Peace, Love and Unity
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I'm going to make a cross-post here from the chronicles-network site. Iran is one of those countries I find compelled to watch develop - even more so since the pressure on the country from the US government under George W. Bush.

Iran is one of those countries where ideologies are playing a straight battle - those of fundamental Islam versus moderate governance. It's almost as if Iran is a testing ground that will decide the issue for the rest of the Middle East.

It's also very interesting to note the nuclear situation there. It's certainly a country that the USA must be planning to deal with directly at some future juncture, should the specific nuclear issue not be dealt with directly.

In terms of defining the future of world events, I'd say that Iran is definitely a country to watch.

Anyway, here's the post from the chronicles site about Iran in the news today:

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Well, well, well. Iran simply gets more and more interesting.
for a start there's apparent confirmation of significant Al Qaeda figures arrested in Iran:

Al-Qaeda spokesman 'in Iran'

Iran's "Supreme Leader", the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is directly profiteering. A rival newsparaer was even able to publish a general allegation that the mullahs of Iran are profiteering, with 20% from the sale of all cars sold going directly into a jar that senior figures are scooping their hands into.

The following quote is especially invaluable:

"...the ayatollah's denials will do little to dispel the widely-held view in Iran that a new class of millionaire mullahs are plundering the riches of the country."

Iran leader denies profiteering

The recent student protests - that so riled the conservatiove religious leadership - appear to be over, but with plenty to say in their wake. For a start, President Khatami has ordered an investigation into whether the religious right has been cracking down against journalists:

Iran probes journalist crackdown

Of course, the crackdown on the student protests led to a special envoy from the UN - whose job it is to effectively gauge human rights - to have his visit officially cancelled by the Iranian authorities:

Iran 'cancels' envoy's visit

One of the stranger stories to follow immediatel on the issue - which will likely not get much room in the world press - is that the US is accusing Cuba of blocking it's pro-democracy boradcasts into Iran!

Apparently, it is claimed that the Cuban leadership is using an old Soviet tracking station to specifically jam the satellite that the US broadcasters are sending their Farsi-language broadcasts - promoting "freedom" and "democracy", of course. More on the story here:

US broadcasts 'jammed by Cuba'

And if you're truly interested, there's an interesting link at the BBC that deals with the political infrastructure of Iran - specifically addressing the question of "Who holds power":

Iran: who holds the power?"
More games played on the international stage.

For starters, there are unverified claims that Iran is holding senior al qaeda figures. A bargaining tool against the USA or just plain bravado? Or a sign of concern to be seen to act?

Iran holds 'senior' al-Qaeda men

Also, the nuclear impasse that has seemed so threatening appears to have some hope for a completely diplomatic solution. We'll soon see what happens in September, though, with the IAEA actually have their official meeting with Iranian officials to organise inspections:

Iran official backs nuclear protocol