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Selected Headlines

05 Jan 2010 23:581 Comment
AntiBBCcrowd.jpgIran bans contact with foreign organizations, including the BBC

Guardian | Jan. 5, 2010

Authorities in Iran intensified their campaign to blame the country's political turmoil on foreigners today by banning contact with more than 60 international organisations.

The intelligence ministry said the blacklist included thinktanks, universities and broadcasting organisations identified as waging a "soft war" aimed at toppling Iran's Islamic system.

It forbade Iranians from talking to or receiving aid from the proscribed organisations, including the BBC, which last year launched a Farsi satellite television channel, as well as two US government-funded outlets, Voice of America and Radio Farda, both of which broadcast in Farsi.

Also on the list were Wilton Park, a British group that organises foreign policy conferences, Yale University and leading American thinktanks, including the Brookings Institution and the George Soros Open Society Foundation.

Archive photo: Sign says, "BBC! Shut Up!!"

Iran renews execution threat against protesters

Reuters | Jan. 5, 2010

Iran's interior minister warned opposition activists on Tuesday that they risk execution as enemies of God if they continue anti-government demonstrations, and the foreign ministry said arrested foreigners face punishment.

Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar made the latest threat after the Intelligence Ministry said on Monday that several foreigners engaged in a "psychological war" against the Islamic Republic were arrested on Dec. 27 in the bloodiest unrest since the aftermath of a disputed June 12 presidential poll.

"After Ashura, anyone who takes part in riots will be considered as 'mohareb' (waging war on God) and an opponent of national security," Najjar said, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Motahari: Hosseinian likes executions | Jan. 5, 2010

Principlist lawmaker Ali Motahari reacted to the plan proposed by government supporters in Majlis to execute "militants" within five days, saying the plan was the idea of those with extremist tendencies.

"This plan stems from the extremist and radical tendencies of certain individuals such as Mr. [Ruhollah] Hosseinian," he said.

Thirty-six pro-government lawmakers signed a draft proposal requesting the execution of persons deemed militant within five days of their conviction, making reference to the Ashura protests in Iran in the introduction of the proposal.

"Mr. Hosseinian in general has a strange liking for execution," Motahari told Parleman News.

When the reporter asked him if his remark was meant as a joke, Motahari said, "I'm not joking. When he [Hosseinian] was a judge he signed many an execution order and this goes back to his temperament."

When asked if the purpose of such proposals was to radicalize the atmosphere, Motahari said, "Such extremist measures will yield no results. We must root out the cause."

"We must find the cause for these incidents. The people who took to the streets this Ashura and protested were [participating] in mourning processions last year. We must find why they did these things this year," he added.

"Of course those who vandalized public property must be punished but we must not forget that rooting out the causes of these actions is more important than anything else."

"I am against this [immediate execution] plan and I believe it to stem from the temperament of its drafters, in particular Mr. Hosseinian."

Shiraz 'Zarar Mosque' gave a 1,000 martyrs

Ayandeh | Jan. 5, 2010

In a recent jurisprudence class, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hashem Dastgheib commented on the raid of the Qoba Mosque in Shiraz by extremists [called into action] because of remarks made by the newly-appointed Friday Prayers Leader of the city.

According to the Borhan Web site, when asked by one senior seminary student whether the Qoba Mosque, where Ayatollah Seyyed Ali-Mohammad Dastgheib leads the daily prayers, is the "Zarar Mosque" (a mosque built by false Muslims in Medina during the life of the Prophet Muhammad for the purpose of conspiring against Islam and demolished upon the Prophet's order) the son of the martyred Ayatollah Abdolhossein Dastgheib said, "This mosque [Qoba] is not a Zarar mosque."

"Before the revolution the late Ayatollah Abdolhassan Dastgheib, the brother of the martyred Ayatollah Dastgheib and the father-in-law of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Mohammad, led the prayers in this mosque and I as the representative of the martyred Ayatollah Dastgheib and as an endorsement of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Mohammad performed my prayers behind him," he added.

