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In Iceland, Court Says a Girl Can Finally Use Her Name
01.02.2013 09:29
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A 15-year-old girl has been granted the right to legally use the name given to her by her mother, despite the opposition of the authorities and Iceland's strict law on names. The Reykjavik District Court ruled Thursday that the first name of the girl, Blaer Bjarkardottir, could be used as a girl's name, overturning a decision by officials who declared that Blaer, which means light breeze, was not a proper feminine name. Like a few other countries, Iceland has official rules about what a baby can be named. Before the court's ruling, Blaer had been identified simply as "Girl" in communications with officials.
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  • Iran World Trade Center to open export centers in 44 countries
    06.02.2016 14:41
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/05/25/sabzalipur.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/05/25/sabzalipur.jpg
    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.

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

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    5
  • Arab states would have a tough time deploying forces in Syria '" Iranian MP
    06.02.2016 14:39
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/06/28/mohammad__saleh__jokar__280615.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/06/28/mohammad__saleh__jokar__280615.jpg
    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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    3
  • Moodyв's reviews Azerbaijanв's GDP forecast
    06.02.2016 14:39
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2016/02/06/moody_060216.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2016/02/06/moody_060216.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6

    Trend:

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    Story still developing

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    2
  • Iran not going to deploy massive forces in Syria
    06.02.2016 13:59
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/09/02/ksir_iran_020913.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/09/02/ksir_iran_020913.jpg
    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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    6
  • Azerbaijani oil prices for Feb. 1-5
    06.02.2016 13:33
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/12/04/oil_price_041214.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/12/04/oil_price_041214.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6

    By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

    The average price for AZERI LT CIF, extracted on the block of Azerbaijani fields Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli, was $35 per barrel on Feb. 1-5 or $0.41 per barrel more than the previous week.

    The maximum price for AZERI LT was $35.5 per barrel and the minimum price was $34.09 per barrel during the reporting period.

    Azerbaijan sells AZERI LT via the Turkish port of Ceyhan and Georgian ports - Batumi and Supsa. The oil is supplied to Ceyhan via the BTC pipeline and to Georgia - via the Baku-Supsa pipeline and railway.

    Azerbaijan plans to extract an average of 0.87 million barrels of Azeri Light per day in 2016.

    The average price for Urals (Ex-Novo) exported from Azerbaijan via the Novorossiysk port was $30.52 per barrel on Feb. 1-5 or $1.22 per barrel more than the previous week.

    The maximum price for Urals totaled $31.03 per barrel and the minimum - $29.45 per barrel on Feb. 1-5.

    Azerbaijan sells oil supplied via the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline through this Russian port. SOCAR plans to pump 1.4 million tons of oil through the pipeline in 2016.

    The average price for Brent Dated was $32.45 per barrel on Feb. 1-5 or $0.75 per barrel more than the previous week.

    The maximum price for Brent was $33.01 per barrel and the minimum - $31.34 during the reporting period.

    ---

    Follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov

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    8
  • Turkey changes visa issuance procedure for Iraqi citizens
    06.02.2016 13:29
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/10/e-visa_2.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/10/e-visa_2.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    Turkey changed the procedure of visa issuance for Iraqi citizens, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Feb. 6.

    This decision was taken in order to fight illegal migration, said the ministry.

    Starting from Feb. 8, Iraqi citizens will not be able to obtain visas at checkpoints in Turkey, and electronic visas will be needed to enter the country.

    ---

    Follow the author on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

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    4
  • Azerbaijani oil prices down by 1.4% Feb. 5
    06.02.2016 13:19
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/12/04/oil_price_041214_2.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/12/04/oil_price_041214_2.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6

    By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

    The price for AZERI LT CIF oil, produced at the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli block of oil and gas fields, was $34.91 per barrel at the Italian port of Augusta on Feb. 5, or $0.49 less compared to the price on Feb. 4, a source in Azerbaijan's oil and gas market told Trend Feb. 6.

    AZERI Light FOB Ceyhan oil price was $34.22 per barrel on Feb. 5, or $0.49 less than the previous price.

    Azerbaijan has been producing AZERI LT since 1997 and exports it via Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Supsa pipelines, as well as by rail to the Georgian port of Batumi.

    Azerbaijan also exports URALS oil from Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. The oil is delivered there via the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline.

    The price for URALS-NOVO was $30.63 per barrel on Feb. 5, or $0.4 less than the previous price.

    The price for a barrel of Brent Dated, produced from the North Sea, stood at $32.64 per barrel Feb. 5 or $0.37 less than the previous price.

    ---

    Follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov

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    6
  • Iran, Total oil deal implementation to start in mid-February
    06.02.2016 13:19
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/11/17/zanganeh_171115_2.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/11/17/zanganeh_171115_2.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    The oil deal between French oil and gas company Total and Iran will come into force on Feb. 16, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said.

    Total will purchase 160,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude oil under the signed contract, Zanganeh said, Iran's Mehr news agency reported Feb. 6.

    Before sanctions were imposed in 2012 on Iran, EU was importing about 800,000 barrels of Iranian oil and condensate.

    On Jan. 16, the US and the EU announced that they lifted their nuclear-related sanctions against Iran as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, aka nuclear deal) came into force. The removal of the sanctions allows Iranian oil and gas enter the global markets.

    Zanganeh further said that Iran and Total have reached a preliminary agreement on participation of the company in Iranian oil and gas projects.

    The French company has expressed readiness to participate in the development of Iran's South Azadegan oil field, as well as the "Iran LNG" project, Zanganeh said, adding Iran will provide the needed information for the company to study the projects and submit its proposals.

    The Iranian minister further said that in the coming days Tehran will also sign a contract with Italian Eni to sell its crude oil.

    The company's representatives will visit Tehran in the near future to sign the contract, Zanganeh said, adding Eni has requested to purchase 100,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude oil.

    He further said that Italy's Saras SpA refinery wants to buy 60,000-70,000 barrels per day of crude from Iran as well.

    The refinery was one of Iran's crude costumers before toughening of the international sanctions against Iran in 2012.

    Zanganeh underlined that Iran's crude oil sales to Europe will surpass 300,000 barrels per day once the aforementioned contracts come into force.

    Last month, Greece's biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum also agreed to buy crude oil from Iran.

    Hellenic Petroleum was a major buyer of Iranian crude, which accounted for about 20 percent of the southeast European country's annual crude oil imports before the sanctions were imposed in 2011.

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    4
  • OPEC-Russia co-op may motivate others produce more oil
    06.02.2016 12:39
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2007/12/21/Oil_211207.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2007/12/21/Oil_211207.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

    While the possible OPEC-Russia collaboration on oil output cuts is anything but certain, the move will trigger other oil producers to react, an energy market analyst believes.

    "Although unlikely, if OPEC would collaborate with Russia on production cuts to stabilize prices, it would give other non-OPEC producers, such as the US, more incentive to produce," Anthony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging LLC told Trend.

    Reportedly, six members of OPEC have agreed to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the possible oil production cuts to push oil prices up.

    According to Eulogio del Pino, the oil minister of Venezuela, initiator of holding such a meeting, Iran, Oman and Iraq are among those who agreed on it. Russia, he said, also support the idea to hold urgent meeting.

    Alexander Novak, Russian energy minister, said Jan. 28 that the planned OPEC meeting in February with representatives of other oil-producing countries could discuss reduction of oil production by each producer country by five percent, but a general agreement is needed for that.

    Headrick believes, that even if there is an agreement, it is unlikely that Iran and Iraq will comply with a coordinated production cut.

    Currently Iraq is the only country that doesn't fall under OPEC production quota. The country produced 4.3 million barrels of oil per day by end 2015, according to OPEC.

    Free of sanctions, Iran plans to increase its oil export by 500,000 barrels per day, and then raise the figure by another 500,000 to two million barrels per day within a six month period.

    "Iran is determined to return lost production, which will help keep global oil values pressured," Headrick said.

    Speaking about the current oil prices, Headrick said that volatility near $30 can be expected to continue, in part on short covering rallies.

    "However, the fundamental outlook remains weak due to a supply overhang that should continue to keep crude oil values under pressure in the medium term," he said.

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    12
  • Armenian army fires at Azerbaijani positions; breaks ceasefire 101 times
    06.02.2016 12:10
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/06/07/Karabax_albom_070612.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/06/07/Karabax_albom_070612.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6

    Trend:

    Over the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces 101 times broke ceasefire with Azerbaijan on various parts of the contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, said Azerbaijani Defense Ministry Feb. 6.

    Azerbaijani positions located in the Aghdam village of Tovuz district and Kohnegishlag village of the Aghstafa district underwent fire from Paravakar village of Ijevan district and Mosesgeh village of Berd district, and from nameless heights in these districts.

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

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

    Azerbaijani armed forces inflicted 102 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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    10
  • A new head has been named at Turkmenistanв's Supreme Audit Chamber.
    06.02.2016 11:59
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2016/01/06/trend_ashgabad_city_060116_102.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2016/01/06/trend_ashgabad_city_060116_102.jpg
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Feb. 6

    By Huseyn Hasanov - Trend:

    A new head has been named at Turkmenistan's Supreme Audit Chamber.

    Chary Gylyjov was appointed the chairman of the structure.

    Before this appointment, Gylyjov was serving as the Supreme Audit Chamber's deputy chairman.

    The Supreme Audit Chamber of Turkmenistan was created in 2007.

    It was established to strengthen the control over the implementation of legal acts on financial and economic activities, preservation, legitimacy and effectiveness of the use and disposal of state property and financial resources.

