The Corner

Iran News Round Up

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Diplomacy

Nuclear Issue

Politics

  • Mirdamadi, Secretary General of the Mosharekat [Participation] reformist party, refutes speculation that Khatami will not run for president and says the longer Khatami takes before delivering a clear answer, the higher is the possibility of his candidacy.

  • According to Kargozaran, Ahmadinejad is worried by presidential candidates lobbying sources of emulation in Qom.

  • Rafsanjani’s daughter Fa’ezeh Hashemi in an interview with Il Manifesto: “I don’t think Khatami will run for presidency. The possibility is very weak…it does not look as if Mehdi Karrubi, former speaker of the parliament and former secretary of the Assembly of Combatant Clergy will leave the campaign… Many are of the conviction that the great mistake of the 2005 elections was participation of four reformist candidates, but at the same time one can’t deduce that they would have won with a single candidate…We will certainly not pursue the discourse of ten years ago. I think the priority of today is economic matters, rising prices present in people’s life. Inflation is intolerable. Unemployment is on the rise and the discourse must attend to how one can face such problems. The art of politics is to give correct and convincing promises that we can realize…”

  • Ahmadinejad appoints three human resource advisors.

  • Abd al-Mohammad Raoufi-Nezhad appointed governor of Zanjan.

  • Iranian parliamentarians to return cash handouts.

  • Former Revolutionary Guards member and parliamentarian Esma’il Tatari says he will not run for president out of respect for Mehdi Karrubi.

  • Kayhan accuses critics of the Ahmadinejad government of being U.S. agents.

  • Presidential advisor Najafdari, in an open letter, urges Khatami to participate in a televised debate with Ahmadinejad.

  • Emrouz reports serious power struggles in Interior Ministry.

  • Asr-e Iran publishes pictures of Khatami-era culture minister Mohajerani who has migrated to Britain.

  • In a veiled attack against Rafsanjani, Tehran parliamentarian Mehdi Kouchakzadeh says ”having been a confidante of the Imam [Khomeini] for so many years does not mean those people are right…today all political groupings enter the political scene by claiming they are followers of the line of the Imam…The people should investigate what group desires realization of the ideals of the Imam and the Islamic Revolution.”

  • Hassan Rahim-Pour Azghadi, member of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, warned against ”those who claim to follow the line of the Imam [Khomeini], but deviate from the Islamic Revolution… We must be vigilant that a certain group does not deviate the Islamic Revolution and does not plunder its software.” Azghadi’s speech was interrupted by a group of students shouting slogans against the government and showing placards with the signs: “Cultural Revolution = Garrison [State] Party,” and even a few placards with Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization’s logo. Azghadi used much of the remaining time of his speech to attack the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization. 

Economy

  • Tehran mayor Qalibaf, visiting Tokyo:

    • “The economic conditions of the country [Iran] are not good and, because of inflation, we are facing problems. But one must also pay attention to the fact that Iran has suffered less than [other countries] in the world financial crisis, especially compared with the crisis in the West…

    • In my opinion inflation is due to two important factors. First, weaknesses in the production sector, and second oil dependence…

    • We must make advances in attracting foreign investments…

    • One can’t underestimate pressures of some countries against large company investments [in Iran]….

    • Decreasing oil prices raise a serious challenge to all oil exporters. The reason why it is not visible yet is due to large foreign currency reserves…All Iranians – regardless of [political] inclinations – support a nuclear energy program.

  • Economist Mousa Ghani-Nezhad says the government’s economic policies are contrary to earlier privatization schemes, stresses that economic liberalization must come prior to political liberalization.

  • Economist Hassan Sobhani criticizes Ahmadinejad’s oil dividend policy of president Ahmadinejad. So does Derakhshan.

    • Social Security and Welfare minister Abd al-Reza Mesri says Ahmadinejad’s cash handouts to applicants will not be a “permanent phenomenon.”

  • Alef News Agency publishes a report showing a continued decline in investments in the industrial sector.

  • Alef News Agency, commenting on declining oil prices, warns of “the beginning of the end of the good days.”

  • Discovery of gold in Saqez and Piranshahr in Kordestan province.

  • Executive director of the National Iranian Oil Company explains developments of the 6th, 7th and 8th phases of the South Pars Oil and Gas Field.

