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Entries in Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (12)


Iran Live Coverage: "America is Trying to Eliminate Islam from Iran"

See also Iran Special: Sanctions, "Analysis", and the Never-Ending Circle of Propaganda --- From NIAC to Neo-Cons
Thursday's Iran Live Coverage: Another Challenge to Ahmadinejad

2041 GMT:Sanctions Watch. Turkey exported almost $120 million worth of gold to Iran in February.

The figure suggests the two countries' trade of gold for natural gas has resumed despite tighter US sanctions, though at levels below last year's surge.

Turkey sold no gold to Iran in January, as banks and dealers eyed the implementation of US restrictions on 6 February that tightened control over transfer of precious metals to the Islamic Republic.

TA six-month waiver exempting Turkey from US sanctions, because of its reduction of imports of Iranian oil and gas, is due to expire in July. Ankara, Tehran's biggest natural gas customer, has been paying for energy imports with Turkish lira, because sanctions prevent it from paying in dollars or euros.

Turkey sold $117.9 million worth of gold to Iran last month, while exports to the UAE, which has served in the past as a transit route to Tehran, rose to $402.3 million from $371 million in January.

Turkey's monthly gold sales to Iran peaked last July at $1.8 billion.

2011 GMT:Economy Watch. Mohammad Reza Bahonar --- Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Presidential candidate --- has said that only 20-30% of Iran's economic problems are because of sanctions. The rest, he said, are due to mismanagement.

Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has made a similar criticism of the Ahmadinejad Government.

Bahonar, citing "serious spikes in prices", sepcifically blamed President Ahmadinejad's subsidy cuts plans and the manner in which housing projects were implemented. He said many factories had closed or were in danger of doing --- thus the Supreme Leader's declaration of a "Year of National Production” had not been fulfilled.

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Iran Live Coverage: "The Revolutionary Guards Will Protect the Election"

General Yadollah Javani1805 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has criticised today's decision by the Arab League to give Syria's seat to the opposition, warning that the move will set a “dangerous” precedent in the Arab world.

“This measure taken by the Arab League will be taken to mean the end of the [Arab] League’s role in the region,” Amir-Abdollahian claimed.

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Iran Live Coverage: Supreme Leader Strikes a Defiant Pose

See also Iran Live Coverage: Supreme Leader Announces a "Political and Economic Epic"

1255 GMT:Your Friday Prayers Update. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami had the podium today and he used it for a jab at President Ahmadinejad.

Commenting on the upcoming Presidential elections, Khatami said officials must observe "Islamic ethics" and avoid misuse of authority during the process.


When selecting candidates, national and public interests were preferable to factional ones, Khatami added. "Whoever wants to be president of his country should be at the forefront of ethics,"

Khatami said that candidates must not use public funds.

"None of the three branches of the Islamic government should encourage or support a particular candidate," he added.

In contrast, Fars News English focuses its attention on rhetoric about “Arrogant Powers” and Syria.

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The Latest from Iran (18 December): Tehran's Strategy for the Nuclear Talks

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi speaks of "positive" talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency last week

See also The Latest from Iran (17 December): Seeking Influence on Syria

2053 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Back from an academic and media break --- including an appearance on BBC Persian --- to find the Supreme Leader's military advisor, Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, doing some chest-thumping: “Major powers and regional ones have no other option but to deal with Iran if they want to have a share of regional interests. The Persian Gulf region and the Strait of Hormuz are influential on economic, political, and cultural issues [of the world] and are very effective from various viewpoints in the world.”

Rahim Safavi declared that Iran "will have the first say" in the Persian Gulf for "many years to come".

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The Latest from Iran (2 December): Ahmadinejad Puts His Right-Hand Man in a New Post

Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai & President Ahmadinejad1955 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Syrian Front). Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said, “The second round of the meeting of Syrian groups, and national and popular figures, will be held with the participation of representatives from the Syrian government."

Appearing with Hesam Manaa, the vice chairman of the Damascus-based National Coordination Committee, Amir-Abdollahian said the meeting would again bring together members of the regime and the opposition, including the NCC.

