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    2014 Aug 21
    پنجشنبه 30 مرداد 1393  
 
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Iran is the real Middle East threat
(The Hill):Images of unrest emerging from Iraq are deeply troubling and concerns relating to the rise of ISIS come from a noble place – an American belief that bullies should be held accountable. But such convictions are misplaced when it comes to the ongoing crisis on the Iraqi street.The real threat to peace and security in the Middle East is the Islamic Republic of Iran.
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PWC settles with New York regulator for $25 million
(The New York Times):New York State’s financial regulator announced a settlement deal on Monday with the giant consulting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, capping an investigation into the firm’s cozy ties with one of the world’s biggest banks. The regulator, Benjamin M. Lawsky, extracted a $25 million fine from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Under the deal, reported by The New York Times on Sunday, Mr. Lawsky will also prevent the firm’s regulatory consulting unit from performing certain assignments on behalf of New York-regulated banks for two years.
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Russia, Iran collaborating to bypass western sanctions
(Newsmax):Russia and Iran appear to be working together to get around Washington's stricter sanctions by joining forces in an oil deal that doesn't appear to make much financial sense. Earlier this month, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his counterpart in Tehran, Bijan Zanganeh signed a five-year memorandum of understanding in Moscow, which includes helping Iran ship crude oil even into the oil-saturated Russian market, reports Reuters.
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UN nuclear chief holds Iran talks as deadlines loom
(AFP):Tehran - The head of the UN atomic watchdog held talks in Iran on Sunday ahead of an August 25 deadline for Tehran to answer decade-old allegations of past nuclear weapons research.Yukiya Amano held morning talks with Foreign Minister Mohammaf Javad Zarif before meeting President Hassan Rouhani, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported.
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Deadly Iran-backed terror network Tawhid-Salam exposed
( Sunday's Zaman):Ankara - A politically motivated witch hunt against police investigators who uncovered a highly secretive Iran-backed terrorist network that has ties to senior government officials has reversed direction and hit the government by revealing to the public damaging details from the prosecutors' confidential investigation files.
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U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants in northern Iraq
(The Washington Post):U.S. military aircraft carried out airstrikes on Islamist militants besieging Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, the Pentagon announced Friday. The airstrikes targeted artillery being used by militants of the Islamic State extremist group against Kurdish forces defending Irbil, the Kurdish regional capital, the Pentagon said.
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Russia puzzles with deal/no deal with Iran on oil
(Reuters):MOSCOW - Months of oil talks between Russia and Iran, both heavily sanctioned by the West, took an unexpected twist on Tuesday when Moscow first announced it had agreed with Tehran to help it sell its crude - only to withdraw the statement shortly afterwards. In January, sources told Reuters Iran and Russia were negotiating an oil-for-goods swap worth $1.5 billion a month that would enable Iran to lift oil exports substantially, undermining Western sanctions.
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Iran says it gave missile technology to Hamas
(The Associated Press):TEHRAN,Iran - Hamas is able to fire missiles into Israel because Tehran provided weapons technology to the militant group to defend itself against Israeli attacks, a senior Iranian official said Monday. Officials from Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards have said in the past that Fajr-5 missiles are part of Hamas' Gaza Strip arsenal, whose technology has been supplied by Iran and produced locally without needing direct shipment.
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Lawmakers voice skepticism on Iran nuclear deal
(The New York Times):WASHINGTON — The Obama administration officials engaged in nuclear negotiations with Iran ran into a wall of skepticism at two congressional hearings on Tuesday, with members of both parties insisting on a vote on any final agreement with the Tehran government and administration officials strongly hinting that they have little intention of complying.
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Just a hint of Iran sanctions risk stalls bank transactions
( The Wall Street Journal):As negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program continue, the U.S. is encouraging some companies to go to Iran to give its leaders an incentive to stay at the bargaining table. But it could be a tough sell. Billions of dollars in fines have conditioned banks to see any Iran deal as toxic, sanctions experts say.
