Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Mohammad Hassan Abutorabi-Fard (6)


The Latest from Iran (6 December): "We're Still Winning"

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Criticising the Supreme Leader and Much More
The Latest from Iran (5 December): The Victory of Nasrin Sotoudeh's Hunger Strike

1945 GMT: Mis-Analysis of the Day. Richard Javad Heydarian, writing for LobeLog, echoes the regime line that Tehran, defiantly withstanding sanctions, is in a stronger position to negotiate with Washington:

It is Iran’s relative resilience --- and ability to avoid a total collapse --- that may explain its willingness to explore direct talks with Washington. Tehran feels that it has enough wiggle room to avoid total unilateral concessions and negotiate a more mutually-favorable, face-saving outcome ---perhaps, before it’s tool [sic] late.

Leave aside the indications that the Islamic Republic is now stepping away from bilateral discussions with the US (see 1205 GMT). Heydarian's economic case for resilience is a case study in missing and mis-reading evidence.

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The Latest from Iran (28 May): No More Nice Guy --- Tehran Shifts Line on Nuke Talks

See also The Latest from Iran (27 May): A New Parliament Opens

1358 GMT: Dissent Watch. Former Foreign Minister and political prisoner Ebrahim Yazdi has posted another book on the Internet, as a protest against the Ministry of Culture’s failure to provide valid reasons for not approving its publication.

The Student Movement in the 1940s and 1950s was published 10 days after Yazdi uploaded his book about Mehdi Bazargan, the head of Iran’s interim state after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In a letter to the Minister of Culture and Guidance, Yazdi wrote, “The president has said in his interviews that Iran is the freest country in the world, so it is not clear why a book about the late Mr. Bazargan cannot get a publication licence.”

Yazdi, arrested twice during the post-election protests of 2009, was the oldest political prisoner before the octogenarian was finally released last March.

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The Latest from Iran (22 April): A Lull in the Politics

See also Iran Document: The Repression, Abuse, and Execution of Iranian Kurds
The Latest from Iran (21 April): Getting It Right on Politics and Nuclear Talks

2040 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. President Ahmadinejad has used the set-piece of a visit from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to put out the line of Tehran's close relations with Baghdad in a challenge to the West and Israel:

If Tehran and Baghdad are powerful and dignified, there will be no place in the region for the enemies of nations, including the US and the Zionist regime. “The hegemonic powers that have been slapped by the two nations are trying to keep countries like Iran and Iraq weak in order to bring the entire region under their domination and control by creating dissention and sowing discord.

2010 GMT: Spin Watch. An instructive story about how Iranian State media re-packages economic news to find the "positive"....

Earlier today (see 1257 GMT) we reported the finding of the International Monetary Fund that Iran's inflation rate in 2011 was twice that of other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Well, although that story was in Iran's Aftab News, you won't find it in Fars or State outlets IRNA and Press TV. Instead, IRNA features a message from Tehran to the IMF:

Iran as one of the co-founders of International Monetary Found expects a supportive role from this organization, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Mahmoud Bahmani said here on Friday.

Bahmani made the remark in a meeting with the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of semiannual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington.

Fars has almost the exact same story.

Now watch as today's Press TV, citing Fars, suddenly turns the story, "Iran Economic Reforms Positive, Constructive: IMF Chief":

Managing director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the economic reforms carried out by the Iranian government in recent years, especially the Subsidy Reform Plan, have been positive and constructive.

In a meeting with Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Mahmoud Bahmani on the sidelines of semiannual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington, Christine Lagarde expressed hope that Western sanctions against Iran's central bank would be lifted.

Lagarde also indicated her concern about the fluctuations in global oil prices and their impact on the world economic growth.

We can find no record anywhere of Lagarde making these alleged remarks.

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The Latest from Iran (4 March): The Play-Acting of the Election

A spoiled ballot in Friday's Parliamentary election, "Death to this rotten regime that forces me to vote for a stamp in my ID card!"

See also Iran Snap Analysis: Rearranging the Political Chairs --- What Has Changed?
Iran Elections Snapshot: The #1 Subversive Moment "They're All the Same"
Iran Special Analysis: The "Invented" Election
Iran Opinion: Elections, Power, and Political War in Tehran
The Latest from Iran (3 March): After the Vote

2005 GMT: Trouble-Making Watch. It has not taken maverick MP Ali Motahari long to stir feathers after the election. Motahari, who headed a breakaway faction called Voice of the Nation, has claimed that former Speaker of Parliament Gholam Ali Haddad Adel prevented his inclusion on the Unity Front list for Tehran.

The challenge is significant because Haddad Adel is a likely candidate for the next Speaker of Parliament.

1945 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. An EA correspondent adds context for our entries today considering whether Parliament, after this week's vote, will interrogate the President (see 0740 and 1340 GMT): "Ahmadinejad could be questioned by the outgoing Parliament, which still be operation for a month or two after the elections."

And will that happen? The correspondent replies, "It's really tough to say."

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The Latest from Iran (24 November): Smog and Politics

2125 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Green Voice of Freedom claims, from a source close to Hengameh Shahidi, that the journalist has been hospitalised following a hunger strike.

A group of political, academic, and human rights activists have issued a statement calling for the release of Ebrahim Yazdi, the 78-year-old former Foreign Minister.

Shahidi was returned to prison on 15 November after a 18-day leave for medical treatment.

2120 GMT: An Appeal for Refugees. Exiled attorney Mohammad Mostafaei has written to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon:

Since there are Iranians living in various countries under deplorable conditions and need support to appeal their request for asylum, with deep concerns I hereby request that the United Nations expeditiously contact all member states in order to review the affairs of asylum seekers. As a result, refugees will be able to relocate to states where they desire to live in security. It is self evident that prolonging the proceedings for the refugees is against the standards of human rights and ought to be considered as torture and punishment.

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The Latest from Iran (31 October): Please Do Not Be Scared

1940 GMT: Subsidy Cuts Watch. Rah-e-Sabz reports that legislators have been not convinced by the government's remarks on subsidy cuts and have asked for a new meeting.

The website adds that the government will take money from banks for refunds.

1755 GMT: Holding Off on More Repression? Gholamhossein Esmaili, the head of Iran's prisons organisation, says the definition of "political crime" has been postponed because of more important issues.

1735 GMT: Warning of the Day. Approaching 4 November, the anniversary of the takeover of the US Embassy, Revolutionary Guard Commander Masoud Jazayeri has warned that today some embassies play the same role as the US embassy did in 1979. Jazayeri said Iran must turn the day into an international day of "Death to America" against spies and foreign intervention.

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