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Selected Headlines

18 Jan 2010 04:501 Comment

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.


Iran city prosecutor assassinated

Irna | Isna | Reuters | Jan. 18, 2010

The prosecutor of a northwestern Iranian city has been assassinated, ISNA news agency reported on Monday.

ISNA did not give any further details but quoted a provincial judiciary official as saying "investigations were under way to identify those behind the killing" of Khoy's prosecutor.

ISNA's report came six days after a remote-controlled bomb killed a university scientist in Tehran.

Minister confirms state interception of phone calls

Advar News | Jan. 18, 2010

Communications Minister Mohammad Soleimani confirmed that the conversations citizens have on their cell phones are listened to and recorded.

"In the case of the C-130 plane crash if the journalists [onboard the plane] had had phone conversations, their call records can be released with a legal warrant," he told a gathering on injured war veteran employees of the ministry under his care.

In response to a reporter's question as to whether the phone conversations of citizens were automatically recorded and kept for six months, Soleimani said, "WE try to always keep the call recordings and with the digital technologies of today there is the possibility of recording."

"But not everyone can access the recorded conversations of citizens unless they have a legal warrant."

Iranian delegation meets with Lebanese officials

Asr Iran | Jan. 18, 2010

Iranian vice president for Majlis Affairs visited Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut to discuss regional developments.

Heading a high-ranking Iranian delegation, Mohammad-Reza Mirtajedini met with Nasrallah and Hezballah commander in south Lebanon Sheikh Nabil Qauq to discuss local and regional developments.

"The resistance of the Islamic Resistance and Hizbollah Youth proved that there exists a generation in Lebanon capable of confronting the barbaric acts of the Zionists and its [Israel's] armed-to-the teeth army in the region," Mirtajedini said after the meeting. "The new threats issued by the Zionists are only a psychological war and Lebanon's Islamic Resistance [movement] can powerfully repel their hostile acts."

Mirtajedini and the other members of the Iranian delegation also met with Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah -- the Shia Lebanese's Source of Emulation -- to convey President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's gratitude for his stance on recent developments.

Earlier reports suggested that the Iranian opposition had sent a delegation to seek Fadlallah's help in resolving the political disputes in Iran and securing the release of the detained political activists in the country. Fadlallah is held in high esteem by Iran's Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

Soon after this report, another Iranian delegation headed by one Mojtaba Hosseini traveled to Syria to meet with Fadlallah. In that meeting Fadlallah advised all parties in Iran to resolve their differences through dialogue and denied having been contacted by the Iranian opposition to mediate in the country's political crisis.

Fadlallah for his part stressed the importance of unity among Muslim and Arab nations. "We must support Islamic unity as the global arrogance has targeted the unity of the Ummah (Muslim Community)," he said.

The Iranian delegation also met with the deputy head of the Higher Muslim Shiite Council Sheikh Abdel Amir Qabalan and discussed the future of Tehran-Beirut ties as well as Lebanese and regional developments.

Mirtajedini congratulated Qabalan on the formation of a united Lebanese government and reiterated Tehran's stance to support Lebanon.

Last month a Lebanese lawmaker had said that before the crisis in Iran is resolved no government could be formed in Lebanon.

Iran bans reformist daily for publishing opposition statement

Reuters | Jan. 18, 2010

Iran banned a pro-reform newspaper on Monday, the media reported, and a semi-official news agency said it was for publishing a statement by opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

"Based on a decision by the press supervisory board the authorization for the publication of Farhang-e Ashti daily has been annulled for repeatedly violating the press law," the student news agency ISNA reported, without giving further details.

The head of the newspaper's policy-making board Mohammad Mehdi Emami-Nasseri said the daily was banned for "publishing a part of a statement by Mirhossein Mousavi" earlier this month.

Iran to import 650,000 tonnes of sugar

Reuters | Jan. 18, 2010

Iran will import 650,000 tonnes of sugar, ISNA news agency reported an official at Iran's association of confectionery and chocolate makers as saying.

"A memorandum of understanding was signed last month between the association and the Commerce Ministry on the import of 650,000 tons of sugar in order to balance the domestic market," said the group's secretary, Jamshid Maghazei.

He said about 350,000 tonnes would be used by the industry and the Commerce Ministry would store the rest as strategic reserves, ISNA reported.

Speech of Iran senior cleric cancelled

Tabnak | Jan. 18, 2010

Citing Borna News Agency, Tabnak has reported that Head of the Expediency Council, Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani will not deliver a speech pre-planned for 01 February, which marks the start of the 10 days leading to the anniversary of the victory of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran on 11 February (known as the ten days of dawn in Iran).

