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Azerbaijan takes over ADB Board of Governors chairmanship for 2015
06.05.2014 00:26
Azerbaijan has assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the next year.

The country took over ADB chairmanship from Kazakhstan as the Board of Governors convened in Astana for its 47th annual meeting.

Entitled "Rethinking Asia's Challenges at the Crossroads of the Silk Road", the annual meeting saw much discussion on connectivity, innovation, and the need to keep up with the demands of a changing Asia and Pacific.

Participants came from ADB's 67 member countries and beyond, from government ministries and central banks, from business and finance, media, civil society, academia, and youth, cutting across professional, national, regional, and generational boundaries.

ADB President Takehiko Nakao and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev officially opened ADB's 47th Annual Meeting in Astana.

At the opening session, President Nakao spoke of the need for ADB to sharpen its focus to better serve the needs of a developing Asia in rapid transition. He also looked forward to the end of extreme poverty in the region by 2020.

Mr. Nakao reiterated that the biggest challenge in the region remains poverty reduction. With 700 million people below the poverty line, Asia is still home to more than 60% of the world's poor. Using this measure of $1.25 a day, the region is likely to see an end to poverty in the region within the next decade.

"But more than 1.6 billion people living on less than $2 a day remain highly vulnerable to job loss, health problems, prolonged recession, inflation, crop failure, and environmental dangers."

"The challenge for ADB is to help developing member countries eradicate remaining poverty, and support greater inclusiveness to address inequalities," he said. "And there are other challenges: a huge infrastructure gap, environmental degradation and climate change. There is also the question of how to tap the full potential of regional cooperation and integration."

Addressing the event, chairman of ADB annual meeting of the Board of Governors, Kazakh Minister of Economy and Budget Planning Yerbolat Dassayev noted that the next meeting would beheld in Baku as the chairmanship of the Board of Governors passed to Azerbaijan for the next year.

Azerbaijani Minister of Finance, member of the Board of Governors Samir Sharifov said Azerbaijan would try its best to use the Baku meeting to prove that it is "a trusted partner" of the Asian Development Bank.

The meeting featured the Day of Azerbaijan, which was attended by delegations of the Board of Governors member states, ADB leadership, and prominent public and political figures of Kazakhstan and other countries.

It featured demonstration of a promotional video about Azerbaijan.

Addressing the event, Minister Sharifov noted that the Azerbaijani President had already ordered the creation of the organizing committee for the 48th meeting of ADB Board of Governors to be held in Baku in May, 2015.

He highlighted the country's socio-economic development under President Ilham Aliyev.

ADB President Nakao hailed Azerbaijan's economic growth. He expressed confidence the Baku meeting would be a success.

He said that for the first time the annual meeting of ADB Board of Governors would take place in the Caucasus, adding they had been looking forward to seeing Azerbaijan's rapid development.

The website of the 2015 Baku meeting was presented at the event.

On the sidelines of the annual meeting of ADB Board of Governors, Minister Sharifov also held several meetings including with ADB President Takehiko Nakao, Secretary General Maria-Anne Birken, Vice-President of the WB Lora Tak, Director General of the Japan International Cooperation Agency Kiyoshi Kadero, and Director of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation Hirosh Vatanabe to discuss issues of expanding bilateral cooperation.
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    /By Azernews/

    By Nigar Orujova

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  • Iran says gas export to neighbors profitable despite Qatarв's dumping
    07.02.2016 22:13
    Tehran, Iran, February 7

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    Iran sees the export of gas profitable even against the backdrop of Qatar's heavy dumping, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Hamid Reza Araqi said.

    "Iran is producing most of its gas from joint fields, therefore any sort of export is beneficial," he stressed, Fars news agency reported February 5.

    Qatar has been selling gas at a very low price in Indian and Pakistani markets. The country shares the world's largest gas field the South Pars (aka North Dome) with Iran.

    The official said the global gas market is getting more and more complicated, adding that Iran needs to further investigate markets in order to adopt policies as to exporting the product.

    The South Pars is estimated to hold about 19% of the world's total gas reserves.

    Iran's South Pars gas field produced 95.18 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the first ten month of the current Iranian fiscal year (March 21, 2015-Jan. 21).

    Iran expects that the figure to reach 130 bcm by the end of current fiscal year (March. 21, 2016).

    The Islamic Republic is producing 420 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) of gas from South Pars, located in southern regions, while the production level is projected to surpass 700 mcm/d by late 2018.

    South Pars, divided into 24 development phases, contains 40 trillion cubic meters (tcm) of natural gas.

    Regarding the swap of gas with Russia, Araqi said negotiations are still ongoing between the two countries.

    No agreement has yet been made, he noted, adding that the operation of swap depends on how the negotiations progress as well as the price of LNG.

    CEOs of both Russian companies were in Iran with the a delegation headed by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak late summer 2015, where the issue of oil and gas swaps was discussed.

    Prior to the introduction of sanctions, Iran was an active participant in swap operations, which began in 1997 on the basis of signed contracts.

    From 1997 to 2009, total income received by Iran from these swap transactions reached some $880 million.

    However, this is first time that Iran is preparing to start gas swap with Russia.

    Novak said earlier that Gazprom has offered gas supplies to Iran under a swap arrangement, delivering gas to Iran's northern regions and taking Iranian LNG in the Persian Gulf.

    Iran has an LNG plant, developed by 50 percent with 10.5 million tons (or above 14 billion cubic meters natural gas) of production capacity annually, which is expected to become operational by 2019.

    Stay up to date with latest Iran news on our specialized Facebook page

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    07.02.2016 21:34
    Two workers have died after fire broke out on the Gulf of Mexico's offshore Abkatun A oil platform belonging to the Mexican state-owned oil giant Pemex, the company said Sunday.

