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The war you don’t see

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Iran has launched its own video-sharing website after the country deemed YouTube’s content inappropriate. The website aims to attract Persian-speaking users and promote Iranian culture, according its ‘About Us’ section.

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Islam forbids atomic weapons and other arms of mass destruction, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted ahead of his country’s nuclear talks with world powers in Baghdad.

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While some experts say the radioactive after-effects from a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be limited to that of a dirty bomb, less optimistic analysts note the threat of biological weapons stockpiles being ignited and warn of a humanitarian and environmental catastrophe. Both camps agree, however, that the deadliest “fallout” would be the subsequent regional war.

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The United States has reportedly offered Israel advanced weaponry in return for it committing not to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities this year. The Obama administration has offered to supply Israel with advanced bunker-busting bombs and long-range refuelling planes in return for Israel agreeing to put off a possible attack on Iran till 2013, after the US elections in November.

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A flotilla of Iranian warships crossed the Suez Canal and docked at the Syrian port of Tartus last weekend. The permission given to an entire Iranian fleet to cross the Suez last weekend signifies not only Egypt’s thinking toward Iran but also the growing complexities and unpredictability of its relations with the US.

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Last week, the Tehran Times noted that the Iranian oil bourse will start trading oil in currencies other than the US dollar from March 20. This long-planned move is part of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s vision of economic war with the west.

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India has reportedly agreed to pay Tehran in gold for the oil it buys, in a move aimed at protecting Delhi from US-sanctions targeting countries who trade with Iran. China, another buyer of Iranian oil, may follow Delhi’s lead.

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Iran is testing a domestic Internet, a “Halal” network that will restrict citizens from penetrating foreign sites. Internet users this week reported delays in their network connections, which is believed to be connected to the new network’s trial run.

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The United States has announced a new set of sanctions targeting Iran’s energy and financial sectors in an effort to apply greater pressure on Tehran to halt its suspected nuclear weapons programme.

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