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The Latest from Iran (26 October): It's All About US Crimes....

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2250 GMT: Reality or Illusion Watch. Prominent Iranian academic Sadegh Zibakalam, speaking at the Tehran Media Exhibit, said the "Islamic Awakening" --- declared by the Supreme Leader to be inspiring movements across North Africa and the Middle East --- is an illusion of the Islamic Republic. Zibakalam said the real significance of events is that Arab people are fed up with dictatorship.

1810 GMT: The Plot. In a speech in South Khorasan Province in eastern Iran, President Ahmadinejad has said the "Iranian nation is very kind and just and does not need to terrorist acts".

Responding to US accusations that Tehran planned the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador to Washington, Ahmadinejad asserted, "Every time the Iranian nation moves toward the peaks of progress, its enemies grab it with their teeth showing." He turned the charge of assassination against others, claiming they had killed Iranian scientists.

1810 GMT: Impeachment Watch. Minister of Energy Majid Namjoo has expressed confidence that he will survive interrogation and an impeachment vote in Parliament, “I believe Majlis lawmakers will not pursue the issue of impeachment seriously, but if it is brought to Majlis, given the tenability of the ministry's performance, we will defend it well.”

Fifty-one Iranian legislators have signed the impeachment motion, citing Namjou's failure to fulfil commitments.

Namjoo was first impeached in early March, but he survived a vote of confidence.

1750 GMT: Campus Watch. Students of Tehran University have launched a new independent union to pursue their demands for rights and to organise protests.

1740 GMT: Cartoon of the Day (2). Khodnevis graphically portrays the Supreme Leader's manipulation of the President:

1700 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, is this year's winner of the Per Anger Award, given by the Swedish Government and the Living History Forum to individuals who struggle for the cause of democracy and human rights around the world.

Mohammadi is a colleague of Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and other lawyers and activists at the Center for Defenders of Human Rights and the co-founder of the co-founder of the Iranian National Peace Council. She was arrested in September 2010 and charged with “propaganda against the regime”, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison. She is now under house arrest outside Tehran.

As Mohammadi is prohibited from travelling abroad since 2009, Ebadi will accept the award in her place on 14 November.

1500 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty profiles the latest discussions between the US and European partners --- amidst the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador to Washington --- on tightening of sanctions on Iran.

The take-away paragraphs:

Potential sanctions would target the heart of Iran's financial dealings, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), in a move that analysts suggest could have a crippling effect on the country's economy by cutting off nearly all international financial transactions.

Cohen said in London on October 24 that the sanctions would be part of the broader effort to deter Iran from pursuing nuclear capabilities.

​​"We are going to continue to look at those financial institutions that are involved with proliferation activity for Iran and continue to try to isolate them from the international financial sector," Cohen said....

The official's first stop was London, where Cohen met with British officials on October 24 to discuss potential new sanctions against Iran in response to the plot.

From there, Cohen is taking his message to Berlin, Paris, and Rome.

1245 GMT: Cartoon of the Day. Nikahang Kowsar pictures the scene between the Supreme Leader and former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, whose support helped putting Ayatollah Khamenei in the position in 1989 --- as Khamenei sets the Islamic Republic on fire, Rafsanjani declares, "Curses on me that I made you Leader!"

1005 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Saudi Front). Back from a conference break to find Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, despite the current strains in Iranian-Saudi relations, offering condolences at the funeral of the Saudi Crowd Prince.

0405 GMT: The End of the Presidency? Reuters breathlessly headlines, "Is Ahmadinejad Iran's Last President?", while The Washington Post is more sober: "Iran’s Supreme Leader Floats Proposal to Abolish Presidency".

Both, however, have seized on Ayatollah Khamenei's statement last week that a directly-elected President could be replaced by a Prime Minister selected by Parliament. returning to a pre-1989 system.

We are not so sure here that such political drama is on the way. The Supreme Leader's suggestion, dropped into a speech, could have been a warning shot to Ahmadinejad and his advisors, especially if one of them is thinking of succeeding the President. Or it could have been a general reflection on the possibilities within the system of the Islamic Republic. For now, however, it does not look like a concerted initiative to abolish the Presidency.

0345 GMT: On a Tuesday full of criticism of the US, Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, may have stolen the headlines with his soundbite, "US Crimes Awakened Muslim Nations".

Jannati used a meeting with a Bosnian envoy to declare, “The source of the recent movements and Islamic Awakening in various countries is the people's realization of US betrayals and that it imposed dictators on them. The anti-US sentiment in the Islamic Awakening in the region is the result of the people of these countries seeing that the United States has used its puppet dictators to dominate them."

President Ahmadinejad made a pointed domestic reference in his speech in eastern Iran, "People will sweep away my enemies within two seconds." But he also had Washington and the "West" in his rhetorical sights, denouncing its intervention in Libya and expanding the allegation, "The world's tyrants, by relying on evil powers and desires, seek to massacre and dominate nations, and also so plunder their possessions."

The reformist party Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution, formally suspended, did not follow the script, however. They issued a statement on Tuesday about the $2.6 billion bank fraud: "Despotism is the root of corruption in Iran."

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