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U.S. must play hardball in nuclear talks with Iran
(The Wall Street Journal):As it prepares for four more months of nuclear talks with Iran, the U.S. faces a disadvantage: Even if there is ultimately no agreement, Tehran will pocket the considerable concessions Washington has already made. Iran will then argue to the world that it has proven its reasonableness and that sanctions should no longer be respected; failing that, it will begin the next round of talks having established a new nuclear baseline.
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IAEA worried about slow progress in Iran nuclear probe
(Reuters):VIENNA - The U.N. nuclear watchdog is concerned about Iran's current lack of engagement with an investigation into its suspected atomic bomb research, ahead of a deadline next month for Tehran to step up cooperation, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday. Western officials want Iran to address questions by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on allegations of past efforts to develop a nuclear weapons capability, something the country denies.
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Iranian commanders on front line of Iraq's fight
(The Associated Press):BAGHDAD - A powerful Iranian general has emerged as the chief tactician in Iraq's fight against Sunni militants, working on the front lines alongside 120 advisers from his country's Revolutionary Guard to direct Shiite militiamen and government forces in the smallest details of battle, militia commanders and government officials say.
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Obama opens door to extending Iran nuclear negotiations
(Bloomberg):U.S. President Barack Obama raised the possibility of extending talks with Iran over its disputed nuclear program, suggesting that a comprehensive accord won’t be reached before an interim deal expires July 20.“There are still some significant gaps between the international community and Iran, and we have more work to do,” Obama told reporters at the White House yesterday.
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Iranian court sentences Facebook activists to jail
(AP):TEHRAN, Iran - TEHRAN, Iran -An Iranian court handed jail sentences of eight to 21 years to eight Facebook page administrators, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.The report said the defendants were convicted of plotting against national security, spreading propaganda against the ruling system and insulting officials. It did not identify the defendants or the Facebook pages.
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Iran sends Rouhani brother to nuclear talks
(Bloomberg):Iran has for the first time sent President Hassan Rouhani’s younger brother as a special observer to the nuclear talks in Vienna, signaling the importance of the final week of negotiations before a July 20 deadline.The presence of Hossein Fereydoun, who also serves as a special adviser to the president, came to light after he was photographed in one of the sessions between Iran and European foreign ministers.
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How to protect against a bad deal with Iran
(The Hill):Everything is coming up thorns for the Obama administration in the Middle East these days, and several of its policies seem to change daily. Take its stand on Syria's tyrant, Bashar Assad. One day Obama says "Assad must go," the next his aides whisper that it might be good for Assad to stay for a while longer.
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House majority demands Obama consult Congress on Iran nuclear deal
(The Hill):More than three-quarters of the House are demanding President Obama consult with Congress on any final nuclear agreement with Iran as the deadline for negotiations nears.“Any permanent sanctions relief demands congressional approval,” 344 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle wrote in a letter sent to Obama on Thursday.
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Jarba insists Iran behind rise of ISIS
(The Daily Star):ISTANBUL: Syrian National Coalition President Ahmad Jarba said that the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) represented a serious threat to the entire Arab region and called on the international community to provide the opposition with weapons.In a sit-down interview with The Daily Star in the Turkish city of Istanbul, Jarba stressed that the SNC’s position on ISIS “has been clear since day one: This is a tool being used by the Iranians and the Syrian regime, and it does not hesitate to murder, slaughter, and terrorize.”
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Iran overplays its hand
(The Washington Post):With the sudden rise of the terrorist Islamic State , a little-noted aspect is that Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the supposed strategic genius of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, has blundered disastrously. By overreaching in Iraq and Syria and triggering a violent reaction, Iran now faces dangerous instability on its border for years to come.
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Israel cranks up media campaign ahead of Iran nuclear deal deadline
(Reuters):JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged international negotiators on Sunday not to "surrender" to Tehran, as he launched a media blitz three weeks ahead of a deadline for an Iranian nuclear deal.In interviews to broadcasters from the six world powers involved in the talks, Netanyahu reiterated Israel's long-held demand Iran be stripped of its uranium enrichment and other technologies, saying that to do otherwise would leave nuclear weaponry within reach.
