Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Maya Neyestani (16)


Iran Analysis: Has Regime Risked Its Legitimacy By Blocking Rafsanjani?

Cartoon: Maya Neyestani

After the new President is declared on 21 June in the election which cannot be called a "free election", the bigger contest for the regime --- beset by economic problems, facing difficulties over its foreign policy and "Islamic Awakening", caught up in political rivalry --- remains....

How does it convince its people, many of them resigned to the decline of recent years, that its Islamic Republic is still legitimate?

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The Latest from Iran (13 July): Revolutionary Enemy-Breaking Queues for Chicken

See also Iran Snapshot: A Clumsy Intervention by Britain's Intelligence Chief
The Latest from Iran (12 July): Keeping the Oil Flowing....Maybe

1549 GMT: Immigration Watch. Kalemeh claims that Afghan immigrants, the subject of increasing restrictions by the regime in recent weeks, are no longer allowed to drive.

1545 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Saham News says that opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi, held under strict house arrests for 17 months, has not been allowed to attend the funeral of his sister.

1541 GMT: Economy Watch. ISNA reports that the price of domestically-produced cigarettes has doubled in recent weeks.

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The Latest from Iran (7 July): Warning the Green Movement

See also Iran Audio Feature: Nuclear Talks, Domestic Politics, & a Worried Regime --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
The Latest from Iran (6 July): Tehran Puts Out Positive Nuclear Messages

1730 GMT: Oil Watch. The National Iranian Oil Company has suspended a contract worth $107 million for the development of the Dayyer oilfield by the Italian company Edison.

NIOC said Edison, which signed the deal in 2006, had failed to meet its contractual commitments, with slow progress of the project to study two-dimensional seismographic information on 7500 square kilometers of the oilfield and to drill an exploration well.

A number of major contracts with foreign companies have been suspended in the last two years amid technical issues and sanctions.

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The Latest from Iran (21 May): A Freudian Slip on the Economy

See also The Latest from Iran (20 May): A Tip of the Hat to President Obama?

1824 GMT:. Fraud Watch. In the 11th hearing in the trial of dozens of defendants over a $2.6 billion bank fraud, a former deputy at the Ministry of Industry has accused Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of Parliament's National Security Committee, of involvement.

1813 GMT: Death to the Rapper Watch. Hojatoleslam Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, the head of the Administration Court, is the latest cleric to call for the killing of rapper Shahin Najafi because of his "insult to Imams" with his song "Naqi".

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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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Iran Feature: A Pilgrimage Site for the Supreme Leader's Bottom

In a twist on the archetypal American plaque to its Founding Father, "George Washington Slept Here", Iran now has the tribute "The Supreme Leader Sat Here".

The rock upon which Ayatollah Khamenei sat in May 2005 while taking a rest from trekking a mountain in Kerman has been memorialised. A signpost with his image says the Supreme Leader perched on the spot on 6 May 2005. Some bloggers have given it the less exalted title of "a pilgrimage site for Khamenei's bottom".

Maya Neyestani has an alternative inscription, "Marking the Place Where Grandpa Spat":


Iran Feature: Maya Neyestani --- Challenging Repression Through The Cartoon (Esfandiari)

Neyestani's cartoons pulse with feelings of hope, lack of freedom, and frustration with the absurd social and political rules that Iranians face in their day-to-day lives. His drawings depict Iranian leaders as obsessed with nuclear power, show how sanctions hurt ordinary people, evoke the specter of war with Israel, highlight the plight of political prisoners, and, in general, draw attention to vexing issues on the minds of many Iranians.

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The Latest from Iran (2 March): The Parliamentary Elections

Maya Neyestani on today's "historic" election

See also Iran Special: A Beginner's Guide to Today's Parliamentary Elections
Iran Snap Analysis: So Who is "Winning" These Elections?
The Latest from Iran (1 March): The Issue Is Legitimacy

2055 GMT: ANd now a good-news story from the elections....

The 100-year-old man in Hamedan voted and died (see 1215 GMT), and the 95-year-old man in Damavand said, ""God, please accept this vote from me" and passed away (see 1645), but the 117-year-old man in Gonbad-e Qabus cast his ballot and lived.

2030 GMT: Well, I now have first-hand experience of how Iranian media handle news and analysis about this election.

Fars has not only noted my interview with BBC Persian; they are presenting it as if I had spoken to them. The headline is a selective extract, reflecting Fars' emphasis, of my comments, "The Western Leaders Don't Have a Clear Understanding of the Iranian Elections".

To be fair, Fars does fairly repeat some of my remarks, such as this election is too complex to be "Conservatives v. Clergy" and "The election is less about foreign policy than it is about Iran's internal affairs, economics, political accountability, and even topics such as judicial and legal rights."

What is interesting is what is left out or abbreviated. Fars' "interview" forgets to include my remarks that this election --- crucially --- is about the legitimacy of not only the Government but also the regime. And while the site does accurately mention my comment, "Reformists had no chance in this election of achieving some kind of political power", it indicates this was the main reason for their boycott of the vote --- conveniently omitting the rest of my analysis that the strategy was to raise question marks about the regime: "The message, following the 2009 Presidential election protests ie not just "Where is my vote?" but "Where is my government's responsibility?"

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The Latest from Iran (21 January): See No Evil

See also The Latest from Iran (20 January): Grim Times in Shiraz

0535 GMT: Sanctions All-Is-Well Alert. With the European Union likely to declare a suspension of Iranian oil imports on Monday, Tehran's State media pound out the beat that China and India will not join the effort.

IRNA claims, from statements from Chinese and Indian diplomats at the United Nations, "Futile effort to boycott Iranian oil: Beijing and New Delhi continue to buy oil from Tehran". Press TV echoes, using the line of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, "China Stresses Diplomacy on Iran".

0520 GMT: We begin this morning with a cartoon from Maya Neyestani, highlighting the case of actress Golshifteh Farahani, the Iranian actress who posed nude for a short video and a photograph in a French magazine:

Iranian media prefer another photograph, featuring the Supreme Leader with the family of scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, whose position at the Natanz nuclear facility probably led to his assassination last week:


The Latest from Iran (20 November): Reading a "Muzzled" Press

1805 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. The head of the Basij militia, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, has said, "We are ready to organise a 100 million Basij army in the Muslim world to liberate Quds [Jerusalem] as promised by Ayatollah Khomeini.

Revolutionary Guards commander Hossein Hamedani has tried to follow up with the assurance that more than 2000 bloggers are organising for cyber-war.

Only problem --- last year the Guards said they were training a 15,000-strong cyber-army.

1800 GMT: Economy Watch. Some outlets in Iranian media are reporting that the Government owes 30 trillion Toman ($22.5 billion) to Iran's Social Security fund and cannot pay all State pensions.

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