High ranking Reformists have first meeting with Supreme Leader since 2009

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The Reformist daily Etemaad has reported that three well-known Reformist politicians have met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The politicians were former MP and vice president for Legal affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, Hojjat al-Islam Majid Ansari, Hojjat al-Islam Abdol Vahed Mousavi Lari, a former Interior Minister and Eshaq Jahangiri, a former Minister of the Industry. It has also been speculated that Jahangiri could be a potential presidential candidate put forward by the Reformists.

According to Etemaad the last official meeting between members of the Reformist camp and the Supreme Leader was 16 June 2009 when representatives of the presidential candidates attended a meeting in order to convey the latter’s views on key issues. Moreover, it is claimed that since that day there have been no reports of meetings between the Supreme Leader and the Reformists.

Ansari, who is also a member of the Reformist Assembly of Combatant Clergy, described the meeting as “very good” and added that a number of the major issues facing the country were discussed. Details however, were not forthcoming. But apparently the upcoming presidential election was not addressed in the course of the meeting.

The meeting is significant insofar as since Iran’s controversial 2009 presidential election which saw the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a considerable swathe of Reformist politicians have been jailed and pushed to the side lines of Iranian political life. Two of the major Reformist political organizations, the Organization of the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Iran Participation Front, were also dissolved.

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Conflicting reports surround death of IRGC Commander

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A number of outlets offer conflicting reports regarding the death of the Revolutionary Guards’ commander, Hossein Shateri, the chief of Iran’s Headquarters for Reconstruction in Lebanon. Abna news agency reports that this Commander of the Revolutionary Guards was killed in Lebanon at the hands of “agents of Israel.”

It has also been reported that Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force, visited the home of Shateri, expressing his condolences to the family of the deceased. Soleimani is also said to have confirmed Shateri’s death soon after it was initially reported.

His funeral ceremony was held Thursday [Feb. 14] in Tehran; it was attended by high-level members of the IRGC command.

While Fars News doesn’t specify the location of Shateri’s death, the non-Iran based website Digarban has reported that a well-known pro-Hezbollah activist and also the Iran-based website Blogh.ir have reported that Shateri was killed along with two other companions in Aleppo by “mercenaries of the Zionist regime.”

According to Fars, Shateri, who also went by the name of Engineer Hesam, was responsible for the reconstruction of southern Lebanon in the aftermath of Hezbollah’s 33-day conflict with Israeli forces in 2006.

Mashreq News has posted several photos of Shateri while on duty in Lebanon.

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In other news

The Reformist daily Etemaad reports that former Health Minister, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, might be presented by Principalist women organisations such as the Society of Zeinab as a possible presidential contender.

“If during her time at the ministry Dastjerdi was faced with little commotion and rarely made political statements, but her removal according to many was very “political” and has been announced as following disagreement with some of the president’s and his supporters’ demands and resistance to the removal of her deputy Mohammad Baqer Larijani from the Chair of the Medical Faculty of the University of Tehran.”

The head of the Basij paramilitary, Commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi has spoken out regarding both Iran’s negotiations with the P5+1 [ithe five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany] stating: “Some people naively think negotiations with America are important and fruitful, when it is more than 10 years that we are negotiating with the P5+1 group and since these negotiations over 10 years haven’t had a result, negotiations with America won’t work either.”

“They want to pull down the flag of combat against Arrogance which is in Iran’s control, when the Americans have undertaken the most belligerent behaviour in history with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the people, and all the limbs of America commit evil against Iran and with its own language, [America] announces its intention to negotiate.”

Moreover, while not invoking former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani by name, there was little doubt about who Naqdi was criticizing when he said: “These are the same extremists that in the days of the sedition did not show any compassion for Friday prayers, Jerusalem Day and Ashura. How do they today partake in gestures of moderation? Someone who resists the Judiciary over the trial of his family cannot espouse moderation.”

Ali Akbar Velayati, adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and a prospective presidential contender, in a gathering of media outlets from Tunisia, Yemen and Afghanistan, has stated, “When Arab countries understood the hand of America and some reactionary Arab governments are active in Syria, they moved to the side of a political solution.”

Velayati added: “The people of Syria were in pursuit of reform of their own affairs and this was a rightful demand and in order to reach it they embarked on a struggle with the government…These countries are moving towards the formation of a unified Islamic community and transforming the Islamic world into one of the great global powers…In every country the people decide to cast an undesirable government aside and put a desirable government to use.”

The hard-line Ayatollah and patron of the Endurance Front for the Islamic Front, Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, at a doctrinal meeting for the Law Enforcement Forces said that “humanity without religion is mere bestiality,” complaining that after 34 years since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, “the signs of a proclivity towards humanism” is still seen the books and articles of Iranian writers.

Image via Blogh.ir