Sunday, December 19, 2004

Mubarak: Attacking Iran would be a "catastophic mistake,"

IranMania News: "Hands off Iran, Mubarak warns US

Sunday, December 19, 2004 - ©2004

LONDON, Dec 19 (IranMania) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has warned the United States against attacking Iran, saying such a move would be a "catastophic mistake," after US President George W Bush cautioned Tehran and Syria against "meddling" in Iraq.

"If the United States were to attack Iran, it would be a catastrophic mistake," Mubarak said in an interview due to be published on Monday in the German weekly Der Spiegel.

"Terror and violence would be imposed throughout the Middle East and shortly afterwards in the whole world," he said.

According to AFP, on Wednesday Bush had warned Iran and Syria against "meddling" in Iraq, responding to accusations by that Iran's Defense Minister they were helping insurgents and terrorists spread deadly chaos.

"We will continue to make it clear, to both Syria and Iran, that -- as will other nations in our coalition, including our friends the Italians -- that meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq is not in their interest," Bush said.

His comments came after Iraq's Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan accused Iran and Syria of organizing terrorist attacks in Iraq, branding Tehran in particular the "most dangerous enemy of Iraq".

Mubarak also defended Syria in the Der Spiegel interview, saying he believed it "was trying to change its policies, but still needs a bit of time to do so."

Iraqi authorities and US-led forces are battling to flatten Iraq's deadly insurgency ahead of general elections next month -- the first multi-party polls in the country in half a century -- but daily attacks and bombings are severely sabotaging their ambitions."

Bahonar says former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani "OUT"

Judiciary spokesman raises ante in Iran's electoral row: "Judiciary spokesman raises ante in Iran's electoral row
Tehran, Dec 18, IRNA -- A senior official took President Mohammad Khatami to task Saturday for criticizing Judiciary in barring many candidates from standing at Iran's parliamentary elections in February.
Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said that Khatami had in fact 'incriminated' the Judiciary for accusing it of failing to heed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's views in the vetting process.

"The Supreme Leader's expression of sympathy exists in writing, which indicates his endorsement of the Guardian Council for fulfilling its duty during Seventh Parliamentary election and his satisfaction with that," he told reporters here.

"The President believes that the Leader's views have not been addressed at the Seventh parliamentary elections, but this is (Mr. Khatami's) personal view," Elham added.

Elham's statements came in response to Khatami's remarks during his recent address of the students at Tehran university, in which he faulted the Judiciary for allegedly failing to address Ayatollah Khamenei's call to hold a broad-based election.

"The head of the executive power has incriminated the Judiciary; the public opinion must judge this," he said.

"If we do not serve the people, we must not frustrate them (through our statements)," Elham said in a veiled attack directed at Khatami.

The Guardian Council came under strong criticism of President Khatami's allies after it declared over 2,000 prospective candidates as disqualified in February.

The council vets the candidates' loyalty to the Islamic establishment as well as parliamentary bills to check their compliance with the Islamic Sharia law and the Constitution.

Khatami himself sent a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei then to express his dissatisfaction with the extent of the disqualifications.

But the leader demanded 'certain grievances' nursed by officials against each other in the electoral row be ignored.

"Our country today more than any time, needs unity and concord among the esteemed officials and the dignified nation expects as such from the country's officials," he said.

The resurgence of the electoral row comes amid fresh maneuvering of political groups, as Iran prepares for the next presidential elections in mid-May.

So far, Iran's former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, who is now the supreme leader's top advisor, and former chief of the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps, Mohsen Rezaie, have announced their intentions to compete in the election.

Ali Larijani, another aide to Ayatollah Khamenei, has not ruled out his intention to stand.

However, deputy speaker of parliament Mohammad Reza Bahonar was quoted by the press Saturday as saying that former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani had demanded to be counted out.

"Whenever I and my friends have asked him about his decision he has firmly said 'I am not in' and instead announced his favorable candidate," the daily Mardomsalari quoted Bahonar as saying.

Rafsanjani, now the head of the arbitrative Expediency Council, had been cited as one of likely candidates in the race, but he has yet to declare his intentions.

