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Entries in Evin Prison (5)


The Latest from Iran (14 August): Returning to the Streets? 

1800 GMT: Economy Watch. Kalemeh reports that the unemployment rate has risen across Iran by 3.5% since last spring. In 26 of the country's provinces, the average is now 14.6%.

1745 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Labour activist Pedram Nasrollahi has been sentenced to four months in prison for “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the system by joining the women’s council”.

Kurdish painter Mokhtar Houshmand, the secretary of the Marivan Society of Visual Arts, remains in prison after his detention order was renewed for a month. His family has reportedly been denied a meeting or talking with him on the phone. The family has also been prohibited from talking to the media.

1735 GMT: The Hunger Strike. Kalemeh reports that five political prisoners who recently ended a hunger strike were threatened by the director of Evin Prison to six months in solitary confinement. Those warned were journalists Ali Malihi, Bahman Ahmadi Amouie, Keyvan Samimi, and Kouhyar Goudarzi and Ashura protester Gholamhossein Arashi. 4 of them are journos, Arashi is a Ashura protester, severely beaten in prison.

1725 GMT: Spinning Bushehr. Washington has tried to convert the news that Russia will supply the fuel needed to make Iran's nuclear plant at Bushehr operational --- finally, after repeated delays --- into a case that Tehran does not need to carry out its own uranium enrichment.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, "Russia is providing the fuel, and taking the fuel back out....(This) underscores that Iran does not need its own enrichment capability if its intentions, as it states, are for a peaceful nuclear program."

1510 GMT: The President's Right-Hand Man (cont.). How significant is the movement against Ahmadinejad's Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai? An EA correspondent summarises:

*Javan News --- connected with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps --- now quotes Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of the General Staff, Habibullah Asgarowladi, secretary of the "conservative" Front of the Followers of the Path of the Imam, Ayatollah Kaabi, a member of the Association of Teachers and Researchers of Qom, and Hojatoleslam Moe'tamed as condemning Rahim-Mashai's statements about "the school of Iran," which they call "nationalist" and a threat to the international and Islamist character of the Islamic Republic.

*Jomhouriye Eslami writes in an editorial that "support of higher authorities [Ahmadinejad] for Rahim-Mashai makes the situation worse".

*Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi: "Once more Mr. Mashaei has involved himself in discussions not worthy of him and has made wrong and unsuitable statements....It is not to the benefit of the regime, the office of the Presidency and the person of the President --- who has always been in the line of the leader and a supporter of religious foundations --- that his chief-of-staff engages in expert discussions about issues about which he is ignorant and harms his own dignity and those related to him even more."

*Alef News accuses Rahim-Mashai of "eclecticism" and condemns his statements about "human beings having the capacity to become God".

* MP Ali-Reza Zakani warns of a "new discord", likening Mashaei's statements with statements of former Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan "who confessed that his conflict with His Holiness the Imam [Khomeini] was that we want Islam for Iran, but the Imam wants Iran for Islam".

1420 GMT: Shutting Down Green Media. A week after it was launched, the website of the new Green channel, Rasa TV, has been filtered by the Ministry of Intelligence.

1410 GMT: Challenges to the President (cont.): MP Ahmad Tavakkoli has criticised Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for disregarding the laws ratified by the Parliament and the Expediency Council.

Tavakkoli accused the president of intransigence, and said, “I am sorry that the president values his personal interpretation too much.”

MP Parviz Sorouri also criticized the President, “Any law that is ratified should be implemented. The president is not in a position to say whether a particular law is correct or not."

1230 GMT: But Those Other Friday Prayers Might Be A Problem....

Away from Ayatollah Jannati's Tehran Friday Prayer, trying to deflect attention from problems for the regime, other sermons point to, well, problems for the regime.

In Qom, Mohammad Saeedi indirectly criticised the President while bolstering Ayatollah Khamenei, saying someone who manages the country has to follow the Supreme Leader as the representative of Prophets. Saeedi declared everyone has to abide to the laws ratified by Parliament and approved by the Guardian Council.

Elsewhere, alongside condemnation of US sanctions and praise of Lebanon's Sayyed Hassan Nasrullah for his stand against Israel, there were attacks on the President because of his aide Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai's "Iran principle", placing Tehran as a source of emulation ahead of Islam. In Mashhad, Ahmad Alamolhoda said any ruling against the Supreme Leader is obsolete. In Kashan, Abdolnabi Namazi directly said Rahim-Mashai's presence disturbed the Iranian clerics and people.

1200 GMT: International Front. Not sure what to make of this....

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Parliament's National Security Commission, claims that the Vienna group (US, France, Russia, International Atomic Energy Agency) has accepted the Iran-Brazil-Turkey statement on uranium enrichment, so there is no necessity for Brasilia and Ankara to join talks with the "5+1" powers of the US, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany.

