16 Jan 2010 03:54
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.
Iran Air plane skids off runway at Stockholm
Press TV | Jan. 16, 2010
An Iran Air plane slid off the runway into the snow as it was about to leave Stockholm for Tehran on Saturday, an official with the airline said.
None of the 173 people, including 149 passengers, onboard Flight 762 were hurt, the official told Press TV on condition of anonymity.
An Arlanda Airport spokesman, Jan Lindqvist, said the plane had not been damaged as it was moving slowly.
"Some 100, 150 meters out on the runway (the plane) made a very slow turn and got stuck in the snow on the side of the runway," he was quoted by AFP as saying.
The cause of the incident remains unknown.
The incident caused no major delays at Arlanda as the airport's two other runways were kept open.
Mashai fly buzzing in Ahmadinejad's ear
Tabnak | Ebrat | Jan. 16, 2010
A critical comment by Esfandiar Rahim Mashai about one the prophets prompted the Mashhad Friday Prayers leader to call the president's right-hand man "a fly buzzing in the ear" of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"We will not tolerate attacks on the principles of religion from any front or movement even if we are among [one of] its supporters," said Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Ahmad Alamolhoda. "In our opinion, the insults hurled by the head of the presidential office [Mashai] at one of the great prophets [Noah], are on a par with an attack on the principles of religion."
Alamolhoda was referring to Mashai's remarks at the Kharazmi Medical Science Festival. "Why should someone talk about the management skills of prophets at a medical festival?" he asked. "Do you [Mashai] know these prophets? Who does he [Mashai] think he is to question the managerial skills of prophets?"
"Noah the prophet struggled for 950 years to save humanity and if it wasn't for him humanity would have been extinct and it was thanks to Noah's management that humanity was saved from extinction," he explained.
"It's better for you [Mashai] to study the Qoran. Do you even know what Jesus has done to be criticizing his managerial skills? Are you some kind of expert?" he said.
"The people voted for a pious, honest individual," he said, referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "and now someone [Mashai] stands beside him [Ahmadinejad] buzzing in his ear like a fly."
"We warned the president [about Mashai] a long time ago," he said.
Alamolhoda went on to stress that the nation stood by its vote and added, "We will not allow a fly to buzz in our president's ear."
During Ahmadinejad's trip to Mashhad, Alamolhoda left the podium in the middle of his speech to protest Mashai's presence.
Top cleric disqualified for being 'innovative' in religious issues
Resalat | Jan. 14, 2010
Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, the head of the Qom Seminary Theological Lecturers Association, provided some explanations about the Association's decision to demote Ayatollah Yousef Sanei as a source of emulation.
"This has been discussed in the related committee of the Lecturers Association and a decision has been made. However, according to the related regulations indicating that important issues need the Lecturers Association's final decision, the committee's report in this regard was ratified in the Lecturers Association's general assembly some time ago," he said.
He pointed to some events and protests in front of Ayatollah Sanei's offices in some provinces. "Certainly, in my opinion, attacking his residence and teaching place was by no means appropriate. Such things should not happen, because the eminent leader [Ayatollah Khamenei] has always urged society to be peaceful," he said.
Ayatollah Yazdi pointed to some of Ayatollah Sanei's views on jurisprudence, saying "some of the members of Lecturers Association who talked to me said that he is an innovator. Innovation is something that everybody is obliged to reject."
Ayatollah Yazdi added, "He issued an official statement for those who have an adopted son and that he has all the rights of the real son. However, this statement is against the text of Holy Qoran because in the issue of intimate and non-intimate person, inheritance, marriage and so on, there are things against his statement in numerous verses."
The head of Qom Seminary Theological Lecturers Association called some of Ayatollah Sanei's views on jurisprudence "innovations," including one on " "male and female equality."
He also claimed Ayatollah Sanei had exhibited inappropriate behavior toward one of the sources of emulation, Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi-Golpayegani. "On one occasion, when he issued a statement, Ayatollah Safi-Golpayegani called him to ask what statement he had issued. However, he got angry and did not talk to this source of emulation. I was very upset with Ayatollah Sanei at that time for treating Ayatollah Safi-Golpayegani in this way. I told him that if he considers himself a source of emulation, he should respect the elderly and should not have behaved in that way with this figure."
