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Dec. 29, 2006: The San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability, in conjunction with MEHR Iran, have sponsored a lawsuit by Iranian-American torture victim Gholam Nikbin, 59, that will come before Federal District Court in Washington, DC on Jan. 9, 2007. The lawsuit alleges that IRI officials, at the direction of then president Rafsanjani and then MOIS minister Ali Fallahian, tortured Nikbin for converting to Mormonism and for permitting dancing and music at his wedding in Iran. For background information, see Mehr's call to victims of torture to sue the IRI, and the original 2003 press release on the Nikbin case
Dec 27, 2006. An Israeli think tank associated with the Ministry of Defense has published a stunning report on Ahmadinejad's Holocaust Denial conference in Tehran, with photographs of the main participants. The reddish-blond-hair, blue-eyed conference chairman Mohammad-Ali Ramin would like to headquarter his hate-organization in Berlin, because of Germany's association with the Holocaust. "The resolution of the Holocaust issue will end in the destruction of Israel," Ramin said recently. Ramin would appear to be a perfect Ayran, with an Iranian father and German-born mother. You can download a PDF copy of the report here.
Dec. 27, 2006: Two recent columns by FDI Exec. Director: Showdown, which looks at the Dec. 23 UNSC resolution on Iran's nuclear program, and Tehran's vow to proceed at "top speed" with uranium enrichment; and Baker-Hamilton Lunacy, which analyzes misconceptions about Iran in the Iraq Study Group report; and
Dec. 11, 2006: Students burned pictures of Ahmadinejad and set off firecrackers during a speech by the Iranian president today at Amir Kabir university.
The disturbances were reported by Iran's semi-official FARS news agency, close to the IRGC, and by a student Web site. CNN reported that students interrupted Ahmadinejad's speech by booing and chanting "Death to the dictator." In the official version, ahmadinejad approved their chant, which was edited by IRNA to become "down with dictators." Students supporting Ahmadinejad reportedly clashed with pro-freedom demonstrators.
CNN called it a "rare demonstration." In fact, it was not at all.
Just last Wedneday, Dec. 6, some 2,000 students at Tehran university took to the streets, also protesting the regime and the lack of freedom. Here, they exhibited photos of Ahmadinejad in derision, upside down, While the BBC refused to cover the demonstration, FoxNews published photographs taken by an Iranian student news service and posted on an Iranian weblog.
Dec. 7, 2006: The Iranian Solidarity Congress urged President Bush in a letter sent today to reject the "counter-productive recommendations" of the Iraq Study Group regarding Iran. "It would be a suicidal policy for the United States to negotiate with the terrorist leaders of the Islamic republic," wrote ISC chairman, Dr. Assadollah Nasre Esfahani. "The mullahs would consider any such negotiations to be a clear indication that their policy of supporting terrorists in Iraq has defeated the United States.
Dec. 6, 2006: Help two Iranian Christians, now being threatened with expulsion by Turkey to their native Iran, where they face certain death as apostates. Turkish authorities arrested Azita Shafagghat and her husband Ahmad-Reza Shafaggat on June 18, 2006 after a harrowing escape from Iran and mistreatment by Greek asylum authorities. Read more about their case here (thanks to Siavash and SoSIran).
Nov. 22, 2006: Following the recent arrest of dozens of Baha'is in Iran, the Interior Ministry in Tehran has tasked all provincial governments to collect detailed information on the Baha'i community.
In a measure reminiscent of Nazi data collection on German (and later, European) Jewish communities, an interior Ministry circular dated Aug. 19, 2006, obtained by the secular opposition group Marzeporgohar, tasks local officials to gather up-to-date statistics on the income, occupation, social activities, addresses, foreign travels and contacts of all Bahai's in their juristiction, and to return completed data sheets to Seyyed Mohammad-Reza Mavali-Zadeh, Director General of the Political Bureau, Ministry of Interior, by September 6, 2006.
