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Entries in Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani (2)


The Latest from Iran (6 April): Challenge Resumes

1945 GMT: Parliament-President Compromise? Mehr News reports that the Majlis and Government have formed a joint committee to resolve the disagreement over revenues from subsidy cuts. The move was announced by Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moghaddam, head of the special Parliamentary committee studying the economic reform plan.

Still, the move may not be a smooth one. Mesbahi-Moghaddam told Khabar Online, "After many years of studying and teaching economics in universities, why can't I be taken as an economist, but President Ahmadinejad who hasn't studied economy falsely regards himself as an economist?"

NEW Iran Snap Analysis: Playtime’s Over
NEW Iran Document: Mousavi Meeting with Reformists (5 April)
NEW Iran Document: Rafsanjani Meets the Reformists (5 April)
Iran Document: Jafar Panahi’s Wife on His Detention & Health
The Latest from Iran (5 April): Repression

1940 GMT: Karroubi Advisor Tortured? Saham News, the website of reformist cleric Mehdi Karroubi’s Etemade Melli party, claims that Mohammad Davari, the detained chief editor, has been subjected to torture intended to force him to cast public doubt on Karroubi’s claims about the rape of post-election prisoners.

Saham News says Davari is in very poor physical and psychological condition. The website reports that he’s been allowed to meet with his mother briefly in jail only three times since his arrest.

1930 GMT:Academic Purity (cont.). Adding to our report that Professor Morteza Mardiha has been expelled from Allameh Tabatabei University, Pedestrian adds two others who have been suspended from their teaching positions: Mir Hossein Mousavi's chief advisor, Alireza Beheshti, and another Mousavi advisor, Ghorban Behzadian-Nejad.

1635 GMT: Oh, This Is Certain to Be Helpful. As the Obama Administration unveils its Nuclear Posture Review --- “If a non-nuclear weapon state is in compliance with the nonproliferation treaty and its obligations, the U.S. pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against it" --- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates decides he needs to add a bit of Clint Eastwood-as-Dirty Harry to the public spin:
If you’re going to play by the rules ... then we will undertake certain obligations to you. But if you're not going to play by the rules, if you're going to be proliferator, then all options are on the table in terms of how we deal with you.

1625 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, spokesman for the Khatami Government and leading member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, has been given a five-year prison sentence.

Another member of the IIPF, Shahab Tabatabaei, has also been sentenced to five years in prison following appeal.

1620 GMT: Academic Purity. Morteza Mardiha, professor of political philosophy at Allameh Tabatabei University, has been expelled from the campus.

1540 GMT: Protest in The Netherlands. A group of Iranian protesters occupied Iran's embassy in The Hague today. There were a number of arrests as the demonstrators were removed.

1530 GMT: The Oil Front --- All is Well! Hamid Hoseini, the head of Petroleum Products Exports Syndicate, has confirmed that oil exports to India, China and Japan have been sharply reduced. In the case of Beijing, the fall is more than 50%. Hoseini warned that sanctions could be "effective" and Tehran cannot be choosy about its customers.

However, Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mir-Kazemi preferred to talk about imports rather than exports, saying Iran has the potential to achieve self-sufficiency in gasoline production amid the threat of sanctions and disinvestment.

1440 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist and student activist Omid Montazeri, arrested in December when he enquired about the detention of his mother, has been given a temporary release. He has been sentenced to six years in prison.

The detention of Kaveh Kermanshahi, human rights activist and member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, has been extended for another month. Kermanshahi was taken into custody at the start of February.

1430 GMT: Karroubi's Message. There is now a Persian summary of Mehdi Karroubi's meeting with the reformist coalition in Parliament (see separate entries for the Mousavi and Rafsanjani meetings) and a short English extract:
Mehdi Karroubi, strongly condemning the growth of lies, rumours, and deception in the name of Islam and religion by a small group, added, “Today I am not only mourning for Imam Khomeini [as the founder of the revolution] and what has happened to the revolution but more than anything I am mourning for Islam and Imam Ali (shia’s first Imam who is the symbol of justice).”

1310 GMT: Corruption and the Ahmadinejad Government. Elyas Naderan, a "conservative" MP and member of the Majlis' Economic Commission, has alleged that First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi is the head of a "corruption network".

0955 GMT: Iranian Spying Down Under? The Australian publishes an article claiming that the Iranian Embassy in Canberra is "spying on Iranian democracy activists in Australia, collecting intelligence on their activities, and reporting back to Tehran".

0945  GMT: The Post-Election Dead. Emrooz has posted a list of alleged names and burial places of 50 post-election protesters in Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery.

