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Entries in Emad Afrough (12)


The Latest from Iran (19 February): "The Islamic Republic Does Not Need a Supreme Leader"

See also Iran Special: And This Week's Medals for Worst News Coverage Go To....
The Latest from Iran (18 February): The Issue is the Economy

2042 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. Minister of Economy Shamseddin Hosseini announced today that the economy grew 5.8% in the Iranian year ending 20 March 2011.

Hosseini said growth was 6.1% excluding the oil sector.

The Central Bank of Iran had previously announced that economic growth for 2010/11 was 3.5% including the oil sector, and 4.3% excluding the oil sector.

No explanation is given as to why Hosseini was putting out figures almost a year old, rather than more recent data on the economy.

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The Latest from Iran (10 February): A Radio Debate Brings Back the 2009 Election

A poster calls for "Allahu Akbar (God is Great) on the night of 13 February for political prisoners such as Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Zahra Rahnavard

1745 GMT: Mohsen Rezaie, the head of the Expediency Discernment Council, today called US claims that it is responsible for security in the Strait of Hormuz as 'inacceptable'. He added that the Iranian government was the one responsible for the security of the waterway.

1715 GMT: Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani Larijani rejected accusations that he owns buildings in the Quds compound in Pardisan in Qom - however, he does own property that belonged to his father. Speaking to students in Qom yesterday, he said that he was running for the elections on advice from the Supreme Leader. In reply to a question, he said that Hashemi Rafsanjani like all other individuals had his merits and his flaws and he did not like some of the latter.

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The Latest from Iran (22 January): The Currency Slide

The new Iranian banknote: President Ahmadinejad's "Many Thousand Rials"

2115 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Al Arabiya reports that prominent Arab singer, Ghalib Manabi, and his brother Hassan have been arrested in Ahwaz in southern Iran.

Ghalib Manabi and several members of his family are known for their activism challenging regime programmes allegedly designed to reduce ethnic Arabs to a minority in the region. Members were previously arrested in 2005 during an uprising by ethnic Arabs against a programme requisitioning land from Arabs in Ahwaz, with a government-directed migration of non-Arabs into the region.

Local sources told Al Arabiya that about 60 Arab-speaking activists have been arrested since November 2011.

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The Latest from Iran (20 January): Grim Times in Shiraz

1935 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. Deputy Minister of Industry Mohammad Ali Zeyghami has assured that Iran's warehouses are full of goods, people should not worry, and imports are backed by Central Bank currency.

1925 GMT: Friday Prayer with a Twist. Lots of Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari's Friday Prayer in Tabriz was the standard rhetoric, for example, the President's South American tour and Occupy Wall Street weakening the US, but he had a twist for the crowd: he harshly attacked the Central Bank for the currency turmoil.

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The Latest from Iran (19 January): Worried Yet?

2039 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Industry sources say Turkish refiner Tupras, planning to cut imports of Iranian oil, will meet Saudi Arabian officials this month.

Turkey imports more than 30 percent of its daily oil consumption from Iran crude.

A source estimated that Saudi Arabia could cover up to half of the Iranian imports, adding that the Turks also planning to meet with oil suppliers from Russia, Azerbaijan, and West Africa.

2003 GMT: Currency Watch. The Central Bank has issued a new warning: dollar holders without documents must deposit the money until 15 Bahman (4 February), or they will be prosecuted for money laundering.

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The Latest from Iran (18 January): Challenging Khamenei

Nikahang Kowsar draws inspiration from the victory of Ashgar Farhad's film at the Golden Globes Awards to suggest a remake, "Supreme and Mahmoud: A Separation"

1940 GMT: Currency Watch. Suddenly the Iranian Rial has plummeted on the leading currency site Meshgal. It has fallen 3.5% in a few hours to a record low of 18200:1 vs. the US dollar.

Before the Central Bank and authorities intervened in recent weeks --- through an "ordered" rate, attempted arrests of street traders, and blocks on websites including Mesghal --- the low point for the Rial was 17800:1.

1520 GMT: Currency Watch. ISNA reports that foreign exchange offices have stopped the sale of US dollars, even by phone, for fear of being closed down for not adhering to the "ordered" rate of the Central Bank.

The Central Bank's command was for 14000 Iranian Rials to 1 US $, but the rate on the streets is 17500:1.

