Ali Akbar Javanfekr, President Ahmadinejad’s press advisor, Managing Director of the Islamic Republic News Agency and director of the Iran Media-Cultural Institute has been jailed for 6 months on charges which include “insulting the leader”. Javanfekr’s sentence was issued in November 2011, as a result of an interview he conducted with the Reformist daily Etemaad in which he strongly criticized Ahmadinejad’s Principalist critics, as well as a supplement in Iran Newspaper deemed insulting to the black veil known as the “chador”. His sentence was subsequently upheld upon appeal. Javanfekr has also been banned from any media-related activities for a period of 3 years.
The timing of its implementation is curious insofar as his key patron and ally, the president, is currently outside the country for his address to the UN General Assembly. This is also after Javanfekr had only recently been absolved on charges alleged by the Inspectorate Organization of the Country, which had been examining his case. Speculation has been rife that Javanfekr’s arrest could also have something to do with the upcoming presidential election in that given his position as both head of the Iran Media-Cultural Institute of which the government affiliated Iran Newspaper is merely one arm, and the Islamic Republic News Agency, Javanfekr was in prime position to play a significant role in the pre-electoral jousting and jockeying between prospective candidates. He could and certainly would have used his influence in favour of a candidate approved by his boss, President Ahmadinejad. Moreover, while an editorial in Iran Newspaper sought to defend Javanfekr, Serat News, a news site close to Kayhan vehemently attacked Javanfekr, calling him a “sycophant” of both former President Khatami and President Ahmadinejad. Serat News has also attacked Javanfekr over an article he wrote for Iran Newspaper in which he objected to the sentence given to Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Rafsanjani, claiming it lenient and questioning the delay in its implementation. The irony given Javanfekr’s own predicament and the delayed implementation of his own sentence was by no means lost on Serat News, who were only too happy to point it out.
The article entitled “Hashemi’s Children, the President’s Associates and the People’s Children “, parodying the title of Javanfekr’s own article states, “Javanfekr’s note on the differences between the people’s children and Hashemi’s [Rafsanjani] children didn’t point to the difference between the associates of the President and the people’s children and doesn’t clearly state from what immunity his is benefiting despite the finality of his sentence that he hasn’t been imprisoned and is also freely continuing his activities…Of course to be fair Javanfekr asked a fundamental question at the end of his note on Ayatollah Hashemi [Rafsanjani], “does [Rafsanjani’s] latest move and his stating positions like there is not difference between his children and the people’s children, testify to the creation of a fresh environment for his political life?”
Ahmadinejad’s reaction to Javanfekr’s arrest as reported by Javan Online, close to the IRGC, when queried by an Italian journalist, was tepid claiming a need for more time to examine the details of the case.
Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani in a meeting with war veterans from the Iran-Iraq war has offered his thoughts for solving the current problems facing the country, reports Etemaad. The measures he suggested included the creation of an agreement for national unity, the opening up of the political domain, taking heed of the demands of the people, and the complete implementation of the Constitution. In the international sphere, he recommended measures for decreasing tensions.
A number of Iranian news sites such as Baztab-e Emruz have covered the physical assault on Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, in New York. Serat News blames the “terrorist group”, the Mojahedin-e Khalq for the attack, adding, the “fundamental question is this, what is the role of the police and American security forces that have the obligation to provide security and preserve the safety of diplomats of other countries in the vicinity of the United National building in New York? Did this terrorist action take place with the coordination of the American police?”
From one of the pictures posted on Serat News it is clear that members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq are amongst those assaulting the Foreign Ministry Spokesman; one man is discerbaly wearing a jacket bearing the faces of both Masoud and Maryam Rajavi.
Ali Akbar Velayati, the Supreme Leader’s advisor on International Affairs, has stated that “corruption and depravity has enveloped everywhere in the West and the condition of the West with respect to the growth of corruption is getting worse every day. Today homosexuality is pushing the foundation of the family in the West into oblivion…Instead of preventing corruption and depravity it tampers with the basics of humanity and with the propagation of homosexuality is currently stopping the [next] human generation.”. Velayati also happens to be a medical doctor and paediatrician.
Fars News has reported a statement by Mohammad Baqir Qalibaf, the Mayor of Tehran, in a televised interview on state television’s programme, “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” stating “I was amongst the first people to speak [on the sedition of 2009] and today I believe I spoke the most accurately”. Qalibaf’s public restatement of his condemnation of the 2009 post-presidential election unrest and thus the opposition movement led by former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, should probably be read in the context of the 2013 election and his desire to pre-empt accusations from hardline elements in the political establishment and IRGC that he was ambivalent vis-à-vis the so-called Green Movement, generally referred to in official literature as the “sedition of 2009”. Public statements along these lines are most likely to ward off attacks later down the road as the campaign heats up or even the possibility that his candidacy being vetoed by the Guardian Council.
Fars News reports that the Reformist daily, Sharq, has been shut down and that its editor detained along with the caricaturist responsible for the cartoon deemed insulting to Iranian war veterans. The controversial caricature, covered in yesterday’s Iran Pulse, led to a raft of MPs and government officials to call for the newspaper’s closure.