Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Supportive of “Effective President,” Again

Ayatollah Khamenei Comments at the Elm-va-San’at University

Ayatollah Khamenei’s presence at the Elm va San’at (Science and Industry) University, ‎was announced earlier, was so unexpected that some conservative media outlets received ‎news of the visit after the event. Iran’s supreme leader, who had cancelled his Saturday’s ‎visit to the University, came to the school after an eight-day delay to once again declare ‎his support for President Ahmadinejad among people who were brought to the forum ‎since the morning and from outside the university. ‎

Although in early December President Ahmadinejad’s Science Minister had announced ‎that ayatollah Khamenei would be visiting the University on December 7 which is ‎commemorated as Student’s Day in Iran as a step to “thwart conspiracies of certain anti-‎revolutionaries,” the meeting was cancelled and, contrary to the expectations of those ‎who thought that Khamenei would instead visit the University of Tehran, he in fact did ‎visit the Elm va Saanat University, where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had studied thirty ‎years ago and lectured for some time as well. ‎

This issue became the pretext for the leader of Iran to dedicate a portion of his speech to ‎supporting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Defending Ahmadinejad by calling him a ‎‎“revolutionary, committed, effective, active and courageous” individual, ayatollah ‎Khamenei said, “The revered and timeless symbol of the holy defense [referring to the 8-‎year Iran-Iraq war] Hajj Ahmad Motevasselian as well as our revolutionary, committed, ‎effective, active and courageous President are among the prominent symbols of the Elm ‎va Saanat University’s alumni.” ‎

This follows a series of instances in which ayatollah Khemenei has expressed his support ‎for Ahmadinejad’s administration. Three months ago, coinciding with Government ‎Week, when some politicians pointed to the country’s tumultuous economic conditions ‎and criticized Ahmadinejad and his administration’s policies, Khamenei publicly ‎expressed his support for the administration during a meeting with cabinet members and ‎accused critics of “opposing the Islamic Republic regime.” ‎

Yesterday’s speech by Iran’s leader at the University was important in another respect as ‎he introduced his desired next president during the speech. ‎

In recent weeks, with increasing criticisms of the ninth administration’s performance ‎surfacing, conservatives, who are the administration’s main proponents, have announced ‎plans such as forming a national unity government to perhaps pass over Ahmadinejad in ‎that way. Nevertheless, yesterday’s speech by the supreme leader in support of ‎Ahmadinejad nullified any such plans. ‎

In his speech yesterday, Khamenei also sent messages to reformists, especially figures ‎such as Khatami who are considering whether to run for the presidency next year or step ‎aside. According to the supreme leader’s office, without referring to any by name, the ‎Khamenei called for courage and self-confidence among officials in “making clear the ‎principles that constitute the regime’s identity,” adding, “If one day, among the country’s ‎officials we find weak and impotent officials like Shah Sultan Hussein [an Iranian King ‎under whose rule the Afghans invaded the country’s capital], the era of this country and ‎the Islamic Republic is over, because weak and impotent officials turn courageous ‎nations into weak nations.” ‎

In a part of his speech, Khamenei apologized to students for being ill and having a weak ‎voice, saying to them, “Although I have been feeling ill for a few days, I did not want to ‎delay this meeting; I was eager to be present among you, students.”‎

The reaction of students present in the hall was obvious. According to Fars news agency, ‎‎“Students prayed for the supreme leader’s health at this point.” ‎

Monday, December 15, 2008

General Firouzabadi Attacks Larijani

Armed Forces Joint Staff Chief Threatens “Colluders”


The armed forces Joint Chief of Staff criticized the “faction in Majlis and administration colluding with America” and accused those who support relations with America of being enemy “infiltrators.”

Major General Seyyed Hasan Firouzabadi, who was speaking to the Joint Staff Chief generals, reacted to recent remarks by Ali Larijani indicating “reviewing possible responses to members of American Congress” by saying, “The danger that threatens the revolution today and at this juncture in time is that the Americans send messages and some people say here that we are reviewing messages from Americans.”

This military official, who received a “medal of independence” from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad two weeks earlier, added, “People who say these things are American infiltrators. The reformists said the same things too.”

What Major General Firouzabadi is criticizing in his interview are seeming attempts in recent weeks by several government officials to establish relations with the United States.

Eighth Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, though he has likened the president-elect of the United States in recent days to a “cowboy,” in several occasions he has discussed the letter authored by several American senators seeking to negotiate with members of the Iranian Majlis. Larijani said last week to IRNA that he is reviewing the letter of American senators to Iranian lawmakers, adding, “We have not yet responded because it is necessary for us to know around what issues these negotiations would revolve.”

Major General Firouzabadi is a military figure close to the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and among the handful of military icons who have preserved their position since Khamenei’s appointment to supreme leadership. Firouzabadi has served as the Islamic Republic’s Joint Staff Chief since 1368 (1990). The institution is the highest armed forces institution in Iran which is in charge of strategizing and managing all of Iran’s armed forces, including the army, the Revolutionary Guards and the State Security Forces.

