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20 Oct 2009 18:15No Comments

Iran arrests three over bomb blast

Al Jazeera | Oct. 20, 2009

Three Iranians have been arrested in connection to Sunday's suicide bombing attack in the country's southeast that killed at least 42 people, authorities say.

A leading prosecutor on Tuesday said police detained the three on suspicion of involvement in the blast that struck the heart of the country's security forces in Sistan-Baluchestan.

"Due to security reasons, I am not giving the details of their names, but these terrorists are Iranians," Mohammad Marziah, the prosecutor in Zahedan, the provincial capital, told Iran's Fars news agency.

Authorities are also seeking a man who accompanied the suicide bomber, Marziah said.

Fifteen members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards were among those killed in the attack, which struck ahead of a meeting between Revolutionary Guards commanders and tribal chiefs.

Video: Kayhan booth at Fair

Ayatollah Safi wants segregated universities

Tabnak | Oct. 19, 2009

Shia Source of Emulation Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi-Golpayegani has called for the segregation of universities across Iran.

Stressing the importance of learning in Islam, Ayatollah Golpayegani said, "The interaction of girls and boys in universities has been repeatedly criticized and is a cause for concern among university officials."

"I hope that circumstances will be changed in a manner so that we will no longer have to see boys and girls interacting in universities."

The Ayatollah demanded the establishment of separate universities for both genders across the country. "I hope that we will be able to have all-girl universities throughout the country so that our girls will be able to study the fields beneficial for women."

"Our universities must teach our girls the science of good housekeeping and raising children properly."

Ahmadinejad postpones Isfahan trip over project backlog

Tabnak | Oct. 19, 2009

Isfahan governor Ali-Reza Zaker-Isfahani said a number of unimplemented projects has forced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to reluctantly postpone his trip to the province.

Speaking to an Isfahan station on Sunday, Zaker-Isfahani said that while the presidential office had announced that the province would be hosting Ahmadinejad this week, the visit would not take place.

"The governor's office and Isfahan lawmakers were of the opinion that as there is a deadline for their implementation of the projects which were approved less than seven months ago during the president's last visit to the province," he said. "It would be better for the president's visit to the province to be postponed."

This was to have been Ahmadinejad's first provincial trip after his reelection.

7120_163248707270_108514667270_3235876_6197144_n.jpgShoe hurled at Saffar-Harandi

Mowjcamp.com | Oct. 20, 2009

Mohammad-Hossein Saffar-Harandi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's former minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, had a shoe thrown at him during a recent visit to Tehran University.

According to reformist website Mowjcamp, Saffar-Harandi was faced with fierce student opposition at the faculty of industrial sciences at Tehran University. Students disrupted his speech by booing him and chanting 'O Hossein, Mir Hossein.' One student threw his shoe at him.

Without citing a source, Saffar-Harandi claimed that 10 Basijs died in the course of the post-election unrest, prompting students to shout in protest.

The loud protest continued, forcing the former Ahmadinejad minister to leave the university.

"Mousavi should be grateful to Ahmadinejad for preparing the grounds for him to break his 20-year silence," Saffar-Harandi was quoted as saying.

Related video

Motahari: Javanfekr simple in mind

Tabnak | Oct. 19, 2009

Principlist lawmaker Ali Motahari lashed out at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's media advisor for describing his demand for a presidential apology to the nation as flagrant words of disregard.

After Motahari censured Principlists for demanding an apology from the opposition leaders for their role in the post-election incidents and failing to recognize the Iranian president's role in instigating the sedition, Ali-Akbar Javanfekr called on the Majlis governing board to take action against Motahari for his "flagrant words of disregard and insulting remarks."

"What I said was that in order for national unity to be restored, both sides, meaning Mr. [Mir Hossein] Mousavi and [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, who have both had a role in the instigation and continuation of this sedition -- and in my opinion Mr. Mousavi's role was greater -- must apologize to the nation," Motahari told ILNA.

"Just as his name suggests, Mr. Javenfekr in very immature in his thinking (javan means young and fekr means thought). This causes him to become infuriated and say my remarks were 'insulting and flagrant words of disregard.' I do not understand what part of my words showed flagrant disregard."

"I believe that if Mr. Mousavi and Ahmadinejad, who despite their differences are attacking the roots of the revolution like a double-edged sword, refrain from accepting their mistakes and apologizing, the judiciary must put both of them on trial. Of course Mr. Ahmadinejad's possible punishment would have to be carried out after the completion of his second term in office."

"Mr. Javanfekr's words indicate that he does not believe in freedom of speech and has a tendency to idolize certain figures and keep them immune from [being brought to] justice. This is not in the interest of the country," Motahari concluded.

Tehran explosion not at oil ministry

Tabnak | Oct. 19, 2009

A Tehran fire department official said an explosion that rocked the city on Sunday night resulted in one death and 12 injuries.

Initial reports had suggested that the explosion had taken place at the central office of the Oil Ministry in Tehran.

