We Fell Four Years Behind


Hashemi: Leader Requested Tolerating the Administration

In an interview with the Principalist “Jomhouri Eslami” daily, former president Akbar Hashemi ‎Rafsanjani harshly blasted the Ahmadinejad Administration.‎

The head of the powerful Expediency Council emphasized that, for the past three years, the ‎Council has “tolerated the administration” to comply with the Supreme Leader’s request. This is ‎the second time that Hashemi speaks about the Supreme Leader’s request to tolerate the ‎administration. Hashemi said, “The Supreme Leader asked us to tolerate the administration. The ‎Supreme Leader’s reasoning was that this administration was not involved in devising ‎development plans and is not familiar with the policies; or that this administration has made ‎promises that it would want to implement. We have to give the administration time to ‎demonstrate its capability.” ‎

In another part of his speech dealing with the dissolution of the Management and Planning ‎Organization of Iran (an organization dating back to pre-revolution era, in charge of devising ‎long-term policy) by Ahmadinejad, Hashemi noted, “The Expediency Council and the Majlis do ‎not acknowledge the organization’s dissolution.” Hashemi concluded, “We must be serious ‎about oversight. When the laws of the Majlis are violated lawmakers must protest. Or when the ‎country’s laws are violated the judiciary must respond.”‎

Implicitly referring to Ahmadinejad’s criticisms against the Fourth Development Plan – calling it ‎a “liberalist and humanist” plan suitable for “crushing into dough” – Hashemi said, “Not only the ‎Fourth Development Plan was not implemented, but it was attacked. They even said it is suitable ‎to be crushed into dough. It was labeled liberalist and humanist. We are talking about laws ‎passed by the administration and approved by the Guardian Council, Expediency Council and the ‎Supreme Leader. But nothing was done to respond to the attacks. What guarantee is there that ‎the Fifth Development Plan would not end up with the same fate? Why have the regime’s top ‎leadership layers remained silence against such attacks?”‎

Commenting on the administrations performance since 2005, Hashemi said, “Some have ‎questioned all of our previous achievements. They even questioned our managers, and thought ‎they can stage a revolution within a revolution. You know the results.” ‎

The head of the Expediency Council also spoke about the regime’s decision during previous eras ‎to decrease the size of the government, noting that the size of the government has expanded in ‎the past four years. Hashemi added, “Even if changes start taking place now we are four years ‎behind. If the Fifth Development Plan begins we would be five years behind.” ‎


Saeed Razavi Faghih in Evin Prison


Six Days after Returning to Iran

Former member of Iran’s largest student group, Daftare Tahkime Vahdat [Office for Fostering ‎Student ‎Unity], Saeed Razavi Faghih, who had spent the past few years in France to continue his ‎education, was arrested and sent to the Evin Prison six days after returning to Iran.‎

Razavi Faghih has been a student in Paris since 2004 and was arrested after returning to Iran last ‎Tuesday. At the Imam Khomeini airport, officers confiscated his passport and asked him to ‎report to the Revolutionary Court on Monday. On Monday morning, this former student activist ‎was arrested after appearing in court.‎

Security officers stationed at the airport had claimed that Razavi Faghih was barred from ‎traveling outside Iran based on a Revolutionary Court verdict issued last Fall and must report to ‎branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court.‎

Although he has been residing outside Iran for the past four years, Razavi Faghih had been able ‎to travel to Iran several times without any problems. ‎

Saeed Razavi Faghih holds a doctorate in philosophy from Tehran’s Tarbiyate Modarres ‎University and was studying in France to obtain his second doctorate degree. ‎

He was among active students in Iran and was once elected to serve on the central committee of ‎Daftare Tahkime Vahdat. On the side, Razavi Faghih engaged in journalism and served on the ‎editorial boards of several reformists newspapers. Those who read newspapers such as Sobhe ‎Emrooz, Bahar, Dorane Emrooz, Bonyan, Norouz, Yase No and Vaghaye Ethefaghiye in the late ‎‎1990’s and beyond usually remember articles by Razavi Faghih.‎

