Iran: Death By Charity

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February5, 2007: A third of the Iranian economy is controlled by Islamic charities. These were formed in the 1980s, when the new revolutionary government (dominated by clerics) seized the enormous assets of the royal family, and many of the monarchs friends and associates. These charities, which are actually conglomerates, do not pay taxes, and answer to no one. They are run for the benefit of the senior clerics who "oversee" them. The charities are corrupt, inefficient and throw their weight around. The companies the charities control pay their workers poverty wages and often turn out shoddy products. Competing firms are often forced to sell out to the charities. The charities have their own armed militia, plus access to police and government sponsored militias. With all this firepower, and the belief that they are on a mission from God, the clerics running the government, and much of the economy, don't pay a lot of attention to Iranians complaining of poor pay, few jobs and little opportunity.

February 4, 2007: The head of Lebanese terror group Hizbollah boasted of the support he receives from Iran. Officially, this is not supposed to be the case. But when you're in love, who needs secrets?

February 1, 2007: Iraq has closed some border crossings with Iran, and Kurdish military units up north are being sent to the Iranian border. The Iranians are not happy with the autonomous Kurdish state in northern Iraq, and are sending commandos and political operatives into the Kurdish territory, in an effort to cause some trouble. While the Kurds are Sunnis, they belong to a more laid back sect of Sunni Islam, and are not much into anti-Shia religious hatred. Further south, the Shia dominated Iraqi government is trying to stop more Iranian agents and assets from entering the country, to support pro-Iranian Iraqi Shia political parties.

In Israel, Palestinian Fatah gunmen raided the Hamas controlled Islamic university in Gaza, and arrested seven Iranians. Another Iranian committed suicide. Some of the captured Iranians are believed to be military trainers. Iran has long been a major financial backer of Hamas.

January 31, 2007:Reports keep coming out of Iran about North Korean missile experts coming, and going, along with air freight shipments of ballistic missile components.

January 30, 2007:After discovering that surplus F-14 jet fighter parts were making their way to Iran, the U.S. government banned sale of the parts. The U.S. retired the last of its F-14s last year, but Iran still has several dozen, which it received in the 1970s, before the Islamic revolution. By smuggling in needed spare parts, Iran has managed to keep a few of the F-14s operational. When the U.S. retired its F-14 fleet, all the spare parts became surplus, and were auctioned off. Buyers were not supposed to export the parts, but some did. The money is good, as the Iranian arms smuggling operation has been out there for over twenty years. The Iranians have a reputation for paying top dollar for what they want.

January 28, 2007:Government officials openly boasted of how Russian support helped Iran resist pressure from the U.S. (to stop building nuclear weapons and interfering in Iraq.)

 

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