Monday, April 27, 2009

Iran Early Bird -april 27

Political and Diplomatic Affairs

1. Ahmadinejad calls for explicit framework for talks with the United States – In an interview with U.S. television network ABC, the Iranian president said that his country was not willing to hold unconditional talks with the United States, and called for an explicit framework and protocol for such negotiations. Ahmadinejad (to the West) - "If you want to correct your mistakes, the world will help you in this concern; but if you have not learned how to speak to other nations, practice some more." The Iranian president stressed that those powers have no alternative but to humble themselves and accept the Iranian nation’s [peaceful nuclear] rights.
3. Iranian FM Mottaki meets Washington's Friday prayers leader, Faisal Rauf, in Tehran – Speaking during a meeting with Washington's interim Friday prayers leader, Feisal Rauf, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that "the United States is in charge of maintaining security in Iraq until a referendum on the presence of occupiers in the country, and therefore it is responsible for the two terrorist attacks against Iranians in Iraq.” For his part, Feisal asserted that the American society had accepted Islam as a reality and that despite Israeli attempts to paint an inappropriate image of Islam after the September 11 attacks, more people had been attracted to Islam.
4. Iranian FM: International relations need literature based on Koran – Speaking at a seminar on the Koran and international relations, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said “there is an urgent and pressing need for fresh theories and literature based on the Koran and Islamic teachings to be used in international relations… Iran was naturally expected to pioneer in introducing Koran teachings to the whole world as well as in international relations (Source: IRNA).
5. Israeli FM remarks are extensively covered by official Iranian media – Statements made by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are getting extensive play in the Iranian media. A number of Iranian websites are reporting that “the Zionist foreign minister” has admitted that even if the international sanctions against the Iranian nuclear program fail, Israel will not attack Iran. Lieberman is also quoted as saying that Iran constitutes and international threat and asking the United States to take responsibility for resolving the Iranian nuclear issue. According to the Iranian media, Lieberman also commented on the Iran-Venezuela relations and defined the cooperation between the two countries as diabolical and malicious.

6. Iranian media banned from criticizing Ahmadinejad’s Durban II address – According to the RoozOnline opposition website, following Ahmadinejad’s address at the Durban II conference in Geneva, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance issued a warning to all media outlets not to publish criticism of the president’s speech. According to the Rooz website, all governmental and non-governmental news agencies received a “confidential and urgent” letter warning them not to criticize the conference or the contents of the president’s address.
7. Foreign Ministers of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan to meet in Kabul today - Manouchehr Mottaki, Rangin Dadfar Spanta and Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi will today (April 27) hold talks on regional problems and their possible solutions, the campaign against terrorism and narcotics, and the boosting of trilateral cooperation. (Source: Fars News)
8. Polish Deputy Foreign Minister in Iran – Poland’s deputy foreign minister is in Iran and met yesterday with his Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Domestic Affairs

9. Candidates begin registering for June 12 presidential election – Candidates can register on the Internet, at, where they can enter their names and other particulars. The presidential election headquarters announced (April 24) that the candidates must finalize their decisions in person or by means of a representative before May 5 at the Interior Ministry.
10. Debate on proposal to lower voting age postponed until after elections – The Majlis did not vote on the government’s proposal to lower the voting age to 15, and the debate on the proposal has been put off until after the elections.
11. Conservative support for Ahmadinejad ahead of elections – The Conservative Islamic Revolution faction has announced its support for Ahmadinejad in the upcoming presidential elections. The faction currently comprises more than 90 Majlis members.
12. Presidential candidate Razaei heads to Qom to meet with sources of emulation – Presidential candidate and secretary of the Expediency Council Mohssen Razaei will go to Qom this morning to meet with senior sources of emulation in the city. Razaei will meet with Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani and others.
13. “Zionist oranges” affair continues – Iran’s deputy trade minister today informed the public that the oranges sold over the past few days in Tehran, Hamedan and Esfahan were produced in China; in some markets, he added, they were sold after individuals had stuck fake stickers of Zionist companies on them. The deputy minister stressed that the Chinese company had assured the Iranians that the oranges were from China. According to the deputy minister, the forgers did not do a good job with the stickers and it is plain to see that the “Jaffa” labels are fake.

