Spotlight on Iran

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Highlights of the week

  • Iran’s NPT withdrawal threats resume following IAEA report
  • Debate on Syrian regime’s future resumes as Syria is suspended from Arab League
  • Iran denies any link between explosion on Revolutionary Guards base and military build-up program
  • More and more Iranians watch foreign satellite broadcasts despite authorities’ fight against satellite dishes
  • President expands his supporters’ online activity, launches new social network for young people

Highlights of the week

Iran’s NPT withdrawal threats resume following IAEA report

Iran once again threatens to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) following the release of the IAEA secretary-general’s report on the Iranian nuclear program last week.

Majles Speaker Ali Larijani said this week that the Majles intends to reexamine Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA since it’s now clear that cooperation, or lack thereof, has no influence on the “unprofessional decisions” of the agency. In addition, Kazem Jalali, spokesman for the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, reported that the committee began discussing Iran’s further cooperation with the IAEA. He said that committee members doubt whether there is any point in continuing to cooperate with the agency, which doesn’t help Iran achieve its right for nuclear technology. He did clarify, however, that at this point, the discussion is not indicative of a demand to withdraw from the NPT.

Meanwhile, student organizations in Iran called on Majles Speaker Ali Larijani to pass a bill stipulating that Iran has to withdraw from the NPT in protest of the IAEA secretary-general’s report.

While some called for considering the possibility of withdrawing from the NPT, different views were published by the Fararu website. An editorial titled “What should be done with this agency?” argued that withdrawing from the NPT is unreasonable and even dangerous, since it could serve the interests of Iran’s enemies and help them justify their claim that Iran is working to achieve nuclear weapons. Iran needs to gain an understanding of how committed IAEA leaders are to fulfill their responsibility towards it as member of the organization, and even suspend cooperation with the IAEA, but no good will come to Iran as a result of withdrawing from the NPT.

International affairs expert Hassan Beheshti-Pour also argued that it makes no sense for Iran to withdraw from the NPT after years of claiming that it is not interested in nuclear weapons. He noted that Iran should warn the IAEA about the impact of the report on Iran’s willingness to continue cooperating with the agency, but not withdraw from the NPT, which could give the West a new excuse to act against Iran.

In the past, there have been similar calls to withdraw from the NPT in response to mounting pressure and escalating sanctions against Iran.

 Debate on Syrian regime’s future resumes as Syria is suspended from Arab League

The Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria’s membership in the organization has reignited the debate in Iran over developments in that country and the future of the Syrian regime. While the official stance of Iran, which supports the Syrian regime, hasn’t changed so far, a growing number of voices in the Iranian media are stressing the gravity of the internal situation in Syria and casting doubts over the ability of the Syrian regime to successfully negotiate the crisis.

In response to the Arab League’s decision, earlier this week members of the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Committee released a statement supporting Syria as the main axis of resistance in the region. Speaking at his weekly press conference, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that the decision made by the Arab League does not help resolve the crisis in Syria, and that President Assad should be allowed to implement the reforms in his country without foreign intervention in Syria’s internal affairs.

Some conservative media also continued to express support for President Assad’s regime. The daily Qods strongly criticized the Arab League’s decision, claiming it was dictated by the West and contradicted the league’s charter, which stipulates that it has no right to intervene in the internal affairs of its members. The Arab League’s decision proves, according to the daily, that it has a two-faced approach to developments in the Arab world. While it ignores the suppression of human rights and killing of civilians in Bahrain and Yemen, it is setting the stage for the escalation of international pressure on Syria. The daily warned that the league’s current policy can result in the withdrawal of several Arab countries from the organization and even to its disbandment.

The daily Tehran Emrouz also criticized the Arab League’s decision, accusing it of serving the interests of the United States and Israel and weakening the most powerful Islamic front faced by Israel and compromising the interests of the Islamic world.

However, some media affiliated with the pragmatic conservative faction and the reformist camp provided extensive coverage of the ongoing riots in Syria, estimating that the Syrian regime is facing a deepening crisis. The Asr-e Iran website said that the decision of the Arab League prepares the ground for recognition of Syria’s opposition and defined it as the most severe diplomatic blow suffered by Syria in recent months. The reformist daily Sharq also estimated that the decision exacerbates the internal situation in Syria and the country’s status on the international scene. The daily argued that the crisis in Syria has entered a new phase, and that the political and economic developments in the country will cause the Damascus regime to lose even more of its power.

