Iran

The Iranian diaspora in the west will be a major source of disinformation. There are two factions of those. One tends to be mainly people who emigrated around the time of the revolution and their children. They tend to have been from middle class to well off backgrounds in Iran. They are generally very opposed to the present government in Iran. Their children born abroad are in some cases more committed to the "cause" than their parents.

The others are people who emigrated in more recent years. They tend to have more active family connections with relatives in Iran and are more concerned about being able to get travel visas so they can attend weddings of relatives or visit their parents.

The second group will lobby for improved relations with Iran. The first group on the other hand will often settle for nothing less than whatever it takes to overthrow the current government and will accuse people belonging to the second group of being tools of the Iranian government.

This sort of immigrant politics is not unusual when there has been any sort of major political change in the "home" country.

The daughter of couple who emigrated to Canada from Iran after the revolution was the winner of the "Miss Canada" beauty pageant a few years ago and used that to leverage her way into her real life's ambition - lobbying against the Iranian government. She married the leader of one of the major factions in the Conservative Party (Peter MacKay) and then used those connections to get access to even more influential groups. The behind the scenes pressure she put on the government played an important role in Canada closing its embassy in Iran.

This however made travel to Iran more difficult and so thoroughly pissed off the Iranian immigrants who didn't care about politics in the country they left but wanted to take their young children to visit grandma or attend weddings.

The current protests in Iran have the two sides are at daggers drawn at the moment and the antis in particular are flinging all sorts of insults at the "other" side. Things are to a degree that if you don't know the local politics and history you can't sort out what is really going on.
 
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Iran's Revolutionary Guard says unrest fomented by foreign enemies def
IRGC say they’ve defeated the ‘chain of unrest’ caused by the US, Britain, Israel, KSA, hypocrites (muj) and royalists. The internal problems are not mentioned:
“Iran’s revolutionary people along with tens of thousands of Basij forces, police and the Intelligence Ministry have broken down the chain (of unrest) created ... by the United States, Britain, the Zionist regime (Israel), Saudi Arabia, the hypocrites (Mujahideen) and monarchists,” the Guard said in a statement on its Sepahnews website.
Pro govt marches are chanting against their ‘usual suspects’:
State television showed live pictures of rallies in several cities, including central Shahr-e Kord where hundreds, many clutching umbrellas, had gathered despite heavy snowfall.

“Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, “Death to Britain” “Death to seditionists”, the demonstrators chanted.

More than a week of unrest has seen 22 people die and more than 1,000 arrested, according to Iranian officials.
According to some social media posts, heavy Police prescience remains on the streets. Some arrestees (who were ‘duped’) have been released
Late on Saturday, videos on social media showed a heavy police presence in cities, including Khorramabad in southwestern Iran where on Wednesday evening social media posts showed protesters throwing stones at riot police.

The protests have drawn largely young people and workers as well as members of the educated middle-class that formed the backbone of a pro-reform revolt almost a decade ago.

A police spokesman said most of those arrested were “duped” into joining the unrest and had been freed on bail, the state news agency IRNA reported. “But, the leaders of the unrest are held by the judiciary in prison.”
90 students arrested have been tracked, 10 still missing:
Separately, a member of parliament said about 90 students were detained, 10 of whom were still not accounted for.

“It seems that the total number of detainees is around 90. Ten students from universities in Tehran and some other cities are in an uncertain position, and ... it is still unknown which body has detained them,” the labor news agency ILNA quoted reformist politician Mahmoud Sadeghi as saying.

Iran has several parallel security bodies and residents say arrests are often not immediately announced.
 
In jab at rivals, Rouhani says Iran protests about more than economy
Rouhani having a dig at the 'more extreme' elements of Iranian leadership. echoing a point I made earlier about the generation since the '79 Revolution:
“It would be a misrepresentation (of events) and also an insult to Iranian people to say they only had economic demands,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

“People had economic, political and social demands.”

Rouhani, 69, suggested there was a generational element to the unrest, which appears to have been spearheaded by under-25s.

“We cannot pick a lifestyle and tell two generations after us to live like that. It is impossible... The views of the young generation about life and the world is different than ours,” he said.
One of the detainee's has died. he apparently 'hanged himself':
Two Iranian lawmakers said on Monday that a 22-year-old detainee has died in prison.

