Published in German “Handelsblatt” on December 22 2009
http://www.handelsblatt.com/politik/international/ahmadinedschad-der-westen-erzeugt-bei-uns-brechreiz;2503523

Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinedschad. Source: dpa

One day after the renewed mass protests against the government of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran, this arch conservative politician attacked the West, saying that the allegations made against his country were a “joke” and causing “nausea”.

HB TEHERAN. „The West should know that the Iranian government today is ten times stronger than one year ago”, said Ahmadinejad in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz on Tuesday. His speech was live broadcasted on the news channel Khabar.

Ahmadinejad continued calling allegations that Iran is planning to construct a nuclear bomb a bad joke. “They cause nausea for us and our nation”, said Ahmadinejad. “If we wanted to construct an atomic bomb, we would have enough courage to admit it”, he stressed. Last week, on the backdrop of alleged secret documents, new rumours had emerged that Iran is planning to construct an atomic bomb within four years.

On Monday, tens of thousands of opposition supporters in Iran had used the mourning ceremony for the dissident Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri for a mass protest against the government of Ahmadinejad. The president has been facing exceptional criticism since his re-election on 12. June, that is highly controversial due to fraud allegations.

Ahmadinejad rejected a deadline set by the United States by year-end to accept a UN proposal on the nuclear conflict. The proposal provides for exchange of enriched uranium for prefabricated fuel rods. Thus, the stocks of enriched uranium in the country should be reduced. The West could set as many deadlines for Iran as it wishes, said Ahmadinejad. “It does not make a difference for us.”

This article was published in English by Spiegel Online on December 22 2009.
It contains quotes from from coverage on Montazeri’s death of various German news sources
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,668596,00.html

Published in German weekly magazine “Stern” on December 22 2009
Source (German): http://www.stern.de/panorama/jahresrueckblick/jahresrueckblick-2009/jahresrueckblick-2009-die-zehn-helden-des-jahres-1526086.html

© AFP

Leading: Protest icon Neda
For two weeks, many people in Iran were taking to the streets, protesting against the outcome of the presidential election. After a protest rally in Tehran in June, the protester Neda Agha Soltan was shot in the middle of the street. Someone filmed her violent death with a cellphone, and the video was circulated on the internet. The pictures of the dying young woman spread around the world like wild fire, making her an icon of the protest movement in Iran. Far beyond the borders of Iran, the face of the 26 year old woman stands for the bravery and despair of the Iranian people in their defiance of the regime. Her story gives evidence of the indiscriminate violence that president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahs use against peaceful citizens in order to remain in power.

Published in “Focus” on December 22 2009
Source (German): http://www.focus.de/politik/ausland/iran-mussawi-als-akademie-praesident-abgesetzt_aid_465436.html

The regime in Iran takes a toughened stance. An opposition leader was forced to leave his post as an academy president. Hundreds of militias devastated the house of a dissident cleric.

Mir Hossein Moussavi. Photo: AFP


The Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution has dismissed Mir Hossein Moussavi. This was announced by Fars Mohammad Mohammadian, a member of the council, according to the state-run news agency Fars. Moussavi will be succeeded by Ali Moalem Damghani. The Council of the Cultural Revolution is headed by president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Moussavi ran the academy since its foundation in 1999. The former prime minister and challenger to incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the presidential elections in June had repeatedly called into question the outcome of the election, and accused the leadership in Tehran of electoral fraud. The Academy of Arts is a state-run institution supervised by the president’s office, and its purpose is to preserve Islamic and national art, and “counter intrusive cultures”.

Office of a dissident attacked
Moussavi had attended the mourning ceremony for the dissident Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri on Monday. According to eyewitnesses, tens of thousands of mourners as well as numerous reformists were present at the ceremony that took place 130 km South of Tehran. Observers spoke of a political rally against Ahmadinejad. Montazeri in his lifetime had been a harsh critic of the ultra conservative president.

On Tuesday, militias responded to the protests by attempts of intimidation: Hundreds of supporters of the president attacked the office of reformist Grand Ayatollah Yussef Saneie in the holy Shiite city of Qom. As reported by the website “Norooznews.ir”, which is affiliated with the reformist Participation Front, members of the Iranian basij-militias destroyed the windows. They then insulted and beat the staff members, and put up pictures of spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei had backed the disputed re-election of Ahmadinejad in June, and gave order for a crack down on the protests against the election result. The website reported that the police took sides with the militias and prevented supporters of Saneie from defending the office. The incident has not been officially confirmed. Saneie had repeatedly criticized the ultra conservative president. After Montazeri’s death on Saturday, Saneie is regarded as his possible successor.