Financial Times: Ukraine has admitted that it exported 12 cruise missiles to Iran and six to China amid mounting pressure from other countries to explain how the sales occurred. Svyatoslav Piskun, Ukraine's prosecutor-general, told the FT that 18 X-55 cruise missiles, also known as Kh-55s or AS-15s, were exported in 2001.
UPI: An internal security forces helicopter crashed in southern Iran Friday, killing two and injuring four.
The Iranian News Agency, IRNA, said the helicopter crashed on the outskirts of the city of Kharambid in southern Iran.
Reuters: The director of the CIA accused Iran on Thursday of meddling in Iraq and said Syria was not working hard enough to stop militants entering the country to undermine Baghdad's efforts at stability. "I think it's fair to say that just about everybody who's been watching understands that Iran has been meddling in the affairs of Iraq," CIA Director Porter Goss told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee in a presentation on ...
Reuters: Iran will never return three British naval boats it seized last year on its border with Iraq, a senior military official has been quoted as saying. Britain has demanded Tehran hand over the boats which were captured last June along with eight British serviceman in the narrow Shatt al-Arab waterway which divides southwestern Iran from Iraq. The men were freed after three days.
Miami Herald: A Middle East security expert who served in the Reagan administration said Wednesday that the United States needs to work with an Iranian opposition group that's now on the national list of terror organizations.
Raymond Tanter, who cofounded the newly formed Iran Policy Committee think tank, advocated what he called "forceful diplomacy" to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons.
Los Angeles Times: Four Iranian brothers jailed as threats to national security were freed from an immigration detention facility Wednesday after more than three years in custody. The sudden release of the Mirmehdis Mohammed, 34, Mohsen, 37, Mojtaba, 41, and Mostafa, 45 was announced at 6:15 p.m. and came in time for the beginning of the Persian new year early Sunday.
Bloomberg: Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, said it's "unacceptable" for the Islamic republic to halt its nuclear enrichment program as demanded by the EU and U.S. Iran is building a heavy-water nuclear reactor that it says is for generating electricity. It has rejected calls by the U.S. for it to abandon the program.
Bloomberg: President George W. Bush said the U.S. and its European allies are prepared to seek sanctions against Iran if the government there rejects a proposal offering economic incentives in exchange for ending nuclear development. "We go to the Security Council if they reject the offer, and I hope they don't," Bush said at a news conference today in Washington.
Reuters: Iranian authorities beat up and tear gassed exuberant young revellers as they breathed new life into a pre-Islamic fire festival with a night of dancing, flirting and fireworks. The Islamic Republic, which has an awkward relationship with its ancient Zoroastrian religion, only gave guarded recognition to the "Chaharshanbe Souri" festival last year.
AFP: Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, said on Wednesday that Iranian nuclear negotiators have definitively and officially told Europeans that Iran will never accept a permanent halt to its enrichment programme.
Reuters: The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog Wednesday hailed last week's offer by Washington of political concessions in European-led talks with Iran but said Tehran must open more to inspections for diplomacy to succeed.
New York Times: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to press President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan for more information on the help a rogue Pakistani scientist, A. Q. Khan, is believed to have given Iran to develop a nuclear weapons program, a senior administration official said Tuesday. Speaking on the eve of talks that Ms. Rice plans to hold with Indian and Pakistani leaders on the first leg of her trip to Asia, the official said that Pakistan had been helpful in the past on sharing information from its own investigation of Dr. Khan, but that the administration wanted more.
Washington Times - Editorial: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in an exclusive interview published in this newspaper on Saturday, said that the United States is prepared to join with Europe in offering incentives for Iran to halt its efforts to develop nuclear weapons and end its support for terrorism. Within hours, the Iranian regime gave its answer: The Western democracies can in effect go jump in a lake.
UPI: A proposed natural gas pipeline from Iran to India has raised the ire of the U.S. Bush administration, concerned with existing sanctions against Iran.
The $4 billion project, which could be operational by 2011, would run through India's historic rival Pakistan, leading some in India to refer to the system a "peace-pipeline," the Washington Times reported Tuesday.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Mar. 15 Tehran was left in a standstill this evening as the population poured into the streets to mark the national 'fire' festival of Chahar-shanbeh Souri despite intense pressures by the Iranian regime to prevent a possible uprising. Eye-witnesses reported that full-size puppets of high-ranking officials, such as the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the regime's president Mohammad Khatami, were set on fire by youths at numerous locations throughout the Iranian capital.
Toronto Star - Editorial: Ayatollah Ali Khameini and Iran's ruling clerics seem perversely bent on plunging their nation of 68 million into an international black hole. The murder of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi in a Tehran jail in 2003 was symptomatic of what Human Rights Watch calls a general deterioration in respect for rights.
Bloomberg: The lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran, while building confidence, won't make the country give up nuclear fuel enrichment, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said today. Kharrazi also rejected a U.S. offer to support Iran's membership in the World Trade Organization and to consider sales of commercial aircraft parts to Iran if the country abandons its nuclear ambitions.