Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Robert Tait (7)


Iran Special: How Western Media Missed The Important Story from Israel

On Thursday, the head of Israel's military intelligence, Major General Amir Kochavi, made an important announcement. He said that, while Iran is developing its nuclear programme in 2013, it "has not yet decided to build a bomb".

Here's the catch: those who rely on Western media are unlikely to learn of this.

Instead, they will be treated to this far scarier spin, also taken from Kochavi's presentation: "Iran and Hezbollah Have Built 50,000-Strong Force to Help Syrian Regime".

So why did one declaration of Kochavi --- which is a misreading of a statement by an Iranian military commander last autumn --- make the headlines? Why is another --- which is far more significant and points to the debate within Israel over what to do about Tehran --- ignored?

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Iran Feature: Is Civil Disobedience Taking Off? (Tait)

Protest over Lake UrmiaWhen Leon Panetta, the new United States defense secretary, declared on September 6 that it was only "a matter of time" before an Arab Spring-style revolution came to Iran, it seemed to smack of wishful thinking. 

And since this year's outbreak of popular uprisings that have unseated dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, and destabilized authoritarian regimes elsewhere in the Middle-East countries, there have been numerous expressions of desire for a "Persian Spring" to go with the Arab variety. 

Yet now opponents of the Tehran regime feel its nemesis may finally have arrived -- in the form of proliferating acts of civil disobedience.

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Iran Analysis: Ahmadinejad, Larijani, and the Supreme Leader Wrestle in an Oil Slick (Tait)

For years he has treated it with imperious disdain. But now, with his political capital hemorrhaging, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is being subjected to a relentless assault by Iran's parliament with the apparent approval of the country's most powerful cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader.

The attacks come in the wake of a bruising public power struggle between the two men and appear to be part of a concerted move by Khamenei to weaken a president he once treated as a protege.

The latest in a series of anti-Ahmadinejad ambushes came on May 25 when the parliament voted to investigate allegations that the president misused state funds as effective bribes by giving $80 each to 9 million voters before the 2009 presidential election.

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Iran Feature: Ahmadinejad Floored By Bugs, Spirits, And Djinns (Tait)

Whenever cornered, Mahmud Ahmadinejad always seems to come out swinging. But Iran's notoriously abrasive president appears in danger of suffering a knockout blow over his political attachment to Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, a man widely seen as a threat to the country's clerical-based political system.

What had been a long-rumbling but low-intensity row has now become so rancorous that it appears Ahmadinejad has lost the political support of his onetime patron, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, who has the final say on all state matters.

And dislike of Rahim-Mashaei, the president's chief of staff whom he is believed to have anointed as an eventual successor, has grown so visceral and widespread that some believe it has reduced Ahmadinejad to a lame duck and may even prevent him completing his second term.

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Libya-Syria-Yemen-Bahrain: Is It All About the US and Iran? (Tait)

Iranians Protest in front of the Saudi Embassy"The U.S. is applying a relatively old strategy of linking up with elites in the region to a new situation and I don't think they're really thinking through the consequences" argues Lucas, who says the approach is unsuited to an "asymmetrical battle" that is being waged. "The issue of political legitimacy is the one that people are pushing. It's not the U.S.-Iran contest, it's not even the question of economic factors and if you are seen in any way as basically not really being on board with that question of political legitimacy, if you are seen as in effect trying to impose this Iran question on top of it, I think it'll bite you on the backside."

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Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Hunkering Down

2300 GMT: In Tunisia, the Ministry of Interior has announced that the former ruling party, the Constitituional Democratic Rally, is to be suspended and its offices closed.

2155 GMT: And now, to offer wisdom on the Egyptian crisis, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin:

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Turkey's Constitutional Referendum: Follow-Up Analyses --- Victory or Diversion?

Yesterday we featured an analysis by Dr Basak Alpan of Sunday's referendum in Turkey, in which 58% of voters approved 26 amendments to the 1982 Constitution. Alpan was pessimistic about the significance of the "Yes" vote: "It is not yet clear how the social forces of the Turkish political landscape will react to the new constitution but it is crystal-clear that neither the ‘yes’ side nor the ‘no’ side won at yesterday’s referendum. All of us --- except for the Executive and the business world, with its obsession with "stability" --- lost."

Some other assessments of the vote and the apparent victory of the ruling Justice and Development Party:

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