Protest Outside French Embassy
TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iranian students protested outside
the French embassy in Tehran on Thursday, a day after a
French magazine published cartoons that ridiculed the
Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
The protesters shouted "Death to France, death to America"
and held placards urging the French people to demand their
government respect sacredness and humanity, Fars news agency
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast
strongly criticized the insulting cartoons and blamed
continued insults to Islamic sanctities on the silence and
indifference of Western governments.
He said the sacrilegious acts were "a Zionist plot" against
the backdrop of a growing tide of Islamic Awakening.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly condemns insults to
Islamic sanctities and sympathizes with the hurt feelings of
the Islamic ummah.
"The systematic and continued silence of the Western
countries with regard to such abhorrent measures, which are
in line with Islamophobia, is the main factor behind
continuation of such sacrilegious acts," he said.
Mehmanparast called on the French government to take
appropriate measures to condemn the insulting acts.
A senior Iranian military commander called on Muslim
countries to boycott American goods in response to the
U.S.-made film insulting the prophet of Islam.
“To protest at this blasphemous move, Muslims can boycott
American goods and call on their leaders to close the
embassies of the US and Israel in their countries,” said
Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, a senior military adviser
to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.
He said that the global hegemony and the enemies of Islam
dread the emergence of the Islamic world as a big power and
thus resorted to the sacrilegious move in an attempt to mar
the image of Islam.
Having realized the great power of the Islamic Awakening and
its opposition to the liberal-democracy current, the enemies
planned to tarnish the image of Muslims by insulting the
prophet of Islam, Rahim-Safavi said.
He added that insulting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the same
as insulting the prophets of all divine religions and added
that Muslims will undoubtedly respond to the blasphemous
The U.S.-made sacrilegious film has sparked a wave of
outrage across the Muslim world, with protesters marching on
the US embassies and torching U.S. flags in different
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali
Khamenei, last week described as "crazy and hateful" the
anti-Islamic film that has sparked protests in several
For Muslims, any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.
Millions of Iranians in Tehran and other cities across the
country have held nationwide rallies in protest against the
recent desecration of Islam.
Envoy: Zionist Nukes Threaten
VIENNA (Dispatches) — Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's chief
IAEA delegate, said Thursday that the occupying regime of
Israel's nuclear arsenal "continues to threaten ... (the
Middle East) region and beyond".
The Zionist regime is widely believed to have developed
nuclear weapons in the late 1960s, although it has never
publicly acknowledged them.
Soltanieh made the statements to the 155-nation
International Atomic Energy Agency general conference in
That view is shared by Arab nations which share with Tehran
the common Muslim stance of denouncing the Zionist regime as
the greatest nuclear danger.
Top on the agenda of the conference was a resolution urging
all Middle East nations to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty — an indirect jab at Israel, which is outside the
treaty and is generally believed to have nuclear arms. The
other item — a debate of "Israel's nuclear capabilities" —
targeted the Zionist regime more openly on the same issue
and resulted in the sharpest exchanges.
As in past years, the resolution succeeded by a wide margin,
with even the occupying regime of Israel abstaining instead
of opposing it. Of the nations present, 111 voted for, with
none against and eight abstentions. In return, Arab nations
agreed to only push for a debate instead of a resolution on
"Israel's nuclear capabilities".
U.S. chief delegate Robert Wood criticized what he said was
misuse of IAEA meetings "to single out Israel for censure".
Soltanieh denounced the UN Security Council’s inaction on
nuclear activities of the Zionist regime over the past
He said the Israeli regime’s existence is based on
occupation, killing, oppression, aggression and threat, IRNA
“The possession of atomic weapons by such a regime will
raise international concern by a hundred times,” he added.
Soltanieh stressed the importance of implementing the global
demand for Tel Aviv to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT), saying the Israeli regime’s nuclear facilities
should be monitored by the IAEA's comprehensive safeguards.
The Zionist regime is not a signatory of the NPT and
continues to defy international calls to join the treaty.
The regime, which is widely believed to possess between 200
to 400 nuclear warheads, maintains a policy of deliberate
ambiguity over its nuclear work.
Armed Forces Monitoring U.S. Drills
TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- A senior navy commander says Iran's
armed forces fully monitor maneuvers of the United States
and other countries in the Persian Gulf and other strategic
waterways in the Middle East.
“Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran have full
intelligent awareness over the foreign forces’ moves,”
Second Rear Admiral Hossein Azad told reporters on Thursday.
He added that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)'s
navy, along with the Islamic Republic of Iran's naval
forces, is closely monitoring moves by foreign forces in
international waters, northern Indian Ocean, Strait of
Hormuz and the Persian Gulf.
The naval commander noted that the U.S. and its allies are
performing the maneuvers near the Persian Gulf under the
pretext of improving security but history has proven the
falsehood of their claims.
Azad emphasized that only regional countries can safeguard
security in the region.
The U.S. is conducting the anti-mine exercises near the
Persian Gulf in cooperation with more than 30 countries. The
maneuvers formally began earlier this week but only got
under way at sea on Thursday.
The U.S. navy claims that the exercises are purely defensive
and not directed at any country.
Washington had added five warships to its Fifth Fleet in
Bahrain, in an attempt to bolster its military presence in
the Persian Gulf.