Iran denies any link between explosion on Revolutionary
Guards base and military build-up program

Earlier this week officials in Iran denied reports released by Western media linking the explosion that took place on a Revolutionary Guards base last Saturday (November 12) to Iran’s military build-up program. The explosion in the village of Bidganeh, some 45 km west of Tehran, killed 17 people, including a high-ranking Revolutionary Guards officer who served as commander of the Self-Sufficiency Jihad, an organization involved in the Revolutionary Guards’ military build-up. Revolutionary Guards Spokesman Reza Sharif reported that the explosion took place at an ammunition storage on the base as a result of an accident while transporting ammunition. He denied Western media reports saying that the explosion had to do with nuclear experiments Iran was allegedly carrying out on the base. Esma’il Kowsari, deputy chairman of the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, also denied reports that the explosion was the result of deliberate sabotage.

Referring to Western media reports about the alleged involvement of the Mossad in the explosion, Iranian media said that Israel is trying to take advantage of the explosion for propaganda and for proving the existence of its alleged operative capabilities in Iran.

In light of the contradictory, confused reports published in Iran in the first several hours after the explosion, some media criticized the poor performance of the authorities during the incident. The daily Tehran Emrouz said that by not releasing official reports following the explosion, the authorities allowed foreign media to take advantage of the situation to spread rumors and false reports. The Asr-e Iran website also criticized the way the authorities handled the incident, saying that the explosion revealed the considerable weakness of Iran’s publicity apparatus in emergency situations. Residents of Tehran who turned on their television sets to watch reports about the loud explosion had to watch a nature documentary shown by Iranian TV, and therefore tuned in to foreign channels. At a time when the public needs information more than ever, the Iranian media fails to deliver it and engages in excessive self-censorship, the website said.

The reformist opposition website Jaras also criticized the performance of the authorities, claiming that the Revolutionary Guards prevented the release of information on the causes of the explosion and the names of the officers killed in it. The website also claimed that the explosion revealed the increasing sensitivity among the public over the possibility of war.

More and more Iranians watch foreign satellite broadcasts
despite authorities’ fight against satellite dishes

The reformist daily Sharq reported this week that nearly 50 percent of Iranians watch TV stations based in other countries, which can be viewed in Iran using satellite dishes. The increase in the number of Iranians who watch such stations continues despite the struggle waged by the authorities on the use of satellite dishes starting from the 1990s. The trend has gathered even more speed in the past three years following the launch of new Persian-language foreign satellite channels.

The daily said that the repeated attempts made by the authorities to fight foreign satellite broadcasts by condemning them as being immoral are ineffective, since Iran Broadcasting offers no suitable, interesting alternatives for Iranians to watch.

The Iranian authorities have been fighting the use of satellite dishes for several years, and this year was no exception. While the anti-satellite campaign continues, however, more and more voices are calling for a reexamination of the official policy on satellite dishes, claiming it is ineffective and causes nothing but discontent among the people.

* President expands his supporters’ online activity, launches new social network for young people

This week President Ahmadinejad announced the launch of a new social network for young people, called Heralds of Peace and Justice. Speaking at a youth convention held in Tehran this week, Ahmadinejad announced that the social network aims to educate young people in a spirit of peace and friendship and create a platform for them to participate in the social scene.

A social network for the Supreme Leader’s supporters was launched in Iran in July 2010. It is currently inactive.

Iran’s NPT withdrawal threats resume following IAEA report

Iran once again threatens to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) following the release of the IAEA secretary-general’s report on the Iranian nuclear program last week.

Majles Speaker Ali Larijani said this week that the Majles intends to reexamine Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA. In response to the IAEA secretary-general’s report, Larijani said at the beginning of a Majles session held Sunday, November 13 that the report contains no new information but rather reiterates claims formerly made by the United States and Israel against Iran. The new style adopted by the agency shows hostility towards Iran, Larijani said, and the Majles intends to reexamine Iran’s cooperation with the agency since it is now clear that cooperation, or lack thereof, has no influence on the IAEA’s “unprofessional decisions” (Mehr, November 13).

