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10 Mar 2010 20:15No 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. You can follow our
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khatami-online-5.jpgTajzadeh released from prison

Parleman | March 10, 2010

Seyyed Mostafa Tajzadeh, a [prominent] member of the Islamic Participation Front, who was detained immediately after the June 12 presidential election, has been released from prison after nine months.

According to Parleman News, while in detention, Tajzadeh debated with his interrogators in a bid to change their wrong perception of the activities of the Reformists.

Tajzadeh had vowed not to defend himself in court unless Ayatollah Ahmad Jannti, head of the Guardian Council, was also put on trial. Tajzadeh refused to defend himself in the two court sessions held to hear the charges filed against him about his role in the country's post-election unrest.

Tajzadeh was in high spirits at the time of his release.

Archive photo/Vahid Online

Student activist Yashar Darolshafa'i released in Iran

GVF | March 9, 2010

Yashar Darolshafa'i was released last night on a bail of $70,000 dollars after 32 days of imprisonment.

Darolshafa'i is a postgraduate student of sociology at Tehran University and was arrested along with his brother and mother at their house.

Yashar had previously been in prison for three weeks after being arrested [during] protests on Nov. 4, 2009.

Journalist Ali Mo'azzami reportedly arrested in Iran

GVF | March 9, 2010

Researcher and journalist, Ali Mo'azzami has been arrested.

He was arrested after being summoned by the Intelligence Ministry and then taken to an unknown location.

Mo'azzami's family has not yet been able to obtain any further information regarding his arrest.

Media watchdog records 'at least' 52 journalists in Iranian prisons

CPJ | March 9, 2010

The number of journalists in jail rose in February as a relentless media crackdown continues in Iran. Authorities are now holding at least 52 journalists in prison, a third of all those in jail around the world, according to the latest monthly survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

"Iran is entering a state of permanent media repression, a situation that is not only appalling but also untenable," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "The Iranian government will eventually lose the war against information, but we are saddened every day that our colleagues are paying such a terrible price."

Twelve journalists were imprisoned in February alone, although seven were released. The January census recorded 47 in jail. CPJ has joined forces with leading press freedom organizations from around the world in a campaign to win the release of journalists jailed in Iran. An online petition that will be sent to Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei later this month is available on the site.

In light of the Iranian government's ongoing crackdown, CPJ has been conducting a monthly survey of journalists imprisoned in Iran. (CPJ normally conducts a worldwide survey of jailed journalists each December.) The survey, conducted on the first of each month, is a snapshot of those incarcerated on that date. It does not include more than 50 other journalists in Iran who have been imprisoned and released on bail over the last several months. Five of those now in jail were detained prior to the 2009 crackdown.

Iran convenes court session of police accused in 'rape' jail

Mehr | March 9, 2010

The first court hearing of those accused in the Kahrizak detention centre [where the law enforcement forces were accused of rape] presided over by Judge Hojjat Ol-Eslam Mohammad Mossadeq was convened in the Armed Forces Judicial Organisation.

Mehr: at the outset of the proceedings, attended by the families of the victims and the plaintiffs and their counsels and all the accused, Koranic verses were recited. Hojjat Ol-Eslam Mohammad Mossadeq said, "The enforcing of justice and the law are the only objectives of this court. On the basis of the law, everyone is equal before this tribunal and they will be judged on the basis of evidence, witness [statements] and circumstances. The right decision will then be taken."

The judge added, "What is of essence for the court is to establish the truth and enforce justice. Therefore, all those who are connected to the case in anyway, the plaintiffs, the defendants and their counsels, have to cooperate with this court to fulfil its obligation."

In his additional remarks, he pointed to the widespread efforts of the law enforcement forces to establish order in society, saying: Putting a few security officials on trial is not tantamount to bringing the whole service into disrepute and question their hard work. One can find all kinds of people in all sorts of places [professions].

