Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (24 March): Trust Us, We're Different

2125 GMT: Lawyer and human rights activist Shadi Sadr has expressed hope over today's resolution by the UN Human Rights Council, passed 22-7, to appoint a Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran. Sadr said previous reports by Rapporteurs had a positive effect on the conditions in the country, particularly on those of political prisoners. Sadr continued:

I think today’s resolution is quite important and will be quite effective because not only does having the Special Rapporteur mean more and specific monitoring, but it is also a swift shift in the international community’s approach regarding Iran’s human rights situation. It does not matter if the Islamic Republic of Iran allows the Rapporteur to visit the country or not. The point is that the international community, tired of negotiations with no results…today, has shown its stick rather than its carrot. This is the exact atmosphere that we, Iranian civil society, need to use as a useful platform to push for the demands and rights of the people of Iran.

1525 GMT: Human Rights Watch. Back from an academic break to find that the United Nations Human Rights Council has voted to appoint an investigator to monitor Iran.

In the first endorsement of a dedicated investigation in nine years, the Council voted by 22 to 7, with 14 abstentions, "to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran".

0830 GMT: Gender Update. Conservative MP Musa Ghorbani has complained that he has been forced to change his phone number because of women who have been calling him.

Ghorbani used the pejorative "za'ifeh" to describe the women who rang him. The MP is one of the sponsors of family legislation which activists claim will restrict the rights of Iranian women.

0600 GMT: Political developments in Iran continue to be few and far between, so it is the regime's protests, rather than those of the opposition, that catch the eye this morning.

State outlets IRNA and Press TV go to great lengths to frame a statement by Turkish President Abdullah Gul that "the Islamic Republic of Iran's political structure is very different from the states in the region struggling with unrest". He supposedly continued, "One must not forget that at least 5-6 different presidents have been elected in Iran since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, while in Africa one person was in power."

Interestingly, the English editor of Turkey's leading daily Hurriyet makes no reference to a statement by President Gul. Instead, this is its main Iran story: "Turkey says it has seized the cargo of an Iranian plane bound for Syria because the shipment violated U.N. sanctions". And Gul's latest interview with Zaman has no reference to Tehran's very different political system.

The opposition Saham News, meanwhile, continues its focus on the latest development over the house arrests/detentions of opposition figures Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi and Fatemeh Karroubi. It highlights the visit of Yasser Khomeini, the grandson of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, with the Karroubis' son Ali --- who himself was recently released from detention --- and Khomeini's call for the rule of law and dialogue.

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