WASHINGTON (AFP) - Palestinian Hamas militants are serving as the "proxy warriors" for an Iran bent on destroying Israel and destabilizing the Middle East, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said here. In a speech Tuesday to the American Jewish Committee in Washington that underscored growing US concerns about Tehran Rice mentioned Iran as not just a threat in the Palestinian territories, but also in Lebanon, Iraq and even in Afghanistan

By ELIANE ENGELER, Associated Press Writer BERN, Switzerland - The president of the World Jewish Congress said Tuesday that Switzerland should cancel a multibillion-dollar contract to buy natural gas from Iran because the deal will strengthen an Islamic regime that is a threat to Israel and the U.S

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer MEXICO CITY - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday that sending a second U.S. aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf could serve as a "reminder" to Iran, but he said it's not an escalation of force.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with Mexican leaders, Gates said heightening U.S. criticism of Iran and its support for terror groups is not a signal that the administration is laying the groundwork for a strike against Tehran.

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said on Sunday a "disastrous situation" facing the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan coupled with Washington's domestic issues made any U.S. attack on the Islamic Republic unlikely.The Foreign Ministry comments came two days after the U.S. Navy said a cargo ship hired by the U.S. military fired warning shots at approaching boats in the Gulf, underscoring tension in an area vital to world oil shipments, and driving up crude prices.

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran's toy market is being inundated by models of Barbie, Batman, Spiderman and Harry Potter and the young must be protected from their harmful cultural effects, the prosecutor general was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Sarah Baxter in Washington
America's top military officer has ratcheted up the pressure on Iran by issuing an unusual public warning that the Pentagon is planning for “potential military courses of action”. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, blamed the Iranian government and Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for its “increasingly lethal and malign influence” in Iraq. He said conflict with Iran would be “extremely stressing” for America’s overstretched forces, but added: “It would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability.”

MANAMA (Reuters) - NATO's secretary-general told Gulf Arab states on Thursday that Iran's nuclear ambitions were a major threat to regional stability. "Iran's pursuit of uranium enrichment capability in violation of its U.N. Security Council obligations is a serious concern not just for Iran's neighbors but for the entire international community," Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a conference to promote ties between NATO and Gulf Arab states.

The New York TimesBy STEPHEN FARRELL and ALISSA J. RUBIN
Published: April 24, 2008 BAGHDAD — Nearly three-quarters of the attacks that kill or wound American soldiers in Baghdad are carried out by Iranian-backed Shiite groups, the United States military said Wednesday.

Thursday, 24 April 2008 TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the country's economic woes can be solved by the "culture of martyrdom, the Mehr news agency reported."If we want to build the country, maintain our dignity and solve economic problems, we need the culture of martyrdom," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying in a speech on Wednesday in the western city of Hamedan.He described martyrdom, dying or being killed for one's religious beliefs, as "a quick and shortcut way to reach the summit of salvation."He did not say how becoming a martyr would help the economy, which is struggling from high inflation.

VIENNA (Reuters) — Iran has agreed to answer contentions stemming from American and other intelligence reports that it studied how to design nuclear weapons, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday.

By AP/JULIA ZAPPEI Malaysia) — Iran has been kicked out of an international defense show in Malaysia for exhibiting missile equipment in violation of U.N. rules, an official said Thursday.

GENEVA (AFP) - Switzerland said on Wednesday it had frozen the assets of a further 12 Iranian companies in accordance with new United Nations sanctions aimed at stopping Tehran's alleged nuclear programme. The 12 companies, and 13 individuals, have been added to an existing blacklist of 23 companies and 27 people. ]

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer VIENNA, Austria - The U.N. nuclear monitoring agency on Wednesday announced what it called a "milestone" agreement with Iran that aims to provide answers about allegations that Tehran tried to develop nuclear weapons. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen and his team had agreed with Iran to start a process aiming to clarify the issue in May.

Middle East states wary of Tehran's sway in BaghdadBy Anne Gearan Associated Press / April 23, 2008 KUWAIT CITY - The United States and Iran, the two nations with the most at stake in Iraq, pointedly ignored each other yesterday as Iraq's premier unsuccessfully pleaded for immediate financial and diplomatic backing from rich Arab neighbors still leery of Tehran's influence on Baghdad.

WASHINGTON, April 22 (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton warned Tehran on Tuesday that if she were president, the United States could "totally obliterate" Iran in retaliation for a nuclear strike against Israel.

