Thursday, December 23, 2004 Engineer Namdar Zanganeh - Iranian Minister

Engineer Namdar Zanganeh - Iranian Minister: "Biography of Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, Oil Minister
Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was born in the western city of Kermanshah in 1953. He spent his early school years in his hometown before moving to Tehran where he received his high school diploma. He received his M.S. in civil engineering from Tehran university in 1977. Following the victory of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Zanganeh became a faculty member of the 'Khajeh Nasireddin' university. He wa appointed deputy minister of culture and Islamic guidance in Martyr Rajaie's government Immediately after the formation of the Construction Jihad Ministry in 1983, he headed the ministry. Namdar Zanganeh was appointed as minister of energy in the government of Hussein Musavi in 1988. He also served as energy minister in president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani' cabinet. He was appointed a member of the Expediency Council by the Leader of the Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in 1996. He is currently teaching at several universities and academic centers. Zanganeh is married and has three children. He wa endorsed as oil minister with 213 parliamentary votes of a total of 266."

Iranian Air Force on WAR Footing

Gulf Daily News: "Iran 'ready to defend key sites'
TEHRAN: The Iranian military led by the air force has been ordered to stand ready to defend the country's nuclear sites in case of attack, army chief General Mohammad Salimi said yesterday.

"The air force has been ordered to protect the nuclear sites, using all its power," Salimi said, quoted by the government daily Iran.

"The air force has temporarily suspended all its manoeuvers and focused its means on patrolling the sky," he added.

"All our forces including land forces, anti-aircraft, radar tactics ... are protecting the nuclear sites and an attack on them will not be simple," the general said.

American newspapers and the regional Press have speculated over a possible US or Israeli attack on the nuclear sites of Iran.

US and Israeli officials have denied any such plans.

Israel and the US accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge, saying it needs nuclear power stations to meet booming domestic electricity demand."

Shariatmadari Considers Visit toPakistan for Expo Pakistan-2005

GEO Business News - "Iranian delegation to visit Expo Pakistan-2005

ISLAMABAD: The Ambassador of Pakistan to Iran, Iqbal Ahmad Khan called on the Minister of Commerce of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Muhammad Shariatmadari and extended him the invitation to visit Pakistan on the occasion of Expo Pakistan-2005 being held at Karachi from February 2 to 5.

The Ambassador said that over 400 top manufacturers and business houses from Pakistan would display a wide range of quality products and services at the Expo.

According to fax message received here from Tehran, he said the visit of Iranian Minister and businessmen to Expo Pakistan 2005 would help give the urgently needed boost to Pakistan-Iran commercial ties.

The Ambassador informed the Iranian Minister that the event was likely to attract participation of more than 500 international buyers representing leading business houses of the world.

The Iranian Minister assured the Ambassador that he would consider the visit to Expo Pakistan 2005 and informed that a delegation of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines was preparing to participate in the event.

The Ambassador and the Minister also discussed bilateral trade relations between Iran and Pakistan.The two sides agreed to exert extra efforts for enhancing the volume of two-way trade.

They expressed satisfaction on the conclusion of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Iran in March, 2004 and the progress made on the Annextures to the PTA which contains list of goods on which tariffs are required to be reduced.

They expressed the hope that all formalities for export of agricultural products from Pakistan to Iran would be completed at an early date."

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Dam is threat to Iran's heritage

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Dam is threat to Iran's heritage: "Dam is threat to Iran's heritage

Unesco appeals for help as ancient sites face being flooded

John Vidal
Thursday December 23, 2004
The Guardian

More than 100 of Iran's potentially most important but least examined archaeological sites, including fringes of Pasargadae, the city built by King Cyrus the Great, will be flooded in the next two years according to the UN, which appealed yesterday to international scientists to try to record what they can.
The flooding of the eight-mile Tang-e-Bolaghi gorge because of the construction of a dam will destroy ancient Persia's imperial road which ran from Persepolis to Pasargadae.

The Sivand dam has been planned for 10 years as part of a project to provide irrigation water for farmers in the parched south of the country.

But the speed of its construction and the scale of what will be lost have surprised scientists and the UN.

Iranian archaeologists have pinpointed 129 sites of interest in the gorge, ranging from prehistoric finds to remains of the Qajar monarchy which fell in 1925.

Stretches of the cobbled road have already been unearthed but caves, ancient paths, burial mounds, canals and other sites which have never been excavated will also be lost. There are also legends of a long underground "king's passage".

Unesco said yesterday it was hopeful that the world heritage site of Pasargadae, Cyrus's capital city, renowned for its palaces, gardens and the tomb of the founder of the Achaemenid dynasty, would be only marginally affected.

The city, which was included in Unesco's world heritage site list last year, is less than three miles from the end of the gorge.

It was built on the site where Cyrus defeated Astyages, the leader of the Medes, in 550BC. It has added importance today because it is believed to be the capital of the first Asian empire which respected the cultural diversity of its people.

"We understand that only the buffer zone will be affected by the flooding. There is no immediate physical risk but the site's potential [heritage] value will be shrouded in mystery for ever", said Junko Taniguchi, a Unesco officer in Tehran.

