28 Feb 2010 04:12
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. You can follow our news feeds on Twitter.
If in Iran, Obama would confess like Rigi in 48 hours: Basij Cmdr
Asr Iran | Feb. 27, 2010
Basij Commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi responded to international criticism directed at the Islamic Republic for the manner in which Abdolmalek Rigi's confessions were extracted by saying that U.S. President Barrack Obama would confess as quickly if he came to Iran.
Speaking at a student Basij gathering on Saturday afternoon, Naqdi attributed Rigi's confession to the power of Islam. "This pure form of Islam [practiced in Iran] is such that it will even break our staunchest enemies," he said. "This thug [Rigi] was nothing, even if Obama himself, who Rigi has confessed to cooperating with, comes to Iran he will also confess to all his sins under the influence of this [pure form of] Islam."
Regarding the speed at which Rigi confessed, Naqdi said, "Our enemies claim that the Islamic Republic used hallucinogens to extract these confessions, but 48 hours is not that long for any drug or injection to have such an effect."
"The U.S. and other Western countries have reached a cultural, military, political and economic dead-end and the only weapon in their hands to bully other countries is technology and if we succeed in prying this tool away from them they will be finished."
Released prisoners under pressure to praise Supreme Leader in interviews
Rahe Sabz | Feb. 27, 2010
Many of those arrested and released over the past few months have been contacted and told to be prepared for interviews, which are subsequently conducted inside Evin Prison.
According to Jaras, interrogators contacted these former prisoners, who have either received their initial verdict or are waiting to receive their verdict, and force them to participate in these interviews.
A transcript of the interview is given to the prisoners by their interrogators and they are told to memorize the content and say it in their own words. These former prisoners have been threatened that if they refuse to participate in the interviews they will have to spend the [Iranian] New Year holiday in prison or receive a heavier sentence.
According to Jaras, the content of all the interviews are support for the decisions and stances of the Leader.
The Jaras reporter said, "Transcripts of these interviews are given to news agencies close to the Reformists and they are forced to publish them. In the recent scenario, aside from the Islamic Student News Agency (ISNA), where prisoners were escorted to upon their release to conduct interviews, Iran's labor News Agency (ILNA) has been forced on board [as well]."
"For the news scenario, the date of the interview is sometimes days or months from the time of the prisoner's release and secondly the exact transcription has been forced on news agencies."
According to the Jaras reporter, despite the refusal of news agencies to run these forced interviews, their directors have been given the choice of either running the interviews, which [they say] are in the interest of the establishment, or tendering their resignation."
One of the prisoners summoned by his interrogator told Jaras that, "There is no difference between home and prison, the whole country has been turned into one big prison. Despite the fact that me and the prisoners released have been involved in no [political] activities, our interrogators have been pressuring us to conduct interviews and praise the Leader."
MP urges lawmakers to watch video of Tehran University attack
Khabar Online | Feb. 28, 2010
After BBC Persian aired an 18 minute video showing police officers raiding the Tehran University dormitory on June 15, a member of the Majlis truth-finding Committee urged the other members of the committee to watch the film [as well].
"It would be better if the members of the truth-finding committee all watch this film," said lawmaker Kazem Jalali.
When asked why the truth-finding committee had not presented its second report to Majlis yet, Jalali said, "I have followed up on the issue a few time via Mr. [Mohammad-Hassan] Abutorabi who heads the committee. I think you should also ask him this question."
The Majlis truth-finding was tasked by Majls Speaker Ali Larijani to investigate the attacks on the Sobhan Apartment Complex and the Tehran University Dormitory. However, the committee has yet to present Majlis with a report in this regard.
Boroujerdi: BBC's dorm attack film lacks credibility
The head of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said a film aired by BBC Persian of an attack on the Tehran University dormitories lacked credibility.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi told reporters in Parliament that the circulation of the film was a cause for deliberation. "Since the narrator of the film is the BBC, we must look at the matter with doubt because we do not consider the BBC a reliable source," he said.
