Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hezbollah Announces Israeli Attack on Base in Lebanon

Hezbollah announced today that one of its bases in Lebanon was hit by Israeli jets and that it will respond when and where it sees fit. The announcement of the raid came as a surprise. Until now, Hezbollah, and Syria for that matter, never acknowledged Israeli attacks on its bases or other assets to avoid the need to respond. Now Hezbollah will be under more pressure to respond to this latest attack. And for Israel, Hezbollah’s apparent new tactic could mean it could probably not attack without claiming responsibility. (AP/Haaretz, 27 February)

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group considered close to the rebels, said that Israel struck a Hezbollah missile base near Baalbek in Lebanon.

File photo: Israeli jet fighters. (Al Arabiya)

Iran Nuclear Negotiations 'Going Well' - Zarif

Iran's nuclear negotiations are “going well,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif ahead of a meeting of IAEA Board of Directors next week. Iran and P5+1 will hold technical talks on the sidelines of the IAEA gathering.

Political directors of both sides will also resume talks on 17 March in Vienna.

“The negotiations are going well ... I'm hoping by the first deadline (20 July) we will reach an agreement," Zarif said. He made his comments in New Delhi during the R.K. Mishra Memorial Lecture series.

Zarif will hold talks with senior Indian officials during his two-day visit, which began this morning. He said he wanted to open a “new chapter” in Indo-Iranian relations. (AFP, 27 February)

Photo credit: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif speaks during the fifth R.K. Mishra Memorial Lecture in New Delhi, 27 February 2014. (Sajjad Hussain/AFP)

Turkish Increases Istanbul-Tehran Service

Turkish Airlines will start its 4th daily service from Istanbul to Tehran on 30 March, on board Boeing 737-800. (Airline Route, 27 February)

TK878 IST0110 – 0540IKA EQV D
TK870 IST1025 – 1455IKA 320 D
TK874 IST2050 – 0125+1IKA EQV D
TK872 IST2320 – 0350+1IKA 738 D

TK875 IKA0335 – 0525IST EQV D
TK873 IKA0520 – 0710IST 738 D
TK879 IKA0820 – 1015IST EQV D
TK871 IKA1555 – 1755IST 320 D

File photo: Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 (

Kerry Decries 'New Isolationism'

Secretary of State John Kerry inveighed against what he called a “new isolation” tendency in the United States. Kerry made the comments on Wednesday to a small group of reporters and added that the country was beginning to behave like a poor nation. (Reuters, 26 February)

Kerry told the reporters that the expected budget for FY’15, with tighter spending, in part at the behest of congressional Republicans, could limit U.S. clout around the world.

“There's a new isolationism,” Kerry said. “We are beginning to behave like a poor nation.” (Reuters, 26 February)

“This is not a budget we want. It's not a budget that does what we need,” Kerry said. Pointing out that the budget deal entailed cuts demanded by the Republican-led House of Representatives. “It was the best the president could get. It's not what he wanted.”

File photo: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Jakarta, 16 February 2014. (EVAN VUCCI/POOL/REUTERS) 

MODAFL unveils new developments in electronics and radar

Above: IEI's newly developed High-Altitude Long Range Surveillance Radar  [video still: IRIB News] 

According to Tasnim News:
The Iranian Defense Ministry on Tuesday unveiled 21 electronic and radar projects in a special ceremony attended by Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan.
The ceremony to unveil the new defensive projects was held in the Defense Ministry's Electronic Industries Company (SAIran) in southern city of Shiraz.
The ceremony to unveil the new defensive projects was held in the Defense Ministry's Electronic Industries Company (SAIran) in southern city of Shiraz.
Addressing the ceremony, the Iranian defense minister said the new projects include five mass-production lines of defensive products as well as 16 other defensive projects which have been done at the company.
As regards specifications of new defensive products, Dehqan said two air-defense radar systems are ready to be handed over to the Iranian Armed Forces, adding that the systems are among advance long-range air defense radars and will boost Iran's air-defense surveillance capabilities.
The minister said 6 key and strategic electronic products for air and naval forces, including sonar and subsurface communication devices became operational today.
Dehqan further said a smart radar jamming system with high capability to jam enemy radars as well as missile-guiding subsystems was the other system unveiled today.
The ministry also unveiled systems to make weapons smarter, including a system for guiding anti-armored missiles with laser.
Newly developed Mobile Surveillance Radar  [video still: IRIB News]

Video (Persian):

Video: IRIB News

Rigi terror convict arrest documentary (Persian)

New documentary aired this week on Iranian television, on the background and arrest of Jundallah leader Rigi. Rigi was arrested, convicted of terrorism and executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

Interesting timing for the release of this documentary, following closely the abduction of five NAJA border protection guards on the Pakistan border in Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan province. A number of photos and forged documents found in possession of Rigi were also published in Iranian media.

