TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran will shift its production of higher grade uranium to an underground bunker and triple its production capacity, it said on Wednesday in a defiant response to accusations it is trying to produce atomic bombs.
“This year, under the supervision of the (International Atomic Energy) Agency, we will transfer 20 percent enrichment from the Natanz site to the Fordow site and we will increase the production capacity by three times,” the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, told reporters after a cabinet meeting, the state broadcaster IRIB reported.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran backs all Muslim uprisings except those stirred up by Washington, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday, a stance that explains Tehran’s lack of support for anti-government protesters in ally Syria.
Addressing a crowd commemorating the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei said the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution had predicted events in the Middle East over the last few months where Arabs have risen up against oppressive regimes.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – An explosion at an Iranian oil refinery during a visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday killed two people and injured 12, the Mehr news agency said.
Ahmadinejad was not hurt and appeared on state television shortly after the blast giving a speech marking the inauguration of a new part of the Abadan refinery.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended his first cabinet meeting for more than a week on Sunday, dismissing rumors of a damaging split with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, news agencies reported.
Ahmadinejad’s close relationship with Khamenei — the senior cleric who has the last word in the Islamic Republic’s affairs — was strained two weeks ago, according to some analysts, over the president’s attempt to sack his intelligence minister, a move vetoed by the supreme leader.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran will host an international celebration of its new year next week despite critics who say it glorifies a pre-Islamic festival and will invoke memories of the last shah.
Opposition to the gathering for Nowruz, an ancient festival marking the start of the Iranian solar year and the coming of spring, shows the difficulties facing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as he tries to boost Iran’s standing in the region.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – If the West wanted to help Libyan civilians it would arm them rather than bombing Muammar Gaddafi, Iran’s leader said on Monday, accusing Washington of seeking a strategic “foothold” in oil-rich Libya.
In a speech to mark the new Iranian year, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected U.S. President Barack Obama’s assertion that opposition protesters in Iran were the same as pro-democracy masses that have risen up against autocratic governments across the Middle East.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s great political survivor, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, may be removed from one of his remaining positions of influence this week as hardliners seek to punish him for expressing sympathy for the opposition.
The former president may be voted out of the chair of the state Assembly of Experts, a blow to his attempt to play a bridging role between dominant Islamic hardliners and the increasingly marginalised reformist opposition.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – The head of Tehran’s Metro, the urban railway at the centre of a power struggle between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and rival conservatives, has resigned, Iranian media reported on Saturday.
Mohsen Hashemi had been urging Ahmadinejad for months to release $1 billion of parliament-approved cash to expand the network, while the president himself has made no secret of his desire to bring the Metro, along with its public prestige and valuable construction contracts, under his direct control.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s supreme leader saluted on Friday what he termed an “Islamic liberation movement” in the Arab world, and advised the people of Egypt and Tunisia to unite around their religion and against the West.
In his first public comments on the popular uprisings in the region, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran’s 1979 revolution, which deposed the U.S.-backed shah and established an Islamic Republic, could serve as a pattern for the Arab uprisings.
TEHRAN/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – An Iranian-Dutch woman, arrested in Iran after taking part in demonstrations has been hanged for drug smuggling, prompting the Netherlands to freeze official contacts and issue a travel advice to such nationals.
Dutch foreign affairs minister Uri Rosenthal received official confirmation of the execution on Saturday after summoning the Iranian ambassador at The Hague following news reports, a Dutch foreign affairs ministry spokesman said.