Iran Election Guide

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Entries in BBC Persian (16)


Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Threatened Journalists, Tehran Claims the South Pole, and the End of Olympic Wrestling (Arseh Sevom)

An embrace between US and Iranian wrestlers in the 2012 Olympics --- but it may not happen again

The Ministry of Intelligence, not letting up on the "enemy" BBC Persian, continues to arrest, hold, and harass journalists and filmmakers.

Meanwhile, Jafar Panahi receives international acclaim despite being under house arrest and banned from filmmaking.

The South Pole could become a vacation spot for New Year revelers if Iran’s claim to some of its vast territory holds up.

The Supreme Leader chastises President Ahmadinejad and the Larijani brothers for their very public dispute.

And Iran and the US finally agree on one thing: removing wrestling from the Olympic games is just tragic.

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Iran Analysis: Nervous About Elections, The Regime Imprisons Journalists (Farhi)

The Iranian leaders’ desire to increase participation rates in the presidential election has usually been deemed reason enough for pre-election relative media openness. In this context, the question of whether these moves indicate that the Iranian leadership could care less about participation rates in the presidential election becomes an important one. The worry that the election might get out of control seems to be trumping the desire to elicit higher participation rates as an indicator of state legitimacy.

The way the Iranian deep security state continues to show its pre-election nervousness is nevertheless puzzling.

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Iran Feature: A Beginner's Guide to the Currency Crisis (Paivar)

Currency trade in Tehran on Tuesday

See also Iran Snap Analysis: Ahmadinejad and The Economy's "Worthless Pieces of Paper"

The kingmakers, though, are the big traders of the back alleys, "the invisible mafia" as the government prefers to brand them, those who are blamed for everything that goes wrong with Iran's currency market.

In the recent crisis this so-called mafia is accused of scooping dollars out of the market in a move challenging government measures to contain the crisis.

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Iran Feature: Lost Files --- Families of 55 Post-Election Victims Still Seek Justice (Alinejad)

Amir Javadifar, killed in Kahrizak Prison, July 2009On the eve of the third anniversary of the 2009 [Presidential] elections, families of the victims of post-election protests, who have filed claims against authorities demanding accountability and are disappointed at the futility of their struggle, speak of their plight.

During the demonstrations that broke out in the aftermath of June 2009 presidential elections in Iran, many protesters lost their lives as they were shot point-blank, severely beaten, as they inhaled tear gas, pushed off bridges or buildings, or run over by security forces’ trucks. Many others were arrested and killed in detention as a result of fatal beatings and lack of medical attention, according to their families and even official records released by the judiciary and armed forces. The coroner’s reports released to the victims’ families confirm the victims’ deaths by firearms.

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The Latest from Iran (16 March): The Oil Squeeze

See also Iran Video Interview: Leading Official Larijani on the Nuclear "Grand Bargain"
The Latest from Iran (15 March): OK, Folks, Show's Over....

2109 GMT: The Battle Within. According to Serat News, the battle over the next Speaker of Parliament has started --- Hamid Rasaei of the Islamic Constancy Front said an effort will be made to force out Ali Larijani as the head of the Majlis.

2100 GMT: Political Personality Watch. It looks like Ali Motahari, the conservative MP who has led criticism of the President, has gotten a boost in recognition from the campaign --- he is second in voting amongst Khabar Online readers for Personality of the Iranian Year.

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The Latest from Iran (26 February): Bashing the BBC, Jailing the Journalists

See also Iran Opinion: Myth and Reality About Nuclear Ambitions
Iran Snapshot: When the Revolutionary Guards Confuse Computer Viruses with Condoms
Iran Snapshot: Kentucky Fried Chicken or No Kentucky Fried Chicken? That is the Question
The Latest from Iran (25 February): A Far-from-Simple Election

Journalist Marzieh Rassouli (see 0550 GMT)2028 GMT: CyberWatch. The "Hezbollah Cyber Army" hacked the website of the reformist Assembly of Combatant Clerics today to post the message: "I participate in elections. With God's wisdom, the great Iran nation will put supporters of the US line of an election boycott in their place."

