National Security Commission spokesman accuses US of funding and arming “terrorists” in Iraq

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Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, the spokesman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, has claimed “the Americans don’t want calm to be established in Iraq, because [if there is calm] relations between Iran and Iraq will be strengthened.”

He continued: “The Americans through their investment in terrorist groups and equipping of these individuals with the latest weaponry, have the intention of creating insecurity in Iraq, so that Iranian pilgrims cannot enter Iraqi soil on the brink of Arabaein [the Shi’i ceremony which is commemorated 40 days after the martyrdom of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Imam Hossein] … In line with the government of Saudi Arabia in secret activities with covert and widespread financial support for Baathist elements, they have the objective of targeting the Shia, and evacuating Iraq’s towns completely of the existence of Shias.”

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MP says Ahmadinejad’s firing of Minister reminds him of behaviour of Shah Reza Pahlavi

Javan, close the Revolutionary Guards, carries the comments of Deputy Majles Speaker, Mohammadreza Bahonar, who has speculated that another vote of confidence might be required for the approval of President Ahmadinejad’s Cabinet, given the numerous personnel changes which have taken place in recent months: “one of our old issues with the 9th and 10th governments is the bringing, leaving and removing [of Ministers] and of course we do not comprehend the reason for this action either”, said Bahonar, also a persistent Ahmadinejad critic.

The most recent and controversial sacking has been that of Dr. Marziyeh Vahid Dastjerdi as Minister of Health, a move which has been criticized by a number of MPs.

Hojjat al-Islam Mohammad Baqeri, an MP of the Clerical Faction of the Majles, has been particularly forceful in his remarks, claiming Ahmadinejad’s actions are reminiscent of Shah Reza Pahlavi’s [referred to simply by his pre-coronation name, Reza Khan], the first king of the Pahlavi dynasty and a figure universally despised by the politically active clergy for his secularizing and anti-clerical policies, such as banning the traditional veil and his disdainful treatment of the clerical establishment once he had established a firm grip on power.

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Reformist Letter to Khamenei Calling for Approval of former President Khatami’s candidacy?

Asadollah Badamchian, one of the most prominent figures of the traditional-Conservative Islamic Coalition Party, referring to the various views amongst Iran’s Reformists, and that they have written a letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in order to prepare the way for former President Mohammad Khatami to run in the June 2013 presidential election.

Moreover, Badamchian has claimed that the letter in question was delivered to the Supreme Leader by Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council.

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Basij Commander: Syrian Free Army Is “Psychological Operations”

Deputy for Basij Affairs and Defensive Culture, Commander Masoud Jazayeri, has commented on foreign forces in Syria. According to the Reformist daily Etemaad, stating that “with the existence of the terrorist actions of the enemies of Syria, the conditions in this country are contrary to what is put forward in the media. It is not only not grave, but normal life in the majority of areas of Syria carries on. The government and people in this time of crisis…The reactionaries of the region and the Zionists, capitalizing on political diplomacy and media diplomacy pretend that Bashar al-Assad’s government is over and the different groups and the Free Army [i.e. Free Syria Army] will soon be ruling, when it must be said explicitly that in fact something by the name of the Free Army does not exist in the way that the enemies state; this army is more the creation of psychological operations”. Jazayeri added, “in case Europe imagines that by supporting some groups and terrorist organizations it will be able to obtain its political objectives, it has inflicted a great blow to itself because without doubt this cultivated and engendered terrorism, one day will bring a calamity about for Europe and America”.

In other news

In reaction to the alleged opening of an official Facebook account in the name of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the 13th of December, Mehdi Akhavan Behabadi, the Secretary of the Supreme Council for Cyberspace in Iran, has said that membership in Facebook is not a “crime”, but rather “circumventing the filtering system for access to these networks is considered a crime”. However, Akhavan Behabadi insists that he has not seen a statement from the office of the Supreme Leader confirming that the account belongs to the latter, nor has the government taken any decision to stop filtering Facebook.

Hojjat al-Islam Mehdi Mousavi Nejad, the MP for Bushehr has criticized the “negative influence” of Russian women employees at the Bushehr nuclear power plant and has stated that a report will be given to the Majles’ Cultural Commission in this regard. Mousavi Nejad claimed that Russian employees receive a fee for abiding by the Islamic dress code, but that the “principles and standards” [of the latter] were not being properly complied with. Mousavi Nejad even went as far as to call the Russian female employees of Bushehr “corrupting”.

Since Mousavi Nejad’s statement, Deputy Foreign Minister, Hassan Ghashghavi, has rejected the claim that Russian female employees receive a fee for donning the hejab and said it has “absolutely no truth”.

