Archiv für den Monat Dezember 2011
Glad to see this Iranian filmmaker has been freed. Now for the other prisoners of conscience in Iran…
Iranian documentary filmmaker Mojtaba Mirtahmasb has been released from Evin Prison after three months in jail. ISNA reports that MirTahmasb, who was arrested on the charge of “collaborating with the Persian BBC network”, was released Saturday night on bail of $200,000.
Mojtaba Mirtahmasb hugs his son Yasna after he was released from jail Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
AFP: ”A showdown between Iran and the United States over Tehran’s threats to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to oil tankers worsened with warships from each side giving weight to an increasingly bellicose exchange of words. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards rejected a warning that the US military would ‘not tolerate’ such a closure, saying they would act decisively ‘to protect our vital interests.’ State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday that Iran had exhibited ‘irrational behavior’ by threatening to close the strait. ‘One can only guess that the international sanctions are beginning to feel the pinch, and that the ratcheting up of pressure, particularly on their oil sector, is pinching in a way that is causing them to lash out.’”
AFP: ”Two American warships have crossed through the Strait of Hormuz without incident despite Iranian threats to close the strategic oil route, the US Navy said Thursday. The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay ‘conducted a pre-planned, routine transit through the Strait of Hormuz’ on Tuesday, said Fifth Fleet spokeswoman Lieutenant Rebecca Rebarich. The US military reported no friction with Iran’s naval forces after Iranian leaders warned of possibly shutting down the vital strait if the West went ahead with more punitive sanctions over its suspect nuclear program. ‘Our interaction with the regular Iranian Navy continues to be within the standards of maritime practice, well-known, routine and professional,’ Rebarich said in an email from Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain.”
Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
The primary goal of Arseh Sevom is to promote a vibrant civil society in Iran and related communities. All activities we take on are in service to this. Vibrant societies make room for voices from the margins as well as the center.
The name Arseh Sevom is Persian for third sphere and refers to the sphere of activities represented by civil society. The organization was formed to address the needs of civil society actors. In the wake of the flawed 2009 presidential elections in Iran, many civil society actors have found themselves facing severe pressure. This includes limitations on travel, new sanctions against associations, harassment and arrests, and unfounded charges against organizations and individuals. Revolutionary courts and the notion of national security are used to circumvent the rule of law. In 2010, we released the report, Attack on Civil Society in Iran, documenting many of the abuses. Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
Ashort video has surfaced on YouTube that shows a number of well-known Iranian political prisoners taking a walk in the yard of Iran’s Gohardasht prison.
The video appears to have been recorded earlier this year with a cellphone.
Activists have identified jailed journalists Ahmad Zeidabadi, Issa Saharkhiz, and Mehdi Bastani and also student activist Majid Tavakoli among the prisoners seen in the video.
Iran has rejected a U.S. warning against blocking oil shipments through the strategic Strait of Hormuz, as a war of words between the two countries continues.
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency Thursday quoted Revolutionary Guard commander Hossein Salami as saying Iran can carry out its own “defensive strategies.” Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
Die Straße von Hormus (persisch تنگه هرمز, Tangeh-ye Hormoz, nach der in ihr liegenden Insel Hormus) ist eine an der schmalsten Stelle 34 Seemeilen (54 km) breite Meerenge, die den Persischen Golf im Westen mit dem Golf von Oman, dem Arabischen Meer und dem Indischen Ozean im Osten verbindet.
Sie liegt zwischen Iran und Oman. Seit der Antike ist die Straße von Hormus eine wichtige Schifffahrtsstraße. Durch sie verläuft der gesamte Schiffsverkehr von und zu den Ölhäfen Kuwaits, Bahrains, des Irak, der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate und des Iran, dazu der größte Teil des saudi-arabischen Verkehrs. Da eine Sperre der Straße die Lieferungen von bedeutenden Teilen der Erdölgebiete im Nahen Osten blockieren würde, ist sie von weltweiter strategischer Bedeutung (ca. ein Viertel der globalen Ölversorgung).
