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November 30, 2011

Iran News Roundup 11/30

Fallout from embassy attacks
The Guardian reports that the UK government has given 48 hours for all Iranian officials to leave the country in response to what the British government believes was a government supported attack on their embassy.  The article states that while this step will not mean a complete severance of ties, it does mark a “new low in relations” (Guardian 11/30).   The Guardian also reports that Norway has decided to temporarily close its embassy in Iran, and that Sweden has called the Iranian ambassador in Stockholm to its foreign ministry to answer questions about yesterday’s events (Guardian 11/30).  The Jerusalem Post reports that Germany is also recalling their ambassador to Iran (Jerusalem Post 11/30).
Contrary to the reports from Iranian news outlets, an EA WorldView article provides evidence that the “students” at yesterday’s embassy attack were actually members of the Basij (EA Worldview 11/30).
Sabotage and the recent Iranian explosions
The Australian is reporting that yesterday’s explosion in the city of Isfahan did in fact occur and damaged Iran’s nuclear facility.  The article also quotes Israeli Intelligence Minister, who appeared to be hinting at Israeli involvement, as saying, “There are countries who impose economic sanctions and there are countries who act in other ways in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat” (The Australian 11/30).  This comes on the heels of satellite photos showing extensive damage from the previous explosion at the Malard missile facility, which appears effectively destroyed by the blast (Washington Post 11/28).   In an op-ed in NY Times, Robert Cohen argues the merits of covert attacks, which he says have been the cause of the two recent Iranian explosions.  However, in the op-ed he also acknowledges that such covert attacks are problematic as their legality is dubious and that they “invite repayment in kind” (Cohen NY Times 11/29).
Aggressive Iran polices options likely to raise price of oil
The Financial Times is reporting that oil prices are already rising based on talks of a potential Iranian oil embargo by the EU (Financial Times 11/29).  AFP reported yesterday that the lead sponsor of Iranian sanctions, Senator Mark Kirk, says that Saudi Arabian officials have told him that they will help to make up any loses caused by an embargo against Iranian oil to prevent price increases (AFP 11/29).  Additionally, The Financial Times has published the findings of a PIMCO study that gives four potential scenarios for the price of oil if an attack on Iran was to occur.  All four of these scenarios show a significant increase in oil, of which even the most optimistic scenario would be “enough to collapse global economic growth” (The Financial Post 11/30).
Additional Notable News:
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warns that an Israeli attack on Iran would cause a regional war that would have severe consequence for the country, according to an article in Haaretz.
Human Rights Watch writes that residents of Camp Ashraf, the site housing members of MEK in Iraq, should be allowed to meet with UN refugee agencies privately and away from the camp in order eliminate “fear of harm from either camp leaders or the Iraqi authorities.”

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