Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Bahareh Hedayat (21)


Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Political Prisoners and Public Executions (Arseh Sevom)

Two Iranian muggers, just before their public execution on Sunday in Tehran

Prison furloughs have been given to a number of prisoners of conscience even as Sakharov Prize winner Nasrin Sotoudeh was called back to prison after just three days. Public executions spark debate. Iranian State Television airs an “exposé” of CIA spying. Parliament debates restricting foreign travel for all women under 40 while the continuing house arrest of former presidential candidates is called into question. Finally the Iranian Coalition for Peace reaches out to President Obama.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Bad Days for Female Political Prisoners (Arseh Sevom)

Nine female political prisoners who recently went on hunger strike over their treatment

It has been a bad news week for female prisoners of conscience. Harassment of attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh continues unabated despite international calls for her release. Nine other imprisoned women have embarked on a hunger strike to protest unprovoked and aggressive treatment from prison guards. Director Rakshan Bani Etemad’s latest film, Stories, remains unheard, while workers continue to bear the brunt of economic hardships and political suppression in Iran.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Political Prisoners, Israel Loves Iran, and Looking Too Much Like Ahmadinejad (Arseh Sevom)

The aftermath of the earthquake in the province of East Azerbaijan still dominates news coming out of Iran.

Meanwhile, 130 political prisoners have been released. the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit will mean 5 days of holiday for those living and working in Tehran. Graffiti messages call for the release of political prisoners and United4Iran calls on the NAM to put pressure on The Islamic Republic of Iran to adhere to international human rights agreements.

The number of female breadwinners in Iran has doubled over the past 5 years. Shirin Ebadi has issued a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon protesting the denial of education to female students and joined in a rebuke against the US channel NBC for turning war into a reality show with Stars Earn Stripes. Iranians and Israelis share messages of peace via Facebook.

The pro- and anti-sanctions debate causes rifts among expat Iranians. Saeed Mortazavi is removed from his post as head of the Social Security Organization while actor Mahmoud Basiri complains he cannot get any work because he looks too much like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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The Latest from Iran (30 July): Declaring The "Resistance Economy"

See also Iran Feature: PhotoShopping a "Decent" Assad Family
The Latest from Iran (29 July): US Presents "Contingency Plan" for Attack to Israel

1351 GMT: Espionage Watch. According to The Times of India, Delhi Police have alleged that members of the Revolutionary Guards were involved in the 13 February bomb attack on an Israeli diplomat in the Indian capital.

The investigation report states that the five Guards members had discussed the plan to attack Israeli diplomats in India and other countries with Indian journalist Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi in January 2011, after Iranian nuclear scientists were allegedly attacked by Israeli intelligence services.

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Iran Interview: What Happened on Election Day in 2009? (Mehrabi)

At the commission, the news went around by word of mouth. One news was that Mir Hossein Mousavi was planning to come to the commission. But no real news came into the headquarters.

Even prior to the voting, the Ministry [of Interior] appeared to be poised to win the election. We sensed that they seemed confident that they (the Ahmadinejad campaign) would win in any way. When we told the other reformist kids, who called us from the outside, of the atmosphere inside the building, they brushed us off as being influenced by the events inside.

We had no idea that they planned to rig the elections at this scale. When we spoke with reporters from the other side (i.e., supporting the administration), they told us that Ahmadinejad would win with 24 million votes.

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The Latest from Iran (27 April): Remembering the Imprisoned Students

1320 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update. Hojatoleslam Kazem Siddiqi is at the pulpit today, putting out the rhetoric on the Islamic Republic's nuclear talks with the US, European powers, China, and Russia.

Nothing much of significance, although rose-coloured glasses --- as with the international media's reading of Ayatollah Jannnati's sermon last week --- could see this as Iran's warming welcome to the discussions. Siddiqi said it would be in everyone's interest for all powers to "act rationally" in negotiations with Iran.

Siddiqi continued that Tehran is a rational actor, welcomes dialogue, and has repeatedly shown its goodwill, but now it is time for world powers to show their good intentions.

There was this important if general caveat, though, for anyone who might see this as concessions by the Islamic Republic ahead of the next meeting on 23 May in Baghdad: “The Istanbul meeting proved that the Iranian nation is powerful and will not retreat an iota from its rights.” And Siddiqi also put out the general denunciation of "global arrogance" seeking to create discord in the region while assuring that "vigilant nations" and Iran will not allow this.

