Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Hashemi Rafsanjani is the first choice of the party for presidential elections: Moderation and Development Party

Description of Selected News: "Consultations with Rafsanjani on possible candidacy continuing

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) -- A member of the Moderation and Development Party said on Tuesday that Hashemi Rafsanjani is the first choice of the party for presidential elections.

Turanani (first name not given) added that the consultations with Rafsanjani will continue more intensively in the days to come.

“Rafsanjani is not just our candidate,” he said, adding that his absence caused many problems in the sixth and seventh Majlis.

The sixth Majlis ignored the determining role of Rafsanjani and therefore it failed to fulfill its slogans, he stated.

Likewise, the seventh Majlis has not yet succeeded to take positive steps in materializing its goals of establishing social justice, removing poverty, and putting an end to discrimination and other social maladies.

Of course, he added, the seventh Majlis is more efficient than the previous one but unfortunately extremists are gradually taking the lead by pushing the moderate and wise MPs to the corner.

He commented that Rafsanjani is steadfast in his decisions. “During visits with him, we discussed that the essential need of our society today is unity, harmony and the establishment of a balance between political powers.”

He cited the Islamic Coalition Party, the Combatant Clerical Association and the Engineers Islamic Society as among those conservative groups which would surely support Rafsanjani’s nomination. -The ACC to announce its plans for presidential election

Meanwhile Asadollah Kian Ersi, a member of the central council of the reformist Assembly of the Combatant Clerics (ACC), said that the assembly will decide about its nominee for president and its plans for presidential election.

Mir-Hossein Musavi, the most favorite candidate for president, on Tuesday announced his unwillingness to run for presidency.

The deputy chairman of the Solidarity Party, Mohammad Reza Khabbaz, also said his party is forced to nominate another candidate since Musavi rejected to run for the post.

Khabaz predicted that the task would not be easy because all the reformist parties and groups were unanimous about Musavi.

He said that the 2nd of Khordad Front and a large number of conservatives have a favorable opinion of Musavi, noting that he enjoyed special popularity among the first and second generations of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

If Musavi had agreed to run, a consensus would have been reached between all the political parties and groups in the country, he added."

Iran Ex-PM Rules Himself Out of Presidential Race

International News Article | "Iran Ex-PM Rules Himself Out of Presidential Race
Tue Oct 12, 2004 03:23 PM ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's former war-time Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi on Tuesday ruled himself out of next year's presidential race, dashing reformist hopes of a big-name candidate to vie for outgoing President Mohammad Khatami's job.
Jostling for the presidential race has started early, with conservatives eager to complete a political comeback that has seen them defeat pro-reform Khatami's allies in local council and parliamentary votes in 2003 and 2004.

Khatami's second term ends in mid-2005. He cannot stand for a third consecutive term.

Eager to avert a conservative monopoly on power reformist parties had unanimously backed Mousavi, who was prime minister during Iran's bitter 1980-1988 war with Iraq.

"Unfortunately, Mirhossein Mousavi ... in today's meeting, while thanking all groups and officials who supported him, announced that he will not accept the candidacy for the next presidential elections," former parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi told the ISNA student news agency.

Karroubi was part of a delegation from the pro-reform League of Combatant Clerics party, including Khatami himself, who met Mousavi on Tuesday to try to persuade him to run.

Mousavi, 63, was prime minister from 1981 until the post was scrapped in 1989. Many Iranians hold a nostalgic view of his term in office, when prices were lower and social problems less acute despite privations caused by the war.

A respected figure who has remained largely aloof from politics since 1989, Mousavi had until Tuesday given no indication of whether he would run for president or not.

His withdrawal from the race is a further blow to the beleaguered reformist camp and increases the likelihood that Iran's next president will cement the shift to the right of the Islamic state's domestic political scene.

A conservative victory in the presidential vote would mean right-wing officials fiercely loyal to the system of clerical rule would control all elected and non-elected branches of power, including the armed forces and judiciary.

Names touted for the conservative ticket include former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former state television head Ali Larijani, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati and Tehran Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad."

:: Xinhuanet - Iran offers 10 mln dollars to Iraq at donors meeting

:: Xinhuanet - English ::: "Iran offers 10 mln dollars to Iraq at donors meeting 2004-10-13 20:57:15

TOKYO, Oct. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Iran offered 10 million US dollars for Iraq's reconstruction on Wednesday at a two-day international donors meeting held here.

Akio Shirota, ambassador in charge of Reconstruction Assistanceto Iraq announced the new contribution at a press conference afterthe donors concluded their first day meeting.

Also, the World Bank and Iraq signed the same day an agreement that the international lender will extend 60 million grant to the war-torn nation for building over 100 schools and repairing 140 ones.

This is the first meeting of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI) following transfer of Iraq's sovereignty at the end of June.

The delegates also discussed the political and security situations in Iraq at the meeting, said Shirota.

The IRFFI was formed February in Abu Dhabi. The one-billion-dollar fund was overseen by a 13-member committee consisting of donors that contributed over 10 million dollars.

Ross Mountain, United Nations Deputy Special Representative of Secretary General for Iraq, showed satisfaction on the rebuilding process despite the unstable security situation."

