The Corner

Iran News Round Up

Economy

Politics

  • Former President Khatami visits Kordestan province for the first time, is guided by his former government spokesman, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh.
    • Khatami government spokesman Ramezanzadeh and Khatami’s vice president Abtahi deny their earlier comments and claim they have never said that the former president Khatami had planned to visit Kordestan.
  • The reformist camp prepares a second line of candidates in case both Khatami and Karrubi are barred from running for presidential elections.
    • Theoretician behind the plan, former Revolutionary Guard co-founder Alviri, distances himself from it.
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Rowhani says his candidacy is not dependent on candidacy of others, stresses the importance of a virtuous society.
  • Iran attacks Tehran mayor Qalibaf’s possible run for presidency.
  • Parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani opposes Ahmadinejad government’s proposals for oil dividend and cash distribution.
  • Iran’s largest student organization, Office of Strengthening of Unity, suggests  Abdollah Nouri as presidential candidate.
  • Two former parliamentarians from Ahwaz, a former mayor of Ahwaz, several former members of Ahwaz Islamic City Council of Ahwaz and a number of executives have been arrested on grounds of economic crimes.
  • Agah Sazi publishes biographies of Rafsanjani and Ahmad Jannati.
  • Central Committee member of Mosharekat reformist movement Seyyed Mostafa Tajzadeh, commenting on the Palizdar affair, says economic corruption indeed is prevalent in the Islamic Republic, but one must “ask if it has deteriorated or improved” during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Tajzadeh continues: “Mr. Palizdar’s allegations were solely directed towards clerical critics of the Ahmadinejad government which raises the suspicion of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s attempts at purging the system of the clergy.”
  • President of Higher Education Committee of the Iranian parliament says the issue regarding Interior Minister Ali Kordan’s forged doctoral degree from Oxford University is marked “secret” and all inquiries should be directed to parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani.

Nuclear Issue

Diplomacy

  • Ahmadinejad to New York.
    • Shahab News wonders why Ahmadinejad keep travelling to the United States given his anti-American positions taken into consideration.
    • Alef News Agency publishes Ahmadinejad’s speech at the U.N. General Assembly.
    • U.S. Department of State grants visa to presidential advisor Mojtaba Hashemi Samareh.
      • U.S. State Department denies permission to Ahmadinejad to visit Los Angeles.
      • The U.S. Department of State denies visas to two members of the Iranian president’s entourage to the U.N. General Assembly, director general of the Media Affairs Bureau of the president’s office Morteza Ghamari Vafa, and the documentary-maker Nader Talebzadeh.
    • Ahmadinejad on Larry King show.
    • In an interview to Press TV, Ahmadinejad suggests that the U.N. “should be located in an independent country.”
    • Ahmadinejad at a press conference in New York:
      • “[Commenting on the arrest of HIV/AIDS NGO doctors, the ‘Alayee brothers:] There is no such thing. It is the Zionists and the U.S. government making such postulations. Such things have not happened. In Iran, freedom is absolute and the country is governed by law. Our legal system is one of the most advanced in the world. At my press conferences everybody has the right, with ever greater freedom, to ask whatever he wants.”
      • Answering question on whether there are any prisoners because of political beliefs the Iranian president claimed: “We don’t need such a thing. Our government is supported by 98 percent of the population.”
      • Commenting the nuclear issue: “allegations against Iran are made by the spy services and the IAEA has also discovered that their evidence is forged and ridiculous.”
      • Ahmadinejad says his government has made “proposals to the U.S. government, and suggested negotiations [with] Bush. Now the ball is in the U.S.’s court.”
  • Asr-e Iran claims U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama’s condemnation of the Iranian president is being directed by a small “Zionist group” and only proves the Iranian president’s statements.
  • Ahmadinejad used his Qods Day speech to attack Israel stating that “the Zionists are an absolute minority, but they have managed to retain their power through their infiltration of the international media…” Ahmadinejad also states that “Israel is a summary of all the crimes in the world.”
  • In a change of heart, Vice President Mashayee says Qods Day is the day of “disclosing the tooth of Dracula” and added “Israel is a dead corpse whose burial has been delayed.”
    • “Qods Day has disheartened the unjust, and is an annual count down to the annihilation of the satanic policies of world Zionism…the Iranian president who justly has gained world fame is aware of the importance of world Zionism and is arching at the very center of infidels…Reclaiming the squatted houses [of Palestinians] is not physically reclaiming space, and the tyrants and occupiers should know that their death is certain and this movement continues until destruction of all symbols of injustice in the world…Our president’s disclosure of Holocaust, victories of our brothers in Palestine and the Lebanese Hezbollah has smashed the frightening face of the Zionist regime….”
  • The Iranian parliament sends a delegation to the Persian Gulf states to “reassure them” about possible scenarios in case of U.S. attack against the Islamic Republic.
  • Commenting on Ahmadinejad’s views on the Holocaust, Tajzadeh says: “Even if mass killing of the Jews by Hitler was a lie it is not our duty to rescue the honor of Hitler…This conflict is one between Germans and the Jews…Even Mr. Ahmadinejad has discovered that the propaganda value of Holocaust denial is not only negligent, but negative…We should learn from Hezbollah’s propaganda warfare against Israel depicting Olmert with a Hitler moustache…In other words not by denying the Holocaust, but pointing at the Holocaust of the Israelis against Palestinians and the Lebanese today.”