Anti-Ahmadinejad Speech among Basijis

Ahmadinejad Supporters Criticize Student Basij Seminar

Influential criticisms by Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohsen Rezaei, Danesh-Jafari and Pour-Mohammadi of the Ahmadinejad administration’s economic policies during the seminar, “Privatization: Obstacles and Opportunities,” which was held by the Student Basij organization, has enraged the administration’s supporters.

Hashemi Rafsanjani said during the seminar, “The Supreme Leader requested from the Expediency Council in a clear letter to devise policies and strategies in connection with implementation of Article 44 of the Constitution [privatization]. In 2004, when we finished our work, the Supreme Leader approved very quickly… We said give us five years and the government will transfer 20 percent of factories and facilities under its ownership to the private sector every year, the Supreme Leader approved and signed… Another policy the Supreme Leader was more concerned about than us was the issue of dependency on oil. At that time he said that my dream is to celebrate the closure of the last oil well, so we devised a 10-year plan according to which every year the government reduces its dependence on oil by 10 percent.”

Hashemi Rafsanjani then added, “Five years have passed since that date. The big question that lingers is, how much has this been implemented? Our oil revenues that have been unprecedented in history, how have they been spent? Have we spent them on development? These questions are not related at all to political competitions. Here, we are talking about implementation of Supreme Leader’s policies and these questions must be answered clearly.”

In another part of his speech, noting the ninth administration’s slow pace of privatization and unaccounted for expenditure, Hashemi Rafsanjani asked of the Basijis, “You must ask what has happened to revenue generated from privatizing factories and government facilities? We hope that everything was conducted in accordance with law.”

Rafsanjani also asked the Basijis to pay more attention to issues related to Article 44: “The source of these policies is your Supreme Leader and you must feel the duty to implement them more than ever. Allah willing, you will not be accused of politicking and creating obstacles. Your stances are clear and you will not be accused of opposing the Supreme Leader’s orders.

During the seminar, when one member of the Student Basij accused the gathering o being political and asked Hashemi why no representative from the ninth administration was invited to the gathering to respond to the charges, Hashemi cleverly responded, “Really you should ask this of the administration, I cannot respond to this on their behalf. Head of all three branches must be held responsible when it comes to Article 44.”

Reacting to Hashemi Rafsanjani’s speech at the Student Basij seminar, Raja News website, affiliated with the administration, wrote, “The aforementioned seminar contains discussions and remarks that are devised and voiced only to oppose the Ahmadinejad administration, so much so that the suspicion was that this gathering was organized by reformist groups, but the reality is otherwise.”

Noting that “the gathering lacked responsible and measured leadership by the Basij,” Raja News concluded, “holding such gatherings with guest whose only motivation seems to be to blast and question the administration and its policies achieves nothing other than to destabilize the environment and question the performance and service of the present administration.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New technology for Democracy

President George W. Bush meets with international bloggers and new media users on human rights Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. White House photo by Chris Greenberg

Today is December 10, and President of United state invited me and some Journalists and blogger from several country. Following text is my speech in With House:

It`s a pleasure to be here as an Iranian journalist and blogger.

As an Iranian person I want to tell you Mr. president, Thank you for always separating Iranian people from Iran`s government.

History is a good science because it tells us that 60 years ago Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, helped to create the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Also, history tells us Five Hundred years before Christ, there was a king in Persian that helped to develop Human rights. Cyrus the Great was a supporter of peace for other countries and he freed the Jews and repatriated them to their region following their Babylonian captivity.

Yes, history also tells us, Now there is a president in the Islamic republic of Iran that said "Israel must be wiped off the map." You can compare these two act together.

Mr. President,

I know you understand that Iranian people have problems with their government. Now I want to tell you about my experience on how I could promote reform despite the government and try to stop it.

I`ve been working as a journalist for over ten years. I started my blog seven years ago, when the Iranian ministry of intelligence pressured me to censor some news.

I wrote articles about Iran’s nuclear energy activity and asking it to stop but they forced me not to publish these articles. Censorship is the worst thing to journalists so I decided to challenge it.

Some other journalists and I use a new technology for the war against censorship. The Style of work was easy. Everything that was impossible to publish in newspapers, we published on weblogs.

After a short time, my blog became famous for reporting real, uncensored news.

Unfortunately, Iran`s government became sure that the Internet and blogging helps spread democracy and for this reason, they started the filtering and persecution of blogs.

They didn’t tell people that everything was being filtering. They told them we filter only immoral sites.

There is a lot of Persecution. They arrested me in 2005 and first sentenced me to 14 years of prison and then in the appeal court reduced it to 3 years. Also, around the same time, the Iranian government arrested more than 45 bloggers and journalists and held them in solitary confinement for a long time.

Now, More than five Millions sites and blogs are filtered in Iran.

In the meantime, Sepah Pasdaran (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) decided to start ten thousand new blogs. A special Magazine of IRGC announced that the US government wants regime change in Iran by using public policy tools like the Internet and blogs.

I want to tell you why blogging is important and why it help to the spread of democracy in Iran.

