Monday, November 22, 2004

:: Xinhuanet - US updates travel warning to Iran

:: Xinhuanet - English ::: "US updates travel warning to Iran 2004-11-23 06:00:35

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- The United States on Monday updated a travel warning for Iran issued on May 14 and urged Americans to carefully consider the risks of travel to Iran.

"Due to ongoing tensions, particularly along the border with Iraq, US citizens may be at a higher risk of harassment or kidnapping," the State Department said in a statement.

"Some elements of the Iranian government and population remain hostile to the United States. American citizens may be subject to the possibility of harassment or kidnapping. Some areas of the country, including the Baluchistan border area near Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Kurdish northwest of the country, and areas near the Iraqi border are not considered safe," the statement said.

The statement said the US government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with Iran and "therefore can not provide protection or routine consular services to American citizens in Iran."

The US-Iran diplomatic relations have been severed since 1979 and the Swiss government, acting through its embassy in Tehran, serves as protecting power for US interests in Iran."

Human rights a political tool for the West: Rafsanjani

Description of Selected News: "Human rights a political tool for the West: Rafsanjani

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) –- Expediency Council chairman, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani in a meeting with the Dutch ambassador to Tehran, Henry Yurian on Sunday morning said that the Netherlands, as the rotating head of the European Union can play a key role in boosting Iran-EU ties.

Rafsanjani said that the Paris agreement between Iran and the EU trio (Britain, Germany and France) is aimed at confidence-building between the two sides adding that Iran should expand its relationship with Europe for this purpose.

He further emphasized the necessity for EU countries to remain committed to their obligations adding that Iran is serious and honest in its stances.

The Islamic Republic considers the peaceful use of nuclear energy as a right for all countries including Iran, Rafsanjani stressed.

He went on to say that the Westerners use the issue of human rights as a tool to achieve their political goals by supporting countries that pay no attention to this issue.

The EC chairman further referred to the West’s double standard policies toward terrorist groups including Al Qaeda and the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), Israel’s inhuman behavior toward the Palestinians and the Zionist regime’s access to nuclear weapons as some clear examples that showed the Westerners were not honest in their words.

On the issue of Iraq, he said "we should all try to transfer power to the Iraqi nation,” and expressed hope that the world would not witness more atrocities against the Iraqi people especially the people in Falluja.

The Dutch ambassador, for his part, expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the recent negotiations and agreement between Iran and the European trio on mutual relations and on the issue of human rights.

Calling the Islamic Republic of Iran as a strategic and significant country in the Middle East, he said the European Union calls for expansion and consolidation of ties with Iran as a stable country in the region and hopes that the two sides would witness further expansion of political, economic and cultural relations with mutual confidence-building measures.

Lauding the principled stance taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran, he said the Netherlands believes it is necessary to hold talks with Iran on ambiguous issues to help remove probable misunderstandings.

In conclusion, he expressed hope over the settlement of the current crisis in Iraq through the cooperation of Iran."