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The Latest from Iran (18 April): Strike A Pose

2030 GMT: A Swap --- But Inside or Outside Iran? Amidst all the posturing at disarmament summits, here's the key Iranian statement on talks:
Iran plans to hold talks with all members of the United Nations Security Council over a nuclear fuel swap deal, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said.

"We plan to hold direct talks on nuclear swap with 14 member states of the UN Security Council and indirect talks with the 15th member [the United States]," Mottaki told reporters in a Sunday press conference in Tehran.

And here's the question which, after weeks, still remains: when Iran refers to a willingness for discussions, does that include consideration of the exchange of uranium stock outside the country?

2025 GMT: Irony Alert (Because Hypocrisy is a Not-Very-Nice Word). Press TV reports with a straight face and no reference to recent pronouncement of Iranian authorities on the fighting of "soft war":
Schools in the US State of Pennsylvania have used lent-out laptop computers with spy cameras and "buggy" software to "monitor' students, reports say.

US investigators are probing spying cases of the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvanian, where school officials have been implicated in receiving unauthorized images of students that borrowed "doctored" laptops from their schools, US media reported on Saturday.

2015 GMT: Picture of Day. It comes from the most recent meeting of women's activists in the Green Movement.

NEW Iran Document: The Supreme Leader on Nuclear Weapons (17 April)
NEW Iran Analysis: And The Nuclear Sideshow Goes On…And On…And On
Iran: Former Tehran Chancellor Maleki on Detention & Green Movement’s “Forgotten Children”
The Latest from Iran (17 April): Remember

2000 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Iranian Students News Agency reports that three prominent reformists --- Mohsen Mirdamadi, head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, former Deputy Minister of Interior Mostafa Tajzadeh, and Davoud Soleimani have been found guilty of harming national security and propaganda against the regime. Each has been sentenced to six years in jail and barred from involvement in politics or journalism for 10 years.

1730 GMT: Iran's Women Are Needed. Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, has declared that Iran's "unfinished democracy project" must be fulfilled through the significant presence of women in political movements.

1725 GMT: Attacking the Clerics. A group of plainclothes men have again attacked the offices of Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib in Shiraz, vandalising the site by spraying paint.

In December, pro-regime crowds laid siege to the offices in a Shiraz mosque, temporarily forcing Dastgheib, a vocal critic of the Government, and his staff to leave.

1700 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Khabar Online repeats the claim, which we heard a few days ago, that Hashemi Rafsanjani has met judiciary head Sadegh Larijani to discuss the criminal case against Rafsanjani's son, Mehdi Hashemi.

1615 GMT: Laying Down the Law. The head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, has issued a wide-ranging statement. Like his brother, he has seized the nuclear line of criticising the US and "West" for lies.

At the same time, Larijani tried to position himself as the guardian of the law, emphasising his will to persecute corruption. And he took time to warn people of wearing inappropriate outfits.

1515 GMT: The Subsidy Battle. Is the economic feud between Parliament and the President over?

Yes. And No.

Rah-e-Sabz repeats the news that Parliament, in a secret meeting, has accepted the Government's demands for extra revenues from subsidy cuts.

Gholam-Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam, the Majlis Economic Committee member who was critical of Ahmadinejad, said laws were not violated in the agreement. However, he continued to blame the President for insulting MPs as "economic nuts", declaring to Ahmadinejad, "I was the teacher of your ministers and advisors."

1220 GMT: More on the Mousavi Statement. Speaking to the student committee of the reformist Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution, Mousavi called on supporters of the Green Movement to find “ways to expand the media and spread information". They should counter the attacks on the freedom of the press by replacing every banned weblog with “tens of weblogs for defending the people’s rights”.

Declaring that the Green Movement is “limitless” and can “open numerous new windows” for every blocked “opening”, Mousavi said that the opposition should “include every one of the 70 million people of the country, even our opponents".

1130 GMT: Mir Hossein Mousavi has issued a new statement reiterating his long-declared theme, "We All Must Be Media". We will be looking for an English translation.

