Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Iran Early Bird-Wednesday

1. The International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors will hold talks tomorrow on the Iranian and Syrian nuclear programs.

2. Speaking during a meeting with visiting Lebanon President Michel Suleiman, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei advised the Islamic world to follow the example set by Hezbollah Lebanon. Khamenei stressed Iran's support for Hezbollah and urged the organization to persevere with its resistance, in practical terms too, so as to combat the dangers of the Zionist regime. Suleiman also visited the permanent Iranian Defense Ministry exhibition and emphasized Lebanon's desire to forge stronger security ties with Tehran. Click here for pictures from the exhibition. 3. Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has announced that he will be visiting Tehran in the near future, when he will again meet with his Iranian counterpart, Ahmadi-Nejad. Chavez refused to stipulate the date of the trip or its purpose.

4. Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani has left Tehran for Jakarta to take part in the third session of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly, which will focus on cooperation in the fields of energy, politics and regional affairs.

5. Speaking at the Law and Justice Conference currently underway in Iran, Mohammed Qashani, a law lecturer and member of the board of Shahid Beheshti University, charged that all three state authorities were guilty of failing to uphold the law. According to Qashani, the signing in secret of oil agreements – a practice of all Iranian governments under the premise of preserving national interests – is illegal. Additional examples of illegal activity mentioned by Qashani included the Iranian Broadcasting Authority's absolute control of public opinion and the information that leaves the country, censorship at the Broadcasting Authority and in the media, and others.

1. Iran's general prosecutor has outlined the manner in which security forces uncovered the "Israeli spy network" and arrested "the Mossad agents," claiming that three of the six-member cell have been detained thus far. The other three, he said, were under tight Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps intelligence surveillance, but were still free. According to the general prosecutor, the first member of the cell to enter Iran was immediately identified by the IRGC's Information Security forces, who then kept him under surveillance, thus leading to the arrest of the three. The state prosecution would be demanding the death penalty for the spies, he said. Meanwhile, Iran's intelligence minister has stressed his ministry's role in the affair, commenting that "Iran will destroy the plots of its enemies anywhere and with the force of thunder." The separate announcements may be an indication of rivalry and disputes between the two bodies.

2. The deputy commander of Iran's Internal Security forces has announced that the "Security and Calm" drill that took place last week in the Tehran Province will be duplicated in three additional provinces by the end of the year. Similar exercises would also take place in the remaining provinces in the future, he said.

3. Speaking during a meeting of IRGC and Basij commanders, Iranian Chief of Staff General Firouz-Abadi said that Supreme Leader Khamenei had instructed him to inform all military commanders that he was aware of the threats facing Iran and that he expected them to be ready to deal with them and not be caught unprepared.

4. Six drug smugglers have been killed in a gun battle with Iranian security forces in the mountainous regions in the east of the country.

5. Iran has executed 11 members of the Sunni Jondallah organization.

1. For the first time in Iran, the Iranian Information Technology Company and the Statistical Center of Iran will conduct a survey on the characteristics of the country's Internet users, with the main objective of the project being to get a true picture of the Internet penetration rate in Iran. The information gathered will serve the Information Technology Company in the planning of future projects related to the development and management of the network. The data collected will be at the disposal of all relevant companies in the field, both from the private and the government sectors.

2. Italy's ambassador to Iran has expressed Rome's intention to expand commercial and economic ties with Tehran. The ambassador said that Italy's exports to Iran in 2007 had totaled some two million euros; imports from Iran, he added, had amounted to around five million euros.

3. An economic delegation from China's Jiangsu Province has visited oil, gas and petrochemical plants in the Markazi Province, expressing willingness to develop cooperation between the two regions.

4. Iran's trade minister has traveled to Algeria at the head of a high-ranking delegation that will hold talks with Algerian officials on developing cooperation in the fields of technical and engineering services, industry, pharmaceuticals and more.

5. The joint Iranian-Turkisk economics committee convened yesterday in Tehran for the 20th time. The committee is set to discuss the setting up of work groups on the subjects of trade, transportation, communications, oil, gas and electricity.

1. Fatemeh Haqiqat-Pajouh, who killed her husband after he raped her daughter, was executed this morning at Evin Prison. Note, Haqiqat-Pajouh was given a stay of execution twice before in the past by the head of the judicial authority, and she was twice returned to her cell from the gallows in light of public and international protest.

2. Human rights activists in Iran are reporting that Farzad Kamangar, the Kurdish teacher and activist who faces capital punishment, has been transferred from his jail cell to an unknown location. The human rights activists are concerned that the move may be an indication of the prison authorities' intentions to carry out the sentence. For its part, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has sent out an urgent request for help to international organizations, asking for their intervention to prevent the execution.

3. Students at Allameh Tabatabaei University continue to demonstrate – even in the wake of the arrest yesterday of four students who holed up in a building on the campus after they were suspended from their studies. Click here for pictures from the demonstration.

4. Iranian authorities have again blocked women's rights websites. The "Change for Equality" website has been shut down for the 17th time, and other women's rights sites and blogs have suffered the same fate.

5. Iran's Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry has shut down an Iranian photographer's exhibition, charging that the pictures undermine Islamic values and the sanctity of the religion.

6. A member of the Majlis Culture Committee claims that more than 4.5 million unauthorized satellite dishes are currently in operation in Iran. The committee member has called on the Internal Security forces to enforce the law on the matter and seize all illegal dishes around the country. The committee member also stressed the need to protect Iran's young generation from the cultural onslaught by strengthening its ties with the mosques.

7. An Iranian company exhibiting at the Iran Telecom 2008 fair has revealed for the first time a device that blocks Bluetooth transfers within a radius of 20 meters. A representative of the company noted that the device could be installed at mosques, in schools and libraries, and other locations at which Bluetooth technology may be put to improper use.

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