Son, Daughter of Rafsanjani Arrested in Tehran
The son and daughter of former Iranian President and current head of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani were arrested within days of one another on similar charges of conspiring against the regime. Faezeh Hashemi, Rafsanjani’s daughter, was taken to Evin Prison on Saturday to serve a six-month sentence for “spreading propaganda.” Mehdi Hashemi, Rafsanjani’s son, was arrested upon entering Iran on Monday, following three years of study at Oxford University in England. Mehdi is accused of “corruption and inciting unrest” in connection with the 2009 protests. The elder Hashemi Rafsanjani has so far refrained from public comment, which some commentators claimed is indicative of the increasing “containment of the former President.” The arrests come shortly after their father’s recent call for “free and open” elections that incorporate reformist parties.
Iranian officials continued to crack down on Internet freedom on Monday, blocking access to Google and its affiliated services, including Gmail, according to local sources. A new report by The Broadband Commission said that only 21 percent of Iranians used the Internet in 2011, which puts Iran at 111 out of the 177 countries that the Broadband Commission tracks. Iran is currently creating an internal Internet service that would be “largely isolated from the World Wide Web.” “In recent days, all governmental agencies and offices… have been connected to the national information network,” the deputy communications and technology minister Ali Hakim-Javadi said, and a general roll-out for the domestic network is expected in March 2013.
Iran also offered to halt 20-percent enrichment of uranium in exchange for easing of international sanctions, according to Iranian negotiator Ali Asghar Soltanieh.