Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda (14)


Iran Live Coverage: The Blame Game over No Nuclear Talks

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Political Prisoners and Public Executions
Friday's Iran Live Coverage: Wishing Away The Economic Problems

1814 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Mehdi Mahmoudian, journalist and member of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front, has been released from prison on furlough.

Mahmoudian is serving a five-year sentence for assembly and collusion against the regime.

1744 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). With the first NATO Patriot anti-missile systems operational on the Turkish border with Syria, Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi has renewed Tehran's criticism of Ankara, “We do not consider the presence of these Patriot systems as beneficial and believe that it will cause misunderstanding among the regional countries."

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Iran Live Coverage: The Economic Crisis Claims the Minister of Health

See also Iran Special: New York Times Notices Important Nuclear Story...Four Months Later
Iran Analysis: The Politicians Unite to Fight Ahmadinejad
Wednesday's Iran Live Coverage: Tehran Picks A Fight Too Far with Turkey

Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi1650 GMT: Refugee Watch. The BBC posts a video report on thousands of Iranians who fled to Turkey amid the unrest after the disputed 2009 Presidential elections.

Many refugees are frustrated that they are still waiting for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to process their asylum applications so they can settle in European countries.

The UNHCR says it does not have enough resources to process applications at a faster rate.

1600 GMT: Sedition Watch. Ayatollah Alamolhoda, the Friday Prayer leader in Mashhad, warms to this weekend's theme of "victory over sedition" (see 1200 GMT) with discussion of detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi: "We cannot call Mousavi and Karroubi seditionists, but they paved the way for foreign elements and imperialism."

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The Latest from Iran (14 September): The Regime Stages a Protest Over a Movie

Thursday's protest in front of the Swiss Embassy, which represents US interests, in Tehran

See also Iran Propaganda Feature: Fars News Makes Up Interview with "Bahrain Opposition Leader"
The Latest from Iran (13 September): Diversions and Selective Condemnations

1615 GMT: Trade Watch. Mehr reports that Iran and Pakistan have struck a barter deal --- Iranian oil for Pakistani food.

The agreement was signed in Lahore between representatives of Iranian and Pakistani Chambers of Commerce.

1555 GMT: Currency Watch. The website Pana claims that foreign exchange traders are using wireless devices at Istanbul Square in Tehran to sell dollars and that, despite threats to shut down "illegal" vendors, the Central Bank is not intervening.

Pana says the traders are getting up to 28000 Rials per dollar, higher than the 23880:1 to 25000:1 posted by Iranian media on Thursday.

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The Latest from Iran (28 July): "The Food Situation is Getting Worse and Worse for All of Us"

A lengthy queues for subsidised chicken

See also Iran Audio Feature: How Significant is the "Chicken Crisis"? Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
The Latest from Iran (27 July): "No Serious Plans to Combat the Sanctions"

1913 GMT: Chicken Watch. Another clerical explanation (see 0930 GMT) to cope with the rising prices and shortages of chicken....

In fact, Asadollah Imani, the Shiraz Friday Prayer leader, said, “There are no shortages; rather these psychological wars [of our enemies] lead to a false demand for goods in the country.”

1759 GMT: Election Watch. The opposition website Kalemeh has called for "civil disobedience" for the 2013 Presidential election, saying that a proper ballot is impossible without freedom of campaigning and guarantee of the legitimacy of votes.

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The Latest from Iran (25 May): On to The "Last Chance" Nuclear Talks in Moscow

Nikahang Kowsar on "time" and the Supreme Leader after the Baghdad nuclear talks

See also Iran Analysis: 4 Lessons of The Baghdad Nuclear Talks...And What's Next
Iran Document: Statement By EU's Catherine Ashton After Baghdad Talks
The Latest from Iran (24 May): Day 2 of the Nuclear Talks in Baghdad

1803 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Journalist Scott Peterson has a telling follow-up quote from an Iranian diplomat who was speaking with him throughout the Baghdad talks, "I think [they were] a complete failure, in terms of content. The more they talk, the worse it gets."

Peterson's description makes clear that a tough opening proposal by the 5+1 Powers did not include a reference to easing of sanctions or a recognition of the level of enrichment that would be acceptable inside Iran.

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The Latest from Iran (14 April): The Nuclear "Talks About More Talks" Open in Istanbul

See also The Latest from Iran (13 April): Before the Nuclear Show

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Saeed Jalili, the Secretary of Iran's National Security Council, on Friday in Istanbul

1445 GMT: Nuclear Watch. In contrast to the full account of this morning's discussions leaked by Western diplomats to The Guardian (see 1355 GMT), Iranian outlet Fars has no detail in its report, "Iran, World Powers End 1st Round of Talks in Istanbul"; however, the site does establish that there will be no second day in Turkey, quoting Ali Baqeri, the Undersecretary of the Iranian National Secretary Council.

Instead, Tehran will be looking for agreement on a second round of talks in its preferred location of Baghdad.

