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« on: June 14, 2006, 09:46:49 PM »

Ahmadinejad seeks Chinese, Russian support

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer Wed Jun 14, 2:46 PM ET

TEHRAN, Iran -  Iran's hard-line president is doing more than just attending an Asian security summit in China: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks to gain Russian and Chinese support at a critical moment for his country's nuclear program.

He also aims to prove that his country is not isolated, despite U.S. claims to the contrary.

Past trips to Asia have been a chance for Ahmadinejad to tap into anti-U.S. sentiment and tout himself as a leader who is standing up to Washington. Last month, he was cheered by Indonesian students and by a crowd shouting "Fight America! Fight  Israel!" outside a Jakarta mosque where he performed prayers.

His visit to China, which began Wednesday, will likely be more dedicated to intense diplomacy. Ahmadinejad is expected to hold separate meetings with his Chinese and Russian counterparts,
Hu Jintao and Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of the regional summit in Shanghai.

It will be a chance to sound out his two allies on a package of incentives offered by the Big Five Powers at the U.N., plus Germany, seeking to persuade Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment program. If Iran agrees, Tehran would then be able to enter negotiations with the United States and Europe over a long-term resolution to the standoff over its nuclear program.

Russia and China have backed the incentives package. But the two countries — longtime allies and trading partners of Iran who hold veto powers at the U.N. — have opposed any move to impose sanctions, which Washington seeks if Tehran turns down the offer.

A key question for Iran is likely to be how much change it can seek in the package and still keep Moscow and Beijing's implicit protection.

Iran has said it finds parts of the package acceptable but that other parts should be removed. And it has said the key issue of uranium enrichment remains unclear and needs further explanation. Tehran has outright rejected demands it scrap enrichment and has been highly reluctant to suspend it.

Tehran has not yet responded to the offer, given to it a week ago.

"Iran is taking its own time (in responding) to get Russia and China to modify the Western pressures on Tehran," said political analyst Davoud Hermidas Bavand.

Ahmadinejad will likely urge Moscow and Beijing to "follow their independent policy and don't go the U.S. way," said analyst Mostafa Kavakebian.

The Iranian president will try to push his own ideas, seeking a compromise that will guarantee his country's right to enrich uranium and at the same time offer guarantees that its nuclear program won't be diverted toward weapons, he said.

In Shanghai, Ahmadinejad joins the leaders of Russia, China and four Central Asian countries who comprise the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The trip is also a chance to show that Iran has friends around the world despite U.S. attempts to isolate it. Iran has made clear it is adjusting its relations with nations based on the nuclear standoff.

"We are redefining our relations with the world," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told a television program last week. "We are managing our relations with other countries based on our national interests and the way we are treated (over the nuclear dispute)."

Iran has repeatedly said it will offer giant economic projects to countries that support its nuclear program and punish those who vote against it.

China's state energy company has signed long-term deals for natural gas. Those deals display the growing disregard for Washington's priorities. In 1996 the U.S. said it would consider sanctions on any company that invests more than $20 million annually in the Iranian oil and gas sectors. The threat was never enforced.

Ahmadinejad's participation in the Shanghai summit, as an observer, is a particular irritant to the United States, which views the body as an attempted counterweight against Western influence in Central Asia and the presence of American bases there.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld last week chided China and Russia for backing Tehran's participation in the summit, saying he found it strange to bring the "leading terrorist nation in the world into an organization that says it's against terror."

But host China dismissed the criticism. "We cannot abide by other countries calling our observer nations sponsors of terror," Shanghai Cooperation Organization chief Zhang Deguang said.

Ahmadinejad seeks Chinese, Russian support
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2006, 09:47:59 PM »

Iran president to arrive in China, bringing nuclear issue to summit
Jun 14 4:19 AM US/Eastern
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to arrive in Shanghai, renewing the focus on the role China may play in resolving the standoff over the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad was to represent his nation, which has observer status in a regional grouping now gathering in China's largest city, but he was expected to also have his first meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines.

