The Corner

Iran News Round Up

(Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his compilation)

Politics

  • Head of the National Trust Party, Mehdi Karrubi appears on the popular television program Glass Triangle and explains the split between his reformist camp and former president Mohammad Khatami’s supporters. When asked if he will run for presidency, of if his party will present a candidate to the presidency, Karroubi says: “It depends on the Hakemiyat [the rulers]. We need to wait and see what invisible powers want.” Video here.

    • Sobh-e Sadeq claims some “experts in sectarian matters have warned against the table of the presenter of the television program, Glass Triangle, which resembles the logo of Satanist groups.”
  • According to E’temad, Abbas Palizdar has been arrested due to allegations of economic corruption. More here.
    • Overview of coverage of the arrest of Abbas Palizdar in the Iranian press.
    • According to Agah-Sazi, “the disclosures of Abbas Palizdar have changed the equations of power in the Islamic Republic.”
    • According to Alef News Agency, the Abbas Palizdar who is believed to have been arrested upon charges of economic corruption with regard to a dairy products factory is not the same person as the Abbas Palizdar who has held speeches in several universities accusing the Shi’a clergy of economic corruption.
    • The Islamic Student Association which has organized Abbas Palizdar’s speeches at different universities says it does not share the views expressed by Palizdar but stresses the necessity of formulating criticism in the public sphere.
    • Quoting Fars News Agency, Agah Sazi News Agency publishes “new proof of Abbas Palizdar’s economic corruption” whose accusations against the Shi’a clergy in the Islamic Republic has received wide coverage in the Iranian media. Original Fars report.
    • Adalatkhaneh News demands open trial for Abbas Palizdar.
    • Parliamentarian Fatemeh Ajorlou says she does not regret having invited Abbas Palizdar to the Investigative Committee of the Iranian parliament.
      • According to Entekhab News Agency, an anonymous source says Abbas Palizdar’s colleagues who deny his job history in the Investigative Committee of the Research Institute of the Iranian parliament do so because of fear, and Palizdar’s employment can be proven by looking at the payroll.
    • Raja News Agency likens the attacks against Ayaollah Mesbah-Yazdi with the hanging of Fazlollah Nouri, clerical supporter of the despot, Mohammad-Ali Shah Qajar.
    • Without any mention of Abbas Palizdar, Sobh-e Sadeq weekly, the mouthpiece of the Revolutionary Guards, publishes the following remark under the heading “Three months of suspension of the Islamic Association of the Bou-Ali Sina University of Hamadan”: “Following the extension of an invitation to the executive secretary of the research and investigation committee of the parliament related to the Judiciary, in the hands of the Islamic Association of the Bou-Ali Sina University of Hamadan, the management of the university has suspended this organization for three months. The executive secretary of the research and investigation committee of the parliament had made some disclosures of the results of this committee’s activities.”
  • Reformist politician Mostafa Tajzadeh: “There is one reason behind our criticism of the government. We don’t want the Islamic Republic to have the same destiny as the Imperial regime.” The interview was meant to be published in a Student Basij publication, but never made it through the censorship and so was instead released online.
  • According to Asr-e Iran, a second member of the newly elected parliament has been disqualified and arrested upon allegations of “moral corruption, possession of an illegal firearm, firing against those complaining against him, and beating up his political opponents.”
  • Mohammad-Ali Abtahi condemns a certain Mr. Payam Fazlinezhad’s speech at the Ma’soumiyyeh School in Qom close to Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, in which Fazlinezhad claims that Ma’soumeh Ebtekar, the spokesman of the hostage-takers at the U.S. Embassy in 1979 and later former president Mohammad Khatami’s vice president, traveled secretly to Portugal in 1999 and planned the “Dialogue of the Civilizations” scheme along with “the freemasons and Zionists.” Abtahi concludes that such allegations will only strengthen Khatami’s desire to run for presidency in Iran.
    • Entekhab News Agency claims Payam Fazlinezhad has been a member of a “terrorist organization,” is close to the first president of the Islamic Republic, Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr, and that his mother was a member of the office of Qotbzadeh, the Khomeini aide and confidant, later minister of foreign affairs of the Islamic Republic, who was accused of plotting a coup and executed.
  • Khatami government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh says the biggest threat to the reform movement is the “de-politicization of the society due to economic hardships.”
  • Grand Ayatollah Sane’i says Khomeini on no occasion utilized “religious superstition in order to advance political goals.”
  • Khamenei to new parliament: “No authority should help rise of a new aristocracy.”
  • Full text version of Fatemeh Rajabi’s attack against Hojjat al-Eslam Mohtashami-Pour, in defense of Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi. Here and here.
    • Fatemeh Rajabi, wife of the government spokesman, demands Hojjat al-Eslam Mohtashami-Pour be defrocked because of his attacks on Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi.
    • Raja News Agency comes to the aid of Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi after Hojjat al-Eslam Mohtashami-Pour’s attack against him.
    • Hojjat al-Eslam Hamid Rasayi declares his readiness to participate in a panel debate with Hojjat al-Eslam Mohtashami-Pour in order to defend Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, who has been subjected to Mohtashami-Pour’s attacks.
    • Former Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi says the first time the Iranian president demanded his resignation was in 2006.
    • Reformist politician Mohsen Armin defends Hojjat al-Eslam Mohtashami-Pour in his feud against Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi.
    • Theological students in Qom stage demonstration of support for Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi and attack Hojjat al-Eslam Mohtashami-Pour.
    • Mo’talefeh general secretary attacks Hojjat al-Eslam Mohtashami-Pour, supports Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi.
  • Director-General of the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic and several other top executives participate in regular “breakfast meetings” with Tehran mayor Qalibaf.
  • Meeting parliamentarians from Gilan province, Ahmadinejad says “there are ways to distribute oil wealth without inflationary consequences.”
  • Ebrahim Yazdi, general secretary of the Iran Freedom Movement, urges return to the “constitution, but minus the guardianship of the Jurist.”
  • Ahmadinejad visits Chahar-Mahal va Bakhtiari province, poor Mahdiyyeh area.
    • Delivers a speech in Shahr-e Kord: “This year is the year of conspiracies against Iran.” More here. Photos here.
  • Ahmadinejad’s blog:
    • “Rising prices are due to the result of the hidden management and mafia alliances of those who have not surrendered to the vote of the people.”
    • Khomeini “always mentioned the Imam of the Era as the true owner of the Revolution, and the one authority to whom one must deliver the Revolution…”
      • “He [Khomeini] saw everything as the sign of divine blessing and management of his vice regent [the Imam of the Era] and as in those days, there were some political groups who called this [the management of the Imam of the Era] superstition, there are also some today, who do not even see a halo of light [reference to the Iranian president’s earlier claims that during his first speech to the first U.N. general assembly, he was surrounded by a halo]. They have excluded God from their political calculations, and want to become the owners of the Revolution. The logic of the Great Khomeini, the true owner of the Revolution, was that of authority of God and the masses.”
    • “These politicians [Ahmadinejad’s critics] are those politicians and power holders who, even in case they should be religious, do not possess a religious world view, and only use the religious discourse. Had they, like the Great Khomeini, they would have accepted the unity of God. They would also not ridicule the authority of the Imam of the Era, and they would not deny halos of light in different places of world. [In that case] they would have considered the entire world to be shone upon by the light of benevolence and grace and planning of the Imam.”
      • “Today, I only, and I stress, only consider political analysis of the kind the Imam [Khomeini] delivered. And today we see transformation of the seemingly small movement started in 1963 [revolt against the White Revolution], into a huge and international movement from East Asia to the heart of Europe, and from Central Asia deep down into Africa. We can even see the hypothesis of the Imam pass the test, and even the heartless can’t deny divine halos of light. Anyone denying this has confessed his own blindness…”
    • On accusations he belonged to or was close to the Hojjattiyyeh: “If there are some, who falsely try to relate this truth [interventions of the Imam of the Era on behalf of the Islamic Republic], this is a fruitless forgery. Hojjattiyyeh thought had a different conclusion from Mahdaviyyat [Mahdism] and Entezar [waiting] which was one of surrender, collaboration [with the usurper] and separation of religion from politics, and would deny taklif [obligation]. The Imam [Khomeini] on the other hand considered himself and his movement as one under the shadow of his holiness [the Imam of the Era], and considered culture of waiting and Mahdism as one supporting struggle and Jihad, and considered it the spiritual [foundation] of his divine revolution…”
      • “They accuse of having had a plate for the Imam of the Era when I ate my lunch during my tenure as mayor of Tehran. They accuse me of having asphalted the highway from Tehran to Mecca awaiting the Imam of the Era. The accuse me of blaming the Imam of the Era for rising food prices in the world market….Don’t they fear the Day of Judgment?”