Nov. 16, 2006: Iran prepares to hang 11 Ahwazi Arabi activists, by hanging from cranes in public squares.
Nov. 15, 2006: Ahmadinejad opens the door to "talks" with the United States, but only if the U.S. "changes its policies" toward the regime and the region. He also announces that Iran is close to completing nuclear R&D. "I'm very hopeful that we will be able to hold the big celebration of Iran's full nuclearization in the current year," he said. (The Persian calendar year ends on March 20.)
For more, see Frontpage magazine today.
Meanwhile, the IAEA in Vienna has caught Iran cheating again. Samples taken from the Karaj nuclear waste site turned up the presence of highly-enriched uranium and plutonium, useful for making nuclear weapons (but not for making nuclear reactor fuel, as Iran claims it is doing). The IAEA notes that "Iran has not provided the Agency full access to operating records" of its centrifuge enrichment cascades, so it has no way of measuring how much fuel Iran has actually enriched or to what extent. Additionally, the report notes that:
- "Iran continues to decline to discuss" IAEA demands to establish a monitoring mechanism at its fuel fabrication plant;
- "Iran has not made available" new information as requested on its centrifuge production programs.
- "Iran has still not provided a copy" of a key 15-page document that describes the process for manufacturing HEU "hemispheres" (nuclear weapons cores)
- "Iran has not yet responded" to Agency requests for clarification on a bunch of issues, including the so-called Green Salt Project for high-explosives testing and the design of a nuclear-capable missile re-entry vehicle.
It's just four pages, but this report packs in lots of information. Download a PDF file of the entire report here.
Sept 21: Frontpage magazine column opposing the CFR "Grand Bargain for Iran," by Kenneth Timmerman.
Sept. 19, 2006: American and Iranian Jewish groups call for mass demonstration against Ahmadinejad at the United Nations for Wednesday, Sept 20, 2006, starting at noon. The demonstrations were timed for Wednesday to avoid confusion with an MEK rally today. PLACE: 2nd Avenue and 47th Street, NY, NY. TIME: 12:00PM, Sept 20..
Sept 18, 2006: The Council on Foreign Relations has invited Ahmadinejad to address the Council in New York this week, drawing a blistering response from Sen. Rick Santorum. "President Ahmadinejad does not afford his own people the freedom of speech," Santorum wrote. "By allowing him the opportunity to address a public forum in the United States, you would be sending the wrong message to the people of Iran."
The CFR has consistently promoted a "grand bargain" with the regime in Tehran, a policy it laid out in detail in a 2004 white paper written by Ray Takeyh and his wife, Suzanne Maloney, on behalf of Brzezinski and Scowcroft. As a State Department official, Suzanne Maloney has been instrumental in blocking U.S. government funding to pro-democracy groups in Iran.
Sept 15, 2006: Senator Rick Santorum (R, Pa) called on the U.S. to end "phony negotiations" with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, in an apperance yesterday on Capitol Hill with Reza Pahlavi and Sen. Mel Martinez (R, Fla). In his presentation, Reza Pahlavi repeated his call, which he issued last week in a separate meeting with Sen. Sam Brownback (see below), for the U.S. to confront and pressure the Iranian regime, while supporting the Iranian people.
Sept. 8, 2006: The families of twelve Jewish Iranian citizens who disappeared while trying to flee Iran during Khatami's presidency served a subpoena on Khatami tonight while he attended a fund-raiser in Arlington, Va for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR. The ground-breaking lawsuit, filed suit in a New York court this week, gives Khatami 20 days to respond to the allegations that he was directly responsible for the torture and disappearance of Iranian citizens. [PDF file of the complaint]. The plaintiffs, who are not U.S. citizens, brought the suit under special laws - the Alien Torts Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act - which permit foreigners to sue their tormentors for torture and kidnapping in American courts. The lawsuit filed in the New York District Court is being represented by attorneys Robert Tolchin of New York, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Jerusalem and Pooya Dayanim, president of the Iranian Jewish Public Affairs committee in Los Angeles.
