Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran would be willing to enter into negotiations with the United Nations if the United States is willing to lighten its stance on his country obtaining nuclear capabilities.
Ahmadinejad made the comments just as Iran is marking the 34th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. It also came just days after the supreme leader Ali Khamenei rejected the possibility of engaging in direct talks with the U.S.
In his address, which was accompanied by â€œdeath to Americaâ€ chants from the audience, the Iranian president said that he will negotiate with the United States directly if they â€œstop pointing weapons at the Iranian nation.â€ He also pointed out that talks should be done with fairness and respect without pressure.
Ahmadinejadâ€™s response came just a week after Vice President Joe Biden offered Iran a seat in the negotiation table with the P5+1, which includes the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.
Khamenei, who has the final say and authority, chastised the U.S. and accused it of resorting to coercion tactics by threatening military action if Iran refuses to negotiate.
The U.S. currently has sanctions in place, which is aimed at curbing Iranâ€™s uranium enrichment program. The sanctions have caused a severe economic crisis in Iran by limiting oil exports, which is the nationâ€™s main source of revenue.
Ahmadinejad has vehemently denied that his countryâ€™s economic crisis is due to the sanctions though Iranâ€™s Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi admitted that the sanctions have played a role in the economyâ€™s downward spiral.
Western nations have also expressed concerns over Iranâ€™s satellite program, which they fear could be used to develop long-range missiles. Iran regularly announces technological breakthroughs, which includes sending a monkey into space and bringing it back home safely. Such claims cannot be independently verified by the U.S.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been under fire from leaders around the world for his refusal to put a halt to his uranium enrichment program. Now, it appears that he is being under attack by officials from his own country over sentiments that he and his administration made poor decisions that lead to the poor state of the economy.
The Iran parliament is ordering the president to answer questions regarding his mishandling of the currency. Ahmadinejad has been embroiled in controversy over his failure to regulate the currency market. He now has one month to answer a summons and explain before the parliament the missteps he and his administration are being accused of.
The rial, Iranâ€™s form of currency, has drastically dipped in value over the last year. Iranian politicians partly attribute the drop in value to the heavy sanctions imposed by the U.S. but also to the gross mismanagement by Ahmadinejad and his government.
The summon of the president was ordered after Mahmoud Bahmani, the governor of Central Bank, refused to answer questions regarding the state of the market.
Among other things, the president is accused of using a trading system to allow for the importation of over 15,700 cars; the system is reserved and only to be used for the importing of rations and medicine. In addition, Ahmadinejad is also being accused of importing 2.5 billion dollars of wheat from abroad rather than just buying them domestically.
This is not the first time the Iranian president has clashed with officials in his own country. In March, he was heavily grilled after some claimed he made decisions that run completely counter to those recommended by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The situation regarded the firing of an intelligence minister by Ahmadinejad, though the minister was later reinstated at the request of Khamenei.
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 latterâ€™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 Iranâ€™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, Iranâ€™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 â€œdrag its feetâ€ to further its nuclear agenda.
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 â€œuncivilized Zionists.â€
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, Ahmadinejadâ€™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 Godâ€™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 Ahmadinejadâ€™s nature, the speech was actually reasonable and low key.
Salman Rushdie is a British author credited for publishing many successful novels and essays. He has also been living with a target on his back for the last 20 years. An organization in Iran has raised the bounty for anyone who can locate and kill Rushdie.
The problem started after Rushdie published the novel â€œSatanic Verses,â€ a book which is highly critical of Islam and its prophet Mohammed. Since then, he has been in hiding after Iran has issued a fatwa against him for blasphemy. A fatwa is a set of rules governing Islamic law. It is normally imposed by a cleric; under the fatwa in severe cases, a cleric can impose a death sentence on someone who commits the crime of blasphemy.
A cleric heading a conservative Islamic foundation has increased the bounty by another $500,000, bringing the total to $3.3 million. The organization released a statement saying that unless Rushdie is killed, there will be further releases of films and books insulting their holy prophet in ways that must be punished with death.
