Monday, December 31, 2012

Eye on Iran: Huawei Partner Offered Embargoed HP Gear to Iran

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"A major Iranian partner of Huawei Technologies offered to sell at least 1.3 million euros worth of embargoed Hewlett-Packard computer equipment to Iran's largest mobile-phone operator in late 2010, documents show. China's Huawei, the world's second largest telecommunications equipment maker, says neither it nor its partner, a private company registered in Hong Kong, ultimately provided the HP products to the telecom, Mobile Telecommunication Co of Iran, known as MCI. Nevertheless, the incident provides new evidence of how Chinese companies have been willing to help Iran evade trade sanctions. The proposed deal also raises new questions about Shenzhen-based Huawei, which recently was criticized by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee for failing to 'provide evidence to support its claims that it complies with all international sanctions or U.S. export laws.' At least 13 pages of the proposal to MCI, which involved expanding its subscriber billing system, were marked 'Huawei confidential' and carried the company's logo, according to documents seen by Reuters. In a statement to Reuters, Huawei called it a 'bidding document' and said one of its 'major local partners,' Skycom Tech Co Ltd, had submitted it to MCI."

JPost: "There have been signs over the past year and particularly over the past weeks, that Iran has an interest in reaching a resolution over its nuclear program, the US Department of the Treasury top sanctions official said Monday. 'Pressure is working' David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the US Department of the Treasury, said in an interview with Army Radio. However, he added that the Iranian regime must be aware that 'the window' to reach a solution diplomatically will not remain open forever. 'We have demonstrated to Iran that continued refusal to address issues will only result in increasing pressure,' Cohen asserted. He stressed that 2012 was a very difficult year for the Islamic Republic, noting that oil exports dropped by 50%, along with the value of the Iranian Rial."

Bloomberg: "Iraq jumped two places to No. 2 in OPEC's rankings this year, cementing its position among the world's leading oil producers. Neighboring Iran dropped three spots to fifth as international sanctions took hold. Second only to Saudi Arabia within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Iraq's output rose by 24 percent this year as the BP Plc-led Rumaila field increased supply. Iranian production shrank by the same percentage to the lowest level since 1988, data compiled by Bloomberg show, and its exports will continue to drop into 2013, according to the International Energy Agency... Iraq's crude production averaged 3.35 million barrels a day last month, Bloomberg data show. Iran's daily output slumped to 2.7 million, less than Venezuela and Kuwait, OPEC's third- and fourth-largest producers, respectively."
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Nuclear Program

AP: "Iran's navy said Monday it test-fired a range of weapons during ongoing maneuvers near the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for one-fifth of the world's oil supply. IRNA quoted Adm. Amir Rastgari, spokesman for the exercise, as saying the Iranian-made air defense system Raad, or Thunder, was among the weapons tested, along with various torpedoes and underwater and surface-to-surface rockets as well as anti-ship missiles. The Islamic Republic said it also deployed domestically-made hovercraft during the operation. The Raad system was on show during a military parade in Tehran in September for the first time. Iran says is more advanced than its Russian predecessor and is designed to confront fighter jets, cruise missiles, smart bombs, helicopters and drones. Iran said the system fires missiles with a range of 50 kilometers (30 miles), capable of hitting targets at 22,000 meters (75,000 feet)."


AFP: "President Barack Obama enacted a law to counter Iran's alleged influence in Latin America, through a new diplomatic and political strategy to be designed by the State Department. The Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act, passed by lawmakers earlier this year, calls for the State Department to develop a strategy within 180 days to 'address Iran's growing hostile presence and activity' in the region. Although the strategy is confidential and only accessible to lawmakers, it must contain a public summary. The text also calls on the Department of Homeland Security to bolster surveillance at US borders with Canada and Mexico to 'prevent operatives from Iran, the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps), its Quds Force, Hezbollah or any other terrorist organization from entering the United States.' And within Latin American countries, the text provides for a multiagency action plan to provide security in those countries, along with a 'counterterrorism and counter-radicalization plan' to isolate Iran and its allies."

Human Rights

AFP: "Iran on Saturday hanged an Afghan drug trafficker and four Iranians, three of them convicted of rape, local media reported. The 27-year-old Afghan from Herat, identified only by his initials MM, was sent to the gallows in the northern city of Damghan after being convicted of selling around two kilos (four pounds) of crack cocaine. Three Iranian men convicted of rape and another of smuggling heroin and opium, were hanged in the central city of Yazd."

Opinion & Analysis

UANI Advisory Board Member Walter Russell Mead in The American Interest: "Iranian authorities have realized that their longtime ally in Syria is on the way out and have held talks with members of the opposition about a transitional regime, reports the Los Angeles Times. From the piece (with excellent reporting from Ramin Mostaghim and Alexandra Sandels) it appears that Iran's government is still not willing to break with Assad, but is increasingly and reluctantly coming to conclude that efforts to save him are doomed. For those concerned about a possible US-Iranian military conflict - which is to say everyone in the world who cares about war, peace and the price of oil and gas - this is an important moment of truth. The loss of its key ally in Syria will bring dramatic changes to Iran's position. Will the ruling mullahs and their allies decide that it's time to call off the confrontation before Tehran is even weaker and more isolated, or will they double down on nukes and a hard line in the belief that nothing else can save them? One way or another, the course of the war in Syria will help determine whether the US finds itself in yet another Middle East war, and watching the Iranians process what looks like the downward spiral in Assad's fortunes offers clues as to how the larger drama will go. We aren't at the decision point yet. At this point the Iranians don't seem to have completely accepted that their ally cannot survive and the debate in Tehran over Syria policy isn't over. The government looks to be floundering around hoping to save something out of the wreckage. Experts and officials talk about preserving the 'structure of the Syrian state,' presumably hoping for Assadism without Assad: an Alawite dominated state structure that would continue to align with Iran while offering restive Sunnis more economic and political space. The current situation on the ground makes it unlikely that the Sunni opposition would settle for this now, but if the government's military situation stabilizes, Tehran seems to hope that international pressures for a negotiated, compromise solution would grow. This appears to match roughly with Russia's current vision for the war. Like Tehran, Moscow does not want to see a revolutionary Syria join a Sunni bloc in the Middle East and fears the export of Sunni jihadis into its own volatile Caucasus region. And like Iran, Russia has long term investments in the Assad regime, with decades of close economic, military and human ties. Russia sees itself as the protector of Syria's Orthodox Christians as Iran wants to protect the Alawites; both minorities could face tough times under a new revenge-minded Sunni regime. The fall of the Assad regime would be a blow to both countries, but Iran has much more at stake. As we've noted in past posts, Syria is crucial to Iran's grand design in the Middle East; it is the keystone in the arch of Shiite states Iran has sought to build across the Fertile Crescent from Iraq through Lebanon. It was also the means by which Iran was able to support Hezbollah in Lebanon and construct an anti-Israel alliance with Hamas that helped offset Iran's deep disadvantages on the Arab street, making it look less like a 'Persian' and 'heretical' anti-Arab power and more like a leader of global Islam in the fight against the west. The growing likelihood that decades of building this position will end in catastrophe represents the greatest threat to the Iranian regime since its failure in the Iran-Iraq war. Already Hamas has rejected Syria and distanced itself from Iran; Hezbollah is singing small and thinking more about protecting its suddenly vulnerable position in Lebanon than about joining a regional Shiite surge."

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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