Monday, December 20, 2004

Iran accuses U.S., Israel of rigging Iraq's elections -

Iran accuses U.S., Israel of rigging Iraq’s elections -: "Iran accuses U.S., Israel of rigging Iraq’s elections
12/20/2004 6:30:00 PM GMT

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that Israel and the U.S. were responsible for the blasts in Iraq’s Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, accusing both countries of trying to rig the upcoming elections for their own political benefits.

The Iranian News Agency, IRNA, cited Khamenei on Monday as saying: "The Israeli and American intelligence agencies no doubt stand behind the bloody and bitter events that took place in holy Karbala and sacred Najaf."

He also said on state TV that “This is a plot which aims at keeping the Iraqis so busy that they will miss the exceptional chance to participate in the January 30 elections,

"The British and Americans want to hold elections on the surface but in reality they want to bring their own agents to power by holding superficial elections." Khamenei added.

Sunday’s powerful car bomb explosions killed at least 77 people and wounded 120 others in the Iraqi cities of Karbala and Najaf.

The U.S. President George W. Bush and Iraq's interim Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalaan have allegedly accused Tehran of supporting the Iraqi resistance and trying to influence the results of the elections.

On the other hand, Iranian officials strongly denied the accusations and called for a fully democratic election."

Eslamian increases Mobarakeh exports 370 percent

Mobarakeh steel complex exports up - IRNETCOM: "TEHRAN Times-– Isfahan, Exports of Mobarakeh Steel Complex products in the first half of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20-September 21) have been increased by 370 percent as compared to the same period in the previous year, it was announced here Saturday.

Managing Director of the Complex Mahmoud Eslamian added that some 482,000 tons of steel products, worth over dlrs 191 million, were exported during the period.

He added that exported products of the complex may increase to one million tons a year."

Mobarakeh, Saudi Hadeed Sign Deal (Mahmoud Eslamian)

Iran Daily: "Mobarakeh, Saudi Hadeed Sign Deal


The agreement sets the framework for exchanging know-how, bolstering education cooperation and supplying spare parts, raw materials and products.

ISFAHAN, Oct. 6--Mobarakeh Steel Mills Complex and the Saudi firm, Hadeed Company reached an agreement in this central provincial capital on Wednesday to expand cooperation between the two sides, announced deputy head of the complex for technology affairs.
According to Mehr news agency, Mohammad Ali Shahriari said that the chairman of Hadeed's board of directors, Mohammad Saleh Al-Jabr, who is heading a high-ranking delegation to Mobarakeh and the managing director of the complex, Mahmoud Eslamian signed the document for the two sides.
"The agreement sets the framework for exchanging know-how, bolstering education cooperation and supplying spare parts, raw materials and products," he said.
Saudi Iron and Steel Company (Hadeed) is a major subsidiary of SABIC, a leading Saudi Arabian petrochemical company.
Hadeed was established in 1983.
The company is currently producing 2.8 million tons of long products such as rolling stocks and single strand bar mill as well as one million tons of flat products including hot and cold rolled and galvanized coils."

Iran to assist Guinea in steel production (Mahmoud Eslamian)

Doundounba Music and Dance: "Iran to assist Guinea in steel production

Isfahan, July 27, IRNA -- Visiting Guinean Minister of Mines, Geology and Environment Alpha Medi Summa said here on Saturday that his country will benefit from Iran's Mobarakeh Steel Plant's experiences in producing steel.

Summa made the comment while visiting the Mobarakeh Steel Plant, according to its Public Relations Office. The Guinean minister added, "I personally benefitted from the high expertise of the technicians working for this plant, and I am definitely going to make sure that the steel mills in my country will take advantage of such unique expertise." Summa said, "What truly impressed me during this meeting was the high discipline observed in all parts of this factory, that was beyond my expectations."

