Article first published as Iran Hit by Sanctions, Cut Subsidies on Blogcritics.
Iran, facing four rounds of international sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council, has decided on Saturday, November 18 to cut subsidies extended to energy and food items. Iran has been under sanctions regime for a long time imposed due to its nuclear programme, which western countries fear aimed at acquiring nuclear arsenal. Iran has repeatedly cleared that its nuclear programme was not intended to build nuclear programme but for peaceful purposes such as energy and medicine.
However, the US along with its western allies has been pressurising Iran to allow IAEA inspectors to inspect its nuclear enrichment facilities. As a member of the IAEA, Iran allowed several times the IAEA inspectors but latter expelled them, saying IAEA was not sending inspectors but spies. As a result, the US lobbied intensively to slap unified sanctions by the UN Security Council and succeeded to convince Russia and China to that effect. Fourth round of sanctions followed in June 2010.
However, Russia and China preserved their business interests with Iran while negotiating with the United States. Many analysts opined the sanctions were substantially weak due to opposition from Russia and China. Some said it was a victor for the United States for persuading China and Russia to impose sanctions. The sanctions resolution was adopted by the 15-nation Security Council in 12-2 vote with Brazil and Turkey casting no vote and Lebanon abstaining.
Prior to the Security Council vote, Brazil and Turkey negotiate a truce to shift Iran’s low enriched Uranium to Turkey in a bid to swap it with reactor ready Uranium rods from western countries. However, the truce negotiated by Brazil and Turkey was effectively ignored by the key world powers. Iran President Mr Ahmadinejad described the sanctions as a used handkerchief demonstrating continued defiance of Iran with the western sponsored sanctions.
This article first published on Blogcritics.org.
This is not about supporting Ahmadinejad and not about opposing President Barack Obama. This is about how President Barack Obama responded to the comments made by the head of a state. This is about what context the President of the US chose to condemn the comments of the Iranian President Ahmadinejad.
Mr. Obama should have responded by directly addressing the comments of Mr. Ahmadinejad. Condemning notionally such comments is a way of responding, but it cannot suffice to a head of the state of the United States of America, who repeatedly talks about humanity, reputation of America, support for America, relevance of American supremacy, the pride of the USA and the uniqueness of the USA.
Let us see the remarks of Mr. Ahmadinejad. He said, "Some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy, and its grips on the Middle East, in order to save the Zionist regime." He said most of the people of the world and the US believe this theory. This was the essence of comments of Mr. Ahmadinejad on the UN podium regarding 9/11 attacks. These comments involve the aspects of politics, economics, sociology and culture of the Politics.
It would be perfect if Obama asked Mr. Ahmadinejad to reveal the sections of the US establishment he believed to be behind the 9/11 attacks. He should have said why the American economy was not declining then. He should have rejected that the US was up for grips on the Middle East, and he should have told the people of the US and the world why and how the US regime did not intend to save the Zionist (or Israeli) regime if it was not.
Furthermore, Mr. Ahmadinejad linked the interests of the US in the Middle East to the 9/11 attacks. President Obama should have explained how they were not linked. He should have revealed that there was a possibility and it
BBC News | 25 September 2010 | 00:24 GMT
US President Barack Obama has described as "hateful" and "offensive" the claim by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that most people believe the US government was behind the 9/11 attacks. Mr Obama was speaking exclusively to BBC Persian television, which broadcasts to Iran and Afghanistan.
Mr Ahmadinejad’s speech at the UN General Assembly on Thursday triggered a walkout. He later defended his remarks and called for an inquiry into the attacks. "I did not pass judgment, but don’t you feel that the time has come to have a fact-finding committee?" Mr Ahmadinejad told reporters on Friday. "The fact-finding mission can shed light on who the perpetrators were who al-Qaeda is… where does it exist? Who was it backed by and supported? All these should come to light."
In his speech at the UN, the Iranian leader suggested the US government could have "orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy, and its grips on the Middle East, in order to save the Zionist regime". Mr Ahmadinejad usually refers to Israel as the "Zionist regime.” Mr Obama said it was inexcusable to make such remarks in New York itself, where most of the victims of 9/11 died.
