Call for Int’l Action to Protect Religious Sanctities
Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi in separate letters to international organizations has denounced the desecration of a revered site of a Shiite Muslim figure in Syria, urging international action to safeguard religious sanctities.
In letters to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, the top diplomat condemned the destruction of the mausoleum.
According to reports by online media, militants in Syria raided the mausoleum of Hujr ibn Adi in the Damascus suburb of Adra, and transferred his remains to an unknown location.
Salehi called on international organizations and bodies to condemn the inhuman and unethical act and take practical and serious measures to restore the dignity of the site.
He also underlined the need for respecting holy sites in divine religions, particularly in Islam.
He warned that such acts could ignite the fire of religious rifts among followers of the divine religions, urging international organizations to take measures to safeguard the holy sites in Islam and Christianity.
Salehi condemned any act of violence against religions and stressed that respect for religious sanctities is the only way to maintain peaceful coexistence among different religions.
Hujr--a close companion of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and a loyal supporter of the first Shiite Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS)--led the army of Muslims to victory in several crucial battles.
He and his sons were killed upon the order of the Umayyad Caliph Muawiyah in the year 660 CE.
The Iranian Parliament’s Sunni Fraction in a statement on Sunday strongly condemned the desecration of the shrine of the prominent Shiite figure in Syria.
Meanwhile, Majlis Vice-Speaker Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard in an open session of the parliament on Sunday condemned the Wahhabi moves in desecration of Shiite sanctities, saying, “Hujr ibn Adi had an outstanding status among all Islamic sects and in the Muslim World which is quite known to everyone.”
Meanwhile, a senior lawmaker denounced the desecration of Hujr’s mausoleum, saying terrorists in Syria seek to worsen religious differences in the country.
Chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi said Saturday that the move was inhumane and sacrilegious.
“The UN secretary general should take a sincere stand against this illegal measure that lays the groundwork for the continuation of extremism in Syria and should find a solution so that such incidents are not repeated,” he said.
“Two years after the start of the crisis in Syria, terrorists are now attacking Islamic sites in a bid to conceal their failures by [carrying out] inhumane and anti-Islamic moves,” he added.
Also, large groups of Iranian seminary students and teachers staged protest gatherings in Tehran and Qom on Saturday to strongly condemn the Wahhabi extremists’ insult to Shiite Islam.
Seminary students and teachers convened at the shrine of Hazrat Abdolazim Hassani in southern Tehran on Saturday reading a message of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, who condemned the sacrilegious act.
The protesters also chanted slogans against the perpetrators and their Wahhabi supporters. They also issued a statement condemning the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) for conducting such shameful acts.
In a similar move in Qom, the seminary students and teachers gathered in the city’s Feyzieh seminary school today and condemned the desecration of Hujr ibn Adi.
They read the messages of Grand Ayatollahs Golpayegani and Makarem Shirazi who condemned the desecration of Hujr ibn Adi’s shrine.
Muslim Division Plot
Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi warned of US and Israeli plots to create a religious rift in the Muslim world through encouraging the violation of Islamic sanctities.
In a Saturday statement, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi slammed the recent desecration of the tomb of revered Muslim figure Hujr ibn Adi on the outskirts of Damascus, Mehr News Agency reported.
“We strongly condemn this major crime which the Muslim community, particularly the Shiites of the world, will never forget. These degenerate criminals will soon be punished for their deeds.”
“We know that the enemies of Islam, spearheaded by the US and Israel want to ignite religious and sectarian conflict among Muslims by encouraging such crimes, but they will definitely not succeed because of Islamic Awakening,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Iranian students plan to gather in front of the United Nations office in Tehran on Monday to protest the desecration of the revered site.
The sacrilege of Islamic sanctities has aroused intense feelings in Muslim lands, particularly among Shiite communities.
Executive Election Committee Meets
The executive election committee has convened for the first time ahead of the country’s presidential vote on June 14.
The Saturday meeting was chaired by Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, who announced that the executive phase of the election would begin on Wednesday with 67,000 polling stations starting their work.
Mohammad-Najjar warned that candidates are not permitted to use state facilities in their campaigns and the judiciary will deal with any such violation, ISNA reported.
