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Preview: A Daily Briefing on Iran

A Daily Briefing on Iran

Updated: 2016-12-31T02:59:03.422-08:00


A Video Round-up of June 20-21 Protests in Iran


Instapundit found a good round-up of links to videos from Iran, at YouTube and Facebook: Fatima at Mideast Youth put this together.

Following the Revolution inside of Iran


For many years this site monitored the struggle of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy.

But, today the world is witnessing their struggle.

This site has been off line for some time now and recently our site has been hacked and many of our posts have been deleted.

So we are redirecting you to some of the best sites for more information on the unrest there.

You can of course follow the events using Twitter, here.

You Tube has the most recent videos, here.

Web searchers can now translate Persian/Farsi content, here.

One good Persian news sources is Iran Press News.

A few of the best blogs...

Michael Ledeen's Blog at Pajamas Media (PJM in solidarity with the Iranian democracy movement)

Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi's Facebook page (for Facebook users only)

Gateway Pundit

Michael Totten

Andrew Sullivan

We will be updating this list again very soon....

Bloggers, help spread the word about the Iranian Pledge on Iran. It is a simple was to show our support.

A few photos from today's protests


via Andrew Sullivan.
via Gateway Pundit.

Iran, Russia Sign Deal to Open Nuclear Plant


Ladane Nasseri, Bloomberg:
Iran's first nuclear power plant, a Russian-built project, will begin operating by September 2007, according to an agreement between the two countries.

The accord involving the facility near the southern city of Bushehr was announced today on Iranian state-run television after talks in Moscow between the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Qolam-Reza Aqazadeh, his Russian counterpart, Sergei Kiriyenko, and Russian Security Council chief Igor Ivanov. Russia also will provide enriched uranium to fuel the plant before its completion.

``Russia guaranteed that it will complete the plant by September and deliver the nuclear fuel to Iran in March,'' Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of the Iranian agency, said in a television interview. READ MORE

The power station is part of Iran's nuclear program, which the U.S. and its allies accuse of being a cover for the development of weapons. Iran failed to meet the United Nations Security Council's Aug. 31 deadline to suspend uranium enrichment. Russia is among the council's five permanent members. A push for UN sanctions against Iran will begin early next month if the Islamic Republic maintains its stance.

Diplomatic efforts aimed at getting Iran to end production of the nuclear fuel have included a proposal for Iran's uranium to be enriched on Russian soil and then shipped to Iran. Enriched uranium can also be used in a nuclear weapon.

Iranian officials who are involved in talks with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana won't discuss the possibility of freezing uranium enrichment, an unidentified official from Iran's nuclear agency was cited as saying today by Agence France-Presse after the announcement of the Bushehr deal. The proposal was for a three-month freeze, AFP said.

Iran has so far paid Russia $1 billion to build the plant, capable of generating about 1,000 megawatts of electricity. Iran had urged Russia to complete construction of the nuclear plant following numerous delays. Iran plans to build 20 nuclear power plants with a combined capacity of 20,000 megawatts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Tehran at

Iran Close to Nuclear Suspension


Bill Gertz, The Washington Times:Iran is close to an agreement that would include a suspension of uranium enrichment but wants the deal to include a provision that the temporary halt be kept secret, according to Bush administration officials. Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, has been working with Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on the enrichment-suspension deal that could be completed this week.Disclosure of talks on the secret element of the arrangement comes as Mr. Solana and Mr. Larijani are set to meet today or tomorrow in Europe when the deal could be completed, said officials opposed to the deal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.According to the officials, the suspension of uranium enrichment by Iran would be for 90 days, so additional talks could be held with several European nations. READ MOREMany U.S. officials are opposing the agreement as a further concession to Iran, which continues to defy a United Nations' call for a complete halt to uranium enrichment. A Security Council resolution had given Iran until Aug. 31 to stop its enrichment program or face the imposition of international sanctions. Tehran ignored the deadline, but diplomacy has continued.Some in the State Department are supporting the deal, which they view as a step toward achieving a complete halt to uranium enrichment.However, other officials said that keeping any suspension secret would be difficult and that it would drag the United States into further negotiations with Iran.Iran is seeking to continue talks on its nuclear program while attempting to avoid the imposition of sanctions, something the Bush administration favors but that several other key states, including Russia, oppose.The United States would then be faced with the difficult position of negotiating against the 90-day deadline, a position that favors Iran."The Iranians are very good negotiators," said one official close to the issue.The officials opposed to the deal want any agreement on uranium suspension to be announced publicly.Also, any suspension of enrichment would require International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections to verify that work has stopped at Iranian facilities. The inspections would likely be disclosed, exposing any secret arrangement with Iran on suspension.Failing to publicly announce the suspension also would be a face-saving measure for the Iranian government.Officials said President Bush is not happy with the secrecy demand, although he continues to support the use of diplomacy to solve the problem.Asked about the pending deal, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said in an e-mail, "The terms laid out by the Security Council are clear: Iran needs to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, and it needs to do so in a verifiable way. If it does, we can start negotiations. If it doesn't, we move to sanctions. It is a clear and unambiguous standard."In New York yesterday, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that talks between European and Iranian officials were on track and that a negotiated settlement is possible."I think very soon they will have the next round of discussions," Mr. Mottaki told the Associated Press, noting that "there was good connection between the two sides" after Iran's Aug. 22 response to a package of incentives offered by six nations -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia -- for a halt in enrichment efforts.A recent report by the IAEA said that as late as Aug. 24, Iran had continued to feed uranium hexafluoride into its 164-centrifuge cascade, which is used to enrich uranium. The report also said that Iran is building additional facilities, including a second 164-centrifuge cascade and that work on a plutonium-based heavy-water reactor is continuing.The Bush administration is convinced that Iran's nuclear program is intended to develop weapons, contrary to repeated statements from Iranian leaders that the program is aimed at producing electrical[...]

