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There are 13 messages totalling 1005 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. New Date Set For Minister'S Impeachment
2. U.S. Has Not Changed, Says Cleric
3. Fischer Condemns Assassination Of Iran'S Army Comm
4. OPEC Basket Price Up By 22 Cents
5. ANALYSIS-Russia, Iran In New Energy Initiative
6. On Kosovo Crisis
7. RADIO FREE EUROPE-WEEKLY IRAQ REPORT-PART 2/2
8. RADIO FREE EUROPE-WEEKLY IRAQ REPORT-PART 1/2
9. Japan'S FM Condemns Assassination Of Iran'S Army C
10. US Recent Policy Towards Iran Due To Its Disappoin
11. 32 Companies Bid For Iranian Oil Projects
12. INTERVIEW-Iran Has No Plan Now To Sell India Crude
13. urkmenistan For Boosting Up Gas Export To Iran

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 02:46:40 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: New Date Set For Minister'S Impeachment

New Date Set For Minister'S Impeachment
=======================================


thr 001
mohajerani-impeachment
new date set for minister's impeachment
tehran, april 23, irna -- the presiding board of the islamic
consultative assembly (majlis) friday announced that it will
discuss the petition by a group of mps to impeach the minister of
culture and islamic guidance ataollah mohajerani in its open
session on saturday, may 1.
the motion was tabled by 31 mps last wednesday and the minister
a few hours later announced his readiness to attend the majlis session
and respond to the mps' questions on sunday (april 25) or wednesday
(april28).
the majlis had earlier announced that the impeachment session
would be held on april 28. no reason was given by the public relations
office of the majlis for the change in the date. it only said the
session on saturday will start at 8 a.m.
the mps have accused the ministry of culture and islamic
guidance under mohajernai of failing to take serious action to
counter press violations and of questioning the performance of the
judiciary.
reacting to the impeachment petition, mohajerani told iran news
in an interview published thursday, that the impeachment issue was
totally political and would only add to his popularity. he said if he
fails he will run as a candidate in the sixth parliamentary elections.
ks/ks
end
::irna 23/04/99 13:22

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 02:46:52 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: U.S. Has Not Changed, Says Cleric

U.S. Has Not Changed, Says Cleric
=================================


thr 003
prayers-taheri khorramabadi
u.s. has not changed, says cleric
tehran, april 23, irna -- a prominent cleric said here friday that
the united states has not changed its attitudes and policies towards
iran.
"america is the same america and has not changed," said ayatollah
seyed hassan taheri khorramabadi who was delivering the sermons in
tehran as the substitute friday prayers leader.
he said iran's enemies, including the u.s. would not abandon
their hostility towards the islamic state so soon. "they may utter
words but we must be vigilant," he noted.
the ayatollah was commenting on the anniversary of tabas fiasco
(april 25) when several u.s. military planes and helicopters
violated the iranian airspace on this day in 1980 to rescue the
former american hostages. some of the planes crashed at the tabas
desert in northern iran leaving a number of american servicemen dead.
the ayatollah was also indirectly referring to the conciliatory
remarks made this month by the u.s. president bill clinton about iran.
speaking at the white house on april 14, clinton said, ''i
think it is important to recognize... that iran, because of its
enormous geopolitical importance over time, has been the subject of
quite a lot of abuse from various western nations.
''and i think sometimes it's quite important to tell people,
look, you have a right to be angry at something my country or my
culture or others that are generally allied with us today did to you
50 or 60 or 100 or 150 years ago.''
this was the first time ayatollah taheri khorramabadi was
addressing worshipers in tehran in the capacity of substitute prayer
leader. he has just been appointed by the leader of the islamic
revolution ayatollah ali khamenei as a substitute leader of friday
prayers in tehran.
he is a senior member of the presiding board of the assembly
of experts and a prominent member of the qom seminary.
when the late founder of the islamic republic imam khomeini was
alive, ayatollah khorramabadi acted as his representative at the
islamic revolution's guards corps (irgc) and worked hard to
disseminate the late imam's thoughts and ideas. he has also served
as the imam's representative in pakistan.
ks/ks
end
::irna 23/04/99 14:09

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 02:47:02 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Fischer Condemns Assassination Of Iran'S Army Comm

