Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani (27)


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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The Latest from Iran (20 October): "We Will Not Surrender"

A Basij militiaman cries, "Hit us, USA, Israel! We are ready for martyrdom!" (Cartoon: Maya Neyestani)

See also The Latest from Iran (19 October): "The Sanctions Will Hurt Europe"

1549 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. The President has asked head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani for quick processing of a permit to visit Evin Prison, after Ahmadinejad's request for entry on 17 October was rejected.

Ahmadinejad reportedly is seeking to visit his senior aide Ali Akbar Javanfekr, in Evin since June after he was convicted of "insulting Islam" with a special edition of his newspaper Iran.

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The Latest from Iran (4 September): Back to Business?

See also Iran Feature: Regime to Media "Print Only Hope and Joy About Sanctions"
Iran Snapshot: The Military's New Weapon --- "Deceit Perfume"
The Latest from Iran (3 September): "This Country is Broken"

2039 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Looks like the President did not heed the command of his officials, noted in our separate feature, to spread only "hope and joy" about the economy and sanctions....

Western media headline Ahmadinejad's statement in his interview, "There are some problems in selling oil and we are trying to manage it," and his effective admission of the impact of sanctions through his accusation that "the enemy" was using "psychological warfare".

The President said the sanctions were "blocking off conduits... like the conduits of selling oil, foreign exchange, our banks and the central bank....We are working to bypass them day and night...[but] most of the time when an obstacle is created, it takes a long time to remove it."

Ahmadinejad did finally find some hope: "We have oil and the world needs it," adding that his government was also running a "very rigid budget".

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The Latest from Iran (16 July): We Are Here for Your Security

Maya Neyestani illustrates the warning of Iran's Police Chief against films and television showing people eating chicken, as it encourages the poor "to stab the rich"

1720 GMT: Persian Gulf Watch. A US military supply ship fired today at a small boat in the Persian Gulf after it came too close, apparently killing one person on board, American officials said.

The USNS Rappahannock, a fuel resupply ship, fired on what the officials called a "small, white pleasure craft" 10 miles from the Dubai port of Jebel Ali.

The Navy said in a statement, "In accordance with Navy force protection procedures, the sailors on the USNS Rappahannock...used a series of non-lethal, preplanned responses to warn the vessel before resorting to lethal force. The U.S. crew repeatedly attempted to warn the vessel's operators to turn away from their deliberate approach. When those efforts failed to deter the approaching vessel, the security team on the Rappahannock fired rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun."

Fars briefly had the item at the top of its homepage, but the entry has now disappeared.

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The Latest from Iran (15 April): A Setback for the President

Nikahang Kowsar on the dance at the nuclear talks --- European Union's Catherine Ashton to Iran's Saeed Jalili, "This time you have to dance to our bidding"

See also Iran Analysis: The Nuclear Talks --- The Effectiveness of Sanctions, The Effectiveness of Iran's Uranium Enrichment
The Latest from Iran (14 April): The Nuclear "Talks About More Talks" Open in Istanbul

1922 GMT: Supreme Leader Watch. Ayatollah Khamenei has laid down the law for his officials --- "Giving preference to society's advantages instead of personal benefits helps the progress of the country."

1915 GMT: CyberWatch. Mohammand Hassan Hosseinpour, an Internet specialist in the Revolutionary Guards, has assured people who might be worried about diminished Web provision under Iran's plans: a "Basij network" will be launched for easy access in the "national intranet".

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The Latest from Iran (8 March): Let the Political In-Fighting Resume

See also Iran Document Special: The UN Report on "Violations of Fundamental Human Rights"
The Latest from Iran (7 March): "The People Are Not Happy"

2150 GMT: At the Movies. Pro-regime filmmaker Farajollah Salahshour has expressed his anger about his daughter's congratulations to Oscar-winning director Ashgar Farhadi "for depicting social problems".

2145 GMT: Hunger Strike Watch. Al Jazeera English notices the hunger strike of blogger, physician, and dissident Mehdi Khazali, now in its 60th day.

