Wednesday, July 31, 2013

UANI Calls on Italy's Ignazio Messina to End Business in Iran Shipper Engaged with Sanctioned Iranian Front Company


July 31, 2013 
Contact: Nathan Carleton, 
Phone: (212) 554-3296
UANI Calls on Italy's Ignazio Messina to End Business in Iran

New York, NY - On Wednesday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) called on Italy's Ignazio Messina & Co. SpA, the world's second largest roll-on/roll-off tanker operator, to immediately end its Iran operations.

Ignazio Messina operates container and roll-on/roll-off services at the port of Bandar Abbas - Iran's largest port through which 90% of its container traffic passes. The Bandar Abbas port is known to be controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

UANI first contacted Ignazio Messina on June 27, 2013, stating that its business activities in Iran created the risk "that its vessels and services may be misused in pursuit of the regime's illicit agenda." Added UANI: "Ignazio Messina's continued business in Iran also likely violates EU sanctions ... because any such activity would, at the very least, involve paying loading fees to Iranian port operators."

In a July 2, 2013 response to UANI, Ignazio Messina stated that "Till [D]ecember 2012 the Terminal Operators assisting our vessels were Messrs Faraz Royal Qeshim Co. We confirm that both Iranian Companies [including the new Terminal Operator] are private and neither have any relationships with Messrs Tidewater nor are among the Iranian Firms shown on the black list."

Ignazio Messina's response is insufficient, however, as Faraz Royal Qeshm is a front company for Tidewater set up to evade sanctions--something the EU itself confirmed in its Council Regulation concerning sanctions on Iran. Faraz Royal Qeshm was in fact established only days after the U.S. government sanctioned Tidewater in 2011.

Given Ignazio Messina's ignorance of the Faraz Royal Qeshm and Tidewater connection, UANI remains concerned that its new declared shipping agent at Bandar Abbas, "Penjam Gulf Port Services Co.," is of similarly dubious provenance, particularly considering the IRGC's known control of the port.

In a letter to Ignazio Messina CEO, Stefano Messina, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:

            ... UANI must bring to your attention that contrary to your assertion, Faraz Royal Qeshm is in fact very much related to the Tidewater Middle East Company ("Tidewater"). Faraz Royal Qeshm was established seven days after the U.S. measure - and seven months prior to the implementation of the EU equivalent injunction - as a front company for Tidewater in an obvious attempt to evade sanctions. By engaging Faraz Royal Qeshm as the terminal operator for your vessels, Ignazio Messina does indeed appear to be in violation of EU (and U.S.) sanctions. While UANI acknowledges that Ignazio Messina may not have been aware of the relationship between Faraz Royal Qeshm and Tidewater at the time, in light of this disclosure it is incumbent upon Ignazio Messina to review its stance on its Iranian operations. ...

UANI has long highlighted the shipping industry as an area where the international community can further pressure Iran. In a 2012 Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, six UANI board members wrote that "the world must deny Iran's access to international shipping, a move that would severely affect the regime given its dependence on global trade and seaborne crude oil exports."

Last year, all thirteen of the world's major classification societies stopped certifying Iranian vessels following UANI's campaign, including Bureau Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd, the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, Korean Register of Shipping, China Classification Society, and ClassNK. UANI has also announced that Barbados, Hong Kong, Moldova and Mongolia have stopped their reflagging of Iranian vessels.

UANI has requested a response from Ignazio Messina by August 8, 2013.

Click here to read UANI's full July 29, 2013 letter to Ignazio Messina.
Click here to read UANI's June 27, 2013 letter Ignazio Messina.
Click here to read the New York Times article, "Group Keeps Long-Distance Watch on Iran and Possible Sanction Violations."
Click here to learn more about UANI's Shipping Campaign.


United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran should concern every American and be unacceptable to the community of nations. Since 1979 the Iranian regime, most recently under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's leadership, has demonstrated increasingly threatening behavior and rhetoric toward the US and the West. Iran continues to defy the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations in their attempts to monitor its nuclear activities. A number of Arab states have warned that Iran's development of nuclear weapons poses a threat to Middle East stability and could provoke a regional nuclear arms race. In short, the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran is a danger to world peace.

