Iran News Round Up

A selection of the latest news stories and articles published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Analysts.

 

 A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin.  To subscribe to this daily newsletter, e-mail ahmad.majidyar@aei.org.

 

 (E) = Article in English 

 

Jomhouriyat releases a map showing the alleged geographical distribution of support for Ahmadinejad and Mousavi; Ahmadinejad and Rezai register as candidates; Mousavi explains why he resigned as Prime Minister; Tabnak says Basij officers instruct the rank-and-file to vote for Ahmadinejad; IRGC chief Ja'fari calls for the Basij to intervene in the presidential elections; students protest against separation of the sexes by the erection of a wall at the Azad University library; Rezai says the IRGC will not rival the private sector in his administration; 150 Chinese businessmen visit Iran while US banks express interest in opening branches in Iran; and E'temaad reports negotiations between the US and Iran will begin soon.

 

Politics

·         Jomhouriyat News releases a map showing provinces which are believed to support presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi (Green) and which will likely support Ahmadinejad (Red).

o    Ahmadinejad supporters claim "foreigners" support the "reformists out of fear of Ahmadinejad." 

·         ISNA reports from Election Headquarters Chief Kamran Daneshjou's press conference at the end of the registration of candidates at the Interior Ministry. 

o    Daneshjou says 248 ballots have been shipped outside Iran to secure the voting rights of Iranians living abroad. 

o    Interior Minister Sadegh Mahsouli asks potential presidential candidates to respect the "red lines" of the regime and to think of the "national interest" when making public statements.

o    Rafsanjani defends the idea of a committee protecting the vote

·         Ham-Mihan reports Ahmadineajd's nepotism in appointments:

o    1. Elder brother of the Iranian president Davoud Ahmadinejad: Presidency Chief Inspector

o    2. Cabinet Secretary Masoud Zaribafan, husband of Ahmadinejad's sister

o    3. Social Security Organization Director General, Tehran Province Physical Training Chief, Ali-Reza MadaKarrubdi who is the son of brother of above mentioned Zaribafan

o    4. Mehr-e Reza governmental charity organization chief Hossein Shabiri, husband of Ahmadinejad's sister

o    5. The Presidency's Women Affair's Deputy Parvin Ahmadinejad, the president's sister

o    6. Social Security Organization Executive Director Davoud Madadi, a relative of Zaribafan

o    7. Cooperatives Minister Nazemi Ardakani husband of aunt of Zaribafan's son in law

o    8. Former Economy and Finance Minister Davoud Danesh-Ja'fari, son of the aunt of the father of Zaribafan's son-in-law

o    9. Former Law Enforcement Forces Chief, Esmail Ahmadi-Mohghaddam who is a distant relative of Ahmadinejad...

§  Ham-Mihan discloses corruption in Tehran Physical Training Organization headed by Ali-Reza Madadi, a relative of Ahmadinejad.

·         Grand Ayatollahs Sanei, Mousavi Ardebili and Makarem Shirazi demand change in state of affairs, indirectly criticize the Ahmadinejad government.

·         Following public criticism of the Ahmadinejad government's dismantling of the Plan and Budget Organization, the Office of the President publishes Mojtaba Zare'i and Ali-Reza Rowhani's book Tabarshenasi-ye Sazeman-e Barnameh Va Boudjeh Be Revayat-e Asnad-e Rezhim-e Pahlavi [Genealogy Of The Plan And Budget Organization According To The Pahlavi (Era) Documents] with a foreword by Abdollah Shahbazi [Ed.- official Islamic Republic of Iran revisionist of history and former member of the Communist Party of Iran].  According to Borna News, the book reveals "the role of this institution in spread of consumerism and weak domestic production."

o    Veteran politician Behzad Nabavi who has declared his support for Mousavi's candidacy, comes to the aid of Ahmadinejad and says the decision to dismantle the Plan and Budget Organization had already been made by Prime Minister Rajai.

o    Following the chief inspectorate's criticism of the government's lack of budgetary discipline, the government cuts the Inspectorate's budget by fifty percent.

o    Alef News Agency's analyst criticizes Ahmadinejad for speaking of but not doing anything to fight the "oil mafia." 

·         The elites of the Principalist movement will get together in the home of Martyr Mottahari to discuss which candidate to support. According to E'temad-e Melli, this council is composed of Ali-Akbar Nateq Nouri, Ali-Akbar Velayati, Ali Ardeshir Larijani, Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, Mohammad-Bagher Qalibaf and Ali Mottahari. According to E'temad-e Melli, Mohsen Rezai has not been discussed as a serious candidate by the council.

