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Entries in Abdolreza Sheikholeslami (19)


Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From Ahmadinejad in Egypt to "Tribal Voices" in Tehran (Arseh Sevom)

This week's "Tribal Voices" festival in Tehran

This week we saw the arrest of Presidential advisor Saeed Mortazavi, following a power struggle on the floor of Parliament between Speaker Ali Larijani and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The President joined the ranks of those on the receiving end of flying shoes during a trip to Egypt. And amidst worries about the economy and more crippling sanctions, Tehran celebrates the Tribal Voices festival.

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Iran Live Coverage: First the Space Monkey, Now a New Fighter Jet

State outlet Press TV on the unveiling of Iran's new F-313 fighter jet

See also EA Video Analysis: The Lie About an Iran "Explosion" That Became Headline News
Iran Video Feature: The Regime's "Justified" Imprisonment of Journalists
Saturday's Iran Live Coverage: The Supreme Leader's Men Launch Their Presidential Campaign

1950 GMT: The Defeat of Ahmadinejad. After today's showdown in Parliament, Speaker Ali Larijani and President Ahmadinejad have each cancelled press conferences called for tonight.

An audio of the clash between the two men has been posted on YouTube.

1850 GMT: The Defeat of Ahmadinejad. Some Western media have noticed today's dramatic events in Parliament, but they are struggling to get a handle on what happened.

Reuters has the fullest account but misses the humiliation of the President by the Speaker of Parliament --- and the impeachment of his Minister of Labor --- with the incomplete headline, "Iran President Accuses Parliament Speaker's Family of Corruption".

After giving a full description of the President's attempt to tag Larijani with corruption, via a claimed audio tape of the Speaker's brother, the article finally approaches the significant development:

"Our problem is that our president does not observe the basics of proper behavior," Larijani said. "Why did you discuss this issue here?"

Larijani continued: "Actually it's a good thing ... that you played this tape today, so that the people better understand your character."

The Washington Post focuses on the Minister of Labor's impeachment, giving only a brief description of the Ahmadinejad-Larijani exchange --- and missing the significance of it --- at the end of the article.

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Iran Live Coverage: Supreme Leader's Top Advisor Draws A "Red Line" on Syria

See also Sunday's Iran Live Coverage: Regime Explains --- Talk of "Free Elections" Is "Sedition"

Supreme Leader Aide Ali Akbar Velayati2147 GMT: Bank Watch. The Supreme Audit Court has given Central Bank head Mahmoud Bahmani 20 days to appeal the order for his dismissal because of illegal financial transactions.

2037 GMT: Bank Watch. Najmeh Bozorgmehr of the Financial Times summarises a day's turmoil over the Central Bank and the Iranian currency, with reports of the resignation or dismissal of Bank head Mahmoud Bahmani.

Bozorgmehr puts the fall of the Rial today at 8%, from 32800:1 to 35300:1.

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The Latest from Iran (23 December): Ahmadinejad on Economy "Everyone is Wrong Except Me"

See also Iran Flashback: The Supreme Leader Joins August 2009
Iran Feature: The Death of Ahmadinejad's Subsidy Cuts Programme
The Latest from Iran (22 December): "We Are Not Isolated. You Are Isolated"

2135 GMT: Press Watch. The Press Court has acquitted the reformist Shargh newspaper of insulting veterans of the 1980s Iran-Iraq War in one of its cartoons.

The newspaper was closed on 26 September for the publication and its managing director, Mehdi Rahmanian, was imprisoned.

The cartoon showed a column of men blindfolded in bright light. Cartoonist Hadi Heydair explained after the ban was imposed:

This sketch intends to display "ignorance", where some, in broad daylight, are blindfolding each other, to keep them from seeing the daylight. If the cartoonist wished to show soldiers, they would have to be wearing war uniforms, carrying arms, and be shown in a war setting.

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The Latest from Iran (9 September): Sanctions, More Sanctions, No Talks

See also The Latest from Iran (8 September): The Threat Is Not Israel --- It's the Economy

1942 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Children's rights' activist Saeed Shirzad, who was detained while helping victims of August's earthquake in East Azerbaijan, has been released.

1925 GMT: The Currency Crisis and Politics. Two stories pointing to the possible rise of political tensions over the weakening Iranian currency.

The head of the Central Bank, Mahmoud Bahmani, has indicated the Bank will not release reserves to bolster the currency, saying people still have dollars at home.

That answer is unlikely to satisfy prominent conservative MP Ahmad Tavakoli, who accused the Central Bank of withholding dollars. That allegation fits the news, posted on EA yesterday, that importers have been able to get foreign currency at official rates to release their goods from ports.

