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Entries in Guardian Council (29)


The Latest from Iran (28 July): An Opposition Move on the Elections?

2045 GMT: Politics Watch. A move within the Iranian establishment today, as clerics and former Government officials have announced their "Islamic Constancy Front". Those involved include Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, his clerical ally Morteza Agha-Tehrani, former Government spokesman Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, and former Minister of Interior Sadegh Mahsouli.

Mehr has no less than four stories emphasising the Front's declaration that it strengthens the unity of conservatives and principlists.

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The Latest from Iran (20 May): From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

Nasrin Sotoudeh2045 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Earlier today we noted an interview of leading principlist MP Ahmad Tavakoli in which he said, "[Opposition figure Mir Hossein] Mousavi could mobilise the social base against [Ayatollah] Khamenei, Ahmadinejad couldn't even if he wanted to."

That was only a fragment --- and, indeed, a misleading fragment --- of an important statement which points to the dilemma for Ahmadinejad's critics: do they push the President from power or do they accept that he will complete the last two years of his term? And what happens in 2013?

Tavakoli's interview because with the current conflict, as he notes Ahmadinejad's recent move on the Ministry of Intelligence and attempt to merge Ministers without informing legislators: "The Parliament's patience with the president is coming to an end."

Yet, when pressed what Parliament might do --- the interviewer suggests that Tavakoli's criticism can be qualified because "he is said to oppose everything" --- the MP offers a telling admission: he voted for Ahmadinejad's re-election in June 2009 not because he liked the President but "out of expediency" to shut off the reformist threat.

Tavakoli continues that Mousavi, if he won the Presidency, could challenge Supreme Leader with a well-established social base. So the vote for Ahmadinejad was loyalty to Ayatollah Khamenei as a necessary pillar of the Revolution.

An EA conservative jumps in with an interpretation, "So Tavakoli points to the long-term problem that no conservative can attract the millions of votes that Ahmadinejad has in 2005 and 2009. There is no clear alternative to the President."

My own addition --- that is certainly true if the Ahmadinejad of 2011 is seen in the same light as the Ahmadinejad of 2009. But what if the President, with his recent actions, has now become the threat to the Supreme Leader that Tavakoli feared at the last election?

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Iran Analysis: Guardian Council Smacks Down Ahmadinejad over Oil Ministry

I returned from an academic break just now to get a question from a journalist, "The Guardian Council have just said that President Ahmadinejad cannot be Minister of Oil. Is this significant?"

Yes, yes, and most definitely yes.

First, the news. The Guardian Council, which rules on disputed issues between the Iranian branches of government has declared that Ahmadinejad committed a "constitutional violation" when he named himself caretaker Minister of Oil last weekend.

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Wikileaks and Iran: Did Mojtaba Khamenei Rig the 2009 Election? (And Where Did the Cable Go?)

A curious story unfolding today: did the son of the Supreme Leader, Mojtaba Khamenei, worked with the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Abbas Ali Jafari, to manipulate the ballot?

That appears to be the claim, in at least one document released by WikiLeaks and obtained by the Daily Telegraph of London, by at least one Iranian source to US diplomats within days of the vote. But then another mystery starts....

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The Latest from Iran (12 January): Challenging the Guardian Council

2120 GMT: On the Border. The Los Angeles Times summarises the fuel dispute between Iran and Afghanistan, with Tehran still holding up to 2500 tankers on the border.

1720 GMT: The President's Right-Hand Man. There now appears to be a dedicated campaign amongst some Iranian "hard-liners" to force out Presidential Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai. Stay tuned for an EA exclusive on Thursday, but meanwhile this claim from Mashregh News....

Rahim-Mashai supposedly gave $150 vouchers to clerics who came to his speech at a community meeting.

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The Latest from Iran (1 January): And Today's Threat Is....

>1900 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Labour activist Mansour Osanloo has suddenly been transferred to solitary confinement. Osanloo has reportedly been punished for participating in a commemoration of Ali Saremi, the Kurdish detainee executed on Tuesday.

Osanloo has been in prison since 2007 and is serving a five-year sentence in Evin Prison.

1730 GMT: Execution Watch. The son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman condemned to death for adultery and complicity in murder, has been released on $40,000 bail and has given a press conference in Tabriz.

Sajad Ghaderzadeh told reporters, "In my opinion my mother is also guilty but since we have lost our father we do not want to lose our mother too. Consequently, we ask for a commutation of the penalty. The stoning sentence is on the file but it may not be carried out. At least this is what we are hoping."

Ghaderzadeh was detained in early October, along with Ashtiani's lawyer, as they gave an interview to two German reporters. The German journalists and attorney Houton Kian are still in prison.

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Iran Document: Karroubi Strikes Back "The People Call You Seditious"

Mr Jannati! You accuse these people (the political prisoners) of sedition. They call you seditious because of what you say and the sedition that you are creating. You should be responsive for your actions. If there was a just system in the country with a jury, then we would show you what you did during the past 21 years and how much you violated the rights of people. You sit down with armed and security forces and review and approve or disapprove [from being eligible for election] whomever you like....You are responsible for things that have happened....

At the end I urge all Grand Ayatollahs and senior religious figures to act in order to preserve the dignity of Islam and clergy and also to prevent the violation of rights of prisoners so the future we would not witness actions for which we cannot compensate.

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The Latest from Iran (15 November): Watching Rafsanjani, Listening to Karroubi

2045 GMT: Dropping the Sword. Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi publicly confirmed the regime's handling of post-election detainees who are allowed out of jail: "If political prisoners hold meetings, issue statements and pursue activities within their political parties, their right to temporary leave of absence from prison will be removed."

2025 GMT: Execution Watch (Prime-Time TV Edition). Looks like the Iranian regime is feeling a bit of pressure on the "human rights" front.....

How else to explain yet another "confession" on national television by Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, condemned to death for adultery and complicity in her husband's murder.

The blurred face of a woman, claimed to be Ashtiani, said, "I am a sinner". (The "confession" was voiced over, as Ashtiani speaks only Azeri.)

The report also contained purported statements by Ashtiani's son, Sajad Ghaderzadeh, and her lawyer, Houtan Kian, both of whom were arrested last month, and of the two German journalists who were trying to interview them.

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Iran Analysis: Dead End for Reform --- and Which Way Forward? (Rasoulpour)

Saman Rasoulpour writes in Rooz Online:

How have the events of the past year affected the future of reforms and movements for reform in Iran? This is a question worth asking these days. The protests of the past year, while challenging every aspect of the regime, had one unintended consequence: It exposed significant challenges to the future of reform in Iran. These challenges can be grouped in several categories.

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