Iran to manufacture domestic S-300 missiles soon: minister

23 October 2010 | 16:44 Code : 9065 General category

Mehr News Agency-- Iran will manufacture domestic S-300 air defense systems in the near future, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi told the Mehr News Agency on Saturday

Russia signed a deal to deliver five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defense systems to Iran in 2007 but banned the sale in September, claiming the systems, along with a number of other weapons, were covered by the fourth round of the UN Security Council sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Vahidi said that Iran is completing the legal procedures to seek compensation from Russia over breaking the S-300 missile deal.

Earlier, Vahidi had denied rumors that Iran plans to purchase S-300 air defense missile systems from China or Venezuela.

The parliament members had also called for seeking compensation from Russia.

?Cutting ties with Iran

--We look at how the sanctions impact Iran and the economies of its trading partners.

The US says Iran is secretly trying to set up banks in countries around the world in order to skirt sanctions over its nuclear programme that has increasingly undermined Tehran’s economy.

Economists are saying that sanctions on Iran seem to be having an impact, but a number of Iran’s trading partners could be feeling the pinch, as the West piles on the pressure to cut ties with Tehran.

In the United Arab Emirates, traditionally the biggest trading partner with Iran, companies are backing away from doing business with Tehran. But the embargo has dramatically hit their profits.

With countries following the sanctions and others dragging their feet, what impact are the sanctions having on the economies of Iran’s trading partners? And are the sanctions designed to drag Iran back to the negotiating table?

 Iran renews call for global disarmament

Press TV
-- Iran has reiterated its call for complete nuclear disarmament to begin in 2011, urging “non-discriminatory” action to wipe atomic arms off the face of the earth.
A timeline is required for complete elimination of nuclear weapons, said Taqi Mohammadpour, Iran’s representative to an annual UN General Assembly conference on disarmament.

“The only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons will not be used … is complete destruction of such weapons,” he was also quoted by IRNA as saying.
This measure should be taken according to a timeline and it should begin in 2011, the year Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed to be proclaimed the year of nuclear disarmament,” he added.
Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York in September, President Ahmadinejad made the proposition that the year 2011 be named the year of nuclear disarmament.
Mohammadpour further added that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is losing its credibility among non-nuclear countries as nuclear-armed ones are “blatantly violating” their commitments to the treaty.

“Possessing nuclear weapons and allocating tens of millions of dollars to upgrade nuclear arsenals by nuclear-armed countries have jeopardized regional and global peace and security,” he said.
He noted that the NPT should lay the groundwork for promotion of denuclearization and called for "complete, balanced and non-discriminatory" implementation of the treaty.
The Iranian envoy also said Israel’s refusal to join the NPT has cast doubt on the future of the treaty and the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

Mohammadpour pointed out that the Islamic Republic is planning to hold its second conference on denuclearization next year.
Tehran hosted an international conference on nuclear disarmament entitled “Nuclear Energy for All, Nuclear Weapons for None” from April 17 to 18, 2010.
Iran, among the original countries to sign the NPT, was the first nation to propose the establishment of a nukes-free zone in the Middle East.

Ashton, Russia call on Iran to agree to nuclear talks

Jerusalem Post
--EU foreign affairs chief and Russian Foreign Ministry urge Teheran to agree to talks on nuke program to be held in Vienna in November
European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton called again on Iran to agree to hold talks with the West on its nuclear program next month, Reuters reported on Friday.  

Ashton, in a letter to Iran’s ambassador to the EU, urged Teheran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili to agree to talks in Vienna from November 15-17.
Russia also urged Iran on Friday to take up Ashton’s original offer.  

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called on Teheran to agree to talks with the US, Russia, France, Britain, China and Germany chaired by Ashton.

We urge our Iranian friends and colleagues to officially respond in a positive manner to the invitation," Ryabkov said.
Iran has expressed interest in renewing talks if certain preconditions were to be met beforehand.
On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that discussions on the issue, should they be non-confrontational, could have positive, "fruitful" results.
He added that Iran was yet to hear back from Ashton on a letter sent to her by Jalili on July 6, saying that a number of conditions would have to be met before the talks could resume. 

"Once the direction of the negotiations becomes clear, Iran will be ready for talks on constructive international cooperation to remove common concerns," Jalili reportedly wrote.
Ashton suggested last Thursday that talks be held in Vienna "over three days in mid-November," with the participation of the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany.
On Sunday Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad endorsed the resumption of talks with the international community and added that the West had made the first step.

"They have come and said, ’We will negotiate,’" Ahmadinejad told a crowd of supporters in the northwestern city of Ardebil, about 370 miles (600 kilometers) northwest of Teheran. "We say, ’All right, we will negotiate with you.’"   

Iran’s forex reserve at $100b: central bank 

Tehran Times –-Iran Central Bank Governor announced that according to World Bank statistics Iran has $100 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

Provided that the World Bank statistics are true any country with this amount of reserves would never hit a dead end, ISNA news agency quoted Mahmoud Bahmani as saying.  

It may be possible to exert pressure on a small country with $4-5 billion reserves, but the situation in regard to Iran is different, he said

----- Gold reserves hit record high
 He pointed to Iran’s gold reserves and said it had multiplied several times in the past two years.
 Bahmani added that currently gold consumption in the country is annually 30 tons, and stated, if the Central Bank doesn’t add to its gold reserves there will remain ample supplies for the next 10 years.  

