Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiFriday, March 19, 2004
<b>US Dismisses Need for Dialogue with Iran</b>
• “I don't think anybody needs to have a conversation with the Iranians,” US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said on Friday in a CNN interview, “The Iranians know what our problems are in the relationship,” she added, dismissing the need for dialogue with Iran on nuclear issues. Head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammad ElBaradei had suggested that direct US-Iran talks would settle the Iran nuclear crisis for good.
<b>Court Renews Three Nationalist-Religious Activists' Detention Order</b>
• The Tehran revolutionary court renewed the order of detention against three nationalist-religious coalition activists who have been in custody since June. In a letter to President Khatami, <b>Parvin Bakhtiarnezhad</b>, wife of Reza Alijani, complained that after 10 months in jail, her husband and his fellow detainees Hoda Saber and Taqi Rahmani, have not been charged with any crime and no court date has been set for them. According to the civil code, a judge can extend a temporary detention order as long as he pleases, and can prevent the detainees' access to lawyers, she tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Tara Atefi)
<b>The Year In Economy</b>
• The economy survived domestic turmoils and international crises during the past Persian year, which ends today. The unexpected death of central bank governor Mohsen Nourbakhsh early in the year and the appointment of his deputy Ebrahim Sheibani to the post, decreased tensions between the central bank and the economy and finance ministry. Other important appointments of the year were replacing head of Tehran stock exchange Ahmad Mir-Motahari with Hossein Abdoh-Tabrizi. Motahari became head of the privatization organization. However, none of these appointments caused any change in the economic policies of the Islamic government. Economic decision makers continued to pay lip service to privatization and the need to decrease the government's role in the economy, but their statements were not followed by reduction of the government's share of the economy or any change in the crucial economic policies, such as the large subsidies paid for food and energy. The economy received a boost from the rising oil prices, which fueled nearly $30 billion in imports, and helped achieve a higher than expected GNP growth of nearly 7 percent. However, the growth, which was not a result of any structural change, did not help improve the country's massive unemployment problem. Furthermore, according to official sources, cash in circulation grew by 29 percent and inflation hovered around 16 percent. (Fereydoun Khavand)
<b>China, Iran Sign $20 Billion 25-Year Natural Gas Deal</b>
• State-owned oil trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp signed a $20 billion deal to buy more than 110 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Iran over 25 years, the company and press reports said Thursday. Zhuhai Zhenrong said in a company statement that it agreed to purchase 2.5 million tons of LNG annually from Iran starting in 2008, which will increase to five million tons annually in 2013.
<b>Anniversary of the Nationalization of Oil Industry</b>
• Three commentators reviewed the status of the oil industry on the 53rd anniversary of its nationalization, in interviews with the state-run “students” news agency (ISNA). Oil contracts expert Reza Pakdaman said due to their lack of knowledge of the content of the international oil contracts signed by the oil ministry, domestic firms cannot protect Iran's national interests. Nationalization historian Parviz Varjavand said due to domestic factional disputes and the Islamic government's challenges with world powers, including the US, the oil industry does not have access to the capital it needs to upgrade technology and clean-up oil wells. International relations professor Davood Hermidas-Bavand says the unilateral cancellation of oil contracts after the revolution inflicted a heavy cost on the oil industry. In the oil industry, he adds, political priorities have replaced economic concerns. Head of research in the Tehran-based international institute for energy studies Mohammad Mazreati said outdated regulations are the main obstacle to the advancement of the oil industry. (Keyvan Hosseini)
<b>Interior Ministry Gives Afghan Refugees One Month to Leave Iran</b>
• Afghan refugees lost such privileges as driving license and insurance. The interior ministry gave Afghan refugees one month to leave the country. Officials cites the county's massive unemployment problem as the reason for rushing the repatriations of more than 1.2 million Afghan refugees. (Arash Qavidel, Tehran)
رئيس جمهوري آمريكا خطاب به سفيران كشورهايي كه در مراسم امروز كاخ سفيد به مناسبت سالگرد جنگ عراق گرد آمده بودند، گفت: ما كشورهايي هستيم كه خطر تروريسم را شناخته ايم و آن را شكست خواهيم داد. ما با اين خطر روبرو مي شويم و بر آن فائق خواهيم آمد. رئيس جمهوري آمريكا گفت: شما سفيران 84 كشور عليه خطر مشترك و پيوستن به آرماني مشترك متحد شده ايد. يكايك ما در برابر جهان متعهديم. ما هرگز در برابر خشونت تسليم نخواهيم شد. رئيس جمهوري آمريكا با اشاره به گسترش تسليحات اتمي توسط شبكه عبدالقديرخان، دانشمند پاكستاني، گفت تمام تدبير ها براي آنست كه سلاح هاي مرگبار به دست تروريست ها نيافتد. وي گفت پيدايش نهادهاي دموكراتيك در عراق و افغانستان گامي بزرگ است بسوي جهاني برخوردار از صلح و ثبات.