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    6
  • Revenues of Azerbaijani bank from subsidiary in Georgia made public
    06.02.2016 10:49
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/12/17/pasha_bank_logo_eng_171214.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/12/17/pasha_bank_logo_eng_171214.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 4

    By Anvar Mammadov - Trend:

    The revenues of Azerbaijani PASHA Bank from its subsidiary in Georgia (PASHA Bank Georgia) were 189,480 Georgian laris ($75,980) in 2015, said PASHA Bank Georgia.

    The revenues were generated by overdraft operations and payments on loans.

    PASHA Bank Georgia paid 4,900 Georgian laris ($1,970) to PASHA Holding during the reporting period, said the bank.

    PASHA Bank Georgia operates since February 2013.

    PASHA Bank was founded in 2007. PASHA Bank OJSC, along with PASHA Insurance, PASHA Life, PASHA Travel, and PASHA Construction is a member of Pasha Holding, which is actually an investment company, but not a classic holding company.

    The official exchange rate set by the National Bank of Georgia is 2.4939 GEL/USD as of Feb. 4.

    ---

    Follow the author on Twitter: @Anvar_Mammadov

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    15
  • Azerbaijani armed forces destroy Armenian military equipment
    06.02.2016 10:39
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2016/02/06/stop_photo_060216.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2016/02/06/stop_photo_060216.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6

    Trend:

    Azerbaijani armed forces as a result of the strikes inflicted on Armenian positions destroyed the equipment and personnel of the Armenian army.

    Armenian side's equipment and military personnel were eliminated, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Feb. 6.

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    4
  • Turkey bombs PKK positions in northern Iraq
    06.02.2016 10:13
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/07/03/Turk_Plane_F16_030712.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/07/03/Turk_Plane_F16_030712.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 6

    Trend:

    Turkey's armed forces carried out a major operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

    A large number of F-4 and F-16 fighter jets were used during the operation, Anadolu Agency reported Feb. 6.

    Turkish military inflicted air strikes using high-precision bombs on the PKK facilities in Qandil region in the northern Iraq.

    Reportedly, PKK's weapon depots, fuel tanks, as well as shelters were destroyed during the operation.

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    8
  • Iran launches regular shipping voyages to Oman
    06.02.2016 10:11
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/05/17/iran_ship_170515.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/05/17/iran_ship_170515.jpg
    Tehran, Iran, Feb. 5

    By Mehdi Sepahvand -Trend:

    The shipping company Khadri Jahan Darya is being subsidized in order to launch a regular shipping line to Oman for one year starting February 4.

    Speaking about the arrangement, CEO of Trade Service at Iran's Trade Development Organization Farhad Nouri said the line will connect Iran's Rajaei Port to Sohar Port in Oman, IRNA news agency reported February 5.

    He further explained that in the first six months of the Iranian fiscal year (starting March 20), two voyages a month will be conducted, while during the second half of the year, three voyages will be conducted per month.

    The official said the line is subsidized from a 500-billion-rial credit (each USD is about 30,000 rials) assigned for improving non-oil exports and related transportation.

    The annual trade turnover between Iran and Oman in recent years has stood at most at $400 million.

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

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    5
  • At least three killed, dozens injured as quake hits Taiwan
    06.02.2016 09:19
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2016/02/06/taiwan_060216.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2016/02/06/taiwan_060216.jpg
    People look through a name list of surviving people at a quake site in Tainan, southeast China's Taiwan, Feb. 6, Xinhua reported.

    At least three people including an infant were killed and dozens injured when a high-rise residential building collapsed after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit Kaohsiung neighboring Tainan at 3:57 local time on Saturday

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    13
  • Serbian parliament dismisses defense minister for offensive remarks
    06.02.2016 04:21
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/11/27/serbia_flag_120214.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/11/27/serbia_flag_120214.jpg
    The Serbian National Assembly voted at an extraordinary session on Friday for the dismissal of Defense Minister Bratislav Gasic for his offensive remarks.

    A total of 195 lawmakers out of 250 supported the minister's dismissal after a seven-hour discussion.

    In early December, Gasic told a reporter from B92 TV that he loves female journalists who "kneel easily."

    In late January, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic sent a letter to the parliament with a request to dismiss Gasic. Vucic thanked the minister for good results in increasing the country's combat readiness, but added that his public remarks were unacceptable.

    After the dismissal, the prime minister has 15 days to propose a new candidate for the post of defense minister.

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    48
  • Turkey will keep 'constructive' approach to Russia
    06.02.2016 04:19
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/09/15/ibrahim_kalin_.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/09/15/ibrahim_kalin_.jpg
    Turkey will maintain goodwill and a constructive approach to Russia despite Moscow ignoring its efforts to de-escalate tensions, Turkey's presidential spokesperson said on Friday, Anadolu Agency reported.

    Ibrahim Kalin said Russia had ignored Turkey's efforts to solve the issues and had left phone calls from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unanswered.

    Kalin said that Erdogan asked for a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin following the latest violation of Turkish airspace by a Russian warplane on Jan. 29.

    "But the Russian side again failed to reveal an affirmative attitude," Kalin said in a statement Friday.

    He said it was "telling" that Russia -- which had previously admonished Turkey for calling NATO allies before Moscow -- was now avoiding talking to Erdogan.

    Diplomatic relations between Ankara and Moscow soured after a Russian SU-24 violating Turkish airspace was intercepted and shot down on Nov. 24 by Turkish F-16 fighters.

    Kalin said it was Russian airstrikes that led to the suspension of the Geneva peace talks.

    "Hundreds of innocent Syrians, women and children, lost their lives in these attacks that have been indiscriminately going on for months," Kalin added.

    Stressing that the aim of the Russian attacks was not to halt the terrorist Daesh group, Kalin said 90 percent of the attacks had targeted civilians and moderate opposition fighters.

    "Russia's aim is not to fight Daesh, but to sustain the [Bashar] al-Assad regime that lost its legitimacy and committed war crimes," the spokesperson added.

    Since Sept. 30 last year, Russia -- a close ally of the Assad regime -- has targeted a number of civilian areas in Syria, according to U.S. officials.

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    9
  • Canada reduces economic sanctions against Iran '" Foreign Ministry
    06.02.2016 02:59
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/08/16/canada_flag_160813.jpg
    Canada has rolled back most of its economic sanctions against Iran, including lifting a broad ban on financial transactions and transfer of personal funds, the Canadian foreign ministry said Friday.

    This followed the lifting of UN economic sanctions on Tehran after the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed on January 16, 2016 that Iran had delivered on its commitments to limit nuclear activities.

    "Canada has therefore amended its broad-reaching autonomous sanctions against Iran to allow for a controlled economic re-engagement, including lifting the broad ban on financial services, imports and exports," the ministry announced.

    Canada is looking forward to explore the newly-opened Iranian market for more trade opportunities. Its exports to the Islamic republic peaked at $772 million in 1997 before slumping over the years of sanctions. In 2014, Canada sold $67 million worth of mostly food products to Iran.

    Ottawa said, however, it was not entirely convinced about the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear ambition, which Tehran vowed to reign in in the July 2015 deal with world powers.

    Canada will therefore maintain restrictions on exports to Iran of "goods, services and technologies considered sensitive from a security perspective," as well as a revised blacklist of individuals and entities it believes are linked to Iran's ballistic missile program.

    Last October, Iran reportedly tested a surface-to-surface missile, prompting more sanctions from the United States. Tehran lashed back at Washington claiming its missile program was legitimate as it was not designed for carrying nuclear weapons.

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    20
  • Iran wants euro payment for new and outstanding oil sales
    06.02.2016 01:00
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/06/19/iran_flag_190614.jpg
    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, Reuters reported.

    A source at state-owned National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) told Reuters that Iran will charge in euros for its recently signed oil contracts with firms including French oil and gas major Total, Spanish refiner Cepsa and Litasco, the trading arm of Russia's Lukoil.

    "In our invoices we mention a clause that buyers of our oil will have to pay in euros, considering the exchange rate versus the dollar around the time of delivery," the NIOC source said.

    Lukoil and Total declined to comment, while Cepsa did not respond to a request for comment.

    Iran has also told its trading partners who owe it billions of dollars that it wants to be paid in euros rather than U.S. dollars, said the person, who has direct knowledge of the matter.

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

    Switching oil sales to euros makes sense as Europe is now one of Iran's biggest trading partners.

    "Many European companies are rushing to Iran for business opportunities, so it makes sense to have revenue in euros," said Robin Mills, chief executive of Dubai-based Qamar Energy.

    Iran has pushed for years to have the euro replace the dollar as the currency for international oil trade. In 2007, Tehran failed to persuade OPEC members to switch away from the dollar, which its then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called a "worthless piece of paper".

    The NIOC source said Iran's central bank instituted a policy while the country was under sanctions over its disputed nuclear program to carry out foreign trade in euros.

    "Iran shifted to the euro and canceled trade in dollars because of political reasons," the source said.

    Iran has the world's fourth-largest proved reserves of crude oil, and expects to quickly increase production, which could lead to tens of billions of euros worth of new oil trade.

    Iran's insistence on being paid in euros rather than dollars is also a sign of an uneasy truce between Tehran and Washington even after last month's lifting of most sanctions.

    U.S. officials estimate about $100 billion (69 billion pound) 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.

    India owes Tehran about $6 billion for oil delivered during the sanctions years.

    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.

    Tehran has asked to be paid using the exchange rates at the time the oil was delivered, along with interest for those payment delays, Indian and Iranian sources said.

    Indian officials are working on a mechanism that could involve local banks United Commercial Bank (UCO) and IDBI Bank for handling payments to Iran, one Indian government source said.

    UCO CEO R.K. Takkar said the bank is involved in payments to Iran, but did not say if there were any plans to change the payment mechanism. IDBI CEO Kishor Kharat could not be reached for comment.

    India could also try to resume payments through Turkey's Halkbank, a channel it stopped using in 2012, or by direct transfer to Iranian banks through the global SWIFT transaction network.

