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U.S. and Iran in Denial Over Rumors of One-on-one Negotiations

After all the threats of sanctions against Iran and possible military force by the U.S. and Israel, it appears that Iran may finally be ready to sit down for a talk. At least this was what was rumored though there are now fervent denials from both sides refuting that such an agreement ever took place.

The White House has said that there are no plans set in place for President Obama to sit down with Iranian President Ahmadinejad for talks over the latter’s nuclear program though it did say that it would be open for such a meeting to take place.

The Republican GOP is now chiming in and says that if rumors for such talks are true, then Iran’s motives must be seriously questioned. According to South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, the talks are nothing but a ploy by the Iranians to buy themselves time to build up their nuclear capability and to drive a wedge between the international coalitions.

According to Time Magazine, it was an unidentified senior official from the Obama Administration that reported that the U.S. had a secret meeting with Iran and agreed to a one-on-one negotiation. If the report pans out as true, then this would be the first diplomatic relation between the two nations since the Iran Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s foreign minister, has also denied that such talks will be taking place though he did speculate that a round of talks will be scheduled with members of the United Nations Security Council in November.

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has also weighed in on the matter and said that he was not aware whether the U.S. has agreed to such talks with Iran. Netanyahu also shared the same sentiments with Republican Senator Graham that negotiations are a mere setup by Iran to “drag its feet” to further its nuclear agenda.

Iranian President Delivers Speech at U.N. Assembly

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared before the U.N. General Assembly and gave a half hour speech that emphasized mainly on Israel, which he refused to call by name and described as “uncivilized Zionists.”

The speech took place at the United Nations located in New York. Members of the delegation from the U.S., Canada and Israel were not in attendance. Ahmadinejad blasted Israel for relying on military threats and intimidation, which he claims have led to a divide in international relations.

The speech
came just a day after President Obama told the same assembly that a threat to Israel would be imminent if Iran were to reach nuclear capabilities. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has also chimed in and said that Iran must not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.

Overall, Ahmadinejad’s speech was surprisingly subdued. Most in attendance expected the Iranian president to spew out a fury tongue lashing at Israel; however, his tone was less provocative than what most are accustomed to hearing. Aside from Israel, Ahmadinejad also spoke of the return of Jesus Christ along with the Islamic end-time messiah, the 12th Imam. He called for peace among people of all spiritual backgrounds and insisted that there is no hostility between people of different faiths.

He also emphasized on the importance of human rights and called for the end of oppression, poverty and discrimination. He further went on to say that the return of Christ and the Imam will put an end to all wars and bring about everlasting peace. Like most other Muslims, Ahmadinejad believes that Jesus was one of God’s prophets but that he was not a divine figure.

The nature of the speech by the Iranian president has certainly caught many off guard. CNN commentator Piers Morgan says that for a man of Ahmadinejad’s nature, the speech was actually reasonable and low key.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad Calls Israel “An Insult to Humanity”

Israel has made it blatantly clear that it is seriously contemplating a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. If Iran wants to avoid the possibility of a military showdown, then it is certainly not helping matters when the country’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, openly called Israel’s presence as an “insult to humanity.”

Ahmadinejad spoke in front of a large crowd
at Tehran University following a series of pro-Palestinian marches that swept through the nation.

Israel has long considered Iran a threat due to its nuclear facilities and support for organizations with an anti-Israel agenda. Ahmadinejad, along with the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, have made repeated references about the need to bring about Israel’s destruction.

While Israel stated that it hopes for the issue to be resolved through diplomacy, it has also made it clear that it will not hesitate to launch a military assault if Iran does not abandon its nuclear uranium program, which Iran continuously insists is for peaceful purposes. Iran has threatened retaliation if Israel were to proceed with plans of a military strike and has also pledged to do the same to the U.S. if it allies itself with Israel.

In his speech, Ahmadinejad also called Israel “corrupt” and “anti-human.” He also added that Israel needs to be confronted in order to protect “the dignity of all human beings.” During his speech, demonstrators burned the Israel and American flag and chanted “death to Israel and the U.S.”

The White House has publicly condemned Ahmadinejad’s speech and also blasted him for defending Syrian president, Bashar Assad, despite the government’s repeated violation of human rights and the brutal assault on its own people, which claimed over 20,00 lives since March of last year.

Ahmadinejad’s words are really nothing new. In 2005, he denied the events of the Holocaust and called it a myth. He also vowed for Israel to be “wiped off the map”.

