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Entries in Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (73)


The Latest from Iran (26 April): A Nuclear Opening from Tehran?

See also The Latest from Iran (25 April): The Economic Challenge Returns

1951 GMT: Criticising the Diplomats. What do the "hard-line" Mashregh News and Baztab have against the Foreign Ministry's spokesman Rahim Mehmanparast? Both chide, "Why does he have British nationality and an expensive house there? Where do his kids live?"

1944 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Syrian Front). Al Arabiya claims that Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, Tehran Friday Prayer leader and member of the Assembly of Experts, has declared in a speech in Kermanshah that the Islamic Republic "will not allow [Syrian President Bashar] Assad to be toppled".

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Iran Special: Spreading (and Understanding) Nuclear Confusion in Tehran

UPDATE 1000 GMT: State news agency IRNA announces that the Islamic Republic and the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China) have agreed to the opening round of nuclear talks in Istanbul on Saturday, followed by a second round of talks in Baghdad.

IRNA says the compromise between the US-European choice of Istanbul and Iran's preference for Iraq was agreed between Saeed Jalili, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, and the European Union's foreign policy representative Catherine Ashton. It claims the Supreme National Security Council confirmed the arrangement in a meeting this morning.

According to IRNA, the date of the Baghdad talks will be announced at the end of the Istanbul discussions.

Meanwhile, another example of mixed messages....

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Iran Snapshot: When the Revolutionary Guards Confuse Computer Viruses with Condoms

UPDATE 1400 GMT: The news gift that keeps giving.... Gerdab has changed its site, but only compounded its Trojan error --- see below.

Gerdab is a high-profile website connected with the Revolutionary Guards. In its daily quest for vigilance and strength, it promotes the accomplishments of Iran's armed forces and calls for the latest in defence against hard war, cyber-war, and soft war.

On occasion, however, the demands on even the most dedicated cyber-fighter can be a bit too much. 

Consider, for example, this weekend's article about the dangers of the enemy's computer viruses, specifically "Trojans". That's an understandable concern, given the alleged attack on Iran's nuclear facilities by the Stuxnet worm in 2010 and reports that the US and Israel are pursuing updated variants.

The problem, however, is that --- in its attempt to illustrate the threat --- Gerdab chose a far different kind of Trojan, one not designed for a "soft war":

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Iran Analysis: Re-Assessing the Explosion at the Revolutionary Guards Base

On 12 November, an explosion at the Malard base of Iran's Revolutionary Guards killed between 17 and 37 people and damaged a number of buildings at the complex west of Tehran.

Questions immediately surfaced and have yet to be answered: what was the exact cause of the blast? Who, if anyone, was behind it? How significant was the effect on Iran's military programmes?

An article published by David Sanger and William Broad of The New York Times, "Explosion Seen as Big Setback to Iran's Missile Program", offers some clues. It needs to be read, however, not as investigative journalism but as an outlet for US and Israeli officials to put out both their assessments and their political manoeuvres around the event.

Those officials bring us no closer to the answer of whether Washington, West Jerusalem, or internal Iranian groups caused the explosion. You would not expect the sources to admit US-Israeli involvement, and the American officials settle for the line of "an accident".

What is significant, however, is the apparent conclusion of the officials that the blast was a serious blow to Iran's research and development of missiles, killing a senior commander overseeing the programme.

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Iran Special Analysis: More Than a Game --- 6 Points About the Attack on the British Embassy

Protester Carries Picture of The Queen1. WHY DID THE IRANIAN REGIME PLAY THIS GAME?

Let's start with two points: 1) the regime almost certainly had an important connection with Tuesday's demonstration and attack on the British Embassy; 2) it supported that display of force not from strength, but from weakness.

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Iran Snap Analysis: Assessing The Isfahan Explosion

Commercial satellite image of the damage at the Malard military base from the blast of 12 November 2011

Within Iran, the explosions do not take place in the isolation --- nukes, nukes, nukes --- often framed by media outside the country. They interact with other instability and uncertainty that is already present, from the fragile economic situation to the political in-fighting that is threatening President Ahmadinejad to --- possibly --- tensions within the military, including the Revolutionary Guards. 

Nothing is settled in the Islamic Republic these days. And yesterday's incident --- be it attack, sabotage, or water boiler --- adds another loud ripple to the turbulence.

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The Latest from Iran (19 November): The International Front

1810 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Turkish Front). More fencing between Ankara and Tehran, even as Iran tries to get Turkish support on issues such as its nuclear programme....

Iranian MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, has said "Iranian air forces are strong enough" when he was asked if Turkey could use Iranian air space for "war against [the Kurdish insurgenct group] PKK".

Boroujerdi was in Ankara on Friday for talks with Turkish officials.

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The Latest from Iran (13 November): An Explosion at a Military Base

2045 GMT: The Explosion. With the Revolutionary Guards "correcting" news about the blast at its Malard base twice within 24 hrs, Asr-e Iran has jabbed at the censorship and "informational shame".

2030 GMT: Corruption Watch. Iran's Inspector General Mostafa Pourmohammadi has said that the effects of financial corruption are worse than sanctions.

Hossein Fadayi of Parliament's Article 90 Commission offers a far different message: combating corruption is proceeding reasonably, and the Supreme Leader and his children are "the cleanest people".

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Iran Feature: The Chinese Telecom Giant Helping Tehran Track and Block Its Opponents (Stecklow/Fassihi/Chao)

When Western companies pulled back from Iran after the government's bloody crackdown on its citizens two years ago, a Chinese telecom giant filled the vacuum.

Huawei Technologies Co. now dominates Iran's government-controlled mobile-phone industry. In doing so, it plays a role in enabling Iran's state security network.

Huawei recently signed a contract to install equipment for a system at Iran's largest mobile-phone operator that allows police to track people based on the locations of their cellphones, according to interviews with telecom employees both in Iran and abroad, and corporate bidding documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. It also has provided support for similar services at Iran's second-largest mobile-phone provider. Huawei notes that nearly all countries require police access to cell networks, including the U.S.

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The Latest from Iran (17 October): Plots, Rumours, and A Flying Cabbage

See also Iran Document: 1st Report of The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
Iran Audio Feature: How Ahmadinejad's Advisor Stumbled Into An Admission of The Battle Within

1940 GMT: The Plot. President Ahmadinejad has used an interview with Al Jazeera English tonight to deny any Iranian involvement in the plan to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the US: "Terror is for people... who don't have any logic. People of Iran are pro-logic."

Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has tried a different approach, declaring that the main suspect in the US, Manssor Arbabsiar, is "addicted to opium and drunken and mentally not well balanced".

1640 GMT: The Plot. Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi has insisted that Iran is the most secure and stable country in the world today and that US accusations of Tehran's attempt to kill the Saudi Ambassador in Washington are "an intelligence disgrace".

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