    With Iran now again linking to international lenders through SWIFT, the NIOC source said it was easy for Tehran to be paid in any currency it wants, adding: "And we want euros."

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    27
  • Hammond: Zarif's visit to London symbol of warming ties
    05.02.2016 23:19
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    British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond reiterated that the visit of his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, the first in 10 years by an Iranian foreign minister, to London shows that the two countries' relations are being expanded, IRNA reported.

    'The official visit by Iranian foreign minister, the first (by such high-level official of Iran) in the past 10 years is a symbol of warming (Tehran-London) relations,' Hammond wrote on his Twitter account on Friday.

    The British foreign secretary said that during his meeting with Zarif they discussed bilateral ties and regional developments.

    Earlier today, Zarif announced that Tehran and London will resume issuing visas for the two countries' citizens by March.

    "In a meeting I had with my British counterpart earlier today, we agreed that the two countries start issuing visa for the ordinary citizens and ordinary passports within weeks," Zarif told reporters after his over 1 hour meeting with Hammond in London on Friday.

    "We believe that this measure is a positive move for further exchanges between the two countries' people and we hope that it will be conducive to a better mutual understanding," he added.

    On August 23, the British foreign secretary reopened Britain's embassy in Iran after four years of strained relations between Tehran and London.

    Hammond arrived in Tehran in late August at the head of a high-ranking delegation to meet the Iranian officials and reopen the British embassy.

    Upon arrival, he directly went to the British embassy and announced resumption of the mission's operation in an official ceremony.

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    27
  • Investors buy $12M worth bonds of Azerbaijani Finance Ministry
    05.02.2016 21:59
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    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    Baku Stock Exchange (BSE) began selling manat and dollar bonds of the Azerbaijani Finance Ministry Feb. 5.

    The bonds worth $12 million with a circulation period of one and two years were bought by investors at a rate of 2.77 percent and 3.02 percent respectively, said the ministry.

    The bonds with a value of 20 million Azerbaijani manats, circulation period of six months and one year, and at a yield of 7.79 percent and 8.8 percent respectively, were placed as well.

    ---

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    20
  • Nardaran gang ringleader transferred to Baku detention facility
    05.02.2016 21:21
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/08/26/sud_court_260815.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Samir Ali - Trend:

    The Nasimi District Court of Baku reviewed Feb. 5 a complaint by Taleh Baghirov, who was arrested during a special operation carried out by law enforcement authorities in Baku's Nardaran township, Nov. 26, 2015.

    On Nov. 26, 2015, five members of a criminal group, operating under the guise of religion, were killed during a police operation in the township of Nardaran, some 25 km northeast of Baku.

    Two police officers were also killed in the standoff.

    Fourteen members of the criminal group were arrested along with the group's ringleader Taleh Baghirov.

    Baghirov's complaint was reviewed at the court session chaired by Judge Babek Panahov.

    Taleh Baghirov himself participated in the court session.

    Lawyer Javad Javadov later told Trend that Baghirov was transferred to the Baku detention facility and the next court session will be held Feb. 9.

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    16
  • Twenty arrested, 1 wanted on ''national security ministry case'' in Azerbaijan
    05.02.2016 19:21
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    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    Trend:

    Twenty people have been arrested, while one is wanted with regard to the "national security ministry case", according to information disseminated at an extended meeting of the board of the Prosecutor General's Office of Azerbaijan Feb. 5.

    The meeting was dedicated to the work done in 2015 and the discussion of the challenges ahead.

    Story still developing

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    25
  • 200 people win national intellectual online contest '˜I am Azerbaijaniв'
    05.02.2016 18:58
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    So far, 200 people have won the national intellectual online contest "I am Azerbaijani" held with the support of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies (MCHT). In an interview with the online news service "ICTnews", the author and producer of the project, head of "MZ production" Uzlufat Gasimova said that the contest enables young people to learn more about their motherland and share their knowledge about Azerbaijan with others.

    "The Ministry of Communications and High Technologies provides comprehensive support to the contest, which was organized on the initiative and order of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. This support, alongside with awarding prizes to winners, includes provision of technological assistance to the contest. The national intellectual online contest "I am Azerbaijani" is broadcasted by Azerbaijan's state TV channel, AzTV, every Sunday at 19:00 and rebroadcasted every Wednesday at 19:00.

    Each week a winner is selected among 10 participants of the contest. During the next stage, the winners of 10 weeks compete with each other. Based on the results of this stage of the contest, 4 winners are selected for the finals. Then, based on the results of the finals, the winners of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places are selected.

    The Ministry of Communications and High Technologies' awards prizes (mainly notebooks) to the winners of all stages of the contest. During the contest, participants are asked questions about innovations implemented in the ICT sector. They are also asked questions regarding the launch and operation of Azerbaijan's national satellites and the formation of the e-Government," she said.

    Note that the national intellectual online contest "I am Azerbaijani" is held online. Under the terms of the contest, any person between the ages of 15 and 29 can register for the contest at the website "www.mzproduction.az". The applicants, who have passed the registration procedure, are allowed to take part in the contest after checking their intellectual level. More than 4000 applications were submitted for participation in the contest this year.

    It should be noted that the online version of the national intellectual online contest "I am Azerbaijani", which was organized in connection with the 90th anniversary of the National Leader Heydar Aliyev and with the support of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies, aroused a strong interest among internet users. Thus, 231 416 people participated in the contest within 6 months.

    After completion of the online contest organized by MCHT, the mobile version of the national intellectual contest "I am Azerbaijani" was launched. Despite being the winless version of the contest, "I am Azerbaijani" mobile app was downloaded more than 100 000 times.
    10
  • Europe wants to see Azerbaijan in EU Energy Community
    05.02.2016 18:52
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    Europe would like to see Azerbaijan among the countries of the EU Energy Community, said Janez Kopa?, director of the Energy Community Secretariat.

    He made remarks at a meeting with the Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev, Azerbaijanв's Energy ministry said Feb. 5.

    The sides discussed the current level of cooperation and its perspectives during the meeting. In addition, Azerbaijanв's important role in ensuring Europeв's energy security, the importance and progress of the Southern Gas Corridor project were also noted.

    The minister said that Azerbaijan fully satisfies the domestic demand for fuel and energy resources.

    Currently, one of the main priorities of Azerbaijanв's energy sector is to reduce losses and high energy efficiency, said Aliyev.

    ''The two state programs are prepared for this purpose in the country, and it would be useful to use in this regard advice and assistance of the EU Energy Community,'' he added.

    In return, Kopa? said that the Energy Community is ready to render technical support for Azerbaijan to prepare and improve the legislative basis in the energy efficiency sphere.

    ''We are also ready to assist Azerbaijan in development of cooperation within the framework of the new stage of INOGATE (Interstate Oil and Gas transport to Europe) regional energy program and conducting reforms,'' said Kopa?.

    As a result of the meeting, the sides agreed to sign a protocol between Azerbaijanв's Energy Ministry and the EU Energy Community in the future.

    /By
    14
  • Azerbaijanв's Central Bank sets manat rate for Feb. 8
    05.02.2016 18:52
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    Official exchange rate of manat, Azerbaijani national currency, against the US dollar was set at 1.5819 manats/$1 for Feb. 8, said the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) Feb. 5.

    The average rate of manat was set following the interbank transactions on the Azerbaijani currency market, said the CBA.

    Over $18 million, provided by the CBA, were sold to banks through auctions today.

    /By
    13
  • More personnel changes at Azerbaijanв's Taxes Ministry
    05.02.2016 18:40
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    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    More personnel changes have taken place at the Azerbaijani Ministry of Taxes.

    Zeynalabdin Mammadzade was appointed the chief of the ministry's legal department, while Samira Musayeva was named the head of the main department for tax policy and strategic research, the ministry told Trend Feb. 5.

    Musayeva replaced Natig Shirinov in her new position. Shirinov was today appointed the head of the ministry's general directorate for international relations and tax monitoring of financial institutions.

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    12
  • ADIF continues payment of funds to depositors of banks with revoked licenses
    05.02.2016 18:14
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    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147601.jpg
    /By AzerNews/

    By Aynur Karimova

    Azerbaijan Deposit Insurance Fund continues payment of funds to depositors of the banks, licenses of which were revoked by the Central Bank of Azerbaijan.

    The Fund reported on February 5 that within six days, over 14 million manats ($8.68 million) was paid to the depositors of Bank of Azerbaijan, the license of which was terminated on January 18.

    The payment of funds is carried out in the branches of the Muganbank and Rabitabank -- the designated agent banks.

    Accepting of appeals of Bank of Azerbaijanв's insured depositors began on January 29, 2016, and payment of compensation has been implemented since that day.

    The Fund further reported that although ADIF started acceptance of the applications for payment of compensation to the depositors of the Gandja Bank from February 4, the number of appeals was insignificant.

    Payment of funds to the depositors of the Gandja Bank is being made in the branches of the Rabitabank, the Unibank and the Kapital Bank.

    The volume of insured deposits of Bank of Azerbaijan amounts to 24.2 million manats ($15 million), while the Gandja Bank - 1.5 million manats ($930,000).

    The ADIF went on to add that the depositors of the Texnikabank can apply to the fund for payment of compensation since February 11.

    On February 2, the CBA revoked the license of the bank, and two days later, an insured event occurred at the Texnikabank. The CBA revoked its license due to the fact that the total capital of the bank did not correspond to the CBA minimum requirement of 50 million manats ($31 million).

    The total capital adequacy ratio amounted to three percent [the CBA minimum requirement is 10 percent].

    In accordance with the law, insured payments can be obtained seven days after the bank is declared bankrupt.

    Within seven days, the ADIF will announce the agent banks in charge of payment of funds to the depositors of the Texnikabank.

