IRGC Commander: Downing drones was “serious demand” of Supreme Leader

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Brigadier Amir Ali Hajji Zadeh, Commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s aerial forces has said that the downing of American drones was the “serious demand” of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Hajji Zadeh added that Ayatollah Khamenei, “emphasised that the drones are not seen, but they collect information and thus striking and downing them was part of the serious demands of the Supreme Leader from the commanders”.

The Reformist daily, Etemaad, reports that former Foreign Minister, Manuchehr Mottaki, has announced his candidacy for this year’s presidential race. Mottaki has been an inveterate critic of President Ahmadinejad since his unexpected and embarrassing sacking in the midst of an official visit to Senegal in December 2010.

Majles Speaker Ali Larijani, has claimed that Western powers are “searching for excuses” vis-à-vis the Fordow nuclear enrichment site.

Larijani emphasized, “we undertook 20% enrichment and made the fuel rods for the Tehran nuclear reactor. If the Agency [i.e. International Atomic Energy Agency] had given us fuel rods, we would not have had any need for 20% enrichment”. Larijani made the comments in the course of a speech at an Indian think tank, as part of his trip to India to discuss numerous bilateral issues.

Mohsen Rezaei, the Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council, and a possible presidential candidate, has criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a number of MPs over the events which have come to be known as Black Sunday, in which Majles Speaker Ali Larijani and President Ahmadinejad, openly rowed and traded threats and Labour Minister, Abdolreza Sheikholeslami, impeached. In a meeting with students in Ardebil, Rezaei stated “it was truly denigrating and damaged the dignity of the regime”.

He added, “a time when the enemy has come at us with sanctions it is self-abuse, if we wish to create tension and disorder inside the country”.

The Majles has passed a general plan in order to limit the activities of the media and journalists on the Majles floor. Limitations have been placed on photographers, camera persons and journalists according to Fars News. In the event of the plan’s final approval photographers and camera persons will be limited to filming the first hour of the public sessions and afterwards, depending on the necessary permissions of the MP heading the session, photographers will be allowed to take photos.

Majles snoozers

A number of Iranian MPs have complained of inopportune photos of parliamentarians either sleeping or yawning in parliamentary session. Qassem Jafari, the MP for Shazand who supports the plan, has criticized the publication of photographs of Iranian MPs either asleep or yawning, calling it “incompatible with media ethics”.

The head of Iran’s Central Bank, Mahmoud Bahmani, has announced a plan banning the purchase and sale of currency through non-official channels.

Bahmani told Khane-ye mellat, the Majles’ news agency, “cutting the hands of the currency middlemen will be followed by the improvement of prices and also will better the conditions of people’s lives and reduce the current pressure, the more quickly the plan for prohibiting the buying and selling of currency by means of networks is passed”.

Raja News and Nassim Online post a video of the late Ayatollah Azizollah Khoshvaght who recently passed away and who was related to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei by marriage, in which he offers his recommendation to the Iranian nuclear negotiators. Khoshvaght advises the negotiators not to strive for a “win-win” scenario, but rather a scenario in which Iran wins, and the West loses.

Dr. Ehsan Shariati, the son of the famed Ali Shariati, and who is generally recognized as one of the most important thinkers and ideologues of the Iranian Revolution of 1979, has been prohibited from teaching at Iran’s universities.