Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


Entries in CNN (11)


Latest Iran Video: Foreign Minister Mottaki on Elections & Protests (31 January)

Take this as you will, as Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki responds to the challenges of CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

I do have to note that Mottaki needs to brush up on US politics --- the disputed election of George W. Bush was in 2000, not 2004, and the Supreme Court that ruled in his favour was not appointed by him. He might also want to check the situation in his country --- the Supreme Leader never held out the option of a full recount of the Presidential vote, and he might want to reconsider the claim that protesters were firing guns. And, as he holds on to the lifeboat claim of massive support on 30 December, three days after Ashura, I'm not sure that is boosted by compared Iran's crackdown on protest to the response to demonstrators at the Copenhagen climate change summit.


The Latest from Iran (30 January): Threat

2355 GMT: Just checking in to say we have posted a video of a Tehran University academic defending Thursday's executions of Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour.

1910 GMT: We're taking an evening break. We may be back for a late-night wrap-up. If not, all the latest news will open our Sunday updates.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Defending the Executions (30 January)
NEW Iran Document: Mousavi-Karroubi Declaration on Rights and 22 Bahman (30 January)
NEW Iran Patriotism Special: Wiping the Green From The Flag
The Latest from Iran (29 January): Sideshows and Main Events

1900 GMT: Pressure on Ahmadinejad. The "conservative" campaign against the President's advisors has not ceased. The high-profile member of Parliament Ahmad Tavakoli has attacked the controversial Deputy Minister of Culture, Mo-Amin Ramin, and Ahmadinejad aide Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

1855 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz reports that Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri, Hassan Rohani, and Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani have not attended meetings of the Combatant Clergy Association since the June election.

1845 GMT: On the Economic Front. Raja News reports that a 20-day ultimatum has been given to 100 people, most of them well-connected, who have not repaid $20 billion in funds from national banks. The article has a lengthy discussion of the reasons for this uncontrolled spending and problems in gettng the money back.

The website also quotes Arsalan Fathipour, chief of parliament's economic commission, that $15 billion of National Development Funds has been given to banks.

1840 GMT: Reza Mahabadian, children's rights activist & member of the Assembly of Iranian Writers, has reportedly been arrested.

1835 GMT: For the second week in a row, family members of the martyrs of 7-Tir, the terrorist attack in the early days of the Islamic Revolution that killed 72 people including Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, held a prayer ceremony at the grave of Ayatollah Beheshti to protest the detention of his son, Alireza Beheshti, a key advisor to Mir Hossein Mousavi.

1800 GMT: The Regime's Accusations. An Iranian activist has posted a summary of the allegations against one of the Ashura defendants in today's trial:
Participation in gatherings and collusion in acts against national security. Insulting the Leader by sending e-mail to the International [Criminal] Court in The Hague, propaganda against Islamic Republic. Soft war, membership in Facebook and [Iranian Web portal] Balatarin, mass distribution of news to foreign media outlets. Participation in illegal protests...and preparation and forwarding a complaint against the honorable Leader to the World Court in the Hague.

The defendant's testimony:
I did participate in illegal protests...and did chant slogans against the regime. After the speech of the honourable Leader, I participated in three more protests in my car only and honked the horn. I was present in front of Laleh Park in the afternoon of Ashura (27 December) only as an observer. I read the news on sites like Balatarin and did send information and news to foreign news outlets. The first three weeks after the election I did chant Allah-O-Akbar (God is Great) on my rooftop. I did sent about 100 SMS (text messages) informing people of gatherings on 4 November and 7 December.

I was a member on Mohsen Sazegara's news site. Thinking because he was an ex-member of the establishment and is a dissident now, I believed him saying there was cheating in the election.

Regarding the letter to the World Court in the Hague, the petition was published on Balatarin site. I did sign this petition and encouraged my friends to sign it.

1755 GMT: We have posted a full summary and quotes from today's meeting between Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi about the rights of the people and the marches on 22 Bahman (11 February).

1745 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz reports that 40 people were arrested at a 40th Day memorial service for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri yesterday. Eight are still detained.

