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Entries in Habibollah Sayyari (11)


Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Threatened Journalists, Tehran Claims the South Pole, and the End of Olympic Wrestling (Arseh Sevom)

An embrace between US and Iranian wrestlers in the 2012 Olympics --- but it may not happen again

The Ministry of Intelligence, not letting up on the "enemy" BBC Persian, continues to arrest, hold, and harass journalists and filmmakers.

Meanwhile, Jafar Panahi receives international acclaim despite being under house arrest and banned from filmmaking.

The South Pole could become a vacation spot for New Year revelers if Iran’s claim to some of its vast territory holds up.

The Supreme Leader chastises President Ahmadinejad and the Larijani brothers for their very public dispute.

And Iran and the US finally agree on one thing: removing wrestling from the Olympic games is just tragic.

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The Latest from Iran (15 November): Tehran's Open Call for Nuclear Talks

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and Iran's Secretary of the National Security Council, Saeed Jalili

1759 GMT: A Death in Detention. Head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani has declared that he will deal "firmly" with anyone found guilty of abuse, torture, and/or wrongful behaviour in the case of blogger Sattar Beheshti, who died during interrogation in prison last week.

See Iran Feature: The Last Blog of Sattar Beheshti, Murdered by Security Forces in Prison

1753 GMT: Health Watch. Minister of Health Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, trying to stave off criticism and calls for her impeachment (see 0945 GMT), has declared that Iran has risen from 56th to 20th in the world in medical care in the last 10 years, and that the Islamic Republic is 14th in the world for pharmaceuticals.

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The Latest from Iran (3 November): Will the Political Fighting Stop? (Probably Not.)

Sadegh Larijani, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ali Larijani2135 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Earlier we noted the escalation of a statement by Mohammad-Hassan Asfari, a member of Parliament's National Security Committee, about a possible nuclear deal into a claim that Iran has unilaterally suspended enrichment of 20% uranium (see 1806 GMT).

Now an "informed source" has told Fars that the Islamic Republic is continuing the enrichment with "no changes".

2111 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Pedram Nasrollahi, a member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations, has been sentenced to 19 months in prison by an Appeals Court.

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The Latest from Iran (23 September): An "Inevitable" War with Israel?

President Ahmadinejad and military commanders gaze at a missile during Friday's parade in Tehran

See also The Latest from Iran (22 September): The Syria Muddle Continues

2022 GMT: The House Arrests. The son of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, held under strict house arrest since February 2011, has provided an update on his father's status.

Mohammad Taghi Karroubi said, "For the past six weeks, the family has been allowed to meet with Mr. Karroubi once a week and on a regular basis. These visits have taken place in the presence of security agents. Prior to this change in policy, there had been times when the family had gone four months without seeing Mr. Karroubi."

Karroubi's son said the opposition figure, who ran for President in 2009 and pressed the regime after the disputed election over justice and rights, has had access to newspapers for only four weeks out of his 19-month detention. So "I deemed it necessary to bring him up to breast with current affairs during our short visits that took place in the presence of security agents".

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The Latest from Iran (4 September): Back to Business?

See also Iran Feature: Regime to Media "Print Only Hope and Joy About Sanctions"
Iran Snapshot: The Military's New Weapon --- "Deceit Perfume"
The Latest from Iran (3 September): "This Country is Broken"

2039 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Looks like the President did not heed the command of his officials, noted in our separate feature, to spread only "hope and joy" about the economy and sanctions....

Western media headline Ahmadinejad's statement in his interview, "There are some problems in selling oil and we are trying to manage it," and his effective admission of the impact of sanctions through his accusation that "the enemy" was using "psychological warfare".

The President said the sanctions were "blocking off conduits... like the conduits of selling oil, foreign exchange, our banks and the central bank....We are working to bypass them day and night...[but] most of the time when an obstacle is created, it takes a long time to remove it."

Ahmadinejad did finally find some hope: "We have oil and the world needs it," adding that his government was also running a "very rigid budget".

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The Latest from Iran (16 July): We Are Here for Your Security

Maya Neyestani illustrates the warning of Iran's Police Chief against films and television showing people eating chicken, as it encourages the poor "to stab the rich"

1720 GMT: Persian Gulf Watch. A US military supply ship fired today at a small boat in the Persian Gulf after it came too close, apparently killing one person on board, American officials said.

The USNS Rappahannock, a fuel resupply ship, fired on what the officials called a "small, white pleasure craft" 10 miles from the Dubai port of Jebel Ali.

The Navy said in a statement, "In accordance with Navy force protection procedures, the sailors on the USNS Rappahannock...used a series of non-lethal, preplanned responses to warn the vessel before resorting to lethal force. The U.S. crew repeatedly attempted to warn the vessel's operators to turn away from their deliberate approach. When those efforts failed to deter the approaching vessel, the security team on the Rappahannock fired rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun."

Fars briefly had the item at the top of its homepage, but the entry has now disappeared.

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The Latest from Iran (31 December): Where are the Reformists for the Elections?