Ahmadinejad is only a guest at Thursday's summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which groups China, Russia, and four Central Asian states plus a handful of observer nations, including Iran.

But attention will be on him more than anyone else, not least because he is also set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since an encounter at the United Nations last year.

Even so, it was unclear what might actually be achieved by the Shanghai talks in regards to the stalemate over Iran's nuclear program, argued David Zweig, a China expert at Hong Kong's University of Science and Technology.

"It's good to have the two leaders, Hu Jintao and Vladimir Putin, sit down with Ahmadinejad and perhaps help him understand the need not to go down the nuclear road," Zweig said.

"The soft line on these issues has tended not to work. Look at North Korea, where China has a lot more influence than it has with Iran. In general, if states decide to build the bomb, they do it."

China has hosted a series of six-nation talks in a bid to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions, so far making extremely limited progress.

The participation of Iran at the Shanghai summit has already drawn fire from the United States, which remains wary about China and Russia's cosy relationship with Tehran.

China and Russia have significant business interests in Iran, with energy-hungry Beijing in negotiations for a slice of its oil reserves, the world's fourth largest.

"It strikes me as strange that one would want to bring into an organization that says it's against terrorism... one of the leading terrorist nations in the world -- Iran," US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said this month.

Although Washington accuses Tehran of sponsoring terrorism, Beijing and Moscow disagree.

They have fended off US efforts for UN Security Council-led sanctions against Iran on the nuclear issue, although they have recently given some ground.

Ji Kaiyun, an expert on Sino-Iran ties at Southwest University in China's Chongqing city, said Beijing had made it clear it did not want to be seen as a threat to the United States.

"China will not challenge, and China does not aim to transform, the US-led international order. Sino-American ties take precedence over Sino-Iranian ties. China will not clash with the United States over Iran," Ji said.

But others say China's willingness to talk with Tehran may be sending a signal to Washington about how to best handle the issue.

"The Americans have a bad record for having very little to show for ostracising states -- Cuba, North Korea and Iran," said Paul Harris, a US foreign policy expert at Hong Kong's Lingnan University.

"Naturally, the Chinese way is to take a different approach -- they don't care who they talk to and by letting the Iranians on board... it sends a signal to the United States that says your way is not the only way."

Iran president to arrive in China, bringing nuclear issue to summit
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2006, 10:04:18 PM »

Putin hails SCO as new mode of international cooperation
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as introducing new patterns for successful international cooperation.

Putin made the remarks in an article published on the eve of the SCO's 2006 summit to be held on Thursday in Shanghai, China. The summit will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the group's establishment.

Terming the SCO as an "influential regional organization," Putin said the SCO, which groups Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, has become an important factor for maintaining stability in Eurasia since its establishment five years ago.

Countries in the region have long realized the importance of joining forces to meet new challenges faced by them, Putin said. Only on the basis of multilateral cooperation and through their own efforts, can peace and economic development in the region be guaranteed, he said.

Reviewing the SCO's achievements in resolving the border problems among members, Putin elaborated on the organization's successful cooperation in a number of areas, including security, economy and culture.

Facing the menace of "the three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and religious extremism, members of the SCO had had discussions on the importance of joining efforts in fighting terrorism and begun practical work on it long before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Putin said.

The member states already have effective means to counter the threat of terrorism, separatism and extremism, the president said, adding that the next move will be coordination and cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking.

Maintaining regional stability has been the focus of the member states' attention and extensive cooperation has been conducted among them in this regard, with emphasis being laid on coordinating actions and working out specific measures, the president said.

Putin also highlighted the SCO's cooperation with observer states, including India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia.

With an open approach toward dialogues, the SCO is ready to work together with other countries and organizations to promote peace, stability and development, Putin stressed.

Economic cooperation among the member states has become increasingly important to the SCO itself, Putin said.

There are huge potentials for effective and mutually beneficial cooperation in the region, he said, adding that people's standards of living in the region will be greatly improved through such cooperation.

Regional integration will help bring into full play the member states' competitive advantages in energy, resources supply and transportation, he said.

The SCO also places cooperation among enterprises and financial institutions high on the agenda, he added.

