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Entries in Helga Schmid (8)


Iran Live Coverage: The Blame Game over No Nuclear Talks

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Political Prisoners and Public Executions
Friday's Iran Live Coverage: Wishing Away The Economic Problems

1814 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Mehdi Mahmoudian, journalist and member of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front, has been released from prison on furlough.

Mahmoudian is serving a five-year sentence for assembly and collusion against the regime.

1744 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). With the first NATO Patriot anti-missile systems operational on the Turkish border with Syria, Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi has renewed Tehran's criticism of Ankara, “We do not consider the presence of these Patriot systems as beneficial and believe that it will cause misunderstanding among the regional countries."

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Iran Live Coverage: President v. Parliament

See also Iran Analysis: The Real Explanation for the Delay in New Nuclear Talks
Iran Live Coverage: Don't Mention the "Free Elections"

2220 GMT: Nuclear Watch. After a few days talking down the possibility of renewed nuclear talks --- and putting the blame on Tehran --- Western diplomats said today that discussions could still resume in January.

The shift follows a phone call on Monday between Helga Schmid, the deputy negotiator for the 5+1 Powers, and her Iranian counterpart Ali Bagheri.

"Consultations to prepare a next round of talks are ongoing," spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said.

"The powers and Iran are still discussing possible dates for nuclear talks in January," one Western envoy said.

See also Iran Analysis: The Real Explanation for the Delay in New Nuclear Talks

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The Latest from Iran (23 July): Picking A Fight Over an Ahmadinejad Advisor?

See also The Latest from Iran (22 July): Trying to Fix the Economy for Ramadan

1956 GMT: Stay at Home Watch. The Ministry of Culture has banned billboards advertising foreign travel, except for pilgrimages.

1946 GMT: Protest Watch. More on the demonstration over high prices, especially for food, in Neyshabour in northeastern Iran --- ISNA reports that the low number of subsidised chickens stirred the protest and that the head of the Industry & Trade Bureau has promised more will be delivered. The local chief of police attended the gathering as well and assured the crowd that he would report their demands to authorities.

The blog that originally reported the protest has now withdrawn the news and pictures.

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The Latest from Iran (9 July): Desperately Seeking All-Is-Well Oil News

See also The Latest from Iran (8 July): Admitting the "Sanctions Problem"

1810 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Egyptian and Syrian Fronts). Press TV highlights the latest push by Tehran to present an Iranian-Egyptian alliance under the headline "Egypt Revolution Undoubtedly Inspired by Iran":

Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, says the Egyptian revolution was “undoubtedly” inspired by the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.

“We are happy that despite all the difficulties an Islamist [presidential] candidate won in Egypt,” Velayati said in a meeting with the Secretary General of Egypt's Amal Party Magdi Hussein in Tehran on Monday....

Velayati described [Egyptian President Mohamed] Morsi’s victory as “a very important achievement,” saying, “Safeguarding this achievement is more important than achieving it".

Velayati also had some sharp words about the Syrian political crisis, “Certain regional states and aggressive countries such as the US and the Israeli regime have joined hands and hatched a plot against the Syrian government.” He said the public’s problems would undoubtedly be resolved based on the reforms which are underway.

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The Latest from Iran (4 July): "Neither Side Understands the Other" in Nuclear Talks

See also The Latest From Iran (3 July): Beyond the Propaganda, Nuclear Talks in Istanbul Today

2046 GMT: Excuse of the Day. Earlier today (see 1103 GMT) we reported on the curious episode where State TV's website suddenly pulled a poll when 63% of respondents favoured giving up enrichment of uranium if sanctions would be relieved. Well, here comes the explanation....

Iran's state TV is charging the BBC with hacking its website to change the results of a poll about Iran's nuclear program....

The TV report Wednesday said the actual figure who favoured suspension of enrichment] was 24 percent, and the rest favored retaliation against the West with measures like closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a key to exporting oil from the Gulf.

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The Latest from Iran (8 June): Preparing for the Fallout

See also Iran Analysis: US Officials on Nuke Talks "We Have A Cunning Plan" (Not Really.)
The Latest from Iran (7 June): Nuclear Talks Fallout

1705 GMT: Nuclear Watch. The International Atomic Energy Agency has said that no progress was made in "disappointing" talks with Iranian officials today at at IAEA headquarters in Vienna.

Herman Nackaerts, the IAEA's global head of inspections, said no further talks had been set.

1642 GMT: Loyalty Watch. Ali Saeedi, Ayatollah Khamenei's representative to the Revolutionary Guards, has said that the Islamic Republic's leadership is exercised on the three levels of prophets, Imams, and velayat-e faqih, the system in which the Supreme Leader's rule is paramount, that are equivalent.

Saeedi continued that obeying velayat-e faqih is required (vajeb) and that religious rule has no value without the Supreme Leader.

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The Latest from Iran (6 June): The Oil Squeeze

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From #SaveMaleki to the "Shoot the Apostate" Video Games
Russia Audio Feature: Moscow's Manoeuvres With Iran --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
The Latest from Iran (5 June): The House Arrests

2028 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Amir Hossein Alavi, a member of the student alumni group Advar Tahkim Vahdat and a supporter of the Freedom Movement of Iran, has been arrested after being summoned to Zanjan’s Intelligence Bureau.

1913 GMT: Devious West Watch. Sohrab Salehi, the head of the Basij Professors Organization has asserted that, by imposing sanctions, the West wants to present the Supreme Leader as the main cause of inflation in Iran.

Look for more of this in the near-future from higher-level officials. If the nuclear talks collapse --- which I think is probable, given today's signals --- and when the European Union's cut-off of imports of Iranian oil takes effect from 1 July, the Islamic Republic's officials will need someone to break for the escalating economic tensions in Iran. Since that "someone" cannot be Ayatollah Khamenei, the "West" will have the lead role of villain.

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The Latest from Iran (2 May): Books and Politics

Banned: Cheshmeh Publishing House1910 GMT: Media Watch. Reza Moghadassi, the managing editor of the conservative site Mehr, has criticised the Government's media law for "restricting the free flow of information more and more each day".

Moghadessia claimed that the Government's decree would allow the Ministry of Communications to filter a website immediately after a ban was issued by the Media Supervisory Council.

1850 GMT: Gasoline and Price Rises Don't Mix. Earlier today (see 0930 GMT) we reported that the price of subsidised gasoline is set to quadruple from 100 Toman (just over $0.08 at official rate) to 400 Toman ($0.33).

Now ISNA reports that people are rushing gas stations in Tehran to buy the 100 Toman fuel while they can. There has been a 600% increase in consumption in the past two days, with police at some stations to control crowds.

1840 GMT: Parliament v. President. Speaking at a meeting of the Unity Front faction, leading MP Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam has described three Parliamentary moves against the Government to stop price rises.

However, it appears that the Guardian Council may have raised the stakes on another front. Spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei said the Council has rejected a Parliamentary measure to spur impeachment of the President if he fails to answer more than six questions satisfactorily.

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