Leaders of Iran

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad appointed new Tehran mayor Chamran heads TCC

Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad appointed new Tehran mayor: press: "Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad appointed new Tehran mayor: press

Tehran, April 29, IRNA -- The Tehran City Council (TCC) has appointed Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad as the mayor of the 12-million-strong megapolis, press said Tuesday.

The Persian daily Iran cited informed sources as saying that Mehdi Chamran had also been designated as the head of the TCC. The appointments, it said, will officially be announced soon.

Ahmadi-Nejad already served as the governor of the northwestern Ardebil province. He teaches at the Science and Industry (Elm-o San'at) University of Tehran.

The Tehran City Council has been dogged by a series of internal conflicts as well as disputes with the municipality, leading to its dissolution in January by Interior Minister Abdolvahed Moussavi Lari and replacement of the city's mayor.

The dissolution came ahead of council elections which tipped the balance in the rival camp's favor.

A progressive Tehran mayor, Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi, was stripped of his post after being indicted on graft charges, which landed him in jail.

His release came with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's pardon after reportedly former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani intervened.

Municipal elections, envisaged in the 1979 Islamic Constitution, were first held in 1999 on the back of President Khatami's campaign to promote democracy and build a civil society in Iran."

Mehdi Chamran places aplaque to spite Berlin - PDKI

Irritated Iran erects a tit-for-tat plaque to spite Berlin - PDKI: "Irritated Iran erects a tit-for-tat plaque to spite Berlin

Thursday, May 13, 2004,Page 6
Iranian authorities will erect a plaque outside the German embassy tomorrow denouncing Germany's contribution to former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's chemical-weapons arsenal, in the latest tit-for-tat measure in a diplomatic spat between Berlin and Iran's clerical leaders, the official IRNA news agency said.

Tehran's conservative-controlled municipality gave the order on April 27 to put up the plaque, in a direct response to the unveiling the week before of a plaque in Berlin denouncing Iran for the 1992 murders there of four Kurdish dissidents.

"We will put up the plaque to commemorate the chemical-weapons victims in front of the German embassy on Friday," city council head Mehdi Chamran was quoted as saying by IRNA.

The ceremony will be attended by the members of the Tehran City Council, the government and military officials and veterans of the bloody 1980-1988 war against Iraq who were victims of chemical weapons.

Chamran added that the purpose of the plaque was to "support the chemical-weapons victims and to condemn the German government who sold the technology and the weapons of mass destruction to the Baathist regime of Saddam."

"Germany and the other oppressing countries are collectively responsible for these crimes and we want the Germans to ask questions of their government," Chamran added.

He also insisted that, "the German government must apologize to the Iranian nation, especially to the victims of the chemical weapons and their families."

Nearly a month ago, local officials in Berlin's Charlottenburg district unveiled a plaque marking the 1992 attack in the Mykonos restaurant.

It carries the victims' names and the words: "Murdered by the then regime in Iran. They died fighting for freedom and human rights."

A German court concluded in 1997 that the killers of the four Iranian Kurds were acting on Tehran's orders.

The decision prompted the German government to recall its ambassador and the EU to suspend dialogue with the Islamic republic for a year."

TCC Head Mehdi Chamran Reflects On Key Issues

Iran Daily: "TCC Head Reflects On Key Issues

Mehdi Chamran
Tehran Street Name Change Ratified
The issue of changing the name of Khaled Eslamboli Street continues to overshadow reestablishment of Tehran-Cairo ties.
The decision to change the street's name was made after the presidents of the two countries met in the course of the Global Information Society meeting, opening a new chapter in the history of bilateral relations. Subsequently, Egyptian officials decided to show their good intentions and change the name of Pahlavi Street in Cairo.
Khaled Eslamboli was a young Egyptian officer who assassinated former President Anwar Sadat 20 years ago after the Camp David deal.
In an interview with the head of the Tehran City Council (TCC), Mehdi Chamran, Iran Daily's Farzaneh Shokri asked about the street name change as her first question. Full text follows:

IRAN DAILY: Why was the name of Khaled Eslamboli Avenue not changed although normalization of Cairo-Tehran relations has been decided at the top level in both countries?
CHAMRAN: TCC has agreed to the street name change. All TCC members have verified this ratification. But the actual name change depends on the interaction between the Iranian and Egyptian governments.

