IRAN CALLS FOR FRESH TALKS
WITH EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
Supreme National Security
Council Secretary Ali Larijani has said that the European Union should
appreciate Iran's approach to resuming nuclear negotiations.
Larijani wrote a letter to
the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany, and France on Sunday
calling for fresh talks with the EU trio.
"In our letter, we told
Europe that we want to secure the Iranian nation's right to the
peaceful application of nuclear technology through resuming nuclear
talks," he said in a question and answer session at the closing
ceremony of the 13th International Conference on Central Asia and the
In an interview with the BBC,
Larijani stated that the offer to resume stalled nuclear talks with
Europe was his final attempt to salvage negotiations, insisting Tehran
would never renounce its right to enrich uranium.
European foreign ministers
have said they are studying the proposal but have yet to indicate if
they will accept the offer.
The letter says Iran has a
"certain and indisputable right to have access to the complete
nuclear fuel cycle and enrichment capability for peaceful purposes
such as research, medical, genetics, agricultural and similar
It says that this right is
"explicit and unambiguous" under the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty. Speaking at the Tehran conference, Larijani
said, "We believe accessing nuclear technology is a strategic
decision and therefore pursue the process of talks with Russia, China,
and member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement in this
On the recent harsh remarks
made by British officials about Iran's nuclear program, he noted that
such remarks should not be taken seriously since they are generally
meant for media use. "I believe they have to realize Iranian
diplomats are intelligent enough not to take such remarks
The threat of referral to the
UN Security Council is not issues that can make Iran forgo the
nation's rights, the top nuclear negotiator said. Larijani stated that
the resumption of talks can serve as a wise and logical way to handle
the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.
should be based upon a certain framework and schedule and, as I have
said before, dialogue is not the only way to resolve the current
He went on to say that Iran
firmly insists that its nuclear activities are for completely peaceful
purposes, a claim which can also be confirmed through the
International Atomic Energy Agency.
"Thus, the propaganda
disseminated by some countries against Iran's nuclear activities is
"I believe the IAEA has
turned into a tool for major powers, through which they pursue their
unilateral policies, and today unilateralism has cast a shadow over
the nuclear sphere," Larijani opined.
The European Union has
attempted to persuade Iran to permanently suspend uranium enrichment
as a watertight guarantee that its nuclear program is peaceful and
sees it as a condition to reopen the stalled talks.
"Our strategy is that we
have to achieve nuclear technology and the resumption of... conversion
is a sign that Iran is determined to master nuclear technology,"
Larijani told the BBC.
On enrichment, he said,
"Absolutely it is part of our program. We are not stopping short
"Through the language of
force and threats you cannot persuade Iran to give up this
But he also said the offer
made to the Europeans "shows Iran's serious willingness to resume
Foreign Ministry spokesman
Hamid-Reza Asefi also rebuffed the European demands for Iran to give
"Iran will never
renounce its right. The Europeans must respect the agreements from the
past and, instead of making excessive demands, recognize Iran's right
so the conditions of an understanding are satisfied.
"The EU's statement was
surprising. We suggest the Europeans change their behavior toward
Iran," Asefi told state television.
The European Union urged Iran
on Monday to comply with the IAEA's September resolution calling on
Tehran to halt uranium conversion at its Isfahan plant.
JEDDAH MOTOR SHOW
The annual motor show, being
held at the Jeddah International Exhibition & Convention Center on
Madinah Road from Nov. 13-18, envisages a glittering display of the
latest, the most luxurious and futuristic models of cars and their
accessories. In addition, the event - Saudi International Motor Show
'05 - boasts many contests for young drivers and children.
The 27th international event
for vehicles, motorcycles, auto parts, accessories and garage
equipment, is being held with the support and active participation of
the Ministry of Transport and the Jeddah Traffic Department. "It
will showcase premium brands of automotive vehicles representing all
segments from cars and motorbikes to trucks and commercial
vehicles," a senior management executive of Al-Harithy Company
for Exhibitions Ltd. (ACE) said.
"The stylish vehicles
reflecting the contemporary demand for every day transport of the
royally inclined, the corporate and the family will be a major source
of attraction," ACE Exhibitions Director Zahoor Siddique said.
The show will also demarcate space for specially modified cars suiting
the personal tastes of car-buffs and enthusiasts.
A major component of the
event is "Autocare," the after-market showcase for spare
parts, garage equipment, gadgets and trade services related to the
automotive industry. The regular highlights of the exhibition include
media zone, live action zones and family zones featuring
radio-controlled car-racing displays, off-road test drives, stunt
driving, and other motor sport events.
