last ten weeks, Iranian forces in Iraq (mainly members of the Quds Force) have
been subject to several attacks, leaving over fifty dead and more than a
hundred captured. The interrogations of these men has led to more arrests, and
a growing pile of evidence concerning Iranian support of terrorist activity in
Iraq. Iran denies it all.
June 30, 2007: The government
continues to stonewall any and all proposals from the UN to halt Iranian
nuclear weapons research.
June 27, 2007: New
gasoline rationing has led to growing violence, mainly at the scene of long
lines at gas stations. Over a dozen gas stations have been attacked and set
alight by angry Iranians. People are angry at the government mismanagement of
the economy. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got elected with promises of
"sharing the (oil) wealth." This has not happened, even though
Ahmadinejad did make attempts to crack down on corruption. Anti-corruption
efforts did not have any widespread impact. The families of senior clerics
still dominate the economy, running things for their own benefit, not that of
the country. This means that growth and efficiency are not emphasized, it's all
about making the the family wealthier. Popular anger against this has been
growing for decades, and the gas rationing (because not enough refineries were
built, and half the gasoline has to be imported) may be the last straw.
Gasoline is heavily subsidized, costing consumers only about 43 cents a gallon,
and this after a 25 percent price increase two months ago. This is much less
than in neighboring countries, which means a lot of gasoline is smuggled out of
the country for sale at those higher prices. A lot of oil revenue is used up on
subsidizing the gasoline supply. The rationing, which provides the average
citizen with only 26 gallons a month, is supposed to prevent the
smuggling. But those with connections to the clerical families can still get
access to fuel supplies and sneak stuff out of the country, as long as they cut
their sponsors in on the profits. With the rationing, a lot of money will be
made with stolen gasoline in Iran, as there is now a huge black market demand
June 25, 2007: The
government is offering rewards for those who turn in people sending
"immoral messages" (including photographs) via their cell phones. The
government is trying to install software to censor these kinds of messages, but
is not having much success. The government believes cell phones have become a
major tool for dissident and rebellious Iranians, but the devices are too
popular, and useful for the economy, to ban completely.
June 23, 2007: The national
police rounded up 150,000 people during the annual Spring campaign against
young men and women dressing or behaving in "un-Islamic" ways. This
is about twice the number rounded up in the past few years. The government is
trying to intimidate the population, and forestall any widespread
uprising. University staff, labor union leaders and journalists have all
been warned to behave, or else.
June 22, 2007: Gasoline
rationing has caused long lines at gas stations, and a lot of very angry
June 21, 2007: The government
is not just arresting Americans in Iran (four so far), but is holding a French
citizen, who had been given permission to make a film about survivors of the
1980 war with Iraq. All of the people held are Iranians who have become citizens
of foreign countries. Iran still considers these people Iranians.
June 20, 2007: The U.S.
says it has evidence that the five British citizens kidnapped last month in
Iraq, were taken by men trained in Iran, and operating in cooperation with the Iranian