    One of the employee killed worked for Pemex, while the other worked for Cotemar, a company that provides offshore services to Pemex, the company said later.

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  • Google Ireland staff paid much less than London colleagues
    07.02.2016 20:54
    Workers at Google Ireland, the search group's European sales hub, earn less than half the pound;160,000 average wage of colleagues in London mdash; despite the British sales team only providing a supporting role to their Irish counterparts, The Guardian reported.

    Google bosses will be grilled by parliament's public accounts committee this week over how they have managed to continue with their controversial Irish tax structures in the face of repeated promises from politicians to close these arrangements down.

    The relationship between Google sales teams in London and Dublin are likely to be at the heart of MPs' questioning.

    Google Ireland booked pound;5bn in sales from UK advertisers last year, but paid no tax in the UK. The search group's controversial corporate structure means the UK subsidiary provides "marketing services" to Google Ireland. Meanwhile, UK customers buy advertising exclusively from the Irish company.

    Four years ago, Matt Brittin, Google's European sales boss, told MPs that staff in the UK only "encourage" British advertisers to buy from the search group, but the advertisers ultimately buy "from our expert team in Dublin."

    He stressed: "Anybody who buys advertising from us in Europe buys from Google in Ireland from our expert team."

    Despite the expertise of Google Ireland's workforce, latest accounts show the business paid 2,577 staff wages totalling euro;244m for 2014 mdash; giving an average wage of euro;94,590, or pound;72,783.

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  • Death toll from Taiwan powerful earthquake rises to 26
    07.02.2016 20:14
    A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck 28 miles southeast of the Taiwan's city of Tainan on Saturday, toppling multiple buildings, Sputnik reported.

    Out of the 26 victims, 24 were found under the rubble of a 17-storey residential building destroyed by the earthquake in the city of Tainan, Xinhua news agency reported. The victims include six children, according to the media.

    According to earlier media reports, at least 132 remained trapped under the rubble of the residential building.

    Some 500 people have been reported injured due to the earthquake.

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  • Iran, EU to start fresh round of ''high-level'' talks
    07.02.2016 18:00
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 7

    By Fatih Karimov- Trend:

    The fresh round of high-level talks between Iran and the EU will be held in Tehran on Feb. 8, Iran's deputy foreign minister, Majid Takht-Ravanchi said.

    The talks will be held with the presence of a European expert delegation led by the EU Deputy Foreign Policy Chief Helga Schmid, Iran's IRNA news agency quoted Takht-Ravanchi as saying Jan. Feb. 7.

    Takht-Ravanchi, who will lead Iran's delegation in the talks, further said that the two-day meeting will be held at the level of deputy foreign ministers.

    The talks are planed to be held every six months in Tehran and Brussels, he said, adding the negotiations will cover various fields in Iran-EU relations, including energy, trade, banking and financial cooperation, environment and fighting drug smuggling.

    The regional developments such as terrorism and extremism which affect the whole region as well as the EU also will be discussed in the mutual talks, the top Iranian diplomat said.

    The talks come after implementation of the nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers, which led to removal of international sanctions on Iran.

    Iran and the P5 1 group of countries (the US, France, the UK, China, Russia and Germany) in July 2015 agreed on a landmark nuclear deal to curb Tehran's sensitive nuclear activities in return for the lifting of international sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The implementation of the deal started on Jan. 16, 2016.

    Takht-Ravanchi further said that after the conclusion of upcoming meeting a number of European commissioners will visit Tehran.

    The EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also is planed to pay a visit to Iran, he added.

    The exact date for the Mogherini's visit is not clear yet, the Iranian diplomat said, adding it will take place in the near future.

    Mogherini earlier paid a one-day visit to Tehran on July 28, 2015 following the historic nuclear deal. During the visit, Iran and the EU agreed to start talks on how to confront regional crises, such as terrorism.

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  • NATO chief strongly condemns N. Korea rocket
    07.02.2016 17:20
    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has issued a strong condemnation of North Korea's rocket launch, calling it a "direct violation" of five U.N. Security Council resolutions, Reuters reported.

    Stoltenberg said in a statement that the five resolutions "call for North Korea to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile" program, to "re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launching and not to conduct any further nuclear test or any launch using ballistic missile technology."

    He said that "NATO continues to call on the North Korean authorities to comply with their obligations under international law, not to threaten with or conduct any launches using ballistic missile technology and to refrain from any further provocative actions."

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  • The Syrian peace talks '" give peace a chance
    07.02.2016 16:00
    By Claude Salhani - Trend:

    As the Syrian government and opposition groups convened in Geneva for a new round of peace talks under UN auspices the meetings intended to bring about peace, unleashed a deadly spurt of renewed fighting as each side wanted to display its position of power.

    Opposition delegate Bassma Kodmani said the bombings had increased in the last week. "In preparations for the negotiations, everything has intensified. The sieges have become total," she said.

    On Sunday, the United Nations said that Mouadamiya, a rebel-held town of 45,000 on the southwestern edge of Damascus, faced a new siege by government forces.

    Meanwhile, more than 60 people died last Sunday when the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack in the Sayeda Zeinab district of Damascus, according to Amaq, a news agency that supports the militant group. It said two operations "hit the most important stronghold of Shi'ite militias in Damascus." The Britain-based Observatory put the death toll at over 60, including 25 Shi'ite fighters.

    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the attacks were "clearly aimed to disrupt the attempts to start a political process" to end a conflict that has killed more than 260,000 people.

    France and Britain have accused the Syrian president of undermining the talks to favor the military solution. The opposition too, are sticking to their guns, so to speak, as this latest round of negotiations was stillborn before it even started.

