Monday, August 09, 2004

Channelnewsasia.com Iran says working around the clock to free diplomat abducted in Iraq

Channelnewsasia.com: "Iran says working around the clock to free diplomat abducted in Iraq

TEHRAN : The Iranian government said it was working around the clock to secure the release of one of its diplomats kidnapped in Iraq, but said it believed he was "alive and well".

"We have to find out more about the group that is holding him. We are just trying to find ways to negotiate and to get him out," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said.

"What we do know is that he is alive and well," said Kharazi, speaking at a press conference with his visiting Pakistani counterpart Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. "We are working on this matter hour by hour."

A statement Sunday by a group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq said it had "detained" Fereydun Jahani "for stirring sectarian strife and for activities outside his diplomatic duties".

Jahani disappeared on Wednesday as he was travelling to the central Iraqi city of Karbala to open an Iranian consulate, embassy charge d'affaires Hassan Kazemi Ghomi told AFP.

In Baghdad, Ghomi told AFP Monday that the embassy was still in the dark.

"We have had no demand and we have no news" of Jahani, he said.

A group with the same name kidnapped two Pakistanis in Iraq last month and subsequently executed them for cooperating with the US-led multinational forces in the country.

Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television Sunday broadcast the statement and showed pictures of the diplomat's passport, identity and business cards along with what appeared to be footage of him speaking, without sound, against a black backdrop.

Some of the documents bore the logo of the elite Revolutionary Guards, the militant ideological spearhead of the Islamic Republic which has previously been accused of interfering in the affairs of neighbouring Iraq.

But Iranian government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh asserted that "Jahani is a long-time employee of the foreign ministry", and quipped that "it is easy nowadays to produce" forged identity cards.

When asked if Iran would downgrade its diplomatic presence in Iraq, Ramazanzadeh replied that "nothing has yet been decided".

A police official at Karbala said Jahani had been seized at Latifiyah, south of Baghdad, in an area notorious for hostage-taking and violence.

"We have had no contacts with the Iranian embassy in Baghdad and the Iranians have lodged no complaint at the Karbala court," he added.

Jahani's disappearance comes amid a growing war of words between Iraq and Iran, which intensified on Sunday when a spokesman for Kharazi's ministry said Tehran was not prepared to discuss serious issues with Baghdad's interim authorities.

Speaking before news of the kidnapping, the spokesman also said the ministry was summoning Iraq's top diplomat in Tehran over claims that four Iranian spies have been arrested in Baghdad and demanding proof of the allegations.

Iran has yet to formally recognise the Iraqi interim government, which has been described by Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as "lackeys" of the Americans.

Khamenei last month also voiced suspicion that US and Israeli "agents" have been behind the wave of kidnappings in Iraq.

Tensions have further mounted since Iraqi Defence Minister Hazem al-Shaalan told The Washington Post last month he had seen "clear interference in Iraqi issues by Iran" and accused Tehran of taking over some Iraqi border posts and sending spies and saboteurs into Iraq.

Shaalan repeated his accusations Monday, saying Iran was helping rebel Shiite militiaman loyal to cleric Moqtada Sadr with weapons, and calling Tehran "the number one enemy."

- AFP"

Iran: Don't dress like models

Iran: Don't dress like models: "Iran: Don't dress like models
09/08/2004 17:03 - (SA)


Tehran - The chief of Iran's police has told women not to dress up like "models", amid fresh signs on Monday of a mounting crackdown on skimpy dressers still defying the Islamic republic's dress code.

"In accordance with the law, the police are confronting people who appear in public in an indecent and inappropriate way, and who are regarded by the law enforcement officials as models," police chief Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf told the official news agency IRNA.

"This is social deviancy and cannot be solved by normal police operations," Ghalibaf added.

Noting that many arrests have taken place in the past two months, he said one of the initiatives in dealing with poorly-veiled women and girls was to invite their parents to meetings organised by the police.

What is fashion?

His comments coincided with state television beginning to dedicate a part of its main news programme to "what is fashion?" - a series of interviews with residents, clerics and "experts" aimed at defining what can and cannot be worn.

For the past several months police have been carrying out a series of operations across the capital Tehran, rounding up large numbers of young women sporting flimsy headscarves, three-quarter length trousers and shape-revealing coats.

Witnesses said the detainees - picked up in parks, fast food restaurants or from sidewalks - have been briefly hauled into police stations and subjected to lessons on morality before being freed.

Women ignoring the Islamic dress code can be jailed for up to two months or fined between 50 000 and 500 000 rials (six and 60 dollars).

