Nine Nations That Improved Iran-West Relations Will ‘Harm’

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The editor of Asr-e Iran, Jaffar Mohammadi, wrote an op-ed listing the nine countries that stand to lose the most from improved relations between Iran and the West. Although Israel and Arab countries in the Persian Gulf were included on this list, what made the article stand out was that Iran’s allies such as China and Russia made the list as well. What’s more, Mohammadi even included the United States as one of the countries with which improved relations can be mutually beneficial.

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Chief of Armed Forces Defends ‘Engineer Elections’ Statements

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The Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces defended yesterday controversial comments made about the elections by the Supreme Leader’s representative to Sepah, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Hojat Al-Islam Ai Saeedi, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative to Sepah, said in January that it was the responsibility of Sepah to “rationally and logically engineer the elections.” Many analysts took these statements to mean that Sepah will directly interfere in Iran’s June presidential elections. Sepah had been accused by the Iranian opposition of playing a part in vote rigging in the 2009 elections that saw the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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Ahmadinejad stands accused of hypocrisy

Baztab-e Emruz, an unremitting critic of President Ahmadinejad, compares his publication of Judiciary Chief Sadeq Larijani’s ‘confidential’ letter in which he deemed the President’s request to visit Evin prison “inappropriate”, to the nineties publication of the Islamic Left’s newspaper Salaam [i.e. those who would emerge as Reformists and President Mohammad Khatami’s most vociferous defenders] and its publication of a ‘confidential’, but also notorious memo by the infamous Deputy Intelligence Minister, Saeed Emami.

In his letter Emami, who is alleged to have been directly involved in the murder of several prominent Iranians intellectuals and journalists, urged changes in the country’s press laws and a crackdown against the Iranian media during the tenure of Reformist President Mohammad Khatami. The law was under consideration in the 5th Majles and many at the time suspected that its provenance resided in the security services. With the publication of Salaam’s letter the law’s true source was revealed.

Salaam was closed as a result of publishing Emami’s letter, an act protested by widespread student demonstrations which were in turn brutally repressed by the security services and have come to be known as the events of 18th Tir. At the time the prominent Revolutionary Guards wrote a letter to then President Khatami stating that if he was unable to bring the situation under control, they would be forced to step in.

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Ahmadinejad bites back

The Reformist daily, Etemaad carries the highlights from yesterday’s controversial press conference with President Ahmadinejad:

“If our presence is very difficult for you, I write one line, and good bye”.

With these comments the president effectively threatened his resignation.

“The position of the Minister of Islamic Guidance regarding Sharq (newspaper) was wrong; it shouldn’t have been closed.”

The Reformist daily Sharq was shut down after featuring a caricature deemed insulting to veterans of the Iran-Iraq war. Ahmadinejad’s own Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Mohammad Hosseini, was amongst the most vociferous demanding the newspaper’s closure.

“22 people are the head of a ring [responsible for] the recent disturbances in the currency market”.

This comment should be seen in the context of the government’s repeated claims that a small, but powerful cabal are manipulating the currency market for financial gain.

The head of the Inspectorate Organization for the Country has said that he will investigate the matter, but said he was “saddened” by the President’s comments, and added, that “if this is so, the Intelligence apparatus will go into action, and confront this team [of 22 people]”.

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