1725 GMT: Labour News. The Flying Carpet Institute reports that Reza Rakhshan, a leader of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate was released on 19 January after 17 days of detention. Rakhshan was freed on $150,000 bail money—a hefty sum for a workers’ family.

1710 GMT: "Confessions". Back from a break to learn more about the regime's manoeuvres with the threats and trials. An Iranian activist reports that, on Wednesday night, Iranian television featured the "confessions" of four post-election detainees: Mahmod Dowlatabadi, Mehdi Saiedi, Abbas Balikhani, and Borzo Kamrani. The activist considers that the show may be setting up the "mohareb" (war against God) charges and executions.

More on the charges in the trial of Ashura detainees today (see 1415 and 0945 GMT): looks like subscribing to the newsletter of supporters of IRGC founder and current regime critic Mohsen Sazegara constitutes a threat to national security.

1415 GMT: The Great Regime Change Conspiracy. Rah-e-Sabz has a lengthy account of today's trial of 16 Ashura detainees. Amidst the statements of the defendants, not only the BBC and CNN but also Balatarin, the Iranian portal for Web stories, and Facebook emerges as evil instigators of violence against the Iranian Government.

1405 GMT: Rafsanjani's Balancing Act. The Los Angeles Times, noting the statement from Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi (see 1105 GMT) calling on their supporters to join 22 Bahman rallies, also picks up the more cautious declaration from Hashemi Rafsanjani:
[Rafsanjani] called on Iranians "of all groups and camps" to turn out en masse for the holiday, but warned that any violence will serve the interests of Tehran's "enemies."

"I invite all people and political camps across the country to march on 22 Bahman and renew their allegiance to the Islamic Republic despite certain differences of opinion," he said in an address to the powerful Expediency Council.

1330 GMT: Blair and Iran. I had intended to refrain from comment until Monday on the former Prime Minister's testimony to the British enquiry into the 2003 Iraq War --- anger needs to subside in favour of reflection. (We have posted, however, a 2005 item from our archives which pointed to Blair's agreement --- in a March 2002 meeting with then-US Vice President Dick Cheney --- to join the US in a military invasion for "regime change".)

That said, The Guardian of London sizes up Blair's rather extraordinary attempt to avoid blame for Iraq 2003 by putting forth an Iran 2010:
Tony Blair has been accused of warmongering spin for claiming that western powers might be forced to invade Iran because it poses as serious a threat as Saddam Hussein.

Sir Richard Dalton, a former British ambassador to Iran, accused Blair of trying to make confrontation with Iran an electoral issue after the former prime minister repeatedly singled out its Islamic regime as a global threat in his evidence to the Iraq war inquiry yesterday.

Blair said many of the arguments that led him to confront the "profoundly wicked, almost psychopathic" Saddam Hussein seven years ago now applied to the regime in Tehran.

"We face the same problem about Iran today," he told the Chilcot inquiry....

"One result of Tony Blair's intervention on Iran – he mentioned Iran 58 times – is to put the question of confronting Iran into play in the election," [Dalton] told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

"We need to be much clearer, as voters, with our politicians and with our candidates that we expect a different behaviour and a greater integrity in our democracy next time."

The silver lining in yesterday's travesty is that the illusions and delusions of Blair's approach to Iraq --- whether or not one agrees that military action was necessary for regime change --- are exposed by his easy analogies with today's situation and his equally-easy implication that war is a simple answer. And it is a 2nd silver lining that there is no one in the current British Government who shares that illusionary/delusionary approach to Iran 2010.

1215 GMT: Press TV has published its English-language report of today's trial, recycling the points made in Iranian state media and summarised below.

1105 GMT: Taking a Stand. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, after meeting this morning, have expressed sorrow over Thursday's executions, denounced other sentences and the "continuation of the current situation", and called on their supporters to participate in rallies on 22 Bahman (11 February).

With the statement, Mousavi and Karroubi have gone beyond their positions on Ashura (27 December). On that occasion, neither made a call for public demonstrations.