What measures have been adopted for resolving Tehran's traffic problems and the issue of relocating the fairgrounds? What has been done to resolve the differences among the government, TCC and Tehran Municipality?
Relocating the Tehran permanent fairgrounds can help resolve many of Tehran's traffic problems, but due to the absence of a serious will among our colleagues at the Organization for Exhibitions this problem remains. It is necessary for this organization to remain impartial and agree to relocate the fairgrounds for solving the capital's traffic problems.

Most buildings of Tehran are not up to standard. Since Tehran is located on the seismic fault-line, what new ratifications has TCC made for construction projects?
From the beginning of the second round of TCC activities, we insisted that we should not have irregular construction projects. Construction projects that received permits before the second round of activities are not a topic of discussion, but we shall definitely abide by international standards for issuing new construction permits.
What about upgrading the resistance of buildings against earthquakes?
In small buildings, the desirable supervisory mechanism has not been implemented. Last year, TCC issued a ratification according to which all buildings should be issued technical identification cards. This task will be soon implemented upon the collaboration of the TCC, the Ministry of Housing and the Engineering Organization. In order to prevent irregular construction projects and abide by construction standards, the technical specifications of all new buildings will be examined by Tehran Municipality. Therefore, it is crucial that all new construction projects that receive permits present their technical calculations and designs for boosting resistance against earthquakes.

Could you tell us about the problems encountered in administering Tehran?
These problems include financial barriers, non-transparency of laws and regulations, legal contradictions and monetary problems which have essentially led to delays in implementing the Tehran subway project
If these problems are resolved, we can complete four more subway lines and resolve 25 percent of Tehran's traffic problems.
Generally speaking, the government plays a major role in resolving the problems of large cities. Tehran has its own problems since it is the capital city. The government can help us by offering financial assistance. Absence of financial resources is also responsible for the non-implementation of new highway projects and purchase of gas-powered buses from European countries for upgrading the transport sector.

Given the interaction and coordination between TCC and TM, the traffic and environmental conditions of Tehran was expected to improve. However, we still lag behind the ideal situation. Why is it so?
Although the TCC and TM interact effectively, the problems of Tehran are not being resolved in a speedy manner since TM has limited financial resources. Once TM used to sell construction density and procured its financial needs to some extent. But now this is not being done and we are facing a serious financial crisis."

Netiran> An Interview with Mehdi Chamran, Elected Tehran Councilman

Netiran>Articles>Politics>Councils>An Interview with Mehdi Chamran, Elected Tehran Councilman: "Date Added:Mar 18 2003 Print Version

An Interview with Mehdi Chamran, Elected Tehran Councilman

Syasaterooz, Daily Newspaper, Vol. 2, No. 552, Mar. 18th, 2003, Page 6
Word Count : 1954

The Feb 28 elections swept the upstart "Developers of Islamic Iran Coalition" to victory. The coalition offered a list bearing names of experts with murky political background and managed to beat the apparently powerful groups like the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the Executives of Construction Party and the Islamic Iran Solidarity Party. Eventually the little- known coalition took the helm of council affairs. But such victory in the elections rivalry and winning the public confidence represents half of the game and the remaining half is presenting an efficient and up-to-date picture of the councils.
Eyes are kept on the planning of the elected councilman in Tehran for running the urban affairs in the megalopolis.
Therefore we were prompted to seek the views of elected Tehran councilman Mehdi Chamran, a faculty member of the architecture department of Tehran University.
Mehdi Chamran

Q: Mr. Engineer! What's your assessment of the council elections?
A: Let me not offer any assessment as it lies with the analysts. It naturally needs fundamentals and preparations I have not worked on. Superficial assessments stand out and anyone offers a specific analysis but they are unacceptable. Preparations are required for any analysis. So, I will offer my analysis after I work on the preliminary affairs.

