Foreign Enemy Watch. While Britain is the Number One target of Iranian officials and media today, another foreign foe gets some breathing space — Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi says “nothing points to Israel” in last month’s murder of postgraduate student Dariush Rezaeinejad, who was initally claimed to be associated with Iran’s defence establishment.
Press Watch. Iranian authorities have imposed a one-year banon the journal Rouyesh and put the publications Jam-e Jam and Donya-ye Javanan on one year’s probation.
Economy Watch. At least one Iranian politician is resisting the temptation to play the Britain Diversion Game today — Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf says instead that poverty, lies, discord, and economic problems are haunting Iranian society.
Meanwhile Reuters, consulting some economists, discovers that last month’s International Monetary Fund “report” on Iran’s economy is little more than a misleading press release for the regime (see EA on 14 June, 16 July, and 4 August for the same revelation).
Claim of Day. Surely the top billing on today’s play-acting over Britain has to go to the Supreme Leader — Fars proclaims that Ayatollah Khamenei predicted the unrest in England when he said this spring that the “Islamic Awakening” would soon spread to Europe.
Not-at-All-Hypocritical Watch. Back from a break to find Iranian officials and media handing out advice and criticism to their British counterparts amidst unrest in English cities….
President Ahmadinejad leads the way, declaiming on State radio, “The U.N. is silent. Human rights bodies are silent. If one percent of this happens in countries that oppose the West, they scream until they are hoarse. Why is the Security Council silent?”
State outlet Press TV backs up the President, with three of its top eight stories on “Iran” actually about “Britain”: in addition to Ahmadinejad’s speech, there are interventions by Zohreh Elahian, the head of Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, on Britain’s “racist” treatment of “protesters”, and by Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash of the National Security Committee on the “intellectual awakening” of “UK unrest”.
Foreign Affairs (Syria Front). Another sign that some of the Iranian media are beginning to dare to mention the toll of the unrest in Syria — Ayande News criticises the silence of State broadcaster IRIB, as it damages Iran’s reputation in countries of the “Islamic uprising”.
Ayande also cites the figure of Syrian activists that more than 2000 people have been killed since the uprising began in mid-March.
Economy Watch. Khabar Online reports that economic stagnation has hit Iran’s import sector, with a 13% decrease in the Iranian year from March 2010 to March 2011. The site says Iran’s balance of trade deficit was $38 billion during the year.
We have opened the second part of our special rolling feature on the list of more than 100 journalists who have been detained since June 2009.
Cartoon of the Day. As the Iranian regime promotes the Islamic Awakening around the world and pays close attention to “protesters” in Britain, Maya Nayestani pointedly noted the overseas case that Tehran is not as keen to mention.
Nayestani’s old man tells Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, “Spit on your honour, Bashar! You choose the wrong one for a recipe, he [the Iranian leadership] couldn’t swallow the morsel himself.”
As we continue our running special on the more than 100 journalists in Iran who have been imprisoned since the June 2009 Presidential election, we note another initiative by Masih Alinejad and translator Azita Irani, who document the detention of 30 attorneys.
Some of the names are familiar to readers outside Iran, such as that of Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, but the punishment of others on the list has attracted less notice. Consider, for example, of Abdolfattah Soltani:
A well known Iranian lawyer and co-founder of the Center for Defenders of Human Rights, Abdolfattah Soltani was arrested in his office on 16 June 2009, days after the presidential elections.
Mr. Soltani’s stellar resume includes defense cases for political and human rights activists such as Akbar Ganji; Zahra Kazemi; Zahra Bani-Yaghoub; Haleh Esfandiari’ and many members of the National-Religious Party and the Bus-Drivers Union. Although previously arrested and jailed for seven months on espionage charges, his arrest in the aftermath of presidential elections was for “tarnishing the elections”. His family was kept in the dark about his whereabouts for the first month of his two-month incarceration. When his wife, Masoumeh Dehghani, kept notifying the media about her husband’s circumstances, she was arrested in July 2009.
In an interview with Radio Farda, his wife had said that, long before his arrest, Soltani had repeatedly filed complaints against the then Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, Judge Raasekh and Judge Haddad [over the abuse of prisoners]….Soltani and his wife have been accused of “supporting political prisoners’ families” by spending the monetary portion of their Nurembeg Award for Human Rights.
Like many other political and human rights activists, Soltani is banned from leaving the country. He is temporarily free on $100,000 bail; his wife on $30,000.