The Times: Shirin Ebadi, Irans Nobel peace prizewinner who has defied a summons to appear before the feared Revolutionary Court, yesterday called on her countrys authorities to ban the use of solitary confinement. The practice amounted to torture and was a tool of unpopular governments, she told a rare conference where several former prisoners gave accounts of their experiences in solitary confinement.
New York Times: The Bush administration imposed penalties this month against some of China's largest companies for aiding Iran's efforts to improve its ballistic missiles. The move is part of an effort by the White House and American intelligence agencies to identify and slow important elements of Iran's weapons programs. The White House made no public announcement of the penalties, and the State Department placed a one-page notice on page 133 of The Federal Register early this month listing eight Chinese companies affected.
Reuters: U.S. President George W. Bush says he will not rule out military action against Iran if that country is not more forthcoming about its suspected nuclear weapons programme. "I hope we can solve it diplomatically, but I will never take any option off the table," Bush said in an interview with NBC News when asked if he would rule out the potential for military action against Iran "if it continues to stonewall the international community about the existence of its nuclear weapons program."
Iran Focus: Baghdad, Jan. 17 At a conference in Baghdad today, some 3,230 eminent Iraqi law experts and lawyers released a statement on the legal status of the main Iranian opposition group, the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran, calling it a legitimate movement. The conference in the Babylon Hotel was attended by more than 1,000 Iraqi law experts and political and social figures in support of the Iranian opposition, and by over 50 different media organisations.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 17 Young doctors in Iran are living under the poverty line with many of them forced to find alternative work to earn enough to get by, according to head of Iranian Doctors' Society.
Iran Focus: Baghdad, Jan. 17 - The Iraqi Defence Minister, Hazem al-Shaalan today accused Iran of interference, saying, "Iran has spent more than $1 billion on meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq". In a telephone interview with the Arab language Ilaf website, al-Shaalan also accused candidates on the opposition list of Shiite figures led by Abdol Aziz Hakim as a group trying to invite sectarian and religious strife among the people of Iraq.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 17 Two teenage students hanged themselves in the town of Sirjan (southern Iran) on Friday. Mohammad-Javad Maki-Abadi, a second year high school student, and Asghar Maki-Abadi, a third year high school student, were cousins. They committed suicide in Mohammad-Javad's house when all of their relatives were out. The exact motive has yet to be confirmed.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 17 The Head of Iran's Addiction Prevention Office said that the drug addiction rate had surpassed the population increase rate by three times.
"Based on statistics obtained over the last 30 years, drug addiction has increased by eight percent, which is the equivalent of three times the growth of the population", ...
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 17 Eighty-nine percent of unemployed women in Iran are highly educated, with many in universities, according to a senior government expert. "About 88.7 percent of unemployed women in Iranian cities and 59.4 percent of unemployed women in rural areas are highly educated", Ladan Nowrouzi said, in an interview with ...
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 16 At least 30 juveniles are on death row in Tehran and Rajai-Shahr (40km west of the Iranian capital) for offences they have been alleged to have committed under the age of 18. "There are some 30 juveniles under the age of 18 in Tehran's Centre for Reform and Education (Juvenile Prison) and in Rajai-Shahr currently sentenced to ...
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 16 Sources within the Iranian opposition have confirmed to Iran Focus that they were able to obtain a classified document from within Iran's intelligence and security apparatus showing Iran's connections to insurgents carrying out attacks in Iraq.
The document is a report written by an Iraqi group mounting armed attacks on Iraqi civilians and U.S. and Coalition troops in Iraq.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 16 Iran's bookstore owners are complaining of the government's decision to ban 200 books, including political, social, cultural, religious, arts, music, scientific and historical literature. According to a Tehran bookshop owner who wanted to remain anonymous, Iran's government have recently sent a list of 200 books considered to be "immoral", "unIslamic", or "influencing acts against the state".
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 15 The privatization of Iran's hospitals has led to people avoiding important surgeries for fear of rising hospital costs, according to a member of the Health Committee in Iran's Majlis (parliament). "With putting this plan into action in hospitals, people are afraid that they would face long periods of time hospitalized with hefty bills", Jahanbakhsh Amini said in an interview with a state-run news agency.
UPI: A senior Iraqi official Saturday accused Iran of channeling money into Iraq to "achieve sectarian objectives" and destabilize the country. Waset Gov. Mohammad Ridha said $18,987.30 in Iranian tomans were seized and found to have been sent to a resident in the province "to try to entice sectarian extremism and ruin the elections process."
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 15 More than 200 tons of narcotics have been discovered in Iran over the past nine months, according to a senior Iranian security official. Speaking to a gathering of reporters, the State Security Forces commander, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, hinted today that such a large quantity of drugs in circulation might raise questions that drug smuggling has become institutionalized.
Iran Focus: Paris, Jan. 15 A photo showing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian born mastermind behind the latest spate of bombings in Iraq, standing with senior commanders of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was seen by Jordan's King Abdullah II last month, according to an Algerian journalist.
Iran Focus: Baghdad, Jan. 15 A member of Iraq's interim parliament speaking on national television strongly criticized the Iranian regime for its meddling in Iraq. Hossein Sadr, a candidate from the election list of the current interim-Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, aired his comments on the Al-Iraqi network Thursday, saying that Iran should not be allowed to meddle in Iraq's internal affairs.
#Iran - April 10 - Bojnurd, North Khorasan Province, Northeast