Iran is the fifth Classification in the world and we have half a million bloggers. They write, take pictures and publish their blogs daily or weekly.

Iran doesn’t like this because my colleagues publish important data. We write about "abuses of human rights in Iran", "Iran`s nuclear activity", "women rights" and other things. I want to tell you a fresh example:

President Ahmadinejad elected Mr. Ali Kordan as "interior ministry of Iran" four months ago. They told us, Ali kordan is "Honorary doctorate in law from Oxford University". Iranian bloggers very soon discovered Ali Kordan doesn’t have this honorary degree. More than twenty thousand blogs wrote that the new minister lied. This wasn’t the end of his case. After a short time, we realized he doesn’t have any degree, either a Masters or a bachelor degree. He only had a simple diploma. Finally, the Iranian Parliament impeached him after ninety days only. That was Success for Iranian blogger community.

Blogging rose in Iran. Now, Iranian student use this technology to publish their activities. Also, most of all women use it. They are involved in the campaign for "one million signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws" and they write about their successes and experiences on blogs.

Before ending my talk, I want to give you some messages from Iranian bloggers. I asked them what they would like to ask the President of the United States. I asked about 45 people Inside Iran. More than 30 persons had the same request. They believe that Iran is buying filtering technology from American and Chinese company. They ask you, please don’t allow American companies to sell such technology to the Iranian government for extending ofg censorship and Filtering..

Another point raised was about supporting democracy in Iran. Iran has a Young population. 70 percent are under the age of 35. Also, 60 percent of Iranian bloggers are under this age. For this reason, they need a new media.

And Finally, They wish to tell you, although Iran’s government supports some terrorist groups, but the Iranian people are not the Axis of evil.

Thank you so much

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Where we Disagree, I “Obey”‎

Hashemi: My Love is Khamenei!‎


Speaking to a group of Sharif University students, Akbar Hashemi, while criticizing the ‎ninth administration’s performance, criticized taking over the American embassy in 1980 ‎and referred to ayatollah Khamenei as his “love.”‎

After delivering a speech on Saturday evening at the Sharif University Akbar Hashemi ‎Rafsanjani responded to written questions from students. During the question and ‎response session, Hashemi was asked, “Are you in constant contact with the supreme ‎leader and what is the level and nature of such contact?” Hashemi, the head of the ‎powerful Assembly of Experts, which supervises the supreme leader’s performance, ‎responded, “You won’ find two people in this country who are closer to one another than ‎myself and the supreme leader.” When asked, “Do you still like him?” Hashemi ‎responded, “Very much! My love is Mr. Khamenei. I and Mr. Khamenei have been ‎close friends and confidants for over 50 years and we consult with one another about ‎everything.” ‎

The head of the Assembly of Experts also claimed to be the Islamic Republic supreme ‎leader’s dinner biweekly dinner guest on a regular bases, during which they “discuss ‎current issues for one or two hours,” adding, “Before he became the supreme leader once ‎I would go to his house and once he would come to mine, but after Mr. Khamenei’s ‎promotion I always go to him.” ‎

Nevertheless, yesterday the head of the Assembly of Experts uttered a sentence that ‎implicitly acknowledged differences between him and ayatollah Khamenei on certain ‎issues. Commenting on their differences, Hashemi said, “We solved this issue by ‎agreeing that if in some case I have to forgo my opinion in an issue where I disagree with ‎him I am justified, because I can say my leader has decided so and I must obey my leader ‎legally and religiously and this is our arrangement. Indeed, he is the leader and we are ‎the followers.” ‎

Noting in yesterdays speech that “If factories, refineries and industries are not native ‎independence has no meaning,” Hashemi again criticized the ninth administration’s ‎performance, adding, “Unfortunately, today we are in the danger of dependence due to ‎heavy importing and this is not good for our native industries.” ‎

Hashemi explained his definition of independence by criticizing the North Korean model, ‎warning, “Independence is not enough because there are countries such as North Korea ‎which have closed their borders so that no one enters or exits. They have political ‎independence but Iran does not want to be like them because we can tackle the biggest ‎superpowers.” ‎

In an indirect attack on Ahmadinejad’s economic policies, the head of the Assembly of ‎Experts noted, “Some think helping the poor means handing them something to eat,” ‎adding, “But I rely on an Islamic and political and management-oriented outlook and ‎believe we must act in a way to enable the poor to stand on their feet and live with ‎dignity.” ‎

This section of Hashemi’s speech was a direct response to remarks by Ahmadinejad three ‎days ago. One week ago Hashemi Rafranjani criticized the administration’s economic ‎policies to which Ahmadinejad responded on Thursday, “You have abandoned the ‎people. You must know that the people aren’t your family and party friends. People are ‎those who are willing to sacrifice their lives for their country and revolution on the streets ‎of Zanjan and other parts of the country. We are prepared to solve the roots of people’s ‎economic problems, despite the wishes of a selfish bunch who do not want economic ‎reforms to take place.” ‎

In another part of his speech, the head of the Assembly of Experts criticized some actions ‎performed in the past during the cultural revolution and the hostage crisis of 1980. ‎

