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08 Jan 2010 01:126 Comments

Hosseinian hands in letter of resignation

Tabnak | Jan. 7, 2010

Tehran representative in Majles Ruhollah Hosseinian resigned from his post as Member of Parliament in a letter to the parliament presiding board.

In the letter, a copy of which was sent to Fars News Agency, Hosseinian listed the reasons for his decision to resign.

In one part of the letter Hosseinian criticized Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, saying, "Whatever motion we started was stopped because of the complicated one-upmanship of professional parliamentarians. The reformist bloc becomes dearer and more valuable to the Speaker and we are pushed to the margin and made [to look] useless."

Hosseinian said that the Majlis Defense Commission was headed by one of the seditionists who previously talked of vote fraud. "A Principlist Majlis appoints and chooses a representative for the committee, who up until yesterday openly advocated one of the heads of sedition. He has not spent even one day of his life in combat and only socializes with Kuwaiti businessmen," he added. "His and his mission in life is to distribute gum among lawmakers."

Hosseinian decried the publication of dozens of newspapers with state funds that are delivering blows to the "moral and political values of the Hezbollah nation."

"When investigating the roots we find that they [the roots] lie in the offices of one of the officials of the Islamic Republic," he said.

"Today, the Basij and police force, who in the course of the recent sedition were fighting in the front line of the war against American mercenaries to defend the security of the people, are being belittled and subjected to the repression [oppressive measure] of court martial under the pretext of the misconduct of a few individuals (who should be punished) but no one speaks in their defense and no one asks how they are supposed to defend the establishment and the security of the nation with such broken spirits?"

Lawmakers can resign from their post; however, the acceptance of the resignation requires Majles approval.

Azeri MP says Iran involved in violent incidents in troubled village

APA | Jan. 7, 2010

An Azerbaijani MP has said Iran has a hand in the incidents in the village of Bananiyar following the Ashura ceremony.

In a comment on recent developments in the village of Bananiyar in the Azerbaijani enclave of Naxcivan, Ismayil Haciyev, the MP elected from the village of Baninyar said Iran was involved in the incident.

Fifteen people were reportedly detained and beaten following Ashura ceremonies and one person committed an act of self-immolation to protest at violence against his father in the village.

"Religious figures, mullahs from Iran use to pay regular visits to the village... I openly confess that there are some people in the village who are under the influence. I know that even a person who was injured in the incident is receiving medical treatment in Iran. We should note that representatives of some religious movements from Iran and Turkey attempted to carry some work in that village. But they were unable to succeed and they will not succeed in any way. In fact, there are some people [in the village] who openly propagate Iranian and Turkish religious movements." the MP said.

Haciyev also dismissed media reports on deployment of troops in the village.

Majlis report on Kahrizak rejected?

Tabnak | Jan. 7, 2010

Lawmakers denied a report published on a number of Web sites claiming that the Majles found former Tehran Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi to be the main suspect in the Kahrizak case.

A report on Principlist lawmaker Ahmad Tavakoli's Alef Web site alleged that the truth-finding committee and concluded its investigation on Kahrizak and found Mortazavi as the main culprit.

According to the Aftab Yazd report, after contacting the lawmakers who were cited in the news report, they rejected the report and said, "This news story was fabricated, untrue and biased as the truth-finding committee has not compiled or submitted any report on Kahrizak which directs blame at a certain party or parties; and directing blame in this regard is in violation of the responsibilities of Majlis lawmakers. The Web sites in question fabricated this story for their personal gains and they must be held accountable for their illegal and immoral actions."

Mortazavi 'behind detainees' transfer to Kahrizak'

Press TV | Jan. 7, 2010

An Iranian lawmaker says former Tehran Chief Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi has ordered the transfer of those arrested in post-election unrest to notorious Kahrizak detention centre.

"Existing evidence and documents and even Judge Haddad, who is directly evolved in the case, all point to the fact that the order to transfer detainees to Kahrizak was issued by Mortazavi," Zohreh Elahian, Tehran representative in Majlis, said on Thursday.

