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.”‎