The Corner

Iran News Round Up

(Thanks to Ali Alfoneh for his compilation)

Diplomacy

  • At his major first major press conference in the Persian New Year, Ahmadinejad:
    • Downplays Russia’s support for the sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic, and says the two countries enjoy good relations.
    • Says he does not recognize any “incentive package” to stop uranium enrichment, and added the Islamic Republic has prepared an incentive package for the entire world.
    • Says the U.S. tries to divert attention from its own shortcomings in Iraq by blaming others.
    • On Lebanon, he asks the United States: “Why do you provoke? Why do you arm some and start wars? Who is going to answer for the blood shedding in Lebanon?”
    • Downplays the remarks made by Saudi foreign minister, which Ahmadinejad said had more to do with the minister’s personal temperament than the actual state of affairs between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
    • Answering a question on why the Islamic Republic does not shut down the British embassy in Tehran given its “involve[ment] in conspiracies,” Ahmadinejad gave a survey of the “crimes of the British against Iran,” and said the journalist had expressed “the words of our hearts.”
  • Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, head of the Law Enforcement Forces, says Iran has delivered information on drugs transport and production in Afghanistan to NATO, but the organization has not been responsive.
  • Sobhani, former Islamic Republic of Iran ambassador to Lebanon, says the Ahmadinejad government is responsible for provoking accusations against Iran in the Arab world.
    • Alef News reports of “war crimes” of “Saudi paramilitary forces in Lebanon.”
  • “Iranian students demonstrate in front of the of the British embassy.”

Politics

  • At his major first major press conference in the Persian New Year, Ahmadinejad:
    • Said the general economic conditions of Iranians have improved
    • Purchasing power has increased
    • Said the government is unhappy with rising prices which he claimed were due to “external factors.”
    • On the executive leadership of the Twelfth Imam in world affairs, Ahmadinejad says: “In the government, we are all involved in … expert discussions and device scientific solutions to the problems, but if we deny existence of divine intervention and intervention of the Imam of the Era in our society and the society of mankind is a very bad behavior.”
    • More. Ansar News’ reportage, here.
  • Ahmadinejad will soon appoint Seyyed Mehdi Hashemi as acting minister of interior.
  • Iranian parliamentarians face threats and incentives to abstain from delivering a vote of no confidence to the minister of trade.

Religion, Culture, and Society

  • Karaj Municipality warns Gonabadi sufis that their Hosseiniyeh will soon be destroyed.
  • Ayatollah Allah-Badashti, a leading theological scholar with expertise in the field of Reemergence of the Mahdi and Shi’ite Escathology accuses the Iranian president of instrumental use of religion and abuse of the Imam for political purposes. He also says “all those who claim to be in contact with the Imam are liars and should be punished.”
    • Fatemeh Rajabi, the wife of government spokesman Elham, accuses those who criticize the Iranian president’s “belief in the Imam of the Era” and warns of the “sabotage by the enemies of the Mahdi.”
  • The Student Basij Organization attacks Iran Azad University in an open letter.
  • Two executives at the ministry of higher education involved in the work of disciplinary committees resign.

Economy

Trade

  • Mohammad-Ali Khatibi takes Hossein Kazempour Ardebili’s place as the Islamic Republic’s representative in OPEC.

Military and Security

Media

  • Afghans in western Afghanistan are the largest audience for Iran’s foreign broadcasting.

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