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Entries in Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi (9)


The Latest from Iran (4 October): Protest Resurfaces --- A Ripple or a Wave?

Footage from Wednesday's closure of the Tehran Bazaar and nearby protests

2051 GMT: Currency All-is-Well Alert. Mohammad Keshti-Aray, the head of the Gold-Sellers Union, has said that the Rial strengthened to 30000:1 to 31000:1 vs. the US dollar --- Tuesday's rate, the last posted on leading website, was 35500:1 --- and that the price for gold coin is down as well.

Keshti-Aray assured that dollar and gold rates would be "clarified" on Saturday,

2047 GMT: Loyalty Watch. Prominent conservative politician Habiballah Asgarouladi has said that "fitna" (sedition) and the "deviant current" do not accept national unity, which is possible only around the Supreme Leader.

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The Latest from Iran (8 July): Manoeuvring for the Elections

2015 GMT: The Battle Within. MP Hamid Rasaei, an ally of President Ahmadinejad, has said that Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani should resign as head of the principlist faction in the Majlis. Rasaei specifically claimed that Larijani was supporting the reformists.

2000 GMT: Your Extra Friday Prayer Update. Did I mention that Ayatollah Jannati (see 1230 GMT) called on Muslims to liberate Bahrain from its monarchy?

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The Latest from Iran (18 May): Disputing Economic Growth

2055 GMT: Disputing Economic Growth. And so back to where we started this morning....

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Reza Bahonar has directly challenged the President over his economic claims in his Sunday night interview, disputing the promise that 2.5 million jobs could be created each year for the next two years.

And Bahonar went after Ahmadinejad's subsidy cuts plan, saying it was threatening production in the country.

2015 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Another challenge to the President's inner circle is emerging --- Iranian media are circulating claims of undue influence in Iran's automobile industry by the "diversionary current" within the Government.

"Diversionary current" has become the euphemism to refer to Presidential Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai and his allies.

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The Latest from Iran (17 May): Reacting to Ahmadinejad

2025 GMT: Sanctions Watch. US authorities have added another Iranian state-owned bank to its sanctions list.

The US Treasury claims Iran's Bank of Industry and Mines, the 21st to be listed by Washington, is handling transactions on behalf of two previously sanctioned institutions, Bank Mellat and Europaesch-Iranische Handelsbank.

2010 GMT: Execution Watch. Iran’s Supreme Court has approved the death sentence for Habibollah Latifi, according to his family.

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The Latest from Iran (23 March): New Year's Break

1700 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has thrown another jab at the Government in his website message for the New Year: "We unfortunately witness the pursuing of indecent methods by those in charge, such as making lies and giving empty slogans to the people....The Iranian people are educated and well-informed and neither deserve lies nor promises which are impossible to be implemented....Those in charge should listen to criticism, and either convince the critics through logic or correct their policies.

Rafsanjani, who lost his post as head of the Assembly of Experts this month, even had a poke at the post-election repression: "What we should, however, definitely not do as Muslims is acting beyond ethics and eventually expose an Islamic society as disgrace."

1640 GMT: The Battle Within. Promient MP Hojatoleslam Hossein Sobhani-Nia has declared that the further the Government goes, the more dissent there is within the camp of the hardliners.

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The Latest from Iran (20 January): Running on Empty?

2135 GMT: Economy Watch. Ayande News, blaming subsidy cuts on fuel, says car sales have fallen by 50% with the market in imported cars almost dormant.

Khabar Online, linked to Ali Larijani, continues to push the Government on economic claims. The latest case is a challenge to the claim of 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi that 1.5 million new jobs have been created: Khabar says only 600,000 of these were new jobs and 900,000 replaced other positions.

2115 GMT: Running on Empty? Back to where we started this morning. MP Ali Motahari, pressing his argument that the Government is not only unwilling but unable to provide the funds for expansion of the Tehran Metro, claims that Minister of Economy Shamseddin Hosseini has said the Government does not want to implement laws mandating $2 billion in support of the expansion.

Motahari said the Government must at least allocate part of the $2 billion and asserted that he will President Ahmadinejad in the Majlis about the issue.

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Iran Competition: Pick the Theme Music for Ahmadinejad's Best Man v. The Ayatollahs

From today's updates

Earlier this month, President Ahmadinejad's Chief of Staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, accused conservative clerics of not being down with the kids: "Just because some do not understand music, they declare it haram (forbidden)."

Well, Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, whose musical preferences are unknown, is not going to put up with being called un-cool: "The meaning of what this gentleman has said is that all clerics, theocrats, the late Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Khomeini], and even imams who have voiced their opposition to immoral music styles do not understand. This is an insult to all these great spiritual personalities."

But what should be the theme music for this battle between Iran's Powers in Heaven and its Wannabe Power on Earth?

I'll start the bidding:


Iran Snap Analysis: Khamenei's Offensive Stalls?

Only 48 hours after the start of the Supreme Leader's PR offensive in the religious centre of Qom, and its momentum appears to be slowing, if not stopping.

Tuesday's public setpiece of the reception for Ayatollah Khamenei and his speech was always going to provide positive images. The bigger political question was how he would be received in private by Qom's clerics.

Iranian state media struggled on Tuesday to put the gloss of unity on the first meeting, given the notable absences among the attendees --- e.g., all of Qom's maraje (sources of emulation) --- and Wednesday's second effort has made even less impression.

The most incisive coverage comes instead from a leading EA correspondent on Iran: " Looks like Khamenei's mighty propaganda machine finally scored a Pyrrhic victory. Even Makarem is not an extremely senior Ayatollah. Let's see if they drag Saanei, Shobeyri, Mousavi Ardabili, or any other of the big wigs into the frame tomorrow --- I strongly doubt it."

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The Latest from Iran (5 October): The Economy, Arrests, and Ahmadinejad v. Parliament

1729 GMT: Nuclear Watch (Better Late than Never). The head of Iran's atomic energy organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, said today, "The start-up process of the Bushehr power plant is progressing well and we hope to see it connected to the national electricity grid by late December, or a few weeks earlier." 

The Bushehr plant was supposed to be operational this month but Iranian official said last week that the launch would be delayed. Salehi said this was because of a "small leak" in a pool near the plant after stories circulated that Bushehr might have been hindered by the Stuxnet computer worm.

1725 GMT: Mousavi Watch. In his latest interview on Kalemeh, Mir Hossein Mousavi has declared that President Ahmadinejad's foreign policies are destructive and his performance should be judged in a referendum.

1720 GMT: Currency Watch. Iranian Labor News Agency reports that lines in front of governmental currency exchange shops are 10 meters long. Dollars are being traded at open rates, as opposed to the government's official rates, elsewhere.

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