She went on to add that legal action must be taken against the authorities involved in the controversy surrounding the Kahrizak detention centre which was declared a 'sub-standard' facility.

Spokesman denies reports on diplomat seeking asylum

IRIB | Jan. 7, 2010

A spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry has denied the news by western media that Iran's consul-general in Norway has applied for political asylum.

Ramin Mehmanparast described these rumors senseless.

[Mehmanparast]: First, we do not have a consul-general in Norway. We have an embassy there which has some specialists, including a consular specialist. Our consular specialist, whom they are talking about, is a person whose mission is over. A new person has been appointed to replace him. Naturally, they will both work together for some time in order to pass experience to the newly-appointed person. After this the outgoing person returns to the country [Iran]. In addition, some news say that it was an ambassador or a consul-general [who applied for asylum], but it is not correct. It seems that the way these rumors are circulating shows that it is an unreal issue, and definitely this is happening in order to poison the atmosphere.

MP: Foreign diplomat arrested in Tehran unrest

Press TV | Fars News | Jan. 7, 2010

A senior Iranian lawmaker said Iran's security forces have detained a European diplomat during the Ashura riots in Tehran.

Head of the Iranian Parliament's National Security Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on Thursday that the European charge d'affairs was released 24 hours later with the mediation of the country's embassy.

He did not disclose the diplomat's name or his/her country of origin.

Iran to try five people over recent unrest

Reuters |
Fars News | Jan. 7, 2010

Iran will try five people arrested in connection with riots last month, the worst violence in the Islamic republic since protests erupted over the presidential election in June, the official news agency IRNA said on Thursday.

The report, citing a statement by Tehran's revolutionary Court, did not identify the detainees or the date of their trials but the charge of 'moharebeh' -- an Islamic term meaning warring against God [endangering national security] -- carries the death penalty.

Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi reiterated government accusations that foreign elements were behind the protests, the daily Etemad reported on Thursday.

"According to information obtained by the intelligence ministry, both rioters and anti-revolutionary figures have some links with the enemies of the country and the (Islamic) system," Moslehi was quoted as saying.

Pro-reformist activist reportedly arrested in Iran

Rahe Sabz | Jan. 7, 2010

Maziar Shakouri, a member of the free citizen headquarters of Mehdi Karrubi and of the Iranian Students Organization (Office for Fostering Unity) in Gilan, has been arrested.

Shakouri is a political and civil activist in Gilan. He suffers from a severe illness, and according to information available, his physical condition is not good. He suffers from a kidney disease, intestine problems and asthma, and during his detention, he was denied medicine.

Shakouri is also one of the disciples and followers of Ayatollah Sanei, which may be an exacerbating factor during his detention.

Iran president meets MPs over subsidy reform bill

Press TV | Jan. 7, 2010

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad has said that if the subsidy reform bill is properly implemented, the status of the health, industrial, and agricultural sectors will improve.

In a meeting with Iranian MPs on Sunday [3 January] night, President Ahmadinejad said the subsidy reform bill, as per the parliament's current approval, will result in a decrease in investments and productivity and increase in the inflation rate, poverty, and the smuggling of goods.

On Sunday, Iranian lawmakers rejected President Ahmadinejad's request to withdraw the subsidy reform bill and called for the full implementation of the bill.

Earlier on Sunday, the Majlis received a letter from the Ahmadinejad administration calling for the withdrawal of the subsidy reform bill while MPs were examining problems found in the bill by the Guardian Council, which is in charge of vetting legislation to make sure it is in line with Islamic law and the Iranian Constitution.

Iran says has no border issues with Iraq

IRNA | Jan. 7, 2010

At 0810 gmt, Iranian News Network (IRINN) started to broadcast a live joint news conference between the Iranian and Iraqi foreign ministers.

The Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, was asked if Baghdad would take Iran to international courts if Tehran did not withdrew its forces from Iraq.

In response, the Iranian minister, Manuchehr Mottaki, said that each country's border guards were stationed on the right sides of the border and that the two sides were working on demarcation of borders.

