Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Hossein Shariatmadari (17)


Iran Live Coverage: Please Vote (P.S. --- We Did Not Rig the Last Election)

See also Syria and Iran Feature: 2130 Civilian Prisoners To Be Released in Exchange for 48 Iranian "Pilgrims"
Iran Audio Feature: How Serious is the Oil Crisis? --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
Tuesday's Iran Live Coverage: The Regime Admits the Oil Squeeze

2055 GMT: Engineering Elections Watch. Back to our opening story....

The Supreme Leader's representative, Ali Saeedi, may have set off a political storm with his remark that it is the duty of the Revolutionary Guards to "engineer" the elections --- even if the Guards tried to soften that comment by saying it referred only to ensuring security for the vote.

That's because President Ahmadinejad chose to run with the possibility of inappropriate intervention by the Guards: "Whoever wants to manage people's votes will be managed by the people."

A Guards spokesman responded that the President's remark was "astonishing".

1955 GMT: The House Arrests. Leading conservative politician Habibollah Asgarouladi has pulled back on his recent statements that detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi are not "seditionists".

Asgarouladi had said that the problem was that Mousavi and Karroubi were surrounded by seditious elements, but he told Mehr, in an interview published today, "I never said [they] are not seditionists, I said they are not at the top of the sedition."

Asgarouladi continued, "I've said clearly that they stood against the establishment and the people, and they have to be held responsible."

The politician's initial comments raised speculation that the regime might lift the 23-month house arrests of Mousavi and Karroubi, both candidates in the disputed 2009 Presidential election.

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Iran Live Coverage: Nuclear Talks to Resume?

See also Iran Feature: How a Political Prisoner Found Art for Her Activism
Friday's Iran Live Coverage: The Supreme Leader Tries to Bolster His Popularity

2025 GMT: Smog Watch. An official with the Environmental Protection Agency says 150 industrial units in Tehran Province have been shut because of the high levels of air pollution.

1855 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Detained senior reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh, who was taken to hospital earlier today because of a heart condition (see 1535 GMT), has now returned to prison.

1605 GMT: Smog Watch. An image of air pollution in Tehran --- the smog has forced the closure of schools and Government buildings today and tomorrow:

Jason Rezaian, the Tehran correspondent of The Washington Post, writes:

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The Latest from Iran (4 December): Regime Concern over Political Prisoners?

State outlet Press TV on Revolutionary Guards' capture of a US dronem, announced today

See also Iran Analysis: A Debate Over Ahmadinejad's Political Future
Monday's The Latest from Iran (3 December): Medicine and Sanctions

2100 GMT: Book Corner. More than 100 Iranian writers, poets, and translators have called for an end to book censorship in an open letter.

The literary figures want the abolition of the requirement that writers obtain authorisation from the Culture Ministry before publishing:

Iran is one of the rare countries in the beginning of the 21st century where authors have to ask for a license from the state in order to publish their books, even though the requirement is not stated in the constitution....

In reality, this method amounts to hostage taking of freedom of expression, creativity, and the livelihood of writers by the government in order to impose its ideas on the authors.

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The Latest from Iran (28 November): Supreme Leader Declares, "We're Winning"

1835 GMT: Gaza Watch. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has said that, more than a week after he made his request to enter Gaza, he is still awaiting an answer from Egyptian authorities.

Salehi saild he had spoken by phone and in person with Egypt’s Foreign Minister.

1505 GMT: Economy Watch. Kalemeh reports that 2400 workers of the Saveh Pipe Rolling Plant and other factories in northwestern Iran have been on strike since Sunday over six months of unpaid wages.

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The Latest from Iran (30 September): "The West Is In Economic Crisis"

See also Iran Follow-Up: Fars News Apologises for Running Story from The Onion
The Latest from Iran (29 September): The Economy and the Divisions Within the Regime

1422 GMT: Press Watch. One of the cameramen with President Ahmadinejad's entourage in New York has defected and has been granted asylum, according to Baztab.

1347 GMT: Press Watch. ISNA reports that a court has convicted Reuters and its Tehran Bureau Chief, Parisa Hafezi, of "publishing lies against the regime" and "disturbing public opinion".

Reuters was charged after a story in March briefly carried a headline characterising women training in ninjutsu as "assassins". The bureau was closed, as the press cards of staff were confiscated. Some observers saw a pretext for the authorities to shut down one of the few international agencies reporting from inside Iran.

Sentencing is expected within a week.

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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 (5 April): How Serious Are the Economic Problems?

