Iranian parliament calls for inquiry over blogger’s death

Sattar Beheshti, the Iranian blogger killed in custodyIran news headlines on Sunday include Iran’s Majlis calling for inquiry over Sattar Beheshti death; Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani remarks over slim chance of Assad regime to survive; Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council meeting with Afghan president in Afghanistan’s capital city; Iran’s agricultural exports increasing despite sanctions; U.S. concerning about Assad’s use of Iranian-made missiles and Iran’s former intelligence chief criticizing country’s justice system.


Iran’s parliament seeks special investigation into blogger death

Iran’s parliament is urging the judiciary to thoroughly investigate the death of a blogger in custody and monitor police stations to prevent further abuses. A parliamentary committee statement read during a Sunday session of the legislature called for a “special” investigation into the November death of Sattar Beheshti.


Former Iranian president: ‘Slim’ chances Assad regime will survive Syria civil war

Former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said last week that the chances the Syrian regime will survive the current civil war are “slim.” Rafsanjani, chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council of Iran (one of the most important councils in the Islamic Republic) said in a meeting with Iraqi delegates that he was worried about the implications a collapse of the Syrian regime may have on the situation in Iraq and elsewhere. “Syria must not be a factor blocking our way,” he said. “We must safeguard Syria. If the chain between Iran and Lebanon is severed there will be serious ramifications.”


Afghan president meets Iran’s security chief

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili has met with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul. During the Saturday meeting, Jalili pointed out that the strong ties between the governments of Iran and Afghanistan are based on deep and historical friendship between the two nations.


Despite sanctions, Iran says agricultural exports booming

Iran’s agricultural exports grew last year, with pistachio and saffron sales almost doubling, despite Western sanctions on trade with the country, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Iran’s deputy agriculture minister as saying on Saturday. Between March 21 and December 20, Iran’s pistachio exports doubled to $587 million, making the nuts Iran’s biggest agricultural export by value. Exports of saffron rose 87 percent to $213 million.


U.S. ‘alarmed’ by Assad’s firing of Iranian-made precision missiles

The United States is becoming increasingly worried about Syria’s ballistic missiles supplied by Iran to the regime of President Assad, according to U.S. media reports. The Wall Street Journal quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying that the Syrian regime recently fired four short-range Iranian-made ballistic missiles at sites of opposition fighters, raising concern that the embattled Assad maybe turning into more dangerous weapons.


Iran’s former intelligence chief slams justice system

In a rare move likely to put the spotlight on the Iranian justice system, former Iranian intelligence minister Ali Younesi launched a series of criticisms against the country’s judiciary for its lack of independence. In an interview with Jamaran, a site close to the family of the late Imam Khomeini, Ali Younesi said judges were being intimidated by their superiors and the intelligence apparatus on a regular basis.


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