30 Dec 2009 21:49
Iran Urges Pro-Government Rallies in Tehran; Free Metro Tickets
WSJ | Dec. 30, 2009
Tens of thousands of supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime flocked to a series of pro-government rallies Wednesday in Tehran and across Iran, as government officials hardened warnings to opposition protesters that the regime won't tolerate more demonstrations.
The rallies appeared mostly peaceful. Opposition supporters--who have demonstrated and clashed with security services off-and-on for more than six months--stayed off the streets. Pro-government militia, however, beat students, some of them badly, at Mashhad University in northeastern Iran, according to a student-run Web site and one eyewitness.
The Tehran metro said transportation would be free of charge Wednesday, according to state media. Opposition sites also posted what purported to be a government directive calling for state-own companies to encourage employees to attend the pro-government rallies. It wasn't possible to immediately verify the authenticity of the directive.
Foreign journalists given permission to cover rally
Norooz | Dec. 30, 2009
While foreign journalists were banned from reporting on anti-government protests in Iran, all restrictions for covering today's pro-government rally were lifted.
According to the Jaras website, foreign journalists, photojournalists and cameramen were allowed to cover the government-organized rally to condemn the Ashura protests in the country.
Iran police chief warns reporters to stop asking questions
Rahe Sabz | Dec. 30, 2009
In a press conference in Tehran, the country's police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam appeared to lose his cool when reporters asked him questions about the Ashura unrest.
According to Jaras, Ahmadi-Moqaddam was infuriated by the questions put to him by reporters and shouted at them a couple of times. When asked by a reporter about the videos showing police vehicles running over protesters, Ahmadi-Moqaddam said, "This report is baseless, and you better stop asking baseless questions, you better stop asking such questions. If you have any proof, come forward with it."
When another reporter asked him about the use of BB guns by police officers on Ashura, Ahmadi-Moqaddam said, "I'm not here to be interrogated by you. You asked your one question, now go. Reporters should be respected, but you can't keep asking questions and interrogating me."
Radan: Arresting opposition leaders not on our agenda
Tabnak | Dec. 30, 2009
Tehran police chief Ahmad Reza Radan said that he had received no orders to arrest the opposition leaders and that their arrests were not even on the police agenda.
"We don't want to turn them into heroes by arresting them," Radan said.
Radan, who was in Majlis to attend the meeting of the Judiciary and National Security Commissions, told reporters that there were only seven victims from the Ashura protests.
When asked if an autopsy had been performed on Seyyed Ali Mousavi's body, Radan said, "this is something you need to ask the coroner because we only investigate the appearance of a body."
When asked if the cause of Mousavi's nephew's death had been confirmed as assassination, Radan said, "What took place suggests that he was on his way [to somewhere] and he was crossing [the street] when he was assassinated."
When asked about the police vehicles that ran over two people, Radan said, " As I previously announced, two people were killed in an auto accident and the owner of the car and the vehicle have been identified and we are trying to find the driver."
Radan reiterated that the vehicle did not belong to the police and was a personal vehicle.
When a reporter pointed out that the video of the incident showed a police vehicle run over the victim, Radan said, "Look at the film again: a black Nissan Patrol hits two people. Its owner has been arrested and we are now looking for the driver."
Regarding the possible punishment of "rioters," Radan stressed that punishment was the responsibility of the judiciary. "I personally think that decisive and effective punishments will be handed [to protesters]," he said.
He added that dozens of police officers had been injured during the Ashura unrest, but that "fortunately we had no police casualties."
Regime supporters stage sit-in, demand action against Mousavi
Raja News | Dec. 30, 2009
IRGC-affiliated Javan reported that people have staged a sit-in in front of Mir Hossein Mousavi's office in North Karegar Street.
According to Javan, the sit-in will continue until judiciary officials take proper action against Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.
