1930 GMT: Back from the Iran conference in Durham to find a write-up in The New York Times ( on the Internet attention to the case of Majid Tavakoli, the student leader arrested in the 16 Azar (7 December) demonstrations. It's a good piece on an important matter of Iranian "justice" and dissent, quoting Twitter-prominent activists/bloggers "madyar" and "omidhabibnia".
One correction, though. The article kindly cites me for posting Tavakoli's last entry on Facebook before he was detained. All the credit should go to Setareh Sabety, who brought the piece to Enduring America.
NEW Breaking News: Khamenei Wins 2009 “Dictator of Year”
Iran Analysis: Are Rafsanjani and National Unity Plan “Spent Forces"?
Iran: Latest Updates On Demonstrations
New Videos – Protests Continue at Tehran Universities on 18 Azar
Iran Exclusive: Clerics and Rafsanjani Plan The “Third Way” of Unity
1645 GMT: Propaganda of the Day. Javan, the newspaper of the Revolutionary Guard, says Mehdi Karroubi sent a letter to former President Mohammad Khatami declaring, "You are not part of the movement and have been useless for reformists."
Nice try, gentlemen.
1235 GMT: Rumour of Day. Following yesterday's rumour that plans had been made to fly the Supreme Leader to Russia if life became too difficult for him in Iran, this claim races our way: "Jamaran (the area in northern Iran where Imam Khomeini lived) is being fortified to defend the Supreme Leader against mutiny and provide safe escape in case of ambush"
1215 GMT: The Economic Battle. It is being reported that the Guardian Council, finding the amendments of President Ahmadinejad's subsidy reform bill unacceptable, has returned the legislation to the Parliament.
1015 GMT: An EA reader points us to yet another regime attack on Hashemi Rafsanjani, this time from Minister of Intelligence Moslehi in Qom. The reader summarises, "It is an indication that the risk of Rasfanjani turning into Trotsky is still real."
0905 GMT: What Does This Iran-Syria Meeting Mean? Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi met in Damascus yesterday to discuss bilateral defense relations.
Ritual statements followed the discussion. Al-Assad said the development of defense ties between the two countries could “contribute significantly to regional security and stability”. Vahidi said Iranian-Syrian defense ties could “play a positive role in establishing peace in the region”.
Behind the rhetoric is a political story to be explored. Vahidi's meeting followed a trip to Syria last week by the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, which was marred by a bus explosion and rumours of strains between Iran and Syria.
0855 GMT: Green Humour Highlight. Tehran City Council member Ma’soumeh Ebtekar, celebrating 16 Azar, gave a green chocolate to the sister of the President, Parvin Ahmadinejad, and said, "Eat it so that you become Green too."
Apparently Parvin Ahmadinejad refused to eat the chocolate .
0820 GMT: A Not-So-Incidental Note on Rafsanjani. As we continue to assess whether Hashemi Rafsanjani still has political influence, the regime maintains the pressure on his family.
A group of pro-Ahmadinejad Tehran University students have issued a statement condemning Faezeh Hashemi, Rafsanjani's daughter, for taking part in the 16 Azar protests on the campus, claiming that Hashemi is not a student of this university. They have asked Iran's judiciary to take action against her.
Fars News is also playing up the claim by a member of Parliament, Zohreh Elahian, of "very strong evidence" that Rafsanjani's son, Mehdi Hashemi, had an important role in leading post-election protests and thus Judiciary has to take action against him. She also asserted that 120 MPs have written a letter to the head of Itran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, asking him to put the leaders of post-election protests, such as Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, on trial.
0810 GMT: I'm just catching up after being on the road to London and now to northeast England. Still have to go through all the comments on yesterday's post on clerics, Hashemi Rafsanjani, and the National Unity Plan but the discussion has already led me to re-evaluate the political dynamics in a morning analysis, "Are Rafsanjani and the National Unity Plan 'Spent Forces'"?
Meanwhile, protest is far from a spent force, although the centres of demonstrations were limited to Tehran and Sharif Universities yesterday. Inevitably, there would be a need to draw breath after Monday's 16 Azar protests. The question may now move to what is planned for the celebrations of Moharram, which beginning in just over a week. So far, no sign of specific plans for protest.