Saturday, May 06, 2006

Week in Review

DoctorZin provides a review of this past week's [4/30/06 - 5/06/06] major news events regarding Iran. (The reports are listed in chronological order, not by importance) READ MORE

Iran's Nuclear Program & The UN Security Council.
  • Telegraph reported that Iran is developing an advanced centrifuge that would allow it to accelerate its controversial uranium enrichment program.
  • The Age reported that an Iranian official said Iran has enriched uranium to more than 4 per cent, a level higher than Iran previously acknowledged.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House rejected Iran's offer to allow United Nations inspectors to resume snap inspections of its nuclear facilities, but only if the dispute again went before the U.N. nuclear monitor.
  • The Washington Post reported that Condoleezza Rice said the Iranians "had plenty of time to cooperate. I think they're playing games."
  • ITV reported that former US Secretary of State Colin Powell believes Iran is braced to deal with any sanctions the United Nations and that the Security Council was only likely to be able to agree on a "quite limited" range of such measures.
  • The Jerusalem Post reported that Yevgeny Primakov, former Russian prime minister and foreign minister, said "An air strike on Iran would most certainly bring about very serious consequences... and the Arab regimes might find it very difficult to survive."
  • Rooz Online reported that a former Iranian intelligence minister blamed former president Mohammad Khatami, for not allowing Iran to hide its nuclear activities.
  • ITV reported that Jack Straw said his government will ask the United Nations to increase the pressure on Iran.
  • The NY Times reported that Iran and the United States have begun to reveal new strategies in their nuclear dispute which is increasingly resembles a cold-war deception and brinkmanship.
  • The New York Times reported that President George W. Bush spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin to convince Russia that the U.N. Security Council must take tougher action to curb Iran's nuclear program. No details given.
  • USA Today reported that Iran denounced the United States for contemplating possible nuclear strikes against Iranian targets and urged the United Nations to take urgent action.
  • The Washington Times reported that Iranian agents were accused yesterday of masterminding a bomb attack that killed three Italian soldiers in Iraq last week.
  • The Washington Times reported that Israel has told the Bush administration that Iran is closer to having a nuclear weapon than was previously thought.
  • The New York Times reported that the United States, Britain and France have drafted a binding Security Council resolution requiring Iran to stop key nuclear activities. The Americans and the Europeans want to move swiftly.
  • Reuters reported that Iran's foreign minister claimed that Russia and China had officially informed Tehran they would not support sanctions or military action over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
  • The Financial Times reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will urge US President George W. Bush not to press too quickly for international sanctions against Iran in their meeting.
  • Forbes reported that Iran said it had found uranium ore at three new sites in the center of the country.
  • Reuters reported that the United States, Britain and France prepared on Wednesday to brief the U.N. Security Council on a draft resolution aimed at pressuring Iran.
  • ABC News reported that Britain and France introduced a U.N. Security Council resolution Wednesday demanding that Iran abandon its uranium enrichment program. Detail included.
  • Bloomberg reported that Iranian scientists have increased their enrichment of uranium to a 4.8 percent concentration.
  • reported that Iran is stocking provisions amid a possible UN embargo.
  • The Los Angeles Times reported that as the U.N. Security Council meets this week to discuss how best to stop Iran's march toward nuclear weapons capability, Russia has the potential to serve as a bridge between the West and the Islamic Republic. This is "a moment of truth for Russia."
  • The Financial Times reported that Russia’s stance on Iran’s nuclear program took centre stage on Thursday, as the United States and the European Union sought to win Moscow’s support for a hard-hitting United Nations Security Council. The Russian government fears the US has a hidden agenda: the goal of regime change.
  • reported that Iran now has the know-how to mass-produce centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Enrichment is seen as a "breakout capacity" which, once mastered, makes manufacturing nuclear weapons possible.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that while the U.S. and European governments are working in lock step to get a fresh United Nations Security Council resolution against Iran, what they aren't talking about publicly is where they diverge.
  • Yahoo News reported that French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said military action against Iran over its nuclear program "is not the solution", but he added Iran required a "firm" response by the international community.
  • Guardian reported the removal of UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw from Tony Blair's cabinet. Iran was the key to the demotion of Jack Straw from foreign secretary.
