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Entries in Ali Asghar Soltanieh (21)


Iran Live: Ahmadinejad Hits The Election Trail

1505 GMT: Nuclear Watch

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, the Iranian envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, has said that Iran can work with the West in the Middle East if the US and European partners take a more cooperative approach in talks over Tehran's nuclear programme.

Soltanieh, asserting that current US and European policies and sanctions were bound to fail:

Western countries are advised to change gear from confrontation to cooperation, the window of opportunity to enter into negotiation for long-term strategic cooperation with Iran, the most reliable, strong and stable partner in the region, is still open.

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Iran Live Coverage: Syria --- The Islamic Republic's "35th Province"

Funeral service of Revolutionary Guard commander Hossein Shateri, killed in Syria, on Thursday (Photo: AP)

Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Honouring Detained Student Activist Tavakoli
Thursday's Iran Live Coverage: Revolutionary Guards Issue A Warning to The Leaders

2106 GMT: Nuclear Watch. So here, according to Reuters, is the big American gesture towards Iran to advance the talks over Tehran's nuclear programme.....

In exchange for Iranian steps to shut down its Fordow uranium enrichment plant, the US will lift sanctions --- which it imposed only nine days ago.

"Western officials" said the US and its allies will ease measures barring trade in gold and other precious metals with Iran. The restrictions, approved by President Obama in December and taking effect on 6 February, have reportedly cut off Turkey's transfer of gold to pay for Iranian natural gas (see 1716 GMT).

The officials said the offer will be presented to Iran at high-level discussions, the first in eight months, on 26 February Kazakhstan.

They acknowledged that the move is "a relatively modest update" to proposals from last year.

1732 GMT: Nut Watch. First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said the Government has ordered a six-month ban on pistachio exports to try to control the nut's price, which has doubled in the past month to about 250,000 Iranian Rials per kilogramme ($3.18 per pound).

Pistachios are among Iran's top non-oil exports, bringing in an average of $1.5 billion a year and providing work for hundreds of thousands of people.

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Iran Live Coverage: Let's Make a Nuclear Deal?

Attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, released on a 3-day prison furlough on Thursday, with her children Nima and Behraveh

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- A Health Care Crisis, Economic Rumblings, and Election Grumblings
Friday's Iran Live Coverage: Regime --- Detained Opposition Leaders Mousavi & Karroubi Committed "Atrocities"

2205 GMT: Fighting over the House Arrests. An interesting twist in the politics around the detentions of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi....

The story begins with leading conservative politician Habibollah Asgarouladi, who said earlier this month that Mousavi and Karroubi --- both candidates for President in 2009 and both under strict house arrest since February 2011 --- had been honourable men who served the Islamic Republic and were not "seditionists".

Other politicians and clerics, continuing to condemn Mousavi and Karroubi, have pressed Asgarouladi to retract the remarks. Yesterday, the politician responded by saying he would leave his Motalefeh Party if they did not give him support.

Now Ayatollah Hassan Mamdouhi, of the conservative Scholars of Qom, has warned: if Motalefe does not reject Asgarouladi's comments, the clerics will stop co-operation.

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Iran Live Coverage: Mr Ahmadinejad Goes to Parliament

President Ahmadinejad, watched by Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, in the Majlis today

See also Iran Live Coverage: President v. Parliament

2105 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Talks between a high-level delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iranian officials will continue for a second day on Thursday.

Both Iranian State media and an IAEA spokesperson confirmed the extension of discussions. There was no indication, however, if progress had been made towards a protocol for IAEA inspection and supervision of Iranian nuclear facilities.

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The Latest from Iran (14 December): An Advance in the Nuclear Talks? 

The 40th day memorial for blogger Sattar Beheshti, allegedly killed during interrogation in prison on 3 November

See also Iran Video Analysis: "Tehran Is Not Making a Mad Dash for the Bomb"
Thursday's The Latest from Iran (13 December): Nuclear Talks with the IAEA

1914 GMT: Assurance of the Day. Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, has assured that "there is no possibility of another election intrigue" in the 2013 Presidential campaign, and those responsible in the 2009 disputed Presidential election "do not even have the illusion" that they can puruse this.

Jannati said those "guilty of sedition" will not be able to participate in the election.

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The Latest from Iran (13 December): Nuclear Talks with the IAEA

The European Parliament awards the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in absentia to detained lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who is threatened with imprisonment

See also Iran Snap Analysis: Speculating about the Next President
The Latest from Iran (12 December): A 78-Year-Old Academic is Imprisoned for Writing the Supreme Leader

1602 GMT: A Death in Detention. Human rights activists claim participants in the 40th day memorial for blogger Sattar Beheshti, who died on 3 November under interrogation in Evin Prison, have been beaten, with several arrested.

