Iran stops using U.S. dollar in oil transactions

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ALI AKBAR DAREINI, The Associated Press

April 30, 2008 at 12:25 PM EDT

TEHRAN – Iran has stopped conducting oil transactions in U.S. dollars, an official said Wednesday, a concerted attempt to reduce reliance on Washington at a time of tension over Tehran’s nuclear program and suspected involvement in Iraq.

Iran, OPEC’s second-largest producer, has dramatically reduced dependence on the dollar during the past year in the face of increasing U.S. pressure on its financial system and the fall in the value of the American currency.

World markets price oil in U.S. dollars. Its depreciation has concerned producers because it has contributed to rising crude oil prices and has eroded the value of their dollar reserves.

“The dollar has totally been removed from Iran’s oil transactions,” Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, a top Oil Ministry official, told state-run television Wednesday. “We have agreed with all of our crude oil customers to do our transactions in non-dollar currencies.”

At a summit last year in Saudi Arabia, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the depreciating dollar a “worthless piece of paper.”

Iran put pressure on other Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members at the meeting to price oil in a basket of currencies. But it has not been able to generate support from fellow members – many of whom, including Saudi Arabia, are staunch U.S. allies.

Iran has a tense relationship with the U.S., which has accused Tehran of using its nuclear program as a cover for weapons development and providing support to Shiite militants in Iraq who are killing American troops. Iran has denied the allegations.

Iranian oil officials have said previously that they were shifting oil sales out of the dollar into other currencies, but Mr. Ghanimifard indicated Wednesday that all of Iran’s oil transactions were now conducted in either euros or yen.

“In Europe, Iran’s oil is sold in euros, but both euros and yen are paid for Iranian crude in Asia,” he said.

Iran’s central bank also has been reducing its foreign reserves denominated in U.S. dollars, motivated by the falling value of the greenback and U.S. attempts to make it difficult for Iran to conduct dollar transactions.

U.S. banks are prohibited from conducting business directly with Iran, and many European banks have curbed their dealings with the country over the past year under pressure from Washington.

However, the U.S. has been wary of targeting Iran’s oil industry directly, apparently worried that such a move could drive up crude prices that are already near record levels.

Iranian analysts say Tehran can withstand U.S. pressure as long as it can continue its oil and gas sales, which constitute most of the country’s $80 billion in exports.

Tombs of the Prophets of Islam

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Tombs of the Prophets of Islam (Peace Be Upon them all)

Syrian Prophets

Seth

Tomb of Seth in Baqa’a Valley

Seth is not mentioned by name in the Quran but Muslim exegetes report that he was the son of Adam and Eve, the one to whom prophethood was passed after Adam, and to whom was revealed a number of scriptures from God. These scriptures are said to be the “first scriptures” mentioned in Q 87:18. Muslim exegetes also mention that Seth was responsible for the burial of Adam, and for the burial of secret texts in the tomb of Adam, called the “Cave of Treasures” by Tabari and other Muslim scholars.

Muslim and Christian sources report that some people believe Seth is buried in one of the two great pyramids in Giza near Cairo. Maqrizi reports that the Sabaians of Harran made pilgrimage to Giza and offered sacrifices there to Seth and Idris (Hermes) because they believed that the pyramids were the tombs of these two prophets.

This tomb of Seth is located within one of the main mosques in the village of Nabi Shit (i.e. Prophet Seth) in the mountains above the Baqa’a Valley in Lebanon. This is the same range of mountains that contain the tombs of other early prophets such as Abel. The area of the tomb is not raised above the ground and is roughly 50 meters in length. The tomb, shown here, is draped with Shi’i burial shrouds and the mosque is clothed in black for the remembrance of Ashura which was taking place when this picture was taken, in February 2004. The tomb was visited in the 19th century by Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi and was described to the 12th century traveler Ibn Jubayr along with the nearby tomb of Noah in Kerak Nuh.

Arab Prophets

Tomb of Salih near Hasik

The Mazar of Hazrat Salih (peace be upon him) is said to be located in Mada’in Salih, in Hijaz, or in the Hadhramawt. According to the local people in the Hadhramawt, Salih was the father of the prophet Hud, corresponding to the biblical Shelah father of Eber. Both Hud and Salih are said to have been giants, thus accounting for the extraordinary length of their tombs. According some scholars this is the Mazar of Hazrat Salih at Hasik.

Israelite Prophets

Mazar Mubarak of Hazrat Yahya (John) in Lebanon. Some other scholars say that the Mazar of Hazrat Nooh can be in Jordan OR Lebanon OR Iraq. Allah knows the best.

Local Prophets

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