(A 2,700-year-old silver drinking cup, looted from a cave in Iran and seized by U.S. Customs officials a decade ago, was returned to Iran this week. Its value is estimated at a million dollars or more)US returns to Iran ancient Persian artifact seized at a US airport from an Arab antique dealer in 2003 (TAZ/OTHER) The United States has returned to Iran an ancient Persian artifact known as the Griffin.Iran’s vice president Mohammad-Ali Najafi unveiled the artifact in Tehran’s Mehrabad airport after returning from a trip to the United States, the Fars News Agency reported.Najafi, who is also the head of the cultural heritage and tourism organization, said the US State Department returned the artifact as a sign of good faith in a bid to improve cultural relations between Tehran and Washington. Najafi said American authorities told him the ancient artifact was seized at a US airport from an Arab antique dealer in 2003. The griffin is a legendary creature with the body, tail and back legs of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. The US officials believe the relic dates back to 700 years before Christ when the Achaemenid Empire ruled Persia.
US returns to Iran ancient Persian artifact seized at a US airport from an Arab antique dealer in 2003.September 28, 2013
Iran has had a shortage of a critical component for its nuclear weapons for a long time: Uranium. Now, Iran is on the verge of signing a natural resources agreement with Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe that would give it preferential access to Zimbabwe’s 455,000 tons of uranium over the next five years. Given that Iran currently has access to mostly depleted uranium from South Africa from the 1970’s, that’s a huge deal.
Ilan Berman argues that it’s also a deal that has been largely ignored by western sanctions. It’s time to change that.
Over the past three years, Western chancelleries have marshaled considerable diplomatic efforts to dissuade potential uranium suppliers such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Brazil from providing Tehran the raw material needed for its nuclear program. For all of their concern, however, Washington policy makers have not yet given serious thought to penalizing countries for their uranium sales to Iran, or crafted a legislative framework that makes it possible to do so.
They should. By identifying and then punishing Tehran’s current suppliers of uranium ore, the U.S. and its allies can slow its acquisition of the raw material necessary to realize its nuclear ambitions-and send a clear signal to potential future sources of uranium for Iran’s atomic effort, like Zimbabwe, that their involvement with the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program will come at a steep economic and political cost.
In its ongoing bid to derail Iran’s nuclear drive, Capitol Hill is now said to be contemplating new sanctions aimed at further tightening the international noose around Tehran. Iran’s flirtation with Zimbabwe strongly suggests that lawmakers would do well to focus less on trying to stop Iran’s centrifuges from spinning and more on making sure that Iran’s nuclear machinery is running on empty.
US and Israeli intelligence agencies have tracked the WMD consignments from eastern Libya as far as Sudan in convoys secured by Iranian agents and Hizballah and Hamas guards. They are not believed to have reached their destinations in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, apparently waiting for an opportunity to get their deadly freights through without the US or Israel attacking and destroying them. Word of the capture touched off a scramble in Tehran and among the terrorist groups it sponsors to get hold of their first unconventional weapons. According to our sources, the rebels offloaded at least 2,000 artillery shells carrying mustard gas and 1,200 nerve gas shells for cash payment amounting to several million dollars. It is also not clear whether the shells and gases were assembled upon delivery or were travelling in separate containers. Our sources report that some of the poison gas may be intended not only for artillery use but also for drones which Hizballah recently acquired from Iran.