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Entries in Saeed Mortazavi (70)


The Latest from Iran (1 October): Can the "Resistance Economy" Continue to Resist?

See also Iran Snap Analysis: Watching The Currency Crisis
The Latest from Iran (30 September): "The West Is In Economic Crisis"

2045 GMT: Currency Watch. ILNA reports that students have protested in front of Parliament because the banks are not giving them subsidised currency for study abroad.

2035 GMT: Press Watch. The daily newspaper Maghreb has been raided and its managing editor Mehdi Emami Naseri summoned by the judiciary.

Some reports say the editor was arrested. There is confusion over the cause. Some reports say it was the publication of a photo of former President Mohammad Khatami; others say it was a picture of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani.

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The Latest from Iran (16 September): The Rhetoric, the "Protests", and Now the Threats

See also Iran Interview: Middle Class Suffers, But Regime Will Take "Fair Package Deal" on Nuclear Program --- Iranian Analyst
The Latest from Iran (15 September): The Failure of the Regime's Anti-US Diversion?

1725 GMT: Currency Watch. Revolutionary Guards Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari, in addition to his pointed comments on Libya, Syria, and the US/Israel, intervened in domestic affairs in his news conference: he announced that the Guards will confront "troublemakers" in the currency market at the request of President Ahmadinejad.

The currency website Mesghal is posting a near-unchanged Rial on the open market at 24420:1 vs. the US dollar, but the opposition site Peyke Iran claims the rate is 24700:1 with old gold coin soaring to 955,000 Tomans (about $780 at official rate; $390 at open-market rate).

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Political Prisoners, Israel Loves Iran, and Looking Too Much Like Ahmadinejad (Arseh Sevom)

The aftermath of the earthquake in the province of East Azerbaijan still dominates news coming out of Iran.

Meanwhile, 130 political prisoners have been released. the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit will mean 5 days of holiday for those living and working in Tehran. Graffiti messages call for the release of political prisoners and United4Iran calls on the NAM to put pressure on The Islamic Republic of Iran to adhere to international human rights agreements.

The number of female breadwinners in Iran has doubled over the past 5 years. Shirin Ebadi has issued a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon protesting the denial of education to female students and joined in a rebuke against the US channel NBC for turning war into a reality show with Stars Earn Stripes. Iranians and Israelis share messages of peace via Facebook.

The pro- and anti-sanctions debate causes rifts among expat Iranians. Saeed Mortazavi is removed from his post as head of the Social Security Organization while actor Mahmoud Basiri complains he cannot get any work because he looks too much like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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The Latest from Iran (13 August): The Political Aftershocks of the Earthquakes

Maya Neyestani's announcer for State news agency IRIB declares, "Important news: The West's new scenario -- creating instability along Syria's borders. The death of one person from poverty in France. Zionists concerned by the meeting of...." Meanwhile, in the corner, a dead child and wailing mother in "Azerbaijan", the province hit by Saturday's earthquakes.

See also Olympics Picture: "Who Says Iran and US Don't Get Along?"
Turkey Special: Iran, Syria, and Ankara's Kurdish Problem
The Latest from Iran (12 August): 250+ Killed in Earthquakes in Northwest

1935 GMT: Oil Watch. Turkish imports of Iranian oil fell more than 36% between June and July, from about 110,000 barrels per day to around 70,000 barrels per day.

Only two 150,000-tonne cargoes of Iranian crude were discharged at one of Turkey's two import terminals, Tütünçiftlik.

The July volume is only 40% of Turkey's 2011 average of 180,000 bpd and a drop of up to 75% from 250,000-280,000 bpd imported in early 2012.

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The Latest from Iran (5 August): The Supreme Leader Talks About Morality

Claimed footage of insurgents speaking in front of the 48 Iranians seized in Syria on Saturday --- Tehran says the men are pilgrims, but the Free Syrian Army claims they are members of the Iranian military assisting the Assad regime

See also Iran Feature: Can Tehran and the West Close the Nuclear "Trust Gap"?
The Latest from Iran (4 August): The Regime Admits Its "Economic War"

1735 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has warned that growing public despair over economic conditions "would be a blow to the roots" of the Islamic Republic.

1355 GMT: Currency Watch. The Iranian Rial has slipped another 1% vs. the US dollar, sinking to 20420:1.

The Rial is now approaching its lowest point in a currency crisis that started last autumn.

