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Iran News Round Up



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(Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his assistance in compiling)

Nuclear Issue

  • Six Iranian officials believed to have leaked information on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program to the United States government.
  • Student Basij stages demonstrations in Isfahan and Tehran protesting against release of former nuclear negotiator, Mousavian, who had earlier been accused of espionage.
  • Ali-Akbar Velayati, former foreign minister and current advisor to the Supreme Leader: “One can not just forget the indictment against Mousavian.”
  • Velayati warns the government against starting a “carnival of joy,” referring to Ahmadinejad who considers the National Intelligence Estimate “the greatest victory of Iran during the past 100 years.”
  • Defense Minister: “Iran has never pursued a nuclear weapons strategy.”
  • Adds: “Despite a lot of positive points, the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate has also a lot of internal contradictions.”
  • Former Supreme National Security Council chairman Ali Larijani: “Iran should have meetings with the 5+1 Group soon.”  In English.
  • Kamal Kharrazi, former minister of foreign affairs of the Islamic Republic commenting the National Intelligence Estimate: “The report is only a prelude to further sanctions against the Islamic Republic…There is hardly any reason for joy…”
  • Khedmat News Agency claims more than 350 Iraqi nuclear scientists have been killed in Iraq since 2003.
  • Ayatollah Emami-Kashani: Bush disgraced by NIE report.

Diplomacy

  • Ahmadinejad makes two demands for normalization with U.S.:
    • Abandon Israel and embrace Palestine
    • Drop the nuclear issue.
  • Ahmadinejad renews calls for debate with Bush.
  • “At Annapolis [Peace Summit] Bush attempted to align the Arabs against Iran, but the National Security Estimate, which was kept secret for the participants came as an unwelcome but inevitable disclosure.”
  • Political secretary of Egypt’s Foreign Minister visits Iran to discuss reestablishment of diplomatic relations.  In English, here.
  • Defending Iran’s foreign policy before “The Paradigm of Theo-centric Foreign Policy and Government” seminar at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini: “Iran’s offensive foreign policy is neither unplanned nor irrational.”
  • Iranian parliamentarians call upon the Foreign Minister to explain the “mistaken” visit of Ahmadinejad to the GCC Summit.
    • Ahmad Tavakkoli, former presidential candidate, sends open letter to Ahmadinejad: “Why did you attend the GCC summit whose communiqué supports the United Arab Emirates’ territorial claims against Iran?”
    • For more on dispute over Ahmadinejad’s visit to Qatar, see Iran News Round Ups, Dec. 6 and Dec. 4.

Politics

  • Minister of agriculture attacked by peasants while visiting Ilam in entourage of President Ahmadinejad. He stopped his car believing the locals wanted to cheer him.
  • Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi: “Presence of impermissible persons in the government reduces its efficiency.”
  • Ayatollah Jannati, secretary of the Council of Guardians: “The Executive, and the Council of Guardians are obliged to bar unqualified persons from running for the parliament… We need to protect the divine and heavenly government of the Islamic Republic.”

Culture and Society

  • Abdollah Mo’meni of the Office of Strengthening of Unity delivers a speech on the occasion of the Student Day in Khorramshahr: “Who says Imam Ali was infallible? No one is infallible… In India cows are considered holy, in Iran the holinesses are cows…The Cultural Revolution in Iran [in 1980-1981] was a catastrophe which led to flight of Iranian academics out of Iran.”
    • Ansar-e Hezbollah vigilante group condemns the speech.
  • Chief Inspector of the Cultural and Artistic Office of the Municipality of Tehran resigns from his job because the office is not countering “The Cultural NATO.”
    • For background, see Iran News Round Up from November 29.

Economy and Trade

Terrorism

  • Germany frees Kazaem Darabi, one of the main suspects of the “Mykonos bombing” in Berlin that killed Sadegh Sharafkandi, one of the leaders of Iranian Democratic Party of Kurdistan, despite life sentence. Darabi was welcomed at Tehran airport by acting head of Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Europe department, Ali Bagheri. Radio Farda covered (and is covering) the story, including interviews with the spouse of one of the victims…

Human Rights and Labor

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