International AffairsFM attends trilateral meeting (Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan) in Nakhchivan; meets Turkish counterpart to discuss nuclear talks between Iran and Group 5+1 – Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi arrived in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan to attend the second trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and the Azerbaijan Republic. At the meeting, the three countries called for joint cooperation on investment, border issues, customs, transportation and transit, communications, science and technology, tourism, energy, common cultural heritage, the fight against terrorism, organized crimes, and drug smuggling. Salehi and his Turkish counterpart held a separate meeting on the sidelines of the tripartite meeting to discuss upcoming nuclear talks between Iran and Group 5+1, most probably to be held in Turkey.
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to visit Iran in late March.
Majlis Speaker congratulates Egyptian counterpart – Congratulating Ahmad Fahmy, Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani wrote, “I am pleased to cordially congratulate the inauguration of the brotherly Arabian Republic of Egypt’s parliament and you personally on your election as its Speaker.” Larijani expressed the Majlis readiness to expand parliamentary ties with the Egyptian parliament, based on mutual interests and common Islamic principles.
Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance visiting Jakarta – The Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, arrived in Indonesia on March 7 to attend the inauguration ceremony of Iranian Cultural Week in Indonesia. During his five-day stay in Indonesia, Hosseini will participate in a seminar called “Iran’s role in Islamic civilization”. At the opening ceremony Husseini said, “The enemies of Islamic countries are attempting now to create a rift among Muslims, and we should foil the enemies’ plots by holding several such programs in line with the expansion and development of our cultural ties”. A seminar called “Farsi as a Language of Thinking and Intellect” has been held at the University of the Philippines, sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s cultural attaché in Manila. More
Majlis authorized to consider civil cases against foreign governments – The Majlis has approved the authority of the judiciary to investigate civil cases against foreign governments. According to the law, private and legal persons can sue foreign governments at the Tehran Justice Department to prevent violations of international law.
The Global March to Jerusalem to reach Iran on March 14 – Hossein Shaikh al-Eslam, who served as the Secretary of the Board of the Global March to Jerusalem in Iran, stressed in the Majlis meeting that the Asian branch of the march would pass through Iran and continue through the cities of Zahedan, Keramen, Yazd, Isfahan, Qom and Tehran. It would then travel to Turkey from Tabriz. Al-Eslam called on Iranian officials to support the march and join the ranks to neutralize the Zionist propaganda against the march.
New envoy to South Africa appointed – Mohammad Faraji has been appointed as Iran’s new envoy to South Africa.
Ambassador, wife injured in road accident in Pakistan – Ambassador to Pakistan and his wife were injured in a road accident when a firefighting tanker rammed into their car after demolishing the concrete barrier wall.
Military AffairsIAEO Denies Finding New Uranium Ores – Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization has denied reports that it discovered four uranium ores in Yazd. The news of the discovery of uranium ores was published by Keyhan newspaper and several news agencies on March 6.
Ambassador to the IAEA: Iranian nuclear scientists should not be deprived of IAEA nuclear safety science and IAEA-related meetings – Ambassador to UN atomic watchdog, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said that “Nuclear safety is a technical issue that contributes directly to the human life internationally; politicizing nuclear safety is not logical.” He underlined that depriving Iranian nuclear scientists of the IAEA nuclear safety meetings and committees under the pretext of political resolutions is against IAEA letter of constitution and the international concerns in this field. He noted, “Members of IAEA board of governors expect the IAEA Secretary General as well as Japanese nuclear officials to transfer their experience with the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe to the world in order to prevent similar incidents.”
Iran to launch National Supercomputer Network to be used for weather forecast, defense industry and research design – Vice President for Scientific and Technological Affairs, Nasrin Soltankhah, has announced that the national supercomputer network will be inaugurated with the installation of 12 supercomputers across Iran by the year’s end (the Iranian calendar ends 20 March). She added that these supercomputers will be used for weather forecasts, defense industry and research design. Nasrin Soltankhah said that the Shaykh Baha’i and Amir Kabir national supercomputers were launched last year, and in the second phase of this project, the national supercomputer network will be launched with the installation and connection of ten more supercomputers.
a) Communications Minister: Internal networks would be separated from Internet by launching national information network – Communications Minister Reza Taghipour said internal networks would be separated from the Internet by launching a national information network. “Internet can be used inside Iran as well as national information network for general use and reception of that kind of data not available on the national network…. The Internet, by its very essence, is an unsafe network. It will be changed to a safe network for the government’s electronic exchanges through the launch of the national grid and use of locally-made software.” Taghipour said that the issue of security would be resolved by running the national network, adding the national information network needs complete cooperation of the public and private sector since it will not work like the Internet at the beginning.
b) Press TV technical team: Security countermeasures foiled US and Israeli hackers’ cyber-attack on the website – According to the Press TV report, a recent cyber-attack launched by US and Israeli hackers against its website failed to take it down. Press TV maintained that the effective security countermeasures taken by the Press TV technical team foiled the cyber-attack on the website. Press TV claimed that this was not the first cyber-attack. A similar attack was launched on the website on February 18, from 7:50 a.m. to 10:05 a.m. local time which also failed. The report further stated that the recent attacks against the Press TV website follow an attempt on January 19 by British technicians operating from Bahrain to jam Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting channels on the Hotbird satellite, including Press TV. The blocked channels included provincial channels and a number of international channels such as Press TV, Al-Alam, Al-Kowsar, Jam-e Jam and Sahar.
Iran plans to build new domestically produced satellite carrier – Iran plans to build a new domestically produced satellite carrier with a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before the end of the its Fifth Five-Year Development Plan (2010-2015). Director of Iran’s Aerospace Industry Organization, Mehdi Farahi, said that the design and production of satellite carrier rockets with a range of 1,000 kilometers are given a high priority.
