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June 99, Week 4
|Iran Building Its Own Fighters Jane's
|Iran Welcomes British Investment in Oil Industry
|Khatami Underlines Expansion of Tehran-Beijing Ties
|Iran Postpones Trial of German Man
|Iran Lashes out at U.S. Over Weapons Allegation
|France Says Iran Fabricated Charges Against Jews
Iran Building Its Own Fighters Jane's
LONDON - Iran has begun series production of a locally developed fighter called
the Azarakhsh (Lightning), according to Jane's Defense Weekly.
In an article released ahead of publication Tuesday, the authoritative British journal said production of the fighter had been disclosed by Iranian air force General Habibollah Baghal in remarks to Tehran newspapers.
Baghal also claimed that a locally designed Dorna (Lark) trainer aircraft had entered production, Jane's said.
The Azarakhsh is a light fighter and ground attack aircraft in the F-5 class but slightly larger, weighing around 8,000 kg (3,600 lbs) and with a payload of 4,000 kg.
It has an Iranian-designed radar with "certain critical components" of Russian origin.
"Sources claim that it is a highly capable aircraft despite its conventional design," Jane's said.
It said a previously unknown aircraft, resembling a U.S.-built F-5 fighter but with shoulder mounted air intakes, had been seen on several occasions but Iran had not confirmed whether or not it was the new fighter.
The bulk of Iran's air force comprise U.S. types, such as the F-14A Tomcat, the F-5 Tiger II and the F-4 Phantom II, which were delivered before the 1979 overthrow of the Shah.
These were supplemented by Iraqi aircraft of Soviet and Chinese origin flown to Iran during the 1991 Gulf War. It remains unclear how many of the U.S. supplied and former Iraqi aircraft are serviceable.
Iran Welcomes British Investment in Oil Industry
TEHRAN - XINHUA - Iran welcomes British companies to invest
in the country's oil sector, said an Oil Ministry official Monday.
The cooperation between British companies and Iranian private sector would further activate and promote performance of Iranian businesses in developing the oil sector, said Iranian Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs Mehdi Husseini.
The official told the Islamic Republic News Agency that a visiting British business delegation has put forward proposals including transfer of modern technology and financial facilities to implement some projects in oil, gas and petrochemical sectors.
The British delegation comprising representatives from 29 British companies arrived here Friday. It is the highest ranking trade-economic delegation to visit Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Iran and Britain upgraded their relations last month to ambassadorial level after the two countries agreed to put aside the controversial issue of Salman Rushdie, who was sentenced to death by late Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989.
Husseini said the British delegation is here to seek further expanding economic ties with Iran.
With regard to the transfer of modern technology, the Iranian oil industry research center would study the proposals by the British delegation.
Meanwhile, a member of the British delegation, Alan Munro, told Iran Daily that Britain plans to promote mutual economic cooperation with Iran and sees Iran as an important trading and investment partner.
In an interview published on Monday, Munro said that Iran has made clear that it wishes to attract foreign investment and technology for national development.
Even if Iran is on the list of risky countries regarding investments, "I believe that the risk of making investments in Iran is comparable with similar risks in other countries," he said.
Khatami Underlines Expansion of Tehran-Beijing Ties
TEHRAN - XINHUA - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on
Saturday expressed confidence that Tehran-Beijing cooperation will help
guarantee security and stability in the world.
In a meeting with outgoing Chinese ambassador to Iran Wang Shijie, Khatami termed Tehran-Beijing relations as "deep and historic."
Iran is bent on expanding its ties with China in all domains, he said, adding solidarity between countries like Iran and China will prevent materialization of a unipolar globe.
The Chinese envoy praised President Khatami's government for its achievements in the diplomatic, economic and cultural fields during the past two years.
Iran Postpones Trial of German Man
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The retrial of a German businessman condemned to death in Iran for having sex with an unmarried Muslim has been postponed, the official Iranian news agency reported Tuesday.
The court adjourned the case of Helmut Hofer after interpreters failed to arrive Tuesday, the Islamic Republic News Agency said in a report received in Dubai.
The next hearing will be held Aug. 11, the agency said.