Pre-summer crackdowns are common at the outset of the hot summer months, but the latest sweep appears to be more determined and is seen as a reflection of the recent shift to the right within the regime. - AFP"

VOANews.com

VOANews.com: "Pakistan Keen on Joint Gas Pipeline with Iran and India
VOA News
09 Aug 2004, 17:28 UTC

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri says Pakistan is keen to make progress on a gas pipeline project with Iran and India.
He made the remarks as he arrived in Tehran Sunday night.
He said Pakistan and Iran are actively considering proposals for the gas pipeline and for common border markets and trade.
Mr. Kasuri said his talks in Tehran with his counterpart Kamal Kharrazi will also cover regional and international developments.
The foreign minister said Iran and Pakistan share strong ties of common history and heritage, and their relations have the potential to acquire further depth and substance. "

Middle East Newsline - IRAN'S BUSHEHR IS 90% READY

Middle East Newsline -: "IRAN'S BUSHEHR IS 90% READY

MOSCOW [MENL] -- Russia has completed more than 90 percent of the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.
Russian officials said Moscow has accelerated work on the Bushehr power reactor. They said 1,500 Russian nationals and personnel from the former Soviet Union were sent to Iran to complete the $1 billion nuclear project.
So far, officials said, Russia has completed procurement for Bushehr. They said the remaining work includes the assembly of the equipment, systems integration and preparing for operations.
'By now, the first power unit of the Bushehr nuclear station is 90 percent ready,' a Russian Atomic Agency official told the Moscow-based Tass news agency. 'All heavy equipment, including the reactor, has been brought and assembled at the station building.'"

The Australian: New twist in Iran nuclear row [August 10, 2004]

The Australian: New twist in Iran nuclear row [August 10, 2004]: "
New twist in Iran nuclear row
From correspondents in London
August 10, 2004
TRACES of enriched uranium detected in Iran are now believed to have come from equipment provided by a smuggling network headed by Pakistan's disgraced former nuclear chief scientist, according to a report today.

The traces have been at the heart of an ongoing international dispute over whether Tehran has reneged on its obligations to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of all enrichment activities.

"IAEA inspectors have reached a tentative conclusion that the contamination came from equipment provided by the nuclear smuggling network headed by Pakistani scientist A Q Khan," Jane's Defence Weekly magazine said, quoting "sources close to the agency".

It said inspectors believed they could confirm that a sample of uranium enriched to 54 per cent, found at one Iranian site, had come from Pakistani equipment.

"The confirmation was only possible after Islamabad gave the IAEA data to verify the uranium source and the US provided a simulation of the Pakistani nuclear program that matched the account," Jane's said.

A separate contamination sample, of uranium enriched to 36 per cent, derived from Russian equipment that Moscow had supplied to China, which in turn passed it on to Pakistan as part of a previous nuclear assistance program, it said.

From Pakistan, it was sold by Mr Khan to Iran, it added.

"The sources note that the origins of several other contamination samples are difficult to trace and may never be known," Jane's said.

It had previously been known that inspectors from the Vienna-based IAEA had found traces of highly-enriched uranium inside Iran - leading to suspicions Iran had been trying to produce nuclear bombs and not just atomic energy as it insists.

But Tehran maintained that the traces found their way into the country on equipment bought on an international black market operated by Pakistan's disgraced former nuclear chief, Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Pakistan's foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, on a visit to Tehran, said Islamabad was co-operating with a UN probe into Iran's suspect nuclear program.

But he ruled out allowing inspectors into Pakistan as part of the crucial investigation.

In Washington, US President George W. Bush called on Iran to "abandon her nuclear ambitions" and vowed to stand with European allies to pressure Tehran to do so."

The Australian: New twist in Iran nuclear row [August 10, 2004]

The Australian: New twist in Iran nuclear row [August 10, 2004]: "
New twist in Iran nuclear row
From correspondents in London
August 10, 2004
TRACES of enriched uranium detected in Iran are now believed to have come from equipment provided by a smuggling network headed by Pakistan's disgraced former nuclear chief scientist, according to a report today.

The traces have been at the heart of an ongoing international dispute over whether Tehran has reneged on its obligations to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of all enrichment activities.

"IAEA inspectors have reached a tentative conclusion that the contamination came from equipment provided by the nuclear smuggling network headed by Pakistani scientist A Q Khan," Jane's Defence Weekly magazine said, quoting "sources close to the agency".

It said inspectors believed they could confirm that a sample of uranium enriched to 54 per cent, found at one Iranian site, had come from Pakistani equipment.

"The confirmation was only possible after Islamabad gave the IAEA data to verify the uranium source and the US provided a simulation of the Pakistani nuclear program that matched the account," Jane's said.

