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23 Feb 2010 22:032 Comments

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.

Ahmadinejad: West cannot stop Iran's nuclear development, progress

IRINN | Feb. 23, 2010

At 0815 gmt, the Iranian News Network Channel (IRINN) began to broadcast live Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's address to the people of Birjand during his third provincial visit to southern Khorasan Province on 23 February.

The president began by praising the local people, industrialists and merchants. He talked about the life and mission of the 12th Shi'i imam, Imam Mahdi. Mr. Ahmadinejad claimed that all the "corrupt" and "usurper" world powers are trying to undermine the reappearance of the 12th Shi'i imam because he will spread justice, friendship and unity across the world. The president praised the 12th Shi'i imam and described him as the hand of God which would uproot injustice in the world and replace it with justice. He said the Iranian revolution is part of the global revolution and is trying to prepare the ground and world for the reappearance of the 12th Shi'i imam.

Ahmadinejad cited the US as the main obstacle to the global revolution and the reappearance of the 12th Shi'i imam. He said that the US intends to divert the attention and hearts of world opinion from God and divine values. The president added that the US has carried out the largest economic corruptions and instigated the grandest cultural wars in history in order to achieve this objective. He said the US was using the media and propaganda ploys to depict Israel as an oppressed nation and the Palestinians as terrorists. He proclaimed that they had dispatched hundreds of thousands of troops to the Middle East region, and is still trying to depict Iran as a military threat.

Ahmadinejad said that the US brought Saddam to power and used it to attack Iran and did its utmost throughout the eight year 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war to destroy Iran. But when they didn't need Saddam, the US attacked Iraq to take control of their oil wells and executed the deposed Iraqi leader. He said that now they once again want to impose the Ba'thist regime on Iraq.

The president stressed that the US and its allies have reached the end of their path and are in a deadlock. He said they attacked the Middle East in order to save themselves, but their crimes in this region have accelerated their destruction. He said they plan to create a crisis in the region in order to cover up the existing crises in which they themselves are immersed.

Ahmadinejad said that things have reached the stage where Israelis are using false European passports to assassinate Palestinians and called on Europe to clarify its stance. He said: "Things have reached the stage where the undignified Zionists used European passports to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and assassinate an innocent Palestinian soldier. It appears that some European governments are supporting the Zionists and these assassinations. I would like to ask them right now to clarify their position. Or else, they must know that the nations of the region will class them as the Zionists' accomplice."

As for the nuclear issue, the president said that the West and US possess nuclear weapons and have armed Israel with such weapons. He said: "They themselves have stored thousands of atomic bombs. They have missiles with a range of 12,000 to 15,000 km. They themselves say that they have targeted all of the world's important centers. In our region, they have armed this fake and criminal Zionist regime with an atomic bomb. They haven't signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The Zionist regime isn't a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but still they use all their honor to support that regime's atomic bomb. But when it comes to Iran which wants to use peaceful nuclear energy for is development, they use concerns of an atomic bomb to start all of these games."

The president said that the West and the US know that they will not be able to stop Iran's nuclear progress in any way at all. He once again reiterated that Iran is prepared to exchange nuclear fuel and stressed that cooperation with Iran was better for the West. He said that none of the "so-called" world superpower will have a good future without Iran. Ahmadinejad said that Iran would shake any sincere hand which is extended toward it, but it would chop off any hand which is extended to it with the intention to harm the country.

Iran president urges US 'to wake up'

IRINN | Feb. 23, 2010

Referring to the US and its allies, Ahmadinejad has urged them to "wake up," state news network TV channel IRINN reported.

During his address to the people of Iran's Birjand city in Khorasan-e Jonubi Province, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad warned the US, saying if the mistakes made in the Middle East region are repeated once more, then the people of the region will punish them.

Rally outside Iranian embassy in Azeri capital slams Ahmadinejad

APA | Feb. 22, 2010

The Congress of World Azerbaijanis and Citizen's Solidarity Party have staged a rally outside the Iranian embassy in Baku.

According to APA news agency, the participants in the rally, which was approved by Baku mayor's office, protested against rallies staged outside Azerbaijani consulate in [Iran's] Tabriz.

The rally participants hold posters against Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad which read "Real face of Muslim supporter", "Fraternity with Armenia is against Islamic values!", "Say no to Persian chauvinism!".

The pickets also chanted the following slogans "Azerbaijan" "Let Azerbaijan be unified with the centre Tabriz", "Russians, Persians, Armenians - are enemies of Turks!"

