Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Eye on Iran: Ahmadinejad: Mideast Upheaval Will Reach US

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Top Stories

AP: "Iran's president said Wednesday he is certain the wave of unrest in the Middle East will spread to Europe and North America, bringing an end to governments he accused of oppressing and humiliating people. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose own country resorted to violence to disperse an opposition rally earlier this month, also condemned Libya's use of force against demonstrators, calling it 'grotesque.' Iran's hard-line leaders have sought to claim some credit for the uprisings in Arab nations, saying they are evidence that its 1979 Islamic Revolution, which ousted the U.S.-backed shah, is being replayed... 'The world is on the verge of big developments. Changes will be forthcoming and will engulf the whole world from Asia to Africa and from Europe to North America,' Ahmadinejad told a news conference Wednesday. The tone of the remarks seemed to draw on the belief by Shiite Muslims that a revered ninth century saint known as the Hidden Imam, will reappear before judgment day to end tyranny and promote justice in the world."

AP: "Senegal said Wednesday it will cut diplomatic ties with Iran over its belief that a seized Iranian arms shipment was intended for rebels who fight Senegalese troops. The move is the latest escalation between the Senegalese government and Iran. The arms shipment was discovered in Nigeria in October. When an investigation showed the arms were bound for Gambia-based rebels who have previously attacked Senegalese soldiers, Senegal pulled its ambassador from Iran. After the deaths of three Senegalese soldiers over the weekend in Senegal's disputed Casamance region, the country is severing all ties, said Foreign Minister Madicke Niang. 'We have seen the report of the chiefs of staff of the army that says the rebels are well-armed and have sophisticated weapons. These arms did not fall from the sky,' Niang said. 'Reliable sources consider that these arms came from Iran. Senegal cannot continue to maintain relations with a country that is working to destabilize it.'"

WashPost: "Iranian officials on Tuesday hailed the passage of two warships through Egypt's Suez Canal as a milestone in Iran's effort to play a greater role in maritime affairs. Israeli officials called it a worrisome provocation at a time of upheaval and deepening tension in the Middle East. The Alvand frigate, one of the oldest vessels in the Iranian navy's five-ship fleet, became the first Iranian warship to sail into the Mediterranean since the 1979 Islamic revolution. The frigate, built in 1968 and in dire need of repairs, is en route to the Syrian port of Latakia for a training mission and is accompanied by a supply ship... Brig. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, the deputy commander of Iran's military, was quoted by the country's official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying that the Suez transit had succeeded 'by the grace of God' and describing Israeli officials' concerns as 'negative propaganda.'"

Iran Disclosure Project

Nuclear Program & Sanctions

"David Cameron has threatened Iran with fresh sanctions if it continues its nuclear weapons programme, saying it risks becoming 'a pariah state'. He said there was 'grave concern' and promised to 'work vigorously' to force Iran's government to change course. The rest of the world did not want an arms race, the prime minister added. Mr. Cameron, who is touring the Middle East, also said countries in the region should lose European Union funding if they failed to make political change."

Bloomberg: "Dubai-based business are setting up branches in Turkey to trade more easily with Iran, Milliyet newspaper reported, citing Mehmet Kocaman, the Turkish part- owner of an Iranian fertilizer maker. Kocaman said his company Gubre Fabrikalari TAS had been approached for advice on how to make transfers to and from Iran despite the banking restrictions sparked by U.S. sanctions over Iran's nuclear program, the Istanbul-based newspaper said. He didn't name the companies. Gubre Fabrikalari, known as Gubretas, plans additional investments at its Iranian plant to add 1 million tons of new capacity, Milliyet said, citing Kocaman."


Reuters: "China's Sinopec Corp is retooling an idled crude distillation unit at its Tianjin refinery into a condensate splitter to process Iran's South Pars condensate, an industry official told Reuters on Tuesday. Sinopec's plant in the northern port city will turn a 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) crude unit into a splitter able to process 1 million tonnes per year of Iranian condensate, or roughly 23,500 bpd. 'The revamp work should be completed around March/April. The new facility should be ready to process its first South Pars condensate cargo in April,' said the official with direct knowledge of the situation."

Bloomberg: "Iran plans to attract a total $11 billion of investment in its South Pars natural gas field by March 20, the end of the Iranian calendar year, Pars Oil and Gas Co. managing director Mousa Souri said, without specifying where the investment would come from. The field has already drawn an investment of $9 billion, Souri said in a report published on the Oil Ministry's news website, Shana, late yesterday. Iran needs $40 billion to develop all 28 phases of the South Pars gas field over a period of 10 years, the Oil Ministry said in November 2009. Iran's plan to develop South Pars, the world's largest single gas deposit which the Persian Gulf country shares with Qatar, have been delayed by international economic sanctions over its nuclear program."