Within the framework of the SCO, humanistic and cultural exchanges have become increasingly active, Putin said.

The SCO has also accumulated rich experience in cultural exchanges and academic dialogue, and documents on educational cooperation are being drawn up, Putin said, adding that bilateral cooperation in tourism and sports should be extended to multilateral levels.

The SCO has set a model for equal partnership in Eurasia. The strategic aim of such an partnership is to enhance regional security and stability, promote economic progress and push forward the process of regional integration while maintaining the national and cultural identities of each member.

Based on "the Shanghai Spirit" characterized by mutual trust, openness and transparency, non-coercion and consensus, the SCO has laid down a solid foundation for making even greater contributions to efforts to resolve global issues in the present-day world, Putin said.

Putin hails SCO as new mode of international cooperation
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2006, 10:21:08 PM »

Islamists Call for Referendum on Egypt-Israel Peace
Written by The Media Line Staff
Published Wednesday, June 14, 2006
   
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The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is calling to take the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement signed in 1979 to referendum, UPI reports.
 
In an interview with DRAEM, an Egyptian TV channel, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Mahdi 'Akif, said the Camp David agreement between the two countries should be cancelled if the Egyptian people vote against it.
 
'Akif added that he did not acknowledge the peace agreement.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood won almost 20 percent of the parliamentary seats in the 2005 elections, and became a strong political opposition to the ruling National Democratic Party. These were the first elections the movement was allowed to participate in.
 
Two years after the signing of the peace agreement with Israel, members of the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated President Anwar Sadat.
 
Sadat was the first Arab leader to engage in negotiations with Israel.

Islamists Call for Referendum on Egypt-Israel Peace
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2006, 01:54:59 AM »

    Iranian Presidential Advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin: 'The Resolution of the Holocaust Issue Will End in the Destruction of Israel'

June 15, 2006

On June 9, 2006, the reformist online daily Rooz reported that during a visit with students at Gilan University in Rasht, Iran, Mohammad Ali Ramin, advisor to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, discussed historical accusations against the Jews and questioned the Holocaust.

The following are excerpts from the Rooz article, in the original English: [1]

"'Throughout History, This Religious Group [i.e. the Jews] has Inflicted the Most Damage on the Human Race'"

"On a visit to Gilan University, president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin said to a group of students in the town of Rasht, 'Ten years ago, when I brought up the issue of the Holocaust for the first time in this country, my goal was to defend the Jewish people. But among the Jews there have always been those who killed God’s prophets and who opposed justice and righteousness. Throughout history, this religious group has inflicted the most damage on the human race, while some of its groups engaged in plotting against other nations and ethnic groups to cause cruelty, malice and wickedness.'

"'Historically, there are many accusations against the Jews. For example, it was said that they were the source for such deadly disease as the plague and typhus. This is because the Jews are very filthy people. For a time people also said that they poisoned water wells belonging to Christians and thus killed them,' Ramin said.

"Ramin also pointed that there were other plots that powerful people used to mislead public opinion around the world. 'When the Islamic Revolution of Iran succeeded and attracted many people around the world, including Christians, the AIDS epidemic came about, and fear again overtook the world. After the September 11 attacks, the deadly epidermis broke out, which was destroyed when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. On the eve of the invasion of Iran, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) illness broke out, but disappeared after the invasion,' he said."

"'Nobody Asks How a Bird That had the Flu Could Fly From Australia to Siberia'"

"Ramin also claimed that the spread of bird flu was a conspiracy plot cause[d] by the failure of America, Israel and Britain in the Middle East. Ramin pointed out that to cover up and hide their failures, these countries have spread the news about the bird flu to preoccupy and distract public opinion for some 5 to 6 months. 'Nobody asks how a bird that had the flu could fly from Australia to Siberia,' he said, adding that even the Iranian minister of health had claimed to have stopped the disease at Iran’s borders. He claimed the holocaust story and bird flu rumors are interrelated. He attributed the killing of millions of chicken was to control the price and amount [of] chicken in the market."

