Archive for November, 2008
Sunday, November 23rd, 2008
Hashemi: My Love is Khamenei!
Speaking to a group of Sharif University students, Akbar Hashemi, while criticizing the ninth administration’s performance, criticized taking over the American embassy in 1980 and referred to ayatollah Khamenei as his “love.”
After delivering a speech on Saturday evening at the Sharif University Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani responded to written questions from students. During the question and response session, Hashemi was asked, “Are you in constant contact with the supreme leader and what is the level and nature of such contact?” Hashemi, the head of the powerful Assembly of Experts, which supervises the supreme leader’s performance, responded, “You won’ find two people in this country who are closer to one another than myself and the supreme leader.” When asked, “Do you still like him?” Hashemi responded, “Very much! My love is Mr. Khamenei. I and Mr. Khamenei have been close friends and confidants for over 50 years and we consult with one another about everything.”
The head of the Assembly of Experts also claimed to be the Islamic Republic supreme leader’s dinner biweekly dinner guest on a regular bases, during which they “discuss current issues for one or two hours,” adding, “Before he became the supreme leader once I would go to his house and once he would come to mine, but after Mr. Khamenei’s promotion I always go to him.”
Nevertheless, yesterday the head of the Assembly of Experts uttered a sentence that implicitly acknowledged differences between him and ayatollah Khamenei on certain issues. Commenting on their differences, Hashemi said, “We solved this issue by agreeing that if in some case I have to forgo my opinion in an issue where I disagree with him I am justified, because I can say my leader has decided so and I must obey my leader legally and religiously and this is our arrangement. Indeed, he is the leader and we are the followers.”
Noting in yesterdays speech that “If factories, refineries and industries are not native independence has no meaning,” Hashemi again criticized the ninth administration’s performance, adding, “Unfortunately, today we are in the danger of dependence due to heavy importing and this is not good for our native industries.”
Hashemi explained his definition of independence by criticizing the North Korean model, warning, “Independence is not enough because there are countries such as North Korea which have closed their borders so that no one enters or exits. They have political independence but Iran does not want to be like them because we can tackle the biggest superpowers.”
In an indirect attack on Ahmadinejad’s economic policies, the head of the Assembly of Experts noted, “Some think helping the poor means handing them something to eat,” adding, “But I rely on an Islamic and political and management-oriented outlook and believe we must act in a way to enable the poor to stand on their feet and live with dignity.”
This section of Hashemi’s speech was a direct response to remarks by Ahmadinejad three days ago. One week ago Hashemi Rafranjani criticized the administration’s economic policies to which Ahmadinejad responded on Thursday, “You have abandoned the people. You must know that the people aren’t your family and party friends. People are those who are willing to sacrifice their lives for their country and revolution on the streets of Zanjan and other parts of the country. We are prepared to solve the roots of people’s economic problems, despite the wishes of a selfish bunch who do not want economic reforms to take place.”
In another part of his speech, the head of the Assembly of Experts criticized some actions performed in the past during the cultural revolution and the hostage crisis of 1980.
Noting that “Not all revolutionary measures were in our hands,” Hashemi claimed, “Even in the case of the hostage crisis Mr. Khamenei and I were not aware. At that time we were in Mecca and heard at midnight on the radio that the nest of spies has been overtaken and that Bazargan has resigned. Certain things took place that now can be criticized and wished that they hadn’t happened.”
Hashemi also criticized the “extremism” of “angry student” during the cultural revolution which led to a two-year closure of universities in years immediately after the revolution: “We didn’t really make that decision at the cultural council, but a number of students got enraged and shut down the universities for two years.”
Noting that many of the country’s university professors left the country or were purged by mistake, Hashemi insisted, “One of the things that happened at that time was the purging of university professors, many of whom should not have been purged.”
Source : Roozonline
Saturday, November 15th, 2008
Ahmadinejad Supporters Criticize Student Basij Seminar
Influential criticisms by Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohsen Rezaei, Danesh-Jafari and Pour-Mohammadi of the Ahmadinejad administration’s economic policies during the seminar, “Privatization: Obstacles and Opportunities,” which was held by the Student Basij organization, has enraged the administration’s supporters.
Hashemi Rafsanjani said during the seminar, “The Supreme Leader requested from the Expediency Council in a clear letter to devise policies and strategies in connection with implementation of Article 44 of the Constitution [privatization]. In 2004, when we finished our work, the Supreme Leader approved very quickly… We said give us five years and the government will transfer 20 percent of factories and facilities under its ownership to the private sector every year, the Supreme Leader approved and signed… Another policy the Supreme Leader was more concerned about than us was the issue of dependency on oil. At that time he said that my dream is to celebrate the closure of the last oil well, so we devised a 10-year plan according to which every year the government reduces its dependence on oil by 10 percent.”
Hashemi Rafsanjani then added, “Five years have passed since that date. The big question that lingers is, how much has this been implemented? Our oil revenues that have been unprecedented in history, how have they been spent? Have we spent them on development? These questions are not related at all to political competitions. Here, we are talking about implementation of Supreme Leader’s policies and these questions must be answered clearly.”
