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Iran News Round Up



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(Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his assistance in compiling)

Politics

  • Ali-Akbar Mohtashamipour demands dissolution of the Council of Guardians and transfer of its guardianship to the Office of the Supreme Leader.
  • Esmat Barouti appointed vice minister of health as the only woman in Ahmadinejad’s government. Mrs. Barouti is the wife of Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of Kayhan, mouthpiece of the Supreme Leader.
  • Rafsanjani: “We think of the interests of the regime, while this government is looking for propaganda victories.”
  • Mohsen Armin of the Islamic Mojahedin Front: “Commander Afshar, vice minister of interior, should change his military rhetoric into a political dialogue more suitable to his present post, rather than his military past…Where in the world do you see former generals supervising elections?…This kind of behavior damages the legitimacy of the regime.”
  • Elham demands a public trial of former nuclear negotiator, Mousavian, who was acquitted from espionage charges.
  • The famous maddah [singer of praise to the Shi'ite imams], Hajj Mansour Arzi, attacks members of the parliament and Tehran mayor Qalibaf: “The lust for power makes people do everything to get hold of power,” referring to A’lami, a parliamentarian from Tabriz, who says he has the right to criticize the government, even if it would be led by Imam Hussein; and student activist Mo’meni who has criticized the Shi’ite clergy abusing religion as a political tool. Arzi continued: “We must not be fooled by the educational background of the candidates, and must filter the candidates in order to preserve the parliament as a pious assembly.” Threatening Qalibaf, Arzi said: “He thinks we are ignorant of the things which is being done in the city.”
    • See Dec. 8 Iran News Round Up for more background.
    • Qalibaf: “The Supreme Leader has decided to the name this year of national unity,’ therefore I see no reason to engage in such discussions.”

Economy and Trade

  • Friday prayer leader of Mashhad, Ayatollah Ahmad Alam Al-Hoda: “Inflation is due to ignorance of the universities of theoretical Islamic foundations.”
  • Gholam-Hossein Elham, spokesman of the government defending the economic policies of the Ahmadinejad government: “Had we followed the same economic policies as the previous governments, inflation would have reached 100 percent.”
    • He continued: “We welcome the views of the experts, but we do not want to be bitten from the same hole [reference to the war economics of 1980-1988 which led to high inflation] and will abstain from experiments which would lead to 50 percent inflation.”
  • Swiss oil company VITOLI, the largest exporter of refined gasoline to Iran, to cancel its deliveries because of U.S. pressure. More here.
  • Hardline Ansar demands an apology from Rafsanjani for the economic stabilization policies of the former president.
  • Internet service for Iranian mobile phones to be introduced next month.
  • Iraqi oil delegation due in Tehran on December 28.

Nuclear Issue

Diplomacy

  • Ahmadinejad accepts the credentials of Chinese ambassador to Tehran: “The unipolar world order is collapsing…Expansion of Iran-China relations enhance world peace.”
  • The Islamic Republic pays $115,000 to Denmark because of the attacks against the Royal Danish Embassy in Tehran in February 2006 in the wake of the so called “Cartoon Crisis.”
  • Iranian FM: U.S. overtures not genuine.
    • Congressman Gilchrest (R-Md.) promises next administration will hold talks with Iran.
  • Iranian outreach to Zimbabwe.

Religion, Politics, and Society

  • Friday Prayers planned to be led by religious reformer Mohsen Kadivar cancelled, and the prayers dispersed by security agents at Hosseiniyeh-ye Ershad in Tehran.
  • Tabnak, close to former IRGC chief Mohsen Rezai, criticizes a Leicester mosque whose blind care-keeper keeps a guide dog: “Dogs are prohibited from entering restaurants in London, but by taking advantage of the disability of the care taker of the Leicester mosque the British have managed to attack the Muslim faith by having an unclean animal entering the holy place of worship of Muslims.”
  • 31 percent of Afghan opium finds its way to the Iranian market. In English.
  • Elham, government spokesman, answering a question on the publication of the British author Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses in Romanian, the spokesman of the Islamic Republic government said: “Those who publish this kind of literature will experience the same scandal as the author.”
  • Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi communicates to the supporters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei though a story told by the head of his office, Mr. Jalali: “Ayatollah Mesbah throwing himself at the feet of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei the other day is neither incompatible with the principle of monotheism, nor with the superiority of the Imam of the Age to all living beings. In fact, one should doubt the religious faith of people who do not demonstrate their devotion to the link between the Imam of the Age and the community of believers, the Supreme Leader.”

Human Rights and Labor

  • Thirty family members of political prisoners spend their night of Yalda, the longest and darkest night of the year near the Evin prison in Northern Tehran.
  • Student Association of the Azad University of Iran protests against arrest of 40 student activists by the Islamic Republic, demands their freedom.
  • The court sentences Mohammad Javad-Rouh to 35 lashes and one million rials for blasphemy.
  • Family members of political and ethnic activists in Zanjan: “The so-called reformist parties have shown their true nature… No one supports our arrested family members who claim their civil rights.”
  • Advar reports of worrying news of the “health” of arrested student activists Said Habibi, Behrouz Karimi-Zadeh, Mehdi Graylou and Peyman Piran.
    • Revolutionary Court denies responsibility for the arrest of student activist Said Habibi, who is believed to be held in the prison of the Revolutionary Guards.
  • Imprisoned labor activist, Mahmoud Salehi’s health reported to be very poor.

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