TEHRAN (Reuters) - The U.N. atomic watchdog's top investigator ended two days of talks with Iranian officials on Tuesday that sought explanations of Western intelligence that suggested Iran secretly studied how to design nuclear bombs.

By AIDA SULTANOVABAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Azerbaijan halted a Russian shipment of equipment intended for Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, demanding more information for fear of violating United Nations sanctions, officials said Monday.
The Russian state-run company Atomstroiexport said one or two trucks carrying the equipment were stopped two weeks ago at the town of Astara, on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008 By Fredrik Dahl TEHRAN (Reuters) - Three Iranian women's rights campaigners have received suspended lashing and jail sentences for taking part in a rally, a fellow activist said on Tuesday.It was the latest sign of the authorities clamping down on activists demanding greater women's rights in the conservative Islamic Republic, which rejects Western accusations it is discriminating against women.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008 The Associated PressBy ROBERT BURNS
WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he believes Iran is "hell bent" on acquiring nuclear weapons, but he warned in strong terms of the consequences of going to war over that."Another war in the Middle East is the last thing we need and, in fact, I believe it would be disastrous on a number of levels," he said in a speech he was delivering Monday evening at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008 By Takashi Hirokawa and Toko SekiguchiApril 22 (Bloomberg) -- Japan will freeze assets belonging to 12 organizations and 13 people that are tied to Iran's nuclear development, the government's top spokesman said. The action is based on a United Nations Security Council resolution, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura told reporters in Tokyo.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economy minister stepped down on Tuesday in the latest change to his cabinet but there remained confusion over the fate of his interior minister.Economy and Finance Minister Davoud Danesh Jaafari was to hand over his post in a formal ceremony later Tuesday to his successor, the head of the government's economic commission, Hossein Samsani, the state news agency IRNA reported

By Haaretz Correspondent and AP , By Barak Ravid Italy is expected to join a European Union consensus on Iran's nuclear program, after dropping earlier objections last week, possibly paving the way for new sanctions, a government official in Jerusalem said. Outgoing Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema is expected to announce Rome's new position at an EU Council of Ministers meeting at the end of April, the Israeli said.

“These flogging sentences are in violation of Iran’s international obligations and amount to state-sponsored torture. There is no basis for these prosecutions,” the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran stated.
(April 22, 2008) The Iranian Judiciary has issued flogging and prison sentences for four campaigners for women’s rights, thus continuing its program of harassment and prosecution of the women’s rights movement. “These flogging sentences are in violation of Iran’s international obligations and amount to state-sponsored torture. There is no basis for these prosecutions,” the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran stated. On April 19, 2008, Branch 13 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Nasrin Afzali to 10 lashes and a six- month suspended prison sentence, in effect for two years. Afzali’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaii, told the Meydaan website that during her trial on March 12, 2008, the judge issued his sentence although no evidence was presented relating to the charge of “disturbing the public order” brought against her. Security forces detained Afzali along with 32 other women on March 4, 2006, during a gathering of women’s rights activists in support of five of their prosecuted colleagues.
The same court also sentenced another activist, Nahid Jaafari, to 10 lashes and a six- month suspended prison sentence on the same charges on April 21, 2008. Branch 16 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Zeinab Peyghambarzadeh, a sociology student at Tehran University and women’s rights activist, to a two- year suspended prison sentence on March 29, 2008. She was also suspended for two semesters from continuing her education by the university’s Disciplinary Committee. Another activist, Marzieh Mortazi Langaroudi, also detained on March 4, 2006, was sentenced to 10 lashes and a six- month suspended imprisonment on March 29, 2008.“These systematic prosecutions and heavy sentences are being issued without any evidence and due process. The courts have become a vehicle for intimidating the women’s rights movement to put an end to their peaceful activities,” the Campaign said. BACK >>Flogging and Prison Sentences for Women’s Rights Activists
Judiciary Must Review the Sentencing of Ehsan Mansouri, Majid Tavakoli and Ahmad Ghasaban Austrian Firm Should Delay Investment Pending Abolition of Child Executions
Students Resist Prosecution for Peaceful Protests
Detentions and Summonses Target Women, Students, and Labor Activists
Women's Rights