    The dilemma in the Syrian conflict is this that there can be single winner either on the battlefield or at the negotiating table.

    After five years of continued violence that has completely destroyed the country and created a refugee crisis of horrific proportions, turning half its population --10 million people -- into refugees, scattering them across the globe, hope that the Geneva talks would bring peace closer has evaporated.

    The president, who rules over only the small percentage of what was Syria before the war, believes he is in a position of force, now that he has the support not only of Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah, but support of Russia as well.

    Syria today is not the Syria of pre-war. The country is now occupied by forces of the so-called Islamic State, and other parts of the country are under control of various rebel forces, and still, President Bashar Assad, refuses to concede and leave the presidency.

    In Geneva where the Syrian peace talks were to take place, the opposing side would not even convene in the same room, instead the UN negotiators would shuffle back and forth, relaying demands and counter demands.

    The Syrian peace talks today are probably as complicated as were the Lebanese peace talks held in the luxury of a five star hotel in Lausanne in 1984. The sheer number of parties involved, each armed with their own list of demands, and expectations contribute to the complexity of negotiations.

    At one point in the 15 year Lebanese civil war there were no fewer than 98 different armed groups of various sizes and importance, some controlling no more than a single street, others welded more power than the national army.

    In Syria too, the opposition is divided and composed of a multitude of parties and armed militias who spend as much time fighting each other as they do the central government they want to overthrow.

    Claude Salhani: journalist, author, political analyst and TV and radio commentator is one of the most knowledgeable voices on the Arab-Israeli issues, the Greater Middle East, Central Asia, terrorism, and political Islam.

    Claude Salhani is the author of the newly released novel, Inauguration Day-a thriller. On sale now at

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  • Turkmen State Concern increases oil production in 2015
    07.02.2016 15:59
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Feb. 7

    By Huseyn Hasanov- Trend:

    The Turkmenneft State Concern in 2015 brought oil production to 5.314,547 million tons, which is significantly more than the target figure, the Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper reported.

    The State Concern is focused on the successful implementation of the "Program of development of the oil and gas industry of Turkmenistan until 2030."

    In general, the concern implemented overhaul of 679 wells last year, and the energy sector of Turkmenistan received about 630,000 tons of additional oil, according to the newspaper.

    Last year, the state concern commissioned 84 new wells on various oil and gas fields - "Goturdepe", "Barsagelmes", "Ordekli", "Altykuyi", "Uzynada" and others.

    The maximum production among oil-producing departments of the State Concern was provided on the "Goturdepe" field - 2,168 million tons of oil.

    Extraction of raw materials grows rapidly due to the introduction of innovative technologies, modern scientific research, the article of the newspaper said.

    Nearly 30 new, more productive wells were commissioned last year on the "Goturdepe" field, while underground and capital repair works were held on dozens of old wells, and in the result, their daily production volumes increased significantly.

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  • Several accidents involving buses in Turkey - over 80 injured
    07.02.2016 15:20
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 7


    Three passenger buses have overturned in the Turkish provinces of Sivas, Erzincan and Kayseri, the Turkish DHA news agency reported.

    More than 80 people in three buses were injured in the result of the accidents.

    The accident was caused by bad weather conditions, according to the agency.

    All the wounded were taken to nearby hospitals.

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  • Top Iran commander warns Saudi Arabia over possible military intervention in Syria
    07.02.2016 15:20
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 7

    By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:

    An Iranian commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has warned Saudi Arabia over any possible military intervention in Syria.

    "We have presented Saudi politicians with an ultimatum and they are well aware of the unpleasant consequences of intervention in Syria," Tasnim news agency quoted the deputy IRGC Commander, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, as saying.

    He further said that the Syrian army and its allies have advanced in fight against terrorism forecasting further victories for government backed groups in fight against the IS terrorist group (ISIS,ISIL, Daesh).

    Over the past week Saudi Arabia and Bahrain announced readiness for dispatching ground troops to Syria. Reacting to the Saudi plan Ira's IRGC chief commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said that Saudi Arabia would not dare to dispatch troops to Syria and if the kingdom goes through such a plan, it would be suicidal.

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem also reacted to the Saudi announcement and said if foreign ground troops enter Syria they would "return home in wooden coffins".

    A UN Security Council resolution on in December last year approved a draft resolution on peace process in Syria. According to the resolution, Syrian government and opposition groups should attend peace talks to find a solution for putting an end to the crisis.

    However just a few days after launching the talks, the UN suspended peace talks suggesting that they will resume since Feb. 25. Syrian sides keep blaming each other for the collapse of the talks.

    Over 250,000 people have died and at least 11 million have been displaced in Syria, since the crisis broke out in 2011.

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  • Iran president urges women to show high turnout in elections
    07.02.2016 14:39
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 7

    By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on women to show high turnout in the upcoming elections to be held on Feb. 26.

    Rouhani said that we should accept the capabilities of women and we should accept that the women are capable of playing important roles in the society, science, economy, politics and art as same as men, president's official website quoted him as saying at a national conference named "women, moderation and development" on Feb. 7.

    President added that it is the government's duty to pave the way for women to take advantage of their capacities in the society.

    Rouhani went on to criticize those who express extremist opinions and said he has received messages ahead of elections about the outstanding shortcomings in the country.

    "I am aware of all problems and I understand that many of peoples' demands have not been fulfilled so far but we should have an eye on our long-term goals hellip; we should not forget about our main goal," he added.

    "Although sometimes it is difficult to make a choice, everyone under any circumstances should go to the polling stations on 7 Esfand (Iranian calendar Feb. 26)," Rouhani said.

    Iranians are getting ready to elect both law makers for parliament and clerics for the Assembly of Experts on February 26.

