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Entries in Barbara Slavin (11)


Iran Analysis: The Real Explanation for the Delay in New Nuclear Talks

Last week, a couple of curious stories emerged about the proposed resumption of nuclear talks, suspended since a high-level meeting in June in Moscow, between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, Germany, Russia, France, and China). 

Julian Borger of The Guardian declared, "Nuclear Talks with Iran Delayed" because of "internal wrangling" in Tehran. Laura Rozen echoed, "Iran Seen Stalling on Date for Nuclear Talks".

There had to be an explanation --- beyond the blame of Tehran for "internal wrangling" and the declarations of Western officials --- for the clash between Iran's public position welcoming new discussions and the line fed to Borger and Rozen.

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The Latest from Iran (3 September): "This Country is Broken"

Journalist Jila Bani Yaghoub returns to prison after she was summoned to complete a one-year sentence

See also Iran 1st-Hand: A Country of Resignation
The Latest from Iran (2 September): Tehran Strikes A Defiant Pose

2038 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Back from a break to find that it is not just the Iranian regime who can strike a tough pose....

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah, has declared that Iran can strike US bases in the Middle East if Israel attacks the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities: "A decision has been taken to respond and the response will be very great."

Nasrallah continued in the televised interview, "The response will not be just inside the Israeli entity --- American bases in the whole region could be Iranian targets. If Israel targets Iran, America bears responsibility."

The Hezbollah leader said, however, there were divisions in Israel over an airstrike: Personally I do not expect the Israeli enemy --- at least in the coming months or foreseeable future --- [to launch] an attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran."

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Iran 1st-Hand: A Country of Resignation (Slavin)

Cafe in Darband (Photo: Barbara Slavin/Al-Monitor)Outside the conference hall, where Iranian reporters seemed to spend much of their time trying to interview the handful of Western journalists covering the meeting, residents of the capital were less eager to engage with foreigners than in the past. Contact with outsiders is now potentially much more dangerous — a legacy of the 2009 crackdown, which brought the arrest of hundreds of former Iranian officials, journalists and academics who had close ties with the West.

At Darband, for example, a young man who had given permission for a photo to be taken of him and his wife and young son sitting on a takht-e choobi, changed his mind 20 minutes later and asked that the image be deleted. Why, he would not say.

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Iran Interview: Ali Larijani on the Nuclear Issue, Syria, and Detained Opposition Leader Mousavi (Slavin)

While in Tehran to cover the Non-Aligned Movement's summit, Barbara Slavin of Al Monitor spoke with Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani.

Larijani's line on Iran's nuclear programme is the expected one. So is his assurance that sanctions are not hampering the Islamic Republic and his appeal to leave Syrian President Bashar al-Assad alone.

What may be more interesting is Larijani's effective declaration that opposition figure Mir Hossein Mousavi --- held under strict house arrest, without criminal charge, for 18 1/2 months --- will remain in limbo.

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Iran Document: Tehran's Official Proposals in the Nuclear Talks in Moscow

Moscow Nuclear Talks, 18-19 JuneThe file consists of three major sections:

1. Iran's Package of Proposals to the world Powers
2. Evidence and documents proving that uranium enrichment is Iran's inalienable right despite the western allegations
3. And Iran's response to the proposals offered by the world powers

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The Latest from Iran (27 June): How to Un-Do Diplomacy --- "Jews Control the Illegal Drug Trade"

See also The Latest from Iran (26 June): The Oil Squeeze

1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi1515 GMT: Supreme Leader. Is this confidence or concern in Ayatollah Khamenei's remarks today to judiciary officials?


“The main aim of the sanctions imposed by arrogant powers is the Iranian people so that the pressure will cause people to become frustrated and separate from the Islamic establishment. However, by God’s grace, they will fail in this conspiracy as they still do not know our people and officials."


“These bullying powers which lyingly call themselves the international community are trying to deprive the Islamic Republic of Iran of its popular support base."


“Under these conditions, cooperation among all organs and the three branches [of the government] is necessary, an obligation, and incumbent."

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The Latest from Iran (26 May): Propaganda Watch

See also Iran Snap Analysis: Propaganda, Negotiations, and the Economic Ties That Bind
Friday's The Latest from Iran (25 May): On to The "Last Chance" Nuclear Talks in Moscow

1605 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Laura Rozen adds valuable detail to our news and analysis of the nuclear talks in Baghdad. She describes how there nearly was no agreement to another meeting in Moscow --- some of the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, Russia) were pushing for a harder line than others on the language to be offered to the Iranians in a statement summarising Baghdad's discussions and looking to the future.

In the end, the European Union's Catherine Ashton, the lead negotiator for the 5+1, worked out a compromise text. In her press conference at the end of the meetings, she said, "Significant gaps remain" between Iran and the 5+1, but there was enough common ground for another round of talks.

Ashton reportedly used the Iraqi hosts and the Chinese and Russian delegations to ensure the acceptance of the Iranians, who proposed Astana in Kazakhstan, Beijing, or Moscow as the next venue.

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Iran Video Feature: Ahmadinejad, Arab Spring, and the Future of the Regime (Slavin and Maloney)

In my opinion, Barbara Slavin and Suzanne Maloney are two of the sharpest US-based observers of Iran. So this discussion, set up by, offers a lot for consideration from Slavin's first-hand account of an Ahmadinejad press conference to Maloney on the nuclear issue to --- most importantly, in my opinion --- thoughts on the effect of the Arab Spring and the internal stability of the regime.


Turkey-Israel Feature: As a New Flotilla Prepares to Sail, Ankara and West Jerusalem Endure the Chill (Slavin)

Turkey and Israel are close to resolving their dispute over last year's flotilla fiasco, but the partnership that existed between them for more than a decade will almost certainly stay submerged.

As a new flotilla of ships prepared to set sail for Gaza Tuesday, Turkish and Israeli officials and analysts said that only a major breakthrough on Israeli-Palestinian peace could begin to revive a relationship that once featured joint military exercises and hordes of Israeli tourists visiting Istanbul. Even then, the officials said, they doubted that the warmth of the 1990s and the mid-2000s would resurface.

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The Latest from Iran (9 March): More than Political Games

2210 GMT: Clerical Challenge. A different line of criticism from Grand Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani, who has been distancing himself from the regime, today....

Vahid Khorasani said that the Government was "losing Islam" by failing to prevent Iran's youth from being seduced by Christianity.

2150 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Ardavan Tarakmeh, student director, writer and film critic, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Tarakmeh is the son of reputed writer and literary critic Younes Tarakmeh. He was arrested during the Ashura demonstrations of 27 December 2009.

Farnaz Kamali, a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign for women's rights, has been released on $300,000 bail.

Kamali was arrested in Tehran during the protests on 20 February and charged with actions against national security, membership in the Campaign to Free [student activist] Atefeh Nabavi, and participation in protests.

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