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05 Mar 2010 02:036 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. You can follow our
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West pitches new Iran sanctions in Security Council

AFP | March 4, 2010

Western nations made a strong pitch for new punitive measures against Iran in the Security Council Thursday, with Britain urging "smart and effective" sanctions to rein in Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

New sanctions would show that "the international community is united behind a diplomatic resolution to Iran's nuclear issue, and stave off any pre-emptive moves by others to resolve this issue by other means," Britain's UN envoy Mark Lyall Grant told the council.

The proposed new UN sanctions should "be smart and effective" and "target areas with an impact on the regime's policy calculations," he said. "They should show the regime the extent to which the costs of their nuclear program outweigh any dubious benefits," Lyall Grant added. "At the same time, we should reaffirm our willingness to continue to engage with Iran."

'Police' name change halted by Academy of Persian Language

Tabnak | March 4, 2010

The Islamic Republic of Iran Civil Forces known as NAJA issued a statement announcing that the word "police" would not be replaced with "Pas Var."

According to the NAJA website, the reason for this change in decision was cited as the "Leader's change of heart."

"After the announcement that 'Pas Var' would be used instead of the word 'police,' the Academy of Persian Language and Literature (Farhangestan) in a letter to the Leader [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei] raised points regarding the name change, which prompted him to revoke his order for the name change."

Iran commander praises Basij performance in post-election events

ISNA | March 3, 2010

The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps [IRGC] General Mohammad Ali Jafari in a gathering held at the martyrs' cemetery in Yasuj said that nationalists, hypocrites (monafeqin) and monarchists are persistently seeking to create discord and damage the Islamic Republic by organizing "various currents" but the people have managed to "nullify their plots and disappoint the enemies."

Referring to the post-election events Jafari said, "The supreme leader of the revolution has clearly showed the right way and the principal policies and the people made everything clear on February 10 (Revolution anniversary rallies)."

Referring to the change of structure of the IRGC, Jafari said that "the effective performance of the IRGC and Basij forces after the elections showed the positive effects of these changes."

He added, "The implementation of the Salehin (virtuous) scheme in the Basij force was one of the important moves to prepare Basijis to "confront the soft war by the enemies."

Italian police arrest freelance Iranian journalist in Rome

IRINN | March 3, 2010

In a report quoting Italian police, the official Italian news agency announced that Hamid Masuminejad, the Iranian Voice and Vision's [Iran's Radio and Television organization] freelance reporter in Rome, has been arrested.

They haven't announced an acceptable reason for the arrest. But it appears that this correspondent's reports were are not entirely unconnected to his arrest.

In his latest report which was dispatched yesterday, Masuminejad had talked about the issue of racism in Italy.

Afghan, Iran police launch fresh offensive against drug traffickers

AIP | March 3, 2010

Afghan and Iranian border police have launched an offensive against drug traffickers in the border area between Afghanistan and Iran.

Today [March 3], Afghanistan and Iran border police launched a big offensive against drug merchants in the joint border area between these two countries. As a result of this offensive police have been able to appropriate 140 kg of drugs. Hamidollah Seddiqi, a senior police officer of 4th border police division in the west zone, giving details of the offensive, told AIP that today the Afghani and Iranian border police launched an extensive offensive against drug runners and traders along the Afghan-Iran border area. Iranian police carry on their operation in their soil and Afghani police in theirs. Afghan police have seized 140 kg of drugs in an area of Golran district and arrested two men in conviction to that.

Seddiqi said that the operation is continuing in the area and police might find more drugs.

Days back, Gen Mohammad Daud, deputy minister of interior, during his visit to Herat Province, said that they had launched an offensive against drug traffickers in the border area between Afghanistan and Iran and said that they would launch such operation in the future as well.

Crackdown on Iranian media continues: watchdog

Green Voice of Freedom | March 3, 2010

Reporters Without Borders says that "although a number of journalists and citizens have been freed in the past few days, the crackdown on media and journalists is continuing."

"The daily Etemad was suspended on 1 March and the weekly Iran Dokht's licence has been canceled. At the same time, journalists continue to be arrested in Tehran and many others throughout the country have received summonses," the group adds.

"Journalists held by the intelligence ministry are being subjected to considerable pressure to publicly ask the Revolution's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, for forgiveness."

RSF cites Iran's prosecutor-general, as saying last week that "repentance" was "one of the conditions" for the release of political prisoners.

"Why must these journalists offer apologies when all they did was inform their fellow citizens?" the press freedom organization added. "After arresting 110 journalists and censoring at least 20 media in the past eight months, it is the government that should request the forgiveness of its victims when it releases them."

Iran MP notes importance of freedom of thought, speech

Press TV | March 3, 2010

Principlist lawmaker Ali Motahhari underlined the importance of justice, freedom and cultural independence in helping Iran's Islamic Revolution to thread its path.