Bloomberg: "Iran is seeking to export four gasoline consignments by March 20, the end of the Iranian calendar year, the state-run Mehr news agency reported, citing Deputy Oil Minister Alireza Zeighami. Iran's National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Co. has issued a permit for the sale of 1 billion liters of gasoline, Mehr quoted Zeighami as saying. Zeighami said Iran has started negotiations with neighbouring countries which would get priority among prospective buyers, according to Mehr."

Human Rights

AFP: "Several European countries are gunning for new sanctions against Iran due to recent human rights violations, including the execution of an Iranian-Dutch national, a diplomatic source said Tuesday. The sanctions would be targeted at 'Iranian rights violators such as judges and prosecutors,' said the source, who asked not to be identified. At talks in Brussels between foreign ministers of the 27 EU members this week, seven European Union countries called for sanctions to be adopted when the ministers gather again next month. The countries were Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Czech Republic and the Netherlands."

Foreign Affairs

WashPost: "Iranian hackers apparently hit the Voice of America Web site on Monday afternoon, replacing pages with a statement saying in Persian and English that 'we have proven that we can' and asking Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton if she wanted to 'hear the voice of oppressed nations will from heart of USA.' The flag on the screen is that of the Islamic Republic of Iran, suggesting that the hacking came from that country or from supporters of the regime there."

AP: "North Korea's deputy foreign minister says Tehran and Pyongyang are in 'one trench' in the fight against 'arrogant powers.' Vice-minister Pak Kil Yon made the remarks during a meeting with Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi. on Tuesday. The comments were posted late Tuesday on the website of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Pak is on an official visit to Iran. Rahimi said improving ties between Tehran and Pyongyang are 'a thorn in the eyes of world's arrogant powers' - a clear reference to the United States."

& Analysis

Meir Javedanfar in The Guardian: "With the world's attention focused on the protests in Libya, and indeed to some extent still on other Arab countries, there is a risk that the revival of streets protests in Iran is ignored. But it is real, and has worried the regime of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei enough that a show of unity has been orchestrated among politicians and the loyal masses. Scores of members of parliament shouted 'death to Mousavi' and 'death to Karrubi' during a parliamentary session on 15 February. On the 16th, people were bussed in and given free lunch and drinks to participate in pro-government demonstrations. However, away from these scenes, the arrests, killings and abuses of human rights continue unabated. During demonstrations on 14 February in solidarity with the people of Egypt and Tunisia, two people were killed and 1,500 people were arrested by government forces. On 20 February, Iranians returned to the streets in different parts of the country to mourn the death of the two young demonstrators who were killed on the 14th. This time they were outnumbered by security personnel. Again, scores were beaten and arrested. The resurgence of demonstrations in Iran seem to have caught Iran's leaders by surprise. Many of them had thought that the green movement was dead. But the demonstrations have shown that they are wrong. Not only is the green movement alive, it is also showing resilience and stamina and making progress, from launching demonstrations to strikes, a notable one taking place at the oil refinery installation at Abadan... These developments also show that sanctions imposed by the west have not rallied the Iranian people to the flag. With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disastrous economic policies and rampant corruption ruining the economy, when it comes to the winning the unpopularity race, the west stands little chance against the current Iranian government. While sanctions in response to the nuclear programme are essential, it is also crucial that western relations with the people of Iran are improved. Although the regime will try its level best to prevent that happening, there are ways of doing this over its head. The most effective way is to impose sanctions against abuses of human rights in Iran. The west needs to show the people of Iran that it is willing to punish those who abuse their rights. Naming and shaming torturers in the Evin prison and other detention centres and imposing sanctions against the regime because of them would send a powerful message of support."

Alireza Nader, David E. Thaler and S. R. Bohandy in RAND: "As the commander in chief and highest political authority in Iran, the current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has played a critical role in the direction of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This has never been more true than during the tumultuous 2009 presidential elections, the outcome of which was determined by Khamenei's decisive support of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Only two men have held the position of Supreme Leader since the Islamic Republic of Iran was established in 1979: Khamenei and his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. As Khamenei ages and rumors of his ill health intensify, U.S. policymakers and analysts need to consider the various scenarios for succession. The eventual outcome - what the office of the Supreme Leader looks like in Khamenei's wake - will determine the Islamic Republic's direction. The research documented in this monograph identifies three key factors that will shape succession of the next Supreme Leader and outlines five alternative scenarios for the post-Khamenei era. For each of the factors, it provides a set of indicators that observers can use to assess the most important trends. It situates all of this within the context of the June 2009 election. Because the context in which succession would occur becomes more uncertain the further into the future one looks, the authors focus on the near term - i.e., a succession that would take place within the next two to three years. However, the authors also speculate about the changes that are likely to ensue in the longer term if Khamenei remains Supreme Leader for the next ten years or more. In light of the 2009 election, a status quo scenario seems most likely in the near term, and an absolutist scenario is a close second. The likelihood of longer-term succession scenarios is uncertain."

Eye on Iran is a periodic news summary from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Eye on Iran is not intended as a comprehensive media clips summary but rather a selection of media elements with discreet analysis in a PDA friendly format. For more information please email

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons. UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.

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