Leaders of Iran

Friday, December 17, 2004

Profile of Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance

Netiran>Articles>Politics>Elections>Profile of Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance: "Profile of Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance

Iran, Daily Newspaper, Vol. 9, No. 2734, Feb. 25th, 2004, Page 3-6
Word Count : 1748

The low-profile Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance swept the Feb 20 legislative elections. They were crowned winners as the Guardian Council decimated many reformist candidates and barred them from standing in the closely watched poll.
Here we offer an outline of the alliance and their promises for the country.

Several days before the Feb 2003 local council elections, a group of little-known figures coalesced under the label of "Developers". Mehdi Chamran and Abbas Sheibani were the only two members of the group to be partly known to the public. They launched their electoral campaign on slogan of development and managed to sweep the municipal elections. Chamran, the top vote-getter, garnered 192,616 votes in the elections. The Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance took over the posts initiated by reformists thanks to high abstention rate. Anyhow, "unknown group" promoted into "unknown winners".

One year later, the alliance put up new candidates for the legislative elections. They introduced certain changes into their policies to win over the public. They used up developed campaigning means like Internet, state media and traditional tools like the bazaar and the mosques to run for the closely watched elections. This time, the developers stood in a vote whose result was a foregone conclusion.

Developers; Centralist Group
The Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance fielded its favorite candidates for the parliamentary elections and called for developing the entire Iran. The developers did not introduce themselves as a party but an alliance. But reformists announced that the developers were anti-reformists who are jumping to the fray under cover. Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the top vote-getter, says: "Beyond the names, we base our policies on the methods and anyone working for development of the country is with us."

Hossein Fadaie, another member of the alliance, says: "We are not worried with the low-profile background of the candidates and the important thing for us is that the figures be populist."
In the run-up to the elections, outspoken hardline nominees (like Habibollah Asgarowladi and Assadollah Badamchian) stood down. Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, member of the Association of Combatant Clergy, said the association took side with the "developers". Asgarowladi, secretary general of the Islamic Coalition Society, called on the people to vote for the candidates fielded by the Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance. Members of the alliance were indirectly announcing their firm determination to be crowned the winners.

The alliance demonstrated that it was following up the policies and attitudes of reformists by sending new figures like Hadad-Adel and Ahmad Tavakoli to the parliament.

Development, Social Welfare
Relying on "improvement is our wish", the developers ran for the elections. The spokesman for the alliance told press conferences that the group was working for urban development, economic welfare, development, improvement, justice and fight against corruption and service providing. With a comparative view, one can understand that the alliance has replaced development and improvement with freedom and political development chanted by the reformists.

The developers made it clear that they intended to transform Iran into a developed nation enjoying social welfare. "We will do our best to promote Iran into a developed nation. We will focus our programs on promoting the level of social welfare, amelioration of living standards, promotion of justice, eradication of poverty and discrimination and narrowing social gaps," they said in their statements.

Above all, Hadad-Adel told the Agence France Presse (AFP) that the Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance intended to make Iran an Islamic Japan. Developers meant that they will promote living standards to bring economic and social prosperity for the people.

The charter the developers offered for construction and improvement has other aspects.

a. Social and Cultural Fields
In order to express their views about social and cultural affairs, the developers used a familiar literature - stabilization of the values. "We will move based on Islamic culture and identity and reliance on religious prosperity, immunity against negative aspects of other cultures, protecting the Persian language and working to come up with software movement."

Anyhow, the developers offered interesting views for cultural conundrums. They specifically talked about satellite networks, social freedoms and press liberty. They said they had worked out solutions to these problems. Regarding satellite dishes, Hadad-Adel says: "We have to make amendments to the pieces of legislation passed by the fifth Majlis for satellite networks and we have to set the stage for positive use of satellite programs." As for press law, he said: "The parliamentary pieces of legislation are not lasting." The developers also came out in support of social freedoms with reservations.

Hadad-Adel says: "We envision freedom as a road with ups and downs, twists and turns. Any deviation may give rise to damage."