'An Economic Coalition of the Willing'


Ilan Berman, The Wall Street Journal:By now, it has become all too clear that when it comes to the Iranian nuclear crisis, the ball is squarely in Washington's court.Aug. 31 has come and gone, and with it the international deadline for Tehran to halt its uranium enrichment. Iran's ayatollahs, however, have shown no signs of curbing their atomic ambitions. "The Iranian nation will not accept for one moment any bullying, invasion and violation of its rights," Iran's radical president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has defiantly told his supporters. In response, the Bush administration has signaled its commitment to seeking punitive measures against the Islamic Republic, sanctions chief among them. In practice, however, Washington has not yet seriously tackled the economic dimension of the current crisis -- or explored the financial levers by which Iran can be confronted.This amounts to a critical oversight, because Iran's economy is deeply susceptible to foreign pressure on at least three fronts. All that is necessary is the proper political will to exploit these weaknesses. READ MOREIran's first vulnerability is its dependence on foreign investment.Today, though a bona fide energy superpower that produces some 3.9 million barrels of oil daily, the Islamic Republic still requires sustained international engagement. Studies say that the regime in Tehran currently needs $1 billion a year to maintain current oil output levels, and $1.5 billion to increase them -- and that without it, Iran could quickly become a net energy importer. To be sure, this sum is just a pittance compared to the dozens of billions of dollars that Iran has reaped over the past several years, thanks to the high price of world oil (as much as $50 billion as of March 2006). But, by complicating the flow of foreign investment into Iran, the U.S. and its allies can force the regime to draw down its hard-currency reserves, reducing the resources that it has available to forge ahead with its nuclear program -- or to fund radicalism in the region.Iran's second weakness stems from its centralized economic hierarchy.For all of its lip service to fiscal reforms and grass-roots prosperity, the vast majority of the regime's wealth remains concentrated in the hands of a very small number of people. The extended family of former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, which practically controls copper mining in Iran, the regime's lucrative pistachio trade, and a number of profitable industrial and export-import businesses, is just one example. Another group of key economic players is the Islamic Republic's sprawling charitable foundations, known as bonyads, which control over 30% of Iran's national GDP (and as much as two-thirds of the country's non-oil GDP). By impeding their access to global markets and curtailing their capacity to engage in commerce, the international community can immediately capture the attention of these key decision-makers.Far and away the biggest chink in Iran's economic armor, however, is its reliance on foreign gasoline. Today, Iran's antiquated, socialist economy -- where a gallon of gas still sells for roughly 40 cents -- has become a major Achilles' heel. Iran now consumes over 64.5 million liters of gasoline a day, with close to 40% coming from foreign sources (among them India, France, Turkey and the Gulf states). This energy habit is expensive; Iran will spend over $3 billion -- and perhaps as much as $8 billion -- on gasoline imports this year alone. And, with just a 45-day domestic supply available, steady supplies from abroad are vital to the continued functioning of the regime. All of which suggests that a comprehensive gas embargo on the Islamic Republic could quickly wreak havoc on Iran's industrial sectors -- and, potentially, galvanize serious social unrest on the Iranian street as well.But the West's window of opportunity to implement such measures is rapidly closing. Already, Iran has begun[...]

Tuesday's Daily Briefing on Iran


DoctorZin reports, 9.26.2oo6"Islam is not compatible with democracy.” - The next Supreme Leader?The New York Times reported concern that Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, is trying to expand his already growing power by packing the "assembly of experts" (which has the power to elect the Supreme Leader) with his loyalists. He said: “Democracy means if the people want something that is against God’s will, then they should forget about God and religion.”BBC radio's pro-Islamic Republic campaign of misinformation.Ardeshir Dolat reported that the BBC radio 4 in Britain has started a campaign of misinformation on Iran. Its report ‘Uncovering Iran’ appears designed to convince the British public that Iran respects human rights, democratic principles and values. Listen to the report.But BBC radio fails to "uncover" reports like these, today:Amnesty International published an Urgent Action report on the imminent execution in Iran of Kobra Rahmanpour.Amnesty International also published an Urgent Action report on their fear for the safety, medical concern and torture of student activist Ahmad Batebi.Amnesty International said it is greatly concerned by new arrests and detentions in Iran targeting human rights activists, minority community activists and others peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association.International Federation of Journalists reported that it is concerned by news that the Islamic Republic is intimidating journalists in Iran who travel overseas by alleging they are engaged in spying.Iran Press News reported that Iranians gathered at the Tehran U.N. offices to protest imminent execution of 3 women by the regime where the guards attacked protestors and brutally battered them.Iran Press News reported that the human-rights-violating Islamic regime has once again issued the death sentences of seven residents of the province of Sistan-Baluchestan.Iran Press News reported that Keyvan Ansari, former secretary of the Amir Kabir University student association was arrested.Iran Press News reported that Pourya Nejad-Veysi, a corruption busting journalist and segment producer the Islamic Republic’s own television news reports has been arrested. A revolutionary court sentenced him with the high crime of “taking action against the security of the regime.”Iran Press News reported that the organization for the defense of human rights in the province of Kurdistan confirmed the prison sentence and flogging for their organization’s member and political activist, Loghmon Mehri.Iran Focus reported that State Security Forces (SSF) in the western city of Hamedan announced that they would crack down on people eating in public during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, forcing offenders to dig graves.Iran Press News reported that the Islamic Republic’s general attorney, described the murders of the two young activists and political prisoners Akbar Mohammadi and Valiollah Fayz-Mehdavi, as appropriate, goes on to specify: “Not only is this a warning, it should be absolutely construed as a threat [to all Iranians opposing the Islamic regime]."Russian increasing its ties with Iran.The Jerusalem Post reported that the chief of Iran's Atomic Organization said: "Iran will complete the establishment of its nuclear power station at Bushehr in half a year."Iran Press News reported that Russian media announced that the Islamic Republic intends to purchase yet another five passenger planes from Russia.MosNews reported that Russia has offered to sell a range of surface-to-air missile systems to protect Iran’s nuclear facilities.Now Eqypt and Turkey want nuclear programs.The Times Online reported that Egypt and Turkey are pressing ahead with plans to join the nuclear club, amid fears that Iran’s atomic program could trigger a nuclear race across the Middle East.Condi: No gas embargo on Iran.The Washington Post reported that U.S. Secretary of Stat[...]

