News from Iran – Week 09 – 2012

Standard

Several new arrests and some released prisoners in this week, where the good news of an Oscar win was quickly overshadowed by the parliamentary elections in Iran and the increasing impact of sanctions.

News of Prisoners

A-Transfers

  • On day 51 of his hunger strike, Dr. Mehdi Khazali was moved Mon from Ward 350 to high security Ward 209(Intel).
  • Saeed Sangar, sentenced to life time in prison, transferred from Sanandaj prison to an unknown location.

B- Arrests/Incarcerations

  • Mojtaba Babakarami, Mehdi Cheghakaboodi, Shirin Ghanbari, among 13 Christians from Kermanshah, arrested in a raid on a home church last Tuesday. Azadeh Sharifi, also arrested last Tuesday, was released on bail.
  • Meysam Mashayekh, a reformist activist and blogger from Noshahar arrested.
  • Photojournalist Tahmineh Monzavi was arrested 2/18 at her studio, computer and personal items seized from studio and home.
  • Hooman Zarei, Baha’i arrested at his work place in Shiraz.

C-Liberations

  • Sadegh Akhoondi, University Professor, released on bail.
  • Journalist Sahamedin Bourghani has been released on bail.
  • Parastoo Dokoohakhi, journalist, released on bail.
  • Nama Jafari, writer, released on 80 million Toman bail.
  • National Front member Dr. Ali Rashidi has been released.
  • Journalist Marzieh Rasouli was released on 300 million Toman bail.
  • Women’s rights activist Manizheh Sadeghi has been released from Sanandaj prison after finishing her 91 days term.
  • Mohammad Saeed Zakeri, editor in chief of Ninth day, released.

D-Other News

  • Blogger Davood Bahman Abadi on hunger strike.
  • Music forum campaigning for release of jailed Iranian musician Arya Aramnejad.
  • Wife of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, under house arrest, has no information regarding his situation.
  • Daughter and son-in-law of imprisoned Reformist Tajzadeh have been summoned to court and banned from leaving the country.


News of injustice in Iran

  • Despite finishing his one year sentence, senior Reformist Abolfazl Ghadiani has not been released and has been sentenced to additional three years.
  • Human Rights Activist Kouhyar Goudarzi has been sentenced to 6 Years in prison.
  • 3 years sentence for Saeed Jalilafar confirmed by Appeals.
  • Shahram Karimi lashed 74 times in Evin.
  • Student and human rights activist Mokhtar Zarei has been sentenced to one year in prison by court in Sanandaj.


University  – Culture

  • Bamdad daily banned for publishing letter of clerical students to Mullah Hawzah in Qom complaining about Larijani.
  • ”]Deutsch: Asghar Farhadi präsentiert als Gast d...‘A Séparation’ film by Asghar Farhadi received Independent Spirit Award from The Hollywood Reporter for Best Foreign Film.
  • ‘A Séparation’, Oscar winner 2012  Asghar Farhadi: I proudly offer this award to the people of my country.
  • Former President Khatami congratulated Asghar Farhadi for winning the 1st Iranian Oscar.
  • Sarat news, Beebak news & 598 news have been filtered & Managing Directors summoned by Judiciary
  • Power show to control Azad University after the brother of Research Ministry was imposed by force. Rafsanjani, heading managing committee of Azad University foundation is still trying to resist.
  • 1st Triennial Iranian Studies Conference in Oslo.
  • Police raided neighbourhoods in East Tehran confiscating satellite dishes and threatening people who protested with arrest.
  • University security reportedly summoned students at Shahr-e-Kurd university for building a snowman decorated with a green scarf.
  • Yasmin Fanaeian, Baha’i student in Payam e Noor in Sari, and Shahin Mousavi, Baha’i student of Civil Engineering at the non-profit Tabri University in Babol, have been expelled,
  • Ministry of Education has issued a directive to the country’s schools, to identify and report to the Ministry any Bahai pupils at their schools.
  • Schools are allegedly requiring students to go to voting booths and get a stamp mark + photo evidence of voting.


