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29 Oct 2009 15:582 Comments

IRGC Chief: Preserving regime more sacred than Islamic prayers

Ayandeh News | Oct. 29, 2009

According to Sepah News, the official website of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Guards, in an IRGC meeting in the city of Urumiye on Wednesday, said "Preserving the Islamic Republic establishment is even more vital [a duty] than performing namaz" [Islamic daily prayers, the main pillar of Islam].

[This is the first time an IRGC commander appears to be issuing a religious edict. Some suggest it is a reformulation of an existing 1988 fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini.]

"No one dares to claim that the Islamic Republic regime must be destroyed, and no one must dare to challenge the principles of this establishment," Jafari added.

Ahmadinejad open to nuclear cooperation

Tehran Bureau | Oct. 29, 2009

Internal disputes between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government and Iran's conservative-dominated parliament over a draft nuclear fuel agreement appeared to have arrived at a resolution Thursday, with Iran expressing willingness to cooperate with western powers and stating that the Islamic Republic "welcomes" a nuclear fuel exchange.

"We welcome fuel exchange, nuclear cooperation, building of power plants and reactors and we are ready to cooperate," Mr. Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the city of Mashhad, which was broadcast live on state television, according to AFP.

The Iranian president also commended the West's shift from "confrontation to cooperation" regarding the Islamic Republic's nuclear energy program. "We accept any hand extended to us in trust and honesty, without any plot or lie. But if that proves not to be the case, our response will be the same as we gave to (US president George W.) Bush and his cronies," he said, reported AFP.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's speech followed a phone call made by Iran's nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, late Wednesday to European Union Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana, in which he said the country is ready to engage in "constructive" discussions with world powers, according to state media.

Iranian lawmakers, many of whom had widely criticized Iran's negotiators for making an agreement over its nuclear program too quickly, appeared to have softened their stance towards the deal. Hossein Ebrahimi, a member of Iran's National Security and Foreign Policy parliamentary committee, told the Mehr news agency Wednesday the deal will be "beneficial" for the country "because Iran's right to produce enriched uranium would be recognized."

"The atmosphere of distrust in the ongoing nuclear talks is diminishing," he said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, last Wednesday presented a draft agreement to Iran, Russia, the United States and France in which Iran would send 1.2 tons of its declared 1.5-ton reserve of low-enriched uranium to Russia and France by the end of the year. Russia would then process the fuel for use in an Iranian medical-research reactor.

Russia, France and the United States formally accepted the deal by the IAEA's Friday deadline, but Iran asked for more time after a number of prominent conservatives and members of the Iranian parliament criticized the government for making an agreement that appeared to be made too quickly and without parliamentary consent, Iranian analysts said.

"As a member and signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we should get our fuel when we need it. So at the end of the day, Iran compromised in Austria. (The parliament is) trying to slow down the (negotiation) process... they want to make sure they don't get shafted," said a Tehran-based analyst.

"(The parliament) wants the regime as a whole to play a role in the decision. The package (will likely have) some minor changes in it, but in essence, it will be the same," the analyst said. -- Tehran Bureau Security Correspondent

Cleric: women did not choose hejab

Khabar Online | Oct. 28, 2009

Cleric Alireza Panahian, while discussing hejab [Islamic dress code] on a live program on Iranian state TV Wednesday, said, "Women did not choose hejab during the inception of the Islamic Revolution, but were caught up in the spirit of that time."

"It did not happen in a favorable way," he added. "Women must choose hejab under different, neutral conditions."

"The Nail"

Kayhan | Oct. 29, 2009

Excerpt from daily column 'Dialogue' (Goft o Shenood). This anonymous column, which appears on the first page of Kayhan's print edition, is rumored to be written by the editor-in-chief, Hossein Shariatmadari.

He said: Weren't US officials not too long ago threatening Iran, saying if Iran doesn't give in to US demands, they'll do such-and-such [i.e., sanctions, military strike]?

I said: Isn't that the damned truth!

He said: But yesterday, reporters asked State Department spokesman Ian Kelly if the US will impose sanctions on Iran if Iran does not answer favorably [i.e., to the draft agreement]. His answer was 'No!' Asked if the US would halt the P5+1 talks, Kelly again replied 'No!'

I said: Poor things [i.e., US officials] are in a tight spot.

He said: Their method [i.e., of diplomacy] is complicating their problems!

I said: A guy stepped on a nail. Instead of prying it out of his foot, he hammered the nail head sideways! [i.e., an expression in Farsi meaning to deflect a problem rather than solve it.]

Families of prisoners stage protest

Mowjcamp | Oct. 29, 2009

Families of political prisoners held a gathering on Wednesday in front of the Tehran Prosecutor General's Office to protest the continued imprisonment of their loved ones. According to the report by Nooroz, the latest statement of the political prisoners' families warned that if the authorities did not heed their demands to expedite their release, their next move would be to stage a mass sit-in and hunger strike and to file complaints with international human rights groups.

Iran worker 'jailing' angers UK

BBC | Oct. 29, 2009

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has urged Iran to overturn a four year jail sentence reportedly given to a British embassy employee.

Hossein Rassam, 44, was arrested in June at the time of massive street protests over the country's disputed presidential election.

The Iranian, who worked as a political analyst at the embassy, was accused of spying and inciting unrest.

In a statement, Mr Miliband called the reported sentence "wholly unjustified".

The foreign secretary said it represented "further harassment of embassy staff for going about their normal and legitimate duties".

He added the British ambassador in Tehran had spoken to Iran's deputy foreign minister and that the Iranian ambassador in London had been called in to explain the decision.

Nine British embassy employees were arrested but Rassam was the only one to be charged.

He was put on trial along with an employee of the French embassy and protesters angry at the results of the June elections.

Tehran accused the UK of fomenting opposition demonstrations when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was returned for a second term in office.

The British government has rejected the accusations.

UN chief says Iran should accept uranium plan

AP | Oct. 29, 2009

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged Iran on Wednesday to accept a U.N.-drafted plan to ship much of its uranium abroad for enrichment, saying it would be "an important confidence-building measure."

Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Karamirad said the government will formally respond on Thursday to the proposal to send enriched uranium out of the country for processing, according to the semiofficial ISNA news agency. Another Iranian lawmaker, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said the country's top security body would make a final decision on the proposal later Wednesday.

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Well, Jafari isn't exactly as eloquent as Abraham Lincoln (being a military man and all, we can excuse him for that). But the message is similar, and the circumstances perhaps not too dissimilar.

Pirouz / October 29, 2009 10:34 PM

...It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government: OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, shall not perish from the earth.

Iman / October 30, 2009 3:52 PM