Iran

Iranian in court on charges of espionage for Israel

Tehran- A court sitting was held in Tehran Saturday against a man charged with espionage for Iran's arch-enemy Israel, ISNA news agency reported.

ISNA said that the accused, identified only as AA, replied to the court about the charges. His lawyer was also allowed to give a closing speech.

ISNA further reported that the revolutionary court, in charge of national security offences, presented tools put at the disposal of the accused by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad for the purpose of spying on Iran.

No further details were given about the trial but the verdict is reportedly to be issued within a week.

Espionage convictions in Iran usually attract either the death sentence or heavy jail terms. (dpa)

Iran threatens to block Gulf oil route if attacked

Tehran - Reiterating earlier such warnings, Iran said it would block the oil export route in the Persian Gulf if attacked, a Tehran newspaper reported Saturday.

"It is understood that a country would use all possible options against the aggressor if militarily attacked. In that case, Iran would also intensify control of the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz," the commander of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards told Jam'e Jam daily.

General Mohammad Ali Jafari also warned neighbouring countries not to take part in any military strike plans against Iran.

Ahmadinejad condems EU bank freeze in row over nuclear programme

Tehran  - Iran should stand firm in the nuclear dispute despite new sanctions by the European Union, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday.

"We should stand firm and build Iran with all our capabilities - even if they (West) succeeded to close all doors, the Iranian nation would just get more decisive," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in Kermanshah, Western Iran, published by Iran's official news agency IRNA.

The EU on Monday decided to freeze the overseas assets of Iran's Melli Bank and expand a travel ban because of the Islamic state's refusal to stop enriching uranium, despite several United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Iran condemns London for removing MKO rebel group from terror list

Tehran  - Iran on Wednesday condemned the British parliament for removing the Iranian rebel People's Mujahedin group, widely known as MKO, from its terrorist list.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said in a press statement that the move as a "disgrace" due to the group's involvement in terrorist acts both in Iran and Iraq.

The British Appeal Court had last month ordered the British government to remove the MKO from the terrorist list.

Tehran immediately condemned the decision and accused Britain of adopting a double-standard approach towards terrorism.

Aggressors "will leave Iran with artificial legs" warns general

Tehran  - An Iranian general warned Wednesday that any aggressor of Iran would return home with artificial legs, Fars news agency reported.

"If you dare to come towards Iran, you will bring artificial legs and sticks with you because you will definitely have no legs when you return home," said General Mohammad Hejazi, deputy commander of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards.

The general was referring to reports that the United States and Israel might attack the main Iranian nuclear site in Natanz, central Iran, after the Islamic state has once again defied to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

Murli Deora says gas pipeline deal with Pakistan, Iran soon to be signed

Jeddah, Petroleum Minister Murli DeoraJune 23: Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on Monday said that India would soon sign an agreement with Iran and Pakistan on the $7.5 billion transnational pipeline project.

After meeting his Iranian counterpart Gholam Hussein Nozari here, Deora said that there were some issues with Pakistan, which have been sorted out. Some minor problems in the project have also been solved.

“India has to talk to Pakistan’s new oil minister and we hope that the agreement would soon be signed with both countries, ” Deora added.

India to sign gas pipeline deal with Iran

New Delhi  - India is all set to sign an agreement on a 7.5-billion-dollar gas pipeline with Iran and Pakistan in the coming weeks, even as there are no signs of progress on its nuclear deal with United States owing to domestic political opposition, media reports said Monday.

In an interview with the NDTV network, India's Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said an agreement on the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline was likely within the next four to five weeks.

"There were some minor problems which have been sorted out... Very soon we should be able to sign the agreement with Iran and Pakistan," he told the news channel on the margins of the meeting of the world energy ministers in Jeddah.

Israeli military manoeuvres jeopardize global peace, says Tehran

IsraelTehran - Israeli military manoeuvres aimed at warning Iran jeopardize global peace, an Iranian government spokesman said Saturday.

The New York Times reported Friday that Israel carried out a major air force exercise earlier this month that United States officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

"Although Israel has not the strength to attack Iranian interests and such a plan would be impossible to implement, but such Israeli military manoeuvres and threats jeopardize global peace," government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham told reporters.

Israel trained attack on Iran

New York/Tel Aviv  - Israel carried out a major air force exercise earlier this month that United States officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, The New York Times reported Friday.

More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the exercise, carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June, US officials said.

The exercise also included Israeli helicopters that could be used to rescue downed pilots. The helicopters and refuelling tankers flew some 1,500 kilometres, which is about the same distance between Israel and Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, American officials said.

New sanctions plans against Iran illegal, no suspension, envoy says

Tehran - Iran's envoy at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday termed the new sanction plans by the United States and Britain against Iran illegal.

Ali-Asqar Soltanieh said that Iran would not give in to such intimidation and would not suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

"The US and its allies want to illegally force Iran to suspend enrichment, but we will never give in to such illegal demands," Soltanieh was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying.

The envoy was referring to reports that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown approved freezing the assets of the Iranian Melli (National) bank.

Japan calls for Iran nuclear issue to be resolved by dialogue

Tokyo - Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said Tuesday it is necessary for relevant countries to "to talk thoroughly and over and over again'' to resolve the issue of Iran's uranium enrichment programme.

