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Iranian Judiciary Padlocks Commerce Ministry's Expo Center in Support of Tehran Officials

Source: Radio Farda Newsroom

After Monday's standoff between city workers and the employees of the Tehran international expos conventions center, the judiciary came to the city's aid on Wednesday and padlocked the premises, which has been the site of major international trade fairs for the past 40 years. Tehran-based economist Ali Rashidi tells Radio Farda that closing the center would damage the country's foreign trade.

August 4, 2004 - The conservative Tehran judiciary on Tuesday padlocked the city's international conventions and expo center, lending support to the conservative city officials and municipal council members in their conflict with the reformists-run commerce ministry, which has had the run of the premises for the past 40 years. The judiciary's move followed a standoff on Monday between city workers and employees of the conventions center.

The closing of the conventions center, took place at the end of a major motor bike expo, but 10 days before the planned opening of a carpet expo. "How can one find another site for the major international expo only 10 days before its opening," asked head of the state-owned Farsh company Mohammad-Ali Karmi, who is in charge of the carpet expo.

The legal department of the interior ministry issued a statement saying that the city could not legally interfere in the national government's duties by closing down the conventions center. It said the law which allows the city to close establishments it deems harmful to the residents, and was cited by the city council as the basis for its order against the conventions center, does not apply to government operations.

"Closing a major conventions and expo center which caters to international trade fairs attended by representatives from more than 90 countries would deal a harmful blow to the nation's foreign trade," Tehran-based economist Ali Rashidi tells Radio Farda's broadcaster Fereydoun Zarnegar.

Padlocking the center, would not only endanger plans for major trade shows, but is also contrary to the city's agreement with the commerce ministry, which allows the conventions center to operate until another suitable facility was built, he adds. Also, he says, the problem created for Tehran traffic around the conventions center is due to the many buildings that have sprung up around it, not the center itself.

... Payvand News - 8/6/04 ... --

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