Posts tagged "Germany"

IRAN: April 24, 2012


Iranian oil ministry hit by cyber-attack

Iran’s main oil export terminal is cut off from internet after apparent attack on website and communications systems.

Iran Sanctions Help Tanker Operator

Iranian oil stored at sea is building up due to international sanctions, but the measures are also proving a boon to the country’s homegrown tanker operator, officials in Tehran said Tuesday, underscoring the mixed effect of mounting pressure on Iran.

Facing Cyberattack, Iranian Officials Disconnect Some Oil Terminals From Internet

Iran disconnected several of its main Persian Gulf oil terminals from the Internet on Monday, local news media reported, as technicians were struggling to contain what they said were intensifying cyberattacks on the Oil Ministry and its affiliates.

Obama levies new tech sanctions on Syria, Iran

Under pressure to stop the Syrian government’s deadly crackdown, President Barack Obama on Monday levied new sanctions on people and entities in Syria and Iran that use technology to target their citizens and perpetrate human rights abuses.

Official: Iran oil industry safe after cyberattack

An Iranian official says the country’s oil industry is working well despite an attack from hackers and a computer virus that targeted the sector’s computer systems.

Latest cyberattack on Iran targets oil export facilities

Computer servers at the government oil ministry and the National Iranian Oil Co. are the apparent target of a cyberattack via a data-deleting virus, Iranian officials have acknowledged. Previous attacks struck at Iran’s nuclear program.

Indian shipping firms to carry Iran crude despite reduced insurance

Indian shipping firms will continue to transport Iranian crude even if limited insurance coverage due to tightening Western sanctions leaves them financially exposed to a spill or accident, a top executive and industry sources said.

Iran Says It Foiled Cyberattack on Oil Production

The Iranian government claimed Monday that a massive cyberattack on the country’s oil industry had been foiled, though it did damage some computer motherboards and erase some data.

Panetta Scoffs at Iran Claim It Copied US Spy Drone

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta scoffed at the Iranian government’s claim that it had recovered data from a downed U.S. spy drone and made a working copy of the spy craft.

Banging the tin drum for Iran and against Israel

Germany’s most famous living writer has unleashed an international debate by branding Israel the greatest threat to world peace.

Iran making overtures to China on access to US drone technology

While the Iranians claim they’ve reverse-engineered the American drone that went down last year inside its borders, Fox News has learned that Tehran is making overtures to the Chinese to potentially give them access to the sensitive drone technology.

American Professors Gather in Tehran for Occupy Wall Street Conference

An alarming news report from Iran’s Press TV, a propaganda arm of the Iranian government, showing American professors gathering in Tehran to discuss the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Activist Describes Iran’s Harsh Prison Conditions

A Kurdish human rights activist serving a 3.5-year jail sentence in Iran has provided a rare glimpse into what he says are harsh conditions inside the country’s detention facilities.

Iran recalls diplomat to be ‘dealt with’ over Brazil groping scandal

Iran announced on Tuesday it is investigating allegations made in Brazil that one of its diplomats fondled underage girls.

Iran oil minister warns of new sale cuts to Europe

Iran’s oil minister on Thursday raised the prospect of more cutoffs in oil sales to the European Union if the bloc failed to show some flexibility toward Iran ahead of a second round of nuclear talks next month.

British man gets $1M bail in Iran missile case

A judge granted a $1 million bail Monday for a British man who was extradited to Texas to face charges that he tried to sell missile parts to Iran.

Iran considers turning disputed Abu Moussa island into capital of new province

A draft law to be submitted to the Iranian parliament proposes the establishment of a new province with Abu Moussa, one of the three islands disputed with the UAE, as its capital, said a parliament source.

Syria Car Bomb Near Iranian Office Hurts 3

A car bombing near the Iranian cultural office in Syria’s capital, Damascus, wounded three Syrians, Iran’s state-run Press TV reported.

Don’t let nukes overshadow Iranian human rights: Ebadi

Iran’s nuclear ambitions should not prevent world leaders from pressing the Persian nation to respect human rights and open its government to democracy, Nobel Peace Prize winner and exiled Iranian activist Shirin Ebadi said Tuesday.

Iran to Start South Pars Oil Drilling by End of May, Shana Says

Iran’s Pars Oil & Gas Co. will start drilling the oil layer of the South Pars gas fields by the end of May, the Oil Ministry’s news website reported.

Iran to Boost Oil Output at Shared Hengam Field, Press TV Says

Iran will boost oil output to 30,000 barrels a day at the Hengam field that it shares with Oman after drilling a fourth well at the site, Press TV reported, citing Iranian Offshore Oil Co.’s managing director.

Iran Accuses Saudi Arabia Of Breaching OPEC Ceiling

Iran Thursday accused Saudi Arabia of breaching a collective OPEC agreement, reviving fears that the producer group’s fractious meeting last year could be repeated.


Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

"We always have a concern about in particular the [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] and [their] efforts …  to expand their influence not only throughout the Middle East but into [South America] as well. That, in my book, that relates to expanding terrorism. And that’s one of the areas that I think all of us are concerned about."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

"If Tehran and Baghdad are powerful, then there will be no place for the presence of enemies of nations in this region, including the U.S. and the Zionist regime."

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary of the powerful Guardian Council

"They (western countries) are ready to accept that enrichment is Iran’s right. The West should lift sanctions against Iran but if they continue to insist on sanctions and then say they are negotiating with Iran, it is clear that this talks will be halted."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

"So far they haven’t rolled back the Iranian program, or even stopped it by one iota. I can tell you the centrifuges are spinning.  They were spinning before the talks began recently with Iran. They were spinning during the talks. They were spinning as we speak."


