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Entries in Mohammad Sadegh Larijani (6)


The Latest from Iran (18 April): Strike A Pose

2030 GMT: A Swap --- But Inside or Outside Iran? Amidst all the posturing at disarmament summits, here's the key Iranian statement on talks:
Iran plans to hold talks with all members of the United Nations Security Council over a nuclear fuel swap deal, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said.

"We plan to hold direct talks on nuclear swap with 14 member states of the UN Security Council and indirect talks with the 15th member [the United States]," Mottaki told reporters in a Sunday press conference in Tehran.

And here's the question which, after weeks, still remains: when Iran refers to a willingness for discussions, does that include consideration of the exchange of uranium stock outside the country?

2025 GMT: Irony Alert (Because Hypocrisy is a Not-Very-Nice Word). Press TV reports with a straight face and no reference to recent pronouncement of Iranian authorities on the fighting of "soft war":
Schools in the US State of Pennsylvania have used lent-out laptop computers with spy cameras and "buggy" software to "monitor' students, reports say.

US investigators are probing spying cases of the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvanian, where school officials have been implicated in receiving unauthorized images of students that borrowed "doctored" laptops from their schools, US media reported on Saturday.

2015 GMT: Picture of Day. It comes from the most recent meeting of women's activists in the Green Movement.

NEW Iran Document: The Supreme Leader on Nuclear Weapons (17 April)
NEW Iran Analysis: And The Nuclear Sideshow Goes On…And On…And On
Iran: Former Tehran Chancellor Maleki on Detention & Green Movement’s “Forgotten Children”
The Latest from Iran (17 April): Remember

2000 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Iranian Students News Agency reports that three prominent reformists --- Mohsen Mirdamadi, head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, former Deputy Minister of Interior Mostafa Tajzadeh, and Davoud Soleimani have been found guilty of harming national security and propaganda against the regime. Each has been sentenced to six years in jail and barred from involvement in politics or journalism for 10 years.

1730 GMT: Iran's Women Are Needed. Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, has declared that Iran's "unfinished democracy project" must be fulfilled through the significant presence of women in political movements.

1725 GMT: Attacking the Clerics. A group of plainclothes men have again attacked the offices of Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib in Shiraz, vandalising the site by spraying paint.

In December, pro-regime crowds laid siege to the offices in a Shiraz mosque, temporarily forcing Dastgheib, a vocal critic of the Government, and his staff to leave.

1700 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Khabar Online repeats the claim, which we heard a few days ago, that Hashemi Rafsanjani has met judiciary head Sadegh Larijani to discuss the criminal case against Rafsanjani's son, Mehdi Hashemi.

1615 GMT: Laying Down the Law. The head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, has issued a wide-ranging statement. Like his brother, he has seized the nuclear line of criticising the US and "West" for lies.

At the same time, Larijani tried to position himself as the guardian of the law, emphasising his will to persecute corruption. And he took time to warn people of wearing inappropriate outfits.

1515 GMT: The Subsidy Battle. Is the economic feud between Parliament and the President over?

Yes. And No.

Rah-e-Sabz repeats the news that Parliament, in a secret meeting, has accepted the Government's demands for extra revenues from subsidy cuts.

Gholam-Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam, the Majlis Economic Committee member who was critical of Ahmadinejad, said laws were not violated in the agreement. However, he continued to blame the President for insulting MPs as "economic nuts", declaring to Ahmadinejad, "I was the teacher of your ministers and advisors."

1220 GMT: More on the Mousavi Statement. Speaking to the student committee of the reformist Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution, Mousavi called on supporters of the Green Movement to find “ways to expand the media and spread information". They should counter the attacks on the freedom of the press by replacing every banned weblog with “tens of weblogs for defending the people’s rights”.

Declaring that the Green Movement is “limitless” and can “open numerous new windows” for every blocked “opening”, Mousavi said that the opposition should “include every one of the 70 million people of the country, even our opponents".

1130 GMT: Mir Hossein Mousavi has issued a new statement reiterating his long-declared theme, "We All Must Be Media". We will be looking for an English translation.

1120 GMT: Parliamentary Sniping. Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moghaddam, who has been a leading actor in the battle with the President over subsidy and spending proposals, has attacked on a new front. He has derided Ahmadinejad's suggestion of paying $1000 to parents for every new child. Mesbahi-Moghaddam said, "[The] president is not the system's strategist. Rather he [is tasked] to implement laws and macroeconomic policies."