    Earlier in Jan 21, President Rouhani criticized the conservative-dominated vetting body of the Guardian Council for failing to qualify a large number of reformist candidates to run for the Feb. 26 parliamentary election.

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  • More pulled out alive after Taiwan quake, about 120 people still trapped
    07.02.2016 14:00
    Rescuers in Taiwan pulled more people alive from a collapsed apartment tower on Sunday, a day after a strong earthquake shook the island, and kept searching for about 120 people still believed trapped in the ruins of the building, Reuters reported.

    Those found alive include a 20-year-old identified by Taiwan media as Huang Kuang-wei and another man in his 20s surnamed Kuo, who was able to walk out from the rubble, supported by rescuers. Both were sent to hospital.

    Firefighters, police, soldiers and volunteers combed through the ruins, some using their hands, watched anxiously by dozens of the victims' family members who wore thick jackets, woollen hats and scarves on a chilly morning.

    "She's not answering my phone calls ... I am trying to hold my emotions and stay strong. I'll do that until I find her," said a woman surnamed Chang, 42, waiting to hear from her 24-year-old daughter who lived on the fifth floor of the complex.

    "Nothing matters but to get her out. The lady living across the hallway was rescued yesterday. I know they will find her, but I have also planned for the worst. It's been more than 20 hours now."

    At least 23 people are known to have died in the quake, which struck at about 4 a.m. on Saturday, at the beginning of a Lunar New Year holiday, including 16 found in the collapsed Wei-guan Golden Dragon Building in the southern city of Tainan.

    Graphic: Taiwan quake

    Around 120 people are still beneath the rubble of the commercial-residential block, with most them trapped deep in the wreckage, the government said.

    Bodies continue to be found, including those of two sisters, aged 18 and 23, Taiwanese media reported.

    The building's lower floors pancaked on top of each other in the 6.4 magnitude quake and then the whole structure toppled, raising immediate questions about the quality of materials and workmanship used in its construction in the 1990s.

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  • Azerbaijani transport ministry stops selling train e-tickets
    07.02.2016 13:59
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 7


    The transport ministry of Azerbaijan won't be able to continue selling train e-tickets, according to the decision of the country's Cabinet of Ministers to amend the "List of types of electronic services."

    This decision was published Feb. 7 in the official press.

    From now on, Azerbaijan Railways CJSC will be selling train e-tickets.

    This decision is related to the fact that the company was excluded from the jurisdiction of Azerbaijani ministry of transport in September 2015.

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  • Turkmenistan sees increase of macroeconomic indicators for 2015
    07.02.2016 12:50
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Feb. 7

    By Huseyn Hasanov- Trend:

    Turkmenistan's GDP growth amounted to 6.5 percent in 2015, said the message of the country's government.

    Macroeconomic indicators of Turkmenistan over the last year were clarified during a recent meeting of the country's Cabinet of Ministers.

    In 2015, the growth in the industry sphere amounted to 3.1 percent, construction - 8.1 percent, transport and communication sector - 9.8 percent, trade - 10.4 percent, agriculture - 7.9 percent, service sector - 9.8 percent, according to the message.

    After hearing the report, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov noted that the macro-economic indicators clearly show steady progressive development of the national economy and successful implementation of reforming programs.

    The president also stressed the importance of adoption of comprehensive measures to use the full potential and maintain stable growth trends in all spheres, as well as the need for regular analysis and forecasting of the macroeconomic situation.

    Ashgabat chose a course to diversify the local economy. The textile industry, as well as the area of petroleum products, advanced. The oil, gas and chemical industry and the production of building materials are being actively developed.

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  • Iran claims 200 million euros compensation from Peugeot
    07.02.2016 12:40
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 7

    By Umid Niayesh- Trend:

    The amount of the compensation which French auto manufacturing company Peugeot-Citroen PSA should pay Iran is over 200 million euros, Hashem Yekeh Zareh, the CEO of Iran Khodro Industrial Group (IKCO) said.

    Yekeh Zareh said that that a supportive-compensational package is forecasted in the Peugeot- IKCO recent deal, Iran's Tasnim news agency reported Feb. 7.

    He further said that the package envisages cash payment for compensation.

    A day earlier Iran's Minister of Industry, Mine, and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh announced that Peugeot will be obliged to make up for the losses Iran suffered due to the company's violation of its previous commitments.

    Peugeot, an arch-partner of the Iranian auto industry, suspended sales in Iran in 2012 due to international sanctions.

    Nematzadeh underlined that Iran's losses due to the suspension of the previous contract will be compensated for in the new deal with the French company, however he refused the unveil further information, saying the details of the contract are confidential.

    The French carmaker earlier announced that it had finalized a binding contract with Iran's leading automobile manufacturer Iran Khodro over the production of cars in the country.

    The contract whose value stands at euro;400 million envisages the investment by Peugeot in modernizing platforms, particularly in the main Iran Khodro site near Tehran. The investment will also allow for the export of vehicles to the region.

    PSA will begin by producing 200,000 cars a year in a 50:50 joint venture, producing the Peugeot 208, 2008, and 301 models. Vehicle production will start in the second half of 2017.

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  • Tariffs for traffic by rail not to be regulated by state in Azerbaijan
    07.02.2016 12:39
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 7

    By Ilhama Isabalayeva - Trend:

    Tariffs for cargo and passenger traffic by rail won't be regulated by state on the territory of Azerbaijan, according to the decision of the country's Cabinet of Ministers to amend the "List of goods (work, services), the prices (tariffs) for which are regulated by state."

    This decision was published Feb. 7 in the official press.

    The country's Cabinet of Ministers has excluded tariffs for freight and passenger traffic by rail on the territory of Azerbaijan from this list.

    Tariffs for other transport modes remain under the state regulation.