1155 GMT: Put-Down of the Day? Khabar Online claims a large banner with President Ahmadinejad's picture was removed from the Qur'an exhibition at Tehran's Grand Mossalla.

1145 GMT: Oil Squeeze. Alireza Mir-Mohammad Sadeghi, the deputy to Minister of Oil Mirkazemi --- a target of Khabar Online for "wrong policies: --- has allegedly said that 12,000 oil managers are on the verge of retirement.

1045 GMT: Getting Jannati's Line Right. Press TV gives the proper spin to Friday's Friday Prayer by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, after recent difficulties over his speeches. Jannati, without re-stating the "$51 billion" coup allegation, warned against the discussions with the US:
You have forgotten what they (Americans) have done, you think they have changed…. They are the same….When they flash a green light it is [always] chicanery and a scam.

Jannati continued:
They think the Iranian people will give in under sanctions and adversities.…but the West's problem is that they do not know the Iranian nation and do not know who they are dealing with.

1025 GMT: The President's Right-Hand Man. The conservative Resalat devotes its main article to the "unacceptable statements" of Ahmadinejad Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

The newspaper says the comments provide a welcome excuse for conservatives to attack the Government and demands, "Mr Ahmadinejad, let the passengers without a ticket get off the (Government) train!"

Key MP and Government critic Ali Motahari goes farther and harsher, claiming that the thinking of the President and his followers about Islam is like the Forghan group who killed his father, Ayatollah Motahari, in 1979.

Motahari alleged that Ahmadinejad's and Rahim-Mashai's ideas do not comply with Islam. According to the MP, the President is neither a conservative nor a reformist, but because he is supported by the Supreme Leader, other clerics support him as well.

The Motahari's call for resistance: a MP must decide by himself, not according to the Supreme Leader's opinion. He strengthens the demand with the regret that MPs should have protested clearly against the Kahrizak abuse and the allegation that Ahmadinejad's refusal to implement laws is a sign of dictatorship.

1015 GMT: Three Islamic Revolution Guards Corps soldiers have been killed in clashes with members of the Kurdish separatist group PJAK.

1000 GMT: More on the "Jannati Line". Alongside Ayatollah Jannati's appearance at Friday Prayers, there is support for him from Esmail Kowsari, deputy head of the National Security Council, who claims the Majlis was informed about the documents for Jannati's claim of the $51 billion US-Saudi-opposition coup plan. Kowsari says the proof is in the Ministry of Intelligence.

MP Zohreh Elahian, a member of Parliament's National Security Commission, claims the documents will be given to prosecutors.

0915 GMT: Challenging Ahmadinejad. Khabar Online devotes its "headline" news to an analysis by Professor Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, who criticises the President's foreign policy.

Mojtahedzadeh claims Iran's "turn to the East" led to damage to its nuclear energy programme, as Russia delayed completion of the Bushehr reactor, and to a quadrupline of imports from China.

(Last night, Voice of America claimed the cost to Iran of the Bushehr reactor was now close to $1 billion.)

The professor adds a significant comparison: during the Presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989-1997), the east-bound policy was advisable, but it has now led Iran "to this mess". Instead of battling with one set of foreign powers (US, Europen Union) and making advances to another (Russia, China), Tehran should follow a balanced policy towards all.

0455 GMT: Execution (Ashtiani) Watch. Human Rights Watch has condemned the treatment of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, sentenced to death for adultery and presented on national TV on Wednesday with her "confession".

HRW women's rights researcher Nadya Khalife said, “The men who run Iran apparently have no shame at all, first pronouncing the barbaric sentence of death by stoning and then resorting to a televised confession. Under the circumstances there is every reason to believe that this so-called confession was coerced."

0430 GMT: We begin this morning with a look to the future, provided by an EA correspondent:
Roughly 3 weeks to Qods Day and a lot of chatter, whether Mousavi and Karroubi will invite the people to protests.

Another idea is going to the streets on the 27th of every month in accordance with Article 27 of the Constitution, assuring freedom of assembly.
Qods (Jerusalem) Day is the annual commemoration of Palestine. Last September, opposition supporters used the occasion to press their demands publicly in one of the largest post-election rallies.


47 Baha’is Currently In Prison
Following the recnet sentencing of seven Baha’i leaders in Iran to 20 years in prison each, Diane Ala’i, the representative of the Baha’i International Community has said that there are currently 47 members of the Baha’i Faith are inside Iranian prisons.

According to Ala’i, the Baha’is are not facing charges of mohareb (enmity with God), which carry the death penalty. They are accused of “acting against national security”, “participating in illegal groups", and “propagating the Baha’i Faith”.

