Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi accused “establishment agents” of raping detainees imprisoned after the country’s disputed June 12 elections, a reformist website reported. His accusation lent support to fellow reformist leader Mehdi Karrubi, who has come under fire from hard-liners for saying some postelection protesters were raped in jail. The authorities have rejected the accusations as “baseless.” “They [authorities] asked those who were abused and raped in prisons, to present four witnesses [to prove their claim]…Those who committed the crimes were the establishments’ agents,” Musavi said in a letter to Karrubi, the reformist mowjcamp.com website reported.
Iranian state television first reported that Iran’s ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog agency in Vienna said that Iran is ready to talk with Western powers about its nuclear program without preconditions and based on mutual respect, before reporting that the ambassador said he was quoting from an Iranian letter to the United Nations, wire reports said Tuesday.
The European Union is increasingly ready to back harsher sanctions against Iran. Brussels and the German government in Berlin are positive about backing “massive boycotts” against Iran if Tehran doesn’t show signs of cooperation in the nuclear conflict, German news magazine Der Spiegel reports. Diplomats are mulling several measures, including a stop of fuel deliveries to Iran and further limitations for maritime and air transport from the Islamic Republic to the EU. If China and Russia don’t agree to sanctions in the U.N. Security Council, the EU would be willing to take bilateral measures together with the United States, the magazine writes, citing senior German diplomats.
Iran has banned its airlines from leasing more Russian-made aircraft or buying such planes second-hand after two fatal incidents last month, a senior transport official said in published remarks. “Based on the new directive which went into effect on [August 16], no [entity] would be permitted to enter leased or used Russian planes into the country’s air fleet,” said Mohammad Ali Ilkhani, who heads Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization. Expressing a preference for Western-made aircraft, he was also quoted as saying by the “Resalat” daily: “Eastern planes would be able to operate in the air sector only when they are brand new and made according to our order [specification].” U.S. sanctions bar the sale of Boeing aircraft to Iran and hinder it from buying other aircraft or spare parts from the West. Many Western aircraft rely on U.S.-made engines and parts.
Iranian police clashed with protesters who gathered Monday outside the Tehran office of a reformist newspaper, which was recently banned by authorities. Witnesses say police dispersed dozens of opposition supporters who shouted anti-government slogans outside the office of the National Trust (Etemad Melli), the newspaper of former presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi. Some demonstrators were reportedly arrested. Aides close to Karoubi say Iran’s judiciary ordered a ban on the daily Sunday, after it printed his claims that some election protesters were raped while in custody. Karoubi angered Iran’s hardliners when he said women and young boys had suffered severe physical and mental damage from rapes in detention centers. Iran’s parliament speaker rejected the claims as “baseless.”
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Political upheaval in the aftermath of Iran’s disputed presidential election has slowed international oil firms’ efforts to find a way through sanctions to invest in the world’s second-largest oil and gas reserves. But outcry following the June election stirred the biggest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution, slowing Iranian bureaucracy and spooking dealmakers in big oil firms. “It’s hard to slow down a turtle, but this has,” said an executive at an international oil company (IOC) on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly. “This has put everything into freefall, no decisions are being made.” In the first months of Obama’s presidency, energy firms stepped up contacts with Iranian oil officials hoping that with or without President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, U.S.-Iran relations would improve. But tentative rapprochement has ended, and executives are back to playing a tricky holding game.