Q: My question is related to your assessment of the people's behavior in the council elections. Of course I do not want you to offer any political assessment of the councils.
A: In my judgment, the people voted an independent tendency bearing in mind the failure of political groups and factions. They were of the view that the politics should not have overshadowed the city council and that was why the candidates with good specialty in urban planning were elected.

Q: How did the Developers of Islamic Iran Coalition take shape?
A: Several friends gathered and persuaded others to join us. I personally did not approve of contesting the vote but under certain circumstances I felt it was required to provide people with independent elections. To this end, we encouraged those with specialty and experience in urban affairs to convene and form an alliance. They were specialized or experienced in architecture, urban planning, development affairs, cultural, social and sports affairs, immunization, seismic operations as well as economic, environmental or health affairs. The coalition was set up shortly and we had to find a name for the alliance in three days.

Q: So you jumped to the fray in an attempt to add to the options and persuade much more people to cast ballots.
A: I do not know. We felt so and our opinion polls proved that the people would stay away. We decided to boost the electorate turnout and thank God we managed to entice more people to vote.
Q: Do you think that the presence of your coalition in the elections swayed the electorate turnout?

A: Certainly! Those who wanted to boycott the vote came to the fore and cast their ballots. The turnout rose and it is a matter of pride for us. It constituted a great success for us to persuade so many people to vote.

Q: The press corps reported low turnout in big cities. What do you think given your judgment that many people approved of your plans?
A: Those who stayed away from voting have their own reasons and justifications and it is up to the analysts to make a scientific and reasonable analysis of this issue regardless of any political or factional affiliations.

Q: Mr. Engineer! Did you think of your victory in the polls?
A: I was pretty sure to win the elections.

Q: What made you so confident?
A: The people voted me on the coattails of my brother, Mostafa Chamran who was killed in the Iraqi imposed war. Dr Sheibani was also credited as a trans-factional, committed and devout figure who has served the Iranian establishment. He was known for his anti-shah struggles and his imprisonment and the people hold respect for such values. Therefore we felt we would win the elections.

Q: Were there other figures who turned down your invitation to join the coalition?
A: Yes, we invited certain specialists who refused to join us but others replaced them.

Q: Would you please tell us about the political and executive background of the candidates put up by the Developers of Islamic Iran Coalition? Except fro two the rest are little known.
A: All candidates have good scientific and executive backgrounds and some of them have been involved in executive affairs for 15-20 years and some others have served as university professors. They are specialized and experienced. This is a unique group as most of them are university professors with specialty in seismography, traffic control, architecture, urban planning, development as well as cultural and social affairs.

Q: How did the Developers of Islamic Iran Coalition organize its list of candidates?
A: As I said, some friends offered this suggestion and our comrades were mostly experienced in executive affairs. Therefore it was not difficult for us and we could organize the affairs shortly. We did not mull over a pervasive task and we only felt obliged to inform the people of our presence in the vote and we did not make so much progress in this field. Some friends raised our eyebrows as they told us after the elections that they did not know of our candidacy. Anyhow we tried our best to carry out our tasks and disseminate information but we could not afford any extensive campaigning.

Q: How much did you earmark for campaigning costs?
A: I did not make any specific estimate of the campaigning costs. Anyhow, a number of friends assembled and voiced their readiness to help us and we feel ashamed to accept their goodwill gesture. We had to behave so as a matter of responsibility.

Q: Did the political parties and groups advocate you?
A: As far as I remember roughly eleven political and scientific groups espoused our views by including the names of some of our candidates in their lists. For instance, the Association of Iranian Engineers included us in their lists on grounds that we were members of the association for thirty years.

Q: Did they underwrite you?
A: No, they didn't.

