Friday, November 20, 2009

News briefs - Friday 20 November 2009

  • The Islamic regime has vowed that 7 million Basijis will rally on Friday, November 27, 2009, on the occasion of Basij Week. No official routes have been announced for the day's marches. This follows reports that over 30,000 Basij militiamen were bused into Tehran and paid 400,000 toumans each to counter anti-regime protesters on November 4. This plan was allegedly hatched by the new commander of the Basij, IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, and cost $14 million.

  • Some mobile telephone owners have been randomly receiving SMS messages warning them to stay away from political demonstrations, according to Tabnak news site, close to former Revolutionary Guards commander and presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaee. Such messages were also dispatched prior to the November 4 protest rallies across the country. The regime appears concerned by opposition plans to organize mass rallies on December 7. The text of the latest message: 'You have been identified as a participant in post-election gatherings and must refrain from such participation from now on.' One such message landed on the mobile telephone of a bakery worker in Khuzestan province. The man told Tabnak's reporter, 'I haven't been to Tehran in years.'

  • And if you missed the SMS message, Prosecutor General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei voiced his own warning about December 7 at a press conference yesterday. 'The judiciary is determined to firmly deal with any new unrest on the part of those protesting the results of the presidential election,' Mohseni Ejei said. 'Any action that disturbs the regime will be confronted without any restraint and no excuse will be acceptable.'

  • Rooz news site has obtained email correspondence between deceased Kahrizak witness Ramin Pourandarjani and two of his friends days before his suspicious death. Pourandarjani reportedly told one of his friends that he had met with two intelligence agents from Leader Ali Khamenei's office. The men had asked the young doctor to reveal everything he knew about the Kahrizak atrocities for a report that they were preparing for Khamenei. A day later, Pourandarjani had started receiving telephone threats. Several days later, he was summoned by the judiciary once again.

  • Amir Ali Soltan, a member of Mir Hossein Mousavi's presidential campaign staff, was arrested yesterday.

  • Two Shiraz University students were arrested on Tuesday with the complicity of university officials. Neda Eskandari and Khadijeh Ghahremani had been summoned before the university's disciplinary committee for having participated in the November 4 protest rallies. They were arrested by intelligence agents when they arrived for the committee hearing.

  • The Supreme Audit Court reported to the energy committee of the Majlis that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government had failed to transfer $1 billion in revenue from gas and oil sales to the country's treasury. The sum was to have been transferred by the Oil Ministry. Instead of demanding answers from the government, 65 legislators have responded with a bill limiting the Audit Court's powers and its ability to communicate information.