Reporters Without Borders: Condemning the imprisonment of two Iranian Internet users in the past 10 days, Reporters Without Borders said Iran was undergoing the Middle East's biggest-ever crackdown on online free expression. Cyber-dissident Mojtaba Lotfi was imprisoned on 5 February after an appeal court confirmed a sentence of three years and 10 months in prison for posting "lies" on the Internet.
Reuters: Survivors of a mosque fire that killed 59 people accused authorities in the Iranian capital Tehran of responding too slowly to save many of the victims.
At least 230 people remained hospitalised on Tuesday, one day after a faulty kerosene heater ignited a massive blaze at Tehran's Arg mosque, which was packed with worshippers for a major Shi'ite Muslim festival. Men, women and children were killed trying to escape.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Feb. 15 The governor of Mahabad (northwest Iranian Kurdistan province) tried to restrain public anger, admitting to serious interruptions in gas, power, and water services, amidst clashes between people and State Security Forces. Seyed Marouf Samadi, speaking to a state-run news agency, ILNA, said "Under normal circumstances gas ...
Washington Times: Isn't it revealing that autocrats and dictators around the globe bother to stage phony elections to claim legitimacy? Remember Saddam Hussein telling Dan Rather in 2002 he had won 99 percent of the vote? Fidel Castro routinely claims to receive overwhelming majorities in his rigged elections. And throughout Africa, various sorts of potentates adopt the title "president" with no true democratic backing. Iran, too, has staged phony elections to bolster the tyrannical regime of the mullahs. But while Iranians have voted overwhelmingly for reform, they have only got more repression.
AFP: Nearly 60 people perished and more than 200 others suffered burns on Monday when a fire swept through a Tehran mosque crammed with worshippers, police said. The blaze broke out as the faithful packed into the Ark mosque near the main bazaar in the capital for prayers just a few days before the major Shiite Muslim religious festival of Ashura, local media reported.
AFP: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi accused Iran's hardline judiciary on Monday of doing all it could to prevent human rights lawyers from defending political prisoners.
At a news conference in Tehran, Ebadi said: "Judge and lawyer are each one wing of the angel of justice, but one of them has been amputed."
Iran Focus: Baghdad, Feb. 14 An agent from Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security was caught carrying dozens of fake passports in the central Iraqi city of Al-Amara.
The Iranian agent was arrest along with a Saudi national who was also in possession of counterfeit passports.
Washington Post: When the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq two years ago, it envisioned a quick handover to handpicked allies in a secular government that would be the antithesis of Iran's theocracy -- potentially even a foil to Tehran's regional ambitions. But, in one of the greatest ironies of the U.S. intervention, Iraqis instead went to the polls and elected a government with a strong religious base -- and very close ties to the Islamic republic next door.
Financial Times: The victory by Shia clerics in Iraq's elections is likely to complicate US efforts to press Iran to dismantle its nuclear programme.
The United Iraqi Alliance is dominated by two political parties formerly based in Iran, and many members of the bloc still have close ties with their Shia neighbour.
Iran Focus: Washington, Feb. 13 In a conference on Thursday, coinciding with the 26th anniversary of the revolution that toppled the Shah, a leading Iran-policy group in Washington discussed U.S. policy options towards the clerical state. The Iran Policy Committee, comprised of former officials from the White House, State Department, Pentagon, ...
Iran Focus: Tehran, Feb. 13 Iran will resume enriching uranium as part of its suspected nuclear weapons program's once ordered to do so by the Majlis (parliament), according to a senior official from Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation (IAEO). Mohammad Saeedi, the IAEO's deputy head of International Affairs and Planning, said that parliament will present a bill to "task Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation with meeting part of the fuel (demand) for the country's atomic plants".
Iran Focus: Tehran, Feb. 13 - Thousands of people flooded the streets of Mahabad (northwest Kurdistan province in Iran) this morning, clashing violently with State Security Forces after days of gas, water, and electricity interruptions. According to local residents, household gas has been cut off in the town for the past four days, electricity has been out for more than 24 hours, and water was repeatedly cut off for several hours at a time over the past day.
AFP: German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer warned on Sunday that Iran would be referred to the UN Security Council if it resumed nuclear enrichment which could be used for weapons. "If Iran behaves in an unreasonable way, if for example it restarts enrichment... then that would lead to the Security Council," Fischer told an international security conference in the German city of Munich.
Washington Post: The Bush administration has been flying surveillance drones over Iran for nearly a year to seek evidence of nuclear weapons programs and detect weaknesses in air defenses, according to three U.S. officials with detailed knowledge of the secret effort. The small, pilotless planes, penetrating Iranian airspace from U.S. military facilities in Iraq, use radar, video, still photography and air filters designed to ...
AFP: Iran on Sunday rejected a European offer aimed at limiting its nuclear fuel activities and warned the United States against "playing with fire" in an increasingly bellicose standoff between Tehran and the international community. Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi insisted Iran would not give up construction of a heavy-water reactor, which can be used to make nuclear weapons material, in exchange for a light-water reactor offered by the Europeans.
Sunday Telegraph: America's spy network in Iran was exposed more than 10 years ago and about 50 of its local agents were executed or jailed in a devastating setback for United States intelligence operations in the Islamic state, former CIA officials have disclosed. The Iranian agents, who included senior military officers, had been relaying information to their handlers at the CIA's office in Frankfurt, using messages written in invisible ink on the back of letters posted from Iran.