Earlier this week, also, IRI Security Deputy to the Interior Minister Ali Abdollahi claimed the five NAJA border protection guards are known to be safe and that Iran expects Pakistan “to fulfill its security commitments” in securing the guards' safe release from their Jaish al-Adl captors.

Video: FARS News Agency

OXIN Shopping Center in Mashhad, under construction

Nearing completion is the OXIN Shopping Center, actively being constructed in Mashhad

Rendering of completed OXIN Shopping Center in Mashhad. Structure will feature ten levels.

Earth imagery and map situating OXIN Shopping Center in Mashhad

Photos: Oxin Shopping Center

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

U.S. seeks 'clarification' from Iraq on reported arms purchase from Iran

According to BBC News:
The US has said it is "seeking clarification" over a report that Iraq has signed a deal with Iran to buy arms in violation of a UN embargo.
State department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that if the $195m (£117m) deal for weapons and ammunition was confirmed, it "would raise serious concerns".
A spokesman for Iraq's prime minister neither confirmed nor denied the deal.
However, he said it would be understandable given Iraq's security troubles, which have seen al-Qaeda-aligned militants step up sectarian attacks and take control of parts of the cities of Ramadi and Falluja.
"We are launching a war against terrorism and we want to win this war. Nothing prevents us from buying arms and ammunition from any party and it's only ammunition helping us to fight terrorists," Ali Moussawi added.
Iran's ambassador in Baghdad, Hasan Danaifar, told the Mehr news agency on Tuesday that no arms deal had been signed.
Ms Psaki said the US had provided more than $15bn (£9bn) in military and security equipment, services and training.
It has recently shipped Hellfire missiles, hundreds of small arms and large quantities of small arms and tank ammunition. The Pentagon is also ready to sell more missiles and 24 Apache attack helicopters.
"We certainly view the government of Iraq as a partner in the fight against terrorism and we're committed to supporting them," Ms Psaki added.
This may or may not be a case of Iraq again leveraging relations with Iran, in its dealings with the United States. For some time now, the Iraqis have been insisting on expedited arms deliveries from the United States. Whether this form of leverage will work this time around has yet to be seen.

That said, in the event of strengthened defense ties betwen Iraq and Iran, the Iranians do possess a level of battlefield observation and applied experiences in the Syrian conflict, against same or similar foes opposing Iraq. As a result of this, the IRGC-QF has developed and employed armor/infantry tactics for the urban battlefield, SF night operations, heliborne operations, UAV deployments and more. The Iraqis might possibly be interested in such, seeing potential compatability for Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) currently engaging ISIS/ISIL forces.

Additionally, as a result of Iran's experiences during the Iran-Iraq War where it was the focus of a restrictive arms embargo, the Iranians have sought and developed a level of self-sufficiency in the field of arms manufacture and servicing. Iran currently manufactures ammunition and service parts for its heavy weapon types, as well as manufacturing small arms, rockets, electronics and more. It is this level of Iranian self-sufficiency of arms certain elements of the Iraqi government are apparently signalling an intent or potential intent of tapping into.

Below are examples of commonality for Iranian/Iraqi weapon and military equipment types:

Left: Iraqi Army T-72M1 main battle tank. Right: Iranian license-built T-72S main battle tank
Iran manufactures a variety of ammunition for this type of MBT

Left: Iraqi Army M109 self-propelled howitzer. Right: Iranian military M109 self-propelled howitzer
Iran manufactures a variety of ammunition for this type of SP Gun

Left: Iraqi Army M113A2 amored personnel carrier. Right: Iran Army M113 amored personnel carrier
Iran offers adapted weapons systems and related ammunition for this type of APC

Left: Iraqi IqAF Mil Mi-17 transport helicopter. Right: Iranian IRGC-AF Mil Mi-17 transport helicopter
Iran has years of service, and offers adapted weapons systems and ammo for this type of helicopter

Left: Iraqi Federal Police equipped with RPG-7 type. Right: Iran Army soldiers equiped with RPG-7 type
Iran manufactures a variant of this type of RPG as well as ammunition

Left: Iraq Army soldiers armed with AKM type assault rifles. Right: Iranian IRGC equpped with AKM type assault rifles
Iran manufactures a variant of this type as well as ammunition

File photos: ISNA, IRNA, FARS News Agency, Reuters, Alireza at and

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Iran to Continue Nuclear Talks Until ‘Final Victory’ - Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said today Iran is determined to continue its nuclear talks with the P5+1 group until “final victory” is achieved for the Iranian nation.