Noting that “Not all revolutionary measures were in our hands,” Hashemi claimed, “Even ‎in the case of the hostage crisis Mr. Khamenei and I were not aware. At that time we ‎were in Mecca and heard at midnight on the radio that the nest of spies has been ‎overtaken and that Bazargan has resigned. Certain things took place that now can be ‎criticized and wished that they hadn’t happened.” ‎

Hashemi also criticized the “extremism” of “angry student” during the cultural revolution ‎which led to a two-year closure of universities in years immediately after the revolution: ‎‎“We didn’t really make that decision at the cultural council, but a number of students got ‎enraged and shut down the universities for two years.” ‎

Noting that many of the country’s university professors left the country or were purged ‎by mistake, Hashemi insisted, “One of the things that happened at that time was the ‎purging of university professors, many of whom should not have been purged.” ‎

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Billionaire General to Replace Kordan?

Kayhan Supports New Corrupt Interior Minister

With the obligation to introduce an interim Interior Minister following the impeached ‎removal of Interior Minister Ali Kordan last week, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad introduced ‎Sadegh Mahsouli to the Majlis Speaker last week as his minister for the Interior Ministry.‎

Sadeq Mahsouli is not an unfamiliar name for the administration and Majlis. When four ‎out of Ahmadinejad’s 21 proposed ministers failed to receive votes of confidence from ‎the Majlis in summer of 2005, Ahmadinejad introduced one of his close friend, Sadegh ‎Mahsouli, to run Iran’s Ministry of Oil. ‎

At that time, members of the seventh Majlis opposed the selection by discussing ‎controversies surrounding Mahsouli’s vast wealth and dubbing him the “billionaire ‎general.” Finally, in response to lawmakers’ growing protests, Mahsouli announced his ‎withdrawal for the position one night before he was scheduled to receive a vote of ‎confidence in the Majlis. Angered by the lawmakers’ negative reaction to Mahsouli, ‎Ahmadinejad selected him as his senior advisor. ‎

Last spring Ahmadinejad referred to Mahsouli during a speech in Qom while speaking ‎about the oil mafia: “The first time we introduced a Hezbollahi brother to curb corruption ‎in the oil ministry but they accused that brother of mafia connections in a pamphlet.” ‎

Ahmadinejad referred to Mahsouli as an anti-corruption “Hezbollahi brother” while the ‎media has published numerous documents and articles about his vast wealth, financial ‎corruption and land swaps with Iran’s northern neighbors during Ahmadinejad’s reign as ‎Ardebil’s governor, whereby he purchased large areas of land below market price to ‎develop properties. ‎

Mahsouli admitted in the Fall of 2005 to the Majlis oil committee that in the past 10 years ‎he had accumulated 160 billion dollars in wealth through property development. ‎

Billionaire General
Sadegh Mahsouli was Ahmadinejad’s friend in college, and served as his superior ‎commander during the Iran-Iraq War, when he served as the commander of special sixth ‎division of the Revolutionary Guards while Ahmadinejad served as a deputy engineer in ‎the same division. This former military commander aided his friend at an important ‎juncture, which solidified his relationship with Ahmadinejad. When, during the 2003 ‎city council election, the conservatives managed to win enough seats to control Tehran’s ‎municipal government and decided to appoint Ahmadinejad as mayor of Tehran, the ‎Khatami administration’s interior minister refused to approve Ahmadinejad’s ‎appointment decree for a long time. At that time, Sadegh Mahsouli convinced his ‎brother-in-law, Ali Akbar Velayati, who serves as special advisor in international affairs ‎to Ayatollah Khamenei, to intervene and with Velayati’s assistance Ahmadinejad’s ‎decree was approved. ‎

Two years later Ahmadinejad became the president and when his first choice for the oil ‎ministry, Saeedlu, was unable to receive a vote of confidence from the Majlis, he ‎introduced Sadegh Mahsouli as his candidate for the oil ministry, even though his name ‎was previously thrown around in connection to the post and prompted a negative reaction ‎by the seventh Majlis. In this regard Shahab website wrote: “The introduction of ‎Mahsouli at a time when the rhetoric to fight the oil mafia had become widespread led to ‎an uproar by the ideologue Majlis representatives. The criticism essentially revolved ‎around his personal wealth and came a boiling point when Emad Afrough the then Majlis ‎representative from Tehran proclaimed that Mahsuli possessed illegitimate windfall ‎wealth while Ali Asghari the representative from Mashhad called him the Billionaire ‎Governor.”‎

It should be noted that Asghari had also talked, without providing any details, about the ‎‎$6.5 million case belonging to Mahsuli about his sale of oil to Tajikistan and reminded ‎that a complaint had been filed in the Majlis against him, an investigation that required ‎more time. But as time has passed, no investigation or a discussion about this issue has ‎been made over the last three years after Mahsuli withdrew as the candidate to the ‎ministry of oil.‎

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tehran Awaits Change

Reactions to Obama’s Election

With the finality in US presidential elections, some Iranian officials have ‎expressed their hope that President elect Barack Obama will now implement ‎the “policy of change” that he has promised.

