FROM Najmeh Bozorgmehr
Iran's Supreme Leader Just Says 'No' The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a huge crowd that President Ahmadinejad was re-elected by a landslide. He denied that last Fridays voting was rigged. He told protesters to stay off the streets and warned that future violence would be blamed on their leaders. The opposition has scheduled a rally tomorrow. Will they back down? Will there be violent repression? Whats the impact on Middle East neighbors? And whats the status of President Obamas hope for engagement with the Islamic Republic? We look at these and other issues today.
Iranian Missile Tests and Russian Threats Iran today test-fired nine ballistic missiles, including a new version of the Shahab-3, which Iran says has the capacity to strike Tel Aviv. The tests were shown on government-run TV and a commander of the Revolutionary Guard said they were designed to "tell the world...that our finger is always on the trigger." We get perspective from Iran, Israel, Russia and the US.
New Intelligence on Iran's Nuclear Program US intelligence agencies now believe that Iran stopped trying to build nuclear weapons four years ago. The "military option" appears to be off the table. President Bush's effort to increase sanctions against Iran is still going strong, but the latest intelligence estimate may undermine that, too. In Iran today, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the latest US Intelligence Estimate a "victory" for his claim that Iran is not building nuclear weapons. He did not mention the finding that there was such a program up until 2003. Mohamed elBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran is " somewhat vindicated " but that there still are "lingering concerns." Have 16 intelligence agencies declared their independence from political influence? Has the President turned his back on the neo-cons who wanted to follow the war in Iraq with attacks on Iran?
Getting answers on phone taps, Russia and leaking The Directors of the FBI and the NSA testified on Capitol Hill today there's no evidence for President Trump's claim he was wire-tapped by former President Obama. We'll hear about that and the investigation into Russian tampering with last year's presidential campaign.
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."
The airline electronics ban and what it means President Trump's Department of Homeland Security has banned all electronic devices larger than cell phones on some foreign airlines flying direct to the US. It's causing confusion as well as inconvenience. Is the motive really just increased security?