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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  1. Inform the public about the nature of the Iranian regime, including its desire and intent to possess nuclear weapons, as well as Iran's role as a state sponsor of global terrorism, and a major violator of human rights at home and abroad;
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  3. Mobilize public support, utilize media outreach, and persuade our elected leaders to voice a robust and united American opposition to a nuclear Iran;
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  5. Persuade the regime in Tehran to desist from its quest for nuclear weapons, while striving not to punish the Iranian people, and;
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Bombing the Buddhists

Bombing the Buddhists

The jihadists -- on this occasion the Indian Mujahadeen -- are at it again. On a Sunday in July nine bombs went off in Buddhism's most sacred place, Bodh Gaya in India. The jihadists said the bombing was in retaliation for the Buddhists resisting jihad in Myanmar. This would be the equivalent of bombing the Wailing Wall, St. Paul's Cathedral, Bethlehem or the Kabbah. But, since Buddhists are the least political of all religions, the media barely noticed.

This jihad attack may have long term consequences for jihad, due to favorable attitudes toward and perceptions of Buddhists, and who Buddhists are. Buddhism is the pet religion of the media, Leftists, Progressives and Liberals, and even those who are right of center find it hard to dislike Buddhism. Buddhism is truly the religion of peace, not like that other "religion of peace" with the jihad doctrine and 1400 years of conquest.

But the Left and Liberals are also the apologists for Islam, and one of the ways apologists deny the brutality of Islam is to attack its victims as somehow deserving of the jihadist attacks. When Christians are killed every week by jihadists, the leftist types justify it because of the Crusades and other wars by nations that are primarily Christian. When 30 Christian children are murdered in Nigeria, it is considered payback for the Crusades. (The Crusades lasted for 300 years and the last one was 800 years ago.) And any Jews killed are payback for the purported Israeli persecution of the so-called Palestinians. Put another way, the apologists for Islam figure that most of those who are killed in jihad deserve it.

So, the apologists for Islam are in a quandary. Jihad is hurting Buddhists, but it would be bigoted to complain about it. The denial machine is set to spin -- those jihadists were not real Muslims or else they were just a few crazies.

A second problem for the apologists is their theory that if Muslims are treated right, they won't be violent. This is the "treat the Palestinians right and they will do right" theory of dealing with Islam. This gets expanded to the theory that all Islamic violence is due to how the Palestinians are treated. Well, bombing Buddhists in India has no connection to Palestine.

Many Buddhists are absolute pacifists who hold to the "if you do good, good will come to you" school of politics. The problem is that such Buddhists usually cannot figure out why Muslims believe that being a Buddhist is evil. They may be ignorant of Islamic doctrine that says that the only good that can come out of a Buddhist is submission to Islam.

Buddhist doctrine holds that we need both compassion and wisdom. But the wisdom aspect does not seem to be highlighted when the Dalai Lama says that the attacks are "very sad" while noting that it could be an act of a "few individuals" and "shouldn't be considered something serious."

If the Dalai Lama would pick up the clue phone, he would hear this: "Hello, the Buddhism that you practice, Vajrayana Buddhism, came from the Swat Valley in Afghanistan and where is Buddhism now? It has been annihilated from Afghanistan by jihadists. That same doctrine of jihad is annihilating Buddhists in Thailand today. Is that sad enough for you?" Jihad seeks to annihilate all religions in the territory that Muslims enter. And that should be considered as something serious.
But bombing Bodh Gaya has a down side for the jihadists. A few of the usual apologists may decide that if jihad means bombing Buddhists, then maybe, just maybe, there is something fundamentally wrong with Islam. Islam's apologists have a lot more trouble in justifying the justice of jihad against Buddhists since the jihad is against their own political alliance.

So bombing Buddhists may be a tactical victory, but it could a long-term strategic error but, only if the Buddhists and the apologists pay attention to murder of their own.

Published in American Thinker
Bill Warner, Director, Center for the Study of Political Islam
copyright (c) CBSX, LLC,
Use as needed, just give credit and do not edit.