Several hundred Iranian-Americans gathered outside the National Cathedral in Washington, DC last night to protest the visit of mullah Mohammad Khatami. Anglican canon Keith Roderick noted that "the Anglican Church in Iran was decimated during [Khatami's] presidency," and criticized Bishop John Chane and other church leaders for inviting Khatami to the National Cathedral.
Sept. 7, 2006: Iran torture victims today accused Khatami at the National Press club, appearing with Senator Sam Brownback (R, Ks), and Rep. Brad Sherman (D, Ca). The two-hour press conference turned into a workshop on democracy, as Reza Pahlavi answered supporters who called on him to assume political leadership of the opposition movement, "I don't think this is the moment to give somebody a title." Pahlavi called for Iranians to create a massive nonviolent protest movement inside Iran that would bring about a change of regime. Asked about the future form of government Iran should have, he specifically refused to favor a monarchy or a republic. "All I care about is that it is secular and democratic in nature," Pahlavi said. See NITV covereage of the press conference here, and an interview with FDI Exec. Director Kenneth Timmerman here.
Sept. 5, 2006: FDI will be working with Iranian-American organizations and others to coordinate activities on Thursday, Sept 7, 2006, when former Islamic Republic president KHATAMI comes to Washington, DC. A major protest will be held outside the National Cathedral, which is hosting Khatami, at 6 PM. Many Iranian-American groups have written to the Right. Rev. John Bryson Chane, episcopal bishop of Washington, DC (who runs the Cathedral). Senators Brownback, Allen and Santorum and others have protested Khatami's diplomatic visa to the State Department. FDI Exec Director Timmerman explains why the Bush Administraiton should Just Say No to Khatami.
May 30, 2006: New photographs available from recent protests by Christian Iranians in the Northwest city of Ourimieh, in West Azerjaijan province; and from student protests in Tehran.
Worried at the dramatic growth of Christianity in recent years, Ahmadinejad pledged in November to drive Christians from Iran. "I will stop Christianity in this country," Ahmadinejad reportedly said. (See the Dec. 19 posting below)
In Gorgan, in the northern province of Golestan, an Iranian Christian who converted from Islam 33 years ago has been held incommunicado by the secret police for the past three weeks, the Christian news service Compass Direct reports. Ali Kaboli, 51, was taken into custody on May 2 from his workshop in Gorgan. No charges have been filed against Kaboli, who has been threatened in the past with legal prosecution for holding "illegal" religious meetings in his home, says Compass Direct.
May 25, 2006: Just posted: the FrontPage magazine symposium, "Iran: To Strike or Not to Strike," with Jim Woolsey, Tom McInerney, and Ken Timmerman
May 24, 2006: Clashes between protesting university students and security forces continued today in Tehran, Hamedan and Zanjan. The BBC reported that 40 police officers have been injured, while Iran's student news agency INSA said protestors shouted "Death to reactionaries and dictatorship!" and "We don't want the Islam of the Taleban" - slogans reminiscent of the July 1999 student uprising. In Tehran, Ahmadinejad accused the U.S. of "hatching plots" and backing demonstrations by ethnic Azeris in Tabriz, where thousands protested a racist cartoon in the state-run daily, Iran.
May 23, 2006: Amir Taheri, whose column sparked the controversy over the new "dress code law" under discussion in Iran's Majles, yesterday said his sources for reporting on the bill were three Majles members who had attempted to block the bill since it was first drafted in 2004. While the final form of the bill is still up in the air, Taheri said "ideas are being discussed with regard to implementation,including special markers, known as zonnars, for followers of Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism, the only faiths other than Islam that are recognized as such.
