Archive for July, 2008
Monday, July 28th, 2008
Minister of Education Announcement:
A year after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that the general atmosphere of Iranian universities is “governed by secularism,” the ninth administration’s education minister and several other figures close to the cabinet announced progress in the plan to “Islamicize” universities under the guidance of ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi and institutions affiliated with him.
In recent years, radical right-wingers and especially Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have repeatedly attacked universities for being “un-Islamic.” On one occasion, while speaking to a group of university students, Ahmadinejad denounced Iran’s modern education system for being ruled by secularism in the past 150 years, and called on students to help him revamp the country’s educational system. A few months after Ahmadinejad’s remarks, ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, who directs the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, blamed weak planning in the country’s affairs as well as conditions in universities while meeting with central committee members of the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (Komiteh Emdad Imam Khomeini), noting, “these universities don’t teach students anything other than how to badmouth the regime and at times even Islam.”
Now, following a plan devised by Mesbah Yazdi’s organization, recent reports reveal that the education minister is attempting to fully Islamicize universities. At the beginning of the week, education minister Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi, who was attending the tenth grand conference of Basiji university lecturers from across the country in Mashhad alongside Ahmadinejad, commented on the administration’s plans to Islamicize universities: “Currently, several research institutes such as the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute [directed by extremist cleric Mesbah Yazdi] are working on this issue. The cost of the plan is not important for us, because it is the end result that matters to us.”
Denying any knowledge of the new “forced retirement of university professionals” the education minister announced that many Basiji professors had joined the country’s institutions of higher education since the beginning of the tenth administration in 2005. Zahedi said, “In the past three years, many university presidents have been replaced, and most of new presidents are either members of the Basij or have shown with their actions that they are committed to and supportive of the administration.”
While those close to the Ahmadinejad administration identify “Islamicizing universities” as the “ninth administration’s concern,” universities are under pressure through the summons and detention of students, as well as dismissal, removal or forced retirement of prominent professors.
Last Saturday, Morteza Aghatehrani, who is known as the “cabinet’s ethics teacher” and is currently serving as Tehran’s representative in the eighth Majlis, noted, “our concern is to Islamicize universities,” adding, “the universities’ committed students are not satisfied with the culture and image of university.” A few days prior, commenting on content of university textbooks, Aghatehrani had said, “university textbooks are neither native nor Islamic.”
According to Ketabnews website, this pro-administration cleric who is now a member of the Majlis education and research committee also claimed during last Thursday’s speech at a conference that “social sciences taught in the country’s universities are western and originated in the West.”
In recent weeks, many prominent figures closely associated with the administration have lamented the un-Islamic character of Iranian universities. Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Saffar Harandi, compared in a speech the “Cultural Revolution” of 1980 with today’s events, saying, “At that time, our revolutionary students believed that pre-revolutionary studies should not be taught to students by the same professors who were the theoreticians of the old regime. We don’t want our universities to be the breeding grounds of forces opposed to God and his religion.”
Source : Roozonline
Sunday, July 27th, 2008
200 % Increase in Basij Budget for Bases
As the commander of the Basij resistance force (affiliated to the Passdaran Revolutionary Guards of Iran) announced a sharp increase in the budget of this military force, the representative of Iran’s supreme leader ayatollah Khamenei in the Passdaran spoke of “strengthening the Basij” and “speeding up” the development and expansion of the “20 million or multi-million army.” These remarks come after Basij announced its readiness to “confront the cultural threats” facing the country.
Hassan Taeb, who was recently appointed by Passdaran commander Mohammad Ali Jaafari to be the commander of the Basij resistance force for Iran, announced in the weekly Sobh Sadegh, the official weekly journal of the political office of the Passdaran, of the “200 percent increase in the budget of the Basij resistance bases” during the current year.
This announcement follows earlier remarks by Taeb that the number of resistance bases of the force stood at some 36,000 and had called on national organizations to pay greater attention to the force.
In a separate but related announcement that was published two days ago by Mehr news agency, the commander of the Basij force had announced the “readiness of Basij” to confront “any cultural threats” facing the country. Hassan Taeb who had participated in a seminar of the cultural officials of the Passdaran force from all the provinces of Iran said, “The cultural wing of the Passdaran particularly in at the Basij resistance level must well identify the cultural threats of the enemy and present suitable responses to them. The Passdaran must implement self-reliant solutions in every province to confront any cultural threat with suitable responses.”