Workers' Rights

Terry Macalister The Guardian
Shell has been warned by Iran that it must commit itself to developing a $10bn (£5bn) gas field in the turbulent Middle East country by June or risk the project being handed over to a rival.Europe's largest oil and gas company has delayed making a final decision on the grounds of soaring costs but also in the knowledge that a decisive move would put it in political conflict with Washington at a time of mounting tension over Tehran's uranium enrichment programme

HERAT, Afghanistan (AFP) — An Afghan teacher was killed in a clash between Afghan and Iranian border guards over a small piece of land on the frontier, Afghanistan's interior ministry said.Two Iranian guards were also wounded in the clash Saturday, it said, adding the fighting started after Iranian border security forces entered the western province of Nimroz."An Afghan civilian who was a teacher was killed in a clash between Afghan and Iranian

Abdullahi Ahmed an-Naim has seen what can happen to an Islamic reformer: His mentor was executed in 1985 in Sudan; he himself had to flee the country. Still, the self-described "Muslim heretic" has no trouble traveling the Islamic world spreading his controversial message: There is no such thing as an Islamic state.
A secular state and human rights are essential for all societies so that Muslims and others can practice their faith freely, he tells his co-religionists.

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran's foreign ministry on Sunday backed the doubts expressed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejed about the accepted version of the September 11, 2001 attacks, saying there were "many ambiguities." Ahmadinejad last week caused controversy when he described the airborne attacks on New York and Washington by Al-Qaeda militants as a "suspect event" and cast doubt on the strikes in three speeches within the space of eight days

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran accused U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of "Iranophobia" on Sunday for trying to blame Tehran for Iraq's security problems.
Rice said last week she would press Iraq's Arab neighbors at a meeting on Tuesday in Kuwait to do more to support Baghdad's government and shield it from Iran's "nefarious influences."Iran, as a neighbor of Iraq, will also attend the gathering

April 20 (Reuters) - Iran and Iraq's other neighbouring countries meet in Kuwait on Tuesday to discuss Iraqi security and other issues.
Following are what Iranian, U.S. and Iraqi officials say about Iran's interests and role in Iraq, as well as analysts views on Tehran's aims:

Customs probe reveals sanctions-busting sales of arms, missile technology and nuclear componentsMark Townsend, defence correspondentInvestigators have identified a number of British arms dealers trading with Tehran, triggering alarm among government officials who fear Iran's nuclear programme may be receiving significant support from UK sources.

TEHRAN (AFP) - Even at 115 dollars a barrel, oil is priced too low, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in comments published on Saturday adding that the commodity "should find its real value". "Oil at 115 dollars a barrel in today's market is a deceiving figure, oil is a strategic commodity and should find its real value," the state broadcaster's website quoted Ahmadinejad as saying on Friday.

by Farhad Pouladi TEHRAN (AFP) - Three of Iran's top clerics have criticised President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over his handling of the economy, which is currently battling 18 percent inflation, the press reported Saturday. "We shift problems and faults onto others and in order to say we are innocent we blame others," Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavikani, a former prime minister and leading traditionalist conservative cleric, said in a speech in Tehran.


TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian police will confront women in private offices, or even socialising in cafes, whose dress is deemed improper, as part of a continuedmorality crackdown, Tehran's police chief said on Thursday.Police have been enforcing the crackdown for the past year and its morality patrol officers have handed tens of thousands of warnings to women on Tehran's streets.Including offices and cafes -- which so far have not been targeted -- would mark a major expansion of the drive.
"As part of the campaign to increase security in society, the police in the capital will soon act against bad veiling in private companies, cafes, internet cafes and restaurants," Commander Ahmad Reza Radan said.