May 22, 2006: Iranian lawmakers and regime officials sought to allay suspicions concerning a proposed new dress code law, dismissing a report that the bill sought special outfits for religious minorities, Reuters reported on Sunday. The Reuters account does not say the earlier reports were false, as some have claimed; it says that the bill sought to legislate "Islamic" dress. Clearly, the firestorm over the proposed bill, initially debated two years ago but revived recently, is not over. Read more.
May 19, 2006:The Islamic Republic Majles, or Consultative Counsel, on Tuesday debated a law that would require Christians and Jews to wear a special badge, reminiscent of the yellow star Nazi Germany and Vichy France imposed on Jews during the 1930s and 1940s. "This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Hier predicted that the law, which must move out of committee to the whole Majles, then be approved by the Supreme Leader and the Council of Guardians, "will certainly pass unless there's some sort of international outcry." Read More...
May 18, 2006: The MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq) is organizing major conferences in Paris and in Washington, DC in the coming week, in an effort to shore up support for the group among European and American law-makers. In recent years, the MEK has shifted its rhetoric, abandoning earlier statements, contained in Maryam Rajavi's "16 Points" that it planned to ban all opposition once it seized power through a violent uprising. Now the MEK claims to be a non-violent, pro-democracy group.
The Paris meeting will take place on Monday, May 22, from 5-8 PM, at the Salons Hoche, 9 avenue Hoche, 75008 (near l'Etoile). No prior reservations are necessary. An announcement from the group says it is being organized by the London-based "Gulf Intelligence Monitor," a subscription-based website. Several of the U.S. participants told FDI they were going to Paris to "attend a conference with the leaders of the National Council of Resistance of Iran," the main MEK front organization.
The five American participants - Ray Tanter, Maj. Gen (ret.) Paul Vallely, Lt. Gen (ret.) Thomas McInerney, Navy Capt. (ret) Chuck Nash, and LtCol.(ret). Bill Cowen - are all members of the Iran Policy committee, an organization set up by Tanter and by former CIA officer Clare Lopez in early 2005. The group has published a number of "white papers" -- all of which have one thing in common: they urge the Bush administration to take the MEK and its various front organizations off the State Department list of international terrorist organizations. The group regularly has hired rooms at the National Press Club to hold press conferences.While it lists "members" on its website, it provides no information on a board of directors, and is not registered in the corporations data bases of Washington, DC, Maryland, or Virginia. The NCRI website links to the latest IPC White paper, calling IPC "an independent U.S. policy group."
No sponsor is listed for the May 25, 2006 Washington, DC conference, but the logo accompanying the on-line registration form is identical to the "lion and the sun" logo the MEK adopted from the Iranian flag of the shah's period.
So where is the MEK getting the money to finance these elaborate public relations activities? And why is the FBI allowing a group that is on the State Department's list of international terrorist organizations to operate openly in the United States?
May 8, 2006: Even the talk of sanctions are affecting the IRI. Today's Roozonline reports that the price of steel beams used in home construction increased by 50% in one week. This followed an upsurge in the price of gold coins, as people have converted bank deposits into cash. At the same time, neither the Euro or the dollar have increased significantly, which the Persian-language website said showed this was not regular inflation but a sign that the population lacked confidence in the future of the regime.
Also today, Newsmax.com reported that the regime is sending money, weapons, and targeting information to eight different terrorist groups as part of a "Judgment Day" plan to attack the United States, Britain, and their allies in the Middle East, in the event of allied strikes on Iranian nuclear, missile, and leadership targets.
May 7, 2006: URGENT ACTION: FDI has received information from inside Iran concerning the fate of Mehrdad Lohrasbi, a human rights activist jailed at the start of the July 1999 student uprising. Mr. Lohrasbi has been incarcerated at the Karaj Gohardasht prison since the 18th of Tir (July 9) 1999. In recent months, serious illnesses and bad prison conditions have put his life in danger, but prison authorities have refused pleas from his family to transfer him to a prison hospital. FDI will publish updates on Mr. Lohrasbi's condition as we receive them.