Rouhani made the comments during a huge rally in the Persian Gulf port city of Bandar Abbas today.

Rouhani assured that his administration would not “take a single step back from protecting the Iranian nation's rights” in the nuclear talks with the P5+1 group. “We will continue the negotiations until final victory for the Iranian nation.” (IRNA/Press TV, 25 February)

Photo credit: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gets an enthusiastic welcome during his visit to Bandar Abbas; 25 February 2014. (Abdolhossein Rezvani/ISNA)

Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Shelved

The $1.3 billion Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline has been shelved by Pakistan, dealing a blow to Islamabad's efforts to access cheap energy sources to overcome a crippling power crisis.

“In the absence of international sanctions the project can be completed within three years, but the government cannot take it any further at the moment because international sanctions against Iran are a serious issue,” Pakistani Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said today. (NDTV, 25 February)

The agreement for the pipeline was signed in 2009. Former Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari and his then Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had announced the start of the project in February last year. Officials had said at the time it would be completed in 15 months.

File photo: Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline under construction. (IRNA/NDTV)

Iran Warns Against Interference in Syria – By Others

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham today warned against the “dire consequences of arms shipment to insurgents in Syria,” and called on the western powers and their regional allies to “stop meddling in the country's internal affairs.” (Fars News Agency, 25 February)

Fars News added its own analysis to Afgham’s warning: “The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle-East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.”

Iran’s IRGC-Quds Force has also organized and deployed armed groups of foreign Shia militias, mainly Iraqis but also from other countries including Afghans, in the Syrian civilian war; this in addition to large military intervention by the Lebanese Hezbollah. The Quds Force itself has a significant presence in Syria and advises and at times lead military operations of pro-Assad forces. It also regularly supplies Assad’s government with arms, including missiles, and crude oil, to maintain Assad’s ability to stay in power.

Iran’s critical role in the Syrian civil war was not mentioned by Ms. Afkham today. Apparently the Iranian government does not regard Quds Force operations in Syria as “meddling in the country’s internal affairs.”

Photo credit: Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham. (Fars News Agency)

Iraq turns to Iran and Russia for arms to fight terrorism

Above: Iranian manufactured 125 mm HE rounds for the T-72 main battle tank

According to Reuters:
Iran has signed a deal to sell Iraq arms and ammunition worth $195 million, according to documents seen by Reuters - a move that would break a U.N. embargo on weapons sales by Tehran.
The agreement was reached at the end of November, the documents showed, just weeks after Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki returned from lobbying the Obama administration in Washington for extra weapons to fight al Qaeda-linked militants.
Some in Washington are nervous about providing sensitive U.S. military equipment to a country they worry is becoming too close to Iran. Several Iraqi lawmakers said Maliki had made the deal because he was fed up with delays in U.S. arms deliveries.
"We are launching a war against terrorism and we want to win this war. Nothing prevents us from buying arms and ammunition from any party and it's only ammunition helping us to fight terrorists," said the spokesman, Ali Mussawi.
The official documents seen by Reuters showed that six of eight contracts were signed with Iran's Defense Industries Organization to supply Iraq with light and medium arms, mortar launchers, ammunition for tanks as well as artillery and mortars.
A final two contracts were agreed to with the state-owned Iran Electronic Industries for night vision goggles, communications equipment and mortar-guiding devices.
One of the contracts includes equipment to protect against chemical agents. An Iraqi army major with knowledge of procurement issues said that would include items such as gas masks and gloves, as well as injections. Baghdad has expressed fear the militants will use such agents against its forces.
Where United States policy priorities preference the conflict in Syria and Iraq as a dictatorship putting down a democracy movement or Sunni disenfranchisement, the nations of Syria, Iraq and Iran (and Russia) see the conflict as a war against terror.

Iraq's first choice for arms is from the United States, based on American-made or sourced qualitative superiority. But the Baghdad government finds American prerequisites, conditional for timely or expedited deliveries, as meddling in their own internal affairs, and a weakening of resolve in a conflict they're approaching squarely as counter-terrorism. Meantime, the Iranians position themselves as the more reliable, regional ally.