Their rivals in Khatami's camp have kept the Iranians guessing after they failed to persuade former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a charismatic figure since Iran's imposed war with Iraq during 1980s, to take up the mantle.

However, former speaker of the parliament Mehdi Karroubi is being wooed as a possibility.

Earlier this month, President Khatami sent a directed message, taking up his familiar refrain to remind Iranian officials of the need for competitive elections, where eligible groups of all political hue are given an even chance in the next presidential race.

Recalling his trademark call for the rule of law and a civil society, Khatami took the stage at parliament, where most of his supporters were ousted by their rivals during February's parliamentary election.

"Our country today stands on the brink of another historical moment, namely the elections and we must meet the conditions for a massive and hopeful participation of the people in order to hold a lively election," he said.

The eight-year tenure of the Iranian president, who won a landslide reelection in 2001, was far from plain-sailing, and he repeatedly complained of lacking enough power to deliver on his promises.

Khatami saw his bid to prop up presidential powers quashed after two of his bills failed to make it through stiff vetting of the country's supervisory apparatus even though they enjoyed overwhelming support of his allies in the parliament.

Even the incumbent parliament took power after the supervisory Guardian Council disqualified about 2,000 prospective candidates from standing.

"We must learn how to compete in being diverse and plural, and must not mistake competition for fighting," Khatami said.

"The thinking that only one taste rules the society and unity be sought within such an ideology is both impossible and unfavorable.

"It is impossible to realize democracy and meet people's demands with a totalitarian culture as well as self-centeredness, reclusiveness and opposition to pluralism.

"To realize the will of the people and their objectives, there is no other way than being together and (maintaining) unity," the Iranian president said, citing 'the sensitive political situation which the country is faced with'.

"There is need for creating conditions where all groups and political parties affiliated to the establishment and (loyal) to the Constitution can call on the people to participate at the polls and hold a lively election," Khatami added."

Envoy: British economic delegation to visit Iran

Envoy: British economic delegation to visit Iran: "Envoy: British economic delegation to visit Iran
Tehran, Dec 19, IRNA -- British Ambassador to Tehran Richard Dalton announced on Sunday that a high-ranking British economic delegation will visit Iran soon.
Speaking at a meeting attended by the head of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines (ICCIM) and the managing director of Islamic Republic of Iran's Shipping Lines (IRISL), he added that the major objective of the visit is to conduct talks on economic and industrial issues, customs affairs and marine industries.

Dalton expressed satisfaction with the expansion of cooperation in the fields of marine transport, education and culture and reiterated the need for broadening collaboration in the shipping sector.

Turning to Iran's special strategic status on access to Central Asian countries and other regional states, the British diplomat assessed Iran-Britain's close views on the developments taking place in the Persian Gulf and Far East as positive."

Armenian official calls for Iran’s fuel

Armenian official calls for Iran�s fuel: "Armenian official calls for Iran’s fuel
TEHRAN, Dec. 19 (MNA) – Khachaturian, the governor-general of Armenian Siunik Province on Sunday called for Iran to provide fuel and fertilizers required by the farmers of his province.
According to ISNA, Khachaturian visiting governor-general of the Iranian East Azarbaijan Province, Mohammad Ali Sobhanollahi said that Iran-Armenia ties and East Azarbaijan-Siunik relations should be in the way to represent a model for other provinces.

“We attempt to carry out the previously made contracts between the two provinces coupled with fulfilling duties in implementation of contracts signed by presidents of Iran and Armenia”, he stated.

The Armenian governor-general also said that dam construction and the third electricity transmission line are among projects that are presently being implemented between the two countries.

In his part, Sobhanollahi said, “Our cooperation in agricultural, medical, and sanitary fields has been started, as presently Siunik exports cement and meat to East Azarbaijan. In return, we can help Siunik modernize its agricultural sector.”

In conclusion, the Iranian governor-general called for the re-establishment of Tabriz-Yerevan airline as well as removing the impediments in expansion of ties between the two provinces."