Spokesman: Mousavi, Karroubi Supporters 'Can't Run' in Next Elections
15 Mar 2011 10:21
Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Iranian press and excerpts where the source is in English. 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 breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.
Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:30
10:15 a.m./March 15 Our columnist Muhammad Sahimi compiled the following news items and commentary:
Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, spokesman for the Guardian Council, which vets candidates for most elections, said that supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi will not be allowed to run for the Ninth Majles, the elections for which will be held in early 2012. He claimed that the February 14 demonstrations revealed that the "sedition" (the regime's standard epithet for the Green Movement) is supported by Israel and the United States, and therefore anyone who did not condemn the protests and those who inspired them cannot run for office again.
According to a poll by the Research Center of the Majles, 57.4 percent of respondents said that they believe the elimination of subsidies and the distribution of cash handouts will increase prices and the rate of inflation. The cash handouts were outright opposed by 24.5 percent. Regarding the government's performance on the subsidies issue, 41.7 percent thought that it has been either good or very good, 23 percent said it has been average, and 22 percent believed that it has been weak or very weak. Subsidized products were favored to cash handouts by 44.2 percent, while 34.5 percent preferred the cash. Nepotism and corruption in the government has increased in the view of 52.2 percent, while 26.6 percent believed that it has not changed. The poll, taken in 30 provincial capitals, surveyed 17,000 people who each responded to 72 questions.
Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, the conservative cleric, issued a statement condemning what he called the silence of the Islamic world about the crimes that are taking place in Libya. The statement said, "A criminal and oppressive man [Muammar Qaddafi] has ruled his country for 42 years and is using his military power to murder his compatriots and destroy his nation, and the strange thing is that the Islamic world is only watching and is silent. Does the Holy Qur'an [Hajarat Soureh, verse 9] not order us that if one group oppresses another in the Islamic sphere, we must fight with the oppressor until that group surrenders to God?"
A Syrian military court has convicted author Ali Abdollah of "trying to hurt Syria's relations with other countries." Human Rights Watch has issued a statement explaining that Abdollah criticized the relations between Syria, Iran, and Lebanon and, while jailed in connection with an unrelated case, had said that Iran's presidential election of 2009 was rigged. Abdollah is also one of the 12 people who signed the "Damascus Statement" that called on the government to democratize the political system.
Hossein Ebrahimi, Majles deputy from Birjand and a member of the legislature's National Security and Foreign Relations Committee, said that if King Abdollah II of Jordan travels to Iran to celebrate Nowruz, the Iranian New Year's celebration on March 21, the Majles will confront all those who had a hand in it. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has invited 12 monarchs and heads of state to go to Iran and participate in the celebrations that are planned for Persepolis. Ebrahimi said, "There is no doubt that Jordan's king is anti-Islam and therefore it must be explained based on what rational he has been invited to Iran. Inviting him to Iran is defying the wishes of the Jordanian people to topple their king." Fars, the news agency controlled by the intelligence unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, reported that Abdollah's trip to Iran has been canceled. Fars quoted ultrareactionary Majles deputy Hamid Rasaei as saying that the invitation was extended eight months ago, but Jordan's king wanted to take advantage of it amid the present chaotic conditions in his country.
Vali-ollah Salehi, member of the Supreme Council for Labor Affairs, said that the minimum wage for workers for the upcoming Iranian year has been set at 330,000 tomans (about $300) per month. He said that this represents a 9 percent raise. Government statistics indicate that the rate of inflation is around 15 percent, which has been predicted to rise significantly in the coming year. Labor unions had demanded a minimum wage of $800 per month.
Iranian Prosecutor-General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei said in an interview that the government had underestimated the depth of the "sedition." He said that in 2008-9, as then minister of intelligence, he had submitted a report to the high officials saying, "The enemy is after velvet and color revolution in our country." He claimed that "many ridiculed the report" at the time. Ejei said that the arrests of Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh (two Iranian American scholars) in 2007 were prompted by this threat.
Maedeh Ghaderi, an attorney and Kurdish activist, has been arrested. Her husband, Ali Parandian, was arrested in Mashhad on March 2, the day after demonstrations took place there and in Tehran. Ghaderi had pursued her husband's case and represented him before she too was put behind bars.
Hassan Joulaei, one of the top young mathematicians in the world and the highest-ranked student in the University of Tehran's Department of Mathematics, was kidnapped by security agents on November 2, and after more than four months there is still no information about his whereabouts and the reason for his arrest. Joulaei, who has already published 12 articles in some of the most prestigious journals in his field, was prevented from taking the national entrance examination for the Ph.D. degree, though several prestigious universities around the world have accepted him into their doctoral programs. He was also arrested in 2009 and detained for four months.
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Ahmadinejad's chief of staff and close aide, confirmed that he will be traveling to the United States on March 18. Mashaei said that Nowruz will be celebrated at the United Nations by Iran and several other countries -- last year the U.N. declared it a worldwide holiday and many heads of state were invited.
Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi has opposed granting furloughs to Bahareh Hedayat and Mahdiyeh Golrou, two women university and human rights activists, for the Nowruz holidays. The two activists have been imprisoned for the past 18 months. Hedayat is serving a sentence of nine-and-a-half years, while Golrou received a three-year sentence.
The temporary arrest warrant of Fakhr ol-Sadat Mohtashamipour, wife of imprisoned, outspoken reformist leader Mostafa Tajzadeh, has been extended for another 15 days. She was arrested on March 1, during the demonstrations in support of Mousavi. Reports indicate that she is being held in Evin Prison's Ward 209, which is controlled by the Revolutionary Guards.
Three hundred and eight-eight attorneys have written a letter to judiciary chief Sadegh Larijani condemning the arrest of three of their colleagues and their jail sentences. Farshid Yadollahi and Amir Eslami were arrested after the Ministry of Intelligence complained to the judiciary that the two were active in "propaganda against the state." They were each given sentences of six months in prison and their licenses to practice law were revoked. Another attorney, Mostafa Daneshjou, was arrested on the same charges and given a sentence of seven months in jail. According to the group's letter, "the pressure that independent attorneys are suffering from nowadays is unprecedented in Iran's history." The three attorneys had represented Daravish-e Gonabadi, an Islamic group that the reactionary clerics oppose.
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