Saturday, May 13, 2006

Week in Review

DoctorZin provides a review of this past week's [5/07/06 - 5/13/06] 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.
  • IranMania reported that German
  • Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the ongoing row over Iran's nuclear program have reached a "decisive phase."
  • Yahoo News reported that the Iranian parliament threatened to force the government to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty if the West continues pressuring Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment.
  • Yahoo News reported that President Bush said the world community should take Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threats concerning both its nuclear program and Israel "very seriously."
  • reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry released a terse statement that Sergey Lavrov’s phone conversation with Condoleezza Rice “focused, among other issues, on the search for a diplomatic solution of the Iranian nuclear problem.”
  • The Financial Times reported that the US is attempting to persuade European governments, banks and companies to isolate the Iranian government by engaging in de facto financial sanctions.
  • The Independent reported that Russia will seek the removal of the core of a UK-sponsored draft United Nations resolution on Iran because it fears that it could pave the way to unilateral military action to curb the Iranian nuclear program.
  • Reuters reported that UK Prime Minister Tony Blair ruled out an invasion of Iran and said any suggestion of a nuclear strike on the country was "absolutely absurd".
  • The Financial Times reported that Margaret Beckett, the new UK foreign secretary flew to New York Monday for United Nations talks on Iran.
  • The New York Sun reported that ambassador John Bolton, responding to the difficulty the UNSC is having in drafting a new resolution on Iran, said: "We're not going to drop it," he said, adding that if Russia and China fail to agree, a vote might be forced before the end of the week.
  • The New York Times reported that the foreign ministers of major powers failed to come up with a joint strategy for dealing with Iran. A senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: ``I think the prospects for an agreement this week are not substantially good.'' ``Clearly we had a ways to go.''
  • Reuters reported that Western nations on the UNSC had planned to offer the package after the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution demanding that Iran halt nuclear activities. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said if Iran cooperated it could be rewarded with an "ambitious package -- in the domain of civilian nuclear energy, in the domain of trade, in the domain of technology and -- why not-- in the security domain."
  • reported that Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said that Tehran had no intention of withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. He added: "The additional protocol is one thing and the NPT is another."
  • Rooz Online reported that while the UNSC has not reached a consensus on the next step on Iran, they said the Chinese foreign minister said that it would not veto a UN Security Resolution, while his Russian counterpart told Iran’s foreign minister Manoutchehr Mottaki, We have not promised to veto sanctions against Iran.”
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. and its allies will slow their push for U.N. Security Council action against Iran and develop a new list of incentives and punishments. They said it may be the only way to get Russia and China to agree to impose sanctions should Iran continue to defy the council.
  • reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a veiled warning to the United States not to take any military action against Iran.
  • Rooz Online reported that Ali Larijani who is the responsible official for the nuclear talks and issue in Iran said the government sees the Russian proposal (to take up the responsibility of enriching uranium on behalf of Iran on their soil) as a possible solution to the problem. He also made it clear that even if that proposal went ahead, Iran would not stop its own enrichment activities.
  • Peoples Daily Online reported that the head of the Russian Atomic Energy Agency Sergei Kiriyenko said there is no need to hold talks with Iran on a joint venture to enrich uranium.
  • ABC News reported that Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said he was pleased the U.N. Security Council was holding off from sanctions against Iran and added: "We need compromises from both sides."
  • The Financial Times reported that Iran warned that proposals being prepared by European governments to resolve the nuclear dispute must allow Tehran to continue uranium enrichment for “research and development“.
  • Reuters reported that U.N. inspectors have discovered new traces of highly-enriched uranium on nuclear equipment in Iran.
  • Reuters reported that Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns warned Iran and other key players that "we can't be captive to endless discussions in the (U.N.) Security Council."
  • IranMania reported that French President Jacques Chirac said Europe should seek the imposition of UN Security Council decisions on Iran over Tehran's refusal to give up its controversial nuclear program.
  • Times of India reported that Iran for the first time criticized Russia for the delay in completing their joint nuclear power plant.
