Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Daily Star - Business Articles - Iran's Khatami to visit Tajikistan

The Daily Star - Business Articles - Iran's Khatami to visit Tajikistan: "Iran's Khatami to visit Tajikistan

By Agence France Presse (AFP)

Thursday, August 05, 2004
DUSHANBE: Iran's President Mohammad Khatami will visit Tajikistan on Sept. 11 for three days of talks aimed at putting the finishing touches on agreements to provide energy for the impoverished former Soviet republic.
The Iranian Embassy in the Central Asian republic said Khatami would meet Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov during his stay and discuss regional security issues with other officials.
Iran and Tajikistan have close ties and the two are on the verge of sealing an agreement for a $400-million Iranian grant to help complete the building of a Tajik energy plant whose construction began 15 years ago in the Soviet era.
Khatami last visited Tajikistan in 2002."

Xinhuanet - Allawi still plans to visit Iran soon: spokesman

:: Xinhuanet - English ::: "Allawi still plans to visit Iran soon: spokesman

www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-04 03:45:26

BAGHDAD, Aug. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi didnot cancel his visit to Iran, the Baghdad newspaper quoted hisspokesman as saying on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister intends to determine a date for his visit toIran in his coming tour, which includes a number of Islamic andArab countries, said Hirmis Sada, adding Allawi is keen ondeveloping positive relations between Iraq and Iran. Sada denied reports that Allawi had cancelled his Tehran tour,saying that such wrong news could harm the interests of Iraq andthe good relations between the two neighboring countries.
Media reports said earlier that the Iraqi Prime Ministercancelled his visit to Iran because of sharp differences betweenthe two countries, especially concerning the Iranian interferencein the Iraqi interior affairs.
Allawi did not deny some differences between the two sides, butthey would be settled diplomatically according to the interests ofboth and security of the region, Sada stressed. "

CASCFEN.org: Ir: Parliamentary journalists to meet with Majlis speaker

CASCFEN.org: "Ir: Parliamentary journalists to meet with Majlis speaker

Published: 4.08.2004
IRNA, Tehran, 4 Aug 2004 -- Parliamentary journalists are to meet with Majlis speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel on August 8th on the occasion of 'Journalist Day', it was announced here Wednesday.

In the meeting, the situation of mass media and ways of promoting Majlis-media interaction are to be discussed by Haddad Adel and the journalists, said Majlis Cultural and Public Relations Department.

The parliamentary journalists will also discuss their viewpoints as to ways of facilitating information dissemination and reflecting their expectation from the Islamic Consultative Assembly.

The Journalist Day is observed in Iran to mark the martyrdom anniversary of IRNA correspondent Mahmoud Saremi who, along with eight Iranian diplomats were assassinated in the city of Mazar Sharif, northern Afghanistan, when Taliban militia attacked the building housing Iran's consulate on August 8, 1988."

Iran sustains over $9B environmental damage in Persian Gulf war: daily

Iran sustains over $9B environmental damage in Persian Gulf war: daily: "Iran sustains over $9B environmental damage in Persian Gulf war: daily
Tehran, Aug 4, IRNA -- Iran suffered over nine billion dollars in environmental damage caused by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the subsequent 1991 Persian Gulf War, reported a daily here Wednesday quoting a local official.
The English-language paper, Tehran Times cited a report by the Islamic Students News Agency (ISNA) saying that Mojtaba Arastu, An official responsible for assessing the damage said Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were to meet in October to assess the massive environmental damage they had suffered during the two wars.

The Islamic republic of Iran, Arastu said, has for far received 270 million dollars from a United Nations fund established to provide compensation for the environmental damage caused by the 1991 Persian Gulf War, reported the daily.

It added that the money had been paid to Iranian citizens and state companies.

Arastu noted that all reparations for environmental damage should be paid by the end of 2004, the daily concluded quoting ISNA."

Description of Selected News

Description of Selected News: "Iran Exploits Over 4500 Industrial Plans Annually

Tehran Times Industry Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) -– Industries and Mines Minister Es'haq Jahangiri said here Wednesday that Iran annually exploits 4500-5000 industrial and mining plans, adding that the country implements a similar number of additional plans in these sectors each year.

Speaking in the opening ceremony of the Naflin Sinit processing factory in Kaleibar, East Azerbaijan province, Jahangiri said that there are over 11 thousand industrial and mining plans in the private sector, adding that 20 percent of these plans have gained physical advance.

He went on to say that the timely implementation and exploitation of industrial plans could help save the region from deprivation.

The minister stressed that East Azerbaijan is one of Iran’s significant southwestern provinces due to its potential industrial facilities.

Jahangiri stressed the necessity to privatize mine-processing units including the Naflin Sinit processing factory.

He referred to the establishment of the fund to support mining activities as a very important measure, adding that it would decrease the danger of risks by the private sector in the mines industries.

Expressing pleasure over the expansion of the private sector’s activities to construct industrial and mining units, the minister said that the private sector has signed long-term contracts regarding exports in East Azerbaijan province.

He further referred to the ministry’s measure in granting exploratory loans and importing mining machinery, adding that Iran has allocated the greatest amount of the foreign exchange funds reserves, namely 1.5m dollars, to the mines industries."