Friday, 18 April 2008 From CNN/ State Department Producer Elise Labott WASHINGTON Frustrated U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle slammed the Bush administration Thursday for an Iran policy they charged lacks direction and has failed to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Friday, 18 April 2008 The Washington PostBy Charles Krauthammer The era of nonproliferation is over. During the first half-century of the nuclear age, safety lay in restricting the weaponry to major powers and keeping it out of the hands of rogue states. This strategy was inevitably going to break down. The inevitable has arrived.The six-party talks on North Korea have failed miserably. They did not prevent Pyongyang from testing a nuclear weapon and entering the club. Now North Korea has broken yet again its agreement to reveal all its nuclear facilities.
The other test case was Iran. The EU-3 negotiations (Britain, France and Germany) went nowhere. Each U.N. Security Council resolution enacting what passed for sanctions was more useless than the last. Uranium enrichment continues.
When Iran's latest announcement that it was tripling its number of centrifuges to 9,000 elicited no discernible response from the Bush administration, the game was over. Everyone says Iran must be prevented from going nuclear. No one will bell the cat.The "international community" is prepared to do nothing of consequence to halt nuclear proliferation. No one wants to admit that. Nor does anyone want to contemplate the prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of one, two, many rogue states.We must. The day is coming, and quickly. We must face reality and begin thinking how we live with the unthinkable.here are four ways to deal with rogue states going nuclear: preemption, deterrence, missile defense and regime change.
Preemption works but, as a remedy, it is spent. Iraq was defanged by the 1981 Israeli airstrike, by the 1991 Persian Gulf War (which uncovered Saddam Hussein's clandestine nuclear programs) and finally by the 2003 invasion, which ended the Hussein dynasty, père et deux fils.A collateral effect of the Iraq war was Libya's nuclear disarmament. Seeing Hussein's fate, Moammar Gaddafi declared and dismantled his nuclear program. And if November's National Intelligence Estimate is to be believed, the Iraq invasion even induced Iran to temporarily suspend weaponization and enrichment.But the cost of preemption is simply too high. No one is going to renew the Korean War with an attack on Pyongyang. And the prospects of an attack on Iran's facilities are now vanishingly small. What to do?

Friday, 18 April 2008 Iran Focus/ Tehran, Iran, Apr. 18 – A senior official in Iran’s hard-line dominated Majlis (Parliament) has stressed that "resolutions and sanctions imposed against Iran will never stop the country's nuclear program”, state media reported on Thursday.Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, reiterated that no new international proposal would be considered by Tehran if it included a provision that Iran suspends uranium enrichment, state television quoted him as saying on Wednesday. He was referring to a possible future incentives package to be offered to Tehran by the United Nations’ P5+1 states – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

WASHINGTON —Friday, April 18, 2008 A U.S. report projects a concerted effort by Saudi Arabia to match Iran's nuclear weapons program.
The report, submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, took note of a U.S. assessment that Teheran's nuclear program frightens the Saudi royal family "to their core."

UNITED NATIONS - Iran's U.N. Mission said allegations by U.S. officials that the country is supporting the insurgency in Iraq are "unfounded" and "baseless."

Fri Apr 18/ VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog's top investigator will launch talks in Tehran on Monday to press for Iranian answers to Western intelligence alleging that Iran covertly studied how to design atomic bombs.

By Melissa Eddy, Associated Press Writer
Iranian diplomat: German involvement in sanctions not hurting Iran; Asia trade on the rise BERLIN (AP) -- An Iranian deputy foreign minister said Friday that Germany's reduction in trade with Iran as part of Western sanctions is not hurting his country because competitors from Asia are stepping in to fill the gaps.

Iran Focus
Tehran, Iran, Apr. 17 - Iran put on display an 1,800 km-range “Qadr 1” missile during a procession of its military forces on Thursday, state media reported.

Iran has been displaying its military power at a ceremony to mark the country's annual army day.

By Scott Stearns
WashingtonU.S. President Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown say they are working to extend sanctions against Iran's nuclear program. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, the two leaders met to discuss wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as political unrest in Zimbabwe.

SHANGHAI, China: Talks on incentives aimed at persuading Iran to stop its nuclear program ended with no clear result, though the meeting's chairman said diplomatic efforts would continue.The five permanent U.N. Security Council members as well as Germany and the European Union "reached agreements on some major parts" during the closed-door meeting, said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei, who hosted the session. He did not give details of the talks, which ended Wednesday.


(AFP) - Iran is installing vending machines in Tehran to sell cheap condoms and syringes to drug addicts to prevent the spread of AIDS and hepatitis, an official said on Wednesday. "Five of these machines which have been made will be installed in five of Tehran city's welfare shelters for addicts," the deputy head of Iran's anti-narcotics organisation, Mohammad Reza Jahani, said.
"Condoms, syringes, bandages and plasters will be easily accessible just by inserting a coin. This protects addicts from acquiring AIDS and hepatitis," he added, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
He said that a single 500 rial (five cents) coin is required to purchase the items.