The official noted that the country’s trade balance is positive and this is proof of Iran’s economic strength.  

“Regardless of the recession gripping most of the world in 2008 and 2009, Iran’s exports rose 10 percent, reaching 18.3 billion dollars,” Press TV quoted Bahmani.  

The economic breakthrough comes despite the West’s efforts to put more pressure on Iran over its nuclear program. 

In August, Bahmani said that Tehran has withdrawn the assets held by its banks in Europe to counter new financial sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear program.  

""The Central bank has transferred the bank assets from Europe. Currently there is no problem in regards to blocking of assets of the Iranian banks by the European Union,"" Bahmani added.  

He pointed out that the preemptive measure was a precautionary response to a potential European decision to freeze Iranian asset.  

He did not comment on how much money was involved, what its destination was or when the transfers took place, AFP reported.  

""We will address the needs of our people during sanctions, since the Central Bank predicted the situation six months ago,"" he added.  

On June 9, the UN imposed a U.S.-engineered sanctions resolution against Iran over its nuclear program. Iran’s energy and financial sectors were among sectors targeted by the sanctions.
 While Iranian officials have repeatedly said Tehran only seeks the peaceful applications of nuclear technology, Israel and its Western allies accuse the Islamic Republic of following a military nuclear program.
 Iran rejects the claims, arguing that it has the right to a peaceful nuclear program, as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Iran asks for annihilation of atomic weapons as of Jan 1st 2011

IRNA– Islamic Republic of Iran at Annual UN Disarmament Committee emphasized need for beginning full annihilation of atomic weapons around globe as of January 1st, 2011

Taqi Mohammadpour who was elaborating on Tehran’s viewpoints on disarmament and refraining from proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), said, “The only way to make sure that the threat of nuclear weapons, or their actual usage no more exists and to guarantee that, is to fully annihilate those weapons.”

He added, “This move needs to be implemented based on a chronological plan and to begin as of the beginning of the year 2011, which was proposed by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the “Year for Nuclear Arms Disarmament”.

Iran’s representative asked the countries and the international organizations to sponsor special programs during the upcoming year aimed at increasing the public awareness about the potential threats and negative aspects of the nuclear weapons and the need for their full annihilation around the globe.

He also said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran intends to sponsor the 2nd International Disarmament and Refraining from Proliferation Conference, to contribute to materializing the objective of a nuclear-weapons-free world in the spring of 2011 in Tehran.”

Mohammadpour added, “Since the nuclear countries have been broadly breached their international commitments in the framework of the nuclear-NPT ever since its estalishment, the entirety of that pact is threatened and the non-nuclear countries’ level of trust in it keeps deteriorating, while it is that very treaty that is the foundation stone for the international efforts aimed at the establishment of the effective international disarmament movement in a balanced and non-biased way that would be capable of ridding the mankind of the nuclear weapons’ threat.”

He reiterated, “The Islamic Republic of Iran expresses deep regret over the Zionist regime’s and its supporters’ negative reactions towards the outcomes of the successful UN sponsored 2010 NPT Revision Conference and the need for declaring the Middle East as a nuclear-weapons-free zone.”Continued

Leaked Reports Detail Iran’s Aid for Iraqi Militias

New York Times
--On Dec. 22, 2006, American military officials in Baghdad issued a secret warning: The Shiite militia commander who had orchestrated the kidnapping of officials from Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education was now hatching plans to take American soldiers hostage.

What made the warning especially worrying were intelligence reports saying that the Iraqi militant, Azhar al-Dulaimi, had been trained by the Middle East’s masters of the dark arts of paramilitary operations: the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Iran and Hezbollah, its Lebanese ally.

“Dulaymi reportedly obtained his training from Hizballah operatives near Qum, Iran, who were under the supervision of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) officers in July 2006,” the report noted, using alternative spellings of the principals involved. Read the Document »

Five months later, Mr. Dulaimi was tracked down and killed in an American raid in the sprawling Shiite enclave of Sadr City in Baghdad — but not before four American soldiers had been abducted from an Iraqi headquarters in Karbala and executed in an operation that American military officials say literally bore Mr. Dulaimi’s fingerprints.

Scores of documents made public by WikiLeaks, which has disclosed classified information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, provide a ground-level look — at least as seen by American units in the field and the United States’ military intelligence — at the shadow war between the United States and Iraqi militias backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Continued

EU chief renew nuclear talk invitation

: European Union foreign affairs Chief Catherine Ashton reissued an invitation to Iran on Friday to hold talks on its nuclear program .next month

 "She is looking forward to Iran formally responding positively to her proposal in the next few days to make this happen," a spokesman for Ashton said
In a letter to Iran’s ambassador to the European Union, Ashton urges Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, to take up the offer of talks in Vienna from November 15-17, with the discussions to cover the nuclear program and "any other items pertinent to the discussion".
"The meeting could start with a dinner on November 15, followed by two days of consultations to enable substantial discussions," reads a copy of the letter seen by Reuters.
"Given the proximity of the suggested dates and the diary constraints of the parties involved, I do hope for your early and positive response."
Ashton has the backing of the six major powers involved in nuclear negotiations -- the United States, Russia, France, Britain, China and Germany -- to make contact with Tehran.
Previously Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki dubbed Ashton’s offer to resume talks "good news" and the country’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said at the time on Tehran television that "Iran welcomes the return to negotiations".

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