Thursday, January 06, 2005

Iran for financial institution to support energy projects

Iran for financial institution to support energy projects: "Iran for financial institution to support energy projects:
[India News]: New Delhi, Jan 6 : Iran Thursday urged the setting up an Asian institution for funding large investments in the energy sector.

"The establishment of financial institutions like an Asian bank for energy development can effectively back up energy projects," said Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh, addressing the first roundtable of Asian oil producing and consuming countries being hosted by India.

The meeting has been jointly organised in cooperation with Kuwait and the International Energy Forum (IEF). It is being attended by representatives from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran, Malaysia, South Korea, China, Japan and Indonesia.

Representatives from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) are also attending the one-day meet.

The proposed financial institution, Zangeneh said, "should be devised in such a way that the price of energy supplies that are charged mainly in the Persian Gulf region for Asian consumers will be lower than the price charged by other producers. At the same time, it should encourage Asian producers to produce their oil and gas for Asian consumer destinations as an economic priority".

Such an institution would help to safeguard the interests of oil producing countries during times of oil prices falling to low levels and making investments difficult, the Iranian minister said.

He stressed the need for mutual understanding and constructive cooperation to achieve the objectives of the meeting to achieve stability, security and sustainability of oil and gas supplies."

Iran getting Very Serious About Drugs and Driving

Iran News: "5 January 2005 Agence France Presse
Forget breathalisers, Iran's drivers facing pee bottles
Wed Jan 5, 2005 07:46

Forget breathalisers, Iran's drivers facing pee bottles
5 January 2005 Agence France Presse
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005 All reproduction and presentation rights reserved.

TEHRAN, Jan 5 (AFP) -

Iranian bus and truck drivers will soon face being stopped at the side of the road and forced to pee into a bottle as part of a police campaign to weed out drug users.

Top police official Mohsen Ansari told the student news agency ISNA Wednesday that an estimated 10 percent of these drivers used narcotics, meaning police were forced to add Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) urine testing kits to their arsenal.

"Drivers who test positive will have their licenses invalidated and will have to appear in court," he said.

Iran's road network is one of the most dangerous in the world, with the past five years seeing some 100,000 road accident deaths. Most accidents are blamed on reckless high-speed driving tendencies, dilapidated vehicles and poor roads.

A ban on alcohol means that drink driving is not a significant problem, but the country does count an estimated two million users of opium, heroin, morphine or cannabis."

Russian Information Agency Novosti

Russian Information Agency Novosti: "2005-01-06 11:47 * UZBEKISTAN * AFGHANISTAN * IRAN * COUNCIL *

TASHKENT, January 6 (RIA Novosti) - Tashkent hosted the first session of an inter-state coordinating council for setting up a trans-Afghan corridor.

Talking to RIA Novosti, officials at the Iranian embassy in Uzbekistan noted that Iran's roads-and-transport minister Ahmad Sodiq Bunob, Afghanistan's public-works minister Suhrob Ali Safari, as well as Ravshan Faizullayev, board chairman of Uzbekistan's transport and transport-routes association, took part in the session.

The session examined various issues as regards that rapidly expanding cooperation between countries, parties to the afore-mentioned inter-state coordinating council.

President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan suggested establishing a trans-Afghan corridor that would link Central Asia with the Persian Gulf and Iranian ports. Karimov's initiative was supported by Afghan and Iranian leaders.

Karimov paid an official visit to Iran in June 2003, with the concerned parties signing an agreement on inter-state transport routes and directions. The inter-state coordinating council was established in line with that document's provisions.

The trans-Afghan corridor is to comprise Uzbekistan's Termez city, as well as Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat in Afghanistan. This route will eventually reach as far as Bandar-Abbas and Chobahor ports on Iranian territory, opening up new opportunities for the subsequent development of trade-and-economic ties between all regional countries, people at the Uzbekistan's transport and transport-routes association noted."

Iran Mania News

Iran Mania News: "Iran to push ahead with trans-Afghan corridor

Thursday, January 06, 2005 - ©2004

LONDON, Jan 6 (IranMania) - Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Iran joined forces Wednesday to speed up realisation of a trans-Afghan transportation corridor aimed at securing a lucrative trade link between Asia and the Persian Gulf region.

Visiting Iranian and Afghan officials, after talks with Uzbek counterparts, approved the creation of an interstate coordination council on the road-building project, Uzbek official said. Details of the scheme have yet to be worked out.

"The document signed today in Tashkent will serve as a legal basis to develop the international trans-Afghan transport corridor," Ilkhom Zakirov, Uzbek foreign office spokesperson, told AFP.

The road-building project is important for Uzbekistan, a landlocked central Asian nation, in its drive to reach Persian Gulf seaports, while Afghanistan wants to serve as a transit country between southeast Asia and the Gulf. Iran for its part is anxious to boost trade in the region.

The goal, agreed upon in 2003 at a summit of the leaders of Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan, is to extend a road from Uzbekistan southwards through Afghanistan to Iran's Persian Gulf Coast, possibly supplemented by a railway.

Uzbekistan has been pushing for the construction of a rail link eastward through Kyrgyzstan and deep into China in order to create a complete oil transit route between China and the Persian Gulf.

Last year Japan granted a $150 mln loan to Uzbekistan to help bring its rail system to the border with Afghanistan by developing a mountainous 110-kilometre section of track in southern Uzbekistsan.

Another $150 mln railway project in Afghanistan to connect the northern part of the country with Uzbekistans rail systems is waiting for US approval and grant money, an official from the Uzavtoyol (Uzbek auto roads) company, told AFP.

"Once money to help to build Afghanistans infrastructure is granted, our company will start construction of the 101-kilometre Termez-Hayraton-Mazari Sharif railway," he said, asking not to be named.

Uzbek construction teams have been participating in war-torn Afghanistan's rebuilding, restoring bridges and roads in the north."