24 Dec 2009 22:44
Rahe Sabz | Dec. 24, 2009
The memorial service for Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri that was to be held in the Grand Mosque of Zanjan today was canceled due to the intervention of security forces.
Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani had earlier announced that a memorial service would be held in the Grand Mosque today and called on citizens to participate in the ceremony. According to a reporter from the Jaras news website, those who came to the mosque for the service were left outside because the doors were locked.
"When the people saw police officers standing in front of the closed doors of the mosque, they decided to hold the ceremony on the street," an eyewitness told Jaras. According to the witness, the ceremony started with Qoran recitations and people were silently mourning when police officers attempted to break up the service and disperse the crowd. Police then reportedly viciously attacked mourners, the witness said, leaving some of the mourners with broken limbs and noses.
The slogans chanted were in support of the Green Movement, including "O Hussein, Mir Hossein," "Death to the dictator," "Today is the day of Mourning, the green nation of Iran is in mourning," among others.
According to the report, a significant number of protesters were detained and a number of others were taken to the hospital with injuries.
Some of the detainees were released after a few hours, but there was no news about the others. The report said that the mourners had decided to continue the memorial service at the Bayat-Zanjani residence later that night.
Montazeri memorial canceled in Kashan
Parleman | Dec. 24, 2009
Security and civil forces in Kashan prevented a memorial ceremony for Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri from taking place in that city. The ceremony was organized by the Combatant Clerics Association and Hojjatoleslam Mehskini.
The service was to be held after the evening call to prayer in the Hossein Mosque of Kashan. Security and civil forces, however, prevented the ceremony from taking place by putting up a banner that read, "Based on the decision of the Supreme National Security Council, with the exception of Qom and Najafabad, holding memorial ceremonies for Mr. Montazeri is prohibited."
Former government spokesman sentenced to six years in prison
Rahe Sabz | Dec. 24, 2009
Branch 15 of the Revolution Court sentenced Abdollah Ramezanzadeh to six years in prison. According to Fars News Agency, the court reached this verdict after hearing from Ramezanzadeh and his defense lawyer. Ramezanzadeh was convicted of acting against national security, propagating lies against the establishment and possession of classified documents.
Ramezanzadeh was arrested two days after the June 12 election and never participated in the post-election protests.
Ramezanzadeh recalls prison ordeal
Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, a former government spokesman on a four-day leave from prison after posting an $80,000 bail, recounted stories of his hardship in prison for the many visitors who flocked to his home.
Ramezanzadeh talked about his 116 days in solitary confinement. "In the early days after my detention, Saeed Mortazavi came to me [to proceed] with an indictment. There was blood flowing out of my head, so I told him my physical condition did now allow me to answer his questions and he mockingly said this blood is not from now, it's from the past!"
"The interrogators were changed four times. At first they were really supportive of [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, and said that the elected government is for the poor, but later they would say the issue was not Ahmadinejad," he said. He noted that some of the interrogators did not believe in what they were doing [did not have their heart in it].
"The first days, the situation was so chaotic that we would have to wait in line for our turn to be interrogated," he said. He went on to stress that authorities were unable to find even one instance of him disrespecting the Leadership or the establishment.
"They only had one of my speeches that I delivered at the Association of Researchers and Professors about the candidacy of Mr. [Mohammad] Khatami as the basis for their conviction," he said.
Elaborating on the topic of his speech, Ramezanzadeh said that when asked about Khatami's candidacy at the ARP meeting he had said, "At the time of Imam Ali [the first Shia leader] people kept going to his house and asking him to take the reigns of power."
"These gentlemen decided that by saying this I was trying to compare the Iranian establishment to that of the Othman [third of the Sunni caliphs] rule," he said.
According to Ramezanzadeh, the prison food was horrible at first. "But the worst was the two times that they took us to court," he said.
Moalem unaware of replacing Mousavi
Rahe Sabz | Dec. 24, 2009
Ali Moalem Damghani who was appointed as the president of the Academy of Arts in place of Mir Hossein Mousavi said he was unaware of his new position.
Upon hearing the news of his appointment, according to Khabar Online, a website closely associated with Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, Moalem said, "'They must have meant the director, Ali Moalem, not me.'"
Moalem said that since he was a poet and literary scholar, if he were to have a position in an academy, it would be the Academy of Language and Literature (headed by Gholam Hossein Haddad-Adel) not the Arts.
No official order has been issued for the announcement of Ali Moalem Damghani as the new president of the Academy of Arts.
Meanwhile, actor Jahangir Almasi, who was appointed as one of the permanent members of the Academy of Arts on Tuesday, said, "I was not aware of being appointed as one of the permanent members of the Academy and I have not received a mandate yet."
He added that the academy had asked for his resume a while back, but that he had not heard from them since.
Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Iranian press, and excerpts where the source is in English. The link to the news organization or blog is provided at the top of each item. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the story in perspective.