Leading cleric blasts top movie for ‘sacrilege’
A senior clergyman has criticized an award-wining movie at the Fajr International Film Festival.
In a letter to the State Cinema Organization, Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi warned against ‘blaspheming Islamic sanctities’ and ‘crossing redlines’, Mehr News Agency reported on Sunday.
The criticism was leveled against ‘Resurrection’, which won the crystal Simorgh (Phoenix), beating other top movies including ‘Che’.
The movie, which narrates the story of Karbala tragedy, depicts the face of several companions of the third Shia Imam, the most significant of whom is Imam Hussein’s (AS) brother Hazrat Abbas. The practice goes against an Islamic belief which bans showing the face of holy persons.

IRIB halts series after protests
The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) stopped broadcasting a series after protesters in the southwest claimed it insulted a prominent local tribe.
IRNA said Sunday that state TV suspended the screening of ‘Sarzamin-e Kohan’, or ‘The Ancient Land’. The series is set in the 1940s, 50s and 60s when Iran was a monarchy, before its 1979 Islamic Revolution.
A crowd in Ahvaz, capital of oil-rich Khuzestan province, gathered in front of the governor’s office demanding an apology from the state broadcasting company. Other protests have been reported in neighboring provinces.
On Saturday, IRIB Director Ezzatollah Zarqami, in a statement apologized for any disrespect of Iranian tribes.
The protesters reportedly claim the series defames the large Bakhtiari tribe. A Bakhtiari family in the series is depicted as corrupt, nouveau riche and monarchist.

Official: Tehran had 143 days of
polluted air
People in Tehran have had 143 days of polluted air in the current Iranian year(started on March 20, 2013), an official at the Department of Environment said on Sunday.
Mohammad Rastegari said the figure indicates that residents of the capital inhaled fresh air for 189 days.
Tehran has been shrouded in a thick blanket of smog in recent weeks, leaving many residents, specially the sick, the elderly and children, with respiratory and cardiac problems.
Air pollution, which intensifies during winter months, reportedly claims an average of eight lives every day in the mega city. Based on World Bank figures, Iran suffers $8 billion in losses annually from air pollution.


Space radar to be launched
in months
The military has completed building its Sepehr (Sky) radar with a range of 2500km and hopes to deploy the system in coming months, a senior commander said on Sunday.
“We hope that we can launch a major part of the Sepehr space radar system by the end of the next (Iranian) year (March 21, 2014-March 20, 2015),” Commander of Khatam-ul-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmaeili told Fars News Agency.
“By launching the Sepehr space radar, we can inform our vessels of remote threats in time and monitor and detect threats before they are put into action, and start our defense in depth and away from our borders,” he added.
Esmaeili underlined that Iranian engineers and technicians are making strenuous efforts to launch the Sepehr radar system which is seen as a hi-tech product.


Iran launches first wind
power farm
Iran launched its first wind power farm in Takestan, Qazvin province, and is expected to launch two other such farms in Khorasan Razavi and Sistan-Baluchestan provinces.
Announcing this, Homayoun Haeri, managing director of Iran Power Generation Transmission and Distribution Management Company (TAVANIR) pointed to projects to construct new wind power farms in the country, Mehr News Agency reported.
“Each wind power (plant) is capable of generating 350 mWh of clean and renewable energy. Three new agreements will be signed for the construction of wind farms in Qazvin, Khwaf in Khorasan Razavi province, and Sistan-Baluchestan province,” he added.
“In line with the policy to improve power generation capacities, the first 2.5 mWh installed wind turbine in Kahak Wind Farm in Takestan, Qazvin, has joined the national power network and was launched officially,” he stated.
Haeri believed conversion of 16,000 MW of power generation capacity of natural gas plants to combined cycle plants as among the alternatives to improve the country’s power generation capacity along with wind power farms. “With the implementation of the project, about 8,000 MW of electricity will be added,” he pointed out. The third alternative in power industry, namely the combined heat and power (CHP) is on the agenda, with small-scale power generation in focus.