Saturday, November 06, 2004

Islamic Iran Participation Front's Hadi Qabel attacks Rafsanjani

IranMania News: "IIPF's reservations about Rafsanjani candidacy

Saturday, November 06, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com

LONDON, Nov 6 (IranMania) - Islamic Iran Participation Front does not advocate Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's candidacy for the next presidential elections, a member of the IIPF was quoted as saying Friday, ISNA reported.

Speaking at a gathering of IIPF members in the central city of Yazd Friday, Hadi Qabel however noted the reformist IIPF believes Rafsanjani's candidacy in the race "can disrupt the political dreams of many activists." He did not elaborate.

The official went on to say that should the powerful Head of the State Expediency Council nominate himself for the top job, no character assassination should be unleashed against the former president.

Rafsanjani was president for terms from 1989 to 1997. In recent months he has said publicly that he would run for another term "if necessary." His declared interest in the presidency has emerged as one of the most crucial issues in political discussion both in the reformist and conservative enclaves.

Prominent analysts who are not considered friends of the former president have said in recent weeks that given the conditions of the country and the challenges they may lie ahead, they support his candidacy as the "best option."

Qabel asserted that elections provide the masses with the opportunity to speak out their problems.

"It is through the ballot box that the government can claim an open political atmosphere exists in the country." The IIPF will launch its election campaign within two months, he said. "

EU presidency rejects talk of military strikes on Iran

EU presidency rejects talk of military strikes on Iran: "EU presidency rejects talk of military strikes on Iran
AFP: 11/4/2004
BRUSSELS, Nov 4 (AFP) - The European Union's Dutch presidency dismissed Thursday speculation about a US military strike on Iran to force the Islamic republic to abandon its nuclear drive.

Referring to suggestions that some in the United States wanted to attack Iran, labelled part of an "axis of evil" by the re-elected President George W. Bush, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot said "not all people in Washington" endorsed this.

"I don't think we're thinking of military strikes. I think that would be counter-productive," he told reporters shortly before the start of a two-day EU summit that will debate Iran among other international headaches.

Ahead of fresh talks on the nuclear issue between Iran and the EU in Paris on Friday, Bot said the EU had "clear indications" that the Iranian government wants to pursue dialogue.

"It is more helpful to continue the dialogue and to convince the Iranians that there are other means if you want to have a nuclear programme," he said, noting a Russian offer of enriched uranium for peaceful atomic energy in Iran.

But the Dutch minister added: "Of course we cannot wait interminably."

Earlier Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said it was "inconceivable" that the United States would attack Iran over its nuclear programme and that the world would back such action."

The World Today - Foreign policy a challenge for Bush in his second term

Foreign Policy: Four More Years

Foreign Policy: Four More Years: "Four More Years

By James Mann
Posted November 2004
President Bush’s neoconservative “Vulcans” are back for a second term in office. But this time, they will discover they have limited resources and diminished credibility.

The world now anxiously waits to see which direction President George W. Bush will drive U.S. foreign policy over the next four years. Bush and his team of “Vulcans,” the Republican Cold Warriors who came back into office with him in 2001 stunned the international community with a preventive war in Iraq during his first term in office. What should we expect in Bush’s second term?

Over the past few months, a debate has already begun on precisely this subject. For simplicity’s sake, we can reduce this debate into two different schools of thought about Bush’s second term and about the United States’ relationship with the world from now until 2008. Let’s call these two schools the Doomsayers and the Skeptics.

The Doomsayers suggest that Bush’s second term is likely to produce further military interventions overseas, along the lines of Iraq in 2003. Perhaps Syria may be the next target of U.S. military power, they suggest, or Iran. They believe that the neoconservatives (that is, officials such as Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz), who were the driving force behind the Bush administration’s preventive war against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, will have even greater power and influence, now that the president has won reelection. “Secretary of State Colin Powell is not staying for a second term,” warned one Foreign Service officer, writing under the byline “Anonymous” on Salon.com last month. “When he goes the last bulwark against complete neoconservative control of U.S. foreign policy goes with him.”

The Skeptics contend that Bush’s foreign policy in his second term will turn out to be more cautious and less belligerent than his first, if not by choice, then by compulsion. Whatever some hawks might like to do, the reality is that the Bush administration will face a series of constraints—military, diplomatic, political, and economic—that will curb its ability to launch new preventive wars. Moreover, say adherents of the Skeptic school, the power of the neoconservatives inside the administration will probably be diminished, not augmented, during Bush’s second term.

