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Entries in Mohammad Nourizad (10)


The Latest from Iran (8 May): The Political Fight Over Subsidy Cuts

See also Iran Feature: The Battle to Become Speaker of Parliament
The Latest from Iran (7 May): The Muddle of the New Parliament

Ali Larijani & Mahmoud Ahmadinejad1920 GMT: Oil Watch. Reinhard Baumgarten reports on Iran falling behind Iraq as oil exporter and interviews Sadegh Zibakalam about the disadvantages for Tehran in its deal to export to India.

1542 GMT: Oil Watch. More on the private manoevures behind US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's public encouragement, in her three-day visit, of India to cut oil imports from Iran....

Four Indian officials have told Bloomberg that supplies will be slashed by 20%, given the prospect of alternative supplies from Saudi Arabia.

The officials said India will lower its purchases to 14 million tons from the 17.5 million metric tons in the year ending 31 March.

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The Latest from Iran (3 February): The Supreme Leader's Friday Prayer

Minister of Education Haji Babaei and the Cardboard Imam (see 1741 GMT)

See also Iran Snap Analysis: The Supreme Leader --- Strong Abroad, Weak at Home
Iran Feature: How Tehran's "Islamic Awakening" Lost Its Arab Spring
The Latest from Iran (2 February): Will There Be Protests on 25 Bahman?

1800 GMT: Food Watch. Up to five vessels, out of 10 ships waiting off Iran for up to three weeks with 400,000 tonnes of grain, have now diverted to Qatar, the UAE, and Singapore.

The ships could not or would not off-load their cargoes because of payment difficulties amidst US-led sanctions.

"There is no prohibition on discharging cargoes (in Iran) but they can't because they have not been paid. Some will be trying to find other buyers now," a trade source said.

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The Latest from Iran (18 December): A Big Event?

1945 GMT: Two Steps Ahead? Meanwhile, on the nuclear front, President Ahmadinejad is racing ahead with his "engagement" of the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China) in discussions on Iran's uranium enrichment.

Iran and the 5+1 agreed last week to further talks in Turkey in January but Ahmadinejad went further in his speech: "“I hope in talks in Istanbul, then in Brazil and then Tehran we could reach a framework of cooperation… this is to everyone's benefit. There were positive points in [Geneva] talks… I think it is time that their [the P5+1] confrontational policy turns into interactional policy."

1935 GMT: Sedition Watch (cont.). Rah-e-Sabz puts its gloss on the resistance of the head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, to the arrest of opposition figures (see 1650 GMT). According to the Green website, Larijani responded to those calling for the detention of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi: "You have blamed the Supreme Leader indirectly by taking the judiciary as a shield (for your demands)."

1920 GMT: Subsidy Cuts? Yes. Ahh, here we go. Just catching up with Mardomak's LiveBlog....

IRNA's headline covered only the first couple of minutes of the speech. Almost all the statement, with declarations of Iran's potential to become a world-leading economy, was a presentation of the subsidy cuts. Ahmadinejad confirmed the chatter that implementation will begin tomorrow. He gave assurances such as the deposit of 4000 tomans (about $4) in people's bank accounts to cover the reduction in subsidies for bread. Each individual would receive a total of 81,000 tomans ($81) over the next two months.

Fars beats other websites to the punch with an article on Ahmadinejad's presentation of the "largest project in the economic history of Iran". Indeed, Fars has no less than five items playing up the subsidy cuts, with assurances that support payments for the poorest Iranians are fully-funded.

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Iran Feature: The Battle Within and The Protests Are Still The Stories (Miller)

Western audiences, and especially Americans, don't like complicated, sad stories.  We like good guys and bad guys, cowboys and Indians, terrorists and allies.  We don't like to hear that 40-60% of the population of a country that we view as an enemy might very well be a friend.  We don't like to hear that the government we are negotiating with is illegitimate, or weak.  We also don't like to follow the slow development of an opposition movement that we can do little to help.  We like sexy stories like weapons of mass destruction or revolution, and we certainly like clarity.

Unfortunately, as long as we're not paying attention, we're also not helping, and until the media starts to cover these stories, many more people may die before things improve in Iran.

(Photograph by Munzz)

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The Latest from Iran (15 December): Attack In Southeastern City Kills Dozens

2145 GMT: This Morning's Bombing. Iranian officials have released the names of 32 of the 39 people killed in the suicide bombing in Chabahar in southeastern Iran.

2140 GMT: CyberWars. The hard-line Mashregh News is still down (see 1210 GMT).

2130 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Hashem Sabaghian, senior member of the Freedom Movement of Iran, has been released after he was detained this morning at a mourning ceremony at his house (see 0950 and 1749 GMT).

1749 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Activist Ahmad Ghabel has been given a 20-month prison sentence for working against the ruling system and insulting the Supreme Leader.