Fischer Condemns Assassination Of Iran'S Army Commander
=======================================================


thr 005
germany-kharrazi-fischer
fischer condemns assassination of iran's army commander
bonn, april 23, irna -- german foreign minister yuchka fischer and his
iranian counterpart kamal kharrazi here thursday exchanged views on
further expansion of bilateral relations specifically the political,
economic and cultural relations as well as cooperation at the regional
and international levels.
fischer in his talks severely condemned the recent assassination
of the iranian army commander martyr lieutenant general ali sayyad
shirazi.
kharrazi stressed that an all-out efforts is needed to be made
withing the international framework to fight the sinister phenomenon
of terrorism.
"it is contrary to international norms, practice and code for the
terrorist groups to misuse the open political atmosphere of the
european countries for the carrying out of their horrendous terrorist
acts," kharrazi pointed out.
in the meeting, the two sides reviewing new developments in the
bilateral relations, welcomed tehran-bonn multilateral cooperation
at the regional and international forums.
fisher stressted that his country is fully determined to promote
its relations with the islamic republic of iran.
they also underlined the need to further expand the existing level
of cooperation between the organization of islamic conference (oic)
and the european union (eu).
fischer and kharrazi in their meeting also reviewed the upcoming
visit of the european union's troika to the islamic republic of iran.
the iranian foreign minister then invited his german counterpart
to visit iran which was accepted by fischer.
pm/dh
end
::irna 23/04/99 15:35

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 02:47:08 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: OPEC Basket Price Up By 22 Cents

OPEC Basket Price Up By 22 Cents
================================


thr 007
italy-opec-oil
opec basket price up by 22 cents
vienna, april 23, irna -- the price of the opec basket of seven crudes
increased by 22 cents and stood at usd 15.91 a barrel thursday. this
was up from usd 15.69 wednsday according to opec secretariat
calculations released here on friday.
the opec basket comprises algeria's saharan blend, indonesia's
minas, nigeria's bonny light, saudi arabia's arabian light, dubai
of the united arab emirates, venezuela's tia juana and mexico's
istmus crude.
energy futures prices increased in trading on the new york
mercantile exchange (nymex) thursday, according to reports released
here friday.
west texas intermediate (wti), the american benchmark crude, gained
26 cents to finish at usd 17.92 per barrel for june delivery, while
the july contract reached usd 17.87, up by 20 cents.
in london, brent crude oil futures ended thursday at usd 16.13 per
barrel, up by 24 cents from the previous close. the day's high was
usd 16.20 and the low usd 15.76.
kz/mhj/dh
end
::irna 23/04/99 16:05

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 02:47:24 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: ANALYSIS-Russia, Iran In New Energy Initiative

ANALYSIS-Russia, Iran In New Energy Initiative
==============================================

07:16 a.m. Apr 23, 1999 Eastern
By Dmitry Zhdannikov

MOSCOW, April 23 (Reuters) - Russian Fuel and Energy Minister
Sergei Generalov effectively launched a new initiative this week
for Russia and Iran to cooperate on a series of energy projects
in the Caspian basin.

But analysts doubted many of the grandiose projects he talked
about following a recent vist to Tehran would come to fruition
and said his comments were aimed at securing contracts for
Russian firms and countering U.S. influence in the Caspian.

``During my visit to Iran last week we reached agreement on
mutual political support in the energy sector as a
counter-balance to existing Trans-Caspian projects,'' Generalov
told Reuters earlier this week.

His comments came as Jan Kalicki, a top U.S. adviser on energy
in the former Soviet Union, was in the Azeri capital, Baku, for
the opening of a Western-financed oil pipeline from Baku to
Supsa on Georgia's Black Sea coast.

The U.S. has lobbied hard for oil and gas pipelines from
Azerbaijan to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, and from
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Turkey.

It has lobbied equally hard against the transit of energy
resources across Iran, even though Iranian routes would be
shorter and cheaper to build, and, by taking oil to the Gulf,
would leave it well-placed for delivery to key Asian markets.

Generalov said his talks in Iran had focused on transport routes
for hydrocarbons, ``considering that carrying energy supplies to
world markets from the Caspian can be done most effectively
through Russia and Iran.''

Russia's delegation included representatives of gas monopoly
Gazprom, oil firms LUKoil LKOH.RTS and YUKOS YUKO.RTS and
construction firm Stroitransgaz.

Generalov, who met Energy Minister Bijan Zanganeh and Vice
President Hassan Habibi among others, said top priority was
given to building an oil pipeline to carry Turkmen and Kazakh
oil across Iran to the Gulf.

Russia is also considering participating in building a gas
pipeline from Iran's huge offshore South Pars gas field, with
eight trillion cubic metres of reserves, to Tehran and Turkey.

Analysts say Generalov's ambitious plans would be extremely hard
to implement but were important in the wider battle for
influence in the Caspian, in which Russia, Iran, Turkey and the
U.S. are all key players with diametrically opposed interests.

``At the same time Russia is trying to help Iran, trying to
prise Caspian states away from the grip of America, and trying
to secure its existing projects and interests in the region,''
said Vladimir Nosov, oil analyst at Fleming UCB.

Analyst Ivan Mazalov of Troika Dialog said Generalov was
boosting Russia's own interests by merely appearing to support
projects in Iran.

Nosov said that by pledging support to Iranian projects in which
Russia had no real interest, Generalov was deliberately muddying
the waters of Caspian diplomacy to increase the chances of other
projects which Russia wanted to succeed.