  • MosNews then reported that Tehran and Moscow have finalized legal and technical preparations for Russian production and delivery of nuclear fuel to the Bushehr power plant.
  • The Financial Times reported that another key objective of the Iranian president in the nuclear crisis is to widen his appeal in the Muslim world.
  • The Times Online reported that inspectors from the IAEA are asking Iranian officials for samples of machinery taken from a nuclear site bulldozed in 2004 to confirm whether it bears traces of bomb-grade uranium. The report added: a retired Pakistani army general revealed evidence of the mullahs’ long-held desire to procure a nuclear bomb.
  • Reuters reported that the European Union will insist on Monday that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment despite Tehran's demand that some be allowed for research goals.
  • reported that Iran's foreign minister told European states not to repeat the mistake of forcing an end to talks on Tehran's nuclear program by demanding it stop uranium enrichment.
  • The Washington Post reported that Iran's president said he was willing to hold talks over his country's disputed nuclear program but not with countries that hold "bombs over our head."
  • The Telegraph reported that US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, traded barbs during bad-tempered talks at a foreign ministers' summit in New York. The row reflects deepening rifts between the United States and Russia. An amazing read.
Iran's President sends a letter to Bush... about Islam not nukes.
  • reported that Iran's leader had written to President Bush proposing "new solutions" to their differences in the first letter from an Iranian head of state to an American president in 27 years.
  • Reuters reported that U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte said a letter Iran sent to President George W. Bush over its nuclear ambitions may have been timed to influence a UN Security Council debate on Iran.
  • DEBKAfile claimed that Iranian sources revealed the contents of - not one but two - letters Iran’s Ahmadinejad has sent to President Bush. The letter takes a high moral tone and emphasizes the importance of Islam to mankind and the world and does not offer concessions.
  • Voice of America reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has dismissed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's surprise letter to President Bush, saying the letter does not address any issues of U.S. concern. She said the letter is about 18 pages long and talks about history, philosophy, and religion.
  • The CFR posted the full text of Iranian President Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush.
  • Mehran Riazaty cited Iranian press reports comparing Ahmadinejad’s letter to Bush to the Prophet Mohammad's letters to a number of neighboring monarchs and rulers inviting them to Islam.
  • Reuters reported that President George W. Bush said that a letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this week did not answer the key question of when Tehran would abandon its nuclear program.
  • Amir Taheri, The New York Post examined the ancient and recent history behind the letter Ahmadinejad wrote to President Bush and warned the letter contains a crucial message: The present regime in Iran is the enemy of the current international system and is determined to undermine and, if possible, destroy it.
  • WorldNetDaily reported that some Middle East observers believe Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush could be a precursor to war, based on a traditional Muslim pattern of offering acceptance of Islam before establishing it by force.
  • The New York Sun reported that President Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush is in fact a declaration of war. The key sentence in the letter is the closing salutation. It is left untranslated and rendered as "Vasalam Ala Man Ataba'al hoda." What this means is "Peace only unto those who follow the true path." It is a phrase with historical significance in Islam.
  • Rooz Online reported that just four days after Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to the US, groups ranging the Iranian political spectrum have come out in criticism of the president’s initiative.
  • Mehran Riazaty, an Iran Analyst, reported that the Iranian press is reporting that Ahmadinejad’s letter to Bush is sign of return of Imam Mahdi.
  • The New York Times provided striking parallels between Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's letter to Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
Iranians students clashing with regime over democracy.
  • Iran Press News reported that a seminar on democracy and daily life that was organized by the association of social sciences faculty of school of Social Sciences of Tehran University has been cancelled under pressure and threats from the ministry of intelligence and security.
  • Iran Press News reported that subsequent to the cancellation of the permit for the Democracy and Daily life seminar university students gathered for a peaceful protest.
  • Iran Press News reported that students from the faculty of social sciences while gathering at the main entrance of Tehran University called for other students from the other schools of Tehran University campus to join them. The disciplinary guards who had mobilized on the university grounds assaulted and severely beat students.
  • Radio Free Europe reported that some 400 students protested in front of a Tehran university on May 2 to protest the expulsion of a student by the country's Education Ministry for "general and ideological competence."
