Censorship, controversy mar Iran’s Fajr Film Festival

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The 32nd Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran has been riddled with controversy, including numerous incidences of censorship during the live broadcasts and backlash against two films dealing with the sensitive topics of Ashura and the 2009 elections. Continue reading

Reformist youth reportedly arrested, released at Iran rallies

Iranians marked the 35th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution today. Officials stressed the country’s independence and nuclear rights, hard-liners chanted against the United States and Reformist websites and social media reported that group of Reformist activists were arrested and later released during the rallies. Continue reading

Araghchi: Negotiations not about US-Iran normalization

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In a recent interview, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi said that the nuclear negotiations in Geneva do not mean the normalization of US-Iran ties, and that many other differences still remain between the two countries.

Araghchi told the Iranian Students’ News Agency that the nuclear agreement between Iran and the United Nations Security Council was not “a friendship pact.” The interview took place the day after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered a speech critical of the United States, saying that the Americans would pursue regime change “if they could.” Continue reading

Iranians tweet in support of five kidnapped Iranian soldiers

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After Sunni insurgent group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice) took credit for kidnapping five Iranian border guards, Iranians on Twitter began an online campaign for their release with the hashtag #FreeIranianSoldiers.

Jaish ul-Adl, which operates between the border of Iran and Pakistan, took credit for the kidnapping by tweeting pictures of the soldiers on their account. There is another Twitter account affiliated with the group that has not tweeted since Aug. 25, 2013. Their previous blog on Blogspot, where they have announced previous attacks, is no longer available. However, it appears they have started a new blog where they posted more pictures of the soldiers. Continue reading

Iranian economist: I can’t recollect such ‘corruption and plunder’

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Promiment Iranian economist Saeed Leylaz, who was imprisoned for criticizing former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s economic policies, has given one of his most extensive interviews since the new administration has taken office, in which he talks about the corruption of the previous administration and what the new administration needs to do to address the country’s economic problems that he said “put the entire system in danger.”

“We have turned into the most financially corrupt country in the history of the Middle East,” said Leylaz in the Q&A with Jahaan-e Sanat (World Industry), a daily which focuses on economic news. “I cannot recollect such a wave of corruption and plunder in any other country.” Continue reading

Long lines for subsidized food stir controversy in Iran

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Images of Iranians standing in long lines to receive government-subsidized food have led to criticism by the domestic Iranian media both for the program’s planned and the message it sends to the world about the state of Iran’s domestic situation.

The food-subsidy handouts, which were approved by President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, were designed to replace in part the cash subsidies implemented under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The plan has been criticized by some as revoking the spending discretion of the poorer classes and deemed inefficient. The public manner in which the handout was managed and the long lines that resulted in scuffles were also seen as humiliating and demeaning toward the lower economic classes. Continue reading