Ahmadinejad’s one-time ardent supporter bids farewell to politics

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Fatemeh Rajabi, one of President Ahmadinejad most ardent defenders in the Iranian media, has announced that she is bidding farewell to politics. Rajabi is also the wife of Gholamhossein Elham, another tenacious supporter of the president, who acted as government spokesman during Ahmadinejad’s first term.

Azim Mahmoudabadi’s article for the Reformist daily Etemaad, points out that Rajabi is most famous for her book “The Miracle of the Third Millennium , the “miracle” in question was none other than Ahmadinejad himself. She penned the book after the Ahmadinejad’s unanticipated election victory in 2005.

However, since the beginning of Ahmadinejad’s second term and in particular since the president’s public falling out with the Supreme Leader, Rajabi has taken a back seat, where previously she had gone so far as to attribute Ahmadinejad’s management of the country to the 12th Imam of Shi’ite Islam, who Twelver Shi’is believe currently resides in Occultation, and will one day return to save humanity.

Mahmoudabadi writes scathingly: “Silence is not justifiable or logical from any point of view. Why if the praise, compliments, and acclaim were correct, even though now the life of the Ahmadinejad government is nearing its end, the very least expectation of yesterday’s backers of Ahmadinejad is that in these circumstances they don’t leave their “Third Miracle of the Millennium” alone. [Furthermore], that they bravely defend their statements expressing the righteousness of the president and his close circle – of course not from the Reformists, but from the side of the Principalists.”

“In the event that [Rajabi] after seven years has understood her mistakes regarding an individual [i.e. Ahmadinejad], again, the least expected is that she openly accepts her mistakes and in a logical way expresses regret over those mistakes and shows contrition.”

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Is Fars News Misrepresenting China’s statements?

 

Fars News covers China’s Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Hong Lei’s comments and criticism of the lastest push by the EU to increase sanctions against Iran.

Fars News, which is close to the Revolutionary Guards, claims in its headline that Hong Lei dubbed the sanctions “illegal” on the basis of a Reuters report from earlier today. However nowhere in the Reuters report does the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman call the sanctions “illegal”. He states they pose an obstacle to solving the nuclear stand off, but does not call them “illegal”.

Fars News and a number of other Iranian news sites were caught out last month plagiarising a fake poll from the U.S. based satirical news site, The Onion.

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Former Chief Nuclear Negotiator Criticizes Ahmadinejad

Hassan Rowhani, a member of the Expediency Discernment Council and Iran’s former top nuclear negotiator has offered withering criticism of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a gathering in Tehran on Sunday. Rowhani, who still heads the Expediency Discernment Council’s think-tank, the Center for Strategic Research, has particularly criticized the government’s failure to support Iran’s own domestic industries stating, “production will not be mended with slogans and headlines”.

Rowhani continued by stating that the necessary conditions for “security in production” and “calm for producers” must be obtained and that security and calm were based on “the rule of law”.

He also questioned the government’s use of funds as a result of the subsidies reform programme, asking, “part of the subsidies money was meant to be deposited to support industry, but what happened?”

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IRGC Publication: “Is the Revolutionary Guard After War?”

The lead article of the Revolutionary Guards-affiliated weekly, Sobh-e Sadeq, by Commander Yadollah Javani, head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Political Bureau, bears the title, “Is the Revolutionary Guard after War?”

“During the last weeks some of the foreign media and anti-revolutionary networks have attempted to frame the Guards as war-mongering on the basis of the statements of a number of commanders and high ranking authorities in the Revolutionary Guards. This is a form of psychological operation against this revolutionary institution. Although this approach of anti-revolutionary movements has a long history and its background goes back to the 2nd Khordad [when Reformist politician Mohammad Khatami won the presidency], now fear-mongering about the Guards is pursued with greater force…Some these days are abrasively writing along the lines…that Iran is at a dead-end and some in the armed forces, including the Guards, see the way out of the present dead end in war and on that same basis strive to push the country towards war. Is this analysis correct?

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Former Presidential Contender Alleges Government Weakening Currency to Fund Subsidy Reform

Influential Principalist MP for Tehran and former presidential candidate, Ahmad Tavakkoli, has accused  the government of intentionally weakening the rial so that it is able to pay for the process of subsidy reform. In exchange for subsidy cuts eligible Iranians receive a monthly cash payment, the first round of which was approved by the Majles in January 2010.

Tavakkoli said the subsidy law approved by the Majles required the government to meet its budgetary shortfall by means of increasing the price of fuel, thereby closing the gap with global prices. Instead, he claims what the government has sought to weaken the rial and play on disparities in currency in order to pay the cash payments, which are meant to alleviate the brunt of prices increases on basic goods and services such as gas, water, and electricity. Tavakkoli alleged that such policies will exacerbate inflation and unemployment and result in people rejecting the second phase of subsidy reform altogether.

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Khamenei visits Northern Khorasan

Domestic Affairs

Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made an official visit to northern Khorasan and in a meeting with regional clergymen stressed the pivotal role of the clerical institution and its institutions of learning, calling them “the soldiers of the regime; nowhere can they imagine themselves separate from the regime”.

The comments were interesting insofar as the growing power of the military and Revolutionary Guards at the expense of the clergy has long been subject to speculation by Iran watchers and analysts.

