Ahmadinejad Reminded of Fate of Exiled First President

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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.

IRGC Commander: Downing drones was “serious demand” of Supreme Leader

Brigadier Amir Ali Hajji Zadeh, Commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s aerial forces has said that the downing of American drones was the “serious demand” of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Hajji Zadeh added that Ayatollah Khamenei, “emphasised that the drones are not seen, but they collect information and thus striking and downing them was part of the serious demands of the Supreme Leader from the commanders”.

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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].”

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami: “Canada not a strong or noteworthy country”

Foreign Policy

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, in a non-public meeting with the Majles has explained the reasons for Canada’s severing of ties with the Islamic Republic, the Conservative Resalat has reported. In the meeting Salehi commented: “Canada is under the influence of the Zionists in its foreign policy and pursues their policy, and from one side endeavours to increase its relations with this regime, and earn their satisfaction. This action was in line with the interests of the Zionist regime”.

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