May 4, 2006: Senator Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, believes the United States should hold "direct talks" with the Tehran regime. But "Direct talks" with the Tehran regime "are not just a bad idea. They are a monumentally bad idea, whose wrong-headedness has been proven time and again over the past 26 years," FDI Executive Director Kenneth Timmerman argues in his weekly column at FrontPage magazine.
May 1, 2006: Dissident Amir Abbas Fakhrevar successfully fled Iran at the end of April, and has begun talking to the Western media about recent events inside Iran. Fakhrevar was elected to the High Council of the Referendum movement at their historic December 2005 assembly in Brussels, Belgium, and is one of three key leaders from "inside" Iran associated with the Referendum Movement.. "Amir will now be able to speak freely about his views. His voice is a critical and important voice that must be heard now," Executive Committee member Pooya Dayanim told FDI.
For more information on the Referendum movement, read their first on-line newsletter, released in March. Ironically, some of the initial signatories of the Referendum petition inside Iran have refused to join the Referendum movement, instead urging the U.S. Department of State to support the long-dead reform movement inside Iran (see April 20 - below)
Also today, Reza Pahlavi told the editors of the conservative weekly Human Events that he hoped to finalize within the next two to three months the organization of a movement aimed at overthrowing the Islamic regime in Tehran and replacing it with a democratic government. Read the complete interview.
April 28, 2006: Ahmadinejad tells the United Nations they can do nothing. "The Iranian nation won't give a damn about such useless resolutions," he told an audience in northwestern Iran today, Newsmax reports. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton today reassured the Iranian people that eventual UN sanctions were not aimed at them, but at the regime, and that developing nuclear weapons was not in Iran's interest. Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy delivered its report today to the UN Security council in New York. that Iran had failed to comply with the UNSC demand that it halt all uranium enrichment activities. US officials said this "opened the way" for Chapter 7 sanctions under the UN charter, Newsmax reported.
Click here to read today's complete IAEA report (pdf file).
April 20, 2006: The State Department says it will spend $85 million to promote democracy in Iran. But will that money actually go to people and organizations who will work toward that goal? An estimated $50 million of the money has already been earmarked to expand Persian-language broadcasting into Iran - by the U.S. government, not by Iranians who know their country best. And some of the remaining money appears to have been mis-spent as well, given to supporters of "reformist" clerics in Iran, not to groups and political parties who seek to put an end to absolute clerical rule. See "The State Department's Dead Parrot", from FrontPage Magazine.
March 12, 2006: Violent clashes in Piranshahr. Violent clashes rocked the predominantly Kurdish city of Piranshahr, near the border with Iraq, as angry residents attacked official buildings, banks, security patrol cars and trucks, according to the Students Movement Coordinating committee, SMCCDI. The riot took place following the murder of a resident by Islamist Militiamen, and the refusal of the local authorities to restitute the body of the victim to his family.
Security forces closed all accesses to the Governor's Office and opened fire on the crowd. Several demonstrators were injured and one has been reported in critical condition Additional troops were sent from the neighboring cities in order to control the situation which remains tense. The residents are requesting the public trial of agents involved in the murder and the shooting.
March 10, 2006: No Opposition in Iran? This is the mantra we hear almost daily from career State Department bureaucrats and from the CIA. They should look at these digital video clips, taken at Wednesday's demonstration in downtown Tehran by several thousand women on International Women's Day. This is precisely the type of operation the State Department should be funding with the $75 million Condoleeza Rice has asked Congress to authorize. We need to help Iranians to document the rampant and savage human rights violations of the regime.
This first clip shows women gathering to sing freedom songs in Laleh Park. The second clip shows the initial attempts by security forces to disperse the thousnads and thousands of demonstrators.The third clip shows the orders given by a regime official, in civilian clothes, to a uniformed militiaman, who launches a violent onslaught on the demonstrators. This final clip shows the crowd fleeing after some 60 women have been arrested and hundreds have been brutally beaten.
