EU-Iran Hold Talks on Nuclear Program
Earlier this week EU Foreign Affairs Representative Catherine Ashton held talks with Iran’s Chief Nuclear Negotiator,Saeed Jalili, in Istanbul. The EU said the dialogue was “useful and constructive,” while Mr. Jalili said they discussed “common points.” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the meeting was intended to gauge whether Iran was “prepared to bring anything new [to the table].” Jalili and Ashton agreed to renew contact after Ashton meets with the U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain, six powers seeking to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Reza Taghipour, announced that the National Information Network will be launched in all government offices starting next week. However, it will not be available for the general public at this phase. The Obama Administration and Internet freedom experts have expressed concern that the launch of the Iranian network could set a precedent for repressive governments across the globe. David Baer, deputy assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor said, “when countries section off parts of the Web, not only do their citizens suffer, everyone does.”
In other news, Mohammad Nazari, a Kurdish political prisoner who has been imprisoned for 19 years for his membership in the Kurdistan Democratic Party, embarked on a hunger strike August 28 in protest of the judicial authorities’ disregard for his release requests. Jailed Iranian activist and member of Iran’s Freedom Movement Party Mohammad Tavasoli refused to mount a defense in court on September 17, saying “With my years of service and experience in guarding the fundamentals and ideals of the revolution as well as national interests, I do not feel I should mount a defense in a case that has no legal justification and whose outcome has already been determined.” Tavasoli was arrested November 2011 in association with a letter that 143 political activists wrote to former president Mohammad Khatami criticizing the elections.