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Highest education rate in region

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Tax Free Zones

Iran has dozens of Tax Free & Special Economy zones

Iran delivers its 1st domestically built catamaran sailboat to Turkey

TEHRAN- First Iranian built catamaran sailboat was delivered to Turkey, IRNA reported on Thursday.

Building this sailboat, Iran jointed the world’s builders of catamaran (informally a ‘cat’), a multi-hulled watercraft featuring two parallel hulls of equal size.

Sailing catamarans have been noted for incorporating technological advances over traditional monohull craft. These include foils that lift racing catamarans out of the water, capacious and stable cruising vessels, and racers that have achieved average speeds on the open ocean, comparable to much larger vessels.

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Tehran, Yerevan sign MOU on expansion of trade ties

TEHRAN- Iran and Armenian inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the expansion of mutual trade relations, Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) announced.

The MOU was signed by the Head of TPO Mojtaba Khosrotaj and the Executive Director of Development Fund of Armenia Armen Avagyan in Yerevan on Wednesday.

In the signing ceremony, Khosrotaj put emphasis on the necessity of paying more attention to the trade potentials and capabilities of the two sides in line with reinforcing the bilateral ties.

Khosrotaj, who is the deputy industry, mining and trade minister of Iran, said this MOU lays the ground for more economic and trade cooperation between the two neighbors.

He said the MOU is aimed at offering proper information to the Iranian and Armenian traders and businessmen for taking more advantage of the available cooperation opportunities.

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Govt. ratifies issuance of $2.6b of securities

TEHRAN- Iranian cabinet, in their Wednesday morning meeting, approved issuance of 100 trillion rials (about $2.6 billion) of securities to finance domestic governmental projects, IRNA reported.

During the meeting, led by the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the minister approved that the ratified securities and Sukuk Islamic bonds will be issued to finance various projects implemented by different Iranian ministries and their affiliated companies.

HJ/MA
 

Stock exchange deals value up 121% in a month

TEHRAN- The value of deals in Iranian stock exchange market rose 121 percent in the second Iranian calendar month, Ordibehesht (April 21-May 21), compared to its previous month, Farvardin, Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday.

As reported, the value of deals in Ordibehesht stood at 83.012 trillion rials (about $2.225 billion) rising from 37.538 trillion rials (about $1.006 billion), in Farvardin.

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Import of containerized goods to Iranian ports up 40% in 2 months

TEHRAN – Imports of containerized goods to Iranian ports increased by 40 percent in the first two months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21- May 21, 2017) compared to the same period last year, IRNA quoted an official as saying.

According to Mohammad Saiednejad, the managing director of Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, the rise in this figure is an indication that the country’s terminals are going back to their pre-sanctions era.

EF/MA

Mapna Group builds 25MW mobile power plant

TEHRAN – A 25-megawatt mobile power plant constructed by Iran’s Mapna Group was connected to the country’s electricity grid on Tuesday, IRNA reported.

According to the report, this 25MW power plant is designed to be prepared, installed and to go online in a short time in order to provide electricity for less than three months periods. 
This mobile plant goes online in less than 25 minutes and functions on both gas and diesel fuels.

Mobile electric power plants are used where the need for electric power is temporary. Such power plants serve as primary power sources in locations far away from power transmission lines. They may also serve as standby sources where other power is ordinarily available.

The power equipment of a mobile electric power plant is usually installed in a truck of tracked vehicle, on one or more trailers, on a self-propelled chassis, or on a railroad flatcar. 

MAPNA Group is an Iranian enterprise which operates in the area of construction and development of thermal power plants under EPC scheme, independent power plants (IPP), oil and gas as well as rail traction projects.

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Iran sends formal invitations for Azadegan oilfield bidders

TEHRAN - Iran has sent formal invitation letters to major oil companies to finalize the list of bidders for its upcoming IPC-based tender for the development of Azadegan oilfield, ISNA reported on Tuesday.

