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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 Azad Hasanli - Trend:

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    Azad Hasanli is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AzadHasanli

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    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 19


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    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr.19

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

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  • Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan have mutual understanding on cooperation in Caspian Sea - President Aliyev
    19.04.2015 15:46
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 19


    President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received the credentials of the newly-appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan Beybit Isabayev April 19.

    Isabayev reviewed the guard of honor.

    Isabayev handed his credentials to President Aliyev.

    President Aliyev then had a conversation with the ambassador.

    Noting the existence of historic friendly and brotherhood relations between the two nations, the president expressed with satisfaction that the bilateral relations between the two countries have reached the level of alliance in modern period. President Aliyev hailed the high-level of political relations, and stressed the two countries supported each-other within the international organizations.

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    The president expressed confidence that during Isabayev`s activity as ambassador the relations would be further strengthened and that the two countries` joint efforts towards providing regional cooperation and security would be increased.

    Isabayev conveyed greetings on behalf of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to President Aliyev. The ambassador expressed confidence over the further development of existing friendly and brotherhood relations between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan in highest level, and said he would spare no efforts towards expansion of relations during his tenure.

    President Aliyev thanked for the greetings of President Nazarbayev and asked the ambassador to communicate his greetings to the president of Kazakhstan.

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    19.04.2015 13:30
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, April 19

    By Huseyn Hasanov- Trend:

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    "We are holding the tripartite negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkey," President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov said. "I hope that we will reach an agreement, and it will become another step towards the implementation of the European vector."

    The president also drew attention to the fact that Turkmenistan has never removed, and will not remove the European vector from the agenda.

    In its turn, Brussels has recently announced that it is time for the European companies, directly interested in Turkmen gas import, to join the negotiation process. The Caspian Development Corporation, which is being established, can serve this goal. This will help Turkmengaz state concern to find a common ground with the concerned companies from Europe.

    In this list, BP, Statoil, Total and other companies with long experience in the Caspian Sea shelf, on the other side, that is, in Azerbaijan, can become potential participants.

    Local experts also believe that Ashgabat, selling gas at its borders, is especially looking for cooperation with the companies willing to invest in the development of the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea. Some 32 licensed blocks have been put up for tender.

    Earlier, during the talks with Turkmenistan, the Eni management voiced its willingness to assist with the Turkmen gas delivery to the world markets in the long term. In November 2014, the company expressed an interest in exploring the offshore blocks No 19 and No 20 in the Turkmen part of the Caspian Sea. The reserves hit more than 500 million metric tons of oil and 630 billion cubic meters of natural gas there.

    Moreover, in April 2009, the Turkmen government signed a long memorandum with one of the leading traders of natural gas on the EU market - RWE AG, which explores the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea.

    According to the agreement, the license envisages the exploration during six years. Some 17 prospective sites and prospective structures have been revealed. RWE previously announced that the exploratory drilling at the first site will be carried out from the shore in 2014-2015.

    The resources have not been assessed here. In case of revealing the hydrocarbon reserves, a license for commercial production for 25 years will be issued.

    The license block is located in the southeastern region of the Turkmen shelf of the Caspian Sea and covers the whole area of about 940 square kilometers.

    Trend commentator Huseyn Hasanov

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  • Iranв's defense minister to visit Baku
    19.04.2015 13:24
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 19

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan will pay an official visit to Baku, Azerbaijan on April 20.

    The visit will take place at the invitation of Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov, Iran's Fars news agency reported.

    Dehghan is scheduled to meet with high-ranking Azerbaijani political-defensive officials.

    The issues related to the bilateral cooperation in military sphere, as well as latest regional developments will be discussed during the visit.

    Azerbaijan's defense minister visited Tehran last April and discussed military cooperation issues with Iranian officials.

    The issues related to military education, organization and holding of command staff meetings, providence with equipment and weapons were discussed between Azerbaijan and Iran in the two-day visit.

    Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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  • Inflation in Turkey to decline in 2nd half of 2015 - CB chief
    19.04.2015 13:18
    The decline in inflation will become more pronounced during the second half of the year after a partial correction in food prices, Turkish Central Bank governor Erdem Basci has said on Saturday, according to the Bank's website, Anadolu Agency reported.

    Speaking at a presentation to investors during the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington D.C., Basci said the decline in inflation excluding energy and food had continued in recent months.

    "Cautious monetary policy along with prudent fiscal and macro prudential policies are having a favorable impact on core inflation trends," Basci said.

    Basci said that elevated levels and high volatility in food prices continued to weigh though on headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation.

    "We expect a partial correction in food prices in the second half of the yearhellip; Weather conditions are more favorable this year compared to 2014. The Food Committee was established and began working," Basci stated.

    In early December of 2014, the Food and Agricultural Products Markets Monitoring and Evaluation Committee was established to monitor food pricing.

    Basci said that Turkey's relative real Gross Domestic Products (GDP) per capita had been increasing during the disinflation period, i.e. since 2014.

    Food inflation represents 14 percent of overall inflation in the country.

    The World Bank has forecast Turkey's inflation rate to hit 7 percent at the end of 2015.

    The government's inflation target is 6.3 percent for the year and 5 percent for next year and 2017.

    Consumer prices in the country rose 1.19 percent in March, bringing the annual inflation rate to 7.61 percent from 7.55 percent in February, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.

    The decline in inflation is boosted by the decline in commodity prices, especially oil, which is also helping the Turkish economy on two other fronts: current account deficit and growth.

    "The impact of lower oil prices will become more visible in the coming months," Basci told to the investors at the presentation.

    "Adverse impacts of geopolitical developments on external trade are offset by the increasing market share of Turkish exports globallyhellip;. and especially in the European Union. Our firms are quite flexible in shifting to new trade destinations," Basci said.

    Turkey's current account balance has been improving since 2011. "The current account deficit is mainly financed by long-term borrowing and foreign direct investments," he said.

    According to the central bank governor, structural reforms will further boost the growth potential of Turkey.

    "Structural reforms, business dynamism and a sustained European recovery will support exports and the prospects for balanced growth," Basci added.

    The 12-month rolling current account deficit declined to $42.8 billion (5.4 percent of GDP) in February 2015, from $46.9 billion (5.8 percent of GDP) in September 2014, the World Bank said in its regular economic brief of Turkey on Friday.

    The Central Bank's Monetary Policy Committee is due to meet Wednesday to decide whether to raise or lower interest rates.

    Turkish government officials have repeatedly criticized the Central Bank for maintaining high interest rates, arguing they could be limiting economic growth.

    However, economists do not expect any change on the bank's main interest rate.

    By not changing the rates, the Bank will keep interest rates relatively high, a move that may help to support the Turkish lira, which has lost more than 10 percent of its value to the dollar since the beginning of the year.

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  • Migrant boat sinks off southwestern Turkey
    19.04.2015 13:12
    At least three people, including a 3-year-old child, were rescued when a boat allegedly carrying illegal migrants sank off Turkey's southwestern Mugla province early Sunday, Turkish officials have said, Anadolu Agency reported.

    According to initial reports, the vessel was heading to Greece's Kos Island, about two miles (3.2 kilometers) from the coast of Turkey, when it capsized off Bodrum in Mugla.

    The rescued migrants were taken to Bodrum State Hospital, said coast guard officials.

    The nationality of the migrants remains unknown. Turkish coast guard vessels are continuing their search for survivors, officials added.

    Turkey is a regular transit point for undocumented immigrants trying to reach Europe.

    According to a recent report, Turkish teams have rescued 1,497 migrants and apprehended six human traffickers in about 60 incidents as part of its operations in the Aegean Sea in 2015.

