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Monday
Nov122012

The Latest from Iran (12 November): The Economic Squeeze Tightens

See also Iran Feature: The Last Blog of Sattar Beheshti, Murdered by Security Forces in Prison
Iran Snap Analysis: Military Chest-Thumping Takes Over in Tehran
The Latest from Iran (11 November): Preparing for Renewed Nuclear Talks?


1545 GMT: A Death in Detention. Iran News Network reports that three people have been arrested in connection with the death in detention of blogger Sattar Beheshti.

1415 GMT: A Death in Detention. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Parliament’s National Security Committee said that “preliminary information” showed no signs of beatings on the body of Sattar Beheshti, the blogger who was reportedly killed during interrogation in prison last week.

The Parliamentary committee had said yesterday, amid international pressure, that it would investigate the circumstances of Beheshti's death, which came after he was seized on 31 October from his home. The Khaneh Mellat website has reported that security forces of the Islamic Republic will appear at a committee meeting today to give their report.

The head of Islamic Republic Human Rights Commission announced that the head of the judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, had issued a special order to investigate the case.

More than 40 political prisoners in Ward 350 of Evin Prison posted a letter that “when Sattar Beheshti was brought to section 350 of Evin, signs of torture were all over his body and he was injured and in pain".

1245 GMT: Nuclear Watch. A notable intervention from Mohsen Rezaei --- Secretary of the Expediency Council, former head of the Revolutionary Guards, Presidential candidate in 2009 and possibly 2013 --- who has said that negotiations with the US are part of talks with the 5+1 Powers about Tehran's nuclear programme.

[Note: This entry originally said, incorrectly: "Indeed, Rezaei gave substance to reports of back-channel talks with US officials, 'We have already started negotiations with America.' A correction is being posted in Tuesday's Live Coverage.]

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has also indicated that, just as Iran and the US have established contacts to discuss Iraq and Afghanistan, so they can consider the nuclear situation. He added that the Supreme Leader has to make the decisions about "the political dimension of a comprehensive dialogue between the two countries".

Salehi's co-operative tone continued as he welcomed a meeting on 13 December with the International Atomic Energy Agency, "We are hopeful that with the positive step Iran has taken in resolving this issue ...this meeting will identify a framework of cooperation in regards to the issue of a visit to Parchin."

The IAEA has sought access to the Parchin military base to investigate claims of a high-explosive container being used for testing in a possible nuclear weapons effort.

1115 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi has said, during a research and scientific exhibition at Tehran University, "We will break the grasping hands of Obama and we will be successful in bypassing the sanctions."

0755 GMT: Chest-Thumping Watch. Highlight the theme of our morning analysis, the military has announced the start of "massive exercises", codenamed "Defenders of Velayat Skies 4", to show off capabilities in air defence.

Fars hands out the military press release, "In addition to testing mobility and rapid reaction capability of participating units, the air defence units will test artillery and missile systems' capabilities for confronting different types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) flying in different altitudes."

0730 GMT: While headlines from Iran are likely to be dominated by the latest military declarations --- see our analysis this morning on the chest-thumping and what it means for US-Iran relations --- the economic news is just as significant.

The regime continues to withhold information in key areas, such as the currency rate, but the signs of difficulty --- as Iran tries to conserve its foreign reserves amid falling oil revenues --- accumulate. This weekend, officials spoke of the crisis in medical supplies and drugs, and the Central Bank reconfirmed its restrictions on movement of currency by travellers, with no more than 5 million Rials (about $130 at open-market rate) allowed per person in and out of Iran.

This morning the head of the Appliance Manufacturers Association has highlighted another tension, as he protested last week's ban on import of 75 "luxury" goods, from laptops to cars to toilet paper.

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    EA WorldView - Home - The Latest from Iran (12 November): The Economic Squeeze Tightens
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    EA WorldView - Home - The Latest from Iran (12 November): The Economic Squeeze Tightens
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    EA WorldView - Home - The Latest from Iran (12 November): The Economic Squeeze Tightens
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    EA WorldView - Home - The Latest from Iran (12 November): The Economic Squeeze Tightens
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