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The Russian contractor in charge of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant construction project says efficiency tests have been completed ahead of schedule.
"Efficiency tests of the reactor equipment and supporting technological systems was held," Atomstroyexport said in a statement.
The company added that it had conducted hot water testing at the plant and that after reviewing the results it would be ready for launch.
Amid reports about a fuel ban on Iranian passenger planes, Iran has moved to protect the country's national interests by passing a law to retaliate against such punitive measures.
"We should definitely retaliate against the United Arab Emirates, Britain and Germany whose planes need transit fuel from Iran," he added.
However, Falahatpisheh reiterated that doors were still open to democracy, saying that, "Diplomacy has not failed."
Obama: Turkey may look 'elsewhere for alliance' if snubbed by EU (Reuters)
The Italian ambassador: UNIFIL’s mission continues and we trust the government and its premier in solving problems.
It said Damascus has secretly established a factory for the production of missiles type M-600, adding that there is talk about a joint Syrian-Iranian plan to sent half of these projectiles to Hizbullah.
Originally posted by Lil Drummerboy
THis was first posted in January and nothing has happened,.
Nothing to show the REAL begin of a war.
Ben-Porat said that he had received the information from personal contacts located in the city of Irbil in northern Iraq. According to his sources, 75 trucks were in the convoy heading from Iran to Syria.
"We sense a suspicious international move…. All these are atmospheres trying to pressure the resistance," they noted. "They are preparing something for us but we are at the highest level of preparedness and calm. We will stay as far as possible from the fiery verbal rivalry because we want the summer of the Lebanese to be complete and pass safely despite all Israel's attempts to implement what it failed to do in 2006, namely, to incapacitate the resistance."
Ministers approve proposal to create security fence between Israel and Egypt (Israel Radio)
PLO: Israel's one-sided development of Jerusalem is a time bomb (Haaretz)
Hezbollah official warns Israel preparing attack in Lebanon (Army Radio)
Turkish minister: September vote on reforms will boost bid to join EU (Reuters)
Iranian President Ahmadinejad reportedly to visit Lebanon soon (News Agencies)
Syria's Bashar al-Assad warns of Middle East conflict
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said Israel's raid on the Gaza aid flotilla has increased the chances of war in the Middle East.
In an interview with the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen, he said Syria was working to prevent a regional war.
But he added that there was no chance of a peace deal with the current Israeli administration, which he called a "pyromaniac government".
Mr Assad also rejected claims he was arming Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.
Nine Turkish activists died during last month's raid on the Free Gaza ships attempting to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Asked if the Israeli raid had increased the chance of war in the Middle East, Mr Assad said: "Definitely, definitely."
"When you don't have peace, you have to expect war every day, and this is very dangerous," he said.
Lebanon UN force urges co-operation with peacekeepers
The head of the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon has appealed for calm, following recent incidents in which villagers attacked soldiers.
Locals were angered by what they saw as plans by the UN force to undermine the Hezbollah militant group in the event of a renewed conflict with Israel.
The area is a Hezbollah stronghold.
In an open letter to residents, Maj Gen Alberto Asarta Cuevas said the best way to deal with any concerns was through dialogue, not by beating peacekeepers.
In the latest of the clashes, villagers on Saturday disarmed a French patrol of UN peacekeepers in the village of Tuline and attacked them with sticks, rocks and eggs before the army intervened.
Residents have complained that Unifil has stepped up its patrols in southern Lebanon, which has been under the de facto control of Hezbollah since the withdrawal of Israeli forces in 2000
1:38pm VDL: The explosions and sirens heard in southern Lebanon were caused by military maneuvers by the Israeli army in the areas opposite from the villages of Maroun al-Ras and Yaroun.
State Dept.: Turkey agrees to stay out of international debate over Iran's nuclear program (AP)
Concerns are mounting in the defense establishment that Hizbullah may be digging tunnels from Lebanon to Israel to attack a border community or IDF outpost.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen also expressed reservations from time to time. The Joint Chiefs and former CENTCOM commanders know better than most experts that Iran has formidable asymmetrical retaliatory capabilities, from the narrow Straits of Hormuz that still handles 25 percent of the world's oil traffic; to Bahrain (U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters where the population is two-thirds Shiite and the royal family Sunni); to Dubai, where some 400,000 Iranians reside, many of them "sleeper agents" or favorable to Tehran; to Qatar, now the world's richest country with per capita income at $78,000, which supplies the United States with the world's longest runway and sub-headquarters for CENTCOM, and whose LNG facilities are within short missile range of Iran's coastal batteries; to Saudi Arabia's Ras Tanura, the world's largest oil terminal, and Abqaiq, nerve center of Saudi's eastern oilfields) all are vulnerable to Iranian sabotage or hundreds of Iranian missiles on the eastern side of the Gulf, from southern Iraq down to the Strait of Hormuz.
