor in Tehran, which was supplied by the Americans before the 1979 Islamic revolution. "At the time, 93 percent (enriched) fuel was supplied, and the next batch of fuel was 20 percent, it is not possible to go under this level," Soltanieh said.  IAEA deputy head to visit Iran
The deputy head of the UN atomic watchdog Olli Heinonen will pay a visit to Tehran on July 11 in order to resolve remaining issues on Iran's nuclear program. "Heinonen and some officials of the IAEA will visit Tehran from July 11 to 13, and examine a work scheme to respond to all remaining issues over Iran's nuclear program," Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, Iran's ambassador to the UN agency, was quoted as saying. The IAEA delegation would not inspect Iran's nuclear facilities during their trip since they are not inspectors, he added. The IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming also confirmed yesterday in Vienna that Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani had "invited IAEA to send a team to Tehran to find out a plan to resolve the outstanding issues of Tehran's nuclear program". At the meeting on June 23, Larijani and IAEA chief Mohammad ElBaradei had declared that Iran and the UN atomic agency would work on such a scheme and hope the scheme would bear results within a span of two months. The Islamic Republic of Iran is planning to use nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels to meet its expanding energy demands.The West has been accusing Iran of running a clandestine program to develop nuclear weapons, an allegation that Tehran dismisses. 
Iran's dossier off UNSC agenda - 30 June 2007 -  PressTV - 
Deputy Representative of the UK to the United Nations Karen Pierce says that the UNSC is not to review Iran's nuclear dossier in the near future. Speaking to Kuwait News Agency ( KUNA), he said following recent round of talks between Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and the EU's High Representative Javier Solana, the UNSC has decided to postpone decision on Iran's nuclear issue.
"Since the talks between the two sides would take longer, the UNSC has put Iran's nuclear dossier off the agenda," he said. "Invitation extended by Iran to IAEA inspectors to inspect the country's nuclear facilities was a good job, but we have no idea to what extent the measure would leave impact on these negotiations," he said. "The dossier is now in the hands of Solana, Larijani and Group 5+1," he underlined. Iran's top nuclear negotiator and the EU's High Representative held talks in Portugal last weak. IAEA inspectors have announced that Iran has not deviated from its peaceful program. Iran has always tried to build confidence on the peaceful nature of its nuclear program but the West, led by the US, has tried to depict an unreal image of Iran's peaceful nuclear activities. 
US 'afraid of Iran's N-program' - 29 June 2007 -  PressTV - 
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman says the US is worried that Iran would turn into a world power through acquiring nuclear technology. The West and especially the US are against Iran's nuclear program as it consolidates the country's position as a regional and international power, Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said. Hosseini added the hegemonic powers led by the US ignore the reality that Iran has achieved nuclear technology within the framework of the IAEA and without violating international laws. Iran has always been determined to continue its peaceful nuclear activities and the West's threats will not intimidate the nation into abandoning its path toward development, Hosseini noted. 
UN against new sanction on Iran - 29 June 2007 -  PressTV -  
United Nations' Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the US and its allies to reconsider plans for more sanctions against Iran. According to Bloomberg News Network on Thursday, Ban Ki-moon said the Security Council should let the IAEA to find a solution to resolve Iran's nuclear standoff. “This must be resolved through political negotiations, through dialogue,'' he said. "When IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei says he has a plan of action and dialogue, I support that kind of initiative," the UN Secretary General added.
The US, Britain, France and Germany have started negotiations on a draft resolution that would tighten existing sanctions on Iran, while Russia and China are against another set of penalties. UN sanctions already have asked countries to limit arms sales to Iran and to stop the sale of sensitive nuclear equipment. The Islamic Republic of Iran is planning to use nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels to meet its expanding energy demands. The West has been accusing Iran of running a clandestine program to develop nuclear weapons, an allegation that Tehran dismisses. 
United Nations Secretary-General urged the US and its European allies to delay pursuit of tougher sanctions on Iran.
Pakistan backs Iran's nuclear program - 28 June 2007 -  PressTV - 
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri has voiced his country's support for Iran's drive to acquire peaceful nuclear technology. Pakistan backs nuclear activities by Iran within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Pakistani official told a gathering of the Association of Retired Ambassadors (ARA) held in Islamabad on Thursday. Kasuri reiterated that Iran's nuclear standoff could be resolved only through negotiations. The Islamic Republic of Iran is planning to use nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels to produce electricity in order to meet its expanding energy demands. The West has been accusing Iran of running a clandestine program to develop nuclear weapons, an allegation that Iranian officials dismiss. 
  • German MP: Iran entitled to produce nuclear energy - JUNE. 29 . 2007 - Ettelaat 
    TEHRAN - A German MP said on Wednesday that Iran has the right to produce nuclear energy. The visiting Deputy Head of Green Party Faction in Germany's parliament Jurgen Trittin made the remarks in a meeting with a number of representatives of religious minorities in Iranian parliament (Majlis), IRNA reported."All countries signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are entitled to use civilian nuclear energy," Trittin noted. Pointing to the importance of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the region, he expressed hope the international community will expand cooperation with the country in security issues. Iranian member of parliament Gevork Vartan said, for his part, that Iranian statesmen make efforts to remove problems faced by religious minorities, adding Iran does not allow interference of foreign countries in its national affairs. Vartan, who represents Armenians in Iran, referred to the satisfactory coexistence among religious minorities and Muslims in the country, saying the minorities enjoy good conditions in different socio-cultural and religious areas. He further underlined the need for expansion of cultural and social cooperation between Iran and Germany.

  • Norway urges talks to settle Iran's disputed nuclear case - JUNE. 29 . 2007 - - Ettelaat 
    TEHRAN - A Norwegian parliamentarian here Wednesday stressed that disputes over Iran's nuclear case should be settled through talks. Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Enlarged Foreign Affairs Committee of the Norwegian parliament (Stortinget) Olav Akselsen met with Head of Iran's Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi, IRNA reported.
    Akselsen said continuation of talks and building confidence over Iran's nuclear case would be useful and necessary to remove concerns of the international community. He expressed hope that standoff over the nuclear case would be resolved through diplomatic ways. He said his country has had a long record of exchange of views and cooperation with Iran.
    The Norwegian official added ongoing tension and differences in the world emanate from lack of confidence and countries' failure to know one another, saying talks would be the only solution to tension among states. Boroujerdi, for his part, said exchange of visits between the two countries' officials would lead to mutual understanding and familiarization with realities of Iran. He added it would be among the best ways for Iran's interaction with the West and a determining factor in bilateral cooperation. The MP said presence of religious minorities in Iran's Majlis and their role in trend of law making are among leading characteristics of Iran. He stated that interaction with other states based on respect and paying attention to mutual interests are among principles of Iran's foreign policy. Boroujerdi pointed to Iran's extensive trade and economic cooperation with European states and expressed Tehran's willingness to expand cooperation with Oslo in different fields. He said the worrying and tense situation in Iraq and killing and injuring of its innocent people are perpetrated by Al Qaeda and remaining agents of former Baath regime in the country. He voiced Iran's support for a democratic trend in Iraq, saying, "the Islamic Republic of Iran will make use of its utmost potentials to restore stability and tranquility to Iraq." The MP hailed the drawing up of Afghanistan's Constitution and holding democratic elections and termed as "worrying" resumption of Taliban activities in the country and a 30-fold increase in production of narcotics despite presence of multinational forces in Kabul. He said continued crisis in Palestine for decades and failure of plans presented by certain countries of the international community are outcomes of missing rings in the peace chain including lack of attention to refugees and non-commitment of the Zionist regime to the UN resolutions. "Holding a referendum and participation of followers of all religions including Jews, Christians and Muslims in it will be a rational solution to establishment of a sustainable peace," Boroujerdi further stated. Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister for Europe and American Affairs Saeed Jalili said that the "dialogue of the Islamic Revolution is based on democracy and human rights." Jalili was speaking in a meeting with Akselsen. "Iran has always attached special significance to observance of rights of all humans particularly women and children within framework of Islamic teachings," he said. He pointed to reports released by reputable international foundations on human rights violations in Europe and Norway and offered Iran and Norway to prepare the grounds for recognition of their legal issues and values by holding joint seminars. Jalili stressed Iran's inalienable nuclear rights based on Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regulations and slammed as "irresponsible" the dual and illogical policies of certain Western states on Iran's peaceful nuclear program. He said efforts made by Iran to reinforce peace and security in the region showed the country's goodwill to establish sustainable peace in the region. The Iranian official condemned massacre of innocent people in Afghanistan by NATO forces, saying it would inflict damage to dignity of Western countries and the US. He added that regional problems and crises would be settled just through paying heed to principles of democracy, peoples' principled demands and withdrawal of occupiers from the region. Jalili outlined Iran's stance on establishing peace and security in the region. The Iranian and Norwegian officials exchanged views on bilateral ties, continuation of parliamentary relations and regional and international cooperation.

  • Majlis speaker: No room in Iran's doctrine for non-cooperation with IAEA- 29 JUNE 2007 - Ettelaat 
    TEHRAN - Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel on Wednesday reassured Iranian full cooperation with the UN nuclear agency, IAEA, saying Iran's policy has never been to the contrary. He told reporters in his weekly briefing that Iran advocates cooperation with the IAEA, IRNA reported. Asked whether full cooperation with IAEA will not contradict the Majlis former decision to limit cooperation with the agency, he said, "we had announced that we would restrict our cooperation with the IAEA in proportion to the limits the agency creates. "Now we feel the atmosphere for cooperation is suitable and we too welcome the cooperation." He made it clear that non-cooperation with the IAEA has never been our policy and "in general, we consider the current atmosphere better than the previous months." He said Iran always been favored dialogue and "now the dialogue has resumed, we view it something positive." Haddad-Adel said the rumors of possible strike on Iran is nothing more than a psychological war for intimidating the neighbors. "Of course, our neighbors know that better than us." Haddad-Adel said the possibility of a military attack on Iran is very weak. "Those who have created problems in the region may make such unwise decisions once again. However, it is a very weak possibility," he said. He added, "we do not welcome any clash but are always ready to defend our country." The Majlis speaker also said here Wednesday that the knighthood award to the apostate author Salman Rushdie brought under question the creditability of such titles and marred the prestige of the British government. "The knighthood award to Salman Rushdie widened the gap between the UK and the world of Islam and the real loser in the game is the British government. The British Queen had better compensate for the past injustices of the British government," said Haddad-Adel. British Queen Elizabeth II granted knighthood title to Indian-born author Rushdie, 59 on June 16. He has been facing an irrevocable death Fatwa (religious edict) issued by Father of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, the late Imam Khomeini, in 1989 for his book "The Satanic Verses", in which he blasphemed Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

  • Iran welcomes Saudi nuclear consortium proposal - JUNE. 29 . 2007 - Ettelaat 
    TEHRAN - Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Wednesday welcomed his Saudi counterpart Saud al-Faisal's proposal to form a nuclear consortium, comprising Iran and members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, and said Iran is ready to negotiate it. Mottaki said Iran considers its progress and development as that of the neighboring states. "Iran is ready to put its knowledge and experience in different fields at the disposal of the neighboring countries to help their development." He recalled PGCC members statement in their meeting in Riyadh last year in which voiced interest in producing nuclear energy and said that Iran soon welcomed the PGCC's nuclear initiative regarding the need for using renewable resources, especially nuclear energy, as substitute to the depleting fossil fuels.

  • President Ahmadinejad: Enemies incapable of launching strike on Iran - 29 JUNE 2007 - Ettelaat 
    TEHRAN - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Wednesday that the enemy is not capable enough to attack Iran.
    "Enemies of the Iranian nation should be dealt such a heavy blow that do not even think of attacking Iran," said President Ahmadinejad in an address to bereaved families of a group of officials who were martyred in a bomb blast in 1981, masterminded by the outlawed terrorist Mujahideen Khalq Organization, IRNA reported. President Ahmadinejad reiterated that enemies can do nothing in the face of the Iranian nation's will. "Once nuclear Iran is stabilized, all relations and equations will change in our favor," he announced. He said that today, Iran has scored remarkable success in nuclear domain thanks to the endeavors of its experts and scientists. "Iran's nuclear issue has today turned into the main topic of discussion among world nations and they know quite well that victory of the Iranian nation in this field will be in the interest of other nations," he announced. He went on to say, "enemies have reached a deadlock; our ill-wishers want, as their last resort, to increase political pressure and propaganda against the Iranian nation, which if we resist and go this stage successfully, the final victory will be with the Iranian nation."Ahmadinejad praised efforts of former chief justice, martyr Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, to safeguard the Islamic Revolution from long term hazards in its early days. The president said martyr Beheshti and other senior government officials who were targeted by enemies of the Islamic Revolution had "safeguarded the revolution with their bloods." The prominent ayatollah was brutally martyred with more than 70 Iranian state and parliamentary officials in an explosion at the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party in Tehran 26 years ago. Praising the exalted personality of martyr Beheshti, President Ahmadinejad said anyone who insisted on its principles and stepped on the right track would have enemy. Referring to the current conspiracies of the world arrogant powers against the people of Iran, the president quoted a famous and "lasting" sentence of martyr Beheshti who had once said in an address to enemies of the Islamic Revolution, "you are angry with us, so you can die of your anger."

  • US Invasion of Iran Unlikely- 28 June 2007 - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - US failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iranian nation's resolve to defend its rights, Iran's security and tranquility and the unity of the Iranian people all indicate that possibility of a military attack on Iran is very weak, Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said here on Wednesday. ...>> 

  • Clinton, Richardson Urge Bush Administration to Continue Talks with Iran - 28 June 2007 - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Richardson on Wednesday urged the Bush administration to continue a dialogue with Iran as the US tries to thwart the country's pursuit of nuclear technology.  In separate speeches, the candidates offered a broad indictment of President Bush's foreign policies, from the Iraq war to the use of unilateral force to relations with Iran and North Korea. Clinton said the administration has given Iran "six years of the silent treatment." "In this vacuum, Tehran continues its progress toward developing nuclear capabilities and increasing its influence in the region," she told the Center for a New American Security. "After initial talks with Iran and Syria on Iraq, the administration says it isn't sure that we need any more discussions with either of them. I think we should keep talking." Richardson, who served as UN ambassador for Clinton's husband, said that instead of lecturing Iran's leadership, the United States should talk with them without preconditions. And instead of using inflammatory names, such as "Axis of Evil," the US and its allies should seek and find common ground. "If we want Iran to improve its behavior, we would do well to stop threatening to attack them," he told the Center for National Policy. "We must remember that no nation has ever been forced to renounce nukes - but many have been persuaded to do so with a combination of carrots and sticks." Richardson, the New Mexico governor, said he would not seek immediate face-to-face negotiations with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but with others around him. The administration has rejected direct negotiations with Ahmadinejad and has instead pursued international economic sanctions to stop the country's nuclear energy development. Meanwhile, nearly all the Republicans vying to replace Bush said during a recent debate they would not rule out using nuclear weapons to halt the program. Vice President Dick Cheney has repeatedly said the administration is keeping all options on the table for dealing with Iran, even as efforts continue to resolve the dispute diplomatically. The New York senator said US priorities should be bringing troops home from Iraq, demanding that Iraqis take responsibility for their country or lose US aid and intensive diplomacy to restore frayed relationships. "We have a long road ahead to repair the damage that has been done these past six years," she said. She said she would introduce legislation soon to deal with nuclear terrorism. She said the administration has abandoned nonproliferation efforts, cutting off dialogue with Iran and allowing North Korea to reprocess enough material to make nuclear bombs and test a nuclear weapon. Clinton said she would increase funds for the global threat reduction initiative, ensure the removal of highly enriched uranium from research reactors around the world and create a senior adviser to the president for nuclear terrorism.

  • India, Pakistan Hold Talks on Iran Gas Pipeline28 June 2007 -TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- India and Pakistan on Wednesday began talks on a $7.4 billion natural gas pipeline from Iran that the US opposes on the grounds that it will further Tehran's nuclear designs. The discussions focused on how much money India should pay Pakistan for the right of way through the country and security for the pipeline. Islamabad is asking for a transit fee for the stretch of the pipeline running from Iran to India. But India wants to only pay for the extension of the line to its border, said media reports emanating from New Delhi, where the talks are being held. Iranian officials will join the talks Thursday to discuss pricing and other issues. Tehran apparently wants prices revised every three years. The three nations hope to sign a deal on the pipeline next month. The 2,300-km pipeline will supply around 5 million tons of liquefied natural gas from Iran annually, beginning from 2009. India and Pakistan plan to share the gas equally. Washington has pressured New Delhi to drop the project, saying Iran will use the money generated to fund its nuclear program. Tehran maintains its nuclear program is only for energy production and has refused to halt it. Iran is home to about 15% of the world's natural gas reserves, making it the largest source of these resources after Russia.

  • IAEA Inspectors to Visit Iran in Coming Weeks 27 June 2007 - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- A team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will travel to Tehran in the coming weeks at the invitation of the Iranian government to try to clear up longstanding questions about Iran's nuclear program, the agency said on Monday.  
    Iran issued the invitation after a flurry of meetings between Ali Larijani, its chief negotiator; Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA chief; and Javier Solana, the foreign policy chief of the EU. 
    The purpose of the visit is to "develop an action plan for resolving outstanding issues" relating to Iran's nuclear program, said Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the Vienna-based agency. She added that the inspectors would leave for Tehran "as early as practicable." The United States, which has supported European-led efforts to find a diplomatic solution, reacted skeptically to Iran's invitation. The first sign of Iran's proposal came Friday after Mr. Larijani met for two hours with Dr. ElBaradei. Afterward, Dr. ElBaradei said he hoped that within two months a plan for resolving the agency's unanswered questions about the program could be developed.
    "I have been warning about a brewing confrontation that needs to be defused," he said to reporters at the time. "Establishing clear facts on the ground as we do, as our job is, will enable the development of a political solution." Mr. Larijani met with Mr. Solana in Lisbon on Saturday, then returned to Vienna for another meeting with Dr. ElBaradei on Sunday, at which he formally made the invitation.
    The agency's delegation is expected to be led by its chief of inspections, Olli Heinonen. He is en route to North Korea, where he is to hold talks on the logistics of shutting down that nation's main nuclear reactor - an offer the North Koreans made to the United States last February. In Iran, the agency's inspectors are still active, even at Natanz, the nuclear plant where uranium is enriched.
    But since February 2006, when the agency's 35-member governing board voted to report Iran to the Security Council, Tehran has kept the inspectors on a tighter leash. The agency is now cautious about the prospects for the visit. But after a year with no movement on either side, agency officials said Iran's overture was welcome. "ElBaradei believes this is an important step," said a senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the issue has not yet been resolved. "It's a movement in a constructive direction."

  • Bolton: I'm 'very worried' for Israel -  David Horovitz, THE JERUSALEM POST Jun. 27, 2007
    Sanctions and diplomacy have failed and it may be too late for internal opposition to oust the Islamist regime, leaving only military intervention to stop Iran's drive to nuclear weapons, the US's former ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. Worse still, according to Ambassador Bolton, the Bush administration does not recognize the urgency of the hour and that the options are now limited to only the possibility of regime change from within or a last-resort military intervention, and it is still clinging to the dangerous and misguided belief that sanctions can be effective. As a consequence, Bolton said he was "very worried" about the well-being of Israel. If he were in Israel's predicament, he said, "I'd be pushing the US very hard. I am pushing the US [administration] very hard, from the outside, in Washington."
    Opinion: An easy step toward tightening sanctions  +  For a nuclear-free world, by UK FM Beckett

    Bolton, interviewed by telephone from Washington, was speaking a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency announced it would send a team to Teheran, at Iran's request, to work jointly on a plan ostensibly meant to clear up suspicions about the nuclear program. Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani had met on Sunday with IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei, and a day earlier with top EU foreign policy envoy Javier Solana.
    Bolton, however, was witheringly critical of the ongoing diplomatic contacts with Teheran, which he said were merely playing into the hands of the regime. "The current approach of the Europeans and the Americans is not just doomed to failure, but dangerous," he said. "Dealing with [the Iranians] just gives them what they want, which is more time... "We have fiddled away four years, in which Europe tried to persuade Iran to give up voluntarily," he complained. "Iran in those four years mastered uranium conversion from solid to gas and now enrichment to weapons grade... We lost four years to feckless European diplomacy and our options are very limited." Bolton said flatly that "diplomacy and sanctions have failed... [So] we have to look at: 1, overthrowing the regime and getting in a new one that won't pursue nuclear weapons; 2, a last-resort use of force."
    However, he added a caution as to the viability of the first of those remaining options: While "the regime is more susceptible to overthrow from within than people think," he said, such a process "may take more time than we have."
    Overall, said Bolton, it was clear that Iran had surmounted "all the technical problems of uranium enrichment," and it "may well be that we have passed the point of Iran mastering the nuclear fuel cycle." If so, it was now merely a matter of time before Iran reached a bomb-making capability - "a matter of resources and available equipment," he said - and it was solely up to Iran to set the pace.
    To his dismay, however, the Bush administration was still clinging to the empty notion that the sanctions route could work, "even though [the UN's sanction] Resolutions 1737 and 1747 were full of loopholes. The US is still seeking another sanctions resolution and Solana is still pursuing diplomacy," he said bitterly.
    Bolton lamented that the Bush administration today was "not the same" as a presumably more robust incarnation three years ago, because of what he said was now the State Department's overwhelming dominance of foreign policy. "The State Department has adopted the European view [on how to deal with Iran] and other voices have been sidelined," he said. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "is overwhelmingly predominant on foreign policy."
    Asked where this left Israel, Bolton said simply: "Israel's options are as limited as those of the US, except that you are in more danger in that you are closer. I hate to say that."
    Bolton, who served as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security from 2001 to 2005, before taking the ambassadorial posting to the UN from August 2005 to December 2006, said the failed handling of the Iran nuclear crisis was one of the reasons he had left the Bush administration. "I felt we were watching Europe fiddling while Rome burned," he said. "It's still fiddling." (The full interview  appeared in Friday's Post.)

  • No guarantee from West to supply fuel for power plants, diplomat - Tehran, 26 June 2007, IRNA 
    There is no guarantee from the Western countries to supply fuel for power plants, Deputy Foreign Minister for the European and America Affairs Saeed Jalili said on Thursday. In a meeting with deputy head of Green Party fraction in the Germany parliament Jurgen Trittin on Wednesday, Jalili said Iran needs uranium enrichment to supply fuel for its power plants, because West has shown hat it does not abide by its undertakings. He emphasized the need to find an appropriate way to settle the dispute over Iran's nuclear program. He reiterated Iranian full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and respect for Non-Proliferation Treaty. Jalili said Iran considers nuclear energy for being cost-effective and not as a security matter. He added that Tehran basically calls for destruction of all nuclear weapons in the world through an international cooperation, including with Germany. The Iranian diplomat also welcomed Iran-Germany officials meeting and underlined the positive role of such meetings in promoting mutual understanding. Trittin, who is visiting Iran, said his trip to Iran aims to hold consultations with Iranian officials concerning regional issues. He said that both Iran and Germany have similar views about international issues and that Germany recognizes Iran's right to use peaceful nuclear technology. He also called for destruction of all nuclear weapons and asked countries possessing nuclear weapons to respect NPT. Trittin said Iran has a basic role in strengthening stability in Iraq and added the only solution for Iraq's crisis is cooperation with Iran. The Germany official also denounced kidnapping Iranian diplomats by the US forces in Erbil, Iraq, as contradictory to international criteria.

  • President Bush on Iran -  Below is an excerpt from a White House Press Conference yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. President Bush reiterated that all options are on the table in regards to Iran's nuclear program. 20 June 2007 -     Q "Mr. President, question. Regarding the ongoing attempts by Iran to acquire nuclear capability of atom bomb, would you -- are you willing to say at this time that a military action against Iran is no longer an option in light of the situation?"            PRESIDENT BUSH: "I will tell you this, that my position hasn't changed, and that is all options are on the table. I would hope that we could solve this diplomatically. And that's why the United States -- first of all, we take the threat very seriously. And I fully understand the concerns of any Israeli when they hear the voice of the man in Iran saying, on the one hand, we want to acquire the technologies and know-how to build a -- enrich uranium, which could then be converted into a nuclear weapon, and on the other hand, we want to destroy Israel. Look, if I were an Israeli citizen I would view that as a serious threat to my security. And as a strong ally of Israel, I view that as a serious threat to its security -- not only the security of Israel, but the security of the Middle East. "That's why we are constantly working to remind our European friends, as well as Russia and other members of the U.N., we have an obligation to see if we can't work together to solve this issue diplomatically. That means to provide consequences to the Iranian government if they continue to pursue a nuclear weapon, such as financial sanctions, or economic sanctions. We want there to be a choice. We want people to see there's -- in isolation there's got a consequence to it, that there's a price that's paid for this kind of intransigence and these threatening tones. And it's difficult work to keep the nations bound together to help deal with this issue diplomatically, but we have done a pretty good job so far. Now, whether or not they abandon their nuclear weapons program, we'll see. But at least we got unanimity so far, speaking -- at the U.N. Security Council -- speaking pretty clearly that there will be consequences. And there are being consequences, economic consequences beginning to affect the economy. "Look, the Iranian people don't need to live under this kind of conditions. These are proud people with a great tradition. Their government can do better for them. And threatening the world has caused there to be isolation. And these good folks could have leadership that enables them to have a better economy and a better way of life, an economy and a way of life that enriches their families, that gives them a better chance to succeed. But, no, this group of people have made a different alternative, and now our job is to make sure that we continue to keep the pressure on."    Update: - Iran appears to have responded to these most recent comments with a threat of its own. According to the Washington Times:  "Iran yesterday refused to rule out using oil supplies as a weapon in the standoff with the United States over its nuclear program, saying Washington never excluded attacks on the Islamic republic.  "'When the Americans say that using the military option against Iran regarding its nuclear issue is not off the table, then Iran can say that it will not put aside the instrument of oil,' Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran's representative to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said in an interview with the Shargh newspaper. "Asked where Iran's 'red line' on using oil as a weapon lay, he replied: 'The red line lies where the Americans fail to say that using military means against Iran is illegal.'"
  • Iran not intimidated by threats - 19 June 2007 -  PressTV - A top adviser to the Iranian leader says the western countries' threats will fail to intimidate Tehran into renouncing its peaceful nuclear activities."The Islamic Republic of Iran has made breakthroughs in nuclear energy and other modern technologies and is currently pursuing its peaceful nuclear program at full capacity," Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri said on Monday. The enemies of the Islamic government fear Iran's huge powers and this fear has dissuaded the US and its allies from launching any attack on Iran, he observed. The enemies were fully cognizant of the sacrifices the Iranians made during the eight years of war with Iraq, he said adding that the people were still ready to do whatever they can to defend the nation. MRJ/KB 
  • Russia 'not to let US use Azeri radar' - 18 June 2007 -  PressTV -  An Iranian official says Russia will not allow the United States to use a radar station in Azerbaijan for its planned missile defense shield. Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said that Russia did not intend to let Washington use the station in Azerbaijan, which has borders with Iran and Russia. "It seems Russia does not intend to make decisions that may result in instability and insecurity in a region that it is located itself in," Hosseini said. Russian President Vladimir Putin had earlier proposed that the US could use a soviet era radar base in Azerbaijan, if it abandoned plans to install parts of the missile defense shield system in Eastern Europe.  Hosseini said Putin's proposal had been discussed with the Russian and Azerbaijani ambassadors to Tehran.  "Iranian ambassadors to Russia and Azerbaijan have also discussed the issue with the two countries' officials," Hosseini added.

IAEA: Attack on Iran sheer madness  - 14 June 2007 -  PressTV - 
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei has said that an attack on Iran will be an 'act of madness'. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) cautioned on Thursday that an attack on Iran over its nuclear program would be "an act of madness," in indirect warning to the United States and Israel. IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei also said Iran would likely be running close to 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges by the end of next month. ElBaradei spoke at the end of a meeting of his agency's 35-nation board, a gathering that focused on Iran's peaceful nuclear program. Under Washington's pressure, the UN Security Council has imposed two rounds of sanctions on Iran to force it to suspend uranium enrichment. MG/IS

Tehran condemns Israeli threats against Iran  - 12 June 2007 -  IRNA
The Islamic Republic of Iran here on Monday wrote a letter to the UN Security Council condemning the insolent threats made against the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Israeli regime. In the letter also addressed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Iran's permanent mission at the UN said, "Emboldened by the absence of any action by the Security Council, various Israeli officials have unabatedly continued to publicly and contemptuously make unlawful and dangerous threats of resorting to force against the Islamic Republic of Iran in total defiance of international law and the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations." The letter, signed by Iran's Ambassador to the UN Mohammad-Javad Zarif, further said in yet another blatant violation of the basic provisions of the United Nations Charter, particularly the provisions which call for refraining "from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations", on Saturday June 9, 2007, Shaul Mofaz the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister threatened to use military action against Iran. Prior to this, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in response to a question in April 2007 regarding whether military action would be an option against Iran said, "...It is impossible perhaps to destroy the entire nuclear program but it would be possible to damage it in such a way that it would be set back years... it would take 10 days and would involve the firing of 1,000 Tomahawk cruise missiles", the letter added. "These malicious threats, together with previous ones including those mentioned in document A/61/571-S/2006/884 constitute matters of extreme gravity that require urgent and resolute response on the part of the United Nations and particularly the secretary general and the Security Council," Zarif reiterated in his letter. "These unacceptable, unlawful and dangerous statements are being made by the Israeli regime's officials in full impunity while the Security Council and the officials of the UN Secretariat are silent and some of the council's permanent members, by pushing for statements against Iran based on various distortions and unsubstantiated allegations, have joined the Israeli regime in a failed attempt and tired smokescreen to distract the international community's attention from the real and serious threats that the said regime poses to international and regional peace and security and to deflect the attention of the United Nations from the daily barrage of illegal Israeli threats to resort to force, as well as its shocking record of resorting to force, terrorism, aggression and occupation against various members of the United Nations," it added. Indeed, the inaction of the Security Council in dealing with such criminal Israeli policies and practices and the impunity with which this regime has been allowed to carry out its crimes so far have emboldened it to persist on its flagrant defiance of the most basic and fundamental principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations and to resort to force, aggression and state terrorism as a matter of routine policy, Zarif further said in his letter. The Iranian envoy urged Security Council to react to these threats by unequivocally condemning them and demanding that the said regime abandon its policy of flouting international law and the the UN Charter and cease and desist immediately from the threat of use of force against the UN members. Zarif then called for the letter to be circulated as an official document of the UN General Assembly and the Security Council. 

US-Israel mount psyops on Iran - 12 June 2007 -  PressTV -
The Arab American Republican Federation says the recent US-Israeli joint war games are aimed at waging 'psychological warfare' against Iran. In an interview with the Al-Alam news network, Jamil Al-Shami, the head of the Arab American organization - an official group of the Republican Party - said there are two differing views within the US government over its interaction with Iran. According to Al-Shami, one view believes talks with Iran should be on the table while the other view, supported by US Vice President Dick Cheney, favors military confrontation with the Islamic Republic. Al-Shami said recent joint military exercise between US and Israeli forces were in line with the second more aggressive view towards Iran and that they also revealed what he said are the 'common attitudes' shared by the US and the Zionist regime. The US and Israel began a weeklong joint military exercise on Sunday in the Naqab desert in the southern parts of the Palestinian occupies territories. The head of the Arab American Republican Federation said the war games come as the US faces numerous crises - mainly in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria - and needs Iran's assistance to pull itself out of the current quagmire. AR/MR/IS

UN rejects anti-Iran declaration - 12 June 2007 -  PressTV -
The US, UK and France have failed for the second time to pass an anti-Iran declaration at the UN against remarks made by the Iranian President. The declaration argued President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had recently called for the destruction of the Zionist regime and demanded the UN Security Council denounce his comments. The measure failed to pass after a number of UN Security Council (UNSC) member states including Indonesia and Qatar opposed the move, citing their own critical position on violent Israeli acts in the occupied Palestinian lands. A declaration would need unanimous approval among the entire 15 council members to pass. Earlier on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said Israeli media want to wage a 'psychological war' against Iran and demanded the UN Security Council clarify its position on the Zionist regime. Hosseini said the Security Council should make clear whether it is responsible for ending the suffering of Palestinians or whether it is primarily interested in the security of Israel. The UNSC is expected to review the proposed declaration again on Tuesday. AR/MR/BGH

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Saudi backs talks on nuclear standoff - 18 June 2007 -  PressTV -

Saudi Arabia says it is working to find out a peaceful solution to the nuclear dispute between Iran and the West, far from tensions.
Nuclear technology, future energy source - 18 June 2007 -  PressTV - 
An Iranian MP has said OPEC will loose its significance in the shadow of a nuclear organization that will emerge with technological progress.
Italy warns of more sanctions on Iran - 16 June 2007 -  PressTV - 
Italy's foreign minister has said the Iran nuclear issue is in danger of entering an endless 'cycle' and that sanctions against Iran are not affective.
US illogical acts unacceptable - 16 June 2007 -  PressTV - 
Deputy Chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee has said Iran will stand for its peaceful nuclear rights.
Iran will continue nuclear encrichment - 15 June 2007 -  PressTV - 
Iran's representative to IAEA has stressed Iran is fully prepared to ensure non-diversion of enrichment activities for prohibited purposes.
West in 'deadlock' over Iran N issue - 15 June 2007 -  PressTV - 
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the political and cultural aspects of Iran's nuclear program have transcended its scientific facets.
  Iran, Austria boosting economic ties  - 12 June 2007 -  PressTV 

Oil ministry to appoint female managers - 10 June 2007 -  PressTV -
The Iranian Oil ministry has obliged all of its affiliated companies to arrange their programs for appointing female managers. The notification came in a ministry circular that carried the statement of Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hameneh saying eligible women should be identified and appointed to ministerial management posts , SHANA news agency reported. Hamaneh said in the process of selecting managers, there should be no discrimination between men and women. HJF/HAR

Iran urges 'new logic' in N-talks - 12 June 2007 -  PressTV -
Iran's top nuclear negotiator says the upcoming nuclear talks with the EU need to focus on a new logic if any breakthrough is to be achieved.
Iran: nuclear talks 'positive' - 11 June 2007 -  PressTV -
Iran's envoy to the preparatory nuclear talks with EU representatives in Vienna has described the negotiations as positive and constructive.

ElBaradei: Don't confront Iran - 11 June 2007 -  PressTV -
UN Nuclear Chief Mohamed ElBaradei has said the 'brewing confrontation' with Iran over its nuclear fuel program 'must be defused'.

Iran upbeat about EU nuclear talks  - 11 June 2007 -  PressTV -
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said Iran is still optimistic about the outcomes of the nuclear talks between Iran and the EU.

Iran calls for Western flexibility - 11 June 2007 -  PressTV -
A top Iranian official has said the six-party group must not be ashamed of showing reasonable flexibility towards the Islamic Republic.

NAM backs Iranian nuclear program - 11 June 2007 -  PressTV -
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is to present a statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in support of Iran's nuclear program.

Iran, EU start nuclear talks in Vienna - 11 Jun 2007 -  PressTV -
Representatives from Iran and the European Union have met in Vienna behind closed doors to begin talks on Tehran's peaceful nuclear program.

IAEA governors to meet on Iran - 09 June 2007 -  PressTV -
The IAEA board of governors is to discuss three major issues in its one-week upcoming meeting, including Iran's nuclear dossier.

Arab gov'ts back Iran's nuclear tech - 08 June 2007 -  PressTV -
An Arab official has said that Arab states believe Iran is using its nuclear know-how for peaceful purposes based on international conventions.

All nations entitled to nuclear energy - 07 June 2007 -  PressTV -
Iranian and Filipino parliament speakers have called for peace across the world and the peaceful application of nuclear energy by all nations.
Iran: Nuclear talks now more 'rational' - 06 June 2007 -  PressTV -
Iran's senior nuclear negotiator says talks with Iran are now more rational and thorough and the opportunity should be used to reach an agreement.

Iran urges nuclear disarmament deal - 05 June 2007 -  PressTV -
Iran's envoy to UN's European Office in Geneva calls for a UN-brokered pact to secure the nuclear disarmament of the world nuclear powers.
Iran's nuclear negotiator in Germany - 05 June 2007 -  PressTV -
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani has arrived in Berlin to hold talks with German officials.

China, Kuwait highlight diplomacy - 05 June 2007 -  PressTV -
Chinese and Kuwaiti foreign ministers have underscored the necessity of peacefully resolving the controversy over Iran's nuclear activities.

Envoy clarifies Iran's nuclear stance - 05 June 2007 -  PressTV -
Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has clarified Iran's nuclear policies in an address to Austrian academics.

Seoul for dialogue to solve Iran's issue - 04 June 2007 -  PressTV -
South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon has said the dispute over Iran's nuclear program has to be resolved through negotiations.
Iran resolute on nuclear rights -  Press TV 2007 - Mon, 04 Jun 2007 09:17:41 - The Islamic Republic of Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has said the Iranian nation will not give up its nuclear rights.

Iran's top negotiator, Spanish PM meet -  Press TV 2007 - Fri, 01 Jun 2007 22:41:59 - Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani meets with the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on his visit to Madrid.

'New horizons' in Iran nuclear issue -  Press TV 2007 - Sat, 02 Jun 2007 10:25:50 - Iran and Spain have said talks between Solana and Larijani in Madrid have led to 'new horizons in solving the nuclear standoff with Tehran.

Transparency basis for future talks -  Press TV 2007 - Fri, 01 Jun 2007 21:57:07 - The Larijani-Solana meetings in Madrid can stand as a positive basis for future negotiations if the West acts transparently.

Larijani, Solana nuclear talks to continue -  Press TV 2007 - Fri, 01 Jun 2007 02:31:39 - Iran's nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and EU's Javier Solana agreed to meet within two weeks to discuss ways of ending Iran's nuclear stand-off.

EU: Larijani-Solana talks 'positive' -  Press TV 2007 - Fri, 01 Jun 2007 16:21:33 - A spokeswoman for EU foreign policy has said that Iran is willing to talk with the IAEA about information access and cooperation.

Larijani, Solana kick off talks -  Press TV 2007 - Thu, 31 May 2007 19:02:28 - EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana and Iran's nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani have begun a fresh round of talks in Spain's capital of Madrid.

Iran committed to nuclear deal -  Press TV 2007 - Thu, 31 May 2007 04:41:24 - Iran's top nuclear negotiator has said Iran would continue negotiations with the European side until a solution transpires.

'World must accept Iran atomic progress' -  Press TV 2007 - Wed, 30 May 2007 22:16:39 - Iranian envoy to the IAEA has urged the world to compromise with the reality that Iran has achieved the uranium enrichment know-how.
Iran never sought nuclear weapons -  Press TV 2007 - Wed, 30 May 2007 15:50:50 - Iran's Foreign Minister says Tehran has never been after weapons of mass destruction, stressing the nation's will to have nuclear energy.
Laridschani: US-Begründung für Raketenabwehrschild in Europa, Witz des Jahres - 4. Juni 2007  -  Teheran (IRNA) - Der Sekretär des Obersten Nationalen Sicherheitsrats Irans und iranischer Atom-Chefunterhändler, Ali Laridschani, hat die Behauptung der USA, die Errichtung des US-Raketenabwehrschildes in Europa solle iranische Raketen abfangen und Europa schützen, als Witz des Jahres bezeichnet. Laridschani sagte am Sonntag in einem Exklusiv-Interview mit der iranischen Nachrichtenagentur IRNA: "Europa liegt überhaupt nicht in der Reichweite der iranischen Raketen und das sollten sie wohl wissen. Außerdem ist Europa der größte Handelspartner Irans. Überhaupt, was für eine Logik sollte uns dazu verleiten?" Über seine Verhandlungen mit dem EU-Außenbeauftragten Javier Solana in Madrid sagte Laridschani, es seien gute Vorschläge gemacht worden. "Wenn die fünf Vetomächte plus Deutschland diesen Ideen wohlwollend begegnen und die alten Äußerungen nicht wiederholt werden, könnte man bei der nächsten Sitzung Übereinkünfte erzielen", ergänzte Laridschani.

Hosseini: Auf der Verhandlung zwischen Larijani und Solana wurde Aussetzung der Urananreicherung nicht angesprochen -  3. Juni 2007  -  Teheran (IRIB) - Der Sprecher des iranischen Außenministeriums sagte: „Auf der jüngsten Nuklearverhandlung zwischen Iran und der EU wurde eine Aussetzung der Urananreicherung nicht angesprochen. Und es ist keine Änderung in der iranischen Stellung bezüglich der Ausse ...

Interview Larijanis mit CNN -  3. Juni 2007  - Madrid (IRIB) - Der Sekretär des nationalen Sicherheitsrates der IRI sagte: Die Forderungen Irans hinsichtlich seines friedlichen Atomprogramms müssen respektiert werden. Larijani, der sich in Madrid aufhält, sagte im Gespräch mit CNN: Die Atomfrage Irans befindet ...

Al Baradei: Wissenschaft ist nicht zu bombardieren -  3. Juni 2007  - Wien (IRIB) -   Der Generaldirektor der Atomenergieagentur IAEA bezeichnete die Anhänger der Abenteuerlust zur Einstellung des iranischen Atomprogramms als „neue Verrückte“ und unterstrich, dass niemand imstande ist, die Wissenschaft eines Landes zu bombardieren. R ...

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May  2007

Iran garantiert Friedlichkeit seines Atomprogramms - 31. Mai 2007 - Madrid (IRNA) -  Der Vorsitzende des Obersten Nationalen Sicherheitsrates Irans und Chefunterhändler bei den Atomverhandlungen Ali Laridschani betonte, dass die iranische Sicherheitspolitik keinen Atombombenbau vorsieht und dass Teheran bereit ist, dies zu garantiere ...

40 asiatische und europäische Länder fordern die friedliche Lösung der iranischen Atomfrage - 30. Mai 2007 - Hamburg (Xin Hua) - Asiatische und europäische Außenminister forderten die friedliche Lösung der iranischen Atomfrage. Laut der chinesischen Nachrichtenagentur Xin Hua, forderten die an der ASEM-Sitzung in Hamburg teilnehmenden Außenminister von mehr als 40 asiat ...
Rice: „5+1 beschließt und nicht die IAEA“
 - 30. Mai 2007 - Washington (AFP) - In einer den internationalen Vorschriften widersprechenden Äußerung betonte die US-Außenministerin, dass die IAEA nicht in der Lage sei, über die iranische Atomfrage Entscheidung zu treffen. Laut AFP, bezweifelte Condoleezza Rice, dass die IAEA in d ...

Neue Atomgespräche am Donnerstag in Madrid - 30. Mai 2007 - Teheran (IRNA) - Eine neue Gesprächsrunde über das iranische Atomprogramm findet am Donnerstag in Madrid statt. Nach Angaben der amtlichen iranischen Nachrichtenagentur IRNA werden EU-Außenbeauftragter Javier Solana und der iranische Chefunterhändler und Sekretär des ...

Ahmadinejad: Aneignung der Atomenergie durch Iran gehört allen freimütigen Ländern der Welt - 30. Mai 2007 - Landschan/Iran (IRNA) - Der Staatspräsident der IRI Mahmud Ahmadinejad sagte: Heute gehört die Aneignung der Atomenergie durch Iran allen freimütigen Ländern der Welt. Laut Bericht der IRNA fügte Ahmadinejad am heutigen Sonntagnachmittag am vierten Tag der Provinzreise des ...

Indonesien wird eine weitere Resolution gegen Iran nicht unterstützen - 30. Mai 2007 - Jakarta (IRIB) - Das indonesische Außenministerium gab bekannt, Indonesien werde die Bewilligung einer weiteren Resolution im Weltsicherheitsrat gegen Iran nicht unterstützen. "Indonesien wird auf keinen Fall eine militärische Maßnahme bei der Konfrontation mit dem i ..

Sarkozy seeks improved Persian Gulf ties - Press TV 2007 - Sun, 27 May 2007 04:05:31
Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed in a message to strengthen dialogue between EU and Persian Gulf states to make the best use of energy resources. "I am determined to enhance (the dialogue) because I know it is the best instrument and the best guarantee to preserve the common interests of Europe and the Persian Gulf," Sarkozy said in a message read on his behalf in Riyadh. The dialogue should cover "the crucial issues of making the best use of energy resources and major environmental problems," he said in an opening message to a forum of European and Persian Gulf academics and experts in the Saudi capital. The message was read by France's ambassador in Saudi Arabia, Charles Henri d'Aragon. Sarkozy, who took office on May 16, also called for "investing massively" in education and training in both Europe and the Persian Gulf. "Opening up to cooperation and international exchanges is one of the keys to success in the field of education," he said, citing the example of the outpost of France's prestigious Sorbonne University, which opened in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi last year. Participants in the forum will discuss political, economic and energy issues on Sunday and Monday in the third such gathering since 2003.

Brown for multilateral pressure on Iran - Press TV 2007 - Sun, 27 May 2007 09:03:17
Britain's prime minister-in-waiting wants a peaceful settlement to Iran's nuclear case and favors a multilateral pressure approach to the issue. Speaking in Bristol, western England, at a hustings event for the Labor party leadership Saturday, Gordon Brown said the Iranian nuclear question could be solved through 'multi-lateral pressure'. Asked whether he would rule out military action against Iran's peaceful nuclear program, he said multilateral action and economic sanctions were the best way forward. Brown is due to replace the outgoing Premier Tony Blair, who has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the White House over the illegal invasion of Iraq. The US has refused to rule out military action against Iran while Britain has noted that the use of force is not on its agenda. Tehran has refused to abide by a UN Security Council mandate calling for the suspension of the country's legitimate nuclear program, as the council has already setup targeted sanctions against Iran. It has also consistently denied any claims that it wants to develop nukes while calling its nuclear program solely peaceful.

Iran, Iraq to develop shared oilfields  - Press TV 2007 -  Sun, 27 May 2007 05:03:12 
Iran has planned to develop previously untapped oilfields shared with neighboring Iraq, a move that will benefit the two countries.Managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) made the announcement on the sidelines of a conference in Tehran organized by Iran's Ravand Institute for Economic and International Studies. "We hope to start working together. Both countries stand to gain. We would strengthen investment and make the best use of our shared fields," he said. "There is a general agreement between us (on the fields)," Nozari said, adding that the two countries had already held two rounds of talks on developing the joint fields. "We want to use 'green' fields," he said, referring to previously untapped fields. "We have many joint fields like Naftshahr, Paidar-e Gharb, Azar, Azadegan and so many others," he said. Iraq has already invited Iranian firms to bid on contracts to build at least four oil refineries in the country, Iraq's Oil Ministry said this month. Iraq needs to attract investment from foreign firms to develop fields and boost output.  

(There are many oilfields shared between Iran and Iraq)

Iran, EU postpone nuclear talks - Press TV 2007 -  Sun, 27 May 2007 14:09:01
The Islamic Republic of Iran and the European Union have agreed to postpone negotiations over Tehran's peaceful nuclear program. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a weekly press on Sunday no date or venue has been set for the Larijani-Solana meeting , and both sides have agreed to put it off ". There was a meeting at the level of experts. There was an exchange of views and plans. But some of these plans need greater evaluation and study," Hosseini reiterated. Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana were reportedly to meet on Thursday, possibly in Spain, for their second encounter in just over a month. Hossein also touched on Iran and the US talks in Baghdad due on Monday, stressing "Talks will be limited to Iraq's security issues." He did not rule out the possibility of further talks between the two countries, however, adding "We will know about further talks after [Monday's] discussions". When asked about the presence of two more US aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, he said their presence is not a new development and is probably aimed at "improving the morale of US soldiers."

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Russia underlines Bushehr project  - Press TV 2007 - Sat, 26 May 2007 18:45:21
The State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman has stressed for the completion of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant in any political climate.

1,500 UN inspections carried out - Press TV 2007 - Fri, 25 May 2007 22:10:12
Deputy of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization has said IAEA inspections are carried out according to the NPT and the safeguard agreement.

FM: Iran entitled to uranium enrichment - Press TV 2007 - Sat, 26 May 2007 18:30:59
Iran has urged the international community to acknowledge its right to uranium enrichment, saying it intends to be a nuclear fuel exporter.

Iran won't be robbed of nuclear rights  - Press TV 2007 - Sat, 26 May 2007 13:36:09
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said global powers need to know Iran will not back down from its peaceful nuclear activities.

IAEA head censured over Iran comments - Press TV 2007 - Sat, 26 May 2007 12:25:57
Diplomats from the US, Britain, France and Japan have complained to the IAEA head about comments he made on Iran's nuclear program.

Russia balking at Bushehr project - Press TV 2007 - Fri, 25 May 2007 13:32:16
Russia has described the construction of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant as unprofitable saying it may cancel talks on the project financing.

Iran to export nuclear fuel - Press TV 2007 - Fri, 25 May 2007 14:15:37
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced his country's intention to become a nuclear fuel exporter in the world.

ElBaradei's report resolves ambiguities - Press TV 2007 - Fri, 25 May 2007 10:11:34
Deputy Chief of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization says ElBaradei's report has removed the ambiguities concerning Iran's nuclear activities.

Russia accelerates Bushehr plant - Press TV 2007 - Thu, 24 May 2007 21:46:37
Russia has accelerated the construction work on a project to build Iran's first nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr.

EU optimistic about talks with Iran - Press TV 2007 - Thu, 24 May 2007 19:51:02
EU has expressed hope that the upcoming talks between Iran and EU would allow the resumption of full negotiations to resolve the nuclear standoff.
ElBaradei: Dismantle nuclear arsenals - Press TV 2007 - Thu, 24 May 2007 19:13:03
The director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency has urged world powers to slash their nuclear arsenals to avert a catastrophe.
Resistance key to nuclear success - Press TV 2007 - Thu, 24 May 2007 10:19:39
Deputy Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council says that dialogue of resistance is necessary for protecting national nuclear achievements.
Iran: No halt to nuclear drive - Press TV 2007 - Thu, 24 May 2007 14:05:48
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that Iran will not stop even for a minute in its pursuit of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Larijani: nuclear issue wrongly politicized - Press TV 2007 - Thu, 24 May 2007 05:36:00
Iran's top nuclear negotiator says the Security Council has adopted a political approach to Iran's otherwise technical problem over its nuclear issue.
IAEA report bears no new information - Press TV 2007 - Wed, 23 May 2007 22:52:03
Iran's permanent envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency says the IAEA chief's report on Iran's nuclear issue contains no new information.
Iran: UN nuclear inspections not limited  - Press TV 2007 - Wed, 23 May 2007 20:51:49
Iran has denied obstructing IAEA inspections of its sites after the IAEA reported limited access to Iran's nuclear facilities.
Iran's nuclear achievements 'miracle' - Press TV 2007 - Tue, 22 May 2007 22:28:57
Iranian First Vice President Parviz Davoudi has described Iran's breakthroughs in the country's nuclear program as a technological "miracle".
Blix: Iran entitled to enrich uranium - Press TV 2007 - Tue, 22 May 2007 17:31:36
Former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has underscored Iran's right to acquire peaceful nuclear technology as a signatory of the NPT.
IAEA inspectors in Iran - Press TV 2007 - Tue, 22 May 2007 14:05:12
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have arrived in Iran for a new round of inspections of the country's nuclear sites.
Iran to produce, export cell phones - Press TV 2007 - Sun, 27 May 2007 14:06:26
Iran will launch two mobile phone production units in less than a month, an official from the Ministry of Mines And Industries said.
Petrol use down following ration cards - Press TV 2007 - Sun, 27 May 2007 11:02:05
Sepah Bank to open Baghdad branch - Press TV 2007 - Sun, 27 May 2007 03:39:30
The Iranian Sepah Bank will soon open a branch in Baghdad, according to the counselor for economic affairs at the Iranian
embassy in Iraq.
USD only 30% of Iran's oil currency - Press TV 2007 - Sun, 27 May 2007 03:25:53
Iran has increased its oil export revenues in currencies other than US dollars to about 70 percent, an Iranian official said here on Saturday.
Iran to adopt OIC trade protocol - Press TV 2007 -Sat, 26 May 2007 15:34:23
An Iranian Ministry of Commerce official has said Iran is to join the trade protocol of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
Iran's CBI to pay USD 10m to OPEC fund - Press TV 2007 - Sat, 26 May 2007 03:33:34
Iran's cabinet has given the green light to a proposal for paying USD 9.88m to the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).
Iran-UAE trades lacking unified CC- Press TV 2007 -  Fri, 25 May 2007 22:50:22
Despite official customs reports pointing to their large trade, Iran and the UAE have not established a joint chamber of commerce.
Iran: sanctions present opportunities - Press TV 2007 -  Fri, 25 May 2007 06:15:22
The Iranian oil minister has said Iran regards any international sanctions against it as an opportunity to further develop its domestic industries.
Kish welcomes foreign contractors - Press TV 2007 -  Wed, 23 May 2007 14:14:55
A free trade zone official has called on domestic and foreign contractors to participate in infrastructure projects in the Kish Free
Trade Zone.

Lukashenko: Iran Can Turn into World's Gravity Point TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko described the Islamic Republic of Iran as a very powerful country, stressing that Iran can turn into the great center of the world. ( 16:48:52 - 2007/05/21)

Iran Stresses Readiness to Expand Ties with Belarus TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Aleksandr Lukashenko in Minsk on Monday, said that Tehran perceives no impediment to the expansion of relations with Minsk. ( 16:36:18 - 2007/05/21)

US Obliged to Seek Iran's Help TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- The frequent demands and requests made by the US for attending talks with Iran reveals the decisive role and position as well as the mightiness of the Islamic Republic on one hand, and the United States' helplessness on the other, spokesman for the Muslim Journalists' Association said. ( 16:31:25 - 2007/05/21)

Iran, Belarus Ink MoUs TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Following the end of the first round of talks between the Iranian and Belarusian presidents, senior officials of the two sides endorsed several Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in Minsk on Monday. ( 15:38:56 - 2007/05/21)

Iran, Kazakhstan Establish Friendship Association TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran and Kazakhstan formed a friendship association to further expand mutual ties. ( 15:38:15 - 2007/05/21)

Army to Stage Wargames on Tuesday TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- The Islamic Republic army is scheduled to stage massive wargames codenamed 'Beitolmoghaddas 19' in the central province of Fars Tuesday morning, a senior ground force official said. ( 15:13:55 - 2007/05/21)

Iran Underlines Expansion of Ties with Azerbaijan TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran's ambassador to Azerbaijan stressed the need for the development of his country's cultural, trade, scientific and industrial ties with the Republic of Azerbaijan, and said that expanding ties with Baku sets a priority for Tehran's foreign policy. ( 15:02:26 - 2007/05/21)

Ahmadinejad Leaves Tehran for Minsk TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, heading a senior delegation left Tehran for Minsk, Belarus on Monday. ( 12:38:34 - 2007/05/21)

Hakim Due in Tehran Today TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Chairman of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) Seyed Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim is due to arrive here in Tehran on Monday to continue his medication, informed sources said. ( 12:37:27 - 2007/05/21)

House Backs Ban on F-14 Parts for Iran TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - US House of Representatives took steps Thursday to make it harder for Iran to acquire parts for its F-14 fighter jets, voting to ban the Pentagon from selling leftover spares from its retired Tomcat fleet to anyone but museums. ( 12:36:07 - 2007/05/21)

Iran not to Discuss N. Issue with US TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iran stressed on Sunday that its nuclear standoff with the West will be strictly off the agenda when Iranian officials hold rare talks this month with US diplomats in Baghdad over Iraq. ( 12:32:42 - 2007/05/21)

Nominees for Heading Iranian Negotiators in Talks with US TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - As the 28th of May approaches, growing attention is being paid to the possible options for heading the Iranian team of negotiators in talks with the US over Iraq. ( 18:16:02 - 2007/05/20)

Iran Seeks to Reinvigorate Iraq's Central Gov't TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iran's Justice Minister Gholam Hossein Elham, in a meeting with Iraq's Justice Ministry caretaker here on Sunday, stressed Tehran's support for the central government of Iraq, saying that empowerment of the Iraqi government sets Iran's policy. ( 17:37:29 - 2007/05/20)

Iran, Czech Stress Bolstering of Cooperation TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - The Islamic Republic of Iran and the republic of Czech underlined the need for the utilization of the existing potentials to boost mutual cooperation. ( 17:07:30 - 2007/05/20)

Russia Demands Expansion of Political Ties with Iran TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Economic contacts do not suffice and we seek further expansion of political ties and cooperation with Iran, Russian consul general stressed. ( 17:01:04 - 2007/05/20)

Ahmadinejad Meets ISESCO Director General TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with the Director General of the Islamic States' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) here on Sunday. ( 16:59:45 - 2007/05/20)

Tehran Stresses Illegitimacy of Israel TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini repeated Iran's stance in the face of the Zionist regime of Israel, stressing that Tehran views that regime as illegal, illegitimate and a usurper of the Palestinians' rights and land. ( 16:10:22 - 2007/05/20)

Ahmadinejad Due in Belarus on Monday TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, heading a high-ranking delegation, is due to leave Tehran for Minsk, Belarus on Monday. ( 14:42:09 - 2007/05/20)

Iran Protests at Public Screening of Movie 'Persepolis' at Cannes Fest. TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in an official letter addressed to the French embassy's cultural attaché voiced its protest to the public screening of an anti-Iran movie titled 'Persepolis' at Cannes Film Festival. ( 14:41:23 - 2007/05/20)

Iran Breaks US Monopoly in Production of MS Drugs TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iran shattered the United States' monopoly in the production of the most important drug in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and caused a slash in the share value of the American company producing the drug, head of Iran's Biotechnology Network said. ( 14:38:06 - 2007/05/20)

US Discredited for Supporting Israel  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iranian Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel stressed that the United States' support for the criminal regime of the Zionists has discredited the American nation. ( 13:45:40 - 2007/05/20)

President Communicates Iran-Kazakhstan Cooperation Protocol  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here on Sunday communicated a law on revisions and changes to be made to the long-term economic and trade cooperation agreement between Iran and Kazakhstan. ( 13:44:59 - 2007/05/20)

President Communicates Iran-Algeria Cooperation Law TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here on Sunday communicated a law on cultural cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria. ( 13:44:19 - 2007/05/20)

President Communicates Iran-S. Africa Legal Cooperation Law  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here on Saturday communicated a law on mutual legal cooperation in penal affairs between Iran and South Africa. ( 13:43:27 - 2007/05/20)

Iran Repeats Calls on US to Withdraw from Iraq TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Jordan on Saturday called on the US to withdraw its troops from Iraq. ( 13:42:50 - 2007/05/20)

Iran Starts Building Domestically Made N. Power Plant TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Deputy Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Mohammad Saeedi here on Saturday said that his country has started building its first domestically-made atomic power plant. ( 13:41:42 - 2007/05/20)

Iran Spends mlns to Restore Iraqi Shiite Sites  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iran has spent more than $64 mln to restore Shiite holy sites in neighboring Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. ( 13:40:32 - 2007/05/20)

Iran Seeks Compensation from US TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran will approach the United Nations to seek damages from the US over the abduction of five Iranian diplomats during a raid on the Islamic Republic's consulate general in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil on January 11. ( 13:39:09 - 2007/05/20)

Envoy: Unhelpful Preconditions a Major Stumbling Block in Iran N. Talks TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iran's ambassador to Thailand Mohsen Pak Aein in an article published in the Bangkok-based paper 'The Nation' described talks as the only way to resolve his country's nuclear issue. ( 13:38:31 - 2007/05/19)

Iran Calls on US to Stop Meddling in Esfandiari Case TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Iran told the United States not to meddle in the detention of a US-Iranian scholar jailed in Tehran on accusations of acting against national security. (13:37:35 - 2007/05/19)

Pakistan Warns against Invasion of Iran TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said that a military strike on Iran over its nuclear activities would be "catastrophic" and hoped US-Iranian talks this month would reduce tensions. ( 13:36:36 - 2007/05/19)

Russia urges talks on Iran Press TV 2007-  Mon, 21 May 2007 20:21:25
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that his country is opposed to any move that leads to the escalation of Iran's nuclear standoff.

IAEA to release report on Iran  Press TV 2007 -  Mon, 21 May 2007 14:26:47
A report from the International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Mohamed ElBaradei on Iran's nuclear program is due to be released May 23.

Nuclear work 'at acceptable speed' -   Press TV 2007 - Sun, 20 May 2007 15:59:27
The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization says the technical advancements of nuclear activities are accelerating at an "acceptable speed."

No environmental Hazard from Iran's UCF -   Press TV 2007   Sun, 20 May 2007 14:44:58
The head of Iran's Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan has said the plant poses no threat to the environment.

Iran nuclear chief likely to meet Solana Press TV 2007-  Sat, 19 May 2007 16:04:16
Iran's nuclear negotiator is likely to meet EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana in Spain for talks on resolving Tehran's nuclear standoff.

Iran building nuclear plant Press TV 2007-  Sat, 19 May 2007 20:28:14
The deputy head of Iran's atomic energy organization says the country has begun building a nuclear power plant using indigenous technology.

Russia, Iran to discuss Bushehr NPP Press TV 2007-  Fri, 18 May 2007 15:05:25
An informed source says the head of Russia's nuclear export monopoly will discuss the construction of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr.

OIC: Iran entitled to nuclear technology Press TV 2007-  Fri, 18 May 2007 14:34:42
In a statement issued by OIC, the member states have said that Iran has the right to acquire and use nuclear energy.

Russia committed to Bushehr project Press TV 2007-  Thu, 17 May 2007 22:24:02
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister says Russia will be living up to its commitments regarding Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran.

OIC supports Iran's nuclear right Press TV 2007 - Thu, 17 May 2007 20:11:41
The Organization of the Islamic Conference has reiterated that Iran has the right to make use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Official confirms nuclear breakthrough -  Press TV 2007 - Thu, 17 May 2007 19:52:22
Iran has installed 1,600 centrifuges used for enriching uranium and is planning to install more as part of its peaceful nuclear program.

  • Bush may strike Iran near end of term 15/05/2007 -  by 
    While arguing that economic sanctions against Teheran still have a chance of bearing fruit, a top strategic expert predicted on Tuesday that the Bush administration could conduct a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities toward the end of its term in office. "I, for one, don't exclude the possibility that the US will act," Shai Feldman, currently director of the Crown Center for Middle East studies at Brandeis University, told an editorial meeting of The Jerusalem Post. 
    "My feeling, though, is that if it will act, it will act in the last months of the administration, mostly because I think that they are inclined to try to give the other options the fullest possible chance." US President George W. Bush, still embroiled in the war in Iraq, would be reluctant to take action against Iran until the the latter part of his term, which concludes on January 20, 2009, Feldman said.  "The paradox of this is that the closer you are to a position of being a lame-duck president, the more freedom of action you have," he said.