Iran’s cyber prowess: Could it really have cracked drone codes?

Iran claims it hacked into the data banks of a captured CIA stealth drone. US officials dismiss it as ‘bluster,’ but aviation and cyber experts say it’s possible.

Nah, Iran Probably Didn’t Hack CIA’s Stealth Drone

Four months after capturing a crashed U.S. stealth drone near the Iran-Afghanistan border, Tehran claims it has hacked into the ‘bot’s classified mission-control system. If true, it could mean Iran is making good on its vow to reverse-engineer the stealthy, Lockheed Martin-built RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone and produce homemade copies.

The Pentagon Is Taking The Fight With Iran Straight To South America

Iran’s sowing the seeds of influence in South America under the guise of new “embassies and cultural centers” it’s built over the past several years.

Iran nuclear talks: To keep global support, US must seize diplomatic opportunities

Talks between Iran and the P5+1 in Istanbul April 14 show that negotiations aimed at addressing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions appear to be on track. Diplomatic momentum should quell loose talk about the ‘military option.’ The top priority now must be to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment.

The Obama World Order

The president’s rhetoric has helped make change seem possible in Iran and the Middle East. Now comes the hard part.

Cyberattack on Iran’s oil ministry played down

A suspected cyberattack at Iran’s oil ministry did not destroy any sensitive data, government officials said on Monday, amid confusion about how serious the attack was and who was behind it.

The Mullahs’ Greatest Fear: Kim Kardashian

Karim Sadjapour explains what most frightens Iran’s mullahs, and no it is not an Israeli air strike. It’s the insidious Western message of sexual emancipation.

Unplug Companies That Help Iran and Syria Spy on Citizens

The evidence forms a high stack. U.S., European and other companies are selling technologies that enable the repressive Iranian and Syrian regimes to disrupt and monitor the Internet and track down government critics, as documented in media reports, notably by Bloomberg News.

India cannot wean itself off Iranian Oil overnight

India is dependent for its economic future not just on exports, but on imports, particularly oil. Like many nations, India depends on foreign-produced crude to sustain its impressive growth. And as has been widely reported, Iran has been a large supplier of oil to India.

UAE and Iran: Frenemies forever

The visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s to the disputed islands located between the UAE and Iran was met with a torrent of condemnation and denunciation by the Gulf States and several other Arab states. The UAE objected officially and recalled its ambassador in Tehran for consultations, whereas Gulf foreign ministers met in Doha yesterday to denounce the Iranian provocations. The question that must be raised today is: Why did President Ahmadinejad choose to visit the islands at this particular time? Did Iran really mean to provoke the UAE? Are there other motives at play?

Romney and Iran’s ‘route to the sea’

We’ve puzzled over this comment for a while. When the presumptive GOP nominee referred to Syria as Iran’s “route to the sea” during the Arizona GOP debate in February, we figured it was just a slip of the tongue.

How France’s Presidential Runoff Could Shape Iran Diplomacy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy may have once been caught in an unguarded moment telling President Barack Obama he couldn’t stand Benjamin Netanyahu and branding the Israeli leader “a liar,” but Netanyahu would nonetheless lose an important ally if Sarkozy is unable to reverse Sunday’s setback in his reelection bid. That’s because regardless of the personal chemistry between them, Netanyahu will be initimately aware that Sarkozy is widely regarded as the most Israel-friendly French president ever and is also Israel’s best bet among Western leaders for maintaining a hard line on Iran. Even if presidential frontrunner Francois Hollande is unlikely, if elected, to change France’s formal position on Iran, the Socialist Party candidate is also highly unlikely to reprise Sarkozy’s hyperactive and reliably hawkish hectoring of Washington and his European neighbors to escalate pressure on Iran—and to resist compromises with Tehran on the issue of uranium enrichment.

Iran Toughening on Arab Gulf States and Softening on Nuclear Negotiations

Iran’s leadership has purposely coupled the features of its deal on the nuclear issue with the five permanent Security Council member-states plus Germany with a blow to the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), punishing them for their stance on the Syrian issue and toughening Iran’s stance on them, as coinciding with potential concessions on the nuclear issue. Tehran realizes that it will not obtain the blessing of Western countries for the role it seeks to play at the regional level. The West might acknowledge Iran’s importance in the region, and some Western countries may provide guarantees of non-interference in Iran’s domestic affairs. But what Iran will not obtain is any recognition that the Islamic Republic of Iran holds an exceptional position in regional affairs.

For Israel, the Problem with Iran Diplomacy Is the Prospect of Nuclear Compromise

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amplified his skepticism of President Obama’s Iran strategy on Wednesday, when he used a Holocaust remembrance speech to warn that Iran was building nuclear weapons in order to destroy Israel. “The Iranian regime is acting openly and decisively toward our destruction, and it is acting feverishly to develop a nuclear weapon to achieve this goal,” Netanyahu said, two days after accusing the Administration and its partners of giving Iran a “freebie” in last weekend’s nuclear talks in Istanbul. The combination of those statements creates an impression that the Israelis see the current diplomacy with Iran as prevarication in the face of a mortal threat to Israel — a message calculated to raise the domestic political heat on President Obama.

CHINA: April 23, 2012


Factories in China Show Pace Is Improving

A closely watched survey of manufacturing activity in China rebounded in April, offering the latest sign that the Chinese economy was gradually regaining some of the momentum it lost last year.