The Managing Director of Mobarakeh Steel Plant, Mahmoud Eslamian, during the visit explained about the various stages of the factory's production line.
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End

©2000 Islamic Republic News Agency ( IRNA). All rights reserved "

Iranian Steel better than EU Steel

EU court acquits Iran's Foulad Mobarakeh of dumping charges: "EU court acquits Iran's Foulad Mobarakeh of dumping charges

Tehran, Feb 3, IRNA -- Director-General of Foulad Mobarakeh Steel Company Mahmoud Eslamian has said that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has acquitted the company of charges of dumping in the EU steel market, the press reported here on Monday.

The Persian-language `Afarinesh' daily quoted Eslamian as saying that the European Union (EU) had earlier lodged a complaint against the company for allegedly offering steel products at prices much lower than the EU market.

Eslamian said the cost price of Iran's steel products are much lower than those offered by European producers considering that Iran possesses cheap energy and mineral resources.

He further put the annual volume of Mobarakeh exports of steel sheets to Europe at 200,000 tons, stressing that if the EU's restrictions on steel imports are removed, the company will be able to increase the volume to as much as 400,000 tons."

Exemplary Exporter presented to Eslamian, managing director of Mobarakeh Steel Co.

Iran International Magazine - On Agenda: "Exemplary Exporter Once Again

Esfahan’s Mobarakeh Steel Co. received the 2002 Exemplary Exporter Award for the metals and steel group by the ‘Committee for the Selection of Exemplary Exporters of the Country’. The award was presented to Mahmoud Eslamian, managing director of Esfahan’s Mobarakeh Steel Co., by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohammad Khatami.

The award presentation ceremony was held at the Heads of State Conference Hall in Tehran. Thirty nine exemplary Iranian exporters received their awards and were praised by the President. He spoke to hundreds of Iranian exporters present: "We have to remove the hurdles which are in the way of exports and at the same time give incentive to those who want to export goods." Mr. Khatami went on to reiterate that a number of rules and regulations, the single currency exchange rate and the increase in production costs had brought restrictions to exports and put pressure on exporters. He also emphasized that the authorities were under obligation to make efforts to end these export restrictions.

In an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Eslamian pointed out a number of the criterion for the choice of Exemplary Exporters, "Esfahan’s Mobarakeh Steel Co. has been recognized as an Exemplary Exporter as it was in 2000 and 2001. With the aim of a more active presence in the world market, obtaining knowledge of the latest production technology and finally meeting all the criteria as announced by the Export promotion Center of Iran this year, the company has made exports to over 20 countries including Canada, Italy, Portugal, Germany, South Korea, Turkey, Armenia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, the UAE, Ireland, Singapore and a few Persian Gulf countries."

Eslamian added, "This Company has at present invested $600 million in its development projects and intends to increase its production from the present 3.1 million ton capacity to 4 million tons. This investment sum has been supplied by Mobarakeh Steel Co. alone and its basic source has been the export of its products to the world market.

The managing director of Esfahan’s Mobarakeh Steel Co. spoke of his company as an active industry player and commented, ‘We have made the export of goods abroad as part of our policy since its establishment in 1993 and have exported between 20 to 25 percent of our products each year to various countries around the globe. Last year, the amount of sales abroad by our company amounted to 706,000 tons. This year due to an increase in demand in the local market and a specific need for its provision, the amount of export has been estimated at 600,000 tons. Of this volume, 370,000 tons has been sent abroad to 20 countries in the past seven months of the current Iranian year."

At the end of his speech, Eslamian emphasized that this success was due to cooperation, and alliance of all the employees and the respected families, contractors, and all affiliated companies of the complex, and went on to say that he hoped to see the continuation of this group effort until the complex could reach its true aims."

Gasline tops Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz Iran visit agenda

News: "Gasline tops PM’s Iran visit agenda


ISLAMABAD, Dec 20 : Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is to visit Iran next month having Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline on top of the bilateral agenda, as India is still reluctant to come forward for Iranian gas through Pakistan.