``Supporting a gas line from Iran to Turkey or an oil line from
Kazakhstan to Iran could bring more confusion to the energy
situation in the Caspian and so help the success of the Blue
Stream project,'' he said.

Blue Stream is a proposed gas pipeline running from Russia to
Turkey under the Black Sea. Russia wants this to go ahead, and
any initiatives which foil rival projects to deliver gas from
other countries to Turkey can only benefit Blue Stream.

Blue Stream is the brainchild of Gazprom, a partner in Iran's
South Pars with French Total and Malaysian Petronas.
Support for an Iranian gas line to Turkey, on top of Blue
Stream, could kill off once and for all the Turkmen dream of
building its own line under the Caspian to Turkey, a plan which
has not really got off the drawing board despite massive hype.

But Generalov himself admitted that there was a long way to go
before the projects he supported could get started.

He pointed out that neither Russia nor Iran was in a position to
finance an oil line from the Caspian across Iran.

Analysts speculate that one motive in supporting Iran may be to
put pressure on the U.S. to soften its opposition to investment
in Iran by showing the importance Russia attaches to developing
the energy sector there.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 02:47:44 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: On Kosovo Crisis

Iran, Italy And Russia Share Common Views On Kosovo: Kharrazi
=============================================================


thr 041
kharrazi-kosovo-italy
iran, italy and russia share common views on kosovo: kharrazi
rome, april 22, irna -- iran's foreign minister kamal kharrazi who led
a high ranking delegation of the organization of the islamic
conference (oic) contact group to tirana and rome tuesday and
wednesday left rome for bonn thursday morning.
minutes before his departure, he told irna that iran, italy,
russia and the muslim governments have similar views on how to cope
with the crisis in kosovo.
italy, said kharrazi, is more concerned than any other country
about the war in kosovo engulfing the region. he noted that italy is
skeptical about the eventual success of nato strikes over yugoslavia
to force a peace deal in the balkans. it seems that rome is seeking a
diplomatic solution to the crisis, added kharrazi.
he said in the talks with italian foreign minister lamberto dini
wednesday, they concluded that the united nations security council
should play its role in the conflict. the two sides observed that any
proposition to deal with the situation in kosovo must have
international backing. he commented that the most immediate problem
now is how to ensure a safe return home of kosovar refugees.
iran and italy have decided to maintain uninterrupted contact
between the oic contact group and italy, in a bid to arrive at a
peaceful solution to the crisis in the balkans.
kharrazi also appreciated the relief aid dispatched to kosovar
refugees by islamic governments and said that the aid should continue
to arrive.
the islamic republic had previously sent six planeloads and a
number of trucks of supplies including foods, clothing and tents to
dislodged kosovars.
hr/ah
end
::irna 22/04/99 23:16



Kharrazi Leaves Bonn For Tehran
===============================


thr 042
kharrazi-germany
kharrazi leaves bonn for tehran
bonn, april 22, irna -- iranian foreign minister kamal kharrazi,
heading a delegation of the organization of the islamic conference
(oic) contact group on kosovo, left bonn thursday for tehran following
consultations with german officials on the crisis in the balkans.
the delegation, which met the german foreign minister, joschka
fischer on thursday, had earlier visited russia, albania and italy to
convey to the leaders of those countries oic's stance on finding a
diplomatic solution to the crisis.
ah/ah
end
::irna 22/04/99 23:41



Kharrazi Stresses International Consensus To Settle Kosovo Crisis
=================================================================


thr 004
oic-kosovo-kharrazi
kharrazi stresses international consensus to settle kosovo crisis
tehran, april 23, irna -- "one should not expect the settlement
of the kosovo crisis without international consensus," iranian foreign
minister kamal kharrazi said here friday morning upon arrival from
bonn.
"no action should be taken against yugoslavia without the consent
and approval of the united nations security council, which can
become the cause of displacement, ethnic racial cleansing and
massacre of a great number of kosovars in that country," kharrazi
stressed.
terming as positive the visit of the oic contact group, he said,
"majority of the officials in the four countries concurred with the
oic contact group over the concern of muslim countries over the trend
of development taking shape in the area."
"the four countries opined that that such kind of contacts needed
to be continued," added kharrazi
"the visit to russia, italy, albania and germany provided
excellent grounds for the organization of the islamic conference
(oic) to exert its influence on the trend of developments especially
in the political field and set up footing for oic to function
effectively as an important international organization at the
different fora," highlightred kharrazi.
the oic shuttle diplomacy of the contact group to russia, italy,
albania and germany began on monday. the delegation was headed by the
iranian foreign kamal kharrazi. he conveyed to the leaders of those
countries of oic's stance trying to find a diplomatic solution to the
crisis.
ys/dh
::irna 23/04/99 15:10

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 02:57:34 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: RADIO FREE EUROPE-WEEKLY IRAQ REPORT-PART 2/2

<< This message is part 2 of a previous message >>>

because one of the allied bombing raids had hit an oil
pipeline, which terminated the flow of oil northward. This,
in turn, affected the revenues collected in the KRG as
customs duties for the oil going by truck to Turkey, and
transit fees for the pipeline. As a consequence, Cevik and
his team were compelled to withdraw from the project. (David
Nissman)

CORRECTION: A study of chemical weapons exposure in Iraqi
Kurdistan reported in "RFE/RL Iraq Report" of 9 April was
based on what was purported to be a press release by the
Washington Kurdish Institute. The WKI advises that it did
hold discussions on these issues at a U.S. State Department
sponsored seminar in November 1998 but that it did not issue
a press release on this. Further, WKI disassociates itself
from the unauthorized dissemination of information about such
discussions.