According to sources close to the matter, France’s Total and Anglo-Dutch Shell, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Sinopec are major companies among other invited candidates.
Azadegan is an oilfield Iran shares with Iraq at the western part of Iran’s southwestern region of Karoun.
National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Managing Director Ali Kardor had said earlier that the 29 companies which were pre-qualified to bid for oil and gas projects under the country’s new model of oil contracts known as IPC (integrated petroleum contract) will be invited for the final tender.
Back in March, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh announced that the process for holding a tender for the development of Azadegan oilfield has been started and “the qualified companies have been determined and the tender will be held very soon.” 
Azadegan oilfield has been the priority for the Iranian oil ministry to go on tender based on the country’s new oil and gas contract model.
Anglo-Dutch Shell, France’s Total, Italy’s Eni, Malaysia’s Petronas, Russia’s Gazprom and Lukoil, Austria’s OMV, Germany’s Wintershall, as well as companies from Spain, Poland, China, Japan, India and some other countries were initially announced by Iran’s Oil Ministry as the companies prequalified for the country's first IPC tender. 

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Domestically manufactured Tricone drill bit unveiled

TEHRAN – In a ceremony on Monday Iran unveiled a domestically manufactured Tricone drill bit, Shana reported.

In the ceremony, expressing satisfaction with this great achievement, Bijan Alipour, the managing director of National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), said the company has signed a deal worth 440 billion rials (about $11.8 million) with Khouzestan province’s Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research (ACECR) for the manufacturing of 874 bits.

“NISOC is going to need 1500 drill bits of which 700 will be polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) and the rest are going to be grit hot-pressed inserts (GHI),” he said.

According to the official, near 80 percent of the oil industry’s equipment are being manufactured inside the country. He expressed hope that in the near future Iran will be completely self-sufficient in this area. 

In the unveiling ceremony Hamidreza Tayebi the head of ACECR, noted that there is a close cooperation between oil industry and ACECR in the country, saying “we hope for our cooperation to get more accelerated in the future,”

Ramin Qalambar Dezfouli, NIOC’s director for manufacturing and supplying logistics, also mentioned some of the strategic oil equipment including drill bits, wellhead equipment and sucker rod pumps (SRP) which Iran plans to manufacture inside the country.

CAP: Bijan Alipour (L), the managing director of National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), and Hamidreza Tayebi, the head of Iran’s Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research (ACECR), unveiling a domestic manufactured drill bit on Monday

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High-cost Sardar-e Jangal could bring Iran high-tech

Caspian Sea, the world’s largest inland body of water, was mainly a center of fishing activities and also a marine transportation hub by the middle of the past century. But discovery of the first oil and gas reserves in the world’s largest lake in the late 1940s added to its strategic and geopolitical significance.

Such discoveries encouraged Iran, a major producer of oil and gas in the world, to put the spotlight on conducting exploration activities in the southern Caspian region along the northern borders of the country.

While extraction of oil and gas from the Caspian deposits requires high technology and huge investment as it needs deepwater drilling, it seems to create an opportunity for Iran to achieve such know-how.

In 2002, Iran discovered a gas field in 700 meters water depth off the shore of the northern province of Gilan in the Caspian Sea and named it Sardar-e Jangal. The field contains total proven reserve of around 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Some 10 years later, exploration operation of Amir Kabir semi-submersible drilling rig (the largest offshore structure of the country with a weight of 14,700 tons) in the field led to discovery of an oil layer in 728 meters water depth in Sardar-e Jangal. The field is estimated to hold two billion barrels of quality crude that is toxic hydrogen sulfide free. Some 25% of the deposit is thought to be recoverable.

Iran completed the drilling of the first exploration well of the field in 2012. In November 2014 the production tests were carried out successfully in the second well which was 3,500 meters deep. The tests, including pressure and temperature data, oil and gas recovery rate and other production parameters, were performed to make sure about recovery from the field.

With some deposits discovered and some exploration activities conducted, the country is now seeking technical assistance from the outside to expand its deepwater operations in the Caspian Sea.

‘IPC to put Sardar-e Jangal on tender’

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said last June that oil recovery from the Caspian Sea is on the agenda but it needs special equipment and experience to extract oil from deep waters. 

Production of oil in the Caspian Sea is not a priority for Iran but Sardar-e Jangal field has been introduced to investors within the framework of IPC (Iran’s new model of oil contracts, known as integrated petroleum contract).

Mahmoud Khaqani, an international energy expert, told the Tehran Times in a telephone interview on Tuesday: “The Caspian Sea is among the regions where the cost of oil and gas production is very high. Major multinational companies are enjoying and also developing the technology for reducing production costs in such areas. It is what Iran lacks; therefore, the oil minister’s approach that production in the Caspian Sea, which requires such high cost, is not a necessity for the country at the moment seems right.”

But at the same time, the Caspian Sea is an opportunity for the Iranian technology, the analyst also underscored.