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  • Casualties reported in clashes in Yemen's Hudaydah
    19.04.2015 13:06
    Clashes erupted early Sunday between Shiite Houthi militants and unidentified militants in the western Yemeni province of Al-Hudaydah, leaving unspecific number of people dead or injured, a security source said, Anadolu Agency reported.

    The clashes lasted for hours in Al-Hudaydah city, the provincial capital that bears the province's name, the source told the Anadolu Agency, requesting anonymity.

    The violence left several people dead or injured, the source said, noting that the number of casualties is yet to be known determined.

    Yemen has been in turmoil since the Houthis overran capital Sanaa in September and have since advanced on other provinces.

    Late last month, Saudi Arabia and several other Arab states began an air campaign against Houthi positions across Yemen.

    Riyadh says the strikes come in response to appeals by embattled Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi for help against the Houthis.

    The Houthis, for their part, denounce the offensive as an unwarranted "Saudi-American onslaught" on Yemen.

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  • No need for military presence of Iran in Yemen '" IRGC
    19.04.2015 12:56
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr.19

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

    Lieutenant Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Salami says there is no need for military presence of Iran in Yemen.

    He added that people in Yemen do not need Iranian military and battle training, Iran's IRNA news agency reported on April 19.

    "Most of Yemeni people are Sunni. We have not only any interest in defending Yemeni people, but also we have endangered our national security for the sake of the dignity of Muslims."

    Earlier some reports were published in western media about the arrest of two Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) military officers in Yemen which was denied by Iran.

    An international military operation kicked off on March 26 in Yemen against Iran-backed Houthis, with involvement of the armed forces of a number of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia.

    The Shiite rebels have taken control of several cities and are assaulting the port of Aden, where Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi had been based before fleeing to Riyadh.

    Iran denies accusations that it gives military assistance to the Shiite group.

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  • Mediterranean migrants: 'Major' rescue operation as boat capsizes near Lampedusa
    19.04.2015 12:50
    A "major" rescue operation is under way in the Mediterranean Sea after a boat carrying migrants capsized, the Maltese Navy has told the BBC as reported.

    A spokesman said Italian ships and commercial boats were also involved in the emergency operation in Libyan waters, 130 miles (210km) off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

    The Times of Malta newspaper reported that 650 migrants fell overboard from a boat at about midnight local time.

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  • Iranian Environment Department to monitor radio jamming
    19.04.2015 12:32
    Tehran, Iran, April 19

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    Head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organization Masoumeh Ebtekar has said that the department is going to be equipped with radio jamming monitoring devices.

    She said that numerous studies have been carried out to draft a report on radio jamming in the country and its hazards; and hoped that the ICT Ministry will cooperate with the department in acquiring and installing the equipment, IRNA news agency reported April 19.

    She further said that a session is going to be held between her and ICT Minister Mahmoud Vaezi on coordinating further actions.

    The jamming of satellite TV has been in use in Iran in the past few years.

    Debates have been raised in Iran regarding the health hazards of satellite jamming.

    Iranian officials including the health minister have claimed that jamming has no health risk for humans.

    However, the minister of communication has recently admitted that satellite jamming has "serious effects" and has called for identification of jamming stations so they can put a stop to this practice.

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  • How long will gas war between Ankara and Tehran last?
    19.04.2015 12:17
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 19

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    No matter how the officials of Turkey and Iran stated that there are no problems between the countries, it is obvious that along with the political differences, Ankara and Tehran have also differences in a price on the Iranian gas supplied to Turkey.

    As for the political differences, this is mainly connected with Syrian, Iraqi and Yemeni crises.

    Ankara repeatedly appealed to Tehran that the price on Iranian gas does not suit Turkey. As a result, Ankara appealed to the International Court of Arbitration in March 2012 regarding the price on "blue fuel" supplied from a neighboring country.

    In its turn, Iran said that it is willing to consider this issue only if Turkey doubles the volumes of gas supplies from Iran. But while waiting for the decision of the court of arbitration, Ankara refused from this.

    According to the Turkish media, Turkey buys Iranian gas at $490 per 1,000 cubic meters. The country pays $ 335 per 1,000 cubic meters for Azerbaijani gas, which is supplied via the South Caucasus gas pipeline (Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum). Russian gas costs Turkey $ 425 per 1,000 cubic meters.

    Turkey has contracts with Iran for the supply of 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year, with Russia - 20 billion cubic meters of gas, Azerbaijan - 6.6 billion cubic meters of gas.

    Moreover, Turkey signed agreements with Algeria and Nigeria for the supply of 4.4 billion and 1.2 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas per year, respectively.

    Turkey buys 95 percent of Iranian gas, while Armenia buys the rest five percent.

    The share of Iranian gas in Turkey is 20 percent.

    Ankara hopes that the court of arbitration will make a decision on the price of Iranian gas supplied in May 2015.

    But this does not mean that the arbitration court will make a decision in favor of Turkey.

    It is not ruled out that if the decision of the arbitration court is against Turkey, Ankara will primarily refuse from the "take or pay" principle in gas supplies from Iran.

    Ankara will abandon the "take or pay" principle in the gas relations with Iran in late 2015, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said.

    He also said that Turkey completely abandoned the "take or pay" principle in gas supplies from Russia in 2014.

    In case of Ankara's refusal from the "take or pay" principle with Iran, Turkey will also reduce the Iranian gas supplies, by increasing the Russian gas supplies.

    But all this will last only until 2018, as Turkey will receive Azerbaijani gas via the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) beginning from 2018.

    TANAP's initial capacity will be 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year. About six billion cubic meters will be delivered to Turkey, and the rest - to Europe.

    Taking this into account, one can say that TANAP will ensure energy security of Europe. Moreover, it will also partially weaken Turkey's dependence on Iranian gas.


    Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

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  • Earthquake hits Iran near South Pars gas field
    19.04.2015 11:24
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 19

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    An earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale jolted the city of Parsian in Iran's southern province of Hormozgan near the country's South Pars gas field on April 19.

    The tremor occurred at 08:11 local time (GMT 4:30 hours), according to a report from the seismography center affiliated with Tehran University Geophysics Institute.

    The earthquake's epicenter was at a depth of 10 kilometers underground, the country's official IRIB news agency reported.

    There is no immediate report on possible casualties or damage.

    Iran sits astride several major faults in the earth's crust and is prone to frequent earthquakes, many of which have been devastating.

    The deadliest quake in the country was in June 1990 and measured 7.7 on the Richter scale.

    About 37,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 injured in the north-western provinces of Gilan and Zanjan. Nearly 27 towns and 1,870 villages were devastated.

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  • US must offer clearer guarantees to secure nuclear deal '" Iranian parliament speaker
    19.04.2015 11:12
    Tehran, Iran, April 19

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    The Iranian Parliament speaker Ali Larijani has said that the US government must give clearer guarantees that the nuclear talks will bear fruit.

    He was making the statements in response to a US Congress move to create the right for the legislative body to oversee a nuclear deal between Tehran and the group P5 1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany).

    There are different interpretations of this move, some counting it as indicative of the weakness of US President Barack Obama, some discerning a new trick, and some seeing it as a way to disturb the grounds for an agreement, Larijani said, IRIB news agency reported April 19.

    He went on to say that whichever of the possibilities comes out to be the case, the Islamic Republic will continue the negotiations accordingly.

    "The Iranian negotiators must adopt alternative scenarios for various conditions," he asserted.

    "It is unlikely that the US officials might have thought that by doing so they could gain more power in the negotiations. On the contrary, they will have more difficulty in guaranteeing a deal," he further stated.

