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Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the United States has vacillated between engagement and confrontation with the Islamic Republic, with sanctions filling the gap. As Iran has moved closer to achieving its nuclear ambitions in recent years, tensions are rising once again. The latest round of U.S. sanctions, signed into law in 2010, has hurt the Iranian government by restricting finance for oil refineries and discouraging foreign companies from conducting business with it.
[ Note for TomDispatch Readers: Check out Anis Shivani’s interview with me , focusing on themes from my book The United States of Fear , just up at Guernica magazine (a great online read by the way). And remember, if you are an Amazon.com customer, arrive there via a TomDispatch book link, and buy anything whatsoever, book or otherwise, we get a modest cut of your purchase at no extra cost to you. It’s an easy -- and appreciated -- way to contribute to this site. Tom ] Negotiators for Iran, the U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia, and Germany are to meet in Turkey this Friday, face to face, for the first time in more than a year.
Washington, DC - In January 2009, just before Gary Samore left his position as Vice-President for Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, he summed up his rather cynical view of how Iran would conduct negotiations. "The logical position the Iranians are bound to take," he wrote in a post on the Council's website, "is: 'We're happy to talk forever, as long as we can keep building centrifuges.'" A few days later, Samore was named President Barack Obama's top adviser on nuclear proliferation, making him one of the most influential figures in the administration with regards to diplomacy toward Iran.
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space Comments View/Create comment on this paragraph MADRID – The latest round of negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program between Iran and the so-called “5+1” group (the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members – the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China – plus Germany) has now begun. Following more than a year of deadlock, after negotiations in January 2011 led nowhere, this dialogue is for many the last chance to find a peaceful solution to a nearly decade-long conflict (in which I participated closely from 2006 to 2009 as the West’s main negotiator with Iran).
Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee’s spoke with Al-Monitor correspondents Barbara Slavin and Laura Rozen on July 10 2012. Read excerpts from the wide-ranging conversation. On the request of the P5+1 for Iran to take ‘the first step’ toward resolving the nuclear dispute: The first step is the issuing of the fatwa by the leader of Iran [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei]… That’s a very important announcement… In response, we would like to hear from the other side that they recognize the right of Iran for peaceful nuclear activity according to the NPT. On the request of the P5+1 for a ‘concrete’ step on the issue of 20% enrichment: The issue of the 20% enrichment is the first proposal of the 5+1 and the third proposal of Iran.
(New York) – Iranian authorities should immediately suspend all use of the death penalty after reports that two death sentences for drinking alcohol issued by a lower court had been upheld. Iran should abolish the death sentence completely for crimes that are not considered serious and exceptional under treaties that bind it, and provide further public information regarding the case against these individuals. On June 25, 2012, the official Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported that the prosecutor general of Khorasan Razavi province, Hojjatoleslam Hasan Shariati, had confirmed that the Supreme Court had affirmed death sentences issued by a lower court against two people convicted of drinking alcohol.
The story of how an Iranian businessman helped his country develop the world's largest natural gas field, got involved with the president's depraved son, and ended up fighting for his life. A guard stands watch in Tehran's Evin Prison / Reuters Older Iranian homes usually have traditional squat toilets, porcelain holes in the ground with overhead flush tanks.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meant to kick off his annual visit to the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York with the grand gesture of releasing two U.S. hikers held captive for over a year. Instead, he was humiliated in public by Iran's powerful judiciary, which stated on Wednesday that the president could not fulfill that promise. Nothing could more clearly symbolize Ahmadinejad's fading fortunes. Gone is the self-confident rhetorician of revolutionary outrage and nationalist fervor. In his place stands a broken man. The hikers' episode is only one more piece of evidence that the last eight months have proven to be the beginning to the end of the president's political career.
Are Ahmadinejad’s tax reforms putting him on a collision course with clerics? In Iran, as in Greece, dodging tax is a national sport. As Ahmadinejad seeks to revamp Iran’s tax systems, Iran’s clerical class face a dilemma: should they support Ahmadinejad’s reforms and prioritise the government’s interests, or do they protect their own support base and prioritise their financial (and political) independence? President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has presented the clerical establishment with a taxing dillema
Iran’s Elections: An elite split down the middle? Tomorrow’s elections in Iran will be seen as another round in the struggle between Ahmedinejad and Khamenei. Ayatollah Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad will have much at stake in tomorrow's elections
The 2nd of March marked Iran’s first nationwide elections since the widely disputed presidential race in June 2009 and its turbulent aftermath. They also hastened the decline of a “president” who owed his second term in office to a “miraculous hand,” a “hand” that, on 2 March, sought to curb Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s influence over the country’s affairs. The embattled head of the executive of branch, whose protégés have dominated Iranian politics for the past seven years, is slowly but surely coming to terms with the realities of Iran’s power structure, namely the will of the Supreme Leader ‘Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards. Prior to the election, and for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, a near unanimous consensus had been reached within the opposition forces in the country to boycott the vote.
[Read Part On e here .] "Epic" Turnout After the 2 March polls closed, Khamenei said that the turnout had been “one of the highest” throughout the history of the Islamic Revolution.
Official figures show a high turn-out for Iranian legislative elections, but opposition voices claim the numbers are much lower than stated. The failure of prominent clerics to vote suggests the controversial elections have not silenced critics of the government. An Iranian woman votes at Hosseinieh Jamaran polling station for the 9th parliamentary elections in Tehran, Iran, on March 2, 2012. (© Mohammad Mehdi Moazzen - IRNA)
“Y ou are not a wise man, you tyrant,” raps the Iranian female singer Bahar. “Why do your clothes smell like blood? . . . Why do you crush this cry for justice? The people don’t deserve such disdain.”
You wouldn't know it from following the news, but the nuclear impasse is not the only issue dividing Iran and the United States. In his latest message to the Iranian people on the occasion of their festival Nowruz in March, U.S. President Barack Obama emphasized another: human rights. After describing at length how "the Iranian people are denied the basic freedom to access the information that they want," he announced measures to penetrate "the electronic curtain that is cutting the Iranian people off from the world." It's difficult, by contrast, to find any mention of Iran's human rights record in the many background briefings and on-the-record comments by officials of the P5+1 - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States -- ahead of Saturday's negotiations with Iran in Istanbul.