Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (2 December): Choking

1855 GMT: Khatami Speaks. Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has urged authorities to let the Islamic Republic pass through “threats and restrictions” into an atmosphere of “safety and freedom".

Speaking to families of political prisoners on Tuesday, Khatami emphasized that the constitution "should be the basis of everyone’s actions especially the government". He asked authorities to ensure free and healthy elections and inclusive policies.

1840 GMT: The Budget Battle. Reformist MP Nasrollah Torabi has declared that the remarks of Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, on a possible compromise over the 5th Budget Plan have no legal binding.

1816 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Prominent historian Abdollah Shahbazi, a supporter of Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been arrested in Shiraz.

1813 GMT: On Campus. Daneshjoo News publishes an overview of the preparations by Iranian students to mark 16 Azar (7 December), National Students Day.

1655 GMT: Assassinations Solved? Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi has claimed that several agents behind the car bombings in Tehran on Monday, killing one nuclear physicist and wounding another, have been detained.

Moslehi added that Israel's Mossad, Britain's MI6, and the CIA had been implicated by the arrested individuals.He said more than 80 organisations in the US were working for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic, and $17.7 billion has been spent in the past 19 years in the effort.

1520 GMT: All-is-Well Alert. Just forget all that nonsense from WikiLeaks about Arab leaders encouraging bombs on Tehran --- "Iran enjoys most intimate relations with regional countries and takes most serious steps aimed at further strengthening them," Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Kuwait on Wednesday on the sidelines of the International Donors and Investors Conference for East Sudan.

Mottaki continued, "Our relations with the entire Arab world, even with those who we have no political relations with are good and satisfactory, because we believe we have shared interests and each of us are the limbs of the same Islamic body, while those who are in the opposite front are opposed to our religion and to our Islamic society.”

1515 GMT: Academic Corner. The Iranian organization Advocacy Council for the Right to Education has won the 2010 Middle East Studies Association Academic Freedom Award.

ACRE has been recognised for its "commitment to the promotion of academic rights and basic rights to freedom of thought and expression".

1500 GMT: Politics in Cartoons. A collection of Mana Neyestani's work has been posted on Facebook.

1455 GMT: The Assassinations of the Physicists. STRATFOR spends many hundreds of words to speculate in the guise of analysis about the latest killing and wounding of Iran's nuclear physicists: "It is unlikely that any foreign power was able to conduct this operation by itself and equally unlikely that any indigenous militant group was able to pull off an attack like this without some assistance. The combination of the two, however, could provide an explanation of how the attacks targeting Shariari and Abassi got so close to complete success."

A better starting point might be that almost no one --- not even key members of the regime --- has an idea who is behind the attacks. That is why the nerves have been jangling in official statements out of Tehran this week.

1420 GMT: Smog Solution. Hojetoleslam Mohammad Taghi Rahbar offers a way out of the crisis over air pollution: Pray for Rain.

1135 GMT: Assassinations, the West, and Leadership. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani combines nerves over Monday's killing of a nuclear physicist, Iranian nationalism, and his push for prominence in a speech in Qom:

This move by the Westerners, who are frequently condemning terrorist acts but have remained silent on the recent assassinations in Iran, is scandalous and disgraceful....The Islamic awakening that our [1979 Islamic] Revolution has created …has caused awareness in the region and this has prompted the recent assassinations by terrorist elements.

Deception, chicanery and thirst for power dominate the international community, otherwise Iran's nuclear affairs do not require so many turns and twists by the West.

1115 GMT: Cartoon of the Day. Nikahang Kowsar on the looming surge in gasoline prices:

0915 GMT: We begin today with two specials: a snap analysis of the politics behind Iran's battle with air pollution and a look at the US squeeze-and-discuss strategy towards Tehran on the eve of talks in Geneva.


The Assassinations of the Physicists

More signs of confusion and concern in Tehran on Wednesday as Iranian officials said they would increase security for nuclear scientists, two days after the killing of one physicist and the wounding of another.

Speaking at the funeral of Dr Majid Shariari, the head of Iran’s nuclear programe, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Shahriari's assassination was a warning to Tehran before discussions on 6-7 December 6-7 in Geneva: “The wicked people wanted to demonstrate their ugly side, which is the policy of carrot and stick, prior to the upcoming nuclear talks.”

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