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Iran News Round Up



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Media

  • Blogger Hossein Derakhshan arrested, confesses espionage for Israel.
  • Saffar Harandi, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, responds to Rafsanjani and former president Khatami’s criticism of “monopolistic tendencies in the media reports:”
    • “I was amazed when some respectable persons expressed concern with regard to press freedom at the present time, and they also expressed matters which reflected their worry about the state of press reports in Iran. The statements made me think of the time those grandees were in power they wept in public [reference to Khatami] in the face of even the slightest public criticism…!”
  • (E) Iran upset that U.S. won’t allow Iranian press agencies to set up offices in United States.

Iran in the Afghan Media

  • Commentary in Kabulpress accuses Iran of persecuting Afghan refugees. The author also points out that returning Afghan refugees are not welcomed in Afghanistan – some are ridiculed as “little Iranian,” while others are labeled as “Iranian agents.”
  • Article, entitled “Who is responsible,” censures the Iranian government’s stringent measures barring Afghan refugee students from higher education. 
  • Mosharekat-e Melli reports on “renewed exodus of Afghan refugees to Iran.” Three million Afghan refugees had repatriated from Iran since the fall of the Taliban. Quoting the Afghan Ministry of Refugee Affairs, the report says two million of them have migrated back to Iran. Unemployment, deteriorating security, spiraling inflation and lack of shelter are described as main reasons forcing the returnees to leave Afghanistan. A number of 900,000 Afghans are said to possess permanent residence permit in Iran.
  • Afghan commentary analyzes Turkish offer for US-Iran mediation.
    • Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he wants to mediate between Tehran and the incoming Obama’s administration. 
    • Iran and Russia are equally important energy providers to Iran. Turkey, therefore, fears isolation of Iran could adversely affect its economy and could precipitate another military confrontation alongside its borders.
    • Turkey supports U.N. sanctions against Iran, yet cautions the measures could weaken the Iranian reformists.
  • Iran says will not oppose Turkish mediation. “We think these statements [Turkish proposal for US-Iran mediation… indicate the goodwill of Turks and friendly relations between Iran and Turkey. We, therefore, will not create any obstacle in their way,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman has said.
  • Ahmadinejad’s aide beleaguered over Quran dance. Vice President Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie’s attendance in a cultural ceremony where the Islamic holy book is said to have been insulted has attracted widespread criticism from Ahmadinejad’s opposition. The scandal could seriously damage Ahmadinejad in the run-up to the presidential polls, the writes believes.
  • Afghan Minister of Mines visits Iran for expansion of bilateral ties.

Politics

  • Ramezan Sharif, head of the Public Relations and Publications Bureau of the Revolutionary Guards, says the reason why Ahmadinejad is attacked in the public is the fact that his policy is so close the Supreme Leader’s.
  • Former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi refutes rumors on his candidacy for president.
  • Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari warns against "infiltrators" within the Principalist faction who criticize the Ahmadinejad government.
    • Ansar News, mouth piece of the Ansar-e Hezbollah vigilante organization, warns against monafeqin [hypocrites] amongst Principalists whose ”treason“ comes to the surface when they criticize Ahmadinejad.
  • Rafsanjani criticizes incompetence of the Ahmadinejad government and says “one can’t solve the economic problems of the country by paying alms to a couple of people.”
  • Ilam parliamentarian Daryoush Qanbari says under Ahmadinejad, “personal loyalties have become more important than loyalty towards the regime.”
    • Qanbari also says Ahmadinejad’s promises and provincial trips raise expectations that can’t be fulfilled.
  • Ahmad Khorshidi, former Ahmadinejad spin doctor, says the Iranian public has had enough of “Ahmadinejadism” and mentions Tehran mayor Qalibaf as a worthy challenger.
  • Agah-Sazi publishes an article on the Nehzat-e Khoda-parastan-e Socialist [Movement of God Worshiping Socialists]. More here.
  • Former IRGC chief Mohsen Rezai says he has not held a meeting with Tehran mayor Qalibaf but that he has had numerous meetings with Larijani.
  • Ahmadinejad travels to Urumiyeh, praises Iran’s Azeris.

Economy

  • Turkey and Iran sign a memorandum of understanding to develop South Pars Gas Field.
  • Director General of the Central Bank says the public sector should not out compete the private sector.
  • Gholam-Reza Mesbahi, head of the Grand Economic Transformation Scheme Committee, proposes removing three zeros from the currency, increasing circulation of credit cards to decrease cash circulation, and abolishing the rial but preserving (informal) toman (ten rials) as the name of the national currency.

Trade

Military and Security

Terrorism

Religion, Culture and Society

  • Mohammad-Ali Ramin, Ahmadinejad’s German-born advisor, says Ahmadinejad has emerged to perform divine will and the orders of the Prophet. More here.
  • Agah-Sazi condemns Vice President Esfandiar Mashayi for organizing the ceremony in which the Quran was carried by a woman while music was playing.
  • Repair of Cyrus the Great’s mausoleum sparks debate about the regimes’ disinterest in Iran’s pre-Islamic legacy.
  • Asr-e Iran condemns a forthcoming Danish book which is expected to contain more cartoons of the Muhammad.
  • Exiled Iranian political activist Akbar Ganji says there is no proof that the Quran is the word of God or any proof of existence of the Imam of the Era.

Diplomacy

Human Rights and Labor

Photo of the Day

  • Hezbollah fighters, veterans of the 33-day war with Israel, meet Ahmadinejad.


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