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Entries in Masoud Bastani (20)


Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Political Prisoners and Public Executions (Arseh Sevom)

Two Iranian muggers, just before their public execution on Sunday in Tehran

Prison furloughs have been given to a number of prisoners of conscience even as Sakharov Prize winner Nasrin Sotoudeh was called back to prison after just three days. Public executions spark debate. Iranian State Television airs an “exposé” of CIA spying. Parliament debates restricting foreign travel for all women under 40 while the continuing house arrest of former presidential candidates is called into question. Finally the Iranian Coalition for Peace reaches out to President Obama.

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The Latest from Iran (9 October): Triple-Digit Inflation?

1826 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Detained activist Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, a detained Iranian human rights activist, has asked the head of the judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, to prosecute the officials who beat him and other aid workers in August at a relief camp for earthquake victims in northwestern Iran.

Thirty volunteer aid workers were arrested after they set up a camp in Eastern Azerbaijan. Some were released on bail, but others, including Ronaghi Maleki, remain in custody.

The activist wrote, "I believe that our efforts were humane and right and I continue to defend aiding people for which I am ready to lay down my life. I refuse to remain silent in the face of the injustice the aid workers have been subjected to until a fair judge stands up for our rights."

Ronaghi Maleki was arrested during the protests after the disputed 2009 Presidential election for publishing a critique of the Government on his blog. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and was released on bail shortly before his arrest in August.

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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 (22 September): The Syria Muddle Continues

President Ahmadinejad and military commanders review Friday's parade in Tehran

See also Iran Audio Feature: "Tehran's Clean Internet" --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24</ br>
Iran 1st-Hand: Fashion and Politics --- Defiance Through Hijab
The Latest from Iran (21 September): Worrying about Inflation

1515 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. More on the denial of visas to Iranians accompanying the President to the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week (see 1011 GMT)....

Fars reports that, of Ahmadinejad's 160-member entourage, 20 have had visas denied --- another Iranian outlet says 60 did not receive visas in time for the trip --- and two of these are Ministers.

The Ministers are not named, but Fars identifies two members of Ahmadinejad's staff --- Mohammad Shaikhan, in charge of communications and information, and Mohammad Jafar Behdad, in charge of political affairs.

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The Latest from Iran (15 September): The Failure of the Regime's Anti-US Diversion?

An image from Friday's protest "Down with US, Down with Israel" in Tehran

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Collapsing Currency, Closed Embassy, No to Women Watching Volleyball
The Latest from Iran (14 September): The Regime Stages a Protest Over a Movie

2040 GMT: Sanctions Watch. More on the US waivers from economic restrictions for Japan and 10 European countries because they cut their purchases of Iranian oil, noted by the Islamic Republic's media this morning (see 0540 GMT)....

The 11 countries have been given a second 180-day waiver from the threat of being cut off from the US financial system. The European Union implemented a full embargo on Iranian crude and petroleum products on 1 July Japan has sharply reduced imports.

The 10 European countries are Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The review of waivers for India and South Korea, who have cut off or sharply reduced oil purchases (see 0940 GMT), is due in December.

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The Latest from Iran (23 August): Arrested...for Helping Earthquake Victims

Some of those arrested in East Azerbaijan Province for helping earthquake victims, in a photo before their detentions: Vahed Kholoosi (far right), Hossein Ronaghi Maleki (front row, white hat), Navid Khanjani (front row, black hat), Misagh Afshar (front row, sitting on the right of Hossein Ronaghi), Artemis Varzandeh (front row, second from left)

2343 GMT: The Earthquakes. Back to our opening story --- activists report that all eight women and four men arrested while helping victims of the East Azerbaijan earthquake have been released on bail.

At least 23 other men remain behind bars.