Military and Security

  • Alef News Agency publishes list of new military equipment displayed at the military parade in Tehran. More here.
  • Revolutionary Guards spokesmen report “Kurdish activity in Sardaht border areas.”
  • Revolutionary Guards Ground Forces Chief Mohammad-Ja’far Asadi says “defense of our neighbors in the region and guarding the security of the Persian Gulf is among the responsibilities of the Guards” and adds that it is “knowledge of the strength of the Guards which has deterred the enemy from attacking us.”
  • Commander Khalil Rastegar, Imam Sajjad IRGC chief of Hormozgan province, appoints Colonel Mosafa Yazdan-Shenas as IRGC chief of Bandar Abbas.
  • Defense Minister Najjar says he does not consider Israel a threat to Iran.
  • Mohsen Rezai, former chief of the IRGC, reveals that at the time President Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr laid the foundations for the Basij Force, the IRGC established a parallel Basij unit within the organization of the Revolutionary Guards. When Bani-Sadr fled to exile, the Revolutionary Guards-supported Basij took over the holdings of the ”real” Basij erected by Bani-Sadr.
  • Basij Resistance Force displays paratrooper units, the Zolfaqar marshal arts brigade and nomadic brigades.
  • Ali Fazli, Revolutionary Guards commander of Tehran’s Seyyed al-Shohada unit, suggests use of field artillery as anti-aircraft batteries.
  • Interior Minister Ali Kordan says the Revolutionary Guard is a source of “national joy.”
  • Defense Minister Najjar stresses the defense capabilities of the Islamic Republic.
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Sa’idi, the Supreme Leader’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards explains the Iran-Iraq war:
    • “The Iraqi invasion of Iran was the result of the conspiracy of the West and the East…Michel Aflaq and other founding fathers of the Iraqi Ba’th party were Christians and were against the Islamic Revolution in Iran…Saddam desired to broaden Iraq’s access to the Arvand-Roud… [Iraq] desired to become the undisputed leader of the Arab world…”
    • On the role of the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij: “The Revolutionary Guards and the Basij militia are ideological armies countering Iraq’s classical warfare with ideological methods…”
    • On why Khomeini ”drank from the chalice of poison” and accepted U.N. Security Council Resolution 598: “It is an enigma, a black box which may never be opened…but explanations are probably within internal dynamics in Iran…Some of the reasons where the war commanders’ return to methods of classical warfare,…the psychological atmosphere prevalent among war leaders who claimed that people were tired of war, and the war must end….”
    • On releasing historical material and documents from the war: “I’m against it since it will become politicized and used in factional disputes.”
    • Former chief of the Revolutionary Guards explains content of a letter written by him and disclosed by Rafsanjani discussing the needs of the IRGC in the final phase of the Iran-Iraq war.
  • Kayhan publishes a report from the Martyr’s Museum in Tehran.
  • Asr-e Iran publishes list of special movies in the Iranian television commemorating the “Sacred Defense Week.”
  • Mohammad-Ali Mehdi-Nezhad, deputy chief of the headquarters for commemoration of the Iran/Iraq war Revolutionary Guards, stresses Alavi culture [referring to Imam Ali, the fourth caliph in the history of Islam] in the society.
  • Emrouz publishes Kargozaran’s interview with Ja’far Assadi, IRGC Ground Force commander.
