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Entries in India (20)


Syria Today: The Debate Over Chemical Weapons (Continued)

Dead animals in Khan Assal in Aleppo Province after an alleged chemical weapons attack last month (Photo: George Ourfalian/Reuters)

See also Syria Feature: The Lesson of the Destruction of the Ummayad Mosque
Middle East Today: Killing Off an "Independent" Egyptian News Site
Saturday's Syria Today: A Chemical Weapons "Game-Changer"?

1515 GMT: Insurgent Leader on Chemical Weapons, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Prospect of Victory

In an interview, General Salem Idriss, the head of the insurgent Joiot Military Command, has claimed that regime forces used "the kind of chemical weapons" that are "not so very well known" in the cities of Aleppo, Raqqa, and Homs --- thus indicating that the insurgents have not been able to identify the nature of the chemicals allegedly used.

In the town of Khan al-Assal, allegedly attacked last month, Idriss said that the Syrian military had employed "some kinds of gases" and "phosphorus bombs" against civilians.

Idriss said the importance of the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra --- which has been elevated by much of the media because of the exaggerated claim that it is linked to Al Qa'eada --- has been exaggerated: "The fighters in Jabhat al-Nusra are not more than 5,000 in all the country. Compare 5,000 to that, they [have] very few fighters in Syria."

The commander added, "We don't coordinate with them, we don't have any plans to work with them in the future. They are a special group, and this group is not working under our command."

Idriss claimed, "I]f we have enough weapons and ammunition we can put an end to the fight in Syria, we can fall the regime of Bashar al-Assad. In not more than two months. We can do that."

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Iran Live: Ahmadinejad "Presidential Election Will Be Political Epic"

1900 GMT: Technology Update. Tabnak, close to presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei, slammed Western news reports on Ali Razeghi, the Iranian scientist who claims to have invented a 'Time Machine'.

The Western media did not believe in the invention and "in most cases ridiculed it," Tabnak said.

Tabnak -- which publishes daily reviews of the Western press's reporting on Iran -- took particular issue with the UK's Daily Telegraph, criticizing the paper for publishing just selected quotes from an interview with Razeghi.

The UK's Independent also came under fire, with Tabnak accusing it of questioning Iranian technological advances, including its new Ghaher-313 stealth fighter jet and its sending a monkey into space.

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Iran Live: Nuclear Talks Resume in Kazakhstan

Iran Analysis: 5-Point Beginner's Guide to Today's Nuclear Talks
Iran Feature: Talking Tough --- How the US and Tehran Mirror Each Other's Rhetoric
Thursday's Iran Live: Tehran's Positive Signals for Nuclear Talks

1430 GMT:Nuclear Watch. Joanna Paraszczuk surveys reaction in the Iranian press to today's talks in Kazakhstan....

ISNA gave a neutral report on Friday afternoon, noting that Iran's nuclear negotiating team had a new member, Mehdi Safari, the former ambassador to China.

ISNA also reported that the spokesman for the lead negotiator of the 5+1 Powers, Catherine Ashton, said they were not going to put any new offers on the table in this round of talks, and that Tehran needed to prove its nuclear programne had no military dimension.

Fars News, close to the Revolutionary Guards, focused on Iran's position. It repeated comments by Ali Bagheri, Iran's deputy negotiators, that Tehran had come up with specific recommendations for cooperation with the 5+1, and that those proposals had been presented in Moscow last June.

Iran believed the proposals were a "confidence building step, i.e. actions that both sides have to agree to do as part of a comprehensive solution", Bagheri said.

Hardline Mashregh News, meanwhile, criticised comments by Ashton's spokesman Michael Mann as "strange".

Mashregh noted that Mann had tried to respond to an Iranian journalist's question about why Europe had not made "the slightest effort to stop Israel's nuclear activities", and why the 5+1 were talking about Iran's nuclear program and not West Jerusalem's.

The journalist added that world powers ignored the fact that two-thirds of non-aligned nations supported Iran's nuclear programme.

Mann responded that the "discussions about resolving Iran's nuclear programme must be completed and it is not possible to set a deadline for that", according to Mashregh.

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Iran Opinion: The Crisis in Medical Care --- It's Not Just About Sanctions (Uskowi)

Perhaps someone should remind the Iranian regime that India happens to be a major pharmaceuticals producer and that the Iranian oil money sitting in Indian banks in local currency is available for medical purchases. Easier said than done I'm sure, as Iran may not see the upside in solving the "medicine shortage" in the country when it can get so much anti-sanction publicity from it.