He went on to say that the easiest thing in film-making was editing footage to correspond with the demands of producers.
Intel minister: no disagreement with FM on UK ties
Tabnak | Feb. 28, 2010
Iranian intelligence minister Hojjatoleslam Heydar Moslehi denied any differences of opinion between his agency and the Foreign Ministry on severing or reducing UK ties.
"We have no disagreements in this regard," Moslehi told reporters after a speech at the international conference on National and Islamic Solidarity for the Future of Palestine.
"Given the political framework it has, the government will adopt a single approach in this case."
"Without a doubt the government knows how to deal with the countries that endanger the interests of this nation and establishment."
Iran mulls cutting, reducing UK ties
Press TV | Feb. 27, 2010
A senior Iranian lawmaker said Saturday that the plan to cut relations with London has been postponed as the Intelligence and Foreign Ministries iron out its details.
Hossein Sobhani-Niya, a member of the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki are to meet and discuss the bill, which is being readied by lawmakers.
IRGC cmdr warns Europeans against gas flow cut
Asr Iran | Feb. 28, 2010
Deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami threatened Europe of a possible gas shortage in winter.
Speaking at a gathering of Basijis in Kerman, Salami said, "Iran sits on 50 percent of the world's energy [reserves] and if the country wills it, Europe will be forced to struggle with the cold [because of gas cuts] in the winter."
Tehran Prosecutor lashes out at opposition leaders
RZ | Feb. 26, 2010
Tehran's Prosecutor-General criticized opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, accusing them of "agitating the atmosphere" by issuing statements.
Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi also maintained that those who believe that people were bused in from provincial cities for the anniversary of the Revolution on February 11 were "deluded."
MP withdraws complaint against Mousavi
Hamid Resai, a Tehran representative, who along with four other lawmakers had filed suit against opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, announced that he was withdrawing his complaint.
Rasai told a Fars News Agency reporter that Mousavi had lost his marbles and was no longer considered sane.
"Mousavi's interview on his own website [Kalameh] yesterday, in which he questioned the participation of the people in the millions during the 22 Bahman demonstrations, and provoked thugs and hooligans to continue the path of [Abdolmalek] Rigi on Chahar Shanbeh Souri [Fireworks Wednesday] shows us that the Mousavi who we thought only lacked in political sanity in fact lacks in natural sanity [is insane] as well."
He urged the Judiciary to not waste its time on the insane and probe the cases of "those heads of sedition who have a bit of reason left."
[Under Islamic law, an insane person is not responsible for his words and actions and cannot and should not be tried in court.]
Women employees of energy ministry to work from home
Khabar Online | Feb. 26, 2010
Energy Minister Majid Namjou said that female employees of the ministry would soon be working from their homes.
Namjou, who had participated in a meeting of the women's affairs counselors of the ministry on Sunday morning, welcomed the "home-employment for women" proposal.
He explained that measures were being taken to facilitate holding jobs for women in society. "Reducing the number of years required for early retirement to 20 and increasing maternity leave to six months are among the measures taken" to improve women's working conditions," he added.
Related | new government employee uniforms
Rafsanjani, Karroubi, Khatami attend Ayatollah Tavasoli memorial
Tabnak | Feb. 27, 2010
Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of the Expediency Council and Assembly of Experts, attended a memorial service for the late Ayatollah Mohammad-Reza Tavasoli.
According to a Parleman News report, former Iranian president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami and opposition cleric Mehdi Karroubi also attended the ceremony.
Ayatollah Tavasoli, who was a member of the Expediency Council, suffered a heart attack during a meeting there on Feb. 16, 2008, and died shortly afterward in the hospital.
At the time, lawmaker Qodratollah Alikhani said the disrespect shown to the family of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini had caused the prominent cleric to suffer a massive heart attack while delivering his objection to such behavior.
