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Entries in Tehran Bureau (28)


Iran Opinion: Sanctions Support Regime's "Internet Repression" (Tehran Bureau)

See also EA Video Analysis: Iran Sanctions, Human Rights, and the Nuclear Issue

The choking off of access to essential online technology is punishing a people already subject to relentless oppression by an increasingly totalitarian system. It also signifies the larger problem of the overzealous application of supposedly "smart" sanctions that extends them far beyond their intended targets and dumbs down their effects in flagrantly counterproductive ways.

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Iran Feature: The Last Days of the Tehran American School (Egherman)

Despite the fact that most led lives fairly isolated from Iranian society and had few if any Iranian friends, many of the former students of the Tehran American School developed life-long ties to the country. "I feel exiled from what I consider my second home," says T. Lilly Littlewater.

What they miss about Iran is not all that different from what any Iranian in the diaspora misses. They miss eating labu, roasted beets, sold on the side of the road. They miss the mountains, hiking and camping. They miss bread cooked over open flames in ancient ovens. They miss their friends and the community they formed together.

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Iran Feature: How News and Social Media Are Changing --- An Interview with Jahanshah Javid

The Internet gave the power to publish practically anything and everything without state control. With all the problems with censorship in Iran, it was a tremendous opportunity to exercise freedom of speech.

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Iran Interview: Rapper Shahin Najafi on His Music, the "Death Fatwa"...and Kurt Cobain

I believe some people are chosen in a historic way to be trumpets. Generally, their fate is to be shattered and shunned, followed by a self-destruction caused by anguish descending from their mental no-where-lands. I believe humans were not born for thinking; rather, humans are afflicted with thinking. Those who carry on mundane daily lives and who stay in this state are more natural and closer to the instinctive human-animal of my mind. So we should look at being sheeplike in positivist terms. Right or wrong, good or bad is not relevant. It is about being or not being.

Many times I have tried to stop writing poetry and composing songs to rid myself of this illness so that like many others I can fall into a level where life has fewer dangers and headaches.

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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: The Lives Of Women Day Labourers (Tehran Bureau)

Photo: Amin Khosroshahi (ISNA)The lot of women day laborers in Iran, with its patriarchal social structure and straitened economic conditions, is not a happy one. These women, around two million of them, are virtually helpless when it comes to the defense of their rights. In a situation where the supply of labor outstrips demand, Iranian women's historically subordinate role makes many virtual slaves to their jobs.

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The Latest from Iran (18 February): The Issue is the Economy

See also Iran 1st-Hand: "Almost Everybody is Under Financial Pressure"
The Latest from Iran (17 February): The Political Battle

President Ahmadinejad Sees a Nuclear Project1315 GMT: Bank Fraud Watch. At today's trial over the $2.6 billion bank fraud, the prosecution separated the 32 defendants into six groups:

1) the main companions of the central figure, Amir Mansour Khosravi, involved in all crimes such as forging and using documents, exchanging lines of credits, establishing fraudulent companies, transferring money, and buying property;
2) companions of Amir Khosravi active in the cases;
3) people who acted for Amir Khosravi as brokers;
4) management of companies who demanded faked lines of credit;
5) employees of the Amir Mansur Investment Group involved in embezzlement, receiving large payments to handle illegal affairs;
6) members of management and credit and supervisory departments of banks, who neglected their duties or dissipated funds as government employees.

Khosravi said he had spent 6 1/2 months in prison but had had only two hours to talk to his lawyer. The lawyer said he had had no chance to read the complaint.

Khosravi, according to the report, admitted that he had paid a $3 million bribe to Mahmoud Reza Khavari, the former head of Bank Melli who has fled to Canada, but added that he did not want to commit treason.

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Iran 1st-Hand: "Almost Everybody is Under Financial Pressure" (Tehran Bureau)

Almost everybody I talk to is under financial pressure. Many contractors are owed money by the governmental organizations, but not the ones that are part of the "khodi" [us] crowd. The war fears have subsided somewhat, but people are still very stressed out. A business owner tells me that workers who voted for Ahmadinejad back in 2005 are now all outspoken critics of the regime. Some who are young enough to be drafted in the event of a war say they will refuse to pick up a gun.

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Iran 1st-Hand: How the Currency Crisis Began (Chenar)

The first sign of trouble appeared in the gold market. There has always been a strong demand for gold and gold coinage in Iran, as Iranians have traditionally saved in the precious metal. "I never lose money buying gold," said Simin, a 50-year-old retired teacher and mother of four grown children. "Even during the war, I registered for Bahar-e Azadi coins [the Islamic Republic's official gold coins]. They are easy to hide and easy to trade. When I need cash, all I need to do is go into the first jewelry store and sell them at market price." Few became alarmed as gold prices began to increase in Tehran; after all, the gold market was on the upswing globally. According to an economist at the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), "Gold was rising everywhere, and it was only natural to see prices increasing in Tehran. Although sometimes the price of gold in Tehran was more expensive than its price in the global market, sometimes it was lower."

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Iran Feature: Is Ahmadinejad's Government Fuelling the Currency Crisis?

Our analysis at EA is that the currency crisis in Iran is driven by structural problems, mismanagement, mis-timed subsidy cuts and interest rate policies, and inflationary pressures. We do not see a plan by the Ahmadinejad Government, let alone a conspiracy, for the sudden fall of the Iranian rial.

That is not to say, however, that elements within the regime will give up a profit from the events. Those speculating against the rial --- has allegedly included officials in the Revolutionary Guards, in the Ahmadinejad camp, and in other areas of the Government --- have made a handsome sum by exploiting the gap between the "official" and "open-market" rates. And if economic crisis offers political advantage, should that be passed up?

"A Correspondent" for Tehran Bureau, while paying lip service to "fundamental structural problems" such as an excess of cash in the Iranian system, goes much farther. He/she sees a plot by the President and his inner circle to solve an immediate budgetary issue --- even if there are higher costs down the road --- while seeking a winning position in March's Parliamentary elections.

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