Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Mehdi Ghazanfari (22)


Iran Live Coverage: How to "Engineer" an Election

"My husband is an engineer. He engineers elections." (Cartoon: Maya Neyestani)

See also Thursday's Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad v. Parliament...and the Revolutionary Guards

1605 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update (Election Edition). More about the distinctive theme in today's Prayer sermon, delivered by the Guardian Council's Ayatollah Jannati, that while Iran has free elections, it is co-operation with the enemy to talk about free elections (see 1155 GMT)....

Jannati's threat to detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, both of whom ran in the June 2009 Presidential election, was straightforward: “The public has identified your movement and knows your leaders and the leaders of sedition, and they know what your aim is; you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

And Jannati made clear that, while "those who meet the necessary criteria will never be refused a chance to run in the elections", those who "they lack them...clearly will not be allowed to run".

But here is where it gets really interesting:

Those who consider themselves men of politics and have had important roles in the Revolution should be ashamed of themselves for repeating the statement of the foreign enemies of the regime....

The political losers are now talking about free elections and one of them is quite powerful and since a while ago he has begun talking about this issue and the rest have followed his line.

Who is this "quite powerful...political loser"? Surely not President Ahmadinejad, given that the Supreme Leader handed him the 2009 victory? Former President Mohammad Khatami does not seem to qualify as "quite powerful"?

How about former President Hashemi Rafsanjani?

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The Latest from Iran (24 December): All-Is-Well Oil Alert...But With a Confession

See also The Latest from Iran (23 December): Ahmadinejad on Economy "Everyone is Wrong Except Me"

Minister of Oil Rustam Qassemi1750 GMT: Currency Watch. Without providing sources, Radio Zamaneh claims that the Iranian Rial has slipped to 33500:1 vs. the US dollar, its lowest point since Central Bank and Government intervention in October.

The Rial had lost 70% of its value this year before the intervention --- suspension of the open market and a special "trade room" backed by injection of foreign reserves --- bolstered it, according to some reports as strong as 27000:1. However, EA sources in Iran have been reporting that the Rial began sliding again this month, reaching about 31000:1 last week.

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The Latest from Iran (5 December): The Victory of Nasrin Sotoudeh's Hunger Strike

Nasrin Sotoudeh1903 GMT: Drone Watch. The US military has backed away from its earlier denial that none of its drones could have been downed by Iran.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said the drone displayed by the Revolutionary Guards on Tuesday appeared to be a U.S.-made ScanEagle. He said it could not be determined if the drone was operated by the US.

Commenting on Tehran's claims that it extracted valuable data from the ScanEagle, reportedly captured in the Persian Gulf, Little said it was “highly improbable” that useful intelligence could be gained from the relatively unsophisticated drone.

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The Latest from Iran (15 October): European Union Announces More Sanctions

See also Iran Feature: "Oil-Spill Sabotage To Block Strait of Hormuz" --- How Western Media Spreads a Scare Story
The Latest from Iran (14 October): Pretending All Is Well

2040 GMT: Open All Hours Watch. According to the opposition site Kalemeh, Tehran Chief of Police has said that shopkeepers wishing to close for longer than the “established legal time” must obtain a permit.

Earlier this month many of the shops in the Tehran Bazaar closed amid a protest over the currency crisis.

2031 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. At least one notable MP is none too happy about the prospective interrogation of President Ahmadinejad --- Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, the head of the Principlist faction and a relative of the Supreme Leader, has said, “I don’t think questioning the President in the present circumstances is expedient....Unity and amity for solving the economic problems must be the priority of the Majlis and Government."

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The Latest from Iran (2 October): A Currency in Free Fall?

The scene in the Tehran currency market today

See also Iran Audio Feature: Can Iraq Stop Tehran Flying Weapons to Syria? --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
Monday's The Latest from Iran (1 October): Can the "Resistance Economy" Continue to Resist?

1929 GMT: Ahmadinejad Statement of the Day. An EA correspondent draws up an important segment from the President's press conference, in which Ahmadinejad effectively said "Back Me or Sack Me": "I was somewhere and said, 'If you want me to, I'm ready to write a sentence, and we go away.'"

Our correspondent explains, "'Somewhere' is the Supreme Leader's house or office." amd looks at the 2:24 mark in this video to assess, "Ahmadinejad has definitely threatened to step back if necessary."

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The Latest from Iran (20 September): The Currency "Situation"

Nikahang Kowsar looks at President Ahmadinejad's visit next week to New York for the United Nations General Assembly --- Statue of Liberty: "Mamouti, take your halo and go away!"

