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TEHRAN One of this country's most prominent conservative clerics has chided Iranians for an array of modern "vices," including divorce and choosing to marry later, which he said could draw God's wrath on Iran. In his Friday sermon in the capital, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati also singled out Marlboro cigarettes that he said were imported by a Jewish-owned company.

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A cigarette vendor in Tehran — Photo: Kamshots

Jannati, secretary of the Guardian Council, which must approve all legislation and elections, declared in Tehran's weekly congregational prayers, "I am warning you our situation is not good and am concerned God will make us suffer."
Among the vices he enumerated were "usury, bribery, administrative corruption, the prevalence of divorce," Jaam-e Jam, the website of the state broadcaster reported.
The cleric declared that there was a 1979 revolution in Iran because the people "wanted the rule of justice, spirituality and God, and this system needs piety today." Is it right, he asked, for doctors "to ask for a little something under the table," a reference to accusations of bribery in the medical field.
The cleric, a firm ally of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is known for his prolific denunciations of many things inside and outside Iran. On Friday, he asked why Iran was importing Marlboro cigarettes. "A Jewish firm imports Marlboros, and they give people 12 million of these cigarettes," Jannati said. "That is not right."
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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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