    Feldman, a former head of Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, said he believed that international sanctions were taking their toll on the Iranians. "Right now it seems that the squeeze is not ineffective," he said. "It's not clear at all in my view at this point that the economic sanctions won't work, and I don't mean the formal sanctions by the UN or by the EU, but more the unilateral pressures that the US and key European countries are putting on Iran through the international financial system. "That feeds into lots of discontent within Iran focused on President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad regarding the economic situation." 
    Feldman said a debate is still raging in the US over whether to engage in a dialogue with Iran (as advocated by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) or continue to isolate it as part of the "axis of evil" (as Vice President Dick Cheney would have it.) "I think that there is incomplete discussion within the US administration on dealing with Iran," he said. "I think there is a monumental debate that is still going on, and it may not be over until January 2009." Sidestepping questions on what Israel should do, he said that while the Iranian issue was always on the table in bilateral talks with the US, this didn't mean that the two countries had synchronized positions. "I think Israel raises this issue with the Americans, and the Americans raise the issue the Israelis, and there is not a JPMG [Joint Political Military Group] meeting in which Iran doesn't come up," he said. "But does this really amount to the two sides coordinating?" 
    Coming out in support of a US dialogue with Teheran, Feldman said the American war in Iraq had left Iran "the sole power in the Persian Gulf." Calling himself "a deterrence theorist," he said he was convinced that deterrence could work because there is a clear address in Iran for dialogue, the regime is aware of the costs of war, and it is sensitive to outside forces. "This is not an isolated regime like North Korea and like Saddam was," he said. "It's a regime that's got extremely good sensors and in the past, it has reacted to international pressures." Nevertheless, he added: "If I were the decision-maker, and everything else failed, and if I were presented with a plausible scenario for military interdiction, I would take that action despite my logical analysis that leads me to believe that actually it's more probable than not that we will be able to establish a stable balance of deterrence with Iran." "I would take [the decision] because of the residual uncertainty that my analysis may be wrong."

  • The image “http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/images/wnn_logo.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.  Non-proliferation conference stays on the rails - 15/05/2007 - WNN
    It took over a week to agree on the agenda. Now the first meeting in preparation for the 2010 review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has drawn to a close with delegates unable to agree on a closing statement. Nevertheless, the United Nations' Department of Public Information hailed the Preparation Committee as a success, describing it as "constructive discussions on substantive issues in a notably positive atmosphere."

    At the outset of the meeting, held in Vienna, Austria, from 30 April to 11 May, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon called on delegates to "show the world what multilateral cooperation can achieve." He felt it necessary to send a message to the meeting, the first from a UN secretary general to an NPT Preparatory Committee, "because of a persisting crisis of confidence in the treaty." Some 106 states took part in the conference, as well as representatives of the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Iran's statement to the conference, made early on in the proceedings, disputed wording in the meeting's agenda. In the end it took until 9 May - two days before the conference was due to end - for the agenda to be agreed, when Iran accepted a compromise. The conclusions of the meeting were presented as a working paper rather than as a closing statement, reportedly as a result of objections from Iran and other Non-Aligned Movement nations. Particularly at issue, from Iran's point of view, was a paragraph expressing "serious concern over Iran's nuclear program" and strongly urging Iran to comply with UN Security Council and relevant IAEA resolutions without delay. The document noted that Iran had indicated its readiness to "resolve issues in the framework of the IAEA" provided that "Security Council disengagement was realized."  States also called on India, Israel and Pakistan - all non-signatories of the Treaty - to become party to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and on India and Pakistan to maintain their moratoria on nuclear testing. Also noted in the 51-paragraph working paper was concern over the possibility of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists, reinforcing the need to strengthen the treaty and its implementation. The NPT came into force in 1970 and is seen as the cornerstone of global non-proliferation. It is reviewed every 5 years. The meeting is the first one of three preparatory committee meetings to be held in the run-up to the next scheduled review in 2010. The next meeting is scheduled to take place in Geneva, Switzerland from 29 April to 9 May 2008, and will be chaired by Volodymyr Yelchenko of Ukraine.

  • Iran pursues relocation of UN HQs  - 14/05/2007 -  PressTV
    Iranian lawmakers have submitted a bill to the parliament to push with a plan to relocate the headquarters of the United Nations. The bill, which has been signed by 214 MPs, is seen as a reaction to the US ineptitude to host the international body. Following is the full text of the bill:
    In the Name of Allah
    Mr. Speaker of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Parliament, this bill signed by 214 MPs has been proposed for ratification process.
    Introduction (Reasons for necessity of the bill):
    The US administration has violated the United Nations' charter on numerous occasions. Below is a brief outline of those violations:

    -Production, proliferation, and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction and massacre of thousands of people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    -Violating the sovereignty of independent countries such as Grenada, Panama, Haiti, etc.

    -Military invasion of Iraq under the pretext of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction despite the United Nations' opposition, and military invasion against Afghanistan under the pretext of fighting the Taliban militia, who had gained power in Afghanistan with the support of the United States.

    - Arranging coups in different countries, oppressing freedom seekers, and catapulting despotic, tyrannical regimes to power in those countries including Iran, Chile, Argentina, the Philippines, etc,

    -Setting up international torture centers in places like Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib along with tens of other secret prisons across Europe that do not honor any rules or regulations.

    - All-out support for repressive unelected governments, particularly in the Middle East, Latin America, South Asia; unconditional support for the illegitimate Israeli regime, and using the veto power in support of the Zionist regime's heinous crimes against humanity, particularly Washington's official stance in disapproving a cease-fire deal to end the 33-day Israeli invasion against Lebanon, and supporting continued genocide for instance the massacre of people in Qana by the Zionist regime.

    - Organizing and funding the internationally recognized terrorist groups across the globe, the foremost among them, the Taliban militants in Afghanistan and terrorist group Mojahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) in Iran

    - Taking advantage of its position as the United Nations' host which has led to the issuance of unfair statements and resolutions and undermined the UN performance and extensive espionage eavesdropping operations against international delegations in certain cases.

    -The United States has hampered the traveling of delegations from certain independent countries which have prevented them from attending certain events and deprived them of their rights. The latest instances of such irresponsible behaviors include the American officials' reluctance to provide visas for several Iranian official figures, including the Iranian parliament speaker, Minister of Health and Medical Education and the Minister of Interior Affairs.

    With regard to such a 'black' and 'anti-humanitarian' record, the US government, without any doubt, lacks the fundamental qualifications to host any international organization, especially a world body with the size and magnitude of the UN General Assembly. Therefore, taking the following insightful remarks by the founder of the Islamic Revolution, the late Imam Khomeini, into consideration, the compilers of this bill present it to Iran's Islamic Consultative Assembly.

    The late Imam Khomeini (With reference to the US government's oppressive policies in the international arena) has said, "We have devised our own framework which supports justice and attacks oppression. We will defend the just and combat the unjust. This is the new foundation we have created and hopefully some others will emerge to reshape all the international organizations, especially the UN and its General Assembly, on this basis rather than under the influence of the capitalists and plutocrats who condemn any country they like. "

    The title of the bill:
    "The bill to relocate the UN headquarters venue from its present site in the US to another place"

    The subject of the bill:
    Single article: The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is mandated to examine all avenues to relocate the United Nations Headquarters from its current place on the US soil to a neutral country, through adopting an active diplomacy and marshalling the support of other independent and sovereign countries, and report the developments to the Parliament every six months.

  • Countdown to War on Iran  - 14/05/2007 -  By Alain Gresh and Translated by Barbara Wilson Middle East Online  (Alain Gresh is editor of Le Monde diplomatique and a specialist on the Middle East)
    The United States continues to apply destabilizing pressure on Iran. Europe continues complicit with the US strategy. George Bush has shown no evidence he has given up the idea of attacking Iran. Such an attack would be a disaster for European relations with the Middle East warns Alain Gresh. Silently, stealthily, unseen by cameras, the war on Iran has already begun. Many sources confirm that the United States, bent on destabilising the Islamic Republic, has increased its aid to armed movements among the Azeri, Baluchi, Arab and Kurdish ethnic minorities that make up about 40% of the Iranian population. ABC News reported in April that the US had secretly assisted the Baluchi group Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam), responsible for a recent attack in which some 20 members of the Revolutionary Guard were killed. According to an American Foundation report, US commandos have operated inside Iran since 2004.  President George Bush categorised Iran, along with North Korea and Iraq, as the “axis of evil” in his State of the Union address in January 2002. Then in June 2003 he said the US and its allies should make it clear that they “would not tolerate” the construction of a nuclear weapon in Iran. It is worth recalling the context in which these statements were made. President Mohammed Khatami had repeatedly called for “dialogue among civilisations.” Tehran had actively supported the US in Afghanistan, providing many contacts that Washington had used to facilitate the overthrow of the Taliban regime. At a meeting in Geneva on 2 May 2003 between Javad Zaraf, the Iranian ambassador, and Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush’s special envoy to Afghanistan, the Tehran government submitted a proposal to the White House for general negotiations on weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and security, and economic cooperation. The Islamic Republic said it was ready to support the Arab peace initiative tabled at the Beirut summit in 2002 and help to transform the Lebanese Hizbullah into a political party. Tehran signed the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty on 18 December 2003, which considerably strengthens the supervisory powers of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but which only a few countries have ratified. The US administration swept all these overtures aside since its only objective is to overthrow the mullahs. To create the conditions for military intervention, it constantly brandishes “the nuclear threat.” Year after year US administrations have produced alarmist reports, always proved wrong. In January 1995 the director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency said Iran could have the bomb by 2003, while the US defence secretary, William Perry, predicted it would have the bomb by 2000. These forecasts were repeated by Israel’s Shimon Peres a year later. Yet last month, despite Iran’s progress in uranium enrichment, the IAEA considered that it would be four to six years before Tehran had the capability to produce the bomb. What is the truth? Since the 1960s, long before the Islamic revolution, Iran has sought to develop nuclear power in preparation for the post-oil era. Technological developments have made it easier to pass from civil to military applications once the processes have been mastered. Have Tehran’s leaders decided to do so? There is no evidence that they have. Is there a risk that they may? Yes, there is, for obvious reasons. During the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, Saddam Hussein’s regime, in breach of every international treaty, used chemical weapons against Iran, but there was no outcry in the US, or in France, against these weapons of mass destruction, which had a traumatic effect on the Iranian people. US troops are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Iran is surrounded by a network of foreign military bases. Two neighbouring countries, Pakistan and Israel, have nuclear weapons. No Iranian political leader could fail to be aware of this situation. So how is Tehran to be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons, a move that would start a new arms race in a region that is already highly unstable and deal a fatal blow to the non-proliferation treaty? Contrary to common assumptions, the main obstacle is not Tehran’s determination to enrich uranium. Iran has a right to do so under the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty but it has always said it was prepared to impose voluntary restrictions on that right and to agree to increased IAEA inspections to prevent any possible use of enriched uranium for military purposes. The Islamic Republic’s fundamental concern lies elsewhere. Witness the agreement signed on 14 November 2004 with France, Britain and Germany, under which Iran agreed to suspend uranium enrichment temporarily on the understanding that a long-term agreement would “provide firm commitments on security issues.” Washington refused to give any such commitments and Iran resumed its enrichment programme. The European Union chose not to pursue an independent line but to follow Washington’s lead. The new proposals produced by the five members of the Security Council and Germany in June 2006 contained no guarantee of non-intervention in Iranian affairs. In Tehran’s reply to the proposals, delivered in August, it again “suggest[ed] that the western parties who want to participate in the negotiation team announce on behalf of their own and other European countries, to set aside the policy of intimidation, pressure and sanctions against Iran.” Only if such a commitment was made could negotiations be resumed. If not, escalation is inevitable. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election as president in June 2005 has not made dialogue any easier, given his taste for provocative statements, particularly about the Holocaust and Israel. But Iran is a big country rich in history and there is more to it than its president. There is much tension within the government and Ahmadinejad had severe setbacks both in the local elections and in elections to the Assembly of Experts in December 2006. There are substantial challenges, economic and social, and forceful demands for more freedom, especially among women and young people. Iranians refuse to be regimented and the only strong card the regime has to win their loyalty is nationalism, a refusal to accept the kind of foreign interference suffered throughout the 20th century. Despite the disaster in Iraq, there is no indication that Bush has given up the idea of attacking Iran. This is part of his vision of a “third world war” against “Islamic fascism,” an ideological war that can end only in complete victory. The demonisation of Iran, aggravated by the attitude of its president, is part of this strategy and may culminate in yet another military venture. That would be a disaster, not only for Iran and the Arab world, but for western, especially European, relations with the Middle East.

  • ACS Readmits Iranian Chemists -- 13/05/2007 -  IRAN DAILY NEWS - TEHRAN
    Following domestic and foreign opposition, the American Chemical Society has readmitted Iranian scientists whose membership was rescinded a month ago. The ACS reluctantly rescinded the membership of 36 Iranian scientists on April 4 after the society declared that having Iran-born members violates the US anti-Iran embargo laws, Young Journalist Club reported. Facing pressure from members within and outside the United States who had threatened to ban the ACS, it sent letters to 14 Iranian chemists to reactivate their membership. Scientific societies across the world and the United States had formerly condemned restrictions imposed on Iranian scientists.

  • Iran: West politicizes nuclear issue  - 12/05/2007 -  PressTV
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Iran is at the last stage of becoming the world's first independent nuclear power. Ahmadinejad made the statement on Saturday as the world's six nuclear powers were midway through an official meeting in Berlin to adopt a unified stance toward Iran's reluctance to halt uranium enrichment. "Iran's nuclearisation is a renewed manifestation of the country's fitness to appear as a model of independence, freedom and honor for all the nations across the globe in order to overthrow the current world order of exploitation and arrogance." Iran has been at loggerheads with the Western countries over its peaceful nuclear programs which the West suspects is a cover-up to make an atomic bomb. Iran as a signatory member of the Non-Proliferating Treaty (NPT) has denied all such allegations arguing that its nuclear activities are for the peaceful purposes of power production. Given that the fossil fuel resources are exhaustible and all the countries currently seek nuclear energy to meet their demands, the recent pressures by the arrogant superpowers to halt the Islamic Republic is unjustifiable, he added. Rejecting all claims that Tehran is secretly pursuing a program to produce nuclear weapons, Iran's chief executive noted the world's nuclear powers would never tolerate an independent country like Iran accessing the nuclear technology. He underlined Iranian nation's vigilance, solidarity and strong-will as helping the country to press ahead with its nuclear plans despite enemies' threats and massive psychological warfare.

  • Iran calls NPT report 'unbalanced' - 12/05/2007 -  PressTV
    Iran's representative to the UN watchdog Ali Asghar Soltanieh has called the report by the preliminary conference of NPT as 'unbalanced'. A meeting of 130 nations on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ended Friday in Vienna after a last-minute dispute over Iran's nuclear program. Iran, with the support of many developing nations, objected to a summary of the proceedings that expressed "serious concern" about Iran's nuclear program. The Japanese chair of the conference drafted the summary, and it urged Iran to comply with United Nations demands to suspend uranium enrichment. Because of the objections, the draft summary was not attached to the official report on the conference but was instead demoted to the status of a "working paper." The conference then adjourned Friday. "We opposed the attachment of the report to the conference's documents, due to its one-sidedness and lack of factual basis," Soltanieh said. He noted that several countries, including the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), objected to the 10-page statement presented by the conference's chairman. "The objection resulted in the withdrawal of the report from the documentation." Elsewhere in his remarks, Soltanieh stated the NAM member states also adopted the same stance as that of Iran. He believes the issue was a victory for Iran's diplomacy. Soltanieh had previously criticized the agenda, saying it should have included a focus on "all provisions" of the Treaty, including compliance matters and a crack-down on nuclear disarmament especially in the Middle East. 

  • Iran's nuclear issue not complicated - 12/05/2007 -  PressTV
    Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani has said that Iran's nuclear dossier is not a complicated question and can easily be resolved. Larijani spoke to reporters on the sideline of the Tehran International Book Fair on Friday saying that western powers are wasting their time negotiating Iran's nuclear issue in the context of suspension. In response to the fact that Iran has only two weeks to halt its nuclear program according to the UN Security Council Resolution 1747 he said Iran has launched progressive negotiations with EU foreign policy czar Javier Solana. If western countries take advantage of the current situation and follow an intellient path an understanding can be arrived at. "They are unable to change Iran's nuclear program with threats," he said. "Iran is a powerful nation in the region and has positive potentials to stabilize and secure the region," Larijani observed.. "The 5+1 members will get nowhere by raising false pretexts," he added. He referred to his previous talks with western countries saying that the West has emphasized Iran's potential to bring peace and stability to the region. For the same reason it is a shame for them to waste their time talking of suspension instead of using Iran's known capacities. "Iran's nuclear dossier can be peacefully resolved if world leaders rethink the matter," he said. "The issue is by no means complicated, but it can be misconstrued and made difficult," he added. Referring to Iran's current nuclear situation he said that when a country like Iran says it is operating in the framework of international standards, logically other nations should consider that and view the situation from a positive perspective. With respect to his next meeting with Solana, he said the exact date has not yet been set. The meetings are aimed at finding a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program that both sides agree to. "The negotiations undertaken are formulated to become a plan," he said. Regarding the current changes in the Middle East he said one of the most important regional events is the current situation in the Zionist regime. The official noted what is happening to that goverment was predictable after the issuance of official reports on the Lebanon war, that suggested that the regime's debacle was in fact pre-planned. He pointed out that this is concrete proof that the UN Security Council lacks legitimacy in its rulings and in particular the way it dealt with the situation of the failed invasion of Lebanon. Regarding Dick Cheney's latest visit to the Middle East he said the US has unleashed new strategic plans on Iraq and like all their other undertakings there, these have proved to be ineffective. The status quo in Iraq has come to a standstill and Cheney's visit to Iraq is basically irrelevant to future events there.

  • IAEA Inspectors Arrive in Iran - 13/05/2007 -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    Two International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors arrived in Tehran on Saturday to pay visits to Iran's nuclear facilities in Isfahan and Natanz.
    Despite vast propaganda by Western media, Tehran continues cooperation with IAEA and in the latest case two of the agency's inspectors arrived here yesterday. During their one-week mission, the two inspectors are due to visit Isfahan UCF plant and Natanz enrichment facility. The visits of the IAEA inspectors fall within the safeguard agreement of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and are viewed as the Agency's routine inspections of nuclear sites. Iran's nuclear activities are fully supervised by the IAEA inspectors and cameras, and Tehran is observing the rules and contents of the NPT Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement in full. Despite intense propaganda by the US and some EU countries, the regular visits of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to the Iranian nuclear sites and installations further illustrate Iran's transparent cooperation with the IAEA. In addition, all Iran's nuclear activities are also supervised and recorded by the IAEA cameras installed in all Iranian nuclear sites and centers. The UN nuclear watchdog Friday denied a report that Iran had blocked its inspectors from visiting a nuclear facility where it is enriching uranium (i.e. Natanz nuclear facility). "There is no truth to media reports claiming that the IAEA was not able to get access to Natanz," said International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Marc Vidricaire. "We have not been denied access at any time, including in the past few weeks. Normally we do not comment on such reports but this time we felt we had to clarify the matter," he said. "If we had a problem like that we would have to report to the (35-nation IAEA Governing) Board ... That has not happened because this alleged event did not take place." Iran's ambassador to the IAEA also denied the reports. So far an unprecedented figure of over 3000 person/day inspections have been carried out of Iran's nuclear facilities by the IAEA and all inspection reports, including those presented by the IAEA Director-General Mohammad ElBaradei to the UNSC and Board of Governors, are in confirmation of Iran's continued adherence to the IAEA and NPT rules and regulations. The Islamic Republic has always stressed its peaceful purposes in developing the nuclear technology, while it has also underlined that it would never give up even an iota of its right of access to nuclear technology. Iran is among the only eight world countries which are equipped with the needed technology for producing a nuclear gas product called UF6.

  • Iran accepts talks with US on Iraq - 13/05/2007 -  PressTV
    Iran has agreed to a request by Iraqi officials to hold talks with the US in order to establish peace and security in war-torn country. "Iran will negotiate with the US to alleviates Iraqi people's pain and suffering and also to support Nouri al-Maliki's legitimate government and to reinforce security and peace," said Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini during his weekly press conference on Sunday. "The time and date of the talks and the ranking of the negotiating team will be made public this week," he added. Hosseini said the idea of holding talks with the US came after negotiations with the Iraqi officials.

  • Abdullah, Cheney discuss Iran - 13/05/2007 -  PressTV
    News reports say US Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah expected to discuss Iran and Iraq issues. Cheney, who arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday from the United Arab Emirates where he visited a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, has said Iran would top his talks with Arab leaders during his regional visit. Saudi television showed King Abdullah receiving Cheney in the desert town of Tabuk in the far north of Saudi Arabia. Cheney was due to leave for Cairo next. Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies Egypt and Jordan are concerned about US troops leaving Iraq before security is stabilized. Washington wants Arab countries to do more to help stabilise the government of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki. Cheney's trip follows last week's conference on Iraq at the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

  • Larijani, Solana talks put off  - 13/05/2007 -  PressTV
    Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani's meeting with the European Union's Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana has been pushed back. Larijani and Solana were expected to hold the second round of talks in the coming weeks to break a deadlock over Tehran's rejection of a UN Security Council demand to freeze its uranium enrichment activities, Iran's Supreme National Security Council Deputy Secretary Javad Vahidi told reporters on Saturday. In response to the recent report by the Financial Times which had noted that the US and Europe were ready to create a consortium in Iran if this country accepted suspension, Vahidi stated that the "Consortium can not be considered as an incentive given to Iran". However, he noted that a consortium was suggested by Iran two years ago in the United Nations as a solution to its nuclear standoff.
    "The consortium was meant to encourage other countries to trust Iran. The offer indicated Iran's goodwill and was an incentive to the West. Therefore it must not be considered as the other way round," he added. Vahidi emphasized that Iran would not accept suspension as a precondition to the consortium, noting that Iran considers suspension as intended to slow down its nuclear progress or freeze it entirely, both of which are unacceptable. Elsewhere in his remarks Vahidi stated that the talks were accepted and welcomed by Larijani because Solana had stated new solutions had been found to be suggested later. "Larijani clearly announced that suspension could neither be a subject for negotiations nor could it be a result of the talks," he said, adding "Iran believes that talks can not be about suspension or the deadlines of UN resolutions, because in this way the result has been predetermined before starting negotiations". However, Vahidi said that Iranians do not expect a miracle to happen after these talks, because there is no sign of change in the stance of the five permanent members of the UN security council plus Germany. "We are ready to negotiate and remove all ambiguities and concerns regarding our peaceful nuclear program, but it must be considered that they also have to build trust and behave in such a way that we can rely on what they say," he noted.

  • Hague conviction supports Iranian claim  - 12/05/2007 -  PressTV
    A Hague court ruling has provided proof of Iran's long overlooked claim that chemical weapons were used during the Iraqi-imposed war.  Referring to the notorious so-called 'Van Anraat' case, vice president for parliamentary and legal affairs Ahmad Mousavi told ISNA on Friday "International authorities had denied the fact every time Iranian officials had complained".  He added that he was happy to announce that the efforts of the staff at the department of international legal affairs, following the case, have finally paid off.  Dutch businessman, Frans van Anraat, was sentenced to 17 years on Wednesday, after he had lodged an appeal to change his original 15-year sentence. He was arrested on charges of complicity in war crimes and genocide in 2004. The court found him guilty of supplying large quantities of chemicals to Saddam Hussein's regime in the 1980s, which were used to make chemical weapons after hearing the testimony of 13 victims of Saddam's attacks and their lawyers and studying comprehensive documentation provided by the Dutch public prosecutor's office and experts in chemical products.  "This ruling is of great importance in terms of providing proof that Iran's claims have been neglected by international authorities," Mousavi said.  The next step would be making a claim for indemnification for the victims and the martyrs' remaining family, he added.  Mousavi proposed to establish an international commission to estimate the damages as well as prosecuting Saddam's other accomplices.  (READ also:Van Anraat case 'example' by Sebastiaan Gottlieb - Radio Netherlands Worldwide -  10-05-2007 + Baltimore Firm Part of Probe Of Poison Gasby Eric Rich / Washington Post - November 09, 2005 + van der Wilt, H.G., "Genocide, Complicity in Genocide and International v. Domestic Jurisdiction: Reflections on the van Anraat Case". Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 239-257, 2006)

  • Iran denies having rejected IAEA inspectors' work - 11/05/2007 -  IRNA, Vienna
    Iran's Ambassador at IAEA here Friday categorically denied report by AFP of Iran's rejecting of IAEA inspectors' work at country's nuclear facilities. Speaking with IRNA on the sidelines of the ongoing 189-country conference on NPT treaty in Vienna, Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh added, "Such news are broadcast under the prevailing conditions to influence the general atmosphere of the NPT Conference against Iran's peaceful nuclear program." He further emphasized, "There has been no problem regarding the inspections of the IAEA inspectors in accordance with the articles of the NPT and the UN nuclear watchdog's top officials, too, have approved of this fact, since the IAEA inspectors are pursuing their work in Iran right now." Quoting a fully unidentified diplomat in Vienna, the AFP reported on Thursday night that Iran has denied an unannounced IAEA delegation of inspectors with the responsibility to visit its Natanz Nuclear Complex.

  • Iran will not follow West: Haddad-Adel  - 11/05/2007 -  IRNA, Tehran
    Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel said here Thursday night that Iran would not follow the West.
    Haddad-Adel was speaking in a meeting with foreign ambassadors and guests of the 20th Tehran International Book Exhibition.
    "We intend to experience a new culture and civilization by relying on our own rich and ancient civilization without following the West or increasing enmity towards it," he said. "The glorious revolution of the Iranian nation was a religious revolution. Our religion is based on culture," he added. He noted that Iran gives cultural products and books in particular , which are produced in the country, to other Persian-language states including Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The 20th Tehran International Book Exhibition kicked off at Tehran Prayers Ground on May 2 with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad officiating the inaugural ceremony. It is to end on May 12. 

  • Iran offers US Iraq exit Strategy - 09/05/2007 -  IRNA, London
    Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi has offered Tehran's cooperation to the US in developing an "exit strategy " from Iraq. Araghchi told the Financial Times that America and Iran had the "same interests" in a stable Iraq and that direct talks leading to a "face-saving withdrawal" were possible with Washington's goodwill. He dismissed as "theatrical behaviour" the comings and goings at Sharm el-Sheikh - when Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki left a dinner when he was reportedly placed opposite Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state. Araghchi said that Iran wanted to develop a common approach to Iraq's future with Iraq's other neighbors and "foreign forces". "Their invasion was a disaster - let there not be a disastrous withdrawal," he said. "Yes, immediate withdrawal could lead to chaos, civil war. No one is asking for immediate withdrawal of foreign forces. But there should be a plan." Araghchi, a career diplomat seen as a potential interlocutor with Washington, insisted the US presence was part of Iraq's problem. "Iraq is suffering a vicious cycle. There are foreign forces who have occupied Iraq and justify their presence under the pretext of the 'war on terror' and there are terrorists who claim they are fighting occupiers." Araghchi welcomed the outcome of Sharm el Sheikh, identifying four principles emerging as acceptable to Iraq's neighbors: support for the elected government in Baghdad; greater authority for the government in "politics, economics and especially security"; boosting the Iraqi army and police; and help for reconstruction. The deputy foreign minister dismissed US claims that Iran had supplied Iraqi insurgents. "They should stop blaming others for problems they have themselves created. "In fact, the number of weapons that have come into Iran from Iraq is high, as you can see by reading the crime pages of Iranian newspapers. Terrorist groups as well as criminals see Iraq as an opportunity." Araghchi said Washington's relationship with "terrorist" groups hostile to Iran made Tehran sceptical of its intentions. He cited the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, the Iranian group under US "protection " in Iraq, and Pejak, an Iranian Kurdish faction linked to the Kurdistan Workers party, based in northern Iraq. He said Iran also believed the US and Britain had links to militants responsible for killing officials and civilians in Iran's south-east province of Sistan-Baluchestan and in Khuzestan in the south-west. Elsewhere in the interview, Araghchi said that no pressure would lead Iran to give up its nuclear program, for which it was prepared to "pay the price." "There are two options - confrontation and cooperation. If they (the west) prefer confrontation, then let's go together. "What has been the result of three (UN) Security Council resolutions, two introducing sanctions? Iran has quickened the pace of its peaceful activities and reduced its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency. This can go on, but the result is an escalation of the crisis." 1416/1416 

  • Iran reacts to EU-PGCC joint communique09/05/2007 -  IRNA, Tehran
    IRI Foreign Ministry Spokesman here Wednesday evening emphasized, in response to a joint EU-PGCC communique, Iran's nuclear program is fully peaceful and not a cause for any worries. Mohammad-Ali Hosseini added, "The peaceful nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran have always been approved by the IAEA and the international community and the UN nuclear watchdog's reports are proof for peaceful nature of Iran's program, leaving no place for worries." Foreign Ministry Spokesman considered taking Iran's nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council in direct contrast with the will of the international community, including the majority of the European countries, that favor the continuation of negotiations, that is more in line with preservation of our nation's absolute right in accordance with international laws, including the NPT. He added, "Surveying Iran's nuclear dossier is beyond the responsibilities of the UNSC and that council's resolutions would be no help towards solving this problem." Hosseini pointed out the need for returning the case from the UNSC to the IAEA, announcing Tehran's readiness and willingness to return to negotiation table within the framework of the NPT and the IAEA regulations. He reiterated the brotherly ties and close cooperation between Iran and its neighbors on the southern coasts of the Persian Gulf, expressing regret over focusing on issue of the three Iranian islands in the communique. The Foreign Ministry Spokesman concluded arguing, "While respecting the territorial integrity of all countries, and stressing Iran's rule over the three Iranian islands, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready for holding bilateral talks with the UAE under the framework of friendly and brotherly relations." 2329/1771

  • Unconditional Talks, solution for Iran's nuclear problems 09/05/2007 -  IRNA, Vienna, 
    Former IAEA head said here Wednesday evening continuation of direct, unconditional nuclear negotiations between Iran and all involved parties, including US, is best solution for Iran's nuclear problems.
    Speaking on the sidelines of the Preliminary NPT Conference in an exclusive interview with IRNA in Vienna, Blix added, "I have doubts in drawing conclusion from the contest of the negotiations held so far." In reply to IRNA's question about the double standards observed by the West, particularly by the United States on nuclear activities, he said, "The method applied by the West in dealing with North Korea's nuclear program was not adopted in regards with Iran and the behavior of the negotiating team with your country was totally different." He added, "Direct talks were held with North Korea on that country's nuclear program, while in case of Iran such talks did not take place."
    Blix added, "In case of North Korea, Pyong Yang received guaranties that there would be no air strikes and no efforts aimed at regime change, while Iran never gained any such guarantees." The former head of the UN nuclear watchdog further emphasized, "The West's arrogant policies led Iran to become suspicious even about the neutrality of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and to consider revising its policies about continuing cooperation with it.
    He meanwhile announced his disapproval of any kind of military attack, or imposing economic pressure against Iran, arguing, "Such moves would be irrational, only leading to inciting national sentiments."
    Blix also emphasized that Iran differs very much with Iraq, adding, "At the time Iraq was attacked, that country did not have uranium, but Iran has huge uranium enrichment facilities today, and that is a fact that should not be ignored."
    He added, "In accordance with the nuclear NPT, Iran is not obliged to suspend its uranium enrichment, and if the Iranians would have been asked to do so in return for achieving some really greater advantage, that would have been worth consideration." The former IAEA chief who was in Vienna to attend the opening session of the Preliminary NPT Conference upon an invitation by his successor Muhamed ElBaradei, meanwhile said, "All the same, I believe in a bid to avoid further aggravation of the situation, Iran had better distance itself from enrichment activities." IRNA asked Blix's opinion on certain comment based on which Iran is pursuing its nuclear program because it feels insecure. He replied, "I cannot make any judgment in that regard, but it is obvious that Iran began its nuclear activities in 1980, that is when the Iran-Iraq War was going on." The Preliminary NPT Conference began its activities in Vienna last week and will conclude on Friday. The issue atop this conference's agenda is preparing the work plan for the 2010 NPT Revision Conference. 2329/1771

  • Sanctions not way to resolve Iran dispute, say Lords Committee - 09/05/2007 -  IRNA
    A parliamentary committee Wednesday warned the British government that its policy of imposing economic sanctions was not the way to resolve its dispute with Tehran over Iran's peaceful nuclear program. The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee said that reliance on sanctions against Iran was "recipe for failure" and instead proposed a pragmatic approach combining a lifting of sanctions, economic incentives, diplomatic recognition and security guarantees. The all-party group of peers said it supported the EU's Framework Agreement, proposed last year, but argued that its only weakness is the lack of US support and urged the UK government to make every effort to secure backing of President George W Bush's administration. The criticisms were made in a report on The Impact of Economic Sanctions, which make clear that previous attempts by the UK and America to apply economic sanctions against other countries have backfired. "Sanctions used in isolation from other forms of diplomatic pressure are unlikely to force major policy change and may even be counterproductive," it warned. On Iraq, the committee highlighted the "immense human cost of sanctions." Against Burma, it said sanctions achieved "no progress towards democratisation or respect for human rights there." The report also cast doubt on the effectiveness of sanctions against North Korea in persuading it to abandon its nuclear weapons program. Chairman of the Committee, Lord Wakeham, said that overall sanctions can have a major economic impact but used in isolation are "unlikely to work." "Even so-called 'targeted' sanctions have been relatively ineffective. The government must now look again at all sanctions in which it is involved to ensure they are achieving their aims," said Wakeham, a former Conservative leader of the House of Commons He said that with regard to both the ongoing disputes with Iran and North Korea, the report "makes clear that economic sanctions cannot be relied." "We need a more sophisticated approach that combines carrot and stick. The EU's framework agreement on Iran provides a model for this and the British government should use its influence to persuade America to give the initiative its support," the chairman said. 

  • Iran, UN agencies launch first regional seismic risk reduction centre  - 09.05.2007 - UN News Centre – 
    Three and half years after a massive earthquake killed more than 26,000 people in the ancient city of Bam, Iran, a regional centre to reduce the damage from such seismic threats was launched in the country today by the Government and the United Nations unit focussed on disaster mitigation. According to the UN Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), which has signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation with the Iranian Government, the Asian Centre on Seismic Risk Reduction will build awareness and provide training in order to improve construction urban planning standards, develop appropriate early warning systems and enhance disaster management and encourage a “culture of safety.” Through these efforts, it will encourage regional and inter-regional networking and partnerships to reduce seismic damage, the UNISDR said. It will also assist States to implement the Hyogo Framework for Action, a 10 year plan approved in Kobe, Japan by 168 Governments in 2005 to make nations and communities more resilient to disasters. “Although earthquakes can not be prevented, negative impacts of earthquake can be minimized by reducing risks and vulnerability through effective use of expertise and information technology,” said Salvano Briceño, Director of the UN/ISDR Secretariat. ”The region has a lot of knowledge and experience in seismic risk assessment that can be shared and can contribute to reduce the vulnerabilities of many populations,” he added. South, west and central Asia are among the most earthquake-prone regions in the world, according to UNISDR. Earthquakes are responsible for 73 per cent of the deaths and 51 per cent of the economic damages caused by all natural disasters in the region, which include floods, drought and landslides. The launch of the Centre, to be established by the Government and supported by a consortium of international organizations, coincides with the Fifth International Conference on Seismology and Earthquake Engineering, which will take place in Tehran next week May. 

  • "Wird man Iran gerecht wenn man ihm das Ticket Schurkenstaat aufklebt?" Ein Interview mit dem Direktor des Deutschen Orientinstituts in Hamburg, Professor Udo Steinbach. 8. Mai 2007 
    Interview anhören: MP3  1.32 MB  herunterladen

  • UN-Atomkonferenz: Iran beendet Blockade - 08.05.2007 | 16:15 | (DiePresse.com) (APA)
    Der Iran akzeptiert nun alle Agenden der UN-Konferenz zur Reform des fast 40 Jahre alten Atomwaffen-Sperrvertrags. In letzter Minute hat der Iran am Dienstag seine Blockade der UN-Konferenz über die Reform des Atomwaffen-Sperrvertrags aufgegeben. Teheran akzeptierte einen Kompromissvorschlag Südafrikas, der die einstimmige Annahme der Tagesordnung für das ursprünglich auf zwei Wochen angesetzte Wiener Treffen ermöglichte. Nach den Verfahrensregeln der UNO müssen alle Entscheidungen im Zusammenhang mit dem Vertragswerk einmütig gefasst werden. 
    Abbruch der Tagung vermieden - Durch seine Zustimmung vermied Teheran den von der japanischen Konferenzleitung geplanten Abbruch der Tagung, die offiziell an diesem Freitag zu Ende geht. Teheran hatte durch seine Verweigerungshaltung den Unmut nahezu aller 130 Teilnehmerländer auf sich gezogen. Das Treffen ist eine von drei Konferenzen, auf denen bis zu einer Abschlusskonferenz im Jahr 2010 Reformen des fast 40 Jahre alten Atomwaffen-Sperrvertrags vorbereitet werden sollen. Im Mittelpunkt des Streits stand eine mehrfach in der Tagesordnung vorkommende Formulierung, in der "die volle Einhaltung des Sperrvertrags" von allen 189 Unterzeichnerstaaten gefordert wird. Auf Vorschlag Südafrikas wurde schließlich eine Fußnote in die Agenda aufgenommen, durch die klar gestellt wird, dass mit dieser Forderung auch die fünf offiziellen Atommächte gemeint sind. 
    Vertrag von 1970 -
    Das 1970 in Kraft getretene Vertragswerk verpflichtet diese nicht nur, die Weitergabe von Technologien zum Bau von Atombomben zu verhindern, sondern auch auf den Abbau ihrer riesigen Atomwaffen-Arsenale hinzuarbeiten. Nicht-Atommächte verpflichteten sich in dem Vertrag, auf den Erwerb von Atomwaffen zu verzichten. Der Vertrag über die Nichtverbreitung von Atomwaffen (NPT) ist in den vergangenen Jahren durch die Atomprogramme Nordkoreas, des Iran, aber auch Libyens zunehmend ausgehöhlt worden. Dazu kommt der weltweite Schmuggel von spaltbarem Material und Absichtserklärungen vor allem der USA, neue Atomwaffen entwickeln zu wollen. Die letzte "Überprüfungskonferenz" für den Vertrag war im Sommer 2005 am mangelnden Konsens unter den Unterzeichnerländern in New York gescheitert. 

  • Mottaki confers with Swede officials - 08/05/2007 -  PressTV
    Iran's Foreign Minister and his Swedish counterpart have discussed bilateral ties as well as the regional and international issues. Manouchehr Mottaki and Carl Bildt met to discuss various issues during the Iranian FM's trip to Sweden. Among the subjects for review were the rotating meetings of foreign ministry officials, the formation of the Contact Group for disarmament programs across the world, the seventh joint economic commission in Tehran, the formation a working group on Afghanistan and the establishment of Iran's new consulate in the city of Gothenburg. The Swedish Foreign Minister welcomed continued consultations between officials of both countries. Carl Bildt said repeated talks with Iran would undoubtedly contribute to the solution of major problems as Iran is an influential country in the region. Mottaki and Bildt later talked to reporters and answered questions about Iran's nuclear program, Mottaki's participation in the Sharm Al-Sheikh conference and bilateral political and economic ties. Mottaki also met with the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Swedish Parliament. During his meeting with Goran Lennmarker, Mottaki conferred on bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues. Mottaki referred to the long-standing parliamentary relations between both nations and the significant role of their parliaments in reinforcing Iran-Sweden ties, IRNA reported. Mottaki said the Islamic Republic would support parliamentary interaction with the Swedish parliament. Highlighting US policies in Iraq, the Iranian Foreign Minister said the "wrong and invasive policies" of the US and its military measures have brought insecurity to Iraq which could lead to the instability of the entire region. The Iranian official also detailed some of Iran's policies on sustainable development and application of nuclear energy for electricity and medical purposes. He underlined that Iran's Majlis (parliament) has obliged the government to fulfill mandates in the nation's development plans for meeting its peaceful atomic energy needs. Lennmarker for his part expressed his pleasure at the exchange of views between the two parliaments, and described the interactions as fruitful for both sides. He added the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Swedish Parliament has always backed constant dialogue and contact between both parliaments. Lennmarker underlined Iran reserves the right to secure the benefit of peaceful nuclear energy, adding Iran's right should not be ignored by any country. 

  • Iran, Sweden to shore up ties - 08/05/2007 -  PressTV
    Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Maud Olofsson have discussed the expansion of bilateral ties. In a meeting Monday, Mottaki said Iran and Sweden have great potential to balance their economic trade and cooperation. Iran has in recent times set a policy to strengthen its ties across the board with Nordic countries. Mottaki said Swedish companies have already expressed their readiness to enter into joint ventures in Iran and that a joint economic commission will be created in the near future to further shore up bilateral ties. Regarding developments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Iranian Foreign Minister said instability and insecurity in those nations are due to mistaken policies. A unilateral US policy, he said, has disheartened both the Americans and the world community, adding that the crisis created by officials in Washington has led to a worldwide aversion for those policies.  Motakki recalled Iran's historic struggle to nationalize its oil industry in the 1950's and said his country only demands its legitimate right to peaceful nuclear energy in accordance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Referrign to the ongoing Larijani-Solana nuclear talks, Mottaki said those discussions can only be fruitful if Iran's rights are taken into consideration. Sweden's Deputy Prime Minister also referred to the background and potential of both nations, saying Tehran and Stockholm have had good ties in industrial and energy sectors. Maud Olofsson said the presence of Swedish companies and technicians in joint economic ventures demonstrates the recent improvement in economic cooperation with Iran. She said Iran has a high position in the region and expressed hope that further consultations would pave the way for even broader technical and economic transactions. Olofsson also said her country would welcome diplomacy in solving Iran's nuclear standoff. 

  • Iran supports regional security plans - 08/05/2007 -  PressTV
    Iran's FM said on Monday that Iran advocates formation of a security alliance with regional states to preserve regional peace and security. Manuchehr Mottaki made the remarks in a meeting with a number of officials, experts, academics, ambassadors and diplomats at Stockholm University in Sweden. "The Islamic Republic has always welcomed constructive cooperation among countries and expressed its readiness to form a collective contract in this respect," he added. "Expanded and close cooperation among the Persian Gulf littoral states including Iran, Iraq and the six member states of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) is the only avenue to preserve stability and establish security in the region." Mottaki said with decades of experience, the Islamic Republic considers the "Collective Security Plan" as the most effective and competent security project for the Persian Gulf. Finally he pointed that considering the differences between Iran and Sweden on some issues, Iranians think of Sweden as a peace-seeking country. (Read also in this context: Iran proposes establishing Persian Gulf security and cooperation body - TEHRAN, April 10 (MNA))

  • Europe prioritizes cooperation with Iran on energy: oil minister - 08/05/2007 -  IRNA, Tehran 
    Norwegian Oil Minister Odd Roger Enoksen said on Tuesday that European countries give priority to cooperation with Iran in the energy sector. According to the Foreign Ministry Press Department, Enoksen made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Oslo, capital of Norway, adding that the Islamic Republic of Iran enjoys abundant capabilities and resources in the Middle East. Assessing the level of investments, and economic and trade cooperation between Iran and Norway as appropriate, Enoksen noted that increased consultations between the two sides can create grounds for identifying new opportunities for investment. Mottaki, on his part, said that Iran and Norway have good opportunities to pursue new investments. Experiences of Tehran and Oslo as well as exchanges among various companies have provided the two friendly countries with greater investment opportunity, he underlined. Referring to multilateral cooperation between Iranian and Norwegian companies, he noted that their bilateral experiences can prepare grounds for coordination in implementing oil projects, constructing refineries as well as transferring energy among European, Asian and Latin American countries. Continuing his tour to some North European countries, Mottaki arrived in Oslo today, and held talks with Norwegian ministers of foreign affairs, oil and industries. 

  • Balanced Relations with Europe Sets Iran's New Strategy - 08/05/2007 -   TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki defined qualitative and quantitative balancing of the country's exchanges with all European states, specially Nordics, as Tehran's new strategy.  According to a report released by the Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Bureau, Mottaki made the remarks in a meeting with industry owners at Sweden's International Council of Industries in Stockholm during the second leg of his tour of Scandinavia.
    He pointed to economic and investment opportunities in Iran, and said that fresh economic developments, taking place in accordance with the prospects of the two countries' cooperation, have laid a proper ground and prepared appropriate potentials for investors, industry owners and traders of the two nations to participate in a variety of projects.
    Mottaki further presented a series of statistical figures in relation to the varying advantages and potentials existing in the different sectors of energy, oil and gas, petrochemicals, industry, mining, banking, agriculture and post in Iran, and said that the advantages existing in relation to financing, guarantees offered by creditable banking institutions and tax exemptions have charmed different Swedish companies into participation in the Iranian projects in various spheres.
    He also elaborated on the abundant banking facilities and particulars and briefed the audience about the convenient atmosphere existing in Iran for the establishment of private banks as well as the plans foreseen for activating tourism industry in Iran.
    "Potentials, possibilities and convenient grounds existing for foreign investors and banking companies in this (tourism) sector have provided unique opportunities for foreign traders and investors in light of the facilities stipulated in Article 44 of the Constitution," Mottaki continued.
    Explaining the particulars of Article 44 of Iran's Constitution and the different avenues existing for the expansion of economic and industrial cooperation, he said that more frequent exchanges between industry owners and investors, arrangement of working meetings for owners of industry and investment companies, paving the ground for holding the 7th meeting of the two countries' joint economic commission and establishment of specialized workshops can help improve identification, planning and organization of new grounds of cooperation.
    The minister also elaborated on the new potentials and policies of the Iranian government, and stressed, "The qualitative and quantitative balancing of the country's exchanges with all European states, specially Nordics, sets Iran's new strategy."
    Also during the meeting which was attended by a large number of reputable Swedish companies, including Scania, Atlas Copco, etc, representatives of banks, the Export Guarantee Council, the Trade Council and Stockholm Stock Exchange as well as other economic activists and industry owners, the chairman and members of Sweden's International Council of Industries appreciated hospitality of the Iranian side during the recent visit to Iran by the council members. They further viewed Iran's standing in Sweden's economic exchanges as very significant, and assessed industries, mines, infrastructural projects, communications, petrochemical industries and technology as proper grounds for the two countries' cooperation. They also expressed the hope that new grounds would be paved for the two sides' enhanced cooperation and relations through increased exchange of views and visits by Iranian and Swedish traders and industry owners.

  • Iran's foreign minister says Tehran will not suspend uranium enrichment - 07/05/2007 -  Associated Press via IHT
    STOCKHOLM, Sweden: Iran will not freeze uranium enrichment to reach a truce with the United Nations over its nuclear program, the Islamic republic's foreign minister said Monday. Manouchehr Mottaki insisted Iran has a legal right to pursue nuclear technology and would spurn a Swiss initiative that calls for a simultaneous freeze of Iranian atomic activities in exchange for a commitment not to impose new U.N. sanctions. While Iran could agree to some parts of the proposal, "the red line is suspension," Mottaki told reporters during a visit to Stockholm. "We are having our legal enrichment, and suspension is not on our agenda." Iran argues it has a right to pursue uranium enrichment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, despite international fears it is using the process to make nuclear weapons. Suspicions bred by nearly two decades of clandestine nuclear activities — including questionable black market acquisitions of equipment and blueprints that appear linked to weapons plans — have led the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions because of Tehran's refusal to shelve its enrichment program. Mottaki a speech on diplomacy and global security at the Swedish National Defense College in which he defended Iran's "legal and legitimate right" to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. He later met with Sweden's Deputy Prime Minister Maud Olofsson and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.At a joint news conference with Bildt, Mottaki said he did not rule out a new high-level meeting with U.S. officials on the situation in Iraq. Motakki and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice only exchanged pleasantries when they met last week at a conference about Iraq's future. When asked whether he would consider meeting Rice again for more substantial talks, he said: "If the situation continues positively, there is the possibility of a future meeting of the relevant people on the issue of Iraq." Earlier in the day, dozens of protesters staged a loud demonstration outside the defense college, chanting slogans against the Iranian regime. Some protesters threw eggs at the building. Police arrested one demonstrator for assaulting an officer. The visit angered some exiled Iranians who accused Tehran of human rights violations and said Sweden should break off diplomatic relations. Media freedom groups in the Scandinavian country urged the Swedish government to use the visit to voice strong protests against restrictions on free speech in Iran. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who was not scheduled to meet Mottaki, said he understood that the Iranian minister's visit stirred emotions. "But I still have to defend having contact with countries and regimes that may not share our values," Reinfeldt told Swedish news agency TT. "How can we ever understand or influence each other if we don't meet?"

  • Iran's FM visits expats in Sweden - 07/05/2007 -  PressTV 
    Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki met with Iranian expatriates after arriving in Stockholm at the start of his tour of North Europe. The minister referred to the status of Iranian nationals living abroad and said, "Iranian identity has always been of great value in every corner of the world. The key to the success has been the Iranians' efforts to maintain their rich cultural and civilizational identity, as well as to have constructive interaction with members of other civilizations." Highlighting his ministry's new mandate to provide Iranians abroad with timely and more rapid services, Mottaki said, "Our consulate missions have been obliged to expand facilities offered to Iranian expatriates. We are hopeful to expand the consular services to other Swedish cities as well." Earlier at the meeting, Iran's Ambassador to Sweden Qashqavi briefed the minister on the situation of Iranians in that country and their scientific and professional achievements.
  • Chemical Weapons Ban Organization Inspects Iranian Site - - 07/05/2007 -  TEHRAN (Far News Agency) 
    Following Iran's agreement to a request made by the Chemical Weapons Ban Organization for inspecting Iranian sites, a team of inspectors from the organization paid a visit to a petrochemical complex in Iran's southwestern province of Khuzestan from April 29 to May 3. A report released by the Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Bureau said that during the four-day visit, inspectors verified the annual production statements of Khuzestan Petrochemical Complex and, as a result, approved Iran's adherence to the international commitments it has undertaken under the Chemical Weapons Ban Convention. Inspections are carried out on the basis of the statements issued by the member states of the Chemical Weapons Ban Organization, the report added.

  • Nuclear Iran unbearable for US - 07/05/2007 -  PressTV 
    Iranian Atomic Energy Organization's deputy chief Mohammad Saeedi says the achievement by Iran of nuclear milestones is unbearable for the US.  Speaking at a ceremony entitled 'Nuclear Celebration' at Tehran's Teacher Training University on Sunday, Saeedi said, "If we move patiently and prudently on this road, they will have no way but to face it and recognize our progress."  The IAEO's deputy chief further called for achieving the technology for building nuclear power plants as soon as possible. Referring to the efforts made by world countries including the Persian Gulf littoral states to access nuclear technology, Saeedi said the world is moving toward developing new, reliable and renewable sources of energy with high standards for environmental safety and health.  Describing reliance on fossil energy as an "unwise approach", he said civilian nuclear energy can fulfill the human community's needs in the 21st century. He also called the use of peaceful nuclear technology inevitable and said, "We, too, should move towards building nuclear power plants."

  • Iran has 280 tons of stored UF6 - 07/05/2007 -  PressTV 
    An Iranian nuclear official has said Iran possesses 280 tons of a sensitive material that can be used for uranium enrichment.
    The statement that Iran has large amounts of stored UF6 was made Sunday in Tehran by the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization's deputy chief for international affairs.
    Addressing students at the Tehran Teacher Training University, Mohammad Saeedi said obtaining nuclear technology is "an inevitable necessity for today's Iran's as well as for next generations."
    The Iranian official also said Iran would formally be among nations capable of building nuclear power plants on a small scale within the next few years. "It is no exaggeration that we performed this incredible feat through reliance on the potential of our young and highly-motivated researchers who broke the internationally recognized monopoly of certain countries in this area," Saeedi said. Iran, which has been slapped two times by the UN Security Council over its reluctance to suspend its uranium enrichment, has accused western nations, in particular the US and EU troika (including Germany, Britain and France) of applying double-standards on its nuclear activities. "At present 30 countries in the world are meeting their energy needs through nuclear sources. The US has more than 103 nuclear power plants operating even though it verifiably possesses a huge amount of natural oil and gas resources," Saeedi continued. He went on to say the Iranian government has extensive plans to cut its dependence on fossil fuels and to use more diverse energy sources that are also cost-effective and environment-friendly.

  • Intelligence Minister Called to Parliament to Explain Spy Case06/05/2007 -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)-  
    TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission has summoned the country's intelligence minister to brief the commission members about the detention of former senior nuclear negotiator in Iran's talks with the West.  The commission chairman, Alaoddin Boroujerdi, told reporters on the sidelines of an open session of the Islamic Consultative Assembly here on Sunday that his commission has contacted the Iranian intelligence ministry and demanded Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ezhehee to attend a commission meeting to report on the reasons underlying the detention of Hussein Mousavian, Iran's senior nuclear negotiator at the time of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's tenure. 
    Mousavian was the deputy head of the center for Strategic Research of the State Expediency Council which is run under Rafsanjani. Mousavian has served in many high-ranking posts in the Islamic Republic. During the second term of Khatami's presidency (2001-2005), Moussavian was the number two man in Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) - the main body in charge of nuclear negotiations - after Hassan Rowhani, the predecessor to current chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani. 
    Moussavian was also Iran's ambassador in Germany in the 1990s and well known among European officials. Boroujerdi also said that Ezhehee has been called to the commission meeting because his ministry is in charge of the case, adding that he would inform the press about the case as soon as he receives the needed details. He said that the session with the intelligence minister would be held either today or on Tuesday. Elsewhere, the commission chairman responded to questions about the results of Iraqi security conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and said, "I believed that Iran should attend the meeting as not only a neighbor but also as a founder of the meeting of Iraq's neighboring countries in an effort to help resolve problems in that country. But the location of the conference was changed to Sharm el-Sheikh as a result of the US pressures." "The US sought to change the location to Sharm el-Sheikh because it intended to involve the European Union (EU) and other (international) bodies in the case to improve its situation in Iraq," he continued. The lawmaker termed support for Nuri al-Maliki's administration, a necessity for serious confrontation with terrorism and those responsible for insecurities in Iraq, reinvigoration of the Iraqi government and police and strengthening of Iraq's security as among the positive points resulted from the conference, saying that the final statement of the summit and the stances adopted in the conference aligned with Iran's policies on Iraq. He further noted willingness of the US President and Secretary of State for establishing ties with Iran, and said, "After the conference, Rice announced that she had been prepared for talks with Iranian officials but that no opportunity arose." "Therefore, it becomes clear that no such meeting (between the Iranian and the US officials) took place during the conference," Boroujerdi continued. He also said that Americans have changed their stance on Iran in a bid to reduce their problems in Iraq through negotiations with Iran over Iraq. "Reduction of security problems and prevention from the daily massacre of the Iraqi people matters to Iran, and we study solutions to these problems. Yet, Americans have not extended an official request to Iran in this regard," the legislative official mentioned, stressing that exchanging messages and raising requests through media are not proper ways since such requests and demands cannot be verified. "If Americans seek to reduce the security problems in Iraq, they should file an official request in order for Iran to study the case," he continued. Concerning the recent visit to Iraq by Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Larijani, the legislator said, "In addition to political and security consultations, Larijani's visit to Iraq paved the way for the 5 kidnapped Iranian diplomats to meet their family members. This was just a first step, and we hope that the release of the diplomats will be the second."

  • Former President Views Threats to Iran as Inefficient06/05/2007 -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)-  
    Iran's former President Khatami in a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'alema in Rome on Sunday said that threats and sanctions can in no way make the Iranian nation give up its right to access peaceful nuclear technology.  "The US and EU must know that imposing sanctions and posing threats cannot at all make Iranian nation ignore its right of access to nuclear energy," Khatami said. The former Iranian president who is currently in Rome to attend several cultural and religious conventions and meet Italian and Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI, further criticized the West's performance in the face of Iran's civilian nuclear programs, and emphasized that the world should admit to Iran's legitimate right to access nuclear energy. He further pointed to a consensus among Iranian officials over the country's inalienable nuclear rights, and assured the Italian minister that Tehran may never give up its rights, specially those pertaining to the nuclear technology. For his part, Italian deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Massimo D'alema underlined Iran's decisive role in the region, and said that the world community expects Iran to make the best possible use of its unique situation in the region. He further thanked Iran's participation in Iraq security conference in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, and described Iran's presence at the Egypt meeting as a source of hope for the world community. "As a powerful and influential country in the region, Iran can play a very significant role in the settlement of the Middle-East problems," Dalma reiterated. Elsewhere, the former Iranian president met and conferred with the chairman of the world Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Rome. During the meeting, Ferdinando Cazini stressed Iran's vital role in the Middle-East region, and said that the international community needs Iran for the purpose of restoring stability and tranquility. "Thinking that the Middle-East problems could be solved without Iran's help and contribution is an incorrect view," he underscored. He further described Iran's role as vital in the settlement of regional problems, specially in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine. The official further pointed to Khatami's Saturday speech at a Rome university where the former Iranian president had said that no one can start war and embark on violence in the name of God, and said, "Islam is a religion of peace and tranquility." The IPU chief also described access to and use of civilian nuclear technology and energy as a natural right of the Iranian people, and expressed the hope that Iran's nuclear issue could be resolved through talks and negotiations as soon as possible. For his part, Khatami, now the head of the International Institute of Dialogue among Cultures and Civilizations, also underlined Iran's inalienable and indispensable right to access peaceful nuclear technology, and stressed that his country may not ignore its nuclear rights. "The Islamic Republic of Iran, more than any other world country, is willing for the nuclear disarmament in the Middle-East region," he said. The former Iranian president also said while some nuclear powers have deployed troops in the region, certain countries seek to deprive Iran of its legitimate nuclear rights in an unfair and irrational manner.

  • Iran Welcomes N. Talks-  06/05/2007 -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)-  
    Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has welcomed a Swiss proposal for continued talks on Tehran's disputed nuclear program.  Mottaki met a Swiss envoy on the sidelines of a May 3-4 international conference in Egypt organized to seek ways to end the violence in neighboring Iraq, the English-language Tehran Times daily said. The paper did not give details of Mottaki's views on the Swiss plan, which Western diplomats have said was among topics discussed at a meeting between Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana in Turkey on April 25-26. Diplomats said Switzerland had proposed a staged plan leading to a simultaneous suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment work and of UN sanctions, which would enable talks between Iran and six world powers to begin. But they said Larijani made it clear to Solana Iran had no intention of fully suspending its work to refine uranium, which can be used to fuel nuclear power plants if enriched to low levels or make nuclear weapons if enriched to high levels. Iran says it only wants to generate electricity and the fact that Iran masters the technical know-how for enriching uranium to low levels (3.5 to 5%) substantiates Iran's claims. "Mottaki welcomed the Swiss proposal for the continuation of talks on Iran's peaceful nuclear program," Tehran Times said. The story did not include any direct quotes. Iranian officials were not immediately available for comment, Reuters said. The Solana-Larijani talks are expected to reconvene later in May but the place and time have yet to be announced. One diplomat told Reuters this week that Iran had said it was considering the Swiss offer but would not accept a "full suspension before, during or after talks." Two sets of United Nations sanctions have been imposed on Iran since December and major powers this week warned a third, tougher resolution might be needed unless Tehran halted its most sensitive nuclear activities. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly ruled out any retreat on the nuclear program, including the idea of a "double suspension," under which Tehran would halt uranium enrichment in return for a lifting of sanctions.

  • Iran Supports NPT-Bound Talks-  06/05/2007 -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)-  Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Tehran continues insisting on the settlement of the country's nuclear case through negotiations and talks within the boundaries of IAEA and NPT rules and regulations.  "Iran has frequently stressed the need for talks and negotiations within the framework of the regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and we will continue the same course," Hosseini told reporters during his weekly press conference here in Tehran on Sunday and in response to the question whether a recent statement made by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the UN Security Council could issue as many resolutions against Iran as it wished meant Iran had changed its policy on pursuing diplomatic means. "It is the opposite side which has shown inflexibility and made irrational decisions," he said. Yet, Hosseini expressed the hope that the trend of talks would be strengthened during the new round. Elsewhere, he said that Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is due to start a tour of several Scandinavian countries in northern Europe on Sunday. "Iran and Scandinavian countries share identical views about a number of the world issues, including international disarmament, and global environment, the urgency which is attached to fighting terrorism and organized crimes as well as campaign against unilateralism," the spokesman mentioned. He said that there reside convenient grounds for the expansion of relations between the two sides, saying that development of ties with Scandinavian states brings balance to Iran's relations with the different countries and Europe of course. Asked about the source and terms of Iran's one-billion-dollar financial aid to Iraq, Hosseini said the source of the loan must be decided by the government and parliament, and added, "These include a 10-million-dollar aid to the Iraq Reconstruction Fund and one-billion-dollars in credit for a period of 30 years and with convenient conditions and special facilities." Asked about a meeting between Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the sidelines of Iraq security conference in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, he said, "In a luncheon thrown by Egyptian foreign minister, over 30 foreign ministers plus Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were present and, thus, there existed no specific talks or negotiations and meetings (between Rice and Mottaki)." Hosseini stressed that the Iranian foreign minister has not attended any private luncheon with the American side. Asked if any other members of the Iranian delegation has attended talks with the US diplomats, he said, "Iranian and American diplomats merely discussed the agenda of talks for about 3 to 4 minutes and there was not any kind of official meeting or negotiation between the two sides." Regarding the possibility of direct talks between Iran and the US, he said if Washington files an official request in this regard, Tehran would study the case. Also asked to comment on the statements made by the Iraqi prime minister about a second meeting between Iranian and American officials in coming weeks, the spokesman said that necessary preparations should be made first, and added, "Wherever Iran is to attend negotiations, it should receive a formal request in this regard in advance." In response to questions about the date of a visit to Tehran by the former US President Bill Clinton, the spokesman said that Tehran has not yet received any official request in this regard. Asked about the next round of talks between Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana, Hosseini stated that the time and setting of the meeting has not yet been decided. Responding to questions about Iran's viewpoints about the Swiss proposal, Hosseini said that the plan contains some strong and weak points, adding, "The proposal is subject to studies and discussions and it could grow more appropriate through talks and discussions. He further dismissed allegations about acceptance of month-long suspension of enrichment activities by Iran, and underscored, "There has been no change in Iran's stances" regarding the suspension of uranium enrichment activities. Elsewhere, the foreign ministry spokesman said that the family members of the five Iranian diplomats, kidnapped during a raid by the US troops on Iran's consulate general in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, will meet the five in Iraq after months of abduction. He said the meeting is scheduled for late this week. "The US officials have promised the meeting will be held by the end of this week," Hosseini said adding that his colleagues are currently following up on the case in a bid to speed up the process and fix the meeting as soon as possible. In another part of the conference, he declined to comment on the case of the former nuclear negotiator of the country, Hossein Mousavian, in talks with the West saying, "As Tehran's prosecutor general has stated, Mousavian is presently interrogated by the intelligence ministry, and his accusations should not be discussed publicly before the case has been fully verified." Mousavian, a deputy head of the Strategic Research center of Iran's State Expediency Council which is run under the two-time president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been arrested on charges of spying on Iran's nuclear activities and transferring Iran's nuclear information and data to the West. The former nuclear negotiator has served in many other high-ranking posts in the Islamic Republic as well. During the second term of Khatami's presidency (2001-2005), Moussavian was the number two man in Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) - the main body in charge of nuclear negotiations - after Hassan Rowhani, the predecessor to current chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani. Moussavian was also Iran's ambassador in Germany in the 1990s and well known among European officials. Concerning developments in Iraq, Hosseini expressed regret over the recent insult by certain media to some religious authorities and jurisprudents, including the Grand Ayatollah Sistani, and further condemned the measure.