‘New chapter in oil industry’

The former OPEC governor Mohammad-Ali Khatibi, who has also served as the National Iranian Oil Company’s director for international affairs, believes that the development of Sardar-e Jangal could be very important for the country.

“Development of this field could open a new chapter in our oil activities in the Caspian Sea, because we have not had any serious and important activity over there so far, as our main job has been mainly exploration, and if we go on developing this field it could be a start for our serious work in that region,” he told the Tehran Times in a telephone interview on Monday.

“Anyway, we have been waiting many years for something important to occur there,” he added.

Last May, Farhang Khatibi, who at the time was the acting managing director of Khazar Exploration and Production Company, which is in charge of exploration, development and production operations in the Caspian region, said that the groundwork has been laid for the development of Sardar-e Jangal oilfield based on IPC.

He said the post-sanctions era paved the way for boosting relations with foreign companies and several foreign corporations have declared interest to invest in the Sardar-e Jangal project.

Iran opposed to U.S. participating in guarding de-escalation zones in Syria

Tehran (ISNA) - Iran was not in favor of the U.S. military participating in guarding de-escalation zones in Syria, said Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.

“No,” he said in an interview with the newspaper Kommersant in answer to a question about whether Iran would have agreed to America participating in guarding de-escalation zones.

Shamkhani stressed that “Syria has a government, and only it can decide who has the right to be present in their territory. The Americans, who support terrorism and destabilize Syria, do not want to see the Syrian authorities anywhere near them,” he explained.

During the international talks in Astana on May 3-4, representatives of the guarantor countries in Syria (Russia, Iran, Turkey) signed a memorandum on the creation of four de-escalation zones in Syria. They include the province of Idlib, as well as certain areas of the neighboring provinces of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo, certain areas in northern Homs Province, East Guta, and parts of the Deraa and Quneitra provinces in the south of the country.

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A seal of approval on IME’s performance by annual general meeting

Tehran (ISNA) - Holding the IME’s annual general meeting, its shareholders approved its performance and new members of Board of Directors were elected.

According to the report by the IME’s International Affairs and PR, the IME’s annual general meeting was held on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, in Niroo Research Institute Conference Hall.

During the meeting, the CEO of IME Dr. Hamed Soltaninejad presented the board of directors’ report from March 20, 2016 to March 21, 2017 and explained the IME’s highlights and developmental practices over the year.

After that, the financial statements, independence auditor’s report and explanatory notes were presented and it was announced that the IME's financial position, over the period and its financial performance and cash flows for the fiscal year, in terms of all important aspects and in accordance with accounting standards is desirable.

Moreover, the IME’s annual general meeting approved a 150 riyals dividend per share. Also, over the meeting, Behrad Moshar Auditory Firm was chosen as the independent auditor and legal inspector of Ettelaat Newspaper and donya-e-eqtesad Newspaper as the government gazette.

At the end of the meeting, shareholders approved by majority the election of new members of IME’s Board of Directors, so that representatives of Isfahan Steel Company, Tamin Petroleum & Petrochemical Investment Company (TAPICO), Mobarakeh Steel Company, Agricultural Bank Brokerage, National Development Investment Group, Mellat Brokerage Firm, Mehr Ayandegan ( Naft Fund)were elected as board members.

IME’s Highlights during previous year

On the IME’s annual general meeting, CEO of IME announced that the total value of IME in the previous year hit 817,000 billion Rials (approximately23.3 billion USD) and experienced a significant growth of %73.

Dr. Hamed Soltaninejad pointed to IME’s strategic practices on the spot and futures market and expressed that during last year trade value of the IME’s spot market reached 371,000 billion Rial, facing 25% growth. He said that in the metal and mineral trading floor in addition to iron ore, its products also were listed and offered in the domestic market.

He added that during the period the transaction of oil and petrochemical products experienced %26 growths in trade volume and %34 growths in trade value, breaking a record in trade value and volume for petrochemical products.

He said that the ratio of trade volume to offer volume for petrochemical products increased from %49 to %67. Furthermore, the long-term contracts and retail transactions for these commodities were launched and National Competition Council announced its final decision regarding the continuity of offering of petrochemical products in IME.