See also Iran Analysis: Assessing A Nuclear Warning from Tehran
Iran Feature: How Mitt Romney Got It Wrong on Tehran's "Dirty Bomb"
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Iran's Political Diversion
The Latest from Iran (19 September): Another Regime Move on Syria

2020 GMT: Economy Watch. Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has stated that "rising prices are putting people under pressure". He criticised the Goverment's management of the economy: "the President mustn’t make decisions alone".

1630 GMT: Assurance of the Day. Inspector General Mostafa Pourmohammadi has claimed that 5% inflation will cause a crisis in Europe, but people in Iran stay calm even with 40% inflation.

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The Latest from Iran (17 September): An Intervention in Syria

See also Iran Analysis: Tehran Hurts Itself With Muddled Messages on Syria
The Latest from Iran (16 September): The Rhetoric, the "Protests", and Now the Threats

1835 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Lebanese Front). Following the declaration of the head of the Revolutionary Guards that Tehran has sent members of the Quds Force to Syria and Lebanon to provide "counsel", President Michel Sulaiman has challenged the Islamic Republic. “President Sulaiman asked for an official explanation from the relevant Iranian authorities,” his office said.

1825 GMT: Currency Watch. The Iranian Rial is falling again on the open market, dropping 2% vs. the US dollar to 24950:1.

Last week, the Rial broke the 25000:1 level for the first time, less than half its value at the official rate.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank has denied widespread reports that it has halted provision of foreign currency at the official rate to importers since last month, claiming that this is still available for the most important basic goods.

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The Latest from Iran (8 August): A Short Break for the Olympics

The family of Omid Norouzi celebrate his Olympic gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling

See also Iran Analysis: Is This the Last Elected President?
Iran Snap Analysis: Scrambling Over Syria
The Latest from Iran (7 August): The Currency "Situation"

2017 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has published a statement "announc[ing] Iran’s readiness to host a meeting of countries committed to immediately implementing these steps in hopes of ending the violence...[and] reiterat[ing] our willingness to facilitate talks between the Syrian government and the opposition and to host such a dialogue".

That is not new --- Salehi has said this on several occasions in recent weeks. What is new is the outlet: an opinion piece in the Washington Post.

And what is even more distinctive is Salehi's recognition --- the first I can recall from a high-ranking Iranian official --- of the legitimacy of protest against the Syrian regime:

When the Islamic Awakening — also known as the Arab Spring — began in December 2010, we all saw people rising up to claim their rights. We have witnessed the emergence of civic movements demanding freedom, democracy, dignity and self-determination.

We in Tehran have watched these developments with delight. After all, a civic movement demanding the same things that many Arabs want today is what led to the emergence of our Islamic Republic in 1979. During the past three decades, Iran has consistently underlined that it is the duty of all governments to respect their people’s demands. We have maintained this position as the Islamic Awakening has unfolded.

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The Latest from Iran (22 July): Trying to Fix the Economy for Ramadan

See also Iran Feature: The "No to Hijab" Campaign on Facebook
The Latest from Iran (21 July): Support the Syrian Regime, Support Your Leader

1900 GMT: Reformist Watch. In a lengthy interview, opposition activist Mojtaba Vahedi has explained his decision to break after 30 years with Mehdi Karroubi --- former Speaker of Parliament, 2009 Presidential candidate, and detainee under strict house arrest since February 2011.

Vahedi said his primary motive was "to expose more freely" those reformists advocating participation in next year's Presdiential election.

1820 GMT: Election Watch. Radio Farda evaluates this week's declaration by the Guardian Council that it is changing Iran's election laws in accordance with the wishes of the Supreme Leader --- the site assesses that the move is the outcome of a struggle within the establishment, with the Council and Ayatollah Khamenei tightening their grip on power.

Bolstering that interpretation, Vice President Mohammad Reza Mirtajoddini has said the Government is responsible for the election laws and changes would weaken the Iranian system.

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Iran Analysis: Larijani and the Revolutionary Guards Warn the Government Over the Economy

Ali LarijaniIn the last week, the Government has tried to stem the criticism by shutting down critical websites, such as Alef, linked to leading MP Ahmad Tavakoli. It has tried to blame everything from inflation to drought to duststorms on the "enemy".

But, if figures such as Ali Larijani and factions like the Revolutionary Guards are making admissions and issuing warnings, how long can this response dam the discontent?

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