In their charter, the developers announced that they avoided any interference in the private livings. They said they will undertake efforts for avoiding corruption and social vices. However, they promised to promote the women rights. The developers have proposed changes into the education system.

b. Economic Field; Disputable Investment
Development and construction was once declared by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in the 1990s. Anyhow, the Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance is of the view that their impression of development differs from that of Rafsanjani administration. Presence of Ahmad Tavakoli is a clear proof to such difference. The developers have promised establishment of justice in addition to development and promotion. They announced that they were mainly obsessed with bolstering social welfare. To this effect, they promised to reduce the inflation rate, resolve housing problems and improve hygiene.

The charter of the developers highlights relentless efforts for checking runaway inflation and boosting privatization drive. Tavakoli's comments implied determination for structural fight with corruption and stopping windfalls.

Regarding controversial issue of investment, the developers stressed the need for securing domestic and foreign investment. Tavakoli said: "Majlis will give importance to investment. Of course, we will try to facilitate domestic investment. We prefer to boost domestic investment before focusing on foreign finance. We will offer facilities to foreign financiers and we welcome any beneficial move."

c. Foreign Policy
Developers prefer "dignity, philosophy and expediency" to " dtente" as their mottoes. The thorniest issue in foreign diplomacy would be resumption of ties between Iran and the United States. Regarding this issue, Tavakoli says: "We consider ties with US not obligatory like prayers and not forbidden as wine." "We will made decisions in line with our national interests. If the United States agrees to compensate us we can speak more clearly." For his part, Hadad-Adel called on Washington to take the first step.

Interactions Between New Majlis and Incumbent Government
The sitting administration of Mohammad Khatami will bow out one year after convention of the new Majlis. Naturally, power sharing between the incoming Majlis and the incumbent government will be an important issue. Before the elections, Hadad-Adel was asked to comment on interactions between the seventh Majlis and the government. He replied: "Our behavior with the government will lean towards interaction, understanding and cooperation. It will be un-Islamic to put any wheel into the spokes of the government. But we feel obliged to deal with any minister who goes against the law."

Tavakoli says: "The government will have 12 months to serve the nation because the seventh Majlis will undo the knots."

Another developer sketched out a clearer outline and said: "We will further support Khatami's administration." Anyhow, defeated reformists have nothing to say in reaction and the people will be left guessing until this question is answered.

Background of the first 30 candidates in Tehran

The candidates were supported by Abadgaran, the Militant Clergy Association and the Islamic Moutalefeh Party.

1. Gholam-Ali Hadad-e Adel, MP and member of the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council;
2. Ahmad Tavakoli, lecturer of the Shahid Beheshti University;
3. Amir-Reza Khadem, former president of Wrestling Federation;
4. Mahdi Tabatabaie, revolutionary prosecutor in Mazandaran province, religious judge of the trial of the Tehran Municipality, deputy head of the Tehran Public Justice Office (cleric);
5. Ahmad Ahmadi, member of the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council (cleric);
6. Hussein Mozzafar, member of the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council;
7. Mohammad Khosh-Chehreh, member of the Board of Directors of Gymnastic Federation, deputy head of the Tehran [University's] Economics Faculty;
8. Nafiseh Fayyaz-Bakhsh, MP in the Fourth and Fifth Majlises;
9. Saeed Abotaleb, documentary producer of the Radio and Television;
10. Emad Afroogh, director of the Social Group of the Strategic Research Center o the Presidency, director of the Cultural Group of Channel 1 of the Radio and Television;
11. Davood Danesh Jafari, MP in the 5th Majlis, secretary of the Macro-Economics Committee of the Expediency Council;
12. Ali-Reza Zakani, in charge of Student Basij of Tehran universities, chief of Student Basij of the country;
13. Laleh Eftekhari, member of the Women Association and Zeynab Association;
14. Hussein Sheikholeslam, deputy foreign minister and ambassador to Syria;
15. Fatemeh Aulia, member of Women's Affairs Office of the staff of the head of the Radio and Television;
16. Elham Aminzadeh, lecturer of the International Relations College of the Foreign Ministry and the Imam Sadeq University
17. Abbas-Ali Akhtari, substitute Friday prayer leader of Shahr Ray [south Tehran] (cleric) [Baztab.com: former Friday prayer leader of Semnan;
18. Seyed Ali Riaz, secretary-general of the Muslim Doctors Without Frontiers, director general of the Public Relations Office of the health Ministry [Baztab.com: dentist];
19. Hussein Nejabat, advisor to the agriculture minister, member of the board of directors and managing director of the Rural Cooperation Organization;
20. Fazlollah Mussavi, director of the Society for Support of Victims of Chemical Weapons;
21. Hamid-Reza Katoozian, university lecturer
22. Fatemeh Rahbar, director of the Computer Systems Plan and Project of the staff of the head of the Radio and Television.
23. Elias Naderan, director general for legal and parliamentary affairs of the corps;
24. Parviz Soroori, deputy chief of Publicity Coordination Office of the Joint Staff of the Corps, official in charge of establishment of the Basij in west Tehran:
25. Manuchehr Mottaki, ambassador to Turkey and Japan:
26. Gholam-Reza Mesbahi Moqaddam, deputy head of the Imam Sadeq University (cleric);
27. Hussein Fadaie-Ashtiani, secretary-general of the Islamic Revolution Selfless Association [Jamiyat-e Isargaran-e Enqelab-e Islami], deputy chairman of the board of directors of the Refah Chain Stores;
28. Mahdi Kuchakzadeh, university lecturer,
29. Zeynab Kadkhoda, university lecturer,
30. Ali Abbaspour-Tehranifard, member of the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, MP in the 5th Majlis."