The Reality of Religion


Michael Ledeen, The National Review Online:It’s notable, I think, that religion — not so long ago pronounced irrelevant by most everyone in proper society — now dominates the global debate. Even a Communist like Hugo Chavez used religious terms to denounce W., perhaps because he is now in a tag team with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who speaks for a theocracy. But despite the fundamental importance of religion, most of our sages and scribblers are poorly equipped to deal with it, as you can see from the awkward coverage of the pope’s speech at Regensberg. It was, as you’d expect from a pope, a religious text, but the religious content was rarely reported, aside from Benedict’s remarks about Islam — themselves a part of a broader religious message aimed primarily at Europeans. A big part of his message was that Greek philosophical thought is central to Roman Catholicism, and that Catholicism evolved in Europe, in the constant interplay between faith and reason. It’s almost impossible to find that in the discussion. READ MOREThe stuff about Islam was predictably discussed in the usual context of political correctness, according to which it is always wrong to criticize another person’s beliefs, and very wrong to criticize the beliefs of a foreign “culture.” They seemed unable to comprehend that, in ultimate issues, this sort of total tolerance doesn’t work. And the pretense that violently conflicting views of the world can be smoothed over in pleasant conversation only has the effect of intensifying the conflicts. We have arrived at the present unhappy situation not so much because we challenged those with different worldview, but because we ceased to assert our own values and advance our world view. In my graduate-student days, I met a fine New York editor by the name of Howard Fertig. Howard edited the books written by my boss, the great historian George L. Mosse, and from time to time I got to have lunch with him in Manhattan, usually at a long-gone German restaurant, Luchow’s. At one of these lunches Howard shook his head sadly — we’re talking 1963 or 64 — and pronounced the death of America. Why? Because, he said, we had adopted the view that everyone is entitled to one hang-up. Yes, so-and-so was a child molester, but hey, that’s his hang-up. This attitude used to be applied to great artists and writers, like Ezra Pound, whose hang-up was the embrace of fascism.The combination of this crackpot toleration with a general contempt for religion made it difficult for us to comprehend the nature of the current war.Everyone from W. on down has been at great pains to assure us and themselves that we have no basic conflict with Islam, that our battle is with some lunatics who say falsely that they speak in the name of Islam. So we feel quite uncomfortable when the pope — quite deliberately — poses a question about Islam itself: Is it capable of responding to reason, or is it, as he put it, completely transcendent, beyond the reach of man, and hence unchallengeable by man under any circumstances?It’s a big question, not easily reduced to newspeak like “did the pope anticipate the reaction?” Or “did the pope go too far?” That sort of banter is embarrassingly silly. Of course the pope anticipated the reaction, he’s one of the smartest and most learned men in the world, and he’s spent a lot of time studying Islam. He wanted to draw a line. He is not prepared to extend total, blind toleration to people who use violence in the name of faith, and he’s challenging the Muslims to answer the real questions. That quotation he chose — the one that asks, Is there anything positive that has emerged from the expansion of the domain of Islam? — wasn’t generated at random. He picked it quite wittingly. Of course he knows that, for several centuries, Islam conserved the wisdom of the West, the same “Gr[...]

Rice says she would not back gas embargo on Iran


The Washington Post: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she did not support a gasoline embargo on Iran as a way of punishing Tehran for refusing to give up its uranium enrichment program.In an interview for publication in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Rice said there were "limitations on the oil card" against Iran, which failed to meet an August 31 U.N. deadline to give up uranium enrichment."I don't think that it was anything that you have to look at it in the near term and I'm not sure that it (a gasoline embargo) would have the desired effect," she said, according to a transcript of her interview released by the State Department. READ MORESuch a move would serve merely to reinforce the Iranian leadership's desire to make the local population feel that America was against the Iranian people, she said."You want to stay away from things that have a bad effect on the Iranian people to the degree that you can," she said. "That's something we really do have to fight against and some believe a gasoline embargo might play into that."Political directors from the major powers are discussing what sanctions might be imposed against Iran if it continued to refuse to abandon its enrichment program, which the United States says is aimed at producing a bomb and Tehran says is for peaceful purposes.U.S. officials say there is still not agreement on what form sanctions might take and France, China and Russia are wary about such measures, believing negotiations between the European Union's chief negotiator Javier Solana and Iran should be allowed to run their course.Solana and Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani were set to meet in Europe, possibly on Tuesday. Asked earlier by reporters in New York whether she was hopeful about those talks, Rice said: "We'll see."The Washington Times cited Bush administration officials as saying Iran is close to a deal that would include a temporary suspension of uranium enrichment and clear the way for nuclear talks. It said the deal could be completed either Tuesday or Wednesday.In an interview with The New York Times, Rice said the United States was willing to give Solana more time to see if he could find a formula by which the Iranians agreed to suspension, thus allowing negotiations to begin."I frankly don't know if it will work," she said. "I hope it will work because obviously, the best outcome here would be that the discussions with Solana allow the Iranians to suspend and then we can have comprehensive negotiations on their program and anything else that they'd like to bring up."But if these talks did not work, Rice told the Journal she was optimistic that China and Russia would support punitive measures against Iran.Moreover, she said any sanctions would have "collateral effects" on the willingness of private companies and private banks to do business with Iran."Iran is not North Korea," Rice said. "It's not isolated and it is pretty integrated into the international financial system. And that actually makes its potential isolation more damaging."[...]

