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Entries in Shamseddin Hosseini (35)


Iran Live: Another Move on Syria

Presidents Ahmadinejad & Assad1540 GMT: Nuclear Watch

Iranian media report that Iran and the United Nations nuclear watchdog will have further talks over Tehran's disputed nuclear program around May 21 in Vienna, Iranian media reported on Monday.

There was no immediate confirmation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), leaving unclear whether a firm date for the next meeting had already been agreed.

Iran's Mehr and ISNA news agencies initially reported that the meeting would be held on May 21, but ISNA later quoted an unnamed official as saying this was only a "preliminary agreement" and that the date could be moved by one or two days.

1230 GMT: Sanctions Watch

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has indicated that the European Union will not be imposing new sanctions on Tehran.

Speaking before an EU Foreign Ministers' meeting in Luxembourg, Hague said, "We must maintain (current) sanctions pressure, not proposing new ones."

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Iran Live Coverage: Don't Mention the "Free Elections"

See also Iran Feature: Spotlight Returns to Detained Opposition Leaders Mousavi and Karroubi
Sunday's Iran Live Coverage: The Isolation of the Country

1714 GMT: Scare Story of the Day (cont.). I have now read the 154-page report by 5 US analysts and activists being trumpeted in the media as proof that Iran will have a Bomb by mid-2014.

As I anticipated in an earlier entry (see 1546 GMT), the report sets aside careful analysis for supposition, manipulation of some evidence, and ignorance of other facts. It should be treated as a polemic in its calls for tougher sanctions and threat of military action by the US.

1650 GMT: All the President's Men. A court has cancelled the appointment of senior Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi as head of Social Funds Organization.

Mortazavi has long been criticised for his alleged role in the abuse and killing of protesters in the Kahrizak detention centre after the disputed 2009 Presidential election. Although he has not been prosecuted, a court ruled that he should not hold a Government post pending investigation.

President Ahmadinejad defied the order, installing Mortazavi as head of the Social Security Fund in early 2012. The Administrative Court ruled against the appointment --- the Government responded with the circumvention of renaming the agency.

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The Latest from Iran (16 December): Is Tehran Ready for Concessions on Nuclear Programme?

See also Iran Report: Activists Fleeing the Assault on Civil Society
The Latest from Iran (15 December): Ahmadinejad Jabs at the Revolutionary Guards

2050 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Here is one way to make the regime mad --- give a prize for freedom of thought and human rights to political prisoners....

Foreign Minister Ramin Mehmanparast lashed out today at the European Parliament's award of the Sakharov Prize to imprisoned lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi, under threat of a six-year sentence: "Unfortunately, the European Union and its affiliated bodies have a selective approach to and objectify human rights matters, and pursue their political objectives by raising such issues."

Appearing to miss the point about the recognition of Sotoudeh, a prominent defender of accused activists, and Panahi, Mehmanparast continued, "Instead of offering awards on the basis of political goals, the European Parliament should deal with countless instances of rights violations in European countries such as the miserable conditions of asylum seekers and immigrants, discrimination against Muslims and the suppression of legitimate socio-economic demands of Europeans."

Press TV adds to the wayward criticism by failing to mention in its article that Sotoudeh is behind bars and Panahi is under effective house arrest.

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The Latest from Iran (25 October): Ahmadinejad v. the Judiciary, Continued

President Ahmadinejad v. Head of Judiciary Sadegh Larijani (Cartoon: Nikahang Kowsar)

See also EA Video Analysis: The New York Times Muddled the Story of "Secret US-Iran Nuclear Talks" --- But Why?
The Latest from Iran (24 October): The Interrogation of Ahmadinejad?

2020 GMT: Budget Watch. More on alleged diversion of funds by the Government (see 1520 GMT)....

The Supreme Audit Court has accused the Government of transferring $12 billion of oil revenue to the general State revenue account rather than the foreign exchange reserve, in an attempt to cover last year's budget deficit.

The Court alleges that unauthorized withdrawals of oil revenue amount to a total of $19 billion.

The Presidency's Economics Directorate has countered with a report claiming increased Government deposits in the foreign exchange reserve during the Ahmadinejad years.

(Hat tip: Iran Tracker)

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Iran Feature: Students Suffer as Currency Falls (Torbati)

Twice in less than a year, Neda's ambitions to study outside her native Iran have been wrecked by the collapse of the country's currency.

She and thousands of other students have watched helplessly as Western sanctions, and the abolition of a government policy that helped students meet their costs, have made a foreign degree so expensive as to be nearly impossible.

