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Posts Tagged ‘ Iran P5+1 ’

  • 17 July 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: July 17, 2012

New Cyber Attack Detected in Iran

Israeli security company, Seculert, and Russia’s Kaspersky Lab have uncovered another cyber espionage campaign primarily aimed at Iran that they are calling the Mahdi Trojan. While primarily targeting Iran, the trojan, which is capable of stealing files and monitoring email, was also found in other Middle Eastern countries. The campaign which has effected more than 800 victims, targets infrastructure companies, engineering students, financial services, and government embassies (Reuters 7/17).

Pentagon Reportedly Building Missile Defense Radar in Qatar

U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal that the Pentagon is building an “X-band” missile-defense radar station at a secret site in Qatar, which is capable of detecting missile launches in cooperation with radar systems in Israel and Turkey. Additionally, the U.S. is preparing its largest ever minesweeping exercises in the Persian Gulf starting in September (WSJ 6/17).

Clinton Calls Iranian P5+1 Proposals “Non-Starters” in Israel

At a news conference in Jerusalem yesterday, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said, “”I made very clear that the proposals that we have seen from Iran thus far within the P5+1 negotiations are non-starters.” Clinton spoke following a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She added, “Our own choice is clear: we will use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” (CNN 7/16).

  • 19 October 2010
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Khamenei is now following you on Twitter

Everyone in Qom, get out your cell phones and cameras, because the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei wants you to send him your videos and pictures of him when he visits today so that he can post them on his website.

Ironic that Khamenei is suddenly a champion of citizen journalism, considering that he and his government were attacking and silencing Iranians who tweeted, blogged, took videos, and emailed pictures during the 2009 election aftermath.

But a major PR blitz is underway as Ayatollah Khamenei ventures to Qom today, his 3rd official visit to Qom since his appointment as Supreme Leader in 1989, including the calls for Iranians to get involved through social media, and a campaign to paint people’s cars and vehicles calling Khamenei an Imam.

How can Khamenei promote social media when, at the same time he has a cyber police task force, stomping on people’s doorsteps anytime someone sends an email to their cousin in America insulting the Iranian government? This is the same government that worked to permanently suspend Gmail, filters the internet, and recently began blocking the web page of its former President. But now the Supreme Leader tweets.

Public relations stunts aside, there has been some speculation as to why Khamenei has decided to visit Qom now during such an interesting political climate both internationally and domestically. The main reason behind his visit seems to be because he’s getting a lot of criticism from the clerics. About two weeks ago, Ayatollah Ali-Mohammad Dastgheib criticized Khamenei for taking his role as Supreme Leader too far. He insinuated in a dense theological verdict, that the Supreme Leader’s role is technically more limited then the current role he plays. According to Dastgheib, Khamenei’s role is “to coordinate the efforts of the three branches of government and to prevent the violation of citizens’ rights by the three branches.” In addition, a group of dissident clerics issued a letter warning the community of clerics of Khamenei’s visit. Other critics of Khamenei include, Ayatollah Yusef Sanei and Ayatollah Assad Bayat-Zanjani.

With sanctions and nuclear pressure on the rise, not to mention upcoming talks with the P5+1 countries in November, it seems that Khamenei wants to unify the clerics to stand against “western influence”. But at the same time, he is trying to harness the same social media tools that are derided as being “western influence” when Iranians use them to promote civil rights.  Khamenei has said that “the media is more powerful and dangerous than nuclear weapons.” By getting into social media, it seems what he is trying to do is, “keep your friends close, but your enemies even closer.”

  • 2 October 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, UN

A cursory look at the balance sheet after yesterday’s Geneva talks


After one day’s meeting, a mere seven and a half hours long, the world woke up today to reports of “surprisingly productive” talks between Iran and the P5+1 yesterday in Geneva.

Let’s take a very brief look at what’s come out so far:

  • No breakdown: The absolute bare minimum of success yesterday was the absence of a complete and total breakdown of the talks.  The Obama administration had set the expectations sufficiently low that this really was the big question mark: whether the Iran delegation would flip over the table and storm out like a teenager who has been told to clean its room.  (They did not.)
  • Access to the Qom facility: The Iranians announced a day before the talks even began that they were committed to opening up the newly-revealed Qom enrichment facility to IAEA inspectors.  This very obviously would have been the first matter the West would have wanted to discuss, but Iran went ahead and granted access before the negotiations even began.  Inspections are promised to begin prior to the second round of talks.
  • Second round of talks scheduled: Based on a willingness on all sides to engage in good faith, a second round of talks has been scheduled to take place in the next couple of weeks.  Both sides have expressed their commitment to talks with each other.
  • Historic US-Iran bilateral meeting: The first ever high-level bilateral diplomacy took place between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran yesterday.  For about 30 minutes, Undersecretary of State Burns met in private with Saeed Jalili.

After the talks finished, it was clear what each side hoped to gain from further discussions:

  • Iran wants a presidential summit meeting between Ahmadinejad and Obama (don’t hold your breath); and
  • The West wants Iran to hand over its enriched uranium stockpile to a third country to be turned into fuel for a reactor

Then, in another surprise move, the parties announced late yesterday that Iran agreed to the West’s offer to turn over its uranium stockpile to RussiaJulian Borger explains why this is so significant:

Western officials here say that to restock the TRR, Iran would have to send out up to 1200 kg of LEU. That’s about three-quarters of what they’ve got, and it would be out of the country for a year. When it came back it would be in the form of fuel rods, so it could not be turned into weapons grade material in a quick breakout scenario.

