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Spotlight on Iran (Week of April 11-18, 2012) (IICC) Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)Source: http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/iran_e164.htm Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (IICC Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (IICC Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Highlights of the week: Iranian media portrays recently completed round of nuclear talks in Istanbul as achievement for Iran.

Governmentís economic policy strongly criticized as second stage of subsidy policy reform is about to be launched.

Political struggle between president, Majles continues over Saíid Mortazaviís appointment as Social Security Organization chairman.

Debit cards hacked: Iranian employee exposes details of 3 million cards online.

Pictures of the week: Iranians change PINs following exposure of debit card details

Iranian media portrays recently completed round of nuclear talks in Istanbul as achievement for Iran

This weekend, after a fifteen-month break, the two rounds of nuclear talks between Iran and Group of Five Plus One representatives came to an end. Held in Istanbul, the talks concluded in a positive atmosphere; however, no substantial agreements were reached. Once negotiations were wrapped up, E.U. foreign affairs representative Catherine Ashton said that the talks were effective, and that the two parties agreed to meet for another round of talks in Baghdad on May 23.

Iranís chief negotiator Saíid Jalili also referred to the talks as a success, saying that for the first time Western representatives had shown a positive attitude towards Iran and expressed their willingness to cooperate with it. However, he ruled out any possibility of freezing the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, and added that the proposal to lift the sanctions imposed on Iran in exchange for halting its nuclear activity is no longer relevant.

On the eve of the resumption of the talks, President Ahmadinejad said that Iran will not retreat even one millimeter from its nuclear rights. In a speech given during a visit to south Iran, the president called on Western countries to change their attitude towards Iran and keep in mind that the Iranian people will protect their fundamental rights and never give them up even under the most extreme pressure.

The conservative mediaís position ahead of the Istanbul talks was also one of no compromise. An editorial published by Keyhan said that Iranís situation has significantly improved in the 15 months since the last round of talks. If in early 2011 Iran still needed to rely on importing enriched nuclear fuel for operating the research reactor in Tehran, it now enriches uranium whose quantity and quality have made Western assistance no longer necessary. Regional and international developments in the past year have also benefited Iranís interests and weakened the position of the United States. According to Keyhan, negotiations with the West in recent years have proven that Iran must continue pursuing a strategy based on courageous resistance and technological progress, while simultaneously holding talks in order to demonstrate its power. The daily noted that Iranís choice not to develop nuclear weapons does not have to do with fear of the West, but rather with the fact that developing such weapons goes against Islamic and humane principles, which go against Western ideology. An article by Keyhanís editor-in- chief Hossein Shariatmadari published earlier this week said that it is Western countries, rather than Iran, that now need to make concessions in the negotiations, and that the West needs to regain Iranís trust by lifting the sanctions imposed on it.

As the two rounds of talks in Istanbul came to an end, Iranian media was quick to portray the talks as evidence indicating the beginning of a change in Western countriesí stance towards Iran and a newfound willingness on their part to recognize Iranís power and the reality that their policy, based on threats and sanctions, has been defeated. An article authored by Yadollah Javani, advisor to the Supreme Leaderís representative to the Revolutionary Guards, published in the daily Javan, said that the talks signal a change in the attitude shown by the West, which stems from a recognition of Iranís strengthening position. The internal developments in Iran, the situation in the Middle East, and the crisis in Western countries have all improved Iranís strategic status, Javani said, which requires the West to take advantage of the resumption of the nuclear talks to abandon its hostile policy towards Iran and adopt a new cooperation-based approach.

After the resumption of the talks, Keyhan also said that, while there has been no strategic change in the position of the West, it is clear that the negotiating style used by the Western representatives has changed somewhat. Western countries no longer insist on trust- building measures from Iran as a precondition for concessions towards it, having realized that threats cannot be used to put pressure on Iran.

Governmentís economic policy strongly criticized as second stage of subsidy policy reform is about to be launched

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