He warned, "Given that some contents of the dossier contain information and issues whose divulgence can be against public order and bring disruption to the security of the same the publication of these [statements] by individuals will be banned."

Iran's Rafsanjani insists on his solutions for current crisis

ILNA | March 9, 2010

The head of Iran's Expediency Council has stressed the necessity for tolerance under present circumstances in the country.

According to the Iranian Labour News Agency, ILNA, in a meeting with members of the Islamic Association of the Students of Tehran University Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, reportedly said that through maintaining moderation, Iran will be able to enjoy a calm and enthusiastic atmosphere.

Rafsanjani said, "Islam recommends moderation and by observing moderation a calm and cheerful atmosphere will be created in the society."

He added, "Under the present circumstances, the need for rationality and tolerance is quite clear. The growth and development of the country and achieving the objectives of the [1979] Revolution increase the necessity for creating that atmosphere."

Anti-reformist CDs reportedly distributed in Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan

GFV | March 9, 2010

According to the Aftab website, CDs with anti-Green Movement content are being distributed in many offices of Sistan-Baluchestan Province.

The CDs contain material against the leaders of the Green Movement such as Khatami, Musavi and Karrubi and they are being distributed among employees by the public relations of these offices.

These CDs attempt to portray the leaders of the Green Movement as individuals with the aim of toppling the Islamic Republic through a so called "velvet revolution".

There are no credits on the CDs and their producers could not be traced.

AP | March 9, 2010

The trial in Iran opened Tuesday for 12 suspects accused of torturing to death three anti-government protesters tortured in prison during the turmoil following the June elections, the official news agency reported.

Iran's judiciary last year charged 12 officials at Kahrizak prison for involvement in the death of three protesters detained there in July.

The IRNA report did not identify any of the suspects, saying the judge has banned reporting details of the trial. The opening sessions will hear the complaints and charges against the men.

In January, a parliamentary probe found a former Tehran prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, responsible for the torture death of the three in Kahrizak detention center in the capital.

There has been no word of any action to punish Mortazavi so far and he currently heads a government body tasked with fighting smuggling of goods.

Anger over the abuse emerged in August, after influential conservative figures in the clerical hierarchy condemned the mistreatment of detainees. The outrage forced Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to order the immediate closure of the Kahrizak.

The confirmation by the hard-line judiciary of the prisoner deaths proved one of the most devastating claims against authorities over their treatment of protesters.


Gates and Ahmadinejad trade barbs in Afghanistan

FP | March 10, 2010

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Saudi Arabia where he will discuss plans to confront Iran's nuclear program. Gates' Saudi visit follows three days in Afghanistan, where he accused Iran of playing a "double game" by trying to undermine the progress made by U.S. forces.

As Gates was leaving Afghanistan on Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Amhadinejad arrived for meetings with many of the same officials that met with the secretary, and directly responded to his remarks: "Why is it that those who say they want to fight terrorism are never successful? I think it is because they are the ones who are playing a double game," Ahmadinejad said. They are the ones who set the terrorists on their course and now they say: 'Now we want to fight them'. Well they cannot, it is impossible."

Iran, Qatar sign security agreement

IRNA | March 9, 2010

Visiting Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar conferred on Tuesday [9 March] with Qatari Minister of State for Interior Affairs Shaykh Abdallah bin Nassir bin Khalifa al-Thani on expansion of security cooperation between the two countries.

At the meeting, the two ministers singed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on expansion of security and border cooperation.

The agreement covers various issues such as campaign against narcotic drugs, trafficking of goods, forgery of documents, money laundering, illegal economic affairs and organized crimes.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has signed a number of security accords with regional countries, said the Iranian interior minister, adding that this is the first ever security agreement between Iran and Qatar.

The MoU bears the message of peace and friendship for all countries of the region aiming to bring them welfare and security, he said.

Shell Says No Longer Selling Gasoline To Iran

Dow Jones | March 10, 2010

Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Wednesday it is no longer selling gasoline to Iran, the latest oil company to make such a move during threats of tougher sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

"Shell is not currently selling gasoline to Iran," a company spokesman said.