0830 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Human rights activist Mohammad Rhana Ghaznavids has been arrested.

0710 GMT: The Saberi protests. EA readers update us on the ongoing protests in front on the Japanese Embassy in Washington over the threatened deportation of activist Jamal Saberi.

Mission Free Iran reports on Sunday's demonstration, "Iranian Sweets and a Saberi Solidarity Cherry Tree", and announces another protest for next Sunday.

0700 GMT: We've now updated on the resumed political manoeuvres, posting a full translation of the meeting between Mir Hossein Mousavi and the reformist Parliamentary coalition.

0620 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The families of three of Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s advisors have visited Qom to appeal to senior clerics.

The families of Arab Maziar,  Alireza Beheshti Shirazi, and Ghorban Behzadian Nejad visited Grand Ayatollahs Vahid Khorasani, Mousavi Ardebili and Bayat Zanjani to express concerns about continuing detention and denial of legal rights.

All three men were detained on 28 December, one day after the Ashura demonstrations.

0610 GMT: Looks Like We Have a Theme. "There are a series of unresolved issues that the Parliament could take further" (0530 GMT) --- the Iranian Labor News Agency reports that 233 of the 290 members of the Majlis have written to Iran's head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, demanding a fight against "big" corruption.

0600 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Cleric Seyed Ahmadreza Ahmadpour, a senior member in Qom of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, has been given a one-year prison sentence by a clerical court.

The 1 1/2-year sentence of student activist Kaveh Rezaee has been upheld by an appeals court.

0530 GMT: We start this morning with the impression that, after the New Year holidays, the political battle has been resumed, big-time, in Iran.We put up a summary of Mousavi's statement to the reformist coalition at the end of our Monday updates, and we've now posted the exchange between the reformists and Rafsanjani.

We have a snap analysis, "Playtime's Over", of the developments.

The Latest from Iran (4 April): Renewal

2225 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Javad Sharafkhani, the spokesperson for Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s election campaign in Ilam province in western Iran, has been arrested.

2220 GMT: We'll Get You (Even If You're Outside Iran). Minister of Justice Morteza Bakhtiari has announced that a special prosecutorial branch will be established shortly to deal with Iranians residing abroad.

NEW Iran Exclusive: Detained Emad Baghi in Poor Health, House Raided, Relative Beaten
NEW Video: Obama on Iran, Health Care (2 April)
Iran: 4 Ways the US Can Help the Green Movement (Shahryar)
The Latest from Iran (3 April): Celebration

2215 GMT: Economy Watch. Mehdi Aqdaie, the deputy director of Iran's Privatisation Organization, has said that Iran hopes to raise about $12.5 billion by privatising more than 500 state firms during the 2010-11 year, including two refineries and two car makers.

1835 GMT: Propaganda Watch. Press TV --- bless 'em --- get it right this time. A day after headlining the Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki's statement with the prospect of nuclear annihilation, they correctly frame today's Mottaki declaration, which says nothing new: "Mottaki Calls For Global Nuclear Disarmament".

1445 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Radio Farda reports that Hossein Marashi,  a close political ally of Hashemi Rafsanjani and a cousin of Rafsanjani's wife, has been sent to jail again. Marashi, who has been given a one-year sentence, was detained last month but freed after a few days.

1420 GMT: Bayat-Zanjani and the Political Prisoners. Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani, meeting the families of political prisoners, has said:

I am shocked that [our leaders] don’t learn from the fate of the rulers that came to power and fell throughout history? Why should one ignore the lessons learned from the past and commit the same wrong actions against the best of the people? Know this that the struggle to stay in power by any means possible requires confrontations such as what is being done against you. You are oppressed and the prayers of the oppressed will be answered.

1405 GMT: More Subsidy Fun. The Iranian Parliament has reconvened after the New Year break, and already battle has been joined over the President's insistence that he get more revenues from subsidy cuts.

Speaker Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Parliament announced that discussions have been "finalised", although the Parliament will “collaborate closely with the Government giving close attention to its views and reasoning.”

Defying Larijani, however, a group of MPs announced that they have prepared a new proposal for allocation of $35 billion from cuts instead of the already approved $20 billion. Ruhollah Hossenian, a fervent Ahmadinejad supporter, said that the proposal  has already been signed by 100 legislators.

1320 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist and human rights activist Abolfazl Abedini has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

There are concerns over the poor health of Farid Taheri, a member of the Freedom Movement of Iran detained on 27 January and held in Section 350 of Evin Prison.

The status of Ehsan Mohrabi of Farhikhtegan newspaper is unknown.

