09 Dec 2009 11:30
Student protests continue at Tehran and Sharif universities
Norooz | Dec. 9, 2009
Despite warnings issued by Tehran University officials banning protests on Wednesday, December 9th, a number of pro-opposition students staged a protest in front of the Faculty of Engineering at this university on Wednesday morning, Nooroz news site reported.
In an apparent gesture of restraint toward student protesters who gathered outside the office of faculty dean Mahmoud Kamarei, faculty officials opened the doors to Shahid Chamran auditorium and invited students to state their objections.
Following an opening speech by Kamarei, the student protesters spoke in the form of an open forum and demanded the resignation of Farhad Rahbar, the university's dean. Kamarei rejected the demand and the students objected to his refusal, prompting Kamraei to walk out of the auditorium.
At the gathering, students chanted slogans slamming the university's security personnel. On December 7 and 8, university security had allowed Basij militiamen to enter the campus and to beat student protesters.
Norooz reports that students at Sharif University in the Iranian capital also staged a rally Wednesday in protest at the arrests of at least seven Sharif students on December 7 and 8, as well as the arrests of scores of students from other universities on these dates.
Sharif students gathered at the university's main entrance and chanted anti-government slogans.
Principlist MP disapproves of Ahmadinejad being quoted on Hidden Imam
Parleman News | Dec. 8, 2009
A Principlist lawmaker reacted strongly to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks about Americans preventing the coming of the Hidden Imam by accusing reporters of taking his words out of context.
When asked by a Parleman news reporter about his opinion on Ahmadinejad's claims to have evidence of Americans preventing the coming of the Hidden Imam, Asadollah Badamchian said, "These sort of exploitations are wrong. Mr. Ahmadinejad has said something but it's wrong for you to take those words and make a big deal out of it."
When asked if he meant what Ahmadinejad had said was not wrong, Badamchian said, "It's morally wrong to ask such things."
"It is against Islamic morals and Iranian manners to take the things one person says out of context."
When asked if speaking about the Hidden Imam in such a manner was not against Islam, he said, "you are not jurists and neither am I; when a person states his opinion about the Hidden Imam the important thing is his intent. If he intended to make an insult, yes, it's wrong. But if he had no intention of insulting [religious beliefs] and was only stating his opinion, then it is in no way wrong."
Beware of Brittle Iran
Daily Star | Dec. 10, 2009
In the aftermath of Iran's controversial presidential election in June, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the dubious claim that his country was the "most stable" nation in the world. But the government's crackdown on renewed opposition demonstrations in the country this week, nearly six months after the vote, shows that the regime is still terrified of the enormous and potentially destabilizing power of its own people.
It is understandable that any government in the world would act -- even with a degree of heavy-handedness -- to curb lawlessness and quell disorder. But it is another thing entirely to impose draconian measures in response to non-violent dissent. The use of tactics like making massive arrests, cutting phone lines, shutting off internet access and preventing journalists from doing their jobs suggests that the regime has calculated that allowing students to rally on the streets could have dangerous consequences to its own survival.
Rafsanjani: Iran not to make concessions, ready for talks
BBC Monitoring | Dec. 9, 2009
[Announcer-read report over video] In an interview with Al-Manar, Shaykh Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, chairman of the Expediency Council in the Islamic Republic of Iran, has said that the West is making a mistake in adopting the policy of threats and terrorization against Iran. He noted that the Islamic Republic does not seek to possess a nuclear weapon. However, it will never abandon its endeavours to possess peaceful nuclear power. He affirmed that Tehran is ready for dialogue.
[Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who is speaking in Persian with voice-over translation into Arabic, translated from Arabic] Serious talks should be held in order to enhance confidence [in Iran]. We will do anything to prove our good intentions to the world and to prove that we are sincere and serious in this regard.
US should back Iran's students
Boston Globe | Dec. 9, 2009
Student protests Monday against the Iranian regime, and against the vicious representation captured in cellphone videos, bear one message for Iran's leaders and another for President Obama. The regime -- which has come to resemble a military junta more than a clerical theocracy -- continues to deny the import of the protesters' resistance. President Obama need not do the same.
