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Entries in Ahmad Tavakoli (102)


Iran Snap Analysis: The Currency Crisis

As the currency crisis builds, so does the political tension. In the last week, criticism of the Government has been resurging, from tycoon Asadollah Asgarouladi to leading MP Ahmad Tavakoli --- relative and ally of Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani --- whose website Alef was blocked for weeks last month after it featured Tavakoli's call for Parliament to establish supervision of a Government ruining the economy.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Leader appears to be staying out of the fray. Possibly, that is because he wants to avoid the risk of collateral damage, taking blame for the problems of his people. Possibly, it is because his office does not know what to do. Probably, it is a combination of the two.

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The Latest from Iran (3 September): "This Country is Broken"

Journalist Jila Bani Yaghoub returns to prison after she was summoned to complete a one-year sentence

See also Iran 1st-Hand: A Country of Resignation
The Latest from Iran (2 September): Tehran Strikes A Defiant Pose

2038 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Back from a break to find that it is not just the Iranian regime who can strike a tough pose....

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah, has declared that Iran can strike US bases in the Middle East if Israel attacks the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities: "A decision has been taken to respond and the response will be very great."

Nasrallah continued in the televised interview, "The response will not be just inside the Israeli entity --- American bases in the whole region could be Iranian targets. If Israel targets Iran, America bears responsibility."

The Hezbollah leader said, however, there were divisions in Israel over an airstrike: Personally I do not expect the Israeli enemy --- at least in the coming months or foreseeable future --- [to launch] an attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran."

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Iran Feature: The Banning and Detention of Conservative Bloggers (Small Media)

The Larijani Brothers --- are they behind the crackdown on conservative bloggers?

For years, we have reported on the regime's pressure on opposition bloggers, in some cases imposing long prison sentences as well as blocking their sites.

Recently, however, there has been a twist in the campaign. As part of the political contest within the establishment, factions within the regime have been attacking each other's outlets.

In particular, it appears that the camps of President Ahmadinejad and of Speaker of Parliament are locked in battle. Last month, the high-profile Alef site, linked to Larijani's relative and key MP Ahmad Tavakoli, was filtered for weeks. Pro-Ahmadinejad bloggers who challenge Larijani and his brothers, including head of judiciary Sadegh and senior judiciary official Mohammad Javad, are being detained.

Small Media reports via Storify....

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The Latest from Iran (26 July): Mixed Signals on Syria

See also The Latest from Iran (25 July): Supreme Leader --- We are Strong, The West is Weak

2004 GMT: Currency Watch. Is Iran on the verge of another currency crisis?

This week's "adjustment" of exchange rates to deal with import problems --- the Government put out $30 billion to support "basic imports" at the official rate of 12260 Iranian Rials to the US dollar, while the Central Bank introduced a rate of 15000:1 for "capital and intermediate imports" --- has not settled the open-market rate. To the contrary, the Rial has lost almost 3% and now stands at 19530:1.

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Iran Analysis: Larijani and the Revolutionary Guards Warn the Government Over the Economy

Ali LarijaniIn the last week, the Government has tried to stem the criticism by shutting down critical websites, such as Alef, linked to leading MP Ahmad Tavakoli. It has tried to blame everything from inflation to drought to duststorms on the "enemy".

But, if figures such as Ali Larijani and factions like the Revolutionary Guards are making admissions and issuing warnings, how long can this response dam the discontent?

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The Latest from Iran (17 July): "We Will March Past Sanctions" (Or Maybe Not.)

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society
The Latest from Iran (16 July): We Are Here for Your Security

1942 GMT: Economy Watch. How significant is this critical article from Fars, linked to the Revolutionary Guards?

The site reports that some Iranians cannot afford essential food such as bread and cheese because of inflation and sanctions. Asking MPs to stop price rises, Fars warns of unrest in the Bazaar and the fear and disappointment of people.

And there is another voice admitting difficulties --- Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has said 20% of the country's economic problems are due to sanctions.

