Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more



The Latest from Iran (23 December): Ahmadinejad on Economy "Everyone is Wrong Except Me"

See also Iran Flashback: The Supreme Leader Joins August 2009
Iran Feature: The Death of Ahmadinejad's Subsidy Cuts Programme
The Latest from Iran (22 December): "We Are Not Isolated. You Are Isolated"

2135 GMT: Press Watch. The Press Court has acquitted the reformist Shargh newspaper of insulting veterans of the 1980s Iran-Iraq War in one of its cartoons.

The newspaper was closed on 26 September for the publication and its managing director, Mehdi Rahmanian, was imprisoned.

The cartoon showed a column of men blindfolded in bright light. Cartoonist Hadi Heydair explained after the ban was imposed:

This sketch intends to display "ignorance", where some, in broad daylight, are blindfolding each other, to keep them from seeing the daylight. If the cartoonist wished to show soldiers, they would have to be wearing war uniforms, carrying arms, and be shown in a war setting.

2035 GMT: Health Watch. The political fight over shortages of drugs and medical supplies continues --- Minister of Health Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi has said that the Government has only provided $400 million for imports of medicine when $2 billion is needed.

Dastjerdi has faced the threat of impeachment for alleged mismanagement leading to shortages and rising prices; however, she has responded that the Central Bank and Government are not released funds.

The dispute raises the question of whether the regime, amid sanctions, has restricted payments for imports because of the drain on foreign reserves.

1655 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. A photo of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to his senior advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, released from prison on a medical furlough:

Ahmadinejad's attempt to visit Javanfekr this autumn in Evin Prison sparked a high-profile argument with head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani.

Javanfekr is serving a six-month sentence for "insulting Islam" in a special edition of his Iran newspaper and insulting the Supreme Leader on his blog.

1522 GMT: Picture of the Day. Political activist Heshmat Tabarzadi (left), released on furlough from an eight-year prison sentence:

Kurdish activist and journalist Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand, imprisoned in 2008 for 11 years, was also temporarily freed.

1442 GMT: All the President's Men. Eight leading MPs have renewed the challenge to President Ahmadinejad's senior advisor Saeed Mortazavi over his alleged role in the abuse and killing of protesters after the disputed 2009 Presidential election.

The eight --- including Ali Motahari, Elyas Naderan, and Ahmad Tavakoli, a relative of Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani --- have written a letter to Minister of Labor Abdolreza Sheikholeslami about the "illegal enterprise" of Mortazavi continued to head the Social Security Fund.

After a court ruling that appeared to disqualify Mortazavi, the Government put forth a change in regulations to allow him to retain the post, to which he was appointed by President Ahmadinejad in early 2012.

Earlier this year, MPs had threatened to bring an impeachment motion against the Minister of Labor if Mortazavi was not removed from leadership of the Fund.

Ahmadinejad's aide was Tehran Prosecutor General in 2009. In that post, he allegedly oversaw the detention and abuse of protesters at the Kahrizak centre, in which at least three men died.

1435 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. MP Ahmad Tavakoli, a prominent critic of the Government, has challenged President Ahmadinejad's television speech from last night.

Tavakoli warned that Ahmadinejad is trying to claim "special powers" with his injunction for the executive branch to make all decisions on the economy. The MP said Parliament should hold a closed session over the remarks.

1215 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has said a reply from former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, responding to attacks on him and his son Mehdi Hashemi, will be read on the floor of the Majlis today.

Pro-Ahmadinejad MP Hamid Rasaei said last week that Mehdi Hashemi, arrested in September on charges of financial manipulation, is the “mother of corruption” and that his activities are supported by Rafsanjani.

Another MP, Zohreh Tabib Zadeh, demanded Hashemi’s execution.

Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi later criticised Rasaei's declaration as “criminal".

1158 GMT: Energy Watch. Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has declared that a major gas pipeline project with Iran will be completed on time, saying that President Asif Ali Zardari would soon visit Iran to confirm the arrangements.

An adviser to the Prime Minister also said the pipeline would be completed by the end of 2014.

Zardari cancelled a visit to Tehran earlier this month, scheduled for signature of the agreement, prompting speculation that Islamabad was bowing to US pressure to delay or cancel construction.

0758 GMT: All the President's Men. A photograph of two of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial senior advisors --- Ali Akbar Javanfekr, released on Thursday from prison on a medical furlough, is visited by Saeed Mortazavi, still wanted by some MPs for his alleged role in the abuse and killing of protesters after the disputed 2009 Presidential election.

0755 GMT: Economy Watch. Iran's Statistics Center reports that more than 800,000 farm workers have lost their jobs during President Ahmadinejad's seven years in office.

0715 GMT: As expected, President Ahmadinejad used a suddenly-called TV appearance on Saturday night to defend --- and try to save his subsidy cuts programme. The centrepiece of Ahmadinejad's economic approach, finally launched in December 2010, has been stalled this year, as Parliament has refused to approve a second phase and the initiative has been blamed for Iran's inflation, falling production, and currency crisis.

Ahmadinejad was having none of this on Saturday. Although he was "pretty mild" in opening comments, he soon went on the offensive. His subsidy cuts had been successful. They had not caused inflation, which was "a structural matter" of the "past 40 to 50 years". Other problems had been caused by "external pressures" --- the sanctions which the President had dismissed earlier this year as no more than "tissue paper".

Most interesting was the President's invocation of "domestic abuse" as the primary challenge to his success. Although he did not name the abusers, an EA correspondent offered a list of suspects --- Revolutionary Guards, Parliament, the Supreme Leader's office, and clerics.

And for those who revel in irony, there was this moment to savour. Ahmadinejad --- possibly giving cover to the likely campaign of his controversial right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai --- warned of those who might interfere in the June 2013 Presidential election: The will of people should be respected in elections --- it will have international ramifications."

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« Syria Video Discussion: The Dwindling Resources of the Regime (Al Jazeera English) | Main | Syria Live Coverage: Starving in Aleppo »

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Superb Site, Keep up the great work. Many thanks!

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>