23 Mar 2010 00:14
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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Faezeh Hashemi's son arrested upon return from London: Fars
Fars | March 22, 2010
Faezeh Hashemi's son Mohsen Lahouti was arrested last night upon arrival at the Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) from London.
"Lahouti left for the UK 10 days after the presidential election and was staying there until now," a source close to the Rafsanjani family told the Iran news channel. "Last night, upon arrival in Iran, he was arrested by security forces who had legal [arrest] warrants with them."
The unnamed source did not comment on the nature of the charges against Lahouti but said, "He was to go to Kish Island along with a number of other members of the Rafsanjani family."
This is while Mohsen Hashemi left Tehran for Geneva yesterday. Earlier, a number of sources had reported Mohsen Hashemi's decision to go on a family vacation to his family home in Switzerland."
Grandson of Former Iranian President Is Arrested in Tehran
NYT | March 22, 2010
The grandson of a former Iranian president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was arrested early Monday after arriving at Tehran's international airport on a flight from London, where he is a student, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
The arrest of the grandson, Hassan Lahouti, appeared to be another attempt to press Mr. Rafsanjani, an influential figure who supported the opposition during last year's elections but has recently staked out a more ambiguous position.
On Thursday, another relative of Mr. Rafsanjani, the reformist politician Hussein Marashi, was jailed and sentenced to one year in jail, according to an opposition Web site. Mr. Marashi was allowed to spend Saturday's Persian New Year holiday at home.
Mr. Lahouti, 23, left the country 10 days after the disputed June 12 elections, which plunged Iran into some of its worst unrest in the past three decades. He was returning for a short holiday to celebrate the Persian New Year, according to Fars, which is linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Mr. Lahouti is the son of Faezeh Hashemi, a former member of Parliament and an outspoken critic of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ms. Hashemi and her daughter were briefly detained last summer during a protest.
Although Mr. Lahouti has not been officially charged, a family member said, he had been told by his prison handlers that he was accused of insulting the supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during telephone conversations with his family in Iran. "Hassan's arrest is aimed at putting pressure on Faezeh," said the family member. "They want to force her to become silent and I don't think it will happen."
The opposition Web site Jaras reported that Mr. Lahouti had been taken to Section 209 of the notorious Evin Prison, where political prisoners are housed.
Khamenei rejects U.S. offer of talks
UPI | March 22, 2010
Iran's Supreme Leader has rejected a new offer of talks with the United States, saying Washington was plotting against Iran while extending an olive branch.
The U.S. government, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, isn't "in the position to support democracy and human rights," Iran's state-backed Fars News Agency reported Monday.
"You cannot talk about peace and friendship, and at the same time plot and plan sedition, and think that you can hurt the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Khamenei said Sunday in a televised address to mark Nowruz, the Persian new year.
Iran parliament may accede to president on subsidies
Reuters | March 20, 2010
Iran's parliament could finally accede to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's demands for radical subsidy cuts after blocking the plan for months, a senior lawmaker said on Sunday.
Parliament this month passed a state budget for the next Iranian year starting March 21 that did not contain radical cuts in subsidies sought by Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad on Friday suggested holding a referendum on a reform to the Islamic Republic's costly subsidy system that would save $40 billion. Parliament approved only half that amount.
"We believe it is not possible to implement the subsidy reform plan at 20,000 billion tomans ($20 billion)," Arsalan Fathipour, head of parliament's economic commission, was quoted on state news agency IRNA as saying.
"So delegates intend to raise the figure to 35-38,000 billion tomans ($35-38 billion)."
It was not clear how such a last-minute change would be effected, since last week the Guardian Council constitutional watchdog signed off the budget approved by parliament.
Parliamentarians had said the cuts could stoke inflation. Analysts say they could also provoke unrest in a country already plagued by tension after street protests by opponents of Ahmadinejad over the past year. A referendum could risk more unrest.
Parliament first stymied the government's subsidy reform plans last year by approving the general outlines but linking the plan to the state budget to enforce parliamentary oversight of how the money saved is spent.
Three prominent members of parliament issued a statement criticizing Ahmadinejad over the referendum idea, calling him to a televised debate on the issue, Fars news agency said on Saturday.
Video: Nowruz Special Edition: Music of Resistance
"The Week in Green" with Hamid Dabashi presents a special episode covering its benefit concert with Shahin Najafi, which took place in New York on March 6th, 2010.