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Iran News Letter

February 22, 2010

I’m still exhausted but here is some information that just came in!

Did You Know? “Iran still has a price on the head of the Indian-born British novelist Salman Rushdie for what Iranian leaders call blasphemous writings about Islam in his 1989 novel The Satanic Verses,” according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Top Stories

AP: “Iran’s vice president says the country plans to begin construction on two new uranium enrichment facilities in the next Iranian calendar year, which begins March 21.”
WP: “The opposition supporters nervously smoked cigarettes in the kitchen as loud music blared from the empty living room. A student, a businessman, a writer and an artist had planned a victory party but instead were mourning their defeat.”
NYT: “Israel’s Air Force on Sunday introduced a fleet of huge pilotless planes that can remain in the air for a full day and fly as far as the Persian Gulf, putting Iran within their range.”

Iran Disclosure Project

Nuclear Program

AFP: “The United States is raising the stakes in its bid to halt Iran’s nuclear program, putting the issue on a “pressure track,” top US general David Petraeus said Sunday.”

Reuters: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Monday for an immediate embargo on Iran’s energy sector, saying the U.N. Security Council should be sidestepped if it cannot agree on the move.”
Reuters: “Iran hopes to double trade with Iraq to $8 billion this year, an Iranian diplomat said on Sunday, shrugging off Western-backed sanctions aimed at curbing business with the Islamic Republic.”

Domestic Politics

LAT: “Here are two words that’ll cost you your job in Iran: ‘Arabian Gulf.’  Iranians take seriously their claim that the body of water separating them from the Arabian Peninsula should be called the Persian Gulf, and not the Arabian Gulf, as some in the Arab world call it.”

Foreign Affairs
Times Online: “Iran’s police chief has accused the BBC of being an arm of MI6 and warned of severe punishment for any Iranians in contact with the organization.”


Mark Steyn in National Review: “Anything else? Oh, yeah. In Iran, the self-declared nuclear regime announced that it was now enriching uranium to 20 percent. When President Obama took office, the Islamic Republic had 400 centrifuges enriching up to 3.5 percent. A year later, it has 8,000 centrifuges enriching to 20 percent.”
Charles Wald in NYDN: “‘Sanctions are a long-term solution,’ said the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal about Iran last week, during Secretary of State Clinton’s visit. ‘We need immediate resolution rather than gradual resolution.’  Such frank statements by diplomats, especially Saudis, are rare. Our allies in the region, those closest to Iran, are becoming increasingly vocal about the rising dangers of Tehran achieving nuclear weapons capability.”
Fareed Zakaria in WP: “The International Atomic Energy Agency warned last week of its ‘concerns’ that the Iranian regime was moving to acquire a nuclear-weapons capability, not just nuclear energy. But this does not change the powerful calculus against a military strike, which would most likely delay the Iranian program by only a few years.”
James Lindsay and Ray Takeyh in WP: “As Iran relentlessly moves toward acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, calls will grow for the United States to think seriously about how to contain Tehran. A preventive attack will not work, some will argue, and could unleash a wave of terrorism that would further imperil Iraq and Afghanistan. Conversely, containment will be held up as a way to deter Tehran without having to resort to military force.”
Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz in WSJ: “Are gasoline sanctions against Iran a bad idea? President Barack Obama appears to think so, despite endorsing the idea twice during his election campaign. Although the administration wants to use tougher sanctions to make Tehran stop its uranium enrichment, the White House hasn’t pushed refined-petroleum sanctions. The Islamic Republic imports around 40% of its gasoline. Without plentiful petrol, Iranians might grow angry, so the administration worries, and rally around the regime.”

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