Supreme Leader’s Representative in IRGC Endorses Fars News

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Hojjat al-Islam Ali Saeidi, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards has praised Fars News, stating “it is bound by principled beliefs and professionalism”.

Saeidi made his comments in the course of an interview with journalists at Fars’ offices. In a meeting with Nezameddin Mousavi, the executive director of Fars News, Saeidi stated, “that which is very important for a news agency is the trust which readers have with respect to it. This returns to the strategy and operational guidelines and work practices of the media”.

Fars News is well-known amongst English speaking readers for a number of serious journalistic gaffs it has made in the past and which have been covered extensively in the Western media. The most recent being when Fars News‘ English language site plagiarised and took a story in the US based satirical site, The Onion, seriously and posted it on their site.

In other news

The head of the Inspectorate Organization of the Country, Hojjat al-Islam Mostafa Pourmohammadi has said in a meeting with industrialists and manufacturers in the city of Qazvin that, “the implementation of the second phase of targeted subsidy reform is not logical in the present conditions and must be implemented next year with discernment and circumspection and the removal of the flaws of the first stage [of subsidy reform] and attention to the views of experts”.

Pourmohammadi a noted conservative critic of the government, along with numerous other prominent Principalist voices in the Majles, have protested the rationale for implementing the second phase of Iran’s controversial subsidy reform programme, contrary to the government’s insistence that it go ahead as Ahmadinejad’s second term comes to a close.

Hojjat al-Islam Hamid Rasai, a prominent member of the Endurance Front and Tehran MP, close to ultra-conservative Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, has launched a scathing attack against Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and some of his recent pronouncements. In his note for the weekly “9 Dey” of which he is the managing editor, Rasai accuses Rafsanjani of having attempted to managed the 2009 election behind the scenes, and also claims that the latter is preparing to run in this year’s presidential election.

Rasai also tells Rafsanjani to explain the comments by his son, Mehdi, in conversation with an “anti-revolutionary” i.e. Washington based journalist Nikahang Kowsar. The recordings of Mehdi Hashemi’s conversations with Kowsar were recently leaked on YouTube, causing a great deal of controversy, due to Hashemi’s frank criticisms of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the need to “bring pressure” to bear against him.

Prominent Conservative commentator, Amir Mohebbian has told Asr-e Iran that if, Green Movement leaders, “[Mir Hossein] Mousavi and [Hojjat al-Islam] Karroubi change their position, the conditions of their detainment will change”.

Mousavi and Karroubi have been under house arrest since February 2011.

Ali Akbar Javanfekr, the imprisoned press advisor and ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has written a letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, requesting a re-examination of his case.

Gooya News has reported that flamingos are being sold in the Northern Province of Mazandaran for a paltry 5000 tomans, less than $2.

In the last year some 500 flamingos have been sold in the bird markets of this region as a result of poaching and the apparent lack of the environmental authorities’ grip on the situation.

The news site, Tabnak, close to former head of the Revolutionary Guards and Secretary to the Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezaei, has been shut down as a result of a judicial order reports the Islamic Republic News Agency. The reason for the closure appears to have been “insulting” comments by the sites’ users.

The action seems part of broader steps against elements in the press, as some 15 journalists from a number of disparate newspapers and media outlets, including Etemaad, Bahar, and the Iran Labour News Agency, have been arrested. No journalists from Fars News were amongst those detained.

The officially banned Reformist party, the Participation Front for Islamic Iran, has issued a statement condemning the arrest of journalists and demanding their immediate release:

“If the election of 2009 the ballot boxes were engineered, this time it has been decided from now with security-military engineering to block the taking shape of any kind of movement to save the country from the present destruction”.