1120 GMT: Parliamentary Sniping. Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moghaddam, who has been a leading actor in the battle with the President over subsidy and spending proposals, has attacked on a new front. He has derided Ahmadinejad's suggestion of paying $1000 to parents for every new child. Mesbahi-Moghaddam said, "[The] president is not the system's strategist. Rather he [is tasked] to implement laws and macroeconomic policies."

1110 GMT: The "Realist" Solution. Kayhan Barzegar of Harvard University captures the spirit of the movement in Washington amongst some Government officials and analysts for a grand settlement with Iran not only on the nuclear programme but on regional issues:
Obama's attempts to convince actors like Russia, China, or Saudi Arabia to impose new sanctions or political pressure are all short-term solutions and will not change Iran's nuclear policy. The United States needs to find a sustainable solution in dealing with Iran, based on a genuine change that can resolve existing strategic issues and in which zero-sum game solutions are finally put to bed.

What is striking is not Barzegar's specific argument but the fact that it has been picked up and featured in Tehran by Iran Review.

1105 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist and filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for "spreading propaganda" and insulting the country's leaders.

Nourizad was arrested in November after writing the Supreme Leader, urging him to apologize to the nation for the post-election suppression of dissent.

(Given my grumpiness about the "Western" media this morning, credit to the Associated Press for picking up and disseminating the news.)

1055 GMT: The Corruption Story. Arshama3's Blog has an invaluable summary, in German, of the dramatic claims in the Iranian press of the "Fatemi Street" insurance fraud, linking the accused to First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.

1045 GMT: Soft Power Corner. Want a useful alternative to all the nuclear news? Try this from Reuters' Golnar Motevalli:
The television in the corner of the port-a-cabin reception room where Ali Tavakoli Khomeini receives guests outside the Afghan city of Herat is tuned to Iran's state 24-hour news channel.

Large maps of Iran and Afghanistan adorn the walls, and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hangs alongside one of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. An Afghan cook arranges a spread of Persian cuisine.

While the United States will soon have 100,000 troops in Afghanistan waging war against the Taliban, Iran is quietly exerting influence on its neighbor in a subtler way: through bricks and mortar, railways and road.

Tavakoli, an Iranian engineer, has built some 400 km (250 miles) of highway and railroad in western Afghanistan over the last six years, paving the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.

His firm is building a dam in rural Herat, and has just finished laying foundations for a railway that could one day link south and east Asia to the Middle East and Europe, reviving some of the most important ancient overland trade routes in the world.

1030 GMT: We're Great, You Suck. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani scales the nuclear high ground (can't let his rival Mr. Ahmadinejad steal all the applause, can he?) with a statement to the Majlis:
The [Washington] conference not only eluded the issue of disarmament but audaciously prescribed the use of atomic weapons. In fact, all the nuclear conference in the US did was weaken the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty]. The use of other weapons of mass destruction was permitted under the pretext of concerns about 'nuclear terrorism'."

1015 GMT: OK, as we need after an extended break to catch up with news inside Iran, let's get the chest-puffing diversions out of the way.

We've got a special analysis on the latest sideshow of Tehran's disarmament conference complemented by US Government spin, put out through The New York Times, on the threat of Iran's nuclear programme. And this morning, the poses just keep a-comin':
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday Iran had the military might to deter attacks, his comments coming as Western pressure mounts on the Islamic state to dispel fears it is developing nuclear arms.

Speaking at a military parade that marked Iran's armed forces' day, Ahmadinejad said the "unrivalled" power of Iranian military secured stability in the Middle East....

"Iran's armed forces are so strong today that the enemies will not even think about violating our territorial integrity," Ahmadinejad said in a low-key speech at the parade.

Low-key in comparison to his Saturday opening salvo at the Tehran disarmament conference, I guess --- let Iran lead the global way for an end to nuclear weapons, chuck the US out of the International Atomic Energy Agency --- but obviously not low-key enough to avoid being splashed as Breaking News by Reuters.

Reader Comments (11)

RE Speaking at a military parade that marked Iran’s armed forces’ day, Ahmadinejad said the “unrivalled” power of Iranian military secured stability in the Middle East….