Presidential Candidate Romney Backs Israel and Its Right to Defend Itself Against Iran

The U.S. presidential election is looming, and it is an issue that Israel is keeping a close eye on. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited the city of Jerusalem and said that the U.S. has an obligation to back Israel in every way possible against the threat of Iran acquiring nukes.

Romney’s stance may make him more of a desirable candidate for Jews living in the U.S. While President Obama has stated that Israel has the right to defend itself, he has hesitated to include whether military option would be considered. Instead, his policy was focused more on diplomacy and sanctions in stopping Iran.

Romney’s foreign policy advisor, Dan Senor has made statements suggesting that a Romney administration would aid Israel in a military strike if all else fails. Romney also took jabs at the democrats for being too soft in its stance against Iran.

During his visit, Romney also referred to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which drew the applause of those present for his speech. Obama has been criticized in the past for his refusal to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Some suspect that this is out of fear of offending the Palestinians.

Romney’s visit included a conference with Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. His stop also included a pilgrimage to the Western Wall where he inserted a note inside a crack.

Romney and the Prime Minister have actually worked together as partners at a consulting firm in Boston back in the ‘70s. It is unknown whether this will play a pivotal role in who Netanyahu supports during the U.S. election. However, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, insists that there is no favoritism involved here. He also added that Israel does not have any leanings one away or the other over who takes over the White House in the November election.

Military Action Looms as Talks with Iran Fails

Israel and the United Nations have been engaged in talks with Iran to dismantle its nuclear program. Despite threats of sanctions, Iran shows no intention of abandoning its nuclear ambitions. Israel is now hinting at the possibility of military action.

The latest talks were held in Moscow. Once again, Iran has refused any compromise that would call for an end to its nuclear enrichment activities. Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said that Iran is not budging because current financial and oil embargo sanctions just are not stiff enough. Mofaz also said that they are now at the point where more drastic options need to be considered. It is hard to interpret this statement as anything other than military force.

Iran has continuously insisted that its nuclear program is solely for energy production and nothing more. The U.S., however, has long suspected that Iran is working towards the capacity to produce a nuclear weapon.

Mofaz has said in an interview that if military force were to be employed, that it would have to be led by the U.S. The West has been leading the talks out of concern that Israel may resort to force if Iran cannot be convinced to relinquish its nuclear program.

While there is one more meeting scheduled in early July, there is no more talks that have been agreed to after that. This adds pressure for a peaceful diplomacy to be reached, or else risk the likelihood of war.

Other than talks over Iran, Mofaz has also visited the U.S. capital to help arrange a conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The hope is to continue with peace negotiations over how to handle Jewish settlement in Palestinian occupied land.

Mofaz currently runs the coalition that supports Benyamin Netanyahu. He and the Prime Minister have formed an alliance in order to prevent their political foes from seeking an early election.

Iran Announces Arrests in the Murder of Two Nuclear Scientists

Iran announced that arrests have been made in the murder of two nuclear scientists. Officials claim that the suspects in custody have ties to Israel and have been relocated to a detention facility for questioning. The arrests were made following an 18 month investigation involving heavy intelligence and surveillance work abroad.

So far, no further information has been released regarding the number of suspects or their identities. According to the Iranian intelligence ministry, the suspects are being held for the murder of Majid Shahriari, who was a member of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization. He was killed in November of 2010. The following January, the director of Natanz nuclear facility, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, was also assassinated along with his bodyguard.

Both men were killed in the same manner. An assailant on a motorbike placed a bomb on their moving vehicles during Tehran’s rush hour traffic. The murders reportedly caused widespread panic among other scientists and hindered the progress of the nuclear enrichment program.

Initially, Iran pointed the finger at the U.S., whom they also blamed for the killings of two other scientists. So far, Israel has not come forward with any public statements to confirm or deny any involvement.

Just a month prior, Iran convicted and hanged a man it accused of being a spy for the Mossad. The man was Iranian citizen Masoud Ali Mohammadi, and he was also the prime suspect in the murder of a nuclear scientist, who was killed from a bomb blast outside his home back in early 2010.

Since then, Iran has sporadically made announcements about the arrests of people suspected as spies for the U.S. and Israel but has not provided evidence or released further details about the case. Iran has also fervently blamed the two countries for attempting to wreck its nuclear program by sabotaging its computers with malicious malware.

Iranian Officials Call for Israel to be Destroyed

An Iranian official has made a public plea for Palestinian authority to band together to “demolish the Zionist regime.”

