Iran News Round Up December 19, 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

Military and Security

  • Yadollah Javani, adviser to the Representative of the Supreme Leader to the Revolutionary Guards, discusses the reformist camp and the 2013 presidential election in Sobh-e Sadeq:
    • "A group, which is among the main agents or behind-the-scenes elements of the sedition, believes one must participate in a totally free election. Their definition of such election is an election where [Mir-Hossein] Mousavi and [Mehdi] Karrubi too can run and all political prisoners are freed... It is clear why the likes of [Mohammad] Mousavi Khoeiniha take such a position... It seems that the law and the judgment of such people are clear. These people must answer for the treason and crimes they have committed..."
    • "The second group is those who were among the reformists, but do not make conditions like the first group... Those members of this group who want to participate [in the presidential election] should not have a history of presence in the sedition. Those who started the sedition and mobilized people on the streets against the Islamic regime and harmed the national interests and national security have forever lost their qualifications for entering this arena. Repenting too would not solve their problem. Repenting is a necessity for returning to the political arena, however, in order to enter the realm of competitive politics, other qualifications are needed which these people lack an can't achieve by repenting. People like [Mohammad] Khatami belong to this group... There are those who have a reformist past, and were not among the seditionists in the course of the sedition. However, they did not have a clear and decisive position concerning the sedition and the seditionists. These people too can't participate in in the arena of elections. The sedition was an act of treason and a crime. The seditionists took steps in the direction of overthrowing the regime. Should someone who did not take a clear and decisive position at the time of the sedition be qualified for taking over the presidency?"
    • "However, just because someone has a past record in this front [the reform movement] does not mean he is unqualified. The important thing is if they are loyal towards the Islamic regime and have a clear position against opposing groups, those engaged in overthrow of the regime or engaged in the sedition."           
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saidi, Representative of the Supreme Leader to the Revolutionary Guards, appoints Hojjat al-Eslam Rezaei as the head of the Basij of the Theological Students and Clerics. Rezaei replaces Hojjat al-Eslam Alizadeh. 
  • Abolqassem Mozaffari, Khatam al-Anbia Construction Base of the Revolutionary Guards commander, says the Syrian government had asked for the Khatam’s assistance to build a dam in Syria, "which, taken into account conditions in Syria, is not possible." 

Religion, Society and Culture

  • Hojjat al-Eslam Mojtaba Zolnour debates with Sadeq Zibakalam:
    • Zibakalam: "Unity of the theological [seminaries] and university is fundamentally meaningless, since they both are societal symbols with their own viewpoints. There is no necessity for unity of the two. I do not accept the viewpoint that the university is the guide. The university does not play any role in guiding society. It's obliged to scientifically educate the society. The university's view on being is the view of doubt and skepticism; the university always asks questions. Theological seminaries on the other hand are based on certainty. There is no such thing at the university."
    • Zolnour: "Unity is the foundation of being unless it is proved otherwise. The Quran stresses that human movements should pursue a goal. No one says theological [seminary] means university. We should not look superficially at things. The unity in question is the unity of viewpoints."
    • Zibakalam: "Why are the first generation who went to the war and were Shah era [university] graduates religious, but the new generation, the generation that you have educated [not?]. Why do you have problems with them? Why did Shah era university students walk on minefields, but you are having problems with the new generation which you have educated?"
    • Zolnour: "Back then [the pre-revolution era], instruments of doom, perversion and destruction were not as widespread as they are today. Therefore, our defense must be according to the level of the onslaught..."
    • Zibakalam: "In Iran, theological seminaries believes in its own vocation as a guide, but it is not so with the university. The theological seminaries want to guide, but they have been unsuccessful in the past thirty three years and are now blaming the university by saying 'what you teach [at universities] is not Islamic.' The vocation of the university is to understand the world in order to improve the general conditions of human life and not guiding the life of human beings... The only path of development is the one which the West chose, and others have emulated and were successful. We have for the past thirty three years tried to find an Islamic path..."

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