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Entries in Mostafa Pourmohammadi (29)

Sunday
May052013

Iran Today: The "Defending Shrines in Syria" Line

Saturday's Iran Today: "Supreme Leader is the Ultimate Decision-Maker"


Foreign Affairs Watch (Syrian Front)

General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, the head of Iran's ground forces, has restated Tehran's line on assistance to the Syrian regime.

Pourdastan said the Islamic Republic i"would help train" the Syrian army if Damascus seeks such assistance, "but [we] won't have any active involvement in the operations".

The General repeated the comment of the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, from last autumn, "The Syrian army has accumulated experience during years of conflict with the Zionist regime (Israel) and is able to defend itself and doesn't need foreign assistance."

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Saturday
Apr272013

Iran Today: Tehran on Nuclear Talks "No Time-Wasting"

Nuclear Negotiators Catherine Ashton & Saeed JaliliProtest Watch

Iranian media report on protests in Hormozogan and Fars provinces because of reorganisation of local governments and authorities' expropriation of a mine.

Presidential Election Watch

Arsalan Fathipour, the head of Parliament's Economy Commission, has said he will stand for the Presidency. He declared that he wants a Parliament of economists and he will revive the Planning Centre.

Clerical Watch

Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani, meeting Presidential hopeful Hassan Rohani in the holy city of Qom, has said that many current problems are because of the weakness of current officials.

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Friday
Apr262013

Iran Today: The Real Debate in the Presidential Election --- Who is the Supreme Leader's Candidate?

Press TV portrays "Presidential hopefuls" and the economy


1135 GMT:Your Friday Prayers Update. Taking to the podium today, Hojjat al-Islam Kazem Sadiqi declared that there are three red lines for the upcoming presidential elections.

The first red line is that everybody - including candidates, as well as their supporters and election slogans - must be within the law; in Sadiqi’s own words: “Nobody is above the law.”

The second is the need for harmony and unity during the election.

Sadiqi stated that "over the past 34 years most of the elections in our country have been harmonious" and that the “sedition” following the 2009 election was a new development.

Furthermore, candidates need to express unity because otherwise they are acting as traitors to the Iranian nation and the "blood of the martyrs.”

Sadiqi’s final red line is the imperative of ensuring morality and velayat – that is to say, the rule of the Supreme Leader.

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Monday
Apr082013

Iran Analysis: Losing Control of the Presidential Election?

Far from getting a clearer picture on how the regime is going to organise the Presidential election, the weekend's developments have confirmedat least seven factions:

1. The Supreme Leader's Committee, which has yet to name a candidate;

2. The "Followers of Imam's Line and Leadership Front", with its four Presidential candidates;

3. The Rafsanjani camp;

4. President Ahmadinejad's camp, who would like to put forth Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, but may have to settle for Minister of Roads Ali Nikzad;

5. The "hard-line" Endurance Front, including leading cleric Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, which has been relatively quiet and has not announced a preference;

6. Other conservative and principlist candidates, the most vocal of whom has been Mohsen Rezaei, Secretary of the Expediency Council and former commander of the Revolutionary Guards;

7. The reformists, some of whom will participate in the election but who are unlikely to have a high-profile candidate unless former President Mohammad Khatami stands and who have been crippled by the regime's restrictions.

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Sunday
Apr072013

Iran Live: Nuclear Talks Grind to a Halt --- What Next?

See also Iran Special: The Stalled Nuclear Talks --- Why Tehran Cannot Give Up Its Right to Enrichment
Saturday's Iran Live: Decoding the Signals from the Nuclear Talks


2055 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Blogger and poet Reza Akvanian has been arrested.

Akvanian, a writer for the blog “Salhaye Khoobe Zendegi (Life’s Good Years)", was also detained in February 2010 by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and given a one-year prison sentence, with five years suspended, for “insulting the leader and the President” and “association with outsiders by sharing news reports".

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Wednesday
Apr032013

Iran Live Coverage: Seeking the "Unity" Candidate for the Presidency

1410 GMT: Election Watch. The conservative Jahan News tips off both nerves and in-fighting with its concern over photos of President Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, on monitors at Imam Khomeini International airport.

Jahan claimed that the photos, accompanied by short quotes, "reveal a serious intention to enter the elections" by Rahim-Mashai.

Rahim-Mashai, formerly Ahmadineajad's Chief of Staff, has not yet officially announced his candidacy. He may be blocked by the Guardian Council from standing, so the Ahmadinejad camp put up an alternative candidate, Minister of Roads Ali Nikzad, last weekend.

