The Corner

Iran News Round Up

(Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his compilation)

Economy

Trade

Diplomacy

  • Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hosseini says “Looking East is the strategy of the government.”
  • Gilan province high school student association condemns the Ahmadinejad government’s “inability to preserve and protect the territorial integrity of Iran…in the Caspian Sea.”
  • Council of Coordination of Islamic Propagation arranges a demonstration against the British embassy in Tehran, protesting against the ruling of a British court on the Mojahedin-e Khalq.
  • The Foreign Affairs and National Security Committee of the Iranian parliament discusses a report on Iran/U.S. relations and E’temad publishes some parts of the 10,000 page document covering the earliest diplomatic relations between the Islamic Republic and the United States.
    • Ahmadinejad says research into the origins of mediation in Iran/U.S. relations should be welcomed: “In my opinion, such research and scholarship is a good deed, and is related to the previous government. The Algiers agreement and related discussions should one day be sent to The Hague, [the case] should be opened up and be reconsidered [in order to see] what happened and how it was dealt with. I’ll ask [my] legal deputy to arrange an interview with the press and I hope this to be corrected.”
  • Swiss charge d’affaire, representing U.S. interests in the Islamic Republic, summoned to the Foreign Ministry to receive a demarche because of what the Iranian authorities call “freedom of operations of a terrorist organization organized in the U.S.” and also the perpetrating of terrorist acts in Iran, such as the bombing of a mosque in Shiraz.
  • Mottaki says the time is not yet ripe for negotiations with the United States.
  • Iranian ambassador to Bahrain in an interview with Al-Misaq: “We don’t fear America, and we defend the rights of the Palestinians with all our strength.”
  • Expanding Africa ties: The Islamic Republic and Eritrea sign a memorandum of cooperation, Iran and Senegal expand relations, and Foreign Minister Mottakki meets the minister of foreign affairs of Ghana.
  • Leader of the Christian Democratic Party in the German Bundestag meets Qalibaf.
  • Agah-Sazi condemns the role of British empire in separating parts of Baluchestan from Iran.
  • Mohsen Armin warns the Islamic Republic leadership: “The Lebanon affair can be costly for us…the U.S. wants to point to us as guilty…There will be sanctions.”
  • Speaker of the Russian parliament offers to mediate between Iran and the United Arab Emirates in the dispute regarding disputed islands in the Persian Gulf. Iranian media consider the Russian offer as an act of betrayal, and partial Russian recognition of UAE claims against Iran.

Nuclear Issue

  • Alef News Agency publishes the Islamic Republic’s Incentive Package. .Pdf here.
  • Firouz-Abadi, chief of Armed Forces Command Council says the Islamic Republic of Iran’s “incentive package” is a “revolutionary innovation.” More here and here.
  • Spain welcomes the Islamic Republic’s “Incentive Package.”
  • Boroujerdi, chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian parliament, says new avenues should be explored to escape from the nuclear impasse.

