Archive for May, 2008
Saturday, May 31st, 2008
Following Calls for ‘Revolutionary Execution’ of Detainees
As some religious leaders in Iran have called for “the utmost punishment” for detained Bahais using state media resources, the confrontation with the followers of this belief has intensified and yesterday such calls went deep into the country. Bahai leaders in Vilashahr in the province of Isfahan were reported to have been arrested.
The news website “Human Rights Activists in Iran” announced that according to its latest reports, the leaders of the Vilashahr Bahai community in Isfahan were arrested. Their names were listed as Hushmand Talebi and Mehran Zini, and Farhad Fardossian who is said to be a member of the community. The news site reports that these individuals were arrested by security-law-enforcement agents and transferred to the prison of the town, while their conditions remains unknown.
In a related news story, it is reported that three other Bahais named Ali Ahmadi, Changiz Derakhshan, and Ms Simin too have been arrested in the northern town of Ghaemshahr. Prior to that, six leading members of the Iranian Bahai community were arrested, and their names are Fariba Kamal Abadi, Jamaledin Khanjani, Afif Naimi, Saeed Rezai, Behrouz Tavakoli and Vahid Tizfahm. Mahvash Sabet, another Bahai leader was arrested earlier in March in the city of Mashhad. All of these seven last members comprised the leadership of the sect in Iran.
These new arrests follow the claims by Iranian authorities that the Bahais had been arrested because of their anti state activities that threatened national security. Elham the spokesperson for the Iranian government had said in his weekly meetings with the media that “these individuals had been arrested because they had engaged in activities against the security of the state and had been in contact with foreigners particularly Zionists.”
Seyed Ahmadi El Alhodi, the Friday prayer leader of the city of Mashhad had recently publicly called for the “revolutionary execution of the Bahai-Israeli spies”. According to Shabestan news agency, this cleric said that Bahaism was not a religion and claimed that “Bahaism was neither a religion nor even an idea” adding how could he accept these “Israeli soldiers whose hands were stained with the blood of millions of people be allowed to freely move around the Iran and, by taking advantage of a group of political deviants and loose women and sex-driven boys, engage in collecting signatures to destroy Islamic laws by engaging in any criminal activity.”
Elm Al Hodi further said that the harshest revolutionary punishment should be imposed on the members of this Satanic group, calling on the judiciary of Iran to forcefully confront this espionage movement without any heed to the wishes of the US and … , as the group engaged in espionage behind the backs of the intelligence community of the country
Source : Roozonline
Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
Conservatists Agreed on Eight Majlis Leadership
With the first official meeting of the Majlis (Iranian parliament) elected conservatists, PM Ali Larijani succeeded to win the race to lead the next Majlis over his rival, the incumbent Haddad-Adel, almost ensuring his official confirmation when the Majlis officially holds its first session. The next Majlis, the eight since the 1979 Islamic revolution formally begins its work this Tuesday. With Larijani in the saddle, the second non-cleric will take over the Majlis leadership since its birth.
The last session of the seventh Majlis was held last week, after which some of the new legislatures to the eight Majlis came to the building to hold the first general meeting of the conservative MPs. The key item on the agenda was to reach agreement on the leadership of the next Majlis. Prior to the meeting, the conservatists had agreed to unofficially vote to determine the new Speaker so as to avoid taking the issue to the Majlis floor. Current incumbent Speaker Haddad-Adel and Ali Larijani were pinned against each other and each had agreed to concede through the elections.
According to state-run Fars news agency, 227 conservatists who have formed a group called the Principalists (Osoolgaran) gathered and for 30 minutes heard the two candidates to the Speakership of the legislature, Larijani and Adel. Then came the votes. Some of the MPs did not vote, while seven cast a blank ballot. Larijani got 161 votes while Adel secured a mere 50, confirming the prediction of Alef news website that Larijani was the choice of the majority of the conservatists.
