Some of Iran’s most senior politicians yesterday publicly challenged supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei by boycotting the ceremony in which he endorsed Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad as president.
In an embarrassing snub, former presidents Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, a conservative, and Mohammad Khatami, a reformist, refused to attend the meeting as part of their efforts to deprive the next government of legitimacy. [continued…]
Sam Tradeau, the New York representative for Reporters Without Borders, said that Newsweek initially tried to limit public comments about Mr. Bahari’s arrest, “believing this would be the most efficient way to secure his release, especially because the charges against him were completely baseless and ridiculous.”
But “the fact that Bahari was forced to give a false confession, and will now have to stand trial on extremely serious charges without being able to have his lawyer present, a right guaranteed to him by the Iranian Constitution, has put Newsweek in a much more urgent situation,” Mr. Tradeau said.
Newsweek now includes a prominent call to “Free Maziar Bahari” on its home page. The magazine has placed full-page advertisements in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other publications calling for his release. It has also asked readers to sign an online petition. [continued…]
Iran has become “the world’s biggest prison for journalists,” the Paris-based advocacy group Reporters Without Borders reports. After opening the country to the foreign press during the presidential elections on June 12, the regime dramatically reversed course afterward, when hundreds of thousands of Iranians flooded the streets to protest the election’s outcome.
All foreign media were expelled, while the country’s own reporters were systematically rounded up and detained. Many have been taken to undisclosed locations, where they have had no communication with their families and no access to lawyers. Some have not been heard from in weeks, and some, like Amir-Hossein Mahdavi, editor in chief of Andisheh-ye Now, have suddenly popped up on state-run television to “confess” that the media’s allegations of election fraud were nothing more than a foreign plot to launch a velvet revolution in Iran. [continued…]
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that she was “concerned” about three Americans detained in Iran and that the United States had not received any information from Iran about their fate since they crossed into the country from northern Iraq last week.
Clinton’s statement came after the head of the Iranian parliament’s foreign policy committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, confirmed the arrest of the Americans on Sunday, according to Iranian television. Iran’s Arabic-language network said in a news bulletin on Monday, quoting Iraqi police sources, that the Americans were “CIA agents.” The Iranian government, however, did not immediately endorse that claim. [continued…]
Mousavi’s supporters are trying to get the bazaar on his side. One of the marches in the weeks after Iran’s June election went from Imam Khomeini Square past Tehran’s main bazaar. According to a witness, thousands of bazaaris closed their shops so they could stand outside and watch hundreds of thousands of green-clad protesters silently walk by. In fact, the route had been designed to draw Iran’s merchants and workers into the growing opposition coalition to make it seem as if it had the support of Iran’s commercial sector.
While Ahmadinejad had his tax run-in with the bazaar, Mousavi does not have a positive record with many bazaaris either. Older bazaaris can still remember Mousavi the firebrand leftist, who as Prime Minister in the 1980s was associated with price controls and food cooperatives during the Iran-Iraq war. But younger managers and workers generally express support for Mousavi, even though, as one pointed out, “Mousavi never visited the bazaar before the election.” Bazaaris felt slighted by the snub, and since the bazaar’s merchants are still a main conduit to Iran’s smaller towns and rural areas, this was undoubtedly communicated outside the bazaar as well. [continued…]