Jahan, linked to the politician Alireza Zakani, is still convinced that the President will pursue Plan A:

some say that Ahmadinejad will never take the risk because [Rahim-Mashai's] candidacy will not be approved by the Guardian Council. But others, who appear to have a more logical point, believe that not making Mashai a candidate puts in question the philosophy of the President in the prices he has paid for [Mashai] in the last several years.

Jahan concludes, “At this moment, the actions of Mashaei and the administration points in the direction of Esfandiar Rahim Mashai’s candidacy.”

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Tuesday
Apr022013

Iran Live: Still Looking for "Unity" for the Election

The Supreme Leader's "2+1 Committee" --- MP Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Khamenei advisor Ali Velayati, and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf --- who are seeking a "unity" candidate for the Presidential election

See also Iran Analysis: This Week's Nuclear Talks --- A 5-Point Guide to the US and European Position
Monday's Iran Live: Will Iranians Celebrate "Islamic Republic Day"?


1410 GMT: Food Watch. Nasser Karimi offers another story on the soaring price of pistachios, a luxury for New Year celebrations, adding this twist:

The government, which usually tries to contain Iranians' anger over the economy, has heartily backed the pistachio boycott — again for reasons tied to the Western-led sanctions over Iran's nuclear program. Pistachio exports provide a small but important pipeline for foreign revenues at a time when sanctions are squeezing Iran's oil and gas sales. Authorities say fewer nuts consumed at home means more available to sell abroad.

The pale green nuts are Iran's top non-oil export, though admittedly they are very distant second. Iran earned at least $750 million last year from exporting the nut, with some estimates as high as $1 billion.

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Monday
Mar182013

Iran Live Coverage: "Sedition is On the Way"

See also Sunday's Iran Live Coverage: Nuclear Talks in Istanbul


1620 GMT: Election Watch. A pointed statement from Presidential candidate Mostafa Pourhommadi --- even more significant because Iranian media is disseminating it in Persian and English --- aiming at President Ahmadinejad....

Pourmohammadi, former Minister of Interior and current Inspector General, challenged the likelihood of Ahmadinejad promoting his controversial right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, as his succeesor: "It has been said that Mr. Mashai intends to become candidate. We have counted for that and know what to do. We have to do our own job. We must not reveal our tactics now.”

Significantly, Pourmohammadi also pointed to the possibility that the recent spate of campaign declarations --- which include former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Reza Bahonar, and Expediency Council official Hassan Rohani --- might be reconciled with the Supreme Leader's 2+1 Committee seeking a "unity" candidate: "Our collective tactic is to agree on one person if there is a powerful rival.2

Pourmohommadi continued, "If the ruling side candidate has a high capacity we will enact our own plans, if he doesn’t and goes into coalition with others again we will have our own plans.”

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Monday
Mar042013

Iran Live Coverage: Engineering June's Presidential Election

The Supreme Leader's senior aide Ali Akbar Velayati announces plans for the Presidential election at a Sunday press conference

See also Sunday's Iran Live Coverage: Revolutionary Guards v. Ahmadinejad


1818 GMT: Economy Watch. The Financial Times picks up on one of the hot topics of conversation as Iranian New Year approaches --- the sharp rise in pistachio prices.

The nuts, a staple of the Nowruz celebrations, have soared in cost at home as farmers --- able to make three times as much as a year ago in foreign currency because of the falling Iranian Rial --- send their pistachios abroad.

One kilogrammes of pistachios cost 200,000 Rials last year. This March, the price is between IR540,000 and IR780,000.

In recent days, the Government has forced shops to sell pistachios at 300,000 Rial per kilo, but the intervention has had little effect so far.

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Monday
Jan142013

Iran Live Coverage: Don't Mention the "Free Elections"

See also Iran Feature: Spotlight Returns to Detained Opposition Leaders Mousavi and Karroubi
Sunday's Iran Live Coverage: The Isolation of the Country


1714 GMT: Scare Story of the Day (cont.). I have now read the 154-page report by 5 US analysts and activists being trumpeted in the media as proof that Iran will have a Bomb by mid-2014.

As I anticipated in an earlier entry (see 1546 GMT), the report sets aside careful analysis for supposition, manipulation of some evidence, and ignorance of other facts. It should be treated as a polemic in its calls for tougher sanctions and threat of military action by the US.

1650 GMT: All the President's Men. A court has cancelled the appointment of senior Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi as head of Social Funds Organization.

Mortazavi has long been criticised for his alleged role in the abuse and killing of protesters in the Kahrizak detention centre after the disputed 2009 Presidential election. Although he has not been prosecuted, a court ruled that he should not hold a Government post pending investigation.

President Ahmadinejad defied the order, installing Mortazavi as head of the Social Security Fund in early 2012. The Administrative Court ruled against the appointment --- the Government responded with the circumvention of renaming the agency.

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