Muslims cannot perform their daily prayers under the leadership of a prayers leader about whom they have doubt about his piety and religious views.

Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hashem Dastgheib went on to say that the Qoba Mosque had expanded through the efforts of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Mohammad, who had been exiled for using the mosque to conduct revolutionary activities against the Pahlavi monarch.

"This mosque has dedicated 1,000 martyrs and countless wounded veterans to the Islamic Revolution and many of the wartime [eight-year Iran-Iraq war] military officials rose to their ranks from this mosque. Of course now those who do not want to miss the bandwagon, issue statements against it."

"The Qoran says we must not be suspicious of others; Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Mohammad Dastgheib acted according to his knowledge," he said.

Khomeini home destroyed in Najaf

Tabnak | Jan. 5, 2010

The residence of the former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Najaf, Iraq has fallen apart. Only a door frame and a short wall remains of it.

The house in which Imam Khomeini resided and taught classes during his exile in Najaf is located near the Imam Ali Shrine and has deteriorated due to negligence.

Though many Iraqis assumed that the house would be renovated, there appears to be no such plans.

Basij Cmdr: Protesters are corrupt or junkies

Asr Iran | Jan. 5, 2010

The head of the Basij organization said whoever protests against the establishment of the Islamic Republic is either morally or financially corrupt or has a drug addiction.

"Anyone who objects to this revolution or the rule of the Just Jurisprudent is making futile efforts to bring the establishment to its knees. These people are either morally or financially corrupt or are drug addicts and it is rare to find someone who has objections [to
the establishment and the Supreme Leader] to have a healthy personal life," Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Naqdi told the hardline Kayhan daily.

According to the Asr Iran report, Naqdi described his period of service during the Reform era as "the most difficult period in his career" because "rogue political movements had gained power" in that period.

Naqdi was the head of the police Hefazat Etelaat [an intelligence division] during the Reform era.

Nephew rejects report of Shahram Nazeri's arrest

Shafaf | Jan. 5, 2010

Shahram Nazeri's nephew rejected reports of his uncle's arrest.

Siyavash Nazeri told Fars News Agency that his uncle had returned to Iran from Dubai two days ago and was not arrested at the Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA).

"My uncle returned to Iran two days ago and all reports about him being summoned and detained are false," he said.

Report: Shahram Nazeri arrested at airport

Khabar Online
| Jan. 5, 2010

Reports have been circulating about vocalist Shahram Nazeri's arrest on Jan. 3 upon his arrival at the Imam Khomeini International Airport.

It was said that Nazeri flew to Iran from Dubai on an Iran Air flight and was summoned by airport security. Members of Nazeri's family did not return phone calls asking for comment and no official source has confirmed or denied the report.

It is believed that Nazeri was summoned over his song "Dirt and Dust." In his first public address after the disputed presidential election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called protesters "Dirt and Dust."

Khatami visits Mousavi family, offers condolences

Parleman News |
Jan. 5, 2010

Former reformist President Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami visited the family of Seyyed Ali Habibi Mousavi Khamene last night to offer his condolences. Mir Hossein Mousavi was present during the visit.

After extending his condolences, Khatami discussed Iran's latest developments with Mousavi.

Interior Minister: Post-Ashura protesters militants

Jam-e Jam | Jan. 5, 2010

Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said whoever participates in anti-government protests after Ashura will be considered a militant (mohareb) acting against national security.

Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony held for Ali Kordan's 40th day of passing, Mohammad-Najjar said "Given the response the people gave rioters after Ashura, anyone participating in riots will be considered a militant acting against national security and police forces will deal decisively with them, according to the law."

When asked about the punishment that would be meted out to those participating in protests, Mohammad-Najjar said, "A militant's punishment is obvious and they will be dealt with as the clerics and judiciary has said."

"A person considered mohareb or militant is sentenced to death under Islamic law, which is the basis of the Iranian constitution."

