Archive for August, 2008
Sunday, August 31st, 2008
To Prevent War
Just two months after 72 Iranian pro-peace personalities signed a peace drive, the founders of the National Peace Council held their second meeting. At the meeting, the activists ratified the charter; the general assembly voted its executive operatives and inspectors, thus officially launching the group.
Fifteen individuals were elected from the members of the general assembly to act as the executive board which is mandated to run the group’s affairs, except those identified by the general assembly. Hashem Aghajari, Babak Ahmadi, Habibollah Peyman, Jalal Jalalizadeh, Taghi Rahmani, Issa Saharkhiz, Abdoll-FatahSoltani, Hossein Shah-Hosseini, Seyed-Ali Salehi, Keyvan Samimi, Abdollah Momeni, Hossein Mojahed, Narges Mohammadi, Baizid Mardookhi, and Fatemeh Motamed-Aria were elected as the members of the executive board, while five others, Hossein Akbari, Mohammad Sadegh-Rabani, Kurosh Zaeem, Soraya Aziz-Panah, and Parvin Kahzadi were elected as substitute members.
In addition, Ezatollah Sahabi, Abbas Abdi and Dawood Hermidas-Bavand were elected as the principal inspectors of the organization, while Mohammad Khaksari, and Jhila Shariatpanahi were elected as substitute inspectors.
Issa Saharkhiz, a regular contributor to Rooz, and now a member of the executive board of the Peace Council said that members to the group was open to anyone, regardless of their political leanings, adding, “Anyone who is concerned about peace and is interested in preventing the country from getting into one, can become a member.”
Last February as tensions between the US and Iran reached levels that had produced fears that military action against Iran was a real possibility, Shirin Ebadi, Iran’s only Nobel laureate announced the creation of a temporary peace committee and called on all Iranian to participate in efforts to prevent such a war.
The Peace Council has set four goals for itself: the creation and strengthening of the foundations for peace, human rights and continues development in Iran; preventing any military, terrorist and violent action against Iran; activities to remove any sanctions against Iran and prevent their strengthening, and; ending the atmosphere of ‘no war and no peace’ that is in air.
The individuals forming this group include critics of the government, professional journalists, commentators, women activists, former government officials, human rights activists, lawyers, university academicians, and political activists.
Source : Roozonline
Saturday, August 30th, 2008
The President’s New Fable
Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who normally makes fantastic pronouncements in the absence of the media and journalists, once again narrated a story from his recent trip to Turkey during a speech that he delivered at a scientific seminar held in Iran.
Raja News website quoted some of the excerpts of Ahmadinejad’s talk at the gathering. “Great pressures was exerted on the Turkish government for us not to go there, while some inside Iran too questioned the necessity of this trip, citing loss of dignity and respect for Iran if it participated. Probably the dignity of the Turkish government rests in being a follower of the United States,” the website quoted the president.
Ahmadinejad said that while he was in Turkey, he attacked the United States and the Zionists in the strongest possible terms in his interview, adding, “Even some of our friends questioned why we used such aggressive language. I responded that people’s fears had to be broken and that we must inject the aggressive spirit into people. We did not just make accusations against our enemies, but took measured thoughtful steps regarding them..”
Ahmadinejad claimed that during his trip as soon as he stepped out of his automobile at some point, people began shouting Death to America, Death to Zionism.
Regarding Turkey’s relations with Israel, Ahmadinejad said, “after a press interview with the Turkish president, I went to the Friday congregational prayers and sat among the people. A young Turk who was crying said to me, ‘you can look at God because you are not ashamed, while we are ashamed because of our relations with the Zionists’. Our national radio and television station could not broadcast the realities that exist there. We broadcast 2-minute reports here while the Zionists broadcast 30 minute programs.”
Friends of the Iranian Revolution in the United States
Ahmadinejad’s talk at the scientific seminar was not limited to his trip to Turkey. According to Fard website, Ahmadinejad made references to his last trip to Iraq and despite the denials by the US military in Iraq, again claimed that, “While in Iraq the commander of the airbase who is among the occupiers, came to visit me, as had been arranged, and said that he was honored to meet me. ‘You and your nation have a place in our hearts and we love the Iranians,’ he said.” The Americans had announced that the driver of one of the base commanders had come face to face with Ahmadinejad at the airport and had said hello to him.
