The Corner

Iran News Round Up

  • (Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his compilation)

Politics

  • Agahsazi attacks the “disclosures” of the Iranian president of  ”widespread conspiracies against the Iranian government.”
  • Friday prayer leader of Mashhad and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Alam al-Hoda: “Those who only vote in the first round of parliamentary elections and do not to participate in the second round of elections have only performed half of their religious duty…Those who say inadequate people seem to be in minority after the first round of elections to parliament should think twice, since even a minority is able to raise the banner of irreligiousity to break the hearts of you believers… There are those who claim the clergy considers itself guardians of the people. This is not true, and is the psy-ops of the enemy. At Friday prayers there are two things which matter: God, and the people. What I say is nothing but the command and words of God…” Ayaollah Alam al-Hoda also attacked the local newspaper critical of him, Khorasan: “How come a newspaper, which only serves the economic interests of few becomes the voice of the people, but the institution of the Friday prayers and all of you chanting the Takbir [Allah is Great] is not popular? … I warn those who write editorials on my Friday prayers speeches, those who would never show up to participate in Friday prayers, don’t make up your mind by reading the headlines of their newspapers, but come here and listen to my words… If you don’t have a religion, if you don’t believe in God, then have a sense of justice.”
  • Reformist parliamentary candidate Eliyas Hazrati says Ahmadinejad is personally responsible for the economic ills of Iran.
  • After months of contradictory reports, the minister of interior leaves office.  Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, former parliamentarian from Sanandaj, advisor to the judiciary, and governor of Kordestan is appointed acting minister of interior for three months.

o       According to a Kuwaiti newspaper, Mojtaba Hashemi Samareh could return to the ministry of interior.

o       Supreme Leader does not oppose government reshuffle.

o       Do’a-Gou, Friday prayers leader of Shemiranat, opposes the cabinet reshuffle.

  • Mojtaba Hashemi Samareh, senior presidential advisor explains the Iranian president’s speech in Qom: “This government is committed to fight corruption… As an example the president pointed to the question of [illegal] cigarette imports… which impacts the country and costs the country dearly… The main point of criticism of the president was directed against some public sectors, especially some banks and some bank executives, when t comes to the fight against economic corruption… The president is worried about some mid-level executives, and some high ranking executives who sabotage the efforts of the government in the fight against corruption….”
  • Raja News discloses that the Iranian president’s attack against the so-called cigarette mafia is referring to a former military commander.
  • Mohammad Qouchani refutes rumors of being the editor of E’temad Melli: “I am an advisor to Karroubi, but I have not gone to the E’temad Melli.”
  • Office of the Iranian president publishes a report blaming the Iranian parliament for rising public expenditure.

Readers Comment

  • In reference to an item on the April 19, 2008 Iran News Round Up in which Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi warned of a “miserable generation,” Meir Javedanfar notes “another important message from Mesbah” in the article:

o       Javednafar writes: ‘Mesbah also says that we (meaning the clergy) should not interfere in orders from the supreme leader.

I think he is doing this to support Ahmadinejad, because (1) the clergy in Qom are becoming more vociferous in their condemnation of the president, and this could ultimately hurt Mesbah’s position, because Ahmadinejad is his highest  ranking supporter, and (2) by making himself look like the staunchest supporter of the supreme leader, Mesbah is trying to ward off Larijani’s efforts to gather support in Qom. This ultimately serves his, and Ahmadinejad’s interests.

Diplomacy

o       Mohsen Pezeshkpour, leader of the pan-Iranist movement of Iran: “Our struggle was an anti-imperialist struggle.”