China Grows Its Dairy Farms With a Global Cattle Drive

In one of the largest transoceanic cattle drives in history, as many as 100,000 heifers from Uruguay, Australia and New Zealand will board multistory cattle-carrying ships this year—bound for China. The global roundup is a key part of China’s effort to satisfy growing domestic demand for milk and remake its dairies after a deadly tainted-milk scandal in 2008 devastated production and caused distrustful consumers to turn to imported milk.

China policy battles boost South China Sea strains

Jockeying by Chinese agencies over policy fiefdoms and budgets threatens to intensify tension in the disputed South China Sea, a respected think tank warned on Monday, with the Philippines seeking more patrols to guard against China’s claims.

China big oil firms on edge over U.S. disclosure

Oil firms may have to share financial data from global projects.

More Chinese Head to U.S., Report Says

An increasing number of people from China moved to America last year.

China detains dozens in poison drug capsule scandal

Chinese police have detained 45 people, arrested nine and seized more than 77 million capsules tainted with chromium in China’s latest product safety scandal, which has aroused widespread public concern despite repeated pledges to get tough.

China, Amid Uncertainty at Home and in Europe, Looks to Germany

As Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China tours Europe this week, it is no accident that Germany occupies a special place on his itinerary.

China’s leaders are cracking down on Bo Xilai and his Chongqing model

The campaign against Bo Xilai is not motivated by a desire to stop corruption or solve a murder case, but by a deep political conflict.

South Sudan seeks Beijing investment

South Sudan will seek Chinese funds to build an alternative oil pipeline so that it no longer depends on the north to export its oil, a senior official said, ahead of a presidential visit to Beijing.

China-Russia naval drills begin in Yellow Sea

China and Russia launched joint naval exercises Sunday that highlight warming ties between their militaries and growing cooperation in international affairs.

Toxic Chinese mercury pollution travelling to US

Mass quantities of air pollutants from China, including mercury discharged from traditional coal-fired power plants, are travelling to places as far away as the US, according to the US environment agency.

Cyber-attack cripples US website covering Bo Xilai scandal

China’s security services ordered attack, claims manager of, which has seen visitor traffic rise 155% this year.

China’s car market matures after ultra-fast growth

The market is flat and competition is hot as this year’s Beijing motor show gets underway this week.

China says will “not be absent” from IMF fund boost

China said it will “not be absent” from plans to enhance funds for the International Monetary Fund and repeated its confidence in euro zone economies, according to a People’s Bank of China statement issued on Saturday after an IMF meeting in Washington.—sector.html

China, NKorea Reaffirm Ties After Rocket Test

Chinese President Hu Jintao met with a top North Korean envoy on Monday in a reaffirmation of traditional ties following Chinese pique over Pyongyang’s recent attempted rocket launch.

Palace websites attacked by ‘Chinese networks’

The dispute between China and the Philippines over Scarborough Shoal continued to spill over into cyberspace with Philippine government websites being attacked by “Chinese networks” on Monday.

China’s Biggest Banks Are Squeezed for Capital

China’s banks are among the biggest and most profitable financial institutions in the world.

China to invest in infrastructure to bolster growth

China is set to speed up spending on roads, railways and utilities to boost economic growth, the official China Securities Journal said on Monday, citing government economists.

China Internet firms face venture capital funding squeeze

China’s hot Internet sector is facing a problem it is unaccustomed to: a lack of money.

China Court Spares Life of Millionaire

China’s highest court spared a 30-year-old millionaire once labeled one of China’s richest women from the death penalty, in a case that drew attention to the country’s underground lending market and elicited an outpouring of online protests as well as sympathetic comments from Premier Wen Jiabao.

Suspected Sale by China Stirs Concern at White House

The Obama administration says it believes that a Chinese manufacturer sold North Korea the chassis and other parts for a missile-transport vehicle displayed in a military parade this week, a senior official said Friday, raising new concerns about China’s ability to enforce a ban on military sales to North Korea.

Jon Huntsman explains China comment

Jon Huntsman on Monday attempted to explain comments comparing the Republican party to the Chinese communist party.


Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC)

"Since we have decided on the gradualism approach (for the yuan), and we have been implementing that for years, we are almost there and we must stick to the path… The market supply and demand will play a bigger role, and the central bank will only intervene when the exchange rate movement is out of the normal range — the frequency of our intervention will be less and the way of doing it will be more flexible as well."—business.html


China’s Corrupt Secrets

The Bo Xilai affair offers a reality check for anyone who’s worried that a rising China will supplant the United States anytime soon: First, the Chinese know that the scandal is just the tip of an iceberg of corruption menacing the country; and second, the leadership in Beijing understands that the scandal could have been much messier if the White House hadn’t kept quiet the past two months.

Three Questions From China’s Bo Xilai Fiasco

Six of nine Politburo members paid homage to Chongqing, implicitly endorsing the now-discredited ‘Chongqing Model.’

The Startling Plight of China’s Leftover Ladies

China’s men far outnumber women. So why is it so hard to find a good husband?

Environmental Standards Give The United States An Edge Over China

This Earth Day is a great opportunity to take stock of the progress we are making around the world on environmental protection. Here in the United States, much can be learned by comparing our environmental progress to China, where they are just now starting down a path we took back in 1970.

China is deeply flawed. Its dominance is not inevitable

The country’s success will continue only if its elites initiate the political and economic reforms it desperately needs.