Die Straße ist das wichtigste Nadelöhr für den Ölexport nach Japan, den USA und Westeuropa. Tanker mit 16,5–17 Mio Barrel Öl (2004; 25 % des Weltölverbrauchs) im Wert von 800 Mio. US-$ durchfahren sie täglich. Dazu existieren als internationale Schiffsrouten zwei jeweils 3 km breite und 35 km lange „virtuelle Boxen“ für den ein- und den ausgehenden Verkehr. Im Zusammenhang mit dem 2006/2007 drohenden US-Angriff auf den Iran wegen dessen Atomprogramms befürchtete die US-Regierung die Schließung der Straße mittels Shahab-3-Raketen. Aus diesem Grund waren Anfang 2007Flugzeugträger und Minenräum-Begleiter in der Nähe der Meerenge positioniert.
1319 GMT: Sedition Watch. One of the showpieces this week of the regime’s “victory over sedition campaign”, celebrating the 2nd anniversary of the counter-rally against the Green Movement, has been a report for Parliamentary outlining an attempt at “velvet revolution” involving the US, Israel, Britain, and Iranian politicians such as former President Mohammad Khatami and Mehdi Hashemi, the son of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
An illustration of General Hassan Firouzabadi, head of Iran’s armed forces, blocking the Straits of Hormuz
Eugene Gholz writes for Foreign Policy magazine:
Iranian military exercises apparently emphasize three weapons in the strait: small suicide boats, mobile antiship cruise missiles, and sophisticated sea mines. Using these tools, how hard would it be for Iran to disrupt the flow of oil?
The answer turns out to be: very hard. Iran would have to disable many of the 20 tankers that traverse the strait each day — and then sustain the effort. Iran cannot rely on the psychological effects of a few hits. Historically, after a short panic, commercial shippers adapt rather than give up lucrative trips, even against much more effective blockades than Iran could muster today. Shippers didn’t stop trying during World War I. Nor did the oil trade in the Gulf seize up during the 1980s Tanker War, when both Iraq and Iran targeted oil exports. Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
WashPost: ”The latest in a series of Iranian threats to block the vital Strait of Hormuz triggered a sharp response Wednesday from the U.S. Navy, although there appeared to be little chance that Tehran would make good on its warnings. Despite threats to close the narrow waterway if Western nations tighten sanctions on Iran by imposing an oil embargo, the Islamic republic needs the strait at least as much as its adversaries do, Iranian and foreign analysts said. Iran, which feels threatened by the presence of U.S. bases and warships in the region, has warned for years that it would choke off the Strait of Hormuz in the case of war or economic sanctions. The passage at the entrance to the Persian Gulf hosts a daily caravan of tankers that transport roughly a third of the world’s oil shipments.”
AP: ”Oil prices fell on Wednesday, as Saudi Arabia said it will offset any loss of oil from a threatened Iranian blockade of a crucial tanker route in the Middle East. In New York benchmark crude fell $1.15 to $100.19 a barrel. Brent crude fell 90 cents to $108.37 a barrel in London… A Saudi oil ministry official told The Associated Press that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers are ready to provide more oil if Iran tries to block the strait. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue. He didn’t specify other routes that could be used to transport oil, although they would likely be longer and more expensive for getting crude to the region’s customers.”
Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
IRAN’S THREAT TO BLOCKADE THE STRAIT OF HORMUZ
Iran Threatens to Block Oil Shipments, as U.S. Prepares Sanctions
A senior Iranian official on Tuesday delivered a sharp threat in response to economic sanctions being readied by the United States, saying his country would retaliate against any crackdown by blocking all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital artery for transporting about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply.
Iran Navy Commander: ‘Really easy’ for Iran to close key strait
Closing the Strait of Hormuz, the vital oil transit stretch at the entrance to the Gulf, would be “really easy” for Iran to do, but was not necessary right now, Iran’s navy chief has said.
“Iran to Test-Fire Advanced Naval Missiles, Torpedoes”
The Iranian Navy plans to test its advanced missiles and smart torpedoes during the ongoing naval wargames, codenamed Velayat 90, in Southern waters, a senior Iranian Navy commander announced on Wednesday.
