Monday, 7 January 2013

Iran Live Coverage: Threatening the Reformists

0650 GMT: Smog Watch. Amid the surge in air pollution in and near Tehran, a Ministry of Health official said that smog had killed at least 4460 people from March 2011 to March 2012.

Some Tehranis say the current episode is the worst they can recall. A student said, "My head hurts, and I'm constantly dead tired. I try not to go out, but I can smell the pollution in my room as I am trying to study."

An artist is blunt: "It feels as if even God has turned against us....[This] shows we have lost all power to control our lives.”"

Officials on State TV denied that the smog is connected to Iran's increased reliance on cheaper, locally-refined petrol, although Ali Mohammad Sha’eri, the deputy director of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization, said that only 20% of the emergency fuel was up to modern standards: “Hopefully in three months that level will be 50%."

Government measures in Tehran, Isfahan, and other cities include an odd-even traffic-control plan, based on the last digit of vehicle license plates, to halve the number of cars on the road.

0620 GMT: Iran's reformists will not win the June Presidential election. Even if most of them choose to participate, their choice of candidate --- with leading possibilities in detention or house arrests, others harassed into near-silence, and the Guardian Council ready to veto anyone who might persist in an inconvenient application to stand --- will be no more than a token figure of the supposed legitimacy of the electoral process.

For some within the regime, the priority --- given that the reformists are marginal to the outcome --- is to ensure that they take part. That is why State media are playing up less-significant figures as possible candidates, and why some politicians are proposing that the house arrests of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi be eased.

This does not mean, however, that the reformists should be allowed to proceed without restrictions. The opposition site Green Voice of Freedom offers an example:

An Iranian deputy intelligence minister has threatened the country’s reformists with mass arrest, just days before a scheduled two-day reformist convention....

According to GVF sources, an intelligence ministry deputy, who used the alias “Majidi,” recently summoned Najafgholi Habibi, the chairman of Coordinating Council of the Reformist Front, and threatened to arrest participants in the upcoming reformist congress if organisers refuse to comply with the conditions set forth by the ministry.

The convention is scheduled to be held on the 16th and 17th of January. Its prime focus will be the reformist strategy vis-à-vis the June 2013 presidential election.

The security official reportedly told Habibi that the reformist factions must “draw a line” between themselves and the “seditionists,” and reject any association with the leaders of the opposition Green Movement. “You mustn’t make any mention of Mousavi, [former President Mohammad] Khatami and Karroubi.”...

Habibi was also warned about the appearance of representatives from the Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organisation and Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), the country’s largest reformist parties, at the congress. Habibi himself is a member of IIPF. The two groups were outlawed in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential race.

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

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