"Ahmadinejad's critics are looking to erase all vestiges of his power, [Central Bank head Mahmoud] Bahmani is a firewall for Ahmadinejad. If he is forced out, then the President may be next in line to take the blame for the economic situation."
Entries in Scott Lucas (13)
Iran's food distribution system is in crisis even though Western sanctions do not directly target the market, badly hurting the poor and turning some staples into luxuries.
Private importers are shrinking away from deals made risky by turmoil in the rial currency, and many foreign banks are reluctant to finance even trade exempt from the sanctions for fear of drawing fire simply for doing business with Iran.
The result is that the Iranian state is under growing pressure to import and allocate more goods as it tries to avoid any social unrest due to shortages and soaring prices.
US Elections Video: Obama or Romney? And Does It Make Any Difference? --- "Seminar" at the University of Birmingham
On Wednesday, I joined Dr Adam Quinn and Ph.D. candidate Jonna Nyman to discuss the state of the US Presidential election and what lay ahead for domestic and foreign policy over the next four years.
While all of us agreed that an Obama victory was likely, the discussion of the issues at home and abroad led to some notable expressions of concern, from the threat to health care in the US to conflicts over social issues to a possible war with Iran:
Al Jazeera English's Inside Story, broadcast on 16 June 2009, with Tehran University's Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Professor Anoush Ehteshami of Durham University, and EA's Scott Lucas:
Al Jazeera's Listening Post, takes on the contest between the regime and opposition to frame the presentation of the conflict in Syria, the situation of imprisoned Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah, the latest news from Wikileaks and Julian Assange, and the case of an Israeli whistle-blower.
And then there is the last item on how video games are being used to simulate the news, hopefully engaging, educating, and inspiring audiences along the way:
The conference has now concluded. Many thanks to all who followed today --- archived videos of the sessions should be available by this weekend.
When 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.
Today and Monday, EA will be presenting a series of articles to prompt thought and discussion not only about the events of 11 September 2001 but about the US and the world from then to today.
Joseph Stiglitz: "A US Response More Costly Than the Attacks"
Tom Engelhardt: "Let's Put 9-11 Behind Us"
David Dunn: "What the War on Terror Has Cost the US...and Us"
Scott Lucas: "Why 9-11 Was Not a Turning Point for the World"
Scott Lucas: "A Discussion on the BBC"
1948 GMT: Oil Watch. An admission of challenges for Iran's energy industries? Minister of Oil Rostam Qassemi has reportedly said that he needs "special authorisations" to circumvent sanctions and that delays in oil and gas projects are a fundamental problem.
1915 GMT: Unity Watch. Digarban makes some provocative claims that the conservative/principlist quest for unity is not going quite as planned.
According to the site, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, the head of the Expediency Council, has rejected the conditions of the Islamic Constancy Front --- propelled by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi --- for cooperation with the "7+8" unity front in the next Parliamentary elections.
In particular, Mahdavi Kani has resisted the elimination of representatives of Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer-Qalibaf representatives from the 7+8 Committee, named because of its expansion to 15 members to include different conservative and principlist factions.
MP Asadollah Badamchian has backed up Mahdavi Kani, saying that the Constancy Front has taken a strict position and will fail if it does not cooperate with the 7+8. Mohsen Yahyavi of the Islamic Engineers party said the Constancy Front "should estimate its abilities cautiously and make no mistakes" to move with the hardliners' project more easily.
And Habibollah Bourbour of the Community of Islamic Revolution Loyalists went even farther: he declared that the Constancy Front wants to eliminate popular figures from the 7+8 and is fed by a "deviant current".
"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."