News | Iran Intel Shows Off Captured 'Sabotage' Gear; Rial Hits All-Time Low
by DAN GEIST
26 Sep 2012 06:02
Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Farsi and Arabic press and excerpts where the source is in English. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Any views expressed are the authors' own. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.Exhibition of the Day
Intelligence Ministry displays equipment it says was meant for sabotage
The pro-government Tehran Times reports on an exhibition mounted in the capital by Iran's Intelligence Ministry of imported devices it describes as having been designed or altered for the purpose of sabotage "against the country's industrial, nuclear, and military facilities." The equipment -- much of it reportedly from the United States, France, and Germany -- includes items that were purposefully infected with computer viruses, according to the Fars News Agency, an arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The unveiling of the exhibition follows a recent series of statements from Iranian government officials and reports in state-run media outlets about purported sabotage and other skulduggery directed against the country's nuclear enrichment operations.
The Tehran Times also reports that an "informed source in the Intelligence Ministry" told the paper that the ministry "has discovered a laboratory in [the] southern U.S. where industrial equipment imported from certain countries are sabotaged and then re-exported to other countries."
Quote of the Day
"Do I accept the assurances of illustrious figures headed by Dershowitz or do I believe my own eyes and the 8 years I spent studying the organization?"
-- Ervand Abrahamian's response to a post on a Columbia University-based listserv about Persian Gulf-related issues administered by Gary Sick. Abrahamian, author of a seminal study on the Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization, was responding to a post about the MKO's long-standing presence on the State Department list of foreign terrorist organizations; that post gave credence to the brief of amici curiae (available here as a PDF download) filed by renowned civil rights attorney Alan Dershowitz in support of the MKO's petition to be cut from the list. The brief includes statements in defense of the MKO from several former high-ranking officials of the federal government, including three cabinet secretaries, a CIA director, an FBI chief, and a chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. It was reported last week that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has decided to remove the group's terrorist designation.
Video of the Day
In his address to the U.N. General Assembly, President Barack Obama warns Iran that the time available for negotiations over its nuclear program is "not unlimited."
Provocative Headline of the Day
From Iran's semiofficial Mehr News Agency. Speaking in the capital of Semnan province, Revolutionary Guard Brigadier General Ali Ostad Hosseini makes an interesting observation.
Rial Problems of the Day
Sanctions on Iran's oil industry taking deeper bite
The Iranian rial closed more than five percent down on the open market Tuesday, hitting a new historical low of 26,500 to the dollar. A day earlier, Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani announced that the government was opening a foreign exchange center to ease imports of essential manufacturing, construction, and transportation-related goods.
AFP's Marc Burleigh takes a look at other evidence from around the country that severe international economic sanctions are having a growing effect on the everyday lives of ordinary Iranians:
The ILNA news agency reported that a letter on behalf of 20,000 workers from across the country was sent to Labour Minister Abdolreza Sheikholeslami complaining they had not been paid and demanding an increase to their salaries of $120 to $285 a month that they said were "way below the poverty line." [...]
Tour companies trying to fill half-empty flights in the middle of the week to Turkey have taken to trying to sell last-minute flights for as little as $60 return via mass text messages.
A lighting equipment seller in Tehran who gave his first name as Saeed said he was used to importing six shipping containers of goods from China per year, but this year he imported just one.
"I am waiting to what happens to the market and dollar situation," he said. "If these circumstances persist, I may have to close down."
As noted here on Friday, according to International Energy Agency data, in July -- the first month after the European Union imposed an embargo on Iranian oil -- the Islamic Republic exported an average of 930,000 barrels a day, less than 43 percent of last year's figure. For more on Iran's increasingly distressed economic situation over the past couple of months, see The Drama of Iran's Erratic Rial, Health Group: Sanctions Put Tens of Thousands of Iranian Children at Risk, Feeling the Pinch: Iran's Embattled Importers, and Industry and Trade Minister: Western Sanctions 'Paralyzing' Iran.
Headline Denial of the Day I
-- Mehr again. The Iranian government rejects the U.S. Treasury Department's determination, announced Monday, that the National Iranian Oil Company is under the effective control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. "We strongly deny these false allegations," Oil Ministry spokesman Ali Reza Nikzad Rahbar tells Mehr.
Headline Denial of the Day II
-- From the state's Press TV outlet. Ali Asghar Soltanieh rejects the "false remarks" attributed to him in an interview, published Monday, in which he reportedly said that Iran was ready to suspend uranium enrichment to 20 percent in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. "Let me tell you!" Soltanieh tells Press TV. "I've taken part in no interviews about enrichment and relevant issues with anyone in the past one month. I've not said such a thing."
Photo of the Day
An intriguing vitrine of "cleaning materials and peripheral tools" at the Intelligence Ministry's special sabotage show.
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