Iran Election Guide

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Monday
Nov292010

Wikileaks Special: EA's Coverage Today

We will be trying to bring out the best of analysis and publishing in full some of the most striking documents from the Wikileaks release. Today's highlights:

ANALYSES

1. Our EA correspondent on Iran, Mr Tehrani, takes on the dramatic headlines about Tehran's neighbours encouraging a US military attack and assesses the real significance of the revelations for Iran and Arab states.

2. Our partner The Newest Deal backs up that analysis with a state-by-state review of the attitudes in the Middle East towards Iran.

3. Ali Yenidunya sees US clumsiness and problems for Ankara in the revelations about Turkey....

4. ....and Ali also has a few choice observations about Israel and the US position.

DOCUMENTS

1. August 2009: The US Consulate in Ankara is informed about "Election Fraud, Khamenei's Cancer, and Rafsanjani's Next Steps"

2. April 2009: Even before the Presidential election, a source is telling the US Consulate in Dubai about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's political and economic problems.

Monday
Nov292010

Wikileaks-Iran Special: A State-by-State Regional View (The Newest Deal)

In a cable sent in February 2009, U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey recounted: "President Mubarak told [Middle East envoy George] Mitchell during his recent visit here that he did not oppose our talking with the Iranians, as long as 'you don't believe a word they say.'" Scobey continues in the cable: "Mubarak has a visceral hatred for the Islamic Republic, referring repeatedly to Iranians as 'liars,' and denouncing them for seeking to destabilize Egypt and the region."

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov292010

Wikileaks-Iran Document: Dubious Intelligence? "Election Fraud, Khamenei's Cancer, & Rafsanjani's Next Steps"

4. (C) Khamenei has cancer: XXXXXXXXXXXX told XXXXXXXXXXXX that Rafsanjani remains vehemently opposed to Ahmadinejad but is biding his time because of a serious health crisis affecting Supreme Leader Khamenei: a terminal case of “blood cancer” (leukemia). XXXXXXXXXXXX told XXXXXXXXXXXX that he heard from Rafsanjani that Khamenei is likely to die within a matter of months. As a result, Rafsanjani has stopped campaigning within the Assembly of Experts to challenge Khamenei, and now is focused on “letting nature take its course.”

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov292010

Egypt LiveBlog: The Latest on the Parliament Elections

MONDAY, 28 NOVEMBER

2020 GMT: An EA correspondent checks in....

The High Elections Commission, claiming that complaints are very minor, says the ruling National Democratic Party has won 125 of the 508 seats so far. The Muslim Brotherhood has won 0.

Over coming days, 185 seats will have run-offs.

MP Abdel Rahim al-Ghoul of Nagga Hamadi in the province of Qena, accused of involvement in the murder of seven Coptic Christians in January 2010, is in a run-off.

Parliamentary correspondent Mahmoud Nafadi is noting continuing changes in the recorded votes, indicating rigging.

Our EA correspondent also notes the assertions of human rights groups in our 1925 GMT entry. She adds that the head of the Tagammu Party has added his voice to charges that representatives and voters were barred from polling stations.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov292010

The Latest from Iran (29 November): Politics and Assassination

2045 GMT: Picture of Day. Cleric Ahmad-Reza Ahmedpour, released (see 1905 GMT) after eight months in prison.

1940 GMT: Today's Assassination. In his press conference,President Ahmadinejad said, "Undoubtedly the hand of the Zionist regime and Western governments is involved" in this morning's assassination (see 0730 and 1010 GMT) of one Iranian nuclear scientist and wounding of another.

Dr Majid Shahriari was killed and Professor Fereydoun Abbasi and his wife were wounded in separate car bombings in Tehran.

Mohammad Reza Rahimi, the 1st Vice-President, also blamed Israel, saying it had "picked up the weapon of terror". Speaking at a joint conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Rahimi added, "We will remove this mask and devilish cover from their face and reveal their identity."

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov292010

Wikileaks-Iran Document: Problems with the Opposition and the Economy...in April 2009

Ahmadinejad's defeats on the budget and his plan to distribute cash payments to lower-income Iranians show that power centers, such as the Majles, are actively working to pressure the President prior to the June election....

Khamenei moderated his support for Ahmadinejad following Khatami's decision to exit the contest. Hosseini predicts Mir Hossein Mousavi will win the election.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov292010

Wikileaks Special: The Consequences for Israel, the US, and the Middle East

There will be immediate consequences of these revelations: for example, look for the Iranian regime to wave this proof that foreign dark forces are trying to break Iran. Hamas will uses the leaks against Fatah and Fatah will use them against Israel. 

But far beyond this is the question of how others will use  American "power": these cables indicate how that concept is primarily used as an image that local governments manipulate for their own ends. Now that the act is out in the open, can they continue to do so? And how can the Obama Administration respond?

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov292010

Wikileaks-Iran Analysis: What This Means For Tehran and Arab States  (Tehrani)

To interpret the Wikleaks documents on Iran, EA turns to its correspondent, Mr Tehrani:

The latest Wikileaks "dump" of previously secret US diplomatic communication gives us little in the way of new information on the Islamic Republic of Iran. There is no smoking gun on the atomic programme nor any new revelation on the Iranian meddling in Iraq, Lebanon and beyond. However, the documents provide an illuminating confirmation of what many could have previously sensed to be the prevailing mood within the Middle East regarding the regime run by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei.

Not surprisingly, the overall picture is a grim one. According to the material made available so far by The Guardian, the cluster of so-called "moderate" states, informally led by Saudi Arabia, have developed a distinct "Iranophobia". Their evident distrust-paranoia of Tehran and the almost manic fear of an aggression --- nuclear or otherwise --- by Iran against them has reached the point in which constructive diplomatic engagement between the current Iranian government and its regional counterparts borders on the meaningless. As summed up brilliantly by a high level Qatar official in a conversation with the local US embassy, the Iranians "lie to us and we lie back to them".

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov282010

Wikileaks Special: The Consequences for Turkey and the US

I have written often of Ankara's pro-Western tendencies, underlining that Erdogan's government is nothing short of a liberal and pragmatic organisation, seeking relative autonomy in the region without raising an eyebrow in the Oval Office. So have a look at this ridiculous quotation, taken from an adviser to the ruling AKP party and added into a US report: "Turkey wants to take back Andalusia and avenge the defeat at the siege of Vienna in 1683."

There are only two options for an analyst: either some of the American diplomats are seriously ignorant about the politics and strategies pursued in the country where they are authorized to work or they are being asked to report any shred of "information" without filtering it.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov282010

Egypt Latest: Today's Parliamentary Elections

We have now moved the LiveBlog to the top of the page, continuing our coverage of the aftermath of the election.