MP: Iran only country where Jews are allowed to worship freely
Irna | Jan. 16, 2010
Representative of the Jewish minority in the Iranian Parliament Siyamak Marre Sedq said Iran is the only country in the world where Jews enjoy full freedom to carry out their social, cultural and ritual activities.
He made the remarks in a meeting with the Governor of Isfahan Province, Alireza Zaker Esfahani, on Friday.
He said Jews enjoyed even more privileges in Isfahan due to their long-standing presence in the province which transcends two millennia and also thanks to Jews' contribution in cultural and medical activities as well as in the cultural-religious heritage including synagogues that are built in styles inspired by the Islamic architecture.
Conservative agency reports bomb attack in western Iran
Tabnak | Jan. 16, 2010
The Iranian Tabnak news website, thought close to moderate conservative politician Mohsen Reza'i, has disclosed news of a bomb which exploded in the religious cultural centre of Nahavand, west Iran. The explosion is reported to have taken place at approximately 2200 hrs local time (1830 gmt) on Thursday 14 January. Nobody is thought to have been hurt in the bomb which went off near the office of the Friday prayer leader of the city, Hojjat Ol-Eslam Mogheysi.
Tabnak added: "The Friday prayer leader of Nahavand pointed to the incident of explosion near his place of residence, remarking: The security forces must pursue the enemies [of the system]".
Tabnak quoted further comments from Mogheysi: "A similar event occurred in Nahavand two months ago... I believe that the enemies of the system want to announce their existence in this way".
Iran Judicial official's nephew faces death penalty
Parleman News | Jan. 15, 2010
Some websites have quoted one of the kin of
Hojjat Ol-Eslam Mohammad Ja'far Montazeri, who is the head of the
National Judiciary Administration, saying that the nephew of this
judicial figure is one of the detainees in the unrest during Ashura
[27 December 2009] and who is on the list of those to be executed.
Hoseyn Mahmudi is a medical student who was arrested on 27 December.
A reminder that the head of the Judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, appointed
Mohammad Ja'far Montazeri to the post of the head of National
Iran bans weekly for spreading 'lies'
Reuters | Jan. 14, 2010
An Iranian court has banned a weekly for slander and spreading lies, media reported, and one opposition website said it was for insulting former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
The official IRNA news agency, in a report on the court's move late on Wednesday, did not mention Rafsanjani, who backed opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in last year's disputed presidential election.
IRNA said a Revolutionary Court in Tehran decided to ban the Hemmat weekly due to "slander and dissemination of lies with the intention of agitating public opinion."
The latest issue of Hemmat -- the sixth since the previous ban was lifted -- carried a front-page picture of Rafsanjani, surrounded by known critics and opponents of the Islamic state, with the headline "All the disciples of Hashemi."
Iran journalist contacts family from prison
Tabnak | Jan. 14, 2010
Etemad newspaper wrote today: Three weeks after his arrest, journalist Emaddedin Baqi contacted his family and told them that he is being kept in Evin prison. He said that he is in detention because he interviewed the late Ayatollah Montazeri.
Iran Jan. gasoline imports set to rise 23 percent
Reuters | Jan. 14, 2010
Iran's January gasoline imports are expected to rise by 23 percent from the previous month, as the Islamic republic continues to build stocks as the threat of stricter sanctions grows, traders said on Thursday.
Tehran was likely to import up to 128,000 barrels per day (bpd) of gasoline from the international spot market or about 15 cargoes, traders said.
The jump comes after the world's fifth largest oil exporter imported about 103,609 bpd of gasoline in December, higher than initially expected, traders said.
"There was a flurry of activities towards the end of the month. It looks like they are now building inventories," a Middle East-based trader said.
The average price for Iran's January spot gasoline purchases was pegged at Middle East naphtha plus $45 to $50, steady from the previous month.
Iran lacks the refining capacity to meet its domestic gasoline needs and has to import up to 40 percent of its gasoline requirements to meet high domestic demand.
Russia's Gazprom, Iran's oil ministry discuss gas cooperation
Platts | Jan. 14, 2010
A deputy CEO of Russia's gas giant Gazprom Alexander Medvedev and Iran's deputy oil minister for international affairs Hossein Noghrehkar Shirazi have discussed prospects for cooperation in the gas sector, the Russian company said late Wednesday.
