Ties Getting a Fresh Boost
TEHRAN (Fars/Press TV) -- Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad is planned to hold talks with Sheikh of Al-Azhar
Ahmed al-Tayyeb in Cairo on Tuesday, Egyptian media reports
said on Monday.
During their meeting, Ahmadinejad and Sheikh al-Tayyeb will
discuss Islamic, Arab and international issues as well as
Al-Azhar's role at both local and regional levels, Al-Youm
al-Sabe news website reported.
Tuesday's meeting will be the first of a kind between
Ahmadinejad and Sheikh al-Tayyeb.
Head of Iran's Interests Section in Cairo Mojtaba Amani
announced that President Ahmadinejad will take part in the
upcoming Cairo Islamic Summit.
The summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
will be held on February 6 and 7 in Cairo. The OIC summit is
titled "The Islamic World: New Challenges and Growing
Earlier this month in a meeting in Cairo, Iranian Foreign
Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and Sheikh al-Tayyeb stressed
unity among Muslim nations.
During the meeting, Salehi said the enemies of Islam are
trying to stir rift between Shia and Sunni Muslims.
"The enemies have made great efforts during recent years to
cause a rift among Muslims and also to intensify it," the
Iranian minister said as he called on Muslims to avoid
conflicts and rely on commonalties instead.
Salehi invited the sheikh of Al-Azhar to visit Iran to hold
talks with Iranian clerics.
Sheikh Al-Azhar, too, urged Muslims to foster unity and said
enemies should not be allowed to achieve their objectives to
create conflicts in the Muslim world.
FM Salehi to Visit Russia
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi is scheduled to
visit the Russian capital of Moscow later this month to
attend the 10th Iran-Russia joint economic commission.
The annual meeting of the Russian-Iranian Business Council
(RIBC) is slated to be held on February 11-12 in Moscow.
Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak will represent his
country in the event.
Iran's Ambassador to Moscow Reza Sajjadi said on January 14
that the RIBC was expected to discuss the expansion of trade
as well as industrial, transportation, energy and consular
cooperation between the two countries.
The RIBC was formed in 2006 and the two countries have
signed documents for expanding bilateral economic
cooperation in various fields such as nuclear energy, oil,
gas, industry and tourism.
Iran and Russia have a close cooperation in other fields
such as security, fighting drug trafficking and
On January 22, Iranian Interior Minister Mustafa
Muhammad-Najjar and his Russian counterpart Vladimir
Alexandrovich Kolokoltsev signed a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) to increase security cooperation between
the two countries.
In January 2012, Iran and Russia inked an MoU to expand
cooperation in road, railway and air transportations as well
as technical and engineering fields.
Head of the Foreign Relations Department at the Russian
Chamber of Commerce and Industries Vladimir Padalko said on
January 10 that, “Moscow will continue its trade cooperation
with Iran and no problem can deter the development of the
trade relations between the two countries.”
U.S. Arrests Malcolm X Grandson
TEHRAN (Press TV) -- The grandson of the late
African-American civil rights leader Malcolm X has been
arrested by FBI agents on his way to Iran.
Muslim civil activist Malcolm Shabazz was reportedly
arrested before starting his scheduled visit to Tehran to
attend a conference on Hollywoodism, sources outside the
United States confirmed on Monday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has refused to provide
any information about his whereabouts.
Tehran hosted the third Hollywoodism International
Conference, on the sidelines of the 31st Fajr International
Film Festival in the Iranian capital Tehran on Sunday.
Many filmmakers, directors, actors, and movie critics as
well as politicians and economists took part in the
Mike Gravel, a former U.S. Senator who attended the
conference, condemned Hollywood’s role in imposing
imperialistic views on the people of the world.
“Hollywood is just a tool of the American government and
European governments to pursue their imperialistic views
whether it is in economy...culture…or religion,” Gravel
The first Hollywoodism and Cinema Conference was held in
Iran in 2011.
Bahrain Denies Hosting MKO
TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Bahrain's foreign ministry on Monday
denied reports that Manama had agreed to host members of the
terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) on its soil.
FM Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed described reports regarding
Bahrain's willingness to host the MKO as "baseless and
lacking any credibility", Habilian Association, a human
rights group representing Iranian victims of terrorism said.
"I am absolutely unaware of the subject," the Bahrain-based
Arabic language Al-Watan newspaper quoted Sheikh Khalid as
Earlier this week, the Iraqi Buratha news agency quoted an
anonymous source as saying that Bahrain foreign minister had
"announced readiness to give refuge to members of the
Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization" during a meeting with U.S.
ambassador in Manama.
An Iranian lawmaker said the Saudi-backed regime of Bahrain
had expressed readiness to host MKO to use the group in
suppressing Bahraini protesters.
“The Al Khalifa regime is trying to support the terrorist
MKO to suppress public protests in Bahrain and use the group
in line with its objectives,” Muhammad-Saleh Jokar, a member
of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee,
Jokar, however, said that neither the MKO, nor any other
force can confront Bahraini people’s rightful protests.
The MKO is responsible for numerous acts of terror and
violence against Iranian civilians and officials.
The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it received the
support of Iraq's executed dictator Saddam Hussein and set
up its headquarters, Camp Ashraf, near the Iranian border.
