The iran project News related to Iran, specially political, military and regional news! Thu, 28 Aug 2014 21:10:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Iran to equip navy, IRGC with Jamaran-class warships Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:56:48 +0000 monire@Iran TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s Navy and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps naval forces are scheduled to be equipped with different versions of the home-made Jamaran-class warships, an IRGC commander announced.


IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said on Thursday in Iran’s northeastern holy city of Mashhad that the navy will not have any shortages in the field of warships after being equipped with the indigenous Jamaran-class vessels.

The IRGC navy commander also called on the country’s shipbuilding sector to play a more active role in order to make the country self-sufficient in this sphere.

The design and building of Jamaran has been among the greatest achievements of the Iranian Navy and the ship’s launch marks a major technological leap for Iran’s naval industries.

The Jamaran class combines anti-submarine assets with other systems of weapons capable of dealing with surface and air threats as well.

The Iranian Navy launched its first domestically-built destroyer, Jamaran, in the waters of the Persian Gulf in February 2010.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and has attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.

Tehran has always assured other nations that its military might poses no threat to the regional countries, saying that the Islamic Republic’s defense doctrine is entirely based on deterrence.

By Tasnim News Agency


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Majority of Israelis say no victory achieved in Gaza war Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:45:49 +0000 monire@Iran

This file photo shows Israeli soldiers resting in an area near central Gaza during the recent war on the besieged Palestinian territory.

A recent survey shows that a majority of Israelis believe the Tel Aviv regime did not manage to achieve victory in its latest military aggression against the blockaded Gaza Strip.

In a new poll conducted by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper on Wednesday, about 54 percent of Israelis think the regime failed to establish a clear victory in more than 50 days of fatal assaults on Gazans.

The poll results run counter to claims by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Tel Aviv regime achieved a great military and political success over Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas in the new war on the coastal enclave.

Netanyahu has come under sharp criticism by many Israeli officials, including members of his own coalition, after reaching a ceasefire deal with the Palestinian resistance groups on August 26.

The Israeli premier’s allies and the regime’s media have expressed deep disappointment over his leadership after the truce agreement with the Palestinians.

Critics say the conflict in Gaza has taken an economic toll on Israel while dozens of Israeli soldiers were also killed.

The Israeli military unleashed aerial attacks on Gaza in early July and later expanded its new military campaign with a ground invasion into the Palestinian strip.

More than 2,130 Palestinians, including around 570 children, lost their lives in the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip. Some 11,000 other people were also wounded.

Tel Aviv also said 68 Israeli soldiers had died in the war, but Hamas put the number at more than 150.


By Press TV


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Hundreds rally in Kiev demanding Ukrainian president’s resignation Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:40:49 +0000 monire@Iran TEHRAN (FNA)- Hundreds of protesters blocked one of Kiev’s thoroughfares on Thursday demanding the resignation of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and urgent deployment of military hardware in the combat area in Eastern Ukraine.

The protesters who gathered near the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s headquarters are also seeking the resignation of Minister Valery Geletei and commanders of the military operation in the Southeast, Itar-Tass reported.

Several unarmed servicemen are guarding the headquarters.

A group of activists was rallying with similar demands near the presidential administration on Wednesday.

By Tasnim News Agency


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Iran’s 4-month petchem sales rise despite sanctions Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:37:26 +0000 monire@Iran TEHRAN August 28 (Shana)–A senior Iranian petrochemical official said the country’s petrochemical exports have risen some 4% during the first 4 month of the current calendar which began on March 2014 despite western sanctions.

 Speaking with the Bloomberg in his office here in Tehran, Mohammad-Hasan Peyvandi, Vice President of Iran’s National Petrochemical Company, said, “[Exporting Petrochemical] has gotten better. In the past three to four months, we’ve had between 4 to 6 percent” increases in production and exports.

However, he said, the short window for sanctions relief — initially meant to last only six months before last month being extended another four to November — has made it harder to benefit from eased restrictions on chemical sales and banking. 

