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

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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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Obama’s New Term Shows a ‘Realistic Approach’?

The head of the Majles Commission for National Security and Foreign Policy, Ala’oddin Boroujerdi, has made a number of noteworthy comments in conservation with Khaneh-ye Mellat, the Majles’ news agency, regarding US President Barack Obama and the possibility of negotiations with the United States, saying “if these verbal statements aren’t political, it shows the realistic approach of Washington in the new term of Obama’s presidency.”

Boroujerdi added: “Iran is a country with mastery of nuclear knowledge and has operated persistently in the peaceful framework and seriously disagrees with any kind of tendency to the side of a nuclear bomb.”

Boroujerdi also once against emphasized the importance of sanctions relief, “the official recognition of the right of Iran for the use of peaceful nuclear energy by America can be the important starting point for solving the nuclear problem of several years and following that, in future negotiations the P5+1 must take serious steps for the removal of sanctions.”

Mohsen Rezaei, the secretary of the Expedience Discernment Council, has claimed  that Obama’s “silence” regarding Israel’s recent military engagement in the Gaza strip is the outcome of an “[pre]electoral agreement” with Israel.

Majles Commission blames government and Central Bank over drug shortages

Hossein Ali Shahriari, the head of the Commission for Health and Medicine has criticized the government over the fact that despite the increase in its budget after subsidies reform, the health and medicine budget with the existence of high levels of inflation has decreased by 6%. Shahriari also plainly stated that “the Central Bank in recent months has not allocated any currency for the health part [of the budget].”

Shahriari added: “We are always witness to the increase in the construction budget for different parts of the country, but the government has paid no attention to the domain of health and medicine.”

Shahriari emphasized that in the last six months the Central Bank has allocated “virtually no currency” for the health and medicine budget and the import of medicines, saying “the mismanagement of the Central Bank was the primary factor of the problems for the allocation of currency.”

As an example of the considerable increase in the prices of several treatments in his public report to the Majles he stated that the price of syringe angiographies have increased by 245%, radiological film has increased in price by 249%, electroshock therapy by 289%, helium gas by 667%, and dialysis sets by 352%.

Addressing President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Shahriari commented, “from the 6,000  billion tomans in the targeted subsidies reform law which should have been designated to the health [budget], no amount has been fulfilled … Unfortunately the government only proclaims slogans and must apportion credit for these slogans and the government has shirked [its duties]. Certainly  individuals who need cancer drugs and [it is] imperative, today do not have appropriate access to these drugs.”

Petraeus and the perils of Gmail

Fars News has attempted to use David Petraeus’ resignation over having an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell to claim Google’s Gmail service is “not safe.” The article claims that anonymity cannot be guaranteed, even under a pseudonym, and that past e-mails and chats even if deleted will be kept on a separate server and will still be able to be accessed. The article also claims that the access of the American government to the accounts of Google users is expanding. It also cites Petraeus’ and Broadwell’s use of Gmail’s draft function to message one another, without actually e-mailing one another and this too, says the article, has ultimately proven insecure as well.

Mashaei for president?

According to the Revolutionary Guard-affiliated Bashgah-e Khabarnegaran-e Javan, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s office has once again rejected rumors that the president’s controversial chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, will run for president in April 2013.

This rejection has been released amidst rumors that Mashaei in a meeting with Mazandaranis (Iranians from the northern province of Mazandaran where Mashaei happens to be from) living in Tehran, said that he will enter the race and that “no one can prevent my candidacy.” He is also alleged to have said: “I am ready for martyrdom.” Asr-e Iran, which published the story also quote Mashaei as saying, “We have been constantly active for seven years and we won’t give the eleventh government that easily to [Mohammad Baqir] Qalibaf [that is, the mayor of Tehran].”