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The Latest from Iran (10 July): "I Have No Hope, None at All"

Cartoon of the Day: Nikahang Kowsar's President Ahmadinejad cries out, "We sell smuggled oil"

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From Repression 1999 to Repression 2012
The Latest from Iran (9 July): Desperately Seeking All-Is-Well Oil News

2045 GMT: Irony Watch. From Press TV:

Iran has strongly denounced the detention of a prominent Shia cleric and the brutal crackdown of anti-regime protesters in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, which has been a major scene of protests over the past months.

1954 GMT: Oil Watch. Minister of Oil Rostam Qassemi has said that $5 billion of the National Development Fund has been allocated to the South Pars gas field development projects, accelerating Phases 20-24 of the project.

On 2 July, the NDF and the Ministry of Oil signed a deal for the Fund to earmark $14 billion of its assets to oil industry projects.

More than 70% will be spent on the development of oil and gas fields as well as expanding the upstream sector of the oil industry, Qassemi said, with the rest channeled into refining infrastructure.

President Ahmadinejad has claimed the NDF's assets will reach $55 billion by the end of this year. Iran transfers 20% of its oil revenues to the Fund.

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The Latest from Iran (9 July): Desperately Seeking All-Is-Well Oil News

See also The Latest from Iran (8 July): Admitting the "Sanctions Problem"

1810 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Egyptian and Syrian Fronts). Press TV highlights the latest push by Tehran to present an Iranian-Egyptian alliance under the headline "Egypt Revolution Undoubtedly Inspired by Iran":

Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, says the Egyptian revolution was “undoubtedly” inspired by the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.

“We are happy that despite all the difficulties an Islamist [presidential] candidate won in Egypt,” Velayati said in a meeting with the Secretary General of Egypt's Amal Party Magdi Hussein in Tehran on Monday....

Velayati described [Egyptian President Mohamed] Morsi’s victory as “a very important achievement,” saying, “Safeguarding this achievement is more important than achieving it".

Velayati also had some sharp words about the Syrian political crisis, “Certain regional states and aggressive countries such as the US and the Israeli regime have joined hands and hatched a plot against the Syrian government.” He said the public’s problems would undoubtedly be resolved based on the reforms which are underway.

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The Latest from Iran (28 June): A Failing Foreign Policy?

1945 GMT: Sanctions Watch. The US has exempted China and Singapore from sanctions over purchases of oil from Iran, hours before restrictions would have entered into force against their banks.

Earlier Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said (see 1413 GMT) that China and Singapore had “significantly reduced” their imports of Iranian crude.

1745 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Iranian state media says chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili has written his counterpart for the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China), Catherine Ashton, declaring the Islamic Republic of Iran is always ready to contribute to initiatives for successful talks.

However, Jalali cautioned that such talks are only possible in the framework of cooperation and when they are aimed at winning the trust of the Iranian nation. He said those who replace logic with illegitimate measures, i.e., sanctions, must be held accountable for any harm to the talks.

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The Latest from Iran (13 June): The Reformists and the Next Election

See also Iran Feature: Seeking Acceptance as a Single Woman#
Remember Iran: An EA Special --- Three Years Ago Today, The Protests Begin
Remember Iran Flashback: Text of Mousavi Letter to His Supporters (13 June 2009)
Remember Iran Flashback: 13 June 2009 --- EA's Live Coverage Begins
The Latest from Iran (12 June): Three Years Ago Today

1710 GMT: Economy Watch. Asr-e Iran has warned against unauthorized withdrawals from the Foreign Exchange Reserve, claiming the remaining amount is as small as $35 billion.

1610 GMT: Supreme Leader Watch. Another sound-bite from Ayatollah Khamenei's call for a cease-fire between Parliament and President (see 1327 GMT):

This does not mean that everybody should think in the same way…but it should be crystal-clear that despite different opinions and tastes, [all] officials are united and are proceeding in the direction of the country’s progress and the realization of the [Islamic] Revolution’s objectives.

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