"I should tell the people of Iran and Iraq that the two countries have very amicable ties... and no one can undermine those ties," he said.

Hoshyar Zebari also said that the presence of Iranian armed opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) and Kurdish PKK could not continue in the country based on the Iraqi law.

Iran's foreign minister visits Iraq to expand ties

IRIB | Jan. 7, 2010

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran has arrived in Baghdad.

It has been announced that the aim of Mottaki's current visit to Iraq is to hold talks on expansion of mutual ties and cooperation, and to put into effect agreements signed between the two countries during previous visits.

Some MP's and a group of officials from Iran's foreign ministry are accompanying Mottaki during his visit to Iraq.

Iran may export unused amounts of Turkmen gas

IRNA | Jan. 7, 2010

Iran's Oil Minister said here Wednesday that the opening of Turkmenistan's second gas pipeline would add 6bn cubic meters of natural gas to Iran's imports annually.

Seyyed Masoud Mir-Kazemi focusing on the opening of Turkmenistan's new gas pipeline by the two countries' presidents on Tuesday, adding in an interview with an IRNA Political Desk reporter, "The import capacity through that pipeline would be 2bn cu.m. during the first year, which would increase to 6bn in the second year."

He stressed, "Importing such a volume of gas would assist us in completing our natural gas network in the northern provinces of our country."

The oil minister added, "Meanwhile, the unneeded amount of the imported gas can be exported from Iran's own gas resources (swapped) in the south, or through the country's other borders."

Focusing on the specifications of the newly opened gas pipeline, constructed manly by Iranian oil industry technicians, Mir-Kazemi said, "The length of Turkmenistan's second natural gas pipeline is 35 km up to Iran's Martyr Hasheminezhad Refinery and upon completion of the project, as of next year we would be able to import up to 40m extra cu.m. of natural gas through the country's northern and northeastern borders and inject them into the country's natural gas network."

IRNA asked whether by injecting such a volume and the addition through Turkmenistan's gas the problem of natural gas shortage in upcoming winter would be solved, or not.

The Petroleum Minister said, "Regarding the usage of natural gas there are two problems, namely the quantity of usage and production of gas."

Mir-Kazemi added, "We have an annual usage increase of around 60m cubic meters, while in many countries the total volume of annual consumption is lower that that amount."

Mir-Kazemi reiterated, "During the course of the current (Iranian) year (ending on 20 March 2010) the natural gas of some industries and power plants would be cut off and we would instead provide them with fluid fuel, which would increase the government's financial commitments."

He stressed the need for stricter management over the natural gas consumption in the country at the end.

Tehran Prosecutor sues news website

IRNA | Jan. 7, 2010

Tehran Prosecutor here Wednesday [5 January] sued the managing director of Asr-e Iran [independent news] website, accused of insulting the system's officials.

According to IRNA, the public Relations of Tehran General and Revolutionary Court announced that the insult was in the text of a news item published in the site."

The report adds, "Based on the Prosecutor-General's complaint a judiciary case was formed and forwarded to one of the benches of the Tehran General Court."

The Head of the Tehran General and Revolutionary court Abbas Ja'fari Dowlatabadi had earlier warned those who insult heads of the country's three braches of power would be punished according to the law.

Reformist dailies banned by Mining Ministry

Tabnak | Jan. 7, 2010

Reports suggest that the distribution of Reformist daily newspapers has been banned in the Ministry of Mining and Industries.

According to Salam, a directive sent to the public relations office of the mining ministry, banned the distribution of all reformist dailies in the organization. Only state newspapers such as Keyhan and Iran are provided for the employees of the Ministry of Mining.

Fear of imminent executions of Baha'is

Iran Human Rights | Jan. 7, 2010

Iranian authorities have added new charges against 7 Baha'i leaders detained since 2008, under which they could be executed if convicted, and have arrested at least 12 more members of the religious minority, while desensitizing the Iranian population with propaganda campaigns against the Baha'is, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. In news reports broadcast nationally, commentators have claimed that recent Ashura demonstrations were masterminded by Baha'is, although no evidence has been produced to support the accusations.

