Saturday, March 18, 2006

Week in Review

DoctorZin provides a review of this past week's [3/12/06 -3/18/06] major news events regarding Iran. (The reports are listed in chronological order, not by importance) READ MORE

Iran's Nuclear Program.
  • BBC News reported that Iran says Moscow's compromise proposal on its nuclear program is "off the agenda."
  • Dow Jones Newswires reported that a senior Russian lawmaker, Konstantin Kosachev, warned Tehran that its refusal to continue talks on the Russian offer could "radicalize" a planned discussion of the Iranian nuclear issue at the United Nations Security Council.
  • Agence France-Presse reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned today, Iran could leave the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if its nuclear rights are not accounted for.
  • Yahoo News reported that the five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council are deadlocked over the best way to pressure Iran. China's Ambassador Wang Guangya told The Associated Press as he left the meeting. "I think they want to be too tough."
  • The New York Times reported that Iran has decided to shift course and confront the United Nations head-on. Ahmadinejad portrayed that position not as obstinate or rigid but as a reflection of strength. "We know well that a country's backing down one iota on its undeniable rights is the same as losing everything."
  • Reuters reported that Russia's foreign minister said regarding a compromise solution to its nuclear dispute: "Iran is absolutely no help to those who want to find peaceful ways to solve this problem."
  • Jerusalem Post reported that Iran said Monday it would begin construction on its first indigenous nuclear power plant within six months.
  • The Times reported that Britain unveiled a proposal at the United Nations last night to give Iran 14 days to suspend all work linked to uranium enrichment.
  • The Washington Post reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she is confident the United States eventually will get strong backing from other members of the U.N. Security Council.
  • The Times reported that Britain will seek support for United Nations action on Iran from the full 15-nation Security Council today after the “Permanent Five” powers failed for a third day to agree a joint approach.
  • Dow Jones Newswires reported that French President Jacques Chirac said that Europe can't make "the slightest concession" to Iran on regulations governing the nonproliferation of nuclear arms.
  • Reuters reported that the five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council failed again on Wednesday to reach agreement on a draft text aimed at reining in Iran's nuclear ambitions after a fifth round of negotiations.
  • Dow Jones Newswires reported that the U.K. is considering a push for a weapons embargo on Iran.
  • MSNBC reported that U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, compared the threat from Iran’s nuclear programs to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
  • Reuters reported that the White House said an international diplomatic effort to force Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions must succeed "if confrontation is to be avoided."
  • Iran Press Service reported that while there is a new coherence in Washington on Iran, there is disarray and confusion in Tehran.
  • Reuters reported that John Bolton told reporters, "I would describe today's meeting as the best we have had so far. There are still areas of disagreement ... but I am very encouraged."
  • Reuters reported UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program is the toughest test in diplomacy.
  • CBS News reported U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Iran to resume negotiations over its nuclear program, while also calling the country a central banker for terrorism.
  • IranMania reported Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Russia is not supposed to bargain over Iran's nuclear case in the UN Security Council.
  • FOX News reported that U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said the U.N. Security Council appears determined to send a "strong and clear signal" to Tehran about its suspect nuclear program, after a meeting of the powerful U.N. body that he described as the best so far.
  • Nick Wadham, Forbes reported that Russia's U.N. ambassador on Friday rejected proposals that would have the U.N. Security Council demand a quick progress report on Iran's suspect nuclear program, saying - half in jest - that fast action could lead to the bombing of Iran by June.
  • Deutsche Welle reported that the UN Security Council is inching toward an agreement on a revised Franco-British draft urging Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.
  • Fox News reported that Britain favors drawing the United States into talks with Iran.
  • IranMania reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucehr Mottaki announced unless Iran's nuclear energy rights are not taken into consideration, they will not accept a United Nations Security Council's decision on Iran.
  • Iran Press News reported that Ali Larijani, the secretary of the Islamic regime's supreme national security council admitted that should U.S. take any steps in intensifying sanctions, the regimes situation would become more unstable.