Tabnak website, which is closely affiliated with former Passdaran commander Mohsen Rezai, and supported the alliance of Larijani, Qalibaf and Rezai, wrote this following Larijani’s victory; “In view of the 220 representatives that were present, one may conclude that the official election of the new Majlis Speaker has been finalized.” According to the site, “Ali Larijani, the representative of the Leader of the state in the National Security Council (NSC) of Iran, who had been removed as the secretary of the NSC seven months earlier, was the leading figure from the conservative critics of the administration. He received the first public support from Amir Ali Amiri, the secretary of the Osoolgaran Faragir (Extended Principalists) group on behalf of the group soon after the first round of Majlis elections last April. But Larijani’s support went beyond the conservative critics of the administration and included traditional conservatists and even supporters of the administration, all of which helped him secure his victory.”
Raja news website, which is recognized to be a pro-administration website, expressed its satisfaction with Larijani’s victory in the internal voting, and wrote, “Larijani is the candidate of the Principalists to be Majlis Speaker.” The website added that this internal vote should be conclusive for everyone and no personal views should be presented at the official voting in the Majlis for the post.” In its commentary over the voters for the two candidates, the site reminded its readers that in these internal trial elections, in addition to the conservatists critical of the administration, two other political factions, from amongst three that form the government coalition, supported Haddad-Adel.
Source : Roozonline
Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
Ahmadinejad Tells Media:
In his most recent interview Iran’s President Mahmud Ahmadinejad not only denied the existence of rising costs and hardships that ordinary Iranians face every day but even said he had solutions for the world’s food crises problem.
“I think the living conditions of Iranians are better than in the past and say this based on per capita consumption figures, just as the national purchasing power has increased as well. But in general, the purchasing power in the country has risen during the last three years,” he asserted.
At a press conference in which some one hundred domestic and international journalists and reporters were present, Ahmadinejad said this in response to a question by Eghtesad Pooya newspaper regarding ways to resolve the global economic crises, as he ignored the dire straits that Iranians live on a daily basis, “It is true that the world is facing a drought, but the food crises facing mankind is the result of mismanagement at the global level. We have prepared solutions to resolve this crisis and shall present them at the next FAO (UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization) meeting in Rome. I think our proposals contain ways to resolve the issue so that nations will have sufficient amounts of food and resources.”
Ahmadinejad is presenting his “proposals” for the world at a time when specialists and experts in Iran and even a large number of right-wing Majlis representatives and Friday prayer leaders (who in Iran exercise a great influence over public opinion) agree that the country is facing very serious economic problems. Last week, even the Majlis Speaker Haddad Adel and Larijani, who is widely tipped to be the next Speaker following last month’s parliamentary elections spoke about the need for the next legislature to pay special attention to the issue of inflation and rising prices.
To add to this growing criticism, even senior clerics of Iran who generally support Ahmadinejad’s administration have been critical of sharply rising prices.
During this press interview, Ahmadinejad who has zero tolerance for any domestic criticism, invited the next US President for a debate and said, “I am willing to debate with the whole world watching with American presidential candidates who claim to manage the world.” He again said that world powers had reached an impasse adding, “Political relations in the world are based on bullying of the powerful and dominant powers and conditions of the world are the result of these relations. They are not capable of solving current problems and so everybody is in a complete impasse.”
Source : Roozonline
Tuesday, May 27th, 2008
Hejazi to Succeed Rezai
Arash SigarchiLess than two years since the changes that were made by ayatollah Khamenei in the leadership of the Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps, that involved deputy Passdaran Commander Morteza Rezai, the vast changes that were launched by the Leader of Iran in the Passdaran force that began in the middle of last year continue. In the most recent change, Passdar General seyed Mohammad Hosseinzadeh Hejazi replaced Rezai, indicating that the reshuffling still continues also confirming that Rezai was merely a temporary appointment. The deputy Passdar Commander is appointed by the confirmation of the Leader of the Islamic state on the recommendation of the Commander of the Passdaran.
Simultaneously, ayatollah Khamenei also appointed a new deputy for coordination of Passdaran force.