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  • Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 120 times in 24 hours
    07.02.2016 11:30
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 7


    Over the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces 120 times broke ceasefire with Azerbaijan on various parts of the contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, said Azerbaijani Defense Ministry Feb. 7.

    Azerbaijani positions located in the nameless heights and the villages of Gizilhajili, Mazam of the Qazakh district, Aghdam, Alibayli of the Tovuz district underwent fire from the nameless heights and the villages of Berkaber of Armenia's Ijevan district, Voskepar, Barekamavan of the Noyemberyan district, Aygepar of Berd district.

    Azerbaijani positions located on the nameless heights of the Gadabay district underwent fire from the positions located on the nameless heights of Armenia's Krasnoselsk district.

    Azerbaijani positions also underwent fire from the positions located near the villages of Talish, Gulustan of the Goranboy district, Goyarkh, Chilaburt, Yarimja of the Terter district, Shikhlar, Novruzlu, Javahirli, Kangarli, Sarijali, Shuraabad, Merzili, Garagashli, Yusifjanli of the Aghdam district, Kuropatkino of the Khojavand district, Horadiz, Garakhanbeyli, Gorgan, Ashagi Seyidahmadli of the Fizuli district, Mehdili of the Jabrayil district.

    Armenians also violated ceasefire from the positions located on nameless heights in the Goygol, Goranboy, Khojavand, Fizuli and Jabrayil districts.

    Azerbaijani armed forces inflicted 121 strikes on enemy positions.

    The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

    The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.

    Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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  • Gasoline prices not related to oil prices in Azerbaijan - SOCAR head
    07.02.2016 11:20
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 7


    Gasoline prices are not related to oil prices in Azerbaijan, President of State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) Rovnag Abdullayev said at a meeting with young oilmen.

    He said that in Azerbaijan, gasoline prices are determined by the Tariff (Price) Council against the background of the overall economy of the country and average prices.

    Gasoline prices in the domestic market were higher than those in the foreign market only once in Azerbaijan, Abdullayev said, adding that such a situation lasted only one or two months. Gasoline currently costs 40 cents in Azerbaijan, and it is cheaper than in the US, he said.

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  • Iranian companies seeking direct Apple, Sony, HTC representation
    07.02.2016 09:33
    Tehran, Iran, February 7

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    A number of Iranian companies have recently held talks with Apple, Sony, and HTC for direct representation branches, according to Chairman of Iran Telecommunication Devices Association Qolamhossein Karimi.

    After the removal of sanctions off Iran, local companies have decided to use the opportunity and start connecting with the outside business. Iran's economy suffered a certain amount of hard blows, and it is now on the recovery path.

    Qolamhossein Karimi stated that the mentioned brands had an indirect representation in Iran. The companies used to offer service to the Iranian market via Hong Kong or Dubai bases, Fars news agency reported February 5.

    Huawei, ZTE, LG, and Samsung already have official representatives in Iran.

    According to Karimi, the Iranian Samsung, LG, and Huawei branches are considering the import of parts in the form of SKD or CKD and then their assembly inside the country.

    The official added that if the latter companies can provide for 20 percent of their market delivery in the form of production or assembly, Iran can consider cell phone exports to neighboring countries.

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  • US slams N. Korea's missile launch
    07.02.2016 08:23
    The White House condemned the Sunday launch of a long-range rocket by North Korea, expressing its commitment to security of regional allies.

    Earlier Sunday, North Korea launched a long-range rocket from the country's northwest.

    "We condemn today's launch and North Korea's determination to prioritize its missile and nuclear weapons programs over the well-being of its people, whose struggles only intensify with North Korea's diversion of scarce resources to such destabilizing activities," National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in a statement.

    According to Rice, the launch is a "flagrant violation" of UN Security Council resolutions.

    "The United States is fully committed to the security of our allies in the region, and we will take all necessary steps to defend ourselves and our allies and respond to North Korean provocations," Rice said.

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  • Over 130 people trapped in collapsed building after Taiwan earthquake
    07.02.2016 08:21
    At least 132 people are trapped under the rubble of a residential building after a powerful earthquake in southern Taiwan, media reported Sunday.

    A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck 28 miles southeast of the city of Tainan on Saturday, toppling multiple buildings, including a 17-story residential building.

    According to the BBC, rescue teams have been working all night with sniffer dogs and special devices to locate the survivors.

    Meanwhile, the death toll of the disaster has grown to 18, according to local media.

    Some 500 people were injured.

    Taiwan lies along the so-called Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped string of volcanoes around the Pacific Rim, where about 90 percent of the world's earthquakes occur.

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  • UNSC to hold extraordinary session after N.Korea's rocket launch
    07.02.2016 08:19
    The UN Security Council may shortly hold an emergency meeting after North Korea conducted a rocket launch on Sunday, a diplomatic source in the United Nations said.

    Earlier Sunday, North Korea launched a long-range rocket from the country's northwest.

    The source told RIA Novosti that the session, likely to be held Sunday, was being convened on the initiative of the Western members of the council.

    The exact time for the consultations is not known yet.

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  • North Korea fires long-range rocket
    07.02.2016 08:18
    North Korea has launched a long-range rocket from a launch site in the country's northwest, media reported Sunday.

    According to the South Korean Yonhap news agency, the rocket is believed to have range of over 10,000 kilometers (6,213 miles).

    Earlier this week, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) confirmed it had received North Korea's notification of plans to launch a satellite between February 8 and 25. Pyongyang later changed the launch dates by one day.

    According to the South Korean Yonhap news agency, the rocket is believed to have range of over 10,000 kilometers (6,213 miles).

    North Korea's Kwangmyongsong satellite launch has sparked concern in Japan and South Korea, with South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok previously saying that Seoul would consider any of Pyongyang's satellite launches as a ballistic missile test.

