Wed, 21 Apr 2010 “The 2012 Non-Aligned Movement summit will be held in Iran,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters on Tuesday, without specifying whether the capital city of Tehran, Kish Island or another location would be the venue for the event.
Mehmanparast said he hopes the summit will lead to “important decisions” that can bring order to the international community’s current chaotic state, which has been caused by the discriminatory policies governing it.
Founded in 1961, NAM is an international organization of states that consider themselves not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.
The organization, which includes nearly two-thirds of UN member states, aims to secure the interests of developing countries within the context of international diplomatic relations.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Mehmanparast also said that Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will attend the upcoming nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) review summit in New York, leading a high-raking delegation.
He also said some valuable discussion about various matters were held during the international conference on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of atomic weapons which could come in handy at the NPT review summit.
by Marwan Bishara in Imperium blog on February 27, 2010
The two-day visit by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, to Syria and his warm meetings with his Syrian counterpart as well as with the leaders of the Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas have ruffled many feathers in the US, Europe and Israel.
Although they said much about the future of the region, including the end of the ‘Zionist regime’, the anti-Israeli gathering has sent a primarily strategic not polemical message: We stand united – an attack on one of us is an attack on all.
A deterrent message to both Israel and the US, it comes against the backdrop of increased war speculation in Israel and mounting pressures to pass a new round of tougher sanctions against Iran.
It is also a wake up call for US diplomats who reckoned that Washington’s rapprochement with Damascus, including the reopening of its embassy, should lead to a severing, or at least cooling, of Syrian relations with Tehran.
But while such public posturing has not deterred Israel or worried Washington in the past, it does complicate attempts to isolate Iran or its allies.
Diplomatic assault, military preparations
Since the White House shifted its Iran strategy from accommodation to confrontation, Washington’s coercive diplomacy has been going at full speed.
The Obama administration has been lobbying the Middle East and the world’s influential capitals in the hope of isolating Iran and passing another UN Security Council resolution that would include biting sanctions against Tehran.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, escalated US rhetoric against the Iranian regime during a visit to the Gulf where she warned of a Revolutionary Guards takeover and the militarisation of the Iranian government.
General Petraeus made a similar visit to the Gulf and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, travelled to Russia, followed by Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to convince Moscow to abandon Iran.
However, Washington seems frustrated by either the lack of positive response or the slow pace of international reaction to Tehran’s persistence in enriching uranium and expanding its nuclear and missile programme.
Russian hesitance, Chinese objection
Russia seems to have softened its rejection of the US strategy of sanctions, but has not agreed to them either. Moscow thinks it is too early to carry out such escalatory actions when the issue is still being discussed at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
If and when such sanctions come to be voted on at the UN Security Council, Russia insists that they should be focused solely on the nuclear programme, not the country or its regime which Moscow does not consider to be a dictatorship.
Beijing is as sceptical of Washington’s motives and more reluctant than Moscow to slap Iran with tough new sanctions.
Moscow’s approach is defined primarily by security considerations, especially the loss of whatever strategic leverage it has with Tehran and the probable escalation on its southern borders. China’s thinking, however, is molded on geo-economics grounds, particularly the prospect of losing Iran as an important energy supplier and economic partner.
The Chinese and Russian leadership are both uneasy with the new American escalation in the Islamic world after US entanglements in Afghanistan and Iraq.
They worry that the political and security overspill from widening the landscape of confrontation in the Muslim world could end up affecting their substantial Muslim minorities and eventually their internal stability.
Washington’s attempt to make up for the loss of Iran’s energy supply (through Saudi Arabia?), and its persistent warning to Russia about the alternative to sanctions (war!) do not seem to have, yet, convinced the two key veto carrying members of the UN Security Council to come on board.
Neither side believes sanctions will bring a solution to the impasse with Iran and both consider protracted geopolitical tensions with Iran to be terribly destabilising.
Anxious Saudi, aggressive Israel
Regionally, the two relevant powers, Saudi Arabia (to a far less extent, Egypt) and Israel are keen to stop Iran’s nuclear programme and to curtail Tehran’s influence.
However, as Israel nudges its US patron to move speedily towards imposing new tough sanctions and to prepare for war, Riyadh is worried about a new protracted American strategy and insists on a speedier end to the tensions with Tehran.
The Gulf states are the first to be affected by long-term tensions or military escalation between the US and Iran.
Recent US naval deployments in the Gulf and its sales of sophisticated weapons to Gulf countries have not calmed their fears that an escalation of those tensions could bring down their economies and affect their security.
The same could apply to other parts of the ‘Greater Middle East’ such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine which could be affected by an escalation between the US and Iran.