*************************************************
Copyright (c) 1999. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.

The RFE/RL Iraq Report is prepared weekly by David Nissman on
the basis of materials from RFE/RL broadcast services, RFE/RL
Newsline, and other news services. Direct comments to David
Nissman at nissmand@rferl.org

Technical queries should be emailed to
listmanager@list.rferl.org

For information on subscriptions or reprints, contact Paul
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Back issues are available on the RFE/RL Web site at:
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HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
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NEWS BROADCASTS ONLINE
Listen to news about Iraq daily on the RFE/RL Web site:
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RADIO FREE IRAQ SHORTWAVE BROADCASTS
Every day at 1700 CET and 1900 Baghdad time Radio Free Iraq
broadcasts at the following frequencies: 6130, 9540, 9850 and
11915 Kilohertz, corresponding with 49, 31.5, 30.5, and 25
meters shortwave.

Daily programs with some updates will be repeated every
morning at 0400 CET, 0600 Baghdad time on the following
frequencies: 5965, 7110, 7275, 9740 Kilohertz, corresponding
with 50, 42, 41, and 31 meters shortwave.

_____________________________________________________________
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 02:57:24 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: RADIO FREE EUROPE-WEEKLY IRAQ REPORT-PART 1/2

RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
_____________________________________________________________
RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT
Vol. 2, No. 16, 23 April 1999

A Review of Developments in Iraq Prepared by the Regional
Specialists of RFE/RL's Newsline Team

YUGOSLAV CHEMICAL WEAPONS: THE IRAQI CONNECTION.
The Yugoslav Army has some 40 metric tons of the poison
gases Sarin and mustard gas in an underground facility in
Lucani, according to Zagreb's "Globus" newspaper on 16
April.. These gases reportedly are a legacy from the
Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).
But the "Globus" report suggests that there may be an
Iraqi connection as well. It notes that "chemists from Iraq
often spent time in Lucani [south of Belgrade] just as often
as former JNA [Yugoslav National Army] experts traveled to
that Arab country." Yugoslav-Iraqi cooperation in the field
of chemical weapons was particularly active in the early
1980s, the paper said, adding that the "SFRY had silent
support for such a form of cooperation because of the war
between Iraq and Iran."
After 34 years of poison gas production, the Yugoslav
factory was officially closed down in 1992. The Yugoslavs
tested their weaponry in Macedonia. "Globus" reports that
"the ground and wild animals were contaminated without
check." In Iraq, the poison gas was used on the population of
several villages in Kurdistan, of which the best known
incident is the village of Halabcha in 1988, wherein some
5,000-8,000 were killed and unknown thousands have or are
suffering aftereffects (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 2 and 9
April 1999). (David Nissman)


BAGHDAD MOVES TO IMPROVE ARAB RELATIONS.
Iraq is currently making a number of diplomatic moves to
bolster its standing with other Arab countries. Particularly
noteworthy are Iraqi contacts with Algeria, one of the
Maghreb states which refused to join the seven-member Arab
committee assigned by the Arab foreign ministers to discuss a
mechanism for lifting the sanctions on Iraq (see "RFE/RL Iraq
Report," 16 April 1999).
On 18 April, Iraqi President Saddam Husseyn
congratulated Algerian President-elect Abdul-Aziz Bouteflika
on his election victory and said he wants to strengthen
Iraqi-Algerian ties, according to Reuters. The following day,
Iraq "condemned the tendentious statements of the U.S. State
Department spokesman regarding the Algerian elections, INA
reported. Bouteflika in fact was declared winner of an
election with only one candidate.
Iraq has also been active in the Gulf states. On 19
April, Iraq's minister of higher education, Abdu'l-Jabbar
Taufiq, met his Saudi counterpart Khalid Al-Ankari "on the
sidelines of an Arab education summit," AFP said. An unnamed
Arab diplomat said that the meeting had no political
significance because "no bilateral issues were discussed."
Iraq and Saudi Arabia broke off relations in 1991.
At the same time, Iraqi Finance Minister Hikmat Mezban
Ibrahim arrived at Doha, Qatar, to attend a meeting of Arab
financial institutions. While Qatar signed a defense
agreement with the United States following the 1991 war, it
has become increasingly critical of British and U.S. policy
toward Iraq since "Desert Fox" began.
There is a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in May,
and Iraq hopes to win support there. Baghdad is much involved
in some preliminary meetings, and GCC Secretary-General Jamil
Al-Hujailan said that these meetings "are pursuing their
efforts on several issues, notably the situation in the Gulf
and in Iraq."
Baghdad representatives were also able to meet with with
Arab parliamentary delegations at the Brussels meeting of the
Interparliamentary Union. Speaking on Baghdad radio, Dr
Sa'dun Hammadi, National Assembly speaker, said that the
purpose of these meetings was "to coordinate views in order
to arrive at an Arab stand in solidarity with Iraq,
particularly with respect to the unjust blockade imposed on
it."
Iraq's attempts to regain its position among the Arab
countries began two months ago when Yemeni Deputy Prime
Minister and Foreign Minister Abd Al-Qadir Ba-Jammal was able
to reach an agreement with Iraqi Foreign Minister Muhammad
Sa'id Al-Sahhaf to stop Iraq's media campaign with
neighboring and other Arab countries, according to "Al-Hayah"
on 22 February. And Baghdad clearly hopes that a large number
of relatively low-level contacts will help more than a few
high-profile events. (David Nissman)


