Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Saeed Jalili (104)


The Latest from Iran (21 January): It's Nuclear Talks Day!

2035 GMT: Execution Watch (Bahrami Edition). It looks like the Iranian Foreign Ministry may be a bit uncomfortable about the attention to the death sentence imposed on Iranian-Dutch national Zahra Bahrami.

Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast insisted in a press conference today that Bahrami's capital punishment was merited because she was "carrying more than one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of narcotics". He continued, "It is expected from the western countries to appreciate Iran's efforts to combat drug trafficking and even cooperate accordingly. Unfortunately, however, we are witnessing their support for Zahra Bahrami and they have even called for her release."

None of the claimed evidence has been presented against Bahrami publicly, and the Iranian authorities have imprisoned her lawyer, Nasrine Sotoudeh, and refused to allow Dutch officials to visit one of their citizens.

Mehmanparast did not deal with any of these issues although he did make a curious allusion to the dual nationality: "Apart from an Iranian passport, Bahrami holds other passports, including European ones."

Mehmanparast concluded with the warning against further intervention: the West should realise that if the issue of narcotics is not taken seriously, it will directly affect their own youth who will be entrapped by drug traffickers.

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The Latest from Iran (30 November): Life Beyond Wikileaks

2010 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Student activist Nasim Soltanbaygi has been sentenced to six years in prison.

2005 GMT: Strike a (Nuclear) Pose. Back from a break to find President Ahmadinejad carrying out his standard approach --- agree to talks with the "West" but try to establish a position of strength by denouncing the "West" --- in a speech in Sari in northern Iran.

With discussions confirmed with the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, Russia) in Geneva on 6-7 December, the President charged, "While the Tehran negotiations [with Brazil and Turkey] were underway, you passed an illegal resolution against the Iranian nation and today you insist on continuing negotiations."

Ahmadinejad said is always ready to enter nuclear negotiations with the West as long as Iran's rights are respected, advising the negotiating side to put away its "tyrannical" attitude.

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The Latest from Iran (13 September): The Revolving Door of Freedom?

2020 GMT: Latest on US Detainee Sarah Shourd. Masoud Shafiee, the lawyer for detained US citizen Sarah Shourd, says that her family is appealing to Iran's authorities to drop or reduce. the $500,000 bail demanded for her release because of difficulties raising the money.

Shafiee said authorities had given no response to the bail request.

Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley said, "The United States government does not fund prisoner bail."

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the Obama Administration is in close contact with the families of the three detained US hikers --- Shourd, Shane Bauer, and Josh Fattal --- and the Swiss Embassy, which represents American interests in Iran.

"The situation is continuing to develop," Vietor said. "We remain hopeful for a positive outcome."

Shafiee said authorities had given no response to the bail request.

2000 GMT: Diplomat Number Four. The Norwegian paper Dagblodet reports that Farzad Farhangian, the Iranian Press Attache in Belgium, has resigned his post and is now in Oslo seeking asylum.

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Iran Analysis: Khamenei v. Ahmadinejad? (Sahimi)

In a lengthy article in Tehran Bureau covering events from summer 2009 to the present, Muhammad Sahimi puts forward a picture of a developing contest between the Supreme Leader and President Ahmadinejad and concludes, The struggle and the gaping fissures that have emerged among the conservatives led by Khamenei, on the one hand, and Ahmadinejad and (presumably) the Guard hardliners, on the other, will bring their eventual downfall. This prospect is magnified by the administration's utter incompetence and corruption." I differ from the analysis on the key point of the Supreme Leader leading a conservative blog against the President and the Revolutionary Guard --- my assessment is more that Khamenei is manoeuvring between contending factions, trying to hold them together --- and I think the portrayal of the politics, especially the nuclear talks with the "West", is incomplete. However, this is a wide-ranging review of the tensions EA has been noting for more than a year....

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