Saturday, July 15, 2006

Week in Review

DoctorZin provides a review of this past week's [7/09/06 - 7/15/06] major news events regarding Iran. (The reports are listed in chronological order, not by importance) READ MORE

Iran behind Hezbollah's war on Israel.
  • Eli Lake, The New York Sun reported that President Bush is blaming Iran and Syria for Hezbollah's killing of eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapping of two more.
  • Meir Javedanfar, Meepas reported Israel's government fears that the kidnapped Israeli soldiers may be on their way to Iran.
  • published excerpts from articles and statements in the Iranian, Syrian, and Lebanese media on the on the emerging conflict between Israel and Hizbullah.
  • The New York Times finally reported that the expansion of the Gaza crisis into southern Lebanon, confronting Israel with a conflict on its northern and southern borders, has demonstrated that the central issue at stake is regional, not local. It is the broader problem of radical Islam and of Iran.
  • The Telegraph reported that Israeli commanders regard the northern border as their "front line" with Iran.
  • New York Sun in an editorial argued the risks of 'Restraint' in the present Middle East conflict.
  • The Boston Globe in an editorial argued that the purpose and the timing of Hezbollah's attack on Israel yesterday should be transparent to all concerned. It plays into am Iranian propaganda campaign, conflating the issue of Iran's nuclear program with what he has condemned as the intolerable existence of Israel.
  • John Gibson, Fox News argued that Iran attacking Israel is really an attack on the U.S.
  • Reuters reported that Iran's Foreign Ministry denied suggestions that Hizbollah could take two captured Israeli soldiers to Iran.
  • YNet News reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said an Israeli strike on Syria would be considered an attack on the whole Islamic world that would bring a “Fierce response.”
  • Globe and Mail reported that an unmanned Hezbollah aircraft rigged with explosives rammed into an Israeli warship..
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel's escalating incursion into Lebanon could turn its border fight with militant Islamists into a regional war that might lead to Syria, and Iran.
  • David Ignatius, The Washington Post argued that behind the crisis us Iran's push toward war.
  • New York Post in an editorial argued that while Israel today finds itself waging an undeclared war on two fronts, the Islamic Republic of Iran is the one pulling the strings.
  • RIA Novosti reported that just before the attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah on Israel. Ahmadinejad addressed a high-profile Muslim forum held in Tehran saying "the main issue faced by the Islamic world is Israel's existence. The Islamic countries should mobilize their efforts to do away with this issue," and that "all the conditions for eliminating the Zionist regime" are currently in place."
  • FOX News reported that a missile fired by Hezbollah, not an unmanned drone laden with explosives, damaged an Israeli warship off Lebanon. Israeli Brig. Gen. Ido Nehushtan said "We can confirm that it was hit by an Iranian-made missile launched by Hezbollah."
  • Reuters reported that the missile was an Iranian-made C802 radar-guided land-to-sea missile with a range of 60 miles.
  • DEBKAfile reported the attack on one of the Israeli Navy’s state of the art warships, Ahi-Hanit, was thoroughly planned in advance by an enemy which managed to take Israel’s military commanders by surprise.
  • William Kristol, The Weekly Standard considered why is this Arab-Israel war different from all other Arab-Israeli wars? Kristol responds, because it's not an Arab-Israeli war. Its an Iranian war.
  • The Weekly Standard published a recap of the week's major developments in the Middle East crisis saying this was the week the Dark Side went on the offensive.
  • Michael Ledeen, The Corner criticized the US response to the current Middle East crisis saying it was all about "I've called this one, he's called that one, we're talking, talking, talking all the time, not to worry." But we have not heard anything about "seizing the moment." He warned that if we dither through this one, the next one will be worse. Maybe much worse.
Will the world now demand Hezbollah disarm?
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel's campaign against Lebanon has reinvigorated debate among Hezbollah's Lebanese foes about disarming the group.
  • The Weekly Standard argued that it is time for Lebanon to make a decision whether or not it will finally disarm Hezbollah.