Iranian Officials Call for Israel to be Destroyed The statement came from a conference in Tehran as Israel celebrates Nakba Day. This is the day Israel celebrates its declaration of Independence. Palestinians regard Nakba as a day of Catastrophe, as thousands of Palestinian refugees were expelled from their lands after Israel declared its independence in 1948.

The conference was headed by Hossein Shiekholeslam, who said he hoped for an awakening in the Islamic movement that would “Swallow the Zionist regime.”

Another speaker, Salah Zawawi, who is also the PA Ambassador for Tehran, added that the annihilation of the Zionist regime is the only way to ease the agony suffered by the Arabs. He further added that there is a pact between the U.S. and Israel to enable Jewish immigrants to settle down in lands that rightfully belong to the Palestinians.

A third speaker, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of engaging in an ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem. In a televised speech, he claimed that Muslim and Christian holy sites have been targeted and that citizens within the vicinity are being forced to pay heavy taxes in an effort to drive them out of the land.

The conference took place just a day after Israel agreed to sign an agreement to get Palestinian prisoners to end a hunger strike, which has received international attention and a plea from foreign leaders for Israel authorities to intervene. Part of the agreement included a transfer of the remains of 100 Arab terrorists currently buried in Israel.

Nakba Day was also marked by violence in Samaria and Judea as the Israel Defense Force clashed with a mob of Palestinians who hurled bricks and Molotov cocktails. The police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.

US & Israel Consulting on Iran

Some great new quotes from the US starting with State Department Deputy spokesman Mark Toner regarding the Iran Nuclear time bomb and the failure of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s to Tehran:

“This is a disappointment. It wasn’t all that surprising, frankly. But, you know, we’re going to look at the totality of the issue here and the letter and what we think is the best course of action moving forward”.

“let’s be very clear that we consult very closely with Israel on these issues,” he added. “We are very clear that we are working on this two-track approach. We believe, and are conveying to our partners, both Israel and elsewhere, that this is having an effect.”

Then, White House spokesman Jay Carney:

“We regret the failure of Iran to reach an agreement this week with the IAEA that would permit the agency to fully investigate the serious allegation raised allegations, rather, raised in its November report…”

“Unfortunately this is another demonstration of Iran’s refusal to abide by its international obligations..”

In a blatant F U finger gesture Iran raised the hopes of the world nations that still believe in Santa Clause, when it sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton last week, raising hopes for the prospects of renewed talks with world powers. To this Carney said the United States was continuing to evaluate Iran’s intentions and that

“This particular action by Iran suggest that they have not changed their behavior when it comes to abiding by their international obligations..”

Please try and understand. Iran is building a nuclear bomb and nothing and no one will stop it. As soon as it has the weapon it will use it to change the balance of power in the Middle East and around the world. If nothing is done by force it will continue to piss on the world community. The best proof is the response Ahmadinejad gave a few days ago to Hilary Clinton’s remark “that all options are still being examined and are on the table” – to which he answered “those options can stay on the table and rot there”.

Just a little background on the Iranian mentality – Iran fought Iraq for eight years in the First Gulf War (1980-1988) – the longest Conventional War in history. And not only it did not give in, it rejected attempts for cease fire by Iraq’s Sadam Hussein: “On 21 June 1982 Khomeni rejected the Iraqi peace offer in a speech and proclaimed that Iran would invade Iraq and would not stop until the Ba’ath regime was replaced by an Islamic Shia republic. Given that Saddam’s offer of 1982 served as the basis of the 1988 ceasefire, Khomeini’s decision extended the war for the next six years”.

According to journalist Robin Wright:

“During the Fateh offensive [in February 1987], I toured the southwest front on the Iranian side and saw scores of boys, aged anywhere from nine to sixteen, who said with staggering and seemingly genuine enthusiasm that they had volunteered to become martyrs. Regular army troops, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards and mullahs all lauded these youths, known as baseeji, for having played the most dangerous role in breaking through Iraqi lines. They had led the way, running over fields of mines to clear the ground for the Iranian ground assault. Wearing white headbands to signify the embracing of death, and shouting “Shaheed, shaheed” (Martyr, martyr) they literally blew their way into heaven. Their numbers were never disclosed. But a walk through the residential suburbs of Iranian cities provided a clue. Window after window, block after block, displayed black-bordered photographs of teenage or preteen youths.”

