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Entries in Ali Saeedi (46)


Iran Live Coverage: Tehran's Support for Syria Will Cause "War Between Shia and Sunni"

See also Iran Analysis: The US Makes a Non-Offer on the Nuclear Talks</ br>
Friday's Iran Live Coverage: Syria --- The Islamic Republic's "35th Province"

Supreme Leader & President Assad

2110 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch (Journalist Edition). One of the 16 journalists seized three weeks ago, Fatemeh Sagharchi of Jamaran and former head of the Strategic Research Library, has been released on bail of 120 million Toman (about $30,000 at unofficial.rate).

Fourteen journalists, most of them from reformists publications, remain behind bars. No formal charges have been announced, although authorities and politicians have put out the message that they collaborated with foreign media.

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Iran Live Coverage: Revolutionary Guards Issue A Warning to The Leaders

Qassem Sulemani, the head of the Quds Forces of the Revolutionary Guards, cries at a memorial for Guards commander Hassan Shateri, killed on Tuesday in Syria

Wednesday's Iran Live Coverage: Nuclear Talks with the IAEA

2015 GMT:Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). Senior cleric Mehdi Taeb, head of the Ammar Base think tank, has offered more explanation of Iran's military role in Syria, encouraging the formation of militias:,/p>

Syria had an army, but this army was incapable of managing war inside cities. Therefore, Iran suggested [to Syria] that they form a Basij in order to manage urban warfare.... The Syrian Basij was formed with 60,000 Hezbollahi and [this] caused the urban warfare to be transferred from the Syrian army [to the Syrian Basij]....

Of course, this adventure caused the Syrian Army to also become involved in some of these matters [urban warfare], and to become familiarized with all [aspects of the conflict].

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Iran Live Coverage: 34th Anniversary of Islamic Revolution --- But How Many Are Celebrating?

One of a set of photos of today's rally in Tehran for the 34th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution

1725 GMT: The Ahmadinejad. Distracted by the nuclear issue, Western media continue to miss the primary significance of the President's speech and the escalating political conflict in Iran.

Even the Christian Science Monitor, whose Scott Peterson is one of the best correspondents on Iran, is far from the mark: its summary of the "soaring, defiant rhetoric" makes no reference to Ahmadinejad's attacks on his rivals, including his allegation that they will rig the June Presidential election.

Interestingly, there has been no reaction so far from the camp of the Supreme Leader, who used a Thursday speech to tell Ahmadinejad and the Larijani brothers --- head of judiciary Sadegh and Speaker of Parliament Ali --- to cease political fire.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- A Health Care Crisis, Economic Rumblings, and Election Grumblings (Arseh Sevom)

Despite efforts to keep life-saving medicine from falling victim to sanctions, there is a shortage in Iran. “Free” elections is a hot topic while the squeeze on purchasing power worries a Revolutionary Guard Commander. Musicians find themselves behind bars and Yahoo! rolls out secure email.

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Iran Live Coverage: How to "Engineer" an Election

"My husband is an engineer. He engineers elections." (Cartoon: Maya Neyestani)

See also Thursday's Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad v. Parliament...and the Revolutionary Guards

1605 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update (Election Edition). More about the distinctive theme in today's Prayer sermon, delivered by the Guardian Council's Ayatollah Jannati, that while Iran has free elections, it is co-operation with the enemy to talk about free elections (see 1155 GMT)....

Jannati's threat to detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, both of whom ran in the June 2009 Presidential election, was straightforward: “The public has identified your movement and knows your leaders and the leaders of sedition, and they know what your aim is; you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

And Jannati made clear that, while "those who meet the necessary criteria will never be refused a chance to run in the elections", those who "they lack them...clearly will not be allowed to run".

But here is where it gets really interesting:

Those who consider themselves men of politics and have had important roles in the Revolution should be ashamed of themselves for repeating the statement of the foreign enemies of the regime....

The political losers are now talking about free elections and one of them is quite powerful and since a while ago he has begun talking about this issue and the rest have followed his line.

Who is this "quite powerful...political loser"? Surely not President Ahmadinejad, given that the Supreme Leader handed him the 2009 victory? Former President Mohammad Khatami does not seem to qualify as "quite powerful"?

