Ahmadinejad aide replaced as Irna boss

January 08, 2013 - 4:00:45 am


TEHRAN: A top aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has been jailed since September was replaced yesterday as the head of Iran’s state Islamic Republic News Agency (Irna),  and other media reported.

Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who is being held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, was succeeded by another Ahmadinejad adviser, Majid Omidi Shahraki, who led the president’s Political and Security Affairs office, they said.

Javanfekr was arrested on September 26 - just as Ahmadinejad was giving a speech in New York at the UN General Assembly -  and is serving a six-month jail term in Evin.

He has been convicted of publishing material offensive to Islamic codes and public morality by allowing one of the state newspapers under his control to run articles questioning Iran’s strict Islamic dress code for women.

Javanfekr and other Ahmadinejad aides have long been targets for Iran’s hardline judges and ultra-conservative lawmakers who see them as attempting to undermine religious principles.

Ahmadinejad became locked in a public row with judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani over getting access to Evin prison. He eventually was able to see Javanfekr last month when the aide was briefly taken to hospital for what reports said was a “heart condition”. The Islamic Republic News Agency (Irna) has a network of domestic bureaux and several correspondents in other countries. Omidi Shahraki is the fifth Irna head to be named since Ahmadinejad took power in 2005.


8 killed in Turkey mine accident


ANKARA: Rescue workers in northern Turkey yesterday recovered the bodies of eight miners believed to have been killed in a methane gas explosion, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported, quoting an official.

Eight workers lost their lives buried in coal dust and one was recovered alive, said Mahmut Ozcelik, deputy director of Turkish coal mining firm TTK.

The details of the accident were not immediately clear.

But it is believed to have been triggered by a methane gas blast that ripped through the mine in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak. The worst accident happened in 1992 when 263 workers were killed in a gas explosion in a mine in Zonguldak.


Three dead in northern Iraq  


Mosul, Iraq: Gunmen killed two policemen and security forces discovered the corpse of a Christian woman stabbed to death in Iraq’s main northern city yesterday, officials said.

The two policemen were killed and three others wounded when militants opened fire on their checkpoint in Mosul, 350km north of Baghdad, while the woman’s body was found in her apartment, police and a doctor said.