Mohammad Ali Kouzegar1330 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch (Elections Edition). Tabnak reports that President Ahmadinejad has begun campaign meetings with his team including senior advisors Ali Akbar Javanfekr, Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi,and Abbas Amirifar; son-in-law Mehdi Khorshidi, and son Alireza Ahmadinejad. A new oraganisation, Supporters of Government Front, has been created.

Speaking to supporters yesterday, Ahmadinejad reportedly said, "Even if the pressures on the Government increase, the Government will not resign and back down. I have many things about the next election that I will say in the next few weeks.”

Meanwhile, others have started mobilising against Ahmadinejad. The Supreme Leader's advisor Ali Akbar Velayati, in his speech to supporters (see 0735 GMT), advised principlists, “Based on the importance of election and the international pressures on Iran, unity among the people in charge and the principlists is necessary." He said those who were silent toward the deviant and seditious currents --- read Ahmadinejad's camp and unrepentant reformists --- "are not part of our list".

Alireza Zakani, another senior figure in the Unity Front, claimed that Ahmadinejad's team was already putting out lots of money: "The deviant current for the victory of each of its candidates has spend 1-3 billion Tomans (about $650,000 to $2 million).”

Seyed Solat Mortazavi, the head of Iran's Election Organisation, asked Zakani to present his evidence to the Ministry of Interior.

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The Latest from Iran (29 December): Ahmadinejad on the Campaign Trail

See also Iran Feature: Why Tehran Can't Cut Off Oil Through The Straits of Hormuz
The Latest from Iran (28 December): Look! State-of-the-Art Torpedoes!

2200 GMT: And A Bit More of a Break. Apologies to readers, but we are going to extend the holiday overnight. We'll be back by 0700 GMT with a feisty opening to Friday's LiveBlog.

1722 GMT: A Break from Propaganda. We are on a holiday break at the moment --- all we are missing, we think, is another round of bluster about fake war from the Iranian media, "Iran Bombers Pound Mock Targets".

1319 GMT: Sedition Watch. One of the showpieces this week of the regime's "victory over sedition campaign", celebrating the 2nd anniversary of the counter-rally against the Green Movement, has been a report for Parliamentary outlining an attempt at "velvet revolution" involving the US, Israel, Britain, and Iranian politicians such as former President Mohammad Khatami and Mehdi Hashemi, the son of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani.

There has been a glitch in the proceedings, however. Conservative MP Ali Motahari, a staunch foe of President Ahmadinejad, has declared, "If we accept the Article 90 Commission's report on the 2009 elections, we have to accept the report of Ahmad Shaheed [the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights] as well."

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The Latest from Iran (27 December): Election Watch

See also Iran Snap Analysis: How Many Reformists Will Participate in the Elections?
Iran Interview: Detained Mehdi Karroubi on "A Rigged and Forced Election Process"
The Latest from Iran (26 December): The (Dis)Unity of Elections

1758 GMT: Elections Watch. Prominent reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh, serving a six-year prison sentence, has posted an open letter declaring that he will boycott the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.

Tajzadeh, a former Deputy Minister of Interior, cited the need "to counter lies, corruption, and ineptitude" and "to prevent the establishment of an absolute dictatorship" as well "to control and eradicate poverty, unemployment, and crime". Among reasons not to participate, he mentioned the June 2009 "election coup" putting President Ahmadinejad back in office, the re-appointment of Ayatollah Jannati as head of the Guardian Council supervising the elections, the "illegal involvement of military and security forces", "the illegal house arrest" of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the suspension of reformist parties.

1755 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Ebrahim Yazdi, the 81-year-old former Foreign Minister, has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Yazdi, the head of the Freedom Movement of Iran, was arrested briefly after the disputed June 2009 Presidential election and again in September 2010 for an "illegal prayer meeting".

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The Latest from Iran (30 October): When Talking Tough Is Not Enough....

See also Iran Video Interview: Hillary Clinton with BBC Persian "The Unfortunate Decsion of the Green Movement"
The Latest from Iran (29 October): The Economy, Propaganda, and the IMF

2130 GMT: Elections Watch. Leading reformist Ali Shakourirad has said it is too late for the regime to meet former President Khatami's conditions --- freeing of political prisoners, freedom for political parties and a free and fair electoral process, and adherence to the Constitution --- for reformists to participate in next March's Parliamentary elections. They should instead inform people of their demands and objections to the current system.

2030 GMT: Parliament v. President. Looks like the Parliamentary challenge to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declared over only a few days ago, is very much alive....

Mohammad Reza Bahonar, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, said the motion to interrogate Ahmadinejad now bears 74 signatures, one more than the minimum needed for consideration.

Last week, Iranian media reported that a number of MPs had withdrawn their support for the motion, but some have now reconsidered their withdrawal and one new MP joined the petition.

The motion will be sent to a Parliamentary commission for examination. It cites 10 irregularities on which the president needs to be questioned, such as his alleged refusal to carry out legislation for funding of the Tehran subway and his disputes with the Supreme Leader over the reinstatement of Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi.

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