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Entries in Saeed Jalalifar (2)


The Latest from Iran (27 April): Remembering the Imprisoned Students

1320 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update. Hojatoleslam Kazem Siddiqi is at the pulpit today, putting out the rhetoric on the Islamic Republic's nuclear talks with the US, European powers, China, and Russia.

Nothing much of significance, although rose-coloured glasses --- as with the international media's reading of Ayatollah Jannnati's sermon last week --- could see this as Iran's warming welcome to the discussions. Siddiqi said it would be in everyone's interest for all powers to "act rationally" in negotiations with Iran.

Siddiqi continued that Tehran is a rational actor, welcomes dialogue, and has repeatedly shown its goodwill, but now it is time for world powers to show their good intentions.

There was this important if general caveat, though, for anyone who might see this as concessions by the Islamic Republic ahead of the next meeting on 23 May in Baghdad: “The Istanbul meeting proved that the Iranian nation is powerful and will not retreat an iota from its rights.” And Siddiqi also put out the general denunciation of "global arrogance" seeking to create discord in the region while assuring that "vigilant nations" and Iran will not allow this.

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The Latest from Iran (2 August): Khamenei's Balancing Act on "Hooligan" MPs and Ahmadinejad

Ali Larijani, Ahmadinejad, Khamenei1950 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. A petition, launched by Physicians for Human Rights, has called for the release of Dr Arash Alaei, a specialist in the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS, from prison.

Alaei was arrested with his brother and fellow specialist Kamiar in June 2008 for allegedly trying to overthrow the Islamic regime. They participated in several international HIV treatment programmes and conferences held in the US.

Kamiar was released in October but Arash, 42, remains in prison completing a six-year sentence.

The petition has been signed by prominent medics, including two Nobel prize laureates, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Sir Richard J Roberts. Susannah Sirkin, PHR's deputy director, explained:

[The Alaeis'] landmark efforts to bring patients, communities and families together to reduce stigma and provide comprehensive Aids prevention and treatment are remarkable and remain singular achievements in healthcare in Iran. We only hope that Dr Arash Alaei can be freed to continue this critical and groundbreaking work.

In 2008 the UN Programme on HIV/AIDS described Iran's needle-exchange programme, developed by the Alaei brothers, as one of the "clear examples of courageous, visionary leadership in the response to HIV".

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