James McKeigue LONDON - Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari taunted America and Britain after the two countries appealed for OPEC to increase supply. "Why should OPEC try to lower prices? ... Let America and Britain continue demanding," the controversial minister said to journalists outside a conference in Tehran on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States said Wednesday it was "speechless" after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad voiced doubts about the accepted version of the September 11 I am not sure what you say about a statement like that. It leaves one speechless," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack."It is just It is just misguided, misinformed rhetoric," McCormack said.
"I cannot tell whether or not it is something that he truly believes or if this is just an attempt to try to shake up public opinion in Iran or elsewhere," McCormack said.Earlier Wednesday, Ahmadinejad called the 9/11 attacks a "suspect event" in a speech at a public rally in the holy city of Qom."Four or five years ago a suspect event took place in New York," Ahmadinejad said,in an address carried live on state television."A building collapsed and they said that 3,000 people had been killed, whose names were never published."

By Cara AnnaASSOCIATED PRESS
SHANGHAI, China – Talks on incentives aimed at persuading Iran to stop its nuclear program ended Wednesday with no clear result, though the chairman said diplomatic efforts would continue.
The five permanent U.N. Security Council members, Germany and the European Union “reached agreements on some major parts” during the closed-door meeting, said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei, who hosted the session. He did not give details.

The Iranian authorities this month have added several more names to the list of political activists, human rights campaigners, and journalists who have been imprisoned for voicing dissent.
The leader of the unregistered Democratic Party of Iran, Abbas Khorsandi, is among the latest targets of the Iranian security services. Khorsandi was sentenced last week to eight years in prison after being found guilty of threatening Iranian state security by setting up "an illegal political group."
A 50-year-old economics professor in the northern town of Firuzkuh, Khorsandi was arrested about seven months ago and has spent more than two months in solitary confinement in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday ordered the police to protect Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, who said she had received death threats, the state IRNA news agency reported. "Following reports about threatening notes to Ms Shirin Ebadi, the president ordered the police chief to immediately adopt measures to provide security to this Iranian citizen and alleviate concerns," IRNA said.
"Ahmadinejad asked the police chief to investigate this matter, discover the origin of these letters and refer those behind it to the judiciary," it added.

By Parisa Hafezi TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will respond to any military attack from Israel by "eliminating" the Jewish state, a senior army commander said on Tuesday.
Deputy commander-in-chief Mohammad Reza Ashtiani was echoing Iran's late leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who said Israel should be wiped off the map.

TEHRAN, April 15 (Reuters) - The number of executions in Iran is "not high", the judiciary said on Tuesday, responding to an Amnesty International report that listed the Islamic Republic as the world's second most prolific executioner in 2007.
European governments and Western rights groups have criticised Iran for an increasing number of hangings since authorities launched a clampdown on "immoral behaviour" in July.Amnesty said on Tuesday that Iran had executed 317 people last year. China, the world's leading executioner, carried out at least 470 death sentences in 2007, the rights group said.

By Fredrik Dahl and Parisa Hafezi
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran says it plans proposals to help end a row over its nuclear ambitions but at the same time it is raising the stakes before world powers meet by expanding work the West fears could produce bombs.The five permanent U.N. Security Council members -- the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain -- and Germany are expected to discuss sweetening an incentives package offered in 2006 when their officials meet in Shanghai onWednesday.Iranian officials have repeatedly ruled out halting the nuclear program in return for trade and other benefits.

In testimony before the United States Senate, the top U.S. military officer and the leading U.S. diplomat in Iraq said that recent gains in Iraq’s security situation are significant but reversible. Both General David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said that the threat from al-Qaida in Iraq has been diminished, but not extinguished; ethno-sectarian violence has been reduced, but could flare up, particularly if it is fueled by the actions of outside actors. And both men spoke of the continuing destructive influence of Iran in Iraq.


The preacher who was speaking to followers when a deadly blast went off in his southern Iran mosque Saturday night told an Iranian news agency that the explosion was definitely a bomb. Some Iranian authorities said the explosion in the southern city of Shiraz could have been an accident caused by munitions left as props to commemorate the Iran-Iraq war.

By NAZILA FATHIPublished: April 14, 2008 TEHRAN, April 13 — The death toll from a powerful explosion at a mosque in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz on Saturday evening rose to 12, the state news media reported Sunday. The number of those wounded had reached 202. A terrorist attack has not been ruled out, but officials said the blast could have been an accident.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States and Iran have been conducting secret back-channel discussions on Tehran's nuclear program and frozen relations between the two countries, The Independent reported Monday.
The British newspaper quotes former US under secretary of state Thomas Pickering as saying that a group of former US diplomats and foreign policy experts had been meeting with Iranian academics and policy advisers "in a lot of different places, although not in the US or Iran" for the past five years.

