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Weekend Headlines

20 Dec 2009 19:37No Comments

Five dailies scolded for 'censoring' govt rally

Ayandeh | Dec. 19, 2009

The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance reprimanded five Iranian dailies -- Abrar, Andish-e No, Jahan-e Eghtesad, Etemad and Mardomsalary -- for censoring Friday's state-organized rally to protest the desecration of an Imam Khomeini poster.

According to ILNA, the statement released by the public relations office of the ministry has accused the five dailies of censoring news reports of the rally.

All five dailies reported the story but failed to make it their main headline.

Karroubi: I am ready to go to prison

Ham Mihan | Dec. 19, 2009

Opposition cleric Mehdi Karroubi said that despite pressures from the Judiciary, he is still following up on the demands of the people.

In an interview with the BBC, Karroubi pointed to the Judiciary restrictions imposed on him, such as the closure of his offices, the ban on his Etemad-e Melli newspaper and the ban on his party meetings. "When the judiciary comes and closes my office and takes away my documents and pressures my witnesses, it only makes the truth of what the people have told me become more clear," he said.

"The protests began against the election results. The severe government crackdowns caused a change in the chanted slogans over the six months and an increase in the number of opponents," he continued.

"After the election result was [officially] confirmed, I held the opinion that this government would not be able to finish its four-year term. It is currently surviving by exerting pressure and bullying.... The government is under a lot of cultural, political and economical pressures. Had it not been for the letter sent by Mr. Khamenei [to Parliament] on the day of the vote of confidence, at least 8 or 9 of the proposed ministers would have been dropped."

Regarding the possibility of his arrest, Karroubi said, "No one wants to go to prison, especially a prison belonging to the establishment that he has helped establish. But either way, if this happens, I am ready for arrest and detention."

Rogue officers kidnapped, tortured ex-lawmaker's son

Ayandeh | Dec. 19, 2009

Reports suggest that some of the students arrested on 16 Azar were brought into custody by unknown agents with whom security officials refused to acknowledge any affiliation.

According to the Arman-e Iran report, one of the students detained on 16 Azar was the son of an official who was previously a university dean and a lawmaker.  He was detained and transferred to an unknown location where he was repeatedly interrogated.

The family of the former lawmaker was unable to obtain any information about their missing son and authorities refused to claim responsibility for the arrest. Five days after his arrest, the son was found abandoned on a Tehran street without any explanation.

The unnamed lawmaker said that he had received a text message from his son's captors informing him that his son had been arrested and would be released the following day.

The son said that he had spent the five days in shackles and handcuffs and was subjected to severe torture techniques, which caused him lose some of his memory of the incident.

Nourizad summoned by security authorities

Asre Farda│Dec. 19, 2009

Former Kayhan columnist and Ahmadinejad critic Mohammad Nourizad was summoned by security police over insulting judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani.

Last week Nourizad had written an article titled "The fall of the High Judge" about remarks made by Ayatollah Larijani.

The documentary filmmaker wrote on his blog, "Half an hour ago a security police officer friend called me introducing himself as Captain Shayesteh to inform me of my summons to court. I recognized his kind voice. He had summoned me last year for insulting the Sources [of Emulation] and sent me to court."

"I asked what my crime was this time. He laughed and replied 'insulting the judiciary chief' ... Are judges not supposed to breathe with the oxygen of justice? How did I end up blocking the airway of the high judge in town?"

Mohammad Nourizadeh arrested

ILNA | Dec. 20, 2009

Mohammad Nourizadeh was arrested on charges of denigrating officials and publicly promoting opposition to the Islamic Republic.

Per report of ILNA, the Public Relations Office of Tehran's General and Revolutionary Court released the following bulletin on Sunday: Following the announcement of criminal accusations against Nourizadeh, he was summoned. After clarification of the warrant by the assistant district attorney of the court, a bail was set for him, which he did not meet, and was then transferred to jail.

The bulletin further contained that, Abbas Jaefarie Dolatabadi, the attorney general of The General and Revolutionary Court of Tehran had previously announced that the Prosecutor's Office will confront all persons who insult official statesmen of the nation.

Women's rights activist detained

Blog Watch | Dec. 19, 2009

Women's rights activist Somayeh Rashidi was detained and transferred to Evin Prison after being summoned by the Revolution Court.

Rashidi's lawyer Afrouz Moghzi said, "Ms. Rashidi was interrogated at the Revolution courthouse for nearly two hours and we were informed that she had been transferred to Evin after the indictment." Moghzi added that she had not been allowed to represent her client.

On Dec. 14, five officers raided the house in which Rashidi shared with two roommates and confiscated belongings belonging not only to her, but those of her two friends.

Rashidi was a member of the "one-million signatures" campaign. She was banned from completing a graduate degree in women's studies this year after security authorities branded her a "starred student" [a derogatory ranking in Iran].

Political activist prevented from seeking treatment

Iran Emrouz | Dec. 18, 2009

Despite the Evin Prison doctor's insistence that Abdollah Momeni be transferred to a hospital for treatment, authorities refused to discharge the political activist.

Momeni who was detained following the June 12 election has contracted a skin disease that requires medical treatment outside the prison.

"Due to the horrific hygienic conditions in prison, Momeni has contracted a skin disease that cannot be treated in prison," Momeni's wife Fatemeh Adineh told Advar News.

"His doctors in prison have ordered him to be transferred out of prison but despite their request he is still there," Adineh added.

MP reveals details of Kahrizak doctor's death

Tabnak | Dec. 19, 2009

Forty days after the suspicious death of Ramin Pourandarzjani, a Majlis lawmaker announced that the Coroner's Office has given a verbal report on the cause of his death.

