Iran Considers Response to Rial’s Decline
Iran is considering anew system of variable exchange rates for different products in order to stabilize the price of basic goods in the face of a significant slide in the value of Iran’s currency, the Rial. However, the new plan is meeting “heavy resistance from statesmen who have long promoted the private sector,” (Washington Post 7/9).
US Calls on Iran to Release Pastor
The US has called on Iran to release Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, a convert to Christianity from Islam, who was jailed in 2009 and sentenced to death for his conversion. In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the pastor, “still faces the threat of execution for simply following his faith, and we repeat our call for Iranian authorities to release him immediately” (Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty 7/10).
Iran Reportedly Shuts Off Some Oil Wells
Western and Iranian sources say that Iranian oil production has dropped below 3 million barrels per day (bpd), forcing Iran to shut off some wells in its oil fields for lack of export demand and storage capacity. Peter Wells of geological consultancy Neftex Petroleum commented, “The more production is shut in, the harder and longer it is to bring back production when it is needed,” (Reuters 7/10).
Two Iranian Suspects Alleged to Have Shipped 100 Kg Explosives into Kenya
Iranians Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi are being held in Kenya on charges of intending to cause grievous harm after shipping more than 100 kilograms of RDX into Kenya. Police Sgt. Erick Opagal of Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit said, ““The police have information that the applicants (suspects) have a vast network in the country meant to execute explosive attacks against government installations, public gatherings and foreign establishments,” (AP 7/10).
Russia Offers to Host Syria Talks with Iran and Saudi Arabia
Russia has offered to host a new round of talks to discuss the situation in Syria after talks in Geneva on June 30, but with Saudi Arabia and Iran present. Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that the proposed meeting had been brought up during the talks in Geneva. “Moscow regrets that because of the positions of a number of our partners Iran and Saudi Arabia were not present in Geneva,” he said.
Top Negotiators Will Make “Contact” After July 24th Talks
The newly scheduled deputy-level talks July 24th between Helga Schmid for the EU and Ali Bagheri of Iran, will be followed by “a contact” between head negotiators Catherine Ashton and Saeed Jalili, said Ashton’s spokesman (The Hill 7/9). Recently released documents from Ashton and Jalili’s last meeting in Moscow have surfaced suggesting Iran has signaled it would be willing to stop its 20 percent enrichment in exchange for sanctions relief (The Christian Science Monitor 7/9).
Committee Begins Investigation into UN Technology Exchange
The House Foreign Affairs Committee has launched an investigation into whether a U.N. agency sent computer and other technology to Iran and North Korea, violating U.N. Security Council sanctions (Huffington Post 7/9).
Indian State Insurers Will Cover Iranian Oil Shipments
United India Insurance Co. has reached a deal to provide protection and indemnity to Indian ships carrying Iranian oil with General Insurance Corp. said two sources speaking on anonymity. Both insurers are state-owned, and the cover deal is scheduled to be finalized tomorrow. An executive from General Insurance Corp. said a $50 million P&I cover and a separate amount for hull and machinery will be provided for “all Indian ship owners” (WSJ 7/10).
Notable Analysis: “The Wall Street Journal Failed Its Readers on Apple-Iranian Discrimination Scandal
Benjamin Reeves analyzes the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of racial profiling against an Iranian American, Sahar Sabet, by Apple store employees in Georgia:
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While there has been no legal decision in the case, Ahmari’s editorial in the Wall Street Journal displays a flagrant disregard for factual accuracy in an attempt to score a few right-wing political points. The idea that defending a U.S. citizen against discrimination in a store is tantamount to assisting the Iranian regime to do … something (he does not specify what) is laughable at face value.
Moreover, the fact that Ahmari’s entire argument is founded on falsities renders his conclusions fallible. Not only do Baig’s and Sabet’s version of the events at the Apple store directly contradict everything Ahmari based his editorial on (as do the accounts of a myriad of established media outlets), his statement that Apple issued an apology to Sabet is undeniably wrong and can be substantiated without relying on Sabet or Baig’s words. A simple visit to the Apple website will reveal that the company made no such statement (Apple did not return calls regarding this matter).