"In Order to Deny the Germans the Ability to Increase Their Power, 'the British and Americans Present Them as a Human-Burning Nation'"

"While acknowledging not knowing the source of these events around the world, Ramin said, 'I only know that Jews have been accused of such conspiracies and sabotage throughout history and have not performed well.'

"And repeating the president’s claims about the Holocaust, he presented four theories that are presented in its support.

"The first is that in order to deny the Germans the ability to increase their power, 'the British and Americans present them as a human-burning nation.' The second theory is that the Americans and the British have cocked up this story with the Zionists, so as to create the state of Israel in the middle of the Islamic world and thus control the Islamic world on the Holocaust pretext, and getting rid of the Jews from Europe. The third hypothesis relates to the traditional animosity between Christians and the Jews. 'The U.S., Britain with the cooperation of France, Russia and Germany, and because of their Christian leanings and its animosity with the Jews, launched the idea of the Holocaust after the Second World War to scare off the Jews and sent them to what is now Israel in order to get rid of them in Europe and America,' he said. He further said that the movement that created Israel is in fact against the Jews. The fourth theory relates to covering up the crimes of the U.S. and Britain. He claimed that Britain had killed some 100 million red Indians in the last 300 years and the U.S. had leveled Hiroshima, which he said were the real Holocausts."

"'The Resolution of the Holocaust Issue Will End in the Destruction of Israel'"

"Claiming that the Holocaust was the principal reason why Palestine was occupied while Israel was the main cause of crises and catastrophe in the Middle East. 'So long as Israel exists in the region there will never be peace and security in the Middle East,' he said adding, 'So the resolution of the Holocaust issue will end in the destruction of Israel.'

"Turning to President Ahmadinejad’s comments on the Holocaust, Ramin said that he criticized the president for making those comments. 'We do not know whether the Holocaust existed or not and so must find out in order to defend the suffered party. My suggestion to him was to set up an investigative committee on this to collect the supporting documents,' he said."

The Resolution of the Holocaust Issue Will End in the Destruction of Israel'
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2006, 02:37:27 PM »

Putin: Iran ready to enter negotiations

Thu Jun 15, 7:01 AM ET

SHANGHAI, China - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Iran is ready to enter into negotiations on an offer by the U.N. powers to encourage Tehran to relinquish its nuclear fuel enrichment program.

"The Iranian side responded positively to the six-nation proposal for a way out of the crisis," Putin said after a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Russian leader said "Iran is ready to enter negotiations" and that he hoped in the near future that Iran would set a date for the start of talks.

Russia has been Tehran's staunchest backer in the nuclear dispute with the U.S. The Shanghai meeting was the first face-to-face discussion between Putin and Ahmadinejad since the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia agreed last month to offer Iran incentives in return for negotiations conditioned on Iran freezing its uranium enrichment program.

Putin: Iran ready to enter negotiations
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2006, 03:08:42 PM »

Iran’s atomic chief announces launch of new nuclear centre
Thu. 15 Jun 2006


Tehran, Iran, Jun. 15 – The head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) announced on Thursday that Tehran had launched a new nuclear-studies research centre.

“In order to train youths with potentials, the AEOI has launched a science and nuclear studies research centre with several specialised faculties”, Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh told a gathering of nuclear scientists and AEOI officials. His comments were reported by state television.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attended the gathering and vowed that Tehran would continue its nuclear activities despite a package of incentives offered in exchange for its to suspend uranium enrichment activities.

Iran’s atomic chief announces launch of new nuclear centre
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2006, 12:07:08 AM »

Russian president blasts United States after Asian security summit
 
Canadian Press
Published: Thursday, June 15, 2006


SHANGHAI, China (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Thursday of throwing its weight around and defended the growing clout of an Asian security group dominated by Russia and China.

Putin, speaking after a summit of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization denied the organization is a military-political bloc aimed at countering U.S. interests.

But in a nearly two-hour meeting in his Shanghai hotel suite, he reeled off a list of complaints about what he described as overbearing behaviour by the United States.