  • Dan Darling, The Weekly Standard reminds us that Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist organization, seems determined to maintain its reputation as the world's second most dangerous terrorist group. He added that the September 11 Commission's final report, discussed the cooperation between al Qaeda and Hezbollah's Iranian masters, "In late 1991 or 1992, discussions in Sudan between al Qaeda and Iranian operatives led to an informal agreement... for actions carried out primarily against Israel and the United States."
  • Dore Gold, The Telegraph reminded us that had UN resolutions on Lebanon been implemented, no Israeli soldiers would have been kidnapped in northern Israel this month and there would be no Hezbollah rockets raining on Israeli civilians. He offers some suggestions what to do next.
Iran's Nuclear Program & The UN Security Council.
  • Islamic Republic News Agency reported that Iran's nuclear case would top the agenda of the G-8 summit this week in St Petersburg, Russia, July 15-17.
  • The Washington Post reported that President Bush has decided to permit extensive U.S. civilian nuclear cooperation with Russia for the first time, in a move that would be worth billions of dollars to Moscow.
  • Seattle PI reported that with the uproar over North Korea's missile tests, America and its allies are concerned that all the attention could hurt their effort to curb Iran's suspect nuclear program.
  • reported that US State Department's number three diplomat Nicholas Burns said Iran "miscalculated" by trying to drive a wedge between the United States and its allies and "they're running out of options."
  • Reuters confirmed our earlier report about Iran's successful effort to ban the IAEA's Chief inspector from Iran. Interestingly, this report does not mention El Baradei's role in this.
  • The Scotsman reported that Iran said that EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was not able to answer all Iran's questions about the P5+1 proposal.
  • The Washington Times reported that Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said of Iran: "We offered them two paths, negotiations or Security Council action... The Iranians can choose, but the time to choose has come."
  • Reuters reported that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said "It is really time to get an authoritative answer to that proposal."
  • Chicago Sun-Times, in a commentary, argued that diplomacy's a joke to Iran, N. Korea and that it is time for sanctions.
  • Eli Lake, The New York Sun argued that El Baradei's firing of his lead Iran investigator this spring at the request of the Iranians, could have explosive consequences for America's policy.
  • Voice of America reported that the United States says world powers are fully prepared to seek punitive action against Iran after it failed to provide a clear answer to their overture to Tehran to halt uranium enrichment and return to nuclear negotiations.
  • Reuters reported that President George W. Bush, leaving on Wednesday for Germany and Russia, will urge key allies to stay united in their drive to contain the nuclear ambitions of Iran.
  • UPI reported that Russia believes Iran to be 25 to 30 years away from possession of nuclear arms.
  • VOA News reported that the EU deadline for an answer on new proposals to end the Iranian nuclear controversy went almost unnoticed in Iran. The Iranian press and government leaders just ignored it.
  • The Financial Times reported that Iran's chief nuclear negotiator deflected Western pressure for an immediate answer to a package of incentives to suspend uranium enrichment saying: "Iranians do not accept anything called a deadline."
  • reported that diplomats have said Iran's nuclear program appears to have been slowed down by technical problems.
  • reported that Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the world must stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons and do more to help spread democracy.
  • Yahoo News reported that world powers said they would refer Iran back to the United Nations Security Council after Tehran failed to respond.
  • The Washington Post reported that Russia and China had promised they would back at least some limited U.N. measures against Iran. The Iranians appear to have misjudged.
  • RIA Novosti reported that Russia's foreign minister said possible UN sanctions against Iran will not affect Russian-Iranian military cooperation.
  • Yahoo News reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that Tehran could halt UN inspections and quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if subjected to increased pressure over its disputed nuclear program.
  • The Washington Post reported that a a copy of the agreement that the Perm-5 plus 1 offered Iran was finally made public.
  • The Washington Post reported that Bush failed to win Putin's support for sanctions against Iran's nuclear program.