  • Reuters reported that U.S. Ambassador John Bolton challenged Russia and China to come up with legal alternatives to break the impasse on a draft U.N. resolution ordering Iran to suspend its nuclear program, before Monday's meeting of foreign ministers from Germany and the five permanent Security Council members.
  • Al Jezeera reported that the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, responded to remarks from Manouchehr Mottaki, his Iranian counterpart, that Russia and China "had officially told us ... [of] their opposition to sanctions and military attacks" against the Islamic Republic. Lavrov said: "We have made no such announcements."
  • reported that Vice President Dick Cheney said that Iran should follow the example the Central Asian set several years ago in renouncing nuclear weapons.
  • Rooz Online reported that on the eve of the Security Council's decision on Iran, Tehran is changing its tone.
  • YNet News reported that the Iranian president called the prospect that his country would face a Western strike "a joke."
The International Workers Day Demonstrations in Tehran.
  • DoctorZin published an extensive report on thousands of Iranians that joined in the May Day or International Workers Day march to express their anger at the Iranian regime's failure to listen to their needs. Photos of the demonstrators with translations and first hand reports.
  • Iran Press News published an update on the May Day demonstrations. According to reports between 18 to 20,000 people participated in the demonstrations. They chanted: "Incompetent labor minister, resign, resign, strike, our absolute right" or "Imprisoned worker must be freed" or "Let go of the Palestinians and start thinking about us." A must read.
  • Rooz Online reported on the May Day demonstrations, the protesting workers rushed to the area that was reserved for reporters and there chanted their slogans, and called for greater media attention to their problems and criticized them for failing to do so. They reported one police man was heard saying, “What a shame that they have instructed us not to do anything that would make you angry.”
Ahmadinejad's Administration.
  • Iran Press News reported that four of Ahmadinejad’s ministers being dismissed.
  • Yahoo News reported that Iranians will vote November 17th for the powerful Assembly of Experts which is tasked with appointing or ousting the republic's leader.
Ahmadinejad tries to score points with Iranian women.
  • The New York Times reported that despite the objections of senior clerics and conservative members of Parliament, Ahmadinejad has decided to permit women to attend games in Iran's stadiums for the first time in nearly three decades.
  • Rooz Online reported parallels between the battle outside Iran to find a compromise on the country’s nuclear dispute, and the debate inside country about women’s Islamic dress.
Islamic Republic's offers kinder, gentler oppression to its citizens?
  • Rooz Online reported that the commander of Tehran police says his forces have reprimanded 10,000 men and women in greater Tehran streets in the past week for violating the Islamic dress code.
  • Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi published a translation of the instructions the chief of Tehran’s Law Enforcement Forces gave regarding improperly attired women. A must read. Photo.
  • Rooz Online reported that Iranian Security Forces will soon able to identify every Internet user in the country and log their access to Internet sites.
  • Rooz Online reported examples of government economic policies that are creating despair among the Iranian people.
  • Rooz Online reported on a controversy the supreme Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps commander created when he allegedly said the Baseej paramilitary forces should never interfere in the lives of people.
Iran's Dissidents.
  • Iran Press News confirmed a 3-year prison sentence for blogger and ex-editor of Gilan’eh Emrooz.
The Other Unrest inside of Iran.
  • Rooz Online reported on recent demonstrations by Tehrani teachers protesting their grave living conditions and chanting "Better living conditions and dignity are our absolute rights". The regime's mantra that "nuclear power is our absolute right" is backfiring on the regime as it reminds people of other human rights the regime suppresses.
Human Rights and Freedom of the Press in Iran.
  • Rooz Online reported that Iran's hard-line Sepah-e Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps has launched a new project to use intelligent jamming to block specific satellite channels and broadcasts beamed into Iran.
  • Iran Focus reported that dozens of Iranian Sufi's and their lawyers have been sentenced to jail and flogging.
  • The Scotsman reported that a prominent Iranian philosopher, Ramin Jahanbegloo, has been arrested on suspicion of espionage. Ramin also holds Canadian citizenship.
  • Radio Free Europe reported that human rights activists have expressed concern about the "intensifying repression" and the worsening of the situation regarding freedom of expression in Iran since the government of hard-line Ahmadinejad took office in August 2005.
  • Human Rights Watch demanded that immediate release of one of Iran’s most prominent scholars, Ramin Jahanbegloo from Iranian custody.