0945 GMT: The Trial. IRNA's website simply lists the charges against each of the 16 defendants. Everything from "support of terrorism" to "Communist tendencies" makes an appearance. Significantly,as previewed by Iranian officials this week, five of the 16 are charged with mohareb (war against God), a crime which carries the death penalty.

Fars' report focuses on the prosecution's opening statement, headlining the "terror training" abroad for the protesters. Here is an example of such training: the well-known terrorist centre The Brookings Institution in Washington apparently put out a report, a few months before Iran's Presidential election, setting out economic strategies.

0930 GMT: Threat. It is no pleasure to report how quickly both our headline and our morning analysis have been upheld by the regime this morning: "Iran Puts 16 Protesters on Trial". Both the Islamic Republic News Agency and Press TV feature the hearing for demonstrators arrested on Ashura (27 December), with the prosecution putting out the ritual rhetoric: "The defendants have confessed to spying, planning bomb attacks and damaging public and private properties....The defendants sent videos on the clashes between protesters and Iranian police to the ''foreign hostile networks."

0800 GMT: While catching up with this morning's news, we have posted a special analysis of the latest regime move (indeed, gamble), "We Will Kill You". We also have published the English translation of the questions put by the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front to Iran's head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, over the executions of Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour.

Haiti: Josh Shahryar's News LiveBlog (20/21 January)

0255 GMT

Another amazing story of survival and miracles from today in Haiti. CNN’s AC360 reports:

A five-year-old boy named Monley was found alive in the rubble of his home today. His mother was killed and his father is missing. Monley was taken to a hospital where doctors say he has no broken bones, but he is suffering from severe dehydration.

Haiti: Josh Shahryar's Humanitarian LiveBlog (20/21 January)

Anderson was at the hospital when Monley arrived this afternoon. He got details on the rescue from his family.

“The uncle was actually searching through the rubble, looking for the dead body of his brother, this boy’s father. The uncle, with four of his friends, not some international search and rescue team, pulled out the little boy,” Anderson reported earlier today.

0241 GMT

One of the biggest challenges in Haiti has been to figure out just how many people have perished in the aftermath of the apocalyptic earthquake. So far, the numbers are blurry. Reports of total number of victims range from as low as 50,000 to as high as more than 200,000.

The New York Times has a great article on the challenges facing the Haitian government and the international relief agencies in figuring out how many lives have been lost.

The simple truth is that no accurate figure exists. In disasters like Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Asian tsunami and the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran, the toll habitually swings way up at first, taking a couple of weeks to settle at a final, accepted number.

In countries like the United States or China, with vast resources to handle and count the dead, the numbers are likely to be more accurate than in a poor nation like Haiti, experts said.

The fact that the earthquake, with a magnitude of 7, devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, virtually paralyzing a government that was hard-pressed to count the living in normal times, only compounded the problem.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article.

Read rest of LiveBlog....

Israel and Gaza: Tzipi Livni "For Israeli Soldiers, I Will Go to Europe"

On Monday, the former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni appeared on CNN's Amanpour guest. Livni defended the Gaza War Operation Cast Lead because it "regained deterrence" to Israel and stated that the blockade on Gaza will continue as long as there is no official representative of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip:  "Gates are open to Gazans when it comes to humanitarian needs".

Speaking about the arrest warrant issued for her by a British court because of Gaza, Livni said that she is willing to travel to any part of Europe as a "test case" for IDF soldiers to travel and see the free values of the free world.
AMANPOUR: Tonight, on the one-year anniversary of the end of the war in Gaza, we look at the troubled Middle East peace process, which President Obama has also made a center point of his foreign policy.

And from Jerusalem, we have an exclusive interview with Tzipi Livni, head of the Israeli opposition party Kadima. She had served as foreign minister during the previous Israeli administration throughout the Gaza war.

Ms. Livni, thank you for joining us from Jerusalem.


AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, it's a year since the Gaza war. There's still a huge amount of controversy over it. What about lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza? How come that hasn't happened one year later?

