Saturday, September 18, 2004

Azerbaijan keen on developing ties with Iran

Description of Selected News: "Azerbaijan keen on developing ties with Iran

BAKU (IRNA) -- Azeri President Ilham Aliyev stressed expansion of bilateral ties with Iran in all fields.

In a meeting with Iran's Ambassador to Azerbaijan Ahad Qazaei at the end of the latter's tenure here, Aliyev expressed appreciation over Qazaei's role in holding meetings between the two countries' presidents.

It is quite clear that Iran's ambassador played a role in balancing mutual relations in a sensitive situation, the president said.

Qazaei, for his part, reiterated the meetings held between the two countries' presidents led to an acceptable level of bilateral ties and cooperation.

He hoped that Tehran-Baku ties would reach an appropriate level during newly appointed Ambassador Afshar Soleymani's tenure due to his interest in promoting ties as well as Aliyev's wise policies.

Meanwhile, the Azerbaijan International University awarded Qazaei with an honorary doctorate for his efforts in bolstering scientific and cultural ties between the two countries' universities."

Aljazeera.Net - The Shahab-2 has been deployed by the Iranian forces

Aljazeera.Net - Iran to test fire long-range missile: "Iran to test fire long-range missile

The Shahab-2 has been deployed by the Iranian forces

Iran has announced it will test fire its long-range missiles amid an ongoing review by the UN of the country's atomic energy programme. State television said on Saturday Iran's Revolutionary Guards would test fire the missile during military manoeuvres being observed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after firing short- and medium-range missiles on Friday.

"The most important part of today's programme consists of the firing of a long-range missile on fictitious enemy positions," the television said. Iranian media have been giving extensive coverage to the manoeuvres in the western part of the country.

The report gave no details on the range or capabilities of the missile. In August, Tehran tested an enhanced version of its medium-range Shahab-3 missile, which is derived from the North Korean No-dong missile reportedly capable of carrying a 1000kg warhead. The Shahab-3 was deployed with the Revolutionary Guards air arm in July 2003."

U-S, nonaligned nations at odds over resolution on Iran

U-S, nonaligned nations at odds over resolution on Iran: "

VIENNA, Austria A rift over Iran is holding up a high-level meeting of the U-N atomic watchdog agency in Austria.

The U-S, Europe and its allies are demanding a resolution on Iran that would force the country to freeze all of its uranium enrichment and related activities.

But non-aligned nations want that part excised. They say all countries should have the right enrich uranium as long as it's used for peaceful purposes.

A meeting this morning on the issue has been suspended as delegates try to work out their differences.

Iran says its nuclear activity is only aimed at producing electricity, but the U-S says Tehran is pursuing a nuclear weapon."

Gulf Daily News: Iran on verge of deal with Total

Gulf Daily News: "Iran on verge of deal with Total

VIENNA: Iran is on the verge of signing a liquefied natural gas deal with Total and Malaysia's Petronas, as the country seeks to kick-start its LNG business.

"It is very close," Mehdi Hosseini, senior vice-president at Iran's state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said yesterday. "It will be similar to the Shell deal."

NIOC on Thursday signed a framework deal with Royal Dutch/Shell and Spain's Repsol to develop LNG - gas super-cooled to a liquid for loading onto tankers.

Iran has the world's second largest reserves of natural gas, but lagged behind in building LNG facilities. By contrast, tiny neighbour Qatar has several multi-billion ventures up and running.

Total and Petronas have long been in negotiations to develop phase 11 of Iran's giant South Pars natural gas field.

The two firms earlier this year agreed with Iran to form a production company Pars LNG, half-owned by NIOC with Total holding a 30 per cent share, and Petronas 20pc.

A framework deal for the $2 billion LNG project now looks imminent. "If things go well, we can talk about weeks," Christophe de Margerie, Total's head of exploration and production, said.

Iran hopes the two international projects, together with a third venture being developed by Iran alone, will install initial production capacity of 18m tonnes a year and then expand to 30m tonnes a year, Hosseini said.

Iran's international partners will be responsible for marketing the gas, Hosseini added.

Frosty relations with the US, the world's biggest energy importer, have delayed Iran's LNG projects. Shell said it will take two years for a final decision on whether to proceed with its venture."

