President Ahmadinejad v. Head of Judiciary Sadegh Larijani (Cartoon: Nikahang Kowsar)
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The Latest from Iran (24 October): The Interrogation of Ahmadinejad?
2020 GMT: Budget Watch. More on alleged diversion of funds by the Government (see 1520 GMT)....
The Supreme Audit Court has accused the Government of transferring $12 billion of oil revenue to the general State revenue account rather than the foreign exchange reserve, in an attempt to cover last year's budget deficit.
The Court alleges that unauthorized withdrawals of oil revenue amount to a total of $19 billion.
The Presidency's Economics Directorate has countered with a report claiming increased Government deposits in the foreign exchange reserve during the Ahmadinejad years.
(Hat tip: Iran Tracker)
1557 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. A compromise? Amid news that the interrogation of President Ahmadinejad by Parliament will not proceed, MP Ali Asghar Zareie has claimed that Ahmadinejad has accepted responsibility for economic problems, in a meeting with a faction of principlist legislators.
Deutsche Welle summarises the stoppages by the drivers in different parts of Iran, as well as a strike by telecommunciations workers in Hamedan.
Claimed footage of the queue in Isfahan:
1537 GMT: Economy Watch. One sign of the seriousness of the economic situation in Iran --- 200,000 Afghan refugees have left and returned to their home country in the last six months, according to Afghan officials.
Officials in the western Afghan province of Herat say many of the returning refugees do not have any documentation. Reasons given for their return include unemployment, lack of income, high prices, and school restrictions for their children.
Iran has about 2.3 million Afghan refugees, 900,000 of whom are undocumented.
1130 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Mostafa Afzalifard, the spokesman of Parliament's Article 90 Commission, has said that the proposed interrogation of President Ahmadinejad in the Majlis has been cancelled.
Afzalifard said there were now only 61 signatories on the petition to question the President, less than the 74 needed for consideration.
Originally, 102 MPs has signed the petition but, amid signals from the Supreme Leader's office and leading politicians against an interrogation, some legislators withdrew their endorsement.
0810 GMT: Supreme Leader Watch. In his annual message to Haj pilgrims, the Supreme Leader has praised uprisings in some Arab countries, while warning against conspiracies by Western powers to stifle an "Islamic Awakening": “If Muslims let go this great opportunity without using it to reform the Islamic Ummah, they would incur great losses. The aggressive and interventionist arrogant powers are making every effort to divert the course of these significant Islamic movements."
Ayatollah Khamenei referred specifically to Syria, not as an example of the uprisings that he praised, but as a nation “that has stood up to the Zionist usurpers for three decades single-handedly". He continued, “We support the Syrian people and are opposed to every kind of incitement and intervention in that country," while declaring that any democratic reform in Syria “should be undertaken by the people themselves and through totally domestic methods".
0620 GMT: Currency Watch. Minister of Economy Shamseddin Hosseini, spending much of his time talking about the enemy's attempts to undermine the Iranian economy, has assured that the Government is dealing with the currency crisis to protect the Iranian Rial and importers.
0530 GMT: The political fight between President Ahmadinejad and head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani, sparked by Ahmadinejad's request to visit Evin Prison but soon escalating into a showdown over the President's authority, went another round on Wednesday.
Larijani countered Ahmadinejad's claim to uphold the Constitution --- while pursuing prison reform --- with a long argument about the respective powers of the President, Parliament, and the judiciary. Then he threw his big punch: "I will strictly prevent any inappropriate interference in the affairs of the judiciary as independent power."
State news agency IRNA and Press TV continue to avoid any mention of the dispute. However, Khabar Online --- the website affiliated with Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani --- carries the story in its headlines. Alef, linked to leading MP and Larijani relative Ahmad Tavakoli, not only features two articles on Sadegh Larijani's letter --- it also carries an "analysis" comparing Ahmadinejad's arguments to the "sedition" after the 2009 Presidential election.