Security officers reportedly raided the services at the Imam Mohamad Taghi Shrine in Robat Karim,, near Tehran.

Beheshti's mother was said to have sustained leg and knee injuries. Beheshti’s brother was detained for two hours.

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The Latest from Iran (28 September): The Next Fall in the Currency

See also Iran Snapshot: Why Was Top Military Commander Soleimani in Iraqi Kurdistan?
The Latest from Iran (27 September): A Newspaper is Banned, An Editor is Imprisoned

Ahmadinejad Returns from New York1705 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update. Ayatollah Emami Kashani is not ready to let go of the issue of the US-produced film denigrating the Prophet Mohammad, as he accused Western governments of trying to "belittle Islam and violate its sanctities": "The repercussions of their plots and conspiracies will backfire on them and they will be further disgraced, but Islam will also surely cut off their evil hand.”


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The Latest from Iran (26 September): Denials, "Fake Allegations", and Ahmadinejad's Speech

See also Our 1st EA Video Analysis: The Sound, Fury, and Insignificance of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran Opinion: Ahmadinejad 100, US Media 0
Iran Audio Feature: Predicting Ahmadinejad's Speech (and Does It Really Matter?) --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
The Latest from Iran (25 September): Which is More Important --- The Ahmadinejad Show or an Economy in Crisis?

1915 GMT: Press Watch. Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance has warned that he may ban the reformist newspaper Shargh because of an insulting cartoon during the "Week of Holy Defence", marking the 32nd anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq War.

The Minister said that Shargh, whose editor was summoned for an explanation, was propagating "Western culture".

Fars reported that 120 of Iran's 290 MPs have signed a letter condemning the cartoon.

1855 GMT: Tough Tslk Alert (Syria Edition). President Ahmadinejad might have taken a cautious line on Syria during his stay in New York this week, but others have not been so reticent. While 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi was declaring, "Syria Will Eventually Conquer Enemies", MP Hamid Rasaei asserted that the remarks of Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Reza Jafari --- confirming that members of the Quds Force were in Damascus advising the Assad regime --- were those of the Supreme Leader. Rasaei continued, "We intervened in the 33 Days War in Lebanon (with Israel in 2006)."

Rejecting rumours that Iran might press President Assad to step down, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, “Today Syria’s presence in the [anti-Israeli] resistance front is stronger than ever."

All of this provides a counter-point to the line, put out by Press TV today, that "Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has called for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, saying Tehran supports dialogue between Damascus and the Syrian opposition.

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The Latest from Iran (2 September): Tehran Strikes A Defiant Pose

Nikahang Kowsar's view of the isolation of Iran and the Supreme Leader after this week's Non-Aligned summit

See also Iran Snapshot: Head of State TV Admits Mis-Translation of Egyptian President's Speech on Syria
Iran Interview: Ali Larijani on the Nuclear Issue, Syria, and Detained Opposition Leader Mousavi
The Latest from Iran (1 September): After the Summit

1539 GMT: Currency Watch. With the currency market set to re-open after an extended holiday, the head of the Central Bank has dismissed speculation that the Iranian Rial --- now at 21930:1 vs. the US dollar --- will weaken on the open market to 30000:1.

Bahmani said instead that the Rial would reach 15000:1, its highest level since last summer.

1533 GMT: Finance Watch. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has cancelled President Ahmadinejad's right to withdraw money from National Funds without legal directives.

Larijani's step comes amid complaints that Mahmoud Bahmani, the head of the Central Bank, has not delivered a report on government withdrawals of cash from financial institutions in July.

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The Latest from Iran (28 August): The Propaganda Display at the Summit

The car in which an Iranian nuclear scientist was killed is displayed atop a platform at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Conference Center (Photo: Barbara Slavin)

See also The Latest from Iran (27 August): Meanwhile, Away from the Non-Aligned Summit....

2035 GMT: Sedition Watch. Yadollah Javani, the head of the Political Bureau of the Revolutionary Guards, has declared that former President Mohammad Khatami was the head of the 2009 "sedition" and pronounced that the system will not allow him 2 run for office again.

1900 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. General Massoud Jazayeri, the deputy head of armed forces, has said the Islamic Republic will hit back at the blocking of Iran's assets by the US:

If it takes 50 years, we will take back the frozen assets in the US even if by force.

The blocking of the assets of the Islamic Republic of Iran is economic terrorism and financial theft in which, unfortunately, the US is adroit like in other forms of terrorism and physical elimination of human beings.

They should be sure that we will seize back our assets from the Great Satan. It will not take long before the tables are turned to Iran's interests and the evil regime of the US will have to give many times more than Iran's frozen assets back [to the Islamic Republic] and the American people should take note of this issue.

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