Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Iran Early Bird

On The Streets

1. British Embassy personnel released – British Embassy workers have been released just 24 hours after Iran's intelligence minister accused them of being involved in the unrest in the country.

2. Karroubi’s presence and rumors of Mousavi's presence at mosque memorial service brings thousands onto streets –Mousavi's presence and rumors of Karroubi and Khatami's presence at Qaba Mosque memorial for Neda Soltan brought thousands of the capital’s residents out onto the streets yesterday. The masses were making their way to the mosque when large numbers of Basij forces surrounded them and told them they were participating in an illegal gathering. Click here for clip from event. Meanwhile, Iranian bloggers have called on the public to create a chain of people today at 17:30 from Tajrisha Square to Rah Ahan Square – as a quiet protest against the election results. More video footage (here, here, here). Mir Hossein Mousavi did not attend the service, but talked to the mourner via cell phone conected to a loudspeaker.

3. Efforts to silence “Allah Akbar” cries continue – Sistan ve-Balouchestan University officials have locked the doors to all the dormitory roofs on campus in an effort to prevent students from calling out “Allah Akbar” from the tops of buildings. The students said in response that they would continue their cries from inside the dorms.

4. Arrests at Saturday mourning rally – Security and Basij forces arrested 20 women at a mourning rally in Laleh Park in Tehran on Saturday. According to reports, due to a shortage of space at Evin Prison, the detainees were transferred to the capital’s Shapour jail.

5. Arrest of pro-Mousavi artists – Following the arrests and subsequent release of singer Hosseyn Zaman, security forces have now detained more pro-Mousavi artists, including film and theater actors Roosta and Mahtab.

6. Two Ahwaz students abducted – Two Awaz Oil College students, Hossein Rahini and Amin Nikzade, have been abducted by unknown assailants. The two were involved in student protests outside the institution. Students at the college have announced that they will stage demonstrations until the two are released.

7. Basij forces abducting wounded – Human rights activists are reporting that Basij forces are going to hospitals around the country and preventing medical personnel from speaking with individuals injured from the ongoing unrest and are not allowing them to ask patients how they were hurt. The activists say that some of the injured have been abducted and taken to unknown locations. According to one eye-witness, individuals who are not seriously hurt are choosing to stay away from the hospitals and medical treatment centers, fearing what may happen to them there. Rumors tell of ambulances taking people to detention centers rather than for treatment.

8. Click here to view clip from Saturday in which security forces are seen beating two youths.

9. Restrictions on journalists' movements – Iranian authorities continue to impose severe restrictions on journalists in the country and are not allowing them to freely roam the streets and write reports on the ongoing events. Iranian websites are saying that very little information is getting out of the country, including about the events last night at Qaba Mosque. Many Iranian websites have not been updated since yesterday afternoon.

10. Intelligence Ministry commandeers pro-Mousavi website – Iranian websites are reporting that the pro-Mousavi Kalameh website has taken over by officials from the Intelligence and Interior ministries. The reports add that the site’s managers have been arrested and that unreliable information is now being posted on the site.

11. Mousavi condemns the propaganda campaign and official accusations labeling him a foreign agent.

12. Minister of Intelligence Mohseni-Ezhe'i interviewed to Iranian TV. Key points (For the complete interview please contact –Terrogence)

a. Iran has confronted the global arrogance, hegemonic powers and the great Satan - Over the past 30 years a number of plots had been planned to disrupt, including planting bombs, creating terror and rallying organized unrest….one group of people arrested were supported and provided with information by the Americans.

b. We cautioned some of the people who were trying to take actions through SMS, websites, weblogs or other means. We summoned some of them. We invited some of them. We referred some of them to the Judiciary.

c. American-Zionist terror activity - America has been active in supporting the group (Jundallah – TG) that was active in the east (of Iran)…the Anjoman-e Padeshahi (Royal Society which was accused of planting the bomb in Shiraz). The Zionists were clearly supporting them.

d. The enemy is pursuing a velvet revolution in Iran - There was no organized fraud in the elections at all…the enemy is pursuing a velvet revolution in Iran. Certain Western countries such as Britain and America are seriously active in promoting a soft overthrow, which is a kind of velvet revolution. They are brewing many plans under various covers. They are recruiting, and they are getting close to some of our political activists. In certain areas, under the cover of training, conferences and so on, they are pursuing their plans…enemy is training people for velvet revolution.

e. "Just see how many satellite channels in Farsi language have been launched by the British, Americans and certain other countries especially to propagate against our country. Just see how many radio channels there are. How many websites and weblogs are propagating (against the system) plus military threats? They realized that it (military threat) is useless. Our dear people are not scared of military threats…If our people see what the Western media, the British media, the American media, VOA, BBC Persian and other channels do to propagate the protests these days - some of their channels even train people to protest - to motivate the rioters, for unreasonable and direct interference in our domestic affairs, then they will understand who will be happy with such incidents and who is after taking advantage of them”.

