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03 Jan 2010 22:396 Comments

Update on Ashura arrests

Tehran Bureau | Jan. 3, 2010

Approximately 500 protesters who had been arrested during the Ashura demonstrations have been jailed at the infamous Jail 59 at Eshratabad military base in central Tehran, according to a source.

At least two of the detainees have reportedly died, including a young girl whose body was transferred to an unknown location. Jail 59 was used in the 1990s to imprison and torture leading political figures, such as members of the Nationalist-Religious Coalitions, and distinguished journalists such as Dr. Ahmad Zeidabadi.

Under pressure by the reformist-dominated 6th Majles, the jail was shut down, but it has apparently been reopened again. -- Muhammad Sahimi

Supreme Leader's relatives rumored to be among arrested in Mashhad

Ayandeh | Jan. 3, 2010

iran+engineering+assc.jpgIn a raid on the Azad University of Mashhad, plainclothes agents and radicals injured a number of people and took a group of others into custody, among them Seyyed Sadra Mirdamai, a student believed to be related to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

Other unofficial sources had reported the arrest and detention for several hours of professor Seyyed Hossein Mirdamadi, the maternal uncle of Ayatollah Khamenei.

It appears, however, that the arrest of the Supreme Leader's uncle and his son Seyyed Sadra were unrelated.

According to Ayandeh, Hossein Mirdamadi, who is a professor of philosophy and Islamic Studies in Mashhad, was arrested and released after a few hours. However, his personal belongings, which had been confiscated, had not been returned.

The Supreme Leader's mother was the daughter of one of Mashhad's prominent clerics, Seyyed Hashem Najafabadi Mirdamadi.

Photo caption: From right to left 1. Ayatollah Mohammad Vaez-zadeh Khorasani (the former head of the Council for Solidifying Religions and brother-in-law of the Supreme Leader); 2. Ayatollah Taleghani; 3. Seyyed Hossein Mirdamadi; 4. Mehdi Bazargan. Location: the office of Islamic Engineers Society.

Khomeini family may immigrate to Iraq

Asr Iran | Jan. 3, 2010

Members of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's family may immigrate to the holy city of Najaf in Iraq, according to reports.

According to Parsineh, it is not clear whether the Khomeini family had decided on an indefinite immigration or a temporary one. The report said Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Hassan Khomeini and the rest of the Khomeini family have decided to relocate to Najaf and have informed some of their close friends about the decision.

The recent raid on the Imam Khomeini Hosseiniah in Jamaran in the middle of Mohammad Khatami's speech has reportedly rankled Hojjatoleslam Khomeini. The Jamaran Hosseinyeh is where the late founder of Iran's Revolution received visitors and addressed the nation.

Hojjatoleslam Khomeini has been absent from most official ceremonies held at the Imam Khomeini mausoleum since the June 12 election.

The report added that prominent Principlist and reformist figures who have found out about the Khomeini family's decision have been trying to convince Hojjatoleslam Khomeini to reconsider his decision.

[*Throughout history, when the ruling establishment has been unjust in its treatment of the nation, prominent clerics emigrated from the country as a show of protest.]

Ayatollah says Qom association hurts faith

Rahe Sabz | Jan. 3, 2010

The Qom Theological Lecturers Association (Jameh-e Modarressin) issued a statement on Saturday stating that Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, a Shia Sources of Emulation, has been stripped of those credentials. The statement was signed by the head of the Qom Seminary Mohammad Yazdi.

In response to inquiries about the statement, Ayatollah Amini, a member of the Qom Theological Lecturers Association, said, "I haven't participated in Jameh-e Modarressin meetings for four years and I don't view such things [JM meetings and decisions] to be in the interest of the seminary or faith."

It appears that the JM statement about Ayatollah Sanei was issued without the knowledge of the Association's other members.

JM member says Sanei decision was not political

Parleman | Jan. 3, 2010

A member of the Theological Lecturers Association said anyone who questioned the Jameh-e Modarressin statement demoting Ayatollah Yousef Sanei as a Source of Emulation, was dead wrong.

