Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Alireza Marandi (9)


The Latest from Iran (26 November): Noting the Crackdown on Dissidents

See also The Latest from Iran (25 November): Larijani's Diplomatic Push on Gaza and Syria

2025 GMT: Oil Watch. Gholamreza Mesbahi Moqaddam, an influential member of Parliament's Economy Committee, has said the State budget for the next Iranian year may assume exports of only 1 million barrels of oil a day, less than half the level of 2011.

"Apparently, the government wants to decrease the 1392 (March 2013-March 2014) state budget's reliance on oil exports to one million barrels a day," Mesbahi Moqaddam said.

Industry data indicated that Iranian exports fell as low as 860,000 barrels per day this summer before rebounding in October to 1.3 million bpd. Last year the Islamic Republic shipped 2.2 million bpd.

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Iran Special: How the Myth of the Green Movement and "Regime Change" Was Created

Protesters in Tehran's Azadi Square, 15 June 2009

Three weeks ago, the Iranian site Khabar Online published an extended interview with Alireza Marandi --- the physician who returned from the US to become the Islamic Republic's first Minister of Health, a minister under Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi in the 1980s, and now a prominent MP from Tehran. While his name may not be well-known in the "West", Marandi's record and his "straight shooter" reputation make him a bastion of the establishment --- so when he speaks, the words carry weight.

The discussion is an extended denunciation of Mousavi, both in the 1980s and during the 2009 Presidential election. In that sense, with the former Presidential candidate now entering his 15th month of strict house arrest, it is far from surprising.

But amidst the damning of the Green Movement's figurehead, one passage deserves a feature. For Marandi's explanation of why Mousavi turned in 2009 from candidate to the would-be mastermind of "regime change" reveals how the myth was spread that Iran's protesters were merely the puppets of the "West" and the "seditious elements" within the Islamic Republic.

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The Latest from Iran (11 April): Targeting Ahmadinejad

See also Iran Special: How the Myth of the Green Movement and "Regime Change" Was Created
Iran Snap Analysis: Speaker of Parliament Larijani Uses Syria for a Power Play
The Latest from Iran (10 April): Talks in Istanbul, Challenges to Ahmadinejad at Home

1925 GMT: Human Rights Watch. According to MP Fatemeh Alia, Parliament has approved a bill to spend 20 billion Toman (about $16.5 million at official rate; about $10.5 million at open market rate) to supervise human rights violations in the US and Britain.

1835 GMT: Posture Watch. In the category of Statements With Very Little Significance....

Saeed Jalili, Iran's lead negotiator in the nuclear talks that begin Saturday in Istanbul, has said:

Iran's representatives will participate in the negotiations with new initiatives and we hope that the P5+1 countries (US, UK, Germany, France, China, Russia) will also enter talks with constructive approaches. The language of threat and pressure against the Iranian nation has never yielded results but will lead to more seriousness in the attitude of the Iranian nation. We are ready to hold progressive and successful talks on cooperation.

Jalili gave no details of the "new initiatives".

Continuing his provincial tour in southern Iran, President Ahmadinejad declared, “Hereby, on behalf of the Iranian people, I tell them (Western nations), the approach you have adopted will fail, and you must correct your literature in addressing the Iranian nation and must speak respectfully."

Ahmadinejad gave no further details about relationship between the Western "bullying", "literature", and the nuclear talks.

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The Latest from Iran (22 March): Noise for the New Year

2114 GMT: Human Rights Watch. The United Nations Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur for Iran, Ahmad Shaheed, on Thursday by a 22-5 vote with 20 abstentions.

Russia and China voted against the resolution that expressed "serious concerns" about Iran's human rights record.

2104 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Mohammad Nabi Habibi, the leader of the conservative Motalefeh Party, has echoed the warning of MP Alireza Marandi (see 1220 GMT), "I pray for Ahmadinejad that he ends his term as President on good terms."

MP Asadollah Badamchian adds that the President made the mistake, in his Parliamentary "interrogation" last week, of insulting legislators and callig them unworthy if they wld not give him high marks.

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The Latest from Iran (4 March): The Play-Acting of the Election

A spoiled ballot in Friday's Parliamentary election, "Death to this rotten regime that forces me to vote for a stamp in my ID card!"

