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  • 6 August 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: August 6, 2012

Iran tests upgraded version of short-range missile, says can hit sea targets
Israel’s envoy to U.S. jumps the gun, blames Iran for Sinai attack
Olympics wrestling: Reihanpour Soryan claims Iran’s first ever gold
Iran rial sinks 5 pct vs dollar as devaluation expected
Israel hardens missile shield

‘Bootleg chicken’ sold for record prices in Iran
Iran warns against foreign intervention in Syria
Syria rebels threaten to execute Iranian captives
Iran Denies Iranians Seized in Syria Include Military Members
Iran plans to host meeting on Syria
Iran airs “confessions” in killings of nuclear scientists
Iran’s Ahmadinejad to Attend Mecca Summit Next Week, Office Says
Obama associate got $100,000 fee from affiliate of firm doing business with Iran
India HPCL begins rupee payment for Iran oil
Notable Opinion: Five Myths about the U.S.-Iran Conflict

  • 24 July 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: July 24, 2012

Investigation into Burgas Bomber Continues

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, speaking alongside White House counter-terrorism chief John Brennan in Sofia, said the suicide bomber, who carried out an attack in Burgas last week, was part of a “sophisticated” group of conspirators, who arrived in Bulgaria one month before the attack. He declined to back Israeli claims that Iran or Hezollah played a role, but did say they knew “”when [the attacker] arrived, the presumed flight, and where it came from” (BBC 7/24).

Israeli President Says Israel in “Open War” with Iran

Israeli President Shimon Peres said in an interview with CNN that Israel is in an “open war” with Iran, following last week’s bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israelis. Peres insisted Israeli had “enough” intelligence to link Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah to the attacks. He added, “self-defense is the right and the must of every people,” (Al Arabiya 7/23).

Thousands of Iranians Take to the Street to Protest Food Prices

Iranian news sources report that several thousand Iranians in the northeastern city of Neishapour protested rising prices on food staples in the city’s main square today. The protest was the first instance of unrest sparked by recent economic woes. Protesters allegedly chanted “Death to Inflation” and “Shame on you government, you must resign” (Wall Street Journal 7/23).

Iranian Reformists May Field Presidential Candidate in 2013

After being purged from the political scene in 2009, statements by Iranian reformists politicians suggest they may field a presidential candidate in 2013. Spokesman for the reformist National Trust Party, Esmail Gerami-Moghaddam, told Reuters, “If we enter the elections with a strong candidate, the government will be forced to respect people’s votes,” but he conceded that, “It’s true that even if we get the presidency we will not be able to do much,” (Reuters 7/23).

P5+1 Deputy Talks Conclude in Istanbul

Today in Istanbul Deputy Head of the EU’s foreign relations arm Helga Schmid and Iran’s deputy negotiator on the nuclear issue met today to discuss the nuclear standoff with Iran and the future of P5+1 talks with Iran. After the meeting, the EU’s spokesperson said “the next stage will be a contact between” chief negotiator for the P5+1, Catherine Ashton, and Iran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili (Al-Monitor 7/24).

Sanctions Negatively Effecting Afghan Economy

  • 6 January 2010
  • Posted By Nayda Lakelieh
  • 1 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009, Uncategorized

Majles Committee Finds Mortazavi Responsible for Deaths

Radio Zamaneh reports (via payvand.com) that former Tehran Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi has been deemed responsible for both the torture and death of numerous election protestors detained in Kahrizak prison. This verdict follows a Parliamentary Committee report commissioned to investigate post election occurrences. The Kahrizak detention center, run by the Tehran police department, held a number of detainees following the June protests in which millions flooded the streets of Tehran to voice their dissent.  Purportedly, the Kahrizak detainees were brutally tortured and at minimum three detainee deaths have been confirmed from said abuse.

Alef website, a news outlet for conservative Member of Parliament, Ahmad Tavakoli, announced today that the Parliamentary report indicates that detainees were sent to Kahrizak by the order of Saeed Mortazavi who was charged with the supervision of this detention centre by the former Head of Judiciary, Ayatollah Shahroudi.

Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larjani has yet to decide whether the report will be publicized. Mortazavi, who adamantly denies any sort of misconduct, is also notable due to his part in arresting journalists and shutting down various publications over the last decade.

Perhaps this is Mortazavi’s overdue karma for his lack of respect for basic human rights over the past ten years. Perhaps Mortazavi is also being made a scapegoat for all the brutality afflicted upon Kahrizak detainees. This could be evidence of progress being made towards viable accountability for human rights violators… but not likely.

  • 2 December 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran

Today’s Headlines from Payvand (via Radio Zamaneh)

Tehran University Students Invite Opposition Leaders to Student Day

Over three thousand students of Tehran University have signed a petition inviting opposition leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, to attend Day of the Student ceremonies at their institution on December 7.

The students urge the two opposition leaders to renew their protests to the election events by attending the ceremonies, and to reaffirm their resistance against “despotism.”

The opposition has announced that protesters will once more take to the streets by attending the December 7 ceremonies.

For more, click here.

“Heavy Sentence” for Journalist Saeed Laylaz

Saeed Leylaz, Iranian journalist and leading economist was sentenced to 9 years in prison. Mr. Leylaz was arrested in the post-election protests to the alleged fraudulent victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the presidential elections. He was the editor-in-chief of Sarmayeh daily newspaper which was banned recently. Mr. Laylaz has been an outspoken critic of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s economic policies.

For more, click here.

Divisions Exposed at Parliamentary “Unity Session”

Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) held the 2nd annual Unity Session on Tuesday. But based on the photos of the gathering, and based on the remarks of the Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, this session actually highlighted the deep divisions in the political establishment and the society at large that have surfaced since the June presidential elections.

Many seats were left empty at what was supposed to be a “unity session.” Also, archenemies [Ayatollah Ali Akbar] Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful head of the Expediency COuncil, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose presidency is considered as illegitimate by the opposition, failed to attend the gathering, even though they had been invited to address the session. Speaker Larijani, whom some believe is siding with Rafsanjani, has this to say in this regard: “Mr. Ahmadinejad and Mr. Rafsanjani did not arrive. I pray to God for their health and safety, and I hope God will resolve all issues.”

For more on the Unity Session and for pictures of an empty chamber, click here.

  • 25 November 2009
  • Posted By Lloyd Chebaclo
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran

Human Rights Organizations Call for Investigation into Mysterious Death of Physician in Iran

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported today that along with Amnesty International and Physicians for Human Rights, it sent a letter to Iranian authorities demanding an investigation into the death of Dr. Ramin Pourandarjani, a 26-year-old physician at the Kahrizak detention center, “who reportedly witnessed grave human rights violations there.”

Iranhumanrights.org:

“Scores of protestors were detained and held at Kahrizak, where they were allegedly tortured and ill treated.  At least four detainees died in the facility. Iranian authorities have promised to investigate the ill treatment of detainees at Kahrizak but to date, no public announcements about the prosecution of those responsible have been made.”

Pourandarjani had been working at Kahrizak once a week as part of his military service, treating detainees who had been tortured. Some reportedly died of their abuses in the facility. Before his death, Dr. Pourandarjani “reportedly received threats to prevent him from revealing the abuses he had witnessed at Kahrizak.” He was also said to “have been forced to certify that one detainee had died of meningitis.”  (Our readers will remember that detainee was Mohsen Roholamini, the son of an aid to the conservative presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei. Parleman news reported in August that the coroner’s office of Tehran announced that he did not die from meningitis, leading to the conclusion that he had been killed in Kahrizak.)