1110 GMT: The "Realist" Solution. Kayhan Barzegar of Harvard University captures the spirit of the movement in Washington amongst some Government officials and analysts for a grand settlement with Iran not only on the nuclear programme but on regional issues:
Obama's attempts to convince actors like Russia, China, or Saudi Arabia to impose new sanctions or political pressure are all short-term solutions and will not change Iran's nuclear policy. The United States needs to find a sustainable solution in dealing with Iran, based on a genuine change that can resolve existing strategic issues and in which zero-sum game solutions are finally put to bed.

What is striking is not Barzegar's specific argument but the fact that it has been picked up and featured in Tehran by Iran Review.

1105 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist and filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for "spreading propaganda" and insulting the country's leaders.

Nourizad was arrested in November after writing the Supreme Leader, urging him to apologize to the nation for the post-election suppression of dissent.

(Given my grumpiness about the "Western" media this morning, credit to the Associated Press for picking up and disseminating the news.)

1055 GMT: The Corruption Story. Arshama3's Blog has an invaluable summary, in German, of the dramatic claims in the Iranian press of the "Fatemi Street" insurance fraud, linking the accused to First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.

1045 GMT: Soft Power Corner. Want a useful alternative to all the nuclear news? Try this from Reuters' Golnar Motevalli:
The television in the corner of the port-a-cabin reception room where Ali Tavakoli Khomeini receives guests outside the Afghan city of Herat is tuned to Iran's state 24-hour news channel.

Large maps of Iran and Afghanistan adorn the walls, and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hangs alongside one of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. An Afghan cook arranges a spread of Persian cuisine.

While the United States will soon have 100,000 troops in Afghanistan waging war against the Taliban, Iran is quietly exerting influence on its neighbor in a subtler way: through bricks and mortar, railways and road.

Tavakoli, an Iranian engineer, has built some 400 km (250 miles) of highway and railroad in western Afghanistan over the last six years, paving the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.

His firm is building a dam in rural Herat, and has just finished laying foundations for a railway that could one day link south and east Asia to the Middle East and Europe, reviving some of the most important ancient overland trade routes in the world.

1030 GMT: We're Great, You Suck. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani scales the nuclear high ground (can't let his rival Mr. Ahmadinejad steal all the applause, can he?) with a statement to the Majlis:
The [Washington] conference not only eluded the issue of disarmament but audaciously prescribed the use of atomic weapons. In fact, all the nuclear conference in the US did was weaken the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty]. The use of other weapons of mass destruction was permitted under the pretext of concerns about 'nuclear terrorism'."

1015 GMT: OK, as we need after an extended break to catch up with news inside Iran, let's get the chest-puffing diversions out of the way.

We've got a special analysis on the latest sideshow of Tehran's disarmament conference complemented by US Government spin, put out through The New York Times, on the threat of Iran's nuclear programme. And this morning, the poses just keep a-comin':
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday Iran had the military might to deter attacks, his comments coming as Western pressure mounts on the Islamic state to dispel fears it is developing nuclear arms.

Speaking at a military parade that marked Iran's armed forces' day, Ahmadinejad said the "unrivalled" power of Iranian military secured stability in the Middle East....

"Iran's armed forces are so strong today that the enemies will not even think about violating our territorial integrity," Ahmadinejad said in a low-key speech at the parade.

Low-key in comparison to his Saturday opening salvo at the Tehran disarmament conference, I guess --- let Iran lead the global way for an end to nuclear weapons, chuck the US out of the International Atomic Energy Agency --- but obviously not low-key enough to avoid being splashed as Breaking News by Reuters.

The Latest from Iran (17 April): Remember

1700 GMT: Taking Care of the Students. Iranian human rights activists report that from the beginning of academic year, more than 170 students at Tehran's Amir Kabir University were summoned to the Disciplinary Committee. About 40 face suspension and, so far, five others have been banned.

1645 GMT: In Case You're Wondering. In addition to the rhetoric at the opening of the Tehran conference on disarmament (see 1115 GMT) about US as "atomic criminal" who should be tossed out of the International Atomic Energy Agency, President Ahmadinejad has proposed that the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) should play a leading role in global nuclear disarmament.

1445 GMT: Labour Watch. In the run-up to May Day, Rah-e-Sabz reports on the dismissals of workers in Arak and the strike of Keshavarzi Bank employees in Tehran

1400 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist Mojtaba Lotfi, a head of the information unit for the office of the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, has been arrested and imprisoned again.