The director of the Prisons Organization, Mostafa Mohebbi, confirmed the death on the judiciary’s official website and said “Sina Ghanbari has hanged himself in a toilet on Saturday”.
He's saying that the protesters have legitimate grievances. The President doesn't control the armed forces or foreign policy. That is the 'supreme leader, Khomenei:
Echoing some of his campaign rhetoric, Rouhani said on Monday people should be allowed to criticise all Iranian officials, with no exception.

Demonstrators initially vented their anger over high prices and alleged corruption, but the protests took on a rare political dimension, with a growing number of people calling on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 78, to step down.

The Supreme Leader is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and appoints the heads of the judiciary. Key ministers are selected with his agreement and he has the ultimate say on Iran’s foreign policy. By comparison, the president has little power.

“No one is innocent and people are allowed to criticise everyone,” said Rouhani.
Telegram is still blocked. It's hitting business as well:
“People’s access to social media should not permanently be restricted. We cannot be indifferent to people’s life and business,” Rouhani said.

Morteza Mousavian, head of information technology in the ministry of culture, was quoted as saying by Donya-e-Eqtesad Daily on Sunday that 9,000 business entities have been affected by the ban on Telegram.

Half of Iran’s 80 million population use Telegram.
 
Protests are fading out in Iran, and restrictions on the social media app Telegram have been lifted. Iran lifts block on popular messaging app as protests wane
Iran on Saturday lifted restrictions on the messaging app Telegram, the state news agency IRNA said.

Iran's authorities had blocked the popular service as security forces sought to contain the most widespread public protests in the country since 2009.

"An informed source announced that the filtering of the Telegram messenger has been ended and it is being used by users," IRNA reported.
At least 22 people died and 1,000 were arrested during the protests.
At least 22 people died and 1,000 people were arrested in the anti-government protests that began in late December.
Facebook and Twitter are still blocked.
Iran continues to impose restrictions on the internet and social media, with Facebook and Twitter still blocked.
I believe however that Telegram is more popular in Iran than Twitter, so the lifting of restrictions it is significant.
 
I bloody knew it!:mad:
West sent lizards as nuclear spies, claims Iran defense official
The senior military advisor to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed in a press conference in Tehran today that Western nations had deployed reptiles as nuclear spies. Agence France-Presse reports that Hassan Firuzabadi, previously chief of staff of Iran's military, justified the recent arrest of environmentalists by claiming that the West had used scientists and environmental activists to spy on Iran's nuclear program by deploying lizards that could "attract atomic waves."
 
Job creation programme continues ;
Lets fanny about with ancient tonks to prove how good we are at engineering

На заводе по ремонту бронетехники сухопутных войск иранской армии
Perhaps the UK could ask them to bid on upgrading the CR2? More seriously, it looks like routine repair, rebuild, and upgrade work. Throwing out all their old tanks and buying all new ones probably isn't in their budget either.

A Google translation of the article gives:
Commander of the Army of the Iranian Army Brig. Gen. Heideri visited the recently modernized Shahid Zahran Center for Production, Upgrade and Optimization of Armored Vehicles of the Organization of the Iranian Defense Industry. According to reports, 82 units of modernized and repaired equipment were transferred to the land units of the Iranian army.
 
U.N. council mulls condemning Iran over Yemen's Houthis' getting...
UNSC apparently mulling a Resolution condemning Iran for supplying missiles to their militias in Yemen:
“Since the signing of the nuclear agreement, the Iranian regime’s support of dangerous militias and terror groups has markedly increased. Its missiles and advanced weapons are turning up in war zones all across the Middle East,” the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, wrote in an essay published in the New York Times on Saturday.
Independent UN experts saying various items of Iranian origin kit has been found in Yemen. Despite a Resolution banning sales of arms to the Houti’s and the intermediaries being unknown, they have evidence of Iranian supplied equipment.

It’ll be interesting to see how Russia plays this. Unsure on China but possibly an abstention?
Independent U.N. experts monitoring the sanctions on Yemen reported to the Security Council in January that it had “identified missile remnants, related military equipment and military unmanned aerial vehicles that are of Iranian origin and were brought into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo.”