In 1998, Iranâ€™s foreign ministry assured British authorities that it will not impose a fatwa on Rushdie. However, in 2005, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a statement calling for the murder of Rushdie under Islamic law.
Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu made a public appearance on U.S. television and warned that Iran is only about half a year away from reaching 90 percent of what is needed in order to complete a nuclear warhead.
Netanyahu has been under sharp criticism all week both at home and abroad for his efforts to get the Obama administration to take a more aggressive stance against Iran. On American airwaves, he stressed that Obama needs to clearly lay out a â€œred lineâ€ that Iran must not cross in its nuclear enrichment activities, and that crossing those lines could result in military force.
Using an American football analogy, the prime minister said that Iran is only 20 yards away from reaching nuclear capability and that we must not let it cross the touchdown line because that would jeopardize the security of the world.
Iran continues to claim that its nuclear ambitions are only for peaceful purposes and warned that any form of military aggression will be met with swift retaliation. General Mohammed Ali Jafari, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Iran, said in a conference that â€œnothing will remainâ€ of Israel if it proceeds with an attack on its nation.
Netanyahu also appeared on CNNâ€™s â€œState of the Unionâ€ and suggested that there is a correlation between Iran and the wave of violence spreading in the Middle East over an American-made Youtube video that insults the prophet Mohammed.
In a phone conversation between Obama and Netanyahu, Obama reportedly refused to set conditions for Iran. Netanyahuâ€™s patience with the Obama administration is growing thin, and he continues to demand that the U.S. sets a clear red line that Iran must not cross without facing consequences.
A spokesperson for the White House, however, has insisted that the administration will do whatever is necessary to stop Iran from acquiring an atomic weapon.
Israel has made it blatantly clear that it is seriously contemplating a military strike against Iranâ€™s nuclear facilities. If Iran wants to avoid the possibility of a military showdown, then it is certainly not helping matters when the countryâ€™s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, openly called Israelâ€™s presence as an â€œinsult to humanity.â€
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 countryâ€™s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, have made repeated references about the need to bring about Israelâ€™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 â€œcorruptâ€ and â€œanti-human.â€ He also added that Israel needs to be confronted in order to protect â€œthe dignity of all human beings.â€ During his speech, demonstrators burned the Israel and American flag and chanted â€œdeath to Israel and the U.S.â€
The White House has publicly condemned Ahmadinejadâ€™s speech and also blasted him for defending Syrian president, Bashar Assad, despite the governmentâ€™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.
Ahmadinejadâ€™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 â€œwiped off the mapâ€.
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 Iranâ€™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 Tehranâ€™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.
In the cyber era, war is no longer just fought with guns and missiles on the battlefield. To incapacitate an enemy, all one has to do is infiltrate the oppositionâ€™s computers. This enables hackers to steal vital classified information as well as infect the systems with all sorts of malware.
Computers in Iran and other Arab nations have been attacked with a vicious virus. While no culprit has claimed responsibility for the attack, Israel has hinted that it may have some involvement.
The virus is being called the Flame, and Israelâ€™s Vice Prime Minister, Moshe Yaâ€™alon, stated that the cyber-attack is expected and justified given Iranâ€™s history of making threats. He also added that Israel prides itself on its technological capabilities, which opens a wide door for the country to carry out various objectives while remaining under the radar.
The virus was initially detected by Kaspersky, an internet security firm. Flame is a malware with file transferring capabilities and is also able to record audio and keystrokes.
Ilan Proimovich, a Kaspersky representative, stated that Flame is operated via remote computer, which means it only becomes active when commanded to do so. This makes it extremely difficult to detect.
This is not the first cyber assault on Iran. Back in 2010, the countryâ€™s computer system came under attack by a virus called Stuxnet. Both the Flame and Stuxnet share striking similarities, though the former is designed for the purpose of gathering information, while the latter was created for the sole purpose of wrecking as much havoc to the computers as possible.
