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Tuesday, February 5, 2013



 Iran-Cairo 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 Opportunities".
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 transportation.
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 conference.
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 stated.
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 saying.
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, said.
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 site.
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 of Arms

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 saying.
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 Yemen?”

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 average.
On January 25, a 4.7-magnitude earthquake hit the central city of Boldaji, in the province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari.
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 Province.
The destructive earthquake left 26,271 people dead and 30,000 injured.

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 flight intact.
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 years ago.
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 successful launch."
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.