Ala'i added that the seven leaders have been moved from Evin Prison to Rajai Shahr Prison in Gohardasht, Karaj. Families have been able to visit the prisoners once every two weeks for 10 minutes. They are allowed to see male relatives one week and female relatives the next, so the entire family cannot meet at the same time.

Ala'I said the verdicts for the seven Baha’i leaders have not yet been served in writing.


The Persian 30mail site, which features news roundups, has launched a competition for IT specialists to write a programme feeding news from Green sites to e-mail accounts and mobiles in Iran. Programmers selected in the first round receive $1000, and the finalist wins another $4000.


The Latest from Iran (13 August): Letters to the Judiciary

1830 GMT: Your Belated Friday Prayer Update. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of the Guardian Council, tried to bounce back from a recent rough patch --- you know, the $51 billion US-Saudi-opposition plot episode --- by taking the podium.

Lots of banter about bad America, but no apparent big numbers today, before Jannati laid down the reassurance that everyone was accountable in the Iranian system: "If you don't serve the people, they will not trust you and not vote for you. If they have committed the error to vote for you, they will take back their votes."

1825 GMT: The Battle Within. Mohammad Hashemi, member of the Expediency Council (and brother of former President Hashmei Rafsanjani), has declared that the President's duty is to implement laws, not to interpret them --- saying that he doesn't accept a law is illegal and outside of his duties.

1815 GMT: Ahmadinejad, Unifier-in-Chief. Declaration of the day comes from the President, who told Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika in a Friday telephone call that unity among Muslim nations will lead to the elimination of inequality and oppression everywhere.

1310 GMT: Black Economy Watch. Iran Focus claims that a leaked internal Islamic Revolution Guards Corps report confirms the IRGC is running a major smuggling network from the southern Iranian island of Qeshm in the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

The report also says that the IRGC is building a large base at Roudkhaneh Sarbaz in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan as part of smuggling, including drugs, from Pakistan.

1300 GMT: The Nuclear Plant. Russian officials say that, after repeated delays, nuclear fuel will be loaded from 21 August into Iran's reactor at Bushehr.

Russian and Iranian specialists will spend 2-3 weeks putting uranium-packed fuel rods into the reactor:
"This will be an irreversible step," Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for Russia's state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, said. "At that moment, the Bushehr nuclear power plant will be certified as a nuclear energy installation."

Novikov said the first fissile reaction would take place in early October.

The Bushehr plant is monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agnecy and has no link with Iran's uranium enrichment programme. Tehran has agreed to return spent fuel to Russia.

1200 GMT: Parliament v. Government. MP Mehrdad Lahouti says the demand for impeachment of agriculture minister Sadegh Khalilian, with 22 signatories, will be handed over to Parliament on Sunday when it returns from summer vacation. The allegation is that Khalilian has inflicted heavy damage to domestic agriculture and caused severe irregularities in the sector.

Ahmad Tavakoli, speaking about the President's refusal to accept Parliament's authorisation of $2 million for the Tehran metro, has said that Ahmadinejad is "dictatorial in his decisions", breaking the law and the Constitution.

1145 GMT: Execution Watch ---Germany Gets Vocal (cont.). According to Die Welt , an (unnamed) official of Germany's Foreign Ministry has demanded the cancellation of the death sentence Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.

1000 GMT: In Afghanistan. The Washington Post claims --- probably from a US Government official ---- that a "human intelligence asset", in a report for Afghanistan’s domestic intelligence agency, has said that Iran has supplied fresh batteries for about three dozen shoulder-fired SA-7 missiles stockpiled by Taliban forces in Kandahar, in anticipation of a U.S. attack.

The Post adds a note to the dramatic claim:
Any reports linking Iran to the Afghan conflict must be viewed with caution. A previous intelligence report, surfaced by WikiLeaks, describing a 2005 missile-buying mission to North Korea by rebel leader Gulbiddin Hekmatyar and a senior aide to Osama bin Laden, is now suspected of having been fabricated by elements in Washington or elsewhere who wanted to implicate Iran in the Afghan insurgency.

0900 GMT: Execution Watch --- Germany Gets Vocal. Leading Free Democrat politician Rainer Stinner, who visited Iran from 31 July to 3 August, has said that not only Tehran's sentences to death by stoning but its entire legal procedure are flagrant violations of human rights. He claimed that Iran cannot pretend this is a domestic affair, as it has ratified the International Human Rights Convention, and it is isolated by such practices.

The statement is a significant modification of the "live and let live" approach of the Free Democrats towards Iran in the 1990s.

0815 GMT: The Battle Within. Mehdi Khalaji, summarising many of the events covered by EA in recent weeks, writes an analysis for the Washington Institute on Near East Policy, "Internal Divisions among Iranian Hardliners Come to the Fore".