At the very least, Baghdad is signaling strengthened defense ties with Tehran should specified United States arms deliveries remain, as the Iraqis see it, delinquent.

Below are more examples of the weapon types identified by Reuters that Iraq might take delivery of from Iran:

Iranian manufactured 155 mm M107 HE projectiles

Iranian manufactured Saha 77 hand-held calculator device for infantry mortars

Iranian manufactured night vision goggles

Iranian manufactured protective hoods. That the Iraqis would order CW protective equipment provides an indirect means of corroborating ISIS/ISIL use of chemical weapons in the war against Syria, and potentially in the war against Iraq. Iran has a well developed CW protection industry following many years of defending against CW attacks during the Iran-Iraq War.


Referencing Russian arms deliveries to Iraq, according to
Russia and Iraq have agreed to speed up the delivery of Russian arms to the oil-rich Arab country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari, Lavrov expressed Moscow's concern over what he described as "rampant terrorism" in the Middle East region.
"There's an urgent need for Iraq to have weapons in order to combat terrorism," Lavrov said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed an arms deal with Moscow six months ago with a view to fighting what he described as "terrorists" in the country's western Anbar region.
Iraq reportedly received last month thirteen Russian manufactured Mil Mi-28NE helicopter gunships  [file photo]

Monday, February 24, 2014

Suicide Bombing Outside Iranian Consulate in Peshawar

Also Possibility of Cross Border Operations by Iran Military
Two security guards were killed and more than a dozen people were wounded today when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gate of the Iranian consulate in Peshawar, in northwest Pakistan. Reuters, quoting local police officers, reported that the man intended to enter the consulate building but was stopped by the guards at the gate, and that’s when he blew himself up.

The bombing came amid tensions at Iran-Pakistan border, with the expectations that the Iranian military might stage a cross border operations to rescue five Iranian border guards taken hostage and believed to have been taken to the Pakistani side of the border.  On 9 February, the militant Baluch group Jaish al-Adl (“Army of Justice”) took responsibility for taking the guards hostage. Since then there has been growing pressure on Iranian military to take search and rescue operations across the border.

If previous Iranian military cross-border actions against militant groups are any indication, the IRGC will deploy rocket launchers and field guns at the Pakistani border and could use IRGC’s Special Forces (Saberin) to free the hostages. It is doubtful, however, if Iran would escalate the operations by deploying IRGC Su-25 jet fighters in support of its troops on the ground.

Photo credit: Security personnel stand guard outside Iranian consulate building in Peshawar following a suicide bomb attack; 24 February 2014. (AFP)

Israeli Warplanes Hit Syrian-Lebanese Border Area

Israeli jet fighters struck targets late tonight near the Lebanese-Syrian border, but there were conflicting reports about whether the areas hit were on Syrian or Lebanese soil, LA Times reported.

The official Lebanese news agency said Israeli warplanes “launched two raids” in a mountainous area in the vicinity of the Lebanese village of Nabi Sheet.

“They hit the Hezbollah military base on the border with us,” said an eyewitness associated with the Syrian opposition in the Syrian town of Sarghaya. “The town was lit up (by the blast).” (LA Times, 24 February)

Some news reports indicated that the strikes Monday targeted Hezbollah strongholds along the Lebanese-Syrian border in the Bekaa Valley.

File photo: Israeli jet fighters. (Al Arabiya)

