Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


« The Hitchhiker's Guide to Britain's Elections | Main | Mahmoud's Iran Wonderland: Ahmadinejad "I'm in Favour of Protestors" »

The Latest from Iran (6 May): Rattling the Cage

1500 GMT: Posturing. Michael Theodoulou of The National posts a concise article summarising the possible Brazilian mediation effort on Iran's nuclear programme and Tehran's naval exercises in the Persian Gulf.

1400 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Another statement from Hashemi Rafsanjani to decode. Meeting with a group of journalists and young political activists, he said:
Promoting awareness in people is the main and fundamental element of any progressive movement....Today all the people in any corner of the country have become more aware, cautious and knowledgable. Don’t doubt it, the growth of awareness among the different classes of the people will reform the society....

Wrong management of the resources and wealth of the country will cause under-development for future generations....Giving space for criticism and review at all levels should not be abandoned in the country....Be sure that honest efforts for the high principles of the revolution won’t be in vain and will have effective outcomes.

NEW Mahmoud’s Iran Wonderland: Ahmadinejad Says “I’m in Favour of Protestors”
NEW Iran Snap Analysis: Ahmadinejad’s Nuclear Roadtrip
Iran Follow-Up: Ahmadinejad “Bin Laden Lives in Washington DC!”
A Female Detainee in Iran: “Stripped by the Basiji”
The Latest from Iran (5 May): “Protest is Not Provocation”

0915 GMT: The Reformist Front. Speaking with the family of student activist Milan Asadi, detained since 1 December, Mehdi Karroubi claimed that the pressure on Iranian people had arisen because of the lack of independence of Iran's judiciary.

Former President Mohammad Khatami has written an open letter to Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, the "hard-line" leader of Tehran Friday Prayers, suggesting that he should not sacrifice his salvation for the well-being of others.

Reformist member of Parliament Mohammad Reza Tabesh has complained to Speaker of Parlaiment Ali Larijani over attacks on reformists' offices in several cities, alleging that Iranian authorities have not guaranteed security.

0910 GMT: Watch Your Back, Mahmoud. While President Ahmadinejad has been away, conservative member of Parliament Ali Motahari has been making big noises about the need for major reforms in the Iranian system (see yesterday's updates).

Motahari has now restated his case in Khabar Online, calling on First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi --- who, far from coincidentally, has been pressed by MPs over corruption allegations --- to answer the claims of Government mismanagement of the post-election crisis.

0855 GMT: Brazil Denies Role in Uranium Talks. It may be just for public show --- a mediator doesn't necessarily want to be known as a mediator --- but Brazilian officials have popped Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declaration that Brasilia is acting as a broker for a possible deal on Iran's uranium enrichment:
A Brazilian foreign ministry spokesman told AFP [Agence France Presse] that no such plan had been proposed during a visit to Tehran last month by Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.

"We were informed that an official Iranian government website mentioned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad supported a Brazilian 'program'. But there was no presentation of a formal program during the foreign minister's visit," the spokesman said.

Even more interesting, however, is the confusion demonstrated by the denial from Ahmadinejad's Chief of Staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai that Brazil was acting as a go-between. Since the original report of Brazil's involvement came from the President's office, one has the sense that Ahmadinejad's advisors aren't quite sure what they are supposed to be saying.

0840 GMT: Fantastic Interviews. Proof that, if you put the President and his advisors under pressure, you get answers that verge on fantasy.

In a separate entry, we've posted Ahmadinejad's declaration to The Boston Globe, "I'm in Favour of Protestors". Then there is the commentfrom Ahmadinejad's Chief of Staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, in conversation with Laura Secor of The New Yorker that "there are actually not too many people in the prisons" before he proceeds to tie himself up in illogical knots.

0630 GMT: We've started the morning by dealing in a separate feature with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's US Nuclear Roadshow: "Will it get him enough political space to bolster Iran’s position abroad and his authority at home?"

Now to the important matters:

Head of Judiciary is Not Happy

If the regime is feeling secure about its suppression of post-election opposition, Sadegh Larijani, the head of Iran's judiciary, sure isn't showing it.

Speaking to clergy in Hamadan, Larijani declared that some of the confidants of Ayatollah Khomeini have acted even worse than the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, the political wing of the "terrorist" Mojahedin-e-Khalq.

Larijani added that the “seditious movement” has not ended, and it has caused confusion amongst the “pious”.

