Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiTuesday, June 22, 2004
<b>Detained British Sailors Appear on Iranian TV</b>
• The state TV monopoly paraded eight British marines and warned that they would be prosecuted for penetrating Iran's waters, as intense diplomatic effort was underway to obtain their release. The marines will be prosecuted for entering Iranian territorial waters, the Al-Alam television network said, adding that the advanced weapons, global navigation devices and communications equipment seized on the boat show that the detained British marines were not “ordinary sailors.” The three small patrol boats they were using were unarmed but the sailors were carrying personal weapons, Britain's Defense Ministry said yesterday. “There was a routine river patrol delivering some boats to the Iraqi river patrol directorate. They set off very early this morning, communication was lost with them, but that is not unusual because of the distance and the terrain there, and the next thing we heard was that they had been detained by Iranian forces,” said Major Ian Clooney, the British Multi-Division Spokesman, adding that the eight men were doing “nothing unusual.” The boats were 1000 meters inside Iranian waters, he noted. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' navy impounded the Royal Navy's fast-moving, anti-smuggling boats and detained the crews early on Monday in the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, the southern part of the Iran-Iraq border.
• The British embassy in Tehran said it was trying to gain access to the eight marines, and that British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw had discussed the matter by telephone with his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi. “What we are concentrating on now is contacts with the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs and trying to gain access,” said diplomat Andrew Dunn, a spokesman for the embassy. Interrogation of the British detainees will continue until the situation becomes clear, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said.
• Monday's incident has led to “speculation that the seizure was intended to remind the coalition that Iran's cooperation on Iraq is not to be taken for granted,” reports the Washington Post. Britain was a sponsor of an IAEA resolution Friday in which the UN organization said it “deplores” Iran's erratic cooperation with nuclear inspectors.
• British diplomats hope Iran's seizure of Royal Navy vessels and commandos “was simply the work of an over-zealous local commander” from the Revolutionary Guards and “not retaliation for last week's IAEA resolution, the <i>Times</i> of London reports.
• Both sides will soon arrive at the conclusion that this was a short-lived diplomatic incident, and it certainly is Britain's view that this is an insignificant incident, Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies' head of Middle East and North Africa program <b>Daniel Neep</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. It is possible to guess that a local commander, without orders from above, had arrested the British sailors, and that the event was not sanctioned or planned at the top, he notes. This was a local incident that suddenly assumed bigger dimensions, he says, adding the problem may be due to Iran's political system: These actions may be a means for the IRGC to show and consolidate its power, he says. Britain was not alone in drafting and passing the IAEA resolution on Iran's nuclear program, and Iran's focusing all its anger on Britain appears one-sided and imbalanced, he says. Iranian authorities may think that their cooperation with the coalition forces on Iraq would impact their case in the IAEA board, whereas these issues are unrelated, he adds. (Shahran Tabari, London)
• This was not the first time that British navy vessels operating in Iraq entered Iranian waters, but the Iranian government tolerated their incursions because Iran was cooperating with the coalition forces in Iraq, Tehran University professor <b>Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. However, he adds, in recent months the EU took several steps that were clearly against the Islamic Republic. In addition to drafting the IAEA resolution and issuing a statement condemning human rights violations in Iran, the EU joined Persian Gulf Arab states in calling for a quick resolution to the UAE-Iran dispute about the three Persian Gulf islands, which was immediately followed by fishing boat seizers by UAE and Qatar, he adds. These actions prompted the Islamic Republic to conclude that the EU has cooled its relations with Iran and has moved closer to the US, he says. (Maryam Ahmadi).
<b>UAE Releases Iranian Fishermen</b>
• A UAE court ordered the release of 11 crewmen of an Iranian fishing boat detained on June 5 near the Persian Gulf island of Abu Musa. “The release of the crew members was decided after they committed themselves not to violate Emirati territorial waters again,” an unnamed UAE official told Agence France Presse. The seizure of the boat sparked off a round of fishing boat seizures by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' navy. The UAE called for immediate release of 25 fishing boat crewmembers arrested by Iran. The UAE claims ownership of three Persian Gulf islands, including Abu Musa, near which the Iranian fishing boat had been confiscated by UAE coast guards.
<b>Powell Hints at Sanctions for Iran on Nuclear Program</b>
• “The international community is expecting (Iranian authorities) to answer its questions and to respond fully,” US Secretary of State Colin Powell said yesterday after a meeting in Washington with IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, hinting that Iran may face sanctions if it did not “fully” cooperate with the UN inspectors. In September, when the IAEA holds its next scheduled board meeting, “judgments can be made as to what action might be appropriate,” Powell said.
