BBC: The United Nations refugee chief says thousands of Afghans may have been forced to return to Afghanistan because of Iran's policies. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has been increasingly concerned that Iranian officials are pressurizing Afghan refugees to go home. There have been radio campaigns informing them that they have to leave.
The Times: DICK CHENEY placed Iran at the top of Washingtons list of world troublespots and said that he feared that Israel may strike Tehran in order to eliminate its nuclear threat. We dont want a war in the Middle East if we can avoid it, said Mr Cheney, who was yesterday sworn in for a second term as President Bushs Vice-President.
Daily Telegraph: Now comes the hard part. President George W Bush's elegy to freedom yesterday and his vision of it flowering around the world fitted into the long tradition of inaugural speeches that blend America's optimism with smugness about the reach and benefits of its power. But unlike most of his predecessors Mr Bush has repeatedly made clear that he sees "spreading freedom" as more than a slogan. For him it is a mission. The challenge for his aides now is how - and where - to act on his words.
Financial Times: The Bush administration's changing of the guard at the State Department was almost complete yesterday as Colin Powell bid an emotional farewell to his staff just as senators were wrapping up their grilling of Condoleezza Rice, the next secretary of state. Speaking of the foreign policy challenges ahead, Mr Powell said the focus was on ...
AFP: An Iranian journalist has been arrested on charges of giving interviews to foreign radios, a newspaper reported Thursday. Arash Sigarchi, chief editor of Gilan-e-Emrooz (Today's Gilan) in the northern province of Gilan, gave interviews to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the US-funded Radio Farda, Shargh said.
Reuters: Vice President Dick Cheney said on Thursday that Iran was at the top of the administration's list of world trouble spots and expressed concern that Israel "might well decide to act first" to eliminate any nuclear threat from Tehran. "You look around the world at potential trouble spots, Iran is right at the top of the list," Cheney said in an interview aired on MSNBC ...
Iran Focus: Baghdad, Jan. 20 Iraq's Minister for Provincial Affairs accused Iran of spreading its "sphere of influence" throughout Iraq, in preparation for the January 30th elections. "Many Iranians are producing fake Iraqi identity cards to be able to take part in the elections", Wa'el Abdol-Latif said, speaking to the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (Middle East) daily yesterday.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 20 There are currently "200,000 sufferers of the Hepatitis C virus in Iran", according to the head of the Iranian Medical Association. Speaking to a state-run news agency, Dr. Iraj Khosronia warned, "One of the most dangerous viruses affecting human society is Hepatitis C but people's awareness about this disease is very limited".
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 20 - A young man who was accused of killing a member of Irans security forces when he was a minor was hanged in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.
Iman Farrokhi who was 17 at the time of the offence was on death row in the Tehran Centre for Reform and Education (Juvenile Prison).
The Independent: The spiritual leader of Iran has reaffirmed the fatwa against the writer Salman Rushdie in a message to Muslim pilgrims.
Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, declared that Rushdie was an "apostate" whose killing would be permitted by Islam. He made the comment to crowds of pilgrims on their way to Mecca.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 20 Homes in the city of Mashad (northeast Iran) were raided over the past few days by State Security Forces for "illegal satellite dishes". The SSF Public Relations Office announced that two individuals were arrested, on charges of installing satellite dishes, during the raids. Some 45 satellite dishes and receivers were confiscated thus far.
AFP: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has labelled British author Salman Rushdie an apostate whose killing would be authorised by Islam, according to message carried by Iranian media Wednesday. Khamenei's reference to Rushdie was made in a message to Muslims making the annnual pilgrimage to Mecca, and was part of a lengthy tirade against "Western and Zionist capitalists" and the US-led "war on terror".
Reuters: Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice articulated a firm U.S. line against Iran's ruling mullahs, whose nuclear ambitions the Bush administration considers a major threat, in testimony at her Senate confirmation hearings. In two days of Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings that ended on Wednesday, Rice repeatedly emphasized differences with Tehran's clerical leaders, saying: "It's really hard to find common ground with a government that thinks Israel should be extinguished."
Reuters: Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says there is no alternative to Europe's approach of using diplomacy to try to persuade Iran to give up any technology that could be used make nuclear weapons. In an interview with the Financial Times, Straw defended the policy of Britain, France and Germany to talk to Iran rather adopt Washington's more hardline stance.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 19 - Fourteen people were killed yesterday and eleven others left injured when a bus and a truck collided in Fars province (southern Iran), according to the state-run news agency IRNA.
New York Times: A number of Iranian officials declared Tuesday that Iran would not be intimidated by threats, a day after President Bush refused to rule out military action against Iran if it continued to pursue nuclear weapons.
Iran Focus: Paris, Jan. 18 Iranians are planning a massive rally in Paris on the twenty-sixth anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution to call for an end to theocratic rule in their country. Organisers are expecting a huge turnout in the event scheduled for February 10 at Place Trocadero in central Paris.
We are going to call every man and woman of conscience in the world to join us on February 10, said Elham Parsafar of the Paris-based Committee in Defense of Human Rights in Iran.