NEW Iran: Former Tehran Chancellor Maleki on Detention & Green Movement’s “Forgotten Children”
The Latest from Iran (16 April): Grounding the Opposition

1235 GMT: Tehran Friday Prayer in 3 Words. Apologies that, lost in the southeast US, I was unable to give you an immediate summary of Hojatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi's Friday Prayer. Here it is....

Adultery Causes Earthquakes

Or, to be precise, Seddiqi said that reducing sins were necessary for preventing the occurrence of natural disasters. And it seems that many Iranian women who do not abide by the Islamic dress code lead youth astray: “They cause the spread of adultery in society which leads to the increase in earthquakes.”

1230 GMT: Students & Soft War. Khabar Online reports on the naming of committee members in a student organisation which will fight the "soft war" of the opposition and Green Movement.

1220 GMT: Tip of the Iceberg. Beyond the Fatemi Street corruption claims, Khabar Online is featuring insider information about "Buddies of the South" (bachehaye jonub), heads and employees of oil fields who allegedly form a lobby in Parliament and Government that is so influential it can change the Minister of Oil.

The website is also pressing claims against conservative MP Habibollah Asgaroladi over alleged purchases of shares in a Chinese bank (Asgaroladi has denied the story).

1200 GMT: Corruption Watch. Follow this carefully: Jahan News has reportedly given details on "The House in Fatemi Street" insurance fraud. The newspaper links the main person charged, Jaber Alef, with First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.

We'll need to check this, as the claim about Jahan's coverage has come to us from Peyke Iran, a strongly anti-regime website. However, it should be noted that Jahan is within the conservative establishment, linked to MP Ali Reza Zakani.

1155 GMT: Regime Failure. Visiting the family of detained student and women's rights activist Bahareh Hedayat, Mehdi Karroubi reiterated that the "project of violence" against people's demands had failed.

1135 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Rah-e-Sabz has a summary of the concerns over the health of political prisoners such as journalists Emaduddin Baghi and Mehdi Mahmoudian, and labour activist Mansur Osanloo.

1130 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Fars News is pushing the claim that Iran's judiciary has issued a warrant for the arrest of Mehdi Hashemi, the son of Hashemi Rafsanjani. The website claims that Mehdi Hashemi, who is currently in London, will be taken into custody as soon as he enters Iran and that, in case he does not return, other “legal methods” of arresting him are also under discussion.

Fars has a follow-up interview today with a member of Parliament's National Security Commission.

1125 GMT: Claim of Day. Give credit to pro-Ahmadinejad member of Parliament Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash for an attempt to link the international with Iran's internal situation.

Bighash tells Khabar Online that the reason for President Obama's recent "insolence" towards Iran is the meetings of reformist MPs with Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, Mohammad Khatami, and Hashemi Rafsanjani.

1120 GMT: Azeris and the Green Movement. Frieda Afary in Tehran Bureau provides a valuable translation of a 21 February declaration by activists in Iranian Azerbaijan, "Our Standards Concerning the Democracy-Seeking Process and the Green Movement", putting forth 10 "principles and issues".

1115 GMT: Diversion Alert (see 1030 GMT). Here we go --- Agence France Presse reports:
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in an opening message to a two-day nuclear disarmament conference hosted by Tehran, said the use of nuclear weapons was "haram", meaning religiously prohibited, and branded Washington as the world's "only atomic criminal."

Hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went a step further and called for Washington's suspension from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) along with all other nations who possess nuclear arms.

"Only the US government has commited an atomic crime," said a message read out from the all-powerful Khamenei, who formulates Tehran's foreign policy, including its nuclear strategy.

"The world's only atomic criminal lies and presents itself as being against nuclear weapons proliferation, while it has not taken any serious measures in this regard," he said.

1100 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. On a day of remembering, some possible good news. An Iranian activists' website is reporting that two charges against journalist Isa Saharkhiz, who has been detained since soon after the June election, have been dropped.

Meanwhile, 160 journalists, bloggers, and activists have addressed the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, in an open letter calling for the immediate release of journalist and human rights activist Kaveh Kermanshahi.

1030 GMT: In a few hours, the "mainstream" view of Iran is likely to be Tehran's conference on nuclear disarmament, with Iranian state media heralding Iran's leadership for peace (and no prospect of a militarised nuclear programme) and their non-Iranian counterparts looking for signs of challenge to the "West".