The Assembly has already replaced the text with a quote from former President Mohammad Khatami, "Nothing will appease people but ruling their fate themselves."

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The Latest from Iran (14 November): Playing the Foreign Card

See also Iran Propaganda 101: Nanodiamonds, Nukes, "Western Officials", and The Washington Post
Iran Feature: Did Someone Murder the Son of 2009 Presidential Candidate Rezaei?
The Latest from Iran (13 November): An Explosion at a Military Base

1645 GMT: The Bahrain Plot. Tehran has denied any link to an alleged plot to stage attacks in Bahrain, as a lawyer for two of the five suspects said reports of their confessions were not true.

Bahraini authorities said this weekend that Qatar had handed over four men who planning to attack the Interior Ministry, the Saudi Embassy, and a causeway linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. A fifth man was arrested in Bahrain.

On Sunday, the public prosecution's spokesman said the plot was coordinated with the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij militia as well as two Bahraini opposition figures in London.

1630 GMT: The Explosion. The reaction of Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak to the news of Saturday's blast at a Revolutionary Guards base, reportedly killing 17 people?

"May there be more like it."

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Iran Video Interview: Hillary Clinton with BBC Persian "The Unfortunate Decision of the Green Movement"

See also Iran Video: Hillary Clinton with Voice of America's Parazit

Earlier this week we noted US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's PR offensive and posted the video of her interview with the Voice of America. Now we put up the footage of her discussion with BBC Persian, broadcast on the same day.

Personally, I found this interview far more provocative --- and thus interesting --- than the Voice of America chat. Clinton's description of the US position on the Iranian opposition is far from diplomatic, chiding both the Green Movement and Iranians in general for not doing enough to seek US help in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 Presidential election.

I am not sure Clinton's account is entirely accurate: I recall footage from autumn 2009 in which protesters called on the Obama Administration, then preoccupied with possible nuclear discussions with Tehran, to note their challenge to the regime. At the same time --- and noting that a discussion about the tactics of the Green Movement is far from a footnote --- the Secretary appears to be exposing Washington's dilemmas amidst the mass protests of June 2009: her people wanted to do something beyond telling Twitter to delay maintenance but were uncertain if their actions would be counter-productive as they raised the image of US intervention in Iran's affairs and the "Velvet Revolution" of regime change.


The Latest from Iran (25 September): Khomeini's Grandson "This is Not Islam"

2120 GMT: Claim of the Day. We close Sunday --- and foreshadow Monday's LiveBlog on the resumption of political conflict in Iran --- with this prize assertion from the hard-line publication Fararu: President Ahmadinejad's controversial Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai will not return to Iran with Ahmadinejad from New York because he has applied for a six-month visa to remain in the US.

2040 GMT: Shutting Down the Reformists. Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of the human rights section of Iran's judiciary, has put pressure on reformists, criticising them for claiming to be adherents to the principles of the Islamic Republic but in practice supporting a secular system.

Larijani said reformists were opportunist “sworn enemies of democracy” and were not qualified to run in Parliamentary elections next March.

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The Latest from Iran (24 September): The Imprisonment of the Filmmakers

Mojtaba Mirtahmasb1635 GMT: Press Release of the Day. And, as it's slow, let's give some airtime to General Yahya Rahim Safavi, senior military advisor to the Supreme Leader: “The US and Zionists are desperately seeking to rein in, restrict, replace...or take control of some of these revolutions” in the Middle East and North Africa.

Rahim Safavi, whose brother has told Western diplomats of the "political coup" of the 2009 Presidential election from the Supreme Leader's office, said the "West" started a “division of labour” system with France tasked to help bring Western-supported individuals to power through the National Transitional Council. He declared the US was seeking to infiltrate Egypt's Parliamentary Presidential balllots and interfere in the proposed changes to Egypt's Constitution.

Safavi urged Libyans and Egyptians to prevent this foreign interference, adding that the US was about to lose its political position in the region and said Israel was also facing a difficult situation.

Moving to Central Asia, Safavi said that terrorist groups in Afghanistan were linked to "Western hegemony", but the US would suffer the same fate as the former Soviet Union and finally leave the country after a humiliating defeat.

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