The Political Scene

13. Iran's Interior Ministry to review permit for activities of Reformist parties – Mahmud Abbaszadeh-Meshkini, the director-general for political affairs at the Iranian Interior Ministry, has confirmed that the activities of political parties are continuously being monitored by the Article 10 Committee of the Interior Ministry. Commenting on reports suggesting a review of the permit for the activities of some parties such as the Participation Party, Islamic Revolution Mojahedin Organization and Militant Clerics Society, Abbaszadeh-Meshkini said: “The secretariat of the Article 10 Committee continuously monitors the activities, interactions and provocations of parties… This committee is by law duty-bound to have continuous supervision over the activities of [all] parties. The final decision on whether the mentioned parties can resume their activities depends on the decision of the committee in its forthcoming weekly meeting.”

14. Mousavi calls on Council of Guardians to declare elections null and void – In a new letter to the Council of Guardians, Mousavi demands that the elections be declared null and void. He also calls for the matter to be handed over to an independent commission to be agreed upon by the candidates and sources of emulation.

15. Proposal to set up temporary government? – Unofficial websites are quoting a political source on the fact that the election issue is yet to be resolved. According to the source, one of the current proposals concerns the establishment by the Expediency Council of a temporary government and the holding of new elections within six months to a year. The source says that Iran’s supreme leader and senior sources of emulation in Qom support the idea. Nateq Nuri has been named as a candidate to head the temporary government.

16. University and seminary lecturers and researchers issue statement calling on Council of Guardians to build trust with the elite and the public – The statement, signed by 678 lecturers and researchers, says: “We firmly ask the Council of Guardians and other bodies involved in the process of the elections to abide by the law and provide convincing and trust-building explanations to the elite and the public. We also urge judicial bodies to speed up the examination of committed offences and crimes and violations of security in public and private domains in order to sooth the pain of those who have suffered… We fully support the firm remarks of the eminent leader, which have left no room for negligence or ambiguity, as the final word and seriously urge all esteemed candidates and their supporters to end the their media war and illegal gatherings, which have provided rioters with the opportunity to invade the territories of individuals and the society, and call on them to pursue their demands and objections within the legal framework in order to restore calm in the country.” (ILNA. June 27)

17. Qom Seminary lecturers and researchers send letter to Supreme Leader – Some 150 lecturers and researchers from the Qom Seminary have sent a letter of support to Supreme Leader Khamenei. The lecturers and researchers write that Iran is currently at a very sensitive crossroad of the revolution and there are those who are trying to stir civil war in the country. They stress their commitment to Islam and the supreme leader and reconfirm their support for him.

18. Keyhan editorial slams West's efforts to intervene in Iranian domestic affairs –Under the headline, "Iran's turn," a Kayhan daily editorial harshly slams the G8 statement in support of the demonstrators, stressing that it represents the latest in the West's efforts to intervene in Iran's domestic affairs. According to Kayhan, the Ahmadinejad government received overwhelming support from the Iranian people and thus has the power to make decisive decisions for the country. The editorial adds that the government also has proof that the U.S. and European governments are not interested in a change of attitude towards Iran. "The United States must know that just as Iran knows how to solve the problems quickly – something it will not do, of course – it also has the amazing and unexpected ability to cause new problems for the Americans. As an Iranian saying goes: 'One should not complain about what one receives in return.'"

19. Aftab-Yazd: Re-count committee is a sham – An Aftab Yazd editorial criticizes the Council of Guardians' decision to set up a committee to re-count some of the votes from the June 12 election, declaring it a sham. The editorial says that the committee members are not objective and are pro-Principlists. One of the committee members, Khader Adal, is a Principlist camp leader and has been very outspoken against the Reformists in recent years. "In light of all of this, one must ask the question: When it comes to this fateful matter, are there those who are truly trying to resolve the problems, or are they only trying to fulfill their obligations?" the editorial asks.

The Diplomatic Scene

20. More calls for Nokia boycott – After Nokia admitted selling cellular telephone equipment to the Iranian government, Iranian bloggers and citizens have intensified their calls for a boycott of the phone company and its products.

