Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eye on Iran: Tehran Beats Back New Protests

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Top Stories

WSJ: "Iranian police used tear gas and electric prods to crack down on the country's biggest antigovernment protests in at least a year, as demonstrators buoyed by activism across the Middle East returned to the country's streets by the tens of thousands Monday. The day of planned antigovernment rallies began largely peacefully, according to witnesses, with protesters marching silently or sitting and chanting. But as demonstrators' ranks swelled, police and antiriot forces lined the streets, ordered shops to shut down and responded at times with force, according to witnesses and opposition websites, in a repeat of the official crackdown that helped snuff out months of spirited opposition rallies a year ago. By day's end, online videos showed garbage bins on fire, protesters throwing rocks at the police and crowds clashing with motorcycle-mounted members of the pro-regime Basij militia." http://t.uani.com/i9UKbe

AP: "Iranian police have confirmed that one person was killed during clashes between security forces and protesters. The official IRNA news agency on Tuesday quotes acting police commander Gen. Ahmad Reza Radan as saying dozens of people, including nine members of the security forces, also were wounded in Monday's protests. Radan says one of the injured is in critical condition. He also said several people were arrested, but did not say how many. Radan blamed the violence on the Iraq-based Iranian opposition group, MEK. He provided no proof to back up his claim." http://t.uani.com/ehFhGW

AP: "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has expressed support for the tens of thousands of protesters in Iran's capital, saying they 'deserve to have the same rights that they saw being played out in Egypt and are part of their own birthright.' Speaking to reporters after meeting House Speaker John Boehner on Capitol Hill, Clinton says she and others in Barack Obama administration 'very clearly and directly support the aspirations of the people who are in the streets' of Tehran. She spoke of the 'hypocrisy' of the Iranian government that hailed the protests in Egypt but has tried to suppress opposition at home. She said there 'needs to be a commitment to open up the political system, to hear the voices of the opposition and civil society.'" http://t.uani.com/g6Hvfd

Iran Disclosure Project

Nuclear Program & Sanctions

"Britain is talking to other countries about stepping up pressure on Iran to freeze uranium enrichment, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday. Talks on Iran's nuclear programme between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and Britain ended without progress last month. 'Given Iran's refusal to engage in genuine negotiations over its nuclear programme at the recent talks in Istanbul, we are now in talks with international partners about steps to increase the legitimate peaceful pressure on Iran to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions and the requirements of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency),' Hague told parliament." http://t.uani.com/f8Glsa

RIA Novosti: "Russia will not support future sanctions against Iran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in London on Tuesday. 'With the approval of Resolution 1929 in [June] last year, practical possibilities to impose sanctions on those related - even indirectly - to the Iranian nuclear program have been exhausted,' Lavrov said at a news conference with his British counterpart William Hague... 'Further sanctions would mean the suppression of the Iranian economy and creation of social problems for the population,' Lavrov said. 'We cannot support this.' Russia, which had long opposed new sanctions, supported the UN resolution after admitting that Tehran had failed to prove that its nuclear activities had a peaceful nature." http://t.uani.com/fyUiHb

AFP: "Iran said on Tuesday that the chief of the UN atomic watchdog is under 'political pressure' when it comes to the Islamic republic's nuclear programme. 'It is clear that statements that are ambiguous or seek to create confusion are made under political pressure,' foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters. He was reacting to comments from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano in an interview with the Washington Post newspaper published on Monday voicing concern over Iran's atomic programme. 'We have announced many times that our country's peaceful activities are within the frameworks of our rights and NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) and (IAEA) agency regulations,' Mehmanparast added." http://t.uani.com/eeOd51

Human Rights

AFP: "An Iranian man convicted of heroin trafficking will be expelled and returned to his home country, a Swiss court said Monday, even though the man claimed that he could be persecuted for being homosexual. The Federal Administrative Tribunal threw out the 35-year-old's argument, saying in its decision made public Monday that 'at the moment there is no known case from Iran in which someone has been convicted due to his sexual orientation.' The court said that as far as Swiss authorities understand, 'homosexuality is not uncommon in the Iranian society and systematic discrimination is not detectable.'" http://t.uani.com/gJjt2j

