Iran Election Guide

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Monday
Jun032013

Syria Today: Deadly Clash Between Insurgents and Hezbollah in Lebanon

See also Middle East Today: Turkey --- Mass Protests and Clashes Move Beyond Istanbul
Sunday's Syria Today: The Civilians Trapped in Qusayr


Report: US Discussing Placement of Patriot Missiles in Jordan

A senior Pentagon official has said that the US and Jordan are discussing the possibility of sending American Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries to the Kingdom, amid the Syrian conflict and the training and arming of insurgents from a base in Jordan.

The official emphasised that an agreement over the deployment has not been reached. However, he said the missile batteries could be flown to Jordan within days and used initially as part of a multinational military exercise in June.

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Monday
Jun032013

Middle East Today: Turkey --- Mass Protests and Clashes Move Beyond Istanbul

Monday
Jun032013

EA Animated Video: A 4-Point Guide to Obama's Not-Quite-War-On-Terror


On 23 May, President Obama set out what he claimed what was a new US approach to threats abroad: "We must define our effort not as a boundless 'global war on terror' – but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America."

So what is this not-quite-War-on-Terror? Your 4-point animated guide....

1. A War By Any Other Name is Just as Deadly
2. We Are Killing Them To Bring Your Boys Home and To Prevent Attacks on You
3. The Fear Will Never Stop
4. Where Did Our Values Go?

Monday
Jun032013

Iran Today: Is The Quest For A Unity Candidate Over?

Jalili Swears On Quran To Sacrifice Life For Supreme Leader

Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili swears on a Quran that he will sacrifice his life for the Supreme Leader at the request of a student during a rally at Tehran University.

The student asks Jalili if he is ready to swear on the Quran, and he replies: "Enshallah, I am".

After Jalili takes the Quran, the crowd chants his name.

Rouhani Gives Live Speech On State TV: We're Not After A Bomb

In his speech on State TV on Monday, moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rohani said that he planned to use experts in his "government of hope and prudence" if elected --- a promise made by other candidates as well, notably Saeed Jalili and Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf/

Rouhani's comments indicate that he is attempting to pitch himself as a centrist candidate with a broad appeal. Perhaps with a nod at earlier comments on Monday by political commentator Sadeq Zibakalam, who said that reformist voters must back Rouhani or face a Jalili presidency, Rouhani said that he is able to work with all parties, and that he only opposed extremism.

With regard to Iran's nuclear program, Rouhani said Iran needed to clarify its position but stressed that Tehran was not seeking a nuclear weapon, and rather was developing nuclear technology for national development.

Referring to the ongoing battle between himself and his rival Saeed Jalili, Rouhani defended his term as nuclear negotiator:

Rouhani also discussed regional cooperation and national security, noting that he planned to examine specific foreign policy issues to "identify the countries with whom Iran could work".

Rouhani said that public diplomacy --- even with the United States --- was important for Iran, across issues like culture, sports and religion.

The moderate candidate mentioned the Syria question:

Rouhani Slams Bagheri, Jalili

Moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani sharply criticized his rival Saeed Jalili's campaign manager, nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri on Monday, over the ongoing row over claims by the Jalili camp that Rouhani made concessions during his tenure as nuclear negotiator.

Conservative news outlet Asr Iran published Rouhani's response to Bagheri's claims, and Rouhani's campaign team also noted them on his Twitter account.

Rouhani slammed Bagheri for using the "unfounded allegations" against him for capital in Jalili's election campaign, but suggested that Bagheri read his book, "National Security And Nuclear Diplomacy".

The moderate candidate also accused Bagheri of making Iran an international laughing stock when he submitted a two-page document to theP5+1 in 2008 that was "full of errors".

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Monday
Jun032013

Iran Analysis: Presidential Election --- A 4-Point Guide to the State of the Race

Ssturday's campaign speech by Hassan Rouhani, with the crowd chanting the name of detained opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi


With 11 days to go before the first-round vote in the Presidential election, three points on the main contenders and a look at the possibilities....

1. JALILI MAINTAINING MOMENTUM?
2. QALIBAF, HADDAD ADEL, VELAYATI --- THE FAILURE TO GET A "UNITY" CANDIDATE
3. THE RISE OF ROUHANI?
4. THE RISE OF DISSENT?

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Sunday
Jun022013

Middle East Today: Turkey --- Will the Protests Grow?

Claimed footage of a police van hitting a protester


Turkey: The Scene in Izmir Tonight

Hamdullah replaces Salam Fayyad, who resigned in April after weeks of tension with others in the Authority. An English professor and dean of al-Najah University in the West Bank, Hamdullah has no prior political or government experience.

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Sunday
Jun022013

Iran Feature: Non-News Nuclear Scare Story Of The Day (Reuters)

With the Iranian Presidential election and Syria dominating the news, there has been little space in the news cycle lately for a good, old-fashioned Iran nuclear scare story.

Yet, lest readers despair, Reuters' Dan Williams and --- of course --- Fredrik Dahl "man up", stepping up to the plate with this gem: Iran's Arak reactor looms into Israeli, Western view.

What news of Arak, Iran's heavy-water research reactor that has yet to become operational?

Oh. None.

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Sunday
Jun022013

Syria Today: The Civilians Trapped in Qusayr

A spokesman for insurgents tours the besieged city of Qusayr


Claimed Footage of Scud Strike in Kafar Hamra Section of Aleppo

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Sunday
Jun022013

Turkey Special: A 4-Point Guide to the Protests

Protesters on the Bosphorus Bridge en route to Istanbul's Taksim Square


4. SO CAN THE PROTESTS SUCCEED?

This weekend's events should be seen not just as an immediate rising which will succeed or fail, but as the start of a series of events that will change the Turkish political landscape.

In other words, the contest --- which will take in not only social issues like Gezi Park and the Bosphorus Bridge, but the Government's economic approach and perceived favoritism and the broad political issues like the Constitution and Erdogan's power --- is one for the longer-term.

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Sunday
Jun022013

Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Will Rouhani Go Too Far For The Regime?

Rouhani At Saturday's Tehran Campaign Rally (Credit: Xinhua)

"This year, 2013, will not be the same as 2009," moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani told crowds in Tehran on Saturday, as his supporters chanted political slogans and called for the release of Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

The 2013 Presidential campaign --- fairly anodyne so far --- changed at Saturday at a campaign rally at Tehran's Jamaran Mosque, during which police arrested several people at the rally, Saedollah Badashti, the head of Rouhani's youth campaign. Radio Farda, quoting the Reformist website Kaleme, also named Mohammad Parsi, Shirin Mirkarami and Mohsen Rahmani among those arrested.

A video published by the Rouhani campaign showed supporters calling for Iran's detained political prisoners to be released, including Mousavi. Rouhani demanded that the country's "securitized atmosphere" be stopped.

"Our people deserve more peace, more freedom, more prosperity, more honor and more security. This is only possible with your presence. Don't let them discourage you. If people don't show up to vote on election day, they have effectively left the field open to your opponents," Rouhani said.

As the crowd called for a coalition between Presidential candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref and Rouhani, Rouhani said that the first step was to "ensure that we have many people lining up to vote.

"I will say this in a vague way --- this year, that is 2013, will not be the same as 2009," Rouhani said.

During his speech at the Jamaran Mosque, Rouhani also told the crowd that: "With your support, we will open all the locks which have been fastened upon people's lives during the past eight years. You - dear students and hero youth - are the ones who have come to restore the national economy and improve the people's living standards. We will bring back our country to the dignity of the past."

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