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Entries in Rustam Qassemi (46)


Iran Live Coverage: Looking for Energy Deals

Iran Live Coverage: "UN Human Rights Investigator Bribed by US", Regime Claims

2105 GMT: All the President's Men (Trial Edition). Presidential advisor Saeed Mortazavi has been in the second court hearing in his trial for complicity in the abuse and murder of post-election protesters in Kahrizak detention centre in summer 2009.

Mortazavi, who was Tehran Prosecutor General at the time, claimed he was on vacation during the time of Kahrizak. He also questioned the competence of the judge to hear the case.

Mortazavi's defence will continue tomorrow.

Abdolhossein Ruholamini, the conservative political advisor whose son was killed in Kahrizak, said Mortazavi showed no sign of regret and will tell "untold details" in the next court session.

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Iran Live Coverage: The Regime Admits the Oil Squeeze

See also Monday's Iran Live Coverage: Threatening the Reformists

2055 GMT: Economy Watch. The Central Bank has put Iran's November rate of inflation at 27.4%, a rise of 1.3% from October and of 5.6% from April.

1527 GMT: Elections Watch. Ali Saeedi, the Supreme Leader's representative to the Revolutionary Guards, has said that it is the duty of the Guards to ensure a "reasonable engineering of the elections".

Saeedi put that duty within the context of the claim that the US is pursuing a "proxy war" against the Islamic Republic.

1353 GMT: All the President's Men. Senior Presidential aide Ali Akbar Javanfekr, summoned back to Evin Prison on Monday from a 12-day hospital stay, has been freed on another furlough after a few hours in detention.

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Iran Live Coverage: The Supreme Leader Tries to Bolster His Popularity

See also Iran Analysis: Preparing for Elections, Ahmadinejad Tries to Replace His Vice President
Thursday's Iran Live Coverage: A Collapsing Economy?

1954 GMT: Oil Watch. Turkey's imports of Iranian oil held steady at around 100,000 barrels per day from September to December, data from a shipping source and Reuters indicate.

The volume is 45% down from Ankara's 2011 purchases of about 180,000 bpd and more than 60% lower from peak imports of 250,000-280,000 bpd in early 2012.

Iran State media highlights the unchanged imports but somehow fails to mention the sharp fall compared to the start of last year.

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Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad v. Everyone Else

See also Iran Live Coverage: The Supreme Leader Admits A Crisis

1945 GMT: Trade Watch. State news agency IRNA, citing the Turkish Statistical Center, claims trade with Turkey has risen 40% from January-November, compared to a year earlier.

The value surpassed $20.8 billion, with Turkey's exports to Iran rising to $7 billion, mainly due to exports of gold to pay for natural gas.

Tehran is counting on trade with Ankara, one of its major partners, to offset sharp falls in oil revenues.

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Iran Live Coverage: All-Is-Well Oil Alerts

See also Sunday's Iran Live Coverage: Celebrating Victory Over Protests

2050 GMT: The Battle Within. Facing renewed attacks over his economic policies (see 1740 GMT), President Ahmadinejad has repeated his allegation that most of the Iranian economy is in the hands of 300 or 400 influential people. He said the Government cannot control them because "they reject it via the media".

Ahmadinejad continued --- in what can be construed as an attack on the Revolutionary Guards --- that "some organisations have their own banks and businesses and don't explain themselves" as they pursue "privatisation without rules".

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The Latest from Iran (24 December): All-Is-Well Oil Alert...But With a Confession

See also The Latest from Iran (23 December): Ahmadinejad on Economy "Everyone is Wrong Except Me"

Minister of Oil Rustam Qassemi1750 GMT: Currency Watch. Without providing sources, Radio Zamaneh claims that the Iranian Rial has slipped to 33500:1 vs. the US dollar, its lowest point since Central Bank and Government intervention in October.

The Rial had lost 70% of its value this year before the intervention --- suspension of the open market and a special "trade room" backed by injection of foreign reserves --- bolstered it, according to some reports as strong as 27000:1. However, EA sources in Iran have been reporting that the Rial began sliding again this month, reaching about 31000:1 last week.

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The Latest from Iran (14 December): An Advance in the Nuclear Talks? 

The 40th day memorial for blogger Sattar Beheshti, allegedly killed during interrogation in prison on 3 November

See also Iran Video Analysis: "Tehran Is Not Making a Mad Dash for the Bomb"
Thursday's The Latest from Iran (13 December): Nuclear Talks with the IAEA

1914 GMT: Assurance of the Day. Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, has assured that "there is no possibility of another election intrigue" in the 2013 Presidential campaign, and those responsible in the 2009 disputed Presidential election "do not even have the illusion" that they can puruse this.

Jannati said those "guilty of sedition" will not be able to participate in the election.

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The Latest from Iran (12 December): A 78-Year-Old Academic is Imprisoned for Writing the Supreme Leader

See also Iran Propaganda 101: What's Missing from This Story About Detained Journalists?
The Latest from Iran (11 December): "We Have Confused the US"

Mohammad Maleki1822 GMT: Economy Watch. Reuters posted an incisive overview of the 40% rise in the stock market in the past four months.

Paradoxically, the market has benefited from other areas of weakness in the economy. Companies in certain exports sector are benefiting, as a sharp currency devaluation has made their goods much cheaper on the international market, provided they are not hindered by restrictions on Iran's financial transactions.

One example is the chemical sector, with Sina Chemical Industries up 145% since October and Abadan Petrochemical up 18% in that time.

The surge in demand for shares has also been fed by high inflation, the devalued currency, and a lack of alternatives for local investors to place their cash. The international sanctions have cut much of Iran's access to the global financial system, making difficult for wealthy Iranians to send their money overseas.

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The Latest from Iran (25 November): Larijani's Diplomatic Push on Gaza and Syria

Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday

See also The Latest from Iran (24 November): Political Prisoners "Enjoy All Rights"

1635 GMT: A Death in Detention. Three Iranian labour organisations have issued a joint statement urging the regime to pursue the case of blogger Sattar Beheshti, killed during interrogation in prison earlier this month, so the perpetrators of his death can be brought to justice.

The Vahed Transit Drivers Union, the Labour Union Project, and the Defenders of Labour Rights Centre said, "[Beheshti] had committed no crime other than to speak out against the injustice and poverty dominating the lives of workers.”

Behesthi was seized at his home on 30 October by cyber-police and died within the next week. The Tehran Prosecutor General's latest statement is that he died of "shock", but the blogger's family said he was in good health before the arrest.

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The Latest from Iran (16 November): Taking Advantage of Gaza

15 June 2009: Protesters in Tehran, "No to Gaza, No Lebanon, My Life Only for Iran"

See also Iran Analysis: The Resurrection of Ahmadinejad's Right-Hand Man?
The Latest from Iran (15 November): Tehran's Open Call for Nuclear Talks

1641 GMT: Julian Borger of The Guardian offers the first soundbite from the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran's nuclear programme:

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