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Iran says oil barter deal with Russia very hard to seal

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran and Russia will find it hard to agree any oil or gas trade deal because they are rivals in both markets, Iran's deputy oil minister for international trade said on Monday. Iran and Russia have been discussing various ways of increasing bilateral trade, including Moscow possibly taking up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian goods that Iran needs. Washington says such a deal would go against the terms of the interim nuclear deal between world powers and Iran.

Iran's oil exports surge above West's sanctions cap: IEA

By Ron Bousso and Timothy Gardner LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran's crude oil exports have surged to their highest in 20 months, far exceeding a 1 million barrel-per-day limit set by the West under an interim deal on curbing Tehran's nuclear program. The International Energy Agency's monthly report revised February's global crude imports from Iran upwards by 240,000 bpd to 1.65 million barrels per day, the highest since June 2012.

Iran's oil exports surge above West's sanctions cap: IEA

By Ron Bousso and Timothy Gardner LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran's crude oil exports have surged to their highest in 20 months, far exceeding a 1 million barrel-per-day limit set by the West under an interim deal on curbing Tehran's nuclear program. The International Energy Agency's monthly report revised February's global crude imports from Iran upwards by 240,000 bpd to 1.65 million barrels per day, the highest since June 2012.

Abducted Iranian border guards freed in Pakistan: lawmaker

ANKARA (Reuters) - Four Iranian border guards have been freed in Pakistan two months after they were seized by al Qaeda-linked militants on the countries' lawless frontier, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency quoted a lawmaker as saying on Friday. The abduction in early February heightened regional and sectarian tensions. Iran had said the guards were taken into Pakistan and threatened to send troops over the border to retrieve them.

Pakistan beefs up border security ahead of Afghan elections

Pakistan is beefing up security along its border with Afghanistan to ensure that no unauthorized crossing takes place during the Afghan elections, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday. Spokesman Tasneem Aslam told a weekly briefing the April 5 Election for president and provincial council members is a historic milestone and, "as friends", Pakistan hopes that despite threats from extremist groups voters will turn out in unprecedented numbers. "We will be more vigilant and take some additional measures,"

Pakistan condemns killing of abducted Iranian border guard by militants

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan has condemned the killing by Sunni Muslim militants of one of five Iranian border guards they have been holding hostage for the past six weeks, the foreign office said on Wednesday. The guards were seized while patrolling the lawless frontier with Pakistan in early February. Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), an Iranian Sunni Muslim rebel group in Sistan-Baluchistan province later claimed responsibility.

Education crusader, volunteer English teacher gunned down in Afghan attack

Roshan Thomas spent weeks at a time living in Afghanistan's impoverished communities and opened her Canadian home to youth seeking opportunities outside the war-torn country. In the comparative safety of a well-guarded Kabul hotel dining room, however, the B.C. woman's crusade for educational equality came to an abrupt end. Thomas's son Karim confirmed the Ugandan-born optometrist was among nine people gunned down in the Hotel Serena on Thursday while enjoying a dinner to usher in the Persian new year.

US denounces Kabul hotel attack

The US State Department Friday sent condolences to the relatives of an AFP reporter killed in a shooting at a Kabul hotel and denounced "barbaric" attacks by insurgents in Afghanistan. Secretary of State John Kerry "is incredibly sorry for the loss that AFP has experienced, and certainly, our heart and our condolences go out to the family of that reporter," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

US denounces Kabul hotel attack

The US State Department Friday sent condolences to the relatives of an AFP reporter killed in a shooting at a Kabul hotel and denounced "barbaric" attacks by insurgents in Afghanistan. Secretary of State John Kerry "is incredibly sorry for the loss that AFP has experienced, and certainly, our heart and our condolences go out to the family of that reporter," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Taliban gunmen kill 9 at hotel in Afghan capital

Kabul, Mar 21 (EFE).- Four Taliban gunmen killed nine people in an attack on one of the most heavily guarded hotels in the Afghan capital, authorities said Friday. The restaurant of the luxury Hotel Serena was packed with people around 9:00 p.m. Thursday when the teenage assailants walked in and started shooting. Many of the diners were at the Serena to celebrate the eve of Nawroz, the ancient Persian new year, which is observed throughout Southwest Asia.
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