He declined to comment on whether it was related to sanctions against Iran.

Shell's move comes as a number of Western oil companies have decided to stop trading with Iran as international pressure bites deeper into its oil and gas industry.

Traders Vitol Holding BV and Glencore International AG, historically key fuel-oil suppliers to Iran, recently decided to halt sales of gasoline to the country.

Ingersoll Bars Units From Sales to Iran

WSJ | March 10, 2010

Ingersoll-Rand PLC said it has prohibited its subsidiaries from selling products to customers in Iran.

The move by the industrial-parts maker is part of an accelerating trend among major Western companies to reduce their business exposure to Iran.

Caterpillar Inc., Huntsman Corp., General Electric Co. and the German conglomerate Siemens AG have made similar moves over the past year.

The companies' decisions have been driven by pressure from Western governments to halt dealings with Iran, U.S. officials and industry watchers say. But they add that energy, engineering and technology concerns are also increasingly spooked by legislation passed by Congress in late January that would punish any international company aiding Iran's oil and gas sector.

Companies like Ingersoll and Caterpillar could be targeted under this legislation, congressional officials say, because their gear could be used to develop Iran's gas fields and refineries.

Israeli's Faith in Iran's Opposition Gains Favor

WSJ | March 10, 2010

Israel's oldest civil servant, 83-year-old Ministry of Defense adviser Uri Lubrani, has spent his career defying conventional wisdom on Iran.

Today, Israel's political and military establishment appears to be tilting toward one of his long-ignored views: Israeli support for Iran's opposition movement -- and not a military strike -- is the best way to combat the regime in Tehran.

Israeli officials have regularly suggested the country is ready to attack Iran to curb its nuclear program, which some Israelis view as a threat to the country's existence.

After the rise of the Iranian protest movement following disputed elections in June, Israeli leaders toned down the rhetoric. In February, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visiting Moscow, said Israel wasn't "planning any wars" against Tehran.

Israel says `bad options' for Iran getting closer

AP | March 10, 2010

The two "bad options" for Iran -- letting the country develop nuclear weapons or using force to destroy its nuclear capabilities -- are closer than they were a year ago, Israel's U.N. ambassador warned Tuesday.

Gabriela Shalev told journalists at the U.N. Israel still hopes diplomatic engagement and sanctions will halt Iran's push to become a nuclear power, but warned: "our intelligence tells us ... that Iran is racing towards this kind of nuclear capability, and it's not a matter of years."

She pointed out that Iran is already admitting that it's enriching uranium and that the level of enrichment is higher than needed for civilian use.

Shalev said high-ranking Israeli and U.S. government and military leaders both in Washington and Jerusalem are currently discussing whether a military strike could stop Iran's nuclear program.

Israel's chief of staff is visiting Washington, while U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is in Jerusalem.

Shalev said she was encouraged that Biden said Iran poses a threat to the United States.

"I say even more -- Iran is a threat to the whole world," she added.

Iran tries suspects in protester prison deaths

French court delays ruling on ex-Iran PM's killer

AP | March 9, 2010

A French court will decide in May whether to free a man convicted of assassinating former Iranian Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar at his home outside Paris in 1991, a lawyer said Tuesday.

The Paris court had been set to rule Tuesday on a possible release for Ali Vakili Rad but postponed the decision until May 18 because it is still awaiting a crucial document from the Interior Ministry, said Vakili Rad's lawyer, Sorin Margulis.

Judges have already said they favor a conditional release for Vakili Rad as long as the Interior Ministry issues an order that would expel him to Iran once he is freed. The order has not yet come through, said Margulis, adding that he planned to ask the Interior Ministry for an explanation for the delay.

A special terrorism court convicted Vakili Rad in 1994 in the strangling and stabbing death of Bakhtiar, then 76, and his aide, Souroush Katibeh. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of seeking conditional freedom in June 2009.

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