Iran's Dissidents. Ganji is home at last.
  • Iran Press News reported that despite Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji's having served his six year prison sentence this week, his release has been denied.
  • Eli Lake, The New York Sun reported that Akbar Ganji must stay in prison because he is likely to face additional charges.
  • Iran Press News reported on various dissidents inside of Iran including Mehran Kowsari who last year was imprisoned for being Bahaii.
  • BBC News reported that Iran's most prominent dissident journalist Akbar Ganji has been freed from jail after five years and is now at home.
  • The Hindu reported that Ganji said: "My views have not changed at all. Jail and pressures never forced me to change my views. Today, I'm more determined to say what I said six years ago."
  • Seattle PI reported "My husband is so weak physically now. He is just 108 pounds. But I'm happy he is back home," his wife said. "He needs rest, please don't put too many questions to him. He's not going to be so outspoken." "No, I'm more radical than before," Ganji interrupted.
  • Photos of Ganji at home.
Regime fears the March 14th "Festival of Fire" celebrations and Iranian New Year next week.
  • SMCCDI reported that the Islamic regime has forbidden the sell of gasoline in containers in an effort to limit subversive activities, at the occasion of the banned "Tchahar-Shanbe Souri" (Fire Fiest) on March 14th. The regime hopes the ban will limit the fabrication of Molotov-Cocktails.
  • Iran Press News reported that the Iranian regime failed to stop ancient Persian festival & New Year celebrations tonight which the regime considers to be religiously prohibited or unclean.
  • Photos of the festival of fire celebrations in Tehran.
  • SMCCDI reported that Islamic regime's security forces attacked Iranian celebrators/demonstrators in several cities by beating brutally women and especially young kids using clubs, chains and even knives have been used by foreign speaking militiamen.
  • SMCCDI reported that an increasing number of Iranians went into most Iranian into the streets in a flagrant sign of defiance to the Islamic regime.
  • Iran Focus reported that Iranian authorities imposed a de facto martial law in several volatile cities in the north-western province of Kurdistan as restive youths used the occasion of Iran’s traditional “fire festival” to hold anti-government protests.
  • SMCCDI reported that inmates at the infamous Evin Political jail found a way to commemorate the banned "Tchahr-Shanbe Soori" (Fire Fiest).
  • Iran Focus reported that anti-government demonstrations erupted across the Iranian capital as well as in towns and cities across the country and protestors set on fire an effigy of Iran’s Supreme Leader.
  • Iran Press News published thousands of Iranian celebrants turned the ancient Persian Festival of Fire (Chaharshanbeh Souri) into an anti-regime uprising.
  • Iran Press News reported that a regime-run newspaper admitted to the destruction of 90 banks and death of 9 regime guards during last week's "Festival of Fire."
  • Iran Press News reported that Tehran bloggers claimed the Festival of Fire was celebrated with rallying cries for freedom.
Iranian Leaders On the Offensive.
  • National Union For Democracy In Iran reported that President AhmadiNejad’s budget proposal to the Iranian parliament has widened the rift between the office of the president and the parliament. But the parliament has finally approved a $6 Billion for the office of the President which is separate from the national budget.
  • Islamic Republic News Agency reported that the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Monday lodged a protest against anti-Iran statements by US President George W Bush.
  • BBC News reported that the leaders in Iran are highly conscious of the power of the media. They use a two-pronged approach. At home, they enforce controls and abroad, Iran harnesses satellite TV and radio to get its views across.
  • Reuters reported that Iran's president says he would welcome a travel ban imposed by the UN.
  • ABC News reported that Iran's supreme leader said that Iran's nuclear fuel program was "irreversible."
  • Bloomberg reported that Iran may review some of its contracts with foreign oil and gas companies if the United Nations Security Council imposes sanctions.
