Iranian Rocket Test A Failure?
August 18 -- Following Iran's test of a new rocket designed to place satellites in space, Canadian military analyst Houshang Hassanyari said, "Iran still doesn't have the satellite launch technology used by Western countries... Iran still--at least with its latest rocket launch--cannot compete with countries like France, the U.S., or even Israel." [audio in Persian / article in English]. On August 20, "Jane's Missiles and Rockets" editor Doug Richardson said, "I think it unlikely that Iran has succeeded with its satellite launch; to the best of my knowledge, no satellites entered orbit during last weekend" [audio in Persian].
Has the Georgia Crisis Taken the Heat Off Iran?
August 16 -- Iran may feel more secure as a result of increased tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Russia's invasion of Georgia, says analyst Reza Taghizadeh: "These two countries may cooperate less in the UN Security Council on issues related to Iran's nuclear case, at least for a while." Regardless of the short-term impact, analyst Mohammad-Reza Jalili argues that Russia remains united with other world powers in its opposition to the rise of a nuclear-armed Iran [article in Persian].
Youth Offender Executed Despite Last-Minute Stay
August 19 -- Mohammad Mostafaei, the lawyer for Reza Hejazi, says that after he and Hejazi's family submitted to the judge and prison authorities documents on the illegality of Hejazi's death sentence, "they announced that the sentence was no longer going to be carried out. A half an hour after we happily left the prison, he was executed." Mostafaei notes that, "According to [Iranian] law, I should have been notified 48 hours before the sentence was carried out." [article in Persian].
Interior Minister with Fake PhD and Criminal Record?
August 15-- Following revelations that the PhD new Interior Minister Ali Kordan claims to hold from Oxford University is a fake and that he has a criminal record, journalist Isa Saharkhiz said "Such corruption anywhere else in the world would lead to an impeachment or resignation." [article in Persian]
Repression of Students Backfires
August 17 -- Following the release of three Amir Kabir students, former student movement leader Ali Afshari says regime efforts to prevent student protests will only "increase the students' will and desire for resistance and in the long run even decrease their fear of prison." Afshari adds, "The Amir-Kabir students were finally released with honor and it was the regime which paid dearly." [article in Persian]
Radio Farda's "Special Report" Marks Anniversaries of Significant Events
- August 19 -- Journalists Jalal Matini, Abbas Tofigh and Hermidas Bavand discuss the continuing impact of the 1953 coup that brought down the elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh [article in Persian].
- August 20 -- Journalist Ali-Reza Nourizadeh, former Information Minister Daryoush Homayoun and Colonel Ardeshir Bayat revisit the 1978 Cinema Rex fire in Abadan, originally blamed on the Shah's intelligence service but later revealed as the work of supporters of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini [article in Persian].