·         Rezai speaks at Martyr Chamran University in Ahwaz, says his withdrawal from the 2005 presidential elections reflected his protest against the elections

o    Rezai says he will not enter a tactical alliance with any other candidate.

o    Rezai confirms information in the memoirs of Rafsanjani and Nateq Nouri that he on several occasions asked the late Leader of the Revolution Khomeini to keep Mir-Hossein Mousavi as Prime Minister.

o    Rezai presents his wife to the public following the example of Mir-Hossein Mousavi who is followed by his wife at rallies and public meetings. 

·         According to Kalameh News, a four page pamphlet propagating for Ahmadinejad and attacking "twenty of his enemies" was distributed at the Tehran Friday prayers led by Ayatollah Jannati. The pamphlet's harshest attacks are directed against Ahmadinejad's rivals Mehdi Karrubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi. 

o    Ahmadinejad supporter Hojjat al-Eslam Hamid Rasayi accuses the reform movement of "instigating a coup against the regime every ninth day" and says "the institutions of the revolution such as the Guards and the Basij have all been subjected to the attacks of the reform movement." Rasayi also defends the Ahmadinejad campaign's distribution of potatoes and cash at campaign rallies.

o    Guardian Council Secretary Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati speaking from the podium of the Tehran Friday Prayer says votes which are given through "threats" or "incentives" will be annulled

·         Hojjat al-Eslam Ghasem Ravanbakhsh, a scholar at the Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi-led Imam Khomeini Research Institute, in a discussion with Kargozaran technocratic faction spokesman Hossein Marashi at the Martyr Bahonar University in Kerman: "We totally condemn Fascism... Islam is neither Socialism nor Liberalism. What Islam says and what the Supreme Leader says is the original Islamic and indigenous culture... The reformists ruled the country for sixteen years and they did nothing to establish an Islamic economy, but Ahmadinejad created a forum for correction of the laws of the banking sector, insurance and the fifth [development] program...One can't be a Muslim and liberal at the same time since the two things are in opposition to each other..." 

·         Farzand-e Mellat [Son of the Nation], a compilation of memoirs and miraculous events foretelling Ahmadinejad's victory available for download.  (And here) Also for mobile phones.  

·         Ahmadinejad visits the national Elections Headquarters.

o    Ahmadinejad and Mohsen Rezai register as candidates

o    Ayandeh News discloses the names of the Ahmadinejad's entourage when he registered for at Interior Ministry: "Elham, Kalhor, Zaribafan, Sa'id-Lou, Shekh al-Eslam, Mashayi and Samareh Hashemi."

o    After registering, Ahmadinejad says he has absolutely no economic means for campaigning, but "I also see no reason why money should be used for campaign."

o    Ahmadinejad campaign has used the picture of the late President Mohammad-Ali Rajai while campaigning in his native Qazvin.

o    As Ahmadinejad supporters start their campaign in Lorestan, parliamentarian A'zami makes the crowds cheer by claiming that "one of the Zionist leaders suffered a heart attack on the very same day Ahmadinejad said Israel will be annihilated." Another parliamentarian Zarei said "the path of Ahmadinejad must continue until the emergence of the Imam of the Era." Speaking to an assembly of religious propagators and theological students in Isfahan Hojjat al-Eslam Agha-Tehrani speaking at the Bani-Fatemiyeh Mosque said: "Serving God preconditions voting for an individual who is favored by God" and spent the rest of his speech attacking Rafsanjani. 

·         Mehdi Karrubi appoints Ayatollah Mohsen Mousavi Tabrizi as his political and cultural advisor.

o    Karrubi defends his deputy Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi and says the legal process which led to his dismissal as Tehran mayor was politically motivated.

o    Karrubi's entourage during election registration consisted of Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi, Abbas Abdi, Jamileh Kadivar and some other campaign headquarters staff. 

o    Mohammad Khatami's sister Maryam Khatami praises Karrubi.

o    Office of Strengthening of Unity student organization declares its support for Karrubi.

o    Karrubi launches a view web site. http://www.mkarroubi.com/

o    Karrubi speaking in Ilam: "The current government has everything in its power. If you are unhappy with your situation, use your vote."