Domestic Politics

AP: "Hardline Iranian lawmakers called on Tuesday for the country's opposition leaders to face trial and be put to death, a day after clashes between opposition protesters and security forces left one person dead and dozens injured... At an open session of parliament Tuesday, pro-government legislators demanded opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mahdi Karroubi and former reformist President Mohammad Khatami face be held responsible for the protests. Pumping their fists in the air, the lawmakers chanted 'death to Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami.' 'We believe the people have lost their patience and demand capital punishment' for the opposition leaders, 221 lawmakers said in a statement." http://t.uani.com/gX24Mm

WSJ: "Videos of the protests in Iran are trickling out despite reports of cellphone and text-messaging services being down, another sign that organizers are finding ways to evade tight government controls to get the message out. According to tweet messages and opposition websites, protesters gathered at different meeting points in Tehran to head toward centrally-located Imam Hossein Square and Azadi Square, following a plan previously announced by opposition leaders Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. Despite the government warnings thousands of people showed up. At the beginning everything appeared to run peacefully but security forces were present. It was around 3 pm (Tehran time) that reports of clashes started to come out."

Foreign Affairs

Bloomberg: "A Spanish consular official was detained for four hours in Tehran yesterday, prompting protests from Spain's government. The incident was 'very grave' and 'unacceptable,' Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez told reporters in Madrid today in televised comments. Ignacio Perez Cambra, the embassy official responsible for consular affairs, was detained and released without charges, said a ministry official who declined to be named in line with policy. Spain summoned the Iranian ambassador in Madrid and has sent a note of verbal protest to the Iranian authorities, the official said. High-level visits between the two countries have been frozen, Jimenez told reporters." http://t.uani.com/eLTCWj

& Analysis

James Phillips in The Heritage Foundation: "Iran's hostile regime has been one of the chief beneficiaries of the political turmoil that has convulsed Egypt and Tunisia, which distracted the United States and other countries from the ongoing standoff over Iran's nuclear program. The dramatic events diverted international attention from Tehran's stubborn refusal to negotiate an acceptable resolution of the nuclear issue at the failed Istanbul talks last month. There is a distinct danger that Tehran will conclude that growing regional instability is tilting the balance of power in its favor and give it greater latitude to withstand international pressure to rein in its nuclear weapons program. The Obama Administration should vigilantly refocus international attention on Iran's nuclear defiance, support for terrorism, and human rights abuses and ratchet up pressure on Iran's radical regime. Tehran demonstrated that it is not serious about a diplomatic resolution of the nuclear issue by rejecting negotiations with the U.S., four other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, and Germany at the January 21-22 talks in Istanbul. Tehran refused to discuss 'Iran's nuclear rights,' including its expanding uranium enrichment program, despite four rounds of Security Council sanctions requiring Iran to comply with its nuclear safeguard obligations... Washington should relentlessly ratchet up sanctions on Tehran also because rising oil prices have cushioned some of the impact of previous sanctions on Iran, which exports about 2.2 million barrels of crude per day." http://t.uani.com/eQlS6s

Tony Karon in TIME: "The aftershocks of last week's overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak continued to reverberate Monday, not only in Egypt but all the way across the Middle East to Iran. And it was the democratic challenge to Iran's leaders by crowds on Tehran's streets, reported to number tens of thousands, that the Obama Administration chose to emphasize. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed U.S. support for the Iranian demonstrators: 'We wish the opposition and the brave people in the streets across cities in Iran the same opportunities that they saw their Egyptian counterparts seize,' she said in Washington. Since bidding farewell to stalwart U.S. ally Mubarak last Friday, the Administration has insistently pressed the issue of democracy in Iran - less so in other places, where challenges to long-standing U.S. allies such as Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Algeria's military-based regime and Bahrain's monarchy have also continued to gather steam. Needless to say, while the Obama Administration is hoping Iran will be the next domino to fall to a democratic rebellion, the regime in Tehran would prefer it to be Bahrain, which plays host to the key U.S. naval facility in the Gulf." http://t.uani.com/fxkDAe

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 Press@UnitedAgainstNuclearIran.com

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