Despite beatings and arrests, students in Tehran and many other Iranian cities showed that they will not be intimidated. They no longer define their movement simply as a rejection of the fraudulent reelection over the summer of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They are also repudiating Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the entire system of the Islamic Republic.
Nobel Prize Winner Says Iran's Regime Won't Last
ABC | Dec. 9, 2009
In a calm but defiant interview with ABC News, Iranian human rights activist and 2003 Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi said the current Iranian regime has "no popular base". "I promise you, this regime will not last," she said. Pressed as to how a largely a popular protest movement can challenge a regime which seemingly has all the cards -- police, military, basij paramilitaries, Revolutionary Guards -- she said the movement is becoming more widespread despite the crackdown, spreading from Tehran to other cities. She said political backing from prominent religious leaders adds strength, and that while political leaders such as Mirhossein Mousavi have been largely quiet, "the real leaders are the people."
Iran offers 'Al-Shirbini' scholarship to Muslim European students
BBC Monitoring | Dec. 9, 2009
The chancellor of Kashan University [central Iran] has announced that his university will offer "Marwah al-Shirbini" martyr of hijab scholarship to ten European students who observe hijab.
According to Jahan News, Seyyed Javad Sadatinezhad said: In view of the fact that women who observe hijab are prevented from receiving scholarships in law and other subjects in many European countries, they can use the great environment created at the University of Kashan and win scholarships in every field, particularly law, and continue their education.
Number of detained Kurdish students reaches 15
Gooya News | Dec. 9, 2009
Amid uncertainty about the fate of the seven students who were detained while protesting the death sentence handed to Ehsan Fatthahian, more Kurdish students have been detained in recent days.
Ahamd Esmaili, Amaj Rahimi, Avdollah Arefi, Bakshan Azizi, Leila Mohammadi, Sarveh Veysi and Hazhar Yousefi were arrested on Nov. 16 for having objections to Fatthahian execution sentence.
According to the Amir Kabir Bulletin, Amjad Kordnejad and Abbas Kakayi, two Tehran University students, were arrested after being summoned to the Revolution Court.
Edris Moloudi, an Allameh Tabatabaei University student, was arrested at his home.
Alireza and Sajjad Moradi are two more Tehran University students who have been arrested.
Farzad Kalbali, a TU post-grad student of sociology, was arrested upon exiting campus on 16 Azar.
Sohrab Karimi, a political science graduate student in Qaraveh, was arrested after traveling to Tehran.
The arrests of these students brings the number of Kurdish students in detention to 15.
Iran official says seismic stations used for spying
Reuters | Dec. 9, 2009
An Iranian official criticized an international treaty banning nuclear explosions on Wednesday, suggesting a newly built seismic monitoring station near its border was set up to spy on the Islamic Republic.
Abolfazl Zohrehvand, a senior Iranian diplomat involved in nuclear talks with major powers, underlined Iranian distrust of world powers involved in a long-running dispute with Tehran over its nuclear program in his remarks, carried by the official IRNA news agency.
Last week, the Vienna-based Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) said a primary seismic station had been built and was undergoing tests in Turkmenistan, which borders Iran.
Zohrehvand said the facilities had been revealed as "dens of espionage" and suggested that plans to build them inside Iran had been halted.
Tamadon: What the hell does Mousavi want from us
Lahzeh News | Dec. 9, 2009
Tehran Governor Morteza Tamadon said Mir-Hossein Mousavi's statement issued for 16 Azar was the main reason behind the unrest on Student Day.
"People ask me in different places what is the reason for Mr. Mousavi's insistence on his unlawful behavior? What does he want from us?"
"Unfortunately the sedition-seeking movement, which has been trying to use the important and revolutionary days [on the calendar] to its benefit since the election, tried to confiscate 16 Azar for the counterrevolutionary movement but the vigilance of the revolutionary students prevent the seditionist from achieving their objectives," Tamadon told IRNA.
"One movement has been hiding behind Mousavi under the guise of supporting him, and Mousavi, with his deliberate silence in the face of their pretense and by issuing provocative and questionable statements, helped the seditionist movement."
