- Iran Nuclear Physicist Bombing
- Dutch and British Iraq Probes
- Bangladesh and India Strike Accords
- Nigerian President Speaks About Return
Iran's state media blamed (WashPost) the United States and Israel for a bomb blast that killed an Iranian nuclear physicist, raising questions about his links to Iran's controversial nuclear enrichment program. Masoud Ali Mohammadi was killed as he left his house in northern Tehran. It is not clear whether Mohammadi was actively involved in Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, which controls the country's nuclear program. The bomb attack comes amid tensions between the government, a grassroots opposition movement, and international pressure over Iran's nuclear program. The Tabnak website, which has close ties to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accused the United States, Israel, and exiled opposition group the People's Mujaheddin Organization of Iran of orchestrating the attack. Compared to neighboring countries such as Iraq and Pakistan, bomb attacks in Iran are rare.
There have been past reports that many nuclear scientists or people wanting to join the Iranian nuclear organization have been intimidated, al-Jazeera reports.
Iranian authorities late last year broadened efforts against dissents to include the educational system and dissident professors. A number of hard-line clerics have called (NYT) for the university humanities curricula to be Islamized further, though it was not clear whether Mohammadi's killing was related to that. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday the United States and its allies were discussing financial sanctions that would appear to be aimed at the Revolutionary Guards if diplomacy with Iran fails.
In Newsweek, Sharon Begley examines the psychology behind Iranian support for the country's nuclear program.
In the Washington Post, CFR's Ray Takeyh writes, "As the United States and its allies wrestle with the issue of Iran's nuclear program, they would be wise to recognize the changes to the context in which their policy was framed."
In a CFR interview, Robin Wright says Iran's disparate but resilient protest coalition is motivated by a desire to reform the country's governing system.
A CFR Backgrounder examines Iran's nuclear program.
Ex-Tony Blair communications aid Alastair Campbell, accused of "sexing up" the case for the Iraq War, downplayed (al-Jazeera) his role in the lead-up to the 2003 conflict. Separately, a Dutch panel found (LondonTimes) that the Iraq invasion had no legal basis.
Shares of Japan Airlines dropped 45 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after rumors arose that the government planned to delist the beleaguered carrier. American Airlines said (WSJ) it was prepared to raise its offer to buy the company, in competition with Delta Airlines.
China: The World Trade Organization will establish (FT) a panel to investigate U.S. import tariffs on Chinese tires levied in September in ongoing trade disputes between the two countries.
India and Bangladesh will sign (Hindu) five agreements during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India, including three security-related pacts to expand counterterrorism cooperation.
Afghanistan: Five soldiers from the United States, Britain, and France were killed (Quqnoos) in Afghanistan on the deadliest day for international troops deployed there in two months.
Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua said he is recovering and hopes to return (BBC) to his post after his long absence due to health issues. Nigerians protested in Abuja, the capital, urging an end to the political limbo.
In this Expert Brief, CFR's John Campbell says the leadership void caused by the illness of Yar'Adua could lead to domestic upheaval and a succession crisis.
South Africa: Warnings that the attack on Togo's soccer players puts the World Cup at risk are born of ignorance and racism, according to a column in Johannesburg's Business Day.
An Argentine court delayed ruling (FT) on the appeal of a decision by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez to fire central bank president Martin Redrado for failing to comply with a decree to use $6.5 billion in reserves to pay off debt.
United States: The Obama administration is considering (WSJ) levying a fee on banks' profits as a way to recoup losses associated with the government's bailout of financial firms and the auto industry.
The Islamist groups Islam4UK and al-Muhajiroun will be banned (Guardian) under new British legislation outlawing the "glorification" of terrorism. Membership will be a criminal offence, punishable by up to ten years in prison.
EU: The EU's commissioner-designate for economic and monetary affairs, Olli Rehn, called for (EUObserver) a tougher stance on EU members' debt at his confirmation hearing.
Global declines in freedom outweighed gains (WSJ) in 2009 for the fourth consecutive year, according to Freedom House's annual survey of political rights and civil liberties. This represents the longest continuous decline in global freedom in the report's nearly forty-year history.
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