The Corner

Iran News Round Up

(Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his compilation)

Politics

  • Ali-Akbar Javanfekr, media advisor to the Iranian president: “Friends and foes have confessed the bitter truth that the ninth government, and especially our beloved and popular president, has been subjected to unprecedented insults and unethical behavior. We thank our great Lord most humbly that we have managed to preserve our sense of dignity and calm in the face of such misbehavior and mistreatment.”
  • Agahsazi republishes an interview with ousted minister of economy and finance, Danesh-Ja’fari, originally published in Shahrvand:
    • The interviewer: How did you get access to the ninth cabinet? Did you belong to the ‘quota’ of a certain group?
    • Answer: No. As opposed to Dr. Rahbar with whom Mr. Ahmadinejad had little history, he knew me from many years ago. I was not active in the presidential campaign, since I was working in the economic advisory bureau of the Supreme Leader and was barred from campaigning activities… After the election victory of Mr. Ahmadinejad…the most sensitive government portfolios were given to the members of his election campaign headquarters. This displeased Mr. Ahmadinejad, who reached the conclusion that it was necessary to widen the circle around him. Therefore, another report was produced, and most members of the cabinet were appointed from other circles than those active in the election campaign of the president…”
    • The interviewer: Were you and Dr. Rahbar in the team composing the cabinet?
    • Answer: Yes, when Mr. Ahmadinejad realized that he could count on me and Dr. Rahbar he summoned us to a meeting and we were asked to…present three candidates for each ministry to Mr. Ahmadinejad. But he had the final decision.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Niyazi, head of the Supreme Investigative Organization of the country says existence of an economic mafia, as suggested by the Iranian president [in Qom speech], is news to him.
    • Head of the National Organization of Notaries demands the Iranian president to hand over all the information he possesses on economic crimes.

  • Agahsazi’s Mohammad-Reza Haddadi criticizes what he calls the ”publishing mafia of the state,” since most major publishing houses in the Islamic Republic are either official or semi-official.
  • Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, head of the Supreme Audit Court, expected to become acting minister of interior by the Iranian president.
  • Fatemeh Karroubi removes main Khatami supporters from her list of candidates in the second round of parliamentary elections.
  • Alef News Agency digs up a quote by Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, head of the Supreme Audit Court, said in Ahmadinejad’s company: “In Syria, in the historical city of Basra which may be unknown to some, a Muslim told me that he believes that if there was to be a prophet after the prophet, this should be Ahmadinejad.” 
  • Ahmadinejad attacks parliamentary speaker Haddad-Adel in an open letter, reacting to the parliament’s criticism Ahmadinejad not putting into effect legislation passed by parliament.
  • Ahmadinejad’s meeting with the wife of the late Hossein Fatemi, foreign minister under Mossadeq, provokes more radical Islamist elements. Mohammad-Mehdi Abde-Khodayee, the terrorist who killed Fatemi delivers, an interview to Jomhouri-ye Eslami: “A few days before becoming the agent of terror of Dr. Fatemi, I visited Navvab Safavi in prison. During that meeting, Navvab told me to ready myself for an important mission. After this meeting, Abdol-Hossein Vahedi told me that Dr. Hossein Fatemi has been identified as the main obstacle against implementation of divine commandments, therefore we need to do away with him to force Mossadeq to accept our Islamic viewpoints.”

Economy

  • Alef News corrects the Iranian president’s claim that the Iranian economy suffers from cigarette smuggling mafia. “According to Fars News Agency, the Iranian president in his speech in Qom claimed the cigarette smuggling amounted to $5 billion. The correct number is 5 billion tomans [$5.58 million].” According to Alef, total cigarette imports are $250 million annually.
  • The Islamic Republic organizes a committee to deal with drought.
  • Tabriz Tractor Factory is purchased by the Interest-Free Bank of the Basij.
  • Engineer Ali-Reza Nikzad, deputy head of the industry and mining section of Khatam al-Anbia, the contracting arm of the Revolutionary Guards, says “We have now entered a point at which we can establish refineries and petrochemical plants.”

Trade

Diplomacy

  • Iran slams U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
  • Foreign Minister Mottaki travels to Kuwait to participate in the summit of neighbors of Iraq.
  • Ahmadinejad will soon travel to Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan.
  • Radio Free Europe is expected to launch an Azeri service; Jahan News warns of U.S. support for secessionist movements in Iran.
  • Commander Mir-Feisal Baqerzadeh, head of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Works and Publications of the Sacred Defense, says the Zionist regime has lost in the battle of transferring itss beliefs to the Palestinians.

Nuclear Issue

Military and SecuritY

  • The Revolutionary Guards’ homepage reveals that last year’s seizure of British sailors occurred under the command of Colonel Abolqasem Amangah.
  • Former Revolutionary Guards chief Abbas Douzdouzani explains the IRGC’s origins.
  • Zaman (a Turkish Islamist newspaper) writes that as long as the Islamic Republic does not engage in confidence building measures, no serious cooperation can be expected in the fight against terrorism.
  • Quoting The International Herald Tribune, clashes between Iranian and Afghan border guards.
  • Brigadier General Salehi, commander of the Iranian Army: “I see no reason to disclose all our military capabilities to the enemy.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Sa’idi, representative of the Supreme Leader in the Revolutionary Guards: “From its very inception, the Revolutionary Guards was instrumental in consolidation of the regime and dealt with unrest after the revolution, specially in the north and northeastern parts of the country… It was quite natural that the army, under those conditions, was not able to defend the country in the face of the Iraqi invasion and the Revolutionary Guards managed to…force the invasion army to retreat along with the army.”
  • Commander Sa’id Sharifzadeh, head of IRGC logistics, says the Revolutionary Guards it the “mightiest army in the Middle East.”
  • The Revolutionary Guards homepage publishes an interview with Dr. Mohammad-Reza Hassani Ahangar, researcher at the Aerodynamics Center of the Emam Hossein University of the Revolutionary Guards.
  • Chief of the Revolutionary Guards Navy, Morteza Saffari says innovation and blossoming will become the main strategy of the IRGC navy.
  • Commander Jo-Kar, chief of the Pupil’s Basij, says 300 Pupil’s units of the Basij 750 associations or scientific groups are active in providing elite education for the members of the Basij.
  • Commander Seyyed Mas’oud Jazayeri, deputy chief of the Armed Forces Unified Command Council, says the U.S. media lies more than relates the truth.
  • The Revolutionary Guards homepage publishes an interview with Hojjat al-Eslam Hajj-Sadeqi, head of the Islamic Department in Qom, one of scientific and research institutes of the Revolutionary Guards which has “taken great steps in scientific and cultural dimensions and has achieved glorious results.” Hajj-Sadeqi adds that, initially, the research institute was called The Research Institute, and Martyr Mahallati, the late Ayatollah Ahmadi Miyanji, the late Ayatollah Rowhani, Ayatollah Mesbah [Yazdi], Ayatollah Amini, and Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi were board members of the institute. According to Hajj-Sadeqi, “the cultural products and teaching materials in the Revolutionary Guards needed to be controlled and censored somewhere… Until now 400 titles have been published… And the research field of the institution has widened into broad studies of humanities.”

Religion, Culture, and Society

  • Asr-e Iran announces an Azeri concert to be performed soon in Tehran.

Photos 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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