  • Xinhua reported that an Iranian official said that the country's leadership was determined to refuse the West's request for a halt of sensitive nuclear activities.
Iran's leaders latest statements.
  • Iran Focus said that Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that “the supporters of the Zionist regime must remove this regime before it is too late.”
  • Rooz Online reported that Iranian Ayatollah Gorbani said: “We do not accept these human rights and announce that the US and Israel are among countries that violate human rights."
  • Reuters reported that Ahmadinejad compared the behavior of Israel in launching an offensive against Lebanon to that of Nazi Germany. "Hitler sought pretexts to attack other nations... The Zionist regime is seeking baseless pretexts to invade Islamic countries."
Iranian Dissidents.
  • released a statement and petition in support of Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji's demand of the release of three jailed Iranian dissidents and asked for Western supporters to join him in a hunger strike (July 15-17) if the regime fails to release these prisoners.
  • Eli Lake, The New York Sun reported that Iran's most famous opposition figure, Akbar Ganji, is due to arrive in New York on Saturday and attend a meeting with the leftist MIT political science professor Noam Chomsky. But Mr. Ganji will not be meeting with any American government officials.
  • The Harvard Crimson reported that Iranian-Canadian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo, arrested on unspecified charges in Tehran this past April, is getting some help from his former Harvard colleagues — several of whom are petitioning for his release.
  • Belfast Telegraph reported Akbar Ganji, who will launch a campaign in London on Friday for the release of all Iranian political prisoners.
  • Eli Lake, The New York Sun published an interview with Akbar Ganji, on the eve of his first visit to America. Iran's leading dissident says Iran's democracy movement will reject American financial assistance, and that he would meet with American officials only to urge them not to bomb his country.
  • Newsweek published an interview with Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji.
Iranian leaderships unity weakening?
  • Rooz Online reported that at the moment ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi - the intellectual leader of the extremists - and his students are not on the list produced by the traditional right-wing groups in Iran who are finalizing their list of candidates for the critical forthcoming Leadership Experts Assembly elections in Iran.
The "18th of Tir" demonstrations.
  • DoctorZin reported that on the anniversary of the July 9th, 1999 attack by the Iranian regime on the Iranian student movement in Tehran the Iranian community failed mobilize its supporters in massive demonstrations. While there were demonstrations both inside and outside of Iran they were smaller in comparison with past years. Some argue that future demonstrations will come at a time of their own choosing.
  • Iran Focus reported that a large number of students from several universities in the Iranian capital staged anti-government protests July 9th, with the largest demonstrations taking place at Tehran University.
Human Rights and Freedom of the Press in Iran.
  • Iran Focus reported that after the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution accusing Tehran of obstructing freedom of expression on the internet, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported the EP resolution and listed all the states but one on the blacklist: Iran.
  • News reported that Stephan Hachemi has launched a civil suit against the Iranian government and a handful of specific individuals, three years after his mother died of injuries suffered while in their custody. Hachemi says the civil lawsuit filed in Quebec is the "one recourse that we have. We were blocked. We were not allowed to take another avenue."
  • Reporters Without Borders, on the third anniversary of Canadian-Iranian photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi’s death from her injuries after being beaten while in custody in Tehran, today called for a proper trial of all those responsible involved.
  • Rooz Online reported that the Prosecutor of the Special Clergy Court Salimi is seeking to change the methods of selecting religious students. He mentioned background family checks, personal records, and the motivation of the applicants as important subjects that had to be taken into account before accepting the applicants. The Iranian constitution specifically bans prying into the ideology of individuals in any form.
  • Iran Focus reported on the most recent of 98 executions reported in the state media since the start of 2006.
The Iranian Economy.
  • Dow Jones reported that recently Iran has begun spending millions of dollars a day storing unwanted crude oil on ships.
  • The Financial Times reported that while an Iranian government spokesman said gasoline rationing was on the way, a member of parliament’s economic commission, said that government and legislators lacked “the necessary courage” to approve rationing.