IS AN ORGANIZED OPPOSITION EMERGING INSIDE IRAQ?
Recent reports in London's Arabic-language press suggest
that an organized opposition to Baghdad's current government
may be forming inside Iraq. The appearance of such a group or
movement has long been viewed as a precondition for toppling
Saddam Husseyn.
"Al-Quds Al-Arabi" on 15 April reported that it had
received a fax from one such group, the Iraqi Democratic Arab
Movementn (IDAM). Signed by five members of a preparatory
committee, IDAM calls for "constructive" cooperation of all
Iraqi national parties to topple the "ugly dictatorship in
Baghdad," establish national unity, evolution without foreign
tutelage, an end to the embargo, an end to "continuing
foreign military aggression on Iraq," democracy, and respect
for human rights. Such a platform suggests that IDAM may be
either a front group for Saddam Hussein's government or a
naive grouping of people with little understanding of the
problems they face.
A second movement reportedly also has surfaced. Called
"National Options," this group plans to prepare a memorandum
addressed to the presidency aimed at "dealing with the Iraqi
crisis at home and abroad," "Al-Zaman" reported on 15 April.
Whatever the origins of this group, it has not passed without
notice from the Iraqi authorities: reportedly, "security
organs have arrested over 30 Iraqi national figures including
former minister Nizar Al-Tabaqjali and several retired
officers, and have also begun questioning former Communist
leader Majid Abd-Al-Rida."
But "Al-Zaman" suggests that opposition to Saddam
Husseyn may nonetheless be growing: It points to the
emergence of what it says is "a new phenomenon in Baghdad."
This is the growth of cultural salons which provide forums
for intellectuals and national figures to discuss the general
situation in Iraq and look for ways out of the Iraqi
political crisis.
A potentially interesting aspect of this development
involves a number of people who have recently left the ruling
Ba'th Party. Summoned by the security organs and questioned
about their reasons for doing so, they have been given the
choice of returning to the party or being branded elements
opposed to the regime. That they are given a choice suggests
that there could soon be a split in party ranks. (David
Nissman)


BA'TH PARTY ORGANIZES INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE.
An international conference is to be held in Baghdad on
1 May under the slogan "The Aggression and Siege on Iraq: An
Arab and an International Issue," INA reported on 21 April.
The foreign office of the Arab Socialist Ba'th Party said the
invitations were sent out to "numerous foreign parties and
political figures in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and
Russia."
This meeting is to focus on such questions as "U.S.
aggression on Iraq in 1991 and the latest episodes of the
evil U.S.-British aggression of 17 December 1998, as well as
the imposition of 17 December 1998, as well as
the imposition of no-fly zones in the northern and southern
areas of Iraq."
The Ba'th Party reportedly believes such a session is
necessary "because it is no longer possible to rely on the
non-aligned movement which has no role in the face of the
United States, AFP reported on 21 April. (David Nissman)


'WORST DROUGHT IN FIFTY YEARS' HITS IRAQ.
Iraq is suffering under the effects of what could be
"the worst drought in 50 years," a senior UN official told AP
on 19 April. As a result, water levels in the Tigris and
Euphrates rivers have dropped so low that people can cross
them on foot. But more importantly, wheat, barley and rice
yields this year will be some 75 percent less than last year.
And this drought is at least partly to blame for the hoof and
mouth disease epidemic in the country. In response, Baghdad
is expected to impose strict water rationing.
This drought may also reopen debate among Iraq, Syria,
and Turkey over control of the waters of the Tigris and
Euphrates. If so, the lack of water could trigger greater
regional tensions. (David Nissman)


