Iran News

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The governor of Iran's Khorasan province, Rezavi Salehi, said that anew gas field, "Kapedag," has been discovered in the province, IranNews reports, referring to the information service of an Iranianbroadcasting company.According to Salehi, the deposit is located 120 km to the east andnorth-east of Mashhad near the border with Turkmenistan.It is assumed that the field "Kapedag" will produce daily more than120 million cubic meters of gas.

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presented the preliminary draft of a new annual budget to the Parliament of the Islamic Republic, Trend cites Mehr news agency.According to the agency, the new budget totals $539 billion, which is 46 percent more than last year. The government's policy to reduce subsidies contributed to the increase in budget revenues.

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The Iranian opposition has called for a rally on Sunday to mark a week since the deaths of two people in February 14 clashes between security forces and opposition protesters in Tehran, The Washington Post reports. The opposition maintains the dead were killed by government forces. Last week's rally, called by opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi in solidarity with the Egyptian uprising, was the largest demonstration by the opposition in more than a year, the newspaper says.

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German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is now visiting Iran. He arrived in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Saturday at nine o'clock local time

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On Friday Egypt granted permission for two Iranian warships to pass through the Suez Canal, Trend has recently reported. The Egyptian Defence Ministry said that Iran has asked the country's authorities to allow its warships to pass through the canal, which links the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. Iran said the warships that were positioned in the Red Sea, were not carrying any military weapons.

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The US Department of Treasury has sanctioned 20 banks owned by the Government of Iran for supporting Iranian nuclear and missile programs or terrorism, Trend reports. Among the sanctioned banks is the Refah bank which in the recent years has been facilitating millions of dollars for weapons-related purchases by MODAFL, says the statement of the Treasury Department.

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The transfer of the nuclear reactor of Bushehr nuclear power plant toa critical condition, in which the reaction becomes self-sustaining,is scheduled for February 19, IranNews reports.The construction of the Bushehr plant began in the 1970s. In 1995 anagreement was reached on the completion of the project with the helpof Russian specialists. Back then, the power plant was expected to belaunched in 1999, but its development was postponed.

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Azerbaijan and Iran are cooperating closely in the field ofcommunications and information technology, the Iranian Minister forCommunications, Reza Tagipur, told a press conference in Baku,1news.az reports.The participants in the conference discussed Azerbaijan's plans forlaunching its own man-made space satellite, Azerspace, in 2012.

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The Iranian television channel "Seher-2" will stop broadcastinganti-Azerbaijani broadcasts in the near future, as they aredetrimental to bilateral relations between the two countries, theMinistry for Communications and Information Technology of Iran, RezaTagipur Anbar, told reporters on a visit to Baku, vesti.az reports.The Iranian minister noted that television and radio companies in Iranare independent of the government and are not subject to the ministry.However, necessary censorship will be carried out in order to support

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Kyrgyz Minister of Foreign Affairs Ruslan Kazakbayev had a meetingwith the Iranian Cooperation Minister Mohammad Abbasi. The sidesdiscussed bilateral cooperation, a press-release by the Kyrgyz ForeignMinistry says, Trend reports.Kazakbayev noted the importance of realizing bilateral agreements,especially in trade-economic and investment spheres of cooperation.The sides discussed cooperation in social-economic, investment,science-technical and cultural-humanitarian spheres.

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Iranian Minister of Communication Rza Tagipur said at a meeting withhis Azerbaijani counterpart, Ali Abbas, in Baku that he is satisfiedwith cooperation in information and communication technologies andnoted prospects of expanding the cooperation in mail, Internet andother services, Trend reports.

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Iranian Energy Minister Madjid Namju said that specialists havecompleted the construction of auxiliary infrastructure facilities atthe nuclear power plant in Bushehr, commenting on its launch andelectricity production, Iran News reports.The minister said that the power plant will be launched as soon asspecialists of the nuclear energy organization finish work.Namju underlined that the launch will improve electricity production,especially in summertime, when the demand for energy rises.

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Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian has met Mohammad-Reza RaufSheybani, the special envoy of the Iranian president and deputyIranian foreign minister. Nalbandian expressed satisfaction with thestate of Armenian-Iranian relations and the development ofcooperation, News Armenia reports.Sheybani sent regards from Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehito Nalbandian.

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Iranian authorities plan to organize a demonstration against the localopposition leaders that initiated anti-government protests, RIANovosti cites AFP and Iranian state television as saying.The demonstration will be held by the coordination council of Islampropaganda on Friday.Former candidates for president, Mehdi Kyarubi and Mirhussein Musavi,are considered to be the two main opposition leaders.

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World Press on Iran, Turkey and the Caucasus (February 15-16, 2011)

Yesterday The Los Angeles Times published President Obama's address to the presidents of Middle Eastern states. President Obama, in a news conference that also focuses on his proposed budget, sayd he has told his counterparts in other countries that they ignore grass-roots democratic movements at their own peril. He stressed that autocratic governments won't survive in the Middle East unless they heed calls for change and meet the demands of protesters who are massing in the streets to demand more freedoms.

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The president of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, is continuing his visit to Iran, TRT reports. On the third day of his trip, Gul visited Isfahan. The president also visited the palace of 40 columns and one of the biggest squares in the world Nahsh-e Jahan. Today is the last day of his trip to Iran. Gul will visit historical sights of Tebriz and this evening return to Turkey.

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A new ore deposit of gold is being explored in the province of Western Azerbaijan in Iran, Iran News reported. Deputy director of Industry and mining organization in the province of West Azerbaijan said that the proven reserves of gold-bearing ore at the mine amount for up to 764 tons containing 1.8 grams  of gold and 101 grams of silver in one ton of ore. He said that the exploration of the field was carried out by the private sector that  invested in this project 5 billion riyals (about 500 thousand dollars).

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