12 Apr 2010 05:14
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 news feeds on Twitter.
Hosseinian praises Exp Council for election resolution
Tabnak | April 11, 2010
Lawmaker Rouhollah Hosseinian said the Expediency Council's resolution to consolidate elections in Iran is a necessity that will resolve a social problem.
On Saturday, the Expediency Council passed, a resolution to hold presidential, Majles, city councils and Assembly of Exerts elections at the same time.
"Over the past 30 years we have held an election every year. When the elections are held close to one another, candidates, parties compete with one another, and the country becomes involved in disputes and discussions that bring unrest. Therefore, if we can prevent this unrest and turn it into stability... it will be undoubtedly better," said Hosseinian, who heads the Majles Domestic Policy and Councils Affairs Commission. "There are two discussions pertaining to this proposal. One is that when people vote for a representative, be it for Majles or the Councils, do they have the right to increase their term from four years to six?" to bring the elections in line with one another?
"There are two opinions in this regard. One is that as the people have chosen us as their representatives [for a term], and no one has the right to reduce or extend this term. And the second one is that, as lawmakers have been entrusted by the people with the right to pass legislation by the people, they can pass a law to extend or shorten their term," he explained.
"This issue was also discussed about the previous Assembly of Experts. The Leader, however, did not permit extending the Assembly of Expert's term. The reason was that the Experts are tasked with assessing the performance of the Leader and did not have permission to extend their term."
"Regarding the council and Majles elections, we might be able to say that the representatives have been given the right to change the election date by the people. These are all issues that the Domestic Policy and Councils Affairs Commission will discuss and reach a decision on before bringing it for discussion to Majles."
"If this plan is approved, the council elections will be postponed for two years, which means that we will not hold an election in Esfand (February-March) and the councils and Majles elections will be held at the same time."
Hosseinian: I'm already president
Khabar Online | April 11, 2010
Lawmaker Rouhollah Hosseinian met with members of the press upon his own request to comment on the Expediency Council's ruling on election laws.
His action surprised reporters who jokingly asked him if he was meeting with the press in this manner because he wanted to run for president and was therefore seeking publicity.
Hosseinian responded by saying, "I am already president!"
Ahmadinejad says idiots running world
Fararu | April 12, 2010
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the leaders of the world were like idiots who brandished their swords when they were at a loss. Ahmadinejad stressed that while other countries bestowed atomic bombs upon the world, Iranians brought it humanity and artistry.
"This stupid group in power in the world today is like [a group of] stupid and retarded people who brandish their swords when they are at a loss without knowing that the era of such behaviors has passed," he said.
"What is going on in the world today," he went on to ask. "The summits held in the world are intended to belittle people and we must create a new and cultural atmosphere in the world and in the Nowruz festival invite all nations and anyone who has something cultural, artistic and humanitarian to say to attend. This way the hearts of nations will be brought closer. Otherwise [we will be treading] the path trodden by some people in the world who will not stop until all nations are annihilated.
Spinning the Grave Story
Tehran Bureau | April 12, 2010
After pro-government media outlets led by the Fars News Agency implied that reformist lawmaker Mohammad Reza Tabesh was behind the desecration of prominent graves in Yazd, Tabesh officially protested to the parliament speaker.
Fars had quoted an unnamed intelligence source as saying that an Ardakan representative in the Majlis close to Seyyed Mohammad Khatami commissioned the desecration of the graves of ayatollahs Mohammad Sadouqi and Rouhollah Khatami. Unknown parties desecrated their eternal resting places by splashing paint over them. While Tabesh was not named in the report, it was generally believed that he was the unnamed lawmaker implicated by Fars, which claimed the acts were committed in a bid to draw reformists to Ardakan and revive sedition there.
In response, Tabesh, who heads the opposition bloc in the Majlis, wrote a letter of complaint to Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani. Larijani's advisor Hossein Zamani told ILNA that the speaker had forwarded the letter, via a member of the Majlis presiding board, to the Intelligence Ministry for further investigation.
While Fars claimed that the governor of Ardakan had announced that four people had been arrested in connection with the crime and had confessed, Governor Ahmad Kamali rejected the claim as baseless. Meanwhile, the news agency did not remove the fabricated account of the incident implicating Tabesh from its website, adding only, "Further investigation by Fars found that Ardakan representative in Majlis Tabesh had no role in the desecration of the graves of ayatollahs Sadouqi and Khatami."
Alamolhoda against women athletes
Asr Iran | April 12, 2010
Mashhad Friday Prayers Leader Hojjatoleslam Ahmad Alamolhoda criticized the decision to send the Iranian women's volleyball team abroad to prance around in front of the eyes of foreigners.
Alamolhoda said sending the women's volleyball team to Europe was wrong because "having them prance around in front of the eyes of namahram (men not immediate members of their family) does not correspond with praying for the speedy coming of the Hidden Imam."
"This is not the first time that I'm saying these things -- it's after sending countless messages [to authorities]. There is a movement that pays no heed to the religious demands of the people. Who among us wishes to feel pride that our daughter is a volleyball player?"
"We expect there to be no bad elements in the government. But there are things [taking place] in this government that instead of helping pave the way for the coming of the hidden Imam are putting obstacles in his way."
Javan: Lawmakers who met with Mousavi lose qualification to represent nation
Tabnak | April 11, 2010
A pro-government website said the Reformist lawmakers who visited Mir Hossein Mousavi on the occasion of Nowruz lost their qualification to represent the people in Majles.
