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To: DoctorZIn
Closing the New Airport Paves the Way for Militarisation of the Regime

May 10, 2004
Iran Press Service
Safa Haeri

LA HERRADURA (SOUTH OF SPAIN) -- With the new Tehran international airport remaining shut by the Armed Forces, sources said the military action translates the deepening rift between the ruling conservatives with the embattled reformists, led by the powerless and now unpopular Mohammad Khatami.

The Emam Khomeini International Airport (EKIA), situated 50 kilometres south of the capital Tehran, was officially inaugurated with pomp on 9 May and one Iran Air flight coming from Dubai was authorised to land, but was immediately closed by the Revolutionary Guards units of the Armed Forces, diverting other flights to the old Mehrabad International Airport.

In a statement issued latter on, the military justified the action, saying that the new airport would remain closed until all security problems are removed, insisting that all services, like the handling of cargo and baggage, catering for airplanes and waiting passengers, all restaurants, markets, duty frees, shops etc are run by Iranians only.

The national flag carrier Iran Air had commissioned the operation of the airport that cost more than 500 millions US Dollars and lasted more than 30 years to a Turkish-Austrian consortium, but the armed forces said this was jeopardizing the country’s "security" as well as "dignity."

“The military action could not be taken without authorisation of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, who, as the leader of the Islamic Republic, is also in full charge of the Armed Forces”, one source pointed out.

The defeated reformists have described the unprecedented intervention of the military in the affairs of the Executive as a “coup” against the government of President Khatami.

Mr. Mohammad Kianoosh Rad, a reformist deputy from the oil rich province of Khoozestan said the shutting down of the EKIA by the military is another proof that the country is run on a “kingdoms system in which any one that is stronger applies its own laws”.

In its statement, the Armed Forces said the Supreme Council of National Security (SCNS) had warned the responsible authorities about the “dangers” of the new Airport’s facilities being handled by foreigners.

“If this is the case, how come that Mr. Khatami, who is the Head of the SCNS has ordered the inauguration of the Airport, unless he had not been aware of the Council’s decisions”, one pro-reformist journalist asked.

In his view, the closure of the EKIA “shows that the conservatives are refusing the reformist government taking the benefit and proud of the inauguration of the regime’s only major project at any cost, even bringing on the military”.

“This is the first major confrontation between the reformists-led Executive with the conservatives in the past two decades”, commented the moderate “E’temad” daily under the title of “Airport Tragedy”, adding that the intervention of the Revolutionary Guards would have “further implications” for the regime.

Although the paper did not emphasised, but analysts, pointing out to the fact that the new Majles, which is to start working in few months, is for the first time “filled” with militaries turned civilians and candidates close to the military establishment, mostly the Revolutionary Guards, say the decision to call on the military to shut the new Airport would pave the way for a real but dangerous militarisation of the Iranian theocracy.

Majlis Speaker Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karroubi criticised the Army’s decision disallowing Imam Khomeini International Airport (EKIA) from further operating, and said “there was no room for brazenness and obstinacy when the prestige and interest of the country are at stake, and repeated his view that the airport`s closure was not in its interest”.

Making the remark in Monday’s open session of House, he said his
representatives would make a detailed probe into the case and then submit a report to the nation.

Karroubi then said he had assigned member of Parliamentary Commission on Development Mohsen Nariman and member of Commission on National Security and Foreign Affairs Ala’eddin Borujerdi to explore ways for settlement of the controversy which led to closure of the international airport.

The two MMs are expected to talk with both Minister of Roads and Transport Ahmad Khorram and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi for a settlement of the dispute over services to passengers flying or landing at the airport.

“The defense of a country’s national interests was the highest responsibility of its government and that the suspension of operations of the Emam Khomeini International Airport was a big blow to the interests of the Iranian nation”, he told deputies, adding that the decision on the airport’s operation is a sensitive issue that would have international repercussions and ought to be settled speedily.

http://www.iran-press-service.com/ips/articles-2004/may/ekip_10405.shtml
4 posted on 05/10/2004 9:12:02 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn; nuconvert; Eala; Pan_Yans Wife; Valin; freedom44; Brooklyn Kid; McGavin999; AdmSmith
UBS fined $100m over dollar distribution

By Haig Simonian in Zurich and Ellen Kelleher in New York
May 11 2004
Financial Times, UK

UBS yesterday suffered a blow to its reputation after the US Federal Reserve fined it $100m for delivering dollar banknotes to countries blacklisted by Washington such as Iran and Cuba.

The fine is one of the largest penalties imposed by the US banking regulator and appears to have taken the bank, which last week made no provisions in its first-quarter results, by surprise.

The penalty followed the revelation last week that Switzerland's biggest bank had for some time allowed dollar banknotes, distributed from a Zurich depository under contract to the New York Fed, to reach blacklisted countries.

UBS admitted the matter had come to its attention last summer, and said it had been conducting an internal investigation into staff at the depository based at its headquarters.

The bank said about six employees had been dismissed and about half-a-dozen others disciplined.

UBS, which has a reputation for high quality, conservative management, said it accepted the findings and was pulling out of the international banknote trading business. The bank has also been formally reprimanded by the Swiss Federal Banking Commission, which will supervise corrective measures.

UBS is one of a small number of banks outside the US contracted by the Fed to distribute currency, retiring old banknotes and introducing new ones. The bank has also operated a separate banknote trading business.

UBS said the employees affected had not been criminally motivated, but had been guilty of serious mistakes. Apart from breaking Fed rules, the bank said those concerned had submitted false reports to the US authorities to conceal their activities.

Michael Willi, head of communications management, said the bank was not aware of any further punitive measures or potential lawsuits by investors.

Analysts, who did not raise the issue in a first-quarter conference call with chief executive Peter Wuffli last week, appeared largely unworried. Many said the fine should be seen in the context of the much bigger penalties and settlements being agreed by other financial institutions.

This is one of the biggest fines levelled against a bank, but it is not unprecedented. Last year, the Fed slapped a $100m fine on Crédit Lyonnais for allegedly breaking US banking laws when it acquired Executive Life, a failed Californian insurer.

UBS shares, down 3.5 per cent before the late afternoon announcement, closed down 4.5 per cent at SFr88.90 yesterday.

http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1083180409045
7 posted on 05/10/2004 11:44:52 PM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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