Wednesday, June 16, 2004

John Ashcroft linked to Iraqi Backed Terrorist Group

Four Iranian brothers detained for supporting MKO terrorist group : "Iran News Jun 7th, 2004 - 21:45:21

Four Iranian brothers detained for supporting MKO terrorist group
Jun 7, 2004, 21:43

Four Iranian brothers are challenging a government decision to detain them since 2001 for supporting MKO terrorist organization that many lawmakers, including Attorney General John Ashcroft, have supported in the past, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

The Mirmehdi brothers -- Mohammed, Mostafa, Mohsen and Mojtaba -- were arrested in October 2001 following an FBI investigation into a Los Angeles-based cell of the Moujahedeen Khalq, or MEK, which opposes Iran's regime.

The FBI claimed informants indicated the Mirmehdi brothers associated with the MEK. Although the four admitted attending protests against the Iranian government that were allegedly sponsored by the MEK, they denied ever belonging to the group, the newspaper said.

The group itself has been listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department since 1997. Even after that designation, it was supported by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who viewed its members as freedom fighters.

In 2000, Ashcroft, then a U.S. senator from Missouri, and fellow Missouri Republican Sen. Chris Bond issued a written statement supportive of the MEK that was read aloud during a demonstration against a speech by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, Newsweek reported in 2002."

Iran, Pakistan stress anti-terrorism campaign

Iran, Pakistan stress anti-terrorism campaign : "Iran, Pakistan stress anti-terrorism campaign
Jun 15, 2004, 21:21

IRNA Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid Kasuri concurred here that terrorism is a new ominous threat in the region. The two officials who were meeting on the sidelines of the 31th session of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) ministerial meetings also stressed on the need to wage an effective campaign to confront the menace. 'To eliminate the structure of terrorism one should pay attention to its roots and avoid superficial approach to the phenomenon,' Kharrazi said.

He also highlighted 'anti-terrorism training' and 'confronting prejudice' as effective ways of reducing violence. He said India and Pakistan cordial relations are an important factor in establishing peace and stability in the region. 'Iran will spare no effort to achieve this objective,' the Iranian foreign minister added. The two officials also discussed Iran`s planned gas pipeline to India via Pakistan. "

Al-Qaida members to face trial in Iran

Al-Qaida members to face trial in Iran: "Al-Qaida members to face trial in Iran
Jun 16, 2004, 23:43

Preliminary questioning of alleged al-Qaida terrorists detained in Iran is near completion and the suspects will face trial soon, a senior Iranian official said Wednesday.

Iranian authorities confirmed last year they were holding a 'a large number' of suspected al-Qaida operatives.

Hossein Mousavian, a senior official of Iran's powerful National Security Council, told reporters Wednesday outside a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Board of Governors that his nation was 'getting close' to trying the detainees.

Mousavian did not say how many were being held but described them as midlevel members - more than foot soldiers but not leaders in Osama bin Laden's terror network."

Oman, Iran sign agreements on strengthening relations

: "Oman, Iran sign agreements on strengthening relations

MUSCAT, June 16 (AFP) - Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Reza Arif on Wednesday concluded a three-day visit to Oman during which the two countries signed a number of agreements on boosting bilateral ties.
'The two sides emphasised the importance of boosting economic, trade and investment relations' and signed a number of agreements, said a joint statement released after Arif's departure.
They also 'emphasised the importance of stability and security in the region, and the need for coordination and cooperation between its states on the basis of international law to create an atmosphere of trust and peace.'
The official news agency ONA said Arif held talks with Oman's Sultan Qaboos with whom he 'reviewed the excellent bilateral relations and ways to boost them.'
'The importance of the visit can't be over emphasised, believing the two countries share the strategic Straits of Hormuz,' a diplomat told AFP, requesting anonymity.
According to Omani officials, the value of bilateral trade between Oman and Iran rose to 208 million Omani rials (543 million dollars) in 2003 from 192 million rials (500 million dollars) the previous year.
Iran remains the sultanate's second most important export partner. Iran has good relations with Oman, unlike its strained ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Tehran and Abu Dhabi are locked in dispute over three Gulf islands occupied by Iran and claimed by the UAE."

Iran, Oman Sign Agreements On Range Of Investments, Trade Issues

Mehr News Agency English: "Iran, Oman Sign Agreements On Range Of Investments, Trade Issues
TEHRAN (MNA)- Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance for international affairs Mehdi Navab said here Tuesday that facilitating the active participation of the private sector was the primary focus of the Iran-Oman Economic Commission meeting.
Navab told IRNA that the 20-member Iranian delegation explored areas for cooperation on various issues reviewing ways to promote investment and trade-related issues.

'Prevention of double taxation in finance and investment areas was among the key issues discussed at the commission session.' Under this agreement, Iranian companies can avoid paying taxes or be eligible for exemptions in Iran if they already pay taxes in Oman."

Yahoo! News - Iraqi Cleric Signals End to Shi'ite Revolt

Yahoo! News - Iraqi Cleric Signals End to Shi'ite Revolt: "Iraqi Cleric Signals End to Shi'ite Revolt

By Khaled Farhan
NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr sent his fighters home on Wednesday in what may mark the end of a 10-week revolt against U.S.-led forces that once engulfed southern Iraq (news - web sites) and Shi'ite Islam's holiest shrines.

With the formal end of U.S.-led occupation just two weeks away, Sadr issued a statement from his base in Najaf calling on his Mehdi Army militiamen to go home.
'Each of the individuals of the Mehdi Army, the loyalists who made sacrifices...should return to their governorates to do their duty,' the statement said. "

Viet Nam, Iran to boost co-operation on tourism

Viet Nam, Iran to boost co-operation on tourism: "Viet Nam, Iran to boost co-operation on tourism
HA NOI Viet Nam and Iran need to strengthen their bilateral co-operation on culture, economy and tourism, said Vice President Truong My Hoa.
She made the remarks at a reception on Monday in Ha Noi for Iranian Vice President Hossein Marashi, who was attending the Asia-Pacific ministerial conference on cultural tourism and poverty alleviation that ended in Hue City last Saturday.
Hoa said she highly appreciated the traditional friendship between the two countries.
Marashi, who doubles as chairman of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation of Iran, lauded Viet Nams achievements in building and development.
He spoke of the bright future of his countrys co-operation in tourism with Viet Nam, especially in light of the nations numerous attractions and historical sites. VNS "