Jahangir Abdollahi, a Masters student in political science at Tehran University, is under pressure in Evin Prison to confess.

1045 GMT: We have posted absolutely reliable, disturbing information on the poor health of detained journalist Emaduddin Baghi and the harassment of his family.

1040 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. A new Rah-e-Sabz documentary highlights the role of Hashemi Rafsanjani in post-election events and attempts by the regime to limit his public intervention.

0830 GMT. And More Subsidy Clashes. Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moghaddam of Parliament's  Economic Committee has said that the Ahmadinejad Government is seeking to delay the implementation of the subsidy reform plan. Parliament only gave the President $20 billion of the extra $40 billion in revenues he was seeking from subsidy cuts.

0825 GMT: Oil Crunch. Could disinvestment in Iran's oil production (see 0615 GMT) become a crisis? Consider the half-empty, half-full spin of the Government.

Iran's Oil Minister Masoud Mirzakemi says the country needs $200 billion in investment in the oil sector. However, the head of Iran's Committee for Transportation and Fuel Management insists the country is capable of becoming self-sufficient in gasoline production this year.

0815 GMT: Press TV Funnies. Yesterday, the Iranian media outlet featured a headline which indicated Iran's Foreign Minister was supported nuclear annihilation (see our 0730 GMT update on Saturday). We are encouraged that Press TV staff are reading Enduring America since, soon after we noted this, the headline was changed to "FM: Iran Strongly Supports Elimination of Nukes".

Today, bless 'em, Press TV is chronologically confused over Iran's promotion of a nuclear-free world:
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says Tehran's international conference on nuclear disarmament has been widely welcomed.

According to Mehmanparast, the conference dubbed "Nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for none,” will be held in Tehran on March 17th and 18th.

0715 GMT: Photo of Day (see inset). Behzad Nabavi, the prominent reformist sentenced to five years in prison, and his wife enjoy the last days of his temporary release.

0713 GMT: Movies and Rights. Activist Shadi Sadr has received Amnesty International's  "Golden Butterfly" award for appearance in film Women in Shroud. Sadr writes, "I believe [this] is for all activists of the “Stop Stoning Forever Campaign” –-- both those who appeared in the documentary film...and those who didn’t."

Bahman Ghobadi, the director of the drama-"documentary" No One Knows About Persian Cats, received two awards from the international film festival in the Netherlands.

0710 GMT: Renewal. The cultural newspaper Farhang-e-Ashti has reappeared after its suspension and the arrest of a number of its journalists.

0705 GMT:  InsideIRAN offers an overview of the emergence of the women's movement:
It is certainly too soon to draw conclusions or write endings for a fragile movement that has been under increasing pressure, but just like other aspects of the green movement, it is the outreach of the women’s movement within society that gives it strength and prominence. Despite the heavy crackdown on some of its most notable leaders, as long as fourteen-year-old girls across Iran are engaging in conversation, it will be an ongoing struggle and a voice that cannot be silenced.

0650 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Green Voice of Freedom publishes the names and sentences of 26 "lesser-known" detainees in Section 350 of Evin Prison.

Kalemeh warns of the declining health of journalist Mohammad Nourizad. Arrested on 20 December, Nourizad suffers from a heart problem and diabetes.

Nourizad wrote for the pro-government Kayhan but became a vocal critic of the regime after the 12 June election.

Baha’i photographer and musician Artin Ghazanfari has been released on $50,000 bail.

0640 GMT: Interviewed by Rah-e-Sabz, Farrokh Negahdar of the socialist Organization of Iranian People's Fedayyin supports non-violent protests, with constant pressure for change of laws and expansion of the popular base, especially amongst workers.

0615 GMT: A Happy Easter Day to all those celebrating the occasion.

More on yesterday's visits by hundreds of reformists to former President Mohammad Khatami. Khabar Online --- far from a reformist publication --- offers two articles, providing a list of visitors and observing that visits continued even after the noon prayer. Indeed, not all those stopping by were reformists; several visitors came in Government cars, indicating they are currently serving in the Ahmadinejad administration.

Mohammad Javad Haghshenas, the publisher of Mehdi Karroubi's now-banned newspaper Etemade Melli, has said that reformists should seek an understanding with "hardliners", while expanding their popular base of support.

The prominent academic Sadegh Zibakalam has evaluated that further sanctions against Iran are inevitable; China can lessen but not prevent them.

On the economic front, in a sign that company disinvestment from Iran is having an effect, Hamid Hosseini of the Chamber of Commerce complains about insufficient participation of the private sector in the oil industry.