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Inside Iran’s Secret War For Iraq

ImageA TIME investigation reveals the Tehran regime’s strategy to gain influence in Iraq–and why U.S. troops may now face greater dangers as a result

By MICHAEL WARE / BAGHDAD

The U.S. military’s new nemesis in Iraq is named Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani, and he is not a Baathist or a member of al-Qaeda. He is working for Iran. According to a U.S. military-intelligence document obtained by Time, al-Sheibani heads a network of insurgents created by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps with the express purpose of committing violence against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. Over the past eight months, his group has introduced a new breed of roadside bomb more lethal than any seen before; based on a design from the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia Hizballah, the weapon employs "shaped" explosive charges that can punch through a battle tank’s armor like a fist through the wall. According to the document, the U.S. believes al-Sheibani’s team consists of 280 members, divided into 17 bombmaking teams and death squads. The U.S. believes they train in Lebanon, in Baghdad’s predominantly Shi’ite Sadr City district and "in another country" and have detonated at least 37 bombs against U.S. forces this year in Baghdad alone.

Iran’s new sex-segregated park gets underway

ImageTehran, Iran, Aug. 21 – A new sex-segregated park is under development in the city of Mashad, north-eastern Iran, according to the head of the National Women’s Council.

The new 110-hectare park will be used exclusively by women, Sedigheh Ghannadi told a state-run news agency, adding that men would not be able to see inside the park in any way, including from overflying aircraft.

Iran’s new Justice Minister vows harsher crackdown on women

ImageTehran, Iran, Aug. 20 – The man designated by Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as his Minister of Justice vowed on Saturday that “improperly-veiled women” will be treated as if they had no Islamic veil at all.

Jamal Karimi-Rad told the local press, “Being improperly veiled and not wearing a veil are no different. When it is clear from the appearance of a woman that she has violated the law, then the crime is obvious and law enforcement agents can take legal measures against her”.

Two out of 3 teens in Iran suffer from depression – report

ImageTehran, Iran, Aug. 17 – A scientific study conducted by two independent experts found that 71 percent of teenagers in Iran suffer from depression, a Tehran-based news agency reported.

Mahdieh Emami and Mona Mir-Mohammad Jaafari noted that teenage girls in Iran were twice as likely as boys to suffer from depression, the news agency SINA reported. They warned that the sharp rise in the incidence of moderate to severe depression among girls would soon develop into a social crisis.

Women not permitted in cabinet of Iran’s new president

ImageTehran, Iran, Aug. 07 – Women will not be included in the cabinet of Iran’s new hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a leading ultra-conservative figure said on Sunday.
Hamid-Reza Taraghi, a central committee member of the Motalefeh Party, told a state-run news agency, “The circumstances for women to be ministers in the cabinet do not exist, but probably they can become deputies.

British government protests at Iran claims over London bombings

ImageLONDON – Britain protested furiously on Tuesday to Iran over comments by a leading Iranian politician that the London bombings might have been deliberately carried out by the British government.

One possible reason for the July 7 attacks, in which at least 56 people died, "is that the British government itself created this situation", Ahmad Janati, a cleric who chairs the powerful Guardians Council, said Friday in a nationally broadcast sermon.

Iran to amputate prisoner’s arm and leg for theft

ImageTehran, Apr. 13 – A young man in Iran is to have his right hand and left leg amputated today for theft, a state-run daily reported.

The young man identified only as Mohammad B. is currently being held in Karoon prison in the south-western town of Ahwaz.