In another part of his speech, noting the ninth administration’s slow pace of privatization and unaccounted for expenditure, Hashemi Rafsanjani asked of the Basijis, “You must ask what has happened to revenue generated from privatizing factories and government facilities? We hope that everything was conducted in accordance with law.”
Rafsanjani also asked the Basijis to pay more attention to issues related to Article 44: “The source of these policies is your Supreme Leader and you must feel the duty to implement them more than ever. Allah willing, you will not be accused of politicking and creating obstacles. Your stances are clear and you will not be accused of opposing the Supreme Leader’s orders.
During the seminar, when one member of the Student Basij accused the gathering o being political and asked Hashemi why no representative from the ninth administration was invited to the gathering to respond to the charges, Hashemi cleverly responded, “Really you should ask this of the administration, I cannot respond to this on their behalf. Head of all three branches must be held responsible when it comes to Article 44.”
Reacting to Hashemi Rafsanjani’s speech at the Student Basij seminar, Raja News website, affiliated with the administration, wrote, “The aforementioned seminar contains discussions and remarks that are devised and voiced only to oppose the Ahmadinejad administration, so much so that the suspicion was that this gathering was organized by reformist groups, but the reality is otherwise.”
Noting that “the gathering lacked responsible and measured leadership by the Basij,” Raja News concluded, “holding such gatherings with guest whose only motivation seems to be to blast and question the administration and its policies achieves nothing other than to destabilize the environment and question the performance and service of the present administration.”
Sunday, November 9th, 2008
Kayhan Supports New Corrupt Interior Minister
With the obligation to introduce an interim Interior Minister following the impeached removal of Interior Minister Ali Kordan last week, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad introduced Sadegh Mahsouli to the Majlis Speaker last week as his minister for the Interior Ministry.
Sadeq Mahsouli is not an unfamiliar name for the administration and Majlis. When four out of Ahmadinejad’s 21 proposed ministers failed to receive votes of confidence from the Majlis in summer of 2005, Ahmadinejad introduced one of his close friend, Sadegh Mahsouli, to run Iran’s Ministry of Oil.
At that time, members of the seventh Majlis opposed the selection by discussing controversies surrounding Mahsouli’s vast wealth and dubbing him the “billionaire general.” Finally, in response to lawmakers’ growing protests, Mahsouli announced his withdrawal for the position one night before he was scheduled to receive a vote of confidence in the Majlis. Angered by the lawmakers’ negative reaction to Mahsouli, Ahmadinejad selected him as his senior advisor.
Last spring Ahmadinejad referred to Mahsouli during a speech in Qom while speaking about the oil mafia: “The first time we introduced a Hezbollahi brother to curb corruption in the oil ministry but they accused that brother of mafia connections in a pamphlet.”
Ahmadinejad referred to Mahsouli as an anti-corruption “Hezbollahi brother” while the media has published numerous documents and articles about his vast wealth, financial corruption and land swaps with Iran’s northern neighbors during Ahmadinejad’s reign as Ardebil’s governor, whereby he purchased large areas of land below market price to develop properties.
Mahsouli admitted in the Fall of 2005 to the Majlis oil committee that in the past 10 years he had accumulated 160 billion dollars in wealth through property development.
Sadegh Mahsouli was Ahmadinejad’s friend in college, and served as his superior commander during the Iran-Iraq War, when he served as the commander of special sixth division of the Revolutionary Guards while Ahmadinejad served as a deputy engineer in the same division. This former military commander aided his friend at an important juncture, which solidified his relationship with Ahmadinejad. When, during the 2003 city council election, the conservatives managed to win enough seats to control Tehran’s municipal government and decided to appoint Ahmadinejad as mayor of Tehran, the Khatami administration’s interior minister refused to approve Ahmadinejad’s appointment decree for a long time. At that time, Sadegh Mahsouli convinced his brother-in-law, Ali Akbar Velayati, who serves as special advisor in international affairs to Ayatollah Khamenei, to intervene and with Velayati’s assistance Ahmadinejad’s decree was approved.
Two years later Ahmadinejad became the president and when his first choice for the oil ministry, Saeedlu, was unable to receive a vote of confidence from the Majlis, he introduced Sadegh Mahsouli as his candidate for the oil ministry, even though his name was previously thrown around in connection to the post and prompted a negative reaction by the seventh Majlis. In this regard Shahab website wrote: “The introduction of Mahsouli at a time when the rhetoric to fight the oil mafia had become widespread led to an uproar by the ideologue Majlis representatives. The criticism essentially revolved around his personal wealth and came a boiling point when Emad Afrough the then Majlis representative from Tehran proclaimed that Mahsuli possessed illegitimate windfall wealth while Ali Asghari the representative from Mashhad called him the Billionaire Governor.”