    Iran and the six powers reached a framework agreement on April 2. The agreement envisions a final deal by July 1.

    The deal will limit Iran's nuclear activity and on the other side will remove international sanctions on the country.

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  • Afghan president pays postponed visit to Tehran
    19.04.2015 10:57
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 19

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani arrived in Tehran on April 19 morning, heading a high-ranking delegation.

    The two-day visit is taking place at the invitation of the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

    Ashraf Ghani is scheduled to discuss mutual interests as well as latest regional and global developments with Iranian officials during his stay.

    The Afghan president was welcomed in Tehran's international Mehrabad airport by Iran's Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli upon his arrival, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported.

    Iranian IRINN TV channel has reported live that Rouhani welcomed Ashraf Ghani in Saadabad Palace in Tehran.

    The visit was planned to take place last month, but was postponed due to the avalanche in the country's northeastern Panjshir province which killed about one hundred people.

    It was earlier announced that Ashraf Ghani will likely sign a security pact with Iran during his visit.

    Afghanistan is planning to sign a strategic deal with Iran to boost cooperation in fighting against terrorism and combating against drugs smuggling.

    In August 2013, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a strategic cooperation pact with President Rouhani covering mainly security issues.

    Afghanistan was the fifth biggest importer of Iranian goods during the last Iranian fiscal year (ended on March 20).

    The Islamic Republic exported $2.388 billion worth of goods to its eastern neighbor during the period.

    Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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  • UN calls for ending military hostilities in Libya
    19.04.2015 10:32
    The conflicting sides in Libya should stop violence to create favourable atmosphere for negotiations, Leon Bernardino , the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, said late on Saturday, TASS reported.

    A regular round of inter-Libyan political consultations is taking place in Skhirat /Morocco/ under UN auspices in a bid to reach the final and comprehensive settlement.

  • Iran plans to attract $30 billion investment from overseas Iranians
    19.04.2015 10:09
    Tehran, Iran, April 18

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    Iranian Deputy Minister of Labor, Cooperative, and Social Welfare Abolhassan Firouzabadi has said that the ministry plans to attract $30 billion investment from overseas Iranians.

    He said that the investment is planned to fund economic projects across the country, Mehr news agency reported April 18.

    He added that the plan is under investigation by the ministry's experts, adding that there is a large sum of money owned by Iranians leaving abroad.

    If we can meet their trust and create the necessary incentives, we will be able to return the financial sources to the country and make these people have a share in carrying out big economic projects, he said.

    "The region's future perspective shows that war in the regional countries, especially in Iraq and Syria, will be over and these countries would need reconstruction hugely. We can tap the capabilities of the Iranian investors to carry out these projects," Firouzabadi stated.

    Earlier this week, Deputy Chairman of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries, and Agriculture Mohsen Jalalpour said that since the beginning of the Rouhani administration in mid-2013, overseas Iranians had invested $120 billion in projects inside the country.

    He noted that during the period the Iranian investors chose 60 Iranian companies among their top 10 companies to invest in.

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  • Iran wants to transport gas from Turkmenistan
    19.04.2015 08:16
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 19

    By Temkin Jafarov, Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    Iran intends to transport gas from Turkmenistan, Iranian ambassador to Turkmenistan, Mohammad Musa Hashemi Golpayegani told Trend.

    He said Iran is open to the energy cooperation with its northern neighbors - Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

    He said the cooperation between Iran and Turkmenistan in the energy sphere has historical roots and is developing from day to day.

    The ambassador added that following the collapse of the USSR, Turkmenistan constructed its first gas pipeline to Iran and two more gas pipelines have been constructed to the border with Iran.

    Hashemi Golpayegani added that Iran annually purchases 12-14 billion cubic meters of gas from Turkmenistan and both countries are interested in increasing this volume to 40 billion cubic meters.

    The diplomat said Iran is ready to transport Turkmen gas through its territory, adding that Iran has technical opportunities, including a gas network for transporting in any direction.

    The ambassador said that Iran and Turkmenistan have not yet discussed in what direction the transit of gas will be carried out, however, they supported the idea of '‹'‹transit itself.

    He said that if Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan will cooperate in the energy sector, this partnership will turn them into the leading countries of the region.

    Hashemi Golpayegani said that Iran is ready to start oil products exchange (swap) with its northern neighbors again.

    Until 2009, Iran carried out swap of oil products with its northern neighbors from the port of Neka, but these operations have not been conducted for already six years. Iran's revenues from oil swap for 10 years amounted to $800 million, he said.

    The ambassador said that in accordance with the agreements reached, the trade turnover between Iran and Turkmenistan will reach $60 billion during the next 10 years.

    Edited by CN

    Follow the authors on Twitter: @JafarovTemkin , @UmidNiayesh

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  • Islamic State blamed for Afghan suicide bombing killing 35
    19.04.2015 07:36
    A motorcycle-riding suicide bomber attacked a line of people waiting outside a bank Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 35 and wounding 125 in an assault the country's president blamed on the Islamic State group, the Associated Press reported.

    The accusation by President Ashraf Ghani, following local media reporting the Islamic State group's Afghan affiliate claiming the attack, would mark a major escalation in the extremists' nascent campaign of violence in the country.

    While nowhere near as powerful as the Taliban, the affiliate's ability to strike at will would mark a new threat for the country to contend with as U.S. and NATO forces ended their combat mission at the start of the year. It also further stretches the Islamic State group's influence far beyond its self-declared caliphate stretching through a third of Iraq and Syria.

    The attack in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, targeted a crowd of soldiers and civilians gathered outside the bank to receive their monthly salaries. The blast killed at least 35 people and wounded 125, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

    Hours after the attack, Ghani blamed the Islamic State group for the bombing.

    "In the horrific incident in Nangarhar, who took responsibility? The Taliban didn't claim responsibility. Daesh claimed responsibility for it," Ghani said, using an Arabic acronym for the group.

    Local Afghan media quoted a previously unknown man who identified himself as a spokesman for the Islamic State group's affiliate in the country, claiming responsibility for the attack. It's not clear whether Ghani relied on this for his remarks or if he had other intelligence at his disposal.

    The Taliban denied it carried out the bank attack and another elsewhere in the province that killed one civilian and wounded two.

    "We condemn/deny involvement in both," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid tweeted.

    The Islamic State group, currently targeted by a U.S.-led coalition's airstrikes and an Iraqi ground offensive, has seen its public image rise dramatically since it seized much of Iraq last summer. Its online videos and propaganda, including scenes of its mass killings and beheadings, have caught the attention of many extremists.

    In Libya, an Islamic State group affiliate has carried out attacks and beheaded 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt. Insurgents in Egypt's strategic Sinai Peninsula also have pledged to the group, while another purported affiliate in Yemen claimed a series of suicide bombings in March that killed at least 137 people.

    Ghani previously has warned that the Islamic State group was starting to establish a presence in Afghanistan. He used his visit to the United States last month to reiterate his concerns.

    "If we don't stand on the same line united, these people are going to destroy us," Ghani told a crowd of 600 people Saturday in Faizabad, the capital of northeastern Badakhshan province.

    He called on the Taliban to join with the Kabul government, and said that any Taliban who switched allegiance to Islamic State group would earn the wrath of Afghanistan's religious leaders.

    Ghani also blamed a recent attack on an army outpost, in which 18 soldiers were killed, eight of them beheaded, on "international terrorists." The Taliban aren't known to carry out beheadings.

    The United Nations' Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, on a visit to Afghanistan, called the attack a "war crime."

