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Saturday, November 10, 2012
Excerpts: Syrians flee to Turkey overnight. Iran bans luxury imports. Iran fires on unarmed US drone. Obama views on Tehran Friday, November 09, 2012

Excerpts: Syrians flee to Turkey overnight. Iran bans 'luxury'
imports.Iran fires on unarmed US drone. Obama views on Tehran Friday,
November 09, 2012
+++SOURCE: New York Times 9 Nov. ’12:, “About 8,000 Syrians Flee to Turkey
Overnight—Official” By REUTERS
SUBJECT:8,000 Syrians flee to Turkey overnight

QUOTE:”26 Syrian officers had defected from the Syrian military to Turkey
overnight”

ANKARA (Reuters) - About 8,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria crossed
into Turkey in the last 24 hours, a Turkish foreign ministry official said
on Friday[9 Nov.], bringing the total number of refugees in Turkey to around
120,000.

State-run Anatolian news agency also reported on Friday[9 Nov.] that 26
Syrian officers had defected from the Syrian military to Turkey overnight.

+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 9 Nov.’12:”I ran bans import of ‘luxury’ items”, by
Agencies
SUBJECT: Iran bans import of ‘luxury’ items

QUOTE:”75 products . . . that can no longer be purchased from abroad”

TEHRAN — An Iranian state-owned newspaper reported Thursday[8 Nov.] that the
government was banning the import of foreign-made cars, laptops, and other
‘luxury’ goods in the hope of saving billions of dollars in hard currency.

The Thursday[8 Nov.] report by IRAN daily lists 75 products, from watches
and cell phones to coffee and toilet paper, that can no longer be purchased
from abroad.

It says the ban does not apply to components used to produce the products.

Iran assembles watches, laptop and cell phones.

Iran has taken a number of measures to lessen the impact of oil and banking
sanctions imposed by the West over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The report quotes Hamid Reza Safdel, who is head of the Iranian state agency
for promoting commerce, a saying the ban went into effect Wednesday[7 Nov.].

Some goods already approved for import will still enter the country.

Another Commerce Ministry official, Sasan Khodaei, told IRAN that he
expected some products such as laptops and cell phones would soon be removed
from the list, since they were either not produced domestically at all, or
domestic production did not meet demand.

Iran imported 40,000 cars in 2011. Cell phone lines total 90 million.

The newspaper says the ban can save $4 billion annually. Critics say it will
boost smuggling from neighboring countries, which according to officials now
comprises $15 billion worth of goods annually.

On the positive side, data shows three million tourists visited the country
in 2011 contributing more than $2 billion to local economy. Western
sanctions imposed on Iran have managed to seriously damage the country’s
economy, affecting citizens as well: Entire industries have been paralyzed,
food and fuel prices are skyrocketing and the local currency is collapsing.

But tourism industry continues to thrive.. . .

+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 9 Nov.’12:”Pentagon:Iranian Fighters Fired on
U.S. Drone in Gulf”, Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: Iran fires on unarmed U.S.drone
QUOTE:”Pentagon. . .warning U.S.stood ready to protect its forces in the
region”
FULL TEXT:Two Iranian fighter jets fired on an unarmed U.S. drone in the
Gulf last week and missed, the Pentagon said Thursday[8 Nov., warning that
the United States stood ready to protect its forces in the region.

The incident occurred on November 1 -- less than a week before America's
presidential election -- but the Pentagon kept it quiet until now.

"They intercepted the aircraft and fired multiple rounds," spokesman George
Little told a news conference.

The confrontation threatened to ignite a potential conflict between the arch
foes amid a mounting crisis over Tehran's nuclear program and a shadow war
marked by cyberattacks and assassinations in Iran.

Tough new sanctions led by the United States are squeezing Iran's economy
while Washington is accused of staging cyber sabotage on Tehran's uranium
enrichment plants.

The U.S. military drone was "never in Iranian air space" and came under fire
from Su-25 fighters off the Iranian coast over international waters, Little
said.

The robotic Predator aircraft was conducting "routine surveillance" and the
United States has told Iran it has no plans to suspend the flights, he said.

"The United States has communicated to the Iranians that we will continue to
conduct surveillance flights over international waters over the Arabian Gulf
consistent with longstanding practice and our commitment to the security of
the region," he said.

In a warning to Tehran, the Pentagon spokesman said the United States was
prepared to safeguard its forces.

"We have a wide range of options, from diplomatic to military, to protect
our military assets and our forces in the region and will do so when
necessary," Little said.

The Predator returned safely to an unspecified military base in the region
following the incident that occurred at 4:50 am U.S. eastern standard time
(0850 GMT).

The MQ-1 drone, a turboprop plane that flies at a much slower speed than the
fighter jets, was pursued further by the Iranian warplanes but not fired on
again, Little added.

The Predator was intercepted about 16 nautical miles off the Iranian coast,
beyond the Islamic Republic's territorial waters that extend 12 nautical
miles off the country's shore.

At the State Department, officials unveiled yet more sanctions on Iran,
targeting the communications minister and the culture ministry among others
for censoring the media and the Internet.

The move against Communications Minister Reza Taghipour came after he was
blamed for ordering the jamming of international satellite TV broadcasts and
restricting Internet access, a State Department official said.

The United States is determined to stop the "Iranian government from
creating an 'electronic curtain' to cut Iranian citizens off from the rest
of the world," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 9 Nov,’12:”Obama views on Tehran different than
Israel”,Agence France Presse

SUBJECT: Obama views on Tehran

QUOTE: “Iranian intelligence ministry report has said Obama administration
has ‘completely different’ views on Iran than its ally Israel”

FULL TEXT:TEHRAN — An Iranian intelligence ministry report has said the
Obama administration has “completely different” views on Iran than its ally
Israel and more flexible ones than the European Union, breaking from the
usual official rhetoric.

The report, quoted by media on Thursday and posted on the ministry’s newly
launched website vaja.ir, was prepared before US President Barack Obama’s
re-election victory Tuesday over rival Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

“The Republican party has a more severe confrontational approach towards
Iran... and its proposed policies are close to those of the Zionist [Israel]
regime,” the report said.

Obama’s “Democratic party’s position is completely different” on Iran, it
added.

The analysis contradicts the rhetoric of Iranian leaders and media who daily
denounced Obama during his first term, accusing him of aligning his policies
to those of Israel in a bid to weaken the Islamic republic.

“Although Democrats have not hesitated in implementing hostile policies
against the Iranian nation and repeatedly say that ‘all options are on the
table,’ they have pinned their hope on diplomacy,” the report said.

Obama has rallied US allies against Iran, toughening sanctions, with Tehran’s
oil exports and access to world financial systems being key targets.

The United States and other world powers, including Tehran’s archenemy
Israel, accuse Iran of using its nuclear programme to mask a drive for
atomic weapons. Tehran denies that, saying it is for purely peaceful
purposes.

The report also underlined an “open confrontation” between Obama and Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran.

Although Netanyahu has exerted “immense pressure” on Obama to adopt a firmer
stance on Iran, the report said, “the policies of the Obama administration
are different from those of the Zionist regime.”

The analysis also argues that the Obama administration has a more moderate
approach on sanctions against Tehran than European countries.

“Although Americans have themselves imposed expansive sanctions against
Iran, they are still trailing the Europeans in this regard,” it said.

Iran has also signalled it may be open to hold dialogue with the “Great
Satan”, its epithet for the United States, following the re-election of
Obama
==========
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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