    The ADIF returns up to 30,000 manats ($18,607) for each insured deposits.

    Since early 2016, the CBA has terminated the licenses of TexnikaBank, the Caucasus Development Bank, the Atrabank, the Gandja Bank, the Bank of Azerbaijan, the United Credit Bank and the NBCBank.

    In February, the CBA made a decision to restore the license of the NBCBank. Later, a source in the NBCBank told local media that the bank has already signed a protocol of intents on consolidation with other two banks.

    A source in the CBA said that the NBCBank intends to merge its assets with the Parabank and the Kredobank.

    The Caucasus Development Bank also plans to discuss its merger with other banks on March 20. The bank intends to merge with the Gunay Bank and the Atrabank,В TrendВ reported earlier.

    However, Etibar Aliyev, Chairman of the Texnikabank's Supervisory Board, told Trend on February 4 that Texnikabank has no plans to merge with other banks.

    The consolidation of banks is likely to lead to financial recovery of the banks as this process is in the interests of both owners and clients of banks.

    The consolidation will also allow stable banks, which have deliberately decided to merge, to increase their share in the market and to gain more revenues. This strategy would be more correct if targets growth of profit and market share.

    The International Finance Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development support the consolidation of banks in Azerbaijan, regarding it as a way leading to financial recovery of the banks.

    Azerbaijan has experienced good examples of consolidation of banks earlier.

    For instance, UniBank was formed by the merger of two commercial banks in 2002 - MBank and Promtexbank, where the EBRD acquired a 15-percent share, and 8.3333 percent is owned by the German Investment Corporation DEG.

    Bank of Baku merged with IlkBank in 2005.

    In late January, two Azerbaijani banks - AGBank and DemirBank - also decided to consolidate and signed a protocol of intent about merging.
    11
  • Azerbaijan offers help to solving Syrian crisis
    05.02.2016 18:14
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    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147607.jpg
    /By AzerNews/

    By Aynur Karimova

    The Syrian crisis, which has generated millions of refugees heading to the neighboring countries and Europe, has been in focus of the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference in London on February 4.

    Co-organized by the UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Nations, the conference aimed to generate significant new help for the immediate and longer-term needs of those affected by the Syrian conflict, including increased funding.

    Addressing the conference President Ilham Aliyev stressed a very profound sympathy that Azerbaijan feels for the Syrian refugees.

    The South Caucasus nation with more than 1.2 million refugees and IDPs, have expressed readiness to make contribution to resolving this problem.

    "Azerbaijan is among those countries, which already contributed and will contribute to humanitarian development in Syria, but the most important is peace, ceasefire, and finding political solutions. Only after that, jobs will be created, education will be on the proper level and people will start to believe in their future," President Aliyev said.

    Being a sufferer of refugee problem, today Azerbaijan shares the grave and problems of Syrian refugees as well. The government is providing financial assistance to the Syrian refugees.

    "We ourselves suffered from a humanitarian disaster and crisis in the beginning of our independence, in the beginning of the 1990s when our neighboring Armenia launched an aggression against Azerbaijan," he noted.

    The Azerbaijanis who were displaced from their homes as result of the brutal war were forced to live in refugee camps, tents, in very difficult conditions. They also lost all of their properties. They became homeless, jobless and without any means for living. That was a real humanitarian catastrophe.

    "As a result of that aggression almost 20 percent of our internationally recognized territory became occupied. We were subject of ethnic cleansing, and more than a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons."

    Every 8th citizen in Azerbaijan is a refugee, which is one of the highest per capita number of refugees.

    The UN Security Council adopted four resolutions in 1993 demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian forces from the territories of Azerbaijan, whilst Armenia ignored all of them.

    President Aliyev also expressed confidence that only in the condition of stability and peace a country can develop and can overcome enormous difficulties.

    Azerbaijan is ready to share its experience with Syria on how to deal with these enormous economic and social difficulties, as well as on job creation. Azerbaijan as a country with a substantial financial and economic potential managed to achieve that in the time of not peace, but ceasefire.

    "Having ceasefire achieved in 1994 gave us an opportunity to develop," President Aliyev said. "Since that time Azerbaijanв's development has been very rapid, we have managed to provide decent housing conditions for almost 250,000 refugees. We have a hundred percent literacy, including among refugees. Ten years ago about 70 percent of refugees lived in poverty, now the rate of the poverty among refugees is only 12 percent, while total poverty is five percent, unemployment is five percent."

    The people who held refugee status were granted compensations and benefits. Extensive measures were launched to ensure social protection of the refugees.

    "During the last decade 1.5 million jobs were created in Azerbaijan," President Aliyev said. "We can share our experience in education, more than 3,000 schools were built in our country and, as I said, now literacy is hundred percent. We can share our experience in managing humanitarian crisis and we will do it."

    Today, finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis as soon as possible is a number one issue on the international agenda. The Syrian crisis is on the focus of Azerbaijan as well. The country is keen to play its important role in this respect.

    "We will continue to support our brothers and sisters in Syria. We are grateful to those countries who take this enormous burden to accommodate the Syrian refugees," President Aliyev added.
    13
  • End of the circumflex? Changes in French spelling cause uproar
    05.02.2016 18:13
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    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147602.jpg
    Suggested new spellings for more than 2,000 French words have sparked controversy.

    The Academie Francaise proposed changes in 1990, including the deletion of the circumflex accent (Л†) and hyphens in some words, but they were optional.

    Now publishers say they will include the new spellings in schoolbooks.

    France's education minister has said the changes will not culminate in the end of the circumflex, and that old and new spellings will both remain correct.

    Despite this, the news sparked furious reaction on social media, with users arguing the changes constituted dumbing down.

    Some tweets even used the hashtag #JeSuisCirconflexe (I am circumflex).

    What is a circumflex?The peaked accent (^) looks like a hat, or so children are told when they are learning French. It goes over vowels - in some cases it changes the word's pronunciation, in others it serves to distinguish homonyms (words that are spelled and pronounced like another word but are different in meaning).

    The changes will see it being used onВ a,В oВ andВ e,В but dropped fromВ iВ andВ uВ (with some exceptions).

    The outrage reportedly started after aВ report by the TF1 websiteВ (in French) said the reforms would take effect in the upcoming academic year.

    It quoted a note from the education ministry last year saying that the new spellings should be adopted and reported that publishers have decided to add the changes in textbooks from September.

    Students will then have a choice to use either the old spellings or the new ones and teachers will have to accept both ways as correct.

    The proposed changes followed a review of the French language to simplify learning, but they were not binding and had faced strong opposition in the country,Le Monde reportedВ (in French).

    They include the deletion in some words of the hyphens and the circumflex. The accent disappears from above the letter i and u in certain words and not from the letter o.

    The new spelling would reportedly impact around 2,400 words.

    '#JeSuisCirconflexe'Users on social media were furious over the changes, and the hashtags #ReformeOrthographe (orthographic reform) and #JeSuisCirconflexe (I am circumflex) were one of Twitter's trending topics in France on Thursday.

    Many users shared pictures showing their dissatisfaction with the changes, and most of the anger was directed at the alleged end of the circumflex.

    /By BBC/
    10
  • Kazakhstan ratifies loan agreement with IBRD
    05.02.2016 18:02
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    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On ratification of the Loan Agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)", the president's press service reported Feb. 5.

    As per the agreement, the loan worth $100 million is extended for financing of the project on development of occupational skills and stimulation of creation of new jobs.

    The Loan Agreement was signed in July 2015.

    ---

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    15
  • Turkeyв's ruling party says Russian observer flight route ''speculation''
    05.02.2016 18:02
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2010/05/12/Turkey_Russian_flaqs_120510.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    The flight route over Turkey's territory, proposed by a Russian observer team, is a "speculation" on the backdrop of crisis in relations between Ankara and Moscow, said Omer Celik, a spokesman for Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

    Celik said that earlier a Russian observer mission wanted to fly along Turkey's border with Syria, TRT Haber news channel reported Feb. 4.

    Relations between Russia and Turkey deteriorated after Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian SU-24 bomber on Nov. 24, 2015. Turkey said the bomber entered its airspace, while Russia denied its warplane flying into the Turkish skies.

    Earlier, it was reported that a Russian observer team was planning to fly over Turkey's territory, as part of the Treaty on Open Skies.

    But on Feb. 4, Turkey's Foreign Ministry didn't allow the team fly over the country's territory as the Turkish side didn't approve the flight route.

    The Treaty on Open Skies, which currently has 34 states parties, including Turkey and Russia, establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants.

    The treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants a direct role in gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them.

    ---

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    8
  • US congressmen overplayed Iran visit request '" MP
    05.02.2016 18:01
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2009/06/25/USA_Iran_250609.jpg
    Tehran, Iran, February 5

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    The US congressmen have overplayed their request to visit Iran during the upcoming elections, Ahmad Bakhshayesh Ardestani, member of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission believes.

    They must have sought visas through the Foreign Ministry or Iran's interest section as it is the norm with all countries on all such occasions, he told Trend February 5.

    Congressmen Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), and Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) on February 4 sent a letter to Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and IRGC Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari requesting their assistance with arranging agenda items that the three lawmakers hope to accomplish in Iran, including appointments with American hostages, visits to Iranian nuclear facilities, updates on Iran's recent ballistic missile tests, and an IRGC briefing on the detention of 10 U.S. Navy sailors.

    The request seems to be rather an inquisitive act having in mind the obstacles the Congress used to create against the making and implementation of the deal which showed their enmity to the Islamic Republic, Ardestany said.

    There have been zero relations on the Iran-US record and the fact that US congressmen call us enemies, the MP observed.

    "So, even if they visit Iran and file a report, it does not look like it's going to be a positive report. They want to say Iran is not democratic. We do not see a problem in their visit. But what is interesting is that it is congressmen who have made the request," he concluded.

