07 May 2010 22:03
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.
Ayatollah wants to form Ministry of Virtue
Tabnak | May 5, 2010
A Shia source of emulation urged the formation of a Ministry of Virtue, saying the spread of immorality in society was the result of not having a body in charge of ethical issues.
"A ministry to call upon virtue and ban vice must be formed to deal with moral issues in schools, universities and media," Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi said in his Wednesday class in the Grand Mosque of Qom.
He attributed the root cause of political and economical problems in society to a lack of supervision of the moral sphere. "When importance is not attached to moral issues, political and economical problems arise and decadence spreads in the form of lack of hejab and an increase in drug abuse," he said. "My duty was to address this issue and I will follow up on it so that, God willing, these problems are seriously taken into account."
Islamic Republic not concerned with expats wearing hejab
Tabnak | May 5, 2010
The head of the presidential office's center for international law said hejab was a personal matter and that they did not intend to meddle in the affairs of Iranian expats on this issue.
"We will not tell Iranian expats to observe the hejab because it has nothing to do with us," said Mohammad Jaffarzadeh. "They must abide by the laws of the land in which they live and behave according to the customs of that country."
As a case in point, Jaffarzadeh pointed to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's foreign tours. "You have seen on many occasions that the president meets with women without hejab and there is no problem," he said.
Jannati says weakened faith cause of protests
Tabnak | May 6, 2010
Head of the Guardian Council Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati demanded that a solution be found to the problem of improper hejab in society.
"The lack of proper hejab is the result of decadent Western culture ... and we must think of a solution to this problem because the aim of the Islamic Revolution was from the start to replace Western values with Islamic ones," he said in Mashhad.
Jannati described the post-election unrest as the direct result of the weak faith of some political movements in the country. "If it was not for the Leader of the Revolution's wisdom at that time," he added, "those street protests would not have died out and these groups would have succeeded in achieving their goals."
"Wherever we have paid more attention to God and religion we have had greater achievements, and wherever we have neglected God we have been defeated."
Anti-immorality rally to be held in Tehran
Tabnak | May 5, 2010
The popular headquarters for the restoration of Islamic Culture and Values has called for a mass demonstration after Friday prayers on May 7.
Starting from the main entrance of Tehran University to Enghelab Square, protesters are expected to denounce the lack of proper hejab.
Beheshti Publications banned from Tehran Book Fair
Tabnak | May 5, 2010
The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance revoked the permit of the Institute for the Preservation and Publication of Ayatollah Beheshti's Works, banning them from participating in the Tehran International Book Fair.
A source at the Institute told ILNA that a new publication by the late Ayatollah Beheshti was to be distributed at this year's book fair on the topic of the Islamic Republic Party's position on different issues.
"This book contained Behshti's opinions about the Islamic Republic Party and his position toward this party and its members," the source said. Beheshti was a key founder of the Islamic Republic Party.
"Like every other year we had rented a stall and paid for it in advance, but when we went there to prepare the stall for the opening, another publisher with a name that did not alphabetically fit there was in the stall."
"When we went to the authorities in charge of the fair they told us that we had been banned from the fair and that our publication house would not be allowed to exhibit (or distribute) any books at the exhibition."
Rezai's strange choice of editorial team
Fararu | May 6, 2010
Former presidential challenger Mohsen Rezai has reportedly decided to print his own newspaper.
According to Shargh, based on an initial agreement with former Principlist lawmaker Emad Afrough, guiding the policy of the new daily will be Ahmadinejad's dismissed economy minister and the former head of the Pasteur Institute of Iran, Abdolhossein Rouholamini.
Interior ministry mulling hookah ban
Tabnak | May 5, 2010
The interior ministry has been reviewing a plan to ban smoking hookah in public places.
An expert working with the interior ministry told Borna news that the health, education and trade ministries, along with the police, have each presented programs to ban smoking hookah in public places and at coffee houses. These plans are to be discussed in future meetings.
"We hope to implement the suggestions and proposals presented on banning smoking hookah."