In the meantime. Iranian patients are sure to be left to fend for themselves with no light at the end of this tunnel, as the regime clings to its nuclear policies and the West remain committed to forcing Iran to change its behaviour through sanctions.

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The Latest from Iran (6 September): What Strategic Reserve?

The Supreme Leader and the head of the Assembly of Experts, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, today (see 1227 GMT)

See also Iran Analysis: Participate or Boycott? Reformists Debate the 2013 Presidential Election
The Latest from Iran (5 September): Admission --- The Sanctions Hurt Both the People and the Regime

2015 GMT: Currency Watch. The confusion over the state of the Iranian Rial continues. Khabar Online, which had early put the Rial as weak as 22510:1 vs. the US dollar --- another historic low --- claims the currrency is now back at 22180:1. has said all day that the Rial strengthened on Thursday to 21930:1, but --- which posted a different rate --- is now off-line.

1955 GMT: Supreme Leader Watch. The Foreign Ministry's Mojtaba Ferdowsipour has asserted that defence of Syria is a "red line" for Iranian foreign policy.

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U.S. Audio Feature: James Miller Talks US Arms Sales with Monocle 24 EA's James Miller speaks with Monocle 24 about US arms sales. This past year, the United States drastically increased arms sales last year. While the US is often the number 2 or 3 seller of global arms, in the last year the US accounted for 79% of global arms sales, with the majority of those arms being sold to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies...

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The Latest from Iran (23 June): All-Is-Well Oil News

See also The Latest from Iran (22 June): Supreme Leader "More Talks, Please"

1915 GMT: Economy Watch (Zionist Edition). Looks like Iran's problems with domestic production and rising prices have opened up unexpected imports --- the head of the Tehran Association of Fruit and Vegetable Sellers says cherries from Israel sre available in Iran for $3 per kilogramme.

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The Latest from Iran (13 June): The Reformists and the Next Election

See also Iran Feature: Seeking Acceptance as a Single Woman#
Remember Iran: An EA Special --- Three Years Ago Today, The Protests Begin
Remember Iran Flashback: Text of Mousavi Letter to His Supporters (13 June 2009)
Remember Iran Flashback: 13 June 2009 --- EA's Live Coverage Begins
The Latest from Iran (12 June): Three Years Ago Today

1710 GMT: Economy Watch. Asr-e Iran has warned against unauthorized withdrawals from the Foreign Exchange Reserve, claiming the remaining amount is as small as $35 billion.

1610 GMT: Supreme Leader Watch. Another sound-bite from Ayatollah Khamenei's call for a cease-fire between Parliament and President (see 1327 GMT):

This does not mean that everybody should think in the same way…but it should be crystal-clear that despite different opinions and tastes, [all] officials are united and are proceeding in the direction of the country’s progress and the realization of the [Islamic] Revolution’s objectives.

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Iran-Afghanistan Opinion: Tehran's Mistaken Posturing Over the US-Afghan Pact

President Karzai & the Supreme LeaderThere's a saying in Dari, the Persian dialect spoken in Afghanistan, "Ajala kaare shaitan ast (Haste is Satan's work)". It appears, however, the Iranian regime has not heard it: the ink on the US-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement was hardly dry when Tehran launched a verbal attack.

On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast expressed concern that the Pact may destabilise the region and called on the US to withdraw from Afghanistan immediately. Today, news broke that Iran's Ambassador in Kabul had met the head of the Afghan Senate, Fazel Hadi Muslimyar, and other legislators, asking them not to approve the Pact. The ambassador, Abdul Fazl Zuhrawand reportedly called the agreement a threat to the interests of other countries in the region, such as Russia, China, and India, as well as Iran. 

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The Latest from Iran (9 May): Propaganda and Oil

See also Iran-Afghanistan Opinion: Tehran's Mistaken Posturing Over the US-Afghan Pact
The Latest from Iran (8 May): The Political Fight Over Subsidy Cuts

2042 GMT: Parliament v. President. After the postponement yesterday of the impeachment process against Minister of Labor Abdolreza Sheikholeslami, prominent MPs Ali Motahari and Ahmad Tavakoli have declared in a statement that they will resume the effort at the start of the new Parliament next month.

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