So be it. We're going a different route, starting this morning with an interesting interview with Dr Mohammad Maleki, the former chancellor of Tehran University who was detained from August to March until his release on bail. After describing the conditions of his imprisonment, Maleki makes a pointed call for the leaders of the Green Movement to "remember" and put forth the cases of young people who have become political prisoners.

Maleki's words are especially pertinent as the opposition continues to reshape itself after 22 Bahman (11 February) and the attempt by the regime to remove it from existence. Iranian journalist Reza Valizadeh, who has fled the country, writes of the "dubious derision of [the Green Movement's] popular slogans", in particular, Mir Hossein Mousavi's framing of the movement within rather than outside the Islamic Republic. It is also worthwhile to read the readers' responses to the piece, such as "[This is] criticizing those who, under the most difficult conditions, are trying their best to make Iran a better nation."

There is also some sniping from reformist MP Mohammad Reza Khabbaz, who is quoted by Khabar Online as saying that Mehdi Karroubi doesn't speak on behalf of his party Etemade Melli, given that it is "out of service".

Despite the tensions and despite the regime pressure that prevented him from going to a disarmament conference in Japan, Mohammad Khatami persisted with the message on Friday. He said the "goodwill call" for ameliorations and reforms remains, i.e., protests will continue, while reiterating his concerns over the treatment of political prisoners (see yesterday's last update for further details).

The Latest from Iran (13 April): Getting Beyond the Sideshow

1830 GMT: Economy Watch. It is reported that, in the "slow death" of domestic production because of Chinese-made goods, more than 75% of Iran's imports are now consumer items.

1815 GMT: Rubbing It In. The President's "establishment" opposition are crowing over his supposed retreat over the subsidy cut and spending proposals: they claim that Ahmadinejad has begged the Parliament to let him have a free hand in implementing the plan.

Iran: Mousavi to Students “Spring is Unstoppable”
The Latest from Iran (12 April): Signals from Mousavi & Rafsanjani?

1800 GMT: The 15 June Dispute. Some Government officials have been saying, rather curiously, that the mass marches of 15 June, three days after the election, had been granted a permit by the authorities.

Morteza Tamaddon, the Governor of Tehran Province, has issued a denial, carried in Khabar Online: there was no permit for the "fitna" (sedition) rally.

1150 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist Emad Bahavar has told his wife that he is still being kept in solitary confinement.

1140 GMT: Labour Watch. More than 50 workers of the Abadan municipality have gone on strike to protest over more than three months of unpaid wages.

1130 GMT: The Latest on Scholarship. Rah-e-Sabz reports that a Government-sponsored conference on "Nuclear Iran" at Elm-o-Sanat University was boycotted. Two university has also expelled two more professors.

1110 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. An Iranian activist is reporting that Abdollah Momeni, a leading member of the student organisation Advar-e Takhim Vahdat, has been summoned to court and rearrested.

Momeni has been out on $800,000 bail. Last week he was a prominent participant in a meeting with Mir Hossein Mousavi.

1040 GMT: Militarising the Judiciary? Rah-e-Sabz is pondering the significance of a General Muhammad Bagher-Zolghadr being nominated as the new cultural, social, and anti-crime deputy of Iran's judiciary.

Last September, Zolghadr outlined the notion of “soft war” in a speech: “In a hard war, the line between you and the enemy is clear, but in a soft war there is nothing so solid. The enemy is everywhere.”

1030 GMT: Handing Out Justice. The head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, has assured a Parliamentary commission that, "if culpable, even my relatives would be persecuted".

I don't think this means that Ali Larijani should watch his back. Instead, Sadegh Larijani is trying to fend off growing pressure for the prosecution of First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi over corruption allegations.

1025 GMT: The Battle Within. While we wait for confirmation of the reports, in Press TV (see 1010 GMT) and Khabar Online, that the President has backed down in the fight over the subsidy plan, more signs that all is not well within the dominant "principlist" faction:
As the members of the Principalist fraction of Iranian Parliament Majlis have expressed different views on the actions taken by the faction’s presidium, Majlis speaker Ali Larijani is to settle their dispute.

....Mohammad Ali Bozorgvari a member of the Principalist fraction of the Parliament delivered a speech last week blasting the members of fraction's presidium and Larijani in particular. He asked them to give clear answers to those criticisms.

