Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (2 November): Honouring an Un-Free Press

2135 GMT: Speak Up. Darioush Ghanbari, the spokesman of the minority in Parliament, has called on reformists to break their silence and express their viewpoints about the issues facing the country: “In the current situation, it is necessary that reformists, especially the reformist parliamentarians, express their criticisms… because in this way people become informed about the issues and our identity as a political group is recognized in the Majlis.”

2130 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. Iran's Deputy Minister of Trade has given shopkeepers a 48-hour ultimatum to "adjust" prices so they will be acceptable.

1740 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Fararu claims that the cleric who requested the release of prominent reformist politician Ali Shakouri Rad was Ayatollah Shobeiri Zanjani (see the claim by Iran's Prosecutor General in yesterday's updates).

Another son-in-law Of Molavi Abdul Hamid, Zahedan's Friday Prayer leader, has been arrested.

1730 GMT: MediaWatch. A follow-up to a curious episode: Ayande News, which had been blocked on Monday night (see 0700 GMT), can now be accessed in Iran again.

No word on why the site, linked to former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, was blocked.

1720 GMT: Make Up Your Mind. A final note from Iran Prosecutor-General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei's press conference on Monday: apparently the ban on the headquarters of the Etemade Melli Party of Mehdi Karroubi remains in place.

A leading party official had said on Sunday that the ban was lifted.

1710  GMT: Soft War Confusion. Commander Yadollah Javani, the head of the Revolutionary Guard's political bureau, has said the whole country must be mobilised against soft war.

Given that the latest example of soft war appears to be the Revolutionary Guard magazine's assault upon President Ahmadinejad, Javani may want to have a chat with some of his colleagues.

1700 GMT: Execution Watch. I am following the claims that condemned adultress Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani will be executed tomorrow --- Reuters is now running the story, which started with the International Campaign Against Stoning website.

For now, I'm treating the report as a very disturbing rumour.

1658 GMT: The Medical University (the Sequel). To close one university may be a misfortune, to close a second looks like carelessness....

According to Rah-e-Sabz, a member of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences says that the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences will also be dissolved.

1655 GMT: More Debts. Leading MP Mohammad Reza Bahonar says the government owes $20 billion to social security organisations: teachers funds, the martyrs' foundation Bonyad Shahid, and related firms.

1645 GMT: The Medical University. The controversy over the sudden closure of Tehran University of Medical Sciences rumbles on: Minister of Health Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi has insisted after a meeting with Parliament, "I didn't resign."

Rah-e-Sabz is reporting that several members of the University's Scientific Board have resigned.

And here's video of the latest protest at the University:

1620 GMT: Revolutionary Guard v. Ahmadinejad. Back from an extended academic break to find that Payam-e Enghelab, the monthly magazine of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, has said some not-so-nice things about the President.

The article, "Is Parliament at the Centre of Affairs or Not?", asked, "Does being on top justify whatever action the government thinks is right, disregarding the law?"

One particular target of the attack appears to be Ahmadinejad's chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, and his promotion of an "Iranian school of thought" as opposed to an Islam-first approach: "Dealing with marginal and unnecessary issues by some politicians has become the country's main issue. Adopting these kinds of stance has no benefit but creating separation and division in the Islamic Revolution front and casting doubt about fundamental stances."

But --- and here's the twist --- the article appears to intervene on behalf of Parliament when it challenges Ahmadinejad's recent "I Rule" declaration: "The superficial interpretation of Imam Khomeini's remarks and changing them in a way that meets a few people's interests for a short time is an irreparable mistake."

So which Revolutionary Guard figures are behind the article? And to whom have they been talking?

0700 GMT: Blocking the Establishment Press. Wow, if this is true, then the battle within just went up a notch....

Kalemeh claims that Ayande News, linked with former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been filtered inside Iran.

0650 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Yaser Masoumi, a technology assistant for reformist websites, has been sentenced to five years in prison and banned from journalism for five years.

0645 GMT: Monday's Top Claim. Iran Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei asserted in his press conference that leading reformist politician Ali Shakouri Rad, detained last month, was released after the intervention of an Ayatollah from Qom.

Go on, Gholam-Hossein, give us a name....

0640 GMT: Economy Watch. There are reports that food prices have risen by 30% even before the formal introduction of subsidy cuts, as shop owners anticipate rising prices for new goods.

0630 GMT: We began this morning with a separate entry on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "tribute" to journalists for their perseverance in "difficult" and "complicated" jobs.

Given that Ahmadinejad's Government has paid further tribute by imprisoning and harassing those journalists and shutting down their newspapers and websites, perhaps it would be useful to add recognition from another source....

The National Press Club will honour detained Iranian journalist and blogger Kouhyar Goudarzi as the international recipient of its 2010 John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award. Goudarzi, a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters has been detained since December on charges of propaganda against the regime and "congregation and mutiny with intent to disrupt national security".

The awards ceremony will be on 15 November in Washington, DC.

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