In November, Iran promoted a two-day meeting in Tehran with representatives of both sides, to little apparent effect.

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The Latest from Iran (9 September): Sanctions, More Sanctions, No Talks

See also The Latest from Iran (8 September): The Threat Is Not Israel --- It's the Economy

1942 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Children's rights' activist Saeed Shirzad, who was detained while helping victims of August's earthquake in East Azerbaijan, has been released.

1925 GMT: The Currency Crisis and Politics. Two stories pointing to the possible rise of political tensions over the weakening Iranian currency.

The head of the Central Bank, Mahmoud Bahmani, has indicated the Bank will not release reserves to bolster the currency, saying people still have dollars at home.

That answer is unlikely to satisfy prominent conservative MP Ahmad Tavakoli, who accused the Central Bank of withholding dollars. That allegation fits the news, posted on EA yesterday, that importers have been able to get foreign currency at official rates to release their goods from ports.

An EA correspondent assesses, "I think this is a full-fledged battle tween Ahmadinejad and his opponents about control of the currency market. The Supreme Leader is afraid to enter because of collateral damage."

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The Latest from Iran (2 September): Tehran Strikes A Defiant Pose

Nikahang Kowsar's view of the isolation of Iran and the Supreme Leader after this week's Non-Aligned summit

See also Iran Snapshot: Head of State TV Admits Mis-Translation of Egyptian President's Speech on Syria
Iran Interview: Ali Larijani on the Nuclear Issue, Syria, and Detained Opposition Leader Mousavi
The Latest from Iran (1 September): After the Summit

1539 GMT: Currency Watch. With the currency market set to re-open after an extended holiday, the head of the Central Bank has dismissed speculation that the Iranian Rial --- now at 21930:1 vs. the US dollar --- will weaken on the open market to 30000:1.

Bahmani said instead that the Rial would reach 15000:1, its highest level since last summer.

1533 GMT: Finance Watch. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has cancelled President Ahmadinejad's right to withdraw money from National Funds without legal directives.

Larijani's step comes amid complaints that Mahmoud Bahmani, the head of the Central Bank, has not delivered a report on government withdrawals of cash from financial institutions in July.

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The Latest from Iran (30 August): The Big Names Arrive at the Non-Aligned Summit

Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi at the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement this morning

See also Iran Document: The Supreme Leader's Speech to the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement
The Latest from Iran (29 August): Side-Stepping Syria at the Summit

1630 GMT: Summit Watch. We have already noted that Iranian media have censored Egyptian President Morsi's remarks on Syria (see 1520 GMT). Now it appears that outlets are re-writing the speech....

Khabar Online claims that Morsi issued a warning of "sedition" against the Syrian people and said all should hope that the "popular" regime remains in power.

There is also scepticism over the headline of Fars that Morsi, soon after his provocative statement at the Non-Aligned Movement's summit criticising "bloodshed" in Syria and supporting the opposition to the "oppressive" regime, "Egypt Thinks of Iran as a Strategic Partner".

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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 (9 August): The Syrian Front

The 48 abducted Iranians in Syria

See also Iran Snap Analysis: Tehran Recognises Syrian Opposition --- 4 Possible Explanations
Iran Opinion: A Response to Foreign Minister Salehi's "Wisdom and Providence" on Syria
The Latest from Iran (8 August): A Short Break for the Olympics

1745 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). Representatives of the 28 countries attending the Tehran conference have issued a statement "expressing support to the legitimate demands of the Syrian people to carry out reforms in order to build democracy and promote all-out political partnership of different parties and opposition groups to exercise their right to run their own country, in a peaceful manner and calm atmosphere and without any foreign intervention".

The delegates, who included three Foreign Ministers and diplomats from eight Arab countries, expressed support for the six-point Annan Plan, even though it is now effectively dormant, and called for delivery of humanitarian aid. They also endorsed an Iranian call for a three-month cease-fire from the start of the religious occasion of Eid al-Fitr on 19 August.

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