Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (21 November): Human Rights and Missing Constitutions

2025 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Tehran Azad University student activist Amir Ahmad Monazemi has been sentenced to one year in prison and 74 lashes. Monazemi was arrested last December at the mourning ceremonies for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri and was held for one month before being freed on bail.

1950 GMT: Human Rights and the Hikers. So is this the other half of an Iranian strategy? Yesterday Mohammad Javad Larijani, the high-ranking Iranian judiciary official, was on American television with his assertion that he would like to see a resolution of the cases of detained US hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer before a trial.

Today the lawyer for Fattal and Bauer, Masoud Shafiee, was told that they and the third US hiker Sarah Shourd --- released in September on a guarantee that she would return for trial --- would be in court on 6 February.

Possible translation? Tehran just gave the Americans a 2 1/2-month window for a negotiated release of Fattal and Bauer.

1800 GMT: A Clerical Chat with Students. Grand Ayatollahs Mousavi Ardebili, Safi Golpayegani, Bayat Zanjani, Shahrestani, and Javadi Amoli have met with Islamic Students Organisations from Tehran University and the Medical Sciences University. Their message: it is our duty not to lie and we do not believe in lies. 

The most pointed messages, especially in view of the recent meetings with the Supreme Leader, came from Bayat Zanjani ("telling lies has become a normal thing today"), Shahrestani ("we told authorities being  dogmatic is very bad"), and Javadi Amoli ("even if we have trusted any authority who has done wrong, we should not abandon religious principles").

1745 GMT: Latest on the Budget Dispute. MPs have hit back at remarks by Guardian Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaie on a Government-Majlis budget compromise, saying that several of his points are inaccurate and that the President has no right to decide about other powers.

The legislators have sent a letter to Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, with corrections.

Musalreza Servati, a member of Parliament's Planning Commission has said the Majlis will ask Ahmadinejad about his remarks that the Government is not obliged to follow legislation, "a clear violation of the Constitution". 

1725 GMT: Show of Support. Rah-e-Sabz reports that the "100,000 Basiji" group will soon (14 Azar) meet the Supreme Leader and confirm their loyalty at Imam Hossein Barracks in Tehran. All leaves have been cancelled, and all ministries commanded to send employees --- they will be served breakfast and lunch and returned to their offices afterwards. 

1715 GMT: Student Movements. A group called "Tehran Free University, Eastern Branch", with a logo and website, has emerged. 

Sources also note the blog of the Green Association.

Rah-e-Sabz has already posted a report on threats of the Bassiji students against the new association.

1530 GMT: Price Watch. Sara, who wrote the first-hand account of a trip to Iran featured on EA this morning, adds this note: "My mother-in-law just told me about the subsidy cuts. She will receive 40,000 tomans (about $40) a month, and the price of gas went up from 10,000 tomans a month to 45,000 and electricity went from 5000 tomans to 35,000. How's 40.000 toman going to help?"

1425 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. The conflict over former Hashemi Rafsanjani keeps simmering: on BBC Persian, Rafsanjani's son Mehdi Hashemi, under threat of arrest if he returns to Iran from Britain, has protested his innocence.

1415 GMT: Mousavi Writes the Students. The Facebook page supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi has posted the full English translation of his statement, summarised in our Saturday updates, for early December's National Student Day.

0920 GMT: This Morning's Human Rights Line. State media has now established assembly-line production of stories on the human rights transgressions of "the West".

Latest feature: "Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has demanded that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon file a response to his letter concerning the existence of secret American prisons in Europe".

And step up, Ottawa, because you now get to be a villain, as Iranian citizens are warned not to pay you a visit. Mottaki's comment: "Today, native Canadians are suffering what happens in their country which is discrimination against them, Canadian officials are not in a position to raise human rights matters. They are not interested in understanding realities of the international scene."

0915 GMT: Lenin and Ahmadinejad --- Same Person? Press TV's lead paragraph, based on a Saturday press opportunity, "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the capitalist system is nearing its collapse, stressing the importance of establishing a world based on justice."

0830 GMT: We begin this morning with features illustrating the wondrous complexity of "human rights" in Iran.

Continuing his US parade, Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of the human rights section of Iran's judiciary, talks about the arrested US hikers and "the threat to national security" posed by detained attorney Nasrine Sotoudeh. We have the video.

For perspective, we also offer the June 2009 interview of Sotoudeh on US television.

There is the account of Sara, an activist whom we know from social media, of her recent trip to her homeland.

And we get a curious piece of news from an Iranian source: authorities have now blocked the website of the US Constitution.

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