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Iran refuses to return US drone December 13, 2011

Iranian TV showed the unmanned “stealth” aircraft apparently undamaged

Iran has rejected a US call for the return of an American spy drone captured by Iran’s military.

The aircraft was now “property” of Iran and it was up to Iran to decide what to do with it, defence minister Ahmad Vahidi said.

Tehran captured the RQ-170 Sentinel earlier this month in eastern Iran. Mr Vahidi said the US should apologise for invading Iranian air space.

Tehran says it brought the drone down, but the US insists it malfunctioned.

“The American espionage drone is now Iran’s property, and our country will decide what steps to take regarding it,” Mr Vahidi was quoted as saying by Isna news agency, following a call for the aircraft’s return by US President Barack Obama.

“Instead of apologising to the Iranian nation, it [the US] is brazenly asking for the drone back,” he added, according to another semi-official news agency, Mehr.

On Monday Iranian state TV reported that military experts were in the final stages of recovering data from the drone.

A member of the Iranian parliament’s national security committee, Parviz Sorouri, said the information they extracted would be used to “file a lawsuit against the United States over the invasion”.

‘Spies’ arrested

Also on Monday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted it was likely that the drone would not be returned. She said that despite numerous “provocations” from Iran, the US would pursue a “diplomatic approach”.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards were filmed inspecting the drone on Thursday. Tehran says it had crossed the Afghan border and travelled 250km (155 miles) inside Iranian airspace before being brought down in a cyber attack.

The Iranian government has sent a letter of protest to the UN accusing the US of violating international law.

A former US official has said the Pentagon was using the drone to keep watch on Iran’s controversial nuclear programme. Western powers believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, which it denies.

In a separate development, Iran’s official Irna news agency on Tuesday reported that 15 “American and Zionist” spies had been indicted.

The report, quoting Tehran’s chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi, gave no details about the charges, or the names of the accused.

Iran frequently accuses the US of seeking to covertly undermine its regime. In May, Iran’s intelligence ministry announced the arrest of 30 CIA “spies”.

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Iranian students storm British embassy in Tehran November 29, 2011

Dozens of Iranian students have stormed the British embassy in Tehran, bringing down the British flag and throwing documents from windows.

The students clashed with riot police, chanting: “The embassy of Britain should be taken over!” and “Death to England!”

The incident comes two days after the Iranian parliament approved a bill that reduces diplomatic relations with Britain in protest at London’s support of US sanctions on Tehran, which Washington recently stiffened.

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Iranian MPs approve bill to reduce British diplomatic ties with Tehran November 24, 2011

The Iranian parliament has retaliated against western economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic by approving a bill to reduce Tehran’s diplomatic ties with Britain.

Iranian MPs on Wednesday voted by an overwhelming majority to downgrade Iran‘s relations with London from an ambassadorial level to that of chargé d’affaires.

The move has come two days after the US and Britain targeted Iranian financial sectors with new punitive measures over the Islamic regime’s disputed nuclear programme.

The chancellor, George Osborne, said on Monday Britain would sever all ties with Iranian banks, including the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), to limit the regime’s access to international funding for its nuclear activities. The US said it would sanction Iran’s oil and petrochemical industry as well as companies affiliated to the elite revolutionary guards or those involved in its nuclear programme.

Reacting, 228 members of the Iranian parliament issued a statement on Wednesday condemning Britain’s move.

“Britain’s government once again showed a depth of hatred and enmity towards the Islamic republic system worse than that of the devil and it took another step towards being an enemy…by announcing sanctions on the central bank,” the statement said.

State news agencies reported the head of the parliamentary committee on the national security and the foreign policy, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, asked the government of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to expel the British ambassador to Tehran, Dominick Chilcott.

“Britain’s policy is a hostile one and having normal relations with government is meaningless,” he said.

The Guardian Council, a body of clerics and lawyers charged with vetting all parliamentary legislation, is yet to approve today’s decision before it can legisltate.

Chilcott took his post as the new Tehran ambassador a few weeks ago after several months of tension between the two capitals. The UK embassy was meanwhile led by the charge d’affaires, Jane Marriott.

The British foreign office said “it would be deeply regrettable” if Irandecided to cut ties with the UK.

“We are aware of the Majles’ [the Iranian parliament's] decision that it will vote on whether to downgrade ties with the UK. It’s too early to say what will happen next,” said an FCO spokesperson.

“But it would be deeply regrettable if Iran were to take such action. We believe it is important to maintain senior channels of communication, especially at times like these. It is only through dialogue we can solve the problems we face”.

Iran-Britain relations have been volatile since the 1979 Islamic revolution. In recent years, especially after the events following the Iranian disputed presidential elections in 2009, Iran has accused Britain of meddling in its affairs by voicing support for the opposition green movement. It also finds the BBC Farsi service disturbing.

Recently, the mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf,accused the British embassy of illegally cutting more than 300 trees in a large garden it owns in the north of the capital. The embassy denied the allegations.

“According to the law, in such cases the garden should either be confiscated in public interest and changed to a public park or the British embassy should pay a cash fine for [cutting] the trees and plant new trees twice the number of the trees it has cut,” Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf told the semi-official Fars news agency.

In a separate incident, president Ahmadinejad criticised the West’s claims over its nuclear programme and said Iran is not in possession of nuclear weapons.

Speaking to crowds gathered in Pakdasht, in the southeast of Tehran, he said: “They [the West] tell us, you should prove you don’t have atomic bombs. How can something doesn’t exist be proved? It’s nonexistent. How can we prove it?”

He added: “The one who levels the accusations must prove (their) claims. You must prove that someone is guilty.”

When we say we don’t possess and we don’t want nuclear weapons, we mean it. But you should know that if one day the Iranian nation decides to build atomic bomb, it doesn’t fear you. It will bravely stand up and say it wants to build atomic bombs.”

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‘Assassination plot was US fabrication’ November 19, 2011

November 19, 2011

by legitgov


‘Assassination plot was US fabrication’ 18 Nov 2011 Iranian Majlis (Parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani has described the US allegation that Iran’s Quds Force was involved in a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington as a “fabrication.” Commenting on the US and Israeli media hype about the alleged plot to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir, Larijani said the Quds Force is too powerful to resort to such clandestine operations, IRNA reported. The Iranian parliament speaker also warned the United States against trying to use such allegations to sully the image of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). He added that the Iranian people will stand by the IRGC and all the armed forces of the country because they live among the people.

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