"Iran and the world are again confronted by the specter of Bahai's being executed, this time on charges trumped up in the context of current widespread political unrest," said Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Campaign.

Since Ashura (27 December), Baha'is known to have been arrested include Jinoos Sobhani, Leva Khanjani, Babak Mobasher, Payam Fanaian, Nika Hoveydai, Mona Hoveydai, Artin Ghazanfari, Farid Rohani, Ahmad Rohani, Negar Sabet, Ebrahim Shadmehr, and Zavosh Shadmehr.

Application for US senator's Iran visit under review

Siasate Rooz | Jan. 7, 2010

The chairman of Majlis foreign relations committee has said that the matter of the application of visit of the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of America to Tehran is being reviewed today.

While talking to the Asr-e Iran news website about his American counterpart visit to Tehran, Ebrahimi said: This application has not been reviewed so far but tomorrow we will review it first in the committee and after that in the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee. Saying that the content of John Kerry's Iran visit will not be publicized, he emphasized: As long as the matter is not reviewed opinion on that can not be expressed.

Malaysia detains five Iranians suspected to be drug couriers

Bernama | Jan. 7, 2010

Five Iranian men suspected of being involved as drug couriers who were arrested on Friday have been placed on remand for a week until Sunday.

Federal Police Narcotic Crimes Investigation Department director Datuk Zulhasnan Najib Baharudin said the men, aged between 23 and 42, were arrested to help in investigations relating to distribution of 10kgs of syabu worth RM 2.5 million.

"The men, who smuggled in two bags containing clothes that were immersed in syabu at the KL International Airport (KLIA), are being investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which carries the mandatory death penalty upon conviction," he told a news conference at his office here on Wednesday.

He said police were also carrying out investigations as to how they managed to pass through security checks at the airport.

Bernama reported yesterday that the suspects were arrested in the capital and police confiscated two bags containing two towels, two shirts and three pairs of pants which had been soaked in liquid syabu at their hotel.

Zulhasnan also said the department planned to station its personnel in seven countries identified as drug distribution centres, in a bid to collect data and find ways to cripple international drug distribution syndicates.

"We have sent a proposal to the Home Ministry to send seven of our personnel to Vietnam, Cambodia, Netherlands, Peru, Hong Kong, Iran and Laos," he said.

He added that the move would make it easier for them to identify the masterminds behind these syndicates, as well as foster cooperation between Malaysia and the countries involved to prevent international drug distribution from becoming rampant.

Senior cleric criticizes Saudi Arabia's treatment of Iranian pilgrims

IRNA | Jan. 7, 2010

On Wednesday, Grand Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani said as long as the Saudi government has not vowed to treat Iranian pilgrims with great respect performing Umrah hajj pilgrimage is unnecessary.

According to IRNA correspondent in Qom, the grand ayatollah made the comment in a meeting with his guests, the culture and Islamic guidance minister and his deputies at his house. "Presently, performing the Umrah rituals for our people is quite humiliating and tolerating humiliation is Haram (religiously forbidden) for Muslims," he said.

He reiterated, "The enemies penetrate through any gate, or door to demolish the beliefs of Shite. Therefore, performing an Umrah at the cost of humiliation of Shia Muslims is totally unnecessary."

Ayatollah Sistani [as given] added, "Based on international norms, when a guest arrives in a country the host government is obliged to safeguard his life and his belongings, while the conduct of the Saudis in dealing with the Shia Muslims is totally illogical."

Pointing out that the Saudis vow to adhere to covenants today and forget their promises tomorrow, he added, "So long as respecting the prestige of the pilgrims is not guaranteed the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization should not issue permits for performing Umrah pilgrimage, until making sure that the Saudis are really and truly committed to their responsibilities."