Economic Affairs21-percent inflation forecast for Iranian economy for the last Iranian year (ends 19 March) – Abolfazl Akrami, the economic director-general of the Central Bank, Bank-e Markazi, has predicted 21-percent inflation for the Iranian year ending March 19. Previously, economic officials had predicted 18-percent inflation for the same year. Abolfazl Akrami said that “The fluctuations in the foreign exchange and coin markets caused the inflation rate to be slightly higher than Bank-e Markazi’s inflation target.” Iran’s Central Bank recently issued letters to all Iranian banks asking them to pay the Central Bank for the difference of foreign exchange rates. The Central Bank of Iran has tightened its control of other banks, and the Central Bank’s credit commission has also forbidden all banks and non-banking credit organizations from granting any kind of concessions, both in foreign and in local currency, to money changers for dealing in foreign currency and gold.
Ministry of Economic Affairs denies reports that government hid $4 billion from Finance – Alam Reza Amin Raftari, General Director of the Treasury in Iran’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, denied a complaint by the Majlis Budgetary Committee regarding failure to deposit $4 billion from oil profit into the coffers of the Finance Ministry, claiming that the oil profits were deposited and transferred to the country’s treasury.
Human RightsProminent reformist urges critic of Ayatollah Khamenei to give up the idea of burning himself in protest – Pro-reform cleric Mohsen Kadivar asked dissident writer and filmmaker Mohammad Nurizad, a critic of Ayatollah Khamenei, to give up the idea of burning himself and continue writing in order to reveal the negative characteristics Iranian regime. “As a brother, I ask you to get rid of the idea of burning yourself. The movement to criticize guile, hypocrisy, deceit, corruption and tyranny in the current regime needs your style, your writing method and artistic views,” Kadivar said. He categorized Iranian clerics into three groups and said, “One of the groups may be sympathetic with you, but it is unwise to expect them to do anything. Another group cannot tolerate your criticism, and you should be thankful if they do not issue a decree against you. The last group would praise you for your critical, views but may not necessarily agree with you. The braveness and sacrifice of late Grand Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri is not enough.”
Mehr news agency managing director released on bail – Reza Moqaddasi, managing director of Iran’s Mehr news agency, has been released on a USD 82,000 bail. He was arrested following a complaint by the Iranian government on March 7.
Plight of Iranian cinema – The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has released a short video highlighting the plight of Iranian cinema. The recent Academy Award for the Iranian film A Separation has once again put Iranian cinema in the spotlight for its original reflection of daily societal issues. This international acclaim comes at the same time as the Iranian government continues its increased targeting and persecution of Iranian actors and filmmakers (VIDEO). Members of Iran’s independent film industry face enormous pressure from the government, simply for pursuing their career. The Iranian government sees independent filmmakers who stray from the official narrative and strive for an honest portrayal of Iranian society as a threat.
Domestic AffairsBook Censorship: Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance refuses to review prominent publisher’s books – The department of book publications at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is refusing to review books from “Sales [Cheshmeh] Publications”, a prominent publishing house specializing in the humanities, meaning that it has no permission to publish books. Following the suspension of its publication certificate, the department of book publications has not issued any publication permits for books submitted by “Sales Publications” since early this week. Mehr News Agency has reported that no explanation has been given for this.
Ministry of Islamic Guidance prevents publication of children’s book and imposes obstacles on children’s authors – Author and publisher Farideh Kahlatabari criticized the process of issuing permits to publish children’s and young adult books, stressing that the process imposes tremendous financial difficulties on publishers. In the current system, the publisher must send the Ministry of Islamic Guidance final copy of the book in order to obtain approval, which means that it pays for all expenses involved in the publication of the book without knowing whether the book will be approved for sale and publication. She added that most books are not approved by the Ministry of Islamic Guidance for unprofessional reasons. She also says that government publishers or government-affiliated publishers never encounter these issues. She discussed a book titled Elmira about a sick three-year-old girl, who despite her parents’ dedicated care, ultimately dies. The book was not approved for publication. Another book did not receive approval, because the claim was that the angel of death mentioned in the story was female and not male. The head of the Cultural Division in the Ministry of Islamic Guidance approved a USD 1 million loan to authors and publishers of religious texts, especially those working in Qom in order to “support ideological religious writings.”
Daneshju Dynasty in Azad University – Farhad Daneshju, who was recently appointed Dean of the Iranian Islamic Azad University, has appointed his brother Khosro Daneshju as his adviser, and also as Dean of the Science and Research Faculty, which is Azad University’s most important faculty. Farhad and Khosro Daneshju are the brothers of Kamran Daneshju, incumbent Minister of Science, Research and Technology.
Majlis member: Islam bans women from having power over men – Hojjatolislam Mohammad Ibrahim Nakunam stressed the need that all laws and regulations in the country be based on Islamic law and the Sharia, and added that Islam prohibited a woman from having power over a man. Accordingly, he suggests that Article 2 of the Addendum to the Law to Support the Nuclear Family granting women the right to prevent their spouse from working in a job that does not comply with the family interests or the woman’s dignity infringes on the religious law and must be repealed.
Police seize large number of firecrackers – Fathollah Zamanian, responsible for combating the smuggling of currency and goods said that police have seized a large number of firecrackers. “Some 45,141,535 firecrackers have been seized and 117 people arrested on charges of trafficking dangerous materials. They were handed over to judicial authorities.” Zamanian said that the police also had seized 4,075 kg of raw materials for making improvised firecrackers. Iranians usually use firecrackers to celebrate the new year.