Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Iran Nuclear News: August 2, 2006

“Money Can’t Buy Us Democracy,” The New York Times, August 2, 2006

Akbar Gangi, an investigative journalist in Tehran, explains the internal complexities of the democratic movement in Iran. Referring to Secretary Rice’s request for $75 million to help Iran’s democratic opposition in February, Gangi writes that Iran needs not foreign aid, but “conditions that would allow [Iranians] to focus all of our energies on the domestic struggle and to rest assured that no one is encouraging the regime’s oppression.” He claims that “deals with the regime that give it financial support or psychological succor” serve to hinder the Iranians fight for freedom. Finally, he writes that he believes the American policy of confrontation on the Iranian nuclear front is “correct.” But, he says, “The West’s double standard on non-proliferation is not defensible”; and he calls for a nuclear-free zone throughout the entire Middle East.

Iran VP: Country still considering offer,” Associated Press, August 2, 2006

During a meeting with Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Aso, Iranian Vice President Isfandiar Rahim Mashaee said Wednesday that Iran was still considering the Western incentives package offered to Iran. But Mashaee also accused the West of “using pressure, not dialogue, to try to deny Iran its rights.”

Iran’s Threat to Cut Oil Flow in Nuclear Dispute May Backfire,” Bloomberg, August 2, 2006

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hameneh in June both threatened to disrupt oil supplies in any confrontation with the U.S. and Europe over its nuclear program. But this article suggests that a halt to oil exports would rapidly backfire on Iran’s economy and its people. Cutting off the flow of crude would deprive Iran of about $5 billion a month -- by far the main contributor to the country's budget -- at a time when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on a spending spree to deliver on promises that brought him to power last year. Should Iran declare an oil embargo, the West could retaliate by cutting gasoline exports to Iran. The nuclear issue has already hit several parts of Iran's economy, and Ahmadinejad's power in Iran ultimately may be tied to the nuclear issue.

Iran’s Top Leader Praises Hezbollah,” Associated Press, August 2, 2006

On August 2, 2006, Iran's top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Hezbollah and vowed Iran will stand with Lebanon in the fight against Israel. “Iran ... will stand by all the oppressed nations especially the dear people of Lebanon and the combatant Palestinian nation,” he said in remarks broadcast on state-run television, condemning the “aggressions” and “evil acts” of the United States and Israel against Lebanon. Khamenei also said “The behavior and the aggressive nature of America and Israel will revive the spirit of resistance more than before in the Islamic world and will further demonstrate the value of Jihad [holy war].”

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