Archive for February, 2009
Monday, February 9th, 2009
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.”
Friday, February 6th, 2009
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.
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009
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.”
Sunday, February 1st, 2009
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.”