Iran: Russia Helps Espionage Effort


October 4, 2006: The government has told the UN that, under no circumstances, will it halt its nuclear power development efforts. Iran continues to deny it is developing nuclear weapons as well, despite ample evidence to the contrary.
October 2, 2006: Popular unrest at continuing failure of the government to improve the lives of most Iranians. While per-capita income rose over 20 percent last year, 30 percent of the population still lives in poverty. Some 20 percent of the population controls 80 percent of the national wealth, and half the national income. Heavily represented in that top 20 percent are the Islamic clergy. The clerics seized the wealth of the aristocracy, and many supporters, when they overthrew the monarchy in 1979. That wealth went to charities, which are controlled by the clergy, and often used for personal needs. Worse yet, the government buys support from many people with subsidies and pay for no-show jobs. At the same time, private enterprise is discouraged. In a word, the economy is a mess, and more and more people are noticing it.
October 1, 2006: Iran has an intelligence cooperation deal with Russia and Syria. In part, this means all three nations operate electronic eavesdropping stations in Syria, which were apparently used to monitor Israeli military communications during the war this past Summer, and pass on useful information to Hizbollah. Russia is providing high-tech electronic gear in return for access to whatever is collected at listening posts in Syria and Iran.
September 28, 2006: The U.S. is increasing restrictions on companies that supply Iran with components and technical assistance for its missile and nuclear weapons programs. While there are many ways Iran can get what they want (legally or illegally), the U.S. has found ways to make it more difficult, and the U.S. Congress has passed laws making it easier for American officials to go after the Iranian support network around the world.


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