The Latest from Iran (2 October): Down, Down Goes the Currency
2000 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Another political showcase for the President, as he closed the International Conference on the Palestinian Intifada today….
Ahmadinejad used the occasion for his standard script, declaring the West created Israel to control the Middle East and Western support for the crimes committed by the “Zionist regime”.
The President then built on the West-Israel platform for wider points, such as the claim that democracy and the human rights are a “mere show” in the West and that the International Atomic Energy Agency has served the US and Israel by publishing the names of Iranian nuclear scientists so they could be targeted by the “Zionist regime”. He added that Zionism symbolizes the essence of the materialistic Western schools of humanism and liberalism.
1700 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. A group of reformist women have posted an open letter with this sharp question, “If American spies get amnesty, why don’t Iranian political prisoners?”
1630 GMT: Energy Watch. The Ahmadinejad Cabinet, under pressure for failure to make required payments (see 1225 GMT), promised today to settle the $700 million debt of the Ministry of Energy.
1625 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Three members of the Baha’i sect in Mashhad — Rozita Vaseghi, Nahid Qadiri, and Nora Nabilzadeh — have each been sentenced to five years in prison.
Cleric and blogger Arash Honarvar Shojaei has been sentenced to four years in prison, a fine, and flogging.
1225 GMT: Economy Watch. Mohammad Qoliha, Chief Executive Officer of the Tehran Metro, claims the Government has not paid 95 billion toman (about $85 million) due in subsidies for the Metro and buses this year.
The Government reportedly owes 770 billion toman (about $650 million) in production subsidies to the private sector.
And then there is the fight between the Government and the hard-line newspaper Kayhan — the newspaper says it may owe under 12 billion toman (about $10 million) in social welfare funds, but the Government owes 2000 times that amount.
1220 GMT: Ayande reports that a prominent host on State broadcaster IRIB is involved in the $2.6 billion bank fraud, acting as representative of a “deviant current”.
Members of the Baha’i religious sect have faced intimidation, prosecution, and detention under the Islamic Republic:
1140 GMT: Corruption Watch. An interesting claim from MP Mohammad Khoshchehreh, a former advisor to President Ahmadinejad, about the falling Iranian currency (see 0710 GMT) — he claimed the Government has manipulated the exchange rate to get funds for its Parliamentary election campaign in March.
Meanwhile, Khabar Online maintains the pressure over the $2.6 billion bank fraud, speculating about the “influential circles” that helped Bank Melli head Mahmoud Reza Khavari leave Iran for Canada.
1130 GMT: Better Hijab = Less Crime. In his press conference today, Iran Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, has explained that, with the enforcement by his forces of appropriate dress for women, “The appearance of society is morally better” and crime has fallen.
Meanwhile, away from the crime of bad hijab, Ahmadi-Moghaddam said the £2.6 billion bank fraud was still under investigation, and the Iranian judiciary had not yet asked for prosecution of Bank Melli head Mahmoud Reza Khavari, who resigned and has reportedly fled to Canada.
1005 GMT: Bank Fraud Watch. Iran Inspector General Mostafa Pourmohammadi has called for “public calm and restraint” over the $2.6 billion bank fraud, saying the “necessary documents” for consideration of the case will be published.
0955 GMT: The US Hikers. Lawyer Masoud Shafiee, who represented the three US hikers detained in Iran since July 2009 and now freed, has been barred from leaving the country.
A source close to the case said, “This morning at around six o’clock (0230 GMT), after getting his passport stamped and as he was boarding the plane, his passport was confiscated by order of the judiciary.”
Shafiee was flying to the US. On Tuesday, he was arrested at his home and questioned for several hours by judiciary officials before being released. Security forces confiscated documents, his computer and his passport, but returned them later.
Shafiee represented Sarah Shourd, who was freed in September 2010, and Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, released last month.
0945 GMT: Enemy Satellite Watch. Iran Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam has declared that his force will intensify efforts to confiscate satellite dishes in homes.
“Satellite networks are a base of operations against our country,” said Ahmadi Moghaddam. “Their goal is to spread lies, defame, accuse and create disturbances and social unrest.”
Ahmadi Moghaddam continued, “Our country is not too vulnerable to the political activities of the satellite programming. It is the moral aspect of this issue that is proving more destructive….[Satellite programmes] corrupt the foundation of the family and defuse the effects of morality and religion by introducing new role models.”