In a related news, Shahab news agency quoted the Basij commander as saying, “There must be resistance capability to confront the soft and semi-soft threats. Regarding the soft threat which is primarily cultural, Basij is capable of confronting any measure.”
In addition to the remarks of the Basij commander, Ali Saidi, the representative of ayatollah Khamenei in the Passdaran force also spoke of the force’s plans for “greater sensitivity” to Basij by the public. He spoke of “the structural changes to and developments in the Passdaran and the Basij resistance force and the creation of Passdaran commands at the provincial level”.
“The Passdaran have shown so far that they are men of action and that it does what it says,” said this religious figure in the Passdaran in reference to the creation of the 20 million-man Basij force as originally announced by the founder of the Islamic regime, ayatollah Khomeini. “The recent changes in the Passdaran are reflective of speeding up the implementation of the 20-million man army,” and the strengthening of the Basij “for the expansion of the 20 million man or tens of millions of men army,” he said.
Source : Roozonline
Sunday, July 27th, 2008
Ahmadinejad Makes another Claim
Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad told a group of clerics from the province of Kahgiloie va Bovir, “The World is With Us”. Referencing his trip last year to New York, he said that one of the presidential candidates in the US presidential elections had told him, “Your words make resonance here.” And in a following speech in the city of Mashhad, Ahmadinejad told his audience that he “would not negotiate any clear rights” of the Iranians and announced that “thousands of new centrifuges would become operational” for enriching uranium.
In Mashhad, Ahmadinejad announced that, “After the setting up of hundreds and thousands of uranium enrichment centrifuges the enemies had expressly retreated and accepted the advancements of the Iranian nation, and now called on Iran not to expand its nuclear activities. Fortunately, the enemy had been completely defeated. By attacking the Islamic revolution, they had wanted us to retreat and regress. But with the resistance of the nation, those who claimed that 10 years of negotiations would be needed for just 20 centrifuge units to become operational, have now expressly retreated from their claims, … and now call for the suspension of additional nuclear activities.”
These remarks prompted university lecturers belonging to Basij to label Ahmadinejad the “national hero in the nuclear battle.” According to Mehr news agency, after bestowing this title onto the president, the lecturers thanked him for “the resistance over the nuclear posture of the Islamic republic of Iran.”
In his talk to clerics in the province of Kahgiloie va Bovir, Ahmadinejad spoke of indications that the world had changed. According to Tabnak Internet news site, Ahmadinejad told his audience that Iran was “not only in a state of battle on the political and cultural fronts, but also in the economic sphere. Our enemies had made plans and had announced that this regime had to be toppled. But they and their supporters erroneously believe that they can remove the regime and the revolution. I have no doubts that they are wrong. And what is our mission today? We must first understand the situation in the world.”
He then reminded his audience that, “There are signs of this retreat all over the world, including inside the US itself. When I was in New York last year, one of the American presidential candidates told me, ‘I wish to advance in this country the very statements that you make there.’ And when I asked him why, he said that people here like these words. Your words resonate here and people embrace them. Today the heart of the whole world is with us. The Iranian is dear wherever he goes around the world. I sent a message to the US when I was in Iraq and asked what they were threatening Iran with. I have seen and have specific information that your very soldiers and military force is with us.”
Commenting on the recent talks in Geneva, Ahmadinejad said, “During the recent trip that Mr. Jalili, this pious young man, made and sat across seven or eight snake-wounded individuals who had come with their private jets and pre-written speeches, the driver of one of them told Jalili, on seeing him, ‘We are with you. As is the case all over the world’.”
In his latest talk, Ahmadinejad called his task a “global mission” and claimed, “If the world saw the resistance of the piousness and justice of the Iranian nation, it would come to us in multitudes. The missing Imam is the symbol of all goodness and justice and we have the task of inviting the world to a perfect humanity. The stronger this call is, the stronger will be its effect and no one will be able to withstand it. The Velayat regime (reference to rule of the clerics) means a loud call to accept the missing Imam, which is the reason of the survival of the regime.”
