Archive for October, 2008
Monday, October 20th, 2008
Results of New Surveys
While media outlets close to the administration have been attempting in recent weeks to exaggerate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s popularity to be greater than ever before, the latest survey conducted by the Islamic Republic Majlis Strategic Research Center demonstrates that Iran’s president is not only suffering from very low popularity and approval ratings, but also many of the participants in the survey regard his administration as a failure.
Alborz news website reported yesterday that, according to a survey conducted by the Majlis Strategic Resarch Center, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is suffering from his lowest popularity ratings since being elected president in 2005.
This website, which is affiliated with the right-wing faction, announced: “According to another survey held jointly by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, 70 percent of the Iranian population are willing to vote for Seyyed Mohammad Khatami if he runs in the upcoming presidential election while only 13 percent of the population are willing for vote for Ahmadinejad again.
The Alborz website did not explain how it accessed survey results. Nevertheless, the website “triboon” alluded to the report, noting, “The survey was carried out in Tehran and large cities showing that that Iranian president is suffering from extremely low popularity rates among Iranians residing in these cities. According to survey results, 64 percent of respondents to the question about how successful the Ahmadinejad Administration has been rated the ninth administration’s performance below average. More than 50 percent of respondents rated the administration as “unsuccessful” or “highly unsuccessful.”
Similarly, the news website Parsineh wrote regarding the Majlis Strategic Research Center’s survey result: “In another part of this survey 78 percent of respondents described the seventh Majlis’s supervision on the administration as ‘weal’ or ‘very weak.’ Meanwhile, 83 percent of respondents to the survey responded negatively to whether they would vote again for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and announced that they would not vote again for the current president of the Islamic Republic.”
More than 40 thousand people from various social, economic and educational backgrounds ranging from pre-diploma to doctoral degrees participated in this survey.
Source : Roozonline
Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
Following Public Criticism
Less than two weeks after grand ayatollah Montazeri spoke to a group of his followers on the occasion of Eid-al-Fitr, celebrated at the end of the fasting month of Ramazan, in which he criticized Iran’s rulers and the administration, pressures on him, his office and his home have been growing. Soon after a member of his office, Mojtaba Lotfi was arrested, the house of another associates, this time his son-in-law Mojtaba Feiz was searched by agents from Qom’s intelligence bureau.
As has now been the practice, a public prayer session was held in the city of Qom under the prayer leadership of ayatollah Ibrahim Amini last Wednesday on the occasion of Eid-al-Fitr. At the same time, grand ayatollah Montazeri, who also holds his own separate public prayers for his followers, held his session in his office, which was attended by several hundred individuals. After the congregational prayers, the cleric’s public talk turned to a criticism of President Ahmadinejad’s government. Quoting the president from a talk he had in New York that Iran was “the freest country in the world”, Montazeri asked, “Why do your words not match your deeds inside the country. You call Iran the freest country in the world when you are outside, but inside Iran you deprive us of our basic and legal rights.”
“When someone like me who played a key role in the victory of the Islamic revolution [of 1979] is treated in this [oppressive] fashion, while our buildings are confiscated and our words are censored, you can imagine what they do the regular folks. If these gentlemen [i.e. authorities and officials] know of these actions, and still claim to have freedom, then you are doing the wrong thing. If you do not know what is going, then things are even worse,” Montazeri continued, saying that he prayed to God to give reason and thought to authorities so that what they say and do is based on reason and thought.
Some observers believe that because of Montazeri’s age, illness and large number of followers, the regime no longer pursues a plan to suppress the senior cleric, but recent days have demonstrated that measures continue to be taken by authorities against him. Mojtaba Lotfi who was responsible for communications in the ayatollah’s office, was arrested on orders from the special clerical court by agents from Qom’s intelligence bureau, after the critical speech by the ayatollah. Following the arrest, Lotfi’s house was searched.
Last week, the house of Mojtaba Feiz, the ayatollah’s son in law was searched as well, but no arrests were made.
While some view the recent arrest and searches related to the ayatollah’s recent critical comments about the administration and its policies, others associate the events to the forthcoming presidential elections, and the visits of Montazeri by some reformist presidential hopefuls. Montazeri has called on the reformers to unite in announcing their presidential candidates and present a single nominee.
Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Radan Replaces Ahmadi-Moghaddam
An informed official in Iran’s policeforce revealed the promotion of Tehran Police Chief Ahmad Reza Radan. According to this source, Radan is now promoted to be the deputy chief of the National Security Forces.
