Sunday, May 15, 2005

Iranians condemn election vetting

More than 500 politicians and intellectuals in Iran have announced that they will not take part in the presidential election next month. In a statement, they said that the 17 June poll cannot be free and fair because Iran's Guardian Council was depriving people of free choice. The conservative Guardian Council has the powers of vetting the candidates.

A record 1,010 people have registered to run in Iran's presidential election next month, the interior ministry says.

U.S. places large bet on pipeline

American-backed plans to build a nearly 1,100-mile-long oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean are about to go from what skeptics once called a "pipe dream" to a reality.

Trailing from Baku, Azerbaijan, through Georgia to the Turkish seaport of Ceyhan, British energy giant BP will bring the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline on line this month. One of the longest oil routes in the world, it's expected to pump 1 million barrels of oil a day by 2010.

Iran's parliament backs nuclear work U.S. opposes

Iran's parliament voted on Sunday to oblige the government to develop a nuclear fuel cycle, an action opposed by Washington which fears Iran could be seeking atomic weapons.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is obliged to take action to obtain peaceful nuclear technology including provision of the fuel cycle for generating 20,000 megawatts of electricity," said the lawmakers' motion, which was approved by 188 out of 205 lawmakers present in a debate broadcast live on state radio.

Bolton Supporters Finally Get Honest: It's Not About Reforming the U.N. but Really about Blowing Up U.N. over North Korea and Iran

Finally, some honesty from Bolton supporters is making its way out of the muck.

Whereas much of the support for Bolton has had the veneer of being about United Nations reform, what Bolton proponents really want is a ferocious show-down with Iran and North Korea through the United Nations -- not because the U.N. is a good venue for such a battle but because the weaknesses of the U.N. and the problem of getting Security Council unity behind resolutions may allow Bolton to kick apart the institution.

Dilip Hiro on the Iran Nuclear Crisis

At a moment when the North Koreans claim to have just "harvested a nuclear reactor for weapons fuel," the latest flare-up in the Iranian/European Union negotiations involving the "Iranian bomb," well described below by Dilip Hiro, only highlights the increasingly precarious state of nuclear proliferation on our poor planet. It's almost impossible to tell quite who is doing what, but many countries from China and Israel to the United States and Russia are stirring and, in one fashion or another, planning or upgrading.

Tolerance, Muslims, and the Media

The West’s approach toward Muslim communities has dramatically changed in the post September 11 era. Over this period, Western officials and analysts have zoomed in on security concerns and measures to curb religious extremism.

In the post September 11 world, excessive stress has been placed on the need for a security-oriented approach toward Muslim communities, leading to disregard for the fact that extremism is basically a “cultural issue”. And history is replete with examples of how security approaches have failed to solve cultural issues.

55 Elections in 90 years

One year before the Centenary Anniversary of the Royal Edict accepting the First Constitution of Iran leading to the first public elections in the country (in 1905), and on the eve of the 9th Presidential Elections, it is evident according to historical facts that although Iran has been outstanding in the region in terms of precedence, forms and rules of elections , the way elections are held today and especially the interference of the council of Guardians therein, reminds us that elections in Iran are not held in accordance with principles of democracy.