Captain Renault

Amid Cautious Optimism for P5+1 Talks, Iranian, Israeli Spies Arrested in Azerbaijan

As we approach the re-start of the P5+1 international talks on Iran’s nuclear technology this weekend, there are multiple signals that Iran may be planning to make a major move aimed at reducing tensions. As CNN pointed out yesterday, Iran suggested last weekend that it may halt its enrichment of uranium to the 20% level and return to only enriching to 3.5%:

“Based on our needs and once the required fuel is obtained, we will decrease the production and we may even totally shift it to the 3.5%,” Iranian nuclear chief Fereydoun Abbasi said in a televised interview, according to state-run Press TV.

Iran does not plan to produce 20% enriched uranium for long, Abbasi said, according to Press TV.

Uranium enriched at 20% is typically used for hospital isotopes and research reactors, but is also seen as a shortcut toward the 90% enrichment required to build nuclear weapons. Nuclear experts say Iran’s supply is far greater than it would need for peaceful purposes.

Iran says there is a medical purpose to its nuclear program.

Further signaling that a big move is in the works, we have this today on PressTV:

“Iran’s representatives will participate in the negotiations with new initiatives and we hope that the P5+1 countries will also enter talks with constructive approaches,” Jalili told reporters in Tehran on Wednesday, IRNA reported.

“The language of threat and pressure against the Iranian nation has never yielded results but will lead to more seriousness in the attitude of the Iranian nation,” he added.

He emphasized, “We are ready to hold progressive and successful talks on cooperation.”

At the same time that we are seeing hints of progress on the diplomatic front, it appears that a number of Iranian and Israeli spies have been taken out of action from their operations bases in Azerbaijan.

Back in the middle of March, Azerbaijan announced they had arrested 22 spies working for Iran:

The authorities in Azerbaijan have arrested 22 people on suspicion of spying for Iran, accusing them of links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The undated arrests were confirmed in a brief statement by the Azerbaijani national security ministry.

/snip/

“Firearms, cartridges, explosives and espionage equipment were found during the arrest,” the Azerbaijani national security ministry said.

The 22 detainees are said to have received orders from the Revolutionary Guards to “commit terrorist acts against the US, Israeli and other Western states’ embassies and the embassies’ employees”.

Yesterday, Iran announced the arrests of a number of Israeli agents, some of whom are presumed to have been in Azerbaijan and some of whom were in Iran. From Mehr News: Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @JeffLandale You could just make them write online more. Enforced tweeting ought to cure them of that space profligacy.
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bmaz @NewEnglandDevil I'd never!
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bmaz You mean like Dan Balz?? https://t.co/CnnAUgbjvG
13mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz .@NewEnglandDevil You have not seen Donald Trump's dick pics?? That is simply because they are too small.
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bmaz USA Fuck You Americans Act. But, hey, I am sure I am far too intemperate for these kind of suggestions. https://t.co/ddGpWqAYQA
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emptywheel @JeffLandale Old people who write primarily on dead trees do, for readability. But they're dying out quickly.
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emptywheel BTW: I loathe ref to USAF as "Freedom Act" more than its other ridiculous names. Gonna have to come up w/new nickname.
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emptywheel @dametzger I think they're beyond embarrassment, which is why they should be mocked out of existence.
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JimWhiteGNV I assume that even though an Iran deal appears imminent, McCain and Lieberman will call for bombing Iran as deadline passes.
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bmaz And don't let the "aw shucks" persona fool you oh so brilliant DC Politico types, Favre seems genuinely far more intelligent than Trump.
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bmaz I mean, sure, Favre waffled on retirement+sent a dick pic, but he didn't raid+plunder US Bankruptcy system for his survival and "success"
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emptywheel @dametzger Yes, but it's not clear what that will accomplish. A lot depends on Verizon.
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