The Corner

Iran News Round Up

(Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his compilation)

Politics: March 2008 Parliamentary Elections

  • Iran Freedom Movement evaluates reactions to the party’s suggestions for international monitoring of elections in the Islamic Republic.
  • 370 distinguished signatories condemn “breaches against sovereignty of the people” in the process up to the parliamentary elections.
  • Abdol-Reza Rahmani Fazli, former parliamentarian says there is no single parliamentary faction under the banner of “Principalism.”
  • Majid Ansari, senior member of the Combatant Clerics faction: “Sending the list of approved candidates is the method of Reza Khan [the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty of Shahs that controlled Iran from 1925-1979]…I t is being said that we should all participate in the elections, but why? Why should anyone who has been disqualified in the screening process of the Council of Guardians participate in the elections?”
  • Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani: “If unqualified candidates do not resign from their candidacy, they have committed treason against the society.”
  • Tajerzadeh, member of the central committee of the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revoluton: “Now that we want to participate in parliamentary elections, President Ahmadinejad wants us not to, but had we not participated, President Ahmadinejad would have accused us of obstructing the parliamentary elections!”
  • Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, first deputy speaker of the Iranian parliament says he has had conversations with the Council of Guardians to “minimize the number of disqualified parliamentary candidates.”

Politics: General

  • Iranian academic and spokesman of the Iran National Front, Hermidas Bavand summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence for interrogation.
  • Mohammad Hashemi, brother of former president Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani: “The line of the Imam [Khomeini] was not one of monopolizing power.”
  • Abdollah Nouri, Khatami’s impeached interior minister: “Mehdi Hashemi was innocent.” [Mehdi Hashemi was the brother of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri’s son-in-law, executed in part because he leaked word of the secret visits which became known as the Iran-Contra Affair, and in part because of a power struggle with Rafsanjani].
  • Tabnak reports of individualism among Rayehe-ye Khosh-e Khedmat [The Pleasant Scent of Servitude] faction, which supports Ahmadinjad.

Nuclear Issue

Human Rights and Labor

  • University of Tehran student activist Soleiman Yazdan-Panah arrested after last week’s unrest in the campus area.
  • Azad University student activist, Bahram Shoja’ee bailed out of prison.
  • The European Parliament condemns human rights violations in the Islamic Republic.

Economy and Trade

Society, Culture, and Religion

  • The Special Court for Clergy defrocks religious reformer, Hadi Qabel, member of the Central Committee of the Participation Front of Iran, after his conviction of acting against the National Interests of Iran, spreading lies, disturbing the public mind, and insulting the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
    • Sentenced to four months imprisonment and is fined five million rials.
  • The Governorate of Shiraz protests formally against student publications published at the University of Shiraz.
  • Ali Ahmadi, head of education at the Ministry of Education: “A unitary educational system for girls and boys is the legacy of colonialism which has been forced upon us… For years we have not adjusted the training of our teachers. This will be changed now…The difference between boys and girls is an undeniable truth. Boys and girls have different physical, spiritual and intellectual needs in different ages. Along with this, what the future harbors for girls, is a destiny different than of boys, we want it or not… Ladies should demonstrate their maturity and courage in the managerial field.”

Security and Military

  • Iran prepares electronic warfare capability.
  • Claims to have stealth technology as well.
  • Tabnak explains the difference between ballistic missiles and rockets for space exploration in order to “decrease foreign worries with regard to Iran’s missile program.”
  • Kavoshgar-1 launched.
    • Ahmadinejad sends a rocket to orbit with these words: “In the shadow of the mercy of Hazrat-e Baqiat-Allah [another name for the Twelfth Imam], and commemorating the memory of the Imam [Khomeini] and the martyrs and the honorable martyrs of the Revolution, I hereby allow the launching of Kavoshgar 1 which I hope is a long step in the advancement of humanity and the dear Iran’s economic and spiritual advancement.”
    • Full speech.
  • Ahmadinejad, on the prospect of launching the satellite Omid [Hope] into orbit: “If we move in the divine direction, no obstacle can stop us.”

Diplomacy

  • Tabnak publishes an interesting document from the pre-revolutionary Iranian intelligence service, SAVAK, which claims the former head of French intelligence presented Iranian intelligence with a plan to assassinate Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini. More interestingly, the document also reveals that Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini during his stay in France also had started a visa process in order to migrate to the United States.
  • Foreign Ministry spokesman: “The claims of an anonymous Iraqi source to Arab language newspapers on disputes on ownership of oil fields in the Iran/Iraq border area are baseless.”
  • Tabnak criticizes the fact that “Iranian diplomats are standing in a line in order to meet with [Egyptian president] Mubarak, while there has only been one Egyptian official who visited Tehran.”

Photo 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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