The Islamic Republic of Iran is strengthening its ties with its area neighbors, particularly Lebanon and Egypt.
According to a report on Monday in Iranian media, Lebanon’s and Iran’s energy ministers have reached an agreement over oil and gas exploration efforts in Lebanese economic waters, according to which Iran will be involved in the search for gas and oil close to the border with Israel.
The two countries will set up a joint project to look for oil and gas in Lebanese economic waters, using Iran’s engineering experience.
The cooperation between the two countries was announced after Israel discovered two sources of natural gas on its territory. In January of 2009, Houston-based Noble Energy company announced the discovery of a huge deposit of natural gas
under the Mediterranean Sea near Haifa. At the time, it was estimated that the Tamar drilling site held enough gas to allow Israel to be self-sufficient in energy for two decades, but in June it was published that there is likely even more gas
on the site than originally thought.
A second giant field near the Haifa coast, the Leviathan, was reported in August
to have a potential of 4 billion barrels of “black gold.”
Though Lebanon has claimed that both the Leviathan and Tamar fields belong to it, reports from Iran now indicate that Lebanon intends to look for gas in its own waters in the hope of finding reserves, rather than take action over its claims.
Through this project, Iran could deepen its involvement in the region and strengthen Lebanon's dependence on Tehran. Iranian oil minister Masoud Mirkazemi confirmed the reports to the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network
and added that a meeting would take place soon among Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to discuss the possibility of purchasing gas from the Islamic Republic.
Meanwhile, it appears as though ties are also warming up between Iran and Egypt. The two countries announced that direct flights between Cairo and Tehran would resume for the first time since 1980. 28 weekly flights would resume between the two capitals, though it is currently not known when this will begin.
Iranian media said that the move could be a prelude to the resumption of formal ties between Iran and Egypt.
The two countries have been at odds since 1979’s Islamic Revolution in Iran, when Egypt gave asylum to the deposed Shah of Iran.
Israeli educator fired after pushing creationism
Tuesday, October 05, 2010 Ryan Jones
Dr. Gabi Avital, the chief scientist of Israel’s Education Ministry, was fired on Monday after reiterating his position that evolution is just a theory, and that it should be taught alongside creationism as the two most widely held beliefs regarding how our world originated.
In an interview with Israel’s Ma’ariv newspaper last month, Avital insisted that “the conditions were not accidental. Darwin was a great scientist, but he took his theory in dangerous directions, and we need to teach the flaws of that theory, too.”
Speaking to Israel National News a day after being fired, Avital insisted the education of Israel’s young people is incomplete because it does not take into account the “numerous studies that refute the science of evolution” and show that a human being is not just a “substance without a soul.”
Shortly after being appointed to the post of chief scientist in December 2009, Avital advocated for adding creationism to the school curriculum.
The office of Education Minister Gideon Saar (Likud) issued a statement on Monday claiming that Avital had been hired on a trial basis, and that his trial period had simply expired without a decision to keep him on in the position of chief scientists.
But Avital told Israel National News that there was no question that Saar decided not to keep him because of the Ma’ariv interview. “Apparently, he did not like it.”
Being a scientist who also believes strongly in the Bible, Avital was regularly attacked by the liberal Israeli media from the moment he was hired by the Education Ministry.
The most vicious attacks came from the radical left-wing newspaper Ha’aretz, which in addition to his views on evolution, faulted Avital for saying global warming is a farce used by liberal environmentalists to advance their political agendas.
Avital has maintained that industry and technology have had only a very minor effect on the global temperatures and the climate in general, and that the “green” agenda is more about economic interests.
Avital noted the ludicrous message that his firing sends - that a chief scientist, a recognized expert, cannot and should not be heard if his findings and views oppose those of the established mainstream.