The official added that the western sanctions still restrict Iran’s petrochemical exports even as some sales embargoes are suspended on the products as a result of Iran’s heated negotiations with world powers over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.

Transferring payments for sales and securing insurance for exports remain the biggest hindrances for petrochemical producers, Mohammad-Hasan Peyvandi further said.



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Atletico Madrid signs Saeid Ezzatollahi Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:32:36 +0000 monire@Iran TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian teenager Saeid Ezzatollahi signed a five-year contract with Spanish giant football club Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.


Ezzatollahi was Iran’s captain in the 2013 U-17 World Cup in UAE.

He joined Malavan in 2012 and made his debut for the Iranian team at age 15.

Ezzatollahi will play for Atletico Madrid B in Spanish third league as well as Atletico Madrid U-19.

“I am very happy to be here and I want to be the Atletico Madrid’s first Iranian player. I also thank my coaches who helped me in the previous years,” Ezzatollahi told the Tasnim news agency.

“I cannot play in Atletico Madrid Until October since I am not 18-year- old. I will miss some Atletico Madrid’s matches in the UEFA Champions League,” the Iranian midfielder added.

“Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has permitted me to participate in the main team’s training camp to see me in person,” Ezzatollahi said.

By Tasnim News Agency


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Alireza Haghighi joins Penafiel on loan Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:30:10 +0000 monire@Iran TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian international goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi joined Penafiel on loan from Russian Rubin Kazan on Wednesday.


Haghighi, 27, played in Portuguese second division Sporting Covilhã in the last season.

Newly promoted Penafiel is now bottom of the table after the team suffered two defeats from its two matches.

Haghighi was part of Iran football team in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where the Iranian team lost to Argentina and Bosnia and Herzegovina and played out a goalless draw with Nigeria.

The custodian started his career at Iranian popular football club Persepolis in 2006.

By Tasnim News Agency


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OPEC oil output rises in August as Libyan recovery holds Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:24:46 +0000 monire@Iran LONDON, Aug 28 (Reuters) – OPEC’s oil production has risen in August from July, a Reuters survey found on Thursday, as a recovery in Libyan supply held up and Angola and Iran boosted supplies, outweighing a further decline in Iraq.

The survey also found Saudi Arabia and other core Gulf OPEC producers kept output largely flat and have not cut back to prop up prices, which in August dipped to a 14-month low near $101 a barrel, or to make room for higher Libyan output.

Supply from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has averaged 30.15 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, up from 30.06 million bpd in July, according to the survey based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants.

The 12-member OPEC pumps a third of the world’s oil. In August, the largest increase has come from Libya, where supply is up by 100,000 bpd. Still, a linear recovery looks unlikely, analysts say, due to continued conflict.

“I think it will continue, but with setbacks and very slowly,” said Carsten Fritsch, commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “It will not be a one-way street.”

For now, increases in Libya, Angola and Iran have put OPEC’s output above the group’s nominal target of 30 million bpd for a second month. Involuntary outages, such as in Libya, kept output below 30 million bpd in earlier months of the year.

Another sizeable increase has come from Angola, where four cargoes of CLOV crude, a new stream operated by Total, have loaded in August, compared with none in July.

Iranian output climbed in August following a few months of lower sales, the survey found, on higher exports. Iranian output and exports have risen since the start of the year, following a softening of Western sanctions on Iran over its nuclear work.

Top exporter Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, kept supply to market largely flat, industry sources said. In Saudi Arabia, high levels of domestic crude burning in power plants offset lower exports, they said.

Of the countries with falling output, the biggest drop of 140,000 bpd has come from Iraq because of a decline in oil exports from its southern terminals due to weather delays.

Iraqi oil officials say the southern fields have not been affected by fighting in other parts of the country. But violence has hit supply of Kirkuk crude from the north and shut down the Baiji refinery, keeping crude output below Iraq’s potential.

OPEC is not scheduled to meet to review output policy until November and a dip in prices – Brent crude reached $101.07 on Aug. 19, a 14-month low – has not caused concern, according to delegates and ministers.

