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New cyber police; Govt wants control of Metro; Swap for hikers?

12 Nov 2009 18:544 Comments

Ahmadinejad suggesting a swap?

poolnews.ir | Nov. 10, 2009

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's response to a question at a recent press conference about three detained Americans in charged with espionage in Iran, appeared to hint that his government was ready to negotiate.

"I hope that the judge hearing their case will be convinced that they were not harboring ill intentions by illegally entering Iran," Ahmadinejad said, then referring to the disappearance of two Iranians, one in Turkey and the other in Saudi Arabia.

While he did not mention their names, Ahmadinejad apparently meant Ali-Reza Asgari, a former defense ministry official who disappeared in Turkey four years ago. Iran maintains that American intelligence services kidnapped the retired defense official.

The second missing Iranian is Shahram Amiri, a nuclear physicist, who went missing during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. Officials say they have proof that Americans have Amiri in custody.

"The Iranian citizens were arrested after making lawful entries into Turkey and Saudi Arabia, while the three Americans were arrested after their illegal entry," Ahmadinejad said.

Iran police chief says launching cyber police

Fars | Nov. 12, 2009

Iran's chief of police, Esmail Ahmadi-Moghadam, said there will soon be a special police unit to fight crimes committed on the internet, according to Fars News Agency.

"Given the commission of crimes by stealth and the perpetration of these through the medium of the internet, a police unit specializing in combating internet crimes will begin its activities soon," he told reporters in Arak.

Ahmadinejad administration to take Tehran metro from municipality

Press TV | Nov. 12, 2009

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that his administration plans to take over the control of the Tehran Metro Company from the municipality.

The Tehran Municipality and government are in disagreement about providing the capital's subway system with state subsidies.

The president also called on Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf and the Tehran City Council to agree with shifting the management of the metro to the government.

IRGC appoints new Tehran commander

| Nov. 12, 2009

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards force has replaced its commander for the greater Tehran area, its Web site said on Thursday.

The Sepah News website did not give a reason for the appointment of Hossein Hamedani as new Revolutionary Guards commander in Tehran, replacing Abdullah Araghi.

Sepah News said Hamedani had previously held several senior positions, most recently as deputy commander of the Islamic Basij militia. He was appointed to his new post by Guards commander-in-chief Mohammad Ali Jafari.

IRGC wins $2.5bn railway deal

Iran Daily | BBC | Nov. 11, 2009

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard's engineering arm, Khatam-ol-Anbia, won a $2.5 billion tender Wednesday to build a railroad network in the country's Chabahar free zone, the Iran Daily newspaper reported Thursday, citing Iran's minister of Roads and Transport.

Hamid Behbahani said the railway is part of a transit route from the south-eastern port of Chabahar to the north-eastern border town of Sarakhs, the BBC reported.

Russian gas firm to finance 10% of Iran-Armenia Oil Pipeline

Iran Daily
| Nov. 12, 2009

Russian energy giant Gazprom will help finance the construction of a 300-kilometer oil pipeline slated to run from Iran to Yeraskh in Armenia, the Iran Daily newspaper reported Thursday.

Gazprom will finance 10% of the total expenses of the construction of Iran-Armenia oil pipeline to pass through Tabriz to Armenia's Yeraskh," the daily quotes Armenia's Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Armen Movsisyan, as saying, citing the state IRNA news agency.

The project is worth an estimated $250 million, according to Iran Daily.

Iran Central Bank to inject 5 million new gold coins into market

| Reuters | Nov. 11, 2009

Iran's Central Bank will inject 5 million newly minted gold coins into the country's domestic market in an effort to control rising gold coin prices, the state IRNA news agency reported Thursday.

"Five million gold coins, minted by the Central Bank of Iran, will be supplied to the market starting Saturday," IRNA cited Iranian Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani as saying.

Gold prices in November have been rising to record highs of more than $1,200 per ounce on the back of a weakening US dollar and negative unemployment data.

Reuters said that at a price of 2.8 million rials (around $280) for a standard gold coin in Iran, the total value of the planned intervention would be worth roughly $1.4 billion.

Nobel Laureate taxed on prize

BBC Persian | Nov. 11, 2009

Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi said that the Iranian government has told her to pay taxes on her 2003 peace prize, which amounts to 410 million tomans, or about $410,000 USD.

Ebadi, a lawyer, said that such prizes are tax exempt under Iranian law. Furthermore, being told to pay this amount, five years later, was yet another way the Iranian government was mounting pressure on human rights activists.