0755 GMT: International Affairs Update. Yesterday we noted the British Ambassador's diplomatic response to 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi's rather un-diplomatic remarks about "England". We cited The Daily Telegraph as the source, but we have learned that the original story was by Martin Fletcher in The Times of London.

0715 GMT: US-Iran. We have posted a separate analysis by Greg Thielmann on the latest US intelligence and Iran's nuclear programme.

0710 GMT: Execution (Ashtiani) Watch. Human Rights Activists News Agency has more information on Wednesday's "confession" on Iranian state television by Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, condemned to death for adultery and then complicity in murder of her husband. The New York Times, in an article by William Yong and Robert Worth, has also picked up on the article.

The Guardian of London reports that the execution by stoning sentence of Mariam Ghorbanzadeh, who allegedly miscarried after being beaten up in Tabriz prison this week, has been changed to hanging in a rapid judicial review.

0700 GMT: You Can't Go Home Again. Tehran has set new restrictions on Iranian expatriates coming into the country.

Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh, head of the High Council of Iranian Expatriates, said Wednesday that Iranians residing abroad can return for academic reasons only after being approved by certain institutions. Asked if the "Iranian expatriates with political problems" who want to return would face any difficulties, Malekzadeh said that "certain institutions will do their duties in this regard".

0655 GMT: Sanctions(-Busting) Watch. Officials say recent UN Security Council and unilateral sanctions will not affect the €18 billion gas contract between the Swiss energy group EGL and the National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC).

According to Fars News, Turkey's Energy Minister has said Ankara will respect its €1 billion deal wfor the construction of a 660km pipeline to transfer Iran's gas supplies to Europe.

The minister also reportedly said that Iran and Turkey will continue plans for the joint construction of power plants with a total capacity of 6,000 megawatts. And another minister has supposedly confirmed that Turkey paid Iran a $600 million fine for failing to import natural gas at the amount previously agreed between the two countries.

0645 GMT: Sensitive Journalism of the Day. The headline in Keyhan in an article on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks on human rights abuses in Iran: "Bill Clinton's Slave Defending the Murderers".

0640 GMT: All the President's Men. More on President Ahmadinejad's defence of his controversial chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, against criticism from clerics, members of Parliament, and even Iran's top military commander:
There is an abnormal sensitivity against Mashai....I fully trust him....If someone has any criticism or believes what he says is wrong, he should invite Mr. Mashai to speak with him and even debate with him. Why all this row? Some want to change the issues of our enemies, illegal sanctions and enemies at home into secondary issues....

0630 GMT: International Affairs. Khabar Online writes of possible problems between the Foreign Ministry and the Government because the President's office is taking over the appointment of ambassadors.

(This is far from a new development, as Ahmadinejad's staff pushed out many Iranian ambassadors soon after thge 2005 election. What is interesting here is that Khabar would highlight this and the timing: only yesterday EA's Scott Lucas spoke with The National about Foreign Ministry disquiet over un-diplomatic statements by the President and 1st Vice-President Rahimi.)

0625 GMT: Economy Watch. MP Musalreza Sarvati has challenged the Minister of Works in Majlis that the official unemployment rate of 14.6% is untrue: "employed" includes people who work 1 hour per week and others who work 100 hours without being able to earn a living.

Sarvati claimed that every year 1.1 million new jobseekers are added in Iran.

0615 GMT: The Cleric's Apology. Ayatollah Dastgheib's has replied to a letter of prisoner families: "I, for my part, apologise for not being able to follow your pledges for justice."

Dastgheib warned Iran's ruling class they are "going the wrong way", asking them to "sit down for once" with a group of the people's representatives and senior clerics without harrassing them to explain the reasons for arresting the so-called "uproarers".

Dastgheib's message to these leaders? "This situation will pass, but your deeds will be documented by God and history."

0545 GMT: Friday is expected to be quiet in Iran, as the holy month of Ramadan begins, but news arrives that the head of the judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, has more work in his in-box....

The reformist Mosharekat (Islamic Iran Revolution) Party has demanded that the High Court to investigate the files, submitted by seven political prisoners and including a claimed audio proving manipulation by the Revolutionary Guard, of a rigged election:
The wide distribution of a tape of commander Moshfegh's speech, a high official of [Revolutionary Guard] Sarollah Forces, has proven the claims of Green leaders on the manipulation of 10th presidential elections. This person, who boldly and crudely describes the organisation of the putsch intoxicated by power, openly confesses to actions, which cannot be named other than a putsch according to all political schools of the world.

Families of former hunger strikers, having gone three days without news, have written Larijani: "Have our beloved outlived the hunger strike?"