His student activism and, in particular, his protest to the death verdict issued for Hashem ‎Aghajeri as well as his articles in Yase No newspaper finally led to his arrest on 19 of Tir. He ‎was transferred to the Evin Prison and spent about two-and-a-half months in solitary ‎confinement. During that time, Saeed Razavi Faghih lost a great deal of weight. While behind ‎bars, he was elected to serve on the board of directors of the Association of Iranian Journalists ‎‎(the only nationwide association for journalists in Iran). ‎

He continued his political and journalistic activities even after his arrest and was elected in May ‎‎2004 to serve on the central committee of Daftare Tahkime Vahdat for an additional term. ‎

After moving to France, Razavi Faghih stopped his journalistic activities. In September of 2006, ‎he was elected as the president of Confederation of Islamic Student Associations in Europe. A ‎year later, however, backed by the administration, several of the organization’s conservative ‎members held an election without informing Razavi Faghih or other reformist members and ‎elected a more conservative figure to head the organization.‎


Send Arms to Gaza


Kayhan’s Managing Director:

Hossein Shariatmadari, hardliner Kayhan daily’s managing director and Ayatollah ‎Khamenei’s representative in the organization, spoke yesterday of the necessity to break ‎the “taboo of opposition to arming the resistance movement” in Gaza.‎

Speaking at the Tehran University, Shariatmadari said, “Who has said that we must only ‎witness the murder of women and innocent children and Palestine and not help them in ‎any way?”‎

Shariatmadari then characterized the veto rights of major powers at the United Nations as ‎‎“the law of the jungle,” adding, “Who has said that resistance forces in Palestine and ‎Lebanon must not be armed?”‎

These remarks were uttered despite the refusal of Iranian officials, including foreign ‎minister Manuchehr Mottaki, that the Islamic Republic provides support to Hamas. ‎Iranian officials have only admitted to providing “spiritual support” to Hamas.‎

As the war in Gaza raged, several foreign officials had accused the Islamic Republic of ‎supporting the armed wing of Hamas in Gaza.‎

In this connection, four months ago the news website AsreIran wrote, “Mostafa Al-Fighi, ‎the head of Egyptian parliament’s foreign relations committee, announced that Cairo ‎would not accept the creation of an Iranian puppet regime along its borders with Gaza. ‎He thus called on the Iranian regime to end its interference in Gaza.” ‎


Washington Must Apologize ‎


Ahmadinejad Responds to Obama

A day after the new U.S. President’s remarks seeking talks with Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ‎issued a response in a speech in the western city of Kermanshah, the scene of his most recent ‎provincial trip.‎

Noting that, one after another, the U.S. administrations have “stood against the Iranian people in ‎the past 60 years,” Ahmadinejad listed a series of grievances for which the U.S. government ‎must officially apologize to Iran. The list of grievances includes, “standing against the Iranian ‎nation, turning the embassy into a nest of spies, plotting a coup, attacking Tabas, supporting ‎terrorists, supporting Saddam in his war against our nation, supporting chemical attacks, ‎insulting our nation, shooting down our civilian airplane and hundreds of crimes against our ‎nation.”‎

According to the state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Ahmadinejad also told ‎the people of Kermanshah that Obama is preparing a plan to start relations with Iran, adding, ‎‎”We are waiting patiently. We will listen to the statements closely, we will carefully study their ‎actions, and if there are real changes, we will welcome it.”‎

Ahmadinejad continued, “The slogan of change was good, but it could be of two kinds — a ‎fundamental change or a tactical one, a simple change in tone. If by change they mean the latter ‎kind of change, they will be exposed very quickly and nations of the world will take a stance ‎against it.” ‎

Ahmadinejad emphasized, “If the new U.S. administration’s slogan of change refers to ‎fundamental and real change, the Iranian nation will welcome it; but if someone wants to speak ‎with the Iranian nation in an aggressive tone, using Mr. Bush’s language, our nation will respond ‎in the same manner as it responded to Mr. Bush and his cronies.” ‎