Eye on Iran: Americans Convicted in Iran Say They Were Hostages

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Reuters: “Two American men jailed in Iran for more than two years for spying arrived in New York on Sunday, saying they were innocent and had been held hostage simply because of their nationality… Flanked by family members at a news conference in New York, Bauer and Fattal said the case against them was a ‘total sham’ with ‘ridiculous lies that depicted us as being involved in an elaborate American-Israeli conspiracy to undermine Iran.’ ‘The only explanation for our prolonged detention is the 32 years of mutual hostility between America and Iran,’ Bauer said. ‘We were convicted of espionage because we are American. It’s that simple. No evidence was ever presented against us.’ … ‘Sarah, Josh and I have experienced a taste of the Iranian regime’s brutality. We have been held in almost total isolation from the world and everything we love, stripped of our rights and freedom,’ said Bauer, who is engaged to Shourd.” http://t.uani.com/pplXe9

NYPost: “Iran’s wacky leader has to buy his friends. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known for changing his clothes only once a week, offered $1,500 to guests to dine with him at the Warwick hotel Tuesday night, sources said. And he’s done so for years during his annual trips to New York to address the United Nations. ‘He pays you to come,’ said an Iranian woman who was among a group of protesters outside the hotel and declined to be identified. ‘It’s $1,500 to have dinner with him.’ She said her friend, an Iranian artist whose work Ahmadinejad admires, gets invited every year… A second dinner on Thursday drew a crowd of university students and professors — one day after a planned dinner at Columbia got scrapped. Among them was Russian-born Albert Bininachvili, a visiting political-science professor at Columbia who served as a captain in the Soviet war in Afghanistan and worked in the Soviet Embassy in Tehran during the hostage crisis of 1979. He and other guests walked away with silver goodie bags filled with handmade plates and religious books.” http://t.uani.com/qjbYOH

AP: “Iran’s star-crossed nuclear and energy programs have suffered a rash of setbacks, mishaps and catastrophes in the past two years. Assassins killed three scientists with links to Iran’s nuclear programs. The Stuxnet computer worm that infected computers worldwide zeroed in on a single target in Iran, devices that can make weapons-usable uranium. Dozens of unexplained explosions hit the country’s gas pipelines. Iran’s first nuclear power plant suffered major equipment failures as technicians struggle to bring it online. Has Iran just been unlucky? Probably not… Yet there is little doubt that the Obama administration is pursuing a program of high-tech sabotage to disrupt Tehran’s suspected weapons-related nuclear efforts.” http://t.uani.com/ocWgnv

Nuclear Program & Sanctions

AFP: “Influential conservative MPs and media slammed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday for repeatedly talking about resuming ties with the United States during his visit to the UN General Assembly. ‘Expressing an interest in resumption of ties with America and saying in an interview that lack of such relations is a loss for both nations is not appropriate,’ ultra-Conservative MP Ali Motahari was quoted as saying by the conservative Khabaronline.ir website. ‘We believe that the lack of a relationship is to the disadvantage of both countries and it is necessary that the US officials change their attitude a little to solve problems,’ the presidency website quoted Ahmadinejad as saying in one of the many interviews he gave in New York. Ahmad Tavakoli, another influential conservative parliamentarian, said: ‘The approach of some is contrary to the interests of the country,’ according to media reports.”http://t.uani.com/pESo1e

AFP: “Iran is in talks with Russia to build a second nuclear plant in the Islamic Republic, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday. ‘There are conversations now ongoing with the Russians to provide this,’ he told reporters at a press conference, though characterizing the discussions as ‘very general.’ … Russia picked up the construction of Iran’s first nuclear power plant from Germany in the 1990s and the unit was hooked up to the power grid system for the first time this month.”http://t.uani.com/oPoeuz

