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Thursday, November 18, 2004


Socialist-theocracy alliance weakens trade embargos

The Washington Post backgrounds the ever closer strategic relations between Iran and the Peoples Republic of China:

Last month, the two countries signed a preliminary accord worth $70 billion to $100 billion by which China will purchase Iranian oil and gas and help develop Iran's Yadavaran oil field, near the Iraqi border. Earlier this year, China agreed to buy $20 billion in liquefied natural gas from Iran over a quarter-century.

Iran wants trade to grow even further. "Japan is our number one energy importer for historical reasons . . . but we would like to give preference to exports to China," Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said this month, according to China Business Weekly ...

China's trade with Iran is weakening the impact on Iranian policy of various U.S. economic embargoes, analysts here say. "Sanctions are not effective nowadays because we have many options in secondary markets, like China," said Hossein Shariatmadari, a leading conservative theorist and editor of the Kayhan newspapers.

Accurate trade figures are difficult to get, in part because trade is increasing so rapidly and partly because China's large arms sales to Iran are not included or publicized. But at the second annual Iran-China trade fair here in May, Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said trade had increased by 50 percent in 2003 over the previous year, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

Beijing has also provided Iran with advanced military technology, including missile technology, U.S. officials say. In April, the Bush administration imposed sanctions on Chinese manufacturers of equipment that can be used to develop weapons of mass destruction ...
China with its one-party political system appears to feel fewer restraints than do Western nations in dealing with the world's only theocracy. "For China, issues like human rights don't affect your relations with Iran," Namazi said.

Update: The father of the Pakistani atomic bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, delivered weapons grade highly enriched uranium to Iran in 2001 and Iran aims at getting a nuclear bomb next year, charged Farid Soleimani, senior official of National Council for Resistance in Iran. Khan has admitted to being the ringleader of a smuggling network that supplied Iran, Libya and North Korea with sensitive nuclear technology. Khaleej Times

Update: Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has denounced what he said are crimes - "massacre of civilians, women and children by the thousands, the execution of wounded, the destruction of homes, mosques and other places of prayer" - committed by "infidels" in the Iraq city of Fallujah. AFP via iranvajahan.

Update: The USA has intelligence that Iran is working to adapt missiles to deliver a nuclear weapon, further evidence that the Islamic republic is determined to acquire a nuclear bomb," Secretary Powell said. Washington Post via MSNBC

Update: Secretary Powell said the USA is insisting on referring Iran's nuclear programs to the United Nations Security Council. Under prodding from the United States, the IAEA set late November as the deadline by which Iran must comply with demands that it do more to disclose its nuclear activities of face sanstions. Xinhua

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