According to Tabnak, an informed source told Borna: "The speech arranged for the commemoration ceremony of 12 Bahman [1 February] will not be delivered at Imam Khomeyni's mausoleum this year and the ceremony will be held at Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra [cemetery] where the Imam had entered [and delivered his first speech upon his arrival in Tehran from exile in France in 1979]."

The same source reportedly said that Hashemi-Rafsanjani would not deliver a speech this year and another person whose name would be announced later would deliver a speech.

The report adds that every year, Hashemi-Rafsanjani has delivered a speech on 12 Bahman at Ayatollah Khomeyni's mausoleum.

Iran tries five people over December unrest

Reuters | Jan. 18, 2010

Five people detained in connection with violent anti-government protests in Iran last month went on trial on Monday on charges that could carry the death sentence, an Iranian news agency reported.

The ISNA news agency did not identify the five accused, but the official IRNA news agency earlier said they were members of the armed People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), an exile group opposed to the Islamic system of government.

Iranian lawmakers to increase in number

Press TV | Jan. 18, 2010

Iran's Interior Ministry said Monday that it is studying legislation to increase the number of lawmakers in Parliament by twenty.

Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said the bill would have to be approved by the Ahmadinejad cabinet before being sent to Parliament to be put to vote.

Iran, Iraq meet over border issues

Press TV | Jan. 18, 2010

Iranian and Iraqi border officials met on Monday to discuss and resolve "misunderstandings" over their joint border.

Officers from eleven border zones of the two countries met in the Iranian city of Qasr-e Shirin, where Iran expressed its desire to erect signs at the border.

In early January, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran and Baghdad had begun talks after an incident over an oil field near the border.

Iran may cut British Museum ties in antiquity row

Reuters | Jan 17, 2010

Iran will cut its links with the British Museum and ask bodies such as UNESCO to reconsider their own ties if the museum does not keep a promise to lend Iran an ancient Persian treasure, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

Iran's Cultural Heritage Organisation said in October it had set a two-month deadline for the British Museum to allow the public display in Iran of the so-called Cyrus Cylinder, linked to the Persian ruler's 6th century BC conquest of Babylon.

The Museum, which houses a vast collection of world art and artefacts, said in September that plans to hand over the 2,500-year-old clay cylinder had been delayed due to unspecified "practicalities".

Iran plans new renewable energy plants: minister

Reuters | Jan 17, 2010

Opec member Iran plans to develop new renewable energy power plants over the next five years with capacity totaling 2,000 megawatts (MW) to meet energy demand, its deputy minister for electricity said on Sunday.

Abbas Aliabadi said Iran already has 8500 MW hydro power plants in operation and has installed 130 MW of wind turbines.

"Iran, though an oil exporting country, is determined to be an important partner in global efforts of human societies to achieve sustainable energy systems," he told a preparatory meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) where even Israel was participating.

"The government of Iran has paved the way for private sector participation in developing renewable energy systems," he said.

Iran jails ex-football chief detained after election

Reuters | Jan 17, 2010

A senior reformer who used to head Iran's football federation has been sentenced to six years in jail, his lawyer was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Mohsen Safaie Farahani, also a former deputy economy minister and a former MP, was one of many leading pro-reform figures detained after Iran's disputed presidential election in June, which plunged the Islamic Republic into turmoil.

Several other leading opposition supporters have earlier received jail terms on charges including acting against national security and spreading propaganda against the Islamic system.

Iran's Leader happy with ban on Hemat daily

Tabnak | Jan. 17, 2010

The ban on Hemat daily, which came about after only the publication of its first edition, drew praise from Iran's Leader, the IRGC-owned Jahan claimed.

According to the Jahan report, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei praised the Iranian Judiciary for its swift action in closing down the Hemat daily and expressed his dissatisfaction with the repetition of such mistakes.

The Hemat Daily was initially suspended in early 2009 for running a story entitled "Doing away with Ahmadinejad," which featured pictures showing the powerful head of the Expediency Council Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani standing in front of a number of prominent Iranian politicians implying that they were all stars of the Rafsanjani show.

This time Hemat was banned for printing pictures of influential Iranian figures such as Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli, Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri, and the son of the late Shia Source of Emulation Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani on its front page and claiming that they were all Rafsanjani supporters.

Lawmakers Ali Larijani, Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, Ali Motahari and Seyyed Reza Akrami along with Seyyed Hassan Khomeini, top aide to the Leader Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Akbar Nateq-Nouri and Seyyed Mehdi Tabatabayi were also named among the supporters of Ayatollah Rafsanjani.

In addition, Hemat had also printed pictures of both the Ashura protests and the pro-government rally held to condemn them.

Ex-Tehran prosecutor should stand trial

Press TV | Jan. 17, 2010

The head of an Iranian parliamentary panel which blamed Tehran's former prosecutor for the death of three post-election protesters said Sunday that the accused should stand before a judge and present evidence about the case.

