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Top Iran official visits Saudi Arabia TEHRAN: A senior Iranian official is in Saudi Arabia to try to repair strained relations between the two Gulf countries, Iranian media reported on Tuesday.Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian flew to the desert kingdom on Monday to meet Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and discuss "matters of common interest", the reports said.No further information was immediately available about the trip, the first by a high-level official since Hassan Rouhani became the Islamic republic's president in August last year."It is a step towards improving relations between Tehran and Riyadh," Iran's financial daily Donya-e Eghtessad wrote.Amir Abdollahian had visited Riyadh in June, but that was for a meeting of the Saudi-based Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC).The authorities in Saudi Arabia had invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, but he declined, citing the ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 powers.Donya-e Eghtessad also quoted Amir-Abdollahian as saying a Zarif trip to ...

Qatar aims to prove its role against radical  DUBAI: Qatar, which mediated the release of a US hostage held by Al-Qaeda in Syria, seeks to prove its role in confronting the Islamist radicals it has been accused of supporting, experts say.The Qatari foreign ministry, in a statement, said the tiny gas-rich nation had "succeeded in releasing American journalist Peter Theo Curtis," after he spent 22 months in captivity.Doha "exerted relentless efforts" to obtain the release of the freelance journalist held by Al-Nusra Front ...
Bombings shut down Zain Iraq network in Kirkuk DUBAI: A spate of deadly bombings that struck Kirkuk in northern Iraq at the weekend has damaged and temporarily shut down telecoms operator Zain Iraq's network in the province, a company source told Reuters on Monday.Three bombings that appeared to target Kurdish forces killed 18 people in the city of Kirkuk, 250km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, on Saturday.These attacks also damaged part of Zain Iraq's network, the source said. "There is a currently a ...
Iraqi Kurds advance on militants KIRKUK: Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by air power retook three villages from militants northeast of Baghdad on Monday and also held off two assaults elsewhere, officials said.Militants led by the Islamic State (IS) group overran large chunks of Iraq during a lightning offensive in June that swept security forces aside.But Iraqi federal forces and the autonomous Kurdish region's peshmerga fighters are now fighting to regain ground from the militants on multiple fronts.On Monday, Kurdish forces ...
Iran deputy foreign minister to visit Saudi Arabia on Monday DUBAI: Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian is visiting Saudi Arabia on Monday, state news agency IRNA reported, in the first such visit since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in 2013.IRNA said Abdollahian would meet Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in Riyadh.Copyright Reuters, 2014 ...
Rival Yemeni protests as talks with Shiite rebels fail SANAA: Rival protests stoked up tension in Yemeni capital Sanaa on Sunday as a presidential negotiating team abandoned talks with Shiite rebels, accusing them of seeking to ignite a war.President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi urged "vigilance and increased preparation to face any options that could be imposed" on Yemen, at a meeting with the supreme security and military committee, state news agency Saba reported.Pro and anti-government protest leaders used loud hailers to stir up their followers ...
US strikes targets in northern Iraq near Arbil, Mosul dam WASHINGTON: The United States on Sunday used aircraft and drones to strike targets in northern Iraq to try to rein in Islamic State militants, who have seized a large swath of territory in the region."US military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in support of Iraqi security force operations, using attack and remotely-piloted aircraft to conduct two airstrikes in the vicinity of Arbil and Mosul dam," a statement from Florida-based Centcom said, using one of ...


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.311 bln
Exports $2.027 bln
Imports $4.338 bln
WeeklyAugust 28, 2014
Reserves $13.582 bln