  • IranMania reported that Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh said India and Pakistan should forget buying Iran's gas at a low price.
Iran's Military gaining control of the economy.
  • Rooz Online reported that following the decrees of ayatollah Khamenei regarding the privatization of some large government businesses, military commanders are taking over most of these enterprises. The Iranian constitution forbids contracts being entered into in this manner.
Iran and Iraq.
  • The Jerusalem Post reported that gunmen seized an Iraqi diplomat serving in Iran as he was driving near his home in Baghdad.
Iran and the International community.
  • Iran Focus reported that Khaled Mashaal, the political chief of Hamas, has left Syria, may have set up camp in Iran.
Must Read reports.
  • Reuters confirmed our earlier report about Iran's successful effort to ban the IAEA's Chief inspector from Iran. Interestingly, this report does not mention El Baradei's role in this.
  • The Times Online reported on what it called the West's 'Secret War' to keep nuclear N. Korea and Iran in check.
  • Iran Focus reported that after the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution accusing Tehran of obstructing freedom of expression on the internet, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported the EP resolution and listed all the states but one on the blacklist: Iran.
  • Slater Bakhtavar, Persian Journal reported on the ascent of the radical Hojjatieh movement in the Iranian leadership which Ayatollah Khomeini once opposed for being too radical.
  • Bill Samii, Radio Free Europe reported that a banned and clandestine religio-political group in Iran, the secretive Hojjatieh Society, is making a comeback and the public might never know just how pervasive the Hojjatieh Society's activities really are.Zogby International released a survey which reports that Iranians (41%) said reforming their national economy so it operates more efficiently is more important than nuclear capability. I also made a few observations.
  • Mehran Riazaty reminded us of the history of Hezbollah of Lebanon, its ties with Iran and how this explains the recent crisis in the Middle East.
The Experts.
  • Reuel Marc Gerecht, American Enterprise Institute argued that the current state of America's Iran Policy would best be described as: Cognitive Dissonance. He argued the Bush administration’s Europe-centered diplomacy to derail the clerical regime’s quest for nuclear weaponry has almost no chance of success.
  • Stanley A. Weiss, International Herald Tribune argued that the current animosity between Iran and Israel is an historical aberration and why the two nations may someday become allies.
  • Michael Ledeen, The Corner published an excerpt of Ambassador Khalilzad's speech on Iraq in which he starts by talking about "Syria and Iran" and then only discusses Iran, since Iran is the master in the relationship.
  • Michael Ledeen, National Review Online reminded us that Israel's present war in the Middle East is just an extension of Iran's 27 year declared war on the US.
  • Yossi Klein Halevi, The National Review Online argued that the next Middle East war--Israel against genocidal Islamism--has begun. He argued that the goals of the war should be the destruction of the Hamas regime and the dismantling of the Hezbollah infrastructure in southern Lebanon.
  • David Twersky, The New York Sun argued that the war on Iran has begun.
  • Kenneth M. Pollack, Reader's Digest while reminding us that Ahmadinejad has declared that a world "without America and Zionism" is "attainable and surely can be achieved." He then argues that the best option for the West is to negotiate its way out of the nuclear crisis. I respond.
  • Amir Taheri, The New York Post reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has long envisioned Russia's return as a major world power. This weekend, Putin will see part of that dream realized serving as President of this year's G-8 summit. Putin said he was seeking a "multipolar" world in which the United States would no longer be "the sole superpower that tries to dictate to the world how to behave."
  • Michael Ledeen, The Corner criticized the US response to the current Middle East crisis saying it was all about "I've called this one, he's called that one, we're talking, talking, talking all the time, not to worry." But we have not heard anything about "seizing the moment." He warned that if we dither through this one, the next one will be worse. Maybe much worse.
Photos, cartoons and videos.
The Quote of the Week.
Iran Focus reported that just before the launch of the Hamas/Hezbollah offensive on Israel Ahmadinejad said that

the supporters of the Zionist regime must remove this regime before it is too late.”