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Iran 'Not Interested' in Nuke Enrichment if Given Reactor Fuel

26 Sep 2010 02:273 Comments

Press Roundup provides selected excerpts of news and opinion pieces from the Iranian and international media. Click on the link to the story to read it in full. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. The inclusion of various opinions in no way implies their endorsement by Tehran Bureau. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow other news items through our Twitter feed.


'Iran May Halt 20% Enrichment'

Press TV | Sept 25

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Tehran will consider halting uranium enrichment to the level of 20 percent when it is assured the Tehran research reactor has the nuclear fuel supply it needs.

Ahmadinejad made the remarks during a press conference in New York on Friday.

"We were not interested to enrich to 20 percent. They [the US and its allies] politicized the issue. We were forced to do it to support the patients," he said.

But he added, "We will consider halting [20 percent] uranium enrichment whenever nuclear fuel is provided to us."

He went on to say that Iran would still allow UN inspectors to oversee its nuclear activities, but called on them to conduct their inspections within the framework of IAEA rules and regulations.

Ahmadinejad also stated that Tehran is open to talks over its nuclear energy program, adding that an Iranian envoy will meet with representatives from the P5+1 group -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany -- in October for preparatory talks.

"We are ready for talks. The doors are open for talks, within the framework of justice and respect," he added.

See also: "Iran Likely to Stop N. Enrichment If Supplied with Fuel" (Tabnak)


Obama Reaches Out to Iran with Multiple Messages

Washington Post | Sept 24

Nearly two years after President Obama took office, the broad outlines of his Iran policy are clear: accumulate leverage, keep your options open, and prepare for the worst.

The strategy was illustrated Friday when the president took to the airwaves of Iran, granting a lengthy interview to the BBC Persian service in which he balanced sometimes dissonant themes: praise for the Iranian people; a willingness to seek a diplomatic solution to the impasse over the government's nuclear ambitions; condemnation of the Iranian president; and rhetorical support for the opposition movement that seeks to topple the leadership with whom Obama needs to make a deal.

Freed U.S. Hiker Meets with President of Iran

MSNBC | Sept 24

Sarah Shourd, one of three Americans arrested last year while hiking near the Iran-Iraq border, said Friday she met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to advocate for the releases of her fiance, Shane Bauer, and their friend Josh Fattal, who remain jailed.

The 32-year-old hiker, freed 10 days ago after spending more than 13 months in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison, called the meeting "a very positive step in the right direction."

Shourd and her mother met with Ahmadinejad while he was in New York to attend to the United Nations General Assembly.

Ahmadinejad has told the AP that he hopes Bauer and Fattal would be able to provide evidence that "they had no ill intention in crossing the border" so that they can be released. Iran has issued espionage-related indictments against the three of them, which could bring trials for the two men and proceedings in absentia for Shourd, although she says she hasn't ruled out returning to face trial.

Ahmadinejad's Pet Deputy Dares to Show Himself among Iranian Protesters in NY

Planet Iran | Sept 25

This week, thousands of Iranians showed up in New York, from around the U.S. and indeed the world to protest Ahmadinejad's appearance at the General Assembly this week.

As usual however, the international media totally missed this specific story, though Voice of America (VOA) Persian section produced this exceptional report.

[In the accompanying video] you see Iranian activists cornering Ahmadinejad's pet deputy Esfandiar Rahim-Mashei [...] one of the most controversial and reviled characters inside the Iranian regime, [who] dares to show up among Iranian protesters.

The human rights activists question him, demanding explanations regarding the various issues for which the Iranian regime must be held accountable. The following is a translation of that conversation:

The lady in the black shirt says: "Inside Iran all of our most esteemed journalists are being tortured..."

Rahim-Mashaei brazenly responds: "VOA...what does it mean?"

The voiceover then says: "The Voice of America's reporters however were attacked by him."

Then you see him covering the VOA camera lens.

Then the woman in the lavender colored shirt asks him: "What do you have to say for yourself about the case of Sakineh Mohmmadi-Ashtiani? Mr. Ahmadinejad claims that the sentencing was not even passed on her case."

Rahim-Mashei snickering: "It was not at all passed!"

Woman in lavender shirt: "The judiciary passed the sentence! Then what is the judiciary saying that for now, the sentence is voided."

Rahim-Mashei: "Who says? Voided? The case has not even been processed!"

Forced Media Blackout For Prisoner Families

ICHRI | Sept 24

Following the summons of journalist and human rights activist Abdolreza Tajik's sister, an informed source close to the Tajik family told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, "The sister of this prisoner is being forced to stop talking to the media for a while in order to avoid getting arrested herself. She needs to be able to pursue her brother's case."