How about former President Hashemi Rafsanjani?

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Iran Live Coverage: Please Vote (P.S. --- We Did Not Rig the Last Election)

See also Syria and Iran Feature: 2130 Civilian Prisoners To Be Released in Exchange for 48 Iranian "Pilgrims"
Iran Audio Feature: How Serious is the Oil Crisis? --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
Tuesday's Iran Live Coverage: The Regime Admits the Oil Squeeze

2055 GMT: Engineering Elections Watch. Back to our opening story....

The Supreme Leader's representative, Ali Saeedi, may have set off a political storm with his remark that it is the duty of the Revolutionary Guards to "engineer" the elections --- even if the Guards tried to soften that comment by saying it referred only to ensuring security for the vote.

That's because President Ahmadinejad chose to run with the possibility of inappropriate intervention by the Guards: "Whoever wants to manage people's votes will be managed by the people."

A Guards spokesman responded that the President's remark was "astonishing".

1955 GMT: The House Arrests. Leading conservative politician Habibollah Asgarouladi has pulled back on his recent statements that detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi are not "seditionists".

Asgarouladi had said that the problem was that Mousavi and Karroubi were surrounded by seditious elements, but he told Mehr, in an interview published today, "I never said [they] are not seditionists, I said they are not at the top of the sedition."

Asgarouladi continued, "I've said clearly that they stood against the establishment and the people, and they have to be held responsible."

The politician's initial comments raised speculation that the regime might lift the 23-month house arrests of Mousavi and Karroubi, both candidates in the disputed 2009 Presidential election.

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Iran Live Coverage: The Regime Admits the Oil Squeeze

See also Monday's Iran Live Coverage: Threatening the Reformists

2055 GMT: Economy Watch. The Central Bank has put Iran's November rate of inflation at 27.4%, a rise of 1.3% from October and of 5.6% from April.

1527 GMT: Elections Watch. Ali Saeedi, the Supreme Leader's representative to the Revolutionary Guards, has said that it is the duty of the Guards to ensure a "reasonable engineering of the elections".

Saeedi put that duty within the context of the claim that the US is pursuing a "proxy war" against the Islamic Republic.

1353 GMT: All the President's Men. Senior Presidential aide Ali Akbar Javanfekr, summoned back to Evin Prison on Monday from a 12-day hospital stay, has been freed on another furlough after a few hours in detention.

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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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The Latest from Iran (4 December): Regime Concern over Political Prisoners?

State outlet Press TV on Revolutionary Guards' capture of a US dronem, announced today

See also Iran Analysis: A Debate Over Ahmadinejad's Political Future
Monday's The Latest from Iran (3 December): Medicine and Sanctions

2100 GMT: Book Corner. More than 100 Iranian writers, poets, and translators have called for an end to book censorship in an open letter.

The literary figures want the abolition of the requirement that writers obtain authorisation from the Culture Ministry before publishing:

Iran is one of the rare countries in the beginning of the 21st century where authors have to ask for a license from the state in order to publish their books, even though the requirement is not stated in the constitution....

In reality, this method amounts to hostage taking of freedom of expression, creativity, and the livelihood of writers by the government in order to impose its ideas on the authors.

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The Latest from Iran (27 November): Trying to Escape the Oil Squeeze

See also Iran Opinion: "The Riskiest Job" --- A Tribute to Imprisoned Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh
The Latest from Iran (26 November): Noting the Crackdown on Dissidents

2046 GMT: A Death in Detention. Iran Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam has accepted partial responsibility for the death in detention of blogger Sattar Beheshti earlier this month.

Ahmadi Moghaddam, following up the claim of an MP on Monday, said investigations were examining why conditions in the detention centre in Robat Karim, southwest of Tehran, were "not favorable", why Beheshti was transferred from Evin Prison "during holidays", why the blogger was not allowed to take prescribed sedatives, and why he was kept at an "administrative section", where there were no monitoring cameras to record incidents.

However, Ahmadi Moghaddam insisted --- contrary to remarks from other Iranian officials --- that no traces of beating were seen on Beheshti's body. He maintained that the likely cause of death was "shock".

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