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BNP Paribas dollar-clearing ban said to start in 2015
(Bloomberg):BNP Paribas SA won a reprieve during final talks to settle a criminal probe into U.S. sanctions violations, giving the bank six months to prepare for a ban on handling certain dollar transactions, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Authorities in the U.S. rebuffed a last-ditch push by the bank to slash an $8.9 billion penalty, two other people said, asking not to be identified because talks are private.
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Iran arrests 3 over World Cup video
(The Providence Journal):TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian police have arrested three people who appeared in an online video of young men and women singing and dancing in support of the country's World Cup football team, the official IRNA news agency reported Monday.Provincial police chief Col.Rahmatollah Taheri was quoted as saying the video clip, produced by the London-based Ajam Band, features scenes from outside and inside Iran, including the city of Shahroud, where two 23-year-olds appearing in the film and a 26-year-old photographer were arrested.
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The ugly regime in Iran needs to go
(The Providence Journal):Not surprisingly, there has been no agreement on a final nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany). After three rounds of talks, Tehran’s nuclear weapons program remains the elephant in the room. A comprehensive solution to the crisis remains distant.During the May talks both sides remained diplomatic. The guarded optimism over the parties drafting the text of a final solution was evident.
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No. 2 U.S. diplomat to take part in Iran nuclear talks this week
(Reuters):WASHINGTON - The No. 2 U.S. diplomat will travel to Vienna this week to take part in talks over Iran's nuclear program, the State Department said on Sunday.In a statement, the State Department said Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns would be among the U.S. officials taking part in the latest round of nuclear talks, which include six world powers and Iran and are scheduled for Monday to Friday.
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July deadline for Iran nuclear deal appears in jeopardy - envoys
(Reuters):NEW YORK/ANKARA - It is increasingly unlikely that six world powers and Iran will meet their July 20 deadline to negotiate a long-term deal for Iran to curb its nuclear programme in return for an end to economic sanctions, diplomats and analysts say.In theory, an extension to the high-stakes talks should not be a problem if all sides want it. But President Barack Obama would need to secure Congress' consent at a time of fraught relations between the administration and lawmakers.
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Imprisoned ex-US Marine seeks Iran retrial
(AP):TEHRAN, Iran - An Iranian news agency is reporting that a former U.S. Marine convicted of working for the CIA has appealed for a new trial.The Sunday report by the official ISNA news agency quotes Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, a lawyer of Amir Hekmati, as saying the retrial request comes over a possible mistake by the judge in the case and the "inconsistency" between his alleged crime and its punishment.
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Report: Iran billionaire executed over $2.6B fraud
(AP):TEHRAN, Iran - A billionaire businessman at the heart of a $2.6 billion state bank scam, the largest fraud case since the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution, was executed Saturday, state television reported. Authorities put Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, also known as Amir Mansour Aria, to death at Evin prison, just north of the capital, Tehran, the station reported. The report said the execution came after Iran's Supreme Court upheld his death sentence.
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US places sanctions on senior Tehran official
(AFP):The United States placed sanctions on Tehran province's public security chief Morteza Tamaddon Friday, saying he was involved in censorship and intimidation of protesters and opposition leaders.As Tehran province governor-general during the 2009 elections, the US Treasury said Tamaddon used his authority to curtail freedom of expression and assembly.
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More than a million alcohol drinkers in Iran: report
(AFP):More than a million Iranians out of a population of 77 million drink alcohol, a participant in the country's First World Congress on Alcohol Abuse was quoted Tuesday as saying.The ISNA news agency attributed the comments to Dr Reza Afshari, president of the Asia Pacific Association of Medical Toxicology, based on a year-long study that ended in March 2013.
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End of mandate for EU's Ashton raises questions over Iran talks
(Reuters):BRUSSELS - As Iran and international negotiators work towards a July deadline to complete an accord with Tehran on its nuclear program, a practical issue may be on their minds: the looming changeover of the European Union's foreign policy chief. Catherine Ashton, the British baroness who has held the EU's top foreign policy post for the past five years, may not be the critical decision-maker in the talks, but she has been the prime coordinator of the negotiations since 2010.