Amnesty and ICHRI describe the suspicious circumstances behind the doctor’s death:

“Dr. Ramin Pourandarjani’s body was discovered in a room at Tehran police headquarters on 10 November. While the Chief of Police, General Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moqaddam, has said that Dr. Pourandarjani, committed suicide and that a letter found near his body suggested that he had been depressed, officials had initially said he had suffered a heart attack in his sleep and later that he had died of poisoning. Dr. Pourandarjani’s father, Reza-Qoli Pourandarjani, said he had spoken to his son the night before his death and that he did not appear to be depressed. He told the Associated Press that he had initially been informed by the authorities that his son had broken his leg in an accident and that his [the father’s] consent was needed for surgery. However after travelling to Tehran from his home in Tabriz, Reza-Qoli Pourandrarjani discovered that his son was dead.”

  • 18 September 2009
  • Posted By Darioush Azizi
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Meetings between non-hardliner politicians, ayatollahs increase in frequency

Mir Hossein Mousavi met last night with Grand Ayatollah Mousavi-Ardebili, Ayatollah Yousef Sa’anei, and Seyyed Hossein & Seyyed Mohsen Mousavi-Tabrizi  (brothers) in Qom, according to Tabnak. Ayatollah Shahrestani, Grand Ayatollah Sistani’s right-hand man in Iran, and Ahmad Montazeri (Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri’s son whose three sons were arrested earlier this week) were also present.

Tabnak is also reporting that Ayatollah Saafi-Golpayegani and Ayatollah Noori-Hamedani met in private last night and discussed current events in Iran.

Furthermore, Tehran Bureau wrote today that Speaker of Majles Ali Larijani met with Ayatollah Makarem last night at his residence in Qom. Speaker Larijani represents Qom in Majles and has close ties to the senior clerics there; it was they who convinced him to run for office from Qom rather than a district in Tehran.

We can assume the increased pressure on the various ayatollah and grand ayatollahs (not to mention their families) were discussed, as part of the greater conversation regarding the direction the hard-liners are attempting to move the country in.

  • 8 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Ahmadinejad Retracts Proposed Ministers

Khabaronline, a website associated with Majles Speaker Ali Larijani, reports that Ahmadinejad has formally retracted his Cabinet propositions. This is the first step in proposing new Cabinet ministers for energy, welfare, and education — the three Ahmadinejad ministers that were rejected.

From Khabaronline (h/t New York Times):

According to the House of the People website, here is Ahmadinejad’s letter:

“Mister Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Majles

In peace. I would like to retract the proposed Ministers I had published as of September 6, 2009. I am requesting that you expedite the necessary actions to implement this in Majles. Obviously, I will introduce new Ministers according to Article 133 of the Constitution soon.”

According to the House o

f the People (ICANA) website, here is Ahmadinejad’s letter:

“Mister Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Majles

With peace. I would like to retract the proposed Ministers I published on 15 Sharivar 1388. I am requesting that you expedite the necessary actions to implement this in Majles. Obviously, I will introduce new Ministers according to Article 133 of the Constitution soon.”

  • 3 September 2009
  • Posted By Darioush Azizi
  • 0 Comments
  • Iran Election 2009

Head of Reformist front released from Evin, judiciary head opposed to mass trials

PressTV is reporting that the head of the Reformist front in Tehran has been released from Evin prison after nearly two months. Abbas Mirza Aboutalebi was arrested on 10 July in connection with the unrest following the June 12 elections.

Aboutalebi is the deputy secretary general of Hambastegi (Solidarity), an Iranian Reformist party, and was a former deputy at the Iranian Parliament (Majlis).

He was also one of the top campaigners of defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

This could be another sign that the conservatives, under the direction of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, are moving towards some form of reconciliation.

Alternatively, it is an example of head of the judiciary Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani’s stance against the mass trials of reformists. Indeed, rumor has it the brother of Majles Speaker Ali Larijani is working to release three key reformists (including Saeed Hajjarian) before the end of Ramazan. From a New York Times article this morning:

Jahan news, a pro-government Web site, reported Thursday that Sadeq Larijani, head of the judiciary, is opposed to the mass trials of political prisoners that the president and his allies have organized.

The report said that he is looking to bring an end to the trials and has ordered the release of three high profile prisoners by the end of the of the holy month of Ramadan, including Saeed Hajjarian, a former deputy minister and reform movement strategist; Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, a former vice president; and Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, a former government spokesman.


Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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