Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (23 November): A Wobble Over Gaza

Gaza Prime Minister Haniyeh & President Ahmadinejad1835 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Jordanian Front). Jordanian officials have expressed reservations about remarks by Iran's Ambassador in Amman that Tehran is prepared for a barter deal for oil and energy products for 30 years.

Ambassador Mostafa Mosleh-Zadeh said Iran would provide the oil in return for Jordanian goods and for permission for Shia religious tourism.

Jordanian government spokesman Samih al-Maaytah said Friday that though the government is looking for alternative ways to solve its energy crisis, the Kingdom preferred "relations with the Gulf countries despite the delay in aid".

Officials said that the "political deal...[of] oil for religious tourism and certain political attitudes towards the Syria crisis serve the Iranian position".

Last week a Jordanian Government reduction in fuel subsidies, sparking price rises, fed protests that included calls for the downfall of King Abdullah II.

Jordan's economic situation has been weakened by the loss of financial support from Gulf States. Last year, Saudi Arabia gave Jordan a last-minute $1.4 billion cash handout but has withheld aid this year, officials said.

1605 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Syrian Front). Speaking in Damascus before his meeting with Syrian President Assad, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani declared, “Iran’s position on Syria is [encouraging] democratic behavior and reforms based on democracy. We consider the flow of arms into Syria by certain Arab states as a hostile move, and we are against any adventurism."

1554 GMT: Gaza Watch. The latest chest-thumping over the Gaza crisis begins with the Tehran Friday Prayer....

Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani declared, “With the help of the US, the Zionists slaughtered Muslim people in Gaza. In this crime, it was revealed that whoever follows the Zionist regime’s line, he is in the line of cruelty, savagery and war with humanity."

More significantly, Emami Kashani followed up the Supreme Leader's mid-week signal to those in the region who had disappointed Iran in the crisis, denouncing "certain Arab and Muslim countries for their inaction" and emphasising the need for "unity".

In Damascus, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani said that all Western initiatives for solving the Palestinian issue have failed, with the situation of the Americans and Israelis deteriorating: "The Zionist regime thought its Iron Dome system would solve the problem of resistance rockets, and did not expect rockets to rain down on Tel Aviv”.

Deputy head of armed forces Massoud Jazayeri said, “Today, world public opinion realizes the truth because they see that Israel…has been defeated by an oppressed people that have much less equipment and fighters compared to the Zionist army."

1551 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Ten members of the Pan-Iranist Party have been arrested in a raid on a home where they were meeting.

Two of those seized were released few hours later but the other eight people were taken to an undisclosed location.

1151 GMT: Larijani Watch. Parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, is in Damascus today meeting with the President Assad in order “to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.”

Larijani, who will next be visiting Beirut to meet with Palestinian officials, also took the opportunity to hail Gaza’s “glorious victory” over Israel.

Following the meeting with Larijani in Damascus, Ahmed Jibril, the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, cited Iran’s support as “the most important factor in the success of the Palestinian resistance.”

1007 GMT: Gaza Watch. The regime's claim of victory and attempt to co-opt the conflict for its agenda, continues with President Ahmadinejad's statement, “The main mission of the Zionist regime is to... stoke division and wage wars in the region so that the hegemons can control the region.”

Yesterday Ramin Mehmanparast, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, went further by declaring that the “era of impudence and bullying of the Zionist regime, as the root of insecurity and aggression in the region, has come to an end”.

This assertive line is being echoed across other Iranian news outlets, with IRNA asking, “Will the next war take a few days?”

On cue, Fars provides a lengthy analysis arguing that a “new equation of power” --– military strength, public opinion and security --- that limits Israeli influence is now evident in the Middle East.

0910 GMT: Gas Watch. President Ahmadinejad has vowed to complete a $7.5 billion gas pipeline to Pakistan by 2014.

The deal, which was signed in 2010, plans for a 900-kilometre (550-mile) pipeline to connect Assaluyeh in southern Iran with the Pakistan border.

The US has objected to the project, which Pakistan hopes will help solve its ongoing energy crisis, because it undermines the sanctions directed against Tehran’s nuclear programme.

0710 GMT: The regime's attempt to claim triumph in the Gaza War continues, with Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi giving the latest proclamation:

Besides severe frustration of the leaders of the usurping Zionist regime, the victory of the people of Gaza also brought about the mortification of the US and Europe’s leaders, who, through their overt and covert instances of support and silence, were the encouragers and supporters of the Zionist regime’s war crimes.

However, there was a surprising crack on Thursday in the propaganda wall, letting in a shaft of reality. The "hard-line" Serat News, recognising the tensions within Hamas, also noted the problem for Iran: some of those Gazan leaders were looking to other countries, rather than Tehran, for political alliance. 

Serat put the question to Hamas political Khaled Meshaal and Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh: "Mr. Meshaal, Mr. Haniyeh, where is Qatar? Where is Turkey?":

A review of the dualistic positions of the leaders of this group in recent months is devoid of kindness. One of these leaders is Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau. He, who has enjoyed the unflinching support of the Islamic Republic in all areas, in relation to the Syria Crisis adopted a different and astonishing position. He supported regime change in Syria when he was the guest of the government of the Assad family for many years. When no country in the West supported this group, Bashar Assad in the capacity of steadfast patron backed him. Recently Meshaal, at the ceremony of the Justice and Development Party of Turkey, addressed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the leader of the Islamic world and stated his support for the biggest enemy of Bashar al-Assad.

That criticism of Meshaal, seen for some time as a pragmatist moving away from the Islamic Republic to diversify Hamas' partnerships, is not surprising. What is is more striking is the concern over Haniyeh, who has been portrayed as closer to Tehran, linked to the first trips by leaders of Arab States to Gaza since Hamas took power in 2007:

Recently we also witnessed the trip of the authorities of two sheikdoms, Qatar and Bahrain, to Gaza, greeted and accompanied by Ismail Haniyeh, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. But this question must be asked of the leaders of Hamas and their political bureau whose recent relations with governments, namely Qatar and Turkey, who are counted as allies of the American and Zionist front: with what reasons and logic are [such relations] justifiable?

Did the leaders of these countries in the war of the past week cry out in support of Gaza?! Were they even ready for the publication of a short statement to condemn the crimes and brutality of the Zionist regime?! Can such countries be trusted and depended upon as a supporter?!

So the article ends not with the standard assertion of "victory", but with an admonition which is close to a plea:

With the existence and taking heed of some of the unacceptable actions of the leaders of the Hamas movement, still the only supporter of this group is Islamic Iran and it is Iranian missiles that paraded through the Tel Aviv skies. It is hoped that the Palestinian leaders learn from the betrayals of countries which are apparent friends, but in fact enemies, and remain as in the past in the Islamic resistance front against usurping Israel.

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