05272018Sun

Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 21 - A member of Iran's Majlis (parliament) said today that at least 90 percent of the country's population is under the poverty line. "90 percent of the population are living under the poverty line and only ten percent of the people have access to social services provided by the government", Mohammad Abbaspour said in an interview ...

AFP: Twenty-five people were killed in northern Iran on Friday when the bus they were riding in skidded off a mountain road into a ravine, student news agency ISNA reported. Another seven people were injured in the accident on the road between Tehran and Babolsar, which occurred when the driver swerved to avoid rocks falling from the mountainside.

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.

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.

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 Washington’s list of world troublespots and said that he feared that Israel may strike Tehran in order to eliminate its nuclear threat. “We don’t 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 Bush’s 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.

The following press release has been sent to Iran Focus by Sara Safeed (Persian Mirror): Internationally renowned recording artist Andy has put his talented song-writing skills to a new project called Babak and Friends – A First Norooz. The famed pop star, who has just returned from a world tour is heading into the studio to record the new Norooz song next week. Andy joins a cast of talented artists and actors, including legendary actor Parviz Sayyad and Ali Pourtash in this first-time Norooz project for children and adults alike.

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 ...

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: 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 ...

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: 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".

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