Source : Roozonline
Saturday, July 19th, 2008
Supreme Leader’s Warning to Bush:
In his latest remarks yesterday, the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, backed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the person “in charge” of the nuclear case and issued a direct warning to George W. Bush that “[i]f George Bush orders a military strike against Iran, even if he leaves it up to the next Administration, the Iranian nation will sue and punish him even after his term in his office is over.”
The supreme leader’s office provided the full transcript of Khamenei’s speech, which was delivered on the birth date of the first Shia Imam, to the press yesterday. In part of his speech, referring to military threats issued against Iran that are published as unofficial news by some media organizations, Khamenei said, “[i]f anyone takes any stupid action against Iran, our response will be decisive. The fact that the US government and Zionist regime are talking in order to cover up their own internal problems is their business. Yet if the plan to attack will be realized, they should know that the Iranian nation will cut off the arm of those who attack it. For the Iranian nation, it does not matter whether this criminal arm occupies a government post or not.”
Explicitly naming the current United States president, George W. Bush, Khamenei added, “[i]f George Bush orders a military strike against Iran, even if he leaves it up to the next Administration, the Iranian nation will sue and punish him even after his term in his office is over.”
Commenting on the Islamic Republic’s position, the supreme leader noted, “[o]ur red lines are clear and if the other parties respect the Iranian people, the dignity of the Islamic republic and these red lines, our officials will negotiate as long as no one makes any threats against Iran.”
Ayatollah Khamenei also made a distinction between Europe and the United States: “[t]he Iranian nation makes a distinction between those who, like America, oppose [our] right to achieve nuclear knowledge and this huge advantage out of malice, and those who respect the Iranian nation and its right and respect the nation’s red lines and want to discuss various issues, including the nuclear [issue].”
Meanwhile, noting that “[t]he country’s officials are making fully informed decisions about the nuclear issue,” Ayatollah Khamenei commented on disagreements among country’s officials over whether the Islamic Republic should negotiate with the West: “[t]he supreme national security council, headed by the president, is responsible on the nuclear question. What the president and the officials say on the nuclear issue is the fruit of a consensus of all the country’s officials and the heads of three branches and supreme leader’s representatives in the National Security Council are dealing with this issue with wisdom, commitment and responsibility.”
The supreme leader’s supportive remarks of Ahmadinejad are made after several international publications speculated last week about the possibility of disagreements over Iran’s nuclear program between the president and supreme leader.
Rumors of possible disagreements follow after former Islamic Republic Foreign Minister (of 16 years) and current foreign policy advisor to Ayatollah Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, insisted in an interview with Jomhouri Eslami daily that it is in Iran’s best interest to accept the proposed 5+1 package of incentives. An article authored by Velayati titled, “Who Rules Iran?” was published simultaneously by several prominent European newspapers. In it, Velayati declared that Ayatollah Khamenei has the last word in Iran’s foreign policy and handling of the nuclear case.
Source : Roozonline
Sunday, July 13th, 2008
Testing Shahab-3 with a 2,000-Kilometer Range
On Wednesday morning, news agencies affiliated to the Islamic Republic simultaneously reported that nine updated Shahab-3 missiles with ranges of 2,000 kilometers and capable of carrying payloads of one ton were successfully tested during the Revolutionary Guards’ military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf.
Minutes after the report, Fars news agency quoted Revolutionary Guards air force commander Hossein Salami as saying, “The Guards’ hand is on the trigger to shoot thousands of missiles toward any aggressor.” Salami added, “The purpose of holding this maneuver is to demonstrate determination, willpower and might against enemies that have threatened Iran in recent weeks with violent literature. We shoot these missiles in honor of Iran to show that this is only a small part of Iran’s ability and defensive capability. We tell enemies who intend to derail the Iranian nation from its holy path with psychological operations and real threats that we are always prepared to defend.”
Also, Commander Hejazi, deputy chief of the Revolutionary Guards commented on yesterday’s maneuvers in an interview with ISNA: “Only a small part of Iran’s unshakable power was demonstrated in this exercise.”
Meanwhile, according to Fars news agency, Commander Najjar, Iran’s defense minister, said, ”Iran’s missile capability is rapid and accurate.”
