Saturday, September 25, 2004

Las Vegas SUN: Nevada company fined $6.3 million for selling pumps to Iran

Las Vegas SUN: Nevada company fined $6.3 million for selling pumps to Iran: "
Nevada company fined $6.3 million for selling pumps to Iran

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nevada company fined $6.3 million for selling pumps to Iran SPARKS, Nev. - The U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese company has agreed to pay a $6.3 criminal fine for illegally shipping equipment to Iran and trying to shield the deal from regulators, Commerce Department officials said.

Ebara International Corp., based in Sparks, also will pay a $121,000 civil fine after pleading guilty to seven felony charges Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Company founder Everett Hylton, who resigned as chief executive a year ago, pleaded guilty to a separate charge of conspiracy to make false statements to investigators.

He agreed to pay a $10,000 criminal fine and a $99,000 civil fine, according to the Commerce Department.

A Dec. 7 sentencing date was set for both Hylton and the company.

It's illegal for U.S. companies to sell industrial products to Iran, a nation designated as a state sponsor of terrorism by the State Department.

"They did everything they could to evade our regulations," Julie Myers, Commerce Department assistant secretary for export enforcement, told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

"There really was a problem with the corporate culture here - a failure to take responsibility, all the way up to the CEO. They made up documents, destroyed documents and made false statements," she said.

Ebara officials said Friday that they would pay the largest fine in three annual installments of $2.1 million.

They issued a prepared statement, which they said would by their only comment on the matter.

"EIC has taken necessary steps to ensure that employees - at every level within the company - understand and are in full compliance with U.S. export laws," Ebara president Martin Perlmutter said in the statement.

"(We) fully cooperated with the U.S. government's investigation and it is evident that the company took quick and decisive action to identify the source of the problem and correct it," he said.

Ebara was accused of shipping high-technology pumps with military applications to Iran through two French companies, Cryostar and Technip.

An investigation found the cryogenic transfer pumps were resold for use in a petrochemical plant in Iran through a complex scheme arranged by Ebara, the Justice Department said.

The pumps have applications for both liquid natural gas and cooling nuclear power plants, and Commerce Department officials had feared they could be used for nuclear projects.

"It does not look like they could be used in that manner, but similar pumps could be used in that manner," Myers said. "There is concern that if similar pumps (can be used), you could export the know-how."

But Perlmutter disagreed, saying the pumps "have absolutely no application in nuclear power plants."

Iran has come under fire in recent weeks over questions about whether it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Four pumps valued at $750,000 were shipped to Iran, but the probe prevented three more valued at $1.2 million from being delivered, the Justice Department said.

An investigation into the French companies' role in the case is continuing and could lead to U.S. economic sanctions against them, The Washington Times reported.

Executives from the parent company, Ebara Corp. Japan in Tokyo, were aware of the illegal pump sale, according to court documents.

Ebara makes pumps for the gas, petrochemical and shipboard industries at its Sparks facility.
"

Channelnewsasia.com: Iran's cooperation conditional on full right to nuclear technology

Channelnewsasia.com: "Iran's cooperation conditional on full right to nuclear technology

TEHRAN : Iran is ready to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energuy Agency (IAEA) on condition it has complete rights to use peaceful nuclear technology, Iran's nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

Meanwhile, another senior official, Hossein Moussavian, warned that Iran could resume enrichment of uranium "tomorrow," if it wanted to.

"Tehran is ready to completely cooperate with international pacts in the nuclear field, on condition it is fully granted its legitimate and national rights regarding peaceful nuclear technology," Rowhani said during a meeting with South African ambassador Yusof Saluji.

Rowhani will head to South Africa on Sunday to hold talks on security issues, mutual cooperation and nuclear issues.

In a resolution passed on September 18, the IAEA called on Iran to halt its uranium enrichment-related activities, a part of the nuclear fuel cycle that can be directed to both energy and weapons purposes.

Nuclear fuel cycle work, including enrichment, is permitted under the Non-Proliferation Treaty if it is for peaceful purposes, but the IAEA wants such activities stopped pending the completion of its more than 18-month-old investigation.

