Iran: The Secret Weapon

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May 18, 2007: Iran has obtained the open support of 56 Islamic nations, for its nuclear energy program. This support was limited to "peaceful use of nuclear energy," which is one reason why Iran insists it is not developing nuclear weapons, despite evidence to the contrary.

May 17, 2007: Iran's secret weapon is its secret service. The Iranian equivalent of the CIA (the Vevak) has stayed out of politics, and been invigorated by its participation in the technology smuggling and theft efforts that have kept the Iranian armed forces viable, despite three decades of arms embargos. There's a lot of money involved, and opportunity to do side deals for non-military goods. While the Vevak agents have largely stayed away from illegal drugs, everything else has been fair game. The world wide smugglers underground is full of Iranians, and most of them belong to Vevak, or have a relationship with it.

May 15, 2007: In the last month, nearly a 100,000 Afghan refugees have been forced to return to Afghanistan. That's about five percent of the two million Afghans still living in Iran, after having fled the Russian invasion of the 1980s, or the civil wars of the 1990s. Iran believes the refugees harbor drug smugglers and other criminals.

May 13, 2007: An Iranian born official of the U.S. Woodrow Wilson Institute, has been arrested in Iran. The official, Haleh Esfandieri, had left Iran in 1980, and had returned, as she had many times before, to visit her mother. The Woodrow Wilson Institute has advocated opening a dialog with Iran, but the Iranian Islamic radicals see organizations like the Woodrow Wilson Institute as enemies of Islam.

May 12, 2007: The government officially refused to halt its work on atomic energy, and insisted that sanctions would not deter it either.

May 11, 2007: The crackdown on "un-Islamic behavior" continues, is angering younger Iranians, and causing a visible split among the clerics that run the country. The more extreme clerics, the ones who really believe in an Islamic world conquest, want the wayward youngsters purified. Most of the clerics, however, see this thuggish behavior as an incitement to a revolution that could tear the country apart. Meanwhile, Iranian reformers have been secretly going abroad and meeting with groups who offer advise on how to organize a non-violent revolution.

 

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