As Iran failed to offer satisfactory explanation over a ship smuggling arms to Senegal, Senegal decided to recall its ambassador to Iran. The weapons were found hidden under building materials on a ship at Lagos in October. Three Nigerians and an Iranian were charged with importing arms from Iran to Gambia. Gambia cut relations with Iran last month on the same reason.
However, it is believed that the actual destination for the arms is a south Senegal region called Casamance where a separatist rebellion has been active supposedly sponsored by the neighbouring Gambia. A peace deal is said to be existing in the region.
Iran has said so far that the shipment belonged to a private company and it was destined to a West African country. Interestingly, Iran’s foreign minister was sacked a few days back when he was visiting Senegal. Senegal said Iran could not provide satisfactory reason for the shipment.
Article first published as IAEA Worries Over North Koreaâ€™s New Uranium Enrichment Facility on Technorati.
The nuclear watchdog of United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency expressed concerns over supposed newly developed Uranium enrichment facility in North Korea. The head of the IAEA Yukio Amano said he learned of recent reports about a new Uranium enrichment facility, as well as the construction of a new light water reactor, in North Korea, BBC news reported.
Last month, a US scientist reportedly had been shown a new Uranium enrichment plant with at least 1,000 centrifuges. This week, North Korea said the plant was operating with thousands of centrifuges. North Korea expelled IAEA inspectors, last year. The inspectors have not been allowed into North Korea since then. North Korea tested nuclear devices twice in 2006 and 2009. When it said it tested a nuclear missile in 2009, many countries doubted whether North Korea did it as it claimed. They were doubtful of North Korea’s capacity to build a full-fledged nuclear missile.
The American nuclear scientist, Siegfried Hecker, visited the plant at Yongbyon in mid-November and reportedly said he was stunned by the sophistication of the equipment he was shown.
Many international analysts say North Korea’s nuclear programme is mainly aimed at extracting more concessions from six partite talks involving two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the US. South Korea and the US have been offering aid to North Korea in return to allowing IAEA inspectors to assess the North Korean capacity to build nuclear arms and finally diffusing them. Earlier this year, North Korea invited a special US envoy to resume talks. Western governments assessed then that North Korea was feeling pain of the international sanctions slapped against it, as a result of expulsion of IAEA inspectors.
Two Germans, arrested in Iran a week ago, are charged with spying. The two Germans interviewed the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. The two Germans were not identified with their names on Iranian state Tele Vision. They were initially accused of illegally working as reporters in Iran.
The sentence of stoning death handed to the woman for adultery sparked outrage from international community. The European Union called the sentence “barbaric.” The Vatican pleaded for clemency. The most commendable reaction was from Brazil that offered asylum to the woman. But, Iran government and its justice system did not receive the international outcry. Rather, it was angered by the global reaction. Maybe, Iran treated the matter as internal.
Iran President Ahmadi Nezad denied that the woman was sentenced with stoning to death while he was in the US in September and accused the Western media for discrediting Iran. At least he agreed that stoning a woman to death for any reason is a discredit for a nation. If he really thinks that it is discredit to his country, he should stop the sentence. But, now the woman is being considered for complicity in the murder of her husband. If she is proved guilty in murder case, she will be hanged to death as per foreign ministry spokesperson of Iran.
CNN March 23, 2010 10:51 a.m. EDT
So what? I want to ask. You supplied arms, ammunition, WMDs and even chemical gas to Saddam’s Iraq to make him strong against Iran. When he turns back to you, you attack him on the pretext of holding the same WMDs supplied by you. In the same way you helped Afghan warlords of all kinds, Laden and Taliban to make them strong against USSR. Then you wanted Afghanistan in your hold. When Afghans rejected, you cruelly attacked them with all types of modern, deadliest weapons under the pretext of ‘War on Terrorism’, in which thousands perished. Still you are there in Iraq and Afghanistan even people there are against you. Now you are ready to accuse Iran training Taliban simply because you are not able to defeat them decisively, even if both of them are dead rivals by their most sacred religious beliefs. Who can be most terrorist than the US which actually dropped two Atom bombs on Japan, killed lakhs of people and made even more lakhs of people to suffer for decades due to radio-activity. Isn’t this the hypocrisy of the highest order? Maybe Iran is helping Taliban. So what’s wrong in it according to your unprincipled principles? I doubt that the US is preparing ground for it’s future attack on Iran. –nvs
Iran is helping train Taliban fighters within its borders, according to US military and intelligence officials. The United States has already said that the Taliban may be receiving limited training from the Iranians in Afghanistan, but the officials told CNN that training in the use of small arms was occurring within Iran. "We’ve known for some time that Iran has been a source for both materiel and trained fighters for Taliban elements in Afghanistan," Army Lt. Col. Edward Sholtis said Monday. But, he said, it is unknown whether that training is occurring with the support of Tehran, or it is "simply something that is happening beyond the government’s control." "For some years, Iran has supplied arms and munitions to the Afghan Taliban," said a US intelligence official. "It has also helped conduct at least small-scale weapons training for the Taliban. There’s reason to believe that some of this training has occurred in Iran." The officials who spoke with CNN did not say how many Taliban fighters have been trained in Iran, or whether the training was sanctioned at the highest levels of the Iranian government.
