Monday, November 21, 2011


Switzerland widens scope of Iran sanctions
Switzerland has added 116 names to its list of Iranian entities under sanctions, in response to heightened international concern about Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Switzerland has added the name of Ali akbar Salehi the Iranian regime’s foreign minister to it’s list of sanctions. The 35-nation board of the U.N. nuclear watchdog looked set on Friday to censure Iran over mounting suspicions it is seeking to develop atomic bombs. The new sanctions against five people and 111 organizations will come into force with immediate effect, the government said. The Swiss prohibitions include a ban on certain financial transactions and Swiss companies selling or delivering so-called dual use goods, products which could also be used for military purposes. 

Powers pressure Iran, IAEA chief “alerts world”
Reuters reported on Thursday that major powers closed ranks on Thursday to increase pressure on Iran to address fears about its atomic ambitions, and the U.N. nuclear chief said it was his duty to “alert the world” about suspected Iranian efforts to develop atom bombs. The six powers involved in diplomacy on Iran — the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany — overcame divisions exposed by a hard-hitting U.N. nuclear report on Iran last week and presented a united front towards Tehran. They hammered out a joint resolution in intense negotiations and submitted it to the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a Vienna-based U.N. body, which is expected to debate and vote on it on Friday. Amano stressed the need for Iran to engage in serious talks to clarify issues in his report and said he wanted to send a high-level mission to the country to tackle increasing concerns about the nature of its nuclear activities. Amano said he hoped a “suitable date” could be agreed soon for his team’s visit to Iran, which permits IAEA inspections of declared nuclear sites but since 2008 has stonewalled an agency investigation into “alleged studies” applicable to atom bombs.
Sources: U.S. to slap new sanctions on Iran
CNN reported: the Obama administration plans to impose fresh sanctions against Iran’s petrochemical industry, diplomatic sources familiar with the plans said Friday. U.S. sanctions already prohibit American companies from doing business with Iran. The goal of the new measures is to bar foreign companies from doing business with Iran’s petrochemical industry by threatening them with being banned from U.S. markets, the sources said. European nations are expected to announce similar measures when the European Union leaders meet next week, the sources said. The measures, which are expected to be announced early Monday, build on existing sanctions on Iran’s oil and gas industry. Plans for the additional sanctions come on the heels of a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA detailing evidence that the Iranian regime was developing the technology needed to build a nuclear weapon.

Iraq signs death warrant on Iran exiles’
Associated France Press reported on Friday that Iraq has served a virtual “death warrant” on some 3,400 Iranian dissidents exiled in a camp north of Baghdad, the head of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iraq said on Friday. MEP Struan Stevenson said the Iraqi embassy in Brussels had sent a letter to the European Parliament tantamount “to a virtual declaration of war on the UN and international community and a death warrant” for residents of the Ashraf camp. Iraq wants a year-end closure of the camp but more than 100 parliamentarians along with rights groups have urged a postponement to give time to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and others to screen and resettle residents. The embassy note, obtained by a news agency, reiterates that “the Iraqi government is committed to its decision to close Camp Ashraf by the end of 2011”. It says the dissidents are “terrorists” and denies they have refugee status or can claim protection under the Geneva Convention. Stevenson said the note “clearly opposes attempts by the UNHCR to interview the residents and provide them with refugee status”. The camp, an accident of history that has become a thorny international problem, has been in the spotlight since an April raid by Iraqi security forces left 34 people dead and scores injured, triggering sharp condemnation. It was set up when Iraq and Iran were at war in the 1980s by the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI) and was later placed under US control until January 2009, when US forces transferred security for the camp to Iraq. The PMOI has been on the US government terrorist list since 1997 -- though removed from the EU list -- but has received support from leading US figures in its battle to obtain international supervision of Camp Ashraf’s closure, timed to take place as US forces pull out of Iraq. Stevenson said the Iraqi embassy letter was “a blatant effort to set the stage for the massacre of Ashraf residents, clearly at the behest of the Iranian regime”.