At the same time, Esma’il Kowsari, deputy chairman of the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said that the committee intends to discuss the possibility of Iran’s withdrawal from the NPT. Kowsari strongly condemned the IAEA secretary-general, saying that the information on which the report released by the agency is based came from the Mojahedin-e Khalq organization, and that it has nothing to do with reality. He said that the IAEA’s becoming a body which represents the false claims of the United States puts the agency’s status at risk (Fars, November 12).

Earlier this week Kazem Jalali, spokesman for the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, reported that the committee began discussing Iran’s further cooperation with the IAEA. He said that committee members doubt whether there is any point in remaining a member of the agency or continuing to cooperate with it, given the fact that membership in it doesn’t help Iran achieve its nuclear rights. The agency’s conduct towards Iran is unreasonable and illegal, he said, and is based on the political inclinations of world powers. He did clarify, however, that at this point, the discussion on further cooperation with the IAEA is not indicative of a demand to withdraw from the NPT (Mehr, November 14).

Majles Energy Committee member Moayyed Sadr Hosseini also questioned the benefit of remaining a member of the IAEA. In an interview to the Fararu website, Hosseini said that so far Iran has gained nothing from being a member of the organization and signatory of the NPT. In his opinion, joining the organization in 1958 was a mistake to begin with, and the least Iran should have done was to withdraw several years ago, when it became apparent that the membership did not help Iran advance its nuclear program, as the NPT requires. He said that the IAEA is currently controlled by the United States—the only country to have used nuclear weapons—and Israel (Fararu, November 14).

Meanwhile, student organizations in Iran issued a statement calling on Majles Speaker Ali Larijani to pass a bill stipulating that Iran has to withdraw from the NPT in protest of the IAEA secretary-general’s report. Signed by 47 student organizations from across the country, the statement says that the IAEA serves the intelligence agencies of the United States and Britain and the Zionist lobby (Fars, November 10)

Iran’s NPT withdrawal threats resume following IAEA report

While some called for considering the possibility of withdrawing from the NPT, different views were published by the Fararu website. An editorial titled “What should be done with this agency?”, which was published on the website, argued that, given Iran’s constant and serious cooperation with the IAEA and U.N. inspectors, the question is what would be the point of maintaining cooperation with the agency. Not only did the IAEA fail to live up to its obligations towards Iran, it even prepares the ground for an attack by Iran’s enemies. Withdrawing from the NPT is unreasonable and even dangerous, however. Such a move could serve the interests of Iran’s enemies and help them justify their claim that Iran is working to achieve nuclear weapons. Accordingly, withdrawal from the NPT does not serve Iran’s national interests and cannot be considered an appropriate response to the IAEA secretary-general’s report. The problem faced by Iran is not the NPT but rather Iran’s membership in the IAEA under the current conditions. Iran needs to gain an understanding of how committed IAEA leaders are to fulfill their responsibility towards it as member of the organization. If it turns out that the agency is unwilling to advance Iran’s nuclear rights, cooperation with it can be suspended, but no good will come to Iran as a result of withdrawing from the NPT (Fararu, November 14).

International affairs expert Hassan Beheshti-Pour also argued that it makes no sense for Iran to withdraw from the NPT. The IAEA secretary-general’s report is biased and political, he said, but withdrawing from the NPT after Iran has been claiming for years that it is not interested in nuclear weapons is unreasonable. Withdrawing from the treaty could give the West another excuse to claim that Iran is interested in obtaining nuclear weapons. He noted that Iran should warn the IAEA about the impact of the report on Iran’s willingness to continue cooperating with the agency, but not withdraw from the NPT (Fararu, November 13).

In the past, there have been similar calls to withdraw from the NPT in response to mounting pressure and escalating sanctions against Iran.

Debate on Syrian regime’s future resumes as Syria is suspended from Arab League

The Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria’s membership in the organization has reignited the debate in Iran over developments in that country and the future of the Syrian regime. While the official stance of Iran, which supports the Syrian regime, hasn’t changed so far, a growing number of voices in the Iranian media are stressing the gravity of the internal situation in Syria and casting doubts over the ability of the Syrian regime to successfully negotiate the crisis.

Earlier this week members of the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Committee released a statement supporting Syria as the main axis of resistance to U.S. and Israeli policy in the region. Committee Spokesman Kazem Jalali announced that, at their last meeting, the committee members had discussed the developments in Syria and the Arab League’s decision to suspend its membership in the organization, and reaffirmed their support for Syria as the main axis of resistance in the region (Fars, November 13).