While the origin of the viruses remains unknown at this point, if Israel is behind it, it is not so adamant about denying it. If Israel is indeed the mastermind behind the Flame, then it could potentially foreshadow a bigger conflict between Israel and Iran in the near future.
An Iranian official has made a public plea for Palestinian authority to band together to â€œdemolish the Zionist regime.â€
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 â€œSwallow the Zionist regime.â€
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.
Israelâ€™s ex-security chief held nothing back as he ripped on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin made it known what was on his mind as he publicly denounced the prime and defense minister as inadequate leaders who are unfit to lead the country to a possible war with Iran.
Yuval retired as the chief of the internal intelligence agency Shin Bet last year and has worked closely with both the prime and defense minister. He also claims that Netanyahu is not being truthful with the Israeli people and is using misleading rhetoric and propaganda to get the public to support military action against Iran. He went on to say that most intelligence officials are in agreement that military force would actually push Iran towards nuclear ambitions.
“My major problem is that I have no faith in the current leadership, which must lead us in an event on the scale of war with Iran or a regional war,” he said.
“I don’t believe in either the prime minister or the defence minister. I don’t believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings. Believe me, I have observed them from up close … They are not people who I, on a personal level, trust to lead Israel to an event on that scale and carry it off.
“They are misleading the public on the Iran issue. They tell the public that if Israel acts, Iran won’t have a nuclear bomb. This is misleading. Actually, many experts say that an Israeli attack would accelerate the Iranian nuclear race.”
Government officials have denounced Yuvalâ€™s comments and claimed they were motivated out of his own personal frustrations and not based on factual substance.
Yuvalâ€™s remarks also coincided with serving military chief Benny Gantzâ€™s own controversial comments. Gantz caused a stir when he commented that the Iranian government was composed of â€œrational peopleâ€ and that he did not believe it was in the process of acquiring nukes. The comment runs completely counter to the prime ministerâ€™s statements about Iranâ€™s desire to wipe out Israel. Gantz, however, shrugged off suggestions of possible discord between military commanders and political leaders.
Netanyahu continues to insist that Iran is working towards nuclear capability. Barak was in agreement and added that international sanctions are an ineffective deterrent and will not prevent Iran from doing what it wants.
Yuval is not alone in his dismay over the prime and defense minister. He is supported by Meir Dagan, the former leader of the Mossad, who has said previously that plans to attack Iran is â€œstupidâ€ and that Iran is capable of being rational.
In a continued effort by the U.S. and the United Nations to prevent Iran from reaching nuclear capability, a meeting was scheduled in Istanbul where negotiations resumed. Intelligence officials have been working hard to determine Iranâ€™s true intentions with its uranium development program.
Netanyahu’s response to the conference: “My initial impression is that Iran has been given a freebie,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “It has got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation, any inhibition.”
One prominent Iranian figure has drawn the attention of the C.I.A. It has been long known that Ali Khamenei, the Ayatollah and Iranâ€™s supreme leader, is the one influencing Mahmoud Ahmadinejadâ€™s decisions. The C.I.A has been paying close attention to what this man has been saying and dissecting every word.
Khamenei is somewhat of a mystery; the words that come out of his mouth seem to contradict Iranâ€™s recent actions. He has stated that Iran has no plans for acquiring nuclear arms as it is considered a sin from a religious standpoint.
It is really hard to know whether Khameneiâ€™s statement holds any credibility. Prior to his comments against the acquirement of nukes, he had chastised Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya for his decision to abandon his countryâ€™s nuclear weapons program. He then went on to say that Iran is headed in the same direction if they cave in to Western demands.
Intelligence has another reason to doubt Khameneiâ€™s words. The Shiites community has been the minority in the Muslim community for hundreds of years. During their oppression, a concept known as taqiya was implemented. It was a practice where deception was commonly used to conceal their sectarian identity. Lying became common place in order for the Shiites to protect their own community.
