Thursday, December 27, 2012

Eye on Iran: Iran Will Open Suspect Military Base if Threats Dropped: Report

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"Iran would let U.N nuclear inspectors into a military base they suspect was used for atomic weapons-related work, if threats against the Islamic Republic are dropped, a government official was quoted as saying. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) believes Iran conducted explosives tests with possible nuclear applications at Parchin, a sprawling military base southeast of Tehran, and has repeatedly asked to inspect it... 'If the trans-regional threats (against Iran) dissipate, then they will find it possible to visit Parchin,' Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi was quoted by the Iranian Labour News Agency as saying on Wednesday. The comments were also published on Thursday by online magazine Iran Diplomacy. Qashqavi was most likely referring to Israel's threat of military strikes against Iran and the possibility of further sanctions by the West."

Bloomberg: "Sasol Ltd., the largest producer of motor fuel from coal, said discussions continue with potential buyers of its stake in Arya Sasol Polymer Co., amid reports that an Iranian official denied the company plans to withdraw. 'We continue to engage with a number of interested parties who include business and government stakeholders,' Alex Anderson, a spokesman for Johannesburg-based Sasol, said in an e-mailed response to questions today. Reports that Sasol has decided to cut investment in Iran because of sanctions against the country are rumors, Abdol Hossein Bayat, head of the National Petrochemical Co. of Iran, was cited yesterday as saying by the state-run Fars news agency. Sasol may classify its 50 percent stake in Arya as an asset held for sale, it said in a Dec. 3 statement. Sasol co-owns Arya with Pars Petrochemical Co. of Iran, a unit of National Petrochemical. Arya contributes about 3 percent to the South African company's operating profit, Chief Financial Officer Christine Ramon said Sept. 10."

AP: "Iranian state TV is reporting the country's president has dismissed the health minister after her ministry put out a statement criticizing authorities for not providing money to import medicine. The Thursday report says Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has replaced Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, the sole female member of the Cabinet, by a temporary caretaker. Last week her ministry in a statement said the Central Bank had not allocated a budget to import medicine, but provided hard currency for importing pet food, horse saddles and dog collars."
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Nuclear Program & Sanctions

Bloomberg: "Japan's crude imports from Iran more than doubled in November from the previous month to the highest level since March, as the Asian country boosted purchases despite sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation. Oil purchases rose to 1.25 million kiloliters, or about 261,000 barrels a day, up from 469,024 kiloliters in October, according to data today from the Ministry of Finance. Imports in March were 1.75 million.  Japan is boosting Iranian purchases to broaden its supply base after imports fell to as low as 418,203 kiloliters in August to comply with Western sanctions, according to Osamu Fujisawa, an independent energy economist in Tokyo who worked for Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K."

Haaretz: "The [Israeli] Finance Ministry is planning to ban Israeli institutional investors from investing in multinational companies that do business with Iran.  A committee appointed by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz presented its preliminary recommendations to Steinitz Monday morning. Steinitz promptly passed the recommendations on to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the aim of implementing them soon. The Finance Ministry declined to name the companies included on the committee's list of those doing business with Iran. It also refused to identify the members of the committee, which was appointed over a year ago."

Human Rights

Fox News: "The Iranian Christian pastor who had been imprisoned in Iran for converting from Islam to Christianity was taken into custody again on Christmas Day, according to several Iranian media sources and individuals close to the pastor and his family. Youcef Nadarkhani, 35, had been summoned to return back to Lakan Prison in Rasht, the facility where he served time and was then released, based on the charge that he must complete the remainder of his sentence, according to several reports and confirmed by those close to Nadarkhani in Iran. In September, the pastor was acquitted of apostasy, but the court maintained his three-year sentence for evangelizing Muslims. As he had already served close to three years, the pastor was freed after posting bail."

Iran Human Rights: "Five prisoners were hanged publicly in southern Iran today December 27. According to the state run Iranian news agency Fars five men were hanged in 'Mehrvarzi' parks of Yasouj city in front of thousands of people. The prisoners who were not identified by name were convicted of rape. So far according to official Iranian reports at least 23 people have been executed in December 2012 in Iran."

Domestic Politics

NYT: "The call to prayer, a five-times-a-day ritual for strict adherents to Islam, is reaching new heights in Iran. Under a directive announced Wednesday by Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, all aircraft will be prohibited from flying across the country during the Adhan, or call to prayer, when many devout Muslims pause to face toward Mecca and pray. The directive also requires that planes scheduled for takeoff in Iran will now have to wait at least 30 minutes until after the day's first call to prayer, before sunrise, known as Al-Fajr. Hamid Reza Pahlevani, the head of the aviation organization, was quoted as telling the Iranian Students' News Agency that the directive was meant to give air travelers the time 'to carry out their religious duties.' The directive appeared to be part of a strengthened effort in Iran to enforce obedience to orthodox Islamic codes of conduct in all manner of life."

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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