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Entries in Ahmad Shaheed (20)


Iran Feature: Week in Civil Society --- From International Women's Day to the Death of Hugo Chavez (Arseh Sevom)

This week the mother of Neda Soltan, the young woman whose death was captured on camera during the demonstrations following the 2009 Presidential elections, reminds us of International Women’s Day. Ban Ki Moon makes a statement for an end to violence against women and children. Iran’s sociologists report on growing sexual freedom in Iran, while 250 female activists complain about the treatment of the daughters of Zahra Rahnavard and Mir Hossein Mousavi.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran issues a report, which is immediately branded biased by Iran’s media. A new cinema organization is launched --- state-sponsored and with a director who has worked hard to close the independent House of Cinema. A letter to Syrian President Assad from the Physicians' Association leads to its takeover by the Revolutionary Guards.

A message from well-respected economists warns of increased instability if the country’s economic problems aren’t addressed. Crime is on the rise, and the former Tehran Prosecutor General, Saeed Mortazavi, appears before the court in the defendant’s chair.

The death of Hugo Chavez is cause for (another) day of mourning in Iran.

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Iran Live Coverage: "Widespread and Systematic Violations of Human Rights"

Poster calling for the release of Iran's female political prisoners

See also Iran Special: How To Create an "Iranian Threat in Iraq" Story
Thursday's Iran Live Coverage: "Positive" Nuclear Talks?

2100 GMT:Human Rights Watch. United Nations human rights officials have met opposition activists, including Ardeshir Amir Arjomand, in Geneva.

The discussion included the strict house arrests, since February 2011, of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Lawyer and Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has said that the report of United Nations Special Rapporteur Ahmad Shaheed (see 0625 GMT) is a solid basis for other countries to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

And Reporters without Borders has said it will file a complaint against the Islamic Republic because of the illegal arrests of journalists.

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Iran Live Coverage: Seizing the Children of the Detained Opposition Leaders

See also Syria & Iran Follow-Up: The Real Story of "Syria's Iran-Hezbollah 50,000-Man Militia" in 3 Easy Steps
Monday's Iran Live Coverage: "Viva Spring" --- Ahmadinejad Launches An Election Campaign

1845 GMT: The Battle Within. The "Council of Explaining Basij Student Positions of Greater Tehran" has warned President Ahmadinejad, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, and head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani that they will be branded "traitors" if they continue their disputes.

The Council said that, if the disagreement persisted, "[We will] certainly confront you in the way that is suitable."

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The Latest from Iran (27 October): Supreme Leader Says, "Obey Me"

See also Iran Video Feature: A Beginner's Guide to the Battles Within the Media
The Latest from Iran (26 October): Judiciary to Ahmadinejad "Your Irrational and Illegal Attacks"

1556 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (European Front). Now it's Press TV being coy about the cancelled visit by the five members of the European Parliament, "The EP officials requested on Friday to meet two Iranian nationals, who have been sentenced to prison on charges of breaching Iran's national security."

1526 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (European Front). The English-language edition of Fars offers a very different account of why a visit to Tehran by five members of the European Parliament was cancelled (see 1218 GMT). It quotes MP Kazem Jalali, the head of the Iran-EU Parliamentary Friendship Group:

The trip was organized upon a demand by the European parliament and we agreed with their demand, but the European parliament gave up the visit with its unwise action which is not at all justifiable and the responsibility for the consequences of this move lies on that parliament....

The European parliament is under the influence of the Zionist regime when making some important decisions, and...since the very first day, the Zionist lobby voiced opposition to the EU delegation's visit to Iran and made the EU parliament call off the trip, and this shows the EU's lack of independence.

Fars continues with a statement by Parliamentary advisor, Hossein Sheikholeslam, "The European parliamentary delegation has set a precondition for visiting Iran and will not accept this prerequisite as it runs counter to our policies."

However, Fars coyly never mentions the "precondition": the five European MPs asked to see detained lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who is under threat of a six-year sentence --- the two received the EU's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought earlier this week. When Iranian officials refused, the European delegation cancelled its visit.

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The Latest from Iran (19 October): "The Sanctions Will Hurt Europe"

See also Iran Feature: Students Suffer as Currency Falls
The Latest from Iran (18 October): The Mysterious Sliding Currency

2130 GMT: CyberWatch. Golnaz Esfandiari of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty summarises the story --- covered in EA earlier this month --- of the Ministry of Intelligence's launch of the website

She observes, "Somewhat ironically for an agency that has admitted hacking into the email accounts of opposition members, it also offers tips on how to protect online data."

1800 GMT: Economy Watch. Prominent businessman Asadollah Asgarouladi has has continued his criticism of the Government's management of the economy, claiming that annual oil revenue has fallen from $100 billion to $30 billion.