Contrary to the prediction of Iran’s president three months ago that “I do not ‎think the will let Obama become the next US President,” on Wednesday ‎morning (Iranian tie) Barack Obama was pronounced as the forty fourth ‎president of the United States of America. In Iran, a number of officials ‎made comments on this event.‎

Iranian Foreign Minister Manoutchehr Mottaki said, “The election of Barack ‎Obama to the presidency of the US is a clear indication of the desire and ‎aspiration of the people of that country for basic changes in America’s ‎domestic and foreign policies,” adding that he hoped that the new US ‎administration would succeed in meeting the wishes of the American people ‎which have been distanced through the wrong policies of current American ‎politicians.‎

Iran’s former Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel said that the election ‎of Barack Obama indicated the defeat of American policies across the world, ‎and added, “Americans are forced to make changes in their policies because ‎of the quagmire created by Bush. This victory is the reality of American ‎failure across the world.” Fars news agency which quoted Adel reminded its ‎readers that, “Obama entered the race with the rhetoric that we need change ‎and the victory of this call is the acknowledgement of the American nation ‎that Bush’s policies in the world have failed.”‎

The first deputy Speaker of Iran’s Majlis Mohammad Hassan Abutorabi-fard ‎interpreted the election of Barack Obama to be indicative of the failure of ‎American policies across the world, and said, “By using the failed ‎experience of Bush and his wrong policies in the Middle East, Obama can ‎undertake to correct this behavior.” According to Abutorabi-fard, US ‎policies towards Iran’s nuclear issue, the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, ‎and support for Israel “have led to America’s isolation among the nations of ‎Asia, Islamic world, and independent and freedom-loving states.‎

Hamid-reza Haji Babai, a leadership member of the Majlis pointed to the ‎election of Barack Obama to the presidency in the US and referenced his ‎campaign slogans adding, to AFP news agency, that “Iran now awaits ‎change. Obama has promised change and we await that change.” Babai ‎added, “During the last eight years, through militarism and this financial ‎crises George Bush has created a bad atmosphere around the world against ‎the US and the election of McCain would have made matters worse.”‎

In a related news, after the announcement of Obama’s victory, Iran’s Joint ‎Chief of Staff issued a communiqué to US commanders in Iraq, which semi-‎state Fars news agency called “a warning” and an internet news site ‎affiliated to the Principalists (i.e. Iranian idealogues) called it the “response ‎of Iran to Obama.”‎

This communiqué writes, “It has been observed recently that US Army ‎helicopters engage in flights close to the Iraqi-Iranian border and because of ‎the weaving border line between the two countries, it is possible that they ‎could stray into Iranian territory. Therefore, forces in charge of patrolling the ‎borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran would respond to any intrusion. ‎Therefore this is a warning to change the helicopter flight paths to a safe ‎distance so that the danger of a mistake does not take place.”‎

On this subject, Jahan News website wrote, “It appears that this resounding ‎communiqué by the armed forces of Iran is addressed to the next US ‎president rather than to US forces in Iraq. The timing of the communiqué ‎issued by Iran’s armed forces indicates that Iran had Barack Obama in ‎mind, a day after won the presidential race.”‎

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Order to Build “Innovative Weapons”

Deputy Army Commander Announced,,3604329_4,00.jpg

‎Iran’s deputy army commander announced that the Islamic Republic supreme leader has ‎ordered the development of “new” and “innovative” weapons. ‎

Announcing the order by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Islamic Republic supreme leader, to ‎build new weaponry to meet the country’s needs, Iran's deputy army commander added, ‎‎“In his order, while praising the success in satisfying various military demands ‎domestically, he has emphasized that such hardware and systems be designed and ‎produced that have no precedence in defense technology, are not know and will open up ‎new domains in the defense sector.” ‎

Without elaborating further details, the acting army commander noted, “One of the ways ‎of prevailing over enemy in an all-out-war is to employ weaponry which the enemy is ‎unfamiliar with.”‎

Confirming receipt of orders to build innovative weapons, Abdolrahim Mousavi noted, ‎‎“We announce with reason and logic that we can be victorious in asymmetric warfare ‎against foreign enemies,” adding, “In war, the victorious party is the one that is able to ‎impose its will on the enemy, and we are able to do that.” ‎

Meanwhile, Abdolrahim Mousavi told the Fars news agency, “We believe that equipment ‎alone is not sufficient for victory, but other variables, such as geopolitical and strategic ‎factors, are also important weapons in possession of the Islamic Republic.”‎

He added that the military has devised plans to defend every corner of the nation and that ‎every part of the nation would act as an armed force against the enemy in case of an ‎attack. ‎

Noting, “Various areas have been identified for inflicting damage on the enemy in ‎defense courses of the armed forces,” Mousavi emphasized, “If it is necessary, in order to ‎prevail in war, we will inflict unexpected damages on the enemy beyond our borders.” ‎The deputy army commander reiterated plans to expand war to areas outside Iran in case ‎of a foreign attack, noting, “In the case that threats are materialized, we would not remain ‎inside our borders.” ‎