Unesco and Iran have called on international archaeologists to go to the sites and eight teams of Iranian, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish and others are expected to arrive next month. "But they will only be able to do initial research. It is unfortunate but the work is very urgent," said Ms Taniguchi.

Mohammad Hassan Talebian, the Iranian director of the group conducting the "rescue archaeology", said the sites held a wealth of information on Iran's past.

"One clearly sees the unspoken thoughts of past peoples in Tang-e Bolaghi. We are not in a position to say 'don't do that project', but we can delay the construction process," he said.

The dam's opening was planned for next March but the Iranian energy ministry has delayed it to early 2006 to give the archaeologists more time to examine the sites.

Masoud Azarnoush, director of archaeological research at the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organisation in Tehran, was stoical about the flooding of the valley. "We are losing irreplaceable human heritage here but we have to take into account the fate of the country and people as well," he said.

Treasures that may disappear

Thirty-five of 788 Unesco world heritage sites are officially listed by the organisation as at risk. They include:

The fort and Shalamar Gardens, Lahore, Pakistan

The marble palaces and mosques of the fort with their intricate mosaics, terraced gardens and fountains were built during the Mughal period some 400 years ago. But tanks built 375 years ago to supply water to the garden's fountains were destroyed in June 1999 during road-widening on the south side of the gardens and perimeter walls are also deteriorating

The city of Zabid, Yemen

The ancient city of Zabid, the capital of Yemen from the 13th to the 15th century, is an important archaeological site and played a crucial role in the Arab and Muslim world because of its Islamic university. Unesco says there is "serious deterioration in the city's heritage" with around 40% of the city's houses replaced by concrete buildings

The Kathmandu valley, Nepal

The valley is at the crossroads of Asian civilisations and contains the three residential and palace areas of the royal cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur as well as groups of Hindu and Buddhist monuments. Its shrines, temples, bathing sites and gardens are being swamped by uncontrolled urban development

Everglades national park, Florida

The Florida Everglades contain a wide variety of wetland habitats suiting birds and reptiles and are home to threatened species such as the manatee. Its ecology has been damaged by the encroachment of urban areas, pollution and flood protection measures which lowered the water level

The Royal palaces of Abomey, Benin

The palaces, which were built by the royal line in Abomey from 1625 to 1900, cover more than 40 hectares (100 acres) and showcase the architecture, history and art of the region. A tornado that struck Abomey in 1984 caused extensive damage

Turkey says Iran resumes natural gas flow after technical cut

Turkey says Iran resumes natural gas flow after technical cut: "Turkey says Iran resumes natural gas flow after technical cut
AFP: 12/22/2004
ANKARA, Dec 22 (AFP) - Iran resumed the flow of natural gas to Turkey on Wednesday after a cut for technical reasons that lasted several days, Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said.

"A new pipeline has become operational in Iran. They (Iranian officials) said this was a problem. The cut was purely technical," Guler told the Anatolia news agency.

He said the flow of gas had resumed from Wednesday morning but in lower amounts than those agreed in a 1996 agreement between the two countries.

"They (Iranian officials) said they were working on the problem. I believe it will be resolved in one or two days," Guler said.

Media reports said Iran stopped sending gas to Turkey on Saturday after an exceptionally cold spell forced it to use domestically gas that was earmarked for Turkey.

The Turkey-Iran natural gas pipeline, which runs from the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz to Ankara, began pumping in December 2001, two years behind schedule because of construction delays on the Turkish side and subsequent wrangling between the two sides over technical matters.

The agreement, signed in August 1996 by Turkey's Islamist former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, has been criticized by the United States on grounds that it rivals a major project to carry natural gas from Turkmenistan to western markets via Turkey.

Under the 25-year deal, Turkey was scheduled to import four billion cubic meters (140 billion cubic feet) of gas from Iran in 2002 and the amount was projected to reach 10 billion cubic meters (350 billion cubic feet)in 2007."

Iran bans travel to Iraq after deadly blasts

IranMania News: "Iran bans travel to Iraq after deadly blasts

Thursday, December 23, 2004 - ©2004

LONDON, Dec 23 (IranMania) - Iran banned its nationals from travelling to Iraq Wednesday after deadly blasts killed 66 people in the Shiite Muslim pilgrimage cities of Karbala and Najaf earlier this week.

"All borders of Iran with Iraq are now closed and movement in or out prohibited until further notice," said a police announcement carried by Iran's State News Agency (IRNA).

"Due to the worsening situation in Iraq... travel to Iraq's holy cities by Iranian nationals is banned," the statement said, adding that the ban would remain in force "until the security situation improves".

Iraq is the burial place of five of the 12 imams revered by Shiites. The mausoleums of Imam Ali in Najaf, and Imams Hussein and Abbas in Karbala are the holiest.

Sunday's twin blasts in the two cities targeted a bus station and a crowded market street prompting warnings of further attempts to provoke sectarian unrest in Iraq in the run-up to landmark elections next month.

According to AFP, hundreds of thousands of Iranian pilgrims have crossed the border since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein last year to visit Najaf and Karbala, and other shrines in the north-central city of Samarra and in Qadhimiya, in north Baghdad."