Iran Update
Volume: 1 - Issue:  7 6 March 2010
Iran Update

We are delighted to present you with the current issue of Iran Update, a publication of International Solidarity for Democratic Change in Iran (ISDCI).
International Solidarity for Democratic Change in Iran (ISDCI) is a public benefit association comprised of members of Parliament, political dignitaries, human rights advocates and organizations throughout the world, as well as different Iranian organisations, associations and personalities.
Iran Update endeavours to report on topics related to the movement for democracy, human rights, and freedom in Iran on a regular basis. We invite you to subscribe your friends to this newsletter and contribute articles or ideas related to our work.
The aim of Iran sanctions: regime squeeze  
David Ignatius
The Daily Star
6 March 2010

The cynical (and usually correct) critique of economic sanctions was summed up this way by a retired US diplomat named Douglas Paal: "Sanctions always accomplish their principal objective, which is to make those who impose them feel good."
The Obama administration is now struggling to craft a new round of United Nations sanctions against Iran that achieves more than this feel-good impact. The ambitious goal is "to cut off the revenues that fund Iran's nuclear and missile programs," says a senior administration official.
"We are going to put as tight a squeeze on Iran as we possibly can," adds a diplomat from one of the members of the US-led coalition that is beginning to discuss a new sanctions resolution at the UN Security Council. The resolution will target the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its vast network of companies, which the United States estimates may include up to one-third of Iran's total economy. 
One focus of the proposed sanctions may be the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, a 115-vessel fleet that analysts believe has carried cargo for the country's nuclear program. Another target might be the IRGC-owned construction company Khatam al-Anbiya and its network of subsidiaries...

Pardon me, Obama Administration, but isn't your policy on fire?  
Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
5 March 2010

The place: State Department daily press conference; the main character, departmental spokesman Philip J. Crowley. A reporter wants to know how the administration views the fact that the moment the U.S. delegation left after urging Syrian President Bashar al-Asad to move away from Iran and stop supporting Hizballah, Syria's dictator invited in Iran's dictator along with Hizballah's leader and Damascus moved closer to Iran and Hizballah.

In other words, the exact opposite of what the United States requested. Is the government annoyed, does it want to express some anger or threat?so... Let's listen:

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I would point it in a slightly different direction. It came several days after an important visit to Damascus by Under Secretary Bill Burns....We want to see Syria play a more constructive role in the region. We also want - to the extent that it has the ability to talk to Iran directly, we want to make sure that Syria's communicating to Iran its concerns about its role in the region and the direction, the nature of its nuclear ambitions...."

In other words, I'm going to ignore the fact that the first thing that Asad did after Burns' visit was a love fest with Iran and Hizballah. But even more amazing, what Crowley said is that the U.S. government thinks Syria, Iran's partner and ally, is upset that Iran is being aggressive and expansionist. And it actually expects the Syrians to urge Iran not to build nuclear weapons!

One Lebanese observer called this approach, "Living in an alternate universe."
Obama, Iran and Iraq  
Robert Dreyfuss
The Nation
5 March 2010
Just like love and marriage, Iran and Iraq go together. As much as the Obama administration might like to, there's no having an "Iraq policy" without having a closely related "Iran policy." As the song says, you can't have one without the other.

One of the biggest failures of the administration so far is its seeming inability to coordinate its regional approach to the set of problems revolving around Iran, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf. At a conference on Monday at the American Enterprise Institute, Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress called this "strategic incoherence." It's a critical failure because stability in Iraq, now at grave risk because of electoral shenanigans by Iran's allies in Iraqi politics, is very much dependent on Iran's role in Iraq. For years now, I've been writing that Iran is using its power in Iraq as leverage in regard to U.S.-Iran relations; that is, if the United States and Iran move forward toward an understanding, implicit or explicit, Iran can use its influence to stabilize Iraq, while if the U.S.-Iran dialogue spins out of control toward a showdown, Iran can turn Iraq into a seething caldron of instability and violence.
US expresses concern on execution of political prisoners in Iran 
U.S. State Department
5 March 2010

The United States notes with great concern reports the Iranian courts have upheld a death sentence for 20-year-old university student Mohammad Amin Valian. Valian was arrested for throwing stones during the December 27 Ashura demonstrations, a crime to which he confessed. For this minor act, he was found guilty of 'warring against God.' It appears this would be the first person facing execution after the election, although we do note due process concerns about other executions. We find this disproportionate punishment deplorable and urge his immediate release.

Furthermore, we join the international community in calling on Iranian authorities to release all political prisoners. If the Iranian government wants the respect of the international community, it must respect the fundamental freedoms of its people.

Read More 

Support Iran's opposition movement  
Roger Gale
UPI Outside View
1 March 2010

Iran is currently facing its greatest domestic crisis in 30 years and young Iranians are openly calling for regime change in major anti-government rallies, the most recent on the anniversary of the Islamic revolution on Feb. 11. Critically, Iran has an organized resistance movement that is not an enemy of the West.

In a strange twist, the United States has blacklisted the main Iranian opposition group People's Mujahedin (MeK), which was the first to expose Iran's clandestine uranium enrichment sites.
The MeK was designated a foreign terrorist organization in 1997 by the Clinton administration in a bid to establish friendly ties with the Iranian government of the time, which the United States thought was more "moderate." But the mullahs have used the ban to execute political opponents, including those arrested in recent months, under the guise of combating terrorism.
With Iran shunning the Obama administration's efforts to reach out to it, and time increasingly running short, the United States needs to lift the MeK's designation and allow it to operate freely.

Read More 
Thank you for your readership. We welcome your comments. 
ISDCI News Group
In This Issue
The aim of Iran sanctions: regime squeeze
Pardon me, Obama Administration, but isn't your policy on fire?
Obama, Iran and Iraq
Execution of political prisoners in Iran
Support Iran's opposition movement
Quick Links
Bahareh Hedayat
Meeting on Camp Ashraf
The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom will host a meeting of cross-party MPs and Peers that will discuss the humanitarian situation in Camp Ashraf as Iraq undergoes major political changes. Iran's regime facing political turmoil at home is pressuring Iraq to forcibly evict several thousand Iranian refugees from Ashraf. As millions bravely demonstrate their desire for regime change in Iran, parliamentarians in London will discuss the policy options for the West.  Date:  Thursday, 11 March 2010     Start time: 11 am
Venue:  Committee Room 9, House of Commons, Westminster
Email:      Contact No: 07958 378 799