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  • Tehran, Moscow to discuss credit line extension on Monday - Iranian envoy
    07.02.2016 04:23
    Tehran and Moscow will discuss credit line extension during a visit of an Iranian deputy economy minister to Russia on Monday, Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanai said Saturday.

    According to the ambassador, the Iranian official is expected to meet Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak.

    "A deputy economy minister [of Iran] will visit Russia on Monday, [he] will hold negotiations with the Russian Finance Ministry to sign contracts on credit line extension, which Russia opens for the joint projects," Sanai told reporters.

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  • No security wall to be built around Baghdad - Iraqi PM
    07.02.2016 04:23
    Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Saturday denied the military's reports of plans to build a security wall around Baghdad in order to protect the city from attacks by Daesh militants.

    The Prime Minister said in a statement that the idea of fencing off the capital of Iraq from the rest of the state is not worthy of consideration, despite continuous assaults by Daesh.

    "Baghdad is the capital of all Iraqis," he claimed. "There can be no wall or fence to isolate it or prevent other civilians from entering it."

    Al-Abadi's statement contradicts a prior announcement by Baghdad Operations Command on February 3 that preparatory work for a concrete wall around the city was underway.

    The Daesh terrorist group has occupied vast territories to the north and west of Baghdad since 2014 and has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly assaults in the capital in recent months. At least 18 people were killed in the last attack that occurred on January 11 at a shopping mall, according to local police.

    Instead of fencing off Baghdad, Iraqi authorities plan to secure the capital by reorganizing checkpoints and sealing gaps in the security perimeter while also easing transit in and out of the city, according to al-Abadi's statement.

    Some of the city's areas are already barricaded with a set of fences that were constructed some ten years ago during a fierce conflict between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.

    Iraqi army soldiers and allies from Popular Mobilization Units are seeking to win back the areas under control of the extremist group in joint operations.

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  • Iran, Kuwait ties are invulnerable
    06.02.2016 23:59
    The Kuwaiti Co-Chairman of Iran-Kuwait Friendship Association Abdurahman Al-Ewazi said relations between the two countries are impregnable considering their deep cultural and human relations, IRNA reported.

    In a meeting with Iran's Cultural Attache to Kuwait Reza Shahrivar, he said that bilateral ties between Tehran and Kuwait are based on mutual respect and trust.

    'Culture is the best bridge to strengthen the neighboring countries' bonds which is manifested in Persian words in the local dialects of Kuwaiti people,' said al Ewazi.

    He also said that recent regional tensions are temporary and hoped that they will be settled by prudence.

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  • Uzbekistan may attract ADB loan for highway construction
    06.02.2016 22:39
    Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Feb. 6

    By Demir Azizov - Trend:

    The government of Uzbekistan plans to attract a loan of $405 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2016 to complete construction of a road corridor linking Central Asian countries with Russia and China, a representative of the Uzbek economy ministry told Trend Feb. 5.

    The ministry's representative said the new highway with a short access to Russia and Eastern European countries via the Osh-Kashgar highway will be connected to another high-speed highway, which is being constructed in China along the route of the "Silk Road".

    "The highway lending package was previously agreed with the ADB management, and it will be included in the program of financial cooperation between Uzbekistan and ADB for the next three years," said the ministry's representative.

    It is expected that the loan will be allocated in several tranches between 2016 and 2018.

    To date, ADB has provided Uzbekistan with $1.1 billion for the construction of the road corridor. The funds were allocated for the reconstruction of individual sections of the Guzar-Bukhara-Nukus-Beynau (A-380) and Tashkent-Andijan (A-373) roads, with a total length of 450 kilometers.

    Uzbekistan became ADB member in 1995. Currently, Uzbekistan is the largest recipient of loans from this financial institution in Central Asia: ADB has allocated over $5 billion for implementation of 54 investment projects and grants worth nearly $62 million within the framework of technical assistance.

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  • Taiwan earthquake death toll rises to 14
    06.02.2016 21:59
    A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck 28 miles southeast of the city of Tainan earlier in the day, toppling multiple buildings, including a 17-story residential building that housed over 200 people, Sputnik reported.

    "As of 20:00 local time (12:00 GMT), a total of 14 people were killed, 484 people were injured," Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA) said.

    At least 156 Taiwanese residents went missing in the incident, according to the CNA.

    Two other buildings - one with 16 floors and one with 7 floors - also collapsed in Tainan and one more building tilted.

    High-speed railway service and power supplies in the south of Taiwan were disrupted because of the quake.

    Taiwan lies along the so-called Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped string of volcanoes around the Pacific Rim, where about 90 percent of the world's earthquakes occur.

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  • Russia to build 1.4-GW power plant in Iran
    06.02.2016 19:29
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:

    Iran and Russia agreed on construction of a 1400-MW power plant on Iran's territory, said the country's Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian.

    Chitchian said the initial agreement was achieved between Tehran and Moscow on construction of the steam-electric power station in Hormozgan province, and negotiations over signing a contract are on the way, Mehr News Agency reported on Feb.5.

    Iran has planned to increase the efficiency thermal power plants from the current 37 percent to 40 percent by adding a steam-electric power generator that would convert the facilities to combined-cycle power plants.

    Currently only 25 percent of the country's electricity is produced from combined-cycle power plants.

    Iran's power production capacity stands at 73,758 MW, while during 315 days of current fiscal year, Iran produced 248 billion kWh of electricity.

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  • Mogherini says preparing '˜historicв' visit to Iran
    06.02.2016 19:19
    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini confirmed Saturday that she was preparing a historic visit to Iran in the near future, Sputnik reported.

