Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Mostafa Kavakebian (20)


Iran Today: Israel to Receive "Crushing Response"

Supreme Leader Watch

In a meeting with officials running elections, the Supreme Leader has declared that "no one has been able and no one will be able to postpone" June's Presidential ballot.

Ahmadinejad Watch

President Ahmadinejad, speaking in Urmia, has tried to define the Supreme Leader's declared "Year of Political and Economic Epic", while jabbing at his rivals: "Epic means destroying idolatry, putting things in the right place. All depends on one's will, not weapons and bank accounts."

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Iran Live Coverage: Celebrating Victory Over Protests

See also Saturday's Iran Live Coverage: Cheerleading for Sanctions

Tehran, 30 December 20091759 GMT: At the Movies. The Iranian Directors Union has warned that cinema is on the verge of closure amidst censorship and economic difficulties.

Scores of movie houses have reportedly shut this year. The Ministry of Culture gave the reassurance that Iranians could always watch television.

1750 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been put in solitary confinement for three weeks for "insulting the Supreme Leader" and "disturbing order in prison".

Hashemi is serving a six-month sentence for propaganda against the regime.

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The Latest from Iran (11 November): Preparing for Renewed Nuclear Talks?

See also Iran 1st-Hand: As Sanctions Bite, Life-Saving Drugs Disappear
The Latest from Iran (10 November): Noticing the US-Iran Nuclear Talks

2034 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The young children of detained lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh have reportedly been denied a visit, as the attorney enters the fourth week of a hunger strike over prison restrictions.

Sotoudeh's husband Reza Khandan wrote:

At the visitation area, despite the fact that prisoners are normally granted face to face visits if they present a letter, we were told that we need to go to the prison’s main gate in order to visit with Nasrin.

At the main gate, after presenting them with the letter allowing us to see Nasrin in person, we were forced to wait 3 hours. Nima who suffers from asthma started having a cough attack as a result of his cold and the poor air condition.

The prison’s administration office eventually closed and an hour after the official prison visitation hours and after such a long wait, we returned home extremely disappointed, never being able to see Nasrin.

The children were starring at that prison gate for 3 1/2 hours. Every time that gate opened and closed they waited patiently to hear their names so that they could see their mother.

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The Latest from Iran (3 September): "This Country is Broken"

Journalist Jila Bani Yaghoub returns to prison after she was summoned to complete a one-year sentence

See also Iran 1st-Hand: A Country of Resignation
The Latest from Iran (2 September): Tehran Strikes A Defiant Pose

2038 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Back from a break to find that it is not just the Iranian regime who can strike a tough pose....

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah, has declared that Iran can strike US bases in the Middle East if Israel attacks the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities: "A decision has been taken to respond and the response will be very great."

Nasrallah continued in the televised interview, "The response will not be just inside the Israeli entity --- American bases in the whole region could be Iranian targets. If Israel targets Iran, America bears responsibility."

The Hezbollah leader said, however, there were divisions in Israel over an airstrike: Personally I do not expect the Israeli enemy --- at least in the coming months or foreseeable future --- [to launch] an attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran."

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The Latest from Iran (22 May): Tehran Plays Up Hope for Nuclear Talks

See also The Latest from Iran (21 May): A Freudian Slip on the Economy

Yukiya Amano and Saeed Jalili2009 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Iran continues to be upbeat about tomorrow's nuclear discussions, “Tehran is optimistic that the Baghdad talks would be a good start to promote cooperation in international, regional and nuclear issues."

However, this inside story from Laura Rozen and Barbara Slavin of Al Monitor may put a damper on expectations:

The United States and its negotiating partners have agreed on a detailed confidence-building proposal to offer to Iran at nuclear negotiations due to get underway Wednesday in Baghdad. The proposed package is an updated version of a 2009 uranium fuel swap proposal that takes into account Iran’s progress in enriching uranium, American, Russian and European diplomats said.

While the details of the proposed package have not been made public, Western officials told Al Monitor that the package does not include sanctions relief at this stage.

Iranian officials and State media have made clear that a significant easing of US-led sanctions, including a pause on the European Union's suspension of Iranian oil imports --- due to start 1 July --- must be on the table.

