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Asian transport confab opens in Birjand TEHRAN - An international conference dubbed “South Khorasan, Transit and Development of East Axis" has kicked...

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Asian transport confab opens in Birjand

TEHRAN - An international conference dubbed “South Khorasan, Transit and Development of East Axis" has kicked off in the eastern Iranian city of Birjand. The opening ceremony on Monday was attended by Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Iran’s Minister of Road and Transportation Ali Nikzad and a group of state officials. In addition to Iranian officials, transportation ministers from regional countries as well as Iran's ambassadors to Southeast and Central Asian nations are present at the event. The most prominent foreign guests of the conference include transportation ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Oman, India and Central Asian states. Ambassadors of Iran's neighboring countries as well as those of the Central Asian states, China, India and Oman are also participating in the conference.

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The Only International Persian Daily Newspaper

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Iran, Sudan can up trade volume

TEHRAN - Iran's Vice President for International Affairs Ali Saeedlou says Tehran and Khartoum have enough potential to increase their trade volume to over USD 2 billion. "The ability and capacity exists in Iran and Sudan to increase economic exchanges in all areas," said Ali Saeedlou in a meeting with Mustafa Othman Ismail, advisor to Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Sunday. The Iranian vice president also voiced Iran's readiness to supply Sudan with oil, agricultural products, urea fertilizer and medicines. The Sudanese official, for his part said despite sanctions imposed against Iran by Western countries, Tehran has been able to keep its economy in a balanced state. "Sudan needs to increase cooperation with the Islamic Republic because Iran is a powerful and technologically advanced country in the region," he said.

ISSN : 1353 8836 No.4178 , WEDNESDAY, May 9 , 2012

FM spokesman:

Iran-5+1 talks are aimed at setting framework for cooperation TEHRAN – Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Ramin Mehmanparast said on Tuesday that the upcoming nuclear talks between Iran and the G5+1 are aimed at setting framework for bilateral cooperation. Talking to reporters at his weekly press conference, Mehmanparast stressed that measures should be taken to fulfill Iran's rights and respond to any probable ques-

tions regarding Iran's peaceful nuclear activities. The Group 5+1 includes the US, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany. Onparliamentaryelections in Syria, Mehmanparast said it is the second step towards implementing nationwide reforms in that country. He then called on the regional and extra-regional countries to support the plan proposed by the UN special

envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, and let the reforms be made in a peaceful atmosphere. Meanwhile, the spokesman said any instability in Afghanistan will affect security in Iran. Expressing Iran's concern over the recent agreement inked between Afghanistan and the US, he said the agreement was vague and unclear. He said peace, stability and security of Afghanistan are important to Iran, stressing

that Tehran regards Afghanistan’s security as inseparable from its own security. The spokesman further referred to presence of alien forces led by the US in Afghanistan as the cause of instability and insecurity in that country. Mehmanparast underlined that since regional countries are well capable of providing the region's security there is no need for presence of foreign countries.

Iran's ambassador to IAEA:

US, EU worst nuclear proliferators TEHRAN - Iran has criticized the US and the European Union for deploying nuclear weapons and has urged them to remain committed to the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT). “The deployment of hundreds of the US tactical nuclear weapons in EU states is a blatant violation of the NPT by the US and the host countries,” Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said during the first session of the NPT Preparatory Committee in Vienna on Monday, Press TV reported. He added that countries which possess nuclear weapons, particularly the US, France, and Britain, have repeatedly breached their commitments to the NPT. The Iranian ambassador strongly criticized the nuclear cooperation between the