Twelve people died and 191 others wounded at Shohada Hosseiniyeh mosque explosion in Shiraz, the capital of southern province of Fars, IRNA reported.
According to Shiraz Emergency Center, some 60 outpatients left the hospital while 28 wounded need surgeries. A powerful explosion at Rahpouyan-e Vessal cultural center that is part of a mosque, located in a residential area of Shiraz, took place at around 9:00 pm (1630 GMT) Saturday during an evening prayer sermon by a prominent local cleric.

By NASSER KARIMI, Associated Press Writer TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian officials raised the death toll from an explosion in a packed mosque in southern Iran to 12 on Sunday and said more than 200 had been injured in the blast.
Iranian media initially quoted local officials as saying the explosion Saturday in the city of Shiraz was caused by a homemade bomb and could have been religiously motivated.

By HOPE YEN/ WASHINGTON (AP) — With al-Qaida's influence diminishing in Iraq, U.S. troops have much work to do in stemming Iranian support for militias, President Bush's national security adviser said Sunday.

Authorities upped the casualty count from a Saturday night explosion in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz to 12 dead and 202 injured
The explosion took place in a Shiite Muslim house of worship during a talk by a controversial cleric. Mohammed Anjivinejad is known for his denunciations of the Wahhabi Islam that drives Sunni extremists as well as the Bahai faith, a small religion born in Iran during the 19th century that Shiite clerics consider heretical. Check out the

Authorities Should Investigate Allegations of Abuse
(Washington, DC, April 10, 2008) – Iranian authorities should immediately investigate allegations that Ministry of Information agents and interrogators tortured four detained student activists, and punish officials involved in such abuse, Human Rights Watch said today. According to sources familiar with the case, the students have suffered physical and psychological abuse during detention. Three students remain imprisoned, and the whereabouts of the fourth detainee, taken from his hospital bed on April 5, are unknown.

By M K Bhadrakumar April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. T S Eliot's famous opening lines from The Waste Land come to mind as Washington confirms that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is heading for the Middle East to attend an international conference regarding the Iraq situation, in Kuwait on April 22. This will be no ordinary run-of-the-mill international conference. It's about Iraq. And Rice may well bump into her Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki.

From Michael Ware
CNN WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iranian influence on Iraq's ruling parties is a "stark reality," the commander of U.S. troops in Iraq said Thursday, but he said Iranian support for Iraqi Shiite Muslim militias has raised "genuine concern" among leaders in Baghdad.In a CNN interview after two days before Congress, Gen. David Petraeus said some Iranian influence in Iraq was "understandable" given the ruling Shiite coalition's longstanding ties to Iran.

Adnkronos International
Mashad, A top Shia cleric in Iran has said that unveiled women are a serious danger to Iranian society as they cause men to be "transformed into beasts".
"Women without the veil are a danger that the authorities underestimate," said Hojatolislam Seyyed Ahmad Elmalhoda, a powerful cleric who leads the Friday prayers in Mashad, a site considered sacred for Shia Muslims as it houses the shrine of Imam Reza.

Iran Focus Tehran, Iran, Apr. 11 – Iranian authorities have hanged two men in the volatile south-eastern province of Sistan-va-Baluchistan, state media reported on Thursday.Both men, identified as Abdol-Qodus and Mohammad Yousef, were executed in a prison in the provincial capital Zahedan on Wednesday, said the website Tabnak, which is run by associates of the former Commandant of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Gen. Mohsen Rezai.They had been arrested on December 13 along with 11 other militants during armed clashes with security forces, the report said.

The Independent By Robert Fisk in Teir Dibba, south Lebanon
The Shia "martyrs" of this hill village are normally killed in the dangerous, stony landscape of southern Lebanon, in Israeli air raids or invasions or attacks from the sea. The Hizbollah duly honours them. But the body of the latest Shia fighter to be buried here – from the local Hashem family – was flown back to Lebanon last month from Iran.

The Times Fri. 11 Apr 2008
Michael Evans The secret site where Iran is suspected of developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching targets in Europe has been uncovered by new satellite photographs.
The imagery has pinpointed the facility from where the Iranians launched their Kavoshgar 1 “research rocket” on February 4, claiming that it was in connection with their space programme

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush issued a stark warning to Iran to stop interfering in Iraq on Thursday and characterized Iran and al Qaeda as "two of the greatest threats to America." In a speech at the White House, Bush, who has accused Iran of backing militant groups in southern Iraq and providing explosives to extremists in the country, said Tehran had a choice in its relations with Iraq.

