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The Latest from Iran (29 March): Questionable Authority

1755 GMT: "Expert" Speculation of the Day. Meir Javedanfar gets himself into The Huffington Post with this assertion:
Until recently, both Tehran and Jerusalem saw the health care debate as an item that could significantly weaken Obama's standing at home, which in turn would reduce his leverage abroad. They were hoping that a defeat would force Obama to focus on his troubles at home.

I'll check with Ali Yenidunya on the Israeli angle, but I have seen nothing to indicate that the Iranian Government was counting on the health care issue to limit and even damage the US President.

1525 GMT: Jailing Persian Cats. On the same day that we noted the drama-posing-as-documentary No Time for Persian Cats, its storyline of Iranians trying to evade the authorities to play music comes true: underground rap artist Sasi Mankan has been arrested.

Just trying to learn more about Mankan, but here's a sample of his music:


NEW Iran: A View from the Labour Front (Rahnema)
NEW Iran’s Nukes: False Alarm Journalism (Sick)
Iran’s Nukes: The Dangerous News of The New York Times
The Latest from Iran (28 March): Dealing with Exaggerations

1300 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. RAHANA claims that children's rights activist Maryam Zia Movahed, detained since 31 December, has been moved to a clinic in Evin Prison after starting a hunger strike on 17 March.

Peyke Iran writes that Azeri journalist and human rights activist Shahnaz Gholami has been given a prison sentence of eight years in absentia by a Tabriz court. Gholami is currently in Turkey and seeking asylum. The site also claims that Abdolreza Qanbari, a teacher from Pakdasht, has been sentenced to death for "mohareb" (war against God).

Rah-e-Sabz has published the names of 41 detained human rights activists.

1230 GMT: Parliament v. President. There's a sharp analysis by Hamid Takapu in Rah-e-Sabz of the debate over subsidy cuts since 2008. Takapu argues that the sword of a referendum, demanded by the President on his current proposals, could cut two ways: a successful challenge could reduce Parliament to a symbolic body (Takapu uses the analogy of the Russian Duma) but it could also strike Ahmadinejad if people ask for referendums on bigger issues.

0950 GMT: Labour Watch. We've posted a lengthy extract from an interview with Saeed Rahnema, a labour activist in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, analysing the state of the labour movement and, more broadly, of activism in the post-election conflict.

0655 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Professor Seyed Ahmad Miri of the Islamic Iran Participation Front has been arrested in Babol, while journalist Sasan Aghaei and women's rights activist Somaiyeh Farid have been released on bail.

0615 GMT: We begin this morning with a series of dubious attempts to claim authority in and about Iran. The New York Times' claimed reporting on the Iranian nuclear programme, which we criticised yesterday, is taken apart further by Gary Sick.

Inside Iran, President Ahmadinejad continued his campaign to overturn the Parliament's decision on his subsidy reforms and spending plan, using a marker and whiteboard to provide the truth to journalists. He thus proved beyond doubt that this will be another year of prosperity and "huge victories" for Iran.

The problem for the President is that not everyone believes him. While his supporter Mohammad Karim Shahrzad has challenged one of Ahmadinejad's leading Parliamentary critics, Ahmad Tavakoli, to a televised debate, legislator Seyed Reza Akrami says the President has taken an oath to implement the law and thus the decision of the Parliament.

Reader Comments (19)

Here are the videos of Norooz Parade in New York City today, March 28, 2010. I understand the parade route was Madison Avenue.

Kudos to the organizers. It is no small task to organize and get a permit for a parade down Madison Avenue in New York City. I hear lots of people attended the parade despite a chilly day in the city today.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I wish the action of some people were correspondent to their speech.
Shame on hypocrisy!

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkiterunner

More on subsidy fight in this article on Zamaneh, 'Iran's conservative lawmakers stand by parliament's decision''.

"Conservative faction of Iran’s parliament, which constitutes the largest group in the parliament, issued a statement today (28 March) that the government subsidies bill should not be turned into “a political struggle on the sidelines.”

