Iran Election Guide

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Thursday
Dec092010

Israel-Palestine Analysis: Washington's "New Strategy" and the Palestinian Response

Challenging the new US line on settlements, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas warned that there would be no talks with Israel unless there was a halt to settlement building.

Having obtained the support of the Arab League and Egypt, Abbas does not want to take a step back on the settlements. Indeed, he may be going on the offensive. The London-based daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on Thursday that Abbas had "given a green light" to his aides to ask the UN to recognize a unilaterally-declared Palestinian state; however, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit asked the Palestinian leadership to give Washington another chance.

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Thursday
Dec092010

Iran Breaking: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani --- Is It Freedom or Another Confession? 

We have returned from a break to find confusion over the situation of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman condemned to death for adultery and then for complicity in the murder of her husband, and Ashtiani's son Sajad Ghaderzadeh, who was arrested in September while giving an interview to German journalists about his mother.

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Thursday
Dec092010

Iran Interview: Parvin Fahimi "Who Killed These Youngsters in Their Own Country?"

Parvin Fahimi is the mother of Sohrab Arabi, a 19-year-old youth who was martyred on 20 June 2009 in last year's post-election protests.She offered these comments in an interview with our colleague Masih Alinejad:

I never say I want only what is right for my own son, because every time I go to the Behesht Zahra cemetery, I see other Sohrabs who were murdered, I see other Amir Yussefzadehs, Moharam Cheginis, Ali Reza Eftekharis, Ashkan Sohrabis, Saeed Abbassis, Kianoosh Asas, Abbas Disnaads, Ramin Ramezanis and many more who are buried in other sections and can not all be named here. I wish they would answer, "Who killed these youngsters in their own country?

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Thursday
Dec092010

Wikileaks and Afghanistan: US Embassy Protects Contractors Over Hiring of Child Prostitutes

The Guardian of London's headline for this June 2009 cable shelters in an euphemism, albeit in leading quote marks: "Afghan government asks US to quash 'dancing boys' scandal".

The actual subject matter, as the EA source who pointed us to the cable notes, is the hiring of child prostitutes by the American contractor DynCorp.

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Thursday
Dec092010

Iran Document: For the Dead, For Political Prisoners --- "We Are All Leyla Tavassoli"

We are all Leyla Tavassoli and we all bear witness to the fact that you the oppressors have incarcerated the innocent witnesses of your crimes while allowing the murderers to roam free; but know this too, it is not just us the Leyla Tavassolis that have stood witness to your crimes, but history that will once again prove that the likes of you have never prevailed and it is a divine promise that this injustice will not last and is on its way out.

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Thursday
Dec092010

The Latest from Iran (9 December): A Return to "Normal"

1710 GMT: We are going to take an early break this evening to join Ms EA at the theatre. As usual, I'm leaving the updates in the capable hands of our readers for late-breaking news and analysis.

1620 GMT: No Contradiction Here. The headline in Etelaat newspaper, 7 December: "Low Fuel Quality Main Reason for Smog". Headline in Etelaat, 8 December: "High Quality Fuel a Huge Domestic Success".

1605 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch (Censorship Edition). An EA source alerts us....

On Sunday night, pages and copies of the newspaper Iran were confiscated because of an article by executive director Kaveh Eshtehardi defending Mehdi Hashemi, the son of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. The seizures were ordered by Tehran Public Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi. Doulatabadi also warned other newspaper not to print any material identifying Hashemi by name.

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Groups within the regime are seeking the trial of Hashemi on charges of fraud and electoral manipulation, and an arrest warrant has been issued for him. He has been in London since summer 2009.

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Thursday
Dec092010

WikiLeaks CyberWar Update: Visa, MasterCard Sites Still Off-Line

For earlier updates, see Wednesday's story....

UPDATE 1640 GMT: Tweet of the Day. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley has tweeted, as the Department opens World Press Freedom Day, "No country believes in press freedom more than the United States. We practice what we preach."

UPDATE 1555 GMT:  WikiLeaks has issued a statement:  "These denial of service attacks are believed to have originated from an internet gathering known as Anonymous. This group is not affiliated with WikiLeaks. There has been no contact between any Wikileaks staffer and anyone at Anonymous. WikiLeaks has not received any prior notice of any of Anonymous’ actions.  Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said: 'We neither condemn nor applaud these attacks. We believe they are a reflection of public opinion on the actions of the targets.'”

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Thursday
Dec092010

"Pro-Freedom" in Turkey: Police Violence, Egg-Throwing, and the PM's "Political Trap"

Despite the injuries to protesters, police have been praised once again by their Prime Minister. They can be proud of what happened on Sunday, amidst the Government's declarations of "more democracy and a more pro-freedom standard".

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Thursday
Dec092010

Israel Snap Analysis: Political Traps in the Talks with Turkey

The most significant point in this week's Turkey-Israel talks is not the supposed disagreement over the exact noun to denote "apology" for the attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla in May. Instead, the careful observer should recognise the division inside the Israeli Government.

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Thursday
Dec092010

Reality Check: Journalism is not an Attack, WikiLeaks is not Warfare

I am not an insurgent, and neither are you. Until we realize that, until we understand the difference between journalism and war, then the government will continue to claim it's acting in self-defence.

Stop giving the government an excuse for repression. Stop calling Wikileaks "warfare".

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