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Entries in Mohammad Reza Bahonar (63)


Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad Anoints His Right-Hand Man for President

See also Venezuela Analysis: Hugo Chavez's Dubious Legacy for Iran and the Middle East
Monday's Iran Live Coverage: A Complicated Relationship with Pakistan

1514 GMT: It's Not About the Nukes. EA's Joanna Paraszczuk reports:

First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi repeated the regime line that the West has not sanctioned Tehran because of its nuclear program. "The cause of the sanctions is not our nuclear science and knowledge, particularly since Iran has officially announced and will also go on record with the UN that Iran is not seeking a nuclear bomb," he explained.

Rahimi added that the West has sanctioned Iran because of its achievements and innovations in science and technology.

The Vice President concluded with comments about the US: "The country of America was formed by a bunch of English malfeasants," adding that America was not superior to other countries in terms of science and technology.

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Iran Live Coverage: The Economic Crisis Claims the Minister of Health

See also Iran Special: New York Times Notices Important Nuclear Story...Four Months Later
Iran Analysis: The Politicians Unite to Fight Ahmadinejad
Wednesday's Iran Live Coverage: Tehran Picks A Fight Too Far with Turkey

Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi1650 GMT: Refugee Watch. The BBC posts a video report on thousands of Iranians who fled to Turkey amid the unrest after the disputed 2009 Presidential elections.

Many refugees are frustrated that they are still waiting for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to process their asylum applications so they can settle in European countries.

The UNHCR says it does not have enough resources to process applications at a faster rate.

1600 GMT: Sedition Watch. Ayatollah Alamolhoda, the Friday Prayer leader in Mashhad, warms to this weekend's theme of "victory over sedition" (see 1200 GMT) with discussion of detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi: "We cannot call Mousavi and Karroubi seditionists, but they paved the way for foreign elements and imperialism."

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Iran Analysis: The Politicians Unite to Fight Ahmadinejad

Less than four years ago, most politicians within the Iranian system --- all the way to the Supreme Leader --- united behind the effort to keep Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the Presidency, even as many Iranians questioned the legitimacy of his re-election.

Today they are rallying against Ahmadinejad as their political enemy.

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Iran Analysis: Rafsanjani Strikes Back (and Why the Supreme Leader is Allowing It)

So is this the re-emergence of Rafsanjani as a leading political force? Not quite.

For four years --- ever since Hashemi Rafsanjani gave his last Tehran Friday Prayer in July 2009, in which he questioned the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad's re-election and challenged the Supreme Leader by calling for the release of political prisoners --- Ayatollah Khamenei has been balancing his former and current Presidents.

And he is not going to stop now.

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The Latest from Iran (2 October): A Currency in Free Fall?

The scene in the Tehran currency market today

See also Iran Audio Feature: Can Iraq Stop Tehran Flying Weapons to Syria? --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
Monday's The Latest from Iran (1 October): Can the "Resistance Economy" Continue to Resist?

1929 GMT: Ahmadinejad Statement of the Day. An EA correspondent draws up an important segment from the President's press conference, in which Ahmadinejad effectively said "Back Me or Sack Me": "I was somewhere and said, 'If you want me to, I'm ready to write a sentence, and we go away.'"

Our correspondent explains, "'Somewhere' is the Supreme Leader's house or office." amd looks at the 2:24 mark in this video to assess, "Ahmadinejad has definitely threatened to step back if necessary."

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The Latest from Iran (24 July): A Protest in Neyshabour "About The High Prices of Food, About Everything"

Protest in Neyshabour over inflation, especially for food: "Death to High Prices" (see 0545 GMT)

See also The Latest from Iran (23 July): Picking A Fight Over an Ahmadinejad Advisor?

1715 GMT: The deputy nuclear negotiators for Iran and the 5+1 Power have met in Istanbul today.

No details were given of the discussion between the European Union's Helga Schmid and her Iranian counterpart, Dr. Ali Bagheri, other than this will be followed by contact between” the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, acting for the 5+1, and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Dr. Saeed Jalili.

1712 GMT: Impeachment Watch. A demand by 20 MPs for the interrogation of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mehdi Ghazanfari, has been sent to the Majlis.

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The Latest from Iran (5 July): Chest-Thumping

Tough talk from Tehran University's Seyed Mohammad Marandi on Press TV: "The United States knows that its ships in the Persian Gulf are sitting ducks when it comes to Iranian missiles"

See also The Latest from Iran (4 July): "Neither Side Understands the Other" in Nuclear Talks

1950 GMT: The Battle Within. Back from a break to find an excellent summary in Payvand of the latest contest between President Ahmadinejad and clerics within the establishment....

Ahmadinejad started the fight by removing Mohammad-Hossein Mousavipour, the Governor of the religious centre of Qom, with Karam-Reza Piryiyaei.

Mousavipour was appointed in October 2009 as Qom's first-ever cleric Governor, in an attempt by the Government to repair relations after the disputed Presidential election of June. He is close to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani and his deputy Mohammad Reza Bahonar.

Piryiyaei has been Governor of Hamedan Province, but his notable qualification in this case is that he supported Ahmadinejad during the President's controversial 11-day boycott of his duties in spring 2011, prompted by a dispute with the Supreme Leader over control of the Ministry of Intelligece.

Protests against the change of governor have come from the Qom Friday Prayer leader, other senior clerics, Qom MP Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani, and students affiliated to the Basij.

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The Latest from Iran (11 June): A Fraud Case Reaches the Government

2030 GMT: Fraud Watch. Next week's Moscow talks on Iran's nuclear programme will proceed after European Union foreign policy representative Catherine Ashton and top Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili spoke for one hour on the phone tonight.

There was chatter that the discussions were in jeopardy after days of increasingly negative exchanges in the media between the two sides, but a Western diplomat said, “Moscow is a green light."

A European diplomat maintained that the US and Europe had held the line on no preparatory talks before Moscow, unless Iran discussed issues of political substance: “Jalili went on and on about need for a technical meeting. Ashton stayed firm.” He continued:

[The Iranians] have now backed down from that and appear prepared to engage on our proposals, which is important for us. We will respond to their ideas --- note the different terminology. We have concrete proposals, they have issues/ideas.

A spokesman for Ashton set out the apparent deal: Ashton and Jalili “agreed on the need for Iran to engage on the E3+3 proposals", while Ashton "conveyed the E3+3′s readiness to respond to the issues raised by the Iranians in Baghdad".

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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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Iran Feature: The Battle to Become Speaker of Parliament

Larijani (left) and Haddad Adel (right)The political outcome of the Parliamentary elections may be a "mish-mash", with the Supreme Leader as the likely victor in his ability to control the legislature as well as the President, but the first battle of the new Majlis is shaping up --- and it's not directly about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Current Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, despite his allegiance to Ayatollah Khamenei, faces a serious challenge for his position. Unsurprisingly, his challenges to the Government have aroused the animosity of Ahmadinejad supporters, and he now has to contend with the alternative of Gholam Ali Haddad Adel --- former Speaker of Parliament, officially the top vote-getter in Tehran's Parliamentary ballot, and a member of the Supreme Leader's inner circle (his daughter is married to Khamenei's son Mojtaba).

An Iranian correspondent for EA surveys the situation....

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