Meanwhile, CEO of IME referred to the status of trading agricultural commodities over the previous year in IME and stated that trade value and volume of agricultural commodities witnessed growth of %229 and %199, respectively, and 422,000 MT of wheat were traded on this market. Also, over that last year, the guaranteed price plan was implanted for feed barley and maize from all over the country as well as trading pistachio in this exchange. Technical Inspection and listing 73 warehouses for maize and feed barley, as well as collaboration with poultry market players in order to complete supply chain for poultry products in IME are among the other IME’s practices in the agricultural commodities market.

Afterward, CEO of IME pointed to IME’s initiations in the derivatives market and explained that in the derivatives market important measures have been taken in IME leading to an unprecedented record in 4 years for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly trade volume of gold coin futures contract.

In addition, call and put options contracts were launched and the required instructions for the contracts and their collaterals were prepared. Also, instructions regarding listing commodity based exchange traded funds (ETFs) were reformed and administrative regulation for launching and trading commodity based funds were developed and approved by the board of director.

According to the Soltaninejad, evaluating oil and petrochemical products to be listed in futures market, conducting feasibility studies, specifications and prospectus of futures contracts on bitumen, linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), as well as maize and saffron are among other measures of IME in the derivatives market.

Pointing to IME’s achievements in certificates of depositary receipts (CDRs), Soltaninejad said that that launching online trading system for trading certificates of depositary receipts, a %185 growth in trade value of CDRs, launching CDRs on saffron as well as launching continuous trading for maize on the domestic production are among the most important achievements of IME in this market.

He outlined the other initiations as signing MoU with Iran Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization and the Investment Guarantee Fund for, Pakistan Mercantile Exchange, Mellat Bank, Iran Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Indonesia Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (ICDX).

IME’s Priorities in last year

IME’s CEO, on this meeting, pointed to the exchange’s hopeful events over the last year and said: “launching derivatives market on foreign currencies, trading options contracts on maize and feed barley, launching online trading system for options contracts, trading forwards contracts and commodity swaps, bitumen futures contracts, lunching commodity based funds are among the IME’s priorities in previous year”.

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Public awareness necessary to save the environment

Tehran (ISNA) – Adjunct Associate Professor of University of South Australia stressed Desertification is a phenomenon that is happening all over Iran because it is located in the semi-arid and arid region.

“We are very susceptible to climate change and desertification. So we need to be careful and do a proper management to stop and at least reduce the rate of desertification otherwise in the near future we would not have a good situation in terms of natural resources,” Adjunct aAssociate Professor of University of South Australia Dr. Ali Hasanli said.

“Now a day technology can be very useful in this field. As you know climate system is a complex which includes very complicated processes and interactions that some of them are not known for us, if we use well advanced software, historical data and have good advance model then we can project the effect of this process and manage it better. Historical data is another gap because we don’t have access to historical precise data. We can’t manage without any measurement, monitoring and understanding,” Dr. Ali Hasanli added in an exclusive interview with ISNA.

Dr Hasanli is also Emeritus Professor of Shiraz University, Iran. His interest and academic experience is in water engineering, water sensitive urban design, recycled wastewater reuse and environmental management, sustainable irrigation management, salinity management, climate change and adaptation strategies for water and environment.

“So I would like to emphasize on public awareness which is very important issue. People should understand what’s going on. Government and institute and universities should try more to transfer this knowledge to people and then all together we can act to control the issues,” he went on to say.

“Participation of people can be very helpful. Governments cannot be able to handle this problem alone so it could be quite useful if local people do not cut the trees, do not do the deforestation, conserve and protect the environment. Therefore first we need to increase the awareness about the problems and challenges in the community then the participation could work,” Hasanli continued.

“I visited many countries and I think Iran is fortunately working well in this field, although we still need work match. Iran’s government, academy and some agents that are involved in environment, natural resources and forest management are aware and doing well. But the extent of desertification and the effect of climate change are growing fast so we need much more work,” he insisted.

“In conclusion we can say Iran is doing well comparing to the other countries but it is not enough. We need to match work, to use the experience of the other people, to define the issue, to increase the awareness and understanding of people of surrounding area and then we should help people and encourage them to participate. In this case we can try altogether to stop this issue,” the professor noted.

“One of the important thing is that climate change is not a regional thing but it is widely extended so we need to have regional collaboration otherwise if we close the door and just focusing on small area then our action would not be affective. So I can say collaboration of regional agents could be very important particularly about dust storm which is very challenging issue that we are facing with it,” he said.