The families of political prisoners have also asked Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi:
How can we be sure of the physical condition of our lovedones after two grueling weeks of hunger strike? The only way we can be reassured of their well-being is if we are given the opportunity to hear their voices, if they are transferred back to the general ward at Evin (Prison), and when we are finally given permission to visit with them.

Students of three Tabriz univerisities have appealed to Larijani that it is time for him to break his silence in the face of major corruption committed by the "ruling body" of Iran. They complain about the lack of justice and the judiciary's independence, with silence amidst unpunished bloodshed, slander, insults, and lies.

The Latest from Iran (11 August): Coded Messages 

1245 GMT: The President's Man. Definitely looks the battle within is escalating....

Ahmadinejad Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai has hit back at the criticism of Iran's military chief, General Hassan Firouzabadi, that the aide's remarks on Iran and Islam "are a crime against national security" (see 0650 GMT).

Rahim-Mashai announced in a meeting with IRIB managers and editors of state broadcasting that he will file a suit against Firouzabadi to enlighten the public: "I'm forced to follow these ugly accusations by judicial means."

1235 GMT: The Human Rights Lawyer (cont.). Mohammad Mostafaei has rejected the allegation of financial fraud, made by the Tehran Prosecutor General (see 0900 GMT): "If they want to sue me because of the accounts of my clients, they have to do the same with all marjah (senior clerics) who have charity accounts."

1210 GMT: MediaWatch. Green Voice of Freedom has launched a Turkish edition.

1200 GMT: The Hunger Strike: A relative has said Keyvan Samimi will continue his hunger strike in Evin Prison until the 15 who have taken food are transferred to "general" Ward 350. Families have still not been allowed to visit the detainees.

1145 GMT: More on "Election Manipulation" Revolutionary Guard Audio. A follow-up to our feature on Tuesday....

In an interview with Rah-e-Sabz, Alireza Alavi-Tabar assesses the divisions between "pragmatic" and "radical" hard-liners in light of the audio.

0945 GMT: Calling the Broadcaster to Account. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has launched a campaign against the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, accusing him of cooperation with Iran's intelligence service and violating human rights.

ICHRI's Hadi Ghaemi said Ezatollah Zarghami should be dismissed because he worked with Government interrogators in the production of televised confessions and trials and the "Fitna" (Sedition) series against leading opposition figures and activists, as well as the distortion of cases of post-election victims such as Neda Agha Soltan.

0925 GMT: Culture Corner. The Supreme Leader has reportedly cancelled conference on “Pursuit of Job Security and Social Welfare for Cinema Professionals”.

A prominent cinema director told Rooz, “Agents from the Intelligence Ministry have called for the cancellation of the gathering through threatening phone calls. Finally, they told us that the office of the Supreme Leader was against this gathering” and that, if the event went on as scheduled, it would be confronted harshly.

The Supreme Leader is not having much luck, however, with his recent proclamation against music.

Melody and Safoura Safavi, two sisters from the Iranian band Abjeez (Persian slang for sisters), have responded with less than enthusiasm. Safoura Safavi said, "I think it's -- I'm sorry to say this, to use this word -- but it's ridiculous. I mean, you can't prohibit something like music. And of course, it's a way to control because, in a way, saying that, it shows how strong the force of music is [in Iran]...."

0920 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Last week, there were reports that Farah Vazehan had been sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, a reliable source has told RAHANA that Vazehan has been sentenced to death for mohareb (war against God).

0900 GMT: The Human Rights Lawyer. Mohammad Mostafaei, the lawyer forced to flee Iran because of possible arrest, may be in Norway, but the Iranian authorities haven't forgotten him....

Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi has said that Mostafaei is accused of "financial fraud."

0830 GMT; Shortages and Violence. Rah-e-Sabz claims that people in Ahwaz in southern Iran are trying to stage protests in front of the Governor's office because of bad water, rising youth unemployment, and unpaid wages. A seven-member Government commission has been sent from Tehran to the port offices of Abadan and Khorramshahr amidst accusations of fraud and corruption.

Three days of clashes between security forces and residents in Dahdez in Khuzestan in southwestern Iran have allegedly killed seven people. The protests are over shortages and problems in basic services.

Turkey, despite claims of increasing supplies, reduced its gasoline exports to Iran by 73 percent in July, according to data from the Istanbul Exporters Association of Chemical Materials. Turkey supplied 2.5 percent of Iran's total gasoline needs during the month.

Japan's Toyota Motor Corporation has suspended auto exports to Iran indefinitely to avoid any potential repercussions in the US market. Toyota exported about 4,000 automobiles to Iran in 2008, but only 250 in 2009.