The rank of Ayatollah gives Khamenei the final authority in interpreting Islamic law and policy. His role within the Iranian government is considered pivotal. Whatever he says must not be taken lightly and every attempt must be made to determine the true meaning behind his words.
Iran has put the world on edge with its nuclear ambitions. Calls for negotiations have largely been unsuccessful at this point and has escalated to the point of the U.S. putting the possibility of military force on the table.
However, negotiations have since resumed with some hope of a positive outcome for all nations involved. A senior Iranian official announced that the country was willing to meet Western demands halfway. Ferydon Abbasi, the senior head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, announced that Iran has plans to enrich uranium to no more than 20 percent purity just for the use of a medical research reactor. He also added that all other activities towards uranium enrichment would be only used to fuel power generation reactors.
Abassiâ€™s statement, if believed, is a good sign in the right direction. However, another Iranian official released a statement that completely runs counter to Abassiâ€™s announcement. Foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi made his own announcement that Iran has no plans of agreeing to any preconditions before negotiation resumes.
One can only speculate, but it appears that the conflicting remarks made by Abassi and Salehi are due to internal debate and conflict within Iranâ€™s own regime. Iran is after all, being threatened with economic sanctions and a European embargo if it proceeds with plans to build a nuclear weapon.
The negotiations will involve Iran and members of the United Nations Security Council, which includes the U.S., Britain, Russia, France and China.
One of the conditions by U.S. and European diplomats is for Iran to transfer its current stockpile of uranium fuel out of the country. Additional demands also include the dismantling of a newly constructed nuclear compound located under a mountain near the city of Qum.
Iran continues to persist that its uranium is only intended for peaceful purposes, while the United Nations continue to hold suspicion that Iran is enriching its uranium to construct a nuclear weapon. Until the negotiations resume, there is no telling which direction Iran will take.
In short Iran is screwing around with the world and stalls for time as it feverishly continues to develop a nuclear weapon.
This is what a third world nuclear arms race looks like – in case you were wondering..
Last December, the global intelligence company Strategic Forecast, referred to as Stratfor, was hacked by members of the Anonymous group. Among the files gathered were a very large number of internal emails, showing how the private intelligence gathering company conducted its business around the world, and include a lot of revelations that are only now becoming public. One such email for example hints at the fact that Israeli commandos and Kurdish fighters may have destroyed an Iran nuclear facility. If true, this could have wide repercussions in the middle east.
The email is just one of five millions that the firm sent and that was hacked in the December attack. In it, Stratfor analysts apparently obtained information that would indicate an Israeli commando wiped out an Iranian nuclear facility. Some of the company staff discuss how likely that is, and come to the conclusion that it could be true if the Israeli forces cooperated with Kurdish fighters. The explosion at the Iranian facility was seen as possibly being caused by such an attack: “[He] was asked what he thought of reports that the Israelis were preparing a military offensive against Iran. Response: I think this is a diversion. The Israelis already destroyed all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago.” Thanks to the series of emails that followed, the company comes to the conclusion that it may well have happened the way their informant says it did.
But this is just one of many revelations that are already starting to come out from these massive files. In its press release, WikiLeaks portrayed Stratfor as a private intelligence agency, a shadow CIA bribing people to obtain their intelligence through a series of hidden Swiss bank accounts, working with large corporations, executives, government agencies and the military to get the best intelligence they could through money exchanges or extortion, and then turning this into a money making business. Their latest fund StratCap aims at profiting financially from getting this early access to facts and rumors from around the world. Meanwhile, a select few individuals and corporations are allowed to pay the company to get early access to this information.
Meanwhile, Stratfor has posted a statement on its web site, saying the hack and subsequent release of private emails is a deplorable and illegal act, something they did not authorize, and warn that some of the emails may be altered or faked. They claim that their internal systems are now more secure and that such a hacking attempt would not happen again. Still, there’s no doubt that the emails released will more than likely bring us more facts about powerful world figures in the weeks to come.