Archive for the ‘Iranian’ Category

Iran Conducting Mass Hangings

January 22, 2009

Iran hanged 22 convicted criminals in mass executions on Tuesday and Wednesday in Tehran and few other cities, official news media reported.

By Nazila Fathi
The New York Times

Iran has the highest number of executions in the world after China. Crimes such as murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and adultery are punished by execution.

The state run television news reported Thursday that 10 men were hanged in Tehran’s Evin prison on Wednesday. The semi-official Fars news agency reported that an 11th man, scheduled to be executed in February, witnessed the hanging of the 10.

The Iranian press accounts said the convicts included a drug addict who murdered his aunt and a robber who killed a cab driver.

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Iran takes advantage of Gaza crisis

January 8, 2009

Iran’s official media paint a picture of a country in ferment, outraged by the Israeli attack on Gaza.

There are daily reports of demonstrations across the country by students and members of the Basij – the militia arm of the Revolutionary Guards.

Iranian MPs have volunteered to travel to Gaza to fight alongside Hamas.

One group of students occupied part of one of the British embassy compounds, unfurling pro-Palestinian banners.

Another group staged a sit-in at one of Tehran’s airports, waiting, perhaps slightly optimistically, for a flight to the Gaza Strip.

Politicians and religious leaders have lined up to condemn Israel.

The parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, said Israel’s actions were worse than the Nazis during World War II.

The United States and Britain receive daily tirades, as do Arab countries, accused of not going to the aid of the Palestinians.


Anti-Gaza conflict demonstration in Tehran - 2/1/2009

Iran is one of the strongest supporters of Hamas

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman has said Iran’s hospitals are ready to care for Palestinian wounded.

It all fits in with the pattern of vehement anti-Zionism that has been one of the defining features of the Islamic Republic for 30 years.

Pressure on Israel

But even as Hamas comes under intense pressure from Israeli forces, the Iranian government’s response so far has been carefully calibrated.

Iran is one of the strongest supporters of Hamas.

It is regularly accused by Israel of providing the group with arms, training, and money, something Tehran never admits to, but makes little effort to deny.

But until now there has been little evidence of pressure from Tehran on its Lebanese allies, Hezbollah, to break the ceasefire on Israel’s northern border.

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Gaza: Iran Said To Hold Back Hezbollah Attack On Israel from Lebanon

January 6, 2009

Lebanon’s parliament majority leader Saad Hariri on Monday claimed that Hezbollah would not respond to Israel’s devastating offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

Hariri said that Saeed Jalili, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, told him that Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militant organization, would not attack Israel from Lebanon.

By Yoav Stern

“What Jalili said greatly calms us,” Hariri said.

The lawmaker’s remarks came despite the fact that observers in both Lebanon and Israel are starting to believe some kind of escalation along the Lebanese border is likely if the military operation in Gaza continues.

It is far from clear what form this escalation might take. One possibility is relatively small-scale rocket launches, either by Lebanese groups affiliated with the cause of global jihad or by Palestinian groups in Lebanon, which generally coordinate their activities with Hezbollah.

Another option is an operation by Hezbollah itself, which would probably be broader in scope.

That Hezbollah has been increasing its forces’ preparedness in recent weeks is no secret: The organization’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, announced it publicly the day Israel’s operation in Gaza began, and Sheikh Nabil Kauk, the Hezbollah official in charge of south Lebanon, reiterated it Monday.

Iran Behind Hamas, Hezbollah, Key Israelis, Others Say
Iran Claims 70,000 Volunteer to Fight Israel
 Gaza: Some Blame “Zionists,” Some Iran
Israel Sees Existential Fight: Enemies, Uncertainty All Around

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Iran Claims 70,000 Volunteer to Fight Israel

January 6, 2009

More than 70,000 Iranian students have volunteered to carry out suicide bombings against Israel, Iran’s state news agency reported Monday, but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not responded to their request for permission.

