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Entries in Reza Taghipour (22)


The Latest from Iran (3 December): Medicine and Sanctions

See also The Latest from Iran (2 December): Ahmadinejad Puts His Right-Hand Man in a New Post

2055 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Egyptian Front). After a period of uncertainty over how to play its relationship with Egypt --- given President Morsi's slapdown of Iran over Syria this summer, his key role in ending the Gaza War, and then his sudden grab of powers --- it looks like Tehran is back to the promotion of an Iran-Egypt alliance to reshape the Middle East.

Kazem Jalali, a leading MP with role at the Parliamentary Research Center and the National Security Committee, puts out the line, “Egypt and Iran can play an important and effective role in the Middle East region for promoting peace and security, and providing proper grounds for unity of the Muslim world."

Jalali hailed Egypt’s 2011 revolution as a “great achievement for the regional nations,” adding, “Every revolution is usually followed by a transition period which has to be passed and the Egyptian revolution is no exception to this rule. We hope to see stability and calm in this country very soon.”

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Iran Special: "Iranian Fighters Fire on US Drone" --- What is the Connection with US-Iran Nuclear Talks?

Iran displays a US drone after it crashed in the east of the country in November 2011

The significant story from Iran this week has been the continued political signals for renewed talks on the Iranian nuclear programme, not only with the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) but also directly with American officials. Officials like Mohammad Javad Larijani, brother of the head of judiciary and the Speaker of Parliament, have indicated --- after issuing ritual denuncations of the American foe --- that Tehran will speak with the US "even in the bottom of hell". On Thursday, President Ahmadinejad tried to seize the limelight --- and any eventual credit --- with his own reference to discussions.

But on Thursday, that spotlight was turned from diplomacy to confrontation. Why?

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The Latest from Iran (25 September): Which is More Important --- The Ahmadinejad Show or an Economy in Crisis?

Full interview of President Ahmadinejad by CNN's Piers Morgan: "How do you feel about being Public Enemy Number One?"

2049 GMT: Cyber Denial of the Day. Minister of Communications Reza Taghipour has said that Google is not filtered in Iran. Gmail's problems were "because of the rule of the judiciary", and "we had to observe the law".

1727 GMT: Nuclear Confusion. Yesterday we noted that Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, had confirmed --- for the first time in a public statement by an Iranian official --- that Tehran had offered to give up enrichment of 20% uranium in return for an easing of sanctions.

Now Soltanieh has denied the remark, reported by InterPress Service, “Let me tell you! I’ve taken part in no interviews about [the country’s uranium] enrichment and relevant issues with anyone in the past one month. I’ve not said such a thing."

1717 GMT: CyberWatch. Baztab writes that some government offices have installed Virtual Private Networks and filter-breakers because of the need to communicate via Gmail, blocked by authorities on Sunday.

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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 Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Sanctions and the Regime's Restrictions, From Medicine to Education for Women (Arseh Sevom)

The Supreme Leader promotes himself via Instagram

Arseh Sevom, the NGO promoting civil society and human rights in Iran, posts its latest weekly review:

We would be remiss if we did not start this week's review with congratulations to Iran's Olympic team. Meanwhile, the head of Iran's Hemophilia Center reminds the world of the unintended consequences of the sanctions: blocked payments for life-saving medications. Girls and women are told they can no longer study a wide range of subjects from engineering to educational studies, while the Supreme Leader posts his first images using the popular social photo app Instagram.

We get a reminder of Iran's National Internet project, which is now scheduled to be unveiled in phases beginning in September. In another seeming reversal of long-standing cultural norms, polygamy is promoted on a television program in Qom province. Imprisoned journalists challenge heads of the Non-Aligned Movement to visit them in prison while in Iran for their summit, as more Baha'is are arrested throughout the country.