TEHRAN (AFP) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday set Iran the target of wiping out the "corrupt world leadership," in his latest verbal attack on Western powers locked in a nuclear crisis with Tehran. "The Iranian nation will not give up until the corrupt leadership in the world has been obliterated," Ahmadinejad said in the Shiite holy city of Mashhad, northeast Iran, quoted by the Fars news agency.

By Thomas Omestad Posted April 10, 2008 /Iran's determined campaign to enrich uranium—highlighted this week by the announcement that it was installing 6,000 more fuel-producing centrifuges to its current stable of 3,000—is spurring more criticism of the Bush administration for its refusal to negotiate with Iran as long as it is making nuclear fuel.

Iran's government spokesman announced on Wednesday that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will replace the economy and interior ministers, the state-owned Press TV satellite channel reported.

By Parisa Hafezi TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's president on Wednesday warned the West to expect a "bloody nose" over mounting pressure on Iran to halt its sensitive uranium enrichment activities, state television reported. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany will meet on April 16 in Shanghai to discuss whether to sweeten incentives they had offered Iran in 2006 to curb its nuclear program.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Tuesday warned Iran it risked further isolation and new international sanctions after refusing to comply with UN Security Council resolutions over its disputed nuclear program.

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer /WASHINGTON - The Bush administration sees an opening with Iran in the recent flare-up of violence in Iraq, saying Tuesday that Shiite infighting may make Tehran think twice about undermining the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer /TEHRAN, Iran - An Iranian court gave a two-year suspended sentence Tuesday to a former senior nuclear negotiator who had been accused by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of spying for the West.

by Aresu Eqbali /TEHRAN (AFP) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to sack Iran's economy and interior ministers, in the latest changes to the cabinet just after parliamentary elections, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

TEHRAN, Iran - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced major progress in Iran's push for nuclear power, saying Tuesday that his nation was installing thousands of new uranium-enriching centrifuges and testing a much faster version of the device.

The Wall Street JournalSharp Differences In Viewpoints Echo Discord on Iraq Issue
By YOCHI J. DREAZEN and LAURA MECKLER
April 8, 2008; Page A3 WASHINGTON -- Iran might end up sharing center stage when Gen. David Petraeus and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, testify Tuesday before Senate panels featuring the three presidential candidates.

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran voiced support on Monday for Iraq's prime minister in a crackdown on a Shi'ite militia but blamed U.S. forces for civilian deaths in the fighting.

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran has begun installing 6,000 new centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, state television quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying Tuesday.

By Arshad Mohammed
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany plan to meet in April to discuss whether to sweeten incentives they have offered Iran to curb its nuclear program, U.S. officials said on Monday.

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran announced on Monday that it had received a "request" from its arch-foe the United States to hold a fourth round of talks on security in Iraq.
"We have received a new request from US officials through a formal note for holding talks on Iraq and we are looking into the issue," foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters.

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran on Tuesday marks its new national day celebrating the achievements of its controversial nuclear programme with speeches by top officials including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

For the second year the Islamic republic is staging its "national day of nuclear achievement" commemorating the April 2006 anniversary of Iran's first production of uranium sufficiently enriched to make atomic fuel.

TEHRAN (AFP) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economy minister on Sunday admitted Iran's government had failed to control rampant inflation, which figures showed rose to 18.4 percent in the last year.

SOCHI, Russia (AFP) - US President George W. Bush thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday for Moscow's efforts to help ease international worries about Iran's nuclear program.

By LEE KEATH, Associated Press Writer/ TEHRAN, Iran - Zahra Saremi took a different sort of vacation this year to celebrate Iranian New Year — touring the bloody battlefields of Iran's long war with Iraq at a week-long camp dedicated to martyrdom and patriotism.Such tours are a crucial tool for Iran's clerical leaders as they seek to keep alive fervor for the 1979 Islamic Revolution, especially among young people with little or no memory of it.

MUSCAT (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates reaffirmed to the leader of Oman on Saturday that Washington wanted to resolve its disputes with Iran diplomatically, a senior U.S. defense official said.

