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Iran

Yearbook 2007

Iran. The tone around I's nuclear fission program was raised during the year to suddenly be lowered in December when the US intelligence service reported that Iran had most likely stopped the program. In February, the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had reported that Iran had not complied with UN Resolution 1696 of December 2006, according to which Iran must stop its enrichment of uranium. The United Kingdom, France and Germany, which previously tried to mediate between the United States and Iran, became increasingly united with the United States and the contradictions escalated. The United Nations Security Council agreed on March 24 a new resolution, No. 1747, which tightened sanctions against Iran by banning trade in Iranian weapons and transactions with the various Revolutionary Guards companies and with the State Bank Sepah, which the United States had introduced an embargo on in January. In September I announced: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran now had 3,000 nuclear centrifuges, machines that can produce nuclear fuel. The United States unilaterally imposed new financial sanctions on October 25 against the Revolutionary Guard and its subsidiaries. New UN sanctions appeared almost inevitable and speculation was raised about the risk of a US attack on Iran. But on December 3, the crisis was suddenly dampened when a so-called National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), a joint report from all 16 US security services, was published. According to the report, Iran had had a nuclear weapons program until 2003 when it was disclosed, stopped and probably not resumed. The report, which went against the statements of the US government with the implication that Iran was about to develop nuclear weapons, eliminated the risk of war.

2007 Iran

According to CountryAAH, Ahmadinejad interpreted the report as a victory. But at the same time it put him in a tight position domestic politics. Without imminent threats from the United States, he could no longer dismiss critics as traitors. It was also clear that the nuclear program was partly a game of power, capable of strengthening Iran on the international stage. Not all Iranian politicians liked it. The country's pragmatists, e.g. ex-president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, seemed to want to negotiate with the UN. In October, Ali Larijani, chief negotiator in contacts with the West about the program, resigned from everything to judge by a schism with the president. In November, former chief negotiator Hossein Mousavian was indicted for disclosing secret information to other countries. He was released from the charges in November. Hassan Rowhani, another former negotiator, criticized the president for his confrontation policy which he believed had aggravated the country's financial problems. Already in January, 150 members of the Majlis (Parliament) had condemned the president's economic policy and its increasing dependence on oil revenues. In June, gasoline rationing had been introduced, despite the country's huge oil reserves. At the end of the year, inflation was estimated to be up to 25 percent.

Ahmadinejad was at the center of the world's attention even in other contexts than the core program. On March 23, Iranian forces seized eight British flotists and seven naval troops at the Shatt al-Arabs outlet in the Persian Gulf. The United Kingdom claimed that the British were in Iraqi waters while Iran believed that they violated Iranian territory. The British were released on April 4, according to Ahmadinejad as "a gift to the British people". On April 16, two Swedish engineers, Stefan Johansson and Jari Hjortmar, were released, who in May 2006 had been sentenced to three years in prison for spying since photographing military buildings on an island in the Hormuz Strait.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Tehran on October 16 in connection with a summit for leaders from countries around the Caspian Sea. It was the first time since a Kremlin leader visited in 1943. In December, Russia, after several delays, delivered enriched uranium to the almost completely-built nuclear power plant in Bushehr, a civilian facility under the control of the IAEA. The United States had hoped that Russia would delay the delivery further.

Several regime-critical newspapers were forced to close during the year. Two Kurdish journalists, Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed "Hiva" Botimar, were sentenced to death on July 16 for defying God and national security. During the first eleven months of the year, 280 persons were executed, compared with 177 during the whole of 2006.

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