The IRGC-affiliated Javan daily quoted unnamed political activists as saying that the move by the members of the Majles minority bloc was in violation of the people's votes and against the policies of the establishment.
Last week, a group of Reformist lawmakers including Mohammad-Reza Tabesh, Alireza Mahjoub, Mostafa Kavakebian, Jamshid Ansari, Mohammad-Ali Karimi, Sazdar, Torabi, Qabari, Nariman and Mohseni Badpandi along with a group of former Majles employees, lawmakers and their children visited Mousavi.
"A number of political activists believe that the meeting between some members of the minority bloc and the heads of sedition is against the votes and views of the people. Given that such meetings are not in line with the policies of the establishment, they are no longer qualified to participate in future elections, after meeting with Mousavi. These representatives have lost their qualification for representing the nation."
Javan went on to threaten these MPs. "These lawmakers who bear the title of representatives of the nation, and who have met with the heads of sedition in defiance of the people's referendum, the establishment's objectives, the path of Imam [Khomeini], the opinion of the Leader, have mocked their goals and responsibilities and sealed a sinister fate for themselves," the report said.
Larijani says making public accusations a 'crime'
Khabar Online | April 11, 2010
Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani said using the public media to make allegations was against the law and considered a crime.
Speaking to high-ranking judicial officials in charge of combating financial corruption, Larijani said, "The judiciary needs the legal and authoritative backing of all branches of government in order to fight economic corruption."
"The judiciary perceives it as its natural duty to prosecute those suspected of financial corruption and does not fear threats or bullying on its pursuit of this path."
"Publicly revealing the details of certain corruption cases should be in accordance with the law. Making accusations using public means of communication and media is morally and religiously wrong, against the law and a crime."
Prosecutor says Rahimi-Naderan case in motion
Fararu | April 11, 2010
Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said the government has lodged a complaint against lawmaker Elias Naderan and set a date for a hearing.
"The presidential office's legal deputy has lodged a complaint against Naderan [and charged him with] slandering, insulting and propagating lies," he said, adding that the presidential legal deputy had gone to the branch of the prosecutor's office in charge of the case to offer additional explanations.
Naderan has accused first Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi of widespread financial corruption.
Two Shia sources meet to discuss political affairs
Ayatollahs Lotfollah Safi-Golpayegani and Nasser Makarem-Shirazi, both Shia Sources of Emulation, reportedly met in Qom on Saturday night.
According to the Rasa website, Ayatollah Safi visited Ayatollah Makarem and the two sources discussed seminary developments as well as the country's current affairs.
The meeting was held in the absence of reporters, and no details of the session have been disclosed.
Tabnak, however, reported that the two sources had reached important decisions about the latest developments in the country.
Report of Rafsanjani, Larijani meeting rejected
The head of the Expediency Council's chief of staff rejected reports that a meeting between Ayatollahs Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Sadeq Larijani had taken place.
Mohammad Hashemi rejected reports of Judiciary chief Ayatollah Larijani meeting with, and getting the approval of Ayatollah Rafsanjani, to clear the way for Mehdi Hashemi's return to Iran.
"Such reports are strongly rejected," Hashemi told ILNA.
Regarding reports of Behzad Nabavi meeting with Ayatollah Rafsanjani on Kish Island during Nowruz, Hashemi said, "The head of the Expediency Council was on Kish during Nowruz. He met with different people during his trip and Mr. Nabavi was one of them."
Safai-Farahani's prison term reduced to five years
Asr Iran | April 11, 2010
Branch 54 of the Tehran appeals court reduced the prison sentence of Mohsen Safai-Farahani from six years to five.
Safai-Farahani had been sentenced to six years in prison by branch 15 of the Revolution Court.
The appeals court also reduced the prison sentence of Ali Tajernia to one year. Branch 26 of the Revolution Court had sentenced Tajernia to six years in jail and 74 lashes.
Mother of prisoner says Tehran Prosecutor responsible for her son's health
Iran Human Rights | April 11, 2010
In an open letter that has been widely published in the media, Fatemeh Alvandi, the mother of Mehdi Mahmoudian, said that she held the Tehran Prosecutor responsible for her son's dangerous physical condition, due to damages he sustained during his detention.
Mahmoudian is a journalist, a member of the Participation Front Information Committee, and a human rights activist.
He was arrested on September 18, 2009. A few weeks ago, his temporary detention orders were changed to permanent detention. He spent 80 days of his detention time in solitary confinement and was recently moved to a four-person cell. Mahmoudian was one of the few journalists who played an important role in revealing the crimes committed in the infamous Kahrizak Detention Center before and after the presidential election. He was the first person to write about the inhumane and illegal prisoner treatment at Kahrizak.
Central bank to print 10,000 touman bills, rial to retain zeros
Tabnak | April 11, 2010
The head of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said dropping three zeros from the rial would be postponed until after the enforcement of the subsidy bill.
"The CBI seeks to print 100,000 rial (10,000 touman) bills and circulate them before the end of the current Iranian calendar year," said Mahmoud Bahmani. "The 10,000 touman will be distributed by the end of the Persian month of Khordad," (May-June).
Bahmani said research on whether to strike three zeros from the rial had been completed but that executing the plan had been postponed until after the subsidy law was enforced.
"After the guided subsidy law is enforced and the economic situation of the country is determined, a decision will be made about dropping three zeros from the rial," he said.