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Ayatollah Amjad: 'Lies Rule Supreme'; Mourning Held for 'Martyr' Saber

17 Jun 2011 23:00Comments

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Farsi and Arabic 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 Daylight Time (IRDT), GMT+4:30


11:30 p.m., 28 Khordad/June 18 Our columnist Muhammad Sahimi reports that the website that publishes the views of Ayatollah Amjad has now been officially blocked.

11:00 p.m., 27 Khordad/June 17 Our columnist Muhammad Sahimi compiled the following news items and commentary:

Ayatollah Mahmoud Amjad Kermanshahi, a popular cleric, has issued a statement to the nation in which he strongly criticizes what he calls "lawlessness, rogue behavior, and defamation." According to the ayatollah's statement,

It is due to the decent people of Iran and the young who want freedom, security, and justice as their natural rights that I have stayed in Iran; otherwise, I would have left it. No official is willing to accept responsibility for the unjust law breaking and the out-of-control chaos. Injustice has become so common that it no longer surprises the officials, and I too have no way of addressing this. The oppressed are murdered. The privacy of people's lives is violated, elementary legal freedom that is the right of any human being is taken away, sadness and depression cover the faces of young and old, the problems claim many victims. Lies and demagogy rule supreme, but [there is] no apology or attempt to do the right thing.

The traditional public mourning for journalist Reza Hoda Saber was held in Gholhak, in northern Tehran. There was a heavy presence of the security forces and plainclothes agents around the mosque in which the mourning was held. The event was allowed after assurances were given that those who spoke would not refer to Saber as a martyr, or even mention the fact that he had been imprisoned several times. But when Saber's son spoke about his father, he did describe him as a martyr. Reports indicate that at least one person was arrested. Many leading reformist figures and nationalist-religious activists participated in the mourning.

According to Ayande News, seven soldiers were accidentally killed Tuesday when they strayed into a minefield along the Iranian border with Iraqi Kurdistan, a local Kurdish official said on Thursday. Jabar Yawar, spokesman for the local Iraqi Kurdish forces, said the Iranian troops were new to the area, and had accidentally entered a minefield laid by Iran along the remote frontier with Kurdistan. Kurdish separatists have been active in the mountains in the area and have fought with the Iranian Army and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps troops in the past. Yawar said, "The newly arrived forces were unaware of the existence of a minefield where they got trapped. The mines killed all of them. There were seven of them, according to the information we have obtained." Aftab News, the website that is close to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, reported that eight soldiers were killed.

Cleric Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam said that the principlists will not work with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to form a coalition for the Majles elections, to be held next March 2. Mesbahi Moghaddam, who is a member of the central committee of the influential Society of Militant Clergy, added that the principlists will be independent of the president. A few days ago, First Deputy Majles Speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar had also said that the "perverted group" will prevent a coalition of the principlists and Ahmadinejad's supporters.

Seyyed Emad Hosseini, spokesman for the Majles Energy Commission, said that many of the statistics presented by the Ahmadinejad administration about progress in the South Pars natural gas field in the Persian Gulf are not reliable. South Pars is the largest gas field in the world, with 8 percent of global reserves. Hosseini said that, contrary to the government's claims, production from phases 15-18 of the field will not be possible before the end of the current Iranian year (next March). South Pars is supposed to be developed in 28 phases, of which the first ten are currently producing. Hosseini said that Iran is ten years behind Qatar, with which it shares the field.

As reported by Tehran Bureau, in the letter Ahmadinejad sent to the Majles nominating Hamid Sajjadi to be minister of sports and youth affairs, the president also criticized the legislation establishing the ministry. Majles deputy Ali Motahari, a critic of Ahmadinejad and brother-in-law of Speaker Ali Larijani, said that 90 deputies have signed a letter calling for Ahmadinejad to be summoned to the Majles for questioning over his handling of the issue. The letter will be submitted to the leadership of the Majles in the next ten days. Motahari also criticized certain deputies who have been ardent Ahmadinejad supporters. In particular, he mentioned Ruhollah Hosseinian, a hardline former Ministry of Intelligence official and close friend of Saeed Emami, who led the gang responsible for the infamous Chain Murders. Motahari said that people like Hosseinian supported Ahmadinejad blindly and zealously, which made him arrogant and boastful, with the result being the current conflict between the president and his critics.

Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi, 80, leader of the Liberation Movement of Iran (who supposedly resigned from the position), has been summoned to court again. His son-in-law Mehdi Nourbakhsh, who lives in the United States, said that although Yazdi was released from prison in March, he is still under pressure and has repeatedly been threatened with being sent back to jail. According to Nourbakhsh, Yazdi has been summoned to court to respond to charges that were raised ten years ago, including founding the Liberation Movement of Iran -- which happened in 1961 when the Islamic Republic did not even exist -- disturbing people's minds, and acting against national security. Nourbakhsh added that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has a personal grudge against Yazdi that goes back decades, and that he believes that Khamenei is personally involved in any decision regarding Yazdi.

Ali Moezzi, a political prisoner during the 1980s, has been arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and taken to an unknown location. The arrest took place last Saturday, when the agents went to Moezzi's home and took his computer and books in addition to detaining him. Moezzi suffering from kidney disease and must be monitored by doctors. He was previously arrested in 2008 because his son was a member of an opposition group outside Iran.

Akbar Rouhani, a young blogger and reformist activist, was arrested. Security agents went to his business in Qom, seized his computer, books, and other personal belongings, and took him into custody.

Copyright © 2011 Tehran Bureau

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