0840 GMT: Iran-US Talks? Set aside Ahmadinejad's rhetoric, and the interesting passage in his interview with The New Yorker is his renewed call for discussions with the US on regional issues in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Mixed, even confusing, signals continue from the Supreme Leader's office on the possibility. Former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, the foreign policy advisor to Ayatollah Khamenei, has denied a report that he "welcomes" nuclear talks with the US. However, Iran has never rejected talks, and "negotiations with other countries such as P5+1 member states (the US, Russia, France, Britain, China, plus Germany) and the Vienna group (the US, Russia, France, and the International Atomic Energy Agency) -will be carried out while considering the Islamic Republic's rights".

0710 GMT: Washington's Human Rights Intervention. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday called on Iran to release all political prisoners, expressing alarm about the fate of several specific detainees who are "in danger of imminent execution". She specifically named Jafar Kazemi, Mohammad Haj Aghaei, and Javad Lari.

0820 GMT: The Regime's Backfiring Culture of Fear. Writing in The National, Michael Theodoulou considers how the regime efforts to quash the opposition through allegations of foreign-supported regime change --- recently through the statements of the head of the Guardian Council, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati --- have run into difficulties.

0800 GMT: The Brazil Front. Brazil has accepted UN sanctions against Iran, despite concerns over measures and its proposal with Tehran and Turkey on talks over uranium enrichment.

Brasilia has also made a formal offer of asylum to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to death for adultery.

0730 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Agence France Presse has picked up on the claimed ending of the hunger strike by 16 detainees in Evin Prison.

A Revolutionary Court has sentenced reformist journalist Badrolsadat Mofidi to six years in prison and banned her for five years from journalism. Mofidi was convicted of "conspiring to commit crimes and propaganda against the regime".

Mofidi, the secretary of the Iran Journalists Association, was imprisoned for more than five months after the June 2009 election before being released on bail.

A website has described the abuse of Kurdish activist Ahmad Bab, who was detained last September.

0705 GMT: Opposition Messages. Former President Mohammad Khatami, marking Nationalist Journalists' Day, has said that the real sedition in Iran is spreading awkward lies. He compared the rigged election to the CIA-backed coup of 1953 and declared, "We should learn from this oppression."

Mehdi Karroubi has issued a message for the holy month of Ramadan, "Let us pray to God to save our valiant prisoners, held by the rule of oppressors."

0700 GMT: Talking Tough. Former Revolutionary Guard commander General Hossein Kan'ani Moghadam has said that Iran has dug mass graves to bury U.S. soldiers in preparation for an American attack.

0650 GMT: The President's Right-Hand Man. Hmm, this is getting interesting....

Khabar Online reports --- passing on news or making mischief? --- the alleged comment of Iran's head of armed forces, Brigadier General Hassan Firouzabadi that the remarks of Ahmadinejad Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai "are a crime against national security".

0620 GMT: Ahmadinejad's Uncoded Message. Meanwhile, Press TV and Khabar Online has picked up on the President's interview with The New Yorker, featured in EA yesterday.

Press headlines Ahmadinejad's claim, "US Worst Suppressor of Media, People", but adds his offer to “help bring the US out of the crises” it has created in Iraq and Afghanistan: “Iran is ready to help them, based on justice and respect....I hope there is someone with an ear among US politicians to understand this and brings no more deaths to the people in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as US soldiers.”

Khabar --- Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani's outlet --- features Ahmadinejad's claim that western politicians "have no idea about Iran" as "all my opponents are free". The President is also quoted as saying that Iran's people are friends of Jews, but Europe should take back its Jews, or give them a place in Alaska, the USA, or Canada.

0600 GMT: We begin this morning with several intriguing, if sometimes coded, messages.

The easiest to decipher is a letter from Mir Hossein Mousavi, issued last Thursday and now translated by Khordaad 88. Mousavi, referring to Iran's Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century, makes clear that the "dictatorship" of authorities is not acceptable, even when it is carried out in the name of religion. We post the text in a separate entry.

We have also posted an analysis of a more mysterious intervention from former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. In a section of his memoirs which has "randomly" appeared on his website, Rafsanjani recalls how the first President of the Islamic Republic, Abolhassan Banisadr, was forced to step down. But could the passage also be a reference to Iran 30 years later?

And then an EA correspondent re-reads a statement by Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf on the recent "I am the Rule of the Prophet" fatwa by the Supreme Leader. Earlier this week we noted this as a defence of Ayatollah Khamenei amidst the pressure on him.

Our correspondent, however, thinks that Qalibaf may have amore complex message, supporting the Supreme Leader but also pointing out limits on his authority. He notes these passages from Qalibaf's interview:
In my view, the Exalted Supreme Leader is not articulating authorities that go beyond the boundaries of religious jurisprudence, and the ceiling for these authorities is the limits of the religious law (canon), the expediencies and the preservation of the Islamic system and public interests....

