Iran Election Guide

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The Latest from Iran (19 December): "The Worst Economic Conditions"

1905 GMT: "We Have Problems? You Have Problems" Watch. The head of the Basij militia, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, has made a plea to the International Community --- "Help the American People":

What has been neglected is the United States' oppressed people, specially the oppressed and innocent American children who are the main victims of the US regime which is supported by only 1% of the Americans, and no one in the world cares for them.

It is true that saving the Palestinian people is a top necessity of the Islamic Awakening movement, but liberation of the US people shouldn't be neglected and the international community should rise to save and free oppressed people of the US, specially its youngsters and kids.

1605 GMT: Oil Watch. Confirming our expectations, India has announced plans to cut oil imports from Iran by 10 to 15% in the next fiscal year, and even more if Tehran does not lower prices to help cover higher costs resulting from Western sanctions.

"Next year our imports will be 10 percent to 15 percent less than this year," said a government official with direct knowledge of the matter. "If they don't cut prices, the decline will be substantial. Indian refiners have genuine problems with credit availability."

Indian purchases fell from April to September, although there was a rise in October as some refiners resumed shipments.

India was granted a six-month waiver from the US in June on the grounds that it was cutting back its imports of Iranian oil, and that waiver was renewed on 7 December, reportedly with the proviso that India would cut back its purchases by at least 15%.

Officials at state refiners said they had yet to receive any directive from the government to cut imports from Iran in the year beginning April 2013, when annual contracts start, however they added that they would probably cut imports anyway because of high costs.

Japan's top refiner said today that the country's crude oil imports from Iran would fall about 15% next year.

1555 GMT: Oil Watch. Reuters evaluates that a little-noticed provision in impending US sanctions could trap Iran's payments abroad for its oil exports, amounting to billions of dollars.

A provision of the law signed by President Obama last summer, which goes into effect on 6 February, states that funds paid for oil must remain in a bank account in the purchasing country and can be used only for non-sanctioned, bilateral trade between that country and Iran. Any bank that repatriates the money or transfers it to a third country faces sanctions.

The provision could potential halt most of the flow of petrodollars to Iran, given that the value of its oil exports is far higher than what it imports from its biggest customers --- China, South Korea, India, and Japan.

South Korea is already holding almost $5 billion as Iran is unable to withdraw the money, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said. Iranian oil dues are also piling up in China, sources said.

India has an elaborate mechanism involving Turkey's central bank, through which it can transfer only half the money it owes Tehran. The new provision will add Japan, which has so far been able to settle its dues in yen, to the list of buyers with funds owed to Iran.

1535 GMT: A Death in Detention. Conservative MP Ali Motahari, a frequent critic of the Government, has called on the Minister of Interior and heads of the security forces to “apologise to the family of Sattar Beheshti, the people, and the leader of Iran” for his death during interrogation in prison on 3 November.

Beheshti, a dissident blogger, was arrested on 30 October by the cyber-police force FATA.

Motahari said, “It is impossible that Beheshti might have died of natural causes, especially since he was a very healthy young man.” He challenged:

Our minimum demand is the unbiased prosecution of the perpetrators of this incident and implementation of the appropriate judicial provisions for such cases, such as the payment of blood money....

The removal of the Tehran Cyber Police chief by the head of the security forces is commendable, but it is not enough and more needs to be done.

FATA's head was removed in November for “failure to provide appropriate supervision over staff actions and the processing of [the] case".

Motahari has said that he will put his questions about Beheshti’s case to Parliament in the coming week.

1025 GMT: We're Winning Watch. The Supreme Leader tries a different angle in the declaration of triumph over the West, in a speech in Shiraz today:

The current of science in our country experienced many instances of efflorescence in a period when there was nothing going on in the West and in Europe....

What was going on in Europe?....The light of science had not been shone on Europe.

“This is while such outstanding personalities such as Khajeh Nasir [al-Din al-Tusi]...and also the likes of Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi existed here at that time.”

0845 GMT: The House Arrests. In an open letter to Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, conservative MP Ali Motahari has challenged both the detention and the political exclusion of 2009 Presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Motahari said that because Mousavi and Karoubi --- held since February 2011 under strict house arrest --- have not been tried in a court and so no charges have been proven. Therefore, Motahari continued, no grounds have been established for their disqualification from running in the 2013 Presidential election.

0830 GMT: Media Watch. Peter Horrocks, the head of BBC's World Service, has spoken again of the regime's harassment of BBC Persian's staff.

Horrocks said five or six staff of the channel have been intimidated recently by security services, with their families threatened.

Several filmmakers who worked with BBC Persian were arrested after the disputed 2009 Presidential election, and Horrocks spoke last year of pressure on the staff, including interrogation via Internet to avoid punishment of their families. The regime claims that the channel is an outlet instigating foreign-backed unrest.

0720 GMT: At the Movies. The Association of Iranian Filmmakers has warned about the "moribund" state of the country's cinema.

Many cinemas have reportedly closed in recent months because of the economic situation. An Iranian official assured last month that the situation was not desperate, as people could always watch television.

0640 GMT: It was Minister of Culture Mohammad Hosseini's turn on Tuesday night to put out the ritual declaration of the Islamic Republic's defiant triumph over economic pressure, “The Iranian nation has a global reputation for patience and persistence and is more experienced than before to weather the sanctions, therefore the United States’ efforts will be futile. Imposing sanctions on Iran will harm the strategic interests of the US in the long run."

Others did not get the message, however. Hojatoleslam Jalal Yahyazadeh, a member of Parliament's Economics Committee, said that Iran currently finds itself in "the worst economic conditions". He warned that the sanctions regime may continue until 2016. 

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  • Response
    NFL is definitely 1 of the biggest sports in America. It has a big following.

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