    "The use of suicide bombs and other devices in such an indiscriminate way by insurgent groups clearly constitutes a war crime, and those responsible for organizing or perpetrating such attacks must be brought to justice," he said in a statement.

    Analysts and officials say the number of Islamic State supporters in the Afghan-Pakistan region remains small and that the group faces resistance from militants with strong tribal links. Taliban fighters and Islamic State supporters even have battled each other. However, the rise of even a small Islamic State affiliate could further destabilize the region and complicate U.S. and NATO efforts to end the 13-year Afghan war.

    Taliban militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan owe their allegiance to Mullah Omar, a cleric who has led the Taliban since the 1990s but has not been seen or heard in public for years. Officials fear that an Islamic State push into the region could bring an infusion of guns and money, sparking brutal competition among local militants disenchanted with Mullah Omar's silence and eager to prove themselves with escalating atrocities.

    In recent days, Ismail Khan, long a dominant figure in Afghanistan's western province of Herat, told The Associated Press that the numbers of Islamic State supporters are growing because of divisions in Ghani's government. Afghanistan's senior Shiite leader, Mohammad Mohaqiq, told the AP this month that Islamic State loyalists in southern Zabul province also were behind the abduction of 31 ethnic Hazara Shiites in late February.

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  • Yemen government rejects Iranian peace plan
    19.04.2015 06:25
    Yemen's government has rejected a four-point peace plan for the country that Iran submitted to the United Nations, a spokesman said on Saturday, Reuters reported.

    Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab coalition partners have been bombing Iranian-allied Houthi rebels for three weeks in order to halt advances that could give the rebels full control of the country.

    The conflict, though rooted in local rivalries, has been described as a proxy war between predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran, both top OPEC oil producers.

    The Iranian plan calls for an immediate ceasefire and end of all foreign military attacks, humanitarian assistance, a resumption of broad national dialogue and "establishment of an inclusive national unity government."

    "We reject the Iranian initiative," Yemeni government spokesman Rajeh Badi told Reuters by telephone from Qatar's capital, Doha. "The goal of the initiative is only a political maneuver."

    Yemen's government and its main supporter, Saudi Arabia, have accused Iran of meddling in Yemen's affairs as part of an effort to dominate the region. Iran denies the allegations.

    Iran has also dismissed accusations it is providing direct military support to Houthi fighters, Shi'ites from the north who have been closing in on the southern port city of Aden.

    Western and Arab diplomats in New York have shown little interest in the Iranian plan, saying they do not consider Iran a neutral peace broker in Yemen, a small oil producer also destabilized by attacks by al Qaeda's most lethal branch.

    The United Nations said about 150,000 people had been driven from their homes by air strikes and ground fighting, with more than 750 people killed.

    Saudi Arabia has said its aim is to carry out air strikes to force the Houthis to negotiate with the government, which is in exile.

    U.S. President Barack Obama and Saudi King Salman agreed in a telephone conversation on Friday that a negotiated political solution was essential for lasting peace in Yemen, the White House said in a statement.

    Conflict in Yemen risks spilling out onto busy sea lanes that pass it and potentially disrupt the narrow Bab el-Mandeb passage through which nearly 4 million barrels of oil are shipped daily to Europe, the United States and Asia.

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  • Iran students, teachers protest Saudi aggression
    19.04.2015 04:31
    Iranians have held yet another rally in the country's capital in condemnation of Saudi Arabia's aggression against Yemen, Press TV reported.

    The protest saw students and teachers gathering in front of the United Nations headquarters in Tehran and urging international organizations to act in order to stop the killing of innocent civilians.

    "The killing of children in Yemen should be condemned," shouted protesters.

    "In the demonstration, we have tried to show our growing discontent to the world and to support the defenseless people in Islamic countries," said one female student.

    People in Iran have staged several protest rallies against the Saudi onslaught that has left nearly 2,700 people dead since March 26.

    On Saturday, students also rallied in front of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, calling for it to be shut down.

    Saudi Arabia started military aggression against Yemen, without a UN mandate, in a bid to restore power to fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a close ally of Riyadh.

    The humanitarian situation in Yemen is rapidly deteriorating. Many international aid organizations have sought clearances to dispatch medical and other humanitarian supplies by air and sea to civilians in need.

    Iran has offered a four-point peace initiative to resolve the country's crisis. The provisions stipulated in the plan comprise cessation of all foreign military attacks in Yemen, swift transference of humanitarian aides, resumption of national-Yemeni talks, and formation of comprehensive unity government.

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  • Russia to supply S-300s to Iran despite Israelв's objections - deputy defense minister
    19.04.2015 02:31
    Russia has no international restrictions on supplies to Iran of S-300 air defense missile systems, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Saturday on the Ekho Moskvy radio, pishet TASS.

    "S-300s are not offensive armaments. These are defensive air defense systems. The US admits that the S-300s do not fall under the UN ban," Antonov said.

    "Why can't we supply defensive weapons to someone?" he asked.

    At the same time, he said he talked to an Israeli representative and that the latter said Israel is against supplies to Iran of such systems for Iranian nuclear facilities to be open "to any actions" on the part of Israel.

    On April 13, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to lift the ban on S-300 deliveries to Iran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said April 13 that Russia's voluntary embargo on deliveries of S-300 missile systems to Iran is no longer needed due to progress in the resolution of the situation around Iran's nuclear program.

    US President Barack Obama admitted Friday that he was "surprised" that Russia had not resumed its supplies of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran earlier.

    "I'm frankly surprised that it [the ban on S-300 deliveries to Iran] held this long, given that they were not prohibited by [UN Security Council] sanctions from selling these defensive weapons," he said.

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  • 'Our door is still open to Armenia,' says Erdogan
    19.04.2015 01:51
    Turkey is ready to cooperate with Armenia should it take "positive" steps with regards to so-called "genocide" allegations as well as to a dispute with Azerbaijan over the region of Karabakh, Turkey's president has said Saturday, Anadolu reported.

    "Our door is still open to Armenia," said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking at the inauguration ceremony of various facilities in the northwestern Turkish province of Kocaeli.

    "We are ready for any kind of cooperation with (Armenia) if they take positive steps on the so called 'genocide' allegations," said Erdogan.

    On Wednesday, the European Parliament adopted the resolution recognizing the 1915 events as "genocide." It came three days after Pope Francis also called the 1915 incidents a "genocide," drawing sharp criticism from the Turkish government.

    Erdogan said that nearly 80,000 Armenians lived in Turkey - most of them illegally, he underlined.

    "They receive free education, they are involved in trade, they work in the public sector (...), they benefit from all the rights other citizens have," he said

    "Politicizing this issue, while pulling off it from the historical basis, will damage mostly Armenians," he added.

    He also reiterated that historical documents about the events were open to all for analysis and called on Armenia and other countries to open their archives, if they had any.

    Turkey has called for the establishment of a joint commission of historians and the opening of archives to study and uncover what happened between the Ottoman Empire and its Armenian citizens.

    Erdogan also criticized Selahattin Demirtas, the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party co-chair, who did not sign a joint statement condemning the European Parliament's resolution.

    The ruling AK Party and two main opposition parties, Republican People's Party and Nationalist Movement Party, issued a joint statement on Thursday to strongly condemn the European Parliament's recent resolution terming the 1915 events "genocide."

    The 1915 events took place during World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and revolted against the Empire. The relocation by the Ottoman Empire of Armenians in eastern Anatolia following the revolts resulted in numerous casualties.

    Erdogan also addressed the Karabakh region issue.

    "We are ready to meet and talk with Armenian politicians, who show courage and will, but first the Karabakh dispute has to be resolved," he added.

    Azerbaijan and Armenia, two former Soviet republics, fought a war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in the 1990s.

