Archiv für den Tag 28. Juli 2011

Wohnungen für Flüchtlinge: Senat und Wohnungsunternehmen unterzeichnen Kooperationsvertrag

Berlin. Die städtischen Wohnungsunternehmen stellen zusätzlichen Wohnraum für Flüchtlinge bereit. Darauf haben sie sich mit Sozialsenatorin Carola Bluhm verständigt. Mit einem festen Kontingent von jährlich 275 Wohnungen wollen sie dazu beitragen, dass Flüchtlinge in Berlin möglichst schnell eigene Wohnungen beziehen können. Asylsuchende müssen die ersten sechs Wochen in einer Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung verbringen – das ist bundesgesetzlich festgelegt – und können danach in ein Wohnheim oder in eine eigene Wohnung ziehen.

In den vergangenen Monaten ist es angesichts gestiegener Flüchtlingszahlen und einem angespannteren Wohnungsmarkt für Asylsuchende schwieriger geworden, eine Wohnung auf dem freien Markt zu finden. Insgesamt 125 Einzimmer- und 150 Mehrzimmerwohnungen werden die sechs großen städtischen Wohnungsgesellschaften WBM, degewo, GESOBAU, STADT UND LAND, GEWOBAG sowie HOWOGE nun bereitstellen. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iran Snapshot: When a Highway Becomes a Waterway (France24)

France24 reports:

It was meant to speed up inner-city traffic, but on rainy days, the brand-new expressway in the central Iranian city of Rafsanjan turns into a giant urban waterfall. Our Observers say  the road is an example of botched engineering and construction work at its worst.

 

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The Latest from Iran (28 July): An Opposition Move on the Elections?

1310 GMT: Slain Scientist Watch. Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi, commenting on last weekend’s murder of postgraduate student Dariush Rezaeinejad — initially reported as a scientist connected with the Iranian defence establishment — said that his service has some clues but has found no links to foreign intelligence services so far.

Moslehi added there was „good news“ in the investigation of the November 2010 killing of scientist Majid Shahryari.

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Eye on Iran – Iran Revolutionary Guards‘ Commander Set to Become President of Opec

Top Stories

Guardian: „A senior commander of Iran’s revolutionary guards, who is subject to comprehensive international sanctions, has been nominated as the country’s oil minister, a position that currently includes the presidency of Opec. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, sent a list of four ministers, including Rostam Ghasemi, commander of the revolutionary guards‘ Khatam al-Anbia military and industrial base, to the parliament for approval, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. Should the parliament confirm Ghasemi’s nomination next week, the commander, who is targeted by US, EU and Australian sanctions, will be automatically appointed as head of Opec, giving the revolutionary guards access to an influential international platform. Under Iran’s constitution the president is in charge of appointing cabinet ministers, who take office after the approval of parliament. Iran took the Opec presidency in October last year, its first time at the head of the oil exporters‘ cartel since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Unrest in the Middle East, especially the ongoing war in Libya, has given Opec a crucial role in determining the current oil price. Iran is the second-largest crude oil exporter in Opec. The nomination follows an extraordinary power struggle between Ahmadinejad and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ahmadinejad attempted to take over the oil ministry as its temporary head in May but his move was blocked by parliament. He then appointed Mohammad Aliabadi, a close ally, as a caretaker.“ http://t.uani.com/roXJ8v

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The Latest from Iran (27 July): Foreign Manoeuvres

1755 GMT: Border Watch. Iranian state media are reporting that two Revolutionary Guards and 21 Kurdish insurgents have died in further fighting near the Iraq border. Two Guards were reportedly wounded in the clash in the city of Sardasht.

A senior Revolutionary Guards commander and five troops were killed in fighting earlier this week. Iranian officials say at least 50 members of the insurgent group PJAK have died in the battles over the last fortnight.

1535 GMT: Cyber-Watch. An official of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has explained that linking to social networks is a „computer crime“.

1515 GMT: Economy Watch. MPs Abbas Rajaei, Ahmad Tavakoli, and Mohammad Reza Bahonar have attributed excessive food imports (see 1010 GMT) to the „deviant current“ and „sedition“ endangering provision of security to the Iranian people.

1505 GMT: Scholar Watch. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education has allocated $1 million to publishers to produce „Islamic“ social sciences books.

Iranian officials, including the Supreme Leader, have criticised the teaching of „Western“ humanities and social sciences in universities, with the removal of 12 „Western“ disciplines from the curriculum.

1445 GMT: All the President’s Men. Ayande is not impressed with the President’s nomination of Rustam Qassemi, the head of the engineering branch of the Revolutionary Guards, as Minister of Oil.

The website asks, „Did Ahmadinjead make a retreat? Wasn’t he forced to make concessions to Sepah (Revolutionary Guards) by nominating Ghasemi? Will Qassemi’s nomination not further destroy Sepah’s reputation in public?

1430 GMT: Not-Defensive-at-All Watch. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, speaking to Fars, says claims that the Iranian system of velayat-e faqih is a dictatorship are wrong. He insists monarchist dictatorship has not turned into religious dictatorship.