Although several news sources including the news website “Asr-e Iran” in recent days had predicted that Tehran’s Police Chief would be replaced, but unlike their prediction which associated the change to Ahmad Reza Radan’s insistence on the implementation of plans to boost public security (very severe punishment of thugs in the public), it was later revealed that Ahmad Reza Radan is not only not demoted, but is actually promoted for ”successful implementation of his duties” to serve as deputy chief of the national security forces.
General Mehdi Ahmadi, the communications director of the State Security Forces, told the Fars news agency yesterday that effective Monday, Ahmad Reza Radan would replace General Zolfaghari as deputy chief of the State Security Forces and General Azizollah Rajabzadeh would replace Radan as the Tehran Police Chief.
This police official did not reveal the details of personnel changes but noted that “General Zolfaghari is attending university to continue his education” and for that reason Radan is replacing him.
Radan is among the members of the joint committee established by the police and judiciary. Following several altercations that took place at the gas pumps in response to rising gas prices, Radan, along with Tehran’s Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi, unveiled a plan to boos public security in Tehran and several provinces on the basis of which many suspected individuals have been sentenced to prison time or execution in recent months without due process. In the latest round of such executions, 29 individuals were executed in Iran during one day last June.
Radan’s promotion comes just a day after he insisted on continuing the plan to boost public security. As reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency, noting that the “plan to boost public security is not stoppable,” Radan said, “The police would firmly and fully confront thugs and gangsters, persons who disrespect women, drug traders and thieves.”
Source : Roozonline
Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Announced at Press Conference
Although the reformists have not yet agreed on a single candidate to represent them in the upcoming presidential election, yesterday former Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karoubi officially announced his candidacy, only a few days after meeting with high-ranking clerics in the holy city of Qom.
Karoubi’s press conference was held yesterday against the backdrop of varied reactions from the reformists. Former president Khatami’s interior minister, Mousavi Lari thought that “Karoubi and Khatami’s candidacy” were not connected, while Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi Khoiniha, the central figure in the Majma’e Rowhaniyoon-e Mobarez [Association of Combatant Clerics], described Khatami’s presence as the “only way to save the nation.”
Sixth Majlis Speaker and current Secretary General of Etemad Melli political party, Mehdi Karoubi officially announced yesterday in a press conference that he would run in the upcoming presidential election in Iran.
According to news agencies, responding to a question from a Fars news agency reporter, Mehdi Karoubi said that his most serious opponent in the upcoming election is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, noting, “With respect to competing friends, up to this moment my serious opponent is Mr. Ahmadinejad who is now the president and working. With respect to our own friends, meaning reformist friends, I have not yet seen anyone coming forward for serious competition.”
Commenting on the reception of his candidacy, Karoubi introduced his strategy of “silence,” adding, “If people say something against me and my friends I do not intend to defend myself, even if newspapers write something against me, even if what they write is unfair, I intend to remain fully silent.”
Karoubi faced reporters yesterday as he was clearly attempting to convey that his candidacy was the reflection of wishes of many officials. Last week, after meetings that Karoubi held with several prominent political figures, he traveled to Qom to meet with several high-ranking clerics. Karoubi even said that he met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, though he added that the meeting was part of normal proceedings observed during Khatami’s time as well.
Secretary General of Etemad Melli party paraphrased remarks of Ayatollah Khamenei, who purportedly told Karoubi, “I won’t tell anyone to come, nor would I tell them not to come, but if you take issues into account and know the problems, and if you receive votes, I will cooperate with you as I have done in the past.”
Source : Roozonline
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008
Hezbollah of Iran:
After eliminating Ahmadinejad’s name and adding names such as Mohammad Bagher Kharrazi, Seyyed Hassan Khomeini, Hassan Rohani, Qalibaf, Mohsen Rezaei and Hossein Kanani-Moghaddam to its list of presidential candidates, the organization known as “Hezbollah Iran,” published a new list suggesting ministers for the tenth administration, ranking Ahmadinejad as the third choice to head the ministry of roads!
Coinciding with Ahmad Jannati’s remarks about the forthcoming presidential elections in June 2009, the Hezbollah coalition, which is headed by Mohammad Bagher Kharrazi, yesterday published a list which, according to the organization’s officials, includes the names of possible ministers in the tenth (next) administration.
