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Entries in Mohammad-Hossein Saffar-Harandi (9)


The Latest from Iran (27 August): Meanwhile, Away from the Non-Aligned Summit....

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi addressed the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement on Sunday

1941 GMT: Foreign Affairs Watch (Saudi Front). There had been signs this month of an Iranian-Saudi accommodation, with President Ahmadinejad going to Riyadh for the extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and a Saudi delegation coming to Tehran for the Non-Aligned Movement's summit.

This, however, does not appear to be part of the rapprochement --- former Minister of Culture Mohammad-Hossein Saffar-Harandi has reportedly said the Saudi king drinks wine, hates Shiites, and propagates filthy Wahhabism.

1915 GMT: Economy Watch. Fakhrollah Molaei, Deputy Minister of Industry, has stated that the Iranian economy is suffering a serious lack of liquidity, with 68% of Iran's production units lacking the required capital to operate effectively. A weak domestic market, disagreements between trading partners, and shortages of raw resources or machinery were secondary problems identified by Molaei as being significant.

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The Latest from Iran (1 December): A Spot of Bother

Nikahang Kowsar portrays the Supreme Leader's approach to international affairs

See also Iran Analysis: The Embassy Attack --- A Serious Mis-Calculation by the Regime
Iran Feature: So Who Were the "Students" in the Embassy Attack?
Iran Special Analysis: More Than a Game --- 6 Points About the Attack on the British Embassy
The Latest from Iran (30 November): After the Attack on the British Embassy

2050 GMT: The Embassy Tit-for-Tat. Many thanks to Josh Shahryar for running the LiveBlog today.

The "Occupiers of the Sedition Nest of Old Fox", formed in the aftermath of Tuesday's attack on the British Embassy, have announced they will be at the airport on Friday to welcome the Iranian diplomats expelled from the UK.

In another attempt at pressure on remaining diplomats of the "West", Tehran Provincial Governor Morteza Tamaddon said their visit to the British Embassy compound at Qolhak Garden is "suspicious" and he has reported it to the Foreign Ministry.

Iranian authorities have banned foreign media from covering any rallies in front of British diplomatic missions.

Meanwhile, Norway has reopened its embassy after a 24-hour closure for "security concerns".

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The Latest from Iran (30 November): After the Attack on the British Embassy

Footage from Britain's Channel 4 of the attack on the British Embassy on Tuesday

See also Iran Special Analysis: More Than a Game --- 6 Points About the Attack on the British Embassy
Iran Audio Feature: Scott Lucas with the BBC about Attack on UK Embassy
Iran Latest: Students Storm British Embassy
The Latest from Iran (29 November): Nothing To See Here, Move Along

2130 GMT: The Embassy Attack. Hossein Alizadeh, the charge d’affaires at the Iranian embassy in Finland who resigned because of the crackdown on post-election dissent, has spoken to Inside Iran about the takeover of the British Embassy:

I would never believe that the Iranian security forces who had the power to crackdown on millions of street protesters in 2009 are now incapable of stopping a few hundred people from entering the British Embassy. Therefore, I believe there was a hidden agenda to drive this action. I am pretty sure that the attackers were not students. They are the same pressure groups that oppress the opposition forces within the country.

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The Latest from Iran (9 October): The Battle Within

Presidential Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai and his spiritual mentor, Ayatollah Hadi Ghazanfari Khansari, reportedly sentenced to 10 years in prison

See also Iran Opinion: Is Tehran Immune from the Arab Spring?

2205 GMT: Reformist Watch. Former President Mohammad Khatami has demanded a strong Parliament to oppose dictatorship and to ensure elections for all people.

2145 GMT: Promise of the Day. Iran Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, "If information about 80% of youth having sexual relations and 20% drinking alcohol are true, I will resign."

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The Latest from Iran (26 September): Let the Battles Resume....

US nationals Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, freed after 26 months in an Iranian prison, offer remarks in New York

See also Iran Video Special: Mothers of Victims Sohrab Arabi & Neda Agha Soltan Respond to Ahmadinejad's New York Statements

1650 GMT: The US Hikers. Iran Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei has taken offence at the comments of US national Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, free on $500,000 bail each after 26 months in detention in Tehran, on their return to New York (see top of entry and 0445 GMT).