Religion, Culture, and Society

Human Rights and Labor

  • The General Court in Tehran sentences Ali Nikou-Nesbati, the public relations officer of Office of Strengthening of Unity student organization, to five months of imprisonment and ten lashes of the whip, for “acts against national security” and, specifically, for criticizing Ahmadinejad’s speech at the Polytechnic University of Tehran. More here.
  • Fifty “Azeri political activists” summoned to the local intelligence office ahead of the annual anniversary of publication of a controversial cartoon depicting Azeris as cockroaches.
  • Amir Kabir Polytechnic University’s news agency reports demonstrations at the University of Lorestan.
  • Amir Kabir Polytechnical University’s news agency reports rape of three female students at the University of East Azerbaijan and says they don’t protest for fear of expulsion and to protect their public honor. According to the report, the rapists are the head of the internal security office of the university, one professor who also heads the university laboratory, and a university bus driver. In March 2008, other students staged sit-ins and demonstrations to protest the rapes, but have been ignored.
  • Habib-Allah Latifi, 26-year-old university student, imprisoned without charge at Sanandaj prison for the past eight months.
  • Akhbar-e Rooz reports widespread arrest of workers at the Haft-Tappeh sugar cane factory who have protested for six months’ unpaid wages.
    • Rooz claims there is unofficial martial law in Shoush because of the demonstrations of workers in sugar cane processing factories.
  • A member of the parliament imprisoned in Evin because of “moral corruption,” and complaints by some “ladies.”
  • Iranian student activist Ahmad Batebi leaves Iran for medial treatment.
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Rouhollah Hosseinian says he did not hold important positions, or have the authority to issue a fatwa [religious edict] at the time of the serial killings of intellectuals in the 1990′s. Those who had important positions in the ministry of intelligence, or were able to issue religious edicts should be investigated for responsibility in the issue.
    • Iran analyzes “Beyond Khordad 2nd” seminar, in which Hojjat al-Eslam Rouhollah Hosseinian made a presentation on the serial killings of intellectuals in the 1990′s.
    • As the heated debate between Hojjat al-Eslam Rouhollah Hosseini and the official Islamic Republic of Iran historian Shahbazi about the 1990s serial killings deepens, some parliamentarians suggest examination of the buried corpses of the victims.
  • Grand Ayatollah Montazeri condemns arrest of the leaders of the Bahai community in Iran, says the Bahai‘s have a right of “water” and “soil” in Iran. More here.

Politics

  • Ali Larijani on whether he, as speaker of the parliament would support declaration of the Iranian president as “incompetent”: “It is wrong to ask such questions. Right now, more than anything else, we need unity.”
    • Seyyed Mohammad-Mehdi Tabatabayee, parliamentarian from Tehran: “Those who urge people to follow the path of God are Sufis, and everyone who urges the people to follow his own path is definitively a charlatan. Sayings such as ‘I have the scent of the Imam of the Era, or I am graced by the attention of the Imam of the Era, this is all charlatanism.”
    • Speaking in Khuzestan province, Rafsanjani explains his views on leadership of the community of believers in the absence of infallible imams.
  • Mosharekat reformist front general secretary stresses the importance of unity to encourage former president Mohammad Khatami to run for presidency in 2009.
  • According to Asr-e Iran, president Ahmadinejad has decided to appoint new provincial governors in Western provinces such as West Azerbaijan, Ardebil, Kermanshah, Kordestan, Qazvin, Ilam, Markazi, Bushehr and Kerman.
  • Iran comes to Ahmadinejad’s aid and attacks Rafsanjani whose 1989-1997 presidency the newspaper blames for inflation and today’s rising prices.
  • Tehran mayor Qalibaf stresses the necessity of “religious leadership” to overcome the economic problems of the country, says liberation of Khorramshahr was only possible with religious zeal.
  • Supreme Leader Khamenei stresses the importance of “One of ours not entering the ideological and politics of others” and guarding the “realm of the Islamic Revolution from being infiltrated by one of theirs.” More here.
  • President Ahmadinejad at a press conference: “In some countries, they change government every second year…why is it a taboo issue in our country to shuffle the government and change a minister or two?” Answering the question of why he does not name those corrupt elements in the economy who are to be blamed for the economic ills of Iran, the Iranian president said that “the people know who such elements are. Why should we downgrade the level [by mentioning names]?” Ahmadinejad also defended the food security of his government, saying “wise and timely measures were taken to avoid rising prices.” More.
  • Acting minister of interior announces changes in the ministry.
  • Jomhouri-e Eslami attacks the Iranian president: “Forces supporting the revolution were marginalized by accusing them of being counter to the Guardianship of the Jurist.”
  • The next symposium of intellectuals, reformers and political/student activists takes place at the home of Khatami-era minister of interior Abdollah Nouri; Mostafa Malekian is expected to lecture on “the continuous need for ethics.”
  • Dismissed minister of economy and finance Davood Danesh-Ja’fari appointed head of the supervising committee of the Expediency Council.
    • His predecessor Mokhber Dezfouli becomes secretary of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution.
  • Parliamentarian Emad Afrough accuses the government of buying or bullying parliamentarians to not present a vote of no confidence to the minister of trade.
  • Kargozaran attacks Tehran mayor Qalibaf’s visit to Qom.
    • Tehran mayor Qalibaf has started his presidential campaign?
    • Partov Sokhan’s Hojjat al-Eslam Qasem Ravanbakhsh attacks Tehran mayor Qalibaf: “What Tehran Municipality account finances Hezbollah and Tehran-e Emrooz newspapers, and from what source did you manage to finance your Blair oriented campaign for the municipality?”
    • General Secretary of the Iranian Hezbollah Front criticizes Qalibaf for not attending to corruption in the administration of the Iranian capital, and the Iranian president for appointing “people whose loyalty is unknown.”
  • Farda News publishes the history of the Iranian president’s election promises: “We want to bring the oil money to the tables of the people!”
  • Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi says Shi’i jurisprudence should be able to answer questions regarding modern day grand political issues.
  • 200 members of the parliament send a letter of gratitude to ousted minister of interior, Pour-Mohammadi.
  • Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, head of the Supreme Audit Court and once acting minister of interior appointed presidential advisor.
  • Emad Afrough says “those who want to exclude their political rivals with reference to Principalism and Islam, betray the religion.”
  • Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi protests against the Iranian government’s demand of access to the financial information of political factions in the Islamic Republic by saying “The government does not pay subsidies to the parties. How can they demand insight?” More here.