Washington, Putin said, had brought upon itself the eviction of a U.S. military base in Uzbekistan by acting "like a bull in a china shop" and seeking to impose its standards on a volatile region plagued by Islamic radicalism.

The United States fell out with Uzbek President Islam Karimov after criticizing the violent suppression of a revolt in May 2005.

Uzbekistan is one of the members of the SCO, which groups China, Russia and four Central Asian countries and counts Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia as observers.

Putin suggested Washington is displeased at the emergence of a newly influential organization such as the SCO.

"They don't like the fact that countries like China and Russia have joined efforts in solving common problems, that India and Pakistan are taking part and that it has attracted Iran," he said.

"Their worry is that they can't influence it."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who took part in the summit, urged China, Russia and other Asian countries Thursday to combine their economic and diplomatic clout to bolster the region's resistance to the United States.

Putin also criticized U.S. demands in negotiations of Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization, including its insistence on compliance with U.S. legislation in certain sectors such as agriculture. The United States is the last country with which Russia needs to strike a bilateral accord to join the global trade body.

"We're not joining the United States, we're joining the WTO," Putin remarked acidly.

He added, however, the WTO accession deal with the United States still could be finalized before the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries meet in St. Petersburg, Russia, in mid-July.

The Russian leader also spoke out strongly against U.S. efforts to mount a financial blockade of the Hamas-led government in the Palestinian territories.

The radical group has refused to renounce the use of violence and recognize Israel's right to exist and the United States and the European Union cut off hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aid.

"This only exacerbates the situation," Putin said of the financial crunch, which has caused growing unrest with Palestinian civil servants going unpaid for weeks.

Putin also laid the blame for the current political crisis in Ukraine - where coalition talks on forming a new cabinet have remained stalled since March's parliamentary elections - on western countries that supported Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution protests against election fraud that helped pro-western Viktor Yushchenko win Ukraine's presidency.

The Russian president said he had warned the United States and European states of the likely consequences of the Orange Revolution, which he said had split Ukraine between the largely Russian-speaking east and Ukrainian-speaking west.

"They pushed these people into mass disturbances, it's very dangerous. They pushed Ukraine into a confrontation between different regions, between east and west," he said.

Speaking on other subjects, Putin reaffirmed he wouldn't seek a third term in 2008 - which would require overturning the constitutional bar on a third consecutive term - saying he wouldn't have the moral right to govern if he does.
 
Russian president blasts United States after Asian security summit
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2006, 02:22:28 PM »

Jun. 16, 2006 18:51
Iran would 'use nuclear defense'
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
TEHERAN, Iran

Iran's defense minister on Thursday vowed that his country would "use nuclear defense as a potential" if "threatened by any power."

Speaking following a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Hassan Ali Turkmani in Teheran on Thursday, Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar emphasized that Iran "should be ready for confronting all kinds of threats."


THE IRANIAN THREAT   
JPost.com special: news, opinion, blogs and more

Teheran has denied accusations by the US and its allies that Iran was seeking uranium enrichment technologies in order to develop nuclear weapons, saying its program was only meant to generate electricity.

Meanwhile, Turkmani told reporters that Syria and Iran's "policy is the policy of strengthening resistance and tackling the threats of United States and Israel."

He added that he wouldn't give details of joint defense plans against Israel, although the plans were "not secret."

Answering a question regarding a newly-developed Shahab 4 missile, Najjar said that research activities were underway. Iran would continue production of "different missiles and research," Najjar declared.

The most recent Iranian missile was the Shahab 3, and Iran recently claimed to have followed it up with the development of the Shahab 4.

Iran would 'use nuclear defense'
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2006, 09:38:05 PM »

Putin: Successor may be 'unknown'

Friday, June 16, 2006; Posted: 7:31 a.m. EDT (11:31 GMT)

MOSCOW, Russia (Reuters) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday introduced a new twist into the hot debate of who will succeed him, saying the Kremlin top job might end up with an as yet unknown outsider.

The identity of who will replace Putin when he steps down in 2008 is the country's hottest political topic, with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at present seen as strong possibles to follow him.