At the same time, the deputy army commander hoped that no such attacks take place: ‎‎“This region cannot tolerate a new war. However, if threats are made, we will ‎demonstrate our might.”‎

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lowest Popularity Ratings for Ahmadinejad ‎

Results of New Surveys - 2008.10.21


While media outlets close to the administration have been attempting in recent weeks to ‎exaggerate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s popularity to be greater than ever before, the latest ‎survey conducted by the Islamic Republic Majlis Strategic Research Center demonstrates ‎that Iran’s president is not only suffering from very low popularity and approval ratings, ‎but also many of the participants in the survey regard his administration as a failure. ‎

Alborz news website reported yesterday that, according to a survey conducted by the ‎Majlis Strategic Resarch Center, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is suffering from his lowest ‎popularity ratings since being elected president in 2005. ‎

This website, which is affiliated with the right-wing faction, announced: “According to ‎another survey held jointly by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Islamic Republic of ‎Iran Broadcasting, 70 percent of the Iranian population are willing to vote for Seyyed ‎Mohammad Khatami if he runs in the upcoming presidential election while only 13 ‎percent of the population are willing for vote for Ahmadinejad again. ‎

The Alborz website did not explain how it accessed survey results. Nevertheless, the ‎website “triboon” alluded to the report, noting, “The survey was carried out in Tehran ‎and large cities showing that that Iranian president is suffering from extremely low ‎popularity rates among Iranians residing in these cities. According to survey results, 64 ‎percent of respondents to the question about how successful the Ahmadinejad ‎Administration has been rated the ninth administration’s performance below average. ‎More than 50 percent of respondents rated the administration as “unsuccessful” or ‎‎“highly unsuccessful.” ‎

Similarly, the news website Parsineh wrote regarding the Majlis Strategic Research ‎Center’s survey result: “In another part of this survey 78 percent of respondents described ‎the seventh Majlis’s supervision on the administration as ‘weal’ or ‘very weak.’ ‎Meanwhile, 83 percent of respondents to the survey responded negatively to whether they ‎would vote again for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and announced that they would not vote ‎again for the current president of the Islamic Republic.” ‎

More than 40 thousand people from various social, economic and educational ‎backgrounds ranging from pre-diploma to doctoral degrees participated in this survey. ‎


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tehran Police Chief Promoted

Radan Replaces Ahmadi-Moghaddam

An informed official in Iran’s policeforce revealed the promotion of Tehran Police Chief ‎Ahmad Reza Radan. According to this source, Radan is now promoted to be the deputy ‎chief of the National Security Forces.‎

Although several news sources including the news website "Asr-e Iran" in recent days ‎had predicted that Tehran’s Police Chief would be replaced, but unlike their prediction ‎which associated the change to Ahmad Reza Radan's insistence on the implementation of ‎plans to boost public security (very severe punishment of thugs in the public), it was later ‎revealed that Ahmad Reza Radan is not only not demoted, but is actually promoted for ‎‎"successful implementation of his duties" to serve as deputy chief of the national security ‎forces. ‎

General Mehdi Ahmadi, the communications director of the State Security Forces, told ‎the Fars news agency yesterday that effective Monday, Ahmad Reza Radan would ‎replace General Zolfaghari as deputy chief of the State Security Forces and General ‎Azizollah Rajabzadeh would replace Radan as the Tehran Police Chief. ‎

This police official did not reveal the details of personnel changes but noted that "General ‎Zolfaghari is attending university to continue his education" and for that reason Radan is ‎replacing him. ‎

Radan is among the members of the joint committee established by the police and ‎judiciary. Following several altercations that took place at the gas pumps in response to ‎rising gas prices, Radan, along with Tehran's Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi, ‎unveiled a plan to boos public security in Tehran and several provinces on the basis of ‎which many suspected individuals have been sentenced to prison time or execution in ‎recent months without due process. In the latest round of such executions, 29 individuals ‎were executed in Iran during one day last June. ‎

Radan’s promotion comes just a day after he insisted on continuing the plan to boost ‎public security. As reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency, noting that the "plan ‎to boost public security is not stoppable," Radan said, "The police would firmly and fully ‎confront thugs and gangsters, persons who disrespect women, drug traders and thieves." ‎

Associates of Ayatollah Montazeri Arrested

Following Public Criticism

‎Less than two weeks after grand ayatollah Montazeri spoke to a group of his followers on ‎the occasion of Eid-al-Fitr, celebrated at the end of the fasting month of Ramazan, in ‎which he criticized Iran’s rulers and the administration, pressures on him, his office and ‎his home have been growing. Soon after a member of his office, Mojtaba Lotfi was ‎arrested, the house of another associates, this time his son-in-law Mojtaba Feiz was ‎searched by agents from Qom’s intelligence bureau.‎