The parties discussed existing and prospective joint projects to develop Iran's massive South Pars gas field as well as possible cooperation in implementing regional pipeline projects and swap operations, Gazprom said in a statement.
"An exchange of views on the development of the gas industry of Iran and its neighboring states as well as the prospects for regional cooperation in this sphere took place," Gazprom said.
The parties have agreed to maintain regular exchange of views on matters of mutual interest, it said.
In addition, they agreed that Gazprom would participate in the development of the roadmap of Russian-Iranian cooperation in the energy field, Gazprom said.
Iran and Gazprom have previously discussed the development of phases 19 to 21 of Iran's giant offshore South Pars gas field, the establishment of an Iran-Russia joint company to carry out oil and gas projects in third countries as well as cooperation on gas exports.
Reuters | Jan. 13, 2010
Iran's president lashed out at Saudi Arabia on Wednesday over its role in Yemen's conflict with Shiite rebels, saying Riyadh should try to foster peace rather than use weapons against fellow Muslims.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments were the strongest criticism yet by predominantly Shiite Muslim Iran of mainly Sunni Saudi Arabia over its involvement in the Yemen conflict.
Saudi Arabia has been fighting Yemen rebels since the insurgents carried out a cross-border raid in November.
"We were expecting that Saudi Arabian officials act like a mentor and make peace between brothers, not that they themselves enter the war and use bombs... and machine guns against Muslims," Ahmadinejad said in a televised speech.
MP says parliament to consider downgrading ties with UK
IRNA | Jan. 13, 2010
The head of the National Security Council and foreign policy committee said parliament will review reducing the level of ties with the United Kingdom.
Alaeddin Borujerdi said parliament will review the report of the committee. He added that the committee has discussed the issue with the Foreign Ministry in several sessions.
Borujerdi said the committee persisted on reducing the level of relations with Britain during its last meeting with the foreign minister.
Earlier Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced the reduction of ties with the United Kingdom.
Students oppose Mousavi's return as university lecturer
Iran Newspaper | Jan. 12, 2010
The first news is that Mir Hossein Mousavi, after his resignation from the chairmanship of the Iranian Art Academy, has taken new moves for distancing himself from isolation. Before the last presidential elections, he was a lecturer in the Political Science department of the Teachers' Training University.
Although he has a masters degree in Architecture, he was teaching "problems of Iran and roots of Revolution" and guided research students in their dissertations and theses as a supervisor professor. Now he intends to return to this earlier position.
However, the students of Teachers' Training University, on hearing the news of Mousavi's possible return to his previous illegal position, have taken fresh steps and written a letter to the university's chancellor asking him to prevent such an event. The students, in their letter, have argued that Mousavi lacks the necessary academic qualifications -- being an architect by qualification -- for this post and say that he has discarded his political competence as well.
Iranian counters embassy's reaction on his interview with Thai daily
Bangkok Post | Jan. 11, 2010
I am writing in response to a letter printed in PostBag on Jan. 6 ("Suspicious interview") signed Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, written in reference to my interview with Maxmilian Wechsler in the Jan. 3 issue of the Bangkok Post Spectrum magazine ("Ex-spy chief says Iran government about to collapse"). Instead of addressing the issues I raised in the interview the embassy chose to insult me and the Bangkok Post newspaper.
The embassy called me an "unknown figure claiming to be with the Iranian intelligence apparatus" and said the newspaper had made a "critical and unacceptable miscalculation" and that the article was written to "serve third-party intentions" and was "spreading lies and disinformation."
I must say that I am embarrassed for this discourse by diplomatic representatives of my country. The embassy has forgotten that Thailand has freedom of expression and a free media and that attempts to dictate its wishes to the newspaper will fail.
The claims of the embassy about me are false. I showed all my professional and personnel documents to Mr. Wechsler before he agreed to move forward with the interview, and I am prepared to publish all related film, photos and documents to prove I am who I say I am.
I was head of the committee, under the Assembly of Experts for Leadership (upper parliament), that is responsible for protecting and strengthening of the state and preventing the weakening of the state. I have a strong history and background in investigation, having presided over 38 national judicial cases, including investigation of violations by heads of the Judiciary and other institutions. I was the investigator in charge of serial political assassinations as well. In order to prevent any damage to my country and government I will refrain from revealing any details now.