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22 Apr 2010 23:401 Comment

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Iranian press, and excerpts where the source is in English. The link to the news organization or blog is provided at the top of each item. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the story in perspective. You can follow our news feeds on Twitter.

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Photos: At the start of three days of war games in the Persian Gulf, Iran is trumpeting the launch of a new weapon: an "ultra-fast" watercraft. Iranian television Wednesday showed dozens of speedboats with flags flying as they raced across shimmering waters toward mock target ships, firing rockets and heavy machine guns with a fusillade that caused explosions and columns of billowing black smoke. -- Christian Science Monitor

economy

Lawmakers warn Iran president against 'excessive imports'

Mehr | April 21, 2010

One Hundred and Sixteen MPs gave the president a written warning about the excessive import of consumer goods, agricultural produce, and livestock.

This issue has damaged the domestic production sector; MPs stated in their warning released on Wednesday.

Lawmakers have criticized the government for unrestrained import of commodities such as sugar, rice, fresh fruits, chicken, cotton and dried milk.

MPs maintain that the import of these commodities not only has inflicted irrecoverable financial damages to farmers, producers, and stockbreeders, but also has resulted in the transmission of diseases.

The MPs also called on the president to take practical measures to reduce the unprecedented rising trend of goods smuggling into the country that has placed the producers on the verge of bankruptcy.

Iran's ASEAN exports rose 31 percent: agency

Mehr | April 21, 2010

Iran's exports to The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states rose 31 percent in terms of volume in the last Iranian calendar year, which ended on March 20, 2010.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) cited a report issued by the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran (TPOI) stating that non-oil exports to ASEAN countries in the past year weighed 1.3 million tons.

Last year, Iran exported about $1 billion worth of products to ASEAN countries, the report noted.

TPOI has taken necessary measures to enhance business between the Iranian private sector and ASEAN countries by signing trade pacts, sending trade representatives and delegations and holding specialized exhibitions, the TPOI statement pointed out.

The main exported products include petrochemical products, citrus fruit, carpets, pistachio, foodstuff (with halal brand), medicinal herbs, etc.

Iran agency says non-oil exports to ECO up 25 percent

Mehr | April 21, 2010

Iran exported 4.79 million tons of non-oil goods (excluding gas condensates) worth 3.069 billion dollars to the Economic Cooperation Organization member states in the previous calendar year (ended March 20).

The value of exports shows a 25 percent increase in comparison to its preceding year's figure of 2.447 billion dollars, ILNA News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Current oil price 'unfair' says Iran oil minister

Reuters | April 22, 2010

International sanctions on Iran have not harmed its oil industry, Iranian Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi said on Thursday, opening an energy conference where he said the current price of crude was "unfair."

"Despite all limitations imposed on Iran's oil and gas industry, we have been able to improve. Imposing sanctions has not isolated Iran but helped the country to improve its oil industry," Mirkazemi said in a speech at the conference.

On the oil price he said: "Compared to the price of other energies, the current price of oil is unfair."

international

Dozens of Companies Work With Iran, Report Finds

NYT | April 22, 2010

Over the last five years, 41 foreign companies have helped Iran develop its oil and gas sector, which accounts for over half of the Iranian government's revenues, congressional investigators reported on Thursday.

The Government Accountability Office said the companies provided technical expertise, equipment and financing and did construction work on oil and gas pipelines, enabling Iran to increase energy production and profits.

No American companies were listed in the report, but the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation was reported to be financing an oil field in an agreement with the Iranian government estimated to be worth more than $2 billion. Daewoo Shipbuilding of South Korea was reported to be building tanker ships for Iran under a $384 million contact.

The GAO's report did not determine, however, if the companies had violated the Iran Sanctions Act, which was devised to punish foreign companies that invest more than $20 million in a given year to develop Iran's oil and gas fields.

"Clearly, we need to take a tougher stance against companies tied to Iran's refined petroleum capacity," said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, who has been pushing for hearings on companies doing business in Iran. "Companies need to make a choice: do business with the U.S. or with Iran -- not both. Companies whose profits fuel Iran's nuclear ambitions should not be allowed to do business with the U.S. or benefit from the U.S. economy -- period."

Iran's Quds force in Venezuela, Latin America: Pentagon

AFP | April 22, 2010

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps has stepped up its presence in Latin America, especially in Venezuela, according to a Pentagon report to Congress.

The Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force "maintains operational capabilities around the world," said the report on Iran's military power, released Tuesday by the Defense Department.

The force "is well established in the Middle East and North Africa, and recent years have witnessed an increased presence in Latin America, particularly Venezuela," the report said.

"If US involvement in conflicts in these regions deepens, contact with the IRGC-QF (Quds Force), directly or through extremist groups it supports, will be more frequent and consequential," it said.

The report said Iran's top priority is to ensure "the survival of the regime" and that Tehran has ambitions to position itself as a regional power, while expanding its presence on the world stage.

Iran president on controversial visit to Zimbabwe

Reuters | April 22, 2010

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began a visit to Zimbabwe on Thursday condemned by President Robert Mugabe's opponents as a meeting of despots which could further isolate Harare.

Ahmadinejad, whose government is pursuing a nuclear programme despite threats of more United Nations sanctions, was invited by Mugabe to open Zimbabwe's annual trade fair.

There was no official indication of any link between the two-day visit and Iran's nuclear programme, but Zimbabwe does hold uranium deposits which have yet to be exploited.

Zimbabwean state media said Ahmadinejad's visit was part of a drive to strengthen ties between countries at odds with the West.

Ahmadinejad was met at Harare's international airport by Mugabe, cabinet ministers and diplomats, amid singing and chants from hundreds of Zimbabwean Muslims waving Iranian flags.

Mugabe's old foe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and ministers from his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) did not attend the welcoming ceremony.

Iran censures UAE FM for 'ill-advised remarks' over three islands

Mehr | April 21, 2010

Iran on Wednesday reproved the UAE foreign minister for comparing Tehran's control of its three islands of Lesser and Greater Tunbs and Abu Musa in the Persian Gulf to an Israeli occupation.

The UAE foreign minister's remarks about the Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf are neither right nor well-considered, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told the Mehr News Agency.

He went on to say that Iran has always been seeking the cooperation of the Islamic world to counter the main threat to the region by the Zionist regime.

Iran has repeatedly said that misunderstanding over the ownership of the Abu Musa Island can be cleared up through dialogue.

Again Mehmanparast insisted that Misunderstandings between friends can be resolved through bilateral talks.

Broujerdi calls for release of Iranian reporter held in Italy

Mehr | April 21, 2010

Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Alaeddin Borujerdi met with Italy's ambassador to Tehran Alberto Bradanini on Wednesday and called for the immediate release of the Iranian reporter.

In this meeting, Broujerdi expressed the Iranian Parliament's grave concerns over the arrest of two Iranian nationals in Rome.

Hamid Masouminejad, an Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) correspondent based in Rome, and another Iranian citizen, identified as Homayoun Bakhtiari, were arrested on March 3 on suspicion of arms trafficking to Iran and have remained in captivity for over 50 days.

Majlis expects Rome to take necessary actions to arrange for the immediate release of the two Iranian citizens, Broujerdi underlined.

Italy's envoy, for his part, stated that the government of Italy has had no information in that regard and it is interested to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

"Likewise Iran, the judicial system of Italy is independent and the arrests have taken place under the authority of that body," Bradanini noted.

national

Montajabnia: Karroubi rivals made up rumors

Tabnak | April 22, 2010

The deputy secretary-general of the Etemad-e Melli Party rejected reports that Mehdi Karroubi was in poor health.

"[Stories about] Mehdi Karroubi's critical health condition are a baseless lie. It is a rumor started by our political rivals," Rasoul Montajabnia told Fararu. "Karroubi doesn't even have a headache."

"Mr. Karroubi is healthy and well. Coincidentally, he is hosting a number of scholars and elite today. All these rumors are lies and a form of psychological warfare. This is something his rivals have made up. As they say, the bigger a lie, the more attractive it is."

"I'm concerned that they are conspiring against Mr. Karroubi. Therefore I call on security and civil forces to be on alert. Perhaps there are parties out to make an attempt on his life and in this manner seek to create problems for the establishment."

Last week a number of websites claimed Karroubi was suffering from an incurable disease and that his health was rapidly declining.

Without specifically naming Karroubi In a Kayhan editorial, former Ahmadinejad Minister of Islamic Guidance, Hossein Saffar Harandi, urged the ailing Reformist to repent.

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1 Comment

je respect Mr ahmed najad

chababi abdelmajid / April 24, 2010 8:13 AM