    Turkey has supported Azerbaijan in its struggle against Armenia over the disputed region and aims to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

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  • Iraq: Blasts kill 13, injure 38
    19.04.2015 01:11
    Thirteen people, including five Iraqi police officers, were killed and 38 others injured in separate violent incidents in Iraq, security officials said Saturday, Anadolu agency reported.

    Blasts occurred in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and in the province of Diyala on Saturday.

    According to Baghdad security sources, one Iraqi police officer was killed and four others were injured when an improvised explosive device went off in the Arab Jabbar area in southern Baghdad.

    Another eight people were killed and 29 others injured in separate roadside bomb explosions in al-Kifah, al-Jadida and Zaferanieh districts of eastern Baghdad.

    A third blast killed four police officers and injured five people in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala, regional security sources said.

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  • Italy looking forward to removal of Iran sanctions
    18.04.2015 23:49
    Italy said on Saturday it is waiting for the removal of sanctions that have been imposed on Iran so as to return to the country's lucrative market, Press TV reported.

    Paolo Pistelli, the Italian deputy foreign minister, told a conference in Rome that a final comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran will turn the country into "a market everyone is waiting for".

    "Italy will have numerous economic opportunities in Iran in all categories of products," Pistelli told the conference held at the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI). "This is because we have a creative and productive economy".

    The official further emphasized that there is already a huge consumer market in Iran, adding that Rome is "very interested" in realizing when and how the new opportunities for businesses are created in the country.

    On the same front, Licia Mattioli, the deputy director of the General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confidustria), has emphasized that Italy can compensate a loss of as much as euro;8 billion in exports to Europe once the doors to the Iranian market open as the result of the final nuclear deal.

    "Undoubtedly, once the sanctions against Iran are removed, the Confidustria would immediately act [over investing in Iran]," Mattioli said.

    Over a week of talks between top diplomats of Iran and the P5 1 in the Swiss city of Lausanne culminated in a joint statement on April 2 in which the sides said they had reached understanding over solutions to move ahead toward drafting a comprehensive nuclear agreement before June 30. A key point of Lausanne statement was a promise to lift a series of economic sanctions on Iran once the sides reach the final nuclear deal.

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  • Yemen crisis: Saudi Arabia pledges $274m to meet UN call for aid
    18.04.2015 22:20
    Saudi Arabia, which is leading an air campaign against rebels in Yemen, has pledged to provide exactly the amount of emergency aid to the country as called for in a UN appeal on Friday, BBC reported.

    The official Saudi news agency said it has promised $274m (pound;183m; euro;255m) in humanitarian aid.

    Yemen has been wracked by fighting between Houthi rebels and government troops.

    The UN says 150,000 people have been displaced by fighting.

    It also says 12 million are short of food.

    Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud announced the aid late on Friday, saying his country would "stand fully by the brotherly people of Yemen".

    A Saudi-led coalition has been launching air strikes against the rebels in 18 of Yemen's 22 provinces, exacerbating an existing humanitarian crisis.

    The UN said 731 people had been killed and 2,754 injured - many of them civilians - in three weeks between March and April. The numbers were likely to be an underestimate, it warned.

    A land, sea and air blockade has made it hard not just to assess the damage but to get aid to where it is needed, the BBC's Arab affairs editor Sebastian Usher says.

    Even before the current conflict, 15.9 million people - 61% of the population - were estimated to require some kind of humanitarian aid, according to the UN.

    Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is fighting both the rebels and government troops, has also exploited the chaos gripping the country.

    AQAP fighters took control of a massive weapons depot in the eastern Hadramawt province on Friday.

    Earlier this month, they seized an airport in southern Yemen, and overran the port city of Mukalla.

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  • Iraqi forces retake most of Iraq's largest refinery: officials
    18.04.2015 21:25
    Iraqi forces retook most of the country's largest refinery from Islamic State on Saturday, security officials said, reversing gains by the militants who seized parts of the sprawling complex this week, Reuters reported.

    The insurgents attacked Iraq's Baiji refinery a week ago by blasting through the security perimeter around it and taking over several installations, including storage tanks.

    A spokesman for Iraq's counterterrorism forces told Reuters troops protecting the refinery had now retaken most facilities, although there were still small pockets of insurgents left on the site.

    "We expect to regain full control within a couple of hours," Sabah al-Noamani said.

    Iraqi forces retook Baiji refinery from militants once before last November, but lost control of it again.

    Islamic State insurgents suffered a major defeat this month when Iraqi troops and Shi'ite paramilitaries routed them from the city of Tikrit, but struck back at Baiji and in the western province of Anbar.

    Thousands of families have fled Anbar in recent days as Islamic State militants gained on Ramadi and local officials warned the city was about to fall.

    Two members of the Anbar provincial council and police Major Khalid al-Fahdawi who is stationed inside Ramadi said reinforcements were on the way and the city was no longer in immediate peril.

    "The danger is still there, but the situation is better than yesterday," provincial council member Sabah Karhout told Reuters.

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  • Afghanistan suicide blast kills 33, targets government workers
    18.04.2015 20:37
    A suicide bomb blast in Afghanistan's eastern city of Jalalabad killed 33 people and injured more than 100 on Saturday outside a bank where government workers collect salaries, the city's police chief said, Reuters reported.

    Police were investigating whether there was a second explosion after people rushed to the scene to help, the police chief, Fazel Ahmad Sherzad, told a news conference.

    "It was a suicide attack," Sherzad said, adding police had yet to determine if the attacker had worn the explosives or had placed them in a car. "It is early to say what kind of suicide bomber."

    Taliban insurgents denied responsibility. The militants, who were ousted from power by a U.S.-led invasion in 2001, rarely claim attacks that kill large groups of civilians, saying their activities are restricted to foreign or Afghan military and government targets.

    "It was an evil act. We strongly condemn it," the Islamist militants' spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told Reuters.

    Police said another blast that shook Jalalabad was a controlled detonation after experts discovered a further bomb close to the scene of the first explosion.

    Local media reported a former spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for bombings in the eastern city on behalf of the Islamic State in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    The spokesman could not be reached and his connection to the group could not be verified by Reuters.

    Elsewhere in the east, the Taliban announced the execution of three men accused of murdering a couple during a robbery, saying they had been tried by an Islamic court.

    The killing was carried out in front of a crowd by Taliban fighters who fired at the men with AK-47s, according to a Reuters witness. Footage seen by Reuters show the men were made to sit on the ground with their eyes blindfolded and their hands tied at the time of their execution.

    "(They) killed a female doctor and her husband ... inside their house and then they took all their assets, jewelry and cash," the Taliban said in a statement.

    The executioners, one stood behind each man, also had their faces covered, and were dressed in white salwar kameez and turbans. After the initial shots were fired, one continued to shoot at the bodies while the crowd of villagers cheered.

    This is the first year Afghan forces are facing the Taliban with very limited international support on the ground, although help with intelligence and special operations will continue through 2016.

    On Saturday, parliament approved the nomination of 16 ministers, leaving only the position of defense minister vacant because the president and his coalition have been unable to agree on a candidate.

    The vacancy has frustrated military officials who say the army has been left rudderless in the face of escalating violence by the Taliban.

    NATO, which at its peak had 130,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, has only a small contingent of around 12,000 troops left and most are involved in training.

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  • Iran starts testing Iraq gas pipeline
    18.04.2015 19:52
    Iran has moved closer to starting crucial natural gas exports to Iraq, Press TV reported.

    The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said on Saturday that preliminary tests have been carried out over 50 kilometers of the final stretch of the pipeline which has been installed to take gas to Iran's western neighbor.