U.S. Navy won’t tolerate ‘disruption’ through Strait of Hormuz
The U.S. Navy said Iran’s threat to block the strategically and economically important Strait of Hormuz is unacceptable.
Iran unlikely to block oil shipments through Strait of Hormuz, analysts say
The latest in a series of Iranian threats to block the vital Strait of Hormuz triggered a sharp response Wednesday from the U.S. Navy, although there appeared to be little chance that Tehran would make good on its warnings.
Iran Might Hurt Self Most by Closing Strait of Hormuz Oil Route
It would be relatively easy for Iran to make good on its threat to close the strategic waterway that carries oil tankers from the Persian Gulf — and it would probably hurt itself most by taking such action. Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
- Vor Parlamentswahl sind Machtelite und Teile der Bevölkerung gegen ihn.
Teheran. (af) Im Iran wird in drei Monaten ein neues Parlament (Majles) gewählt. Einem iranischen Spitzenpolitiker macht dies jetzt schon Sorgen: Präsident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Dieser bangt nämlich um den Einfluss seiner Partei im Parlament. Der oberste Führer Ali Khamenei hat schon im Vorfeld vorsichtig angedeutet, dass er nicht Ahmadinejads Partei unterstützen werde, sondern eher die Neo-Konservativen von Parlamentspräsident Ali Larijani favorisiere. Khamenei will damit Ahmadinejad offenbar dafür bestrafen, dass sich dieser in jüngster Vergangenheit so oft gegen die Entscheidungen der Führungsriege gestellt hat.
Auch unter den Parlamentsabgeordneten selbst sind die meisten dem iranischen Präsidenten alles andere als gewogen. Ein Grund dafür ist der jüngst aufgeflogene große Finanzskandal rund um die Mitarbeiter von Ahmadinejads Bürochef Ebrahim Mashai. Ein weiterer ist die katastrophale und ihrer Meinung nach kurzsichtige Wirtschaftspolitik. “Alles hat sich zum Schlechteren gewendet: Die Inflation überschreitet die 20-Prozent-Marke, die Arbeitslosigkeit steigt und die Grundnahrungsmittelpreise explodieren”, sagt ein Abgeordneter, der anonym bleiben will, im Gespräch mit der “Wiener Zeitung”.
Zudem hat sich Ahmadinejad mit seiner Bestrebung, die Macht und den Einfluss der geistlichen Elite des Landes zu minimieren, gewiss keine Freunde gemacht. Vom Zirkel der Mullahs in der Heiligen Stadt Ghom bis hin zum mächtigen Ex-Präsidenten Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani stellt sich der Großteil der Führungselite gegen ihn.
Please sign and spread this petition for Amir Hekmati, who is reportedly facing calls for the death penalty and has been deprived of his right to due process.
The Arizona-born, Michigan-raised Hekmati joined the Marines in August 2001, after high school. His four-year hitch included an assignment to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and a six-month deployment in Iraq in 2004, according to U.S. military records.
Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
The U.S. military says it will not tolerate disruptions in Strait of Hormuz traffic as Iran has threatened to block oil shipments coming through the waterway. Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
Im Iran ist ein führender Oppositionspolitiker zu mehreren Jahren Gefängnis verurteilt worden. Ein Gericht in Teheran sprach den Chef der liberalen Befreiungsbewegung des Iran, Ebrahim Yazdi, der Gefährdung der Staatssicherheit für schuldig und setzte das Strafmaß auf acht Jahre Haft fest, wie sein Anwalt am Mittwoch mitteilte. Für die nächsten fünf Jahre seien dem 80-Jährigen zudem die Bürgerrechte aberkannt worden, eine politische Betätigung ist ihm daher vorerst rechtlich verwehrt. Die Befreiungsbewegung ist im Iran verboten; deshalb sei Jasdi auch der Unterstützung einer verbotenen politischen Gruppierung für schuldig befunden worden. Der Anwalt kündigte Berufung an. Jasdi sei derzeit auf freiem Fuß.
This is a Documentary Movie based on the life of an Iranian underground Rock band called Dash (DA-SH) and their concert in germany in 2008.