I need to disclose here that I am of this second school. I think the Doomsayers are wrong to assume that Bush’s second term will usher in new military interventions, or a foreign policy that is even more unilateralist.
Any analysis of Bush’s second term must of course start with Iraq. The Bush administration will have its hands full over the next few years merely coping with the mess its war has created there. It is not clear whether the United States can succeed in stabilizing the country in such a way that it can get its troops out.


The impact of Iraq affects virtually every other aspect of U.S. foreign policy. Above all, where is the administration going to come up with the troops for new military ventures in places such as Syria? The Pentagon is already struggling to cope with the troops it needs in Iraq. Any effort to commit U.S. forces elsewhere is likely to run into intense resistance among the uniformed military, from the joint chiefs of staff down to the rank-and-file.

Perhaps (so the Doomsayers can legitimately counter) the Bush administration might wield its military power in a way that doesn’t require a lot of troops, such as through airstrikes. And indeed, there is now some scary talk among hawks in Washington about the possibility of an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities—an action that might delay for years Iran’s ability to acquire nuclear weapons.

However, the additional diplomatic and political consequences of any new unilateral military action by the United States in the Middle East are so remarkably high that in the end, Bush is unlikely to go down this road. In his first term, the president has relied heavily on his relationship with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Would the American president be willing to launch a strike against Iran, if doing so meant that Blair’s government would fall, or that the British prime minister, the United States’ closest ally, would feel compelled to come out in opposition to the Bush administration? Would Bush be willing to lose whatever support the United States still retains among moderate Islamic forces in the Middle East? I don’t think so.

Salon.com’s “Anonymous” from the State Department is right that the internal dynamics of the second Bush administration will change when Colin Powell is no longer part of the administration. Bush is likely to appoint a new secretary of state (whether National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice or someone else) who is more subject to the political control of the Bush-Cheney-Karl Rove White House.

But it’s a mistake to leap from there to the judgment that the neoconservatives will have complete control of the second Bush administration. During the last four years, the neocons were the dominant influence on U.S. foreign policy when it came to Iraq (which was no small thing). The neocons did not control the Bush administration’s first-term policy toward China or Russia, which conformed to the classic realist principles of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft.

And the impact of the Iraq war has served to reduce further the neocons’ clout. The war they so strongly favored has lasted vastly longer than they predicted. It took more U.S. troops and cost much more money than they led the nation to believe. By early this year, even leading conservative Republicans, such as columnist George Will, were vehemently opposing the Iraq war and the larger goal of spreading democracy in the Middle East. That internal Republican opposition has been muted this fall during Bush’s reelection campaign, but it is sure to resurface.

I’m not suggesting that Bush’s approach to the world will be utterly transformed during a second term. The vision the Vulcans carried into office four years ago—a view of foreign policy based above all on overwhelming U.S. military power and a skepticism about accommodations with other countries—will not be abandoned.

But I also don’t think Bush’s reelection means that United States is gearing up for some new military invasion. There are limits. Iraq has proved that fact, even to the Bush administration. And a sense of limits may turn out to be one of the defining characteristics of Bush’s second term.

James Mann is the author of Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet (New York: Viking, 2004). He is currently author-in-residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies."

USATODAY.com - U.S. prefers diplomacy with Iran, but conflict possible

USATODAY.com - U.S. prefers diplomacy with Iran, but conflict possible: "U.S. prefers diplomacy with Iran, but conflict possible
By Barbara Slavin, USA TODAY
Of all the foreign policy challenges facing President Bush in his second term, none — apart from Iraq — looms larger than Iran.

Iran's foreign minister talks about nuclear plans Oct. 10 in Tehran.
By Vahid Salemi, AP

Twenty-five years after Iranian students seized U.S. diplomats as hostages, Iran and the United States are at the brink of a potentially more serious confrontation over Iran's apparent determination to develop a nuclear bomb.

Iran says it wants nuclear energy to generate electricity and has the right to manufacture reactor fuel. The United States has left negotiations to its European allies, who have managed to slow but not stop Iran's nuclear drive. Israel, which blew up an Iraqi reactor in 1981 when Iraq had begun a similar program, has warned it will not tolerate a nuclear Iran. So has President Bush. "Our position is that they won't have a nuclear weapon," Bush told Fox News Sept. 27.

