December 16, 2011

Iran News Roundup 12/16

GOP candidates get fact checked for Iran claims at debate
Michelle Bachmann made the claim that the IAEA report proves that “Iran is within just months of being able to obtain that [nuclear] weapon.”  Fact checks from CNNThe Washington Post, and the New York Times said Bachmann got it wrong.
Mitt Romney accused President Obama of having said “pretty please” in order to have the American recently fallen drone returned and Rick Perry said the Obama should have used military  destroy of retrieve the drone.  But the New York Times says:

In fact, American military officials considered an operation to retrieve the drone but rejected it as too dangerous, since it would require a sizeable force traveling more than 200 miles into the country and likely facing a large Iranian protection force.

Meanwhile, Rick Santorum repeated his very un-covert calls for “covert activities” against Iran. “We need to plan a strike against their facilities and say to them that if you do not open up those facilities and close them down, we will close them down for you.” (New American 12/16).
Drone update
An Iranian engineer claims that Iranian electronic warfare specialists were able to cut off the communications links of the RQ-170 Sentinel drone, tricking it into landing in Iran (Christian Science Monitor 12/15). U.S. military officials told CNN that the drone was on a surveillance mission of suspected nuclear sites (CNN 12/15).
Iran says it will put on display a series of spy drones for journalists and foreign ambassadors to view (Guardian 12/15). Iran’s foreign minister has demanded that Afghanistan stop allowing the U.S. to use its bases to launch drone flights over Iran (Huffington Post 12/15). In addition, Iran’s former defense minister said Iran would take down drones if the U.S. continues to violate Iran’s air space (Huffington Post 12/16).
Sanctions update
Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman said the United States is in contact with international partners on new Iran sanctions. He said the United States would work with all parties to ensure the stability of oil markets (Reuters 12/15).
South Korea has announced it will restrict financial dealings with more than 100 additional groups and individuals with suspected links to Iran’s nuclear program (Huffington Post 12/16).
Senators Lieberman (I-CT), Collins (R-ME), and Begich (R-AK) have introduced legislation, The Ethical Shipping Inspections Act of 2011, which would attempt to close loopholes in international shipping regulations used by Iran to bypass sanctions (Christian Science Monitor 12/15).
Policy director for the National Iranian American Council, Jamal Abdi, discusses how tougher sanctions and an anti-diplomacy strategy towards Iran will ultimately lead to a military confrontation (Public Service 12/16).
Human rights
The United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights has urged all nations to abolish legal discrimination against gays (Huffington Post 12/15). Iran has a long record of discrimination and violence against sexual minorities.

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