  • Los Angeles Times reported that in spite of the hostile rhetoric in recent days over Iran's nuclear ambitions, the Islamic Republic may be losing its long-standing reluctance to speak directly with the United States.
  • Iran Focus reported that Iran described recent comments by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw against its nuclear activities as “utter nonsense.”
  • Iran Focus reported that Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki demanded a timeline for the withdrawal of United States-led troops from Iraq.
  • Iran Focus reported that Iranian Ayatollah Jannati said on Iran would never back down from its nuclear pursuit and the nuclear capability was the “dignity of Islam.”
  • Iran Focus reported that Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Larijani, accused the United States of pursuing a campaign of “creeping regime change” in Iran.
Power Struggle inside of Iran.
  • The Washington Times reported that Iran's clerical and business establishments are increasingly turning against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
  • Iran Focus reported that the Majlis in Iran will grill Iran’s Larijani over nuke strategy on Thursday.
  • The New York Times reported that powerful voices within Tehran are now criticizing Iran's nuclear policy.
  • Memri reported that an Iranian Ayatollah said "We can negotiate openly, and maintain relations, with America."
Iranian regime leaders are worried about the threat from within.
  • Monsters & Critics reported that the Iranian regime admits that it has resorted to broadcasting popular American films to compete with Iranian opposition broadcasters out of LA.
  • Rooz Online reported that the secretariat of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SPSC) issued a confidential directive to the state-run radio and television network instructing its directors not to mention or discuss the fact that Iran’s nuclear file has been referred to the UN Security Council.
The Unrest inside of Iran.
  • SMCCDI reported that violent clashes rocked, yesterday, the western City of Piranshahr following the murder of a resident, by Islamist Militiamen.
  • Iran Focus reported that some 150 textile workers gathered on Monday outside the offices of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to protest. “Instead of justice-spreading government”, the workers said, Ahmadinejad’s government should be called the “sacking government”.
  • Iran Press News reported that last Saturday the angry residents of Piranshahr (Kurdish town in Province of West Azerbaijan) clashed with the regime's brutal security forces.
  • Iran Press News reported that the regime's forces clashed with young activists in Tehran suburb of Fardees-Karadj.
  • Iran Press News reported the anger on Iranian universities over the regime's plan to bury martyrs on the university grounds.
  • New York Post reported that if the Security Council won't act Europe's leadership on the Iranian nuclear problem suggests a third option: NATO.
  • The Jerusalem Post reported that the Pentagon is looking into the possibility of Israel launching a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
  • Radio Free Europe reported that University students in Iran are expressing deep concern over official attempts to turn university grounds into burial sites for the remains of Iranian soldiers.
  • Iran Press News reported that 1000 workers from the Kerman coal mines have gone on strike.
  • Iran Press News reported that 400 production units of household good and electrical factories inside Iran face financial crisis.
  • Iran Press News reported that approximately 150 workers of the Miral Glass factory who have neither been paid for more than 11 months.
  • Iran Press News reported that 300 workers from the Iran Auto factory gathered in protest.
  • Iran Press News reported that hundreds of protesting workers from the Sangrood mines (Province of Gilan), have remained unpaid for 13 months.
  • Iran Press News published a report and photo of the graves being prepared on University grounds for the burial of designated martyrs.
An attack inside Iran.
  • Radio Free Europe reported that Iranian General Ismail Ahmadi-Moghaddam said rebels posed as security forces, stopped cars traveling along the Zabol-Zahedan road and then killed 22 passengers and suggested that U.S. and British intelligence agents were involved.
  • Reuters reported that a Sunni rebel group said it was behind an attack that killed 22 people in a remote region in southeastern Iran saying that they attacked the convoy of a provincial governor, killing 22 soldiers, and took seven hostages, including a senior security official to obtain the release of members detained by Iran.
  • Iran Press News published an update on the armed attack on regional authorities in the road between Zabol and Zahedan (Province of Sistan & Baluchestan).
