Iran News Roundup February 18, 2009

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael RubinTo subscribe to this daily newsletter, e-mail

(E) = Article in English



  • The Ahmadinejad government threatens parliament with withdrawing the entire budget in case the parliament does not accept the Economic Reform Plan of the government in three days. 

Religion, Culture, and Society

  • Alef News Agency says the tradition of self mutilation with machetes at Shi'a religious processions is not indigenous, but is "the historical conspiracy of British imperialism and the CIA." 
  • Academic Hashem Aghajari who was earlier imprisoned and escaped a death sentence for making the statement "people are not monkeys, what do they need a source of emulation for?!" has once again stirred a crisis. This time Aghajari speaking at the home of former Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri made the statement: "We have never seen a religious jurist who, while in government, produced an edict on ethical issues and human dignity. [All such edicts] serve the purpose of suppressing humanity and subjecting them to control." Aghajari concluded his speech by making a comparison between the practice of slavery and following a source of emulation: "No one has ever declared slavery religiously unlawful [haram]..." 

Public Health

Military and Security

Human Rights and Labor

  • (E) State Department statement and House of Representatives resolution on Bahais.
  • (E) Updates on situation of Bahais arrested, charged with capital crimes.


  • Revolutionary Guards Commander Mohammad-Baqer Zolghadr:
    • "Calling the third decade [of the Islamic Republic] as the decade of reform means that the third decade was the decade of reform. But what reforms? Is [reform] what was talked of by this group or real reforms? We believe that reforms took place during the two governments of that gentleman [Khatami] were not reforms. Despite the fact that it is now called the era of reform, it was not reform.
    • There is one view which is based on indigenous values, internal, Islamic and Iranian values, and there is another view on reforms which is inspired from outside. During that era, we called them 'American reforms'. This is the very word the Supreme Leader used. Reforms that the Americans are pleased to see performed...
    • I am not accusing our friends of having followed recommendations of the Americans...I even don't want to say that they [the Americans] dictated it. But the Americans were pleased with the type of reforms in Iran. It is because the era of reforms was an era of breaking with the frameworks…
    • At this point, the fundamentals and principles were violated. Individuals from the much celebrated reform era who received medals and were encouraged came and said the discourse of the Imam [Khomeini] belongs to the past. Something to be preserved at museums. This sentence was not only addressing the viewpoints of the Imam [Khomeini] but also in opposition to the fundamental thoughts of Imam. It is also during this era of reforms during which there was opposition to the Constitution, especially the principle of the Guardian Jurist which was stressed upon by Imam...
    • The ninth government [Ahmadinejad's] came to power with the slogans of the first years of the Revolution. This shows that the principles of the Revolution and the revolutionary discourse had not diminished." 
  • Former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi: "There are some who consider themselves the entire nation."
  • Senior presidential advisor Mohammad-Ali Ramin and head of the Pleasant Scent of Servitude Committee: "The triangular game of Karrubi, Khatami and Mir-Hossein is a show of deceit to convince the public of multitude of choice among the reformists...but only one of them will enter the arena to face the President of the Iranian nation and the two other individuals will utilize the trust and media coverage gained to declare their support for the single reformist candidate at the last moment. This game also bereaves the public the possibility of scrutinizing the political past of each individual...My suggestion to the informed media and well wishers of society to investigate the track record of these individuals so one for example finds out hoe come Mir-Hossein Mousavi has not felt the need to serve the country for the past twenty years...Why now? Why did he resign during the last difficult years of leadership of Imam Khomeini? Such questions need to be answered."
    • Presidential candidate Mehdi Karrubi says those who think he will abstain from candidacy at the last minute are mistaken.
  • Presidential candidate Mohammad Khatami: "With all this spiritual and material capital, the people do not want to have an underdeveloped country. We want an advanced, developed and free society, a society in which the people fell secure, and a just society in which all capacities are used for progress of the country." 

 Photo of the Day

·         Iran’s ambassador to Turkey tries to avoid shaking hands with women