Ravanbakhsh: Rafsanjani will be gone in six months
Asr Iran | Feb. 28, 2010
Qasem Ravanbakhsh said he believes the elimination of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from the political scene was 'not something out of reach.'
The editor-in-chief of Parto Sokhan, a publication affiliated with the institute managed by Ayatollah Mohammad Mesbah-Yazdi, added, "But Agha [term used to refer to Iran's Leader] is against eliminating people from the political scene of the country or else it is not that implausible to omit him."
"But we believe there is no longer a need for revolutionary forces to omit Rafsanjani as he will omit himself from the political scene of the country," he told Haghighat news.
"If you look at it no one restricted Rafsanjani from leading the Friday prayers, rather he himself deprived himself of this divine blessing because he knew that the people would no longer follow him in prayer," he claimed.
"Rafsanjani always takes stances according to the political weather forecast of the country. Whenever there is to be a meeting of the Assembly of Experts or at the time of electing a new [AE] presiding board he adopts stances close to that of the Leader and immediately afterward he becomes close with the heads of the Green Movement and the Reformists."
"This is evident to and obvious for the members of the Assembly of Experts and the Iranian nation and within the next six months he will be banished from the political scene of the country."
"The Reformists and the Principlists have no trust in Rafsanjani because he is only after his own interests and has always adopted stances according to the political weather forecast [of the country] and his own interests."
MP: Rafsanjani a national treasure that should not go to waste
Khabar Online | Feb. 26, 2010
Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moqaddam, a member of the Combatant Clerics Association and a Tehran representative in Majlis, said the Expediency Council reviewed the electoral law after being tasked to do so by the Leader.
Mesbahi-Moqaddam went on to stress that the EC does not have the right to pass legislation and merely outlines the policies of the country. "These policies are ultimately approved by the Leader [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei]," he said.
In reaction to concerns raised about the 'election commission proposal' limiting the authority of the Guardian Council after approval, Mesbahi-Moqqadam said, "There may be some views in the Council that seek to restrict the power of the GC. However, I don't believe that this view is dominant in the EC, as the members of the EC come from different political factions and some members of the GC are even members of the Expediency Council as well and their [GC members] presence in the Council can be effective. "
"An issue that has not been approved [the electoral commission proposal] and finalized should not receive negative reactions. Because the Council will have to present the Leader with the result of its work and he is the one who will make a decision on this matter."
He went on to stress that the parliament's right to pass legislation was still intact and that the EC merely outlined the policies of the country.
"The Council picked up this matter upon the order of the Leader and does not have the authority to autonomously set the country's general policies such as [passing] the election laws. Therefore, the ruling of the EC cannot be enforced unless it receives the approval of the Leader afterwhich the EC can set the framework and Majlis can pass legislation within that framework," ILNA quoted him as saying.
The Principlist lawmaker also reacted to the harsh stances adopted by a number of politicians toward the Head of the Expediency Council, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
When asked why he believed Mr. Rafsanjani, Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri and Hassan Rohani had come under attack over the EC's review of the electoral law proposal, Mesbahi-Moqqadam said, "The recent disputes after the [presidential] election resulted in Mr. Rafsanjani coming under attack. Of course, I personally believe he [Rafsanjani] has made a considerable retreat from the position he adopted during his Friday Prayers sermon [following the election]."
"Even though he [Rafsanjani] is still adamant on the solutions he offered [to the post-election crisis] we must act in a manner to prevent the loss of this national treasure [Rafsanjani]."
When asked what he believed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should do to end the election disputes, Mesbahi-Moqqadam said, "Allow me not to comment on this matter as I have previously expressed my opinion [in this regard]."
Mirdamadi second court session held
Tabnak | Feb. 26, 2010
Mohsen Mirdamadi's lawyer said that Judge Salavati had presided over the second court hearing of his client in branch 15 of the Revolution Court.
Houshang Pourbabayi told ISNA that his client had been charged with acting against national security and propagating against the establishment.