    The recently implemented nuclear deal (aka Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) met the harshest criticism from US congressmen, who nearly brought it to a halt on occasions, giving President Barack Obama a hard time pushing it through. However, the deal's implementation was announced on February 16, a long awaited moment.

    Ayatollah Khamenei has on occasions cautioned the Iranian community that the nuclear deal won't be the end of US bother, adding that after the nuclear issue, the US has several other issues to criticize Iran for, including human rights, missile program, etc.

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    13
  • Over 5,000 refugees gather on Syrian-Turkish border
    05.02.2016 17:59
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2016/02/05/refuges_2016_syria_1.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    More than 5,000 refugees have gathered on the Syrian-Turkish border, Turkish IHA news agency reported Feb. 5.

    Most of the refugees are inhabitants of the Syrian city of Aleppo, where the country's army conducts military operations with the support of the Russian Air Force.

    "At present, thousands of refugees trying to enter Turkey's territory are gathering on the border," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said at the lsquo;Supporting Syria and the Region' conference in London. "This is connected with military operations in the Syrian city of Aleppo."

    Davutoglu also accused Russia and Iran of the deaths of civilians in Syria.

    The Turkish Prime Minister said that while supporting the Syrian regime, Russia is conducting ethnic cleansing in Syria, including Aleppo, which has a special significance for Turkey.

    Currently, Turkey is hosting more than two million Syrian refugees on its territory. The Syrian refugee camps in the country accommodate about 300,000 people. The rest of them are spread across the provinces and cities of Turkey.

    In Istanbul alone, there are currently 40,000 refugees from Syria. Ankara has so far spent $8 billion to upkeep the Syrian refugees.

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    12
  • Azerbaijan Baku Fires chase first win of season against Red-Hot WSB debutants Uzbek Tigers
    05.02.2016 17:31
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147600.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147600.jpg
    Having lost their opening match of the new season to defending champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, the Azerbaijan Baku Fires face yet another stiff challenge from across the Caspian Sea on Friday night as they take on Group D rivals and WSB newcomers Uzbek Tigers. The Tigers delivered a huge statement of intent in their opening fixture, breezing past the Puerto Rico Hurricanes 5-0 in San Juan, but the fresh franchise is likely to find a considerably more robust side standing in their way in Baku.

    The hostsв' Magomed Ibiyev is no stranger to World Series of Boxing, but the opening bout of the night against Abrorjon Kodirov will be his first at flyweight. Kodirov himself only made the move up from light flyweight two years ago, and he has since silver and bronze medals at the Uzbekistan National Championships.

    The Firesв' Umakhanov Memorial Tournament silver medalist Khasan Arsunkaev will be making his WSB debut in the eveningв's second bout, up against one of the worldв's most promising lightweight boxers, the 2015 AIBA World Championship bronze medalist Elnur Abduraimov.

    Azerbaijan Baku Firesв' Belarusian boxer Yauheni Ramashkevich will face Uzbek Tigersв' Dostonbek Turdiyev in the welterweight class, and another Belarus import, the London 2012 Olympian Mikhail Dauhaliavets, can expect a crunching match against the Tigersв' Shukhrat Abdullayev, gold medalist at the 2011 Asian Confederation Boxing Championships in Incheon.

    Last into the Baku ring for what could be the deciding bout of the night will be Azeri 26-year-old Arslanbek Makhmudov, a seasoned WSB boxer with several big victories, including that of two-time AIBA World Champion Mahammadrasul Majidov, already to his name. The super heavyweight will take on Uzbekistanв's veteran Sardor Abdullayev, who made his WSB debut back in Season I for that yearв's losing finalists, the Astana Arlans.

    The match will start at 19:00.

    /By AzerTac/
    11
  • Azerbaijan is a transport bridge connecting Europe with Asia
    05.02.2016 17:21
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147598.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147598.jpg
    Azerbaijan, which plays the role of a bridge between Europe and Asia, has huge transit opportunities. The fact that routes from the East to the West and from the North to the South pass through Azerbaijan, makes the country an important logistics hub and a junction of major trade routes between the East and the West and the North and the South.

    What plays a vital role in Azerbaijan`s becoming a strategic logistics hub for the entire Eurasian region is the country's favorable geographical location, its possession of the necessary transport infrastructure, particularly the new Baku International Sea Trade Port.

    A number of large-scale infrastructure projects have recently been carried out in Azerbaijan's transport sector. This included the construction of the Baku International Sea Trade Port, state-of-the-art airports and roads of international importance, renewal of the railway lines in the direction of the East-West and North-South transport corridors. These projects have made a crucial contribution to the expansion of the country's foreign economic relations.

    The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, whose construction is to be completed this year, will substantially elevate Azerbaijan`s significance as a transit country for freight being shipped between Europe and Asia. The shortest route linking Asia and Europe, this railway is believed to ship 30 million tons of cargo a year.

    The Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) international transport corridor is of pivotal importance in developing transit potential of the South Caucasus and Central Asian countries. This corridor accounts for four-fifths of the total volume of energy resources transited through the Caspian littoral states to the Old World.

    Work to restore the historic Silk Road started last August. The first freight train on the International Trans-Caspian transport route travelled from China to the Baku port, covering a distance of 4,768 kilometers (4,258 kilometers by railway and 510 kilometers by sea). From Baku, it headed to Europe via Georgia and Turkey. Chairman of Azerbaijan Railways Javid Qurbanov said: "The opening of the Trans-Caspian transport route is the next step towards Azerbaijan's becoming a transport hub. This will allow to increase the flow of freight and foreign exchange to the country."

    This year saw Ukraine join the Trans-Caspian international transport corridor, sending 10 freight cars and 20 forty-foot freight trains to China. A test freight train linking Ukraine with China passed through the Black Sea to the Georgian port of Poti, then arrived in Baku by railroad and departed from the Baku International Sea Trade Port via the Caspian Sea to Aktau, Kazakhstan, and finally reached China.

    After the successful test of the route, Ukraine and Lithuania signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) adding the Viking freight train to the Trans-Caspian route. This means that the Silk Road route through Ukraine will connect not only Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and China, but also the European Union (EU) member states. So it`s not hard to guess what this means for Azerbaijan.

    In order to promote transit from Europe to China and back, tariffs for the railway shipping from Ilyichevsk to the European Union border have been reduced by 60 percent. Travel time on Ukraine-Georgia-Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan-China route is 11 days, but there are realistic prospects of shortening it to 10 days.

    On January 14, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Georgia signed a protocol to set competitive preferential tariffs for cargo shipment on the Trans-Caspian international transport route, which is a strategic link in the TRACECA corridor, and has the potential to carry more than 15 million tons of freight per year.

    Air transportation is actively involved in transit operations. Azerbaijanв's Silk Way West Airlines has recently launched direct cargo flights between Baku and the Japanese city of Komatsu. The first flight from the Heydar Aliyev International Airport to Komatsu Airport transported 34 tons of commercial cargo. Silk Way West Airlines will operate regular flights on this route twice a week by Boeing 747-8F Freighter.

    /By AzerTac/
    11
  • SOCAR, Georgia discuss 'dark points'
    05.02.2016 16:42
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147594.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147594.jpg
    /By AzerNews/

    By Aynur Karimova

    Energy-rich Azerbaijan and one of its main gas consumers - Georgia have discussed the problems with the supply of blue fuel to Georgia and the ways to resolve them.

    The discussions succeeded the Georgian energy minister's recent loud talks with its two giant gas producing neighbors -- Iran and Russia, in an effort to diversify its gas supplies.

    The move gave birth to concerns about reliability of energy partnership between the two South Caucasus nations, thus entailing enough grounds for debates in both countries.

    The meeting in Baku on February 4 seems to shed a light on many dark points of the process as Georgian Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze and SOCAR President Rovnaq Abdullayev decided to continue regular meetings and negotiations.

    The sides mulled prospects for the development of the Southern Gas Corridor, as well as the progress on the construction of the South Caucasus Pipeline in the territory of Georgia.

    Azerbaijan, which is considered by the Georgian officials as a strategic partner, is the priority source of gas supply for Tbilisi.

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia enjoyed favorable relations with Azerbaijan that met its increasing gas demand for many years. Even in a very critical period of relationship with Russia, which left Georgians without warm after the 2008 military clashes, Azerbaijan rescued the post Soviet nation and extended a helping hand to it.

    Today SOCAR delivers 6 million cubic meters per day in Georgia, which is supposed meet 95 percent of the country's gas consumption. The rest 5 percent of its gas demand Georgia covers though Russian supplies that it receives for "blue fuel" transit to Armenia.

    Despite the fact that Azerbaijan enjoys enough natural gas reserves to meet the needs of Georgia and many other European countries for decades, Kaladze and Russian gas giant Gazprom have recently held negotiations which caused a storm of unrest and accusations both in Georgia and Azerbaijan.

    Rumors circulating in political circles and society gave birth to ideas that the Georgian government intends to replace cheap and stable Azerbaijani gas with Russian, which is considered much more expensive and less stable.

    Kaladze said earlier that Gazprom offers gas to Georgia cheaper than Azerbaijan, adding that if necessary Georgia will balance with Russian supplies a deficit, which SOCAR is unable to refill.

    SOCAR, a major gas supplier to Georgia, however, rebuffed any motives about shortage of natural gas, assuring that the company could meet the country's necessary demand for natural gas and would do it further if needed.

    But even today, after the Georgian government played such a political game by bargaining with Gazprom, Azerbaijan again rescued Georgia from energy dependence on the Russian "gas needle".

    In January, SOCAR and Georgia agreed to increase the volume of gas supplied to Georgia and the company will maximally increase the gas supply up to seven million cubic meters per day.

