Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Ali Nikzad (16)


Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Censoring An Iranian Campaign Story

Rouhani On Iran- Qatar Relations

Moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani congratulated Iran on Tuesday evening on an important victory over its rival Qatar --- dashing the Gulf state's hopes after dominating it.

Iran beat Qatar 1-0 on the football field.

Meanwhile, Iran summoned Qatar's charge d'affaires on Tuesday over what it said was an "Arab-linked terrorist plot".

Ahmadinejad Camp to Maintain Influence in Tehran?

President Ahmadinejad's camp has been blocked at national level from continuing influence, with the disqualification of Ahmadinejad's right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai as a candidate, but this may not be the end of the story....

The Ahmadinejad faction has put forth Minister of Transportation and Housing Ali Nikzad as candidat for Tehran mayor, and has named other hopefuls for city council seats, including Ahmadinejad’s sister Parvin and Presidential advisor Ali Zabihi.

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Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Last Day Of Candidate Declarations

President Ahmadinejad and his right-hand man, Presidential candidate Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, at the election centre today

See also Iran Special: EA's Guide to the Presidential Election
Iran Video of Day: People Chant "Rafsanjani Has Arrived"< /br>
Friday's Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Still No "Unity" Candidate

Election Watch: Rafsanjani Edition

Former president Hashemi Rafsanjani has told the ISNA news agency that he "has come to serve and the people have the right to elect me or not."

Meanwhile, MP Alireza Zakani, Presidential hopeful and head of one of the factions seeking to fight the election, has said he will support Saeed Jalili --- Secretary of the National Security Council --- to stop the "sedition" of Rafsanjani.

The news agency was suspended, and its head threatened with prosecution, over an April 2012 video report on martial arts training by Iranian women.

The report initially appeared with a headline that the women were training to become assassins.

Rallying Behind Rafsanjani

In another major development pointing to a serious challenge by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, the "Advisory Council of the Reformists" has put out a statement that --- after a meeting with former President Mohammad Khatami --- all reformists will be formally backing Rafsanjani.

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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: Still Looking for "Unity" for the Election

The Supreme Leader's "2+1 Committee" --- MP Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Khamenei advisor Ali Velayati, and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf --- who are seeking a "unity" candidate for the Presidential election

See also Iran Analysis: This Week's Nuclear Talks --- A 5-Point Guide to the US and European Position
Monday's Iran Live: Will Iranians Celebrate "Islamic Republic Day"?

1410 GMT: Food Watch. Nasser Karimi offers another story on the soaring price of pistachios, a luxury for New Year celebrations, adding this twist:

The government, which usually tries to contain Iranians' anger over the economy, has heartily backed the pistachio boycott — again for reasons tied to the Western-led sanctions over Iran's nuclear program. Pistachio exports provide a small but important pipeline for foreign revenues at a time when sanctions are squeezing Iran's oil and gas sales. Authorities say fewer nuts consumed at home means more available to sell abroad.

The pale green nuts are Iran's top non-oil export, though admittedly they are very distant second. Iran earned at least $750 million last year from exporting the nut, with some estimates as high as $1 billion.

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Iran Live: Will Iranians Celebrate "Islamic Republic Day"?

Iranians vote in the referendum establishing the Islamic Republic, March 1979

1722 GMT: Relief Watch. Digarban reports that the Supreme Leader's office and the Revolutionary Guards are increasing assistance to the poor.

The Guards' naval division distributed more than 10,000 New Year's packets in southern and southeastern Iran, while Ayatollah Khamenei's office gave one month of aid to 27,000 people in North Khorasan Province in northeastern Iran.

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Iran Live: The Ahmadinejad Camp Makes A Move to Hold the Presidency

See also Iran Live Coverage: The Pre-Election Fight Escalates with Ahmadinejad

Ali Nikzad2058 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Egyptian Front). In another sign of improving relations, the Iranian government has agreed that Egyptian tourists no longer need visas to visit the Islamic Republic.

On Saturday, the first flight from Egypt to Iran in 34 years took off from Cairo.

Security services in Aswan took strong measures for the security of 58 Iranian tourists who arrived there Saturday, escorting them throughout their visit.

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Iran Analysis: Preparing for Elections, Ahmadinejad Tries to Replace His Vice President

New Vice President? Gholam Hossein ElhamEarlier this week, we noted reports in Iranian media that President Ahmadinejad was planning to replace 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and three leading ministers. We also noted the denial from Ahmadinejad's office.

That, however, is only the beginning of the story. An EA correspondent in Iran assures us that Ahmadinejad is trying to remove his Vice President --- and it is part of a bigger plan for the Presidential election in June.

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Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad v. Everyone Else

See also Iran Live Coverage: The Supreme Leader Admits A Crisis

1945 GMT: Trade Watch. State news agency IRNA, citing the Turkish Statistical Center, claims trade with Turkey has risen 40% from January-November, compared to a year earlier.

The value surpassed $20.8 billion, with Turkey's exports to Iran rising to $7 billion, mainly due to exports of gold to pay for natural gas.

Tehran is counting on trade with Ankara, one of its major partners, to offset sharp falls in oil revenues.

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Iran Live Coverage: The Supreme Leader Admits A Crisis

See also Iran Feature: The Top 10 Stories of 2012 --- A Currency Falls, Sanctions Expand, and Political Prisoners Continue to Resist
EA Special: 10 Predictions for 2013 --- Assad Gone, an Angry Middle East, and Little Change on "Human Rights"
Monday's Iran Live Coverage: All-Is-Well Oil Alerts

2040 GMT: Labour Front. More than 500 workers at the Safa Pipe factory have begun a fourth round of protests over conditions and the delayed payment of wages.

A worker said the demonstration began Saturday after employees were not paid in more than six months.

1940 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Popular singer and activist Arya Aramnejad was summoned today to serve his 91-day sentence.

Aramnejad has been detained on several occasions, including a five-month stay in prison from November 2011 to April 2012.

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The Latest from Iran (12 December): A 78-Year-Old Academic is Imprisoned for Writing the Supreme Leader

See also Iran Propaganda 101: What's Missing from This Story About Detained Journalists?
The Latest from Iran (11 December): "We Have Confused the US"

Mohammad Maleki1822 GMT: Economy Watch. Reuters posted an incisive overview of the 40% rise in the stock market in the past four months.

Paradoxically, the market has benefited from other areas of weakness in the economy. Companies in certain exports sector are benefiting, as a sharp currency devaluation has made their goods much cheaper on the international market, provided they are not hindered by restrictions on Iran's financial transactions.

One example is the chemical sector, with Sina Chemical Industries up 145% since October and Abadan Petrochemical up 18% in that time.

The surge in demand for shares has also been fed by high inflation, the devalued currency, and a lack of alternatives for local investors to place their cash. The international sanctions have cut much of Iran's access to the global financial system, making difficult for wealthy Iranians to send their money overseas.

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