Archive for April, 2008
Monday, April 28th, 2008
Iran’s Majlis Elections Finalized
With the run off elections held last Friday, the dossier of the run off elections for the eight Majlis (Iran’s Parliament) is closed. According to the final results, Elias Naderan, Laleh Eftekhari, Mehdi Kutchakzadeh, ALireza Zakani, Ali Asghar Zarei, Tabibeh Safayi, Parviz Sarvari, Hamid Rasayi, Hossein Fadayi Ashtiani, Zohreh Elahian were among the Principalists (as the ideologues supporting the President are called) in Tehran who found their way to the legislative body. Alireza Mahjoob was the only reformist candidate along with the 22 others from the first round of elections who won a seat in the Majlis. According to Aftab news website of the 25 million potential voters in these elections, less than 15 percent actually cast their ballots.
An analysis published on Raja news site which is close to President Ahmadinejad claimed the results to be not just a victory of the conservatists over the reformers, but also a victory of pro-government conservatists over critical conservatists who had supported Rezayi, Qalibaf and Larijani in the first round of elections on March 14, 2008.
Yesterday Mostafa Pourmohammadi who lost his cabinet post because of the first round of Majlis elections on March 14, 2008, spoke to reporters about his views on the elections. “287 Majlis seats have been finalized of which about 69 percent belong to those that known as the Principalists (conservatist ideologues), 16.38 percent belong to the reformists and the remaining 14.29 percent are independents,” he said.
While a number of sites wrote about the “absolute defeat” for the reformists, Seyed Safdar Hosseini, the head of the provincial committee of the reformist’s coalition spoke of a “categorical victory” of the reformists in the run off elections. Without providing any statistics for Tehran, he said, “We succeeded in winning categorically in many provinces and towns and sending Messer Ansari from Zanjan, Torabifrom Shahr Kord, Alipour from Lordegan, Kaabi from Abadan, Nasiripour from Sarab and Shooshtari from Ghoochan, among others, to the eight Majlis and the final results for these will be announced subsequently. Of the remaining 28 seats for the reformers during the run off elections of April 25, 2008, 15 candidates have so far won seats in the provinces and will thus go to the Majlis.”
In a related news, Masood Soltanifar, an officer in the Etemad Melli (National Trust) party elections campaign told ISNA student news agency, “Two thirds of the candidates put forward by Etemad Melli which account for 16 individuals from amongst 24, have found their way to the Majlis. They are from the election districts of Chaloos and Nowshahr, Yazd, Zanjan, Lordegan, Bandar Torkaman and Kordkui, Kermanshah, Zanjan, Sarab, Mianeh, Ghoochan, Abadeh, Gonbad Kawoos, Shiraz, Sanandaj, Tabriz and Shahre Kord in which they won majority votes.”
The first round of elections was held on March 14 and was followed by serious accusations and complaints of “extensive rigging” announced by reform candidates. Two senior clerics in the Islamic Republic (khatami and karubi)even filed official complaints to the head of the Guardians Council that oversees and supervises all national elections and requested recounts. While their request was ignored, Mehdi Karubi requested that the Ministry of the Interior take greater care should be taken in the counting of votes for the run off elections that were held on April 25th, 2008. Mr. Pourmohammadi from the ministry had responded that “Mr. Karubi can sleep tight” as he was certain the elections would be held with full integrity. Still Aftab news website reported that during the ballot counting the Reformers’ Elections Campaign had called the results “wary”.
Source : Roozonline
Sunday, April 20th, 2008
Universities under Fire by Ay Mesbah Yazdi
As the government’s pressure on university students takes new forms every day, ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi who is considered by some to be the spiritual force behind the current administration of president Ahmadinejad, in his most recent remarks said students “are learning nothing other than how to bash the regime and at times Islam.”
In its report on the meeting between the central council of Imam Khomeini Aid Committee (Komiteh Emdad Imam Khomeini) and ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, the news unit of Qom’s Theological Center quotes the head of the director of Imam Khomeini Educational and Research center Mesbah Yazdi, “The future generation is under threat because neither traditional and classical ethics nor Islamic values dominate their training. They are being trained by Western culture, television and university classes in which they are learning nothing other how to bash the regime and at times Islam.”
To correct the situation, the ayatollah recommends, “Authorities must acquire the necessary skills and learn of better methods, … and analyze the cultural and international position of the country scientifically (rationally).
We must strengthen this new generation and have a role in their religious education. Islamic and modern teaching methods must be used to train the young generation because if these two elements are not used there would be conflict.”
In its report on Yazdi’s comments, Advar News website which is run by a group of dissident students writes, “Mesbah’s comments come at a time when the current ninth administration launched intense efforts to suppress universities from day one. Forced retirement of university teachers, their firings, and efforts to keep students critical of university policies outside the institution or imprisoning them are the examples of the administration’s policies regarding universities and students.”