Fattal and Bauer said they had been held for no more than being Americans at a time of tension between the US and Iran and had described hearing the abuse of other detainees in Evin Prison. Mohseni-Ejei declared, "It's predictable, each time we release [people like] them, saying these words against Iran." He continued, "It is clear that these remarks are contrary to fact, and of course, we expected no more than this."

Mohseni-Ejei dismissed any political issue over the judiciary's delay in releasing Bauer and Fattal for more than a week after President Ahmadinejad told US media they would be freed: "Any individual may call for the arrest and freeing of a prisoner, but ultimately it is up to the judge who issued the warrant."

Fattal and Bauer's State-appointed lawyer Massoud Shafiee also was unhappy with the remarks of the two Americans --- it was "not true" that they had been mistreated in prison. He said, "If my clients contact me, as an Iranian national, I will definitely inform them of my protest at their baseless claims....Why have they made such allegations when their problem has been resolved and they have left the country?"

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The Latest from Iran (19 April): A Regime Confession About the Greens?

2010 GMT: On the Sports Pages (Parliament v. President Edition). Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, has filed an official complaint with the judiciary against the Ahmadinejad Government for failing to establish a Ministry of Sports and Youth.

Last December, Parliament passed a law for the formation of the ministry of youth and sports by 9 April 2011. Last week, Larijani sent a letter to Ahmadinejad reminding him of the deadline.

However, the president’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, said on Sunday: “The government and the president believe that this issue is not in the interest of the country’s sports and athletics.”

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The Latest from Iran (12 March): A Challenge from Prison

Tonight's Headline News: The daughters of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard have met their parents for the first time since Mousavi and Rahnavard were put under strict house arrest on 14 February.

Mousavi, who was not informed of the meeting and so was surprised to see his daughters, told them that agents raided the family home on 14 February --- the day of the first significant opposition marches in Tehran for more than a year --- and confiscated books, CDs, and personal items. The security forces even took classified documents from Mousavi's tenure as Prime Minister in the late 1980s.

The daughters claimed the yard of their parents' home was full of agents and a dark van was parked there. They said they were told to keep quiet about the meeting but believed people had a right to know.

2110 GMT: In the Courts. Mohammad Tahir Haeri Shirazi, the son of President Ahmadinejad's mentor Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi, has been sentenced to six years in prison for land theft.

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The Latest from Iran (9 December): A Return to "Normal"

1710 GMT: We are going to take an early break this evening to join Ms EA at the theatre. As usual, I'm leaving the updates in the capable hands of our readers for late-breaking news and analysis.

1620 GMT: No Contradiction Here. The headline in Etelaat newspaper, 7 December: "Low Fuel Quality Main Reason for Smog". Headline in Etelaat, 8 December: "High Quality Fuel a Huge Domestic Success".

1605 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch (Censorship Edition). An EA source alerts us....

On Sunday night, pages and copies of the newspaper Iran were confiscated because of an article by executive director Kaveh Eshtehardi defending Mehdi Hashemi, the son of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. The seizures were ordered by Tehran Public Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi. Doulatabadi also warned other newspaper not to print any material identifying Hashemi by name.


Groups within the regime are seeking the trial of Hashemi on charges of fraud and electoral manipulation, and an arrest warrant has been issued for him. He has been in London since summer 2009.

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The Latest from Iran (7 December): 16 Azar

2115 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist Masoud Lavasani has been summoned to Evin Prison to serve his 4 1/2-year prison sentence.

Lavasani was arrested on 26 July 2009 at his home.

Ahmad Reza Khadem of the National Front has been sentenced to 40 months in prison.

Muhammad Nawaz, a follower of the detained Ayatollah Boroujerdi, has been detained.

2043 GMT: Parliament v. President. I know 16 Azar has been dramatic, but don't forget the ongoing story of the challenge to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

MP Darioush Ghanbari says that several reformists have signed the letter, organised by principlists opposing the President, to summon Ahmadinejad to the Majlis for questioning.

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