‘Widows of Martyrs’ Joke by Khomeini’s Granddaughter Sparks Controversy


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The granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Naeimeh Eshraghi, has faced criticism both from hard-line Iranian media and on social media after reportedly writing a joke about the widows of the Iran-Iraq war, revealing raw wounds from one of the most difficult and dark eras of Iranian modern history.

Eshraghi, who has since closed her Facebook account, initially wrote a joke on her page. In the comments section, another joke, which Eshraghi later claimed was written by a fake account pretending to be her, was written: Continue reading

Parliament Deputy Speaker: US-Iran Friendship Not Red Line

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Days after members of Iran’s parliament welcomed a “parliamentary friendship” between the United States and Iran, deputy speaker of parliament and conservative politician Mohammad Reza Bahonar agreed that the formation of such a group is a positive step.

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Iran Won’t Ship Out Enriched Uranium, Says Negotiator

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Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi has said that Iran will not ship out its enriched uranium, as some had hoped. As Iran’s negotiation team heads out to Geneva to begin talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), Iran’s parliament is seeking a role in the nuclear negotiations.

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Khomeini Orders Media to End ‘Death to America’ Chant

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The deputy head of the Institute for Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Works, Hamid Ansari, said that while then Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini opposed the “Death to America” chant for radio and television, he was not opposed to the chant for protests and other occasions.

The Iranian Students’ News Agency interviewed Ansari in response to the latest position of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani in which his personal website published statements by Rafsanjani that said that Khomeini “agreed the “Death to America” chant should be eliminated.” Rafsanjani’s comments were rejected by hard-liners who spoke favorably of the chant, most recently by Tehran Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami who said that the chant gives Iranian diplomats “more power.”

Ansari said that his intention was not to “defend or criticize” Rafsanjani’s comments but that he was just doing his duty as deputy head of the institute for Ayatollah Khomeini. Ansari continued that Rafsanjani’s comments regarding Ayatollah Khomeini’s position on the “Death to America” chant were conducted in a monthly magazine question-and-answer interview about three years ago but his personal website published just a specific segment of it and gave it a headline which would excite public sentiment.

Ansari said that the issue was eliminating “Death to America” and “Death to the Soviet Union” chants, not just the “Death to America” chant. “The elimination was for the media, television and radio and not the political discourse of the people during protests, marches and events,” he explained.

“The memory of Rafsanjani,” Ansari said, “ in which he cited Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini] about the topic of eliminating the chant was an agreement and order by Imam to cut this chant from government media.” He added that “it was not an order or recommendation to the people to eliminate this chant.”

Asked why Ayatollah Khomeini’s order to eliminate the chant from the media was never carried out, Ansari said a “detailed analysis is needed for the reasons” and that “this isn’t the topic of our discussion.”

Ansari also confirmed another claim by Rafsanjani that he had written Ayatollah Khomeini a letter in which he stressed that Iran needed to resolve its issues with the United States. Ansari said that the four-page letter, written in March 1987, highlighted four main issues and one of them was Iran’s relationship with the great powers at the time, one of them being America. He said Khomeini gave no written response to the letter.

The “Death to America” chant has become a sort of wedge issue in Iranian media and politics in the last two weeks. Iranian hard-liners have opposed modifying or eliminating this chant, which can be heard most prominently during Friday Tehran prayers, while Reformist and moderate factions have attempted through statements and interviews, present alternatives to his chant or eliminate it altogether.

In an interview with Reformist newspaper Bahar, Tehran University Professor Sadegh Zibakalam said that President Hassan Rouhani’s administration is trying to “at least eliminate this chant from official ceremonies” to prove to the West, with which it’s negotiating the nuclear file, that it has enough power domestically to influence public opinion.

Zibakalam said those opposed to eliminating the “Death to America” chant can be categorized into two groups.

“The first group is opposed to any type of lessening tensions and normalization of relations with America because the lack of relations between these two countries has political and financial benefits,” Zibakalam said. “Therefore, this group will in no way allow this chant to be put to the side and leave it to history.”

The second group, he said, has tied its “identity” to this chant and if this chant is eliminated from the political discourse “there are groups and individuals who will feel a void.”

Larijani’s Uranium ‘Surplus’ Comment Denied

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Speaker of Iran’s parliament Ali Larijani’s comments in an Associated Press interview regarding a “surplus” of enriched uranium has been denied by parliament’s public-affairs department.

In the interview, conducted through an interpreter, Larijani, who was in Geneva participating in the Assembly for Inter-Parliamentary Union, was quoted as saying about Iran’s enriched uranium, “We have some surplus — you know, the amount that we don’t need. But over that, we can have some discussions.”

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Misquote by Hard-line Newspaper Hospitalizes Iran’s Foreign Minister

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After being misquoted by a newspaper close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei about his perception of the phone call between Presidents Hassan Rouhani and Barack Obama, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif checked into a hospital due to stress.

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Unblocking of Facebook ‘Under Review’ In Iran

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Yesterday, the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported that Iran’s Communication and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaezi, talking about social-media websites such as Facebook, said, “It has not been planned that these websites will be unblocked, and they will remain in the same condition they were in before.”

Immediately afterward, the public relations office of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology released a statement which read, “Removing filters for social-media websites such as Facebook is under review by a special committee outside of this ministry,” and Vaezi’s earlier ISNA comments were denied.

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With Record Inflation, Iran Plans to Reduce Subsidies by 30%

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According to Iran’s Central Bank, inflation exceeded 40% on many goods in the month of Shahrivar (Aug. 23–Sept. 22) in comparison to prices of the previous year, the biggest price increase since 1995. While international sanctions on Iran have caused severe economic problems, domestic economic policies have also contributed greatly to inflation and other difficulties.

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Iran General Rejects Eliminating ‘Death to America’ Chant

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After Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani and the editor of a popular Iranian news website suggested that the “Death to America” chant could cease to be used, Deputy Chief of Mobilization Force and Defense Cultural Affairs of Iran’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said that the chant would “resonate across” the country Nov. 4 during the National Day Against Global Arrogance ceremonies.

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