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24 Oct 2009 17:24No Comments

The New Hostage Crisis

FP | Oct. 24, 2009

My friend, the Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh, was recently sentenced to 15 years in Tehran's Evin prison. For those familiar with the ways of authoritarian regimes, the charges against him will ring familiar: espionage, cooperating with an enemy government, and endangering national security.

Rafsanjani, Imami-Kashani may no longer lead Tehran Friday Prayers

Parleman News
| Oct. 23, 2009

Ayatollahs Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani and Mohammad Imami-Kashani will reportedly no longer be leading the Friday Prayers in Tehran.

Rafsanjani, who was not allowed to lead the prayers on Qods Day, earlier told Alalam that he would be addressing the Palestinian issue in other sermons.

However, it appears that the time has yet to come for the people of Tehran to listen to the veteran cleric deliver a sermon from the Tehran university podium or elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Tehran's moderate interim Friday Prayers Leader Imami-Kashani has also been a no-show in recent weeks, leaving the task to the hardliner trio: Ahamd Khatami, Ahmad Jannati and the recently-appointed Kazem Seddiqi.

Iran to begin 48-hour gasoline 'self-sufficieny' plan at midnight Saturday

Fars | Fars English | Oct. 24, 2009

Iran is set to begin an "urgent" 48-hour gasoline "self-sufficiency" production plan that will alter the domestic gasoline production process at a number of Iran's petrochemical complexes, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported Saturday.

Fars cites an anonymous Iranian government official as saying that the plan, which begins at midnight Saturday, primarily aims to achieve "self-sufficiency" in the production of aromatic products and gasoline produced from light crude oil at two petrochemical complexes in the southern port of Assalueyeh and in Bandar Mahshahr,

The plan is being implemented with the approval of Iran's oil minister and was created as "a preemptive effort to curb (the) impact of possible US sanctions on the country's gasoline supplies." Fars said.

Iran Oil Sector Needs $5.4 Bln/Year Investment To Maintain Oil Exports

Press TV | Oct. 24, 2009

The Iranian parliament's Center for Strategic Research said Saturday the Islamic Republic may soon be faced with a fall in oil exports due to oil well depreciation and a rise in domestic consumption, the English-channel Press TV website reported Saturday.

Fars News Agency cites the Center's most recent report as saying that Iran's oil sector needs an annual $5.4 billion worth of investment to maintain its current volume of crude oil exports, according to Press TV.

"Supplying this amount of investment is unlikely... serious and fundamental investment is necessary, " says the report, according to Press TV.

2009 Presidential Election Archive

Princeton | Oct. 24, 2009

This website provides documentation from the 2009 presidential election in Iran. The featured data includes electoral results down to the level of the ballot box, the electoral law, statements by the four presidential candidates, statements by other political and religious leaders, statements by political parties and societal groups, and statements by governmental agencies after June 12, 2009.

The site expects to provide English translations of all documents featured there in Persian by the end of the year.

News Orgs Turn to Indie Sites To Fill In Coverage Gaps

Broadcasting & Cable | Oct. 24, 2009

CBS and PBS are among big-name groups partnering with online suppliers of international news gathering

The knee-jerk reaction is that Western news groups are using these partnerships to put a Band-Aid over the gaping hole of cuts in their foreign bureaus. Technology has in fact made foreign reporting less expensive, less cumbersome and more immediate, in turn making the physical and personnel infrastructures of large foreign bureaus increasingly anachronistic.

Nuclear inspectors head to Iran

BBC | Oct. 24, 2009

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are travelling to Iran ahead of a visit to a newly revealed nuclear site.

The inspection on Sunday will be the first time international monitors will have been allowed access to the plant, near the Iranian city of Qom.

Radio: Judge, family members killed in Tehran

Reuters | Oct. 24, 2009

A judge and five members of the same family were killed in the Iranian capital during a dispute, local media quoted judicial sources as saying.