Economy in Iran

  • A bicycle factory in Ghuchan has not paid its workers in four months.
  • Workers from the Bahman Polymer Company have not been paid for three months.
  • Sam Cable Company of Tehran owes between four and five million Tomans to its workers.
  • The brick factory of Rasekh in Bandar Abbas was closed due to a lack of natural gas.
  • Majlis Economic Committee member: Decision to stop crude supplies to Greece is  a positive action that serves national interests.
  • Iran buys US wheat despite nuclear tensions.
  • Shell purchases 1.5 million barrels of oil from Iran despite sanctions.


Protests

  • Workers from the Ardebil metal company gathered inside the company to protest not being paid for five months and a lack of raw material.
  • On Monday February 6th, workers of Artavil Tires in Ardebil protested in front of the factory against the decision of the owner to close the factory.
  • A large crown reportedly set Iran Majlis election posters on fire in Sari.


Iran  abroad

  • German government calls for the release of Yousef Nadarkhani, Iranian priest sentenced to death.
  • Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi left Tehran to participate in the 19th session of the Human Rights Council, which will be held in Geneva from February 27 to March 23.
  • Azeri Ambassador summoned over arms deal with Israel.
  • Russian bank shuts down Iranian embassy accounts.
  • Clinton: Latin American drug cartels’ links to Iran, Hezbollah a concern.
  • Azerbaijani television hacked from Iran.
  • Iran has sent USD 3.5 million to Zimbabwe to complete tractor assembly plant.


Politics in Iran

  • The committee of Iranian Free Teachers asked all Iranians and teachers around the country to protest the sham election.
  • Candidates in election have to go through screening process. So far, 1200 have been disqualified including 36 serving MPs.
  • Mojtaba Khamenei allegedly met with Moussavi to ask for his collaboration, “given the country’s critical situation” – Mousavi refused to reply to Mojtaba and asked for a direct, private conversation with Khamenei.
  • Position of Sunni leaders on the election; We are not supporting any candidates.
  • Mesbah Yazdi and IRGC form coalition against Mahdavi Kani’s United Principalist Front in parliamentary elections.
  • Iranian Kurdish groups call for boycott of elections.
  • Iranian Opposition demands federalism for Kurdistan.
  • Hundreds of foreign reporters have beeninvited to cover Iran’s parliamentary elections. Foreign journalists allowed to cover Iranian elections are bussed to chosen pooling stations and back to their hotel with no opportunity to meet real people; reports showing mainly elderly people when 65 % of the population in under 30.
  • Election Commission official – 10 foreign “saboteurs” try to disrupt elections arrested.
  • The electoral commission extended polling station opening for 5 hours.
  • The election commission has asked election workers to let people vote, even without ID cards.
  • 530 irregularities noted since electoral lists constitution in Tehran region.
  • Main lists:
    • United Front of Conservatives (Jebheh Mottahed-e Osoolgaraayaan): rather pro-Khamenei but also some pro-Ahmadinejad aussi
    • Resistance Front of Islamic Républic (Jebheh Paaydaari-e Enghlelab-e Eslami): main figure, ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, spiritual mentor of Ahmadinejad
    • Front of People’s Voice (Jebheh Sedaa-ye Mellat): refused from two above-mentionned lists
    • Defense Front of Islamic Républic (Jebheh Eistaadegi Enghelab-e Eslami): supporters of Rezaï, previous IRGC commandor – Mahmoud Alavi, member of Council of Experts who wanted to be part of this list, was barred from candidacy
    • Democratic Front (Jebheh Democrat): réformists wanting to take part in elections.


Miscellaneous

  • Tehran – Zahedan train derailed by sandstorms. Several hours delay but no serious  injuries.
  • In the past 4 years, child marriages reported to have increased by 45 percent.
  • Tehran police shut down 15 clothing stores for selling ‘vulgar dress’.
  • In the past month, five school students and two teachers were reported killed, and dozens injured, in (basiji) rahian-e-noor camps.
  • An outlet of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has opened in the Iranian city of Karaj. The owners claim it is “100% Iranian”

9 Jan 2012 World News Digest #Iran #Yemen #Syria

Standard

Börzen Zeitung reports Germany and France kick-off high-level discussions in Berlin today aimed at laying the groundwork for a crunch EU summit on the eurozone debt crisis at the end of the month. It is the first in a series of monthly mini-summits between Merkel and Sarkozy, who want toughen up the rules governing countries which use the single currency. The draft pact, which has been obtained by Sky News, proposes using the European Court of Justice to ensure eurozone countries keep their national debt and budget deficits within agreed limits. The mini-summit will also examine the introduction of a financial transaction tax, which Britain also strongly opposes.