·         According to E'temad'e Melli, the supervisory function of the Guardian Council in presidential elections has led to a trend where "reformist individuals whose revolutionary record is clear and have a long record of self-sacrifice are excluded from elections. At the same time, a few individuals from the Principalist camp have experienced trouble when it comes to getting qualified for elections. Continuity of this trend has been so that the reformists are usually totally ignorant [of their being approved of or disqualified by the Guardian Council] until a few days before the names of the candidates being announced by the Council. They don't know if their candidacy is going to be approved of or not. The Principalists on the other hand do not at all have such trouble. During the eight parliamentary elections, even the cabinet ministers of the Khatami government were disqualified for parliamentary elections by the Guardian Council." But Head of the Society of Theological Scholars at the Theological Seminary of Qom Mohammad Yazdi, during a conversation with the Australian ambassador to Tehran, condemns those who consider the Guardian Council's performance with regard to vetting the presidential candidates as a great insult towards this institution and says: "Those who have such an idea speak with no proof."

·         Borna News publishes Khomeini's critical response to Mousavi's 1989 letter resignation

o    Presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi explains why he resigned as Prime Minister

o    Shahab News runs a backgrounder on Zohreh Kazemi, (Zahra Rahnavard), wife of presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

§  Ham-Mihan gives background on Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard.

§  Ham-Mihan likens Mousavi's wife to Michelle Obama

o    Mowj News discusses Mousavi campaign’s use of green to symbolize his status as a descendant of the prophet Muhammad.

o    First statements of Mousavi after his registration at the Interior Ministry. 

o     Mouavi's supporters consistently chant a revised version of a revolution-era slogan "Toup, tank, basiji, digar asar nadarad" [Canons, tanks, Basijis no longer work] at Mousavi's public appearances. 

o    Mousavi, speaking at Tehran University, expresses concern about brain drain, restricted academic freedom and lack of involvement of experts in administering the country.

§  Adds: "If the government knew what 25 percent inflation means it would not travel from province to province, but would do something to solve the problem." 

o    School Teacher's Association of Iran declares its support for Mousavi

o    Kargozaran technocratic faction central committee member Mohammad Hashemi urges Mousavi to announce key cabinet members to the public as a proof of his willingness to transcend partisan politics.

o    Mousavi speaking at the Arak branch of the Azad University: “The government must tell us what honors it has achieved in the world and which steps it has taken to fight corruption in Iran and abroad...We must see which individuals are working in cabinet and if the collective result of their works corresponds to their initial claims towards the people and God or not..."

§  Adds: "I have always said that the atmosphere of the university must be open and free. Within this framework, any securitization of the university and university students will be to the detriment of the country and the regime."

§  Says he does not oppose "thinking among the members of the Basij," but insists that "the Armed Forces should not intervene in the people choosing their political destiny." 

·         Presidential candidate Rasoul Allah-Yari explains his candidacy is a result of divine revelation, claims God guides him in his sleep and that he dreams of presidential elections every single night. Allah-Yari also adds that ever since the first time his candidacy was blocked by the Guardian Council in 1988, there has been more drought and earthquakes and warns God would revenge his disqualification.

o    Presidential candidate Abd al-Ali Sepid-Kaseh, who earlier announced that if elected he would declare soccer religiously prohibited, says as a president he would shake hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

o    13-year-old Koroush Mowzouni registers his candidacy for presidential elections. 

o    48-year-old candidate Davoud Shah-Hossein-Nia ,who has a diploma in mechanical engineering and has two wives, says defense of the women's rights is his priority number one. 

o    Presidential candidate Iraj Sa'atchi asked what Yellow Cake is: "It is the cake we eat."

·         Rafsanjani speaking at the Parand branch of the Azad University slams the Ahmadinejad government for attacking Azad University and adds management of the country for the past four years "has been a source of shame."

·         Vice President Esfandiar Rahim-Mashayi, speaking about the drought, says he wishes to solve the world’s water mismanagement problems.

 

Military and Security

·         Ahmadinejad, meeting Khaled Mishaal in Damascus, says Iran will continue its support for Palestine.

·         Former IRGC chief Mohsen Rezai says had it not been for the preparedness of the Islamic Republic of Iran Armed Forces, the United States would have attacked Iran during the George W. Bush presidency

·         Brother of martyr Hasheminezhad attacks statements made by Representative of the Supreme Leader in the Revolutionary Guards who said: "The reformists are the followers of deceptive Sufism and one must bar their return to the realm of power."

o    Brother of the martyr said: "Such statements are against the viewpoint of the Imam [Khomeini] and the Supreme Leader and are a sign of armed forces intervention in political and election affairs."

