14 Jul 2010 17:29
Iranian nuclear scientist returns homeFP | July 14, 2010
The Iranian nuclear scientist who U.S. officials say defected to the United States last year and provided information on Iran's nuclear program is on his way home after taking refuge in the Iranian interests sections of the Pakistani embassy in Washington on Monday.
Shahram Amiri claimed in an interview that he had been kidnapped from a hotel room in Saudi Arabia and had been held "under enormous psychological pressure and supervision of armed agents in the past 14 months." But according to U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Amiri was in the United States "of his own free will" and was free to leave whenever he wanted. She also called for the release of three American hikers who have been held in Iran since July 2009.
U.S intelligence officials say Amiri was too junior to have deep knowledge about Iran's nuclear intentions but was an important confirming source for information the U.S. has already gathered. Iranian officials say he will be met by his family when he returns to Tehran on Thursday but it remains unclear what level of interrogation he will have to go through.
Who wins propaganda war over Iran scientist?
BBC | July 10, 2010
There are two diametrically opposed versions of the story. Iran says Shahram Amiri was kidnapped. American sources said that he defected and was giving them high-grade information on the Iranian nuclear programme.
In the war of nerves over the Iranian nuclear programme, this looks like a propaganda victory for the Iranians, even if Mr Amiri may have already told the Americans everything he knows about the programme.
Tehran Stock Exchange index hits record high on greater liquidity, privatization plans
AP | July 14, 2010
The Tehran Stock Exchange rallied to a record high Wednesday, extending a months-long climb despite U.S. and U.N. sanctions that have hammered the economy.
The benchmark index rose half a percentage point to close at 15,080. The rise has pushed the exchange's total value to more than $70 billion, up from $59 billion at the start of the year.
Greater liquidity and investor enthusiasm over the government's push to privatize state-run firms by the end of 2011 have helped drive the market higher, according to analysts.
Tehran Takes IRGC Official Suleimani Off Iraq Dossier
Al-Rafidayn | July 13, 2010
It was reported that Tehran has stripped Qassim Suleimani, of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), of his responsibility for the Iraq dossier, and assigned the dossier to Majlis speaker Ali Larijani, who is rumored to be visiting Baghdad soon.
Suleimani is seen as having failed to bridge the gap between the two leading Shi'a groups [al-Maliki and al-Hakim/al-Sadr] to arrive at an agreement on a common candidate for the post of prime minister in Iraq. In fact, it is said that the gap between them has widened.
Larijani is considered one of Iran's leading politicians. He was born in Najaf in 1958 and, hence, he speaks Iraqi dialect fluently. He holds degrees in mathematics and Western philosophy.
While Suleimani operated behind the curtain, Larijani will pursue Iran's demand toward the two Shi'a parties more forcefully, and in public. Iran hopes to succeed where the U.S. and Vice President Joe Biden have failed.
Iran Does Not Know Its Enemies
The independent Qatari-owned Al-Arab newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Zafer Muhammad al-Ajami, the executive director of the Gulf Monitoring Group:
Bad intentions occupy the biggest part of Iranian memory. "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has agreed to open an air passage north of its border to allow Israel to use to strike Iranian nuclear facilities." This was featured in a report carried by the British Times-Online newspaper on June 12, 2010.
The ministry of defense and external affairs in Saudi Arabia did well by responding to it at the time and saying that the Kingdom will not be a platform for any military attack against Iran... Nonetheless, some Iranian and even Arab news sources started promoting the veracity of the report and handled it primitively without bothering to go back in history and see the usual turn of events, starting with the fact that Saudi Arabia prevented its great ally -- the United States -- from using its territories to topple the tyrant Saddam who was the fiercest enemy of the Kingdom and the Gulf states back in 2003.
Also around thirty years ago, it prevented the take-off of American airplanes partaking in Eagle Claw Operation which attacked the newly-born Islamic Republic...
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