Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (23 February): Breaking Karroubi

2120 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Hasan Younesi, the son of former Minister of Intelligence Ali Younesi, has been arrested for participation in Sunday's protests.

2040 GMT: Shutting Down Mousavi and Karroubi. Ruhollah Hosseinian, a staunchly pro-Government MP, has said that a Parliamentary committee has found Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to be "corruption agents on earth". That claim may be equivalent to "mohareb" (war against God), which carries the death penalty.

Karroubi's Saham News --- which is down at the moment --- has posted an editorial criticising senior clerics and reformists for failure to speak out on behalf of Karroubi and Mousavi.

1830 GMT: Energy Watch. Josh Shahryar posts and assesses documents that indicate Venezuela is sending reformate, used in the production of high-grade gasoline, to Iran.

Venezuela’s oil officials, supporting Tehran's line that it is now self-sufficient in gasoline production, have denied that any shipments have been made.

1700 GMT: Irony Alert. So President Ahmadinejad uses a set-piece speech to chide leaders of countries, especially Libya, who reply to popular revolutions “with a bullet”: “I highly recommend leaders of these countries to let their people express their words and that they should follow public views.”

Ahmadinejad warned that resistance against demands of a nation would result in no achievement, stressing world leaders to “hear the voice of their people".

1635 GMT: Diplomatic Front. Senegal has cut ties with Iran, accusing Tehran of delivering weapons to separatist rebels in its southern Casamance region where 16 soldiers have been killed since the end of December.

A cache of Iranian weapons, concealed as building material, was intercepted in Nigeria in October 2010. It was determined to be one of several shipments passing through Gambia and destined for the Casamance rebel movement.

"Senegal is outraged to see that Iranian bullets caused the death of Senegalese soldiers," the Foreign Ministry's statement declared.

1625 GMT: Thanks to James Miller of EA and Dissected News for taking the LiveBlog for a few hours.

1611 GMT: Sanctions Watch. The U.S. treasury department has imposed sanctions on two Iranian officials for their role in human rights abuses during the post election protests. Reuters is reporting that Tehran Prosecutor General, Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi, and the commander of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps' Basij Forces, Mohammed Reza Naqdi, will have all visa rights revoked, and will have any personal assets in the United States frozen.

1527 GMT: The intelligence minister has released a statement that they now know the identity of the two "assassins" of Sanee Zhaleh, killed on 25 Bahman. Heydar Moslehi said that more information would be released later, though some readers of EA may already have a theory as to who is guilty for Zhaleh's death.

According to a Facebook page closely linked with Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi's house has now been permanently occupied by security and intelligence officials. All of their physical needs are now being supplied by these security forces, "a development that is concerning given similar cases in the past in which physical elimination [of the individual] has been the objectivea development that is concerning given similar cases in the past in which physical elimination [of the individual] has been the objective."

Karroubi's family has not been allowed to visit, or even bring food, to his house. Karroubi's family has released a statement, saying that he and his wife were both in good health before this, and they are holding security forces responsible for their parents' well being.

1415 GMT: The Regime's Defender of Human Rights.  The Head of Parliament's Human Rights Commission, Zohreh Elahian, has written a letter to the United Nations urging the formation of a committee to examine possible human rights violations in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Bahrain. Elahian wrote, 

"Fire is opened on people of the countries who are staging civil and peaceful anti-government protests only to revive their natural and lawful rights."

1300 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Daneshjoo News summarises the arrests of more than 80 students since 14 February, providing names and details.

The reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front has condemned the house arrests of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and the recent wave of detentions.

Women's rights activist Homan Fakhar Moghadam has been released on bail. Hassan Rezaei, a politcal activist in Gorgan, was arrested on Sunday.

Mohammad Hossein Mahimani, son of the recently-released head of the Gorgan Press House, is on hunger strike in a Ministry of Intelligence prison.

1255 GMT: CyberWars. The website of Mehdi Karroubi's Etemade Melli Party has been hacked.

1200 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Kalemeh reports on the arrest of two student activists and disappearance of a professor from Qazvin University after the protestts of 14 February.

1155 GMT: Getting Priorities Right. A telling statement from Hojatoleslam Mojtaba Zolnour, the deputy representative of the Supreme Leader to the Revolutionary Guards, to the press at the Tehran Friday Prayer last week --- apparently, excessive love of one's children can be seditious:


The elites of our country can be categorized in different classes. The first class are those who cooperated with the heads of sedition, but gradually distanced themselves from the seditionists and joined the ranks of the Iranian nation....


The second class are those who are unhappy with the authorities of the regime and the executive branch, and either consciously or unconsciously have strengthened the front of the enemies of the Iranian nation by their silence....

The third class of the people without insight are those who consider their personal greed, or the interests of the family and what is expedient for the family, and their love for their children more important than the ideals of the revolution and have in effect distanced themselves from the Islamic revolution through their presence at various tribunes....


1145 GMT: All-is-Well Alert. In his press conference, Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi insisted that, despite the opposition marches of 14 February, "everything is normal in country, there is no crisis".

1140 GMT: Sedition Watch (Women's Edition). Tayyebe Safaie, the head of the Women's Section in Parliament, has called for prosecution of Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Zahra Rahnavard, wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi.

1130 GMT: The Casualty of 25 Bahman. Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi claims that the "hypocrites and counter-revolutionaries" who killed Sanee Zhaleh in the marches of 25 Bahman (14 February) have been identified.