The International Workers Day Demonstrations in Tehran. An update.
  • Iran Press News reported that nine of the leading Iranian women activists who attended the International Women's Day gathering in Tehran said they had officially filed a complaint with the public prosecutor's office.
Ahmadinejad's latest.
  • Rooz Online reported that Ahmadinejad had instructed the governor of the Central Bank to transfer the country’s foreign exchange deposits into the personal accounts of selected trusted individuals because the private accounts would be immune from the problems the state has with foreign governments. Sheibani has not implemented the presidential instructions.
Iranian unity weakening?
  • Radio Free Europe reported that former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami warned against what he called "organized radicalism" in Iran.
  • The Washington Post reported the divide inside of Iran between the apocalyptic vision of Ahmadinejad's own spiritual adviser, Ayatollah Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi who recently suggested that future elections were superfluous because a true Islamic government had arisen and those that long for real change inside of Iran.
Ahmadinejad tries to score points with Iranian women.
  • Yahoo News reported that Iran's supreme leader has vetoed an order by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to end a 26-year-old ban on allowing women in stadiums for major sporting events.
Iran's Dissidents.
  • Rooz Online reported that Iranian intellectual Jahanbegloo is being kept at ward 209 of Evin and according to press accounts he has already provided tens of pages of confessions. Human Rights Watch said it is likely that he has been subjected to torture and forced to provide fake confessions.
Unrest inside of Iran.
  • reported an explosion injured several people Monday in the governor's office in Kermanshah, a city with a large Kurdish population in southwestern Iran.
  • SMCCDI reported that a senior Islamist militia commander was killed, on Saturday, by 'unknown assailants.'
  • Rooz Online published a telephone conversation with Abdol-Malek Rigi, the commander of the armed group Jondollah which has killed Iranian military personnel and even officials or taken them hostage.
  • Iran Press News reported that revolutionary guard Hassan Mohammadpour, deputy commander of the disciplinary forces from the town of Gorgan, Iran was shot and killed.
  • Iran Press News reported that the Iranian workers of Gilan clothing industries gathered in front of the Gilan department of industries to protest 10 months of non-receipt of their wages.
  • Iran Press News reported that one hundred employed workers from the Iranian Tide Water and Kaveh companies at the Anzali shipping protested in front of the governor's office of the province of Gilan were arrested and sent to prison.
Human Rights and Freedom of the Press in Iran.
  • Scotsman reported that since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power last June, life for Iran's 25,000 Jews has become even more precarious.
  • Iran Press News reported the arrest of more political activists in Azerbaijan.
  • Rooz Online reported that the representative of the world Bahai's at the United Nations will file a complaint to the UN over an Iranian government letter instructing that all government agencies in Iran collect the names of all Baha'is in Iran and control their activities.
  • Iran Press News reported that a university student was suspended for drawing a cartoon of Ahmadinejad.
  • Nicole Sadighi asked for urgent action on behalf of Valiyollah-Fiez Mahdavi who is in imminent danger of execution. Plus the transcribed text of his last message.
  • Radio Free Europe reported that Iranian journalists are complaining over the Iranian government's increased pressure and tighter media restrictions. A growing number of journalists have been jailed and their publications have been suspended.
Rumors of War.
  • The Guardian argued that Jack Straw's fate was sealed when the White House called Mr Blair and asked why the foreign secretary kept saying a military option against Iran was inconceivable.
  • The Raw Story believes that the US may be preparing for a military strike on Iran, as military assets in key positions are approaching readiness. They think so.
Support for Internal Regime Change in Iran.
  • Eli Lake, The New York Sun reported on the recent escape of Amir Abbas Fakhravar and his relationship with Richard Perle and their appeal to the world to support the cause of Iranian freedom.
  • The Telegraph reported that the world should not underestimate the weakness of Iran's theocracy since the Iranian people are prepared to put up with economic sanctions, including an oil embargo, and even military strikes, if they led to its overthrow.
