The Corner

Iran News Round Up

(Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his compilation)

Military and Security

  • Head of the ground forces of the Revolutionary Guards, Commander Mohammad-Reza Zahedi says that 600 “Imam Hussein units” will start operations in urban centers all over the country. According to Zahedi the units will counter “the extreme security situation of the country” and “train the Basij.”  More.
  • The Revolutionary Guards begins spring camps to train members of the Basij to “counter the cultural invasion.”
  • Commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards: “The military might of Iran deters the enemy from attacking Iran.”
  • IRGC chief: “Tranquility and security are the biggest achievements of the Islamic Revolution…The people will give a crushing answer to the perpetrators of injustice.”
  • Tabnak claims British MI6 is engaged in “activities against the Revolutionary Guards” in northern Iraq. Tabnak also claims MI6 has recruited “oppositionists” in order to gather information on the Revolutionary Guards. The news agency claims the headquarters of this organization is located at a hotel between Erbil and Masif Salah al-Din.

Religion, Culture, and Society

  • Speaking to members of the Basij, IRGC chief says ”The threats against the Islamic Republic are not only military, but also cultural.” More.
  • Head of the school books department at the ministry of education: “The culture of martyrdom and self sacrifice is being propagated in the school books.”
  • Esfandiayr Rahim-Mashayee, advisor to Ahmadinejad, says a special task force will be formed to preserve the memory of the “Sacred Defense,” [the Iran-Iraq war].
  • Iranian film maker Majidi attacks Abdol-Karim Soroush’s claim that the Quran is the result of the ”poetic and artistic production of the Prophet and not a divine revelation.”
  • Iranian journalist Behnoud, discussing the Iranian president’s claims that Iran has the freest elections in the world, wonders why the press is subjected to severe control.

Economy and Trade

  • Ahmadinejad to El Pais responding to when he will live up to his promises to bring oil money to the tables of people: “Oil is not edible.”
  • The national bank of Iran says inflation has exceeded 20 percent.

Politics: General

  • Asr-e Iran to authorities: “Take a ride in a shared taxi and listen to the people.”
  • Mohammad Hashemi, brother of the former president Rafsanjani, reiterates previous accusations of rigged presidential elections in 2005.
  • Revolutionary Guards chief: “We need to neutralize the conspiracies of the enemy in all fields.”
  • Majid Doust-Ali, Ahmadinejad’s cabinet secretary, delivering a speech in Qom: “Despite the intimidations of the enemy and the whispering of mercenary elements in spreading such intimidations [reference to the domestic critics of the Ahmadinejad government], Ahmadinejad did not hesitate to bring Iran to the brink of nuclearization, in order to invite everyone to the nuclear feast table of Iran.”
  • Haddad-’Adel, chairman of the Iranian parliament: “Weakening of the government is haram [religiously impermissible].”
  • Abrar publishes some changes in the composition of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution in Iran.
  • Ahmadinejad visits the city of Shalamche, decimated during the Iran-Iraq War.

