Influential Institutions

Wednesday, January 04th, 2012
The battle of words over the straits of Hormoz is raging. If new US sanctions banning the sale of Iranian oil comes into force, Iran has threatened to close the straits. One third of the world’s oil exports flow through the narrow waterway. Iran’s navy has just finished exercises designed to demonstrate the country’s control of the straits. The US is committed to keeping the waterway open. Her fifth fleet is...
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
Responsible for law and order in a vast land of 75 million people is no small task. Hence Iran’s judiciary deserves our prayers. As well as the normal crimes that afflict all countries, the Iranian judiciary finds itself on the frontline of the war against the drug traffickers who operate from Afghanistan. In response to the avalanche of opium tipped over its borders, the judiciary has shown no mercy to drug sellers...
Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
The winter winds of isolation blowing into Iran are getting even colder. UN sanctions got tougher, and in response mobs attacked the UK embassy in Tehran. So the UK has closed down its diplomatic mission there and Norway followed suit. Meanwhile, the violent suppression of unrest in Syria has brought calls from around the world for Iran’s ally, President Assad, to step down. There is no guarantee a new...
Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
Journalism is not the safest of professions in Iran. According to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, 30 – 50 are behind bars in Iran at any one time. This danger to journalists has even reached the offices of the state sponsored Iran Daily newspaper. For Ali Akbar Javanfekr, the paper’s editor, manager of the state’s ‘Islamic Republic News Agency’ and former press advisor to President Ahmadinejad, was...
Saturday, November 05th, 2011
The drums of a potentially very dangerous war are getting louder. The US accuses Iran of being involved in a plan to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in New York. The fixer in the plot is a second hand car-dealer, the hit men are from a Mexican drug gang. Iran has rejected the claims as absurd. Observers in the West have raised their eye-brows. Whether true of not, it is a drum beat. The Supreme Leader of Iran in...
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
This week the Bushehr nuclear plant was opened at a ceremony with senior Russian ministers as honoured guests, as Russia helped build the plant. It will soon be supplying the national grid. As the officials were clapping, so too the International Atomic Energy Agency was again worrying about Iran’s ultimate intentions, and Dick Cheney, who was the US vice president, has let it be known that Israel will not hesitate...
Monday, September 05th, 2011
The Revolutionary Guards, or Sepah as they are known in Iran, have a lot of power. Originally they were formed by Ayatollah Khomeini to guard the values of the revolution. This is what sadly brings them into contacts with Christians. They keep an eye on them on the false assumption that Christians pose a threat to their state. In fact Christians in Iran have never posed a threat to any government. But while the...
Thursday, August 11th, 2011
This week senior Russian official Nikolai Patrushev is visiting Tehran for talks with Iranian minister Saeid Jalili and President Ahmadinejad. There are reports he wants to discuss further the plan of Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to unlock the nuclear stalemate between Iran and the West. Few details are known, but it is thought that Russia has a step by step plan whereby Iran provides proof that its...
Thursday, July 07th, 2011
Iran is fighting a vicious war against the drug trade. So far there have been over 3,000 border guards who have lost their lives in shoot out with drug barons. There’s no doubt this is a war that must be won. Iran has between two to four million addicts. It is an epidemic that casts a shadow over the whole country. In response the judiciary, led by Sadegh Larijani, has adopted a Singaporean attitude to drug dealers...
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
This week at the Kremlin, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao confirmed they supported Iran’s right to develop domestic nuclear power. They also emphasized that the West and Iran should resolve the stand off on Iran’s nuclear programme through diplomacy. Such clear support for Tehran will dampen any enthusiasm for a tougher approach towards Iran in Washington or Europe. The West’s...
Friday, June 10th, 2011
A recent announcement by the director of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoun Abbasi Davani, has re-ignited Western fears about Iran’s nuclear intentions. Mr Davani said that 164 new centrifuges will be set up at the Natanz and Fordo centres, and he expects to triple the production of 20% enriched uranium. In response to the fact that less than 5% enriched uranium is needed to generate electricity, Iran says...
Wednesday, June 01st, 2011
Last month the President got embroiled in a dispute with the office of the Supreme Leader over the sacking of the Intelligence Minister Heyder Moslehi, who was later reinstated. Now the President is facing criticism for cutting back the number of ministries, and taking over the oil ministry himself which accounts for about 80% of the government’s income. Parliament has called the move illegal and has referred the...
Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
Arch-conservative Ayatollah Yazdi has accused President Ahmadinejad of being ‘under a spell’. Ayatollah Yazdi is a serious figure in Iran’s political establishment. Involved in the founding of the Islamic Republic, he was close to Ayatollah Beheshti, Ayatollah Khomeini’s most important lieutenant. Ayatollah Yazdi in the 1990’s was the head of the judiciary, and fought hard against the then President, Mohammad...
Friday, May 06th, 2011
On April 17th President Ahmadinejad happily accepted the resignation of his intelligence chief, Heider Moslehi. A few hours later the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamanei reinstated him, adding later that he would intervene in government matters whenever necessary. Refusing to say why, President Ahmadinejad did not attend his next two cabinet meetings and cancelled a trip to Qom. But on Sunday he was at cabinet and...
Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
Last week was National Army Day in Tehran. Thousands of soldiers marched past senior dignitaries and foreign observers from at least seven countries, including China, India, and Turkey. From the speeches it was made clear that while Iran has no aggressive foreign policy aims, still the country’s nearly half a million active soldiers were going to be kept busy, for Iran is a regional power. They would be kept on...
Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
As motorists in the West grimace as they watch the whirl of the price at the pump go higher, there has been no mercy from OPEC under its present chair, Iran. The price of crude oil has recently gone up by about 30% and is well over $100 a barrel, and this is immediately passed on to the consumer by the big oil companies. The only way to bring the price down is to increase the supply. There have been calls for an...
Tuesday, April 05th, 2011
Things between Sunni Egypt allied to both the US and Israel and Shia Iran, hostile to Israel and the US, haven’t been good. But there’s been a thawing in the post Mubarak world. Iranian naval ships have been allowed through the Suez canal, and now Egypt’s foreign minister has said he wants to have a fresh start with Iran. Tehran has responded positively. Egypt and Iran (along with Turkey) are the mega players in the...
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
Take out Israel and Iran’s nuclear programme and the Iranians and the US have a lot in common: both want the Taliban to be neutered in Afghanistan; both want a stable Iraq; both want the Gulf kept free for oil exports. But now there is the tiny state of Bahrain, full of angry Shias tired of living under the autocratic rule of an absolute Sunni monarch who favours the minority Sunnis. The Shias, of course, look to...
Tuesday, March 01st, 2011
While Iran’s parliament (Majles) is thoroughly vetted and is by no means supreme, nevertheless it has an important role, especially in domestic policy. Parliament must approve the budget presented by the President. This happened last Sunday. And she can demand a minister’s removal. This happened to the Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani earlier this month. Now they have asked Majid Namjou to report to them....
Friday, February 18th, 2011
The apostle Paul calls on the entire church to pray for all who are in high positions so the result will be that people can live quiet and peaceful lives. With the revolution in Egypt and street demonstrations across other countries in the Middle East, this should signal to Christians to pray even more fervently for those in authority, so ordinary people can get on with their lives in a quiet and dignified way. The...

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