Hall One of the exhibition
venue will display the latest models of volume-production cars while
Hall Two will showcase light commercial vehicles. Heavy commercial
vehicles will be exhibited in the Plaza area. A special driving track
built with over 1 km of obstacles to test off-road vehicles promises
is to be another major attraction.
Riyadh will host an
international energy forum next month, Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper
reported. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah will attend
the opening ceremony along with more than 20 oil ministers from both
oil producing and consuming countries. The forum will discuss
cooperation between oil producers and consumers in order to ensure
stable oil prices.
Women who work at larger
businesses in Saudi Arabia were pleased with the Ministry of Labor
ruling that calls for nurseries at workplaces that employ 50 women or
more, but for women in smaller workplaces the lack of childcare is a
Schools, universities and
some hospitals provide nannies and nurseries for women employees.
Although mothers are charged to use the services, many say it's worth
But working women are calling
on the Ministry of Labor to tackle the problem and examine new
criteria, such as the number of hours worked and workplace nursery
fees, to address their needs.
The practice of hiring maids
can alleviate the problem for some women, but without a maid or nanny
a woman returning from a maternity leave faces enormous challenges.
"I just delivered my
daughter two weeks ago, and I have no maid at home," said Samira,
who works as a hairdresser. "It's a blessing that my manager
allowed me to work only night shifts. Now I can take care of my
daughter while my husband works in the morning until I tuck her into
bed; then he just watches her while she falls asleep."
As one might imagine, it was
a very busy time of the year for hairdressers. Some even worked in the
afternoon and then returned to the salon in the evening.
"I leave my kids at home
and worry all day that something may happen to them," said
hairdresser Sarah Jameel. "Although I call from time to time, I
still wish they could be near me, especially since none of them go to
school yet, and I don't know how they would handle an unpleasant
situation." It's also a tough situation for women who work split
shifts at banks.
"I barely manage to
clean the house, and sometimes cook," said bank employee Kholoud
Ahmad. "I can't even think about having babies who I can't be
there for." Kholoud said her friends who have babies suffer all
the time and that worrying about being unable to be with their kids
has affected many women. "Not many men welcome the idea of hiring
a nanny," she said. "That's why many women prefer not to
have babies now."
The Ministry of Labor will be
checking on businesses to make sure the new ruling is implemented, Al-Eqtisadiah
daily reported recently. Businesses that have 50 working mothers must
provide a nanny, and companies employing 100 working mothers must
provide a fully equipped nursery room and nannies. But even as the new
rules are implemented, many mothers hope and pray that more help is on
SAUDIA GETTING NEW PLANES
Saudi Arabian Airlines will
receive next month first two planes of the 15 new Embraer aircraft it
ordered last April, its Director General Dr. Khaled Ben-Bakr
announced. He said the new fleet of aircraft would improve the
Ben-Bakr signed a deal worth
$400 million with Mauricio Botelho, president and CEO of Brazil's
Embraer aircraft company to purchase the new planes on April 27. The
deal included establishment of a maintenance center. The Embraer 170,
which according to Dr. Ben-Bakr, is a technically advanced aircraft,
which is manufactured with the support of specialized American,
Japanese, French and Spanish companies.
As per the deal, Saudia will
receive the first two aircraft in December and another two in January.
"Later on we'll receive one aircraft every month until all the 15
planes are delivered," the Saudia chief said. The national
carrier will use the Embraer to add frequencies on existing regional
and domestic flights and eventually develop mini-hubs in the northern
city of Hail and the southern resort city of Abha.
Iraq is making $88 million
per day from its oil exports to world markets, Oil Minister Ibrahim
Mohammed Mahr Al- Olum said in press remarks. "Iraq's crude oil
exports are now totaling 1.6 million barrels per day and a barrel is
selling for $55, therefore Iraq's income is 88 million barrels per
day," Olum told the US funded Al-Sabah newspaper. He said despite
the high price of oil internationally, Iraq is still suffering from
oil derivative shortages prompting Baghdad to import from neighboring
Lawyers representing Saddam
Hussein reiterated their suspension of contacts with the special
tribunal trying the ousted Iraqi president until they are given better
"The defense team
reaffirms that it is totally committed to its decision to suspend all
contact with the tribunal," said a statement.
The team took the original
decision late October, following the killing of Saadun Janabi, an
attorney representing one of Saddam's co-defendants, a day after the
ousted dictator's trial opened on charges of crimes against humanity.
