28 Jan 2010 17:37
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 Reportedly Executes 2 Over Election Protests
Iran announced Thursday that it had hanged two men in connection with protests that broke out after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian news services reported.
In a brief statement, the government said the men, Mohammad Reza Alizamani and Arash Rahmanipour, were executed Thursday. They were among 11 people the government has condemned to death on charges that it says stem from the post-election unrest.
"Following the riots and antirevolutionary and foundation-breaking actions of last few months, especially on the day of Ashura, Tehran's revolutionary court has sentenced 11 people to death," the semiofficial ISNA news service reported.
The two men were convicted on charges of moharebe, which means to defy God; trying to overthrow the government; and membership in armed groups, ISNA reported.
In the case of Mr. Alizamani and Mr. Rahmanipour, there was some suggestion they were not involved in the protests, and their lawyers and family members said that they had been arrested before the election.
In court, Mr. Rahmanipour admitted to being a member of small group that wanted to topple the government and said that he took directions from a man in Los Angeles to blow up a mausoleum in Tehran. The goal, he said, "was to make people stay home and not vote."
There was also some confusion about when Mr. Alizamani was arrested, with some Iranian news sites reporting that he, too, had been detained before the protests.
White House condemns Iran's execution of men accused of seeking to topple the state
AP | Jan. 28, 2010
The White House is condemning Iran for executing two men accused of involvement in an armed anti-government group.
White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton says the executions represent a new low in Iran's crackdown on peaceful dissent and will further isolate Tehran.
The executions mark an escalation in the Iranian government's crackdown on its opponents following last year's disputed presidential election.
The two men who were hanged on Thursday were arrested before the election and did not appear to be protests after the vote. But they were put before the same mass trial as opposition leaders and activists arrested amid the crackdown.
Senate OKs sanctions on Iran's fuel suppliers
Reuters | Jan. 28, 2010
The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved legislation that would let President Barack Obama impose sanctions on Iran's gasoline suppliers and penalize some of Tehran's elites, a move aimed at pressuring Tehran to give up its nuclear program.
The sanctions, approved on a voice vote, would target companies that export gasoline to Iran or help expand the country's oil-refining capacity by, in part, denying them loans and other assistance from U.S. financial institutions.
The House of Representatives has already passed similar legislation. Differences between the two bills will have to be worked out before the measure becomes law.
Video: Mehdi Karroubi questioned by reporter on Jan. 25, 2010.
Reporter: Do you formally recognize the people's elected president ?
Iran opposition says Ahmadinejad won't finish term
AFP | Jan. 28, 2010
Iran opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi has said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose disputed re-election sparked huge protests, will not survive his four-year term, a newspaper reported Thursday.
Karroubi, who earned the wrath of the Islamic republic's hardliners by vociferously campaigning against the result of the June 12 poll, said the president's mismanagement of the country would lead to him being pushed aside.
"Considering the political and economic problems plus a controversial foreign policy, I personally believe Mr Ahmadinejad would not be able to finish his term," he told Britain's Financial Times newspaper.
The ex-speaker of parliament predicted moderates from across the political spectrum would come together to find a solution to Iran's woes and save the Islamic republic, which he believes is under threat.
"The forces from both sides who care about the Islamic system will join forces when they see, God forbid, the revolution, the system and the Islamic republic are at stake," he told the paper.
"This will happen quite soon."
And Karroubi, who won the fewest number of votes in the June election, stuck by his recent recognition of Ahmadinejad as president, despite continuing to allege huge problems at the election.
He first expressed this recognition on Monday in a major position shift.
"Whatever I said about the election is still valid and, I repeat, it was not a healthy poll," he said.
Iran's absence from Afghan talks is missed chance: UK
Reuters | Jan. 28, 2010
Iran has missed an opportunity by staying away from a London conference on the future of Afghanistan, Britain said on Thursday.
Britain invited more than 70 nations and organizations, including foreign ministers from countries neighboring Afghanistan such as Iran, to Thursday's talks on how to end the Afghan conflict.
Iran said on Wednesday it would not take part because the meeting's focus was on increasing military action in Afghanistan and because it did not take account of the region's ability to solve its problems, an Iranian news agency said.
A live, interactive webcast conversation Friday on the political situation in Iran, with Duke University Professor Negar Mottahedeh. The webcast will begin at 12 p.m. Eastern Time U.S. (8:30 p.m. in Tehran). Viewers can watch it here and send questions to Professor Mottahedeh by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (#dukelive).