Iran

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Iran

#76

Post by Addie » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:54 am



WaPohttps://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-s ... d_pop_bThe path to a final Iran nuclear deal: Long days and short tempers By day nine of the final negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, diplomats were tired and short-tempered. At a small meeting with the U.S. delegation, the Iranian foreign minister had just begun a familiar speech on how international sanctions were an insult to his country’s dignity and pride, when his American interlocutor cut him off.“You’re not the only nation with pride,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry snapped.That morning, July 5, was one of the low points in what became a 17-day marathon of talks leading to this week’s landmark deal with Iran, the culmination of nearly two years of up-and-down negotiations in hotels and conference rooms across Europe and beyond.There were times when participants were encouraged, and times when the task seemed impossible and there were threats to walk away. When the Vienna endgame started in late June, no one was sure they could reach the finish line.


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Re: Iran

#77

Post by Addie » Thu Jul 30, 2015 4:41 pm

The Hill
Pelosi: Obama's agreement with Iran is a 'diplomatic masterpiece'

House Democrats will provide the necessary support to finalize President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) predicted Thursday.

Asked if the Democrats could sustain a promised veto of the Republicans' expected disapproval measure, Pelosi didn't hesitate.

"Yes," she replied.

Pressed about the reason she's so confident, she said: "Because of the nature of the agreement."


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Re: Iran

#78

Post by Addie » Sat Jan 16, 2016 10:10 am

WaPo
Post reporter Jason Rezaian and others to be freed in prisoner swap, according to Iranian media

VIENNA — Iran has released four imprisoned U.S. citizens, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, as part of a swap, the office of Tehran’s prosecutor announced Saturday, according to Iranian news media.

The other released prisoners include Amir Hekmat, a former U.S. Marine, and Saeed Abedni, a pastor--both imprisoned since 2012--and a fourth unnamed American. All four are dual U.S.-Iranian citizens. Rezaian has been held since 2014.

According to Iran’s Fars News Agency, the four were ordered released in exchange for six Iranian-Americans held in the United States on sanctions-related charges.

There was no official confirmation from the United States. Kris Coratti, vice president of communications and spokeswoman for The Post, said that “while we are hopeful, we have not received any official word of Jason’s release.”

News of the exchange came as world leaders converged here Saturday in anticipation of the end of international sanctions against Iran in exchange for significantly curtailing its nuclear program.


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Re: Iran

#79

Post by Foggy » Sat Jan 16, 2016 10:13 am

What? You mean we can't bomb Iran for those guys either?

Obama is so weak! :fingerwag:


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Re: Iran

#80

Post by Addie » Sat Jan 16, 2016 10:23 am

Associated Press
The Latest: Iran source: US journalist Jason Rezaian freed ...

A source close to Iran's judiciary is telling The Associated Press that four Iranian-Americans have been freed from prison in Iran: Washington Post bureau chief Jason Rezaian as well as Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini and Siamak Namazi.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the four were freed Saturday in exchange for the release of seven Iranians held in U.S. prisons. He didn't name the Iranians but said the seven have already arrived in Tehran.

He says "authorities at the top had agreed to free the four Iranian-Americans only after the Iranian prisoners land in Tehran."


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Re: Iran

#81

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Sat Jan 16, 2016 10:59 am

Thanks, Donald.

It's all because the Iranians fear a Drumpf Presidency. They're involving themselves in an American election! Terrible, shameful. The American people won't fall for it! Saint Ronald Reagan wouldn't . . . oh wait a minute . . .



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Re: Iran

#82

Post by Addie » Sat Jan 16, 2016 11:35 am

HuffPo
Iran Releases 4 American Prisoners After Months Of Top-Secret Negotiations

VIENNA, Austria -- Four American citizens, including a Washington Post reporter, who have been imprisoned in Iran are set to board a Swiss aircraft from Tehran to Bern, Switzerland, where they will be freed as part of a prisoner release deal between the U.S. and Iran. The agreement is the result of long-running, high-stakes secret negotiations between the two traditional adversaries.

"Our citizens have not yet been flown out of Iran, so we don’t want to do anything that could complicate it," a senior administration official said Saturday. "But we are told the deal is done, that they will be let out."

As part of the exchange, the U.S. will release seven Iranians who were being held in the country on sanctions violations. All were born in Iran, but six are dual Iranian-American citizens. The seven men all have the option to remain in the U.S. ...

The State Department never publicly disclosed the existence of negotiations to free the American prisoners and publicly rejected calls to tie the prisoners -- or any other issue -- to the nuclear talks. But privately, Brett McGurk, who until recently was deputy secretary of state for Iran and Iraq, led talks focusing on the prisoners.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the public faces of the nuclear deal negotiations, also spoke in private about the prisoners. Kerry and Zarif deliberately kept the prisoner talks separate from the nuclear negotiations, never raising the two topics in the same meeting, according to a a second senior administration official. Kerry, faced with resistance to the deal at home and in Iran, kept the prisoner talks alive at several critical moments, the second senior official said.


