Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Ali Babacan (4)


The Latest from Iran (21 December): Is the Regime Celebrating Its Longest Night?

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Sanctions, Awards for Political Prisoners, and the Supreme Leader on Facebook
Iran Propaganda 101: Mass Killing of Children in Connecticut --- The Jews Did It
The Latest from Iran (20 December): Revolutionary Guards Decide Which Reformists Can Stand in Presidential Election

A Table for Yalda Celebrations1720 GMT: Irony Watch. Well, here is one advocate for free speech who is not in detention in Iran....

Political analyst Mohsen Saleh seizes the moment after Spain’s satellite provider Hispasat took Iranian State outlets Press TV and Spanish-language Hispan TV off the air. He tells Press TV: "[This] contradicts the basic law of...freedom of speech of any party or any people from all over the world. That is why…the Iranian channels could sue the Americans and the Europeans even according to their law."

Saleh continued with the claim that it is the West who are scared of a free press, “When Press TV covers the 99-percent protests in New York and in other places…the Americans and the capitalists, the materialists, do not like to see such cover and they do not like to see others’ opinions in terms of these issues."

Saleh concluded, “I guess the Europeans and the Americans will finally find themselves really isolated from the whole world."

And who is responsible for the sudden ban of the Iranian channels? "Analyst" Stephen Landman knows: "The usual Israeli suspects."

See also Iran Propaganda 101: Mass Killing of Children in Connecticut --- The Jews Did It

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The Latest from Iran (29 November): Regional Interventions

See also Iran Feature: The Regime's Food Problems
Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Hunger Strikes, Hungry Families, and Ending Violence Against Women
The Latest from Iran (28 November): Supreme Leader Declares, "We're Winning"

2050 GMT: Nuclear Watch. The US has set a March deadline for Iran to fulfil the American vision of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, threatening referral of the matter to the United Nations Security Council.

Speaking to the IAEA board, American diplomat Robert Wood requested that IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano declare in his next quarterly report on Iran, due in late February, whether Tehran has taken "any substantive steps" to address concerns.

Wood continued, "If by March Iran has not begun substantive cooperation with the IAEA, the United States will work with other board members to pursue appropriate board action, and would urge the board to consider reporting this lack of progress to the U.N. Security Council. Iran cannot be allowed to indefinitely ignore its obligations....Iran must act now, in substance."

Amano told the board that there had been no progress in his agency's year-long push to clarify concerns about suspected atom bomb research in Iran, but said he would continue his efforts.

The Director-General had expressed optimism in June, just before the last meeting between Iran and the 5+1 Powers on Tehran's uranium enrichment, over a resolution of the protocol for inspection and supervision of Iran's nuclear facilities. However, the hope receded amid the stalemate in Tehran's talks with the 5+1.

Iranian officials have said discussions will resume with the IAEA on 13 December.

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The Latest from Iran (24 November): Political Prisoners "Enjoy All Rights"

A video, posted on Thursday, remembering those who were killed during the demonstrations on the religious day of Ashura in December 2009

See also Iran Feature: An Activist's Imprisonment Turns a Family Against the Regime
The Latest from Iran (23 November): A Wobble Over Gaza

1745 GMT: A Death in Detention. A source close to the family of Sattar Beheshti, the blogger killed in detention earlier this month, has said that Beheshti’s mother, Gohar Eshghi, was taken to a notary office to sign a form to release officials from responsibility.

Eshghi said she is requesting a meeting with head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani: "I don’t want another Sattar to happen; I beg all authorities to pursue my child’s death and not to let his spilled blood be in vain…I want nothing other than for those responsible for my son’s murder to be punished.”

Eshghi continued to question official statements that her son died from natural causes or illness: "They took my son on a Tuesday and on the next Tuesday they said to come and take his body. How can I believe that his was a natural death?"

On Thursday, the Tehran Prosecutor published a statement about the Medical Examiner’s report, claiming g that the most likely cause of Beheshti’s death could be “shock”. Previous explaination have cited "extreme exhaustion" or "cardiac arrest" from natural causes.

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The Latest from Iran (21 October): What if Nothing Important Happens?

2115 GMT: Khamenei Roadtrip --- Media Lowlight of the Day. Oh, dear, a pretty spectacular MediaFail from Reuters who, rather than going to their Tehran correspondent, rely on their reporter in Paris to get the story all wrong:

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, appears to have scored a political success by gathering leading clerics in the holy city of Qom around him in a show of unity after months of in-fighting.

Iranian media highlighted pictures on Thursday of a smiling Khamenei sitting with several top Shi'ite Muslim dignitaries, including some who have been critical since the disputed re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year....

Among the sages pictured sipping tea with Khamenei was Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi, a critic of Ahmadinejad, along with five other clerics who have the elevated status of "marja-e taqlid" (source of emulation), meaning that Shi'ite Muslims may choose them as a personal spiritual guide.

Their turnout belied rumors that senior religious figures would boycott Khamenei's annual visit to the center of Shi'ite learning in protest at a fierce crackdown on reformists and moves to isolate and intimidate dissident clerics.

About the only accurate information in this is that Makarem-Shirazi was present on Wednesday. None of the others at the meeting have the rank of "marja-e taqlid" --- indeed, no cleric with that status apart from Makarem-Shirazi has deigned to see Ayatollah Khamenei in the first three days of his Qom visit.

Yet, as stunning as this failure is, it may be dwarfed by the misunderstanding of the "senior Western diplomat" who fed the Reuters story: "(Khamenei's) trip shows the leader has the power to unite factions ... and it is a message to those who hoped the in-fighting may lead to the collapse of the system."

2025 GMT: Did the Supreme Leader Just Smack Down the Senior Clerics? Well, this is an interesting way to end the evening....

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