Military and Security

  • Mohsen Akhtari, former Islamic Republic of Iran ambassador to Syria for fourteen years, says “Hamas and Hezbollah are the children of the Islamic Revolution.” Akhtari says during the period the Revolutionary Guards were present in Lebanon, they were not involved in a single battle against Israel, and only trained Hezbollah.
  • Iran Army Air Force to build stealth fighters and radars with a 1,000 kilometer range.
    • Minister of Defense Najjar says the Islamic Republic of Iran Armed Forces have made advances in satellite technology.
  • Ayatollah Shahroudi, judiciary chief, to the armed forces in Kordestan province: “Know your worth, since today we are in a position that you are the hope of Islamic nations and Islamic liberation movements.”
  • Supreme Leader appoints Commander Seyyed Mohammad Hosseinzadeh Hejazi to be deputy commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards, and Commander Jamal al-Din Aberoumand as deputy coordination chief of the Revolutionary Guards Command Council.
    • Sepah News publishes a short biography of Hejazi of the IRGC.
    • Sepah News publishes a short biography of Revolutionary Guards commander Jamal Aberoumand, newly appointed deputy coordinator of the IRGC.
    • Ja’fari, chief of the Revolutionary Guards, at the ceremony of appointment of new deputy: “The Revolutionary Guards, with its five forces, two universities and the new leadership which is being formed, is living up to its different roles and responsibilities…”
    • Ja’fari also stressed that there is a “uniform interpretation of the words of the commander in chief of the Islamic Republic of Iran Armed Forces in the Guards. At the ceremony, it was commander Shirazi, head of the military bureau of the Supreme Leader who made the appointments on behalf of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.
  • According to Akhbar-e Rooz, Azerbaijan is in a state of unannounced military emergency on the annual anniversary of Khatami’s 2nd of Khordad victory.
  • Mohsen Rezai, former chief of the Revolutionary Guards and current secretary of the Expediency Council, says: “The [Iran-Iraq] war ensured the [success of the] Revolution, and if there was not eight years of Sacred Defense, the Islamic Revolution would have ceased to exist.”
    • Adds: “And if despite the unrest around Iran, the inside is safe, it is because of the war.”
    • Commenting the fiascos of the first year of the war, Rezai adds: “Gradually, some [people] reached the conclusion that fighting the war did not make sense, and one should negotiate with America, or Saddam [Hussein], and some others warned against a 20 year war, but from the very first day of the war we had not closed the door of diplomacy or peace.”
    • “What negotiation did Iran not accept, since it is being claimed that Iran only thought of fighting the war? But Iran had logical conditions, such as punishment of the aggressor, return to international boundaries, and war reparations, since if Saddam was not stopped, he would have invaded again.”
      • Former foreign minister Ali-Akbar Velayati says Iran would have suffered territorial losses if the Islamic Republic had accepted mediation offers after liberation of Khorramshahr.
      • Commander in chief of the Army says liberation of Khorramshahr was a pivotal juncture of the war.
    • Commander Ali Shalikar, chief of the 25th Karbala Army, discusses the Iran-Iraq war.
    • Two Revolutionary Guards commanders from the Iran/Iraq war, Mohsen Rezai and Rahim Safavi discuss the Iran-Iraq war.
  • Ali Shamkhani and Rahim Safavi, both Revolutionary Guards commanders from the Iran-Iraq war, contradict the standard Islamic Republic of Iran historiography and acquit the first president of the Islamic Republic, Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr of “betraying Iran in the war,” but add: “Dr. Bani-Sadr failed to understand the Islamic nature of the Revolution.”
