Showing posts with label european allies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label european allies. Show all posts

Thursday, November 4, 2010

White House Ups Ante With Iran - Tries To Save Woman From Hanging

Written by, Eleanor Clift
I'm sure the Obama administration will insist that the fuel deal they are attempting to revive with Iran has nothing to do with the White House's strongly worded rebuke of the government of Iran's intention to move forward with the execution by hanging of a 43-year-old woman charged with adultery.

The favored diplomatic term is "two-tracking," but it's pretty clear that Iran's treatment of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has made her a pawn in the much bigger geopolitical fight between Iran and the West. The White House press release went out on Election Day amidst fears by human rights groups that the execution was set to take place the following day. Instead, Ashtiani is reported in "perfect health" and being held at the Tabiz prison, according to a justice official quoted by the official Irna news agency.

Iranian officials have their own version of two-tracking. They claim to not pay attention to critics of the severe sentence, saying the execution has been delayed, not cancelled. Yet they condemn the West for "trying to use this ordinary case as a pressure against our nation" in the words of foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast. If that's what the West is doing, so far it's succeeding if success is defined by every day that Ashtiani remains alive.

She first came to the attention of human rights groups when her stoning sentence for adultery was upheld by Iran's Supreme Court in 2007. Since then, in an apparent concession to modernity, the Iranians have altered the sentence to death by hanging, which in their culture is a gesture to show mercy.

The White House statement points to "the lack of transparency and due process" in the case, euphemisms that hardly convey the extent of the Iranian government's actions, which include arresting Ashtiani's lawyer and her adult son, who has been working to try to free his mother.
In the meantime, the Obama administration together with its European allies is trying to entice Tehran into an arrangement where it would send a portion of its nuclear fuel out of the country for processing in exchange for lifting economic sanctions imposed by the West to hinder Iran's development of a nuclear bomb. A similar deal was proposed last year and rejected by Iran's supreme leader, but the administration thinks Tehran might now be ready to accept the restrictions because the latest round of sanctions are having a stronger impact than before on the Iranian economy.

The fact that the White House waded into the controversy over Ashtiani and the government's imposition of Sharia law at a sensitive time in the ongoing negotiations suggests a bigger agenda at play in both capitals. Tehran, by backing off from what the U.S. and its European allies consider unacceptable behavior, could gain a measure of trust as it proceeds with talks that would allow it to continue its nuclear program for peaceful purposes without the burden of economic sanctions that have begun to cripple the government. If Ashtiani is a pawn in this global game, it at least keeps her alive, although in what conditions one can only imagine.

Friday, September 24, 2010

US Delegation Walks Out On Ahmadinejad's UN Speech

UNITED NATIONS – The U.S. delegation walked out of the U.N. speech of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday after he said some in the world have speculated that Americans were behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks, staged in an attempt to assure Israel's survival.

He did not explain the logic of that statement that was made as he attacked the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ahmadinejad has called for the destruction of Israel and is deeply at odds with the United States and European allies over its nuclear program and suspicions that it is designed to produce an atomic bomb. Iran says it is only working on technology for electricity generation.

The U.S. delegation left the hall after Ahmadinejad said there were three theories about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks:

_That "powerful and complex terrorist group" penetrated U.S. intelligence and defenses.

_"That some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime. The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view."

The Americans stood and walked out without listening to the third theory, that the attack was the work of "a terrorist group but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation."

Mark Kornblau, spokesman of the U.S. Mission to the world body, issued a statement within moments of Ahmadinejad's attack.

"Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people," he said, "Mr. Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable."

Ahmadinejad, who has in the past cast doubt over the U.S. version of the Sept. 11 attacks, called for establishment of an independent fact-finding U.N. body to probe the attacks and stop it from turning into another sacred issue where "expressing opinion about it won't be banned".

He said the U.S. used the attacks as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq that led to the killing of hundreds of thousands of people, saying the U.S. should have "designed a logical plan" to punish the perpetrators while not sheding so much blood.

Ahmadinejad boasted of the capture in February of Abdulmalik Rigi, the leader of an armed Sunni group whose insurgency in the southeast of Iran has destabilized the border region with Pakistan. He said authorities did not resort to violence, but captured the suspect after trailing his movements in an operation by Iranian secret agents. Rigi was later hanged.

The Iranian leader spoke of threats to burn the Quran by a small American church in Florida to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Although that church backed down, several copycat burnings were posted on the Internet and broadcast in the Muslim world.

"Very recently the world witnessed the ugly and inhumane act of burning the holy Quran," Ahmadinejad said.

He briefly touch on the four sets of sanctions imposed on his country by the United Nations over Tehran's refusal stop enriching uranium and to prove Iran is not trying to build an atomic bomb.

Some members of the Security Council have "equated nuclear energy with nuclear bombs," Ahmadinejad said.

He accused the United States of building up its nuclear arsenal instead of dismantling it and reiterated his call for a nuclear-free world.

"The nuclear bomb is the worst inhumane weapon which must totally be eliminated. The NPT (Nonproliferation Treaty) prohibits its development and stockpiling and calls for nuclear disarmament," the Iranian president said.

Ahmadinejad hinted that Iran is ready for talks on its nuclear program provided they are based on "justice and respect", suggesting that the U.S. and its allies must stop pressuring Iran through sanctions before Tehran will sit at the negotiating table.

He again rejected the U.N. Security Council sanctions as "illegal," blaming the U.S. as the power behind the measures.

"Those who have used intimidation and sanctions in response to the clear logic of the Iranian nation are in real terms destroying the remaining credibility of the Security Council," Ahmadinejad said.

Ahmadinejad has in the past called the Security Council a "satanic tool" and has called its anti-Iran resolutions "not worth a cent."