ILNA quoted Masoud Pezeshkian as saying that the Head of the Majlis Health Commission, Shahabeldin Sadr had been informed by the Coroner's Office that Pourandarzjani died of drug poisoning.

"They told him [Sadr] as the former head of the Coroner's Office, that the cause of death was overdosing on Inderal (propranolol)."

Inderal is used to treat angina, high blood pressure and heart rhythm disorders.

"We have requested a written report which will be in two parts, an autopsy report and a toxicology report," the Reformist lawmaker said, adding that it was not yet clear when the written report would be submitted."

Tajjari reacts to Judiciary Org's Kahrizak statment

Asr Iran | Dec. 19, 2009

Lawmaker and member of the Majlis truth-finding committee Farhad Tajjari said the statement issued by the Judiciary Organization of the Armed Forces regarding the Kahrizak case is in agreement with the Majlis report.

The Qsr-e Shirin representative in parliament said, "The Judiciary Organization report is realistic and based on the reports of the Majlis truth-finding committee, the Supreme National Security Council Tribunal and the three-member Judiciary committee."

He expressed hope that the current godly trend would continue so that justice would be administered and the perpetrators who have damaged the reputation of the establishment would be brought to justice.

He, however, stressed that the individuals who had been doing their duty to maintain security must not be wronged.

Tajjari went on to describe the Judiciary Organization's performance as just, realistic, and in line with justice.

"The [Majlis] committee's report is more comprehensive due to the vast number of issues it has touched upon. While the Judiciary Organization's report has only focused on guilty officers, the Majlis report encompasses post- and pre-election incidents as well."

Lawmaker says Mehrabian impeachment unwise

Pool News | Dec. 19, 2009

Member of the Majlis Industrial and Mining Committee Hassan Hashemi said the impeachment of Industries Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian is not a wise move.

"We believe impeachment should only be the final measure, as it will send out shrapnel. Mr. Mehrabian has recently won a vote of confidence from parliament, it is not wise to impeach him so soon. Lawmakers should withdraw their signatures [from the impeachment motion]," he told a press conference on Kish Island.

"We are also not of the opinion that just because a minister has recently won a vote of confidence from parliament he should not be impeached or questioned, but the problems the country's industries are struggling with are not minor and many things have led to the present situation. Impeachment will not resolve any of these problems."

Bahonar: It's better for Hashemi not to talk

Asr Iran | Dec. 18, 2009

Principlist lawmaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar said social assumptions about Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani make it necessary for him to choose his political stance with better care.

When asked his opinion about Rafsanjani's post-election views, Bahonar said, "Mr. Hashemi's views have had many ups and downs over the past five or six years and especially at the beginning of the 9th government. In some places his views are subject to critique, and in other places where he has made efforts for unity, it is worthy of praise."

He went on to say that when there are presumptions about a person like Rafsnajani, he should choose his views with more caution.

"On the anniversary of the establishment of Majlis, we invited Mr. Hashemi to address Majlis but he said he would try to talk less because whatever he says has a lot of controversy following it. It is better for him to talk less, we found it and still find it a reasonable statement."

"Currently the situation is such that even if Mr. Hashemi warns authorities against something, or if he feels alarmed about something and communicates it to authorities, it becomes something for the opportunists to exploit."

"His speech in Mashhad was no exception to this analysis. We urge him to show more care in choosing his words, and to talk less when there is no need. We plea with the media to reflect the positive parts of Mr. Hashemi's words."

Iran says no decision made to limit UK ties

Press TV | Dec. 20, 2009

Months after Iran announced that it would review ties with the United Kingdom, the Iranian Foreign Ministry says no decision has been made to limit relations with Britain.

Speaking to Mehr News Agency, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast explained that relations between different countries are established and maintained based upon national interests.

"Up until now officials at the Foreign Ministry have not reached a decision to lower the level of relations with Britain," the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Mashai sings in Ahmadinejad's praise

Tabnak | Dec. 18, 2009

Esfandyar Rahim-Mashai described Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a smart, witty and courageous individual who prevents Iran from being duped.

Speking to a group of Iranians in Denmark, Mashai said, "Iran is a creditor for the international community and the whole of the world is indebted to it. Because Iran is the most important of the founders of human society and urbanism"

"We are a rich and resourceful country but our resources are not oil and gas, it is the Iranian culture. Today, because of a smart, witty and courageous son, Mr. Ahmadinejad, deceiving it [Iran] has become impossible."

"Ahmadinejad is the manifestation of a well-informed, wise and passionate Iranian who has stood in front of international politics so that everyone understands that the path of Iran's development cannot be abandoned."

Election debate host removed from post

Ham Mihan | Dec. 19, 2009

The host of the 10th presidential election live debates Reza Pour-Hossein was removed from his position as the CEO of IRIB Channel 4.

IRIB deputy Morteza Mir-Baqeri replaced Pour-Hossein with Taqi Rostamvandi who was previously the CEO of news on state radio stations.

Pour-Hossein has been appointed as the CEO of the Education Channel.

Iranian swimming federation employees collectively resign

Ettelaat | Dec. 19, 2009

The employees of the Iranian swimming federation have all resigned in protest of the installment of a new government appointed chief.

Former chief Vahid Moradi was fired and replaced by 34-year-old Amir-Hossein Ayatollahi who is currently the CEO of the Tehran Darou pharmaceutical company.

Another example of government meddling in sports affairs was the firing of the Iranian Football Federation (IFF) chief Mohsen Safayi-Farahani which drew fierce criticism from the International Football Federation Association (FIFA).

FIFA warned again that such a move would lead to a ban on Iranian football by the association. In 2006, Ahmadinejad caused the Iranian team to be banned from soccer after he replaced the elected IFF chief with the person of his choice.

Safayi-Farahani is currently in detention.

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.

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