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The Hikers in Iran: One Year Later

29 Jul 2010 19:201 Comment


NYT | July 29, 2010

This Saturday will mark the one year anniversary of the detainment and imprisonment of three young Americans in Iran. On July 31, 2009, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal were hiking in the Zagros Mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan.

The area, known for its murky, poorly marked borders with Iran, is also home to Ahmed Awa, a known tourist destination where a dramatic waterfall sits scarily close to said border. At some point that afternoon, the hikers, who had reached Ahmed Awa, either crossed over into Iran (probably by mistake) or, as a recent investigation by The Nation proposed, were seized by Iranian authorities who may have trespassed into Iraq.

The circumstances surrounding the hikers' arrest remain mysterious. But one thing is very clear: Their yearlong detention in Evin Prison--with no trial date scheduled, no contact with their lawyer, and perhaps most egregious of all, no end in sight for Sarah's solitary confinement--is rife with human rights violations.

Karroubi responds to Hardline cleric

EA | Saham News | July 29, 2010

Mehdi Karroubi has offered a response to Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council (see separate entry): "If I am an intriguer, then you are in league with those who stole the people's votes....What you called sedition was an election which was as usual engineered by you and think tanks led by you or others like you at the Ministry of Interior and Guardian Council."

Cycling team faces punishment for popping champagne

Kodoom | photos | July 29, 2010

Hossein Askari, a professional Iranian racing cyclist for the Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team won this year's championship of the "Tour of Qinghai Lake" in China. He was followed by a Croatian and an American. But according to Ali Zangiabadi, director of the Iranian Cycling Federation, Asgkri faces disciplinary action in Iran for popping open a champagne bottle, which is an aberration of Islamic norms in Iran.

US officials to press China on Iran sanctions

AFP | July 29, 2010

Top US officials announced Thursday they were heading to China in late August to press Beijing to "step up" and fully implement sanctions against Iran over its suspect nuclear program.

"China is of concern to us in this regard," Robert Einhorn, the US State Department's special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Einhorn said he and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Daniel Glaser would visit China at the "end of August" as part of a push to "raise this at the highest levels."

Iran Is in Talks to Get Gasoline From Russian State Companies Next Month

Bloomberg | July 29, 2010

Three Russian state-controlled oil companies, including OAO Rosneft and OAO Gazprom Neft, may begin delivering gasoline to Iran in a month, said the head of the Iran Commission of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Talks are being held on a "working level" and the first delivery may take place in late August or September, Rajab Safarov said in an interview in Moscow today.

"We're talking about serious deliveries," Safarov said. "Obviously U.S. and European Union sanctions open up a niche."

Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mir-Kazemi traveled to Moscow earlier this month to sign a "road map" on Russian energy cooperation for the next 30 years. While the Kremlin in June supported United Nations sanctions over Iran's nuclear program, Russia criticized additional measures adopted by the U.S. and EU targeting the Iranian energy industry.

ETS Resumes TOEFL and GRE Registrations in Iran

ETS | July 29, 2010

Educational Testing Service (ETS) has announced it is resuming registrations in Iran for its TOEFL® and GRE® tests. The brief suspension was the indirect result of tighter U.N. Security Council restrictions on financial transactions involving Iran, which resulted in ETS's banking arrangements being discontinued. Students wishing to take the tests may register through Iran's National Organization of Educational Testing, or with credit/debit cards issued by banks that are not prohibited under U.N. or U.S. sanctions. ETS has permission from the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury to conduct its testing business in Iran.

Dangerous levels of nitrate in Tehran's drinking water reported

LAT | July 29, 2010

Amid reports that water in parts of Tehran may be tainted with high levels of toxic nitrate, the Ministry of Power has handed out free bottles of water to an underprivileged suburb south of the city.

Parliamentarian Hasan Ta'mini, a member of the Health and Medicare Commission, reported that authorities had hoped to address the water crisis within a week, though no solution has yet been announced.

Water consumption soars as the summer heat rises in densely populated Tehran. For neighborhoods and families struggling with overpopulation, endemic poverty and air pollution in the south, the heat, and dehydration, can be oppressive.

The Water and Sewage Waste Organization, an agency of the Ministry of Power, recently dug new wells to expand the water supply. Though most of the drinking water for Tehran typically flowed from the reservoirs of Karaj Amirkabir Dam, one hour west of Tehran, 30% of the water is now coming from these wells.

Iran: Plants to Use Benzene to Increase Gas Production

| July 29, 2010

Trying to offset the effect of sanctions on the country's nuclear program, Iran said Wednesday that it would increase domestic gasoline production by converting two petrochemical plants so they could produce gasoline by processing benzene. Iran is the world's fifth-largest exporter of crude oil, but a lack of refining capacity forces it to import about 30 percent of its gasoline. The plan to increase production was announced by the oil minister, Masoud Mirkazemi, who predicted that Iran would become a net exporter of gasoline by 2015.


Open Secrets

TNY | August 2, 2010

These are hard times for newspapers, and not just the Times. America's other iconic daily of the past half-century, the Washington Post, has been doing a long, slow fade, speeded up lately by the Great Recession. The Post's weekday circulation is barely two-thirds what it was in the nineteen-nineties. During the most recently measured six-month period alone, sales of the weekday paper plummeted thirteen per cent. Repeated buyouts have decimated the staff. Last year, the Post closed its remaining domestic bureaus, in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Its stock price today is less than half what it was in 2004. Kaplan, the for-profit education outfit the Post acquired in 1984, now provides some sixty per cent of its income. A glum, decade-old newsroom wisecrack--that the Post is a test-prep tutoring service that puts out a newspaper as a hobby--got glummer in 2007, when the Washington Post Company officially declared itself an "education and media company," no joke.

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1 Comment

why so late? Why these three hikers lack the glamour of Roxana Saberi, the international concern of Maziar Bahari or the patriotic importance of the British sailors. What is the story behind the three American ‘hikers’ now languishing in Evin prison. the following link explains:


irandispatch / July 31, 2010 9:07 PM