• Mastering the atomic fuel cycle is essential for Iran, the Supreme Leader said on Monday. “It is essential because if the Iranian people cannot” produce their own nuclear fuel, “they will be dependent on outside sources and if these countries decide not to supply us, our nuclear plants will be useless,” he said in a speech carried by the state TV monopoly. “Iran is not trying to make an atomic bomb, because it does not need this to unravel its enemies,” he added, referring to the US and Israel. “It is by relying on faith, determination and unity that the people can defeat their enemies,” said Khamenei, speaking nearly a week after the UN International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors passed a strongly worded resolution, drafted by the big three European powers, that “deplored” Iran's lack of “full, timely and proactive” cooperation with UN inspectors. “If the Europeans are in fact worried that we could have a nuclear weapon, we will reassure them: No, we do not want to have such weapons,” Khamenei said. “But if it bothers them that Iran masters nuclear technology and that this technology is home-grown, and if they want to oppose this, we say to them that the Iranian people will never accept the language of force,” the Supreme Leader added.
• Nuclear inspectors are expected to visit a site in Tehran, following evidence from satellite photographs that it was scraped clean earlier in 2004,” writes the <i>New Scientist</i>. Two commercial satellite images, on August 11, 2003 and March 22, 2004, show that the site's buildings have been razed, its features obliterated and its ground cleared. “The images show that Iran has taken dramatic steps that make it difficult to discover what was happening there,” says Corey Hinderstein from the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington DC in an interview with the London-based science monthly. His institute was responsible for finding and releasing the images.
• “If international treaties to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons have any power, now is the time to flex it on Iran,” the <i>New York Times</i> writes on Monday in an editorial. “In light of (Iran's) new belligerence and its failure to cooperate with the IAEA, Europe should overcome its qualms about referring the Iranian nuclear issue to the United Nations Security Council,” it adds. “Russia should continue to refrain from delivering fuel for Iran's Russian-built nuclear power reactor until Tehran renounces uranium enrichment and fully cooperates with the IAEA. China should order its companies not to cooperate with Iranian enrichment or bomb-making efforts, and should urge North Korea and Pakistan to impose similar bans,” the <i>Times</i> writes.
<b>Automaker to Retire Old Peykans</b>
• In a bid to remove older, environmentally harmful cars from the streets of Tehran, automaker Iran-Khodro (formerly Iran National) announced that it will buy Peykan sedans that are over 20 years old from their owners at favorable prices. The announcement, made at the start of the international auto expo in Tehran, said the company will have the capability to retire at least 70,000 old Peykans by March 20, 2005, the end of the current fiscal year. There are 2.4 million over-10-year-old cars operating in the country. Government plans call for gradually renovating the nation's auto fleet with the help of manufacturers.
<b>Air France Announces Resumption of Tehran-Paris Direct Flights</b>
• Air France announced that it will resume Paris-Tehran flights on Monday, after a seven-year suspension. Resumption of the Paris-Tehran flights comes amid intensified efforts to strengthen the airline's financial status, as well as enhanced economic ties between Iran and France, Air France president Jean-Cyril Spinetta said in a press conference on Monday night, according to official news agency IRNA. Spinetta said Air France is launching three weekly flights from Paris to Tehran every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday with return flights taking place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
<b>Interior Ministry Lifts Ban on Admitting Single Women to Hotels</b>
• The interior ministry lifted a ban on admitting unaccompanied women to hotel rooms across Iran, according to the interior minister's advisor on women affairs Fakhosadat Mohtashamipour, who said that the ban was the work of conservative local officials and hotel operators who had deprived traveling women access to hotel rooms. However, she added, hotel mangers can only admit unaccompanied women after reporting them to the local branches of the police's “public facilities” bureau.
<b>Islamic Revolutionary Court Rejects Jailed Writer's Furlough Request</b>
• The Tehran revolutionary court rejected a plea for medical furlough by jailed writer and Tolstoy translator Alirez Jabbari, his wife <b>Gohar Shemirani</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Plainclothes policemen arrested Jabbari in his home on March 19, 2002 on charges of anti-regime activities and propaganda. Jabbari has contracted a respiratory disease, but jail officials showed him a circular that said political prisoners are not eligible for medical furlough. His psychological condition is good, but his health is failing, she noted. (Farin Asemi)
نازي عظيما (راديو فردا): روز گذشته سه قايق گشتي نيروي دريايي بريتانيا و هشت ملوان سرنشين آن در آبهاي اروندرود توسط مقامات انتظامي ايران بازداشت شدند. در حالي که مقامات وزارت خارجه انگلستان تلاشهاي گسترده اي براي دستيابي به هشت سرباز نيروي دريايي کشور خود را با مقامات ايراني آغاز کرده اند، شبکه تلويزيون ماهواره اي ايران روز سه شنبه امروز، در اقدامي که شگفتي بسياري از ناظران را برانگيخت تصاويري از هشت سرباز نيروي دريايي بريتانيا را که در ايران بازداشت شده اند، در حالي که به چشمانشان چشم بند زده بودند به نمايش گذاشت. در همين حال شبکه تلويزيوني عرب زبان العالم که به جمهوري اسلامي متعلق است، اعلام کرد: اين بازداشت شدگان ملواناني معمولي نيستند.