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From Nature's Day to A Site for Repression
Iran Feature: The Disappearing Interview with a US Official
The Latest from Iran (4 April): Admitting the Economic Tensions

1522 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Juan Cole, drawing from US Open Source monitoring, has published English extracts of the article by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani that has raised the political temperature in Tehran --- on relations with the US:

After all, our current practice — of not speaking to or having ties with America — could not persist forever. America is the super power of the world. What is the difference between Europe and the US, China and the US, or Russia and the US from our point of view? Why should we not negotiate with the US if we negotiate with them? Talks do not mean that we should surrender to them. We will negotiate and if they accept our positions or we accept their positions, then it would be all over.

On relations with Saudi Arabia:

Having relations with Saudi Arabia is not a minor issue for the region. First of all, it is a wealthy country and the majority of the scholars from Muslim countries have ties with Saudi Arabia first and foremost considering the hajj and pilgrimages and second because of their own interests. It (Saudi Arabia) renovates their (Muslim countries) mosques, provides facilities, prints Korans and has provided numerous facilities for spread of their religious issues. Most of the works Al-Azhar University has done in Egypt, even the academic works, are now in the hands of Saudi Arabia.

More important is the issue of oil. Would the West impose sanctions on us, if Saudi Arabia had good ties with us? Only Saudi Arabia could take Iran’s place. Saudi Arabia does not need to do anything. If it produces oil according to OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) limits, no one could harass us. As the world economy could not carry on without our oil, I believe that it is still possible to establish good relations. However, there are people here who, as you see, do not want that. You are an expert in international relations and foreign policy and know well that if they say one word without thinking, it would immediately be reflected. Some harsh words from both sides should not be tolerated and should be corrected.

On Iran's nuclear programme:

We really do not seek to build nuclear weapons and a nuclear military system. In a Friday prayer sermon in Tehran, I even once said that an atomic bomb would not benefit the occupation regime of Israel. Eventually, if one day a nuclear conflict takes place, Israel as a small country, will not be able to bear an atomic bomb. It is a small country and all its facilities would be destroyed. However, they interpreted this advice as a threat. We really believe that there should not be any nuclear weapon in the region and this is a part of the principles of our politics.

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The Latest from Iran (25 January): A Government Committing Economic Treason?

Cartoon: Nikahang Kowsar1755 GMT: Elections Watch. Guardian Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei says about 80% of the 5400 applicants to stand in March's Parliamentary elections have been approved.

1750 GMT: Oil Watch. French oil refiner Total has stopped buying oil from Iran in line with new European Union sanctions, according to Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie.

De Margerie said Total had been buying about 80,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil.

1740 GMT: The Government Moves --- But Will It Make a Difference? The currency website Mesghal is claiming that the Government's steps (see 1730 GMT) have made a difference to exchange rates and gold prices. Old gold coin has plummeted almost 20% in price to 820,000 Toman (about $400) while the Iranian Rial has supposedly recovered 20% of its value to stand at 19000:1 vs. the US dollar.

There are other claims, however, that the effect has not been so marked. Hamshahri reports that the open market was actually trading Rials for dollars at 21700:1, with vendors on the streets and foreign exchange offices displaying official rate but selling the dollar at a higher rate.

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The Latest from Iran (16 December): Re-Visiting the Drone

See also Iran Feature: Is This How Tehran Took Down the US Drone?
The Latest from Iran (15 December): A Bigger Question in the Saudi Mystery

1515 GMT: Press Watch. The managing editor of the reformist newspaper Etemaad, Elias Hazrati, has been ordered to pay a fine of 15 million rials (about $1150) for "publishing lies" and "disturbing public opinion".

The authorities suspended Etemaad last month after it published a controversial interview with President Ahmadinejad's media advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr.

1445 GMT: On the Air. The Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance has warned that there are 1,123 foreign channels broadcasting in Persian against the Islamic Republic.

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The Latest from Iran (14 December): Tehran Loses Another Friend?

See also Iran Feature: The Supreme Leader Is Worried --- Three Developments You Probably Don't Know
Iran Feature: The EA Story That Made It Big in Iranian Media
The Latest from Iran (13 December): Shoes Are Thrown at the President

1855 GMT: Elections Watch. Ali Mohammad Gharibani, the head of the Coordination Council of the Reformist Front, has said that, that in the “absence of any possibility for the reformists to inform and campaign,” the reformists will not present a list of candidates or endorse any candidates in March's Parliamentary elections.

The council's announcement asserted, "After months of anticipation and struggle to open the political arena to fair elections and to provide a transparent election process, the situation is in effect becoming more and more restrictive.”

In addition to the standard vetting of candidates by the Guardian Council, the regime has suspended and suppressed major reformist groups such as the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, and Etemade Melli.

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