With the support of her parents, Neda was first set to go to northern Cyprus in January to study communications. But U.S. sanctions against Iran's central bank prompted a slide in the rial's exchange rate that month, putting the $1,500 per semester tuition out of reach of her upper middle class family, an indication of how the squeeze is affecting even the well-off.

"I had been accepted to the school and everything was ready to go," said Neda, 27, speaking to Reuters by telephone from Iran. "But when foreign currency became so expensive, I had to cancel my plans."

Neda then planned to go abroad for this year's autumn semester. But the sanctions, imposed over Iran's disputed nuclear program, triggered another plunge.

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Iran Snapshot: A Currency's Fall, Bazaar Closed, Protests.... 

Claimed footage of Wednesday's protests near the Tehran Bazaar: "Bazaaris, support, support, support us!"

Some Iranian media posted brief reports of events --- Mehr, for example,wrote about closure of the Bazaar and clashes with police, with arrests around the Bazaar and nearby streets and squares.  Further confirmation came, even as outlets offered contradictory signals about how to cope with the events. "Hard-line" sites such as Raja News played up the threat of "hooligans". Initially, the head of the Bazaar's guilds tried to play down the incident of "closed shops because of unknown elements" and said that most merchants had operated as normal; a later declaration, however, a later declaration gave up trying to minimise the situation: "Despite criticism of the government and President Ahmadinejad, we will defend the nezam (system) and the country with our lives."

As for the Government, already besieged by the economic situation and the collapsing currency, it issued the statement that a Cabinet meeting had agreed steps to control the currency market. No details were offered, however.

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The Latest from Iran (20 September): The Currency "Situation"

Nikahang Kowsar looks at President Ahmadinejad's visit next week to New York for the United Nations General Assembly --- Statue of Liberty: "Mamouti, take your halo and go away!"

See also Iran Analysis: Assessing A Nuclear Warning from Tehran
Iran Feature: How Mitt Romney Got It Wrong on Tehran's "Dirty Bomb"
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Iran's Political Diversion
The Latest from Iran (19 September): Another Regime Move on Syria

2020 GMT: Economy Watch. Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has stated that "rising prices are putting people under pressure". He criticised the Goverment's management of the economy: "the President mustn’t make decisions alone".

1630 GMT: Assurance of the Day. Inspector General Mostafa Pourmohammadi has claimed that 5% inflation will cause a crisis in Europe, but people in Iran stay calm even with 40% inflation.

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The Latest from Iran (12 September): Economic Problems? What Economic Problems?

See also Iran Audio Feature: The Gathering Economic Storm --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
The Latest from Iran (11 September): Promoting the "Resistance Economy"

1653 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Relatives of political prisoners born in the Iranian month of Shahrivar (August/September) gather to celebrate their birthdays:

1648 GMT: Economy Watch. Shabestan News Agency claims that the sale of stationery has been halted because the price for 70-gramme paper has tripled in price in the past two months.

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The Latest from Iran (1 July): The European Union Cuts Off Imports of Tehran's Oil

1535 GMT: Correction of the Day. I am not sure we can take credit for this but, hours after we noted Press TV's use of a conspracy-theory "analyst" to proclaim "US Seeks War with Russia", the Iran State website has downgraded the crisis: "West Seeks Tussle with Russia over Syria"

1445 GMT: A Revolutionary Guards commander has announced plans for a new missile exercise, Great Prophet 7, from Monday to Wednesday.

The Commander of the Aerospace Division, Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said, “By firing missiles into these simulated bases (of regional forces), our commanders will assess the precision and the effectiveness of the warheads installed on the missiles.”

The commander said the message for the “regional and transregional countries seeking adventurism is that the Islamic Republic is determined to resist their bullying and will give a crushing and decisive response to any potential act of mischief. In case of any potential incident, Iran's surface-to-surface missiles will descend upon them like bolts of thunder.”

1245 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, who earlier said Zionists are behind the US and European Union's economic restrictions, has tried to rally Iranians: “Today, we are facing the heaviest of sanctions and we ask people to help officials in this battle."

Rahimi said the “dastardly sanctions” might cause “occasional confusion” in the market, but assured that the Iranian nation would not be stopped.

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The Latest from Iran (30 June): "Talk to Us"

See also Iran 1st-Hand: The Squeeze of the Sanctions
The Latest from Iran (29 June): The Pressure Builds

1822 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. A letter signed by 141 Iranian journalists has expressed support for their detained colleague, Bahman Ahmadi Amoui.

The journalists express concern that Ahmadi Amoui was imprisoned for his critical articles on the economy, noting his exile to Rajai Shahr Prison and transfer to solitary confinement.

Ahmadi Amoui was arrested just after the June 2009 Presidential election. He was sentenced in January 2010 to seven years and four months in prison.

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