  • Khaleej Times reported that the European Union on Friday expressed "serious concern" about the human rights situation in Iran. The statement said they were particularly worried about 10 executions carried out at Iran's Evin prison on April 19 and the indictment of human rights defender Abdolfattah Soltani.
  • Rooz Online reported that the news of the arrest and detention of Iranian-Canadian scholar and researcher, Ramin Jahanbeglou, has stirred serious concerns among intellectuals that former intelligence agents are again targeting them.
  • The Toronto Star reported that Iranian-Canadian academic Ramin Jahanbegeloo has been hospitalized for a medical condition, not for any mistreatment. Why was he arrested? Is it because "he is a philosopher of non-violence," who did his Ph.D. thesis on Mahatma Gandhi?
  • Philadelphia Inquirer reported that concern is rising over Baha'is in Iran.
Rumors of War.
  • Yahoo News reported that Israel will be Iran's first target in response to any "evil" act by the United States, a senior commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards said.
  • InsightMag reported that Vice President Dick Cheney has privately warned that the United States might not be ready to attack Iran.
Support for Internal Regime Change in Iran.
  • Human Events published an interview with Reza Pahlavi, son of the late Shah of Iran, who hopes in the next few months to finalize the organization of a movement aimed at overthrowing the Islamic regime in Tehran and replacing it with a democratic government. A very interesting read.
  • Hosein Bagherzadeh, Iran Press Service offered one measure that Iran's pro-democracy forces would welcome is for the international community to open the file on human rights record of the Islamic Republic and start proceedings, in an international criminal court, against those responsible for crimes against humanity.
  • U.S. Department of State released a statement of support for the Iranian people in a statement - The Iranian Regime: A Challenge to the World.
  • Iranian Solidarity Council issued a statement saying they "categorically and unequivocally condemns any military action" against Iran, but that their goal is the complete removal of the current regime.
  • David Horovitz, The Jerusalem Post published an excellent report on what Iranian opposition groups are seeking to bring down the ayatollahs of Iran.
Iran's Military.
  • Iran Focus reported that Iran’s Supreme Leader appointed Brigadier General Morteza Rezai, a senior military intelligence official, as the deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp.
  • Iran Focus reported that Iran said that the Gulf region was no longer safe for the "enemy."
  • MEMRI published videos and translations of an interview with Iranian Army Chief of Joint Staff General Abdorrahim Musavi who said: "We make our submarines ourselves ... that will serve us in battle with the enemy... with America. ... America's military power is greatly overestimated."
  • Bloomberg reported that Iran may be planning to respond to a strike against Iran's nuclear program with an effort to choke off oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran takes first step to it's "Oil Bourse:" The "financial equivalent of a nuclear strike?"
  • Business Week reported that Iran is establishing an oil market denominated in euros, a plan analysts described as highly unlikely to materialize but which in theory could have serious consequences for the U.S. economy.
Iran's economy in serious trouble.
  • The New York Times reported that Ahmadinejad's plans to move Iran's increasing oil wealth among its citizens may be doing more to irritate political and economic tensions than to soothe them.
  • Economic Times reported that Pakistan and Iran plan to leave India in the cold and their sign oil deal on their own.
Iran's Troublemaking world wide.
  • Iran Press News reported that the worldwide suicide-bomber internet registration website is now operational again, after having been banned off of U.S. servers.
Iran's Troublemaking in Iraq.
  • The Jerusalem Post reported that the Iraqi government said that Iranian artillery fired more than 180 shells into northern Iraq, targeting Kurdish rebel bases.
  • Telegraph reported that a multi-charged roadside bomb, developed by Hizbollah in Lebanon, is being used against British and American soldiers by Iraqi insurgents linked to Iran.
  • Eli Lake, The NY Sun reported that Iraq's Defense Ministry issued a stern warning to Iran to end security sweeps and mortar attacks in Iraq.
  • The Financial Times reported that Iraqi Kurdish officials reported Iranian artillery were again shelling of positions held by fighters of the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) inside Iraq.
  • The Scotsman reported that a Kurdish rebel commander threatened to launch a a guerrilla war if Turkey or Iran attacked guerrilla bases inside Iraq.
  • BBC News reported that Iraq has expressed concern about troop build-ups by both Iranian and Turkish forces along their borders with Iraq and a number of cross-border bombardments by Iranian troops along Iraq's north-east border.
Iran vs. Israel.