“Desertification is progressing and extending gradually. In Climate change and desertification we have a tipping point which means sometimes something is happening but you don’t realize and you can’t see unless we reach the final phases of it. In that time the affect would be very sudden, severe and impossible to reverse,” Hasanali added.

“Desertification is a process of decreasing the capacity of resources.Also when soil is solid, water quality is dropped, ground water is finished and erosion is happening, these are types of desertification so perhaps we can see some effect of it but when It is extended and spread and when it is very hard to control, so we need to realize and find a solution to stop it,” he went on to say.

“June 17 is a good day to know more about desertification and climate change and is good opportunity to  have some presentation and show, to invite local people and explain them what’s happening to save our county and to less to be decertified,” Hassanli added.

He emphasized Iran is so susceptible to desertification because of its geographical location so not only in terms of erosion but in terms of water scarcity and soil solidity and dropping water quality and our exploitationof ground water level, in any aspects Iran moving toward desert area so we need to be careful and that day is good day to try gather all researcher and scientists and local people and those who are interested to share experience and explain the issue and try to raise the publicawareness about this challenging issue.

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Iranians, Russians, Turks to draw borders of ‘de-escalation zones’ in Syria

پرچم روسیه

Tehran (ISNA) - Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov emphasized that experts from Iran, Russia and Turkey will draw the boundaries of the ‘de-escalation zones’ in Syria, Al-Arabiya reported.

Bogdanov said barriers would be built to prevent armed infiltration, adding that task forces would be responsible for ensuring security on the ground.

There will also be demarcations of borders to stop the escalation, he added.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said in mid-May that Moscow intends to expand the “de-escalation zones” established in four zones across Syria after an understanding was reached between the guarantor countries during the Astana Syria talks in Kazakhstan early in May.

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Rouhani’s message to heads of Islamic states commemorating Ramadan

دیدارهای روحانی در حاشیه کنفرانس حمایت از انتفاضه فلسطین

Tehran (ISNA) - President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani sent separate messages to the heads of Islamic states in commemoration of the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.

In his message that was sent on Saturday, Rouhani called on the heads of Islamic countries to attempt to present a clear image of the merciful religion of Islam in order to confront the enemies' attempts for making crisis by promoting Islamophobia.

The Iranian president also wrote: "I hope in this month that is full of greatness and blessings, we all be entitled to the Almighty God's blessings and be able to get assistance from the Divine Being with cooperation, empathy, and solidarity".

Rouhani also asked the Almighty health and prosperity for the heads of Islamic countries and all Muslims.

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Iranian “AniMal” wins prize at Cannes Cinefondation

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian short film “Heyvan” (AniMal) written and directed by Bahram and Bahman Ark, students at the Iranian National School of Cinema snagged the Second Jury Prize at Cannes Cinefondation.

Capturing the indignities of migration, it turns on a man who attempts to cross a frontier disguised as a ram.

The Iranian short film “Heyvan” in a competition with Slovak, Brazilian, Japanese, Indian, French, American, Argentinian, British, Taiwanese and Belgian films won the Second Jury Prize worth €11,250 ($12,262).

“Paul Is Here,” from Costa Rica’s Valentina Maurel, a student at Belgium’s Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle et des Techniques de Diffusion (INSAS), snagged the First Jury Prize at Cannes Cinefondation worth €15,000 ($16,350).

 “A study of a relationship in crisis, which has complications, which I hope will touch spectators,” Maurel said. her short turns on a girl whose life is turned upside down by the return of Paul. an old flame, who moves in for a few days, though why he’s back isn’t very clear.

Maurel faced multitudinous competition: An effective annual world cup of film school shorts, “Paul Is Here” won out over 2,600 other works submitted by 626 film schools around the world. These were whittled down a 16 title Cinefondation showcase at Cannes.

Cinefondation’s Second Jury Prize went to “Heyvan,” (AniMal), written and directed by Bahram and Bahman Ark, students at the Iranian National School of Cinema. Capturing the indignities of migration, it turns on a man who attempts to cross a frontier disguised as a ram.

Third Prize worth 7,500 ($8,175) went to “Deux Egares Sont Morts” (Two Youths Died), from Tommaso Usberti, a student at Paris’ celebrated La Femis school.

Winning films will be screened at the Cinema du Panthéon in Paris on May 30. All the films in the Cinefondation selection will play at the Cinematheque Française on May 31 and June 1.