Significantly, the report is in the pro-Larijani Khabar Online.

1015 GMT: When Sideshows Get Silly. Here is one reason why we were somewhat dismissive of press coverage of the first day of the Obama nuclear summit (see 0850 GMT), which converged on the line that China was ready to back a US-led sanctions resolution in the UN. For months, Beijing has played the cautious game of appeasing American sentiments by saying, Yes, We'll Talk, while in complementary statements saying, No, We Don't Do Anything Drastic.

So, hours after reporters fed by US officials were declaring Washiington-Beijing unity on the sanctions path, this from the Chinese Foreign Ministry: "We believe that the Security Council's relevant actions should be conducive to easing the situation and conducive to promoting a fitting solution to the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations."

Bless 'em, Reuters are still trying to wedge that tactically convoluted statement into their Monday story-line that All is Going Well: "[The] comments appeared to leave scant doubt that Beijing accepts that fresh Security Council action over Iran is coming, even if China wants room to negotiate over the sanctions proposed by Western powers."

1010 GMT: A Presidential Subsidy Climbdown? Rooz Online offers a lengthy analysis, "Continuation of Conflict Dangerous", but Press TV may have put up the signal that the battle is ending with a Parliamentary victory.

The website reports that, at the start of the Majlis session today, Deputy Speaker Mohammad Hossein Abu Torabi announced, "In a meeting with a group of Iranian MPs, the President has agreed to facilitate the implementation of the subsidy bill without introducing a complementary bill."

That would seem to indicate that Ahmadinejad has given up his attempt to get $40 billion in extra spending from subsidy cuts, rather than the $20 billion authorised by Parliament.

1000 GMT: Now to Important Matters --- Karroubi. The latest statement of Mehdi Karroubi has slipped under the radar, with his meeting last Thursday with the reformist Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution party only emerging on his website yesterday.

Karroubi criticised the recent speech of Ahmadinejad in Azerbaijan: “The language used is by no means appropriate for a president....[It is] an insult to thousands of years of Iranian civilisation.” He dismissed the President's attempt to focus attention on the US v. Iran. American threats against the country “were not something new” and, in the event of any attack, “we will all defend the country”:
Creating enemies is not a big deal. A big deal would be to respond to threats with reason and logic so that the public opinion of nations and [the opinion] of governments are drawn towards the truth such that threats are eliminated and turned into opportunities.

Bringing attention back to the domestic front, Karroubi warned of the consequences if Ahmadinejad continued putting down the Parliament and its importance: “If he degrades the Majlis today, tomorrow, the Parliament will lose all respect,” Denouncing the treatment of political prisoners and arguing for the respect of women's rights, he asserted, “We demand the implementation of the Constitution and stand even more firm than ever before.”

0900 GMT: Economy Watch. On another public-relations, Press TV tries to whip up some hope over Iran's international economic position:
Brazil has opened its doors to Iranian businessmen and welcomes any project, which will help the economy and encourage trade between the two countries.

"Iran is a big country in the region and enjoys considerable capacity to develop cooperation with Brazil," Brazilian Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Minister Miguel Jorge said Monday in Tehran after visiting his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Mehrabian.

0850 GMT: OK, let's deal with the sideshow now so we can concentrate on other matters later in the day.

The "nuclear summit" in Washington, at least for the mainstream press, turned into an All About Iran festival. Laura Rozen, one of the best journalists for inside information in the US capital, turned herself into a spokesperson for that line: "On summit sidelines, many conversations about Iran". That's courtesy of a "Washington Gulf expert" --- “With the Chinese, Russians and Turks, folks that need to come along on the sanctions track", the show is all about a forthcoming UN resolution --- and National Security Council staffer Jeff Bader: "The President in the meeting made clear the sense of urgency, and the Chinese made clear that they are prepared to work with us." (Bader is also probably the unnamed "US official" in other reports optimistically pointing to China's support.)

Of course Mahmoud Ahmadinejad didn't take this lying down, not with the opportunity to substitute US v. Iran for any internal matters. From his measured description of foreign leaders as "retarded people" to his call on the UN to investigate how the US Government used the 11 September attacks to set up wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it was a red-letter day for finger-pointing by the Iranian President.

Ahmadinejad's declarations are propped up by Iranian state media by other signs that the sanctions hammer won't fall on Tehran: there is a speech outside the summit from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that there is "no evidence indicating that Iran's nuclear activities include efforts to acquire a nuclear weapon".