LIVNI: The idea of the military operation was in order to stop terror. And there is no dispute today, especially not in Israel, that the operation in Gaza regained deterrence. And Israeli civilians that couldn't live in the places which are close to Gaza Strip can live and have peaceful life.

AMANPOUR: So does that mean that the blockade will stay on?

LIVNI: The blockade on Gaza -- yes. But it's important to say that, when it comes to humanitarian needs, the gates are open.

AMANPOUR: Obviously, there's some humanitarian aid getting in, but there's, for instance, construction materials, all sorts of things that it needs to stand on its feet are not getting in. But I want to ask you, should Israel now, a year later, negotiate a full cease-fire with Hamas in exchange for lifting the blockade?

LIVNI: No, I don't think so. Basically, Hamas doesn't represent the national aspiration of the Palestinians. I believe that Israel needs to re-launch negotiations with Fatah, with the legitimate Palestinian government, with those who represent the legitimate aspiration of the Palestinians for a state of their own.

Hamas represents extreme religious ideology. Religious conflicts are unsolvable. And in this region, when the division is between extremists and moderates, we need to act in a dual strategy, on one hand, to act against terror, not to give legitimacy directly or indirectly with Hamas, to Hamas, and to continue the dialogue with the moderates, with the pragmatic leadership of the Palestinians.

AMANPOUR: You know the Palestinians say that a complete halt to settlement activity is -- is vital. You know the president, Barack Obama, and this U.S. administration started by saying that a condition would be a complete halt to Israeli settlement activity. What do you make of the fact that the U.S. President Obama made that his initial condition? Now it's no longer a condition.

LIVNI: Listen, it's not for me -- you know, to make opinions on this. But just to give you an example about the situation that we had about a year ago, we had negotiations with the Palestinians. We built trust. They understood that the Israeli government -- anyway, the former Israeli government -- wanted to achieve peace, and we are willing to make the concessions which are needed in order to do so.

And we believed that this is -- this is the same -- or this is what the Palestinians are standing, also, in order to end the conflict.

AMANPOUR: Do you think it could be done in two years?

LIVNI: So talking about...

AMANPOUR: If it starts, do you think negotiations can end in two years?

LIVNI: Less than that. Oh, yes.

AMANPOUR: Like Mitchell said?

LIVNI: Oh, yes. I think that -- I don't want to -- to refer to timeline. I mean, I negotiated with the Palestinians for nine months. And we had some achievement in this negotiation.


So it's not a -- not a matter of time. It's a matter of an understanding of by both sides, by both leaders, that time works against those who believe in two states for two peoples, that we cannot afford a situation in which the conflict transfers from -- or being transferred from a national conflict to a religious one, that we cannot afford to give excuses for radical elements in the region to recruit or to have more support in different part of this -- of this region.

So I believe that this needs to be started now, and the question of timeline is less important, as long as the two leaders -- two leaderships understand that time is of the essence.


LIVNI: There is no need to -- you know, to waste more time or to have a dialogue for a dialogue. It's time for decisions.

AMANPOUR: Let's go back to the Gaza war a year ago and the fallout from that. You've said the blockade will continue. As you know, the Goldstone report has said that Israel used disproportionate force and has called for an inquiry and has called for Israel to -- to -- to sort of hold accountable those who were responsible. Why is it that Israel will not hold a public inquiry? And do you think that it should?

LIVNI: Basically, I cannot accept any comparison between Israeli soldiers and these terrorists. I mean, there is no -- and this is something that Goldstone made in his report.

During the operation in Gaza -- and, as you mentioned, I was a decision-maker there -- and we took all the necessary steps in order to avoid civilian casualties, even though it's not easy when this is highly populated place, when terrorists hiding among civilians.

AMANPOUR: Ms. Livni? Why is it that Israel has not held and has not made any move to hold a public inquiry, a public investigation into these allegations? Even your own ex-justice minister, Barak, is saying that there should be such a probe of some sort. Why not?

