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Iran News Round Up



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Diplomacy

  • Ahmadinejad, in a live television interview, says:  “During my most recent trip to the U.N., we started a theoretical debate, and parallel with this, we aimed to establish relations with the people of America…15 anti-war groups in the U.S. are of the opinion that the doings of the U.S. government are not acceptable by the people [of the U.S.]…Iran has been the iconoclast…the icons have collapsed in the minds of the people…
    • We have asked to become members of the U.N. Security Council…If we become members we will fight for the rights of oppressed countries…. If they don’t let us [join the U.N. Security Council], their democracy will be questioned. Regardless what happens we will win….
    • [Regarding opening of the American-Iranian Council's office in Tehran], it is not the U.S. which must give a permission, but us. This office is not an issue at all and the important matter is that U.S. hegemony has reached the end of the road and [the U.S.] must change behavior…
    • With regard to a U.S. interest section in Iran, they seem to be busy with their own elections…It really does not make any difference who will come to power in the U.S. Our position shall remain the same…The reason why Obama says he wants to negotiate with Iran in case he is elected into office is that he knows it is what the people want. Those who are intelligent always say what the people want in order to improve their vote…
    • There has been a major transformation of our relations with the U.S., because we have managed to conduct effective public diplomacy and have managed to establish contact with the people of the U.S….
    • The U.S. nation has found out that the U.S. government has lied to them for the past thirty years. Therefore they are very interested in expanding relations with Iran… It is not true that the key for solving our problems is solving the problem of our relations with the U.S….The Americans can’t even manage themselves and save their own country, not to mention saving other countries…”
  • Islamic Republic’s ambassador to Iraq says the real reason behind refusal to allow the Iraqi parliamentary speaker’s plane to land in Tehran was lack of preparations inside Iran.
    • Report quotes Ahmadinejad as warning Iraqi parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadandi of America’s “opportunistic” motives and emphasizing that “the duty of the Iraqi government and people is to resist the occupiers’ extravagant demands.”
  • Interior Minister Ali Kordan, meeting with the executive committee of Commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the Revolution, says “weakness of the U.S. must be utilized.”
  • Iranian think tank convenes a conference on “Iran and British Colonization,” to explore the current British policies and interests in the Middle East.
  • In a reaction to the criticism about why the foreign ministry spokesman speaks from a podium which looks like the podium used at the U.S. State Department, Ghashghavi welcomes suggestions for improvement of the decorations. Asr-e Iran also points out that on this particular map Iran is the same size as India!
  • Basij chief Hojjat al-Eslam Ta’eb, presenting commander Ebrahim Jabbari as the deputy chief of the Mohammad Rasoulollah IRGC unit of Tehran: “Today, while showing resistance of the Iranian nation towards foreign sanctions, we witness that those imposing sanctions have become victims of the worst kind of economic conditions…not only the U.S., but also those who tied their economies to the U.S. economy are going through economic sanctions…These are all signs of collapse of the camp of the West, which is due to the endurance and resistance of the down trodden nations of the world.”

Economy

  • Commenting declining prices in the oil market, Asr-e Iran’s analyst predicts further decline to $50 to 60 per barrel and asks “what Iran would do then?”: “The fundamental question is this: How much did we save from the period when oil price was up to $130 per barrel? Did we build up a foreign exchange reserve? The authorities don’t provide us with a clear and official answer about the foreign currency reserve…and there is some fear that the entire reserve has gone to imports of junk.”
  • Ahmadinejad on the economy: “Excessive liquidity is not the problem in Iran, the important matter is the circulation of the money and to where it is channeled… What we see in Iran is not inflation. World prices have increased and this has also affected price mechanisms in Iran…Some people have taken loans from banks and they don’t want to pay back…If they don’t, we will publish their names in the newspapers…The inflation rate is declining…Housing prices are going down…The housing effort in the rural areas is going very well. This government alone has built 500,000 houses, and 300,000 houses are being built…We want to fight speculation in the housing sector…Our foreign exchange reserve is record high and even if we don’t export oil for some years we will have the reserve…”
  • At the farewell ceremony of the former director of the Central Bank, Tahmasb Mazaheri stresses that the Central Bank should be separate from the government: “People know the meaning of infusion of more money into an overheated economy…the government says it desires development. All governments want development, and it is not problem. The problem begins because this government believes development can be achieved with infusion of money into the economy, and unfortunately this misunderstanding has not been corrected…”
  • The bazaar in Qazvin stages strike in protest against the municipality’s attempt to fine stores displaying their products in the street.
  • Energy minister Parviz Fattah says Iran faces a harsh year because of drought; expects energy and water shortage.
    • Minister of Energy warns of a “harsh winter” compounded by severe drought and electricity shortage.
  • Article, entitled “Inflation is a byproduct of government’s policies,” critically analyzes the government’s economic strategies and offers recommendations to bolster up the financial market.
  • Ahmadinejad describes free market and capitalism as “big lies benefiting thieves,” and calls for the implementation of Islamic financial laws to deal with economic issues.
  • Report highlights notable improvement in the mining industry in Khorasan.
  • Article, entitled “Lessons from US economic crisis,” provides an in-dept analysis of the US financial system and economic policies. The author accuses the Bush administration of exploiting the current situation to expand the crisis to other world economies with the aim of “ensuring the interest of American businesses.”
  • Report says conditions are not yet set for privatization of Iran Airlines (Homa).
  • Iranian daily examines the impact of global financial crisis on Tehran’s stock exchange.
  • Commentary in Kargozaran brushes aside worries expressed by Chairman of the Guardian Council Ahmad Jannati about foreign enemies’ “plots to take advantage of Iran’s internal problems, particularly inflation, to influence the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections,” saying that the regime is threatened more by “ignorance” prevailing in the government system, rather than by “foreign foes”. It criticizes the government of having pursued “imprudent policies,” for example “squandering $200bn of oil revenues.”
  • Deputy Minister of Commerce says a joint conference of all Iranian national and private banks will be held in two weeks to explore ways for further privatization. “There are no obstacles to privatization. All issues have been resolved,” he concludes. He also praised the success of Sepah Bank in rechanneling some $2bn of its foreign assets into the Iranian banking system.

