Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (18 March): A Gentle Day?

2040 GMT: Fighting On in Another Year. The opposition's Coordination Council for the Green Path of Hope, has issued a statement for Iranian New Year:

We are well aware that peaceful protests are our fundamental right, as has been recognized and emphasized by the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are also well aware that defending the rights of the minorities, ethnic groups, and women to create a better Iran is fundamental. We consider it our duty to do whatever we can, so long as we still have breath, to end the detention of the Green Movement's leaders and their wives, who are symbols of resistance and the effort to restore people's rights....We begin the new year with you [the people] with hope for victory.

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The Latest from Iran (17 March): Economy Watch

1835 GMT: Footage, posted on Wednesday, which claims to be of the burning of a banner of the Supreme Leader and the late Ayatollah Khomeini:

1830 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Bagher Oskouie, head of the youth branch of Mehdi Karroubi's Etemade Melli Party, has been released from detention.

Oskouie was arrested during the 14 February demonstrations.

1320 GMT: More Tehran Friday Prayer. After establishing support of protest, provided it was in another country (see 1310 GMT), Ayatollah Jannati used the conflict in Bahrain to push the tried-and-true theme: “The US on the one hand urges for exercising restraint and on the other hand, with its uncalled for meddling, paves the way for regional rulers to commit their crimes....When [Bahrain's] unpopular government realized they would lose, they turned to Saudi Arabia to crack down on people and they (Saudis) dispatch armies.”

Jannati went beyond the US-centred model to target Libya's leaders: “These people tolerated such a crazy man for years until they ran out of patience and revolted....Qaddafi, like the Zionist regime [of Israel] which [targets] Palestinians, targeted his own people.”

Solid material. Still, you have to wonder if Jannati thought through this sentence: “Why are the advocates of democracy so fearful of the people's presence now?”


1310 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Summary. We thought we had a dramatic scoop when Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, declared this morning that protesters must "resist against the enemy until you die or win". Could this be a most public defection to the Iranian opposition?

Then we learned that Jannati was referring to "brothers and sisters" in Bahrain.

Never mind.

1305 GMT: Bahrain State TV has been announcing that the monument at Pearl Roundabout was suddenly demolished (1230 GMT) because it was old and would have collapsed soon.

1300 GMT: Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa says, as Tripoli must acknowledge the UN resolution, the regime is declaring an immediate cease-fire.

1232 GMT: Photo of thousands attending the funeral of a slain protester in Sitra in Bahrain:< /p>

1145 GMT: A Challenge to Khatami. Mohammad Reza Bahonar, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, has said that people should not chant against former President Mohammad Khatami as a "leader of sedition". At the same time, he said that Khatami must be "more transparent", especially on his position regarding the opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi.

Karroubi has been under strict house arrest or detention for almost a month.

1055 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Detained student activist Bahareh Hedayat, sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison, has been allowed her first visit by her husband in more than three months.

0945 GMT: Moving Against the Clerics. Security forces have raided the home of Hojatoleslam Mehdi Hosseini, a representative of the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri.

0915 GMT: Denouncing Tyranny. Grand Ayatollah Sane'i, a notable critic of the Government, has issued a statement that "the government of Bahrain, Libya and other authoritarian governments should know" that their tyranny will be destroyed".

0715 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. On Thursday, the President met Syrian Foreign Walid Moallem. No details of the talks emerged amidst the rhetoric calling for cooperation for peace and the security of the region's nations.

0710 GMT: A Pahlavi Declaration. At the end of an interview with Voice of America Persian, Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Shah, said he would join Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi on condition that regime change was pursued.

0625 GMT: Health Alert. Hossein Ali Shahriari, the head of Parliament's Health Commission, has claimed that the Government has no budget for health care in 2011/12.

0615 GMT: A gentle start to the day in Iran, so we will begin with a couple of new videos of the celebrations and protests during Tuesday night's Chahrshanbeh Suri (Fire Festival)

Chants for Mir Hossein Mousavi:

And chants for former President Mohammad Khatami and "God is Great" in Ardakan in central Iran:

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