Iran Puts Reuters Bureau Chief on Trial
The head of the foreign press at the Iranian Ministry of Culture, Mahammad Javad Aghajari, announced a trial date for the Reuters bureau chief in Tehran. Aghajari told the Islamic Republic News Agency that the trial of Reuters News Agency head Parisa Hafezi will begin September 30 on the charge of referring to Iranian female athletes as terrorists. Reuters had reported earlier in the year that Iran was training 3,000 female ninjas, claiming that their training was aimed at “killing foreign invaders” and accusing the government of training assassins. The ministry official added that, “It is likely that the court will decide that Reuters’ activities will be completely banned in Tehran, in which case its office will be closed. But until the court has issued an official ruling, the news agency’s activities are suspended.”
Meanwhile, two Ahmadinejad ministers also face trial. The Iranian parliament announce plans to impeach Minister of Agriculture, Sadegh Khalilian, and Minister of Industry, Mining and Commerce, Mehdi Ghazanfari, for “failure to prevent rising prices” accross the country. The administration has been criticized for canceling subsidies on energy and food, and some are unwilling to blame the food crisis on international sanctions. Fellow MP, Fathollah Hosseini argued, “We all know that sanctions have been there since the beginning of the Revolution, and it is not acceptable to blame sanctions for our inability to control the market.”
In addition, Iran is moving to exclude some reformist elements from participation in the upcoming presidential elections. Republican Guard cultural advisor, Hamidreza Moghaddamfar said only those reformists who did not take part in the “2009 sedition” can participate in the coming presidential elections. Moghaddamfar referred specifically to reformist leader Mohammad Khatami, who has met with Abdollah Nouri and other reformist figures in recent weeks in an effort to pull together the disparate reform movement.