Archive for June, 2010

The Greens in Iran are a Movement, not a Coup

June 17, 2010

The Greens in Iran are a Movement, not a Coup
By Juan Cole
June 13, 2010

What was the Green Movement? A debate rages among Iran-watchers. Partisans see it as a sign that Iran is on the verge of a massive democratization. Critics see it as an exaggerated hiccup, barely more important than the student protests of the late 1990s, which amounted to nothing. Which interpretation is right has implications for US foreign policy. If the regime is tottering, the Obama administration can afford to batter it with sanctions and ignore it, hoping to help it fall. If it is strong and enduring, then it will have to be dealt with and probably direct negotiations are called for.

The reality lies in the middle. Named in honor of the color associated with the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, among whom presidential candidate Mir Hosain Mousavi is counted, the Green Movement is a social movement that protested what its followers saw as the stealing of the June 12, 2009, election by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his patron, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

To read more of Juan Cole’s article, click here.


Iran opposition calls off rally to mark anniversary of disputed election –

June 10, 2010

Iran opposition calls off rally to mark anniversary of disputed election –

As if “calling off the protests” is going to stop people from coming out to rally! This just means 1) The opposition leaders have been threatened, 2) The opposition leaders are pretending they are calling off the protests so they can’t be punished by the regime 3) the people of the opposition themselves are taking over the movement.Iran opposition calls off rally to mark anniversary of disputed elections –
Iran’s opposition leaders Thursday called off a weekend demonstration, stunning supporters who had been plastering walls with graffiti and distributing leaflets to promote the event.

U.N. Security Council Passes New Sanctions Against Iran

June 9, 2010

By NEIL MacFARQUHAR, New York Times
Published: June 9, 2010

UNITED NATIONS — The United States, moving firmly away from the Obama administration’s previous emphasis on wooing Iran, pushed through a new round of United Nations sanctions against the nation on Wednesday, taking aim at its military in yet another attempt to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program.

The new sanctions, a modest increase from previous rounds, took months to negotiate but still did not carry the symbolic weight of a unanimous Security Council decision. Twelve of the 15 nations voted for the measure, while Turkey and Brazil voted against and Lebanon abstained.

Beyond the restrictions imposed by the sanctions themselves, the vote sets stage for harsher measures that the United States and the European Union have promised to enact on their own once they had the imprimatur of the United Nations. European leaders are likely to discuss new measures at a summit in mid June.

Iran has defied repeated demands from the Security Council to stop enriching nuclear fuel. It has built new, sometimes secret, centrifuge plants needed to enrich uranium — and has enriched it at higher levels. These actions have raised suspicions in the West that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon, although leaders in Tehran insist their nuclear program is peaceful.

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Iranian Journalist Jailed and Banned from Writing

June 9, 2010

Tehran has sentenced award-winning journalist Jila Baniyaghoob to jail for one year, and banned her from writing for 30 years. The sentence comes just days before scheduled protests on June 12–the 1-yr anniversary of the disputed elections that officially declared Ahmadinejad president. According to a report by the moderate daily Shargh newspaper, the 39-year-old journalist was sentenced over post-election unrest.

Baniyaghoob was arrested June 20 along with her husband, a week after the June 12 election when mass protests and rallies painted the streets of Tehran and other large Iranian cities. Two months after her arrest the now-banned journalist–who had been writing for now-closed reformist newspapers–was released on bail.

Officials reportedly charged Baniyaghoob of propaganda against the Islamic regime over her reports that covered the election and the following protests.

Last year, she was awarded the courage in journalism award by the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Just three days before the 1-yr anniversary of the elections, Tehran is readying forces to confront scheduled protests. Protests are set to be held in major cities around the world.

Countdown to One-Year Anniversary of June 12 Elections in Iran

June 7, 2010

Five days before the one-year anniversary of the disputed June 12 Iranian elections, Tehran is likely preparing for mass protests and rallies. On Friday, the 21 anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini—the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution—Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave a speech in which he criticized the Opposition and its leadership. In his speak, Khamenei said the opposition Green Movement was going against the values of the revolution.

The most prominent leaders of the Green Movement are Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hussain Moussavi—who was the front runner for the opposition party against incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during Iran’s presidential election last year. The election, which continues to be disputed, resulted in mass protests, arrests and casualties.

In his Friday speak, Khamenei said that loyalty was measured by a person’s position today, not their position historically. “One cannot say, ‘I am the follower of Khomeini’ and then align with those who clearly and frankly carry the flag of opposing the imam and Islam,” he said.

In Iran, protesters are expected to stage rallies and protests in the capital city and in other large cities during the June 12 anniversary. In response, authorities announced last week that they were busing in more than two million members of the Basiji forces from around the country to Tehran to quell and prevent any protests.