Q: Some tendencies attribute the low turnout in the council elections to the victory of your coalition. What do you think?
A: I don't think that this analysis is true. Had the people voted more, we would have gained much more votes.

Q: To what extent are you familiar with the urban management affairs?
A: We firstly conducted certain studies in the Tehran City Hall and as an architect I was not unacquainted with the urban affairs. I have worked on many inclusive architectural projects and for this purpose I had to undertake planning to know what I should do.

Q: What field did you concentrate your efforts on?
A: We have given priority to two categories of affairs; The first group constitutes the emergency affairs like regulating the architectural and urban planning affairs to make decisions on the basis of scientific criteria. For instance, building construction and density need such urgent planning. The second group constitutes affairs which are not urgent but they might show their impacts in the future.
For example, urban construction, green space, traffic control and subway can create positive developments or arise problems in the future. Such issues are given priority.

Q: Did you set up any committee to accomplish your goals?
A: Regardless of the committees required by the organizational chart to be set up and need to be revised, we started categorizing special fields immediately after the elections results were announced. For example, we included development, architecture, beautification, immunization and even seismography and traffic control in one category to be handled by a single committee. Another committee was set up to cope with planning, yet another one to deal with budgeting and other committees to deal with social, cultural and sports affairs.

Q: Can you tell us about the combination of such committees?
A: The combination was based on the specialty of councilmen but I refuse to announce the makeup for the moment because no organized job has been done yet.

Q: What is your strategic slogan in running the city council?
A: We try to not chant slogans and our strategy is serving the residents of Tehran. I was born in a downtown district of Tehran and lived there for around 30 years. My parents still live there and anyhow we want to be good and honest servants for the people of Tehran.

Q: The City Council should elect a mayor and now speculation is rife over new Tehran mayor. Have you reached a consensus on election of the mayor?
A: We are considering a number of candidates based on the rules and regulations we have announced earlier and notably based on the guidelines of the Supreme Leader. We are undertaking surveillance to reach a final option.

Q: What are the Tehran City Council's expectations of the mayor?
A: Any mayor should be qualified to shoulder such heavy burden. He should be also righteous, brave, frugal and disciplined.

Q: Do your options have such characteristics?
A: Rarely can you find someone with the entire characteristics but many people might have them relatively. We are focusing our efforts on finding the best.

Q: The political circles are rife with the speculation that the Tehran City Hall would undergo major developments and alterations in the future after a mayor is elected. What do you think?
A: We welcome any development or alteration if based on regulations. Anyone advocates reforming evolution but we oppose any imbroglio. Clearly speaking, those who have done well can continue their work and of course we will substitute better figures for those now at work. I reject the idea of reshuffle.

Q: What's your anticipation? Will such reshuffle take place in the Tehran City Hall?
A: I don't think so. Of course, shakeup differs from reshuffle. It is unreasoned to replace those at work with new ones without any justification.

Q: Is the mayor elected by an ad hoc committee in the City Council or the whole councilmen should reach consensus?
A: The entire councilmen should reach consensus. We have defined qualifications and we will try to find the best mayor.

Q: What would happen to Hamshahri newspaper?
A: We have not made any specific decision yet. A decision in this respect has to be reasonable, precise and accurate. After we elect a mayor we would make up our minds about Hamshahri.

Q: What do you think about the rumors of delegating the license of Hamshahri to other institutions?
A: Coincidentally we have conducted a study to distinguish legal and illegal aspects and it seems that its license could not be diverted legally. We have not started our work and Hamshahri is run by another entity.

Q: What shall you do if Hamshahri goes under the authority of any other institution?
A: We will do what we approve of. But we do not favor any such delegation of authority. Anything owned by the Municipality should be run by itself. Everyone should be patient and any change should not disturb the entire affairs.

Q: When will you name the future mayor of Tehran?
A: We will try to introduce the mayor within the legal deadline.

Q: Mr. Chamran, we thank you.
A: Welcome."