However, Behrouz Tashakor, the fire department's public relations officer, told ILNA that the explosion had taken place at 9:30 pm in a ten-story building under construction on Hafiz Street.

He added that the carelessness of one construction worker in failing to comply with safety regulations had resulted in the explosion.

According to Tashakor, one of the construction workers lost his life in the explosion and 12 others sustained injuries.

Daneshjou's technology deputy resigns

Tabnak | Oct. 20, 2009

Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou's deputy for technology, Ali-Reza Jahangirian, has resigned from his position.

Earlier, Mansour Kabganian, Mohammad-Baqer Khoramshad and Abbas Saheb-Moqaddam Lotfi had all resigned from their posts as deputies of research, culture and education respectively.

Lotfi is the only deputy to have resigned during the first Ahmadinejad administration.

All three former deputies have announced their willingness to continue working with the science ministry.

Early spring cleaning at labor ministry

Tabnak | Oct. 19, 2009

Oil minister Masoud Mirkazemi's cleaning out the organization under his jurisdiction has apparently inspired labor minister Abdolreza Sheikholislami to do the same.

According to the Parcham website, Sheikholislami, who has proposed numerous ideas to revolutionize the labor ministry, removed all but one aide appointed by his predecessor, Seyyed Mohammad Jahromi, in his first managerial decision.

Earlier, Masoud Mirkazemi fired all aides to the former oil minister.

Chavez allowed into holy Razavi Shrine due to curiosity about Islam

Tabnak | Oct. 19, 2009

Seyyed Ahmad Alavi, the Razavi Mausoleum's deputy custodian, said Hugo Chavez was taken to the ceremonial hall of the shrine due to his enthusiasm in learning about Islam.

In a Monday press conference, Alavi said that the head custodian of the shrine was against allowing Chavez into the compound. Despite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's insistence, he said, the Venezuelan president was initially prevented from entering the premises.

"After contacting higher ups, we were advised to prevent him from entering the shrine and to receive him in the ceremonial hall," Alavi added.

"Due to Chavez's enthusiasm to learn about monotheism, Islam and the twelve [Shia] Imams, he was taken to the ceremonial hall and he did not enter the shrine area at all."

Iranian-American academic gets 12 years for unrest

AP | Oct. 20, 2009

Iran has convicted an Iranian-American academic for his alleged role in the post-election unrest in the country and sentenced him to more than 12 years in prison.

The state IRNA news agency reported the sentencing of Kian Tajbakhsh on Tuesday. It quotes his lawyer, Houshang Azhari, as confirming he received the verdict.

The attorney says the sentence is "more than 12 years" but the law prohibits him from divulging details.

Washington has repeatedly demanded Tehran free Tajbakhsh, arrested during the crackdown on protesters rallying against Iran's disputed June presidential election.

Tajkbaksh was the only American who was part of the mass trial of Iranian opposition members. Charges against him reportedly included espionage.

Iran MPs demand action on Mousavi

BBC | Oct. 20, 2009

One-third of Iran's members of parliament have demanded that legal action be taken against opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Mr Mousavi has said the June election that returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power was fraudulent.

MP Hamid Rasaie, an Ahmadinejad ally, said Mr Mousavi's claims had damaged the "reputation of the Islamic system".

'National crime'

One hundred MPs from Iran's 290-member parliament made their complaint against Mr Mousavi in a letter to the chief prosecutor, Gholam Hossein Mohsen Ejeie, Irna reported.

The demand for Mr Mousavi's prosecution comes a week after lawmakers launched a similar bid for legal action against Mr Ahmadinejad's other moderate challenger, former parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi.

Both men allege that the presidential election was rigged, a charge denied by the Iranian authorities.

They have criticised the crackdown on protesters in the weeks of demonstrations that followed the disputed 12 June presidential poll.

At least 30 protesters were killed in clashes and thousands were arrested. Some 200 opposition activists remain behind bars. Three have been sentenced to death.

Nuclear talks hold up after Iran questions French role

AP | Oct. 20, 2009

Nuclear talks between Iran and world powers were held up Tuesday after Iran said it did not want France to be part of any deal on uranium enrichment.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did not say however why the second day of talks had been delayed, even though all the delegations had gathered at the UN watchdog's headquarters.

The new twist came after Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said France was not needed at the talks, which also involve Russia, the United States and IAEA officials.

Report: Media freedoms shrink in Iran, rise in US

AP | Oct. 20, 2009

A media watchdog has singled out Iran and Israel for restricting journalists' freedoms.

Meanwhile the United States comes in for rare praise from Reporters Without Borders, rising from No. 40 on last year's media freedom ranking to No. 20 this year. The group attributes the rise to more relaxed attitudes toward the media under President Barack Obama.

Attacks, arrests and censorship of journalists are among the criteria for the list released Tuesday by the Paris-based group.

It criticized Israel for restricting journalists during the offensive in the Gaza Strip. Israel sank to 93rd place overall.

Iran fell to 172nd of the 176 countries ranked after post-election protests that saw a crackdown on media coverage.

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