Speaking at his weekly press conference, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that the decision made by the Arab League does not help resolve the crisis in Syria and only makes it more complicated. He stressed that Iran is opposed to foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the region’s countries, and that President Assad should be allowed to implement the reform program in his country (ISNA, November 14).

At the same time, the Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a press release clarifying that the suspension of Syria’s membership would not go into effect immediately, and that it was given until November 16 to meet its obligations under the Arab League’s early November plan to resolve the crisis in Syria (ISNA, November 12).

Some conservative media also continued to express support for President Assad’s regime. The daily Qods strongly criticized the decision made by the Arab League. In an editorial published earlier this week, the daily said that the decision was dictated by the West and contradicted the league’s 1945 charter, which stipulates that it has no right to intervene in the internal affairs of its members. According to the daily, in recent years the league has proven that it implements the policy of Western powers, and even now it is implementing the pressure exerted on Syria by the West.

Qods claimed that the decision of the Arab League was made despite the fact that the Syrian regime has agreed to accept the plan to resolve the political crisis in the country, according to which it has to pull out military forces from the cities, liberate political prisoners, and start negotiations with opposition representatives. The Arab League’s decision proves that it has a two-faced approach to developments in the Arab world. While it ignores the suppression of human rights and killing of civilians in Bahrain and Yemen and does nothing to help the oppressed people of these two countries, it is setting the stage for the escalation of pressure on Syria. Suspending Syria will not solve any problem, Qods said, and can even lead to an escalation of the internal crisis, foreign intervention, and growing differences of opinion between the league members. The policy pursued by the league, which follows Western dictates, causes severe damage to the organization’s identity and the foundations on which it is based. Such a policy already encounters opposition from several important Arab countries—including Sudan, Iraq, Algeria, and Yemen—which question the league’s ability to guarantee the interests of its members and protect the Arab nations. In the future, this policy can result in the withdrawal of several Arab countries from the organization and even to its disbandment, Qods said (Qods, November 12).

The daily Tehran Emrouz also strongly condemned the decision of the Arab League, saying it prefers to focus on Syria, “the spearhead of Islamic resistance” against Israel, and ignore the killing of the people of Bahrain and Yemen. While masses of Syrian citizens demonstrate in support of President Assad, the league looks the other way and comports itself in a manner that serves the interests of the “Zionist regime”. The league cannot identify the interests of the Arab nations, the daily said, and challenges a country that has been on the forefront of the struggle against the Zionists, even though President Assad has agreed to implement reforms in his country.

Tehran Emrouz accused the league of acting in the interests of the United States and Israel and committing itself to a campaign designed to weaken the strongest Islamic front that is facing Israel. The daily also criticized the reaction of the Iranian Foreign Ministry to the league’s decision to suspend Syria. The Foreign Ministry could have been expected to condemn the decision given its impact on the anti-Israel resistance front and the interests of the Islamic world, but strangely, the Foreign Ministry preferred not to take a clear stance, the newspaper said (Tehran Emrouz, November 14).

However, some media affiliated with the pragmatic conservative faction and the reformist camp provided extensive coverage of the ongoing riots in Syria, estimating that the internal situation in Syria is growing worse. The Asr-e Iran website said that the decision of the Arab League prepares the ground for recognition of Syria’s opposition, whose representatives have been invited to take part in talks on the future of the Syrian regime. The decision follows on the heels of decisions made by the provisional government of Libya and the government of Tunisia to suspend their relations with Syria and recognize Syrian opposition representatives. The website defined Syria’s suspension from the Arab League as the most severe diplomatic blow suffered by the country in recent months, and a reflection of the league’s intent to gradually move towards recognizing the council of the Syrian regime’s opponents (Asr-e Iran, November 13).

The reformist daily Sharq also estimated that the decision exacerbates the internal situation in Syria and its status on the international scene. An editorial published by the daily said that the crisis in Syria has entered a new phase where the Syrian army is facing increased desertion, demonstrations by regime opponents are spreading, the opposition abroad is mobilizing its ranks, and Syria’s economic situation is growing worse. According to the daily, such developments are weakening Assad’s regime (Sharq, November 14).

Iran denies any link between explosion on Revolutionary
Guards base and military build-up program

Earlier this week officials in Iran denied reports released by Western media linking the explosion that took place on a Revolutionary Guards base last Saturday (November 12) to Iran’s military build-up program.

