Nikahang Kowsar comments on the regime's recent detentions, interrogations, and harassment of people associated with BBC Persian
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The Latest from Iran (7 February): Campaign Season
2010 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. News emerges that reformist candidate Dr Behruz Rashidyani, disqualified by the Guardian Council from standing in the March elections, was arrested three weeks ago.
1825 GMT: The Battle Within. First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi has hit back at MP Ahmad Tavakoli, a leading critic of the Government. Rahimi claimed Tavakoli has obtained his university degree illegally and "is a corrupt liar and landgrabber".
1747 GMT: Currency Watch. Shargh claims that the Iranian Rial is falling again, now at 19000:1 vs. the US dollar on the unofficial market. That is a drop in value of about 2% for the currency from Tuesday.
The website adds, from an official foreign exchange trader, that the Bazaar is "half-closed" with "near to zero trade". This is presented by authorities as "calmness has returned to market".
1727 GMT: A Supreme Adjustment. Rah-e Sabz comments that the Supreme Leader, modifying his line from last year --- as EA noted last month --- no longer says that the Islamic Republic is at the origin of regional uprisings; instead, it has influenced the Islamic Awakening.
1720 GMT: Claim of Day. Jahan News claims that several managers and people close to the President's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, have resigned from Iran newspaper and State news agency. The site claims that the head of Iran and IRNA, Presidential advisor Ali Akbar Javanfekr, may follow.
Rafsanjani, who oversaw the creation of Iran's largest chain of private campuses in the 1990s, has balked at signing the mandate for Farhad Daneshjoo, the brother of the Minister of Science and Higher Education, to become President of the University. A meeting for today to resolve the issue has been postponed to next week.
Workers House and Mardomsalari had already announced intentions to post lists. Mostafa Kavakebian has suggested that the Mardomsalari list will appear on 16 February, with about 130 candidates.
Other reformists have called for non-participation in the election, protesting over political prisoners and restrictions on freedoms.
1436 GMT: Economy Watch. An EA source in Iran reports, "The butchers in a small town have ALL gone on strike --- direct result of the economic climate. No one can buy any meat anywhere is the area. The discontent is now spreading to the rural [areas]."
The report stands in stark contrast to an article in Mehr, which carries a Government message that there is enough meat in the Bazaar after distribution of frozen reserves. The site quotes a butcher who says all is well, and it claims prices have only risen by 5%.
MPs and officials had repeatedly threatened a measure after the European Union's decision on 23 January to suspend imports of Iranian crude from 1 July; however, a bill never appeared.
Nasser Soudani, a member of Parliament's Energy Committee, had claimed that 191 of 290 MPs had signed a plan to cut the oil exports.
1245 GMT: Sanctions Watch. A note from Robert Worth's article from Tehran, "A Middle Class on Edge", posted on EA on Tuesday: "At Shohada Hospital, one of the country’s premier institutions, about 1,200 cancer patients a year go without radiological treatment, because the radiology equipment is no longer working and replacement parts cannot be brought into Iran, said Pejman Razavi, a doctor at the hospital."
1240 GMT: Food Watch. In the latest sign of the squeeze on Tehran, Malaysian palm oil exporters have stopped supplying most of the 30,000 tonnes of palm oil they send Iran each month.
Malaysia is the world's second-largest producer of palm oil and supplies about half of Tehran's demand for the commodity, used to make products from bio-diesel to cooking oil.
"Payments are not coming through and no palm oil shipper wants to risk sending the cargoes to Iran with such a tense political situation," said a trader.
1125 GMT: An Election Confession? Ali Saeedi, the Supreme Leader's representative to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has talked of the "big mistakes" by voters in the past while assuring that there is "no problem because the velayat-e faqih [Supreme Leader] is there".
Saeedi explicitly referred to the election of the Islamic Republic's first President, Abolhassan Bani Sadr, in 1980, but an EA correspondent wonders: Could the Supreme Leader's man also be thinking of the election of Mir Hossein Mousavi in 2009?
1121 GMT: Elections Watch. Iran Prosecutor General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei has asserted, "We have documents that prove the enemy will attempt to create a crisis during the [Parliamentary] elections."
Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has effectively called for more candidates to be approved, asking the Guardian Council to revise its process "for better competition", as "benevolently advised" by the Supreme Leader.
1120 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani has supported the Parliamentary interrogation of Ahmadinejad, asking, "Why has the Majlis not been strict in its opposition to Government misconduct?"
During the 10 years that the U.S. Army positioned itself next door to Iran, in neighboring Iraq, and Afghanistan, the people of Iran never seriously feared an attack. Despite President Bush's at times heated war rhetoric, the Iranians shrugged off fears of missile strikes or bunker-busting bombs. These days however, with the U.S. military evacuating Iraq amid plans for a withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is palpable fear of a possible attack. In the past three weeks or so, Iran has been been griped by a panic, which saw the Iranian currency, the rial, fall more than 50 percent against the dollar on the black market.
She concludes, "If the past is any indication, the US will be blamed."
1017 GMT: Threat of the Week. Israeli media have picked up the weekend post of an Iranian blogger, Alireza Forghani, who called on the regime to attack Israel, as the Islamic Republic could destroy the country in "less than nine minutes".
Forghani, a computer engineer and former member of the Basij militia, laid out religious justifications --- such as Ayatollah Khomeini's "Any assault on a Muslim country must be answered with jihad" --- and a plan for the assault. He said the opinions were his own and do not represent the regime's position.
Reports by local activists about the raids in Hamidiyeh, Shush, and Ahwaz indicate that some of the arrests were in response to anti-regime slogans and graffiti spray-painted on public property, expressing sympathy for the Arab Spring and calling for a boycott of March's Parliamentary elections.
Two detainees --- Mohammad Kaabi, 34, and Nasser Alboshokeh Derafshan, 19 --- allegedly died in prison, in Shush and Ahvaz respectively.
0918 GMT: All the President's Men. An interesting look at the Parliamentary elections by the Financial Times, not as much for its opening speculation --- "Candidates who back President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad are keeping their allegiances secret" --- as for its access to Ahmadinejad's senior advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr.
Javanfekr, who is facing two one-year prison sentences amidst Iran's political battles, declares:
If there is a competitive and healthy atmosphere, people will vote for those who support the thinking of Mr Ahmadinejad....We are not a "deviant current" and say it is an illusion and baseless. Our understanding is that the [allegation of] "deviant current" is raised to prevent the thinking of Mr Ahmadinejad from spreading and having impacts on other power centres such as the legislative body.
0725 GMT: The Battle Within. Leading MP Ahmad Tavakoli, of the United Front, has again criticised the Government's economic policies --- because of the 57-day delay in submitting the 2012/2013 budget to Parliament, he said, the Majlis will not be able to evaluate it before start of the new Iranian year on 21 March.
Tavakoli’s outlet Alef has said that those who are responsible for the economic crisis should be put on trial.
Ahmad Khorshidi, the father of the President's son-in-law and the Director-General of the Attendants of Revolution Party, has said: "In Ahmadinejad’s government, we have experienced a lot more law-breaking, irregularities, and gaps between poor and rich."
0655 GMT: We begin Wednesday's coverage with a series of developments for the 2 March elections for Parliament, with different conservative and principlist factions manoeuvring for postion.
Ali Abbaspour Tehrani, one of the three MPs who are leading a breakaway group after being excluded from the United Front List, said the "Government Critics Front" will now be called "The Voice of the Nation" party, standing against the violation of the law by Government officials.
MP Ali Motahari, another of the leaders, said, "Our list mostly include the candidates who are critics of the Government. They are principlist and not reformist because we have no intention/plan for coalition with the reformists."
However, reformist MP Dariush Ghanbari has already welcomed the new group, saying its views are close to those of the reformists.
The United Front, meanwhile, revealed its 30-candidate list for Tehran, replacing Abbaspour, Motahari, and Hamidreza Katouzian, the head of Parliament's Energy Committee.
The Islamic Constancy Front, the main rival of the United Front, has not yet completed its list of candidates for Tehran. Twenty have been chosen, with 10 slots to be filled.
Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, a leader of the Constancy Front, used the occasion to take a swing at the reformists and his principlist rivals, "I am sure that even though the reformists has stated that they won’t participate in the election but they have a plot to bring their members to the next parliament under the Principlist label."