Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (1 February): An Impeachment?

2015 GMT: Mousavi and Karroubi. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have met today, issuing a joint statement that "dictators in the region should listen to people's demands for freedom in Tunisia and Egypt."

The two men called for a halt to executions, and they denounced the Government's economic policy, with hundreds of companies shut down and thousands of workers jobless because of mismanagement.

In the run-up to the forthcoming anniversary of the 1979 Revolution on 22 Bahman (11 February), Mousavi and Karroubi called the Islamic Republic its biggest achievement but one that had gone wrong because some wanted to stay in power and ignore the people.

2010 GMT: Execution Watch. The US State Department has said it is "deeply concerned that Iran continues to deny its citizens their human rights. Judicial cases, trials, and sentences continue to proceed without transparency and the due process rights enshrined in Iran's own constitution."

The State Department specifically mentioned Saturday's hanging of Dutch-Iranian national Zahra Bahrami (1640 GMT), noting that Dutch consular officials were not allowed to meet her: "Her execution is one of dozens carried out in recent weeks amid serious questions about the motives of the Iranian government."

1640 GMT: Execution Watch. State TV has aired a "documentary" justifying last Saturday's execution of Dutch-Iranian Zahra Bahrami on charges of drug possession.

The style of the programme is similar to the recent documentary on Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, also condemned to death, who was moved from prison to her home to "confess" to the charges of adultery and complicity in the murder of her husband.

1615 GMT: Taking Charge. Peyke Iran reports that the Supreme Leader will deliver the sermon for Friday Prayers in Tehran.

1600 GMT: Impeachment. The Parliament, by 147 to 78, has passed a vote of no confidence in Ministry of Transportation Hamid Behbahani, effectively dismissing him (see 0710 GMT).

Tehran Bureau has more details on the episode.

1105 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has hit back at Monday's story in Fars that his official website was unlicenced and thus liable to being blocked. Rafsanjani declared, "My identity isn't based on a site but on 50 years of revolutionary activity."

1100 GMT: The Battle for Control. Speaking for the judiciary, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei has declared that, in a dispute between Parliament and the Guardian Council, the final say is with the Expediency Council.

President Ahmadinejad's office has been challenging the authority of the Expediency Council, led by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, to make such rulings.

0911 GMT: Foreign Policy published a great story yesterday, looking how the regime is scared of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and who has to pay the price for that: 

While the world's attention has been riveted by Arab uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt this month, Iran's government has taken the opportunity to execute a record number of prisoners in an apparent bid to head off the return of the dramatic street protests that pushed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government to the brink in June 2009.


"This is a reaction to the developments in Egypt and Tunisia," says Hadi Ghaemi, director of International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. "The Iranian intelligence forces want to show their power by executing so many people including even someone of European nationality."

0755 GMT: The Three Wise Men in Qom? Khabar Online notes the statement of a Qom MP that President Ahmadinejad, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer-Qalibaf, and former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will all be visiting the city soon.

An EA correspondent, noting the political bad blood between the three men, asks, "Which one will come back?"

0740 GMT: Parliament v. President. More rumblings, as Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of Parliament's National Security Commission, criticised President Ahmadinejad's open letter criticising the Majlis, the judiciary, and the Expediency Council for hindering his plans. Boroujerdi says this led to a reduced vote for the appointment of the new Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi. 

0735 GMT: Campus Watch. Mohammad Reza Marandi, a board member at Shahid Beheshti University, explains that the humanities have raised "anti-revolutionaries".

0725 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Dozens of political and social activists have issued a petition for the release of blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki.

Maleki, a student at the Azad University in Arak, has been given a 15-year prison sentence. 

0710 GMT: Political news to open the morning, as the Parliament begins the "istizah" (questioning) of the performance of the Minister of Transport, Hamid Behbahani. A bit of a glitch in the proceedings, however: neither Behbahani nor the President has chosen to appear for the proceeding.

Behbanhani has been under increasing criticism, especially over a series of air crashes. If he is found wanting today, steps could be taken for his impeachment. Ali Larijani, the Speaker of Parliament, confirmed after an unofficial meeting this morning that this was still on the agenda.

And for something completely different....The Parliament has promised to set up a committee to defend the human rights of the Egyptian people.

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