The Latest from Iran (12 April): Signals from Mousavi & Rafsanjani?

2120 GMT: Dramatic Gesture of the Day. It looks like it was not enough for the Iranian President to call foreign leaders "retarded" over the nuclear issue. The Islamic Republic News Agency is reporting that Ahmadinejad has claimed the high ground on "terrorism".

Writing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged the UN to condemn the support of foreign forces in Afghanistan for the Jundullah insurgency's activities in Iran.

"We expect your condemn NATO's support for terrorism in the (Middle East) region and those who have supported this criminal [Jundullah leader Abdolmalek Rigi, captured by Iranian authorities]."

NEW Iran: Mousavi to Students “Spring is Unstoppable”
Iran: A List of 107 Killed in Post-Election Violence
The Latest from Iran (11 April): Checking In

As for alleged terrorism upon other countries, Ahmadinejad called for an investigation into the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States which he said were "used as a pretext for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq".

2115 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Human rights activists reports that 17 detainees in Orumiyeh prison are on hunger strike.

1420 GMT: Ahmadinejad "Nuclear Weapons & Retarded People" Shocker. In what of course is not at all a diversionary statement (see 0950 GMT), the Iranian President used a domestic tourism industry event to pronounce on the Obama-led nuclear summit thousands of miles away:
World summits being organized these days are intended to humiliate human beings...These foolish people who are in charge are like stupid, retarded people who brandish their swords whenever they face shortcomings, without realizing that the time for this type of thing is over.

1240 GMT: The Clerical Challenge. An interesting interview in Tehran Bureau with Professor Said Arjomand on relations between the state and senior clergy: "Let me answer your question as to whether this challenge to the legitimacy of velāyat-e faqih and its official interpretation is new and serious."

1205 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Concerns are growing over the physical condition of journalist Mehdi Mahmoudian, who helped exposed the Kahrizak Prison abuses. Mahmoudian suffers from lung diseases and prison officials have allegedly not treated him.

Mohsen Safaei Farahani, a senior member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, has been sentenced to five years in prison following appeal.

Safaei Farahani, a former head of the Iranian Football Federation, was arrested on 20 June and charged with “acting against national security”, carrying out propaganda against the system, insulting state officials, and creating public anxiety. He was temporarily released earlier this year on a bail of more than $700,000.

The six-year sentence of Ali Tajernia, another IIPF member, has been reduced to a year in prison following appeal. He was convicted of assembly and collusion to endanger public security and of propaganda against the Islamic Republic.

Student activist Mahdiyeh Golrou has been sentenced to 28 months in prison.

1145 GMT: Economy Watch. Peyke Iran claims that
Zagros Terminal workers and bus drivers in Ahwaz have not been paid for several months.

1140 GMT: The Corruption Case. Looks like Iran's head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, is walking a political tightrope. He has insisted that the judiciary "has no fear" in pursuing big cases, i.e., the Fatemi Avenue insurance fraud and alleged involvement of First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, but he has also insisted that those who make public claims for political reasons will be prosecuted.

1130 GMT: Did We Mention Signals? The Green Movement is picking up not only on Rafsanjani's meeting with leading reformist Behzad Nabavi (see 0950 GMT) but also on a Sunday statement in which the former President that it would be best if people again had confidence in the elections.

Rafsanjani again was careful to emphasise his "excellent understanding with the Supreme Leader" --- the battle is with the Ahmadinjead Government --- and said he would again lead Tehran's Friday Prayers when he felt the need for it. Rafsanjani has not made a Friday prayer address since 17 July.

Meanwhile, signals from another political quarter: we have a summary of Mir Hossein Mousavi's meeting with student activists: "Spring is Unstoppable".

1025 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Tahereh Saeedi, the wife of detained film director Jafar Panahi, has told Rooz Online that she has met with Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi but received no answers about Panahi's condition. (See separate entry for Saeedi's recent letter expressing her concern about the harsh treatment of Panahi and the effect on his health.)

Saeedi added that "making a film without a permit and wearing a green scarf at the Montreal World Film Festival" are among the charges against her husband.

1015 GMT: Economy Watch. And this little item might also deserve a think, in light of the connections between economic approach and power in the regime:
Iran has transferred shares in six petrochemical plants and power stations to a social welfare investment organisation of the Islamic Republic's armed forces, state-owned Press TV said on its website.