The semi-official Fars news agency said the killings on Thursday were carried out by a member of the family, correcting the state radio that said earlier the judge had been assassinated.

"A middle-aged male member of the family shot dead judge Mohammad Mansouri and the other five people with a firearm in his hand," Fars said.

Video: Mehdi Karroubi at the Media Exhibition on Oct. 23, 2009

Karroubi statement on events at Media Fair

EA | Oct. 24, 2009

On Friday I went to the Media Fair. On arrival large groups of people supported and welcomed me kindly. Then I went to the Exhibition Place. From there I was guided toward the booths to visit the Fair. Large numbers of people were kindly accompanying me through this path, and I repeatedly asked them not to chant any slogans.

Meanwhile a group of at most ten people (pro-Ahmadinejad hardliners) started chanting "Death to the Traitor." When they insisted on chanting this slogan, the large number of people who were accompanying me in response started chanting slogans such as "Death to the Dictator." All the witnesses can confirm that the number of people who were chanting against me was almost nothing compared to those who were chanting in support of me, while the number of people who were accompanying and supporting me was getting larger by the minute.

What was interesting was the peaceful nature of those who were supporting me, and their calmness even when they were passing by some of the booths of the news agencies who are against reform. However, as the slogans increased, to prevent any tension that could have been used to take advantage by some to use violence against people, I decided that it would be best to leave the exhibition. When I informed the authorities they escorted me through a special route, and the people could not accompany me anymore.

After a few minutes when it got less crowded, a number of individuals whose presence was certainly planned, and as usual have no concerns regarding their actions, suddenly surrounded me and started chanting their usual slogans. They acted as they always do, and some of them started throwing different objects including brochures [at me].

10 Iranians arrested in Indonesia on suspicion of smuggling drugs


China View | Tabank | Oct. 21, 2009

Indonesian police arrested eight women and two men from Iran for allegedly smuggling methamphetamine worth more than 10 million U.S. dollars, local media reported here Wednesday.

Indonesia has strongly enforced penalties on drug offenders, including capital punishment and life imprisonment. Scores of foreign nationals have been sentenced to death for the offense.

Jalayipour rearrested, released

Parleman News |
Oct. 23, 2009

Mohammad-Reza Jalayipour has been released for a second time after being arrested in a prayer ceremony held on Thursday.

The ceremony was held to pray for the release of Shahaboldin Tabatabayi. Sixty-nine political and social activists along with family members of the political prisoners were taken into custody.

Jalayipour had first been arrested on June 12, and later released on bail.

Prayer ceremony held for political prisoners raided

Parlemann News | Oct. 23, 2009

Security forces holding arrest warrants signed by the prosecutor's office raided a prayer ceremony held Thursday to win the release of Shahaboldin Tabatabayi.

According to Mostafa Tajzadeh's wife, Fakhrolsadat Mohtashamipour, the arrests were made upon the order of the prosecutor. Members of the security forces claimed that the ceremony was not for prayer, but to plot to disrupt the country's calm on Nov. 4, the anniversary of the US embassy takeover and Students' Day.

"The interesting thing is that when they raided the ceremony, our lights were turned out and the prayer ceremony was deep in session and the sound of people calling on God to help the release of their loved ones was echoing through the venue."

"The women and young girls arrested were taken to a building on Pastor Street [where the presidential office is located]," said Mohtashamipour. "Some of the detainees were allowed to contact their families, but the majority of them were not."

"It is unfortunate to see people who have come to a religious session to pray for the release of someone who has been unjustly sentenced, arrested; families kept in the dark about the well being of detainees despite telling them that they would be released after two hours."

"Even though they told us that the arrests... were ordered by the prosecutor, this is hard to believe for us. As the families of political prisoners, we have an understanding that the prosecutor is an independent and just person. We believe that this is the work of those parties that want to see tension in our society."

"Given the changes that have taken place in the Judiciary, we think it unlikely that the arrests were ordered by the prosecutor; unless this is officially announced, of course."

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