"Foreign and counterrevolutionary media outlets on the one hand and questionable parties inside Iran headed by Mousavi on the other hand tried to bring the opponents of the Imam [Khomeini] and the establishment to the scene on 16 Azar, but the vigilance of revolutionary students prevented them from succeeding."
Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani questions Ahmadinejad's faith
| Dec. 7, 2009
A Shia Source of Emulation questioned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's adherence to the Shia faith over his controversial remarks about the Hidden Imam in Isfahan.
In a meeting with the members of the Islamic Participation Front, Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani urged attendees to do everything in their power to safeguard the younger generation from superstitions, adding, "Unfortunately some of the echelons are party to this attack by superstitions."
"Sometimes the remarks [made by certain parties] reflected in the news amazes one and makes one think if the speaker of such words has any Shia beliefs at all? How must the youth who hear these remarks from people who affiliate themselves with the Hidden Imam react?"
He urged clerics to inform the youth that "some of the things said by officials in this country have nothing to do with Islam or the Shia faith and one must have serious doubt about the religious awareness and the intentions of their speaker."
The grand Ayatollah was referring to controversial remarks by Ahmadinejad in Isfahan in which he claimed to have evidence that the Americans were preventing the Hidden Imam from coming.
Rasaii challenges Mousavi to bring proof of his descent
Pool News | Dec. 8, 2009
A Staunch Ahmadinejad supporter and lawmaker questioned Mir-Hossein Mousavi's descent from the family of the prophet of Islam.
In his latest blog post, Hamid Rasaii said he had received a text message stating that Mousavi was not a Seyyed (descendent of the prophet) as his campaign had claimed. This claim legitimized the use of the color green by the Mousavi campaign, as green symbolizes descent from the Prophet Mohammed.
Rasaii urged Mousavi to clear his name by responding to the allegation on his official website and prevent his own political suicide.
"While being a descendent of the prophet or a cleric are honorable and positive qualities, they are not considered the best criteria for choosing a candidate for presidency. Using such symbols means exploiting the religious beliefs of the people."
Karroubi: Ahmadinejad causing establishment to lose honor
Hammihan News | Dec. 8
Opposition cleric Mehdi Karroubi said Ahmadinejad's remarks about Americans preventing the coming of the Hidden Imam are causing the establishment to lose its honor.
"Many of the Sources of Emulation are critical of the present situation. Some voice their criticism and pay the price for it, while others due to certain considerations keep silent. Such remarks, which unfortunately have become a habit for him [Ahmadinejad], play with the [religious] beliefs of the people."
Karroubi read out parts of Ahmadinejad's remarks in which he said, "We have documented proof that they believe that a descendant of the prophet of Islam will rise in these parts [Middle East] and he will dry the roots of all injustice in the world. They have devised all these plans to prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam because they know that the Iranian nation is the one that will prepare the grounds for his coming, and will be the supporters of his rule."
"The Doctor [Ahmadinejad] has made two claims here: one, that Americans are trying to prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam and two, that they have found proof of it. Are you keeping these documents in the foreign ministry? Our clergymen have been saying for centuries that there is no way to tell when and how the Hidden Imam would be coming and that the predictors of the coming are liars," Karroubi said.
"What kind of thing is that to say? How are the Americans going to stop the Hidden Imam from coming? By arresting him or assassinating him? What is the meaning of such childish remarks about the Imam? What is the real objective behind such claims?"
Karroubi went on to say that if a Reformist had made even a fraction of these types of remarks, radicals would have raked them over the coals, but no one has tried to stop Ahmadinejad from such sacrilege.
"If making such remarks has become a habit of his [Ahmadinejad], echelons should stop the spread of such remarks and the rational should warn him [to stop talking]."
"It is one thing to claim they wanted to kidnap me in Iraq or assassinate me in another place, even though uttering such remarks by an Iranian official is unfortunate it does not hurt anyone, but here [with his Hidden Imam remarks] the [religious] beliefs of the people have been targeted. This is not a personal issue. We must not allow such things to happen and we must warn and call [Ahmadinejad] to virtue and caution [him] against vice.
Karroubi closed by saying that the threat of a stupid friend and a zealot is much greater than a wise enemy.