China’s Deals Threaten U.S. Supremacy 

The current spate of Chinese bids for U.S. companies has so far received benign treatment in the media.

China’s Princelings Become a U.S. Media Phenomenon

On Wednesday morning, Jodi Seth, the communications director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was swamped with calls on a subject she knew little about: Chinese “princelings,” or the children and grandchildren of prominent members of China’s Communist Party, many of them studying and living in the U.S. Seth wasn’t the only one flooded with inquiries she could do little to answer. Her counterparts at the State Department, the FBI and Harvard were experiencing a similar phenomenon. The princelings, it seems, have become somewhat of an American fascination.

IRAN: April 18, 2012


Swiss govt freezes more Iranian assets

The Swiss government has extended its financial sanctions against Iran by freezing the assets of 11 more companies and people but decided not to take any action against Tehran’s central bank, officials said Wednesday.

Europe’s buyers trim Iranian oil imports in April

Iran’s oil buyers in Europe are progressively cutting volumes in advance of a European Union ban on Iran crude from July 1 and have reduced their April purchases by 75,000 barrels per day (bpd), industry sources said on Wednesday.

Tensions Between The UAE And Iran Are Heating Up Over Contested Islands

Last week Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the first Iranian head of state to visit Abu Musa since Tehran took over the island 41 years ago.

Iran slams Gulf Arab “interference” over disputed islands

Iran accused its Gulf Arab neighbours on Wednesday of interfering in its internal affairs after they described a visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a tiny island - claimed by Iran and the United Arab Emirates - as a “provocative act”.

Iran worries keep prices high, despite rising non-OPEC crude supply

Increased oil production in the US and other non-OPEC countries, which more than offsets increases in global demand, is keeping pressure on OPEC to limit crude output. Increased supply typically creates lower oil prices, but today’s new supply is being outweighed by anticipated supply interruption from Iran and other smaller sources including: Syria, Yemen, the Sudans, and the North Sea. These supply worries are further compounded by continuing fairly low levels of OPEC spare capacity, yielding oil prices of around $120/bbl.

London TV channel dips a toe into Iran culture war

Four Iranians gather for a cosy dinner party, cracking jokes in Persian over a traditional meal of saffron rice and stew.

Iran thanks Saudis for sparing death row citizens

Iran — a country slammed by international rights groups for its state executions — on Wednesday welcomed Saudi Arabia suspending death sentences against several of its nationals convicted for drug trafficking.

The Iran War Dial: Odds of Conflict Fall to 42%

The probability that the United States or Israel will strike Iran in the next year is 42 percent—down from a figure of 48 percent in March, according to The Atlantic’s Iran War Dial.

German ship carrying Iranian arms stopped en route to Syria, report says

A German ship carrying Iranian arms was stopped by a shipping company after a tip-off about the concealed weapons, which were being ferried to a Syrian port, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

Iranian official resigns over impeachment threat

An Iranian official accused of involvement in the torture of protesters while in custody has resigned from his post after parliament threatened the government with impeachment, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

Iran launches $1.5 billion project to bring water from Caspian Sea to country’s central desert

Iran has launched a $1.5 billion project to bring water for drinking and irrigation from the Caspian Sea to its central desert.

Iran Arrests 15 People Accused in Assassination Plot

Iran’s state media announced on Wednesday that 15 people, including Iranians and unspecified foreigners, had been arrested in connection with what the country’s Intelligence Ministry described as a “Zionist-regime-linked” plot to assassinate one of its “specialists.” The report by the state broadcaster IRIB also said Iran’s intelligence services had uncovered an Israeli spy base in a neighboring country, without elaborating.

Top Iran Nuclear Scientist, Once Targeted for Assassination, Gets New Emergency Post

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, a top nuclear scientist who narrowly avoided an assassination attempt less than two years ago, has been given a new post as the commander for nuclear and radioactive emergencies, the Iranian military announced Tuesday.

U.S. official says Netanyahu was fully briefed on Iran talks

After Israeli PM claimed that Iran was handed a ‘freebie’ at Istanbul talks, senior official says Netanyahu was fully briefed on strategy of six world powers; at next meeting, major powers to demand Iran suspend uranium enrichment at level of 20 percent at next meeting.

Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi speaks out against Iran sanctions

Shirin Ebadi, the first Iranian to win a Nobel Peace Prize, also spoke with the Monitor about her fight for human rights in Iran and challenged the supreme leader’s role.

Barak says Israel never ruled out attacking Iran

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday his country has never promised the United States it would hold off from attacking Iran while nuclear talks were taking place.

Barack Obama condemns Iran for creating ‘electronic curtain’

President Barack Obama has condemned Iran for the creation of an “electronic curtain” which stops the free flow of information and ideas into the country.

Iran tightens grip on web in ‘soft war’ with West

Iran calls it the “soft war” with the West: Battles to control, defend and monitor the Internet and other high-level telecommunications. The latest move came quietly when the powerful Revolutionary Guard recently launched what it claims is a hack-proof communications network for its high-level commanders.

Regional Security, Not Iran, a Primary Focus in South America

Iran and other external security issues were left out of Summit of the Americas debate.

Iran says no university education for student protesters

Iran’s minister for science, research and technology says students who protested after the disputed presidential elections in 2009 are not allowed to get university education.

Iran Nuclear Talks Spark Skepticism

Renewed negotiations between Iran and international powers over Tehran’s nuclear program this weekend already are facing fire from Israel and American lawmakers, who fear the Islamic Republic is seeking to use the revived diplomatic track to forestall additional economic sanctions while continuing to advance its nuclear work.

