The Corner

Iran News Round Up

[Thanks to Ahmad Majidyar for his compilation from Afghan Dari-language websites; (E) signifies English links]

Religion, Culture, and Society

  • Grand Ayatollah Sistani declares Thursday the end of Ramadan.  More here.
  • Shi’a News depicts pop singers Madonna and Britney Spears along with British footballer David Beckham and U.S. actress Elizabeth Taylor as “Zionists” engaged in “black sorcery of Jewish Kabala.”
  • Commentary in Armans describes brain drain and drug addiction as two key challenges plaguing the Iranian society.
    •   Lack of political openness, endemic corruption, stagnant economy, and absence of freedom of speech are described as key factors forcing educated Iranians to leave the country.
    • The rise in drug addiction is ascribed to soaring unemployment, grinding poverty, seclusion, psychological pressures, ready availability of narcotics and abundant social problems
  • Iranian mobile phone providers test MMS (multimedia).
  • According to Asr-e Iran Abdol-Rahman, the son of Sheikh Qaradawi, converts to Shi’ism.
  • Shi’a News publishes a study of the role of women during the brief rule of the Imam of the Era just before the Day of Reckoning: “50 women will be among the followers of the Imam of the Era…and they are those who were the contemporaries of the prophet [Mohammad]…According to another prophecy, 50 women who do not know each other convene without prior planning in Mecca, and this a sign of emergence of the Imam of the Era…Both prophecies stress that the total number of followers of the Imam of the Era is 313 individuals among whom 50 are women…But according to other prophecies 400 women would descend to earth from heavens along with Jesus prior to emergence of the Imam of the Era. It is not known what communities of believers these women belong, when they have been teleported to heavens and for what official purposes and offices these women are chosen…But there are also 13 women who rise from the dead to function as nurses in the battles of the Imam of the Era…[Extensive biographical information on each of the thirteen women is included.]…”
  • Ansar News Agency reports “political activism of alcoholics in Istanbul against the Islamic mayor of the city.”
  • According to Asr-e Iran, daughter of Lebanese Sheikh Omar al-Bakri works as a club dancer in Beirut.
  • Asr-e Iran slams Sherry Jones’ The Jewel of Medina as a British conspiracy against Islam.
  • Shi’a News reports ill-treatment of Iranian pilgrims, including beatings, insults, and sexual harassment, at the Mehran border with Iraq. See also Tabnak’s report.