US bold, Iran confident
Who will blink first is the whole point of this dangerous diplomatic exercise.
Iran reckons that China and Russia will not sacrifice their relations with Iran and will object to another American escalation in the Middle East. They also realise that new punitive measures will not suffice to curtail Tehran’s programme.
For its part, the Obama administration calculates that Chinese/Russian cooperation is indispensable, but that it will take substantial political capital and major quid pro quo for them to come on board.
If Iran continues to defy Washington publicly and successfully, the political price demanded by Russia and China could only increase, all of which puts extra pressure on Washington to act promptly.
But what can the Obama administration offer its fellow UN Security Council members that is worthy of isolating Iran, aside from threatening the alternative – war?
And there is no doubt that war will be either horribly destructive or terribly protracted. Either way, Washington has the most to lose, not Moscow or Beijing.
All of which should send the Obama administration back to the drawing board. Has President Obama truly exhausted the diplomatic track before the US attends to sanctions or war?
In other words, has the Obama administration truly extended a hand or unclenched its fist for the sake of a peaceful resolution to the Iranian Middle East impasse?
The answer is an unequivocal NO.
It is time to remind Barack Obama of his willingness as a candidate to meet with his Iranian counterpart as president if that can protect US interests, and remind President Ahmadinejad of his welcoming of the extended US hand for peace last spring.
Well Mr Presidents, it is time.
I shall discuss the context, nature and implications for such a breakthrough next … as promised.
Hesam Misaghi (l) and Sepehr Atefi (r) being interviewed by The Associated Press in Nigde, Turkey, on February 16. The two Iranians are members of the independent Committee of Human Rights Reporters.
By Scheherezade Faramarzi – The Associated Press
NIGDE, Turkey – Light snow was falling when the two young men set out on horseback for the border to flee Iran. By the time they were deep in the mountains, the snow had become a blinding blizzard, the temperature had dropped below freezing, and they were barely alive.
Hesam Misaghi and Sepehr Atefi were joining what has become an exodus of dissidents fleeing Iran’s political turmoil. For them that meant a harrowing journey through the country’s rugged northwest in the dead of winter, with the help of Kurdish smugglers.
At a river crossing, the ice broke beneath them and their horses stumbled in, soaking the two with freezing water. “There was no feeling in my legs and hands,” recalled Misaghi, a tall, wiry 21-year-old. “I felt drunk. I didn’t know where I was. I was laughing from pain.”
Atefi, 20, spotted a van in the distance, grabbed Misaghi’s arm and dragged him toward it through the snow. “There was no life left in me to move forward, but we had to reach the highway,” Atefi said.
The men, both Iranian human rights reporters, reached the van, begged a ride and made it to safety in Turkey.
At least 4,200 Iranians have fled their homeland since disputed presidential elections in June, according to a list compiled by activist Aida Saadat, who herself slipped across the border into Turkey in December. These refugees have scattered to the United States, Europe and the United Arab Emirates and other Persian Gulf nations.
Most of all, they have come to Turkey – around 1,150 of them, according to the UN refugee agency – taking advantage of the porous border and Turkey’s policy of not requiring visas. Most of the new arrivals fled for political reasons, including those who took part in opposition protests after the vote. They bring the number of Iranians in Turkey to 4,440 as of February – including “undesirables” in the eyes of the clerical regime, such as homosexuals or members of the Baha’i religion.
The danger these Iranians face back home is clear. A month after Atefi and Misaghi’s January escape, police raided their homes in the central Iranian city of Isfahan. Among the charges against them: “moharebeh,” or “waging war against God,” a crime punishable by death.
Police arrested their friend and colleague, Navid Khanjani, who was supposed to have fled with them but changed his mind at the last minute. With Khanjani’s arrest, eight people in the independent Committee of Human Rights Reporters have been jailed, and three remain in prison and could face execution.
In Turkey, the refugees are safer, but they live in limbo.
Almost all brought little money and cannot work because of Turkish restrictions, so they cram into small, coal-heated apartments with minimal furniture.
Hope in UNHCR
Many Iranian refugees hope the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees will arrange resettlement for them in the United States or Europe. The wait for that could take years, as the refugee agency also is dealing with thousands of Iraqis who have fled to Turkey here from their own war-torn homeland in recent years.
Many of the Iranians have been put in the central town of Kayseri and nearby towns such as Nigde. Like other refugees in Turkey, they are required to live in particular towns designated by the Interior Ministry, must regularly report to police to confirm their locations, and must get permission from authorities to move to other cities.
In addition to rent and other expenses, each adult is required to pay the Turkish government about $200, along with $100 for each child, every six months to stay in the country. The interior minister signed an order in March to lift the permit fees, but the order has not yet been enforced.