Diplomats start work on Iran nuclear pact

Senior diplomats from Iran and world powers will this week begin drafting an agreement on the future of Tehran’s nuclear programme to avert a military strike on Iranian atomic facilities.


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

“We’ve been negotiating for years with little to show for it. We’ve come to a point now we basically need to give demands to the Iranians saying ‘these are the three things we want you to do.’ ”

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 

"Our armed forces will make the enemy face a heavy and shameful regret if they commit any aggression and violate Iran’s interests."


Iran Nuclear Program May Suffer From Marine Insurance Ban Included In EU Oil Embargo

Marine insurance, or lack of it, may yet turn out to be the most effective sanction used by Western nations in 17 years of tightening the screws on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Iran, Syria, North Korea: Is the world sitting on a tinderbox?

With Iran forced into nuclear talks, Syria’s ceasefire barely holding and North Korea snubbing the West, could these rogue states threaten global stability?

A Deal in the Works With Iran?

The nuclear talks with Iran have just begun, but already the smart money in Tehran is betting on a deal. That piece of intelligence comes from the Tehran stock index, which on the day after the talks opened posted its largest daily rise in months and closed at a record high.

Why Iran’s Mullahs Cannot Rest Easy

As Iran and the West resume their diplomatic dance, questions about Iran’s internal stability loom large.

Romney’s foreign policy may mean hardball is back

Mitt Romney wants the United States to get much tougher with Iran and to end what a top adviser calls President Barack Obama’s “Mother, may I?” consensus-seeking foreign policy.

Artful diplomacy with Syria and Iran

Kofi Annan and Catherine Ashton each relied on delicate diplomacy to bring some fragile hope to two big security issues – Iran’s nuclear program and the civil war in Syria.

Why Netanyahu’s Afraid of Diplomacy

Netanyahu and Obama are at it again. The hardline Israeli Prime Minister, standing next to Senator Joe Lieberman, accused Obama of having given Iran a “freebie” during the Istanbul talks this past weekend. Iran can continue to enrich uranium “without any limitation” for another five weeks, Netanyahu charged.

Iran nuclear talks: why, this time, both sides are staying positive

Iran hopes that success in nuclear talks will ease the bite of sanctions, while President Obama aims to show that his policy of tougher sanctions and diplomacy will produce results.

Meanwhile, Inside Iran: Khamenei Consolidates His Power

Said Mortazavi made a name for himself as the strong arm of Iran’s judiciary, first as a prosecutor at the Islamic Revolutionary Court and later as the prosecutor general of Tehran. His hard-line approach earned him nicknames like the Torturer of Tehran and the Butcher of the Press. Now it looks like Mortazavi may be getting a taste of his own revolutionary justice: last week, the Tehran judiciary announced that Mortazavi would be summoned to court for a hearing on his role in torture and human-rights abuses at the Kahrizak prison after the controversial 2009 presidential election.,8599,2112165,00.html#ixzz1sPmgGKHo

Obama plays Iran’s game

What exactly was gained at the talks with Iran last Saturday? Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy honcho, pronounced the talks “constructive and useful.”

The most powerful weapon Obama can deploy against Iran

To believe that the resumption of negotiations in Istanbul could — or ever will —avert Iranian nuclear breakout and a possible Middle East conflagration, is to believe in the triumph of hope over experience. When it comes to the Mullahs’ intentions, however, we believe that the past is best viewed as prologue.

'New Atmosphere' In Iran Negotiations

The just-concluded first round of Iran negotiations with Western powers has produced “a new atmosphere,” says Ray Takeyh, CFR’s top Iran expert. Just months ago, there was talk of Iran potentially closing the Strait of Hormuz, and of possible Israeli military attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities, but now all parties, Takeyh says, would like “to take a step back and relieve some of the tensions that have surrounded this Iranian nuclear issue in the past couple of months.” Takeyh says the Iranians understand that the harsh tone was not serving them well, and that ending tough economic sanctions and forestalling an Israeli military strike are factors in their “being receptive to a negotiating process” and perhaps even willing to curb some uranium enrichment activities.

Israel’s Iranian Jews caught in middle

An estimated 250,000 Jews of Iranian descent live in Israel - most of them in the city of Holon, just outside Tel Aviv. How do they feel about the threat of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear programme?

IRAN: April 6, 2012


Obama’s Signal To Iran

President Barack Obama has signaled Iran that the U.S. would accept an Iranian civilian nuclear program if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei can back up his recent public claim that his nation “will never pursue nuclear weapons.”

Chinese freighter hijacked off Iran coast

A Chinese freighter has been hijacked off the coast of Iran, the Chinese embassy in Tehran said on Friday.

Iran eyes spiritual leadership of Iraq’s Shiites

Iran is promoting a conservative cleric close to its supreme leader as a possible successor for the aging spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiites, a move that would give Tehran a powerful platform to influence its neighbor, according to figures close to Iraq’s religious leadership.

What do Iran sanctions cost you? About 25 cents a gallon, experts say.

While consumers may support sanctions on Iran to dissuade it from pursuing a nuclear weapon, a foreign trade advocate says, they should also be told how sanctions impact Americans.

China steps up pressure to prevent any attack on Iran

A senior Chinese diplomat said on Friday an attack on Iran would invite devastating retaliation that would envelop the region and destabilize the global economic recovery, and added that the international community had to restrain itself from war.