Volunteer suicide groups have made similar requests in the past and the government never responded, giving the campaigns more of the feel of propaganda.

According to the official IRNA news agency, hardline student leader Esmaeil Ahmadi said the students want to fight Israel in support of Hamas, Gaza’s Islamic militant rulers.

Iran Behind Hamas, Hezbollah, Key Israelis, Others Say

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An Iranian hardliner wears a headband reading "Martyrdom" ... 
An Iranian hardliner wears a headband reading “Martyrdom” as he stands in front of a picture of Al-Aqsa mosque during a rally in Tehran to condemn the Israeli attacks on Gaza, December 30, 2008.REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN)

Arab Nations Urged To Cut Off Oil to Isreal, Allies

January 4, 2009

An Iranian military commander called on Islamic countries to cut oil exports to Israel’s supporters in response to the Jewish state’s offensive in Gaza, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

IRNA said commander Bagherzadeh described oil as “one of the powerful elements of pressure” on the Jewish state’s Western backers in the “unequal war” faced by Palestinians in the coastal strip.

“Pointing at Westerners’ dependence on the Islamic countries’ oil and energy resources, he (Bagherzadeh) called for cutting the export of crude oil to the Zionist regime’s supporters the world over,” IRNA said, referring to Israel.


IRNA gave only the commander’s last name but it may have been referring to Mirfeysal Bagherzadeh, a brigadier-general of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. There was no immediate comment from other Iranian officials.

Iran, which often rails against the United States and Israel, is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and a leading member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Top exporter Saudi Arabia is a U.S. ally.

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants battled in Gaza on Sunday after Israeli troops and tanks invaded the coastal enclave in the most serious fighting in the conflict in decades.

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Israeli artillery fire shells towards the Gaza Strip. Thousands ... 
Israeli artillery fire shells towards the Gaza Strip. Thousands of Israeli troops backed by scores of tanks are battling Hamas fighters in Gaza fields and roads, surrounding the battered territory’s main city on a mission to end militant rocket attacks.(AFP/Shay Shmueli)

Iran: U.S. Wants More Sanctions; Other Nations Feel Economic “Hurt”

January 2, 2009

A US think tank has warned that diplomacy would not stop Iran’s nuclear program and that harsher sanctions against Tehran should be adopted, a move that could drive a wedge between the White House and Germany.


US President-elect Barack Obama has vowed to “do everything that is required” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, including harsher sanctions and, if necessary, military action.

From: Deutsche Welle

“The diplomatic path is not promising,” Middle East expert James Phillips of the conservative US Heritage Foundation wrote, according to the DPA news agency. A carrot-and-stick policy towards Iran holds little hope, he added, because “for Iran, a nuclear weapon is the biggest carrot.”

Phillips warned Obama against meeting with Iranian leaders, and said he believed Tehran would use the event for propaganda and delay tactics. He said Iran was not interested in dialogue and reconciliation with with it calls “the Great Satan.”

Iran’s real Achilles’ heel, he said, was its economy, adding that if hurt by harsher sanctions, the rule of Iran’s fundamentalists could be seriously challenged.

German-Iranian trade

But a new round of sanctions risks magnifying the diverging interests between the US and its allies such as Germany, which still has firm financial connections with Iranian banks and which continues to do business with the Islamic republic of around 70 million inhabitants. In fact, some 75 percent of all medium and small businesses in Iran use German-made equipment.

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Dennis Ross: Iran Mastering Intimidation, Coercion, Subversion

January 2, 2009

Everywhere you look in the Middle East today, Iran is threatening U.S. interests and the political order. The Iranians see themselves as a rising power, and are warning their neighbors of the costs of friendship with Washington. As one Arab ambassador told me recently, the Iranians have begun reminding Arab leaders that America didn’t help Fuad Siniora, the prime minister of Lebanon, or Mikheil Saaskashvili, the president of Georgia, when both got into trouble—in fact, Washington left them high and dry. Iran, by contrast, is close by and not going anywhere. And it will make life difficult for those that cross it.