  • Helle Dale, Heritage Foundation reported that now is the time to engage the Iranian people, one of the most pro-American in the Middle East. This is one area where U.S. public diplomacy may have promising contributions to make.
Iran's economy in serious trouble.
  • Ken Timmerman, reported that in a sign that the population lacked confidence in the future of the regime, Iranians are converting bank deposits into Gold coins.
  • SeattlePI reported that Iran is increasingly finding itself in economic limbo as the international community debates how to respond to Tehran's refusal to stop enriching uranium.
Iran's Troublemaking in Iraq.
  • The Times reported that Iran is exploiting the struggle for power among Iraq's Shia militias.
  • InsideBayArea reported that the United States has built or renovated nearly 260 forts along Iraq's borders and border patrols recently captured several suspected Iranian intelligence agents and found supplies being smuggled into Iraq for making the insurgents deadliest weapon: roadside bombs.
  • Telegraph reported that the British Army now believes that the Lynx helicopter shot down over central Basra at the weekend was most probably hit by a surface-to-air missile, obtained possibly from neighboring Iran.
  • World Peace Herald reported that a "staggeringly high" proportion of foreign jihadis arrested in Iraq are Iranian. They noted that 1,577 of the 1,972 jihadis arrested since last May were Iranians.
  • Zaman reported that in response to the Iranian military attack inside of Iraq against Kurdish forces, the US Army in Iraq is claimed to have increased the military build up of US troops on the Iranian border.
  • Iran Focus reported that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had provided the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq heavy weapons including the Strela-type SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles after al-Zarqawi traveled to Iran and met with Iranian officials.
Iran vs. Israel.
  • The Daily Star reported that while the Iranian regime and Hamas are currently upgrading their alliance, the alliance with Iran will cost Hamas the support of other Sunni nations.
  • The Jerusalem Post reported that Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Monday in an interview said "the president of Iran should remember that Iran can also be wiped off the map."
  • The Daily Times reported that an unnamed Israeli official said: Israel will strike Iran’s nuclear facilities in the next “month or two or three.”
  • The Jerusalem Post reported that Brig.-Gen Yosef Kuperwasser, head of the IDF Military Intelligence's research division said: "Iran is interested not only in turning into a superpower, but also in changing the world order."
  • Khaleej Times Online reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that Israel “one day will vanish.” But he has also said the same thing about the US. Photo.
  • The Jerusalem Post reportedthat Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres said that if Teheran was to achieve nuclear capabilities, it would make its way to terrorist organizations.
US/Iran talks?
  • Bloomberg reported that Iran rejected a call by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the U.S. to hold direct talks with the Islamic Republic about its nuclear program.
  • Yahoo News reported that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called for direct talks with Iran saying: "The last thing we need is to invade another country."
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that while the Bush Administration has been under mounting pressure to engage in face-to-face talks with the Iranians the WSJ has deep doubts about this course because every previous U.S. attempt at engagement was spurned and taken as a sign of weakness.
  • FOX News reported that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the United States to join with Europe to resume talks with Iran and to "lower the rhetoric."
  • Peoples Daily Online reported that the United States rejected UN chief Kofi Annan's call for direct talks over nuclear issues with Iran.
  • The Boston Herald, in an editorial, argued that the White House was correct to give that kooky letter from Iran’s president the brush-off and despite recent calls for "direct talks" with Iran; “Engaging” just will just encourage them to think they have the United States on the run.
Iran and the International community.
  • Reuters reported that a group of Iranian and German businesspeople have been arrested on suspicion of helping Iran try to get technology useable in war drones and Czech fighter planes.
  • The Jerusalem Post reported that Iran has appointed an ambassador to Iraq for the first time in more than 20 years.
  • Iran Press News reported that the French oil company Total, which gained extensive profits in Iran, is under investigation for allegedly bribing the Rafsanjani family over the years in order to land the best possible contracts.
  • Yahoo News reported that Pakistan's former army chief says Iranian officials came to him for advice on heading off an attack on their nuclear facilities, and he in effect advised them to take a hostage — Israel. He also claimed: Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto once told him the Iranians offered more than $4 billion for the technology.
