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Iran News Round Up



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Military and Security

  • Basij Chief Hossein Ta’eb speaking to 200 “Basij elites” says: “The experts of our country have identified the [electronic] lock of the [U.S.] Missile Defense and have hacked it.”
  • According to Shahab News, Commander Abd al-Ali Najafi, head of the Ansar al-Mahdi guard unit responsible for security of the political elites of the Islamic Republic, has been removed from his position.
  • According to Tabnak, the U.S. is trying to increase espionage activities around Iran.
  • Army stages ground-to-air missile test competition.

Diplomacy

  • Former President Khatami rejects reports that Kofi Annan was bribed to come to Iran. Sobh-e Sadegh, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s publication, has accused the former UN Secretary-General of receiving 3 billion tomans ($ 3,129,075) to accept Khatami’s invitation to Iran.
  • (E) President of Cornell University, other university presidents, going to Iran.
  • Chinese Xinxiang governor visits Mashhad.
  • According to E’temad-e Melli, Obama’s advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski, Dennis Ross, Lawrence Korb and Flick are preparing negotiations with Iran as soon as Obama wins the presidential elections.
  • America plans to pardon Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Quoting Aljazeera, Jomhouri-ye Eslami says the U.S. is pondering removal of Omar from its most-wanted list so as to pave the way for constructive dialogue with the Taliban.
  • Article entitled, “Kashmir needs international attention,” calls on the Indian government to adhere to the U.N. resolutions and conduct a referendum to resolve outstanding disputes over Kashmir with Pakistan. The author emphasizes “strong historic and cultural ties” between Iranians and Kashmiris and describe Kashmir as “little Iran.”
  • Commentary in Jomhouri-ye Eslami examines U.S. presidential elections and its potential effects on Iran.
    • From three presidential debates it could be inferred that there are no fundamental policy differences between the Democrats and Republicans, especially in relation to Iran. The core objectives are the same; only their strategies to achieve those aims differ.
    • John McCain, if victorious, is very likely to pursue Bush’s hostile policies against Iran.
    • Obama, however, could pose a more dangerous threat to Iran because of strong influence of the Jewish lobby on Democrats’ policies. Obama also enjoys a better relationship with the outside world and is thus able to seek further cooperation of the 5+1 group to impose stricter measures against Tehran and isolate Iran from the rest of the world through soft power means.
    • Bearing this in mind, Iranian politicians must not be delighted about triumph of one candidate and loss of the other. They, instead, should focus on pragmatic measures to confront new threats.
  • Iran’s Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. has expressed discontent over violation of diplomats’ rights in Iraq and called for the “release of three Iranian diplomats kidnapped by Americans in Iraq.”
  • Vice President Mashayee, speaking to Iranian Americans in New York, says when Iranian authorities speak of collapse of the United States, they mean the collapse of the American empire.
  • Report on massive demonstrations in Basra against proposed security agreement between Washington and Baghdad.
  • According to Kargozaran, the U.S. government has never formally requested the opening of an interest section in Tehran.
    • Donya-ye Eqtesad also quotes Foreign Ministry spokesman as denying ever have receiving such a letter. More here.  
    • And, (E), in English.
  • Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has officially invited Rafsanjani to Iraq.
  • Ahmadinejad urges broadening of ties with Australia.
    • Meeting Australia’s new ambassador to Tehran, the president said: “America commits felonies and we are against crimes. These issues, however, will not affect relations between Iran and Australia.
    • Emphasizing the end of America’s acts of bullying, unilateralism and hegemony, Ahmadinejad said: “We must prepare ourselves for the new epoch in the world affairs and Iran is eager to expand ties with independent and friendly nations.”
  • E’temad-e Melli publishes an interview with the British ambassador to Tehran. More.
  • Mohammad-Jalal Firouz-Nia to be appointed the Islamic Republic’s ambassador to Italy and Safari soon to be appointed ambassador to Saudi Arabia. 

