August 12, 2009

Wednesday News and Commentary Roundup

MP: Rapid Release of 3 US Nationals Unlikely , Fars News

“It should not be expected that those who entered the Islamic Republic of Iran’s soil illegally be released soon,” Head of parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi told reporters on the sidelines of an open session of the parliament here in Tehran.

Iran MPs condemn Western ‘meddling’ in Iran, AFP

TEHRAN — Iranian MPs condemned on Wednesday alleged “meddling” by the United States, Britain and France in the country’s internal affairs and called on the government to reconsider ties with these states.
The statement signed by 215 of 290 MPs came after Iran put a French woman and two staffers of British and French embassies on trial for post-election protests, drawing outrage in the European Union.

Amnesty urges Iran to allow observers into trials, Reuters

“The trial now going on in Tehran appears to be nothing but a “show trial’ through which the supreme leader and those around him seek to de-legitimize recent mass and largely peaceful protests and convince a very skeptical world that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected fairly for a second term as president,” said Amnesty Secretary General Irene Khan.
“It is vital, therefore, that there is an international presence to observe the proceedings at this trial and uphold the rights of the defendants, and I urge the Iranian authorities to allow this,” she added in a statement.

Iran: French Embassy Staff Member Freed, New York Times

A French Embassy staff member, Nazak Afshar, on trial for charges related to post-election protests in Iran, has been released from the Tehran prison where she was being held, the French presidency said in a statement on Tuesday. The statement also called for the release of a French woman, Clotilde Reiss, a teacher who was still being held on spying charges. The government spokesman, Luc Chatel, said that he saw some hope for “a rapid solution” to free Ms. Reiss, 24, who has been held since July 1.

Israeli Paper Says Strike on Iran Could Delay Bomb, Reuters

A major Israeli newspaper ran a front-page story on Wednesday quoting an unidentified “senior defence official” as saying Israel believed a military strike could disrupt what it says is an Iranian nuclear arms programme.

GAL LUFT: The New Iran Sanctions: Worse Than the Old Ones, Foreign Policy

There is just one problem: Iran is much less vulnerable to gasoline sanctions than is commonly believed on Capitol Hill, and its foreign gasoline dependence is dropping by the day.
The little-known reason is that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has imposed dramatic measures to eliminate this strategic vulnerability. He has massively expanded the country’s refinery infrastructure. Seven of Iran’s nine existing refineries are undergoing expansion projects; seven new refineries are on the drawing board or already under construction. In three to five years, these projects will double Iran’s refining capacity, putting it on par with Saudi Arabia.

Edward N. Luttwak: Why U.S. Diplomacy Will Fail With Iran, Wall Street Journal

The Ayatollah Khameini needs anti-Americanism. He won’t let Obama take it away.

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