Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Ali Akbar Javanfekr (50)


The Latest from Iran (16 January): Economic Jitters

Ashgar Farhadi's Nader and Simin: A Separation wins Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globe Awards last night --- in his acceptance speech, Farhadi says simply, "Iran is truly a loving people"

2103 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. Mohsen Qamsari, the head of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, has insisted that Iran is maintaining the sale of oil to Asian countries despite US pressure for tightened sanctions.

Qamsari said, "The one-year contract with Korean companies to buy our oil has been renewed since the last two months."

Earlier this month, officials said refiners in South Korea --- which buys about 10% of its crude from Iran --- were looking for alternatives.

Asked whether Japan had reduced its oil imports from Iran, Qamsari said, "It is not true. The time for renewal of contracts with the Japanese is around March and they are buying 240,000 barrels from us per day."

The official also denied any problems doing business with India, even though there have been problems over payment arrangements for more than a year.

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The Latest from Iran (8 January): Mr Chavez, Can You Spare a Dime?

See also Iran Photo Special: Snapshots of Life and Living
The Latest from Iran (7 January): "We are in an Economic War"

2140 GMT: Elections All-Is-Well Alert. Press TV goes over the top in its cheerleading, "Iran Political Groups Debate Parliament Vote": "A number of reformist lawmakers said it's business as usual and everyone is taking part because there are assurances that like the previous rounds the next elections will be free, fair and transparent."

An excess from nerves? Possibly, because in the next paragraph the website undermines its confident assurance, "Principalist political organizations and politicians are also preparing themselves for the elections. They express concern over the consequences of absence of reform oriented forces."

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The Latest from Iran (6 January): Squeezing the Regime

Supreme Leader: "We will break the neck of boycotters" / Journalist: "Take care of your own neck, Haji" (Cartoon: Nikahang Kowsar)

2100 GMT: Elections Watch. Gholam-Hossein Haddad-Adel, former Speaker of Parliament and a member of the Supreme Leader's inner circle, has made conciliatory noises about rivals in the Islamic Constancy Front, led by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi. Haddad-Adel, linked to the Unity Front preparing for the Parliamentary elections in March, said, "We do not disagree with our friends in the Constancy Front. There may be difference in preferences but we are united on principles."

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The Latest from Iran (31 December): Where are the Reformists for the Elections?

Mohammad Ali Kouzegar1330 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch (Elections Edition). Tabnak reports that President Ahmadinejad has begun campaign meetings with his team including senior advisors Ali Akbar Javanfekr, Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi,and Abbas Amirifar; son-in-law Mehdi Khorshidi, and son Alireza Ahmadinejad. A new oraganisation, Supporters of Government Front, has been created.

Speaking to supporters yesterday, Ahmadinejad reportedly said, "Even if the pressures on the Government increase, the Government will not resign and back down. I have many things about the next election that I will say in the next few weeks.”

Meanwhile, others have started mobilising against Ahmadinejad. The Supreme Leader's advisor Ali Akbar Velayati, in his speech to supporters (see 0735 GMT), advised principlists, “Based on the importance of election and the international pressures on Iran, unity among the people in charge and the principlists is necessary." He said those who were silent toward the deviant and seditious currents --- read Ahmadinejad's camp and unrepentant reformists --- "are not part of our list".

Alireza Zakani, another senior figure in the Unity Front, claimed that Ahmadinejad's team was already putting out lots of money: "The deviant current for the victory of each of its candidates has spend 1-3 billion Tomans (about $650,000 to $2 million).”

Seyed Solat Mortazavi, the head of Iran's Election Organisation, asked Zakani to present his evidence to the Ministry of Interior.

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The Latest from Iran (21 December): It's The Economy, Mahmoud

See also Iran Snap Analysis: The Currency Falls --- What Does It Mean?
The Latest from Iran (20 December): The Strains Within

1705 GMT: Oil Watch. A bit of good news for Tehran amidst the economic pressure on the regime, including the possibility of a European Union ban on supplies of oil from Iran....

Turkey's biggest crude oil importer Tupras has renewed its annual deal to buy crude oil from Iran for 2012, at almost the same volumes as this year, according to industry sources.

China's top refiner Sinopec Corp said that buy less than half the crude it normally imports from Iran in January.

1655 GMT: Najmeh Bozorgmehr of The Financial Times offers valuable interpretation of the currency crisis:

The managed float mechanism has collapsed for much of this year. The central bank’s adoption of a multiple-rate system has also failed to bring back stability to the market and to foil the impact of international sanctions aimed at Tehran’s nuclear programme. Sanctions have caused the cost of financial transactions to increase, by forcing them to go through numerous back channels, and have hit foreign currency markets by reducing the supply of cash.

