Iran Election Guide

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Iran Live Coverage: Celebrating Victory Over Protests

See also Saturday's Iran Live Coverage: Cheerleading for Sanctions

Tehran, 30 December 20091759 GMT: At the Movies. The Iranian Directors Union has warned that cinema is on the verge of closure amidst censorship and economic difficulties.

Scores of movie houses have reportedly shut this year. The Ministry of Culture gave the reassurance that Iranians could always watch television.

1750 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been put in solitary confinement for three weeks for "insulting the Supreme Leader" and "disturbing order in prison".

Hashemi is serving a six-month sentence for propaganda against the regime.

1650 GMT: The House Arrests. Detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard have not been permitted to attend the funeral of Rahnavard's father.

Services for Haj Sadegh Kazemi took place at Beheshte Zahra cemetery in Tehran in the presence of a large number of security agents.

Mousavi and Rahnavard have been held under strict house arrest since February 2011. The following month, Mousavi was prevented from attending the funeral of his father.

Mousavi and Rahnavard were allowed a short visit with Rahnavard's ill mother last night.

1630 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Iranian security forces detained Vruir Avanessian, an ordained pastor of Armenian descent, after raiding a Christmas gathering at a house church in Tehran.

Witnesses said 15 plainclothes police and security officers interrupted the service after alleged complaints from neighbours about the noise.

The worshippers were reportedly held for several hours and forced to sign "interrogation papers".

Avanessian is reportedly suffering from heart disease and diabetes. His house was also supposedly raided.

1330 GMT: Currency Watch. Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam has claimed that 88 currency traders and gold coin dealers have been arrested in Tehran.

Iranian authorities tried to shut down the open market in October, as the Central Bank intervened to prop up the Rial with a special "trade room" and injections of foreign reserves.

While the regime has "blacked out" any public notice of rates, reports and EA sources indicate that the Rial --- after it was bolstered by the October measures --- has weakened again this month. Gold prices are also rising.

0920 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. The regime and media continue their headline postures over six days of naval drills in the Straits of Hormuz, the Straits of Oman, and the northern Indian Ocean.

The head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad-Ali Jafari, is leading the declarations of strength while emphasising that the exercises are for oreparedness against enemies, “not our neighbours and friends".

Meanwhile, Rear Admiral Amir Rastegari said the third day of the drills will include "shooting [at] marine surface targets of aggressive forces".

Seyed Mohammad Marandi provides the academic support: "The Iranians want to remind the United States and the Europeans...that any aggressor against the Iranian nation would face severe consquences. And the same, of course, is true for the Israeli regime."

0815 GMT: Elections Watch. Former MP Mostafa Kavakebian, who broke from other reformists when he called for involvement in the 2012 Parliamentary elections, has declared that 35 reformist groups --- including his "Democracy Party" --- are ready to participate in the 2013 Presidential campaign.

0715 GMT: Victory-over-Protest Watch. Abolfazl Ghadyani, a leading reformist serving a four-year prison sentence, has a slightly different name to mark the third anniversary of the regime rally: proposed to call 9 Dey "Rooz Nekbat Estebdad Dini (The Day of Religious Despotism and Tyranny)".

0700 GMT: Today is the third anniversary of the regime's mass rally of 30 December 2009, when it mobilised a counter-demonstration to the Green Movement's prominent challenge --- not only to the disputed Presidential election, but also the regime's actions in its aftermath --- which had taken place three days earlier.

It is a myth that the regime --- having tried for months to suppress dissent through detentions, killings, intimidation, and cutting of communications --- successed on that 9 Dey, the date in the Persian calendar. Leading officials still worried over their position, to the point in January where key figures such as Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani and Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf planned for the removal of President Ahmadinejad. Relief for Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader would only come on 11 February 2010, when the Green Movement failed to organise a significant protest on the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution.

Yet for the politicians, military, and some ayatollahs, that is a powerful myth --- or at least they hope they can make it so. On Friday, clerics including Tehran's Friday Prayer leader hailed the victory over "sedition". The head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, proclaimed on Saturday that Iran had triumphed over a threat even greater than that of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. Qalibaf, possibly with an eye on the 2013 Presidential election, said that no one involved in the protests of 2009 could be allowed back into the Iranian system.

However, there appears to be a twist in the celebrations. While State news agency IRNA posts a love letter to Iranians achieving the "victory of the divine" three years ago, other leading media set aside the event. Fars headlines with the continuing story of the $2.6 billion bank fraud from 2010, still unresolved and with only a small fraction of the money reclaimed. Press TV prefers a series of press releases from President Ahmadinejad's office on his meetings with foreign ambassadors.

In part, that mixed coverage is because in the Persian calendar 9 Dey falls on 29 December this year, rather than 30 December. So, for example, Mehr chose to run its commemoration with photographs and cheerleading text --- "the day of street marches by people in Iranian cities -unprecedented in history- to show their full support for the Islamic Republic" --- on Saturday. Even so, it is notable how quickly the theme of victory has been surpassed in some outlets by today's political and economic complications.

And just for the record, so far there have been no mass rallies in support of the regime today.

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