"The transfer was reported to have been in lieu of the government debt to the Armed Forces Pension Fund," Press TV, an English-language satellite station, said on Friday evening.

The stakes, transferred following a cabinet decision, ranged from 23 percent to 100 percent, it said. The companies included Bushehr Petrochemical Company, Marun Petrochemicals and Pars Petrochemicals.

"In return, SATA (Armed Forces Social Welfare Investment Organization) is obliged to complete and commission the Bushehr petrochemical project within four years," Press TV said.

0950 GMT: A later start today because of the time difference while I'm in the US. Many thanks to EA readers for getting the day out to a start with their discussion on yesterday's LiveBlog.

Another case today, on the 10-month anniversary of the June election, of keeping eyes open for developments inside Iran. Most of the non-Iranian press are now comprehensively distracted by the nuclear issue. Even Nazila Fathi, one of the best reporters for a US paper on Iranian topics, is swept up by the postures of Washington and Tehran on the nuclear issue. Following the Sunday statements of the Supreme Leader and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, she leads with the Foreign Ministry's spin:
A large majority of Iranian lawmakers, angered over the Obama administration’s new nuclear weapons policy that conspicuously makes Iran and North Korea possible targets, urged their government on Sunday to formally complain to the United Nations in a petition that called the United States a warmonger and threat to world peace.

Unsurprisingly, the nuclear fuss is playing into the hands of those who would prefer attention anywhere except the internal situation in Iran: Race for Iran, the website supporting the legitimacy of the Ahmadinejad Government, is already proclaiming, "Iran Reacts to Becoming a US Nuclear Target".

So where else might one look for news? Well, of course, there's the far-from-minor skirmish over corruption, with First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi the target of charges by key MPs. There's the ongoing battle over the subsidy and spending plans. There is the matter of hundreds of political prisoners. And there is this:
Mohammad Hashemi [the brother of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani] confirmed reports about a meeting between senior reformist Behzad Nabavi and Hashemi Rafsanjani in the holiday resort of Kish Island.

No further information on the discussion, as many were distracted by Hashemi's denial that Rafsanjani had met the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, to discuss whether Rafsanjani's son, Mehdi Hashemi, must return from London, possibily to face charges.

Consider, however, that Rafsanjani's discussion with Nabavi, who is still out on bail after the imposition of a long prison sentence, follows the former President's meeting last week with leading reformist MPs. And spare a moment, from all the nuclear chaff, to consider, "What is the signal?"

The Latest from Iran (6 April): Challenge Resumes

1945 GMT: Parliament-President Compromise? Mehr News reports that the Majlis and Government have formed a joint committee to resolve the disagreement over revenues from subsidy cuts. The move was announced by Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moghaddam, head of the special Parliamentary committee studying the economic reform plan.

Still, the move may not be a smooth one. Mesbahi-Moghaddam told Khabar Online, "After many years of studying and teaching economics in universities, why can't I be taken as an economist, but President Ahmadinejad who hasn't studied economy falsely regards himself as an economist?"

NEW Iran Snap Analysis: Playtime’s Over
NEW Iran Document: Mousavi Meeting with Reformists (5 April)
NEW Iran Document: Rafsanjani Meets the Reformists (5 April)
Iran Document: Jafar Panahi’s Wife on His Detention & Health
The Latest from Iran (5 April): Repression

1940 GMT: Karroubi Advisor Tortured? Saham News, the website of reformist cleric Mehdi Karroubi’s Etemade Melli party, claims that Mohammad Davari, the detained chief editor, has been subjected to torture intended to force him to cast public doubt on Karroubi’s claims about the rape of post-election prisoners.

Saham News says Davari is in very poor physical and psychological condition. The website reports that he’s been allowed to meet with his mother briefly in jail only three times since his arrest.

1930 GMT:Academic Purity (cont.). Adding to our report that Professor Morteza Mardiha has been expelled from Allameh Tabatabei University, Pedestrian adds two others who have been suspended from their teaching positions: Mir Hossein Mousavi's chief advisor, Alireza Beheshti, and another Mousavi advisor, Ghorban Behzadian-Nejad.

1635 GMT: Oh, This Is Certain to Be Helpful. As the Obama Administration unveils its Nuclear Posture Review --- “If a non-nuclear weapon state is in compliance with the nonproliferation treaty and its obligations, the U.S. pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against it" --- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates decides he needs to add a bit of Clint Eastwood-as-Dirty Harry to the public spin:
If you’re going to play by the rules ... then we will undertake certain obligations to you. But if you're not going to play by the rules, if you're going to be proliferator, then all options are on the table in terms of how we deal with you.