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U.S. concerned about Iran missiles, committed to Persian Gulf security
(Reuters): - A senior U.S. official signaled optimism on Sunday about a possible resolution of the Iranian nuclear dispute but said Washington remained concerned that Iran's ballistic missiles threatened Gulf Arab states.Frank Rose, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for space and defense policy, said Washington was "acutely" aware of Gulf Arab states' anxieties about Iran and wanted to help them launch a Gulf-wide coordinated missile defense capability.
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Blair: ‘Nonsense’ to say west causes terrorism
(AP): Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair rejected the notion that military actions by the U.S., United Kingdom and other western countries are the cause of violent Islamic extremism around the world.“We're making a huge error when we end up thinking somehow it's our actions that have caused this,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press" on Sunday.
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US protests Iran's election to UN NGO committee
(AP): UNITED NATIONS - U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power protested the election of repressive regimes including Iran to the U.N. Committee on Non-governmental Organizations which deals with civil society groups accredited to the United Nations.Iran's U.N. Mission responded Thursday by rejecting "baseless accusations" raised by Power on the status of human rights and civil liberties in the country.
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Families of Iranian political prisoners protest prison raid
(Reuters): Families of political prisoners demonstrated outside the presidential office in Tehran on April 22 to protest what they say was a brutal raid at a notorious prison in the Iranian capital where their relatives are being held.The protesters say several of their loved ones were badly beaten by security forces in the April 17 operation at Evin prison and called on authorities to investigate the incident.
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US: No visa for Iran UN envoy over hostage crisis 'role'
(Reuters): AFP - The United States said Tuesday it will not issue a visa to Iran's chosen UN envoy Hamid Aboutalebi because he was involved in the 1979 hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran."Given his role in the events of 1979, which clearly matter profoundly to the American people, it would be unacceptable for the United States to grant this visa," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
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Former U.S. Marine's family asks Iran to reconsider prison term
(Reuters): WASHINGTON - The family of an Iranian-American former U.S. Marine held in Iran since 2011 called on Saturday for senior Iranian officials to review his conviction and 10-year prison sentence on charges of collaborating with the U.S. government and to free him. The family of Amir Hekmati, whose previous espionage conviction and death sentence in Iran were overturned in 2012, said he was retried in secret, convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison on a charge of "practical collaboration with the American government."
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Iran needs 30,000 new centrifuges for fuel: official
(AFP): - Iran will need 30,000 of its new generation centrifuges to meet domestic fuel demands, far more than the current number, its nuclear chief said Sunday. Ali Akbar Salehi's comments came just days after the latest round of international talks in Vienna aimed at securing a long-term deal over Iran's disputed nuclear programme.
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US says Iran's pick for UN envoy is `not viable'
(Reuters):TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- The United States notified Iran's government on Tuesday that Tehran's pick for a new U.N. envoy is "not viable," a day after the U.S. Senate voted against letting the diplomat enter the country. American officials objected to the selection of Hamid Abutalebi because of his alleged participation in a Muslim student group that held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
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U.S. warns on Iran 'breakout' capability as nuclear talks start
(Reuters):VIENNA - The United States said on Tuesday Iran has the ability to produce fissile material for a nuclear bomb in two months, if it so decided, as Tehran and six world powers swung into a new round of talks in Vienna on resolving their atomic dispute. Secretary of State John Kerry's comments in Washington highlighted Western concerns about Iran's nuclear intentions and the wide divisions between the two sides that could still foil a deal. Iran says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
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Iran, six powers face 'significant gaps' in nuclear talks
(Reuters):VIENNA (Reuters) - Negotiators from Iran and six world powers struggled on Wednesday to narrow "significant gaps" in talks aimed at clearing the way for a long-term accord on curbing Tehran's nuclear program. The negotiators from Iran and the so-called P5-plus-one - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - plan after their two days of talks in Vienna to start drafting the agreement to meet a self-imposed July 20 deadline.
