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The Latest from Iran (9 May): Ahmadinejad Bows Down?

1900 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The husband of detained human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh says she has been cut off from her family for the past 10 days.

Reza Khandan said he has not been allowed telephone contact with his wife since she was transferred to a different ward in Evin Prison.

Sotoudeh was sentenced in December to 11 years in prison and a 20-year ban on the practice of law.

1855 GMT: Fashion Police. More on Iran's "moral security" force (see 1215 GMT), with 70,000 officers reportedly taking to the streets to enforce proper fashion and behaviour....

Commander Ahmad Rouzbehani, the head of the force, explained, “In some instances, some people have been seen to take off their head covering in their vehicles. Such vehicles will be stopped and their passengers will be referred to the judiciary.”

Commander Rouzbehani also listed “installation of satellite dishes and sale of alcoholic drinks” as violations.

1720 GMT: The Battle Within. President Ahmadinejad may have make his concession statement, but the political fight is far from over --- Javan Online, the outlet of the Revolutionary Guards, has written that the wall of confidence between the Supreme Leader and the President has been shattered and warned that a greater sedition is on the way.

Alef posts a long article claiming to document the corruption of the family of Ahmadinejad's right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

1710 GMT: Economy Watch. HRANA claims a statement from the president of the Statistical Center of Iran that, as of June 2010, about 14.5 million of Iran's 73 million people live in poverty.

1645 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. The Iranian President is getting a welcome break from domestic politics with his trip to Istanbul for an international summit, and he's making the most of it with a press conference denouncing the US.

Ahmadinejad declared that the US Treasury "determines how we should live", displacing hundreds of billions of dollars into the pockets of wealthy nations. He called on the US to leave Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, saying the presence of NATO had increased terrorist activity.

The President also repeated his call for an independent committee to investigate the attacks of 11 September 2001.

1630 GMT: Well, It is a Captive Audience. According to Rah-e Sabz, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, has proposed making the Tehran Book Fair permanent by putting it on the grounds of Evin Prison.

1615 GMT: Remembering. HRANA reports that there have been commemorations across Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan for the five political prisoners, including four Kurds, executed a year ago.

1605 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Said Naimi of the alumni organisation Advar-e Tahkim Vahdat has been detained.

1320 GMT: Parliament v. President. Leading MP Ahmad Tavakoli is back on the attack --- he has written an open letter detailing "gross errors" in the implementation of the Government's subsidy cuts plan.

1230 GMT: A discussion on Saturday on Al Jazeera English of the poltical conflict between President Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader....

Much of this was superceded by developments yesterday, and analysis is crowded out by the diversion --- mainly by Dr Seyed Mohammad Marandi of Tehran University --- of the discussion of the 2009 Presidential election.

However, Marandi makes an unwitting contribution with his acceptance, after dismissing any talk of a "political crisis", that "the President has been weakened" and his heaping of blame upon Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

When even Marandi, a staunch defender of the regime, castigates Rahim-Mashai, it's a sign that the Presidential Chief of Staff may be in a difficult position.

1220 GMT: Remembering. In memory of five political prisoners executed a year ago today (see separate entries on Farzad Kamangar and Shirin Alamhouli), Azad University of Sanandaj students have worn black today.

1215 GMT: Fashion Police. The commander of Iran's "moral security" police has announced that 70,000 officers have been mobilised to enforce laws on clothing and public behaviour.

1210 GMT: Justice Watch. Iran Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei has said that, of 50 people accused in connected with raids on Tehran University dormitories just after the June 2009 Presidential elections, 40 have been given prison terms or fines.

Security forces attacked the dorms on the night of 14/15 June 2009.

Reports do not identify if those punished were members of the security forces, students, or other civilians.

1105 GMT: Parliament v. President. The Majlis has made another bureaucratic move against the Ahmadinejad Government, warning that former ministers cannot have any activity in new, combined ministries.

The situation has arisen because of the Government's merger, under the 5th Development Plan, of eight ministries into four units.

0930 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. An interesting political ripple this morning --- Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, defend her father's political record after his defeat by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2005 Presidential election.

That's not the surprising part. Rather, it is the outlet for the interview. Who dare publish a discussion with Faezeh Hashemi, recently threatened with arrest by the Iran Prosecutor General?

Step up, Khabar Online, linked to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani.

0925 GMT: We Now Return You to Normal Programming. Having acknowledged the existence of a political dispute by noting yesterday's Cabinet meeting, Iranian media are back on safer ground this morning....

The lead item in both State news agency IRNA and Press TV is the declaration by Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi that Iran the country "will soon announce good news on its defensive capabilities" as it produces new types of anti-aircraft missiles.

And expect all kinds of bells and whistles later today over the President's visit to Turkey, with IRNA trying to use the trip as a display that Ahmadinejad's authority has not been dented by the conflict with the Supreme Leader.

0620 GMT: Corruption Watch. The spokesman of Iran's Anti-Corruption Headquarters,Ali Aqa-Mohammadi, said Sunday that the cases of 20 people have been referred to the courts.

The accused were granted low-interest loans to boost businesses or production facilities, but are alleged to have invested the money in housing projects. 

0615 GMT: A Follow-Up Question. Given that the crisis over the Minister of Intelligence was tied up with the political ambitions of Ahmadinejad's right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai --- the catalyst was the Minister's attempted dismissal of a deputy considered an ally of the Presidential Chief of Staff --- what does Rahim-Mashai do now?

0600 GMT: In the official account of the Cabinet meeting put out by the President's office on Sunday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could not have been clearer in his acceptance of the authority of the Supreme Leader: "President stressed the importance of the Rule of Just Jurisprudent (Velayat-e-Faqih) and said the government would serve Islam, the Islamic Revolution and the nation....Dr.Ahmadinejad said that his government would continue defending the Rule of Just Jurisprudent. President urged all officials to defend the notion of Supreme Jurisprudence which has been inherited by Iranians throughout centuries."

After weeks of conflict over his attempted dismissal of the Minister of Intelligence, Heydar Moslehi --- including an 11-day boycott by Ahmadinejad of Government meetings --- it appeared that the President had finally given way to the pressure from the Supreme Leader's office, put out by supportive media, and from his political and religious critics within the Iranian establishment.

Ahmadinejad did attempt a flourish to cover his retreat. He declared, "I hope all those who have been deviated from the true path of Supreme Jurisprudence to return to the reality," a rather curious statement given that it is the President who has been accused of "deviating from the true path of Supreme Jurisprudence".

Still, all's well that ends well, right? On Wednesday, the President's office had been caught out in a mis-step, if not a lie, when the Minister of Intelligence was not in the official photograph of the Cabinet session. On Sunday, Moslehi took his place at the far right of this picture:

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