    "I can also confirm that I debriefed the ministers on the plans for my visit [to Iran], it's going to be an important visit for sure, that we are preparing already with the Iranians," Mogherini said at a press conference in Amsterdam after a two-day informal meeting of EU foreign ministers.

    The high-level politician could not confirm the specific dates of the upcoming visit, as well as members of the European Commission included in the delegation.

    According to Mogherini, she will also receive Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Brussels on February 15.

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  • Iran keeping foreign embassies under close watch in elections time
    06.02.2016 17:59
    Tehran, Iran, February 6

    By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:

    Iran is going to intensify watch on foreign embassies in the time leading up to the upcoming elections, Alaeiddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission tacitly said.

    "I do not think any country would want to try something wrong in elections time," he said, adding, "As for intelligence issues we are not worried, because related officials will act their duties within established frameworks," the YJC news agency reported February 6.

    A week earlier, Mohammad Ali Pourmokhtar, head of the Parliament's Article 90 Commission had called for closer watch on embassies in the time leading to the February 26 elections of the Parliament and Assembly of Experts.

    The Article 90 Commission is a body in the Parliament that deals with petitions filed against the Islamic Republic's three legislative, executive, and judiciary branches.

    Pourmokhtar had told of reports indicating that some embassies in Iran are holding special meetings related to the upcoming elections.

    "Certainly there are political and security concerns as well as intensions of intervention behind such moves," he had said.

    Iran's security organizations grew increasingly sensitive toward foreign activities in the country in election times following the disturbances that ensued 2009 presidential elections. The Islamic Republic at that time blamed a major part of the events on foreign countries.

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  • Turkmen president makes personnel changes in government
    06.02.2016 16:40
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Feb. 6

    By Huseyn Hasanov - Trend:

    Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov spoke about the weakening of discipline in trade sector and exposure of bribery cases among executives, in particular, among those of the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations.

    Addressing a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers Feb. 6, the president noted that Deputy Prime Minister Palvan Taganov didn't cope with his duties.

    He made this conclusion due to the lack of attention to the training of specialists and failure to comply with the earlier given instructions, said Turkmen government in a message Feb. 6.

    In this regard, the president announced the decision to dismiss Taganov as the deputy prime minister due to serious shortcomings in his work.

    Batyr Atdayev, the former chairman of the Supreme Audit Chamber, was appointed the deputy prime minister.

    In his new position, Atdayev will supervise the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations, the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange, and the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan.

    Bayar Abayev, the minister for trade and foreign economic relations, was severely reprimanded by the president for improperly performing his official duties and shortcomings in his work.

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  • Turkmen portв's cargo turnover to double after modernization
    06.02.2016 16:10
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Feb. 6

    By Huseyn Hasanov - Trend:

    The project for modernizing the Turkmenbashi port in Turkmenistan is intended to revive the foreign trade and accelerate economic growth, said a report of the Institute for Strategic Planning and Economic Development (ISPED) Feb. 6.

    Once the project is completed, the port's cargo turnover will increase twofold, and its capacity will exceed 17 million tons per year, according to the report.

    Turkmenbashi port transports export-import and transit cargos, as well as cargos with economic significance, oil and oil products, industrial and construction equipment.

    The intensity of cargo traffic passing through the port has increased markedly in recent years, according to the ISPED report.

    In 2009, Turkmenbashi port's capacity was estimated at seven million tons by experts, and a growth of up to 9.2 million tons was recorded in 2012.

    It was earlier reported that the Turkish Gap Insaat will build a modern seaport in the city of Turkmenbashi on the Caspian shore by 2017.

    The port will also include ship repair and shipbuilding yards. The project is worth $2 billion.

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  • Iranian monitoring body qualifies 1,500 more parliament hopefuls
    06.02.2016 15:59
    Tehran, Iran, February 6

    By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:

    Iran's elections monitoring team has qualified 1,500 more hopefuls of the upcoming parliamentary elections.

    The 1,500 comprised 15 percent of the total hopefuls who had pled against their first-round disqualification. They had been disqualified by the Guardian Council which conducted a preliminary qualification of all the hopefuls.

    Siamak Rahpeykar, spokesman of the elections monitoring team, said with the new results, 55 percent of all who had signed up for candidacy are now qualified, Tasnim news agency reported February 6.

    He added that now 6,300 candidates are going to run for the parliament, a record in the history of elections in the Islamic Republic.

    "Now 20 people are running for every seat in the Parliament," Rahpeykar said.

    He also commented on the Assembly of Experts qualifications and said the final list of qualified hopefuls for the assembly will be published in four days.

    The Parliament and Assembly of Experts elections are going to be held simultaneously on February 26.

    The Assembly of Experts is responsible for monitoring the qualification of the Islamic Republic's leader as well as appointing a new one after a previous has died or ceases to qualify.

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  • Iran confirms intention to replace dollar with euro in oil sales
    06.02.2016 15:59
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6

    By Fatih Karimov- Trend:

    Iran wants to receive its oil money in euro rather than US dollar, Safar Ali Keramati, deputy head of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for crude oil marketing, said.

    Recovering oil debts as well as new crude sales money in euro is Tehran's priority, Keramati said, the oil ministry's SHANA news agency reported Feb. 6.

    The European consumers will not face any problem for euro payments, he added.

    Earlier Reuters quoted a source in NIOC that Iran wants to recover tens of billions of dollars it is owed by India and other buyers of its oil in euros and is billing new crude sales in euros, too, looking to reduce its dependence on the U.S. dollar following last month's sanctions relief.

    Iran was allowed to recover some of the funds frozen under US-led sanctions in currencies other than dollars, such as the Omani rial and UAE dhiram.

    The US officials estimate about $100 billion of Iranian assets were frozen abroad, around half of which Tehran could access as a result of sanctions relief. It is not clear how much of those funds are oil dues that Iran would want back in euros.

