Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


Entries in Emaduddin Baghi (11)


The Latest from Iran (25 September): Which is More Important --- The Ahmadinejad Show or an Economy in Crisis?

Full interview of President Ahmadinejad by CNN's Piers Morgan: "How do you feel about being Public Enemy Number One?"

2049 GMT: Cyber Denial of the Day. Minister of Communications Reza Taghipour has said that Google is not filtered in Iran. Gmail's problems were "because of the rule of the judiciary", and "we had to observe the law".

1727 GMT: Nuclear Confusion. Yesterday we noted that Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, had confirmed --- for the first time in a public statement by an Iranian official --- that Tehran had offered to give up enrichment of 20% uranium in return for an easing of sanctions.

Now Soltanieh has denied the remark, reported by InterPress Service, “Let me tell you! I’ve taken part in no interviews about [the country’s uranium] enrichment and relevant issues with anyone in the past one month. I’ve not said such a thing."

1717 GMT: CyberWatch. Baztab writes that some government offices have installed Virtual Private Networks and filter-breakers because of the need to communicate via Gmail, blocked by authorities on Sunday.

Click to read more ...


The Latest from Iran (3 February): The Supreme Leader's Friday Prayer

Minister of Education Haji Babaei and the Cardboard Imam (see 1741 GMT)

See also Iran Snap Analysis: The Supreme Leader --- Strong Abroad, Weak at Home
Iran Feature: How Tehran's "Islamic Awakening" Lost Its Arab Spring
The Latest from Iran (2 February): Will There Be Protests on 25 Bahman?

1800 GMT: Food Watch. Up to five vessels, out of 10 ships waiting off Iran for up to three weeks with 400,000 tonnes of grain, have now diverted to Qatar, the UAE, and Singapore.

The ships could not or would not off-load their cargoes because of payment difficulties amidst US-led sanctions.

"There is no prohibition on discharging cargoes (in Iran) but they can't because they have not been paid. Some will be trying to find other buyers now," a trade source said.

Click to read more ...


The Latest from Iran (24 July): Confusion over a Murdered "Nuclear Scientist"

Dariush Rezaeinejad & Daughter2015 GMT: Reformist Watch. MP Mohammad Mehdi Shahryari has given an answer both to ruling principlists and to Mohammad Reza Khabbaz, the reformist who has called for participation in the 2012 Parliamentary elections (see 0545 GMT): "The principlists cannot flee from responsibility for the current situation in country, as they supported it for six years."

1825 GMT: Why Can't We All Just Get Along? Aftab pulls out this highlight from an address by the Supreme Leader to military personnel and their families on Saturday night: "Avoiding differences is a religious duty for political officials and currents."

Click to read more ...


Iran Feature: Supreme Leader Says "Read"...As Books are Banned and Publishers are Closed

On Wednesday, the Supreme Leader said, "Iranian officials should encourage the youth to read useful books....Reading should become an everyday habit among all Iranians, and the youth in particular." Pointing to Iran's long history of publishing books, he expressed disappointment at the current figures of book publication and reading. 

A quick look at how the Islamic Republic has encouraged reading in recent years....

November 2006: The regime bans thousands of books, including acclaimed works from homegrown novelist Sadegh Hedayat, classics like William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, and best-sellers like The Da Vinci Code. Minister of Culture Mohammad Hossein calls publishers "assistants for evil" and says they should stop serving a "poisoned dish to the young generation."

January 2011: A think tank close to Iranian security forces publishes a leaflet listing publishers, writers, and translators who are “usurpers” intent on overthrowing the regime.  The publishers  include Cheshmeh, Ghoghnous, Akhtaran, and Kavir. Among the writers listed are Emaduddin Baghi, Ramin Jahanbegloo, and poet Simin Behbahani.

The work of novelist Paulo Coelho is banned.

Mehr reports on the closing of businesses along Tehran's Karim Khan Avenue, renowned for its bookstores.

The head of the Basij militia, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, tells an audience of the dangers for Iran's students of "Western" texts in the humanities and social sciences.

May 2011: Works by leading novelist Ali Ashraf Darvishian and several other writers are ordered off the shelves at the Tehran International Book Fair.

The books which are removed include An Introduction to Heidegger's Existential Philosophy; The Nik-Akhtar Family, a novel by distinguished Iranian satirist Iraj Pezeshkzad; the third volume of The Cambridge History of Iran; and a book about yoga.

July 2011: Six printing houses close because of economic problems, including a shortage of orders and the rise of imported products.

Writer Mostafa Rahmandust notes only one book for each two Iranian children is published annually, "A writer is not able to earn a living, nor is a publisher hopeful about the outcomes of his/her work....Cultural officials have not carried out their duties properly in the field of children's literature."