While the experts said they have “no evidence as to the identity of the supplier, or any intermediary third party” of the missiles fired by the Houthis into neighboring Saudi Arabia, they found Iran had violated sanctions by failing to prevent the supply, sale or transfer of the missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles to the Houthis.

The U.N. Security Council has banned the supply of weapons to Houthi leaders and “those acting on their behalf or at their direction.” It can also blacklist individuals and entities for threatening the peace and stability of Yemen or hindering aid access.
 
Sufis have been kicking off in Iran. Five members of the police have been killed and 30 injured. More than 300 protesters have been arrested. 300 arrested after Sufis clash with Iran police, killing 5
Overnight clashes between followers of a Sufi Islam leader and Iranian police killed five members of the security forces and injured 30, Iranian media reported Tuesday, the latest tension between the mystical order and authorities. Over 300 were arrested.
The protesters are supporters of Sufi leader Nourali Tabandeh. They are apparently concerned that he might be arrested by police.
Supporters of Sufi leader Nourali Tabandeh have been holding sporadic sit-ins near his home in Tehran, worried that the 90-year-old former deputy justice minister after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution could be detained by police. That fear stems from the recent January protests in Iran in which police detained Sufis.
There have been previous Sufi rallies in Iran, with the protesters using clubs and knives on the police.
Earlier on Monday, Sufis had rallied in front of a police station demanding the release of a detainee. They later rallied in front of Tabandeh's home, where police started to try to disperse them. Previous rallies saw Sufi followers carrying clubs and knives, which they used to clash with police.
In this latest case, the protesters appear to have graduated to using vehicle ram attacks on the police.
The semi-official Fars news agency said a Sufi follower rammed a bus into a group of police officers, killing three of them before being arrested late Monday.
There was also a stabbing and another car ram attack.
The official IRNA news agency on Tuesday quoted police spokesman Gen. Saeed Montazeralmahdi as saying two members of the Basij forces also were killed in a stabbing and another car-ramming attack, which also injured 30. Police arrested over 300 Sufi followers, including the drivers of both vehicles, he said.
 
Russia sets stage for U.N. veto of western bid to call out Iran
Looks like Russia is set to use another veto, this one as above referring to the (alleged) Houthi use in Yemen of Iranian missiles. There are two resolutions on the table. One from the UK about condemning Iran (now changed to 'express concern') which still doesn't satisfy Russia and one simply renewing the arms embargo:
Both resolutions seek to renew a U.N. ban on the supply of weapons to Houthi leaders and “those acting on their behalf or at their direction.” It can also blacklist individuals and entities for threatening the peace and stability of Yemen or hindering aid access.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley took her Security Council colleagues to Washington in January to view pieces of missiles fired by the Houthis at Saudi Arabia in a bid to boost the U.S. case against Iran.

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said after the visit that he does not believe there is a case for United Nations action against Iran. Iran has described the arms displayed in Washington as “fabricated.”
Iran detains three more activists after Iranian-Canadian dies in jail
Elsewhere it's reported three 'political prisoners' have taken their own lives whilst in jail. Iran says it must deal with the infiltration from the US and Israel and has arrested three more 'environmental activists':
Iranian security forces have detained three more environmental activists on spying charges, the judiciary said on Sunday, weeks after a first wave of arrests and the death in detention of an Iranian-Canadian head of a wildlife group.

“Three people were recently arrested in (southern) Hormozgan province. I cannot legally give details now ... but there is no doubt that infiltration by the United States and Israel is a serious matter,” said judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency.
Human rights activists have reported that at least six detainees have died in prisons in the last two months in Iran. The judiciary has confirmed three deaths in custody but said all three were suicides.
It seems there is still an ongoing battle between Rouhani and some of the more hardline elements, especially after the protests and now with the death of the 63 year old environmental activist:
The latest arrests come after the death of Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian environmental activist and sociology professor, who was arrested on Jan. 24 and died in prison two weeks later. The judiciary said Seyed-Emami, 63, had committed suicide.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), a non-profit group based in New York, said at least nine other staff members and executives of Seyed-Emami’s organization had been arrested on the same day as him.