JPost: “Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on Iran to take a first step and ‘freez[e] the production of centrifuges,’ saying that such a step would prevent fresh sanctions against it. If Iran makes that first step, Lavrov said in a CNN interview Sunday, Russia won’t ‘adopt new sanctions, neither in the Security Council nor unilaterally.’ Saying that the only way to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue is through negotiations, he added, ‘I believe that if Iran gets a very clear message [that this] is not about regime change but about non-proliferation issues, I believe we have a chance to start these serious discussions.’” http://t.uani.com/oczOT2

Human Rights

NYT: “The two American hikers who were held in Iran on espionage charges say they kept their days strictly regimented, running laps, weight-lifting water bottles, discussing literature and quizzing each other, in an effort to stay physically and mentally fit while in captivity. They spent 781 days that way in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. On Sunday, the hikers, Shane M. Bauer and Joshua F. Fattal, arrived in New York City after a long diplomatic battle to secure their release that further challenged the fraught relationship between the United States and Iran. A third hiker arrested with them, Sarah E. Shourd, was freed last September. ‘Sarah, Josh and I can now finally leave prison behind us,’ Mr. Bauer, 29, said at a news conference in Manhattan. ‘We want more than anything to begin our lives anew, with a new appreciation for the sweet taste of freedom.’”http://t.uani.com/pyJimB

AP: “Iranian authorities have summoned an unspecified number of people for questioning over their alleged links to BBC’s Farsi-language service, the country’s intelligence chief said Sunday. The summons followed the arrest this month in Iran of six independent filmmakers for allegedly providing the British Broadcasting Corp. with video and news reports perceived as damaging to Iran. The BBC said its Farsi channel had bought rights to the filmmakers’ films in the past but had not commissioned their work. Neither Iran nor the BBC have identified the filmmakers by name.” http://t.uani.com/r1qV5i

Foreign Affairs

Bloomberg: “Annual trade between Iran and China will be worth $45 billion when the current Iranian calendar year ends on March 19, the state-run Press TV news channel said, citing Iran’s ambassador to China, Mehdi Safari.  The Iran-China trade was worth $30 billion in the last Iranian year, Safari was quoted as saying yesterday.  Trade between the two countries rose 52 percent after the U.S. and the United Nations imposed additional sanctions in June 2010 with a goal of pressuring Iran to end its nuclear program, which the U.S. and its allies accuse of being a cover for developing atomic weapons.” http://t.uani.com/puwzXv

AFP: “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is due to arrive in Khartoum late on Sunday for a brief visit aimed at bolstering political and economic ties between the allied Islamic nations. ‘The visit will strengthen the excellent relations between the two countries, and joint cooperation particularly in the economic and development sector,’ Iran’s ambassador in Khartoum Jawad Torkabadi told Sudan Radio. Ahmadinejad heads a delegation of government officials that include Iran’s ministers of energy and higher education, as well as a number of economic advisors, he added.”http://t.uani.com/pbnK7V

Bloomberg: “Iran stopped exporting natural gas to Turkey after Bootash Natural Gas Co. requested a halt in supply, the Iranian Oil Ministry news website reported, citing the head of public relations for the National Iranian Gas Co. Gas exports from the Bazargan facilities was cut off at 11 p.m on Sep. 22, Majid Bojarzadeh said, according to the website, Shana. Turkey’s Bootash Natural Gas said it wanted to examined the pipeline and repair ‘probable defects’ in the export link, the report cited him as saying.”http://t.uani.com/qBs9sc

Bloomberg: “Venezuela will work with Iranian companies to mine for minerals in the southeastern part of the South American country, Mining Minister Jose Khan said. Studies carried out by Iranian companies have found a deposit of gold, Khan said today in a statement. Iran in 2009 agreed to help Venezuela find deposits of minerals including uranium, gold and coltan. The U.S. in May announced sanctions against state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA for supporting Iran’s energy industry by delivering cargoes of gasoline additive to Iran this year.” http://t.uani.com/qL4vCf

