Iran Focus: Tehran, Feb. 22 More than 50 percent of Iran's street-children return to living on the streets after attending rehabilitation centres, according to the head of the Office for Victim Support in the Ministry of Social Affairs. Dr. Seyyed Hadi Motamadi said, "A considerable number of such children, are secretly rented from their parents, at hardly any cost, to work illegally in the black-market despite it being illegal, and they earn inadequate salaries.
USA TODAY: Buried under brown mounds that blend perfectly into the craggy desert landscape, Iran's largest known nuclear facility is recognizable from the road only because it is surrounded by watchtowers and anti-aircraft batteries. Its existence was revealed to outsiders three years ago by an Iranian opposition group. The Natanz facility, about 160 miles south of Tehran, is big enough to hold 50,000 centrifuges and could produce enough uranium for 25 10-kiloton nuclear ...
Reuters: A strong earthquake has hit southeast Iran, killing almost 400 people, injuring hundreds and destroying villages, a local official has told Reuters. Tuesday's quake, which measured 6.4 on the Richter scale, was centred on the town of Zarand in Kerman province, about 700 km (440 miles) southeast of Tehran.
AFP: At least 126 people were killed and hundreds more injured when a powerful earthquake hit southeastern Iran early Tuesday, officials said, amid fears that the toll could rise sharply. The quake, which struck 14 months after the Bam disaster, was reported to have devastated several villages, and at least one other settlement could not be reached because of blocked roads.
Bloomberg: DaimlerChrysler AG, the world's largest truckmaker, is being investigated by German authorities after a Saudi affiliate delivered 270 Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles worth $22 million to Iran without government approval.
Reuters: President Bush insisted on Monday that Iran cut off support for terrorism and disavow nuclear weapons -- and stressed that no response could ever be ruled out. "In safeguarding the security of free nations no option can be taken permanently off the table," Bush said in a speech on his first trip to Europe since his re-inauguration last month.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Feb. 21 Heavy clashes between Iranian Kurds and security agents erupted on Friday in three towns in western Iran, leaving dozens injured and hundreds arrested. Clashes broke out after State Security Forces agents used force to disperse demonstrations taking place simultaneously in the towns of Sardasht, Saqqez, and Baneh in protest against severe fuel shortages in the area, eye-witnesses reported.
AFP: Iran has rejected an EU call for Tehran draw up a compromise formula on uranium enrichment, saying it will not "sell out" its nuclear capabilities, a top negotiators said on Monday. "The Europeans want to get from Iran a total halt to enrichment, but in the face of our strong opposition they insisted in the negotiations that Iran propose an alternative which also covers enrichment," Sirus Nasseri told the state news agency IRNA.
Reuters: Iran has reiterated that it will not bow to U.S. and European demands that it abandon uranium enrichment, stressing that its nuclear capability is "not for sale". Tehran stood defiant on the nuclear issue as U.S. President George W. Bush started a European tour which will include discussions on Iran and other foreign policy issues.
BBC: Iran is becoming an increasingly dangerous place to keep an online diary. Web logs have become a popular forum for dissent. And the Iranian government has responded by arresting dozens of bloggers. Some of those detained are reportedly being held in solitary confinement and tortured.
AP: Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Ukraine are likely to dominate this week's summit between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Slovakia's prime minister said. Bush arrives in Slovakia late Wednesday after visiting Belgium and Germany. He will meet with Slovak officials on Thursday before his talks with Putin - Bush's first meeting with the Russian leader since he began his second term.
Iran Focus: Baghdad, Feb. 21 The governor of the Iraqi province of Wasit accused Tehran of meddling in Iraqi affairs, disrupting the peace, and creating instability and havoc in his province, which shares a common border with the Islamic Republic. "The Iranian ambassador in Baghdad came to meet me and called for friendly relations. I told him, the people of Al-Kut (Wasits capital) are suffering from Iranian agents who are involved in acts of theft, narcotics distribution, smuggling, and assassination of personalities", he said, in an interview with the Baghdad journal Al-Shahid Al-Mostaqel on Friday.
International Herald Tribune: During the run-up to the U.S.-led war against Iraq in early 2003, Javier Solana retreated from public view, more content to keep a very low profile out of character with his role as Europe's top foreign policy chief than to engage in the bitter diplomatic exchanges over the pending war.
AFP: There are grounds for concern if Iraqi interim Vice President Ibrahim al-Jaafari is picked as Iraq's new prime minister, Senator Hillary Clinton said Sunday, pointing to his ties to neighboring Iran. Clinton was interviewed from Iraq alongside Republican Senator John McCain, who said Jaafari appeared likely to become the next premier.
Newsweek: Fresh intel suggests that Tehran is trying to expand its influence over whatever government emerges in postelection Iraq. According to U.S. officials familiar with the latest intelligence, the Iranian government has been secretly directing its agents inside Iraq to plant themselves in influential positions throughout the Iraqi governmentinto agencies ...
AFP: Iran's foreign minister is to begin a three-day visit to India Sunday for talks following New Delhi's decision to launch discussions on securing gas to fuel its energy-hungry economy.
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazzi will address the India-Iran Joint Business Council Meeting Monday before holding talks with his Indian counterpart Natwar Singh, the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement Saturday.
AFP: President Vladimir Putin said Friday Russia was convinced Iran has no intention of making nuclear weapons, but warned Tehran must "strictly respect" rules to make sure it does not do so in exchange for Russian help in developing its civilian nuclear power program. "The latest steps on Iran's behalf persuade us that Iran has no intention of building an atomic weapon," Putin said as he greeted Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, at the Kremlin.