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Re: Iran

#83

Post by Fortinbras » Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:44 pm

Ah ha, for the past year or so, while the Iranian negotiations (over their nuclear projects) were inching along, we heard about the four Americans held in Iran - always with the assumption that they were as innocent as lambs, and that Obama should have insisted on their freedom, which necessarily implied something about the Iranian system of justice (which implication might well have been justified but would have greatly displeased the Iranians, which wouldn't have helped the negotiations on nukes). And nobody even breathed a word to us about the Iranians being held by the US.

But now we find out that we were holding more Iranians than Iran was holding Americans. And not yet any details on the alleged crimes of these Iranians or how long or under what conditions they were imprisoned.

And, while those Iranians are being promptly sent to Iran, the US still won't let Jonathan Pollard go to Israel.



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Re: Iran

#84

Post by BillTheCat » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:24 pm



'But I don't want to go among mad people,' said Alice. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the cat. 'We're all mad here.'
-Lewis Carroll

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Re: Iran

#85

Post by esseff44 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:06 pm

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/16/middleeas ... index.html

The IAEA announces compliance by Iran. Sanctions to be lifted as scheduled. More oil going to market.



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Re: Iran

#86

Post by Volkonski » Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:13 pm

esseff44 wrote:http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/16/middleeas ... index.html

The IAEA announces compliance by Iran. Sanctions to be lifted as scheduled. More oil going to market.
Oh, good. I was afraid that the current glut wouldn't last until summer. I have a long drive to Long Island. ;)


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Re: Iran

#87

Post by esseff44 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:17 pm

That's been one of the drags on the stock market knowing that the glut is about to get worse and not better. Demand is also steadily decreasing.



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Re: Iran

#88

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:33 pm

esseff44 wrote:That's been one of the drags on the stock market knowing that the glut is about to get worse and not better. Demand is also steadily decreasing.
I've got an idea. Maybe a few tens of million gallons of that oil could be stored in the depleted oil wells in the Aliso Canyon oil field in Chatsworth and Northridge, CA.



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Re: Iran

#89

Post by Addie » Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:36 pm

WaPo
International sanctions against Iran lifted

VIENNA —Iran reentered the global economy Saturday, as years of crippling international sanctions were lifted in exchange for the verified disabling of much of its nuclear infrastructure.

For Iran, implementation of the landmark deal it finalized with six world powers last summer means immediate access to more than $50 billion in long-frozen assets, and freedom to sell its oil and purchase goods in the international marketplace. Tehran has hailed the deal as vindication of its power and influence in the world.

The removal of sanctions comes as President Obama begins his last year in office, and almost seven years to the day since he called on Iran to “unclench your fist” and take steps toward rapprochement with the United States and the world. As a result of the agreement, he said in his last State of the Union speech this week, a “nuclear-armed Iran” has been prevented, and “the world has avoided another war.”

[Full text of the Iran nuclear deal]

The triggering event for implementation was certification by the International Atomic Energy Agency Saturday that Iran had successfully completed all the nuclear steps it agreed to in July: sending the bulk of its enriched uranium outside the country, dismantling and storing most of its centrifuges, and disabling its Arak nuclear reactor, capable of yielding plutonium. The IAEA is also charged with monitoring and verifying Iran’s continued compliance.


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Re: Iran

#90

Post by esseff44 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 6:42 pm

Thanks, Obama. Another chapter in his legacy.



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Re: Iran

#91

Post by Addie » Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:47 pm

The Hill
Clinton calls for new sanctions on Iran

Hours after the U.S. dropped sanctions on Iran as part of the nuclear deal, Democratic primary front-runner Hillary Clinton called for new sanctions on the nation for its ballistic missile program.

Clinton on Saturday praised President Obama for securing the safe return of four U.S. citizens and implementing the Iranian nuclear deal, but warned that all concerns about Iran are not assuaged.

“Iran is still violating UN Security Council resolutions with its ballistic missile program, which should be met with new sanctions designations and firm resolve,” she said.

“These prisoners were held unjustly by a regime that continues to threaten the peace and security of the Middle East,” Clinton added. “Another American, Bob Levinson, still isn’t home with his family.”

Clinton said, as president, her policy toward Iran would be to “distrust and verify.

The former secretary of State said the U.S. should not “thank” Iran for releasing prisoners unjustly held or for following through on its obligations.


