Iran Focus: Tehran, Feb. 17 - A hunger strike by seven political prisoners in Iran's Rajaii Shahr prison near Karaj (west of Tehran) has entered its third week. The hunger strike by the prisoners started on January 25 in protest to their confinement in the "dangerous criminals" section. Reports have surfaced that the political prisoners have been faced with assault and intimidation from murderers and other dangerous criminals. The seven prisoners are Hojjat Zamani, Bina Darab-Zand, Arzhang Davoodi, Valiollah-Feyz Mahdavi, Mehrdad Lohrasbi, Dr. Farzad Hamidi, and Jaafar Iqdami.
UPI: Iran is already under attack. The opposition is at work both within and beyond its borders, restless, coordinating and sharing intelligence. Its ranks number in the tens of thousands, most of whom are young and savvy with experience in clandestine activity. Their arsenal, however, includes neither guns nor grenades, but keyboards and flat-screen monitors.
AFP: Iran warned Thursday that it would respond immediately to any military strike after a roadworks blast near a nuclear site sparked fears of an attack, the state news agency IRNA reported Thursday.
"An attack, whatever it is, against any site, whether it be nuclear or not, would produce a very rapid response," Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said.
Reuters: Russia will sign a deal with Iran next week to start nuclear fuel shipments for the Russian-built reactor there, an Iranian official said on Thursday. The United States, which accuses Iran of secretly working to develop nuclear weapons, has long called on Russia to avoid supplying the Islamic state with nuclear fuel.
Combined dispatches: Washington, Feb. 17 - United State President George W. Bush today called on Iran to adhere to its international obligations and called Iran's possession of nuclear weapons "unacceptable". At a White House press conference to introduce John Negroponte as the new national intelligence chief, Bush said Iran had kept its program secret over the past two decades until it was exposed by an Iranian group.
Voice of America: Experts and other witnesses appearing before a congressional committee say Iran continues to support terrorist groups and is encouraging instability in Iraq. A hearing also included emotional testimony by individuals affected by Iranian-backed terrorism. From Israel and the Palestinian territories to Iraq and elsewhere, witnesses at Wednesday's hearing said Iran's ongoing sponsorship of terrorism is indisputable, and poses a direct and continuing threat to U.S. interests.
AFP: When US President George W. Bush comes to town next week, Washington's European allies will be hoping to extinguish the heat of transatlantic rancour over Iraq. But just as one issue gets switched to the backburner for Bush's participation next Tuesday in EU and NATO summits, another in the form of Iran's nuclear ambitions threatens a fresh flare-up.
The Guardian: Iran and Syria heightened tension across the Middle East and directly confronted the Bush administration yesterday by declaring they had formed a mutual self-defence pact to confront the "threats" now facing them. The move, which took the Foreign Office by surprise, was announced after a meeting in Tehran between the Iranian vice-president, ...
The Independent: An explosion which turned out to be a dam blast in southern Iran sent jitters through financial markets amid speculation that the country's only nuclear reactor had come under attack. The incident came as Iran and Syria announced yesterday that they would "form a common front" against external threats, and a day after the Islamic state confirmed that unmanned American spy planes were flying surveillance missions over nuclear facilities.
Voice Of America: Iran's leadership has been sharply criticized in congressional hearings on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers assess what steps the United States, Europe and others can take to avert a nuclear-armed Iran. The criticism, and testimony by experts, came amid Iranian warnings regarding what it calls U.S. aerial intelligence-gathering efforts, as well as European calls for stepped up diplomatic efforts.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Feb. 17 A fire set ablaze stalls in the Goldsmiths Bazaar in Tehran this morning after a spontaneous gas explosion. Eye-witnesses reported that a gas capsule exploded in one of the side roads of the bazaar.
AFP: Iran is stepping up efforts to build long range missiles and remains a "state sponsor" of terrorism, Central Intelligence Agency director Porter Goss told Congress on Wednesday.
"Iran continues its pursuit of long-range ballistic missiles," Goss said in testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on the main security threats to the United States.
AP: An explosion was reported Wednesday in southern Iran near a nuclear power plant, with state-run media offering conflicting explanations for what happened, from blasting for dam construction, a fuel tank dropping from an Iranian plane, and friendly fire. The explosion came as Iran's intelligence chief accused the United States of flying spy drones over its nuclear sites and threatened to shoot down the aircraft.
Bloomberg: German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer urged Iran to give guarantees that its nuclear program will be used for peaceful means, to allay concerns it may be developing nuclear weapons. The European Union, with Germany, the U.K. and France leading the negotiations, has been holding talks with Iran to persuade it to scrap its nuclear research program, while U.S. President George W. Bush has refused to rule out ...
AP: Iranian state television said Wednesday that an explosion near Deilam may have been caused by a fuel tank accidentally dropping from an Iranian airplane in the region. The state-run television provided few details, but said local officials had told it that may have been the cause of the unidentified explosion.
Reuters: Iran and Syria, both locked in rows with the United States, said on Wednesday they will form a common front to face challenges and threats. "We are ready to help Syria on all grounds to confront threats," Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Reza Aref said in Tehran after meeting Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari.
Bloomberg: U.S. lawmakers are beginning a new push to compel enforcement of a 1996 law imposing sanctions on foreign companies that do business in Iran, a move that might trigger a European Union protest to the World Trade Organization. Among the companies that would be vulnerable to the sanctions are Siemens AG, Royal Dutch/Shell Group and Total SA of Europe and Inpex Corp. of Japan.
Iran: Video Clip, Activists Setting Fire 2 Paramilitary Bassij Center in Lavasan, North Tehran. #Fir
WARNING - VULGAR LANGUAGE March 13 - Tehran, NW #Iran Protesters Celebrating #FireFest and Clashing
March 13 - Qazvin, NW #Iran Protesters Starting #FireFest, Defying Authorities Banning Such #4Shanb
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