U.S. Not Backing Off as Iran Sanctions Bite

The Obama administration’s man in charge of squeezing Tehran over its nuclear program is unapologetic for the difficulties faced by banks in their dealings with Iran since the U.S. tightened sanctions against the country.

Doubts Intensify on Resumption of Iran Nuclear Talks

Prospects for the scheduled resumption of talks on Iran’s contentious nuclear energy program next week appeared to recede further Thursday, when the Iranians issued new objections to Turkey as the formerly agreed location for the talks and revealed they had rejected alternate proposals to hold them in at least three European countries.

Iran’s Spymaster Counters U.S. Moves in the Mideast

In the smoldering geopolitical feud between the U.S. and Iran, spymaster Major-General Qasem Soleimani is emerging as director of the Islamic Republic’s effort to spread its influence abroad and bedevil the West.

Günter Grass Poem Attacking Israel for Threatening Iran Is Condemned in Germany

A new poem by the German Nobel laureate Günter Grass depicting Israel’s undeclared nuclear might as a threat to world peace drew wide condemnation from Jewish groups and commentators in Germany on Wednesday, showing the strength of enduring taboos in German public discourse about Israel more than six decades after the Holocaust.

Israel predicts few casualties from war with Iran

Assessment presented to security cabinet forecasts fewer than 300 casualties during three weeks of rocket attacks.

U.S. officials debate virulence of Iran-backed Hezbollah’s threat

The warning last month from Representative Peter King, the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, was blunt: An investigation by his staff had determined that “hundreds” of people he described as “Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists” were in the United States. But interviews with U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials, as well as private experts, about the Iranian-sponsored group paint a more nuanced picture. There is a threat, though whether it is imminent or extensive is far from clear, they say.

Iran says it arrests 13 pirates in international waters after 2 days of clashes

Iran’s navy has detained 13 pirates in international waters after a 2-day fight, a local newspaper reported Wednesday.

To Iran’s supreme leader Khamenei, with love and squalor

An Iranian organisation has called on writers to submit devotional poems in praise of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Tehran sharply criticizes website for offering Iranians chance to ask US official questions

Iran’s Culture Ministry on Wednesday sharply criticized a conservative news website that offered Iranians a chance to pose questions to a Farsi-speaking spokesman for the U.S. State Department, who would then respond.

Iran’s labor minister faces impeachment over controversial appointment

Iranian lawmakers have approved a petition to impeach the country’s labor minister over his controversial appointment of an official implicated in the deaths of prisoners in custody.

Iran encouraging violence in Afghanistan 

The United States is reportedly concerned about Iranian efforts to encourage violence in neighboring Afghanistan, as U.S. officials have revealed that Iran sent agents into Afghanistan in February with the express purpose of fomenting violent protests after the accidental burning of Qurans by NATO troops (NYT). U.S. intelligence reports show that Iran has yet to cause serious damage with these efforts in Afghanistan, but has the capability to do more if Iranian officials so choose.

No New Day For Iran’s Baha’i Leaders

April 1, 2012 marked the 10,000th day the two women and five men have collectively spent behind bars.—146313755.html

U.S. Sees Iran in Bids to Stir Unrest in Afghanistan

Just hours after it was revealed that American soldiers had burned Korans seized at an Afghan detention center in late February, Iran secretly ordered its agents operating inside Afghanistan to exploit the anticipated public outrage by trying to instigate violent protests in the capital, Kabul, and across the western part of the country, according to American officials.


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

"Well we’ve worked very hard with Israel on all levels from the military, intelligence, strategic, diplomatic level to make sure we were sharing information, that we knew what each other was assessing. And it’s our very strong belief, as President Obama conveyed to the Israelis, that it is not in anyone’s interest for them to take unilateral action. It is in everyone’s interest for us to seriously pursue at this time the diplomatic path."

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)

“After the current district work period the Senate should pass the toughest possible Iran legislation, and it is critical that the Kirk-Sherman language be part of the bill when it leaves the Senate.”


Israel’s Iranian Jews grapple with possible strike on their homeland

While he fears an Iranian bomb, a spice seller from Tehran vows that Iranians love peace. One restaurant cook from Isfahan is baffled by ‘how things went so wrong.’

What’s the Best Way To Foment Unrest in a Foreign Country?

A how-to guide for the aspiring fomentor.

Holding back on Syria just helps Iran close in on nukes

For more than a year, the international community has dithered and delayed action to stop the bloodshed in Syria, and there is no end in sight. UN-envoy Kofi Annan just announced plans to hold talks with Iran, which has been one of Assad’s most ardent supporters and arms suppliers.

Is Iran’s proposal to hold nuke talks in Syria, Iraq, or China brinksmanship?

Iran’s suggestions of alternative sites raised the possibility of complications to get talks under way as expected on April 13 between Iran and envoys from the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany.

Netanyahu says Iran sanctions aren’t working. His UN ambassador disagrees.

Who to believe?

Iran will retaliate if attacked, but how?

Targets pose ‘strategic dilemma’

Iran Watch: The 80/20 rule

The “Pareto Principle” posits that, for many phenomena, 80 percent of output comes from 20 percent of input (you can apply this “80/20 rule” to everything from the large share of business a company derives from its small base of dedicated customers to, more depressingly, the short period of time you spend getting most of your work done at the office).

Why we must strike Iran

Its complicity in Sept. 11 demonstrates the danger of a nuclear nemesis.

Our Men in Iran?