On November 24th, 2006 Mohammad Bagher Zolghadr left the Passdaran and joined Ahmadinejad’s administration to become the vice minister for security at the ministry of the interior. That situation changed “in a suspicious manner”, in the words of Etemad newspaper on December 8, 2006, leading to his resignation. When Zolghadr left, ayatollah Khamenei appointed Morteza Rezai as the new deputy commander of the Passdaran. While this change was important, observers underscored the importance of the change when ayatollah Khamenei last year removed Yahya Rahim Safavi who had been the commander of the Passdaran for 8 consecutive years and replaced him with Mohammad Ali Jaafari.
It was in light of these reshuffles that ayatollah Khamenei ordered that Basij para-military resistance force come under the full command of the Passdaran thus reducing the force to the deputy level under Passdaran.
Because ayatollah Khamenei did not appoint a successor for Zolghadr when he left the Passdaran post for the ministry of the interior, rumors spread that he was not keen on appointing Morteza Reza to the vacant post at the Passdaran. But in May of 2006, Khamenei made that appointment and put Rezai in the number two seat of the force.
Morteza Rezai is among the seven individuals who 2 days into the victory of the 1979 revolution raised the idea creating a Passdaran Revolutionary Guards force. Of the seven, most were either been killed in the war or left the Passdaran such as Mohsen Rezai who is now in the State Expediency Council. But Mohsen Rezai stayed on for years as the head of the Passdaran’s intelligence unit and remains, according to observers, to be among the most powerful commanders of the force.
Still, with this recent appointment by ayatollah Khamenei, Mohsen Rezai gives his post to Hejazi, who is viewed to be very close to the Leader of the Islamic regime.
Hejazi is not unknown to the reformists. When the reformers were in power, Hejazi was in charge of the para-military Basij force and many of them view him to be responsible for the headaches of the Khatami administration. He has been held responsible for supporting the idea of the Basij intruding into political issues, and passively supporting the participation of Basij members in strike groups known as Ansare Hezbollah.
Source : Roozonline
Monday, May 26th, 2008
Judiciary’s Response to Majlis’ Report:
Two days ago as a Majlis’ investigative report over the work of the judiciary was read out objections were raised over its reading by members of Iran’s parliament and those of the judiciary. On the other hand, this event resulted in the judiciary’s decision to confront corruption starting with the Majlis itself. As a result, one of the MPs who had an ethics scandal legal suit in the courts was summoned to the court, interrogated and subsequently arrested.
According to a reporter of Asr-e Iran website who was present at the court hearing, the MP, who was under interrogation from 12pm (on Tuesday) was confronted with numerous women who had been summoned to the hearing in which they testified against the legislator, claiming violations, trespass etc. After several hours of interrogations, the MP was driven off to the notorious Evin prison in northern Tehran. Asre-Iran did not name the MP, but there had been reports in the past that this seventh Majlis deputy had been under investigation for “ethical corruption” and “harassment” issues.
Farda news website too mentioned this measure by the judiciary to be “most rapid response” and added, “The Tehran court launched the most rapid response to demands for an unqualified confrontation with those involved in ethical violations and began its work by from the Majlis deputies.”
The investigative report over the judiciary was eventually read on the floor of the Majlis after a lapse of 3.5 years and contained a list of complaints.
The report touched on issues such as stoning, judges who lack legal training, judicial receipt of bribes, erroneous judgments leading to loss of life and property, financial ethical violations by judges, the lengthening of the dockets, and, bribes and embezzlement over some large bails, some of which were eventually dropped off from its final version. But still, the judiciary announced its objections to the reading of the report on the Majlis floor.
Another website, Tabnak which is close to former Passdaran revolutionary guards commander and current secretary of the State Expediency Council Mohsen Rezai called the report “a list of obsolete cases”. Tabnak made the claim that “while unofficial reports had spoken of important and vital information in the large legal suits in the original Majlis report, the final published version primarily reported what had already been covered by the media in the past and lacked any new details or judgments.
Opposing MPs left the Majlis FloorCommotion followed when the Majlis did not accept calls by MPs to summon the minister of commerce. In that session, there were no scheduled bills to be reviewed, representative Saeed Abutalebi from Tehran was busy working on his film about Majlis deputies, so as Majlis’ report on ethical corruption the judiciary was read out, “the Majlis’ order broke up and deputies were seen freely walking in and out of the session while some clearly left the Majlis altogether in protest when the report on the judiciary began to be read.”