The failure to change the charter of the Social Security Fund and transform it formally into an “organization”, under government purview, as opposed to a body, under the supervision of the Majles, has placed the controversial former judge and Tehran prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, in the firing line once again. After the Majles Speaker announced the failure of the government’s plans eight MPs immediately pointed out to the Minister of Labour, that they want the removal of Mortazavi from his current post.

Maverick Principalist MP, Ali Motahhari, has called Mortazavi’s appointment “criminal” if it continues and said that he will decide to pursue the Minister’s impeachment if he does not appoint someone else in Mortazavi’s stead. Motahhari added, “we aren’t bothered with whether the Minister is insignificant and in reality is [acting] under the order of Mr. Ahmadinejad. We say that the removal of Mortazavi is the obligation of the Minister and if he doesn’t have the power for such an act, he must be dismissed”.

Motahhari stated that as a “suspended judge” Mortazavi cannot be legally appointed to a governmental post, and this is not even addressing the numerous allegations which have been made against him following the post-2009 unrest, when he was held responsible for the death of several young Iranians held in Kahrizak detention centre, while Tehran’s Chief Prosecutor.

 

Friday Prayer Leader: “Future President Must reply “Yes, I accept” to Call of Leader”

Friday Prayer leader, Hojjat al-Islam Mohammad Emami Kashani, has said
 in his Friday prayer sermon that “the future president must reply “yes, I accept” to the call of the Leader and move in this path”.

Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Chief of the Inspectorate Organization, on Wednesday evening while amongst a group of clerical students in Qom, claimed that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad, disagreed over his being sacked as Minister of Interior in the course of the latter’s first term back in 2008.

Pourmohammadi claimed that Ahmadinejad on two occasions tried to sack him, but met with the overt disagreement of the Supreme Leader. The third time that Ahmadinejad sought to fire Pourmohammadi, without first consulting the Supreme Leader, the president simply issued his removal.

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Former Ahmadinejad Deputy Calls for Mehdi Hashemi’s Execution

Zohreh Tabib Zadeh, a former Ahmadinejad deputy and chief of the Center for Women’s Affairs and currently an MP and member of the neoconservative Endurance Front for the Islamic Revolution, has protested the release of Mehdi Hashemi, the controversial son of former President Ali Akbar Hasehmi Rafsanjani, and has called for the former’s execution.

Tabib Zadeh told Shabestan, the news agency of the Ministry for Islamic Guidance, that “the judiciary must issue a ruling for Mehdi Hashemi like the one they did for [Abdolmalek] Rigi [the former head of the armed Baluchi group the Jundollah].”

She continued, “the behaviour of the judiciary with Mehdi Hashemi was not just. His crime was similar to that of Rigi, but because Rigi didn’t have a father who was a member of the regime leadership, just as he was arrested, he was executed. But because [Hashemi’s father] is part of the regime leadership, this kind of action doesn’t take place with respect to his crime. … Was Mehdi Hashemi involved in the sedition of 2009 [i.e., the post-2009 unrest which took place after the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] or not? Were six Basiji individuals martyred because of his management of the sedition or not?

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Mehr: “Who manages the Facebook pages of the Supreme Leader?”

Mehr News’ magazine has posted this article asking, “Who manages the Facebook pages of the Supreme Leader?”:

“Speculation regarding the Facebook page with the name Khamenei.ir, in particular, after the introduction of this page in the domestic and foreign media has found broader and more complex dimensions.” The most common guess was ‘the Facebook page of Ayatollah Khamenei was initiated by his office.’ Of course, these same sources at the end of their reports mention this point, as this page has not been officially approved, it is still not clear whether someone or the leader’s office in fact initiated the page or not.

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Will the Principalists Settle on Haddad Adel for the Presidency?

The Reformist daily Etemaad provides analysis of persistent news and rumours that three well-known conservative politicians and prospective presidential candidates, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and Ali Akbar Velayati, have held a meeting to discuss the upcoming presidential election.

News of Haddad Adel’s travelling to Qom to meeting with senior clergymen has increased anticipation that election campaigning will soon begin to pick up steam.

In Haddad Adel’s most recent speech in the city of Kerman, he is quoted as saying, “Mr. Velayati, Qalibaf and myself will not be competing together and all three of us will not enter the fold. We will draw up a mechanism [to examine] the legitimacy, acceptability and competency for every appropriate individual [eligible] to run, so that a plurality of candidates doesn’t occur. We will also speak with the Endurance Front and ensure this process is to the benefit of the revolution. We will try to make this happen, because the Endurance Front is a reality that cannot be denied.”

