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Iran News Round Up



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(Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his assistance in compiling)

Politics: Parliamentary Elections (March 2008)

  • Association of Reformist Women meets with Grand Ayatollah Mohammad-Hossein Montazeri, who criticizes filtering of candidates for the upcoming March 2008 parliamentary elections.
    • Donya-ye Eqtesad invites parliamentary candidates to a crash course in economics prior to the March 2008 parliamentary elections.
    • Parliamentary elections in Tehran to be computerized. The Iran Freedom Movement, the only tolerated opposition group In Iran, demands international monitoring of the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Politics: General

  • Former president Mohammad Khatami cancels planned trip to the Khuzestan province.
  • Rafsanjani: “The clergy has proven that Islam at all times is able of administering a state… Abstention of the clergy from political intervention is inexplicable.”
  • The Islamic Republic’s Minister of Interior supports the idea of moving the capital of Iran from Tehran to some other location.
    • [This debate arises periodically, especially after earthquakes -ed.]
  • Sobh-e Sadeq, the Revolutionary Guards’ weekly, publishes an editorial which depicts critics of the Council of Guardians as “counterrevolutionaries.”
  • Sobh-e Sadeq defends the participation of the armed forces in politics.
  • E’temad publishes a lengthy interview with Said Hajjarian, the main theoretician behind former president Mohammad Khatami’s program for political reform platform. Hajjarian criticizes the Council of Guardians and says: “If they want a supervisory organ like the Council of Guardians and Islamic Government, why do they add the element of republicanism to the system? They should call it an Emirate.”
  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei begins five-day trip to Yazd Province.
  • Representative of the Supreme Leader in the Revolutionary Guards attacks the record of Khatami’s governments.
  • Ja’far Shajouni, member of the Central Committee of Mo’etalefeh: “The reformists are irreligious and mortad [those who have turned away from the religion of Islam and are punishable by death].”
  • Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Montazeri: “Supervisory function of the Council of Guardians means that six people are more knowledgeable than millions…”

Economy and Trade

Diplomacy

  • Iranian academic Yadollah Jowdani speaking to university students: “The United States has no other choice but accepting and recognizing a nuclear Iran… The world is experiencing an ideological vacuum, which is being filled by Islam. In Africa and Latin America entire tribes are converting to Islam…”
  • Ala al-Din Broudjerdi, chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, the Iranian parliament: “Time is not ripe to demand war reparations from Iraq… Presence of the Americans creates an abnormal political atmosphere in Iraq which even prohibited us from presenting our case regarding the crimes of [former Iraqi president] Saddam Hussein in the Iran/Iraq war in the court case against him.” Committee Secretary Kazem Jalali, though, stressed the necessity of demanding war reparations from Iraq.
  • Jahan informs of a Saudi “anti-Iranian mafia in Iraq led by Prince Faisal Ben Abdol-Majid.”
  • Qatar exceeds her share of natural gas and oil extraction from the South Pars Gas Field, shared with Iran.
  • Raja welcomes appointment of Islamist elements to official positions in Turkey.
  • Iranian academic Javad Hagh-Shenas: “Contradictory messages with regard to the Caspian Sea weakens our position on the legal status of the Caspian.”
  • Larijani sees strengthened Egypt-Iran relations as way of reducing U.S. influence.
  • Expansion of ties between Iran, Comoros.
    • Iran offers technical assistance to Africa.

Nuclear Issue

Society, Culture, and Religion

  • “Zionist spies” luring Iranian Jews to Israel.
  • Iranian classical singer Ali-Reza Eftekhari emigrates to France.
  • The Israeli-produced documentary Bahais in My Backyard sparks a new wave of attacks against the Baha’is in Iran. Abdollah Shahbazi, the Islamic Republic’s official historian, demands more research “to expose this dreadful and false religion.”
  • Famous religious orator Hojjat al-Eslam Panahian: “Moral decay and corruption of the youth is due to the immoral programs of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.”
  • Commander of the Basij Resistance Force of Khomein: “The wave of Islamism is sweeping through the West, especially among the youth.”
  • Raja attacks Lebanese Shi’ite leader Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Hosseini for being “An American Ayatollah.”
  • Commander Ashtari, head of the Security Police of the Islamic Republic of Iran Law Enforcement Forces, contradicts the spokesman of the government Gholam-Hossein Elham, who says that the operations of the police are outside the realm of government influence.
    • Ashtari says: “The social security project of the Law Enforcement Forces [imposing stricter control on the clothing of women] originates from the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution and the Presidency, and was not the initiative of the Law Enforcement Forces.”
    • “If necessary, we will publish the documents to prove our point.”
    • Fatemeh Rajabi, wife of government spokesman, writes in her blog, that: “No Muslim can disagree with the societal security scheme of the government.”
  • Tabnak describes the “relative success of the national veil design among Iranian women.”
  • Kuwaiti newspaper as-Siyasah claims Iran exports AIDS virus to Iraq.
  • Commander Mohammad Kowsari explains the philosophy behind establishment of the Basij Resistance Force and the founder of the Islamic Republic, Khomeini’s concept of “A 20 million man army.”
  • Clerical members of the Basij Resistance Force convene in Zabol province.

Terrorism

  • Kazem Darabi, whom Germany had imprisoned for 15 years for murder of Iranian opposition figures but just released, claims his imprisonment was politically motivated and that he has never belonged to the Islamic Republic intelligence community. Instead, he says he was a victim of the conspiracies of the “Zionist lobby and enemies of the Islamic Republic Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr, Abol-Qasem Mesbahi and Manouchehr Ganji.” See also a pictorial account of Darabi’s speech at the ‘Elmiyeh Theological School in Qom.
  • Iran to take Argentina to the International Court of Justice over Buenos Aires’ accusations of Iranian complicity in terrorism.

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