Al Ahram reports that Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting in Cairo have demanded that the Syrian government cease its bloody crackdown on protesters but affirmed its commitment to monitoring the situation in the country, despite criticism that monitors have been ineffectual at stopping violence. The move defied opposition politicians and activists who want to halt the mission and refer the issue to the UN Security Council. Many of them are calling for international military intervention.

Sanaa Radio announces that Yemen’s cabinet has approved a draft law which grants President Ali Abdullah Saleh immunity from prosecution as part of a Gulf-brokered transition deal. The law is still to be approved by the country’s parliament. On Friday, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay criticised the deal, saying those who committed abuses during a crackdown on the civil unrest unrest must face justice.

Akhbar Al Youm reports aid groups were mounting a “major emergency operation” in rural South Sudan after tribe-on-tribe violence sent tens of thousands fleeing and killed an unknown number of people. The UN’s humanitarian co-ordinator in South Sudan, Lise Grande, said aid groups were responding to a call for help from South Sudan’s central government after a column of 6,000 armed men from the Lou Nuer ethnic group marched into Pibor in Jonglei state to target the Murle community in late December and early January.

Manila Times quotes President Benigno Aquino of the Philippine warnng of a possible terrorist attack during today’s annual procession of a centuries-old image of Jesus Christ known as the Black Nazarene. Aquino said several terrorists planning to disrupt the religious procession, that may draw more than a million devotees, had been sighted in the capital. He asked devotees not to take mobile phones or weapons to the event.
Abrar quotes Iran’s top nuclear official announcing that the country was on the verge of starting production at its second major uranium enrichment site – the Fordo plant, near the city of Qum. The new facility, buried deep underground on a well-defended military site, is considered far more resistant to airstrikes than the existing enrichment site at Natanz, limiting what Israeli officials, in particular, consider an important deterrent to Iran’s nuclear aims.

Raw Story reports US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has confirmed that Iran is not developing its nuclear programme to make weapons.

News also from Iran today that former US Marine Amir Hekmati has been sentenced to death on charges of espionage. He has 20 days to appeal.

US Republican front-runner Mitt Romney has come under fire from fellow contenders ahead of Tuesday’s primary vote in the state of New Hampshire. At a nationally televised NBC debate, the former Massachusetts governor’s economic programme was called “timid” and his conservative credentials were also questioned.
New Straits Times reports Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been acquitted of sodomy after a two-year trial. Anwar, 64, had consistently denied the charges and called them a government bid to cripple his political ambitions and influence. He was jailed for sodomy in 1999 but the conviction was overturned. He had faced up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

Jerusalem Post says The Bill to Prevent Infiltration, a central tenet of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s new policy on illegal immigration, is expected to pass its second and third (final) readings in the Knesset late Monday night. The new law could mean indefinite detention for refugees.

Japan camera maker Olympus is suing it’s president Shuichi Takayama and other senior executives for concealing details of $1.7billion of fraudulent deals over a period of 13 years. The former Olympus CEO Michael Woodford was fired from his post after confronting Takayama.

Voice of Nigeria quotes President Goodluck Jonathan admitting for the first time that sympathisers of the Islamist Boko Haram group were in his government and security agencies. His comments come amid a wave of violence blamed on Boko Haram which has left dozens of people dead in the north, most of them Christians. Boko Haram, wants to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state, has warned southerners, who are mostly Christian and animist, to leave the mainly Muslim north of Nigeria. A senior Christian cleric has warned that the country is sliding towards civil war.

SwissInfo reports the new Libyan government decided on Sunday to lift sanctions against Switzerland and Lebanon, which Moammar Gaddafi had enacted several years ago.

Times of Malta reports that Police in Norway cut in half a traffic fine for a Swedish trucker on the grounds that Swedes earn less than Norwegians. Oslo newspaper VG reports that Ulf Ander Andersson, 61, was driving a lorry for his Norwegian employer in March when he was stopped by police, who found his brakes were not in order. He was fined £857 ($1,323) but last month got a letter saying the sum had been reduced due to his nationality. Mr Andersson told VG he was grateful, though he found it “very strange”.