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Total CEO confirms target of concluding Iran gas deal before summer

توتال

Tehran (ISNA) - French oil major Total still plans to conclude the Iran South Pars gas deal before summer, its chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told journalists on the sidelines of the company's annual general meeting, Reuters reported.

Pouyanne said the signing of U.S. sanctions waivers, among other hurdles, cleared the path for the deal to be signed. 

Total said earlier in February that a final decision on the deal hinged on the new U.S. administration renewing the waivers. 
 

Pouyanne also added he had met Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh in Vienna on the sidelines of the OPEC meeting. 

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Iran condemns terrorist attack in Egypt as supported sectarianism

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi condemned the terrorist attack on a convoy of Christian Egyptians as a case of supported sectarianism.

Extending sympathies to the bereaved families, nation and government of Egypt, Ghasemi strongly condemned the terrorist attack and said: “armed attack on a bus carrying Christians in the south of Egypt is a clear manifestation of supported sectarianism”.

Referring to the concurrent trip of U.S. President Donald Trump to the Persian Gulf and terrorists attacks in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Manchester, the spokesman added: “frequent occurrence of such incidents can attest that sectarianism has been given morale and the other side of these events is bloody crackdowns in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen”.

 “The recent mockery measures in Riyadh which are labeled in a hypocrite cover-up as war on terrorism and countering extremism, have yielded in practice nothing more than spreading the ideology of Takfiri Wahhabism and providing logistical and financial support for armed terrorism in all over the world,” he went on to say.

He said that it was a fruitless hope to expect any positive contribution to the peace and security of the world from such meetings.

Reminding the international responsibility of governments and international organizations about countering terrorism, Ghasemi highlighted that the direct results of sectarianism and extremism has been shedding the blood of innocent Christians, Muslims, and the followers of other religions all over the world.

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Iranian officials meet Syrian PM

ایران و سوریه

Tehran (ISNA) –Iran’s Economic Development Committee chairman Saeed Ohadi met Syrian prime minister Imad Khamis on Wednesday.

Iranian ambassador to Syria Javad Tork Abadi has also participated in this meeting.

During the meeting, Khamis congratulated president Hassan Rouhani’s re-election as Iran president and praised the country’s supports to Syrian nation and government in fighting terrorism.

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There is debate over length of OPEC-led oil output cut extension: Iran

Tehran (ISNA) - Iran's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said Wednesday that OPEC will continue its production curb but there is debate among members about how long it will continue, Reuters reported.

"It could be three, six or nine months. Iran will not decrease its own production and that regional rival Saudi Arabia is trying to drive up oil prices " Zanganeh said.

“The re-election of president Hassan Rouhani last Friday helped remove obstacles to oil contracts,” he added.

With the aim to produce quality machinery and equipment for the oil and gas industry, the National Iranian Oil Company signed an agreement with a Spanish consortium to manufacture special pipelines using corrosion resistant alloys (CRAs).

The contract, estimated at around $550 million, was signed between the NIOC, Spain-based industrial group Tubacex and Iran's Sepahan Steel Company to provide Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) with 600 kilometers of CRA pipelines in three years.

The deal would be the most significant measure toward self-sufficiency in production of oil and gas equipment at home after the state-owned Oil Turbo Compressor Company was established in 2001 to manufacture gas compressors and turbines.

As per the terms of the agreement, Tubacex, in collaboration with Japan's JFE, will transfer the knowhow to produce corrosion resistance alloys used in manufacturing oil and gas pipelines to its Iranian business partner, Sepahan Steel Co.

Reportedly, producing such pipelines requires cutting-edge technology and only a handful of companies in the world, including JFE -- Japan's second-biggest steelmaker -- have the knowhow.

CRA pipelines are among widely-used equipment in the petroleum sector that cannot be produced by domestic companies yet. CRAs can be characterized by their resistance to specific environments. If carefully selected, these pipes permit safe containment of oil and gas process fluids. Their durability ensures improved efficiency and long life.

According to Zanganeh, domestic companies have the potential to manufacture 85% of equipment needed by oil and gas industry.

"Nearly two-thirds of demand for oil and gas equipment is now met by domestic manufacturers," Zanganeh said in a statement.

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Iran-China trading rises by 50 percent in 4 months

TEHRAN, May 27, YJC - The volume of trade exchanges between Iran and China grew by 50 percent in the first four months of 2017.

Iran-China trading rises by 50 percent  in 4 months

TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Over recent years, commercial exchanges between the two sides reached 66.35 million tons, showing rise in both volume and value.