Ebadi added that her Nobel Peace Prize medal had also been seized by Iranian authorities and was no longer in her office.

Vanished Persian army said found in desert

| Nov. 9, 2009

The remains of a mighty Persian army said to have drowned in the sands of the western Egyptian desert 2,500 years ago might have been finally located, solving one of archaeology's biggest outstanding mysteries, according to Italian researchers.

Bronze weapons, a silver bracelet, an earring and hundreds of human bones found in the vast desolate wilderness of the Sahara desert have raised hopes of finally finding the lost army of Persian King Cambyses II. The 50,000 warriors were said to be buried by a cataclysmic sandstorm in 525 B.C.

Is Obama administration dissing the Iranian opposition?

LAT blog | Nov. 11, 2009

As the United States attempts to grapple with Iran over its nuclear program, some worry that it will sacrifice the Islamic Republic's grass-roots opposition movement.

Karim Sadjadpour is an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. He's regularly hobnobbing with Beltway policymakers and advisors as well as those within the kaleidoscope of think tanks issuing reams of recommendations for them.

He says that opinion in Washington is mixed. Though he himself believes that Iran's opposition movement remains a force to be reckoned with, some disagree.

"There are certainly analysts in Washington, including within some branches of the U.S. government, who believe that Iran's opposition movement is either dead or does not deserve to be taken seriously," he said.

A present from the Ministry of Sepah?

LAT blog
| Nov. 11, 2009

Last week, the Israeli navy intercepted a ship carrying hundreds of tons of rockets and other arms, which it maintained were an Iranian shipment intended to reach Hezbollah via Syria. The three denied it and accused Israel of piracy. For a long time Israel has accused Iran of arming Hezbollah and running guns to the organization through Syria (which also comes up constantly in context of peace talks with Syria). Satisfied with catching at least one end red-handed, Israeli officials briefed dozens of diplomats and military attaches on the operation and displayed the munitions removed from the ship.

One week later, the Israeli army and Ministry of Foreign Affairs published extensive documentation on "Iran's complicity in arms smuggling to terrorists," such as mortar fuses that Israel says are manufactured exclusively by the Iranian armament industry and the ship's manifest showing that the cargo originated in Iran.

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The Ministry of Sepah was disbanded back in the 1990's. Ever since then, the IRGC is officially the subject of the IRI Ministry of Defense.

It is rather curious that these alleged Iranian munitions crates are tagged as such.

Mark Pyruz / November 12, 2009 9:01 PM

Frontline on Neda? What a an interesting (explosive?) subject.

I’m counting days to watch it. I hope the program will be based only on facts not as “Showdown, Iran” which at times portrayed a few “half-truths” as reality.

Regardless, I always watch Frontline enthusiastically. In my view, some of the very old programs were truly outranging, so much ahead of the “time”

humanist / November 12, 2009 9:56 PM

Interesting that the Israeli 'discovery' of Iranian weapons on board the ship was publicized on exactly the same day -- apparently at precisely the same time -- as the Goldstone Report was being put to a vote in the UN General Assembly.

Furthermore, according to the Angry Arab News Service blog, the ship made an unscheduled stop in Mubarak's Egypt (serial accuser of Hezbollah, armer of the Dahlan mafia, and Israel's faithful accomplice in the Gaza blockade), and that the containers were not opened for inspection in the presence of the ship's officers, as is customary for inspections on the high seas.

I think this event can be reliably classified as an Israeli false-flag operation, and a very amateurish one at that.

Given the timing, it is obvious that even the Israelis themselves did not think that it would stand up to scrutiny beyond the 8-hour news cycle of the disingenuous Western media, and the sole purpose of this childish affair was to compete for headlines with the Goldstone Report on a critical news day.

Ali in Tehran / November 13, 2009 6:57 PM

Of course, we know the regime would never in a million years smuggle arms to Hamas and Hezbolah. The one shipment intercepted has to be an Israeli plant.The peace-loving gov't in Iran has no evil designs on Israel. Their hearts simply bleed for their Palestinian brothers(except for the Dahlem mafia, Israels faithful accomplice). Ali ,I can only assume you are being paid to post such absurd untruths.Next you will be saying that Mossedeq himself commisioned the 1953 coup and that Khatami sabotaged his own gov't.

pirooz / November 17, 2009 5:45 AM