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08 Feb 2010 20:48No Comments

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 nuclear plans start new calls for sanctions

NYT | Feb. 8, 2010

Iran told the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency on Monday that it would begin enriching its stockpile of uranium to power a medical reactor in Tehran, effectively challenging the West to negotiate an alternative deal to supply fuel. A senior official was quoted as saying the enrichment would begin on Tuesday.

Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, delivered a letter to the agency setting out the plan, news reports said, after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally ordered his atomic scientists on Sunday to begin enriching the stockpile to 20 percent purity.

Iran's nuclear program is one of the most contentious issues between the West and Tehran, which rejects Western suspicions that the country is seeking to build a nuclear weapon. In recent days Iran has sent a perplexing series of conflicting signals about plans that could move the country closer to producing weapons-grade fuel.

By notifying the I.A.E.A., Tehran seemed to be taking a step further in its brinkmanship with world powers led by the United States, which is seeking a broad international consensus on tighter economic sanctions against Iran.

The state-run broadcaster Press TV quoted Mr. Salehi as saying Iran would "start enrichment on Tuesday in the presence of inspectors and observers from the I.A.E.A."

Iran lawyer haunted by young man's execution

LAT | Feb. 8, 2010

The defendant met with his lawyer once for 15 minutes before he was sentenced to death and hanged.

When the lawyer complained to authorities, they ignored her. When she tried to enter the courtroom where he was being tried, they threatened her with arrest. And when she spoke out publicly at what she described as a gross miscarriage of justice, they shut off her cellphone.

"Unfortunately, despite repeated warnings, you have kept contacts with counter-revolutionary media and for two months from today your cellphone will be cut off," read a text message she received.

Tehran to host nuclear disarmament conference

Tehran Times | Feb. 8, 2010

Tehran will be hosting an international conference on nuclear disarmament in three months.

Iran insists that all countries make a commitment to nuclear disarmament and to eradicating all weapons of mass destruction, and a number of major international figures and nuclear experts from various countries will attend a conference on nuclear disarmament in Tehran in three months, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told the Mehr News Agency on Sunday.

"If those countries which are concerned about nuclear weapons displayed their commitment to nuclear disarmament in practice, we would be witnessing a nuclear weapons-free world," he stated.

Iran launches production lines for unmanned planes

Washington Post | Feb. 8, 2010

Iran has launched two production lines to build unmanned aircraft with surveillance and attack capabilities, the defense minister announced Monday.

It also announced that Iran would soon deploy a missile air defense system more powerful than the advanced Russian S-300 system Tehran has ordered from Moscow in 2007 but has yet to receive.

The two types of aircraft, or drones, are named Ra'd (thunder) and Nazir (herald), with the former possessing offensive capabilities.

Iran anniversary will be 'punch' to West: Khamenei

AFP | Feb. 8, 2010

Iran's all powerful supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution would be a "punch" to the world's "arrogant" powers that would stun them.

"The Iranian nation, with its unity and God's grace, will punch the arrogance (Western powers) on the 22nd of Bahman (February 11) in a way that will leave them stunned," Khamenei, who is also Iran's commander-in-chief, told a gathering of air force personnel.

Iran's Reformist Leaders Reject Links to Foreigners

NYT | Feb. 8, 2010

Iran's reformist leaders Monday rejected the authorities' accusation that the opposition movement had links to foreigners and urged people to attend rallies Thursday marking the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The opposition is expected to revive anti-government protests at the February 11 events, raising fears of further clashes with the security forces.

The authorities have denied the charge and portrayed the protests as a Western-backed bid to undermine the Islamic state.

Iran 'jails opposition leader Mohsen Aminzadeh'

BBC | Feb. 8, 2010

An Iranian opposition leader has been jailed for six years for his role in the unrest following June's disputed presidential election, reports say.

Mohsen Aminzadeh was convicted of organising protests, disturbing security and spreading propaganda against the system, his lawyer said.

He was a prominent supporter of the defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Meanwhile, opposition websites say nine journalists have been detained in the past two days, taking the total to 55.

There has so far been no confirmation from the Iranian government.

How Iranian dissidents slip through Tehran's airport dragnet

Christian Science Monitor | Feb. 8, 2010

Tehran's gleaming international airport has served as a hub for arresting political dissidents fleeing the Islamic Republic of Iran since it was brought into service in 2007.

"The airport is a chokepoint, ideal for ambush type arrests," said James Spencer, a UK-based security and strategic affairs analyst. "There is the advantage that the individual's friends expect him to go away for a while so if they're not seen for a while then no one is surprised, which may allow the security forces to interrogate the individual and then (arrest) his colleagues too."

But while several prominent journalists and human rights activists have been detained at the airport, a surprisingly large number believed to be on government watchlists have slipped through, thanks to bureaucratic delays and also because Tehran's new airport may not be integrated into the country's security network.

