02 Nov 2009 16:15
Video: university students protest visit of government official
More student protests
Mowj | Nov. 2, 2009
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's former Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance was unable to deliver a speech at Khajeh Nasir Tousi University after student's started chanting slogans in support of the opposition.
Upon arrival in the amphitheater where the speech was to take place, Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi was overwhelmed with cries of "culture killer," "our culture minister, our shame," and "death to the dictator."
Saffar-Harandi who was struggling to maintain his calm, responded by saying that Mohammad Khatami's culture minister, "Ataollah Mohajerani was better deserving of such honorary titles," and asked students to allow him to begin his speech.
Students then began shouting "Liar, Liar where is your 63 percent." Harandi replied by saying that this slogan better suited those who had released a list of post-election casualties. "Where are your 73 victims?" he asked.
Students then began to chant slogans requesting the release of political prisoners as they help up photos of Mohsen Mirdamadi, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, Abdollah Momeni and Ahmad Zeydabadi.
At this point, campus security began filming the session and the students shouting in protest.
Harandi attempted to continue his speech about the importance of the U.S. Embassy takeover 30 years ago. However, students had turned their backs to the podium and were chanting "turn off your cameras."
Harandi began calling students "uneducated" and "dictators," at which point students held up their shoes in a symbolic gesture. Harandi called the students "ill-mannered" and said, "They had told me [beforehand] that you had brought in a sack of shoes [to throw at me] but none of you has the courage of Montazer al-Zaydi to even throw your shoes at me."
Students responded by saying, "My shoes are too much for a liar."
After students began chanting "Oh Hossein, Mir Hossein" and "Iran will see Judgment Day if Karroubi is arrested." Harandi was forced to quickly wrap-up his speech and was escorted out of the venue by his bodyguards.
When students tried to follow Saffar-Harandi, his bodyguards reportedly began attacking them. The move infuriated students causing them to gather outside the amphitheater and chant, "Get lost, mercenary," and "Saffar, what scared you off?"
Students then moved outside and gathered in front of the university where they continued shouting slogans such as, "Iran has become Palestine, people why are you still sitting," "Neither West, Nor East, Only a Green Iran," and "Dictator, Dictator, this is our final message, Iran's Green Movement is ready for uprising."
IRGC warns opposition against Nov. 4 rallies
Reuters | Nov. 2, 2009
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards warned the moderate opposition on Monday not to stage any rallies on November 4, when the Islamic Republic marks the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who says the June election that he lost to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was rigged, appeared to urge his supporters two days ago to take part in rallies on that day.
The Guards, who helped to quell huge street protests after the election, called on the Iranian people to "exercise vigilance in regard to the likelihood of mischief and plots by the enemy's agents and some unaware and misguided (people) on November 4," the official IRNA news agency reported.
Iran to seek fuel supply guarantees in next round of talks
Press TV | Nov. 2, 2009
After holding three days of nuclear discussions with Western powers, Iran says it is ready for the next round of talks in order to ensure that its technical concerns regarding the issue of a guarantee for the supply of nuclear fuel are addressed.
Speaking to Press TV on Monday, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh expressed the Islamic Republic's readiness to buy its needed nuclear fuel from global suppliers.
"We are ready to buy [the fuel] from any supplier under the full surveillance of the IAEA ... as we bought from Argentina about 20 years ago with the cooperation of the IAEA. The core issue is assurance and guarantee for [the] supply of the fuel," Soltaniyeh said.
Rafsanjani's son on the defensive
In an undated video that has surfaced from a conference organized by the Tehran Municipality on the capital's planned 7th subway line, Mohsen Hashemi, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's oldest son, and CEO and president of the Tehran Urban and Suburban Railway Co., delivers an unexpected emotional speech in support of his family.
He denied allegations made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the presidential campaign accusing his family of financial corruption. In response to a widely held belief that Ahmadinejad picked up a significant amount of votes as a result of attacks on his father, he said, "If they allow [people to] talk about bigger people than Rafsanjani, they would get even more votes. Actually, if you put the whole revolution under question, you'd attract 70 million votes." The 70-million reference is to the population of Iran.