Hossein Shariatmadari called for withdrawal from the NPT [Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty] 8/6/03

NTI: Global Security Newswire - Wednesday, August 6, 2003: "The only thing which can foil the plot hatched jointly by America, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency against Islamic Iran is our withdrawal from the NPT [Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty].
—Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of Iran’s Kayhan newspaper, on talks today between Iranian and IAEA officials in Tehran."

Hossein Shariatmadari said to support expanded Iranian Nuclear Program

The Daily Herald: "Hossein Shariatmadari, a representative of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is an outspoken opponent of even engaging in dialogue with Europe over Iran's nuclear program. Shariatmadari, who is also manager of the hard-line newspaper Kayhan, wants Iran to expand, not limit, its nuclear activities and has called on the government to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty if the IAEA doesn't support Iran's nuclear activities.

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IRNA Attacks Keyhan and managing Editor Hossein Shariatmadari

IRNA SAYS KEYHAN IS A MEDIA MAFIA CONTROLLED BY MONOPOLISTS: "IRNA SAYS KEYHAN IS A “MEDIA MAFIA” CONTROLLED BY “MONOPOLISTS”

PARIS-TEHRAN 22TH July (IPS) As promised, the officials news agency of the Islamic Republic (IRNA) started Saturday the first “instalment” of a series aimed at “disclosing” the “media mafia” formed by the radical daily “Keyhan”, the mouthpiece of the hard liners and particularly the activities of its managing Editor Hossein Shariatmadari.

Considering the fact that the Managing Editor of IRNA is named by the Islamic Guidance Minister while Keyhan’s is appointed by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, many observers interpreted the now open “pen war” between the two medias “colossus” not only the continuation of the ongoing power struggle between the conservatives and the reformists but also between President Mohammad Khatami and the leader of the regime, the flag bearer of the fundamentalists.

IRNA explained its decision to answer Keyhan’s unabated attacks was taken after the paper, considered as the “mouthpiece of the Intelligence community” not only accused the news agency’s coverage of last year’s attack of students dormitories by security forces as “biased” but also denouncing it as “defending foreign interests”.

In response, Keyhan, known for its vitriolic articles against reformists and dissident intellectuals, said what aroused IRNA’s wrath was the paper’s “divulgation” of the names of some Iranian journalists and intellectuals who received money from the United States.

Following a recent statement by Mr. Khameneh'i against “Western-type” reforms and “American reformers”, Keyhan accused some reformist journalists and intellectuals, namely Dr. Abdolkarim Sorush, an Islamist philosopher and Hojjatoleslam Mohsen kadivar, a reformist theologian who just came out of prison for “receiving money” from the New-Yrok-based Human Rights Watch.

Both men denied the grant and Mr. Kadivar said he would sue Keyhan for defamation, but Mr. Shariatmadari, a former interrogator of dissidents and intelligence officer of the Revolutionary Guards continued his unfounded charges, warning that he would publish more names of people who got money from the United States.

