Iran Unveils 4 New Satellites

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks on as he attends the 24th Khwarizmi International Award (KIA) at the Iran's state television conference centre in northern Tehran February 5, 2011. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

TEHRAN, Iran, Feb 7 (KATAKAMI.COM / AP)  – Iran says it has built four new domestically produced satellites as part of a space program that’s worrying other nations.

State TV showed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiling the satellites — Fajr, Rasad, Zafar and Amir Kabir-1 — on Monday at a ceremony in Tehran.

State TV described them as research satellites but did not provide details. Iran says it has launched at least two satellites and has none in orbit now.

Many nations in the West and Middle East fear Iran’s space program could also bolster its ballistic missileprogram and ability to conduct space-based surveillance. The U.S. and other countries have cited fears that Iran’s nuclear program and missile program could allow it to target Europe and Israel with atomic weapons. (*)

 

 

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Photostream : Hamas Leader Khaled Meshaal meets Iran's acting Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi

Iran's acting Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (L) welcomes Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal before a meeting at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus January 23, 2011. REUTERS/Hamas/Handout

Iran's acting Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (R) meets Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus January 23, 2011. REUTERS/Hamas/Handout

Iran Confirms Invitations to Tour Nuclear Sites

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility (file photo)

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January 04, 2011 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — Iran has invited foreign diplomats to tour its nuclear facilities, but diplomats say Tehran has left out several key world powers.

Iranian officials have suggested that the all-expenses-paid visit take place on January 15 and 16, ahead of Iran’s talks on its nuclear program in Istanbul later this month with world powers. Representatives of the P5+1, a group comprised of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, are scheduled to be meet with Iranian officials later this month.

Diplomats familiar with the invitations said Monday that Iran sent them to Russia and China – two of the P5+1 members – along with Egypt, Cuba and Hungary, which currently holds the EU presidency.

But the diplomats said Iran did not invite the other four P5+1 members – the United States, Britain, France and Germany.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that invitations were extended to representatives of some European Union countries, some members of a group of non-aligned nations and some of the P5 +1 members.

The U.S. has been one of the harshest critics of Iran’s nuclear program, which it suspects is being used to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful means. 

China has confirmed it has received an invitation, but did not specify if it will send a representative.  A foreign ministry spokesman said China is in communication with Iran.  

Iranian state-run media quote Mehmanparast as saying his country’s invitations are in line with previous measures regarding its “transparent and peaceful nuclear activities.”

Iranian officials say the tour would include a visit to the country’s uranium enrichment site at Natanz as well as its heavy water facility at Arak.

Western powers want Iran to halt its enrichment program, which they suspect is a cover for an effort to build a nuclear arsenal.  Iran says it has the right to enrich uranium for civilian use and asserts that it does not want atomic weapons.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to suspend enrichment.  The U.S., the EU and other nations also have imposed economic sanctions on Tehran.  (*)

Iran invites EU, Russia and China to tour nuclear sites

Senior Iranian envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh

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January 04, 2011 (KATAKAMI / TELEGRAPH.CO.UK) — Iran has invited Russia, China, the EU and its allies to tour its nuclear sites, in an apparent move to gain support ahead of a new round of talks with six world powers.

In a letter seen by The Associated Press, senior Iranian envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh suggests the weekend of Jan. 15 and 16 and says that meetings “with high ranking officials” are envisaged.

The offer comes weeks before Iran and the six powers follow up on recent talks that ended with agreement on little else but to meet again. The US was not among those invited to tour the sites.

 

FILE : Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (L) shakes hands with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Baku, November 18, 2010. World powers should stop threatening Iran if they want to achieve results at talks on Tehran's nuclear programme, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday. REUTERS/Dmitry Astakhov/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

The new round between Tehran, and the permanent UN Security Council members (USA, Russia, China, Britain and France) plus Germany, is tentatively due to take place in Turkey in late January.

It is meant to explore whether there is common ground for more substantive talks on Iran’s nuclear program, viewed by the US and its allies as a cover for secret plans to make nuclear arms – something Tehran denies.

Instead, the Islamic Republic insists its uranium enrichment and other programs are meant only to generate fuel for a future network of nuclear reactors.

The offer of a visit comes more than three years after six diplomats from developing nations accredited to the IAEA visited Iran’s uranium ore conversion site at Isfahan, which turns raw uranium into the feedstock gas that is then enriched. Participants then saids they could not make an assessment of Iran’s nuclear aims based on that visit to that facility in central Iran.

