18 Dec 2009 20:45
Pro Iranian hackers hit Twitter and Opposition websites
BBC │Dec. 18, 2009
A group calling itself the Iranian Cyber Army has hacked Twitter and an Iranian opposition website, replacing it with an anti-American message.
Traffic to the social networking website was redirected for nearly two hours on Thursday night. The opposition website mowjcamp.org remained disrupted on Friday.
The opposition in Iran have used the websites to publicise protests and accuse the government of rigging elections in June.
"This site has been hacked by the Iranian Cyber Army," the message read.
The message, written in confused English, said the hackers had turned the tables on the US, who they criticise for sanctions on Iran.
"USA think they controlling and managing internet by their access, but they don't, we control and manage internet by our power," the message continued.
It ended on a seemingly polite note, telling visitors to "take care", and the hackers added a winking emoticon.
The hackers left an e-mail address, but could not be reached for comment.
Hardliners chant "Death to Mousavi" at Iran rallies
Reuters │ Dec. 18, 2009
Government supporters rallied across Iran on Friday to protest against an opposition "insult" to the Islamic Republic's revered founder [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini], with some calling for pro-reform leader Mir Hossein Mousavi to be executed.
It was the first time such a call was made during a state-sponsored event and signaled increased pressure on the moderate opposition, which has continued to show defiance over a presidential election in June it says was rigged.
"Mousavi, this is our last warning. The sedition leaders should be executed," people chanted at a rally in Tehran.
But there were no reports of the kind of clashes that erupted at previous officially-organized events, when Mousavi supporters also took to the streets in a bid to revive their challenge to hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Reformist websites had urged opposition supporters to stay away from Friday's rallies, which took place under a heavy police presence.
Iran's judiciary earlier this week said it had evidence that senior reformist figures had fomented trouble after the poll six months ago, which triggered huge anti-government street protests, and warned of legal action against them.
"The judiciary should confront people who continue this sedition ... with the maximum punishment," Mohammad Hossein Rahimian, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the crowd in Tehran, Fars News Agency reported.
Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election plunged Iran into political turmoil and exposed deepening establishment divisions.
Tension increased earlier this month when pro-opposition students clashed with the security forces armed with batons and tear gas in the biggest anti-government protest in months.
Cleric calls on Iranians to exercise calm
Press TV │Dec. 18, 2009
A leading Iranian cleric warned against moves leading to the creation of disorder in the country, and called on all Iranians to exercise calm.
"Do not cause tension. You should keep calm," said Tehran's Interim Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani, addressing those who disturbed peace in the country.
He pointed to post-election events in Iran and said, "Such incidents take place in every part of the world.... After [Iran's June presidential election] some people carried out inappropriate acts and chanted slogans."
The cleric called on Iranians to remain vigilant in the face of the plots hatched by the enemy who seeks to take advantage of the objections voiced about the country's presidential election.
Ahmadinejad not invited by Danish Queen
Asr Iran │Dec. 18, 2009
While the heads of all states in the world were invited to the ceremonial dinner thrown by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was not on the guest list.
Ahmadinejad was the only chief executive that did not attend the dinner or get invited to the feast.
Ahmadi-Moqaddam: Suicides more than homicides in Iran
Asr Iran │Dec. 18, 2009
Police Commander Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam said the number of suicides in the country is double that of homicides.
"Suicide is a cultural issue and to resolve this problem there is need for cultural efforts."
"Suicide in our society is different from that in Western society. In Western societies people commit suicide out of nihilism, but in our country social pressures cause people to kill themselves."
Source calls for segregation of universities
Khabar Online │Dec. 18, 2009
Shia Source of Emulation Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani said universities should be segregated, citing that even in the West, gender specific high schools have better progress.
In a meeting with Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou on Thursday, Ayatollah Sobhani said, "You should not heed the words of noise makers [opposers] because the future generations will judge the positivity or negativity of our actions [of today]."
"Even in Western countries segregated high schools have a better performance compared to mixed high schools."
"Segregate universities for girls and boys."
"The first step must be revising text books, even physics, chemistry and astronomy can be made religious."
Iraqi official: Iranians seized Iraqi oil well
AP │ Dec. 18, 2009
Iranian troops have crossed into Iraqi territory and seized an oil well that lies in a disputed area along the two countries' southern border, Iraq's deputy foreign Minster said Friday.
The deputy minister, Mohammed Haj Mahmoud, said Iranian troops seized oil well No. 4 Thursday night in the al-Fakkah oil field, located about 200 miles (about 320 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad. The oil field is one of Iraq's largest.
Oil prices rose slightly after news of the incident.
"We are coordinating with the Oil Ministry regarding this issue. This is not the first time that the Iranians have tried to prevent Iraqis from investing in oil fields in border areas. Tomorrow, we might summon the Iranian ambassador to discuss this issue," Mahmoud told The Associated Press.