Life & Leisure News Article | Reuters.com

Life & Leisure News Article | Reuters.com: "Iraqi Kurds Coming from Iran Face Uncertainty
Wed Aug 4, 2004 02:41 PM ET


By Seb Walker
HAJ OMRAN, Iraq (Reuters) - At a mountainous border crossing point between Iraq and Iran, Daoud Khuder waits to meet relatives he has not seen for 14 years, since they fled the country to escape Saddam Hussein's army.

As the convoy bringing Iraqi Kurd refugees from Iran appears and Daoud catches sight of his brother's family, the emotion of the occasion becomes too much for the 62-year-old former Kurdish militia (peshmerga) fighter.

"My brother swore he wouldn't return until Saddam was finished -- I never had the chance to see him again before he died in Iran," said Khuder, tears rolling down his cheeks as he embraced young nephews he had never met.

"I'm so happy they are back, but it also makes me sad because if they don't get money or help there will be problems."

For the 32 Kurdish families returning to Iraq in the convoy -- the second since the program was initiated by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) just before June's transfer of sovereignty -- returning to their homeland brings mixed feelings.

"I wanted to come back because I never felt I could call Iran my home, but I'm apprehensive about our future -- we have very little money," said Khuder's eldest nephew Dehil, a 32-year-old laborer.

Saddam is gone, but as Iraq's ethnic and religious communities jostle for power, the issue of Kurdish returnees has become politicized -- and the international community does not want to be seen taking sides.

In years gone by, Iraqi Kurd returnees would have received money and other assistance to rebuild their lives. Now each family gets $20, a kerosene stove, two water containers, some blankets and a tent.

They are provided with transport to the destination of their choice -- but only if this is above the so-called "green line" separating Kurdish territory from the rest of Iraq.

REFUGEE POLITICS

Thousands of Iraqi Kurds fled to neighboring Iran to escape campaigns of persecution by the former government. Many returned during the 1990s but 61,000 are still there, according to Kurdish officials.

The UNHCR does not promote returns to Iraq because of continuing instability and the lack of services in the country. Kurds accuse the U.N. of dragging its feet on facilitating Kurdish returnees for political reasons.

Under the latest scheme, the UNHCR has agreed to organize voluntary repatriations for just 2,000 refugees over the next 6 months through the Haj Omran crossing-point.

"They told us this was just an experiment," said Shakir Yaseen, director of the Refugees Registration Committee.

"We said Kurdistan is becoming a big laboratory for experiments -- first chemical weapons and now refugees."

Yaseeen, whose organization is funded by the local Kurdish government, complained that the small scale of the current scheme meant families were forced to return illegally -- making it difficult to register them.

"They will cause us a lot of trouble because the numbers are so big," he said, adding there had been twice as many unofficial returns as official ones since the scheme started on June 23. "Our borders are open. People are just coming back anyway."

There is already a problem with internal refugees in Iraq's Kurdish zone -- under Saddam's "Arabization" policy thousands were displaced from strategically important areas like Kirkuk and their properties given to Arabs brought from the South.

Kurds have been trying to reverse this process by moving refugees back to Kirkuk to change the demographic structure of the oil-rich city -- more than 100,000 Kurds now live in camps in and around Kirkuk.

Some families returning in the convoy from Iran said they were originally from Kirkuk and were coming back to take advantage of schemes funded by Kurdish political parties to resettle Kirkuk Kurds.

"Kirkuk is Kurdish and it's our legitimate right to go back," said Bakir Ahmed, 53, who was forced to leave Kirkuk in 1988 along with his mother, father and four brothers.

Ahmed's family of seven has now increased to 25 members.

"We've been told our family will get $3,000, some building materials, and a piece of land if we go back to Kirkuk," he said, adding that they had received letters from one of the two main Kurdish parties guaranteeing the financial aid.

Ahmed's youngest brother, Mohammed, who has spent more than half his life as a refugee, said he was doubtful they would find a simple solution in Kirkuk.

"The last decade or so has been a bad time and we're still not settled yet," said Mohammed, 26, as he climbed onto a refugee bus bound for the northern Kurdish stronghold of Sulaimaniya.

"It's like being on one long continuous journey.""

Rafsanjani Calls For Transfer Of Power To Iraqi Nation

Description of Selected News: "Rafsanjani Calls For Transfer Of Power To Iraqi Nation


TEHRAN (IRNA) -- Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani expressed the hope power would be handed over to the Iraqi people as soon as possible so that they can exercise the legitimate right of determining their own fate.
During a meeting with the visiting Iraqi Finance Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, he praised the 'wise and brave' Iraqi nation, saying it does not need a foreign advisor or guardian.
Iraq is a rich country and the people should be able to live in peace and tranquility, he added.
Stressing the importance of preserving Iraq territorial integrity, Rafsanjani called on the Iraqi interim government to avail of the new opportunity opened to them to establish a truly independent government chosen by the people and observing the constitution.
Condemning the acts of terrorists and military operations that have claimed many Iraqi lives and desecrated holy sites in different parts of Iraq, Rafsanjani called for the expulsion of members of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from the war-torn country.
The Iraqi minister, for his part, briefed the EC chairman on the latest developments in his country.
He said the talks held between the visiting Iraqi delegation and Iranian officials were 'positive,' and added that his country will always be grateful to the Iranian people for their humanitarian aid and support to the Iraqi nation during its difficult times.
First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Aref also in a meeting with the visiting Iraqi Finance Minister, reiterated that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always made great efforts to help settle the existing problems facing the Iraqi nation.
As to the many cultural, religious and historical commonalties enjoyed by the two nations"