Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Soulat Mortazavi (5)


The Latest from Iran (11 April): Targeting Ahmadinejad

See also Iran Special: How the Myth of the Green Movement and "Regime Change" Was Created
Iran Snap Analysis: Speaker of Parliament Larijani Uses Syria for a Power Play
The Latest from Iran (10 April): Talks in Istanbul, Challenges to Ahmadinejad at Home

1925 GMT: Human Rights Watch. According to MP Fatemeh Alia, Parliament has approved a bill to spend 20 billion Toman (about $16.5 million at official rate; about $10.5 million at open market rate) to supervise human rights violations in the US and Britain.

1835 GMT: Posture Watch. In the category of Statements With Very Little Significance....

Saeed Jalili, Iran's lead negotiator in the nuclear talks that begin Saturday in Istanbul, has said:

Iran's representatives will participate in the negotiations with new initiatives and we hope that the P5+1 countries (US, UK, Germany, France, China, Russia) will also enter talks with constructive approaches. The language of threat and pressure against the Iranian nation has never yielded results but will lead to more seriousness in the attitude of the Iranian nation. We are ready to hold progressive and successful talks on cooperation.

Jalili gave no details of the "new initiatives".

Continuing his provincial tour in southern Iran, President Ahmadinejad declared, “Hereby, on behalf of the Iranian people, I tell them (Western nations), the approach you have adopted will fail, and you must correct your literature in addressing the Iranian nation and must speak respectfully."

Ahmadinejad gave no further details about relationship between the Western "bullying", "literature", and the nuclear talks.

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The Latest from Iran (5 March): The Election? So Far, It's a Muddle

See also Iran Opinion: Why Iranians Voted in the 2012 Elections
Iran Elections Snapshot: The #1 Subversive Moment "They're All the Same"
Iran Snap Analysis: Rearranging the Political Chairs --- What Has Changed?
The Latest from Iran (4 March): The Play-Acting of the Election

1747 GMT: Oil Watch. Industry sources say India's largest customer for Iranian oil plans to cut daily imports by almost 50%.

State-run Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd could reduce imports to as little as 80,000 barrels per day from 1 April, the sources said. MRPL usually buys 150,000 bpd.

The report is further evidence that while New Delhi publicly says it will not comply with US-led, the Indian Government has privately instructed refineries to cut imports.

India, China and Japan buy almost half of Iran's estimated 2.6 million barrels per day of oil exports,

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The Latest from Iran (2 March): The Parliamentary Elections

Maya Neyestani on today's "historic" election

See also Iran Special: A Beginner's Guide to Today's Parliamentary Elections
Iran Snap Analysis: So Who is "Winning" These Elections?
The Latest from Iran (1 March): The Issue Is Legitimacy

2055 GMT: ANd now a good-news story from the elections....

The 100-year-old man in Hamedan voted and died (see 1215 GMT), and the 95-year-old man in Damavand said, ""God, please accept this vote from me" and passed away (see 1645), but the 117-year-old man in Gonbad-e Qabus cast his ballot and lived.

2030 GMT: Well, I now have first-hand experience of how Iranian media handle news and analysis about this election.

Fars has not only noted my interview with BBC Persian; they are presenting it as if I had spoken to them. The headline is a selective extract, reflecting Fars' emphasis, of my comments, "The Western Leaders Don't Have a Clear Understanding of the Iranian Elections".

To be fair, Fars does fairly repeat some of my remarks, such as this election is too complex to be "Conservatives v. Clergy" and "The election is less about foreign policy than it is about Iran's internal affairs, economics, political accountability, and even topics such as judicial and legal rights."

What is interesting is what is left out or abbreviated. Fars' "interview" forgets to include my remarks that this election --- crucially --- is about the legitimacy of not only the Government but also the regime. And while the site does accurately mention my comment, "Reformists had no chance in this election of achieving some kind of political power", it indicates this was the main reason for their boycott of the vote --- conveniently omitting the rest of my analysis that the strategy was to raise question marks about the regime: "The message, following the 2009 Presidential election protests ie not just "Where is my vote?" but "Where is my government's responsibility?"

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The Latest from Iran (3 February): The Supreme Leader's Friday Prayer

Minister of Education Haji Babaei and the Cardboard Imam (see 1741 GMT)

See also Iran Snap Analysis: The Supreme Leader --- Strong Abroad, Weak at Home
Iran Feature: How Tehran's "Islamic Awakening" Lost Its Arab Spring
The Latest from Iran (2 February): Will There Be Protests on 25 Bahman?

1800 GMT: Food Watch. Up to five vessels, out of 10 ships waiting off Iran for up to three weeks with 400,000 tonnes of grain, have now diverted to Qatar, the UAE, and Singapore.

The ships could not or would not off-load their cargoes because of payment difficulties amidst US-led sanctions.

"There is no prohibition on discharging cargoes (in Iran) but they can't because they have not been paid. Some will be trying to find other buyers now," a trade source said.

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The Latest from Iran (28 October): "Our Prisons Are Full"

1854 GMT: James Miller takes the liveblog.

Reuters is reporting that three separate explosions have rocked Iran's oil and gas industry, though the government is stating that they are unrelated:

The fatal incident at the oil field at Bibi Hakimeh near the Gulf occurred during drilling, when workers unexpectedly encountered an "enormous volume of unknown accumulated gas" in the layers of a reservoir, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported. Three people were injured.

Mehr also reported a separate blast at the Shazand oil refinery in central Iran, but the plant's managing director later told state radio the incident had been exaggerated.

"Nothing special has happened there. There was no fire at all," Majid Rajabi said. "The refinery is functioning normally."

The third blast happened on a 26-inch pipeline carrying gas to an oilfield in Gachsaran in south-western Iran later on Friday, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Even if the blasts turn out to be unrelated, in the direct sense, this will raise serious concerns about the safety of Iran's infrastructure, especially in light of the explosion at the Abadan refinery in May while Ahmadinejad was at the plant.

1810 GMT: Deviant Current Watch. Ali Rezaei, Friday Prayer leader in Birjand and a representative of the Supreme Leader, has said he did not participate in a provincial government meeting because members of the "deviant current" were present.

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