UK Ambassador Returns to Tehran to Defuse Soleimanpour Crisis
Tehran Times - Politics Section
Aug 31, 2003
London -- British Ambassador to Iran, Richard Dalton, has cut short his holiday to return to Tehran amid the controversy over the continuing detention of former Iranian Ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpour, in the UK, IRNA reported.
Dalton flew back to Tehran on Friday as an application to release Soleimanpour was refused for a second time, despite being held only on a provisional extradition request from Argentina, pending a formal application with full evidence.
Argentina has to present supporting documents by September 19, when the former Iranian ambassador is next due to appear in court. It is at that stage that Home Secretary David Blunkett has to sign an Authority to Proceed for a committal hearing to go ahead.
Despite Blunkett's role, the British Foreign Office has insisted that it is powerless to intervene in the case that is seen as having strong political dimensions following the election of a new president in Argentina earlier this year.
The accusations go back to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires and come after relatives of the 85 victims filed a civil suit charging Argentinean authorities in February with failing to adequately investigate the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in 1992.
London's Jewish Chronicle earlier this month suggested that right-wing elements in Argentina's own police or security forces could be involved in the terror bombings and that the extradition suit filed against Soleimanpour and other Iranian diplomats could be cover.
The Times newspaper connected Dalton's early return to Tehran with British fears that Iran may retaliate over the treatment of Soleimanpour and suggested that the expulsion of the British ambassador could come as early as Saturday. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_2062.shtml
Iran Finance Minister declares strategic reform in banking system
Iran's Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Tahmasb Mazaheri declared on Saturday that 40 percent of the strategic banking reform consisting of 26 basic and 100 operational projects, which have been underway for one and a half years, is now completed, IRNA reported from Tehran.
He told IRNA that improvement of the operating system of national banking network and optimization of the presented services is one of the continuous programs of the banking system.
Mazaheri referred to implementation of phone banks, common checks, inter-bank cash transfer, payment of water, electricity, telephone and gas bills through internet and project on making Iran check acceptable to all banks as some of the continuous services to be presented to clients.
"Optimized banking system and presenting better service to clients are part of the constantly pursued banking strategic reform projects, which prompt banks to compete against one another in attempt to satisfy their clients," he added.
The official added that ways of running state banks is one of the reform projects, whose draft is currently being examined by Majlis commissions.
He hoped that Majlis will soon ratify the draft on banking reform to enable banks to be more flexible in banking management and enjoy more strict discipline in their decision-making process. http://www.payvand.com/news/03/aug/1158.html
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