More notable than what he says, is the tone of the outburst, which appears to be the product of great frustration and anger at the pressures on his family and a lack of access to state media to respond. Rafsanjani, once considered a pillar of the Islamic Republic, is now under such pressure that his son appears to need to use the rare chance of an official gathering to speak in defense of his father.
New excuses given to delay Kayhan trial
Ayandeh | Oct. 31, 2009
Kayhan editor-in-chief Hossein Shariatmadari's court hearing was postponed because the media jury was not prepared, according to the presiding judge.
"The media jury says that as its new members have just been sworn in, they are not fully familiar with the Kayhan case, and therefore the hearing will be postponed to a later date," said Judge Siamak Modir-Khorasani. "As the members of jury are not aware of the nature of charges [leveled against Shariatmadari], the hearing has been postponed."
Nasrin Sotoudeh, a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs, objected to this second postponement. "How is it that the new jury was well aware of the Journal of Science and Power case, but not briefed on the Kayhan case?" she asked.
Judge Modir-Khorasani responded by saying that the date had already been set for the case against the Journal of Science and Power and that the new jury has just been sworn in.
Emadoldin Baqi's lawyer, Khalili [no first name given], pointed to Sotodeh's objection and before rejecting the trial postponement, raised a question of his own about why the new jury had been briefed on the Journal of Science and Power case, and not the Kayhan one.
Khalili than verbally withdrew his complaint in protest to the unfair trial procedure.
Judge Modir-Khorasani responded by saying, "The court is ready to hear the case, but the jury says its not."
Abtahi's case to be heard in Revolution Court
Tabnak | Nov. 2, 2009
A website close to the Etemad-e Melli party announced that Mohammad-Ali Abtahi's case has been refereed to the Revolution Court.
According to the Arya website, after 136 days in detention, Abtahi's file was finally sent to branch 15 of the Revolution Court early last week. His family believes that his case will be heard within the next few days.
Karroubi explains reason behind Abdis interrogation
Tabnak | Nov.1, 2009
Opposition cleric Mehdi Karroubi said authorities summoned Abbas Abdi after Mohammad Qouchani's arrest to interrogate him.
In his meeting with the recently released editor-in-chief of the banned Etemad-e Melli daily, Karroubi told Qouchani, "After you were detained they summoned and interrogated Mr. Abdi because they were under the assumption that he wrote my statements for me."
Reformist figures such as Abdollah Nouri and Ebrahim Yazdi, as well families of other detained reformist activists, were present at the meeting.
Tavakoli meets with Grand Ayatollah
Tabnak | Nov. 2, 2009
Principlist lawmaker Ahmad Tavakoli met with Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem-Shirazi and discussed the details of Ahmadinejad's subsidy bill.
In the meeting, which was held in the absence of reporters, Ayatollah Makarem advised lawmakers to take great care in reviewing the articles of the bill.
"Lawmakers must make every effort to prevent impoverished members of our society from coming under more financial pressure," said the Shia Source of Emulation. "Lawmakers need to make use of the country's scientific and economic elite in reaching a desired conclusion on the subsidy bill."
Tavakoli reportedly assured the Grand Ayatollah that lawmakers would take great care in reviewing the bill. "The views of the Sources on this matter will definitely be helpful for us."
Iran bans business daily
Reuters | Nov. 2, 2009
An Iranian media body banned on Monday the publication of a leading business daily, Sarmayeh, which is critical of the economic policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government.
The official IRNA news agency said Iran's press supervisory body took the decision because of "repeated violations of the press law." It did not give further details.
"Based on a decision by the press supervisory board ... the authorization for the publication of Sarmayeh daily was annulled," IRNA said.
Reformist journalist released on bail, hospitalized
ILNA | Norooz | Nov. 2, 2009
After 124 days in detention, reformist journalist Hengameh Shahidi was released on a bail of 90,000 dollars, then transferred to a hospital.