On the even of his next trip to New York, Ahmadinejad once again made a reference to his talk at Columbia University last year and said, “The American people have send plenty of messages and apologies since my last trip to the United States and the events at Columbia University in New York. During the trip, students from a high school wrote a letter and said that they approved or our words and that ‘they’ (meaning Americans) lied to them. Even though a heavy oppressive atmosphere rules over the US, but this has been broken and a path has been opened and the message of the [Iranian] revolution has entered the country in such a manner that even the elections rhetoric and slogans have been impacted.”
During his talk, Ahmadinejad also made reference to South America and said, “A friend who has recently returned from South America told me to keep an eye on South America because there everyone loves Iran.”
Source : Roozonline
Monday, August 25th, 2008
Counter Punches by Allies of Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad
With the express public criticism of the administration by the head of the State Expediency Council and also Experts Assembly on Leadership Hashemi Rafsanjani, and follow-ups by his allies – which are now expressed without any “consideration” – the state-run media have launched an intense counter attack against the two time president. Sensing the battle to be getting out of control, the administration spokesperson asked Rafsanjani to be friendlier towards Ahmadinejad’s government.
Gholam-Hossein Elham, the administration’s spokesperson and who is also the spokesperson for Iran’s judiciary sent a note to Hemat weekly magazine, which had previously criticized Rafsanjani, in which he aired disapproval of the 2-time former president and Majlis speaker. “Mr. Hashemi has made an interesting confession which is that his look at Mr. Ahmadinejad’s government is that of an enemy’s, towards which he has temporarily chosen to be “patient,” Elham writes.
The same note was also published this Sunday in Iran newspaper, the government’s official outlet. This article said Rafsanjani’s attitude and words were worth reviewing and asks the influential cleric, “Is it not better to be friendly rather than patient?”
Even though the differences that have been aired between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad go back to the 2005 presidential elections that catapulted Ahmadinejad to the presidency, Rafsanjani’s recent attacks have resulted in stronger counter-attacks by the president and his allies. Two weeks ago while talking to businessmen and economists in Mashhad, Rafsanjani said that the time for being patient with the ninth administration had passed. “For three years we have been patient regarding the policies implementation of article 44 of the constitution. When the ninth administration began its work, the esteemed supreme leader had asked that we be patient with it for a period. We can now say that this period has now ended,” Rafsanjani said. [Article 44 of Iran’s constitution identifies the economic activities that the public, private and cooperative sectors shall engage in. Mr. Rafsanjani has asserted that the government had not been observing this division as required.]
These remarks brought about sharp and immediate rebuttals by Iran and Keyhan newspapers (both run by editors appointed by the leader of the Islamic regime or the administration), which called the move an “elections propaganda”. Iran’s next presidential elections are scheduled for next year.
In related news, Mohammad Reza Bahonar, the deputy Majlis speaker leaned to support Rafsanjani in his remarks and said, “Hashemi has criticized the current administration for forgetting the fourth development plan, the 20-year plan, and the absence of economic policies, some of which we support.”
General seyed Hassan Firuzabadi, the chairman of Iran’s chiefs of staff also called for a review of the administration’s policies during the “Government Week” and stressed, “Review does not mean just looking at the good things and being appreciative. During the Government Week, if deviations and weaknesses exist among state authorities or the government’s allies they too must be reviewed, and the public-serving government must take these into consideration.”
But the strongest support for Hashemi Rafsanjani came from Masih Mohajerani, the managing editor of Jomhurie Eslami newspaper. He writes, “Those who believe that Mr. Rafsanjani’s criticism of the government is not valid, should present their views with logic rather than pouncing back or being disrespectful to him. For example, they should provide their reasons to show that the administration has not deviated from the 20-year plan, that the government has been observing article 44 of the constitution and has not taken over all industries, that the price of chicken has not risen from 1,400 Toman to 3,000 Toman (a two-fold increase), the price of meat has not rise from 5,000 Toman to 10,000 Toman (a two-fold increase), rice has not risen from 1,000 Toman to 4,000 Toman (a four-fold increase), the price of housing has not gone up 8-fold, the price of detergent has not gone up from 350 Toman to 900 Toman, that we do not have blackouts, or long gasoline lines, that there is no shortage of gas, etc.” [The exchange rate for a US Dollar is about 800 Toman.]