·         Islamic Revolution Documentation Center "documents" that all crises during the Khatami era were directed by the Khatami-led Mosharekat [Participation] party in order to present the Khatami government as a victim of vigilante violence.

·         Jomhouriat News releases the August 24, 1986 entry of Rafsanjani's diary in which he states that Khomeini had warned Iranian officials of antagonizing the Soviet Union

·         Tabnak News Agency (close to Rezai) says that Basij officers instruct their rank-and-file to vote for Ahmadinejad.

·         IRGC chief Mohammad-Ali Ja'fari says Iran has become a "great regional power." 

·         Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting upgrades its website display of Iran-Iraq war documentaries.

·         IRGC chief Ja'fari, speaking at the "Student, Elections and Maximized Participation" seminar at Teacher's Training University in Tehran:

o    "Today, after many years, the political boundaries inside the country are in disarray and on every occasion we have witnessed change and development. There was a time when groups called the left and right which had a value and counter value force, but today we are witnessing a more complete movement called Principalism which took shape 27 years after the revolution and [which was formed] within the revolution...

o    Today different classes of the society, especially the members of the Basij, have a heavy responsibility to guard this [Principalist] movement and to annihilate weaknesses within it...

o    After 27 years, the Principalist movement has been revived and is placed in two poles of authority which is the legislature and the executive. We must respect and defend it...As the Supreme Leader of the Revolution has said, the Basij must be present in the arena and defend this movement since unfortunately there are also microbes within the Principalist movement in need of being stopped...

o    We must be present in the arena and continue our activities. It is in this line that the Basij can pave the path of development by abiding by its strategic background... Members of the Basij have both an individual and an organizational duty and one must distinguish between the two and at this sensitive juncture perform our duties. Luckily today the unity of the Principalists is the strategic point of this movement which must be strengthened since today the lines and boundaries are [more] visible than a couple of years ago. But despite this, the boundaries defining the opposite camp of the Principalist camp are not clear for the people. Therefore, the Basij which is a part of society must feel obliged and know how to follow its own path." 

§  Karrubi criticizes the IRGC in response to Ja'fari call for the Basij to intervene in presidential elections:

·         "Mr. Ja'fari has made a statement which was a source of wonder for me. He has defined the Basij as two organizations in which one part is the armed wing of the Basij which is a part of the military forces and dependent on the military and must not intervene in elections. But another part of the Basij which is mostly involved in relief operations and cultural affairs can engage in elections without problem. This is a new definition and it seems that every single day we must hear new and ever stranger things...

·         We have only one general Basij and the Imam [Khomeini] said being a member of the Basij 'is a source of pride for me.' The Supreme Leader, Mr. Hashemi, everyone says he is member of the Basij. But the Basij which is under the command of Mr. Ja'fari, what group is that which is headed by him? Such statements within the military system is sends a signal...

·         I say to the honorable brother with the greatest respect and politeness, the Basij in its general definition 60 percent of which is composed of free people and 40 percent of which is composed of members of the Armed Forces such as the Guards, the Army, soldiers and the Law Enforcement Forces who were obliged to go to the front. Thousands of people from different classes were expedited to the front and became martyrs. They too were members of the Basij. But today there is no war and the Basij is supervised by the Armed Forces and the Guards which is a source of pride to the nation among the midst of which it has developed. They belong to the armed forces and there is no meaning in their intervention in politics...

·         I have been a member of the Basij for more than 48 years. Most certainly Mr. Ja'fari was a child back then. But one must say that the Basij [member] who is under the command of Mr. Ja'fari is a part of the armed forces...I have come to participate in an election without interventions of the Basij and the armed forces or rogue forces. A free election where everyone aims for victory. Don't make such threats. You make the people more sensitive...

·         If there is the slightest irregularity, I'll stand firm and will not leave the arena. We will react. The consequences are the responsibility of the dear brothers who do not consider the circumstances to their liking, have sensed danger and chant songs for themselves. They claim the Basij is made of two parts. Gradually it will probably become four parts, and six parts after that...There is only one Basij and it is the one which is under your command. No one is so honorable that he can lose some of it. Don't divide the Basij so they show up at the ballot and threaten the people or threaten them at rallies." 

o    Karrubi who has earlier made critical statements about IRGC chief Ja'fari's statements with regard to Basij intervention in politics takes a more milder tone, tells the Basij members that "by God, we need free elections." 