The situation is so volatile that officials and foreign policy experts in both Iran and the USA say the possibility of armed conflict is real. "All options are on the table," Bush told Fox News.

Asked about the status of relations recently, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi was blunt. "It's very bad," he told reporters Sept. 29 in New York, where he attended the United Nations General Assembly. "The question is if it can be changed or not, and if this is in the interest of Americans, Iranians and (other) people in the region to continue this animosity."

Iran is a top priority for at least three reasons:

•Nuclear proliferation. U.S. estimates of how long it will take Iran to be able to make a nuclear weapon range from one to four years.

•Iraq. Iran, which shares a lengthy border with Iraq, has close ties to Iraqi Shiite groups that could determine Iraq's political future. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York-based think tank, Oct. 4 that the Iranians "clearly want to affect the outcome of the (Iraqi) election, and they are aggressively trying to do that. They're sending money in. They're sending weapons in." Iraq's elections are set for January.

•Terrorism. Iran supports Hezbollah and other anti-Israeli groups that have conducted numerous attacks and suicide bombings in Israel. Iran has also said it is holding al-Qaeda members who escaped from Afghanistan. In return for them, Iran wants the United States to hand over leaders of an Iranian opposition group based in Iraq.

Bush is pushing for an early confrontation with Iran at the United Nations by urging the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog, to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council unless it promises not to produce nuclear fuel. The Security Council could levy punishing sanctions against Iran. The IAEA will meet to consider the issue Nov. 25. Iran has suspended enrichment of uranium, a nuclear fuel, for a year but is threatening to resume it.

But council action is by no means certain. Alternatively, the use of force could be ineffective and backfire. Destroying the nuclear program would be difficult if not impossible, because facilities are dispersed throughout Iran and much of the infrastructure is underground. Airstrikes could retard Iran's progress, but the cost could be high. Iran's hard-line Islamic government has warned that any attack on Iran would provoke a violent response, and the United States has much at risk in the region, with its troops fighting a growing insurgency in Iraq.

For a generation before the hostage crisis in 1979, Iran and the United States were close allies. In 1953, the CIA overthrew an elected government that had nationalized the oil industry, and it reinstalled a pro-U.S. monarch, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.

Relations reached their peak in the early 1970s when Richard Nixon was president. "Under the Nixon doctrine, the United States relied on regional powers such as Iran" to contain Soviet influence, says Shaul Bakhash, a professor of history at George Mason University in Virginia and an expert on Iran. Relations plummeted after the shah was overthrown in a revolution led by Islamic fundamentalists in 1979.

Asked to rate relations now on a scale of one to 10 — with 10 being relations under the shah and one the hostage crisis in 1979 — Bakhash says, "we're barely at four."

Iran's economy minister was even more negative. "We're at zero," Seyyed Safdar Hosseini said in an interview Oct. 6 in Washington, where he attended the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

He criticized the Bush administration for making demands on Iran but offering nothing in return. He blamed the administration for blocking Iran's repeated efforts to join the World Trade Organization, despite what he said was Iran's compliance with requirements that it eliminate many of its trade barriers. And he insisted the nuclear program was important for Iran's economic development: "After 25 years, the U.S. should admit that Iran is an independent country based on the support of its people and is following rational policies."

Despite having no formal diplomatic relations since 1980, the two governments have had contacts.

The most tangible thaw came after the election in 1997 of Mohammad Khatami, a moderate cleric, as Iranian president. The Clinton administration eased U.S. economic sanctions slightly in 2000 to permit trade in food, medicine and carpets. But divisions within the Iranian government between hard-liners who wanted no relations with the United States and moderates who favored engagement prevented direct official talks.

Direct talks finally began secretly in Geneva in 2002 as an outgrowth of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks. The United States and Iran found common cause in deposing the Taliban government, which had persecuted Shiite Muslims and murdered Iranian diplomats and journalists. But the meetings ended in May 2003 after they were reported by the media and a series of bombings in Saudi Arabia was linked to al-Qaeda members who the Iranians say are under house arrest.

