Iran’s billionaire ‘economic basij’ arrested

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Babak Zanjani, Iran’s sanctions-busting billionaire who thinks of himself as an “economic basij” for what he calls his services to the country, was arrested yesterday and reportedly sent to Evin prison over approximately $3 billion owed to the government for the sale of oil and petrochemicals.

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Iranians on Twitter do not want to be ‘forgiven’ for 2009 protests

After Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s personal website published a poster of a court case that ruled the 2009 protests “unforgivable,” many Iranians took to Twitter to criticize the poster and express their own feelings about the contested 2009 protests that brought millions to the streets and saw dozens killed.

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Khamenei website says 2009 protests ‘unforgivable’

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The personal website of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published a poster suggesting a court case that rules the 2009 protests “unforgivable.”

The poster, whose slogan of “unforgivable” was recently repeated by Iran’s police chief, will have significant ramifications for President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, which according to administration officials has been working behind the scenes for the release of 2009 presidential candidates from house arrest. Continue reading

Iran newspaper under fire for calling testimony law discriminatory against women

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Iranian newspaper Ghanoun has been attacked by hard-line websites and politicians for publishing an interview with lawyer and university professor Soudeh Hamed Tavassoli in which she called Iran’s testimony laws “gender discrimination.”

When asked about certain situations when a woman’s testimony is reliable from a legal standpoint, Hamed Tavassoli said that while there are certain courts and laws where gender is not an issue, “in the civil procedure code, clearly we encounter gender discrimination concerning female testimony in the courts.” According to Iranian law, which is based on religious law, the testimony of a male is twice the weight of that of a woman in most circumstances. Continue reading

Iran may increase compulsory military service by three months

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The chief conscription officer of the armed forces, Gen. Moussa Kamali, has told reporters that Iran is currently encountering difficulties in securing an adequate number of soldiers and may increase mandatory military service to 24 months. He also reported that many exemptions, deductions and options to pay to avoid military service will be removed.

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EU parliament delegation’s meeting with ‘seditionists’ prompts backlash

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 8.25.32 AMAfter an eight-member European parliament delegation visited Tehran for the first time in six years in a sign of warming ties between Iran and the EU, a resulting backlash has raised demands for an inquiry after hard-liners in Iran criticized the delegation’s “secret” meeting with dissident filmmaker Jaffar Panahi and human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh at the Greek Embassy in Tehran.

The head of Iran’s Administrative Justice Court, Mohammad Jaffar Montazeri, said in a public session that while it is customary for parliamentary delegations to discuss economic matters, this delegation “secretly met with two seditionists who were convicted in the 2009 sedition.” He added, “It needs to become clear who made this meeting possible.” The term “sedition” is used by Iranian officials in reference to the 2009 protests.

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