Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Ali Akbar Velayati (75)


Iran Today: Tehran on Nuclear Talks "No Time-Wasting"

Nuclear Negotiators Catherine Ashton & Saeed JaliliProtest Watch

Iranian media report on protests in Hormozogan and Fars provinces because of reorganisation of local governments and authorities' expropriation of a mine.

Presidential Election Watch

Arsalan Fathipour, the head of Parliament's Economy Commission, has said he will stand for the Presidency. He declared that he wants a Parliament of economists and he will revive the Planning Centre.

Clerical Watch

Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani, meeting Presidential hopeful Hassan Rohani in the holy city of Qom, has said that many current problems are because of the weakness of current officials.

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Iran Live: Uncertainty over the Presidential Election

The Supreme Leader's "2+1 Committee" --- failing to establish a unity candidate for June's election?

See also Iran Caption Competition: Ahmadinejad Dresses Up in Africa
Saturday's Iran Live: An Ahmadinejad Election Comeback?

1555 GMT: Election Watch

Mehr posts a series of pictures of a de facto election rally by President Ahmadinejad and his would-be successor, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, in Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran.

In his speech, Ahmadinejad criticised those "who want to decide for people" and indicated that support payments, covering the cost of his subsidy cuts, could be increased by five times.

Mehr:also claims that Ahmadinejad is planning a meeting with 85 bloggers and an "Epic of Presence" rally for women and youth.

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Iran Live: Supreme Leader's Men Try to Regain Election Initiative

The Supreme Leader's "2+1 Committee": Ayatollah Khamenei's aide Ali Akbar Velayati, leading MP and Supreme Leader relative Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, and Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf

1035 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Egyptian Edition). Is this a sign of Tehran's disappointment that developments in Cairo have not gone quite as hoped since the fall of President Mubarak in February 2011?

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said today, “If we want the Iran-Egypt ties to officially reach a favorable level, which is expected by the people of both countries, we should have patience."

The spokesman continued, “It has been declared by Iran on numerous occasions that we have no restrictions on establishing ties with Egypt and that we are ready to resume the relations, but the internal situation in this country (Egypt) is not yet prepared."

Soon after Mubarak's downfall, the Supreme Leader declared that Egypt was at the centre of an "Islamic Awakening", following the model of the 1979 revolution in Iran, but political ties have not developed as quickly or as closely as Tehran hoped.

Even the limited step of encouraging tourism has run into trouble this month, with flights of Iranians into Egypt halted almost as soon as they began amid protests by Egyptians.

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Iran Live: The Regime Responds to the Nuclear Talks

A vision of the nuclear talks, 40 years from now

1745 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Labour activists Khaled Hosseini, Vafa Ghaderi, and Hamed Mahmoudnejad have been released from prison.

1705 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Writers Association members and friends of detained blogger and physician Mehdi Khazali have launched a fast, coinciding with the 100th day of Dr. Khazali’s hunger strike.

Khazali, the son of a famous Ayatollah, has been arrested on several occasions, most recently in October 2012.

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Iran Analysis: Losing Control of the Presidential Election?

Far from getting a clearer picture on how the regime is going to organise the Presidential election, the weekend's developments have confirmedat least seven factions:

1. The Supreme Leader's Committee, which has yet to name a candidate;

2. The "Followers of Imam's Line and Leadership Front", with its four Presidential candidates;

3. The Rafsanjani camp;

4. President Ahmadinejad's camp, who would like to put forth Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, but may have to settle for Minister of Roads Ali Nikzad;

5. The "hard-line" Endurance Front, including leading cleric Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, which has been relatively quiet and has not announced a preference;

6. Other conservative and principlist candidates, the most vocal of whom has been Mohsen Rezaei, Secretary of the Expediency Council and former commander of the Revolutionary Guards;

7. The reformists, some of whom will participate in the election but who are unlikely to have a high-profile candidate unless former President Mohammad Khatami stands and who have been crippled by the regime's restrictions.