Iran Karrubi's son slams rumours that opposition leaders have fled Tehran
Parleman | Dec. 30, 2009
Ali-Reza Beheshti on hunger strike
Emrooz News | Dec. 30, 2009
Mir Hossein Mousavi's top aide, Ali-Reza Hosseini Beheshti has gone on a hunger strike after he was pulled out of his class and arrested in Tehran on Monday.
The son of the martyred Mohammad Beheshti was teaching a class at Tarbiyat Modares University when he was taken into custody. An informed source told the Jaras news site that Beheshti had started the hunger strike in prison.
As standoff with Iran continues, U.S. prepares targeted sanctions
WaPo | Dec. 30, 2009
The Obama administration is readying sanctions against discrete elements of the Iranian government, including those involved in the deadly crackdown on Iranian protesters, marking a shift to a more aggressive U.S. posture toward the Islamic Republic, U.S. officials said.
Ten months after President Obama set a year-end deadline for Iran to engage with world powers on its nuclear program, the government in Tehran has failed to respond in kind, other than an abortive gesture in the fall.
Guardian reveals hand of Iran in British kidnap case in Iraq
Guardian | Dec. 30, 2009
The five British men kidnapped in Iraq were taken in an operation led and masterminded by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, according to evidence uncovered during an extensive investigation by the Guardian.
The men -- including Peter Moore, who was released today after more than two years in captivity -- were taken to Iran within a day of their kidnap from a government ministry building in Baghdad in 2007, several senior sources in Iraq and Iran have told the Guardian.
They were incarcerated in prisons run by the Qods force, a unit that specialises in foreign operations on behalf of the Iranian government.
One of the kidnappers has told this paper that three of the Britons -- Jason Creswell, Jason Swindlehurst and Alec Maclachlan -- were subsequently killed after the British government refused to take ransom demands seriously.
Iran denies secret deal to import Kazakh uranium
Reuters | Dec. 30, 2009
Iran on Wednesday denied as "baseless" a report that it was close to clinching a deal to import 1,350 tons (1,372 tonnes) of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan to restock its depleted reserves.
Any such deal would violate United Nations sanctions imposed on Iran in 2006 over its nuclear programme. Uranium ore, also known as "yellow cake," can be enriched to use for fuel either for reactors or nuclear weapons.
The report by the Associated Press news agency cited an intelligence report by an unnamed member nation of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency.
It said Iran was willing to pay $450 million for the uranium and that the clandestine deal, to be sealed with Kazakh state employees acting without the approval of the Kazakh government, could be completed within weeks.
"Such fabrications of news are part of the psychological warfare (against Iran) to serve the political interests of the hegemonic powers," Iran's representative at the United Nations said in a statement faxed to Reuters.
Now, in what may be a difficult balancing act, officials say the administration wants to carefully target sanctions to avoid alienating the Iranian public -- while keeping the door ajar to a resolution of the struggle over Iran's nuclear program. The aim of any sanctions is to force the Tehran government to the negotiating table, rather than to punish it for either its apparent push to develop a nuclear weapon or its treatment of its people.
"We have never been attracted to the idea of trying to get the whole world to cordon off their economy," said a senior U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. "We have to be deft at this, because it matters how the Iranian people interpret their isolation -- whether they fault the regime or are fooled into thinking we are to blame."
EU Mission to Tehran Draws U.S. Ire
WSJ | Dec. 30, 2009
The mission, set for Jan. 7-11, marks the first visit by a Western parliamentary body to Tehran in more than a year. It comes as Mr. Ahmadinejad's security forces have accelerated a crackdown on Iran's political opposition.
The trip, which is set to occur a week after the expiration of U.S. President Barack Obama's deadline for Iran to respond to international calls for negotiations, is feeding a growing debate among the U.S. and its European allies over how long to keep open the widow for diplomacy with Tehran.
More videos released:
People attack anti-riot 27dec حمله مردم به نیروهای امنیتی
Iran,Tehran,29.12.09-Elm va Sanat University
حمله گروهك فشار به مسجد قباي شهر شيراز
حمله گروهك فشار به مسجد قباي شهر شيراز
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.