Motahari says Rahimi case not closed
Khabar Online | May 5, 2010
Lawmaker Ali Motahari said people should have been allowed to come out and vent their anger after the election and that IRIB should have aired the report.
"We should have permitted the people to come out and shout and chant whatever slogan they wanted. IRIB should have aired [a report of] it and the government should have been available for response."
"We shouldn't have been afraid that the protests would last 20 or 30 days. We should have allowed the opposition -- who were considerable in number -- to speak, voice all their doubts, and receive answers. Force should only have been used afterward, to deal with those who had other [ill] intentions. But we skipped this stage and went directly to using force," Motahari said on Tuesday.
"Regarding the issue of freedom of speech after the election, I personally am discontent and believe many of the measures taken were unnecessary. In other words, I don't think it was necessary to close certain newspapers. When Majlis asked the Guidance Ministry's press deputy for an explanation, his answers were unsatisfactory and he did not offer a valid reason for these actions. For example, in many cases criticism that had been directed toward the chief executive was perceived as slandering the government and the president."
"In the course of the late [Ali] Kordan's impeachment we encountered many obstacles and the perspective of some of the lawmakers was really strange. Many people asked us whether we had informed his Excellency [the Leader] about the issue or whether we had coordinated it with the higher up. But I said we are the representatives of the nation and our responsibilities were clear."
"The first vice president's case is being investigated, and he has been summoned twice to offer explanations as it [the case] is being probed. The fact that it is not all over the papers does not mean that the case has been covered up."
"The Mashai ordeal was a shortcoming for Ahmadinejad given that despite the leader's order, Ahmadinejad resisted for 10 days. Of course humans are prone to making mistakes and his adoration for Mashai caused him to resist [the order of] the leader for a few days."
"The recent strictness [used to deal] with students might be because of the Imam's death anniversary or the anniversary of last year's election."
"Mousavi's claim that he was to become president and the vote was rigged was wrong."
'I personally cannot take the report on the Tehran University dormitory [incident] and disclose it. As a lawmaker I can only object [to the delay in presenting this report] and the Majlis speaker will, God willing, ask for it to be read out [in Majlis]. Therefore, [Mohammad-Hossein] Abutorabi, who was the head of the committee [probing the incident], should be the one following up on it."
Best Egyptian dates named 'Ahmadinejad'
Fararu | May 5, 2010
First Vice President Mohammad Rea Rahimi said the Ahmadinejad cabinet members are all members of the Basij working to construct the country.
"I was not able to do anything but to add an hour to my working hours in order to show our adherence to the Leadership's slogan of redoubled effort, but none of this can be a match to what the Basijis are doing."
Rahimi said he would receive his Basij membership card from Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi on Wednesday and added, "The best people are villagers because they are devoid of sins such as lying, materialism and slandering [others] and therefore we are thankful to God that we have a president who is supported by villagers."
Rahimi recounted a story from his trip to an African state. "In a trip to Mauritania, which is a predominantly Muslim country with an eye toward the revolution, Imam [Khomeini] and the Leadership [Khamenei], I went to convey the president's message. We witnessed that the most expensive textile in that country is named 'Khomeini.'"
Rahimi said that in Iran, despite the fact that "Rouhollah" is a popular name, "Khomeini" is not that common. In Mauritania, however, many kids are being named "Khomeini."
"Likewise, in Egypt, their best date is named "Ahmadinejad" and in Morocco I encountered an individual who told me Ahmadinejad is slight in build but has a strong will."
"Also, once on a trip to France, I was returning from an Audit Office meeting when a Frenchman of African descent who thought we were from one of our neighboring countries began cursing us. But, when he realized we are from Iran and I asked him his opinion about Ahmadinejad, he said he [Ahmadinejad] is a great man."
Rahimi closed his speech by saying that Basij must be present in all arenas to show the right path. "If there is even one Basiji present in an organization, it would be enough [to guide that organization]."
Tamadon: Ahmadinejad government does not lie
Asriran | May 6, 2010
Tehran governor Morteza Tamadon said the Ahmadinejad administration was truly popular, in part because it did not lie to people.
