Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Nigeria (8)


Iran Live Coverage: A New --- and Genuine --- Offer in the Nuclear Talks?

See also Iran Analysis: Taking Apart the "Iranian Terror Cell in Nigeria" Story
Wednesday's Iran Live Coverage: Detaining the Journalists

2055 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Amid the inevitable political spin around the IAEA report on Iran's nuclear programme, Al Monitor hands over its summary to David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security.

Unsurprisingly, Albright, with a long-time pattern of hostility towards Tehran, is selective in trying to present an IAEA condemnation of the Islamic Republic. He introduces the new charge that the Tehran Research Reactor, known for its production of medical isotopes, is testing fuel for a heavy water reactor at Arak. Then he puts out the line that new centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment plant --- even though Tehran says they are for 5% uranium only --- are an ominous power play by Iran: “The depressing news is they think they’re strengthening their position by racing ahead with the installation of all these machines."

Al Monitor helps out Albright with the unsupported assessment, "Another possibility is that Iran — despite its frequent protestations to the contrary — is seeking to make nuclear weapons or at least become a “virtual” nuclear weapons state with the capacity to build bombs quickly." Somewhat confusingly, it has the later contradiction --- which is based on information from the IAEA report:

The good news in the report is that Iran in December resumed sending some of its 20%-enriched uranium for conversion into fuel for the TRR. While Iran has added to its stockpile of 20% uranium since the IAEA's last report in November, it is still below what is believed to be an Israeli red line for possible military action.

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Iran Analysis: Taking Apart the "Iranian Terror Cell in Nigeria" Story

The State Security Service announced the arrests in a press conference, featuring the three suspects "on parade" before the media. The main suspect, Abdullahi Berende, gave a confession:

[He] told journalists that he was employed by “people who were ready to capitalise on my weakness", though he denied being part of a terrorist network....He regretted “betraying my country”, adding that his [Iranian] handler whom he referred to as Amir, preyed on his weakness.

He denied working for any international or local terror network, adding that his handler only requested him to get information on American and Israeli targets in Lagos.

So who are the Iranians? The report of the press conference gives no further clues: "Attempts to reach the Iranian Embassy for comments on Wednesday were unsuccessful."

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Nigeria Feature: How Subsidy Cuts Led to Strike, Protests, and Deaths (Mark)

Every previous government's attempt to remove the subsidy, which funnels a quarter of the £15.5bn annual government budget to a well-connected cartel of fuel importers, has floundered amid mass protests. Many see the subsidy as a rare opportunity to share in the nation's oil riches, whose 2m barrels per day industry has failed to lift the vast majority of citizens out of extreme poverty. In 2003, there were eight days of strikes when the government attempted to increase fuel prices.

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Africa Feature: Will Fuel Protests Ignite an Opposition Movement in Nigeria? (Campbell and Gambrell)

#OccupyNigeria: An activist-produced montage of the emerging protest movement

Is this the long-awaited Nigerian Spring? The conventional wisdom (which I shared but increasingly doubt) is that the country was too divided by religion and ethnicity and with too weak a sense of national identity for a popular opposition movement comparable to those that roiled Tunisia, Egypt or Syria. Yet, the protests are nationwide and peaceful; thus far, casualties have been caused by the security services, not the protestors. In some cases, protestors have organized themselves through the use of social media. Protestors in Kano are explicitly invoking the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement. They refer to their encampment as "Occupy Kano" and its venue as "Tahrir Square".

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Iran Snapshot: Tehran's Relationship with Africa --- Scott Lucas with World Politics Review

Senegal's Abdoulaye Wade and Mahmoud AhmadinejadIt is important not to tie Iran interests in Africa too closely to sanctions and conflict with the West. Even if there were no sanctions, Iran would certainly be making an effort to use aid and development to pursue trade and investment opportunities.

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WikiLeaks: A Guide to EA's Coverage This Week


1. An EA exclusive on Afghanistan: "US Embassy Protects Contractor Over Hiring of Child Prostitutes"

2. We take apart dramatic headlines to evaluate, "Does Shell Really Have a Grip on Nigeria's Government?"

2. Josh Mull carries out a reality check: "Journalism is Not an Attack, WikiLeaks is Not Warfare"

Features and Documents

1. How the release of the documents turned into a CyberWar: "Now MasterCard's A Casualty" and "Visa, MasterCard Sites Still Offline"

3. One of our favourite strange-but-true moments: "Iran: The Regime's Ninja Assassins?"

4. A look at one of the more unusual diplomatic incidents in the cables: "Europe, Ahmadinejad, and the Worst Inauguration Protest Ever"


Scott Lucas offers an introduction to WikiLeaks and the issues over the documents in an interview with BBC West Midlands.


Wikileaks and Oil Special: Does Shell Really Have A Grip on Nigerian Government?

The Guardian of London featured this October 2009 cable in their WikiLeaks coverage on Thursday: "Shell's Grip on Nigerian Government Revealed".

Well, not quite.

This is a significant document but not in the black-and-white portrayal of The Guardian. Instead, it reveals how Shell has made its political moves --- including putting its own people inside Nigeria's ministries --- precisely because it cannot be sure of "control" over Nigerian policy. 

And this is also a forthright revelation of the US Government as accomplice to Shell's efforts: "The Ambassador asked what the Embassy could do to help" the oil company with the pressure on Nigeria's legislators over the Petroleum Industry Bill.

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The Latest from Iran (12 November): Protesting (Clothes Optional)

1935 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Al-Rai newspaper claims, citing a central bank circular, that Kuwait has asked Gulf emirate banks, investment companies, and money exchange firms to start implementing United Nations sanctions against Iran.

The instructions call for the freezing of assets and financial resources related to “Iran’s sensitive nuclear programmes or activities”. The circular bans the opening of branches or representative offices for Iranian banks in Kuwait and forbids Kuwaiti financial institutions from opening offices or accounts in Iran.

1830 GMT: Really, It's Coming. Yet another declaration, after weeks of delays, that the government's subsidy cuts programme is going to be implemented: according to Mehr, new energy prices will be announced within days.

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