In response to this, the government’s official newspaper Iran wrote, “It is noteworthy that the managing editor of the newspaper [Jomhurie Eslami] who held various positions in previous administrations, has been benefitting from being an advisor to the current administration without being cooperative or active in it, and has received 14 million Rials (approximately $1,750) per month as a senior advisor to the president until just recently.”
ShahabNews, a news website critical of the administration, wrote yesterday that Iran newspaper’s article was a revengeful piece against the supporters of Hashemi Rafsanjani and wrote, “Naturally Iran newspaper did not explain in its published article, if the story [about Mohajerani] is true, that Mr. Mohajerani’s salary will now be stopped for supporting Hashemi and is for writing a few critical pieces of the administration.”
Source : Roozonline
Tuesday, August 19th, 2008
Winds of Change Hit Home
As three new ministers joined Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet, and the Majlis chatters about summoning five other ministers, President Ahmadinejad’s brother Haj Davood Ahmadinejad who hold various administrative positions including being the head of the powerful the presidential inspectorate was removed from office last week.
Jame Jam newspaper quoted “a source inside the presidential office” that Davood Ahmadinejad, the special presidential inspectorate had departed from his post. Similarly, another news source Shahab news agency too quoted a source close to the administration confirming the news and announced that the post of the presidential inspectorate had been passed on to Sheikh-ol Islam, who currently is the chief of staff (or director) of the president’s office, who will continue his current post as well.
When Ahmadinejad has presented his new choices for the three vacant cabinet posts, there were rumors that some of his close aides were not happy with the nominees. This included the president’s brother. The same source in Jame Jam – who did not wish to be revealed and publicly named – had denied that Davood Ahmadinejad has been removed because of his objections to the president’s proposed ministers, particularly Ali Kordan as the minister of the interior, and added that, “Mr. Davood Ahmadinejad had himself decided to leave the post of the presidential inspectorate.”
Jame Jam did not provide a reason for Davood Ahmadinejad’s departure, but another website Shahab News gave health reasons for the change in guard. “Davood Ahmadinejad personally requested to be relieved of his post because of personal issues and on the recommendations of his doctors,” it wrote. The site did not provide any medical reasons or possible health issues that the Davood may have.
As the pro-government media tried to portray that Davood Ahmadinejad left his post on his own accord, other news sources have said that he was indeed removed from office by others. Alborz website, for example, which used the term “removal”, wrote that the president’s brother had been removed “because of differences with the president.” The news site also promised to provide more details about this important cabinet-level change in the near future.
Tabnak, another news website, close to former Passdaran Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezai also wrote about a “Gap in the process of opening up”, as a reference to the departure or dismissal of the president’s brother from his post. It attributed the change directly to the differences between the two Ahmadinejad brothers.
Source : Roozonline
Sunday, August 17th, 2008
More Reactions to Mashaei’s Remarks
As the Majlis goes into its second summer recess, 200 representatives signed a statement calling for the dismissal of president Ahmadinejad’s aide, Rahim Mashaei over his remarks about friendship with the people of Israel.
The statement, which began with a quote by Mashaei, “We are friends with Israeli people”, wrote “When these strange and unacceptable remarks which are in contradiction to the principled policies of the Islamic republic and are in express opposition to the position of the grand Imam (i.e. ayatollah Khomeini) and the current leader were made by a deputy of the president Rahim Mashaei were made, it was thought that he had made a political mistake which could be corrected through a rebuttal. But when the remarks were followed up by “For the thousandth time and stronger than before I announce … “ a serious warning bell was sounded in the regime which indicated an unacceptable deviation regarding one of the most important foreign policy issues of the Islamic republic of Iran.”
By asserting that the position of deputy president, which Mashaei holds, “belongs to the entire population of Iran”, the law-makers stressed in their statement that Mashaei “did not have the right to announce such a low and condemned position from a public tribune, and in general he lacks the credentials to be in that post.”
The statement ends with a call by the deputies that president Ahmadinejad “condemn the issue and deal with him (i.e. Mashaei) in a serious manner.”
Source : Roozonline