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Iran Document: Students to the Supreme Leader "If Only You Ordered Tolerance Towards Dissent"

Responding to the Supreme Leader's recent remarks to an assembly of State-sponsored student organizations, the student union Tahkim Vahdat (Office for Consolidating Unity) has put out a statement:

If only he had  also ordered tolerance towards dissident students and those who were critical of him. It is now meaningless to talk about any right to criticize the Leader. Appointed university officials have reacted harshly to any and all voices of dissent. Muslim student associations, independent student associations, cultural and artistic centers, student councils, and student newspapers face their most difficult conditions since the election of Ahmadinejad in 2005.

The document includes a list of 29 students who are serving lengthy sentences.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From Forbidden Books to a Shrinking Middle Class (Arseh Sevom)

Official Book Fair and Unofficial Books

The annual International Book Fair of Tehran opened on 1 May and will continue to the 11th, even as the list of forbidden books grows. Authorities collect “illegal copies", sometimes turning them into paper paste (recounted in our review of 23 April). Meanwhile, a shadow book fair has sprung up featuring the forbidden texts.

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The Latest from Iran (6 April): Is Tehran Pulling Out of Nuclear Talks?

Iran Special: Forget the News --- Let's Tell Scary Stories
Iran Feature: Bush Administration Trained MKO "Terrorists" From 2005
The Latest from Iran (5 April): How Serious Are the Economic Problems?

1845 GMT: All the President's Men. Mohammad Dehghan, a member of the Presiding Board of Parlament, has declared that if the Arbitration Council asks Saeed Mortazavi --- the Presidential aide recently named head of the Social Security Fund --- to resign, he must do so.

Mortazavi's appointment has been challenged because he was the Tehran Prosecutor General during the abuses and killings at the Kahrizak detention centre in summer 2009.

Dehghan and other MPs have called for the impeachment of Minister of Labor Abdolreza Sheikholeslami, who has supported Mortazavi, if the Presidential aide does not stand down.

1815 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. See if you can spot the common theme in Friday Prayers across Iran and the Number One person who is being addressed: "Political Arrogance of the Foreign Anti-Iran Movement"; "America's Involvement with Arrogance"; "America's Threats"; "Bringing Up The Topic of Negotiations With America is Tragic"; "We Cannot Deal with America"; "Negotiating with America Does Not Have Any Meaning".

Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, are you listening?

Just to drive the point home, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said in Tehran Friday Prayers, "[Making decisions on] the case of the U.S. falls within the authority of the Supreme Jurisprudent [Supreme Leader], and no person is in a position to express views in this regard and take action. I believe those who think that we should negotiate with the leading (member) of the (global) arrogance, namely the U.S., either have a simplistic view or have been intimidated.”

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Sanctions, Human Rights, and Israel-Iran Love (Arseh Sevom)

Iranians respond to the "Israel Loves Iran" campaign

Celebrating Norooz Amidst "Unbelievable Inflation"

Norooz, a celebration of the new year that is marked by people from every religion and belief, was met with relief and joy by Iranians all over the world. Millions in Iran traveled in cars, buses, trains, and planes to see family and friends and to do a bit of urban camping. Iran's press was filled with stories of tourist attractions and the numbers of travellers.

However, sanctions are taking a huge bite out of the budgets of most Iranian households. The inflation is "unbelievable", sources tell Arseh Sevom.

"Prices change three times a day and the government blames it all on the embargos," an Ahwazi householder says. A Tehrani resident says that her home has lost 50% of its value this year.

With sanctions on doing business with Iran's Central Bank kicking in, inflation is expected to continue to rise. The Economist Intelligence Unit predicted further pain for the majority of Iranian households as the rial continues to plummet.

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The Latest from Iran (26 March): Ahmadinejad Grabs the Spotlight

President Ahmadinejad with Afghan President Karzai (left) and Tajik President Rahmon (right)

See also The Latest from Iran (25 March): Expanding the Sanctions

2050 GMT: Nuclear Watch. If true, this Associated Press report does not bode well for the resumption of talks on 13 April over Iran's uranium enrichment:

[Diplomats say] sensibilities generated by failed previous rounds and disputes on what should be discussed are keeping them from finding a venue.

They say the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China oppose Iran's choice of Istanbul because the last round of talks there 14 months ago ended in failure.

They say Iran, in turn, rejects Vienna because it is home to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is trying to probe allegations Tehran secretly worked on nuclear weapons.

The diplomats said Monday other venues are still being discussed and the start of the talks is not in jeopardy.

(For what's it worth, I think this is posturing and the talks will go ahead in Istanbul --- if not, this would be a slap in the face by the US and allies to Turkey, as it tries to elevate its broker's role in international affairs.)

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