US and certain EU countries, such as France and Britain, with the Zionist regime of Israel, stressing that such cooperation violates the commitments of these countries to NPT regulations. Soltanieh renewed Iran's commitment to the NPT, saying, “The Islamic Republic believes that this treaty can play a role in international peace and security if fully implemented.” The Iranian envoy also expressed concerns over the IAEA's “baseless accusations” about the peaceful nuclear activities of its member states, saying, “One of the main concerns of the states parties to the treaty is the increase of baseless allegations against the peaceful nuclear activities of other states parties through forging documents and disseminating false information, including those unfounded allegations made in the

statements of the EU. “These allegations have significant consequences, in particular political and economic damages to the relevant state parties. In this context, the agency must be very vigilant in dealing with open source information, baseless allegations, and the authenticity of the documents presented. The IAEA must not build its verification activities on unreliable and fake evidence.” He also urged the IAEA to prevent leaks of confidential information about member states’ nuclear activities. “The agency should also strengthen its confidentiality policies in order to prevent any leakage of sensitive and confidential information of member states. Leakage of information of the IAEA is a matter of serious concern since such information is directly related to informa-

tion received during the performance of agency's verification and inspection in a member state; the release of such confidential information, therefore, shall jeopardize the national security of member states and that of individuals working with inspectors. Therefore, it has direct impact on the mutual trust between member states and the secretariat and thus on verification activities of the IAEA,” he added. Soltanieh’s warning echoed Tehran’s criticism of the agency over the assassinations of several Iranian nuclear scientists. Iran says IAEA leaks of sensitive information led to the murders. Iranian scientists Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, Daryoush Rezaeinejad, Professor Majid Shahriari, and Professor Masoud Ali-Mohammadi were all killed in terrorist actions.

Japan mulls law to insure Iran crude

TEHRAN - Japan is mulling a new law that would allow its tankers to continue importing Iranian crude by providing them insurance cover even after the full enforcement of the European Union’s oil embargo against Iran. According to the Japanese business daily, the Nikkei, under the legislation, the Japanese government and

the country’s shipping firms would ink an insurance deal and the shipping companies would pay the premiums to the government, Press TV reported. On January 23, the European Union approved new sanctions on Iran's oil and financial sectors. The sanctions are meant to prevent EU member states from buying Iranian crude or do-

US pressuring India to cut crude imports from Iran TEHRAN - The United States is mounting pressure on India to scale back its oil imports from Iran as part of Washington’s campaign to force Tehran into abandoning its nuclear energy program. “There is adequate supply in the market for India to find adequate sources,” US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, Press TV reported. This is while Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said on April 26 that India is bound by UN sanctions, but "unilateral sanctions imposed by countries or [a] group of countries shouldn't impact legitimate trade relations with Iran." He said New Delhi crude oil imports from Tehran are guided by India’s energy needs.

The US imposed tough financial and oil sanctions against Iran in the beginning of 2012 in a bid to pile up pressure on Tehran over its nuclear energy program. The US unilateral sanctions, slated to take full effect on June 28, seek to penalize other countries for importing Iranian crude. The US and the EU claim that Iran's nuclear energy program includes a military component, and have used such claims as a pretext to impose international and unilateral sanctions against the country. Tehran refutes their claims, saying frequent inspections by the InternationalAtomic EnergyAgency have failed to prove any diversion in Iran's nuclear energy program toward military purposes.

ing business with its central bank. The sanctions will come into force as of July 1. Additionally, the embargo banned European companies from transporting, purchasing or insuring crude and fuel originating in Iran and intended for anywhere in the world. Should the EU choose to implement Iran’s oil sanctions, the Japanese government would rapidly introduce the bill to the parliament in order to be endorsed by early June, the daily said. EU foreign ministers are expected to review the sanctions at a meeting on May 14. Meanwhile, according to Reuters, several Japanese government officials have also asked the Japan P&I Club, the country's main ship insurer against pollution and personal injury claims, for advice. "We don't think we can live without Iranian crude oil imports so we might need

Iran urges mutual cooperation with Egypt

to consider some steps," one of the government official said. Earlier in March, under pressure from Asian oil importers, the EU agreed to provide some insurance on Iranian oil shipments. The agreement allows buyers outside the EU to purchase third-party and environmental insurance on their shipments from European insurers, who cover most of the world's tanker fleet. The US and the EU imposed new financial sanctions as well as oil embargoes against Iran earlier this year, claiming that the country’s nuclear energy program may include a military component. Tehran refutes such allegations, noting that frequent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency have never found any diversion in Iran's nuclear energy program toward military purposes.

THRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says Iran and Egypt could play an important role in the Muslim world by cooperating with each other. Describing Iran and Egypt as two of the most important early civilizations, Salehi said there have been deep political, economic and cultural ties between the two countries and these relations were strengthened after the emergence of Islam. “Unfortunately, the Iranian and Egyptian nations have been apart over the past 30 years and we hope this 30-year gap would be compensated for through the expansion of ties,” IRNA quoted Salehi as saying on Monday. The Iranian foreign minister further said Egypt’s revolution was a great event for the region and the world, expressing hope that the Egyptian people could shape a bright future for their country by continuing their revolutionary path in the upcoming presidential election. The first Egyptian election is set to take place on May 23 and 24 amid public protests against the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) that took power in the aftermath of the February 2011 revolution that toppled former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The Egyptian public accuses the country’s junta of following in Mubarak’s footsteps by resorting to violence against popular protests.

Iran exports $10bn in oil products TEHRAN - Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi says the implementation of the Subsidy Reform plan has enabled the country to export USD 10 billion of oil products in the past two years. Iran launched a major national plan to reallocate subsidies paid by the government on various energy carriers and other essential goods in December 2010. Strengthening Iranian industries and production, increasing oil exports, reducing domestic fuel consumption, and reducing the government's expenses were the major goals of the plan. “By implementing the [subsidy reform] law, we not only prevented gasoline imports, but managed to export more than USD 10 billion in oil products,” Qasemi said on Monday. The minister added that if the law had not been implemented, the country would have had to import 60 million liters of gasoline. “Despite the many threats posed by the enemies, we have no concerns about developing the [Iranian] oil industry, and day by day we are moving toward self-sufficiency in the industry by

taking advantage of the specialty and capacities of the country’s young scientists,” he said. Qasemi stated that Iran is not concerned about the economic sanctions imposed on the country by Western states and considers such threats a very good opportunity for the development of the country. “Many countries in the world are permanent customers of Iranian oil and in view of the new methods [that are available] for selling and supplying oil to global markets, we are not concerned about selling our oil,” he noted. The United States and European Union have approved tough sanctions against Iran's oil sector since the beginning of 2012 to prevent EU members and other countries from importing Iranian oil and its products. They accuse Iran of pursuing military purposes under the cover of its nuclear energy program. Tehran refutes their charges saying as a committed member of International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it is fully entitled to peaceful uses of the nuclear energy.

Iran to build Middle East’s first underground gas storage

TEHRAN - A senior Iranian gas industry official says the country is planning to build an underground natural gas storage facility in salt domes near the central city of Kashan, which will be the first of its kind in the Middle East. Massoud Samivand, managing director of Natural Gas Storage Company (NGSC),

said Saturday that studies on storing natural gas in the new reservoir located in salt domes of Nasrabad region near Kashan have already started, Press TV reported. The official added that based on early studies, the new reservoir will be able to contain 3-4.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Samivand said various

types of geological studies on the reservoir have been finished and the implementation of the first phase of the plan will begin in the near future. He went on to say that drilling the first reservoir well will begin in late May. “Drilling one or two new wells will pave the way for storing natural gas in salty

pits of Nasrabad reservoir,” he added. On April 27, Samivand said two natural gas storage facilities will become operational in the current Iranian calendar year (started March 20, 2012) to store natural gas equal to six phases of the South Pars gas field. The official added that depleted hydrocarbon or ground water reservoirs as well as salt domes are priorities for building underground gas storage facilities. He stated that the country’s natural gas storage capacity should hit 14 billion cubic meters by the end of the Fifth Economic Development Plan (2015). Samivand announced that the construction of three underground gas storage facilities is simultaneously going on in Sarajeh region of Qom Province, Yortsha region near the city of Varamin, and Shourijeh region in Khorasan Province.