Anyone need any more proof that support for this regime is only skin-deep?
March 2, 2006: The State Department has created a special office to phttp://www.zshare.net/video/3-wmv-wwe.htmlromote democracy-promotion in Iran, unnamed State Department officials said today. the New Office of Iran Affairs will have staff in NESA and in the Bureau of Democracy, Human rights and Labor (DRL). In addition, Sec Rice has announced she will set up an new regional office Dubai to deal with Iran and Iranians, and will assign officers to handle Iranian affairs in Azerbaijan, Germany, and Britain. Democrats in the Center for American Progress were quick to criticize the new move as counter-productive, noting that current conditions in Iran make "it likely that the administration's new strategy will backfire and only strengthen Tehran's hard-liners."
Feb. 23, 2006. Repression of Iranian Sufis continues. Following the violent raid and destruction of the Sufi hosseiniyeh in Qom on February 13, and the arrest of an estimated 1,000 followers, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri and former Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi condemned the regime on Monday for the attack and called for an apology and compensation to the Sufi community. The regime has acknowledged the arrests, and said that 200 people had been injured. Opposition sources tell FDI that 3 women were killed when they tried to flee Revolutionary Guards troops and their car overturned, while a man was shot dead, apparently by Pasdaran troops. 150 people remain in custody.
Feb. 22, 2006: A women's coalition in Tehran has anjounced it will hold a commemoration of International Women's Day on March 8 inTehran's Laleh Park. According to preliminary information FDI has received, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi is expected to speak, among others. Developing...
Feb. 16, 2006: Condoleeza Rice has asked for $75 million to enhance U.S. broadcasting in Persian and to help pro-democracy groups in Iran. But does anyone at the State Department have a clue what to do? Read about it in today's FrontPage magazine.
Jan 24, 2006: IRI president Ahmadinejad escaped an assassination attempt in December, and key supporters were killed in a Falconjet crash last week. Clearly, the zealot-president has enemies inside Iran. But are they powerful enough to get rid of him? And would his disappearance significantly change the threat posed by the Islamic Republic? Read the news from Newsmax.
Jan 21, 2006: IRI president Ahmadinejad left Syria after two days of talks with Syrian president Bashar Assad, during which he pledged continued support for Hezbollah. Assad escorted Ahmadinejad before crack Syrian troops in Damascus upon his arrival. See the photo. While in Damascus, he met with leaders of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and PFLP-GC leader Ahmad Jibril, notes Joel Himmelfarb in the Washington Times. Among Ahmadinejad's guests was Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, the former University of South Florida professor who became the leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the mid-1990s.
Jan. 19, 2006: FDI has learned from sources in Iran that the high command of the Revolutionary Guards Air Force have issued new orders to Shahab-3 missile units, effective since Tuesday, Jan. 16, ordering them to move mobile missile launchers every 24 hours in view of a potential pre-emptive strike by the U.S. or Israel. FDI's source says the launchers move only at night, and have been instructed to change their postions "in a radius of 30 to 35 kilometers." Before the new orders, the Shahab-3 units changed position on a weekly basis. Advance Shahab-3 units have been positioned in Kermanshah and Hamadan province, within striking distance of Israel. Reserve mobile launchers have bee moved to Esfahan and Fars province.
Separate sources in the U.S. and Iran have told FDI recently that the Iranian regime is planning a nuclear weapons test before the Iranian New Year on March 20, 2006.
In Tehran, a website with close ties to former president Hashemi-Rafsanjani, aftab.com, today carried an interview with "national security expert," Shahrouz Ebrahimi. In an article titled "The military threat against Iran is serious," Ebrahimi argued that given the serious miltiary threats now facing Iran from Israel and the United States, "the decision-makers should observe the strategic interests of Iran, not their own tactical interests. They should pursue a moderate understanding of the world." It was one more shot across the bow of Ahmadinejad from the Rafsanjani camp.