Chairman of the permanent council of the Congress of World Azerbaijanis, Ajdar Tagizada, delivered a speech condemning Iran for establishing ties with Armenia and for pressures exerted on Azerbaijanis in Iran.

Around 2,000 electricity-sector labourers lose jobs in Iran

Aftab-e Yazd | Feb. 22, 2010

Over 1,500 laborers of factories of the Iranian Electricity Industry syndicate lost their jobs after the closure of the manufacturing unit.

According to ILNA [Iranian Labor News Agency], the head of the board of managers of the electricity devices manufacturing syndicate has announced the above issue and said: Three factories have been closed so far due to financial crisis, which caused 1,500 to 2,000 laborers to lose their jobs.

Mohammad Parsa added: The rest of our factories have adopted restrictive policies in recent years and have reduced the number of the laborers.

While pointing out that due to the financial crisis, the factories of this sector work at 20 to 30 percent potential, he added, "This situation can force the electricity industry to face problems in the future. Ultimately, we are losing our foreign markets."

Russia will not support "crippling" Iran sanctions

Haaretz | Feb. 24, 2010

Russia will not support "crippling" sanctions against Iran, including any that may be slapped on the Islamic Republic's banking or energy sectors, a senior Russian diplomat said on Wednesday.

"We are not got going to work on sanctions or measures which could lead to the political or economic or financial isolation of this country," Oleg Rozhkov, deputy director of the security affairs and disarmament department at Russia's Foreign Ministry, told reporters.

"What relation to non-proliferation is there in forbidding banking activities with Iran? This is a financial blockade. And oil and gas. These sanctions are aimed only at paralyzing the country and paralyzing the regime."

Iran has the world's second-largest crude oil reserves, but desperately needs investment to develop them. It denies working to develop a nuclear warhead but insists on its right to create nuclear power-generating capacity.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow last week to press the Kremlin to back tougher sanctions against Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons project.

This week, Netanyahu called for an immediate embargo on Iran's energy sector.

In a new twist on the international community's effort to reign in Tehran's nuclear ambitions, Japan has offered to enrich uranium on Iran's behalf, the AFP news agency reported on Wednesday.

Iran has not yet responded officially but its parliament speaker Ali Larijani is expected to discuss the offer in a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in Tokyo on Wednesday, the agency said, quoting the Japanese-language Nikkei business daily.

MEPs condemn Nokia Siemens "surveillance tech" in Iran

BBC | Feb. 11, 2010

Euro MPs have "strongly" criticised telecoms firm Nokia Siemens Networks for providing "surveillance technology" to the Iranian authorities.

In a resolution adopted on Wednesday, the MEPs said the hardware was instrumental in the "persecution and arrests of Iranian dissidents".

But Nokia Siemens said that the implication that it had provided censorship technology was "wrong"

It has previously said that it had installed "lawful" technology in 2008.

"We will be clarifying any inaccuracy in their understanding of our business in Iran with the European Parliament," Ben Roome of the firm told BBC News.

Nokia Siemens said the technology that it had installed was similar to that used "in all EU member states and the US".

Mr Roome stressed that the technology is not used to monitor, filter or censor the internet.

"When you set up a modern network - as an operator - if you want a license to operate you have to have a standard surveillance capability in the network," Christina Dinne, also of the firm, said.

Iran prosecutor-general urges officials not to overlook own children's faults

Aftab-e Yazd | Feb. 22, 2010

While stating that in the aftermath of the Revolution, and even at present, some of the elders are more involved with their wives and children, the state prosecutor-general said, "They ignore their moral obligations but do not overlook their own offspring due to their emotional attachments with them."

According to ILNA, Mohsen Ezhe'i was speaking at the Covenant with the Martyrs' ceremonies. While paying tribute to the memories of the martyrs of the Revolution and of the imposed [Iran-Iraq] war, he described the victory of the Islamic Revolution and its 31-year long experience as great assets for people. He added, "In view of my current position, I have seen and heard much that usually people are not able to see or hear in the course of 30 years."

The state prosecutor-general added, "It was because of the nature of my work that I had to deal with atheists, hypocrites, the remnants of the Shah's regime, conspirators, their affiliations with other countries, the US and the Zionists, gold accumulators, dissimulating and devilish people and fearsome narcotics bands."

While stating that in his forgetfulness of God, man sinks to a level lower than animals, he added, "Do not think that if you have been to a mosque or to the war front and have performed jihad [holy war] there is no path of return. We should ask God that he should not take away this opportunity that he has placed at our disposal."