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Re: Iran

#92

Post by Addie » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:23 am

New Yorker
Prisoner Swap: Obama’s Secret Second Channel to Iran

Fourteen months ago, President Obama authorized a top-secret, second diplomatic channel with Tehran to negotiate freedom for Americans who had disappeared or been imprisoned in Iran. It was a high-risk diplomatic gamble. The initiative grew out of nuclear negotiations, launched in the fall of 2013, between Iran and the world’s six major powers. On the margins of every session, Wendy Sherman, the top American negotiator, pressed her Iranian counterparts about the American cases. The Iranians countered with demands for the release of their citizens imprisoned in the United States for sanctions-busting crimes. More than a year of informal discussions between Sherman and her counterpart, Majid Takht Ravanchi, the Iranian Foreign Ministry official in charge of American and European affairs, led to an agreement, in late 2014, that the issue should be handled separately—but officially—through a second channel. After debate within the Administration, Obama approved the initiative. But it was so tightly held that most of the American team engaged in tortuous negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program were not told about it.

What heightened the risk was the fact that the new Iranian team was headed by a senior intelligence official, a sharp departure from the traditional but still tentative diplomatic channels with the Iranian Foreign Ministry developed in the nuclear talks. The involvement of Iranian intelligence made prospects far more unpredictable—and potentially controversial. Brett McGurk, a senior State Department official, headed the small American team, which also included officials from the Department of Justice, the F.B.I., and the intelligence community. The meetings—facilitated by the Swiss government and often held in Geneva—repeatedly hit snags, complications, legal hurdles, and last-minute demands. The swap—officially referred to as a “humanitarian gesture”—came close to fruition three times over more than a year of secret meetings, only to collapse again and again, an Iranian official said.

The deal finally came together this morning, just as Iran and the six major powers also moved toward Implementation Day of the Iran nuclear deal. It will mark the point when the U.N. confirms that Iran has complied with terms to dismantle its program, allowing international sanctions to be lifted. Secretary of State John Kerry held one final meeting with his Iranian counterpart, in Vienna, hosted by the European Union foreign-policy chief, Federica Mogherini. The separate diplomatic channels happened to mature at the same pace, according to U.S. officials. The second channel accelerated after the nuclear deal was announced last July.

The United States had hoped to make the announcement of the Americans’ release this morning, but Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency preëmpted Washington with its own announcement that four Iranian-Americans imprisoned in Iran had been freed as part of a prisoner exchange, following a decision by the Supreme National Security Council. The State Department scrambled to get out its statement. “We offered clemency to seven Iranians, six of whom are dual U.S.-Iranian citizens, who had been convicted or are pending trial in the United States,” it said. “The United States also removed any Interpol red notices and dismissed any charges against 14 Iranians for whom it was assessed that extradition requests were unlikely to be successful.” The number was pared down significantly from the original Iranian list, U.S. officials said. And not all the American cases against Iranians were resolved by the swap.


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Re: Iran

#93

Post by Fortinbras » Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:39 pm

The New Yorker article does go on to list the Iranians returned by the US. Evidently their offenses all were related to circumventing the US trade barriers & embargoes; none was connected to terrorism or espionage.

The important point of this story was that Obama had these negotiations going on for many months, Very Secretly, while the Republicans were thumping the tub about it. I am fairly sure that at least one or two leading Republicans had been informed of the ongoing negotiations and could have, and should have, told the rest of the Party to STFU, but they instead tried to torment Obama even as he did what they were bleating about.



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Re: Iran

#94

Post by Addie » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:05 am

USA Today
Obama's Iran pardons have unusual conditions

WASHINGTON — President Obama granted clemency to Iranian-Americans in exchange for the release of Americans held captive in Iran Saturday — but their releases have some unprecedented strings attached.

All seven defendants had to agree not to sue the federal government, a condition rarely attached to other pardons or commutations. But they also had to agree not to accept payment for "any book, movie, or other publication or production" about their situation, according to summaries of the clemency warrants released by the Office of the Pardon Attorney on Tuesday.

Legal scholars say those "Son of Sam" provisions may be the first of their kind and could raise constitutional questions.

Neither the White House nor the Department of Justice would explain why the conditions were attached.

So-called "Son of Sam" laws prohibit people convicted of crimes from profiting off the publicity from those crimes. The laws began emerging in the United States in the 1970s amid concerns that serial killer David Berkowitz — who used the name "Son of Sam" in letters taking credit for the killings — would cash in with a book deal.


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Re: Iran

#95

Post by Addie » Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:39 pm

Associated Press
Iran’s president seeks more free and fair election

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s president lobbied on Thursday for more free and fair elections in Iran, saying moderate and reformist political factions should also be allowed to run in next month’s parliamentary elections.

Hassan Rouhani’s speech, which was broadcast on state TV, was a stab at Iran’s constitutional watchdog, which has disqualified large numbers of moderates and reformists from running in the Feb. 26 vote.