Economy

  • Natural gas consumption in the Islamic Republic is twice production.
  • Farda News condemns the Ministry of Social Affairs and Welfare’s failure to define “the poverty line.”
  • Alef News Agency sides with the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic in its fight against the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the first vice president, Davoodi, all of whom demand the Central Bank provide loans to short term projects stimulating employment. The Central Bank resists on the grounds that such easy, low-interest loans will worsen inflation.
  • Minister of Roads and Infrastructure announces privatization of “20 airports.”
  • Drought imperils rice fields in Iran.
  • Presidential media advisor Mehdi Kalhor visiting Lorestan Province says: “the latest round of rising prices is the result of the conspiracies of the enemy…The enemy wants to see chaos in Iran.” More here.
  • Ayatollah Ha’eri Shirazi, representative of the Supreme Leader in Shiraz, says “a number of decisions taken by the government have lessened inflation.” More here.

Trade

Religion, Culture, and Society

Diplomacy

  • The Office of the President of the Islamic Republic considers Ahmadinejad’s trip to the FAO Summit in Italy a “great success” and adds that the Iranian president not attending the state dinner was due to “the dinner coinciding with the president’s meetings with some Iranians in Rome.”
  • The Office of the President refutes E’temad Melli’s claims that the Iranian president held a secret meeting with the Pope. E’temad Melli republishes its original article documenting that it had never reported on a secret meeting between the Iranian president and the Pope.
  • Commander Mehdi Jamshidi, Revolutionary Guards chief of Chahar-Mahal va Bakhtiari province, says it is divine blessing that the Basijis have managed to propagate the Islamic Revolution all over the world.
  • Diplomasi-ye Irani explains the background of Rafsanjani’s trip to Saudi Arabia.
  • Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says the U.S. president’s comments in his European trip serve “propaganda purposes,” adds Syria and Iran continue their good relations.

Media

Nuclear Issue

Military and Security

Human Rights and Labor

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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