But there is one positive development in the Iranian book world, with the appearance of a new work titled "Leading Approaches". The subject? A collection of the speeches and statements of an Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


The Latest from Iran (22 June): A Bad Day for Ahmadinejad

1810 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Website supporting the President are hitting back....

Didgah News claims all political tensions have arisen "from the graves of monopolists who hide behind the Supreme Leader". Bultan News declares that "bad MPs who interfere in govt matters" will weaken the Government and the Majlis.

1740 GMT: The Supreme Leader's Men. Iranian media are reporting that Mojtaba Zolnour, the Supreme Leader's representative to the Revolutionary Guards, is leaving his post. The reason is unclear. Hafte Sobh, the website linked to Presidential Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, says he has been dismissed for slander, while Fars claims Zolnour is running for Parliament next year.

In recent weeks, Zolnour has been an outspoken critic of the "deviant" current around President Ahmadinejad, including Rahim-Mashai (see 1500 GMT).

Click to read more ...


The Latest from Iran (20 June): A Fight Over the Foreign Ministry

1740 GMT: The Foreign Ministry Dispute. Leading MP Ahmad Tavakoli has increased the pressure on the Ahmadinejad camp over the proposed appointment of Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh as staff and finance manager at the Foreign Ministry (see 0500 GMT).

Tavakoli has claimed that Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi told Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi not to appoint Malekzadeh because he is on the verge of arrest over financial irregularities. Tavakoli declared that Salehi had proposed three candidates before Malekzadeh to the President; Ahmadinejad rejected all of them.

Malekzadeh has responded that Tavakoli is spreading slander and should release documents. He claims the MP is providing a story for the enemy.

Click to read more ...


The Latest from Iran (26 April): The President's Right-Hand Man Launches a Newspaper?

1855 GMT: Where's Mahmoud? Khabar Online reports that President Ahmadinejad and the Cabinet have cancelled a trip to Qom scheduled for this week.

1815 GMT: The Battle Within. Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, a senior advisor to the President, has denied reports of his resignation.

1702 GMT: Budget Watch. Parliament approved the 2011/12 budget by a vote of 149-61 today.

That would appear to be a breakthrough after months of stalemate; however, there were still signs of tension. The 149 "yes" votes were only just over half of the 290-member Majlis, as there were nine abstentions and 71 absences.

Some of those who were absent were pro-Ahmadinejad MPs. The reason for their protest is not yet clear.

Click to read more ...


The Latest from Iran (17 March): Economy Watch

2100 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist and human rights activist Kaveh Kermanshahi has been given a four-year sentence by an appeals court.

Kermanshahi was originally sentenced to five years in prison.

1700 GMT: We're Watching You. Ayatollah Nourollah Tabarasi, a member of the Assembly of Experts, has declared that 53 intelligence networks have been established to spy on 60,000 seminary students.

1645 GMT: Back from an academic break to find that Ali Karroubi, the son of Mehdi Karroubi, has been released from detention.

Ali Karroubi was arrested more than three weeks ago during a raid on his parents' home and their possible move from house arrest to detention.

Click to read more ...


Iran Snapshot: A Letter to EA About Detained Journalist Emaduddin Baghi

EA has just received this letter about journalist Emaduddin Baghi, arrested in December 2009 --- in part for interviewing Grand Ayatollah Montazeri --- and summoned this week to begin a seven-year sentence:

Dear Friends.

Emaduddin Baghi was sent behind bars today. A few days ago when Tehran was in holiday thanks to the pollution, an unknown telephone call insisted Baghi to make himself present before the court on Sunday (today, 5th of December). Today is a bad day because Baghi is imprisoned again.

Click to read more ...


The Latest from Iran (4 December): Behind the Postures

2050 GMT: Signs for a Deal? Signals from both Iran and the US that talks in next Monday and Tuesday on Tehran's nuclear programme can move toward a resolution.

The US media are picking up on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's implicit acknowledgement on Friday that Iran has a right to enrich uranium:

The position of the international community is clear. You have the right to a peaceful nuclear program, but with that right comes a reasonable responsibility, that you follow the treaty you signed and fully address the international community’s concerns about your nuclear activity. We urge you to make that choice … we urge you to restore the confidence of the international community and live up to your international obligations.

(And Iranian media and officials, despite the apparent snub to Clinton by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki only a few seats away, have also taken note. Mottaki said today, “This is a step forward that even the United States [officials] admit to Iran's right to acquire nuclear technology and fuel cycle in their every speech.")

Equally notable, however, is the statement of President Ahmadinejad today. After a week filled with denunciations of the "West", the US, and the UN, Ahmadinejad said:

We are ready to cooperate on a wide range of issues including economic, nuclear, international security and international political issues and the resolution of global problems. This is a unique opportunity...that we hope Western leaders will not waste.

Click to read more ...