A separate contamination sample, of uranium enriched to 36 per cent, derived from Russian equipment that Moscow had supplied to China, which in turn passed it on to Pakistan as part of a previous nuclear assistance program, it said.

From Pakistan, it was sold by Mr Khan to Iran, it added.

"The sources note that the origins of several other contamination samples are difficult to trace and may never be known," Jane's said.

It had previously been known that inspectors from the Vienna-based IAEA had found traces of highly-enriched uranium inside Iran - leading to suspicions Iran had been trying to produce nuclear bombs and not just atomic energy as it insists.

But Tehran maintained that the traces found their way into the country on equipment bought on an international black market operated by Pakistan's disgraced former nuclear chief, Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Pakistan's foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, on a visit to Tehran, said Islamabad was co-operating with a UN probe into Iran's suspect nuclear program.

But he ruled out allowing inspectors into Pakistan as part of the crucial investigation.

In Washington, US President George W. Bush called on Iran to "abandon her nuclear ambitions" and vowed to stand with European allies to pressure Tehran to do so."

RT� News - Hostage alive and well says Iran

RT� News - Hostage alive and well says Iran: "Hostage alive and well says Iran

09 August 2004 09:23
The Iranian foreign ministry has said a diplomat kidnapped in Iraq last week is alive and well.
The diplomat, Fereydun Jahani, disappeared last week as he was travelling to the central Iraqi city of Karbala to open an Iranian consulate.
A group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq said he was taken into custody for stirring sectarian strife and for activities outside his diplomatic duties."

Reuters AlertNet - US can't send nuclear case to UN Council - Iran

Reuters AlertNet - US can't send nuclear case to UN Council - Iran: "US can't send nuclear case to UN Council - Iran
09 Aug 2004 08:57:48 GMT

TEHRAN, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Iran said on Monday that Washington had no grounds to send its nuclear case to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
U.S. officials have expressed growing concern about Tehran's nuclear programme in recent weeks, making it clear Washington wants Iran's case sent to the Security Council to prevent it from developing nuclear arms.
Iran denies any intention of building atomic weapons. It says its nuclear programme is needed to generate electricity to meeting rising demand.
'Only the Americans say Iran's case will be referred to the United Nations Security Council. But to send Iran's case to the Security Council they need reasons and we have to have committed violations,' Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told reporters.
'Iran has not committed any violations, and whatever Iran has done is in accordance with its international obligations,' he added.
Tehran last month said it had resumed making parts for uranium enrichment centrifuges, which can be used to make bomb material.
But Iran said it is entitled to carry out such activities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and says it will not give up its right to pursue enrichment technology to produce fuel for nuclear power reactors.
'Iran's nuclear policy was adopted by the country's high-ranking officials and is in line with preserving Iran's sovereignty and independence,' Kharrazi said. "

U.S. searching for secret ways to stall Iran's nuclear program

U.S. searching for secret ways to stall Iran's nuclear program: "
U.S. searching for secret ways to stall Iran's nuclear program

August 9, 2004

BY DAVID RENNIE Advertisement






WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is trying to find covert ways to sabotage or delay Iran's nuclear weapons program, believing that diplomatic deals struck with European nations have barely slowed Teheran's rush towards the bomb.

Intelligence and administration officials are urgently trying to find secret means "to disrupt or delay as long as we can" the development of an Iranian bomb, one said.

The urgency stems, in part, from "increasingly strong private statements" by Israeli counterparts that they may be forced to take military action to stop Iran achieving its dream of a nuclear arsenal.

One American official told the New York Times that the Israelis were "doing what they can to delay the Iranian program, and preparing military options."

It is uncertain that it is possible to stop Iran joining the nuclear club, thanks to the know-how Teheran bought from Abdul Qadeer Khan, the former Pakistani nuclear chief, U.S. officials told the newspaper.

With his appearances now focused on the November elections, President Bush rarely mentions Iran and North Korea in public, although the two nations are members of his "axis of evil" with Iraq.

Bush's Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, has sought to attack him for ignoring North Korea and Iran and concentrating on Iraq, whose nuclear program has turned out to have been largely moribund.

Meanwhile, Iran announced that it was resuming the construction of centrifuges needed to produce weapons grade uranium, dealing a seemingly fatal blow to a deal brokered by European nations last year to limit Iran's nuclear research.

National security adviser Condoleezza Rice struck an optimistic note on Sunday, saying that U.S. leadership has brought the world -- including the United Nations watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Authority -- around to seeing the menace of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Daily Telegraph"