According to this news site, “the criticism over teaching content and what is said in the classrooms is an indication of the displeasure of the spiritual leader of the current administration, an issue that has been mentioned repeatedly by the press under the guise of the second Cultural Revolution.”
Source : Roozonline
Thursday, April 17th, 2008
Iran’s Deputy Army Chief
On the eve of the Islamic Republic’s Army Day, Iran’s deputy army chief said that an Israeli assault on Iran would bring about the annihilation of Israel. Speaking to a group of reporters, General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani boasted the army’s high morale and determination to carry out its missions in accordance with the policies of Ahmadinejad.
General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani spent a majority of his speech commenting on Israel’s recent military maneuver. In this respect, Ashtiani said, “If Israel wants to carry out any kind of move against the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will annihilate it from the face of the planet.”
According to the deputy chief of Iran’s army, “Israel lacks strategic boundaries and is extremely vulnerable. It demonstrated that vulnerability in its 33-day war against Lebanon.”
Implicitly referring to the long range of newly-developed missiles in Iran, Ashtiani said, “Even if other countries dare to attack us, the Israelis definitely know their place, which is in our reach, and will be most harmed by an attack. The involvement of the Zionist regime in an expedition will create an unbalanced regional atmosphere.”
In its meeting with reporters, Ashtiani also revealed details about Iran’s military capabilities, including the use of new weapons: “in our ground force units, given our presence in border areas, we have used new, innovative weapons and implemented diverse tactics in order to transition from the conduct of orderly warfare into asymmetric warfare. In addition, our military and defensive capabilities are such that we are certain no country will allow itself to engage us on the ground.”
Deputy chief of the Iranian army noted, “In the air force, we have emphasized the development, innovation and preparation of new airplanes, as well as the use of innovative tactics, such as increasing the culture of martyrdom among air force pilots.” Ashtiani added, “In air force, we are completely prepared and alert to defend the nation’s air space. In the navy, our submarines are completely superior.”
Deputy chief of the Iranian army said, “Among other important steps taken by the Iranian army are the design and production of submarines in different tonnages, which is very important for future military equations; design and production of various radar and electronic systems; production of various kinds of unmanned planes; and putting especial emphasis on the production of cheaper, lighter and smarter weapons.”
Source : Roozonline
Wednesday, April 16th, 2008
Ahmadinejad Takes Charge of Shiraz Explosion Case
Though official and state-owned news agencies in Iran insist that Saturday night’s explosion in shiraz was “not a terrorist attack,” an “informed official” said that a bomb was responsible for the explosion and that the president was unhappy that his the mosque’s officials (which are affiliated with him) are blamed for the explosion.
Yesterday, an informed official working at the Shiraz governor’s office told the reporter of “news website Iran” that “all experts have announced that the explosion was caused by a bomb and the party responsible for this attack has been identified.” This informed official added, “high government officials in Shiraz are about to be removed from their posts” because “they had blamed the mosque’s officials for the explosion without consulting the president.”
In a different opinion about the source of the explosion, deputy security chief at the Ministry of Interior noted, “So far no evidence has been found regarding a planned detonation or preplanned attack in the Shiraz explosion.” Yesterday, Fars news agency quoted an informed official that ”the incident was caused by the presence of a weapons cache at the location left over from the Holy War exhibit,” and therefore, it is pointless to speak of a terrorist attack. Similarly, the deputy of operations of the police told Fars, “Expert examinations of the scene of the event refutes the possibility of a premeditated or bombing attack.”
Mehr news agency also reported that investigations were completed: “The latest expert examinations indicate that the Shiraz explosion was due to the presence of display military material and any kind of terrorist attack originating inside or outside Iran is out of the question.”
These opinions are expressed while officials from the Hosseiniyeh (religious center) insist that the dead and wounded were victims of a terrorist attack. In an interview conducted at 11 p.m. Saturday night, Anjavinejad, head of the mosque where the incident took place, insisted that the attacked was a “terrorist” one and referred to the dead in the incident as “martyrs.”
On the other hand, whereas the Fars news agency refutes any possibility of a Wahhabi involvement in the explosion, the website Farda referred to the Saudi Arabia-based Internet news source Ilaf and reported, “A Wahhabi group was responsible for the explosion in Shiraz.” Shahab News has also reported that “Wahhabi’s” were involved in the explosion in Shiraz.
Source : Roozonline
Tuesday, April 15th, 2008
Khamenei Opposed to Replacing Interior Minister
Several conservative websites have reported that Ayatollah Khamenei does not favor Ahmadinejad’s decision to replace the Interior Minister.
In this connection the website “Fararoo” announced yesterday, “The supreme leader has not yet approved of the president’s decision to remove the Interior Minister.” The website, while noting that the appointment and removal of ministers of foreign relations, intelligence, interior, and culture and Islamic guidance have always been impossible “without the supreme leader’s consent,” reminded its readers that, if the supreme leader continues to oppose the removal, “the President has no option but to reverse his decision.”
