Saturday, June 24, 2006

Week in Review

DoctorZin provides a review of this past week's [6/18/06 - 6/24/06] 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.
  • Yahoo News reported that Iran accused the United States on Sunday of steering Europe away from a possible compromise on Tehran's disputed nuclear program.
  • The New York Times reported that the success or failure of the international initiative to curb Iran's nuclear program hinges largely on an ostensibly clear-cut request: before talks can begin, Tehran must freeze all activities related to the enrichment of uranium. But the debate on what the freeze requires is centered on finding a definition that the Iranians and the six countries behind the initiative can accept.
  • The Telegraph reported that the American spy who persuaded Libya to renounce its weapons of mass destruction is to return to the Central Intelligence Agency, where he will direct an aggressive drive to recruit informants inside Iran.
  • The Washington Post reported on President Bush's most recent warning to Iran to accept the Perm-5 nuclear proposal just prior to his trip to the European Union for consultations this week.
  • Reuters reported that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held talks on Monday with three former Israeli premiers about Iran's nuclear program, signaling a drive for consensus on an issue.
  • MosNews reported that U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone and agreed to close ranks on Iran.
  • Bloomberg reported that President George W. Bush will seek to maintain western unity in the confrontation with Iran during a summit with European Union leaders Wednesday in Vienna.
  • The Guardian reported that the EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, has made an unexpected private offer of last-minute talks to persuade the Iranian government to accept the west's nuclear package.
  • Amir Taheri, Gulf News argued that talking about talks [this time with Iran] is an old tactic used whenever adversaries run out of ideas about their next move.
  • Yahoo News reported that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country will respond in mid-August to the package of incentives on its nuclear program offered by the West.
  • reported that President Bush accused Iran of dragging its feet saying that the mid-August timetable "seems like an awfully long time" to wait for an answer.
  • Monsters & Critics reported that US President George W Bush and European Union leaders Wednesday sent a message of deepening transatlantic cooperation including a joint call for Iran to take a 'positive path' by suspending uranium enrichment.
  • Spiegel Online reported that in an interview, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said he sees improvement in the nuclear row with Iran.
  • CNN News reported that the foreign ministers of Germany and Iran will meet in Berlin on Saturday, weeks before the expiry of a deadline for Iran to respond to an offer of incentives if it suspends nuclear enrichment.
  • Rooz Online reported that the famed Iranian imprisoned journalist Akbar Ganji declared in Paris said, “There is absolutely no consensus on the nuclear issue in Iran and everything that is attributed to benationalin this regard is merely ideological propaganda.”
  • The Guardian reported that Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said: "The nuclear issue is just a pretext. If it was not the nuclear matter, they would have come up with something else."
  • Dow Jones Newswires reported that European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he would likely meet with Iran's nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani next week.
  • People's Daily Online reported that China urged Iran to make early response to the EU's package proposal to resolve the nuclear issue.
  • The Financial Times reported that Japan has told the US it is ready to freeze bank accounts held by Iran and its leadership in support of an America-led coalition preparing sanctions on Iran.
  • Yahoo News reported, once again, that Iran is not considering a halt to its nuclear fuel program even after any negotiations with major powers.
  • Reuters reported that India said a landmark nuclear deal with the United States should be based on the original commitments made by the two sides, sidestepping new moves to link the pact to its stand on Iran's atomic program.
  • Rooz Online published several statements by Iranian leaders that Iran is attempting to buy time in not having responded to the Perm-5 nuclear proposal.
  • The New York Times reported that late last year the White House told American intelligence agencies to evaluate the danger that the North Koreans might be tempted to sell their nuclear expertise — or a bomb's worth of plutonium — to the Iranians.
  • Independent Online reported that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier reminded Iran that it must halt nuclear enrichment if it wanted to begin negotiations with six world powers.
  • Peoples Daily Online reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will pay a visit to Iran to facilitate the peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear issue.
Tehran's bloody Prosecutor lectures the West on human rights to the UN's Human Rights body.