But there are also domestic dynamics at play. While the market remains anxious about the possibility of a European Union oil embargo and the US imposing sanctions on the central bank, local media have accused the government of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, president, of engineering a deliberate devaluation to boost the rial value of its oil income in the final months of the fiscal year to March.

Economists and parliamentarians have predicted this year’s budget deficit could be as high as $30bn, or 7 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The government is due to present its budget bill to parliament soon and some analysts believe the government is allowing the rial to weaken to reset the official exchange rate to the dollar in the budget, which has traditionally sat around the 10,000 mark.

But Iran’s minister of economy and finance, Shamsoddin Hosseini, on Wednesday denied any such intention. “The government has had no, [absolutely] no deliberate plan to strengthen the dollar rate,” he said, and promised to announce “a plan to manage the market” soon.

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The Latest from Iran (25 November): Down, Down, Down

Claimed footage, posted yesterday, of a recent strike by workers in Tabriz in northwest Iran

2045 GMT: The Lesser-of-Two-Evils Watch. Kayhan editor Hossei Shariatmadari, criticising the Green Movement for saying the Iranian system should apologise to the people, has remarked, "We would rather bribe the US than the people."

2035 GMT: Elections Watch. Solat Mortazavi, the head of Iran’s Elections Headquarters, has repeated that two leading reformist organizations, the Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, will not be allowed to field candidates in March's Parliamentary elections.

Mortazavi told a workshop for provincial elections officials that the Supreme Leader has instructed officials to ensure that the “enemy” does not turn the elections into a challenge to the Islamic Republic. He said individual reformists are not barred from the elections so long as the Guardian Council declares them eligible.

The two reformist organisations were dissolved by court order last year. Many of their members have been arrested and given long prison sentences.

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The Latest from Iran (23 November): Noticing Human Rights

See also Iran Special Analysis: The Security Forces Cross Ahmadinejad's "Red Line"
The Latest from Iran (22 November): The Security Forces v. Ahmadinejad's Senior Advisor

Political Prisoners in Iran2020 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Student activist Rojin Mohammadi, studying medicine at the University of Manila, has been arrested at the airport on her return to Iran.

1955 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. The Supreme Leader's military advisor, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, assures, "The IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] control the identity and destination of every US warship which intends to pass through the Strait of Hormuz. "And Americans fully respond to the IRGC's telecommunications center with complete answers."


An estimated 40% of the world's oil supply passes through the Straits of Hormuz, at the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

Rahim Safavi also said that air defences protecting Israel were "inefficient" against Iran's arsenal: "“These missile shields which they have deployed in Turkey, occupied Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cannot hit all our missiles. They may hit some of our missiles, but the number of our missiles is so large that they will not be able to target our missiles."

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Iran Special Analysis: The Security Forces Cross Ahmadinejad's "Red Line"

There was a telling moment in the drama yesterday. As his senior advisor Ali Akbar Javanfekr was sitting in a chair in handcuffs, his face bruised, as 33 staff of Iran were arrested, as the building was ransacked, the President had to call the security forces and ask them to back off. They did so (after speaking with whom?), to the point of letting Javanfekr avoid immediate detention, but the point was made.

Beg, Mahmoud. Beg us to let you and your advisors survive.

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The Latest from Iran (22 November): The Security Forces v. Ahmadinejad's Senior Advisor

See also Iran Special Analysis: The Security Forces Cross Ahmadinejad's "Red Line"
Iran Feature: So What Happened When Security Forces Tried to Arrest the President's Senior Advisor?
The Latest from Iran (21 November): Let's Talk Nukes...And Nothing But Nukes

Iran Newspaper after Monday's Raid1835 GMT: A Change in the Revolutionary Guards. Looks like we have our answer to the question (see 1045 GMT) of why Yadollah Javani, the head of the Political Bureau of the Revolutionary Guards, has been replaced --- he has been appointed as advisor to the Supreme Leader's representative to the Guards.

1828 GMT: Arresting the President's Men. Ten of the staff of Iran newspaper, detained during the raid to seize Ahmadinejad advisor Ali Akbar Javanfekr, have been released.

1825 GMT: Elections Watch. The head of the judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, has appointed Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Bagher Zolghadr and Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei to prevent "elections crimes".

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Iran Feature: So What Happened When Security Forces Tried to Arrest the President's Senior Advisor?

Now see Iran Special Analysis: The Security Forces Cross Ahmadinejad's "Red Line"

Ali Akbar Javenfekr (left) with President AhmadinejadRecreating the extraordinary story of the attempt by security forces to detain President Ahmadinejad's media advisor Ali Akbar Javanfekr, as they raided the offices of Iran, the newspaper he manages....

News broke this morning via Tabnak, linked to 2009 Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei, that security forces used tear gas and wielded electric batons after Javanfekr's colleagues tried to stop his detention to serve a one-year prison sentence, imposed yesterday over an issue of the newspaper on hijab.

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