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Entries in Sergei Ryabkov (9)


Syria Today: Europe Lifts Arms Embargo on Insurgents

Head of Free Syria Army Threatens Attacks on Hezbollah in Lebanon

The Free Syrian Army's Chief of Staff, General Salim Idriss, has warned, "If the attacks of Hezbollah against Syrian territory do not stop within 24 hours, we will take all measures to hunt Hezbollah, even in hell."

Idriss continued with the threat to intervene in Lebanon, where Hezbollah is based, "I will no longer be bound by any commitments I made, if a decision to stop the not taken and implemented," said Idriss.

Idriss said, "We are being subjected to a genocide conducted by Hezbollah," and, without giving details of specific operations said he hoped "that everyone will excuse the Free [Syrian] Army" for retaliating.

The principle sticking point involves voting. Existing members of the coalition insist that the inclusion of new members must be based on balloting by existing members only. But this would change little in a monopoly that was made possible by interference from regional countries to begin with, rather than based on consensus among Syrian opposition. The existing members were not chosen by the people to decide whether certain opposition figures should be members or not.

The second issue is the "blocking third", or the veto power held by a third of the members. This idea was advanced by the coalition's secretary general, Mustafa Al Sabbagh, and was clearly meant to maintain the monopoly of the current core group within the coalition.

Hassan argues that this stalemate may cripple the group, and will only fuel the stalemate seen on Syria's battlefields.

On the other hand, The Atlantic's Shadi Hamid argues that the political stalemate can only be solved by progress on the battlefield, and that progress has not happened because the international community is waiting for a unified leadership that will likely never occur:

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Iran Live: Decoding the Signals from the Nuclear Talks

Iran Snap Analysis: No Advance in the Nuclear Talks on Friday
Friday's Iran Live: Nuclear Talks Resume in Kazakhstan

1942 GMT: Nuclear Watch. The American attempt to put the spin on the outcome of the nuclear talks has now emerged.

A "senior U.S. official" told reporters that, despite the failure to make any advance, there was no breakdown in nuclear negotiations and that diplomacy would continue.

The official said Iran could be subjected to more economic sanctions in the future, as Western governments seek to step up pressure, but he also claimed that there were some positive signs in the two sets of Almaty discussions in February and April: "Our exchanges were more natural and free-flowing than they had been in the past talks."

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Iran Live Coverage: Supreme Leader Strikes a Defiant Pose

See also Iran Live Coverage: Supreme Leader Announces a "Political and Economic Epic"

1255 GMT:Your Friday Prayers Update. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami had the podium today and he used it for a jab at President Ahmadinejad.

Commenting on the upcoming Presidential elections, Khatami said officials must observe "Islamic ethics" and avoid misuse of authority during the process.


When selecting candidates, national and public interests were preferable to factional ones, Khatami added. "Whoever wants to be president of his country should be at the forefront of ethics,"

Khatami said that candidates must not use public funds.

"None of the three branches of the Islamic government should encourage or support a particular candidate," he added.

In contrast, Fars News English focuses its attention on rhetoric about “Arrogant Powers” and Syria.

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Iran Live Coverage: The Latest Report on Tehran's Nuclear Programme

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Threatened Journalists, Tehran Claims the South Pole, and the End of Olympic Wrestling
EA Video Analysis: Iran --- 7-Point Beginner's Guide to the Nuclear Talks
Thursday's Iran Live Coverage: A New --- and Genuine --- Offer in the Nuclear Talks?

1255 GMT:Nuclear Watch. Mehr News reports that the "largest nuclear medicine center" has opened in southeast Iran, as well as a Center for Digital Radiology in Yazd.

The new Digital Radiology Centre, in the Shahid Sadoughi Hospital, is named for Shahid Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, the nuclear scientist killed in a Tehran bomb blast in January 2012, Mehr said.

The story of progress in technology and health care is a good-news tale amid the difficulties of Iran's health-care system in providing necessary treatment, medicines, and medical supplies.

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The Latest from Iran (15 November): Tehran's Open Call for Nuclear Talks

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and Iran's Secretary of the National Security Council, Saeed Jalili

1759 GMT: A Death in Detention. Head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani has declared that he will deal "firmly" with anyone found guilty of abuse, torture, and/or wrongful behaviour in the case of blogger Sattar Beheshti, who died during interrogation in prison last week.

See Iran Feature: The Last Blog of Sattar Beheshti, Murdered by Security Forces in Prison

1753 GMT: Health Watch. Minister of Health Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, trying to stave off criticism and calls for her impeachment (see 0945 GMT), has declared that Iran has risen from 56th to 20th in the world in medical care in the last 10 years, and that the Islamic Republic is 14th in the world for pharmaceuticals.

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The Latest from Iran (14 November): Ahmadinejad Threatens to Expose Corruption

See also Iran Opinion: Sanctions Support Regime's "Internet Repression"
The Latest from Iran (13 November): Admitting a Blogger's Death in Detention

1945 GMT: Nuclear Watch. After weeks of signals, the regime has made its public push for renewed nuclear discussions today.

Iran's lead negotiator Saeed Jalili has called on the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia) to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible, stressing Tehran's readiness for talks.

Press TV pointedly calls Jalili "the representative of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei" to emphasise the Supreme Leader's blessing of the announcement.

Jalili spoke in Tehran alongside Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who welcomed “an earliest possible resumption of talks...preferably before the end of the year".

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The Latest from Iran (19 June): An Opening at the Nuclear Talks?

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- #RememberIran, Arrest of Labour Activists, House of Cinema Closed
Iran Audio Analysis: The Moscow Nuclear Talks --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
Remember Iran: An EA Special --- Three Years Ago Today, The Supreme Leader Draws the Line on Protests
Remember Iran Flashback: 19 June 2009 Live Coverage --- The Supreme Leader Declares "The Outcome is Final"
The Latest from Iran (18 June): The Nuclear Talks in Moscow

2010 GMT: CyberWar Watch. "Western officials" have told Washington Post reporters that the US and Israel jointly developed the Flame computer virus, operating for several years but recently exposed.

Flame, which mined data, was designed to map Iran’s computer networks and monitor them, sending back a steady stream of intelligence for an ongoing cyberwarfare campaign. That campaign included the Stuxnet virus, which has caused malfunctions in computers linked to Iran’s nuclear programme.

Iranian authorities revealed last month that Flame had been used against computers for the country's oil industry. The Western officials said that was a unilateral Israeli operation of which the US had no knowledge.

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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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The Latest from Iran (1 April): Nuclear Postures

2030 GMT: Sanctions Watch (Syrian Front). This weekend we noted the claim of US officials that an Iranian company was shipping $84 million of Syrian oil to China, evading international sanctions on Damascus.

Now the Maltese Foreign Ministry has said it is delisting the Maltese-flagged, Iranian-owned tanker allegedly carrying the crude.

The M.T. Tour loaded the 120,000 tonne cargo of light crude at the Syrian port of Tartus last weekend.

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