Seventeen people were killed and over 20 were wounded in the explosion, which took place in the village of Bidganeh, near the city of Malard, some 45 km west of Tehran. Echoes of the explosion could also be felt in the capital. One of the people killed was Hassan Tehrani-Moqaddam, a high-ranking Revolutionary Guards officer who served as commander of the Self-Sufficiency Jihad, an organization involved in the Revolutionary Guards’ military build-up. An official announcement released by the Revolutionary Guards said that the senior officer killed was the architect of the Revolutionary Guards’ artillery and missile forces, and had played a major role in their development (Fars, November 13).

Revolutionary Guards Spokesman Reza Sharif reported that the explosion took place at an ammunition storage on a Revolutionary Guards base as a result of an accident while transporting ammunition. He denied Western media reports saying that the explosion had to do with nuclear experiments Iran was allegedly carrying out on the base (Fars, November 13). Esma’il Kowsari, deputy chairman of the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, denied reports that the explosion was the result of deliberate sabotage (Khabar Online, November 12). Majles National Security Committee Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi said in an interview to Fars News Agency that the explosion was the result of an accident, which can always happen on a military base involved in transporting ammunition. He reported that the Majles committee will hold a special session to discuss the explosion with senior Revolutionary Guards officials (Fars, November 13).

Referring to recent Western media reports about the alleged involvement of the Mossad in the explosion, Iranian media said that Israel is trying to take advantage of the explosion, which was the result of an accident, for propaganda and for proving it allegedly has operative capabilities in Iran (Mehr, November 14; Tabnak, November 15).

Rooz On-line, a European-based website affiliated with the reformist opposition, reported earlier this week that the base where the explosion occurred was used for the storage of Shihab-3, long-range, ground-to-ground missiles. The website quoted a soldier formerly stationed on the base as saying that it was one of the Revolutionary Guards’ Air Force bases. He said that the chance of sabotage on the base was slim due to the high level of security maintained there (Rooz On-line, November 13).

The conservative daily Siyasat-e Rooz criticized foreign media for trying to link the explosion to a sensitive security issue and the IAEA secretary-general’s report to galvanize public opinion against Iran. Referring to the Western media’s claims that the Iranian security forces prevented civilians from approaching the explosion area, Siyasat-e Rooz said that if such explosion took place in a European country, the authorities would do the same (Siyasat-e Rooz, November 13).

In the hours after the explosion on the base, conflicting reports were released by the Iranian media on the circumstances of the explosion and the number of casualties. It was initially reported that the site of the explosion was an oil or natural gas facility, but that report was shortly denied by the National Petrochemical Company. In the afternoon a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards reported that 27 people had died in the explosion; however, he soon issued an apology and correction stating that the actual number of people killed was 17. Following the explosion journalists were denied access to the site by security forces. Ambulances sent from local hospitals were also prevented from entering the explosion area. The victims were evacuated by military rescue services assisted by helicopters (E’temad, November 13).
In light of the contradictory, confused reports published in Iran in the first several hours after the explosion, some media criticized the poor performance of the authorities during the incident. The daily Tehran Emrouz said that by not releasing official reports following the explosion, the authorities allowed foreign media to take advantage of the situation to spread rumors and false reports. The only official body that released a statement a relatively short time after the explosion was the Revolutionary Guards. The statement, which denied the false reports published by foreign media, prevented even greater damage and is, according to Tehran Emrouz, a good example of how government bodies should deal with the media and public opinion in the “soft war” waged against Iran by its enemies (Tehran Emrouz, November 13).

The Asr-e Iran website also criticized the way the authorities and the official media handled the incident. According to the website, the explosion revealed the considerable weakness of Iran’s publicity apparatus, particularly when it comes to emergency situations. The website took issue with the lack of information on the explosion for many hours after it had occurred. The authorities released no official announcement, and the first update on the issue was published on behalf of a Majles member who gave a report to the Majles news agency.

The website also strongly criticized Iran Broadcasting for not sending reporters to the site of the incident shortly after the explosion. Iranian TV channels did not mention the explosion for two hours after it had taken place, and even then the report was given no particular emphasis, “as if it was a report on the first autumn rain”. Residents of Tehran who turned on their television sets for reports about the strong explosion they had felt and the ambulance sirens they had heard only had nature documentaries to watch, and therefore tuned in to foreign channels.

