Ahmadinejad Critic Re-elected Speaker
The Iranian parliament re-elected conservative Ali Larijani as speaker Tuesday by a vote of 177 to 89 over rival Gholam Ali Hadad Adel. Larijani is part of the majority conservative group that has been critical of President Ahmadinejad since an incident last year when the president challenged Ayatollah Khamenei’s authority.
Meanwhile, the Iranian government is stepping in to prop up Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and prevent a no-confidence vote from dissolving Maliki’s Shiite coalition government. Iran has supposedly been calling in favors with its Iraqi allies and using its economic and cultural power to influence members of parliament. “The fear is that the downfall of al-Maliki, coupled with the uncertainties about Assad’s fate in Syria, could leave the Iranians suddenly looking at unfriendly faces.”
Additionally, one hundred seventeen imprisoned political prisoners sent a letter warning the Iranian government of the urgent need to treat jailed blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki. The letter urged the government to abide by article 291 of the penal code which compels authorities to treat prisoners outside of the prison if need be. Maleki, who is suffering [Persian] from complications after a kidney transplant, is on a hunger strike to draw attention to his condition.
In Washington, a U.S. Appeals Court has ordered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to act on a request by the Iranian group the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) to be removed from the U.S. terror blacklist within the next four months. Congress gave Secretary Clinton 180 days to act, but since then 600 days have elapsed with no decision made. The MEK, who opposed both the Shah and the Islamic Republic, are based in a refugee camp in Iraq, where they have sought refuge since the 1980′s.
Also, morality police in Iran announced today that sending wedding photos and videos abroad via satellite programs is illegal and will be punished. The chief of morality police said the ban was necessary as several satellite channels have called for submissions for documentaries.