Archive for June 24th, 2009

“Report: Iran officials observed North Korean nuclear and missile tests”

“Report: Iran officials observed North Korean nuclear and missile tests”
June 25, 2009
     Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun reports that 7 Iranian officials from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the Revolutionary Guards were observers during North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests conducted in April and May, respectively. According to an unnamed source, the Iranian officials also watched a North Korean patrol ship enter South Korean waters in early June, possibly to explore methods of infiltrating enemy ships, and met with senior North Korean officials to discuss strategies for negotiating with the US and other foreign powers. The Iranian embassy in Tokyo denies any technical cooperation on missile or nuclear technologies between Iran and North Korea.
Sankei Shimbun (Japanese source)

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“Tehran’s targeting of UK may indicate willingness to engage US”

“Tehran’s targeting of UK may indicate willingness to engage US”
June 23 & 24, 2009
     Gregory Katz declares that Britain has replaced the US as Iran’s “great Satan” as Tehran considers downgrading relations with its former colonial ruler. Both nations have recently expelled one another’s diplomats, and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called Britain the “most evil” of foreign powers in a recent speech. According to Katz’s report, efforts by the BBC Persian Service to circumvent Iranian censorship and the British embassy’s decision to treat injured demonstrators have raised suspicions in Iran that Britain is actively supporting the protests (Associated Press).
     David Roberts believes that the targeting of Britain is Iran’s “first gesture” toward possible détente with the US should the election controversy subside and the US remain willing to engage diplomatically (Gulf Blog). Scott Peterson cites an unnamed analyst who argues that while President Ahmadinejad is “enthusiastic” about renewing ties with the US, recent remarks by President Obama condemning violence against protestors may affect Khamenei’s decision to pursue rapprochement. Analysts disagree whether Khamenei’s endorsement of Ahmadinejad signals an intention to engage the US with a strong negotiator or a sharp rejection of US overtures (Christian Science Monitor).
     Patrick Clawson argues that the protests have strengthened Khamenei’s view that the West is determined to overthrow the current regime and that the nuclear issue is only another pretext for such efforts. Michael Singh adds that Tehran’s handling of the election controversy and “reselection” of Ahmadinejad indicates the regime’s insecurity and unwillingness to engage with the US. Singh believes Iran is moving toward a military dictatorship and states that the growing power of the Revolutionary Guards may further insulate Tehran from international pressure (Washington Institute for Near East Policy).
Associated Press | Gulf Blog | Christian Science Monitor | Washington Institute for Near East Policy