Eye on Iran: House Weighs Iran Measure Amid Doubts on Timing

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Top Stories

NYT: "Legislation that would impose the toughest sanctions to date on Iran over its disputed nuclear program has been scheduled for a vote in the House on Wednesday, four days before the inauguration of that country's newly elected president, a moderate cleric who has made improved relations with the United States an important goal. The legislation, if enacted into law and fully enforced, could basically eradicate what is left of Iran's diminished oil exports by coercing its remaining customers to find other suppliers. Proponents of the legislation say that with 376 sponsors, it is expected to pass the House easily. It would then move to the Senate for consideration in September. But critics say the timing of the House vote has raised sharp questions about the kind of message it would send to Iran's president-elect, Hassan Rouhani, before he takes office on Sunday. It has also laid bare a divide over Iran policy between Congress and the Obama administration, which has adopted a somewhat less confrontational approach... Megan Whittemore, the press secretary for Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who is responsible for scheduling votes, said in an e-mail that she expected the debate on the bipartisan legislation to begin on Wednesday, with a vote most likely on Thursday. Others said the vote could be delayed until after the August recess... Supporters of the legislation argued that the vote's timing would send exactly the type of message that, in their view, is the only one taken seriously by Iranian leaders: a threat that would force them to make a choice between self-preservation and economic catastrophe."

Bloomberg: "Iran may achieve the 'critical capability' to process low-enriched uranium into material for a nuclear weapon without detection by international inspectors by mid-2014, according to a report by a research group. Iran would reach this capability by acting on plans to install thousands of additional enrichment centrifuges at its Natanz and Fordow sites, according to David Albright, a former nuclear inspector, and Christina Walrond of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security. Preventing Iran from achieving the capability to break out from nuclear safeguards will require international efforts to limit the number and type of centrifuges built by the nation, according to the report issued yesterday. 'Although increasing the frequency and type of inspections at the enrichment plants is important, it is by no means sufficient to prevent Iran from achieving critical capability,' according to the analysts."

Reuters: "Iran's top four oil clients have cut their imports from the Middle Eastern nation by more than a fifth in the first six months of the year, but are soon to face increased pressure from the United States to reduce shipments still further. The cuts by China, India, Japan and South Korea point to the United States' and European Union's success in reducing Tehran's vital oil cash flows as they try to force Iran to halt a disputed nuclear programme. Oil shipments from Iran are down about 60 percent on average compared to pre-sanction levels... The four Asian countries imported 961,127 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude in the January-June period, down from 1.23 million bpd a year ago, according to official government data and tanker arrival schedules given to Reuters, with the largest percentage cuts coming from India and South Korea. Japan, the last of the four to report its oil imports for June, imported 185,946 bpd of Iranian crude in the first half of the year, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) showed on Wednesday, down 22.5 percent. That is less than India's cuts in Iranian oil imports of 43 percent over the first half of the year and South Korea's cuts of 27 percent, but more than China's reduction of about 2 percent from the same six months last year. 'China will be key to the success of the sanctions,' Mills said. 'They have cut the least and their cuts have been more token. They will be key if the United States wants to cut exports further.' ... For the month of June, China, India, Japan and South Korea together imported 790,054 bpd of Iranian crude, down from 1.37 million bpd in the same month last year. That is the lowest for Iran's top four buyers since April, when big drop-offs in barrels shipped into India and Japan cut their total to 635,750 bpd, the smallest in decades."
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Free Beacon: "The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee chastised a self-described representative of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) on Capitol Hill Tuesday for disseminating Iranian 'propaganda.' During a press briefing on Iran sanctions, Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.) sharply rebuked a woman who identified herself as being from NIAC after she claimed U.S. sanctions are preventing the Iranian people from receiving "medicine and food." 'That's propaganda put out by the Iranian regime,' Royce said to the woman, who identified herself as Samira Damavandi. NIAC is an Iranian-American advocacy group long suspected of lobbying on behalf of the Iranian regime. The confrontation occurred during a press briefing hosted by The Israel Project. Damavandi is a NIAC intern and a student at the University of California, Berkeley, according to her LinkedIn profile. She is also a contributor to the Huffington Post. Iran has more access to medicine now than it has at any other time in the recent past, said Royce, who added that access has increased by 35 percent since 2012. 'The regime does not want to spend earnings on medicine for the population,' Royce said to Damavandi. 'This is why the health minister was fired.'"

RFE/RL: "An Iranian official says the country has halted imports due to the lack of hard currency. Iranian news media is reporting that Majid Reza Hariri, the head of the commission on imports for Iran's Chamber of Commerce, discussed the problem on July 28. He reportedly said that over the past 25 days, no hard currency had been allocated for imports because of a dispute between the Central Bank and the Commerce Ministry. Hariri warned that if the disagreement was not resolved, Iran would face severe shortages in basic foodstuffs and medicines. Exporters are only accepting hard currency from Tehran because of the plummeting value of Iran's rial."

