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Entries in Fakhrosaadat Mohtashamipour (14)


Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Monkey in Space, Journalists in Prison (Arseh Sevom)

Everything has its place in Iran --- such as monkeys in space and journalists in prison.

And, oh what a prison! After detainees complain of their conditions, MPs visit Evin, calling it a “hotel.". Stoning makes a comeback — at least in print. The surveillance of Iran’s public spaces is revealed when Cafe Prague closes its doors in protest.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From The "Butcher of the Press" to Speaking Out Against War (Arseh Sevom)

"Raising Their Voices": Iranian Intellectuals Speak Out Against War

Our colleagues at Arseh Sevom, a non-governmental organisation promoting civil society in Iran, bring us their weekly review of developments within the country:

Butcher of the Press leaves…Not!

Regular readers of Arseh Sevom’s weekly review won’t be surprised to find that former Tehran prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, is topping headlines once again. This time with rumors of his resignation after a contested promotion to director of the biggest financial holding organization in Iran, Social Security Organization [Sazman-e Tamin-e Ejtema’ie].

Mortazavi is no stranger to controversy and condemnation. After the 2009 demonstrations against the flawed presidential elections, he was summoned for a hearing in connection with  atrocities that occurred at Kahrizak prison. Dismayed parliamentarians threatened that his promotion, instead of punishment, would mean the impeachment of his boss, the Minister of Labor.

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The Latest from Iran (5 March): The Election? So Far, It's a Muddle

See also Iran Opinion: Why Iranians Voted in the 2012 Elections
Iran Elections Snapshot: The #1 Subversive Moment "They're All the Same"
Iran Snap Analysis: Rearranging the Political Chairs --- What Has Changed?
The Latest from Iran (4 March): The Play-Acting of the Election

1747 GMT: Oil Watch. Industry sources say India's largest customer for Iranian oil plans to cut daily imports by almost 50%.

State-run Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd could reduce imports to as little as 80,000 barrels per day from 1 April, the sources said. MRPL usually buys 150,000 bpd.

The report is further evidence that while New Delhi publicly says it will not comply with US-led, the Indian Government has privately instructed refineries to cut imports.

India, China and Japan buy almost half of Iran's estimated 2.6 million barrels per day of oil exports,

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The Latest from Iran (24 August): Oil and Gasoline --- It's All the Way You Look at It....

2030 GMT: Trouble on the Russian Front. Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi, Iran's ambassador in Russia, has said that Tehran has filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice against Russia for not delivering S-300 missiles ordered by Iran.

Sajjadi also criticised Russia's Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of state-owned Gazprom, for a delay in developing Iran's oil reserves. He said Gazprom Neft has delayed the development of the Azar field for nearly two years since signing a tentative agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company in November 2009 to jointly develop its resources.

"Big damage has been done by Russian oil companies to the Iranian people," Saijadi said through a translator at a news conference. "I have already told the Russian side about the danger of this approach."

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Iran Document: "Raising Their Voices" Activists Inside Country Speak Out Against Military Strike

The International Committee for Human Rights in Iran has published a 38-page report, "Raising Their Voices", with the commentaries of 35 prominent writers, lawyers, filmmakers, and activists inside the country about the impact of a military strike against Iran. Extracts from some of the testimonies:

"If a war were to take place right now, the atmosphere would definitely become more restricted and more limitations would be imposed upon intellectuals, human rights activists, social elites and students. If the West wishes to realize democracy, freedom, and human rights worldwide it should consider options other than war."

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The Latest from Iran (9 April): Ahmadinejad Challenges the Supreme Leader over the President's Right-Hand Man

2010 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Two supporters of the Laleh Park Mothers of Mourning, Jila Karamzadeh and Laila Saifollahi, have each been sentenced to four years in prison.

1710 GMT: The President's Former Right-Hand Man. A bit more context on the battle around controversial Ahmadinejad ally and advisor Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, who officially left as Chief of Staff today....

Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, considered a spiritual advisor to Ahmadinejad, reportedly launched a furious attack on Rahim-Mashai. The cleric said the "fitna" (sedition) of 2009 around the Presidential election had ended, but now there was a new fitna on higher level.