  • Commander Nazari, chief of the Law Enforcement Forces during the suppression of student riots in 1999 is acquitted of all chares, and says he is ready to deliver interviews on television.
  • On the occasion of liberation of Khorramshahr, the Supreme Leader pardons a number of imprisoned military personnel.
  • According to CNN Turk, Iranian artillery bombs PEJAK targets in Qandil mountain, in Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • Deutsche Welle summarizes the “Societal Security Scheme” of the Ahmadinejad government.
    • Head of the Law Enforcement Forces of the Islamic Republic, Commander Ahmadi-Moghaddam explains the importance of the “Societal Security Scheme.”
    • After starting the “Societal Security Scheme” of the government, Greater Tehran Law Enforcement Forces hold a seminar entitled: “First Symposium on the Sociological and Psychological Dimensions of the Societal Security Scheme.”
      • Commander Ahmad-Reza Radan explains: “We have a firm pact with the people [promising] this is not a temporary scheme, and that we will continue until the society is cleansed of ugliness and abnormalities. Therefore, we hold our positions firmly and live up to our promises despite all the difficulties and believe it is sinful to deviate from this sacred path of enforcing the Societal Security Scheme.”
      • Radan adds that during the past year, “increasing security of life, economy, and honor have been felt.”
      • Radan concludes: “The degree of the happiness of the people has also increased due to this scheme.”
      • Radan also refutes any speculations about unpopularity of the Law Enforcement Forces due to enforcement of the scheme.
    • The Law Enforcement Forces of Greater Tehran claim they have doubled their force enforcing the Islamic dress code. More here.
  • The Islamic Republic’s minister of foreign affairs: “The Shiraz bombing case is under investigation
    • Iran Police Chief Commander Ahmadi-Moghaddam says the Shiraz bombing case at some point should be published.
    • Minister of Intelligence Ezheh’i says there is growing documentation for U.S. involvement in the Shiraz bombing.
    • Ghorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi, the Prosecutor General of the Islamic Republic, says the perpetrators of the Shiraz bombing have confessed to relations with Israel, but “there has been no need of physical contact between the actors [perpetrators and Israel].”
      • The Prosecutor General added that the communications of the cell was through mobile phones, and the explosives were transported to Iran from Canada. According to Najafabadi, this cell also was active in Mashhad.
  • Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami claims a terrorist attack against the mausoleum in Qom has been averted.
  • Revolutionary Guards kill 9 Kurdish guerrillas in Western Azerbaijan province.
  • Pakistan to extradite a brother of Abdol-Malek Rigi, head of the Jundallah terrorist organization.

Ecology

  • Kargozaran says Lake Oroumiyeh will be a salt desert in less than 7 years.

Media

  • Supporters of Ahmadinejad will soon release the first issue of Vatan-e Emrooz.
  • Khatami government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh attacks Ahmadinejad government spokesman Elham: “How can you state an opposition to censorship when you deny your critics the right to have media to communicate to the public?”
  • Vahid Yaminpour becomes the first head of the Professor’s Basij at the Department of Journalism. Ali-Rezayee, head of the Professor’s Basij of Greater Tehran, and a number of other dignitaries participate.

Photos of the Day

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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