    Daily gas consumption in Georgia exceeded 11 million cubic meters per day and about 2.5 billion cubic meters per year. Currently, SOCAR supplies six million cubic meters per day and it is impossible to get more via the existing pipeline.

    Azerbaijan supplies gas to Georgia via Hajigabul-Gardabani pipeline with gas pumping capacity attaining 6.5 million cubic meters per day. The second way carrying gas to Georgian consumers is the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (South Caucasus) Pipeline, through which the gas from the first stage of the Shah Deniz field is supplied to Georgia and a large proportion goes through its territory to Turkey.

    By increasing the capacity of these pipelines, SOCAR will be able to meet the increasing demand of Georgia in energy.

    The company has several plans in this regard. It plans to fully upgrade the Hajigabul-Gardabani pipeline to increase its capacity.

    Also, works on the expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline as part of the Shah Deniz-2 project have already commenced. These works include the construction of a new pipeline in the territory of Azerbaijan and two new gas compressor stations in Georgia. Expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline will triple its capacity to more than 20 billion cubic meters a year. That will allow allocating more gas to Georgia.
    22
  • Six IS militants detained in Turkey
    05.02.2016 16:41
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/07/03/polis-turk_020715.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/07/03/polis-turk_020715.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    Six militants of the IS terrorist group (ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) were detained in the Turkish province of Gaziantep as a result of special operation, the Turkish DHA news agency reported Feb. 5.

    The militants are Turkish citizens, and they were detained while trying to cross into Syria, according to the agency.

    As many as 68 people were detained during anti-terrorist operations in seven provinces of Turkey on Jan. 13.

    Earlier, it was reported that 450 Turkish citizens joined the terrorist group IS in Syria during 2015.

    Turkey's intelligence service said it had information that Turkish citizens, who underwent training with the IS militants, intend to return to the country to stage terrorist attacks there.

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    15
  • Iran, UK embassies to resume issuing visas
    05.02.2016 16:41
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/10/e-visa_2.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/10/e-visa_2.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

    Iran and the United Kingdom's embassies in London and Tehran will resume issuing visas.

    Iran's Foriegn Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters after a meeting with his counterpart Philip Hammond in London on Feb.5 that issuing visas in embassies would be resumed in several weeks, IRNA reported.

    The British embassy in Iran reopened last August, nearly four years after it was closed.

    The UK embassy was closed in 2011 after it was stormed by protesters during a demonstration against sanctions.

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

    Follow us on Twitter @
    14
  • Residential house fire leaves nine dead in Turkey
    05.02.2016 15:59
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2008/06/10/Fire_071107.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2008/06/10/Fire_071107.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    A residential house burst into flame in Sirnak province, south-eastern Turkey, the Turkish Haber7 newspaper wrote Feb. 5.

    According to the preliminary data, nine people died and 25 people were injured.

    All the dead and injured are Turkish citizens. The cause of the fire has not been disclosed.

    Currently, the fire is being extinguished.

    ---

    follow the author on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

    Follow us on Twitter @
    19
  • Several advisors dismissed at Azerbaijanв's Taxes Ministry
    05.02.2016 15:30
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/07/10/taxes_ministry_100715.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/07/10/taxes_ministry_100715.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    Azerbaijani Minister of Taxes Fazil Mammadov has reduced the number of his advisors from 13 to seven.

    Taxes Ministry said in a message posted on its website Feb. 5 that Asef Asadov, Akif Musayev, Mahir Rafiyev, Asif Jahangirov, Rahim Afandiyev, Namig Guliyev and Musaver Nabiyev were dismissed as the ministerial advisors.

    However, they were all assigned to structural units of the ministry.

    Aside from that, Tariyel Guliyev was named a new advisor to Minister Mammadov.

    As of now, the taxes minister's advisors are Alakbar Mammadov, Riyad Huseynov, Mahammad Sadigov, Habil Mammadov, Ilgar Ahmadov, Ilham Amiraliyev and Tariyel Guliyev.

    Numerous personnel and structural changes were made at the Ministry of Taxes in 2015.

    Follow us on Twitter @
    20
  • Azerbaijani taxes ministry reshuffled
    05.02.2016 15:29
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/06/trend_taxes_ministry_vergiler_main.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/06/trend_taxes_ministry_vergiler_main.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    Trend:

    The newly established structure at the Azerbaijani Ministry of Taxes - General Directorate for International Relations and Tax Monitoring of Financial Institutions, has been headed by the minister's advisor Alakbar Mammadov.

    He replaced Natig Shirinov on this post.

    Shirinov has been appointed head of the Tax Department #1 of the ministry.

    Story still developing

    Follow us on Twitter @
    12
  • Azerbaijani companies invited to IFE China exhibition
    05.02.2016 15:22
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147589.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147589.jpg
    The 16th China International Food Exhibition and Guangzhou Import Food Exhibition 2016 (IFE2016) will be held on June 29, 2016.

    According to Azerbaijan export and import foundation, Azerbaijani companies and businessmen are invited to attend the exhibition.

    The IFE is an awesome platform that enhances the aura with the massive presence of food and food products, beverages, beverage products, food ingredients, raw materials, food items, dairy products, meat products, poultry and eggs products, fish products and quite a lot more. It is an international platform that has been witnessing visitors and exhibitors, from all around the world.

    /By AzerTac/
    13
  • New oil well commissioned in Caspian Sea
    05.02.2016 15:21
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/09/08/oil_rig_080914.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/09/08/oil_rig_080914.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

    Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR will additionally produce about 11,000 tons of oil daily by commissioning a new well at the offshore field Guneshli, the company said Feb. 5.

    Oil is extracted from the well bore within the range of 3050-3011 meters, the company said.

    Guneshli field plays an important role in Azerbaijan's oil and gas industry. The field's shallow part is developed by SOCAR independently, while the deepwater part - within the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli block - is developed jointly with foreign partners.

    SOCAR is implementing a program to stabilize and increase oil production. The company produced 8.16 million tons of oil in 2015, compared to 8.32 million tons produced in 2014.

    Some 41.59 million tons of oil were produced in Azerbaijan in 2015 compared to 42.02 million tons produced in 2014.

    ---

    Follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov

    Follow us on Twitter @
    12
  • Ashgabat, Ankara hold political consultations
    05.02.2016 15:21
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/04/21/trend_ashgabat_210415.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/04/21/trend_ashgabat_210415.jpg
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Feb. 5

    By Huseyn Hasanov - Trend:

    Turkmenistan and Turkey held political consultations at the foreign ministers level in Ashgabat, the Turkmen Foreign Ministry said Feb. 5.

    The participants discussed a wide range of issues on extending cooperation in political, trade and economic and cultural-humanitarian spheres during the consultations.

    In addition, regional and international issues of mutual interest were also reviewed.

    The sides' mutual interest in the further development of relations in the energy and transport spheres through the implementation of joint projects was also noted.

    In addition, the issues on intensifying cooperation between the foreign ministries of the two countries were also discussed.

    The sides expressed satisfaction about the results of the fruitful cooperation and noted the need for further intensification of mutually beneficial partnership based on the principles of mutual respect and trust.

    Follow us on Twitter @
    12
  • Staff of Azerbaijanв's delegation to NATO PA announced
    05.02.2016 15:20
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/31/nato_parliamentary_assembly_310315.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/31/nato_parliamentary_assembly_310315.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    Trend:

    The staff of Azerbaijan's delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has been made public.

    First Vice-Speaker Ziyafat Asgarov, members of Azerbaijani parliament - Siyavush Novruzov, Malahat Ibrahimgizi, Kamran Bayramov and Gudrat Hasanguliyev are included to the new staff of delegation.

    Kamran Bayramov replaced Tahir Suleymanov in the delegation's new composition.

    Follow us on Twitter @
    14
  • Iran may use export of gas to Europe as political shield from sanctions
    05.02.2016 15:20
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/14/gas-pipelines_140215.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/14/gas-pipelines_140215.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 4

    By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

    Iran may attach political importance to exporting gas to Europe, in a way to complicate the possible reapplication of sanctions against the country, David Koranyi, director of the Atlantic Council's Eurasian Energy Futures Initiative and deputy director of the Atlantic Council's Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center believes.

    Koranyi told Trend that Iran's gas production potential is enormous, however yet the country faces formidable obstacles to gas exports.

    "Domestic residential demand continues to grow, and gas is needed for reinjection into oil fields to keep up production,"Koranyi told Trend.

    For Iran, many obstacles to foreign investment will remain even after the sanctions have been lifted, he believes.

    Koranyi mentioned that Iran also plans to build up a first class petrochemical industry and export electricity regionally instead of gas.

    The country's petrochemical output capacity currently stands at 60 million tons. The Islamic Republic hopes to bring this capacity to 120 million tons by 2020 and 180 million tons by 2025.

    "The current price environment in Europe does not help either, it does not seem commercially viable to bring gas all the way from South Pars to the European markets," Koranyi said.

    "At the same time Iran may attach political importance to exporting gas to Europe by pipeline or LNG, as it will increase its importance and complicate the reapplication of sanctions in a worst case scenario," he added.

    On January 16, the International Atomic Energy Agency verified Tehran's compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), opening the way for Iran's return to the global energy market. The same day, the US and the European Union announced that they were lifting their sanctions against Iran.

    Iran holds 17 percent of the world's proved natural gas reserves and more than one-third of OPEC's reserves, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). As of January 2015, Iran's estimated proved natural gas reserves were 1,201 trillion cubic feet.

    At the same time, Iran is the world's third-largest dry natural gas producer, after the US and Russia. In 2013, Iran became the world's largest gas-flaring country, surpassing Russia, according to the EIA.

    Last year Head of National Iranian Gas Exports Company Alireza Kameli said that the export of gas to Europe is uneconomical for Iran. He also said that exporting LNG to European markets is on Iranian Oil Ministry's top agenda.

