Ahmadinejad to journalist: “Who says we don’t have absolute freedom?” cartoon by Nikahang Kosar
* * Below: A video of the city of Qom where all the shops have been shut down by security forces ahead of Khamenei’s arrival today in that city.
* * Iran launches Extensive Research into Uranium Mine Exploration. Ali-Akbar Salehi, Director of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency, announced that the launch of extensive uranium discovery projects in the central and southern regions of Iran. Salehi specified that the discovery of uranium is a top priority in the activities of the Atomic Agency and that Iran is determined to meet its uranium needs domestically. He also added that Yazd and Bandar Abbas regions are already under extensive discovery projects.
Though the West maintains that Iran’s uranium reserves are not extensive, Iranian nuclear officials have repeatedly claimed that Iran does in fact have adequate uranium reserves.
* * According to Iranian minority Sunni website SunniOnline, Iranian regime authorities have prohibited Sunni mosques to hold Friday prayers. Leaders of the al-Dawa wa al-Islah group represents Egypt’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement in Iran were quoted as saying: “The government has told Sunni members of parliament that no such repression is occurring, but we saw Iranian officials preventing the Sunni faithful from praying last Friday in Tehran. Authorities are violating article 12 of the Iranian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of worship for Sunnis in Iran”.
Sunni Muslims in Iran comprise eight percent of the population and most live on the borders of Iran. A majority of Kurds, Baluchis and Turkmans, and Arabs are Sunnis, as are small communities in southern Iran and the Khorasan region in the northeast
* * Iran’s Azad (Open) University announced that all “secular” members of their faculty are to be discharged. These professors are supporters of the separation of religion and state.
Member of Iranian Parliament (Majles) representing the university, Karim Zareh, told the Iranian state-run news agency, Mehr news: “These members were given a number of warnings which were not heeded; therefore, they were dismissed. However the number of dismissals were minimal. If they were not permanent members of the faculty or on probationary period, the dismissal was straightforward. However, a few had tenure so the faculty has to make a decision about them.”
Hassan Ahadi, deputy education officer of the Azad University confirmed Zareh’s statement and added: “The ‘secular’ professors of their institution are an absolute minority which rather than being fired should be brought back into the fold. We must try to attract and absorb these few members. If we claim to be better Muslims, we should spend more time and energy on them.”
In the past year, a number of Open University professors have been dismissed for not being in line with the Islamic Republic doctrines. The Open University, with 375 branches in Iran and abroad, is Iran’s private sector in secondary education. Dismissal of professors in public universities is also underway since Ayatollah Khamenei identified the universities, especially the humanities, as one of the roots of the political unrest that rocked the country in summer of 2009 following allegations of fraud in the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In recent months, Kamran Daneshjou, Iranian Minister of Science has repeatedly called for the destruction of universities that do not adhere to the to the Islamic Worldview and the principles of .
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