Thursday, April 20, 2006

Friday's Daily Briefing on Iran

DoctorZin reports, 4.21.2006:

Are US Pro-Democracy efforts being undermined by the State Department Officials?
  • Kenneth R. Timmerman, argued that while Congress has budgeted $85 million for pro-democracy efforts in Iran, nearly $50 million has been tentatively ear-marked to expand the Voice of America and the Persian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, both radios need to improve the quality of their broadcasts and, especially, their political content, before they deserve another dime. The rest of the money is being spent on a variety of programs led by former Tehran regime officials, student leaders, and U.S. academics who believe the Tehran regime can be reformed, but does not need to be changed.
Did the Moscow talks produce some results?
  • Euronews reported that senior White House official Nicholas Burns said: "We heard last night, and again today, from individual countries, that all of those who spoke, and it was the great majority, are looking at sanctions."
  • Reuters reported that European diplomats dismissed as unacceptable a suggestion that Iran take a brief "technical pause" from its nuclear enrichment activities in an attempt to revive collapsed negotiations with the EU.
  • The Washington Post reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "All participants in the meeting agreed that urgent and constructive steps are demanded of Iran."
  • MosNews reported that the chief of the Russian general staff said Russia’s military will not intervene on one side or the other, should the current Iran crisis lead to an armed conflict.
  • Reuters reported that Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar called the prospect of the United States using force to halt Iran's nuclear program is empty talk.
Trouble brewing in Iran.
  • The Financial Times reported that with the war of words over Iran’s nuclear programme escalating and the domestic economy stalling, Iranians are scrambling to buy gold coins.
  • Eli Lake, New York Sun reported that Iranian Students are asking the regime to suspend its A-Bomb effort and focus on the more pressing needs of the Iranian people: human rights, international peace and the economy.
  • The Guardian reported that Iran's Islamic authorities are preparing a crackdown on women flouting the stringent dress code in the clearest sign yet of social and political repression under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
  • The Guardian reported that internal political divisions and economic weaknesses may present a bigger threat to the longevity of the Iranian government than an attack on its nuclear facilities.
Iran becomes vice chairman of UN Disarmament Commission?
  • Haaretz reported that Republican Senator Norm Coleman is calling on the United States to withhold funds from the UN Disarmament Commission over Iran's election as vice chairman.
Kofi Annan warns Iran on Lebanon.
  • Dow Jones Newswires reported that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Iran as well as Syria to cooperate in trying to restore Lebanon's political independence and disarm militias.
Here are a few other news items you may have missed.
  • Independent reported that Tony Blair and Jack Straw at odds over US action in Iran.
  • The Claremont Institute asked seven leading thinkers to reflect on our political and military options in eliminating Iran's nuclear capability.
  • A Photo of a defiant Iranian wearing the US flag.