    Speaking about the oil sector, Koranyi said that Iran's return will have profound repercussions for international markets.

    "Iran's barrels will add to an already oversupplied global oil markets and may drive down prices further," he said.

    Iran's current oil production is estimated to be around 2.8 million barrels per day (mbpd), of which about one million barrels are exported.

    Free of sanctions, the country plans to increase its oil export by 500,000 barrels per day, and then raise the figure by another 500,000 to two million barrels per day within a six month period at the next step.

    Follow us on Twitter @
    10
  • Eastern Partnership to continue to facilitate co-op with Azerbaijan
    05.02.2016 14:51
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/05/22/eastern_partnership_main_150313.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/05/22/eastern_partnership_main_150313.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Elena Kosolapova, Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:

    The Eastern Partnership program of the European Union will continue to facilitate cooperation and strengthen relationship between the EU and its six partner countries in a flexible way, the EU spokesperson told Trend.

    The Eastern Partnership program envisages political association and economic integration of EU with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It does not envisage the EU membership.

    Differentiation and more tailor-made relations are at the heart of the recent review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, in the broader framework of which the Eastern Partnership initiative operates, said the spokesperson.

    "The EU remains committed to the Eastern Partnership as a strategic and ambitious partnership, and continues to support sustained reform processes in the partner countries," the spokesperson said.

    At the last Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, held on May 21-22 2015, the EU and its six partner countries in this initiative agreed on four key priority areas of cooperation upon which to focus over the next years: strengthening institutions and good governance; enhancing mobility and people-to-people contacts; fostering market opportunities; and improving energy and transport interconnections, according to the EU spokesperson.

    This also reflects the objectives set out in the recent review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, the spokesperson said.

    "These four priority areas feed into one of the key aims of the Eastern Partnership, which is to strengthen the resilience of all partner countries and to bolster their ability to withstand pressures they may face," said the spokesperson.

    Energy and transport interconnections, including in South Caucasus, are also among the priority areas of cooperation in the Eastern Partnership program, the EU spokesperson said.

    At the last Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, leaders reaffirmed their commitment to facilitate the development of strategic infrastructure, notably in relation to the Southern Gas Corridor, said the spokesperson.

    The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor projects. Other sources can also connect to this project at a later stage.

    Over the past years, the Eastern Partnership program has been developed and enhanced to the benefit of both the EU and the partner countries involved, the spokesperson said. For example, citizens of the Republic of Moldova who hold a biometric passport and want to travel to the Schengen zone for a short-stay are exempt from visa requirements since April 28, 2014, according to the spokesperson.

    The European Commission recently adopted progress reports on the implementation of the action plans on visa liberalisation for Georgia and Ukraine respectively, the EU spokesperson said. With Azerbaijan and Armenia, Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements allow for easier access to Schengen visas and therefore increased people-to-people contact, said the spokesperson.

    ---

    Follow the authors on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova, @Anahanum

    Follow us on Twitter @
    16
  • Sky Sports F1 visits Baku City Circuit
    05.02.2016 14:42
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147586.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147586.jpg
    Baku City Circuit (BCC) has welcomed the Sky Sports F1 team to Baku last weekend.

    Representing the Sky F1 team in Baku was one of the F1 Paddockв's most popular presenters, Ted Kravitz, known in particular for his 'Tedв's Notebookв' segment, who travelled with his film crew to Azerbaijanв's capital city to see for himself what awaits F1 fans this summer at the 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe.

    Arriving on Friday morning, the team didnв't waste any time getting to work as they took in their first impressions of F1в's newest host city, capturing everything from the airport upon arrival to the cityв's iconic Flame Towers, Azerbaijani flag, shopping district and the Baku Crystal Hall - home of the 2012 Eurovision song contest!

    The next day saw Ted Kravitz take his first tour of the Baku City Circuit, guided by BCCв's Head of Venue Delivery, Tom Butcher. The tour of what is estimated to become the fastest street circuit in F1 covered all the highlights of this exceptional new addition to the F1 calendar, including: The main straight alongside Bakuв's seaside promenade where driver speeds are expected to reach up to 340 km/h; The breath-taking Government Building that will overlook the Paddock and Pitlane; The astonishing and soon the be iconic sequence of narrow turns from T7-11 alongside the old city walls; The exciting downhill stretch of the circuit by T16 that leads on to the home straight; The beautiful backdrop of T18, which passes one of the cityв's oldest and most revered structures, the Maiden Tower, leading into the circuitв's exciting 'dual-carriagewayв' section.

    Needless to say, Ted and his team were highly impressed by the circuit and excited to see it all come to fruition in June:

    The Sky Sports F1 team also took time out of their busy weekend schedule to sit down with BCC Executive Director, Arif Rahimov, for a one-on-one interview discussing the on-going preparations for the 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe.

    To add a touch of local flavour and humour to their coverage of Baku and the Baku City Circuit, Sky decided to take their own tour of the city on Sunday in a classic white Lada, the likes of which pocket the streets of Baku and add to the cityв's unique charm. This allowed them to complete their own personal tour of the city where they once again took in the main highlights of the circuit and also found time to visit an oil pump on the outskirts of the city!

    /By AzerTac/
    13
  • AFFA backs Infantino's FIFA presidency bid
    05.02.2016 14:41
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147587.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147587.jpg
    The Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) has declared its support for Gianni Infantino's FIFA presidential bid. The UEFA general secretary, Infantino entered the race when Michel Platini was forced to withdraw after being banned for eight years.В 

    On Wednesday he unveiled a 90-day action plan for his first three months in office if he wins the election later this month. Infantino`s action plan covers 11 points including launching the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup, reforming the transfer system and appointing a new FIFA secretary general.

    /By AzerTac/
    11
  • Masalli: beautiful corner of "magic water"
    05.02.2016 14:13
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147584.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147584.jpg
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    Masalli, a beautiful and unique city located in 240 km of Baku, is the southern region of Azerbaijan attracting many tourists every year.

    The picture perfect, cozy and beautiful land is known for its sub-tropical climate, azure beaches on the coast of the Caspian Sea and a diversity of hot springs.Favorable climate promotes growth of lush forests in the region, which creates a perfect habitat for various rare animals and valuable trees such as oak and ironwood, the wood so heavy that sinks in water.

    Majestic Talish Mountains never cease to amaze travelers with its unique beauty and freshness.

    To enjoy the picture perfect nature of Talish woods with all its own beauty, itв's better to visit this beautiful city in autumn, winter, or spring.

    Despite being located away from main thoroughfares, the southern region without a doubt is a potentially perfect area for tourism.

    Masalli is a promising medical region for tourism, thanks to its beautiful Healing waters called ''Istisu'', translated as ''hot water''

    The source does not dry for many hundreds of years, and no one knows the exact history of its occurrence.

    The water, coming from the bowels of the earth at a depth of 90-250 meters, has been called magical water since ancient times. Itв's rich with hydrogen sulphide, calcium, sodium, chloride, magnesium hydrocarbons, and iodine, which makes it a cure for thousands of diseases.

    The waterfalls of Istisu add a special beauty to this region and are popular among tourists. Picnic lovers can fade in to the thick woods of the nature, and enjoy the cool, refreshing air of the waterfall in summer

    Thanks to the mild subtropical climate, the average temperature in the region stands at 29 degrees Celsius in summer and 7 degrees C in winter.The abundance of sunlight, water and fresh air make Masalli a paradise for subtropical plants including tangerine, oranges and lemons.

    Not surprisingly, with its pleasant climate, Masalli is blessed with many amateur gardeners. Even the residents sometimes joke that if to drop a seed to the ground it will surely germinate.

    The region is full of picture perfect town and villages, where the residents honor the traditions and crafts such as pottery, weaving mats and baskets, as well as making and painting traditional chests.

    At the time chests were considered an indispensable attribute of marriage. Brides took away their dowries in chests, leaving their father's house. Today, only 2-3 people in Masalliв's Erkivan village are engaged in this ancient craft.

    Speaking of Masalli, it is impossible to avoid its rich and diverse cuisine, which has an ancient history.

    The region is famous for 20 kinds of rice dishes.

    The most popular dish that is made only in Masalli is ''Lavangi'' -- it is made from fish and chicken stuffed with nuts, onions and sumac, then prepared in a special firewood oven called ''Tandir''. The dishes cooked in this oven are very delicious, juicy, and have an unusual taste.

    Masalli is also very rich with its architectural sights that as the 19thВ century Mosque and old baths. It is also possible to see the mosques that were built back in 16thВ century in the nearby villages.

    One can endlessly travel and study Masalli, every time discovering something new. Each day held in this generous region will be rich with unforgettable experiences and will be a bright page in the life of any tourists visiting Azerbaijan.
    21
  • QS Official: ''Inform us about your achievements and innovations, weв'll introduce you to the world''
    05.02.2016 14:00
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/no_image_found.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/no_image_found.jpg
    The Director of QS World University Ranking on Eastern European and Central Asian region Zoya Zaytseva has visited Azerbaijan State University of Economics (UNEC).

    UNEC Rector, Professor Adalat Muradov spoke about the goals of the University during the event attended by the representatives of the county's leading universities. Rector has delivered the information about the innovations applied in the university, speaking about UNEC's integration to the world education system. Saying that our target is to see UNEC among the world- class universities noted that they pretend to be in line with QS World University Ranking.

    Z. Zaytseva congratulated UNEC on the occasion of being the first among the universities of Azerbaijan in accordance with the Webometrics' Ranking. She noted that UNEC has enough students and teaching staff potential to be listed in QS Ranking. Zaytseva has also highly evaluated the official webpage of the university.