Economic Times: "Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd plans to resume Iranian oil imports from August, after stopping for four months, because it has found no suitable alternatives, an industry source with knowledge of the matter said. Resumption of shipments by MRPL, Iran's top Indian client until it stopped purchases in April, will help to revive the country's Iranian oil imports. India's intake of Iranian crude fell by 40 percent in the April-June quarter, as refiner Essar Oil became Iran's lone Indian client. Hindustan Petroleum Corp and MRPL both halted their Iranian oil buys amid difficulties securing insurance for refineries processing oil from the sanctions-hit country. 'Other crudes are not giving the right price margin. They are not of right type of quality and are not available at the right time,' said the source. 'All these problems are there.'"

Economic Times: "A leading domestic manufacturer of sponge iron has written to the central bank asking it to look into what it terms a spike in illegal imports of the steel industry ingredient from Iran. In a letter to the Reserve Bank's foreign exchange department, Welspun Maxsteel has sought to highlight imports of sponge iron from Iran, saying they are being routed through the UAE to avoid transaction settlements in dollars. Deals in the US currency have become difficult for Iran after the US and the EU imposed sanctions on it over its nuclear programme. 'December 12 onwards, much cheaper and inferior quality gas-based DRI (direct reduced iron) is being dumped aggressively from Iran which, as per our information, is exported to India by showing the certificate of origin as UAE, instead of Iran (where its was produced)...' Welspun director Prakash Tatia said in the letter."

Syrian Civil War

"Syrian authorities and Iran signed a deal this week to activate a $3.6 billion credit facility to buy oil products with long term payment terms, officials and bankers said on Wednesday. The deal, which was agreed last May between the two allies and will allow Iran to acquire equity stakes in investments in Syria, was part of a package to extend Iranian aid to President Bashar al Assad's government, its main political ally. Another $1 billion credit line to Damascus has already been extended to buy Iranian power generating products and other goods in a barter arrangement that has helped Syria export textiles and some agricultural produce such as olive oil and citrus, trade officials say. Syria is short of diesel for its army and fuel to keep the economy running because of U.S. and European Union sanctions imposed after a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. Its main supplier of petroleum products by sea has been Iran."

Domestic Politics

Asharq Al-Awsat: "Representatives of 40 countries are to attend the inauguration of Iranian president-elect Hassan Rouhani, while the Iranian government denies it is preparing for bilateral talks with the US. The head of the Iranian parliament's Department of Protocol, Mohammad Yasrebi, told reporters on Sunday: '[The] presidents of Afghanistan, Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, North Korea, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Togo have confirmed their attendance.' A number of other countries have confirmed they would send prime ministers, parliamentary speakers, vice presidents and deputy foreign ministers to the inauguration. Adnan Mahmoud, the Syrian ambassador to Tehran, announced the country's prime minister, Wael Nader Al-Halqi, will participate in the ceremony. Russia, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Congo and Oman will send their parliamentary speakers. Malaysia will send its former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad. Yasrebi also said the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, Jan Eliasson, will attend the event. Many analysts are suggesting that Iran's decision to invite world leaders to the upcoming presidential inauguration ceremony, previously a more low-key event, is part of an attempt to improve relations with the West."

Bloomberg: "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reports on his government's achievements are 'erroneous' and do not reflect the nation's true economic situation, an aide to President-elect Hassan Rohani said.  Experts appointed by Rohani to review the state of the country's economy are finding drastically different results from data given by Ahmadinejad, Akbar Torkan, head of the presidential transition team, told the Tehran-based Shargh newspaper in an interview published today. Rohani, who is to be sworn in on Aug. 4, was elected last month after pledging to ease Iran's economic and political isolation. During Ahmadinejad's eight years in office, Iran was hit with intensifying international sanctions over its nuclear program. Ahmadinejad's government has 'mistakenly or intentionally' quadrupled its actual track record on road construction, Torkan said. Its claims that hundreds of thousands of jobs were created during his tenure fail to take into account the number of people who lost their jobs, he said. On this basis, an average of just 14,000 jobs per year were created since 2006, he said."

