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Iran and the U.N. nuclear watchdog failed to strike a deal after two days of negotiations from January 16-17. The U.N. demand to access the Parchin military complex near Tehran has been a divisive issue in previous talks. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) suspects Iran conducted experiments at Parchin related to nuclear weapons production.
But a new report argues that Parchin may not be a critical site. The allegations that Iran carried out weapons-related experiments there “have questionable technical credibility,” according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Author Robert Kelley spent more than 35 years working in the U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear complex. The following are excerpts from his report, with a link to the full text at the end.
Is Iran bulldozing the site and covering it with earth to prevent the IAEA from detecting uranium contamination?
Click here for the full text
Iranian and U.N. officials failed to produce an agreement after intensive talks in Tehran from January 16-17. Iran has sent mixed messages on negotiations with the International Atomic Energy (IAEA). Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh claimed the two sides bridged some gaps during the talks. But later he said Iran would not stop uranium enrichment “even for a moment” and that the IAEA should cope with reality by accepting Iran’s nuclear rights.
IAEA Deputy Director General said “differences remain” and that Iran did not grant access to the Parchin military complex. The IAEA suspects Iran conducted tests at Parchin related to building a nuclear bomb. Negotiators may revisit the issue in the next round of talks scheduled for February 13. The following are statements by U.N. and Iranian officials on the nuclear talks.
Jafari has an estimated 150,000 troops under his control. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has its own powerful army (between 100,000 and 125,000), navy (up to 20,000) and air force (about 20,000). It also oversees several thousand members in the elite Qods Force, which trains and supports foreign insurgent organizations.
Appointed commander in 2007, Jafari has implemented ideas developed in previous positions, including asymmetric tactics in case of conflict with the United States or Israel. “Given the enemy's numerical or technological superiority, the IRGC would use asymmetrical warfare capabilities, such as those used by Hezbollah in its 2006 war with Israel in Lebanon. Iranian strategy would also reflect the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said three days after his appointment.
What are the key issues on which Afghanistan and Iran agree and disagree?
It would prefer not to have to be concerned about Afghanistan. To this end, it is focusing on carving its sphere of influence, accelerating a Western withdrawal, and assuring that its interests are protected.
Photo Credit: Pahari Sahib (Image:BlankMap-World-v5.png) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/
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On January 16, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Parliament that Iran needs to cut reliance on petrodollars “once and for all.” Iran’s oil revenues have dropped 45 percent in the last nine months, according to parliament’s budget committee chief. Ahmadinejad also admitted that international sanctions have slowed economic growth, disrupted foreign trade and widened the gap between rich and poor.
The president called for deeper cuts to energy subsidies to solve the budget crisis. But he left before lawmakers could question him further, claiming his schedule was full. Parliament has opposed subsidy cuts in the past, claiming inflation would soar. We are “tired from hearing these empty promises… All of it is repetitive chatter,” member ofparliament Gholamali Jaffarzadeh told Mehr News Agency. The following are excerpts from Ahmadinejad’s speech.
The Islamists Are Coming
The Islamists Are Coming, edited by Robin Wright, surveys the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties. They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region more than any other political bloc. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.
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