    The next test will be carried out over the remaining 47 kilometers of the pipeline - that runs from Charmaleh in Iran's Ilam province and ends in the border city of Naftshahr - in the near future, NIGC added.

    Exports will accordingly start once the final test over the remaining part of the pipeline is carried out, Shana news agency reported.

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  • Turkish consulate comes under Molotov attack in Greece
    18.04.2015 19:17
    The Turkish Consulate General building in the Greek city of Thessaloniki was struck by Molotov cocktails several times during a demonstration against high-security prisons Friday night, consulate sources told the Anadolu Agency.

    At least two people, including a woman passerby were injured in the attack.

    Greek police had not intervened when a group of protesters moved from the city center towards the street, where the consulate general was located.

    The protesters turned violent and hurled more than 10 Molotov cocktails at the Turkish Consulate General building and at policemen stationed there. The outer wall of the consulate building, a police booth and a bus near the consulate were damaged in the incident, consulate officials told AA.

    A police car also caught fire in the attack, they added.

    The protesters were demonstrating against high-security prisons and intended to show solidarity with hunger strikers at such institutions in the country.

    The police booth in front of the Turkish Consulate General has been attacked at least nine times before.

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  • Iran ready to work with Australia against terrorism: Rouhani
    18.04.2015 18:26
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has expressed the Islamic Republic's readiness to cooperate with Australia in the fight against terrorism, Press TV reported.

    "Iran is ready to cooperate with all countries, including Australia, in the fight against violence, extremism and terrorism," Rouhani said in a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Tehran on Saturday.

    Describing terrorism as a major threat, Rouhani urged all countries to adopt a unified and timely approach toward the scourge of terrorism and acts of oppression against defenseless people regardless of ethnic, religious or racial issues.

    Touching on the war in Yemen, Rouhani said the crisis in the Arab country could only be settled through a political solution not through the bombardment of civilians.

    Iran is ready to cooperate with other countries to help end the bloodshed in Yemen, the Iranian president added.

    Saudi Arabia's air campaign against Yemen started on March 26, without a United Nations mandate, in a bid to restore power to the country's fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

    According to reports, over 2,600 people, including women and children, have so far lost their lives in the attacks.

    Regarding negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, Rouhani said a nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5 1 group would benefit the Islamic Republic, the six world powers as well as the region and the entire world.

    The Australian foreign minister, for her part, said Tehran and Canberra have a joint approach to helping the Iraqi government in the fight against ISIL terrorists, adding that the two countries believe the Iraqi government needs international support to defeat the terrorists.

    ISIL started its campaign of terror in Iraq in early June 2014. The heavily-armed militants took control of Mosul before sweeping through parts of the country's Sunni Arab heartland. Iraqi soldiers, backed by volunteer forces, have been engaged in joint operations to drive the terrorists out of areas they have seized.

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  • Iranian president says more effort needed to deal with terrorism
    18.04.2015 16:38
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr.18

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says more effort is needed to deal with terrorism in the region.

    In a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Tehran, Rouhani said that eliminating intellectual and economic roots of terrorism needs more effort, Iran's IRIB reported on April 18.

    To this end, Iran is ready to cooperate with all countries, including Australia, to combat violence, extremism, and terrorism, Rouhani said.

    "We should make all governments and nations to act against terrorism and aggression free from their race and religion," he added. To resolve different problems, political and logical approaches should be taken advantage of, he said, adding that the crisis in Yemen will be resolve through political negotiations, not through bombing defenseless people.

    Rouhani said Apr.9 that Yemeni people will not give up in the face of air strikes, calling for ceasefire and end of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition's military operation.

    He called the military operation a wrong option which has already failed in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, warning the countries involved in the coalition of the sequences of their approach towards Yemen.

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  • Iranian ambassador meets Russian communication minister
    18.04.2015 16:16
    Tehran, Iran, April 18

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanaei met Russian Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov in Moscow.

    The two sides reviewed the current status of mutual cooperation and discussed further cooperation in space technology, Internet services, related projects and investments, Fars news agency reported April 18.

    During the meeting, the Russian official pointed to Iran's progress in developing its capabilities in communications and space technologies.

    He concluded that international sanctions imposed on Iran couldn't restrain the country from developing its capabilities.

    Iran is closing in on a deal with world powers to end crushing international sanctions on the country.

    Tehran and P 5 1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) reached a framework agreement on Apr.2 that envisions a comprehensive deal by July 1 which would lift the sanctions in return for limiting the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

    Nikiorov added that in his future visit to Iran, Tehran's cooperation with leading Russian companies will be discussed and formerly signed contracts will be pursued.

    Besides Russia, Iran has been working with Azerbaijan in ICT and space.

    During the meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Professor Ali Abbasov on Feb.24, Iran's ICT Minister Mahmoud Vaezi said that a preferential agreement, the draft of which was signed by President Hassan Rouhani in his previous visit to Azerbaijan, will pave the way for mutual trade and support Iranian and Azerbaijani tradesmen in terms of price.

    Azerbaijan and Iran are cooperating in the field of postal services as part of a memorandum between the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Iran signed on March 10, 2009.

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  • EU, UK should make statement on Azerbaijani refugees '" Foreign Ministry
    18.04.2015 15:40
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr.18


    EU and UK, which have made a statement on the court decision on Rasul Jafarov, should also make a statement on Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hikmet Hajiyev told Trend Apr.18.

    Story still developing

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  • New telephone company created in Turkmenistan
    18.04.2015 15:06
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Apr.18

    By Huseyn Hasanov- Trend:

    A closed joint-stock company "Ashgabat shaher telefon ulgamy" (Ashgabat urban telephone network) has been created in Turkmenistan.

    The company has been created in accordance with the decree of the country's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov.

    The founders of the company are Turkmenistan's Ministry of Communications (30-percent share) and Turkmen Telecom state-owned telecommunications company under the Ministry of Communications (60-percent share).

    The joint-stock company has been created in order to implement the national program for socio-economic development of Turkmenistan for 2011-2030, increase the effectiveness of the enterprises in the national economy, to create favorable conditions for the market relations and further improve the communications sphere, said the document.

    Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper said that as a result of the complex modernization and diversification of the industry infrastructure, using of the advanced equipment, ramified system of communication, television and radio communications, digital broadcasting operate in the country.

    "High-quality communication services, as well as high-speed channels to connect to broadband Internet and data transmission are ensured," said the newspaper. "Laying of transnational fiber-optic communication lines continues with the aim of expanding the interstate telephone traffic."

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  • $274 mln in aid for Yemen
    18.04.2015 14:50
    On Saturday, Saudi Arabia announced $274 million in humanitarian aid for the chaos-wracked country.

    King Salman ordered an issue, followed a UN appeal Friday for $274 million (253 million euros) to provide emergency assistance to the millions affected by the conflict.

    The kingdom "stands with its Yemeni brothers" and hopes for "the restoration of security and stability," it said, quoting an official statement.
  • Azerbaijani oil prices for Apr.13-17
    18.04.2015 14:21
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr.18

    By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

    The average price for AZERI LT, exported from Azerbaijan via the Ceyhan, Batumi and Supsa ports to Italian Augusta port, was $61.99 per barrel on Apr.13-17, or $2.45 more than the previous week.

    The maximum price for AZERI LT was $64.61 per barrel and the minimum price was $60.08 per barrel during the reporting period.

    The average price for Urals (Ex-Novo) exported from Azerbaijan via the Novorossiysk port stood at $58.07 per barrel or $2.41 per barrel more than the previous week.