They maintain that the parliament believes that government subsidies should be eliminated in the course of a five-year period in order to buffer the unpredictable effects if it."
Read more:

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Economy Watch: Experts: Iran's Foreign Policy Undermines Economy

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Takapu is wrong; AN will have his referendum but people won't be allowed to ask for an other one on bigger issue !! it's already predictible ; what has worried me is that, in a country without law, how could everyone vote after what has happened ; it will also be a rigged referendum.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterange paris

Media Watch: the MediaGuardian Innovation Award 2009 has been awarded to...
Haystacks' Austin Heap!

But as Heap said earlier: "As much as we've tried to innovate with technology, I think the real innovators of the year are the people with their phones, the people on the streets, the people in Iran and the other people around the world who are standing up for the human rights that they deserve. We can give them the tools, but without the people, the tools are useless."

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWitteKr

The video is very entertaining, though the girl could have been prettier.

1525 GMT...

Do you know what crime they have accused him of committing?

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdanial

I think his crime is to be an artist !

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterange paris


No news yet of the formal charges against Sasi Mankan.


March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

"Here are the videos of Norooz Parade in New York City today, March 28, 2010. I understand the parade route was Madison Avenue."

That is just so wonderful. We need to see all the Greenies living in places like New York, Toronto, London, Berlin, Dublin etc. Come on we all know those are the places where your hearts and minds are. It is an accident of history that you find yourself stuck in the IRI. Leave!!!

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

You are wrong and you know that; everywhere we go, our heart is in Iran, our body is like a walking skeleton; this WE I was in London and I didn't enjoy, my heart was with EA and its readers and their comments, we are waiting for one thing, that the athmospher become more relaxed to be able to go to our country; pray for us . :-(

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterange paris

Cyber Basiji,

As always you got it wrong. The truth? Islamic Republic is catastrophe of history, a sewer that boiled over and made our home, Iran, inhabitable. Indeed so inhabitable that some of IR sewer rats also had to find refuge in other parts of the world. Just take a look at your own mailing address Mister.

Here is the song from all of us to you and all Islamic Republic sewer rats.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Ange Paris,

Our country welcomes you with open arms and it always has. I really, really mean that. Just a couple of things, don't try to overthrow the government and don't help its enemies. If it wasn't for the IRI the country would be a province of Saddam Hussein's empire.
And don't forget which countries helped Saddam try to achieve his dreams.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

Sasy Mankan may have been arrested for the song he put before the election titled "karroubi"

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan

I can't go to a country where people working for HR , all the intellectuals , the journalists , the artists, people like kurds balouchs..... , people who are different, having not the same religion, having a different thinking , people who want to express themeself freely and they can't, all these people are in the jail; for me all these differences are the wealth of a nation; human being is born free and has to die free ; life is not only to go to work, earn money, think how powerful I will be tomorrow .. it's also a mission to do positif things, to be able to look at him or herself into a mirror saying "I am proud for what I have done "; it's the "obligations" of all the leaders of all the countries to bring happiness to their people, because they are the most powerful and have all the means to do it easily but unfortunately it's not very common in our country especially after the elections

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterange paris

I have forgotten to say thank you for your invitation but my answer is negatif :-)

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterange paris


Thank you for this tip! In the second half Sasy Mankan turns on to "Ey Iran", our very nationalistic hymn ;-)
Here is the original (with the wrong flag), but English subtitles for all EA readers:

mehr-e to chon shod pisheam / dour az to nist andisheam
dar rah-e to kay arzeshi darad in jan-e ma / payandeh baad khak-e Iran-e ma

ma bishomarim V V V V V


March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

@ 1300 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch

Good news about children’s rights activist Maryam Zia Movahed!
Peyke Iran reports that she was released from Evin after 13 days of hungerstrike, enfeebled but unbroken:

Bravo to our courageous compatriot, who resisted all pressures! Afarin bar Maryam Khanoome shir-zan. Nowruz-etan mobarak :-)


March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama


Post at 22:10

Thank you for the good news we can use.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

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