Iran Focus: Death sentences have been issued for three boys by the names of Ali M., Morteza F. and Milad B. who are presently in the Center for Reform and Education (Juvenile Prison). While all three of them were under 18 when they allegedly committed their crimes, their death sentences are going to be carried out soon as they turn 18.
Reuters: Thousands of Iranians are expected to volunteer to act as human shields in case of a military attack on one of the country's key nuclear facilities, the group organising the effort said on Wednesday.
The volunteers would protect a nuclear reactor under construction with Russian help in the southern port city of Bushehr, said the Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign.
Wall Street Journal: As thankful as we are that Moqtada al-Sadr's rebellion did not end in a bloody and destructive battle for the Imam Ali Grand Mosque in Najaf, our gratitude is tempered by the realization that this rebellion was not an isolated event. Like al-Sadr himself, the Najaf standoff was created by Iran and was only part of Iran's latest effort to destabilize Iraq and achieve strategic dominance in the Middle East and Central Asia.
AFP: Iran confirmed it was in talks with the European Union on offering new concessions over its nuclear programme, but warned the bloc of a "response" if the Europeans and the UN's atomic watchdog again took a tough line against the Islamic republic.
"If the Europeans do not respect their commitments or present an illogical or harsh resolution, Iran has already decided its response,"...
Reuters: Iran's chief nuclear negotiator acknowledged on Wednesday that Tehran was in talks to renew its freeze of some sensitive nuclear activities.
Diplomats told Reuters in Vienna on Tuesday that Iran had agreed in principle to halt production, testing and assembly of uranium enrichment centrifuges. Washington says Iran plans to use the centrifuges to make bomb-grade material.
AFP: Citing little progress in ongoing talks on Iran's nuclear program, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday the United States wants to see the UN Security Council take up the issue.
"We believe that we have seen enough, that action is warranted, and the (International Atomic Energy Agency) should refer the matter to the Security Council at its upcoming meeting next week," he said.
The IAEA is scheduled to meet Monday to review Iran's nuclear program.
THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld charged yesterday that Iran is fueling the deadly insurgency in Iraq with money and fighters.
But, in an interview with editors and reporters of The Washington Times, Mr. Rumsfeld acknowledged that the United States has limited options because other nations are "not willing" to join in pressuring Iran, which has shown behavior that Mr. Rumsfeld said is "not part of the civilized world."
Washington Post: A series of secret weekend meetings in Vienna between Iranian and European diplomats led to a promise from Tehran yesterday to suspend some nuclear activities in exchange for improved trade with Britain, France and Germany, according to U.S and European diplomats.
Reuters: A U.S. official reacted skeptically Tuesday to reports of another Iranian agreement to halt sensitive nuclear activities, saying "they didn't adhere to the last one."
Diplomats in Vienna reported Tehran had agreed in principle to freeze production, testing and assembly of centrifuges in an apparent move to ease pressure ahead of a U.N. watchdog meeting next week.
AP: SAGHAND, Iran - Iran's campaign to develop nuclear fuel starts deep under this barren patch of desert, in a mine that engineers expect to start yielding uranium ore in less than two years.
Elsewhere in central Iran, the ore will be processed into yellowcake powder and then into uranium hexaflouride gas, and the gas injected into centrifuges to be enriched into fuel.
AFP: A number-crunching Iranian sports official claimed Iran did in fact beat its arch-enemy the United States at the Athens Olympics, even if the Americans won 103 medals compared to the Islamic republic's six.
AFP: IRAN said today it was ready to show off a test of its improved Shahab-3 medium range missile, which is capable of hitting Israel, to "observers" in order to prove it is a success.
"The ministry is ready to organise a new test of the Shahab-3 missile in the presence of observers," Defence Minister Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani said in a statement carried by the official news agency IRNA.
Bloomberg: Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Europe's second-largest oil company by market value, bid last month to develop new oil fields in Iran as its existing development contracts run out, a Shell spokesman said.
The Iranian National Oil Co., the second-largest state-owned oil company in the Middle East, said last week it was reviewing bids by foreign companies to explore and develop 16 potential oil fields.
AFP: Around 200 members of Iran's hardline Basij militia staged a fresh rally outside the French embassy in Tehran Tuesday in protest at a ban on Muslim girls wearing the headscarf in French state schools.
"France is a prison for women", "France's decision is against human rights," and "French law is a disgrace," were among the slogans heard being chanted by the crowd, brough to the dowtown diplomatic compound in buses.
Iran Focus: Irans Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the Islamic Propaganda Agency have been waging an extensive campaign in recent days to undermine the position of senior Iraqi Shiite clerics who have been reluctant to tow Tehrans line in Iraq, targeting in particular Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.
Iran Focus: The editor of the influential state-owned daily, Kayhan, made a clear link between the current turmoil in Iraq and the developments on the internal political scene in Iran, noting that mounting problems facing the U.S. in Iraq have silenced those who were hoping for regime change in Iran.
Iran Focus: A new budget amendment adopted by the dominant ultra-conservative faction in the Iranian parliament is set to concentrate enormous powers over the mass media in the hand of a former general of the Revolutionary Guards who now heads the Voice and Vision of the Islamic Republic, the state-owned broadcasting monopoly in Iran.