Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (19 November): "Empathy and Cooperation Will Defeat Sanctions"

See also The Latest from Iran (18 November): A Move on Syria

2115 GMT: Gaza Watch. According to journalist Thomas Erdbrink, a representative of Gaza's Islamic Jihad has confirmed that Tehran gave them rockets --- he said "thank you" on Iran's's Arabic-language TV channel Al Alam: "Rockets provided generously by our brothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran tipped balance of battle."

2025 GMT: Gaza Watch. Entekhab reports that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has refused permission for Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border.

1825 GMT: A Death in Detention. The head coroner, Ahmad Shojai, has set up the regime line on the death in detention of blogger Sattar Beheshti.

Behesti died during interrogation about two weeks ago, days after he was seized from his home by cyber-police.

Shojai said the coroner's office had not reached a final conclusion but offered a summary, “There are no signs of asphyxiation or poisoning in Sattar Beheshti’s remains, and from our perspective, this individual has died from natural causes."

Shojai said that Beheshti may have died due to the stress of his arrest, claiming the blogger had used heart medication. The security forces, according to Beheshti's family, had approached them in early November, asking if he was taking any drugs; soon after they were told he was not, they informed the family that Beheshti had died.

Beheshti’s sister insists that her brother did not suffer from any health complication before his arrest and took no medication.

Shojai confirmed that the body of the deceased bore signs of beatings but he insisted that they were not the cause of the victim’s death.

He added that the final report on the investigation will be released tomorrow.

1525 GMT: Supreme Leader Watch. Speaking to Hajj officials, Ayatollah Khamenei has declared, “The reality of the Syria issue is that the arrogant front intends to eliminate the connecting link of the [anti-Israel] resistance chain in the region which is located in the neighborhood of the Zionist usurper regime."

The Supreme Leader backed the Assad regime's military efforts, saying it was natural to counter the opposition when they receive arms from outside the country. He said, that if insurgents laid down their arms, they can then demand that the government hear their views.

1505 GMT: The House Arrests. The opposition site Kalemeh updates the situation of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, held under strict house arrest since February 2011.

The site claims:

The publication of the slightest news on Mir Hossein Mousavi has repeatedly led to a flood of threats to the lives and livelihood of the opposition leader’s family members. Mousavi’s family members have been warned that any announcement on their part regarding the condition of Mousavi and Rahnavard will lead to a complete ban in communications, including all telephone contacts and face to face visitations.

Kalemeh cites a ban on visits by Mousavi's brother after he spoke about the physical condition of the 2009 Presidential candidate, who underwent an angioplasty this summer.

However, drawing from meetings of the couple with their daughters, Kalemeh passes on concerns about their health --- Rahnavard's "shaking in the hands and the face" and Mousavi's "heart pain and extreme fluctuations in his blood pressure" --- while writing that their "spirits remain strong".

Kalemeh says the opposition leaders have been limited in their access to news, seeing only State broadcaster IRIB --- "Mousavi is able to decipher the news by...reading between the lines". It adds the curious note, "Three weeks ago, security officers reportedly informed Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard that they will no longer be responsible for the preparation of their meals."

0955 GMT: Economy Watch. According to the opposition site Rah-e Sabz, the vice chairman of Parliament's Economy Committee has said that 60-70% of Iran's factories are are in a state of "stagnation".

0920 GMT: Oil Watch. Minister of Oil Rustam Qassemi has put out yet another all-is-well declaration, saying that exports are increasing day by day and that the Oil Fund iss providing equipment to manufacturers to get around financial problems.

Iran's exports rose to 1.3 million barrels per day in October, primarily because of sales to China and South Korea, but are still more than 40% below last year's figure of 2.2 million bpd.

0910 GMT: Immigration Watch. Afghan students protest in Tehran against the threatened revocation of their ID cards:

In recent months, the regime has imposed restrictions on Afghan immigrants, with denial of employment and bans on their movement in many of Iran's provinces and cities.

0720 GMT: President Ahmadinejad has revealed his latest strategy to deal with Iran's economic problems, declaring in a Sunday night meeting at Parliament that "empathy and cooperation will defeat sanctions".

Ahmadinejad, who is facing the possibility of interrogation in the Majlis, called on those in the audience to work with him rather than "warming the hearts of the enemies of the Iranian nation", thus "preserving the culture and values ​​of the Revolution rather than allowing others to infect it with arrogance".

Earlier on Sunday, the President spoke about the Gaza crisis, telling a Cabinet meeting that Israel is staging a war "to secure its survival".

The President also called Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to hail his "efforts to restore peace, security and stability". Ahmadinejad said, according to the official statement, "Our human and religious duty obliges us to make efforts to prevent the massacre of Gaza’s innocent people and restore peace and sustainable security in this region and also the entire land of Palestine."

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« Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: On "Quiet" Sunday, 78 People Are Killed | Main | Gaza 1st-Hand: "We are Trapped. That is Where Our Story Begins and Ends" (Aburamadan) »

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