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Iran News Round Up



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(Compiled with the assistance of Ali Alfoneh)

Politics

  • Debate between Iranian parliamentarians hardliner Elias Naderan and reformist Mohsen Armin demonstrates divide between supporters of Ahmadinejad and the reformist faction ahead of March 2008 parliamentary elections:
    • Armin defended the reform movement against the accusation of the hardline press that it is extremist: “What extremism is abolishment of torture? The Council of Guardians which vetoed the legislation is extremist.”
    • Naderan accused the reformist majority of the Sixth parliament of “selling out Palestine” and revealed that the Sixth parliament had “cut the armaments budget of Palestine by half due to your problems with the (Islamic Republic of Iran) Armed Forces.”
    • Armin retorted: “Your claim that we (The reformist parliamentary majority of the Khatami-era) cut Palestine’s military budget by half is not true.”
    • (This is the first time in recent years that Islamic Republic officials openly admit having armed various Palestinian groups).
  • Senior commanders of the Iran-Iraq war protest against a famous Maddah’s attacks against Tehran mayor (and former Revolutionary Guards commander) Qalibaf.
    • For background, see Dec. 24 Iran News Round Up.
  • Mohsen Rezai, former Revolutionary Guards chief and current senior advisor to the Supreme Leader: “The black box of the war must be opened one day…but a precondition to this is the willingness of the political decision makers behind the scenes to open their archives. My letters to the Imam [Khomeini] cover more than 400 pages and I have more than 60,000 tape recordings from the War Room which make the war so transparent that no doubt remains about it.”
    • In 2006 and 2007 Rezai clashed with Rafsanjani on the reasons behind the Islamic Republic’s accept of UN Security Council Resolution 598 which, in 1988, ended the Iran-Iraq war.
  • Fatemeh Rajabi, wife of the government spokesman: “Former military commanders have become a new class of political elites, and with the hungry glances they send at the presidency, in the parliament or city councils, have proven with their words and deeds that they have neither political culture, nor – as apparent in their deeds – have any sign of idealism.” Quoting a number of “evil and malignant attacks against president Ahmadinejad by former commanders,”
    • Rajabi does not mention that Ahmadinejad, too, is a former IRGC commander.
  • Hardline Ansar attacks former president Khatami’s visit to a girls school in which he was in “nauseatingly physically close to the female students.”
  • Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, candidate to the Assembly of Experts: “I do not want to dethrone Rafsanjani as chairman of the assembly.”
  • Raja angered by public appearance of former nuclear negotiator Mousavian accused and acquitted of espionage for Britain.
  • Mohammad Qouchani, editor of Shahrvand Emrooz: “Student activism is not a sign of political development, but a sign of political underdevelopment.”
  • Ahmadinejad cancels his visit to Tarbiat-e Moddares (Pedagogical University) of Tehran.
  • Blaming Iranian opposition for political computer virus.

Religion, Culture, and Society

  • Former president Khatami: “Those who misunderstand religion turn away from it.”
  • Agahsazi quotes the Supreme Leader on “Cultural Engineering.”
  • Alef reports that every week, 600-700 “Sufi sects convene in Tehran”, adds “200,000 to 300,000 youths attend the meetings of such unauthorized gatherings.”
  • In the presence of Ayatollah Sobhani, non-Iranian theological students are turbaned in an official ceremony.

Diplomacy

  • Fahd al-Ahmed, brother of the Emir of Kuwait: “We must prepare for war against the Nazis of today, the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
  • Background article on the politicization of the Shi’a’s of Bahrain claims “The era of peace seems over.”
    • Claims that Iraqi Sunni Arab refugees in Bahrain, perhaps members of Fedayeen al-Saddam, used to suppress Bahraini Shi‘a in recent riots.
  • Iraqi president Jalal Talabani: “The 1975 Algiers Accord [which delineates the border between Iran and Iraq] is cancelled.”
  • Larijani meets Omar Suleiman, head of Egyptian intelligence, to discuss normalization of Iran-Egypt relations.
  • Raja claims Ahmadinajed’s pilgrimage to Mecca has “Neutralized all the conspiracies against Iran… strengthened unity among Muslims”
  • Germany opposes further sanctions.
  • Iran-Libya sign several cooperative agreements.

Economy and Trade

Military and Security

Human Rights and Labor

Photo of the Day

  • Bam citadel, four years after the earthquake.


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