Uncovering Iran


Ardeshir Dolat:The BBC radio 4 in Britain has started a campaign of misinformation on Iran. It is called ‘Uncovering Iran’. What is the BBC’s agenda, I wonder? On tonight’s edition broadcast at 8 pm what I heard was akin to what you would here on the regime’s state run media channels inside Iran every hour of every day! This set of misinformation is a kind of propaganda that the regime itself could not have devised any better to illustrate to the British public an image of a good regime that respects human rights, democratic principles and values on the one hand and on the other a regime which has been subjected to the unreasonable aggression of the Bush administration. I am speechless! READ MOREOn tonight’s edition the BBC gave the impression that the US has betrayed the international community by calling the Islamic regime an axis of evil when it had been cooperating with the Americans in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. The BBC interviewed a bunch of naive leftist Americans who believe America should not have any preconditions such as the regime’s halting their nuclear activities before they would engage in any direct talks. The BBC tonight very clearly painted a picture that the West has lost a golden opportunity, by America’s default, to engage with the then reformist government headed by Khatami. Had they engaged in direct talks with the regime then, who knows, may be some good would have come out of it! The BBC clearly indicated that Ahmadinejad and the fundamentalists in Iran won the last election because the Americans rejected the reformist government. I am flabbergasted! This is all coming from the BBC Radio 4, the intelligent Radio!In the earlier editions and so far the BBC has painted the Islamic Republic a nice place to live in. No mention of the regime’s atrocities against the Iranians; no mention of the living conditions of millions of Iranians; no mention of the high number of drug addicts; no mention of the Iranian girls being sold as sex slaves to the neighbouring Arab countries; no mention of the Islamic regime being the second biggest executioner in the world after China; no mention of the hangings of children; no mention of the high level of corruption; no mention of the closure of newspapers and magazines for the slightest criticism of the regime; no mention of the thousands of prisoners of conscience; no mention of countless other breaches of basic human rights; no mention of the regime’s intentions to export their revolution to the third world Muslim countries; no mention of the regime’s military and financial support of the terrorist organisations; no mention of the…It seems that the BBC either has not got a clue or they just love the Mullahs in Iran for some reason or another. They somehow still believe in the well-exposed and burnt reformist movement.Well, this bit is for the BBC:It is a tragic mistake to believe that there are some elements within the regime, who would help to soften things up for the West! It is a tragic mistake to open different accounts for different factions of the Islamic Republic regime. In essence, there are no different factions within the Islamic regime. It is foolish to believe there is! There are no differences, at least as far as the rest of the world should be concerned, between Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Mesbah-Yzdi, Ahmadinejad and any other Mullah for that matter, whether reformist or fundamentalist. Tens of Iranian dissidents were assassinated abroad during the governments of both Rafsanjani and Khatami; hundreds of newspaper and publishers were closed down during their time; countless executions took place during their terms; and many more atrocities against the Iranian people took place during their time. In fact as far as the Iranians are concerned nothing has significantly changed in the la[...]

Former secretary of Amir-Kabir University student association arrested


Iran Press News: Translation by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi.
Keyvan Ansari, former secretary of the Amir Kabir University student association was arrested.

Abbas Hakim-zadeh, a member of the central committee of said university’s student association announcing the news, told the reporter from the regime-run news agency ILNA:On Monday, September 17th, Ansari was arrested in front of his house; he was transported to the central committee offices of the student association and after the secret police agents tossed the offices of the central committee, they took several documents with them. The nature of the arrest, the place of his detention and the charges against Ansari have not been announced and he has not, as of yet been permitted to contact his family; as such they too are worried and being kept in the dark.”

Imprisonment and flogging for a political activist in province of Kurdistan


Iran Press News: Translation by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi.
The organization for the defense of human rights in the province of Kurdistan reported that the high tribunal of the city of Saghez confirmed the prison sentence and flogging for their organization’s member and political activist, Loghmon Mehri.

This activist was charged with taking part in protests for the rights of women in front Tehran University in June of 2005. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison and 25 lashes; his case was sent to the court of appeals and confirmed by the Supreme Court recently. His was served with the order last week.

Mehri was also charged with taking part in civil protests during the summer of 2005 and for that the revolutionary court in his hometown of Saghez sentenced him to yet another 5 years in prison; that sentence is currently being evaluated by the court of appeals in the Kurdistan.

In addition he was recently threatened and harrassed by the secret police agents of the ministry of intelligence and security for his membership in the organization for the defense of human rights.

Regime’s own journalist/TV producer arrested


Iran Press News: Translation by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi.
According to blogger and activist, Kianoosh Sanjari, reporting from Iran, Pourya Nejad-Veysi, journalist and segment producer the Islamic Republic’s own television news reporst has been arrested. Nejad-Veysi was collared on August 22nd by secret police agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security of the Islamic regime’s branch in Islamshahr, a Tehran suburb.

The journalist and TV producer, was originally detained for 20 days in the NAJA detention center (the secret police bureau for combating social corruption) and was physically and psychologically tortured. Among other charges leveled against him, his interogators accused him of spying, but the journalist rejected those charges.

Branch one of the revolutionary court of Islamshahr has sentenced Nejad-Veysi with the high crime of “taking action against the security of the regime and has sent him to Tehran’s infamous Evin prison to serve his term; he is being detained in the deplorable ward 350 of said prison.

The journalist is responsible for exsposing some of the most horrifying crimes commited by the various Mullah factions and their mafia-like extortions. One of his famous exposes was about the distribution and sale of meat that was known to have been contaminated that originally aired on the Islamic regime’s channel 2; he also did reports on homeless women, combatting addiction in Iran, etc.