  • SMCCDI reported that Tehran's infamous Prosecutor General "Saeed Mortazavi" is currently the guest of the newly formed UN Human Rights body in Switzerland.
  • IRIB News reported that Tehran Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi said that Iran is concerned over the violations of human rights in the West.
  • reported that the Iranian prosecutor implicated in the death of Montreal photojournalist Zahra Kazemi is part of a delegation at a new UN human rights body. Human rights organizations immediately condemned his presence. A must read.
  • produced a petition to protest the legitimization of Islamic Regime by the United Nations new human rights commission.
  • Eli Lake, The New York Sun reported that Iran's delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Council faces being isolated by the envoys of free nations this week after it emerged that its leader, Saeed Mortazavi, is one of Iran's most notorious censors and prosecutors of dissidents.
  • CTVNews reported that Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper demanded Saeed Mortazavi be arrested before he leaves Germany, after Iran sent the infamous Mortazavi to the new UN Human rights Council.
  • Dow Jones Newswires reported that the State Department said Iran showed a lack of concern for basic human rights by appointing a known rights violator to its delegation at a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council.
  • OpenDemocracy reported that Iran also sent another infamous human rights abuser to the UN Human Rights Council: justice minister Jamal Karimirad.
Iran at the World Cup: Cheers, Tears and Protests.
  • BBC News reported that a far-right rally planned to coincide with Wednesday's Iran-Angola World Cup match in Leipzig is not going ahead, at least not legally.
  • Reuters reported that Iran's governmental Physical Education Organization sacked the head of the football federation after Iran's World Cup campaign ended once again at the first round, saying they apologized "to the Iranian nation for its wounded pride."
  • Monsters & Critics reported that while the Iranian national football team returned to Tehran in the early hours of Saturday, the 'scapegoats' for the Iranian defeat preferred to stay abroad.
Iran's leaders latest statements.
  • Rooz Online reported that the intelligence minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran claimed the recent unrest in Iran was directed from outside the country and announced that they are pursuing this aggressive goal through a gradual overthrow” of the regime.
  • MEMRI published excerpts from an interview with Iranian Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezai who said: "America is like a paper tiger." A video.
Iranian Dissidents.
  • Rooz Online reported that Akbar Ganji, the imprisoned Iranian journalist who was released last month and who is currently on a European trip said that there is absolutely no possibility to reform the Iranian system under its legal structure. "I agree with civil disobedience. This is a method that is used all over the world. But in Iran civil disobedience bears a very high price. We need the spiritual support of Europe and the world."
  • Rooz Online reported that after the arrest of two student activists from Amir Kabir University which has led to student protests and sit-ins, intelligence agencies of Iran are planning harsher treatment of students.
  • Rooz Online reported that with the increase in pressure on the regime's critics and the growing detentions in recent months, many fear the return of the old television confessions.
  • Radio Free Europe reported that leading Iranian women's rights activists have been charged with acting "against national security" by calling for an "illegal" gathering to promote equal rights and publishing related statements.
  • Rooz Online reported that the famed Iranian imprisoned journalist Akbar Ganji declared in Paris said,There is absolutely no consensus on the nuclear issue in Iran and everything that is attributed to benationalin this regard is merely ideological propaganda.”
Iranian leaderships unity weakening?
  • Radio Free Europe reported that with the recent purge of Iran's diplomatic corps, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard spokesman said should the new ambassadors and the Foreign Ministry stumble, the IRGC is ready to fill the vacuum.
  • Abbas Milani, The Washington Post reported that despite Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei insistence that there are no fissures in the Iranian regime, something is clearly rotten in the state of Iran. They discuss the four main factions struggling for control in the Islamic republic.
  • The Guardian reported that Rafsanjani is preparing a quixotic final bid for political power - with backing from some surprising quarters. If he succeeds he will be in prime position to become Iran's next Supreme Leader. But some factions consider Rafsanjani a traitor to the Iranian revolution.