Rouhani said that “the Parliament is the house of the people, not a particular faction.”

Rouhani, who took office on a pledge to bring about reforms, said elections are pointless if there are “no competitors” and that the upcoming balloting will be “the most important job ahead” that will reflect on his administration. ...

While some hard-liners and conservatives have also been barred, reformists have been most affected. Many were disqualified because they were not seen to be sufficiently loyal to the ruling system, as defined by hard-line council members.


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Re: Iran

#96

Post by RTH10260 » Sat Jan 23, 2016 12:40 pm

Iran gets friendly with China


[liveleak]38659059a6bd[/liveleak]



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Re: Iran

#97

Post by Addie » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:37 pm

New York Times
Sanctions Lifted, American Tourists Head to Iran

The lifting of sanctions on Iran set in motion by the nuclear agreement reached last fall has opened the virtual floodgates to tourists, and especially American tourists, according to tour operators who are racing to add new departures and selling them in record time.

“It’s similar to Cuba in my mind where suddenly it’s both O.K. to go there officially but also with travelers thinking this place is going to change,” said Barbara Banks, director of marketing and new trip development at the Berkeley, Calif.-based Wilderness Travel, which sold out its spring trip to Iran and is planning a fall trip focused on the saffron harvest. “They want to experience the destination before it gets watered down by lots and lots of people going.” ...

“One of the biggest surprises about Iran is that they love Americans,” he said. “They hear you speak English and assume you’re British, and when they learn you’re American they want to have their picture taken with you and invite you to eat. I’ve never been so popular.” ...

Americans in Iran must also be accompanied by a guide. Banking restrictions, which largely bar the use of credit cards and A.T.M.s, force travelers to bring cash.


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Re: Iran

#98

Post by Suranis » Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:31 pm

http://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2016/ ... khani-says
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said a recent prisoner exchange between Iran and the US went ahead as planned despite calls by Republicans for a delay until US presidential elections.

“In the course of the talks for exchanging prisoners, the Republican rivals of the current US administration who claim to be humanitarians and advocates of human rights sent a message telling us not to release these people (American prisoners) and continue this process (of talks) until the eve of US presidential elections,” Shamkhani said Thursday in an address to a rally held in the central city of Yazd to mark the 37th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution’s victory.

“However” he said “we acted upon our independent resolve and moved the process forward.”

Iran’s move to exchange prisoners was based on the country’s humanitarian approach and was made in accordance with ensuring the country’s interests and securing the release of Iranian citizens in the US, he added.

Shamkhani underlined that on the issue of prisoner swap, Iran proved that it is not influenced by any foreign or domestic pressure but acts against spies and infiltrators decisively.
Not the best source obviously, but hilarious if true.


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Re: Iran

#99

Post by RTH10260 » Wed Feb 17, 2016 2:55 pm

China's Silk Road revival steams ahead as cargo train arrives in Iran
Goods travel 6,462 miles in 14 days as part of efforts to resurrect ancient trade route connecting east with Europe

Saeed Kamali Dehghan
Monday 15 February 2016 17.42 GMT Last modified on Monday 15 February 2016 18.21 GMT

A long-distance cargo train has travelled from China to Iran as part of an attempted revival of the ancient Silk Road, a trans-Asian trade route connecting the east to Europe and the Mediterranean Sea.

The 32-container train, which arrived in Tehran on Monday, took 14 days to complete the 6,462 mile (10,399km) journey from China’s eastern Zhejiang province through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – one month less than the sea route from Shanghai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

Iranian officials have indicated that the ultimate aim is to extend the rail route to Europe, positioning Iran on a key stretch to the continent. The train, which departed from Zhejiang’s trading hub Yiwu, travelled an average of more than 700km a day.
http://www.theguardian.com/business/201 ... es-in-iran



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Re: Iran

#100

Post by Addie » Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:00 am

WaPo
Iran is holding major elections. Here’s what you should know about them.

Iran will hold national elections this Friday, with the country's voters set to cast their ballots for representatives in two important political bodies: the Majles -- or the 290-seat Iranian parliament -- and the Assembly of Experts, the chamber of clerics which technically supervises the country's supreme leader, the 77-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

There's a justified temptation to view elections in the Islamic Republic with a huge amount of skepticism.

Iran's theocratic regime, which has now been in place for close to four decades, is nowhere near a model democracy. Its closed political system has in recent years kept out real reformist candidates from contesting seats. A repressive state continues to jail dissidents and stifle dissent. In the eyes of some observers, any vote is an exercise in rubber-stamping or window-washing.

Yet these elections still reveal genuine political divides within the country and a modicum of pluralism. More than 6200 candidates, including almost 600 women, are running for parliament, while 161 mostly elderly clerics are running for the 88 spots on the all-male Assembly of Experts.


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