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Iran announces 6-point plan for Syria

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has offered a six-point plan for solving the Syrian crisis, while Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi continues to emphasize that Iran would not under any circumstances support a “Western project for the overthrow by force of Bashar al-Assad.”

The plan stresses at the outset that “only the people of Syria have the right in a democratic process to determine their destiny and the political future of their country.”

The six points are translated below:

  1. The immediate cessation of any kind of violent or armed action under the supervision of the United Nations. At this stage the government and all armed groups must immediately end all their military activities, especially in residential areas and cooperate with the representative of the United Nations and the committee under their supervision for the stabilization of the conditions [of the country] and the return of calm.
  2. After the cessation of conflict the provision of humanitarian aid must immediately begin to [be given to] all conflict-stricken areas and without discrimination. In order to secure this important aid it is necessary that economic sanctions against Syria are lifted [and] the ground prepared for all refugees to return to their place of residence.
  3. At the same time as the establishment of calm, comprehensive national dialogue with the presence of the entire [political] spectrum and different social and political tendencies and the government of Syria, the urgent pursuit of the formation of a committee for national reconciliation. This dialogue must provide the way for the formation of a transitional government on which there is consensus. The main obligation of this government is the holding of free and competitive elections for the formation of a new parliament, the formation of an Assembly of Experts for the formulation of a Constitution and the holding of presidential elections that will be set for a fixed date.
  4. All individuals who have been merely arrested because of peaceful political activities, irrespective of group or sect, must be quickly freed by the government and opposition groups. Individuals who have perpetrated crimes must be fairly investigated in a competent court.
  5. The process of incorrect news transmission regarding changes in Syria must end as soon as possible. All the media and media owners must have the possibility to prepare and send news on the conditions of Syria from a secure place and send all the views of the people of this country for the informing of public opinion, in contrast to malicious and discriminatory approaches.
  6. The formation of a committee for estimating the cost of damages and reconstruction, with attention to the damages to the country’s infrastructure. The obligation of this committee will be for the creation of the appropriate modus operandi for the attraction and guidance of foreign aid, determining priorities for reconstruction and the conditions for the participation of organizations and friendly countries in the process of reconstruction.

In the final part, the Foreign Ministry said that the “key aim of this plan is for the return of calm and peace to Syria and ending the sufferings of the people of this country.”

“This plan like any other similar well-intentioned plan, will have the power to be implemented when the ability for mutual, constructive and collective political engagement between all domestic, Syrian political currents and forces under the influence of regional and international powers rules.”

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Conservative MP: Principalists should admit they were wrong to support Ahmadinejad

Ahmad Karimi Isfahani, a member of the Front for the Disciples of the Imam and Leadership, and an influential figure amongst the bazaar guilds, has told Nameh News that Principalists should “admit” that supporting President Ahmadinejad was a “mistake.”

Karimi Isfahani made numerous noteworthy points that might be thought representative of a considerable swathe of opinion amongst Principalist politicians:

“When Ahmadinejad says he is not a Principalist it is correct, and also truthfully Principalists have thought correctly and his actions of the last 7 years show that he cannot be a reforming candidate for the presidency.”

“In 2005 after the election was brought to a second round and two people had to be chosen from [i.e., Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad]. At that time the Principalist by necessity settled on Ahmadinejad, not as an acceptable individual or one affiliated with the Principalists. Though some had reached the opinion that they would support him against the Reformists.”

Karimi Isfahani’s next comment is particularly interesting insofar as he reckons it to be Ahmadinejad’s lack of respect for the clergy which reveals the extent of his lack of Principalist credentials.

“Being a Principalist depends on passing through special phases and observing a determinate principle. Ahmadinejad’s action in confrontation with the clergy and Grand Ayatollahs alone shows that he is not  a Principalist. His disrespect toward the clergy and the dissatisfaction of the Grand Ayatollahs from his first term resulted in some Grand Ayatollahs not permitting him to enter their quarters. This all shows Ahmadinejad is not affiliated with the Principalists.”

“Some of the main body of Principalists supported Ahmadinejad’s slogans and today must clearly accept that the introduction of Ahmadinejad as a Principalist and the candidate of the Principalists was mistaken. We were not in agreement with his candidacy during the first term and not the second.”

“The facilities that are today in the control of followers of Ahmadinejad, in particular the deviant current, is very dangerous. Money can have an effect on society and even this worry exists that this current never use this money they have gathered together to attract some votes toward themselves. In any case power and money is in the hands of a group who want to rival the Principalists.”

Finally, Karimi Isfahani stated clearly and without ambiguity, “until the time that the view of the president has the Leader’s approval and legitimacy bestowed upon it, it is nothing.”

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