A new opportunity to talk at a high level could come this month, when Secretary of State Colin Powell is to attend a meeting in Egypt of foreign ministers from Iraq's neighbors and major industrial nations. Those attending will be "all together in a room, talking about the region and talking about how we can bring stability to that part of the world, beginning with Iraq," Powell said in an interview with the al-Jazeera television network Sept. 29. "And if the Iranians are in the meeting and wish to talk in a responsible manner about this problem, I will be in the room, too."

European officials say the Europeans have to be more willing to punish Iran, while the United States must be willing to offer Iran incentives for giving up efforts to produce nuclear fuel.

"An effective policy is bound to require carrots as well as sticks," says Chris Patten, former external affairs commissioner for the 25-nation European Union. "We have to be able to put a package to Iran that gives Iran an opportunity to play a normal role regionally and internationally." A must, Patten says, is assurances from the United States, which "as the world's only superpower is the country Iran is most concerned about."

Before the U.S. elections Nov. 2, Powell was cautious about making any promises. "I can't envision anything until I know whether the Iranians are willing to forewear their nuclear ambitions," Powell said in an interview Oct. 18.

Whether that attitude will change remains to be seen.

"We have very powerful mutual interests that need to be addressed," says William Miller, an Iran scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington research organization."

Powell discusses Iran with ChinaPowell discusses Iran with China - (United Press International)

Powell discusses Iran with China - (United Press International): "Powell discusses Iran with China

Beijing, China, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing spoke with his U.S. counterpart Colin Powell by telephone ahead of Li's upcoming trip to Iran, his ministry said Friday.

It was the first time the two had talked since George W. Bush won a second term as U.S. president.

Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said at a press conference Thursday that Li would be visiting Iran on Nov. 6-7, and would discuss the issue of Iran's nuclear program within the framework of the International Atomic Agency.

State-run Xinhua news agency reported that Li and Powell discussed ways to advance Sino-U.S. ties, kick starting the stalled six-party talks dealing with North Korea's nuclear ambitions, as well as enhancing bilateral cooperation in areas ranging from economy and trade to anti-terrorism and law enforcement.

The U.S. Secretary of State and Chinese Foreign Minister also exchanged views on ways to properly resolve the nuclear issue with Iran during their telephone conversation."

Ohio doctor charged with sending cash to Iran

Ohio doctor charged with sending cash to Iran: "Ohio doctor charged with sending cash to Iran
Friday, November 05, 2004
An Ohio gynecologist who opened the Fostoria Women's Clinic 29 years ago has been indicted on charges of laundering money and illegally transmitting money to Iran.
What the money - up to $4 million - was used for is unclear.

Dr. Mohammad Anvari-Hamedani, 70, was picked up Wednesday at the clinic and taken to the Lucas County Jail. He could not be reached Thursday.
Among other things, investigators said Anvari-Hamedani moved large amounts of cash through hawala, an ancient and informal Muslim banking system used to transfer money. The underground network has been used by terrorists, but also by immigrants who send money to relatives in their homelands.
If convicted, he faces hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. "

U.S. attack on Iran 'inconceivable': Jack Straw

Description of Selected News: "

U.S. attack on Iran 'inconceivable': Jack Straw


LONDON (AFP) -- British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Thursday it was "inconceivable" that the United States would attack Iran over its nuclear program and that the world would back such action.

"I don't see any circumstances in which military action would be justified against Iran full stop," Straw told BBC radio amid speculation that reelected U.S. President George W. Bush may be more hawkish over the Islamic republic. Asked if the world would support a U.S. bombing campaign against Iran, Straw said: "Not only is that inconceivable, but I think the prospect of it (U.S. military action) happening is inconceivable."

"The United States government has operated internationally and with international cooperation in respect of Iran," he said.

The international community was committed to resolving the situation "constructively", he added.

He was speaking as Iranian and EU representatives, led by Britain, France and Germany, continued talks in Paris aimed at breaking a deadlock with Iran on suspending uranium enrichment.

The European nations have so far, in talks that started in October, said Iran must indefinitely suspend uranium enrichment, but Tehran insists that its right to enrichment cannot be called into question by an indefinite suspension.

Europe's three major powers are offering Iran nuclear technology, including access to nuclear fuel, increased trade and help with Tehran's regional security concerns if the Islamic Republic halts enrichment.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair also played down speculation that the United States may be planning military action. "I have never heard a discussion of some invasion of Iran," he told the Times newspaper published on Friday. "Iran is not Iraq and there are different ways of dealing with these problems."

