Bloomberg: U.S. lawmakers are beginning a new push to compel enforcement of a 1996 law imposing sanctions on foreign companies that do business in Iran, a move that might trigger a European Union protest to the World Trade Organization. Among the companies that would be vulnerable to the sanctions are Siemens AG, Royal Dutch/Shell Group and Total SA of Europe and Inpex Corp. of Japan.
Reuters: Iran will re-tender operatorship of its second private mobile phone network, if Turkcell quits the deal because lawmakers changed the Turkish firm's terms, an official said on Wednesday. Masoum Fardis, running the tender for Iran's telecommunications ministry, said his ministry had returned the bid-bond of South Africa's MTN which came second in the tender after Turkcell paid its licence fee.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Feb. 16 Women and teenage girls comprise the majority of people in Iran's Ilam province (western Iran) who committed suicide throughout this year, according to the province's Councillor for Women's Affairs. At least 220 cases of women committing suicide in Ilam have been recorded out of an estimated 400 suicides, Heyran Pournajaf said to a state-run news agency.
Reuters: Washington is using satellites to spy on Iran's nuclear sites, Iran's Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
"We believe the United States has been spying against Iran for some time using satellites and other tools," he was quoted as saying on the official IRNA news agency, when asked about U.S. denials that it was using drones over Iran.
AFP: The World Trade Organisation accepted Tuesday the separate membership applications of Serbia and Montenegro, but again rejected that of Iran because of US opposition. A General Council session of the 148 member-states unanimously accepted the separate applications by Serbia and Montenegro, which previously had made one single application.
AFP: The secular party of Iraq's outgoing prime minister Iyad Allawi on Wednesday warned the religious Shiite now tipped to succeed him over his ties to Iran and the role of Islam in the state.
On Tuesday, sources in the coalition that won the January 30 elections and that is backed by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said interim vice president and Dawa party leader Ibrahim Jaafari had been chosen as the list's premiership candidate.
AP: Iran's foreign minister on Tuesday warned Britain, France and Germany that they must make more economic and technological concessions to meet a deadline next month for agreement on Tehran's nuclear activities. The three European Union powers are trying to persuade Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment program, which Washington fears could be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.
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.