Parvin Tajik, who is now free on bail, was summoned to investigation Branch 5 of Evin prison on Saturday. The reason for the summons was stated as, "providing some explanations about Reza Tajik's case." But at the interrogation session, Tajik was accused of publishing lies, congregation and collusion and propaganda against the state. She has not accepted any of these accusations. At the end of the session a bail order was issued and she was released.

"Ms. Tajik has been placed under pressure to not speak any more. Apparently these charges were raised against her because she publicized her brother's mistreatment to websites and news agencies. But is it possible for the family of a prisoner to seek justice for their loved one and not to defend him? However, she is forced to remain silent for a few days because Tajik only has his sister to deal with his affairs," said the informed source.

Family of Jailed Iranian Dissident Cleric Appeals to UN Chief

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | Sept 23

The family of dissident Iranian cleric Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi has written to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asking him to address human rights violations in Iran at the 65th session of the UN General Assembly that opens today, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

A supporter of the separation of religion from the state, Boroujerdi was arrested in October 2006 on charges including "enmity with God" and "spreading propaganda against the Islamic republic." He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The letter says that due to physical and mental torture, Boroujerdi has developed a heart condition, kidney disease, and respiratory problems; he has also lost 80 percent of his vision as a result of a torn retina.

"The judicial authorities have not only deprived him of medical treatment but also refused to give us his medical records solely because he still perseveres in his beliefs and continues his activities in prison," his family says in the letter.

Culture Ministry Bans Farhadi Film over His Latest Remarks

Tabnak | Sept 25

Deputy Culture Minister for Cinematic Affairs Javad Shamaqdari has said that Asghar Farhadi's latest remarks forced them to revoke the production license for his film "Separation of Nader and Simin."

"His remarks were not amusing," Mehrnews quoted him as telling the Persian service of ISNA on Saturday.

"He was given a one-week opportunity to retract his remarks, but he refused to do so and consequently, the decision was made about his film," Shamaqdari said.

During the award presentation ceremony at the 14th Iran Cinema Celebration on September 16, Farhadi had criticized Iranian cultural policy for isolating a number of prominent cineastes, including film director Bahram Beizaii and Amir Naderi, and actress Golshifteh Farahani.

Iran's Nuclear Agency Trying to Stop Computer Worm Capable of Seizing Control of Power Plants

AP (via L.A. Times) | Sept 25

Iran's nuclear agency is trying to combat a complex computer worm that has affected industrial sites throughout the country and is capable of taking over power plants, Iranian media reports said.

Experts from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran met this week to discuss how to remove the malicious computer code, or worm, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported Friday.

The computer worm, dubbed Stuxnet, can take over systems that control the inner workings of industrial plants. Experts in Germany discovered the worm in July, and it has since shown up in a number of attacks -- primarily in Iran, Indonesia, India and the U.S.

The ISNA report said the malware had spread throughout Iran, but did not name specific sites affected. Foreign media reports have speculated the worm was aimed at disrupting Iran's first nuclear power plant, which is to go online in October in the southern port city of Bushehr.

See also: "Iran Successfully Battling Cyber Attack" (Tabnak)

Iranian Nuclear Plants Likely Target of Foiled Cyber Sabotage

Guardian | Sept 25

Iran was the likely target of a sophisticated computer worm designed to sabotage factories and infrastructure which was almost certainly the work of a national government agency, security experts told the Guardian yesterday.

According to the security company Symantec, 60% of the computers infected by the Stuxnet computer worm are in Iran, which is where the malicious software, known as malware, was discovered by a Belarussian computer security company.

Stuxnet has been described as one the "most refined pieces of malware ever discovered". What makes it even more unusual is that it is aimed, not at financial gain, but at sabotaging computer-controlled infrastructure including nuclear plants.

There was speculation among experts yesterday [...] that Israeli hackers were behind the sophisticated operation. But security analysts said it may be impossible to identify the perpetrators.

Iran Accuses UN Nuclear Watchdog Chief of Partiality

AFP | Sept 25

Iran's nuclear programme chief Ali Akbar Salehi has accused the head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency of partiality, in an interview in the German weekly Der Spiegel.

"Mr (Yukiya) Amano should be careful to not lose his legitimacy due to his partiality in favour of a certain politics," said Salehi in the edition of Spiegel to appear Monday.

"We will not accept this tone," he said, describing his comments as a "friendly but serious warning" that Iran would not let itself be instrumentalised.

