Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Daily Briefing on Iran 12/21/2005

Friday, Dec. 16, 2005
Human Rights Watch:
Iran’s new Minister of Interior is implicated in grave human rights violations over the past two decades, possibly including crimes against humanity in connection with the massacre of thousands of political prisoners, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today.

Human Rights Watch also said that the new Minister of Information should be investigated for his possible involvement in a dissident’s killing.

The briefing paper, Ministers of Murder: Iran’s New Security Cabinet, details credible allegations that Minister of Interior Mustafa Pour-Mohammadi and Minister of Information Gholamhussein Mohseni Ezhei were involved in extremely serious and systematic human rights violations over the past two decades. [read more].
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2005
German Intelligence Warns That Iran Has New Missiles
German intelligence believes Iran has now bought 18 longer-range missiles from North Korea, giving Teheran the capability to attack targets in central Europe, the German daily newspaper Bild reported Friday.

The study by the foreign intelligence service BND said the BM-25 missiles were being purchased from Pyongyang in the form of kit sets. The mobile missiles, which are based on the Russian SS-N-6 missile for submarine launch, will have a nominal range of 2,500 kilometers.

However it was possible to upgrade them to hit targets 3,500 kilometers away, the Munich-based BND said. [read more]
Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005
Iran President's Bodyguard Dies in Ambush
Iran Focus: a pro-MEK website:
One of the bodyguards of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was killed and another wounded when an attempt to ambush the presidential motorcade was thwarted in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, according to a semi-official newspaper and local residents.

“At 6:50 pm on Thursday, the lead car in the presidential motorcade confronted armed bandits and trouble-makers on the Zabol-Saravan highway”, the semi-official Jomhouri Islami reported on Saturday.

“In the ensuing armed clash, the driver of the vehicle, who was an indigenous member of the security services, and one of the president’s bodyguards died, while another bodyguard was wounded”, the newspaper, which was founded by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wrote.

Ahmadinejad traveled to the restive province, where ethnic Baluchis have been fighting for years for autonomy, on Wednesday and returned to Tehran on Friday afternoon. Tehran often refers to anti-government activists and political opponents of the Islamist regime as “bandits” and “trouble-makers”.

The newspaper report made no mention of Ahmadinejad’s whereabouts during the attack on his bodyguards’ vehicle, but Zabol residents reached by telephone said there were rumors in the town that the hard-line president himself was the target of the attack, which took place near Zabol. [read more]
The Balouch are fiercely independent.

However, for months now there have been rumors that the Rafsanjani and Khatami factions may attempt to have Ahamdinejad assassinated in hopes of obtaining a "grand bargain" with the international community which leaves the regime in place while they continue their secret nuclear program. Ahmadinehad has been threatening many in the Rafsanjani and Khatami factions with arrest under corruption charges.

Whether this has anything to do with this report is unknown, but assassinating Ahmadinejad without also assassinating the rest of the leadership is likely to have a negative consequences, as it would give false hope to the international community desperate for solution.

The losers would be the democratic forces in Iran and likely give Iran time to go nuclear.

Michael Ledeen's first thoughts.
Alan Peters discussed the recent assassination attempt on Ahmadinejad's life and possible connections to the C-130 crash in Tehran last week. Photos.