Thursday, October 07, 2004

Rafsanjani denies wealth rumours

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran cleric denies wealth rumours: "Iran cleric denies wealth rumours

Rafsanjani is one of Islamic Iran's most influential figures
A former Iranian president has publicly denied amassing great wealth after stubborn rumours of a business ranging from pistachio nuts to airlines.
Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who now leads Iran's powerful Expediency Council, said he was no richer than before the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

"The total value of all my belongings today is not even close to the value of the house I owned [then]," he said.

It is unclear what prompted him to deny rumours going back many years now.

He told religious students in the holy city of Qom that he only possessed two pieces of land.

"Except for these, there is nothing registered under my name and I am managing my life with a normal income," he was quoted as saying by the Iranian state news agency, Irna.

Mr Rafsanjani, president from 1989 to 1997, said he was proud that after 25 years in high office his assets were a tenth of what he had once possessed.

Correspondents say it is rare for Iran's clerics to comment on their personal affairs."

Russia Stands By Iranian Nuclear Program

Interfax > Politics: "Russia-Iran nuclear energy cooperation complies with intl commitments - Foreign Ministry
MOSCOW. Oct 7 (Interfax) - Russia and Iran will continue nuclear energy cooperation in strict compliance with international commitments, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev told a Thursday press conference in Moscow.

"We have been cooperating and will continue to cooperate with Iran in the peaceful usage of nuclear energy. It does not matter if there is [external] pressure or not, but it does matter that we will comply with all legal commitments in cooperation with Iran," Alexeyev said in answer to a question from an Iranian journalist.

"Russia has said more than once that cooperation with Iran will be developed in line with the well-known norms," he said."