Zhaleh was amongst the tens of thousands of protesters, but the regime has tried to claim him as a martyr and member of the Basij militia, alleging that the banned Mujahedin-e-Khalq shot him.

1120 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Iran Hezbollah's head of coordination and former Revolutionary Guard officer Allah Karam, has labelled former President Hashemi Rafsanjani as the "strategic head of Fitna". He says Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi want to convert Iran to a secular democracy and have blinded Rafsanjani so he could not see American, British, and Israeli involvement in their plans.

0955 GMT: A New Green Charter? The Iranian blog "Majma'e Divanegan" has criticsed the unclear aims in the new charter put forward in the latest statement from Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Another Iranian blogger summarises the significant changes changes in the statement on opposition objectives, including its appeal to social movements.

0945 GMT: Where's Mahmoud? President Ahmadinejad has appeared on television to declare that the wave of protests sweeping the Middle East will spread to Europe and North America, ending the oppression of "arrogant powers".

Ahmadinejad condemned Libya's use of force against demonstrators and urged Libyan leaders to give in to the demands of their people.

Iran's hard-line leaders have sought to claim some credit for the uprisings in Arab nations, saying the 1979 Islamic Revolution provided inspiration.


0850 GMT: The International Publishers Association is urgently trying to locate an Iranian publisher on women's issues, named in a blacklist of "evidence of soft overthrow and velvet revolution" by a chapter of the Basij militia at Khajeh Nasir University.

Shahla Lahiji is the founder of Roshangaran, which publishes material on women's issues and on "civil society and civil struggle". Lahiji won the Independent Publishing Association's Freedom To Publish prize in 2006.

0840 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Prominent Iranian intellectual Abdolkarim Soroush,now living in the US, has criticised the regime over the abuse of his son-in-law.

In a letter posted on his website, Soroush said his son-in-law, Hamed, was arrested and abused --- including being kept naked in a walk-in freezer --- to say in a televised interview that his wife, Soroush’s daughter, is a “slut” and that Soroush is an enemy of Islam with ties to foreigners.

Soroush's daughter, Kimia Soroush, and son-in-law are now out of Iran after what Soroush claims was 10 months of harassment.

"The zoo of Velayat Faghih [the system of clerical supremacy] needed more prey.” Soroush wrote.

0835 GMT: A New Green Charter? Radio Farda reports on Statement No. 18, from Mir Hossein Mousavi and endorsed by Mehdi Karroubi --- or put out by the offices of both men, given their house arrests --- on goals for the opposition.

The immediate take-away is that the statement looks to broaden the base of the political movement with consideration of issues and rights for women, minorities, workers, and the lower classes.

We are looking for an English translation.

0825 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Rah-e-Sabz claims that family members of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani were accosted after a services at Shabdolazim Mosque on Tuesday.

0750 GMT: Looking to the Future. The US Government is clearly considering an issue we have been pondering, "If the Supreme Leader Is Gone Tomorrow, What Next?".

In a study commissioned by the US Department of Defense, RAND considers five scenarios:

"Status quo" --- Where Khamenei is followed by a leader like himself, possibly someone he hand-picks

"Absolutist" --- An absolute dictator with strong religious and political credentials supported by a cult of personality

"Democratic" --- A reformist leader who is more accountable to the republican institutions and the electorate than Khamenei

Leadership Council --- An executive leadership group that replaces a single leader

Abolition --- he demise of the Supreme Leader position in favor of republicanism

0710 GMT: Fighting over the Martyrs. HRANA reports on skirmishes as Basij members allegedly tried to disrupt a ceremony by Shiraz University students on Tuesday for Hamed Nourmohammadi, their classmate who was killed in Sunday's protests.

In an audio interview, Majid Mokhtari, the brother of slain 25 Bahman protester Mohammed Mokhtari, says sadly that "even his coffin was taken" by the regime.

0610 GMT: A quieter phase in Iran after the recent opposition marches, with one significant exception. Having cut off Mir Hossein Mousavi, the regime is now trying to take out the threat of Mehdi Karroubi with raids on his residence and the detention of his son Ali.

Expect more if the opposition cleric --- or his staff --- continue to resist with news and declarations, and there is also the possible battle on another front over former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. Even though Rafsanjani has still not broken cover to express opposition beyond last week's statement going after President Ahmadinejad, pro-Government circles are pressing with the propaganda and the threats to remove him from his positions, notably his leadership of the Assembly of Experts.

In the latest moves against Mousavi, Mohammad Ali Malekian, a member of Mousavi’s 2009 campaign in Amol, has been arrested. Ali Hossein-Doust Taleshani, another member of the campaign, has been sentenced to three years in prison for insulting the Supreme Leader and acting against national security.


Corruption Watch

MPs are considering a bill which requires legislators, members of the Executive and judiciary, top military commanders, and members of the Guardian Council to declare their properties before taking up a post and after the end of the service.

There is no specific reference in the brief article in Mehr as to whether the move is linked to the allegation by some MPs of corruption amongst the Ahmadinejad Government, including 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.

Where's Mahmoud?

On Tuesday, President Ahmadinejad was focusing on the mighty Iran-Ecuador alliance to vanquish the US, Israel, and any other bad country.  Meeting Ecuadorian Speaker of Parliament  Fernando Cordero, he said Iran and Ecuador wer two “revolutionary nations” seeking to achieve “lofty ideals", administer justice, and promote friendship: “Those who are upset and worried about the progress of and constructive moves by, the two countries to further boost mutual and international cooperation will undoubtedly be defeated by the will of the two nations."

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