1350 GMT: Opposition Watch. The opposition Coordinating Council of the Green Path, after weeks of debate among activists and reformists inside Iran about participation in next March’s Parliamentary elections, has issued a statement with eight essential demands:

1) Release of all post-election political prisoners and restoration of rights to those on bail;
2) Keeping the hands of security and intelligence forces out of politics and and „engineering“ of elections;
3) An end to the house arrests and security restrictions on Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi;
4) An end to illegal restrictions on political parties, labour unions, and non-government organisations;
5) An end to censorship and bans on the media, and a respect for freedom of expression;
6) An end to the current supervision, led by the Guardian Council, of elections — elections should take place under the supervision of a body respected by all political and social groups;
7) Assurance that all citizens and members of all political and religious currents and of ethnic groups should campaign and vote without fear of arrest and restrictions;
8) Guarantee of personal and financial equality and of security for all parties, candidates & voters, preventing any violence against them.

1330 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. After some confusion, actress/filmmaker Pegan Ahanagarani has been released from prison. She was detained earlier month, possibly for a documentary she made about the controversial Iranian director Masoud Dehnamaki (see 18 July entry).

Filmmaker and women’s rights activist Mahnaz Mohammadi has also reportedly been freed on $100,000 bail. Efforts to free actress Marzieh Vafamehr, featured in EA this morning, continue.

1045 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch (Film Edition). Complementing our feature this morning on the imprisonment of Marzieh Vafamehr, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran summarises the pressures on members of Iran’s film industry, including the detentions of a number of directors and actors.

1010 GMT: Differing Views on the Economy. An interesting juxtaposition in the news this morning on the state of Iran’s economy….

In Washington, the International Monetary Fund’s lead economist on Iran, Dominique Guillaume, is full of praise for subsidy cuts, „This reform is first and foremost about reducing a waste of resources. But it also creates a greater sharing of Iran’s oil wealth amongst its people.“

In Tehran, MP Ahmad Tavakoli is not so sure: he says Iran’s dependence on imports has risen from 35% to 75% during the past five years. He cites an increase of more than 600% in the import of wheat over the period.

0955 GMT: All the President’s Men. Iran Inspector General Mostafa Pourmohammadi has said that the file of 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, suspected of involvement in large-scale fraud, is still open.

And a lawyer within Iran’s judiciary has countered the recent declaration of Presidential advisor Saeed Mortazavi that he has been „acquitted“ of charges in the case of abuses and deaths at the Kahrizak detention centre.

Peyman Haj Mahmoud Attar said Mortazavi also faces enquiries in other cases such as financial mismanagement and the arrest of Iranian official Abbas Palizdar in 2008.

0950 GMT: Critiquing the Regime. The dissident theologian Ahmad Ghabel assesses that the Supreme Leader’s new Arbitration Council points to the severe conflicts between leaders within the Government, adding the heads of all three branches — President Ahmadinejad, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, and head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani are all „accustomed to illegality by now“.

0735 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. IRNA reports that, after some confusion, the President has submitted the names of four Cabinet nominees to Parliament.

Rustam Qassemi, the head of the engineering wing of the Revolutionary Guards, has been named to head the Ministry of Oil. The other posts are for Work and Social Welfare, Industry and Mines, and Trade.

Ahmadinejad had reportedly put the names forward at the start of the week, but leading MP Mohammad Reza Bahonar said yesterday that they had not been formally received.

0600 GMT: We begin this morning with two contrasting signals from Iran towards the international community.

The cautious warming of the Ahmadinejad Government towards the Russian proposal for a „phased“ approach towards Iran’s nuclear programme and sanctions continues. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, “In regard with the issue of our country’s peaceful nuclear programmes…we have taken big steps towards confidence-building but we believe that confidence-building is a mutual move.”

Two weeks ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov put forth a plan under which Iran’s satisfaction of concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency would be matched by a partial lifting of sanctions on Tehran. The regime was initially cool towards the move, with high-profile MPs and officials dismissing the proposal, but it is now adopting a „Let’s Hear and See More“ attitude. In particular, President Ahmadinejad said last week that Iran would be receptive if the Lavrov plan was developed further.

Mehmanparast said Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi plans to accept Lavrov’s invitation to come to Russia in the near-future.

Closer to home, Tabnak offers a far different image over the question of Syria. A cartoon in the conservative newspaper on“The Origins of the Unrest“ has French President Nicolas Sarkozy, US President Barack Obama, and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia fanning the flames.

Iran News Round Up – (July 27)

Summary
Ahmadinejad appoints four cabinet ministers; authorities bar former president Khatami from leaving Iran; China reportedly offers to pay Iran’s oil imports with yuan
Politics

  • Ahmadinejad appoints four cabinet ministers:
    • Abd al-Reza Sheikh al-Eslami, minister of cooperatives, labor and social security; Mehdi Ghazanfari, minister of industry, mines and commerce; Rostam Qasemi, oil minister; and Mohammad Abbasi, minister of sport and youth.
  • Authorities prevent former president Mohammad Khatami from leaving Iran in order to visit his daughter.
Economy

  • Former Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh criticizes the chaotic state of affairs in the oil ministry.
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