UN Special Rapporteur Ahmad Shaheed's summary of his findings on the human rights situation in Iran
See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society, from Women's Activism to Harsh Sentences to Cyberspace br>
Iran Video Document: Tehran's Larijani to UN "We Are a Benchmark for Human Rights" br>
The Latest from Iran (12 March): Ahmadinejad Escapes Interrogation?
1744 GMT: Bank Watch. More on yesterday's story that the Central Bank has seized $1.4 billion from seven Iranian banks, claiming that they did not provide legitimate records for foreign exchange transactions --- Central Bank head Mahmoud Bahmani has defended the action as one "on behalf of the Government".
1733 GMT: Oil Watch. Parliament has extended the rights of the Minister of Oil, Rustam Qassemi, to make deals for "exploration, development, production, repair and maintenance of joint oil and gas fields" without going through formal tenders and processes for compliance.
An EA reader is sceptical:
Iranian oil income is now the personal wealth of Brigadier Qassemi and he can legally, without any Majlis oversight, give it to whomever he wants for wha ever price ---China,Russia, his cousin twice removed, his mother-in-law, you name it because it is more "expedient" this way. Even some of the "principlists" are having a hard time swallowing this one.
In this context, we note the Supreme Leader's statement on Monday, which left us baffled at the time:
Based on the development plan, oil must stop being used as source of income and for funding the country’s budget and instead become a source for the progress and economic might of the country and authorities must pursue this policy ...with determination....It is necessary that we act in a manner that any decision making about our oil production and sales is up to us and based on our interests and of course we have taken good steps in this regard.
On a related matter, MP Asadollah Abbasi has claimed that 4000 Iranian oil experts have "taken refuge abroad" and this could have been stopped by higher payments to staff.