Straw's predecessor, Robin Cook, said on Wednesday that those in the Bush administration who pressed for invasion of Iraq were now lobbying for action against Iran. -EU presidency rejects talk of military strikes on Iran

The European Union's Dutch presidency also dismissed Thursday speculation about a U.S. military strike on Iran to force the Islamic republic to abandon its nuclear drive.

Referring to suggestions that some in the United States want to attack Iran, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot said "not all people in Washington" endorsed this.

"I don't think we're thinking of military strikes. I think that would be counter-productive," he told reporters at a two-day EU summit that debated Iran among other international issues.

Ahead of fresh talks on the nuclear issue between Iran and the EU in Paris on Friday, Bot said the EU had "clear indications" that the Iranian government wants to pursue dialogue.

"It is more helpful to continue the dialogue and to convince the Iranians that there are other means if you want to have a nuclear program," he said, noting a Russian offer of enriched uranium for peaceful atomic energy in Iran.

Bot later told a news conference that the EU could dangle a "carrot" in the form of a trade agreement long sought by Iran.

"The stick, that's the UN Security Council," he warned."

Description of Selected News

Description of Selected News: "

U.S. attack on Iran 'inconceivable': Jack Straw


LONDON (AFP) -- British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Thursday it was "inconceivable" that the United States would attack Iran over its nuclear program and that the world would back such action.

"I don't see any circumstances in which military action would be justified against Iran full stop," Straw told BBC radio amid speculation that reelected U.S. President George W. Bush may be more hawkish over the Islamic republic. Asked if the world would support a U.S. bombing campaign against Iran, Straw said: "Not only is that inconceivable, but I think the prospect of it (U.S. military action) happening is inconceivable."

"The United States government has operated internationally and with international cooperation in respect of Iran," he said.

The international community was committed to resolving the situation "constructively", he added.

He was speaking as Iranian and EU representatives, led by Britain, France and Germany, continued talks in Paris aimed at breaking a deadlock with Iran on suspending uranium enrichment.

The European nations have so far, in talks that started in October, said Iran must indefinitely suspend uranium enrichment, but Tehran insists that its right to enrichment cannot be called into question by an indefinite suspension.

Europe's three major powers are offering Iran nuclear technology, including access to nuclear fuel, increased trade and help with Tehran's regional security concerns if the Islamic Republic halts enrichment.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair also played down speculation that the United States may be planning military action. "I have never heard a discussion of some invasion of Iran," he told the Times newspaper published on Friday. "Iran is not Iraq and there are different ways of dealing with these problems."

Straw's predecessor, Robin Cook, said on Wednesday that those in the Bush administration who pressed for invasion of Iraq were now lobbying for action against Iran. -EU presidency rejects talk of military strikes on Iran

The European Union's Dutch presidency also dismissed Thursday speculation about a U.S. military strike on Iran to force the Islamic republic to abandon its nuclear drive.

Referring to suggestions that some in the United States want to attack Iran, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot said "not all people in Washington" endorsed this.

"I don't think we're thinking of military strikes. I think that would be counter-productive," he told reporters at a two-day EU summit that debated Iran among other international issues.

Ahead of fresh talks on the nuclear issue between Iran and the EU in Paris on Friday, Bot said the EU had "clear indications" that the Iranian government wants to pursue dialogue.

"It is more helpful to continue the dialogue and to convince the Iranians that there are other means if you want to have a nuclear program," he said, noting a Russian offer of enriched uranium for peaceful atomic energy in Iran.

Bot later told a news conference that the EU could dangle a "carrot" in the form of a trade agreement long sought by Iran.

"The stick, that's the UN Security Council," he warned."

Iran urges Bush to drop unilateralism

IranMania News: "Iran urges Bush to drop unilateralism

Saturday, November 06, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com

LONDON, Nov 6 (IranMania) - US President George W Bush should learn from the failure of his unilateral approach to Iraq and adopt a more multilateral approach to international security threats during his second term, Iran's deputy Foreign Minister said Friday.

Gholamali Khoshroo told a news conference the situation in Iraq would "be calmer, more stable and more democratic" today if the United Nations had been allowed to deal "in a multilateral way" with concerns that Saddam Hussein was amassing stockpiles of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

"We hope the American administration has learned the proper lessons from their unilateral approach toward the world," he said following talks with his Portuguese counterpart Henrique de Freitas.