Digest April 6, 2008: Iran turns down EU on nuclear program
TEHRAN, Iran // Iran rejected recent European overtures to halt its uranium enrichment program in return for incentives and vowed yesterday to continue to expand its nuclear program. Government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said Iran will still talk to Europe about its nuclear program. The European Union said last month that it was open for further talks with Iran despite U.N. approval of a third round of sanctions. Six key nations also pledged to enhance a 2006 package of political, security and economic incentives for Iran to halt uranium enrichment.

Tehran, Iran, Apr. 01 - An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale jolted an island on Iran's southern shores early on Friday.The quake occurred at 05:05 local time (00:35 GMT), the official news agency IRNA reported.The tremor hit near the island of Hondourabi which falls within the province of Hormozgan, the report said.There were no immediate reports of any casualties or damage to property.

The Washington Times
By Rowan ScarboroughThe contested U.S. intelligence conclusion that Iran stopped work on its nuclear weapons program in 2003 is now being downplayed by the same officials who wrote the much-publicized report in November.
"Why would the Iranians be willing to pay the international tariff they appear to be willing to pay for what they are doing now if they did not have, at a minimum, at a minimum, they did not have a desire to keep the option open to develop a nuclear weapon and perhaps even more so that they have already decided to do that?" CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said Sunday.

Iran Focus/ Tehran, Iran, Apr. 04 - Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday that Tehran would reject any new incentives offered to it by world powers in return for it to suspend uranium enrichment, a key demand of the United Nations Security Council.Ahmadinejad made the remarks in an interview with the Japanese news agency Kyodo News."This is a non-negotiable subject", Ahmadinejad said in response to a question about possible incentives for Tehran to suspend enrichment activities.

04/03/08
Iran's Ministry of Welfare and Social Security policies still based on charity: Social welfare researcher announcing the increasing subsidy escaping rate
Figures regarding the population living "under the absolute poverty line": Fifteen million divergence in official and expert' statistics
Payvand.com -- A social welfare researcher referring to the welfare indexes in the country said: Still a part of Iranian population lives under the extreme poverty line not having enough income even to spend on food. Iran's per capita income is about 300 dollars, whereas the rate for Kuwait is 26 thousands, UAE 25 thousands, Saudi Arabia 12.4 thousands and Amman 9.5 thousand dollars.Saeed Madani in an interview with social correspondent of Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), asserted that optimistically the population living under the poverty line has been announced to be one million. He added: Nevertheless realistic assessments indicate that four to five million Iranians now live under the extreme poverty line.

The Daily Telegraph
By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
China has betrayed one its closest allies by providing the United Nations with intelligence on Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear technology, diplomats have revealed.
Concern over Tehran's secretive research programme has increased in recent weeks after officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, discovered that Iran had obtained information on how to manufacture nuclear-armed weapons.

Israel's Knesset (parliament) on Wednesday approved a bill prohibiting all business institutions from investing in companies upholding ties with Iran, local daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on its website.

The bill, put forward by opposition leader MK (member of Knesset) Benjamin Netanyahu, was in an effort to broaden the economic sanctions on Iran and thus to hinder its nuclear progress, Yedioth Ahronoth said, adding that the new law carries a sentence of 25 years in prison.

Nato countries have agreed to back US plans to site a missile defence system in Europe, at a summit in Romania.
Member states will endorse a communiqué backing the plan to position missile defence bases in the Czech Republic and Poland, US officials said.

WASHINGTON - Saudi Arabia most likely would develop nuclear weapons if Iran acquires them, according to a report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

BEIJING - China denied Thursday that it had provided the International Atomic Energy Agency with intelligence linked to Iran's alleged attempts to make nuclear arms.

Iran’s official inflation rate is rising ten times as fast as the national growth level.The Iranian government puts the inflation rate in the Persian calendar year which ended March 19 at above the 18 percent threshold. Most economic analysts who follow the state of Iran’s fitful economy put the real level at well above 20 percent.

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan termed his detention as "irrational" in a newspaper interview published on Wednesday, and said he hoped the new government would free him soon. Khan was put under house arrest by President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad after an investigation was launched in late 2003 and he confessed on television in early 2004 to passing nuclear secrets and materials to Iran, North Korea and Libya

UNITED NATIONS - Russia's U.N. ambassador urged Iran on Monday to drop its opposition to talks with six key nations trying to ensure that its nuclear program is peaceful, saying the only way to resolve the dispute is through negotiations.

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