Speaking in Mashhad president Ahmadinejad speaks again of the imminent emergence of the Imam of the Era: “Grandees [of the faith] have told us that that one of the signs of realization of that important and great promise which is emergence of His Holiness the Mahdi – May God hasten his emergence – is whispering of his name globally. Let me tell you this, thanks to your tears and prayers and the prayers of Imam Reza – praise be upon him – and his children and fathers of this holiness, and thanks to mercy of God hearts of humanity are turning towards the Imam [of the Era] fast.”
Mostafa Barzegar Ganji, public prosecutor of Qom, reports the arrest and imprisonment of five men who claim to be Imam of the Era. Barzegar also reports a man claiming to be the “fourteenth Imam of the Shi’as” has been imprisoned. Qom Law Enforcement Forces have also rounded up five practitioners of geomantics; an additional group will be arrested in the days to come. More here.
Ali-Reza Peyghan, who says he is Imam of the Era and author to the 673-page Al-Qa’em, and who gained fame by praying with his face turned towards the mosque of Jamkaran, is to be hanged.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Post issues stamps depicting ”presence of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei at the fronts of the imposed war.”
Head of the Islamic Propagation Organization warns against “Wahabi infiltration in southern Kerman province.”
The Law Enforcement Forces stage a six-day exercise in Tehran involving 30,000 officers utilizing 4,000 vehicles in which they practiced isolating sensitive areas such as the bazaar and the banks, central squares, and the rapid transportation of troops from other provinces to Tehran. More here.
Agah-Sazi quotes Khomeini on political party activity: “There are two parties: The party of God and the party of Satan. It is important that you become a member of the party of God.”
Elias Hazrati, executive director of E’temad and central committee member of the National Trust Party, says that the next president will have an unenviable position because of the chaos left behind by the Ahmadinejad government.
Report says restrictions in presidential elections law upheld. After a thorough review of the law in the Parliament, controversial issues such as the right of candidacy for women, military officers and Sunnis in the forthcoming presidential polls have remained undefined.
On U.S.-Iran relations, he says: “We welcome realists among Americans, but the interest, independence and security of the country must be preserved. Otherwise having relations with the U.S. would not have any benefit for us. The U.S. only wants to humiliate us.”
Panel debate between reformist theoretician Tajzadeh and Ahmadinejad supporter and Partov-e Sokhan editor Ravanbakhsh:
Tajzadeh: “Upon what religious or legal grounds has Mr. Ravanbakhsh the right to run for the parliament and get elected and I’m disqualified? Is it because I happen to disagree with the thoughts of Mr. Mesbah [Yazdi] or Jannati or friends of the like…? There was a time when the Shah’s dictatorship forced all political activity underground…but why don’t we have political parties today? With what right are citizens bereaved from our freedom of expression? Why don’t we have press freedom, or freedom to organize labor unions? And how come someone has the right to veto candidates to preserve parliamentary runs as their own right? Don’t you think such behavior will provoke waves of criticism?…
What we want is the society that Imam [Khomeini] promised us in Paris, the society which is described in the Constitution and the way the society functioned during the first year after the revolution…
Ravanbakhsh: “I’m happy that Mr. Tajzadeh talked about the Imam and the Constitution. We both believe in Imam and the Constitution and this shared belief unites us…During Mr. Khatami’s era, both the executive branch and the legislature were in the hands of the reformists. What did they manage to accomplish…? If you believe in the Imam [Khomeini], why deposit him in a museum?
Tajzadeh: “We demand that Mr. Ravanbakhsh explains the promises of the Imam in Paris and his famous speech at Behesht-e Zahra. Why does Mr. Mesbah [Yazdi] say that the Imam’s statements were only made to make the revolution more digestible, that the Imam did not believe in it and had to say so to trick the Westerners so he could start his Islamic government afterwards…?
Acting Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli: “The Interior Ministry does not belong to certain circles of the society such as the parties or political groupings, but rather to the entire nation…the civil servants and especially the governors should see to it that the rights of the nation are not violated by the ever growing bureaucracy…the policy of the ninth [Ahmadinejad’s] government is realization of the popular will through the ballot box..”
Kargozaaran laments press censorship in Iran, alluding to the ban of a reformist weekly critical of President Ahmadinejad.
News agency reporting activities of the Supreme Leader Khamenei inaugurated.
Many Parliament members, including Chairman Ali Larijani, have opposed the suspension of the publication and stressed the freedom of media in the run-up to the upcoming presidential elections.
The author censures double standards in dealing with the media, arguing that press outlets critical of the government are under immense pressure, while pro-government publications harshly criticize the reformist camp.
Quoting a Member of Parliament, the author says, “The nearer the elections, the more pressure on the independent and critical publications.”
Commentary in Kargozaaran, entitled “Following letter, debate and discussion,” analyzes political motives and implications of Ahmadinejad’s letter of congratulation to President-elect Barack Obama.
Presumably addressing both Obama and Bush, Ahmadinejad says: “I have no doubt that those who emerge new, or those who have reached the end of the road…have no other choice but to return, to repent and follow the infallible Imam…When I warned world leaders about the rule of unjust rulers being on the verge of collapse, [world leaders] looked at me amazed. Even when I explained my reason to them they did not understand since their faculty of thought was unchanged…. They want to solve all problems through the barrel of a gun and very this matter is the sign of them having reached the end of the line.”
According to Borna News Agency, Obama stickers and other merchandise have been distributed for free by unknown elements in Tehran.
Mottaki says US policies in Middle East unsuccessful. Bidding farewell to outgoing Jordanian Ambassador to Tehran Ahmad Jalal Al-Mefleh, Iran’s Foreign Minister said, “In recent years, Washington has exploited all opportunities and possibilities to defend the interest of the occupying Zionist regime, often in hostility to Arab countries, and has been striving hard to prevent the return of Palestinians to their homeland. However, this policy has met negative reactions of many countries in the region, and the recent political landscape in the Middle East appears to be shaping in the interest of Muslims.”
Jomhouri-ye Eslami quotes outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as saying that President “Bush’s name will be written with golden letters in history” and expressing confidence that Barack “Obama will be a close ally to Israel.”
Rafsanjani emphasizes Iranian solidarity with people of Lebanon. In a meeting with the newly-appointed Lebanese ambassador to Tehran, Zain Al Mousavi, Rafsanjani expressed contentment with improvement of security and stability in Lebanon and added that national reconciliation between political leaders and all Lebanese factions could strengthen political stability in the country.
The Islamic Republic stresses readiness to ”consolidate relations with South Korea in all fields.”
Shi’a News presents the book of a certain Mogens Mogensen, Danish author of a book which claims the Jyllands-Posten cartoons were orchestrated by anti-Islamic forces in Denmark and that the Danish government was behind the insults against the Prophet Muhammad.
The president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries announced that oil prices needed to be maintained between 70 and 90 dollars a barrel and warned of cutting supply if the market was unchanged.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez described decline in oil prices as temporary and predicted an average oil rate of 100 dollar per a barrel between 2008 and 2015.
The Prime Minister of Qatar called on OPEC to take drastic measures to avoid further reduction in oil prices.
Kuwait interested in importing natural gas from Iran.
Human Rights and Labor
Mohammad Azad, head of the Guilds’ Association, presents new details on strikes in the bazaars of Iran after the attempted introduction of Value Added Tax.