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Iran News Round Up



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[(E) signifies English link]

Economy

  • Mohammad-Hossein Farhangi, deputy head of the Parliamentary Economics and Finance Committee, says declining oil prices will have great impact on the budget since the government had based its budget on $70/barrel oil.
  • Agah-Sazi reports problems with the ATMs in Iran due to the explosion in numbers of credit card holders.
  • Sobh-e Sadeq says Iranians should not worry about their economy, which is immune to the global financial crisis.
  • Parliamentarian Mousa al-Reza Servati, member of the Parliament’s Economics and Finance Committee, says the Iranian government has made an $8 billion withdrawal from its reserves to secure gasoline imports.
  • Iranian economists publish a 60-page open letter to Ahmadinejad warning against the vulnerable economic situation of Iran: “Slow economic growth, widespread unemployment, double digit inflation, crisis in the financial and capital markets, expanding government budget, disruption in relations with the outside world, poverty and inequality along with the world global financial crisis has had extensive and definite effects on exports, imports, and most importantly unmet expectations with regard to the oil revenue to secure government budget are among some of the most fundamental problems of the country. Also the global capital market crisis and unprecedented recession in world economy have created serious threats against the economy of the country. But unfortunately the government has not taken the appropriate steps in this regard. At this sensitive time, the government has committed itself to engage in expansive policies under the title of the Economic Transformation Scheme….”
  • Assalouyeh to be linked to the trans-Iranian railroad network.

Politics

  • Presidential advisor Mohammad-Sadeq Mahsouli is appointed acting interior minister, and will also be nominated as interior minister.
    • Kayhan provides biography of Sadeq Mahsouli.
    • Sadeq Mahsouli’s appointment leads to revival of the “Billion [toman] Commander” charge, which had earlier foiled Ahmadinejad’s attempt to appoint Mahsouli. 
      • Shahab News says Mahsouli has fought in the same Revolutionary Guards unit as Ahmadinejad during the Iran-Iraq war. 
  • Tehran parliamentarian Elias Naderan says Khamenei’s warning against harsh criticism of the Ahmadinejad government were not aimed at the Kordan impeachment affair.
  • Former Tehran mayor Karbaschi says Kordan’s impeachment shows that both reformists and the principalists have a common interest to serve Iran.
  • According to Asr-e Iran, a group of parliamentarians seek to impose a 65-year age limit for presidential candidacy. Such legislation would disqualify Khatami, Karrubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
  • Reformist theoretician Tajzadeh urges all those Iranians who support Obama to vote for Khatami.
  • Asr-e Iran prints a hitherto unpublished interview with the late Ahmad Khomeini:
    • “[Already in Paris] we believed that the monafeqin [hypocrites, Mujahidin al-Khalq Organization] and the leftists would create some internal problem. There was also a gentleman whose exact name I don’t recall who left Iran and went to France. He was one of the Shah’s people and later we found out that he was a member of the CIA and had served as the head of office for [prime minister] Shahpour Bakhtiar. He gave us a phone number and asked us to call him and that number was to a phone in the office next to Bakhtiar’s. The Imam [Khomeini] refused to meet him. He told me a good number of issues that we also had guessed. The gentleman told us that there is revolt in Torkama Sahra, and in a different way in Baluchestan, in Kordestan and even in Southern Iran where a movement called the Arab Nation had appeared.
    • We had guessed all this, and we also believed there was a possibility of a war against the revolution. Right after the revolution, the war began. Before the war, we received reports on suspicious Iraqi troop movements. After the Iraqi invasion, there was a bombardment of some air bases.  The Joint Armed Force Command Council reported to me and I told the Imam. He did not panic and listened to my words. Back then we had so many worries and so little time. We did no know if the war was going to be short or long. Most of our initial analysis was that the war would either be over within a few days, or be a long war…
    • After the liberation of Khorramshahr, the Imam wanted to end the war…but some authorities stressed that the war had to continue…The Imam did not agree at all…”
  • Alef News Agency publishes biography of Ali-Reza Afshar, U.S. embassy hostage taker, Revolutionary Guards commander and later deputy minister with responsibility to manage elections.

Diplomacy

  • Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani ‘gives advice’ to Obama in foreign policy and national security affairs.
  • Qom Friday prayer leader Mohammad Saidi says there is no difference between  Obama and Bush so long as the U.S. does not change its policy.
  • Ma’soumeh Ebtekar, spokesman of the U.S. embassy captors, says more than 50 U.S. publishers refused her book proposal, before Canadian writer Fred Reed agreed to publish the book… No one among the hostage takers’ central committee regret their actions, even if a few minor participants have expressed regret. Those who continue to endorse the hostage seizure include Ebtekar and other Khatami-era officials like Mirdamadi, Bi-Taraf and Dademan.
  • Iran Freedom Movement’s Ebrahim Yazdi urges the Islamic Republic to negotiate with the U.S.
  • Culture minister Mohammad-Hossein Saffar Harandi: “We can only rely upon ourselves when it comes to development…. We are not loved by the world, we are hated by them. Sanctions and encirclement is the price we pay for our independence. Not only have we become successful, but we have also become a role model for other nations. Therefore, the entire nation should be proud.”
    • Agah-Sazi’s analyst calls the statements “xenophobic.”
  • (E) Iran, Cuba to boost ties.
  • (E) Pilgrims arrested in Iraq return to Iran.

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Religion, Culture, and Society



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