  • Italian Official Reiterates Iran's Vital Role in Middle-East - 06/05/2007 -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
     A prominent Italian lawmaker stressed that political stability in the Middle-East region would be impossible without Iran's participation.  Speaking during a meeting with the chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaoddin Boroujerdi here on Sunday, member of the Italian Senate's Defense Committee Sylvana Pizza pointed to Iran's outstanding and sensitive role in the Middle-East region, and stressed, "Without Iran's participation, we cannot witness establishment of political stability in the Middle-East region." Also during the same meeting, chairman of Italy's International Committee for Training Peace Massimo Dessanti pointed to the two countries cultural commonalities and age-old ties, and described the two sides' cultural relations as a proper ground for the consolidation of mutual cooperation in the international arenas. He further approved Iran's nuclear activities as an attempt to access clean energy resources, and described US allegations in this regard as unreal and as a pretext for Washington to expand its influence in the strategic region of the Middle-East and usurpation of its resources and reserves. For his part, chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said that Iranian public opinion has a positive view about Italy, which he said provides a proper ground for increased contacts between the two sides and bolstering of relations and cooperation in all the different political, economic, cultural and international spheres. He further viewed the two countries' political and parliamentary cooperation as unbalanced compared with the two states' large volume of economic ties. Alaoddin Boroujerdi reminded that exchange of views and dialogue play a remarkable role in hammering understandings, and expressed the hope that the two countries' parliamentary relations would further develop and consolidate through an increase in parliamentary exchanges and visits. To conclude his remarks, he extended an invitation to his Italian counterpart to pay an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • Prodi: US destabilizes Middle East - 05/05/2007 -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    US's wrong-headed policies have brought the Middle East on the verge of a severe crisis and instability, said the Italian premiere, Romano Prodi. Prodi made the remarks on Friday during a meeting with the former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami in Rome and added that United States' invasion of Iraq in 2003 has turned out to be the US administration's greatest blunder. "While new forms of challenges and tensions arise in the Middle East by the passage of time, US administration lacks the strength to solve the problems which are mostly of their own making." Meanwhile he underlined Iran's sizable influence and clout in the region and called for Tehran's more pronounced part in the resolution of regional crises, Fars news agency reported. Mohammad Khatami, who is also the head of the Center for Dialogue among Civilizations and Cultures, in turn, accused United States of stirring up tensions and discords in the Mideast. "As long as the Zionist regime, backed by the US government, is oppressing the Palestinians' basic human rights, it would be really hard to think of stability and peace in the region", Khatami was quoted as saying. The Italian prime minister welcomed Iran's active role in the further promotion of a global drive to reach unity and understanding among the world civilizations and cultures. He voiced his country's positive stance toward Iran's relentless efforts to cut its dependence on exhaustible fossil energy and meet its ever-increasing electricity needs through renewable nuclear energy resources. "Currently all the world countries have reached a consensus on Iran's inalienable nuclear rights", he said. 

  • Mottaki says arrest of Iranian diplomats was a blow to Iraq - 05/05/2007 -   TEHRAN, Mehr News Agency 
    The U.S. raid on the Iranian consulate in Irbil was a “foul act” that harmed the Iraqi government’s reputation, Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki told the Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechervan Idris Barzani here on Friday. U.S. troops stormed the Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil on January 11 and arrested five diplomats under the pretext that they were fomenting violence in Iraq.  Barzani said, “We will not allow, under any circumstances, any harm arise against Iran’s national interests from the land of Kurdistan.”  Barzani also expressed hope that the Iranian diplomats would be released soon.  Mottaki also said Iraq is undergoing the most sensitive period in its history.  Although the dictatorship is over in Iraq, the conspiracies and plots against Iraqi national interests threaten the country, the Iranian chief diplomat noted.  The major problem in Iraq is lack of security caused by terrorists and a continued occupation, he added. 

  • In Iran, Tactics of Fashion Police Raise Concerns. -   02/05/2007 -  The New York Times - By NAZILA FATHI - TEHRAN
    Only days after Iran’s annual crackdown on immodest dress began in mid-April, with teams of police officers stopping women in major squares and subway stations to warn them about their attire, the security authorities came under fire. Many women who were stopped on the street and told to dress properly reacted angrily. A parliamentary commission complained about the campaign to the chief of police, and the head of Iran’s judiciary warned that a too repressive policy could bring a backlash. Even an adviser to the president urged caution, saying the police “should not go to the extreme,” according to the daily Etemad-e-Melli. The Tehran chief of police, Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, said during the drive that the security forces would single out women who wore only small head scarves or short tight coats and short pants. He also said the police were turning their attention to men in the second phase of its campaign, which began Saturday. He insisted that the authorities would avoid force — and arrests — and would only talk to violators to urge them to dress appropriately. Still, he said 150 women a day had been taken to detention centers as the crackdown began. At a parliamentary hearing of the Commission for National Security that was convened to hear complaints, “Some of the members of Parliament complained that the security force should not put itself in a position to deal with such issues,” said Dariush Ghanbari, a member of the commission. When one woman, Nazanin, 28, was stopped last month in Vanak Square, she thought she had dressed more modestly than usual, she said. But she was told that her coat was tight and showed the shape of her body. “I just joked with them and tried to stay calm, but they told me to sit so that they could see how far my pants would pull up in a sitting position,” said Nazanin, a reporter. She was told by the police officers that they wanted to help her look modest so men would not look at her and cause her inconvenience, she said. She received a warning about her large sunglasses, her coat, her eyeliner and her socks, which the police officers said should be longer. She was allowed to go after she signed a letter, which included her name and address, saying she would not appear in public like that again. The police have said the letters will be used against violators in court if they defy the rules a second time. Another woman, Niloofar, 28, who responded angrily to the police when she was told to fix her head scarf because too much of her hair was showing, said she was kept in a bus for five hours. Somayeh, 31, who was crying after she was stopped at the Mirdamad subway station, said, “They want to intimidate us.” She was asked to call home and get her national ID number, the equivalent of a Social Security number, for the letter she had to sign, promising not to wear makeup in public again. The women who were interviewed refused to give their full names because they feared they could be identified by the police. Women have been required by law since the 1979 Islamic revolution to cover their hair and wear long, loose clothing. The ideal dress is considered to be the chador, a black head-to-toe garment. In the early days of the revolution, women were flogged, jailed and fined for what was considered immodest dress. But many women defy the law and the government has been engaged in a constant battle over how they should look. At least three state-sponsored fashion shows were held in the past year to encourage women to wear more “Islamic” clothes. This year, the publicity campaign has been especially large and loud, with the security authorities insisting that people are happy with the restrictions. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has backed the campaign, saying, “Those who have indecent appearances are sent by the enemy.” But other sectors of the government and the news media are urging caution. The head of the judiciary, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, has warned provincial governors about possible dangers of the crackdown. “Hauling women and young people to the police station will have no result except social harm,” he said, according to Etemad-e-Melli. And Mehdi Kalhor, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s press adviser, warned the police chief in a letter that his force “should not go to the extreme,” the newspaper reported. The conservative daily Kayhan also warned that “women’s immodest dress is not the only vice.” “The way the vices are dealt with should be in a way so that people — especially the youth — believe that the authorities really want to eradicate them,” Kayhan wrote, saying that poverty, bribery and injustice were more important problems. Still, dissent is unwelcome. A court in Tehran sentenced six prominent protesters in April to jail terms of two to three years. The six women are part of a campaign that is trying to collect a million signatures for a petition that calls on the authorities to give women equal rights with men. And the second phase of the crackdown began Saturday as planned. Not only women were scrutinized. The police also arrested men who wore wild hairstyles and T-shirts that were considered un-Islamic. The student news agency ISNA quoted a police statement on Sunday as saying, “In an official order to barbershops, they have been warned to avoid using Western hairstyles and doing men’s eyebrows.” 

  • Establishment of Fair International System Deterred by US -  02/05/2007 -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    Head of Iran's delegation to the general meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) stressed that the unilateral, monopolistic and hegemonic measures taken by the United States have prevented establishment of a fair international system.  "Along with the creation of new opportunities for the attainment of some shared interests, globalization and other world developments have also caused such a drastic change in the nature and extent of certain global threats that even the most powerful countries of the world cannot stand them," Seyed Mohsen Yahyavi said. Referring to the US invasion of Iraq, he described terrorism and instability in that country as two indispensable consequences of the Untied States' hegemonic policies, and added, "Despite the fact that after the collapse of the bipolar system, a convenient ground was laid for the establishment of a fair, just, stable, transparent and democratic international system, the United States' unilateral, monopolistic and hegemonic policies blocked the path to the attainment of such a system." The secretary-general of Iran's inter-parliamentary group also said that the United States' measures in support of Israel's state-sponsored terrorism and its invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, which took place through misuse of such international norms as support for human rights and campaign against terrorism, have militarized the atmosphere of global talks and dialogue. "The use of force in world relations has posed a serious threat to the international peace and security as well as global cooperation and welfare and progress of nations," he continued. The Iranian MP further mentioned that the Untied States' bullying and monopolistic measures such as unilaterally imposed economic sanctions, prevention of the different countries' membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and blocking other nations' access to modern sciences and hi-tech have consolidated and stabilized injustice, poverty, unemployment and increasing gap between the poor and rich countries. "The United States' obstinacy, which has taken place under different pretexts and through misusing an international instrument like the UN Security Council, in blocking the Iranian nation's access and use of the civilian nuclear technology accompanied by Washington's unilateral sanctions on the Iranian nation during the last three decades set an obvious example for the United States' bullying and hegemonic policies," he concluded.

  • West cannot Require Iran to Stop Legal Activities  -  02/05/2007 -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    Iran's ambassador to Thailand Mohsen Pak Ayeen stressed the peaceful drive of his country's nuclear activities, mentioning that the West cannot require countries to stop their legal and legitimate activities.  Speaking to reporters in Bangkok on Wednesday, Pak Ayeen described Iran's nuclear issue as a political case, and reiterated that Tehran has never violated the international rules and that Iran's peaceful nuclear plans and activities have always complied with the international regulations. He further assessed recent talks in Turkey between Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana as positive, and said, "If Europe approaches (the new round of talks) through logic, we can expect some future progress in this ground (i.e. ending the current nuclear standoff between Iran and the West)." Pak Ayeen also mentioned that the era of Cold War came to its end long ago, adding that use of sanctions and language of threat for resolving conflicts are now meaningless and that advocates of such methods will eventually be pushed into isolation. Also noting the recent stances of certain European countries, like Austria, on making investments in Iran, he pointed out, "Those countries which enjoy political independence make their decisions on the basis of their own national interests and pursue expansion of their relations with Iran in the economic and energy sectors. Elsewhere, the envoy expressed regret over the massacre of the innocent civilians in Iraq, and viewed deployment of occupying troops in that country as a major contributor to the present insecurities in Iraq. "Iran will participate in the Sharm el-Sheikh summit to help Iraq and this participation takes place in pursuit of the withdrawal of occupiers from that country," he continued. The Iranian ambassador also described the Iraqi government as a legal and popular government, and called on the world countries to assist Iraq with the establishment of security and stability. Elsewhere, he viewed Iran-Thailand relations as progressive, and stressed that a lustrous future is awaiting the two countries' ties. To conclude his remarks, Pak Ayeen expressed the hope that the two countries' relations, specially in economic areas, would experience huge progress in 2007

  • Private aid in refinery construction - 02/05/2007 - PressTV -
    A senior Iranian oil official has said four oil refineries are under construction by the private sector in cooperation with foreign partners. Iranian refineries currently have the capacity to refine 1.62 million barrels per day (bpd), a figure expected to increase to 2.94 million bpd with the construction by the private sector of four refineries under the names Persian Gulf, Hormoz, Anahita and Pars. Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, the Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company, said several incentives are being offered to the private sector to develop oil and gas projects, Shana news agency reported. "New mechanisms have been defined for negotiating cooperation agreements with foreign and domestic companies, while the Iran Investment and Economic/Technical Aid Organization has plans to facilitate the issuance of permits for foreign partners," Nematzadeh said. He added that the groundwork is being prepared for the active participation of the private sector in oil projects. Several contracts have been also signed in this regard, he said, under which Iranian companies will construct refineries in Indonesia, Malaysia and China each with the capacity to refine 300,000 bpd. The senior oil official also said studies are underway for the possible construction of other refineries in the Philippines, Vietnam and Armenia. Several refinery rehabilitation projects, including those underway at Abadan, Arak, Isfahan, Tehran and Bandar Abbas, will be completed by 2009. Iran's oil refining capacity is expected to rise from the current 1.62 million bpd of crude oil to 3.2 million bpd by 2012. (Read also: Rise in Iran's PetroChem investment- 02/05/2007 - PressTV)

  • New export incentives underway - 02/05/2007 - PressTV -
    A commerce official has said new solutions may soon be available to encourage Iranian exports and to compensate for a shortage in credit. The head of Iran's Trade Development Organization, Mehdi Ghazanfari, said the first meeting of the High Council for Exports is expected to present new incentives to help support the business activities of Iranian exporters. Ghazanfari stressed the need for devising new solutions to compensate for budget shortages for export incentives, saying exporters should be exempt from tax and duties while better export facilities should be provided to them. "In addition to such incentives, we are trying to find other resources for supporting exports," ISNA quoted him as saying. Ghazanfari added his organization aims to help form consortiums of large trading companies in an effort to develop non-oil exports as well. "We have planned to provide smaller export companies with incentives to encourage them to turn into larger exporting firms and to have a more effective presence in global markets and commercial activities," he said. In accordance with the latest export ratifications by the government, more than 1.4 trillion rials of export incentives (or roughly $151 million) have been set aside for the Trade Development Organization in the current Iranian calendar year, which began March 21. The organization had requested 7.3 trillion rials (or roughly $788m) for support of Iranian exporting firms. Iran's exports rose by 39 percent in the year ending March 2006 compared to figures for the previous year. The Fourth Five-Year National Development Plan (2005-2010) targets an annual economic growth rate of 8.5 percent and mandates that non-oil exports increase by 16 percent by 2010. The plan also mandates that the annual productivity rate reach 4.5 percent and foreign investment also increase by 23 percent.

  • 3 Peugeot models to hit Iran market - 02/05/2007 - PressTV -
    French carmaker Peugeot will begin to sell three of its most popular models in Iran in a move to increase its share of the regional market. According to ISNA, the Peugeot 307 and 407 will be offered in the Iranian auto market within the next few months. Talks are also underway between the French company and its Iranian partner Iran Khodro to work out a marketing and sales plan for the 207 model. The Peugeot 407, which has a dual-fuel engine - meaning the car can run on both diesel and gasoline - will be offered at between 300 and 400 million rials (roughly $32,400 to $43,200). The model to become available in Iran uses a 2.2-liter, 120-hp gasoline engine. The car is to be offered with both manual and automatic transmission options.

  • Mass centrifuge production possible - 02/05/2007 - PressTV -
    Iran's top advisor on international relations has said Iran has attained the technology needed to produce centrifuges in large numbers. "The West has accepted that we have produced 1,300 centrifuges," said Ali-Akbar Velayati in a newspaper interview. Velayati is the advisor on international affairs to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. If Iran were to back down on its nuclear program today, Velayati said, the countries that are against its nuclear progress may later instruct Iran to also cease its various missile programs. "If we back down on the nuclear issues today, they might scrutinize our missile program as well," he said. Velayati added the West might go as far as criticizing the number of Iranian military troops, as they did in Bosnia.  

  • President inaugurates 20th Int'l Book Fair -  02/05/2007 -  IRNA
    The 20th International Book Fair kicked off at Tehran Prayers Ground Tuesday evening with President Ahmadinejad officiating the inaugural ceremony. Ahmadinejad, who was accompanied by Culture Minister Mohammad-Hossein Saffar-Harandi, visited different parts of the exhibition and spoke to publishers before the official inauguration ceremony. Head of the Supreme Leader's Office Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani and a number of ministers, officials, cultural figures, intellectuals and ambassadors were present at the ceremony. Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Ahmadinejad stressed the importance of providing an appropriate atmosphere for introducing newly published books. "The book exhibition is being held once a year but advances in science and knowledge never stop in the year," the president said. He congratulated publication of 52,000 books in the last Iranian calendar year (ended March 20, 2007) and said every book can serve as a step towards enhancing human civilization. The president expressed hope the 20th International Book Fair would take a major stride towards materialization of humane, scientific, cultural and intellectual goals and guarantee ties between nations and intellectuals. The exhibition will last until May 12. 2327/1414
  • Iran is a symbol of resistance - 02/05/2007 - PressTV 
    At the opening of an international conference on resistance movements, a Lebanese official has said Iran is the unequivocal model of resistance. Addressing participants in the first International Conference on Culture of Resistance in Tehran, Mohammad Ra'd said," Iran is the symbol of resistance and the Iranian nation has shown its willpower in resistance against the hegemonic powers." The Lebanese official added, "we are all responsible to develop the resistance power and maintain the resistance culture as a support for our absolute rights." The Lebanese MP continued "now it's time for the vigilance of the Islamic world against the hegemonic powers who try to label resistance as terrorism," adding that "resistance power and the Islamic nations will defuse all their plots." 

  • Tehran hosts int'l congress on resistance - 01/05/2007 - PressTV 
    The first international conference on the “Culture of Resistance” will be held under the name of “Islamic World, a Victim of Terrorism”. According to Secretary General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, Ayatollah Mohammad-Ali Taskhiri, the event is planned to help expand the culture of resistance in the Islamic World. 45 figures from 28 different countries will attend the conference. The main objective of the conference is to "study terrorism and the ways to confront it, the role of global powers in the emergence of terrorist groups, a distinction between legitimate defense and terrorism, and a distinction between pure Islam and a distorted Islam." Terrorism in the contemporary world, historical roots and elements of the genesis of terrorism, outlook of different religions on terrorism and legitimate defense and the way and means of combating terrorism in the world with the view to secure true human rights are among the topics of the papers which will be presented during the two day conference. The conference coincides with the martyrdom anniversary of Ayatollah Morteza Motahari, the great scholar of Muslim world who was victimized by terrorism. Ayatollah Motahary was a popular figure in the religious circles of Iran. He served in the Tehran University as the Head of the Department of Theology and Islamic Learning's. At the time of his assassination he was the president of the Constitutional Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran and a member of the Revolutionary Council. 

  • Soltanieh criticizes possessors of nuclear weapons  -  01/05/2007 -  IRNA 
    Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh here Tuesday criticized the countries possessing nuclear weapons for violating NPT Article 6. Speaking as the head of Iranian delegation at the preliminary NPT meeting on the second day of the event, he referred to the new US strategy on development of nuclear weapons and Britain's nuclear missile called `Trident' criticizing the attempts of both states. Turning to the failure of countries enjoying nuclear technology to comply with their cooperation commitments based on NPT Article 4, he said this has endangered the treaty. Meanwhile, criticizing the silence of the UN Security Council and other countries on Israel's nuclear potentials which was declared by the Zionist regime's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, he said that the measure is a clear sign of double standards. About the revisions on NPT made at the 1995 conference, he said that nuclear disarmament and a Middle East free of nuclear weapons were set with unrestricted condition. He added that also at the revision conference in 2000, the countries possessing nuclear weapons were bound to fulfill their commitments and annihilate such weapons and regretted that they failed to do so. Soltaniyeh rejected and condemned the claims of some Western states on Monday about secret measures taken by Iran and its failure to comply with its commitments to NPT. The official said that discriminatory measures, imposing sanctions against a country and depriving it of its rights as well as dual standards towards it will lead to unfavorable results for the 2010 NPT revision conference, which will face a serious challenge. The preliminary sessions of the 2010 NPT revision conference will start next Monday in Vienna and will continue for two weeks, during which the main issues of the upcoming event will be decided. 

  • Iran to defend its nuclear program - 01/05/2007 - PressTV -
    Iran's Ambassador to the UN Nuclear Watchdog, IAEA, says Iran will respond to the baseless claims about its nuclear program in due time. Ali-Asghar Soltaniehwho is currently in Vienna attending the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) revision conference said;
    "We will respond to these groundless claims and unreasonable questions some have, in time". Pointing to speeches made by some delegates at the conference aimed at criticizing Iran's nuclear energy program and calling on Iranian officials to suspend uranium enrichment, Soltanieh added; "These are the same policies and measures adopted by the US and Europe and they are not new." He added that the conference was to re-examine the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Soltanieh noted that Iran and other developing countries had plans to criticize the double-standards of the international community on implementing Article IV of the NPT, which permits signatory states to develop peaceful nuclear energy programs. He also highlighted that Iran had plans to criticize how Article VI of the NPT, which calls on nuclear powers to take the necessary measures toward complete and general disarmament, is being neglected. According to Soltanieh the session focuses on the implementation of the NPT in different states. The Preparatory Committee meeting for the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is taking place from April 30 to May 11 in Vienna, Austria. Delegates from the 190 signatory states of the NPT and United Nations disarmament experts from Geneva are traveling to Vienna to participate in the first of a series of three meetings that will set the tone and agenda for the 2010 Review Conference in New York. The 2010 conference will discuss the effectiveness of the treaty's individual articles and possible violations thereof.

  • Uranium prices up 57% - 01/05/2007 - PressTV -
    Uranium prices have risen 57% since the beginning of 2007, due to an increasing demand for the fuel that is used in nuclear power plants. Prices rose up from $95 to $113 per pound in April, the largest single increase on record since price monitoring began in 1968. According to AP, the latest price surge has caused concerns in countries that are major uranium importers. Rising global demand for uranium, particularly from developing countries such as India and China are known to be the most important factors behind the surge in prices. Other contributing factors to the price surge can be a reduction of uranium production in Australia due to heavy rains, plans in China to reserve uranium in order to secure domestic uranium supplies and energy security, increasing concern about the rising petroleum prices and current and expected regulations on fossil fuel energy sources.

  • Mottaki to visit Oman - 01/05/2007 - PressTV -
    Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is due to arrive in Oman on Tuesday to take part in the Iran-Oman economic commission. Accompanying Mottaki on his trip will be a delegation of high-ranking financial and political officials. Economic, industrial and trade cooperation between Tehran and Muscat are due to be discussed. Mottaki is also expected to hold talks with Omani officials on ways of boosting bilateral relations and regional issues. Mottaki described relations between Iran and Oman at an 'excellent' level on April 17 after a meeting with Oman's Foreign Ministry Director General for Political Affairs Ahmad Yousef al-Harethi in Tehran.

  • Rise in Iran's PetroChem investment- 01/05/2007 - PressTV - 
    A top Iranian oil official at the National Petrochemical Company has said the country will invest over $12 billion in the petrochemical sector by 2015. "The NPC will be implementing some 27 petrochemical projects during the 5th Five Year Development Plan, with a [combined] value of about $12.3 billion. Around $9.2 billion will be secured through foreign exchange," said Gholam-Hossein Nejadat, Managing Director of Iran's National Petrochemical Company (NPC). He was addressing the 9th annual gathering of senior officials from Iran's oil industry. "This will raise the volume of petrochemicals production in Iran by 33.7 million tons per year", he added. Referring to the commissioning of 13 petrochemical projects in this year, Nejadat said, "Three projects have already reached production stage and are to be officially opened in the near future." He also estimated Iran's share in petrochemical production in the Middle East to be at 12 percent and that Iran has nine tenths of a percent of global production. It is anticipated that this will increase to 34 percent and 3.6 percent by the end of the country's 20 Year Prospect Plan in 2025. "Over $3.7 billion worth of petrochemical contracts were signed last year," the NPC chief added.

  • "Iran's Oil & its Role in challenging US" published in Beirut -  01/05/2007 -  IRNA
    Arabic translation of a book titled 'Iran' Oil & its Role in Challenging US' written by Middle East, strategic, and energy affairs analyst, Roger Howard, was presented to book stores here Monday. The competent translator of the 224-page political work is Marwan Sa'deddin, its publisher is Ad-Daar ul-Arabiya Lil-Oloum ul-Arabiya, and its chapters are titled, "Why are underground resources so important?", "Breaking alliance with the United States", "Washington's competition with non-aligned countries", and "Support for the Iranian political system." The author believes the United States is in line for joining the defeated empires in history, and the wretched defensive stands that would be adopted by Washington in not so remote future would bear proof to that fact. He says the open challenge against US hegemony over oil resources was initially clicked by Russia and Venezuela, but today the most severe oil challenge against the United States is posed by Iran at the beginning of the 21st Century. Howard adds, "The unprecedented rise of oil price at international markets in recent years gave Tehran sufficient political and economic power to adopt the necessary measures against opponents, and to turn more resolute towards its allies, such as China and Latin American countries." He argues that Iran's huge energy resources have turned into effective tools for imposing pressure against the US hegemony, making useless Washington's entire efforts aimed at blocking the path for foreign investments in Iran, and making it too difficult for Washington to halt the process of Iran's nuclear programs. The author believes any type of change in US stands in confirmation with Iran's oil and political challenges would be difficult, because the prerequisite for any compromise on the part of the United States towards Iran, would mean a root change in political, and intellectual foundations of US relations with all other nations. Howard argues, "If Washington intended to urge the entire world nations to choose only one country between the United States and Iran, it would realize that Tehran has a valuable winner card in its deck, because it has control over the world's greatest oil and gas resources, and as it is seen already, Iran's black gold is gradually alluring more countries out of the US hegemony sphere. He adds, "Iran's energy resources would one more time dictate the security and diplomatic relations in Asia and the Middle East." The Western analyst also believes China, one of main consumers of Iranian oil, would urge the formation of a new alliance among some countries, that would together establish a political, economic, and strategic power, balancing the US hegemony in the world. Howard at the end predicts, "If the United States does not cease resorting to oppressive policies around the world, it will be signing the US Empire's suicide order at the White House." 2329/1771

  • Waiting for a Gas OPEC - 01/05/07  - Iran Daily News 

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April  2007

  • World powers to discuss Iran in London Wednesday - 30/04/2007 - LONDON (Reuters)
    Senior officials of six world powers will meet in London on Wednesday to review Iran's nuclear plans following renewed talks between the European Union and Tehran, Britain said on Monday. A Foreign Office spokesman said political directors in the foreign ministries of the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany would have an evening meeting along with EU officials. "This is part of a pattern of discussions on how we move forwards," he said. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana urged the United States on Friday to speak directly to Iran to ease an international standoff over its nuclear program, and said Tehran was ready for such talks. Iran says it is developing nuclear technology for power generation, but the West suspects it may be trying to build a bomb. U.N. sanctions have already been imposed on Tehran over its refusal to stop enriching uranium for nuclear fuel. EU diplomats said the London meeting would address Solana's talks last week with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, which both described as positive, and whether a third, tougher sanctions resolution on Iran might be needed.

  • Iran to attend conference on Iraq - 30/04/2007 - PressTV -
    Iran agreed Sunday to join other countries at a conference on Iraq this week to help stabilize its US-led-invasion-traumatized neighbor. In an apparent effort to drive home that point, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told an Iranian envoy that the persistent violence in Iraq could spill over into neighboring countries, including those that are supposed to support the Iraqi government. The Egypt conference will also include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, raising the possibility of a rare direct encounter between high-level US and Iranian officials. In Washington, Rice would not rule out a meeting with the Iranians, whose delegation will be led by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Hours earlier, al-Maliki's office announced that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had telephoned to say a delegation from his country would attend the conference. The decision to attend "came after consultations between Iraqi officials and the Iranian president," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said in an interview with Iranian state television. Senior Iranian envoy Ali Larijani flew to Baghdad on Sunday for talks with al-Maliki and other senior Iraqi officials. During their meeting, Larijani told al-Maliki that all countries that want stability in the region "have no choice but to support Iraq's elected government." "We had earlier announced that if Iraq felt Iran's presence in the conference would be of any help, we would certainly do it" said Larifani. In our talks we found our neighbor thinks Iran's presence in the conference is a must. So we will embrace our neighbor's urge and go to Sharm al-Sheikh to support the Iraqi government and nation, added Larijani. In Tehran, the head of the Iranian parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, Alaeddin Boroojerdi, also said Iran's failure to participate in Sharm el-Sheik would lay the Islamic republic open to criticism from the United States. "Iran should attend the conference, actively and powerfully," Boroojerdi was quoted as saying by Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency. 

  • Iran to attend key Iraq meeting- 29/04/2007 -  BBC News
    Iran says it will attend a key meeting on Iraq's security situation. A delegation headed by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will attend the conference later this week in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is also due to attend, hinted that she could meet Mr Mottaki. But she said any "encounter" would be a chance to discuss Iraq's security situation, and not specific US-Iranian relations. "This is not a (conference) about the United States and Iran," she told ABC's This Week program. "This is a meeting about Iraq and about what Iraq's neighbours and interested parties can do to help stabilize the situation in Iraq," she said. On Saturday, a car bomb killed 55 people in Karbala, Iraq, home to two of Shia Islam's holiest shrines. The blast is the second major attack in Karbala this month. Sunni militants are suspected of carrying out the attacks. Iran has close ties with Shias in Iraq, and has been accused by the United States of arming and training Shia militants for sectarian conflict with Sunnis. 'No strings' - Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari welcomed the prospect of talks between Iran and the US. "I think it's important, it would be a major breakthrough and any reduction in tensions will positively impact the situation in Iraq," he said. "We don't want Iraq to be a battleground for settling scores on other agendas at our cost. Really, this has been harming us, damaging us a lot." News that Iran would attend the conference came as Iran's top security envoy Ali Larijani arrived in Baghdad. The BBC's Frances Harrison, in Tehran, says that Iran had been reluctant to go to the conference because attendance would mean engaging with the United States, which is still holding five Iranians captive in Baghdad. One Iraqi diplomat described this as a critical time for Iran, a possible turning point in its deteriorating relations with the outside world. Continuing crackdown - The conference would give Iran a chance to show good faith over Iraq, and also offer an opportunity to mend relations with Washington, our correspondent says. It comes as US-led forces continue a security crackdown in Iraq. Overnight the US carried out what it has called a massive effort to disrupt the networks of al-Qaeda in the country. The US said 72 suspected militants had been detained in raids west and north of Baghdad, in the provinces of Anbar and Salahuddin. In one raid, near the town of Karmah, the Americans said troops had uncovered 20 large barrels of nitric acid and other bomb-making materials. In Baghdad, the US military fired an artillery barrage on Sunday morning targeting what reports say were insurgent positions in the south of the city. The series of loud blasts was heard throughout Baghdad and lasted for about a quarter of an hour. 

  • President agrees to take part in int'l conference on Iraq  - 29/04/2007 -  IRNA
    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday agreed to take part in the international conference on Iraqi security. In a phone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maleki, Ahmadinejad declared Iran's agreement to attend the upcoming Sharm el-Sheikh meeting in Egypt on May 3-4. Ahmadinejad said that the Iranian delegation will be headed by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. The decision was made in response to the call from Iraqi prime minister to that effect. During the phone conversation, the chief executive underlined Iran's support for the security, independence and dignity of Iraqi government and nation. "Iran will participate in the two-day Sharm el-Sheikh meeting to support the Iraqi popular government and contribute to promotion of stability and security in the country," he said. He said that supporting Iraqi democratic government is the best way to strengthen security in Iraq, independence and dignity. The president declared Iran's support for the Iraqi government, adding that Iran backs any measure aiming to strengthen Iraqi government. For his part, Nouri al-Maleki appreciated contribution of Iranian government and nation to solving the problems of Iraqi government and nation. "Given Iran's status and significance in the region, its presence at Sharm el-Sheikh meeting is required and will help considerably to solve the current problems," he said. He hoped that Iran's support and coming up with a solution to Iraqi problems will prevent the enemies from materializing their goals in Iraq. 2326/1416

  • Hakim: US needs Iran to resolve its problems in Iraq - 29/04/2007 -  IRNA
    Political Advisor to the United Iraqi Alliance Mohsen Hakim said on Sunday that the US should obtain mutual understanding with Iran to resolve its problems in Iraq. Hakim told IRNA that given the spiritual influence of Iran in components of Iraqi people including the Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, the US needs the support of the Islamic Republic to overcome difficulties in the Arab country. "Resolving differences between Iran and the US on Iraq is considered the key to resolving other issues," he added. "Today, Iraqi politicians make efforts to resolve the differences among certain foreign powers and neighboring countries of Iraq, because the goal is in line with national interests and will help establish security in the country." The Iraqi officials underlined that Iraq should become a place for establishing peace, stability and mutual understanding in the region. Iraqi people are concerned about attempts of certain big powers to turn the country into a battlefield to confront their opponents, he noted. "If certain countries plan to resolve their problems based on rational strategy, the Iraqi government will welcome the move," he underlined. Refuting the misuse of Sharm el-Sheikh conference to attain individual or group objectives, he said that the conference should be a venue for creating a spirit of cooperation among governments in the campaign against terrorism, establishment of security in Iraq and supporting Iraqi government. "Certain countries or foreign forces may have views about changing the infrastructures and political system in Iraq, but they should know that we will stand up to their desires," the son of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution of Iraq added in conclusion. AN/2322/1416

  • Sailor arrests fiasco damaged UK reputation, navy chiefs admit - 29/04/2007 -  IRNA
    The international reputation of British navy was badly damaged by allowing sailors to sell their stories after being freed by Iran early April, naval chiefs have admitted.  The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band was reported to have publicly declared for the first time that he takes "full responsibility" for the decisions that led to the backlash against two of the 15 sailors and marines selling their stories. "There is no denying the fact that the reputation of our service has been badly tarnished by the events of the last few weeks and I know that you will be feeling bruised and angry," he said. "As the First Sea Lord, I have ultimate responsibility for the fighting effectiveness of the Navy and for our distinctive ethos, morale, reputation and image. I intend to meet those responsibilities in full," the Sunday Telegraph quoted him saying in a letter sent to every member of the Royal Navy. A second letter about the fiasco was also said to have been sent to Flag and General Officers by Rear-Admiral Alan Massey, the Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff, who also said "handling of the aftermath" had "adversely affected the international reputation of the armed forces, and the Royal Navy in particular." "The damage this has done to our reputation and standing in the world. I also recognise how distasteful many of you will have found the outcome," Massey admitted. Defence Secretary Des Browne has launched two independent inquiries into the events surrounding the arrest of the sailors in Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf and the decision to sell their stories for propaganda purposes which backfired on the UK government. 

  • Persian Gulf under complete control - 29/04/2007 - PressTV -
    The commander of Iran's first marine division says the West has experienced the Iranian's authority in the Persian Gulf several times. Rear Admiral Tangsiri attended the National Persian Gulf conference in Bandar Abbas on Sunday saying, "After the second Persian Gulf War, the British and Americans intended to enter Arvand-Rud in the Persian Gulf." "In 2002 four US forces along with two Kuwaiti guides entered the area, were arrested, and later released," he added. "In another attempt eight British militants trespassed into Iranian waters with weaponry and surveillance cameras. They were also arrested and later released," he continued. "The latest attempt was when 15 British marines entered Iranian waters and were arrested on the last day of their mission spying on Iran's armed forces," he concluded. 

  • US threats, psychological warfare - 29/04/2007 - PressTV -
    A top member of Iran's National Security Council says US threats to hit Iran are 'more psychological warfare than a planned military attack.' In an exclusive interview with Iran's Alalam TV channel, Hassan Rohani, cautioned the US government that mounting any attack on Iran's nuclear sites will spark the strong reaction of the Iranians. "Iran is a powerful country in the region and the United States knows it well; therefore if Washington takes a wrong step by using military power against Tehran, it will prompt Iran's immediate response." The US administration is currently faced with various challenges both at home and abroad, including unstable conditions in Lebanon and the occupied Palestine, as well as America's upcoming presidential elections in 2008, the Iranian politician noted. "All the above-mentioned obstacles will certainly prevent the US administration from pursuing such a wrong-headed strategy", he added. The Iranian security expert opined that regarding the current state of affairs it seems unlikely that US officials will decide to attack Iran. The United States new democratic Congress has passed a binding resolution obliging US president George W. Bush that any decision to strike Iran requires the body's prior approval, he said.

  • Spokesman: Larijani-Solana discussed proposal to be assessed within two weeks - 29/04/2007 -  IRNA
    Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said on Sunday that in their recent talks in Ankara, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani and EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana expressed their views on the proposed plan, which had no specific name and will be assessed within two weeks. The spokesman said this in his weekly press conference in response to the question whether Larijani and Solana discussed the `Swiss proposal'. Hosseini said that the plan about which they exchanged views has both positive and negative points, adding that Iran welcomes any plan that will guarantee the nation's rights. On Iran-US talks, he said that the country's stance on negotiation with the American officials on matters of bilateral concern, the country's nuclear issue and Iraq has already been announced. The Foreign Ministry official pointed to Solana's remark about Iran-US talks as his recommendation to Washington, adding that Iran has also expressed its view in this respect. In response to the question about Larijani's proposed enrichment plan, Hosseini said, "Let us talk about technical issues after the talks are over." He noted that what has been brought up about uranium suspension is not correct. Replying to the question whether the `Swiss proposal' includes suspension or time-out, he said that if it does, this is one of its drawbacks. 2326/2322/1416
  • Iran committed to nuclear transparency - 29/04/2007 - PressTV -
    A top Iranian foreign policy official has said Iran is the only country in the world to pursue a nuclear program with full transparency. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the Chairman of Iran's parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said on Sunday that Iran has never renounced its commitment to negotiations and has been transparent about its nuclear program despite what he called were 'illegitimate' foreign pressures. Boroujerdi reiterated negotiations were the best means to resolve the current nuclear stand-off with the West. Referring to previous rounds of talks with western nations over Iran's nuclear program, the lawmaker said Iran has never bowed to 'deception, threat or coaxing' which he said were being used as political leverage by western negotiators, ISNA news agency reports. "Under the current level of international pressures, which show no sign of easing, Iran believes the 5+1 group has not changed its former position toward our nuclear program, and still urges Iran to suspend all its nuclear activities," Boroujerdi said, in reference to the five permanent members of UN Security Council and Germany. He added Tehran has never considered the resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council as alarming or worrisome. "When an international body like the UNSC is used instrumentally by world powers to meet their private interests, there remains nothing to be afraid of", he was quoted as saying by Fars news agency. The UN Security Council, lobbied by the US and some European countries, has imposed two sets of limited sanctions on Iran to force the Islamic Republic to freeze its enrichment processes. Iran's nuclear facilities include a large-scale underground plant at Natanz and a pilot research facility above ground. The senior Iranian MP said Iran is committed to making transparency a guiding principle in its nuclear program. "Transparency has been the most influential tool to neutralize all propaganda against our nuclear activities", he said. Boroujerdi expressed doubts over the latest round of negotiations in Turkey. However, he also expressed Iran's readiness to provide concrete guarantees that it will not move toward a military use of nuclear technology provided, he said, western countries respect Iran's inalienable nuclear rights. Boroujerdi also commented on a recent remark from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert regarding Iran's nuclear sites, in which Olmert told Germany's Focus magazine that, if Tehran were to defy the UNSC resolutions, “one thousand cruise missiles” could significantly damage its nuclear facilities. Boroujerdi said such comments were 'beyond' Israel's scope since Israel is presently in a 'fragile and vulnerable' condition. "Although Israel is in no way able to put its threats into practical shape against our country, we take its word [at face value] and prepare ourselves for the slightest possibility", he said.

  • Iran acting transparently - 28/04/2007 - PressTV -
    Iran's Ambassador to the UN Nuclear Watchdog, IAEA, says Iran is prepared to dispel any ambiguities over its peaceful nuclear program. Speaking Thursday afternoon at a conference in Paris called "Energy and the International Challenges" Ali-Asqar Soltanieh said Iran's peaceful nuclear activities focus on producing 2,000 megawatts of electricity to be used in agriculture and medicine, Iranian News Agency, IRNA, reported. Soltanieh said at the conference: "we once again emphasize that the documents presented by IAEA offer no evidence on any possible diversion in Iran's peaceful nuclear activities". Underlining the need for observing Iran's indisputable right to attain peaceful nuclear energy, he added that according to the IAEA regulations every country is entitled to select the sort of energies it wants to use. Soltanieh had been invited to the conference to present explanations on Iran's nuclear activities and programs. The Iranian ambassador delivered a speech on the interaction between the country and the international community as well as issues raised in IAEA in this respect. He also presented a report on the application of peaceful nuclear energy in Iran. International experts in the fields of fossil oil and gas energies and nuclear energy as well as specialists active in energy and electricity generation took part in the "Conference on Energy and the International Challenges". Participants in the one-day conference held talks on various types of renewable energy such as the nuclear energy and the obstacles each one of them faces. They also made speeches on international security, atomic disarmament and non-proliferation as well as nuclear energy and its role in improving the status of developing countries. (See also US misjudges Iran's nuclear output and Iran ready for unconditional nuclear talks)

  • Moussa criticizes nuclear policies - 28/04/2007 - PressTV -
    Arab League (AL) Secretary General Amr Moussa has criticized the international community's double-standard nuclear technology policies. The AL Chief condemned how the world had chose to take no notice of Israel's nuclear program and stressed that Iran's nuclear energy program had to be resolved diplomatically. He also added that military operations to resolve the dispute would be a great threat to stability, peace and security in the Middle East. Speaking to the Al-Arabia TV Network on Saturday, Moussa said; "According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports there is nothing suspicious about Iran's activities and Iran is a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Therefore, it has the right to acquire and benefit from nuclear technology". Pointing to Israel's nuclear program and how the international community had chosen to overlook it, he said; "The key question is why Israel is allowed to access nuclear technology but other countries aren't". He underlined that if fair and reasonable policies were not practiced for the nuclear activities of the countries in the Middle East, the future of the region would be uncertain. When asked whether Iran's nuclear activities were the major reason of conflicts in the region, Moussa responded; "Iran's nuclear program is only one of the causes of dispute in the region but it's not the most important one. There are other problem like the situation in Iraq, the conflict in Palestine and drifts among Muslims in Asia and Africa". On Iraq, Moussa rejected claims of Iranian interference in Iraq's domestic affairs and reiterated that Tehran was not the cause of the instability, chaos and violence in the war torn country for the past four years."What has caused instability and destruction in Iraq is attempts made by some to cause drifts among different sects of Islam".

  • Central Regions Oil to hit $23 bn. - 28/04/2007 - PressTV -
    By the end of this year the total revenue of the Central Regions Oil Company will be 23 billion dollars, according to its managing director. Alireza Zeighami said, "Until the end of this year, we will gain 23 billion dollars from the export of 50 dollars a barrel oil and 150 dollars a barrel for a thousand cubic meters of gas". During the inauguration ceremony of the Oil Field Development Plan Zeighami said, "By the end of the fourth national development plan, this company's production line will reach 330 million cubic liters of gas, 320 thousands barrels of crude oil and 110 thousand barrels of gas condensations". He added, "By the end of the year this company will reach 300 million cubic meters of gas, 200 thousand barrels of crude oil and 100 thousand barrels of condensed gas". He pointed to the fact that, "According to the memorandum of association of this company we are currently busy in fourteen provinces of Iran with 10 productive centers". The managing director of the Central Regions Oil Company claimed that, "Although there are 60 introduced fields, only 26 of them are productive at the moment, but by the end of the fourth national plan this number will increase to 32 fields with the advent of the 20 year prospectus we are going to utilize all the possible 83 fields". Referring to the Khesht oil field, he said that a de-salting, gas injecting and a gas and oil parting factory will simultaneously start work on the project. He concluded that the Zagros Company is the executor of the Khest oil project in Shiraz.

  • New Iranian oil project operational - 28/04/2007 - PressTV -
    An energy development project at the Iranian Khesht Oil Field has come into official operation following a ceremony held on Saturday. According to Iranian media the 66-million-dollar project includes installations for 5 oil wells, construction of a central processing unit, desalination unit and 10-inch-wide pipeline. The natural capacity of the field is more than 1.5 billion barrels. The official operation was inaugurated by the director of the National Iranian Oil Company Gholam-Hossein Nozari along with a group of other authorities from the Iranian energy sector.

  • Iran opens new petrochemical complex- 28/04/2007 - PressTV -
    The National Iranian Petrochemical Industries Company will open a new petrochemical complex producing polyethylene, by this coming October. The Laleh Complex will commence operation to manufacture an annual amount of 300 thousand tons of light polyethylene in the southern Mahshahr Special Economic Petrochemical Zone. According to the director of the project, Sai'd Pur-Qassemi, the whole venture which began in 2003 has a budget of $240 million. "To meet the domestic demand and develop exports of light polyethylene, further projects are under construction in the western province of Kurdistan and other southern petrochemical complexes," Pur-Qassemi announced.

  • Iran self-sufficient with polymers - 28/04/2007 - PressTV - The Iranian Jam Petrochemical Complex is planning a production program which includes meeting the total domestic demand of polymers.  

  • Sweden's Scania to supply buses to Iran - 28/04/2007 - PressTV -

  • Iran ties Iraq crisis to US policy - 28/04/2007 - PressTV -
    The US should free five Iranian diplomats as the first step in persuading Iran to take part in the upcoming conference on Iraq's security. Chairman of the Majlis' National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Borujerdi said Iran attached great importance to the security situations in Iraq and therefore Tehran would never allow the foreign powers to have the initiative in the upcoming conference. The Iranian government has followed its principled policy of bringing the crisis in its neighboring country to a halt, Borujerdi said. He added that Iran should be one of the most active participants in the next meeting. The US government is faced with the gloomy prospect of a complete failure in Iraq. It tries to show that some hostile powers outside American authority are causing the current problems in Iraq, the senior Iranian lawmaker noted. He referred to the US troops' abduction of five Iranian diplomats as an effort by Americans to show that Iran has a hand in the recent escalation of violence in Baghdad. On January 11, US troops stormed into the Iranian consulate in Irbil, northern Iraq, and abducted five Iranian diplomats working there. The US government has since refrained from releasing them despite persistent calls by Iran. "The current Iraqi crisis is the direct consequence of Bush administration's wrong policies in the country, some thing that even many American politicians, on both democratic and republican front, have strongly objected to." Iranian parliamentarians have emphasized that the reconstruction of Iraq is only viable when the country is in a stable condition. "The Iranian delegation should actively take part in the conference and seize any opportunity to make American officialdom recognize their policy-making mistakes in Iraq." Asked about the recent change of rhetoric observed in US officials' approach toward Iran, Borujerdi related it to the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group (ISG)'s recommendations on US government to involve Iran and Syria to help resolve the crisis in Iraq. 
    (See also: Iran may attend Sharm Al-Sheikh)

  • Iran is not to blame for Iraq chaos- 28/04/2007 - PressTV -
    A former high-ranking CIA official has called US claims that Tehran is responsible for the instability in Iraq 'without any sense'In an article published in Time Magazine, Robert B. Baer, former intelligence officer at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) writes; "The (Bush) Administration claims that Iran has been supplying arms to Iraq's Sunni insurgency have never made any sense.Coming soon after Washington initially accused Tehran of arming Shia militias; they (the accusations) have seemed like a weak attempt to remake Washington's case, tying the country to attacks on US troops in Iraq- the vast majority of which are carried out by Sunni, not Shia forces". Baer adds that if Iranians were arming the insurgency in Iraq, would they leave evidence that would easily help point fingers at them? "Iran certainly isn't clumsy enough to leave serial numbers or factory markings on weapons going to the insurgency." Baer writes that an intelligence officer who was recently assigned to Baghdad had told him he thought the Administration's claims about Iran were 'ridiculous', and the situation in Iraq was too chaotic and the insurgency too fragmented to determine the source of the weaponry. "In other words, even if Iranian-built Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) are finding their way into the hands of insurgents, we don't really know who the guilty party is." Baer says Iranian participation in curbing the violence in Iraq is a step in the right direction but Iran is definitely not responsible for the instability in Iraq which Washington is accusing it of.

  • US interest in Iranian participation - 28/04/2007 - PressTV -
    The Copenhagen Peace Research Institute says the US has its own objectives by insisting on Iranian participation at the Sharm al-Sheikh summit. In an interview with Iran's Fars news agency, Hakan Wiberg, the Director of COPRI said the US wanted to show the world it took measures to ensure Iran's participation at a meeting of Iraq's neighbors, aimed at curbing the violence in Iraq but Iranian officials refused. "Another reason the US is insisting on Iranian attendance at the meeting is to demonstrate that the Bush administration wanted to follow through with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group (ISG) also known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission. Therefore, if Iran refuses to participate, it would make it easier for Bush to discard the ISG recommendations", Wiberg added. He also noted that if Iran decides to take part at Sharm al-Sheikh it would mean that Iran would support, help and even cooperate with the current government in Iraq. Pointing to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent visit to Syria, and its possible impact on relations between the US and Iran, Wiberg said; "One could say this move was a pre-election stunt to show that the Democrats are better negotiators than the Republicans". Pointing to nuclear technology and the biased policies of some world powers, Wiberg noted that the countries that had nuclear weapons did not want other countries to acquire the technology. "When Britain and France started their nuclear programs, the US was assisting them, but then all assistance stopped. Also, one of the reasons that Chinese and Russian relations soured was that Russia refused to help China with its nuclear program." He reiterated that he had not found any sign of help from other countries on the Indian and Pakistani and South African nuclear energy programs. "The only thing to worry about is how much help Israel has received from the US. Even Russia now acknowledges Israel's nuclear weaponry, and is helping them with their nuclear activities." He also underlined that a country's desire to acquire nuclear technology did not mean that it wanted to produce nuclear weapons.

  • Karbala bombing kills 55, injures 70 - 28/04/2007 - PressTV -
    A suicide bomber detonated his car in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala, as people were heading for prayers, killing 55 and wounding 70.

  • Ambassador: Israel Seeks to Abduct Iranian Diplomats - (28/04/2007)  - Fars News Agency -
    Iran's ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Reza Sheybani said the Zionist regime had threatened to bomb the embassy complex and kidnap Iranian diplomats in Beirut.  The envoy told FNA correspondent in Lebanon that during the 33-day war on Lebanon, the Zionist regime embarked on extensive bombing of Shiite-residing areas adjacent to the Islamic Republic embassy in Beirut. "Yet, despite Israel's official threats and frequent bombing of the embassy building, all the mission staffers continued fulfilling their duties," he said. Sheybani added, "The Zionist regime also made some baseless allegations about settlement of (Lebanese Hezbollah leader) Seyed Hassan Nasrallah in the underground story of the Islamic Republic embassy in Beirut claiming that the war management on the side of the Lebanese was directed from inside the embassy underground." "Consequently, they started posing formal threats to the embassy and its staffers. To undermine the diplomatic activities of the Islamic Republic in Lebanon, analysts of the Zionist regime officially proposed abduction of Iranian diplomats through helliborne operations," he said, adding, "But all these measures and threats failed to deter our extensive diplomatic activities and we succeeded in practicing a powerful diplomacy for supporting Lebanon and its oppressed people."

  • Speaker Calls on EU to Adopt Independent Stances - (28/04/2007)  - Fars News Agency -
    Iranian Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel expressed regret over the European Union's blind obedience to the United States, saying that it is far from EU's dignity to follow the US.  "We advise them to adopt an independent and rational stance in the talks between the two sides in Ankara," the Iranian top legislator said while addressing reporters in a press conference here on Wednesday. "We have always welcomed negotiations. We utter logical statements in talks and we hope to hear logical words in return as well," he continued. The chief lawmaker further viewed referral of Iran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council as a result of the United States' pressures and provocations, and stressed, "Iran's nuclear issue is just a pretext and the US would seek other excuses if there were no such case." "We have always announced that the more the International Atomic Energy Agency disregards its legal criteria and ignores our inalienable right of access to peaceful nuclear technology, the stronger the parliament would require government to revise its cooperation with the IAEA," he added. Asked if Iran would attend Iraq's security talks in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Haddad Adel said Iran is still studying the issue and postponed the answer to a date after the upcoming talks between Iranian and Iraqi foreign ministers. "We hope that a good decision will be made after Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari arrives in Tehran and briefs us about his reasons and hears our points and reasons," he continued. Noting the insecurities in Iraq, the Iranian parliament speaker stressed that insecurities in that country originate from somewhere else. "Occupation of Iraq by the US has been a wrong action which has no solution but correction of the said action," he underlined. "Americans and all those willing to solve Iraq's problems should know that all the problems of that country will be solved if they strengthen Iraqi government and refrain from supporting terrorists," Haddad Adel continued.

  • Cleric Stresses Prerequisite-Free Talks- (28/04/2007)  - Fars News Agency -
    Tehran's Interim Friday Prayers leader Seyyed Ahmad Khatami warned the West that Iran's nuclear issue would not be resolved through bullying and mischief, and further stressed the need for prerequisite-free talks as the only way to solve the case. Addressing a large congregation of the worshippers on Tehran University Campus here on Friday, the cleric added, "We have shown that we favor negotiations but we may not give up our rights." "This is the other side which has always disrupted negotiations or issued (UN Security Council) resolutions right in the middle of talks with Iran," he continued. Khatami also reiterated, "If they embark on attending talks without any prerequisites, then the nuclear issue will be solved, but if they continue their bullying and mischief just like before, then talks would be disrupted again, although both sides have assessed the recent talks (in Turkey) as positive." Elsewhere, he pointed to the Palestinian issue, and mentioned, "Recently there have been observed some movements among certain Arab states for recognizing the usurper regime of Israel. Their former governments intended to do so, but they could achieve nothing but their nations' increased hatred for them." "Therefore, we advise them to cooperate and assist the Palestinian nation instead of cooperation with this regime (i.e. the Israeli regime)," this week's interim Friday Prayers leader of Tehran concluded.

  • Iran Stresses Deepening of Ties with India- (28/04/2007)  - Fars News Agency -
    Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki stressed expansion and broadening of relations between Tehran and New Delhi in all the various areas. According to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Bureau, Mottaki made the remarks in a meeting with Indian Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora here on Friday. During the meeting, Mottaki noted the two countries' desirable relations in the different areas, and voiced satisfaction and pleasure at India's development and progress. He further called on New Delhi to take longer strides within the framework of the two countries' mutual interests. The minister expressed the hope that the two states could deepen their ties through increased exchange of views and activities by the Iranian and Indian companies in different areas, including steel industries, refinery construction and petrochemical industries. For his part, Indian petroleum and natural gas minister pointed to his fruitful meetings with the Iranian president and other officials, and emphasized the two countries' good relations, reminding that Indian companies are now running a high level of activity in different energy-related areas, presenting Iran with technical and engineering services. Murli Deora further voiced India's preparedness to present increased services to Iran in grounds of technology and investment. 

  • Iran Inks 4 Agreements in China's Economic Cooperation Conference- (28/04/2007)  - Fars News Agency -
    The Iranian delegation which attended the 11th East-West Economic Cooperation Summit in China endorsed 4 cooperation agreements. 

  • US Agreement with Iran's Membership in WTO not an Advantage- (28/04/2007)  - Fars News Agency -
    Director General of Iran's plenipotentiary trade office said Iran's membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a long-term process and that agreement of the US or EU does not accelerate the process. 

  • Turkish Officials Expect Iran will Go to Iraq Talks - (28/04/2007)  - Fars News Agency -
    Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari met with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul to iron out "some misunderstandings" between Baghdad and Ankara over Iraq's objection to holding a key regional summit in Istanbul.

  • France, US to host Iranian artist - 27/04/2007 - PressTV 
    An Iranian artist plans to display his paintings and and give a recital on the traditional Iranian instrument, the setar, in France and the US. Having received invitations from Gallery 77 in Paris, Reza Derakhshani will soon hold a show to put his latest 25 paintings on display, Mehr News Agency reported. Soon afterwards, he will head for New York to hold another exhibition. The distinguishing characteristic of his paintings is the symbolic recurrence of pomegranate and a red texture which is used by the artist as the central color. Derakhshani studied visual arts at Tehran University and afterwards at the Art Center of California. His style is pioneering as illustrated in the form of installations of various media combined with painting and his simultaneous musical performance. The preservation and promotion of the roots of Persian art and culture and their transformation into an international language has been the primary theme of Derakhshani's artistic activity over the past half century. He has appeared in 50 exhibitions at different international art centers.

  • Larijani: Iranian rights unamendable - 27/04/2007 - PressTV 
    Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on Thursday talked with IRNA reporters in Ankara and gave an acounting of the just concluded three-way meeting in Turkey. In a private session with reporters Larijani discussed his negotiations with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, recalling this was their third round of talks. He then went on to express Iran's views regarding its nuclear program. "We believe the only way to resolve Iran's nuclear issue is through effective negotiations and diplomacy," he said. "We are unable to prevent the analysis (of others) what is important is that we have our own plans regarding Iran's nuclear issue," he said in response to a question. He went on to note, "We aim to fulfill Iran's legitimate rights in the framework of international rules and regulations". "We are always ready to negotiate over unclear points, and have said our program is peaceful and that it will not to be diverted," he added. "No one can make amendments to Iran's legitimate rights and we started our negotiations unconditionally," he observed adding "Iran's nuclear issue contains various dimensions which should be considered". "Our nuclear program is genuine and solutions should be factual," he said continuing "I believe positive steps were taken at the Ankara meeting."  In response to a question he said using fewer words is best for both sides and their is no intention of pressurizing either side. Iran has various potentials as does the EU in the region and it is important to invest on joint matters. There will be no development if the same repeated subjects are discussed in meetings while if new talks are commenced, various forms of regional cooperation may be the result. He concluded by thanking Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan and Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul for their hospitality. Iran and Turkey share deep ties which have developed during the past 28 years and hope to expand bilateral ties in all aspects.

  • Nuclear energy key to progress  - 26/04/2007 - PressTV 
    Iran's Majlis Speaker said the country's nuclear ambitions are the key to scientific growth and guarantee its future. Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel speaking at the graduation ceremony of nuclear physics students of Iran's Amir Kabir Polytechnic said that he was pleased to see the country flourishing in all fields of science and Iranian students willing to stay in Iran to continue their studies, Mehr News Agency reported. Referring to Iran's nuclear issue he said "our quest for nuclear energy is not of a political nature. We rather look at it as a launching pad towards further scientific development". "There should be a start if the country is to make any progress. It is not a miracle that some other countries have reached scientific development. And if they have made it, so can we", Haddad-Adel added.

  • Iran can give nuclear assurances - 26/04/2007 - PressTV 
    Iran can take concrete measures to ensure the West that its nuclear program is peaceful but any talk of enrichment suspension is unlikely. Iran's envoy to France, Ali Ahani, during an interview with the French Radio 24, on Tuesday noted that Iran, as a signatory member of the international bans on nuclear proliferation (NPT), has conducted all its nuclear activities under the direct supervision of the international nuclear watchdog IAEA, IRNA news agency reported. Ahani urged the western countries to launch initiatives which could facilitate the peaceful resolution of the current stand-off between Iran and the West over its nuclear programs, underlining that using the UN Security Council for political leverage is more of a hindrance than a help. He added that the IAEA has already installed its surveillance cameras in Iran's Natanz nuclear site and that its inspectors have paid regular visits to the Iranian nuclear locations, leaving no place for any suspicion of illegal activities in the country. "We have proposed several initiatives to dispel the international concerns over our programs, the latest of which was establishing an international consortium to oversee our nuclear activities, and have always stressed our commitment to the negotiating table." Asked by the radio presenter about the impact of the sanctions that UN Security Council adopted last month on some Iranian figures and companies active in Iran's nuclear dealings, the Iranian diplomat noted that such measures fail to impact the nation's determination to seek peaceful nuclear energy. He said that Iran and Russia are two strategic partners in the international arena but Iran reserves that right for the Russian side to seek its own national interests in its dealings with the world. He was referring to Russia's recent anti-Iran vote in the Security Council session which unanimously adopted a resolution against Iran's nuclear activities. Asked about whether Iran would participate in the upcoming Sharm Al-Sheikh meeting on the deteriorating security conditions in Iraq, Ahani said that his country has not yet decided on it because of the ambiguities which surround the issue.

  • Iran, EU talks draw wide media coverage - 26/04/2007 - PressTV 
    The nuclear talks on the Islamic Republic of Iran's peaceful nuclear program in Ankara have drawn widespread media coverage in Russia. Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, and the EU foreign policy chief, Xavier Solana met in the Turkish capital, Ankara on Thursday following the Islamic Republic's readiness to come back to the negotiating table. Russian media circles say the West appears to have backed away from its earlier stance on Iran's nuclear program. They say the international community has softened its rhetoric on Iran. In a report called "The Centrifuges Put the Talks Back on Track", the Russian- language daily, Vremya Novosti wrote the United States and Europe have softened their stance against Iran. A European diplomat told Vremya Novosti that EU officials are well-aware that Tehran would never yield to halt uranium enrichment, and that a redefinition of uranium enrichment would be chiefly discussed at the Ankara talks. The daily also hinted at the possibility of informal talks between Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, and US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice despite President Bush's remark Tuesday that there would be no one-to-one talks at the conference in Egypt. Russian paper Nezavisimaya Gazette ascribed the change of tone to the international community's intention to break the deadlock over Iran's nuclear program and to normalize its ties with the Islamic Republic. It also mentioned the marked change of tone by the US government on Tehran with Condoleezza Rice, saying that Washington's aim in Iran is not regime change but a "change in the regime". The Business Newspaper Kommrsant wrote in an article called "US Mulling over Iran Issue" that US officials are once again signaling their interest in direct talks with Iranian officials. If held, it added, the talks would include a wide variety of topics such as the fate of the Americans who have gone missing in Iraq, the kidnapped Iranian diplomats in the Iraqi city of Arbil and also financial matters. "Washington has tasked Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari with persuading Iranian officials to engage in talks with US officials." Kommersant quoted American papers as saying. Turning to renewed nuclear talks between Iran and Europe, the paper said the Ankara talks are another example of multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian issue. It says there are sharp differences in the two sides' demands, and unless Europe gives up its preconditions, the chances of a breakthrough would be very slim.