The minister noted that as in previous presidential elections, necessary arrangements have been made for Iranian nationals abroad to vote.
On Wednesday, the Guardian Council (GC), the top supervisory body, spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei said that the GC has approved 30 people as members of the Central Executive Board. The board comprises the interior minister, intelligence minister, prosecutor general, one lawmaker, and a number of religious, political, cultural and social figures.
Based on the amendments made by Majlis to the election law last year, the Interior Ministry is tasked with holding the presidential election under the supervision of the Central Executive Board.
More than 20 presidential hopefuls have so far announced their bids for the presidency.
The 11th presidential election will be held on June 14. Presidential hopefuls can register from May 7 to 11.
The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election.
US Using Nuclear Issue to Build Military Industrial Complex
The United States is using Iran’s nuclear program as an excuse to build up its ‘massive military industrial complex’, an American analyst said.
The claim by the Pentagon that military threats against Tehran over its nuclear program ‘will help convince Iran to come to the negotiating table is of course an outrageous lie’, Professor Paul Sheldon Foote from California State University told Press TV on Sunday.
“I’m old enough to remember when we saw in the American media of massive amounts of stories about the size of the Soviet Union’s military and that was the excuse to build up huge military industrial complex,” he added.
The United States has redesigned a ‘bunker buster’ bomb that would be used to attack Iran’s most important underground nuclear plant.
Pentagon officials are said to have shown video of the extensive upgrade of what was already the world’s largest conventional bomb to their Israeli counterparts in recent weeks, in an effort to reassure them that the US still has an effective military option against Tehran’s nuclear program. The Massive Ordnance Penetrator has been upgraded with a new design of explosive fuses to enable it to penetrate the depths of the Fordo nuclear site.
Engineers have also installed cyber warfare capabilities to the 30,000lbs device to ensure that Iran would not be able to knock it off target after it is dropped from a B2 stealth bomber, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The US, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with the Israeli regime repeatedly threatening to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities based on the unfounded allegation.
Iran rejects the allegation over its nuclear energy program, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has every right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Iranian officials have promised a crushing response to any military strike against the country, warning that any such measure could result in a war that would spread beyond the Middle East.
Majlis Vote in Favor of New Labor Minister
Majlis gave vote of confidence to the new Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Asadollah Abbasi on Sunday.
Out of the total 252 votes cast, 200 MPs voted in favor and 40 against Abbasi with 12 abstentions, IRNA reported.
Abbasi was introduced to Majlis by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on April 24.
President Ahmadinejad attended the Majlis open session to defend his choice for the post.
Under Majlis internal regulations, after the president’s speech, four lawmakers speak in favor of and against the proposed minister.
Abbasi then had 30 minutes to brief MPs on his plans and answer questions by the lawmakers.
Iran Ready to Help Iraq in Social Welfare
Head of Iran’s State Welfare Organization Homayoun Hashemi voiced Tehran’s readiness to share its experiences with Iraq in social and welfare areas, rehabilitation of the handicapped in particular.
Hashemi made the remarks in a meeting with representative of the Iraqi Embassy in Iran, Fazel Al-Shani, in Tehran on Saturday, Fars News Agency reported.
During the meeting, Hashemi pointed to the proximity and close ties between Iran and Iraq, and said, “The Welfare Organization is ready to provide Iraq with its experiences in the social domain, specially in the rehabilitation of physically- and mentally-impaired people.”
Al-Shani, for his part, said that the two states’ officials are resolved to further broaden bilateral ties and mutual cooperation in various fields. He further reminded that his country has been stricken by devastating wars in the last two decades, which have led to the injury of many people.
“Due to the same reason, the wars on Iraq have left many handicapped who need support,” the Iraqi diplomat said and welcomed the Iranian official’s offer of help in this field.
Iran and Iraq have enjoyed growing ties ever since the overthrow of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, during the 2003 US invasion of the Muslim country.
Foreign Minster Ali-Akbar Salehi is to travel to Jordan in the near future for talks with the Arab country’s high-ranking officials. Issues of mutual interest and the crisis in Syria will top the agenda of his talks.