0900 GMT: Dust and the Enemy. The head of Iran’s Meteorological Agency, Bahram Sanae’i, has said thatone reason for the increase in dust storms in the country is the American occupation of Iraq, which has eliminated much of the agriculture of Iran’s neighbour.
“One of the reasons for increasing the amount of dust in Iran is the presence of the occupying forces in Iraq which has destroyed the agriculture and has dried the tidal flats,” Sanae’i declared. He rsaid that the deployment of the Americans had hampered Iraqis’ natural and everyday life.
Abdolfatah Soltani, arrested earlier this month, is reportedly facing a new charge — “accepting an unlawful award“.
Soltani’s daughter, Maede, said his lawyers have been notified of the charge, based on the defendant’s acceptance of the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award in 2009. Soltani could not personally receive the award, as he was barred from leaving the country at the time.
Maede Soltani added that her mother, Masoumeh Dehghan, accepted the prize on Soltani’s behalf and was arrested in July 2011, spending six days in solitary confinement.
Abdolfatah Soltani Soltani has been detained four times over the past six years. He was arrested on 10 September and charged with founding the Center for Defenders of Human Rights, “spreading propaganda against the regime”, and “assembly and collusion against national security.”
0840 GMT: Labour Front. Workers at the Bandar Imam Petrochemical Company in southern Iran have reportedly continued their strike for a seventh day. Three union representatives are said to have been arrested.
0830 GMT: Clerical Intervention. Muhammad Sahimi provides a translation of two letters from Ayatollah Dastgheib, a prominent critic of the Government, to Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, the head of the Assembly of Experts.
Declaring that he no longer participates in Assembly meetings because he is concerned about his safety, Dastgheib asks Mahdavi Kani:
Do you support the events of 2009 and their aftermath? Are the people who are identified with “sedition” not Shiites of Imam Ali?…Were the aspirations and demands of the people satisfied? Should the votes of the people not be protected and counted? Why could they not convince the people [that there was no fraud] and [why were they] put down by the Sepah [Revolutionary Guards] and other military organs?. And why has no one taken responsibility?
Your Excellency Mahdavi Kani, given these, do you still support the current state of affairs? Do the members of the Assembly of Experts support it? Are these people [detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi] foreigners or linked to foreigners? Is His Excellency [Grand] Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani [who has criticized hardliners] a foreigner? Are other critical Grand Ayatollahs all linked with foreigners?
An EA correspondent goes beyond the translation to assess, “Dastgheib’s letters could be a sign that reformists are slowly turning away from the Islamic Republic — a chance for the real opposition? He is not representative, but his warnings are serious as he notes the impact of Arab Spring and waning influence of clergy.”
0730 GMT: The Deaths of the Bloggers. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has called for an investigation after the suicide this week of blogger Nahal Sahabi.
Sahabi’s partner, Behnam Ganji, committed suicide on 1 September. Both Sahabi and Ganji were former detainees in Tehran’s Evin Prison and close friends of human rights activist Kouhyar Goudarzi, who has been held incommunicado in Evin since the three were arrested together in July.
Ganji and Sahabi were subsequently released on bail, but Parvin Mokhtare, Goudarzi’s mother, was arrested in her home in Kerman and put on trial for “actions against national security by interviewing with foreign media”.
0710 GMT: Almost all newspapers inside Iran are leading with the Supreme Leader’s speech on Saturday opening the International Conference on the Palestinian Intifada. None, however, are noting the story behind the rhetoric: Ayatollah Khamenei’s denunciation of Palestinian leaders like Mahmoud Abbas and their bid for statehood at the United Nations was in sharp contrast to the support given to Abbas by none other than Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas.
And the attention to the Supreme Leader also obscured significant economic developments. As the $2.6 bank fraud scandal continued to make political ripples, the Iranian rial sank further, breaking the 13000:1 barrier vs. the US dollar on the open market. That is now a marked difference from the Central Bank’s offficial rate of 10740:1.
In a bid to stem the decline, the Central Bank is allowing private and public banks to sell foreign currency. The Bank had already injected a large amount of foreign currency into the economy in the spring.
Veröffentlicht am 3. Oktober 2011 in Interview, Literatur, Medien, Meinungen, Politik und mit Human Rights, Iran, Medien, Menschenrechte, Politik getaggt. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink. Kommentare deaktiviert.