"Some of the popular approaches of the Ahmadinejad administration are not reflected in media reports and are not used for publicity," he said.
"Personally, I have accompanied the president on an unannounced visit to the impoverished neighborhoods of southern Tehran, and I encountered interesting things there," Tamadon said on Wednesday.
"Some of the people even call the president by his first name, because the government is truly in love with the people and does not lie to the people."
Another IRIB presenter joins govt
Khabar Online | May 5, 2010
Presenter Morad Enadi will be taking over the media directorate at the presidential office, joining the slew of IRIB hosts and reporters taking on positions within the Ahmadinejad administration.
Enadi, who is the host of the "Special News Discussion" and IRIB6 "45 minutes," has a degree in political science and has been working for IRIB for 15 years.
Ahmadinejad: I'm in favor of protesters
Boston Globe | May 6, 2010
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran spoke with Boston Globe reporters Farah Stockman and James F. Smith in New York City on Tuesday, a day after his speech to the opening session of the Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations. He spoke in Farsi and his comments were translated.
Q: You say you the people who protested your election are very unpopular... if so then what is the harm in allowing them to gather? Why put them in prison?
A: All the leaders of the opposition are free. All my competitors in the elections are free. They actually hold positions in Iran. They head organizations, institutions. They have a life. I ask you, if someone goes out into the street, sets a car on fire, breaks windows, what would you do?
Q. How about people like Saeed Laylaz? He is a prominent economist, but he has been sentenced to nine years in jail. Is he violent?
A: These are affairs of the judiciary... The law applies to everyone and it has nothing to do with the political circumstances of the country. Whoever commits a crime...
Q: Can you guarantee the safety of peaceful protesters?
A: Iran is the land of protest. In Iran, there is a protest of some sort every day.Millions of people pour on the streets here and there. On the anniversary of the Iranian revolution 40 million people were on the streets. In all cities, everywhere, everybody pours on the streets. Really, the bottom line is that there is not much to be concerned about in Iran. There are larger world issues at stake here. Iran is still standing strong, despite it all. Still strong. And at the end of the day, people accept the government they have, the government is around, they are friends and that's it. We also are friends with those who oppose us. We live together. There is a law. The judiciary will deal with it. I don't really see a problem.
You see, it is the American intervention, the US government's intervention that just destroys the thing. The position Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama take, these were wrong positions to take. It wasn't really the right thing. It really just turned the Iranian people and atmosphere against Mr. Obama and his administration. We tried really hard to explain but people didn't want to hear it anymore. About 90% of Iranians don't trust Mr. Obama anymore. That's not good for anyone. It just makes things harder for cooperation. We can't intervene in domestic affairs of a country. Have we ever questioned how many million Americans happen to be in prison, or why? Why, in Pittsburgh, protests were cracked down on? We have to respect each other, the laws of each other.
I'm in favor of protesters. I am for it, I am all for it. Every day, every one. But the judiciary is not under my control.
Mashaei: Nobody ever executed for expressing political views
New Yorker | May 5, 2010
LAURA SECOR: You also have more than a hundred reformist politicians, people who were active in the campaigns, who are in prison, and some of whom were placed on trial last summer. Are you claiming that these people, too, including former vice-president Mohammad Ali Abtahi, including former interior minister Mostafa Tajzadeh, are these people also involved in setting cars on fire or inciting others to acts of violence?
ESFANDIAR RAHIM MASHAEI: Those who prepare a conducive ground for riots, and who try to create a situation of anarchy, are offenders. Anybody can belong to the opposition groups. But there are people who are going to organize and concentrate on regime change, and they do everything toward these goals. Show me any country in the world that does not consider these activities to be crimes. Could they be encouraged in the United States or any country in Europe? No. But they are free to express their opinions freely, or to express their opposition or discontent against the government. It is strictly forbidden by law to organize activities that create a situation of anarchy.
LAURA SECOR: I'm confused by your response. For instance, Mostafa Tajzadeh was the campaign manager for Mir Hossein Mousavi, a candidate who was approved to run in the presidential election. And he was arrested before there was any disturbance in the streets.