From the air, the terrain of the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site, with its arid high plains and remote mountain peaks, has the look of northwest Iran. The site, some sixty-five miles northwest of Las Vegas, was once used for nuclear testing, and now includes a counterintelligence training facility and a private airport capable of handling Boeing 737 aircraft. It’s a restricted area, and inhospitable—in certain sections, the curious are warned that the site’s security personnel are authorized to use deadly force, if necessary, against intruders.

Averting a showdown with Iran

Despite a possible new round of nuclear talks with Iran, it’s increasingly difficult to understand exactly what the U.S. administration’s policy is toward that country.

Syria Conflict Highlights Saudi-Iran Tensions

The unrest in Syria highlights a larger struggle for regional influence between Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Tthe tensions have been building as uprisings in the Arab world have pit the two on opposite sides of the conflicts.

Why Iran-Brazil friendship has gone cold

After just over a century of amicable relations, Brazil has decided to cool its relationship with Iran.

Israel Blames U.S. for Media Reports About Iran Strategy

Insiders are denouncing reports in the U.S. press about military strategy on Iran—and pointing the finger at Washington. Do the disclosures compromise Israel’s security?


Special Report Panel on Iran and Israel

Steve Hayes, with Mara Liasson and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News.

Ehud Barak on pressuring Iran

In an exclusive interview, Fareed pushes Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak on alternatives to attacking Iran: What kinds of diplomatic efforts would does Tel Aviv want to see?

RUSSIA: April 4, 2012


Russian court blocks MMK’s Flinders purchase

Russia’s Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works said on Tuesday that a Chelyabinsk court had issued an injunction to block its purchase of Australia’s Flinders mines following a shareholder lawsuit.

Russian bill would impose fines for gay “propaganda”

Russian lawmakers have submitted a bill that would impose fines for spreading gay “propaganda” among minors, setting up a tolerance test for the Kremlin-controlled parliament ahead of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration as president.

Russia Energy Ministry outlines Arctic taxes

Russia’s Energy Ministry has outlined a new tax policy designed to attract tens of billions of dollars of investment into promising but challenging new oil provinces in Arctic offshore zones, government sources said on Wednesday.

Russia’s Potanin may keep control of Norilsk board

Russia’s Norilsk Nickel , where tycoons Vladimir Potanin and Oleg Deripaska have waged a long battle for control, will review nominations for its new board on Wednesday, two sources familiar with company’s plans told Reuters.

Russia’s Committment To Fighting Corruption Questioned

When Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a ban on bribing foreign officials into law February, many remained skeptical about the country’s commitment to anti-corruption enforcement.

Russia diverts oil from Czechs to new port

Russia will this month slash oil deliveries to the Czech Republic, in addition to cuts to Poland and Germany, as it seeks to divert supplies to its own ports, including the newly built Baltic Ust-Luga terminal, traders said.

Russia’s external surpluses to pose policy headaches

Strong oil prices and capital inflows will create policy headaches for Russia’s next government as it seeks to prevent the economy from overheating, curb inflation and put state finances on a sounder footing, senior officials said on Tuesday.

Russian Capital Flight Continues

Capital flight from Russia accelerated in March, despite Vladimir Putin’s re-election to the presidency, which officials had hoped would allay concerns about political risk and slow the torrent of money leaving the country.

Russia will not act on dropped power plant

Russian nuclear power plant builder Atomstroyexport will not seek compensation from Bulgaria after Sofia dropped plans for a power station at Belene the company had been contracted to build, the economy minister said.

Russian police charged with torturing detainees

Russia’s top investigative agency filed new charges Thursday against police officers accused of torturing detainees amid growing public outrage over police brutality.

Russia coal export growth limited by rail problems

Russia’s coal exports are likely to grow by less than a tenth to around 80 million tonnes at most this year largely because of rail bottlenecks, and the gain could be even less in a likely environment of disappointing prices.

Russian FM warns against attack on Iran, says pre-emptive strike would violate int’l law

Russia’s foreign minister has strongly warned against a military attack on Iran, saying that a pre-emptive strike would violate international law.

675 Russian fishermen rescued from an ice floe drifting out to sea

Russia’s emergency services rescued 675 fishermen on Sunday from an ice floe that was drifting out to sea in the far east of the country.

Clinton criticizes Romney’s remarks on Russia

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hit back Sunday against Mitt Romney’s comments this week that Russia is America’s main “geopolitical foe.”

Russia: 5 Rebels Are Killed in Ingushetia

Russian security forces killed five Islamist rebels suspected of plotting suicide attacks in the capital of the republic of Ingushetia on Tuesday, Russia’s antiterrorism committee said in a statement.

School Notebooks With Stalin On The Cover Are Selling Like Hotcakes In Russia

School notebooks with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin on the cover are causing controversy in Russia. One of Moscow’s largest bookshop said it is running out of the notebooks because they are so popular — but human rights activists have slammed the notebooks as promoting Stalin as a hero to children.

Russia: Colonel Is Charged With Spying, Accused of Selling Map to U.S. Agent

Russia charged a reserve colonel with espionage on Tuesday for selling what officials said were classified topographical maps to the Pentagon.

Russia Accuses Group of Undermining Peace Plan in Syria

Syria’s political opposition accused President Bashar al-Assad of escalating military assaults on four major urban centers on Tuesday. Such assaults would directly contradict the Syrian government’s promise, announced on Monday, that it would immediately begin pulling armed forces back from population centers, in accordance with a special envoy’s cease-fire plan.

