Iran News Round Up February 27, 2012

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin.  To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
 
(E) = Article in English

Politics

  • Parliamentary  elections:
    • Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declares participation in elections vajeb [religiously obligatory]. 
    • Ahmadinejad supporters who publicly declare that they intend to boycott the elections includes:
    • Digarban's survey of mostly pro-regime websites reports widespread declarations of boycott of the parliamentary elections due to the Guardian Council's disqualification of pro-Ahmadinejad supporters. 
    • According to Hossein Fadaei, parliamentarian and Isargaran general secretary: "The current of deviation [reference to followers of Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei] had mobilized more than 600 candidates who were all disqualified [by the Guardian Council]. There is therefore no doubt that they had plans..." 
    • In response to whether he would boycott the elections, former president Mohammad Khatami said: "I am devoted to you all!" 
    • Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, son of former president Rafsanjani, says he will "most certainly vote."
    • News stories covering the Islamic Resistance Front, an offshoot of the Ahmadinejad supporters which now depicts itself as being critical of Ahmadinejad. Many observers accuse the Front of dissimulation and consider the Islamic Resistance Front as crypto-Ahmadinejad-supporters:
      • According to the Student News Agency, websites of the Islamic Resistance Front such as Bibak News, Serat News and 598 have been filtered
      • According to Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Nabavian, 450,000,000 rial khoms [religious tax] paid by former welfare minister Sadeq Mahsouli, was donated to the Islamic Resistance Front to finance its election campaign. 
    • Ali Larijani complains about negative campaigning against him in Qom, saying that night letters distributed in city neighborhoods show him "sitting next to Rafsanjani," or show him sitting while "Ayatollah Khamenei and all others are standing up and chanting slogans." 
  • Masoud Mir-Kazemi, former oil minister and Ahmadinejad's friend since 1979 at the Iran University of Science and Technology, discusses the president's managerial style

Diplomacy

Military and Security

  • Ali-Akbar Velayati, foreign policy adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei and Global Islamic Awakening Association director general, addresses the Revolutionary Guards:
    • "Had it not been for the help of the brothers of the [Revolutionary Guards] Quds [Force], the situation may not have been like this [reference to the Arab Spring]. These brothers, with their experiences from the Sacred Defense, and by following the orders of the Guardian Jurist, and through their self sacrifice, are effective elements behind the Islamic Awakening."
  • According to a Green Movement opposition source, Mohammad Khazaei, who was arrested by the police in Thailand, is the brother of the former Intelligence Ministry Counter Espionage Directorate who was dismissed by Ahmadinejad in 2009. 
  • Ali Fadavi, Revolutionary Guards Navy commander:
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saidi, representative of the Supreme Leader to the Revolutionary Guards:
    • "The result of the [parliamentary] elections in Iran would have a great impact on the Islamic awakening [the Arab Spring]. Now that the Islamists have come to power in Egypt and Tunisia, the composition of the ninth parliament could provide important support to this Islamic awakening. Therefore, in makeup of the parliament, aside from public support, one must cast strategic votes."  
  • According to Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moqaddam, Law Enforcement Forces commander, 85,000 Basij members will "secure the parliamentary elections." 
  • In an operation called "Eyes of the Fox," the Revolutionary Guards' Center for Investigation of Organized Crime, arrests 5 individuals on charges of collecting material for the BBC Persian. 
  • Ramezan Sharif, Revolutionary Guards Public Relations commander, dismisses skepticism and criticism of the Revolutionary Guards' establishment of a theological seminary as "enemy propaganda." 

Trade

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