A Film by Shahryar Ahadi.
NYT: ”A senior Iranian official on Tuesday delivered a sharp threat in response to economic sanctions being readied by the United States, saying his country would retaliate against any crackdown by blocking all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital artery for transporting about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply. The declaration by Iran’s first vice president, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, came as President Obama prepares to sign legislation that, if fully implemented, could substantially reduce Iran’s oil revenue in a bid to deter it from pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Prior to the latest move, the administration had been laying the groundwork to attempt to cut off Iran from global energy markets without raising the price of gasoline or alienating some of Washington’s closest allies.”
Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
Iran Feature: Former Detainee Sarah Shourd “The Plight of Iranians and 3 Decades of US Foreign Policy”
Sarah Shourd was one of three Americans seized by Iranian security forces in July 2009 as they walked along the Iran-Iraq border. She was held in Evin Prison’s Ward 209, where the regime keeps many political prisoners, until her release on a $500,000 guarantee in September 2010.
Writing for The Daily Beast, Shourd reflects on her experience to consider the state of Iran, the spirit of the Iranian people and their ongoing quest for freedom, and the folly of US foreign policy: Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
1215 GMT: The Embassy Attack. Looks like the fallout over last month’s assault on the British Embassy — and whoever might have ordered it — is continuing. An opinion piece in the hard-line Mashregh Newssays the raid was “idiotic and illegal“. Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
According to recent media reports, the Islamic Republic is once again preparing to execute Sakineh Ashtiani.
We ask all concerned individuals to take the following urgent actions:
1) Contact your State Department or Foreign Ministry (addresses below) with the following message:
I demand that this government exert the utmost diplomatic pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran to:
a) prevent the execution of Sakineh Ashtiani, and
b) secure the immediate and unconditional freedom of Sakineh Ashtiani and her lawyer, Houtan Kian.
I specifically request direct economic sanctions against the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran regime. They are are all – from the executives, lawmakers, judiciary, to the IRGC and beyond – criminals and murderers. They should be dealt with as such.
Contact information for Foreign Ministries and the US State Department:
2) Contact Bernard Kouchner, the Foreign Minister of France(email@example.com), with the following message asking France to be the first to close the doors to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic in France:
Dear Mr. Kouchner,
It has come to my attention that the Islamic Republic once again is threatening to execute Sakineh Ashtiani. If the Islamic Republic executes Sakineh Ashtiani, I urge the French government to close the doors to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in France. The honorable people of France, and in particular the women of France, have shown their broad and consistent support for Sakineh Ashtiani and her family; Carla Bruni Sarkozy has publicly advocated in Sakineh’s defense, and drawn a slanderous response from the Islamic regime for doing so; and France’s President Sarkozy has taken it as his personal duty to defend Sakineh Ashtiani. France should take the international lead in closing the regime’s embassy in Paris. It is the only appropriate diplomatic response to the Islamic Republic regime’s ongoing perpetration of human rights atrocities.
3) Send this sample letter (available in ENG, DE & FR) to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, and encourage everyone you know to do the same. [ SAMPLE LETTER ] Contact addresses to send to: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
4) Fill out the contact form for UN Women to
a) demand a UN resolution to criminalize stoning, and
b) to demand immediate expulsion from the UN Commission on the Status of Women of the Islamic Republic of Iran and all other states whose authority is dependent on gender apartheid and violence against women.
If Sakineh is executed, the UN will be held responsible for its refusal to act or even issue a strong statement against the execution of Sakineh Ashtiani.
5) If the Islamic Republic executes Sakineh Ashtiani, regardless of how they implement the murder (stoning or hanging), people living near offices and embassies of the Islamic Republic should immediately deposit a pile of stones (painted red if possible) in front of the door or gate to the regime’s office or embassy. If feasible, tape photos and/or posters of Sakineh to the doors, windows, gates, etc.
We and all humanity thank you for your urgent action in this matter.
Im Iran wurden die kunsthistorisch und religionsgeschichtlich bedeutenden Felsreliefs bei Bischapur beschädigt. Vermutet wird ein politischer Hintergrund.