In the meantime, they watch events back home, where hundreds have been arrested, and two have been executed out of 11 sentenced to death for taking part in opposition protests. From exile, some try to continue their activism, and some try to recover from their trauma.
Political activist Mahdis, 35, who once worked for a dissident cleric in the holy city of Qom, said she fled Iran more than a year ago after having been repeatedly raped in jail. Mahdis spoke on condition her last name not be used to avoid public embarrassment.
When she arrived in Turkey she was again raped, this time by a fellow Iranian refugee. She said police would not allow her to transfer to Kayseri unless she paid $200, which she did not have.
“I was sobbing, saying, ‘I swear to God’ I don’t have the money,” recalled Mahdis. It took her 40 days to come up with the money, which she borrowed from fellow refugees.
Another refugee, Mehrdad Eshghi, was the official singer for the state-run Iranian TV and Radio, known as Seda va Sima. Then authorities questioned his loyalty because he worked in the election campaign of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s top rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi.
After he refused to perform for Ahmadinejad’s campaign, security forces began harassing him. He was detained and threatened with worse consequences.
“I was surprised by the way they treated me,” said Eshghi, 40. “I was one of them. When I had the mike in my hand doing live programs, it meant they trusted me with their lives,” he said in his apartment in Kayseri.
After security men began staking out his home around the clock, Eshghi went into hiding. He took a bus to Turkey six months ago, and his wife and daughter joined him a couple of months later.
Eshghi, a singer, calligrapher, painter and composer, mourns his former life in his homeland. “I was at my best in Iran,” he said. “Here, I’m just an ordinary person.” Like others, he said his attempts to keep up political activism from exile are prevented by Turkish authorities.
Eshghi said authorities refused to allow him to put on an exhibition of his paintings or a concert for Iranian refugees. “They tell me no one must know of my whereabouts because it poses danger to my life.”
Kayseri’s police chief said any restrictions on Iranians are for their own protection. “They are free here,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of police regulations. “But for their own personal safety, they cannot be interviewed by reporters.”
March 9, 1:46 PMLA County Nonpartisan ExaminerCarl Herman
which have been chosen selectively and incompletely, specifically focused on unproved and baseless allegations, so called alleged studies, and possible military dimension.
reads as follows: “These modalities cover all remaining issues and the Agency confirmed that there are no other remaining issues and ambiguities regarding Iran’s past nuclear program and activities.” Therefore, no new issues should be raised such as “possible military dimension”.
expectation of another round of substantive discussion or the Agency’s request for providing information and access is absolutely in contravention with the spirit and the letter of such an agreement which both parties have been committed to. It should be recalled that the agreed Work Plan is the outcome of fruitful and intensive negotiations by three top officials in charge of Safeguards, Legal and Policy Making Organs of the Agency with Iran and eventually acknowledged by the Board of Governors. Therefore, it is highly expected that the Agency respects its agreement with Member States, otherwise the mutual trust and confidence which is essential for the sustainable cooperation shall be put in jeopardy.
February 24, 6:20 PMLA County Nonpartisan ExaminerCarl Herman
The yearly need of Iran for life-saving medical isotopes is less than one gram and costs Iran $75,000 to refine the fuel. Iran has stated they would prefer to buy the isotopes rather than produce them. The US could resolve the threat of war with Iran if President Obama made a speech today saying the US will allow Iran to produce it themselves under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a legal right guaranteed by treaty among nations including the US and Iran, or by the US selling Iran the isotopes.
- the explanation of the rules of lawful war omitted from their training of what they can and cannot do after war begins.
- I can provide analogies that the rules of war are almost exactly like those limiting an individual’s use of self-defense on the street.
- I can point out the lies that were known to be lies as our political “leaders” told them and our war-whore corporate media mimicked to propagandize for war in Iraq.
- I can show you the speech of Iranian President Ahmadinejad to prove he never threatened Israel.
- I can prove that IAEA verifies all of Iran’s nuclear material has only and always been used for legal and peaceful purposes.
- I can remind you that you love virtue, American values, and love of your fellow human beings.
- Understand the laws of war (and here). These were legislated after WW2 and are crystal-clear that only self-defense, in a narrow legal meaning, can justify war. The current US wars are not even close to being lawful and are legal treason against the US. Those involved with US military, government, and law enforcement have an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution. To fulfill their oath they must immediately refuse all orders associated with unlawful wars and military-related constant violation of treaties, and arrest those who issue unlawful orders. The Oath of Enlistment to the US Constitution supersedes the fascist insertion of Nazi propaganda to “always place the mission first” of blindly following unlawful orders.
