The Corner

Iran News Round Up

(Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his assistance compiling)

Economy and Trade

  • Iraqi Kurds ban insulin made in Iran because of HIV contamination fears.
  • General Mohammad ‘Azizi, head of the contracting arm of the Revolutionary Guards, signs implementation contracts for the 15th and 16th phases of Assalouyeh gas project.
  • Hamid-Reza Baradaran Shoraka, senior economist in the Khatami-era, says Iranian economy will experience higher rates of inflation.

Human Rights and Labor

  • Former members of Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat [Office of Strenghtening of Unity], Iran’s largest student union, condemn arrest of leftist student activists.
  • Three university professors from Amir Kabir Polytechnical University write an open letter to the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Judiciary to protest against imprisonment of Majid Tavakoli, Ahmad Qasaban and Ehsan Mansouri.
  • Amir Kabir Polytechnical University’s Disciplinary Committee expels student activists Naser Pouya-Far, Ebrahim Rahmani and Mehdi Abol-Hassani.
  • Following on the heels of the closure of Arya and Zanan [Women] monthly magazines, the Asr-e Panjshanbe literary magazine is shuttered.
  • Three youth held in the juvenile section of the Isfahan prison await execution.
  • Amnesty International demands freedom for imprisoned student activist, Jalil Ghanilou.
  • Amnesty International condemns stoning sentence against two sisters, Zohreh Kabiri and Azar Kabiri who allegedly have had an incestuous affair. Both women claim their confessions were false, and made under torture. The authorities of the Islamic Republic justify the stoning of the sisters with reference to Tahrir al-Vasileh, a book by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini.
  • International Transport Federation calls March 6, 2008 “Day of Solidarity with Iranian Workers,” in a move meant to pressure Iranian leaders ahead of parliamentary elections.

Politics: General

  • Ahmadinejad: “We are being criticized for providing subsidies to various products, but those economists don’t think about the downtrodden ones who risk going hungry to bed. We want to give people affordable bread, this is the very least we can do…” Talking about the bakers in Iran he added: “The bakers are some of most hard working people in the Iranian society. I kiss the hands of our peasants and our bakers and I hope we together can solve some of their problems.”
  • Defrocked Shi’ite cleric, Hadi Qabel’s walk from the headquarters of the reformist camp to prison becomes a political spectacle, with friends and followers walking along with him to the prison.
  • Political activist Akbar Ganji says structural deficiencies within the Islamic Republic and not Ahmadinejad are the source of Iranians misery. Here and here.
  • Supreme Leader: Revolution Day rally (on Monday) will show the strength of the regime.
  • Aftab publishes “new” pictures to commemorate Khomeini’s 1979 return to Iran.

Politics: March 2008 Elections

  • Supreme Leader on disqualifications: “Everyone must surrender to the law.”
  • Former President Khatami: “Disqualifications were catastrophic.”
  • Mohammad-Reza ‘Aref, reformist candidate for parliamentary elections in Tehran, leaves the race.
  • Naser Sha’bani, chief of the Revolutionary Guards Command College: “How did those who staged sit-ins at the parliament [the reformists] get the courage to register for parliamentary elections? … Those who knew they will be disqualified anyway have registered, despite the fact that they knew their disqualification will feed the propaganda machine of the foreigners…”
  • Ali-Reza Afshar, chief of the headquarters for elections, says he is going to enforce the Iranian parliament’s decision to ban use of posters for parliamentary elections despite the fact that the Council of Guardians has found the decision unconstitutional: “The Council of Guardians has returned this piece of legislation to the parliament for reconsideration, but since the parliament will not convene before the elections are over, their decision [to ban use of posters] will be enforced.” Afshar added: “Despite lack of posters, we are ready to do our best to create a joyous atmosphere!”
  • Hossein Ta’yeb, deputy chief of Basij Resistance Force expects an “extremely competitive election.”
  • Ali Larijani holds meeting with Ayatollahs in Qom as part of his low-key parliamentary campaign.
  • Parliamentary elections “challenge the bullying powers.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Presidential advisor Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi speaks of forthcoming nuclear victory.

Culture, Religion, and Society

  • Mohammad Maleki, the first dean of the University of Tehran after the revolution, claims the newly-appointed dean of the university is tasked with enforcing the “Second Cultural Revolution” by cleansing the university of “Westoxified” scholars.

Diplomacy

  • Jalal Talabani furthers embrace of Iranians.
  • Iraqi officials issue warrants for arrests of Mujahedin al-Khalq officials in Iraq.
  • Iran accuses U.S. and Israel of cutting internet cables.
  • UAE prime minister: “Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.”
  • Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, government spokesman under Khatami: “Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy is adventurous… [and] has not brought Iran anything but shame [referring to Ahmadinejad’s participation in the GCC Summit.]”

Picture 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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