    The maximum price for Urals totaled $61.24 per barrel and the minimum - $55.42 per barrel.

    Urals' density is 32 degrees API with sulfur content up to 1.3 percent. The oil grade's specifications vary when sold depending on its high/low-quality content.

    The average price for Brent Dated was $58.78 per barrel or $2 per barrel more than the previous week.

    The maximum price for Brent was $61.78 per barrel and the minimum - $57.13 during the reporting period.


    Follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov

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  • Samsung removes logo
    18.04.2015 14:21
    Samsung removed its corporate logo from its new smartphones sold in Japan.

    The name Samsung is missing on both the Galaxy S6 and its curved-edge variant, the Galaxy S6 Edge.

    These models are presented as Docomo Galaxy and au Galaxy, carrying the names of its associated Japanese telecom service providers.
  • At least 30 people killed
    18.04.2015 14:06
    At least 30 people killed at suicide bomb attack on a bank branch in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.

    Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, spokesman for the provincial governor in Nangarhar province, said on Saturday that more than 80 people were also wounded in the attack in Jalalabad, the provincial capital.

    "There are reports of many wounded people in critical condition at the hospital," Abdulzai said.

    The attacker detonated an explosive-laden motorcycle, targeting a crowd of both military personnel and civilians who were gathered outside the bank to receive their monthly salaries. The bank branch is located in the heart of a crowded commercial district, Abdulzai said.
  • The Press and Journal: What happened in Aghdam is genocide against Azerbaijanis
    18.04.2015 14:05
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 18

    By Anahanum Khidayatova - Trend:

    What happened in Aghdam is a genocide against Azerbaijanis, said an article published in Scotland's leading quality daily newspaper The Press and Journal.

    "Personally, I am in no doubt that what happened to the Azerbaijani people in Aghdam and other towns was genocide," said in his article the author, who visited the Azerbaijani town of Aghdam occupied by the Armenians. "Little wonder Aghdam has been dubbed the "Caucasian Hiroshima.""

    "I was headed to the infamous town of Aghdam which up until 1993 had been a thriving town in Azerbaijan, population 40, 000," said the author. "It's now a ghost town, devoid of all human life. My driver started to get nervous, even though he knew exactly where he was taking me. Total devastation is all around. As we ventured deeper into the town, my driver got more and more nervous, those 20 Euros he had been happy about getting now seemed to be not worth it."

    The article said that the only thing left standing is the central Mosque.

    "I asked him to make his way there," the author said. "He kept driving while repeating, "No good my friend, no good." A hundred meters from the Mosque, he killed the engine and I got out. Looking around I saw no one, there was an eerie calm. I walked up to the Mosque, bullet holes and pieces of it lying on the ground. I stepped inside where I encountered a distinct smell of animal manure. Totally derelict, its once stunning interior stripped of everything sacred. I cannot imagine the heartache this must cause for people who once lived and worshipped there. I climbed the inner stairs, my every step making a loud crunching sound. From up high, I looked out over the deftly quiet ruined town."

    The author thinks that the Armenian people themselves are very uncomfortable about what happened here. "Aghdam is not something they are proud of and don't talk about it," the author said.

    "I took photos, but didn't stay long as my increasingly nervous driver pointed to his watch, indicating that's enough, let's get out of here," the article said. "As I've already mentioned, going to Aghdam would soon turn out to be the biggest mistake of my life. I had been followed and photographed there. In fact, as I later found out, I had been followed all week. The very people I thought I had talked with and asked questions, had in fact been asking me questions and reporting back."

    Recently, the official newspaper of Bashkortostan (Russia) published an article by Elsa Baymuhametova "One homeland for two states" that encourages separatist regime of Nagorno-Karabakh.

    The author's report reflects only the point of view of Karabakh separatists regarding the history of the conflict, and today's Nagorno-Karabakh is described in very optimistic colors. The article of the Scottish newspaper completely contradicts the rainbow story of the Bashkir reporter, describing the real situation on the occupied Azerbaijani territories.

    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.


    Follow the author on Twitter: @Anahanum

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  • Mubariz Ahmedoglu: Armenian army reminds of prison conditions
    18.04.2015 13:52
    ''Situation in the Armenian army reminds of prison conditions,'' the Director of the Center of Political Innovations and Technologies, political analyst Mubariz Ahmedoglu told SIA commenting on mass violence against soldiers and dedovshchina in the Armenian Army.

    According to political analyst, Armenian Army is in disgrace. The army has been turned a training place of criminals.

    ''Armenia's aggressive policy and army comprehend that they do not have enough strength and capacity to struggle with Azerbaijan. If Azerbaijan begins war, Armenia unconditionally to be defeated.'' added Mubariz Ahmedoglu.
  • West uses Armenians in its own interests '" Turkish parliament speaker
    18.04.2015 13:52
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr.18


    The West uses Armenians in its own interests, Turkish parliament speaker Cemil Cicek said.

    He said that despite all efforts of Ankara, the West doesn't want to know the truth about the 1915 events, TRT Haber TV channel reported Apr.18.

    Story still developing

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  • International conference on the science and practice kicks off
    18.04.2015 13:46
    A conference devoted to the Azerbaijani National Leader Heydar Aliyevв's 92th anniversary and ''The so called ''Armenian Genocide'': false and slanders ; Turkish-muslim genocide: facts and realities'' has today kicked off at Azerbaijan University.

    SIA informs that the official of the Department on Social Political Issues of Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan Republic Vugar Salimov, Rector of Azerbaijan University Farid Ahmadov, Director of the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences Yagub Mahmudov, Chairman of ''Support for the youthв's scientific researches'' Social Union Mammadali Babashli, Head of the ''Ses Media Group'' , doctor of philosophy Bahruz Guliyev attend the conference.

    The conference begins with playing of National Anthem of Azerbaijan.

    Then Rector of Azerbaijan University made an opening speech of the conference.

    Participiants of the conference spoke about a significance of discussion such actual issues and facts.

    Note that, the conference is being carried its work out in sectors. At the end of the conference it will be addressed Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
  • No plan for docking Iranian warships in Yemen
    18.04.2015 13:40
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 18

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    The Islamic Republic's warships have no plan to dock in Yemen ports, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said.

    He further said that the Islamic Republic Navy has a "powerful" presence in the Gulf of Aden, expressing hope that the gulf's security will be safeguarded with help of entire countries in the region.

    Iran has dispatched its 34th fleet to the Gulf of Aden in line with international efforts to combat piracy, Sayyari said, Iran's Fars news agency reported April 18.

    He also rejected reports that the Saudi Arabia has warned Iran's fleet.

    No warning was made against Iranian navy, he said, adding the Islamic Republic navy does not enter any country's territorial waters without permission.

    "We do not tolerate any threat or warning while our ships have the right for presence in the high seas under the international laws," Sayyari underlined.

    Deploying Iran's warships to the Gulf of Aden came while Saudi Arabia-led coalition has started strikes over Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels' positions in Yemen.

    Earlier in March sources claimed that Egyptian warships had warned off Iran's 33th fleet out of the Gulf of Aden. That day Sayyari rejected the reports. The 33th fleet arrived home early in April after 77 days on the sea.

    The Gulf of Aden has been growing in sensitivity since Yemen engaged in domestic crisis. Western media and Arab states claim Iran has a hand in the developments, but Tehran denies that.

    Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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  • Iran showcases domestically-developed defense systems
    18.04.2015 13:30
    Tehran, Iran, April 18

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    The Iranian Army has introduced several new, domestically-developed defense systems and weapons.

    The Army's Khatam ul-Anbiya Air Defense Base showcased its latest achievements during the Army Day parade in Tehran, Tasnim news agency reported April 18.