Over the past years, Iran has made important breakthroughs
in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in
producing important military equipment and systems.
Tehran has repeatedly clarified that its military might is
merely based on the nation's defense doctrine of deterrence
and poses no threat to other countries.
On Thursday, Iran’s navy commander Rear Admiral Habibollah
Sayyari said the Islamic Republic is on the threshold of
self-sufficiency in the submarine industry.
“Today, the Islamic Iran has reached the threshold of
self-sufficiency in manufacturing, equipping and repairing
the most complicated and modern types of submarines in the
world,” Sayyari said.
He added that the production of submarine equipment has also
been completely localized over the past decade.
Iran has so far launched different classes of advanced
submarines including Fateh, Ghadir, Qaem and Nahang.
On Tuesday, Iran's navy also launched the super-heavy Tareq
901 submarine, overhauled by Iranian experts.
Over the recent years, Iran has made important breakthroughs
in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in
producing important military equipment and systems.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly made clear that its
military might is merely based on the nation's defense
doctrine of deterrence and poses no threat to other
Meanwhile, commander of the Iranian border guard units
General Hussein Zolfaqari said that the country is closely
monitoring its border regions through high-tech equipments,
including optical and radar systems.
Zolfaqari underlined the significance of the use of
high-tech equipments and technologies in border control,
adding that Iranian border guard units are using radar and
optic systems to control the country's borders.
Iran shares open borders in the west with Iraq and Turkey,
in the east with Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the south with
the Persian Gulf littoral states and the Sea of Oman, in the
north with Armenia and Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea, and
on the northeast with Turkmenistan.
Merkel: Diplomacy 'Best Way' on
BERLIN (IRNA) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel here
Thursday reiterated the need for a political solution to the
Iranian nuclear case.
Talking to the private German television channel SAT 1,
Merkel made it clear that diplomacy was still "the best way"
to resolve the row over Tehran's nuclear program.
She underscored that her country had a "basic interest" in
seeing progress in the ongoing nuclear talks between the
western powers and Iran.
European Union's Foreign Policy chief, Catherine Ashton, met
with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Istanbul
earlier this week, terming the talks as "useful and
Ashton was meeting Jalili on behalf of the five permanent UN
Security Council countries (the U.S., France, Russia, China,
and Britain) plus Germany.
Iran had expressed hopes ahead of Istanbul meeting that the
encounter would lead to further talks and had urged the West
to lift sanctions.
Tehran has repeatedly said it needs nuclear energy to
generate electricity and furthermore would not surrender its
right to enrich uranium as entitled under the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Iran's nuclear program has also been under the full control
of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
While the West has stepped up the pressure on Tehran over
its nuclear program, it has closed its eyes to the dangerous
nature of Israel's secret military nuclear program.
Meanwhile, Russia Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander
Lukashevich said Thursday that Iran's nuclear issue can only
be resolved through political and diplomatic tools.
"Recent statement of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
about Iran's nuclear program proved that the diplomatic
approach is fruitful in the case of Iran's nuclear program,"
he told IRNA.
"Talks between Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili,
and EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, in Istanbul
proved that claims about the halt of negotiations between
Tehran and other sides were nothing other than propaganda."
Speaking at a press conference after a bilateral meeting
with Ashton, the Iranian negotiator described his meeting
with Ashton as good.
"We reviewed discussions raised in the Moscow talks and the
contents of the experts meeting (in Istanbul in July), and
we studied the common points which can serve as a platform
for cooperation and further talks.
"We are always ready for talks and we have declared that we
are ready to hear your response to Iran's plan," Jalili
He said Ashton is due to inform the Group 5+1 member-states
(the five permanent UN Security Council members plus
Germany) of the conclusions reached in the Tuesday meeting.
Quoting Ashton's remarks about the Tuesday night meeting,
who had described the talks as useful, Jalili said, "We hope
that we can help bring the viewpoints closer together."
Draconian U.S. Sanctions Hit
WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- Iranian students are having
trouble attending the University of Florida and other U.S.
institutions due to visa rejections and sanctions
restricting the transfer of money.
Bloomberg News first reported that growing tensions and
sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program have spilled into
academia. The Obama administration last year eased travel
restrictions for Iranian students, but the U.S. president
recently signed a measure denying visas to Iranians seeking
to prepare for careers in energy or nuclear-related fields.
The Bloomberg report found that Iranian graduate students
couldn’t study engineering at major U.S. universities
because their visa applications were rejected over concerns
about espionage, sabotage or export of sensitive
information. Five of the 23 Iranian graduate students
expected to enroll at UF this semester failed to show up,
according to the UF International Center.
UF President Bernie Machen said that the problem is related
as much to restrictions on the transfer of funds as rejected
visas. Graduate students typically get teaching and research
assistant positions, he said, but sanctions have made it
difficult for them to access additional money needed to
supplement their pay.
“It’s a loss for us, it’s a loss for the students and
frankly it’s a loss for our country,” he said.
Machen was one of six U.S. university presidents to visit
several Iranian universities on an eight-day trip in 2009.
The trip, organized by the Association of American
Universities, was meant to foster academic exchanges between
Iran and the U.S.
Machen said there are a number of Iranian students who would
study in fields such as science, technology, engineering and
mathematics and perhaps stay.
“We think that they have some really good students … that
can compete very well in our grad programs,” he said.