Spotlight on Iran
Spotlight on Iran
Spotlight on Iran
Spotlight on Iran
a cartoon by Nikahang Kowsar
Towhid Tunnel opens in Tehran
international film festival in Iran in service of struggle against Zionism
Source: Fars news agency
Source: The official website of the Supreme Leader
Highlights of the week
Opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi in an interview marking the Islamic revolution’s 31st anniversary: the revolution failed to abolish dictatorship in Iran
In a special interview granted last week by opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi to the reformist website Kalemeh for the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution, Mousavi said that the revolution was unable to rid Iran of dictatorship.
Mousavi noted that during the first years of the revolution, most Iranians were positive that it had managed to remove all structures that could lead to oppression and dictatorship. He used to believe that as well, but now he does not think so. The elements and foundations that may lead to dictatorship can once again be seen in Iran, and the signs of resistance to the return of the dictatorship have reappeared as well. That resistance, said Mousavi, is an important legacy of the Islamic revolution. The people’s refusal to accept the lies, forgery, and corruption to which we are now witness clearly reflects that legacy. The limitations imposed on the press, the mass arrests and merciless killing of protesters on the streets who peacefully fight for their rights—all that is an indication that the roots of oppression and dictatorship from the time of the royalist regime still exist. The Iranian people seek liberty and justice, knowing that arrests and executions for political ends are against the law and the Iranian constitution.
Referring to a statement made by Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati who in his last sermon had expressed approval of the execution of two opposition activists the week before last, Mousavi said that Jannati didn’t care whether the sentenced young men had had anything to do with the election affair. For him, their execution was only meant to scare the public. He doesn’t know that it was the blood of the martyrs that put an end to the Shah’s regime.
Mousavi added that, in light of the continuing oppression, he believed that the revolution did not attain its objectives. The revolution was accomplished by effort, and should the people back down from the fight for their rights, the dictatorship will only become worse than it was prior to the revolution, since dictatorship in the name of religion is the worst kind of dictatorship.
Mousavi also noted that he lost all faith in the juridical system. A judiciary which prosecutes those who seek freedom has drifted away from the goals of the revolution. Prisons are filled with the pure children of the nation, including students and lecturers, while the true criminals are outside the prison walls. Instead of looking for the real spies, honorable and faithful people are put to trial. "I am ashamed of not being one of the detainees”, said Mousavi.
Regarding the opposition demonstrations, Mousavi said that it was the people’s right to hold peaceful demonstrations and rallies. Iranians have no resentment for the security forces and the Basij, and clashes only happen when security forces resort to force to suppress the peaceful rallies. He called on the security forces to show mercy and kindness for civilians, and on supporters of the Green Movement not to single themselves out from the rest of the people. The Green Movement started with the people and it belongs to the people, Mousavi said. The beliefs and norms of the society as a whole must be respected, but one must not lose sight of the final objective: creating an advanced, independent, free, and united Iran. That goal requires the cooperation of all sections of Iranian society (Kalemeh, February 2).
Reformist opposition calls on Iranians to take part in processions ahead of Islamic revolution day; Revolutionary Guards threaten force to quell demonstrations
Last week, the two reformist opposition leaders Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi called on their supporters to take to the streets and participate in the Islamic revolution anniversary processions, to be marked on February 11.
In a meeting the two leaders held the weekend before last, both condemned the execution of two opposition activists the week before last, claiming that they had been in no way involved in the riots which broke out in Iran following the presidential elections, and that they had been arrested even before the elections. They said that the executions were meant to cause panic among Iranians ahead of the revolution day rallies. They also issued a call to release political prisoners, to lift the restrictions imposed on the media, and to hold free elections (Rah-e Sabz, January 30).
Expediency Discernment Council chairman Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani also called on Iranian citizens to take part in the February 11 rallies. He called on all political factions to turn the rallies into a demonstration of political unity, warning that any conflicts or clashes on Revolution Day would serve the interests of Iran’s enemies. The revolution anniversary has always been a symbol of the people’s unity and loyalty to the Islamic republic, Rafsanjani said (various news agencies, January 30).
Even as the two opposition leaders called on their supporters to join the Revolution Day rallies, last weekend a Revolutionary Guards senior commander warned opposition activists not to take advantage of the Revolution Day for disrupting public order. Hossein Hamedani, the Revolutionary Guards chief in Tehran Province, said that the security forces would treat anyone who chooses to protest on that day as a foreign agent rather than part of the Iranian people. At a press conference in which he presented the deployment of the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran Province for the Revolution Day events, Hamedani said that the Revolutionary Guards would not allow the reformist opposition to demonstrate during the Revolution Day events. Revolution Day is not a day for protesting against the government and its policy but rather a day of national unity. According to Hamedani, the security forces would not allow the expression of any voice, color, or movement which do not reflect the Iranian people and the Islamic revolution, and will use force against anyone attempting to spark riots on that day (ISNA, January 30).
Bahman 22 [February 11] according to [judiciary chief] Sadeq Larijani
(a cartoon by Nikahang Kowsar, http://www.khodnevis.org/persian, January 31)
Majles speaker Ali Larijani also warned against turning the Revolution Day rallies into a venue for political bickering. He said that the Revolution Day must become a symbol of unity against foreigners and increase the strength of the Iranian people in its stand against the schemes of the US and Israel (ILNA, February 2).