  • Islamic Republic phone companies to introduce MMS service.

  • Tehran Governorate Commerce Organization issues fixed prices for internet services.

    Baztab accuses Oil Minister Nowzari of involving contractors in major oil and gas projects outside the official bidding process.

  • In a reaction to declining oil income, Ahmadinejad says that with the right spirit Iran can reach $50 billion in exports.

  • Rafsanjani complains about weak commerce infrastructure.

  • Asr-e Iran ridicules the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting’s comparison of every single economic hardship in Iran with less developed African countries, suggesting that Iranians should consider themselves lucky.

  • Economist Seyyed Behzad Pour-Seyyed criticizes the Ahmadinejad government’s suspension of the Value Added Tax and warns against consequences of ad hoc decision making and populism in economic planning in Iran.

Trade

Afghanistan

  • (E) Afghan Minister for Information and Culture Karim Khurram is in Tehran to attend an international conference on tourism of ECO member states.

  • Construction of a railway linking Iran with western Afghanistan will be completed by the end of the year, says Afghan Ministry of Public Affairs.

    • The Khawaf-Herat railway project is funded and built by the government of Iran.

    • 1 kilometer of the railway built in Afghanistan costs about $2 million. A planned railway between Herat and Tajikistan will cost about $4 billion, says the Afghan ministry.

    • “Now there is a real need for the construction of railroads in the country. We plan to connect our borders with our neighboring countries via rail,” the Afghan Ministry points out.

  • (E) Iranian Foreign Minister warns west against talks with Taliban, Afghan government news agency reports.

    • “Today, the whole world knows about the strategic failure of foreign forces in Afghanistan and we advise them not to try a new failure,” Mottaki said.

    • He added: “We advise them to think about the consequences of the talks [with the Taliban] which are taking place in the region and in Europe and avoid being bitten in the same spot twice,” he added, citing a Persian proverb.

    • “The West should not think they can confine extremism to Afghanistan, Pakistan and central Asia,” Mottaki said, warning that militancy would one day also reach Europe and the West.

  • A joint Afghan-Iranian transportation company will be established to expedite import and export between the two countries. According to an Iranian Commerce Ministry official, Iran has put about 50 hectares of land in Chahbahar at the disposal of Afghan private companies to build factories. Chahbahar is 1000km closer to Afghanistan than Karachi Harbor.

  • (E) Afghanistan is the best ground for U.S.-Iran cooperation, Pajhwok News Agency quotes Karim Sajidpour.

    • From the US perspective, a greater Iranian role could be an important factor in reducing Pakistani influence and reversing the growing role of the Taliban, said Karim Sadjapour.

    • Washington has more overlapping interests with Tehran than it does with its allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, he added.

    • Having accommodated over two million Afghan refugees, Tehran does not stand to gain from continued strife in Afghanistan. It has sought to play a leading role in the country’s reconstruction, ranking among the top ten aid donors.

    • Further with one of the highest incidences of drug addiction in the world and a strict penal code prohibiting drug use, Iran has been highly vigilant in policing drug trafficking along the Afghan border.

    • Similar to its approach in Iraq, in an effort to frustrate the United States, Tehran’s behavior toward Afghanistan has been at times schizophrenic and counter to its own national interests.

    • At the same time when Iranian officials have publicly avowed support for the Karzai government, Iranian state radio programs broadcast to Afghanistan have simultaneously referred to him as the “stooge of the United States.” Most troubling, however, are widespread allegations from both U.S. and European intelligence agencies that Iran has provided arms to the “enemy of its enemy,” its old nemesis the Taliban, he said.

  • An Iranian woman is arrested in western Afghan province of Herat on kidnapping charges. According to Herat police headquarters, 26 people including three foreigners have been abducted during the current year.

Military and Security

  • Supreme Leader Khamenei, at the graduation ceremony of the Iranian Army’s Imam Ali War University: “The nation supports the armed forces and considers them an inseparable part of itself… The armed forces are symbols of national strength, which is reinforced through the power of religious belief…”

    • Brigadier General Fathollah Rashidzadeh, chief of the university, praised top students at the university.

  • (E) Air Force completes five-day war games.

Public Health

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