LIVNI: There are -- there are different views on this in Israel, and I think that there is now a process of decision-making in the current Israeli government whether to take this or not.

But since I was there during the operation and I know what was done and the -- well, it's the military, and it's not public inquiry, but they checked all the different cases that also Goldstone referred to. And it's important for me to say whether there's going to be or not going to be an inquiry. The morality of the Israeli soldiers, for me, it's not in question.

Since I'm not going to accept all these comparisons between Israeli soldiers and terror, I think that this is part of the answer that Israel needs to give publicly.

LIVNI: But as I said before, there is now the internal discussion on this, in Israel, and the only question for me is whether this kind of an inquiry can give the support and can defend Israeli soldiers when they leave the state of Israel and visiting other places.

AMANPOUR: Well, I was going to ask you -- let -- let -- let me ask you, because there was an arrest warrant potentially out for yourself. Israeli leaders, even Defense Minister Barak have been likened to war criminals. There's a controversy going on in Turkey right now. Are you worried that, if you leave Israel and come to London or other such places in Europe, that you could be arrested?

LIVNI: Well, yes, this -- it's not -- it's not my worry on a personal basis. In a way, I would like this to have, in a way, maybe even a test -- a test case, because I'm willing to speak up and to -- to speak about the military operation in Gaza Strip to explain that Israel left Gaza Strip, we dismantled all the settlements, we took our forces out, Israel was targeted, we showed restraint, and at the end of the day, we needed to act against terror, and are willing to say so, including any court in London or elsewhere. But...


AMANPOUR: So you're saying you're willing to be arrested as a test case?

LIVNI: For me, this is not a question. I mean, yes, the answer is yes. I am -- I know that the decisions that we made were crucial to give an answer to Israeli civilians that couldn't live in the south part of Israel and later or even also in different parts of Israel. It was part of my responsibility, and this was the right answer. And I'm willing to spend for (ph) these reasons and to explain this to -- to the world and to any court.

But part of our responsibility is also to give -- or to defend the Israeli soldiers and officials that worked according to our decisions in the government. And if an inquiry helps them, this is fine, so I can support an inquiry, as long as this helps them.

It's not about me.


It's about the Israeli soldiers, because I want them to leave Israel and to feel free to visit different parts of the world according, you know, to -- like any -- like any other citizen of the free world and any other soldier...


LIVNI: ... and fight for the values of the free world in different parts of the world.

AMANPOUR: On that note, Tzipi Livni, head of the Kadima Party in Israel, thank you so much for joining us.

LIVNI: Thank you. Thank you.

Today on EA (18 January 2010)

Iran: There's a lot going on in and about Iran today - the trials are continuing; the Regime's propaganda machine trundles on too! All the news, including links to our own stories and other news media, can be found on our live weblog.

In the light of the Ashura demonstrators' trial starting this morning, and as they are charged with "Mohareb" (offending God and the prophet), Edward Yeranian assesses how this may hurt the regime.

We’ve got the video of the CNN interview in which Tehran University academic Seyed Mohammad Marandi lays out, in the guise of reporting and analysis, the strategy. (Apologies to those of you in the US whom CNN have blocked from seeing the video; the alternative, as laid out by our readers, is to download the video from CNN’s Amanpour website and play it back using QuickTime.)

Afghanistan: We have an evaluation from Juan Cole on this morning's Taliban bomb attack in Kabul, which reportedly killed five and injured eight people. A video of the Esanech (Press TV) report on the attack can be viewed here.

Haiti: EA's Josh Shahyrar has been producing an almost constant humanitarian liveblog since the Haiti earthquake disaster last Tuesday - read his latest posts (17-18 January) here.

Israel: EA's Ali Yenidunya reports on the "strategic" relationship between Israel and Turkey, following Sunday's 3.5 hour meeting in Ankara between Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. An Israeli official said the meeting was conducted "in a very friendly atmosphere".

Palestine: After Israel's Foreign Minister said on Sunday that it would make no further "gestures" towards the Palestinians, Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas has called on Washington to "Draw Red Lines".