â€¢ On the 25th anniversary of the liberation of the U.S. hostages in Tehran, supporters of an Iranian terrorist organization are demonstrating in front of the White House, with no response from the FBI. Read why it is essential to have a clear and open debate on the Mujahedin-e Khalq now, before it is too late.
Other news today:
â€¢ French president Chirac announced a dramatic shift in French nuclear strategy today in a speech at a nuclear submarine base in Brest, Reuters reported. State leaders "who resort to terrorist attacks against us, just as those who use weapons of mass destruction in any manner, must understand that they expose themselves to a firm and appropropriate response from us." The French response could be conventional or "of another nature," Chirac said, emphasizing that faced with a regional power, France would no longer choose between "inaction and obliteration."
"The flexibility and the rapid reaction time of our strategic forces allows us to target our reponse directly on the centers of power, on [an enemy's] capacity to act. All our nuclear forces have been configured with this in mind," Chirac said.
On the 25th anniversary of the liberation of the U.S. hostages in Tehran, supporters of an Iranian terrorist organization are demonstrating in front of the White House, with no response from the FBI. Read why it is essential to have a clear and open debate on the Mujahedin-e Khalq now, before it is too late.
â€¢ Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) told Fox & Friends today that he would introduce a resolution in the US Senate on Friday, calling for countries to impose a ban on travel to Iran and a ban on selling Iran refined gasoline.
â€¢ German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told ZDF television from Egypt that the EU-3continues to look for diplomatic solutions to the Iran nuclear crisis. "We are now looking for them from a different angle and, if possible, supported by the authority of the Security Council," he said.
Jan. 18, 2006: Condoleeza Rice rebuffs the regime's efforts to kick the can down the road on Tehran's nuclear program in a major speech at Georgetown University today. "There's not much to talk about," she says, in response to Ahmadinejad's efforts to entice the Europeans for more talks.
Jan. 12, 2006: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice this afternoon called for an emergency session of the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna, aimed specifically at referring the Islamic Republic to the UN Security Council for further action. The "provocative actions by the Iranian regime have shattered the basis for negotiation," she said. The announcent came after administration officials told reporters yesterday that Russia had agreed not to vote against a UN referral in Vienna. Click here for a full text of her remarks, including Q& A with reporters. Developing....
Jan. 11, 2006: All five permanent members of the UN Security Council now have sent diplomatic "demarches" to Tehran in recent days, urging Iran to back of uranium enrichment or face an imminent referral to the UNSC for possible sanctions. "When cautious and circumspect European diplomats use words like "serious," "grave," "disastrous," "red line for international community," "urge Iran to immediately and unconditionally reverse its decision," the rest of us should take these phrases as unambiguous evidence that an international crisis of the first water is fast building," writes editorialist Tony Blankley in today's Washington Times.
Also read "Iran's Nuclear Zealot," a profile of Islamic Republic president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his obsession with the 12th Imam, by FDI Executive Director Kenneth Timmerman.
Jan. 10, 2006: The nuclear crisis begins. Iran broke IAEA seals at several nuclear sites today, after IAEA inspectors in Tehran refused to remove them at Iran's request. Among the sites where Iran plans to resume nuclear research and production work are the Natanz enrichment plant, Faraymand Technique and Pars Trash, where Iran had been assembling enrichment centrifuges. IAEA Director General Mohammad el Baradei expressed "anger" at Iran's moves, and delivered an urgent report to members of the Board of Governors detailing the Iranian moves. In that report, which remains "confidential," the IAEA said that Iran was feeding uranium hexafluoride (UF6) into enrichment centrifuges, FDI has learned. This directly contradicted assertions in Tehran today by Mohammad Saeedi, the deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, who told reporters that production of nuclear fuel "remains suspended." Saeedi was recalled to Tehran from Vienna last Thursday without explanation as the crisis began to escalate.
