- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

IRAN

Russia cuts big energy deal

MOSCOW — Russian state gas monopoly OAO Gazprom signed an agreement yesterday to drill and produce Iranian oil and gas in a deal that highlights Moscow’s deepening commercial ties with Tehran.

The deal was signed after meetings between Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari, Gazprom said.

“The two sides agreed on the join participation in the development of two or three blocs in the South Pars field as well as on the participation by GazpromNeft in an oil production project in Iran,” the company said.

ALGERIA

Return sought of MiG lemons

MOSCOW — Algeria has demanded that Moscow take back several MiG fighter jets supplied under a major arms deal because of quality concerns, dealing a painful blow to Russian pride, press reports said yesterday.

The effort to return the planes, which was expected to top the agenda of visiting Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s talks yesterday in the Kremlin, could tarnish Russia’s reputation as a reliable supplier and damage its hopes to expand its niche in the world’s arms market.

Algeria said it wanted to return the first 15 MiG-29 fighter jets supplied last year and refused to take the remaining aircraft under a $1.3 billion contract, Russian press reports said. The 2006 deal envisaged the delivery of 34 MiG-29s in 2007-2008.

AFGHANISTAN

Car bomb targets police

KANDAHAR — A car bomb exploded near a police compound yesterday in southern Afghanistan, killing at least one person and wounding four, a police official said.

The car bomb was apparently triggered remotely, said Jan Mohammad, a police officer at the site in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan’s largest city and the Taliban’s former stronghold. He said one civilian was killed and four persons were wounded.

The bomb blast was the third attack in Kandahar province in three days. More than 100 people were killed by a suicide bomber on Sunday just outside Kandahar city, while 38 died Monday at a market near the border with Pakistan when a suicide car bomb explosion targeted a Canadian military convoy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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