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The Latest from Iran (28 January): Back to the Battle Within

See also Syria Video Special: Free Syrian Army Captures "Iranian Soldiers"
The Latest from Iran (27 January): Pilgrims and Soldiers

Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi2235 GMT: Currency Watch. The Government may have taken measures to halt the slide of the Iranian currency, including the raising of interest rates and a single exchange rate, but key MP Ahmad Tavakoli is not satisfied.

Tavakoli, a cousin and ally of Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, has posted a detailed criticism on his website Alef, outlining Government mismanagement and claiming "incompetent officials, a lack of trust, and corruption". In addition to demanding trustworthy, effective personnel, he called for control of liquidity in the economy, a halt to the Government's subsidy cuts programme in the energy sector, and avoiding of measures contributing to inflation.

MP Mohammad Baqer Noubakht has echoed Tavakoli's complaints: "Straying cash is the economy's Achilles heel," as liquidity has increased five-fold in the last six years. He called for a halt to the second phase of the Ahmadinejad subsidy cuts.

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The Latest from Iran (20 December): The Strains Within

See also Iran Special: The Battle Within --- Ahmadinejad v. Rafsanjani in 5 Scenes
The Latest from Iran (19 December): And Now A Spy Story....

2045 GMT: Currency Watch. Thomas Erdbrink of The Washington Post summarises the dramatic developments over Iran's currency and Tehran's trade with the United Arab Emirates, and links the two events:

Iranian officials including the ambassador to the [UAE], Mohammad Reza Fayyaz, initially confirmed Tuesday that Iran had cut trade ties with its third-largest trading partner, the semiofficial Mehr News Agency reported. The Iranian Econews agency also quoted Mehdi Ghazanfari, the minister of industries and business, as saying that trade with the United Arab Emirates was halted because of its “anti-Iranian positions".

Following the statements, the rial fell to unprecedented lows against the dollar Tuesday, amounting to a 15 percent loss in value over the past three days, the Fars News Agency reported.

“There is sheer panic in the market,” one steel trader said. “The price of the dollar is increasing by the hour.”

Iran’s currency also dropped sharply in October 2010 after the United Arab Emirates implemented sanctions against Iran.

After Tuesday’s plunge, First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi denied that Iranian-U.A.E. trade relations were cut. He said the emirates had simply been “warned” not to go along with sanctions proposed by the United States, Fars News Agency reported.

While the linkage is a bit too simple --- the Iranian currency has been falling for weeks, with an accelerated decline in the last few days before the trade announcement --- Erdbrink usefully describes the confusion and even chaos within Iran's establishment:

Adding to the confusion, the Iran-U.A.E. Chamber of Commerce said it had received a letter from the Central Bank of Iran banning all trade in dirhams, the U.A.E. currency, starting Tuesday.

Massoud Daneshmand, chairman of the joint chamber, pleaded for calm, Mehr reported. “The U.A.E. trades with Iran for at least $25 billion,” the agency quoted him as saying. “Any decision about this country should be thoroughly thought through.”

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The Latest from Iran (26 November): Embezzlement

Graffiti of the Day. "The Greens Are Awake and Alert"

2125 GMT: Labour Front. ILNA reports on the protests of Tabriz workers and retirees in East Azerbaijan against changes in Iran's labour laws.

2037 GMT: Habil Darvish, the Chief Executive Officer of the Tehran Metro, has criticised the Government for paying only 20% of the allocated subsidies this year.

And Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf has struck a note of defiance: 400 new metro carriages will run until the end of year, even though the Government has ordered banks not to cooperate with the Metro.

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The Latest from Iran (8 October): Declaring an Awakening

Mehdi Karroubi & His Granddaughter1920 GMT: Environment Watch. Minister of Energy Majid Namjoo has said basic studies for construction of a dam near Lake Urmia (Oroumiyeh) have been halted.

Activists have claimed that Iran's dams have contributed to the drying-up of Lake Urmia, which has lost more than half of its volume in recent years, but Namjoo said around 85% of problems in the lake's problems are from the "natural, inevitable phenomenon" of drought.

After widespread protests this summer over the situation, the Iranian Government finally agreed to allocate $900 million to measures to protect the lake, and Namjoo said recently that Iran had agreed with its northern neighbors to transfer water from its sector of the Araz River.

1910 GMT: Karroubi Watch. Radio Zamaneh sets out the story of the visit of opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi, held under strict house arrest since mid-February, with his son Hossein's family.

Hossein Karroubi wrote on his Facebook page that, while his family was celebrating his daughter’s entry into university, which coincided with Mehdi Karroubi’s birthday, six security officials brought his father to their home and allowed him to stay with the family for an hour.

Hossein Karroubi said his father’s morale was high but he appeared thinner. Mehdi Karrobui said he had lost weight from pacing up and down in the small apartment where he is being held.

Radio Zamaneh also posts an undated photograph of Mehdi Karroubi with his granddaughter (see inset picture).

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