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Iran ready to provide electricity to Iraq: MP

The Islamic Republic is ready to provide Iraqi cities with electricity, the deputy chairman of the Majlis Energy Commission, Ali Yari, said on Monday, IRNA reported.

"Considering that there is currently a power vacuum in Iraq, Iran is ready to conclude an agreement with the UN or its affiliated organizations to transfer electricity to Iraq," Yari said during a meeting with members of a UN delegation here.

"As per the instructions of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei and President Mohammad Khatami, the government is prepared to provide needed assistance to war-stricken Iraq," the MP noted.

He said the decision to export electricity falls within the functions of the Ministry of Energy and that the Majlis Energy Commission is ready to coordinate with the ministry if the UN agrees.

The UN delegation, in response, assured that it will forward Iran's proposal to the UN authorities.

The UN has dispatched a delegation composed of representatives from the UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO as well as the Medicines Sans Frontier to the Iranian border city of Mehran to survey the Iraqi people's situation and make an assessment of their needs.

Iran prepares first trans-border aid shipment to Iraq: UNICEF

A convoy of trucks carrying 120,000 liters of potable water is due to cross from Iran into southern Iraq today as UNICEF's first cross-border shipment of aid from Iran.

Some 17 lorries carrying 5,500 jerry-cans full of clean water are scheduled to leave Ahwaz in Iran for the Shalamcheh border crossing point.

The water is intended for distribution to hospitals and health centers in the Faw Peninsula.

The UNICEF representative in Iran, Kari Egge, said the peninsula had been chosen because no UN relief aid had so far reached the area and conditions on the ground were largely unknown.

"This shipment of much-needed water is a milestone for UNICEF, Iran," said Ms. Egge. "Water is crucial for the survival of children, for the prevention of diseases and the general well being of the civilian population."

Egge, moreover, said that in the coming days and weeks and as security conditions permit, UNICEF Iran would be dispatching medicines, high-protein biscuits and more water tankers to Iraq.

"We will do our utmost to assist the children in Iraq to improve their situation and well-being from our side of the border."

Over the past six months, UNICEF Iran has been pre-positioning medical kits, nutritional food for malnourished children, water bladders and other relief material along the border with Iraq in order to respond rapidly to the humanitarian needs of children inside Iraq and in refugee camps in Iran.

This latest aid shipment opens up a new front in UNICEF's efforts to reach the children of Iraq with vital aid supplies.

Iran's long border with Iraq means that aid can reach all major regions in the country making it a strategic center for UNICEF's emergency response.

Iran is a host country to more than 200,000 refugees from previous wars in Iraq and has played a critical role in the provision of humanitarian assistance over recent years.

MP urges participation in Iraq's reconstruction

A member of the Energy Commission of the parliament (Majlis), Abdollah Sohrabi, said here Tuesday that neighboring countries of Iraq, such as Iran, should have priority in the reconstruction of the war-torn country in the face of stiff competition among international companies.

Talking to IRNA, Sohrabi stressed Iran's role in post-war Iraqi reconstruction and said this participation could also extend to Iraq's economy but only through coordination with other countries and the use of credible foreign policy and diplomacy.

"It is impossible to enter the Iraqi economic scene in this state of political controversy and earn revenues for the country," the MP from Marivan said.

"We should win footholds in the regional and international arena using diplomacy and foreign policy," he added.

Iran must establish bilateral economic relations with Iraq regardless of who takes over its government due to our geographical proximity and bilateral interests in oil, gas and within OPEC, he said.

He noted that the country needs to adopt a special strategy by which it can have a stake in the next government in Iraq, adding that all OPEC members must insist on Iraq's continued membership in the organization.

He said that if Iraq continues to be an OPEC member, in case "the US seizes the next government of Iraq, it will have to follow OPEC regulations."

The MP, however, suggested that if Iraq intends to quit the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries other member states of the organization must be clear and decisive in their support or opposition to such move.

... Payvand News - 4/15/03 ... --

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