Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence Issues List of ‘Safety Recommendations’

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Iranian Student’s News Association has published a wide-ranging list of “safety recommendations” from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. The recommendations are categorized into groups totaling dozens of pieces of advice. Although certain recommendations such as “not writing down the code of your lock” are trivial, if not amusing, other recommendations, such as warnings against “relations with foreign citizens” could be cause for alarm.

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Iran’s Minister of Intelligence Attacks Rafsanjani

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Hayder Moslehi, Iran’s minister of intelligence, attacked Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani today while giving a speech in the city of Qum. Rafsanjani had recently made statements regarding how he had predicted Iran’s current crisis.

Moslehi  did not mention Rafsanjani by name, but referred to “someone who introduces himself as a forecaster of the 2009 sedition, when in actuality he didn’t predict anything, and he himself created the sedition.” It is believed that Rafsanjani, for various political reasons, supported opposition leader Mir Hussein Mousavi in the 2009 elections. Even after street protests had erupted, Rafsanjani took a conciliatory tone, causing him to lose his position as a Friday prayer leader in Tehran.

Moslehi continued that this “forecaster” had “a fundamental role in the sedition, and he was not confronted because of considerations of certain individuals and today he is free, but he shouldn’t demand anything from the system.” He added that “this individual, who instigated the naïve leaders of the sedition and those around him, was pushing the march of sedition, but today the open eyes of the system are monitoring his movements and will in no way allow the events of 2009 to take place again.”

As far as the elections are concerned, Moslehi said that “all of the groups who want to prepare themselves for the elections must make clear their boundaries with the sedition and seditionists, and prove their obedience to the supreme leader in their actions.”

Rafsanjani has not announced his candidacy. His recent statements appear to indicate that he would like to play a role in the elections while not running himself.

Seven Members Chosen for High Executive Election Board

One of the changes to the presidential elections this year is that the Interior Ministry will have a smaller role in both executive and oversight duties. Previously, elections were carried out solely by the Interior Ministry.

This year, due to concerns that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would use his influence in the Interior Ministry to promote his preferred candidate, election laws were reformed with the approval of the Guardian Council. Others also have speculated that Article 31 of the new election law was pushed forward due to fears that if Ahmadinejad ally Esfandiar Rahim Mashei is disqualified to run for the presidency by the Guardian Council, the president would attempt to delay or postpone the elections.

Under the new law, the 2013 elections will be carried out by the ministers of interior and intelligence, the state prosecutor, a representative of parliament and seven permanent members which were chosen today. Among the seven permanent members are justice minister Morteza Bakhtiari, parliament member Ismael Kowsari, parliament member Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi, the supreme leader’s representatives to the universities Reza Taghvi, the supreme leader’s representative to the Martyr’s Foundation Mohammad Hassan Rahimian and Ansieh Khazali, the only female on the 11-member executive election board.

Although according to the law this body should have been chosen three months before the June 14 elections, it was delayed due to postponements by the president’s office.

Will Former Reformist President Khatami Run In the Elections?

Opposition website Jaras  published an extensive article titled “40 Reasons For the Necessity of Khatami’s Candidacy” on March 8. The article, written by Mohammad Reza Jalaeipour, has been shared and critiqued widely on Facebook and is the latest call to former Reformist President Mohammad Khatami to participate in Iran’s upcoming presidential elections this summer. In writing the article, Jalaeipour stated his intention was to have a “public discussion” about Khatami’s candidacy.

Jalaeipour believes that a Khatami presidency would increase the possibility of the end of Mir Hussien Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi’s house arrest and bring about the freedom of political prisoners. 2009 presidential candidates Mousavi and Karoubi have been under house arrest for two years without charge. He also believes that Khatami is able to address some of Iran’s economic problems and also decrease sanctions and the possibility of military strikes. Some on social media wrote that Jalaeipour overestimates Khatami’s abilities to reign in the various issues Iran is facing.

One of the more interesting reasons given for Khatami’s candidacy is that Jalaeipour believes that the next president may be the last president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Previously this year, Ayatollah Khamenei had suggested the possibility of moving from a presidential system to a parliamentary system. Some analysts believe this move would provide Khamenei more leverage over a prime minister than he currently has over the president.

Yesterday at Tehran University, Khatami gave a speech which was printed by opposition website Kalameh. In relation to the elections Khatami set forth a list of prerequisites in regards to elections. He explained how “the government should be run by the people” and that people “must be free from fear, force, intimidation […] to express themselves as they want.”

Feb. 18 it was reported that the Reformist Front, a group of Reformist parties and groups, had nominated Khatami as their candidate for the presidency although he had not yet responded to their nomination. Many on social media who are close to the Reformists are suggesting that Khatami will soon decide to run. However, several Reformists told Iran Pulse that nothing is confirmed yet.