“The decline in crude prices is due to seasonal fluctuations and will not last,” Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, was quoted on Tuesday by Iranian news service Shana as saying.

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U.S. may use secrets act to stop suit against Iran sanctions group Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:20:33 +0000 monire@Iran

Greek shipowner Victor Restis (C) leaves a court in Athens July 23, 2013.

(Reuters) – The U.S. government is considering using a powerful national security law to halt a private lawsuit against a non-profit group, United Against A Nuclear Iran, according to a source familiar with the case.

Greek businessman and ship owner Victor Restis last year sued UANI for defamation after the New York-based group, whose advisors include former intelligence officials from the United States, Europe and Israel, accused him of violating sanctions on Iran by exporting oil from the country.

Earlier this year, U.S. government lawyers declared their interest in the lawsuit, warning that information related to UANI could jeopardize law enforcement activities.

An intervention by the government in a private civil lawsuit is rare, and its use of a privilege under state secrets statutes to clamp down on the case would be a highly unusual move. Other cases where the government has invoked the privilege include lawsuits filed against the National Security Agency in the wake of leaks to journalists by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on the case. Representatives for UANI could not be reached for comment.

Restis’ lawyer, Abbe Lowell, declined to comment, but noted court filings in which he argued that the state secrets privilege could not be used without the government first explaining the true nature of its relationship to UANI.

Restis denies doing illegal business with Iran. As part of the lawsuit, his lawyers have demanded that UANI produce whatever evidence it had that Restis was violating the sanctions and explain where it came from.

Iran denies Western accusations that it has been seeking the capability to assemble nuclear weapons. Diplomatic talks between Iran and the United States, France, Russia, Britain,China and Germany are expected to resume in September, with the aim of reaching a settlement by Nov. 24 that would scale back Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions.

An effort by government lawyers to mediate a settlement between UANI and Restis appears to have failed, the source said.

UANI, which advocates against engagement with Iran by naming and shaming companies and people who do business there, has a small budget. It spent $1.5 million in 2013 according to its tax filings. The group, however, uses sources such as commercially sold satellite imagery for its campaigns.

Among its advisory board members are Meir Dagan, the former director of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, and August Hanning, the former director of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service.

Its chief executive, Mark Wallace, is also the CEO of Tigris Financial Group, an investment company backed by the billionaire American gold investor Thomas Kaplan. Restis did not originally name Kaplan in the defamation lawsuit, but his lawyer is seeking to depose Kaplan as part of the proceedings.

The government and lawyers for UANI have previously sought to delay evidence gathering in the case. UANI lawyers have told the court they could not produce certain documents requested by Restis because they would reveal U.S. government secrets.

In March, a Justice Department lawyer wrote to U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, who is presiding over the case in Manhattan, confirming the government’s interest and requesting a temporary halt to proceedings while the government decided what to do. Ramos granted the stay, but ordered the government to explain why it wanted the material suppressed.

In an April 9 letter, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Byars wrote that the material in question could be protected under a privilege designed to prevent the public release of law enforcement techniques, confidential sources, undercover operatives and active investigations. But if it invoked the powerful state secrets privilege, the government would be claiming the information would not only interfere with law enforcement efforts but also jeopardize national security.

The government has until Sept. 12 to decide whether to use the state secrets privilege.

The privilege can be used to block the release of information in a lawsuit, but the government has also used it to force the dismissal of lawsuits. It is unclear whether the privilege would be applied only to certain information in the Restis case or whether it would cause the case to be closed completely.

The case is Restis et al v. American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran Inc, (dba United Against A Nuclear Iran) et al, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 13-05032.

By Reuters


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Indonesia massacre, Iran sanctions impact infuse Venice film offerings Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:16:41 +0000 monire@Iran

Director Rakhshan Banietemad (L) and actor Peiman Moadi arrive at the red carpet for the movie “Ghesseha (Tales)” at the 71st Venice Film Festival August 28, 2014.

(Reuters) – Films about a 1960s massacre in Indonesia and the harsh conditions in Iran under present-day international sanctions and how they affect ordinary people struck somber notes at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday.

