Archives for the month of: July, 2010

Jamal Abdi, Policy Director, National Iranian American Council

Huffington Post

Republicans in the House of Representatives have introduced a measure that would green-light an Israeli bombing campaign against Iran. The resolution, H.Res. 1553 (in full below), provides explicit support for military strikes against Iran, stating that Congress supports Israel’s use of “all means necessary” against Iran “including the use of military force”. US military leaders have warned that strikes could be catastrophic to US national security interests and could engulf the Middle East in a “calamitous” regional war.

Nearly a third of House Republicans have signed onto the resolution, which has been publicly discussed and circulated by its lead sponsor, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), for months. The National Iranian American Council is leading calls to oppose the measure, urging those concerned to demand that House Republican Leader John Boehner denounce the resolution.

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David Shariatmadari  Thurs 22nd July

In a world of competing national interests, political differences, clashes not just of personalities, but of civilisations, you could be forgiven for thinking that there’s nothing of any significance all our leaders agree on. The need to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, however, may qualify. This is why Iran now finds itself facing toughened sanctions, why Barack Obama, just like George W Bush before him, sees preventing an Iranian bomb as an urgent foreign policy priority, and why North Korea, it was announced yesterday, will receive similar treatment.

Iran and North Korea are just the latest states to come under the nuclear spotlight: proliferation has obsessed the international community since the beginning of the atomic age. Hawks would argue that the risks of allowing it to occur unchecked are severe enough to justify pre-emptive war. Doves are likely to favour diplomatic solutions. Both, however, would be in agreement about the need to take action.

But what if either approach made proliferation more, not less, likely? If anti-proliferation policies themselves acted as an incentive to acquire nuclear weapons? It would be a bitter irony.

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By Golnaz EsfandiariRFE/RL

ETS, the U.S.-based organization that administers the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and other exams, has said on its website that it is suspending temporarily registration in Iran as a result of the UN resolution affecting banks and financial institutions that do business with Iran.

The ETS statement reads:

The United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution affecting banks and financial institutions that conduct business in Iran. As a result of this resolution, ETS is currently unable to process payments from Iran and has had to temporarily suspend registration until alternative arrangements can be made. Please check back after July 22 for an update.

The deputy head of Iran’s Organization for the Evaluation of Education, Ebrahim Khodayi, has said that there are “some problems” with the registration for the TOEFL test in Iran, adding that officials are working on solving them.

Khodayi said the suspension of the TOEFL test in Iran is not related to the sanctions and expressed hope that the issue will be solved by July 22.

A 20-year-old student in Tehran who didn’t want to be identified told RFE/RL that young Iranians willing to study outside the country would have to travel to neighboring Turkey or Armenia to pass the TOEFL test.

“It will just lead to more pressure on the people. Weren’t the sanctions not supposed to hurt ordinary citizens?” the student said. “This is against what the U.S. leaders have been saying.”

He added that the suspension of the TOEFL exam and similar problems resulting from the sanctions “will make people view sanctions negatively. The Revolutionary Guard will not be hurt by this. [Ordinary] people have to pay the price.”

Tehran-based education expert Shirzad Abdollahi told the Persian language service of the BBCthat no one expected the sanctions to cause problems for Iran’s educated class. “It just demonstrates that the claim about ‘smart sanctions’ is just a myth, and sanctions will cause more problems for people,” Abdollahi was quoted as saying.

Iranian officials have downplayed the UN sanctions and U.S. measures against Iran over its sensitive nuclear work, saying that those moves won’t make Iran change course.

Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi said earlier this month that it is clear as day that UN sanctions will affect the Iranian economy and security and put pressure on the Iranian people.

Iranian opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi criticized “incompetence” and “weak-minded statements” of Iranian officials for causing the latest sanctions against Iran and added that a part of the establishment and the Revolutionary Guards will reap “astronomical” profits from the sanctions.

Karroubi says that the “weaker classes of the society” will bear the burden of sanctions and the profiteering of the Guards.

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