§  Sarmayeh condemns IRCG chief Ja'fari's statements to the effect that the Basij is allowed to intervene in politics and says such statements are blatant violation of Khomeini’s counsel.

§  Revolutionary Guards Commander Jazayeri urges the presidential candidates not to make the Basij a political issue

§  Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi, a former IRGC chief in East Azerbaijan, comments about the IRGC chief's statements with regard to Basij intervention in politics: "Now that the Guards and the Basij have the same Commander in Chief means that the Basij are an unofficial military force subjected to the Guards and follows the Statute of the Guards... If we place the Basij behind a certain candidate or group, we have dealt a most important blow to the Basij and this will be the greatest injustice against the Basij... Members of the Basij can vote for whomever they desire but placing the Basij in a certain front is illegal and counter to Islamic Law...Is it really worth it to raise suspicion of the public against the Basij and challenge the ideals of the revolution for the sake of reelecting a certain candidate…? One can't by rhetoric claim that the Basij are not a military force. If the Basij wants to intervene in political affairs, they must leave the military force and separate themselves organizationally from the Guards...Also according to the sayings of the blessed Imam [Khomeini] and according to the law the Basij can't engage in political and electioneering activities..."  More here

§  Parliamentarians defend the right of the Basij Resistance Force - which is subjected to the Revolutionary Guards - to intervene in presidential elections: Esmail Kowsari National Security and Foreign Policy Committee member: "Presence of the members of the Basij in non-military fields provides the ground for development of the country... Those who say this kind of things [in criticism of Basij intervention in politics] have no knowledge of the Basij and their statements is because of their ignorance... Today many people in society are members of the Basij and they have become members of this sacred institution in order to protect the interests and achievements of the Islamic Revolution. How come do people out of ignorance say such things against the Basij…? Members of the Basij are loyal towards the regime and the Revolution and struggle for the sake of the interests of Iran...Such people fear the Basij like the World Imperialism fears the Basij. This is why they say such things..."

·         Mo'talefeh Faction Political Bureau Secretary Mohammad-Kazem Anbar-Louyi also defends the right of the Basij to intervene in elections: "Today there are people with a wide range of jobs who are members of the Basij... In the newspapers there are people who extract certain conclusions out of affairs through the means of geomantics and atsrology... According to the law all those who are members of the non-military Basij can enjoy an active presence in all fields and it is only members of the Basij who are military who can't participate in the political field...People who make such statements are underestimating intelligence of the people..."

·         Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saidi, the Supreme Leader's representative in the Revolutionary Guards, urges members of the Guards to "withstand cultural and soft threats with pen in their hands...the threat of changing the culture of the regime is a serious threat and the cultural and soft threat is the most visible of such assaults." 

·         E'temaad runs a backgrounder on Revolutionary Guards intervention in recent presidential elections

·         Law Enforcement Forces clear 470 houses belonging to "singles, wrong doers, criminals and drug addicts" in Tehran's zone 12.

 

Religion, Culture, and Society

·         Unknown assailants attack Ettela'at Foundation's exhibit at Tehran International Book Exhibit. According to Ham-Mihan, the assailants were Ahmadinejad supporters displeased with Mousavi speaking at the exhibit. 

o    Shabaviz children's books publishing house head Farideh Khal'atbari says she was barred from participating at Tehran International Book Exhibit because the authorities had chosen to provide exhibition rights to publishers who publish thick volumes and not thinner books.

o    Books on Iran/Iraq war allegedly the most popular titles at Tehran International Book Fair.

·         Raja News Agency "discloses" Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani's preference for lively colors for women's dresses as a sign of decadence. [Link on request, due to State Department firewall against Raja News]

·         Defense Minister Najjar to present the book Atlas of Shi'a published by the Geographical Organization of the Defense Ministry. 

·         Professors and scholars at the Theological Seminary of Qom to engage in live Q and A session on Yahoo Messenger

·         Theological Seminary of Qom provides a list of affiliated institutions in North America

·         Radical Iraqi leader Muqtada al-Sadr denies rumors that he received the degree of Ijtihad in Theology. 