Grand Ayatollah Sobhani meanwhile criticized the Culture Ministry over the method of sponsoring the annual Tehran International Book Fair. "At that exhibition, where there are lots of book enthusiasts eager to buy new books, the general atmosphere should be Islamic and religious," he said. "The current atmosphere at such exhibitions is inappropriate for the youth. Music should not be played there so that people would merely focus on buying books."

Ayatollah Sobhani also stressed the need for observing greater supervision over the contents of the books that are imported by some publishers who are opponents of the system.

He added, "Such books should be surveyed by expert readers, particularly in case of the books imported by Wahhabi publishers, under such conditions that the high price of paper has made it difficult for the publishers of religious books here to publish good new books."

The ayatollah reiterated, "Freedom of speech should not come at the cost of ridiculing our sanctities and therefore, the books that are unknown for us need to be surveyed meticulously, while the books complied at our own seminaries should not be kept in long queues for surveying their contents prior to their publication."

Ayatollah Sobhani added, "Recitation of the Glorious Koran at Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry's Koranic institutes should begin at the level of children at very early stages of childhood".

On freedom of media, too, he said, "The freedom of speech for the dailies and magazines, too, should be within the confines of Iran's Constitution and dear Islam and they should not be free to insult the sanctities of Islam."

Mehdi Ahmadinejad finds work in father's office

Tabnak | Jan. 7, 2010

Unofficial reports suggest that Mehdi Ahmadinejad has been appointed as the caretaker of the documents bureau of the presidential office.

It has been said that Mehdi Ahmadinejad will not become the head of the documents bureau and will only serve as a caretaker.

Nazeri: Misunderstandings were cleared up

Tabnak | Jan. 7, 2010

Iranian singer Shahram Nazeri said that after talking to authorities he had cleared up a misunderstanding.

"A few days ago after arriving at the Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA), security officials asked me to have a meeting with them and a meeting was held yesterday in which certain issues were raised," Nazeri told Mehr News Agency.

"Nothing specific was discussed and there was a general misunderstanding that was cleared up after an amicable conversation," he said.

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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Its very sad that they are scapegoating the Baha'is.

Concerned / January 8, 2010 12:39 PM

Very sad. The Nazis went after the Jehovah Witnesses who could not be forced to bear arms no matter what was tried.

Pirooz / January 10, 2010 6:57 AM

It is indeed very very sad that good people, such as Rachel Corrie, who seek to stop the demolition of houses of palestinian Muslims, simply by standing in front of the US gifted or supplied caterpillars are murdered using the same. Yet there was no campaign to make her the Time person of the year and give her and the atrocities committed on the Gazans as good a coverage as the Iranian opposition seems to have got. It is also very sad that some leaders are indicted and charged with war crimes without their being allowed to plead their innocence like Bashir of Sudan and yet the Israeli politicians such as Livni are apologised to for the audacity of a British court to issue a warrant against her to answer charges of alleged war crimes in Gaza.
It is a sad, sad, world and not only in Iran but wherever abuse of power takes place.

More Concerned / January 11, 2010 8:30 PM

@ More Concerned

First, are you Pirouz in disguise?

Second what relevance has any of what you have written got to do with arresting Baha'is on serious but false charges in Iran?
Are you suggesting that because Israelis kill Palestinians that it is then acceptable for the IRI to kill innocent Iranians? If that is what you are suggesting then I think you are Pirouz or another IRI agent. I don't think any reasonable person thinks that two wrongs make a right.

Concerned / January 12, 2010 4:31 AM

Two wrongs have never made one right and hopefully never will.
However the point is wherever there is oppression and abuse of power we all become 'scape goats' albeit of different hues. We have the example of Neda, an innocent bystander by all accounts, Mohsin Ruhulamin, son of a regime loyalist but nevertheless tortured to death whilst being detained at Kahzirak and many others as well as hundreds of Shia Muslim reformists who were put on a show trial and still remain incarcerated. This is not to belittle any human suffering but to see suffering of all humans as one.

More Concerned / January 12, 2010 5:20 AM

In that case I think we are agreed that lots of innocent people are suffering in Iran.

Concerned / January 12, 2010 8:01 AM