Given all that has happened with Iran over the last few months, I can honestly say that, for once, it’s nice to have been pleasantly surprised.

  • 10 September 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Nuclear file, Sanctions, UN

Why it’s important to read things for yourself…


Iran delivered its long-awaited response to the invitation by Western governments to begin another round of negotiations yesterday.  The actual document has been held very closely for the last 24 hours, but a copy has recently been made available online, via Dafna Linzer of the website Pro Publica.

The proposal was somewhat disappointing, though by no means closed the door on constructive engagement.  Unfortunately, by the time the actual document was released, the media and many policymakers had already made up their minds about what the package said, based on accounts from western diplomats. For example, this morning’s Wall Street Journal:

Iran Dims Hopes for Diplomacy


Iran rejected any compromise with the West over its nuclear program Wednesday

Iran offered Western officials a long-awaited package of proposals to restart negotiations over its nuclear program. But diplomats who viewed the offer Wednesday said the document of fewer than 10 pages essentially ignored questions over Iran’s production of nuclear fuel and instead focused broadly on other international issues.

It made no mention of Tehran’s willingness to suspend its uranium-enrichment activities or to enter into substantive talks about the future of its nuclear program, they said.

Laura Rozen, now of Politico, quoted an unnamed diplomat as saying: “it is not a serious response.”  “It doesn’t really address the clear problem,” and makes no mention of the international community’s chief concern, Iran’s nuclear program.

But I read the package of proposals, and I can’t find a single passage that would lead me to believe that Iran “rejected” any possible compromise, as the Wall Street Journal asserts; nor does the document “make no mention” of nuclear matters.

See for yourself; here are a few passages that I’ve copied from the document:

The Iranian nation is prepared to enter into dialogue and negotiation in order to lay the ground for lasting peace and regionally inspired and generated stability for the region and beyond and for the continued progress and prosperity of the nations of the region and the world.

Shakespeare, it is not–but I hardly think we should get hung up on grammar and punctuation when we’re talking about matters of nuclear nonproliferation.  Continue:

We stand ready to enter into this dialogue on the basis of godly and human principles and values, including the recognition of the rights of nations, respect for sovereignty and principles of democracy and the right of people to have free elections, as well as refraining from imposing pressure or threats and moving forward on the solid foundation of justice and law.

Again, I’m not sure where that “rejection” of talks comes in, though that bit about free elections probably caused a chuckle or two.  But if the international community changed the rules for diplomacy recently to prohibit ambassadors from making laughably hypocritical statements, then the entire diplomatic profession is going to suffer, not just Iran.

Continued further:

The Islamic Republic of Iran voices its readiness to embark on comprehensive, all-encompassing and constructive negotiations aimed at acquiring a clear framework for cooperative relationship by ensuring the adherence of all parties to collective commitments

Sure, that’s probably a shot at Israel for not joining the NPT, but Iran has joined the NPT and they have got to know that they’re bound by these same “collective commitments.”  It would stand to reason that a round of negotiations about parties’ adherence to nuclear commitments would focus at least some attention on Iran’s safeguards agreement.

Finally, the document lays out a framework of three areas that negotiations could focus on: political-security issues, international issues, and economic issues.  And yes, the term “nuclear issues” is noticeably absent.  But their suggestions do include the following:

2.4 Definition and codification of the rights relating to new and advanced technologies.

2.5 Promoting a rule-based and equitable oversight function of the IAEA and creating the required mechanisms for use of clean nuclear energy in agriculture, industry, and medicine and power generation.

2.6 Promoting the universality of NPT mobilizing global resolve and putting into action real and fundamental programmes toward complete disarmament and preventing development and proliferation of nuclear, chemical and microbial weapons.

If critics want to harp on the fact that Iran’s response talks about these matters in general terms, rather than being self-referential, then they are welcome to.  But that is a critique of style, not substance.  To characterize this document as a “rejection” of negotiations, or as “ignoring” the key issues is disingenuous and false.  Period.

  • 1 September 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Diplomacy, Nuclear file, Sanctions, UN

Report: Iran accepts invitation to nuke talks, meets September deadline

According to various media accounts, Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili has accepted the invitation to another round of nuclear negotiations, seemingly in time to avoid a push for tougher gasoline sanctions that had been threatened by the end of September.

From BBC:

Iran has prepared an updated nuclear proposal and is ready to hold negotiations with world powers, state-run Iranian television quoted the Islamic Republic’s chief nuclear negotiator as saying on Tuesday.

U.S. President Barack Obama has given Iran until later this month to take up a six-power offer of talks on trade benefits if it shelves nuclear fuel production, or face harsher sanctions

Jalili told Iran’s Arabic-language television network al-Alam that “Iran has prepared an updated nuclear proposal and is ready to resume negotiations with world powers.” Iran’s proposal, Jalili said, could “serve as a basis for talks” with the Western powers.

If these statements are true–and are not retracted in the coming days–then this appears to be an unambiguous signal from Iran that they are willing to accept the invitation to nuclear talks.  According to President Obama’s stated deadline, Iran has until the end of the month to schedule talks–not, as many are sure to claim, to suspend its enrichment program.

Sign the Petition


7,350 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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