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Entries in Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (451)


Iran Analysis: Supreme Leader's Son Turns Against Ahmadinejad? --- What We Really Know

We note a sensational claim from Muhammad Sahimi at Tehran Bureau of a "crucial shift of sentiment by the Supreme Leader's son" --- Mojtaba Khamenei has supposed turned against President Ahmadinejad.

The problem with the claim, at least in this article, is the limited support for it. Sahimi's sole source for the assertion that the younger Khamenei "is now pressuring his father to allow the Majles to go forward with Ahmadinejad's impeachment" is an interview with former President Abolhassan Bani Sadr, exiled in Paris, who cites a source in Iran.

So what do we know?

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The Latest from Iran (9 July): "Somewhat Uncertain"

2155 GMT: And Now For Something Completely Different. I was interviewed this evening by the international service of Iranian State radio.

The topic? The closure of Rupert Murdoch's newspaper News of the World, first printed in 1843, because of a scandal over the hacking of private mobile phones, including the families of murder victims, those slain in the 2005 London bombing, and British troops killed in action.

2145 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Mansoura Behkish, human rights activist and member of the Mothers of Mourning, has been released from detention.

The reason for Behkish's arrest and the charges against her are still unknown.

2120 GMT: The Battle Within. Digarban summarises this week's dispute over gender separation in universities --- by ordering a halt to implementation, President Ahmadinejad has opposed parts of the clergy, including the Supreme Leader.

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The Latest from Iran (7 July): A Model for Others?

2010 GMT: Religion and Vote-Buying. Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi clarifies, "Buying votes is not allowed."

Makarem-Shirazi continues with the allegation that some MPs have bought voters w mobile phones, cash, food, and government allowances.

1955 GMT: CyberWatch (Battle Within Edition). For months, we have heard about the Iranian regime training cyber-warriors to wreak havoc on Tehran's enemies. However, it looks like the havoc-wreaking is happening within the establishment....

Three websites close to President Ahmadinejad and Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai have been knocked off-line today. Hafte Sobh --- set up in part to promote Rahim-Mashai as a Presidential candidate in 2013 --- Tamasha News, and 1Shanbeh are each left tonight with nothing but two words in English.

"bye bye".

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Iran in the Movies: The Politics of Ashgar Farhadi's "Nader and Simin: A Separation" (Golsorkhi)

In the real world the Green Movement is stalling because it brought too many from Farhadi's couple A and not enough from couple B on to its side. Not simply because there are way more Bs than As, but because couple A have stuff to fall back on (potential for emigration, material wealth to cash in moment of crisis) and couple B have only faith and an apparently endless ability for suffering. 

Khamenei and Ahmadinejad both overestimate the reliability of this power base. This couple and this class are also capable of unravelling under pressure.

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Iran Cartoon of the Day: The Supreme Leader, Ahmadinejad, and the Dragon (Kowsar)

Nikahang Kowsar on the latest political tension, spurred by the dispute between President Ahmadinejad and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps over smuggling....

The Supreme Leader tells the Dragon, "I didn't tell you that you shouldn't eat him, I said it's too early."


The Latest from Iran (5 July): The Supreme Leader's Message "Everyone Back Off"

2040 GMT: Back to the Revolutionary Guards. While the headline out of the interview of the head of the Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari (see 1205 GMT), was his declaration that the judiciary has given the Guards the authority to deal with the "deviant current", the label applied to President Ahmadinejad's advisors.there is so much more to be considered....

First, the confirmation that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was behind the recent arrests of several members of the "deviant current": "The IRGC arrested and detained these people based on a recommendation by the judiciary. These people have not committed security crimes. However, they have committed economic and moral offences. The people that have been arrested had close ties to the main figures of the (deviant) current."

Given that Mehr published this as a two-part interview yesterday and today, did Jafari make his statement before or after the Supreme Leader told everyone to back off public disputes (see 0515 GMT)?

And then there was Jafari crossing into politics, setting preconditions for the return of "acceptable" reformists to the arena:

Members of the reformist camp who have not crossed the redlines can naturally participate in political campaigns. However, [former President Mohammad] Khatami's success in his activities depends on his stances....During the sedition incident [the 2009 post-election protest], Mr Khatami did not pass his test successfully and he showed a lot of support for the sedition leaders [Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi]. At the moment, he has not yet adopted a stance to distance himself from those actions. If he still intends to resort to political manoeuvres, I do not think people will forgive him. However there are other individuals [in the reformist camp] who have not crossed the redlines and they can actively participate in political campaigns.

And Jafari had a glance at foreign affairs, saying that the uprisings in Syria were started "artificially" and were different in nature from those in other countries of the region: "The movements in Syria were provoked by the Americans, because Syria is the only country of the region that has stood up to the US and Israel."

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Iran Special: Ahmadinejad v. The Revolutionary Guards

General Jafari & President AhmadinejadThe news was so unexpected that it took some hours to sink in. In a speech crticising Iranian groups who were importing commerical goods and avoiding customs duties, President Ahmadinejad had stared straight at the Revolutionary Guards: they were "brothers who are also smugglers".

Ahmadinejad had warned last month, amidst the increasing pressure on his camp with arrests of his advisors, that he could reveal information that would embarrass key officials within the Iranian establishment. Last weekend he told journalists that there was a "red line" against moves on his Cabinet and inner circle --- when State broadcaster IRIB censored the passsage, his staff posted the uncut video on the President's official website.

But to take on the country's most important military institution, one which many analysts have seen as a bulwark of Ahmadinejad's rise to power?

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Iran Special: Ahmadinejad v. The Republican Guards

This entry has been moved to the top of the website. Many apologies for the error in title.


The Latest from Iran (1 July): A Pause for Denial

1855 GMT: Press Watch. The journal Shahrvand has returned after a ban with a cover featuring prominent writer Mahmoud Doulatabadi and poet Javad Mojab.

1845 GMT: Corruption Watch. Hojatoleslam Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, the head of the Shiraz Administrative Court, has asserted that corruption amongst officials is one of the most important factors in the downfall of states.

1820 GMT: All the President's Men. Farda News claims that President Ahmadinejad's inner circle spent 338 million tomans (about $300,000) in less than a year for foreign travel, boat trips, and suits.

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The Latest from Iran (29 June): Possibility of a Blackout

2020 GMT: The Dorm Attacks. Fourteen Tehran University students have been given fines, floggings, and prison terms from three to 10 months over an attack by security forces and plainclothes officers on university dormitories three days after the 2009 Presidential election.

Activists claim that five students were killed in the raids, and hundreds were injured and arrested.

Iranian authorities denied the involvement of security forces or any deaths among the students. No regime officer has been punished over the incidents.

1935 GMT: Labour Front. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has honoured Mansur Osanloo, President of the Tehran Bus Workers' Union, by making him an honorary member.

The Teamsters awarded the membership "in recognition of [Osanloo's] struggle for freedom of association". They continued with reference to Iranian workers, "Their struggle is our struggle. The Teamsters will work with unions worldwide to warn all investors, especially those investing workers' capital, of the grave risks of investments in Iran and Iranian controlled enterprises due to the disrespect of basic worker rights and the rule of law in Iran."

Osanloo was sentenced in July 2007 to five years in prison for "acting against national security" and "propaganda against the state" in his union activity. He was recently released on bail.

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