Majlis representative Dehgan who is also a member of the investigative committee that prepared the report read out the report which said “None of the 300 questions raised by the investigative committee were replied to by the judiciary”. He further said that “in 11 provinces of Iran, 1271 drug traffickers never returned to prison while they were on their temporary leaves during their detention. Some of these convicts had been sentenced to life terms and many engaged in drug trafficking activities after their escape.”
Official Response from JudiciaryAs the report was being read out, the head of Iran’s judiciary was visiting Kurdistan but still said this about the Majlis report: “The judiciary has many achievements in all fields.” Furthermore, judiciary spokesperson Jamshidi criticized Majlis speaker Haddad Adel on “insisting on reading the report” and called it a “sad event for the seventh Majlis”. He said the report had been based on “erroneous information and research founded on rumors and hearsay” and called it “beneath the stature of the Majlis”. Jamshidi further said. “The report was met by protests from a large group of Majlis deputies and the head and members of Majlis’ judiciary committee were against the public reading of the report because it had not been prepared according to legal rules, which is probably the best indicator of the righteousness of the judiciary” Jamshidi claimed. He further revealed that the report had never been officially put on the agenda of the Majlis. “For a report to be read out at the floor, half of the Majlis deputies must be present and the time allotted to the report had been exhausted. MPs unfortunately did not observe these breaches. Unfortunately, what we witnessed today was a hastily read out report which contained contextual and formal errors.”
He concluded his remarks by airing his complaints at the leadership of the Majlis, “Our other complaint is over the Speaker who leaves behind an unpleasant record of pursuing citizen’s rights in the seventh Majlis.” Referring to Majlis speaker’s comments that the reading of the report was for the authority and glory of the Majlis, Jamshidi said, “IT is unfortunate that Haddad Adel who possesses high stature, beliefs in God and righteousness should have insisted on reading out the report, and we consider this act to be below the dignity of the Majlis and the person of Haddad Adel.”
Source : Roozonline
Sunday, May 25th, 2008
Increasing Crackdown on Bahai Community
A week into the arrest of six Bahai leaders in Iran, an interview published by hardliner Fars news agency called for the “creation of a popular movement” to “confront and fight Bahaism” so that the “government is not left alone in its confrontation against the Bahai community.” The interview was held with Seyed Kazem Mousavi who is introduced as an analyst and expert in contemporary Iranian history, in which he is quoted as saying “Bahais in Iran are attempting to gain independence and legitimacy by being present in cultural and economic fields and to infiltrate the power structure and other political spheres.” Denouncing the “Bahai community’s attempt to infiltrate the power structure in order to gain access to regime’s secrets, reduce regime’s sensitivity to Bahai cult and downplay dangers associated with this cult,” Mousavi added, “Currently, the Bahai community is trying to hide its true face and pretend to be an ordinary and normal part of society. The Bahai community is planning to attract the support of international organizations such as Amnesty International to fulfill its mission.” Noting that Bahai followers “claim not to get involved in politics,” Mousavi claimed, “This very non-interference in politics is itself a political move, designed to gain immunity to freely and seriously participate in cultural and economic activities. Prior to last winter’s Majlis elections, the leaders of the Bahai movement ordered their followers to participate in elections. Some Bahai groups protested that decision, to which the Beit al-Adl of Bahais responded by clarifying that it was not forbidden to participate in elections and vote for independent candidates, just to support political parties.” This Fars news analyst finally declared, “The Bahai community is manipulated by the Zionist regime and enjoys the support of Israel.” Fars news agency published this interview while several conservative websites attempted to blame Bahai followers for last month’s explosion in a Shiraz mosque. According to the reasoning of these websites, because the mosque where the explosion took place was a meeting ground for some “anti-Bahai” activists, the Bahai followers were “seeking revenge.” At that time, human rights activists warned against the consequences of these baseless charges and predicted an intensified crackdown on the Bahai community in Iran.
Source : Roozonline