Iran Election Guide

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Entries in SWIFT (4)


Iran Feature: The Top 10 Stories of 2012 --- A Currency Falls, Sanctions Expand, and Political Prisoners Continue to Resist (Farhi)

Closed Cirrency Exchange, Summer 2012This year forcefully disproved the assumption that imprisoning political and civil society activists and critics silences them and fixes the Islamic Republic’s dissident problem.

Former presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi remained incarcerated in their homes (the former along with spouse Zahra Rahnavard) without being charged and remained mostly without any kind of access to the outside world. But letters written by political prisoners about prison conditions and solidarity among prisoners — as well as the woeful state of the country’s politics — made it out of the prisons and were sufficiently covered by external news and activist outlets for many inside Iran to become aware of them.

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The Latest from Iran (27 May): A New Parliament Opens

President Ahmadinejad and former President Rafsanjani enter the first session of the new Parliament todaySee also The Latest from Iran (26 May): Propaganda Watch

1825 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Earlier today (see 0635 GMT) we had noted the defiant stance of the head of the atomic energy organisation, Fereydoun Abbasi, that the International Atomic Energy Agency would not be allowed to inspect the Parchin military site. This, we suggested, was a major step back from possible accomodation over Iran's nuclear programme, given that IAEA head Yukiya Amano had said only a week ago that an agreement over inspections was imminent.

Western media, however, are focusing on another section of Abbasi's comments on State TV, namely that Iran is standing on its right to enrich uranium to 20% on its soil: "“We have no reason to retreat from producing the 20 percent because we need 20 percent uranium just as much to meet our needs."

We are not so struck by the remark. Abbasi has been a "hard-liner" in the past --- in contrast to, for example, President Ahmadinejad --- on the level to which Iran can enrich.

Today's comment should be seen more as a re-assertion by the regime of a tough negotiating position after the failure to get any advance, and indeed signs of a retreat, on a deal at last week's Baghdad talks. Iranian officials blame the situation on the initial proposal put by the 5+1 Powers, which did not explictly recognise Iran's right to enrich and which offered no significant gesture on sanctions.

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Iran Feature: "Economic Crisis Shaking Foundations of Social Order" (Khajehpour)

The current crisis is shaking some of the basic foundations of social order. The society as a whole, particularly the youth have no confidence in government, law and in clerical institutions. This loss of confidence translates into social behaviors such as disregard for the law, disrespect of cultural norms etc. which will further irritate Iranians with long-term consequences.

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Iran Feature: A Beginner's Guide to the Squeeze on Tehran's Money (Recknagel)

On March 15, SWIFT agreed with the European Union not to forward messages to any Iranian bank or individual that is blacklisted by the bloc.

That bans some 30 Iranian banks from the global financial network, banks which Tehran currently depends upon to import and export goods and, most importantly, sell its oil internationally.

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