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Entries in Ali Akbar Salehi (132)


The Latest from Iran (27 June): How to Un-Do Diplomacy --- "Jews Control the Illegal Drug Trade"

See also The Latest from Iran (26 June): The Oil Squeeze

1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi1515 GMT: Supreme Leader. Is this confidence or concern in Ayatollah Khamenei's remarks today to judiciary officials?


“The main aim of the sanctions imposed by arrogant powers is the Iranian people so that the pressure will cause people to become frustrated and separate from the Islamic establishment. However, by God’s grace, they will fail in this conspiracy as they still do not know our people and officials."


“These bullying powers which lyingly call themselves the international community are trying to deprive the Islamic Republic of Iran of its popular support base."


“Under these conditions, cooperation among all organs and the three branches [of the government] is necessary, an obligation, and incumbent."

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The Latest from Iran (14 June): Tough Talk Based on Bad Economics

See also Remember Iran: The Protests, the Repression...and the "Hope That Runs The World"
Remember Iran Flashback: "The Obama Administration Fails to React" (14 June 2009)
Remember Iran Flashback: 14 June 2009 Live Coverage --- "More than 100" Arrested as Greens Prepare Rally
The Latest from Iran (13 June): The Reformists and the Next Election

Supreme Leader Addresses MPs, 13 June1515 GMT: Suppressing the Lawyers. Shadi Sadr summarises the regime's efforts to curb activism and dissent through intimidation and imprisonment of attorneys:

Between June 2009 and July 2011 at least 42 lawyers were arrested and at least 7 lawyers were forced to leave the country. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah was recently sentenced to 9 years' imprisonment and a 10 year ban on practicing law. The security officials have told him that either he will give a televised interview in which he will state that he was given money by foreign governments for defending his client or he has to go to prison....

Harassing the lawyers is not limited to their detention and sentencing. Most of the lawyers who have been detained are repeatedly questioned for having defended their clients. They are summoned and interrogated by security forces in short intervals. Many have been forced to promise not to give interviews to the media regarding the conditions of their clients. For this reason, methods of providing information regarding the conditions of the political prisoners are being blocked more and more every day. Some of the lawyers are told that they cannot accept political case files. For this reason, many prisoners of conscience are deprived of their right to a defense, prescribed by the Iranian constitution.

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The Latest from Iran (1 June): Through the Syrian Looking Glass

See also Iran Feature: Obama Ordered Cyber-Attacks on Tehran
Iran Feature: 17 NGOs Protest "Government Assault on Academic Freedom"
Iran Audio Feature: "Tehran's Troubled Relationship with China" --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
Thursday's The Latest from Iran (31 May): Towards a Diplomatic Crash in Moscow?

2010 GMT: Clerical Intervention. An extract from the statement of Grand Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili criticising elements in the regime for letting down the people --- we are watching to see if this causes ripples in Iranian politics and society:

Now I see some deeds and outcomes and wonder if we have been negligent in our responsibilities or are culpable. When our friends were struggling, they had much higher expectations....

I want to use this opportunity to tell the honourable people of Iran, the families of martyrs, and all the people who worked hard that we stepped in this path in good faith, but perhaps we were negligent, and if any of the current problems and failures are results of my actions, I apologize to everybody....

I am speaking for myself. I am concerned about my own actions and inactions. If we all had acted appropriately, we would not have reached this situation. I am afraid that all of us, former and current officials of the country, have to apologize to the people, more so those of us that wear the cloak of spiritual leaders....

Mousavi Ardebili urged the Islamic Republic's leaders to "honestly apologise for their mistakes" without fear of the consequences, as honesty and a serious attempt at making amends would result in understanding and reconciliation.

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The Latest from Iran (12 May): Ahmadinejad Keeps on Trippin'

A poster recognising Iran's women political prisoners, including Zahra Rahnavard, Narges Mohammadi, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and members of the Baha'i community

See also Iran 1st-Hand: "The Regime is Really Worried. They're Caught in a Bind"
The Latest from Iran (11 May): The Battle Within

2014 GMT: Currency Watch. After months of instability and decline, the Iranian Rial is strengthening against foreign currencies.

The Rial stands at around 15900:1 today vs. the US dollar, about 15% stronger than a month ago. The Iranian currency had lost about half its value between September and January, despite repeated attempts at intervention by the Government and Central Bank.

The bounce-back follows the declaration of Central Bank head Mahmoud Bahmani that the advance sale of gold coins has nearly stabilised the foreign exchange market.

The Rial is still much weaker than the official exchange rate of 12260:1.

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The Latest from Iran (28 April): Nuclear Step Forward, Nuclear Step Back

1513 GMT: War Watch. There has been quite a flutter on the Internet over comments by the former head of Israel's internal intelligence agency Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin, critising Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak over postures and policies on Iran based on "messianic feelings". Diskin said he would not trust the Israeli leaders in the event of a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear sites.

The comments should be seen in the context of a wave of recent comments by former and current Israeli military and intelligence leaders, including former head of the Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service, Meir Dagan and current Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz, playing down talk of an imminent Iranian nuclear weapons capability and warning against the consequences of an Israeli attack (see the discussion in Comments).

Interpretation? Seeing this as a possible contest and even rift between the military and the political leadership, I would note the significant influence of the ties between the Israeli and the US military and inteligence communities. Washington's military commanders have not only been vocal this spring in their caution against an assault; they have given signals to Israeli counterparts that they would like to see the same out of West Jerusalem.