“The coordinated attempts by the media section of the violence-seeking faction went to such an extent that some people stormed the agency and threatened to throw officials of the news agency out of window”, an unidentified spokesman for IRNA said in a statement.

As a result, menace and "organised threatening phone calls” against the news agency have been resumed once again by Kayhan, the statement went on, revealing that the staff of IRNA were subject to threats and pressures in the course of elections in the past, especially during presidential elections.

“The pictures available at the agency show that the monopolist Mafia and those advocating violence are only a handful of known agents who are being supported by certain power centres and are seeking domination over the information flow in the country with no fear of being confronted”, the spokesman pointed out

Under the title of “How the Media Mafia Was Formed in Keyhan”, IRNA starts by revealing the activities of the “team” that rule over Keyhan under the leadership of a certain “H. SH” (the initials of Mr. Hossein Shariatmadari) it describes as “a former prisons interrogator who learned the business of bulletin writing in a certain centre (Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Unit).

“A media mafia has been formed within the Persian-language afternoon daily “Kayhan” for quite a long time now and works to implement a policy of violence”, IRNA says, adding that “a person, with the initial "H-Sh" who worked with the daily's distribution cooperative for some time, was moved to a centre where he was able to start the work of spreading accusations and fabricating offences”.

According to IRNA, it was in the Qezel Hesar Prison “where he spent several years” that Mr Shariatmadari founded a team made of repentant members from the outlawed “Arman Mostaz’afin” (Ideals of the Deprived) he latter introduced to Keyhan and charged with collecting political and intelligence background information on reformers and dissidents.

"H-Sh", together with other persons with the initials "M-M" (Mohammad Mohajeri, Deputy Editor) "H-S" (Hossein Saffar-Harandi) and "R-A" (Reza Amini) launched a disinformation campaign that capitalised on takingbiased stances against certain publications as well as the country's cultural sector”, IRNA said. said.

The agency goes on revealing that Keyhan’s Managing Editor had also a hand in the preparation and broadcasting of notorious programs such as "Peyda va Penhan" (Visible and Hidden) and "Hoviyat" (Identity) where leading journalists, politicians, scholars and intellectuals would randomly and indiscriminatingly be accused as being on the “foreigners” payroll.

Observers noted that by pointing to the “close collaboration” of Mr. Shariatmadari with the “Voice and Visage” (Radio and Television) that is directly controlled by Mr. Khameneh’i, IRNA has also revealeds indirectly the activities of this organisation in defaming dissidents.

Mr. Ahmad Zeydabadi, a Tehran-based independent journalist noted that while IRNA, as a State-controlled media, had a limited framework in its activities and reporting, the Radio and Television, also State-owed, was not controlled by the Government, “broadcasting mostly news and views of one side of the ruling powers”.

“As revealed by one of the team's disgruntled members, investigations conducted by the group which could possibly have been influenced by suggestions from persons loyal to Sa’id Emami at the Information Ministry, in certain cases, revealed defamatory acts for which Kayhan was forced to apologise”, IRNA added.

An influential Deputy to former Intelligence Minister Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian, Mr. Emami, alias Sa’id Eslami, committed suicide last year in prison, after the Ministry acknowledged that a group of high ranking agents and officers led by Mr. Emami were directly involved in the savage assassination, late November 1998, of at least five prominent political and writers, including Mr. Dariush Foruhar and his wife Parvaneh Eskandari, leaders of the secularist Iranian People’s Party, writers Mohammad Mokhtari, Mohammad Ja’far Pouyandeh and political activist Piruz Davani.

Observers noted that most of IRNA’s “revelations” about the past activities of Mr. Shariatmadari were made before and with much more details by investigative journalists like Mr. Akbar Ganji or Mr. Emameddin Baqi, both of them in prison.

IRNA went even further and adopting the Law of Talion, it said “defamatory and biased” articles published by Keyhan not only projects a “violent” picture of the Islamic Republic for international opinion, but also serves as a “basis for (the Persian service) of Radio Israel and other opponents in attacking the Islamic Republic and distort the image of the regime”.