21. Khamene'i lashes out at West – Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei says the Iran will deal with the crisis under the law while relying on national unity, commenting that legal measures are the only solution to the issues that the country has been facing since the 10th presidential elections on June 12. "The people's emotions, especially that of the youth, must not be toyed with and they should not be pitted against one another as the Iranian nation, regardless of the differences of opinion, is a united nation that has good relations with the [Islamic] establishment," he said. He urged political parties not to play with one another's feelings and added: "If the nation and political elite are united in heart and mind, the incitement of international traitors and oppressive politicians will be ineffective..."They [the West] express their opinions about Iran in a manner that one would think all their other problems have been resolved and only the Iranian problem remains… However, what they do not understand is that wherever they politically set foot in it becomes tainted in the eyes of the Iranian nation… Their support will only have a negative effect as the Iranian nation knows during the eight-year sacred defense [the Iraq-Iran war] when their homes were bombarded and destroyed by missiles and chemical weapons were used against them, these governments showed no concern and [instead] aided the enemy of the Iranian nation… Their concern and show of humanitarianism is not befitting of these governments and when they voice support for the Iranian nation and certain figures, their intentions are clear and the people are well aware of them.”

22. National Security and Foreign Policy Committee member urges strong confrontation against foreign embassies that were involved in the recent unrest – Karami Raad, a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, has called for a strong confrontation against those foreign embassies in Iran that were involved in the recent post-election unrests in Tehran saying: “The method they used to make contact with the rioters on the scene was noticeable... These contacts were not hidden from the eyes of the security forces and they were under control completely in a way that the foreign policy and national security bodies of the country could confront them at an appropriate time.” (Fars News Agency, June 27)

23. Bahrain parliamentary delegation visits Iran – A parliamentary delegation from Bahrain has arrived Iran to attend meetings on cultural diversity and justice. (Fars News Agency, June 27)

24. Majlis speaker in Algeria – Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani is on a visit to Algeria to attend an inter-parliamentary session of the Islamic Conference. During his address to the conference, Larijani called on the United States to stop intervening in the affairs of other countries.

Security Affairs

25. Tanker hijacking thwarted – The Iranian Navy has claimed that it prevented an Iranian tanker from being hijacked in the Gulf of Aden.

Economic Affairs

26. Budgeting saved 27 million liters of fuel a day – Majlis Energy Committee member Seyed Ali Adyani has announced that the government’s fuel budgeting policies led to a saving of 27 million liters of fuel a day. Without the budgeting, Iran was consuming more than 90 million liters of fuel a day.

27. Iran signs deals with foreign petrochemical companies – The National Iranian Petrochemical Industries Company has signed three new contracts with foreign companies for implementing projects in the field. The Iranian company is also cooperating with South Africa, Turkey, Indonesia and India in five more petrochemical projects.

28. Another senior Oil Ministry official ousted – Mahdi Karbasyan, chairman of the board of the oil industry workers’ pension fund, has been ousted from his post. His dismissal comes just days after the dismissal of Akbar Torkan, former deputy oil minister for planning affairs.

29. Exports to Iraq up – According to reports, Iran has upped its oil, gas and gasoline exports to Iraq.

Human Rights and Minorities

30. Oppression of Baha’i-minority community continues – Unknown individuals have attacked stores belonging to two Baha’i-minority residents, Peyman Shademan and Akbar Pour Rhosseyni, in Semnan. Human rights activists are also reporting that over the past few days, government offices in Semnan have prepared a list of Baha’i-minority citizens and have posted it on notice boards in the city. The human rights activists have expressed concern regarding the list, commenting that it could lead to serious problems and even endanger the lives of the Baha’i citizens. Meanwhile, the New York Times has published an extensive report on the distress facing the Baha’i-minority community on the backdrop of the recent events in the country. According to the report, “Deeming the faith an apostasy, Iran's fundamentalist Shia government has denied Baha’is higher education, confiscated Baha’i property, desecrated Baha’i cemeteries and refused to recognize Baha’i marriages.”

31. Marriage ranked only fourth on list of young Iranians’ priorities – According to a study carried out by Iran’s National Youth Organization, marriage lies only fourth on the list of young Iranians’ priorities. Employment was ranked first (28 percent), economic issues came in second (22 percent) and education and university acceptance were ranked third (17 percent). Only 7 percent of young Iranians said marriage was their principal objective.

32. Iranian Philharmonic Orchestra to play perform classical works in the summer – The conductor of the Iranian Philharmonic Orchestra has announced that during the summer, the orchestra will perform works by some of the most renowned international composers such as Rossini, Mendelssohn and others.

Upcoming Events

33. July 1-3: Ahmadinejad to attend African Union summit – Ahmadinejad is scheduled to address the upcoming African Union summit in Libya.

34. August 20- 21 – Iran will take part in an international volleyball competition in Italy.

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