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Entries in Nuclear Talks (45)


Iran Today: How To Use Nuclear Talks In An Election Campaign

Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili (right) after nuclear discussions with Catherine Ashton, the representative of the 5+1 Powers

See also Wednesday's Iran Today: Lines Drawn In Presidential Campaigns

The Guardian Council, the body vetting the almost 700 people who had registered as candidates for the Presidential election, is scheduled to make its decisions today. However, with up to 40 prominent politicians and public figures among the hopefuls, it is close to a certainty that the Council will request a five-day extension.

Yet even at this early stage, it appears that the final battle may be emerging: former President Hashemi Rafsanjani will take his challenge all the way to the run-off on 21 June.

And to stop him, the Supreme Leader and others within the system will turn to Saeed Jalili, the Secretary of the National Security Council.

Despite no previous electoral experience, Jalili has put together an impressive campaign --- including through social media --- to take attention from other conservatives and principlists, including the members of the Supreme Leader's 2+1 Committee.

An example of that campaigning acumen? Jalili, Iran's lead negotiator in nuclear talks with the 5+1 Powers, used Wednesday's discussions with the 5+1's Catherine Ashton --- scheduled well before the formal registration of candidates --- to highlight his diplomatic and political skills.

Presidential Election Watch: Rafsanjani Edition

The reformist Assembly of Combatant Clerics has unanimously endorsed former President Hashemi Rafsanjani for this year's election.

Presidential Election Watch: Rafsanjani Edition

Conservative website Entekhab notes that former President and Presidential candidate Hashemi Rafsanjani was a confidante of Ayatollah Khomeini, and that during his past presidency he had wanted to improve relations with the USA.

Entekhab notes that in the 2005 Presidential campaign, Rafsanjani declared that he was ready for dialog with America and "has made similar comments about negotiations with America".

Entekhab also noted that Rafsanjani's government had focussed on "rebuilding the economy".

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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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Iran Live: The Regime Responds to the Nuclear Talks

A vision of the nuclear talks, 40 years from now

1745 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Labour activists Khaled Hosseini, Vafa Ghaderi, and Hamed Mahmoudnejad have been released from prison.

1705 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Writers Association members and friends of detained blogger and physician Mehdi Khazali have launched a fast, coinciding with the 100th day of Dr. Khazali’s hunger strike.

Khazali, the son of a famous Ayatollah, has been arrested on several occasions, most recently in October 2012.

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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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Iran Special: The Stalled Nuclear Talks --- Why Tehran Cannot Give Up Its Right to Enrichment

Funeral of assassinated nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, 13 January 2012

Iran's stance that its people have the right to enrich uranium has become more than a negotiating position. It is an important element of the Islamic Republic's identity and an issue of national pride. A central symbol of the struggle against the US and the West, the dedication to that right is beyond the black-and-white narrative of "the West says Iran is building a bomb, Tehran says it isn't".

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Iran Live: Decoding the Signals from the Nuclear Talks

Iran Snap Analysis: No Advance in the Nuclear Talks on Friday
Friday's Iran Live: Nuclear Talks Resume in Kazakhstan

1942 GMT: Nuclear Watch. The American attempt to put the spin on the outcome of the nuclear talks has now emerged.

A "senior U.S. official" told reporters that, despite the failure to make any advance, there was no breakdown in nuclear negotiations and that diplomacy would continue.

The official said Iran could be subjected to more economic sanctions in the future, as Western governments seek to step up pressure, but he also claimed that there were some positive signs in the two sets of Almaty discussions in February and April: "Our exchanges were more natural and free-flowing than they had been in the past talks."

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Iran Snap Analysis: No Advance in the Nuclear Talks on Friday

Catherine Ashton, the lead negotiator for the 5+1 Powers, and her Iranian counterpart Saeed Jalili

The US and European members of the 5+1 Powers want Iran to work with specifics of the 5+1 proposals, namely the arrangements for suspension of enrichment of 20% uranium. They were unable to get Tehran's negotiators to start from that point.

The Iranians fear that they will get little for agreement to that suspension, even on a six-month rather than permanent basis. So far the Western power shave offered no more than token relief of some sanctions, namely on gold and precious metals, and have not explicitly recognised Iran's right to enrich to 5%.

So Tehran's negotiators are looking for a declaration on principles --- for example, the right to enrich --- before taking on the specifics.

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Iran Live: Nuclear Talks Resume in Kazakhstan

Iran Analysis: 5-Point Beginner's Guide to Today's Nuclear Talks
Iran Feature: Talking Tough --- How the US and Tehran Mirror Each Other's Rhetoric
Thursday's Iran Live: Tehran's Positive Signals for Nuclear Talks

1430 GMT:Nuclear Watch. Joanna Paraszczuk surveys reaction in the Iranian press to today's talks in Kazakhstan....

ISNA gave a neutral report on Friday afternoon, noting that Iran's nuclear negotiating team had a new member, Mehdi Safari, the former ambassador to China.

ISNA also reported that the spokesman for the lead negotiator of the 5+1 Powers, Catherine Ashton, said they were not going to put any new offers on the table in this round of talks, and that Tehran needed to prove its nuclear programne had no military dimension.

Fars News, close to the Revolutionary Guards, focused on Iran's position. It repeated comments by Ali Bagheri, Iran's deputy negotiators, that Tehran had come up with specific recommendations for cooperation with the 5+1, and that those proposals had been presented in Moscow last June.

Iran believed the proposals were a "confidence building step, i.e. actions that both sides have to agree to do as part of a comprehensive solution", Bagheri said.

Hardline Mashregh News, meanwhile, criticised comments by Ashton's spokesman Michael Mann as "strange".

Mashregh noted that Mann had tried to respond to an Iranian journalist's question about why Europe had not made "the slightest effort to stop Israel's nuclear activities", and why the 5+1 were talking about Iran's nuclear program and not West Jerusalem's.

The journalist added that world powers ignored the fact that two-thirds of non-aligned nations supported Iran's nuclear programme.

Mann responded that the "discussions about resolving Iran's nuclear programme must be completed and it is not possible to set a deadline for that", according to Mashregh.

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Iran Feature: Talking Tough --- How the US and Tehran Mirror Each Other's Rhetoric

General Michael HaydenBoth sides believe that getting the other to make those concessions over the nuclear issue would be a major psychological blow --- perhaps even a defeat --- in the struggle for regional power. Both believe that such concessions --- Washington admitting Tehran's "right to enrich" or the polar opposite, Tehran giving up that --- would signal fundamental weakness in its rival.

At the level of this week's talks, those hopes and fears are being put diplomatically. Beyond the talks, in the chattering cauldron of Washington, some are blunter.

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Iran Feature: The Olympic Medals for Worst Nuclear Commentary

Gold medallist Ray Takeyh, of the Council on Foreign Relations, describes his winning column

It's here! With talks between Iran and world powers set to resume in Kazakhstan on Friday, we have been deafened by a cacophony of furious typing --- the sound of reporters and analysts let loose a tsunami of Scary Headlines, such as Talks Will Not Work, or Iran Has New Evil Centrifuge Cascades In Hidden Underground Plants, and Iran Is Already A Nuclear Power, Anyway.

With so much sloppy reporting to choose from, it is hard to know where to start. So we have narrowed the playing field down to the very best (well, actually, the very worst), presenting the Olympic medals of bad Iran nuclear reporting. Rubin puffs: "The Wall Street Journal reports that Iran has already gamed its program so as to avoid Israel’s 'red line' [of militarised nuclear capability] but for all intents and purposes, [it has] become a nuclear weapons-ready power."

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