  • Iran-Bulgaria Parliamentary Friendship Group confers in Sofia - 26/04/2007 -  IRNA 
    Head of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi on Thursday underlined the need for increase of the volume of exchanges between Iran and Bulgaria. Boroujerdi is in the Bulgarian capital Sofia to hold talks with officials and lawmakers on mutual relations. According to Iran's embassy in Sofia, the MP held discussions with the head and members of Iran-Bulgaria Parliamentary Friendship Group, calling for the expansion of commercial exchanges between the two countries to one billion dollars. He also expressed the Majlis' readiness to support all-out cooperation between the two friendly countries. Turning to the recent Iran-Austria gas export deal with an aim of meeting the energy demands of European countries, he termed it as the peace and security pipeline between the Islamic Republic and the Europe. Referring to the common stance in expanding exchanges, in particular in economic, campaign against terrorism and drug trafficking as well as consensus on regional and international crises including Iraq and Afghanistan, the MP appreciated Bulgarian officials' willingness to develop cooperation and mutual communications. Boroujerdi underlined that Iranian officials are also keen on expanding bilateral ties. For his part Ivanov Spassov, who is the Bulgarian head of the Iran-Bulgaria Parliamentary Friendship Group, expressed satisfaction with the visit of Iranian delegation to his country, assessing the trip and their meetings as very important. Pointing to the important status of Iran in global foreign policy and Bulgarian people's interest in the Asian country's rich culture and civilization, he termed relations of the two countries' governments and nations as positive and promising. Spassov expressed readiness of Bulgarian parliament and the friendship group to expand bilateral ties more than ever. Expressing pleasure with being a member of the Parliamentary Friendship Group, he noted that they fully supported the strengthening ties between Iran and Bulgaria. AN/2322/1414

  • Iran seeks ban on disrespect for religions, cultures, civilizations - 26/04/2007 -  IRNA 
    Iran's representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Wednesday called on its Executive Council to ban insults to religions, cultures and civilizations. According to Iran's permanent representative office in UNESCO's Paris-based headquarters, Mohammad-Reza Dehshiri referred to the earlier conventions and ratifications of the organization on dialogue among civilizations and religions, calling for avoiding every kind of insult to beliefs, religious, cultural and historical values of nations, in particular the old civilizations. To achieve this, he has suggested the formation of a monitoring body to formulate regulations in this respect. Pointing to the increase in offensive acts against religions, cultures and civilizations, he called on UNESCO director general to speed up implementation of programs on dialogue among cultures, civilizations and religions with an aim of promoting respect and sustainable peace. UNESCO deputy directors general for culture as well as information and communication departments Francois Riviere and Abdul Waheed Khan respectively underlined that the organization stands by its commitments to expedite the aforementioned program. They further stressed the need to establish balance between freedom and observing religious and cultural symbols. AN/2322/1414  

  • Iran exports up 27% - 26/04/2007 - PressTV -

  • Iran to export vehicles to Gambia - 26/04/2007 - PressTV -

  • Clinton: US might have to confront Iran. - (26/04/2007)  By Hilary Leila Krieger,  JERUSALEM POST 
    Democratic presidential candidate and New York Senator Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that it might be necessary for America to confront Iran militarily, addressing that possibility more directly than any of the other presidential candidates who spoke this week to the National Jewish Democratic Council. Clinton first said that the US should be engaging directly with Iran to foil any effort to gain nuclear weapons and faulted the Bush administration for "considerably narrowing" the options available to America in countering Iran. Still, she said, all avenues should be explored, since "if we do have to take offensive military action against Iran, it would be far better if the rest of the world saw it as a position of last resort, not first resort, because the effect and consequences will be global." Other candidates who addressed the NJDC only went as far as saying that "no option should be taken off the table" when it came to thwarting Iran's nuclear ambitions. All of the major Democratic presidential contenders appeared at the three-day conference, but Clinton received the most time and applause. She hit on the importance of the US-Israel relationship and the need to recover the three Israeli soldiers kidnapped last summer by Hamas and Hizbullah, but she devoted most of her address to domestic issues popular with Jewish Democrats, such as education, healthcare and the separation of church and state. She also told the crowd in response to an audience question that her husband would serve as an international envoy to rebuild goodwill for Americans around the world if she were elected. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who spoke after Clinton, also suggested that he would use a famous former statesman as an envoy in his administration. In Richardson's case, he was proposing former secretary of state James Baker to serve as a permanent Middle East envoy, a position Richardson would revive should he win the presidency. Baker is a Republican who served under former president George H. W. Bush. "There has to be bipartisanship in our foreign policy," Richardson told the press. He also said economic and military aid to Israel should be increased, and that "the cornerstone of my foreign policy in the Middle East would be a strong relationship with Israel."

  • Oil Eases as Iran Says Nearer to EU on Nuclear - (26/04/2007)  - Fars News Agency -
    Oil eased, but stayed above $68 a barrel on Thursday, after Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said differences with the European Union over its nuclear program were gradually narrowing. Prices had rallied by more than a dollar on Wednesday in response to a much bigger than expected decline in US gasoline stocks which sank them to the lowest level since October 2005, a Reuters report said. London Brent crude, currently seen as more representative of global oil prices than US crude, shed 18 cents to $68.397 a barrel at 0918 GMT, after gaining $1.41 on Wednesday. "The market has been so focused on gasoline that it has forgotten a bit about Iran," said Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix. "But now there seems to be some softening in the approach." After talks on Wednesday between the European Union and the world's fourth biggest oil exporter Iran, Larijani said the two sides -- due to meet again in two weeks -- were approaching "a united view" in some areas. The dispute over Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran insists is only for energy, has dragged on for nearly a year, keeping oil prices supported as investors anticipate possible supply disruptions. Brent crude has traded in a $5 a barrel range of around $65-to-$70 for about a month. "Crude oil prices have consolidated in the mid-$60s and there is no fundamental reason to push them down -- especially if demand growth remains healthy in the US and China," said Mike Wittner of Calyon investment bank. Prices have also drawn support from a flare-up in violence in OPEC-producer Nigeria following weekend elections that observers say were rigged. Nigeria has lost 600,000 barrels per day of output for over a year, though Nigerian officials say more than half that volume will be restarted by the end of May. But analysts said a push beyond $70 was unlikely because of rising crude inventories in top consumer the United States. While the latest US data on Wednesday showed gasoline stocks fell by 2.8 million barrels, overall crude inventories gained 2.1 million barrels, helping to keep the pressure on US light crude.  

  • Tehran Warns Moscow about Bushehr N. Power Plant - (26/04/2007)  - Fars News Agency
    Iranian Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel here on Wednesday warned that incompletion of his country's first nuclear power plant by the Russian contractor would certainly leave negative impacts on Tehran-Moscow long-term economic ties.   He told reporters that the financial problems between Iran and Russia have been settled in the course of continued contacts between the two sides. The chief legislator further voiced optimism about the completion of the power plant in Bushehr, and said Tehran has stressed in its frequent direct and indirect messages to Russians that the power plant is viewed as a symbol of Tehran-Moscow cooperation. "We believe that Russians understand this point and we hope that the construction task would soon get completed," he also added. Asked about the employment of Iranian work force in Bushehr nuclear power plant, he said there exists no problem insofar as workforce is concerned since a large number of Iranian experts and workforce is working for the project. "Rather, these are the Russians who have been delaying delivery of (nuclear) fuel to the power plant, and we hope that the issue would be resolved as soon as possible," Haddad Adel stated. Concerning current talks between Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana, the parliament speaker expressed the hope that the two sides' negotiations would bear fruit.

  • Clinton: Iran attack is last solution - 26/04/2007 - PressTV 
    Hillary Clinton has said if elected as President she would prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear nation even if an attack were a last solution. Democratic Presidential nominee US Senator Hillary Clinton was addressing members of the Jewish Committee of the Democratic Party Wednesday when she said the US should not reject any options regarding Iran. "As the last solution, if we are forced to make an attack on [Iran], we want the world to be convinced that it was our last option and not the first," said Clinton, who added she herself would not reject any alternatives as President. Democratic Presidential nominees have attended the annual meeting of the Jewish Committee during the past three days. "The Democrats have been loyal to Israel since the presidency of Truman (1945-1953), but I look up to Bill Clinton," she said. "I will follow Bill Clinton's path and consider the security of Israel, for our relation with Israel is unchangeable," she added. 

  • Larijani terms his talks with Solana as "very good" - 26/04/2007 -  IRNA 
    Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Larijani here Thursday assessed as "very good" his talks with the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana held on Wednesday on ongoing standoff over Iran's peaceful nuclear activities. Larijani was speaking in a press conference with Solana and Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul after the sides held a tripartite meeting on Iran's peaceful nuclear case. "We had good talks with Solana yesterday (Wednesday). I think the process of negotiations would have better outcome in the future," he said. Larijani and Solana held a five-hour meeting Wednesday evening during which they discussed Iran's nuclear case. The negotiations were held behind closed doors. At the end of the meeting, the two sides termed talks as "good and constructive". 2327/1422 

  • German firms against Iran sanctions - 26/04/2007 - PressTV 
    German firms have stepped up their criticism of government officials for backing United Nations financial sanctions against Iran.
    As Saeed Nobari writes for IRNA from Berlin, German firms fear their business interests be severely affected by the controversial political move. German business leaders argue that increasing financial pressure on Tehran is clearly the wrong way to proceed in the Iranian nuclear dispute. "It is definitely wrong to further aggravate the situation," the executive director of Germany's VDMA industry association of plant and machinery makers, Hannes Hesse told the business daily Handelsblatt. "What political sense does it make to generally block current letters of credit and (financial) transfers of the state-owned Bank Sepah and thus largely delay payments to German firms," Hesse questioned the German government. According to some German businesses, financial sanctions against Iran are in effect impeding the financing of purchases of imported goods by Iranian firms. The blockade against Iranian banks has also caused delays in payments to German companies. The VDMA stressed earlier that sanctions should "not be always formulated by foreign policy guidelines". German exports to Iran dropped six percent to 4.12 billion euros in 2006 compared to 2005 figures. The n - Declares U.S. policy with respect to Iran and Libya.umber is expected to slip further this year, according to Germany's DIHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce). German exporters are also criticizing the slow rate of approving export permits by the German government which in turn is also confronted with intense U.S. political pressure. State-guaranteed export credits are also harder to come by as Germany has been one of the main providers of financing business deals with Iran, with so-called Hermes' credits amounting to around one billion euros. The business community in Germany is concerned that it may lose Iran's lucrative market for good as the Islamic state may be compelled to seek alternative partners in the Far East like China and Malaysia. "There is a big danger that Tehran will in the long run seek its suppliers in East Asia," said the head of the foreign trade department of the German Wholesale and Foreign Trade Association (BGA) Jens Nagel. The chairman of the Near and Middle East Association (NUMOV) Martin Bay echoed Nagel's assessment about the potential harming effect of sanctions on German-Iranian business ties. "If we were only traders, we could temporarily pull out of the Iranian market. But if we do this in the sectors of technology and infrastructure building, we will hardly get a foot back into the door," Bay added. Several German companies are involved in major Iranian infrastructure projects, especially in the petrochemical sector. These include Linde, BASF, Lurgi, Krupp, Siemens, ZF Friedrichshafen, Mercedes, Volkswagen and MAN.  Some 50 German firms have set up sales and aftermarket offices in Iran and more than 12,000 firms have their own trade representatives in the country. The President of the Federation of German Wholesale and Foreign Trade (BGA) Anton F. Boerner also warned that Germany could be among the main losers of sanctions against Iran. He stressed that sanctions would especially hurt medium-sized German companies, which depend heavily on trade with Iran. Boerner made clear that the ongoing row over Tehran's nuclear program should be resolved through "political and not economic means." "We should avoid everything which might aggravate the crisis," he added. The DIHK has repeatedly pointed out that economic sanctions on Iran may cost more than 10,000 German jobs and have a negative impact on the central European state's economic growth, which is just expected to be back on track after a few years of stagnation. "Economic sanctions against Iran would not solve political problems, as proved the example of Iraq. The German economy would be severely hit in an important growth market. The loss of business in Iran could threaten more than 10,000 jobs in Germany," the DIHK said in a statement. "If there were a real embargo, it would effectively kill off German trade with Iran," DIHK's Mideast expert Jochen Clausnitzer warned earlier. More than 40,000 jobs are indirectly affected by Berlin-Tehran trade, a senior German official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, had told IRNA. Political observers in Berlin expect leading industry federations to boost their lobbying efforts against Iran sanctions as many heads of German companies enjoy close ties with the co-ruling party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). 

  • Industrie klagt über Iran-Sanktionen -  (24/04/2007) -  Von Mathias Brüggmann - HANDELSBLATT
    Der Streit der westlichen Welt mit dem Iran um dessen Atomprogramm gleicht einem Drahtseilakt. Die Europäische Union verschärft ihre Maßnahmen nun über die die Vorgaben des UN-Sicherheitsrats hinaus. Die deutsche Wirtschaft zeigt sich wenig begeistert und sieht die eigenen Interessen massiv vernachlässigt. Die Wirtschaft erhebt schwere Kritik an der Umsetzung der Iran-Sanktionen in Deutschland. Die Blockade iranischer Banken führe dazu, dass Zahlungen an deutsche Unternehmen in Höhe vieler Millionen Euro ausblieben. Es könne „nicht angehen, dass Embargos immer nur nach außenpolitischen Vorgaben formuliert werden und die Wirtschaft und das Bundeswirtschaftsministerium dann vermeidbare Fehlkonstruktionen umsetzen müssen“, klagt der Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau (VDMA). Nach Ansicht des Deutschen Industrie- und Handelskammertages (DIHK) kosten die Iran-Sanktionen allein in Deutschland 10 000 Arbeitsplätze. Gestern beschlossen die EU-Außenminister, abermals über die bislang nur zaghaften Sanktionen des Uno-Sicherheitsrates hinaus zu gehen, um Iran zum Stopp der Uran-Anreicherung zu bringen. Der EU-Außenbeauftragte Javier Solana kündigte an, sich morgen in der Türkei mit dem iranischen Chefunterhändler Ali Laridschani zu treffen. „Die Situation ist reif genug, um es erneut zu versuchen", sagte Solana beim Treffen der EU-Außenminister in Luxemburg. Zwar gebe es „keine Garantie für den Erfolg“ der Gespräche. Dennoch seien Verhandlungen der „einzige Weg“. Solana hatte Laridschani zuletzt bei der Münchener Sicherheitskonferenz im März getroffen. Seither waren Verhandlungen immer wieder aufgeschoben worden – zuletzt wegen der Krise um im Iran gefangene britische Soldaten. Die Sanktionen der EU und der Uno richten sich zunächst nur gegen Vertreter und Mitarbeiter des Atomprogramms. Gleichzeitig machen die USA weiter starken Druck auf Deutschland, deutsche Banken und Unternehmen, den Handel mit Persien ganz einzustellen. Beamte des US-Finanzministeriums waren nach Handelsblatt-Informationen bei zahlreichen europäischen Banken und Industriekonzernen vorstellig, um diese von Iran-Geschäften abzubringen. Daraufhin habe zum Beispiel der Autokonzern Daimler-Chrysler seine Produktion in Teheran eingefroren, Volkswagen habe die Automontage in Iran drastisch reduziert. Die britischen Großbanken Barclays und HSBC sowie der britische Ölriese BP stellten ihre Iran-Geschäfte ein. Die Commerzbank beendete im Januar Dollar-Abwicklungen mit Iran. Die Ölförderer Shell und Repsol sehen sich wegen Milliarden-Gasprojekten am Persischen Golf massivem Druck aus den USA ausgesetzt. Der finanzielle Druck auf das Regime in Teheran ist nach Ansicht der deutschen Wirtschaft der falsche Weg. „Es ist definitiv falsch, die Situation noch weiter zu verschärfen“, sagte VDMA-Hauptgeschäftsführer Hannes Hesse dem Handelsblatt. Nach Angaben deutscher Unternehmen führt das faktische Embargo gegen wichtige iranische Banken dazu, dass Finanzierungen für den Kauf von Importwaren durch iranische Firmen in Millionen-Höhe nicht mehr umgesetzt würden. Betroffen ist vor allem die Saderat-Bank, der Washington die Finanzierung der libanesischen radikal-islamischen Hisbollah-Miliz vorwirft. Die Sepah-Bank wiederum soll Irans Raketenkäufe in Nordkorea finanziert haben. Offenbar versucht Teheran nun, die Import-Finanzierungen auf andere Kreditinstitute umzuschichten. Doch wolle Washington in Kürze auch die verbliebenen wichtigsten Teheraner Banken Melli, Mellat und Tejarat unter das Sanktionsregime stellen, heißt es in der deutschen Industrie. „Welchen politischen Sinn aber macht es, laufende Akkreditive und Überweisungen der Bank Sepah pauschal zu blockieren und damit Zahlungen zugunsten deutscher Firmen massiv zu verzögern?“, fragt Hesse. Dagegen weist das Bundesaußenministerium die Vorwürfe der Industrie zurück: „Die betroffenen Banken standen lange im Kreuzfeuer. Wer die Lage verfolgt hat, wusste, dass es zu Sanktionen kommt.“ Das Auswärtige Amt habe „alles getan, um Gläubiger zu schützen“. Die US-Regierung habe darauf bestanden, die Sepah-Bank auf die Sanktionsliste zu nehmen. „Wir haben mit Mühe und Not Hermes gerettet“, sagte ein Regierungsmitarbeiter in Berlin. Die USA täten aber alles, um künftig die deutschen Hermes-Exportbürgschaften für den Iran zu stoppen. Im vorigen Jahr hatte die Bundesregierung die Obergrenze von Hermes-Bürgschaften für den Handel mit Persien von 1,4 Mrd. auf 900 Mill. Euro begrenzt. Die deutschen Ausfuhren nach Iran sind 2006 bereits um sechs Prozent auf 4,12 Mrd. Euro zurückgegangen, „Tendenz weiter sinkend“, so der DIHK. Zudem beschweren sich deutsche Exporteure über die „äußerst schleppende Genehmigung von Ausfuhren nach Iran“, wie die auf Ausfuhrrecht spezialisierten Anwälte Harald Hohmann und Ulrich Möllenhoff formulieren. 

  • German Lawmakers Criticize Sanctions-Heavy Approach to Iran Nuclear Program - (24/04/2007) - By Sara Shokravi - NIAC “Europe must learn that Iran has a security problem” as it sits in a region surrounded by nuclear neighbors, said Rolf Mutzenich, a member of the German Bundestag. Mutzenich, along with Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, also a member of the German Bundestag, took part in discussions on April 19 at the New America Foundation regarding Transatlantic Cooperation and Security in the Middle East. Much of the discussions focused on European strategies in dealing with Iran versus those of the United States. Mutzenich pointed out that Iran has been grouped together with two other States by the United States as an 'Axis of Evil.' While it watched one other member of the 'Axis' (Iraq) collapse under U.S. force, the other (North Korea) has been left untouched due to the fact that it has nuclear power. Such behavior sets precedence in Iran's engagement with the international community, he argued. Mutzenich emphasized that it is important for the United States to recognize and to further understand Iran's history of either being isolated or mistreated by the West. Criticizing the West’s approach towards Iran, Guttenberg stressed that the West needs to clear its image of having double standards in dealing with the Middle East, specifically Iran. Both also expressed a sense of urgency in establishing mutual trust through dialogue and patience. Even so, Mutzenich emphasized the path to a peaceful solution would take “decades rather than years.” While sanctions are an option, Mutzenich stressed that “you can’t only do sanctions when you don’t do politics.” In Germany’s view, “one of the keys to reaching international security is through dialogue,” Guttenberg added. Anatol Lieven of the New America Foundation highlighted this point by noting that a quick solution to US-Iran relations simply does not exist. Talks need to begin regarding other issues of mutual interest, such as Iraq, to begin the process of confidence building and trust, rather than focusing on contentious issues such as the nuclear issue.  The panelists expressed concern about a chain reaction in the region as other states, specifically Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, have expressed interest in developing their own nuclear enrichment facilities. No military solution can prevent such a development, Guttenberg pointed out, as that would cause a more devastating chain reaction of war in the region. The key fear regarding Iran’s nuclear program, Lieven said, is not that Tehran would use a nuclear weapon or pass it onto terrorists, but rather that Iranian nuclearization would cause other countries to follow suit and bring about the nuclearization of the entire region.

  • Halliburton pull-out not a worry - 25/04/2007 - PressTV 
    A senior oil official has said the pull-out of Halliburton from Iran's oil exploration plans will not impact the completion of the projects. Managing Director of the Oil Exploration Operations Company, Hassan Mohammadi-Moqaddam, said Iran's oil exploration and seismographic projects will not be suspended following the departure of the US-owned energy firm from the country. "We have access to cutting-edge technology in the exploration sector and we have invested in many other oil projects," ILNA quoted him as saying Wednesday. He added the Oil Exploration Operations Company will record a 300-percent hike in its capacity in the drilling sector by the end of the current Iranian year, which ends March 2008. The senior official also highlighted Iran's capabilities in oil exploration and seismography, saying he has asked international firms to provide Iranian energy exploration companies with more opportunities to participate in foreign tenders. "As an employer, we are interested in [having] a presence in global competitive markets," Mohammadi-Moqaddam said.

  • Bomben-Träume aus den USA: Die Bombardierung des Iran ist für manche in den USA eine Option - 25.4.2007 - Von Markus Bernath -  DER STANDARD, Printausgabe  
    John McCain, der alte Bänkelsänger aus Arizona, bewies neben der Fragwürdigkeit seiner Präsidentschaftskandidatur nur die Ratlosigkeit der Amerikaner, wenn es um das Atomprogramm des Iran geht, als er vergangene Woche bei einem Wahlkampfauftritt sein Lied anstimmte: "Bomb Iran, bomb bomb Iran ..." "Entspannt euch", rät McCain seinen Kritikern nun, doch eine wirkliche Antwort auf den Iran hat er nicht. Auf halbem Weg zur nächsten Resolution des UN-Sicherheitsrates Ende Mai, wenn eine 60-Tagesfrist wieder einmal verstrichen sein wird, ohne dass Teheran sein Atomprogramm wie gefordert ausgesetzt hätte, bleibt die Iran-Krise ein scheinbar nicht zu durchbrechender Kreislauf. "Auf jede Resolution folgt eine Reaktion", erklärte dieser Tage schlicht der iranische Botschafter bei der Internationalen Atomenergiebehörde, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, vor Studenten der Universität Wien. Für jede neue Sanktion lässt Teheran ein paar "Kaskaden" bauen, eine Kette von Zentrifugen zur Anreicherung von Uran. "Scherzbold" - Als Ronald Reagan, ein anderer "Scherzbold" in Sachen internationaler Politik, 1984 ans Mikrofon trat und vor der Aufzeichnung seiner sonntäglichen Radioansprache die Bombardierung der Sowjetunion "in den nächsten fünf Minuten" ankündigte, war die Lage nicht weniger verfahren. Washington hatte sich ohne Garantie auf Erfolg zum Totrüsten der Sowjetunion entschlossen. Reagan hatte bekanntlich am Ende Glück. Die wirtschaftliche Krise der Sowjetunion bescherte ihm den Reformer Gorbatschow und damit einen willigen Gesprächspartner für die Abrüstung. Eine Bombardierung der Sowjetunion aber war nie etwas anderes als - ein schlechter Scherz. Für manche eine denkbare Option - Die Bombardierung von Atomanlagen im Iran dagegen, insbesondere der unterirdischen Anreicherungsstätte in Natanz und der Konversionsanlage in Isfahan, ist für manche in den USA eine denkbare Option. Eine extreme und außerordentlich riskante Option zwar, die eine Reihe folgenschwerer Reaktionen nach sich ziehen würde: die Schließung der Straße von Hormus mit ihren Ölexporten in den Westen, ein Anfachen des Bürgerkriegs im Irak, neue Angriffe der Hisbollah im Libanon auf Israel, möglicherweise gar iranische Raketen gegen Israel, einen Schub für die Rekrutierungebemühungen von Al-Kaida, eine Solidarisierung der Iraner mit ihrem theokratischen Regime, die Gegnerschaft Russlands und Chinas zu den USA, eine weitere Entfremdung der Europäer. Doch Washington muss anders als zu Zeiten der Sowjetunion keinen Gegenschlag befürchten. Und das iranische Atomprogramm wäre zumindest für einige Jahre zerstört. Die großen Fürsprecher einer möglichen militärischen Lösung des Atomstreits - Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton - sind mittlerweile aus der US-Regierung verschwunden, zurückgeblieben ist allein Vizepräsident Dick Cheney. Doch die Liste der militärischen Lautdenker in Thinktanks und Medien bleibt lang: Michael Ledeen (American Enterprise Institute), Kenneth Timmerman (Foundation for Democracy in Iran), Daniel Pipes (Middle East Forum), Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard), Patrick Clawson (Washington Institute for Near East Policy) ... Unbeeindruckt von den Irak-Erfahrungen - Sie alle befürworten unbeeindruckt von den Erfahrungen im Irak (oder vielleicht auch gerade wegen des Fehlschlags im Irak) die Idee eines Regimewandels im Iran. Es ist die eine, radikale Antwort auf das praktische Problem des Atomstreits: Wie geht man mit dem Iran um, der Nein zu den Forderungen der internationalen Gemeinschaft sagt? Verweigerung ist eine der Standard-Situationen in der Diplomatie. Politischen Entscheidungsträgern bleiben dann drei Möglichkeiten: Man kann versuchen, gleich das ganze Setting zu ändern ("regime-change"), das Regime in seinen Möglichkeiten einzudämmen und durch Sanktionen zum Einlenken zu zwingen oder aber neu festzulegen, was "Verweigerung" bedeuten soll. Letzteres mag nun Javier Solana versuchen, wenn er am heutigen Mittwoch erstmals seit der UN-Resolution vom März den Atomunterhändler Ali Larijani trifft. Ein iranischer Diplomat erinnerte an eine alte Regel: "Die Kunst von Verhandlungen ist natürlich, dass jede Seite als Held aus ihnen herausgeht." Vielleicht fällt McCain dazu ein Lied ein. 

  • Diplomatic dances over Iran - (25/04/2007)  - By Kaveh L Afrasiabi -  Asia Times 
    A new round of nuclear talks between Iran and the European Union will take place on Wednesday and Iran's point man, Ali Larijani, has warned that "if they seek a diplomatic dance in the negotiations, it will not yield any results". The steps to this dance are becoming ever more complicated, and ahead of the talks some diplomatic toes have already been trodden on, even though the meeting between Larijani and the EU's foreign-policy chief, Javier Solana, is too important for either side to jeopardize by trying to score public relations points. Iran has something to boast about, though - its biggest-ever deal with a European company. Even as the EU has adopted tougher sanctions against Iran than those mandated by the United Nations Security Council for Tehran not stopping uranium-enrichment activities, an Austrian company has entered a multibillion-dollar gas agreement with Iran. The United States has expressed its concern over Iran's memorandum of understanding with OMV (Osterreichische Mineraloelverwaltung), Austria's largest oil-producing, refining and gasoline-station operating company, under which OMV will import some 2.2 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Iran annually and acquire a 10% stake of an LNG company in Iran involved in the upstream development of Phase 12 of the giant South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf. The deal is worth an estimated US$30 billion over 25 years. "We're going to talk to the Austrian government, talk to the firm involved, and raise with them the idea that perhaps this is not the most appropriate time to be making or committing to making large investments in the Iranian oil-and-gas sector," said US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, noting that the venture could draw US sanctions. 
    On Monday, EU foreign ministers voted for a total arms embargo against Iran, compared with the partial ban imposed by the UN last December. In addition, European leaders agreed to impose a more extensive travel ban, with a larger list of people alleged to be involved in Iran's nuclear program to be prevented from entering Europe than that agreed by the UN. 
    No sooner had the measures been adopted, though, than Solana said that if Iran stopped enriching uranium, the newly agreed sanctions would be suspended. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad was having none of it. Speaking to the news agency Reuters, he said: "Iran will not accept it [the EU demand] because the sanctions are not legal, so you cannot ask a country to suspend its legal activities in return for a suspension of an illegal move." Earlier, the US State Department slapped sanctions on 14 people, companies and government agencies, including the Syrian navy and air force, which it says either buy or sell Iranian weapons. The list includes Hezbollah in Lebanon, which Iran supports, and firms from China, Malaysia, Mexico and Singapore. The sanctions bar any US aid, government contracts or export licenses to the named entities for two years. 
    Ready to talk - Initially scheduled in Vienna, the meeting between Larijani and Solana has been switched to Ankara, the Turkish capital, after a bid by the Turkish government to play host and, perhaps, act as mediator, per reports from a Turkish paper. In a press conference on Monday, Larijani was asked about the choice of host country and he meaningfully responded that "Turkey is between Iran and Brussels". This is a definite plus for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose Justice and Development Party faces an uphill battle in upcoming elections. Having played a small but noticeable role in the release of British sailors and marines from Iranian custody last month, Erdogan can now take credit for trying to close the gap between Iran and Europe. This gives him an edge over his secularist opponents, who cannot claim such privileged relations with the Islamic Republic. Of course, much depends on the outcome of the talks, and the United States' willingness to sign on to any agreement or understanding reached between Iran and the EU. Solana and Larijani met several times last year, in Vienna, Brussels and Berlin, and reportedly agreed on 11 points until "some adventurist countries meddled", to paraphrase Larijani. The question is, of course, whether or not the US, which has blessed the talks this time, in sharp contrast to its serious misgivings last year, will remain consistent. "The US must speak with one voice," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini has demanded - a fair request seeing how the White House and the State Department often have different tones toward Iran. According to Kazem Anbarlooee, editor of the conservative daily Resalat, "The Larijani-Solana talks and the summit in Sharm al-Sheikh [in Egypt] influence each other." The Egyptian summit, on Iraq's security, scheduled for early next month, is still under a cloud of uncertainty. According to Larijani, "We have ambiguities regarding Sharm al-Sheikh, both in terms of content and form. For any country that wants to enter into a process, the procedure and content should be well defined." Iran has reacted sharply to a recent statement of a US State Department official that the summit "will be successful even without the participation by Iran". On the other hand, an Iranian parliamentarian, Mohammad Nabi Roodaki, has stated that "there are signs of the [coming] release of the five diplomats" held by the US in Iraq. If true, this will remove a major roadblock to the participation of Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at the Sharm al-Sheikh meeting, which US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to attend.
    Contours of Iran-EU diplomacy - At a time when hawkish politicians in the US are pressuring the EU to freeze $18 billion in credit to European companies doing business with Iran, and with the EU adopting the harsher sanctions, there are limits to what can be accomplished by the Solana-Larijani talks as long as there is no breakthrough on the thorny issue of Iran's uranium-enrichment program. Solana has expressed hope "to begin resumption of the talks that we left some time ago to see if we can move towards negotiations". Yet the bulk of his chore may be toward his own European institution, which has ignored Solana's occasional hints that stopping or reversing Iran's mastery of the nuclear-fuel cycle is futile and alternative paths must be explored. "It is to Europe's advantage to improve the climate and the groundwork for mutual cooperation in the future," Larijani stated in his press conference. He added meaningfully that despite talks of sanctions, Iran and OMV have signed a major agreement of strategic economic importance. The Iran-OMV deal is yet another strike against the sanctions regime imposed by the US. According to US Congressman Brad Sherman, since 1999 Iran has attracted more than $100 billion in foreign investment in its energy sector, proving that the United States' policy toward Iran is not working. One may add that it also shows that the contradictory policy of the EU is not either. From Iran's vantage point, it has strong leverage going into the talks in Turkey and Egypt, by demonstrating its "swift advance" on the enrichment process, thus making it harder for the West to seek a complete halt. Also, Iran has gained diplomatically with the EU as a result of the successful resolution of the sailor crisis, at least by putting America's key European ally, Britain, on the defensive. And in both neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq, where European forces are on the ground, the situation is desperate enough to call for careful diplomacy toward Iran (which can play spoiler as much as contributor).
    Results and prospects - "Iran is prepared to provide the most cooperation in the area of control and monitoring" of its nuclear program, the powerful editor of Resalat has stated, a position reiterated by Larijani, who has said: "If they are concerned about diversion [to a weapons program], the issue is so important as to become the focus of future negotiations. We would like that others would have no concern about Iran's peaceful nuclear activities." Calling for a "different methodology" to pursue results in the nuclear talks, Larijani has at the same time declared Iran's "readiness to step in the path of cooperation". He has dismissed a report from Russia that as long as the nuclear stalemate continues, the power plant in Bushehr in Iran that the Russians are building will not be completed. Yet that may be the price that Iran will have to pay if Russia and other members of the UN's "5+1" - the Permanent Five Security Council members (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China) plus Germany - escalate pressure on Iran in the face of Tehran's defiance of UN resolutions over ceasing uranium enrichment. Russia has already committed itself to the charted path of the Security Council, and President Vladimir Putin is unlikely to shift course at a time he is cultivating relations with the EU and repairing damage with Washington. Iran's challenge is precisely how to find a suitable formula whereby its nuclear rights can be maintained while, at the same time, it shows a greater deference than hitherto observed toward UN resolutions. Failed talks between Larijani and Solana will only harden the resolve of the 5+1 to toughen sanctions, whereas a mini-breakthrough will give Russia the space necessary to maneuver at the UN and, perhaps, make a pitch for returning Iran's dossier to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog. In the absence of serious signs of a new flexible approach, Iran's nuclear diplomacy runs the risk of alienating not only the EU but also Russia and China, and thus failing to reverse the negative impact of sanctions on Iran's economy. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes, and the new circumstances demand a deeper level of flexibility from Iran than hitherto observed. Kaveh L Afrasiabi, PhD, is the author of After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran's Foreign Policy (Westview Press) and co-author of "Negotiating Iran's Nuclear Populism", Brown Journal of World Affairs, Volume XII, Issue 2, Summer 2005, with Mustafa Kibaroglu. He also wrote "Keeping Iran's nuclear potential latent", Harvard International Review, and is author of Iran's Nuclear Program: Debating Facts Versus Fiction.

  • Iran welcomes correct, precise talks: Larijani - Ankara,  25/04/2007 -  IRNA 
    Iran welcomes correct and precise negotiations to settle ongoing disputes over its peaceful nuclear program, Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani said on Wednesday. The top nuclear negotiator made the remark while speaking to reporters upon his arrival in Ankara at the head of a delegation to hold talks with the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. "We have always welcomed precise and correct talks to resolve the nuclear issue but the opposite side has set conditions leading to suspension of negotiations. "In a telephone conversation, Solana called on me to continue talks. We agreed to hold a meeting in Ankara," he said. He refused to express his views on Solana's possible proposals, saying he does not intend to make a judgement on the outcomes of talks. "We have cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA carries out its inspection of Iran's nuclear facilities," he added. Larijani stated, "Iran's nuclear issue has been used as a political pretext by the West which will not be in its interest but will intensify problems." The SNSC secretary is to attend a luncheon given by Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday. The first round of talks between Larijani and Solana is scheduled to begin Wednesday evening. Following a telephone conversation between Larijani and Solana on April 19, the two sides agreed to hold a meeting on April 25. The two sides have held phone talks since their last meeting in Munich in February. 2327/1412

  • Iran Insists on Access to N. Energy - (24/04/2007) -  Fars New Agency- We may not give up the precious gem of nuclear energy to evade sanctions, Iranian Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said  on Tuesday.  Addressing a meeting of the Islamic Republic Army personnel, the Iranian parliament speaker said that defending the country's inalienable nuclear rights is a belief deeply rooted in the Iranians' minds and hearts. "If one day we are to pay the price for our independence, then we will resist and pay the price," he added. The Iranian chief legislative official further pointed to sanctions against Iran's nuclear progress, and mentioned, "We are now witnessing that more and more new contracts are signed with our country in different sectors and this illustrates the infertility of sanctions against Iran." He also said that even full sanctions and pressures are not able to deter his country's nuclear progress. "If they close the door of the world to the Iranian nation, (it doesn't matter because) the Iranian nation is a world itself. We are not a nation which may lose this precious gem (i.e. nuclear energy) for the sake of evading sanctions," Haddad Adel reiterated.  

  • Iran Dismisses N. Suspension - (24/04/2007) -  Fars New Agency- 
    Iranian Government Spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham stressed his country's preparedness to attend prerequisite-free talks with the West to resolve Iran's nuclear issue, but meantime underlined that Tehran may never suspend its uranium enrichment activities. Speaking to reporters during his weekly press briefing here on Tuesday, Elham reminded legality of Iran's operations, and reiterated that the Islamic Republic may not retreat to the past or give up its rights. Asked to comment on the US allegations about the arrest of an FBI agent in Iran, he said that there are still some uncertainties about the truthfulness of the claims as the other party has not yet presented any substantiating proof or evidence in this regard. Meantime, he assured that Iran has and will render cooperation in this ground. Elsewhere, Elham responded to a question about the upcoming Iraq summit in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, and said, "We believe in the summit of Iraq's neighbors and this is the official stance of the Islamic Republic. As regards the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting, what matters to us is whether the meeting is a summit of Iraq's neighboring states or not." "Withdrawal of the occupying troops and success of the Iraqi government is important to us," he continued, saying that Iran is yet to decide if it should attend the conference and, if yes, at what level. Responding to another question about expansion of ties with the Persian Gulf littoral states, the spokesman reminded that Iran is keen on developing ties and boosting cooperation with other countries in all the different political, economic, security, technological and similar areas. Asked if Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki would pay a visit to Iran during his present tour of the regional countries, he pointed to Maliki's remarks upon his arrival in Egypt, and said, "His statements showed that we should all have joint cooperation." "This occupied country should be freed and security should be restored there," he continued. Upon his arrival in Egypt, Maliki told reporters that Iraq is insistent on expanding ties with all Arab and non-Arab countries.
  • Iran not to accept suspension as topic of talks: FM - (24/04/2007) -  IRNA 
    Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Havana Monday that Tehran would not accept suspension of uranium enrichment as a topic or outcome of the upcoming talks on its peaceful nuclear program. Mottaki was speaking in the second round of talks with Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque before he wrapped up his week-long visit to Latin American states and left Havana for Tehran. He said Iran was facing mounting psychological warfare waged by certain Western media about possible US attack three times during the past 1.5 years, adding the last propaganda campaign was launched following Iran's nuclear celebration. "The US and West have waged a psychological warfare to prevent our move (to celebrate the National Day of Nuclear Technology). "But Iran held a ceremony in Natanz city to celebrate production of nuclear fuel on industrial scale," he added. Secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Larijani and the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana are scheduled to hold talks in Ankara on Wednesday on Iran's peaceful nuclear activities. Pointing to bilateral ties between Iran and Cuba, Mottaki said, "We are determined to expand relations and make use of new potentials particularly in economic fields." The Cuban minister, on his part, said his country has repeatedly voiced support for Iran's right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, adding Havana did its utmost in the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Non-Aligned Movement. He stated that Cuba would spare no efforts to help Iran with its nuclear case. Roque said joint cooperation and great potentials of Iran, Cuba and Venezuela could play an effective role in developing justice-seeking states in Latin America region. He called for Iran's economic presence in Cuba.

  • Negotiation, best way out of Iran's nuclear stand-off: Ahmadinejad - (24/04/2007) -  IRNA 
    IRI President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Monday in an interview with Al-Alam News Network, "Negotiation is the best way out of Iran's nuclear stand-off." The President added, "Iran's nuclear dossier has turned quite political while the Islamic Republic of Iran's moves have entirely been in accordance with the international regulations and the NPT rules, and Iran has never breached any of them." Ahmadinejad said, "The West that is itself benefitted from the nuclear energy and is a mass producer of nuclear fuel does not intent to permit the other nations to take advantage of it." The IRI President pointing out that Iran has managed to produce nuclear fuel at industrial level, said, "Iran is now among countries that have the technology of producing nuclear fuel at an industrial level, and this has taken place within the barriers of the international laws." He meanwhile emphasized that the best way out of Iran's nuclear stand-off with the West is pursuing the nuclear negotiations, adding, Iran has time and again announced its readiness in that respect." Touching on issue of dual suspension in a bid to solve the nuclear problem, he said, "The issue is devoid of any legal, or logical foundation and dual suspension is a wrong phrase that needs to be corrected." Ahmadinejad further emphasized, "Iran pursues its activities in accordance with its legal rights and the opponents of Iran's advancement have taken steps taking advantage of international organizations that are devoid of legal bases, and irrelevant to our nuclear dossier." He said, "The West has made a mistake and it needs to correct its mistake, while the entire world knows well that Iran's nuclear activities are both legal, and legitimate and many European officials have emphasized this point in their talks with us." The president reiterated that Iran's objective behind production of nuclear fuel is quite clear, and the planning and entire activities of our country in that respect are under supervision of the IAEA. He meanwhile emphasized that the entire nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are peaceful and legal, and Iran is the only country whose nuclear activities are fully under international supervision. The president pointed out that the Iranian nation have an ancient civilization, and that throughout their history they have never oppressed any other nation, but have been in various eras, particularly after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, been oppressed more than any other country. Ahmadinejad said, "The Iranian nation has learned in the course of its proud history how to defend its rights, but Iran does not like to take advantage of oil as a weapon, and does not wish the trend of developments to lead us that way, which is why the Iranian nation has turned the West's threats into opportunities." He pointed out, "Iran's demand for energy is constantly increasing and the old sources of energy in our country are being used up." Touching on Iraq crisis, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran meanwhile emphasized, "Negotiations on Iraq are in need of their necessary and particular frameworks." Stressing that Iran has many times announced its readiness to enter talks with the United States if Washington would change its tone, he said, "We are ready to enter talks in the presence of the press representatives, since we have a bad experience with talks behind closed doors."

  • Iranian President Proposes Talks with Bush - (24/04/2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed to hold public talks with President Bush on a wide range of issues. "Last year, I announced readiness for a televised debate over global issues with his Excellency Bush. And now we announce that I am ready to negotiate with him about bilateral issues as well as regional and international issues," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying on the website of Al-Alam, Iran's state-run Arabic satellite television channel, AP reported. The Iranian leader did not elaborate on what specifically he was willing to discuss with the US president, but he said the talks "should be held with media present." The two countries have not had diplomatic relations since the 1979 storming of the US Embassy in Tehran. The Bush administration renewed its allegations on Iran once again and said Iran must abandon any nuclear weapon ambitions before talks could ever be held. "Instead of offering televised debates or a media spectacle, the United States has offered actual discussions if Iran would only agree to what the international community has asked for repeatedly: stop uranium enrichment and reprocessing," Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House, said Monday. "We're ready whenever they are." Ahmadinejad's offer was not his first overture to Bush. Last year, Iran's president proposed holding a televised debate with the American leader, but the White House called the offer "a diversion from the legitimate concerns" about Iran's nuclear program. He also wrote a letter to Bush last year that Washington dismissed as irrelevant because it did not address suspicions that Iran is trying to develop atomic weapons. Tehran denies doing that, saying the program is for the peaceful use of nuclear reactors to generate electricity. The United States and others also have accused Tehran of helping Shiite Muslims militias blamed for much of Iraq's sectarian bloodshed, a charge Iran strongly denies. Ahmadinejad told Al-Alam that he thought the US was "unlikely" to use military force against Iran because of the dispute over the nuclear program. US officials have said Washington has no plans to attack Iran. "It is unlikely that such a will exists in the United States. I think there are enough wise people in the US administration to prevent such a decision," Al-Alam quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. The Iranian president said military means are the wrong approach to solving disputes. "If some think that by resorting to threats they (can) change the world in favor of themselves, they are wrong," he was quoted as saying. Earlier Monday, Ahmadinejad defended what he said are Iran's peaceful nuclear intentions and called on the European Union to speak for itself during nuclear negotiations. "If the EU wants to have a role internationally, it needs to act independently," he told Spain's state television TVE. "If it wants to translate the words of the United States, for that we already have the United States." Iran and the EU are to resume talks in Turkey on Wednesday over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, said he would meet with Iran's top negotiator, Ali Larijani, to see if Tehran can be persuaded to halt uranium enrichment in exchange for negotiations about economic incentives. The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on Tehran over its refusal to freeze enrichment. According to a document by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has started feeding small amounts of uranium gas into centrifuges and is already running more than 1,300 of the machines. The enrichment process can produce fuel for nuclear reactors or, if taken to a higher degree, the material for atomic bombs. But Iran currently has access only to low-grade enrichment technology (3.5 to 5 percent). Nuclear bombs need uranium enriched beyond 90 percent.

  • Iraner kommen ihren Zielen näher - 24/04/2007 - Blick ONLINE - TEHERAN – 
    Im Konflikt um das iranische Atomprogramm sind die fünf Vetomächte des Sicherheitsrats und Deutschland nach Angaben von Diplomaten erstmals bereit, auf iranische Verhandlungsvorschläge einzugehen. Der Iran könnte demnach einen Teil seines Programms zur Urananreicherung fortsetzen und müsste es nicht komplett einstelle. Der Ausweg aus der derzeitigen Sackgasse in den Verhandlungen soll so aussehen, dass die Anreicherung neu definiert wird.
    Die Weigerung des Irans, seine Urananreicherung wie vom Sicherheitsrat gefordert, komplett einzustellen, hat schon zu zwei Resolutionen mit Sanktionen gegen das Land geführt. Dies hat die Fronten weiter verhärtet. Der Iran beharrt auf seinem Recht, als Unterzeichnerstaat des Atomwaffensperrvertrags die Atomkraft friedlich zur Stromgewinnung nutzen zu können und dabei auch Uran zur Herstellung von Brennstäben anzureichern. Im Westen wird aber vermutet, dass der Iran letztlich den Bau einer Atombombe anstrebt. Der iranische Präsident Mahmud Ahmadinedschad schlägt zur Lösung der Krise ein persönliches Gespräch mit US-Präsident George W. Bush vor. «Ich bin bereit, mit ihm über bilaterale Themen sowie über regionale und internationale Angelegenheiten zu verhandeln», sagte Ahmadinedschad nach Angaben des staatlichen Fernsehsenders Al Alam. Worum es bei dem Gespräch konkret gehen könnte, führte Ahmadinedschad nicht aus, schlug aber die Präsenz der Medien vor. Seine Äusserungen wurden gestern auf der Website von Al Alam veröffentlicht.    

  • FTD: Rice hofft auf Kooperation des Iran im Irak - (23/04/2007) - Guy Dinmore, Lionel Barber, Ed Luce -  Finanztreff.de - US-Außenministerin Condoleezza Rice hat den Iran gedrängt, an der geplanten Konferenz über die Zukunft des Irak teilzunehmen. Sie bestritt zugleich, dass die US-Regierung einen Regimewechsel im Iran anstrebt. Ziel der USA sei es vielmehr, "ein anderes Verhalten des Regimes herbeizuführen," sagte Rice in einem FT-Interview. Rice entfernt sich damit weiter von der lange gültigen Weigerung der Regierung von US-Präsident George W. Bush, Teheran an einer Lösung der Konflikte im Irak zu beteiligen. Noch im Januar hatte die US-Regierung solche Gespräche abgelehnt, da sie, wie Rice formulierte, nicht als "Bittstellerin" auftreten wollte. Damals warfen US-Vertreter dem Iran auch vor, Spezialmunition an Aufständische im Irak zu liefern. Rice sagte nun, es wäre eine "verpasste Gelegenheit", sollte der iranische Außenminister Manuchehr Mottaki der Konferenz fernbleiben. Ägypten hat die Außenminister der G8, die der ständigen Mitglieder des Uno-Sicherheitsrats und Vertreter der Nachbarn des Irak nach Scharm el-Scheich am Roten Meer eingeladen. Washington ist bemüht, regionale Unterstützung für einen Abzug seiner Truppen aus dem Irak zu erhalten. Der Versuch, durch eine Verstärkung der US-Streitkräfte in Bagdad den Bürgerkrieg zwischen Schiiten und Sunniten einzudämmen, droht zu scheitern. Am vergangenen Mittwoch forderten  Selbstmordattentate in der irakischen Hauptstadt beinahe 200 Menschenleben. Am Sonntag starben 17 Iraker bei Anschlägen in Bagdad, 23 Menschen wurden im Nordirak erschossen. Zweiter Flugzeugträgerverband im Persischen Golf - Rice sagte, offenbar sei es "ein kleiner Schock" für den Iran gewesen, dass die USA einen zweiten Flugzeugträgerverband in den Persischen Golf geschickt hatten. Zudem hatte der Uno-Sicherheitsrat schärfere Sanktionen wegen der iranischen Aktivitäten zur Urananreicherung durchgesetzt. Nun könne die US-Haltung gegenüber Teheran neu "ausbalanciert" werden, sagte Rice. "Wir müssen abwarten. Es ist noch etwas zu früh, um sagen zu können, ob sich die vernünftigeren Köpfe im Iran durchsetzen." Die iranische Führung will in den nächsten Tagen darüber entscheiden, ob sie an der Konferenz teilnimmt.

  • Iranisches Parlament verkürzt die Regierungszeit von Ahmadienedschad - (23/04/2007) -  Iran-Infos.de
    Um die nächsten Parlaments- und Staatspräsidentschaftswahlen im Iran zusammen zu legen, beschloss am Sonntag das Parlament im Iran eine Verkürzung der Regierungszeit Ahmadienedschad's um vier Monate. Der Beschluß sieht vor, dass die Legistaturperiode des jetztigen Parlamentes um sieben Monate verlängert  wird, um so eine Zusammenlegung der nächsten Parlaments- und Staatspräsidentschaftswahlen zu erreichen. Dies bedeutet aber auch eine Verkürzung der Amtsperiode der jetztigen Regierung von Ahmadienedschad um vier Monate. Obwohl der erste Beschluß des Parlamentes von dem sogenannten Wächterrat abgelehnt  und an das Parlament zur Nachbesserung zurück gesendet wurde, hat am Sonntag das Parlament im zweiten Anlauf quasi seinen vorherigen Beschluß nochmal bestätigt. Der Wächterrat bemängelte zuvor, dass der Beschluß des Parlamentes zur Zusammenlegung der beiden Wahlen ungesetzlich sei, da die Amtsperiodenzeiten, sowohl des Parlamentes aber auch der Regierung, im Grundgesetz fest vorgeschrieben sind und nicht durch Parlamentbeschluß verändert werden kann. Da es unwahrscheinlich ist, dass das Parlament aber auch der Wächterrat in der Sache nachgeben werden, so wird nun der sogenannte Schlichtungsrat aufgerufen werden, um zwischen den beiden Parteien zu schlichten und eine endgültige Entscheidung zu treffen. Interessant ist hierbei, dass der Schlichtungsrat von dem Ex-Präsidenten "Hashemi Rafsandjani" geleitet wird, dem keine besonders gute Beziehungen zu der Regierung Ahmadienedschad's nach gesagt wird. Es bleibt offen, ob der Schlichtungsrat dem Einwand des Wächterrates statt geben wird oder den Beschluß  des Parlamentes als konform zum Grundgesetz einstuffen wird. Ursprünglich sind die Parlamentswahlen für März 2008 angedacht gewesen. Nach dem gestrigen Beschluß des Parlamentes verschiebt sich diese Wahl aber auf Oktober 2008, um somit zusammen mit der vorgezogenen Wahl zum Staatspräsidenten ausgetragen werden kann.

  • Larijani Calls on EU to Give Up Diplomatic Dance with Iran- (23/04/2007) -  Fars New Agency- 
    Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani warned EU that diplomatic dancing during nuclear talks with Iran would make negotiations infertile.  "We are definitely keen to witness that others feel no concern over Iran's nuclear technology and this can set a serious agenda for our debates, but if they adopt a superficial approach towards talks and embark on some kind of diplomatic dancing in negotiations, then such talks would go nowhere," Larijani warned ahead of his forthcoming talks with EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana in Turkey on Wednesday. "If westerners insist on preconditions, then they will be playing with their reputation," he said. He said if Western countries are serious about negotiations, "then they should not speak of preconditions, because as I have already stated, new conditions have new requirements." Larijani called on the other party to opt for innovations in the course of nuclear talks with Iran. He underlined that attainment of a solution is possible if the other party shows serious inclination for the settlement of the problem. "Serious talks can be a solution to the problem which would serve their (Western countries') interests too," he said. "If they are concerned about diversion, then non-diversion could be the subject of our negotiations because we too believe that this issue is important," Larijani mentioned. He further expressed hope that the negotiating parties would choose the correct option, which he termed to be serious talks. The Iranian top nuclear negotiator also told reporters that according to a mutual agreement reached during a recent phone talk, Solana and he will meet each other in the Turkish capital city of Ankara. Asked how optimistic he is about his Wednesday talks with Solana, Larijani said, "(Our) previous talks produced some results, but some adventure seeking countries interfered in the issue," and made it fruitless. Larijani expressed hope that West would change its previous methodology for pursuing the results of negotiations in an effort to build the Iranian nation's confidence in negotiations. He also said it would be in Europe's interest to find the proper ground and atmosphere for the settlement of the issue, reminding that conflict with Iran would not be beneficial to Europe. "Iranians are ready to step on the path of understanding and this is Iranians' traditional way of thinking," Larijani stressed, but meantime reminded the West that Iranians are not gullible and cannot be easily cheated in this ground. 

  • Double suspension has no legal basis - (23/04/2007) -   PressTV - 
    Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has expressed hope that the upcoming talks over Iran's nuclear issue would be successful. In an exclusive interview by the Tehran-based Al-Alam News Channel on Monday, President Ahmadinejad said dialogue was the solution to the issues expressing hope that talks between EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani would be constructive and useful. Ahmadinejad said both sides should use dialogue to clarify ambiguities. Iran and the EU will resume talks on Tehran's nuclear program in Turkey on Wednesday. Pres. Ahmadinejad rejected "double suspension" proposal whereby Tehran would halt its enrichment activity in return for a lifting of UN sanctions against it. He said the proposal had "no legal basis". "Iran has entered the nuclear club and (the West) should accept it," he said in the joint interview with Reuters and Al-Alam. "Iran has never engaged in any kind of aggression and we believe that through dialogue we can solve the problems, but if there are people who make illegal measures, our nation can respond," President Ahmadinejad said. Turing to Iraq, he said the problem in the occupation-torn country was the US presence and its political views. "Time has gone for bombs and guns, but the US still believes in use of weapons," Ahmadinejad said.

  • Russia, Iran sign nuclear protocol - (23/04/2007) -   PressTV - 
    The Russian contractor building Iran's nuclear power plant and the Iranian authorities have signed a protocol outlining the measure of payments. Russia is Iran's closest ally and has been assisting Iran to build a power plant in Bushehr, but the two had clashed over payments. This protocol however is expected to pave the way to finalize the dispute. Deputy Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Ahmad Fayyazbakhsh and Head of Atomstroiexport Sergei Shmatko led the two sides which focused on removal of financial and technical problems on the way of the project. "If this plan is implemented, a part of the issues linked to the financing of Iran's first atomic station will be resolved," Irina Yesipova, spokeswoman for the Russian company Atomstroiexport, said after talks in Moscow. She did not elaborate on what remained to be resolved and said another round of talks is due to be held in Tehran in May. The IAEO,Iranian atomic agency, says it has completely fulfilled its commitments towards Atomstroiexport with regards to Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant project. Yesipova said Atomstroiexport received no money between the end of January and the end of March. "The talks have finished on a mainly positive note," she said. Last week, a delegation of Atomstroiexport experts returned to Moscow after another round of talks in Tehran and Bushehr on the construction of the first power units of the nuclear station. Earlier on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters that recent statements from some Russian officials had been contradictory. "If the Russians are not committed to the opening of the power plant ... its first effect will be the questioning of the Russians' reputation," he said. AS/KB

  • EU calls for successful outcome of NPT Review Process - (23/04/2007) -  IRNA 
    The European Union Monday reaffirmed its support for the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). EU said that NPT "represents the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the Treaty and also the key element in the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in accordance with Article IV of the Treaty." "We are firmly committed to strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime," said the EU Foreign Ministers' Council in a statement. "We are committed to contributing to a successful outcome of the Review Process, which will commence with the first session of the Preparatory Committee to be held in Vienna from 30 April to 11 May of this year," said The EU foreign ministers. The Council called on all state parties to the NPT to join the EU in making every effort to ensure a smooth start to the Review Process. "We are looking forward to constructive and substantive discussions in the forthcoming session of the Preparatory Committee aimed at maintaining the integrity and enhancing the authority of the NPT," it added. 260/1416 

  • EU agrees on sanctions against Iran  - (23/04/2007) -   PressTV - 
    EU foreign ministers formally agreed to introduce sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, a European Union spokeswoman said. European Union foreign ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg agreed on a blacklist of people and organizations linked to Iran's nuclear industry, based on UN Security Council sanctions passed in December, the AFP reported.
    However, the EU's sanctions go further than UN resolution 1737, adopted by the UN Security Council on December 23. "The EU goes a little bit tougher than the UN sanctions," said Cristina Gallach, spokeswoman for EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana, without giving details. "We include more names," she added. The full list of the Iranians subject to a travel ban and assets freeze will be published in the official EU gazette on Tuesday or Wednesday. Foreign ministers also agreed in principle to apply a second UN resolution against Iran, which was passed last month and introduces fresh sanctions against Tehran. The latter resolution, whose details EU ministers will outline at a later date, involves notably restriction on arms sales. Iran does not recognize the resolutions and insists its nuclear program is solely peaceful and for energy production. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana confirmed earlier Monday that he would meet this week with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani in Turkey. AK/BGH 

  • UK seeks to become first western country to issue Islamic bonds - (23/04/2007) -  IRNA 
    Britain is seeking to become the first country in west to issue Islamic bonds, it was reported Monday. Shariah-compliant bonds have previously been issued by the governments of Pakistan and Malaysia and also by corporate issuers around the world but never by a western nation. But according to the Financial Times, Treasury Secretary Ed Balls was set to announce Monday that Britain was paving the way for the launch of such bonds no later than next year in a bid to bolster London's claim as a centre for Islamic finance. Britain will conduct a feasibility study into issuing Islamic bonds in a bid to bolster London's standing as a centre for Islamic finance, Balls will say in a speech on Monday. "Balls also believes that today's move will send a powerful message to the Muslim community both in Britain and around the world that the UK authorities are intent on engaging with them in innovative ways," the daily said. The UK's aim was said to be not only to issue the new bonds on wholesale financial markets but also to use them as vehicles to allow Muslims in Britain to invest in National Savings products through banks and post offices. Britain's Treasury, which hosted a summit last week with leading members of the Muslim community, has estimated that total Islamic finance assets worldwide, including private equity and bonds exceed dlrs 250 billion. The Financial Times said that although it has not yet worked out what the underlying structure of UK-issued Islamic bonds will be, Balls was "confident that the technical details can be worked out by the Debt Management Office and Treasury officials." The move comes after Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown announced in his annual budget last month that new measures will be introduced for sukuk, a Shariah-compliant trust certificate, so they can be issued, held and traded in the same way as corporate bonds. Issuing sukuk, or Islamic bonds that make regular payments to investors, is usually considered to be slightly more expensive than raising funds with western-style bonds, because they require extensive, costly legal and religious advice. But Balls last week reiterated the British government's determination to create a level playing field for Islamic finance products, with UK banks already declaring a range of Shariah- compliant services. 2220/345/1422

  • Total director says anti-Iran sanctions cause no problem - (23/04/2007) -  IRNA 
    Director of France's oil giant Total Pierre Fabiani said on Monday that political issues and sanctions imposed against Iran by the UN Security Council have caused no problem for the company to act in Iran. Fabiani was speaking to IRNA on the sidelines of the 12th International Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Exhibition. Like several other foreign companies, Total took part in the exhibition, he said. He added that Total is set to cooperate with Iran in Phase 11 of the South Pars gas field, southern Iran, to produce LNG and expand activities in upstream sector. The total director praised the introduction of Iranian contractors at the exhibition. The 12th International Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Exhibition ended its work here Sunday. It was attended by 797 domestic and 510 foreign companies from 35 countries. 2327/1412

  • Ahmadinejad speaks to Spanish TV  - (23/04/2007) -   PressTV - 
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has appeared on Spanish television to discuss various key regional and international issues. "The Iranian nuclear issue is merely a political and fictional [matter]," said Ahmadinejad Monday during a live morning program on Television Espanola. "According to international law, Iran is entitled to [achieve] the nuclear fuel cycle and the EU should insist on what is right and just if it intends to protect its prestige and credibility in the world," he asserted. When asked about the possibility of an Israeli attack against Iran, Ahmadinejad replied that "Israel does not have the courage to attack Iran's nuclear facilities." "Iran has no problems in establishing relations with the US. It is the Americans themselves who pose the real problem because they want to impose their will on other nations," the president suggested. "Americans unilaterally cut their ties with Iran 28 years ago thinking that Iran would be lost without them, but they were proven wrong," he continued. "Saddam was supported by the Americans against Iran and then they decided to invade Iraq and remove him from power," Ahmadinejad said. "The reason why they have remained in Iraq is its rich oil resources," he then suggested. Ahmadinejad also expressed his deep sorrow during the interview for all the Iraqi civilians who die in Iraq each day. 

  • US bases in Europe to conduct security exercises after embassy terror alert: report - (23/04/2007) -  IRNA 
    US officials announced security exercises are to begin Saturday night at a number of military bases throughout Europe in the wake of the latest terror warning, posted by the American embassy in Germany, the US military daily Stars and Stripes said on Monday. The report did not list specific locations where the exercises would take place. Code-named 'Spring Ex 2007', the military tests are aimed at randomly testing and evaluating force protection procedures at American military facilities to ensure the readiness of security personnel and base residents, according to US officials. "Since September 11, 2001, we have conducted many similar force protection exercises," the US European Command Director of Operations, Rear Admiral Richard Gallagher, was quoted saying. "The exercises are one of many prudent measures to ensure the security and safety of our soldiers, sailors, airman, marines, civilians, their families and our resources," he added. Some 45,000 American troops are presently deployed in Europe as most of them are being stationed in Germany. Meanwhile German authorities are closely monitoring a group of people who they believe might be planning attacks on US military installations in Germany, the paper cited an unnamed American official saying. Germany's Interior Ministry confirmed media reports over the weekend which said that threats by militant Islamist groups sparked the United States to step up security measures at American diplomatic and consular missions in Germany. "US diplomatic and consular facilities in Germany are increasing their security posture. We are taking these steps in response to a heightened threat situation," said the message on the homepage of the American embassy in Berlin. "The US embassy encourages Americans in Germany to increase their vigilance and take appropriate steps to bolster their own personal security," added the statement which failed to name the actual threat. An interior ministry spokesman said there was an "Islamist imension" to the alert but refused to go into specifics of the alleged threat. Meanwhile the Berlin-based Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Saturday that American intelligence services warned this month that members of Ansar al Sunna, an Islamist group fighting the American ccupation in Iraq, had conducted surveillance on US facilities in southern Germany. In other related news, daily Die Welt cited security sources as saying that German and US intelligence services had received new information relating to possible attacks on US sites in Germany by Iraqi militants. OT/1412

  • EU Commissioner underlines importance of engagement with Iran - (23/04/2007) -  IRNA 
    EU Commissioner for external relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said Monday that Europe should engage with Iran and the Iranian society. "It is very important to be engaged in a pragmatic way (with Iran)," Ferrero-Waldner told reporters. Earlier, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he will be meeting Iranian top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani in Ankara on Wednesday. The EU Foreign Minister's Council is to discuss ties with Iran during its formal meeting in Luxembourg today. "On the one hand we have to maintain international solidarity on the nuclear issue in our talks with Iran, but on the other hand we should engage the Iranian society by supporting a network of Iranian and European NGOs to work, for example on drug related issues," said Ferrero-Waldner. She also called for cooperation with the universities noting that the EU as offered scholarships to Iranian students under the Erasmus Mundus programme. 260/1416              

  • Iran can be alternative gas supplier to Europe, 'New Europe' says - (23/04/2007) -  IRNA 
    Despite the political risks, Iran's huge oil and gas reserves are attracting western energy companies, reported the 'New Europe' weekly paper. Mohammad Ali Massoumi, a consultant for the International Management Development Institute in Tehran, told the paper that the future of Iran belongs to gas. Iran owns the world's second largest natural gas reserves. "We have started big investment in the gas and LNG business. It is almost over 20 million dollars," he said. "As the Europeans are going to diversify their gas market, Iran can be one of the alternative suppliers. Our gas is next door to Europe and it is the most feasible one," Massoumi said. 'New Europe' is published from Athens and Brussels simultaneously on Mondays. Massoumi admitted that economic sanctions may affect companies working in Iran, but said he is optimistic that these problems will be solved. "The European companies are not going to follow the Americans," he said, adding: "Somehow we have to solve our dispute with the Americans, but, even without them, until now we have a big participation from the European side." Tehran is also planning to construct an Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline and is holding negotiations with Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman to reach gas supply deals, noted the paper in its latest edition. 260/1416      

  • Tehran rejects enrichment freeze - (22/04/2007) -   PressTV - 
    Iran has once again reaffirmed its right to a civilian nuclear program, ruling out any suspension of uranium enrichment activities.
    "Suspension of nuclear activities is not on Tehran's agenda, and there is no going back [ in Iran's nuclear program]", Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, told a weekly press conference in Tehran on Sunday. " 'suspension of nuclear work' should be omitted from the language uesd to talk about Iran's nuclear program", he added. Hosseini touched upon much anticipated talks set for Wednesday between EU Foreign Policy Chief, Javier Solana, and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, expressing hope the talks will help achieve the serious objectives already highlighted by both sides. "No decision has been made, yet, on where the talks will be held ", he said.