1625 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, spokesman for the Khatami Government and leading member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, has been given a five-year prison sentence.

Another member of the IIPF, Shahab Tabatabaei, has also been sentenced to five years in prison following appeal.

1620 GMT: Academic Purity. Morteza Mardiha, professor of political philosophy at Allameh Tabatabei University, has been expelled from the campus.

1540 GMT: Protest in The Netherlands. A group of Iranian protesters occupied Iran's embassy in The Hague today. There were a number of arrests as the demonstrators were removed.

1530 GMT: The Oil Front --- All is Well! Hamid Hoseini, the head of Petroleum Products Exports Syndicate, has confirmed that oil exports to India, China and Japan have been sharply reduced. In the case of Beijing, the fall is more than 50%. Hoseini warned that sanctions could be "effective" and Tehran cannot be choosy about its customers.

However, Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mir-Kazemi preferred to talk about imports rather than exports, saying Iran has the potential to achieve self-sufficiency in gasoline production amid the threat of sanctions and disinvestment.

1440 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist and student activist Omid Montazeri, arrested in December when he enquired about the detention of his mother, has been given a temporary release. He has been sentenced to six years in prison.

The detention of Kaveh Kermanshahi, human rights activist and member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, has been extended for another month. Kermanshahi was taken into custody at the start of February.

1430 GMT: Karroubi's Message. There is now a Persian summary of Mehdi Karroubi's meeting with the reformist coalition in Parliament (see separate entries for the Mousavi and Rafsanjani meetings) and a short English extract:
Mehdi Karroubi, strongly condemning the growth of lies, rumours, and deception in the name of Islam and religion by a small group, added, “Today I am not only mourning for Imam Khomeini [as the founder of the revolution] and what has happened to the revolution but more than anything I am mourning for Islam and Imam Ali (shia’s first Imam who is the symbol of justice).”

1310 GMT: Corruption and the Ahmadinejad Government. Elyas Naderan, a "conservative" MP and member of the Majlis' Economic Commission, has alleged that First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi is the head of a "corruption network".

0955 GMT: Iranian Spying Down Under? The Australian publishes an article claiming that the Iranian Embassy in Canberra is "spying on Iranian democracy activists in Australia, collecting intelligence on their activities, and reporting back to Tehran".

0945  GMT: The Post-Election Dead. Emrooz has posted a list of alleged names and burial places of 50 post-election protesters in Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery.

0830 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Human rights activist Mohammad Rhana Ghaznavids has been arrested.

0710 GMT: The Saberi protests. EA readers update us on the ongoing protests in front on the Japanese Embassy in Washington over the threatened deportation of activist Jamal Saberi.

Mission Free Iran reports on Sunday's demonstration, "Iranian Sweets and a Saberi Solidarity Cherry Tree", and announces another protest for next Sunday.

0700 GMT: We've now updated on the resumed political manoeuvres, posting a full translation of the meeting between Mir Hossein Mousavi and the reformist Parliamentary coalition.

0620 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The families of three of Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s advisors have visited Qom to appeal to senior clerics.

The families of Arab Maziar,  Alireza Beheshti Shirazi, and Ghorban Behzadian Nejad visited Grand Ayatollahs Vahid Khorasani, Mousavi Ardebili and Bayat Zanjani to express concerns about continuing detention and denial of legal rights.

All three men were detained on 28 December, one day after the Ashura demonstrations.

0610 GMT: Looks Like We Have a Theme. "There are a series of unresolved issues that the Parliament could take further" (0530 GMT) --- the Iranian Labor News Agency reports that 233 of the 290 members of the Majlis have written to Iran's head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, demanding a fight against "big" corruption.

0600 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Cleric Seyed Ahmadreza Ahmadpour, a senior member in Qom of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, has been given a one-year prison sentence by a clerical court.

The 1 1/2-year sentence of student activist Kaveh Rezaee has been upheld by an appeals court.

0530 GMT: We start this morning with the impression that, after the New Year holidays, the political battle has been resumed, big-time, in Iran.We put up a summary of Mousavi's statement to the reformist coalition at the end of our Monday updates, and we've now posted the exchange between the reformists and Rafsanjani.

We have a snap analysis, "Playtime's Over", of the developments.