However this journalist has a long track record of working for and promoting the Islamic regime’s rule of law as well.

Mullah organizations actively financed the Lebanese Hezbollah


Iran Press News: Translation by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi.
The regime-run news agency, ILNA reported:Astan Ghods Razavi (a.k.a. AGR) * paid out $40,000 [during July and August] to the Lebanese Hezbollah. This amount was paid by check via the management of Astan Qods Razavi, to account number 33600 of the Melli Bank at the holy Mash’had branch. This transaction was organized and overseen by Ayatollah Vaez-Tabasi, representative of the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Khamenei) in the province of Khorasan; Vaez-Tabasi who is also the ‘chief ’ of AGR, added this amount to the cash succorer from AGR employees who are champions of righteous. While lending their full support to those brave Lebanese resistance fighters of Hezbollah fighting the invaders of the Zionist regime, we all pray for the decisive victory of the global Islamic movement over international arrogance; we announce our total and eternal readiness for any necessary help and assistance.”

The office of public relations of AGR also announced: “Said account number remains open and anyone can make donations.”

* Astan Ghods Razavi which is also the name for the Shrine of Imam Reza (photo above), is the largest private firm in Iran which conveniently enjoys a non-profit status. This organization owns many varied and profiteering industrial conglomorate, that oversees everything from food groups to computer software companies, to tabacco, etc. AGR also heads up other small foundations such as the various holy shrines around Iran, starting with the Imam Reza shrine in the city of Mash’had.

Seven to be executed in the province of Sistan-Baluchistan


Iran Press News: Translation by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi.
The human-rights-violating Islamic regime has once again issued the death sentences of seven residents of the province of Sistan-Baluchestan (south east Iran, bordering on Pakistan) . Also during the second week of September the Islamic regime publicly hung yet another individual in the town of Zabol, in that province.

On Wednesday September 20th, the regime-run news agency, IRNA, reported that during the police raid of a neighborhood in the town of Iranshahr, the guards also murdered one of the local residents.

In recent months, the Islamic regime has either publicly executed hundreds of activists and anti-regime opponents in villages, small towns and cities in this province or actively sought to kill them during local clashes.

The judiciary in Tehran has also issued the order of execution for a 40-year-old woman who due to the lack of any family or relations should be executed for giving the impression of being a “loose woman”. Her execution sentence was approved by the Islamic regime’s supreme court in Tehran.

Russia sells 5 more passenger planes to the Islamic Republic


Iran Press News: Translation by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi.
Despite the repeated crashes of Russian-made planes in Iran, Russian media announced that the Islamic Republic intends to purchase yet another five passenger planes from Russia. READ MORE

The regime-run news agency ISNA, quoting the Russian news agency, Interfax reported that authorities from Ilyushin Finance company reported that Russia will hand over five TU- 204 passenger airplanes to Iran Tour company.

The Russian Company officials announced that this contract valued at about $180 million is scheduled to be signed just before December 15th and the delivery time has been slated for early 2008. The same officials also announced that the Islamic Republic intends to lease two II-96 planes to test fly; should they have a positive impression of the plane’s performance they have announced that they would also purchase several of these models as well.

Several months ago the French newspaper Le Monde, in an incisive article against Russia’s double-dealings with Tehran’s regime wrote: "While Moscow says it is making an attempt to get the regime in Tehran to accept Russia's proposal for the enrichment of Uranium on Russian soil, Russian arms companies are involved in transaction and sales of arms to the Islamic regime. On February 9th, the Director of the governmental agency for military and technical cooperation, Mikhail Dmitriev, confirmed that Russia had in fact delivered an anti-air defense system to the regime in Tehran. Dmitriev specified that there is no other contract however Russia is bound by its own guarantees and must satisfy its commitments. Last December Russian media reported that Russia intends to deliver 49 Tor-M1 missiles priced at $700 million to the Islamic regime. Based on reports in Russian newspapers these missiles are slated to be delivered by Fall 2006."

Political prisoners lives in danger


Iran Press News: Translation by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi.
Mullah Ghorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi, the Islamic Republic’s general attorney, describes the murders of the two young activists and political prisoners Akbar Mohammadi and Valiollah Fayz-Mehdavi, [who were tortured to death in the Islamic regimes’ prisons in late July and early September] as appropriate, goes on to specify:Not only is this a warning, it should be absolutely construed as a threat [to all Iranians opposing the Islamic regime]. The attorney general has also stated very openly that he supported the murders of the Iranian opposition leaders and intellectuals in Iran who were brutally murdered throughout the ‘90’s, in what became known in Iran as the Chain Murders. He said that the bloodbath slaughter of leader of the Pan-Iranianist movement, Darioush Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh – whose breasts were even sliced off – in their home, as well as the secret murders of journalists and writers like Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad-Jafar Pouyandeh, are not only justified but necessary.

Dorri-Najafabadi who mocks the legal process, and arrogantly describes the nature of the individual’s rights as ludicris, also asserts that the murder of the Islamic order’s opponents and dissidents, is necessary and an “act of grace”.