But at a briefing in Shanghai, Putin, 53, steered journalists away from assuming it was down to a straight race between Medvedev and Ivanov.

His successor may be "someone not very well known ... not necessarily one of two people," Putin said, Russian news agencies reported on Friday.

He was emphatic he would not try to stay on for a third successive term after 2008 -- something that would require a constitutional change.

"You cannot demand that people respect the law if you yourself break the law," he said in Shanghai where he had been at a regional cooperation conference.

Last May the former KGB intelligence agent, whose high popularity ratings make him the envy of his Western counterparts, said he would eventually name a preferred successor in the interests of ensuring continuity and stability.

Speculation has focused on the lawyer Medvedev and ex-spy Ivanov -- an old friend of Putin's -- since last November when they were thrust into the spotlight by promotion to top government jobs.

The two come from different backgrounds. But both are seen as likely to maintain Putin's course of ensuring a strong Kremlin and being assertive abroad.

Though any favored candidate would still have to be elected, endorsement by the highly-popular Putin means, in the Russian context, that his election could be taken for granted.

Analysts say Putin may already have made up his mind about who will follow him.

Other names mooted by commentators include his new chief of staff, Sergei Sobyanin, and railways chief Vladimir Yakunin.

But they say Putin will not publicly identify his choice until well into 2007 so as not to erode his own authority in office too soon.

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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2006, 06:50:40 AM »

Syria interested in buying Iranian arms
By JPOST.COM STAFF


Syria has expressed interest in purchasing weapons from Iran, including scud and anti-aircraft missiles, rocket launchers, Russian T-27 tanks, and even fighter planes. Meanwhile, Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Hassan Turkemani signed a mutual cooperation deal on Thursday with his Iranian counterpart General Mustafa Muhammad Najar.

"The two countries' armed forces must be prepared to face the common enemy that has been working to undermine stability and cause regional tension," Turkemani said.


THE IRANIAN THREAT   

Among his visits in the Islamic Republic, he met with the Iranian chief of staff and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and toured a local aircraft factory.

Syrian sources told the London-based Al Hayat that the understandings were of a strictly defensive nature. They indicated that both countries have been targeted recently [by Western powers].

After a meeting between the two senior officials, the Iranian Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that Teheran was interested in strengthening cooperation against "American and Israeli threats." It also noted that the two countries should struggle to bring peace and stability in the region and disarm it from weapons of mass destruction.

For several months, Iran has been denying that it was developing nuclear weapons, claiming that its nuclear program was solely for peaceful purposes, however Najar said on Thursday that his country would "use nuclear defense as a potential" if "threatened by any power."

Syria interested in buying Iranian arms
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« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2006, 09:53:26 AM »

 EU pledges to promote dialogue between cultures
Brussels, June 17, IRNA

EU-Cultural dialogue
The European Union said Friday that it will continue to actively promote the dialogue between cultures and civilizations through all existing mechanisms.

A statement issued at the end of a two-day EU summit in Brussels Friday said the mechanisms included the Barcelona Process, the Anna Lindh Foundation and the Alliance of Civilizations.

"Particular emphasis will be given to the role that free media and civil society as well as their promotion can play in this regard," it noted.

The EU summit also welcomed the meeting with leading
representatives of religious communities organized by the EU Presidency and the European Commission in Brussels on May 30.

The Barcelona Process was launched in 1995 with the primary objective of turning the Euro-Mediterranean basin into an area of dialogue and cooperation.

The Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures, named after the late foreign minister of Sweden, was formed in 2004 to support inter-cultural dialogue in the 35 Euro-Mediterranean countries.

The UN launched the Alliance of Civilizations in 2005 to bridge divides and overcome prejudice at the international level.

EU pledges to promote dialogue between cultures
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« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2006, 09:54:46 AM »

 Iran writes to UN, UNSC condemning Zionist regime's crimes
United Nations, New York, June 17, IRNA

Iran-Zarif-Letter
Iran's permanent representative to the UN, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, in a letter sent on Friday to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Danish President of the UN Secruity Council Ellen Margrethe Loj, condemned crimes of the Zionist regime and called for UN leadership in confronting these crimes.