Security Affairs

14. Intelligence Minister: Terrorist cell whose members comprised duped elements linked to Zionist agents have been identified and arrested – According to Intelligence Minister Mohseni-Ezhe'i: “A terrorist cell comprised of duped elements who had links with Zionist agents were identified and arrested due to the vigilance and intelligence expertise of the Unknown Soldiers of the Lord of the Age [Ministry of Intelligence and Security]. They planned to carry out a series of explosions across Tehran on the eve of the 10th presidential elections, with the purpose of creating insecurity and chaos.”
15. Iranian Space Agency (ISA) head: Iran's space agency and academic centers are working on a 10-year plan to send a man into space – The head of the Iranian Space Agency, Reza Taghipour, said that different aspects would be examined in this project, including life in space and changes in the human body in high-speed spacecrafts. In addition, some famous Iranian universities, including Amir Kabir, Elmosanat and Sanatisharif, are working on building satellites capable of studying meteorology, pooling information about the earth surface, monitoring forest conditions and managing natural resources. There is no doubt that Iran would launch remote sensing satellites into orbit by 2011, but the type of satellite had not been clarified yet, he said.

Economic Affairs

16. Trade Promotion Organization of Iran (TOPI) director: Germany, Switzerland, Italy, England, and France were Iran’s top five European trade partners in 2008; Germany is Iran's major European trade partner and its third worldwide - Mehdi Ghazanfari, Trade Promotion Organization of Iran director, said that official statistics indicated that the European Union members states were inclined to boost their trade ties with Iran despite global economic pressures. According to the director, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, England, and France were Iran’s top five European trade partners in 2008, with over $15.4 billion worth of transactions in total. With $5.55 billion in trade, Germany is Iran's major European trade partner and its third worldwide. Switzerland ($3.53 billion), Italy ($2.25 billion), England ($2.08 billion) and France ($2.01 billion) ranked fifth, eighth, ninth, and tenth respectively.
17. Iran allows 10 European and joint Iranian-European companies to bids for tenders to expanding six oil fields in the country under buy-back conditions - Ali Reza Zeigham, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company for Central Regions said: “Some 35 domestic and foreign companies have declared they are ready to take part in bids for the development of six oil fields including Alborz, Boushkan, Koukan and Kouhmound. Iran will provide them with the required documents for bids within the next two months… Seven oil fields, including Gordan, Assalouyeh, Mokhtar, Salakh and Kavir Kouh, are among the ones ready for the bid and if they are expanded, they can help raise the NIOC's oil output to 85 million cubic meters.”
18. Iranian Deputy President: Foreign banks expected to open branches in Iran – First Deputy President Parviz Davoodi says that the same countries that imposed sanctions on Iranian banks are now asking to open bank branches in the country. This, he claims, is evidence of the security of capital investments in Iran.
19. Iranian-Finnish cooperation in copper field – The National Iranian Copper Industries and Outotec of Finland have signed a cooperation agreement that will see the Finns provide engineering services to the copper smelting plant in Iran.
20. Iranian Minister of Economy: IMF and World Bank "should not merely follow decisions by the G20" - Iranian Economics Minister Shamseddin Hosseini has called for amending the structure and functions of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Speaking at the IMF and World Bank meeting in Washington, he asserted that the two international organizations should not merely follow decisions by the G20, and should instead seriously look into the economic models of developing countries.
21. Iran to begin work on its first oil well in the Caspian Sea - Iran plans to start excavation in its northern oil-rich region, in the Caspian Sea, on May 15. The operation would be Iran's first oil exploration project in the Caspian Sea, said North Drilling Company managing director Asghar Rafiei, who added that Ahmadinejad would attend the inauguration either in person or via a videoconference. According to the managing director, Iran will first drill two exploration wells in the area and will then develop the oil field in the hope of finding significant oil and gas reserves in the sea.
22. Iran expecting economic growth of 3.2 percent – According to an IMF report, Iran’s economic growth in 2009 is expected to surpass that of 140 other countries. The report examines economic growth in 182 countries and predicts negative growth for 80 of them. Economic growth in Iran, the report says, is expected to reach a rate of 3.214 percent, thus placing the country 42nd on the list.
23. Banks banned from establishing and developing companies without Central Bank approval – In keeping with new regulations, Iranian banks are not allowed to set up any kind of company or develop existing capital companies without the approval of the Central Bank. In addition, banks are required to sell off the non-vital assets.
24. Committee for Monetary and Credit Affairs most influential – According to Abas Ali-Noura, a member of the Planning and Budgetary Council, the Majlis Committee for Monetary and Credit Affairs is the country’s most influential body when it comes to economic issues and policy formulation. The re-establishment of the committee (expected only after the elections) could help to resolve numerous problems in the fields of production and unemployment.
25. Need for investors for Tehran urban projects – Expediency Council Chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani has stressed the need to recruit Iranian and foreign investors for the purpose of carrying out municipal projects in Tehran.
26. Iranian exports to Armenia total $200 million – The chairman of the joint Iranian-Armenian Chamber of Commerce has announced that Iran’s 11th Economic Fair will take place in Armenia in the summer. At present, the chairman said, Iranian exports to Armenia totaled $200 million, with Armenia selling some $30 million worth of goods to Iran.
27. Iranian loan to Pakistan – Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani has asked the National Security Committee to review the government’s decision to loan Pakistan $300 million without prior parliamentary approval. Larijani’s request comes on the backdrop of harsh criticism of the decision from various Majlis members who charged that the Pakistani government was not cooperating with Iran on the matter of security along its eastern borders and thus there was no justification for the loan.
28. International carpet export fair – The head of the National Carpet Center has announced that 25 countries, including China, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, will participate in an international carpet fair on the island of Kish. Iranian carpet exports this year are expected to total some $420 million. According to head of the center, most Iranian carpets are exported to the United States and Europe, but Iran is trying to find new markets for the goods too.