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Senate votes to bar proposed Iran U.N. ambassador from country
(Reuters):WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Monday seeking to bar Iran's proposed U.N. ambassador, Hamid Abutalebi, from entering the United States. The legislation, introduced by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, would prevent "known terrorists" from entering the United States to serve as U.N. ambassadors. The Democratic-controlled Senate passed the measure by a voice vote.
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Sending a bunker-buster message to Iran
(The Wall Street Journal): Prussian leader Frederick the Great once lamented, "The ways of negotiation have failed up to the present, and negotiations without arms make as little impression as notes without instruments." The same could be said about nuclear negotiations with Iran. The Obama administration has cut a deeply flawed interim deal, forgone new sanctions, and effectively taken the military option off the table.
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Iran must see ramifications if nuclear talks fail, former advisers say
(The Wall Street Journal): Two former top advisers to the Obama administration on Iran are calling for the White House and Congress to increase the threat of using military force against Tehran if talks aimed at curbing its nuclear program fail – or the country’s Islamist government is caught cheating on the terms of an agreement.
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Report: Iran summons Greek envoy over rights vote
(AP): TEHRAN, Iran - An Iranian news agency is reporting that the country's foreign ministry has summoned the Greek ambassador in protest of a human rights resolution by European Parliament.The report Sunday by the semi-official Fars news agency says an official in the ministry called the resolution "uncalculated" and "against the interests" of both Iran and Europe. Greece is now heading the European Union.
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Yemen president urges Iran to stop interference: newspaper
(Reuters): DUBAI - Yemen's president called on Iran to stop supporting separatists in the south and religious groups in the north of the Arabian peninsula country, which is trying to stabilize after more than two years of political upheaval.The comments by Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi published in pan-Arab daily Al Hayat newspaper will likely further strain relations with Iran, which has repeatedly denied interfering in Yemen.
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Iran’s other nuclear timebomb
(National Post): While the international community has been focusing on a potential Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, another much larger issue looms, and should be tackled very urgently. But interestingly, except for a few concerned neighbours in the Gulf, nobody is really looking at the possible implications of a potential earthquake in Bushehr, where Iran’s oldest and main nuclear plant is located.
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Merchant ship shot at in Strait of Hormuz Sunday- NATO
(Reuters): DUBAI - Unknown assailants in a speedboat shot at a merchant vessel as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and Oman on Sunday, the NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) said. The unidentified merchant ship reported being shot at twice from close range from a speedboat carrying six people armed with machine guns, on Sunday morning. It repelled the attack with hoses and the vessel and crew are safe, NSC said.
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Iran pokes a finger in Obama's eye
(American Thinker): Behaving like the “strong horse” Osama bin Laden used to talk about, Iran:…has named a member of the militant group that held 52 Americans hostage in Tehran for 444 days to be its next ambassador to the United Nations. The Iranian government has applied for a U.S. visa for Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran’s former ambassador to Belgium and Italy, who was a member of the Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line, a group of radical students that seized the U.S. embassy on Nov. 4, 1979. Imam was an honorific used for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic Revolution.
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As Iran sanctions ease, western firms seek a way in
(The Wall Street Journal): TEHRAN—Temporary sanctions relief hasn't yet translated into an economic turnaround in Iran. But at the Melal Hotel, business hasn't been this good in years Employees of French drug maker Sanofi Aventis and tire maker Cie. Générale des Etablissements Michelin mingle on a recent morning among the still lifes and faux-leather chairs of the hotel dining room.
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Iran building mock-up of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
(The New York Times): WASHINGTON — Iran is building a nonworking mock-up of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that United States officials say may be intended to be blown up for propaganda value. Intelligence analysts studying satellite photos of Iranian military installations first noticed the vessel rising from the Gachin shipyard, near Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf, last summer.