Foto: dpa/ Hans Winter
Die Beschädigung persischer Altertümer beschäftigt die iranische Presse. Das ist bemerkenswert, weil die staatliche Organisation für kulturelle Relikte und Altertümer, Tourismus und Kunsthandwerk (CHTHO) vor zwei Jahren Archäologen und Ausgräbern alle Presseinterviews verboten und damit Informationen über Kunstraub und Vandalismus faktisch unterbunden hat.
Mitte Dezember berichteten jedoch Teheraner Medien über mutwillige Zerstörungen. In einem als Dastvar bezeichneten Ausgrabungsplatz nahe dem Persischen Golf, der dem alten Reich Elam (um 3500 v. Chr. – 6. Jahrhundert n. Chr.) zugeordnet wird, haben angeblich ganze Gruppen von Plünderern den einzigen Wächter überfallen und Gräber ausgeraubt. Mehr Aufsehen erregt allerdings ein Zerstörungsakt im Gelände der Ruinenstadt Bischapur, im 3. bis 7. Jahrhundert eine Metropole des zweiten, spätantiken persischen Großreichs, des Sassanidenreichs. Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
Der Berliner Schauspieler Mathias Kopetzki, aufgewachsen bei deutschen Adoptiveltern, entschließt sich mit über dreißig Jahren, nach Teheran zu reisen, um den bisher unbekannten leiblichen Vater und seine streng muslimische Großfamilie kennen zu lernen. Durch die leidvolle Vergangenheit seines Vaters auch mit der eigenen konfrontiert, erlebt er den islamischen Gottesstaat als ein faszinierendes Land voller Gegensätze und verliebt sich im Schatten iranischer Moscheen in eine Kusine, die trotz Todesgefahr ein Verhältnis mit ihm beginnt. Kopetzki zeichnet in seiner spannenden und berührenden Adoptivgeschichte das ungewöhnliche Bild einer orientalischen Megametropole, in der Restriktionen Alltag sind, Familie sich stützt, Glauben Halt verspricht – aber auch einer Gesellschaft, in der nichts so ist, wie es scheint. Und begreift, dass diese Reise zu seiner Herkunft eine Reise zu ihm selbst bedeutet …
Youtube: Der Trailer zum Buch
Interview Diva, Kieler Magazin, Juni 2011: interview.pdf
WSJ: ”As uprisings rolled across the Middle East this year, Iran stepped up its jamming of the BBC, Voice of America and other Western networks with Persian-language news channels. The move ‘is intended to prevent Iranian audiences from seeing foreign broadcasts the Iranian government finds objectionable,’ five networks protested in a joint statement this month. While the use of Western technology for Internet censorship by Middle Eastern and North African regimes has gained attention this year, satellite television has also become a potent force in the region and, in Iran, a target of censorship. Some 45% to 60% of Iranians watch satellite TV, according to estimates from the state media company and an Iranian research center, exceeding the number believed to use the Internet. Iran so far seems to be winning a struggle to filter out unwanted TV content and broadcast its own propaganda: The country jams channels like the BBC on Western satellites even as Iran’s state media company broadcasts pro-government news on some of the same satellites, and at times has aired forced confessions of political detainees.”
Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
1758 GMT: Elections Watch. Prominent reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh, serving a six-year prison sentence, has posted an open letter declaring that he will boycott the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.
Tajzadeh, a former Deputy Minister of Interior, cited the need “to counter lies, corruption, and ineptitude” and “to prevent the establishment of an absolute dictatorship” as well “to control and eradicate poverty, unemployment, and crime”. Among reasons not to participate, he mentioned the June 2009 “election coup” putting President Ahmadinejad back in office, the re-appointment of Ayatollah Jannati as head of the Guardian Council supervising the elections, the “illegal involvement of military and security forces”, “the illegal house arrest” of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the suspension of reformist parties.
1755 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Ebrahim Yazdi, the 81-year-old former Foreign Minister, has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Yazdi, the head of the Freedom Movement of Iran, was arrested briefly after the disputed June 2009 Presidential election and again in September 2010 for an “illegal prayer meeting”.