The unnamed JM member told Parleman News that "whoever thinks that the JM action was political or extreme, ghalat kardeh [has no damn right to think that way]."

When asked by the Parleman News reporter about the rumor that the disqualification of Ayatollah Sanei was the personal decision of Mohammad Yazdi, the unidentified official responded "[in] the meeting that I am aware of, [there] was consensus."

"As I am ill and not feeling well, I do not participate in the [JM] meetings but in the meeting that I am aware of, there was consensus."

Qarebaghi launches smear campaign against Sanei

Ayandeh | Jan. 3, 2010

Ali Akbar Qarebaghi, a member of the Assembly of Experts, said Ayatollah Yousf Sanei is not a Source of Emulation and lacks the credentials to issue decrees (Fatwa).

Qarebaghi said that while Ayatollah Sanei was one of Imam Khomeini's disciples, "his decrees do not correspond with accepted principles from a juristic perspective."

"[Ayatollah] Sanei is either purposefully issuing wrong decrees to show his enmity, which amounts to debauchery, or he is not acquainted with juristic and inferential principles in which case he does not have the right to issue decrees," Qarebaghi told Fars News Agency.

"It appears that [Ayatollah] Sanei is supporting a group of materialists and material-seeking people who have risen against the establishment of the Islamic Republic," he said.

He stressed that serving as a Source of Emulation requires skill in Islamic sciences, absolute piety and a rejection of materialism. "Therefore [Ayatollah] Sanei lacks the conditions to be a source and to issue decrees," he said.

"[Ayatollah] Sanei has a certain simplicity that has caused some [individuals] to have influence over him and control his actions," he claimed.

Authorities close Ayatollah Sanei's office in Gorgan

Aftab News | Jan. 3, 2010

After a group dressed in shrouds congregated outside Ayatollah Yousef Sanei's office in Gorgan and caused altercations, authorities closed the Grand Ayatollah's office.

On Saturday JM issued a statement saying Ayatollah Sanei was not qualified to be a Source of Emulation. Ayatollah Sanei's office declined to comment on the statement until it was known whether all members of the Association shared in the opinion.

Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli, a former Qom Friday Prayers leader, reacted to the statement by saying that he has not been in contact with the JM for a while.

Another Qom Friday Prayers Leader, Ayatollah Amini also said that he had not participated in any JM meetings for the past four years.

Hosseinian: Sanei accused Ahmad Khomeini of assassination

Iran Press | Jan. 3, 2010

Lawmaker Ruhollah Hosseinian said the JM was right to disqualify Ayatollah Yousef Sanei as he lacks the characteristics of a Source of Emulation.

"It was wrong for Mr. Sanei to write a treatise because he lacks juristical knowledge and the behavioral characteristics of a source as cited in oral tradition," he claimed.

"Mr. Sanei talks of affiliation to the Khomeini family while he once altercated with one of the Guards in front of the Imam's home and threw his turban on the ground in rage and accused Hajj Ahmad [Khomeini] of being an assassin," he said.

"For example, there is a verse in the Qoran that says your adopted children are not considered your sons but Mr. Sanei, despite the Qoran ruling, has issued a decree saying that adopted children are like birth children and adoptive children are mahram."

In Islam a woman is not required to wear hijab in front of a husband or blood relations such as her father, uncles, and grandfathers.

"A person, who despite the clear Qoarinc ruling, issues a decree is not eligible to be a Source of Emulation. He [Sanei] has become a name due to political issues otherwise everyone knows that he does not have juristical qualifications," he said.

Judiciary vows speedy punishment for Iran rioters

Press TV | Jan. 3, 2010

Iran's judiciary chief promised Sunday to "quickly and firmly" follow up the recent unrest in the country and deal with rioters who violated the sanctity of the Ashura mourning ceremony.

"Iran's judiciary will not fall short in performing its duties and will investigate the events quickly and firmly," Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani said in a meeting with judiciary officials.

He described last week's riots as an "improper" move and said, "Rioters claim they are protesting the result of the presidential election whereas they are in fact opposing the Islamic establishment."

