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By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Ali Larijani
The debate over whether Congress approves the Obama administration's plan to strike Syria for its use of chemical weapons is being watched nowhere more closely than in Iran, where the notoriously opaque political leaders are wrestling over whether — and how — to retaliate.
Iran's newly elected reformist-backed president said Sunday that the country's dire economic problems cannot be solved "overnight," as he took his first steps in consulting with members of the clerically dominated establishment on his new policies.
Iran's supreme leader is supposed to be many things in the eyes of his followers: spiritual mentor, protector of the Islamic revolution, a moral compass above the regular fray. Political referee is not among them. Yet that is the unfamiliar role Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has adopted as the political mudslinging gets heavier ahead of elections in June to pick a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
A bomb blast in a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus killed four people and seriously wounded a member of a faction that has backed Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country's bitter civil war, activists said Friday.
Iran lashed out Friday at Turkey for requesting NATO to supply it with Patriot surface-to-air missiles to deploy along the border with Syria, denouncing the step by Ankara as counterproductive.
The courtship of Hamas between rivals Iran and Qatar has been one of the Middle East's intriguing subplots of the Arab Spring. The bloodshed in Gaza has now sharpened their competition for influence with the Palestinian militant group and the direction it takes in the future.
Iranian officials on Wednesday acknowledged providing military assistance, including missile technology, to the Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
Iran has supplied Hamas in Gaza with the technology to "quickly" produce longer-range missiles on their own without needing direct shipments, said a report Wednesday that quoted the head of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard.
It was a VIP audience for what was likely the last performance of the venerable Tehran Symphony Orchestra. Watching from the front row in late August was Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in what was seen as an endorsement from the ruling theocracy, which once tried to stamp out all music as a violation of Islamic values.
Iranian authorities used aggressive measures Wednesday in an attempt to halt the nosedive of the country's currency, making arrests, vowing to stamp out sidewalk money changers and warning merchants against fueling the mounting public anger over the economy.
Iran's foreign minister on Monday offered to look into charges that agents of his government were involved in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington — if the U.S. provides enough information.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday that the United States and other Western nations are seeking to portray the Islamic Republic as "unsuccessful and doomed" because it has served as the "main model" for uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere in the region.
Iranian police arrested 40 people following the devastating bombings of a mosque in the country's southeast as funerals were under way for the victims, local media reported on Saturday.
A senior Iranian official said Thursday that new U.N. sanctions do not ban Russia from delivering sophisticated air-defense missiles to Iran as agreed under a 2007 contract, countering the Russian stance.
"If Syria is attacked militarily, the same trend will be repeated in the country," speaker Ali Larijani told an audience at a conference in the northern Iranian city of Noshahr on Tuesday, according to the nation's Fars News Agency.
"The internal crisis in Syria cannot be solved through the deployment of such weapons," Larijani, who is close to the Islamic Republic's supreme leader, said at a news conference in Beirut where he went after leaving Syria.