More troublemaking by the Iranian regime.
  • Middle East Newsline reported that the Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar said.
  • DEBKAfile reported that Iran has offered to deploy Revolutionary Guards on the Golan border with Israel by the end of summer.
Human Rights and Freedom of the Press in Iran.
  • BBC News reported that forty professors and lecturers from Tehran University in Iran are being retired on Thursday. The move is causing concern that the new government of President Ahmadinejad is purging professors.
  • CNET News reported that internet web surfers frustrated by government censorship in search engines are increasingly turning to a little-known Internet browser with a big following, Maxthon.
  • Reuters reported that Human Rights Watch said that Iran's judiciary should rescind the death sentences of at least 10 Iranians of Arab origin convicted of plotting against the state, and retry them before courts that meet international fair trial standards.
Iran's Oil Weapon.
  • Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States said world oil prices could triple if the diplomatic standoff over Iran's nuclear program escalates into a military conflict.
The Iranian Economy.
  • Mos News reported that Ahmadinejad offered Russia greater cooperation in the exploration and extraction of liquefied gas, promising to “cooperate closely” in determining the price of gas.
  • Rooz Online reported that the Iranian government’s plans to begin gasoline rationing in less than two months is expected to add fuel to the rising costs.
  • Forbes reported that a senior oil official said Iran will not sell gas at knock-down rates to India and Pakistan, amid a pricing dispute in talks over a planned pipeline.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that many people in Iran fear that Mr. Ahmadinejad could be stoking runaway inflation. Moreover, he has created soaring expectations, particularly among Iran's agricultural and working poor, that could be hard to meet.
Support for Internal Regime Change in Iran?
  • Rooz Online reported on the frustration of Iranian dissidents that the Western media has not done more to report on the recent pro-democracy and women's rights demonstrations in Tehran, saying it has received less coverage and importance than president Ahmadinejad’s decision last month allowing women to participate in public sporting events at stadiums.
  • Eli Lake, The New York Sun reported that one of Mr. Bush's staunchest intellectual supporters (former Soviet dissident) Natan Sharansky, said: "We need to understand the [Iranian] opposition are our real allies and not repeat the mistakes of the Clinton administration."
  • Voice of America reported that Iranians in 'Tehrangeles.' are making sure their opinions about the future of Iran are heard loud and clear.
  • Inter Press Service reported that in a little-noticed section of the administration's official national security strategy indicates that Bush has already decided that he will not use military force to try to prevent Iran from going nuclear but will seek an internal regime change.
  • The Washington Times reported that while for decades, Iranian opposition groups overseas have agreed on almost nothing, they are now uniting.
  • Voice of America reported that in a recent speech, President George W. Bush called on the Iranian government to accept the proposal and said: "The people of Iran, like people everywhere, also want and deserve an opportunity to determine their own future."
Iran and Iraq.
  • Reuters reported that while Iran is now rejecting US/Iran talks on Iraq, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a key Shi'ite Muslim party closely allied to Iran, said direct talks between the US and Iran could benefit both Tehran and Baghdad.
  • Mehran Riazaty reported that Abdul Aziz al-Hakim visited the holy shrine of the founder of Islamic Revolution on Friday night to pay tribute to the late Imam Khomeini by laying a wreath on his tomb.
  • Reuters reported that Iraq's new oil minister accused Iranian coastguards of protecting smugglers.
  • Mehran Riazaty reported that the Supreme Leader of the Iranian regime said that the present security problems in Iraq may only be solved through withdrawal of the occupation army (i.e. US).
  • Los Angeles Times reported that Army Gen. George W. Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, accused the Iranian government of training, equipping and directing Shiite Muslim insurgents operating in Iraq, the most specific leveled against the government in Tehran by a senior U.S. military commander.
  • Eli Lake, The New York Sun reported on the discovery of more than 500 chemical weapons shells in Iraq has heightened concerns at the Pentagon that terrorists in that country could use the old munitions against American soldiers.