Economy

  • Central Bank delivers a secret report on the foreign exchange reserve to the Parliament’s Economics and Finance Committee.
    • Parliamentarians Mohammad-Hossein Farhangi, Elias Naderan and Mohammad-Reza Tabesh claim Chief Inspector Pour-Mohammadi will be invited to the parliament to report on claims of “unauthorized government withdrawals from the foreign exchange reserve” and other issues.
    • Asghar Geranmayeh, vice president of the parliament’s Economics and Finance Committee reports: “[Central Bank director general] Mahmoud Bahmani delivered a comprehensive presentation on the American financial crisis and its effects on the economy of our country. Ra’i, foreign exchange deputy of the director general of the Central Bank, delivered a report on the foreign exchange reserve and its different dimensions. Based upon his report the foreign exchange reserve is $25 billion… In case there was no decline in the world market and no economic crisis, this number would have been good for the economy of the country. But with declining oil prices from $120 to less than $60, the foreign currency income of the country has decreased…One must lessen oil dependency.”
  • Ahmadinejad forms a committee to study effects of the international financial crisis on Iran’s economy.
  • Commentary in Kargozaaran backs Hashemi Rafsanjani’s speculation on negative effects of global financial meltdown on Iran’s economy.
    • In last Friday prayer’s sermon, Rafsanjani urged that Iranians not rejoice at the global financial breakdown, and warned that the credit crunch would soon or later engulf Iran’s economy, too.
    • “We should not spend squander our oil revenues on trivial projects, and instead spend them on effective means to prevent the crisis we are going to face,” he warned.
    • The author says many pro-government circles have criticized Rafsanjani’s remarks, but he argues that Rafsanjani’s warnings were justified and genuine – citing that even an OPEC decision to curtail oil production failed to push up prices.
    • The author strongly criticizes Ahmadinejad’s government policies, highlighting soaring inflation, shrinking foreign reserves and waste of revenues.
  • Hashemi Rafsanjani describes current economic problems in Iran as critical. He urged Parliament’s economic committees to strengthen oversight measures and work closely with the government agencies to deal with the economic difficulties. 
  • Economist Eshaq Jahangiri, Mining and Industry Minister under Khatami:
    • “From the very beginning the [Ahmadinejad] government did not believe in the five year economic development scheme and was of the conviction that the program was designed upon Western models. Therefore they opposed it…It is quite natural that the government ignored it. The scheme urged the government to budget assuming $28 per barrel and save the rest of the oil income in a foreign exchange reserve… The government budget grows every year… The government does not distinguish between the money of the banking sector and the government budget. Therefore the government forced the banks to lower interest rates…Every single move has been wrong. Inflation, which was expected to be reduced to a single digit, is soaring… The government’s policies will have irreparable effects, which also disables the government of delivering its main slogan: Social justice. Now, who is the biggest loser of inflation? The rich people or the poor…?
    • In case the oil price remains under $70, the government will have major problems… A budget deficit is guaranteed… We will soon face a new phase of the crisis…the government is already facing problems in paying the contractors in the infrastructure sector…Not long ago the roads and transportation minister told the public how indebted the government is to the contractors. Now, just think about the salaries of school teachers, banks, the financial sector and the Central Bank. In my opinion the problems will deteriorate in case the oil price declines any further…Also the productive sector is going through a very difficult period because of the financial chaos of the government…privatization schemes have been ignored by the government. Future generations will pay for this mistake…
    • We have resisted the injustice of some Western countries, but I wish the government had seriously studied the effects of the sanctions regime…”
  • The cabinet and governors pass the economic reform scheme and send it to parliament.
  • Former Interior Minister Mostafa Pour Mohammadi submits an undisclosed report to the Parliament about financial abuses committed by Ahmadinejad’s administration.
  • Article entitled, “Polluted markets and chaotic capitalism,” underscores weaknesses of capitalism.
  • According to the International Monetary Fund, the Iranian budget can only be balanced if oil be $90/barrel.
  • Central Bank director asks for increased exports, decreased imports.
  • First Vice President Davoudi refutes rumors that the government has calculated for 20 percent inflation in next year’s budget.
  • Petroleum Minister Nowzari says the current oil production capacity of the country is 4,350,000 barrels per day, but the Petroleum Ministry is doing its utmost to increase capacity to 5.3 million barrels per day.
  • Exhibit of Iranian-made helicopters and airplanes on Kish island.
  • After only one month, huge steel factory of Isfahan closes due to lack of capital.
  • The Iranian government allocates $3 billion to the energy production sector.

Trade

Politics

  • Khatami’s vice president attacks presidential candidate Mehdi Karrubi in a three part piece on his blog documenting how Karrubi, the so-called reformist of today, purged his opponents and rivals by calling them “enemies of the line of Imam [Khomeini]. Parts 1, 2, and 3.
  • Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri rejects reports that he is opposed to Khatami’s candidacy in next year’s presidential polls.
  • According to Kargozaran, Tehran mayor Qalibaf will soon declare his candidacy for president. 
  • Ahmadinejad vows to defend Interior Minister Ali Kordan impeached by the Parliament over allegations of fake credentials. The president described Kordan as a competent, well-known official. Speaking to provincial governors, he warned of an “intensification of vicious attempts and pressures against the government in his final year in office,” and called on the officials to act in unison to foil enemies’ plots.
    • Faced with questions on Kordan’s forged Ph.D. degree from Oxford University, Ahmadinejad shouts: “Let this matter be, there are a lot of people like Kordan in this country!”
  • Iran, supportive of Ahmadinejad, responds to Rafsanjani’s veiled attacks:
    • “As usual, in his general remarks Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] avoided elegantly any mention of Ahmadinejad or his government – as has been the case ever since ascendance of Ahmadinejad which has become a taboo for him…but one can’t help thinking that Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] is addressing Ahmadinejad and his government…
    • Mr. Rafsanjani should pay more attention to the fact that war is the only solution to the economic crisis of capitalism, meaning what the Westerners did to neutral Iran during World War II and how the enemy deceived Saddam to persuade him to invade Kuwait…
    • In case Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani's] claim of the U.S. secretly using [tactical] nuclear weapons against Saddam Hussein during the Kuwait war is true…and the U.S. presidential candidates never fail to threaten us with bombings…why should Western propaganda affect electoral dynamics in the Islamic Republic?
    • The Islamic Republic has experienced many elections under the shadow of crises,…and the financial crisis of the West will not be the last crisis of capitalism…and continuous wars and expeditionary warfare in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia are all due to the crisis of capitalism…but when Mr. Hashemi [Rafanjani] speaks in such manner one is frightened that a new McFarlane, or a new U.N. Security Council Resolution 598 is coming!”

Human Rights and Labor

Religion, Culture, and Society

  • Mosharekat reformist faction express worries about sectarian tensions in Sistan va Baluchestan province.
  • Iran produces “Faw Battle” computer game commemorating the Iran/Iraq war.

Media

  • Student gazettes Kimlik and Youldash at Zanjan University banned.

Photo of thee Day



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