This is excluded from the proposal put out via Rozen:

Instead, the United States and its P5+1 partners will offer fuel for Tehran’s Research Reactor (TRR) plus safety upgrades to the plant, which is of 1960s vintage. Also potentially on the table: new research reactors that use lower level 3.5 percent enriched uranium, safety upgrades for Iran’s one functioning nuclear power plant at Bushehr and spare parts for its accident-plagued fleet of civilian airliners.

In return, Iran must stop producing uranium enriched to 20 percent and halt activities at Fordow, an enrichment facility built into a mountain near Qom. It is not clear whether Iran would also have to send out its stockpile of more than 100 kg of the fuel.

A "current American official sets out the line, "If we talk substantively on elements of a deal and agree to meet again in three weeks, Baghdad will have been a success. Just hope the Iranians are not deluding themselves they are going to get sanctions relief now—that’s not going to happen at this stage.”

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Iran Snap Analysis: Some People Were Selected for the Parliament --- Does It Matter?

There is an important conclusion to be drawn from Friday's outcome, but it is only a reiteration of what we noted after the first round two months ago, not in the overwhelming victory of a faction, but in the lack of one: "While the Islamic Republic's system is far too complex to reduce it to the plaything of the Supreme Leader, "stability" --- if not legitimacy --- lay in an arrangement in which he and his circle could be assured that they would not face trouble from a President, Parliament, or judiciary."

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The Latest from Iran (3 March): After the Vote

Khatami and Neda: Former President Mohammad Khatami is criticised for his "betrayal" in voting in Friday's elections

See also Iran Special Analysis: The "Invented" Election
Iran Opinion: Elections, Power, and Political War in Tehran

The Latest from Iran (2 March): The Parliamentary Elections

2225 GMT: Khatami Watch. Reformist journalist Hussain Nooraninejad, a close friend of former President Mohammad Khatami, has written on his Facebook page:

Today, I spent an hour with Khatami and asked him about his voting. The first thing Khatami said in reply was, "he decision was very hard. I know I have upset a lot of friends and youth, but I had received a number of worrying news in the last two days about extremists having some plans, and I hope I have ruined their plan by my vote."

Khatami has said that on his vote paper, he has written “Islamic Republic”.

Nooraninejad said Khatami will have a "direct dialogue" with people in the near-future to "clear up some of the misunderstanding".

Former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi has said, "I assure you that Khatami has not voted to make the regime happy because the regime will not do any good to him....The decision of Khatami to vote is one of his wisest decisions. [The reason] will be clear in the near future."

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The Latest from Iran (22 February): Rafsanjani Far from Finished?

1905 GMT: Economy Watch. Iran's Statistics Center has said that the unemployment rate is 11.8%. Among 15- to 29-year-olds, the rate is 23.9%.

Unemployment is higher for women than men and in cities versus rural areas.

1715 GMT: Nuke Watch. More on the tension between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran, after Tehran restricted the movement of inspectors on a two-day visit --- a diplomat in Vienna says that the Islamic Republic asked the IAEA team to sign a document regulating their activists. They refused.

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The Latest from Iran (19 January): Worried Yet?

2039 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Industry sources say Turkish refiner Tupras, planning to cut imports of Iranian oil, will meet Saudi Arabian officials this month.

Turkey imports more than 30 percent of its daily oil consumption from Iran crude.

A source estimated that Saudi Arabia could cover up to half of the Iranian imports, adding that the Turks also planning to meet with oil suppliers from Russia, Azerbaijan, and West Africa.

2003 GMT: Currency Watch. The Central Bank has issued a new warning: dollar holders without documents must deposit the money until 15 Bahman (4 February), or they will be prosecuted for money laundering.

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The Latest from Iran (3 January): Desperately Seeking Reformists

See also Iran Snap Analysis: Finding a Scapegoat in the Currency Crisis
Iran Audio Feature: Scott Lucas with the BBC "The Economy is More Important than the Missile Tests"
The Latest from Iran (2 January): The Currency is Falling

2040 GMT: No Comment. Those conservatives and principlists who have warned of the "deviant current" around President Ahmadinejad may be interested in this from the Tehran Times:

Presidential aide Mojtaba Hashemi-Samareh ruled out the possibility of the manipulation of the March parliamentary elections by administration officials, emphasizing that there is no cause for concern in this regard.

He told the Mehr News Agency that the administration is tasked with holding the elections, but candidates’ representatives and the Guardian Council will oversee the running of the elections, so there is no cause for concern.

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