Separately, former Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi criticized the handling of the case -- reportedly managed by the hardline Revolutionary Guards -- and suggested the public did not believe the officials’ explanations.

“I think the case should be handed over to the Intelligence Ministry for the remainder of the investigation, because in the current situation it would be difficult to persuade the public opinion even if the detainees are actually convicted of espionage,” the state-run daily Iran quoted Yunesi as saying.
 
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Russia vetoes Western effort to call out Iran over Yemen at U.N
No surprise. Russia vetoing condemnation (not even 'expressing concern') of their ally (allegedly) supplying missiles to the Houthi's in Yemen:
Russia on Monday vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have called out Iran for failing to prevent its weapons from falling into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group.

However, the 15-member Council unanimously adopted a rival, Russian-proposed resolution that did not mention Iran and that extended a targeted sanctions regime related to the civil war in Yemen.
 
BBC appeals to U.N. over 'collective punishment' of its journalists...
BBC going to the UN regarding the treatment of their journalists. I doubt very much even if the UN support their stance anything will happen:
“The BBC is taking the unprecedented step of appealing to the United Nations because our own attempts to persuade the Iranian authorities to end their harassment have been completely ignored,” BBC Director General Tony Hall said in a statement.

“In fact, during the past nine years, the collective punishment of BBC Persian Service journalists and their families has worsened.”
 
Exclusive: European powers propose new Iran sanctions to meet Trump...
Looks like Europe could be coming up with more sanctions to keep the JCPOA deal alive, in view of their ballistic missile tests and support to the Syrian govt:
“We will be circulating in the coming days a list of persons and entities that we believe should be targeted in view of their publicly demonstrated roles,” the document said, referring to Iranian ballistic missile tests and Tehran’s role in backing Syria’s government in the seven-year-old civil war.

The steps would go beyond what a U.S. State Department cable seen by Reuters last month outlined as a path to satisfy Trump: simply committing to improving the nuclear deal.
Seen by many as a failing of the JCPOA, not mentioning ballistic missiles (nor a robust inspection regime); it may persuade Trump to keep the JCPOA. Obviously if that fails Iran may then go for nukes which will then tip the Saudi hand and the whole NPT is pretty much null and void. I’m sure some would enjoy that but there you go.
 
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Iran hit by global cyber attack that left U.S. flag on screens
A ‘double bluff’ by the CIA? By using the US flag it seems a bit obvious, but then it could be a spot of ‘plausible deniability’:
Hackers have attacked networks in a number of countries including data centers in Iran where they left the image of a U.S. flag on screens along with a warning: “Don’t mess with our elections”, the Iranian IT ministry said on Saturday.
Routers had a patch issued by Cisco but apparently it wasn’t implemented over the holiday:
“The attack apparently affected 200,000 router switches across the world in a widespread attack, including 3,500 switches in our country,” the Communication and Information Technology Ministry said in a statement carried by Iran’s official news agency IRNA.

The statement said the attack, which hit internet service providers and cut off web access for subscribers, was made possible by a vulnerability in routers from Cisco which had earlier issued a warning and provided a patch that some firms had failed to install over the Iranian new year holiday.
Not only Iran was affected:
A blog published on Thursday by Nick Biasini, a threat researcher at Cisco’s Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group, said: “Several incidents in multiple countries, including some specifically targeting critical infrastructure, have involved the misuse of the Smart Install protocol...

“As a result, we are taking an active stance, and are urging customers, again, of the elevated risk and available remediation paths.”

On Saturday evening, Cisco said those postings were a tool to help clients identify weaknesses and repel a cyber attack.
Europe, India and the US affected. Iran says no data has been lost:
Azari-Jahromi said the attack mainly affected Europe, India and the United States, state television reported.

“Some 55,000 devices were affected in the United States and 14,000 in China, and Iran’s share of affected devices was 2 percent,” Azari-Jahromi was quoted as saying.

In a tweet, Azari-Jahromi said the state computer emergency response body MAHER had shown “weaknesses in providing information to (affected) companies” after the attack which was detected late on Friday in Iran.


Hadi Sajadi, deputy head of the state-run Information Technology Organisation of Iran, said the attack was neutralized within hours and no data was lost.
 

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