The statement added that the
team "has not meanwhile had any contact with the government or
the tribunal" about its security. A statement issued last month
said that "In view of the dangerous security conditions in Iraq
and their impact on Iraqi members of the defense team, along with the
never-ending threats against them and their families... a decision has
been taken to fully suspend all contacts with the Iraqi Special
Defense lawyers said their
boycott would last until their demands were met and appealed for a
time freeze on proceedings in the meantime.
The trial, which opened on
October 19 in Baghdad, was adjourned until November 28 after Saddam
and his seven co-defendants pleaded not guilty over the 1982 massacre
of Shiite villagers.
The lawyers put forward 10
conditions for ending their protest, including an independent
international investigation into Janabi's killing, UN protection for
meetings of the defense committee and the hiring of 15 bodyguards per
lawyer to ensure their protection.
They also asked to be allowed
to carry weapons and to be given passes to get them through Iraqi and
U.S. security checkpoints.
The lawyers also said they
wanted assurances that security forces would not raid their offices or
homes or tap their telephones, that money and documents confiscated
from them be returned and that no lawyer be arrested without the bar
association being informed of it.
They also asked that foreign
lawyers be allowed to assist in the defense and be recognized by the
court within two weeks.
Lead lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi
stressed, however, that the suspension of contacts did not amount to a
boycott, a move which would allow the court to replace the defense
KUWAITIS MAY GET SHARE FROM
With soaring oil prices
projected to swell state coffers by a further $26 billion this year,
Kuwaiti authorities are facing mounting pressure to distribute some of
the windfall as cash handouts to the Gulf state's already wealthy
population. Under proposals being pushed by MPs, each family in the
tiny energy-rich emirate would receive a cash grant of 10,000 dinars
The government has made clear
its strong opposition to the plans, which come on top of thousands of
dollars in handouts already agreed and are likely to fan mounting
resentment in consumer nations over the high cost of fuel. But MPs,
who are up for re-election barely 18 months away, are determined to
press ahead with the proposals and are to convene in special session
Two versions of the plan are
being canvassed ahead of the Nov. 16 session. The first, championed by
veteran tribal MP Khalaf Al-Enezi, would see each family receive the
$34,000 as a grant.
The second - advocated by
another tribal lawmaker, Daifallah Buramia - would see the money
handed out to write off bank loans with compensation for families that
have not taken out loans.
In defense of his proposal,
Buramia said it was far better to spend the money on Kuwait's citizen
population of just under a million than to spend it on debt
forgiveness for historic foe Iraq as the government is proposing.
"Distributing our money to our people is far better than granting
it to Iraq and other states who stood against Kuwait," following
Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion, the MP said.
Each proposal is budgeted to
cost the government up to $6 billion, a fraction of the $30 billion
surplus already accumulated over the past six fiscal years, let alone
the record $26 billion windfall that analysts expect the government to
achieve this year.Buramia has already secured the backing of at least
28 MPs in the 49-seat Parliament, enough to force the special session
but short of a majority in the legislature in which the 16 cabinet
ministers also have a vote.
Prime Minister Sabah Al-Ahmad
Al-Sabah, who has demanded sweeping reform of Kuwait's ultra-generous
welfare state, bluntly opposed the idea of the new handouts, saying:
"It will never be accepted."
His government has the power
to reject the plans even if they secure a majority, but parliament can
override the veto with a two-thirds majority.
Already this year, the
Kuwaiti government, which also has overseas assets estimated at more
than $100 billion that do not figure in the state budget and are
believed to generate between three and $6 billion a year, has made a
raft of payouts in additional social expenditure.
Under pressure from
Parliament, the government agreed to pay each citizen a grant of $680
and a monthly salary increase of $170. It also agreed to give each
family an allowance of $6,800 dollars in free power and water. The
total cost of those payments is estimated at more than $3 billion. The
government also bowed to parliamentary pressure this summer to modify
the social security law - already one of the most generous in the
world - so that an additional $750 million is spent on pensioners.
Some MPs are pressing for a
further amendment of the law to exempt pensioners from paying interest
on their loans at an estimated cost of $750 million. The Gulf emirate
provides a cradle-to-grave welfare system to its citizens who pay no
taxes and receive most public services either free or at
More than 90 percent of the
national workforce of 300,000 is employed in government jobs with
higher pay and shorter working hours than in the private sector.
Critics say that any greater
spending on Kuwait's pampered citizenry threatens to call into
question the very future of a country that depends so heavily on a
large and disenfranchised expatriate workforce. "What is
happening in Parliament constitutes a threat to national security and
the future of Kuwait," said a report from leading analysts
Al-Shall Economic Consultants.