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Iran Live: Nuclear Talks Grind to a Halt --- What Next?

See also Iran Special: The Stalled Nuclear Talks --- Why Tehran Cannot Give Up Its Right to Enrichment
Saturday's Iran Live: Decoding the Signals from the Nuclear Talks

2055 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Blogger and poet Reza Akvanian has been arrested.

Akvanian, a writer for the blog “Salhaye Khoobe Zendegi (Life’s Good Years)", was also detained in February 2010 by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and given a one-year prison sentence, with five years suspended, for “insulting the leader and the President” and “association with outsiders by sharing news reports".

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Iran Live Coverage: Seeking the "Unity" Candidate for the Presidency

1410 GMT: Election Watch. The conservative Jahan News tips off both nerves and in-fighting with its concern over photos of President Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, on monitors at Imam Khomeini International airport.

Jahan claimed that the photos, accompanied by short quotes, "reveal a serious intention to enter the elections" by Rahim-Mashai.

Rahim-Mashai, formerly Ahmadineajad's Chief of Staff, has not yet officially announced his candidacy. He may be blocked by the Guardian Council from standing, so the Ahmadinejad camp put up an alternative candidate, Minister of Roads Ali Nikzad, last weekend.

Jahan, linked to the politician Alireza Zakani, is still convinced that the President will pursue Plan A:

some say that Ahmadinejad will never take the risk because [Rahim-Mashai's] candidacy will not be approved by the Guardian Council. But others, who appear to have a more logical point, believe that not making Mashai a candidate puts in question the philosophy of the President in the prices he has paid for [Mashai] in the last several years.

Jahan concludes, “At this moment, the actions of Mashaei and the administration points in the direction of Esfandiar Rahim Mashai’s candidacy.”

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Iran Live Coverage: Keeping an Eye on Human Rights

See also Iran Feature: Criticising President Ahmadinejad...with 11th-Century Poetry
Friday's Iran Live Coverage: Supreme Leader Strikes a Defiant Pose

2000 GMT: Threat of the Day. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Parliament's National Security Commission, has repeated the Supreme Leader's warning that Israeli cities will be destroyed if West Jerusalem attacks Iran: “Although the Zionist lobbies are exerting great influence on the US administration, the (Israeli) regime will have no power of its own in the absence of the US support."

Ayatollah Khamenei used a New Year's address on Thursday to warn that Haifa and Tel Aviv would be "annihilated" following any Israeli military action against the Islamic Republic.

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Iran Live Coverage: Engineering June's Presidential Election

The Supreme Leader's senior aide Ali Akbar Velayati announces plans for the Presidential election at a Sunday press conference

See also Sunday's Iran Live Coverage: Revolutionary Guards v. Ahmadinejad

1818 GMT: Economy Watch. The Financial Times picks up on one of the hot topics of conversation as Iranian New Year approaches --- the sharp rise in pistachio prices.

The nuts, a staple of the Nowruz celebrations, have soared in cost at home as farmers --- able to make three times as much as a year ago in foreign currency because of the falling Iranian Rial --- send their pistachios abroad.

One kilogrammes of pistachios cost 200,000 Rials last year. This March, the price is between IR540,000 and IR780,000.

In recent days, the Government has forced shops to sell pistachios at 300,000 Rial per kilo, but the intervention has had little effect so far.

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Iran Live Coverage: Today's Nuclear Talks in Kazakhstan

Catherine Ashton, lead nuclear negotiator for the 5+1 Powers, and Iranian counterpart Saeed Jalili today

See also Monday's Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad's Advisor Mortazavi Faces Trial

2138 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Officials, showing corroborating documents, claim Iran is using old tankers --- saved from the scrapyard by foreign middlemen --- to ship oil to China and avoid Western sanctions.

Eight very large crude carriers (VLCCs), each of which can carry close to a day's worth of Tehran's exports, have loaded Iranian oil at sea.

The eight tankers, built up to 20 years ago, can carry about 16 million barrels of oil among them, shipping databases show.

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