By Dennis Ross
For Newsweek

If Iran is already acting in intimidating ways, imagine what would happen if the country goes nuclear and gains an atomic shield behind which to engage in coercion and subversion.

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Volunteer suicide bombers seek to attack Israel

December 31, 2008

Hard-line Iranian student groups have appealed to the government to authorize volunteer suicide bombers to leave Iran and fight against Israel in response to the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.

The government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had not responded to the call by Wednesday. Five hard-line student groups and a conservative clerical group launched a registration drive on Monday, seeking volunteers to carry out suicide attacks against Israel.

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer

An Iranian hardliner wears a headband reading "Martyrdom" ... 
An Iranian hardliner wears a headband reading “Martyrdom” as he stands in front of a picture of Al-Aqsa mosque during a rally in Tehran to condemn the Israeli attacks on Gaza, December 30, 2008.REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN)

“Volunteer student suicide groups … are determined to go to Gaza. You are expected to issue orders to the relevant authorities in order to pave the way for such action,” the students advised Ahmadinejad in an open letter, a copy of which was made available to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Volunteer suicide groups have made similar moves in the past and the government never responded to their calls. However, some hard-liners have claimed they successfully but secretly left Iran and carried out attacks against Israel. Their claims could not be verified.

The hard-liners started signing up volunteers after Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a religious decree on Sunday that said anyone killed while defending Palestinians in Gaza against Israeli attacks would be considered a martyr.

Iran Urges Arabs to Condemn Israel and All “Zionists”; Calls Palestinian Losses “Real Holocaust”
Gaza Is “Proxy War to Eradicate Israel” Funded By Iran
 Israel Sees Existential Fight: Enemies, Uncertainty All Around
Iran Cleric Tells All Muslims To Rise Up Against Isreal; Tumult in Mideast

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Israel Keeps Gaza Goals Vague

December 29, 2008

Israel has dropped tons of bombs on the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented show of force to make Hamas stop rocket attacks, but it has not said it will try to topple the Islamic militants who have ruled the territory for 18 months.

Such a limited definition of goals gives Israel considerable flexibility in deciding when to end the assault, especially if international pressure mounts, while still calling it a success. But this guarded approach also offers Hamas good survival odds, even if the onslaught leaves it badly weakened.

Israel’s unwillingness to reoccupy Gaza or openly try to install a new ruler there gives Hamas considerable leverage in future cease-fire negotiations.

By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer

In exchange for calm on Israel’s border, Hamas demands an end to the crippling blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Hamas takeover of Gaza 18 months ago. Hamas, which won 2006 parliamentary elections, seized control after a power-sharing agreement with the rival Fatah movement collapsed in violence.

Ending the blockade could help Hamas recover quickly and prolong its rule indefinitely. That, in turn, would all but destroy prospects of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Israel has been negotiating for the past year with Hamas’ rival, moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who controls the West Bank. However, Israel says it cannot implement an agreement as long as the Iranian-backed Hamas, sworn to Israel’s destruction, controls half of what would be a Palestinian state.

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Iran Diplomat Says Gaza Violence is US Plot Against Islamic World

December 29, 2008

Iran’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Republic Nasser Hamidi-Zare said Monday that Gaza tragedy is a sequel to the US plots in the Middle East.

Speaking to IRNA Monday, he added that Islamic Ummah should be vigilant about overt and covert plots of the US and the Zionist regime which have taken aim at Islamic world, and support Palestinians by maintaining their union.

Stating that the Zionist regime was founded on terror and it will continue its life with terror acts, he noted that the regime is a big threat to the region’s security and world, Islamic Ummah in particular.

Referring to the recent crimes in Gaza, Hamidi went on to say that today, all the Muslims and freedom-seekers shoulder the responsibility to condemn Zionist regime’s crimes in Gaza and sympathize with the Palestinians.


 Iran Behind Hamas, Hezbollah, Key Israelis, Others Say