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Entries in Parchin (6)


Iran Analysis: Hype & Substance --- 3 Key Points on Latest IAEA Nuclear Report

The International Atomic Energy Agency has completed its latest quarterly report on Iran's nuclear programe. As always, extracts were leaked by "Western diplomats" to compliant reporters to portray an escalating Iranian threat, buttressed by "analysis" from the Institute for Science and International Security.

So, cutting through the propaganda, what are the significant points about the report?


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Iran Live Coverage: Supreme Leader "We Will Not Surrender"

2100 GMT: Nuclear Watch. The two days of talks between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iranian officials have ended with no news of progress on a protocol for inspections, but with an agreement to resume discussions next month.

Iranian media said the next meeting would be in Tehran on 12 February. The IAEA has made no comment.

2000 GMT: The House Arrests. The children of detained opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, activist Zahra Rahnavard, report again that they have been blocked from seeing or calling their parents.

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Iran Special: New York Times Notices Important Nuclear Story...Four Months Later

Because Washington still envisages that it can get Tehran to agree to its conditions --- a suspension of all 20% uranium enrichment, a shipping of the existing stock outside the country, and a halt to operations at Fordoo --- it gave the lead to David Sanger and James Risen for their article today.

Those clues to the politics and propaganda of the Obama Administration, rather than journalism on Iran's nuclear programme, is the real value of The New York Times coverage.

Even it is sometimes months late.

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Iran Interview: Middle Class Suffers, But Regime Will Take "Fair Package Deal" on Nuclear Program --- Iranian Analyst

The middle class feels it more than other sectors. The poor remain poor, and as always, rich people are less affected. It is the middle class --- the sector which protested the most for change in Iran following the 2009 elections, and the people who have the potential to change --- who have been hit the hardest, because they are becoming poor, and their influence diminishes. It follows that the sanctions decrease the likelihood of political change in Iran. People are increasingly dependent on the government, and the likelihood of an uprising while risking their source of income, will be lower.

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The Latest from Iran (10 June): Tough Talk Takes Over

See also Iran Feature: Lost Files --- Families of 55 Post-Election Victims Still Seek Justice
The Latest from Iran (9 June): Spiralling to a Nuclear Breakdown

1627 GMT: CyberWatch. Kamal Hadianfar, the head of a special police cyber-unit, has repeated that Iran is poised to launch a crackdown on Virtual Private Networks.

VPNs use a secure protocol to encrypt users' data, circumvent online blocks by Iranian authorities.

"It has been agreed that a commission (within the cyber police) be formed to block illegal VPNs," Hadianfar said. He claimed "about 20 to 30%" of Iran's 36 million web users employed VPNs.

Hadianfar said legal VPNs would only be used by "the likes of airlines, ministries, (state) organisations and banks", and these would be monitored.

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The Latest from Iran (14 May): Will a Nuclear Drawing Unsettle the Talks?

The drawing that "proves" Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons --- a "high-explosives containment chamber" at the Parchin military site

2011 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. Iran's Statistical Center has said that in the Iranian year ending on 19 March, the jobless rate fell 1.2% to 12.3%.

The Center said that by March 2013, the government plans to reduce unemployment rate to 7%, investing around $200 billion to create one million jobs a year. It added that by 2015, the Government may send nearly 100,000 Iranians to work abroad.

1948 GMT: Nuclear Watch. We have expected back-channel discussions between the public resumption of talks between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, Germany, France, China, and Russia) in Istanbul in mid-April and the next meeting in Baghdad on 23 May. Laura Rozen offers confirmation:

The European Union’s Helga Schmid and Iran’s Ali Bagheri held meetings in Geneva May 6-7, a diplomatic source [said].

The deputy nuclear negotiators for the P5+1 and Iran respectively are due to hold a second meeting this week, but I’ve been asked to hold off reporting the date and location as negotiators are seeking to minimize publicity for the preparatory talks. Schmid and Bagheri are meeting to prepare the agenda for the next round of Iran nuclear talks due to be held May 23rd in Baghdad.

Western negotiators have made clear that when it comes to the exceedingly sensitive Iran nuclear negotiations process, they believe more can be accomplished in such quiet meetings.

But notable as well is the fact that no scuttlebutt from the first known face-to-face talks between Schmid and Bagheri since Istanbul has leaked from the Iranian side, as has occurred in many similar past cases. That may be a sign of Tehran’s efforts to maintain the positive atmosphere and a modicum of trust and goodwill that was established at the last round of talks in Istanbul last month.

The lead U.S. negotiator with the P5+1 group, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, did not participate in the Schmid-Bagheri discussions this past week, I was told. But American officials have made clear that she is open to do so — and that they have zero plans to advertise it if and when she does.

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