Iran

Plans to increase Azadegan’s giant Iranian oilfield production to 170,000 b/d

NicosiaNational Iranian South Oil Company, July 10: Crude oil production from the giant Azadegan oilfield from the current level of 20,000 barrels a day (b/d) will increase to 170,000 b/d, the Managing Director of the National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC) Gholamreza Hasan Beiglou said.

Azadegan, in the province of Khuzestan, is Iran’s biggest oilfield with an estimated 31 billion barrels of crude oil in an area of
1,400 square kilometres. The oilfield’s recoverable reserves are estimated at 5.2 billion barrels.

Germany urges Iran to halt "sabre rattling" after missile tests

Berlin- The German government called Wednesday on Tehran to halt "all form of sabre rattling" following Iran's testing of nine missiles over the Gulf.

German government spokesman Thomas Steg said the tests had been noted "with concern" and drew attention to the possibility that the missiles were suitable for carrying nuclear warheads.

"The German government calls on Iran to halt all form of sabre rattling," Steg said.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana had visited Tehran in mid June with a renewed offer from the international community intended as demonstrating good will and aimed at bridge-building, Steg said.

Iran distances itself from Sadat film

Tehran - Iran on Wednesday distanced itself from a documentary film on the assassination of the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, saying the film had nothing to do with the Iranian government, the official news agency IRNA reported.

Iran's state television network aired a documentary film called Assassination of the Pharaoh, which glorified Sadat's assassin Khaled al-Islamboli and portrayed him as a martyr who killed a traitor.

"The producers of the film were from the non-governmental and private sector, and the film was in line with freedom of expression in Iran, but the contents of the film have nothing to do with the official stance of Tehran," an unnamed official from the Foreign Ministry told IRNA.

G8 backs negotiating path over Iran nuclear programme

Toyako, Japan - The Group of Eight (G8) leading industrial countries called Wednesday on Iran to suspend its nuclear programme, but again vowed to try and resolve the issue through negotiation.

"We express our serious concern at the proliferation risks posed by Iran's nuclear programme and Iran's continued failure to meet its international obligations," G8 leaders said in a statement issued at their meeting in Toyako, Japan.

The leaders urged Iran to comply with United Nations' Security Council resolutions addressing the matter and to "suspend all enrichment-related activities."

US targets Iranian officials with more sanctions

Iran - US CrisisWashington - The United States enacted more sanctions Tuesday on Iranian officials and companies suspected of aiding the country in the development of nuclear weapons.

The sanctions freeze the assets and cut off financial transactions with the six individuals and five companies listed by the State and Treasury departments.

Among those targeted was Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, a top-level nuclear scientist in the Iranian foreign minister, as the US seeks to intensify pressure on Iran for its refusal to comply with UN Security Council demands to suspend uranium enrichment.

Iran president dismisses possibility of war with US, Israel

Kuala Lumpur - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that the United States and Israel would not go to war with his country despite increasing tensions surrounding Teheran's refusal to suspend its nuclear enrichment programme.

Ahmadinejad said he was confident the US and Israel would not launch a war on Iran, adding that the two nations were instead using "propaganda" as a weapon.

"I assure you that there won't be any war in the future," he told reporters in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur where he was attending a summit of developing Muslim nations.

Ahmadinejad: Iran not to accept nuclear suspension

Tehran- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated once again that Iran would not accept nuclear suspension and termed the latest demand by world powers in this regard as a "repetitive scenario," the official news agency IRNA reported Monday.

"Nobody can talk to us with the language of force and threat, and (the world powers) will eventually be forced to acknowledge the will of the Iranian nation (to pursue nuclear technology)," Ahmadinejad said.

Ahmadinejad termed the demand by the five United Nations Security Council member states plus Germany (5+1) to suspend uranium enrichment as a "repetitive scenario" and said Iran would stand united and eventually reach its aim of acquiring nuclear know-how.

Western intelligence claims Iran has resumed working on an atomic bomb

London, July 7 : Intelligence reports provided by Western diplomats reveal that Iran has probably resumed work on constructing atomic weapons.

Tehran has announced that it has no intention of halting its uranium enrichment program, and if the diplomats are to be believed, Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which has overall responsibility for the country's nuclear program, has set up several civilian companies to work on the atomic weapons project, which are being concealed from United Nations nuclear inspection teams, reports The Telegraph.

According to recent intelligence reports, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally ordered the Revolutionary Guard to set up companies for the secret manufacture of components for P2 centrifuges this year.

Military action by US, Israel in Iran 'would destabilise Iraq'

London, July 5 : Iraq will be plunged into a new war if Israel or the US launches an attack on Iran, Iraqi leaders have warned.

Iranian retaliation would take place in Iraq, The Independent quoted Dr. Mahmoud Othman, the influential Iraqi MP, as saying.

The Iraqi government's main allies are the US and Iran, whose governments openly detest each other. The Iraqi government may be militarily dependent on the 140,000 US troops in the country, but its Shia and Kurdish leaders have long been allied to Iran.

Iraqi leaders have to continually perform a balancing act in which they seek to avoid alienating either country.

Iran again threatens to block Gulf oil route

Tehran  - Iran on Saturday once again threatened to block the oil export route in the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz if attacked, Fars news agency reported.