·         Hojjat al-Eslam Masoud Adib, head of Mousavi's campaign in Qom, says Iran is going through a crisis and adds:

o    "Unfortunately , today a superstitious version of religion is handed over to the young generation which has led to misinterpretations of the ideals of the revolution and the Imam [Khomeini] in society...

o    This crisis threatens our dear revolution which has lived through many hardships in order to propagate a new lifestyle for religious life in the world...Unfortunately the model of a religious society which was meant to be achieved after the revolution is today being made fun of and has taken form as a caricature...

o    This model [in its original form] is capable of attracting the entire world but today it is considered as a threat by the global society. This is the crisis of misinterpretation..."

o    "How come only three decades after the revolution there is deviation in the thoughts of our youth and how come our young revolution has been misinterpreted in such way that it is repelling the youth?...

o    Under present conditions, election of Mousavi amounts to opening the arms of the first generation of the revolution towards the third generation of the revolution...

o    Election of Mousavi is a return to the values of the revolution and preservation, propagation and correct interpretation of a sacred ideal for which all those who have suffered in this country have sacrificed life and blood..."

o    According to Kalemeh, Khomeini's grandson Yaser Khomeini, Ayatollah Mousavi Bojnourdi, Mehdi Moghaddam, Ali-Akbar Mohtashami-Pour, Mohammad Razavi Yazdi, Majid Ansari, Hadi Khamenei, Hojjat al-Eslam Ashrafi Esfahani, Mousavi Lari, Najaf-Gholi Habibi, Mohammad-Bagher Nowbakht and others support Mousavi. 

·         Students at the Tehran branch of the Azad University protest against erection of a wall at the university library separating sexes

·         Advisor to Tehran Mayor says the number of victims of pollution in Tehran during the past eight years is higher than the number of the martyrs in Iran/Iraq war. 

·         Tehran Islamic City Council has decided not to change Vali-Asr Street into Dr. Mosaddegh Street

·         Shi'a News slams Tehran Municipality's seminar on Zoroastrianism

·         Shi'a News warns against distribution of a "forged Quran" called "True Furqan allegedly published by two U.S. publishing houses.

·         The Defense Ministry's Geographical Bureau to publish an Atlas of the holy struggles of the Prophet Muhammad.

·         Ali Shariati's Fatemeh Fatemeh Ast  published in French translation. 

·         Borna News runs a story about the phenomenon of maddahi [praise singing]. 

·         Borna News's literary service publishes a survey of the works of the late Lebanese Shi'a leader Imam Musa Sadr.

 

Media

·         Interior Minister Sadegh Mahsouli speaking at the seminar of the Public Notaries attacks press reportage of registration for presidential candidates: "The newspapers are preparing a documentary for the United States, the Zionist regime and other enemies of the country against the innocent and noble people of Iran... If Israel wanted to used certain headlines [to describe the presidential election process in the Islamic Republic] it would not have found any headlines more suitable than the ones used by the press..." Mahsouli also claimed: "All the human rights statements being passed against Iran are based upon wrong information published in the newspapers."

·         With the presidential election taking place on June 12, 2009, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Director General Ezzatollah Zarghami says it is still too soon for election programs and debates on national television.

·         In an open letter of protest to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Director General, Karrubi's campaign spokesman Gerami-Moghaddam writes: "With less than 35 days to elections, the national media should impartially reflect the positions of the candidates but I consider it unlikely that we shall witness such impartiality until the very end of elections! Unfortunately, some parts of the national television an especially the program '20:30' engage in reflecting distorted news and counter factual information..."

·         The pro-Ahmadinejad “Justice-Seeking Youth” establish a news agency

·          Ahmadinejad supporters use blue tooth system to campaign.

 

Economy

·         Former Labor Minister Kamali says approximately 400 factories closed last year, criticizes the Ahmadinejad government for not doing enough to combat unemployment.

·         Mohsen Rezai promises that in his government, the Revolutionary Guards "will not be the rival of the private sector.”

·         Head of Privatization Organization Gholam-Reza Kord-e Zangeneh says 800,000 rials of so-called "justice shares" from 370 cooperative companies will be paid to 5.5 million villagers. 

·         Fruit prices up 50 percent.

·         Revolutionary Guards Construction arm Khatam al-Anbia Construction Base Deputy Commander Rostam Ghasemi refutes rumors that he will take over the Oil Ministry after presidential elections. 

·         International Monetary Fund predicts 3.2 percent economic growth in Iran.

 

Trade

·         U.S. banks reportedly interested in opening branches in Iran.

·         Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nowzari visits Germany to discuss transfer of Iran's natural gas to Europe. 

o    Iran to export natural gas to Europe.

