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Glamorous Hairstyles and Necklaces, the 'Jinn' Is in the Jeans

15 Jun 2011 04:45Comments

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

4:45 a.m., 25 Khordad/June 15 Via IRNA, Iran's official state news agency, the Guardian reports that necklaces are now verboten for Iranian men:

Iranian men have been banned from wearing necklaces in the latest crackdown by the Islamic regime on "un-Islamic" clothing and haircuts.

Thousands of special forces have been deployed in Tehran's streets, participating in the regime's "moral security plan" in which loose-fitting headscarves, tight overcoats and shortened trousers that expose skin will not be tolerated for women, while men are warned against glamorous hairstyles and wearing a necklace.

The new plan comes shortly after the Iranian parliament proposed a bill to criminalise dog ownership, on the grounds that it "poses a cultural problem, a blind imitation of the vulgar culture of the west".

HC-GQ017_Farsi__BV_20110608110121.gifHomepage photo from "New Visual Culture of Modern Iran," via an epic summer blog. YouTube video features interview with young man on state television who claims that jeans actually come from the word "jinn" and towering high-heels are designed to make a woman's feet look like jinn hooves; wearing jeans is also supposed to have a hazardous effect on a man's testicle because it raises the temperature and renders men infertile; last but not least, T-shirts with writing and numbers on them are actually signals designed to make people stray from the path of God.

Our columnist Muhammad Sahimi compiled the following news items and commentary:

Strong reactions to the sudden death of Reza Hoda Saber, both in Iran and internationally, continue. In Iran, various groups have issued statements condemning the lack of proper care and attention by prison officials that led to his death. They include the Office for Consolidation of Unity (Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat), the Organization of University Graduates (Advar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat), and other groups that support the Green Movement. Messages of condolence for Saber's family also continue to pour in, including ones from Grand Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, former minister of science, research, and technology and presidential candidate Dr. Mostafa Moein, the family of the late Dr. Ali Shariati, the families of political prisoners, and nationalist-religious activists of Tabriz.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Dr. Karim Lahidji, vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and president of the Iranian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LDDHI), said,

The demise of Hoda Saber in Evin Prison is another sign of the looming human catastrophe in Iranian prisons. The conditions in those prisons are by far below the international standards and are deteriorating day by day. The authorities are responsible for the safety and lives of all prisoners, but they have consistently failed to treat prisoners -- in particular the prisoners of conscience -- fairly and humanely. Most prisoners are denied proper and adequate medical and health care. Experts of the Lyon-based International Observatory of Prisons have been asking unsuccessfully to visit the Iranian prisons for several years. The international community should persuade the Iranian authorities to open the prisons to such visits.

All 64 political prisoners currently held in Evin Prison's Ward 350, where Saber was incarcerated, testified in a letter that after experiencing pain in his chest and digestive disorders, "Hoda Saber was taken to Evin Prison's clinic at 4 a.m. on Friday, 10 June, but was returned after two hours, while he was still writhing in pain and saying that he had been beaten up and insulted in the clinic. Following the deterioration of his condition and his complaints of having diarrhea and nausea, he was taken away again on a stretcher a couple of hours later and died under unclear conditions on the same day." The political prisoners declared that they hold the state responsible for Saber's death, and that they will pursue the matter in any way they can until his death is investigated and the rights of Iranian citizens are respected.

In a press conference, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi implicitly admitted that the government shares at least part of the responsibility for Hoda Saber's death: "On Friday he [Saber] says that he is ill. He was taken to the prison's medical center twice, and then due to the severity of illness transferred to a hospital, but had a heart attack in the hospital. In the case that we have opened [on Saber's death], we have said that the condition of the prisoners must have been reported to the prosecutor faster. We would have informed the family of the prisoners, and they would have been permitted to talk to any physician and hospital and take him him there, but this happened with delay and there was no time for selecting the hospital."

Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, the national prosecutor and judiciary spokesman, also said that his office has asked prison officials several questions about the case, but has not yet received their responses. Ejei also confirmed that several people in Ahmadinejad's inner circle have been arrested, but did not provide any details, or even the names of those detained.

The Coordination Council for the Green Path of Hope has called on the Iranian people to stage peaceful gatherings in cities -- without specifying where, in order to avoid having the security forces take control of particular areas -- on Wednesday, the second anniversary of the huge, peaceful demonstrations in Tehran in which, according to Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, at least 3.5 million people took part. The council also called on the people to gather Thursday at the graves of those who were killed in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election.

Mohammad Nabi Habibi, secretary-general of the influential conservative Islamic Coalition Party, said that Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have not retreated from their positions and, therefore, they should not be released from house arrest. He added, "I consider their sin unforgivable. They have destroyed all bridges behind them." He rejected the suggestion of former President Mohammad Khatami for the immediate release of Mousavi and Karroubi.