    • According to Emrouz, the final version of the interview was censured several times. “The Revolutionary Guards had no role model. The Revolution was won, and in order to preserve and guard it some youngsters got together and established the [Revolutionary] Committees. Shortly after this, the same personnel started the Revolutionary Guards. Afterwards, the counter-revolution forced us to take armed action in Kordestan, Gonbad, Khouzestan and other areas. If we study the early revolutionary years, one finds out that we grow gradually…There was no organizational chart and no one told us what to do. We learned by errors…The Guards is not diverted from its original revolutionary goals.
    • Thanks God, we don’t have any Revolutionary Guardsmen who live in rich neighborhoods in big houses with sauna and Jacuzzis. The guardsmen of yesterday have retained their revolutionary values…
    • The nature of the enemy is unchanged. But today an enemy has entered our region which possesses aircraft carriers and satellites. Therefore we need to adjust to these changes… We have divided the country into ‘mosaics’…Each province has become a  defense ‘mosaic’, and has responsibilities in case of things happening to adjacent ’mosaics’…the ‘mosaic’ scheme is not because of commander Ja’fari’s appointment to commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards. He has always been in the Guards…
    • When it comes to the Basij, it was established within the organizational structure of the Guards from day one of the Guards. Basij is not something separated from the Guards. Basij is the intermediary between the Revolutionary Guards and the masses of the people. We have this force called the Resistance Force, which produces Basij [mobilization]. How does it doe so? It does so by establishing contact with different classes of the people in the society, by engaging in cultural activities. What the Basij produces is like the era of the Sacred Defense, where people were mobilized, went to the front and directed the war effort…
    • Today one may come and ask if there were conflicts between the Revolutionary Guards and the [Regular] Army in the era of the Sacred Defense. Well there were, and quarrels are also possible in most families, but why is there any reason to show such things grander than they really were?
    • There are those who question the values of that era, those questioning why we continued the war effort, why Iran continued fighting after the liberation of its territories, why you are dressed in kaffiyeh [the Palestinian symbol of resistance], so on and so forth. These questions were raised in the press. Now one must ask that those people who made sacrifice during the eight years of war, should they no be allowed to commit a few mistakes?
    • Had the Revolutionary Guards not been established, Iran would have collapsed after a week or months after the Iraqi invasion…[I was] a member of a committee welcoming and guarding the security of [Grand Ayatollah] Khomeini upon his return from exile. That was the beginning of activities of the [Revolutionary] Committees…Bani-Sadr wanted to make divisions within the Guards…Bani-Sadr wanted to deny arms to the Guards, and wanted to strengthen the Army and continuously said the Guards don’t know how to fight…The Guards learned how to fight…Today, the number of martyrdom seeking people among our youth is ten times that of the numbers during the years of Sacred Defense…Our country is the country of the Imam of Era. There is some decline, but a lot of growth.”

