Iran Election Guide

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Iran Live Coverage: "UN Human Rights Investigator Bribed by US", Regime Claims

See also Iran Feature: Week in Civil Society --- From International Women's Day to the Death of Hugo Chavez
Friday's Iran Live Coverage: Chest-Beating for the Next Nuclear Talks

1701 GMT: CyberWatch. More on the curious story of the blocking of "illegal" Virtual Private Networks, which allow users to circumvent filtering and surveillance....

The curiosity is not VPNs have been declared illegal --- that has long been the case --- but that Fars pulled the news, soon after posting it. The screenshot of the story before it disappeared:

Other sites, like Fararu, continue to carry the story.

Activists report that services like Skype and Viber are now blocked in Iran.

Last month, officials said that Iranians could register for a "legal" VPN through a Government site, but this was soon off-line and is still not available.

Blocked in Iran will tell you if a site is filtered inside Iran.

1649 GMT: Election Watch. Mohsen Rezaei --- former head of the Revolutionary Guards, Secretary of the Expediency Council, and Presidential candidate --- has given a press conference to declare his emphasis on economic issues.

Asserting that he will battle poverty, unemployment, backwardness, and underdevelopment, Rezaei challenged the current Government's emphasis on subsidy cuts by saying that he favours subsidies and low-interest financing for farmers.

Rezaei jabbed at President Ahmadinejad, "The driver of the car of Iran's economy is arguing by the roadside....I don't like Ahmadinejad's way of talking --- he has a certain style and we are used to it but I don't prefer this method."

Rezaei, who also ran for President in 2009, continued, "Part of the reason for inflation and high prices is due to sanctions and part is due to imprudence [by the Government]." He called for an overhaul of economic management, with decentralisation to teh provinces.

1103 GMT: Water Watch. Rah-e Sabz reports that, after two weeks of water shortages, supplies have resumed to Yazd Province.

Since the start of the year, farmers in Isfahan Province have protested the diversion of water from the area to Yazd. Two weeks ago, security forces moved in to disperse the demonstrators, using tear gas and pellets, while their buses were burned by demonstrators.

Payvand, drawing from Mehr and France 24, posts background and pictures:

1100 GMT: Cyber-Watch. Fars reported early this morning that, after the registration of "legal" Virtual Private Networks, all illegal VPN ports have been shut down.

The story has now disappeared from the website, however.

VPNs allow users to bypass filtering and surveillance to access blocked sites.

0630 GMT: Human Rights Watch. Last week, United Nations Special Rapporteur Ahmad Shaheed put out his latest report on human rights violations in Iran. The 77 pages --- based on documents and interviews with Iranians outside the country, as Tehran refuses entry to Shaheed --- documented the continuing repression, including mass detentions, executions, harassment of prisoners' families, denial of rights, the crackdown on the press, and other violations.

Yesterday Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior official with the Iranian judiciary, offered his explanation for the report --- it must be a fabrication, fostered by American bribery of Shaheed:

The money the Special Rapporteur has received from the US State Department has prevented him from writing anything contrary to their wishes.  
The special rapporteur must not adopt a stance against the country he is preparing reports on, but since his appointment [in June 2011], he has been appearing on various [Western] television networks like a TV celebrity, repeating US and Israeli” allegations against Iran.

Larijani insisted that the real motive for the detailed claims was an attempt to influence June's Presidential election.

Shaheed's report will be formally presented to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday.


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