Iran Today: Is US Pressing for Regime Change?



While Iranians are preoccupied with the Presidential campaign, including Wednesday’s second debate among the eight candidates, another story — one likely to have impact far beyond the June ballot — has been taking shape.

In the last 10 days, the US Government has expanded sanctions against Tehran on four occasions. Those measures have not only reinforced existing restrictions on the energy and shipping sectors; they have extended into areas far removed from Iran’s nuclear programme. Among the new steps, confirmed by President Obama’s executive orders, are sanctions against the automobile and petrochemical industries.

Even more significant is the ratcheting-up of measures designed to cripple Iran’s financial transactions. One of Obama’s orders this week threatens punishment of any firm trading in Iranian Rials or even holding Rial accounts — the step is no less than an attempt to collapse the currency, which fell 70% last year.

All of this is taking place as Iran’s oil exports continue to fall to historic lows. In April, the Islamic Republic exported only 741,000 barrels per day, a 30% decline from March and less than 1/3 the amount sold in 2011.

Meanwhile, the US, Israel, and European allies are banging the drum loudly over Tehran’s purported nuclear threats. Over the last week, there has been a series of „leaks“ to compliant journalists, recycling old stories as new menaces — notable among these have been stories about Iran’s developing heavy-water reactor at Arak, converted in the articles to a producer of plutonium for a Bomb.

All of this begs the question: is Washington going beyond pressure on Iran to the pursuit of regime change, through the cracking of the economy? If so, does the US have a vision of who and what might succeed the downfall of the current system?

Rezaei Pledges To Expand Iran’s Economy

Independent Presidential candidate and former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaei told supporters in Chahar-Mahal and Bakhtiari on Thursday that if he is elected on June 14, he intends to diversify Iran’s economy so that it is not dependent on oil revenues.

Rezaei said that he would expand the economy into different sectors including travel and tourism.

Aref: The Reform Movement Is About Public Welfare

During a visit to the city of Ilam on Thursday, Reformist Presidential candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref said that the reform movement was about public welfare and that if he is elected President he would create over 700,000 jobs and address Iran’s rampant inflation.

Rouhani: Iran Should Use Soft, Smart Power

Moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani said that Iran should use soft and smart power in response to the changes taking place in the world, including in military power.

Speaking at a televised Q&A event on Thursday, Rouhani said that those who have veto power in the UN Security Council are those who have greater military power — and also nuclear power — and therefore Iran needed to increase its national power to meet its interests. Political slogans, Rouhani said, are not effective in the world of politics.

Rouhani’s Campaign Office: Number Of Candidates A Setback In 2005

Moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani’s campaign office has said that the number of candidates in the 2005 Presidential election had been a setback for the reformist movement.

Rouhani’s campaign has called for consensus among reformists in the election, saying that the number of reformist candidates in the 2005 election had led to failures, Fars News reports.

Political Prisoner Watch

EA’s Scott Lucas brings us human rights news: Omid Abdolwahabi, a journalist with Reform News and former reporter with Mardomsalari, has been arrested last Tuesday.

Presidential Election Watch: Rouhani’s Election Office Talks About Coalition With Aref

The Tehran election office of moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani has said that there could be a possibility of a coalition between Rouhani and reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref in the coming days.

ISNA reported that the coalition was likely to be announced soon.

Presidential Election Watch: Rouhani Talks About Mousavi

Moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani has mentioned detained opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi in two separate tweets.

Presidential Election Watch: Qalibaf Edition

Qalibaf Visits Yasuj

Presidential candidate and Tehran mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf visited Yasuj, the capital of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province in southwestern Iran on Thursday, where he told supporters that, if elected in a „political epic„, he planned to create an „economic epic“ within just two years.

The Tehran mayor, in a bid to increase his appeal outside the capital, said that he would exploit the natural resources and capabilities of Iran’s provinces.

The Young Journalists Club, which published photographs of Qalibaf’s visit, said that local and Lurish music bands, as well as people on horseback turned out to meet and greet him at the airport. Qalibaf talked with residents at the local mosque.

ISNA published its own series of photographs of Qalibaf’s visit, including this one. The poster reads „The presence of Qalibaf is a historic opportunity to manage the this land“.

Qalibaf’s Visit To Yasuj (Credit: ISNA)Presidential Election Watch: Is Rouhani-Aref Coalition On The Cards?

Qalibaf Documentary To Be Broadcast

Hardline Mashregh News reports that Qalibaf’s documentary will be broadcast Thursday night at 20.10 Tehran time. Mashregh provides a clip of the film.

Meanwhile, Abas Aslani, the General Director of Fars News, quotes Qalibaf as criticizing the BBC’s portrayal of him.

