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Entries in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (808)


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: Nuclear Talks Grind to a Halt --- What Next?

See also Iran Special: The Stalled Nuclear Talks --- Why Tehran Cannot Give Up Its Right to Enrichment
Saturday's Iran Live: Decoding the Signals from the Nuclear Talks

2055 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Blogger and poet Reza Akvanian has been arrested.

Akvanian, a writer for the blog “Salhaye Khoobe Zendegi (Life’s Good Years)", was also detained in February 2010 by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and given a one-year prison sentence, with five years suspended, for “insulting the leader and the President” and “association with outsiders by sharing news reports".

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Iran Live: Decoding the Signals from the Nuclear Talks

Iran Snap Analysis: No Advance in the Nuclear Talks on Friday
Friday's Iran Live: Nuclear Talks Resume in Kazakhstan

1942 GMT: Nuclear Watch. The American attempt to put the spin on the outcome of the nuclear talks has now emerged.

A "senior U.S. official" told reporters that, despite the failure to make any advance, there was no breakdown in nuclear negotiations and that diplomacy would continue.

The official said Iran could be subjected to more economic sanctions in the future, as Western governments seek to step up pressure, but he also claimed that there were some positive signs in the two sets of Almaty discussions in February and April: "Our exchanges were more natural and free-flowing than they had been in the past talks."

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Iran Live Coverage: Seeking the "Unity" Candidate for the Presidency

1410 GMT: Election Watch. The conservative Jahan News tips off both nerves and in-fighting with its concern over photos of President Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, on monitors at Imam Khomeini International airport.

Jahan claimed that the photos, accompanied by short quotes, "reveal a serious intention to enter the elections" by Rahim-Mashai.

Rahim-Mashai, formerly Ahmadineajad's Chief of Staff, has not yet officially announced his candidacy. He may be blocked by the Guardian Council from standing, so the Ahmadinejad camp put up an alternative candidate, Minister of Roads Ali Nikzad, last weekend.

Jahan, linked to the politician Alireza Zakani, is still convinced that the President will pursue Plan A:

some say that Ahmadinejad will never take the risk because [Rahim-Mashai's] candidacy will not be approved by the Guardian Council. But others, who appear to have a more logical point, believe that not making Mashai a candidate puts in question the philosophy of the President in the prices he has paid for [Mashai] in the last several years.

Jahan concludes, “At this moment, the actions of Mashaei and the administration points in the direction of Esfandiar Rahim Mashai’s candidacy.”

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Iran Live: The Ahmadinejad Camp Makes A Move to Hold the Presidency

See also Iran Live Coverage: The Pre-Election Fight Escalates with Ahmadinejad

Ali Nikzad2058 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Egyptian Front). In another sign of improving relations, the Iranian government has agreed that Egyptian tourists no longer need visas to visit the Islamic Republic.

On Saturday, the first flight from Egypt to Iran in 34 years took off from Cairo.

Security services in Aswan took strong measures for the security of 58 Iranian tourists who arrived there Saturday, escorting them throughout their visit.

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Iran Live Coverage: The Pre-Election Fight Escalates with Ahmadinejad

1300 GMT: Obama Conspiracy Watch. Joanna Paraszczuk writes....

Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the commander of the Basij militia, has accused President Obama of "congratulating the Iranian people in Persian but acting in Hebrew" in his message for Iranian New Year.

Naqdi accused Washington of spouting rhetoric and expecting the Iranian people to believe its slogans. Referring to a 2010 nuclear deal put forward by Iran, after mediation by Turkish and Brazilian leaders, the commadner said that Obama had promised to solve the issue but had refused to accept that deal.

Naqdi also commented on Michelle Obama's announcement of the Best Picture Oscar for the "anti-Iranian film" Argo, saying that her actions proved that the annual awards were political in nature.

"We are glad that these facts were made clear to the Iranian people," he said, noting that Michelle Obama had shown the world the truth about the Oscars.

Naqdi's comments follow those of a senior military commander, Yaghoub Soleimani that some "supporters of the Islamic Revolution" want to organize a prize for Michelle Obama for proving that Hollywood movies are politically and not artistically motivated.

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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: 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: "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 Feature: Criticising President Ahmadinejad...with 11th-Century Poetry

Poet Nasir KhusrawTabnak, close to Presidential candidate and former IRGC chief commander Mohsen Rezaei, tries a different line of attack against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this morning --- it uses the writing of the 11th-century Persian poet Nasir Khusraw to warn the President that he will receive his comeuppance.

The site writes about the rising tide of criticism of Ahmadinejad, including from his former supporters. It then invokes the poem, a kind of Shi'a karma, in which Jesus sees a dead man and pronounces: "He said that whoever kills will be cruelly killed in turn."

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