Politics: March 2008 Parliamentary Elections

  • Mostafa Tajzadeh, the head of the Election Headquarters of the reformist Mosharekat [Participation] Front, warns against Revolutionary Guards intervention in politics in the Islamic Republic: “If the people of Iran desire to save the Islamic Revolution from the destiny of the Constitutional Revolution, when armed forces sacrificed the ideals and aspirations [of the people] to promote their own inclinations and interests – they [the people] should act against the declarations of the armed forces. In this way, the nation can expel them from the scene in order to maintain the uniformity of the armed forces, in order to preserve the military capacities of the armed forces, and in order to maintain unanimous popular support for them at the hour of need.”
  • Sai’di, representative of the Supreme Leader in the Revolutionary Guards, urges members of the Guards and the Basij to intervene and engage in the parliamentary elections and guides them on how to identify suitable candidates. See also minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance’s attack on the character of the reformists published in the same issue of the Sobh-e Sadeq, the official mouthpiece of the Revolutionary Guards.
  • Rafanjani, chairman of the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts, criticizes disqualification of reformist candidates: “Such acts disturb the national unity…If the enemy sees us united their provocations would lessen.”
  • Former president Khatami: “We participate in the elections as victims, but gladly.”
  • The reformist alliance, Jebhe-ye Mosharekat-e Iran-e Eslami [The Islamic Participation Front of Islamic Iran] has presented the following candidates for parliamentary elections: 1. Majid Ansar. 2. Eshaq Jahangiri. 3. Mohammad Sadr. 4. Asadollah Kiyan-Ersi. 5. Najaf-Qoli Habibi. 6. Mohammad Eshraqi Esfehani. 7. Mahmoud Do’ayee. 8. Ali-Reza Mahjoub. 9. Soheila Jelodar-Zadeh. 10. Ali-Reza Rahimi. 11. Javd Eta’at. 12. Abolfazl Shakouri. 13. Vahid Mahmoudi. 14. Eliyas Hazrati. 15. Seyyed Kamel Taavi-Nezhad. 16. Mohammad Qoi. 17.Narges Karimi. 18. Elahe Rastgou. 19. ’Ajayebi. 20. Minayee-Pour. 21. Hassan Khalil-Abadi. 22. Zali. 23. Ghareh-Yazi. 24. Afshin Habib-Zadeh. 25. Nourbakhsh. 26. Golpayegani. 27. Khosh-Kholgh. 28. Jamshidi. 29. Moi’n Far. 30. Seyyed Afsal Mousavi.
  • ’Etemad Melli [National Trust] Party has presented the following candidates for parliamentary elections: 1. Hojjat al-Eslam Montakhab-Nia. 2. Eshaq Jahan-giri. 3. Fatmeh Karoubi. 4. Masoud Soltani-Far. 5. Esma’il Gerami-Moghaddam. 6. Abolfazl Shakouri. 7. Javad Eta’at. 8. Eliyas Hazrati. 9. Vahid Mahmoudi. 10. Ebrahim Asqar-Zadeh. 11. MohammadQomi. 12. Assadollah Kiyan-Ersi 13. Majid Ansari. 14. A’zam Saqati. 15. Najmeh Goudarzi. 16. Kamel Taqavi. 17. Mohammad-Reza Rah-Chamani. 18. Hassa ’Abedi Ja’fari. 19. Ali-Reza Rahimi. 20. Talayee-Nik. 21. Aktar Derakhshandeh. 22. Mehdi Rasoul-Panah. 23. Mohammad Sadr. 24. ’Abbas-Ali Zali. 25. Najaf-Qoli Habibi. 26. Behzad Ghareh-Yazi. 27. Elahe Rast-Gou.28. Salman Safavi. 29. Afshin Habib-Zadeh. 30. ’Adel Azar.
  • The E’tedal and Tose’eh faction publishes its candidate list.
  • Aftab publishes the complete list of candidates for parliamentary elections in Tehran.
  • 4476 candidates compete for the seats in parliament.
  • 1052 candidates decline to run for the Iranian parliament.
  • Esma’il Hajipour, parliamentary candidate from Rasht, barred from running for the Iranian parliament after the release of the final list of candidates approved by Council of Guardians.
  • Emrooz publishes a comprehensive report of the first day of the campaign.
  • Hossein Ta’yeb, Deputy chief of the Basij, predicts that 67 percent of the electorate will participate in parliamentary elections.
  • Former intelligence minister Ali Fallahian criticizes Ahmadinejad and explains his platform for parliamentary elections.
  • Khatami era vice president Abtahi says the reformist camp is ”total disorder” prior to parliamentary elections, and many candidates are still considering their candidacy.
  • Former president Khatami: “We defend the regime; one must not show negative reactions to our criticism of the regime.” Adds: “They have made a lot of conspiracies which will be neutralized by the active presence of the people at the parliamentary elections.”

Human Rights and Labor

  • Radio Farda report on the arrests of 12 students in Shiraz.  More.
  • International Day of Solidarity with (imprisoned labor leader) Mansour Osanlou.
  • Tehran University Dean, Farhad Rahbar threatens to enforce discipline among students and says he will decrease the student population residing near the campus area.
  • Imprisoned labor leader Mahmoud Salehi’s message on international day of solidarity with Iranian labor.

Diplomacy

  • Former Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientist condemns sanctions against Iran on Iranian TV.
  • Parliamentarian Mehdi Kouchakzadeh on new UN Security Council Resolution: “We should feel humiliated and dishonored if international organizations defend us!”
  • The Islamic Republic extends a second billion dollar loan to Iraq.
  • Visiting the Sudan, Iran’s Defense Minister calls Sudan the resting point of the African policies of the Islamic Republic.
  • Ahmadinejad: “They [the Americans] will not allow Obama to become president.”
  • Parliamentary candidate Mohammd Sadr: “Israel declares some of Ahmadinejad’s acts are beneficial to Israel… In order to attract foreign direct investments we need to abstain from adventurous foreign policy… Ahmadinejad’s trip and participation in the GCC summit was a mistake…”
  • Tabnak says the U.S. delegation cancelled meeting with the Iranian delegation in Iraq.
  • Shi’ite sources of emulation Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani, Grand Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani, Grand Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili, and Grand Ayatollah Ja’far Sobhani ask the Iranian minister of culture and Islamic propagation to severe relations with Denmark and the Netherlands because of “insults against the prophet of Islam.” Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi claims the “insults” are not the work of only one Danish newspaper, but part of a “premeditated conspiracy,” and explains: “Since they [the Europeans] are not able of proving Islam wrong, and since they fear the expansion of Islam, they do such ignorant deeds in anger.” Golpayegani said the publication of the Danish cartoons were a reaction to “the ever growing strength of Islam.” Hamedani described Denmark as the “sworn enemy of Islam” and stressed the necessity of ”taking the lead in reacting against Denmark as Iran took the lead against the heretic Salman Rushdie.” Grand Ayatollah Ja’far Sobhani urged the Muslims to “rise in a show of anger against the infidels” in a reaction against what he called “Islamophobia.”

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Michael Rubin — 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 ...

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