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Daily banned, ban lifted, reinstated

23 Nov 2009 17:053 Comments

Former Interior Minister Ali Kordan Dies

AP │Nov. 22, 2009

Former Iranian Interior Minister Ali Kordan, who was dismissed after being accused of faking a law degree from the University of Oxford, has died, reports said Monday. He was 51.

Kordan died of heart failure Sunday after weeks of treatment for pulmonary and pancreatic problems, according to reports in Iranian newspapers and news agencies.

Iran's parliament dismissed Kordan in 2008 after questions arose over his credentials from Oxford. The university denied it awarded him an honorary doctorate of law.
Kordan claimed his impeachment was a conspiracy by Iran's foreign enemies, including the U.S. and Israel.

His alleged Oxford diploma, dated June 2000, was imprinted with a purported Oxford seal but was riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes.

10MUWS-24752fc5912388b09adb41c2a26fa5ae.jpgBan on newspaper lifted

ILNA | AP | Nov. 23, 2009

Iranian authorities have banned the country's largest-circulation newspaper for publishing a photo of a Baha'i temple, state media reported Monday.

Iran's Shiite cleric-led regime views the Baha'i religion as heretical and has banned it since the 1979 revolution. The photo also gave Iran's leaders an opportunity to silence the Hamshahri daily, which mostly reports on social issues but which has been critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Hamshahri was ordered closed by the Press Supervisory Board, a government agency run by hard-liners, for printing an advertisement containing a photo of a Baha'i temple that encourages tourists to visit the shrine, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The newspaper's director, Ali Reza Mahak, said he has received no order to close and was preparing to publish Hamshahri's Tuesday edition. But Deputy Culture Minister Mohammad Ali Ramin later confirmed to Iran's state TV that Hamshahri has been ordered closed.

The IRNA report said legal authorities would investigate the newspaper, which is run by Tehran's municipality and supports the capital's mayor, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, a moderate conservative who has long been a rival of Ahmadinejad.

Iran's hard-line judiciary has shut down more than 120 pro-reform newspapers and jailed dozens of editors and writers on vague charges of insulting authorities since 2000.

The closure order was also a message to Iran's estimated 300,000 Baha'is.

Seven Baha'i leaders have been in jail since May 2008 on charges of endangering national security for allegedly proselytizing. Leaders of the minority faith, however, say they are being persecuted by Iran's government for their religious beliefs.

Earlier, from ILNA...

A week-long ban on Hamshahri newspaper was lifted after a few hours. The daily, which is affiliated with the Tehran Municipality, was due to be suspended starting today.

The Press Supervisory Board announced the ban earlier this morning, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency. The suspension order was reportedly issued because the paper ran a tourist advertisement with a photo of a Bahai sect center.

Journalist Zeidabadi sentenced

Norooz | Nov. 23, 2009

Journalist and political activist Ahmad Zeidabadi was today sentenced to six years in prison in Gonabad, five years in exile, and a lifetime ban from engaging in political and social activism.

The Facebook page "Free Ahmad Zeidabadi" published the news, adding that the bail for this journalist has been raised from $250,000 to $350,000. Zeidabadi's family is scrambling to provide bail.

His lawyers, while voicing objection to the sentence, hope that by making bail, Zeidabadi will be released from prison at least temporarily.

Lula takes risk in welcoming Ahmadinejad to Brazil

LAT | Nov. 23, 2009

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives today in Brazil on a Latin American and African tour amid U.S. and domestic criticism that, by playing host, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is squandering his newfound global influence.

The first visit to Brazil by an Iranian head of state has generated two protests in the last week in which thousands of demonstrators, many of them Jews alarmed by Ahmadinejad's views on the Holocaust and on Israel, took to the streets and beaches of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Protests in May forced Ahmadinejad to cancel a scheduled visit.

Son of Iranian war hero found brutally killed

Press TV | Nov. 23, 2009

Iran reacts with shock and awe to the brutal murder of Ruhollah Hashemi, the son of a prominent war hero, at his home in Western Tehran.

Ruhollah, whose father Mojtaba Hashemi was a well-known commander of the asymmetrical warfare during the Iraq-imposed war (1980-1988), was found in a ghastly state on Monday. "Officials have found Ruhollah Hashemi, his wife while they were viciously decapitated," IRNA news agency reported.


Last Statement by Kurdish Activist Ehsan Fattahian

Blog Watch | Nov. 22, 2009

I have never been afraid of death, even now that I feel it closest to me. I can sense it and I'm familiar with it, for it is an old acquaintance of this land and this people. I'm not writing about death but about justifications for death, now that they have translated it to restoring justice and freedom, can one be afraid of future and destiny? "We" who have been sentenced to death by "them," were working to find a small opening to a better world, free of injustice, are "they" also aware of what they are working towards?

I started life in city of Kermanshah, the city that my country people consider grand, the birthplace of civilization in our country. I soon noticed descrimination and oppression and I felt it in the depth of my existence, this cruelty, and the "why" of this cruelty and trying to resolve it made me come up with thousands of thoughts. But alas, they had blocked all the roads to justice and made the atmosphere so repressive that I didn't find any way to change things inside, and I migrated to another resort: "I became the pishmarg of Koomaleh," the temptation to find myself and the identity that I was deprived of made me go in that direction. Although leaving my birthplace was difficult but it never made me cut ties with my childhood hometown. Every now and then I would go back to my first home to revisit my old memories, and one of these times "they" made my visit sour, arrested and imprisoned me. From that first moment and from the hospitality (!!) of my jailers I realized that the tragic destiny of my numerous compeers also awaits me: torture, file building, closed and seriously influenced court, an unjust and politically charged verdict, and finally death...

118 Days, 12 Hours, 54 Minutes

Newsweek | Nov. 21, 2009

"Mr. Bahari, you're an agent of foreign intelligence organizations," he began. I had gotten a look at him when he and his men had dragged me out of bed and arrested me a few hours earlier. He was heavyset--I later learned that the guards called him "the big guy"--taller and wider than me, with a massive head. His skin was dark, like someone from southern Iran. He wore thick glasses. But I would know him now only by his voice, his breath, and the rosewater perfume used by men who piously do their ablutions several times a day before prayers, but rarely shower.

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Dear TehranBureau Editor,
It is almost 2010 and the whole world knows that the Baha'i Faith is an independent world religion. Why have you mentioned is as a "sect" in your press roundup regarding the Hamshahri? This is the same wording used by IRI to persecute and deny the most basic human rights to the Baha'is of Iran.

Sean Youssefi / November 23, 2009 10:45 PM

Dear Mr. Youssefi,

Press Roundup is a summary of the news from the sources linked to in red. The items found here are not a product of Tehran Bureau's reporting unless otherwise stated. So the translations try to reflect, as closely as possible, the language used by the source. If the news source was in English, we excerpt from it directly and make no further changes.

I apologize for not yet having this statement appear at the top of this page every day. We are working on a Media Guide that we hope will put the sources used in Press Roundup in context.

golnoush niknejad

Tehran Bureau Editor / November 23, 2009 11:25 PM

The day that news of the Hamshahri closure was announced, I was in a room with several Iranian Baha'is who now live in the US. It was clear that these people did not think the closure of Hamshahri was a "message" to Iranian Baha'is. They thought it was hilarious news and were delighted; they though it most likely that the ad showing the Baha'i Lotus Temple of New Delhi was a mistake made by the newspaper since most Iranians fail to grasp that the Baha'i Faith has millions of members through out the world who are not of Iranian origin.

sheela / December 9, 2009 8:15 PM