But the new offer appeared more wide ranging, both as far as nations or groups invited and sites to be visited. (*)

 

Iranian President Ahmadinejad's 34-year-old Peugeot sold for $1m

Old: The 34-year-old car is wanted by a number of foreign suitors, according to an Iranian newspaper

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(KATAKAMI / DAILY MAIL.CO.UK) — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has received a $1million bid for his 34-year-old car, only a day after it was put up for sale.

The Iranian president, who is auctioning his 1977 white Peugeot sedan to raise money for a low-income housing project, has been made the offer by a foreign source.

The project is aimed at disabled and young people in a move by the 54-year-old, who took charge of Iran in 2005, to appeal to fulfill a campaign promise to put a roof over the head of every poor Iranian.

An Iranian Sunday newspaper said various bids from abroad have been received by the multilingual website set up yesterday for the auction, including $1 million, but it did not elaborate on the identity of the bidders.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The top bidders will be invited to the auction, which will be held in mid-February in the south-western city of Abadan.

And online offers can be made until the end of January.

Foreign bidders paid £43 to register, while locals pay around £30.

The president had made a point of being seen in the humble white Peugeot 504 sedan when he was Tehran mayor before becoming president in 2005.

The car would probably be worth around $2,000 on the local market.

Lack of housing has always been a major concern in Iran, where a quarter of the 75-million population live in rented apartments and nearly a third of a family’s income goes to pay the rent.

Official statistics say the government has built more than 140,000 housing units in the first half of 201l. It has promised to build nearly 1 million units by March 2011. (*)

President Ahmadinejad Congratulates New Christian Year

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

 

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January 01, 2011 (KATAKAMI / PRESIDENT.IR) — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has congratulated the New Year to all Christians and monotheists in the world, especially Iranian Christians.

President Ahmadinejad in his message said that the only way for human salvation from social, political and economic disorders is returning to divine, love, kindness and justice seeking values.

In part of his message, the president wished honor for the world and Iranian Christians and a year full of health and prosperity and expressed hope that in the new year, the world witnesses days of spirituality, altruism and serving all God’s servants.

President Ahmadinejad: Iran ready to talk with G5+1

 

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a magnificent gathering of Alborz people: Iran ready to talk with G5+1

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December 28, 2010 (KATAKAMI / PRESIDENT.IR) — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to hold talks in Istanbul, Brasilia and Tehran with Group 5+1.

Addressing a gathering of people in the province of Alborz, President Ahmadinejad referred to messages sent by the G5+1 including Britain, the United States, France, Russia, China and Germany and said Tehran welcomes dialogue for cooperation.

Dr.Ahmadinejad added that if they wish to open doors to cooperation, they should respect the Iranian nation’s rights.

Pointing to Iran’s nuclear issue which has gone through ups and downs these years, Dr. Ahmadinejad referred to the fact that Iran has been under intense pressure and various sanctions one after the other to stop its peaceful nuclear activities.

He further said ‘…but the winner of this political contest was the Iranian nation.’

President Ahmadinejad underlined Now, Iran is a nuclear country and they are not capable of preventing it from gaining nuclear energy.

President Ahmadinejad also warned Western countries that Iran would give a “regretting” response to anyone who “intends to prevent the Iranian nation from achieving its rights.”

President further added that world powers have two options in dealing with the Iranian nation, saying they can either go ahead with their previous path of issuing sanctions against the Islamic Republic or interact with the Islamic Republic.

“The result of the first approach is already clear. It is not the right way,” he noted.

President emphasized that cooperation and not confrontation is the only way to resolve Iran’s nuclear energy program.

President Ahmadinejad stressed the importance of recognizing the rights of the Iranian nation to pave the way for cooperation. (*)

Iranian official: Istanbul talks can resolve nuclear row

 

 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the media during a news conference in Istanbul December 23, 2010. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

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December 27, 2010. DAMASCUS (KATAKAMI / THE DAILY STAR-LEBANON/ AFP) —  A senior Iranian official said in Damascus Monday that next month’s talks in Istanbul between world powers and Tehran could resolve their dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.

“We think [the negotiations], in line with the agenda decided in Geneva, could clear the way to resolving problems,” said Ali Bagheri, the deputy of Said Jalili, Iran’s nuclear negotiator.

“Continuing the negotiations in Istanbul could bring gains to both the parties concerned,” Bagheri told a news conference after talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But he criticized the West’s two-pronged policy of negotiations at the same time as sanctions, warning it would “lead nowhere.”

