Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (29 December): Ahmadinejad on the Campaign Trail

See also Iran Feature: Why Tehran Can't Cut Off Oil Through The Straits of Hormuz
The Latest from Iran (28 December): Look! State-of-the-Art Torpedoes!

2200 GMT: And A Bit More of a Break. Apologies to readers, but we are going to extend the holiday overnight. We'll be back by 0700 GMT with a feisty opening to Friday's LiveBlog.

1722 GMT: A Break from Propaganda. We are on a holiday break at the moment --- all we are missing, we think, is another round of bluster about fake war from the Iranian media, "Iran Bombers Pound Mock Targets".

1319 GMT: Sedition Watch. One of the showpieces this week of the regime's "victory over sedition campaign", celebrating the 2nd anniversary of the counter-rally against the Green Movement, has been a report for Parliamentary outlining an attempt at "velvet revolution" involving the US, Israel, Britain, and Iranian politicians such as former President Mohammad Khatami and Mehdi Hashemi, the son of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani.

There has been a glitch in the proceedings, however. Conservative MP Ali Motahari, a staunch foe of President Ahmadinejad, has declared, "If we accept the Article 90 Commission's report on the 2009 elections, we have to accept the report of Ahmad Shaheed [the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights] as well."

1259 GMT: Revolutionary Guards and Politics. Rooz Online summarises the statement this week by the Supreme Leader's representative, Ali Saeedi, that members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps should enter Parliament to “take strong and focused positions on important decisions": “There is no legal problem with the presence of members of the armed forces or those in the intelligence agencies, and as provided by law of commanders and other members of the armed forces in the Majlis after their resignations from their positions and membership in the IRGC.”

Saeedi continued, “In view of the need to have specialists in the Majlis, including areas of defense-security … members of the armed forces that have expertise in military affairs too can become candidates for the assembly."

1249 GMT: Elections Watch (Bank Fraud Edition). According to Bultan News, a supervisory committee has warned 16 MPs that they will be vetted for March's Parliamentary elections because of links to the $2.6 billion bank fraud.

Digarban names five of the MPs, including Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Parliament's National Security Committee.

1241 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Iranian commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari has provided today's headline from Iran's 10-day naval exercise: “An Iranian vessel and surveillance plane have tracked, filmed and photographed a U.S. aircraft carrier as it was entering the Gulf of Oman from the Persian Gulf,” proving “control over the moves by foreign forces” in the area.

1235 GMT: Oil Watch. Japan's crude imports from Iran declined 38% in November to 228,000 barrels per day from a year earlier, but a source at an importer attributed the fall to a delay in at least one tanker arrival rather than sanctions.

There were similar drops in June and July of this year due to the timing of tanker arrivals.

1225 GMT: Fazel Mousavi, a member of Parliament's Article 90 Commission overseeing Government activity, has said President Ahmadinejad should explain what he has done with $1.4 trillion in oil income over the past six years.

0935 GMT: Elections Watch. Minister of Interior Mostafa Mohammad Najjar has announced that the number of applicants for candidacy in March's Parliamentary elections is now more than 3000, including 205 women.

0755 GMT: Sedition Watch. The regime's propaganda campaign, marking the "victory" of 30 December 2009 over the Green Movement, continues. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, marking one of the "decisive and critical events in the history of nations", brought together all the enemies who sought a "velvet revolution": the US, Britain, Israel, and their traitorous "battalion" within Iran.

Speaking in Isfahan Province, Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Supreme Leader, proclaimed that "the Islamic Republic is the focal point of the Islamic World". He said the events two years ago had shown the Iranian people's dislike of "counter-revolution".

And the Secretary of the National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, said that people had given an "epic slap" to those who dissented from the republican system.

0730 GMT: The registration period for candidates for March's Parliamentary election does not end until Sunday, but President Ahmadinejad is already on the campaign trial. Yesterday in Ilam in western Iran, he addressed a general audience, spoke to managers of the province, and met veterans and relatives of martyrs of the Iran-Iraq conflict. 

Ahmadinejad's tours are a feature of his Presidency, but they now take on the significance of a politician advocating on behalf of his men, especially when those men --- labelled a "deviant current" by some --- are opposed by other conservatives, principlists, and even the Supreme Leader's inner circle.

There was nothing of distinction in the President's remarks on Wednesday. He denounced the "excesses" of the US and said Iran would stand up to them. He spoke of putting the interests of the country above those of any individual.

What was significant was the highlighting of those remarks on the State outlet IRNA, which should be seen as a platform for Ahmadinejad. He got the headlined article, another feature on his honouring of the veterans and martyrs, and a photo special. Even the Supreme Leader, who had spoken to Iranian diplomats earlier in the day, had to fall down the page.

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