    The following is the list of the items on show:

    middot; S200 missile, for targeting flying objects and guided missiles

    middot; Talash missile system with long range and the ability to be synchronized with existing ground-to-air systems

    middot; Jooya radar system, introduced within Mersad missile system, capable of fighting flying objects at low and mid altitude as well as ballistic missiles

    middot; Kavosh radar, another part of Mersad missile system

    middot; Hadi radar, another part of Mersad missile system

    middot; Hog TLV missile, for targeting low and mid-altitude objects

    middot; Rapier missile system, providing low-altitude defense, suitable for securing refineries and nuclear facilities, upgraded with Iranian expertise

    middot; Ya Zahra missile system, for destroying flying objects with different velocities

    middot; Shoulder-launched missile Misaq, infrared homing, suitable for targeting low-altitude blind spots

    middot; DZ intelligence system for collecting Alient system's signal data

    middot; Baser-2 eavesdropping headquarters vehicle

    middot; Toposcatter telecommunication system capable of communicating up to the tropospheric layer

    middot; Rasul communication system for communicating missile sensor and radar data with commanding headquarters

    middot; Fakoor updated communication system, capable of receiving, processing, and transferring data according to up-to-date methods

    middot; Shahab communication system for secure, long-distance communication

    middot; Central communication system for communicating with military and civil aircraft

    middot; Fath-2 radar system

    middot; 10-Shahrivar passive radar system

    middot; Kheibar reconnaissance system

    Over the past decades, the Islamic Republic has domestically increased its military capabilities under international pressure.

    Despite international concerns, Tehran has frequently asserted that its military power serves defense exclusively and would be at the service of regional stability.

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  • Turkey not in hurry to join EEU
    18.04.2015 13:30
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 18

    By Anahanum Khidayatova - Trend:

    The expansion of trade and economic cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and Turkey contributes to economic development and increase of competitiveness of member countries of this alliance on the world market, the press service of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) told Trend Apr.18, commenting on Turkey's possible joining the EEU.

    The press service said that Turkey is an important trade partner of the member countries of the EEU.

    "However, to date, the Eurasian Economic Commission has not officially received any documents from Turkey regarding the creation of a free trade zone," said the press service. "The trade turnover of the EEU with Turkey exceeded $35 billion. Turkey ranks sixth among the largest trade partner countries of the EEU."

    On Apr.17, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that the EEU will create opportunities for the Turkish business to enter the new markets.

    Commenting on the readiness of the EEU to accept new countries into the alliance, the press service said that the Eurasian Economic Union is an open integration association, which is ready for economic cooperation with all interested countries that share its aims and principles, on the terms agreed by the member states.

    "The process of integration rapprochement between the EEU and the countries concerned can have different formats, namely the signing of the memoranda of cooperation in various spheres of economy, creation of a trade dialogue between the EEU and the third countries, free trade zone, joining the EEU," the Eurasian Economic Commission said. "The Article 108 of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union clearly regulates the sequence of steps for accession to this union. In order to get the status of the candidate state for accession to the union, the interested country sends a relevant appeal to the chairman of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council."

    Currently, the number of the countries which have officially expressed desire to develop the trade and economic relations with the Eurasian Economic Union in the format of the free trade zone agreement, exceeds 30.

    "It doesn't mean that such agreement will be automatically signed with all of these countries," said the Eurasian Economic Commission. "Based on the official application of a country, a joint research group is created to examine the expediency of signing a free trade agreement between the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union and the applicant country."

    Based on the results of the analysis, the sides jointly make a decision on the expediency of starting the official negotiations on creating a free trade zone, said the Commission. "To date, official decisions have been made to create such research groups with Vietnam, Israel and India."

    Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed a Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union in May 2014 in Astana. The treaty entered into force on Jan.1, 2015. The creation of the Eurasian Economic Union allows to bring the member states of the former Customs Union, the total GDP of which accounted for 85 percent of CIS GDP, to a higher level of integration. Armenia joined the Eurasian Economic Union on Jan.2.

    The Eurasian Economic Union covers one-seventh of the land area in the world and currently, produces 4 percent of the world GDP.


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  • Time ripe for Iran and Australia to boost relations-Zarif
    18.04.2015 12:56
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr.18

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that time is ripe for Iran and Australia to boost bilateral relations.

    Speaking at a joint press conference with visiting Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Zarif said that the two countries have always had economic and political relations. "The relations have seen ups and downs, but, now it is time to raise bilateral relations to a higher level," Iran's Fars news agency quoted Zarif as saying on April 18.

    One of our most important concerns is the illegal migration of Iranian nationals to Australia through contraband networks, Zarif said, emphasizing the need to deal with the issue.

    Bishop, for her part, said she discussed the IS(Islamic State) conflict and asylum seeker issues, as well as human rights with her Iranian counterpart.

    Iran and Australia have a significant trading history and the lifting of sanctions on Iran could create new opportunities for Australian business.

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  • How much a country costs in Europe?
    18.04.2015 12:43
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr.18

    By Seymur Aliyev - Trend:

    Today, under the conditions of the global economic crisis, one very often expects to stumble upon such an announcement: "There is a country for sale in Europe. Not expensive!" Of course, it's a joke, however, there is less and less logic in the activities of the European Union in general and of some EU member states.

    While Europe's energy security depends on such countries as Azerbaijan and Turkey, EU makes thoughtless decisions, for instance, as the latest document of the European Parliament on the "Armenian genocide".

    However, the latest remarks by one of the key transit countries of Azerbaijani gas to Europe - Greece - suggest that there is no unity in EU. As Spiegel wrote, Russia and Greece plan to sign an agreement, under which Moscow will allocate up to 5 billion euros as prepayment for gas transit to Athens for construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline.

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited Moscow to get this money. Apparently, this is how much Athens' consent costs to cooperate with Moscow and to reject all-European interests. It is obvious that Greek government, which has made a lot of promises, tries to resolve its financial problems. But will these 5 billion euros help Greece which has hundreds of billions of debt? It's not even a question.

    Naturally, it is time for Brussels to think over the integrity of the union, called the European Union. At the same time, it should take a number of important steps. First of all, it is related to approval of the deal on acquisition of Greek gas transmission system operator DESFA by SOCAR.

    In the current circumstances the European Commission's doubts regarding compliance of the transaction with the regulations of the EU on competition look at least funny. The question is: will there be competition if Russian Gazprom gets DESFA? The current development of events points namely at this fact.

    What will Azerbaijani company get from the transfer of DESFA? The first and foremost, it will allow competitors of Gazprom to control the transport infrastructure in Europe. Russia may build the Turkish Stream gas pipeline till the border with Europe (between Turkey and Greece), however further it will have to use either the TAP gas pipeline (operated by a consortium of European companies) or internal gas transport infrastructure of Greece - DESFA (SOCAR expects approval of the deal with it).

    Today, the countries of Eastern and Southern Europe in the first place expect alternative (to the Russian) gas. Namely these countries are the most vulnerable ones during the current crisis, and the Russian pressure is exerted namely on them. Along with the traditional set of commonalities in history, religion and other things, and Moscow is now using the most effective tool - money. Countries having really huge debts need them currently because they have to pay in time of crisis and low income. Of course, the success of this process for Russia has decreased significantly due to the crisis in Ukraine and has very alarmed Eastern Europe. However, that doesn't concern Greece, apparently.

    Currently, the government of this country chooses with whom to be - with Europe or Russia. One can recall that Ukraine also had a similar issue before the conflict.

    Seymur Aliyev is the head of Trend Agency's Russian News Service

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