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Hardline Paper Rebukes Ayatollah Ardabili; Minister Survives Impeach Vote

06 Mar 2011 23:30Comments

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Iranian press and excerpts where the source is in English. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.

Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:30

Kayhan Managing Editor Hossein Shariatmadari.

11:30 p.m./March 6 Our columnist Muhammad Sahimi compiled the following news items and commentary:

Just hours after Grand Ayatollah Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardabili issued his highly critical statement about the situation in Iran, Kayhan, the mouthpiece of a faction of the security and intelligence forces, responded. Hossein Shariatmadari, the managing editor of Kayhan angrily asked the grand ayatollah why he had not criticized the leaders of the "sedition" (Green Movement) over the past 18 months. He accused him of being concerned about the reaction of "people" to the "treason" of the movement's leaders. Although the grand ayatollah had not named anyone, Shariatmadari acknowledged that he had criticized high officials and their treatment of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. At the same time, Shariatmadari also cast doubt on the authenticity of the statement, claiming that people around the grand ayatollah had written the statement, not him. Shariatmadari may have felt compelled to react because the grand ayatollah worked very closely with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei all the way from the prerevolutionary era to 1989, when he quit the government and returned to Qom.

In a meeting with the representatives of the agriculture sector, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, chairman of the Expediency Council, said, "It is not possible in today's world to rule with scare tactics and threats. The movements [in the Middle East] that we are witnessing today are the result of people becoming informed, which itself is the result of an explosion in information technology and mass media."

Judiciary chief Sadegh Larijani said today, "Unfortunately, a few people allow themselves to shout slogans in streets against anyone they want or those that they do not support and put him on trial. We cannot tolerate that." He also claimed that the debate about fraud in the last election is a big lie against the Islamic Republic.

The impeachment of Minister of Energy Majid Namjou was debated today in the Majles. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the meeting and defended his minister. The impeachment was then put to a vote: 102 deputies were opposed, and 101 supported the impeachment. As a result, Namjou will stay on as energy minister. In 2009, when Ahmadinejad introduced his cabinet for his second term, Namjou had received a vote of confidence from 210 deputies.

Sadegh Larijani said today that the Constitution of the Islamic Republic contains no provision for monitoring the performance of the Supreme Leader. While the Assembly of Experts, which appoints the Supreme Leader, is often described as having the authority to monitor the officeholder and even remove him from his post, Larijani said the assembly's post-appointment role is limited to holding meetings, debating the problems that the country faces, and submitting its reports to the Supreme Leader.

In 36 separate letters to Ahmadinejad, Majles Speaker Ali Larijani has declared that 36 plans that have been approved by his cabinet are not compatible with the laws of the country. According to the current laws, one week after the letters, the plans cannot be implemented.

A group of women's rights activists has issued a statement about Tuesday, March 8, International Women's Day. The statement supports the call by Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi to march on Tuesday to protest discrimination against women and the current condition of the country. Another women's civic group, Supporters of Laleh Park Mothers, also issued a statement that called for gatherings on March 8.

The political directorate of the Association of the Imam Line's Forces, a coalition of reformist and leftist groups, met today. It demanded the release of all the political prisoners, particularly Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Mehdi Hadavi, the first prosecutor after the 1979 Revolution -- he held the position for only four months -- has written a highly critical letter, protesting the imprisonment of his son Mohammad Amin Hadavi. The elder Hadavi was the head of the Qom branch of the judiciary in 1963, when the June 5 uprising began. He refused to sign the order to exile Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. His son was the commander of irregular warfare during the first two years of the war with Iraq. He was arrested on October 15, 2010. His offense has not been specified, nor has been accused of anything. His family has been told only that he has been arrested for security reasons. The elder Hadavi says that in the five months that his son has been in jail, all of his hair has turned white, and he has been frequently ill. He needs surgery, but the judiciary refuses to allow his family to hospitalize him.

Reports indicate that over the past several days several Sunni religious leaders have been arrested in Mashhad and Taaybaad. Sometime ago, Mowlavi Mohammad Fazeli, the Sunni Friday Prayer Imam of Taaybaad was first sacked and then arrested. Since then Mowlavi Adham Akhtari, Mowlavi Mozaffar, and Mowlavi Shams-allah Heydari have been arrested in Taaybaad. In Mashhad, Hafez Abdolrashid, the Friday Prayer Imam of a Sunni mosque, has been arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence.

Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf has appointed Vahab Darvish as the head of Tehran's subway system. Darvish was previously the head of the engineering division of the police force. Mohsen Hashemi, the subway system chief for 17 years, resigned last week. after being pressured by the hardliners for years. The son of Hashemi Rafsanjani, he had been under pressure from regime hardliners for many years.

Jaras, a pro-Green website, reports that after the February 14 demonstrations, the Supreme National Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the demonstrations. It quotes sources in Tehran that the council estimated that between 600,000 to 1 million people had taken part in the demonstrations.

Finally, over the past two days there have been severe criticisms of Ataollah Mohajerani, minister of culture and Islamic guidance in the Khatami administration and first vice president (Iran has eight vice presidents) to Rafsanjani. In a meeting in London, Mohajerani, who runs Jaras, said that Khamenei is not financially corrupt. This has angered the supporters of the Green Movement. At issue is whether Khamenei, as the most powerful person in Iran, is responsible for the vast corruption that even the judiciary acknowledges, even if he himself and his immediate family members have not benefited financially from their power. Many both within Iran and in the diaspora have criticized Mohajerani.

Copyright © 2011 Tehran Bureau

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