Tehran plays down Iraqi delegation visit to Iran

Tehran plays down Iraqi delegation visit to IranTehran  - Tehran is playing down a visit by an Iraqi delegation to Iran reportedly to deliver a demand by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki from the Islamic state to stop support for Shiite militias in southern Iraq, state media reported Friday.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini told the official IRNA news agency that the visit was aimed at discussing the latest developments in Iraq and settling "ongoing differences and clashes in Iraq."

Iran calls for deepening its cultural bonds with India

New Delhi, May 1: Iranian President Mahmoud AhmadinejadAfter moves to push energy cooperation, Iran is seeking to forge deeper ties with India through cultural diplomacy.

A day after the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's Vice-President, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaee spoke extensively on expanding cultural ties with India by inaugurating the Iran Culture Week here.

Addressing the gathering, Mashaee urged both India and Iran to expand ties of friendship by introducing each other to plenty of capacities shared by both countries.

Iran uses energy diplomacy to fend off isolation

IslamabadIran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline - A 7-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline is planned mainly to meet the energy needs of the two South Asian neighbours, but it could also help Tehran break out of US-instigated international isolation over Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

This appears to be the objective that brought Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this week on brief visits to Islamabad and New Delhi to press both government to go ahead with the 2,600-kilometre gas pipeline that will initially carry around 60 million cubic metres of gas from Iran's South Pars field to Pakistan and India.

Iranian students protest against Gulf renaming

Tehran  - Hundreds of Iranian students on Tuesday gathered in front of the United Arab Emirates embassy in Tehran and protested against renaming of the Gulf by several Arab states.

Several Arab states, including the UAE, have reportedly used the term Arabic Gulf instead of Persian Gulf, which led to widespread protests in Iran accusing the Arab sheikhdoms of forging the historic name of the Gulf.

The students also condemned the search engine Google for having used the term Arabic Gulf on its sites.

Iranians are very sensitive on the term Persian Gulf and there have been worldwide petitions via the internet and SMS to confront what they call "international plot" to forge the Gulf's name. (dpa)

Iran official slams smuggling of Barbie, Harry Potter toys

Tehran, Apr. 29 : Iran’s Prosecutor General Ghorban Ali Dori Najafabadi has issued a dire warning about the culturally "destructive" consequences of importing Barbies, Harry Potter toys and more from the West.

According to a Daily Telegraph report, Najafabadi has, in a letter to Iran’s Vice President Parviz Davoudi, said: "The irregular importation of such toys, which unfortunately arrive through unofficial sources and smuggling, is destructive culturally and a social danger."

"The displays of personalities such as Barbie, Batman, Spider-Man and Harry Potter ... as well as ... unsanctioned computer games and movies are all warning bells to the officials in the cultural arena," his letter added.

Iran to counter Dutch anti-Islam video with two documentaries

Iran to counter Dutch anti-Islam video with two documentariesTehran  -  Iran is to counter the anti-Islamic video Fitna (Discord) made by Dutch legislator Geert Wilders with two documentary films, Fars news agency reported Monday.

The Iranian films are titled Reply to Fitna and Beyond Fitna and aimed at what the filmmakers call neutralizing the "plot" by the Dutch against Islam.

The two Iranian filmmakers have also declared their readiness to have a debate with Wilders over his film.

Iran holds nuclear talks with UN, Russia in Tehran

Tehran - Iran NuclearIran on Monday started talks with inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog as well as Valentin Sobolov, acting secretary of Russia's National Security Council.

A three-man delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), headed by chief inspector Olli Heinonen, arrived in Tehran Monday morning and were to hold talks with officials of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization.

Sobolov, who arrived Sunday night, had already started talks with his Iranian counterpart Saeid Jalili, who is also Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad arrives in Islamabad

Islamabad, Iranian President Mahmoud AhmadinejadApr. 28: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has arrived in the Pakistan capital for talks with the Pakistani leadership on the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project and other bilater issues.

During his brief stopover of about four hours, he will meet President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, besides other ministers.

Ahmadinejad was received at the airport by Water and Power Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

Foreign Office spokesman, Mohammad Sadiq termed the visit an important bilateral one.

Iran President to visit Pakistan on Monday

Iran President Mahmoud AhmadinejadIslamabad, Apr. 27 : Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will meet President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani during a four-hour stopover in Islamabad on Monday.

According to a Daily Times report, they will discuss the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project, though no related documents will be signed.

Iran’s Ambassador Masha’allah Shakeri told reporters here that the Iranian delegation accompanying Ahmadinejad would include the country’s foreign minister, commerce minister and his key aides.

Iran plays down return of UN inspectors

IranTehran  - Iran on Sunday played down the return visit of inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog to Tehran and said that the talks would only be within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In a press briefing in Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini rejected remarks by IAEA diplomats in Vienna that the aim of the visit of the IAEA delegation headed by chief inspector Olli Heinonen would be to discuss intelligence alleging Iran pursued nuclear weapons studies.