Religion, Politics, and Society

  • Donya-ye Eqtesad questions Ahmadinejad’s “strange statistics” on drug abuse in the Islamic Republic.  Ahmadinejad claimed there are only “100,000 dangerous drug addicts, addicted to opium” and continued that there are only “600,000 drug addicts in the country,” and only “5,000 addicts using needles.” Donya-ye Eqtesad wonders why the National Youth Organization under supervision of Ahmadinejad a few weeks ago announced that “one million of the drug addicts are less than 19 years old of age, and drug addiction age has been reduced to children of 13 years old of age.” In another official statistic, Esma’il Ahmadi, speaking to Al-Jazeera, last year claimed “there are two million drug addicts in Iran.”
  • Tehran city police active in the fight against pornography.   
  • Nateq Nouri, head of the Investigations Bureau of the Supreme Leader, says anyone who claims contact with Imam of the Era is a liar.
    • Vice president Mashayee says this century is “the century of emergence of the Imam [of the Era].”
  • Shi’a News discusses destruction of the Sunni Theological Seminary of Sistan va Balouchestan.
  • According to Tehran police chief, number of cars in Tehran has doubled during the past four years.
  • Iranian music experts Houshang Javid and Hatam Asgari discuss findings of their empirical studies of tonality and musicality of the Azan [call to prayer] in different regions of Iran and identify four schools distinct musical schools of Persian music. In Boroujerd and in vicinity of Bushehr, the call for prayers is sung in Chahar-Gah, in Talesh and Gorgan there were examples of the calls sung in Homayoun, and among some elderly mo’azzens even Shour. In Kermanshah and Sunni areas there were examples of call for prayers sung in Mahour.
    • Houshang Javid says that the musicality of the call for prayers is dying out because of the expansion and dominance of the Arabic style, and Hatam Asgari says “those involved in religious affairs don’t know anything about music. In religious music one must know the ahang, radif and gousheh, one must master poetry and finally have a good voice, and none of this is observed and therefore our religious music is in decline.”
  • Asr-e Iran slams “publication of a counterrevolutionary novel” in France written by an Iranian émigré to the United States.
  • Nateq Nouri discloses that in a province, “the second Jamkaran” has been erected. The shrine is built because of “dream” of a local who claims to have seen the Imam of the Era. In a more controversial comment, Nateq Nouri discloses that Khomeini never visited the Jamkaran mosque near Qom.
    • Alef News Agency publishes information on “the Second Jamkaran” which, according to some Shi’a sources, is the only mosque erected upon order of the Imam of the Era before he went to his major occultation.
    • Ansar News Agency condemns former parliamentary speaker Nateq Nouri’s degrading remarks on the “second Jamkaran.”
  • Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani warned the public against those who make “false accusations against the clergy.”
  • Resalat discusses statements of Supreme Leader Khamenei on the need for Masajed-e Majazi [Legal mosques] as parallel religious institutions targeting the youth
    • See the second part of the article here, in which it is suggested that mosques become “the central instrument in export of the Revolution.” 
  • Tehran Law Enforcement Forces arrest 9 women for being deficiently dressed.
  • According to E’temad, some schools in Iran have distributed Ahmadinejad-style jackets to all their pupils as school uniform.

Trade

  • Foreign ministers of the Islamic Republic and Ghana discuss cooperation in the field of oil and gas exploration engineering.
  • Tabnak News Agency publishes news from the Iranian ship hijacked by Somali pirates.
  • Aftab-e Yazd wonders why the Islamic Republic exports electricity to Pakistan when domestic energy needs can’t be satisfied.
  • Italy and Greece express interest in importing natural gas from Iran.
  • Bank-e Tose’e-ye Saderat [Export Development Bank] opens branches in Algeria and Kazakhstan.
  • National Iranian Oil Company officials to negotiate with their Russian counterparts in Moscow in October.
  • Petroleum Minister Nowzari appoints Salim Adel-Nezhad executive director of the National Petrochemical Industries Company, Seyyed Reza Kasayee as executive director of the National Iranian Natural Gas Exports Company, Mohammad-Sadegh Bakhshian as his deputy and Seyyed-Zia Nour al-Dini as director general of the public relations department of the Petroleum Ministry.
  • According to Kargozaran, the only strategic gain of closer Iran-Bolivian relations is Iran’s import of llamas from Bolivia.

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