The meaning of this fatwa is that, if a person obeys and follows the Supreme Leader's governmental rulings but based on his own reasoning and personal understanding questions the correctness of those rulings, according to the Supreme leader's own fatwa we cannot accuse that person of being against velayat-eb faqih. In fact, the Supreme Leader has emphasized that the standard is not to embrace every view expressed by the Supreme Leader. We can only call a person anti-velayat-e faqih when that person opposes the vali-ye faqih's (i.e., the Supreme Leader's) governmental rulings, not when he does not subscribe to every view that is articulated by the Leader. This fatwa guarantees the rights of the citizen under the Islamic system. Therefore, a person who follows another source of emulation should only follow those fatwas that have been issued by that source of emulation....

With this fatwa, the Supreme Leader has in fact expanded the insiders' geography and gave it a greater depth....We now understand what the Supreme Leader means when he talks about the people who fall inside the system. We now understand and have become more convinced that his approach is one that is geared toward attracting the maximum number of individuals.

And Qalibaf also may have also had a message for those who tried to use the Supreme Leader's words to go after political opponents, inside as well as outside the Iranian system:
The same people who until today would accuse anyone that they wanted of being anti-velayat-e faqih (clerical authority)...were using that label as a political tool to strengthen or weaken other actors or eliminate them from the political scene altogether.

Iran: Want to Notice the Uprising? Look to and beyond the Prison Cells (Shahryar) 

EA correspondent Josh Shahryar writes in The Huffington Post:

News about Iran's uprising is rarely found in mainstream media these days. There are stories about individual human rights abuses. There are stories about President Ahmadinejad's outlandish remarks about the reappearance of "the 12th Imam". There are stories of sanctions and Israel and Iraq and how Iran is just about to unleash Armageddon. But few stories chronicle the constant struggle for democracy and human rights in Iran.

This, however, does not mean that the struggle is dead.

Here is one such example. The story itself looks like a minor incident at first glance. But as it progresses, the extent to which Iranians are willing to take this struggle for their rights becomes apparent. At the same time, it shows how involved all parties, ("the people", the movement, and the Government) are in the process.

The latest incident started with the mistreatment of prisoners. On July 26 and 27 July, a number of detained Iranian protesters and political activists were transferred to solitary confinement at Evin Prison in Tehran. Bahman Ahmadi-Amouei and Keyvan Samimi were transferred on Monday, the rest the next day.

In protest, Amouei began a hunger strike on Tuesday, 27 July. Majid Tavakoli, Abdollah Momeni, Koohyar Goudarzi, and two other prisoners joined. A day later, more prisoners offered support, raising the number of hunger strikers to 17....

These men could not take it anymore. The way their fellow prisoners were being treated was too much. Something had to be done.

Prisoners --- especially political prisoners --- are subjected to long periods of solitary confinement, their phone privileges are revoked, they are denied family visitation, and their meals are meagre. Frequent interrogations are the norm and physical and psychological torture is rampant. Prisoners have already died under these conditions.

Family members of prisoners have claimed that, in the past two months, conditions are getting even worse. The father of Hamed Rouhinejad, a young political prisoner serving a 10-year sentence and suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), said, "Hamid's health is deteriorating daily. He is gradually losing his eyesight. I cannot stand this anymore. I cannot see him in pain. He himself cannot stand it either. They are killing him little by little."

Read rest of article....

The Latest from Iran (10 August): An End to the Hunger Strike? 

1400 GMT: Let's Keep Trying This Foreign Overthrow (and Drugs to Our Schoolchildren) Shtick. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, may have taken some criticism for claiming a US-Saudi $51 billion plot, through the Iranian opposition, for regime change, but that hasn't fazed Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi.

Moslehi said Monday that foreign powers had invested $17 billion in unrest after the 2009 Presidential election. He put this in the context of a long-term campaign, "In the past 25 years, more than 80 centres and institutions for soft war have been founded and around $2 billion has been spent on them annually."

The minister said enemy methods included "fuelling ethnic and religious sensitivities especially in border areas,...(and) efforts to spread delinquency among students through satellite [channels], the Internet, (and) vulgar books", corrupting Iran's education system.

And there was more, Moslehi warned: evidence pointed to large-scale and costly efforts to wage "soft war" in the country by distributing dugs among schoolchildren.

1300 GMT: The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center has issued its latest report, examining the Iranian Government's effort to dismantle the women's rights movement.

1220 GMT: The Human Rights Lawyer. Persian2English has posted the translation of a Voice of America interview with lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, who has fled Iran and is now in Norway. An extract:
VOA Correspondent: Why did you leave Iran?

