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. Read the rest of this entry »