  • Iranian academic Bizhan Abdi: “The U.S. has not been able to stage a velvet revolution in this country… but if we follow the advice of the World Bank, we will help the U.S. stage such a revolution.”
  • Iranian fishing boat boarded by the Indian coast guard; crew members arrested near Gujarat.
  • Ahmadinejad meeting the Philippine minister of foreign affairs: “The Islamic Republic, resisting this [the monopolizing policies of nuclear powers], is facing the bully states and the monopolists, and is determined to hand over the right to peaceful nuclear energy to the nations.” The Iranian president also stressed that Iran is ready to “share” its nuclear technology with other states.
  • Ahmadinejad: “The U.S. Dollar nowadays is only a bunch of worthless print paper.”

Nuclear Issue

Religion, Culture, and Society

  • Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani urges the clergy to guard the ideological beliefs of the university students with increased clerical presence in the universities.
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Jahangir Mahmoudi: “Some are of the belief that pan-Iranism is an obsolete and unusable school of thought, but this writer is of the opinion that the ideology of pan-Iranism, in addition to knowledge and reason, also rests upon religion … pan-Iranism should be the ideology of every Iranian who lives in this country. But most interestingly, and resting upon the background of the history of Islamic philosophy, pan-Iranism should also be the ideology of all Muslims in the world, both Shi’a and Sunnis who await the coming of the Mahdi (May God hasten his coming). Pan-Iranism is also the [suitable] school of thought for every Christian who awaits the return of Christ, since his return happens simultaneously with the Mahdi.”
  • Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi: “Immoral films have driven the university students towards immorality.”
  • Arabic MBC News to launch a Persian service transmitting from Dubai. Didar News warns of “a new cultural onslaught.”
  • The ailing Seyyed Jamal Tabatabayee, father of numismatics in Iran, delivers an interview to Entekhab.

Economy

  • Drinking water and even bottled water scarce in Yazd.
  • According to Abrarfood prices continue to rise.  The price of re meat has risen from 65,000 rials per kilo last year to 100,000 rials now. Chicken has risen from 18,000 rials per kilo last year to 29,000 rials now. The price of rice has increased from 6,000 rials per kilo to 12,000 rials now. The same trend is seen in the fruit market.
  • According to Didar News, Iran’s foreign exchange reserve reaches $78.455 billion.
  • Friday prayers leader of Zanjan: “The rising prices are artificial and the machination of those who want to damage the Ahmadinejad government.”
  • Liquidity reaches 155,000 billion Touman, writes E’temad.
  • Director General of the Islamic Republic of Iran National Bank Tahmasb Mazaheri says the national bank is not a “charity” and warns against distribution of money to other banks from the coffers of the national bank.
  • Ousted minister of finance and economy Danesh-Ja’fari: “Mr. Ahmadinejad had chosen a very young team to take over the ministries but encountered strong resistance in the bureaucracy and the parliament…Therefore he realized he had to widen the circle of the trusted ones…Mr. Ahmadinejad desires to transform the entire banking system into interest free banking… Before going to India to study economics my professor in Persian literature asked why I wanted to study economics. I answered that I wanted to become an economist to fight against poverty, the difference between rich and poor, and to solve the economic problems of the country. My professor responded that even if you have a Ph.D., the bureaucratic system of this country will not allow you to realize your dreams.”

o       Danesh-Ja’fari also added that he was against dissolution of the Budget and Planning Organization by presidential decree.

o       Hossein Semsami takes over the ministry of finance and economy; Danesh-Ja’fari is asked to become a senior economic advisor to the Iranian president. 

o       According to Tabnak, Semsami is the son of the sister of first vice president Parviz Davoodi.

  • In an open letter to the Iranian president, the Minister of Labor of the Islamic Republic criticizes several dimensions of the Iranian president’s latest economic initiatives, calling it ”the final bullet against employment in this country.” More.
  • Ali Sa’id-Lou, presidential advisor with regard to executive affairs, says the “economic mafia is misinforming the public mind…the economic system is going through a major transformation.”

Trade

Military and Security

o       Interview with commander Ala’i.

Human Rights and Labor

  • Nasrin Afzali, journalist and women’s rights activist, convicted to six months of imprisonment and 10 lashes because of “disturbing the public order.”

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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