A French caper based on a fictionalized version of a true story about the theft of Charlie Chaplin’s coffin shortly after his death in 1977 was shown as one of 20 films in contention for the festival’s top prize, to be awarded next week, and provided a macabre, touching and often humorous counterpoint.

Eugene Chaplin, Chaplin’s son, said at a news conference he had been skeptical about cooperating on director Xavier Beauvois’s “La rancon de la gloire” (The Price of Glory) because “I didn’t see what could be funny about stealing a coffin”. But, after seeing Beauvois’s films, “I thought, ‘Why not?’”

American director Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence”, shown out of competition, is his second documentary based on death squads that roamed Indonesia in the wake of a failed communist-led coup attempt and killed as many as a million people. The first, “The Act of Killing” (2012), was nominated for an Oscar in the documentary category.

Asked at a press conference on Thursday why the credits for the new film, which had its premiere on Wednesday night, mostly read “anonymous”, Oppenheimer said the production crew was at risk if their identities were revealed.

“There is a grave political risk for anybody involved with the crew in Indonesia if their identities become known to the authorities, especially to the military and the paramilitary group that played such a prominent role in my previous film.”

He also said that Adi Runkin, a traveling optometrist who meets with some of his brother Ramli’s killers in the course of the new film, had to move to a different part of Indonesia due to concerns for his safety once the film was released.

Runkin, who is in his 40s, said he agreed to participate after seeing clips assembled by Oppenheimer that had showed him the magnitude and brutality of the killing, and convinced him the past had to be confronted to assure a better future.

“I only want the perpetrators to acknowledge and admit what they did and to acknowledge that they were wrong so that we would somehow be able to actually forgive each other and live together, that’s all I wanted from those confrontations,” he said in remarks translated into English.

“We live in one community which is split by mutual feelings of suspicion and fear and I really want all of this to end.”

Iranian director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad said she had not had to film underground in Iran where her film “Ghesseha” (Tales) was shot, at least in part with a digital camera that with its grainy images emphasizes the grittiness of life in Tehran.

“The main thing is that the story, the project, needs to be accepted within the country, it needs to reflect peoples’ lives,” she said after the film’s first festival screening.

What it shows in a bleak and desolate-seeming Tehran, the lives of people with barely enough money to survive being made more miserable by a Kafkaesque bureaucracy, unemployment, drug addiction and wife abuse.

In one case a functionary will not listen to an elderly former civil servant’s plea to recoup crippling medical costs because the bureaucrat is more interested in taking a call from his mistress.

Also shown are the aimless and drug-scarred lives of young people who cannot get proper jobs, like a formerly promising university student named Hamed who was expelled for his political views and now drives a taxi cab part-time, helping chauffeur people to and from a center that helps battered wives.

Bani-Etemad, who is one of Iran’s best known directors, said that the film was intended in part to show how the international sanctions imposed on Iran over its disputed nuclear program have had a devastating effect on daily life.

“The economic situation in Iran is critical and this is due to the embargo which actually penalized the people in the country,” she said. “Our children, who suffer from very severe diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis, are actually suffering from the consequences of the embargo.”

She urged people at “the international level” to realize that “international decisions always affect the people”.

By Reuters


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Military skill and terrorist technique fuel success of ISIS Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:06:12 +0000 monire@Iran

A look at Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a militant group that now rivals Al Qaeda in power and popularity. Video Credit By Mona El-Naggar and Sofia Perpetua on Publish Date August 11, 2014. Image Credit-/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

BAGHDAD — As fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continue to seize territory, the group has quietly built an effective management structure of mostly middle-aged Iraqis overseeing departments of finance, arms, local governance, military operations and recruitment.

At the top the organization is the self-declared leader of all Muslims, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a radical chief executive officer of sorts, who handpicked many of his deputies from among the men he met while a prisoner in American custody at the Camp Bucca detention center a decade ago.

He had a preference for military men, and so his leadership team includes many officers from Saddam Hussein’s long-disbanded army.