Israel within ReachYesterday’s testing of the missiles, if comments by military officials are true, shows that Israel is now within reach of Iran’s missiles. Iran’s regions that are closest to Israel are between the towns of Ghasr-e Shirin and Mehran in western Iran, which are about 1,200 kilometers from Israel. If the Revolutionary Guards’ new missiles truly have a range of 2,000 kilometers, they can, as a religious-military figure reiterated on Tuesday, target Israel and the city of Tel Aviv. In addition, Revolutionary Guards air force commander Hossein Salami told Fars news agency yesterday during his interview, “We think far beyond the Zionist regime, and do not compare ourselves merely with the occupying Zionist regime. The range of our threats and confrontation would go far beyond the Zionist regime.”
The Revolutionary Guards is testing its new missiles at a time when Ali Shirazi, the supreme leader’s representative at the Revolutionary Guards navy, delivered a speech yesterday on the Islamic Republic’s possible retaliation in response to “any potential attack,” insisting that Iran’s first response to any such attacks is to “destroy Tel Aviv and America’s navy.” Speaking at the sixth annual political convention for navy employees, Shirazi said, “Today, the Islamic Republic is at the height of its ability, power and preparedness, which is not comparable to any era in the country’s history.” Shirazi added, “The Zionist regime continues to pressure the White House to prepare its military aggression against Iran. If an attack takes place by them, Tel Aviv and America’s navy in the Persian Gulf are the first targets that would be set on fire with Iran’s destructive response.”
Source : Roozonline
Saturday, July 12th, 2008
Shahbazi: They Tried to Kill Me
Abdollah Shahbazi, who is now labeled as the ‘second exposer’ after a former Majlis member Palizdar made public revelations about flagrant corruption among senior Iranian clerics and politicians, is reported to have escaped an assassination attempt, according to news reports in Iran. He is said to have written a letter to President Ahmadinejad asserting that an attempt was made on his life with the intention to kill him.
Edalatkhah website close to Iran’s president Ahmadinejad reported the claim on Tuesday with details. “When the chasers discovered that Shahbazi was not in the vehicle they were following, they beat up the driver and threatened him with a pistol. They then attempted to kidnap the drive who after being hit in the head was forced to drive his car off a curb and then ran out of the vehicle to flee. After a series of protest statements by Shahbazi about corruption and fraud in real estate deals in the province of Fars, armed men two nights ago chased his car and attempted to kidnap and assassinate him”, the report on the website read.
This report was published by a site close to Ahmadinejad after Shahab News website reported that the president and Shahbazi had been in contact. According to this report Abdollah Shahbazi, a writer and a controversial historian who has made somber charges against senior military and political authorities in the province of Fars, now claims that armed men attempted to assassinate him.
A Researcher for the Security ApparatusAbdollah Shahbazi was a key member of Iran’s Tudeh communist party in the former years of the 1979 revolution and was arrested with other senior leaders of the party in early 1980s. But he soon turned into an active member of the intelligence community of the Islamic regime and became a member of the Ministry of Intelligence. He was a founding member of the Center for Political Research of that ministry and led it for more than 10 years. According to him, while working at the research center, he was also active at the Current History of Iran Studies institute (Moasese Motaleat Tarikhe Moaser Iran) on direct orders from the Supreme leader of the Islamic state, an institute that is linked to the Mostazafan foundation. During these years, he has been closely linked to right-wing groups in the ministry of intelligence.
In recent months, he began a campaign to discredit and ‘expose’ economic corruption among some senior authorities in the province of Fars. He claimed to be close to the special investigator to the president and Dawood Ahmadinejad (the brother of the president and head of the presidential inspectorate general), implying that he was in contact with the higher echelons of power in the country. In that connection, he published documents regarding the secret talks among the most senior leaders of the country, that included the remarks made by Supreme Leader ayatollah Khamenei on June 22, 1999 about the murders that were carried out by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence, known as the serial killings. He had promised to make more documents public in the future about the secret events in the country.
These statements, or ‘revelations’ as they are also called, led to his arrest on June 19 by the prosecutor in the town of Shiraz in Fars province. The charges that were brought against him were ‘libel and disturbing public peace’.
After Shahbazi’s arrest, the prosecutor’s deputy issued a 100 million Toman bond (about $100,000) for his release and according to Islamic Republic of Iran news agency the head of the judiciary of Fars province had threatened to detain and imprison Shahbazi if he failed to provide the bond. Shahbazi provided the bond the next day and was thus released on bail.
Source : Roozonline