Iranians gather at Tehran U.N. offices to protest imminent execution of 3 women by the regime; guards attack protestors and brutally batter them


Iran Press News: Translation by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi.A large number of civil and human rights activists gathered on Sunday, September 25th at 5 pm Tehran time, in front of the Tehran offices of the United Nations to protest the regime’s refusal to stop the execution of 4 women, Nazanin Fatehi, 18 years old, Kobra Rahmanpour, 25 years old, Fatemeh Haghighat-pajooh, 35 years old and Shahla Jahed, also 35.The families of these women had requested an appointment to meet with the U.N. officials and had called for human rights and civil activists to also gather for a peaceful protest against the Islamic regime’s execution sentence for the 4 women. Hours before the gathering of the protestors, the regime’s disciplinary guards that are now a permenant fixture in every street, in every city, town and village all across Iran, along with plain-clothes secret service agents had been increased and strategically deployed; they surrounded the nearby area streets in order to minimize attendance and intimidate people from joining up with the others who would have already been there. READ MOREDespite the presence of the disciplinary forces and plain-clothes agents, members of the families of the 4 women were able to enter UN and discuss the cases of their respective “prisoner” with the representatives of the United Nations. They also succeeded in delivering a resolution to abolish the death sentences of each woman, requesting their immediate release and return to their families, considering the significant jail time each has already served, not to mention the monetary payment each individual has paid to the families of the so-called victims of their crimes. This resolution was also promptly faxed to a large number of U.N. representative and rapporteurs in both New York and Geneva.Outside on the street however, in the early moments, as the protestors gathered the agents and guards brutally attacked, beating the protestors; they arrested many, most of whom were women and girls, as well as several student leaders who had traveled from the city of Isfahan to take part in the protest. They were taken to a precinct in northern Tehran, close to the U.N. offices. It is reported that the guards did manage to drive away hundreds more protestors who had been seen approaching.As the crowds who managed to get passed the guards and succeeded in joining up with the other protestors, plain-clothes agents pushed their way through the crowds that were present, threatening and menacing them with violence and bodily harm. Protestors tried to ignore the agents by chanting slogans of condemnation of exeuctions of not only the 4 women but of the Islamic regime’s constant reign of terror and intimidation by execution in general.At this time, there is no further news of those who were arrested.[...]

Reza Pahlavi on Growing Showdown With Iran


Paul Gigot, The Wall Street Journal: Read the complete Wall Street Journal Editorial Report here. This is a partial transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," September 23, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.PAUL GIGOT, HOST: As world leaders gathered this week at the United Nations, the United States had hoped to move decisively towards political and economic sanctions against Iran after that country missed an August 31 deadline to halt uranium enrichment.Instead, diplomats discussed a new d eadline and have authorized the European Union's foreign policy chief to meet with Iran's nuclear negotiator any place at any time.Joining me now from Washington is the son of the late Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi.Mr. Pahlavi, thanks so much for being with us.REZA PAHLAVI, SON OF THE LATE SHAH OF IRAN: Good morning, Paul.GIGOT: You heard, I'm sure, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech. He has also been giving some interviews. What do you think he's trying to accomplish this week with these appearances?PAHLAVI: Well, unfortunately, I think that the grandstanding of Mr. Ahmadinejad is a carefully planned move to gain more popularity on certain Arab streets, as a champion of the cause of extremists who simply don't look at the world the same way we do.The truth is that he is losing more and more popularity at home, based on complete dysfunctionality of our economic situation. People are tired, are miserable. They have a lot of economic hardship.And frankly, in order to compensate for that loss of popularity, he is trying to, once again — as the Islamic Republic leaders have always done the same — deflecting attention from home-grown issues to some international arguments.GIGOT: OK, now, you know the U.N. Security Council is considering economic and political sanctions. What impact do you think — in response to the missed deadline on Iran's nuclear program, what impact do you think those sanctions would have on the regime and the politic—nuclear program? Do you think they would cause them to slow down? Have any impact at all?PAHLAVI: Well, first of all, I think that, if there is a sanction package considered, it has to be part of a much more profound strategy and policy.I have proposed before — and if I may repeat it again today — a three-pronged approach which consists of confrontation, pressure and support.By confrontation, I mean that everywhere this regime is up to mischief, it has to be dealt with whether it's in Afghanistan or Lebanon or Saudi Arabia or in Iraq.Number two is pressure. This is where sanctions come in.I believe that very carefully targeted and calculated sanctions aimed at the political, economic and personal interests of the regime's leadership and structure, as opposed to the entire Iranian nation, could certainly hurt the regime without necessarily hurting the people.And, of course, support at the end of the day is about helping the Iranian people being changed — fundamental change in Iran by putting an end to this regime.I think it is in that context that economic sanctions could, in fact, work not just to curtail the regime, but put an end to the entire problem by eliminating the regime once and for all.GIGOT: Interesting. There is more and more discussion in the United States that President Bush needs to sit down and have direct face-to-face talks with President Ahmadinejad. And people say, look, Ronald Reagan talked to the Soviet leaders during the Cold War. Why can't President Bush talk to the Iranians now?Do you think that would be a good strategy for the U.S. to pursue?PAHLAVI: Well, I think this is [...]