1915 GMT: A Special Day. A belated note that today is International Women's Day. Google marks the occasion:

But the distinctly Iranian presentation comes from Kanoon Nevisandegan (Writers Assocation):

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The Latest from Iran (7 March): "The People Are Not Happy"

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society, from the Elections to Abuses to a "Documentary"
Iran Snap Analysis: The Election --- Still Confusing, Still Muddled
Iran Opinion: The Hunger Strike of Mehdi Khazali
The Latest from Iran (6 March): Is Ahmadinejad in Trouble?

2133 GMT: Drumbeats of War Watch. The Associated Press, in a story eerily reminiscent of claims in February 2003 that Iraqi trucks were clearing up suspected site of weapons of mass destruction, reports:

Satellite images of an Iranian military facility show trucks and earth-moving vehicles at the site, indicating that crews were trying to clean it of radioactive traces possibly left by tests of a nuclear-weapon trigger, diplomats told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

Two of the diplomats said the crews may be trying to erase evidence of tests of a small neutron device used to set off a nuclear explosion. A third diplomat could not confirm that but said any attempt to trigger a so-called neutron initiator at the Parchin site could only be in the context of trying to develop nuclear arms.

The images, provided to the IAEA by member countries, are recent and constantly updated, said one of the diplomats.

The diplomats are nuclear experts accredited to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and all asked for anonymity to discuss sensitive information.

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The Latest from Iran (2 March): The Parliamentary Elections

Maya Neyestani on today's "historic" election

See also Iran Special: A Beginner's Guide to Today's Parliamentary Elections
Iran Snap Analysis: So Who is "Winning" These Elections?
The Latest from Iran (1 March): The Issue Is Legitimacy

2055 GMT: ANd now a good-news story from the elections....

The 100-year-old man in Hamedan voted and died (see 1215 GMT), and the 95-year-old man in Damavand said, ""God, please accept this vote from me" and passed away (see 1645), but the 117-year-old man in Gonbad-e Qabus cast his ballot and lived.

2030 GMT: Well, I now have first-hand experience of how Iranian media handle news and analysis about this election.

Fars has not only noted my interview with BBC Persian; they are presenting it as if I had spoken to them. The headline is a selective extract, reflecting Fars' emphasis, of my comments, "The Western Leaders Don't Have a Clear Understanding of the Iranian Elections".

To be fair, Fars does fairly repeat some of my remarks, such as this election is too complex to be "Conservatives v. Clergy" and "The election is less about foreign policy than it is about Iran's internal affairs, economics, political accountability, and even topics such as judicial and legal rights."

What is interesting is what is left out or abbreviated. Fars' "interview" forgets to include my remarks that this election --- crucially --- is about the legitimacy of not only the Government but also the regime. And while the site does accurately mention my comment, "Reformists had no chance in this election of achieving some kind of political power", it indicates this was the main reason for their boycott of the vote --- conveniently omitting the rest of my analysis that the strategy was to raise question marks about the regime: "The message, following the 2009 Presidential election protests ie not just "Where is my vote?" but "Where is my government's responsibility?"

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Iran Snap Analysis: So Who is "Winning" These Elections?

A day before Iranians vote in Parliamentary elections, who's winning?

We do not know. And we will not know for some time to come. The messy truth beyond the easy narrative of Supreme Leader v. President Ahmadinejad is that the lists of candidates do not work that way, and the vote itself will not yield a "dominant" faction.

In the meantime, there is another, far different measure of "winner" and "loser". Almost all the factions and, more importantly, the Supreme Leader have put their chips on a high turnout in the vote. If that does not materialise, then all will suffer a blow to legitimacy.

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The Latest from Iran (24 February): Here a Deviant Current, There a Deviant Current

See also Iran Document & Snap Analysis: The IAEA Report on Tehran's Nuclear Programme
Iran 1st-Hand Video: A 53-Minute Look at Life, Politics, and the Economy
The Latest from Iran (23 February): Don't Panic!

2045 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Dr. Sadegh Akhoundi, associate professor in the Department of Orthodontics at Tehran University's School of Dentistry, has been arrested.

1950 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Police in Sanandaj in northwest Iran arrested dozens of people at a meeting of a mountain climbing group last Friday.

The reason for the detentions is not clear.

Since the arrests, families of those arrested have gathered daily outside the Intelligence Office for news. A source said the Intelligence Office has promised the families to release the detainees on bail of about 40 million Toman (about $2000) each.

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