Salehi also speculated over whether the IAEA chief was looking for a pretext against Iran to launch an attack, and reminded that his predecessor, Mohamed ElBaradei, received the Nobel Peace Prize for his "neutral" attitude.

"Does Mr Amano want to associate his name with a war? Does Mr Amano want a catastrophe?" he asked.

Russia Pushing Back on Tougher Sanctions against Iran

Los Angeles Times | Sept 24

Even as the White House praised Russia for declining to sell antiaircraft missiles to Iran in violation of U.N. sanctions, Russian diplomats were quietly recruiting other countries this week to undercut tougher penalties imposed on the Islamic Republic.

Russia supported weak United Nations sanctions approved in June to pressure Iran over its nuclear program. But it has strongly objected to tougher sanctions added individually by the United States, the European Union and four other countries. It fears those sanctions may end up hurting Russian companies that do business in Iran.

It is unclear whether Russia's effort at the U.N. this week to rally major developing countries will bear fruit. But Moscow's pushback sends a troubling signal about the prospects for more rigorous efforts to force Iran to bend. And it raises questions about whether the Obama administration has much to show for its highly publicized effort to "reset" relations with the Kremlin.

'Dragging Out to the Utmost Is Traditional with Iranian Diplomats' -- Russian FM

RT | Sept 25

Iran will challenge the demands of the UN Security Council for as long as possible - despite realizing the need to restart talks over its nuclear programme, says Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

"Even though the Iranians realise very well the need to restart talks over its nuclear programme, they will challenge the demands of the UN Security Council for as long as possible. Iran is an ancient country with centuries of history. Iranian diplomats are very intelligent people. It turns out that Iranian diplomats are liable to be holding very drawn-out talks, haggling to the bitter end and forcing partners to work to their maximum, maybe to be utterly impossible, in order to learn how a partner will be ready to react. Of course, we face further problems in the context of Iran's nuclear dossier. In this aspect, the Iranian partners could be more constructive and could react to the IAEA claims more co-operatively and must comply with all that we agree on," Sergey Lavrov said.

MP Says Downplay of Imam Khomeini's Statement on Majlis Intolerable

Tabnak | Sept 25

Senior lawmaker Shahabeddin Sadr has joined other Majlis deputies in defending the superior role of [the] Majlis as insisted [on] by Imam Khomeini, saying the Majlis will not remain silent toward any move in downplaying [the] statement by Imam Khomeini that [the] "Majlis is above all affairs."

In an interview with Iran newspaper, President Ahmadinejad said earlier this month that certain people cite Imam Khomeini's statement on the importance of the Majlis, but at that time the president was not entirely in charge [and] the prime minister was mostly responsible for running the country.

Ahmadinejad has also claimed that the executive power is the most important branch of government.

"I do not agree with what President Ahmadinejad said on the role of the Majlis and the administration," Mehrnews quoted Majlis Deputy Speaker Sadr as saying.

Ahmadinejad Urges Unity in Lebanon

Press TV | Sept 25

The presidents of Iran and Lebanon urge Lebanese groups to unite in face of Israeli conspiracies, highlighting the importance of security and stability in Lebanon.

"The enemies have no choice but to surrender and back down in the face of Lebanese groups' resistance," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his Lebanese counterpart Michel Suleiman in New York late Friday.

President Ahmadinejad lauded the resistance of Lebanese groups against the Israeli, IRNA reported.

The Iranian president underlined that the Lebanese Army's stiff resistance against Israel has "upset many equations" to the benefit of Lebanese resistance groups and regional nations.

He said Israel seeks to sow discord among Lebanese and Palestinian groups.

The Lebanese groups will indubitably bring about Israel's defeat by remaining united, President Ahmadinejad said.

Deadline for Relocation of Offices outside Tehran Extended

Tabnak | Sept 25

The deadline set for relocation of administrative offices outside Tehran has been extended till the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2011), Vice President Lotfollah Forouzandeh has announced.

The administration hopes to implement the plan by the end of the Iranian year, Forouzandeh told the Mehr News Agency on Saturday.

Last week, Forouzandeh announced that 8,100 employees have been transferred to provincial offices.

According to reports, despite the fact that the administration had announced that by August 22 all executive administrative offices have to relocate at least 40 percent of their personnel outside Tehran, until that date only 1,000 employees had left the capital.

According to the directive ratified by the cabinet 200,000 employees should have left Tehran by the set deadline.

The administration has also banned establishing any new organizations or posts in the metropolis of Tehran.