An EA correspondent assesses, "I think this is a full-fledged battle tween Ahmadinejad and his opponents about control of the currency market. The Supreme Leader is afraid to enter because of collateral damage."

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The Latest from Iran (22 July): Trying to Fix the Economy for Ramadan

See also Iran Feature: The "No to Hijab" Campaign on Facebook
The Latest from Iran (21 July): Support the Syrian Regime, Support Your Leader

1900 GMT: Reformist Watch. In a lengthy interview, opposition activist Mojtaba Vahedi has explained his decision to break after 30 years with Mehdi Karroubi --- former Speaker of Parliament, 2009 Presidential candidate, and detainee under strict house arrest since February 2011.

Vahedi said his primary motive was "to expose more freely" those reformists advocating participation in next year's Presdiential election.

1820 GMT: Election Watch. Radio Farda evaluates this week's declaration by the Guardian Council that it is changing Iran's election laws in accordance with the wishes of the Supreme Leader --- the site assesses that the move is the outcome of a struggle within the establishment, with the Council and Ayatollah Khamenei tightening their grip on power.

Bolstering that interpretation, Vice President Mohammad Reza Mirtajoddini has said the Government is responsible for the election laws and changes would weaken the Iranian system.

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The Latest from Iran (15 July): Worries Over the Economy

Iranians line up to buy cheaper chicken as the price of meat rises sharply

See also The Latest from Iran (14 July): Sanctions Watch

2135 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. Minister of Economy Mehdi Ghazanfari, speaking in the religious city of Qom today, said, “The Iranian economy is dynamic, which will not be influenced by sanctions."

More interesting than Ghazanfari's rhetoric was the effective admission that he had come to Qom after senior clerics had protested over inflation. The minister insisted that difficult days have passed, that the situation in the market is good, and that “we have a sufficient stock (of goods)".

2129 GMT: Morality Watch. ISNA reports that security forces and members of the "morality police" raided 87 cafes and restaurants in a district of Tehran on Saturday, shutting them "for not following Islamic values, providing hookah to women, and lacking proper licenses".

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The Latest from Iran (9 May): Propaganda and Oil

See also Iran-Afghanistan Opinion: Tehran's Mistaken Posturing Over the US-Afghan Pact
The Latest from Iran (8 May): The Political Fight Over Subsidy Cuts

2042 GMT: Parliament v. President. After the postponement yesterday of the impeachment process against Minister of Labor Abdolreza Sheikholeslami, prominent MPs Ali Motahari and Ahmad Tavakoli have declared in a statement that they will resume the effort at the start of the new Parliament next month.

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The Latest from Iran (8 May): The Political Fight Over Subsidy Cuts

See also Iran Feature: The Battle to Become Speaker of Parliament
The Latest from Iran (7 May): The Muddle of the New Parliament

Ali Larijani & Mahmoud Ahmadinejad1920 GMT: Oil Watch. Reinhard Baumgarten reports on Iran falling behind Iraq as oil exporter and interviews Sadegh Zibakalam about the disadvantages for Tehran in its deal to export to India.

1542 GMT: Oil Watch. More on the private manoevures behind US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's public encouragement, in her three-day visit, of India to cut oil imports from Iran....

Four Indian officials have told Bloomberg that supplies will be slashed by 20%, given the prospect of alternative supplies from Saudi Arabia.

The officials said India will lower its purchases to 14 million tons from the 17.5 million metric tons in the year ending 31 March.

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The Latest from Iran (7 May): The Muddle of the New Parliament

See also Iran Caption Competition: The Supreme Leader Looks at a Book
The Latest from Iran (6 May): After the Election

1935 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Senior reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh, serving a six-year prison sentence, has responded to new Revolutionary Guards charges against him. The former Deputy Minister of Interior said, "I will not appear in court before my complaint against [Ayatollah] Jannati is accepted."

Tajazadeh has accused Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, of involvement in the manipulation of the 2009 Presidential election.

1915 GMT: The Battle Within. Only 72 hours after the conclusion of the Parliamentary elections, the Government's critics have resumed their attack. MP Ali Motahari --- his own position secured after victory in the Tehran ballot --- has said that the attempt to impeach Minister of Labor Abdolreza Sheikholeslami could resume on Tuesday.

Sheikholeslami is under fire because of his defence of controversial Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi.

Meanwhile, Rah-e Sabz reports that, in an effort to retain Mortazavi, the Government has paid off a 35 billion Toman (about $28.5 million) debt to the Social Security Fund.

Mortazavi, criticised for his role as Tehran Prosecutor General during the abuses and killings in the Kahrizak detention centre in summer 2009, was named head of the Fund earlier this year.

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