Reporters Without Borders: Reporters Without Borders expressed outrage after journalist and weblogger Arash Sigarchi was sentenced to 14 years in prison on 22 February by a revolutionary tribunal in Gilan, northern Iran.
The worldwide press freedom organisation called on President Mohammad Khatami to intervene on behalf of 28-year-old Sigarchi, who has been in custody since his arrest on 17 January.
AP: President Bush and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder agreed Wednesday to turn down the volume on arguments about Iraq and Iran, demanding in unison that Tehran abandon its nuclear ambitions. Nearing the end of a five-day reconciliation visit to Europe, Bush also prepared for a showdown Thursday with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Bratislava, the snow-covered capital of Slovakia.
Iran Focus: Brussels, Feb. 23 As U.S. President George W. Bush made his first tour of Europe after winning his second term in office, dozens of European parliamentarians called on Europe and the United States to develop a unified strategy to stop the Islamic Republic in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Los Angeles Times: Two years ago, as the U.S. planned to march into Baghdad, many in the Bush administration had a vision for Iraq's first freely elected government in decades. It would be a pro-U.S. regime that would support American military bases, embrace U.S. businesses and serve as a model for democracy in the region. Now as Ibrahim Jafari seems certain to become Iraq's new prime minister, the U.S. faces the prospect of dealing with a government whose views may be closer to Tehran's than to Washington's. And U.S. officials are left wondering how many of their assumptions will prove true.
Reuters: Tired and cold survivors of a powerful earthquake in southeastern Iran begged authorities for food and shelter on Wednesday, complaining aid was slow to reach the worst-hit mountain villages. Iran has so far declined offers of foreign assistance to deal with the aftermath of Tuesday's tremor which had a magnitude of 6.4 and killed at least 420 people.
Reuters: An Iranian journalist has been jailed for 14 years on charges ranging from espionage to insulting the country's leaders in an unusually heavy sentence in Iran, where tens of journalists have been tried in recent years. Rights activists said on Tuesday that Arash Sigarchi, 28, was convicted by the Revolutionary Court in the Caspian province of Gilan in northern Iran.
Reuters: French President Jacques Chirac said Tuesday he had urged President Bush to help European negotiations to curb Iran's nuclear program by offering incentives on trade and aviation. "It seems to me legitimate to make a gesture in the area of Iran's bid for WTO membership and wish to buy civil aircraft engines," Chirac told a news conference after talks with Bush on Monday night.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Feb. 22 More than 50 percent of Iran's street-children return to living on the streets after attending rehabilitation centres, according to the head of the Office for Victim Support in the Ministry of Social Affairs. Dr. Seyyed Hadi Motamadi said, "A considerable number of such children, are secretly rented from their parents, at hardly any cost, to work illegally in the black-market despite it being illegal, and they earn inadequate salaries.
USA TODAY: Buried under brown mounds that blend perfectly into the craggy desert landscape, Iran's largest known nuclear facility is recognizable from the road only because it is surrounded by watchtowers and anti-aircraft batteries. Its existence was revealed to outsiders three years ago by an Iranian opposition group. The Natanz facility, about 160 miles south of Tehran, is big enough to hold 50,000 centrifuges and could produce enough uranium for 25 10-kiloton nuclear ...
Reuters: A strong earthquake has hit southeast Iran, killing almost 400 people, injuring hundreds and destroying villages, a local official has told Reuters. Tuesday's quake, which measured 6.4 on the Richter scale, was centred on the town of Zarand in Kerman province, about 700 km (440 miles) southeast of Tehran.
AFP: At least 126 people were killed and hundreds more injured when a powerful earthquake hit southeastern Iran early Tuesday, officials said, amid fears that the toll could rise sharply. The quake, which struck 14 months after the Bam disaster, was reported to have devastated several villages, and at least one other settlement could not be reached because of blocked roads.
Bloomberg: DaimlerChrysler AG, the world's largest truckmaker, is being investigated by German authorities after a Saudi affiliate delivered 270 Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles worth $22 million to Iran without government approval.
Reuters: President Bush insisted on Monday that Iran cut off support for terrorism and disavow nuclear weapons -- and stressed that no response could ever be ruled out. "In safeguarding the security of free nations no option can be taken permanently off the table," Bush said in a speech on his first trip to Europe since his re-inauguration last month.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Feb. 21 Heavy clashes between Iranian Kurds and security agents erupted on Friday in three towns in western Iran, leaving dozens injured and hundreds arrested. Clashes broke out after State Security Forces agents used force to disperse demonstrations taking place simultaneously in the towns of Sardasht, Saqqez, and Baneh in protest against severe fuel shortages in the area, eye-witnesses reported.
AFP: Iran has rejected an EU call for Tehran draw up a compromise formula on uranium enrichment, saying it will not "sell out" its nuclear capabilities, a top negotiators said on Monday. "The Europeans want to get from Iran a total halt to enrichment, but in the face of our strong opposition they insisted in the negotiations that Iran propose an alternative which also covers enrichment," Sirus Nasseri told the state news agency IRNA.
Reuters: Iran has reiterated that it will not bow to U.S. and European demands that it abandon uranium enrichment, stressing that its nuclear capability is "not for sale". Tehran stood defiant on the nuclear issue as U.S. President George W. Bush started a European tour which will include discussions on Iran and other foreign policy issues.
BBC: Iran is becoming an increasingly dangerous place to keep an online diary. Web logs have become a popular forum for dissent. And the Iranian government has responded by arresting dozens of bloggers. Some of those detained are reportedly being held in solitary confinement and tortured.