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South Korea takes on more Iranian crude
(Voice of America): The South Korean government said Tuesday its February imports of Iranian oil more than doubled year-on-year to 8.1 million barrels. Iran secured relief from some international sanctions in exchange for agreeing in November to curb some of its nuclear research activity. The U.S. government said oil restrictions remain in place, though Iranian customers can secure relief from sanctions if they show a decline in crude oil purchases.
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Iran plans new oil terminal to bypass Hormuz
(AP):TEHRAN, Iran - A senior official says Iran is planning to build a new oil terminal beyond the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Akbar Torkan, a senior trade official, is quoted by the semiofficial ISNA news agency as saying Tuesday that the new terminal will be at Bandar Jask port on the Oman Sea. Iran's sole major crude export terminal is at Khark Island in the Persian Gulf.Torkan didn't elaborate, but bypassing Hormuz would be seen as protecting exports from instability in the persian Gulf.
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Iran’s ties to al-Qaida pose nagging questions
(Voice of America): As the U.S. and the West continue negotiations with Iran over its controversial nuclear program, the specter of Iran’s ties to terrorism - and specifically al-Qaida - lingers in the background, analysts and U.S. officials say. “This is something that has gone back several decades now, but continues to get short shrift from the U.S. government,” said Jonathan Schanzer at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
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Supporters of a free Iran demand U.S. honor promises
(): American supporters of a free Iran are demanding that President Obama honor U.S. promises to provide political refuge to Iranian dissidents crowded into a relocation camp in Iraq where they face daily threats against their lives. The 3,400 dissidents who made up the armed wing of the National Council of Resistance of Iran surrendered their weapons to U.S. forces after the 2003 invasion of Iraq in exchange for U.S. guarantees to protect them and relocate them to the United States or other Western nations.
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Arming a dictator
(IF): How would it go down with the American people to hear that President Obama had just ordered the sale of U.S. arms to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to massacre his opponents? Well, the Obama administration has done just that in Iraq. On Wednesday it authorised the sale of 24 Apache attack helicopters to Iraqi dictator Nuri al-Maliki to use in his months-long military onslaught against towns in the Sunni region of al-Anbar.
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Iran nuclear talks resume in Vienna shadowed by Crimea vote
(Bloomberg): The specter of Crimea hangs over Iran’s nuclear talks resuming today, as world powers locked in a confrontation over Russia’s move to annex the region find themselves on the same side during negotiations with the Islamic Republic. Even as they clash over Ukraine, diplomats from Russia and the U.S. and European Union are seeking to build on November’s interim accord in Geneva, which froze some of Iran’s most sensitive nuclear work in return for limited sanctions relief.
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Iran says sabotage prevented at nuclear facility
(AP ):TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian authorities have prevented attempted sabotage at the country's heavy water nuclear reactor, a senior official said Saturday without giving specifics as to the nature of the attempted disruption or its suspected initiator. Asghar Zarean, who heads security at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said domestic intelligence agencies were instrumental in uncovering the plot, which has not been the first attempt to disrupt the contentious nuclear program.
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Iran dangles treatment before imprisoned U.S. Christian
(The Wall Street Journal ):TEHRAN-Irans oljeexport har studsat tillsammans på ett års toppnoteringar under de senaste två månaderna, en toppenergimyndigheten sade fredag, mitt i en islossning i relationerna med väst som redan visar tecken på att öka den islamiska republikens misshandlad ekonomi.Det uppsving i oljeexporten-om det fortsätter-hotar att överstiga ett tak för export Iran gick med på att som en del av en tillfällig uppgörelse över dess nukleära program.
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Iran dangles treatment before imprisoned U.S. Christian
(WND):Iranian officials dangled needed medical treatment in front of an American pastor imprisoned for his faith then put him in shackles and denied treatment. Subsequently, the Iranians removed the shackles but still denied him treatment for internal injuries he suffered during beatings in prison, according to the American Center for Law and Justice.
