Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more



The Latest from Iran (5 August): The Supreme Leader Talks About Morality

Claimed footage of insurgents speaking in front of the 48 Iranians seized in Syria on Saturday --- Tehran says the men are pilgrims, but the Free Syrian Army claims they are members of the Iranian military assisting the Assad regime

See also Iran Feature: Can Tehran and the West Close the Nuclear "Trust Gap"?
The Latest from Iran (4 August): The Regime Admits Its "Economic War"

1735 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has warned that growing public despair over economic conditions "would be a blow to the roots" of the Islamic Republic.

1355 GMT: Currency Watch. The Iranian Rial has slipped another 1% vs. the US dollar, sinking to 20420:1.

The Rial is now approaching its lowest point in a currency crisis that started last autumn.

1345 GMT: CyberWatch. Minister of Communication Reza Taghipour has claimed that the "national Internet", providing alternative services to e-mail and Web providers such as Google and Yahoo!, will be implemented within a month.

1336 GMT: Fraud Watch. Aftab reports that the Canadian branch of Interpol has rejected Iran's demand for the extradition of Mahmoud Reza Khavari, the former head of Bank Melli.

Khavari, facing allegations of involvement in a $2.6 billion bank fraud, fled the Islamic Republic for Canada last September. The banker holds both Iranian and Canadian citizeship.

Four men were sentenced to death last week for their role in the fraud, with 35 other defendants receiving lengthy prison sentences.

1330 GMT: CyberWatch. Another pro-Ahmadinejad blogger has been sentenced to prison --- Mohammad Hassan Roozitalab has been given a four-month term.

See Iran Feature: The Banning and Detention of Conservative Bloggers

1146 GMT: The Battle Within. The Revolutionary Guard commander in Yazd in central Iran has said reformists, the Green Movement, and President Ahmadinejad's team "form three points of an unholy triangle".

1058 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). A bit of context to the story of the 48 Iranians seized by insurgents near Damascus on Saturday....

Before reports of the capture emerged, Iranian Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi said the Islamic Republic has not sent any military forces to Syria and the Syrian regime has never asked it to do so.

Vahidi was responding to claims in Israeli media that more than 3,000 Iranian snipers had arrived in Damascus to aid President Assad's forces.

(Cross-posted from Syria Live Coverage)

1025 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). Kazem Jalali, a member of Parliiament's National Security Committee, has advised Iranian citizens to refrain from traveling to Syria individually to use formal caravans instead.

Jalali said 48 Iranians seized by insurgents on Saturday --- claimed as pilgrims by Tehran and as members of the Iranian military and military by the Free Syrian Army --- were not in one of the caravans.

0949 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). More on the video of the 48 Iranians captured by insurgents on Saturday near Damascus (see 0649 GMT and top of entry)....

Troops of the Al Baraa Brigade of Free Syrian Army said the Iranians are "shabiha (militiamen)...who were on a reconnaissance mission in Damascus".

He continued, "During the investigation, we found that some of them were officers in the Revolutionary Guards."

Abdel Nasser Shmeir, a commander of the Al Baraa Brigade, said later, "They are 48, in addition to an Afghani interpreter," among a 150-strong group sent by Iran for "reconnaissance on the ground".

0943 GMT: Sanctions Watch. The European Union has removed five senior officials of Iranian banks from its sanctions list, following an appeal by the men.

The five include the Managing Director of Bank Mellat, Ali Divandari.

0938 GMT: Middle East Watch. The Saudi State news agency SPA reports that King Abdullah has sent an invitation to President Ahmadinejad to attend an emergency Islamic summit in Mecca on 15-16 August.

The Saudi King has called for “extraordinary Islamic solidarity meeting to ensure... unity during this delicate time as the Muslim world faces dangers of fragmentation and sedition,” reported the Saudi Gazette.

0831 GMT: Headline of Day. Press TV's banner for this morning's declaration by the Speaker of Parliament (see 0639 GMT), "Fuelling Fire in Syria Will Wolf Israeli Regime: Larijani".

0759 GMT: Currency Watch. Amid the worries over the Iranian Rial, the head of the Central Bank, Mahmoud Bahmani, has put out yet another statement promising action to solve the problem, with a single rate for foreign exchange in the next days.

The Islamic Republic had five different rates last year before the Central Bank tried and failed to impose a single level at the start of 2012. In recent weeks, there have been more rates introduced for imports.

It is unclear how the rate will deal with the 70% gap between the official rate of 12260:1 for the Rial v. the dollar and the "open-market" rate of 20200:1 --- Bahmani said the rate of 12260:1 will be maintained for only five essential goods.

0731 GMT: Campus Watch. Rah-e Sabz posts a report claiming gender segregation at more than 60 Iranian universities.

0639 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front) Confusion this morning over 48 Iranian men who were abducted on Saturday as they travelled to the Damascus airport --- al-Mayadeen TV said they were released, but an official in the Iranian embassy denied the report.

(Cross-posted from Syria Live Coverage)

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has reportedly asked his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoğlu and Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir Al Thani to intervene.

Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has put out a "severe warning" to the West and the "Zionist" nation to stop interfering in Syria. He told the Majlis, "Several decades ago, America took hundreds of thousands of lives in Hiroshima."

0600 GMT: Addressing poets and teachers on Saturday, the Supreme Leader spoke of the poet's duty to act "in the service of religion, morality, and knowledge".

That may be a timely message, as the Ahmadinejad Government faces a significant moral and political choice today. Jomhouri Eslami claims that the Administrative Court has officially published the ruling that Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi must resign as head of the Social Security Fund.

This is a "red line" case for the President, who has defied court orders since last year for the suspension of Mortazavi from his duties, because of his alleged role as Tehran Prosecutor General in the abuses and killings at the Kahrizak detention centre in summer 2009.

After the Court put out its initial ruling last month for Mortazavi's departure from the Fund, 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi defiantly said the aide would not step down. Conservative critics of the Government have warned that Ministers, beginning with the Minister of Labour, will be impeached if the resistance continues.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Planning for Life After Assad | Main | Iran Feature: Can Tehran and the West Close the Nuclear "Trust Gap"? (Wheeler/Nedal) »

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>