Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (6 June): A Call for An Investigation

Funeral of Haleh Sahabi

1650 GMT: Fars News is reporting that Manouchehr Gharavi, the former CEO of the Iranian car maker, Iran-Khodro, and a few others were arrested last Monday.

1640 GMT: On Saturday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei called for a political cease-fire between Ahmadinejad and his most vocal critics inside the conservative party. Those calls, apparently, have gone unheaded.

Mehr News reports that Khamenei's representative to the Republican Guard Corps, Hojatoleslam Mojtaba Zolnour, insinuated today that Ahmadinejad is a threat to the core of the Islamic Republic:

"The current of deviation seeks to weaken the foundations of the Islamic establishment... I believe this movement is the gravest danger in the history of Shiite Islam.

"The head of this new sedition should be removed if the government wants to be clean... We hope this problem will be resolved, but it seems very unlikely such a thing will happen in the near future."

The insinuation is that Ahmadinejad, and his presumed choice for a successor, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, are behind the "current of deviation," a phrase used before to criticise the current president. Zolnour's disregard for political calm, and his association with the IRGC, is a notable event.

1200 GMT: Ali Larijani has warned Ahmadinejad that delegating decisions on oil matters special representatives appointed by the president is illegal.

0850 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. The President has suddenly cancelled his trip to Armenia today and announced a press conference for tomorrow. 

0835 GMT: Ahmadinejad's Brother Has A Warning...For Ahmadinejad? Two weeks ago, we noted the assault by Mehdi Khorshidi, the President's son-in-law, on the "deviant current" around Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Now it appears that Ahmadinejad's brother Davoud has jumped in....

Speaking on Sunday in Varamin in Tehran Province, Davoud Ahmadinejad said the "deviant current" was serving as the "infantry" of a "hegemonistic system", i.e., Western powers. He declared that this current was trying to distract people from Iran's achievements to create a sedition "greater" than that after the 2009 Presidential election.

Davoud Ahmadinejad declared that "careful measures" must be taken over the merger of ministries and officials must be appointed or dismissed from their posts "tactfully".

0820 GMT: The Battle Within. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has taken another swipe at the advisors around President Ahmadinejad, declaring that the "deviant current" is not entitled to offer theories about politics at a time of economic challenge.

0620 GMT: Protest Watch. Opposition advisor Ardeshir Amir Arjomand has faced criticism for calling for a "silent protest" on 12 June (22 Khordad), the second anniversary of the disputed Presidential election; some activists believe the demonstration is too passive to have any significance. In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Arjomand gives a somewhat tangled defence of the tactic:


The 12th of June, 2011 will be the starting point for a variety of activities designed for the month of June. The June 12th protest is the first of such activities and won't be the last. We await feedback from a number of social networks in order to finalize decisions regarding the 13th and 14th and perhaps other days during the month of June.


The protest on June 12th will not be our last activity and depending on the level of receptiveness the methods used for future protests will be modified. We have always emphasized that marches are one of many civil rights tools at the disposal of our citizens.


0615 GMT: Diversion Watch. You can't keep this narrative down, whatever is actually happening in Tehran and Beyond --- Tony Karon of Time magazine pronounces, "Why the Arab Spring Has Failed to Thaw the Iran Nuclear Standoff".

0610 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. University student Sina Mehdinia has been sentenced to six months in prison. Mehdinia was arrested during the Ashura demonstrations of December 2009 and spent 11 months in detention before being released on bail.

Student activists Mohsen Barazvan and Fatemeh Karamad have been imprisoned.

0600 GMT: Francis Fukuyama Caused the 2009 Sedition. That's the revelation by Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of Kayhan, at a conference in Shiraz.

Shariatmadari, spinning tales of meetings between former President Mohammad Khatami and billionaire George Soros --- a favourite Iran suspect for masterminding regime change --- said the thesis of political theorist Fukuyama about liberal democracy led to the post-election protests from June 2009.

And it's not over: Shariatmadari said that Fukuyama's thoughts had led to today's "deviant current", the euphemism for disliked advisors of President Ahmadinejad.

0545 GMT: The brother of activist Haleh Sahabi, who died Wednesday at her father's funeral in Tehran after a confrontation with security forces, has called for an investigation into the circumstances. 

Iranian forces tried to disperse the funeral procession for Ezzatollah Sahabi, a long-time opposition figure, by taking away the coffin. When Haleh Sahabi challenged them, they allegedly punched him in the chest and abdomen. She collapsed and died --- whether from a heart attack or from the blows or from both is still uncertain.


Oil and Politics

A series of developments on the oil front, where Mohammad Aliabadi has been appointed as caretaker Minister of Oil even though --- so far --- he has been unable to win Parliamentary support as the new head of the merged Ministries of Oil and Energy.

Amidst reports that Aliabadi will represent Iran at this week's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries --- Iran's OPEC Governor, Mohammad Ali Katibi, has warned against a hike in output. 

Iran's State budget, amidst a time of economic difficulties in the country, rests upon the assumption of an oil price of $85 per barrel. An increase in OPEC's production would decrease the price, which is currently just over $100 per barrel for crude oil.

Iran currently holds the rotating Presidency of OPEC.

Campus Watch

The Ministry of Science and Higher Education has declared that the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) is an “illegal” organisation, as it  "has not received any ministry permits for operation".

The ministry said all diplomas and degrees issued by this institution “lack legal validity".

Last month Iranian security forces  shut down science and research facilities at the Baha’i Open University in Tehran and raided the homes of staff, arresting at least 14 of them.

The Baha’i Open University in 1987 was established to offer higher education to member of the Baha’i faith, who face discrimination under the Islamic Republic's system.

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