According to the officials, the dates of the PM’s visit are not yet decided but he would certainly be visiting Tehran by the end of January or early February. Other than the pipeline, the prime minister is likely to take up active discussion with his Iranian counterpart on making the ECO more effective especially for regional energy trade.

Cooperation of border forces with regard to checking cross-border smuggling of petroleum and other products is an issue, which the two countries are already working on. There are also chances of bartering oil against food items like rice between Iran and Pakistan respectively, the official added.

The sources said that materialization of Iran-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline does not fall in near future while projections of domestic demand are compelling Islamabad to go for a bilateral pipeline ahead of any other transnational project of the sort. The officials were of the view that the proposed Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline would not only suffice the futuristic demand for gas in Pakistan but would also be plausible for onward export through the under-construction Gawadar Port.

The officials opined that it was high time to pursue such a pipeline, as Pakistan has signed agreement to deepen the Gawadar Port with China, the main financier as well as builder of the port. This would also flourish the gas processing industry in Pakistan, maintained the officials.

So far, the officials said, the technical experts of the two countries have done spadework on the pipeline between the two countries, which would be cost-effective in terms of its manageable length. Considering Gawadar as state-of-the-art port in near future, Iranians are more than willing to transmit gas to Pakistan for onward export in addition to consumption within Pakistan, should the need arises, the officials added.

The two countries had agreed during the tenure of former prime minister Jamali to initiate work on Pak-Iran gas pipeline having India aversive to Iran-India Gas pipeline crossing through Pakistani territories. During the recent visit of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to India, Indians have rather conditioned the Pipeline through Pakistan with across Pakistan trade access to Central Asia."

FT.com / World / Middle East & Africa - Sparks fly over Iran's $8bn oil price buffer fund

FT.com / World / Middle East & Africa - Sparks fly over Iran's $8bn oil price buffer fund: "Sparks fly over Iran's $8bn oil price buffer fund
By Gareth Smyth in Tehran
Published: December 20 2004 17:36 | Last updated: December 20 2004 17:36

Rivalry between the Iranian government of reformist President Mohammad Khatami and the conservative majority in parliament, is intensifying over the windfall oil revenues generated by high oil prices.

The oil stabilisation fund, which contains revenues accrued when the oil price rises above $19 a barrel, was set up four years ago to hedge against price falls and finance private sector projects. It totals about $8bn (€6bn, £4bn).

But as they jockey for position before next year's presidential election, reformists and conservatives are at odds over how the money should be spent.

"The government and parliament are both trying to get their hands on it," said Heydar Pourian, deputy general secretary of the Tehran metals exchange.

Along with Iraq, Iran has about the cheapest petrol in the world, resulting in congestion on Tehran's streets, air pollution and petrol smuggling to neighbouring countries. But a political consensus has evolved to keep prices down, for fear of provoking social unrest.

Deputies in the majlis, the Iranian parliament, have refused the oil ministry's proposal to use $1.3bn to pay for the higher cost of importing petrol, agreeing to only $825m. Instead, some deputies have proposed giving $900m from the oil fund to agricultural areas that have faced drought, $500m to the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee for welfare projects and $350m to the Basiji, the Islamic militia, to improve its bases.

But the reformists in government see these proposals as ways to influence the presidential elections, which are expected to be held next May or June.

Mohammad-Jaafar Mojarrad, vice-governor of the central bank, expects oil revenue in the current year, ending in March 2005, to reach record levels.

"We expect the fund to reach $10.5bn by year-end if the year's average price is $34 per barrel, and $9.6bn at an average of $33 per barrel," he said. "This would be the fund's highest-ever level, despite projected government withdrawals of $5.5bn in the current year."

He was confident the government and parliament would resist political pressure to tap the fund, pointing out that the parliamentary speaker, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, recently warned his colleagues to consider Iran's long-term future.

