The Latest from Iran (5 December): A Regime in Deadlock Drones On

Mana Neyestani comments on the international situation

1100 GMT: The Embassy Attack. The “Occupiers of the Den of the Old Fox”, the group formed in the aftermath of last week’s raid on the British Embassy, has warned police against arrests and threats to Basij students.

The statement comes after Iran Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam said the files of 12 people, briefly detained during the takeover, would be turned over to the judiciary for possible prosecution.

1015 GMT: The Embassy Attack. The Daily Telegraph offers some colourful details about the raid on the British Embassy last Tuesday:

The mob, which was several hundred strong, ripped in two a portrait of Queen Victoria by Sir George Hayter worth more than £20,000, a noted portrait artist who was a favourite of the queen’s. The head was cut out of a portrait of Edward VII, while a painting of the Queen was stolen. Other works in the embassy were Tulips and Iris by Cedric Morris, worth an estimated £20,000 and Gloucester Gate, Regent’s Park by Adrian Berg, one of Britain’s most gifted landscape painters. Both are believed to have been lost.

1005 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist and author Farshid Ghorbanpour has been arrestedafter a raid on his house in Tehran last Thursday.

1000 GMT: Press Watch. More on the ban imposed on the cultural weekly Sokhan Tazeh, which we reported yesterday….

The newspaper, published in Kerman Province in Central Iran, has been imposed by the Ministry of Guidance and Islamic Culture for “provocative topics” and the “indecent” behavior of female journalists.

An official said, “According to the complaint filed at the court, the paper’s editor-in-chief, Batoul Hashemi, is charged with spreading lies and inciting public opinion through publishing topics that promote the practice of corruption. She also published stories that threaten national security.”

In addition, the official said, “The journalists in the paper are known for not abiding by the veil and for wearing too much makeup that exceed that permitted limit.”

0840 GMT: The Embassy Attack. The regime may be scrambling amidst the blowback from last week’s occupation of the British Embassy, but some politicians are still putting out a tough line — MP Fatemeh Alia has asserted that London failed miserably in an attempt to incite other countries in a “diplomatic provocation” against Iran after the “spontaneous and sudden” protest at the Embassy.

0805 GMT: Drone Watch. Danger Room puts the Iranian claims in perspective:

Iran frequently announces it has shot down U.S. surveillance drones, but has not, to our knowledge, produced any evidence of the kills. Even if Tehran did bag itself an American war ‘bot, it might not be [the advanced] RQ-170. The editors at Press TV undermined their credibility by running the story with a photo of an entirely different drone than the Beast of Kandahar. [Note: all Iranian media ran the same stock photograph in their Sunday stories.]

Equally dubious is Iran’s insistence that the RQ-170, if that’s what it is, was forced down largely intact by an Iranian army “electronic-warfare unit.” The implication is that the Iranians somehow jammed the command signal beamed to the drone by remote operators.

0755 GMT: Students Day. Students from universities in 10 Iranian cities, including Tehran, have issued a statement for National Students Day on Wednesday: “In the name of freedom, the blood of martyrs, and detained students — neither prison, torture, nor expulsion from university can stop the student movement.”

Students from Elm-o-Sanat University in Tehran have declared, “We are faithful to our alliance with people and Iran. With patience and perseverance, we search for freedom, independence and progress, and justice for our slain colleagues.”

0754 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. More than 370 academics inside and outside Iran have called for therelease of detained student activists Zia Nabavi and Majid Dorri.

Nabavi and Dorri were detained soon after the 2009 Presidential elections and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Dorri originally received an 11-year term, reduced to six years on appeal.

0739 GMT: The Embassy Attack. Iran’s Foreign Ministry was never happy about Tuesday’s raid on the British Embassy; with the regime pulling back it looks like that its voice might finally be heard.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Sunday, after a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, that Salehi said he “was deeply sorry for what has happened” and vowed “to do everything to prevent such an incident from happening again”.

0730 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Khabar Online posts the full list of the 180 individuals and companiesadded to the European Union’s sanctions list on Thursday. Arshama3’s Blog profiles 52 of them.

0515 GMT: There may be some continued fluttering in the media about the Islamic Republic’s claim on Sunday that it had brought down an American drone on the Afghanistan border with cyber-warfare. The International Security Assessment Force admitted later in the day that it had lost an aircraft, flying out of western Afghanistan, and was still looking for it.

Beyond that, however, you had to make the leap to say that the drone was actually taken down by the Iranians, especially through a computer seizure of its systems. Iranian media said little after the original, co-ordinated story put out by the military; instead, it notes this morning that a lot of Arab and Western press paid attention to the report.

More effective speculation might be that Tehran learned of the lost aircraft and decided to take advantage with the cyber-warfare story, especially in the aftermath of Tuesday’s occupation of the British Embassy. An EA correspondent assesses, “The regime is in deadlock because condemning embassy raid would annoy followers, approving it would be diplomatic catastrophe.”

Indeed, once you got past the surface excitement of the drone tale, the important narrative was one of Iranian officials pulling back from the endorsement of the attack. Some, like Tehran Friday Prayer leader Ahmad Khatami, did public U-turns; others, like Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, muted their earlier cheerleading. And President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continued to say nothing at all.

The drone alert was a convenient but short-lived — that is, if the Iranians do not provide physicial evidence that they have the aircraft, which they claimed was intact — diversion from the regime’s predicament. Their Embassy in Britain shut down, and Tuesday’s ill-considered gamble has only increased the chances of international pressure upon them, as they face a fragile economy.

Veröffentlicht am 5. Dezember 2011 in Empfehlungen, Gesetze, Medien, Meinungen, Politik und mit , , , , , , , getaggt. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink. Kommentare deaktiviert.

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