As has now been the practice, a public prayer session was held in the city of Qom under ‎the prayer leadership of ayatollah Ibrahim Amini last Wednesday on the occasion of Eid-‎al-Fitr. At the same time, grand ayatollah Montazeri, who also holds his own separate ‎public prayers for his followers, held his session in his office, which was attended by ‎several hundred individuals. After the congregational prayers, the cleric’s public talk ‎turned to a criticism of President Ahmadinejad’s government. Quoting the president from ‎a talk he had in New York that Iran was “the freest country in the world”, Montazeri ‎asked, “Why do your words not match your deeds inside the country. You call Iran the ‎freest country in the world when you are outside, but inside Iran you deprive us of our ‎basic and legal rights.”‎

‎“When someone like me who played a key role in the victory of the Islamic revolution ‎‎[of 1979] is treated in this [oppressive] fashion, while our buildings are confiscated and ‎our words are censored, you can imagine what they do the regular folks. If these ‎gentlemen [i.e. authorities and officials] know of these actions, and still claim to have ‎freedom, then you are doing the wrong thing. If you do not know what is going, then ‎things are even worse,” Montazeri continued, saying that he prayed to God to give reason ‎and thought to authorities so that what they say and do is based on reason and thought.‎

Some observers believe that because of Montazeri’s age, illness and large number of ‎followers, the regime no longer pursues a plan to suppress the senior cleric, but recent ‎days have demonstrated that measures continue to be taken by authorities against him. ‎Mojtaba Lotfi who was responsible for communications in the ayatollah’s office, was ‎arrested on orders from the special clerical court by agents from Qom’s intelligence ‎bureau, after the critical speech by the ayatollah. Following the arrest, Lotfi’s house was ‎searched.‎

Last week, the house of Mojtaba Feiz, the ayatollah’s son in law was searched as well, ‎but no arrests were made.‎

While some view the recent arrest and searches related to the ayatollah’s recent critical ‎comments about the administration and its policies, others associate the events to the ‎forthcoming presidential elections, and the visits of Montazeri by some reformist ‎presidential hopefuls. Montazeri has called on the reformers to unite in announcing their ‎presidential candidates and present a single nominee.‎

Karoubi Officially Announced Candidacy ‎

Announced at Press Conference

Although the reformists have not yet agreed on a single candidate to represent them in the ‎upcoming presidential election, yesterday former Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karoubi officially ‎announced his candidacy, only a few days after meeting with high-ranking clerics in the holy city ‎of Qom. ‎

Karoubi's press conference was held yesterday against the backdrop of varied reactions from the ‎reformists. Former president Khatami's interior minister, Mousavi Lari thought that "Karoubi and ‎Khatami's candidacy" were not connected, while Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi Khoiniha, the ‎central figure in the Majma'e Rowhaniyoon-e Mobarez [Association of Combatant Clerics], ‎described Khatami's presence as the "only way to save the nation." ‎

Sixth Majlis Speaker and current Secretary General of Etemad Melli political party, Mehdi ‎Karoubi officially announced yesterday in a press conference that he would run in the upcoming ‎presidential election in Iran. ‎

According to news agencies, responding to a question from a Fars news agency reporter, Mehdi ‎Karoubi said that his most serious opponent in the upcoming election is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ‎noting, "With respect to competing friends, up to this moment my serious opponent is Mr. ‎Ahmadinejad who is now the president and working. With respect to our own friends, meaning ‎reformist friends, I have not yet seen anyone coming forward for serious competition."‎

Commenting on the reception of his candidacy, Karoubi introduced his strategy of "silence," ‎adding, "If people say something against me and my friends I do not intend to defend myself, ‎even if newspapers write something against me, even if what they write is unfair, I intend to ‎remain fully silent." ‎

Karoubi faced reporters yesterday as he was clearly attempting to convey that his candidacy was ‎the reflection of wishes of many officials. Last week, after meetings that Karoubi held with ‎several prominent political figures, he traveled to Qom to meet with several high-ranking clerics. ‎Karoubi even said that he met with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, though he ‎added that the meeting was part of normal proceedings observed during Khatami's time as well. ‎

Secretary General of Etemad Melli party paraphrased remarks of Ayatollah Khamenei, who ‎purportedly told Karoubi, "I won't tell anyone to come, nor would I tell them not to come, but if ‎you take issues into account and know the problems, and if you receive votes, I will cooperate ‎with you as I have done in the past." ‎

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ahmadinejad Should Not Run in the Race

Hezbollah of Iran:

After eliminating Ahmadinejad's name and adding names such as Mohammad Bagher Kharrazi, ‎Seyyed Hassan Khomeini, Hassan Rohani, Qalibaf, Mohsen Rezaei and Hossein Kanani-‎Moghaddam to its list of presidential candidates, the organization known as "Hezbollah Iran," ‎published a new list suggesting ministers for the tenth administration, ranking Ahmadinejad as ‎the third choice to head the ministry of roads! ‎

Coinciding with Ahmad Jannati's remarks about the forthcoming presidential elections in June ‎‎2009, the Hezbollah coalition, which is headed by Mohammad Bagher Kharrazi, yesterday ‎published a list which, according to the organization's officials, includes the names of possible ‎ministers in the tenth (next) administration. ‎

