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10 Jan 2010 09:452 Comments

AP | Jan. 10, 2010

A parliamentary investigation made public on Sunday found the former Tehran prosecutor responsible for the deaths of at least three anti-government protesters imprisoned in the turmoil following Iran's disputed June elections.

Saeed Mortazavi was the capital's prosecutor responsible for Kahrizak prison at the time of the three prison deaths in July. Hundreds of protesters were detained amid massive street protests over an election the opposition claimed was fraudulent.

"The deaths of the three were the result of four days in custody suffering from beatings in a place without proper food, water or health conditions," said Kazem Jalali, a lawmaker and spokesman for the investigation.

In a separate development, an Iranian semi-official news agency close to hard-liners in the government quoted Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying that a Swedish diplomat in Tehran was among hundreds detained during opposition protests Dec. 27.

He said the diplomat has been released but gave no further details.

The prosecutor also said Dubai TV's Syrian reporter, Reza Albasha, also has been released.

Ten 'mournful mothers' beaten and hospitalized

Gooya | Jan. 10, 2010

According to Gooya News, following the arrest of 30 "mournful mothers" in Laleh Park in Tehran Saturday, reports emerged today that they have been taken to the Public Prosecutor's office.

The report also maintains that "due to beatings, ten mournful mothers have been taken to hospital and the rest are in a bad physical condition."

Iran leader says three branches of government must uphold law and order

IRNA | Jan. 9, 2010

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Saturday that the three branches of government are expected to fulfil their obligation to uphold law and order.

The Supreme Leader made the remarks in a meeting with thousands of devoted people from the Holy City of Qom.

He said that the people have made it clear that they expect the three branches of government to restore law and order, citing the nationwide rallies to condemn the riots on Ashura.

"The rallies Iranian people held nationwide on December 30th should be regarded as a final ultimatum for all."

The Supreme Leader said that the three branches of government clearly observed the nation's call to deal with the rioters and corrupt people on earth and it is among the responsibilities of the country's officials to take timely action to this effect.

The Supreme Leader said that the nationwide rallies will be registered in the history of the Islamic Revolution.

"The bullying powers and anti-religious people try to get fish from troubled waters in order to attain their sinister goals but the conspiracy was thwarted by the timely presence of the people at the scene," the Supreme Leader said.

Highlighting the current developments in the country, the Supreme Leader said the massive presence of people on the scene should be regarded as blessings from God Almighty.

"From the early stages of the Islamic Revolution, the bullying powers and their allies have tried to hatch plots in various forms."

"Before and after the country's presidential elections, the role of US, Britain and Zionist's affiliated propaganda system is quite obvious, which should be taken into consideration", said Ayatollah Khamenei.

"The Iranian nation and courage of their youth are the main obstacles for the enemies," said the Supreme Leader.

He urged people from all walks of life and the youth, in particular, to exercise vigilance in order to take timely action to thwart the plots of global arrogance.

"Enemies try to mastermind various plots to hinder other nations from hearing voice of Iranian nation because they fear the Iranian voice will enlighten other nations, the Supreme Leader said.

The Supreme Leader advised the officials to carry out their duties and seriously deal with those masterminding the plots.

"The aim behind recent events in the country was to harm the country's economic and scientific developments."

"No government in the world is able to bring to the streets tens of millions of people in 48 hours to back its policies," said Ayatollah Khamene'i.

"The Iranian nation is united and all officials should serve them."

Iran's supreme leader tells militias not to meddle, but Basiji leader warns protesters

LA Times | Jan. 9, 2010

Iran's supreme leader today warned shadowy pro-government militias not to interfere in the nation's post-election unrest even as the head of the notorious Basiji militia warned that his forces would "jump into the fray" if authorities don't act strongly against the opposition movement.

In his first public comments since protests last month that coincided with a major religious holiday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a rare attempt at easing tensions. Two days after gunmen with suspected ties to Iran's Revolutionary Guard allegedly opened fire on the car of opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi, Khamenei urged all to abide by the law.

"Relevant bodies should fully respect the law in dealing with the riots and the ongoing events," he told clergy and seminary students bused in from the shrine city of Qom for an annual political commemoration.

"Those without any legal duty and obligations should not meddle with these affairs," he said. "Everyone should hold back from arbitrary acts and everything should go within the framework of the law."

