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Entries in Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi (37)


Iran Live Coverage: Detaining the Journalists

Campaign poster for 15 journalists imprisoned in late January

2044 GMT:Communications Watch. Four Grand Ayatollahs --- Nasser Makarem-Shirazi, Hossein Nouri Hamedani, Jafar Sohbhani, and Seyyed Sajjad Alavi Gorgani--- have issued fatwas banning Iran's first 3G service Rightel, in part because of its video-call function.

"The decadence and corruption associated with [Rightel’s] use outweighs its benefits,” decreed Grand Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi. “It will cause new deviances in our society, which is unfortunately already plagued with deviances.”

Ayatollah Alavi Gorghani said that the video-call service would “jeopardize the public chastity” and “inflicts numerous damages” on Iran’s religion and political system.

Rightel, which sponsored Iran’s recent International Fajr Film Festival,,# allows customers to use both video-call and multi-media messaging functions. The company offers pay-and-go, contact, and data-card packages.

Petitions to ban Rightel have sprung up, and 17 MPs have asked President Ahmadinejad and the Ministry of Intelligence to act.

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Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad Refuses to Back Down

See also Iran Analysis: 4 Reasons Why Supreme Leader is Still Open to Direct Talks with the US
Iran Document: Supreme Leader's Speech on "The Battle Within" & Talks With US
Sunday's Iran Live Coverage: Admitting the Battle Within

1855 GMT: Economy Watch. Radio Zamaneh summarises the reports from Iranian State agencies and the Central Bank that put Iran's inflation rate at the sixth-worst in the world.

The stated rate varies from agency to agency, but most estimates put the current annual rise in prices at 32 to 37%, the greatest increase since 1996. Unofficial estimates put forth an even higher figure.

1755 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch (Press Edition). Twelve local journalists have reportedly been arrested in Ilam in Iranian Kurdistan.

1748 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. VOA Persian reports on Kurdish detainee Semko Khelghati, presented by Press TV as a spy in the programme "A Time to Betray" --- Semko's mother reports that her son, an "excellent" university student in metallurgy, was tortured to confess before he received a 15-year sentence.

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Iran Live Coverage: Nuclear Talks to Resume?

See also Iran Feature: How a Political Prisoner Found Art for Her Activism
Friday's Iran Live Coverage: The Supreme Leader Tries to Bolster His Popularity

2025 GMT: Smog Watch. An official with the Environmental Protection Agency says 150 industrial units in Tehran Province have been shut because of the high levels of air pollution.

1855 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Detained senior reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh, who was taken to hospital earlier today because of a heart condition (see 1535 GMT), has now returned to prison.

1605 GMT: Smog Watch. An image of air pollution in Tehran --- the smog has forced the closure of schools and Government buildings today and tomorrow:

Jason Rezaian, the Tehran correspondent of The Washington Post, writes:

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Iran Live Coverage: The Supreme Leader Admits A Crisis

See also Iran Feature: The Top 10 Stories of 2012 --- A Currency Falls, Sanctions Expand, and Political Prisoners Continue to Resist
EA Special: 10 Predictions for 2013 --- Assad Gone, an Angry Middle East, and Little Change on "Human Rights"
Monday's Iran Live Coverage: All-Is-Well Oil Alerts

2040 GMT: Labour Front. More than 500 workers at the Safa Pipe factory have begun a fourth round of protests over conditions and the delayed payment of wages.

A worker said the demonstration began Saturday after employees were not paid in more than six months.

1940 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Popular singer and activist Arya Aramnejad was summoned today to serve his 91-day sentence.

Aramnejad has been detained on several occasions, including a five-month stay in prison from November 2011 to April 2012.

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The Latest from Iran (17 October): "We Support Free Elections....In Syria"

See also The Latest from Iran (16 October): "Currency Market Disruptors Will Be Executed"

1819 GMT: From Hero to Forced Retirement. Pilot Houshang Shahbazi, who became a national hero last October with the emergency landing of a plane with more than 100 passengers and crew, says he has been forced into early retirement because he voiced concerns over safety.