Despite four sets of UN sanctions slapped on Tehran over its controversial nuclear program, Iran was “carrying out the most extensive economic program in its history, showing its level of political, economic and social stability.”

Negotiations “based on dialogue and cooperation could bring the other parties out of their impasse,” said Bagheri.

Assad, quoted by the state news agency SANA, called in his talks with Bagheri for “a diplomatic compromise guaranteeing Iran’s right to possess peaceful nuclear energy.”

Last week on a visit to Istanbul for a regional summit, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged the world powers to choose cooperation over confrontation at the nuclear talks in late January.

“We think this meeting will be very important,” Ahmadinejad told a news conference in Istanbul, which will host the talks between six world powers and Iran, expected to be held in late January.

“We have suggested that in the forthcoming Istanbul meeting, confrontation be replaced with cooperation and … this will be in the interest of all sides,” he said through an interpreter.

“In cooperation we will have a win-win situation. There is no failure or defeat for any party.

“So we think the Istanbul meeting will be a historical and landmark event and we can replace confrontation with cooperation,” he said.

The negotiations would be the second round between Iran and six world powers – Britain, China, France, Russia, US and Germany – after talks resumed in Geneva earlier this month following a 14-month hiatus.

Turkey’s Islamist-rooted government has established close ties with Tehran, insisting on a diplomatic solution to the nuclear row and reluctant to back a tougher line against the Islamic Republic, its eastern neighbor.

The West suspects that Tehran is developing an atomic bomb under the guise of a nuclear energy program. Iran denies the charges and insists its activities have a purely peaceful purpose. –

Source : THE DAILY STAR LEBANON / AFP

Ahmadinejad meets Turkish Prime Minister

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Istanbul, Dec 23, (KATAKAMI / IRNA) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Teyyip Erdogan met here late Wednesday night and discussed most important bilateral, regional and international issues.

According to IRNA Night Service, the information website of the IRI Presidential Office reported early Thursday morning that the late Wednesday night meeting of the two top politicians took more than an hour.

The two sides emphasized in the meeting over the need for the improvement of comprehensive bilateral relation, cooperation, and harmony, arguing that such moves would be to the benefit of both nations, and boost peace and security in the region and the world.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit in Istanbul.

The 11th Heads of State and Government Summit of ECO began its activities on Wednesday, December 23rd in Istanbul.

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) shakes hands with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before a meeting in Istanbul December 22, 2010. REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu/Pool

Prior to the summit, economic experts attended the senior officials’ meeting slated on December 20 and 21, and foreign ministers of ECO member countries held the 19th Council of Ministers Meeting on December 22.

The Iranian president is also scheduled to hold meetings with Turkish officials and representations from other ECO member countries on the sidelines of the summit.

The newly-appointed caretaker of Iran’s Foreign Ministry Ali-Akbar Salehi is accompanying President Ahmadinejad in this trip.

Moreover, representatives from ECO Secretariat, ECO subsidiary organs and a number of international organizations are expected to attend the meetings.

The 10th ECO summit was held in Tehran in March 2009.

Following the summit, Turkish President Abdullah Gul will host a trilateral meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari aimed at bringing the two countries closer on December 24.

The ECO is an intergovernmental regional organization established in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey providing a platform to promote economic, technical and cultural cooperation among member states.

The organization was expanded in 1992 to include seven new members, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

ECO members aim to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union.

ECO’s secretariat and cultural department are located in Tehran, its economic bureau is in Turkey and its scientific bureau is situated in Pakistan.  (*)

President Ahmadinejad departs for Turkey

 

Dec 22, 2010 (KATAKAMI / PRESIDENT.IR) — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left Tehran on Wednesday afternoon for Istanbul, Turkey, to attend the Summit of Economic Cooperation Organization.

Delivering a keynote speech at the 11th ECO summit and meeting with a group of his counterparts are on the agenda of the President’s two-day visit to Turkey.

First Vice-President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi and Supreme Leader’s International Affairs Advisor Ali-Akbar Velayati were at the airport to see off the president.  (*)

President Ahmadinejad congratulates Lukashenko on re-election

FILE : Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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December 21, 2010 (KATAKAMI / PRESIDENT.IR) — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad extended a message of congratulations to his Belarusian counterpart on his re-election.

