26 Aug 2010 15:17
Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Iranian press, and excerpts where the source is in English. Click on the link to the story to read it in full. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow other news stories through our Twitter feed.
Iran Launches New Crackdown On Universities
RFE/RL | Aug 26, 2010
The Iranian government says it will restrict the number of students admitted to humanities programs at universities, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.
The announcement was made on August 25 by Abolfazl Hassani, the director of the government's Office of Development of Higher Education.
It follows criticism of humanities studies last year by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He called the humanities a field of study that "promotes skepticism and doubt in religious principles and beliefs," and that it was worrying that almost two-thirds of university students in Iran were seeking degrees in the humanities.
Jailed Iranian journalist Goudarzi receives NPC award
CPJ | Aug 26, 2010
The National Press Club has announced the recipients of the 2010 John Aubuchon Freedom of the Press Award, which is given each year to individuals who have contributed to the cause of press freedom and open government. This year, the international recipient is Iranian blogger Kouhyar Goudarzi, who is being held in Tehran's Evin Prison--notorious for its torture of detainees. CPJ wrote earlier this month about a hunger strike in Evin in which several political prisoners, including at least five journalists, protested their inhumane treatment. Goudarzi was one of the protesters. Arrested in December 2009, Goudzari, a former editor of Committee of Human Rights Reporters, has been charged with heresy, propagating against the regime, and participating in illegal gatherings.
Mashaie's many roles
Fars | 25 August 2010
Several members of the national security and foreign policy committee of Iran's parliament protested the recent appointment of Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's chief of staff, as the president's special envoy to the Middle East.
The initial debate in the committee was to determine whether the president is allowed to appoint special envoys under the constitution. It was resolved within the committee that these appointments are not against the constitution. However, the committee's members were critical of Mashaei's appointment as the top coordinator of Iran's foreign policy in the Middle East while he simultaneously holds other important positions in the government.
In all, Mashei holds nine government positions. His key cabinet positions, apart from being the president's chief of staff, include vice president in the high council of Iranians living abroad; secretary of the administration's cultural committee; chairman of the administration's working group on pilgrimage and Razavi culture; director of the coordination council for special free economic zones; and a member of the administration's economic commission.
As Iran sanctions threaten, Iran sees new friend in Cambodia
CSM | Aug 26, 2010
Iran seems to have found a new friend in the unlikeliest of places: Cambodia. Tehran hosted a high-level delegation from the Southeast Asian nation earlier this month to discuss bilateral trade and mutual dislike of American "interference."
It's the latest sign that the Islamic republic is seeking out new partners - no matter how small - in the face of increased sanctions.
"There is no doubt that Iran's growing isolation, resulting from the force of UN sanctions, is behind Iran's push to improve relations with Cambodia and other willing states," says Alon Ben-Meir of the Center for Global Affairs at New York University. "The sanctions against Iran are having a serious effect. For this reason, Iran at this juncture will trade with any country it may find. Cambodia happened to be an easy target because of its energy vulnerability."
Iran wants role, after all, as nuclear fuel maker for Bushehr reactor
CSM | Aug 26, 2010
Iran has proposed to share fuel production with Russia for its Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant - a move bound to raise even more concerns about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Iran's proposal to create a consortium with Russia to jointly manage Bushehr's fuel cycle is one more development that will almost certainly put Iran's nuclear program more sharply in the sights of the US Congress. Some lawmakers have already expressed disquiet over the Obama administration's quiet tolerance of Russia's fueling of the Bushehr reactor.
'More belligerent than Bush'
Although, outwardly the president of the United States is trying to make himself look different from Bush the son, the existing statistics and figures and also the strategies adopted by the White House show the Democrats have behaved exactly like the extremist neoconservatives and even worse.
Obama's agreement to add 30,000 American forces to Afghanistan should not be examined as a simple topic. Western sources compare American military casualties in the war in Afghanistan during Barack Obama's presidency and under George Bush and report that the number of soldiers killed in the war has doubled since the beginning of the Barack Obama presidency. How can Obama deny these new statistics and figures? Many soldiers have lost their lives since the beginning of the Obama presidency. Many of these soldiers were hoping Obama's presence in the White House would take the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in a new direction, meaning back to America, but not only did this fail to take place, American generals have reported plainly and publicly that they will be in these two nations for a long time!
Likewise, concurrent with the increase in American military casualties in Afghanistan in a new poll the Wall Street Journal and NBC reported an increase in pessimism in the United States public about the performance of the Barack Obama government in the Afghanistan war and also increased opposition to this war. The people of the United States can no longer accept Obama's gestures about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as they did in 2009, and the number of opponents to the war increases every day in America.
In this poll the two aforementioned media outlets announced that 68 percent of the American people have become confused and pessimistic about the future of the war in Afghanistan and the victory of the army in this war. This pessimism has openly intensified among American citizens. The only result of the presence of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan has been Al-Qa'idah taking power and worse security and political conditions for the citizens of Afghanistan. While the United States is suffering from a severe economic crisis that becomes more serious every day, Obama has preferred to spend enormous amounts of money on continuing the White House military mobilization in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Yet Obama's popularity decreases every day and of course the mid-term Congressional elections are ahead! In these circumstances Obama is hopelessly looking for a miracle to save him from his regrettable present situation.
Not knowing how to attract public support in the election Obama attacked the economic policies of his predecessor George Bush and has said these policies are the cause of collapse of the American economy. The president of the United States has retreated once again to the past hoping that recalling the black period of the Bush in the White House will revive the climate of the 2008 presidential election!
The campaign to save Shiva Nazar Ahari, a prominent Iranian human rights defender and a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, is under way. She has been arrested several times by the Iranian authorities for her activism and faces the death penalty. Shiva was marked a 'star student' and banned from continuing her education and completing her masters degree in civil engineering.