Iran election campaign ends in acrimony; Iran presidency explained; Guantanamo detainees solution runs into One China policy; Fresh fighting in Pakistan, and more
Top of the Agenda: Iran Elections
Iranians go to the polls tomorrow to vote for a new president. With a reformist candidate, former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, gaining more support ahead of the polls than many analysts had initially expected, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard warned that any attempt at a revolution would be "nipped in the bud" (al-Jazeera). The BBC says campaigning in the election ended on an acrimonious note after three weeks of heated debate in which several news sources have seen Mousavi and another reformist candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, making gains after criticizing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his management of the economy, among other issues.
The Associated Press reports U.S. officials will be cautiously watching the poll. The article says Washington is hoping the poll results will indicate the extent to which Tehran is willing to engage with the United States politically, but also reports that even a Mousavi victory would likely result in only incremental shifts. Washington declined to speculate officially (AFP) on the results.
The New York Times reports Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a two-term former president and one of Iran's richest men, has worked behind the scenes to bolster the political fortunes of Ahmadinejad's rivals.
A new Backgrounder explains the role of the Iranian presidency, which remains subservient to the country's Supreme Leader.
The BBC has a page devoted to coverage of the elections.
PACIFIC RIM: China on Gitmo Release
China objected (BBC) to U.S. plans to send seventeen Chinese Uighur inmates from the Guantanamo Bay detention center to Palau, a country that recognizes Taiwan's sovereignty. Beijing demanded the inmates be returned to China.
N.KOREA-S.KOREA: North Korea demanded steep wage and rent hikes (Yonhap) in exchange for its willingness to restart operations at the Kaesong industrial park it runs jointly with South Korea. Last month, North Korea threatened to scrap all contracts on running the complex and said it would write new rules of operation.
Fresh fighting in parts of Pakistan as military intensifies campaign.