  • Iran, Russia renew talks on Bushehr - (22/04/2007) -   PressTV - 
    Russia's Atomstroiexport has announced that Iranian and Russian officials have opened fresh talks over the Bushehr nuclear power plant. "The Iranian delegation arrived in Moscow on Saturday and started talks with representatives of our company," Irina Essipova, a spokeswoman for Atomstroiexport, told the Itar-Tass news agency. This latest round of meetings comes despite pressure on Iran from the US and the European Union to freeze its civilian nuclear program. The negotiations will revolve around problems linked to financing the construction of the power station, Essipova told the Ria Novosti agency. Executives from Atomstroiexport, the Russian contractor for the Bushehr power plant, were in Iran earlier this month and returned to Moscow last week, after talks in Tehran and Bushehr in southern Iran that were centered on fitting out the first reactor. Essipova said those talks with Tehran focused on financing the project but that the visit to Bushehr was to also deal with technical aspects of the project, which is said to be 95 percent complete. On Tuesday, Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov said Russia would not be able to finish the station on schedule because of technical and financial problems. "It is clear that we have to extend the deadline. By how long, we do not know. It is being studied by experts," he told reporters. The completion of the power station by Atomstroiexport and the delivery of nuclear fuel by Russia, scheduled for this year, were delayed by what Moscow described earlier as "financial problems." Russia signed the original deal worth about $1 million with Iran for the nuclear plant in 1995.

  • Iran: UNSC Has No Right to Stop Enrichment Plans - (22/04/2007) -  Fars New Agency- 
    Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Saturday the UN Security Council, which has passed two sanctions resolutions on Iran since December, had no right to stop it enriching uranium.  Iran has been upping the ante in a standoff with the Security Council, which has demanded a halt to enrichment. "We don't accept Iran's case being passed from the International Atomic Energy Agency to the UN Security Council," Reuters quoted Mottaki as saying through an interpreter at a news conference while visiting Nicaragua. "The Security Council has no right to take this right away from the people," he said, referring to Iran's enrichment of uranium. Iran, the world's fourth largest oil exporter, says it wants the fuel for generating electricity and to allow it to export more of its valuable oil and gas. "Exploiting peaceful nuclear technology is a legitimate and indispensable right of the Iranian people," Mottaki added. Mottaki was visiting Nicaragua's leftist president, Daniel Ortega, to cement ties between the two countries, which have improved since Ortega returned to power after winning an election late last year. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is at loggerheads with Washington over Iran's nuclear program, visited Nicaragua soon after Ortega's inauguration in January. While antagonized by Washington, Ahmadinejad is welcomed in many Latin American countries where leftist leaders are trying to reduce US influence. Ortega is an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, another US foe who has forged close ties with Tehran.

  • Iran Blames Russia for Delay in Power Plant Construction - (22/04/2007) -  Fars New Agency- 
    Russians' disloyalty in launching the operation of Bushehr power plant will put their credit under question, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said.

  • Brazil Stresses Expansion of Ties with Iran - (22/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    Brazil's Foreign Ministry in a statement underlined development of relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Following the recent visit to Tehran by Brazilian deputy foreign minister to attend the 5th meeting of the two countries' political exchanges, Brazil's foreign ministry in a statement stressed utilization of all the extensive potentials existing in Iran-Brazil relations in the various political, economic and international grounds, and described as constructive and useful the talks between Iranian and Brazilian deputy foreign ministers. "The 5th meeting on mechanisms for political exchanges between the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Islamic Republic of Iran was held in Tehran on April 16, 2007. These exchanges have been mutually established since 1999 and held periodically ever since," the statement said. During the meeting, the two sides have discussed bilateral ties, and regional and internationRuoovoool issues and stressed the existing extensive mutual and diplomatic relations which were established in 1903, and they also agreed on the expansion of economic-trade ties, it continued.

  • Iran Ready for Full Cooperation with Iraq - (22/04/2007) - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    Chairman of Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaoddin Boroujerdi voiced his country's full preparedness to render any kind of cooperation possible to the Iraqi people and government to help to the stability and security of that country.  According to a report released by the Information and Media Department of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, Boroujerdi made the remarks in a meeting with the officials of the Islamic Party of the Iraqi Dialeh province here on Sunday.
    During the meeting, the Iranian lawmaker described the daily massacre of the innocent Iraqi people as a plot hatched by the occupiers and another black page in history, saying that occupiers foment unrests in Iraq to justify their continued presence in that country. He also viewed intensification of unrests and instability as the occupying troops' mere justification for the continued occupation of Iraq. Boroujerdi further termed as very important the verdict of Grand Ayatollah Sistani, which says killing of Muslims is a violation of Islamic rules and sanctities. He said that Ulema and clerics of the Iraqi Sunni and Shiite Muslims play a very crucial role in encountering the hazardous conditions prevailing in that country at present. The MP voiced concern about the future of Iraq, and warned that enemies of the Iraqi nation have envisaged terrible plots for the entire region, with the disintegration of Iraq being one of them. He also stressed that Iran attaches much significance to Iraq's stability and security, and voiced Tehran's readiness to extend all types of cooperation to the Muslim Iraqi people and government. For his part, leader of the Islamic Party of Iraqi Dialeh province praised Iran's aids and cooperation for the establishment of security and stability in Iraq, and further named presence of occupying troops as the main problem of that country. "Occupiers are responsible for the present unrests and disturbance of the Muslim Iraqi nation," he reiterated. The Iraqi official also mentioned that Dialeh has turned into a bloody province ever since the presence of the occupiers there. He further lashed out at the US, saying that Americans do nothing to stop the ongoing violence and massacres in Iraq.

  • Iran to help 15 released Britons publish their memoirs- (22/04/2007) -  IRNA 
    Senior presidential advisor, Ali-Akbar Javanfekr said here Sunday that the 15 British marines who illegally entered Iran's territorial waters and were pardoned can count on Iran's cooperation to publish their memoirs about their detention period. He told IRNA that Iran is prepared to support the young British marines in writing and publishing their memoirs and provide them with photos as well as cassette tapes and video cassettes on their cheerful life and free remarks during the time in Iran if it is assured that they are not being prosecuted by their government and armed forces. The statement was made in response to the question about the ban on the publication of the memoirs of the 15 released British marines. The British Defense Secretary Des Browne, speaking at the House of Lords last week, dismissed the decision to sell the memoirs of British marines as incorrect. He repented his permission for sale of the story about the British marines, adding that it was a mistake. British intelligence and security officials warned Browne that publication of the British marines memoirs can bring great shame to the British government. "The ethical approach of Iranians towards the British marines will make officials from Britain feel humiliated," said the senior presidential advisor. Fifteen British marines who violated Iranian territorial waters on March 23 were taken into custody by Iranian border guards. "The British marines, who voluntarily admitted several times that they had trespassed Iran's territorial waters and apologized to the Iranian nation for it, were eventually pardoned and released," said Javanfekr. Browne's recent use of the fake term of `Arabic gulf' instead of the `Persian Gulf' is considered as the second consecutive mistake of this British official.
  • More than 3.6 billion barrels of crude oil discovered in south  - (21/04/2007) -  IRNA 
    Deputy Oil Minister and Managing Director of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Gholam-Hossein Nowzari said here Saturday that 3.6 billion barrels of crude oil has been discovered in southern Iran over the past 3-4 months. The statement was made at a press conference on the sidelines of the fourth day of 12th international oil, gas and petrochemical exhibition in Tehran. He told reporters that besides Paranj Oil Field with a proven oil reserve of 1.6 billion barrels, another oil field with an estimated oil reserve of two billion barrels was discovered by the major oil enterprise active in the area, which is situated near Ab-Teimour Oil Field. He also said that based on the preliminary studies, the oil reserve of Azar Oil Field near Anaran is assessed at 6-8 billion barrels of oil. The deputy oil minister said that in the last Iranian year (started March 21), NIOC spent 12.7 billion rials on purchasing its requirements from domestic manufacturers, adding that the amount increased 4.5-5 folds compared to that of previous year. Concerning the talks on sale of Iranian gas to clients, he said that gas will eventually be sold at a price based on national interests. Nowzari also said that attempts are underway to hold talks with the Iraqi government about cooperation between two sides in oil fields which have not yet been exploited. Putting the average export of crude oil over the past year at 2.4 million dollars per day, he said that the highest percentage of Iran's crude oil was sold to Japanese clients. Meanwhile, he said that Iran and Oman are interested in development of their joint gas project at Hengam Field. He noted that the reserves of this field has mostly been assessed as liquid gas rather than natural gas, adding that 80 percent of Hengam Fieled is situated in the Iranian territory.

  • Russia: Iran has right to nuclear technology - (20/04/2007) -   PressTV -President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Yevgeny Primakov says Iran has the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy. The Former Russian Prime Minister said Iran had not violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and had the right to enrich uranium as any other country in the world. Primakov made the remarks at the Sixth Eurasia Media Conference held in Kazakestan, "Since other countries have enriched uranium on an industrial scale, Iran shouldn't be prohibited from doing so," he said. Primakov stressed that Russia was against the use of force against Iran.

  • Khatami: Iran has no nuclear weapons (20/04/2007) -   PressTV -  
    Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami says the Islamic Republic has no nuclear weapons and will not make any effort to obtain them.    

  • NATO: no evidence on Iran's Afghan arms- (19/04/2007) -   PressTV -  
    The commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan has said that that he is unable to confirm Iran-made explosives were in the country. General Peter Pace, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs has accused Iran of providing mortars and explosives for Taliban. He however did not produce any convincing evidence in support of his claims. US General Dan McNeill, the head of the International Security Assistance Force, said he had no hard intelligence on the existence of training camps for Afghan insurgents in Iranian territory, saying "There is no report of that fact." Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Mohammad-Ali Hosseini dismissed the accusations on Thursday and called them "a repeated baseless scenario."

  • India to expand its investment in Iran- (19/04/2007) -   PressTV -  

  • US under fire for anti-Iran tactics. - (19/04/2007) -  By Stephen Fidler,  Roula Khalaf and Guy Dinmore - Financial Times 
    The Bush administration faces a growing dilemma over the pressure it is placing on European companies to suspend investment in Iran, with some US lawmakers dissatisfied with the effort and European allies worried about its tactics. The US Treasury and State Department have sent officials across Europe, stepping up pressure on international oil and gas companies in particular not to go ahead with investment plans in Iran. They are seeking to turn the economic screws on Tehran over its nuclear programme, which has already attracted limited United Nations sanctions. Bush administration officials testifying about Iran on Wednesday at a congressional hearing were given a roasting by Brad Sherman, the Democratic chair of a House subcommittee on terrorism and non-proliferation. Read more...

  • Iran, EU to resume nuclear talks- (19/04/2007) -   PressTV -  
    Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana have agreed to resume talks over Iran's nuclear program. Larijani and Solana, on a phone talk on Thursday evening, agreed to start new rounds of negotiations from April 25. "Iran is always ready for constructive talks over its peaceful nuclear program, while observing its legal rights," Larijani has said. 

  • Croatia Supports Iran's N. Rights - (19/04/2007) -   TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    Croatian Parliament Vice-Speaker stressed Iran's right to access and use civilian nuclear technology, and further rejected discriminatory approaches towards single issues. "Discrimination is not acceptable in any ground," the legislator said in a meeting with the visiting Iranian parliamentary delegation headed by Seyed Ali Riyadh on Wednesday. Also during the meeting, the Iranian parliamentarian voiced pleasure in the two countries' growing ties in the various academic, cultural, parliamentary and sports grounds, and called for the promotion of economic relations between the two countries. READ MORE...

  • French diplomat: Nobody denies Iran's right to access nuclear energy- (19/04/2007) -   IRNADirector for International Organizations in French Foreign Ministry Jean-Felix Paganon in a meeting with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Saeed Jalili said, " Nobody can deny Iran's right to access peaceful nuclear energy." According to Foreign Ministry Media Department report on Wednesday, Paganon called " threats and sanctions" as a wrong choice against Iran and emphasized that negotiation is the best choice to solve Iran's nuclear dossier. Paganon said the upcoming France presidential election has no effect on French policy towards Iran. Expressing concern over Iraq situations, the French diplomat said continuation of crisis in Iraq will be a factor of instability in the region and by referring to Iran's effective role in helping to maintain stability in the region and its important stance in the sensitive Middle East region, called for more cooperation between Iran and France in this concern. Referring to the friendly and historical ties between the two countries, Jalili called relations with France "Important" and added Iran and France have common viewpoints in many regional and international issues. 1391/1771

  • Iran: Enrichment confirmed; Bushehr delay acknowledged - (19 April 2007) - WNN Iran is operating more than 1300 centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment site, according to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors. However, the start up of the country's first nuclear power plant will be postponed and is not likely until 2008. According to a confidential report by the IAEA obtained by Reuters, inspectors conducting a "design information verification" at the Natanz plant on 15-16 April were informed that 1312 centrifuges in eight cascades were running, and that some uranium was being fed into them. Iran says it aims to have 3000 centrifuges running by May and estimates it will take two to four years to reach its goal of 50,000 centrifuges. IAEA deputy director Olli Heinonen also noted that Iran had stopped Agency inspectors from verifying design work on the Arak heavy water reactor. Iran has reduced its cooperation with the IAEA to a legal minimum since a UN resolution in March widening sanctions after Iran refused to suspend its enrichment programme. Meanwhile, Russian Security Council secretary Ivan Ivanov has publicly acknowledged that the schedule for completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, being built by Russian contractor AtomStroyExport, will be extended. The plant had been scheduled to start up in September 2007 under an agreement made in December 2006. Speaking at a press conference, Ivanov dismissed any political reason for delaying completion of the plant. Delays have occurred as a result of wrangling over regular payments by Iran and some technical problems, although according to Ivanov the countries have reached agreements on financial issues. Ivanov said it was impossible to say by how long the schedule would be extended. Further information
    Iraq, North Korea & Iran - Implications for Safeguards information paper

    Iran announces centrifuge plans as inspectors arrive at Natanz
    WNN: Bushehr approaches commissioning
    WNN: Iran defiant as UN imposes further sanctions

  • IAEA Confirms Iran's N. Fuel Production- (19/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    Iran has started feeding uranium gas for enrichment at a nuclear plant where it has installed over 1,300 centrifuges, the UN atomic watchdog said. Iran has assembled eight cascades of 164 centrifuges each, a total of 1,312 of the machines which turn uranium gas into enriched uranium for use as nuclear reactor fuel at a heavily-bunkered underground facility in Natanz. "Some UF6 (uranium hexafluoride gas) is being fed into those cascades," International Atomic Energy Agency head of safeguards Ollie Heinonen said in a letter sent Wednesday to Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh. Pushed by the US allegations about Iran's secret programs, the UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran for failing to halt uranium enrichment. But Iran has said it wants to press ahead with large-scale enrichment at Natanz, far beyond what were previously only research levels. Iran wants to put in first an industrial level of 3,000 centrifuges, and then eventually 54,000 of the machines. A close observer of the IAEA said "enrichment has not really started. The centrifuges are running at low pressure," a first step to getting them up to speed. In his letter, which was obtained by AFP, Heinonen was acknowledging the IAEA's receipt of the information about Natanz from Iran, given during an inspection April 15-16. He also called on Tehran not to cut off inspections to a heavy-water reactor being built in Arak and which could produce plutonium. Iran has threatened to reduce cooperation since the Security Council last month imposed a second round of sanctions on Iran, and says it will only provide notification about sites like Arak six months before nuclear material is introduced. Arak is scheduled to go online in 2009. Heinonen said Iran can not limit cooperation unilaterally. Meanwhile, the IAEA has backed off on its insistence of installing surveillance cameras in Natanz. The IAEA had agreed to "a combination of unannounced inspections and containment and surveillance measures," Heinonen said in his letter. Diplomats told AFP that the IAEA felt it still had adequate access, even without the surveillance cameras. Putting in the cameras was a key demand but a deal struck with Iran gives IAEA inspectors the right to make unannounced on-site inspections at Natanz, the diplomats said. "For the moment, this is alright," said one diplomat. At stake is monitoring an Iranian nuclear program which the United States claims hides the secret development of atomic weapons. "Iranian nuclear official Mohammad Saeedi (deputy head of Iran's atomic energy organization) met with Ollie Heinonen in Vienna in early April and they agreed that cameras would not be put into the underground hall in Natanz," the second diplomat said. The diplomat said the agreement was to be valid for "a few months." Heinonen had in March sent the Iranians a letter giving them until the end of that month to surveillance cameras at Natanz, with failure to do this possibly leading to further UN action against Iran. Iran insists its nuclear program is a peaceful effort to generate electricity. IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei had said February 22 that cameras would be needed in Natanz if Iran were running more than 500 centrifuges. But a diplomat said the red-line number has changed. "When 3,000 centrifuges are running then unannounced visits plus cameras would be required," the diplomat said. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had announced last week that the Islamic republic's controversial uranium enrichment work had reached an "industrial scale," a stage that requires at least 3,000 centrifuges, but did not say how many centrifuges were working. 

  • IAEA confirms Iran achievement- (19/04/2007) -   PressTV -  
    A leaked memo from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran has reached an industrial-scale of uranium enrichment.  Iran has started feeding uranium gas for enrichment into centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear plant where over 1300 centrifuges have currently been installed, the UN atomic energy agency declared on Wednesday, as reported by AFP. The centrifuges are the machines used to spin the gas into enriched uranium. In a letter written by IAEA head of safeguard Olli Heinonen, the atomic energy watchdog acknowledged receiving the information about Natanz from Iran, obtained during a two day inspection starting April 15, 2007. The letter which was sent to Iran's envoy in the IAEA Ali-Asghar Soltanieh on Wednesday stated that Iran has assembled eight cascades of 164 centrifuges each mounting to a total of 1,312 machines. The letter also cited Iranian information to the agency that some UF6 (uranium hexafluoride gas) is being fed into the centrifuges. Iran has said it wants to go beyond mere research level enrichment at Natanz and press ahead with large-scale enrichment for its peaceful nuclear energy program. Tehran has stated that it wants to put in first an industrial level of 3,000 centrifuges, and then eventually 54,000 of the machines. Meanwhile, the IAEA had agreed to "a combination of unannounced inspections and containment and surveillance measures," Heinonen said in his letter. Diplomats affiliated with the IAEA said that the nuclear watchdog agency felt it still had adequate access, even without the surveillance cameras. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad had declared last week that the Islamic Republic's uranium enrichment work had reached an "industrial scale," nearly 10 times the previously known number. Before Heinonen acknowledged Iran's achievements, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei had cast doubt over the credibility of Tehran's claims that it had reached industrial-scale uranium enrichment, saying Iran was operating only several hundred centrifuges at Natanz. Under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a country has the right to make its own nuclear fuel and Iran insists all it wants to do it to provide a steady supply of electricity for its booming population. Iran's goal is to generate 7,000 megawatts of electricity through nuclear power plants by the year 2020.

  • GCC Countries Complicate US' Iran Plans - By Meena Janardhan  (19/04/2007) - - Inter Press Service News Agency -DUBAI, Apr 16 (IPS) - With members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) urging dialogue rather than war with Iran over its nuclear programme and reluctant to allow their territories to be used in any attack, Washington's pressure tactics against Tehran appear to be faltering. This reluctance is seen as one factor in the Islamic Republic's defiant announcement, last week, of an expansion of its uranium enrichment programme to ‘industrial' levels which, the West fears, is a step away from producing a nuclear bomb. Tehran has consistently denied a weapons component to its nuclear programme. On Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a televised address from the city of Shiraz that Tehran ‘'will not retreat even one iota to preserve its nuclear right''. This was clearly a response to the United States' warning that further United Nations Security Council sanctions would be brought to bear upon Iran. But beyond sanctions it would be hard for the U.S. to contemplate military action against Iran because of a lack of support from such GCC countries as Qatar which played host to the U.S. Central Command during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. ‘‘We will not participate by any means to harm Iran from Qatar,'' first deputy premier and foreign minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al-Thani said as far back as on Mar. 15. ‘‘Let us hope to solve this diplomatically and through peaceful means,'' said Sheikh Hamad, who has since taken over as the premier. Less than a fortnight later United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan used the run-up to the Arab League summit in Riyadh to announce: ‘‘We have informed the Iranian brothers in a message carried recently by the foreign minister that we are not party to its conflict with the U.S. and will not allow our territories to be used for any military, security or intelligence activities against it.'' That announcement was not without misgivings. Prof. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla of the Emirates University, while appreciating the reconciliatory message to Iran, said: ‘‘As a follow up statement we should also make it clear that if we are attacked by Iran we will retaliate.'' Analysing the UAE and Qatar's statements, Abdulla told IPS that the ‘'GCC countries are trying to do everything possible not to send wrong messages to Tehran. They feel that they should not antagonise Iran at a time when its role in the region seems to be gaining in strength''. The reference was clearly to Iran's massive influence in the current politics of Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. The GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. ‘‘This is not just a message to the Iranians but also to the U.S. that ‘you are on your own','' Abdulla said. At another level, it is also a signal to ‘‘the public at large across the Arab world,'' he added. The issue of public opinion becomes relevant in the context of a Zogby International survey of six Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where only six percent of respondents thought Iran a major threat to their security. About 80 percent considered Israel and the U.S. as the two biggest external threats. The results of the poll announced in February suggested that fewer than 25 percent Arabs wanted Iran to be pressured to halt its nuclear programme. In fact, about 60 percent said Tehran had the right to pursue the programme even if it was aimed at developing nuclear weapons. ‘‘Iran is a huge neighbour and we have been living in the same neighbourhood for centuries. We understand the positive and negative sides of the relationship and we have adapted very well to all the changing faces of Iran. We lived with Iran before and after the U.S. became a part of the equation, and we will continue to do so with or without the U.S., irrespective of whether Iran is a nuclear or non-nuclear power,'' Abdulla explained. That understanding was evident when Sheikh Khalifa -- whose country has a running feud with Iran over the occupation of the Abu Mussa and Greater and Lesser Tunbs islands -- said: ‘‘The UAE is an independent and sovereign state that rejects the use of its territories to attack any country, especially if it is a neighbour and Muslim.'' One of the likely reasons facilitating Doha's soft approach could be the ample opportunities that Qatari and Iranian leaders have had in recent times to hold face-to-face discussions, especially on exploring the possibility of forming a ‘grouping' of gas exporters, which gained momentum during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to the Middle East in February. Discussions at a 16-member Gas Producing Countries' Forum in Doha during the second week of April focused on deepening cooperation aimed at creating a stable world market for the ‘fuel of the future'. Among the other countries in the GCC bloc, Oman -- which has the Straits of Hormuz separating it from Iran -- has consistently urged negotiations and was the only country in the GCC bloc not to endorse the idea of the Gulf as a weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-free zone, aimed at ‘denuclearising' Iran, during the GCC summit in Abu Dhabi in 2005. Given the extent of Iran's influence in the Middle East, energy-rich Saudi Arabia has resorted to engaging with Iran through dialogue to ensure that the situation does not deteriorate any more than it already has. Ever since the nuclear issue turned into international one, Ahmadinejad, former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani and chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani have taken care to visit several GCC countries. Reciprocally, several Arab leaders from the Gulf, including the emir of Qatar and the UAE foreign minister, have visited Tehran in attempts de-escalate the tension. Iran has made several positive gestures which could be the basis for dialogue in the future. At the Arab World Competitiveness Roundtable, held in Doha on Apr. 9-10, Iran proposed a 10-point plan for establishing a security and cooperation organisation in the Gulf region. Due to the strategic importance of the Gulf and the need for building trust, security, stability, and sustainable development, it is necessary to devise a framework for security and economic cooperation in the region, said Hassan Rowhani, director of the Centre for Strategic Studies of Iran's Expediency Council. Proposed in Iran's plan were: establishment of a Gulf Security and Cooperation Organisation that would include the six GCC members, Iran and Iraq; joint security arrangements and building trust between the regional countries concerning nuclear issues, including monitoring and verification of each others' nuclear programmes in a voluntary and non-intrusive manner. Also proposed were the establishment of a joint nuclear enrichment consortium among the regional countries for producing nuclear fuel and other peaceful uses of nuclear energy under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency and cooperation among regional countries for the establishment of a Middle East free of WMD. However, this ‘constructive' plan had ‘precondition' -- withdrawal of foreign military forces from the region. This implies that the U.S., the sole security guarantor for the six-member bloc, should pull out and this will never be acceptable to the GCC countries in the near future. Yet, according to Abdulla of the Emirates University, ‘‘War is not the answer, unless it is a short and surgical one, which no one, including the U.S., can guarantee.'' (FIN/2007) 

  • India's relations with Iran, China worry US: report- (18/04/2007) -  IRNA 
    The United States, which is at present negotiating the 123 nuclear agreement with India, has developed sudden concerns that New Delhi could emerge as the proverbial Frankenstein's monster, turning on Washington after the necessary clearances from the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had been obtained and the bilateral agreement with the US cleared and signed. India's relations with Iran and China have emerged as central points of concern. A major research study just published by the US government's Strategic Studies Institute and commissioned by the Non-Proliferation Policy Education Center went through detailed discussions with Capitol Hill and executive branch staff, embassy officials, policy analysts and media representatives, said an Asian Age report here Wednesday. Funding for the project, that includes essays by recognized non- proliferation experts from the US, came from officials in the US executive, Ashley Tellis from the Carnegie Endowment and a key negotiator with India for the deal, Gary Samore from the council on foreign relations and Richard Einhorn of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Well-known nuclear expert Henry Sokolski has put together the obstacles in negotiating US-Indian strategic cooperation along with suggestions to overcome these. The publication, Gauging US-Indian Strategic Cooperation, lists several concerns it claims are held about India by the member nations of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the IAEA and the US itself. Some of the questions raised by the authors include: Will nuclear cooperation expand or as some Indian and American critics have predicted -- become effectively dead due to a lack of mutual nuclear interest? To what extent will Indian nuclear supporters, who have pushed nuclear power as an energy independence effort, be interested in buying foreign reactors? Will US nuclear vendors demand that India establish a credible nuclear insurance poll or provide them with immunity from possible legal claims due to future accidents or acts of nuclear terrorism? Referring to the Mumbai terror bombings after which the authorities had claimed that they had secured nuclear sites from terror attacks, the publication asks: Will the Indian government be able to do enough? It is clear from the strategic publication that the conclusion of the 123 agreement is several months away. And that many of the 44 members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group entertain strong reservations about making an exception for India. The IAEA as well is not keen to negotiate any special safeguards for India, and although the publication does not refer to 'Indian-specific nuclear safeguards', it is clear that there is no such category where the US and the IAEA is concerned. Instead, Henry Sokolski in his summary, preceding the chapters in the book, points out that the Hyde Act has specifically stated that US policy should strengthen the NPT, IAEA and NSG 'and encourage India to limit the expansion of its nuclear strategic forces'. Several NSG members, the publication points out, 'are anxious to do nothing that might let India believe that it can test nuclear weapons and continue to receive civilian nuclear assistance'. China as offered nuclear cooperation to India with the provision that a similar exception should be made for Pakistan. Other NSG members, including Sweden, 'seem uncomfortable approving civilian nuclear cooperation unless India does more to restrain its nuclear weapons program', according to the report. It has also pointed out that the IAEA is not keen to accept the Indian proposal that its eight additional civilian Indian reactors should be inspected only when they contain foreign fuel. The IAEA is reportedly worried that 'this will become a new lower standard for IAEA inspections for other countries'. In other words, there is no sign that the Indian-specific safeguards have even been accepted by the IAEA as a possibility. A key concern voiced by Sokolski is 'New Delhi might expand its nuclear forces but choose not to cooperate closely with the United States?' Clearly this is seen as a distinct possibility by the authors who are not certain that India would work actively with the US to isolate and sanction Iran for nuclear misbehavior. "The question is will India do so?" Sokolski asks. India's close ties with Iran, its clear sympathies (Indian Muslims) and Iran's recognition of Kashmir as a legitimate part of India are specifically cited, and economic interests (gas and oil) are recalled in some detail by the authors. The question 'can the interests India might develop with the US override the attraction to improving its ties to Tehran?' is asked repeatedly. The publication makes it clear that in the final analysis the US wants 'help from India in isolating and sanctioning Iran'. It is doubtful, however, if Iran will go very far to achieve this aim. The US would also like India to help in the reconstruction of Iraq. But this too is unlikely. China is another major area of concern. The publication notes that several Indian officials were as concerned about being encircled by the US as they were about undue Chinese influence in the region. And referring to the joint military, energy, economic and nuclear cooperation between India and China it posed yet another question causing the US strategic community some concern, 'how might key US interests fare?' Pointing out that the Indians were currently demanding some of the most advanced, classified US defence technologies, the authors ask, "Will this and other demands be the set price the US must pay to secure India's strategic cooperation, or will India merely play the US off against China and vice versa indefinitely?" Noting different levels of trade relations with India, the next question posed is: "Will US trade with India... prove more important to India than trade with China, or will India's trade with China prove to be more significant?" 2160/2322/1412

  • Sepah Bank non-military- (18/04/2007) -  PressTV -  Iran's Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has called the UN Security Council resolution against Sepah Bank illogical and unjust. "Sepah Bank is not affiliated with the military and the notion some countries have about it is incorrect." Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Davud-Danesh Jafari added;" Based on the Security Council Resolution 1747 which falsely accuses Bank Sepah of having a key role in financing Iran's nuclear activities, international activities of the bank have come to a standstill." He pointed to the various viewpoints different countries have on the resolution and said;" Bank Sepah has different activities in Europe which are faced with difficulties today. For instance when German clients realized sanctions have been imposed on the bank, they were worried about their investments in the bank." 

  • Iran's atomic chief: Iran is unwilling to exit the N.P.T  -- (17/04/2007) -  TEHRAN - ISNA -
    Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) chief, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh stated that Iran was not willing to exit the N.P.T. convention. Speaking to ISNA, Aghazadeh stressed that Iran had no intention of excluding its peaceful nuclear activities and achievements from the N.P.T frameworks. He also added that nevertheless the other sides should not deal in a way to indulge a country to leave the N.P.T convention. "Iran's ultimate policy is to work within the international rules and conventions it has vowed," said Aghazadeh while reiterating that Iran was still ready to maintain talks and generate trust. In another part of the interview, Aghazadeh was asked whether Iran had received any signs indicating that European countries were convinced to maintain serious and constructive talks now that Iran had launched its peaceful nuclear activities on an industrial scale. "We don’t follow our nuclear achievements on such basis. We will continue with our work. It's not of any difference to us if they accept the new circumstances or not," he replied while adding that the present conditions were better for negotiations on both sides. Aghazadeh further stated that if the other sides were willing Iran was ready for serious nuclear talks because it had already achieved nuclear success in Uranium enrichment. "Moreover Iran has never had any diversion from its peaceful nuclear framework and has based its interactions with the 5+1 countries on this policy in order to eliminate any ambiguity or apprehension regarding the issue," he concluded.

  • Nuclear weapons worthless to Iranians- (17/04/2007) -  PressTV -  Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki had underlined that Iran's rich culture makes acquiring nuclear weaponry 'pointless' and 'unnecessary'. Mottaki called pressure on Iran from the West political and added;" the West realizes that Iran's rich and glorious culture takes away the need for us to build atomic bombs." Citing Iran's nuclear activities transparent, he added;" the nuclear age has come to an end because it is clear that even atomic bombs can not break the will of nations". He pointed to the current political atmosphere around the world and said;" the 'bullying' strategy of hegemonic powers has failed and Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine are perfect examples to prove this". Speaking at a meeting with Brazilian Deputy Foreign Minister, Roberto Jaguaribe on Monday, Mottaki described relations between Iran and Brazil as 'satisfactory' and called for broader economic cooperation in trade and industry. Jaguaribe who is currently in Iran to attend the 5th round of talks between deputy foreign ministers of Iran and Brazil called Iran a regional power with great significance. "Iran's culture has always influenced the world. Brazil acknowledges nuclear technology as Iran's alienable right." He called on the two countries to further increase bilateral relations and cooperation.

  • Dutch dealer of Saddam's chemicals sentenced to 15 years prison -- (17/04/2007) -    IRNA  
    One of witnesses of France Von Right dossier, related to a Dutch middleman accused of selling Saddam's Ba'thist regime chemicals said here Monday Hague Appeals Court approved of Von Right's 15 years behind bars sentence. Leila Ma'roufzadeh, one of the victims of Saddam's generals' criminal chemical bombardment of Sardasht, who had attended the Hague Court of Justice as one of the witnesses told IRNA upon return home to Sardasht that the sentence was issued keeping in mind complaints of the Islamic Republic of Iran, witnesses, and reports of international community organizations." Ma'roufzadeh said that the verdict was a clear sign for the crimes committed by the former Iraqi regime, as well as those Western governments and commercial firms that backed it up in its crimes, such as providing it with chemicals to be used in bombs. She described the reports made by international societies at the court "quite shattering", reiterating, "In accordance with those reports, Western companies affiliated to German, Dutch, US, Egyptian, and British governments during the eight years of the Iraqi imposed war against Iran in addition to 19,000 tons of various types of chemicals and poisonous gases, also assisted Saddam's regime in manufacturing of chemical weapons." According to Ma'roufzadeh, it was revealed at the court that in the process of manufacturing those weapons of mass destruction (WMD), more than 450 Western companies cooperated with Iraq, that were mainly German, American, Dutch, and British. She added, "It was stated in the reports that out of 19,000 tons of chemical gases, 18,500 tons were mustard gas and nerve gas (tabon) and some 600 tons of it was the more effective sarin nerve gas, entirely used against defenseless Iranian civilians in cities, and the Iranian combatants at war fronts." This chemical weapons victim added, "It was stated in reports of the international organs during the court hearings that the Ba'thist regime of Saddam during the eight years of the imposed war bombarded at least 350 residential regions, including villages, towns and cities in Iran, and vastly used chemical weapons against Iranian combatants at war fronts." Ma'roufzadeh said, "The criminal culprit kept insisting he knew nothing about the usage of chemicals for military purposes by the ousted Iraqi regime, trying to flee justice, but the judges presenting authentic proof made certain for the judge that he even knew the minutest details, and had even acted in accordance with some Western governments, at times." She added, "Although the court was held amid a calm atmosphere, far from political hue and cry, the signs of Islamic Republic of Iran's righteousness and its being oppressed were deeply felt throughout the hearings, so that some of the attendants expressed surprise over the dimensions of crimes committed against Iranians throughout the war." The 64 year old Dutch merchant that was summoned to the Hague Court of Justice and had fled to Iraq with a set of fake documents hoping to be acquitted, was identified there by a Western reporter, arrested by coalition forces there and delivered to Hague in 2006. Sardasht boarder township was in the year 1987 chemically bombed four times, during which 115 civilians, including children, women, and elderly folks were martyred, and thousands more lost their health for good. Sardasht is the first city in the world that was chemically attacked with chemical weapons, and has the greatest population of living chemical victims among entire cities in the world today. The Ba'thist regime of Iraq after massive chemical bombardment of Sardasht noticed the dead-like silence observed by the international community, and was encouraged to do the same in Halabja, in Iraqi Kurdistan, which was reflected more broadly, maybe since Saddam was there attacking his own country's citizens there. 2329/1771 (See in this context the following files: USA-SaddamSIPRI_weapons_to_iraq_1970_2004.pdf

  • Iran pardons Swedish prisoners - (17/04/2007) -  PressTV -  
    Iranian officials have granted the early release of the two Swedish nationals convicted of espionage and sentenced to jail in 2006 on Monday. At a ceremony held at the Foreign Ministry in Tehran, Stefan Johanssen and Jari Hjartmar were handed over to Swedish officials. Foreign Ministry Director General for central and northern Europe affairs, Ali Bagheri, chairman of the Swedish Parliament's foreign affairs committee, Urban Ahlin and foreign and domestic journalists attended the ceremony. The two were arrested in the southern island of Qeshm in March 2006 for taking photographs of military installations and sentenced to two years in prison by a court in Bandar Abbas. "Iranian officials were very nice to us and I am very happy to be released. I want to return to my country and to my family as soon as possible," said Stefan Johanssen. Ali Bagheri told reporters that the two had been pardoned after legal procedures, based on 'Islamic clemency.' He added Iran had decided to release the men early to conform with the government's 'humanitarian efforts'. Calling the early release ' something rare in the world today', Bagheri added;" The pardoning of someone who is arrested for spying in a sensitive region can only be based on humanitarian policies and the nation's (Iran's) religious and national beliefs." Swedish lawmaker Urban Ahlin who had campaigned for the release of the two men called the early release 'significant to Sweden' and said;" The Swedish ambassador to Iran and Iranian ambassador to Sweden took constructive measures to ensure the release." 

  • Iran sought nuke-free MD in 1970s - (17/04/2007) -  PressTV - 
    "Iran was among the first regional states to call for a Middle East free from nuclear weapons," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says. "As Secretary General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei knows well, Iran and Egypt, were the first countries in the region to propose a nuclear weapons-free Middle East to the United Nations back in the 1970s,” Mohammad Ali Hosseini said.  "Since joining the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970s, Iran had remained committed to its obligations."  Hosseini said as the IAEA chief himself acknowledged several times, Iran had always been transparent in its nuclear activities and never deviated from the peaceful objectives of its nuclear programs

  • G-7-Empfehlung für Atomkraft als Alternative zu fossilen Energien - Frankreich setzt sich gegen deutsche Bedenken durch. Standard - (16/04/2007) -  Washington - Angesichts der Preis- und Lieferrisiken bei fossilen Energieträgern empfiehlt die Gruppe der sieben größten Industrieländer (G-7) die Nutzung von Atomkraft. Der französische Finanzminister Thierry Breton wertete es am Samstag als Erfolg seiner Bemühungen, dass sich die G-7-Finanzminister zum Abschluss ihrer Beratungen in Washington in einer gemeinsamen Erklärung für Nuklearenergie als eine mögliche Alternative zu Öl, Gas und Kohle aussprachen. Bei den vorangegangenen G-7-Ministertreffen war eine solche Empfehlung vor allem am Widerstand Deutschlands gescheitert. "Ich habe viel Energie in dieses Thema gesteckt", sagte Bresson. In dem Abschlusskommunique der G-7-Minister heißt es: "Die Diversifizierung (der Energieversorgung) kann fortschrittliche Technologien einschließen wie etwa erneuerbare Energie, Atomkraft und saubere Kohle." Die breitere Grundlage für die Energieversorgung ist nach Ansicht der G-7 nötig, weil die Schwankungen der Ölpreise ein großes wirtschaftliches Risiko darstellen. Zudem wird die Abhängigkeit von Öl- und Gaslieferanten wie Russland, Iran und Venezuela als Problem gesehen. Laut Breton wurde der Beschluss "einmütig" gefasst. Frankreich wirbt im Kreis der G-7 seit langem für eine stärkere Unterstützung der Atomkraft, die es als saubere Alternative zu den klimaschädigenden Fossilenergien anpreist. Für Deutschland nahm Finanzstaatssekretär Thomas Mirow (SPD) an dem Treffen teil. Er vertrat Ressortchef Peer Steinbrück (SPD), der sich derzeit im Urlaub in Namibia befindet. (APA) 

  • Iran 'united' on nuclear right - (16/04/2007) -  PressTV -  
    Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad says that Iran will not back down on its legal right to realize its legitimate nuclear aims.
    Speaking in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz Monday, Ahmadinejad said that Tehran will "not retreat even one iota" from its rightful nuclear path. "The people of Iran will firmly continue to reach new heights of perfection on the nuclear issue," Ahmadinejad insisted during a live televised speech, adding that Iran "moves under one united slogan and will decisively follow this path." Ahmadinejad vowed that Iran will not abandon its right to nuclear technology, saying that the Islamic Republic is "united" and stronger than ever. Ahmadinejad also called on world powers to give up their "bullying methods" or else "their government and their people" will face consequences. He urged world powers to stop "misusing" international organizations "which you have created yourself", and cautioned those powers that they "are bound to fail in deterring the will of the Iranian people." Ahmadinejad went on to say that justice and a respect for "human values" creates an opportunity in which world powers can improve their relations with different nations, and to "turn a hostile atmosphere into one of friendliness, brotherhood and respect." Iran's message to the world is one of "peace and development," he concluded. 

  • Persian courses in Tunisia, Bosnia- (16/04/2007) -  PressTV -  
    Two courses in Persian language have commenced in Tunisia and Bosnia under the auspices of the Iranian Embassy's Cultural Department. The Iranian Culture House in Tunisia is running the Persian and Iranology course taught by Mehdi Zarghamian. The classes are attended by several young enthusiasts in two different levels. Meanwhile, officials at Bahram Beygov High School in northwest Bosnia announced that a Persian course, primarily taught to 15 students, is being held at the elementary level. 

  • Iran, Armenia Establish Friendship Association - (16/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - 
    Tehran and Yerevan established a friendship association to further expand relations between the two nations. 

  • Two men on the wrong mission - (15/04/2007) -FIRST POSTED DECEMBER 22, 2006 - The First Post
    Their tough talk suggests Bush and Blair may be preparing to attack Iran, says robert fox. I hope George Bush and Tony Blair aren't about to do something daft over Iran. There are ominous signs that they are. On the last stop of his Middle East in Dubai, Blair named Iran as the number one destabilising force in the region. Iran's government, he said, is "openly supporting terrorism in Iraq to stop a fledgling democratic process, trying to turn out a democratic government in Lebanon and flouting the international community's desire for peace in Palestine." Blair and Bush are, in their different ways, like the G-men in the early days of the FBI. They love to have a public enemy number one. Sometimes the top slot has been taken by al-Qaeda, sometimes Hezbollah, Hamas or the Iraqi militia leader Moqtada al Sadr. And now they have the ramshackle regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to take on. Blair and Bush love to have a public enemy number one. Sometimes it’s al-Qaeda or Hamas. Now it’s the turn of Iran. To reinforce the sense of growing danger from Tehran, Bush has asked his new Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, to dispatch a second aircraft carrier group to the Gulf. This is needed to counter the threat of Iran mining the Straits of Hormuz in response to UN sanctions. To help out, the Royal Navy is sending two more minesweepers to join the international force there. "And yet," warned Blair, in best parsonical finger-wagging mode in Dubai, "a large part of world opinion is frankly almost indifferent. It would be bizarre if it weren't so deadly serious." The retiring UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has warned the US and the UK that war is no solution for resolving the differences with Iran. If they believe they are acting in support of democracy, the Bush-Blair axis is showing pretty bad timing in turning up the rhetoric against Tehran. In local elections this month, voters in Iran have turned away from Ahmadinejad. They have voted for moderate reformers led by the former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, for places on the council of guidance, and not for the faction of Ayatollah Yazdi, the president's main backer in the clergy. Moreover, students on the campuses are, at last, stirring and have been demonstrating actively against the autocratic ways of the current regime. The focus on Iran seems to be a distraction from the crunch fast approaching in Iraq. On January 10, Bush is due to announce his last big initiative to win 'success' - even 'victory' - in Iraq. The outlines of the plan are known: to take back security from the Iraqis and to 'clean out and hold' key trouble-spots. An extra 30,000 to 50,000 troops are to be flown in for the 'surge' programme. The proposal of James Baker's Iraq Study Group for US forces to pull back slowly, to accelerate Iraqi army training, and for most US troops to be out by spring 2008 has been rejected outright by the White House. So, too, has Baker's urging for negotiations with the troublesome neighbours Syria and Iran. Instead, these are to be confronted. The surge solution also goes against the wishes of Bush's most senior general.The focus on Iran seems to be a distraction from Bush’s ‘surge’ policy in Iraq and his decision to fly in an extra 50,000 troops responsible for Iraq, General John Abizaid, who believes no extra troops should be deployed. This week it was announced he was retiring - and leaving his post early. Behind the chest-beating rhetoric on Iraq and Iran, there is a nightmare possibility, still only at the stage of informed rumour in the Middle East. Some suspect that a rough-and-ready deal is in the cooking involving Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, the US and Britain to tackle Iran head on with force before it becomes an even bigger menace when it actually gets nuclear weapons. I leave that one dangling. Israel is desperate for action. As for Bush, the January 10 announcement would be dramatic if its main topic were to be Iran and not Iraq. It could all be a huge diversion for a President snagged by dismal poll ratings and a Prime Minister with a nasty police inquiry about the sale of honours getting ever closer to the inner sanctum of No 10.  Related links Bush's provocative deal with India Gulf on the brink of all-out war The First Post Middle East file http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk?menudID=1&subID=999 

  • Germans to build Iran maglev trains- (15/04/2007) -  PressTV -  
    Iran and Germany have reached an agreement on using a new form of transport known as maglev trains, to link the cities of Tehran and Mashhad. The agreement was signed at the Mashhad International Fair site late Saturday between Iranian Ministry of Roads and Transportation and the German maglev company. First Vice-President Parviz Davoudi was also present at the ceremony. Speaking at the meeting, the Governor General of Khorasan Razavi province Mohammad-Javad Mohammadi-Zadeh said the high-speed maglev trains would reduce travel time between Tehran and Mashhad to 2.5 - 3 hours. Traveling the 900-km distance between the two cities by train currently takes about 14 hours. Germany will invest 6.7 billion euros in the project under a base operations support contract, which Iran will have to repay within a 15 to 25-year period, he said. Using powerful electromagnets, the high-speed trains, can travel at speeds of up to 500 kph. Once operational, the maglev trains will transport an estimated 10 million passengers per year.

  • Iran: IAEA report to remove ambiguity- (15/04/2007) -  PressTV -  
    Iran says reports by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will resolve any possible ambiguities about the country's nuclear program. "The IAEA inspectors are currently in Natanz, in central province of Isfahan. They will prepare their report based on the country's latest nuclear developments, and will submit it to the IAEA chief," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini told reporters in a press conference in Tehran on Sunday. He added that the reports are expected to resolve ambiguities about Iran's peaceful nuclear program. "Tehran will assess a visit by the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Iran and her talks with Iranian officials, if she makes a formal demand," Hosseini said when asked to offer his views in this respect. Pelosi's office has also rejected reports of her visit to Tehran, he added. The spokesman also noted that an exact date for a future trip by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Tehran is yet to be specified. Elsewhere, Hosseini announced that the managing director of the Russian firm working to build Bushehr nuclear power plant (Atomstroyexport) will visit Tehran over the next few days.  Dismissing reports that Iran-Iraq ties are on decline, Hosseini noted, "Tehran and Baghdad have good firm ties based on mutual interests. Moreover, top officials of the two countries have aim to further expand bilateral ties." On Iran's ties with Brazil, the official said that Brazilian officials want to expand political and economic relations with Iran despite US pressures to isolate the Islamic Republic. He further said that Tehran welcomes development of ties with Brazil. Referring to the auction of Iran's Jiroft historical artifacts by a British court, the spokesman said Iran considers the court's verdict unjustified. "Iran's Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with a parliamentary committee and Cultural Heritage Organization, is making efforts to claim the country's rights." Elsewhere in his remarks, Hosseini said that Iran will exhaust all efforts that would lead to the release of its diplomats held by US forces in Iraq. "We recommend the US to stop its inflexible attitude and free the diplomats as soon as possible." On Lebanese political situation, Hosseini said that Iran and Saudi Arabia are continuing talks to help solve the issue, describing Tehran-Riyadh negotiations on the issue as "fruitful." He however stressed that the Lebanese people were the ones to decide their own fate. Hosseini concluded the press conference by announcing that Tehran will host an international seminar on "Persian Gulf and International Laws" on May 28-29.

  • US can bid on Iran nuclear tenders - (15/04/2007) -  PressTV -  
    An Iranian nuclear agency official says that Iran will be taking offers to build two nuclear power stations and that US firms may apply. Ahmad Fayaz-Bakhsh, the director of production of atomic energy at Iran's nuclear agency, told reporters Sunday that "Iran is launching two tenders for the construction of two nuclear power stations of between 1,000 and 1,600 megawatts capacity" in the southern Iranian city of Bushehr. "Any company that is interested can take part,” said Fayaz-Bakhsh when asked if US firms may also take part in the tender to build the two nuclear power stations. "Eligible applicants that have the required expertise in constructing and launching these kinds of power plants can take part in the tender," he continued. The nuclear official also revealed that several European firms have already expressed interest in taking part in a nuclear deal with Iran.

  • Iran to tender two nuclear plants- (15/04/2007) -  PressTV -  
    Iran is inviting international contractors to bid for the construction of two new nuclear power plants in its southern province of Bushehr. "Iran's Atomic Energy Production and Development Company will hold international tenders to build two nuclear power plants which will have a capacity of 1000 to 1600 MW," Ahmad Fayyaz-Bakhsh, the company's managing director told reporters on Sunday in Tehran. He explained that the tender notice will be published in international dailies this week, adding, it will be also released on the website of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO). "Each power plant is expected to cost 1.4 to 1.7 billion dollars, depending on what type of technology is used," he noted. The tender documents contain the technical features expected for each power plant, financial issues, as well as the shares of the Iranian contractors and consultants, Fayyaz-Bakhsh said. He further noted that bidders should send their proposals to the Vienna-based office of the AEOI before August 2. "They can also send bids to the Atomic Energy Production and Development Company in Tehran prior to August 8." "Any company that is interested can take part,” said Fayaz-Bakhsh when asked if US firms may also take part in the tender to build the two nuclear power stations. "Eligible applicants that have the required expertise in constructing and launching these kinds of power plants can take part in the tender," he continued. The nuclear official also revealed that several European firms have already expressed interest in taking part in a nuclear deal with Iran. The bids will be disclosed on August 8, he added. Fayyaz-Bakhsh also stated that the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran should produce 20,000 MW of electricity through nuclear power plants, according to objectives set in Iran's 20-Year Outlook Plan. The Islamic Republic of Iran plans to use nuclear energy as an alternative for the production of fuel and electricity so that it can utilize its oil and gas reserves for export purposes. However, the West is accusing Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, despite repeated announcements by Iranian officials that the country is aiming for peaceful nuclear technology.

  • Iran Seeks Bids for 2 More Nuclear Plants- (15/04/2007) -   By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS via New York Times. 
    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran said Sunday it is seeking bids for the building of two more nuclear power plants, despite international pressures to curb its controversial program. Ahmad Fayyazbakhsh, the deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization in charge of power plants, said the plants would be light-water reactors, each with the capacity to generate up to 1,600 megawatts of electricity. Each plant would cost up to $1.7 billion and take up to 11 years to construct, he told reporters during a news conference at his office. The country has been locked in a bitter funding dispute with Russia, which is building Iran's first nuclear power plant near the southern city of Bushehr. Russia delayed the launch of the plant, which had been set for September, and refused to ship uranium fuel for the reactor last month as earlier planned, citing Iran's payment arrears. Iranian officials denied any payment delays under the $1 billion contract, and accused Russia of caving in to Western pressure. Iran is already building a 40-megawatt heavy water reactor in Arak, central Iran, based on domestic technology. It is also preparing to build a 360-megawatt nuclear power plant in Darkhovin, in southwestern Iran. Fayyazbakhsh said the two new plants would be built near Bushehr. He also said he planned to travel to Russia next week to try to ease tensions and get the first Bushehr plant back on track. The bids for the two plants, which will expire in early August, have been published on the nuclear organization's Web site. Iran has already negotiated with several foreign companies that have expressed interest in the new project, Fayyazbakhsh said. He declined to name the companies. Under Iranian law, the nuclear organization has been tasked with providing 20,000 megawatts of electricity through nuclear power plants during the next 20 years. The U.S. and some of its allies accuse Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons -- a charge Iran denies. Iran has insisted it has a right to develop enrichment and has pushed ahead with the process at a separate facility outside the central town of Natanz. The U.N. Security Council last month voted to impose new sanctions on Iran as part of a second set of penalties in three months against Tehran over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. The enrichment process can produce fuel for nuclear reactors or -- if taken to a higher degree -- the material for atomic bombs. Iran said Monday it has begun operating 3,000 centrifuges at its Natanz facility-- nearly 10 times the previously known number -- in defiance of the U.N. demands. The U.S., Britain, France and others criticized the announcement. But the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, on Thursday discounted Tehran's claims, saying only several hundred centrifuges were operating at Natanz. The U.N. latest sanctions included the banning of Iranian arms exports and freezing of assets of 28 people and organizations involved in Iran's nuclear missile programs. Iran has rejected the sanctions and announced a partial suspension of cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Association.

  • Eye on Iran, Rivals Pursuing Nuclear Power - (15/04/2007) -  By WILLIAM J. BROADDAVID E. SANGER - NY Times. Two years ago, the leaders of Saudi Arabia told international atomic regulators that they could foresee no need for the kingdom to develop nuclear power. Today, they are scrambling to hire atomic contractors, buy nuclear hardware and build support for a regional system of reactors. So, too, Turkey is preparing for its first atomic plant. And Egypt has announced plans to build one on its Mediterranean coast. In all, roughly a dozen states in the region have recently turned to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna for help in starting their own nuclear programs. While interest in nuclear energy is rising globally, it is unusually strong in the Middle East. “The rules have changed,” King Abdullah II of Jordan recently told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “Everybody’s going for nuclear programs.” The Middle East states say they only want atomic power. Some probably do. But United States government and private analysts say they believe that the rush of activity is also intended to counter the threat of a nuclear Iran. By nature, the underlying technologies of nuclear power can make electricity or, with more effort, warheads, as nations have demonstrated over the decades by turning ostensibly civilian programs into sources of bomb fuel. Iran’s uneasy neighbors, analysts say, may be positioning themselves to do the same. “One danger of Iran going nuclear has always been that it might provoke others,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, an arms analysis group in London. “So when you see the development of nuclear power elsewhere in the region, it’s a cause for some concern.”
    Some analysts ask why Arab states in the Persian Gulf, which hold nearly half the world’s oil reserves, would want to shoulder the high costs and obligations of a temperamental form of energy. They reply that they must invest in the future, for the day when the flow of oil dries up. But with Shiite Iran increasingly ascendant in the region, Sunni countries have alluded to other motives. Officials from 21 governments in and around the Middle East warned at a meeting of Arab leaders in March that Iran’s drive for atomic technology could result in the beginning of “a grave and destructive nuclear arms race in the region.” In Washington, officials are seizing on such developments to build their case for stepping up pressure on Iran. President Bush has talked privately to experts on the Middle East about his fears of a “Sunni bomb,” and his concerns that countries in the Middle East may turn to the only nuclear-armed Sunni state, Pakistan, for help. Even so, that concern is tempered by caution. In an interview on Thursday, a senior administration official said that the recent announcements were “clearly part of an effort to send a signal to Iran that two can play this game.” And, he added, “among the non-Iranian programs I’ve heard about in the region, I have not heard talk of reprocessing or enrichment, which is what would worry us the most.” The Middle East has seen hints of a regional nuclear-arms race before. After Israel obtained its first weapon four decades ago, several countries took steps down the nuclear road. But many analysts say it is Iran’s atomic intransigence that has now prodded the Sunni powers into getting serious about hedging their bets and, like Iran, financing them with $65-a-barrel oil. “Now’s the time to worry,” said Geoffrey Kemp, a Middle East expert at the Nixon Center, a Washington policy institute. “The Iranians have to worry, too. The idea that they’ll emerge as the regional hegemon is silly. There will be a very serious counterreaction, certainly in conventional military buildups but also in examining the nuclear option.” No Arab country now has a power reactor, whose spent fuel can be mined for plutonium, one of the two favored materials — along with uranium — for making the cores of atom bombs. Some Arab states do, however, engage in civilian atomic research. Analysts caution that a chain reaction of nuclear emulation is not foreordained. States in the Middle East appear to be waiting to see which way Tehran’s nuclear standoff with the United Nations Security Council goes before committing themselves wholeheartedly to costly programs of atomic development. Even if Middle Eastern nations do obtain nuclear power, political alliances and arms-control agreements could still make individual states hesitate before crossing the line to obtain warheads. Many may eventually decide that the costs and risks outweigh the benefits — as South Korea, Taiwan, South Africa and Libya did after investing heavily in arms programs. But many diplomats and analysts say that the Sunni Arab governments are so anxious about Iran’s nuclear progress that they would even, grudgingly, support a United States military strike against Iran. “If push comes to shove, if the choice is between an Iranian nuclear bomb and a U.S. military strike, then the Arab gulf states have no choice but to quietly support the U.S.,” said Christian Koch, director of international studies at the Gulf Research Center, a private group in Dubai. Decades ago, it was Israel’s drive for nuclear arms that brought about the region’s first atomic jitters. Even some Israeli leaders found themselves “preaching caution because of the reaction,” said Avner Cohen, a senior fellow at the University of Maryland and the author of “Israel and the Bomb.” Egypt responded first. In 1960, after the disclosure of Israel’s work on a nuclear reactor, Cairo threatened to acquire atomic arms and sought its own reactor. Years of technical and political hurdles ultimately ended that plan. Iraq came next. But in June 1981, Israeli fighter jets bombed its reactor just days before engineers planned to install the radioactive core. The bombing ignited a global debate over how close Iraq had come to nuclear arms. It also prompted Iran, then fighting a war with Iraq, to embark on a covert response. Alireza Assar, a nuclear adviser to Iran’s Ministry of Defense who later defected, said he attended a secret meeting in 1987 at which the commander in chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said Iran had to do whatever was necessary to achieve victory. “We need to have all the technical requirements in our possession,” Dr. Assar recalled the commander as saying, even the means to “build a nuclear bomb.” In all, Iran toiled in secret for 18 years before its nuclear efforts were disclosed in 2003. Intelligence agencies and nuclear experts now estimate that the Iranians are 2 to 10 years away from having the means to make a uranium-based bomb. It says its uranium enrichment work is entirely peaceful and meant only to fuel reactors. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s concerns grew when inspectors found evidence of still-unexplained ties between Iran’s ostensibly peaceful program and its military, including work on high explosives, missiles and warheads. That combination, the inspectors said in early 2006, suggested a “military nuclear dimension.” Before such disclosures, few if any states in the Middle East attended the atomic agency’s meetings on nuclear power development. Now, roughly a dozen are doing so and drawing up atomic plans. The newly interested states include Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen and the seven sheikdoms of the United Arab Emirates — Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Al Fujayrah, Ras al Khaymah, Sharjah, and Umm al Qaywayn. “They generally ask what they need to do for the introduction of power,” said R. Ian Facer, a nuclear power engineer who works for the I.A.E.A. at its headquarters in Vienna. The agency teaches the basics of nuclear energy. In exchange, states must undergo periodic inspections to make sure their civilian programs have no military spinoffs.
    Saudi Arabia, since reversing itself on reactors, has become a whirlwind of atomic interest. It recently invited President Vladimir V. Putin to become the first Russian head of state to visit the desert kingdom. He did so in February, offering a range of nuclear aid. Diplomats and analysts say Saudi Arabia leads the drive for nuclear power within the Gulf Cooperation Council, based in Riyadh. In addition to the Saudis, the council includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — Washington’s closest Arab allies. Its member states hug the western shores of the Persian Gulf and control about 45 percent of the world’s oil reserves. Late last year, the council announced that it would embark on a nuclear energy program. Its officials have said they want to get it under way by 2009. “We will develop it openly,” Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said of the council’s effort. “We want no bombs. All we want is a whole Middle East that is free from weapons of mass destruction,” an Arab reference to both Israel’s and Iran’s nuclear programs. In February, the council and the I.A.E.A. struck a deal to work together on a nuclear power plan for the Arab gulf states. Abdul Rahman ibn Hamad al-Attiya, the council’s secretary general, told reporters in March that the agency would provide technical expertise and that the council would hire a consulting firm to speed its nuclear deliberations. Already, Saudi officials are traveling regularly to Vienna, and I.A.E.A. officials to Riyadh, the Saudi capital. “It’s a natural right,” Mohamed ElBaradei, the atomic agency’s director general, said recently of the council’s energy plan, estimating that carrying it out might take up to 15 years. Every gulf state except Iraq has declared an interest in nuclear power. By comparison, 15 percent of South American nations and 20 percent of African ones have done so.
    One factor in that exceptional level of interest is that the Persian Gulf states have the means. Typically, a large commercial reactor costs up to $4 billion. The six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council are estimated to be investing in nonnuclear projects valued at more than $1 trillion. Another factor is Iran. Its shores at some points are visible across the waters of the gulf — called the Arabian Gulf by Arabs and the Persian Gulf by Iranians. The council wants “its own regional initiative to counter the possible threat from an aggressive neighbor armed with nuclear weapons,” said Nicole Stracke, an analyst at the Gulf Research Center. Its members, she added, “felt they could no longer lag behind Iran.” A similar technology push is under way in Turkey, where long-simmering plans for nuclear power have caught fire. Last year, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for three plants. “We want to benefit from nuclear energy as soon as possible,” he said. Turkey plans to put its first reactor near the Black Sea port of Sinop, and to start construction this year. Egypt, too, is moving forward. Last year, it announced plans for a reactor at El-Dabaa, about 60 miles west of Alexandria. “We do not start from a vacuum,” President Hosni Mubarak told the governing National Democracy Party’s annual conference. His remark was understated given Cairo’s decades of atomic research.
    Robert Joseph, a former under secretary of state for arms control and international security who is now Mr. Bush’s envoy on nuclear nonproliferation, visited Egypt earlier this year. According to officials briefed on the conversations, officials from the Ministry of Electricity indicated that if Egypt was confident that it could have a reliable supply of reactor fuel, it would have little desire to invest in the costly process of manufacturing its own nuclear fuel — the enterprise that experts fear could let Iran build a bomb. Other officials, especially those responsible for Egypt’s security, focused more on the possibility of further proliferation in the region if Iran succeeded in its effort to achieve a nuclear weapons capability. “I don’t know how much of it is real,” Mr. Joseph said of a potential arms race. “But it is becoming urgent for us to shape the future expansion of nuclear energy in a way that reduces the risks of proliferation, while meeting our energy and environmental goals.”

