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Entries in Michael Theodoulou (3)


Iran Feature: The Fear in the Corridors of Evin Prison (Theodoulou)

From grim experience, Maziar Bahari knows the fear that is probably gripping eight Iranian journalists who were arrested late last month and taken to Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

Mr Bahari was among the approximately 100 journalists detained in June 2009 during the tumult following president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election.

The latest crackdown on reporters affiliated with reformist news outlets appears to be aimed at muzzling dissenting or independent voices, and suggests that as Iran gears up for its next presidential election in June, the regime's fears of unrest are escalating.

"My guess is they're all in solitary confinement," said Mr Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist and filmmaker who spent 118 days in Evin, all but 11 of them alone in a small cell.

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Iran Feature: Spotlight Returns to Detained Opposition Leaders Mousavi and Karroubi

Before the Detentions: Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi KarroubiTwo of Iran's main opposition leaders are in their 70s and in poor health but 23 months of house arrest have failed to crush their "unshakeable spirit", their families said last week.

Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi are standing by their "righteous and principled position", they added in a statement that demanded their immediate release. That position is primarily a call for the "ruling apparatus" to recognise "the people's right to self-determination".

Cut off from the outside world, the two men --- along with Mr Mousavi's charismatic wife, Zahra Rahnavard - have been denied free access to newspapers, television, the internet and regular family visits.

But all three are now back in the Iranian spotlight ahead of polls in June to elect a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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Iran Feature: Revolutionary Guards Speak Out Against Ahmadinejad (Theodoulou)

Analysts suspect the [Revolutionary Guards'] magazine was encouraged to publish the [critical] article by the office of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. If so, however, this does not mean there is a major rift between the ayatollah and the president: it is more likely to be a warning shot aimed at reining in Mr Ahmadinejad, analysts said.

"It [the article] should not be turned into a narrative of withdrawal of support for Ahmadinejad and a sign of his imminent downfall," said Farideh Farhi, an Iran expert at the University of Hawaii. "But it should give pause to those who keep explaining Ahmadinejad's success in maintaining power in terms of his base of support in the Guards."

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