Iran News Round Up December 17, 2012

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh and Ahmad Majidyar. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Politics

  • Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar announces that the presidential election will be held on June 14, 2013. Registration for the presidential candidates begins May 7, 2013 and lasts five days.
  • Rafsanjani addresses "elite university graduates":
    • "Ever since the beginning of the revolution, there were always some rogue groups who would sometimes engage in acts against the law and [contrary to] the viewpoints of some authorities. However, to a certain point, those rogue elements, who sometimes had benevolent and at other times evil intentions, would be without organization. However, at other times, the rogue elements were imposed upon the society in an organized manner... It is the second group [rogue elements] who have always created trouble and been dangerous, which must officially be condemned and must not be supported. And in some cases, they were criticized by the Supreme Leader of the Revolution... If at the time when rogue elements disrupted the gatherings and insulted the lovers of the regime…, we would no longer witness these organized groups insult the Memory of the Imam [reference to Hassan Khomeini] at the pure courtyard of the Imam, a trend which continues until this day... Rogue elements are usually rootless…, but one must be vigilant of the future of the country..."
  • According to ISNA, Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani is released from prison.
    • An unknown source releases another conversation between Nikahang Kowsar and Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani. In the tape, Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani discloses that Ahmadinejad's son, his wife, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, and Mashaei's wife were in Ahmadinejad's entourage to New York. They purchased "30 packages of toys and children kits." He also discloses that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's daughter travels widely around in Europe along with her husband. In another part of the conversation, Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani also discloses information about weekly meetings of Ayatollah Khamenei's representatives with Mohammad-Reza Khatami, brother of the former president, at the home of Sadeq Kharazi, during which the Khamenei's representatives try to persuade the reformist camp to remain in the political realm. (Audio)
  • According to Asr-e Iran, the parliament is "strongly opposed" to Ahmadinejad's merger of the Communications Ministry with the Roads and Urban Planning Ministry. Asr-e Iran also writes that a certain Mehdi Akhavan Beh-Abadi, current Cyberspace High Council secretary, is the main candidate for taking over the Communications Ministry.

Military and Security

  • Following Ahmadinejad's suggestion to the Revolutionary Guards and the Army to sell their "villas, palaces and hotels", Mansour Haqiqatpour, parliamentary National Security Committee deputy, says "Ahmadinejad can't decide for the Guards... The Guards is a military organization whose assets are for emergency times," and urges the government to sell "seaside villas" of the government.
  • Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moqaddam, Law Enforcement Forces commander, says Ali-Reza Asgari, former deputy defense minister, who according to the Islamic Republic authorities was abducted in Turkey, spent an eighteen-month prison term in Iran, but was "acquitted." Ahmadi-Moqaddam also dismisses rumors on Asgari having defected to the United States.
  • Hossein Sazvar, religious praise singer, says religious Mourning Committees were instrumental in suppression of the student uprisings of 1999 and the 2009 unrest. 

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