Supreme Leader Appoints Ahmadinejad as Expediency Council Member
August 5, 2013
The Fars News Agency reports: “Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in a decree on Monday appointed former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a member of the state Expediency Council (EC).
‘In view of the valuable efforts you have made in the great responsibility of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s president in the last eight years and the many experiences you have gained accordingly, I appoint you as a member of the state Expediency Council,’ the Supreme Leader said in his decree.
‘May God help you succeed,’ Ayatollah Khamenei added.
Ahmadinejad served as Iran's president for two consecutive 4-year terms from August 2005 to August 2013.
The EC has the authority to mediate disputes between the Iranian parliament and the Guardian Council, and serves as an advisory body to the Supreme Leader, making it one of the most powerful governing bodies in the country.
EC members include heads of the three branches of power, the clerical members of the Guardian Council and a variety of other members appointed by the Supreme Leader for three-year terms. Cabinet members and parliament speakers also serve as temporary members when issues under their jurisdictions are under review…”
In Egypt, mounting tension between Islamists and military
August 5, 2013
The Christian Science Monitor reports: “Leading US and EU envoys were in Cairo today, attempting to find a way to reduce tensions between the Egyptian military and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
Their visit came as the country’s leading security body issued a new warning to Morsi supporters, saying their time to leave their protest camps peacefully is running out.
US Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns has used his three-day visit to meet with representatives from all sides of an heavily polarized political spectrum. He rounded off his flurry of meetings today by holding talks with General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the leader of Egypt’s armed forces. Burns has also met with a delegation from the pro-Morsi camp.
As Burns met with the country's top general, Egypt’s military-led National Defence Council turned up the temperature, telling demonstrators that they must abandon pro-Morsi encampments. Although ‘negotiations and mediation’ would be given a chance, the council said in a statement, time for talk should be ‘defined and limited.’
Tens of thousands of the former president’s supporters have spent the last month camped across two locations in eastern Cairo, demanding the reinstatement of Morsi, who was ousted by the military and arrested on July 3.
Two early morning attempts by police and military forces to clear the camps have resulted in the deaths of around 140 Morsi supporters. Fears are now growing over the possibility of a third state-led massacre in as many weeks if the security services move in again…”
Rouhani Calls for Broadening of Ties with China
August 5, 2013
The Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined the need for the further expansion of bilateral ties between Iran and China.
‘We believe that expansion of Tehran-Beijing relations will guarantee the two nations’ interests,’ Rouhani said in a meeting with the visiting Chinese Culture Minister, Cai Wu, in Tehran on Monday.
The Chinese culture minister, for his part, described the two countries' relations as exemplary, and said, ‘Iran and China have ancient cultures and civilizations and they can play an important role in the world today.’
Cai arrived in Tehran on Sunday to attend President Rouhani’s swearing-in ceremony…”
Iranian, Turkish FMs Call for National Dialogue in Egypt
August 5, 2013
The Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian and Turkish foreign ministers in a meeting in Tehran on Monday underlined the necessity for the start of broad-based National Dialogue meetings in crisis-hit Egypt to work out democratic mechanisms to meet people's demands.
Ali Akbar Salehi and Ahmet Davutoglu made the call in a meeting in Tehran today.
The two top diplomats underlined that Egyptian elite and politicians should not allow their country’s national unity and integrity to be endangered.
Salehi and Davutoglu urged Egyptians to adopt a rational and wise approach in dealing with political issues.
Egypt plunged into violence after the country’s army ousted President Mohammed Mursi, suspended the constitution, and dissolved the parliament on July 3. The military overthrow followed days of mass protests against Mursi.
The army also declared chief justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, as interim president…”
Al-Qaida threat in Middle East 'most serious in years', says U.S. lawmaker
August 5, 2013
Haaretz reports: “The Al-Qaida threat that closed U.S. embassies in the Middle East on Sunday is the most serious in years and the ‘chatter’ among suspected terrorists is reminiscent of what preceded the Sept. 11 attacks, a U.S. lawmaker who is briefed on intelligence said.
The State Department closed 21 embassies and consulates and issued a worldwide travel alert warning Americans that Al-Qaida may be planning attacks in August, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.
‘There is an awful lot of chatter out there,’ Senator Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on NBC's ‘Meet the Press.’
He said ‘chatter’ - electronically monitored communications among terrorism suspects about the planning of a possible attack - was ‘very reminiscent of what we saw pre-9/11.’
The threat also has prompted some European countries to close their embassies in Yemen, where an Al-Qaida affiliate, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, is based. ‘This is the most serious threat that I've seen in the last several years,’ Chambliss said…”
Iran May Try New Path to Nukes
August 5, 2013
Israel National News reports: “Iran may be preparing to use a heavy water reactor for producing weapons-grade plutonium, according to U.S. and European officials cited in the Wall Street Journal. This is an alternative method for reaching a nuclear bomb, which joins its existing uranium enrichment project.
A heavy-water reactor is an easier target to hit than the underground facilities that house Iran's uranium-enrichment facilities, the newspaper notes.
In recent months, said the U.S. and European officials, the Iranian regime has made significant advances on the construction of a heavy water reactor in the northwestern city of Arak. The spent fuel from the reactor under construction can serve as the raw material for making two nuclear bombs a year, said U.S. and U.N. officials. India, Pakistan and North Korea have all built plutonium-based bombs.
Iran has notified the International Atomic Energy Agency that it plans to make the reactor operational by the second half of 2014 and could begin testing it later this year.
‘The IAEA has been monitoring Arak since its construction began,’ wrote the Journal. ‘But following Iran's latest timeline, the site's importance has vastly shot up for Washington and Brussels, said U.S. and European officials. 'It really crept up on us,' said an official based at the IAEA's Vienna headquarters.’
The paper quoted ‘a senior European official involved in the Iran diplomacy’ as saying, ‘At this stage, our most pressing concern is dealing with the enrichment of uranium. But we are increasingly concerned about activity…at Arak.’…”