Speaking at a group interview with news agencies of Group of Eight nations in Tokyo, Fukuda said ''We need to try not to leave Iran alone,'' referring to recent bilateral talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Rome.

The UN Security Council has demanded Iran halt its uranium enrichment programme. Iran has refused and says it will never stop its activities.

Fukuda hosts the G8 leaders' meeting on July 7-9 in Hokkaido, northern Japan. (dpa)

Iranian university vice-dean in sex abuse scandal

Tehran - The academic scene of Islamic Iran is facing a scandal after the vice-dean of the university of Zanjan in north- western Iran has allegedly sexually abused a female student, the Tehran daily Etemad reported.

After the abuse case emerged, students forced their way into the vice-dean's office and handed him over to security personnel.

The vice-dean was reportedly questioning the female student last week in his office over an immoral conduct charge when he himself forced her to have sex.

The incident is said to have been both audio- and video-taped, the report said.

Students of the university have been holding a sit-in protest at the university since last Saturday to demand resignation of the entire university board.

Iran visit "better than expected," Javier Solana says

Luxembourg - Weekend talks with the Iranian regime over the country's controversial nuclear programme went "better than expected," international negotiator Javier Solana said Monday.

"I would say that the meeting went a little bit better than I expected, but with the difficulties that you know always exist when dealing on this matter with Iran," Solana told journalists ahead of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

Solana is the EU's top foreign policy official and has been nominated to negotiate with Iran on its nuclear programme by the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Kidnapped Japanese student released in Iran after 10 months

Kidnapped Japanese student released in Iran after 10 monthsTehran - Japanese student Satoshi Nakamura, who was kidnapped 10 months ago in eastern Iran, has been released, Iran's intelligence service chief said Saturday.

Fars news agency quoted Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei as confirming the release of the 23-year-old who was abducted in Bam in Kerman province by drug traffickers and armed bandits.

The cleric added that bandits had forced to return the student from Pakistan to Iran but gave no further details.

Solana delivers incentive package to Iran

Tehran  - European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Saturday delivered to Iran an updated package of incentives by the five veto powers plus Germany (5+1) to persuade the Islamic state to follow international demands and stop uranium enrichment.

Solana delivered the package to Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and was later Saturday to meet with chief nuclear negotiator Saeid Jalili.

Solana on Friday called the package "a generous and comprehensive offer" to Iran which showed the desire of the EU and the 5+1 "to develop a constructive and cooperative relationship with Iran in the nuclear field and in many other areas."

Iran denies Iraqi envoy claim over bomb at his residence

IranTehran  - Iranian police and the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday denied claims by Iraq's ambassador to Tehran that a bomb was found at his residence, Tehran media reported.

Ambassador Mohammad Majid al-Sheikh had said that a package with explosives was found in front his residence and blamed "enemies" of Iran and Iraq for the act.

An Iranian police spokesman, however, told Fars news agency that the package only contained aquarium materials and no explosives. The Foreign Ministry confirmed the police report. (dpa)

Iran warns Israel of a "painful reply" in case of attack

Tehran- Iran warned Israel of a "painful reply" in case of a military attack against the Islamic state, Fars news agency reported Tuesday.

Iranian Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najar said that the Iranian forces were fully prepared and on full alert and "would give a painful reply to any stupid move against Iran."

The minister was referring to threats by Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, who in an interview in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper on Sunday said that if Iran continued its programme to develop nuclear weapons, Israel would attack the country.

Najar linked the Israeli threat to "internal problems" in Israel and termed Mofaz's remarks as "just stupid." (dpa)

Iranian company asks employees to get married or lose jobs!

Melbourne, June 10 : A major Iranian state-owned company, Pars Special Economic Energy Zone, has told its single employees to get married by September or face losing their jobs.

“One of the economic entities in the south of the country has asked its single employees to start creating a family,” news. com. au quoted the hardline Kayhan daily, as saying.

The directive, signed by the head of security of the “Pars Special Economic Energy Zone”, also used some of sayings (hadith) to encourage employees to marry.

It said employees' contracts would be annulled by October 22 if they were still found to be single.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: US "dreams" in Iraq will not be realized

President of Iran Mahmoud AhmadinejadTehran - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday that the "dreams" of the United States in Iraq would not be realized, state television network IRIB reported.

"The enemies of the Iraqi government and nation, especially the US military, are one of the main hurdles for unity in Iraq, but their (US) dreams in Iraq will not be realized," IRIB quoted the Ayatollah as telling visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Tehran.

5000-year-old site in Iran is as large as the Burnt City

Tehran, June 9 : Archaeologists have discovered a 5000-year-old site in Iran, which could be as large as the Burnt City and belong to an important civilization.

According to a report in Tehran Times, the site, which dates back to the third millennium BC, was discovered during the latest excavations in Bampur region in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, southeastern Iran.

“In the Bampur valley, there is an ancient site covered with sand mounds, which is as large as the Burnt City and may belong to a civilization as great as the civilization of that the city,” Mehdi Mortazavi, an archaeologist of the University of Sistan-Baluchestan, told the Persian service of CHN.

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