"We hope a second term of this administration can be more multilateral, based on internationally negotiated treaties and not just the use of force."

His comments came as diplomats from Britain, France and Germany were meeting their Iranian counterparts in Paris to discuss a EU offer to help Tehran develop peaceful nuclear technology and other incentives if Tehran terminates its controversial uranium enrichment program.

Washington believes the program will be used to produce fissile uranium for atomic weapons, but Tehran argues its nuclear ambitions are limited to the peaceful generation of electricity.

In September the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, passed a resolution demanding that Iran freeze its uranium enrichment activities, a demand Tehran has rejected as illegal.

Iran faces a November 25 deadline, after which it risks being referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

The Bush administration has long demanded that the international community adopt a tough stance on Iran, AFP reported.

But Khoshroo said Europe should resist Washington's pleas, given that its claims about Baghdad's weapons program -- which Bush used to justify the US-led invasion of Iraq -- turned out to be unfounded.

"The situation in Iraq has shown that it is not enough to have allegations, you should prove it, you should have evidence," he said.

"We are against unilateral interference in the region because of some allegation or perception or other political game," he added."

Reuters AlertNet - China says opposes Iran Security Council referral

Reuters AlertNet - China says opposes Iran Security Council referral: "China says opposes Iran Security Council referral
06 Nov 2004 10:12:46 GMT

Source: Reuters

TEHRAN, Nov 6 (Reuters) - China said on Saturday it would be better to resolve Iran's nuclear case without sending it to the U.N. Security Council, where Beijing holds the option of vetoing any sanctions against Tehran.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, on a two-day visit to Iran, said he had discussed Iran's nuclear case with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in recent days.

"I told all my colleagues that China supports a solution to this issue within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," he told a news conference in Tehran.

"I really don't quite know if it will be brought to the Security Council. It would only make the issue more complicated and difficult to work out," he added.

Iran last week signed a major preliminary oil and gas investment deal with energy-thirsty China, prompting analysts to speculate that Tehran was seeking to curry favour with Beijing in case its nuclear dossier is sent to the Security Council.

China is one of five permanent Security Council along with the United States, Britain, France and Russia, with the option of vetoing resolutions.

Iran, which denies U.S. accusations of developing nuclear weapons, is engaged in critical talks with the European Union in Paris to avert referral to the Security Council.

The talks, which centre on Iran's uranium enrichment activities, broke off on Friday night without agreement and were expected to continue on Saturday.

The EU wants Iran to freeze uranium enrichment -- which can be used to make fuel for atomic reactors or to make nuclear bombs -- before the next meeting of the IAEA board on Nov. 25.

But Iran says it will only agree to suspend enrichment for six months at most and will never scrap it efforts to produce its own nuclear fuel as the EU and Washington wants.

"The negotiations are complicated and difficult, but both sides are determined to continue the talks. We'll have to see where they will lead," Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told the joint news conference with Zhaoxing.

"It is in the interests of both sides that the issue be resolved in a way that Iran retains its legitimate right to use peaceful nuclear technology and others are assured that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons," he said."

Italians pull back from investing in Iran

IranMania News: "Italians pull back from investing in Iran

Saturday, November 06, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com
LONDON, Nov 6 ( IranMania) – The Iranian Parliament’s recent ratification concerning foreign investment in the country with the controversial Turkish companies ‘Turkcell’ and ‘Tuv’ saga at its core has made Italian investors pull back from economic activities in Iran, Iran’s Hamshahri Daily reported.

The new Parliament’s bill obliges the government to obtain parliamentary consent prior to conclusion of any deal with foreign companies.

“Italy has always held a positive view toward Iran in the political domain and it has in many cases influenced the European Union’s stance towards Tehran. Currently Tehran and Rome are closely cooperating with each other in petrochemical, steel and mines sectors. Given Italy’s significant progress in the gold and jewelry industry, Iran intends to obtain this technology and thus needs closer ties with Rome.” Dr. Behkish, the head of Iran-Italy’s joint commerce chamber said.

“However the new parliament ratification has led to a negative view toward Iran among Italian investors who are prudent by nature. They now believe that the Iranian Parliament is not interested in establishing economic and trade ties with foreigners. If the parliament had taken a more reasonable approach toward the two controversial Turkish companies, we would have had fewer problems in winning the trust of foreign investors today.” Behkish added."