Iran: The Unnatural Alliance Collapses

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September 9, 2011: The United States, Britain, France and Germany want even stronger UN sanctions on Iran because they believe Iran continues to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. This is a violation of existing UN prohibitions. UN arms inspectors agree with the nuclear weapons part, citing the latest UN inspections in Iran. Recent reports indicate that North Korea has supplied Iran with software essential to the development of a working nuclear weapon. Meanwhile, Iran denies everything, as they have all along.

In the northwest, where most of the nation’s Azeri Turks (25 percent of Iran’s population) live, police have been brutally dispersing demonstrations against the destruction of Lake Orumiyeh. The lake has lost over half its water in the last two decades because the national government has built dams to divert fresh water that normally goes into the lake (which is the third largest salt water lake in the world and the largest lake in the Middle East.) The original surface area of the lake was 5,200 square kilometers. If something is not done soon, the lake will completely dry up. This will cause huge quantities of salt on the lake bed to be blown onto nearby farm and pasture land, destroying it. The original size of the lake was 140 kilometers (87 miles) long, 55 kilometers (34 miles) wide, and 16 meters (52 feet) deep.

The government has apparently concluded that force will not work to keep the pro-Iran Syrian government in power. So for the last week, Iran has been making increasingly strong, and public, calls to the Syrian government to negotiate with its rebellious population. Iran had supplied Syria with a lot of security experts, who had gained their experience suppressing Iranian reformers. But the Iranian experts apparently concluded that Syria was too far gone for Iranian methods of social control, and negotiation was the only option.

European countries are calling on Iran to halt illegal jamming of satellite broadcasts over Iran. The government seeks to jam programs directed at Iranians, but containing content the government does not approve of.

The government, or mercenary hackers, have broken into over 300,000 email accounts of Iranians, and been able to monitor them for over a month. This was accomplished by someone hacking into a Dutch Internet security company last July and stealing security data that enabled one to bypass security measures. While this has since been fixed, efforts to discover the extent of the damage are still under way.

The government said it had arrested five al Qaeda members in the last week. The five were trying to bring in large quantities of weapons.

September 7, 2011: The son of a Sunni cleric was sentenced to ten years in prison for espionage.

September 5, 2011: Water fights in public parks have become very popular this Summer. The fact that these activities involve young men and women has led the government to arrest participants. Now the government has concluded that these un-Islamic activities are the result of foreign interference. The United States and Israel are the usual suspects in cases like this. But the suppression of water pistol combat in public is but a small part of increasing efforts over the last two months to suppress any public actions that might be interpreted as anti-government. Pro-reform groups are especially vulnerable to attack.

September 3, 2011: The military has resumed its offensive against PJAK (Iranian Kurdish separatists who have long operated from of Iraqi bases) members inside Iraq, killing at least 30 of them in the first day or so.  Iranian shelling of PJAK  bases in Iraq killed the deputy military leader of PJAK. The death was announced several days later. At the same time, the PKK (Turkish Kurd separatists) announced that they would join with PJAK to fight the Iranian government.

Iran’s first nuclear power plant finally connected to the power grid, and began supplying electricity for the first time. The plant is operating at 40 percent capacity, but that will be gradually increased to 100 percent over the next few months. Work on the billion dollar, 1,000 megawatt plant began over three decades ago, but was interrupted by revolution, war and politics.

August 30, 2011: The navy has sent a frigate and Kilo class submarine to the Red Sea, mainly to show that the Iranian Navy can do this, but also to look for Somali pirates (who don’t usually operate that far north).  A similar voyage had taken place last June, but that mission did not last long.

August 23, 2011:  Financial and other support for Palestinian group Hamas has been cut back, and possibly halted altogether. This was in response for Hamas refusing to back the Syrian government crackdown against its rebellious citizens. Most Syrians are Sunni, as is Hamas. The Syrian government is Shia, as are the Iranians. While Hamas has accepted money, weapons and training from Iran, this was always seen as an unnatural alliance that could not last.

August 22, 2011: Uranium enrichment equipment (centrifuges) is being moved to underground bunkers.

 

 

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