The removed IAEA seals "covered P-1 centrifuge components, maraging steel, high strength aluminium and centrifuge quality control and manufacturing equipment, as well as two cylinders containing UF6 located at Natanz," according to a press release from the Agency. "The seals also covered some process equipment at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) at Natanz." Iran claimed it was installing a small-scale enrichment cascade at Natanz and was feeding UF6 gas into centrifuges for limited "research and development" only.
British foreign minister Jack Straw expressed European exasperation with Iran. "There was no good reason why Iran should have taken this step if its intentions are truly peaceful and it wanted to resolve longstanding international concerns," Straw said. French foreign minister Philippe Doust-Blazy, added, "We call on Iran to go back on its decision without delay and without conditions."
U.S. officials told FDI that while Iran was seeking to downplay its actions, resuming work at Natanz elsewhere essentially gave the Islamic Republic "nuclear weapons break-out capabilities. That is why this is significant."
Jan. 9, 2006: A Revolutionary Guards Falconjet crashed near Ourmieh in western Iran earlier today, killing 11 top IRGC officers, including the commander of the IRGC ground forces and the IRGC ground forces intelligence chief. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who came from the Rev. Guards ranks, issued a public note of condoleance to the IRGC within hours of the crash. According to FDI sources, at least one member of Iran's Majles called the crash "sabotage" and called for a parliamentary investigation. In a rare move, the commander of the IRGC held a press conference acknowledging the crash just 90 minutes after it occured, and authorized the official Islamic Republic News Agency to publish a list of those on board. In addition to IRGC's Ground Forces Commander Gen. Ahmad Kazemi, the dead included:
â€¢ Commander of IRGC Rassoulollah 27th Army Division, Gen. Saeed Mohtadi,
â€¢ Deputy Commander of Ground Forces for Operation Affairs, Gen. Saeed Soleymani.
â€¢ IRGC Ground Forces Intellligence chief, Gen. Shahramoradi Hanif Montazer-Qaem
â€¢ Artillery unit Commander, Gholam-Reza Yazdani;
â€¢ Two members of the Ground Forces' Command Office, Hamid Azinpour and Mohsen Asadi;
â€¢ Deputy Commander of Ground Forces, Gen Safdar Reshadi,
â€¢ IRGC Air Force General Abbas Karvandi, the plane's pilot, whom FDI sources identified as commander of the Qadr air base, which is responsible for defending the air space over Tehran;
â€¢ IRGC General Ahmad Elhaminejad, identified by FDI sources as head of the IRGC air force college, who was the plane's co-pilot,
â€¢ IRGC Colonel Morteza Basiri.
FDI sources in Tehran said the IRGC leadership was "shocked" by the crash, which apparently resulted from a failure of both engines of the French-made executive jet. On Monday evening, the National Security committee of the Iranian Majles went into an emergency meeting to hear classified information on the crash and to explore evidence of potential sabotage, our sources reported.
Unidentified gunmen attempted to assasinate president Ahmadinejad in eastern Iran on December 12, and sources in Tehran say the new president is facing fierce opposition for rival clerics who feel he has gone too far in openly defying the United States and Israel.
Jan. 6, 2006: The slowly-building nuclear crisis we have long been writing about has now erupted into the open. Yesterday, the Islamic Republic called back its top nuclear negotiator from Vienna without warning, walking out on long-planned negotiations with the European Union over its nuclear program. On January 4, the Rev. Guards began a series of exercises near the missile proving grounds in Semnan in central Iran, to test its abilities to wage Nuclear-Chemical-Biological warfare and NBC defenses. In Tehran, Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, the not-so-secret power behind Ahmadinejad's throne, is making noise that he wants to replace Ayatollah Khamenei as Supreme Leader. FDI Executive Director Kenneth Timmerman examines the implications of these recent moves by Islamic Republic leaders in light of the political uncertainty in Israel following the massive stroke that cut down Prime Minister Ariel Sharon two days ago.
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