They include former Iraqi officers like Fadel al-Hayali, the top deputy for Iraq, who once served Mr. Hussein as a lieutenant colonel, and Adnan al-Sweidawi, a former lieutenant colonel who now heads the group’s military council.

 The pedigree of its leadership, outlined by an Iraqi who has seen documents seized by the Iraqi military, as well as by American intelligence officials, helps explain its battlefield successes: Its leaders augmented traditional military skill with terrorist techniques refined through years of fighting American troops, while also having deep local knowledge and contacts. ISIS is in effect a hybrid of terrorists and an army.

Its operations are carried out by a network of regional commanders who have their own subordinates and a degree of autonomy, but they have set “drop times” when they open a shared network to coordinate.

For example, ISIS responded to American airstrikes on its positions in Iraq by distributing a professionally produced video last week of the beheading of the American journalist James Foley more than 200 miles away.

ISIS is the current incarnation of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the insurgent group that battled American forces under the leadership of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi before his death from an American airstrike in 2006.

According to a map of the group developed by Mr. Alhashimi, the Iraqi expert, Mr. Baghdadi has 25 deputies across Iraq and Syria. About one-third were military officers during Mr. Hussein’s rule, and nearly all were imprisoned by American forces.

The last two leaders of ISIS’s military council were former Iraqi military officers: a colonel and a captain. Both have been killed — and have been followed by a former lieutenant colonel, Adnan al-Sweidawi, who is about 50 years old.

Ahmed al-Dulaimi, the governor of Anbar Province, which is now largely controlled by ISIS, said that all three men graduated from the same military academy.

Mr. Dulaimi said he had taught one of them, Adnan Nijim, who graduated in 1993 to become an infantry officer.

“It was never clear that he would turn out like that,” Mr. Dulaimi said. “He was from a simple family, with high morals, but all his brothers went in that direction,” becoming jihadists.

After the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Mr. Nijim joined Al Qaeda in Iraq and was detained by American forces in 2005, Mr. Dulaimi said.

“All of these guys got religious after 2003,” Mr. Dulaimi said. “Surely, ISIS benefits from their experience.”

Other former military brass have also fought for ISIS.

Mr. Baghdadi’s top deputy in Syria, Samir al-Khlifawi, was a colonel. He was killed in Syria by other insurgents.

Derek Harvey, a former Army intelligence officer and specialist on Iraq who now directs the University of South Florida’s Global Initiative for Civil Society and Conflict, said that former officers also had professional, personal and tribal relationships that had strengthened ISIS’s coalition.

The group’s campaign to free hundreds of militants from Iraqi prisons was executed with former Baath Party

Hassan Abu Hanieh, a Jordanian expert on Islamist groups, said that while Mr. Baghdadi had relied mostly on Iraqis, he had left areas like religious guidance, recruitment and media production to foreigners.

Many of them, like the head of ISIS’s media department, are Saudis. This is at least partly to make ISIS appear “globalized,” Mr. Abu Hanieh said. “They want to appeal to international jihadists so that they come and join the battle.”

Some non-Iraqis have risen to prominence. Mr. Baghdadi’s chief spokesman is Syrian. And one group of foreign fighters is led by an ethnic Chechen who goes by the name Omar al-Shishani.

Michael Knights, an Iraq analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said it was no surprise that so many officers from Mr. Hussein’s era had joined ISIS. Discontent in the military was widespread near the end of his rule, and underground Islamist movements were gaining strength, even inside the military, he said.

Political changes after the American invasion accelerated their rise. Members of Mr. Hussein’s Baath Party were barred from government positions, and the political dominance of Iraq’s Shiite majority made many Sunnis feel disenfranchised.

“After 2003, what did these guys have to do but get more radical?” Mr. Knights said.

For those who had served in Mr. Hussein’s staunchly secular army, that transformation was complete by the time they joined ISIS. “There is no one in Baghdadi’s state who is not a believer,” Mr. Alhashimi said.

This article was written by BEN HUBBARD  for the New York Times on AUG. 27, 2014.


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