In this connection, the website Asr-e Iran also speculated that Interior Minister Pourmohammadi may remain at his post. Also, Farda news website speculated that “the supreme leader may oppose the decision to remove the interior minister.”
Meanwhile, the hardline Kayhan newspaper, headed by Hossein Shariatmadari, the supreme leader’s direct appointee to the Kayhan Institute, criticized Ahmadinejad’s decision to remove the ministers of finance and interior from their posts, asking the president, “How can a minister who does not know how long his term of service is, and expects to be removed every day, plan to ‘serve the nation?’”
In his editorial, Shariamatdari particularly criticized the decision to remove the Interior Minister as “requiring more thought,” writing, “In the current situation, the removal of the Interior Minister who has recently held hugely successful and historic elections and is preparing to hold the second round of the same elections, requires more thought. Is his removal under the circumstances wise?”
Regarding reasons behind Pourmohammadi’s removal, some sources cited Pourmohammadi’s report to the supreme leader regarding election irregularities as the main reason behind his hurried removal by Ahmadinejad before obtaining the supreme leader’s consent.
In this connection, the website Aftab quoted “an informed source” that “the Interior Minister, following the conclusion of the first round of elections, sent a report regarding observed election irregularities to one of the regime’s top officials [a term often used by Iranian media to refer to the supreme leader]. The president became aware of the sending of such a report a few days later and was extremely furious because of the Interior Minister’s action.”
According to Aftab, “Ahmadinejad was angry that the Interior Minister had not consulted him prior to sending the report, and made the decision to remove him for this error.”
Source : Roozonline
Monday, April 14th, 2008
Government Spokesperson Was Unaware!
A rumor that was denied by the government spokesperson last week and dismissed as the physiological warfare of the “enemy” came true and two more prominent cabinet ministers, Finance Minister Davoud Danesh-Jafari and Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi were removed from their cabinet posts.
Although it has been reported that the two ex-ministers will be appointed to new government jobs, what makes the news significant is their position. In effect, like Ali Larijani, who remains on the National Security Council as the supreme leader’s representative, and Farhad Rahbar and Mostafa Pourmohammadi, former intelligence officers who worked at the office of the supreme leader during Khatami’s presidency, Danesh-Jafari also serves on the Expediency Council on the direct orders of Iran’s supreme leader.
Political analysts believe that, with the removal of the finance and interior ministers, only two prominent figures remain in the Ahmadinejad’s administration: Minister of Intelligence Mohseni-Ezhei and head of the Central Bank, Tahmasb Mazaheri. The other senior officials in the administration are inexperienced and fully subservient to Ahmadinejad.
Last week, government spokesperson Gholamhossein Elham, who is seen to be close to the president, dismissed reports of the two ministers’ removal as “April Fools’ Day hoaxes” and blamed administration’s enemies for the “rumors”. But with a short piece posted on his weblog, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad referred to cabinet-level changes thus implicitly confirming the rumors. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad’s senior advisor Samareh Hashemi told reporters curious about the news to wait a few days.
Elham provided reporters with a thorough explanation about why he was unaware of the news: “I was unaware of these changes until Sunday, even though rumors about possible changes were published on some websites on Thursday. But in the long cabinet meeting on Thursday, which lasted from morning till evening, the gentlemen who were the subject of the rumors were present and very active… On Saturday morning I tried to briefly meet with Mr. President, like I usually do before press conferences, but he was attending the meeting at the Expediency Council and we were not able to converse on the phone either. In any case, the changes were not finalized by the time of my press conference.”
The reaction of domestic publications to the news of the most recent cabinet changes was almost identical. Tabnak website spun the most recent changes, implemented with fewer than 17 months left from Ahmadinejad’s term, as a move to “purify” the administration.
Tabnak reported, “Though many described the ninth cabinet as the weakest cabinet in terms of output, they viewed Danesh-Jafari and Pourmohammadi as more experienced; however, what the two shared in common was their affiliation with one of the regime’s centers [office of the supreme leader], where they spent a lot of their time.”
Below is a list of some of the most prominent figures that have resigned or been removed by Ahmadinejad:
Ali Larijani, top nuclear negotiator and head of the National Security Council;Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh, Minister of Oil;Mahmoud Farshidi, Minister of Education;Farhad Rahvar, head of the Planning and Management Organization;Mohammad Bagher Zolghadr, deputy Minister of Interior in political affairs;Rahmani Fazli, deputy head of National Security Council;Ali Reza Tahmasebi, Minister of Industry;Ebrahim Sheibani, head of Central Bank;Mohammad Nazemi Ardakani, Minister of Cooperatives;Parviz Kazemi, Minister of Welfare; and Jamal Karimirad, Minister of Justice (who died on the job).
Source : Roozonline