Continuing his remarks, Mohsen Ezhe'i emphasized, "We should know our worth and value. If I did not become the president, should I turn away from the system and the Revolution? Is my price the presidency? If I had not been the prosecutor-general or had been removed from office, does it mean that I should abandon the mosque, the system, Islam and values? Is that what my worth is?"

There would have been no problem if nobody had died- Zarghami

Aftab-e Yazd | Feb. 22, 2010

Ezzatollah Zarghami, the head of the Voice and Vision Organization said at the monthly meeting of the Islamic Society of Engineers that "in the events after the elections, the election results were just an excuse for certain things to happen." He said, "In certain matters incidents occur suddenly or as a reaction, and it is not the case that events will occur gradually and quietly," Farda reported. The head of Voice and Vision commented on the broadcaster's performance with electoral affairs and said, "All the [campaign] publicity programs were made by the gentlemen themselves and Voice and Vision did not censor or eliminate a single scene, and even at one stage, Karroubi's first program, which was one of the cases most damaging to structures, was broadcast.

"During the debates, we broadcast full programs live and these allowed the candidates to say what they liked. But everyone has to try and safe guard liberties." Zarghami said "if nobody had died on 25 Khordad and those things had not happened, various people would have said what they had to say and there would have been no problem. In spite of these problems coming along, the governing system tried to control the situation, so the medium obviously had to control things as well. But after a few days, when the situation was to some extent brought under control, the national broadcaster opened up the atmosphere so people could say what they had to say." He said, "Satellite networks are considered Voice and Vision's competition. The national broadcaster has tried to be successful in this competition and I claim that we have a high level of success in competing with satellite networks, and in spite of restrictions we have in Iran, we have had success in winning an audience and t heir confidence."

Zarghami commented on the Farsi television network started in Hong Kong, that "our relative advantage is the Persian language and on that basis several networks have been formed that apparently do not have a counter-revolutionary dimension, and only broadcast films and series. For example there is the Farsi network in Hong Kong, which only broadcasts dubbed films and series; our response here can be the quality of our films, for which reason these networks have not been successful."

The state broadcasting chief said, "In no event can you or should you remain silent. If you do not provide information, others will report this information and I believe we have nothing to lose from telling any truth. We just have to raise our tolerance threshold and flexibility."

Iranian bank to be opened soon in Basra, consul says

Aswat al-Iraq | Feb. 22, 2010

The Iranian consul in Basra said on Monday [22 February] that an Iranian bank will be opened soon in the province to develop the commercial movements between the two sides.

"Iran is working to open a bank in Basra as a step towards the development of the commercial and economic movement between Iran and Basra," Mohammad Reda told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

"The trade volume between Iraq and Iran reaches $4 billion last year," he said, noting that he hopes that this figure could rise to $10 billion in the coming years.

UN Officially Recognizes March 21 as International Nowruz Day

Bloomberg | Feb. 24, 2010

The United Nations General Assembly recognized March 21 as the International Day of Nowruz, a festival of Persian origin that marks the beginning of a new year for more than 300 million people.

Nowruz, meaning new day in the Farsi language, has been celebrated on the vernal equinox for more than 3,000 years in regions including the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucuses, Central Asia and the Middle East, the UN said yesterday in a statement on its Web site.

A proposal for UN recognition of the date was presented to the General Assembly on Dec. 2 by Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan.

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2 Comments

RAND Institute Paper on RG, Bonyads

http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2009/RAND_MG878.pdf

Shah / February 26, 2010 2:21 AM

It is wrong to propagate events or point of view simply because it is anti AN. The piece about Azarbaijan is an example. First we should remember that before Iran lost a bit of its territory to tsarist Russia, the piece of land they took were part of the Iranian Azarbaijan mingled with bits and pieces from other ethnic areas which had no commonality with Azarbaijan. Second, the present Azarbaijan is a dictatorship tool in the control of various oil companies. chiefly BP, and on every opportunity they have stolen the Iranian oil in the Caspian sea. And because of their demand of the union of the two Azarbaijans (one real, the other fictitious) with the Capital in Tabriz and out of the proper Iran, we should make every effort to neutralize such efforts and one is to have friendly relationship with Armenia and any other country supporting the territorial integrity of Iran. Third, Azarbaijan has nothing to do with the Turks; even the language is different even though they have many many words in common. Any language is distinct by its grammar, not by common words. For instance Farsi has many many words in common with Arabic but we all know Farsi is a distinct language and different language only because of grammar. The so called Turkish (a misnomer as the correct name is Azari) spoken in Tabriz has more grammar in common with Farsi than "Torky ye Stanboli" which is the language of Turkey.

Anonymous / February 26, 2010 11:11 PM