  • Mehran Riazaty reported on the conflicting statements by Iranian officials on the conditions in Iraq.
Iran and the International community.
  • Los Angeles Times reported that the VenIran low-rise tractor factory in remote eastern Venezuela is one of the signs of Iran's growing presence in Venezuela which is being monitored by a U.S. government on alert for any evidence that Iran may be exporting terrorism.
US Government on Iran.
  • Reuters reported that the Bush administration urged Congress not to tighten U.S. sanctions against foreign firms investing in Iran's oil and gas sectors, arguing it could damage the current major-power diplomatic initiative with Tehran.
  • Dow Jones Newswires reported that a Treasury official said the U.S. government will use "all instruments of national power," to combat Iran's sponsorship of terrorism.
Must Read reports.
  • Middle East Report Online published a historical analysis of the Iranian women's movement. An interesting read.
  • Jonathan Paris, Prospectives explains how Iranian President Ahmadinejad is seeking to galvanize Muslims throughout the world behind a radical vision of puritanical Islam that rejects the liberal democratic model to become the next "Nasser" of the Islamic world.
  • Peter Brooks, New York Post argues that given that the United States has given Pakistan $700 million a year in aid, Islamabad should be pressed to give us access to A.Q. Khan - the only outsider with insider knowledge of Tehran's nuclear program.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported on the division inside of Iran between the Iran/Iraq war revolutionaries and the Iranian youth.
  • Richard Miniter & Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, The Weekly Standard reported that nearly every major media outlet has fallen for at least one of the three major myths concerning Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel said his family might have escaped death under Hitler had they listened to the warnings of what was coming back in 1942. He feels compelled to warn the world about what is coming with Ahmadinejad.
  • FOX News reported that a growing chorus of Bush's critics on the right wants a tougher U.S. approach to Iran.
  • Daveed Gartenstein-Ross & Adam White, The Weekly Standard reviewed the circumstances behind the administration's decision not to kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2002.
  • CNET News reported that internet web surfers frustrated by government censorship in search engines are increasingly turning to a little-known Internet browser with a big following, Maxthon.
  • The New York Times reported on the Iranian and Syrian governments, and their people, are tightening relations on several fronts as power in the region shifts away from the once dominant Sunni to Shiites, led by Iran. But it is creating concerns inside Syria.
The Experts.
  • Kenneth R. Timmerman, The Washington Times explains why the recent US decision to join talks with Iran is a slippery slope and why the US should be supporting the Iranian opposition.
  • Amir Taheri, Gulf News argued that talking about talks [this time with Iran] is an old tactic used whenever adversaries run out of ideas about their next move.
  • Michael Ledeen, The National Review Online reported that some day we will be forced to deal fully with the war we are in, and when that happens we’re going to discover a lot of very nasty problems about the future of America. Maybe we’d tackle the tough issues if we got that we’re at war.
  • Amir Taheri, Asharq Alawsat asked: Interested in big power games? If yes, reserve a balcony seat to watch a new version of “The Great Game taking shape in western and central Asia, in which Iran is emerging as an important player.
  • Louis J. Freeh (former FBI Director), The Wall Street Journal reminds us of the evidence gathered that Iran was responsible for the Khobar Tower bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 and the Clinton administration's pitiful response.
  • The Washington Post reported that Henry Kissinger said: "Iran has to take a decision whether it wants to be a nation or a cause," Kissinger explained. "If a nation, it must realize that its national interest doesn't conflict with ours."
Photos, cartoons and videos.
  • Cox & Forkum published a cartoon: Forked Tongue.
  • Alan Peters, found a cartoon video of the other World Cup games. Humor.
  • MEMRI published excerpts from an interview with Iranian Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezai who said: "America is like a paper tiger." A video.
The Quote of the Week.
Rooz Online reported that the famed Iranian imprisoned journalist Akbar Ganji declared in Paris said,

There is absolutely no consensus on the nuclear issue in Iran
and everything that is attributed to benationalin this regard is merely ideological propaganda.