The Corner

Iran News Round Up

Economy

  • The Islamic Republic Chief Inspector Hojjat al-Eslam Pour-Mohammadi says the Chief Inspectorate and the parliament guard the foreign exchange reserve against unauthorized withdrawals.

  • Unemployment rate to exceed 11%. The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs said joblessness had increased 6.9% in spring, 2.1% in summer and could jump beyond 11% by the end of the year.

  • Editorial in Donya-e Eqtesad refutes Ahmadinejad’s economic success claim. In reply to Ahmadinejad’s assertion that Iran’s financial system is exemplary and could serve as a solution to the prevailing world financial crisis, the author notes:

    • Iran’s population constitutes 1% of world population. Despite rich natural resources and strong human capital, Iran’s gross domestic product, including oil revenues, makes only 0.5% of world’s GDP.

    • Iran’s non-oil exports in 2007 comprised only 0.1% of world’s exports.

    • Dependancy of national budget on oil revenues has reached 90%.

    • Iran is among few countries in the world with unemployment rate above 10% and inflation above 20%.

    • Iran ranked 151 among 157 countries in the Index of Economic Freedom in 2008.

    • Iranian industries are gradually losing ability to compete imported products and are on the verge of bankruptcy.

  • (E) Rafsanjani advocates for 20-year plan.

  • The council of ministers barred deputy director general of the Central Bank from attending government meetings held recently in Mazandaran.

  • Sarmayeh publishes a historical survey of budget deficits in the past thirty years.

  • Former Finance Minister (and current Expediency Council member) Davoud Danesh-Ja’fari discusses failed privatization attempts and stresses that the Prophet Muhammed was a merchant operating in a free market before he received a prophetic call.

  • Presidential candidate Hojjat al-Eslam Mehdi Karrubi says the economic plight of the people today is worse than during the Iran-Iraq war.

  • Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nowzari: “45 oil blocks have been identified in the Caspian Sea and nine of them have potential for development…exploration will begin in three months.”

  • Ali-Akbar Aghayi, president of the parliamentary Development Committee, says oil price below $80 per barrel will force the government to make more withdrawals from the foreign currency reserve.

  • Head of the Organization of Nomadic People in Iran announces establishment of stations to distribute oil and natural gas to the nomads of Iran.

Human Rights and Labor

  • (E) November update: Osanlou beaten, more arrests.

Politics

  • Sobh-e Sadeq echoes the statements of Supreme Leader Khamenei that “God will not forgive careless attacks against the [Ahmadinejad] government.”

  • Rumors about former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s candidacy for president.

  • Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, deputy speaker of the parliament, says he will announce formation of a new political party after the presidential elections.

  • According to Donya-ye Eqtesad, there are three Principalist factions in the parliament: The 60-member strong Rayehe-ye Khosh-e Khedmat [The pleasant scent of servitude] supporting Ahmadinejad, the 100-member strong Jebhe-ye Peyrovan-e Khatt-e Emam va Rahbari [Front of the Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Supreme Leader], most prominent of whom are Ali Larijani and Mohammad-Reza Bahonar. The third faction is the Jam’iyat-e Isargran-e Enghelab-e Eslami [Assembly of the Self-Sacrificers of the Islamic Revolution]. Should Mohammad-Reza Bahonar establish a new party it would mean further factionalism among the parliament’s right wing.

    • Principalist Alliance central committee member Mohammad-Reza Mir-Taj al-Dini says should Khatami run for president, all Principalists will unite behind Ahmadinejad.

  • Urumiyeh Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Hassani expresses his opposition to the candidacy of either Mohammad Khatami and Abdollah Nouri and says Ahmadinejad must win another term of presidency.

  • Reported meeting between Larijani, Tehran mayor Qalibaf and former IRGC chief Rezai to discuss presidential elections.

Trade

Military and Security

  • Basij Chief Hojjat al-Eslam Hossein Ta’eb says the Basij will begin to patrol in all provinces, cities and neighborhoods. According to Ta’eb, the scheme has been tested in Tehran and other cities and has led to increased security and public satisfaction. The Basij chief also adds that incorporation of the Basij into Revolutionary Guards increases both the operational capabilities of the Basij and the war fighting capacity of the IRGC.

  • Aftab-e Yazd reports arrest of “10 spies” who allegedly “entered Iran illegally across the Pakistani border.” According to Baztab New the group was in possession of $500,000 cash, modern cameras and “maps of sensitive areas of the country.”

  • Sobh-e Sadeq publishes an interview with Colonel Siamak Ahmad-Nia, Human Resource Chief of the Revolutionary Guards.

  • Admiral Morteza Saffari, Revolutionary Guards Navy chief, says the IRGC Navy will recruit officers from the Basij.

  • Revolutionary Guards Baghiatollah Hospital wins prize for best emergency room.

  • Panzer Repair division of the Ghorb-e Qadir section of the Khatam al-Anbia Construction Base renamed Martyr Zein al-Abedin Industrial Foundation.

  • Sobh-e Sadeq reports from the Basij ‘s sixth media conference.

  • Kargozaran publishes an evaluation of the Security and Tranquility war games in Tehran.

  • Law Enforcement Forces Chief Commander Ahmadi-Moghaddam defends increasing number of close circuit cameras in the public space.

  • Basij Resistance Force chief Hojjat al-Eslam Hossein Ta’ib, speaking at the Basij’s Media Seminar, says his force will conduct regular war games to “secure the societal security of the public”

Religion, Culture and Society

  • An unnamed central committee member of the Combatant Clergy, commenting the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization seminar in which the Quran was recited along with Daf music, says that the organization is returning to the era of jahiliya [ignorance – the era of polytheism before the Prophet Muhammad].”

    • Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi criticizing controversial Quran recitation ceremony: “Where is this country heading to…? Had this been done under the Shah, it would have provoked a revolt!”

    • Deputy Head of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization Mehdi Jahangiri submits his resignation.

  • Niagara, one of the oldest operating cinemas in Iran officially called Jomhouri [Republic] after the revolution of 1979, burns down.

  • Office of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri publishes a communiqué about Hojjat al-Eslam Mojtaba Lotfi, a war veteran and victim of chemical weapons, arrested by security agencies because of his work for Montazeri.

  • Abrar warns against an international conspiracy to attract well-educated Iranians.

  • City train in Shiraz decapitates statue of Karim Khan Zand, founder of the Zand dynasty.

  • Iranian among Wall Street Journal’s top 50 women. Saideh Ghods, the founder of Mahak, a non-governmental organization working for children diagnosed with cancer, ranked the 45th in the Journal’s The 50 Women to Watch list.

  • E’temad-e Melli wonders why it is always the same publishers who are given the opportunity to participate at the Frankfurt International Book Fair.

  • (E) Iranian pilgrims fly direct to Najaf.

Nuclear Issue

  • Article entitled, “5+1 move for new resolution against Tehran,” underscores disunity in the group over new punitive measures against Tehran, particularly opposition by China and Russia to impose further economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. It adds:

    • IAEA Director Mohamed El Baradei has welcomed the possibility of direct talks between Iran and the Obama administration,

    • Turkey’s prime minister has expressed readiness to mediate between Iran and the United States.

    • The West has failed to convince Russia and China to back further economic measures against Tehran.

  • West to continue carrot-and-stick policy to contain Iran’s nuclear issue, Kargozaaran infers from EU Secretary-General Javier Solana’s recent remarks.

    • Suggests Obama’s interest in diplomacy could alter the current coercive approach.

  • Jomhouri-e Eslami describes the recent 5+1 meeting as “another defeat for Bush administration.”

Diplomacy

  • Ayatollah Ostadi, Temporary Friday prayer leader of Qom, says Ahmadinejad’s letter of congratulation to Obama was premature: “There is no difference between Obama and Bush and their policy will not change because of a change of individuals…Some Iranian media have expressed happiness as soon as they heard of the result of the U.S. elections, but as soon as they heard him [Obama] they repented.”

    • Ala al-Din Boroujerdi, chair of the Foreign Policy and National Security Committee of the Iranian parliament, says conditions were premature for Ahmadinejad’s letter of congratulations to Obama.

    • Aftab-e Yazd’s analysts ridicule Ahmadinejad’s letter to Obama.

      • Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh: “One day the president prophetically tells us ‘they will not let Obama, a black man become president’ and the next day our president writes a letter of congratulation to the very same person, Barack Obama!”

      • In separate interview, Mojtahedzadeh says Iran should conduct negotiations with the United States should the opportunity arise.

    • Mehdi Kalhor, media advisor to Ahmadinejad, says Obama is free to visit Iran as a tourist.

    • Sobh-e Sadeq’s analysts do not expect fundamental change in U.S.-Iran relations despite Obama’s call for “change.”

    • Commentary urges direct talk between U.S. and Iran and negates need for intermediaries – alluding to Turkish Prime Minister’s recent offer of meditation between the two adversaries.

  • Tehran cleric derides U.S. policy shift under Obama. Leading Friday prayer in Tehran, Ayatollah Sayyid Ahmad Khatami, a member of the Assembly of Experts, said:

    • Bush’s 47-year-old successor must know that if he continues the ill-conceived path of Bush, he will face the similar tragic destiny.

    • The massive turnout of Americans in the elections was unprecedented in the past 60 years and was a demonstration of Americans’ hatred toward Bush’s expansionist and despotic policies.

    • America has lost the game in all fronts. They have crossed the limits in human rights violation and terrorism by keeping secret prisons, including ones in Guantanamo and Iraq, where brutal means of torture are practiced. They showed their slogans were bogus. They have not strived to combat terrorism, but are trying to come to terms with the Taliban.

    • With all this in mind, it is a mistake to hope for a shift in American policy.

    • American statesmen must understand that the Iranian people’s slogan is hostility against America and they will continue to chant this slogan unless the Americans’ renounce despotism.

  • Foreign Ministry denounces abduction of diplomat in Pakistan.

    • Unidentified gunmen on Thursday attacked Hashmatullah Atharzadeh, an Iranian commercial attaché, in the northwestern city of Peshawar, kidnapping the diplomat and killing his Pakistani security guard and driver.

    • The incident follows a spate of kidnappings and killings in Peshawar, including the abduction of the newly-appointed Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Khaliq Farahi, and the killing of an American citizen.

  • Israel misusing interfaith meeting, says Iran’s envoy to U.N.

    • Speaking at the U.N-sponsored interfaith conference in New York, Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Khazai said: “It is unfortunate that the representative of a regime whose short history is filled with acts of crime, aggression, occupation, state-sponsored terrorism and persecution of Palestinian people has exploited the event for its vicious political ends.”

  • Ahmadinejad to visit Kenya next month.

  • Mohammad Khaza’i, ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations, commenting on the Inter-Faith Dialogue Conference condemns participation of Israel. So does Kqyhan.

Afghanistan

  • Sobh-e Sadeq publishes a short article on the effects of the Islamic Revolution on Afghan politics.

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