A photograph of one of the detainees, blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, with a young girl while helping with the recovery:

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The Latest from Iran (11 May): The Battle Within

"Naqi", the song that led to an Ayatollah's call for the death of rapper Shahin Najafi (see 0620 and 1200 GMT)

See also Iran Snap Analysis: Isolating Ahmadinejad
The Latest from Iran (10 May): Supreme Leader Comments on Detained Mousavi and Karroubi

2035 GMT: At the Book Fair. The next level of censorship at the 25th Tehran International Book Fair....

After at least 11 publishers were banned from the exhibition, another six booths have been shut down for inappropriate displays. Two reportedly had posters of Nashr Cheshmeh, one of the banned publishers. Another had a posted of the famous Persian king Cyrus.

1720 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Nothing distinctive in the President's speech during his promotional tour in northeastern Iran (see 1400 GMT)....

Speaking in Rashtkhvar, Ahmadinejad says the West should drop its “bullying” stance: “If the Iranian nation makes up its mind to do something, all devils and ill-wishers of the world cannot make them backtrack on their resolve."

The President continued that worship of the Devil, wealth, power, or worldly whims instead of God was the root cause of all human problems: “If the world powers worship the Almighty God, they will not make stockpiles of nuclear and chemical arsenals and will not try to occupy other territories.

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The Latest from Iran (7 May): The Muddle of the New Parliament

See also Iran Caption Competition: The Supreme Leader Looks at a Book
The Latest from Iran (6 May): After the Election

1935 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Senior reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh, serving a six-year prison sentence, has responded to new Revolutionary Guards charges against him. The former Deputy Minister of Interior said, "I will not appear in court before my complaint against [Ayatollah] Jannati is accepted."

Tajazadeh has accused Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, of involvement in the manipulation of the 2009 Presidential election.

1915 GMT: The Battle Within. Only 72 hours after the conclusion of the Parliamentary elections, the Government's critics have resumed their attack. MP Ali Motahari --- his own position secured after victory in the Tehran ballot --- has said that the attempt to impeach Minister of Labor Abdolreza Sheikholeslami could resume on Tuesday.

Sheikholeslami is under fire because of his defence of controversial Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi.

Meanwhile, Rah-e Sabz reports that, in an effort to retain Mortazavi, the Government has paid off a 35 billion Toman (about $28.5 million) debt to the Social Security Fund.

Mortazavi, criticised for his role as Tehran Prosecutor General during the abuses and killings in the Kahrizak detention centre in summer 2009, was named head of the Fund earlier this year.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Sanctions, Human Rights, and Israel-Iran Love (Arseh Sevom)

Iranians respond to the "Israel Loves Iran" campaign

Celebrating Norooz Amidst "Unbelievable Inflation"

Norooz, a celebration of the new year that is marked by people from every religion and belief, was met with relief and joy by Iranians all over the world. Millions in Iran traveled in cars, buses, trains, and planes to see family and friends and to do a bit of urban camping. Iran's press was filled with stories of tourist attractions and the numbers of travellers.

However, sanctions are taking a huge bite out of the budgets of most Iranian households. The inflation is "unbelievable", sources tell Arseh Sevom.

"Prices change three times a day and the government blames it all on the embargos," an Ahwazi householder says. A Tehrani resident says that her home has lost 50% of its value this year.

With sanctions on doing business with Iran's Central Bank kicking in, inflation is expected to continue to rise. The Economist Intelligence Unit predicted further pain for the majority of Iranian households as the rial continues to plummet.

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The Latest from Iran (23 March): The Sanctions All-is-Well Edition

1739 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam, a leading member of Parliament's Economy Committee, has claimed that "some want the next Majlis to be obedient to Ahmadinejad". He continued that "Ahmadinejad Discourse" is a kind of senseless myth, set against the Supreme Leader's "Imam and Revolution Discourse".

1734 GMT: Tehran Friday Prayer Update. Another snippet from Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami's sermon, this one with significance as a message to President Ahmadinejead, Parliament, and the judiciary about the Supreme Leader's proclamation for Iranian New Year: "National production is a strategy not a slogan; the three powers must support it."

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