Opinion & Analysis

Parisa Hafezi in Reuters: “Iran’s reformist opposition has watched with admiration as revolutions have toppled three Arab leaders, but despite divisions in the ruling elite it looks incapable for now of taking its protest movement back out onto the streets. Mass protests against the 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad marked the worst unrest since the Islamic Revolution three decades earlier, but were quelled with lethal force by the state’s security apparatus, headed by the elite Revolutionary Guards. While Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly endorsed the election result, splits emerged in the ruling establishment as some, including lawmakers, criticised the government for mishandling the protests and using force to silence the ‘Green’ opposition. Attempts to revive street protests have fizzled. The opposition, which says its fight for a freer Iran will continue, is following the Arab uprisings with a mixture of envy and regret for its own failure, analysts and moderate former officials say. ‘The opposition is leaderless and lacks any strategy. The opposition leaders are under house arrest. Dozens of prominent reformists are jailed. Their supporters have no choice but to wait and see,’ said a close ally of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, who asked not to be named. Mousavi, a former prime minister, and Mehdi Karoubi, a cleric and a former parliament speaker who also stood against Ahmadinejad, have been placed under house arrest since February and denied any contact with the outside world. The authorities, who deny the election was rigged, have jailed many senior pro-reform politicians, closed a dozen reformist publications and banned at least two moderate parties since the vote. The government is permitting less and less political dissent by banning media coverage of the opposition, according to journalists working for local newspapers. The opposition continues to communicate over the Internet despite a web-filtering system designed by the authorities to curb its online activity. The main question is whether the lack of anti-government protests shows the pro-democracy movement is a spent force, or whether it can remain alive despite the fierce state crackdown.”http://t.uani.com/oxvBro

S. Rob Sohani in WT: “When the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 planted a celebratory kiss on the lips of Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the act sealed the destiny of three peoples: Jews, Iranians and Palestinians. For Iran’s Jewish community, it meant the beginning of executions and the escape of thousands of Iranian Jews from their homeland. For Israel, it meant the start of a campaign of terror by the new clerical regime in Tehran, both directly and through its proxies such as Hezbollah and, later, Hamas. The irony is that Iran’s secular rulers – from Cyrus the Great, who freed the Jews from their Babylonian captivity, to the late Shah of Iran, who believed firmly in a strategic relationship with the Jewish state – have always held a special regard for Jews and the nation of Israel. Sadly for the state of Israel, Khomeini’s kiss turned out to be a kiss of death, literally, creating a campaign of terror against Jews inside and outside of Israel. For the Iranian people, the kiss between an avowed terrorist and an anti-modern cleric sealed the fate of a nation whose history goes back 2,500 years. First, Khomeini used Arafat’s thugs and terrorists to execute every remnant of the shah’s regime, including its once-powerful army, weakening Iranian defenses to such a degree that in September 1980, Saddam Hussein boldly attacked Iran. Over the past 32 years, the people of Iran have been hostages to a clerical regime that pays more attention, both financially and otherwise, to the Palestinian cause than to its own talented and creative people. According to a recent article in the Harvard International Review, if the anti-Western, anti-Israel revolution had not happened in Iran, this energy-rich country would be the world’s fifth-largest economy and a member of the Group of Seven. The Palestinian people were also victims of the kiss between Arafat and Khomeini. For the past 32 years, Palestinians have hitched their quest for statehood to a terrorist, Arafat, and then to his successors, who hijacked any legitimacy the Palestinian cause might have had. The alliance between the regime in Tehran and the PLO decoupled any and all moral authority for Palestinian leaders in their long quest for a state. It is notable that throughout the Arab world, Palestinians occupy positions worthy of any advanced nation. They serve as doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers and scientists in their host countries. What a pity that this creative people has been robbed of its right to a homeland, not by Israeli occupation, but by its own leaders’ mistakes, corruption and lack of vision. The solution to a Palestinian state – one that has been supported by American Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama – must begin with decoupling Iran’s theocratic regime from its proxies in Palestinian territories.”http://t.uani.com/qVIEF8

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Veröffentlicht am 26. September 2011 in Empfehlungen, Gesetze, Interview, Medien, Meinungen, Politik und mit , , , , , , , , , , getaggt. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink. Kommentare deaktiviert.

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