According to the organization's slate, the most suitable candidate for the tenth presidential ‎election in Iran is none other than the organization's secretary general, Mohammad Bagher ‎Kharrazi and, as reported by the Fararu news website, Seyyed Hassan Khomeini and Hassan ‎Rowhani are listed as the second and third choices for presidency. In addition, Qalibaf, Mohsen ‎Rezaei and Hossein Kanani-Moghaddam (secretary general of Hezbollah Iran) are listed as the ‎first to third choices for vice presidency. ‎

Another interesting point of the slate provided by Hezbollah is the mixture of various figures in ‎the tenth administration's cabinet, such that members of the country's various political factions ‎are present on the slate. ‎

Although nine months remain until the tenth presidential election, discussions among ‎Principalists (Osoolgarayan) on who should run for presidency are heating up and, although it is ‎expected that Ahmadinejad would be a major candidate of the faction, conflicting and at times ‎negative reports and remarks have been heard in recent days regarding his participation. ‎

Noting that Ahmadinejad is not the organization's candidate, Hossein Kanani-Moghaddam ‎announced on Monday, "The Hezbollah coalition strategic council's grassroots advice to Mr. ‎Ahmadinejad is not to run in the tenth presidential election." ‎

The head of Hezbollah coalition strategic council noted scandals associated with the ninth ‎administration, particularly in the past year, as reasons for the Hezbollah coalition strategic ‎council's decision not to include Ahmadinejad on its slate, adding, "Events that took place ‎toward the end of ninth administration's tenure, particularly in economic issues, central bank, ‎interior ministry, removal of certain individuals from cabinet and entrance of new individuals, ‎and issues arising especially with respect to the Palestinian issue are among controversies that ‎caused the strategic council not to consider the country's incumbent president as a candidate in ‎the tenth presidential election." ‎

Rasa Ghazinejad

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tensions over Central Bank Governor’s Dismissal Continue

MPs Warn the Administration

While the differences between Iran’s ex-Central Bank governor and the President were so ‎deep that Ahmadinejad could not even wait to return to Tehran to issue his dismissal of ‎governor Tahmaseb Mazaheri and replace him with Mahmoud Bahmani, which he did ‎from New York, there already are reports of differences in views between the President ‎and his newly appointed governor.‎

President Ahmadinejad kept Mazaheri as Central Bank governor for only one year and ‎when he replaced him it was to “streamline his economics team”, but the official Fars ‎news agency which had predicted Mazaheri’s dismissal weeks in advance, published ‎reports yesterday that Hossein Samsami may be appointed as the deputy governor of the ‎Central Bank of Iran (CBI).‎

Samsami is the nephew of Parviz Dawoodi, Iran’s first vice-president and while Fars ‎news agency conditioned the finalization of Samsami’s ascend at the CBI to a ‎‎“confirmation by the governor,” news reports indicate that Mazaheri is not keen on doing ‎this. Entekhab news website on Sunday quoted an “informed source” that vice-president ‎Dawoodi’s request to elevate Samsami to be governor Bahmani’s deputy has met a ‎hurdle as the newly appointed CBI chief is refraining from appointing him. The news site ‎concludes that with this level of opposition by Bahmani, his own status may be reduced ‎to that of a deputy at the CBI.‎

While it seems doubtful that President Ahmadinejad would rescind his newly appointed ‎CBI governor so quickly, Entekhab websites report indicates the regret of the cabinet in ‎appointing Bahmani to lead the bank. Contrary to public views, Bahmani as an architect ‎of the new policies at CBI is even more adamant on its implementation than his just ‎dismissed boss, i.e. governor Mazaheri. His resistance and relative independence in ‎dealing with Samsami so far has disarrayed the cabinet prompting it to think that the new ‎governor may actually not change course at the bank and its monetary policies after all.‎

As tensions at the CBI and over its policies and leadership continue at a time when the ‎official ILNA labor news agency reported that, “Some senior CBI directors had ‎submitted their resignations because of pressures at the Central Bank.” This news agency ‎too mentioned Dawoodi’s pressure on Bahmani over Samsami and wrote, “While Dr ‎Bahmani has refrained from accepting the pressures in this regard, but it is heard that ‎Samsami is already exerting his presence in all quarters of the bank. According to some ‎reports a group of CBI directors who had joined the bank recently have resigned in ‎protest to Samsami’s expanding control.”‎

The problems at the central bank have not remained confined to the presidency, the ‎cabinet and the bank, as the Majlis too has joined in the game. First, Majlis’ Research ‎Center which works under Tavakoli recently announced its expert opinion on CBI’s ‎controversial policy package which led to the downfall of governor Mazaheri, and on the ‎resolution of the economics commission of the cabinet. The center announced that, “The ‎government should not intervene in monetary and banking policy making.” Following ‎that, Majlis speaker Larijani actually criticized the change of guard at the CBI and said, ‎‎“It is not good that individuals be replaced or removed from office so quickly,” which is ‎a direct reference to the removal of the CBI governor.‎