The Resurgence of the Labour Movement

Iran Labor Report has a powerful analysis/polemic of the state of the labour movement --- past, present, and future. The article concludes:
Fortunately, some in the labor movement have belatedly come to change their anti-Green approach somewhat, and this is welcome. Clearly, only with Green-labor unity can we stand up to the tyranny of the regime and free the country of its despotic rule. The popular struggle in Iran isn’t going away. The street demonstrations may have dwindled – for now – but a luta continua. Which side are you on?

Shutting Away Ayatollah Beheshti

Rah-e-Sabz claims that the organisers of the Tehran Book Fair removed the booth devoted to the works of the late Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti.

Beheshti is one of the heroes of the Islamic Revolution. leading the new Iranian judicial system until he was killed in the mass 7 Tir assassination by the Mojahedin-e-Khalq in June 1981. However, his son, Alireza Beheshti, was Mir Hossein Mousavi's chief advisor during and after the Presidential election, possibly putting the Beheshti name beyond the acceptable for the regime.

Another UK Deportation Case

The deportation of Bita Ghaedi from Britain was postponed by British and European courts on Tuesday, but another case reaches a critical point today.

Nadia Arzane and Bashir Foris, a married couple in their early 20s, are scheduled for forced removal on a Thursday afternoon flight from London Gatwick. Arzane is a Christian human rights activist who participated in protests in Iran in July; her father was allegedly detained and tortured for two months by Iranian authorities.

Reader Comments (25)

@ The Resurgence of the Labour Movement

Facebook has a short clip of the May Day rally in Shiraz, posters read "Worker, congratulation for being jobless / We will not step back before we do not achieve our rights"" rel="nofollow">

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Excellent Iran Labor Report article. See also the last 3 paragraphs before the conclusion, where the reasons why working-class opponents to the government and the Green Movement need to collaborate are clearly laid out.

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

RE 0910 GMT: Watch Your Back, Mahmoud
And watch your SEAT Ali Larijani ........ or you might fall off!

Is It Time to Remove Larijani?
Administration Supporters Strive to Take Leadership of Majlis
While less than 20 days are left for the eight Majlis leadership elections, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s allies in the legislature are continuing their efforts to prevent current Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani from retaining his legislative leadership seat. Some Majlis deputies have put forth certain conditions for Majlis leadership as a way to prevent Larijani from becoming the candidate for the assembly’s highest position while at the same time presenting their own candidates. So far two names have been suggested: former Majlis speaker Gholam-ali Haddad Adel (who is currently the head of the cultural committee) and Morteza Agha-Tehrani.
More:" rel="nofollow">

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine


Haddad-Adel said he would not stand, so Larijani now stands unopposed for the Speaker's post.


May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScottLucas11

And what about Morteza Agha-Tehrani?

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Iran 'Twitter Revolution' comes to Paris
Iran's so-called "Twitter Revolution" came to a Paris shopping street Wednesday in an exhibition that takes some of the thousands of mobile phone videos shot by anti-government protestors and turns them into art. ... The organisers of the Paris exhibition -- titled "Action 1" -- viewed thousands of internet videos from Iran before making a selection to present at a gallery on one of Paris's busiest shopping streets, the rue de Rivoli.

More:" rel="nofollow">

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine


I think it was Khabar Online that confirmed yesterday that no one was going to come forward to challenge. I don't have any info (which doesn't that it is not out there) that Agha-Tehrani will make a substantial effort.


May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScottLucas11

0915 GMT: The Reformist Front

Addendum to Tabesh's complaint: Parleman News has published his letter to Larijani, speaking of attacks by small groups [of thugs] to reformist's bureaus in Babol, Kerman, Jiroft, Marand and some other provincial cities. Tabesh calls them an insult to Majlis and demands Larijani to guarantee the security of elected representatives." rel="nofollow">

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Teachers Watch

Thousands marched to the funeral of famous nomad's teacher Mohammad Bahmanbeigi in Shiraz, although local newspapers were ordered by authorities not to publish his obituary." rel="nofollow">
The nomadic mourners chanted "valiant tribes, sympathy, sympathy", "devoted teacher, rest in peace" etc. Nice pictures of the crowd.

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

RE Arshama's post about famous nomad's teacher Mohammad Bahmanbeigi, Pedestrian wrote a blog entry all about him on Monday:" rel="nofollow">

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine


But I thought the Bahais did it--oh no it was the Zionists in cohoots with the CIA? This regime is just one uneding comedy stream in blaming everyone else but themseleves.


