Monday, February 04, 2013


Rare Iran infighting surfaces over minister impeachment
AFP, Tehran, 3 Feb 2013 - Bad blood between Iran’s government and parliament spilled into open on Sunday over the impeachment of a minister, with heads of the two branches accusing each other of corruption and abuse of power.
A majority of MPs voted in a heated parliament session, broadcast live on state radio, to remove the labour and social welfare minister, Abdolreza Sheikholeslam, for refusing to sack a controversial figure, Saeed Mortazavi.
Mortazavi, seen close to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a suspended judge appointed as caretaker of Iran’s wealthy social welfare organisation.
In the lead-up to the vote, Ahmadinejad questioned the impeachment motion and rebuked the parliament for launching attacks against his clique.
“For three years my colleagues at the government have been under the most severe pressure and accusations, “ Ahmadinejad said, while defending his aides ahead of the vote.
He then accused parliament speaker Ali Larijani and judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani of nepotism.
To back his claim, Ahmadinejad played a recording in which a voice said to be of their brother, Fazel, allegedly attempts to bribe Mortazavi by asking for a favour in exchange for political support of both parliament and the judiciary.
Ali Larijani in response accused Ahmadinejad of violating the law and preventing justice by shielding his inner circle from judicial probes.
“You have selected those who have judicial cases (against them) as your allies, and prevent their cases from being investigated, “ he said.
He then accused Ahmadinejad of using the video as a “threat” to hamper the impeachment process, by relaying a message through one of his deputies that he would play the tape if the impeachment is carried out as planned.
“He threatened me, “ Larijani said. “The problem is that the president does not observe the basics of ethics.”
Sunday’s brawl came as Iran is gearing up for its presidential election on June 14 to find a replacement for Ahmadinejad, whose victory in 2009 sparked protests against poll results which the opposition claimed were rigged.
The rift between Ahmadinejad and parliament, dominated by conservatives critical of his administration, surfaced in April 2011 after he challenged a ruling by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters.
The dismissal of Sheikholeslam on Sunday marked parliament’s second successful unseating of Ahmadinejad’s ministers in his second and last term. In February 2011 the then transport minister was dismissed.
Mortazavi, Tehran’s notorious former prosecutor, was suspended in August 2010 along with two other judges over the death in prison of three anti-government protesters in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election.
A parliamentary probe found Mortazavi responsible for sending protesters to Kahrizak, a detention centre south of Tehran, and demanded he be punished. The case is still ongoing.

Baird Condemns Iran’s Continued Nuclear Proliferation
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued a statement on Friday Feb. 1st condemning Iranian regime's continued Nuclear proliferation. The statement reads:  Canada strongly condemns reports that Iran intends to further expand its uranium-enrichment capacity.  “Such actions by Iran contravene its international obligations, counter the global will and undercut regional security. They are irresponsible and unacceptable. “Canada calls on the United Nations Security Council to review this situation as a matter of non-compliance with its resolutions and consider appropriate censures. “As a permanent member of the International Atomic Agency Board of Governors, Canada remains committed to ensuring the IAEA treats the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran with the seriousness it is due”.


13 Journalists Still Held In ’Black Sunday’ Crackdown, Others Summoned
Reporters Without Borders said on Jan. 30th that two other journalists were arrested after being summoned to Tehran’s Evin prison, bringing to 14 the total number of journalists arrested during the past three days on charges of collaborating with groups opposed to the “Islamic Revolution.” According to Agance France-Presse, the journalists were all arrested “under a warrant issued by the judicial authority.” AFP’s Tehran bureau put out several dispatches quoting Farsnews, an Iranian news agency linked to the Revolutionary Guards, as describing them as “supporters of the anti-revolutionary movement.” According to Reporters Without Borders, the journalists were arrested by the intelligence ministry “in order to verify whether or not they work for news media based abroad.” They are currently being held in isolation cells in Evin prison’s Section 209, which the intelligence ministry controls.

Four prisoners executed in Ilam and Karaj
The Iranian regime hanged three prisoners in Gohardasht prison in Karaj. Those hanged were: Mansour Ali Mohammadi, Azim Darabi  and Kamal Hassani. The three were summoned to solitary cells and hanged. The Iranian regime also hanged a prisoner in Ilam prison.

Family members of Gholam-Hossein Sadeqi, who died in Camp Liberty, Iraq, arrested in Tehran

In the early hours of Monday, January 28, agents from the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security
(MOIS), arrested Hassan Sadeqi (son of Gholam-Hossein Sadeqi, a member of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran [or MEK] and a resident of Camp Liberty, who died in Baghdad last week), and his wife, Fatimah Mothana . The MOIS agents also confiscated their personal belongings, including their computers, family photos and books. Mr. Sadeqi and Mrs. Mothana were both political prisoners during the 1980s. The MOIS agents arrested their 17-year-old son, Nima, the next day, locked down their house and prevented other tenants of the building, who were their close relatives, from entering the site. The Sadeqi family was planning to hold a memorial service for Mr. Gholam-Hossein Sadeqi in that apartment. Intelligence Ministry agents prevented memorial ceremony by his family.

Value of Iran currency drops sharply
According to Iran Focus Feb. 1st, Informed sources in Tehran Bazaar’s currency exchange reported a sharp drop in the Iranian currency, rial, against the dollar. As close of trading, each dollar was selling for 40,000 rials, compared to 35000 rials a day earlier, marking a 11.4 percent drop in its value. The state-run media refrained from reporting the sharp decline fearing that it might spark protests similar to those in October last year, when rial lost half of its value against the dollar.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in numerous cities on Friday
The Iraqi people’s huge demonstrations began in numerous cities from 11 am Baghdad time, Al Rafedein TV reported on Friday. These rallies took place in numerous cities in Ramadi, Fallujah, Samarra, Mosul and various regions in Baghdad. Hundreds of thousands gathered to hold prayers despite intensive security measures by Maliki’s forces. In Baghdad, security forces imposed road barriers and checkpoints, stopping traffic and ordering people to walk to the demonstrations and show residential cards. In Kirkuk, despite numerous checkpoints raised by the Army and various limitations imposed, thousands of demonstrators gathered in “al-Hurriya” square in Huwaija. Residents of Abu Gharib also gathered to take part in Friday prayers and demonstrations. The Iraqis demanded the end of Nour Al-Maliki's regime and protested against the Iranian regime's involvement in their country.