Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (20 November): A Supreme Leader Shift on Syria?

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

1920 GMT: Women-Stay-At-Home Watch. Parliament has passed a bill barring single women under 40 from leaving the country without permission from a legal guardian.

If there are no guardians, then the court may issue a permit for travel.

A spokesman said that the bill is not yet law, but that it is proposed for “protection of women’s well-being".

Under current regulations, single women 18 and up can leave the country without restrictions. Married women, at any age, need permission from their husband.

1640 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Reports indicate that Iran may be having problems with its first nuclear plant at Bushehr, a project plagued by delays and not at full capacity years after it was supposed to be operational.

Last week's International Atomic Energy Agency report indicated Iran unloaded nuclear fuel from the plant, which probably meant a shutdown. The reason for the transfer of fuel assemblies from the reactor core to a spent fuel pond was unclear.

After years of setbacks, Bushehr was plugged into Iran's national grid in September 2011, and this August Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said it was fully operational.

1500 GMT: Gaza Watch. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani proclaims, “What has happened in this war seems incredible to the leaders of the Zionist regime because the Palestinian people have high spirit, and are firm in their resistance. The Palestinians’ missile power has given them a strategic [source] of power."

Larijani then claimed credit for the Islamic Republic: “They are all children of the Great Imam Khomeini...and the Zionist regime should understand that the power of combat as well as arms and defense equipment are just the tip of the iceberg of the capacities possessed by the great nation of Iran,”

1120 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Behruz Qobadi, the brother of prominent director, Bahman Qobadi, whose films include No One Knows about Persian Cats, has been arrested.

0920 GMT: Gaza Watch. The latest in posturing from the regime....

The head of Iran's armed forces has told reporters, "I predicted one to two months ago that the West's saber rattling against Iran would not come into action due to its inability but would only lead to the massacre of the oppressed and the Zionist regime's attack on Gaza."

The head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force, Qassem Soleimani, during a memorial ceremony for those killed in the Iran-Iraq War, has predicted, “The result of the Gaza war will be like the 33 day-war [in Lebanon 2006]," presumably a defeat for Israel.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, while refusing to confirm reports of Iran's supply of rockets to Gazan fighters, has said, “We had repeatedly warned that the seditions in the region are plotted by the Zionist regime [of Israel] and the regime’s supporters with the aim of getting regional countries involved and interfering in the internal and regional issues in order to weaken the Islamic resistance front."

0610 GMT: The diversion of foreign affairs continues in the Islamic Republic. Press TV continues its focus on Gaza, with declarations such as “Thanks to the developments in the region, the political equations have drastically turned to the loss of Israel," and assurances like, "Resistance shows Iron Dome [Israel's anti-missile system] is weak." State news agency IRNA features the proclamation of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, "With the support of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah, the Gazan people will never be alone."

Yet in all the posturing, not all was diversion. There was a notable signal on Monday, and it came from the highest level of the Islamic Republic. In a speech to officials, the Supreme Leader made his ritual condemnation of outside intervention, notably the arming of the opposition. However, he then said that if insurgents laid down their arms, they can then demand that the government hear their views.

That is not only an acknowledgement of the political opposition, it is a message that the Assad regime must enter into discussions with them --- provided, of course, that the armed challenge stops. Previously, the regime assurance has been that President Assad has already been pursuing "reform" to address the concerns of the Syrian people.

The Supreme Leader's statement followed Iran's weekend pose of a Tehran-hosted "national dialogue" between representatives of the regime and of the opposition. It was never clear, however, who these Syrians were --- beyond a lesser Minister who made the trip --- and the meeting ended with rhetoric from Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi about the need for continuing discussions including all Syrians.

An EA correspondent got to the point yesterday in a staff discussion. The Islamic Republic's position on Syria has shifted from its unflinching support of President Assad.

The problem, he continued, was that the shift had come far too late. Tehran's postures have been overtaken by insurgent advances on the ground re-shaping the political battlefield, with most countries --- including past Iranian partners such as Turkey --- backing the new National Coalition, and with the prospect of a "protected zone" inside Syria for the opposition.

In other words, he summarised, Iran's room for manoeuvre is disappearing.

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  • Response
    Lovely sharp post. Never considered that it was that easy. Praises to you!
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    Response: XiZeQiVL
    EA WorldView - Home - The Latest from Iran (20 November): A Supreme Leader Shift on Syria?
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    EA WorldView - Home - The Latest from Iran (20 November): A Supreme Leader Shift on Syria?

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