Israel Seen Lifting Nuclear Veil in Iran Stand-off


Dan Williams, Reuters:In October 1973, with its forces battling to repel invasions by Egypt and Syria, Israel did what had previously been unthinkable: It briefly wheeled its nuclear-capable Jericho-1 missiles out of their secret silos.That, historians believe, was picked up by U.S. spy satellites and stirred up fears in Washington of a catastrophic flare-up between the Jewish state and the Soviet-backed Arabs. Message received, an urgent American shipment of conventional arms to Israel was quick to follow, and helped turn the war.With Israel's current arch-foe Iran seen gaining the ability to produce nuclear weapons within a few years, and preventive military options limited, some experts now anticipate another "lifting of the veil" on the assumed Israeli atomic arsenal. READ MOREWere that to happen, experts say, the objective would be to establish a more open military deterrence vis-a-vis Iran and perhaps win Israel's nuclear option formal legitimacy abroad."No one should simply assume that Israel would stay where it is now with its ambiguous capability if Iran becomes a nuclear power," said Professor Gerald Steinberg, head of the Conflict Management Programme at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv."Israeli policy is likely to change, in order to demonstrate that the country has continued strategic superiority," he said.Israel neither confirms nor denies it has the Middle East's only nuclear weapons, under an "ambiguity" policy billed as warding off enemy states while avoiding a regional arms race.Steinberg said this might be abandoned only as a last resort to persuade a nuclear-armed Iran that it stood to suffer far greater devastation in any full-blown future conflict."It's not desirable, but this is about survival," he said.Iran, the world's fourth largest oil exporter, says its nuclear programme is for energy needs alone. But calls by its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel to be "wiped off the map" have fuelled Western calls for the programme to be curbed.MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION?Talk of a nuclear stand-off between Israel and Iran has sparked comparisons with the "mutually assured destruction" formula that reigned during the Cold War and, more recently, between India and Pakistan.But those precedents assume a parity that may not exist with Israel and Iran. Militarily advanced Israel is geographically small and vulnerable. Iran's atomic ambitions are at fledgling stage but its large size could help it survive a major strike."The use of a nuclear bomb against Israel would completely destroy Israel, while (the same) against the Islamic world would only cause damage. Such a scenario is not inconceivable," former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in a 2001 speech.There is also speculation that Ahmadinejad might welcome an apocalyptic confrontation, meaning the idea of a deterrent would not work. Yet he answers to Iranian clerics who work by committee and thus provide a rational set of safeguards.Reuven Pedatzur, defence analyst for the respected Israeli daily Haaretz, proposed that the country, under U.S. guidance, go public with its nuclear capability in the hope of building back-channel ties with Iran and establishing mutual deterrence."Israel cannot continue to rely on it (ambiguity policy) if Iran has nuclear weapons. This is because ambiguity leaves too many grey areas. The enemy cannot know with certainty what the red lines are and when he is risking an Israeli nuclear response," he wrote."There must be a deterrent policy that will leave no room for misunderstandings," he added. "Th[...]

Iranian Clerics' Angling Stirs Worry on Absolute Rule


Nazila Fathi, The New York Times:Political jockeying by fundamentalist Iranian clerics for the coming election of the Assembly of Experts, the group charged with overseeing the country’s supreme leader, is raising concerns that the government will move further toward authoritarianism.As in the last elections for the assembly eight years ago, the watchdog Guardian Council has barred reformist clerics. And this year, some clerics and some newspapers have been suggesting that a senior fundamentalist cleric who is President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s mentor, Muhammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, may be trying to expand his already growing power by packing the assembly with loyalists trained at his education center in Qum.Mr. Mesbah Yazdi, 72, is close to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and he directly influences the government through loyalists appointed to high posts after Mr. Ahmadinejad took power last year. His followers also have great sway among Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the Basij volunteer paramilitary force.The Iranian Constitution adopted after the 1979 revolution led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini provided for a system of checks and balances meant to ensure that the government would not move toward authoritarianism. So even as it enshrined a supreme leader, who has the final word on all matters, it created an Assembly of Experts, or religious jurisprudence, to oversee his activities.But after the death of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989, a system of vetting election candidates was put in place to eliminate any threat to the rule of the supreme leader.At least on paper, the official powers of the Assembly of Experts include the ability to replace the supreme leader if he acts against Islam or the Constitution.However, Mr. Mesbah Yazdi and Ayatollah Khamenei are allies — the ayatollah finances Mr. Mesbah Yazdi’s school in Qum — and the likeliest outcome of a power play by Mr. Mesbah Yazdi would be to strengthen the supreme leader, even at the expense of the Assembly of Experts.Mohsen Kadivar, a senior reformist cleric who was barred from running in the last election, said, “The fight in the election will be between the traditional clerics and the fundamentalists.” He identified the traditionalists as those who considered the Assembly of Experts a higher authority than the supreme leader.Mr. Mesbah Yazdi is a particularly aggressive defender of the supreme leader’s absolute power, and he was a strong critic of the previous president, Mohammad Khatami, who tried to introduce modest social and political changes. He has long held that democracy and elections are not compatible with Islam.“Democracy means if the people want something that is against God’s will, then they should forget about God and religion,” he said in July 1998. “Be careful not to be deceived. Accepting Islam is not compatible with democracy.”And in November 2002, the daily Aftab-e-Yazd quoted him as saying: “Who are the majority of people who vote: a bunch of hooligans who drink vodka and are paid to vote. Whatever they say cannot become the law of the country and Islam.” READ MOREHe has criticized democracy more cautiously since the election of Mr. Ahmadinejad, but his disdain for the election process to fill the Assembly of Experts was evident in a speech in Mashhad this month, in which the news agency ISNA quoted him as saying it was like the vote of the “ignorant for the learned.”Mr. Mesbah Yazdi was a founder of the modern Haghani School, a religious school in Qum where most I[...]

Nations Raise Stakes in Arms Race by Revealing Nuclear Ambitions


Richard Beeston and Suna Erdem, The Times Online:Egypt and Turkey are pressing ahead with plans to join the nuclear club, amid fears that Iran’s atomic programme could trigger a nuclear race across the Middle East.After the failure of the United Nations to curb Iran’s nuclear development, including the enrichment of uranium, experts fear that other powers in the region may feel forced to build their own deterrent. READ MOREPresident Mubarak of Egypt has told members of his ruling National Democratic Party that it is time the country invested in a nuclear programme.“We must increase our exploitation of new energy sources, including the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” he said.“I call for a serious debate [in Egypt] taking into consideration what nuclear technology can provide by way of clear, inexpensive energy sources.”Egypt has had a modest nuclear project for decades and operates two research reactors, one outside Cairo and another near the Libyan border.Egyptian officials insisted that the country only wanted to build a cheap, clean and safe energy source for the future needs of its growing population and had no intention of diverting the technology to build an atomic bomb.But the timing of the announcement was seen by many as a sign that Egypt also wants the option of joining the growing club of nuclear-armed states.“One of the biggest dangers of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapons capability is that it would spur a nuclear arms race in the region,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, an expert on nuclear proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. “The three countries most often mentioned are Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.”He said that a civilian nuclear programme was the obvious first step in the process of building an atomic bomb, a route taken by Pakistan before it developed its first warhead.Turkey is advanced in its nuclear programme. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister, announced in June that the country would build three nuclear power plants by 2015.The first is expected to be ready near the Black Sea coast town of Sinop by 2014.“As a country whose energy consumption is increasing rapidly, we want to benefit from nuclear energy as soon as possible,” he said.Both Egypt and Turkey are signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which allows countries to build atomic power stations under international supervision to ensure that they are not assembling a nuclear bomb.Oil-rich Saudi Arabia has no plans to build a nuclear power station and Riyadh has always denied that it is seeking to acquire an atomic bomb. [...]