  • YNet reported that Israel’s Earth Remote Observation Satellite, Eros B, started sending high-quality snapshots to its earth station, with a focus on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
US/Iran talks?
  • Mehran Riazaty reported that Iran’s National Security Council Secretary, Ali Larijani said there is no need to negotiate with Great Satan, adding that Iran never asked to talk with the U.S. on Iraq.
  • Kenneth R. Timmerman, argued that Senator Lugar is falling for one of the oldest tricks in the Ayatollah’s book by calling for direct talks with Iran.
  • reported that the White House again rejected the idea of one-on-one talks with Iran saying: "This is not a bilateral issue between the regime and the United States, this is an issue between the regime and the international community."
Arabs send a message to Ahmadinejad: cool it.
  • reported that Arab diplomats said the emir of Qatar, on a visit to Iran, carried a private message: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad needed to cool his rhetoric and cooperate with the international community. It didn't go well.
  • Reuters reported that Gulf Arab countries have a number of public and private concerns about the nuclear program in Iran.
  • Al Jazeera reported that Gulf Arab leaders have called on Iran to do more to show it was not trying to obtain an atom bomb, thereby saving the region from another war.
Iran and the International community.
  • Miscelaneas de Cuba reported that Cuba continues to cement a long-standing alliance with Iran and policymakers in Washington and the European Union alike should be concerned.
  • The Times reported that the thorniest dilemma facing Germany as it prepares to host the World Cup is what to do about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s hardline President, if he insists on coming to watch his team play next month.
  • Caroline Glick, The Jerusalem Post reported that Ahmadinejad made a friendly gesture to Germany, part of a general charm offensive on his part towards Germany.
  • Iran Focus reported that a prominent Arab daily accused Iran of trying to establish a “strategic position” in the Gulf region by dominating Iraq.
Must Read reports.
  • Joshua Muravchik, Bitter Lemons International an AEI scholar argued that the confrontation between Iran and the United States over Iran's nuclear program is likely to end in US air strikes against Tehran's nuclear facilities.
  • Joshua Muravchik, mapped out the various foreign policy schools of thought inside the United States, and offers a historical description of the various schools of thought.
  • Nile Gardiner and Joseph Loconte, see parallels between Germany in 1938 and Iran of 2006.
  • The Washington Times reminded us that every US administration has been burnt in negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • BBC News visited "Tehrangeles" where around half of estimated 1.65 million Iranian diaspora live in the US.
  • The New York Times sees parallels between Iran's radical's use of the 1979 taking of the US Embassy in Tehran and its current effort to create a new crisis with the US over its nuclear program.
  • David Horovitz, The Jerusalem Post published an excellent report on what Iranian opposition groups are seeking to bring down the ayatollahs of Iran.
  • reported that a Saudi Cleric claims: 'America is Now Disappearing From the Hearts [of the Middle East] ... Whereas Islam is Growing Even Within America.' A response.
The Experts.
  • Patrick Clawson, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy argued that the West has more options with Iran than just the extremes, attack or appease.
  • Dennis Ross, The Washington Post wants the US to join the EU talks with Iran.
  • Kenneth R. Timmerman, argued that Senator Lugar is falling for one of the oldest tricks in the Ayatollah’s book by calling for direct talks with Iran.
  • Victor Davis Hanson, RealClearPolitics argued that the current Western strategy on Iran is designed to give Iran enough rope to hang itself.
  • Amir Taheri, Asharq Alawsat pondered whether we should take Iran's recent interest in direct talks with the US seriously.
Photos, cartoons and videos.
  • Cox & Forkum published a cartoon: Dicey.
  • BBC World Service released an audio interview with Reza Pahlavi.
  • MEMRI published videos and translations of an interview with Iranian Army Chief of Joint Staff General Abdorrahim Musavi who said: "We make our submarines ourselves ... that will serve us in battle with the enemy... with America. ... America's military power is greatly overestimated."
  • reported that a Saudi Cleric claims: 'America is Now Disappearing From the Hearts [of the Middle East] ... Whereas Islam is Growing Even Within America.' A response.
The Quote of the Week.
MEMRI published videos and translations of an interview with Iranian Army Chief of Joint Staff General Abdorrahim Musavi who said:

"We make our submarines ourselves ... that will serve us in battle with the enemy... with America. ... America's military power is greatly overestimated."