IRAQ FLEECES IRANIAN PILGRIMS.
Iranian tourists who fly to Syria to visit Syrian
Shi'ite pilgrimage sites who intend to go on from Damascus to
visit the Shi'ite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in Iraq
now have to pay double the amount in the past.
Formerly, the charge was $450 from Damascus to Karbala;
now it is between $900 to $950, "Jomhuri-ye Eslami" reported
on 19 April. An Iranian source in Damascus says the Iraqi Al-
Hoda company, managed by Saddam's son Uday, is generally
responsible for the visits of Iranian pilgrims. A recent
communication from this company to Syrian travel agencies
announced that they should observe the new higher rates. The
way it breaks down is $600 is paid to the Iraqi state plus
$100 for the visa, and $150 for the ticket and food.
Furthermore, each pilgrim must exchange $50 into Iraqi dinars
at the border.
The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the visit of
these pilgrims to the sacred cities of Iraq to be illegal.
Iraqi law does not protect the Iranian tourists either, but
Baghdad currently makes about a million dinars from every
pilgrim. (David Nissman)


IRAQI ARMOR ADVANCES ON KURDISTAN BORDER.
Iraq reportedly is massing troops on the periphery of
Iraqi Kurdistan to prevent the area from being used as a base
for opposition attacks on Baghdad, according to AFP on 18
April. According to the report in "Al-Hayah," which AFP
cites, Iraqi officials in Amman said the troops would
"respond firmly" to all "American projects" aimed at
transforming Kurdistan into an opposition base.
Iraqi Kurdish sources, "Al-Hayah" said on 20 April,
report that the movements of some Republican Guard units and
some armored brigades on some major salients leading to the
Kurdistan region are a message from Saddam Husseyn to both
the Kurds and the opposition. But these sources maintained
that the conditions that paved the way for the Republican
Guards' entrance to the region in 1996 no longer exist,
primarily because the feud which had existed between the
Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan has been resolved.
Surveillance and intelligence units of Kurdish armed
organizations are supposedly monitoring the movements of the
Iraqi forces, which are now some 35 kilometers from Erbil, a
major Kurdish city within the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Other Iraqi armored units are approaching the Sulaymaniyah
Governorate. (David Nissman)


ILNUR CEVIK ON KTV: "TURKEY DID NOT SAY NO."
Since the shutdown of MED-TV (a pro-Kurdistan Workers
Party [PKK] station formerly broadcasting from England and
Belgium) last month, the new television station of the
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has a chance to gain a
large audience share by default.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) announced that it
would launch a satellite television station to its audience
in northern Iraq (AP, 29 December 1998 and "RFE/RL Iraq
Report," 8 January 1999). Its purpose was to counterbalance
PKK propaganda broadcast over MED-TV aimed at the KRG as well
as to provide its audience with Kurdish entertainment.
As recently as 4 February, "The Washington Post" said
that this station was being constructed with at least
Turkey's connivance. Another report that same month
("Kurdistan-Rundbrief," 4 February, reported through "Arm The
Spirit," 23 February) claimed that the station was being
financed from oil smuggling profits.
A recent interview with Ilnur Cevik, one of the Turkish
planners behind KTV, casts both light and shadow over the
development of KTV: light because he provides new details on
KTV, shadow because some of his statements may be in dispute
by the current management of KTV.
In an interview with "Turkiye" on 11 April, Ilnur Cevik
explained how he became involved with the KTV project: "The
Barzani administration (KDP) made a decision on the
television project two years ago. They realized that MED-TV
was hurting them. Their goal was psychological. The KDP sees
the PKK as a rival in its region. It sees the PKK as a
serious threat. They were upset that the PKK entered northern
Iraq and established a presence in three traditionally KDP
areas. They were concerned that the PKK wants to become the
leader of the Kurds in those areas and leapfrog ahead of
them."
Since the KDP, like many countries in Europe, considers
MED-TV to be a mouthpiece for the PKK, they had to take into
consideration that up until now MED-TV has had a virtual
monopoly position--it was the only Kurdish broadcaster in the
world and, thus, commanded the entire Kurdish audience. Cevik
gives his view of the situation as perceived by the KDP: "The
KDP have a serious problem. The PKK is recognized in Europe
even though it is considered a criminal organization. When I
talked to Barzani recently, he described how the PKK is
organized. When Ocalan was captured in Africa, he was put on
a Turkish plane at 2 a.m. in Nairobi, Kenya. In less than two
hours this event was broadcast in Europe, and protests began
at 5 a.m."
"Turkiye" asked Cevik about the balance of power between
the PKK and the KDP, and how a television would help in this
conflict.
He responded that Barzani "is fighting against the PKK.
The PKK knows that it cannot gain dominance in northern Iraq
without destroying such stations" as KTV. In this context,
Turkey and Barzani's KDP have a common interest. The KDP
"wants to eradicate the PKK with Turkey's assistance...The
PKK is a threat not only to Turkey but also to the Kurds in
Iraq. It is also a threat to the Kurds in Syria and Iran. The
defense mechanism Barzani wants to build includes a
television station. They think this would be a countermeasure
against the threat posed by MED-TV. They are aware of the
size of the audience MED-TV enjoys. They are aware of its
influence. They want to attract that audience to the
television station they want to start."
Cevik was asked if Turkish approval for this aid to the
Kurds was required, and he answered in the affirmative.
The cost of the project, as envisaged at its inception,
was estimated to be between $6-7 million. A preliminary
survey was conducted to ascertain the physical needs of KTV--
buildings, technical equipment, and studio requirements.
Construction was begun and the electronic equipment
purchased. Then, according to Cevik, the KDP ran out of money
after only $2 million had been spent. Allegedly, this was