India's Iran Calculus

Raja Karthikeya (Middle East Channel/Foreign Policy) | Sept 24

Is India an adversary or ally of the West in opposing Iran's nuclear ambitions? As one of the countries that has consistently voted against Iran at the IAEA -- yet has been loathe to abandon business with the country -- India has been viewed with both confusion and consternation in the West. Recent commentary in the international media suggests that India is reluctantly adhering to the sanctions regime against Iran because it needs the attention of the West to fulfill its major power ambitions, and that given a chance, India would trade with Iran without hesitation in a bid to protect its energy interests and to get its support on Afghanistan. These statements are often used synonymously with India's engagement with other pariah states like Myanmar and Sudan. But such commentary oversimplifies India's Iran policy, which cannot be defined in the binary "Are you with us or against us?" terms that have characterized debates on Iran in the West.

India sees Iran as being part of its "proximate neighborhood." When talking about Iran, Indian diplomats often talk about "traditional relations" -- though this is a confusing notion given that the two countries haven't had much agreement in recent history: the Shah's pro-West orientation during the Cold War was anathema to India's non-aligned views on foreign policy; whereas after the Islamic revolution, Iran's votes on the Kashmir issue at the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) were often cited as a stumbling block for closer engagement.

In certain ways, the notion of 'traditional relations' between the two countries is apparent. India has the second largest Shia population in the world after Iran and some Indian Shias have familial relations with Iran (and unlike in places including Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Pakistan, where Iran has played patron to Shia revivalist and militant movements, it has refrained from such meddling in India).

How to Stop Iran

Interview with Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, by Shaun Jacob Halper (Huffington Post) | Sept 24

What is the nature of the Iranian threat?

Some analysts don't like to use the word "threat" until capabilities actually materialize into the form of a weapon that is deliverable. Today Iran does not have a deliverable nuclear weapon, so one might be more accurate to talk about Iranian capabilities, which are quite worrisome.

What are Iran's nuclear capabilities?

There is no doubt that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon's capability, and I think this is beyond reproach except from somebody who is ready to believe anything Iran says. Just based on the economic logic of their program, the military ties, the evidence of nuclear weapons development work, the lying, the hidden nature of it and so forth--everything points to a desire to be able to build nuclear weapons should they make the decision. I don't know that anyone can say that they have made a decision. I don't know that they've decided themselves whether to produce nuclear weapons, but they want to be close enough so that if when they make a decision, they can do it. And that's the threat.

The deliverability part of it is exacerbated by Iran's simultaneous pursuit of ballistic missiles that are capable of carrying a nuclear weapon if Iran can make it small enough. The development of Iran's program points toward being able to deliver a first generation 1 ton sized nuclear weapon at a distance that could easily hit Israel. They do not have a missile that today could deliver a nuclear weapon to Europe--and why would they it wouldn't make any sense. But certainly they would like to have what to their minds would be a deterrent capability vis-à-vis Israel; it would also be potentially useful to them to be able to threaten Gulf states.

What Iran possesses today and what they are developing seems to me clearly to be directed at Israel and other countries in their near neighborhood within 2200km. The Sejil is their most worrisome ballistic missile, it has a reach of 2000+--say 2200-2600km--that puts Israel squarely on the target by means of a missile that is deployed far enough back from Iran's borders that it wouldn't be susceptible to preemption.

Arming the Mideast

Peter Goodspeed (National Post) | Sept 25

While the rest of the world struggles to find a sanctions formula capable of curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions, its neighbours in the Middle East are rushing to arm themselves for a possible war.

This week, as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, staged his annual visit to the United Nations [...] Arab states were putting the final touches to the largest peace-time rearmament program in history, with orders for US$123-billion-worth of weapons.

In the largest order, Saudi Arabia plans to spend US$67.8-billion. The first phase of the Saudi deal -- US$30-billion -- is scheduled to go before the U.S. Congress for approval next month.

That sale will cover 85 new F-15 fighters and upgrades to 70 other planes, as well as 70 Apache helicopters, 72 Black Hawks, 36 Little Bird helicopters, HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) missiles, precision-guided bombs and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.

Riyadh is expected to follow up with a second arms package: US$24-billion to US$27-billion for naval vessels and missile defence systems.

"Concern about a nuclear Iran is at an all-time high," said Michael Knights, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

"The new [Saudi] deal appears to reflect a Saudi perception that it must better equip itself to cope with the potential threat from Iran."


Obama Interview with BBC Persian TV

Complete Transcript of Interview with Bakman Kalbassi (BBC) | Sept 24

If I could just begin with getting your reaction to the remarks Mr Ahmadinejad made yesterday, faulting America for 9/11.

Well, it was offensive. It was hateful. And particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan, just a little north of Ground Zero. Where families lost their loved ones. People of all faiths, all ethnicities who, you know, see this as the seminal tragedy of this generation.