'U.S. adopts Israeli demand on Iran's missiles' - Gareth Porter

Above: TEL-mounted Iranian IRGC-ASF MRBMs on parade, Sacred Defense Week 2012 

Per Gareth Porter in Asia Times Online:
The Barack Obama administration's insistence that Iran discuss its ballistic missile program in the negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear agreement brings its position into line with that of Israel and senators who introduced legislation drafted by the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC aimed at torpedoing the negotiations.
But the history of the issue suggests that the Obama administration knows that Iran will not accept the demand and that it is not necessary to a final agreement guaranteeing that Iran's nuclear program is not used for a weapon.
White House spokesman Jay Carney highlighted the new US demand in a statement Wednesday that the Iranians "have to deal with matters related to their ballistic missile program".
Carney cited United Nations Security Council resolution 1929, approved in 2010, which prohibited any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including missile launches. "So that's completely agreed by Iran in the Joint Plan of Action," he added.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif not only explicitly contradicted Carney's claim that Iran had agreed to discuss ballistic missiles but warned that a US demand for discussion of its missile program would violate a red line for Iran.
"Nothing except Iran's nuclear activities will be discussed in the talks with the [six powers known as the P5+1], and we have agreed on it," he said, according to Iran's IRNA.
The pushback by Zarif implies that the US position would seriously risk the breakdown of the negotiations if the Obama administration were to persist in making the demand.
Contrary to Carney's statement, the topic of ballistic missiles is not part of the interim accord reached last November. The Joint Plan of Action refers only to "addressing the UN Security Council resolutions, with a view toward bringing to a satisfactory conclusion the UN Security Council's consideration of this matter" and the formation of a "Joint Commission" which would "work with the IAEA to facilitate resolution of past and present issues of concern".
It would be politically untenable for the Rouhani administration to render compromised what Iran's defense spcialists consider a vital pillar of their defense doctrine based on deterrence from attack: their ballistic missile force, indigenous manufacturing program and research/development. If it were to do so, the Rouhani administration--which is already out on a political limb with its ongoing nuclear talks-- would no doubt be cited by political power centers inside Iran for being irresponsible and derelict in its duty to protect the country.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Belgian FM in Tehran

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders arrived in Tehran today and held talks with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif and the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. He told reporters that Iran's nuclear negotiations with world powers could lead to the restoration of trust between Tehran and the West.

“I hope relationships that are based on trust will be revived with the nuclear negotiations and when a clear, final agreement is reached,” Reynders said in a joint press conference with Zarif. (

Reynders is the third foreign minister from the European Union to visit Iran in the past two months, following in the footsteps of Italy's Emma Bonino and Sweden's Carl Bildt.

Zarif, for his part, expressed optimism for better economic cooperation with Europe.

“Our European friends should know that a good atmosphere and stable conditions have been created for investment in Iran,” Zarif said. (Fars News Agency/eubusiness, 23 February)

Reynders said he also discussed human rights in talks with Iranian officials, which included "the death penalty, freedom of speech and women rights."

“On all these issues, we want an open dialogue,” he said.

He also announced, without providing details, that the European Union's special representative for human rights Stavros Lambrinidis would visit Iran.

Reynders also said Iran should be part of a political solution to the conflict Syria -- where it is a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Photo credit: Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders (L) and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif; Tehran, 23 February 2014. (@Iran/Twitter)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday Revolution in Kiev

The day started with expectations for a political solution to the crisis, and ended with the victory of the revolution!
This morning, President Yanukovich leaves Kiev for Kharkiv and is reportedly stopped by the border guards from flying to Russia. Former premier Yulia Tymoshenko takes the opposite route: is released from detention in Kharkiv, flies to Kiev, and addresses thousands of Ukrainians at Independence Square, now called Maidan (“The Square”), the epicenter of the Ukrainian revolution. She ends her speech by declaring, “Glory to Ukraine!”

Meanwhile, the people march toward the presidential office, found no guards there, and occupy the building, the seat of power; doing so very orderly. This revolution will go down as having one of the most orderly finishes, barring any counterattack by Yanukovich’s supporters, seemingly unlikely so late in the game.

The Rada, Ukrainian parliament, makes it formal: it impeaches Yanukovich and calls early presidential election.

The victorious people then pay visit to the presidential residence, built by Yanukovich few years ago, and where he spent the night on Friday. The visitors see a huge presidential chalet, inside a huge compound, housing other mansions and, yes, a private zoo. The surrealism of it all will remain with us for years to come.

On Sunday, we will have a new Ukraine: “Glory to Ukraine!”

Above photo: The Maidan, 22 February 2014; the day revolution triumphed. (The New Republic)

Below Photos: Yanukovych's private collection of antique and modern cars as well as motorbikes and a scene from his private zoo at the presidential compound he built during his presidency. (Twitter)

Iran Warns Against ‘Militarization of Caspian Sea’

Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanayee warned of the threats posed by the “militarization of the Caspian Sea.”

“Our view is against the militarization of the Caspian Sea since we see the sea as a living creature,” Sanayee said. “The militarization of the Caspian can trigger tensions among the Caspian littoral states.” (Fars News Agency, 22 February)

Sanayee made the remarks today in Tehran during a conference on Caspian Sea, ‘What Are Iran’s Optimum Interests in the Caspian Sea and How Are They Provided?’

He added, “Iran considers any action in this respect (militarization of Caspian) in contradiction to regional security and interests and the prevention of foreign presence in the Caspian area is highly important for Iran.”

The littoral states consist of Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.