He asserted that the judiciary body will issue "fair" verdicts and said, "Fair ruling should be based on legal and religious frameworks."

Ayatollah Larijani said that rioters who desecrated the Ashura mourning ceremonies would be punished soon.

Iran certain of foreign involvement in riots

Press TV | Jan. 3, 2010

Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said Sunday it has become evident for the country that the recent anti-government riots were led by foreigners.

"The rioters are encouraged and supported by Britain, the US and the Zionist regime [Israel]," Mohammad-Najjar told reporters. "The involvement of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), enemies and those who seek to take revenge on the Islamic establishment during the past 30 years is quite clear."

He underlined that a number of MKO members, whose organization is branded as a terrorist group by many countries around the globe, had been arrested. He said they would be appearing in court soon.

Najjar said the massive participation of the people in rallies on Wednesday across Iran showed they want the judiciary to take action against rioters.

Iranian journalist gets prison term, desert exile

AP | Jan. 3, 2010

An Iranian journalist lost an appeal Sunday against his conviction on charges of spreading propaganda against the ruling Islamic establishment and was sentenced to six years in prison and five years of internal exile in a remote desert town.

The court also confirmed a lifelong ban on political activity for the prominent reporter, Ahmad Zeidabadi, who was also once a student activist.

Ali Golzadeh Ghafouri, 86

Obit | Jan. 2, 2010

Ali Golzadeh Ghafouri, an important religious progressive, legal scholar, author, and retired professor at Tehran University passed away. He was 86. He was a member of the first Majles after the 1979 Revolution, as well as the Assembly of Experts of the Constitution that drafted the Islamic Republic constitution. His two sons were executed in 1981, and his daughter and son-in-law in 1988. After the 1981 execution, he left Majles and politics. -- Muhammad Sahimi

Slider photo: LGOIT.com

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Iranian press, and excerpts where the source is in English. The link to the news organization or blog is provided at the top of each item. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the story in perspective.

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Along the lines of George Orwell's "1984," Big Brother, Kim Jong Il of N. Korea and apparently the Iranian SL believe that a lie, told often enough, becomes the truth. . . . So that makes 100 tellings or so down, 1 million to go before the scales drop from everyone's eyes and they see the truth that there is no Iranian intelligent or capable enough or sufficiently disgusted with his/her "leaders" to spontaneously take to the streets in protest against the accumulating offenses of the regime against its people, and therefore the protests must be organized and led by foreigners.

Does anyone in Iran believe the regime says these things for any reason other than to try to get Iranians to unite against the "invaders" and, most importantly, to divert people's attention away from the persistent economic failures of the last 5 years under Ahmadi?

Nougat / January 4, 2010 2:26 AM

unfortunately, some individuals in Iran do believe what the government says. They are either regime die-hards or people, who through lack of education and poor access to information, dont know any better.

Anonymous / January 4, 2010 3:55 AM

I think many people in Iran are brainwashed from childhood to not question the Islamic Republic radical ideology. Take a look at the educational books in Iran. That is how it works. You'll be surprised how many actually believe in their nonsense or by now we would have seen massive strikes all over the country.

Pirooz / January 4, 2010 5:07 AM

The strikes are probably coming... economic mismanagement of the Ahmadinejad government is extreme, mass layoffs seem to be on the horizon, and the critical mass of discontent is near.

An economy cannot be managed on lies, as numbers do not bend and there is no substitute for integrity to create strong businesses.

Iranian / January 4, 2010 8:04 AM

The Jail was used in 1980's for leftists and anti regime (MKO and others) detainees not 1990, in 1989 they killed many of them in Evin Prison and Gohar Dasht, at that time I was in prison too.
But Eshrat Abad Prison founded in 1980 after regime started to supress al opposition grooups.

Omid / January 4, 2010 8:15 PM

unfortunately western countries support Iran government , they only give some speeches in support of people, but in fact there is not any government better than current one to give western countries, what they want

navid / January 9, 2010 12:28 PM