1750 GMT: Oil Watch. Iran and Afghan officials have signed an agreement for Tehran to export one million tons of oil products to Afghanistan annually.
The contract is a much-needed boost for Iran, whose oil markets have been shrinking — and could shrink much more — amidst US-led sanctions.
1730 GMT: Insurgency Watch. Iranian officials have said that four members of the Kurdish insurgency PJAK and one Basij militiaman have been killed in a clash near the Kurdish village of Baneh.
1550 GMT: Threat of the Day. First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi has guaranteed himself headlines in international media with the declaration, made in State news outlet IRNA, “If they (the West) impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz.”
Rahimi’s statement comes amidst a 10-day exercise by Iranian naval units to show their strength in regional waters.
1530 GMT: Elections Watch. MP Alireza Mahjoub of the Workers House has announced that he has registered as a candidate for the Parliamentary elections in March.
Workers House carries out labour-related activities, and Mahjoub has raised some of those issues in Parliament. Last week, he called for a “responsible” social insurance organization.
Although Workers House is often seen as being in line with the reformist position, Mahjoub distinguished his stance on the campaign from that of reformists, many of whom have said they will not stand, “I am not the spokesman of reformists. I just see that it is my right to participate in election, so I did it. I believe people participation in the Parliamentary election will be good, like all the elections which were held after the Islamic revolution.”
Mahjoub said stated that another member of Workers House, Soheila Jelodarzadeh, would also file as a candidate.
1420 GMT: Campus Watch. Minister of Science and Higher Education Kamran Daneshjoo has confirmed that the Ministry is cutting off the scholarships of those who study in Britain.
1230 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. Equality, cost-cutting exercise, or both? Mohammad Reza Farzin, the head of Iran’s subsidy cuts organisation, has said the 10 million wealthiest Iranians will be omitted from support payments to cover higher prices from subsidy cuts.
1109 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Syria Front). Khabar Online has published the names of seven Iraniansabducted in Syria last week. Almost all are electrica. engineers of the Parsian Power Industrial Technology and Development Company.
1105 GMT: The Battle Within. The pro-Ahmadinejad head of Iran’s Culture, Heritage, and Tourism Organization, Rouhollah Ahmadzadeh, has warned Mohammad Reza Bahonar, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, that the President “is ready to reveal secrets” if he continues to come under attack.
1100 GMT: Book Corner. Rah-e Sabz reports that 100 bookshops have been shut down within the past year in Tehran, with vendors on Karim Khan Street, the famous thoroughfare for book-lovers, appealing to Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf to support the cultural sphere.
1055 GMT: Press Watch. Rah-e Sabz has denied the report that Ayeen-e Goftogou, a monthly publication linked to former President Mohammad Khatami, has been banned.
1030 GMT: Corruption Watch. Key MP Ahmad Tavakoli maintains his now-daily challenge to President Ahmadinejad over “corruption”, with his website Alef publishing his answers to students about the “origins and consequences” of the $2.6 billion bank fraud.
1025 GMT: Spy Watch. The initial court session of Iranian-American Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, accused of spying for the US, has been held this morning before hard-line Judge Abulfazl Salavati in Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. The prosecution reportedly asked for the death penalty.
Hekmati, reportedly detained in September, was presented on State TV earlier this month “confessing” to an attempt to infiltrate Iran’s intelligence services.
Fars claimed that Hekmati told the court, “I was deceived by the CIA….Although I was appointed to break into Iran’s intelligence systems and act as a new source for the CIA, I had no intention of undermining the country.”
1020 GMT: The Battle Within (Literally). Behrouz Moradi, the manager of the Ahmadinejad Government’s subsidy cuts, has reportedly been thrown out of the Parliament by Speaker Ali Larijani after he allegedly insulted and assaulted MPs.
To be honest, the effort has fizzled a bit from the anticipation of the headlines. The highlight on Monday, from a senior Iranian commander, was that the navy had warned off a foreign helicopter that approached the site of the exercise: “When the helicopter saw the resoluteness of our units and [our] determination to take the next measures, it was forced to leave the region promptly and observe the safe distance.”
