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Archive for the 'AP Iran' Category

How to get reelected if you are an Iranian MP

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Since 1980, less than 30 percent of politicians running again in Iranian parliamentary elections retained their seats. Compare that to more than 90 percent of incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.K. House of Commons who were reelected over the same period. How is this possible? How can it be harder to get reelected in an authoritarian state like Iran than in a developed democracy like the United States?

Not all incumbent members of parliament (MPs) in Iran are destined to be voted out. In fact, some MPs have stayed in office since they were elected in the early 1980s. The two factors that explain success are surprisingly similar to those that matter for elections in developed democracies.

The first is money — specifically how much MPs have been able to spend on their districts in the years preceding an election. The second is electoral law — specifically how visible incumbents are to their constituents and how much credit or blame voters can assign them for their performance in office. This is again fairly intuitive: rules that favor local accountability lead to personal connections between voters and politicians, helping these incumbents maintain their seats in parliament or congress.

In any democracy, these findings may not be surprising, but context here is key: The fact that money or electoral rules have anything to do with winning elections in Iran is notable

Iran’s likely next supreme leader is no friend of the West

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

“The position of the supreme leader was once thought to belong to an esteemed cleric known for his theological erudition. However, Khamenei’s lackluster religious credentials have paved the way for an even less impressive figure who has spent his professional life weaving conspiracies in the regime’s darkest corners….

For Khamenei and his praetorian guards, the most important question is not just the survival of the regime but also its revolutionary values. They are determined that Iran will not become another China, which they see as having relinquished its ideological inheritance for the sake of commerce.”

Read more from Ray Takeyh in the WaPo

Demystifying Iran’s parliamentary election process

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Here are the basics of the Iranian parliamentary election process.





Iranian youth get app to dodge morality police

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

An anonymous team of Iranian app developers have come up with a solution to help young fashion conscious Iranians avoid the country’s notorious morality police known in Persian as “Ershad” or guidance.

The Majils Monitor

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

The first effort to monitor the performance of Iran’s parliament, often referred to as “Majlis”. It is currently the only tool of its kind available to Iranians, bringing the global trend of parliament monitoring to Iran.

“Based in Canada, We are a team of researchers who have taken on the task of monitoring from outside the country. While there are big benefits to monitoring from inside, such initiatives run very high risks in Iran.”

Here is a very useful tool for understanding Iran’s legislative branch

Influx of morality police to patrol the streets of Tehran

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Police in Tehran are deploying 7,000 undercover morality agents tasked with a fresh crackdown on women defying strict rules on the wearing of the hijab, among other offences deemed un-Islamic.

Every spring, as the temperature rises and with it the desire of people to go out, the authorities in Iran tighten their grip on social norms, increasing the number of the so-called morality police deployed in public places.

They target anything from loose-fitting headscarves, tight overcoats, shortened trousers for women and glamorous hairstyles to necklaces for men. Walking dogs has also been added to the long list of activities that upset the authorities.

It is not clear if the announcement is a response to the recent launch of the Android smartphone app Gershad, which enables users in Iran to circumvent the morality police vans based on information about their locations collected by other users.

Election, Monitored The tragic farce of voting in Iran

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Laura Secor is an independent journalist who has spent nearly a decade researching and writing about Iran. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, New Republic, and other publications. She studied philosophy at Brown University, and has been a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library; a staff editor of the New York Times op-ed page; a reporter for the Boston Globe; acting executive editor of the American Prospect; and a senior editor and writer for Lingua Franca.

Secor is currently a Ferris Professor of Journalism in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton.

This contribution, Election, Monitored The tragic farce of voting in Iran, to the New Yorker offers sharp insights into Iranian politics and political culture; it also demonstrates courageous journalism. Here are your reading responses.


Iranians Reclaim Public Spaces and Liberties

Friday, November 13th, 2015

“Few would say it out loud, but we had almost become a police state,” Hamid Reza Jalaeipour, a sociologist at Tehran University, said about the years after 2009, when the morality police were a fixture in every main square, hauling those deemed to be “badly veiled” off in vans. For many, the atmosphere became so suffocating that they started leaving for other countries.

Mr. Jalaeipour said small changes began after Mr. Rouhani unseated Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2013, promising a nuclear agreement and an expansion of personal freedoms, but have increased noticeably of late. “Especially after the elections and now the nuclear deal,” he said, “the self-confidence of ordinary people is increasing and that can be seen everywhere.”

“Death to America,” Explained (by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei)

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

In an explanation unlikely to assuage the concerns of many Americans, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei clarified the meaning of the popular slogan “death to America” on Tuesday. “The aim of the slogan means death to U.S. policies and arrogance,” the supreme leader told a group of students of the phrase, widely chanted at rallies and at mosques after Friday prayers.

Some Iranian moderates have argued in the past that the slogan, which dates back to the revolution of 1979, is no longer useful, and most official documents translate the phrase, mar bar Amrika, as the somewhat more polite “down with America.”


Iran’s ‘Generation Normal’

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Iranian youth — curious, wired and desperate for normality — are forcing change that horrifies their rulers.
“…the new generation of Iranians, the real Islamic Republic that is far less Islamic than its rulers want and ambitious in a different way — not through making mischief or muscle flexing, but through higher education, ideas and its people’s hunger to be citizens of the world. Curious, wired, and desperate for normality, Iran’s youth — under-40s make up 60 per cent of the 80 million-strong population — have been taking the country in a direction that horrifies its rulers. The pace of change among them has been so fast and dramatic, particularly over the past decade, that Iran’s sociologists say they are still trying to understand them and Islamic leaders regularly blame the west for corrupting them. In a recent statement, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader and highest authority, hinted at his frustration. “They [the youth] are intellectually exposed to dangerous threats — the ways of corrupting them are many, there are communications media that can?.?.?.?spread a wrong thought or comment. Today the country is not involved in the military war but it is involved in political, economic and security wars — and, above all, the cultural wars.”

Iran’s ‘Generation Normal’ – FT