The website took issue with the decision of the official news agencies not to release photographs from the site of the incident. The first such photograph published by the Iranian media was one by the international news agency Associated Press (AP), as if it was an incident that took place in the U.S. state of Virginia rather than west Tehran, Asr-e Iran said. According to the website, the incident demonstrates once again the restrictions imposed on the work of Iranian reporters and photographers. When an Iranian photographer is arrested while taking pictures of the Fire Festival before the Iranian New Year (Nowruz), it should come as no surprise that the media are afraid of publishing photographs of a military base. It is precisely in such extraordinary circumstances, at a time when the public needs information more than ever, that the Iranian media fails to deliver it and engages in excessive self-censorship, the website said (Asr-e Iran, November 13).

Criticism of the way the authorities handled the incident was joined by Jaras, a website affiliated with the reformist opposition. The website reported that the Revolutionary Guards prevented the release of information on the causes of the explosion and the names of the officers killed in it. The website also claimed that after the explosion, security forces prevented rescue teams from entering the site of the incident. The explosion exposed the lack of coordination between Iran’s authorities in handling the incident and the increasing sensitivity among the public over the possibility of war, Jaras said (Jaras, November 13).

More and more Iranians watch foreign satellite broadcasts
despite authorities’ fight against satellite dishes

The reformist daily Sharq reported this week that nearly 50 percent of Iranians watch TV stations based in other countries, which can be viewed in Iran using satellite dishes. The data was recently released by Majid Rajabi Me’mar, the director of Jame Jam, a TV channel operated by Iran Broadcasting, at a conference on the challenges faced by Iranian television.

According to the report published by Sharq, the increase in the number of Iranians who watch foreign satellite channels continues despite the struggle waged by the authorities on the use of satellite dishes starting from the 1990s. The trend has gathered even more speed in the past three years following the launch of new Persian-language foreign satellite channels, such as the Persian TV channel of the MBC network and the BBC Persian-language channel. A public opinion poll conducted by Iran Broadcasting last year indicated a 10-percent increase in the number of Iranians who watch satellite broadcasts compared to the previous year.

Sharq said that the continuing attempts made by the authorities to fight foreign satellite broadcasts by condemning them as being corruptive, immoral, and conducive to addiction and divorce do not help curb the phenomenon, since Iran Broadcasting offers no suitable, interesting alternatives for Iranians to watch. Its top officials are busy trying to hit the competition instead of putting efforts into the improvement of the shows aired on Iranian TV (Sharq, November 13).

The Iranian authorities have been fighting the use of satellite dishes for several years, and this year was no exception. This past May security forces in Tehran launched yet another operation to round up satellite dishes from citizens’ homes, confiscating thousands of dishes and a great deal of satellite equipment. While the anti-satellite campaign continues, however, more and more voices are calling for a reexamination of the official policy on satellite dishes, claiming it is ineffective and causes nothing but discontent among the people.

President expands his supporters’ online activity, launches
new social network for young people

This week President Ahmadinejad announced the launch of a new social network for young people, called Heralds of Peace and Justice (monadiyan-e solh va edalat).

Speaking at a youth convention held in Tehran this week, Ahmadinejad announced that the social network aims to educate young people in a spirit of peace, friendship, and participation in social affairs, creating a dynamic, transparent platform for them to participate in the social scene and implement young people’s values in the fields of peace and friendship in the world (Fars, November 14).

From the Lebanese website <a href=
From the Lebanese website www.nowlebanon.com, November 14

In July 2010 a social network called Velayat Madaran (http://velayatmadaran.ir) was launched by supporters of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. It is currently inactive. Following its launch the network’s creators said it was designed to provide an appropriate response to the “soft war” waged online by the enemies of the Islamic republic, and create a friendly virtual environment for the Supreme Leader’s supporters to converse, exchange ideas, and nurture culture, thus improving their knowledge of the online battle tactics used by Iran’s enemies and of means to defeat them.

Pictures of the week: human chain around uranium conversion facility (UCF)
in Esfahan in response to IAEA report and threats against Iran

Pictures of the week: human chain around uranium conversion facility (UCF)

Pictures of the week: human chain around uranium conversion facility (UCF)

Pictures of the week: human chain around uranium conversion facility (UCF)

Pictures of the week: human chain around uranium conversion facility (UCF)

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