Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Hojatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi (15)


Iran Live Coverage: The Economic Crisis Claims the Minister of Health

See also Iran Special: New York Times Notices Important Nuclear Story...Four Months Later
Iran Analysis: The Politicians Unite to Fight Ahmadinejad
Wednesday's Iran Live Coverage: Tehran Picks A Fight Too Far with Turkey

Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi1650 GMT: Refugee Watch. The BBC posts a video report on thousands of Iranians who fled to Turkey amid the unrest after the disputed 2009 Presidential elections.

Many refugees are frustrated that they are still waiting for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to process their asylum applications so they can settle in European countries.

The UNHCR says it does not have enough resources to process applications at a faster rate.

1600 GMT: Sedition Watch. Ayatollah Alamolhoda, the Friday Prayer leader in Mashhad, warms to this weekend's theme of "victory over sedition" (see 1200 GMT) with discussion of detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi: "We cannot call Mousavi and Karroubi seditionists, but they paved the way for foreign elements and imperialism."

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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 (2 November): Ahmadinejad Remains Quiet About Supreme Leader's Warning

A Tehran rally marking the 33rd anniversary of the takeover of the US Embassy

See also EA Video Analysis: The Secret US-Iran Nuclear Talks
The Latest from Iran (1 November): Supreme Leader Tells His Top Officials "Stop Fighting"

2043 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. A revision of our opening item today....

President Ahmadinejad has now responded to the Supreme Leader's warning to the heads of the three branches of Government to stop bickering and "pay attention to responsibilities". While ostensibly pledging loyalty to Ayatollah Khamenei, he continued to throw punches at head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani:

I am convinced that you decisively guard the constitution, particularly the fundamental rights of the people, and safeguard the elevated position of the popularly elected president, the second highest official position in the country, and the institution executing the constitution. And you are opposed to any measure which weakens his sphere of competence and important responsibilities.

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The Latest from Iran: Nuclear Talks Resume With IAEA

See also The Latest from Iran (23 August): Arrested...for Helping Earthquake Victims

1936 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Talks between Iranian officials and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna have not resolved outstanding issues over inspection and supervision.

"The discussions today were intensive but important differences remain between Iran and the U.N. that prevented agreement," Herman Nackaerts, the IAEA's chief inspector, said after about seven hours of talks. "At the moment we have no plans for another meeting."

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, was more upbeat: "Undoubtedly some progress [was made]....I have to say that we are moving forward...and we are going to continue this process so that we at the end of the day will have a framework agreed by both sides."

Soltanieh rationalised the failure to get an agreement today, "Because it is a very complex issue...Issues related to national security of a member state are something very delicate."

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The Latest from Iran (19 August): The Regime Looks for a Boost

0800 GMT Supreme Leader Watch. Appearing at the Eid al-Fitr prayer today, Ayatollah Khamenei declaring the ascendancy of Islamic countries, “Issues of the Muslim world are unique. Developments of the Muslim World are strange and shocking and chart the course of Muslim nations in the future.”

The Supreme Leader described the US and Israel as enemies of the Islamic nations and cautioned against any “analytic blunders", as plots against Muslims are getting more and more complicated.

0525 GMT: Sanctions Watch. The US Government has stepped up pressure on its Iraqi counterpart over sanctions on Iran through an article in The New York Times:

Some current and former American and Iraqi officials, along with banking and oil experts, say that Iraqi government officials are turning a blind eye to the large financial flows, smuggling and other trade with Iran. In some cases, they say, government officials, including some close to [Iraqi Prime Minister] Maliki, are directly profiting from the activities.

“Maliki’s government is right in the middle of this,” said one former senior American intelligence official who now does business in Iraq.

In announcing that he was “cutting off” Elaf Islamic Bank [last month], Mr. Obama said it had “facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars on behalf of Iranian banks that are subject to sanctions for their links to Iran’s illicit proliferation activities.”

But the treatment the bank has received in Baghdad since it was named by Mr. Obama suggests that the Iraqi government is not only allowing companies and individuals to circumvent the sanctions but also not enforcing penalties for noncompliance.