- Employ the obvious and simple solutions to end our economic controlled demolition and evolve to a civil economy. End poverty through global cooperation to achieve the UN Millennium Goals by developed countries investing 0.7% of their income (not that the UN is serious for their accomplishment, but the goals are what we should invest to produce). Support global security through cooperation, dignity, justice, and freedom. Create a US Department of Peace to help.
- Communicate. Trust your unique, beautiful, and powerful self-expression to share as you feel appropriate. Understand that while many people are ready to embrace difficult facts, many are not. Anticipate that you will be attacked and prepare your virtuous response in the spirit of competition, just as you do in other fields.
- Prosecute the war leaders for obvious violation of the letter and spirit of US war laws and constant lies to engage in further wars. Because the crimes are so broad and deep, I recommend Truth and Reconciliation (T&R) to exchange full truth and return of stolen US assets for non-prosecution. This is the most expeditious way to understand and end all unlawful and harmful acts. Those who reject T&R are subject to prosecution.
‘Shangoul’ and ‘Mangoul’, Iran’s first transgenic kids
A transgenic animal is one that carries a foreign gene, constructed using recombinant DNA methodology, in its genome. Sheep and goats produced through this method express foreign proteins in their milk and are, therefore, considered valuable sources of protein for human therapy.
Such animals are commonly produced in countries such as the US, France, the UK, Japan, Denmark, Canada, Scotland, the Netherlands, and China to extract alpha-antitrypsin, plasminogen activating factor, factor VIII, fibrinogen, lactoalbumin, lactoferrin, human albumin, collagen I and II, and monoclonal antibodies from their milk.
The two Iranian transgenic kids named ‘Shangoul’ and ‘Mangoul’, the leading characters of a famous traditional children’s story in Iran, were born in Rouyan Institute on Saturday morning.
“The two kids are in a good health condition,” said Hamid Gourabi, the head of Rouyan Research Institute.
Tests revealed high concentrations of human factor IX, an anticoagulant agent used to treat patients with hemophilia B, in their blood. More time, however, is needed to study the availability of the factor in their milk.
A lamb named ‘Royana’, a kid named ‘Hanna’ and two calves named ‘Bonyana’ and ‘Tamina’ were the first animals successfully cloned in the country.
“They would not allow anyone to even sit on the benches or congregate,” the organization quoted the unidentified witness as saying. “After about 70 mothers entered the park, security forces engaged them and started chasing them, grabbing them, and forcing them into police vans. They used a lot of violence and insults in the process.”
Thirty-three women were taken to the Vozara Detention Center, said Hadi Ghaemi, director of the human rights campaign. Later, nine women were taken to emergency rooms in two hospitals, but all nine were returned to the detention center late Saturday, he said Sunday.
Families and other group members went to the detention center Sunday to demand answers to why the women were detained. Officials provided the names of those detained. Those gathered outside the detention center Sunday were alarmed about the health of those inside when an ambulance entered the center, Ghaemi said.
The gathering turned into a protest, with people chanting, “Free the mothers!”
Security forces attacked the crowd to disperse it, Ghaemi said. Two people passing by in a car who took pictures were placed in the detention center, he said.
With Iran’s tight restrictions on international media, CNN could not independently verify the report. The group’s Web site had no details about the reported arrests.
“No culture permits such violence to be unleashed against mothers,” Ghaemi said in a news release posted on the campaign’s Web site. “How can this government, which claims to have moral and religious authority, treat mothers who have lost their children in such a way? The Iranian officials should know that the activities of Mourning Mothers will not stop until their legitimate grievances are properly addressed.”
Mourning Mothers was formed after the violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrators following the disputed June 12 presidential vote, which re-elected hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over main opposition candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi.
Since then, opposition activists and mothers whose children have disappeared or have been executed or detained have also joined the group. Among its members is the mother of 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan, whose chilling death in post-election protests was caught on video and became a powerful symbol for the opposition.
The mothers are demanding government accountability for the deaths, disappearances and detentions of their children.
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USA Shifts Iran Focus to Support Opposition by Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal
“The White House is crafting new financial sanctions specifically designed to punish the Iranian entities and individuals most directly involved in the crackdown on Iran’s dissident forces, said the U.S. officials, rather than just those involved in Iran’s nuclear program.”
“Since the opposition movement’s demonstrations recently peaked after the death of reformist Islamic cleric Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a number of Iran scholars in the U.S. said they have been contacted by senior administration officials eager to understand if the Iranian unrest suggested a greater threat to Tehran’s government than originally understood.”
“The tone has changed in the conversation,” said one scholar who discussed Iran with senior U.S. officials. “There’s realization now that this unrest really matters.”
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