    Then the guest has delivered the detailed information about the necessary requirements and conditions for the universities to be included into the QS Ranking making a presentation on "World Universities Ranking". She said, QS Ranking is determined in accordance with the academic influence, ration between the teaching and student staffs, impact factors, the number of international articles, prestige of recruiters and the effectiveness of Internet resources.

    Noting Azerbaijan's higher educational institutions to have enough scientific potential for being included into the World Universities Ranking, Ms. Zaytseva said she is ready to support the country's universities in this direction. Simply, universities should properly present the work done to be listed in the international ranking: "Inform us about your achievements and innovations, we'll introduce you to the world".

    Holding the Press Conference, Z. Zaytseva noted that they have exchanged views about Azerbaijan universities' place in rating list during the conversation with the Education Minister Mikayil Jabbarov.

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    23
  • Human rights concerns unlikely to affect Iran-West business, expert says
    05.02.2016 14:00
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/10/01/zunes_stephen_011015.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/10/01/zunes_stephen_011015.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 4

    By Umid Niayesh- Trend:

    While there are certainly legitimate concerns regarding Iran's human rights record, it is unlikely to play much of a factor in limiting Western economic interests in the country, Stephen Zunes, a US expert on Middle East issues told Trend Feb. 4.

    At the same time, Zunes, who is professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at San Francisco University, believes that the West has long sacrificed human rights principles in its support for some human rights violators in the region.

    He further touched upon the issue of mistrust between Tehran and Washington, saying that Iran's suspicions of US intentions are in many respects well-founded, notably in that the US has traditionally taken a harder line toward the Islamic Republic than other Western nations.

    In addition, the next US president will likely be more hostile towards Iran than President Obama, as both the Republican candidates and likely the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, have taken a more hardline positions towards Iran, Zunes said.

    At the same time, given the importance of the US, it may not be realistic to reject any attempt to improve relations, he said.

    Zunes said that while Iran's relationship with the US may not be as friendly as with the European states, it would seem to be in the best interest of both countries to at least normalize diplomatic relations.

    Further commenting about the opportunities for the EU to gradually replace Tehran's traditional allies including China, the analyst said that though the shift may not be immediate, the EU has the potential of being both a larger market for certain Iranian products as well as a source for some important technologies.

    While responding to the question of whether developing the economic ties also may lead to improving political ties between Iran and West, he said that powerful economic interests can overcome ideological and political resistance to closer relations.

    "For example, if the US companies find they are losing potential business to European companies, they could pressure Washington to moderate its policies. As much as the United States and other Western nations oppose the Islamic Republic, the fact is that Iran is a major regional actor and cannot be ignored," Zunes said.

    He said there may also be hope that the less isolated Iran becomes better integrated into the global economy, and that in turn will lessen the influence of hardline elements which have been strengthened by the country's isolation.

    Speaking about major obstacles to the resumption of Iran-US economic ties, he said the primary obstacles remain - the US still has certain unilateral sanctions in place as well as political hostility towards a government which has long opposed US strategic interests in the region.

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

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    10
  • Tajikistan parliament paves way for president to rule for life
    05.02.2016 13:22
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147578.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147578.jpg
    Tajikistanв's parliament has backed changing the constitution to allow the president, Emomali Rahmon, to run for office an infinite number of times, according to the Guardian.

    The 63-year-old has led the central Asian country since 1992, shortly after it became independent from the Soviet Union. The amendments now have to be approved by the constitutional court and put to a national referendum. Tajikistan awarded Rahmon the title of leader of the nation last year, reinforcing his burgeoning personality cult.

    One of the authors of the amendments said: ''According to the Tajik constitution, a person can stand for president twice for seven-year terms. However, this does not apply to the leader of the nation.''

    Rahmon, who once headed up a collective farm, was voted in for a seven-year term in an election in 2013. He is eligible to serve another stint after 2020, following constitutional reforms.

    The president had already overseen constitutional reforms in 2003 that allowed him to remain in post until 2020. Tajik lawmakers also backed changing the constitution to allow candidates to stand for president from the age of 30, down from 35.

    /By AzerTac/
    19
  • Russia, EU discuss Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
    05.02.2016 13:22
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147579.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147579.jpg
    /By AzerNews/

    By Laman Sadigova

    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Herbert Salber discussed the situation in the region in Moscow on February 5.

    In particular, the sides were discussing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

    "They discussed the situation in the South Caucasus in the context of complicated international environment, the fight against terrorism and threats to the security and stability of the regionв's states," the Russian foreign Ministry reported.

    For over two decades, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in conflict which emerged over Armenia's territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor. Since a war in the early 1990s, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions.

    The sides to the conflict currently hold talks based on the renewed Madrid principles, which envisage return of occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control, ensure the right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former places of residence, future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh and etc.

    However, the peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group have been largely fruitless so far.
    19
  • Manchester United Soccer School announces about enrolment for preliminary training group
    05.02.2016 13:19
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/09/24/manchescter_bakcell_school_240914_05.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/09/24/manchescter_bakcell_school_240914_05.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    Trend:

    Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) and Bakcell, The First Mobile Operator and Leading Mobile Internet Provider of Azerbaijan are pleased to announce the start of enrolment for the preliminary training (foundation) group of the "Manchester United Soccer School".

    It's been almost 5 months since the opening of preliminary training (foundation) group of the "Manchester United Soccer School", which functions permanently in the city of Baku, within the frames of partnership relations between AFFA, Bakcell and "Manchester United" football club (UK). However, taking into consideration the numerous requests, it was decided to establish an additional preliminary training (foundation) group.

    It is planned that the preliminary training (foundation) group will consist of children born in the years 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

    Participation in this 5 week long program costs 130 AZN. Training sessions of the new group will start on February 15th.

    Training sessions at the preliminary training (foundation) group of the "Manchester United Soccer School" will be held twice a week at "Bayil Arena" stadium, by Mick Bennet (delegated from UK) and his assistants Samir Alakbarov and Jahangir Hasanzadeh.

    Number of participants is limited.

    Those wishing to register for participation should visit the "Bayil Arena" Stadium at 17:30, 15.02.2016, and bring the following mentioned documents:

    - Identification document

    - Health certificate

    Before registration, the applicants must call the below mentioned number for initial registration. Contact information for applicants:

    bull; 994 55 511 33 03 - Ramin Hasanov

    bull; Muss@affa.az

    The "Manchester United Soccer School" in Baku has been established on September 23, 2014 and is functioning since the 6th of October of the same year. The theory and practice classes are held two times a week. Currently, there are 3 "talents" groups and 1 preliminary training (foundation) group functioning at the "Manchester United Soccer School".

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    12
  • Oil price on world markets
    05.02.2016 12:50
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147577.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic147577.jpg
    The price of oil changed in different directions in the world markets.

    On the New York Stock Exchange NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) cost of the US Light crude oil decreased $0.11 to stand at $31.72. Price of the Brent crude oil at the London ICE (InterContinental Exchange Futures) fell $0.37 to trade at $34.34.

    The Marketing and Economic Operations Department of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan said the price of a barrel of Azeri Light crude oil increased $0.31 to stand at $35.40 on the world markets.

    /By AzerTac/
    18
  • All conditions available for EU-Turkey visa-free regime
    05.02.2016 12:48
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/03/12/jose_manuel_barroso_120314.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/03/12/jose_manuel_barroso_120314.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    The EU and Turkey have all the conditions for the visa-free regime, Jose Manuel Barroso, the former head of the European Commission, said, Turkish Yeni Safak newspaper wrote Feb. 5.

    He said that the EU-Turkey negotiations on the visa regime abolishment are the significant achievement between the sides.

    Barroso said that he always made efforts to achieve the abolition of the visa regime between the EU and Turkey.

    Earlier, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU may introduce a visa-free regime with Turkey in the autumn of 2016, assuming Ankara implements all the necessary requirements.

    Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that full membership in the EU continues to remain a priority for Turkey.

    The Association Agreement between the EU and Turkey was signed in 1963. Ankara filed application for the EU membership in 1987. The negotiations on Ankara's joining the EU started only in 2005.

    Although Turkey annually conducts a series of reforms for the EU membership, Ankara still cannot become a full member of the European Union.

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    13
  • Turkey fails to reach objective in gas dispute with Iran
    05.02.2016 12:48
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/11/17/zanganeh_171115_2.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/11/17/zanganeh_171115_2.jpg
    Tehran, Iran, Feb. 5

    By Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:

    Turkey has failed to reach its objective in its complaint against Iran for over-charging for gas supply, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said, Shana news agency reported.

    Zanganeh said Turkey's first complaint was about Iran not being stable in its gas supplies, thus asking for a 25-percent reduction in price. The second complaint from Turkey was that Iran over-charges for its gas, so Turkey wanted a 37.5-percent reduction in price.

    The first complaint of Turkey about instability of gas exports was ruled in favor of Iran," Zanganeh said. "The second complaint had Iran to pay 13-15 percent."

    Zanganeh did not reveal the sum Iran will have to pay due to confidentiality, but said it was negotiable.

    The managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company, Hamid-Reza Araqi, said on February 2 that the International Court of Arbitration court has ruled against Iran in its gas dispute with Turkey, voting Iran should pay some $1bn in compensation for over-charging.

    Based on the ruling, Iran must reduce the price of gas it exported to Turkey between 2011 and 2015 by 10-15 percent.

    Meanwhile, Zanganeh said Turkey cannot put forward any requests by the next couple of years on reducing gas price or changing gas export formula.

    "In my opinion, the ruling is acceptable considering that Turkey had initially requested Iran to reduce gas price by 40 percent," he said.

    Iran must supply Turkey with a about 10 billion cubic meters per year under a 25-year deal signed in 1996. Last year, Iran exported 9.6 bcm to Turkey.

    Iran had proposed doubling exports of its natural gas for a discounted price last year, but Ankara rejected the offer. Last year Iran was its most costly gas supplier.

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    12
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