Fiery rhetoric as sanctions loom; UN rebukes Iran for rights violations
20 Nov 2009 20:27
Fiery rhetoric as sanctions loom
Foreign Reports | Nov. 20, 2009
At the main Friday prayer service in Tehran today, the prayer leader dedicated his political sermon to a vituperative attack on Saudi Arabia, President Obama, and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, accusing all three of the massacre of defenseless Shi'a in northern Yemen. The prayer leader, Hojatoeslam Kazem Seddiqi, was named by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in late August as one of five interim prayer leaders to substitute for Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in that role, after Rafsanjani earned Khamenei's wrath during the post-election protests this summer.
Clinton-Lavrov Moscow Agreement
According to Russian sources, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreed when they met in Moscow in mid-October to concentrate on diplomatic engagement with Iran through the end of November, with Lavrov agreeing that if diplomacy hadn't produced any tangible results by early December, then it would be time to move on a track towards further sanctions in the Security Council.
After meeting with President Obama in Singapore on November 15, President Medvedev told the press that he thought the diplomatic process was "moving forward" but at a pace "that we are not entirely happy with."
"At the same time, as politicians acting, I hope, on the basis of common sense, we realize that no process can go on forever," Medvedev added. "Negotiations exist not for the sake of enjoying the process itself, but in order to reach practical objectives."
On November 18, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki threw cold water on the nuclear fuel deal negotiations by declaring, "Surely we will not send our 3.5% fuel abroad, but can review swapping it simultaneously with nuclear fuel inside Iran."
For his part, [Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey] Ryabkov had engaged with Iran's Moscow Ambassador Mohammed Reza Sajadi before and after the October 1 Geneva meeting. He also went to Tehran on November 8 for his own talks with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Said Jalili. Jalili and his deputy, Ali Bagheri, led the Iranian delegation at the October 1 talks. Directly after those talks, Bagheri was to have follow-up meetings with EU foreign policy chief's deputy, Robert Cooper, to plan for the next P5+1 meeting with Jalili, but the Cooper-Bagheri meeting never materialized. Cooper met with Ryabkov in Moscow on October 17, when Ryabkov took the position that any toughening of sanctions would be premature.
Both Jalili and Bagheri adopted the lowest of profiles in Tehran after they were harshly criticized by hard-line and moderate political elements in Iran for even holding a discussion with U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns in Geneva on October 1. After Khamenei declared on November 3 that only a child would be fooled by Obama's fake smiles, Ahmadinejad stopped defending any further engagement with the U.S.
In Draft Resolution, UN Rebukes Iran for Rights Violations Since Election
NYT | Nov. 20, 2009
The United Nations criticized Iran on Friday for numerous human rights abuses in the wake of the disputed presidential election in June, including the arrests, intimidation and mass trials of members of the political opposition.
A draft resolution detailing the criticism was approved by a vote of 74 to 48, with 59 countries abstaining. Although a resolution rebuking the Islamic Republic for domestic oppression has been an annual event for about 15 years, the latest version expressed particular concern about the "rise in human rights violations" after the election.
The violations listed in the United Nations' draft resolution included the death and injury of opposition members and other citizens trying to exercise their right to freedom of expression; the use of violence and intimidation by the government-run Basij militia forces; the abuse of prisoners, including rape and torture as well as forced confessions; and severe restrictions on media coverage of the events.
Authorities Warn Iranians Not To Protest -- By SMS
RFE/RL | Nov. 20, 2009
The Iranian news website "Tabnak" and several bloggers are reporting that authorities are sending text messages to citizens warning them not to take part in antigovernment protests.
According to "Tabnak," the SMS warns recipients that they have been identified as participants in past protests, and that they should stop attending demonstrations.
The reports come ahead of Student Day on December 7, which the opposition has vowed to "turn green" in support of the Green movement backing opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.
One blogger posted a picture of the cautionary SMS, which states: "Respected citizen, based on our information, you have been influenced by the antisecurity propaganda of the foreign media. If you get involved in any illegal protest and get in touch with the foreign media..."
The image is cut off after that, but according to other sources, the message threatens that the person "will be considered a criminal according to several articles of the Islamic law and dealt with accordingly."
Some recipients say that the messages seem to have been sent out at random. "Tabnak" quotes a baker in Khuzestan who had received the SMS as saying that he hadn't been to Tehran, the site of most of the major protests, for several years. "I don't understand why I received this anonymous message about security," he said.
Reports emerged about a similar warning sent by text message before the November 4 anniversary of the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover. On that occasion, thousands of members of the opposition movement protested against President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
Judiciary: report about rapists going fee not entirely accurate, but judges too lenient on punishment
Tabnak | Nov. 17, 2009
After reports surfaced that five convicted rapists were freed without bail after being taken to the justice office in southern Tehran, Judiciary Chief Sadegh Larijani summoned the judges hearing the case to personally look into the matter.
According to the ISNA report, Ayatollah Larijani met with the judges in question on Monday night. The judiciary released a statement after the meeting stating that the crime had not taken place on Friday, as media reports suggested, but three weeks earlier. None of the accused were convicted offenders and all of them had not been in custody to require being freed without bail, the report stated.
The Judiciary rejected the original media report due to its inconsistencies, but added that the judges hearing the case had been reprimanded for failing to mete out punishment consistent with the nature of the crime.
Ayatollah Larijani stressed the importance of fair judgment in such cases. Failing to do so could hurt public sentiments, he said, and expressed hope that the chief justice would personally oversee such sensitive cases.
He then expressed hope that media outlets would stay true to their mission and refrain from using inaccurate information in compiling their reports. Inaccurate reporting, he said, helped create an atmosphere of insecurity in society.