For him to make a statement like that was inexcusable. And it stands in contrast with the response of the Iranian people when 9/11 happened.

When there were candlelit vigils and I think a natural sense of shared humanity and sympathy was expressed within Iran.

And it just shows once again sort of the the difference between how the Iranian leadership and this regime operates and how I think the vast majority of the Iranian people who are respectful and thoughtful think about these issues.

When your first video message that you sent in March 2009, you spoke to the government of Iran and people of Iran. And you talked about how you were committed to diplomacy. And you also said that this process of talking about all the issues on the table will only succeed if there are no threats. And with threats this will not go forward.

Yet, your administration in much of this year, not only threatened Iran with sanctions, but finally enacted sanctions that have been described as crippling. What do you say to those who see this as a departure from that promise of no threats and only diplomacy?

I think we have to be -- we have to look at what we've done this year and it's very consistent.

What I've said consistently is that we are willing to reach out with an open hand to the Iranian government and the Iranian people. Because we believe that there's nothing inevitable that means, that should cause Iran and the United States to be enemies.

There's a history there that is difficult. But it can be bridged with mutual understanding, mutual respect, and we want to see the people of Iran ultimately succeed.

But the government has taken Iran on a path that has led to international condemnation. Now, I think it's very important to understand that the sanctions that arose this year had to do with the fact that alone among signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has not been able to convince the international community that its nuclear program is peaceful.

Background on Obama's BBC Persian Interview

Complete Transcript of Briefing by a Senior Administration Official (Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State) | Sept 24

Let me just start by saying that, as I said yesterday, the President is always interested in ways in which he can speak directly to the people of Iran. That's something, of course, that we did, for instance, early in the administration through a Nowruz message. And this interview was an opportunity for him to do that as well and to continue to underscore to the Iranian people that it is their government that has made a series of choices that has led to significant sanctions and accountability measures.

The Iranian people have the opportunity of a better future. Were their government to make a different series of choices, they could have greater prosperity, greater integration with the international community.

So that's our fundamental case from the beginning of this administration, frankly, and going forward, that there's a choice before the Iranian government. The costs associated with continuing to -- failure to live up to its obligations are growing. And those costs, frankly, have exceeded even what I think the Iranian government thought they would be. And you've seen not just the very real consequences of the sanctions -- including private companies pulling out of Iran, people seeing the cost of doing business in Iran, the international isolation of Iran -- but you've also seen statements from prominent Iranian leaders expressing concern about the sanctions. And that suggests a level of internal debate within the government about whether or not this was handled well on their end.

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In light of the fact that Russia has already promised supplying fuel inc. for medical uses, Iran is presumably now "consider[ing] halting" enrichment. Yup...

Ian / September 26, 2010 4:44 AM

Ian- Don't be so stupid. Would you loan your lawnmower to an undependable neighbour or friend or relative based on a 'promise'. Neither Russia or any of the members of P5 plus 1 group have proved dependable, neutral or reliable when push comes to shove on Iran. They have all been directly or indirectly complicit in Saddam's 8 year war against Iran including the use of chemical weapons, materials for which came from Germany. Most of Saddam's arms came from the USSR and his funding and moral support from the US and its allies. No Iranian should ever forget this and in fact considering what Iran as a nation has been through they have every right to possess a nuclear weapon for its deterrent effect. After all why is the UK so insistent on having an independent nuclear deterrent and wanting to renew it a huge cost to the UK tax payer at a time of straitened circumstances for the majority of its hapless taxpayers to the tune of some £100m. Does the UK not have 'dependable' allies in the US and its other Western friends?? Or is there some doubt that there may come a time that these friendships become straitened??
If Iran has the capability it should go full steam and acquire its own independent nuclear deterrent, this is going to be its only guarantee from future aggression. But my fear is that the powers that be will not allow it to reach there and they already have too much control over its nuclear programme. God save Iran and protect it. Its authorities should however take all defensive measures including building of civilian nuclear bunkers in preparation of any conflict.

rezvan / September 27, 2010 10:32 PM

Sorry this is a little of topic, but


You write "no Iranian should ever forget this".... That Iraq's military was equipped from the U.S.S.R.

The U.S.S.R doesn't exist anymore. Hasn't for 20 years. And never "forget" this? 200 years from now? 500 years from now? Russia is not the U.S.S.R.

The Islamic Republic of Iran owes it's existence to the political philosophy of the U.S.S.R. A political philosophy that is of the past.

muhammad billy bob / September 30, 2010 8:42 PM