According to a New York Times report, Karroubi wrote on Friday on his website, that he feared “the republicanism of the Islamic republic establishment had been undermined to strengthen its Islamism.” Karroubi went on to say that he worried for Islamism because of the increasing influence of the military in Iran. “We have seen the presence of the intelligence and military apparatus outside the homes of clerics and the incidents that have occurred.”

Last Wednesday, just ten days before the one-year anniversary of the June 12 elections, the judiciary announced that Khamenei had pardoned 81 political detainees.

UNSC Expected to Vote on Draft Sanctions Soon

June 3, 2010

The U.N. Security Council is set to vote on a draft sanctions resolution against Iran over its disputed nuclear program within the next two weeks according to Claude Heller, Mexico’s U.N. ambassador. If approved, this will be the fourth round of sanctions against Tehran. Iran is already subject to three sets of UN sanctions over its nuclear program, which Iran says is for peaceful purposes but which the U.S. and its allies fear might lead to a nuclear weapon.

“My understanding is that the co-sponsors of the resolution would like to have prompt action by the Security Council, to have a vote … in the next 10 days,” Heller told reporters, adding that there was not yet a finalized date.

The draft resolution was agreed last month by the US, Britain, France and Germany, in addition to China and Russia, who are historically more reluctant to go along with sanctions against Iran. The draft will identify members and companies controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, entities owned or run by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, and other individuals and companies linked to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, and will subject these groups and entities to asset freezes and travel bans. The ban would also take measures against new Iranian banks abroad if a connection to Iran’s nuclear or missile programs is suspected, as well as vigilance over transactions with any Iranian bank, including the central bank. It would also expand the U.N. arms embargo against Tehran.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has warned that any new sanctions might result in confrontation.

Mottaki told an audience in Brussels, “There are two options,” to resolve the problem. “The first is based on cooperation, the other is based on confrontation,” he said on the second and last day of his visit to the Belgian capital.

“The resolution” at the United Nations Security Council on imposing new sanctions against Iran “is a basis for confrontation,” he announced, adding, “That is not our preferred option but that’s up to other parties who would like to move in that direction.”

Brazil will oppose, but respect, Iran sanctions

June 2, 2010

Brazil will oppose, but respect, Iran sanctions

BRASILIA, Brazil — Brazil’s foreign minister said Tuesday that despite the nation’s strong opposition to any new sanctions on Iran, it would respect them if they are approved.

Foreign Minister Celso Amorim spoke before a Senate committee to explain Brazil’s role in an Iranian nuclear fuel-swap deal it helped broker with Turkey.

“Brazil meticulously respects the sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council against Iran,” he said. “If there are sanctions, even if Brazil is not in favor, we’re going to respect them.”

Both Amorim and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have been outspoken in their opposition to potential new sanctions.

Iran insists its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes, but the West fears it is geared toward nuclear weapons.

Last month, Silva and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan finalized a fuel-swap deal with Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that was similar to an agreement the U.S. and the International Atomic Energy Agency had pushed for last October, but which Iran at the time rejected.

Under the Brazil-Turkey deal, submitted last week to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran agrees to ship 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) of uranium to Turkey, where it will be stored. In exchange, Iran would get fuel rods made from 20-percent enriched uranium; that level of enrichment is high enough for use in research reactors but too low for nuclear weapons.

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Ireland’s PM says “serious consequences” if Israel Harms its Citizens on Humanitaian Ship to Gaza

June 2, 2010

Below is a segment of a blog from the NYTimes posted by Robert Mackey in regards to Isreal’s raid on the humanitarian ship to Gaza:

Greta Berlin, another leader of the Free Gaza Movement, told The New York Times on Tuesday that two more boats would head to Gaza soon. One passenger boat, she said, would be picking up additional activists and journalists, and was not expected to reach Gaza until Monday.

The other ship is an Irish cargo vessel named the Rachel Corrie — after an American protester who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 while trying to prevent the destruction of a Palestinian home in Gaza. The Rachel Corrie was supposed to have been part of the flotilla intercepted on Monday, but was delayed and is now waiting in the Mediterranean for the passenger ship before proceeding in the direction of Gaza and the Israeli navy.

Ms. Berlin told The Irish Times: “Israel can haul the Rachel Corrie into Ashdod, as it did the other boats, or show good will to the world by allowing her to proceed to Gaza.”

The Irish newspaper also reported that Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said on Tuesday there would be “most serious consequences” should any harm come to Irish citizens involved with the aid boats trying to get to Gaza. Mr. Cowen and Ireland’s foreign minister both called on Israel to allow the Rachel Corrie to pass through its military blockade.

The newspaper added that Derek Graham, a passenger on the Rachel Corrie, said in a telephone interview from the ship that the vessel was carrying educational materials, construction materials, medical equipment and toys. “Everything aboard has been inspected in Ireland,” Mr. Graham said. “We would hope to have safe passage through.”

But an Israeli naval officer told Israel’s Army Radio that his unit was prepared to block the Rachel Corrie.

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