Monday, April 24, 2006

Tuesday's Daily Briefing on Iran

DoctorZin reports, 4.25.2006:

Ahmadinejad's latest Press Conference. Surprise! More threats.
  • Bloomberg reported that Ahmadinejad rejected a United Nations deadline to suspend Iran's nuclear program, threatened to quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty if the UN doesn't recognize Iran's right to nuclear technology.
  • reported that Ahmadinejad said that Israel "cannot survive", adding that migrants to the Jewish state should go back to where they came from.
  • Reuters reported that Ahmadinejad said women should be allowed into sports stadiums for the first time, reversing the Islamic Republic's code preventing them watching men playing sports.
Assassinations of Iranian regime's leaders increasing.
  • SMCCDI reported the assassination of a top Pasdaran Corp. (Islamic Revolutionary Guards) commander in the religious city of Ghom.
  • Iran Focus reported that a young man was hanged in prison charged with killing a local Iranian police commander.
  • SMCCDI reported that the Islamist prosecutor of the City of Shadgan was seriously wounded during an armed attack by an unknown masked commando.
CIA still doesn't know how close Iran is to making the bomb.
  • The Washington Post reported that the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee acknowledged "we really don't know" how close Tehran is to developing a nuclear weapon.
The US seeks to cut off funding for Hezbollah.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that the Bush administration is intensifying efforts to cut off funding to Hezbollah, the Shiite organization the U.S. believes is Iran's principal vehicle for conducting terrorist attacks globally.
US nor Iran have much interest in "talks."
  • Iran Focus reported that Ahmadinejad ruled out direct talks between the Islamic Republic and the United States over Iraq. He said: Right now, we think that with the presence of a permanent government in Iraq there is no longer any need.”
  • The Financial Times reported that Philip Zelikow, counsellor at the US State Department said: "The US position has been that at this time we don't see value in having direct talks with the Iranians about, say, the nuclear issue." He added: "The fallacy in a lot of the arguments about security assurances . . . is the assumption that the agenda of the current government in Iran is fundamentally entirely defensive."
Israeli's increasingly concerned over Iran.
  • The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli Defense Forces, fearing an Iranian missile attack, has raised the level of vigilance of its Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile defense system.
  • Ha'aretz reported that a top secret comprehensive report produced by a military-civilian committee warned that other Muslim countries in the Middle East could follow Iran in equipping themselves with nuclear weapons.
  • The Jerusalem Post reported that something very important is happening that is changing the Middle East dramatically: the decline of the Arab world, the development of a major conflict between Sunni and Shi'ite Arabs, and the rising power of Iran.
  • Telegraph reported that Israel's defence minister, Shaul Mofaz, said: "Of all the threats we face, Iran is the biggest. The world must not wait. ... Since Hitler we have not faced such a threat."
Tehran seeks to stop Iraqi national reconciliation conference in Jordan.
  • Iran Press News reported that Tehran’s regime has been found to be behind plans to create chaos in Jordan in order to block the conference being organized by King Abdullah II of Jordan; the national reconciliation conference will bring Iraqi Sunni and Shiite leaders together in order to primarily discuss Tehran’s incessant meddling in Iraqi affairs.
Why international investment in Iran is drying up.
  • The Washington Post reported that Iran is scrapping a $1.2 bln deal with foreign firms. Conservative parliamentarians had argued that Iranian firms could carry out the project more cheaply. Analysts believe this could trigger a flight of engineering companies from Iran.
Here are a few other news items you may have missed.
  • Natan Sharansky, The Wall Street Journal argues that President Bush is a rare breed of politician, "a dissident president." But has some suggestions on how to succeed in the Middle East.
  • U.S. News reported that the West is seriously considering a "Plan B" for Iran: Sanctions that Bite.
  • Iran Press News reported that workers representative of the Pokdasht townships said: “The problems of 228 workers from Sazmayeh mining company have not been resolved and they are owed 15 months of wages and benefits."
  • Iran Press News reported that Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela in a speech in Caracas last week, said: “I am sure that the Islamic Republic of Iran is not producing nuclear weapons" and added that Iranian Presidents Khatami and Ahmadinejad are his "brothers."
  • Amir Taheri, The New York Post reported on Iraq's new prime minister, Jawad al-Maliki, and believes the West has reason to be encouraged.