The Iran–Iraq War was horribly costly, it is considered one of the deadliest wars since World War II. It cost Iran an estimated 1 million casualties, killed or wounded, and Iranians continued to suffer and die as a consequence of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons. And still, not all was negative according to the Iranian government-owned Etelaat newspaper who had this to say:

“There is not a single school or town that is excluded from the happiness of “holy defence” of the nation, from drinking the exquisite elixir of martyrdom, or from the sweet death of the martyr, who dies in order to live forever in paradise.”

Get the picture?

Hamas Will Never Recognize Israel – Haniyeh


Hamas’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was visiting Iran this week to thank the Iranian leaders for their continuing support of the Hamas movement. There, he made some bold statements that Israel would never be recognized by Hamas, and that all Palestinian lands would eventually get liberated from the presence of Israel. These statements came as Haniyeh was on a regular visit in Tehran, and are not that surprising knowing the goals of the organization. But what do these statements mean for the long term peace in the region, especially with the upcoming election, and how will the other nations react?

According to Haniyeh, “they (West) want from us to stop resistance and acknowledge Israel but I herewith announce that this will never happen.” That’s what he said through an interpreter while on his visit in Iran. These are of course the thoughts of many Palestinians, but to hear them once again from the leader of the movement means there is no doubt what their policies would be, should they win the upcoming Palestinian election. While at the ceremony marking the 33rd anniversary of the Iranian revolution, both Haniyeh and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met in private to discuss policies, along with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It’s clear that the statements were aimed at supporters, adding “our message and the message of all those who lost their blood in the Palestinian lands is that all occupied lands will eventually be liberated from Israeli occupation.”

Two years ago, a ground breaking Palestinian election paved the way for future peace, but ended up in violence, like so many things in this region. After a year of fighting, Hamas ended up victorious, but it didn’t change much for the ordinary people living in Gaza. Again, we’re facing yet another upcoming election, and already tensions are high. Hamas will once again face Fatah for control of the Palestinian lands, but neither Israel nor the west recognize the legitimacy of Hamas, seeing them as a terrorist organization, which isn’t helped much when western leaders hear statements like that, basically calling for the eradication of an entire country. While there hasn’t been any direct response from other world leaders as to what Haniyeh said, it’s likely to add fuel to the fire, and make the upcoming elections even harder than they will almost certainly be.

In the end, regardless of whether the statements are public or not, it’s clear what the organization wants, and there’s little doubt that more violence will come, and as usual the ones paying the price are usually the innocent bystanders.

Nuclear Professor Assasinated in Tehran

Mysterious blast in Iranian capital leaves one dead, injures two. Local media reports say blast ‘reminiscent’ of previous attacks on nuclear scientists.

According to Iranian media reports, the incident “looks similar to attacks on nuclear scientists in the city,” more than one year ago. The semi-official Fars news agency cited witnesses as saying a motorcyclist stuck a bomb on the side of the car which then exploded, killing one and injuring two people inside.

Fars identified the victim as Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan. State-run Press TV said he was a university professor. Another Iranian nuclear professor was killed earlier this year when a motorcycle rigged with explosives was detonated outside his home. Iranian authorities, who claim Western governments seeking to thwart the country’s nuclear ambitions are behind the attacks on nuclear scientists, issued a statement blaming today’s attacks on “Zionist agents” and vowing revenge.

The U.S. and its allies are pressuring Iran to halt uranium enrichment, a key element of the nuclear program that the West suspects is aimed at producing atomic weapons. Uranium enriched to low levels can be used as nuclear fuel but at higher levels, it can be used as material for a nuclear warhead.

Iran has claimed that Israel’s Mossad, the CIA and Britain’s spy agency are engaged in an underground “terrorism” campaign against nuclear-related targets, including at least three slayings since early 2010 and the release of a malicious computer virus known at Stuxnet in 2010 that Iran says disrupted controls of some centrifuges a key component in nuclear fuel production. Both countries have denied the Iranian accusations.

Israeli officials have hinted about covert campaigns against Iran without directly admitting involvement. On Tuesday, Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz was quoted as telling a parliamentary panel that 2012 would be a “critical year” for Iran in part because of “things that happen to it unnaturally.”

“Many bad things have been happening to Iran in the recent period,” added Mickey Segal, a former director of the Israeli military’s Iranian intelligence department. “Iran is in a situation where pressure on it is mounting, and the latest assassination joins the pressure that the Iranian regime is facing.”

Iran Sentences US Man to Death for Spying

According to Reuters, the Iran Revolutionary Court has sentenced an American-Iranian man to death for reportedly spying for the CIA. This move could likely aggravate the tension between Iran and the US, which is already high due to the Tehran nuclear dispute.