Following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, members of
the group, in several stages, were relocated to Camp Liberty
near the Baghdad airport, which was a former U.S. military
The group is also known to have cooperated with Saddam in
suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq and carrying
out the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.
Tehran Dismisses Link to Shipload
TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Tehran has denied that a ship loaded
with rockets and explosives intercepted by Yemen's coast
guard originated from Iran as claimed by Yemeni officials,
local media reported on Monday.
The reports cited an unnamed source in the foreign ministry
as saying that Tehran "strongly denies claims" by Yemen that
the vessel came from Iran and was loaded with arms destined
for Shia fighters in Yemen.
"The reports in this regard have many ambiguities... these
kind of irresponsible claims are not in line with the mutual
interest of the two nations," the source was quoted as
The ship, flying several fake flags, was stopped on January
23 in Yemeni territorial waters by Yemen's coast guard in
coordination with the U.S. navy, authorities have said.
A Yemeni security official had on Sunday claimed that the
vessel came from Iran and that the arms "were destined for
the Huthi rebels in Saada", the stronghold of Shia fighters
in northern Yemen.
The vessel "came from Iran and was carrying arms and
explosives, among them surface-to-air missiles SAM-2 and
SAM-3," Yemeni state news agency Saba reported, adding that
the crew of eight Yemeni nationals were being questioned.
Iran’s Ambassador to Yemen Mahmoud Hassanzadeh recently said
"increasingly negative rumors concerning Iran’s influence in
Yemen have severely impacted current relations".
The ambassador meanwhile dismissed accusations that Iran had
been running a spy ring in Yemen for the last seven years.
“We requested the Yemeni government to prove that by
evidence, instead of accusing others. This affects relations
between the two countries negatively.”
Hassanzadeh said, “Some opposing bodies are working to
deepen the rift between the two Muslim countries.”
He said allegations against Iran aim to mislead the public.
He also refuted Iran’s involvement a ship found recently
transporting weapons off the coast of Yemen.
The ambassador added, “Yemeni officials are being misled by
wrong reports and accusations concerning this subject.”
The ambassador said Iran support for Yemen has been
continuous, pointing out that Iran has no desire to
influence Yemen’s internal political affairs. He also
reconfirmed his support for Yemeni stability and a
comprehensive national dialogue.
Dismissing a recent statement by U.S. Ambassador to Yemen
Gerald Feierstein, alleging Iranian support for the Huthis
and Southern Movement factions, Hassanzadeh asked, “Who gave
him the right to talk about Iran having a hostile role in
Quake Jolts Western Iran
TEHRAN (Press TV) -- An earthquake measuring 3.6 on the
Richter scale has struck the city of Nourabad in Iran’s
western province of Lorestan.
Citing a report by the Geophysics Institute of Tehran
University, Reza Aryayee, the director general of Lorestan’s
Disaster Management Department, said that the tremor
occurred at 09:01 local time (0531 GMT) on Monday.
The Iranian official added that, so far, there had been no
reports of casualties or damages.
Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to
earthquakes, experiencing at least one small tremor per day
On January 25, a 4.7-magnitude earthquake hit the central
city of Boldaji, in the province of Chaharmahal and
The tremor which was followed by three aftershocks measuring
2, 2.1 and 1.9 on the Richter scale had no casualties.
The deadliest earthquake to hit Iran in recent years
happened on December 26, 2003, when a 6.6-magnitude quake
struck the city of Bam and the surrounding areas in Kerman
The destructive earthquake left 26,271 people dead and
Space Monkey Mix-Up Cleared
TEHRAN (Dispatches) – Last Monday, Iran successfully fired a
primate into space and brought it back alive. Despite
several media reports in recent days casting doubts on the
report, the monkey indeed returned from its suborbital
Based on a photo inconsistency, conspiracy theorists took to
the internet within hours of the news breaking, saying that
the officials had lied when they claimed the launch was
successful and that the monkey has probably died on its way
back to Earth. In a few days, the online allegations were
picked up by newspaper websites in the UK and other parts of
the world, and Iran was accused of covering up its failure
by displaying another monkey.
The confusion stemmed from two contradictory pictures. In
the first hours after the story was published by Iranian
news agencies, many websites published photos of a monkey
with a red spot (or a mole) on its head alongside their
articles. That picture was perceived to be recent and was
largely used by foreign media. But in the after-launch
pictures transmitted later that day, another monkey, with no
mole and a different appearance, was depicted.
But, let's get the facts straight. The initial picture was
merely an archive photo, taken of a monkey during a failed
attempt in 2011. The Iranian student news agency (ISNA) had
published the photo of the monkey with the red spot back two
The Associated Press on Saturday published a report
explaining the mix-up.
"The monkey with the mole was the one launched in 2011 that
died. The rocket failed. It did not get into space,"
Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astronomer, told the AP. "They
just mixed that footage with the footage of the 2013
Iranian officials have also stepped forward to clarify the
situation. "I say this with certainty, that the monkey is in
good health and the space flight didn't have any physical
effect on Pishgam," Muhammad Ebrahimi, a senior Iranian
space official told the AP. "Some of the photos released by
one of the news agencies were not related to the time of
flight. They were archive photos."
Raja News said in a report on Saturday that the initial
photo was from the "failed" attempt in 2011. ISNA also
published both pictures on Sunday.