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Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad v. Everyone Else

See also Iran Live Coverage: The Supreme Leader Admits A Crisis

1945 GMT: Trade Watch. State news agency IRNA, citing the Turkish Statistical Center, claims trade with Turkey has risen 40% from January-November, compared to a year earlier.

The value surpassed $20.8 billion, with Turkey's exports to Iran rising to $7 billion, mainly due to exports of gold to pay for natural gas.

Tehran is counting on trade with Ankara, one of its major partners, to offset sharp falls in oil revenues.

1755 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Minister of Oil Rustam Qassemi, visiting a liquefied natural gas project, repeats his line that Iran has overcome a fall in oil exports this summer and is now back to normal levels of production and sales: "We have left behind the difficult conditions of the first days of the sanctions and the imposers of sanctions have no more aces up their sleeve to up pressure on Iran’s oil industry.”

1730 GMT: The House Arrests. Ayatollah Dastgheib has issued a statement that those who imposed strict house arrests on opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard are “guilty of committing a crime" as the action is “against Sharia (Islamic law)".

Dastgheib added that State broadcaster, carrying programmes that condemn the trio, is "breaking the law, going against the Sharia and decency. These good people demand to be given a chance to stand trial without fear in the presence of the people of Iran."

Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard have been held since February 2011 without any official charges.

1620 GMT: Food Watch. The Deputy Minister of Industry has tried to reassure that there is no shortage of rice, saying that tons of imported supplies have been distributed across the country.

1520 GMT: Prison Watch (Infant Edition). HRANA reports that there are at least seven children under the age of 2 with their mothers in Semnan Prison.

HRANA cites the example of 6 month-old Barman Ehsan and her mother, Taraneh Torabi, who has been sentenced to 20 months because of her Baha'i faith.

Rasam Tabianian, 12 months old, is with her mother Zohreh Nik-Aein, another Baha'i member.

The children are reporting suffering from lung and ear infections.

1510 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Back from a holiday break to find news that Ali Bagheri, Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator, has spoken with his counterpart for the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, And China), Helga Schmid.

“The two of them are working on the next meeting to happen soon,” a spokesperson for Schmid said.

1040 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. MP Sharif Hosseini has responded to reports that President Ahmadinejad is trying again to implement the second phase of his subsidy cuts programme (see 0944 GMT): if there is any move by the Government, the Majlis will stop it.

1030 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. The President has denied rumours that he is replacing 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.

Reports circulated in some Iranian outlets yesterday that Ahmadinejad was going to dismiss Rahimi with former Government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham. The stories said the President might also dismiss Minister of Interior Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, Minister of Oil Rustam Qassemi, and Minister of Agriculture Sadegh Khalilian.

Ahmadinejad told journalists on Wednesday after a Cabinet meeting, “There is no such thing; I am hearing this from you.” However, he added, “We are in the service of the people, and if the coach decides to make a replacement, it is all in the interest of his team.”

0950 GMT: The Battle Within. Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, criticised by the President's office (see 0710 GMT), has hit back --- his outlet Tehran-e Emrooz is headlining, "President again reported takeover of economy by 3,000 people: repeated criticism instead of providing track record of [his] performance."

Mellet-e Ma, linked to Secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, also takes a swing, "President speaks of 300, 400 or 3,000 people! Who is ultimately responsible for the economy?"

0944 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch (Rumour Edition). Mehr carries claims that President Ahmadinejad, far from giving up on his embattled subsidy cuts programme, has signalled the start of its second phase in a meeting with economic ministers. The site further claims that the President has formed a group to oversee the Bazaar.

The subsidy cuts were launched in December 2010 but have run into political and economic difficulties. The second phase, promised in late 2011, has never been implemented, and Parliament has recently declared that it shall not be put into place.

0727 GMT: Health Watch. Baztab claims that, having dismissed Minister of Health Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, the Government has finally ordered the release of essential imports of drugs and medical supplies.

Dastjerdi claimed that the medicine had been held up in Customs since November and that she had been refused $2 billion by the Central Bank to pay for the necessary imports.

0721 GMT: The Deaths in Detention. At the request of the families of three men killed in Kahrizak detention centre after the disputed 2009 Presidential election, the case will be re-opened on 27 February.

A group of guards were eventually convicted of the abuse and murder of the men, but the families have continued to seek the prosecution of others, including then Tehran Prosecutor General and current Presidential advisor Saeed Mortazavi.

0710 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch (Rumour Edition). Baztab claims that, with his Presidency ending in June, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is putting his closest allies in posts abroad.

The site asserted that Vice President Hamid Baghaei will be the first Ahmadinejad confidante to move, leaving for the United Nations or a diplomatic post in Geneva in February.

The President's office denied the report, saying rumours were being circulated by people close to Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf.

Baztab is sticking by its story, commenting sarcastically, "Of course we have trust in the Government's words."

0650 GMT: President Ahmadinejad continued his battle with political foes on Tuesday, turning a routine ceremonial speech in Kermanshah Province into a declaration of the corruption of his rivals. 

Ostensibly opening several construction projects, the President repeated his allegation that most of Iran's economy is controlled by "300 or 400" people who manipulate the system to build up their wealth.

While Ahmadinejad did not name names, it is safe to assume that he intended the sharp listener to hear the renewal of his campaign against the Larijani brothers --- Speaker of Parliament Ali, head of judiciary Sadegh, and senior judiciary official Mohammad Javad --- whom he has previously accused of accumulating land through illegal access to loans.

Even more interesting is the prospect that the President is continuing to pick a fight with the Revolutionary Guards, who have a major stake in the economy through their engineering and construction firms as well as holdings in numerous Iranian companies. Last year Ahmadinejad charged that the elite military organisation was benefitting from smuggling through ports and docks.

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad's rivals were far from quiet on Tuesday. Indeed, they struck the biggest blow, blocking his move to promote his allies through creation of a "super-ministry" for Infrastructure.

Last month the President said he was merging the Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Transport and Roads. He said Ali Nikzad, then Minister of Transport, would take charge of the super-ministry. Observers immediately saw the possibility that Nikzad was being put in place for a run for the Presidency in 2013.

Parliament hit back at the move, declaring that it was illegal without the assent of the Majlis. Yesterday the Guardian Council upheld that opinion.

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    ... עבודה בקנדה - מעבר לעבוד בעגלות בקנדה הללו, בתקופת עבודתך במדינות מסויימות, תוכל, בהתאם לתנאים, להתחיל התמחות במקצוע כלשהו, ולהתמקצע בטרם תחזור ארצה. בעבודות אקדמיות נהוג להזיח את השורה הראשו... Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad v. Everyone Else ...
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