Saturday, 19 January 2013

Iran Live Coverage: Let's Make a Nuclear Deal?

Attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, released on a 3-day prison furlough on Thursday, with her children Nima and Behraveh


1105 GMT: Engineering the Elections Watch. Following the comment of the Supreme Leader's representative Ali Saeedi that it was the "duty" of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to "engineer" June's Presidential election, Guards commander Hossein Sepehr offers a clarification --- the IRGC does not support any part icular candidate, but it has the "duty" to help achieve "maximum participation" in the ballot.

1055 GMT: Monkeys in Space Watch. Beside the nuclear issue, the prevalent theme in State media this morning is that the Islamic Republic will soon send monkeys into space, following by humans aboard an Iranian rocket within four years.

The Director of Iran Space Agency, Hamid Fazeli, has repeatedly promised the space flights since Iran puts worms and a tortoise aboard a satellite in 2011. He said today that "big animals, including chimpanzees, [will be sent] into space in the near future and the next phase of the project is to send human beings aboard a bio-capsule to a specific altitude into the outer space and returning them within less than 30 minutes".

State news agency IRNA provides a helpful photograph:

1045 GMT: Nuclear Watch. First the concilatory words, then the show of defiance --- having highlighted the optimism of Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, over this week's talks with the IAEA, State media now feature his declaration that Tehran will not suspend uranium enrichment “even for a moment".

0915 GMT: The Battle Within. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has reiterated the ban on any merger of ministries, staving off another move by President Ahmadinejad to create "super-ministry" of Infrastructure and allegedly boost his political allies.

Last month Parliament blocked the President's attempt to combine the Ministry of Communications with the Ministry of Transport and Roads, putting his ally Ali Nikzad in charge.

0905 GMT: Education Watch. The opposition Green Movement has called for the Government to end recent restrictions on the use of minority languages in schools.

A leaked letter from the Ministry of Education has told teachers to refrain from using any language other than Persian at schools in Kermanshah Province, where the majority of the population speak Kurdish.

The Coordination Council of the Green Path of Hope said that the "provocative" move was a clear breach of the Cnstitution’s Article 15, which designates Persian as the “official and shared language of Iran" but also allows for the use of local languages in press, media, and the education system: “Such actions are against human rights norms, the articles of the constitution, the country’s international obligations, and the will of the majority of Iranians from all ethnicities, languages and religions.”

0725 GMT: Nuclear Watch. On Friday the regime continued to promote the themes of an Islamic Republic withstanding the enemy's economic and psychological assaults, with Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami using the Tehran Friday Prayer to call for "unity" among Government officials and the people, and of a Syria which must be protected from foreign intervention.

However, much of the regime's effort went into the promotion of nuclear talks and a possible agreement.

A high-level delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency said there had been no advance in discussions on Wednesday and Thursday in Tehran over a protocol for inspections and supervision of nuclear facilities. In contrast, Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, declared, "We held, in a very constructive friendly environment, talks intensively about all aspects of this [nuclear] matter. I have to say that, we have gone forward.”

Meanwhile, State media emphasised that another round of talks has been agreed for 12 February in Tehran, and it made clear who has set the roadblock to progress, "US Trying to Prevent Iran-IAEA Deal".

Tehran also maintained its line that discussions with the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia) could be re-established. Earlier this week, a tentative agreement for a meeting on 28-29 January in Istanbul was not confirmed by the 5+1, apparently because the Iranians objected to the failure to put sanctions relief on the agenda.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Friday that “the date and venue for the next round of negotiations...are not determined yet", but he insisted that the details would be "determined soon".

He added that the details of the next round of talks between the two sides would be “determined soon.”

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

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