"We must put emphasis on justice, freedom and cultural independence for the Islamic Revolution in Iran to thread its path," Ali Motahhari, son of martyred and widely-popular Iranian cleric Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari, said on Tuesday.

"The Revolution will face defeat if we do not pay attention to justice," he went on to say.

The parliamentarian went on to emphasize the freedom of thought and speech.

"The Islamic Revolution in Iran is not comparable with the revolutions in Russia and France. Those revolutions underlined justice or freedom but Iran's Islamic Revolution is an ideological one and contains objectives such as justice, freedom, cultural independence and spirituality," he added.

"Freedom in Islam might have a different meaning than freedom in the West. They talk about animal freedom while we talk about human freedom," he concluded.

Iran frees award-winning filmmaker's wife, daughter

AFP | March 4, 2010

Iranian authorities have freed 14 people arrested at award-winning filmmaker Jafar Panahi's home but the pro-opposition director remains detained, an opposition website said on Thursday.

Kaleme.com said Panahi's wife and their daughter were among the 14 released late on Wednesday, adding that Panahi and two other people, Mohammad Rassoulof and Mehdi Pourmoussa, were still being held.

According to the website, at least six human rights activists, including women's rights militant Mahboubeh Karami, were among the group of 17 people arrested overnight on Monday.

Apart from Panahi, the other five were identified as Hessam Firouzi, Behzad Mehrani, Navid Khanjani, Mansour Taghipour and Aboufazl Abedini.

Foreign-Policy Sage Urges Nuanced U.S. Stance on Iran

WSJ | March 4, 2010

In an interview, Mr. Brzezinski lays out his formula for U.S. policy toward Iran that includes "Above all: Play[ing] the long game, because time, demographics and generational change aren't on the side of the current regime."

"'This is a country with a growing urban middle class, a country with fairly high access to higher education, a country where women play a great role in the professions,'" he says. "So it is a country which I think, basically, objectively is capable of moving the way Turkey has moved." That is, it can evolve into a country where Islam and modernity co-exist, even if somewhat uncomfortably.

Iran in Its Intricacy

NYT | March 4, 2010

A year has passed since President Obama's groundbreaking Nowruz offer to Iran of engagement based on mutual respect. Iran is now a different country, its divided regime weaker and confronted by the Green movement, the strongest expression of people power in the Middle East and a beacon for the region.

Obama's outreach has achieved this: the unsettling of Iran's revolutionary power structure. That alone was worth the gambit. But the 31-year gridlock in Iranian-American relations endures. Sarah Palin, no less, is now urging Obama to "declare war on Iran" to save his presidency. She's not alone. Daniel Pipes, the conservative commentator, called a recent National Review column: "How to save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran."

There's nothing new in U.S. hawks reducing Iran to a nuclear abstraction, its 70 million citizens subsumed into a putative warhead, its civilization ignored and its historical grievances against the United States glossed over -- all in the name of making Persia a U.S. electoral pawn and a threat that demands bombs.

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6 Comments

"Iran commander praises Basij performance in post-election events"

A comparison sheds some light on what happened in Iran in 2009

Iran’s security forces even outdid the foreign military forces, i.e. communist Soviet Russian military tanks deployed against the East German uprising in 1953 and were identically successful in killing protesting civilians as the foreign military forces, i.e. communist Warsaw-Pact-tanks deployed against the Czechoslovakian political reform government of change (Prague Spring) in 1968


Rallies in Europe 1950 – 2010

IRAN
During the post-election-rallies in Iran according to opposition-sources 72 people were killed, according to government-sources a reduced figure of 36 is admitted as having been killed.
These Iranian figures are quite unusual from a post-war European point of view. If restricting oneself to the period of the last 60 years, major figures of deaths during rallies to be mentioned can usually only be observed in the ‘Communist’ Eastern bloc, when sections of foreign armies (!) were involved in the suppression of the public statement of will by the respective population.

‘COMMUNIST’ EASTERN BLOC
• During the uprising in East Germany in 1953 sources mention 55 fatalities. The uprising in Berlin was violently suppressed by tanks of the Group of Soviet(-Russian) Forces (!) in Germany
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uprising_of_1953_in_East_Germany ) .
• During Prague Spring, an invasion of the Warsaw troops (!) into then Czechoslovakia in 1968 subdued and finished off the governmental period of political liberalization. 72 humans were killed.
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague_Spring#Soviet_reaction )

WESTERN EUROPE
• Figures of deaths due to police operations during rallies for the same period are probably minuscule. My subjective guess amounts to a figure below the value of 10 in the whole West-European area.

Publicola / March 5, 2010 4:06 AM

Hey Publica, how about these figures for law enforcement putting down unrest right here in the United States:

Philadelphia 1964: 341 injured and 774 arrested.

Watts 1965: 34 killed, 1,032 injured, and 3,952 arrested.

Newark 1967: 26 killed, 725 injured, and close to 1,500 arrested.

Detroit 1967: 43 killed, 467 injured, and 7,231 arrested.