"We have a great deal of respect for keeping the Strait of Hormuz open but other countries should know that if Iran's interests in the (Gulf) region were ignored, then we would not allow others to use (the strait) either," Iranian army chief General Hassan Firouzabadi told Fars.

The general's remarks were made in reference to reports that the United States and Israel might attack the main Iranian nuclear sites after the Islamic state once again refused to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

No changes in Iranian nuclear position, says spokesman

Tehran - There have been no changes in Iran's position regarding its nuclear programme, an Iranian government spokesman said Saturday.

Iran on Friday replied to the latest incentive package of the United Nations veto powers plus Germany (5+1) to European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana in Brussels. No details have yet been disclosed about the reply.

Solana is also scheduled to meet Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeid Jalili in mid-July, Iranian media reported.

ISNA news agency quoted spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham as saying that talks with the 5+1 would only be held on the basis of respecting Iran's rights.

Iran to reply to Western nuclear proposal on Friday

Tehran- Iran will reply to the latest incentive package of the United Nations veto powers plus Germany (5+1) on Friday, state television reported.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeid Jalili told European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana in a phone contact that the reply was "with a constructive view and based on common grounds" of the side's positions and proposals.

The 5+1 package which was presented last month by Solana to Tehran includes financial and political incentives but the main demand by the world powers from Iran is suspending the uranium enrichment process.

Attack on nuclear sites means war, says Iranian commander

Tehran - An Iranian military commander warned Friday that any attacks against Iran's nuclear sites would mean the start of a war, official news agency IRNA reported.

"Any military action against (nuclear sites in) Iran would mean start of a war and the Iranian reaction would definitely make the enemy regret both its decision and action," commander of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, told IRNA.

The general's statements were made in reference to reports that the United States and Israel might attack the main Iranian nuclear sites after the Islamic state once again refused to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

Iranian Nobel peace laureate forms anti-war council

Tehran - Iranian Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has formed an anti-war council to avoid a military confrontation over Iran's controversial nuclear activities, informed sources said Wednesday. 

The National Council for Peace, a non-governmental organization aimed at neutralizing threats of war against Iran, will hold its first session on Thursday at the central office of the Defendants of Human Rights in Tehran. 

The council has 60 members, including political activists and economic experts, and will act outside the governmental framework to prevent any military confrontation. 

Kuwait gearing up for possible oil route closure by Iran

Kuwait City - Kuwait is drawing up a contingency plan to maintain the flow of oil exports in case Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil route in the Gulf, a Kuwait official was quoted as saying Tuesday.

"There are precautionary plans to export Kuwaiti crude in cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, but those plans are not finalized yet," Saad al-Shuwaib, head of the state oil firm Kuwait Petroleum Corp was quoted as saying by KUNA news agency.

The comments came in response to remarks by the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Saturday that Tehran would impose restrictions on shipping in the Gulf if attacked by Israel.

At least 20 killed in bus accident on Iranian highway

Tehran - At least 20 people were killed following a bus accident on an Iranian highway Tuesday, the Khabar news network reported.

More casualties are feared in the accident which happened on the highway connecting the capital Tehran to the religious city of Qom, Khabar said, without giving further details. (dpa)

Tehran respects election result in Zimbabwe

Tehran - Despite harsh Western protests against the one-sided presidential election in Zimbabwe, Iran on Tuesday voiced "respect" for the election result in the African state.

Official news agency IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini as saying that Iran would respect the will of the people of Zimbabwe - "whatever it is" - and Tehran hoped the result would serve the interests, growth and independence of that country.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warm ties with his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe, who even came to Tehran in 2006 for an official visit. (dpa)

Tehran rejects any comparison with North Korea

Tehran - Tehran on Tuesday rejected any comparison of its nuclear programmes with North Korea, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"The Iranian nuclear programmes have a peaceful nature and any comparison in this regard is simply wrong," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said.

The spokesman was referring to North Korea's decision to destroy a cooling tower at its Yongbyon plant in a move to show it would dismantle its controversial programme.

There has been speculation that Iran could be pushed by the West towards such a compromise.

Iran to resume nuclear talks with world powers next week

Iran nuclear powerTehran - Iran is to resume next week nuclear talks with the United Nations Security Council member states plus Germany (5+1) in which the Iranian reply to the 5+1 is expected to be disclosed, ISNA news agency reported Monday.

ISNA quoted parliament deputy Emad Hosseini as saying that the two sides would resume talks next week but gave neither a date nor a venue.

Another deputy, Hassan Qafurifard, told ISNA that the proposals of the two sides to settle the nuclear dispute would be discussed in next week's talks.

Renewed change in Iranian nuclear team

Tehran - There has been a renewed change in the formation of the Iranian nuclear negotiation team, ISNA news agency reported Monday.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeid Jalili appointed Ali Baqeri, a former Iranian Foreign Ministry general director, as his new deputy for international affairs, replacing Javad Vaeidi who was present in all negotiation rounds.

Jalili himself succeeded Ali Larijani in October as chief nuclear negotiator following grave differences between Larijani and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over how to handle the nuclear dispute with the West.

Observers believe that Vaeidi's replacement was the result of insufficient public relations work on the Iranian stance in the nuclear issue abroad.

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