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Entries in Mohammad Ali Jafari (42)


Iran Feature: How the Revolutionary Guards Interfere in Elections (Sardari)

Mohammad Ali Jafari, head of the Revolutionary Guards, and the Supreme Leader

Since 1979 --- despite a mandate to operate outside politics, backed up by an injunction from Ayatollah Khamenei --- the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Basij have become increasingly active in the political sphere. They have interfered with the operation of free and fair elections under the guise of protecting the Revolution, they have subverted electoral law with impunity. On each occasion, their meddling has become more brazen and less furtive. These forces now make up a parallel government that works to control and subvert the democratic process.

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Iran Special: How Western Media Missed The Important Story from Israel

On Thursday, the head of Israel's military intelligence, Major General Amir Kochavi, made an important announcement. He said that, while Iran is developing its nuclear programme in 2013, it "has not yet decided to build a bomb".

Here's the catch: those who rely on Western media are unlikely to learn of this.

Instead, they will be treated to this far scarier spin, also taken from Kochavi's presentation: "Iran and Hezbollah Have Built 50,000-Strong Force to Help Syrian Regime".

So why did one declaration of Kochavi --- which is a misreading of a statement by an Iranian military commander last autumn --- make the headlines? Why is another --- which is far more significant and points to the debate within Israel over what to do about Tehran --- ignored?

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Iran Live Coverage: A New --- and Genuine --- Offer in the Nuclear Talks?

See also Iran Analysis: Taking Apart the "Iranian Terror Cell in Nigeria" Story
Wednesday's Iran Live Coverage: Detaining the Journalists

2055 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Amid the inevitable political spin around the IAEA report on Iran's nuclear programme, Al Monitor hands over its summary to David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security.

Unsurprisingly, Albright, with a long-time pattern of hostility towards Tehran, is selective in trying to present an IAEA condemnation of the Islamic Republic. He introduces the new charge that the Tehran Research Reactor, known for its production of medical isotopes, is testing fuel for a heavy water reactor at Arak. Then he puts out the line that new centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment plant --- even though Tehran says they are for 5% uranium only --- are an ominous power play by Iran: “The depressing news is they think they’re strengthening their position by racing ahead with the installation of all these machines."

Al Monitor helps out Albright with the unsupported assessment, "Another possibility is that Iran — despite its frequent protestations to the contrary — is seeking to make nuclear weapons or at least become a “virtual” nuclear weapons state with the capacity to build bombs quickly." Somewhat confusingly, it has the later contradiction --- which is based on information from the IAEA report:

The good news in the report is that Iran in December resumed sending some of its 20%-enriched uranium for conversion into fuel for the TRR. While Iran has added to its stockpile of 20% uranium since the IAEA's last report in November, it is still below what is believed to be an Israeli red line for possible military action.

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Syria Analysis: Dissecting The Washington Post's Scary "Iran-Hezbollah 50,000 Militiamen in Syria " Story

Head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Mohammad Ali Jafari announces Tehran's military support for Assad regime, 16 September 2012

The real question beyond "50,000 militiamen": why is the US Government, backed by an Arab ally, feeding this story to the Post now?

Is this laying the ground for the revelation that the Obama Administration --- contrary to its recent denials --- has been involved in provision of arms to the insurgency, supposedly ensuring that it can block any rise of an Iran-Hezbollah-Assad force after the fall of the regime? Is it another volley in the campaign to separate "good" insurgents from "bad" insurgents such as Jabhat al-Nusra? Is it justification for the ever-increasing US sanctions on Iran, including the measures put in place last Wednesday? All three?

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Iran Live Coverage: First the Space Monkey, Now a New Fighter Jet

State outlet Press TV on the unveiling of Iran's new F-313 fighter jet

See also EA Video Analysis: The Lie About an Iran "Explosion" That Became Headline News
Iran Video Feature: The Regime's "Justified" Imprisonment of Journalists
Saturday's Iran Live Coverage: The Supreme Leader's Men Launch Their Presidential Campaign

1950 GMT: The Defeat of Ahmadinejad. After today's showdown in Parliament, Speaker Ali Larijani and President Ahmadinejad have each cancelled press conferences called for tonight.