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The Latest from Iran (17 January): Questioning the Supreme Leader

Former MP Emad Afrough, on State TV, says the people should be able to question and dismiss the Supreme Leader

See also Iran Opinion: Manipulating a Murder in Tehran
The Latest from Iran (16 January): Economic Jitters

2049 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist Marzieh Rasouli has been arrested tonight at her home in Tehran.

Rasouli, who has written for Shargh, writes mainly about books and music.

2034 GMT: Justice Watch. Mohammad Seifzadeh, prominent lawyer and one of the founding members of the Center for Defenders of Human Rights, refused to participate in his trial on 11 January 2012, according to his wife and lawyer, Fatemeh Golzar.

Golzar said, “Mr. Seifzadeh believes the Revolutionary Court is unqualified to handle his case. He forwent participation in the trial because of the court’s lack of competence and lack of a jury at his trial -- - which is one of the deficiencies that make this not a fair trial --- and for other, similar reasons."

In November 2010, Seifzadeh was sentenced to nine years in prison --- later reduced to two on appeal --- and a 10-year ban on practicing law, following charges of acting against national security by participating in the establishment of the CDHR.

In spring 2011, the lawyer was detained, charged with “illegal exit” out of the country, and sent to Evin Prison, where he was charged with “collusion and acting against national security” for his writings. These include a letter to former President Mohammad Khatami, former President of Iran; two articles critical of the way amnesty is applied in the law and of the definition of political crimes; and collective statements in prison.

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The Latest from Iran (16 January): Economic Jitters

Ashgar Farhadi's Nader and Simin: A Separation wins Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globe Awards last night --- in his acceptance speech, Farhadi says simply, "Iran is truly a loving people"

2103 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. Mohsen Qamsari, the head of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, has insisted that Iran is maintaining the sale of oil to Asian countries despite US pressure for tightened sanctions.

Qamsari said, "The one-year contract with Korean companies to buy our oil has been renewed since the last two months."

Earlier this month, officials said refiners in South Korea --- which buys about 10% of its crude from Iran --- were looking for alternatives.

Asked whether Japan had reduced its oil imports from Iran, Qamsari said, "It is not true. The time for renewal of contracts with the Japanese is around March and they are buying 240,000 barrels from us per day."

The official also denied any problems doing business with India, even though there have been problems over payment arrangements for more than a year.

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The Latest from Iran (13 December): Political Battles and Human Rights

2005 GMT: Signal of the Day. This might be the most telling news item about the future of Iranian diplomacy on the day that Foreign Minister Mottaki was fired.

While Mottaki was in Senegal on his last state trip, another Iranian emissary was leading a delegation to the strategic country of Jordan.

That emissary? President Ahmadinejad’s Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

That's right. The same Rahim-Mashai whose designation as a special envoy this summer prompted Mottaki's threat to resign and the Supreme Leader's chiding of the President for a "parallel" foreign policy, bringing a promise that Rahim-Mashai's position would be downgraded.

2000 GMT: Reaction to the Dismissal. We reported earlier (see 1654 GMT) that Alaeddine Boroujerdi, the chairman of the National Security Commission. learned of Foreign Minister Mottaki's dismissal from a Khabar Online reporter. His reaction is worth repeating in full: "Isn't Mr. Mottaki on a trip? You mean the dismissal decree was issued while he was on a mission?"

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The Latest from Iran (9 December): A Return to "Normal"

1710 GMT: We are going to take an early break this evening to join Ms EA at the theatre. As usual, I'm leaving the updates in the capable hands of our readers for late-breaking news and analysis.

1620 GMT: No Contradiction Here. The headline in Etelaat newspaper, 7 December: "Low Fuel Quality Main Reason for Smog". Headline in Etelaat, 8 December: "High Quality Fuel a Huge Domestic Success".

1605 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch (Censorship Edition). An EA source alerts us....

On Sunday night, pages and copies of the newspaper Iran were confiscated because of an article by executive director Kaveh Eshtehardi defending Mehdi Hashemi, the son of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. The seizures were ordered by Tehran Public Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi. Doulatabadi also warned other newspaper not to print any material identifying Hashemi by name.


Groups within the regime are seeking the trial of Hashemi on charges of fraud and electoral manipulation, and an arrest warrant has been issued for him. He has been in London since summer 2009.

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