May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwdavit


Excellent article from Michael Theodoulou, however I have a sinking suspicion you linked it because he well, er, um mentioned you!!! :) HA HA

The best statement I saw was:

“It’s organised chaos, a smokescreen to keep the Americans guessing what Iran’s going to do.By involving the Brazilians, they’re trying to push away the prospect of sanctions.”

I also believe Iran clearly displayed its paranoia by committing Brazil before they had categorically had done it themselves. I would have to assume Brazilian officials are now starting to suspect Iran was only trying to use them in light of the fact they jumped the gun. It clearly points the weakness of the regime positions considering they are brazen enough to preannounce agreements that have not even been reached. Hopefully the Brazilians will pay close attention to this and realize they are and always will just be a pawn the regime will try to use.
For Iran it all about delay, confuse, promise talks, and hopefully more delay while they continue on doing whatever they want.


May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwdavit

RE: Article by Michael Theodoulou:

Excellent article. However, It would be helpful if he could check a map before calling Persian Gulf the "Arabian Gulf". It has been called the Persian Gulf forever and I have no idea how your friend just came up with Arabian Gulf. As an Iranian, it is extremely frustrating for me to see the name "Arabian Gulf". Would it be ok if we start calling the Gulf of Mexico the Gulf of Texas from tomorrow?

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMils


Although I can't confirm in this case, sometimes the choice of name is not in the hands of the author but in those of the editors.


May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas


You forgot the monarchists and the MEK -- plenty of possible culprits ;-)
As Mohsen Sazegara always says, it is the usual game of "ki boud, ki boud, man naboudam" -- Who was it? Not me!


May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

As Shakespeare said : "What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Places in the world are known by different names to different peoples. An example is the City of Mumbai.

"The name Mumbai is an eponym, etymologically derived from Mumba or Maha-Amba—the name of the Koli goddess Mumbadevi—and Aai, "mother" in Marathi.[10] The former name Bombay had its origins in the 16th century when the Portuguese arrived in the area and called it by various names, which finally took the written form Bombaim, still common in current Portuguese use.[11] After the British gained possession of the city in the 17th century, it was believed to be anglicised to Bombay from the Portuguese Bombaim.[12] The city was known as Mumbai or Mambai to Marathi speakers and as Bambai in Hindi, Persian and Urdu. It is sometimes still referred to by its older names, such as Kakamuchee and Galajunkja.[13][14] The English name was officially changed to its Marathi pronunciation of Mumbai in November 1995.[15] This came at the insistence of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party, that had just won the Maharashtra state elections and mirrored similar name changes across the country. However, the city is still commonly referred to as Bombay by many of its residents and Indians from other regions as well.[16]"

The above is copied from Wikipedia.

Although some peoples call a certain body of water the "Persian Gulf" , others call it something else. Personally I like the name "Arabian Gulf". I think I will call it that from now on.


May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

And how did the day (May 6th) end? With a dinner..." rel="nofollow">
They all came. But as the reporter of Turtle Bay wrote in his tweets: "Stood outside the Iranian residence all night till end of SC dinner; only the Japanese spoke to us, in Japanese. What a waste of a night." And this one too: "Iran had its first setback, or success, in nuke conference: they failed to block working group aimed at strengthening inspections, but they expunged any reference to treaty withdrawal in the working group's title, a move aimed at easing costs of leaving the treaty."

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWitteKr


VOA reported that Brazil government has denied any such agreement.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

RE 0915 GMT: The Reformist Front. Speaking with the family of student activist Milan Asadi, detained since 1 December, Mehdi Karroubi claimed that the pressure on Iranian people had arisen because of the lack of independence of Iran’s judiciary.

And now in English: Karroubi: Judiciary lacks independence" rel="nofollow">

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine


You may choose to call it what you like, but that does not change the fact that "Arabian Gulf" is not legally/officially recognized.

You chose a great example, except that it does not apply in this case. Bombay, as your example says, is the English version of Bombaim, which was the original Portuguese word and Mumbai is the Marathi pronounciation of Bombay. However, Arabian is not the different pronounciation of Persian nor is it the equal word for "Persian" in English or Portuguese or any other language for that matter. So your example does not exactly explain the situation here." rel="nofollow">

This might give you a little hisotrical background.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMils


It is certainly true that the Gulf has been called the "Persian" Gulf for a long time - but that name was conferred upon it by the ancient Greeks and the Romans in honour of the great Persian Empire. It is now however the 21st century - neither the Greek nor Roman nor Persian Empires exist anymore. The name is now an anachronism.