AP: "Just days after Hasan Rouhani's election victory in Iran, his top advisers and allies gathered for a closed-door strategy session at a think tank run by the new president. The group, lugging spread sheets, notes and policy papers, also carried something new into the mix - an array of degrees from Western universities. Soon after Rouhani's swearing-in Sunday, he is expected to unveil key members of his government and give more clarity about his behind-the-scenes brain trust. In all likelihood, the core of his team will include figures whose academic pedigrees run through places such as California, Washington and London. The Western-looking credentials of Rouhani's inner circle are no surprise. Rouhani himself studied in Scotland. What remains unclear, however, is how much they could actually influence Iranian policies and foster potential outreach diplomacy such as direct talks with the U.S. or possible breakthroughs in wider negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program. 'Studying in the West doesn't mean you would make concessions to the West,' said Rasool Nafisi, an Iranian affairs analyst at Strayer University in Virginia."

Foreign Affairs

Reuters: "Iran is campaigning for a key position on a U.N. General Assembly committee that deals with disarmament and international security amid strong criticism from Israel and others who accuse Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran is competing against Kuwait to be the rapporteur of the U.N. General Assembly's First Committee for its 68th session, which begins in October, U.N. diplomats said. The rapporteur reports on the proceedings of the 193-member committee. A spokesman for Iran's U.N. mission confirmed the country's bid on Tuesday. Asked why Tehran was interested in the position, he said: 'It's a normal routine by a member state.' The First Committee considers all disarmament and international security matters, cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as principles governing disarmament and the regulation of armaments."

LAT: "Already under pressure from the new military-led government in Egypt, the militant group Hamas took another public-relations blow Tuesday when Iran began distributing food aid to Gazans, but delivered the charity through Hamas' rival, Islamic Jihad. Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, has seen its ties with Iran fray over the last two years, particularly after Hamas refused to back Syrian President Bashar Assad in that country's civil war. Though Assad had long given exiled Hamas leaders refuge, Hamas political chief Khalid Meshaal left Syria last year after not supporting Assad's crackdown against predominantly Sunni rebels. The move strained Hamas' ties with Iran, an Assad supporter that had also provided weapons to Hamas. That's created an opportunity for Islamic Jihad, another armed group that has presented a growing challenge to Hamas' authority in Gaza. Instead of giving arms and money to Hamas, Iranians have largely shifted their support to Islamic Jihad. On Tuesday, the Islamic Jihad Relief Society began distributing Iranian food aid valued at $2 million to Gaza residents during the holy month of Ramadan. Dozens of men and women lined up in front of trucks carrying pictures of the Iranian flag."

Opinion & Analysis

UANI Communications Director Nathan Carleton & Saeed Ghasseminejad in CNBC: "For years, there have been voices telling us that economic sanctions would not lead to positive change in Iran. Sanctions, the mantra went, would only empower the Iranian regime and Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), by stoking nationalism and leading the Iranian people to revile the West and coalesce in support of their current leadership. Yet Iran's most recent presidential election, which resulted in hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad being replaced by Hassan Rouhani, has proved that argument to be wrong. The people of Iran did not show increased support for the regime, in fact they did the most they could under difficult circumstances to make change. Amazingly, however, with Rouhani being inaugurated, the same individuals who wrongly predicted that sanctions would empower the regime are still at it, arguing that it is now time to scale them back, what with a 'moderate' president now taking power. Such thinking is not just illogical, but quite dangerous at this historically perilous time. The key objective for any foreign policy maker right now, given the high stakes, has to be stopping Iran's nuclear program. And it is only a strengthening of sanctions, not a lifting of them, that will force the regime's hand... Khamenei is now in the weakest position he has ever been: the sanctions are working, by greatly slowing the economy and isolating his country from the rest of the world. Millions of Iranians favor a change in the nuclear policy, and are voicing unhappiness with the way the regime runs the country. Importantly, these voices of dissent in Iran need to see that the West will keep the pressure up and not let the mullahs get their way, even if it means a full-scale economic blockade of Iran with only a humanitarian exception. This is absolutely not the time for the international community to back off. The regime is in a corner and now has only two choices: cease its military nuclear program, or face more isolation and economic disaster that could potentially lead to social unrest and even a fundamental political change in the country. Lessening sanctions now would undesirably change that dynamic. The international community and U.S. government must effectively enforce the current sanctions, and increase the pressure by introducing more. The regime Khamenei leads is on shaky ground: it's now time to break his will."

