Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Financial Times (5)


Iran Analysis: US-Europe Strategy --- Break Tehran's Economy for "Real" Nuclear Talks in Autumn

The US-European strategy is to continue with aggressive sanctions to force Iranian concessions --- the "stop, shut, and ship" of suspended 20% enrichment, transfer of 20% stock out of Iran, and closure of the Fordoo enrichment plant --- at the outset of any negotiations.

But when will that occur? Certainly not at the forthcoming talks on 26 February in Kazakhstan between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia)?

Western officials give the answer....

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Iran Feature: How a Political Prisoner Found Art for Her Activism (Bozorgmehr)

Hengameh ShahidiAfter two years in prison for protesting against rigged elections, Hengameh Shahidi, an Iranian journalist and human rights activist, picked up a paintbrush for the first time. Freed from Evin prison – where she was held in solitary confinement and allegedly tortured – art offered her a release.

“I still do not understand how a violent atmosphere has woken up a delicate part of me,” she says.

Now she hopes her paintings will help raise awareness about the plight of 200 or so political prisoners still in Iranian jails, many of them forgotten or ignored by a population afraid to speak out.

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Yemen 1st-Hand: "Government Is Not Strong, But People Are Not Liberated" (Fielding-Smith)

At a protest in Aden, a young man holds the flag of the Southern Movement and the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen

In the space of 30 years, Aden has been a British colony, the capital of a Soviet-backed independent republic, part of a new united Yemen, and the headquarters of a shortlived breakaway state, before being over-run and looted by the unity government’s forces. Residents say the wildly volatile state of limbo they have been in for the past year and a half is more alarming than anything they’ve experienced before.

“The government is not strong, but the people are not liberated,” said Mohamed Ali Ahmed, who recently returned after nearly three decades away and is a veteran of the south’s breakaway war. “It’s a kind of chaos --- no one is controlling anything.”

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Syria Feature: The Insurgents Test Self-Government (Daragahi)

Opposition demonstration in Souran, 7 September 2012

The leaders of the council governing Souran, a town in rebel-controlled Syria, decide to hold an impromptu meeting right on the footpath along its main street, a gesture of open government that would impress Canada or Sweden.

They draw together some plastic chairs and a table, pour tea and, as pedestrians listen in, explain the workings of the government they have set up to replace the Baath Party and the security officials who ran the region with an iron fist under President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.

“This is a new thing for us,” says Faez Hamsho, a businessman and one of 11 members of the town’s governing council. “But when Bashar’s men fled, we had to solve the day-to-day problems of the area.”

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Iran Special Analysis: The "Invented" Election

To modify Voltaire's famous statement about God, "if the 60% turnout did not exist, it would have to be invented".  Beyond the battles within the establishment that will soon re-emerge --- reduced to "Supreme Leader v. Ahmadinejad", but going far beyond this amongst the conservative and principlist factions and politicians --- the immediate demand on the regime was to establish its legitimacy.

The truth is that we will never know exactly how many Iranians --- amidst economic problems, worries over corruption and mismanagement, political in-fighting, restrictions on dissent and communications, imprisonments and harassments --- decided that voting might make a difference. 

What we do know is that Iranian authorities went to great lengths to set up and control the show.

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