Rafsanjani defends Sanei's status as Source of Emulation

RFI | Jan. 5, 2010

In response to a statement from the Theological Lecturers Association declaring Ayatollah Yousef Sanei was no longer qualified to serve as a Source of Emulation, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said the people elect sources, they are not appointed.

Ayatollah Sanei is a Shia Source of Emulation critical of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran's Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

Ayatollah Rafsanjani said that by looking at the history of Sources it was apparent that no one appointed a cleric as a Source, rather it was the people who came to that decision by paying their Islamic taxes to him.

He stressed that the Sources have always been influential characters on the religious and political scene. He added that Sources have always maintained their independence from the establishment, relying only on the people's endorsement.

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most prominent Iranian Shia Source of Emulation (who is based in Iraq), Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili and Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani are among the Sources who have defended Ayatollah Sanei's status as a Source and condemned the statement from association in Qom.

Detained foreigners to be freed if found not guilty

ILNA | Jan. 5, 2010

The spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry has said that foreigners detained during the Ashura protests will be set free if found not guilty.

Speaking at his weekly news conference, broadcast live by the Iranian state news channel IRINN, Ramin Mehmanparast said, "During the recent events, several foreigners were arrested in connection with this case. It is natural that this issue is being investigated according to the law. If it is proven that they were not guilty of these events, they will be freed."

Thirty-five students arrested in northeastern city

Rahe Sabz | Jan. 5, 2010

According to Jaras, over 35 students of Khayyam University in Mashhad have been arrested.

Following a gathering of 500 pro-green-movement students at the University on January 4th in protest against the recent incidents in Mashhad universities, 35 students were arrested, the Web site said.

According to the Jaras Web site, Khayyam University students held a gathering from 1200 to 1430 local time (0830-1100 gmt) at the University campus in protest to the violent attacks by pro-government Ansar and plainclothes forces against the Azad University of Mashhad on December 30th and 31st and the arrests of 210 students and the injury of tens of others.

The Web site added that the students chanted "arrested students should be released" and called for the freedom of the students of Azad, Ferdowsi and Sajjad Universities; the gathering also chanted "O Hossein, Mir Hossein" and "down with the dictator."

No deadline for Iran to respond to nuclear fuel swap proposal

ILNA | Jan. 5, 2010

The spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Ramin Mehmanparast, has said that there is no need to set a deadline for Iran to respond to the West's nuclear fuel swap proposal.

Mehmanparast made his remarks in response to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement that there is no deadline for Iran to respond to the nuclear fuel swap proposal.

"We also share the same view. We are sure that there is no deadline and it has no sense. We follow the right path that we have taken to achieve our peaceful objectives and we will continue that. We hope that other countries will also return to their natural path of action, especially in connection with the issue of nuclear activities. According to the duties of the agency [IAEA], they will meet the needs of committed and member states," Mehmanparast said at a news conference broadcast live by the Iranian news channel IRINN.

The Web site said that seven of the 35 students arrested were female.

Khayyam University students have announced that they will continue their protest against the arrests on January 5th, the Web site added.

Spokesman says Iran ready for nuclear swap

ILNA | Jan. 5, 2010

According to Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Iran is ready for nuclear exchange if P5+1 builds more trust towards the UN lead proposal, adding that Brazil, Japan and Turkey expressed willingness to cooperate with Tehran. Speaking to ILNA, Ramin Mehmanparast said that Iran is preparing new options in case the West fails to supply nuclear fuel to Tehran's research reactor.

Mehmanparast said, "The deadline for Western countries to deliver nuclear fuel proves the country's peaceful activities and removes the issue from political motivation. We want Iran nuclear programme moves in legal direction." (I don't really know what this quote is saying) (I think I understand the first sentence, but the second one isn't clear -EK)

He added, "Iran is committed to implementing IAEA obligations at a minimum level and sees no reason to increase it's minimum obligations."