Branch 26 of the Revolution Court issued the order for Shahidi's release on bail.
Shahidi requested more time to prepare her defense during her first court appearance, which was held in the same branch on Sunday. The judge granted a stay.
[Souce: Norooz] Shahidi, who had been detained on June 30, suffers from severe heart problems requiring her to take 28 pills a day. Before her release, she was on her eighth day of a hunger and a medication strike to protest stagnation in her case.
The Shahidi family said she was in poor health and seeking medical attention.
Iran needs additional $3.8 billion for gasoline through March 2010
Jam-e-Jam Newspaper | Nov. 2, 2009
A senior Iranian official said the Islamic Republic needs to pay an additional $3.8 billion for gasoline imports through March 2010, and domestic gasoline rations may be reduced this winter, the Jam-e-Jam daily newspaper reported Tuesday.
"Iran needs $3.8 billion to import gasoline by the end of the current (Iranian) year," said Mohammad Royanian,who heads Iran's Fuel Transport and Management Organization, according to the Jam-e-Jam newspaper .
The Iranian year ends March 20.
Royanian said the government Fuel Transport and Management Organization had received expert recommendations to cut gasoline rations for the winter season, reports the newspaper.
"Some experts have recommended to the Fuel Transport and Management Organization headquarters that gasoline rations for cars be cut in the winter," Jam-e-Jam cites Royanian as saying.
Under Iran's current gasoline rationing scheme, which was launched in June 2007 to curb consumption and redirect money to shore up the nation's oil infrastructure, the monthly quotas for government-subsidized gasoline is 100 liters a month for individual drivers at a subsidized price of 1,000 rials a liter. Drivers can buy gasoline beyond the monthly quota for 4,000 rials a liter.
According to government officials, Iran pays between $35 billion to $45 billion a year on fuel subsidies. Subsidized fuels primarily include gasoline, gasoil, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG, and fuel oil.
Reuters on Tuesday quoted gasoline traders as saying that Iran is struggling to finance its international gasoline purchases. "They are struggling to raise money for their international oil purchases, and are trying to keep costs down...it doesn't help that oil prices are on the rise as well," said a a Middle East based gasoline trader, according to Reuters.
"Their initial bid price was pretty low, about 25, 30 percent off the market but there was no way anyone was going to deal at those levels," the trader added.
Iran to replace subsidies with cash
Iran will open bank accounts for 36 million people―roughly half the country's population-- to directly deposit money as compensation when food and energy subsidies are phased out, the Sarmayeh daily newspaper reported Iran's Social Welfare Minister as saying Sunday.
Nadali Olfatpour said the ministry is required to open bank accounts for 36 million people in five income brackets, according to Sarmayeh.
Reuters said cash payments, which will be made to around 70% of the population―including children, will total 170,000 rials ($17) per person.
"Iran Statistics Centre will have at its disposal the information regarding the (income) brackets and there will be subsidies allocated for the first five social brackets, which includes around 8 million families," Reuters quotes Olfatpour as saying, citing Sarmayeh.
Under the plan, a family of four with a monthly income of around $400 would receive $68, but this would only cover the expected increase in gas and electricity prices, according to Reuters.
Iran's parliament approved legislation to cut subsidies for water, food and postal and transportation services on Oct. 20, according to Iranian state media.
Iran needs $40 billion to develop South Pars Gas Field
Press TV | Nov. 1, 2009
A senior Iranian energy official said Sunday the Islamic Republic needs $40 billion to develop the remaining phases of the South Pars natural gas field within 10 years, the English language Press TV channel reported.
"We predict all phases of South Pars will be developed within the next 10 years," said Ali Vakili, the managing director of Iran's Pars Oil and Gas Co., or POGC, according to Press TV.
"We predict that we need about $40 billion to complete the remaining phases," he added.
South Pars, which is shared by Iran and Qatar, is the world's largest non-associated gas field.