And what could that challenge be? In a reference to Rahim-Mashai's promotion of an "Iranian model" for other countries to follow, Mesbah Yazdi asked, "Why replace Islam and Revolution with an Iran School?"

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The Latest from Iran (7 April): We Have Met the Enemy, and They are Facebook and Twitter

2015 GMT: Line of the Day. President Ahmadinejad gives short shrift to the New Year message from President Obama, "What do you know about Nowruz?"

2005 GMT: Currency Watch. Peymane claims that the Iranian toman has dropped to a rate of 1115 v. the US dollar.

The Iranian Government has been trying to keep the toman's value around 1050 to the dollar. Last autumn, after the announcement of subsidy cuts and amidst sanctions, it intervened with influxes of foreign reserves when the toman fell, on the "free market", to 1200 to the dollar.

Peymane also reports that gold prices are rising amidst economic uncertainty.

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Latest from Iran (3 April): The Zionist Lobby and Clay Tablets

1840 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch (Repentance Edition). More from the interview published by State news agency IRNA of Ebrahim Yazdi (see 1730 GMT), the former leader of the Freedom Movement of Iran who was detained from early October until 20 March:

In the interview [carried out on the same day he was released, but only printed today], Yazdi maintains that his heart problems and weakened physical condition have prompted him to leave the leadership of the Freedom Movement.

Yazdi insists in the interview that he has the utmost respect for the Iranian constitution, but adding: “Whoever states a criticism cannot be regarded as a dissident. The dominant mode of thinking should not be that you are either for me or against me. If someone criticizes you, this does not mean they are your enemy.”

“I have no problem with the system but I am against certain actions that are unconstitutional,” the octogenarian politician says in his interview.

He is also quoted as saying that demonstrations are free so far as they do not disturb public order.

“It is best to coordinate relevant regulations,” Yazdi is quoted as saying, “because without such coordination, it is not just your supporters that come to the streets but also undesirable groups.”

Yazdi is quoted as saying that he had told opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi that when he invites people to join street demonstrations, it is clear that many of those who take to the streets are not in fact his supporters. “They chant their own slogans and demonstrate against the regime… and they damage the reform movement.” IRNA writes that Yazdi recommends a close investigation of Mousavi’s actions to determine why he has reached his current position.

According to IRNA, Yazdi also says that he was against Mousavi’s candidacy because he felt it was not right to have “a president that was not coordinated with the leadership.”

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The Latest from Iran (2 April): Getting Outside

2000 GMT: Arrests on 13 Bedar. Rah-e-Sabz reports that people celebrating the outdoors festival of Sizdeh Bedar and using it to highlight environmental issues have been accosted and arrested by security forces in Tehran, Tabriz, and Urmia in northwest Iran.

1955 GMT: The Battle Within. One of the regime's stalwart clerics, Mashhad Friday Prayer leader Ayatollah Alamolhoda, has launched a furious attack on President Ahmadinejad's right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

Alamolhoda said that Rahim-Mashai is not fitna (seditious), but he is monharef (deviate), playing with God and the notion of being a prophet.

The Ayatollah warned that if Rahim-Mashai claims he was misunderstood, "I have his even worse CD" with his views, notably the insult that "religious society isn't ideal society".

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The Latest from Iran (1 April): A Burst of Green

2040 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Kalemeh reports that detained activist Fakhrossadat Mohtashamipour is in a coma after a hunger strike and has been transferred to hospital.

Mohtashamipour, the wife of imprisoned reformist leader Mostafa Tajzadeh, had said she would fast if she was not allowed to visit her husband.

2030 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update --- An Update. Well, I guess I owe Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami an apology --- while he was making a grand tour of Egypt-Libya-Yemen-Bahrain to blame the West for distortions, manipulations, and general evil, he did have a chat with the faithful about the situation in Iran today.

Khatami took his lead from the Supreme Leader's 2011 theme of "economic jihad" to declare there would be economic growth, a narrowed gap between those with high and low incomes, and a one-digit unemployment rate.

The Ayatollah assured that Iran would have 8% economic growth rate in the 5th 5-Year Plan (2010-2015), even though that plan has not been passed by Parliament, and said officials of the country have had successful projects for employment.

But he still didn't mention Syria.

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