It should be noted that Asghari had also talked, without providing any details, about the $6.5 million case belonging to Mahsuli about his sale of oil to Tajikistan and reminded that a complaint had been filed in the Majlis against him, an investigation that required more time. But as time has passed, no investigation or a discussion about this issue has been made over the last three years after Mahsuli withdrew as the candidate to the ministry of oil.
Source : Roozonline
Saturday, November 8th, 2008
Reactions to Obama’s Election
With the finality in US presidential elections, some Iranian officials have expressed their hope that President elect Barack Obama will now implement the “policy of change” that he has promised.
Contrary to the prediction of Iran’s president three months ago that “I do not think the will let Obama become the next US President,” on Wednesday morning (Iranian tie) Barack Obama was pronounced as the forty fourth president of the United States of America. In Iran, a number of officials made comments on this event.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manoutchehr Mottaki said, “The election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the US is a clear indication of the desire and aspiration of the people of that country for basic changes in America’s domestic and foreign policies,” adding that he hoped that the new US administration would succeed in meeting the wishes of the American people which have been distanced through the wrong policies of current American politicians.
Iran’s former Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel said that the election of Barack Obama indicated the defeat of American policies across the world, and added, “Americans are forced to make changes in their policies because of the quagmire created by Bush. This victory is the reality of American failure across the world.” Fars news agency which quoted Adel reminded its readers that, “Obama entered the race with the rhetoric that we need change and the victory of this call is the acknowledgement of the American nation that Bush’s policies in the world have failed.”
The first deputy Speaker of Iran’s Majlis Mohammad Hassan Abutorabi-fard interpreted the election of Barack Obama to be indicative of the failure of American policies across the world, and said, “By using the failed experience of Bush and his wrong policies in the Middle East, Obama can undertake to correct this behavior.” According to Abutorabi-fard, US policies towards Iran’s nuclear issue, the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and support for Israel “have led to America’s isolation among the nations of Asia, Islamic world, and independent and freedom-loving states.
Hamid-reza Haji Babai, a leadership member of the Majlis pointed to the election of Barack Obama to the presidency in the US and referenced his campaign slogans adding, to AFP news agency, that “Iran now awaits change. Obama has promised change and we await that change.” Babai added, “During the last eight years, through militarism and this financial crises George Bush has created a bad atmosphere around the world against the US and the election of McCain would have made matters worse.”
In a related news, after the announcement of Obama’s victory, Iran’s Joint Chief of Staff issued a communiqué to US commanders in Iraq, which semi-state Fars news agency called “a warning” and an internet news site affiliated to the Principalists (i.e. Iranian idealogues) called it the “response of Iran to Obama.”
This communiqué writes, “It has been observed recently that US Army helicopters engage in flights close to the Iraqi-Iranian border and because of the weaving border line between the two countries, it is possible that they could stray into Iranian territory. Therefore, forces in charge of patrolling the borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran would respond to any intrusion. Therefore this is a warning to change the helicopter flight paths to a safe distance so that the danger of a mistake does not take place.”
On this subject, Jahan News website wrote, “It appears that this resounding communiqué by the armed forces of Iran is addressed to the next US president rather than to US forces in Iraq. The timing of the communiqué issued by Iran’s armed forces indicates that Iran had Barack Obama in mind, a day after won the presidential race.”
Source : Roozonline
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
Deputy Army Commander Announced
Iran’s deputy army commander announced that the Islamic Republic supreme leader has ordered the development of “new” and “innovative” weapons.
Announcing the order by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Islamic Republic supreme leader, to build new weaponry to meet the country’s needs, Iran’s deputy army commander added, “In his order, while praising the success in satisfying various military demands domestically, he has emphasized that such hardware and systems be designed and produced that have no precedence in defense technology, are not know and will open up new domains in the defense sector.”
Without elaborating further details, the acting army commander noted, “One of the ways of prevailing over enemy in an all-out-war is to employ weaponry which the enemy is unfamiliar with.”
Confirming receipt of orders to build innovative weapons, Abdolrahim Mousavi noted, “We announce with reason and logic that we can be victorious in asymmetric warfare against foreign enemies,” adding, “In war, the victorious party is the one that is able to impose its will on the enemy, and we are able to do that.”
Meanwhile, Abdolrahim Mousavi told the Fars news agency, “We believe that equipment alone is not sufficient for victory, but other variables, such as geopolitical and strategic factors, are also important weapons in possession of the Islamic Republic.”
He added that the military has devised plans to defend every corner of the nation and that every part of the nation would act as an armed force against the enemy in case of an attack.
Noting, “Various areas have been identified for inflicting damage on the enemy in defense courses of the armed forces,” Mousavi emphasized, “If it is necessary, in order to prevail in war, we will inflict unexpected damages on the enemy beyond our borders.” The deputy army commander reiterated plans to expand war to areas outside Iran in case of a foreign attack, noting, “In the case that threats are materialized, we would not remain inside our borders.”
At the same time, the deputy army commander hoped that no such attacks take place: “This region cannot tolerate a new war. However, if threats are made, we will demonstrate our might.”
Source : Roozonline