Iran Supreme Leader urges firm action over riots

Reuters | Jan. 9, 2010

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the security forces on Saturday to take firm action against anti-government protesters.

"The officials of the three forces saw for themselves what the nation is asking for, therefore, they must perform their duties well towards the corrupt and the rioters," Khamenei told visitors from the Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Qom south of Tehran.

"The U.S. and Britain and other arrogant powers, as well as their domestic misguided (allies), acted under the banner of struggle against the Imam (Ayatollah Khomeini) and the revolution since the very beginning of the victory of the Islamic revolution. The situation is the same now," Khamenei said in the speech aired live on state television.

Iran advises "certain states" to stop making "delusive" statements

IRNA | Jan. 9, 2010

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mihmanparast advised officials of some certain states on Saturday to stop making "negative and delusive statements" against Iran.

He made the remarks while reacting to the comments made recently by German Minister of Foreign Affairs Guido Westerwelle in Turkey who had referred to Iran as a threat against the entire region for its peaceful nuclear activities.

Creating a negative impression about independent states by making wrong statements is no solution for the present problems," Mihmanparast told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

He advised officials of certain states to stop making "delusive and negative comments" and try to pursue ways to "solve problems of the developing countries and provide their needs."

Referring to Tehran's Research Reactor as a facility that works to meet the country's civilian demands including medical needs of thousands of Iranian patients, Mihmanparast said, "It is not good to deal with humanitarian issues by political intentions."

"As it was repeatedly said by Iranian officials and confirmed in the International Atomic Energy Agency's reports, Tehran's nuclear activities are completely peaceful and made under the IAEA's supervision," the spokesman stressed.

He said that no sign of deviation has been found yet in Iran's peaceful nuclear activities.

He noted that all countries should have proper cooperation and interactions with each other, free from political pressures.

Iran MP slams move to expedite sentencing for protesters

Parleman | Jan. 9, 2010

A member of the parliamentary Followers of the Line of the Imam faction has condemned radical actions that inflate the atmosphere of tension and social unrest saying, "Introducing a bill to expedite the execution of moharebeh [enemies against god] sentences will only increase social tensions, such actions can only be interpreted as attempts to incite extremism."

Mohammad Ali Karimi commented on attempts by pro-government MPs to cut down the time it takes to carryout moharebeh sentences to five days and interpreted them as extremist actions. He said, "In a situation where everyone who truly cares in their hearts and minds is stressing [the need for] unity. Society is desperately in need of positive action in this regard. Such actions tell of the desire of some to maintain a harsh and extreme atmosphere."

He added, "Majlis is generally opposed to harsh and extreme measures and these plans will not gain much support even if some pressure is exerted."

Karimi speculated about the real motives of those who are sponsoring this double urgent bill to expedite the implementation of moharebeh sentences and said, "They are working to gain support in Majlis."

The reformist MP form Kerman stressed, "By proposing such bills, they send messages to public opinion that will have their desired effects."

Abdolkarim Soroush: The goals of Iran's Green Movement

CS Monitor | Jan. 9, 2010

The Green Movement is into its seventh month now, and I and my friends have been following events very closely and have been in touch with some of our friends in Iran. After [the protests on] Ashura on Dec 27, we came to realize that it was a real turning point. It was at that time that the regime decided to crack down on the Green Movement. In one instance, the regime rolled over a protester and killed him. It was a very severe message to all the protesters and defenders and supporters of the Green Movement that it intends to crush the movement harshly.

On the other hand, we have also individually been frequently asked by our friends: What are the real demands of the Green Movement, because the Green Movement was something that jumped on the scene? There was no planning for it. The election was the beginning, and it just evolved and evolved. As it evolved, some demands had emerged, but there was nothing that showed what was in the minds of the leaders of the movement.

This is a pluralistic movement, including believers and non-believers, socialists and liberals. There are all walks of life in the Green Movement. We tried to come up with the common points for all. We know there are many more demands, many more than these.

I hope the government recognizes it has to have negotiations with the Green Movement and will have to sacrifice something for them to be productive. Heaven forbid that it turns into violence, which would be bad for the Green Movement and the country.

Iran executes six men for drugs smuggling

Reuters | Jan. 9, 2010

Iran has executed six men found guilty of drugs smuggling, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Saturday.

Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and apostasy -- the renouncing of religion, in this case Islam -- are all punishable by death under Iranian sharia law practised since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"Six narcotics smugglers with long past criminal records, who had been handed down separate execution verdicts, were hanged at Isfahan's central prison," Fars said, quoting judicial authorities in Isfahan province.

The verdicts were carried out after confirmation by the country's supreme court.

Iran to put members of Baha'i faith on trial

Fararu | Jan. 9, 2010

Tehran's prosecutor general said on Saturday that several Baha'is who were arrested in the wake of recent Ashura unrest will go on trial this week.

Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi said, "These Baha'is will be put on trial this week in branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court."

He commented on the trial of several detainees who had been arrested in the wake of Ashura protests and said, "The five detainees who are being charged with Moharebeh [enmity with god] are members of the hypocrites group Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO)."

He added, "With regards to those persons who were arrested during the Ashura unrest, if they are charged, their case will be sent to the court with an incitement. These individuals will not be released while their case is being decided. Others, who are not charged will be released."

He went on to say, "The outcome of investigations will be announced in due course. However, there are a number of others who are charged with Moharebeh and investigations are ongoing. Therefore, announcements will be made, should these cases be referred to the court."

The Baha'is detained from the Ashura incidents will be put on tiral this week

In response to another question about the charges against the Baha'is he said: "These individuals were arrested because they played a role in organising the Ashura protests and sending pictures of the unrest aboard."

The Tehran prosecutor general stressed that the Baha'is had been arrested in relation to their role in the Ashura unrest and added: "These individuals were not arrested because they were Baha'i. Firearms and ammunition were seized in some of their homes."

He commented on the case for seven defendants who had insulted the ideals of the Islamic revolution and said, "The trial of six defendants concluded last week and one will be tried this week. The verdict will be announced once all trials have concluded."

The detained German citizen was released last night

The Tehran prosecutor General commented on Reza al-Basha, the Syrian correspondent for Dubai TV as well as a German citizen that was being detained and said: "This German citizen was released last night and the Syrian reporter for Dubai TV will be released today."

Iran interior minister to be questioned in parliament

IRNA | Jan. 9, 2010

Interior Minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, will appear before the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission on Tuesday.

In accordance with the weekly agenda of parliamentary commissions, 19 MPs who are members of the minority faction are to ask one joint question from the Interior minister, and have placed the question in the commission's weekly agenda. In addition to this question, Najjar will answer five other questions from MPs.

Members of the commission will be visiting Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation on Monday, in order to be briefed about the organisation's activities.

Iran student body objects government narcotics appointment

ILNA | Jan. 9, 2010

A student organization, the Justice-Seeking Student Movement, has written an open letter of protest to President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. The organisation blasts the appointment of the former Tehran Prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi to the post of drug chief. Mortazavi has been the subject of recent controversy over allegations of sexual assault against post-election unrest detainees. Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) website published the open letter in which it is said:

"Continuing the trend of appointing individuals whose record is full of ambiguities [is questionable]. An act that caused the amazement and disappointment of many, was the appointment of Mr. Saeed Mortazavi as the head of the anti-narcotics and foreign-exchange trafficking unit.

"This is while there is particular concern about his past at Azad University; questions remain that are as yet unanswered.

"Is it right to promote an individual whose erroneous actions have given ammunition to the enemies of the system and led to the undermining of the prestige of the sacred system of the Islamic Republic? Promoting him to high positions instead of condemning him?!?

"What will the people, who await a firm response to the culprits and perpetrators of the regrettable events surrounding Kahrizak detention center, think about this? What could be the meaning of the continuation of this individual in a new [high-profile] capacity given the ambiguities in his past?"

President says Iran will not come to its knees with a few resolutions

IRNA | Jan. 9, 2010

Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has said Iran will not come to its knees with a few resolutions.

Addressing the personnel of the newly established Hormoz-Al Aluminium complex in Bandar Abbas Ahmadinejad said, "We said we support talks and dialogue, instead of quarrelling, so let us sit down and talk, it is better this way. We do not welcome conflict but you keep on asking for more and being audacious. They [West] have issued a few resolutions and imposed sanctions on Iran. And then that gentleman came and renewed all those tyrannical and unilateral sanctions of America against Iran. They thought a great nation [like Iran] will come to its knees with such actions. They were and continue to be wrong. We have entered a new phase... they want to resolve problems by force and with bullying. We say the time for bullying is over".