President Ahmadinejad in his message hoped Tehran and Minsk will strengthen their growing relations and expand bilateral cooperation in the international arenas.

Dr.Ahmadinejad further hoped prosperity and success for the Belarusian nation and government.

At least seven killed, hundreds injured in Iran quake

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December 20, 2010 (KATAKAMI / Reuters) – At least seven people were killed in a 6.5-magnitude earthquake that jolted southeastern Iranon Monday, damaging buildings in outlying mountainous areas, the region’s governor said.

“Seven people have been killed and hundreds have been injured. Hundreds of people are still trapped under the rubbles,” Esmail Najjar, governor of Iran’s Kerman province, the center of the quake, told the semi-official Mehr news agency.

State television said at least three villages had been destroyed.

The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake’s magnitude at 6.3.

The official IRNA news agency said nine aftershocks had hit since the main quake, including one of magnitude 5. Telephone lines had been cut.

Mohammad Javad Kamyab, an employee of Kerman province governor’s office, told Reuters there were 30 villages in the quake-hit area.

“These villages are not heavily populated…We are not expecting a high death toll and so far 25 people have been injured,” he said.

Another local official said access to the damaged villages “was very difficult.”

“Rescue teams have been dispatched to the quake-hit area … and are communicating via walkie-talkies,” Hossein Baqeri, head of Iran’s National Crisis Management unit, told state television.

The semi-official Fars news agency said the quake was also felt in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Many people left their houses in the city of Zahedan … It was also felt in the towns of Bam, Khash and Iranshahr,” Fars reported.

Ali Reza, a resident of Bam, told Reuters by telephone: “There was no damage in the city of Bam but we felt the quake.”

The province of Kerman is highly prone to earthquakes. Some 31,000 people were killed when an earthquake razed Bam in 2003.

Kerman is not one of the oil-producing regions of Iran, the world’s fourth-biggest crude exporter. Iran is criss-crossed by major faultlines and is frequently hit by earthquakes.

In 2008 a magnitude 6.1 quake struck the southern port of Bandar Abbas, killing at least seven people and injuring 40.

An official in the governor’s office of Kerman province told Reuters by telephone: “The quake-hit area is a deserted area.”

State television, quoting an unnamed local Red Crescent official, said: “In some rural parts of the region … the quake has caused heavy damage to buildings, especially in Hosseinabad village, where the houses were made of earthen bricks.”  (*)



President Ahmadinejad appoints fourth woman to cabinet

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Photo : Getty Images)

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December 20, 2010 (KATAKAMI / FRANCE 24 / AFP ) — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sacked the head of Iran’s National Youth Organisation on Monday and appointed a woman to the cabinet post, official media reported.

Ahmadinejad removed Mehrdad Bazrpash and named Farahnaz Torkestani as the head of the National Youth Organisation, the official IRNA news agency said.

As such, Torkestani also becomes one of Iran’s 12 vice presidents.

She is the fourth woman to join the government, which includes a woman health minister and two female vice presidents for legal affairs and science and technology.

The report did not give a reason for the dismissal, the second in a week following the dismissal last Tuesday of foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Iran’s atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi was sworn in as new foreign minister on Saturday.

Unlike cabinet ministers, vice presidents are not subject to a parliamentary vote of confidence.

Women joined the Iranian cabinet as vice presidents first under the reformist presidency of Mohammad Khatami, from 1997 to 2005, to widespread criticism from conservative clerics.

Ahmadinejad’s first administration, from 2005 to 2009, saw numerous reshuffles and several ministers were sacked over disagreements with the president, especially over issues related to the economy.  (*)

Iranian nuclear chief Salehi appointed acting foreign minister

Ali Akbar Salehi

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December 13, 2010 (KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) — Iran’s Atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi was appointed acting foreign minister on Monday, the IRNA news agency reported.

Salehi is also the Islamic Republic’s Vice President.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave no reasons as to why he had sacked former foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who is currently on a visit in Senegal.

Mottaki was appointed foreign minister in 2005.  (*)

MOSCOW, December 13

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismisses Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki

 

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Tehran, Dec 13, (KATAKAMI / IRNA) — Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki stepped down on Monday and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assigned Ali Akbar Salehi as caretaker of the Foreign Ministry.

In a letter to Manouchehr Mottaki, President Ahmadinejad appreciated his services and prayed for his success.

The President assigned Vice-President and the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency Organization Ali Akbar Salehi the caretaker of Foreign Ministry. (*)

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