Promising that “other details (concerning Keyhan and its editorial team) would be revealed in the near future”, the Public Relation of IRNA also decided to conduct a public opnion poll about the activities of both media, making available some telephone numbers for the public to express their opinion.

However, an unwavering and arrogant Shariatmadari, in his first reaction to IRNA’s revelations, wrote that not only he was “proud” of his past and present activities but Keyhan would continue in “revealing enemies bases” in the Islamic Republic.

Asked by the Persian service of Radio France Internationale (RFI) if it was correct that “whoever aims at Mr. Shariatmadari digs his own grave?” Mr. Zeydabadi said far from being an independent media, Keyhan was an “integral part” of the current that is against the reform process in Iran, “a current that is backed and supported by very powerful centres that also control the Judiciary.

“In one word, anyone who dares to attack Keyhan buys the wrath of those centres and that of the Judiciary”, he told RFI monitored by Iran Press Service.

However, and as the “pen war” is raging between IRNA and Keyhan, Mr. Fereydun Verd-Nezhad, the news agency’s Managing Editor who is also responsible for the Persian-language daily “Iran” was summoned by Mr. Sa’id Mortazavi, the Press Court’s controversial and notorious Judge following a complaint by... Heyhan. IRNA KEYHAN 22700"

[ RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY ]

[ RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY ]: "WOMEN'S RIGHTS SEEN AS PLOT IN IRAN
Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi-Kermani, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's representative to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, said in a 17 July message to a ceremony commemorating female martyrs from Qom Province that campaigns in support of women's rights are part of the plot hatched by Iran's enemies, ISNA reported. "Islam has ensured that women will attain a lofty status," he added. "It has prepared the ground for this by defining its values and principles." Meanwhile, Isfahan parliamentary representative Akram Mosavari-Manesh said in the daily "Etemad" of 13 July that there is "serious opposition" to a bill regarding the adoption of legislation that would eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. She said the parliamentary women's faction and the presidential cabinet do not think that the bill contradicts religious law, but it is being delayed until there is a more settled atmosphere in parliament. BS"

Isfahan MP Akram Mosavari Manesh Proposes Abolition of Stoning

RFE/RL'S PERSIAN SERVICE: "MP Proposes Abolition of Stoning * Isfahan MP Akram Mosavari Manesh proposed substituting a normal death sentence in place of death by stoning. She tells RFE/RL that Ayatollah Khomeini had decreed that judges could issue death sentences in circumstances that Islamic code calls for death by stoning. (Mahmonir Rahimi) "

Janati calls for massive turnout in Iraq elections

Iran official calls for massive turnout in Iraq elections: "Iran official calls for massive turnout in Iraq elections
Posted: Friday December 17,2004 - 04:28:08 am

TEHRAN (AFP) - A senior Iranian official urged Iraqis to take part massively in next month's elections amid barely concealed expectations here that a high turnout will deliver power to the long oppressed majority who share Iran's Shiite faith.

"If you really want to have a relatively assured future, participate in the forthcoming election and vote massively for those who care about Iraq ," said Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, a leading hardline cleric who heads a powerful watchdog body that vets all legislation and candidates for public office.

"If you want to be saved, you should have a powerful (national) assembly, so you can govern yourselves," Janati said in a weekly prayer sermon broadcast live on state radio.

Janati warned Iraqis that the interim administration's US backers might be tempted to falsify the outcome in favour of pro-Western candidates.

"Iraqi clerics and other caring Iraqi personalities should supervise the elections, since they (the US-led coalition) may do things in order for the people not to reach their desired results," he said.

The main Shiite factions have formed a joint list for the January 30 polls with the backing of spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

They include the Iran-backed Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, another mainsteam religious faction called the Dawa party, and the secular Iraqi National Congress of former Pentagon favourite Ahmed Chalabi, who is now accused of being an Iranian agent.

Members of the interim government opposed to Iran have already hit out at the alliance.

"It is an Iranian list," Defence Minister Hazem Shaalan charged Wednesday adding that one of its leading candidates, Hussein al-Shahrastani, was an "agent" of a country he described as Iraq's "most dangerous enemy".

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, Friday dubbed Shaalan's comments "baseless and unwise.""