President Ahmadinjad's plans to exponentially increase Iran's cannon fodder capabilities slammed by Cleric MP
Source: Mehr News Agency,

April 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Iran's strange relationship with Afghanistan

I've been intriged why Iran, who has been investing so heavily in Herat in the last several years that Herat is often described as an Iranian business centre, has also treated Afghans inside Iran so harshly, starting with the periodic mass deportations of Afghan immigrants and refugees and now with the large number of Afghans in Iranian jails and on death row. Although I guess this probably says more about the Afghan government's utter disregard for their own citizens than anything else.

Here are 3 articles which look at both developments:
Iranian engineer brings roads, rail to Afghan west

Kabul Alarmed By Iran's Executions Of Afghan Prisoners
Afghans On Iran's Death Row Describe Their Plight

April 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

weekingreen, episode 19: Roxana Saberi

do watch episode 18 with Akbar Ganji, he has great insight on the movement.
I did not find the video on their youtube account so here it is on their on own website:

April 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdanial


Thank you so much for your invaluable compliment.

Delightful news for Green movement supporters: yesterday Iranian candidate Mehrzad Marashi won Germany's popular TV-contest "DSDS" (Germany in Search of the Superstar),1518,689640,00.html
Just have a look at his not at all incidental green coat :-)

ma bishomarim V V V


April 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

It is a positive step that you are now seeking to also put positive stories about IRI, instead of many clearly biased stories and commentary which give an unbalanced picture of the reality. I was impressed with both the story of Iran's construction efforts in rebuilding Afghanistan and Mosavi's re-commitment to working to make the Islamic Republic better which will be a far easier goal to achieve than what some secular extremists here would wish for - its total dismantlement and even joining in the chorus orchestrated in the US and Israel by the neo-con and Zionist extremists to force regime change even by way of an invasion and now possibly by a pre-emptive nuclear strike courtesy of the President for peaceful change - Mr Obama.

Catherine, Iran gave refuge to some 2-3m Afghan refugees. Out of such a large batch there are bound to be some bad apples. You seem to take the approach that the Iranian government can do no good. By the standards of the region they live in they have done more than well. Remember they had to fight an 8 yr war imposed upon them and in which no major power in the world supported them and then the very powers who supported Saddam decided to ditch him at great cost to the people of Iraq and the region.

April 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrezvan

Hi Rezvan,
RE "Iran gave refuge to some 2-3m Afghan refugees. Out of such a large batch there are bound to be some bad apples. You seem to take the approach that the Iranian government can do no good."

Actually I didn't have time when I posted my nr. 2 to explain what was so objectionable about the deportations and I realised at the time I wasn't giving enough information. It has to do with rounding up sometimes as many as 10,000 - 100,000 people at a time, in some cases (not all) without prior warning, and putting them on buses with just the clothes on their backs (and for the lucky few given some time to prepare - a few plastic bags of belongings) and dumping them in camps at the Afghan border where no arrangements had been made to transport them anywhere - not to mention the beatings and other abuse the Afghans underwent along the way.

In 2008 I asked Iranians of different ages what they thought of this and most said, "Good riddance! They're all criminals anyway".

April 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

"By the standards of the region they live in they have done more than well."

The standards of the region are extremely low.

April 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDon Cox

"most said, "Good riddance! They're all criminals anyway"."

That is the same reaction as the South Africans have to refugees from Zimbabwe. In fact, it seems to be a common reaction to refugees.

April 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDon Cox


The Standard is set at what a nation does for ITS OWN people. I don't care how powerful a country is or how many bombs a country can develop or even how rich a country is. The most important thing about a Nation is its ability to protect human rights. Iran has failed in a major way as a nation. If Iran builds a hospital in Lebanon or builds a beautiful train system for Afghanistan, it fails as a nation because it could not protect its own people. Every country must concern themselves with their own people....If they can supply and protect their own, then and only then, may they help others.

April 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLA

I don't know if it's already been posted or not but I like this article. Good to see Mousavi encouraging some form of civil's one of the best ways to combat a ruling power like we're faced with:

April 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDC favourite "suggestion" from the article?

"The wartime leader said that during the brutal Iran-Iraq war, his government’s slogan was to rebuild the country at a rate quicker the Iraqi enemy’s rate of destruction. 'The same experience must be adopted now,' he said."

April 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDC

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