The UN Security Council presidency for the month of June is held by Denmark.

In his letter, Zarif rejected remarks of the Zionist regime's representative in the UN alleging Iranian support for terrorism as "unfounded."
The Zionist regime's representative in the UN, in an earlier letter to Annan, briefly discussed recent developments in the Occupied Territories and the Hezbollah in Lebanon, and named Iran and Syria as supporters of terrorism.

"Such allegations of the Zionist regime against other states are but another example of the regime's deliberate moves to divert the attention of the international community from the regime's terrorist measures, war crimes and atrocities in these territories which have endangered regional peace and security.

"It is clear that none of the deceptive measures taken by the Zionist regime can hide the fact that its entire history is a chronicle of terrorist, illegal and inhuman measures it has taken against international law, rules and regulations," Zarif said.

"It is ironical that the Zionist regime, which defies and obstinately refuses to observe the principles of the UN Charter and other international laws, rules and regulations, including UN Security Council resolutions, hypocritically calls on other states to observe these resolutions," Zarif added.

Iran writes to UN, UNSC condemning Zionist regime's crimes
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« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2006, 09:56:28 AM »

 Iran to give "transparent" response to Europe's incentives package: FM
Tehran, June 17, IRNA

Iran-FM-Hakim
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Saturday said Iran would give a quite transparent response to Europe's package of incentives.

Mottaki made the remarks while speaking to reporters after a meeting with the leader of the United Iraqi Alliance and head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who is currently visiting Iran.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's response to the package of incentives offered by Europe will be quite transparent just like the country's enrichment work," the minister said.

Early this month European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana visited Iran to hand over a package of incentives to Tehran, prepared by the five permanent member states of the UN Security Council -- Russia, China, Britain, France and the United States -- plus Germany to convince it to give up its uranium enrichment activities and resume talks to settle the dispute over its nuclear program.

"Europe's proposed package is a step forward. The Iranian officials reached a consensus on the proposals.

"We believe the new proposals (of the European side) are a move and a step forward because it is supposed to take both sides' views into consideration," Mottaki said.

He suggested that Tehran could make a counter-proposal to the new offer.

"After the 5+1 Group had made known their views, Tehran would seriously review them and announce our proposals to the European side. The Europeans will also study them." Talks will proceed on this basis as it (the offer) "is not a one-sided move," he said.

"Apparently, the move is positive and the sides can cooperate with each other. We will finalize our views and announce later." Pointing to recommendations of various states and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the minister reminded that Iranian officials had been told "not to make haste and to study the proposals meticulously before giving its views."

Iran to give "transparent" response to Europe's incentives package:
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« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2006, 09:57:39 AM »

 Iran, Turkey to increase border cooperation
Orumiyeh, West Azarbaijan prov, June 17, IRNA

Iran-Cooperation-Turkey
Governor of provincial border city of Makou, Safar Aseri, urged that to prevent illegal border crossing at Iran-Turkey common borders of unauthorized individuals, terrorists and armed insurgents, the two countries should increase their border cooperation.

Speaking at the 55th Iran-Turkey second security committee meeting in Makou on Friday, he said that given the drop in trade activities in Sarissa joint market in central Anatolia, the current obstacles should be removed.

He hoped that the rendering more services and facilities to the Iranians residing in Turkey and raising the level of trade exchanges by Turkey will increase the welfare of border dwellers of both sides and raise the level of trade and economic ties.

For his part, the governor-general of Agri province in eastern Turkey, Khalil Ibrahim appreciated the cooperation and attempts of Iran's border guards in the campaign against those involved in terrorism and drug smuggling as well as armed insurgents.

The Turkish official called for expansion of mutual relations in various fields.

He declared the readiness of his government to render services to Iranian pilgrims visiting his country's holy places and bolster trade and economic exchanges.

At the meeting, ways to increase the security coefficient and solve problems facing the border cities of Makou and Chaldoran in Iran and Turkish eastern provinces of Igdir and Agri were discussed.

Iran, Turkey to increase border cooperation
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