Amir Mirza Hekmati is being held by Iran and the White is trying to verify the verdict. Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said on Monday:

“If true, we strongly condemn such a verdict and will work with out partners to convey our condemnation to the Iranian government.”

The west has expanded punitive sanctions against the country recently over the suspicions of trying to develop atomic weapons under the guise of an atomic energy program for their civilians. The Islamic Republic denies the development of nuclear weapons.

“Amir Mirza Hekmati was sentenced to death…for cooperating with the hostile country America and spying for the CIA” was a statement issued by Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, a spokesman for the ISNA. “The court found him Corrupt on the Earth and Mohareb (somebody who wages war against God). Hekmati has the ability to appeal his case to the Supreme Court.

The highest court in Iran must confirm every death sentence, but the ruling is not yet known for Hekmati. Hekmati is a 28-year-old man of Iranian decent and was born in Arizona. He was arrested by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry in December with the accusation of receiving training from the US in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a letter published on the site created by his family FreeAmir.org the parents published the following letter yesterday:

My husband Ali and I are shocked and terrified by the news that our son, Amir, has been sentenced to death.
We believe that this verdict is the result of a process that was neither transparent nor fair.
The Iranian authorities are denying that Amir is a United States citizen, despite the fact he was born in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Amir did not engage in any acts of spying, or “fighting against God,” as the convicting Judge has claimed in his sentence. Amir is not a criminal. His very life is being exploited for political gain.
A grave error has been committed, and we have authorized our legal representatives to make direct contact with the Iranian authorities to find a solution to this misunderstanding.
We pray that Iran will show compassion and not murder our son, Amir, a natural born American citizen, who was visiting Iran and his relatives for the first time.
Behnaz Hekmati
(Amir’s mother)

Vietor later released a statement saying “Allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for, or was sent to Iran by the CIA are false. The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons.”

The United States is urging Iran to give Hekmati legal council and to release him. The Iranian judiciary has said that Hekmati has admitted to being tied to the CIA, but denied all intention of going against Iran. Iran has had not relationship with the US since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Hekmati’s mother has said that he was visiting relatives in Iran for the first time in December when he was arrested on charges of espionage.

Iran Warns the US to Stay Out of the Persian Gulf

A US Navy aircraft carrier was warned by an Iranian Army commander to not enter the Persian Gulf. The aircraft carrier that had left the Persian Gulf during the Iran’s Navy drills was coming back into the region that primarily makes up Iran’s southern border when it received the warning. Reuters broke this story after receiving word that Ataollah Salehi told the IRNA network that Iran would take action against the carrier if it entered Iran’s waters.

The USS John Stennis was leaving through the Strait of Hormuz one week ago after porting in Dubai. According Reuters, the US ships will sail despite the threats from Iran. Salehi was reported in saying “Iran will not repeat its warning. The enemy’s carrier has been moved to the Sea of Oman because of our drill. I recommend and emphasize to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf.” Salehi was later reported to say “I advise, recommend and warn them over the return of this carrier to the Persian Gulf because we are not in the habit of warning more than once.”

Commander Bill Speaks wrote to Reuters in an email stating “These are regularly scheduled movements and in accordance with our long-standing commitments to the security and stability of the region and in support of ongoing operations.” He followed this by stating “The U.S. Navy operates under international maritime conventions to maintain a constant state of high vigilance in order to ensure the continued, safe flow of maritime traffic in waterways critical to global commerce.”

The US Naval vessel is based out of the Gulf from Bahrain. There have been as many as 5 aircraft carriers in the region since the beginning of the war in Iraq. This number has been reduced as the amount of American troops has become considerably less over the past year.

This elevated sign of tension comes just one week after drills were implemented to practice shutting down the Strait of Hormuz. A little over 40% of the world’s oil is shipped through the Strait of Hormuz and then to the rest of the world. Although Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the US has vowed to protect any ships coming through the strait.

Missile Test Brings In The New Year for Iran

The test firing of two long range missiles on Monday by Iran’s Navy solidifies the fear that 2012 is going to be a year or tension between the Iranian government in Tehran and the United States. There were also claims on Monday that Iran has made a breakthrough with their nuclear program. Both of these factors could lead to a dangerous showdown with the allies of the West and the Iranian government.

Mahmoud Mousavi, Iran’s deputy navy commander, made a statement on Iranian television saying “successfully test-fired long-range ground to water and ground to ground missiles.” These missile tests came toward the end of the 10-day navy exercises to close the Strait of Hormuz. If Iran does close the Strait of Hormuz, the rest of the world could feel the increase in gas prices.