BBC NEWS | 2010/01/12 | 14:39:02 GMT
Iranian state media have accused Israel and the US of being involved in a bomb attack which killed an Iranian physicist in Tehran. State broadcaster Irib quoted Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman as saying there were signs of Israeli and US involvement “in the terrorist act.” The US state department dismissed the allegation as “absurd.” Masoud Ali Mohammadi – described as a “devoted revolutionary professor” – was killed by a remotely-controlled bomb.
Reports in the Iranian media described Mr. Mohammadi as a nuclear physicist, but it appears that his field of study was quantum theory. There was also confusion as to whether the attack had any political overtones. One university official said Mr. Mohammadi was not a political figure. But other reports said his name appeared on a list of academics backing opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi before the 2009 presidential election. Tensions have been high in Iran since the disputed election led to mass protests against the government. Mr. Mohammadi, who worked at Tehran University, “was killed in a booby-trapped motorbike blast” in the city’s northern Qeytariyeh district, state-run Press TV reported earlier. It showed pictures from the scene of the blast, saying windows in the nearby buildings had been shattered by the force of the explosion. Continue reading
BBC NEWS | 2010/01/05 | 13:20:31 GMT
Iran has banned its citizens from co-operating with foreign organisations it says are trying to destabilise the government, state media has reported. The 60 blacklisted groups include human rights groups, Iranian opposition websites and media groups such as the BBC and US broadcasters. Iran’s deputy intelligence minister told Press TV the groups were involved in a “soft war” against the state. The official said the groups had helped incite post-election unrest.
The BBC, Voice of America, the US National Defense University, the Soros Foundation, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the East European Democratic Centre (EEDC) were among the organisations named. Tehran has issued similar bans in the past and the terms of the ban itself, remain unclear. But Press TV quoted the official as saying that co-operating with the groups, signing contracts with them or receiving assistance from them was illegal. He said it was also illegal for foreign parties to receive funding from foreign countries and warned citizens to avoid “any unusual relations” with foreign embassies and nationals. Continue reading
BBC NEWS | 2010/01/04 | 19:23:21 GMT
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the US has been discussing with partners, ways of putting pressure on Iran to end its nuclear programme. But the White House said the “door is still open” for Iran to return to talks over nuclear enrichment. Iran is already subject to three sets of UN sanctions for refusing to suspend its uranium enrichment programme. US President Barack Obama had said harsher steps would be taken if Iran failed to respond by the end of 2009. Mrs. Clinton said the US had begun speaking to its partners and “like-minded nations” about pressure and sanctions. She said the goal of the US was to “pressure the Iranian government, particularly the Revolutionary Guard elements, without contributing to the suffering of the ordinary [people], who deserve better than what they currently are receiving.”
White House spokesman Bill Burton said the door was “still open for Iran to take the right decision and respect its international obligations.” “We are going to take the necessary steps to encourage them to return to the table,” he said. “We’ll be going through the appropriate process to try to get them to the table and do exactly what they’re supposed to do.” Iran says its nuclear programme is for purely peaceful purposes but many in the West fear it is developing weaponry. Tehran has rejected a plan put forward by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), under which Iran would have sent most of its uranium abroad for further enriching. Mr. Obama’s administration had set an end-of-year deadline for serious progress towards a comprehensive solution.