Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (25 November): Taking a Break?

2144 GMT: Election and Sedition. Another take-away from the Supreme Leader's speech to Basij militia today....

Ayatollah Khamenei said the post-election protesters put their desire for power above the Islamic Republic in a “complex sedition” which endangered the “interests of the country and the righteousness of its path". He added, “They acted in such a way that drew the excitement and support of Western leaders and the Iranian nation’s first grade enemies.”

The Supreme Leader also laid down the lines on loyalty: “A society is either led by the just Imam...or it is run by human beings who know nothing of righteousness....It cannot be any other way.”

2138 GMT: Controlling the Mourning. As the anniversary of the death of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri approaches, Commander Mohammad Reza Heydari has announced the establishment of "Muharram Police" in Qom to control religious ceremonies.

2135 GMT: Another Parliamentary Jab. Abbas Ali Navar, a member of Parliament's Budget Commission, has sniped at the high payments and rewards offered to managers of government companies, complaining that there is no supervision of this process.

2120 GMT: Political Move. A bit of news to liven up the holiday: the minority "reformist" faction in Parliament has met Speaker Ali Larijani to present their opinion on economic, cultural, and political matters, including subsidy cuts and the 5th Budget Plan.

No indication whether this is connected with moves against the President. Instead, the article in Khabar Online, linked to Larijani, emphasises the Speaker's call for unity behind the leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei.

Playing his role as the real defender of Iran, Larijani also put out the same message in his speech in Western Azerbaijan: "following the Supreme Leader in word and deed is important, because today the enemy's seditions are numerous", including their statement on the nuclear and human rights cases.

1740 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Unity4Iran has published the names of all 19 political detainees released last night from Evin Prison.

1440 GMT: Yea for Subsidy Cuts. The latest all-will-be-well declaration comes from Minister of Industry and Mines Ali Akbar Meharabian: the Government's plan will lead to a boom in the production of quality appliances.

1340 GMT: Women's Rights. Kalemeh has published an open letter from Zahra Rahnvard, activist and wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, to head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani on the World Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, which coincides this year with the religious ceremony Eid al-Ghadir. Rahnavard claims that Iran has not learned from the history of political violence, especially against women.

1315 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Kalemeh reports that 19 political detainees have been released on the eve of the religious day of Eid al-Ghadir. The names of 11 are published: Sina Golchin, Naser Abdolhouseini, Reza Khademi, Iman Azarian, Masoud Babapour, Javad Maherzadeh, Golchin Arefi, Saman Nouranian, Abbas Kakaei, Alireza Moradi, and Aptin Ghafari.

Student activist Siavash Hatem has been arrested.

1020 GMT: Karroubi Watch. Rooz Online publishes the English summary of Fereshteh Ghazi's interview with Mehdi Karroubi's wife Fatemeh.

Fatemeh Karroubi, a former member of Parliament, denounced the "makeshift siege" of the Karroubi residence by security forces: "Even on some normal days Mr. Karoubi’s house is cordoned off and nobody is allowed to come to the house, and this is not something that happens only on special or religious occasions.”

She also asserted, “Contrary to what law enforcement officials claimed, Iindividuals responsible for the attacks on Mr. Karoubi’s house on the religious nights of Ghadar and Fitr celebrations [this summer and autumn]...had not been dealt with.”

1015 GMT: Today's All-is-Well Alert (cont.). The Supreme Leader reassures Basij militia, “The enemies are working against the Iranian nation, but the Iranian nation has become stronger thanks to its power of faith and the enemies are becoming weaker day by day.”

1010 GMT: And the End of Literature? According to Peyke Iran, the state-run bonyad (foundation) for literary fiction, set up to challenge the independent Writers Association (Kanoon Nevisandegan), has been dissolved after only two years amidst disputes over prizes.

1000 GMT: The End of Philosophy. Iranian authorities concluded World Philosophy Day, after three days, in Tehran on Wednesday night with a speech from head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani.

Larijani not only acknowledged UNESCO's withdrawal as host of the event, adding that critical scholars "have misunderstood matters", but addressed Iran's recent suspension of humanities --- including philosophy --- in universities while their content is considered. He said, “The humanities that have been imported from the West must be reviewed in view of the presumptions, objectives and lifestyles of each society.” This was not a political concern but an issue of "technicality and accuracy".

Larijani continued with the philosophical reflection that "current human rights” regulations are the outcome of modernity and it was unfair to “force these tenets on a country that has a completely different culture and background”.

0930 GMT: Today's All-is-Well Alert. Iranian officials declare that the prices for Sangak and Barbari bread will drop after subsidy cuts.

0850 GMT: Iranians begin a four-day holiday today --- five if they were given the day off on Wednesday because of high pollution levels. We have a special analysis considering if political tensions, in particular the manoeuvring against the Ahmadinejad Government, will also take a break.


Strategy Update: We Vanquish the West

While politics simmers in Tehran, the defenders of Iran continue to point towards their victory over enemies:

Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of the Basij militia, told Basiji students that he thanked God for the sanctions and hoped they will increase from day to day. He said Iran was an extraordinary country conquering both enemy trenches and the hearts of the people of the world.

Hossein Saffar Harandi, the former Minister of Culture, announced that the US is in a serious crisis and Iran's youth will see it declare to a "Third World country".

Political Prisoner Watch

One unexpected "casualty" of Wednesday's smog was the second court hearing for detained attorney Nasrine Sotoudeh. 

Sotoudeh has been held for almost three months, nominally for her threat to national security, but in reality for her defence of activists and other detainees.

Un-Diplomatic Behaviour

Khabar Online, often critical of the Government on domestic issues, is outraged over "Western" coverage of Gambia's breaking of diplomatic relations with Iran, possibly over an arms shipment that was intercepted in Nigeria.

The website sniffs that Iran did not even have an embassy in the African country and says the West should be blamed for this whipped-up crisis.

At the same time, Khabar offers a significant piece of information: it has not received any news of development from the Foreign Ministry. If the cause of the diplomatic row was the arms shipment, it is likely that Iran's diplomats were caught by surprise over the affair.

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