Iran president says will stand by demand for WWII reparations

IRNA | Jan. 9, 2010

Speaking live at the newly inaugurated aluminium plant in Hormuzgan Province, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said that Iran will stand by its demand for reparations resulting from the Second World War, when it was occupied by the Allies. He said, "If we say that we are going to receive our war reparations, know that we will stand by our demand until we get it".

President Ahmadinejad blasts West's human rights 'posturing'

IRNA | Jan. 9, 2010

The Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has called the human rights issues pertaining to Iran, "Pretexts that you see [the West] employ". He later went on to added: "This... same Saddam that they, themselves, overturned through an act of human rights posturing... used chemical weapons, they applauded him. He bombarded the cities, they applauded him. He committed war crimes, they applauded him. He killed the captive soldiers, they applauded him. Then they started this game of human rights and nuclear issues."

U.S. Shifts Iran Focus to Support Opposition

WSJ | Jan. 9, 2010

The Obama administration is increasingly questioning the long-term stability of Tehran's government and moving to find ways to support Iran's opposition "Green Movement," said senior U.S. officials.

The White House is crafting new financial sanctions specifically designed to punish the Iranian entities and individuals most directly involved in the crackdown on Iran's dissident forces, said the U.S. officials, rather than just those involved in Iran's nuclear program.

U.S. Treasury Department strategists already have been focusing on Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has emerged as the economic and military power behind Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In recent weeks, senior Green Movement figures -- who have been speaking at major Washington think tanks -- have made up a list of IRGC-related companies they suggest targeting, which has been forwarded to the Obama administration by third parties.

Names on the list include Iran's largest telecommunications provider, Telecommunication Company of Iran, which is majority-owned by the IRGC, and the Iranian Aluminum Co. A U.S. official involved in Iran said the administration wouldn't comment on whether it was acting on the information.

American diplomats, meanwhile, have begun drawing comparisons in public between Iran's current political turmoil and the events that led up to the 1979 overthrow of Shah Reza Pahlavi.

"In my opinion there are many similarities," the State Department's chief Iran specialist, John Limbert, told Iran-based listeners this week over U.S. government-run Radio Farda. "I think it's very hard for the government to decide how to react to the legitimate and lawful demands of the people."

Elite force's growing role in Iran ties U.S. hands

Wa Po | Jan. 9, 2010

A major expansion in the role played by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps is giving the elite force new economic and political clout, but it could also complicate efforts by the United States and its allies to put pressure on the Iranian regime, American officials and outside analysts say.

Commanders of the Revolutionary Guard say its growth represents a logical expansion for an organization that is not a military force but a popular movement that protects the ideals of the 1979 Islamic revolution and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Guard's expanded economic role is mirrored by a greater role in politics and security since the disputed presidential election in June, which the government says was won by incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a landslide but which the opposition says was stolen.

U.S. officials consider the Guard a ripe target for sanctions over Iran's controversial nuclear program because of the group's central role in repressing opposition protests. The officials are also concerned that broader-based sanctions risk alienating the Iranian public at a time when the government here faces protests from an energized opposition. But they also know that because of the Guard's growing economic influence, sanctions on it could pinch the broader Iranian public as well.

Effort to drive Rafsanjani off political stage 'old scenario'

Mehr News | Jan. 9, 2010

Expediency Council (EC) member Mohammad Hashemi has said that the effort to drive EC Chairman Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani off the political stage is an old scenario.

The effort to eliminate Mr Hashemi from the system and the Islamic Revolution is an old scenario, and history has shown that he prefers the system to his own reputation, Hashemi, Rafsanjani's brother, told the Mehr News Agency on Saturday.

Hashemi pointed out that during the first years of the Islamic Revolution many antirevolutionary forces used to attack Ayatollah Rafsanjani. But currently, those who have posts within the system are making accusations against Hashemi-Rafsanjani and some media outlets publish them, ignoring the guidelines of the Supreme Leader.

He added that Rafsanjani will keep silent because there is no one to listen to his words.

"Those who make baseless accusations against the EC chairman and his family are undermining the system," Hashemi explained.