Tehran announced on Sunday that they had successfully produced their first nuclear fuel rod. The Iranian government is claiming that they are making radioisotopes for cancer treatment within the country; however, US intelligence officers and nuclear inspectors believe the country is producing nuclear weapons.

The United States has issued a call to other nations to sanction the Tehran government in an effort to cease the creation of nuclear weapons. These sanctions have created revolts inside the government, an organization that has been feeling stressed financially since the sanctions were put in place.

James Carafano, a defense analyst for The Heritage Foundation, was quoted saying “the weakness shown by the Obama White House has only encouraged Iran to adopt a more reckless foreign policy. Meanwhile, with dissent growing at home and in neighboring Syria, Tehran has been looking for any excuse to focus on the ‘external’ enemy and divert attention from domestic problems.”

Many analysts are dead set on branding Iran as a nuclear threat, citing peace talks a null option. These analysts are vying for the Iranian government to be pushed hard during 2012 to resolve any issues with nuclear capabilities.

2011 Iranian Year In Review

2011 has been a tumultuous year for tensions between Iran and the west. In January, the talk of Iran’s nuclear weapons program was stalled. Britain, China, Russia, France and the US were forced to walk away after the Iranian delegation implemented preconditions that the UN drop sanctions concerning the Tehran nuclear program. In February, protests broke out across the Mid East and in Northern Africa as “Arab Spring” hit very close to it’s home. Thousands of protesters rallied in Tehran in support of the Tunisia and Egypt uprisings.

In June, the protesters used a different tactic on the second anniversary of the 2009 reelection of Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Special forces were deployed to block the streets, but this didn’t stop the protesters. They took to the streets and chanted protest mantras anyway. In October, the US Department of Justice uncovered a plot to assassinate a Saudi diplomat. The two men were working for the Iranian government. Iran called the allegations “laughable”, however, a UN resolution that condemned the action was supported by over one hundred countries. President Barack Obama did not rule out any options in making Iran pay for their mistakes and said, “this is part of a pattern of dangerous and reckless behavior by the Iranian government.”

November was the month of nuclear activities when the International Atomic Energy Agency announced their assessment of Tehran’s nuclear program. Director Yukiya Amano was quoted as saying “The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” Amano said. “It also indicates that, prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured program and that some activities may still be ongoing.” Iran still maintains that all of their nuclear activity is to support their country by a means of providing energy to their citizens.

The west did not take these allegations so lightly. Later in the month, Central Bank and was sanctioned. Britain was the first to take most of the blame from Iran and their Tehran embassy was stormed by protesters on November 29th. In December, Iran claimed to have shot down an American drone. On December 12th, Iran announced that they were running a drill to practice closing the Straigh Of Hormuz, a region where about 40 percent of the world’s oil passes through. Parliament deputy Parviz Sorouri gave a warning of”If the world wants to make the region insecure we will make the world insecure.”

Yalda Night


December 21 is known as Yalda Night for Iran, the longest night of the Iranian solar year. Yalda Night is a night with very special ceremonies. Families gather together on Yalda Night with elders until well after midnight. During Yalda Night dried fruits and winter fruits such as watermelon and pomegranate is feasted on to symbolize the sky’s red color. Iranians recite their favorite poems by Hafez, a highly respected Iranian poet.

The Night Of Yalda literally means The Night Of Birth. This gives Iranians a good time to spend with friends, family, and other loved ones. Yalda is deeply rooted in Iranian history and is known to demonstrate the eagerness of Iran’s strong family ties. The tradition of Yalda Night dates back to ancient Persia thousands of years ago and is still celebrated. Yalda is primarily celebrated in the Northern hemisphere of the country on the eve of the Winter Solstice. Depending on the calendar year, Yalda Night can either be celebrated on Decement 20th or 21st every year. In 2008, Yalda Night was added to Iran’s List Of National Treasures.

According to the Iranian mythology, Yalda night is the bringing of light and triump over darkness for the days to come. This celebration takes place on the darkest and longest night each year. Yalda Night’s traditions are intended to help protect people from any misfortune in the coming year. Iranian television and radio will offer special programming for Yalda Night.

Many Iranians will be seen in mahali, the traditional clothing. Food is placed on the Korsi, a traditional table used for Yalda, so friends and family can eat. Although this is a highly celebrated tradition, some families will choose to simply make phone calls to their friends and family instead of getting together. As a parting gift, many families offer bags of dried fruits to family and friends.

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