Saeed Mortazavi, the former Tehran prosecutor, who is now a deputy to the country's prosecutor general, has dismissed the charges.

He wrote a letter to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Saturday, a copy of which was carried by Fars News Agency, saying that he could not have ordered the detention of 147 protesters in Kahrizak prison -- where at least three young men were killed last summer -- as he was "on leave during the same period."

Some protesters were rounded up after demonstrations erupted following the presidential election in June 2009.

Mortazavi said he supports the decision of his judges for taking action against "thugs," who were wielding knives and daggers, in the riots.

Former education official detained on Ashura

Rahe Sabz | Jan. 17, 2010

Reports suggested that a retired teacher and former education ministry official was among the detainees of the Ashura protests.

According to the Jaras report, Mansour Saatchi, who was formerly in charge of the Reform education minister's office, was detained on Ashura.

Saatchi's friends claim to have no information about him since his arrest on Ashura.

Ahmadinejad top aide shares Iran 'survival' project

Press TV | Jan. 17, 2010

The Islamic system's adherence to keep an "unbreakable connection" between its legitimacy and popularity is the key to its survival, a senior Ahmadinejad official said Sunday.

Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, a senior aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his chief of staff, said governments around the globe consider efficacy as the sole assurance for their survival.

He said the Islamic system in Iran, however, has based its existence on its efficacy as well as legitimacy and popularity among the nation. Mashaei said the government's popularity was proven when millions of people took to the ballots in June and re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a senior member of Iran's Expediency Council, said in July that the Iranian government is legitimized by "civil and Islamic laws" when it has the approval of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

Radan voices support for Hosseinian

Tabnak | Jan. 17, 2010

Tehran police chief Ahmad-Reza Radan voiced his support for lawmaker Ruhollah Hosseinian who handed in his letter of resignation earlier this month.

"He [Hosseinian] always acts in line with the objectives of the Islamic Revolution," said Radan.

"Hosseinian will not trade in his afterlife for worldly matters and always makes efforts for the prominence of the country."

Hosseinian handed in his letter of resignation on Jan 10, 2010. Reports on Jan. 13, however, suggested that Hosseinian had recanted his request.

Science minister prefers silence to Quran recitation

Tabnak | Jan. 17, 2010

Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou in an unprecedented move urged a moment of silence to honor the martyred Masoud Ali Mohammadi.

According to the Iranian Students Bulletin, in a Saturday meeting of Science Ministry officials Daneshjou asked attendees to observe a moment of silence instead of asking them to recite the first chapter of the Quran as is the Islamic custom in the event of a death.

No post-Revolution Iranian officials has ever called for the observation of a Western tradition instead of an Islamic one.

Mashai talks about Hemat, hijab

Tabnak | Jan. 17, 2010

Head of the presidential office Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai rejected any affiliation with the Hemat daily, saying he has never had a daily and does not intend to have one.

In reaction to a number of media reports that claimed that Mashai was the owner of the Hemat daily, Mashai told Fars News Agency that he rejects any affiliation with the daily.

According to Fars, Hemat was banned for propagating lies with the intent to influence public opinion based on Article 7 of the media law.

Mashai went on to criticize the police force for cracking down on what they believe to be "lack of proper hijab".

"This form [cracking down on citizens for hijab] of police action is unacceptable."

"Police action will yield no results in a cultural issue [such as that of hijab] even though the use of proper attire by women is one of the necessities of our society."

Official's son faces execution

Tabnak | Jan. 17, 2010

After the trial of 16 Ashura protesters commenced in Tehran, a pro-government Web site, Moharebe, claimed that the nephew of an Iranian authority would be tried for militancy.

According to Jahan, one "H.M" who is related to one of the Iranian officials, will be tried for militancy.

No official source has confirmed this report. Under the laws of the Islamic Republic, militancy is a crime punishable by execution.

Iran official rejects trial of nephew for militancy

Khabar Online | Jan. 17, 2010

The public relations of the Bureaucratic Justice Department rejected reports that the head of the organization's nephew is to be tried for militancy.

According to the statement released by the organization, the CEO of the government body Hojjatoleslam Montazeri strongly rejected media reports claiming that his nephew was among the Ashura protest detainees who would be tried for militancy.

"I have no nephew by the name of 'Hossein Mahmoudi' and this report is baseless and fraudulent," Montazeri was quoted in the statement as saying.

Hojjatoleslam Montazeri called on the prosecutor's office to follow up the false report and "bring those who used this fabricated report to disrupt public opinion to justice."

The Week in Green Episode 12: Interview with Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet


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1 Comment

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Darrell Morehouse / January 19, 2010 2:31 AM