MASHAEI: That's not true. Thousands of people were involved in the election campaigns. There are many friends of Mr. Tajzadeh who have not been arrested.
LAURA SECOR: But people were arrested in the party headquarters the day of the election--this was before there was any disturbance in the streets.
MASHAEI: Many of them were arrested but they were not sent to prison. Some of them have not been arrested at all. Some of them were detained temporarily and freed immediately. They were not charged. So the difference is that this group of people tried to organize certain activities in the society. They created anarchy and violence. Mr. Tajzadeh has other friends that were active in the party headquarters and they still continue in their activities.
LAURA SECOR: One of the things that was confusing to me in the charges against some of the prisoners was that I saw that some people were charged, as a crime, with speaking with foreign reporters, and yet you and I are able to speak without a problem. What is the difference between their situation and yours? Why it is possible for some people, who are officials, to speak with foreign reporters, while others, who are not, don't have that right?
MASHAEI: No, no. That's not true. It is a mistake. It's not true. We don't have such a situation. They could be in contact with foreign reporters in the past. Maybe something made you believe that such a thing has happened to them. Maybe the people who have been arrested now and they are in prisons have had some interviews with reporters, but that is not the real crime they've been charged with. People who are against the government say that these people have been charged of having interviews with foreign journalists. If we consider that a crime, there are many people who should go to prison. This is not considered a crime, and it is not against the law now, and it's not going to be in the future. Our president talks to the foreign mass media and journalists. If it is against the law, the president shouldn't do it. If it is not against the law, nobody should be detained or arrested.
LAURA SECOR: Iran has the second-highest rate of execution in the world.
LAURA SECOR: After China.
MASHAEI: Most of the executions are of major drug traffickers who are involved in big drug business. Do you want to take all of them in the United States? We'll send them to the United States if you want. We can coördinate. Send the drug traffickers to the Western countries. They are threatening people's lives, threatening the lives of our young people with drugs. And we are sending our soldiers to the border with Afghanistan to stop this, and they are getting killed. When we arrest those traffickers, should we give them some prize for their actions? You should see the reasons for these executions. Certainly without any doubt nobody is ever executed for expressing political views.
In unusual move, Iran's foreign minister invites U.N. Security Council to dinner
WaPo | May 6, 2010
In a highly unusual move, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki hosted a dinner Thursday for the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council, including a senior U.S. diplomat, at the Iranian mission's sumptuous Fifth Avenue townhouse in New York, according to Security Council diplomats.
The Iranian invitation appeared to be part of a campaign to counter U.S. and European efforts to secure support in the Security Council for a fourth round of sanctions against Tehran. It followed a public relations effort this week by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- including appearances on several American television programs -- to show that Iran's nuclear program is aimed at producing energy, not nuclear weapons.
The United States was represented at the dinner, but not by its top diplomat, Susan E. Rice. Alejandro D. Wolff, the second-ranking ambassador at the U.S. mission to the United Nations, attended instead. France was represented by its No. 2 envoy, and Britain sent its No. 3; both countries' top diplomats were out of town. Most other countries sent their top envoys.
Iran steps up diplomatic offensive
Al Jazeera | May 7, 2010
Iran's foreign minister has reaffirmed his country's right to pursue nuclear energy capabilities during a rare meeting with the US and other United Nations security council diplomats.
Manouchehr Mottaki hosted the diplomats at a dinner in New York on Friday on the sidelines of the nuclear non-proliferation conference.
The dinner came amid Iranian efforts to stave off a fourth round of UN sanctions against the country over its disputed nuclear programme.
Japan and China's ambassadors to the UN were among the attendees, while the US, UK, French and Russian missions sent lower-level diplomats to the dinner at the Iranian ambassador's residence in Manhattan.
Yukio Takasu, Japan's ambassador, said Mottaki used the gathering to reiterate Iran's position that it has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
But he indicated that there had been no concrete outcome following the dinner.
Iraq: a satellite for Iran?