  • Iran, world's 21st economic power- (14/04/2007) -  PressTV -  
    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced in its annual 2006 report Iran is the world's 21st economic power in terms of gross national product, Iran's Fars news agency reported. According to the report, in 2005 the total value of Iran's GNP was estimated to be around USD 554b and 744m which secured Iran 22nd ranking among 180 world nations, but in 2006 the country moved a notch ahead of Thailand. The IMF predicts that Iran will continue its forward progress in the following year by increasing its GNP in excess of USD 643b, replacing South Africa as the world's 20th economic power. The Fund which oversees global financial systems notes that Iran's share in the international GNP in 2006 hit a record level for that country of 0.909 percent surpassing the former 0.908 percent in the preceding year. The United States with a GNP of 13,000 billion dollars remains the world's first economic superpower followed by two giant economies from Asia, China and Japan, the report said. Experts from the IMF and the World Bank hold a joint annual conference in Washington to study the latest developments in world trade and market centers. The Iranian delegation headed by Ibrahim Sheibani, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, is in Washington to attend the two-day event due to take place on Saturday and Sunday.

  • Blix: US must halt own nuke program - (14/04/2007) -  PressTV -  
    The head of the UN Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, Hans Blix, has said that the US should stop proliferating nuclear weapons .At a ceremony in Madrid for the release of his book titled "Weapons of Terror" Blix said that if the US genuinely wants to prevent the proliferation of other nation's nuclear programs, it should present itself as a role model and "completely" halt the development of its nuclear arms. Nuclear nations should try to meet their defensive military needs through conventional weapons like the rest of the world, Blix suggested, adding that they should also participate in nuclear disarmament measures and secure a prohibition on atomic weapons. Blix also described as "demeaning" the pre-conditions set on Iran for the resumption of nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic. "Suspension of uranium enrichment as a pre-condition goes against Tehran's credibility," said Blix, adding, however, that it would be a welcomed move if Iran were to temporarily suspend its enrichment activity as a gesture of good faith. He likened the UN Security Council members to fathers who smoke but who prohibit their children from smoking. 
    The chief of the UN Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission also said that before the creation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968, five countries had atomic bombs but that nine nations have now developed nuclear arsenals. According to Blix, non-nuclear nations feel that the nuclear countries have not pursued disarmament in the post-NPT era but have tried to prevent other nations from developing nuclear technology. "This amounts to a big defeat to the NPT," Blix said. There are currently 27,000 warheads in the world, 12,000 of which are in the US and European countries. Blix called on the US and Russia to resume talks on a new treaty within the framework of an additional NPT protocol, which would reduce strategic weapons. The US has not yet signed the protocol. 

  • IAEA Members to Attend NPT Provisional Meeting in Vienna - (14/04/2007) - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    Member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are due to convene in Vienna as of April 30 to May 11 to attend a provisional meeting on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) revision, Iran's permanent representative to the IAEA Ali Asqar Soltanieh said. Speaking to FNA here on Saturday, Soltanieh further stated that the meeting would be presided over by Japan. The NPT revision conference is held within intervals of 6 years, while its provisional meetings are held twice to three times every 5 years, he added. The official reminded that that NPT revision conference focuses on the implementation of the Treaty in the different countries, adding that the next conference will be held in 2010. He also pointed out that the provisional meetings do not produce any statement or resolution. "Rather, the chairman of the session draws a conclusion of the views and stances of the member states and the final decision would be adopted in the main conference," Soltanieh continued.
    The last NPT Revision Conference in New York in 2005 failed in reaching a conclusion and did not produce any comprehensive document or resolution. NPT Provisional Meetings are held in Geneva, New York and Vienna. Since it was implemented in 1970, the Non-Proliferation Treaty has played a key role in preserving the world from the danger of nuclear threats as it has been regarded by almost all world countries. 

  • IAEA chief: No evidence for Iranian diversion - (14/04/2007) -  IRNA
    Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei said on Sunday that contrary to the Western allegations, there is no evidence on Iranian diversion from the civilian utility of nuclear energy.
    Chief of the UN nuclear agency made the remarks in an interview with Qatar-based Al-Jazeera Television Network. Meanwhile, ElBaradei underlined that he cannot confirm Iran's nuclear activities have military objectives, given that no sign is yet available to prove such an allegation.
    "Despite fulfilling my duties as director of an international agency, I believe that the world order, in which a few countries possessing nuclear weapons deny others from access to nuclear energy, is based on contradictory standards. So, such an order cannot be sustainable," he added. He criticized the Western states for not complying with their commitments on expediting disarmament and said that for example, Britain's recent decision to overhaul its nuclear arsenal shows that the nuclear states are not honest in this respect. "When the world countries are told that nuclear weapons are prohibited, there should be a mechanism to prevent them from access to them. "As it was seen in the past, imposing punishments on Iran has never led to solving the problem. Time is still available to hold talks with Iran on the issue," he added. Stressing that nuclear weapons are non-human and irrational, the IAEA chief said that the world should be free from this type of weapon. 

  • ElBaradei Dismisses Worries about Iran's N. Activities  - (14/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    The head of the UN atomic watchdog said on Thursday that Iran was still at the starting stage of creating a uranium enrichment plant, and further dismissed concerns about Iran's activities, saying that the country's nuclear programs are under IAEA inspection. "There are various definitions of industrial scale production. Iran is still at the starting stage of creating a uranium enrichment plant," Reuters quoted Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, as telling reporters in Riyadh. "The fears do not only stem from Iran conducting industrial production but rather Iran's aims behind (enriching uranium) before it has nuclear reactors for electric power generation that need enriched uranium." As a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran is legally entitled to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. ElBaradei was speaking after talks with Abdul-Rahman al-Attiyah, secretary general of the six-nation Persian Gulf Cooperation Council. During his brief visit to Riyadh, ElBaradei also held talks with Saudi King Abdullah. Iran said on Monday it had begun industrial enrichment of uranium. It also said it had injected uranium gas feedstock into a batch of 3,000 centrifuges it is building. "(Iran) is still going ahead with the construction of the Natanz reactor ... with the goal of having 54,000 centrifuges. Now it is still at the hundreds stage," ElBaradei said. ElBaradei confirmed that IAEA inspectors were in Iran. They began this week a routine visit to the Natanz facility where Iran carries out its enrichment work, an Iranian official has said, and could provide the first independent assessment of Iran's assertion. "Since uranium is being enriched under the supervision of the IAEA, this means Iran cannot enrich uranium to the scale that would raise concerns on its use for weapons," he said. A year ago, the IAEA confirmed that Iran had managed to enrich uranium for the first time in small quantities after a similar assertion by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "The risk from Iran is not of tomorrow or after tomorrow, we have to understand this. Even those who believe Iran's goal is to produce nuclear weapons, believe this will not happen for years," ElBaradei said.

  • Any Aggression against Iran Suppressed by Army Vigorously- (14/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Commander-in-chief of the Islamic Republic army Major General Ataollah Salehi warned enemies that any possible aggression against Iran will be struck back heavily. 

  • Navy Commander:Navy Fully Prepared to Combat Enemy Aggressions  - (14/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Commander of the Islamic Republic's naval force Admiral Sajjad Kouchaki said his troops are fully ready to suppress enemies' threats forcefully. 

  • Haddad Adel Condemns Terrorist Attack on Iraqi Parliament- (14/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)-  
    Iranian Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel here on Friday strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Iraq's National Assembly. In a message addressed to Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, Haddad Adel voiced regret over the terrorist blast at the Iraqi parliament, which claimed the lives and wounded a number of the respectable Iraqi parliament deputies, saying that the event has saddened him profoundly. "This terrorist incident, in which the enemies of the Muslim Iraqi nation have targeted the parliament and representatives elected by the people as a symbol of national unity in that country, shows that enemies of the Iraqi people are fearful of the success of this national and popular experience (i.e. formation of the Iraqi parliament) and the progress of the political trend in Iraq," he said. The Iranian chief legislative official strongly condemned the terrorist attack and expressed his sympathy for the bereaved families of the victims. He further reiterated, "I am confident that the Iraqi parliament will play very well its historical role in consolidating national unity and improving the political, social and security conditions as well as ending the occupation of Iraq by the aliens."To end his message, Haddad Adel asked God Almighty to bestow health and success on the speaker and other members of the Iraqi assembly and welfare, success and prosperity on the Muslim nation of Iraq.  

  • Abduction of Iranian Diplomat a Flagrant Crime- (14/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    Chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaoddin Boroujerdi lashed out at the Untied States for the kidnap of the Iranian diplomat, Jalal Sharafi, describing the measure as a heavy crime violating the international rules and regulations. 

  • Lawmaker Lashes US for Abduction, Torture of Iranian Diplomat- (14/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    An Iranian legislative official here on Saturday protested at the abduction and torture of Iranian diplomat Jalal Sharafi as a blatant violation of the international rules, stressing that the US should be accountable for its inhuman acts and behavior. 

  • MP Calls for Immediate Release of Iranian Diplomats- (14/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    A prominent Iranian lawmaker called for the immediate freedom of the five Iranian diplomats kidnapped during a raid by the US troops on Iran's consulate general in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil around three months ago. 

  • Wiener SPÖ-Gemeinderat und Integrationsbeauftragter der Islamischen Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich verurteilt Terroranschläge  - Initiative muslimischer ÖsterreicherInnen (13/04/2007) -   „Schockiert und entsetzt“ zeigte sich am Freitag der Wiener SPÖ-Gemeinderat und Integrationsbeauftragte der Islamischen Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich, Omar Al-Rawi angesichts der jüngsten Eskalation von Gewalt und Terror in Marokko, Algerien und im Irak. Er verurteile die Anschläge mit aller Entschiedenheit, so Al-Rawi, und drückte den Angehörigen der Opfer seine aufrichtige Anteilnahme aus.  Al-Rawi sprach zudem von „höchst bedauerlichen Rückschritten auf dem Weg zur nationalen Versöhnung in diesen Ländern“, nichtsdestotrotz müsse der „ursprünglich erfolgsversprechende eingeschlagene Weg unbedingt weitergeführt werden“. Denn weder im Irak noch in den Maghreb-Staaten noch in anderen islamischen Ländern seien die Menschen an einer Unterstützung von Gewalt und Terrorismus interessiert, ganz im Gegenteil: „Die überwältigende Mehrheit der Bevölkerung in diesen Ländern möchte ganz einfach ein Leben in Frieden!“ Und eben dieses Ziel gelte es auch zu unterstützen. „Denn das haben sich alle Menschen auf der Welt verdient!“  
    Dipl.Ing.Omar Al Rawi (Initiative muslimischer ÖsterreicherInnen)

  • Spokesman Dismisses Statements of US Undersecretary of State- (13/04/2007) -   TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    The unfounded and propaganda-based stances by the US officials, which aim to deviate the public opinion, are irrelevant when considering the legal approaches of the Islamic Republic of Iran which comply with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman said. 

  • German Companies Ready to Cooperate with Iran- (13/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    German Ambassador to Tehran voiced preparedness of his country's giant auto-manufacturing companies to cooperate with Iran's auto-manufacturing sector, with Iran-Khodro Industrial Group in particular.  Speaking during a visit to Iran-Khodro Company, the envoy voiced surprise at the remarkable progress made by Iranian automakers, and said Iran's advancement in car manufacturing has doubled the motives of German companies for bolstering cooperation with their Iranian counterparts. He further praised the serious efforts made by Iranian automakers for utilizing hi-tech in the design and manufacture of cars, and said Iran has made good progress in industrial automation. The diplomat said that he perceives an excellent prospect for the cooperation of Iranian and German automakers, and stressed, "I believe a new trend of cooperation could be started by Iran-Khodro and German companies for launching joint ventures on the manufacture of passenger and commercial cars." "Considering what I have witnessed in Iran, such a cooperation would undoubtedly enjoy a radiant prospect," he continued. 

  • World publishers to gather in Tehran  - (12/04/2007) -  PressTV -
    The Iranian capital, Tehran will hold its 20th International Book Fair (TIBF) attended by publishers from all around the world during May 2-11. Director of the fair, Dr. Mohsen Parviz, announced that over 1100 publishers have already announced their eagerness to attend the event which will be held at the Mosala Compound of Tehran. The location of this year's fair, which has been a matter of debate over the last two months, was finally approved due to area and traffic considerations. The TIBF is considered by some in Iran as the greatest annual cultural event in the country. It is also the most significant publishing festival in Asia and the Middle East, a place where publishers directly supply books and negotiate for their future business. In addition to display of books, the TIBF offers considerable sideline programs including lectures and conferences where views are exchanged and intellectual discussions take place. 
  • CIA hires anti-Iran terrorist group - (12/04/2007) -   PressTV - 
    CIA hires a terrorist group to assassinate Sunni and tribal leaders in a bid to spark tensions in southeast Iran, an ABC report has said. According to the report, which cited US government sources, the CIA has been in close contact with Jundallah's leader Abdel-Malik Regi since 2005. The terrorist armed group operates from Pakistan's province of Baluchestan, just across the border from Iran, and has carried out kidnappings and terror raids in the Iranian province of Sistan, in which scores of civilian lives were lost. Soldiers and officials in Iran were also the target of some of the attacks carried out to try to cause conflict between Sunnis and Shias. Iran had earlier said the United States harbors and trains Rigi's terror cells to carry out terrorist operations. ABC News recently uncovered more details of the connection between the CIA and the terrorist group. Jundallah has admitted carrying out an attack in the Iranian city of Zahedan in February involving an explosive-laden car that ripped through a bus belonging to ground forces of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, killing at least 11 people and injuring 31 others. According to Pakistani government sources, the CIA's covert terror campaign against Iran was on Vice President Dick Cheney's agenda when he met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf two months ago. The US-sponsored attacks are part of Washington plans to provoke ethnic and religious violence in Iran. The United States supplies cash and weapons to the group to resort to terrorist methods.

  • Larijani says talks with Solana to be held soon - (12/04/2007) - IRNA
    Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani here Wednesday said he will hold talks with the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana in the future. Larijani made the remark while speaking to reporters after a meeting with the visiting Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta. "We had earlier held two telephone conversations and were supposed to negotiate with each other on April 10-13. "But, this was not possible for me. So, it was decided that the talks would be held after Solana's working trip." He added, "Solana is interested in precise talks. He has said he has ideas which are supported."  The SNSC secretary stated that he told Solana that talks cannot resume based on the previous approach. Asked about a security conference to be held on Iraq, he said, "Undoubtedly, we prefer the meeting to be held in Baghdad because it means respecting the Iraqi government and the country's stabilization." 2327/1414 

  • Achieving industrial scale fuel, an advantage for next round of talks - (12/04/2007) - IRNA
    Iran's new achievement in producing nuclear fuel at industrial scale is an advantage for the next round of talks. Deputy head of Iran Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) for International Affairs Mohammad Saeedi said that so far Iran assumed better status in the talks on nuclear program when it successfully carried out experimental stage of uranium enrichment and the latest breakthrough Iran made in production of fuel at industrial scale will give Iran upper hand in the next round of talks with the Western states. Saeedi also noted that Iran conducted different stages of uranium enrichment under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before March 2006. After IAEO checked capability the centrifuges to enrich uranium, it has created a chain of centrifuges for the purpose, he said. "Iran has started works on a cascade of 164 centrifuges on February 24, 2006, and successfully produced the first batch of enriched uranium on March 2006," he added. Saeedi noted that in the industrial phase, we should work on several cascades of centrifuges, thus, we could not conduct experiments last year, however, we needed one year for mechanical examinations, and then we were able to go to industrial scale uranium enrichment. Touching on the long-term period of the process as logical, he said that Iranian experts do not have any link with foreign specialists in this respect. The official added that the works have been expedited in the second six months of 1385 (March 21, 2006-March 20, 2007) to solve equations aiming to reach the industrial stage. AN/1416 

  • Iran has right to nuclear technology - - (11/04/2007) -  PressTV -
    The Japanese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mitoji Yabunaka has said that like all other countries, Iran has the right to nuclear technology. Yabunaka arrived in Tehran and met with the Iranian Foreign Ministry Deputy for the Asia Pacific region, Mahdi Safari. During the meeting, Safari explained Iran's nuclear issue, its cooperation with the International Atomics Energy Agency and its execution of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Both parties discussed mutual relations, a suitable environment for foreign investment and the cooperation capabilities between Iran and Japan. As the meeting progressed, regional and international issues were also discussed, such as Iran's ongoing efforts to secure the region's peace and security and Tehran's readiness to cooperate with Tokyo on matters of mutual interest. 

  • OIC Sec Gen asks for declaring Mideast as Nuclear Free Zone (REPETITION: correction in headline)- (11/04/2007) - IRNA  - Secretary General of Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) said here Wednesday OIC is determined to set a cornerstone for ending application of double standards regarding nuclear issues. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu made the comment at his joint press conference with IRI Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, adding, "In line with pursuing that objective, the OIC asks for declaring the Middle East a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, so as to impose pressure over Israel to conduct its nuclear activities under the supervision of the IAEA, and to abide by that agency's treaties." He added, "We already have a good example of a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in Central Asia." Ihsanoglu said, "In line with the same objective, we also encourage Iran to adopt measures to build trust among regional countries and to help to end all remaining worries regarding its peaceful nuclear program, and to continue them while maintaining constructive interactions with regional countries." He referred to his talks with the IRI President and the Iranian Foreign Minister on latest status of nuclear developments, arguing, "From OIC's point of view, all countries, including Iran, are entitled to take peaceful advantage of nuclear technology under the supervision of the IAEA, and abiding by all NPT regulations." Ihsanoglu further emphasized, "Regarding Iran's nuclear program we seriously believe in need to respect that right, and we emphasize that till solving all remaining issues it should keep abiding by IAEA regulations and keep cooperating with that UN agency." He stressed that the OIC approves resuming of peaceful negotiations based on international laws and without any preconditions, save for abiding by NPT rules, in a bid to end solve the problem, believing that sanctions will not solve any problems. The OIC Chief said, "There are numerous cases in the world that sanctions have not yielded to any results, and on the contrary, they have led to negative results, including inflicting losses against people." In response to a question why the OIC, as an important member of the international community, does not strongly and openly support Iran, or even reflect its supportive viewpoints in written documents, Ihsanoglu said, "I must admit that is not OIC's problem, since we are constantly exchanging information with Iran, and regarding sanctions, too, the OIC has openly declared its viewpoints." He emphasized, "We clearly defend Iran's absolute rights, as well as the rights of all our other members, and we believe issuing resolutions and imposing sanction yield no favorable results and lead to negative aftermaths, as well." Mottaki, too, at the joint press conference appreciated the OIC Secretary General for supporting Iran's logical stands in insisting to pursue its peaceful nuclear activities. Referring to Ihsanoglu's meeting with President Ahmadinejad, he said, "During that meeting the OIC Secretary General was asked to present his proposals aimed for eliminating the possible remaining worries among some regional countries regarding activities at Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Reactor." Mottaki also focused on probability of holding a meeting in Iraq, arguing, "Iran favors holding a conference, inclusive of Iraq's neighbors, in addition to Egypt and Bahrain, in accordance with previous agreements, in Iraq." 2329/1771 (Treaty establishing a Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (CANWFZ) (pdf file 122 KB))

  • US lawmaker wants to visit Iran - (11/04/2007) -   PressTV  - 
    A US lawmaker who accompanied Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria says he is willing to visit Iran to open dialogue with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "Speaking just for myself, I would be ready to get on a plane tomorrow morning," Representative Tom Lantos said at a press conference in San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Lantos said that House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi might also be willing to make a trip to Tehran.  "Speaking for myself, I'm ready to go - and knowing the speaker, I think that she might be."  Lantos reiterated that he has been seeking a visa to Iran for more than a decade.  Pelosi's meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, on a two day trip to Damascus, brought a sharp attack from the Bush administration. It also heightened tensions between the administration and Congressional Democrats, who have stepped up their push for change in U.S. policy in the Middle East.

  • Ivanov: War with Iran, catastrophic - (11/04/2007) -   PressTV  - 
    Russia's first Deputy Prime Minister, Sergei Ivanov, has warned that a war against Iran would lead to some certain catastrophe. Speaking in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, he said, "The Iranian issue needs to be resolved in a political and diplomatic way, as a threat of war is a road to nowhere, or to a catastrophe."  Ivanov added that Iran had the right to pursue the development of its nuclear energy but the uranium enrichment issue is a separate and controversial matter. He believes that the only rational and productive solution is for uranium enrichment activities to be controlled by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He added that the percentage of Iran's uranium enrichment must be monitored closely. Iran announced on Monday that it had begun producing nuclear fuel on an industrial scale as part of its peaceful nuclear program and reiterated plans to continue enlarging its nuclear fuel production capacity. 

  • IAEO: Iran braucht mindestens vier Jahre für die Bombe - (11/04/2007)  -  Frankfurter Rundschau - «Es gibt also noch viel Zeit, zu verhandeln», sagte IAEO-Sprecherin Melissa Fleming am Mittwoch im Deutschlandfunk. 

  • Iran, Afghanistan Ink Border Agreement - (11/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - 
    Iranian and Afghan foreign ministers  endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to reorganize and modernize the signs and documents of the two countries' shared borders. 

  • Iran proposes establishing Persian Gulf security and cooperation body - TEHRAN, April 10 (MNA) -- 
    At the World Economic Forum meeting in Doha on Tuesday, Iran proposed a 10-point plan for establishing a security and cooperation organization in the Persian Gulf region. Due to the strategic importance of the Persian Gulf and the need for building trust, security, stability, and sustainable development, it is necessary to devise a framework for security and economic cooperation in the region, Hassan Rowhani, the director of the Center for Strategic Studies of Iran’s Expediency Council, told the participants. Rowhani, who is also the Supreme Leader’s representative on the Supreme National Security Council, noted that the region’s huge trade potential coupled with the cultural, religious, and historical affinities of regional nations would facilitate the establishment of such a bloc. Over 150 top policy-makers, business leaders, and public figures from the Arab world gathered in Doha, Qatar on April 9 and 10 for the Arab World Competitiveness Roundtable. The participants at this exclusive regional meeting of the World Economic Forum discussed how to sustain the momentum of growth in the Arab world and one of the key sessions focused on Iran and the Islamic Republic’s political and economic relations with the other Persian Gulf countries. 
    Following is Iran’s 10-point blueprint for the Persian Gulf region that Rowhani presented:
    (1) Establishment of the Persian Gulf Security and Cooperation Organization that would include the six members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) plus Iran and Iraq, based on Article 8 of UN Security Council Resolution 598.
    (2) Organizing joint security arrangements in the form of a collective security system for fighting terrorism, extremism, sectarianism, organized crime, and drug smuggling and dealing with other common security concerns. 
    (3) Gradual removal of various limitations for political, security, economic, and cultural cooperation as a final goal.
    (4) Development of commercial cooperation with regard to existing trade capacities and joint investments in economic plans for establishing a free trade bloc between regional countries.
    (5) Devising a plan for guaranteeing the production and export of energy in the region in order to safeguard the interests of regional states and stabilize the international energy market.
    (6) Building trust between the regional countries concerning nuclear issues, including monitoring and verification of each others’ nuclear programs in a voluntary and non-intrusive manner.
    (7) Establishment of a joint (nuclear) enrichment consortium between the regional countries for producing (nuclear) fuel and other peaceful uses of nuclear energy under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
    (8) Serious cooperation among regional countries for the establishment of a WMD-free Middle East.
    (9) Terminating the regional arms race in order to free up funds for economic development and fighting poverty.
    (10) Withdrawal of foreign military forces from the region and the establishment of a system in which regional countries would provide full security in the Persian Gulf region.

  • Iran ready for unconditional talks - (10/04/2007) -  PressTV  - 
    Iran says it is ready for comprehensive unconditional negotiations with the 5+1 Group over the country's peaceful nuclear program. "We have always announced our readiness for unconditional talks. If the 5+1 members have something new to say, we are ready to resume negotiations," said Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki at a press conference with his Afghan counterpart in Tehran. He noted that the Islamic Republic believes negotiations should be transparent so as to reach a solution. Mottaki continued, "In talks with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the sideline of an Arab Summit in Saudi Arabia in late March, I stressed that Iran does not accept suspension of its uranium enrichment as precondition for the resumption of dialogue or the outcome of negotiations." He said, "We have left the issue of suspension behind," urging the 5+1 members (U.S., UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany) to accept the existing realities. Responding to a question about the visit of Iran's Deputy Minister of Interior for Security Affairs Mohammad Zolqadr to Russia, despite a ban imposed by the UN on travels by Iranian officials, Mottaki said UN Resolution 1747 has not banned Iranian officials from traveling, adding that visits by the country's officials to other nations would continue transparently. Elsewhere in his remarks, Mottaki turned to the forthcoming conference on Iraq due to be held in Egypt, saying Iran prefers that only Iraq's neighbors plus Egypt and Bahrain attend the meeting and that the conference venue be in Iraq. The Iranian Foreign Minister noted that the Tehran conference on Iraq had set Baghdad as the venue for the next meeting. He also underscored Iran's willingness to further expand bilateral ties with neighboring Afghanistan and said Tehran and Kabul had decided to double their economic relations. Mottaki voiced hope that the expansion of Tehran-Kabul ties would be sped-up. Afghan foreign minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta for his part underscored Kabul's determination to expand ties with Tehran. He said Afghanistan attaches special importance to its relations with Iran.

  • Natanz to Be Equipped with 50,000 Centrifuges. (10/04/2007) -  Far News Agency - Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Gholam Reza Aghazadeh said a number of 50,000 centrifuges will be installed at Natanz enrichment center within the next two years.  Speaking in an interview with Iran's state-run TV Monday night after Iran announced access to the know-how required for the production of nuclear fuel at industrial scale, Aghazadeh said that foreign experts imagined it would be impossible for Iran to complete the pilot stage and advance from the laboratory-scale to the industrial phase of uranium enrichment in just one single year. "During the last year, an average number of 3000 experts, scientists and skilled forces worked in Natanz center on a daily basis, and these efforts finally yielded the unimaginable and extraordinary result," he continued. He said that Iran's young scientists who specialize in the field of nuclear technology introduce an innovation every 16th day on the average, and stressed, "Natanz nuclear center will be equipped with 50,000 centrifuges in the next two years." Yesterday, Aghazadeh announced that Iran has succeeded in entering the phase of industrial nuclear fuel production following its significant technological progress at Natanz enrichment facility. After it succeeded in completing two cascades of 164 centrifuges, Iran has now gained full access to the required know-how for the production of nuclear fuel at industrial scale. Aghazadeh made the remarks during a ceremony held in Natanz nuclear facility for announcing the controversial good news of President Ahmadinejad. The ceremony was attended by Iranian president, high-ranking officials and MPs as well as more than 45 ambassadors of foreign countries to Tehran and representatives of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Troika. Political analysts described Iran's entrance to the phase of semi-industrial nuclear fuel production as "a no return point" establishing the Islamic Republic as a nuclear state. Meantime, Deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Mohammad Sa'eedi said Iran's industrial production of nuclear fuel is not synonymous with the installation of 3000 centrifuges. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Natanz ceremony, Sa'eedi said Iran has now gone beyond the pilot stage and is on the threshold of enriching uranium at an industrial scale. "We have so far been dealing with the completion of 2 cascades of 164 centrifuges as a pilot stage and passing this phase means industrialization of uranium enrichment," he continued. The official dismissed reports about installation of 3000 centrifuges by Iran, but declined to announce the number of centrifuges installed for the industrial phase.

  • IAEA Inspectors Arrive in Iran. (10/04/2007) -   (Fars News Agency)- 
    Two International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors arrived in Tehran on Tuesday a day after Iran celebrated nuclear progress and access to the required know-how for the production of nuclear fuel at industrial scale.  Despite a recent parliament approval allowing government to revise cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran continues cooperation with IAEA and in the latest case two of the agency's inspectors arrived here today. The said approval was issued in reaction to the UN Security Council Resolution 1737 against Iran and its peaceful nuclear activities. During their one-week mission, the two inspectors are due to visit Natanz enrichment facility. The visit of the IAEA inspectors falls within the safeguard agreement of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is viewed as the Agency's routine inspections of nuclear sites. Iran's nuclear activities are fully supervised by the IAEA inspectors and cameras, and Tehran is observing the rules and contents of the NPT Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement in full. Yesterday, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency (IAEO) Gholam Reza Aghazadeh announced that Iran has succeeded in entering the phase of industrial nuclear fuel production following its significant technological progress at Natanz enrichment facility. After it succeeded in completing two cascades of 164 centrifuges, Iran has now gained full access to the required know-how for the production of nuclear fuel at industrial scale. Aghazadeh made the remarks during a ceremony held in Natanz nuclear facility for announcing the controversial good news of President Ahmadinejad. The ceremony was attended by Iranian president, high-ranking officials and MPs as well as more than 45 ambassadors of foreign countries to Tehran and representatives of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Troika. Political analysts described Iran's entrance to the phase of semi-industrial nuclear fuel production as "a no return point" establishing the Islamic Republic as a nuclear state. Meantime, Deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Mohammad Sa'eedi said Iran's industrial production of nuclear fuel is not synonymous with the installation of 3000 centrifuges. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Natanz ceremony, Sa'eedi said Iran has now gone beyond the pilot stage and is on the threshold of enriching uranium at an industrial scale. "We have so far been dealing with the completion of 2 cascades of 164 centrifuges as a pilot stage and passing this phase means industrialization of uranium enrichment," he continued. The official dismissed reports about installation of 3000 centrifuges by Iran, but declined to announce the number of centrifuges installed for the industrial phase. Despite intense propaganda by the US and some EU countries, the regular visits of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to the Iranian nuclear sites and installations further illustrates Iran's transparent cooperation with the IAEA. In addition, all Iran's nuclear activities are also supervised and recorded by the IAEA cameras installed in all Iranian nuclear sites and centers. So far an unprecedented figure of over 2000 person/day inspections have been carried out of Iran's nuclear facilities by the IAEA and all inspection reports, including those presented by the IAEA Director-General Mohammad ElBaradei to the UNSC and Board of Governors, are in confirmation of Iran's continued adherence to the IAEA and NPT rules and regulations. The Islamic Republic has always stressed its peaceful purposes in developing the nuclear technology, while it has also underlined that it would never give up even an iota of its right of access to nuclear technology. Iran is among the only eight world countries which are equipped with the needed technology for producing a nuclear gas product called UF6.

  • Iran to pull out of nuclear treaty 'if further pressure' : (10/04/2007) -  Iran will be obliged to pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if it is subjected to further international pressure over its atomic programme, chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani warned on Monday. 

  • Experts doubt Iran's claim to be nuclear power: (10/04/2007) - Many experts and officials cast doubt on Iran's claim, including an assertion that it had fed gaseous uranium into 3000 centrifuges to begin purifying nuclear material on an industrial scale. 

  • UN Inspectors Arrive To Check Iran's Nuclear Enrichment Plant: (10/04/2007) -  - Two U.N. inspectors have arrived in Iran to visit its uranium enrichment plant, the authorities said Tuesday as Western governments and experts expressed dismay and skepticism over Iran's announcement that it is now enriching uranium in industrial quantities. 

  • Iran's "Industrial" Nukes: Yawn:  (10/04/2007) - So, in case you missed it,  some members of the news media are freaking out, reporting Ahmadinejad's claim that Iran is enriching uranium "on an industrial scale," - and parroting the usual pundits' warnings that the end of the world is just around the corner. Repent! 

  • The NeoCons' Decision to Bomb Iran:  (10/04/2007) - "We are conducting military operations inside Iran right now. The evidence is overwhelming, from both the Iranians [and] Americans, and Congressional sources." 

  • US Navy builds Stingray-esque base in Indian Ocean:  (10/04/2007) - Reports have emerged that the US Navy is upgrading its submarine base at the isolated tropical atoll Diego Garcia, which is formally British territory.  (See in this context also the Video": STEALING A NATION (2004)  by John Pilger: this is an extraordinary film about the plight of people of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean - secretly and brutally expelled from their homeland by British governments in the late 1960s and early 1970s, to make way for an American military base.)

  • Teetering on the Brink of Disaster: The NeoCons' Decision to Bomb Iran. (09/04/2007) B Ali Fathollah-Nejad. Global Research  

  • US Sanction on Iranian Banks Violates IMF Agreement -  (09/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran's executive director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that the US boycott on two Iranian banks is against the contents of the IMF agreement, and called on IMF officials to take the required actions in this regard. Abbas Mirakhor in a statement released here on Monday pointed to the recent measures adopted by the US administration in cutting financial relations with Iranian banks and financial institutes, and reminding the two countries' restricted relations in the financial and banking areas since years ago, reiterated that the US measure violates the IMF agreement.  "In addition, misusing international financial bodies for political objectives brings tension and unrest to the world financial system as a result of which global economy will be troubled," he continued. The official further called on the IMF to support its members' right to have unlimited access to the international financial system and make efforts to maintain order and stability of the world financial system.

  • Iran Starts N. Fuel Production at Industrial Level (09/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - The Islamic Republic of Iran has succeeded in entering the phase of industrial nuclear fuel production following its significant technological progress at Natanz enrichment facility, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency (IAEO) Gholam Reza Aghazadeh said on Monday.

  • Larijani: No Compromise on National Interests (09/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - 
    Iran's Chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Monday stressed that his country would not compromise with anyone on national interests in the sphere of nuclear energy. Larijani, who is also Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary, said Tehran is always prepared to attend talks to remove concerns and misunderstandings. "Some western countries demand us in a very straightforward manner that Iran should not acquire nuclear technology," he said, adding that western countries block other nations' access to hi-tech in a bid to gain and maintain hegemony over world economy. The official mentioned that the West seeks to harness Iran through the nuclear challenge, and viewed this attitude of the West as wrong, reminding that all Iranian officials, and even those Iranians whose views and beliefs differ from those of the Islamic Republic ruling system, are united and pursue one single approach towards the issue. Describing access to nuclear technology as a symbol of independence and self-belief, he viewed nuclear fuel production as a magnificent source of national profit and the greatest economic capital in future world. The Iranian top nuclear negotiator also pointed to nuclear fuel production as a constituent of Iran's strategic policies, and reminded that his country will be troubled in case it has a large number of nuclear power plants but is unable to supply the needed amount of nuclear fuel. "The West has shown that it does not remain loyal to its contracts on supplying nuclear fuel. If we can't supply our nuclear fuel and grow needy in this regard, they will exert pressure on us in the political and other grounds in future," he said. Larijani reminded that his country has made industrious efforts during the last 20 years to achieve the required know-how for the production of nuclear fuel, saying that it would be a great cruelty to the Iranian nation if the Islamic Republic ignores the said endeavors. "During our talks, they (the counterparty) mention that they are worried about any possible future diversion by Iran from peaceful nuclear activities," he stated, saying that such statements lack legality and international acceptability. Larijani further voiced Iran's preparedness to attend talks to solve all technical issues and ambiguities, and said that nuclear science has upgraded his country's national ability. Meantime, the chief negotiator pointed out that access to the nuclear fuel production cycle increases Iran's bargaining power, warning that if the counterparty continues the path of UN Security Council, they will have to wait for the reaction of the Iranian officials. To conclude his remarks, Larijani called on the Iranian nation to reinvigorate national unity, and stressed that Muslims should now allow the United States to foment strife between the Shiite and Sunnite Muslims.

  • Russia Ignores UNSC Resolution 1747 (09/04/2007) -  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- 
    Hosting an Iranian delegation headed by deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr last week, Russia proved inefficiency of the recent UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution against Iran's nuclear activities. 

  • Iran to Commemorate N. Technology Day - (08/04/2007) - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - 
    The Islamic Republic of Iran is scheduled to mark April 9 as the 'National Day of Nuclear Technology' during a ceremony due to be held in Natanz nuclear facility, where President Ahmadinejad will announce the good news about nuclear progress.
    The ceremony is also due to be attended by the ambassadors of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member states and envoys of Muslim countries to Iran. In April 9th, 2006 President Ahmadinejad announced that Iran succeeded in completing the nuclear fuel production cycle at laboratory scale, which made Iran one of the world's 9 established nuclear states. Following the event, April 9th was named as the day of nuclear technology.

British Soldiers released by Iran on 4 April 2007-Overview

  1. Iran to help 15 released Britons publish their memoirs- (22/04/2007) -  IRNA 
    Senior presidential advisor, Ali-Akbar Javanfekr said here Sunday that the 15 British marines who illegally entered Iran's territorial waters and were pardoned can count on Iran's cooperation to publish their memoirs about their detention period. He told IRNA that Iran is prepared to support the young British marines in writing and publishing their memoirs and provide them with photos as well as cassette tapes and video cassettes on their cheerful life and free remarks during the time in Iran if it is assured that they are not being prosecuted by their government and armed forces. The statement was made in response to the question about the ban on the publication of the memoirs of the 15 released British marines. The British Defense Secretary Des Browne, speaking at the House of Lords last week, dismissed the decision to sell the memoirs of British marines as incorrect. He repented his permission for sale of the story about the British marines, adding that it was a mistake. British intelligence and security officials warned Browne that publication of the British marines memoirs can bring great shame to the British government. "The ethical approach of Iranians towards the British marines will make officials from Britain feel humiliated," said the senior presidential advisor. Fifteen British marines who violated Iranian territorial waters on March 23 were taken into custody by Iranian border guards. "The British marines, who voluntarily admitted several times that they had trespassed Iran's territorial waters and apologized to the Iranian nation for it, were eventually pardoned and released," said Javanfekr. Browne's recent use of the fake term of `Arabic gulf' instead of the `Persian Gulf' is considered as the second consecutive mistake of this British official.

  2. Sailors' interviews were a mistake, admits Blair  - (12/04/2007) -  - By Will Woodward Richard Norton-Taylor - The Guardian  Navy 'acted in good faith' over media payments. Critics round on Browne for 'calamitous' decision

  3. And now, from Tehran, the film and the book  - (12/04/2007) -  -  By Robert Tait in Tehran - The Guardian
    No drama is complete without an accompanying movie, and Iran beat Hollywood to the mark by pledging to recount the entire 13-day affair in a film. A book will also tell the story of the British sailors, accounts that are likely to dwell on the hospitality and fun they had, rather than the imprisonment and isolation.... The book and film will challenge that view by "documenting" the sailors' arrest, interrogations and alleged confessions...

  4. Fear & Loathing In Teheran - (12/04/2007) -  -  By  Sarah Gillespie (peacepalestine.blogspot.com   -  Via CASMII)
    Faye Turney, the ‘she-man’ Seaman captured in Shatt al-Arab last month, claims her captivity in Teheran was marred by fear of rape, torture and a lifetime of incarceration.ite having been released unharmed, a bizarre scene is emerging from the dark recesses of Turney’s imagination in which the saintly mother of little Molly (3) was subjected to floundering indefinitely in a dingy jail wearing nothing but pair of knickers and a floral headscarf.
  5. Anger over Iran hostages' media deals - Servicewoman sells story for £100,000. (09/04/2007). By Will Woodward & Matthew Taylor - The Guardian  "The Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy were accused of undermining the reputation of Britain's armed forces last night over the decision to allow the 15 sailors and marines held by Iran to sell their stories to the media. The navy's move to suspend its usual rules - taken "as a result of exceptional media interest" and with the agreement of the defence secretary, Des Browne - was condemned by senior opposition politicians, former officers and the families of dead service personnel. Faye Turney, the only woman in the crew, has agreed a joint deal with the Sun newspaper and ITV's Tonight With Trevor McDonald for close to £100,000. But amid the complaints about the decision, fears were voiced that it has devalued the work of other serving forces and handed Iran a propaganda victory. Critics said it was a politically inspired move, but the Ministry of Defence argued that the families of the service personnel had already been offered large sums of money to tell their stories and by allowing the former captives to speak they were able to retain some control over the story. The announcement also risked diminishing sympathy for the 15, who had been nervous of reaction in Britain after they were seen on television on Tehran confessing to entering Iranian waters - a claim they retracted on their return. Colonel Tim Collins, who commanded the 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment in Iraq, said: "This episode has brought disgrace on the British armed forces and it comes from complete ineptitude at the top." He contrasted this case with the capture of 11 members of the Royal Irish Regiment in Sierra Leone. "They were held hostage and there was a real chance that they would be killed before they were eventually rescued by the SAS. There was not so much as a peep out of any of them afterwards, no talk and certainly no mention of money which is exactly the way it should be." Mike Aston, whose 30-year-old son, Corporal Russell Aston, was one of six military policemen killed by a mob in Majar al-Kabir, Iraq, in June 2003, said he was "absolutely amazed" by the MoD's stance. "I think to actually sell [my] story it would besmirch my son's memory." Ms Turney, whose salary as a leading seaman is recorded as being between £23,535 and £29,576, was interviewed by Sir Trevor McDonald near Chippenham, Wiltshire, ahead of screening tonight. She gave a separate interview to the Sun. She was one of nine crew absent from a joint press conference held by six of the crew on Friday and agreed a deal with the Sun and ITV that day. William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, told Sky News's Sunday Live: "If, whenever people have been in a difficult situation, they are going to be allowed to sell their story quickly after that, then I think we are going to lose steadily that dignity and respect for our armed forces." Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader, told BBC News 24: "I am very concerned about what those governments that were trying behind the scenes to get our personnel home are going to think. "And there is, of course, the very understandable feeling of the families of those who have died in Iraq as to why it should be that those who have survived should - putting it bluntly - profit in this way."  The MoD, which pointed out that the decision was not unprecedented, said in a statement: "Service personnel must seek permission from the chain of command before speaking to the media. Queen's regulations for the Royal Navy allow personnel to retain fees paid to them for broadcasting, lecturing or writing for publication under certain circumstances."

  6. Iran Stresses Britain's Pledge to Avoid Future Aggressive Measures -  (08/04/2007) - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said in a letter submitted to the Iranian embassy Britain mentioned that its marines did not pursue any hostile intentions when trespassing Iran's waters and pledged to avoid repetition of such measures in future.  Speaking to reporters during his weekly press conference here on Sunday, Hosseini responded to questions about London's letter to Tehran, and said, "A letter was delivered to us through the two countries' embassies, which mentioned that they did not pursue hostile intentions and would avoid such measures in future."  He further dismissed reports about a letter addressed by the world Catholic Church leader, Pope Benedict XVI, to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, about the 15 British marines. The spokesman also stressed that no British delegation visited Tehran for the release of the 15 British troops. He also denied any possible link between the issue of the 15 British troops with such other issues as the freedom of Iranian diplomat Jalal Sharafi.  The spokesman said that the Red Cross envoys have met the 5 Iranian consulate staffers in detention in Iraq for a second time, but meantime he dismissed reports about a meeting between a member of the Iranian embassy in Baghdad with the said 5 missioners. Asked to comment on the recent statements by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice voicing her preparedness to attend direct talks with her Iranian counterpart on the sidelines of the summit of the foreign ministers of Iraq's neighboring states, Hosseini said the issue is not on the working agenda of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Regarding Iran's nuclear issue, he confirmed recent talks between Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and EU Foreign policy Chief Javier Solana, stressing that nuclear negotiations should be goal-oriented. "Iran's indispensable right cannot be put to negotiation," the foreign ministry spokesman underlined. Elsewhere, he described reports about a possible raid by Israel and the US on Iran's nuclear facilities and installations as media stories, reminding that the US officials have stressed both in their words and stances that they do not have any program for military operations.  "Our military troops are fully vigilant and they have already foreseen all the required measures of deterrence and defense and thus, they are not worried at all," Hosseini continued. In response to another question about financial disputes between Iran and Russia over the completion of Bushehr nuclear power plant, Hosseini underscored that there exists no problem or dispute between Tehran and Moscow.

  7. Parliament Speaker Views Interview of British Militaries as Worthless - (08/04/2007) - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - "Iranian Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel described as a worthless theatrical act the recent interview with 6 of the freed British marines broadcast by western media. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an open session of the parliament here on Sunday, Haddad Adel praised the Islamic Republic's decision to pardon the detainees, and viewed it as a beautiful measure. "The Islamic Republic of Iran took the right and appropriate action and it was clear that the party who has embarked on showing such a behavior (trespassing) would dictate the text of the interview to its trespasser militaries," he continued. The chief legislative official said Tehran predicted that Britons would arrange such a theatrical play in order to save face."

  8. Transcript: Rasoul Movahedian. (07/04/2007) - By Daniel Dombey - Financial Times 
    In the aftermath of Iran’s decision to free 15 British detainees, the Financial Times spoke to Rasoul Movahedian, Tehran’s ambassador to the UK, in his first interview since the crisis began.  He sought to emphasis the possibility for further diplomatic breakthroughs between Iran and the UK - although British prime minister Tony Blair subsequently responded to the killing of four British soldiers in Iraq by accusing Iranian “elements” of backing terrorism in that country. On Friday, tensions increased further when the 15 British sailors and marines said they had been blindfolded, kept in solitary confinement and exploited by their Iranian captors. But in the interview Mr Movahedian held out hope for increased cooperation between Iran and the UK, signalling that Tehran would welcome British help in freeing five Iranian detainees held by the US in Iraq and a reduction in tensions in the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme.

  9. Americans offered 'aggressive patrols' in Iranian airspace. (07/04/2007) . By Ewen MacAskill, Julian Borger, Michael Howard and John Hooper - Guardian

  10. Haddad-Adel: U.S. supporting terrorists in Pakistan  - (06/04/2007) -  PressTV - "Iran's Majlis Speaker has said that the United States is putting pressure on Iran by supporting anti-Iranian militants operating from the Pakistani border region. Speaking to reporters after talks with Pakistani leaders, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel said on Thursday that Pakistan was not involved in helping the militants. "There is no doubt in our minds that the United States spares no effort to put pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran. "The best indication of United States' support to a particular terrorist group is that one of the leaders of this terrorist group was given the opportunity to speak on VoA after committing the crime," Haddad-Adel pointed out. The U.S. channel ABC News reported on Tuesday the United States had been secretly advising and encouraging a Pakistani militant group that had carried out a series of guerrilla raids inside Iran. "Some of the militants, the rebel forces are active in our border areas and we should work with Pakistan in order to increase security cooperation," the speaker underlined. "There is no news, no evidence, and we don't have any reason to believe that the military establishment in Pakistan is also supporting such militant groups."  

  11. US Unresponsive to Iran's Calls for Release of Diplomats - (6/04/2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency ) - 
    Iranian Intelligence Minister said that the foreign ministry has made continued efforts to set free the five Iranian diplomats kidnapped during a raid by the US on Iran's consulate general in Iraq's northern city of Erbil, adding that Americans have remained unresponsive to Iran's demands in this regard.

  12. What If Iran Had Invaded Mexico?  By Noam Chomsky. April 06, 2007 
    "...The results of an attack on Iran could be horrendous. After all, according to a recent study of "the Iraq effect" by terrorism specialists Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank, using government and Rand Corporation data, the Iraq invasion has already led to a seven-fold increase in terror. The "Iran effect" would probably be far more severe and long-lasting. British military historian Corelli Barnett speaks for many when he warns that "an attack on Iran would effectively launch World War III."What are the plans of the increasingly desperate clique that narrowly holds political power in the U.S.? We cannot know. Such state planning is, of course, kept secret in the interests of "security." Review of the declassified record reveals that there is considerable merit in that claim—though only if we understand "security" to mean the security of the Bush administration against their domestic enemy, the population in whose name they act. Even if the White House clique is not planning war, naval deployments, support for secessionist movements and acts of terror within Iran, and other provocations could easily lead to an accidental war. Congressional resolutions would not provide much of a barrier... It is, however, useful to ask how we would act if Iran had invaded and occupied Canada and Mexico and was arresting U.S. government representatives there on the grounds that they were resisting the Iranian occupation (called "liberation," of course)...It is easy to understand an observation by one of Israel's leading military historians, Martin van Creveld. After the U.S. invaded Iraq, knowing it to be defenseless, he noted, "Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy."... The Iranian-American consensus includes the complete elimination of nuclear weapons everywhere (82 percent of Americans); if that cannot yet be achieved because of elite opposition, then at least a "nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East that would include both Islamic countries and Israel" (71 percent of Americans).Seventy-five percent of Americans prefer building better relations with Iran to threats of force... These facts suggest a possible way to prevent the current crisis from exploding, perhaps even into some version of World War III. That awesome threat might be averted by pursuing a familiar proposal: democracy promotion—this time at home, where it is badly needed. Democracy promotion at home is certainly feasible and, although we cannot carry out such a project directly in Iran, we could act to improve the prospects of the courageous reformers and oppositionists who are seeking to achieve just that... Democracy promotion in the United States could have far broader consequences. In Iraq, for instance, a firm timetable for withdrawal would be initiated at once, or very soon, in accord with the will of the overwhelming majority of Iraqis and a significant majority of American...The U.S. would have adopted a national health-care system long ago, rejecting the privatized system that sports twice the per-capita costs found in similar societies and some of the worst outcomes in the industrial world. It would have rejected what is widely regarded by those who pay attention as a "fiscal train wreck" in-the-making. The U.S. would have ratified the Kyoto Protocol to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions and undertaken still stronger measures to protect the environment. It would allow the UN to take the lead in international crises, including in Iraq....If public opinion mattered, the U.S. would accept UN Charter restrictions on the use of force, contrary to a bipartisan consensus that this country, alone, has the right to resort to violence in response to potential threats, real or imagined, including threats to our access to markets and resources... Washington would join the broad international consensus on a two-state settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict,...Democracy promotion at home, while no panacea, would be a useful step towards helping our own country become a "responsible stakeholder" in the international order (to adopt the term used for adversaries), instead of being an object of fear and dislike throughout much of the world. Apart from being a value in itself, functioning democracy at home holds real promise for dealing constructively with many current problems, international and domestic, including those that literally threaten the survival of our species." FULL ARTICLE HERE 

  13. Press welcomes end to UK navy row - (06/04/2007) - BBC -  Papers in the Middle East and elsewhere applaud the fact that the row over 15 British navy personnel held by Iran was brought to an end through diplomacy. Several papers hope the dialogue opened up between Britain and Iran will continue. Many feel that Iran has emerged the victor from the crisis but at least one warns the Iranian leadership not to let this success go to its head.
    The British prime minister has undergone a happy experience with Iran, one which seems to have prompted him to launch his call to the international community to be willing to deal with Tehran.
    It seems Iran achieved its aims in the operation. It detained the sailors... to create an opportunity for dialogue with Britain and the EU after a period of coldness between the two sides because of the Iranian nuclear programme.
    The Iranians achieved two important victories - firstly, a military victory by successfully capturing the sailors and secondly, a diplomatic victory by compelling the British government to call for direct talks with Tehran.
    Talking and inclusion are always more effective than isolation and pressurising. This may, for a while, look as though oppressive regimes are being tolerated, but in the long run, it forces them to give their word and keep it.
    This mini crisis has taught everyone important lessons. Once more, it has been understood that Iran is intrepid. The UK also showed that it will not surrender easily.
    The Iranians have gained from the hostage crisis. However, the Iranian administration must not think that the game it has played successfully this time will go that way every time.
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad released the British captives, dropping a dramatic propaganda bombshell before the entire world... The Iran-UK crisis has been resolved for now. Iran seemed to be right over this issue.
    Is the capture of the British sailors part of an operation to launch an attack against the opposition in Iran? This is the question being asked in Tehran where the establishment is discussing future internal and foreign policies.
    [Iran's] decision has been welcomed by the entire world, including the UK. By treating the prisoners well and releasing them, Iran has sent a message to the USA to stop the maltreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
    BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

  14. Bolton: Brit crew case gave Iran 'double victory' - (06/04/2007) -  PressTV - 
    "The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has said that Tehran's initiative to pardon the British Royal Navy crew members has given Iran a "double victory." John Bolton, known for his anti-Iran bias at the UN, has said that Tehran has won a victory both in detaining and pardoning the crew. On 23 March, Iran detained 15 British naval crew for violating Iran's marine borders with Iraq. Later, on 4 April, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had pardoned the crew as a gift to the British people. They were flown to London the next day. Iran was able to gauge Britain's resolve in response to the incident, Bolton has told the Arabic-language television network of Alhurra, as reported by AFP. The controversial ambassador left the UN post in January. His removal appeared to be a pre-emptive measure by the U.S. Administration to avoid pressure from the Democrats who had just claimed victory in U.S. Congress elections. Bolton had been spearheading the U.S. campaign against Iran's peaceful nuclear energy program at the Security Council."

  15. Britain's Humiliation -- and Europe's.  (06/04/2007) -  By Charles Krauthammer - The Washington Post  

  16. Iranian Lawmaker: Release of British Sailors Proves Iran's Role in Int'l Issues - (6/04/2007) -TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - An Iranian MP said President Ahmadinejad's decision to pardon the British troop proved Iran's role in international issues and displayed the Islamic Republic's might and authority.

  17. Brits freed despite Tehran's right to try them: Iran's minister  -  (06/04/2007) -  PressTV - 
    "Iran's Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar says the decision to release 15 Britons detained for incursion into Iranian territory was made despite Tehran having the rights and powers to put them on trial. Major General Mohammad-Najjar made the comments hours after the Britons' release on Wednesday, saying that Iran's approach in making such a decision was based on Islamic kindness and forgiveness and on the eve of the birth anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He also told ISNA news agency of a guarantee by Britain not to repeat such violations of Iran's sovereignty. "We strongly showed that if anyone or any country dares violate our territorial borders or make aggression against our territorial integrity, they will receive a firm response. And we made it clear in the Britons case." Iran pardoned the British sailors and marines on Wednesday following their detention on 23 March for illegal entry into Iranian waters. They arrived back in England on Thursday accompanied by some staff from the British Embassy in Tehran. Asked about a recent report of U.S. war planes violation of Iran's air space and if Tehran has given warnings to the U.S. military, Mohammad-Najjar said there was an incident. He did not provide further details. "We are investigating the incident right now and will publish the results," he added. Iranian media quoted a commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in the southwestern city of Abadan, as saying on Sunday that two U.S. airplanes had trespassed into Iranian air space from the northwest of the city and exited from its southwest on Saturday. Colonel Abdolmajid Aqili said the planes cast out a white smoke trail, attracting local people's attention. "The airplanes had violated Iranian air space several times in the past," he added."

  18. Sailors press conference 'staged' - -  (06/04/2007) -  PressTV -
    "Iran has described as "a staged show" a news conference by freed British sailors and marines. The press conference was to cover up their (Brits) illegal entry into Iran's territory, Iranian Foreign ministry said in a statement. "Such staged moves cannot cover up the mistake made by British military personnel who illegally entered Iran's territory," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Friday. Iranian TV also said that the British military "dictated'' to its sailors what to say in the press conference. "They held a pre-organized press conference in which the British sailors only read from pages dictated to them.'' "They made statements completely different from what they had said in Iran and claimed that they were in Iraqi waters when detained,'' the TV added. On Friday, the 15 British sailors and marines, seized by Iran when illegally entering into its territorial waters, spoke of "psychological" intimidation during their detention in Iran."

  19. Treatment in Iran Described by Britons - -  (06/04/2007) -  By JON ELSEN and SARAH LYALL - The New York Times
    "The 15 British marines and sailors who were released by Iran on Thursday said today that they were threatened and subjected to psychological pressure before giving videotaped statements appearing to apologize for trespassing in Iranian waters.
    Some of the former captives said today at a news conference that they knew they were really in Iraqi waters when they were seized, and that they had no choice but to surrender quickly when surrounded by Iranian boats. They denied having ever given the Iranians genuine confessions that they had entered Iranian waters." MORE>>
    Five of the fifteen British military personnel freed by Iranian authorities on Thursday spoke today at a news conference at the Royal Marines Barracks in Chivenor, England. From left, Royal Marine Joe Tindell, 21, Arthur Batchelor, 20, Royal Marine Capt. Chris Air, 25, Lt. Felix Carman and Royal Marine Adam Sperry, 22.   Video From the Press Conference

  20. Britons gathered intelligence -  (06/04/2007) -  PressTV -  
    "Captain of the British sailors admits gathering intelligence on Iran in the Persian Gulf was part of their mission. Royal Marine Captain Chris Air made this admission on March 13 to two news agencies, ten days before the capture of 15 sailors for treading on Iranian waters illegally. His admission was made in an un-broadcasted joint interview with Five News and Sky News on March 13. Both agencies decided not to announce this interview until after the release of the sailors in order not to jeopardize their safety. In this interview, Captain Air has stated that their mission in the Persian Gulf is called "interaction patrol" or IPAT. He instructed the crew to patrol the Persian Gulf waters and single-out dhows, or any ships or vessels of any kind, and then proceed to search the cargo ship and retrieve information from the captain and its crew. “It's partly a hearts and minds type patrol, whereby we'll come along and speak to the crew, find out if they have any problems and just sort of introduce ourselves, let them know we're here to protect them, protect their fishing and stop any terrorism and piracy in the area,” he tells the interviewer. Captain Air states that part of the questioning is aimed at gathering intelligence information on Iran. He also states that they tread the waters for days at a time, and are "right by the buffer zone with Iran." The UK Defense Secretary Des Browne says "Modern military operations all have an element of gathering intelligence, and we need to understand as much as we can about the environment." Iran freed these 15 sailors three days ago, an act to show goodwill."

  21. Freed marine 'gathered intelligence on Iran' - 05/04/2007 -   irish examiner.com 
    "One of the 15 returned British personnel admitted Britain was gathering intelligence on Iran in the Persian Gulf, a previously unbroadcast interview reveals tonight. Royal Marine Captain Chris Air told how one purpose of patrols in the area was to gather “int” – intelligence – on “any sort of Iranian activity”. 
    In a joint  Five News and Sky News interview he acknowledged that he was operating close to the buffer zone between Iranian and Iraqi waters adding: “It’s good to gather int on the Iranians.” The interview with correspondent Jonathan Samuels was recorded on March 13 but not broadcast until after the 15 sailors and marines had been released because of the sensitive nature of the contents. The interview features a so-called “interaction patrol” in which British personnel go alongside or board dhows in the Persian Gulf. The seven marines and eight sailors were seized on March 23 as they carried out a routine search of a cargo ship in the northern Persian Gulf. “It’s partly a hearts and minds type patrol, whereby we’ll come along and speak to the crew, find out if they have any problems and just sort of introduce ourselves, let them know we’re here to protect them, protect their fishing and stop any terrorism and piracy in the area,” he tells the interviewer. “Secondly, it’s to gather int if they do have any information because they’re here for days at a time. They can share it with us whether it’s about piracy or any sort of Iranian activity in the area because obviously we’re right by the buffer zone with Iran. “This dhow has been robbed by some Iranian soldiers about three days ago. “They had some money taken off them and apparently it’s happened quite a lot of times in the past so it’s good to gather int on the Iranians.” A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Gathering information while patrolling is all part of modern operations. This is as true on maritime boardings as it is when a patrol is out in Basra. “The information helps get a better picture of the security environment. We have said that we would not comment on the specific incident but as we have already said, this boarding was routine. “It is entirely appropriate that we would ask about any potential criminal or terrorist activity irrespective of the nationality.”

  22. Iranian official: Britain apologizes to Iran  -  (05/04/2007) -   PressTV -
    "An advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Tehran has received a letter of apology from Britain before the release of the 15 British personnel. The 15 British sailors and marines, who were detained on March 23 for their illegal entry into Iranian waters, were released on Wednesday and arrived back in England on Thursday. Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser on international affairs to Ayatollah Khamenei, said Iran had achieved its "objectives" in the political standoff with Britain over the arrests. "Iran set a condition that Britain accepts there was a violation of Iranian waters and gives apologies. On Tuesday, we received a letter of apology from British Prime Minister Tony Blair," former Iranian Foreign Minister said. Velayati dismissed reports that the release of the British servicepeople was because of the UK 48-hour ultimatum. "Iran showed its will to defend its territorial integrity, we have achieved the objectives in pardoning the British sailors." "We ended the issue powerfully and without any hasty action. We were not impressed by the support of the European Union and the UN Security Council of Britain." He also said that Iran proved it fears no one and has no hesitations in defending its territorial integrity. Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday announced that Iran had forgiven the 15 British marines and sailors as a gift to the British people on the eve of the birthday anniversary of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the Easter."

  23. UK sailors arrive at Heathrow Airport - Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST -   (05/04/2007)  "The plane carrying 15 members of the Royal Navy crew freed by Iran arrived at London's Heathrow Airport on Thursday. Armed police patrolled the tarmac as two military helicopters idled on the airport's north runway. The British Airways plane landed at the VIP suite near Heathrow's Terminal Four, and passengers were being led off the back of the plane. As the 15 arrived, Prime Minister Tony Blair said new and interesting lines of communication had opened with Iran. But he called for continued international pressure on Tehran following the deaths of four servicemen in an attack in Iraq earlier in the day."Now it is far too early to say that the particular terrorist act that killed our forces was an acted committed by terrorists that were backed by any elements of the Iranian regime, so I make no allegation in respect of that particular incident," Blair said.He said it was "sensible" for Britain to continue to pursue the new lines of communication. "However, the international community has got to remain absolutely steadfast in enforcing its will whether it is in respect of nuclear weapons or in respect of the support of any part of the Iranian regime particularly when directed against democratic governments." Wednesday's announcement of their release in Teheran was a breakthrough in a crisis that had escalated over nearly two weeks, raising oil prices and fears of military conflict in the volatile region. The move to release the sailors suggested that Iran's hard-line leadership decided it had shown its strength but did not want to push the standoff too far. Iran did not get the main thing it sought - a public apology for entering Iranian waters. Britain, which said its crew was in Iraqi waters when seized, insists it never offered a quid pro quo, either, instead relying on quiet diplomacy. Syria, Iran's close ally, said it played a role in winning the release

  24. Freed sailors: Iranian perspective. (5/04/2007) - BBC - The British prime minister, Tony Blair, has expressed relief at the release of the 15 British sailors. But how was the news received in Iran? People inside the country gave their reaction to the BBC News website and BBC Persian.com. 