An audio of the clash between the two men has been posted on YouTube.

1850 GMT: The Defeat of Ahmadinejad. Some Western media have noticed today's dramatic events in Parliament, but they are struggling to get a handle on what happened.

Reuters has the fullest account but misses the humiliation of the President by the Speaker of Parliament --- and the impeachment of his Minister of Labor --- with the incomplete headline, "Iran President Accuses Parliament Speaker's Family of Corruption".

After giving a full description of the President's attempt to tag Larijani with corruption, via a claimed audio tape of the Speaker's brother, the article finally approaches the significant development:

"Our problem is that our president does not observe the basics of proper behavior," Larijani said. "Why did you discuss this issue here?"

Larijani continued: "Actually it's a good thing ... that you played this tape today, so that the people better understand your character."

The Washington Post focuses on the Minister of Labor's impeachment, giving only a brief description of the Ahmadinejad-Larijani exchange --- and missing the significance of it --- at the end of the article.

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Iran Live Coverage: Celebrating Victory Over Protests

See also Saturday's Iran Live Coverage: Cheerleading for Sanctions

Tehran, 30 December 20091759 GMT: At the Movies. The Iranian Directors Union has warned that cinema is on the verge of closure amidst censorship and economic difficulties.

Scores of movie houses have reportedly shut this year. The Ministry of Culture gave the reassurance that Iranians could always watch television.

1750 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been put in solitary confinement for three weeks for "insulting the Supreme Leader" and "disturbing order in prison".

Hashemi is serving a six-month sentence for propaganda against the regime.

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Iran Live Coverage: Cheerleading for Sanctions

Al Jazeera English reports on the effect of US sanctions on Iranian air travel

2115 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front). Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has reportedly predicted that Syrian President Assad will leave or be forced from power.

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Iran Snap Analysis: Military Chest-Thumping Takes Over in Tehran

Mohammad Ali Jafari, Head of Revolutionary GuardsNow the important question: is this chest-thumping merely a complement to the talk and manoeuvres for discussions with the US and the 5+1 Powers on Iran's nuclear programme? Is it the indication that Tehran is stepping away from negotiations? Or does it point to a continuing battle within the regime, with the Revolutionary Guards' commanders trying to win over Supreme Leader and quash the efforts of others --- not only the diplomats, but also politicians like the Larijani brothers --- for the discussions with Washington?

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The Latest from Iran (4 November): A False "Breakthrough" on the Nuclear Issue

The Latest from Iran (3 November): Will the Political Fighting Stop? (Probably Not.)

1740 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. The head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, has said Iran will increase its naval presence in the Persian Gulf, near three islands claimed by the United Arab Emirates.

"The security of the Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf is part of the various strategies of the naval force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps," Jafari said at a ceremony inaugurating a fifth "naval defense zone" at the port of Bandar Lengeh.

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The Latest from Iran (30 October): Tehran's Mixed Messages

See also Iran Analysis: The Regime Tells the US, "You Are Plotting Against Us --- Let's Talk"
Iran Exclusive: Did Supreme Leader's Top Advisor Meet US Officials in Qatar?
The Latest from Iran (29 October): We Will Defeat the Sanctions, The Sanctions Are Killing Us

2100 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Back from an extended business break to find Press TV continuing State media's encouraging signals about renewed discussions of Iran's nuclear programme:

EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, says she has plans to meet with Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili, hoping new talks between Iran and the group of six major world powers could lead to a diplomatic solution.

Ashton said on Tuesday that European officials met last weekend with aides to the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, adding that she plans to meet directly with him [Jalili] soon, Associated Press reported.

The announcement is seen as a key step in the resumption of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group --- which consists of Britain, China, France, Russia, and the US plus Germany -- over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

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