The temptation for Obama to double down on Iran will grow rapidly as he concludes that Afghanistan will remain a festering sore as far as anyone can peer into a murky future, hardly a recipe for success at the polls in November. With a war in Afghanistan, which is bound to get worse, and a military theater in Iraq replete with sectarian violence, the bombing of Iran may give Obama a three-front war -- and a chance to retain both houses of Congress.
Speaking at the Aspen Institute in Colorado last week, United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States Yousef al-Otaiba said publicly -- before denying it -- "I think despite the large amount of trade we do with Iran, which is close to $12 billion, there will be consequences, there will be a backlash and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country; that is going to happen no matter what."
And he added, "If you are asking me, 'Am I willing to live with that versus living with a nuclear Iran, my answer is still the same -- 'We cannot live with a nuclear Iran.'"
A former Arab leader, in close touch with current leaders, speaking privately not for attribution, told this reporter July 6, "All the Middle Eastern and gulf leaders now want Iran taken out of the nuclear arms business and they all know sanctions won't work."
Iran advancing in nuclear research - Medvedev
The Islamic Republic “is getting closer to possessing the potential that in principle can be used to create a nuclear weapon,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said.
Medvedev added that breaking up the dialogue with Tehran would become “our common failure.”
“It is time to finally abandon simplified approaches to [the Iranian nuclear problem],” Medvedev said on Monday at a meeting in Moscow with Russian ambassadors and permanent representatives, Interfax cites.
However, the Russian head of state noted that possessing such potentials is not prohibited by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which “is one of the problems” arising from the imperfection of international regulations.
Medvedev has reiterated the stance Moscow has long been pursuing: sanctions hardly ever lead to positive results. However, he went on, there is a point in imposing sanctions and that is sending “a signal which stimulates the negotiating process.”
“We should now be patient and resume the dialogue with Tehran as soon as possible. That is, we believe, the key goal of the new UN Security Council resolution on Iran,” the Russian president said.
If diplomacy misses a chance for resuming talks with the Islamic Republic, “it would be a common failure of the entire international community,” Medvedev stressed.
Meanwhile, “Iran is not acting in the best way,” the Russian leader noted. Moscow is constantly calling on Tehran to show openness and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He noted that the so-called Group of Six international intermediaries has an even bigger responsibility.
Russia's ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin was at the meeting with the president and told RT that he hopes diplomatic efforts over Iran's nuclear dispute will be renewed soon.
Missing Iranian scientist appears at embassy in US
A missing Iranian nuclear scientist, who Tehran says was kidnapped a year ago by the CIA, has taken refuge in the Iran section of Pakistan's US embassy.
A spokesman from Pakistan's Foreign Office, Abdul Basit, told the BBC that Shahram Amiri was seeking immediate repatriation to Iran.
In June videos purportedly of Mr Amiri but containing contradictory information on his whereabouts emerged.
The US rejected Tehran's claims that it was behind Mr Amiri's disappearance.
Iranian media say Mr Amiri worked as a researcher at a university in Tehran, but some reports say he worked for the country's atomic energy organisation and had in-depth knowledge of its controversial nuclear programme.
ABC News reported in March that he had defected and was helping the CIA, revealing valuable information about the Iranian nuclear programme.
But earlier this month, Tehran said it had proof he was being held in the US.
The allegation came after three videos purportedly of Mr Amiri emerged - the first said he had been kidnapped, the second that he was living freely in Arizona, and the third that he had escaped from his captors.
The BBC's former correspondent in Tehran, Jon Leyne, says that Iran's version of the story seems to be backed up by events unfolding in Washington DC.
Our correspondent says Mr Amiri's sudden appearance is a major embarrassment for the American spy agencies and could lead to a diplomatic stand-off.
Israeli navy makes contact with Gaza bound ship
13 Jul 2010 12:15:02 GMT
JERUSALEM, July 13 (Reuters) - The Israeli navy made contact with a Libyan aid ship bound for the Gaza Stripon Tuesday, but its commandos have not boarded the vessel, the Israeli military said.
"The navy just began its process of trying to stop the ship," a military spokeswoman said. "At this time the process of communicating with them has begun." (Writing by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Jeffrey Heller)
Libyan ship 'will continue to Gaza'
Organisers of a Libya-sponsored aid ship have said they will continue their attempt to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, despite Israeli claims that the vessel would instead sail to Egypt.
Yousseuf Sawani, a director of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, told Al Jazeera that there were no plans for the Al-Amal to dock at the port El-Arish.
