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Entries in Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam (31)


Iran Live: Ex-President Rafsanjani's Camp Makes Its Election Move

Iran Feature: The Week in Review --- Threats and Arrests Before the Presidential Election
Thursday's Iran Live: Ahmadinejad "Presidential Election Will Be Political Epic"

1407 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Mohammad Hassan Asfari of Parliament's National Security Commission has said that a proposed festival in Azadi Stadium in Tehran is a gathering of Ahmadinejad which is an abuse of public funds and is illegal.

1253 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update. In today’s sermon, Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani warned Presidential candidates that loyalty to the Supreme Leader is a vital prerequisite for the position, stating that the Presidency is not a position of personal power but a “trusteeship of the divine”.

He also offered his sympathies for those affected by Wednesday’s earthquake in Bushehr Province that killed at least 37 people and injured hundreds more.

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Iran Live Coverage: Supreme Leader Declares Muslim Unity Against "Global Arrogance"

Maya Neyestani on the recent detention of 14 journalists by the regime

1811 GMT: Press Watch. Reformist newspapers have protested the arrests of their journalists since Saturday.

On its front page, Shargh published an empty space where Pouria Alami's column would usually have appeared and explained that "it will not be printed until further notice".

The newspaper Bahar wrote, "Our journalists deserve respect." It said that it is not possible at this point to comment on the charges of "spying and ties with foreign news organizations", but added that it is not clear how 14 journalists without any such backgrounds could suddenly have been detained, since all are fully aware of the red lines that cannot be crossed in the Islamic republic.

"Therefore, it doesn't seem that they could come close to such charges," the paper wrote.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Political Prisoners, Freedom of Expression, and Killer Smog (Arseh Sevom)

Hila Sedighi, threatened with imprisonment, recites her poetry

We have letters for you this week. The most heartbreaking comes from 21-year-old Zanyar Moradi, who begs the world to take notice as he and his cousin face imminent execution. Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi calls on UNICEF to visit children living in prison with incarcerated mothers. The children of former Presidential candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi have called for an end to their house arrest. The Supreme Leader has been deluged with letters demanding free and fair elections.

Meanwhile, Tehran's polluted skies literally take your breath away, claiming more than 4000 lives over one year. Three Iranian writers are honoured with Hellman-Hammett grants for their commitment to free expression, and a group of Iranians in London form an organisation to encourage reading. Iran is said to be working on controls for social networking sites as it steps up its harassment of the families of journalists.

Finally, after her release from prison, Hengameh Shahidi, a former advisor to Mehdi Karroubi, has turned her attention to art.

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Iran Live Coverage: Nuclear Talks to Resume?

See also Iran Feature: How a Political Prisoner Found Art for Her Activism
Friday's Iran Live Coverage: The Supreme Leader Tries to Bolster His Popularity

2025 GMT: Smog Watch. An official with the Environmental Protection Agency says 150 industrial units in Tehran Province have been shut because of the high levels of air pollution.

1855 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Detained senior reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh, who was taken to hospital earlier today because of a heart condition (see 1535 GMT), has now returned to prison.

1605 GMT: Smog Watch. An image of air pollution in Tehran --- the smog has forced the closure of schools and Government buildings today and tomorrow:

Jason Rezaian, the Tehran correspondent of The Washington Post, writes:

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Iran Live Coverage: Celebrating Victory Over Protests

See also Saturday's Iran Live Coverage: Cheerleading for Sanctions

Tehran, 30 December 20091759 GMT: At the Movies. The Iranian Directors Union has warned that cinema is on the verge of closure amidst censorship and economic difficulties.

Scores of movie houses have reportedly shut this year. The Ministry of Culture gave the reassurance that Iranians could always watch television.

1750 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been put in solitary confinement for three weeks for "insulting the Supreme Leader" and "disturbing order in prison".

Hashemi is serving a six-month sentence for propaganda against the regime.

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Iran Live Coverage: "Supreme Leader Ordered House Arrests of Mousavi and Karroubi"

See also The Latest from Iran (25 December): Is the Currency Falling Again?

2117 GMT: Economy Watch. Radio Zamaneh summarises the gloomy report of Parliament's Research Center, surveying 98 economic organizations over the past year, that production has fallen 40% and employment is down 36%. The downturn has been fed by price rises of 87.9% for produced goods and 112.1% for primary materials.

The Center adds that in the past year, only 50 production facilities have been established while 566 have shut down.

Meanwhile, in an example of the problems with production, 300 workers at the Fajr Petrochemical factory in Mahshahr have gone on strike protesting the lack of job security.

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The Latest from Iran (17 December): Seeking Influence on Syria

Iran Special Analysis: Breaking the Deadlock in the Nuclear Negotiations
The Latest from Iran (16 December): Is Tehran Ready for Concessions on Nuclear Programme?

1551 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Turkish Front). NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has rejected the declaration by the head of Iran's armed forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, that the placement of NATO's Patriot anti-missiles sysems on Turkey's border with Syria risks a world war.

"I completely denounce these (Iranian) allegations. We have made clear right from the outset that the deployment of Patriots is a purely defensive measure," Rasmussen told a news conference after talks with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo. "We are there to defend and protect our ally Turkey. We have no offensive intentions whatsoever."

On Saturday, Firouzabadi said, "Each one of these Patriots is a black mark on the world map, and is meant to cause a world war. They are making plans for a world war, and this is very dangerous for the future of humanity and for the future of Europe itself."

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The Latest from Iran (1 December): Politics, Oil, and Propaganda

See also Iran Analysis: How to Misread Ahmadinejad's Position
The Latest from Iran (30 November): An Economy in Confusion

1935 GMT: Health Watch. A Ministry of Health official has said that the Central Bank has agreed to the Ministry's request for an earmarked $2 billion for imports of medicine to cope with domestic shortages.

Amid international sanctions that have reportedly limited drugs and medical supplies, the Ministry has been criticised for mismanagement and failure to allocate funds to deal with the worsening situation.

1715 GMT: Oil Watch. India's private refiner Essar Oil increased imports of Iranian oil about 30% in October.

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The Latest from Iran (30 October): Tehran's Mixed Messages

See also Iran Analysis: The Regime Tells the US, "You Are Plotting Against Us --- Let's Talk"
Iran Exclusive: Did Supreme Leader's Top Advisor Meet US Officials in Qatar?
The Latest from Iran (29 October): We Will Defeat the Sanctions, The Sanctions Are Killing Us

2100 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Back from an extended business break to find Press TV continuing State media's encouraging signals about renewed discussions of Iran's nuclear programme:

EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, says she has plans to meet with Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili, hoping new talks between Iran and the group of six major world powers could lead to a diplomatic solution.

Ashton said on Tuesday that European officials met last weekend with aides to the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, adding that she plans to meet directly with him [Jalili] soon, Associated Press reported.

The announcement is seen as a key step in the resumption of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group --- which consists of Britain, China, France, Russia, and the US plus Germany -- over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

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Iran Feature: "We Have Restricted the Wishes and Ideals of the Nation To Worrying About Chicken" (Mousavi)

A nation that was supposed to be a role model for all the World --- and be a messenger of peace, friendship, justice,compassion and human dignity for all the people --- is , today, most worried about Chicken.

Waking up every morning, he is worried that, God forbid, a kilo of chicken priced at 7,000 Toman has become 8,000 Toman, and [consequently] this fruit of the Earth gets further away from his reach daily, and every night he goes to bed wishing for a miracle to happen so chicken becomes cheaper.

Can a Nation that spends its days and nights obsessed with poultry possess "human dignity" and be a decent role model for the people of the World?

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