Nalco Plans To Invest $1 Bln In Iran

National Aluminium Company (Nalco) has announced its plan to invest NALCOaround USD 1 billion in Iran’s aluminum industry and construction of a power plant.

Nalco and Kerman Development Organisation will form up a joint venture (JV) company to make investments in Iran's Aluminum industry and electriciry segment.

Along with management control, Nalco will hold the majority share in the joint venture company.

The new Nalco overseas project entails a 1.55 lakh ton smelter during the initial phase and another identical capacity smelter in the second one, along with a 750 mw gas based captive power plant.

Conservatives lead in Iran's second-round voting

Iran ElectionsTehran  - The conservatives lead in the second round of Iran's parliamentary elections and are likely to expand their absolute majority in the country's legislative body, state media reported Saturday.

Due to low voter turnout of around 25 per cent, the final elections results are expected to be announced sooner than Sunday.

The conservatives had secured 60 per cent of the 290 seats in the first round of elections on March 14.

Conservatives also dominate the politically important Tehran constituency, where only one of the 30 seats is expected to go to labour party leader Ali-Reza Mahjoub. (dpa)

No confrontation with US in Gulf, Iran says

Tehran  - Iran said it had not had a confrontation with the United States Navy in the Gulf, official news agency IRNA reported Friday night.

IRNA quoted an Iranian Navy spokesman as saying there was no confrontation between Iranian boats and a US vessel in the Gulf.

The US Navy had said Friday that a contracted cargo vessel had fired warning shots on two small boats that approached the ship in the Gulf and failed to respond to radio communications.

An Iranian Navy official told IRNA that no such an incident took place.

IAEA deputy to revisit Iran

Tehran  - A delegation from the United Nations nuclear watchdog is to revisit Iran next week, ISNA news agency reported Friday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation, headed by IAEA deputy Olli Heinonen, is scheduled to visit Tehran on Monday to continue talks held earlier this week, an unnamed source told ISNA without giving further details.

The two sides held earlier this week intensive two-day talks, reportedly over allegations that Iran was pursuing secret nuclear weapons studies.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, however, termed the visit by Heinonen to Tehran just a routine act and rejected Western press reports that the talks were solely focused on the new allegations.

Iran holds second round of parliamentary elections

IranTehran  - Iran on Friday held the second round of parliamentary elections in which 164 candidates were competing for the remaining 82 seats in parliament, including 11 for the politically important Tehran constituency.

The voting started at 8 am and was supposed to end at 6 pm (0330 - 1330 GMT) but was expected to be extended for at least two hours. According to the interior ministry, results would be announced on Sunday.

Almost 44 million Iranians over the age of 18 are eligible to vote but turnout is expected to be much lower than the almost 51 per cent who voted in the first round.

Iran to hold second round of parliament elections

Tehran  -  Iran on Friday is to hold the second round of parliamentary elections in which 164 will compete for the remaining 82 seats, including 11 for the politically important Tehran constituency.

In the first round of elections on March 14, 208 of the total 290 deputies gained the necessary 25 per cent of the votes and have been elected directly. In the second round a simple majority would suffice.

The conservatives took more than 60 per cent of the seats and the remaining seats went to reformists and so-called independents.

No country can violate Iran, Ahmadinejad says

Iranian President Mahmoud AhmadinejadTehran - No country could violate Iran or deny its rights, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday in response to remarks by US presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton.

"No country in the world could violate Iran and deny its legitimate rights," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the western city of Hamedan, carried live by Khabar news network.

Iran, IAEA conclude talks in Tehran, outcome not yet known

Iran, IAEA conclude talks in Tehran, Tehran  - A visiting delegation from the United Nations nuclear watchdog and Iranian nuclear officials ended their two-day talks in Tehran on Tuesday with the outcome not yet made public, reports said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation, headed by Olli Heinonen began talks with the Iranian side on Monday over allegations that Iran would pursue secret weapons studies.

Heinonen is to leave Tehran on early Wednesday, the official news agency IRNA said.

Indian minister to visit Pakistan for talks on gas pipeline

New Delhi  - India's oil minister Murli Deora was due to hold talks in Pakistan on a 7-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, officials said Tuesday.

"The minister is scheduled to leave for a three-day visit to Pakistan on Tuesday evening. He will hold talks on the IPI pipeline there," said a spokesman of the Petroleum Ministry without giving further details.

Deora is also likely to wrap up talks on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline that is backed by the United States, which is opposed to the IPI pipeline.

Iran, IAEA to continue talks on nuclear weapons claims

International Atomic Energy Agency Tehran - A visiting International Atomic Energy Agency delegation and Iranian nuclear officials agreed Monday to continue their talks on the alleged nuclear weapons studies after a three-hour meeting behind closed doors on Monday, Iranian media reported.

The deputy head of the IAEA Olli Heinonen arrived in Tehran earlier Monday to discuss nuclear weapons claims with Iranian officials.

Heinonen, who is the head of an IAEA unit investigating whether countries have secret nuclear programmes, will probe whether Iran has special weapons studies.

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