Anti-Cartoon Conference Begins.
Iran's Oil Weapon.
  • The Financial Times reported that the US is looking at “creative” ways of addressing the energy worries of China, Japan and India. One option would be to tap the oil stockpiles of the 26 industrialized IAEA nations. Emergency stocks are enough to fill an 18-month hole if Iranian oil exports stopped.
  • Stratfor argued that although Iran threatened targeted oil boycotts against countries that support U.N. sanctions against it. It is not a threat that will hold much weight with China.
  • Financial Times reported that International oil companies are putting multibillion-dollar projects in Iran on hold, concerned about the diplomatic standoff over the country’s nuclear program.
Rumors of War.
  • The Washington Institute for Near East Policy published the full text of Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon's address the Hudson Institute about a potential Israeli attack on Iran.
  • Iran Focus reported that the United States warned Iran through a secret channel that it would launch military attacks on a number of nuclear sites in Iran if there was no diplomatic progress a month after the Islamic Republic’s referral to the United Nations Security Council.
  • reported Nippon Oil Corp said it will slash its imports from Iran by 15 pct, in part because of the international confrontation over Iran's nuclear program.
  • World Tribune reported that the US is planning a major naval exercise in May to test its response to any Iranian naval blockade of the Straits of Hormuz.
Support for Internal Regime Change in Iran.
  • The Washington Post reported that President Bush and his team have been huddling in closed-door meetings on Iran, the debate is over, and although administration is does not use the term "regime change" in public, and that in effect is the goal. But in private meetings, Bush and his advisers have been more explicit.
  • Reuters reported that Britain will call for an expansion of global broadcasting in Iran and urge world organizations to boost the information flow to Iranians who may have little access to outside news.
  • SMCCDI called for emergency financial support of NITV a leading Iranian broadcaster into Iran. The site is off the air, due to lack of funds.
  • The International Institute for Strategic Studies published the full text of UK Foreign Minister Jack Straws remarks on Iran. He asked: "How then can we help the Iranian people realise their ambition for Iran to retake its place as a respected and law-abiding country within the region and within the community of nations?" Videos of the speech and QA.
  • BBC News reported that the United States is developing the concept of a "cold war" with Iran. The idea is that regime or policy change could be effected by the Iranian people themselves.
  • Telegraph reported that after five years of indecision and internal disputes the Bush administration has started a new, more vigorous phase in trying to undermine the ruling mullahs of Iran.
  • Atlas Shrugs reported on that Harvard students plan to hold an "Iran Freedom Concert" in solidarity with Iranian Student Movement for Democracy and Civil Rights.
  • The White House released their National Security Strategy of the United States of America which has a major focus on Iran. Full text.
  • White House released a Presidential Message to commemorate the Iranian holiday of Nowruz.
US Congress on Iran.
  • The Associated Press reported that a House committee is weighing legislation that would strengthen America's own policy toward the Islamic republic.
  • Dow Jones Newswires reported that ignoring White House objections, a Republican-controlled House panel overwhelmingly approved legislation Wednesday to tighten sanctions against Iran.
Iran's Economy.
  • Interactive Investor reported that UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Iran's actions over its nuclear program are beginning to cause "serious damage" to investor confidence there.
Iran's Troublemaking in Iraq. The US/Iran to talk?
  • Reuters reported that the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad denied on Sunday seeking Iran's help to calm violence in Iraq.
  • Reuters reported that President George W. Bush said "some of the most powerful IEDs (improvised explosive devices) we are seeing in Iraq today include components that came from Iran."
  • ABC News(au) reported that the United States has indicated that it was not seeking dialogue with Iran in proposing talks on Iraq, but rather it is trying to get it to stop meddling in the affairs of its neighbor.
  • Reuters reported that Ali Larijani said Iran is willing to open a dialogue with the United States on Iraq, "We accept this proposal and we will appoint a negotiating team for talks soon."
