Friday, March 10, 2006

Debunking Iran's need for nuclear energy and more

Iran Democracy Monitor:
Iran's claims that a nuclear program is necessary for domestic energy generation are undermined by its extensive oil and gas resources, a new report from a prominent Congressional committee has concluded. The March 2006 study by the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, entitled "Iran's Oil and Natural Gas Wealth," notes that Iran's vast energy stores - which include the world's third-largest oil and second largest natural gas reserves - mean that the development of nuclear energy is not necessary for domestic economic growth. Rather, the white paper says, efficient use of these resources has been hampered by the Iranian regime's international price-fixing practices, inefficient state controls, and "threatening policies that provoke U.S. trade and investment sanctions." READ MORE

"Iran is centrally located between European and Asian energy markets and is courted by eager buyers of oil and gas," according to the study. "Yet the regime insists on aggressive politics, pursues threatening nuclear technology, manipulates the international oil price through OPEC, and drives a wedge between energy demand and supply at home by limiting consumer prices while impeding foreign investment." The policy brief concludes that "Iran does not need nuclear energy; it needs to reconnect with the world, realign its disjointed priorities, and develop its vast oil and natural gas resources." (U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, March 2006)


The Iranian government is moving to increase ideological conformity in the Islamic Republic's educational system. In a move that echoes the "cultural revolution" that followed the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the government of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reportedly tasked the country's Ministry of Science, Research and Technology with carrying out a review of the employment contracts of university-level professors hired since 1997 - a move that many view as a prelude to the firing of educators deemed by the regime to be too "un-Islamic." A number of academics at some of Iran's leading higher-learning institutions (including Tehran University and Tehran's University of Alameh Tabatabai) have already been warned that their contracts will not be reviewed once they expire, and more expulsions are predicted in the near future. (Tehran Rooz, March 2, 2006)


Tehran's conservative Kayhan newspaper has published a public appeal for a governmental expansion of registration centers where Iranians can sign up to become suicide bombers. In early March, the hard-line daily, which is linked to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, published parts of a letter (ostensibly from a subscriber) calling for an "increase the number of registration centers" for suicide-bombers ready to target Western interests as part of a return to the "Khomeini doctrine" of exporting the revolution.

The appeal appears to be part of a larger drive by the Iranian regime to enlist the faithful against the West. In early March, the Iranian-based World Islamic Organization's Headquarters for Commemorating the Shahids [martyrs] announced that it would soon launch a website dedicated to raising popular awareness of - and support for - "Iranian martyrdom-seeking forces." (Tehran Rooz, March 2, 2006; Iran Press News, March 3, 2006)


Iran is capitalizing upon the recent political transformation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by opening an "ideological embassy" in Ramallah. The facility, intended to spread Shi'a religious beliefs among the Palestinian population, represents Iran's first direct foray into an institutional presence in the Palestinian Authority (PA), PA security forces say. ""We want the Palestinian people to be exposed to the Iranian heritage and Shia principles. (Our goal is) to reinforce the relations between the Islamic republic of Iran and the Palestinian people," confirms Muhamad Gawanmeh, who serves as director of Iran's new Shia Council in Palestine - and as a member of the Iranian-financed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group. "We are part of the Iranian Islamic project in the Middle East." (Tel Aviv Yediot Ahronot, March 6, 2006)