Video from The Guardian:

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Turkey Live Coverage (25 April): Clashes with Kurdish Insurgents, Tension with Iraq

1720 GMT: Foreign Ministry condemned Israel’s new settlement activities. The statement reads:

We strongly condemn the Israeli Government’s issuance of tenders for the construction of many additional units at the “Nof Zion and Givat Zeev” settlements in East Jerusalem and the “legitimization” of the “Rechelim, Bruchin and Sansana” outposts in the West Bank in the context of the Israeli legislation, adding anew to its settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

All settlement activities pursued by Israel in the Palestinian territories are violations of the international law. Efforts to legitimize these settlements in the context of the Israeli laws do not alter this fact. 

Israel obstructs the revitalization of the peace process and seriously endangers the vision of a two-state solution through its settlement activities persistently maintained in disregard of the reactions of the world public opinion. In this context, the international community should continue to emphasize that the settlements are unacceptable. 

We call on Israel to fulfill its responsibilities stemming from the international law concerning lasting peace in the Middle East and to put an end immediately to all its activities destroying the basis for peace.

1710 GMT: Two PKK members were arrested in the province of Sirnak. 

1655 GMT: BDP's Hasip Kaplan said that they have no problems with the flag, the official language and borders. Kaplan added that Turkish is the common language.

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The Latest from Iran (23 April): "We Are the Inspiration for the Arab Spring"

See also The Latest from Iran (22 April): A Lull in the Politics

Iraq PM Maliki & President Ahmadinejad2019 GMT: Elections Watch. More than seven weeks after the first round of Parliamentary elections --- and 11 days before the second round --- we finally have a claimed breakdown of the affiliation of those elected.

MP Asadollah Badamchian, quoting from a Ministry of Intelligence report, gives these figures for the 225 candidates elected in the first round: 64 are from the Unity Front, only nine from the Islamic Constancy Front headed by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, 50 are on the lists of both the Unity Front and the Constancy Front, and 14 are from the Steadfastness Front linked to conservative politician Mohsen Rezaei. There are 35 reformists, 39 "independents, and 14 Sunnis.

The other 65 MPs will be elected in the second round on 4 May.

2011 GMT: Abolfazl Qadyani, a senior member of the reformist Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution, has used a court appearance to declare that the Supreme Leader "has dealt the biggest blow to the nezam (system)....He is the true taghout (false idol)."

Qadyani was initially detained on 28 December 2009, a day after the opposition's Ashura rallies. He was given a one-year sentence for "insulting the President" and then, in December 2011, give three more years in prison.

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The Latest from Iran (16 April): A Common Understanding?

See also Iran Special: Why Both Sides Shifted in Nuclear Talks --- And What Comes Next
The Latest from Iran (15 April): A Setback for the President

1755 GMT: Supreme Leader Watch. Former Government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham has declared that Ayatollah Khamenei is dealing with "slackers" on the Expediency Council because idle people disturb the Iranian system.

1750 GMT: All the President's Men. Yet more confusion in the case of President Ahmadinejad's advisor Saeed Mortazavi and his appointment as head of the Social Security Fund (see 0830 and 1203 GMT)....

Gholam Ali Haddad Adel --- MP, former Speaker of Parliament, and member of the Supreme Leader's inner circle --- has insisted that Mortazavi is adhering to his promise as head of the Fund amidst criticism from MPs of the appointment.

President Ahmadinejad has reportedly rejected Mortazavi's resignation.

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The Latest from Iran (14 April): The Nuclear "Talks About More Talks" Open in Istanbul

See also The Latest from Iran (13 April): Before the Nuclear Show

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Saeed Jalili, the Secretary of Iran's National Security Council, on Friday in Istanbul

1445 GMT: Nuclear Watch. In contrast to the full account of this morning's discussions leaked by Western diplomats to The Guardian (see 1355 GMT), Iranian outlet Fars has no detail in its report, "Iran, World Powers End 1st Round of Talks in Istanbul"; however, the site does establish that there will be no second day in Turkey, quoting Ali Baqeri, the Undersecretary of the Iranian National Secretary Council.

Instead, Tehran will be looking for agreement on a second round of talks in its preferred location of Baghdad.

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Deadline? What Deadline?

Iranian cartoonist Maya Neyestani on the Syrian crisis

See also Bahrain Propaganda 101: Former Times Editor, Turned PR Man, Tries to Sell the Regime's Grand Prix
Turkey Live Coverage (11 April): Erdogan Taking the Lead on Syria?
Tuesday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Deadline Passes as 160 Die

2033 GMT: The White House has issued a general statement about Bahrain, with specific reference to the condition of detained activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, who is on Day 63 of a hunger strike:

The United States continues to be deeply concerned about the situation in Bahrain, and we urge all parties to reject violence in all its forms. We condemn the violence directed against police and government institutions, including recent incidents that have resulted in serious injuries to police officers. We also call on the police to exercise maximum restraint, and condemn the use of excessive force and indiscriminate use of tear gas against protestors, which has resulted in civilian casualties.

We continue to underscore, both to the government and citizens of Bahrain, the importance of working together to address the underlying causes of mistrust and to promote reconciliation. In this respect, we note our continued concern for the well-being of jailed activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and call on the Government of Bahrain to consider urgently all available options to resolve his case. More broadly, we urge the government to redouble its ongoing efforts to implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, and renew our call for the government, opposition parties, and all segments of Bahraini society to engage in a genuine dialogue leading to meaningful reforms that address the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis.

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