Rafsanjani Renews Call for Reconciliation

The deputy chief of the Majles Commission for Health and Medicine has announced that it will be finalized next week whether a motion for the impeachment of the Minister of Health Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi will be presented before MPs. The deputy chief is quoted by the Majles news agency as stating: “Unfortunately at the moment medicine and medical equipment in the country are in great crisis, [and] it can be observed in the shortage of special drugs and the disarray of hospitals.” The representative for Rasht also criticized the ministry for failing to plan for this eventuality and not stockpiling drugs. Referring to a possible call for the minister’s impeachment, the commission’s deputy chief said: “The subject in recent weeks has become one of the subjects of debate amongst the representatives … On the basis of the planning undertaken, the decision regarding the impeachment of the Minister of Health, Medicine and Medical Education will be finalised next week.”

Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of the Expediency Discernment Council, has stated in an interview with Entekhab that he stands by the comments he made at his final Friday prayer sermon in July 2009, in the aftermath of Iran’s controversial presidential election [and which I attended at the time]. Moreover, as Ebtekar News observes, at the time Rafsanjani was also head of the Assembly of Experts, whose job it is, at least in principle, to monitor the supreme leader’s performance and appoint his successor. Since his famous Friday prayer sermon, Rafsanjani has lost that position to Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, a stalwart of the traditional right, who is foremost concerned with preserving the Islamic system he played an important role in bringing into being.

In his famous Friday prayer sermon, Rafsanjani offered his recommendations for the restoration of calm, as protests had swept the country. Amongst his recommendations were the release of political prisoners and the recognition of the protesters’  demands to the end of realising “national reconciliation.” Since that time Rafsanjani has repeatedly called for such a reconciliation, suggesting it is the only route for the country to return to a state of “normality and calm.” At the time, Rafsanjani’s speech was met with severe criticism by numerous Principalists and Khamenei loyalists, especially in light of the supreme leader’s speech some weeks earlier which had essentially told the protesters to accept Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s re-election and move on.

In his interview Rafsanjani added, comparing the present with his experience in government during the Iran-Iraq war: “At the moment the basic problem is with the foreigners. In the [Iran-Iraq] war it was the same. We gave priority to the reform of foreign relations and we started with the ceasefire. In those negotiations the opposing side also understood that it is faced with a rational movement in Iran. Of course they also cooperated well with us … In that period on the internal scene differences were intensified. My solution was that we form a government that is a combination of the influential wings of the revolution (the conservatives, independents, and the radicals).”

Criticism of Ali and Sadeq Larijani

The website Digarban carries the comments of plainclothes quasi-official vigilantes critical of the Ali and Sadeq Larijani, the Majles speaker and judiciary chief, respectively. Ruhollah Mahdavi, who writes for the hard-line website Bashgah-e Khabarnegaran-e Javan, reacting to the acquittal of preacher Mansur Arzi after having threatened to murder President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, claimed the judiciary was “under the influence” of this preacher.

In reaction to the comments of Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of Iran’s human rights council, who stated, “If expedient, we will negotiate with America in the depths of hell,” Mahdavi had previously said: “Why doesn’t anyone attack him when the Larijani brother clearly talks about probable relations with America?”

Unlike other hard-line bloggers, particularly Ahmadinejad supporters, who have been arrested as a result of their attacks on the Larijani brothers, Digarban claims that Mahdavi, a self-styled virtual “soldier of the soft war,” enjoys the protection of the Revolutionary Guards.

Majles’ Commission head comments on talks

The head of the Majles’ Commission for National Security and Foreign Policy, Ala’oddin Boroujerdi, commenting on Iran’s negotiations with the P5+1 over its controversial nuclear program, has told Khaneh-ye Mellat, the Majles’ news agency: “In the face of confidence building steps that Iran will show in the negotiations and the opportunity the negotiations put in the hands of the West, part of the West’s program in negotiations must be the removal of sanctions”. The MP for Boroujerd added: “The removal of sanctions by the West must for certain be made part of the formula, because [they] are an oppressive, unjust and imposed act upon the Iranian nation”. Finally, he stressed that Iran requires 20% uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) and “the principle of enrichment will never change.”

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