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New hope for Iranian women
(UPI):Hope and change, two of the buzzwords of President Obama’s election campaign (and the campaigns of most incoming leaders) feature prominently in talk concerning Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani amongst the international community. For Iran’s populace and women in particular, however, there have been only two real changes: a change in the regime’s rhetoric and a change in domestic abuses, which have deteriorated even further since Rouhani’s tenure.
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Iran faces 'tough decisions' at nuclear talks: Kerry
(AFP):Washington — Iran has to take some "tough decisions" as world powers seek to hammer out a nuclear deal, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday with negotiations due to resume next week. His comments came as he was grilled by US lawmakers over the talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group, which are due to start up again in Vienna on Monday.Under a six-month interim deal, Iran agreed to freeze its uranium enrichment program in return for sanctions relief worth some $6-7 billion, including the transfer of some $4.2 billion in frozen overseas funds.
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UN chief criticises Iran for executions, rights breaches
(AFP):Geneva — UN chief Ban Ki-moon strongly criticised Iran Wednesday for doing too little to improve its human rights record, noting more executions, the detention of regime opponents and discrimination against women. The United Nations' concerns about rights violations in the Islamic republic include "amputations, flogging, increased application of the death penalty, arbitrary detention and unfair trials," Ban said in a new report.
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Iran thaw seen re-stoking $6 billion market for steel
(Bloomberg):Even after seven years of international sanctions and the economic pain they’ve inflicted, the Islamic Republic still consumes more steel than France or the U.K. It’s a major carmaker and needs massive infrastructure for its oil and gas industry, consuming about 20 million tons a year of the metal, most of it homemade. As economic sanctions eased last month under a temporary accord, Iran is shaping up as a hot, untapped opportunity for Western steel exporters, particularly high-grade varieties.
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Iran lays its cards on the table
(The Wall Street Journal):At the last meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Iran took center stage. As relations between the Islamic Republic and the West looked like thawing, a queue of oil company executives formed outside the Iranian oil minister’s hotel room. Royal Dutch Shell, Vitol, OMV and Eni all got face time with Bijan Zanganeh, just to test the water in case sanctions are eased. That was December. In January, in the privacy of Davos, the process took a step up the ladder—Iran’s President Hasan Rouhani joined his oil minister in meeting executives.
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Rouhani has not increased freedoms in Iran, U.N. chief says
(Reuters):GENEVA - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has failed to fulfill campaign promises to allow greater freedom of expression and there has been a sharp rise in executions since his election, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday. Rouhani, who won a landslide in June, led Iran to an initial nuclear deal with world powers. But, perhaps wary of further antagonizing powerful hardliners, he has not made significant reforms at home that moderate voters had hoped for.
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Christians being targeted in Iran deserve our help
(The Hill - Letters):Imagine the morning after Christmas, security officials surround your parents’ home and force their way inside by destroying the front door. They wake you up, search everyone and seize your pictures, hard drive and even steal the cash out of your wallet. Later you are beaten, handcuffed and imprisoned in solitary confinement for 15 months before being handed a six-year sentence.
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‘Iran ordered Lockerbie bombing’, claims ex-Iranian intelligence officer
(AFP):Iran ordered the Lockerbie bombing in revenge for the accidental shooting down of an Iranian passenger jet by a US navy ship, according to a former Iranian intelligence officer who defected to Germany.An al-Jazeera documentary, Lockerbie: What Really Happened?, claims the attack was carried out on Tehran’s behalf by the Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.
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Kerry asks for Iran's help with missing American
(AFP):Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday marked the seventh anniversary of the disappearance of Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who's widely believed to be in the hands of Iran’s intelligence services. “We respectfully ask the Government of Iran to work cooperatively with us on the investigation into his disappearance so we can ensure his safe return,” Kerry said in a statement.
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Israel says long-range rockets aboard 'Iran arms ship'
(AFP):Eilat — Israel said Sunday it had found 40 long-range rockets aboard a ship it intercepted in the Red Sea, charging that it carried weapons sent by Iran to Gaza Strip militants. A statement from the Israeli military said the M-302 rockets with a range of 160 kilometres (100 miles) were found in containers offloaded from the Panamanian-flagged Klos-C.The vessel was intercepted by Israeli naval commandos on the high seas on Wednesday between Sudan and Eritrea and escorted to the Red Sea port of Eilat by two warships.
