AFP: Iran's powerful former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani insisted Friday ahead of renewed talks with Europe that Tehran would pursue its atomic energy programme including uranium enrichment "at all costs". "Iran wants to possess all the branches of nuclear technology, including enrichment, and it will do so at all costs," he said at the weekly Muslim prayers in Tehran.
AFP: The United States has sought clarification from Germany on the reported shipment of a German crane for possible use in Iran's missile program, a senior State Department official said Thursday. "It's something we're following, something we're talking about," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We're in contact with the Germans abut it."
Iran Focus: Brussels, Apr. 29 The European Parliament adopted a resolution yesterday, calling on Iran to end its increasing human rights violations. The EP resolution said that it was very concerned that the human rights situation has deteriorated in the last two years and calls on the Iranian authorities to make a serious commitment to reversing this trend.
New York Times: A day before major negotiations were to resume in London over Iran's nuclear program, the foreign minister increased the pressure for a quick deal, warning that his country would resume uranium enrichment if there was no progress Friday in the discussions.
Reuters: The Russian nuclear fuel trader TVEL should start fuel shipments for a Moscow-built nuclear reactor in Iran six months before the unit becomes operational in early 2006, a senior company official said on Thursday. Russia is building a 1,000-megawatt nuclear plant in Iran despite strong opposition from the United States, which believes Iran could use Russian know-how to make nuclear weapons.
Reuters: A German crane on a ship to Iran is testing a U.S.-led global agreement to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
Three weeks after the ship left Hamburg and a day before it was due in Iran, it appeared unlikely that Germany or the U.S. navy could stop the crane being delivered to what Berlin has belatedly identified as a blacklisted Iranian company suspected of making ballistic missiles.
AFP: A key Iranian negotiator Thursday said Tehran was "very pessimistic" on the eve of new talks on his country's controversial nuclear programme with the EU which he said had been dragging its feet. "Up until now and from the start of the process, especially since the Paris meeting (March 23), the Europeans have not undertaken any serious step to bring it to a close," said Hossein Mussavian, spokesman for the negotiating team.
Reuters: Iran will restart its uranium enrichment program if talks with European Union heavyweights France, Britain and Germany fail on Friday, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Thursday. "If there is no agreement and negotiations collapse, there is no choice but to restart the program," Kharrazi told reporters in The Hague after talks with his Dutch counterpart Bernard Bot.
Bloomberg: Russian President Vladimir Putin said Iran must do more to assure the world that its nuclear program is peaceful and not designed to build a bomb. Putin, speaking today at a news conference in Jerusalem, said Iran must go beyond the agreement it signed in February to return the spent nuclear fuel it buys from Russia.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Apr. 27 Todays world is suffering from the legitimising of fascism and I am astounded that the United Nations General Secretary is leading the way in this regard, Mohammad Khatami, the Iranian regimes president, said today. Khatami made the spiteful comments against Kofi Annan as he was receiving honorary international relations doctorate from Tehran University.
AFP: Iran warned Thursday that it could review its participation in negotiations with European states over its controverisal nuclear activities if there is no progress in the next round of talks. "The negotiations will go on if there is progress at (Friday's) meeting," said Ali Agha-Mohammadi, a spokesman for supreme national security council which is charge of the nuclear dossier.
Iran Focus: Washington, Apr. 28 Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2004, according to the United States annual Country Reports on Terrorism, released yesterday by the State Department. The State Department report said that Irans Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and Security were involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups to use terrorism in pursuit of their goals.
Reuters: Celebrated Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, the subject of a major retrospective in Britain, would never get the same treatment at home, where he says authorities have not shown his work for the past 10 years. The winner of the Cannes Film Festival's coveted Palme d'Or in 1997, and regarded by the film industry as one of the most important living directors, Kiarostami is used to struggling with a government wary of work it perceives as subversive.
DPA: The European Union 'big three' of Germany, France and Britain are to ask Iran to postpone the resumption of nuclear talks until after presidential elections in the country slated for 17 June, it was reported on Wednesday - then promptly officially denied.
Reuters: Iran is ratcheting up the pressure on EU giants France, Britain and Germany to accept its plan to join the world's nuclear club, European diplomats said on Wednesday. Sharing Washington's suspicions that Iran is trying to develop the capability to produce atomic weapons, the European Union has demanded that Iran give up its nuclear fuel programme in exchange for economic and political incentives.
AFP: Police in the Iranian capital are poised to launch a fresh crackdown targeting "models of corruption", or in other words poorly-veiled women, press reports said Wednesday. "The police will act against the models of corruption out in public places and against those who may not be ladies of the street but whose conduct does not respect Islam," Tehran province's police chief, General Reza Zareie, was quoted as saying.
Reporters Without Borders: Reporters Without Borders called today for the immediate release of reformist Iranian Arab journalist Yosef Azizi Banitrouf, who was arrested in a raid on his home on 25 April. It also demanded the release of dissident journalist Reza Alijani, expressing "great concern" about his deteriorating health after two years in prison. "We strongly deplore the arrest of Banitrouf, who was simply expressing his personal opinion in articles and in interviews given to other newspapers," it said.