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Entries in Press TV (33)


The Latest from Iran (27 January): No Money for the Babies

2145 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. We started with babies this morning, we'll close with very adult behaviour. Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi has attacked former President Hashemi Rafsanjani once again, saying religious seditionists and silent elites must be dealt with. Moslehi declared that he had documents of the 2009 sedition to back up his allegations.

2140 GMT: Parliament v. President. Reformist MP Mostafa Kavakebian has invited President Ahmadinejad to a public discussion about his letter to MPs warning that Parliament, the judiciary, and the Expediency Council were acting wrongly to oppose his plans on the budget and the Central Bank.

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Iran Snapshot: Politics, Propaganda, and Denial Special

Lots of political grandstanding to cope with today. The international media will be occupied with all  the posturing on the eve of resumed nuclear talks in Turkey.

We already know that script, however, as the Ahmadinejad Government gives itself space to negotiate by showing how tough it is and as the "West" gives itself room with the story-lines that 1) its efforts, and those of Israel, have delayed the date of Iran's nuclear weapons capability and 2) Ahmadinejad is not actually crazy but very practical.

More intriguing today are the domestic showpieces.

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Iran Snapshot: Using Sakineh (Again) for Regime Propaganda

Once again, Iranian officials have tried to use the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman condemned to death for adultery and complicity in her husband's murder, to tarnish the bigger targets of activists and journalists.

First, Ashtiani's son Sajad Ghaderzadeh, detained since early October, was allowed to leave prison on $40,000 bail. He then gave a press conference in Tabriz on Saturday, in which he accepted his mother's guilt but pleaded for the commutation of her death sentence.

That statement is far from surprising, but there were a couple of twists in the interview. First, Ghaderzadeh said he had been freed on 12 December, a release that no one seems to have noticed. Then there was this: "Local officials had originally told journalists they would meet his well, but then they said the proper procedures had not been followed to give her leave from prison."

The curiosity is resolved this morning, for Press TV proudly brings out Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani:

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Iran Special: A Plea to Western Media About "Sakineh", Political Prisoners, and Human Rights (Alinejad)

As we approach the anniversary of those who died in the demonstrations of 27 December 2009, I ask my Western colleagues not to be fixated by the Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani case. I ask them to look at the political prisoners languishing in Iran's jails and the pressures faced by families who lost their loved ones during the protest.

I ask them to notice those like renowned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who represented many of these families and political prisoners, who has now been detained for 3 1/2 months, who has gone on hunger strike not only to fight for her rights but for the rights of the all those who are imprisoned for dissent and pursuit of civil society.

I ask the Western media not just to see one 43-year-old woman fighting for her life. I ask the Western media to take notice of the thousands, inside and outside prison, who are fighting for their lives and those of fellow Iranians.

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The Latest from Iran (17 December): Did We Miss the Regime's Show of Support?

1645 GMT: Division over the Foreign Minister. Deputy Speaker Mohammad Hassan Abutorabi-Fard has supported President Ahmadinejad's dismissal of Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, but MP Mohsen Kouhkan, who said he heard of Mottaki's firing by SMS text, said the move was not wise at this moment.

Koukhan also claimed that MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a key member of the National Security Commission, is favoured as the new Foreign Minister by the Parliament.

1640 GMT: Ashura Moment. Aftab News publishes a photograph of President Ahmadinejad greeting supporters at a mourning ceremony.

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Iran Snap Analysis: Non-Events, Non-Millions, and Non-Victory on Ashura

In more than 18 months of covering the post-election crisis in Iran, it may have been the strangest experience.

It was just after 9 a.m. in Iran when I set up the computer, turned on Iran's Press TV, opened up the websites of Iran's state media, and prepared to write about the "millions" who would turn out in mourning for Imam Hossein, the third Imam of Shi'a who had been killed in 680 AD by the evil Caliph Yazid. 

I knew there would be "millions" because ranian press and broadcasters had told me there would be millions.

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Iran Video: Sakineh's Latest "Confession" --- The Press TV "Documentary"

This week we have followed the confusing story in which Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman sentenced to death for adultery and complicity in the murder of her husband, had wrongly reported to have been freed from prison.

The reality was that Ashtiani and her son Sajad Ghaderzadeh, who has also been detained, were taken to the family home so they could not only film "confessions" but also carry out a reconstruction of the murder for a "documentary" on Iran's Press TV.

Part 1 of 3

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The Latest from Iran (11 December): Using Sakineh to Denounce Activists and Lawyers

1835 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Shargh reports that the electronics firm LG, after US pressure, has left Iran for Dubai and that Samsung may follow soon.

1830 GMT: Budget Chat. Video has been posted of the meeting of the Expediency Council meeting, in the presence of Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, on the 5th Budget Plan.

1700 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The family of Reza Shahabi, the treasurer of the Tehran Bus Workers' Union, says he is still in prison two months after bail was posted.

The Union calims Shahabi was to be released on 11 October 11 after his family posted bail of 60 million tomans ($57,103). The family said it agreed to pay an additional surety of 100 million tomans (about $100,000).

Shahabi's brother Hassan told Radio Farda, "They say he is not going to be released for certain reasons," but no one has disclosed what those reasons are.

Shahabi has reportedly started a hunger strike.

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Iran Special: The Latest on the Non-Release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

Information from EA sources indicates that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, condemned to death for adultery, has NOT been released from prison.

The news that she had been freed followed images of Ashtiani and her son Sajad Ghaderzadeh --- who has also been detained since September --- in their home in northwestern Iran. Soon, however, another story emerged: Sakineh had been escorted from prison to home to make another televised "confession" of adultery and complicity in the murder of her husband.

Here is what we have learned:

The pictures of Ashtiani and Ghaderzadeh are from a trailer (commercial) for the Iran Today programme, which is broadcast on Fridays, on Press TV. EA sources in the Iranian state media say Ashtiani was taken "temporarily" out of prison for the programme, which will report how she contributed to the murder of her husband. (Thus, the report last night that she is saying in the trailer, "We planned to kill my husband.")

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Azerbaijan Non-Surprise: Aliyev's Ruling Party Dominates Elections (Press TV)

There does not appear to be much interest in the US media in Sunday's elections in Azerbaijan, with only the Associated Press providing a short story. Press TV, however, takes an interest in the issue of a powerful government claiming legitimacy:

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's ruling party has won the parliamentary elections with a majority of 73 out of 125 constituencies with more than 90 percent of the votes counted so far.

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