Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Mohammad Reza Tabesh (14)


The Latest from Iran (15 September): The Failure of the Regime's Anti-US Diversion?

An image from Friday's protest "Down with US, Down with Israel" in Tehran

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Collapsing Currency, Closed Embassy, No to Women Watching Volleyball
The Latest from Iran (14 September): The Regime Stages a Protest Over a Movie

2040 GMT: Sanctions Watch. More on the US waivers from economic restrictions for Japan and 10 European countries because they cut their purchases of Iranian oil, noted by the Islamic Republic's media this morning (see 0540 GMT)....

The 11 countries have been given a second 180-day waiver from the threat of being cut off from the US financial system. The European Union implemented a full embargo on Iranian crude and petroleum products on 1 July Japan has sharply reduced imports.

The 10 European countries are Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The review of waivers for India and South Korea, who have cut off or sharply reduced oil purchases (see 0940 GMT), is due in December.

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The Latest from Iran (19 July): Nervously Watching Syria

See also The Latest from Iran (18 July): Storm Clouds Gather Over The Economy

2023 GMT: Reformist Watch. Deutsche Welle summarises the reformist manoeuvres over the 2013 Presidential election (see 0929 GMT) --- former President Mohammad Khatami, his brother Mohammed Reza Khatami, and former Minister of Interior Abdollah Nouri are all busy "giving the green light" to participation.

1643 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The Iranian Teachers Union is challenging the arrest of a member of its executive board, Mahmoud Bagheri, in a letter to the head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani.

The physics teacher has been sentenced to a total of 9 1/2 years in prison on two charges. He was arrested on Monday to serve out his term.

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The Latest from Iran (15 July): Worries Over the Economy

Iranians line up to buy cheaper chicken as the price of meat rises sharply

See also The Latest from Iran (14 July): Sanctions Watch

2135 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. Minister of Economy Mehdi Ghazanfari, speaking in the religious city of Qom today, said, “The Iranian economy is dynamic, which will not be influenced by sanctions."

More interesting than Ghazanfari's rhetoric was the effective admission that he had come to Qom after senior clerics had protested over inflation. The minister insisted that difficult days have passed, that the situation in the market is good, and that “we have a sufficient stock (of goods)".

2129 GMT: Morality Watch. ISNA reports that security forces and members of the "morality police" raided 87 cafes and restaurants in a district of Tehran on Saturday, shutting them "for not following Islamic values, providing hookah to women, and lacking proper licenses".

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The Latest from Iran (18 January): Challenging Khamenei

Nikahang Kowsar draws inspiration from the victory of Ashgar Farhad's film at the Golden Globes Awards to suggest a remake, "Supreme and Mahmoud: A Separation"

1940 GMT: Currency Watch. Suddenly the Iranian Rial has plummeted on the leading currency site Meshgal. It has fallen 3.5% in a few hours to a record low of 18200:1 vs. the US dollar.

Before the Central Bank and authorities intervened in recent weeks --- through an "ordered" rate, attempted arrests of street traders, and blocks on websites including Mesghal --- the low point for the Rial was 17800:1.

1520 GMT: Currency Watch. ISNA reports that foreign exchange offices have stopped the sale of US dollars, even by phone, for fear of being closed down for not adhering to the "ordered" rate of the Central Bank.

The Central Bank's command was for 14000 Iranian Rials to 1 US $, but the rate on the streets is 17500:1.

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The Latest from Iran (13 January): Beyond "Safe and Sane" --- Watching The Economy

President Ahmadinejad, on his trip to Cuba, pronounces that former Cuban leader Fidel Castro is "safe and sane"

See also Iran Snap Analysis: Are the Oil Sanctions Tightening on Tehran?
Iran Video: Scott Lucas on Al Jazeera - Tehran, China, & US Sanctions
The Latest from Iran (12 January): After the Tehran Bomb

2015 GMT: Chest-Thumping.of the Day. Fars has picked up the story from The New York Times (see 0900 GMT) that the Obama Administration has sent a warning to the Supreme Leader that closing the Strait of Hormuz is a “red line” that will bring an American response.

1940 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has pulled back from the support of his Finance Minister, Jun Azumi (see separate analysis), for tougher sanctions by Tokyo on Iran.

Azumi had said Thursday, after talks with US Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner, that Japan would reduce oil imports but Noda said today that the Government has yet to decide because businesses implications need to be considered. He described Azumi's remarks as a "personal view".

Noda continued, "Japan's basic stance is to resolve such matters diplomatically and peacefully. We need to consult with the business community, and we need to work out details with U.S. officials. We have to think about the implications for Japanese banks, and what measures are needed to resolve possible negative impact."

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The Latest from Iran (8 January): Mr Chavez, Can You Spare a Dime?

See also Iran Photo Special: Snapshots of Life and Living
The Latest from Iran (7 January): "We are in an Economic War"

2140 GMT: Elections All-Is-Well Alert. Press TV goes over the top in its cheerleading, "Iran Political Groups Debate Parliament Vote": "A number of reformist lawmakers said it's business as usual and everyone is taking part because there are assurances that like the previous rounds the next elections will be free, fair and transparent."

An excess from nerves? Possibly, because in the next paragraph the website undermines its confident assurance, "Principalist political organizations and politicians are also preparing themselves for the elections. They express concern over the consequences of absence of reform oriented forces."

