Abtahi released on bail after sentencing; Kordan dead
22 Nov 2009 21:12
Iran releases Abtahi on bail after sentencing
AP | Nov. 22, 2009
Iran released a former vice president on a $700,000 bail Sunday after his lawyer said he had been sentenced to six years in prison in the mass trial of opposition figures accused of fomenting the post-election unrest.
Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who served under former President Mohammad Khatami in his two terms from 1997-2005, is the most senior former official among more than 100 people on trial since August. After his arrest, he made televised confessions saying he had provoked people to riot. But his family and other opposition figures said the statements were coerced -- a claim also made about other defendants' confessions during the trial.
Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said Abtahi was released on a $700,000 bail after the verdict was delivered, the official IRNA news agency reported. The report did not say what his sentence was.
Last week, state television reported that five defendants in the mass trial have been sentenced to death and 81 had received prison terms ranging from six months up to 15 years. Few have been released on bail.
Photo: Upon his release, Abtahi received a visit from an old friend, former President Khatami.
Experts Say Iran Uses the Death Penalty as a Way to Intimidate Opponents
NYT | Nov. 22, 2009
A flurry of executions and death sentences in Iran has raised concern that the government is using judicially sanctioned killing to intimidate the political opposition and quell pockets of ethnic unrest around the nation, human rights groups and Iran experts said.
In the short period between the disputed June election and the inauguration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in August, 115 people were executed, according to statistics compiled by human rights groups and Iranian news agencies. Though the executions mostly involved violent criminals and drug dealers, the number and pace of the killings appeared to be sending a message to the opposition, said human rights groups and Iran experts.
"The regime never expected to see people demonstrate so openly since the elections," said Hossein Askari, a professor of international affairs at George Washington University. "The executions are intended to frighten them. It is absolutely intended for that purpose."
Ex-interior minister Kordan passes away
Tehran Times | Nov. 22, 2009
Former interior minister Ali Kordan, 51, died of stroke on Sunday. Kordan had been hospitalized on Wednesday. The former minister also suffered from lung and liver diseases. Presidential adviser Ali Akbar Javanfekr said on Thursday that Kordan was suffering from a type of blood cancer due to the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
Kordan jumped to fame as debates over the authenticity of his university degree led to his impeachment and removal in the parliament last year.
Iran ready to negotiate on fuel supply: envoy
Iran's permanent representative to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Iran is willing to have more negotiations on IAEA's proposal concerning nuclear fuel supply for Tehran Research Reactor.
Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh in an interview with German weekly 'Der Spiegel' published on Saturday, underlined the immediate need for nuclear fuel supply adding that around 200 hospitals in Iran are dependent on such fuel.
He continued that Iran needs guarantees for delivering its uranium.
Soltaniyeh said, "We have enough reasons to distrust the west because of their behaviour in the past 30 years."
According to the Der Spiegel, Soltaniyeh stressed that Iran is ready for more negotiations on exchanging uranium because of its vital importance to cure cancer patients.
He stressed that Iran does not allow to be blackmailed on its fuel problem.
The envoy said if other countries do not cooperate, Iran will be forced to produce the fuel it needs.
Uskowi | Nov. 22, 2009
"The Defense Ministry's new anti-aircraft defense system will be tested in the Aseman-e-Velayat 2 maneuver," Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi is reported to have said to Press TV on Sunday.
"Rest assured that in case of any aggression, the Zionists' F-15 and F-16 warplanes will be targeted and destroyed by our air defense", Commander of IRGC Aerospace Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh told Fars news agency. "And if one of their aircraft manages to escape Iran's air defense -- before it can land -- the bases from where these aircraft took off will be struck by our destructive surface-to-surface ballistic missiles."
"The Zionists may initiate such a war, but undoubtedly its end will depend on our will," Hajizadeh noted.