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The Latest from Iran (10 March): Oh, the US is So Weak

See also The Latest from Iran (9 March): "Legitimacy" --- Home and Abroad

Iran Media: "Objective Reality of US Society"2028 GMT: Protest Watch. The Mothers of Laleh Park and their supporters have issued a statement challenging the Iranian judiciary’s harsh sentencing of human rights activists.

The Mothers of Laleh Park, who emerged after the June 2009 Presidential election to protest killings and detentions, declared, “While the possibility of a humane life is evaporating for Iranian people and especially freedom seekers, the criminals are rising in stature, and there are no fair courts answerable to the people.”

The statement condemned the sentences imposed on human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani and the deputy head of the Human Rights Defenders Centre, Nargess Mohammad, contrasting their judicial fate with that of Saeed Mortazavi, the Tehran Prosecutor General when the abuses occurred at the Kahrizak Detention Centre in summer 2009.

The Mothers wrote, “Judge Mortazavi, whose many crimes are common knowledge, was dismissed after his offences regarding Kahrizak were revealed. But not only did he not stand trial, he was instead appointed as head of the task force against drug trafficking. And now he is being appointed to the helm of the Organization for Social Security.”

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The Latest from Iran (7 December): Rallying the Students

See also Iran Video Feature: On National Students Day, A Tribute to Detained Activist Bahareh Hedayat
Iran Follow-Up: Why is US Playing Crash-and-Tell Over Its Drone?
The Latest from Iran (6 December): The Drone Mystery

Majid Tavakoli2355 GMT: Media Watch. Press TV, the English-language Iranian media outlet operating out of the UK has been fined £100,000 by OfCom, the British communications regulatory body, for "breaches of the Broadcasting Code" and ordered to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings on its service.

Press TV appears to have complied with the broadcasting of the OfCom finding by posting an article on its site claiming that OfCom has contradicted itself:

The regulator announced that Press TV is required to pay a 100,000-pound fine and “broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings on its service Press TV.”

This is while Ofcom had previously stated that it would not direct Press TV to broadcast a summary of its findings, requiring the English-language channel to only pay the fine. The summary is as follows:

“Ofcom found that Press TV presentation of the interview of Mr. [Maziar] Bahari in the news item was unfair because it missed out important facts, for example that the interview was conducted under duress whilst Mr. Bahari was being held in a prison in Tehran.”

“Also the interview was broadcast in a context in which inferences adverse to Mr. Bahari could be drawn. Press TV did not obtain Mr. Bahari consent to the interview.”

“Ofcom also found that the filming and broadcast of the interview without Mr. Bahari's consent while he was in a sensitive vulnerable situation was an unwarranted infringement of his privacy.

“As a result Ofcom has fined Press TV 100,000 pounds and directed it to broadcast this summary.”

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Iran Video Feature: On National Students Day, A Tribute to Detained Activist Bahareh Hedayat

Bahareh Hedayat, a student activist and campaigner for women's rights, was arrested for the fourth time on 31 December 2009. This time her detention would be a long one --- in May 2010, she was sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison for anti-state propaganda.

A tribute to her work:


The Latest from Iran (3 November): Threats, Threats, More Threats

2135 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. More on the alleged Presidential assault on his rivals from the pro-Ahmadinejad site Dolate Ma --- the President reportedly said he could reveal 10% of his information now and 25% in the future, but it was "not advisable" to disclose the rest.

Ahmadinejad added that the "day of regret is near" and said his foes are going to "apologise for accusing the Government": "The current situation is not normal; we are approaching the final showdown."

As for the current financial scandal, including the $2.6 billion bank embezzlement, the President said "people were dissatisfied" with those who "came barefoot from the south of town [the south of Tehran is the poorer section of the capital] and are billionaires now".

Ahmadinejad continued, "If you allow me to handle them in my way, I will rebuke [the political wrongdoers in 1 month. Even Europe and the US together can't bring the Government to its knees."

And now the sting in the tail, of interest to those who specialise in following the in-fighting in Tehran. Ahmadinejad said, "In 2009 'they' wanted to congratulate the opposition [on victory in the Presidential election]."

And who does Ahmadinejad mean by 'they'? Well, soon after the election, it was claimed --- by the camp of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and later by other politicians --- that Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani had told Mousavi on Election Day that he won the vote. Other reports said the head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, also sent the message.

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