Nearly a week after sacking the regime’s foreign minister, the mullahs’ President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has dismissed another member of his cabinet, this time one of his most important deputies.

State-run media reported late Sunday that Mehrdad Bazrpash has been removed from his post as the vice president. He was also in charge of youth affairs and the head of the Saipa auto manufacturing company.

Iraq’s Interior Ministry has published a report finding that about 70 percent of terrorist attacks in Iraq over the past year have been carried out using so-called sticky bombs, Aljazeera TV reported on Friday.

The US considers the Iranian regime as a real threat for regional peace and is “very ready” to counter it, the top US military officer said Saturday.

The Associated Press reported that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, said, “The United States takes very seriously our security commitments in the Gulf region.”

The US intends to implement a new round of sanctions against the Iranian regime, including the designation of more regime officials for human rights violations, according to Asia Times on Saturday.

Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois who recently filled President Obama's old seat in the Senate, was quoted as saying that the administration should “make human rights a central tenet of future negotiations with Iran,” according to the website.

On Saturday evening, December 18, Ahmadinejad announced that the anti-popular law of abolishing the subsidies will take effect the following day. According to this scheme, whose outcome is but deepening poverty of the people, the price of gasoline will suddenly soar from 100 to 400 Tomans ($1= 1,000 Tomans) per liter. Concurrently, gasoline ration is also cut by 10% forcing consumers to buy gasoline at the free market price of 700 Tomans per liter. This leap in prices includes drinking water, flour and bread which are the most important and sensitive fundamental needs of the people.

Iraqi government officials and security forces continue to remain silent after the discovery of an Iranian regime truck bomb in Basra, al-Hurra TV reported this week.

The truck bomb was found by local police forces at an international exhibition parking lot in Basra earlier this week.

A number of provincial council members in Nineveh have protested against a visit by the Iranian regime’s ambassador, Hassan Danaifar, to the provincial capital Mosul, saying that the council was not informed about the visit ahead of time.

Al-Sharqiya TV channel reported on Wednesday that the council members emphasized that the popular sentiments in the province should be respected. The people, they said, reject economic cooperation with the Iranian regime and will boycott products imported from Iran.

The US will “continue to pursue international support for steps that could prevent Iran’s nuclear program from producing a nuclear weapon,” Senator Richard Lugar said on Thursday during a formal debate on the Senate floor about the START Treaty (New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).

By DAVID CRAWFORD
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL - The U.S. and representatives of the European Union have agreed to impose joint sanctions against Iran in January and are considering breaking off talks with the country, as patience with Tehran's nuclear activities wears thin, according to people familiar with the matter.

Western officials are discussing making further talks with Iran contingent on Tehran's progress toward compliance with existing United Nations Security Council resolutions, which call on Iran to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog.

Negotiations with the Iranian regime over its nuclear program are unproductive, the head of an international non-proliferation body said last week, according to the Russian daily Moskovskiy Komsomolets and the Iranian state-run ISNA news agency.

The Supervisory Council of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe held a meeting in Moscow on December 8.