The Telegraph - Calcutta : Business

The Telegraph - Calcutta : Business: "Aiyar wins Iran oil deal
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Aiyar: Goodies galore
New Delhi, Sept. 17: Union petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar today claimed to have made some headway with Iran for getting Indian companies a stake in three Iranian oil fields and joint exploration of gas fields in return for buying natural gas from the West Asian nation.

The minister also launched a damage-control exercise to salvage a share for ONGC-Videsh (OVL) in the Angolan offshore oil exploration block as its deal with Shell has fallen through.

The minister, who is in Vienna, told reporters here at a special teleconference that the long-awaited “package” of measures for co-operation with Iran in the hydrocarbon sector has been virtually finalised through three rounds of negotiations and the understanding reached with them is expected to be signed later in the day.

The package with Iran also includes the revamping of refineries at Tehran and Tabriz and joint ventures in petrochemicals. Both Indian and Iranian companies will explore opportunities to make inter-country investments.

While Iran is eyeing the energy-hungry Indian market for selling its abundant gas reserves, India is keen to get a toe-hold in the rich oilfields in the West Asian country.

The minister disclosed that the Angolan government was very upset with Shell for not taking its permission before striking the deal with OVL. The Angolan national oil company, Sonalgal, is now expected to take over the Shell share.

However, the minister presented a fresh proposal to his Angolan counterpart during a bilateral meeting to allow it to take a stake in the block from Sonalgal. He said the Angolan minister had “accepted his request to consider farming in India as a co-participant through a subsidiary production sharing arrangement”.

Aiyar said he had held bilateral meetings with 13 oil producing countries in an attempt to promote closer co-operation.

In his keynote address to the Opec members, Aiyar pointed out that the Asian countries, including India, China and Japan, were being made to pay much higher prices than the US and European nations for their crude purchases from the Gulf.

He said in 2003, Asian countries paid half a dollar per barrel more than the US and nearly $2 per barrel more than European consumers. In April-July, Asian countries paid 36 cents per barrel more than the US and close to $3 per barrel more than European customers as what is termed the Asian premium.

Aiyar said at the moment he had only succeeded in ‘sensitising’ the Opec cartel on the issue and the matter could now be pursued at a meeting he plans to host in Delhi between Asian buyers and sellers early next year."

Pistachio exports edge up by 104%

IranMania News: "Pistachio exports edge up by 104%

Tuesday, December 09, 2003 - ©2003 IranMania.com

TEHRAN, Dec 8, (Mehr News Agency) – During the past eight months of the current Iranian year (ending March 20, 2004), pistachio exports inched up by 104% compared with the corresponding period last year.

The volume amounted to $490 million, two times more than the corresponding figure. Pistachios comprised 13.6% Iran’s total export value, which is about 5% higher than the last year’s figure.

According to the Fars News Agency, Iran traded some 130,000 tons of pistachios in the eight-month period, showing 72% growth.

The report added that Iran has totally exported $3.6 billion worth of commodities to corroborate a 20% growth."

IranMania News

IranMania News: "Iran pistachio under attack again

Saturday, September 18, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com

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LONDON, Sep 18 (IranMania) - Iran's famed pistachio nuts, already threatened with European Union import restrictions, have come under attack again -- this time from hungry porcupines, Agence France Press (AFP) reported.

A prolonged drought and food shortage in the Islamic republic's rural southeast has sent prickles of root-munching porcupines searching for food in the region's vast pistachio forests.

The head of the Natural Resources Department of Baft City in Kerman Province, Nasser Aqa-Molaei, said the prickly creatures have been nibbling at the roots of the trees and making them dry out.

Reports said officials have resorted to surrounding the trunks of damaged trees with mesh wire in order to keep the porcus spina from destroying the crop of Iran's favorite table-top nibble.

But Molaei also complained his service did not have a sufficient budget to protect Baft's 3.8 million pistachio trees.

Iran is the world's number one pistachio producer, claiming to hold 5% of the market. Pistachios, along with carpets, caviar and saffron, are a source of national pride and a top non-oil export.

The country is currently working to cut levels of a cancer-linked mould, aflatoxin, found in its nuts in order to avoid an EU import ban.

Exported nuts earn Iran around $803 mln a year in revenue, and around 16% of Iranian pistachio production goes to the EU."