فريبا مودت (راديو فردا): العالم گزارش داد: «مسلسلهاي سبک و سنگين، سلاحها، ابزارها و دستگاهها و تجهيزات بزرگ همراه بريتانياييهاي بازداشت شده و نيز پرچم ويژه واحد آنها در نيروي دريايي بريتانيا حکايت از اين دارد که آنها ملواناني معمولي نيستند». العالم پيشتر تصاويري از ملوانان بريتانيايي بازداشت شده را بدون چشم بند نشان داده بود. العالم در حالي اين ملوانان را ملواناني غيرمعمولي مي خواند که سرگرد ايان کلوني، يکي از سخنگويان ارتش بريتانيا در بصره در جنوب عراق اين عده را ملواناني ساده معرفي کرده است.
سرگرد ايان کلوني (از سخنگويان ارتش بريتانيا در بصره): همچنان که اکنون ماهها است ادامه دارد و به عنوان بخشي از برنامه پشتيباني و آموزش سپاه دفاع غير نظامي و اداره عراقي پاسداري از شط ملوانان بريتانيايي گرم گشت زني معمول و روزمره شان بودند، در نتيجه هيچ چيز غير عادي و نامعمول در کار آنها وجود نداشته است.
ف . م : از سوي ديگر وزارت خارجه بريتانيا، مرتضي سرمدي، سفير جمهوري اسلامي در لندن را احضار کرد تا درباره حادثه بازداشت ملوانان بريتانيايي در شط العرب توضيح دهد. همزمان دفتر نخست وزيري بريتانيا تلاشي سخت براي راهي براي دستيابي به هشت تن از افراد نيروي دريايي بريتانيا را آغاز کرده است. اين هشت نفر روز گذشته با سه قايق گشتي خود در آبهاي شط العرب به اتهام ورود به مرزهاي آبي ايران توسط نيروهاي جمهوري اسلامي بازداشت شدند.
بنا به گزارش خبرگزاري ايران، جک استرا وزير امور خارجه بريتانيا امروز درباره بازداشت سه سرباز بريتانيايي گفتگويي تلفني داشته و ضمن درخواست آزادي آنها ورود آنها به آبهاي ايران را ناشي از اشتباه دانسته است و کمال خرازي نيز در پاسخ گفته است که پس از بازجويي از اين افراد و اطمينان از چگونگي ماجرا تصميمات لازم گرفته خواهد شد. بعضي خبرگزاريها از جمله رويتر اعلام کرده اند که اين حادثه احتمالا خدشه اي جدي به روابط تهران و لندن وارد خواهد کرد و روزنامه البيان، چاپ امارات، نيز نوشت: توقيف سه قايق گشتي به دليل تيرگي روابط ايران و انگليس است. اين روزنامه صدور قطعنامه آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي درباره پرونده ايران و بيانيه اتحاديه اروپا درباره وضع حقوق بشر در ايران را از عوامل تيرگي روابط ايران و بريتانيا دانسته است.
خبرگزاري فارس از قول يک مقام مسئول در نيروي دريايي سپاه پاسداران نوشت که سرنشينان سه قايق گشتي در بازجويي به عمدي بودن حضور خود در آبهاي ايران اذعان کرده اند. به گفته اين مقام که خواست نامش فاش نشود، فيلمهايي از اين ماجرا برداشته شده که از صدا و سيما پخش خواهد شد. همزمان با اين تحولات، سرگرد ايان کلوني، يکي از سخنگويان ارتش بريتانيا در جنوب عراق، ابراز اميدواري کرده است که مساله بازداشت هشت ملوان بريتانيايي هرچه زودتر حل و فصل شود.
سرگرد اين کلوني: از شرايط دقيق اين حادثه و اين که چرا و چگونه اين اتفاق افتاد خبري نداريم، ولي من مطمئنم که مساله به سرعت رفع خواهد شد. روز گذشته سه قايق گشتي نيروي دريايي بريتانيا و هشت ملوان سرنشين آن در آبهاي اروندرود توسط جمهوري اسلامي بازداشت شدند. در حالي که مقامات وزارت امور خارجه بريتانيا تلاشهاي گسترده اي براي دستيابي به هشت سرباز نيروي دريايي کشور خود را با مقامات ايراني آغاز کرده اند، تصاوير آنها، دست بسته و چشم بند زده از شبکه تلويزيون ماهواره اي عرب زبان ايران، العالم، پخش شد كه در گزارش خود گفت : مسلسلهاي سبک و سنگين، سلاحها، ابزارها و دستگاهها و تجهيزات بزرگ همراه بريتانياييهاي بازداشت شده و نيز پرچم ويژه واحد آنها در نيروي دريايي بريتانيا، حکايت از اين دارد که آنها ملواناني معمولي نيستند. سرگرد ايان کلوني، يکي از سخنگويان ارتش بريتانيا در بصره در جنوب عراق اين عده را ملواناني ساده معرفي کرده بود.