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The Latest from Iran (5 August): The Supreme Leader Talks About Morality

Claimed footage of insurgents speaking in front of the 48 Iranians seized in Syria on Saturday --- Tehran says the men are pilgrims, but the Free Syrian Army claims they are members of the Iranian military assisting the Assad regime

See also Iran Feature: Can Tehran and the West Close the Nuclear "Trust Gap"?
The Latest from Iran (4 August): The Regime Admits Its "Economic War"

1735 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has warned that growing public despair over economic conditions "would be a blow to the roots" of the Islamic Republic.

1355 GMT: Currency Watch. The Iranian Rial has slipped another 1% vs. the US dollar, sinking to 20420:1.

The Rial is now approaching its lowest point in a currency crisis that started last autumn.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From Repression 1999 to Repression 2012 (Arseh Sevom)

The 18 Tir Protests, 199918 Tir Anniversary

Sunday was the anniversary of the 1999 crackdown on demonstrations of Iranian students, described on page 10 of our report "Attack on Civil Society".

Many consider the 1999 demonstrations as a turning point that paved the way for later developments within non-violent movements in Iran. The events of that time also led directly to the strategies used to control later protests:

A strengthened and more professional Basij militia, under the control of the IRGC and acting on their behalf, answered the rise of the student movement with a renewed mission to protect the nation against the perceived domestic threat posed by liberalizing influences.

The opposition site Kalemeh offers an illustrated review of “18 Tir” events.

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The Latest from Iran (20 June): Nuclear Talks Over, Sanctions on the Way

Claimed photograph of a memorial on Tuesday at the grave of Neda Agha Soltan, killed by a gunshot during the protests of 20 June 2009

See also Iran Analysis: The Nuclear Talks --- The West Looks for an Iranian Crash
Remember Iran Flashback: 20 June 2009 --- The Death of Neda...And Many Others
Middle East and Iran Audio Feature: "Oil and Politics" --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
Latest from #Iran (19 June): An Opening at Nuclear Talks? (No.)

1141 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Rear Admiral Abbas Zamini has declared that Iran will soon unveil 10 new domestically-built frigates and destroyers.

The Islamic Republic's first home-constructed destroyer was launched in 2010. Another destroyer will supposedly by completed by March 2013.

0926 GMT: Oil Watch. The Japanese Parliament has approved Government guarantees on insurance for crude oil cargoes from Iran, responding to imminent European Union sanctions.

The law will take effect on June 27. It allows the Japanese government, which has succeeded in getting a waiver from U.S. financial sanctions, to provide cover of up to $7.6 billion for each tanker.

The EU sanctions, starting on 1 July, prohibit European insurance firms from covering Iran's exports.

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Iran Feature: Challenging the Plans for the "National Internet" (Arseh Sevom)

A brief summary of the state of the project:

  • Construction of a national internet continues. If anything, the regime is even more dedicated to its implementation given recent proclamations from the Supreme Leader;
  • It seems clear that Iran has been getting outside support for the development of its national internet;
  • Many inside Iran have begun receiving text messages urging them to register for IranMail ( Registration requires the use of a valid national identification number;
  • Bloggers and owners of websites are being forced to register with a national system;
  • NGOs are now being asked to register with a national network;
  • Internet bandwidth is controlled by the state;
  • Five million sites are blocked;
  • Twenty-nine netizens have been arrested and some are facing the death penalty;
  • Justifications for Iran’s construction of a national internet are the need for “national security,” echoing the justifications for surveillance given by democratic governments.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- The Regime's Attack on Publishers (Arseh Sevom)

The Islamic Republic’s clash with private publishers has reached alarming levels. According to a recent report in Kalemeh, authorities have warned active publishers that they are working “due to the benevolence” of officials and “had they wanted to punish all offending publishers, many more of their publishing houses would have been closed". The closures are reportedly part of an organised attempt by the state to intentionally cause a crisis in this sector and further weaken it.

Some have expressed concern that the publishing guild is insufficiently strong to defend its members from government pressure.

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