Iran: austerity bill advances, repression continues
Iran's parliament this week moved ahead with a bill to sharply slash energy and food subsidies. State radio said one article of a draft law approved by lawmakers would gradually cut energy subsidies over five years, bringing the heavily discounted fuel prices more in line with international prices. "The plan would prevent an important part of excessive consumption" in Iranian society, state-run Press TV quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (AP, Oct. 12)
Meanwhile, Iran's judiciary shut down three opposition newspapers—days after the appointment of two hard-line military leaders to security-related positions. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Mohammad Reza Naqdi to lead the Basij militia force. The former commander of the Basij, Hussein Taeb, was moved to a position in the intelligence section of the Revolutionary Guards. The timing may reflect official concerns about student protests as the school year begins. Students staged at least two protests at universities in Tehran last week, forcing Ahmadinejad to cancel a visit to one of them. (NYT, Oct. 6)
The opposition website Mowjcamp.com also reports that an Iranian man arrested in the post-election unrest has been sentenced to death. Muhammad-Reza Ali-Zamani is identified as a member of the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, which seeks restoration of the monarchy and is considered a terrorist organization by the regime. (NYT, Oct. 9)
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