“Authorities in charge have [prevented] me from flying and have confined me at home under the excuse that I have portrayed flights by Iranian airlines as unsafe,” Shahbazi said.

The 56-year-old Shahbazi says he had nine years left before the end of his career as a pilot, but he upset authorities who repeatedly asked him to stop his public efforts against the U.S. sanctions that ban Iran from buying spare parts for its aging civilian airline fleet:

[Officials] told me, ‘You can return to work under certain conditions.’ They said, ‘You have to commit yourself not to engage in social work anymore.’ I refused.

Footage of Shahbazi's landing of a Boeing-727, flying from Moscow to Tehran’s Mehrabad airport, after its front landing gear jammed:

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The Latest from Iran (21 September): Worrying about Inflation

See also The Latest from Iran (20 September): The Currency "Situation"

1900 GMT: Reverse Sanctions Watch. The Supreme Leader's military advisor, Yahya Rahim Safavi, has urged Muslims to "sanction" the US by boycotting American products.

1810 GMT: Discovery of the Day. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Parliament's National Security Committee, has claimed that the German company Siemens installed explosives in equipment for an Iranian nuclear site. He said that the operation was discovered by authorities, and Siemens must explain itself.

Reports have circulated that the Stuxnet virus was introduced into Iranian computers, used in the nuclear programme, through vulnerabilities in Siemens equipment.

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The Latest from Iran (10 September): The Gathering Economic Storm

See also Iran Snap Analysis: The Currency Crisis
The Latest from Iran (9 September): Sanctions, More Sanctions, No Talks

Cartoon: Nikahang Kowsar1955 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. An interesting science lesson from the President today....

After commenting that drought in Iran has occurred because of industrial producton, he found another cause: the "purposeful destruction of clouds over Iran by enemies".

Ahmadinejad also had an annverisary message: while the media fusses about 3000 people killed on 9/11, there is silence on 1 million people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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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 (8 February): Seeking the Voice of the Nation

Nikahang Kowsar comments on the regime's recent detentions, interrogations, and harassment of people associated with BBC Persian

See also Iran Snapshot: The Literary Translator Who Is Now a Political Prisoner
Iran Propaganda Special: Creating "3000 Female Ninja Assassins"
Israel Analysis: Benjamin Netanyahu's Best Political Friend --- Iran
The Latest from Iran (7 February): Campaign Season

2010 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. News emerges that reformist candidate Dr Behruz Rashidyani, disqualified by the Guardian Council from standing in the March elections, was arrested three weeks ago.

1825 GMT: The Battle Within. First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi has hit back at MP Ahmad Tavakoli, a leading critic of the Government. Rahimi claimed Tavakoli has obtained his university degree illegally and "is a corrupt liar and landgrabber".

1756 GMT: Loyalty Watch. Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi has said that, with the Islamic Revolution, the rule of the Hidden Imam has started and Ayatollah Khamenei represents him.

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The Latest from Iran (5 February): The Coup Within --- The Sequel

See also Iran Opinion: Why Do Thousands of Women Want to Be Ninjas?
The Latest from Iran (4 February): Missing the Story on the Supreme Leader

Rezaei, Qalibaf, Larijani2225 GMT: Security Watch. Writer and human rights activist Yousef Azizi Banitaraf has said Iranian security forces have arrested 50 people over the past two weeks in Arab neighbourhoods in the southwestern province of Khuseztan.

Banitaraf claimed two of the detainees, Nasser Alboshokeh Derafshan and Mohammad Kaabi, were killed while in custody. The arrests, which have taken place in Shoosh, Ahwaz, and Hamidieh, were apparently prompted by youth writing slogans on public walls, calling for a boycott of March's Parliamentary elections.

"The security forces are telling elders of the tribes in the region to bring people to the voting booths, and the young people are opposed to this," Banitaraf said.

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