  • BBC News reported that US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said he was concerned an offer by Iran to hold talks with the US on Iraq could be simply "a device" to divert pressure from Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
  • U.S. Department of State reported that Secretary of State Rice said that talks with Iran would not be "negotiations." Full text.
  • Reuters reported that U.S. officials in Iraq again accused Iran of meddling in Iraq's internal affairs, saying the Islamic Republic was carrying out "unhelpful activities" there.
  • Sunday Times reported that the White House said Iran's offer to hold talks with the United States on Iraq is probably just a ploy to "divert pressure" Tehran has drawn over its nuclear program.
Iran and the International community.
  • The Washington Times reported that a recent deal between Iran and Venezuela provides for the exploitation of Venezuela's strategic minerals signals that Chavez's government could be planning to provide Tehran with uranium for its nuclear program.
  • The New York Times reported that Lebanon's leaders met here recently for what was billed as the start of a national dialogue to discuss disarming militias like Hezbollah, but government officials conceded that Lebanon's ability to resolve some of its most vexing domestic conflicts would depend on decisions made in Tehran and Washington.
  • Rooz Online reported that Iraq's Moqtada Sadr and Seyed Hassan Nassrollah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbullah group made unreported visits to Tehran last week.
  • reported that Jordan's King Abdullah II warned that any military operation on Iran would cause the situation in the region "to explode".
  • Ilan Berman, Iran Democracy Monitor reported Iranian diplomacy is now targeting Turkey.
  • Wanadoo reported an Iranian appeals court has confirmed a sentence of 18 months in jail for a German and Frenchman accused of illegally entering Iranian waters in a fishing boat.
  • The Telegraph reported that Iran held secret talks with Shia militant leaders from Iraq and Lebanon only days before the country's nuclear negotiators threatened America with "harm and pain."
Must Read reports.
  • Eli lake, The New York Sun reported that the Tehran regime has already started cracking down on democracy activists in the country who have received aid from the West.
  • Azarmehr reported that the Islamic Republic is now using the Washington Post instead of State TV for propaganda against Iranian dissidents.
  • Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen, examined the Mullah-Hamas Axis.
  • The Christian Science Monitor reported a new romance between US and France.
  • Alex Alexiev, Center for Security Policy examined the transition of Iranian totalitarian theocracy to messianic Islamofascism and suggestions towards a strategy for regime change.
  • BBC News reported that a group of exiled Syrian opposition leaders has announced they are to form a common front to oppose President Bashar al-Assad's government.
  • William F Buckley, The National Review considered the question: What do we intend to do about it if Iran proceeds noiselessly to nuclear armament?
  • Phyllis Chesler, The Family Security Matters warns of the coming Islamization of America.
  • News Max reported that Rep. Curt Weldon said that Osama bin Laden has died.
The Experts.
  • Michael Ledeen, National Review Online responded to a recent article by Karl Vick on American efforts to help Iranians who dare to challenge the mullahs. “U.S. Push for Democracy Could Backfire Inside Iran.”
  • Amir Taheri, Gulf News suggested ways to nip Iran's designs.
  • Amir Taheri, The Jerusalem Post argued that in any list of countries that might be subjected to Iranian nuclear bullying, if not attack, Israel would not appear in the top slot. An interesting read.
  • Kenneth R. Timmerman, warned the US administration needs to know who its friends are inside of Iran and more importantly, who they are not.
Photos, cartoons and videos.
  • Cox & Forkum published a cartoon a while back that was appropriate for today: Bonfire of the Mullahs.
  • ET, A View from Iran offered some sanctions on Iran that would actually work. Humor.
  • Bob Gorrell published a cartoon: From Russia with love.
  • Photos of Ganji at home.
And finally, The Quote of the Week.
The Hindu reported that the free and defiant Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji said:

"My views have not changed at all. Jail and pressures never forced me to change my views. Today, I'm more determined to say what I said six years ago."