Khayzaran Online, a conservative website, said that many who supported Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2009 election no longer accept him as president. It also said that, "Many of us also do not accept some of the things that the state did [to the people] in the aftermath of the elections."

In a letter to the Majles, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad nominated Seyyed Hamid Sajjadi as minister of sports and youth affairs, but he also declared that the legislation establishing the ministry has many ambiguities and contradictions, and that it will damage both sports and youth affairs. Since the Majles approved the founding of the ministry, Ahmadinejad has resisted by not nominating anyone to lead it. After the 90-day nomination deadline expired, Majles Speaker Ali Larijani threatened to charge Ahmadinejad with a constitutional violation, an act that could lead to impeachment. In his letter, Ahmadinejad declared, "Now that I apparently have no choice but to nominate the minister, despite all the problems and difficulties, I nominate Mr. Seyyed Hamid Sajjadi, a familiar face of the country's sports as the minister."

In response, Larijani said, "Such letters do not hurt the credibility of the Majles, because the Majles has acquired its credibility from Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini and the Constitution." Majles deputy and Ahmadinejad critic Ahmad Tavakoli said that there was a legal way of resolving the differences between the president and the Majles regarding the ministry, but Ahmadinejad chose not to follow it. He also said that as both the Majles and the Guardian Council have emphasized that the law must be implemented, and the Supreme Leader has said the same, the administration must do so without any excuses. Another Majles deputy, Heshmatollah Falahat Pisheh, said that Ahmadinejad's letter violates the Constitution and must not be accepted by parliament. He called the letter a "glass of poison" for the Majles.

Four Majles deputies have asked Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to clarify the role that Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Ahmadinejad's chief of staff and close confidant, plays in the country's foreign policy. Their letter observes, "According to various reports, Mr. Mashaei has made dozens of foreign trips as the head of the Organization for Cultural Heritage and Tourism, and has had additional meetings with the officials of [foreign] countries. How many of such trips have taken place and what were the reasons for them? Did the meeting take place in the presence of a representative of the Foreign Ministry? If not, how was the ministry sure that what happened was in a direction of protecting the national interests of the country?" The letter, signed by Ahmad Tavakoli, Elyas Naderan, Hassan Rahimi, and Mohammad Dehghan, has been sent to the Majles Commission on National Security and Foreign Policy for follow-up.

In his press conference Dolatabadi denied reports that Mashaei, who has not appeared in public for several days, is under house arrest. He also said that the judiciary has taken Iran newspaper, which supports Ahmadinejad, to court after it attacked Revolutionary Guard commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari and Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, the reactionary cleric that used to support Ahmadinejad but has turned against him. Iran had called the two men "hardliners" and accused them of waging a "psychological warfare" against the government. Dolatabadi also reported that six managers in the Ministry of Oil were arrested two weeks ago and held for two days until they posted bail, and that 12 others have been arrested and charged with financial corruption.

Breaking a long-standing tradition, Ahmadinejad removed Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi from the Money and Credit Council, and appointed Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Abdolreza Sheikholeslami in his stead.

Minister of Science, Research, and Technology Kamran Daneshjoo was summoned to the Majles to respond to a question from Elyas Naderan regarding the doctoral degree that First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi claims to have. Daneshjoo said that his ministry does not recognize the university from which Rahimi supposedly received his degree. According to him, it appears to be the sort from which a degree can be purchased by mail, but he asked, "How could I know who has corresponded with such universities that we do not even recognize?"

Tavakoli also said that the judiciary is completing its financial corruption case against Rahimi. Tavakoli previously reported that three judges told Ahmadinejad that the case against his first vice president is serious and that he should be put on trial.

There have been demonstrations in Isfahan and Khomeini Shahr after a group of thugs attacked a family inside their villa and raped the women who were there partying. The police claimed that in response to "provocative" behavior by the family, their neighbor summoned his friends and together they attacked the household. There were 13 attackers, of whom five have so far been arrested.

Majles deputy Hassan Ghafouiri Fard reported that he and several other deputies visited the Bushehr nuclear reactor and its state "is even behind what it was three months ago." He said that although nuclear fuel has again been inserted in the reactor, after it was removed a few months to allow certain repairs, conditions have yet to return to normal.

The Central Bank reduced the rate of exchange between the U.S. dollar and Iranian currency slightly, which was followed by a larger decrease in the rate in the unofficial currency market. The unofficial rate had risen sharply after the bank increased its own rate by 11 percent, which provoked strong protests from various economic sectors.

Copyright © 2011 Tehran Bureau

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