OIL A GLOBAL CONCERN
In a stark admonition to the
industrialized West, the International Energy Agency is warning that
the world's consumption of crude will soar over the next quarter
decade, leaving Western economies increasingly dependent on oil from
an unstable Middle East -- and swimming in a soup of greenhouse gases.
Within that gloomy outlook,
there is a bright spot. The IEA says there is ample oil to quench the
growing thirst for oil for decades, dismissing the view of peak-oil
advocates who contend the world is on the brink of a catastrophic drop
in crude production.
Nicola Pochettino, senior
energy analyst at the IEA, said the agency does not believe that
physical supplies of oil will peak in the next quarter century, but
that there is a question as to whether the world's energy producers
will invest enough. The agency says the world will need to spend $17
trillion by 2030 on a broad range of energy needs, including
conventional oil and gas, an estimate that has risen to $1 trillion
from last year. "Money can find oil.
The problem is for the oil to
find the money," said Mr. Pochettino, noting that the IEA study
examined 200 major oil fields, including those in Saudi Arabia that
the peak-oil believers contend are on the verge of collapse. In its
World Energy Outlook issued yesterday, the IEA outlines a future of
rampant energy growth, where demand soars by more than 50 percent, and
the world is using the equivalent of 16.3 billion tons of oil. The
vast majority of those new demands would be met by increased
consumption of fossil fuels -- and much of that would come from North
Africa and the Middle East. Production from Canada's oil sands and
other similar non-conventional sources would quintuple, but
conventional crude from the Persian Gulf would still dominate.
Under that scenario, oil
prices would ease slightly by the end of the decade, but rise by 2030,
to more than $40 a barrel in constant 2004 dollars, or above $70 a
barrel in nominal terms, which does not strip out the effect of
inflation. But the IEA said its central concerns are less about petro-economics
than the political and environmental consequences. Such a rise in oil
consumption would inflate the importance of production from North
Africa and the Middle East -- largely overlapping the membership of
the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. That area would
account for 44 percent of world supply, up from 35 percent last year.
At the same time, emissions of greenhouse gases would soar,
"calling into question the long-term sustainability of the global
energy system," the IEA warned.
"We must change these
outcomes and get the planet onto a sustainable energy path," said
Claude Mandil, executive director of the IEA, which was formed in the
aftermath of the 1973 OPEC oil embargo and advises Western
industrialized nations on energy policy.
The IEA report examines just
such a path, which it dubs the "world alternative policy."
In that scenario, governments have pursued conservation measures that
trim energy demand by 10 percent, driving down emissions of greenhouse
gas by 16 percent from where they would have otherwise been. Oil
prices are lower, but the expense of conservation technologies mean
that the overall cost of energy is higher.
A third scenario, called
"deferred investment," looks at the fallout from
crude-producing countries in North Africa and the Middle East falling
short of needed capital spending on oil fields. In that world, oil
consumption is muted, not because of decreased demand but due to
shortfalls in supply. Prices, again in nominal terms, would spike to
more than $90 a barrel by 2030, but that forces the region's share of
world production down slightly to 33 percent.
Vincent Lauerman, global
energy analyst with the Canadian Energy Research Institute in Calgary,
said a greater dependence on OPEC oil is not necessarily a problem
since the cartel has come to realize that moderate prices benefit both
consumers and producers. Unquenchable thirst
The growing global thirst for
crude in the next quarter century will increase the West's already
heavy dependence on Middle Eastern oil, the International Energy
Agency warns in its latest energy outlook -- heightening concerns
about the vulnerability of shipments from the Persian Gulf and the
risk that OPEC will use its dominance to ratchet up prices.
FIVE US SOLDIERS CHARGED WITH
Five US soldiers in Iraq
alleged to have punched and kicked Iraqi detainees have been charged
with abusing them, the US military said.
"The allegations stemmed
from an incident on September 7 in which three detainees were
allegedly punched and kicked by the soldiers as they were awaiting
movement to a detention facility," the military said in a
US soldier Lynndie England,
22, was sentenced by a US military court on September 27 to three
years' jail after being convicted of abuse.
Yesterday's statement said
the soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment were charged on Saturday
with violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice but gave no
"All allegations of
abuse are taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly, and
appropriate action is taken based on the findings of the
investigation," the statement said.
England was the last of a
group of US soldiers to be convicted of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison,
including Charles Graner, her former boyfriend, who is serving 10