"This is definitely a part of the campaign against the ship, a campaign of distortion, but we are definitely heading towards Gaza, because that is where aid should be heading to," he told Al Jazeera.
"This is a purely humane mission, it is neither provocative nor hostile," he said.
The ship set sail from Greece on Saturday, carrying 2,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip, but the Israeli foreign ministry said that it had reached an agreement with Greece and Moldova to have the ship diverted to Egypt.
Israeli authorities also reportedly contacted Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian intelligence chief, to request that the ship be allowed to dock in El-Arish, close to the border with the Gaza Strip.
But Hossam Zaki, a spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry, said that he was not expecting the ship to travel to the Egyptian port.
"This ship is not headed Egypt. We did not get any official request from the Libyan side for the ship to dock in Egypt," he said.
"Its not about the Israelis' request. Its up to the will of the organisers of the ship.
"They said they are heading to Gaza, they did not approach us. The situation as far we are concerned is a ship heading to Gaza."
The boat was chartered by a charity headed by the son of Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, and is carrying "a number of supporters who are keen on expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people in the plight amidst the siege imposed on Gaza".
Captain of Libyan aid ship en route to Gaza: We'll sail to El-Arish (Haaretz)
Clinton: I am determined to prevent the isolation of Israel internationally (Haaretz)
Turkish FM: Ankara will continue to push for international flotilla probe (AP)
Clinton says Iran scientist free to come and go (Reuters)
Victims of Hezbollah rockets during Second Lebanon War sue Al-Jazeera (Ch. 10)
Iranian scientist surfaces in US
The Pakistani foreign ministry has confirmed that an Iranian nuclear scientist, who Iran claims was abducted by the US, has taken refuge at their embassy in Washington DC.
The scientist, Shahram Amiri, was "dropped off" on Monday night, according to Abdul Basit, a spokesman for the Pakistani foreign ministry in Islamabad.
Iran and the US have no diplomatic relations, so Tehran's interests in Washington are handled by an "interests section" at the Pakistani embassy.
The interests section, where Amiri was dropped off, is separate from the main Pakistani embassy in Washington.
Iranian authorities have repeatedly said that Amiri was seized by the CIA as he visited Saudi Arabia last year. US officials have denied those allegations.
Iranian state media reported that Amiri asked for a "quick return" to Iran, and Basit said Iranian authorities were making arrangements to get him out of the United States.
The US state department said on Tuesday that Amiri was "free to go," and that there was no evidence he was mistreated during his time in the US.
Amiri 'handed over'
Iran's semi-official Fars news agency claimed Amiri was handed over to the embassy by US agents, calling it a defeat for "America's intelligence services".
"Because of Iran's media and intelligence activities, the American government had to back down and hand over Amiri to the embassy on Monday night," Fars said.
Iranian state television has broadcast the text of what it claims is an interview with Amiri conducted on Tuesday. But the authenticity of the interview is impossible to confirm.
"After the film of my interview was published in the internet [which lead to] the disgrace of the US government because of [their responsibility in] the kidnapping," the interviewee said.
"They intended to send me back home without much noise in order to cover up the kidnapping through denying the whole case, but they couldn't do that in the end," it said.
The confusion over where and when the Amalthea would dock prompted an Israeli official to suggest there was disagreement between the hired crew of 12 and some 10 pro-Palestinian activists aboard determined to defy the Gaza blockade.
Gaza aid ship 'diverted to Egypt'
A Libyan aid ship originally bound for the Gaza Strip has been diverted to a port in Egypt after the Israeli navy warned the vessel against trying to break an Israeli blockade on the Palestinian coastal territory.
Israeli warships were shadowing the Moldovan-flagged Amalthea, carrying 2,000 tonnes of food and medicine, to its diverted destination of El Arish port on the Egyptian Sinai coast.
"Eight Israeli warships are surrounding the Libyan aid ship for Gaza and preventing the continuation of its journey," Yousseuf Sawani, executive director of the Gaddafi Foundation which charteredthe vessel, said early on Wednesday.
Sawani said earlier that the warships were "threatening" the Amalthea, also known as Al Amal, which he said was still headed for Gaza. But he made it clear that those on board would not violently resist any efforts to stop them.
"First and foremost, we want to arrive to Gaza. If this is impossible, we don't want to subject anyone to danger," he told Al Jazeera.
Sawani said that communications with the boat had been jammed and the vessel was moving at a slow pace because of the Israeli warships that were trailing it.
An Egyptian official confirmed that the ship sought and received permissionto sail to El Arish, where authorities would unload its humanitarian aid cargo and transfer it by land to Gaza.
But he said that there was "no co-ordination at the moment with the ship and we do not know where its final destination is".