Conservative Majles member Mohammad Javad Abtahi also addressed the expected participation of reformist opposition activists in the Revolution Day rallies. In an interview granted to the Asr-e Iran website, Abtahi said that there was no reason why the reformist opposition leaders and their supporters should not take part in the Revolution Day rallies, provided they did not use them for twisting the slogans of the revolution and chanting slogans contradictory to the spirit of the revolution (Asr-e Iran, February 1).
Meanwhile, the reformist website Emrouz reported last week (February 2) that security forces had massively deployed across Tehran. According to the website, the authorities act to prevent in advance any attempts by opposition elements to disturb public order on Revolution Day by creating deterrence, performing preventive arrests, carrying out sentences against those arrested in the previous riots, and extensive propaganda against the reformist opposition on official and pro-government media.
Towhid Tunnel opens in Tehran after two and a half years of construction works
The Towhid Tunnel opened in Tehran last Monday (February 1). At 2136 meters in length, it is considered one of the longest tunnels in the Middle East. Stretching from northern to southern Tehran, the tunnel connects the highways of Chamran and Navab Safavi. The construction of the tunnel was designed to alleviate the severe transport problems in the city, lessen air pollution levels, and considerably reduce the gas consumption of private vehicles in Tehran.
The construction of the tunnel lasted only about 31 months, and it cost over 200 million dollars. About 3400 people worked on the construction project carried out by the Tehran municipality, and it is considered the largest project ever carried out in Tehran. The tunnel was constructed with the use of advanced engineering technologies, and should be able to withstand earthquakes. The tunnel has three lanes in each direction, with a speed limit of 60 km/h.
During the tunnel’s opening ceremony, it was traversed by 31 buses accompanied by motorcycles and police cars to mark the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution, which began last week (ILNA, January 31).
The opening of the tunnel is considered yet another important achievement of Tehran’s mayor, Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf, who succeeded Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the latter was elected president in 2005. Since he assumed office, Ghalibaf, considered a particularly successful mayor, made efforts to improve the public transportation infrastructure in his city, expand the network of roads, and restore the city’s streets. He significantly increased the city budget and managed to bring in considerable investments from both the private sector and foreign investors for municipal development projects.
A moderate conservative, Ghalibaf is considered one of President Ahmadinejad’s strongest political adversaries. In the presidential elections of 2005, Ghalibaf came in fourth after obtaining less than 14 percent of the electoral vote. In 2009 Ghalibaf decided not to run for presidency despite heavy pressure exerted on him by government critics in the conservative camp.
On the backdrop of the political struggle between Ghalibaf and President Ahmadinejad, news websites affiliated with the pragmatic reformist camp and with the mayor of Tehran claimed last week that official media avoided full coverage of the tunnel opening ceremony due to political pressure exerted on them (Farda, February 1).
"Saturday Hunter” movie: international film festival
in Iran in service of struggle against Zionism
The 28th International Fajr Film Festival ended in Tehran last week. Shown at the festival, which was boycotted by many filmmakers this year due to the political events in Iran, were dozens of Iranian movies and several foreign movies from such countries as China, India, and Bangladesh.
Among the movies competing for the Crystal Simorgh was also a film called Saturday Hunter (Shekarchi-e Shanbeh) by director Parviz Sheikh-Tadi. Last week, it was described by the conservative Fars news agency as one of the most influential movies dealing with "the Zionists’ crimes” (Fars, February 2).
Set in Israel, the movie tells the tale of a boy named Binyamin who is mentally abused and brainwashed by his grandfather, a "Zionist rabbi”, in order to turn him into a merciless, bloodthirsty killer who would be willing to shed the blood of innocent Palestinians to realize the goals of the Zionists. Among other things, Binyamin is separated from his mother in order to emotionally prepare him to embrace the Zionist ideology. At first Binyamin resists, but gradually surrenders to his father’s will and embraces radical Jewish views.
The Zionist rabbi, played by actor Ali Nassirian, is portrayed as a sadistic, conniving religious racist who manages to turn his son into a bloodthirsty, robotic servant of Zionism. Filmed mostly in Lebanon, the movie portrays Zionist rabbis as the true power behind Israeli official institutions, and as financially and morally corrupt.
In an interview to Fars news agency, the director of the Shahid Avini Foundation, which helped produce the movie, said that the movie was designed to help in the struggle against propaganda coming from the Western media and movie industry, which, according to him, are involved in a Zionist-orchestrated attack on the religious and national beliefs of the Iranian public. Fars news agency praised the movie and even suggested screening it at international film festivals worldwide in order to lift the mask from the face of Zionism (Fars, February 2).
In recent years, the fight on Zionism and Israel has been taking a center stage in narrative and documentary television productions as well. In 2007 Iran Broadcasting aired a TV series titled "Zero Degrees Turn”, which depicted the Zionists as collaborators with the Nazis on the backdrop of a love story between an Iranian man and a French Jewish woman.
In May-June 2008, the news channel of Iran Broadcasting aired "Secrets of Armageddon”, a documentary series based to a great extent on the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", to establish the claim on a global Zionist plot to take over the world, including Iran. In March 2009, Iranian TV aired a series titled "Gilad”, dealing with the story of Ben-Hur Ben Gurio, a young Jewish trader who immigrated to Iran in the early 1960s. According to the series’ creators, the production was designed to stress the distinction supposedly made by Iran between Zionists and Jews.
Pictures of the week: new ID issued for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as part of nationwide ID issuing program
Source: Fars news agency
Source: The official website of the Supreme Leader