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Iran News Round Up



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(Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his assistance in compiling)

Terrorism

  • Argentine prosecutor general claim the Islamic Republic’s motive behind the bombing of the Jewish Cultural Center in Buenos Aires was commercial. Tabnak, close to former IRGC chief Mohsen Rezai, criticizes Iranian diplomacy’s inactivity in the face of developments.
  • Ahmadinejad: Palestinian resistance promises victory.

Nuclear Issue

  • Larijani: former secretary of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme National Security Council: “Negotiations with Solana were directed by the Supreme Leader.”
    • Adds the Islamic Republic supports the idea of an “international bank for nuclear fuel.”
  • U.S. National Intelligence Estimate convinced Russia that it was okay to supply Iran with nuclear fuel.

Diplomacy

  • The Islamic Republic’s minister of defense: “Iran and Russia share strategic interests.”  
  • Russian newspaper claims that a spy ring in Baku has delivered intelligence to Iran.
    • For background, see Iran News Round Up, Dec. 16.
  • Ahmadinejad: Iran will continue to resist “by all means” against U.S. hegemony.

Politics

  • The reformist Participation Front criticizes the Iranian president’s explanations on rising prices and inflation.
  • Indirectly criticizing the Ahmadinejad government, Tehran mayor Qalibaf says social justice is the most important reason behind Iran’s “victory in the war against Iraq.”
  • Rumors that Larijani has had negotiations on the March 2008 parliamentary elections with former head of the Revolutionary Guards Mohsen Rezai and Tehran Mayor Qalibaf.
  • Rafsanjani: “I have no problem with Ahmadinejad. On the contrary, the Expediency Council has always supported the government.”
  • Seventeen members of parliament try to gather support for a vote of no confidence to minister of interior.
  • Government Spokeman Gholam-Hossein Elham: “The government has not created any barriers against the work of political parties.”

Economy and Trade

  • Qalibaf: “Make this thing about the role of the oil price clear. We had inflation when oil was $10 per barrel, and now that oil price reaches $100 we also experience inflation. We are all victims of populism.”
  • Italy, Iran to sign gas export agreement.
  • Iran to buy 130 Russian passenger planes.

Religion, Culture, and Society

  • Religious scholar and eschatologist Esma’il Shafi’i Sarvestani: “The U.S. invasion of Iraq, and U.S. support to the Zionist regime serves the single purpose of delaying the day of doom and the return of our Lord, the ‘Imam of the Age’.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad-Reza Madih, newly appointed head of the Basij Resistance Force for theological seminaries: “The Basij Resistance Force operates at 640 theological seminaries in the country.”
  • Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi stresses the importance of unity of universities and theological seminaries.
  • [Sunni] Sheikh Yousef Qaradawi: “Iran’s nuclear program is no threat to the security of the countries in the Gulf. As a part of the Dar al-Eslam [Abode of Islam], Islamic countries are obliged to support Iran.”

Human Rights and Labor

  • Three student activists Mansouri, Ghassaban and Tavakoli found non-guilty of several charges, to be freed after eight months of imprisonment on Saturday.
  • One woman and five men executed in Evin prison.
  • Amnesty International joins campaign to save Labor leader Mahmoud Salehi’s life.
    • Background on Salehi.
    • White House, State Department silent on Salehi case.

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