Failure to De-Ice Likely Cause of Russia Plane Crash

Failure to de-ice a Russian passenger plane before takeoff was the most likely cause of a crash in Siberia that killed 31 people, federal investigators said on Wednesday.

Russia’s FM warns against arming Syrian opposition

Russia’s foreign minister warned other nations again Wednesday not to arm the Syrian opposition, saying it would only escalate hostilities.

Russian Orthodox Church says it’s under attack after backing Putin

Russia’s Orthodox Church said on Tuesday it was under attack from unspecified “anti-Russian forces” seeking to erode its authority after it threw its weight behind Vladimir Putin before last month’s presidential election.

Russia urges Assad to start troop pullout

Syria’s government must take the first step toward settling the country’s conflict by pulling troops from city streets, Russia’s foreign minister said Monday, raising pressure on an old ally.

Police in Russia detain 55 anti-Putin protesters

Police detained about 55 protesters on Sunday outside the gates to Red Square, which was unexpectedly closed to all visitors and tourists to prevent an anti-Kremlin demonstration.

US unhappy with Russia envoy treatment

The Obama administration has complained to Russia about harassment of the American ambassador to Moscow and will raise concerns about his security, a U.S. official said Friday.

US ambassador to Moscow accuses Russian journalists of hacking

Michael McFaul, the US ambassador to Moscow and architect of Washington’s “reset” in relations with the Kremlin, has accused journalists working for Russian state television of hacking his mobile telephone and email account.

Putin ally seeking top economic post is accused of massive corruption

Russia’s top anti-corruption blogger has singled out Kremlin official Igor Shuvalov as an example of official corruption that has jumped sharply in the past four years.

Citigroup: U.S. oil production could overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia’s this decade

The US is poised once again to become the largest liquid producer in the world and looks almost certain to overtake Russia and Saudi Arabia before the decade is over.

Romney’s Hawkish Stands Drawing Attention

Mitt Romney’s labeling of Russia this week as America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe” has drawn attention to his emerging hawkishness on several foreign policy fronts, from China’s monetary policy to the war in Afghanistan—a trend that contrasts to his more muted style on domestic issues.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

"Yesterday our colleague, the U.S. ambassador, arrogantly announced there will be no changes on missile defence, even though it would seem that an ambassador … should understand it is necessary to take the interests of the state in question into account."

"Everyone has supported Kofi Annan’s plan but decisions at the "Friends of Syria" group meeting aimed at arming the opposition and at news sanctions undermine peace efforts."


Success of Annan peace plan for Syria hinges on Russia

The success or failure of Kofi Annan’s peace plan for Syria will depend largely on how willing Russia is to keep sustained pressure on a government that Moscow is determined to protect from Western calls for “regime change.”

Putin and Romney: Back to the Cold War?

Americans living in Moscow are suffering from mental whiplash.

Russia and the US: Friend, Foe or It’s Complicated?

Mitt Romney’s calling Russia the “number one geo-political foe” of America has elicited strong responses from Capitol Hill to the Kremlin, where outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev said Romney’s comments smell of “Hollywood” and are not based on reality.

Obama’s Doublespeak on Russian Missile Defense and Israel

President Obama’s recent open mic comments to President Medvedev of Russia are troubling, which explains why Obama and the White House have decided to make light of them. It seems that every time a microphone captures the president in unscripted remarks, he’s saying something that goes against his own public pronouncements.

Opening Russia

The World Trade Organization currently has 153 members, ranging from the United States and China, to Uruguay and Ukraine. The WTO is not an exclusive club. Venezuela, run by America-hating strongman Hugo Chavez, is a member. And plenty of other WTO countries have kings, presidents-for-life or juntas that are not making names for themselves as statesmen or democrats. Still, despite its varied membership, the WTO does play a vital role in opening markets and enforcing rules against unfair trade.

How Russia can ease Assad out

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, has been a powerful devotee of the Syrian government. But in a sign of waning support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Lavrov said this month that “no one is inviting him to Moscow” should the dictator resign.

Shuvalov Tests Russia’s Corruption Laws

A top government official reaps millions in profits with the help of the nation’s wealthiest businessmen. That definitely sounds illegal. So when the international media last week reported such dealings by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, one might have expected a public outcry.

Yesterday’s Skyscraper Fire Has Everyone Worried That Moscow’s Building Boom Is A Disaster Waiting To Happen

A spectacular blaze atop a tower that is to be Europe’s tallest skyscraper lit up the Moscow sky like a giant matchstick Monday night, reigniting controversy over how rapidly – and perhaps carelessly – the Russian capital’s makeover is proceeding.

The Big Lies of the Soviet Union

As the Soviet experience fades into history, we should probably expect that its crimes will be increasingly denied or marginalized by people sympathetic to its, er, ideals.

Oil Prices Fueling Russia’s Disruption of U.S. Foreign Policy

Russia’s burgeoning oil and natural gas exports are underwriting Russian efforts to regain status as a world superpower

Who Is Joe Biden to Slam Mitt Romney on Russia Policy?

No one really knows what President Barack Obama really meant when an open mic caught him telling outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” on the issue of ballistic missile defense once the November election had come and gone.

Where’s an Open Mic When We Really Need It?

Obama was admitting his distrust of his fellow Americans to a leader of a nasty government that seeks to thwart our purposes.


Russians fight to engage in politics

Russia’s anti-government street protests may have petered out since President Putin’s re-election, but Muscovites’ renewed interest in politics has far from waned.

#NonPartisan #News /China/Russia/India/

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