Iran: Student Facing Execution for Throwing Rocks

IHR Feb. 8, 2010

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran today strongly condemned the prosecution of a young student activist, Mohammad Amin Valian, under the charge of Moharebeh, or "enmity against God," which is punishable by death and called the charges
"grossly disproportionate."

At least nine other protestors have been sentenced to death in similar unfair trials and are at risk of imminent execution. Five other protestors, including Valian, were prosecuted last week and face the death penalty if convicted. The main pieces of evidence used to convict the twenty-year old student are photographs showing him throwing rocks during Ashura protests.

The conviction of Valian, a student from Damaghan Science University, followed his denunciation in a student newspaper run by pro-government Basiji militias and subsequent arrest. Valian was also convicted of,"corruption on earth," "congregation and mutiny to commit crimes against national security," "propagation activities against the
Islamic regime,"and "insulting top regime officials."

"The Judiciary, by this grossly disproportionate sentence, devalues the life of a promising young student," stated Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Campaign.

"What is more, the conviction lowers the standards of the system, which, like any system of law, should protect life, not cheapen it," he said.

Valian is one of sixteen protesters who have been subjected to a "show trial" for their peaceful political protests, and one of the five convicted of a crime carrying the death penalty.

Arabsorkhi family can't pay $1M bail

Ayande News | Feb. 8, 2010

After canceling Feizollah Arabsorkhi's court session twice, Judge Salavati heard the case against the high-ranking member of the Islamic Revolution Mujahidin Organization on Sunday morning.

According to the Kalameh report, after reading out the charges against Arabsorkhi and hearing part of his defense, the court postponed receiving the political activist's written defense to the end of next week.

Arabsorkhi's lawyer Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Jalal Mousavi requested a reduction in the one-million-dollar bail set for his client, citing the Arabsorkhi family's inability in coming up with such a sum.

The Arabsorkhi family met with the detained political activist on the sideline of the hearing and described him as being in high spirits.

Tajzadeh prepared to debate with Saffar-harandi from prison

Ayande News | Feb. 8, 2010

Seyyed Mostafa Tajzadeh welcomed the notion of debating with Hossein Saffar-Harandi at any time, any place and on any topic.

"As I have said before I welcome any from of live televised debate and regarding Mr. Saffar-Harandi's proposal I [hereby] announce that I am prepared to debate with him at any time, any place, and on any past, present or future topic that he chooses," Khabaroline quoted Tajzadeh as saying.

"There is no need for taking a leave from prison and I am prepared to be escorted by prison guards to the debate venue and if this will be problematic he [Saffar-Harandi] can come to prison and we can hold the debate in one of the rooms here," Tajzadeh's wife quoted him as saying.

Tajzadeh's final court session comes to a close

Tabnak | Feb. 8, 2010

Mostafa Tajzadeh's lawyer, Houshang Pourbabayi said that his client's second and final court hearing had been held at branch 15 of the Revolution Court in the presence of Judge Salavati.

"My client did not defend himself in this session and did not permit his lawyers to defend him either," Pourbabayi said.

Mostafa Tajzadeh's first court hearing was held behind closed doors on Dec. 13 in branch 15 of the Revolution Court and his second hearing was held this morning in the presence of his lawyers and the prosecution," Pourbabayi told ISNA.

"In his last defense, the client refused to defend himself and the court adjourned to consider a verdict within the legal deadline."

Pourbabayi said his client had beencharged with disrupting national security, propagating against the establishment, slandering officials and possession of classified documents, adding, "We await the verdict...."

Ayatollah Javadi Amoli declares disrupting 22 Bahman haram

Khabar Online | Feb. 8, 2010

Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi-Amoli urged Iranians to participate in the 22 Bahaman demonstrations and declared disrupting the gathering Haram (religiously forbidden).

In a meeting with 300 Basiji university professors from across the country, Javadi Amoli said, "rioting and disrupting the [22 Bahman] ceremonies is haram (religiously forbidden) and the blessing of having a just and courageous leader is one of the biggest blessings of the Islamic Revolution."

Javadi Amoli stressed that participating in the 22 Bahman demonstrations was pledging allegiance to the Leader, adding, "safeguarding the Islamic establishment is a religious duty."

The Shia Source of Emulation added, "the role of the Sources of Emulation in the victory of the Islamic Revolution and its preservation and continuation is extremely important."

Imprisoned Students' Exhibition at University of Tehran

Iran News
Persian2English | Feb. 8, 2010

Approximately 60 images of imprisoned university students across the country are being displayed at University of Tehran's Faculty of Literature.

At the bottom of the displayed images, the student's major, the name of their university, a description of their political activity, and the date and location of their arrest is written.

Among the students on display, some have been imprisoned for years, and some were arrested in recent months after the election.

The exhibit was organized by the Islamic Association of the Faculty of Literature.

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