Sunday, October 17, 2004

Iran’s interests and nuclear rights should be observed in any European plan

Description of Selected News: "Iran’s interests and nuclear rights should be observed in any European plan

TEHRAN (MNA) – Iran announced on Sunday that any proposal by the European states on its nuclear program should consider its interests and legitimate rights for a peaceful use of nuclear technology.

“That kind of plan is accepted by us that first of all respects our interests since our policy is based on interests with an observation of principles, and secondly recognizes our legitimate right for a peaceful use of nuclear technology,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told a weekly press briefing.

Asefi said Iran has not yet received any proposal by the European side and therefore it cannot make any judgment in this regard.

He said what is quite certain is that Tehran will not budge on its rights.

He added that Iran is prepared to preserve its rights through dialogue and has no preconditions for such a dialogue.

After a meeting of the Group of Eight industrial powers in Washington on Friday the EU trio – Germany, France and Britain -- presented a package of "carrots and sticks" aimed at pressing Iran to halt uranium enrichment. The trio told the United States they will offer Iran incentives in the coming days.

Hossein Musavian, the chairman of the foreign policy committee at Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, told AFP Saturday that Iran will reject any European proposal for a complete cessation of its work on the nuclear fuel cycle, but might be willing to consider further "confidence-building" measures and extend its suspension of uranium enrichment.

"We would be willing to consider any package that recognizes the full right of Iran to enjoy peaceful nuclear technology within the framework of the NPT," Musavian said. However he added that Iran is not prepared for cessation and any package including a cessation of fuel cycle work would be rejected by Iran."

:: Xinhuanet - Intelligence ministry shoulders anti-drug mission in Iran

:: Xinhuanet - English ::: "Intelligence ministry shoulders anti-drug mission in Iran 2004-10-18 03:04:00
TEHRAN, Oct. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Iran has decided to introduceintelligence section into the fight against drug trafficking andaddiction, as the country's anti-drug situation has been aggravatedin spite of the government's upgraded efforts, the official IRNAnews agency reported on Sunday.

IRNA quoted Ali Hashemi, Secretary General of Iran's DrugControl Headquarters, as saying that it was decided at a recentsession that the task of confronting drug trafficking andprofessional smuggles is to be entrusted to the IntelligenceMinistry.

"The country has already suffered hugely from belated rise ofthe security and intelligence apparatus to the anti-drug cause,"Hashemi said.

He continued that the intelligence officials had already seized20 tons of narcotic drugs over the past Iranian year (which endedon March 20, 2004).

"Unfortunately, professional drug traffickers, who run the drugmarket and reap its lucrative benefits, do not get their duepunishment," Hashemi said.

Drug addiction and transportation has been a serious socialproblem in Iran, a country sitting in the crossroad linking drugproducing Afghanistan and Pakistan and markets in the Persian Gulfstates, Central Asia, western Europe and other regions. According to official statistics, there are at least 2 milliondrug addicts in Iran. Among them, 1.2 million are hard addicts toassorted narcotics, while 800,000 others use drugs casually. More than 60 percent of the AIDS patients in Iran are injectingdrug junkies.

The country also accounts for 80 percent of the opium and 90percent of the morphine intercepted worldwide, according to theInternational Narcotics Control Board.

The Islamic Republic spends 5 billion US dollars annually onanti-drug programs, and over 3,100 police have lost their lives inconflict with drug smugglers during the past two decades."

India's L&T sets sights on Iran

L&T sets sights on Iran: "L&T sets sights on Iran

Posted online: Monday, October 18, 2004 at 0000 hours IST

MUMBAI, OCT 17: India’s largest engineering & construction company Larsen & Toubro (L&T) is planning to foray into Iran. The company is in talks with the Iranian government for developmental projects including those in the oil & gas sector and the water sector.

A senior company executive said that the company is exploring projects which will be set up through public-private partnership. Iran is looking for investments in its petrochemical projects as well as in refinery modernisation. Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is also evaluating picking up stakes in petrochemical projects in Iran.

“While we have not been offered equity as yet in any of these projects, we are not averse to the idea of picking up stakes,” said a senior L&T executive.

Apart from the hydrocarbon sector, the company is also looking at water projects. The official added that the company is also exploring a water desalination project.

While Middle East has been the main focus area for overseas projects, the company is exploring engineering & construction (E&C) projects in Iraq, Kazakhstan and Nigeria and parts of Africa.

The E&C division continued to take various initiatives during the year 2003-04 in gaining a firm foothold in the international market and consolidating its domestic market presence.

In order to exploit future opportunities in the oil and gas sector, the division is supplementing the fabrication yard at Hazira with a new facility at Mangalore.

The official added, “The division is increasing its present capacity in conventional oil platform building to exploit opportunities in development of both offshore and onshore gas processing faciliites. Large opportunities exist in the refinery and the upstream oil and gas sectors in the Middle East and select countries in Africa. With the prospects in deep water exploration on the rise, the division is looking at building capability in this domain.”

The company recently secured an order valued at $30 million for upgrading facilities at the Bu Hasa project of Gasco in Abu Dhabi. Gasco is engaged in gas gathering and processing in UAE and is part of the ADNOC group.

For the current fiscal, the E&C division of the company is expected to post a 35% increase over last year’s turnover of Rs 2,300 crore."