Human rights, religion and social affairs

29. Another Baha’i-minority citizen detained – Another Baha’i-minority Iranian citizen, Vahdat Dana, was arrested yesterday in the city of Shiraz. Dana’s current whereabouts are unknown.
30. More partygoers arrested – The Moral Police in the area of Semnan have arrested 34 men and women who were at a mixed nighttime party. According to the police, the partygoers were inappropriately dressed and “in an unnatural state.” Police seized alcohol, drugs music equipment and pornographic films found at the location.
31. Teachers protest employment conditions – Dozens of non-tenured teachers have staged another protest outside the Majlis. The teachers are protesting against the Education Ministry’s failure to give them tenure despite their years of experience and the degrees they hold. The non-tenured teachers receive very low wages and do not get any pay at all during the summer holidays.
32. Rise in divorce rate among elderly population – According to a researcher at Iran’s Population Study Center, recent years have seen a slight rise in the divorce rate among the 60+ population in the country. The researcher said that the trend was bound to have a negative effect on Iranian society, particularly on women who are dependent on their spouses for their livelihood.

Upcoming events:

33. April 28, Iranian Judiciary chief due in Belarus – The head of the Iranian Judiciary will head a high-ranking delegation to Belarus on Tuesday. The visit by Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi aims to expand judiciary ties and cooperation with Belarus and exchange views on judicial and legal issues with Belarusian officials. Shahroudi also recently paid a visit to South Korea to expand mutual judiciary cooperation between the two Asian nations.

34. May 2, Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone to make two-day visit to Iran – Japan’s foreign minister will meet with his Iranian counterpart and other Iranian officials.

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