However, despite his condemnation, the US president reaffirmed America’s commitment to reach out to the people of Iran, who he said had a very different response to 9/11. "There were candlelight vigils and I think a natural sense of shared humanity and sympathy was expressed within Iran," Mr Obama told the BBC. "It just shows once again the difference between how the Iranian leadership and this regime operate and how I think the vast majority of the Iranian people, who are respectful and thoughtful, think about these issues."
MSN News | 31/08/2010
Iran’s foreign ministry criticised the media today for branding French first lady Carla Bruni as a “prostitute” after she expressed support for a woman sentenced to death by stoning. "Insulting officials of other countries and using indecent words is not endorsed by the Islamic Republic of Iran," ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters. "We don’t think using indecent and insulting words is a right move," he said when asked to comment on Iranian media reports that described Bruni as an "immoral" woman and a "prostitute".
"I hope the media will pay attention. The media can criticise the hostile policies of other countries, but by refraining from using insulting words. This is not correct." On Saturday, Iran’s hardline daily ‘Kayhan’ made a blistering attack on the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy by branding her a "prostitute." It ran a story headlined "French prostitutes enter the human rights uproar," in which it criticised Bruni and French actress Isabelle Adjani for supporting Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, the 43-year-old Iranian mother of two, who has been sentenced to death by stoning. "Bruni, the singer and depraved actress who managed to break the Sarkozy family and marry the French president and who is said to have an affair with a singer, has said in S M’s (Sakineh Mohammadi) defence that the verdict is unfair," ‘Kayhan’ wrote.
Source: Deutsche Welle
The United States has announced it will sanction 13 European firms it suspects of being controlled by the Iranian government. The US Treasury Department froze all assets the companies have under US jurisdiction and forbid American companies or individuals from doing business with them. Nine of the firms are registered in Germany, two in Belarus, and one each in Luxembourg and Italy.
The companies include insurance, investment, mining and engineering firms. Seven of the German firms, including IFIC Holding and Ascotec Holding, are based in the western city of Dusseldorf. The others are located in Hamburg and Nettetal. At a press briefing in Washington on Tuesday, Stuart Levey, the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, described Iran as “by far the most prolific funder of terrorism in the world.”
BBC News | 5 August 2010 | 17:37 GMT
Labour has accused David Cameron of committing a gaffe by mistakenly claiming Iran has a nuclear weapon. Asked why he was backing Turkey to join the EU, he said it could help solve the world’s problems, “like the Middle East peace process, like the fact that Iran has got a nuclear weapon”. A No 10 source said the PM “misspoke”, later adding he had been talking about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. But Labour said he was becoming a “foreign policy klutz”. Shadow Europe Minister Chris Bryant said: “This is less of a hiccup, more of a dangerous habit. “Considering Iran’s nuclear ambitions constitute one of the most important foreign policy challenges facing us all, it is not just downright embarrassing that the prime minister has made this basic mistake, it’s dangerous.”
He said Mr Cameron had been forced to “explain away another foreign policy gaffe” – a reference to the diplomatic rows that erupted over his recent comments about Pakistan. Iran has been the focus of concern among the international community over its uranium enrichment programme, with the US military warning in April it could produce enough material for a nuclear bomb in one year. One of Mr Cameron’s aides said the prime minister “misspoke” when he said “Iran has a nuclear weapon”. But she later told the BBC: “If you watch back the prime minister’s words, it is clear he is talking about Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon.” The prime minister made the comment at one of his “PM Direct” public meetings at Hove, East Sussex. Immediately beforehand, he had been berated by a member of the public about an earlier gaffe, when he described Britain as the US’s “junior partner” against the Nazis in 1940. Retired telephonist Kathy Finn, 75, accused him of “denigrating” his own country, asking him: “Who do you consider was the senior partner in the Battle of Britain when we were fighting alone in the first two and a half years of the war?”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad survived an attack with a homemade explosive device on his motorcade during a visit to a provincial city on Wednesday, a source in his office said. Here are some comments on the attack:
BAQER MOIN, LONDON-BASED IRAN EXPERT
“Hamadan is a stable area without ethnic or local tension… Let’s wait and see who they accuse, an internal or an external enemy.”