The Iranian theocracy’s increasingly bold attempts to challenge the quietist clergy in Iraq and elsewhere might also be taken into consideration. Khamenei went as far as to invoke the authority of Shi’ism’s Grand Ayatollahs or Sources of Emulation, stating that “they reckon weakening of the regime absolutely religiously forbidden (haram).”

Regarding the mounting pressure on Iran as a result of punitive sanctions over its nuclear programme Khamenei stated, “Today like the war between groups in the Prophet’s time, all the enemies of the nation of Iran at the regional and international level have joined hands, to break the resistance and steadfastness of this nation. The believers [in the Prophet’s time] did not give in to fear and doubt and the nation of Iran in the struggle to increase its power and ability has also stood against pressures”.

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Fars News leaks Ahmadinejad’s ‘confidential memo’

Avaz Heydarpur, MP for Shahrreza, severely criticized President Ahmadinejad on the Majles floor over issuing a circular to a number of executive offices telling them not to cooperate with parliamentarians.

Yesterday Fars News published a scanned copy of confidential instructions to executive authorities across the country in which Ahmadinejad emphasized they resist any any kind of action by MPs to bring pressure for the appointment or deposition of executive managers. Ahmadinejad insists that the power to hire and fire with respect to such offices belongs exclusively to him. Fars News has had a strained relationship with Ahmadinejad of late, with the president going as far as to call it “a media outlet beholden to the security organs” and questioning its reasons for expressing opinions on the country’s political affairs.

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Motahhari praises Rafsanjani, demands release of opposition figures

The maverick conservative politician, Ali Motahhari, in an interview with Mashreq has made a number of important comments relating to the Iranian political scene as he sees it. First he said he accepts the idea of a “deviant current” in the Iranian political establishment and added that he sees Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, President Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff at its helm. Motahhari sees Ahmadinejad as complicit and under the sway of Mashaei. Also of note was his belief that the Ahmadinejad administration has been soft on enforcing mandatory veiling, arguing that it has given the impression that there is a disagreement within the ruling establishment over the policy of mandatory veiling.

On the 2009 post-election unrest, known in official circles as “the sedition”, Motahhari said “I believe we all caused the sedition together. I don’t believe at all in a domestic sedition.  I don’t believe in a pre-planned sedition; perhaps a number of actions by both sides created the sedition…It wasn’t like a coherent group were after the regime’s overthrow. On the whole, except for groups like Pezhvak and the Hypocrites [MEK], we don’t have groups pursuing the overthrow [of the regime]…In 2009 the political scene was cloudy and many couldn’t identify which side was right…In any case, I don’t believe in domestic seditionist[s]. The Leader [i.e. Khamenei] also one time said “when we say “leaders of the sedition”, we don’t mean individuals inside [the political establishment]”. I don’t believe someone from the outset came with such an intention. I say perhaps we pushed them in the direction of enmity with the regime…In my opinion, the most dangerous threat creating discord…is that we lose our pure intent and worshipping power takes the place of God.”

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More Attacks on Ahmadinejad

Hajj Mansur Arzi, the most important preacher or eulogist  to back President Ahmadinejad in 2005 and 2009, has forcefully attacked the government and its allies in a religious gathering convened with the clothes sellers’ guild. Baztab reports comments from Arzi’s own website arguing that, “society’s cultural conditions at present are worse than during the Shah’s era”. Arzi also went on to criticize the Ahmadinejad government’s  programme of subsidy reform, stating, “we didn’t know that they would bring such a day about. They give you a [cash] payment, but after they put the people under pressure”. Ahmadinejad’s controversial reform programme cut government subsidies on a range of basic goods and deposited a cash payment in people’s bank accounts in their stead. According to government critics much of the cash payment’s value has since been eroded due to high levels of inflation.

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Ahmadinejad’s critics focus in on economic mismanagement

Khamenei says Iran will never capitulate

Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, met with one thousand of Iran’s best and brightest young people, stating “the nation of Iran has nowhere capitulated under pressure and never will and this is the same reason for the enemy’s anger”. He added,“the nation of Iran by relying on its natural wealth and the human talent in its control, will cross onerous gorges and difficult passes and will achieve divine grace, the pinnacle of salvation in this world and the next, and peace and tranquillity”.

Perhaps most interesting were Khamenei’s comments pertaining to scientific progress, when read in the context of Iran’s on-going pursuit of uranium enrichment, despite unprecedented Western sanctions:

“Of course one worry too exists and that is with the rapid scientific progress in the country, a condition of satisfaction and contentment is created while we are at the beginning of the road and this rapid scientific progress must not be slowed or stopped.”

Khamenei added, stressing the past negligence of Iranian leaders as the reason for the country’ scientific “backwardness”, “the scientific gap [between us] and the world and relatively strong competitors in the region is a reality that doubles the necessity for the establishment of rapid scientific movement until a point is reached commensurate with the status and standing of the nation of Iran”.

Moreover, “The Islamic Republic of Iran over the last 33 years has been confronted with a range of general pressures, from political, security, military, economic, and sanctions, but the nation of Iran through its resistance, has not only neutralized these pressures, but perhaps also become stronger”.

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