Iran suspended enrichment itself last year, but has continued to advance on other parts of the fuel cycle.

Moussavian, in an interview with the student news agency ISNA, said Tehran wanted to pursue dialogue and could envisage maintaining the enrichment suspension for several more months.

"But we will not accept a halt" to enrichment -- only a suspension, for a specific and brief period.

He said the country's "final decision on this should be decided within a week."

The resolution from the board of the UN nuclear watchdog also gives Iran until November 25 to clear up suspicions over its activities. Failure to do so could see the country referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions -- something the United States has been pushing for.

But Moussavian warned that referring the matter to the Security Council "will cost the G-8 dearly," a reference to the world's seven most highly industrialized nations and Russia.

He said Iran would do "an about face in its nuclear policy, on its application of the additional protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and could even go beyond that," an apparent threat to pull out of the treaty altogether.

He said Iran did "not currently have plans to break off dialogue" with the Europeans, while the Americans are pushing for more pressure on Tehran, and called for a "solution that satisfies both parties.

"If we do not reach that, we will break off the discussions.""

IranMania News

IranMania News: "Iran share of world petrochemicals exports to up

LONDON, Sep 25 (IranMania) - Iranian share of the world's export of petrochemical products is to increase. This hike is from 0.5% to 2.2% by the end of current Iranian calendar year (ending on March 20, 2005), Iran's State News Agency (IRNA) reported.

Projects manager of National Petrochemistry Company Hossein Sadat told reporters here Saturday that the country`s total petrochemical output would amount to 15 mln tons per annum next year.

He added that Tondgouyan, Amir Kabir, Third Aromatics and Maron petrochemical projects are among the projects currently underway at Imam Khomeini Port which are scheduled to come on stream by the end of current year.

He noted that other projects predicted in the Third Development Plan will be completed next year. Pointing to the effects of oil price hike on petrochemical industry, Sadat said, "Petrochemical units use natural gas as their feedstock .So, increase in oil prices has no immediate impact on this industry."

The official noted that a $12 bln credit will be invested in petrochemical industry in the Fourth Development Plan, adding that the new investment will be made mainly in Assalouyeh region. He further stated that two new olefin units, one methanol unit, and urea as well as ammonia units are among such projects."

USATODAY.com - Iran successfully tests 'strategic missile'

USATODAY.com - Iran successfully tests 'strategic missile': "Iran successfully tests 'strategic missile'
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran added a "strategic missile" to its military arsenal after a successful test, and the defense minister said Saturday his country was ready to confront any external threat.
The report by state-run radio did not say whether the test involved the previously announced new version of the Shahab-3 rocket, capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces stationed in the Middle East, or a different missile.

"This strategic missile was successfully test-fired during military exercises by the Revolutionary Guards and delivered to the armed forces," Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani was quoted as saying.

The exercises were held Sept. 12-18.

Shamkhani refused to give details about the missile for "security reasons," but he said Iran was "ready to confront all regional and extra-regional threats," according to the radio.

Defense Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.

The announcement in Tehran came amid a war of words between Iran and Israel this week as Iran faces increasing international pressure over its nuclear energy program.

The United States — which once labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil" with North Korea and prewar Iraq — and other nations suspect Iran is developing atomic weapons.

The United Nations' atomic watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has demanded that Iran freeze its uranium enrichment program — a demand that Iran has termed "illegal" but has not rejected outright.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said the country's nuclear program is a peaceful one.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Iran was a worldwide threat whose missiles can reach London, Paris and southern Russia.

In 1981, Israel bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor before the reactor could begin operating and the smart bombs are believed to be capable of destroying Iranian nuclear facilities.

Earlier this month, Israel said it was buying from the United States about 5,000 smart bombs, including 500 1-ton bunker-busters that can destroy 6-foot-thick concrete walls.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi has warned that Tehran would react "most severely" to any Israeli strike against its nuclear facilities.

Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons, although Israeli officials have refused to confirm this.

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards staged military maneuvers earlier this month near the Iraqi border, with top military officials saying the exercise was designed to reinforce Iran's resolve to defend itself against "big powers."

During the maneuvers, a "long-range missile" would be test fired, state-run radio said. There was no official confirmation of the test.