  25. Iran’s release of sailors: A humiliating episode for Britain. (5/04/2007) By Chris Marsden - World Socialist Web Site.
    "Since they were captured by Iranian naval forces in the Shatt al Arab waterway, the sailors and marines have come to epitomise the gap between Britain’s pretensions as a world power and its actual capabilities. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s response to the incident, with repeated declarations that he was seeking a diplomatic solution, is not an indication of a new pacifist turn by one of the architects of the Iraq war. It was forced upon him by his reliance on the United States, both politically and militarily. The sailors seized were part of Britain’s contingent in a US-led naval force that includes two aircraft carriers. This force has been mustered by the Bush administration as part of its political campaign against Tehran, demanding that Iran end its nuclear programme and alleged sponsorship of the insurgency in Iraq. Blair has acted as Washington’s key ally in seeking to isolate the Iranian regime and impose the strictest sanctions possible, with the attendant preparations for a possible military assault in future. But Blair’s efforts to enable Britain to punch above its weight by an alliance with the US have suffered a grave setback as a result of the debacle in Iraq, something of which Iran is fully aware and which conditioned its attitude to London’s demands for the sailors to be released. The Iranian regime avoided any bellicose posturing, but continually insisted that the British personnel were captured because they had trespassed into its waters. Its diplomats were successful in countering the Blair government’s somewhat half-hearted attempts to take a hard line, portraying this and Britain’s refusal to admit wrongdoing as an arrogant effort to inflame the situation. Tehran will have calculated that Britain could not move independently of the US. And, in turn, the ability of Washington’s more hawkish elements to win support for a military response was weakened. Within American ruling circles, there is significant opposition to a military attack on Iran, particularly under conditions where the US is still bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. Internationally, the US finds itself isolated. There were clear calls from the neoconservative media and think-tanks for the capture of the British to be met with a hostile response, or at least that it not to be allowed to divert from such action in the near future. Mario Loyola wrote in the National Review online edition that “the United States must make it clear to the Iranians that abandoning the non-proliferation regime will trigger a military confrontation. The British should have defended the hostages when they were surrounded. The United States cannot now be paralyzed in its response to Iran out of a desire to protect a group of sailors from an allied country that was incapable of protecting them itself... Otherwise, in a few years, Iran could be holding all of us hostage.”  But the best that Bush could offer such of his supporters was to insist that the captured sailors were “hostages” and that they should be handed over unconditionally. Washington’s difficulties contributed to London only being able to secure the most limited formal censure of Iran’s actions at the United Nations and from the European Union. Within Britain, the more strident voices in the media were opposed by those insisting that diplomacy be given chance to work, particularly with British lives at stake. In both countries, moreover, military action meets its most serious opposition among working people. Neither Bush nor Blair is in a position to simply push for an immediate attack on Iran in the face of popular hostility to their war-mongering—and a belief that both are inveterate liars. Even a poll by the right-wing Daily Telegraph found that a mere seven percent of respondents had been convinced by the jingoistic media campaign against Iran that military action should be taken. In the end, despite Bush’s insistence that there should be no quid pro quo, Iran appears to have been able to secure certain concessions in return for releasing the 15, most notably the release by Iraq of Iranian diplomat Jalal Sharafi, seized two months ago by gunmen in Iraqi military uniforms. Washington is also considering an Iranian request to visit five of its officials seized in January by the US military in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil and held incommunicado for more than two months. It was in these circumstances that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad mounted yesterday’s press conference to mark the Persian New Year, during which he again insisted that the British sailors and marines had invaded Iran’s waters. After first attacking the West for its Middle East policy, he announced that the sailors would be released as a “gift” to Britain and that they were pardoned in order to mark both the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday on March 30 and the Easter holiday. After asking Blair not to punish the 15 for having admitted to being in Iranian territorial waters, he continued, “Instead of occupying the other countries, I ask Mr. Blair to think about the justice, to think about the truth and work for the British people, not for himself.” Whereas no concessions had been made by the British government to secure the releases, Britain had pledged “that the incident would not be repeated,” he said. Speaking later yesterday, Blair did not thank the Iranian president, but addressed the Iranian people, stating, “We bear you no ill will. We respect Iran as an ancient civilisation. The disagreement we have with your government we wish to resolve peacefully... in the future we hope to do so.” Blair’s attempt to take the moral high ground is both nauseating and not to be believed, given that similar statements by him could be cited with respect to Iraq. No one should assume that the setback he has suffered will mean a let-up. For its part, Washington responded aggressively to Ahmadinejad’s move, particularly his statement that Iran could reconsider its relations with the US if President Bush’s attitude changed. Insisting that there would be no change in US policy—and therefore no lessening of the danger of war—State Department spokesman Tom Casey said, “The behaviour that needs to change is the Iranians’, not the United States.” The US would only deal directly with Iran if it gave up its uranium enrichment programme, he added."  "Iran’s release of the 15 British naval personnel captured in the Gulf is the dénouement of a humiliating episode for the Blair government and for British imperialism."

  26. Ahmadinejad switches guises from demagogue to showman. (5/04/2007)  By Robert Tait in Tehran. Guardian
    He has been demonised variously as a demagogue, a Holocaust denier and even as the "new Hitler". But yesterday President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad laid claim to a different distinction - that of political chameleon and showman. At a pre-arranged press conference in Tehran, he strode on stage clad in a pale suit, hands held self-deprecatingly aloft and wearing the mischevious grin which has the ability to cause unease from the Knesset to Capitol Hill. Squinting out through banks of television lights and camera flashes, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran started off doing what he does best. Knowing he would be watched by millions both at home and abroad, he launched into his favourite international adversaries - Britain and America - in vintage fashion. The two countries were shaping global affairs for their own ends, he said. They were acting against the interests of justice through their veto power in the UN security council. They were irresponsible superpowers who needed to be brought down to size. He kept it up for 40 minutes before introducing his audience to the revolutionary guards who had accosted the British sailors. He gave each a medal, a kiss and the thanks of their leader. But then came the theatrical flourish, the rabbit up his showman's sleeve. "On the occasion of the birthday of the great prophet [Muhammad] ... and for the occasion of the passing of Christ, I say the Islamic Republic government and the Iranian people, with all powers and legal right to put the soldiers on trial, forgave those 15," he said, referring to the Muslim prophet's birthday on March 30 and the Easter holiday. "This pardon is a gift to the British people."  Even in the midst of his generosity and as the assembled press - and no doubt most of the watching world struggled with the import of his words - he could not resist using Faye Turney, the only female sailor among the captives, to have a dig at the liberal western values he so deplores. "How can they send a mother away from her home and her children," he asked. "Why don't they respect the family in the west?" The president then delivered a second headline-grabbing coup de grace by meeting and greeting the newly freed Britons in person. Gazing beatifically into the faces of sailors visibly relieved to be going home, Mr Ahmadinejad knew he was projecting an image of compassion and magnanimity far removed from the firebrand third world revolutionary of western notoriety.  "So you came on a mandatory vacation," he said to one seaman in a display of the mischievous humour he occasionally reveals in public appearances. As the president no doubt anticipated, the sailors gratefully played along, with one telling him: "Your people have been really kind to us, and we appreciate it very much." Another told him: "We are grateful for your forgiveness." Of course, the "Easter gift" for Britain was not Mr Ahmadinejad's alone. Until yesterday, the president had been uncharacteristically quiet throughout the 13-day crisis, with many commentators speculating that he had been ordered to lie low lest his fiery rhetorical instincts derailed a negotiated solution. The decision to free the sailors appeared to have been collective, approved finally by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after negotiations with London, led by Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's supreme national security council. In bearing the good tidings with such flourish, however, Mr Ahmadinejad, proved his ability in maximising a political opportunity. In truth, he badly needed the limelight to restore his fortunes, which have been waning in recent months. Under pressure from domestic critics because of Iran's struggling economy, the president has been increasingly dismissed at home and abroad as a declining force. Whether that perception will now change is uncertain. But one thing unlikely to alter is Mr Ahmadinejad's combativeness - or, it seems, his sense for the big occasion.

  27. The US can learn from this example of mutual respect. The outcome of the crisis between Iran and Britain provides a lesson on how to deal with the wider international standoff.  (5/04/2007) By Abbas Edalat - The Guardian
    The unexpectedly early resolution to the dispute between the UK and Iran over the detention of 15 sailors and marines in the Persian Gulf is the direct result of Iran's goodwill and a U-turn by the British government. After initially using threatening language and seeking to add an unnecessary international dimension to the dispute, it eventually opted for direct negotiations with Iran based on mutual respect. This outcome offers a compelling lesson on how to deal with the wider international standoff between the US and Iran. President Ahmadinejad may have chided the British government at yesterday's press conference for not being brave enough to admit that it had made a mistake by crossing into Iranian waters, but his mood was generous. His "gift to the British people" was with immediate effect, and he asked for no apology or other concessions. But what was the impediment to immediate recourse to bilateral diplomacy, which could have achieved an agreement soon after the arrest? In 2004, a similar incursion involving British service personnel in Iranian territorial waters was resolved in a matter of days, with guarantees that such incursion would not occur in future. Tehran has certainly sought similar assurances over the past 13 days, which is reasonable given the long history of British imperial domination in Iran in the 19th century, the US/UK-incited coup of 1953 which overthrew the popular government of Dr Mosaddeq, and the UK's support for Saddam's regime in its eight-year war against Iran, including provision of chemical weapons. Against this background is the current wider context where, in violation of the UN charter, Iran is threatened by the US, UK and Israeli leaders, who regularly assert that "the military option" is on the table. But Tony Blair effectively dismissed the possibility of a conventional approach by announcing that there would be no negotiations and suspending trade and diplomatic relations. Iran's offer to release Faye Turney was then sabotaged by the British government, which hastily involved the UN security council and the EU, unprecedented in a case which could and should be resolved bilaterally. The government's heavy-handed approach can only be explained in the context of the US drive for regime change in Iran, which Blair has supported for more than a year. The US and UK, prodded by Israel, have been systematically pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to demonise and isolate Iran, using unfounded allegations that Iran is intent on building nuclear weapons, is directly supporting Iraqi insurgents, and aims to "wipe Israel off the map". With two US aircraft carriers stationed in the area, and a third on its way, there is a sense of deja vu in relation to the period preceding the attack on Iraq, when "evidence", subsequently shown to be false, was used to provide a casus belli. After over 2,200 hours of inspections, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found absolutely no evidence of a nuclear weaponisation programme in Iran, where Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader, has issued a fatwa against the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons. Yet there are two security council resolutions calling on Iran to suspend its legal enrichment programme and imposing sanctions for its refusal to comply. Strikingly, there is now incontrovertible evidence, provided by Stephen Rademaker, the former US assistant secretary for non-proliferation and international security, that the US coerced the IAEA to vote against Iran in 2005 and, in 2006, to report its nuclear file to the security council. On another propaganda front, Colonel Justin Masherevski, of the British forces in Basra, announced, on the same day as the sailors' detention, that local sources had told him Iranian agents were providing "sophisticated weaponry" to Iraqi insurgents. Such allegations have been levelled against Iran by the US and Britain since the summer of 2005, but have never been substantiated. Meanwhile, five Iranian diplomats have remained in US detention at an unknown location with no formal charges against them following a raid on their Irbil consulate in January, although Ahmadinejad yesterday denied any link between their plight and the release of the British sailors. Finally, Ahmadinejad's own call for regime change in Israel - "the occupying Zionist regime of Jerusalem should cease to exist in the page of time" - has been mistranslated and distorted into the notorious phrase, "Israel should be wiped off the map" by the western media. What is never reported is that Ayatollah Khamenei stated unequivocally immediately afterwards that "the Islamic Republic has never threatened and will never threaten any country". Ahmadinejad's decision to release the British detainees was a sign of strength, and he further stated that he would be willing to reconsider ties with Washington were President Bush to change his behaviour. But the dispute has also highlighted the real dangers of escalation, as happened in 1964 when the Gulf of Tonkin incident was manipulated by the US to justify war in Vietnam. Yesterday's welcome outcome should show the international community that the solution to the standoff lies in its hands. The UK and other governments must pressure the US to drop its pre-condition of suspension of Iran's legal right to uranium enrichment, and enter into negotiations on all points of conflict.  Abbas Edalat is professor of computer science and mathematics at Imperial College London, and the founder of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran.

  28. Ahmadinedschads Niederlage - (04.04. 2007) - Von Bahman Nirumand - SPIEGEL ONLINE
    Mahmud Ahmadinedschad zelebrierte die Freilassung der 15 britischen Soldaten als ganz persönlichen großherzigen Gnadenakt. Doch in Wahrheit bedeutet das iranische Einlenken in der Geisel-Krise für den Präsidenten eine Niederlage. In der Heimat wächst der Druck auf den Hardliner. Mit glänzenden Augen und voller Stolz betrat der kleingewachsene Präsident der Islamischen Republik, Mahmud Ahmadinedschad, die Bühne. Vor ihm saßen mehr als 200 Journalisten aus aller Welt - gespannt, was der gläubige Muslim über die seit zwei Wochen in Haft sitzenden britischen Marinesoldaten zu verkünden hat. Wissend, dass seine Worte von zahlreichen Fernsehanstalten, darunter von der BBC und von CNN, direkt übertragen und simultan übersetzt werden würden, nutzte er die Gelegenheit, um seine nicht allzu himmlischen Botschaften zu verbreiten. Er stellte den gesamten Westen, allen voran die USA, an den Prager und warf den Briten vor, sie seien in iranische Gewässer eingedrungen und hätten damit ein international anerkanntes Recht verletzt. Moralisch verwerflich sei es auch, dass sie eine Frau, die Soldatin Faye Turney, von ihrer Familie und von ihrem kleinen Kind getrennt hätten. Und dann, nach dem Rundumschlag, ließ er überraschend Milde walten. Er habe die gefangenen Soldaten begnadigt, sie würden nach der Konferenz freigelassen werden - sozusagen ein Ostergeschenk des islamischen Fundamentalisten an den ungläubigen britischen Premier Tony Blair. Die Inszenierung war perfekt, nicht nur die Pressekonferenz, sondern überhaupt die Art und Weise, wie Iran mit dem Vorfall umging. Da zeigte sich wieder einmal, dass auch Islamisten gute Werbeagenturen zur Verfügung haben und den Umgang mit den Medien voll beherrschen. In diesem Fall sogar besser als die Kollegen in London und Washington. Während Tony Blair mal drohend, mal bittend und recht verzweifelt wirkte und US-Präsident George W. Bush wieder einmal die verbale Keule schwang, insistierte Teheran mit großer Gelassenheit auf seinem Standpunkt, inszenierte Videoaufnahmen mit den britischen Soldaten, die mal Hähnchen essend, mal Schach spielend einen recht fröhlichen Eindruck machten. Die Soldatin durfte sogar ihr Kopftuch ablegen. Sie alle gestanden nacheinander ein, Fehler begangen zu haben und entschuldigten sich beim iranischen Volk. Ahmadinedschad fügte sich den Kritikern - Gefangenschaft in Iran ist ja wie im Urlaub, werden manche Zuschauer außerhalb Irans gedacht haben, die nicht wissen, wie viele Menschen hier gefoltert und hingerichtet worden sind. Vermutlich werden sie auch nicht wissen, dass die Gnade, die Ahmadinedschad walten ließ, für ihn eigentlich eine Niederlage war. Denn wäre es nach ihm gegangen, hätte er, wie schon so oft, den außenpolitischen Konflikt weiter eskalieren lassen, um von inneren Problemen abzulenken, um die Massen mit dem Hinweis auf die Gefahr, die den Islam und das Vaterland bedroht, bei der Stange zu halten. Die Begnadigung war sicherlich nicht sein Wille, sondern der seiner Gegner, denen offenbar gelang, ihm Zügel anzulegen und damit eine dem Land drohende Gefahr abzuwenden. Tatsächlich stehen Ahmadinedschad und seine Regierung schon seit Monaten unter wachsender Kritik, die wohlgemerkt nicht allein von den Reformern und selbstverständlich auch von der weit entwickelten iranischen Zivilgesellschaft kommt. Dieser Kritik schließen sich zunehmend moderate Konservative an, sogar auch einige Radikalislamisten, die bis vor wenigen Monaten auf seiner Seite standen. Die Kritik richtet sich insbesondere gegen die wirtschaftliche Misere, in die das Land seit der Machtübernahme Ahmadinedschads hineingeraten ist. Dabei hatte der populistische Präsident dem Volk soziale Gerechtigkeit und Wohlstand versprochen, er hatte seinen Vorgängern Korruption und Verrat an den Idealen der Revolution vorgeworfen und ihnen mit unerbittlichem Kampf gedroht. Ungehaltene Versprechen - Aus alledem ist nichts geworden. Die Armen und Bedürftigen, die ihm vor anderthalb Jahren zugejubelt haben, haben längst gemerkt, dass dieser Präsident nichts zu bieten hat als hohle Parolen. Die Preise steigen ins Unerträgliche, Unternehmer haben ihr Kapital in Milliardenhöhe ins Ausland gebracht, ausländische Unternehmen wagen aufgrund der unsicheren politischen Situation schon seit einem Jahr nicht mehr zu investieren. Die Arbeitslosigkeit, insbesondere unter jugendlichen Erwachsenen und der Mangel an Zukunftsperspektive vermehren die Zahl der Unzufriedenen. Auch politisch wird die Situation für die Bewohner des Landes immer unerträglicher. Die Repression gegen Andersdenkende, gegen Schriftsteller, Künstler, Journalisten, das Verbot liberaler Zeitungen und dergleichen mehr hat die Front gegen Ahmadinedschad gestärkt. Selbst der islamistische Revolutionsführer Ali Chamenei, der ihm noch bis vor kurzem den Rücken stärkte, geht auf Distanz. Immer wieder ermahnt er ihn, sich mehr um das Wohl des Volkes zu kümmern. Nach Einschätzung politischer Beobachter ist die Position Ahmadinedschads innerhalb der doch komplizierten Machtkonstellation so schwach geworden, dass er es entweder wagen werde, mit Hilfe der Revolutionswächter, die ihn an die Macht gebracht haben, einen Putsch zu riskieren, oder er werde soweit isoliert, dass er möglicherweise die ihm verbleibenden anderthalb Jahre Amtszeit nicht durchstehen wird. Für Ahmadinedschad und seine radikal-islamistischen Anhänger gibt es eigentlich nur eine Rettung: die Eskalation der Konflikte mit dem Ausland. Wächst der Druck von außen, kommt es gar zu einem militärischen Schlag gegen Iran, kann er wieder von den inneren Problemen ablenken, die Massen mobilisieren und seine Märtyrerideologie verbreiten. Für Radikalislamisten sind Ruhe und Frieden tödlich. ZUR PERSON: Bahman Nirumand, Jahrgang 1936, ist ein Pendler zwischen kulturellen Welten: Er wurde in Teheran geboren, studierte in Deutschland Germanistik, Philosophie und Iranistik, promovierte, und kehrte wieder in seine Heimat zurück. In Teheran lehrte er an der Universität, schrieb Bücher und arbeitete als Journalist. Zwei Mal flüchtete Nirumand aus Iran – bis er endgültig in Deutschland seine neue Heimat fand. Seit 1982 lebt und arbeitet Nirumand als Schriftsteller und Publizist in Berlin. Er verfasste unter anderem die Khomeini- Biografie "Mit Gott für die Macht". Zuletzt erschien das Buch "Iran. Die drohende Katastrophe".

  29. Iran drama played out on world stage.  By Zoe Murphy. BBC News. Published: 2007/04/04 19:06:24 GMT 
    In a surprising twist, the Iranian president announced the pardon and release of 15 British naval personnel to a stunned news conference broadcast live around the world. Just minutes later, some of the crew were shown on Iranian state television, wearing smart grey suits and no ties - in compliance with Islamic revolutionary dress codes - thanking President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for their freedom. President Ahmadinejad wished "good luck" to the Britons who had been detained for 13 days, at a ceremony in Tehran to mark their release. He smiled, joking with one Briton: "How are you?... So you came on a mandatory vacation."  I want to give them as a present to the British people to say they are all free .The British crew members, who had reportedly "shouted for joy" at the news of their release, lined up to shake the president's hand and exchange polite words. "I would like to thank yourself and the Iranian people," said one. "Your people have been very kind to us and I appreciate that very much," said another. Mr Ahmadinejad responded in Farsi: "You are welcome." 
    'Maximum value': President Ahmadinejad had twice cancelled news conferences in recent days. The start of Wednesday's event did not betray any hint of the drama that was to come. It started with a long reading from the Koran marking the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. It was more than an hour into the 90-minute statement before he even mentioned the issue of the British sailors and marines. The president first awarded a medal to the naval commander responsible for the capture of the HMS Cornwall personnel, saying it represented the gratitude of the Iranian people. At that point hopes for the Britons' release looked very dim. Then in a theatrical flourish the president said he would, as a goodwill gesture, pardon the servicemen and set them free as "a gift to the British people".  Completely changing the tone of the news conference, Mr Ahmadinejad then basked in the moment to enjoy the shock effect of his announcement. He said he was willing to forgive the sailors, even though Britain was not "brave enough" to admit it had made a mistake and strayed into Iran's territory. 
    'No punishment': The BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says the Iranian leadership had clearly decided it had made its point and extracted the maximum value from this affair. Iran emerges in its own narrative as a staunch defender of its territorial integrity but magnanimous to those it sees as being caught up in the scheming of the big powers, our correspondent adds. Mr Ahmadinejad said he had asked UK Prime Minister Tony Blair "not to punish" the crew for confessing they had been in Iranian waters when they were seized. He referred to the footage broadcast by Iranian media of some of the crew making confessions. The president said the captives would be released immediately. They are expected to arrive back in Britain on Thursday. So a potentially embarrassing episode has been brought to an end and a long-drawn out hostage crisis avoided. What will now be under urgent review is the way in which patrol and boarding operations in the Gulf are conducted to make sure British servicemen and women will not be so vulnerable in future. 

  30. Pardoned British Troops Thank Ahmadinejad - (04.04.2007) - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- The 15 British troops, who were arrested by Iran's border guards on March 23rd for illegal entry into Iranian waters, appreciated Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for pardoning them.  "On behalf of my friends and myself, I appreciate you and I thank the Iranian people for their hospitality," one of the 15 British troops told Ahmadinejad during a ceremony held here in Tehran on Wednesday.
    Other British troops also thanked the Iranian president who told the 15 that they have been pardoned on the occasion of the birthday anniversary of the prophet of Islam (PBUH). Meantime, an informed source told FNA that when the 15 heard Ahmadinejad saying during an earlier press conference here on Wednesday afternoon that Iran has pardoned the 15 British troops, they started crying happiness and joy. The conference was translated for the 15 British troops, and when Ahmadinejad expressed regret over the dispatch of a British mother to war zones, the only detained female marine started crying. During his press conference, Ahmadinejad expressed regret over the dispatch of the British youths to Iraq and their arrest in Iranian waters, and asked, "Why should the most cumbersome missions, such as sea patrolling, be assigned to a mother, why does the western civilization not care for family values?" Meantime, the source told FNA that the British troops will not be handed over to the British embassy in Tehran, adding that all the 15 will directly leave Tehran for London Thursday morning.

  31. Iran pardons British sailors - (04.04. 2007) - PressTV - Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad says Iran has pardoned 15 British sailors earlier detained for trespassing into Iranian waters.  President Ahmadinejad said in a press conference on Wednesday that the sailors will be sent to the airport right after the conference and transfered to their home country. Ahmadinejad also asked the British officials not to bring the sailors before trial for admitting to trespass into Iranian territorial waters.

  32. MP: 1975 treaty proves UK border transgression - (04.04. 2007) - PressTV - An Iranian member of parliament says the 1975 Algiers Agreement, which demarcated the disputed land frontier between Iran and Iraq, can prove the British marines did transgress into Iranian waters on March 23. Elham Aminzadeh, a member of the parliamentary commission for national security and foreign policies, said the third protocol to the Algiers Treaty clearly delineates the Iranian and Iraqi shipping routes along the Arvand River, and that the 15 British servicemen were detained on the Iranian side of the 30 year-old demarcation line. Aminzadeh, who is also a professor of law, said any country whose border is violated is entitled to file a complaint with the United Nations under Charter 39 and may require the offending party to remedy the situation. "According to international laws, Britain must first accept responsibility for any violations on the part of its troops, apologize to the country whose rights have been breached and, finally, compensate for any damages", the female MP said. The official slammed London and the European Union for not accepting the British navy personnel's account of the events nor their admission that they entered Iran's territorial waters.

  33. A boundary expert discusses the demarcation of the waters - BBC VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS  (04.04.2007) 
    Murky dividing lines of Shatt al-Ara. Story from BBC NEWS: (04.04.2007) 
    Martin Pratt, director of research at the University of Durham's International Boundaries Research Unit, said shifting coastlines caused problems as it meant the median line could not be calculated precisely.The territorial waters of the Shatt al-Arab waterway between Iraq and Iran have been central to the dispute between Tehran and London over 15 Royal Navy personnel seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Tehran claims it arrested the 15 because they had strayed into Iranian waters. The UK insists they were in Iraqi waters. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the 15 Britons captured would be freed as a "gift" to Britain. The Shatt al-Arab median line, which divided that waterway in half, was first agreed between the two countries in the 1970s, says Iraq expert Toby Dodge, of the University of London's Queen Mary college. Until recent years the median line was marked simply with buoys, he says. "But the demarcation of the waterway has suffered, like many things.""Maritime boundaries are generally a matter of a coastline. A coastline with well defined headland is easier."A shifting coastline with mud flats that appear and disappear over time mean you don't have a sound basis with which to draw a median line."The line could shift from month to month. It makes it much harder to see with any confidence. And that is the case in this situation."He added: "It is always dangerous to be dogmatic about a boundary unless the line is clearly defined in a treaty that is accepted by both parties."'No certainty' The position at which the UK claims the incident took place lies to the south of a boundary established by Iran and Iraq in a treaty in 1975, said Mr Pratt.  Iran and Iraq have never agreed a boundary of their territorial waters. There is no legal definition of the boundary beyond the Shatt al-Arab. 
    Richard Schofield -King's College London: However, this agreement had been "torn up" by Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. "While the legal status and exact alignment of that boundary today are not entirely clear, it is difficult to see how Iran could legitimately claim sovereignty over the point in question. "They have logs and charts to tell them the co-ordinates of Iranian and Iraqi waters."They will use GPS machines which will give them a fixed location, and plot this against charts which will tell them where different countries' waters are. "However, he said, if either of the co-ordinates that the UK says Iran supplied for the incident are correct, then "the issue is less certain". He said: "Both points lie beyond the terminus of the 1975 boundary and there is no agreed boundary in the territorial sea. "Based on the low-water line marked on British charts, one of the points lies just on the Iraqi side of the median line between the two coasts, the other just on the Iranian side. "In such a context, I don't see how either side can claim to be certain whose waters the vessel was in when the arrest was made. "Richard Schofield, an expert in international boundaries at King's College London, said the fact that "there is no formally agreed boundary" caused problems. "It isn't clear the incident happened off the water of Shatt al-Arab. We are talking about territorial waters beyond," he said. "Iran and Iraq have never agreed a boundary of their territorial waters. There is no legal definition of the boundary beyond the Shatt al-Arab." 
    'Great dispute': Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, and head of the maritime section of the Foreign Office between 1989 and 1992, believes neither side in the dispute could claim to be right.  This area is extremely contested. It is an area of great dispute.  Craig Murray, Former ambassador and Foreign Office naval official: "The truth is nobody can say if we were in Iraqi waters or if we were in Iranian waters because at this point the boundary is extremely fuzzy," he said. "This area is extremely contested. It is an area of great dispute." He said the UK had "made a big mistake by producing a map that has a very definite red line and saying we were definitely in Iraqi waters". He stressed that, equally, Iran could not say definitively that the UK crew had been in its waters. "What has happened in this case is something of a muddle. The difficulty is that in this area the boundaries, once you get inside territorial waters, are just not defined." Mr Pratt said such boundary disputes were common, adding that in such situations negotiations are usually the best way to agree the territorial sea boundaries. But what if diplomacy fails? "If both sides can't reach an agreement they might submit to adjudication by the International Court of Justice or an arbitration tribunal," he said. But he said it was a "brave step" to allow a court to make a ruling "because it takes control of sovereign territory". He concluded: "There is certainly a need for some kind of rules to be laid down in this area. There need to be negotiations between Iran and Iraq over the boundary."

  34. http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42737000/gif/_42737907_iraq_iran_title_3_416.gifhttp://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42747000/gif/_42747531_iranian_version_sail_2.gif

  1. Channel 4 Interview with Dr Ali Larijani, Secretary General of Iran’s National Security Council (04.04. 2007)  - "Our priority is definitely to solve this problem within the diplomatic framework. We are not interested to further complicate this matter. There are two ways forward. One was to resolve this by the diplomatic negotiation between Iran and Britain; and one was the other side using the language of force which meant they are not interested in a diplomatic resolution and perhaps preferred a trial. Our priority is for this to be resolved through the diplomatic channels and in my view it can be resolved in that context. ››read more  LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW:  070402_larijani_channel4.mp3

  2. Tehran reviewing IAEA proposal -  (04/04/2007) - PressTV  - 

    Tehran says it is reviewing the proposal made by the IAEA over the installation of the extra cameras. In reaction to the letter of ElBaradei's deputy for safeguards issues, Olli Heinonen, Ali-Asghar Soltanieh said on Wednesday, "The issue is technical and should not be considered a political issue." Referring to the ratification of the government for revision of cooperation with the IAEA, Soltanieh told the Iranian Fars News Agency that the countries affiliated to the NPT have signed the extensive safeguard agreement that is a criterion document by which the members would be inspected. The diplomat added that based on the agreement, the member states should submit their nuclear facilities information to the agency at least six months prior to the injection process. He pointed out that the Board of Governors interpreted the paragraph in 1992 as: the members should inform the IAEA from the early stage of the design and building the facilities, saying the members were obliged to implement the ratification. Soltanieh reiterated that Iran was not obliged to follow the ratification by 2003, but from that date it accepted to do as the ratification said, and thus informed the agency about its nuclear facilities. The envoy dismissed the West's allegations over Natanz and Isfahan nuclear facilities, for Iran was not obligated to observe the ratification until 2003."

  3. Britain proposes direct discussions with Iran (04.04. 2007) - PressTV - Britain proposed "direct bilateral discussions" with Iran over the 15 naval personnel detained by Tehran, after revealing that the two countries had "further contacts" late on Tuesday.

  4. Russia's top general warns against strikes on Iran (04.04. 2007)  PressTV  - "Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister and the country's top general warned Tuesday against military action against Iran. "Any military action near our border is unacceptable. We will take that extremely negatively and do everything we can to oppose it," said Andrei Denissov, at a press conference, the Interfax agency reported. Russia has no land border with Iran. But it is one of several countries that shares part of the Caspian Sea shoreline with the Islamic Republic of Iran, along with the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Asked if Russia was worried about possible U.S. air strikes against Iran, he answered: "Yes, of course."

  5. Iran, Britain resolute on diplomatic crisis solution:(03.04. 2007) PressTV  -  Britain has agreed to Iran's offer to resolve the issue of British captives through diplomatic talks, said a spokesman for Britain's Foreign Office. 

  6. Iran outlines conditions for release of UK sailors:(03.04. 2007) - Guardian- Laying out what appeared to be a vague road map for the freeing of the British personnel, Mr Larijani said that, if it was found they had crossed into Iranian territory, there should be an apology and they would then be released.

  7. UK promised to cease illegal incursions in 2004(03.04. 2007) PressTV  - Iran's ambassador to Islamabad says that British forces trespassed Iranian territorial waters on at least five separate occasions in recent years.

  8. Washington hurting British bid to free crewTough words from U.S. highlight rift between White House and Downing Street

  9. Bush sees no swap for British sailors in Iran(03.04. 2007) - Alertnet- The Iraqi government is trying to secure the release of five Iranians detained by U.S. forces in northern Iraq in January, as the British government seeks freedom for the British military personnel seized by Iran March 20 on charges of being in Iranian waters.

  10. Did Bush Machinations Provoke Seizure of Brits? (03.04. 2007)  - Yahoo.com. "The Nation – President Bush describes Iran’s seizure of 15 British sailors and Marines as “inexcusable behavior.” But did the Bush administration’s anti- Iran machinations lead to the escalation in tensions that culminated in the seizure of the Brits?One of the finest reporters on the Middle-East affairs argues that this is precisely the case..." FULL TEXT here

  11. VP: Britain's Change of Attitude Solves Marines' Issue (03.04. 2007) - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran's First Vice-President Parviz Dawoodi warned that if London continues making hue and cry, the problem of the British sailors will not be solved in the near future.

  12. Released Diplomat Arrives in Tehran (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian diplomat Jalal Sharafi who had been kidnapped in front of the Islamic Republic embassy in Baghdad two months ago arrived at Tehran's Mehr Abad Airport here on Tuesday a few hours after his release.               

  13. Iran's N. Progress not Impeded by Sanctions (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- A prominent Iranian lawmaker said sanctions cannot prevent Iran from making further progress in the field of civilian nuclear techn

  14. MP Calls on Britain to Show Respect for Countries' Rights (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- An Iranian legislative official stressed that the US and Britain can't remain disrespectful to the international rights of other countries as the time of their arrogant and bullying behavior has come to an end.           

  15. Iran Develops Advanced Laser Systems (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Scientists at Bonab Atomic Energy Studies Center are developing Iran's most advanced laser system, said a lawmaker.

  16. British Sailors Admit Illegal Entry (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- All 15 captured British sailors and marines have confessed to intruding illegally into Iranian waters on March 23, when they were seized at gunpoint.   

  17. Iran Starts Construction of 360-Megawatt N. Power Plant (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Gholam Reza Aghazadeh said simultaneous with the construction of Bushehr power plant, his country has started building a 360-megawatt nuclear power plant through utilizing domestic technology.   

  18. VP: Bushehr Ready to Receive N. Fuel (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran's First Vice-President Parviz Dawoodi said following the inauguration of the back up systems of Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran is now prepared to receive nuclear fuel from Russia.   

  19. Aghazadeh: Gov't to Announce Good News about N. Technology (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Gholam Reza Aghazadeh said that Ahmadinejad's administration is due to announce some good news about the country's progress in the field of nuclear technology.   

  20. Second Secretary of Iran's Embassy in Baghdad Released (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Second secretary of Iran's embassy in Baghdad Jalal Sharafi was released on Tuesday.   

  21. Bushehr Back Up Systems Inaugurated (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- The back up systems of Bushehr nuclear power plant were inaugurated in Iran's southern province of Bushehr on Tuesday in the presence of the Iranian first Vice-President, Parviz Dawoodi.   

  22. FNA Releases Fresh Photographs of British Marines (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- A new series of FNA exclusive pictures of the 15 British troops who were arrested after trespassing on Iranian territorial waters could be accessed on the Persian Service of this news agency.   

  23. Back Up Systems of Bushehr N. Power Plant to Be Inaugurated (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran is due to inaugurate the back up systems of its first nuclear power plant in the southern province of Bushehr on Tuesday in the presence of the country's first Vice-President Parviz Dawoodi.   

  24. MP: Hasty Stances of UNSC Discredited by Confessions of British Marines (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- A prominent Iranian lawmaker said that the straightforward and free confessions made by the British marines who were arrested after trespassing on Iran's territorial waters discredited the hasty and biased stances adopted by the UN Security Council in this regard.   

  25. Chief of Staff Pleased with Detention of Trespassers (03.04. 2007)  - TEHRAN (Fars News Agency) - Chief of Staff of the Islamic Republic of Iran's armed forces Major General Seyed Hassan Firooz-Abadi viewed detention of trespassers on Iran's territorial waters by the Islamic Republic border guards as a source of joy and pleasure for the Iranian nation.

  26. Council of the European Union - Declaration on the arrest of British Naval personnel by Iran 2/4/2007 (English) - Press:71 Nr: 8109/1/07 REV1   

  27. Ahmadinejad Endorses Detention of British Marines  (01.04. 2007) TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday said that his country's border guards have shown ultimate courage, vigilance and fairness in arresting the British marines who had trespassed on Iran's territorial waters.

  28. Wrathful Protestors Call for Expulsion of British Ambassador  (01.04. 2007) TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Thousands of angry students from different Iranian universities have congregated in front of the British embassy in Tehran demanding expulsion of the British ambassador and closing down of the embassy.

  29. Countries' Sovereignty not Ignored by Use of Unethical Words (01.04. 2007) TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said that the use of unethical words cannot hide violation of the sovereignty and trespassing on borders of other countries.

  30. Iran Protests against Britain's Violation of Consulate Laws  (01.04. 2007) TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian Foreign Ministry here on Sunday sent a note to the British embassy in Tehran to voice its strong protest against the raid by the British troops on the Islamic Republic's consulate general in Basra, Iraq.

  31. Lawmaker: Britain's Performance Raises More Ambiguities  (01.04. 2007) TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- A prominent Iranian MP here on Sunday said that the performance of the British foreign secretary regarding the detained British marines has complicated the issue and raised more questions and ambiguities.

  32. Greece calls for dialogue to settle Iranian nuclear dispute  IRNA (01.04. 2007)

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March  2007

  1. Would Air Strikes Work? Understanding Iran's Nuclear Programme and the Possible Consequences of a Military Strike. 
    By Dr. Frank Barnaby, with a foreword by Dr. Hans Blix, March 2007   
    The prospect of a nuclear Iran causes acute concern not only in the United States and Israel, but also in Europe, the Middle East and most of the rest of the world. Recent indications from the USA point towards possible military strikes against Iranian nuclear and military targets. The aim of such strikes would be to put back by many years any ambitions elements in the Iranian regime may have for nuclear weapons. This report is an assessment of: What is known of Iran’s nuclear programme. How that programme could be diverted towards military ends. Whether military strikes would succeed in preventing Iran getting a nuclear weapon. Frank Barnaby concludes that far from stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, military attacks would probably accelerate Iran’s nuclear programme. The reasons for this counter-intuitive outcome are that: Limited intelligence about Iran’s nuclear programme means that many hundreds of strikes would still not destroy all nuclear related facilities and materials. Iran could then move from a gradual and relatively open nuclear programme, to a clandestine crash nuclear weapons programme using secret facilities, salvaged materials, and possibly procuring supplies from the black market, outside of Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty controls. Under crash nuclear weapons programme conditions, Iran could build a nuclear weapon within two years if the decision was made. Which is less time than the evidence suggests Iran could manage with the current programme. In the long-term, the report concludes, Iran cannot be deterred from attaining a nuclear weapons capability by bombing its facilities. Download as a PDF

  2. Voices of Aggression: Exploring Israeli-Iranian Rhetoric. By Dr. Farhang Jahanpour, March 2007 
    In the second paper he has contributed to a series of occasional ORG briefings from key international commentators and experts, Farhang Jahanpour explores the extreme rhetoric from Israel and Iran, and argues that it should not be allowed to jeopardise the unique history of relationship between these two countries. Download as a PDF

  3. Psychologische Kriegsführung - Warmlaufen in der Wüste Negev und im Persischen Golf: Die USA und Israel zeigen Teheran bei Militärmanövern schon mal ihre Waffen. Von Rainer Rupp - Junge Welt (31.03. 2007)  "Der Truppenaufmarsch gegen Iran ist enorm. Bei sogenannten Militärmanövern zeigten die USA und Israel in den vergangenen Tagen dem Feind in Teheran schon mal die Waffen. Im Westen wurde nicht zuletzt nach der Gefangennahme von 15 Soldaten der britischen Kriegsmarine durch Einheiten Irans geschickt der Eindruck erweckt, die potentiellen Angreifer seien die eigentlich Angegriffenen. Die Nachrichtenagentur RIA Novosti meldete in dieser Woche dagegen unter Berufung auf einen namentlich nicht genannten ranghohen Vertreter der russischen Armee- und Sicherheitsstrukturen: »In letzter Zeit erhält die Militäraufklärung Daten, die von einer aktiveren Vorbereitung der US-Kräfte auf eine Luft- und eine Bodenoperation gegen Iran zeugen.« Die endgültigen Termine der Angriffe gegen Teheran habe das Pentagon aber noch nicht festgesetzt, weil die Amerikaner einen solchen Schlag konzipierten, der Iran in die Knien zwingen und zugleich ihre eigenen Verluste minimieren würde. In dem Bericht wurde audrücklich darauf verwiesen, daß die US-Kriegsmarine im Persischen Golf so stark massiert ist wie sie vor vier Jahren kurz vor der Irak-Invasion im März 2003. Der Vizepräsident der Akademie der geopolitischen Wissenschaften Rußlands, Generaloberst Leonid Iwaschow, hatte in einem Interview für RIA Novosti bereits am 21.März die Überzeugung geäußert, daß Washington »bereits in nächster Zeit« einen massiven Schlag gegen die militärische Infrastruktur in Iran führen werde. »Daran habe ich keine Zweifel«, sagte der Militär mit guten Verbindungen zum Kreml. Laut Iwaschow bereitet sich das Pentagon vor allem »auf groß angelegte zermürbende Luftangriffe« vor, »um Irans Atomindustrie zu zerstören und sein Widerstandspotential zu schwächen«. Dazu werden die Amerikaner vor allem versuchen, insbesondere Verwaltungszentren und wichtige Industrie- und Infrastrukturobjekte zu vernichten, sagte Iwaschow, der einen Einsatz von taktischen Nuklearwaffen erwartet. Zugleich verwies er darauf, daß Washington Patriot-Abwehrsysteme in die Region schicke, um dort die in Reichweite iranischer Raketen liegenden US-Militärbasen und Hauptquartiere vor einem Vergeltungsschlag Teherans zu schützen"

  4. Steht ein US-Angriff auf Iran bevor?  Alarmierende Meldungen: US-Truppenkonzentration, Zwischenfälle, Evakuierungspläne (31.03. 2007) 

  5. Spekulationen um einen baldigen US-Angriff. Neue Sanktionen gegen Iran beschlossen. ngo-online über die neue UN-Resolution und die Warnungen ehemaliger Diplomaten und aus der Friedensforschung (31.03. 2007)

  6. Friedensforscher und ehemalige Diplomaten fordern Kehrtwende in der Iranpolitik. Aide mémoire vorgelegt: "5 Minuten vor 12" - Pressemitteilung der AG Friedensforschung (31.03. 2007) 

  7.  Konstruktion eines Kriegsgrundes - Vor der Eskalation des Vietnamkrieges gab es einen von der US-Marine inszenierten »Zwischenfall« im Golf von Tonkin. Von Knut Mellenthin

  8. Erpressung und Rechthaberei. Konflikt zwischen Iran und Großbritannien nimmt groteske Züge an. Von Thomas Pany - Telepolis (30.03.2007)

  9. Cleric Warns UNSC, EU not to Meddle with Iran-Britain Problem (31.03. 2007) TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Tehran's Interim Friday Prayers Leader Ahmad Khatami called on the UN Security Council, European Union and other international bodies not to interfere with the current problem between Tehran and London, saying that Britain has trespassed Iran's borders and the issue must be solved by the two countries themselves."It is clear that no country allows any other state to violate its sovereignty. This is a problem between two countries, and thus, no international body such as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and European Union (EU) is entitled to meddle with this issue. They should know that their interference will aggravate the problem," Khatami said while addressing a large congregation of prayers on Tehran University Campus here on Friday. He further pointed to London's hue and cry about the arrested British marines, and stressed that the 15 British soldiers have violated Iran's sovereignty by trespassing Iranian borders. The cleric reminded that British troops have trespassed the Iranian borders several times so far, and said, "According to the existing documents, they have even extended their apologies in this regard several times and vowed that they would not repeat the action in future." "All the documents available show that the British troops have entered Iran's waters and there is no doubt that they are trespassers and this is something the British marines themselves have confessed to," he continued. Khatami further stated, "Britons should know that the 19th century has passed … today, Britain is a defeated and isolated power who is operating as the United States' political middleman." "Britain should know that today Iran is … a great and powerful Islamic country which has stood up to the United States (i.e. Britain's master)," he said, adding, "The female marine was scheduled to be released, but after the boastful and arrogant statements made by the British officials and the invasion of Iranian consulate in Basra, her freedom was postponed." He also warned Britain that in case it intends to continue its hostile attitude towards Iran, it will have to pay a heavy price. "If you decide to trespass our country's borders even for an inch, then you will have to face the wrathful reaction of Iran's vigilant border guards," this week's interim Friday Prayers Leader of Tehran warned.

  10. Resist the war drive against Iran. By George Galloway. (03/30/07) "Information Clearing House"  - The capture by Iranian forces of 15 British sailors in the Gulf brought shrill, bellicose headlines last weekend and calls for retribution. The anti-war movement has done a superb job in winning a clear majority against the war and occupation in Iraq. But no one should believe that because the case against the “war on terror” is so overwhelming then no British government can garner support for another military misadventure. The capture of the British sailors has all the hallmarks of the kind of incident that has been used in the past as a reason either for war or for escalating confrontation. In 1949 the British gunboat HMS Amethyst was fired on in the Yangtze river in China. There was much outrage in Britain at Mao’s People’s Liberation Army, which was on the verge of taking power, for shooting at the ship. There was little questioning of what a British ship was doing on a Chinese river. Whether or not the British sailors were in Iranian waters is disputed. But what is not in dispute is that Britain has joined the US in pouring warships into the Gulf while pressuring and threatening Iran. Reliable US sources have reported that special forces are already operating in Iran.The Stop the War Coalition has rightly argued that the occupation of Iraq threatens to generate a wider regional war. The commander of the ship HMS Cornwall unwittingly captured the mentality of imperial occupation when he said the sailors had been captured in “our waters”. He meant the waters belonging under international law and treaty to the Republic of Iraq. In addition to the immediate argument that this incident is not worth yet more bloodshed and war, it is vital to challenge this imperialist delusion. Part of that is simply asking the obvious question: imagine if Iran occupied France, had scores of warships in the Channel, was reported to have commandos operating in the home counties, and was pushing for sanctions against Britain – how would public opinion, the media and the British government react? What makes anyone think Iran is any different? Secondly, as propagandists try to gloss the “war on terror” in fake humanitarianism, more and more people need to shout out the single greatest lesson of the anti-war movement. It is not the business of Western governments and the corporations that back them, steeped in the blood and sweat of hundreds of millions of people across the globe, to bring “order” to the “savages”. It is the business of those of us who live in those imperialist states to do all in our power to stop their militarism and to act in solidarity with those around the globe fighting for a better world. Everywhere you go this week, make sure people are asking: what on earth are British gunboats doing in Iraqi or Iranian waters in a place called the Arabian or Persian Gulf thousands of miles from home? It is up to all of us to oppose the war drive against Iran. Can you start a discussion at work or college, arrange a Stop the War meeting, get a letter into your local paper, petition on the streets? And as the People’s Assembly in London agreed last week, if there is an attack on Iran, we will need civil disobedience in every community, walkouts in every school, protests and strikes in every workplace. If George Bush bombs Iran, we should bring this country to a standstill."

  11. Is UK-Iran marine incident part of larger war provocation plan? By Larry Chin, Online Journal Associate Editor (30.03.2007)  "The Bush administration and its allies (notably the UK and Israel governments) have been planning to attack Iran as early as spring 2007. It is not surprising that yet another fabricated pretext is being used to set it up...While Western media coverage has done little beyond echo and embellish Tony Blair’s immediate shrieking and bellicose assertions (“there was no justification whatsoever . . . completely unacceptable, wrong and illegal”), and the predictable Bush administration support for Blair (the White House “fully backs Tony Blair and our allies in Britain”), and the impending political onslaught against Tehran, little if any analysis has been devoted to the context of what has led up to this incident. In 2003, Tehran sent a sweeping proposal to the Bush administration (via the Swiss Embassy) for dialogue and regional cooperation. White House officials confirm that this memo was widely circulated and discussed -- and rejected (top Bush administration officials profess a convenient “memory lapse”)..." FULL TEXT HERE

  12. Both Sides Must Stop This Mad Confrontation, Now - No agreed maritime boundary between Iraq and Iran. By Craig Murray - Global Research - craigmurray.co.uk (30.03. 2007):  "There is no agreed maritime boundary between Iraq and Iran in the Persian Gulf. Until the current mad propaganda exercise of the last week, nobody would have found that in the least a controversial statement. Let me quote, for example, from that well known far left source Stars and Stripes magazine, October 24 2006. 'Bumping into the Iranians can’t be helped in the northern Persian Gulf, where the lines between Iraqi and Iranian territorial water are blurred, officials said.   "No maritime border has been agreed upon by the two countries," Lockwood said.' That is Royal Australian Navy Commodore Peter Lockwood. He is the Commander of the Combined Task Force in the Northern Persian Gulf. I might even know something about it myself, having been Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1989 to 1992, and having been personally responsible in the Embargo Surveillance Centre for getting individual real time clearance for the Royal Navy to board specific vessels in these waters. As I feared, Blair adopted the stupid and confrontational approach of publishing maps ignoring the boundary dispute, thus claiming a very blurred situation is crystal clear and the Iranians totally in the wrong. This has in turn notched the Iranians up another twist in their own spiral of intransigence and stupidity. Both the British and the Iranian governments are milking this for maximum propaganda value and playing to their respective galleries. Neither has any real care at all for either the British captives or the thousands who could die in Iran and Basra if this gets out of hand. Tony Blair's contempt for Middle Eastern lives has already been adequately demonstrated in Iraq and Lebanon. His lack of genuine concern for British servicemen demonstrated by his steadfast refusal to meet even one parent of a dead British serviceman or woman, killed in the wars he created. He is confronting an Iranian leadership with an equal lust for glory and lack of human concern. It is essential now for both sides to back down. No solution is possible if either side continues to insist that the other is completely in the wrong and they are completely in the right. And the first step towards finding a peaceful way out, is to acknowledge the self-evident truth that maritime boundaries are disputed and problematic in this area. Both sides can therefore accept that the other acted in good faith with regard to their view of where the boundary was. They can also accept that boats move about and all the coordinates given by either party were also in good faith. The captives should be immediately released and, to international acclamation, Iran and Iraq, which now are good neighbours, should appoint a joint panel of judges to arbitrate a maritime boundary and settle this boundary dispute. That is the way out. For the British to insist on their little red border line, or the Iranians on their GPS coordinates, plainly indicates a greater desire to score propaganda points in the run up to a war in which a lot of people will die, than to resolve the dispute and free the captives. The international community needs to put heavy pressure on both Britain and Iran to stop this mad confrontation. The British people must break out of the jingoism created by their laudable concern for their servicemen and woman, and realise that this is just a small part of the madness of our policy of continual war in the Middle East. That is what we have to stop. As Britain's outspoken Ambassador to the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan, Craig Murray helped expose vicious human rights abuses by the US-funded regime of Islam Karimov. He is now a prominent critic of Western policy in the region.

  13. Possible U.S. strike on Iran. UPDATES: RIA Novosti News Service (30.03. 2007): 

  1. Easter Surprise: Attack on Iran, New 9/11… or Worse. By Heather Wokusch. (30.03. 2007) - The devastating implications of a US strike on Iran are clear. And that begs the question: how could the US public be convinced to enter another potentially ugly and protracted war? Continue 

  2. Brzezinski: Avoid disaster with Iran. BY RAY GRONBERG, The Herald-Sun (30.03. 2007)
    "In the remaining 20 months of the Bush administration, America's leaders have to avoid the sort of "spontaneous combustion" that could produce a disastrous escalation of the country's Middle East military conflicts, a former national security adviser said at Duke University on Wednesday. Specifically, the country has to avoid getting into an armed conflict with longtime nemesis Iran, said Zbigniew Brzezinski... "If the war is enlarged in the next 20 months to include Iran -- if that happens -- for the next 20 years the United States is going to be bogged down in a war which spans Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and then you can forget about American global leadership," he said..."

  3. Blair in Decline -- and Eventually in Prison? By Hassan Tantawi (29/03/2007) -  PressTV  - 
    The crux of the still unfolding story of the detention of 15 British sailors by Iranian naval forces in the Arvand Rud, the maritime border between Iran and Iraq, last Friday is not really whether the sailors were 500 meters within Iranian territorial waters or 1.7 kilometers inside the Thalweg Line on the Iraqi side of the river. The lessons to be imbibed are how far divorced from reality British Prime Minister Tony Blair is, how deeply he is entrenched in past history and what an ugly spectacle a politician in terminal decline can present to an international viewing audience. Video footage and interviews of the Britons widely available on the internet and satellite television make it clear there is no hostage situation, their lives are not in danger, they are being fed regularly, treated well and kept in clean surroundings. Obviously a routine procedure is underway to terminating the matter. One would not have a clue of any of this if your source of information was Tony Blair and what John Pilger so nicely described recently as his "arthritic pirouetting". He is stumbling to an increasingly undignified conclusion of his decade in office, besieged by scandals and embarrassed by plummeting popularity figures. Yet what we have seen for the past several days is Blair fulminating about dire consequences if the Iranians don't immediately resolve the problem of the detention of the sailors. The rantings of a moribund politician that has lied his nation with "eyes wide shut" into a morass that makes Suez 1956 pale by comparison, a man defined recently by the highly respected former Labor MP and cabinet minister Tony Benn as a perpetrator of war crimes in Iraq, is not a personality to make the Iranian government quake in its collective boots. Blair makes the whole Arvand Rud incident sound as if Tehran was up to some intricate diabolical plotting to foment strife and in so doing puts on full display the tactics of a now dead British Empire whose stock in trade was creating incidents to plunder and pillage. Perhaps this is his way of stoking the American war machine to attack Iran--an adventure he has made clear his government will not be participating in. Times have changed though and what Tony mistakes for a roar is heard by the rest of the world as well--simply pathetic. The more instructive line of questioning is really not about the sailors or Iranian intentions which by all accounts are simply procedural and benign but the recent history that put British patrols in the Arvand Rud in the first instance. Here we immediately run into large issues--not the detention of sailors--but war crimes of an enormous magnitude perpetrated by two veto wielding members of the UN Security Council. This malignant behavior began right after the 1991 expulsion of Saddam's forces from Kuwait and the UN sanctions put in place immediately thereafter. The strictures continued for 13 years and are conservatively estimated to have cost the lives of 500,000 Iraqis. Other sources say the number was an even million. The silent massacre prompted the late Pope Paul John VI to denounce it in the harshest language while former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright said the decimation of the Iraqi nation was well worth it. Little is mentioned about what that 13 years of starvation did to weaken the genetic composition of Iraqis who were pre-adolescent or born in that period. Equal silence has been afforded the question of how the landscape of that country littered with the detritus of depleted uranium ordinance, was leaching the life from Iraqis, American and British troops. The troops of course could and did leave, though Persian Gulf Syndrome lives on and remains firmly embedded in an estimated 300,000 U.S. and British troops from that war, leaching life from them too, now 16 years after the fact. Perhaps it was that wanton UN sanctioned killing that persuaded the Bush and Blair governments to think it was okay to embark on an unprecedented campaign of bald-faced lying in the run-up to the second invasion of Iraq. Blair's outright falsehood told with a straight face of Saddam's ability to assemble and deliver a nuclear device in 45 minutes has to be one of the lowest points in British prime ministerial history. In October of 2006 the British medical journal Lancet published the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health survey that put the number of civilian deaths due to the consequences of the 2003 invasion and ongoing occupation at 655,000. The "Coalition of the Willing" led by Bush and Blair (Bush's poodle according to large numbers of the British public) was wracking up a remarkable record of kills. But the whole operation had begun to go south by the summer of 2003 and has been headed further that way with an impressive head of steam ever since--so have Tony Blair's political fortunes. Given the circumstances, it was perhaps inevitable that Iran would be scapegoated for this still unfathomable blundering of the Yanks and Brits that will play itself over decades and see the continuing diminution of both. It was with the knowledge of this bitter pill in his mouth that Blair came limping into the Persian Gulf region in December 2006 with the message of the "danger" of Iran for its neighbors. A phrase richer in irony from the prime minister of an occupying power that is the historic progenitor of every past and potential future conflict in the Middle East (Palestine for instance) would be hard to uncover. Coming from the mouth of Blair, it was a sure sign that he was at best delusional. The tempest in a tea pot that is the Arvand Rud incident has been world headlines since Friday and seen oil prices jump to their highest levels in 2007. The event has also afforded Blair yet another opportunity to shoot himself in the foot. Certainly the British public will breathe a sigh of relief when he finally relinquishes the reigns of power--an initiative he certainly seems to be struggling mightily to avoid but which is inevitable. Perhaps the best thing the Islamic Republic can do under the circumstances is wrap the virtual non-event of the British 15 up in rapid order. Tehran has already announced that sailor Faye Turner is set for a rapid release. The government here might also issue a private note to the prime minister not to go vacationing in Spain, as is his habit. There the law awaits him in the form of Judge Baltazar Garzon. In the March 21st issue of El Pais, Garzon opined that President George W. Bush and by extension Prime Minister Tony Blair, should be tried for war crimes over the deaths of those 650,000 Iraqi civilians. It could be that knowledge has added to the decibel level of the prime minister's uncalled for hectoring of Tehran and his hallucinating about the gravity of the Arvand Rud incident.

  4. Press Release of the Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN regarding the Security Council Press Statement on UK military personnel who illegally entered Iranian territorial waters - 29 March 2007  "It is unfortunate that, once again, the United Nations Security Council is abused to issue a press statement on an issue of purely bilateral nature that in no way falls within the purview of the Council. On Friday 23 March 2007 , 15 British marines and sailors illegally entered Iranian territorial waters in the northern part of the Persian Gulf , violating the internationally recognized border between Iran and Iraq . The Islamic Republic of Iran, in exercise of its sovereign right to protect its border from transgression and unlawful entry into its territory, had no choice except to stop this illegal move and detain the British marines and sailors. In fact, this was not the first time the British troops violated the Iranian border since their invasion and occupation of Iraq . In 2004, a similar incursion into the Iranian territorial waters took place by the British forces that resulted in the detention of transgressors and their subsequent release following bilateral contacts between the two governments. At that time, the British Embassy in Tehran expressed, and in fact noted down, the commitment of its government to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran by avoiding the recurrence of such illegal acts in the future. In the past, Iran had warned the occupying forces in Iraq to fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran as they were conducting their activities..." FULL TEXT HERE 

  5. SECURITY COUNCIL PRESS STATEMENT ON IRAN - 29 March 2007 "Members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at the capture by the Revolutionary Guard, and the continuing detention by the Government of Iran, of 15 United Kingdom naval personnel, and appealed to the Government of Iran to allow consular access, in terms of the relevant international laws. Members of the Security Council support calls, including by the Secretary-General in his 29 March meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister, for an early resolution of this problem, including the release of the 15 United Kingdom personnel."

  6. The Long history of British and American covert provocation and action in Iran.   By Steve Watson (infowars.com (29 March 2007) . Published on Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii)"The US and Britain are already at war with Iran, have been at war with Iran for a number of years now and are funding anti-Iranian terrorist groups inside Iran in preparation for the fallout that will occur after overt military action is commenced. Not my words, the words of high ranking CIA officials, Defense department officials, former UN officials and retired US air force Colonels.  Iran's state news agency, IRNA today listed five previous violations of Iranian territory by British armed forces: 

    • June 2004: An unmanned reconnaissance plane violated Iranian airspace in northeastern Abadan and was hit by Iranian anti-aircraft guns.

    • June 22, 2004: Eight navy personnel in three speed boats entered Iranian territorial waters and were arrested by Iranian coast guards; the arrested were released after three days.

    • November 1, 2006: Two helicopters, hovering at a height of 150 meters (492 feet), violated Iranian airspace for a total of 10 minutes.

    • January 27, 2007: A helicopter violated Iranian airspace over the mouth of the Arvand river and left the area after a warning from Iranian coast guards.

    • February 28, 2007: Three navy boats entered Iranian territorial waters in the mouth of Khor Mousa.

  7. Can we believe Iranian state news? Is Britain and/or the US engaging in covert intelligence gathering in Iran? The answer is we don't have to believe Iranian state news because it is a well established fact that a covert intelligence war is already being waged with Iran and has been ongoing for many years now. In an article entitled The US war with Iran has already begun , written back in June 2005, former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter, addressed this very issue and described how intelligence gathering, direct action and the mobilizing of indigenous opposition is all being carried out already by CIA backed US special forces..."

  1. Law Revising Cooperation with IAEA Communicated  (28/03/07)THERAN (Fars News Agency)- Ratification of the council of ministers for revision of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in certain fields went into effect as of today, Wednesday.

  2. Iran Will Not Overlook Aggression Against Its Territory (28/03/07)  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- First vice speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran addressing British prime minister, Tony Blair said that Mr. Blair should not expect Iran to overlook obvious aggression agaist its territory.

  3.  Pursuit of Iran's N Case at UN Security Council not Legal (28/03/07) TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Paris, addressing a meeting at Paris 11 University stated that pursuit of Iran's nuclear case at the UN Security Council lacks legal and technical bases.

  4. Bosnia, Herzegovina Opposed to Sanctions against Iran (28/03/07)  TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- New Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina announced that his respective country is opposed to any sanctions to be imposed on Iran as a means for the settlement of Iran's nuclear issue.

  5. US Officials' Statements Concerning Iran's Nuclear Case Illusive (28/03/07) TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini termed the statements made by the US officials concerning Iran's nuclear issues as illusive evaluations and assessments.

  6. FM: Discriminating Iranian Nation's Rights Complies with no Criterion (28/03/07) TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian Foreign Minister made reference to Iran's latest peaceful nuclear activities and said that discriminating the rights of the Iranian nation and depriving the people of Iran of the scientific progress and technologies that are required for sustainable development complies with no criterion.