  • The Wall Street Journal examined why is Indonesia's moderate president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, so keen to cuddle with Iran's radical cleric, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
Iranian regime concerned over dismissal of Jack Straw.
  • Iran Press News reported that the Iranian regime is concerned over the dismissal of Jack Straw as the UK foreign minister.
  • Rooz Online reported that a leading Iranian MP claimed that those in the US and Britain who opposed attacking Iran were being removed from office.
  • The Guardian argued that Jack Straw's fate was sealed when the White House called Mr Blair and asked why the foreign secretary kept saying a military option against Iran was inconceivable.
The US Congress.
  • IranMania reported that top opposition senators urged President George W Bush to put Iran-Russia ties, including an arms sale, on the agenda at the Group of Eight summit in St Petersburg in July.
Must Read reports.
  • Congressman Jim Saxton, The Washington Times argued that given Iran's huge oil and gas resources, Iran has no need for its much more costly nuclear program. However, support for terrorism and economic mismanagement have damaged oil and gas development in Iran.
  • Charles Krauthammer, The Chicago Tribune wrote that for the first time in 1,871 years there are once again more Jews living in Israel than anywhere in the world and given that Iran is seeking the nuclear bomb it makes Israel is a tempting target for those who would finish Hitler's work.
  • The New York Times reported that Iranian exiles in 'Tehrangeles' are split on how the U.S. should sway Iran.
  • FOX News released the finds from a new poll in which 85 percent of Americans say they do not trust Iran to tell the truth about their nuclear technology program.
  • Amil Imani, The Persian Mirror said Noble Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, instead of becoming the voice of the voiceless and using her Noble status to speak about the atrocities of the Islamic Republic has used her platform to speak against the war on terror, and to criticize the United States.
  • Leon Aron, Yevgeny Bai, American Enterprise Institute in an interview said the G8 Summit could be canceled if the West forms a united front on Iran, while Russia refuses to cooperate. He added: Moscow is praying the conflict doesn't get out of control before the summit.
  • Iran Press News reported that a German newspaper revealed that Tehran's regime had dispatched 12 terrorists to Denmark sent to expressly kill a Danish cartoonist responsible for the Mohammad cartoon.
  • ET, A View from Iran published a few useful tips and tricks for negotiating with Iranians. A must read for our policy makers.
  • Caroline Glick, The Jerusalem Post finds it worrisome that the day after Ahmadinejad wrote his war letter to Bush, Rice was meeting with her associates figuring out a way to give the Hamas-led Palestinians millions of dollars of US taxpayers' money, in spite of the fact that Hamas has agreed act as Teheran's client.
The Experts.
  • Amir Taheri, Asharq Alawsat published a book review of: IRAN TODAY.
  • Amir Taheri, The Wall Street Journal examined the various "engagement" strategies used by past Presidents and what we can learn from them in dealing with Iran.
  • Amir Taheri, The New York Post reported on the recent nervous statements by Arab Gulf leaders over Iran.
  • Amir Taheri, The New York Post examined the ancient and recent history behind the letter Ahmadinejad wrote to President Bush and warned the letter contains a crucial message: The present regime in Iran is the enemy of the current international system and is determined to undermine and, if possible, destroy it.
  • Amir Taheri, Asharq Alawsat argued why the world should take Ahmadinejad seriously. Ahmadinejad is convinced that the Western and Khomeinist models of the world are heading for a “final showdown and that his model will emerge as the winner.
  • Amir Taheri, Arab News suggests that the critical question that needs to be considered by our policy makers is what is the starting point for diplomacy with Iran's leaders? It isn't more carrots.
  • Kenneth R. Timmerman, News Max reported that a French court provided fascinating insight into the extraordinary intelligence war under way.
  • SMCCDI reported that approximately 12 Millions dollars were spent, by the Islamic regime's intelligence, in order to show an Indonesian support for Ahmadinejad.
Photos, cartoons and videos.
The Quote of the Week.
Khaleej Times Online reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said of Israel:

This regime one day will vanish.”