David Albright & Christina Walrond in ISIS: "Based on an ISIS assessment, Iran is expected to achieve a critical capability in mid-2014, which is defined as the technical capability to produce sufficient weapon-grade uranium from its safeguarded stocks of low enriched uranium for a nuclear explosive, without being detected.  Iran would achieve this capability principally by implementing its existing, firm plans to install thousands more IR-1 centrifuges, and perhaps a few thousand IR-2m centrifuges, at its declared Natanz and Fordow centrifuge sites.  Iran's criticality date could be achieved a few months earlier if Iran successfully deploys and operates several thousand IR-2m centrifuges and continues installing thousands of IR-1 centrifuges.  A priority is preventing Iran from achieving a critical capability via non-military means. Preventing Iran from reaching critical capability will require a broad set of responses, but the most important is limiting the number and type of centrifuges Iran builds.  Although increasing the frequency and type of inspections at the enrichment plants is important, it is by no means sufficient to prevent Iran from achieving critical capability... The most important condition that could be placed on Iran is achieving a halt to the installation of more centrifuges of any type.  The type and number of centrifuges Iran operates can dramatically decrease the amount of time Iran needs to enrich to weapon-grade uranium in a breakout. Thus, Iran's continued installation of IR-1 and more powerful IR-2m centrifuges must be addressed in future negotiations. If Iran continues to install about 3,000 IR-2m centrifuges at Natanz as it plans, it will have effectively doubled the total enrichment capacity of this facility. Centrifuges that are fully installed but not yet operating should also count towards Iran's total, particularly if the amount of time needed to bring them online is minimal.  Any future nuclear deal must include a limit on the number and type of centrifuges Iran can install.  A numerical limit would need to be well below the number of centrifuges currently installed at Natanz and Fordow and more akin to the number of centrifuges actually enriching as of June 2013. With a limit on the number and type of centrifuges at Natanz and Fordow, a critical capability can be avoided.  Adding the other two measures, namely more frequent inspections and a cap on stocks of near 20 percent LEU, this limit would provide additional assurances that breakout times will be much longer at these sites and detectable in a timely manner... No doubt, P5+1 negotiators have a substantial task to achieve all of these conditions.  However, a critical capability is unlikely to be prevented simply by instituting better inspections, whether through increased inspection frequency, remote monitoring, or even implementation of the the Additional Protocol. Although these steps are critical, the immediate priority must be limiting the number and type of Iran's centrifuges at Natanz, Fordow, or a site not yet finished.  This goal needs to be obtained soon."

Majid Rafizadeh in HuffPo: "In less than a week, Hassan Rouhani, Iran's president-elect, will assume the presidential office and replace the hardliner and controversial figure, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, as more facts from Rouhani's past are unearthed, questions have been raised regarding who really is Iran's new president, and more importantly, if he will be able to legally take office based on the new astonishing information released by few outlets. One significant fact was recently revealed which has yet to penetrate into English media and receive international media attention. The more recently-exposed information reveals that Hassan Rouhani -- before holding a PhD degree, or even a Master's degree -- was already claiming in 1979 to have a doctorate degree from London University. On March 9, 1980, in an interview with Joomhoriye Islami, one of the most significant newspapers circulating in Iran, Rouhani stated that he had received his PhD in 'Legal Sociology' from the University of London. The newspaper wrote that he received his PhD in 1979; twenty years before Rouhani actually received a higher degree from another university: Glasgow Caledonian University. In 1980, after the overthrow of the Shah, Rouhani ran as a candidate from the city of Semnan for Iran's National Assembly and Parliament. After a successful victory, Rouhani served for five terms in both the National Assembly and Parliament, but was describing himself as a scholar who had already obtained a PhD from the University of London, although he did not even have Masters at that time. These claims are evidenced by the Joomhoriye Islami newspaper publications dating from 1980 to 1988 as well as by the five registration forms published by the Iran's parliamentary elections in which Rouhani ran as 'doctor' and won the votes for five consecutive terms. Moreover, when Rouhani first ran for the parliamentary elections, he introduced himself as 'Doctor Rouhani' in the official website of the Iranian Parliament. During the third parliamentary elections in 1988, according to the website, Rouhani also suggested that he had a Master's degree along with the Doctorate... What do Rouhani's past actions suggest about his morals and personality? It suggests that Rouhani's first priority has been to use any tool possible -- even if it means deceiving the Iranian people -- in order to achieve his political ambitions. If honesty has not been a criterion for 'Doctor Hassan Rouhani', the President-elect of Iran, how can millions of Iranian citizens believe in all his promises that he made throughout his campaign? If gaining power and influential positions have been his main goal with disregard to ethics, how can the international community, IAEA, and other regional countries trust the sincerity of his actions?"

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.