·         Jam-e Jam provides statistical information about petroleum imports

·         Assadollah Asgar-Owladi, head of the Iran-China Chamber of Commerce, says 150 Chinese businessmen are visiting Iran; the two countries aim for $80 billion trade on an annual basis in 20 years; and Iran is participating in establishment of 5 commercial centers in China.

o    China is the largest trade partner of Iran in Asia and Iran’s third largest trade partner overall. 

·         Alef News Agency publishes the names of imported products, brand and country of origin which, according to the analyst, have led to unemployment in Iran.

·         Islamic countries to form an Islamic Stock Exchange.

 

Human Rights and Labor

·         2.7 million child workers in Iran. 

·          (E) In an interview with Radio Farda, Roxana's father said the family "insisted that she end her strike because she had become very weak." He said Roxanna was so ill that she was taken to the hospital and fed intravenously.

·         (E)  Radio Farda covered May Day demonstrations across Iran and interviewed dozens of activists. One labor activist in Tehran said security forces outnumbered protestors three to one and violently attacked them before the demonstrations began. Jafar Azimzadeh, a prominent labor activist, was arrested on May Day -- his daughter told Radio Farda that she herself was beaten by police and that she witnessed police attacking passersby. Meanwhile, the families of those arrested gathered in front of Tehran's Revolutionary Court on May 3 demanding their loved ones' release.

o    A teacher who was arrested in Tehran during a May 4 demonstration told Radio Farda that police beat teachers with batons as they chanted slogans calling for an end to discrimination (Persian audio).

·         (E) Iran has executed a 23-year-old woman, Delara Darabi, for a crime committed when she was a minor. Darabi's lawyer confirmed to Radio Farda that she was executed in prison in the northwestern city of Rasht. Darabi was arrested when she was 17 years old in connection with the murder of a relative. At that time, she and her 19-year-old boyfriend, Amir Hossein Sotoudeh, tried to rob the house of her father's 58-year-old female cousin, Mahin, and the cousin was killed.

·         Higher Education Minister Mohammad-Mehdi Zahedi guarantees that students critical of the Ahmadinejad government will not be summoned to disciplinary committees at their universities.

·         In the Q & A section of Mehdi Karrubi's website, Karrubi responds to a Baha’i questioner and says that according to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic all Iranian citizens enjoy the same rights. 

 

Diplomacy

·         E'temaad reports diplomatic negotiations will soon begin between Iran and the United States. 

o    Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki comments on U.S.-Iran relations: "Without any doubt, there has been a change of rhetoric.... In case practical steps are taken with regard to Iran demonstrating a change in U.S. government policies towards Iran, we too will take new steps with regard to the U.S. government. But Tehran will not change its position with regard to the United States before the United States takes serious steps towards negotiations with Iran..."

·         Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, speaking the "Palestine, Symbol of Resistance, Gaza Victim of Crime" seminar: "A look at the various regional and global arenas show that some countries attempted to change the issue rather than attending to the victimization of the rights of the Palestinian nation. They are both charlatans, and fooled by charlatanism...In order not avoid trouble in the international arena, they want to distance the issue of Palestine from central Muslim thought and replace it by other issues...But analytical and critical minds are capable of understanding which makes our responsibility in illuminating the global public opinion even greater."

·         Academic Elahe Koulayi discusses Iran's position with regard to division of the Caspian Sea

·         Vice President Davoudi travels to South Africa.

·         Mousavi, in Arak, says the result of Ahmadinejad's discussions of the Holocaust have been passing of resolutions confirming the historical authenticity of the Holocaust.

·         The Islamic Republic of Iran delegation to the Islamic Inter Parliamentary Conference meets with the Speaker of Egypt’s parliament and Speaker of Pakistan’s Senate.


Photos of the Day

·         Ghalam-e Emrouz releases old photos of Mir-Hossein Mousavi

o    Mir-Hossein Mousavi's supporters convene at Tehran's Milad Tower with Mohammad Khatami. 

o    Mousavi meets clergy at the Jamaran mosque.

·         Youtube video from the first day of registration of candidates at the Interior Ministry. 

o    Third day of registration of presidential candidates at Interior Ministry.

o    Last day of registration for presidential elections.

·         Inauguration of Tehran International Book FairMore.

·         Police round up the poor in unprivileged Tehran neighborhoods. 

·         Ahmadinejad campaigns in Qazvin.

 

 

 

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