Trade

  • Donya-e Eqtesad reports on a 39 percent rise in Iran’s non-oil exports. The United Arab Emirates, China and Iraq have respectively been the greatest importers of the Iranian goods. UAE, Germany, China, Switzerland and North Korea are described as the largest exporters.

Military and Security

Politics

  • Isfahan parliamentarian Hassan Kamran files a complaint against Ali Larijani for providing a 1,000,000,000 rial subsidy to members of the parliament.
    • Kamran criticizes Larijani for trying to silence him and says “the society is forgetting the values prevalent in the era of the Imam [Khomeini]…The Imam urged us to live an ascetic life, how does it correspond to such behavior in the parliament?”
    • Upon Kamran’s disclosure of the 1,000,000,000 rial subsidy to the accounts of each parliamentarian, an unnamed clerical member of the parliament disrupts Kamran’s press conference, covers Kamran’s head with his clerical robe and drags Kamran away from the microphones of the press by force.
      • Baztab News Agency discloses that it was Ghazvin parliamentarian Ghodratollah Alikhani who interrupted Hassan Kamran’s press conference. Baztab also discloses that Azeri members of the parliament watching the spectacle were shouting: “yalan di” [Azeri: It's a lie]. The parliamentarian from Tavalesh Mohammad-Yari screamed “he is a populist” during the press conference. 
    • Parliamentarian Elias Naderan says not all parliamentarians have been granted such a subsidy; when parliamentarians applied for a lower amount of cash to cover housing and transport costs, they were provided with a more modest handout.
    • Asr-e Iran publishes a satirical article on the 1,000,000,000 rial subsidy to parliamentarians: “We are indeed very happy that the housing problem of the members of the parliament – who generally belong to the unprivileged strata of the society – has been solved with public funds. If the rest of the people have a housing problem…, it is their own problem…It is also a source of happiness that principalist and reformist members of the parliament have managed to set aside partisanship and act in unison…It is also interesting that a member of the presidium of the parliament has said that this news should not reach the media!”
    • Karaj parliamentarian Akbarian links parliamentarian Hassan Kamran’s accusations against cash handouts with the Palizdar affair in which senior members of the clergy were accused of economic corruption.
    • Fars News Agency comments the 1,000,000,000 rial subsidies to  parliamentarians.
  • Interior Minister Ali Kordan resigns following charges that his doctoral degree is bogus.
  • Ahmadinejad to participate in a live debate with Iranian television viewers.
  • Kayhan editor Shariatmaari says Khatami’s second condition amounts to permission to act outside the framework and structures of the Islamic Republic.
    • Article in Kargozaran analyzes pros and cons of Khatami’s participation in the upcoming polls. The writer describes the decision as a dilemma for the former president, but argues that “the advantages of taking part far outweigh the disadvantages.”
    • Commenting on Khatami’s “preconditions” for his candidacy, Aftab-e Yazd demands Khatami spells out to whom he is addressing those preconditions: “is he addressing the legal structure [of the Islamic Republic] or is he addressing illegal obstacle makers? He must also make it clear if he generally considers his preconditions achievable.”
  • Iran’s Hezbollah party declare they will not support Ahmadinejad in the presidential elections, and urge the incumbent to “withdraw from the race for the sake of national interest.”
  • Gaavam-Nowzari to resign as governor general of Zanjan.
  • Report says that Ahmadijenad’s team believes that a run-off election is inevitable.

Religion, Culture, and Society

Media

  • Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting chief Ezzatollah Zarghami travels to Ankara to discuss broadcasting cooperation with Turkey.

Nuclear Issue

Human Rights and Labor

  • (E) Kurdish woman activist detained incommunicado.
  • 1400 workers from Alborz Tier Company stage a demonstration in front of the Labor Ministry protesting against lack of pay for the past six months.


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