Friday, 21 December 2012

The Latest from Iran (21 December): Is the Regime Celebrating Its Longest Night?

A Table for Yalda Celebrations0715 GMT: Sanctions Watch. A United Nations Security Council committee has imposed sanctions on two Iranian firms, Yas Air and SAD Import Export Company, claiming they violated an arms embargo by shipping weapons to the Syrian government.

0650 GMT: Tonight is Yalda, the Iranian celebration of the Winter Solstice and the longest night of the year. Families will gather around a table of sweetmeats, nuts. and fruits, staying up late telling stories.

It is uncertain how and even if the regime will celebrate this evening, amid the growing economic difficulties. The political tensions around those problems surfaced again this week. President Ahmadinejad lashed out at Parliament for blocking --- perhaps for good --- the second stage of his subsidy cuts plan and declared that his "critics" were trying to undermine the "most impressive" Government in the history of the Islamic Republic.

Meanwhile, Tehran continues to plead for a resumption of nuclear talks. Of course, this is not being said directly by the Supreme Leader or even Ahmadinejad, who has long pushed for a deal with the "West". Instead, the message comes through the steady flow of stories in State media about others who are pressing for negotations. Yesterday Press TV headlined, "Russia Hopes for P5+1 Talks Next Month", and this morning, it plays up a report from 24 American analysts and former officials, "Obama Urged to Change Tactics on Iran".

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

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