Iran Majlis Speaker condemns character assassination of former guards chief

ILNA | Jan. 9, 2010

Speaking at a meeting of the commanders of the Law Enforcement Force (LEF), Larijani said, "I would like to point out something that makes me feel sorry to see these days, and that is the character assassination of Mr/ Mohsen Rezai. Mr/ Mohsen Rezai is a true Mojahed [fighter for the cause of God]. He fought relentlessly during the war [Iran-Iraq war, 1980-1988] for eight years and in all fairness, put everything he had on the line. Now, it is possible that some oppose his political views and it is natural for any one in the political scene to be subjected to criticism. But why do you question his status as a Mojahed and all that he has done? You are destroying all the efforts of this devotee with inaccurate discussions on the war and particularly the issues that were raised towards the end of the war. I am sure that if there was another war, Mohsen Rezai would come forward as the same soldier that he was then. If you are politically criticizing someone, which is something that the society needs, you should consider the background of the individual and do it in a fair manner. Today, the focus should be on strengthening convergence in society, not destroying it and creating conflict."

Using Forex Fund reserves for metro unconstitutional

Mehr News | Jan. 9, 2010

Guardian Council (GC) spokesperson Abbas-Ali Kadkhodai has said that the parliamentary ratification to use money from the Foreign Exchange Fund to develop the metro is against the Constitution.

"The plan is against Article 75 of the Constitution," he said in his weekly media briefing on Saturday.

Speaking about when the oversight body will announce its position on the subsidy bill, the spokesperson pointed out that the GC received the bill just last week and will announce the results of its examination within the legal deadline which is 20 days

Libyan envoy confers with Iran FM in Tehran

IRNA | Jan. 9, 2010

Libyan Ambassador to Tehran Sa'd Mujbir conferred on Saturday with Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki on expansion of relations and cooperation between the two countries.

Mottaki said Iran is determined to bolster all-out relations and cooperation with Libya in various political, economic, cultural, regional and international affairs.

Setting up joint commission will be useful to harmonize economic cooperation in oil, industry and commerce, between the two countries, Mottaki said.

The Libyan ambassador, for his part, expressed the hope to witness practical steps on expansion of cooperation between Tehran and Tripoli.

Iran top judge meets with Bahraini parliament speaker

IRNA | Jan. 9, 2010

Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Javad Amoli-Larijani held talks with Bahraini Parliament Speaker Kahlifa al-Dhahrani on Saturday, on ways to develop legal cooperation between the two countries.

Referring to the enormous commonalties between Tehran and Manama, Larijani called for expansion of cooperation on legal, cultural and political issues.

The Bahraini speaker said his country and the Islamic Republic of Iran enjoy good ties.

Pointing to historical relations between the two countries, al-Dhahrani called for further cooperation on various levels.

In addition, he said bilateral ties would protect the Islamic world from enemies' interference.

The Bahraini speaker and his entourage are in Tehran at the invitation of his Iranian counterpart, Ali Larijani.

Iran electricity output increases three percent

Mehr News | Jan. 9, 2010

Iran's power plants generated more than 177 terawatt hours (177,000 gigawatt hours) of electricity during the time period from March 20, 2009 to December 30, 2009.

The amount shows a 3 percent increase in comparison to the previous years figure, Mehr News Agency reported.

Some 172,000 GWh of the mentioned amount have been produced from Thermal power plants and the other 5,000 GWh from the hydropower plants.

Private power plants boost output by 22 percent

Iran's electricity output in privately-own power plants has soared by 22 percent reaching 14,440 megawatts over the past ten months, Press TV reported.

Power plants run by the private sector have produced eight percent of the energy consumed in the country this Iranian year, which ends in March, ILNA News Agency reported on Friday.

Last year (ended 20 March 2009), the private sector managed to produce a sum of 11,784 megawatts of electricity, which could account for six percent of the energy used nationwide.

Iran's population growth has increased the demand for the power source over the past thirty years. It is expected that the demand would soon surpass the supply, therefore the Iranian government is pursuing a nuclear energy program to meet the country's electricity demand.

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 absurd to suggest that bullets and firearms were found at the homes of Baha'is. This government is desperate, trying to find anyone to blame for the mess they have created except for themselves.

Concerned / January 11, 2010 12:05 PM

Its easy to label people, particularly so, when they need an escape goat.
Next thing that they are gonna say is that "O ,by the way the guns where in the homes of Jews and sights were in the some green movement back pack...etc."
It makes me laugh to see how naive the current statesmen of Iran are.

Ismail / January 11, 2010 11:37 PM