As you said, the name Bombay really came about from the power and presence of the European (Empires) in India and the name Bombay/Bombaim has now been changed to reflect modern day realities. This is what is slowly happening to the name of the Gulf.

So - what should it now be called to reflect reality today - the Arabian Gulf or the Iranian Gulf??



May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry


I see your point. If you ask me, I would continue to call it the Persian Gulf (just as you said you would like to call it the Arabian Gulf). In Farsi, Persian Gulf translates to Khalij (gulf)-e-Fars (Persian) and it doesn't refer to the Persian Empire. I am just not able to follow your reasoning and why you think the modern day realities would lead to changing the name Persian Gulf to Arabian Gulf.

[Disclaimer: I hate the current government of Iran so by no means am I supporting them or the Islamic Revolution or anything that has to do with that government]

If you are trying to convey to me that the name has to change to Arabian Gulf because Iran is losing the influence that it once had in the region and because it is no longer a major player in that region, then we can use the same logic to change Gulf of Mexico to Gulf of Texas or Louisiana since America is a much larger democracy and economy than Mexico is and is far superior in Military capabilities. It is true that the Islamic Republic (I am not going to use the term Iran after Islamic Republic mainly cuz I don't recognize the term Islamic Republic) is losing legitimacy (which it never had to begin with) and is becoming more and more isolated on daily basis. However, in my humble opinion, that is not reason enough to change the name of a body of water that forever has been called the Persian gulf to Arabian or Iranian Gulf.

If you are trying to change the name to Arabian Gulf because except for part of the Iraqi population the rest of the middle eastern countries are Sunni and Iran is the only Shi'a population (again, I am an atheist so I couldn't care less about religion), then I have to tell you that the body of water was not named based on religion.

And if you are calling it Arabian Gulf because of the history of the countries to the south of the Gulf (or to the North of it for that matter), well, to the best of my knowledge, most of these countries are the creations of the modern day politics (Iraq became an independent country in 1920, UAE in 1971, Jordan in 1925, etc.) and Iran, as a country (and not the Persian Empire) has a significantly longer history than any of those countries.

The whole "Arabian" Gulf term came about in 1960s and is as much a work of British foreign policy as it is of pan-Arabism/Arab Nationalism.

All that said,you may call it what you wish. The term Arabian gulf, however, is not a legally recognized term and in the United Nation they still refer to that body of water as the Persian Gulf. So the reason that I posted my initial post was that in a formal newspaper article (in this case blog), an unofficial term should not be used.

I truly enjoyed the conversation!



May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMils

Catherine and Mils

I am not sure that we can say that the Gulf has ALWAYS been called the Persian Gulf - certainly it has been called that for the past 2000 years . But it was named that by the Greeks and the Romans. Was it called anything before that time?

I do not mean this to be a really serious discussion - it hardly matters what you and I think in these kind of things. However we can still discuss .

But there is some relevancy - there were people called Persians. Some time ago, not so long ago, those people decided to call themselves Iranians. One could say - yes , it was the naughty Shah that did that. But then and today there is nobody in Iran who is categorically stating that they should revert to the pre-Shah name of Persia. There are obviously those who reminisce about their Persian heritage - but none now claim the name.

The Gulf still exists -surrounding Arab people and Iranian people still exist. So what should the name be - Arabian Gulf or Iranian Gulf??


May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

I am not sure why the Gulf of Mexico has that name - probably because Mexico existed before the United States of America did ( certainly at least in that area)

So why today does not the USA try to call it the Gulf of USA?? Probably because they couldn't care less what it is called!!! They do not exhibit the paranoia that Iranians ( pro or anti regime) exhibit in such a thing.

Who cares what it is called? - but the more that IRANIANS claim it for their own , as if they have some unique possession of it, the more that others will oppose such possession. :)

You see - it is not only Ahmadinejad that can be obstructionist :)


May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

And Mils, I truly enjoyed your explanation - which also serves as an excellent refutation of pan-Arabist claims and other motives behind those who want to call the Persian Gulf a name it's never had.

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>