SHAHIN GOBADI, SPOKESMAN FOR OPPOSITION NATIONAL COUNCIL OF RESISTANCE OF IRAN, BASED IN FRANCE
Asked if his group was behind the attack, he said: “Absolutely not, absolutely not. It has nothing to do with us. I don’t know what happened. It has nothing to do with us.”
PAUL HARRIS, HEAD OF NATURAL RESOURCES RISK MANAGEMENT AT BANK OF IRELAND
“I expect that any backlash there might be from Ahmadinejad will be far more important to the oil market than the initial attack itself. You would expect the oil market to react if there is any attempt to link the attack to the current tensions with the West and the ramping up of sanctions. Prices haven’t moved today but we’ve just had a very strong rally. Geopolitical risk from the Middle East is broadly priced in, especially following yesterday’s incident on the Israel-Lebanon border.”
IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT MIDDLE EAST ANALYST GALA RIANI
“It wouldn’t be surprising if the president’s office tries to play this down. It’s very difficult to say who could be behind it. There are assorted militant groups operating in Iran. The opposition hasn’t gone away since the election although they are very limited in what they can do. They are not one coherent movement so it’s not impossible that some members could have taken it upon themselves to do something like this. We could watch to see what opposition leaders say, particularly if it becomes clear that this is a big deal — whether they distance themselves. Ahmadinejad has taken himself out of Tehran into the provinces to speak to people more than any other president. We will have to see whether this is serious enough that he cuts back doing that. There have been occasions when people have thrown things at him or heckled him but that has been it.” Continue reading
Reuters | Sat Jul 17, 2010 | 3:14pm IST
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel must agree to the idea of a third party guarding the borders of a future Palestinian state before direct peace talks can begin. In an interview published on Saturday, Abbas said Israel must also agree in principle to an equitable land swap that would compensate the Palestinians for West Bank land absorbed by Jewish settlements in any peace deal. The remarks were the clearest statement yet of what Abbas wants from Israel before he agrees to move to face-to-face negotiations that Washington wants the sides to begin. Abbas met U.S. Middle peace envoy George Mitchell on Saturday in Ramallah. Mitchell, who met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, is mediating indirect peace talks under way for two months. The talks are about halfway through their agreed four-month lifetime. They are set to conclude in September, around the same time as a partial freeze that Netanyahu ordered last November on Israeli settlement building on occupied West Bank territory.
Israel says the current "proximity talks" are wasting time. Netanyahu says he is ready to begin direct talks with Abbas right away. But the Palestinian president is wary of talking to an Israeli leader he believes is not willing to make an offer the Palestinians could accept. Speaking to the Jordanian newspaper al-Ghad, Abbas said he wanted Israel to agree "in principle" to the idea that a third party take on a security role in a future Palestinian state to be founded on land occupied by Israel in a 1967 war. "Now what is required from Israel is for it to say that these ideas are, in principle, acceptable," he said. "That means: do they accept that the land is the 1967 borders and that there be, in the Palestinian land, a third party. If they agree to that, this is what we would consider the progress that we want and that would make us go to direct negotiations," he said. The Palestinians aim to establish their state in
Reuters | Tue Jun 22, 2010 | 12:35am IST
Iran has barred two U.N. nuclear inspectors from entering the Islamic Republic; increasing tension less than two weeks after Tehran was hit by new U.N. sanctions over its disputed atomic programme. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rejected Iran’s reasons for the ban and said it fully supported the inspectors, which Tehran has accused of reporting wrongly that some nuclear equipment was missing. "The IAEA has full confidence in the professionalism and impartiality of the inspectors concerned," spokesman Greg Webb said in an unusually blunt statement which described the IAEA’s report issued last month as "fully accurate". Iran, which has declared the two inspectors persona non grata, made clear it would still allow the Vienna-based U.N. watchdog to monitor its nuclear facilities, saying other experts could carry out the work. "Inspections are continuing without any interruption," Iran’s IAEA envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh told reporters in Vienna. "(But) we have to show more vigilance about the performance of the inspectors to protect the confidentiality," he said, criticising alleged leaks by inspectors to Western media.
