Iran: Bracing For The Backlash

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October 29, 2010:  In Nigeria, police revealed that they had found 13 cargo containers, that arrived in July from Iran, contained weapons, not, as their manifests indicated, building materials. This appeared to be another arms smuggling operation, but it is unclear to who, and whether this was the Iranian government running the operations, or just Iranian smugglers.  

The Iranian government continues its crackdown on rebellious students. Many "Western" subjects (secular law, women's studies, human rights, management, sociology, philosophy, psychology and political science, for starters) will be restricted or banned altogether. These subjects are considered un-Islamic. Iran has 3.5 million university students, a group that has been a major source of people calling for reform inside Iran. Several other politically dangerous practices were also banned, like women bicycling, roller-skating or playing volleyball in public. The government is also cracking down on dissent in their own ranks. Senior clerics or non-clerical officials are having their web-sites blocked and restrictions placed on their movement. Relatives of senior, but dissident, clerics, are also being punished for their behavior. A lot of this hard-line activity appears to be in anticipation of unrest caused by upcoming elimination of subsidies on food and fuel. This will drive up the cost of living for Iranians, and is expected to make a lot of people angry. The subsidies are no longer affordable, and the government has avoided dropping them for too long.

Iran and Afghanistan admitted that Afghan officials take large amounts of cash from the Iranian government. This is considered a form of foreign aid. The U.S. considers it bribes, but Afghans disagree. It's a gift, by Afghan standards. Afghans insist they cannot be bought, but it appears that they can be rented.

Recently revealed American military documents provided more proof of the extent of Iranian interference in Iraq over the last seven years. Iran has subsidized, bribed or threatened Iraqi leaders throughout this period, as well as supporting militias that killed Americans and anti-Iran Iraqis.

October 27, 2010: The U.S. identified, and black listed, 37 more companies that were supporting smuggling efforts for Iran's nuclear weapons program. This sort of thing slows down the Iranians, and makes it more expensive to develop their nukes. It also annoys the Iranian leaders a great deal. Some sanctions don't work because of political disagreements. For example, the EU recently admitted that they will continue to sell gasoline (petrol) and natural gas to Iran, because otherwise it would be too much of a burden on ordinary Iranians. Not all European nations go along with this, but you can see where the trend is. The U.S. is also having a hard time getting China to stop selling forbidden technologies to Iran. This is done in secret, and China just denies everything, and keeps at it.

The U.S. confirmed a $60 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia. This includes hundreds of combat aircraft and helicopters, along with thousands of smart bombs and missiles. Saudis Arabia and other Gulf Arab states, have been stocking up on weapons, especially American ones, in the last few years. This is all for defense against Iranian aggression. The Arab states in the region admit that Iran is trying to destabilize the region (and install pro-Iranian governments). But these charges are not made publicly, so as not to further anger the Iranians. The Arab Gulf states try very hard to maintain good relations with Iran. Not just because Iran is a valuable trading partner for many of these states (especially the UAE and Kuwait), but also because Arabs have, for thousands of years, worked hard not to antagonize Iran, which has long been the local superpower.

October 14, 2010:  Iranian border guards arrested six Afghan soldiers who, while searching for Taliban in a dust storm, had strayed across the border.  The Afghans were caught about 50 meters inside Iran.

October 12, 2010: An explosion at an underground military base, some 500 kilometers southwest of the capital, left at least 18 Revolutionary Guards dead, and many more wounded. The government said this was the result of a fire that reached an ammo storage area. Some suspect terrorism.

October 10, 2010: Two German journalists were arrested when they were found to be investigating a government program that allowed women accused of sexual misconduct to be stoned to death.

 

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