Washington DC 1968: 1097 injured and 6100 arrested.

And these are only a few examples of the carnage and arrests that took place during America's anti-establishment protest period.

So please, spare us your hypocritical and unwarranted moral haughtiness.

Pirouz / March 5, 2010 3:31 PM

Pirouz, thanks for the reference to some pertinent and highly illuminating figures from the US, which I was not familiar with! Obviously the USA is not identical with Europe and the various different European countries, my sphere of experience. Not without reason there is no death penalty in Europe, just to restrict myself to the judiciary. Other numerous blatant differences (as to levels of illiteracy or crime, health insurance, welfare, pay structure, gun laws, number of murdered presidents etc.) should not be taken into account here, going far beyond the scope of the topic of discussion. In any case, figures of demonstrators killed comparable to the quoted ones for the US would presumably lead to a national crisis of an extent undreamt of, with unforeseeable consequences.

Again the temporal factor should not be overlooked: a time span of 40 years and beyond means a lot. Would these figures quoted by you still be possible in today's USA ?

To give an example: 66-68 years ago, figures (of people killed for just telling jokes or listening to BBC) in Europe (let's take Germany as an appropriate example or , with considerably enormously lower figures but still vastly higher than those quoted by you - post-war Yugoslavia in 1946) were definitely different from the figures quoted for the USA by you as well as from figures imaginable within Europe today.

"So please, spare us your hypocritical and unwarrented moral haughtiness" - Very daring and courageous words - to say the least - to utter with regard to someone who quite clearly refers to the European sphere of politics and to European reality - painstakingly verified.

The finals question of course remains:
What about Iran ?
Is it a good idea to find lots of people killed and arrested due to differing opinions on the outcome of an election?

Publicola / March 9, 2010 6:09 AM

Publicola,

A proposterous argument put forward by the nauseating Pirouz well rebutted!

Pirouz - I also am not familiar with the details of the incidents in the US that you cite above, but obviously you have been busy trying to find obscure events in US history to justify events occurring in Iran today - a bizarre logic in my opinion and nothing more than a poor attempt to justify the criminal behaviour of this criminal so-called Islamic regime.

The only haughty and arrogant fool on this website, as far as I can see, is YOU, because you seem to think that people can't see through your absurd justifications for the actions of the criminals Ahamdi and Khamenei.

I am certain that the incidents you cite above didn't result in mass rapes in prison, denial of burial rights of the victims and ridiculous show trials which anyone can see is a travesty of justice.

So now who is the haughty one??????

Agha Irani / March 9, 2010 12:19 PM

Pirouz,

One other thing the poster is called Publicola not Publica - can you manage that much Pissrouz?

Agha Irani / March 9, 2010 12:25 PM

ad Agha Irani,


Thank you for your response. I think you´are right concerning the suspicion that the attitude mirrored in the killings, raping and torture is perhaps something permeating the ruling and commanding (often parapolice/paramilitary, ideologized) sections of the Iranian state machine.


I was rather alarmed, horrified and taken aback by the figures quoted by Pirouz - and these figures are definitely true.

One (of some) useful and humane principle leading to a pacified society is that one wrong (perpetrated in one place) cannot justify another wrong (perpetrated somewhere else).

After second thoughts and with a view to the above-mentioned figures it might perhaps even be the case,
that
- hopefully - the exertions and the striving in Iran for more democracy having turned out to be successful,
there will be a decision to be made by the Iranian people, which direction this democratization ought to approach, i.e. approaching more a model à la USA
or rather incorporating some elements of a republic à la Europe (any European republic).

On the other hand, the question concerning the USA arrives at a Janus-headed result/answer:
as a European and German citizen, Europe (and in particular Germany) have to be incredibly thankful to the USA.
Twice this continent was an abattoir - not the least due to Germany['s attitude "The more enemies/foes, the greater the honour"] and its lethal work in the 30s and 40s.
Twice the USA brought this continent, in particular Germany, to its senses under considerable sacrifices
[even without revenging itself, even without reasonably reacting by eliminating Germany as a state].
Even with the Yugoslavian civil war some years ago the Europeans turned out to be still incompetent to stop that, no: America (Clinton, thanks!) had to intervene to stop that bloodbath.

Since June 2009 I have been reading articles, texts etc. on Iran and by Iranian.
This substantial amount of intelligent and analytical authors, writers, intellectuals, theologians was an overwhelming experience.

Thus I am sure,
that

this country,
this potential and epitome of creativity, intellect and intelligence,
this undogmatic open-mindedness,
this burning desire for democracy and the free expression of one's opinion,
this interest in rational discourse

will find its own, fascinating, original, exemplary answer to the question what the Iranian democracy might look like.

I admit: I am looking forward to it - possibly an intellectual and political renaissance (the second one after the medieval Italian one) - with all my heart.


Life seems to be unexpectedly highly complicated and complex, to say the least.

Publicola / March 9, 2010 8:08 PM