Ties between Iran and the IAEA have become more strained since Yukiya Amano took over as head of the agency in December. The Japanese diplomat has taken a tougher approach on Iran than his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei, with the IAEA saying in a February report that Iran could be trying to develop a nuclear-armed missile now, and not just in the past. Iran accused Amano of issuing a misleading report. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said Tehran had asked the IAEA to replace the two inspectors, the ISNA news agency reported. The IAEA has not confirmed whether this will be the case. Iran has the right to refuse certain inspectors under its agreement with the agency, which has around 200 people trained to conduct inspections in the Islamic state. Iran denied entry to a senior U.N. inspector in 2006.
But if Iran continues to refuse inspectors it could face diplomatic retaliation at the IAEA, whose 35-nation Board of Governors reported Iran to the U.N. Security Council in 2006 over its nuclear secrecy and lack of full cooperation with inspectors. "It is worrisome that Iran has taken this step, which is symptomatic of its longstanding practice of
BBC News | Thursday, 10 June 2010 | 09:07 GMT
Iran’s parliament is to reconsider relations with the UN nuclear watchdog, following the latest round of UN sanctions, state media says. The announcement by National Security and Foreign Policy Committee head Alaeddin Boroujerdi did not specify what action might be taken. But correspondents say options could include restricting access by UN inspectors to Iranian nuclear sites. President Ahmadinejad has dismissed the UN sanctions as a "used handkerchief". Iran insists it wants only atomic energy, but a number of Western countries suspect it of trying to build nuclear weapons.
Russian sale ‘off’
On Wednesday, the UN Security Council voted to impose a fourth round of sanctions on Tehran for failing to halt its nuclear enrichment programme. The measures were passed after being watered down during negotiations with Russia and China. Beijing said on Thursday it "highly values" its relations with the Islamic republic, after incurring Tehran’s anger by voting for the measures. Meanwhile, Russia said the sanctions meant it could not supply Iran with the S-300 anti-missile system Tehran had ordered, a military source told Moscow’s Interfax news agency. The resolution includes measures to prohibit Iran from buying heavy weapons such as missiles and helicopters. The Security Council voted by 12 votes to two in favour; Brazil and Turkey voted against, while Lebanon abstained.
BBC News | Wednesday, 9 June 2010 | 16:34 GMT
The UN Security Council has voted in favour of fresh sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme. The council voted 12 to two, with one abstention, in favour of a fourth round of sanctions, including tighter finance curbs and an expanded arms embargo. The US welcomed the move and said Iran must choose a "wiser course". But Iran’s envoy to the UN’s nuclear watchdog Ali Asghar Soltanieh vowed Tehran would continue its uranium enrichment activities. "Nothing will change," he said. The US and its allies fear Iran is secretly trying to build a nuclear bomb, but Tehran insists its programme is aimed solely at peaceful energy use.
The Security Council resolution was opposed by Turkey and Brazil. They had earlier brokered a deal with Iran on uranium enrichment. Lebanon abstained. The new sanctions were passed after being watered down during negotiations with Russia and China on Tuesday. There are no crippling economic sanctions and there is no oil embargo. Those passed include prohibiting Iran from buying heavy weapons such as attack helicopters and missiles. They also toughen rules on financial transactions with Iranian banks and increase the number of Iranian individuals and companies that are targeted with asset freezes and travel bans. There is also a new framework of cargo inspections to detect and stop Iran’s acquisition of illicit materials.
Hailing the vote, the US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said: "The Security Council has risen to its responsibilities and now Iran should choose a wiser course." UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said the decision sent a "strong statement of international resolve", increasing the pressure on Iran to meet its obligations. German counterpart Guido Westerwelle said this was "a clear signal from the international community that atomic weapons for Iran are not acceptable". However, both Turkey and Brazil spoke out in opposition, saying the deal they had brokered with Iran had not been given time.