Crackdown on Media in Iran Continues


International Federation of Journalists:
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned by news journalists in Iran have been placed under more pressure by government statements that imply journalists who travel overseas are engaged in spying.

According to IFJ affiliate, the Association of Iranian Journalists (AIJ), the Minister of Information released a statement this week which said the government’s intelligence service had found the West was recruiting journalists, students and workers for spying, by sending them overseas under the guise of research or study.

The AIJ has said this will put more pressure on journalists as any foreign trips could make them targets for accusations of spying. READ MORE

“This sort of underhanded pressure from the government of Iran is particularly worrying in light of the recent closures of newspapers and increased crackdown on media,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.

The Shargh daily newspaper was reportedly banned on September 11, adding to the ever-increasing list of banned publications in Iran and leaving many journalists jobless.

The AIJ held a meeting on September 19 protesting the recent closures of newspapers.

“These recent incidents demonstrate Tehran’s distaste for freedom of speech, and its unacceptable methods for dealing with independent voices in the media,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.

“Media workers all over Iran continue to face strict censorship, intimidation and often imprisonment for nothing more than doing their job,” he said.

“We call on the government of Iran to implement safeguards for journalists and press freedom and to immediately release all journalists jailed for their reporting,” Warren said.

The IFJ, the organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries, stands in solidarity with Iranian journalists in their struggle for press freedom and editorial independence.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries

Iran: Continuing Crackdown Against Peaceful Critics


Amnesty International: Public StatementAmnesty International is greatly concerned by new arrests and detentions in Iran targeting human rights activists, minority community activists and others peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association. Those detained in recent days include Iranian Azerbaijanis advocating a schools boycott and at least 10 people who sought to demonstrate against the imminent execution of four women. Meanwhile, a prominent human rights defender who has been detained without charge or trial for over 100 days has disclosed that he is being subjected to continuous pressure to "repent" by the Iranian authorities. READ MOREAmnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities immediately to cease arrests and harassment of those peacefully exercising their rights, including human rights defenders, and to ensure that all persons in detention are protected from torture or other ill-treatment.Clampdown on Iranian AzerbaijanisMore than 15 members of the Iranian Azerbaijani community are reported to have been detained in recent days in connection with a call for students to boycott schools on the first day of the new academic year - 1 Mehr (which this year fell on 23 September 2006). Similar boycott calls have been made in previous years. Those detained include Esedullah Selimi, 52, who was reportedly arrested on 9 September 2006 while travelling to Tabriz and in possession of leaflets about planned demonstrations in support of a boycott, and then taken to an Intelligence Ministry detention facility in Tabriz. Others, including Iskender Mirza'i and Mehdi Vahidi, both from Naqadeh (Sulduz), reportedly arrested on 14 September, and Eli Sediq Beyreq, reportedly arrested on 15 September in Tabriz, are said to have been detained for distributing leaflets about the planned demonstrations. Other prominent activists who were arrested and released after previous mass demonstrations by the Azerbaijani community in May 2006 also have been detained. They include Chengiz Bekhtaver, Gholamreza Emani and Hassan Ark (also known as Hasan Ali Hajabollu) (see Urgent Action 151/2006, AI Index MDE 13/055/2006 and Public Statement Iran: Authorities should exercise restraint in policing Babek Castle gathering and address human rights violations against Iranian Azeri Turks, AI Index MDE 13/074/2006). Three brothers belonging to the Evezpoor family were reportedly arrested at their home in Tabriz in the early hours of 21 September: Mostafa, 25, Morteza, and Mohammad Reza Evezpoor, aged 14, were all detained previously in April 2006 (see Urgent Action 120/06 MDE 13/047/2006 and follow-up MDE 13/068/2006), when Mohammad Reza Evezpoor was reportedly tortured during his three days in detention. Fereydun Mehdipour and Mohammad Hossein Pourghorban were reportedly arrested on 23 September in Oromieh (Urmu). Their place of detention is unknown. There are also unconfirmed reports that some demonstrators may have been injured by Iranian security forces in Oromieh.On 21 September, the Iranian authorities permitted prisoner of conscience Ali Akbar Mousavi-Kho'ini to attend a memorial gathering for his father forty days after the latter's death. This was the first time that he had been allowed out of Evin Prison, where he is detained in Section 209, since he was arrested on 12 June during a demonstration in Tehran calling for legal reforms to end discrimination against women in Iran (see Urgent A[...]

Iran cracks down on public eaters during holy month


Iran Focus: a pro-MEK website
State Security Forces (SSF) in the western city of Hamedan have announced that they would crack down on people eating in public during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Flyers distributed across the city by the SSF and the Ministry of Justice state that anyone spotted to be eating food in public would be arrested and handed over for prosecution.

Residents told Iran Focus that they had been threatened by agents of the SSF that they would be forced to dig graves as punishment for eating in public. READ MORE

The punishment is meant to force those arrested to consider the prospect of death and the afterlife in order to refrain from breaching Islamic regulations.

The month of Ramadan, which started on Monday in Iran and will last until October, is the period during which all healthy Muslims are required to fast during daylight.

In previous years, people caught eating in public in Iran during the holy month have been flogged in public or sentenced to jail time.