The Corner

Iran News Round Up

(Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his compilation)

Politics: March 2008 Elections

  • Interior minister predicts 35 million voters will participate in the parliamentary elections.
  • Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani urges the people to vote for “decent” and “pious” candidates.
  • The World Inter-Parliamentary Organization urges support for “free parliamentary elections in Iran.”
  • Mehdi Karrubi, general secretary of E’temad-e Melli, says it is too late for an alliance among reformers.
  • Former president Khatami discussed disqualification of reformist candidates for the parliamentary elections with Supreme Leader Khamenei.
  • Parliamentary speaker denied disqualifications were related to political groupings.
  • Council of Guardians bars Mostafa Tajzadeh’s candidacy for elections.
  • Government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham: “The result of the parliamentary elections will have great impact on the policies of the government.”
  • Mehdi Karroubi, former spokesman of the Iranian parliament and General Secretary of the E’temad-e Melli Party in a reaction to disqualification of reformist candidates for parliamentary elections: “Publish the CV’s of those who were disqualified, but also the CV’s of those [members of the Council of Guardians] who disqualified them.”
  • Members of the fundamentalist faction in parliament, whose candidacy has been approved by the Council of Guardians attack disqualified reformist candidates by calling them ”enemies of God.”
  • Abdul-Wahed Mousavi Lari, Mohammad Khatami and other reformist figures convene to discuss widespread disqualification of reformist candidates.

Politics: General

  • Ahmadinejad: “The victory of the Islamic Revolution is the greatest event in the history of man since the advent of Islam.”  In English.
  • Jahan says Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf held a meeting in France with [Iranian] “counterrevolutionary forces who plan to establish a government-in-exile in Pakistani territory.” The news agency says Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi will be head of state and preside over a federative structure in Iran.
  • Rafsanjani: “The conditions are ripe for student political participation… A society in which the students are not politically active is politically poverty stricken.”
  • Speaker of Parliament Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel: “In the world, we are facing a phenomenon called Islamic awakening.”

Society, Religion, and Culture

  • Amir Kabir University student council protests against conditions of life for students at the university.
  • Zanan (Women) monthly banned.
  • Four civil servants working in Mehrabad International Airport are sentenced to death for “economic corruption” and “smuggling.”
  • Raja slams Palestinian/Danish film director’s film, Go with God Hamil, which depicts sectarian conflict between the Iraqi Shi’a and Sunni.
  • Interior Minister says Ahmadinejad’s most important achievement is slowing migration from the countryside to urban areas.
  • Head of the Law Enforcement Forces says the Iranian president has not yet issued an order with regard to closing of traditional tea houses in Iran.

Human Rights and Labor

  • The imprisoned labor rights activist and union leader Mansour Ossanlou has released from Evin prison to Labafinezhad Hospital, for treatment for heart and kidney problems.
  • Ali Salem at Tehran’s Polytechnic University imprisoned.
  • Liberal Student Association of the University of Tehran discusses campus unrest. Manifesto begins with a quote of Diderot: “No philosopher has ever killed a priest, but priests have killed numerous philosophers.”
  • 800 political, cultural and journalist activists demand a fact-finding committee to look at the death of Ebrahim Lotfallahi while in prison in Sanandaj.
  • Iran-e Emrooz reports imprisonment of 54 Bahai’s in Shiraz.

Security

  • Tabnak reports six PKK terrorists have surrendered to the Law Enforcement Forces in Piranshahr.
  • Soleimani, deputy coordinator of the Basij Resistance Force, and Jalali, head of the Islamic Republic’s Home Defense Office: “We want to strengthen the political order of the country with non-military means, and decrease its vulnerabilities… One can divide the population into three groups in a war situation: The first group is the group which seeks refuge in safe places. The second group is the Fifth Columnists, who are few, but there are some. And the [third group] is that of the Basij, who must remain in the theater and administer the country, since the Basij is responsible for the indirect running of the country in all fields.”
  • Minister of Defense Mostafa Najjar: “Iran [is] self-sufficient in arms manufacture.” The Islamic Republic’s minister of defense also unveiled a heavy machine-gun with eight muzzles, a special rifle and camera-equipped pistols.

Nuclear Issue

  • Unnamed Iranian officials say the nuclear material which was being transported to Iran from Kyrgyzstan was to be used in medical research and construction.
  • CFR fellow Ray Takeyh (scroll down) in Etema’ad interview: “Iran has the right not to suspend [enrichment].”
  • Ahmadinejad: No concessions on Iran’s nuclear drive.

Diplomacy

  • Parliamentary speaker meets Egyptian president.
  • Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “We need to resist…The World Arrogance [The United States] is in decline…When ever they talk about democracy and human rights one should take a look at Palestine.”
  • Commander Mohammad Farhadi of the Basij Resistance Forces elaborates on the “soft power” of the Islamic Republic.
  • The Iraqi ambassador to Iran: “We do not have any legal issue with Iran when it comes to the Algiers Accord [of 1975 which settled the Iran/Iraq border].
  • Former secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic: “The West thinks they can influence the domestic political debate in Iran with new Security Council Resolutions.”
  • This year will be a milestone in Iran-Africa ties.

Economy and Trade

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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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