As speculation continues as to whether there will be a coalition between moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani and his reformist counterpart Mohammad-Reza Aref, Rouhani tweets this photograph of women supporters in Ilam holding signs reading „coalition“ and photographs of Aref.

Is Press TV Supporting Rouhani And Aref?

On Wednesday, we noted that Press TV has offered substantial — and positive — coverage of moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani and his reformist counterpart, Mohammad-Reza Aref.

Of the five video reports linked on Press TV’s election coverage page this morning, two are aboutRouhani and two about Aref (the remaining video is about Tehran mayor and Presidential candidate Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf)

As Rouhani notes on his Twitter account, Press TV has also offered an English-language subtitled extract of his campaign video:

In the three-minute extract from Rouhani’s campaign video, the moderate candidate says:

I am happy to have moved war, sanctions and the UN Security Council resolutions away from Iran. I pride myself on having succeeded in winning the unanimous confirmation of the IAEA Board of Governors regarding the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities. It would be nice to see centrifuges turning, provided that the wheels of the country also turn.

Presidential Debate Reveals Differences On Women’s Rights

AP’s Ali Akbar Dareini reports on Wednesday’s second televised Presidential debate, noting that it revealed the eight male candidates‘ different stances on issues like women’s rights and personal freedoms.

Dareini notes: Moderates vowed to loosen restrictions and hard-liners backed strong state intervention in people‘ lives.

While moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani said he would form a women’s affairs ministry, his principlist rival Saeed Jalili said that a woman’s place was in the home.

Following the debate, however, Jalili tweeted that his wife was a medical doctor:

Rouhani — whose social media profiles have featured images of female supporters — tweeted the following comments about his views on women’s roles:

Comment Of The Day: Reaction To Presidential Debate

EA’s comment of the day comes from poster Vakil-e-Roaya, who has this to say about Presidential candidate and lead nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili’s contributions to Wednesday’s televised debate on Art and Culture:

The only fruitful thing of the second debate for me was developing a sense of compassion for Catherine Ashton. I now understand what she must have gone through in those excruciating negotiations with her counterpart Saeed Jalili.

Having undertaken live coverage of the entire debate, Scott Lucas and I can only concur with this comment.

Iranian Envoy In Moscow Comments On S-300 Lawsuit

Press TV on Thursday picked up on a Russian news report from Tuesday regarding comments by Tehran’s ambassador on Moscow’s canceled contract to supply the much-coveted S-300 surface-to-air system.

Last July, Tehran filed an arbitration case against Moscow in Geneva seeking a fine of $4 billion for the canceled contract. Iran sought the S-300s to upgrade its antiquated air defense systems, particularly important in the light of threats of air strikes against its nuclear facilities. The system would make those facilities far less vulnerable to attack by Israel or the US.

Interfax reported remarks by Ambassador Mohammad-Reza Sajjadi, who said that Iran may be prepared to cancel the lawsuit if Russia made good on the contract.

„The fulfillment of the contract that was signed, would of course change the behavior of the Iranian side,“ Interfax quoted Sajjadi as saying. The Iranian envoy added that, in Iran’s view, the UN Security Council Resolution 1929 did not constitute a reason for Russia to cancel the contract.

It is likely that the publication of these remarks now, amid the controversy over whether Russia will supply S-300 systems to the Syrian regime, is a signal by both Iran and Russia of strength in the face of Western criticism. Despite Western pressure, Russia has refused to back down from its position regarding the supply of S-300 systems to Assad.

Football Watch: Iran’s National Team Returns Home

Iran’s national football team returns home to Tehran after „sweet“ victory against rival Qatar in the World Cup qualifier.

New Facebook Page Calls For Coalition Between Aref, Rouhani

Facebook page, created on June 2, calls for a coalition between reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref and his moderate counterpart, Hassan Rouhani.

While there have been rumors of a possible alliance floating around the Iranian media, Aref has denied that he will step down in favor of Rouhani. However, there is still time before the vote on June 14 for such a coalition to take place. EA’s Scott Lucas believes this will happen, although I am more cautious.

US Extends Waivers on 9 Countries Over Iran Sanctions

The US State Department has renewed six-month waivers on sanctions for nine countries, including Turkey, China, and India, over oil purchases from Iran.

Since the US stepped up sanctions in 2011, Iran’s oil market has been restricted to four major countries — China, India, Japan, and South Korea — and even those customers have reduced purchases.

In April, Iran’s sales of oil fell to 741,000 barrels per day, a historic low and far below the 2.2 million bpd in 2011, before the extension of US sanctions.


Source: EA World

Veröffentlicht am 7. Juni 2013 in Dokumentation, Empfehlungen, Gesetze, Iran Election 2013, Medien, Meinungen, Politik und mit , , , , , , , , , , , , , , getaggt. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink. Kommentare deaktiviert für Iran Today: Is US Pressing for Regime Change?.

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