<< Continued to next message >>>

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 03:12:06 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Japan'S FM Condemns Assassination Of Iran'S Army C

Japan'S FM Condemns Assassination Of Iran'S Army Commander
==========================================================


thr 020
japan-iran-komura
japan's fm condemns assassination of iran's army commander
tokyo, april 23, irna -- japan's foreign minister masahiko komura in
a message to his iranian counterpart kamal kharrazi friday condemned
recent terrorist act in the iranian society in which the brave army
commander lieutenant general ali sayyad shirazi was assassinated.
lieutenant general shirazi attained the rank of martyrdom in the
early hours of saturday april 10 by the hands of the agents of the
terrorist mujaheedin khalq organization (mko).
komura in his message expressed deep condolences and sympathy with
the iranian people and family of the deceased.
komura's message added that the japanese government is fully
determined to fight terrorism and condemns any forms of the acts of
terrorism be under any motive.
pm/dh
end
::irna 23/04/99 20:11

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 03:12:24 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: US Recent Policy Towards Iran Due To Its Disappoin

US Recent Policy Towards Iran Due To Its Disappointment And Defeat
==================================================================

thr 011
russia-us-iran
us recent policy towards iran due to its disappointment and defeat
moscow, april 23, irna -- chief of the geopolitical commission of the
russian state duma aleksi mitrofanov told irna here friday that the us
recent compromising stance towards iran is due to its disappointment
and defeat in the cold war and economic sanction against tehran.
he stressed that the white house has adopted a new policy towards
the islamic republic of iran after facing the iranian resistance and
feeling disappointment of carrying out its pressures and hostile
policies against tehran.
mitrofanov went on to say that washington's anti-iranian policies
caused tehran to attain self-sufficiency in its industrial and
economic developments.
he that the us policies also made iran to positively expand its
relations with the european and other other countries across the
world. he
world.
the senior russian duma representative then regarded the islamic
republic of iran as a good neighboring country of russia.
referring to the iranian stance towards the us policies during the
last two decades, mitofanov said that he is confident that this time
also washington will attain nothing in its new political move.
chief of the duma geopolitical commission pointed out that the us
considers double standards in its policies and that such policies of
duplicity have been clearly seen in washington's attitudes towards
yugoslavia and kosovo crisis comparing to its policies towards other
countries at the same time.
pm/dh
end
::irna 23/04/99 17:24

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 03:12:38 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: 32 Companies Bid For Iranian Oil Projects

32 Companies Bid For Iranian Oil Projects
=========================================


thr 018
oil conference-iran
32 companies bid for iranian oil projects
london, apr. 23, irna - tenders for iran's latest round of oil
projects have been submitted by 32 organisations, dominated by
european companies, according to michael ala, the director of m sc
petroleum geology at london university's imperial college.
apart from argentinean, japanese, malaysian, indian and australian
firms, one american company, arco has submitted bids, even though it
is prevented by u.s. domestic law from entering into an agreement
with iran.
presenting iran's case at an international oil conference on the
opening up of the middle east, ala said friday that iran's "elevated
rank" in the international oil industry's league table stemmed from
several factors, including low cost oil, the shear size of its
resource base and reserves-to-production ratios.
he said it was estimated that an improvement of only 1 per cent
in recovery would add an extra 10 billion barrels production from
existing reserves. the magnitude of reserves yet to be discovered,
he said, was further estimated at between 20 to 30 bn barrels.
the senior lecturer also referred to iran's unique position as
a "land bridge" being the only country with access to both the
caspian sea and persian gulf and said he was confident it would be
an important outlet for caspian oil despite u.s. political opposition.
his comments come as europe's top oil companies, together with
arco, were reported to be battling it out to win the usd 2 billion
development of ahwaz-bangestan reservoirs, considered the jewel in
the crown among iran's 47 buy-back projects on offer.
speaking at the conference, organised by the center for global
energy studies, ed morse of u.s.-based hess energy of the u.s. said
that the rate at which the iranian government has been signing
buy-back deals had "astonished many observers."
arguing for better returns than the 15 to 20 per cent rates
reportedly offered, he said that if tehran met the terms in the global
competition for capital, "companies would flock in, irrespective of
any sanctions being imposed by the u.s." discussing government
remunerations, pedro van meurs of van meurs consultancy said that iran
was unique in the world being the only country world that offered
contracts to corporations free of oil price risks.
much of the debate at the two-day conference here focus on the
dilemmas faced by oil-producing countries in the persian gulf in
opening up their industries to foreign investment.
herman franssen, director of petroleum economics of the u.s.
advised persian gulf states to go "full speed ahead" in working with
foreign oil partners, saying the process should have started in the
1980s.
henry azzam of middle east capital group said that the region could
become the "silicon valley of the oil industry if it brought in
foreign investment," adding that it would also generate diversified
economies and provide jobs.
hc/dh
end
::irna 23/04/99 19:46