When the government in the last financial year, ending March 2004, withdrew around $5bn from the fund - to cover a budget shortfall and for $2.2bn in private sector loans - the central bank warned it would fuel inflation. An International Monetary Fund report in September emphasised the need "to increase savings in the Oil Stabilisation Fund while oil prices are high" and advised the authorities to "resist pressure to relax fiscal policy".

The oil fund is managed alongside Iran's other foreign exchange holdings, which are now held 40 per cent in dollars and 60 per cent in other currencies, according to Mr Mojarrad. "This is a change from two years ago when 70 per cent of our holdings were in dollars. Like any central bank, we are cautious. Ours is a professional judgment and nothing to do with politics.""

Khaleej Times Online

Khaleej Times Online: "Iran supreme leader says Israel, US behind attacks in Iraqi cities
(AFP)

20 December 2004

TEHERAN - Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused American and Israeli intelligence services of being behind the weekend’s attacks in Najaf and Karbala, which left 66 dead, state television reported on Monday.


“I am certain that American and Israeli intelligence services are behind these events and that it is a plot aimed at distracting the Iraqis so that they miss the election.” Khamenei said.

Sunday’s attacks on the holy Iraqi Shiite cities killed 66 and wounded about 200, according to the latest toll.

The United States and Iraqi leaders have accused the regime in Iran of meddling in Iraq to ensure a supportive Shiite government after the January 30 elections."

Khaleej Times Online

Khaleej Times Online: "Iran supreme leader says Israel, US behind attacks in Iraqi cities
(AFP)

20 December 2004

TEHERAN - Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused American and Israeli intelligence services of being behind the weekend’s attacks in Najaf and Karbala, which left 66 dead, state television reported on Monday.


“I am certain that American and Israeli intelligence services are behind these events and that it is a plot aimed at distracting the Iraqis so that they miss the election.” Khamenei said.

Sunday’s attacks on the holy Iraqi Shiite cities killed 66 and wounded about 200, according to the latest toll.

The United States and Iraqi leaders have accused the regime in Iran of meddling in Iraq to ensure a supportive Shiite government after the January 30 elections."

Iran busts Israeli spy ring

Iran busts Israeli spy ring: "Iran busts Israeli spy ring

December 20, 2004 11:20 IST

Teheran's intelligence services have reportedly busted a spy ring that was collecting information for the Jewish state, a media report has said.
Eight Iranian citizens have been arrested on suspicion of having connection with the alleged espionage racket, Israel Radio's Persian language programme said.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman reportedly said that the affair was serious, but did not disclose whether or not those arrested are Jewish.

Iran had indicted 13 of its citizens in 1999, mostly Jews, on similar charges. They were tried in a closed Islamic court in 2000 and 10 were handed prison terms.

Iran agrees to nuclear freeze


They were later released before the completion of their prison terms following intense pressure and widespread condemnation from human rights groups and Western governments.

Israel's Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon last week said that Jerusalem would not only continue to impress upon the international community to put diplomatic pressure on Teheran but would also prepare for "other options" if such pressures do not yield desired results.

Other Israeli leaders have also been hinting at military preparations to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions."

Iran's agro output reaches 64m tons

IranMania News: "Iran's agro output reaches 64m tons

Monday, December 20, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com

LONDON, Dec 20 (IranMania) - Some 18 mln and 500 thousand hectares of the country's lands are arable, ILNA reported, adding that Iran's agricultural production stands at 64 mln tons per annum.

Quoting statistics released by the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad, the news agency added that agriculture sector contributes to 11.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP), 21.4% of non-oil exports and 20.8% of the employment in Iran.

The sector is also has a share of 4.2% in the country's total investments and is responsible for 9.7% of its imports.

Pastures make up some 54% of the lands in Iran. Farmlands are 11.3% and the rest is forests and desert areas.

Literacy rate among Iranian farmers stands at 47% while 12% of them are above 65 years of age.

Some 75% of precipitations fall at times plants do not require water."