BBC News | Wednesday, 19 May 2010 | 11:28 GMT
The head of Iran’s atomic energy organisation has said newly-proposed sanctions on Iran will backfire. Ali Akbar Salehi said the sanctions would lead to the major world powers who back them being "discredited". He is the highest-ranking Iranian official to speak since the proposals were tabled at the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday. The proposals come just a day after Tehran agreed to trade uranium for ready-enriched fuel for a reactor. "They won’t prevail and by pursuing the passing of a new resolution they are discrediting themselves in public opinion," said Mr Salehi, who is also Iran’s vice-president. Plans for a fourth set of UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme were circulated among all 15 members of the Security Council on Tuesday. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the five veto-wielding permanent members had agreed on a "strong" draft resolution.
The new draft was drawn up a day after Iran, Brazil and Turkey signed a deal in which Iran agreed to send low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for enriched fuel for a research reactor. A similar deal was suggested last year by the five permanent members of the Security Council – the US, France, UK, China and Russia – plus Germany, who have been negotiating with Iran over its nuclear programme. They believe that Iran is trying to obtain a nuclear weapon, which Iran denies. Placing Iran’s nuclear material in a third country was intended to act as a confidence-building measure by the major world powers to prevent Iran producing more highly enriched, weapons-grade material.
BBC NEWS | 2010/05/17 | 20:42:03 GMT
There has been a cool international response to Iran’s announcement that it will send uranium abroad for enrichment after talks with Turkey and Brazil. The UN and Russia said the move was encouraging, but the US expressed concern at Iran’s statement that it would continue to enrich uranium. The US and the UK said work on a UN resolution imposing more sanctions on Tehran would continue. The West suspects Iran’s nuclear programme is aimed at making weapons. Iran insists it is solely designed to meet its energy needs. Tehran hopes the new agreement – in which it would ship 1,200kg (2,645lb) of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for higher-grade nuclear fuel for a research reactor – would avert new sanctions.
In a deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil, Iran said it was prepared to move uranium within a month of its approval by the so-called Vienna Group (US, Russia, France and the IAEA). In return, Iran says it expects to receive 120kg of more highly enriched uranium (20%) – purity well below that used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons – within a year. The deal does not address the central nuclear issues dealt with by successive UN Security Council resolutions – Iran’s refusal to halt its enrichment programme. The US reacted by saying it still had serious concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme, although it did not reject the agreement.
BBC NEWS | 2010/05/17 | 11:58:13 GMT
Iran will notify the IAEA of the details of the agreement within a week
If approved by the Vienna Group, Iran will ship 1,200kg of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Turkey
The LEU will remain the property of Iran while in Turkey
Tehran and the IAEA may send observers to monitor its security
The Vienna group must then deliver 120kg of nuclear fuel to Iran within a year
Iran may request that Turkey return its LEU "swiftly and unconditionally” to Iran
Iran has signed an agreement to send uranium abroad for enrichment after mediation talks in Tehran with Turkish and Brazilian leaders. Iran’s foreign ministry said it was ready to ship 1,200kg (2,645lb) of low-enriched uranium to Turkey, in return for fuel for a research reactor. Correspondents say the plan could revive an UN-backed proposal and may ward off another round of sanctions. Meanwhile, France has announced progress at the UN on fresh sanctions. The West, worried that Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb, has been pushing for stiffer sanctions against Iran. Tehran denies having a nuclear weapons programme.
The new deal does not address the central nuclear issues dealt with by successive UN Security Council resolutions, namely Iran’s refusal to halt its enrichment programme and address questions about its past nuclear activities. Iran says it will continue enriching uranium. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner
BBC NEWS | 2010/05/16 | 09:39:43 GMT
France has denied it made a secret pact with Iran to secure the release of a French lecturer charged with spying after last June’s disputed election. Clotilde Reiss has now arrived in Paris following a flight from Tehran. She was originally sentenced to 10 years in jail in Iran but this was commuted to a fine of $285,000 (£190,000), her lawyer said.
The 25-year-old was accused of espionage and e-mailing photographs of anti-government protests. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told Radio J in France that there had been "no haggling and no pay-off" to secure her release. Ms Reiss is due to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday.
Ms Reiss’s lawyer, Mohammad Ali Mahdavi, earlier said he had paid the fine on her behalf. She has been staying at the French embassy in the capital Tehran since she was bailed six weeks after her arrest in July last year. At that time, Ms Reiss had been on a six-month teaching and research assignment in the central city of Isfahan.