Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani
This woman was sentenced to be stoned to death supposedly for adultery. First accused of killing her husband then found not guilty, she was still facing "other charges" including adultery. Only an international outcry seemed to have stopped the execution from going ahead but she remains in prison as authorities have not yet figured out how to deal with the situation.
The lawyer defending her, Mohammad Mostafaie, has now "escaped" to Norway and is seeking asylum. According to reports, this lawyer who has been very much involved with the defending of various people connected to protesting the current regime, has been the target of authorities. He has been harassed; his family has been detained and there is a risk that Mohammad could end up in jail.
As of this moment, there is no word as to whether Norway will accept Mostafaie.
Iran military has taken possession of 4 new mini submarines built in Iran. Adding to the navy’s existing 7 subs of this type, these "Ghadir class" submarines are part of the countries defence network operating in shallow coastal waters. They are capable of working in shallow coastal waters and of firing both torpedoes and missiles.
A Nuclear Iran: a good thing
According to a new international survey, the majority of Arabs now believe a nuclear-armed Iran would be a good thing. However, the survey points out that these results are not so much reflective in a change opinion about Iran. Apparently, many during 2009 took a wait-and-see attitude about the United States with the election of Barack Obama but now are expressing their anger about the current state of affairs. This is a backlash against the United States and the disappointment that the changes hoped for have not materialized.
Fidel Castro: the apocalypse is at hand
At 84, Castro made a frail return to the podium with a speech of 11 minutes, not one of his marathon rants which could go on for hours. He spoke very specifically about the U.N. sanctions against Iran and the likelihood that they would trigger a nuclear holocaust involving Iran and the United States. Of course, pundits did consider this to be some posturing on Fidel’s part and it is unfortunate that many questions about the future leadership of the country remain unknown.
Iran: at the top of the U.S. terror list
Last week the U.S. released its 2009 report of terrorism which reads:
Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism. Iran’s financial, material, and logistic support for terrorist and militant groups throughout the Middle East and Central Asia had a direct impact on international efforts to promote peace, threatened economic stability in the Gulf and undermined the growth of democracy.
Going after the bomb
According to supposed insiders, people in Iran, the president Ahmadinejad has stated that Iran is after the bomb. Truth? Speculation? Apparently Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff Esfandiar Mashai has claimed that his boss has said that the goal is to enrich uranium by 100%. While these remarks were apparently only covered by the Mehr News Agency, other official news agencies in Iran such as IRNA and Fars said nothing about 100% enrichment. Considering the secretive nature of Iran’s military programs and its ambitions, it is difficult to know exactly what is going on. Nevertheless, enrichment of uranium to this level is supposedly only for military purposes.
to read more columns by William Belle.
U.S. Department of State: Country Reports on Terrorism 2009
Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terror