World Bank chief opposes sanctions on Iran’s central bank TEHRAN – The World Bank managing director opposes sanctions against Iran’s central bank, the Iranian central banker announced on Monday. Mahmoud Bahmani had visited the IMF and the World Bank Annual Spring Meetings in Washington last month, MNA reported. Bahmani said during the meetings he explained that Iran has no problems in terms of reserves and imports and “chairman of the World Bank acknowledged that sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) is meaningless.” He added, “The meetings that we had with chiefs of banks and officials of coun-

tries in the international conference, countries announced readiness to have commercial ties with us.” On May 1 the International Monetary Fund rebuffed an anti-Iran American group’s call to cut its relations with the CBI in order to comply with U.S.-led economic sanctions against Tehran for its nuclear program. The IMF insisted that its account with the CBI is in line with Iran’s membership with the IMF and does not contravene Western sanctions. Bahmani said the IMF chief for the Middle East section described Iran’s complaints against sanctions “logical” and vowed to take steps to resolve the problems.

2 judicial officials arrested over $2.6b fraud case TEHRAN - Two former judicial officials have been arrested in connection with a $2.6 billion financial fraud case, Judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein MohseniEjeii announced on Monday. “Two persons, who used to be in the judicial apparatus but then opted out of the apparatus and started working as attorneys, have been arrested in the case, one of whom formerly served at the justice administration office of Khuzestan” Province, which is located in southwest Iran, Mohseni-Ejeii stated during his regular press briefing. So far, nine court sessions in the trial of the defendants accused of involvement in the fraud case have been held in Tehran, MNA reported. The Arya Investment Company is at the center of the controversy, and MahAfarid Amir-Khosravi, who is one of the main owners of the company, is the number one suspect in the case. Asked about Mahmoud Reza Khavari, the former managing director of Bank Melli Iran, who fled to Canada after the fraud case was uncovered, Mohseni-Ejeii stated that he will be tried in

absentia. Mohseni-Ejeii, who is also the national prosecutor general, added, “His case is being completed and will be sent to the court. We would like Khavari to return because it would have been in his interests if he had been tried. And that would have been better than his current situation.” “We are still pursuing the issue through Interpol and the country of Canada. The issue would be a litmus test for the self-proclaimed advocates of campaigns against corruption, money laundering, and economic terrorism,” he stated in an indirect reference to Canada. Khavari is one of the main suspects in the case, he said, adding, “It should be asked why Canada and Interpol are not able to hand him over. We provided them with every document they had asked for. We even provided them with documents in the case which show that he had received money on several occasions.” The Iranian Judiciary spokesman also announced that indictments have been issued for 12 other suspects in the case.

War on drug lords top on Iran's agenda TEHRAN - Iran has intensified combat against drug lords and mafias, announced Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, who is also the head of the country's Drug Campaign Headquarters. Addressing a periodic meeting of Iran's Drug Campaign Headquarters here in Tehran on Monday, Mohammad Najjar elaborated on Tehran's measures in the battle against drug-trafficking in the current year, FNA reported. "Intensifying campaign against the main agents and heads of drug-trafficking networks and transit of narcotics and hallucinating drugs, waging effective campaign against Crystal (methamphetamine) production and smuggling networks, intensifying control over border crossings and bottlenecks, increasing border control to decrease drug trafficking into the country, campaigning against money launder-

ing and drug money in the country and in the region … are part of the measures taken for combating the supply" of narcotics, Mohammad Najjar stated. Noting the other measures being taken by Iran in the battle on drugs this year, he said Tehran will continue playing its effective role in regional and international decisionmakings against narcotics. He added that boosting and bolstering diplomatic ties with the neighboring states, specially Arab and Islamic countries, with regard to campaign against drugtrafficking are among the other measures taken by his headquarters. Iran lies on a transit corridor between opium producing Afghanistan and drug dealers in Europe, but the Islamic Republic has emerged as the leading country fighting drug trafficking after making 89 percent of the world's total opium seizures.

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