It’s customary for Iranian government officials to make major statement like what Ambassador Sanayee said on the danger of militarization of the Caspian Sea without offering the underlying reasons. Which of the five littoral states are expanding their naval bases and military presence in the Caspian? It's believed that Iran is concerned that Azerbaijan might expand its military bases at the Caspian to facilitate the transfer of U.S. military personnel and equipment during its withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of this year.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Boeing, GE Move to Sell Aircraft Parts to Iran

Reuters reported today that American aerospace giant Boeing and engine maker GE have applied for export licenses to Iran to sell airliner parts during the six month window allowed under the Joint Plant of Action (JPOA) agreement signed in November by Iran and world powers. The sales, if they go through, would be the first for the two leading manufacturers since 1979.

A GE spokesman told Reuters that the company’s request to provide Iran with parts and maintenance for engines is for safety reasons only.

“We don't want to make a penny on it. It's entirely for flight safety," said Rick Kenned, the GE spokesman, adding that GE would donate any proceeds to charity. (Reuters, 21 February)

A senior Iranian official told Reuters in November that Iran could require between 250 and 400 jets if and when sanctions are lifted completely.

Iran says the sanctions have prevented it from renewing its fleet, forcing it to use sub-standard Russian aircraft and to patch up jets that have long since exceeded their normal years of service.

File Photo: Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 2013. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Guardian Council Chairman Warns of ‘Underground Network’ with America

Within Country’s Officialdom
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the chairman of Iran’s powerful Guardian Council, told a crowd at Friday’s Prayer in Tehran that some Iranian officials are attempting to establish secret relations with the United States.

“A number of people are trying to build an underground network for relations with America,” said Jannati. “Every time there is an opportunity, a number of America-worshipers with America-friendship … deep within their existence will say something.” (ISNA/Al-Monitor, 21 February)

The ayatollah did not disclose any names, but addressed those officials directly from the Prayer’s pulpit:

“The people accept neither America nor you. Why are you separating your path from the people? What you are doing is futile and will not reach results. However, … the people are not with you, and as long as the people do not want it, nothing will take place.”

But Jannati singled out Iran’s nuclear negotiators and warned them not to enter into negotiations with the United States outside nuclear issue.

“Do not interfere in other work,” Jannati said. “We will not allow you to enter into other issues during the meetings to solve the nuclear issue. We will not give up our rights, and we want nothing more than our rights.” (ISNA/Al-Monitor, 21 February)

File photo: Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati. (Al Arabiya) 

Lebanon Detains Top Suspect In Suicide Bombings Near Iran Centers

Lebanese security forces have detained whom they claim to be the Sunni militant suspected of recruiting suicide bombers and assembling car bombs used in the suicide bombings near Iranian cultural center in Beirut and an earlier suicide bombing at the gate of the nearby Iranian embassy, Reuters reported today.

The security forces said Hassan Abu Afleh, arrested in Beirut, is suspected of being a leading figure in the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, the group that claimed responsibility for Wednesday's twin suicide attack near the Iranian cultural center that killed eight people. The same group said it was behind an attack in November on the Iranian embassy.

File photo: Lebanese soldiers secure the area near the Iranian cultural center at the site of an explosion in the southern suburbs of Beirut, 19 February 2014. (Sharif Karim/Reuters)

Salsabil mixed-use development in Mashhad, under construction

Another active, ambitious construction project in Mashhad: Salsabil mixed-use development. Complex plans for 119 commercial units and 170 residential units, within an infrastructure area of 30,770 square meters.

Rendering of completed Salsabil residential-commercial complex designed by TASH consulting architects and urban planners, a firm managed and directed by Iranian woman engineer Latifeh Heiat.

Another rendering of completed Salsabil residential-commercial complex

 Photos: TASH consulting architects and urban planners

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Iran technology exhibition, on sidelines of Islamic Nations Conference

Iran technology exhibition on the sidelines of Islamic Nations Conference held in Tehran.

Part of the AEOI "Atoms for Peace" display at the Iran technology exhibition: Iran's nuclear fuel assemblies, IR-40 type dummy at right.

Display of various Iranian nuclear reactor fuel related assemblies 

Collection of display cutaways of various IR-type nuclear centrifuge units

Cutaway scale model of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant

Foreground: display of Iranian satellite models:  Toulou, Omid and unidentified
Background: display scale models of Iranian IRILVs including Safir and Simorgh types

Pahpad, AB-3 (Seeker-1) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

Display of various Iranian manufactured medical and scientific related products

Example of Iranian manufactured herbal drug product, ANGIPARS

Photos: Siamak Ebrahimi at Tasnim News Adency