China has been Iran’s first crude importer in 2016, 63.1 percent of Iran’s whole exports to China.

Commercial exchanges between the two countries grew by 49 percent in the first 4 months of 2017, showing 49 percent rise comparing to similar period last year, reaching $12.1 billion from $8.1 billion.

The two sides had already vowed to increase bilateral trade exchanges to $60 billion annually which needs settlement of some banking challenges and issuing visa.

Attack on Christians in Egypt indicates sponsored sectarianism: Iran

TEHRAN, May 27, YJC - Iran has denounced an armed attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, saying the criminal act was a clear example of sectarianism supported by certain powers.

Attack on Christians in Egypt indicates sponsored sectarianism: IranTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Friday that the recent terrorist attacks in the British city of Manchester, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Egypt have all been carried out after US President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia.  

"The unrelenting repetition of such incidents can be signs of the reanimation of the supported sectarianism whose other side we are witnessing in the ongoing crackdown and killing in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the bloody war in Yemen," he added.

He emphasized that the recent gathering of over 50 states in the Saudi capital Riyadh, held under the pretext of fighting extremism and terrorism, had in fact had no outcome but support for the source of the promotion of the Takfiri ideology of Wahhabism and financial and logistic aid for armed terrorism throughout the world.

It should not be expected that such a spectacle would help enhance security in the world, he said.

The Iranian spokesperson said supported extremism and sectarianism would directly result in the killing of innocent Muslims, Christians and followers of other religions.

Qassemi urged countries and international organizations to fulfill their international responsibilities vis-à-vis collective security and a genuine campaign against terrorism.

He also expressed his sympathy with the Egyptian government, nation and the bereaved families of the victims.

At least 28 people, including children, were killed and over two dozen others wounded after unknown gunmen attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians on a visit to a monastery south of Cairo on Friday.

According to Egypt's Interior Ministry, the assailants in three pick-up trucks attacked the bus as it carried visitors to the Saint Samuel monastery in Minya province, more than 200 kilometers from the capital.

The attack came after church bombings in December and April claimed by the Daesh group that killed dozens of Egypt's Coptic Christians. The Takfiri terrorists have threatened more attacks against the Arab country's Christian minority.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday's attack.


Total to ink $4 billion Iran gas deal before summer

TEHRAN, May 26, YJC - Iran will sign a $4 billion deal with France’s Total to develop phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field before summer, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said.

Total to ink $4 billion Iran gas deal before summerTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Zangeneh and Total Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne met in Vienna on the sidelines of the OPEC meeting on Friday night and discussed the deal, Fars news agency reported on Saturday.

"The signing of the contract with Total is very close and will be done in less than a month,” Zangeneh told reporters.   

Total signed a heads of agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) in November 2016 but said earlier in February that a final decision on the deal hinged on the new US administration renewing sanctions waivers on Iran.

Pouyanne told journalists on the sidelines of the Vienna meeting that the signing of the waivers had cleared the path for the deal to be concluded.

Zangeneh said a major European bank will provide guarantees, but did not disclose its name. He also said foreign countries have reached a consensus on Iran’s new oil contract called IPC.

Other Iranian officials have already said that they expected the first contract under the new formula to be signed soon, marking a turning point in months of anticipation as the country reopens its oil and gas sector to business.

Zangeneh said some companies had worries about the new contract but those concerns have been removed now.  

Iran has named 29 international firms as being eligible to bid for oil and gas projects but they have been waiting for the country to finalize the new model, known as the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC).

The new model has been the subject to repeated reviews amid fears that it might compromise Iran’s national interests at the expense of making business with the country more flexible.

Total became the first Western oil major to sign an energy agreement after the European Union and the United States eased sanctions as part of a nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic.  

The South Pars 11 project will have a production capacity of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day, or 370 000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The produced gas will be fed into Iran's gas network.

Total will operate the project with a 50.1% interest alongside Petropars at 19.9% and the Chinese state-owned oil and gas company CNPC at 30%.

The French oil major also plans to invest in the South Azadegan oil field. Zangeneh said the tender for development of Azadegan oil field will be implemented soon, for both the southern and northern sections.

The oil minister further reiterated that Iran has no problems for the participation of American companies in its oil and gas projects.

"We have no problem for the presence of US companies in oil and gas projects in Iran.

They are limited by their own government,” he said, adding Iran’s preference is to sign deals with noted international companies.

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