Iran Ready to Facilitate Talks between Government and Opposition
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Sunday that Iran is willing to “facilitate the ground for talks between the Syrian opposition and the government,” according to reports. Salehi noted that the Syrian issue is very sensitive and could affect regional stability if the right action is not taken, but told reporters that Kofi Annan’s approach is “impartial and fair” and that Iran is completely supportive of it. Annan, for his part has repeatedly called for Iran to be a part of peace efforts in Syria.
Meanwhile, Iranian “morality police” raided and shut down 87 cafes and restaurants in Tehran Saturday, during a morality crackdown, and arrested women for disregarding Islamic dress norms. “These places were shut for not following Islamic values, providing hookah to women, and lacking proper licenses,” said Tehran police official Alireza Mehrabi, according to ISNA.
In addition, Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, the head of Iran’s law enforcement expressed fears that films depicting chicken dinners may provoke underprivileged classes to attack the rich, Robert Tait of the Telegraph reports. The warning comes as the price of chicken has risen more than 80 percent in recent months, a trend that is likely to continue while Iranians wait in hours-long queues in front of shops to buy chicken. “They show chicken being eaten in movies while somebody might not be able to buy it,” said Ahmadi-Moghaddam, adding, “some people observing this class gap might say that we will take knives and take our rights from the rich.”
The warning is the latest sign of official alarm over the strains being caused by rampant inflation and international sanctions. However, Minister of Industries, Commerce, and Mines Mehdi Ghazanfari said Sunday, “The Iranian economy is dynamic, which will not be influenced by sanctions.” He added that difficult days have passed and the situation in the market is good and currently “we have a sufficient stock (of goods).”