Commodore Amir Rastegari added that Iran’s navy was prepared to hold joint military drills with regional countries, presumably to scare off more helicopters and “to provide security for the entire region”. Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said it was all “a message of peace and friendship” for Iran’s neighbours.
1000 GMT: Elections Watch. Monday’s good-news announcement came from Minister of Interior Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, who said 1020 people had registered to be candidates in Parliamentary elections by noon.
Najjar did not identify the blocs of the candidates and, in particular, how many reformists had defied calls for a boycott to put forward their names for election to the 275-member Majlis
0750 GMT: Currency Watch. The Iranian rial has halted its slide overnight vs. the US dollar — having fallen more than 6% on Tuesday, it has settled at 15150:1 this morning.
The rial is still significantly weaker than the 14000:1 level of last week after the Central Bank intervened to halt a sharp drop in the currency’s value.
Meanwhile, the US Government has jumped in on the theory — common among those who watch the currency fluctuation — that elite groups such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are profiting from the rial’s fall. Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
We begin this morning with the question of the participation of reformists, the minority group in the Islamic Republic’s political system, in March’s Parliamentary elections.
Even though the reformists are effectively blocked from being more than a minority in Parliament — and of course blocked from the Presidency with the disputed June 2009 vote and its aftermath — their participation has become a vital issue in the Parliamentary vote. Figures such as former President Mohammad Khatami have been setting conditions for their involvement for more than a year; none of those, such as freedom of political prisoners and freedom of political parties, have been met. Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
Saham News, the outlet of detained opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi, was able to conduct a short interview with Karroubi’s wife Fatemeh, who has also been under strict house arrest since February. Translation by Banooye Sabz:
Given that the vetting process for parliamentary candidates is about to begin, there has been much discussion regarding whether or not reformist candidates should participate in the upcoming elections. In your meetings, did you have an opportunity to ask Mr. Karroubi, former head of the parliament, about his opinion regarding this matter? What can you tell us about his latest condition and circumstances? Lies den Rest dieses Artikels
Der Pastor und seine Frau mussten Heiligabend hinter Gittern verbringen.
Ahwaz (idea) – Im Iran haben Sicherheitskräfte einen vorweihnachtlichen Gottesdienst der pfingstkirchlichen Assemblies of God (Versammlungen Gottes) aufgelöst und den Pastor sowie alle Besucher zeitweise verhaftet.
Das berichten Menschenrechtsorganisationen. Der Vorfall habe sich am 23. Dezember in der südiranischen Stadt Ahwaz ereignet. Die meisten Christen, darunter viele Kinder, seien in Bussen abtransportiert, dann verhört und eingeschüchtert und schließlich nach Hause geschickt worden. Pastor Farhad Sabokrouh, seine Frau Shahnaz und zwei Älteste der Gemeinde mussten Heiligabend hinter Gittern verbringen, ehe auch sie freigelassen wurden. Ein Grund für das Vorgehen der Behörden sei nicht genannt worden. Nach Angaben der Organisation Christian Solidarity Worldwide (Christliche Solidarität Weltweit/CSW) in London gehört die Gemeinde Gottes in Ahwaz nicht zur Hauskirchenbewegung, in denen sich meist ehemalige Muslimen im Verborgenen treffen, sondern ist offiziell registriert. Pastor Farhad sei jedoch wiederholt bedroht worden, weil er die Aufnahme von Ex-Muslimen in seine Kirche nicht ablehne. Bereits in den vergangenen drei Jahren habe es ähnliche Störungen der Weihnachtsvorbereitungen gegeben. Von den 74,2 Millionen Einwohnern Irans sind 99 Prozent Muslime. Die Zahl der Konvertiten zum christlichen Glauben wird auf 250.000 geschätzt. Ferner gibt es bis zu 150.000 meist orthodoxe armenische und assyrische Christen.
Nikahang Kowsar portrays President Ahmadinejad’s preparations for the Parliamentary elections in March
1150 GMT: Economy Watch. ISNA reports a continuing rise in prices for dairy products, with an increase of 10% in the past week and 28% since the introduction of subsidy cuts in December 2010. Lies den Rest dieses Artikels