    Last month, NIOC's director general for international affairs told Reuters that Iran "would prefer to receive (oil money owed) in some foreign currency, which for the time being is going to be euro."

    Indian government sources confirmed Iran is looking to be paid in euros.

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  • Inventory of residential buildings to be held in Ashgabat
    06.02.2016 15:20
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Feb. 6

    By Huseyn Hasanov - Trend:

    Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov instructed the relevant authorities of the country to conduct an inventory of all residential buildings in Ashgabat, said the Turkmen government Feb. 6.

    The president discussed the issue at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.

    "Due to a significant increase in the welfare of the country's citizens in recent years, some of them buy several apartments and lease them. However, there are still no specific provisions on this point," Berdimuhamedov said.

    The president made serious remarks about the leadership of the interior ministry and local authorities for an irresponsible attitude to the issue, and demanded to streamline the system of apartment leasing registration.

    He also said those who rent apartments should get permits for temporary residence in them.

    "Those who lease apartments, and those who live in them, must comply with the current legislation, and cooperate with the State Tax Service in line with statutory obligations," said Berdimuhamedov.

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  • Iran World Trade Center to open export centers in 44 countries
    06.02.2016 14:41
    Tehran, Iran, February 6

    By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:

    Iran World Trade Center (IWTC) is going to open export centers in 44 countries, the organization's president Mohammad Reza Sabzalipur said.

    The target markets have been under study in the past year and now the executive measures for launching the centers are about to begin, he told Trend February 6.

    According to Sabzalipur, IWTC has signed MoUs with World Trade Centers in 19 countries, which concern the launch of trade centers in the countries of respective signatories.

    Accordingly, Iran is going to launch trade centers in Russia, Canada, France, Turkey, Qatar, Algeria, Brazil, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Malaysia, Iraq, and Afghanistan for now, after which they will also launch similar centers in Iran, he further noted.

    Iran's global trade was hampered for over one decade under strict international sanctions. On July 16, Iran and the group 5 1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) announced the implementation of a comprehensive deal that would lift the sanctions.

    Following the announcement, Iranian banks and companies are getting free of the sanctions and finding new hopes of doing international trade.

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  • Arab states would have a tough time deploying forces in Syria '" Iranian MP
    06.02.2016 14:39
    Tehran, Iran, February 6

    By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:

    The countries which have claimed to be considering on-ground military intervention in Syria should be warned that the "resistance movement" will not stand idle and will give them a harsh response, member of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mohammad Saleh Jokar said.

    Tehran has always expressed support for the Syrian government since it views President Bashar Assad as its main strategic ally in the region and as part of an "axis of resistance" against Israel.

    Even if they do employ forces, which will most likely be a US-backed proxy war, they will face great problems because they are already having many harsh situations to deal with, the MP told Trend February 6.

    Bahrain has announced it is ready to deploy ground forces to Syria under the Saudi leadership as ant-Assad militants are losing ground in the face of the Syrian army advances.

    The announcement by Bahraini Ambassador to Britain Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa on Friday came after Saudi Arabia said it was ready to send troops to Syria.

    The Bahraini diplomat said the Saudi initiative was meant to combat both the IS terrorist group (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) and the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Secretary of Iran's Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, himself formerly commander of the IRGC, said Friday in an Instagram post that a regional war is likely to flare up if Saudi forces are dispatched to Syria.

    Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are members of the US coalition that has been conducting air raids inside Syria since September 2014.

    Jokar also raised the possibility that rather than to aim real action, the announcement is meant to act as a morale-booster to the "terrorist" fighters who have recently lost much ground to Assad forces.

    Iran itself has officially announced it is backing the Syrian Army with military consultation against terrorists which have been waging war in the Arab country for over five years.

    Jokar noted that military intervention in another country is against international regulations, not to mention that tension will lay negative impacts on all regional countries.

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  • Moodyв's reviews Azerbaijanв's GDP forecast
    06.02.2016 14:39
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6


    Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded Azerbaijan's government bond and issuer ratings to Ba1 from Baa3.

    For 2016, Moody's projects real GDP to contract by 0.7 percent compared to a previous forecast expansion, said the ratings agency Feb. 6.

    Story still developing

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  • Iran not going to deploy massive forces in Syria
    06.02.2016 13:59
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

    Iran has no plan on deploying massive military forces in Syria, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced, Feb. 6.

    "Our policy is not dispatching massive forces to Syria, though there is an enthusiasm and very much willingness among IRGC members to take part in battles in Syria," Fars news agency quoted Jafari as saying during the funeral of top IRGC general Mohsen Gajarian, who was killed in Syria on Feb. 4.

    Jafari also said "defending Syria means defending the Islamic resistance."

    Iran calls the enmity with Israel the Islamic resistance.

    Jafari's statement came a day after Saudi Arabia announced that it is ready to deploy ground troops to Syria to fight the "Islamic State" terrorist group (IS, aka ISIL or ISIS), if US-led coalition leaders agree to the offer.

    Ashton Carter, the US defense secretary, welcomed the Saudi offer to participate in the ground operations in Syria.

    "That kind of news is very welcome," he told reporters Feb. 4.

    Jafari further said the major threats are far away from Iranian borders, because the Islamic resistance has spread.

    "Palestine and Lebanon's wars [with Israel] have indicated that the advanced armies are deficient against the Islamic resistance," he said.

    He went on to claim that after the failures in war with the Islamic resistance, "the enemies created Salafi groups like the IS, getting help from Saudi Arabia."

    Major General Jafari also quoted Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as saying that if Iran doesn't fight the enemies far away from its borders, the threats would come close to its own territory and it would have to fight against the enemies inside the country.

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