Mostafaei: I never wanted to leave Iran. Any time someone wanted to leave Iran, I always objected and told them that there is nowhere better to work than Iran. Unfortunately [the regime] created an atmosphere for me that made me unable to fulfil my duty, but even this was bearable. What made me decide to leave Iran is solely the illegal actions of the interrogator in Branch 2 of the Shahid Moghaddas investigations office [in Evin Prison]. He illegally ordered the arrest of my wife [Fereshteh Halimi] and a bail amount of approximately $6,000. She was thrown into solitary confinement and was not set to be released until I was turned in. They held her captive for fourteen days. [The illegal processes] made be decide to leave the place I belong to and begin the difficult [journey] to another country.

1210 GMT: The Hunger Strike. Student activist Majid Tavakoli, who was said to have lost consciousness while on hunger strike, is reportedly out of critical condition.

0925 GMT: More from VP Rahimi, International Affairs Expert. Ali Akbar Dareini offers this correction to our report yesterday on 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi's diatribe --- he called Australians a "bunch of cattlemen", not shepherds --- and adds this substantial point....

"To fight sanctions, we will remove the dollar and euro from our foreign exchange basket and will replace them with (the Iranian) rial and the currency of any country cooperating with us," Rahimi said. "We consider these currencies (dollar and euro) dirty and won't sell oil in dollar and euro."

The Iranian Government has said recently that it would trade in currencies like the dirham (United Arab Emirates), but it is unclear whether trading partners will be receptive to the idea.

Rahimi also said, "We will increase tariffs by 200 percent. We will hike it so much so that no one will be able to buy foreign goods. We should not buy the products of our enemies. Students can force their parents not to buy foreign goods."

0910 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi may have granted a concession that contributed to the end of the Evin Prison hunger strike; however, according to Rah-e-Sabz, he remains defiant on other fronts.

Doulatabadi reportedly said the news from prisons is "total lies", as Iran's jails are acting completely within the law. Claims such as that of an "honour assault" on Alireza Tajik are "inventions".

Doulatabadi may want to consider the testimony of 17-year-old Ali Niknam, who claims he was abused by Revolutionary Guard intelligence officers after his arrest on 2 November: “The signs of electrical shock were visible on my shoulder, stomach, and kidney area and I suffered from bloody bowels and urine for days after my release.”

0910 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Reports indicate that Japan may consider cutting crude oil imports from Iran, having approved new sanctions in line with June's UN Security Council resolution. Tokyo, following meetings with US officials, has added 40 companies and an individual to a blacklist for freezing of assets.

0900 GMT: The Vice President Talks World Politics (Again). It looks like 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi has decided to step up and become the Government's international affairs spokesman.

After his diatribe against the US, Australia, and "England", reported in yesterday's updates, Rahimi gets literary again, in a meeting told Iran's heads of education that "South Koreans need a slap in the face" for their imposition of sanctions on Tehran.

0710 GMT: The President's Right-Hand Man. More criticism of Ahmadinejad Chief of Staff and brother-in-law Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai....

Ayatolllah Mesbah Yazdi, in a meeting with Revolutionary Guard commanders on Monday, said, "Those who put principles (maktab) of Iran shamelessly before maktab of Islam do not belong to us! We only support those who support Islam and are loyal to the Supreme Leader."

0705 GMT: The New Battle --- Another Larijani v. Ahmadinejad.

Voice of America picks up on our featured story from Monday, the criticism by Iran's head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

One Washington-based analyst, Alex Vatanka of the Middle East Institute, claims Ayatollah Khamenei is now involved: "The Supreme Leader is giving Ali Larijani the tools to stand up to the president."

0700 GMT: The claimed message from the political prisoners who have ended their hunger strike:
We will continue to insist on our human rights and the basic rights of all prisoners. We pledge to continue to fight until all prisoners who are part of our beloved nation gain access to their full legal rights.

0650 GMT: The Hunger Strike. Kalemeh is carrying the message of an "anonymous loyal support of the Greens" that all but one hunger striker has ended the protest. There are no further details.

Another website made the claim on Sunday. It is unclear whether the same anonymous source is behind both that report and Kalemeh's article.

0545 GMT: We begin today with two features and a disturbing piece of news.

In the features, Jon Lee Anderson of The New Yorker gets a 10-day visit to Iran and meets the public, with their discontent over the election, as well as President Ahmadinejad. And Arash Aramesh of insideIRAN writes about the audio that may point to Revolutionary Guard interference in the June 2009 election.

The news, from RAHANA, is that student activist Majid Tavakoli --- one of 16 or 17 political prisoners in Evin Prison --- has lost consciousness and is now in the prison infirmary.

More updates to follow...