Hofer, 54, was released on bail in April, but ordered to stay in Iran for a retrial. He had been sentenced to death in January 1998 for having sex with a 26-year-old Iranian medical student.
Under Iranian law, sex outside marriage is punishable by flogging, but if the man is not Muslim, he faces the death penalty.
Iran's Justice Ministry ordered a retrial after Hofer insisted he had converted to Islam before he made love to the woman. However, he was again convicted and sentenced to death.
In February, the Supreme Court annulled the death sentence and ordered a second retrial.
Germany has warned that Hofer's execution would severely affect its relations with Iran. Germany is Iran's major European trading partner.
Iran Lashes out at U.S. Over Weapons Allegation
TEHRAN - XINHUA - Iran on Wednesday lashed out at the United
States for its allegation on Tehran's weapon programs and termed the
U.S. move "ineffective and useless."
Tehran's anger came after U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Martin Indyk, who was currently in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, accused Iran of developing weapons of mass destruction.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said that the U.S. "destructive" approach aimed at diverting public opinion from the threats of Israel and selling more arms to regional states, are "inefficient and useless."
The U.S. administration is accusing Iran of developing weapons of mass destruction while it is the main supplier of mass destruction weapons and nuclear arms to Israel which possesses the largest arsenal in the region, he said.
He said that some American circles who are against rapprochement between Iran and regional states are raising such "baseless" allegations to block convergence in the region, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Meanwhile, spokesman of the Iranian Defense Ministry Keywan Khosrawi said that the U.S. government is raising "routine and unfounded" allegations to prevent Persian Gulf states from expanding their relations and building an atmosphere of understanding in the region.
Dismissing Indyk's remarks as "unrealistic," he said that Iran's defense activities aimed at building up domestic defense capability are legitimate and acceptable.
The U.S. provocative approach in the Gulf region has once again unveiled Washington's interventionist policy to escalate tension in the region and to seek a pretext for its unnecessary military presence in the region, Khosrawi said.
He underlined that expansion of brotherly and strategic relations among the regional states is irreversible.
Iran and the U.S. have been engaged in a decade-long wordy war over Iran's weapon programs.
Washington termed Tehran's effort to develop weapons of mass destruction as a threat to the Gulf states and the U.S. interest in the region.
But Iran repeatedly argued that the U.S. military presence in the Gulf is the real threat to the region's security and stability.
France Says Iran Fabricated Charges Against Jews
PARIS (Reuters) - French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said Tuesday charges of spying against
13 Iranian Jews were fabricated and part of an internal struggle among Iran's leadership.
"We can ascribe no credit to these accusations which were... presumably fabricated after the arrests," Vedrine told the National Assembly at question time.
"We fear that the explanation is...indeed that there is an internal conflict," he said, adding that Paris was seeking to mobilize other European nations in the case.
Vedrine said he had called in Iran's ambassador to make Paris' position known.
Iran repeated Tuesday it would not cave in to Western pressure to release the 13 arrested as alleged Israeli spies.
Moise Cohen, president of the French synagogues' administration board, said in a radio interview the arrests appeared to be part of maneuvers by Iranian hardliners to scuttle attempts by moderate President Mohammed Khatami to open bridges to the outside world.
He said the 13 were mostly rabbis and religious employees from poor Jewish communities in Iranian provincial cities. They included ritual butchers and circumcisers, a graveyard guard and a 16-year-old boy, he said.
About 2,000 people demonstrated peacefully outside the Iranian embassy in Paris at the call of French Jewish groups while a smaller number of people marched in Marseille.
The Paris demonstrators chanted "We are all Iranian Jews."
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in Tehran the detainees' religion had nothing to do with their arrest and Western pressure would have no effect.
"This is an internal affair...They will be guaranteed justice as suspects in other cases," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.
Conservative Iranian officials, including judiciary chief Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, have spoken of the suspects, who were arrested several months ago, as spies who deserved to hang.
Khatami, who has repeatedly pledged support for the rights of Iranian religious minorities including Jews, has so far been silent on the case. The pro-Khatami newspaper Neshat criticized conservatives for speaking of the suspects as "spies" be silent on the case. The pro-Khatami newspaper Neshat criticized conservatives for speaking of the suspects as "spies" be fore they were tried.
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