See also Iran Snap Analysis: Rearranging the Political Chairs --- What Has Changed?
Iran Elections Snapshot: The #1 Subversive Moment "They're All the Same"
Iran Special Analysis: The "Invented" Election
Iran Opinion: Elections, Power, and Political War in Tehran
The Latest from Iran (3 March): After the Vote

2005 GMT: Trouble-Making Watch. It has not taken maverick MP Ali Motahari long to stir feathers after the election. Motahari, who headed a breakaway faction called Voice of the Nation, has claimed that former Speaker of Parliament Gholam Ali Haddad Adel prevented his inclusion on the Unity Front list for Tehran.

The challenge is significant because Haddad Adel is a likely candidate for the next Speaker of Parliament.

1945 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. An EA correspondent adds context for our entries today considering whether Parliament, after this week's vote, will interrogate the President (see 0740 and 1340 GMT): "Ahmadinejad could be questioned by the outgoing Parliament, which still be operation for a month or two after the elections."

And will that happen? The correspondent replies, "It's really tough to say."

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The Latest from Iran (1 March): The Issue Is Legitimacy

See also Iran Snap Analysis: So Who is "Winning" These Elections?
The Latest from Iran (29 February): Playing the Numbers Game

Worker sweeps up campaign flyers, 25 February 1915 GMT: The "Engineers" in Syria. Seven Iranian engineers and technicians, abducted in Syria in December, have not been freed.

Last month, Iranian media reported that the men had been released, but Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister has said that they are still in the country, albeit in "perfect health".

The Free Syrian Army claims that five of the men are actually military snipers who were in Syria to assist President Assad's forces.

1845 GMT: Assurance of the Day. An Iranian official announces, “About 1,300 domestic and 350 foreign reporters working for 174 international media will provide coverage for the ninth election of the Majlis on Friday."

Which only leaves the question: how exactly will they be allowed to "provide coverage"?

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The Latest from Iran (3 January): Will Wolves Attack?

2140 GMT: Full Circle. We started today with thoughts about the regime's threat to arrest opposition leaders and the sharp response by Mehdi Karroubi, and we'll end today there as well....

Michael Theodoulou of The National considers, "Karroubi Throws Down Gauntlet to Iranian Government", with a guest appearance from EA:

Iran's most defiant opposition leader has challenged his government to try him in an open court for the momentous unrest that swept the Islamic republic after the "stolen" presidential elections in 2009.

Theodoulou also notes the curious and still murky development of President Ahmadinejad's dismissal of up to 14 advisors.

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The Latest from Iran (2 January): Sedition, Politics, and Propaganda

2000 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Kurdish poet Rahim Loughmani, his wife Kolsoum Naghshbandi, and her brother Naseh Naghshbandi have been released from detention.

1820 GMT: Parliament v. President. After a protracted dispute with the Majlis, President Ahmadinejad's supervision of the Central Bank has been re-affirmed.

The Majlis has passed a measure on the Board of the Bank, taking oversight away from Ahmadinejad, but this was rejected by the Guardian Council.

1755 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Labour activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Afhin Keshtkari, the secretary of Shiraz Sanati University's Islamic Association, has been released on bail.

Student activist Mohammad Hossein Mozafari has been arrested.

Student activist Faoud Khanjani, a Baha'i member, has been sentenced to four years in prison.

1645 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Kurdish political activist Ghadrieh Ghaderi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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The Latest from Iran (1 November): Closing A Medical University?

2205 GMT: Labour Front. Around 1,300 workers at the Alborz Tire Factory outside Tehran have now been on strike for a week demanding payment of six months of back wages and a New Year's bonus.

2200 GMT: Mousavi, Karroubi, and Subsidy Cuts. In Sunday's meeting with Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi said that the Ahmadinejad Government will not be able to implement subsidy cuts successfully: "Generally speaking, no one is against the subsidy cut plan, but our view is that there is no figure to manage this plan. Most prominent and competent experts have been sidelined."

Mousavi also criticized the government for stationing police and security forces around Tehran before the implementation of the cuts.

Karroubi expressed dismay over “institutionalisation” of lies and slander in the country and spoke about the “engineering” of votes during the 2009 elections and the post-election crackdowns that followed: “They treated the people in the worst way, using a great deal of violence. They cannot tolerate the slightest bit of response from opponents and critics, neither in the national media nor in the press...They cannot stand any form of freedom of speech and have effectively killed the freedom to speak the truth and to be truthful...even though they could have saved the country from all dangers by holding true elections.”

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