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The Latest from Iran (21 November): Let's Talk Nukes...And Nothing But Nukes


The initial aftermath of the raid by security forces on the offices of Iran newspaper, as they tried to detain Presidential advisor Ali Akbar Javanfekr --- full video now in our special analysis

See also Iran Feature: So What Happened When Security Forces Tried to Arrest the President's Senior Advisor?

1900 GMT: Things That Make You Go Ummm.... The President's office says Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has cancelled his tour to Kohgilouyeh and Boyer Ahmad Province in western Iran this weekend because of expected bad weather.

The official forecast for Kohgilouyeh and Boyer Ahmad Province on Friday is sunshine with a high temperature of 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit).

1850 GMT: More Tough Talk of the Day. Mojtaba Zolnour, the Supreme Leader's former liaison to the Revolutionary Guards, has said that if Syria is attacked, the Islamic Republic will support it as it does Lebanon's Hezbollah.

Zolnour added the assurance that the explosion at the Revolutionary Guards base on 12 November, which killed between 17 and 37 people, was not due to sabotage.

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The Latest from Iran (19 September): Ahmadinejad Leaves An Embezzlement Behind

See also Iran Interview: Azerbaijani Activist Fakhteh Zamani Explains the Lake Urmia Protests

1900 GMT: The Supreme Leader's Son and the "Election Coup". On Friday, we published the WikiLeaks-released cable in which Ayatollah Sayed Salman Safavi, the brother of the Supreme Leader's military advisor, told Western diplomats --- four days after the disputed 2009 Presidential election --- that there had been a "coup" orchestrated by a prison "close to the Supreme Leader".

The story is now in the Persian-language Digarban, with a link to the document and Safavi's assertion that the coup had split the Revolutionary Guards.

1645 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. 1535 GMT: BBC Persian has denied that it employed six people arrested by Iranian authorities (see 0630 GMT) for supposedly working for the service, saying they are independent filmmakers. BBC Persian said, as is common in the industry, that it had paid for the rights to show documentaries and programmes produced by the detainees.

Opposition websites identified the six filmmakers as Naser Saffarian, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Hadi Afarideh, Mohsen Shahrnazdar, Katayoun Shahabi and Mehrdad Zahedian.

A source involved in the arrests said, "This network of anti-Iran people were collaborating with the BBC in a cover-up to fulfil the needs of the British secret service in exchange for big sums of money. The anti-Iran intentions of the channel and its collaborators are clear."

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The Latest from Iran (29 August): Catching Up

Maya Neyestani's old man shows Libya's former leader Muammar Qaddafi to a young boy, "Our zoo is soon complete"

See also Wikileaks & Iran Flashback: How A Kickboxing Champion Became "Israeli Spy" & Was Sentenced To Death

2035 GMT: Supreme Leader v. President (cont.). More on Ayatollah Khamenei's apparent chiding of the Government (see 1555 GMT) in a meeting with the President and Cabinet....

Ayatollah Khamenei, demanding amicable relations amongst Government bodies, called on the Ahmadinejad Administration to refrain from "conflict and retaliation" in the face of criticism".

The Supreme Leader also insisted on a focus on post-Islamic Iran rather than the pre-Islamic era of the country. The President's Chief of Staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, has been heavily criticised for suggesting that other countries can follow an "Iranian" rather than an "Islamic" model.

Khamenei said, "In the issue of culture including books, art, art organizations, we must relentlessly maintain the Revolutionary and Islamic direction."

ni's old man shows Libya's former leader Muammar Qaddafi to a young boy, "Our zoo is soon complete"

See also Wikileaks & Iran Flashback: How A Kickboxing Champion Became "Israeli Spy" & Was Sentenced To Death

2025 GMT: Protest Watch. Kalemeh reports that at least 16 Bazaaris were arrested this weekend for inciting and leading the protest at the Bazaar against the Government's value-added tax policy.

2010 GMT: The Battle Within. The strange tale of the regime "eulogist" who offered to pay anyone who would kill the President's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, continues.

Majid Reza Fouladi has rejected the report in Fars that he had announced a "big fitna (sedition) in mid September", to be launched by the Ahmadinejad camp. The Government is reportedly filing a complaint against the newspaper.

yestani's old man shows Libya's former leader Muammar Qaddafi to a young boy, "Our zoo is soon complete"

See also Wikileaks & Iran Flashback: How A Kickboxing Champion Became "Israeli Spy" & Was Sentenced To Death

1555 GMT: Supreme Leader v. President. Khabar Online, the website of Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, reports an apparent jab by Ayatollah Khamenei at President Ahmadinejad. The Supreme Leader said the Government had problems in its contact with elites. He added that Ahmadinejad's administration should discuss economic matters with experts and said that "defying criticism leads to nowhere".

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The Latest from Iran (8 August): Reformists Step Back from Elections

1950 GMT: Economy Watch. In his speech in front of senior officials yesterday (see 1420 GMT), the Supreme Leader said problems such as employment, inflation, and "labour culture" have not been solved yet.

1835 GMT: (Potential) Political Prisoner Watch. Yesterday we summarised the significant remarks of Mohsen Armin, former Deputy Speaker of Parliament and a reformist senior member of the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, that "all essential prerogatives" for involvement in the 2012 Parlimentary elections "are missing" --- "Coalition with hardliners never; debate yes."

Today, Armin was summoned to appear in court on Wednesday.

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