Iran's oil surplus revenue hits $10b - MP

IranMania News: "Iran's oil surplus revenue hits $10b - MP

Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - ©2004

LONDON, Oct 13 (IranMania) - Iran earned $10 bln more than what was predicted in the Third Development Plan during the first half of current Iranian year (started March 20, 2004) as oil prices soar in international markets, Head of Majlis Energy Commission Kamal Daneshyar said.

The Persian-language daily `Abrar-e Eqtesadi` on Wednesday quoted Daneshyar as saying any increase in oil prices would be beneficial to oil-producing countries including Iran since the country can boost financial credit in Forex Reserves Fund and use it for agricultural, industrial and development projects.

"Iran`s revenue from oil export was $10 bln more than the figures predicted in the Third Development Plan which will be injected into Forex Reserves Fund," he said. He added agriculture, industry and expansion of services are top priorities for using this credit.

It is expected that the total projected revenue for oil export in Iran`s budget for the current year (started 21 March) would be materialized by December due to increasing oil prices during recent months.

The surplus revenue after that date will be added to the Forex Reserve Fund. Total revenues from oil export have been estimated to reach $16.1 bln this year."

Armitage: US not yet seeking sanctions on Iran :

Armitage: US not yet seeking sanctions on Iran : "Armitage: US not yet seeking sanctions on Iran

Tokyo, October 13
Iran should be "brought to account" on its nuclear programme, but Washington is open to ideas other than taking it to the UN Security Council for sanctions, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said on Wednesday.
Diplomats have said that the European Union had agreed on Monday to prepare a package of "carrots and sticks" to get Iran to comply with demands by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to suspend its uranium enrichment activities — a process that can be used to make material for atomic bombs.

Washington is working with the EU on the plan in a final effort to get Iran to cooperate with the IAEA, but has been said unlikely to offer an new incentives of its own.

"The Iranians... have made a decision apparently to hide, to continue to hide their programme and indeed, in addition to that, they have made some very scurrilous statements publicly," Armitage told a news conference in Tokyo.

"We hold the view that Iran needs to be brought to account and we would like to move to the UN Security Council after the November (IAEA) board of governors' meeting," Armitage said.

"But we're open to all ideas that people have because one thing has become clear and that is that we all share — the G8 (Group of Eight) — the same end, the desire, and that is that Iran should be free of nuclear weapons and be transparent and let the international community have sufficient confidence that that is the case," he added."

ABC News: U.S. Considering Incentives for Iran

ABC News: U.S. Considering Incentives for Iran: "U.S. Considering Incentives for Iran
U.S. Softens Hard Line, Weighs Rewards for Iran if It Gives Up Technology Used for Nuclear Arms
The Associated Press
VIENNA, Austria Reconsidering its hard line on Iran, the United States is weighing the idea of rewarding the Islamic republic if it gives up technology that can be used for nuclear arms, diplomats and U.S. officials said Tuesday.

The diplomats, who spoke to The Associated Press from Vienna and another European capital, said senior European negotiators directly answerable to their foreign ministers planned to go to Washington this week for discussions with top U.S. State Department officials on a common Iran strategy.

"Discussions are ongoing between the Americans and the Europeans on how to address the nuclear question in Iran," a diplomat said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi offered European governments assurances Tuesday in Tehran that his country would never produce nuclear bombs if Tehran's right to enrich uranium was recognized.

"The time has come for Europe to take a step forward and suggest that our legitimate right for complete use of nuclear energy is recognized (in return for) assurances that our program will not be diverted toward weapons," Kharrazi said.

The offer, which came about six weeks before Iran has to show the U.N. nuclear watchdog that it has ceased enrichment and all related activities, was brushed aside by a senior U.S. official in Washington.

However, the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Bush administration was prepared to consider with the Europeans a package of incentives.

The package of incentives will be discussed at a meeting Friday at the State Department by European envoys with Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton and either Secretary of State Colin Powell or Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage, a U.S. official said.

Incentives could include access to imported nuclear fuel, but the two U.S. officials said that while the administration was interested in proposing a package of incentives, none of its parts had received U.S. endorsement.

Cooperating with Europe on incentives to Iran would represent a shift in Bush administration strategy and could have significant implications in the presidential race. Democratic candidate John Kerry has criticized the administration for what he calls insufficient cooperation with allied governments in shaping U.S. foreign policy.

President Bush has responded that he works with allied governments whenever possible.

The European diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, emphasized that the talks were still at an initial stage. They also said the United States was holding on to its option of pushing for U.N. Security Council action against Iran if it is found in defiance of international demands to stop all activities related to uranium enrichment.

For more than a year, the United States has pushed other nations at board meetings of the International Atomic Energy Agency to find Iran in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and refer it to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions. But its attempts foundered due to resistance from other members of the 35-nation IAEA board of governors.

The new strategy, disclosed by the diplomats, appeared in part prompted by recognition that Washington could again fall short of support at the next board meeting in Vienna in November.

Uranium enrichment can be used to generate power or make nuclear warheads. The Americans insist the Iranians are hiding a secret weapons program something Tehran denies.

The Americans have in the past said they welcomed attempts by France, Britain and Germany to get Iran to shelve plans to enrich in exchange for pledges to help Tehran develop its peaceful nuclear program.

But one of the diplomats said the Americans now are more actively involved in planning the package which would offer incentives but also penalties should Iran remain defiant.

"I think they are speaking less about sanctions and how to move the process forward," said the diplomat, who is familiar with the talks.

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