Iraqi banking experts said last week that the bank was still allowed to participate in the Iraq Central Bank’s daily auction at which commercial banks can sell Iraqi dinars and buy United States dollars. These auctions are a crucial pathway for Iranian access to the international financial system. Western officials say that Iran seeks to bolster its reserves of dollars to stabilize its exchange rates and pay for imports.

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The Latest from Iran (10 August): The Regime Fights Isolation

On the right in Persian, “From Iran to Syria, the People’s Right: Peace, Freedom"; on the left in Arabic, “From Syria to Iran, the People’s Right: Peace, Freedom" (poster by Iranian activist Kamyar Behrang)

See also Iran Snap Analysis: So There Was This Conference on Syria in Tehran....
The Latest from Iran (9 August): The Syrian Front

2000 GMT: Energy Watch. Confirmation of another foreign company's withdrawal from development of Iran's oil and gas resources, as Deputy Oil Minister Alireza Zeighami said the contract with the Malaysian SKS Company for the implementation of the Shiraz Pars Refinery project has been revoked.

Zeighami gave the formulaic statement that the annulment was due to the firm’s repeated delays and failure to start the construction and financing of the project, adding that Iranian contractors will now take over the construction of the refinery.

In the last years, Italian, French, Dutch, Russian, and Chinese companies have all withdrawn from oil and gas projects amid sanctions and other economic constraints, with Iran formally declaring that the firms had failed to fulfil obligations.

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The Latest from Iran (21 July): Support the Syrian Regime, Support Your Leader

1730 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Reza Taghavi, the head of the Friday Prayer Leaders' Policymaking Council, has declared, "Iran is now capable of enriching uranium at a 20-percent level, but if [other countries] continue their pressure, we will increase enrichment levels to 56 percent."

1718 GMT: Chicken Watch. Etedaal satirises the current tension over the rising price of chicken --- it envisages the Central Bank announcing four- and six-month "pre-sales" of chicken, with prices to be fixed on a weekly basis.

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The Latest from Iran (19 July): Nervously Watching Syria

See also The Latest from Iran (18 July): Storm Clouds Gather Over The Economy

2023 GMT: Reformist Watch. Deutsche Welle summarises the reformist manoeuvres over the 2013 Presidential election (see 0929 GMT) --- former President Mohammad Khatami, his brother Mohammed Reza Khatami, and former Minister of Interior Abdollah Nouri are all busy "giving the green light" to participation.

1643 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The Iranian Teachers Union is challenging the arrest of a member of its executive board, Mahmoud Bagheri, in a letter to the head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani.

The physics teacher has been sentenced to a total of 9 1/2 years in prison on two charges. He was arrested on Monday to serve out his term.

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The Latest from Iran (14 October): The Plot and Beyond

See also Iran 6-Point Analysis: Obama and the Regime Walk Tightropes Over the Plot

Manssor Arbabsiar1755 GMT: Parliament Watch. A sharp extract from the resignation letter of MP Ali Motahari, who is leaving Parliament because of its failure to interrogate the President, "The Supreme Leader's interference in Majlis matters is not advisable."

1748 GMT: Bank Fraud Watch. Mehr names three more companies, all in Qazvin Province, in the $2.6 billion bank fraud: Setaregan Amir Mansour, Tejarat Gostar, and Amir Mansour Iranian.

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Latest from Iran (2 September): Who's Meddling in the Revolutions?

1747 GMT: Ayatollah Namazi, a member of the powerful Assembly of Experts, has warned the government that use of libel, lies, deceit, and illegal money towards the influence of the elections would be considered " haram," banned by Islamic law. He warned that the next election would be a moral issue, and candidates should subscribe to strict morality in order to ensure that the fittest candidate won. He also said that this was imperative, because moral abuses threaten to discredit the legitimacy of the elections.

1740 GMT: The Armenian Church in Kerman, registered as a national treasure, has been destroyed. Here is a picture gallery of the church now.

1515 GMT: Energy Watch. Deutsche Welle reports that the construction of a gasoline refinery has been stopped after five years because the Ministry of Oil did not pay its assigned share of 70% of the cost.

According to the website, only 8% of the project had been completed. The halt to construction means the dismissal of 6200 employees.

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