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 03:12:50 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: INTERVIEW-Iran Has No Plan Now To Sell India Crude

INTERVIEW-Iran Has No Plan Now To Sell India Crude
==================================================


08:08 a.m. Apr 23, 1999 Eastern
By Michael Georgy

TEHRAN, April 23 (Reuters) - Iran has held talks with Indian oil
refinery officials but has no immediate plans to help meet the
country's rising demand, an Iranian oil marketing official said.

Hojatollah Ghanimi Fard, the National Iranian Oil Company's
(NIOC) director for international affairs, told Reuters in an
interview on Thursday that Iran and other producers that could
satisfy Indian demand were constrained by output cuts.

``We had the pleasure to see some of the new Indian refiners.
During the different course of discussions that we had with
them, we understand that this demand would be in the market very
soon,'' he said. ``But again it is not there yet.''

He said NIOC could have an opportunity to send crude to the
Indian market if contracts expire or customers decrease
purchases and turn to other oil producers.

``In that case we would have some room to spare some quantities
for the rising demand in India,'' he said.

India said in March it had cancelled government-to-government
diesel import contracts with key Middle East oil suppliers, with
new refineries and the expansion of existing refineries expected
to make up for the difference.

While the cancellations mean the Middle East will lose a key
sales outlet for diesel, it is expected to gain a major opening
for crude oil.

The cancellations resulting from plans for a massive buildup in
Indian refinery production capacity this year mean the Middle
East, which already provides most of India's crude imports, is
likely to win the most from the increased demand.

OPEC and producers outside the cartel pledged in March to remove
just over two million barrels per day (bpd) from glutted world
oil markets in a bid to rescue prices.

OPEC member Iran has notified customers that it cut oil exports
by 10 percent in April and that the reductions would amount to
12 percent a month for the rest of the year starting in May.

Ghanimi Fard said the oil production cuts only had a slight
impact on the distribution of NIOC's international oil sales.
Before the cuts, exports were evenly spread between NIOC's
primary markets in Asia and Europe -- each one purchased 40
percent. The rest went to Africa, Canada and Latin America.

Ghanimi Fard said Asia's share of Iranian oil exports had
increased slightly compared to that of Europe.

``Based on the last figures, my calculations, it's almost 42 to
43 percent maximum exports for Asia which means we are almost
exporting 37 to 38 percent to Europe,'' he said.

``This is not giving more to Asia. This is because of the price
that we had there. Why? Because in Asia we do not have CIF
(cost, insurance and freight) contracts and we did not have to
cut it because our strategy was to cut first from CIF,'' he
said.

NIOC conducts virtually all of its business with buyers under
term contracts, not spot sales.

``We have almost no spot sales now. That will be the case for
some months to come unless some of the term contracts that we
have for one reason or another will be decreased by NIOC
clients. In that case we will be first going to the spot market
and then term contracts,'' he said.

Asked where Iran would search for new markets if and when demand
recovers significantly, Ghanimi Fard said: ``I think it would be
a little bit difficult at this moment to predict where the oil
market is headed.''


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 03:12:58 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: urkmenistan For Boosting Up Gas Export To Iran

Turkmenistan For Boosting Up Gas Export To Iran
===============================================

thr 019
turkmenistan-iran-gas
turkmenistan for boosting up gas export to iran
ashkhabad, april 23, irna -- turkmenistan deputy prime minister and
minister of petroleum and natural gas and mineral resources, batyr
sarjayev after the meeting with iranian ambassador to turkmenistan,
mir abutalebi announced here friday that his country was prepared to
step up the export of gas to the islamic republic of iran.
sarjayev, also the head of the turkmanistan-iran joint economic
commission called for a continued cooperation of national iranian oil
company (nioc) in the construction of an oil refinery at bandar
turkman (harbor).
currently the engineering department of the nioc in a joint
venture with 'technip' of france is in charge of constructing gasoline
unit of the refinery.
at this meeting, the two sides exchanged views on different
areas of cooperation, specifically in the sphere of oil and gas.
dh/dh
end
::irna 23/04/99 20:10

------------------------------

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 22 Apr 1999 to 23 Apr 1999
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