1838 GMT: Protest Watch. Peyke Iran, using photographs from Mehr, has a must-see comparison of the pro-regime crowd today and the demonstration after the disputed Presidential election. Two of the images --- the first from 11 February 2011; the second from 15 June 2009.
Entries in Mehdi Hashemi (41)
Last week women's rights activist Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, was sentenced to six months in prison and a five-year ban on political, cultural, and media activities on charges of "spreading propaganda against the ruling system". The next day, the passports of the family of Mehdi Hashemi, Rafsanjani's son, were seized at Imam Khomeini International Airport outside Tehran.
Analyst Yasmin Alem speaks to The Iran Primer of the US Institute of Peace about the apparent campaign against the Rafsanjani family:
Why was Faezeh Rafsanjani charged?
Hashemi is the most politically active of former President Rafsanjani's children. She is a prominent social activist and leading Islamic feminist. A supporter of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi in the 2009, she participated in a number of opposition rallies after the disputed poll. Ms. Rafsanjani was arrested and briefly detained by security forces on two occasions and barred from travelling abroad.
But her conviction on 2 January 2012 stems from an interview with Rooz Online, an opposition online newspaper. The interview was conducted after she was harassed by plainclothes security agents in April 2011. She told the opposition news website that “thugs and hooligans” were running the country.
She was subsequently accused and convicted of “insulting Islamic Republic officials". She was sentenced to six months in jail and banned from membership in any political organization as well as taking part in online and media activities for the next five years. Hashemi is likely to file an appeal. While she may be able to get her jail sentence overturned, the ban on her political activities is unlikely to be lifted.
Her sentence reflects the longstanding rivalry between two of the Islamic Republic’s founding fathers: former President Rafsanjani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The two men have jockeyed for the upper hand—and the country’s political direction—since the death of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989. Hashemi’s conviction is another way for the supreme leader to pressure his political rival at a time when Rafsanjani is already at the nadir of his power.
2110 GMT: The Battle Within (Literally). More on Tuesday's fight on the floor of Parliament, with the manager of President Ahmadinejad's subsidy cuts, Behrouz Moradi, swinging at an MP....
Moradi, who was expelled by Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani after the fight, reportedly called Parliament a "stable". Larijani has called for the prosecution of the official over the incident.
Iranian State TV's presentation of the US "spy", Amir Mirzaei Hekmati
2125 GMT: Spy Watch. The father of Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the Iranian-American accused by Tehran of espionage (see 0725 GMT), has said the allegation is "absolutely, positively" wrong: "My son is no spy. He is innocent. He's a good fellow, a good citizen, a good man. These are all unfounded allegations and a bunch of lies."
Ali Hekmati said his son did join the military in 2001 --- as the Iranians claimed --- but served the U.S. Marines, not the Army, and worked in linguistics as an Arabic translator, not in military intelligence. He added that Amir Hekmati never did any intelligence work for the Pentagon or the CIA and that, after the military, he went to work for a private security contractor.
The Hekmati fmaily first reported Amir's arrest in September. Ali Hekmati said that he had not been able to see his son, who was only allowed a couple visits by his Iranian grandmothers and who has not been provided a lawyer. US officials have requested access but have yet to received approval.
2035 GMT: The Battle Within. Alef, the website linked to key MP Ahmad Tavakoli --- a leading critic of the Government --- complains that the President has extended his "red line" against prosecution from his Cabinet to his advisors.
Another Government critic, MP Ali Motahari, has criticised both the raid on Iran newspaper and the ban on the reformist Etemaad. At the same time, he said that if Ali Akbar Javanfekr, the Presidential advisor and managing editor of Iran sentenced to a year in prison, and his colleagues had protested over the brutality against post-election protesters, they would not have experienced such a disaster.
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Iran Interview: UN's Special Rapporter on Human Rights to Tehran "Co-Operate With Me" br>
The Latest from Iran (17 November): The Regime Mobilises...for Occupy Wall Street
1628 GMT: The House Arrests. Mohammad Taghi Karroubi, the son of detained opposition figures Mehdi and Fatemeh Karroubi, has hit back at the claim of Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior official in Iran's judiciary, that the strict house arrests were imposed after a judicial process.
The younger Karroubi said no legal documents were presented and that officials of the Ministry of Intelligence said the judiciary "has no say in this case".
2115 GMT: Labour Front. HRANA reports that a protest of Abadan refinery workers over unpaid wages was accosted by security forces.
2000 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Oxford University has dismissed allegations of impropriety in its acceptance of the son of Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mehdi Hashemi, for Ph.D. study.
Critics alleged last month that Hashemi had been accepted even though he had not shown adequate academic standards and language qualifications. They also said he did not meet Oxford's residency requirement.
2000 GMT: Arrests on 13 Bedar. Rah-e-Sabz reports that people celebrating the outdoors festival of Sizdeh Bedar and using it to highlight environmental issues have been accosted and arrested by security forces in Tehran, Tabriz, and Urmia in northwest Iran.
1955 GMT: The Battle Within. One of the regime's stalwart clerics, Mashhad Friday Prayer leader Ayatollah Alamolhoda, has launched a furious attack on President Ahmadinejad's right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.
Alamolhoda said that Rahim-Mashai is not fitna (seditious), but he is monharef (deviate), playing with God and the notion of being a prophet.
The Ayatollah warned that if Rahim-Mashai claims he was misunderstood, "I have his even worse CD" with his views, notably the insult that "religious society isn't ideal society".
The son of the former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani is being investigated by Oxford University after claims that his successful doctoral thesis proposal was written with the help of others.
Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former head of Iran's state-owned gas company, began a five-year DPhil course in the Iranian constitution at the faculty of oriental studies in October.
EA's Mr Tehrani gives an immediate reaction to the news that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has been pushed out of his post as leader of the Assembly of Experts, losing today's election to the Ahmadinejad-backed Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani:
I really hope we will finally tone down the idea that he still holds power. He has no power and is being pushed out of the instittuional sphere.
He has been hounded out of the Assembly of Experts, his son [Mohsen Hashemi] ousted as head of the Tehran Metro, the other son [Mehdi Hashemi] a fugitive, and the daughter [Faezeh Hashemi] called a whore in broad daylight.
What can you really expect from the man now?