Ghabel was also given three years in exile, with a ban on interviews and lectures during that time.

More also on the raid on a mourning ceremony in which Hashem Sabaghian, former Minister of Interior Minister and leading member of Freedom Movement of Iran, was detained. Reformist cleric Hojatoleslam Soleimani, who was speaking at the ceremony at Sabbaghian's house in Tehran, was also seized.

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The Latest from Iran (13 December): Political Battles and Human Rights

2005 GMT: Signal of the Day. This might be the most telling news item about the future of Iranian diplomacy on the day that Foreign Minister Mottaki was fired.

While Mottaki was in Senegal on his last state trip, another Iranian emissary was leading a delegation to the strategic country of Jordan.

That emissary? President Ahmadinejad’s Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

That's right. The same Rahim-Mashai whose designation as a special envoy this summer prompted Mottaki's threat to resign and the Supreme Leader's chiding of the President for a "parallel" foreign policy, bringing a promise that Rahim-Mashai's position would be downgraded.

2000 GMT: Reaction to the Dismissal. We reported earlier (see 1654 GMT) that Alaeddine Boroujerdi, the chairman of the National Security Commission. learned of Foreign Minister Mottaki's dismissal from a Khabar Online reporter. His reaction is worth repeating in full: "Isn't Mr. Mottaki on a trip? You mean the dismissal decree was issued while he was on a mission?"

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Iran Snapshot: Will Rafsanjani Use Political Prisoners to Make a New Move?

>A group of 16 Iranian political prisoners, including prominent reformist politicians Mohsen Aminzadeh and Mostafa Tajzadeh and journalists Bahman Ahmadi Amoui and Mohammad Nourizad have written an open letter to former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, describing their continued incarceration “in violation of the law” and in the “framework of settling political accounts”.

Is this the prelude to a renewed Rafsanjani initiative?

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Iran Document: Detained Filmmaker Nourizad to Head of Judiciary on Abuse and Human Rights

I suggest you that any time that, in front of the mirror as you comb your hair and put on cologne, you think of the heads of your country's political prisoners that have been dunked in the toilet bowls of their cells. I don't know if anyone has ever repeatedly slapped you on the face? Or has hit you in your chest or back with shoe? Or has kicked you in your face with foot? Or has spit between your eyebrows and your eyes?

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The Latest from Iran (12 October): Rafsanjani Hits Back

1945 GMT: Opposition Challenge. Ardeshir Amir Arjomand, a senior advisor to Mir Hossein Mousavi, has called on Green Movement activists to “bravely” reflect the “oppression” of the Iranian people to the “international community and all international organisations".

Arjomand, who is now outside Iran, called the President a "delusional liar" and declared, “Mr Ahmadinejad is not the representative of the Iranian people and does not have the right to speak on behalf of the Iranian people in the international stage.” Claiming that Ahmadinejad's impending visit to Lebanon was to gain domestic advantage, Arjomand asserted, “Unfortunately, Ahmadinejad is used to exploiting—[both] politically and personally—the pains and sufferings of others [both] by means of deceitful slogans and actions.”

Arjomand also spoke out against sanctions:

The international community must not punish [Iranian] workers, teachers and deprived sectors of the Iranian nation --- who live under the tyranny of an oppressive state --- because of the irresponsible adventurism of a president who lacks legitimacy among the people....Contrary to baseless claims, the sanctions will have a clear effect on the day-to-day lives of the people;therefore the Green Movement wants an end to the economic sanctions. The harm resulting from these sanctions have a direct impact on the situation of the people’s livelihoods and will create basic problems for using national resources.

Arjomand then tried to turn the Israeli issue against the government, saying that West Jerusalem government was “eager [for] and in need” of Ahmadinejad’s positions, using them to divert attention from the Palestinian struggle for justice, and claiming that the Green Movement “condemns” Israel’s acts of hostility in “breaching human rights and human dignity": “Our support for the Palestinian people is considered to be a support for justice and people as well as a religious and moral duty.

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The Latest from Iran (17 September): The President's Political Baggage

2035 GMT: Ahmadinejad's Foreign Policy Power Play (cont.). So the Iranian President has given his nationally-televised speech in advance of his trip to the United Nations.

Nothing unexpected, as Ahmadinejad gave the ritual thrashing of US foreign policy --- misguided towards Iran, Iraq, the Middle East, and Afghanistan --- and declared that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is "under Western pressure" as it reports on Iran's nuclear programme. His symbolic play was to associate himself with Persia's great rulers by referring to how he brought back the Cyrus Cylinder to Iran from the British Museum (albeit only on loan for four months).

An Iranian activist has the best blow-by-blow summary.

2030 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Didi Remez, writing for Israel's Yediot Ahronoth, reports on Italy's growing trade with Iran:

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