Iran: Witchcraft


June 21, 2011:  The deputy foreign minister has resigned, as a result of pressure from Islamic hard liners in parliament. This is part of a feud between president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Guardian Council (the group of senior clerics that can veto anything, and have their own army of Revolutionary Guard fanatics to enforce their decisions). Ahmadinejad wants control of the Oil Ministry, which is a major source of corruption, especially for clerics and their allies seeking some quick cash.  Ahmadinejad threatens to expose, and perhaps even try to prosecute, senior people responsible for thefts all Iranians know take place. The corrupt officials, and their allies in the Guardians Council, are fighting back. One of the Council's favorite tactics is to accuse Ahmadinejad's allies of practicing black magic and witchcraft. Ahmadinejad has responded by backing a public study of these practices in Iran, apparently in the belief that this will implicate some Islamic conservatives, or at least provide more exposure of the fiscal corruption so common in the families of senior clergy.  

The government has ordered over 20,000 lifestyle police to impose new restrictions on Iranians. From now on, men cannot wear necklaces, ties or "Western" haircuts. Women cannot wear loose headscarves (that allow too much of their hair to be seen) or tight jeans. It is also now forbidden to keep dogs as pets. Violators can be arrested, fined or even imprisoned.  While very unpopular, the lifestyle police serve to keep many Iranians intimidated and fearful.

Despite the many Arab uprisings this year, the new governments continue the old Arab unity when it comes to opposing Iranian interference in Arab affairs. For this reason, Arab nations are not happy with how Iran continues to meddle in Iraq, Bahrain, Gaza, Syria and Lebanon.

Iran will build another 60 twin-engine An-148 transports under license.  Another 18 will be built in Ukraine, where the An-148 originated.

The military has been laying thousands of landmines along the northern Iraq border, in areas that are used by Kurdish separatist groups. Iranian troops no longer cross into northern Iraq in pursuit of Iranian Kurdish separatists. This group, PJAK, uses bases in largely Kurdish northern Iraq. The U.S. and Iraq have threatened retaliation if Iranian troops continue to invade, so minefields are being used to keep PJAK from crossing the border. But the Kurds keep track of where the mines are planted. Newly arrived Iranian troops often don't, and seven Iranian soldiers were recently killed when they wandered into a minefield.

June 20, 2011:  The U.S. has imposed financial restrictions on Iranian shipping firms and banks, to interfere with Iranian efforts to evade UN economic sanctions.  The U.S. has the power to interfere with Iranian use of the international banking system, and is using this power more vigorously against Iranian firms that help the Iranian government smuggle in materials needed by the military and nuclear weapons program. The U.S. is also prosecuting Westerners who aided Iran in evading sanctions.

June 17, 2011: Another Iranian has been sent to prison (for a year) because he posted anti-government comments on Facebook.

June 15, 2011:  Iran launched its second photo satellite. Locally made, using nanosatellite technology, the Rasad-1 is in a low earth orbit (260 kilometers up). The Rasad-1 weighs 15.2 kg (34 pounds) and uses a design popular with student experiments in the West.

June 14, 2011:  The U.S. has accused Iran of sending money, equipment and security troops to help Syria suppress a popular uprising. Meanwhile, thanks to Iranian cash and weapons, the Lebanese Shia terrorist group Hezbollah has bullied its way into control of the Lebanese government (having 18 of 30 cabinet positions).

June 12, 2011: In the capital, hundreds of silent demonstrators marched to commemorate the disputed 2010 elections. Police attacked the demonstration and broke it up.

June 9, 2011:  The government announced that it had arrested the last two members of the Komola terrorist group, which has been fighting the Iranian Islamic parties since the late 1970s. Komola has established a support organization in Britain.

June 8, 2011:  The government will triple its uranium enrichment operations. While denying that it is developing nuclear weapons, the government has increased nuclear fuel operations far beyond what is needed for a nuclear power program. The UN is now openly accusing Iran of running a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

June 7, 2011: The government revealed that it had sent one of its three, Russian made, Kilo class subs to operate in the Red Sea.





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