Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Manouchehr Mottaki (46)


Iran Today: Tehran on Nuclear Talks "No Time-Wasting"

Nuclear Negotiators Catherine Ashton & Saeed JaliliProtest Watch

Iranian media report on protests in Hormozogan and Fars provinces because of reorganisation of local governments and authorities' expropriation of a mine.

Presidential Election Watch

Arsalan Fathipour, the head of Parliament's Economy Commission, has said he will stand for the Presidency. He declared that he wants a Parliament of economists and he will revive the Planning Centre.

Clerical Watch

Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani, meeting Presidential hopeful Hassan Rohani in the holy city of Qom, has said that many current problems are because of the weakness of current officials.

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Iran Live: Uncertainty over the Presidential Election

The Supreme Leader's "2+1 Committee" --- failing to establish a unity candidate for June's election?

See also Iran Caption Competition: Ahmadinejad Dresses Up in Africa
Saturday's Iran Live: An Ahmadinejad Election Comeback?

1555 GMT: Election Watch

Mehr posts a series of pictures of a de facto election rally by President Ahmadinejad and his would-be successor, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, in Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran.

In his speech, Ahmadinejad criticised those "who want to decide for people" and indicated that support payments, covering the cost of his subsidy cuts, could be increased by five times.

Mehr:also claims that Ahmadinejad is planning a meeting with 85 bloggers and an "Epic of Presence" rally for women and youth.

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Iran Live: Ahmadinejad "Presidential Election Will Be Political Epic"

1900 GMT: Technology Update. Tabnak, close to presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei, slammed Western news reports on Ali Razeghi, the Iranian scientist who claims to have invented a 'Time Machine'.

The Western media did not believe in the invention and "in most cases ridiculed it," Tabnak said.

Tabnak -- which publishes daily reviews of the Western press's reporting on Iran -- took particular issue with the UK's Daily Telegraph, criticizing the paper for publishing just selected quotes from an interview with Razeghi.

The UK's Independent also came under fire, with Tabnak accusing it of questioning Iranian technological advances, including its new Ghaher-313 stealth fighter jet and its sending a monkey into space.

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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: 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 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: Still Looking for "Unity" for the Election

The Supreme Leader's "2+1 Committee" --- MP Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Khamenei advisor Ali Velayati, and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf --- who are seeking a "unity" candidate for the Presidential election

See also Iran Analysis: This Week's Nuclear Talks --- A 5-Point Guide to the US and European Position
Monday's Iran Live: Will Iranians Celebrate "Islamic Republic Day"?

1410 GMT: Food Watch. Nasser Karimi offers another story on the soaring price of pistachios, a luxury for New Year celebrations, adding this twist:

The government, which usually tries to contain Iranians' anger over the economy, has heartily backed the pistachio boycott — again for reasons tied to the Western-led sanctions over Iran's nuclear program. Pistachio exports provide a small but important pipeline for foreign revenues at a time when sanctions are squeezing Iran's oil and gas sales. Authorities say fewer nuts consumed at home means more available to sell abroad.

The pale green nuts are Iran's top non-oil export, though admittedly they are very distant second. Iran earned at least $750 million last year from exporting the nut, with some estimates as high as $1 billion.

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Iran Live Coverage: Engineering June's Presidential Election

The Supreme Leader's senior aide Ali Akbar Velayati announces plans for the Presidential election at a Sunday press conference

See also Sunday's Iran Live Coverage: Revolutionary Guards v. Ahmadinejad

1818 GMT: Economy Watch. The Financial Times picks up on one of the hot topics of conversation as Iranian New Year approaches --- the sharp rise in pistachio prices.

The nuts, a staple of the Nowruz celebrations, have soared in cost at home as farmers --- able to make three times as much as a year ago in foreign currency because of the falling Iranian Rial --- send their pistachios abroad.

One kilogrammes of pistachios cost 200,000 Rials last year. This March, the price is between IR540,000 and IR780,000.

In recent days, the Government has forced shops to sell pistachios at 300,000 Rial per kilo, but the intervention has had little effect so far.

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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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