A spoiled ballot in Friday's Parliamentary election, "Death to this rotten regime that forces me to vote for a stamp in my ID card!"
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Iran Elections Snapshot: The #1 Subversive Moment "They're All the Same" br>
Iran Special Analysis: The "Invented" Election br>
Iran Opinion: Elections, Power, and Political War in Tehran br>
The Latest from Iran (3 March): After the Vote
2005 GMT: Trouble-Making Watch. It has not taken maverick MP Ali Motahari long to stir feathers after the election. Motahari, who headed a breakaway faction called Voice of the Nation, has claimed that former Speaker of Parliament Gholam Ali Haddad Adel prevented his inclusion on the Unity Front list for Tehran.
The challenge is significant because Haddad Adel is a likely candidate for the next Speaker of Parliament.
1945 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. An EA correspondent adds context for our entries today considering whether Parliament, after this week's vote, will interrogate the President (see 0740 and 1340 GMT): "Ahmadinejad could be questioned by the outgoing Parliament, which still be operation for a month or two after the elections."
And will that happen? The correspondent replies, "It's really tough to say."
1645 GMT: Kentucky Fried Chicken Watch. Last month, we reported on the claim of Iranian businessman, denied by Kentucky Fried Chicken, that they had opened a KFC franchise in Karaj, near Tehran, and would soon be selling Colonel Sanders' chicken in the capital and other cities.
The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is not impressed: it has prohibited the display of the KFC brand on shops and restaurants.
The Central Bank's official rate is 12260 Rials to the dollar.
1620 GMT: Elections Watch. Fars has posted provisional complete results from the first-round Parliamentary vote in Tehran. Only five candidates have passed the 25% threshold for election. Former Speaker of Parliament Gholam Ali Haddad Adel (Unity Front/Constancy Front) led the vote, followed by former Minister of Health Alireza Marandi (Unity Front/Constancy Front), Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Hassan Abutorabi-Fard (Unity Front), prominent cleric Morteza Agha Tehrani (Unity Front/Constancy Front), and former Minister of Oil Masoud Mirkazemi (Constancy Front).
Ahmad Tavakoli and Ali Motahari, both prominent critics of the President, narrowly missed election and will have to go to a second round next month, where the remaining 25 MPs will be chosen.
Those in some trouble after the first ballot include Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Reza Bahonar (26th), leading conservative Asadollah Badamchian (39th), and Hamidreza Katouzian, the head of the Energy Committee (55th). These candidates, an EA candidate notes, might need some "doctoring" of results to make it back to the Majlis.
The official figures will be released tomorrow.
1525 GMT: Occupy Watch. For months, regime propaganda has expressed solidarity with the "American Awakening" of the Occupy Wall Street protests in the US while explaining that these mark an end to the American system.
Authorities have held a conference to extol these themes. There was a complication, however; visiting American academics said "some Iranian professors and experts have totally misunderstood" the Occupy movement.
1354 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, unsurprisingly, is receiving a bit of regime criticism for his Friday statement as he voted, "God willing, the election result is what the people want and what they place in the ballot boxes."
Fars attacked Rafsanjani's declaration, which many have seen as a reference to fraud in elections such as the Presidential ballot of 2009, as "ambiguous".
Soltani is charged with propaganda against the regime, establishing the Center for Defenders of Human Rights Center”, and assembly and collusion against the. One of the "crimes" is that he accepted a human rights award from the city of Nuremberg in Germany, earning "illegal income".
Asgari said that "pious, brave MPs" in Parliament would insist on questioning Ahmadinejad and impeaching him if his answers are not convincing. However, Asgari suspected --- in line with EA's analysis (see 0740 GMT) --- that the process could be canceled in the new Majlis.
1230 GMT: Elections Watch. Khabar Online posts the names of the 163 candidates who have made it to the 290-member Parliament in the first round of voting. One notable name is Alaeedin Boroujerdi, the head of the National Security Committee --- he has been under pressure because of alleged links to the $2.6 billion bank fraud.
Reviewing the list, Tabnak doubts that there will be a "united principlist faction" in Parliament, bolstering our analysis that the Supreme Leader was seeking a weak Majlis with a "mish-mash" of factions.
At the same time, Tabnak adds a significant note that we did not expect. It claims 78 of the 160 candidates affiliated to the Steadfastness Front, have been voted into Parliament.
The Steadfastness Front, which has been overshadowed by the Unity Front and the rival Islamic Constancy Front, arose as a group with links to Mohsen Rezaei, the Secretary of the Expediency Council and 2009 Presidential candidate.
The news should be accompanied with the proviso that some of the candidates of the Steadfastness Front, such as Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, are also on other lists.
0855 GMT: Budget Watch. Economist Mohammad Ali Khateeb warns that, if oil sales to European countries are not replaced by exports to other customers, there will be a deficit in the Government's budget for 2012/13.
On 23 January, the European Union agreed to ban imports of Iranian oil, effective 1 July.
0845 GMT: Elections Watch. ILNA reports that no candidate in Tehran has reached the necessary 25% threshold to take a seat in Parliament. That includes former Speaker of Parliament Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, who tops the vote.
If this is true, all 30 Tehran MPs will be chosen in a second-round ballot.
Mortazavi was formally suspended from his duties by a court because, as Tehran Prosecutor General in summer 2009, he allegedly was responsible for the abuses and the deaths at the Kahrizak detention centre. However, he has never been prosecuted, and now, as Tehran Emrooz frames it, "he takes over the biggest economic institution of the country".
0740 GMT: We should get the final scenes in the first round of the Parliamentary election today. Press TV announces that 163 candidates have reached the 290-member Majlis, with the rest of the seats to be allocated in a second round of voting in less than two weeks.
There are no details in the article, but we already know many of the names. So we post an analysis, "Rearranging the Political Chairs --- What Has Changed?", which evaluates the show:
Let's not make a drama of this. While the Islamic Republic's system is far too complex to reduce it to the plaything of the Supreme Leader, "stability" --- if not legitimacy --- lay in an arrangement in which he and his circle could be assured that they would not face trouble from a President, Parliament, or judiciary.
Ahmadinejad, provided he accepts that he has been curbed, will be able to serve out the last year of his term in this non-drama. He will not be impeached, and he may not face questioning in the new Parliament. An EA correspondent notes that 58 of the 79 MPs who signed the petition to interrogate the President will not be in the new Parliament --- 27 did not run or were disqualified, while 31 lost their contests. Only ten of the 79 have won so far, with 10 more awaiting their fate.