On March 6, Minister of Intelligence Haydar Moslehi warned of “an individual connected to the seditionist camp” has connections to BBC and VOA and that they “desire this person’s candidacy.” Although Moslehi did not mention Khatami by name, it was generally known that that’s who he was referring to. The “sedition” is what Iranian state media refers to the Green Movement protests that erupted after Iran’s 2009 contested elections.

In Other News

The Iranian delegate at at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session accused Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed of “working with terrorists” in compiling his latest report.

At the 22nd Human Rights Council session, Shaheed’s report accused the Islamic Republic of Iran of human rights violations ranging from the arrests of journalists to the high rate of executions and persecution of religious and ethnic minorities. This is Shaheed’s fourth report on Iran in nearly two years.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, Iran’s delegate at UNHRC and also head of human rights council to the judiciary in Iran, also accused Shaheed of “reducing himself to a political activist who is against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Days before the session in Tehran, Larijani accused Shaheed of acting like “a movie star running from one network to another.” Larijani also said that unlike in other countries, “no question has been left unanswered” in regards to human rights. He also accused the United States of human rights violations after Sept. 11, 2001 for the purposes of “protection of security.”

The European Union announced yesterday that nine Iranians were added to their sanctions list of human rights violators. This list restricts their travel and activities to the 27 countries within the European Union. This addition brings the total list of Iranians on this list to 87.

Ahmadinejad Reminded of Fate of Exiled First President

A documentary about the first president of the Islamic Republic made by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) is said to have a “lesson” for the current president, according to prominent political figure from the traditional right.

Habibollah Asgarowladi made the comment at a parliament session yesterday regarding the film “An Inauspicious End,” about Abulhassan Banisadr, the first president of Iran after the 1979 revolution. The film, which used archival footage and interviews of prominent political figures today in the Islamic Republic, aired on Iran’s Channel One (shabeke yek) on Sunday night.

Banisadr became the first president after the revolution on Feb. 4, 1980. Although he had close relations with Ayatollah Khomeini when both were active in France organizing  against the Shah of Iran, they had a falling out over the division of power once Khomeini became Supreme Leader and Banisadr became president. On June 4, 1981 Banisadr was impeached and he fled a month later to Paris, where he still lives.

In response to the film, Asgarowladi said that watching “the entanglements between Banisadr and Imam Khomeini it was a translation of today and for the political figures, especially the executive branch, it should serve as a cautionary lesson.” His obvious reference was to President Ahmadinejad who has repeatedly challenged Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in his second term as president.

Asgarowladi’s comments received extensive coverage on Iranian websites.

Mehr News Agency also ran an extensive piece on Banisadr titled “The End of an Ungrateful President” in which they accused Banisadr of “hiding” his true positions from Ayatollah Khomeini while the two were in France. The piece calls Banisadr a “deviated symbol from inside the revolution.” Ahmadinejad and his inner circle have had similar accusations of “deviation” levied against them. It should be noted that Banisadr was not unique in his disagreements with Khomeini and that many of Khomeini’s companions in France were later either exiled or sidelined.

In Other News

Mohsen Rezaei, Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander during the Iran-Iraq war and current Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran, announced his candidacy for the presidential elections while in Iran’s Kurdistan region of Divandareh. He said, “I was asked many times to announce my candidacy in Tehran and to use the full reach of the media, but my approach is to focus on the growth and development of the entire county and focus on solving the people’s problems.”

As Iran’s economy has struggled in the last several years, Rezaei has been one of the more outspoken political figures to stress solely on economic issues. Iran’s Kurdistan region historically, and particularly under the Islamic Republic, has been financially deprived.

According to Enthekhab, Rezaei recounted how he came to the decision to announce his presidency. Rezaei was in a mosque Iran’s Kurdistan’s capital of Sanandaj where after the evening prayer the cleric of the mosque gifted a Koran to him. When Rezaei opened the Koran in the direction of Divandareh, he believes that he “received permission from the Koran to participate in the elections.”

Iran’s Minister of Intelligence announced yesterday at a press conference in Esfahan that a group of 600 journalists have been identified and have been “dealt a blow.” Hojat al-Islam Haydar Moslehi said that of the 600 journalists, 150 are within Iran and “due to the relations some internal media have with anti-revolutionary networks, identifying them has allowed us to once again break the plans of the enemy.”

Moslehi also said that their plan for the presidential elections is to “prevent the sedition before the elections.” The uprising after the 2009 contested elections was called “sedition” by Iranian state media and political figures. Starting Jan. 27 of this year, the ministry of intelligence began a series of raids targeting mostly Reformist papers and journalists. The journalists have been accused of having ties to Western media; however, some analysts believe the arrests could be related to the upcoming elections.