In August, Iran said it test fired a new version of its Shahab-3 ballistic missile. Iran's Defense Ministry did not give its range, but Israeli sources in Jerusalem later said it could reach targets more than 1,200 miles away, or 400 miles farther than its previous range.

The development of the Shahab, whose name means "shooting star" in Persian, has raised fears in Israel about possible attack by the Iranian government, which strongly opposes the Jewish state's existence.

Earlier this month, Israel launched a spy satellite meant to monitor Iran but the Ofek-6 plunged into the Mediterranean Sea shortly after launch."

Servants of Construction Party supports Rafsanjani as presidential nominee

Description of Selected News: "Servants of Construction Party supports Rafsanjani as presidential nominee

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) –- The Servants of Construction Party (SCP) will support Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as its candidate to run in the next presidential election, SCP central council member Mohammad Hashemi said.

“The Servants of Construction Party has not changed its policy and believes that Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is the best candidate to run for president,” he told the Mehr News Agency.

Rafsanjani served as president from 1989 to 1997. The constitution bars a president from serving more than two consecutive terms.

So far Rafsanjani has neither confirmed nor denied that he is interested in running for president.

Certain groups within the country’s political factions have announced that they support Rafsanjani’s nomination."

Reuters AlertNet - U.N. CALL FOR ISRAELI DISARMAMENT

Reuters AlertNet - U.N. calls on N.Korea to scrap its atomic arsenal: "CALL FOR ISRAELI DISARMAMENT


After back-room negotiations between Israeli, U.S. and diplomats from Arab states, Israel agreed to support an IAEA resolution calling for "all states in the Middle East to forthwith accept the application of full-scope (IAEA) safeguards to all their nuclear activities."

It said this would be a first step towards "establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone" in the Middle East.

Israel neither denies nor admits to having nuclear weapons, but is widely believed to possess anywhere from 100 to 200 warheads. Like the nuclear powers Pakistan and India, Israel has never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has no obligation to permit IAEA inspections of its atomic sites.

Israeli diplomats agreed to support the resolution after the proposal of a resolution openly calling on Israel to abandon any nuclear weapons was withdrawn, diplomats at the conference said.

"Israel's unsafeguarded facilities is a real threat to international peace and security," Iran's ambassador to the U.N. in Vienna, Pirooz Hosseini, told the conference.

Israel and the United States have accused Iran of secretly developing atomic weapons, but Iran denies this.

Israel has always said that it does not oppose signing the NPT, though only after there is stable peace in the Middle East.

It is an annual ritual at the IAEA annual conference that Arab and Moslem states try to get a resolution on the table that calls on Israel to give up its alleged nuclear weapons arsenal.

The last time they succeeded in getting such a resolution adopted by the IAEA General Conference was in 1991. Since 1987, the IAEA conference and U.N. General Assembly have passed 13 such resolutions. Israel has ignored them all. "

Islamic Movement flatly denies any relations with Iran

Islamic Movement flatly denies any relations with Iran: "Islamic Movement flatly denies any relations with Iran
By
Sep 25, 2004, 14:56

Occupied Jerusalem- Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib, deputy chairman of the Islamic Movement in 1948 occupied Palestine, has categorically denied Zionist premier Ariel Sharon’s charges that the Movement had direct contacts with Iran.
Sharon on 22/9/04 claimed in an interview with Hebrew radio that Iran was playing an active role in lines of Arabs in the 1948 lands through the Islamic Movement.
Khatib said in a statement commenting on the allegation that: “Choosing this particular time to declare accusations on alleged Iran-Islamic Movement relationship is not above suspicion especially when the Zionist persecution is demanding an extension to the incarceration of Sheikh Ra’ed Salah (leader of the Movement) along with his brothers for three more months”.
Sheikh Ra’ed and his four other colleagues were arrested on the fabricated charges of channeling funds to Palestinian resistance factions.
He recalled that since those leaders were arrested 16 months ago a reference was made to such an alleged relationship with Iran.
The deputy chairman retorted that if the Zionist authority and its security apparatuses really had any evidence on such an allegation why didn’t they act accordingly!
"