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The Latest from Iran (3 August): Keeping Tehran on Hold in the Nuclear Talks

See also Iran Feature: The Banning and Detention of Conservative Bloggers
Iran Analysis: West To Tehran on Nuclear Issue "Accept Our Demands or No More Talks"
The Latest from Iran (2 August): Worrying About Syria

2000 GMT: Oil Watch. India's State-run Hindustan Petroleum has made its first payment for Iranian oil in rupees, partially settling a bill for cargo imported in May.

Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL.NS), the biggest Indian buyer of Iranian oil, will make a rupee payment on Monday, a company official said.

India is Iran's second-largest oil buyer, but has struggled since the end of 2010 to find ways to pay for the oil amid Western sanctions that blocked arrangements in dollars and Asian currencies.

After months of discussions, Tehran and New Delhi agreed in January for part-payment in rupees. The Indian currency is not internationally convertible, but Iran can use the revenues to buy products from Delhi.

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The Latest from Iran (1 August): Facing New Sanctions

See also Iran Feature: "We Have Restricted the Wishes and Ideals of the Nation To Worrying About Chicken"
The Latest from Iran (31 July): Politics and Fraud

1755 GMT: All the President's Men. The head of the Administrative Court has reacted to 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi's insistence that Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi will remain as head of the Social Security Fund, despite the Court's order that he step down (see 1045 GMT).

The head of the Court said any official who refused to give up his post could be suspended.

1750 GMT: Energy Watch. Ahmad Malakouti, head of the Revolutionary Guards in Asalouyeh in southern Iran has dismissed any concerns about the withdrawal of foreign investement from the South Pars oil and gas field --- he said that 1200 Basij militia were active in the South Pars project, hence its amazing progress.

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The Latest from Iran (31 July): Politics and Fraud

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From Health Care to Hijab to Identity Crisis
The Latest from Iran (30 July): Declaring The "Resistance Economy"

1855 GMT: Oil Watch. Both an Iranian officialand a representative China National Petroleum Corp. have denied a Sunday report in Iran's media that CNPC is pulling out of a major gas project.

The Iranian official said the Chinese company has had "some difficulties" because "it has not brought its financing"; however, "there is no formal withdrawal from CNPC. It still has staff in Tehran and in Assaluyeh," the southern Iranian port city where the project is being overseen.

A CNPC representative said officials have denied that the company is leaving the project in the South Pars gas field, one of the largest in the world.

In 2009, Tehran signed a $5-billion contract with CNPC to develop the field after the Islamic Republic accused French oil major Total SA of delaying the project. Last year, Iran warned CNPC thatthat it would cancel the contract if delays in developing the field persisted.

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The Latest from Iran (23 July): Picking A Fight Over an Ahmadinejad Advisor?

See also The Latest from Iran (22 July): Trying to Fix the Economy for Ramadan

1956 GMT: Stay at Home Watch. The Ministry of Culture has banned billboards advertising foreign travel, except for pilgrimages.

1946 GMT: Protest Watch. More on the demonstration over high prices, especially for food, in Neyshabour in northeastern Iran --- ISNA reports that the low number of subsidised chickens stirred the protest and that the head of the Industry & Trade Bureau has promised more will be delivered. The local chief of police attended the gathering as well and assured the crowd that he would report their demands to authorities.

The blog that originally reported the protest has now withdrawn the news and pictures.

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The Latest from Iran (30 May): Profiting from the Sanctions

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From House of Cinema to "Forbidden City"
The Latest from Iran (29 May): Putting Parliament in Place

2015 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Muhammad Sahimi has provided a translation of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani's interview with Jomhouri Eslami about the nuclear talks. Like others within the regime, Rafsanjani portrays the Obama Administration --- despite its weapon of sanctions --- as dealing from weakness, in this case setbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, his assessment of tactics in last week's Baghdad discussions is a shrewd assessment, rather than a promotion of Islamic Republic triumph or US perfidy:

It appears that they [the P5+1] are united for the negotiations. Even China and Russia have said that Iran must stop uranium enrichment. In the past they never applied such pressure, and this has made the situation somewhat difficult.

After the Istanbul meeting [on 14 April], both Iran and the West made statements that created false optimism. We wanted to create some hope in the country, and the Westerners, due to the economic problems that they have, needed the negotiations. But it became clear in Baghdad that things are not that way. We still do not have complete information, and it is not easy to evaluate and analyze. What is clear is that they have come forward with the weapon of sanctions and say that, using them, we have forced Iran to come to the negotiation table.

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