World News Brief, Friday February 12

Iran claims to have become 'nuclear state' (+ analysis); EU steps in to save Greek debt; Blackwater kicked out of Iraq; Australian employment better than expected; and more

Top of the Agenda: Iranian Regime Anniversary Clashes

Iranian anti-regime demonstrators clashed (NYT) with government forces on the thirty-first anniversary of the Islamic Republic in Tehran, as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced significant progress in the country's nuclear program. Ahmadinejad told the crowd Iran had produced its first batch of uranium enriched to 20 percent and that it was now a "nuclear state." He denied Iran was seeking nuclear weapons. Opposition websites reported crackdowns on anti-government protesters, including gunfire, tear gas, and attacks on opposition leaders.

A son of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi told Radio Farda (WSJ) his father had been attacked by Basij forces. Authorities also arrested the brother of opposition leader and former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and the brother's wife. Some reports suggest both were released. Tehran residents reported Internet and cell-phone texting disruption late Wednesday.

Iran is experiencing equipment failures and other technical problems (WashPost) in enriching uranium, which could undermine its plans to escalate its nuclear program.


Iranian protesters have made little progress in eight months of protests and must choose between their traditionally moderate approach and overturning the clerical government, the Washington Post reports.

In the New York Times, Reuel Marc Gerecht says a democratic revolution in Tehran may be brewing.

In the Jerusalem Post, Michael Danby says China's greed for oil is compromising the only system that can discipline rogue countries.

In Der Spiegel, Ulrike Putz says any new sanctions against Tehran are likely to be as ineffective as existing ones.


This CFR Backgrounder examines Iran's nuclear program.


PACIFIC RIM: EU-US Stance on Chinese Dissident

The United States and European Union renewed calls (Guardian) to release Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, as a Chinese court upheld his eleven-year-sentence.

Australia: Australia's employment grew beyond expectations (WSJ) in January, increasing pressure on Australia's central bank to raise interest rates again.



EU Announces Greek Rescue Plan
Iraq Expels Blackwater Employees
Bernanke Details "Exit Strategy"


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on