According to the organization’s slate, the most suitable candidate for the tenth presidential election in Iran is none other than the organization’s secretary general, Mohammad Bagher Kharrazi and, as reported by the Fararu news website, Seyyed Hassan Khomeini and Hassan Rowhani are listed as the second and third choices for presidency. In addition, Qalibaf, Mohsen Rezaei and Hossein Kanani-Moghaddam (secretary general of Hezbollah Iran) are listed as the first to third choices for vice presidency.
Another interesting point of the slate provided by Hezbollah is the mixture of various figures in the tenth administration’s cabinet, such that members of the country’s various political factions are present on the slate.
Although nine months remain until the tenth presidential election, discussions among Principalists (Osoolgarayan) on who should run for presidency are heating up and, although it is expected that Ahmadinejad would be a major candidate of the faction, conflicting and at times negative reports and remarks have been heard in recent days regarding his participation.
Noting that Ahmadinejad is not the organization’s candidate, Hossein Kanani-Moghaddam announced on Monday, “The Hezbollah coalition strategic council’s grassroots advice to Mr. Ahmadinejad is not to run in the tenth presidential election.”
The head of Hezbollah coalition strategic council noted scandals associated with the ninth administration, particularly in the past year, as reasons for the Hezbollah coalition strategic council’s decision not to include Ahmadinejad on its slate, adding, “Events that took place toward the end of ninth administration’s tenure, particularly in economic issues, central bank, interior ministry, removal of certain individuals from cabinet and entrance of new individuals, and issues arising especially with respect to the Palestinian issue are among controversies that caused the strategic council not to consider the country’s incumbent president as a candidate in the tenth presidential election.”
Source : Roozonline
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
MPs Warn the Administration
While the differences between Iran’s ex-Central Bank governor and the President were so deep that Ahmadinejad could not even wait to return to Tehran to issue his dismissal of governor Tahmaseb Mazaheri and replace him with Mahmoud Bahmani, which he did from New York, there already are reports of differences in views between the President and his newly appointed governor.
President Ahmadinejad kept Mazaheri as Central Bank governor for only one year and when he replaced him it was to “streamline his economics team”, but the official Fars news agency which had predicted Mazaheri’s dismissal weeks in advance, published reports yesterday that Hossein Samsami may be appointed as the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).
Samsami is the nephew of Parviz Dawoodi, Iran’s first vice-president and while Fars news agency conditioned the finalization of Samsami’s ascend at the CBI to a “confirmation by the governor,” news reports indicate that Mazaheri is not keen on doing this. Entekhab news website on Sunday quoted an “informed source” that vice-president Dawoodi’s request to elevate Samsami to be governor Bahmani’s deputy has met a hurdle as the newly appointed CBI chief is refraining from appointing him. The news site concludes that with this level of opposition by Bahmani, his own status may be reduced to that of a deputy at the CBI.
While it seems doubtful that President Ahmadinejad would rescind his newly appointed CBI governor so quickly, Entekhab websites report indicates the regret of the cabinet in appointing Bahmani to lead the bank. Contrary to public views, Bahmani as an architect of the new policies at CBI is even more adamant on its implementation than his just dismissed boss, i.e. governor Mazaheri. His resistance and relative independence in dealing with Samsami so far has disarrayed the cabinet prompting it to think that the new governor may actually not change course at the bank and its monetary policies after all.
As tensions at the CBI and over its policies and leadership continue at a time when the official ILNA labor news agency reported that, “Some senior CBI directors had submitted their resignations because of pressures at the Central Bank.” This news agency too mentioned Dawoodi’s pressure on Bahmani over Samsami and wrote, “While Dr Bahmani has refrained from accepting the pressures in this regard, but it is heard that Samsami is already exerting his presence in all quarters of the bank. According to some reports a group of CBI directors who had joined the bank recently have resigned in protest to Samsami’s expanding control.”
The problems at the central bank have not remained confined to the presidency, the cabinet and the bank, as the Majlis too has joined in the game. First, Majlis’ Research Center which works under Tavakoli recently announced its expert opinion on CBI’s controversial policy package which led to the downfall of governor Mazaheri, and on the resolution of the economics commission of the cabinet. The center announced that, “The government should not intervene in monetary and banking policy making.” Following that, Majlis speaker Larijani actually criticized the change of guard at the CBI and said, “It is not good that individuals be replaced or removed from office so quickly,” which is a direct reference to the removal of the CBI governor.
Source : Roozonline