Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Iran Elections 2013 (34)


Iran Live: Meet the Presidential Hopefuls

Tehran Mayor Qalibaf1455 GMT:Election Watch

Hojatoleslam Hossein Jalali has said the "hard-line" Constancy Front, formed before the 2012 Parliamentary elections, will present a Presidential candidate next week in a speech by Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi.

1325 GMT:The House Arrests

Detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard have been allowed to meet Rahnavard's mother last week.

Mousavi, the primary challenger to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the disputed 2009 Presidential election, and his wife Rahnavard have been under strict house arrest since February 2011. They have been to allowed to speak to, let alone sse, their three daughters since Iranian New Year on 21 March.

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Iran Live: Proper Line on the Election "We Will Foil Enemy Plots"

1555 GMT: Earthquake. A tremor measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale has struck the town of Kaki, 90 kilometres (56 miles) southeast of the southern Iranian city of Bushehr, killing at least 30 people and injuring more than 600.

The quake was followed by at least four aftershocks which jolted Kaki and the nearby city of Khour-Mowj.

The Russian company that has constructed the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, 18 kilometres (11 miles) south of Bushehr, said the earthquake has not affected the operations in the facility.

1545 GMT: Cyber-Watch. A claim is circulating that Minister of Information Hassan Nami has announced an Islamic version of Google Earth called "Basir".

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Iran Analysis: Losing Control of the Presidential Election?

Far from getting a clearer picture on how the regime is going to organise the Presidential election, the weekend's developments have confirmedat least seven factions:

1. The Supreme Leader's Committee, which has yet to name a candidate;

2. The "Followers of Imam's Line and Leadership Front", with its four Presidential candidates;

3. The Rafsanjani camp;

4. President Ahmadinejad's camp, who would like to put forth Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, but may have to settle for Minister of Roads Ali Nikzad;

5. The "hard-line" Endurance Front, including leading cleric Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, which has been relatively quiet and has not announced a preference;

6. Other conservative and principlist candidates, the most vocal of whom has been Mohsen Rezaei, Secretary of the Expediency Council and former commander of the Revolutionary Guards;

7. The reformists, some of whom will participate in the election but who are unlikely to have a high-profile candidate unless former President Mohammad Khatami stands and who have been crippled by the regime's restrictions.

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Iran Live Coverage: Another Challenge to Ahmadinejad

See also Wednesday's Iran Live Coverage: Interpreting the Supreme Leader on the US and Israel

Ali Larijani & President Ahmadinejad1357 GMT: Oil Watch. Japan’s crude imports from Iran rose sharply in Feburary, reaching their highest level since March 2012.

Imports last month were about 321,000 barrels a day, up 67% from January.

Analysts said, however, that refiners have reduced their imports on a yearly basis --- thus, one month's increase is unlike to jeopardize Japan’s waiver from US sanctions.

Japan’s purchases from Iran last year declined 39%.

1353 GMT: Election Watch. Yet another warning of sedition in June's Presidential elections, possibly aimed at the Ahmadinejad camp --- Hossein Taghavi-Hosseini, the spokesman of Parliament's National Security Commission, has said the "deviant current" is pursuing "anti-security" activities.

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Iran Live Coverage: "Sedition is On the Way"

See also Sunday's Iran Live Coverage: Nuclear Talks in Istanbul

1620 GMT: Election Watch. A pointed statement from Presidential candidate Mostafa Pourhommadi --- even more significant because Iranian media is disseminating it in Persian and English --- aiming at President Ahmadinejad....

Pourmohammadi, former Minister of Interior and current Inspector General, challenged the likelihood of Ahmadinejad promoting his controversial right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, as his succeesor: "It has been said that Mr. Mashai intends to become candidate. We have counted for that and know what to do. We have to do our own job. We must not reveal our tactics now.”

Significantly, Pourmohammadi also pointed to the possibility that the recent spate of campaign declarations --- which include former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Reza Bahonar, and Expediency Council official Hassan Rohani --- might be reconciled with the Supreme Leader's 2+1 Committee seeking a "unity" candidate: "Our collective tactic is to agree on one person if there is a powerful rival.2

Pourmohommadi continued, "If the ruling side candidate has a high capacity we will enact our own plans, if he doesn’t and goes into coalition with others again we will have our own plans.”

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Iran Live Coverage: "The Freest Elections in the World"

0615 GMT: The Battle Within. US National Public Radio features an audio report on the political in-fighting, noting protests, claims of corruption, and tension over forthcoming Presidential elections. EA WorldView makes an appearance:

While Ahmadinejad is [in office], he can be blamed for the economic difficulties. He can be blamed for escalating inflation. He can be blamed for the 70 percent drop in the value of the currency. Now, Ahmadinejad's going to be gone in June. Who is the Supreme Leader's firewall then? Who does he blame if there is no improvement in the economy?

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Iran Live Coverage: "Our Enemies Are Within Our Houses, Mosques, Seminaries, and Schools"

See also Wednesday's Iran Live Coverage: "600 Journalists Work With the Enemy"

General Hassan Firouzabadi1958 GMT:Political Prisoner Watch (Journalist Edition). The doors of Iran's prisons continue to revolve, with more journalists released and detained today.

Mohammad Mehdi Imami Naseri and Alireza Aghaeirad, the editor-in-chief and political editor of the reformist daily Maghreb, have been freed after 24 hours in detention.

Khosrow Kordpour, the head of the Kurdish Moukerian News Agency, and Ghasem Ahmadi, editor-in-chief of Roje monthly, have been arrested.

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Iran Live Coverage: Imprisoned Journalists, Elections, & the BBC

Journalists Arrested Last Weekend2136 GMT: Currency Watch. Radio Farda supports the report in Kalemeh (see 1746 GMT) that the Iranian Rial has dropped sharply to break the 40000:1 level vs. the US dollar.

The site also says that the price of gold is rising, with a 15% premium on prepayment for gold coins to be delivered next month.

2036 GMT: Press Watch. The mother of journalist Saba Azarpeyk, speaks of her daughter's arrest:

Fifteen to twenty minutes after Saba left the house, someone knocked on the door, I asked who it was and I heard Saba saying, "Mum don't open the door, they do not have a warrant." After some very tense moments, she was taken down to the car.

Then my son arrived, and one of the officials that was standing behind the door slapped him on the face several times.

The mother then ran to Azarpeyk as she was being taken away and urged her to remain strong.

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Iran Live Coverage: Don't Mention the "Free Elections"

See also Iran Feature: Spotlight Returns to Detained Opposition Leaders Mousavi and Karroubi
Sunday's Iran Live Coverage: The Isolation of the Country

1714 GMT: Scare Story of the Day (cont.). I have now read the 154-page report by 5 US analysts and activists being trumpeted in the media as proof that Iran will have a Bomb by mid-2014.

As I anticipated in an earlier entry (see 1546 GMT), the report sets aside careful analysis for supposition, manipulation of some evidence, and ignorance of other facts. It should be treated as a polemic in its calls for tougher sanctions and threat of military action by the US.

1650 GMT: All the President's Men. A court has cancelled the appointment of senior Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi as head of Social Funds Organization.

Mortazavi has long been criticised for his alleged role in the abuse and killing of protesters in the Kahrizak detention centre after the disputed 2009 Presidential election. Although he has not been prosecuted, a court ruled that he should not hold a Government post pending investigation.

President Ahmadinejad defied the order, installing Mortazavi as head of the Social Security Fund in early 2012. The Administrative Court ruled against the appointment --- the Government responded with the circumvention of renaming the agency.

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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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