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Bahrain and Iran trade accusations at U.N. rights forum
(AFP):(Reuters) - Bahrain accused Shi'ite Iran on Thursday of fomenting deadly violence in the kingdom, and a Tehran official accused the Sunni-ruled island state of torturing and imprisoning its critics. The clash at the U.N. Human Rights Council came after three policemen were killed on Monday by a bomb at a protest in Daih, west of the capital Manama, during a procession of mourners for a Shi'ite Muslim who died in custody last week.
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Iran denies medical care to political prisoners
(AFP):Nicosia — The International Federation for Human Rights on Thursday raised the alarm over what it termed the deliberate denial of medical care to sick political prisoners in Iran."Iranian authorities deny prisoners access to medical care on purpose," Karim Lahidji, president of the Paris-based FIDH, said in a statement.
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Israel says it seized Gaza-bound rocket shipment from Iran
(Reuters):JERUSALEM - The Israeli navy seized a ship in the Red Sea on Wednesday that was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied rockets made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip, the military said.The announcement came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in the United States to press his case for tougher international action against Iran over its disputed nuclear programme and support for Islamist guerrilla groups.
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White House rebukes Iran for 'illicit actions'
(The Hill):The White House on Wednesday slammed Iran after the Israeli army intercepted a vessel carrying a concealed shipment of arms to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip."These illicit actions are unacceptable to the international community," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One."We continue to have enormous issues with Iran — its sponsor of terrorist organizations, its bad behavior in the region that manifests itself in many ways," he continued.
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Visa muskel i nukleära förhandlingar med Iran
(Chicago Tribune):Eftersom USA växlar upp för ytterligare en runda av nukleära förhandlingar med den iranska regimen, har en sällsynt möjlighet getts att undervisa den islamiska republiken en lektion om sin fruktansvärda mänskliga rättigheter. Teheran var uppenbarligen tvingas in i en position att förhandla med både den förlamande sanktioner och utsikterna för ett uppror, som liknar juni 2009.
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Iran expecting Western interest in energy sector
(UPI):TEHRAN - Iran expects Western investors to come to Tehran to explore emerging opportunities in the country's energy sector, an Iranian economic director said.Shana, the Iranian Oil Ministry's news service, reported earlier this year an investment conference was planned for July.Morteza Behrouzi, the secretary-general for the conference, told the Fars News Agency Western investors are expected to attend.
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Lew tells AIPAC: Sanctions have worked
(The Hill):Treasury Secretary Jack Lew spoke Israel's top lobbying organization on Sunday, touting the Obama administration's handling of Iran to a skeptical crowd.Lew, the highest-ranking Jewish member of the administration, told the crowd at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual meeting that the U.S.-led sanctions against Iran have worked and that the deal struck to temporarily suspend some sanctions in exchange for Iran moving away from its plans to develop a nuclear weapon should be supported by the group.
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Question on Iran sanctions still complicates senate
(The Wall Street Journal):The push to force a Senate vote on a new round of sanctions on Iran may have eased in recent weeks, but it’s still serving as an obstacle as senators conduct their daily business.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators this week have used Senate consideration of a measure dealing with veteran’s benefits to refocus attention on Iran and whether the U.S. should impose new sanctions on Tehran. Lawmakers should be allowed to hold a vote on new sanctions legislation,” Mr. McConnell said Wednesday during a speech from the Senate floor.
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Congress concerned Iran's oil exports may be up
(AP):WASHINGTON - Obama administration officials faced the prospect of contentious questioning Thursday from lawmakers about reports that China and India are significantly expanding imports of Iranian petroleum. When world powers reached an interim nuclear deal with Iran three months ago, U.S. officials stressed that they weren't easing oil trade restrictions against Tehran. This month, President Barack Obama threatened to come down like a "ton of bricks" on countries that circumvent those penalties.
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