Referring to meeting with Saudi and Turkish officials, and their support of Iran's right to use peaceful nuclear energy, Mehmanparast said, "We welcome any country who defends our right to use nuclear energy."

On future negotiations with P5+1, Mehmanparast said, "Iran offered it's proposal in Geneva. The date of next meeting was expected after they approved the proposal. Unfortunately no date has been announced yet."

According to the request of impartial countries for the two-month deadline, Iran set the deadline to show it's good will to the international community; so far, a month has passed, he said. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman added that if members of the P5+1 group approve Iran's proposal, Tehran will begin the process of nuclear exchange. Otherwise, they will make necessary decisions.

Iran likely to reject a visit by Kerry

Boston Globe | Jan. 5, 2010

A quiet bid by Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry to visit Iran is on the verge of being publicly rebuffed by the Iranian Parliament in yet another blow to the Obama administration's policy of trying to reach out diplomatically to Iran.

Over the weekend, Kazzem Jalali, an official of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told Iranian reporters that Kerry, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had asked to meet with members of Parliament, but that the request was not likely to be approved.

"Iran-U.S. relations are not under such conditions that could produce results through a number of non-targeted meetings and talks,'' Jalali said, according to Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency.

The agency said that a parliamentary subcommittee voiced opposition to the request, but that a final decision on Kerry's visit would be made this afternoon. Kerry, who had hip replacement surgery yesterday, could not be reached for comment.

Welfare minister might resign

ILNA | Jan. 5, 2010

A parliamentary official has said that Iran's minister of welfare has refrained from going to work for five days and he might resign from his position.

On January 5th, the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) reported that the head of the social committee of the Majlis Soleyman Jafarzadeh, said, "According to the reports, Sadeq Mahsuli, Minister of Welfare and Social Security, has refrained from going to work since five days ago over objections to issues related to the Social Security Organization".

The parliamentary official added: "This might lead to Mahsuli's resignation."

Jafarzadeh also told ILNA that the Social Committee of the Majlis intends to refer the executive director of the Social Security Organization to court.

More squabbling over Mashai...

Ayandeh | Jan. 5, 2010

Judge Saeed Mortazavi, the special presidential representative and head of the Anti-Smuggling Task force, recently started his new job.

According to a Jahan report, Mortazavi will be officially inaugurated early next week, taking over the reins of the task force from Gholam-Hossein Elham.

Elham, who has reportedly been criticizing the head of the presidential office among his circle of friends, has set a condition for participating in the inauguration ceremony, according to this report.

Elham has reportedly said that if the inauguration ceremony is convened by Esfandyar Rahim-Mashai he will not attend.

Prosecutor to show no leniency for insults to high-ranking officials

Lahzeh News | Jan. 5, 2010

2.jpgTehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi allegedly plans to take Gholam-Hossein Elham's spouse Fatemeh Rajabi to court, according to a report.

An informed source told Lahzeh News that even after Tehran's prosecutor warned that he would take legal action against anyone who tarnishes the reputation of the head of the Expediency Council and Assembly of Experts, Rajabi continued to write unfounded articles about Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

"Therefore a team of the Tehran prosecutor's assistants are reviewing the matter and legal action against Fatemeh Rajabi will soon be announced," the unnamed source alleged.

The source pointed to Iran's Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei's remarks about "refraining from insulting the heads of the three branches (Judiciary, Legislative, Executive) and the head of the Expediency Council," and said, "Tehran's prosecutor will not be showing leniency to anyone this time."

Dolatabadi had earlier said that there is no need for a complainant in the event of an insult to high-ranking Iranian officials including the heads of the three branches of the establishment and the head of the Expediency Council for legal action to be taken.

"In taking [legal] action we will not discriminate -- discrimination obstructs justices," Dolatabadi stressed.

Caption of photo: Mr. Elham's wife in the kitchen, the place where according to Mr. Elham his wife writes her editorials.

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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1 Comment


SHARCOOL KH / January 6, 2010 8:34 AM