Nuclear Issue


  • Agah-Sazi publishes Radio Farda’s analysis of presidential pre-campaigns in Iran:
    • Khatami questions “health of the presidential elections,” criticizes “purge of a number of suitable candidates up to the last parliamentary elections,” and adds “the elections must be a step forward. Otherwise one must decide differently.”
      • Central committee member of the Mojahedin of the Revolution Organization Abdollah Naseri claims “the closer we get to the elections, the higher is the possibility of Khatami running for the presidency.”
    • Reformist theoretician Mohsen Armin warns of “a garrison party” composed of the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij hijacking the presidential elections. 
    • Former interior Minister Abdollah Nouri say “I don’t believe in politcal struggle in an absolute dictatorship…but if there is even one in a million chance of achieving your goals through political participation one must try.”
    • Hassan Rowhani releases statistics on economic hardships of the Iranians and mismanagement of the Ahmadinejad government, along with what Rowhani calls “sloganeering” of  Ahmadinejad. 
    • Larijani also criticizes Ahmadinejad and raises the possibility of an alliance composed of Tehran mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, former secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rowhani, former higher education minister Ahmad Tavakkoli, former speaker of the parliament Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, Larijani himself and former Mohsen Rezai, former IRGC chief.
  • Presidential candidate Hassan Rowhani, speaking to past and present parliamentarians, says: “sloganeering does not lead to anywhere”, and warns against “instability in [political] decision-making and management” which, “along with non-expert decisions, reduces popular trust in government.”
    • Commenting on “brain drain” Rowhani adds: “One can’t blame those who lose faith in the system providing jobs for them.”
    • Rowhani also criticized the foreign policy of the Ahmadinejad government: “They said all previous governments were too polite…defensive and ineffective in their conduct of foreign policy. They also lecture us on the need of an offensive and activist foreign policy…What we need to know is what goals we are pursuing in our foreign policy. Do we want to achieve our goals or do we want a populist foreign policy?  … Now, what have we achieved with our harsh foreign policy?”
  • Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi Bojnourdi refutes speculations about candidacy of Seyyed Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic.
  • Khatami says “not running for presidency is not the same thing as not being present in the campaign.”
  • By decree, Ahmadinejad withdraws all complaints of the executive branch against the press.
  • A’zam Taleqani, daughter of the late source of emulation Ayatollah Taleqani, slams Moetalefeh’s weekly’s interview with the aging sister of the late Ayatollah claiming Taleqani “hated the Iran Freedom Movement.”  More here.
  • In an open letter to  Ahmadinejad, Kordan acknowledges that his Ph.D. degree from Oxford University is a forgery. But Kordan also claims it is not him who has forged the document, but an individual who presented himself to Kordan as an official representative of Oxford University in Tehran and gave Kordan the Ph.D. Kordan continues that he has filed a complaint against that individual in Tehran, and has also been in contact with legal authorities in Britain to identify the ring. Asr-e Iran News Agency ends the news telegram expressing hope that the Iranian interior minister also produces an explanation with regard to his [fake] Master’s Degree.
    • Despite the fact that Interior Minister Kordan acknowledges his doctoral degree from Oxford University is fake, the official news agency IRNA insists that the signatures on the degree are not forged, and quotes parliamentarian Seyyed Ramean Shojayee Kiyasar: “It is sad to see that in this heavy atmosphere some choose the old imperialist England as the referee and ask for judgment in the educational degrees of the interior minister of the Islamic Republic. Is England capable of judging the Iranian interior minister? Why are some considering England the source of accept or refusal of an interior minister?…The answer of the English in this case is clear, and the history of their enmity against Iran and the Islamic Republic is also well known.”
    • Parliamentarian Mottahari demands that Ahmadinejad dismisses Interior Minister Kordan, adds that many parliamentarians regret their vote of confidence to the interior minister.   More demands for Kordan’s resignation.
    • Azad University does not approve authenticity of Kordan’s Master’s degree, allegedly issued by Azad University.
    • See also head of the parliamentary Higher Education committee’s assessment of Kordan’s academic degrees.
    • Representatives of Islamic Student Associations at various universities meet with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, condemn Kordan’s forgery of a Ph.D. degree.
  • Young Iranian singer Payam Hasiri sings a song inviting former president Khatami to run for presidency.
  • The Revolutionary Guard’s Imam Reza unit deputy Yaghoub-Ali Nazari says “success of the regime depends on realization of ideals of the Imam [Khomeini].”




  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ghasem Ravanbakhsh, political editor of Partov-e Sokhan weekly, says “In New York, Ahmadinejad managed to humiliate world imperialism and the Zionism in their own house.”
    • “Most media serve the Zionists and imperialism, but through the tribune of the U.N., the president broadcast the message of the Islamic Republic regime to the entire world.”
    • According to Ravanbakhsh the speech of the Iranian president also “neutralized all conspiracies against the Islamic Republic and disclosed the roots of enmity of world imperialism against the Islamic Republic to the population of the world.”
  • A faction dedicated to “liberation of the garden of Qolhak [housing the British embassy]” is formed in the Iranian parliament.
  • Defense secretary Gates declassifies information about Iranian Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan’s 1979 meeting with U.S. national security advisor Zbignew Brzezinski.
  • The Islamic Republic to issue electronic visas at major airports in Iran.

Human Rights and Labor

·        Article in Kabulpress entitled, “Iranian government blowing human rights trumpet,” accuses Iranian officials of hypocrisy and deceit.

o        The writer questions sincerity of the Iranian foreign ministry’s recent comments lamenting the death of civilians in American air strikes in western Afghanistan and accuses the Iranian government of using the tragedy as a propaganda tool for its political ends.

o       The author notes that Iran has turned a blind eye to Moscow’s atrocities and human rights abuses against Georgia, has expelled a thousand of Afghan refugees last year in the dept of winter and without any prior notice, and has sent lethal weapons to the Taliban and insurgents.  He concludes that Iranians’ concern emanates more from fear and trepidation about American military presence close to their borders than sympathy with the Afghan people. 

Public Health


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