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Iran News Round Up



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 (Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his assistance compiling)

Politics: March 2008 Parliamentary Elections

  • 42 persons have registered for Assembly of Experts; 1660 registered for parliamentary elections, of whom 79 are women.
  • Rafsanjani urges  participation in parliamentary elections in order to create “a national myth, and a festival of joy.”
  • “National/Religious” political activists say they will boycott the parliamentary elections.
  • TV and radio anchors from the state-controlled media refute speculation about their candidacy for March 2008 parliamentary election. “Please don’t make trouble for me, I have trouble enough in my job,” says Farzad Hassani, the TV anchor from IRIB TV3.

Politics: General

  • Opposition figures such as Nourizadeh Dr. Sazegara ridicule the strange behavior of Iranian parliamentarians as Majid Jamshidian, head of the Public Relations Department of the parliament claims Aftab’s reports were lies. Aftab responds by suggesting Jamshidian see TV footage of the incident.  
    • For background, see Iran News Round Up, Jan. 9.
  • Supreme Leader: “The voters should ask why the United States has chosen to support some groupings from among our midst…U.S. support to anyone is a disgrace and something to be ashamed of. One should ask what is wrong with these people since the most corrupt of the corrupt desires to support them.” Responding indirectly to Iran Freedom Movement’s demand of foreign supervision of the parliamentary elections in Iran, the Supreme Leader says: “This is the greatest humiliation of all.”
    • Ali Shakouri-Rad, reformist member of (the sixth) parliament: “U.S. support to anyone is a source of shame… I don’t know which political grouping in Iran has been approved by the U.S.”
    • Foreign Ministry pursues same theme (in English).
  • In response to a wave of criticism against him because he met former president Khatami, Mehdi Arabpour, Friday prayer leader of Kerman and a Supreme leader-appointee, says he had been forced to meet Khatami.

Diplomacy

Economy and Trade

  • Interior Minister says people should reduce natural gas consumption by 10 percent, and orders more police in to the streets.
    • He says: “Our handling of extreme weather is much better what we have seen in the U.S. and Western Europe.”
    • Parliamentarian Fakhr al-Din Heydari protests the severe natural gas shortage in the extreme cold of Iranian Kurdistan.  
    • Former parliamentarian Ali-Asghar Rahmani Khalili: “Mazandaran Province is sinking into a deep crisis” because of natural gas shortage and continues: “Those governmental authorities who constantly claim in the media that the gas shortage of Mazandaran has been solved lie…Last night, I saw with my own eyes that people were standing in long cues in front of bread stores in freezing cold, hoping they could take a piece of bread home.”
    • Total lack of natural gas in Khalkhal.
    • Three die of cold in Qazvin.
  • General Director of Islamic Republic of Iran National Bank, Tahmasb Mazaheri: ”Inflation was up to 17.2 percent last month.”
  • Tabnak says its report on shortage of detergent has led to distribution of detergent in the market.
    • For background, see Iran News Round Up, Jan. 9.
  • Italian petroleum company Edison signs a €30 million contract for exploration of Deyr oil field.

Military

  • Britain never pursued return of boats confiscated by Iran.
  • Tabnak, close to former Revolutionary Guard chief Rezai, says Pentagon film of Hormuz incident produced by the U.S. to instigate “Iranophobia” among the Arab regimes of the Persian Gulf. Tabnak’s analysis is in line with an anonymous Revolutionary Guards commander who calls the film a “false.”

Culture, Religion, and Society

  • Passengers chant death to different airlines at the Imam Khomeini International Airport after weather-related delays and lack of service.
  • Sobh-e Sadeq claims the physicist Albert Einstein (story 3) had an active correspondence with Grand Ayatollah Boroujerdi, and that his theory on relativity is inspired by the Quran and hadith
  • Sobh-e Sadeq criticizes the Ahmadinejad government for distancing itself from hard measures against “insufficiently dressed women.” 
  • IRNA reports Shi‘a religious mourning rituals in Beijing.
  • Bodies of five killed during the Iran-Iraq war found buried at the Shahid Beheshti University.

Public Health

  • Tabnak reports that there are 16,679 HIV patients in Iran, of which 269 have developed AIDS.

Human Rights and Labor

  • Judicial authorities order execution of two men convicted of rape of young men by “throwing them into a river from heights.”
  • Imprisoned Baker’s Union leader Mahmoud Salehi hospitalized for more tests.

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