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Entries in Majid Tavakoli (15)


Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Honouring Detained Student Activist Tavakoli (Arseh Sevom)

A defiant speech from student activist Majid Tavakoli, now serving a nine-year prison sentence, in December 2008

Student leader Majid Tavakoli, locked up in prison in Iran, will be awarded the International Student Peace Prize in a ceremony in Norway today. Authorities announce new categories of criminalised speech in advance of the upcoming Presidential elections. Opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mir Hossein Mousavi remain under house arrest while their children are harassed by authorities, and secret executions continue in Iran’s prisons.

The situation has gone from bad to worse when it comes to the economy. New sanctions are on the way, while the government tries to placate the population by offering a pittance for the New Year holidays.

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The Latest from Iran (6 October): "There is No Crisis"

One of a series of photos in Mehr showing a re-opened Tehran Bazaar

See also The Latest from Iran (5 October): The Regime Prays for the Weekend

2053 GMT: Currency Watch. A high-ranking manager of Eqtesad Novin Bank has been arrested on charges of illegal currency deals and loans, according to Rah-e Sabz.

Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi says "30 main disturbers of the currency market" have been arrested, one with $400,000.

2045 GMT: Bazaar Watch. The opposition site Rah-e Sabz reports that the Qazvin Bazaar in northwest Iran will go on strike tomorrow, with a protest at noon.

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Iran Document: Students to the Supreme Leader "If Only You Ordered Tolerance Towards Dissent"

Responding to the Supreme Leader's recent remarks to an assembly of State-sponsored student organizations, the student union Tahkim Vahdat (Office for Consolidating Unity) has put out a statement:

If only he had  also ordered tolerance towards dissident students and those who were critical of him. It is now meaningless to talk about any right to criticize the Leader. Appointed university officials have reacted harshly to any and all voices of dissent. Muslim student associations, independent student associations, cultural and artistic centers, student councils, and student newspapers face their most difficult conditions since the election of Ahmadinejad in 2005.

The document includes a list of 29 students who are serving lengthy sentences.

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The Latest from Iran (3 November): Threats, Threats, More Threats

2135 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. More on the alleged Presidential assault on his rivals from the pro-Ahmadinejad site Dolate Ma --- the President reportedly said he could reveal 10% of his information now and 25% in the future, but it was "not advisable" to disclose the rest.

Ahmadinejad added that the "day of regret is near" and said his foes are going to "apologise for accusing the Government": "The current situation is not normal; we are approaching the final showdown."

As for the current financial scandal, including the $2.6 billion bank embezzlement, the President said "people were dissatisfied" with those who "came barefoot from the south of town [the south of Tehran is the poorer section of the capital] and are billionaires now".

Ahmadinejad continued, "If you allow me to handle them in my way, I will rebuke [the political wrongdoers in 1 month. Even Europe and the US together can't bring the Government to its knees."

And now the sting in the tail, of interest to those who specialise in following the in-fighting in Tehran. Ahmadinejad said, "In 2009 'they' wanted to congratulate the opposition [on victory in the Presidential election]."

And who does Ahmadinejad mean by 'they'? Well, soon after the election, it was claimed --- by the camp of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and later by other politicians --- that Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani had told Mousavi on Election Day that he won the vote. Other reports said the head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, also sent the message.

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The Latest from Iran (25 July): A Glimpse of Political Prisoners

Claimed footage of frustrated people watching police as they attempt to remove satellite dishes from a neighbourhood in Sarvestan in southern Iran

1840 GMT: The Battle Within. The Supreme Leader has established a "Supreme Board of Arbitration and Adjustment of Relations among the Three Branches of Government" to "regulate the relations between the three branches of government in their interactions and resolve possible disputes".

Ayatollah Khatami appointed Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, former head of Iran's judiciary and current member of the Guardian Council, as the head of the Supreme Board.

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The Latest from Iran (18 July): Remembering Protest, Remembering the Victims

Poster for Majid Tavakoli2030 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. An activist reports that reformist Ahmad Reza Ahmadipour was arrested today in Qom in a raid of his home.

1920 GMT: Denial of the Day. Saeed Mortazavi, an advisor to President Ahmadinejad, has denied any responsibility for the Kahrizak prison abuses and deaths, which occurred while Mortazavi was Tehran Prosecutor General.

Families of post-election victims --- including prominent conservative Abdolhossein Ruholamini, the father of the slain Mohsen Ruholamini --- have complained that Mortazavi, who was technically suspended from his duties by a court, has not been punished for his part in the affairs.

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The Latest from Iran (15 April): Two Months Later --- The House Arrests and the Opposition

2140 GMT: The Ahwaz Day of Rage. Activists in Ahwaz claimed at least nine protesters have died, scores have been injured, and hundreds have been detained by security services this week.

2130 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Student activist Foad Sojoudi-Farimani has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Sojoudi-Farimani was arrested on 13 September 2010. After 45 days, he was released on $500,000 bail, but he was barred from pursuing his postgraduate education.

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The Latest from Iran (2 February): Mousavi and Karroubi Make a Statement

1955 GMT: The Mayor Who Won't Be Curbed? More than half of the Majlis --- 166 of 290 MPs --- have congratulated Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf for the third-place award given to the capital in the International Transport System competition.

Qalibaf was prevented by the Foreign Ministry from going to Washington for the ceremony, held by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Shayesteh Asadi has more on the case, including Qalibaf's comment:

Don't focus on me going or not, or whether my trip is approved or not. But focus on this, and inform the citizens about it, that what transformation in the public transportation system has occurred that we have achieved this rank. I beg you to have a different look and do not view it from a political vantage point.

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The Latest from Iran (19 January): Ahmadinejad v. Khamenei?

2110 GMT: Ahmadinejad v. Khamenei. This may not be entirely accurate reporting, but it does bring us full circle with the updates.

The Twitter account "M_Ahmadinejad" reports, "Ayatollah seems really depressed today: he's been locked in his room playing Carole King records all morning."

1835 GMT: Curtain Down. The Iranian theatre and art community has criticised the shutdown by Iranian authorities of a Tehran production of Hedda Gabler, reported in last week's updates.

The House of Theatre and Association of Drama Actors described the ban as illegal, since the production had an official licence ifrom the Supervision and Evaluation Council.

The play was closed after allegations that it promoted “vulgarity and hedonism". Director Vahid Rahbani and members of the crew were summoned to the Tehran Prosecutor’s office “to provide clarification”.

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The Latest from Iran (8 January): Confronting the Enemy, Talking to the Enemy

1814 GMT: Sedition Watch. Gholam-Hossein Elham of the Guardian Council gets to the point: opponents and protesters are "mohareb" (enemies of God) and must be eradicated.

1810 GMT: Financial Mismanagement Watch. Another criticism of the Government's handling of energy revenues: the Baran Foundation reports that, although Iran had an $8 billion oil profit, not one toman was transfered to the treasury this year.

1805 GMT: Diplomatic Truths. Mehr reports on the increasing power of the President's "special envoys" and the chaos for Iranian diplomacy after the dismissal of Foreign Minister Mottaki.

1749 GMT: The Espionage Non-Story. Western media continue to take the tale of the "American-spying-through-her-teeth" seriously (see 1215 GMT), amidst these developments from Iranian officials:

She is no longer 55. She is 34.

Sometimes she is American. Sometimes she is Swiss.

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