The al-Fakkah field is considered a shared field between Iran and Iraq, meaning both nations are able to pump oil from it, but the Iraqis consider oil well No. 4 theirs.
The Jebel Al-Fauqi Dispute
Foreign Reports │Dec. 18, 2009
The tangled web of Iranian-Iraqi relations was on full display today when eleven Iranian soldiers crossed a few hundred yards into territory that lies between an Iranian and Iraqi border post in Maysan Province. The disputed territory is the site of an oilfield which has been the subject of technical-level border discussions for a number of years.
At first, Deputy Interior Minister Gen. Ahmed Ali al-Khafaji, who is in charge of Iraq's border forces, denied to Reuters that any Iranian incursion had occurred. Shortly thereafter, he told the wire service that in fact some Iranian soldiers had
crossed the disputed line.
"At 3:30 this afternoon, eleven Iranians infiltrated the Iran-Iraq border and took control of the oil well. They raised the Iranian flag, and they are still there until this moment," Gen. Khafaji said, adding that Iraq had not responded with force and would seek a diplomatic solution. "We are awaiting orders from our leader."
Gen. Khafaji has been in charge of border security at the Interior Ministry since early 2004. Prior to that, he was with the Badr Brigade, the military arm of the late Abdul Aziz Hakim's SCIRI. He spent ten years in Iran with SCIRI before the U.S. invasion in 2003. But for years he also has been accusing Iran of infiltrating across the border as his forces uncovered caches of Iranian-made arms and explosives, apparently destined for Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.
"The border with Iran continues to be a problem, especially around the narrowest portions of the Shatt al-Arab waterway in southern Iraq," Khafaji told the press in late August. "If Iran wants to send weapons to Iraq, it can."
"We are always finding large amounts of ammunition, including rockets, IEDs and sticky bombs. The last one was a week ago," Wasit Police Major Aziz al-Amarah told Reuters. "Sometimes they try to remove labels that refer to Iran but we can make out the words from what is left."
The particular field in question, referred to in the press today as Al-Fakka, but also called Jebel al-Fauqi, along with other adjacent fields, has been a matter of dispute between the Iraqi and Iranian governments since mid-2003.
Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani complained that the Iranians have been stalling and vacillating in the technical talks with Iraq. "Our problem with Iran is that the Al-Fakka oilfield is in the Maysan region in southern Iraq," he said. "There are no border posts there at present and the Iranian border guards are preventing the Iraqis from exploiting the oilfield on the pretext that they do not know exactly where the actual borders are.
China and Iran sanctions
Foreign Reports │Dec. 18, 2009
Unless Iran makes an unexpected U-turn in its nuclear diplomacy over the next two weeks, the Obama Administration's stated policy of pressing for stiff multinational sanctions will be tested by political realities at the beginning of next year.
There was a hint of a snag early this week when word leaked out that a tentatively-planned meeting of the political directors of the P5+1 at the end of this week could not be held. The Chinese couldn't make the meeting, it was reported.
Cheng Jingye, Director-General of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament, headed China's delegation to the P5+1 talks with Iran in Geneva. His task was to hear out the Iranian reaction to the IAEA's proposal on shipping out around three-quarters of Iran's low-enriched uranium for further enrichment into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.
Iran's Ahmadinejad announced that Iran would build ten more nuclear enrichment facilities and conducted further tests today of a long-range missile.
While the House of Representatives passed the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act overwhelmingly yesterday, the Administration reportedly has asked the Senate to delay the consideration of a similar bill until next year, presumably out of concern that U.S unilateral sanctions could be seen by other members of the P5+1 as an act of unilateralism that would hamper the spirit of collegiality that the Administration has been attempting to bring to the P5+1deliberations.
Rep. Howard Berman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Politico's Laura Rozen that the bill will empower the Obama administration's multilateral policy efforts.
Iranians producing new, advanced centrifuges
Press TV │Dec. 18, 2009
The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) said that the country is producing two new generations of uranium enrichment centrifuges.
Speaking to Fars News Agency on Friday, Ali Akbar Salehi put the number of centrifuges spinning at Iran's nuclear facilities at over 6,000.
Meanwhile Salehi explained that the country's nuclear scientists are currently working to test more advanced models of centrifuges named IR3 and IR4.
The Iranian official said the testing stage aims to "resolve the flaws of the new generation [centrifuges]," but added that Iran is "not in a rush to enter the industrial-scale production stage."
Salehi expressed hope that the new centrifuges, which are likely to enrich uranium much faster than the old ones, would be ready for use by early 2011.
Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Iranian press, and excerpts where the source is in English. The link to the news organization or blog is provided at the top of each item. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the story in perspective.