  7. China shifts to euros for Iran oil. By Chen Aizhu. (28/03/07)  China's state-run Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, the biggest buyer of Iranian crude worldwide, began paying for its oil in euros late last year as Tehran moves to diversify its foreign reserves away from U.S. dollars. The Chinese firm, which buys more than a tenth of exports from the world's fourth-largest crude producer, has changed the payment currency for the bulk of its roughly 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) contract, Beijing-based sources said. Japanese refiners who buy about 500,000 bpd of Iranian crude, nearly a quarter of Iran's 2.2 million-bpd shipments, continue to pay in dollars but are willing to shift to yen if asked, industry sources and officials said separately. Iranian officials have said for months that more than half the OPEC member's customers switched their payment currency away from the dollar as Tehran seeks to diversify its reserves, but news of the Zhenrong change is the first outside confirmation. The price of the oil is still based on dollar quotes. The shift, being watched closely by foreign exchange traders, comes amid an extended row between Tehran and Washington over Iran's nuclear programme. China, which depends on Iran for about 12 percent of its imported crude oil, has at times used the threat of its United Nations veto to blunt Western measures. The UN imposed new sanctions on Iran on Saturday as Tehran refused to halt its nuclear programme, targeting arms exports and 28 Iranian individuals and entities. Iran's central banker told Reuters earlier on Tuesday that Tehran had cut its holding of U.S.-dollar assets to a minimum level of around a fifth of its foreign reserves in response to U.S. hostility, still enough to handle major shocks..." MORE>>

  8. Iran to stop pricing oil with USD. By ASSOCIATED PRESS. KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia. (28/03/07)  "Iran, the worlds’ fourth largest oil producer, will stop pricing oil in U.S. dollars, with less than half of its oil income now paid in the American currency, Iran’s central bank governor said. “More than 50 percent of Iran's oil income is paid in other currencies. We are reducing the dollar share and asking clients to pay in other currencies,” Ebrahim Sheibany told Zawya Dow Jones News Service on the sidelines of an Islamic finance forum in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.  Almost all of Iran’s European and Asian oil customers started paying in currencies other than the U.S. dollar late last year as Tehran moved to diversify its foreign exchange reserves away from the U.S. dollar. Zhuhai Zhenrong Trading, a Chinese state-run company that is the biggest buyer of Iranian crude oil worldwide, have begun paying Iran for its oil in euros. The company, which buys more than a tenth of the oil exports from Iran, has changed the payment currency for the bulk of its contract of roughly 240,000 barrels per day, its officials said. Iran is a leading oil supplier for China, which depends on Iran for about 12 percent of its imported crude oil. “Most of China's purchases have shifted to euro… It's not difficult so long as our banks can handle that,” a Chinese state oil trader said. Japanese buyers, who buy almost a quarter of Iran's 2.2-million barrel daily shipments, continue to pay in dollars but are willing to shift to yen if asked. "We are looking at it so that we can switch the currencies any time, but we have not gotten any official requests from them," said Fumiaki Watari, the chairman of Japan’s top refiner, Nippon Oil. Sheibany noted that Iran has earned more than U.S. $45 billion from oil sales during the current fiscal year, which ended March 20. "Even if we get dollars, we directly convert it to other currencies,” he said. Iran’s shift from the U.S. dollar is being watched closely by foreign exchange traders. It comes amid an escalating dispute between Tehran and Washington, which is leading international pressure to isolate the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, which the U.S. claims is aimed at building atomic bombs. Earlier this week, the UN Security Council passed a resolution expanding sanctions on Tehran over its refusal to halt its uranium enrichment. Iran insists that its nuclear program is aimed at producing electricity so it can save its oil and gas resources for export, and prepare for the day when its huge energy reserves run out. Tehran had no “meaningful” economic relations with the U.S., Sheibany said, adding that his country has "perfect control" in keeping its currency stable. "We do not have any problem. We are trading with more than 70 countries, including (in) Asia and Europe," the governor said.  He added that Iran's central bank is also shifting to holding its foreign reserves in a basket of 20 currencies and away from U.S. dollars, which now make up less than 20 percent of the reserves. "We are trying to diversify our reserves and of course it is very natural to switch to currencies other than U.S. dollars," Sheibany said. About 20 percent of the country's $50 billion to $100 billion of foreign reserves is in dollars, he said. It’s worth mentioning that global markets were shaken by the growing tensions over Iran’s nuclear program as well as Tehran’s detention of 15 British sailors, with oil prices rising by $5 overnight to more than $68 a barrel before they settled back to around $64.  Gold also jumped to a four-week high on safe-haven buying before prices eased."

  9. Oil Traders Fear US Iran Attack: Maybe We Should Too. By Dave Lindorff. (28/03/07) 

  10. British pawns in an Iranian game. By Pepe Escobar. Asia Times. (28/03/07) "The Iranian seizure of 15 British sailors may be much cleverer than it appears. Oil has moved above US$60 a barrel as a result of the incident. And if Tehran drags out proceedings, the Shi'ites in southern Iraq may take the hint and accelerate a confrontation, and even start merging with strands of the Sunni resistance."

  11. Iran: We Will Know SoonBy Richard Heinberg. Museletter #180. (27 Mar 2007)  "...As many have pointed out, an attack could have cataclysmic implications for the region, for the world economy, and not least for the oil import-dependent and nearly bankrupt US...Bob Graham, former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, made the following comment: “This administration seems to be getting ready to make—at a much more significant, escalated level—the same mistake we made in Iran that we made in Iraq. If Iraq has been a disaster, this would be multiple times Iraq. The extent to which this could be the horror of the twenty-first century is hard to exaggerate.”

  12. Iran's arrest of sailors was legitimate, says former UK envoy.  By IRNA, 27/03/07  "Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray Monday supported Iran's decision to arrest 15 UK marines in the Persian Gulf last week. "In international law the Iranian government were not out of order in detaining foreign military personnel in waters to which they have a legitimate claim," Murray said, who was also a previous head of Foreign Office's maritime section, carrying out negotiations on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. "For the Royal Navy, to be interdicting shipping within the twelve mile limit of territorial seas in a region they know full well is subject to maritime boundary dispute, is unnecessarily provocative," he said.

  13. Iran's arrest of sailors was legitimate, says former UK envoy.  By IRNA, 27/03/07 "Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray Monday supported Iran's decision to arrest 15 UK marines in the Persian Gulf last week. "In international law the Iranian government were not out of order in detaining foreign military personnel in waters to which they have a legitimate claim," Murray said, who was also a previous head of Foreign Office's maritime section, carrying out negotiations on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. "For the Royal Navy, to be interdicting shipping within the twelve mile limit of territorial seas in a region they know full well is subject to maritime boundary dispute, is unnecessarily provocative," he said. The former envoy said that this was "especially true as apparently they were not looking for weapons but for smuggled vehicles attempting to evade car duty." "What has the evasion of Iranian or Iraqi taxes go to do with the Royal Navy?" he questioned in comments on his webpage, set up after he was sacked from his post in 2004 after criticizing British foreign policy. While working for the Foreign Office, Murray was also head of the UK's Embargo Surveillance Centre, analyzing Iraqi attempts to evade sanctions and providing information to UK military forces and to other governments to effect physical enforcement of the embargo. He said that under international law, Britain would have been allowed to enter Iranian territorial waters if in "hot pursuit" of terrorists, slavers or pirates. But added "they weren't doing any of those things." "Plainly, they were not engaged in piracy or in hostilities against Iran. The Iranians can feel content that they have demonstrated the ability to exercise effective sovereignty over the waters they claim," the former envoy said. He criticized the "ridiculous logic" of Prime Minister Tony Blair, saying he was creating a mess that "gets us further into trouble." The Daily Mirror, which has been an outspoken opponent of the Iraq war, reminded its readers Monday that "if the UK had never joined the disastrous invasion of Iraq, the 15 would not have been put in a position where they could be seized." In its editorial on the incident, it also said that "US threats in the recent past to launch military strikes on Iran have inflamed tensions." 2220/345/1416

  14. DAS KRÄFTEMESSEN ZWISCHEN IRAN UND DEN USA GEHT IN EINE NEUE RUNDE. In unruhigen Gewässern. Von Bahman Nirumand (28/03/07) "Trotz Widerstands der anderen Mitglieder hat Washington seine aggressive Strategie gegen den Iran im UN-Sicherheitsrat durchgesetzt. Teheran soll um jeden Preis in die Knie gezwungen werden - koste es, was es wolle. Dazu soll zunächst der Druck auf Iran erhöht und das Land immer mehr in die Isolation getrieben werden. Und wenn auch das nichts hilft, werden die Flugzeugträger, die längst in den Gewässern des Persischen Golfs stationiert wurden, den Befehl zum Angriff erhalten. Neben den härteren Wirtschaftssanktionen, die nun beschlossen wurden, sind die USA dabei, eine "sunnitische Front" gegen die Schiiten aufzubauen. Ihre engsten Verbündeten in der Region, allen voran Saudi-Arabien, stehen ihnen dabei zur Seite. Im Irak werden iranische Staatsbürger massiv verfolgt. Seit Wochen schon befinden sich mehrere iranische Diplomaten in amerikanischer Haft. Sollten die waghalsigen Radikalislamisten in Teheran zu Gegenmaßnahmen greifen und damit in eine der zahlreich aufgestellten Fallen tappen, so wäre dies vielleicht schon Vorwand genug, um die militärische Option zu wählen. Ob die Festnahme von fünfzehn britischen Marinesoldaten im Schatt el-Arab eine Reaktion auf dieses Kräftemessen oder vielmehr eine Falle war, wird sich in den nächsten Tagen zeigen. Doch mit dem wachsenden Druck und der Isolation des Iran wird genau das Gegenteil dessen erreicht, was angestrebt ist. Ahmadinedschad nimmt die Attacken als willkommenen Anlass, um von inneren Problemen und der wirtschaftlichen Misere im Lande abzulenken. Die Kritiker, deren Zahl auch im Lager der Konservativen zunimmt, werden zum Schweigen gebracht, die Zivilgesellschaft zur Geisel der Radikalislamisten gemacht. Wäre es nicht klüger, nur das Regime und nicht das ganze Land zu isolieren? Durch Verhandlungen und Vorschläge, die dem berechtigten Sicherheitsbedürfnis des Landes entgegenkommen, hätte man sowohl die Reformer als auch die moderaten Konservativen gewinnen und damit deren Widerstand gegen die Radikalen um Ahmadinedschad stärken können. Doch den USA geht es um mehr als um eine Lösung im Atomkonflikt: Ihr Ziel ist ein Regimewechsel im Iran. "

  15. US-Flotte probt Angriffe.  "Die US-Marine hat ihr größtes Manöver im Persischen Golf seit Beginn des Irak-Kriegs vor vier Jahren begonnen." Von Knut Mellenthin (28/03/07)

  16. NATO-Kriegsschiffe vor Irans Küste. Iraks Besatzer sind eine permanente Provokation für Teheran. Razzien nicht vom UN-Sicherheitsrat gedeckt. Von Knut Mellenthin (27/03/07)

  17. Besatzer auf Patrouille. 15 britische Soldaten bleiben in iranischer Haft. Waren sie wirklich nur auf Kontrollfahrt im Schatt Al Arab oder spionierten sie nicht eher gegen Teherans Marine?  Von Knut Mellenthin (27/03/07)

  18. Exil-Iraner Nirumand: Unterschiedliches Maß des Westens (27/03/07)  "Man kann nicht mit Indien, das nicht einmal den Atomwaffensperrvertrag unterzeichnet und illegal Atomwaffen gebaut hat, einen umfassenden Vertrag zum Atomtechnologietransfer und Lieferungen von Brennstäben schließen" und zur Atommacht Pakistan schweigen, "einem Land, in dem die Machtübernahme der Radikal-Islamisten keineswegs ausgeschlossen ist", so der in Berlin lebende Exil-Iraner. Man könne nicht das israelische Atomarsenal unwidersprochen hinnehmen und "auf der anderen Seite Iran unter Kriegsandrohungen die Urananreicherung im eigenen Land verbieten. All das hat weder mit Religion noch mit Kultur zu tun. Das sind nackte Interessen", meinte Nirumand. (red/APA)

  19. Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) Statement on UNSCR 1747- . March 27, 2007.
    "Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran strongly condemns the decision by the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council to impose the latest Resolution 1747 [1] on Iran for its failure to suspend its uranium enrichment work, a lawful activity permitted by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty [2], to which Iran remains a signatory state.  This in the context of the IAEA itself having found no evidence of any nuclear material being diverted to military purposes.   We are alarmed that these unjustified resolutions, extorted through blackmail and coercion of the member states, will inexorably lead to a ‘preemptive’ military attack on Iran, with catastrophic ramifications for the region and for the world.  As evidenced in the case of Iraq, the sanctions, after inflicting untold suffering on the population, will be used as a prelude and justification to invade and occupy a sovereign member state of the United Nations. 
    As in case of the UNSC resolution 1737 [3] approved in December 2006,  the United States has played a key role in the draft of the language and the push for its approval, in its continued and relentless drive to lay the grounds for a planned military attack against Iran. The passage of this resolution was made possible only after Iran’s nuclear dossier was moved from the IAEA to the United Nations Security Council through coercive measures [4] by the United States, as admitted by Stephen Rademaker, a former high ranking Bush administration official in a meeting of the Indian Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses.  Revelations of such pressure tactics have brought the legitimacy of both these resolutions into serious question, as evident by the support of the 118 United Nations member states of the Non-aligned Movement [5] which have repeatedly confirmed and recognized Iran's right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
    Historically, Iran’s nuclear program was started under the 'Atoms for Peace' project [6] in 1957, with the help of the United States. In 1959, the Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC) was established and run by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). The TNRC was equipped with a U.S.-supplied 5-megawatt nuclear research reactor that became operational in 1967, fuelled with highly enriched uranium.  Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)  in 1968 and ratified it in 1970. With the establishment of Iran's atomic agency and the NPT in place, the Shah approved plans to construct, again with U.S. help, up to 23 nuclear power stations by the year 2000.
    Under Chapter Six of the UN Charter [7], "Pacific Settlement of Disputes", the Security Council "may investigate any dispute or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security."
    We believe that an activity declared legal  by Article IV of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty does not constitute a danger to the world "peace and security" and there is no justification for the United Nations Security Council, an international body charged with securing and maintaining international peace, to impose such unwarranted sanctions on Iran.
    The Security Council’s abuse of its power accorded to it by the UN Charter has precedence in Iranian history.  27 years ago, the belated Resolution 479 [8] on September 28, 1980, was adopted 7 days after no action by the SC, during which Iraq captured 30000 sq Kilometers of Iranian territory.  Despite the Security Council’s wish not to mention this case of non-compliance, this legitimate resistance in recapturing lost territory is proudly registered in the Iranian national consciousness.  The Security Council also ignored for several years, its own UN reports confirming the use of chemical weapons by Iraq, supplied by the same western member states, against the Iranian civilians and military personnel. Also remembered is the Security Council’s attempt, 55 years ago, to condemn Iran for threatening international peace and security for daring to nationalize its oil industry.  Similarly, in July 2006, the UK/US’s prior knowledge of the Israeli intention to attack Lebanon, and their refusal in the Security Council to stop the killing of civilians and the destruction of Lebanese infrastructure, has eroded public trust and alarmed the international community.  It is this travesty of duty and justice by the United Nations Security Council that is undermining its credibility in the Muslim world and the Non-aligned Movement, and is the most serious threat to international peace and security."

Zum Seitenanfang

  1. No Stop in Iran's Peaceful Nuclear Move Even for a Second. By Fars News Agency (27/03/07)  "Iranian President described the recent resolution issued by the UN Security Council as illegal and said that the resolution will not stop  the legal and peaceful nuclear move the Iranian nation has started..."   
  2. Iran Will Stop Cooperation with IAEA in Certain Fields. By Fars News Agency (27/03/07)  "Iranian Government Spokesman [Gholam Hussein Elham] reported of a ratification by the council of ministers that foresees revision of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in certain areas and added that cooperation in certain fields with the IAEA will be halted as long as Iran's case has not been returned from the UN Security Council to the IAEA..."

  3. Teheran rejects UN SC resolution, to scale down cooper with IAEA. By ITAR-TASS News Agency (26.03.2007)

  4. Verschärfte Sanktionen gegen Iran. UN-Sicherheitsrat folgt einstimmig dem Kurs der USA und Großbritanniens. Weitere Eskalation programmiert. Von Knut Mellenthin (26.03.2007).  

  5. Spione im Schlauchboot? Von Thomas Pany (25.03.2007). "Gefangennahme von britischen Marinesoldaten durch Revolutionäre Garden löst größere Krise aus. Die Krise zwischen Großbritannien und Iran spitzt sich zu: Nach jüngsten Informationen aus der englischen Presse sollen die 15 britischen Marinesoldaten, die am Freitag von Mitgliedern der Revolutionären Garden gefangen genommen wurden, als Spione vor Gericht gebracht werden. Die britische Sonntagsausgabe der Zeitung Times beruft sich allerdings nicht auf offizielle Verlautbarungen der iranischen Regierung, sondern "auf eine Webseite, die von Verbündeten des iranischen Präsidenten Mahmud Ahmadinedschad betrieben wird". Dort soll von einer möglichen Anklage wegen Spionage die Rede sein:  Wenn es erwiesen ist, dass sie mit Vorbedacht in iranisches Hoheitsgebiet eindrangen, dann werden sie vor Gericht der Spionage angeklagt. Wenn sich das als richtig erweist, dann können sie sich auf ein erhebliches Strafmaß gefasst machen, da nach iranischem Recht Spionage ein schwerwiegender Verstoß ist, der ernsthaft geahndet wird...." 

  6. SC Resolution Against Iran a Violation of UN Charter. By Fars News Agency (25/03/07)  "...Spokesman of the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini expressed regret over issuance of the UN Security Council Resolution 1747 concerning Iran's nuclear case and stated, "By issuing the recent resolution, the UN Security Council once again took to challenge the urgency which is attached to the protection of the rights of nations and governments in compliance with article 25 of the UN Charter.... Many of the countries as well as international and regional bodies refuse to support such resolutions and resolution 1747 is not favored by the international community which is dissatisfied with the ratification of illegal resolutions"..."

  7. Mottaki : Iran not to give up demands under any sanction, threat. By the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran (24/03/07)  "Iran`s Foreign Minister Mr Manouchehr Mottaki said Saturday that no sanction or threat can make the Iranian nation retreat from its legal and legitimate demands. `The world must know - and it does - that even the harshest political and economic sanctions or other threats are far too weak to coerce the Iranian nation to retreat from their legal and legitimate demands,` said Mottaki in an address to the UN Security Council following issuance of a second anti-Iran resolution by the Council. The full text of the Minister`s statement is as follows:

  8. SC Resolution Against Iran a Violation of UN Charter. By Fars News Agency (25/03/07) "...Spokesman of the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini expressed regret over issuance of the UN Security Council Resolution 1747 concerning Iran's nuclear case and stated, "By issuing the recent resolution, the UN Security Council once again took to challenge the urgency which is attached to the protection of the rights of nations and governments in compliance with article 25 of the UN Charter.... Many of the countries as well as international and regional bodies refuse to support such resolutions and resolution 1747 is not favored by the international community which is dissatisfied with the ratification of illegal resolutions"..."

  9. Hosseini regrets issuance of new anti-Iran resolution. By the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran (24/03/07) "... The UN Security Council, once again, challenged the need for the UN`s support for rights of nations and governments within its legal framework and objectives and acted in such a way that it damaged the UN Charter and international laws..."

  10. Security Council tightens sanctions against Iran over uranium enrichment. By  UN News Centre (24/03/07) "The United Nations Security Council acted unanimously today to tighten sanctions on Iran, imposing a ban on arms sales and expanding the freeze on assets, in response to the country's uranium-enrichment activities, which Tehran says are for peaceful purposes but which other countries contend are driven by military ambitions." 

  11. India PM calls for return of Iran's case to IAEA , IranMania.com (24/03/07) "Expressing India's disapproval of any Security Council punitive action against Iran, he said India opposes unilateralism in dealing with Iran's nuclear program. Referring to the amicable relations between Iran and India, he called Iran as India's strategic friend. Khatami said that Iran's nuclear case was in an appropriate situation and both Iranian and European parties showed great flexibility to legally tackle the issue, but, unfortunately the US refused to aid the course. He added the American officials instead of honoring the negotiations, tried to undermine European inclination for cooperation. Khatami referred to negotiations with no pre-condition as the only way to solve the issue, while expressing hope that the talks would lead to fruitful results for all parties in the shortest possible time..."

  12.   UN backs fresh sanctions on Iran (24/03/07) "British ambassador to the UN Emyr Jones Parry said "the unanimous adoption of Security Council Resolution 1747 reflects the international community's profound concerns over Iran's nuclear programmes".

  13.  UN ratchets up pressure on Iran. By Jane O'Brien, BBC News, UN headquarters. "The Security Council is being abused to take an unlawful, unnecessary and unjustifiable action against the peaceful nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran" said Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki

  14. Security Council approves new sanctions on Iran. By CNN - POSTED: 6:31 p.m. EDT, March 24, 2007 "Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki rejected a unanimous vote by the U.N. Security Council on Saturday to impose new sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program..."Iran presents no threat to international peace and security and therefore falls outside the council's charter mandate."... "As we have stressed time and again, Iran's nuclear program is completely peaceful," Mottaki said. Despite his denial that the Security Council has any power over Iran, Mottaki offered hope that the impasse can be resolved. "We have expressed our readiness to take unprecedented steps and offered several proposals to allay possible concern in this regard," he said. Expressing the divide between Iran and the U.N. demand, the acting U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Alejandro Wolff, said: "While we hope that Iran complies with this resolution ... the United States is fully prepared to take additional measures in 60 days should Iran choose another course. "China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, said China supports Iran's right to a peaceful nuclear energy program, but fully backed the resolution...The new embargo on Iranian weapons exports -- such as small arms and explosives -- is an attempt to put the squeeze on supplies to militants in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Iraq.... Several council members spoke before the vote, stressing that they prefer to resolve the issue of nuclear development through negotiation. "This resolution is about the need to build international confidence in Iran's nuclear program," said Rezlan Ishar Jenie, Indonesia's U.N. ambassador... French U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere said, "Nobody in this council wishes to deny Iran its rights, or to prevent the Iranian people from benefiting from nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. "All states party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty have the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy" as long as they meet the Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations... The 10 nonpermanent council members are Belgium, Italy, Qatar, Congo, Panama, Slovakia, Ghana, Peru, South Africa and Indonesia.

  15. Security Council Approves New Sanctions on Iran. By REUTERS (24/03/07)  "...Germany and the permanent council members with veto power -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China -- spent a month in intensive negotiations drawing up the text. To get the support of South Africa, Indonesia and Qatar, they added the importance of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and highlighted the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency. South Africa's U.N. ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, who had submitted amendments that deleted all the sanctions, said he voted in favor because of Pretoria's opposition to nuclear weapons but criticized the resolution for penalizing Iranian institutions beyond the nuclear sphere."

  16. Security Council Approves New Sanctions on Iran.  By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (24/03/07)  "The moderately tougher sanctions include banning Iranian arms exports, and freezing the assets of 28 people and organizations involved in Iran's nuclear and missile programs...The new sanctions -- already a compromise between the stronger measures favored by the United States and the Europeans and the softer approach advocated by Russian and China -- are considered modest... The new resolution calls for voluntary restrictions on travel by the individuals subject to sanctions, on arms sales to Iran, and on new financial assistance or loans to the Iranian governmentIt asks the International Atomic Energy Agency to report back in 60 days on whether Iran has suspended enrichment and warns Iran could face further measures if it does not. But it also says all sanctions will be suspended if Iran halts enrichment and makes clear that Tehran can still accept a package of economic incentives and political rewards offered last year if it complies with the council's demands. After the latest resolution met with surprising resistance from several elected Security Council members, a reference was inserted to a past resolution from the IAEA calling for the Middle East to be free of weapons of mass destruction. Indonesia and Qatar had wanted the council to make that appeal outright, but that would have had implications for Israel, a U.S. ally widely believed to possess nuclear weapons, though it has never officially acknowledged it."

  17. Key elements of UN Iran resolution, Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST  (24/03/07)

  18. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?blobcol=urlimage&blobheader=image%2Fjpeg&blobheadername1=Cache-Control&blobheadervalue1=max-age%3D300&blobkey=id&blobtable=JPImage&blobwhere=1173879161045&cachecontrol=never&ssbinary=true Analysis: Who knows who the waters belong to? Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST 24/03/07)
  19. Iran condemns illegal entry of British sailors into its waters. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran (24/03/07)

  20. Ahmadinejad: World Has Changed, No One Gives In to Literature of Force. By Fars News Agency (25/03/07) "Western Politicians should know that the world has changed and that no one gives in to the literature of force any more. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in an interview with France 24 International TV network here in Tehran on Friday, stressed the point that the western politicians should know that the world has changed and that no one gives in to the literature of force any longer. In response to a question posed by the France 24 Network correspondent who accused Iran of having triggered crisis, president Ahmadinejad stated, "We have never triggered any crisis. We just defend our legal rights. When France defended its nuclear rights, were these the French people who triggered crisis or the opponents of France?. Crisis is triggered by those who reserve rights for themselves beyond law. Last year, I addressed a letter to Mr. Bush in which, I think I uttered everything that had to be said. Everybody in the world knows that the American statesmen are responsible for most of the world problems. In Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Palestine, in Sudan, Africa, Asia, everywhere you go, you can trace the footholds of Americans. The same is true in the nuclear case. And some states follow them of course." Regarding Iran's nuclear case, president Ahmadinejad stated, "Everybody admits that the US and Britain are our enemies and reluctant to see that our country is making progresses. They plan to block our access to nuclear fuel cycle. And now they are hiding themselves behind the UN Security Council. We know what this game is all about." In response to a question concerning the number of centrifuge units Iran has installed, the Iranian president said, "Can you estimate how many centrifuges are available to the US or France? Hundreds of thousands! Well then, why should they be allowed to have access to so many centrifuges while others, including us, are deprived of using them. They are members of NPT and we are members of NPT as well. What law allows them to utilize so many centrifuges while the same disallows us to utilize even one thousand of these devices." President Ahmadinejad further added that the era of the cold war and deployment of weapons has come to an end and this is the era of contemplation and reflection, no atomic bomb can help Americans in Iraq and no atomic bomb can secure Mr. Bush popularity. Iranian president stated that fossil fuel resources are depleting and Iran's first nuclear power plant will go into operation soon and within a period of 20 years, we are planning to generate 20 thousand megawatts of electricity. In response to a question posed by the correspondent of France 24 international TV network, president Ahmadinejad said, "My question is, what has Israel committed that the world nations hate it so much. This is a key question that should be answered by the American and European leaders. As long as they have not answered this question, they will have to face problems. "President Ahmadinejad concluded by asking, "Why are the European statesmen so sensitive about the Zionists while so many Palestinians are killed everyday and 5 million Palestinians remain homeless for years?"
  21. Exclusive: Embassies in Teheran prepare escape plans.(23/03/07)  "Several foreign embassies in Teheran are updating their emergency evacuation plans should a Western or Israeli attack on Iran occur. According to foreign sources, foreign diplomats believe a possible attack would take place before the end of 2007. By that time, Iran might have enough enriched uranium to cause a humanitarian and environmental catastrophe from radioactive fallout should its nuclear facilities be damaged or destroyed in an attack. Embassies in all countries generally have evacuation plans for their staff, but foreign sources describe the general atmosphere in Iran as one of heightened preparedness. Recently, several diplomatic missions based in Teheran have begun to reassess their plans, and embassies without permanent security officers have requested them. Embassy experts reportedly are testing various evacuation options and logistics, such as timing routes to different destinations by different types of vehicles. The plans include evacuation for all staff. Foreign sources say both the United States and Israel, who accuse Iran of wanting to develop nuclear weapons, want to give diplomatic efforts aimed at stopping Iran's nuclear drive the best possible chance to succeed. But according to these sources, should the West or Israel feel that the time needed for diplomatic efforts is longer than the time it would take for Iran to obtain nuclear independence, they are likely to strike at Iran's main nuclear facilities before the damage done by such an attack would cause serious radiation fallout. Such fallout would likely kill many civilians and render some parts of Iran uninhabitable for an undetermined period of time. According to this logic, the timing of such an attack would take place just before Iran has enriched an amount of weapons-grade material that, if damaged, would cause such a humanitarian and environmental catastrophe, it could be construed as a nuclear attack. The assessments posit that Israel and the US will try to delay an attack until the last moment due to the expected Iranian counterattack and regional deterioration. Similar dilemmas over timing were faced by Israel before the 1981 raid that destroyed Saddam Hussein's reactor at Osirak. According to "The Raid on the Osirak Nuclear Reactor," an article by researcher Avi Hein, the Israeli cabinet in 1981 received word that "a shipment of 90 kilograms of enriched uranium fuel rods is expected from France to Iraq, ready for radiation." The moment the rods would be placed in the reactor, there would be a danger of radiation fallout if the reactor was attacked. This was the decisive factor for deputy prime minister Yigael Yadin, who had initially opposed the plan to attack Osirak, but changed his mind after receiving the news about the fuel rods, Hein wrote. According to other published sources on the Osirak strike, Israel felt any raid had to take place well before nuclear fuel was loaded to prevent radioactive contamination. It is now known that during the strike preparations, one question affecting the timing was the estimated date the reactor would become "live," after which a strike could cause radiation fallout on civilians. In the current standoff with Iran, US pressure on many countries and multinational corporations to divest from Teheran is bearing fruit. But in the final analysis, Iran is not seen likely to stop its nuclear program, and UN sanctions are regarded as likely to take too long to have an effect. Should it be attacked, Iran is expected to launch missiles against Israel and an offensive against US forces in the Middle East. Teheran is also expected to activate Hizbullah in a full assault against Israel. Israeli security services also expect attacks on Jewish interests and institutions worldwide. Syria is still deciding if it will go "all the way" with Iran, or abandon its one friend in the world and return to the international fold. Syria's potential role in such a regional conflagration is undetermined. Saudi Arabia has been exerting consistent and mounting pressure on both Syria and Iran to change course. Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is making political moves within Iran's Supreme Council to limit the power of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - who many in Iran feel is out of the control of the ruling elite. At first, the ayatollahs acquiesced to Ahmadinejad's foreign policy line - which has at its core the drive for nuclear power, the ambition to replace Saudi Arabia as Islam's "core state," and the stated aim to destroy Israel - because of the former mayor of Teheran's wide popular support. For approximately the past year, there has been a noticeable growing concern among the ruling elite that Ahmadinejad is slipping out of their control, even though there is little chance he could take over supreme power and authority."

  22. Embassy of Iran Protests at Screening of '300' Film in France. By Fars News Agency (21/03/07)  "At the threshold of the screening of the film '300' in France, the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Paris released a statement and protested at the screening of this film which is the fabricated story of a historical event.The Iranian embassy in Paris has termed the film an insult to the rich Iranian culture and civilization and shameless fabrication of history. The statement further reads, "This is surprising that Hollywood cinema, in a hostile manner and in pursuit of unhealthy objectives and with a commercial look in compliance with the militarist policies of some ill famed and domineering powers, has initiated to propagate hatred and terrorism in the world instead of attempting to diagnose the real problems gripping the present world. It has in fact painted a wrong and fabricated picture of the culture of the great Iranian nation."The statement released by the Iranian embassy in Paris further adds that all throughout history, the Iranian culture has proved to be the culture of friendship, peace seeking and avoiding war, a culture the symbols of which have been printed on the UN walls. The statement further adds that the film '300' lacks credit not only because of hostile fabrication of the Iranian culture and display of a tough and violent picture of the peaceful Iranians, but also because of having employed an outdated and old fashion method in fabricating the cultures of other nations and because of propagating the culture of hatred.The director of the film '300', Zack Snyder is 40 years old with no significant professional record." For more information see 300 (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and critical reaction and  Battle of the Manly Men: Blood Bath With a Message. New York Times

  23. Open Letter from Reform Movement Calls for Enrichment Suspension (21/03/07)  "Sohkhahi, which means "Demanding Peace" has published an open letter signed by 310 Iranians from the Reform Movement, academia, student organizations, political activists and religious figures demanding that the Iranian government accept the proposal from the International Atomic Energy Agence for a temporary suspension of enrichment. The letter warns the government about the ramification of sanctions and also the possibility of a conflict with the US. The letter can be viewed (in Persian) here."

  24. Special Reports: Operation Bite: April 6 sneak attack by US forces against Iran planned, Russian military sources warn.  By Webster G. Tarpley. Online Journal Contributing Writer  (21/03/07)

  25. Le Pentagone va attaquer des cibles militaires iraniennes (expert russe) - Ria Novosti (21/03/07) "Le Pentagone projette de mener prochainement une attaque massive contre l'infrastructure militaire iranienne, estime le général Leonid Ivachov, vice-président de l'Académie de sciences géopolitiques. "Je n'ai aucun doute quant à la réalité de cette opération ou, plus précisément, de cette agression contre l'Iran", a déclaré le général russe dans un entretien à RIA Novosti mercredi. Selon lui, en témoignent notamment la conférence début mars à Washington du Comité américano-israélien (AIPAC), qui a décidé d'appuyer l'administration Bush, ainsi que le fait que quelques jours après le Congrès US a révoqué son propre amendement interdisant au président d'attaquer l'Iran sans son aval. "Nous en avons tiré la conclusion que cette opération aurait bien lieu. Autrement dit, la communauté israélienne des Etats-Unis et la direction israélienne - représentée à cette conférence par la ministre des Affaires étrangères de l'Etat hébreu - ont formulé la directive d'attaquer l'Iran", a noté l'expert. Mais les Etats-Unis ne projettent pas d'opération terrestre. "Selon toute évidence, il n'y aura pas d'invasion terrestre. Ce seront des frappes aériennes massives et d'usure, dans le but de détruire le potentiel militaire de la résistance, les centres de direction administrative, les installations économiques clefs et, si possible, une partie de la direction iranienne", a souligné l'expert. Le général Ivachov n'a pas écarté l'éventualité de frappes au moyen d'armes nucléaires tactiques contre les sites nucléaires iraniens. "Il se peut qu'on fasse appel à des charges nucléaires de faible puissance", a-t-il supposé. L'action du Pentagone sera en mesure de paralyser la vie dans le pays, d'y semer la panique et, d'une manière générale, d'instaurer un climat de chaos et d'incertitude", a affirmé l'expert. "Cela pourrait raviver les luttes pour le pouvoir à l'intérieur de l'Iran. Une mission de paix devra suivre pour mettre au pouvoir à Téhéran un gouvernement pro-américain", a estimé le général Ivachov. Tout cela aura pour but de redorer le blason de l'administration républicaine qui pourra ainsi déclarer que le potentiel nucléaire iranien a été détruit, a-t-il ajouté. Parmi les éventuelles conséquences de l'opération militaire, le général a cité la dislocation du pays à l'instar de l'Irak. Selon lui, "cette conception a donné des résultats dans les Balkans, maintenant elle sera appliquée - si celle-ci ne l'est pas déjà - à l'égard du Grand Proche-Orient". Interrogé sur la question de savoir si la Russie était en mesure, par la voie diplomatique, d'influer sur les évolutions autour de l'Iran, l'expert a affirmé que "Moscou doit exercer un impact, exigeant une convocation urgente du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU pour étudier la question de l'agression non sanctionnée en préparation contre l'Iran et du non-respect des principes de la Charte de l'ONU"."Et là la Russie pourrait coopérer avec la Chine, la France et les membres non permanents du Conseil. De telles mesures préventives pourraient contenir l'agression", affirme le général Ivachov."

  26. L'Iran serait attaqué début avril (experts militaires russes) (19/3/07)- Ria Novosti "Les experts militaires russes estiment que la planification de l'attaque militaire américaine contre l'Iran a passé le point de non retour le 20 février, lorsque le directeur de l'AIEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, a reconnu, dans son rapport, l'incapacité de l'Agence de "confirmer le caractère pacifique du programme nucléaire de l'Iran". Selon l'hebdomadaire russe Argoumenty nedeli, une action militaire se déroulera au cours de la première semaine d'avril, avant les Pâques catholique et orthodoxe (cette année elles sont célébrées le 8), lorsque l' "opinion occidentale" sera en congé. Il se peut aussi que l'Iran soit frappé le vendredi 6, jour férié dans les pays musulmans. D'après le schéma américain, ce sera une frappe d'un seul jour qui durera 12 heures, de 4 heures de matin à 16 heures d'après-midi. Le nom de code de l'opération est à ce jour "Bite" en anglais (Morsure). Une vingtaine d'installations iraniennes devraient être touchées. A leur nombre, des centrifugeuses d'enrichissement d'uranium, des centres d'études et des laboratoires. Mais le premier bloc de la centrale nucléaire de Bouchehr ne sera pas touché. Par contre, les Américains neutraliseront la DCA, couleront plusieurs bâtiments de guerre iraniens dans le Golfe et détruiront les postes clefs de commandement des forces armées. Autant de mesures qui devraient ôter à Téhéran toute capacité de riposter. L'Iran projetait de couler plusieurs pétroliers dans le détroit d'Ormuz dans le but de couper l'approvisionnement des marchés internationaux en pétrole et de frapper au missile Israël. Les analystes affirment que les frappes américaines seront lancées depuis l'île de Diego-Garcia, dans l'océan Indien, d'où décolleront des bombardiers à long rayon d'action B-52 avec à leur bord des missiles de croisière ; par l'aviation embarquée des porte-avions américains déployés dans le Golfe et faisant partie de la 6e Flotte américaine en Méditerranée ; des missiles de croisière seront également tirés depuis les sous-marins concentrés dans le Pacifique et au large de l'Arabie. Résultat, le programme nucléaire iranien sera rejeté de plusieurs années en arrière. Dans des entretiens privés, des généraux américains supposent que les délais de déploiement de la défense antimissile américaine en Europe peuvent être reportés à plus tard. Autre événement prévu, le baril de pétrole pourrait s'envoler à 75-80 dollars et ce pour une période prolongée. Entre-temps, la nouvelle résolution sur l'Iran et dont le projet a été adopté par les cinq membres permanents du Conseil de sécurité et l'Allemagne devrait être votée au CS dès cette semaine. Le texte prévoit des sanctions à l'encontre de 10 entreprises publiques iraniennes et de trois compagnies relevant du Corps des gardiens de la révolution islamique, unité d'élite aux ordres du leader spirituel de la République islamique, l'ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Des sanctions sont aussi prévues contre 15 personnes physiques : huit dirigeants haut placés de sociétés d'Etat et sept personnages clefs au Corps des gardiens de la révolution islamique."

  27. Translated Excerpts of Reza Pahlavi of Iran’s message on the occasion of Norouz 1386 (Persian New Year 2007) 

  28. Es gärt unter Irans Arbeitern - Wachsender Protest gegen die Wirtschaftspolitik Ahmadinedschads.Von Birgit v. Criege: (22/03/07) 

  29. Ungebremst in den Krieg. Von Knut MellenthinDie Energiereserven Irans sowie die Folgen aus den Militäreinsätzen gegen Afghanistan und Irak treiben die USA dazu, Iran in absehbarer Zeit anzugreifen (17. März 2007) 

  30. Unheilige Allianzen Washington will das iranische Regime stürzen. Dazu baut es auf ein Bündnis der arabischen Sunniten und schürt die inneren Konflikte im Iran: ein gefährliches Spiel. BAHMAN NIRUMAND. taz Nr. 8228 vom 17.3.2007.  

  31. Iran to Sell Oil in euros and other currencies. Fars News Agency (17 March 2007)

  32. Text: Draft UN resolution on Iran. BBC (15/3/07)  " The five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, have drawn up a draft resolution setting out a new sanctions package designed to put pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme. Here is the full text

  33. The “Democratic Supplemental” Fails to Deal with Iran and Has Big Loopholes That Will Leave Tens of Thousands or More Troops in Iraq. By Kevin Zeese   (12/3/07)

  34. Ahmadinejad intends to visit UNSC. (11/3/07) 

  35. Iranian general 'hands over vital documents after defecting to US'. By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor (10/3/07) 

  36. U.S., Allies Agree to Drop Proposed Iran Travel Ban.  By Colum LynchWashington Post  (10/3/07) 

  37. U.S., Iran Trade Barbs in Direct Talks.  By SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA. The Associated Press(10/3/07)    "In their first direct talks since the Iraq war began, U.S. and Iranian envoys traded harsh words and blamed each other for the country's crisis Saturday at a one-day international conference that some hoped would help end their 27-year diplomatic freeze."

  38. Iran says no one-to-one talks with U.S. in Baghdad U.S. and Iran Hold Rare Direct Talks. By Mariam Karouny. Reuters (10/3/07)   "U.S. and Iranian envoys spoke to each other directly at a regional meeting in Baghdad on Saturday but their exchanges dealt only with problems in Iraq and not with nuclear diplomacy."

  39.  U.S. and Iran attend Baghdad conference. By Mariam Karouny. Reuters (10/3/07)

  40. Timeline: U.S.-Iran Contacts - Council on Foreign Relations. By Lionel Beehner, Staff Writer (9/3/07)

  41. UN Financial Sanctions on Iran: Political Confrontation, Iran's Response to US Threats. By Prof. Akbar E. Torbat (9/3/07)

  42. George Bush's Samson Option. By Stephen Lendman. (March 08, 2007)  "...The updated NSS details an "imperial grand strategy" with new language more belligerent than the original version that was intended to be a declaration of preemptive or preventive war against any country or force the administration claims threatens our national security.  It followed from our Nuclear Policy Review of December, 2001 claiming a unilateral right to declare and wage future wars using first strike nuclear weapons that in enough numbers potentially can destroy all planetary life, save maybe some resilient roaches and bacteria. In still other national security documents, the administration intends being ready by maintaining total control over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems with enough overwhelming power to defeat any potential challengers using all weapons in the arsenal, including those nukes masquerading as king-sized grenades..."

  43. Try talk. You can use the stick later. By Malcolm Rifkind. (5 March 2007)

  44. Ohne Bremse und Rückwärtsgang - Iran hat mit seinem Atomoratorium nur negative Erfahrungen gemacht. Verhandlungen ohne Vorbedingungen nötig. Von Knut Mellenthin (5 March 2007)

  45. "We're going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran." Video Interview with General Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied  Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia .Global Research, March 23, 2007. Democracy Now - 2007-03-02. Gen. Wesley Clark Weighs Presidential Bid: "I Think About It Everyday"  Video Interview: 128k stream 256k stream. Short version of interview on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXS3vW47mOE

  46. Iranian Leader to Visit Saudi Arabia.(1 March 2007)

  47. CDI Science Fellow Analyzes IAEA Report on Iran’s Nuclear Activities  (1 March 2007)

Zum Seitenanfang

February  2007

  1. http://www.truthdig.com/images/masthead.gif Pentagon Whistle-Blower on the Coming War With Iran. "Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (ret.), a veteran of the Pentagon with firsthand experience of the administration’s cherry-picking of intelligence, reveals why Bush thinks he can win a war with Iran, why few politicians are serious about withdrawal and why “when they call Iraq a success, they mean it.” Update: Full transcript added" Listen: Download MP3 audio file (running time: 32:41 / 29.9 MB) (27 February  2007)  
  2. Waffen gegen Teheran (Tageszeitung junge Welt). Von Knut Mellenthin (27 February  2007)

  3. US accused of drawing up plan to bomb Iran. Guardian. Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington. (26 February 2007)  "President George Bush has charged the Pentagon with devising an expanded bombing plan for Iran that can be carried out at 24 hours' notice, it was reported yesterday...It said a special planning group at the highest levels of the US military had expanded its mission from selecting potential targets connected to Iranian nuclear facilities, and had been directed to add sites that may be involved in aiding Shia militant forces in Iraq to its list. That new strategy, intended to reverse the rise in Iranian power that has been an unintended consequence of the war in Iraq, could bring the countries much closer to open confrontation and risks igniting a regional sectarian war between Shia and Sunni Muslims, the New Yorker says. Elements of the tough new approach towards Tehran outlined by Hersh include: · Clandestine operations against Iran and Syria, as well as the Hizbullah movement in Lebanon - even to the extent of bolstering Sunni extremist groups that are sympathetic to al-Qaida Sending US special forces into Iranian territory in pursuit of Iranian operatives, as well as to gather intelligence. Secret operations are being funded by Saudi Arabia to avoid scrutiny by Congress. "There are many, many pots of black money, scattered in many places and used all over the world on a variety of missions," Hersh quotes a Pentagon consultant as saying. As in the run-up to the Iraq war, the vice-president, Dick Cheney, has bypassed other administration officials to take charge of the aggressive new policy, working along with the deputy national security adviser, Elliott Abrams, and the former ambassador to Kabul and Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad.

  4. West 'humiliating' Iran, says Hans Blix- Israel News, Ynetnews (26 February  2007)  "Former UN weapons inspector slams US and Europe over 'humiliating neo-colonial' attitude to Iran. 'People have their own pride whether you like them or don't,' he adds, urging use of economic incentives for better diplomacy."

  5. US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack.  TimesOnline - By (25  February 2007) "Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.

  6. Hersh: Pentagon panel created to plan bombing attack on Iran within 24 hours of Bush command (25  February 2007) 

  7. Indian UN Representative and High Commissioner questioned over IAEA coercion. (25  February 2007)  "We need the Indian government to be transparent about this matter of global significance. If the US coerced India into voting against Iran, it brings into question the entire legitimacy of the decision by the Governors' Board of the IAEA to refer Iran to the Security Council and the consequent passing of Resolutions 1696 and 1737 and any future resolutions against Iran the UN might pass. It also raises the question, “how many other members of he Governors'  Board of the IAEA were coerced by the US to politicise Iran's nuclear file, refer it to the UN Security Council and bring about first resolution 1696 and then resolution 1737?”. As in the run-up top the invasion of Iraq, UN resolutions are being used to give a veneer of legitimacy and provide a pretext for an illegal US pre-emptive strike against Iran. In Iraq, the invasion was ordered “in support of UN authority”. The same justification is likely to be used by the Bush administration for strikes on Iran. We are demanding an immediate high level investigation to the use of coercion by the US and its allies within the IAEA."

  8. Evidence of US coercion of IAEA members against Iran revealed. CASMII  Press Release - (25  February 2007)   + 'India coerced into voting against Iran' THE TIMES OF INDIA(17  February 2007) + India's anti-Iran votes were coerced, says former U.S. official  +  Rademaker is not a U.S. official' The Hindu : National (17  February 2007) 

  9. Stop bullying Iran. By Hossein Derakhshan. (23 February  2007) "It's the ultimate hypocrisy of the west to punish Iran for a law Iran has not broken. When no one has found the tiniest evidence of Iran producing nuclear weapons - which is the whole purpose of the non-proliferation treaty that it has signed - what kind of international law justifies the UN security council's sanctions on Iran? Since when has international law become able to measure the intentions of countries and react to them, if they say Iran intends to produce nuclear weapons? And how come the same UN security council turns a blind eye to Israel, India, and Pakistan - who everyone knew had long the same intention? They have never signed the non-proliferation treaty, yet their defiance has been and is still rewarded.The more the clash between the west and Iran escalates, the more convinced I become that the west's real problem with the Islamic Republic of Iran is not its nuclear activities, its level of democracy, its human rights record, or its support for "terrorist" groups. Pakistan, followed closely by Saudi Arabia, easily beats Iran on all these fronts. The real problem is that the Islamic Republic has decided to be independent in a region saturated with fossil energy resources, and at the same time run by American puppets. Iran has posed the biggest continuous challenge to the American hegemony in the whole world, and so it has to pay a price..."  MORE >>

  10. U.S. Strike Might Not Destroy Iran Nuke Sites. By Kristin Roberts, Reuters. (23 February  2007) "Any U.S. attack against Iran could involve thousands of sorties and missile launches lasting weeks, but it still would not eliminate the country's nuclear program, U.S. military officials and analysts say."

  11.  US intelligence on Iran does not stand up, say Vienna sources. Guardian | By Julian Borger. (23 February  2007)

  12. Iran defiant, but moving slowly on nukes. By Eric Hundman -  Foreign Policy blog here. (23 February  2007) 

  13. Glimmers of Hope in Iran Report? By Eric Hundman’s blog post for “The Danger Zone” in WIRED here. (23 February  2007)

  14.  Report on Iran Safeguards Sent to IAEA Board, Security Council. (22 February  2007) "IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei has circulated his latest report to the upcoming meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolution 1737 (2006) in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The report - submitted in parallel to the UN Security Council - covers developments since Dr. ElBaradei´s report of 14 November 2006. The 35-member Board will consider the report at its next meetings beginning in Vienna 5 March. The report´s circulation is restricted and unless the IAEA Board decides otherwise it cannot be released to the public. The report is in addition to the one on Iran and IAEA cooperation that the Director General circulated to the Board on 9 February in light of UN Security Council Resolution 1737 adopted 23 December 2006."                                                         See also  Statements of the IAEA Director General

  15.  IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear capabilities - GOV/2007/8 (22 February  2007) 

  16. What is behind Russia's delay of Iran's nuclear reactor? By Peter Symonds (22 February  2007)

  17. Blix Blasts Bush’s Policy in Iran - The former U.N. weapons inspector thinks the government is playing with fire. By Niall Stanage - New York Observer (22 February  2007)

  18. "Theater Iran Near Term" (TIRANNT). By Michel Chossudovsky (21 February  2007)

  19. UN nuclear watchdog calls Trident hypocritical. By David Blair (Daily Telegraph) (21 February  2007).  "In a lecture at the London School of Economics, Mr ElBaradei condemned the "unfairness" of a world in which nine countries seek to maintain their monopoly of nuclear weapons. "How do they expect this system of haves and have nots to be sustainable? How do I go to country X and say 'you should keep your obligation not to develop nuclear weapons', when the big powers are making no progress towards their obligations for disarmament?"

  20. Sen. Sanders Introduces Iran Resolution: (21 February  2007) "On February 15, 2007, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced S.Con.Res. 13 to prevent expansion of the war into Iran. According to a press release from the Senator's office: "Now there are reports that the President may be considering expanding this tragic war into Iran. The President has no constitutional authority to make war on Iran without Congressional approval, nor has he historical precedent. I offer today a resolution "expressing the sense of Congress that the President should not initiate military action against Iran without first obtaining authorization from Congress." The resolution sets forth the Constitutional grant of authority to Congress for declaring war and funding any war, it cites Federalist paper number 69 on the intention of the drafters of the Constitution, and it cites Presidents Washington and Jefferson on the power reserved to Congress to authorize war. "  Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress)

  21. "IRAN: OFFENER BRIEF AN DT. BUNDESKANZLERIN A.MERKEL" / "OPEN LETTER TO FEDERAL CHANCELLOR AND EU COUNCIL PRESIDENT, A.MERKEL" / Lettre ouverte à Madame la Chancelière fédérale et Présidente de l’Union européenne, A.Merkel (APPEAL: in Zeit-Fragen, Zürich).  

  22. US-Regierung ignorierte iranisches Verhandlungsangebot. Von Knut Mellenthin (20 February  2007) "Die US-Regierung hat im Mai 2003 einen umfassenden, weitgehenden Gesprächsvorschlag Irans ignoriert. Berichte über Teile dieses Vorgangs gab es schon länger. Nun wurden in der vergangenen Woche weitere Fakten bekannt, die das Bild vervollständigen. Unklar ist nach wie vor, welche amerikanischen Politiker damals das iranische Angebot gesehen und über seine Nichtbeachtung entschieden haben. Erstmals veröffentlichte die Washington Post jetzt ein zweiseitiges Memorandum des Schweizer Botschafters in Teheran, Tim Guldimann, der von den Iranern als Vermittler eingeschaltet worden war." 

  23. Fabricating the case against Iran. By Larry Chin. (20 February  2007)

  24. US 'Iran attack plans' revealed. BBC NEWS | Middle East | (20 February  2007) "US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country's military infrastructure, the BBC has learned. It is understood that any such attack - if ordered - would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres."

  25. American preparations for invading Iran are complete. By Dan Plesch - New Statesman (19 February  2007)  "American military operations for a major conventional war with Iran could be implemented any day. They extend far beyond targeting suspect WMD facilities and will enable President Bush to destroy Iran's military, political and economic infrastructure overnight using conventional weapons. British military sources told the New Statesman, on condition of anonymity, that "the US military switched its whole focus to Iran" as soon as Saddam Hussein was kicked out of Baghdad. It continued this strategy, even though it had American infantry bogged down in fighting the insurgency in Iraq. The US army, navy, air force and marines have all prepared battle plans and spent four years building bases and training for "Operation Iranian Freedom". Admiral Fallon, the new head of US Central Command, has inherited computerised plans under the name TIRANNT (Theatre Iran Near Term). The Bush administration has made much of sending a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf. But it is a tiny part of the preparations. Post 9/11, the US navy can put six carriers into battle at a month's notice. Two carriers in the region, the USS John C Stennis and the USS Dwight D Eisenhower, could quickly be joined by three more now at sea: USS Ronald Reagan, USS Harry S Truman and USS Theodore Roosevelt, as well as by USS Nimitz. Each carrier force includes hundreds of cruise missiles..." MORE >>

  26.  FT Interview 190207 - Transcript of the Director General´s Interview on Iran and DPRK (19 February  2007)

  27. Iran bars Greenpeace ship from entering waters. (18 February  2007)

  28. Is the Bush administration behind the bombings in Iran? By Peter Symonds (17 February  2007) 

  29. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders  Says No to Expanding War into Iran -- 02/15/2007

  30.  Former Deputy Director of IAEA Denies Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program (14 February  2007)

  31. Iran And The U.S. What Is At Stake - Video Broadcast 02/13/07 "Charlie Rose talks with David Sanger of The New York Times, Michael Hirsh of Newsweek, and Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations on Iran and the United States. Javad Zarif, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations."

  32. Want to ease tensions with Iran? Just try talking - A little known fact is that in 2003, the Iranians discussed a secret 'Grand Bargain' (13 February 2007). By Gabrielle Rifkind:- The Independent - 
    "The evidence put out over the weekend by American military officials in Baghdad - that Iran is supplying Shia extremists groups in Iraq with deadly weapons - has ratcheted up tensions. But as the US continues the biggest naval build-up in the Gulf since the Iraq war, have all the diplomatic options been fully explored? "Creative diplomacy and leadership" was called for last week by the Atomic Energy Agency chief, Mohamed ElBaradei. He emphasised the dangers of an uncontrolled chain reaction if confrontation with Iran made the Middle East more militant and angry. He called for a three-month time-out period that allowed for a comprehensive settlement covering not just covering nuclear issues but security and trade, which have polarised issues between Iran and the United States for 25 years. The current crisis could present new opportunities as the political landscape in Iran is changing. There are increasing signs that President Ahmadinejad may have suffered a near fatal blow. In an unprecedented criticism of his bellicose foreign policy rhetoric, and his poor record on promised reforms at home, 150 members of the Iranian Majlis (parliament) signed a letter blaming him for raging inflation, soaring food prices, high unemployment and failure to deliver a budget on time. Pragmatists in Iran claim that Ahmadinejad's provocative rhetoric in which he declared "Iran would not suspend uranium enrichment even for one day" runs the risk of torpedoing any chance of better relations with the West. His declining position coincides with a crushing defeat in December's local elections, when his allies won only a fifth of the seats for the Tehran City Council. The results suggest a move away from dogmatic conservatism and a growth of support for his presidential rival, Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, who is known for more pragmatic policies. Even if this does not happen, the changing mood inside the country and the external pressures from the UN Security Council may have encouraged those in charge of foreign policy to challenge Ahmadinejad. Under Iran's complex constitutional set-up, President Ahmadinejad is responsible only for domestic policy, not for Iran's external relations. Foreign policy is made by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei under the guidance of the National Security Council. A military strike from outside, either from the US or from Israel, would derail these developments and would be welcomed by the regime hard-liners. During a recent visit to Tehran, I spoke to hardliners and moderates. Many felt that the consequences of outside intervention would lead the Revolutionary Guard to declare a state of emergency, marginalising moderate influence for the next decade. This would escalate Iran's thrust to become a nuclear-weapon state. A surge of nationalistic fever could secure Ahmadinejad's position. A little-known fact is that in 2003 the Iranian government, under the then-president Mohammad Khatami, discussed a secret "Grand Bargain" with Swiss interlocutors at the time of the fall of Saddam Hussein. In return for US security guarantees of non-interference in the regime, the end of sanctions and the opening of the possibility of joining the World Trade Organisation, Iran offered support for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine in which it said it would accept the 2002 "Beirut Declaration", in which the Arab League endorsed this objective. It also offered to give up supporting terrorist groups. What then is the scope, four years later, to revitalise such an initiative, and could the changing mood in Tehran offer new opportunities? There is much suspicion and mistrust about the intentions of the Iranian and US governments. Tehran insists that the US policy is aimed at regime change, and the US charges Iran with attempting to sabotage its attempts to stabilise the Middle East. Mutual security agendas need to be addressed. Can the gradual drum beat towards war against Iran be averted? Is it possible to mitigate Iran's nuclear threat by offering a deal that addresses the security concerns of all the parties engaged in this conflict? ElBaradei's call for "a three-month time-out period" could address much deeper questions and anxieties about Iran's place in the region, the future of the regime and relationships with the West and Israel. Could the changing mood in Tehran open up more possibilities to pursue this agenda?  Gabrielle Rifkind is a specialist in conflict resolution. She co-authored 'Making Terrorism History'
    gabriellerifkind@ talk21.com"

  33. Israel ready 'to confront Iran alone'. Agence France-Presse " (13 February  2007)  "ISRAEL alone will have to confront the perceived nuclear threat from arch enemy Iran, the country's ultra-rightwing Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman said today. "We will have to face the Iranians alone, because Israel cannot remain with its arms folded, waiting patiently for Iran to develop non-conventional weapons," he told public radio when asked about a possible Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations. He criticised an EU report leaked to the Financial Times that said with Iran unlikely to negotiate seriously on its nuclear programme, the international community can do little to prevent Tehran from developing an atomic bomb." MORE >>

  34. Ali Larijani on Iran’s nuclear program. (12 February 2007) "Ali Larijani, Secretary of the High Exclusive Council for National Security, Islamic Republic of Iran, on his country’s nuclear program and relations with the West - an exclusive WSN TV interview."(Persian  with English translation)

  35. Ali Laridschani - Speech at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy. (The speech was held in Persian. English translation ) (11.02.2007)  

  36. Wladimir Putins Rede auf der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz (Deutsche Übersetzung) (10.02.2007)

  37. Putin, Wladimir W., Speech at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy (The speech was held in Russian. English translation) (02/10/2007)

  38. Tzipi  Livni - Speech at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy (09.02.2007)

  39. Will They Nuke Iran? By Alexander Cockburn (10 February  2007)

  40. Target Iran: US able to strike in the spring. By Ewen MacAskill  Guardian Unlimited (10 February  2007) "Despite denials, Pentagon plans for possible attack on nuclear sites are well advanced"

  41. A Strike on Iran would signify the Beginning of an Epoch of Nuclear War By Dimitriy Sedov (10 February  2007)

  42. An "Existential" Conflict - Charging Iran with "Genocide" Before Nuking It. By Gerry Leup (8 February  2007)

  43. Iran's Intellectual Holocaust. By Jalil Bahar (6 February  2007)

  44. Iran: Ahmadi-Nejad's Tumultuous Presidency - International Crisis Group - Click for full report (6 February  2007) 

  45. Saudis act to counter Iran's influence in the Mideast. By Michael Slackman & Hassan M. Fattah. (5 February  2007

  46. http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/images/timetotalk.jpg  Military attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences warns new report from  Foreign Policy Centre.   Download "Time to Talk"  (1765 KB) Farsi translation of Executive Summary of "Time to Talk" (5 February  2007) 
    The report concludes that military action against Iran could:

  • Further jeopardise the prospects of peace taking root in the Middle East - Long standing Iranian links to Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shia groups in Iraq, along with the presence of significant minority Shia populations in Saudi Arabia, could lead to severe destabilisation throughout the Middle East.

  • Severely undermine hopes for stability in Iraq - Iran has several thousand intelligence agents operating in the Shia region of Iraq and has been accused of arming Shia insurgents. A decision to activate insurgent units could lead to a massive escalation in violence.

  • Bolster the position of hard-liners and set back chances of reform within Iran - Recent municipal elections suggest that the bellicose rhetoric of Ahmadinejad is beginning to lose appeal. Over the winter there have been fuel shortages and inflation continues to rise. Ahmadinejad's popularity is waning. Military strikes would unify Iranians, ignite greater nationalist feeling and undermine the growing prospects of an internal shift in power.

  • Push developing countries into greater poverty - If military action led to an increase in oil prices. For example, a $10 increase in oil price could drop the GDPs of Sub-Saharan African states by an average of 3% with serious implications for those already living in poverty.

  • Damage UK, US and European economies - if oil prices rose to $100 per barrel this could increase the risk of recession.

  • Threaten serious environmental contamination - Bombing could result in radioactive contamination, oil slicks and oil well fires that could take years to deal with.

  • Increase the terror threat to the UK by fuelling resentment and bolstering extremists.

  1. Iran: The War Begins. By John Pilger (5 February  2007) 

  2. Iranian nuclear scientist ‘assassinated by Mossad’. (4 February  2007) "A PRIZE-WINNING Iranian nuclear scientist has died in mysterious circumstances, according to Radio Farda, which is funded by the US State Department and broadcasts to Iran. An intelligence source suggested that Ardeshire Hassanpour, 44, a nuclear physicist, had been assassinated by Mossad, the Israeli security service. Hassanpour worked at a plant in Isfahan where uranium hexafluoride gas is produced. The gas is needed to enrich uranium in another plant at Natanz which has become the focus of concerns that Iran may be developing nuclear weapons. According to Radio Farda, Iranian reports of Hassanpour’s death emerged on January 21 after a delay of six days, giving the cause as “gas poisoning”. The Iranian reports did not say how or where Hassanpour was poisoned but his death was said to have been announced at a conference on nuclear safety..." (See also Haaretz - U.S. website: Mossad killed Iranian nuclear physicist. By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent)

  3. Iran to open nuclear facilities to Western diplomats, challenges their countries to do same | Source: AP (4 February  2007) 

  4. Why is the US press silent on Brzezinski's warnings of war against Iran? By Barry Grey (3 Febr. 2007)  

  5. The American hostility towards Iran - BBC NEWS | Americas | By Paul Reynolds. (1 February  2007)

  6. Chirac Strays From Assailing a Nuclear Iran - New York Times. (1 February  2007)                                               

  7. (See also:  Chirac’s First Interview on Iran + Chirac’s Second Interview on Iran - New York Times) (1 February  2007) 

Zum Seitenanfang

January 2007

  1. The Future of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Janet Bloomfield. Oxford Research Group, January 2007 (pdf file here)

  2. Iranian-Americans Join Anti-War Protests. By Daniel M Pourkesali (CASMII) (27 January  2007)

  3. Hegemony and Appeasement: Setting Up the Next U.S.-Israeli Target (Iran) For Another "Supreme International Crime".By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson (27 January  2007)

  4. Herzliya Conference: In a word: Iran.  By | Jerusalem Post (25 January  2007) "If this year's Herzliya Conference is any indication, the Israeli establishment, though reeling from one political scandal to another, has only one thing on its mind: Iran. Panel after panel declaimed, ad nauseum, the "existential threat" emanating from the "messianic totalitarian" government in Teheran. Cabinet ministers, IDF representatives, the usual cadre of former generals, policy analysts and even the handful of ex-Mossad officials discussed both openly and privately the nuclear threat, its geo-strategic and psychological implications and methods for its removal..."

  5. Congress Can Stop the Iran Attack, or Be Complicit in War Crimes - by Jorge Hirsch (20 January  2007)

  6.   GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION CONDEMNING ANY DENIAL OF HOLOCAUST - GA/10569 (29 January 2007) "The General Assembly today adopted by consensus a resolution condemning, without reservation, any denial of the Holocaust, with the United States, among the text’s 103 sponsors, stressing that to deny the events of the Holocaust -- one of the most tragic moral catastrophes in history -- “was tantamount to approval of genocide in all its forms”."

  7. "WIPED OFF THE MAP" - The Rumor of the Century. " By by Arash Norouzi  (18 January 2007) "So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in farsi: "Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad."  That passage will mean nothing to most people, but one word might ring a bell: rezhim-e. It is the word "Regime", pronounced just like the English word with an extra "eh" sound at the end. Ahmadinejad did not refer to Israel the country or Israel the land mass, but the Israeli regime. This is a vastly significant distinction, as one cannot wipe a regime off the map. Ahmadinejad does not even refer to Israel by name, he instead uses the specific phrase "rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods" (regime occupying Jerusalem).  So this raises the question.. what exactly did he want "wiped from the map"? The answer is: nothing. That's because the word "map" was never used. The Persian word for map, "nagsheh", is not contained anywhere in his original farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in h