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The Latest from Iran (10 July): Sifting the Claims on Khamenei v. Ahmadinejad

Mojtaba and Ali Khamenei1900 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Masoumeh Dehghan, the wife of lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, has been released on $30,000 bail after her detention last week.

1625 GMT: The Revolutionary Guards Do Politics. Yadollah Javani, the head of the political bureau of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, has followed up the declaration of the IRGC commander, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, by declaring that former President Mohammad Khatami, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Mehdi Karroubi are "leaders of fitna (sedition) and subversion".

Javani emphasised that the IRGC had a central role in stopping the reformists' scenario of sedition, with Jafari's words this past week as a continuing alert.

Amir Mohebian, the editor of the Resalat, has begged to disagree, however: calling Khatami "anti-revolutionary" is a damage to the Iranian system.

1615 GMT: Revisiting the Election. Emad Afrough, a reformist who has served in Parliament, has declared in an interview with Khabar Online, that "there is no doubt" that there was "direct or indirect infringement" with "interference in the electoral process" of the 2009 Presidential vote.

1450 GMT: All-is-Well Alert. Minister of Interior Mostafa Mohammad Najjar has declared that Iran is "an island of calm and stability".

1445 GMT: Reformist Watch. Radio Zamaneh publishes an English summary of the remarks of prominent reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh about participation in the 2012 Parliamentary elections.

Tajzadeh makes clear that reformists should refrain from involvement in any vote that is not fully open, challenging its legitimacy. He asserted that if conservative factions do not permit open participation, they will fall into deeper disputes among themselves.

Tajzadeh said that, before the 2009 Presidential election, reformists had to participate to maintain at least a minority in Parliament. However, “the narrative of the Green Movement has changed the whole affair....Either the elections should be free with all the parities, or we should not participate and should leave them to play out the conflicts among themselves.”

1440 GMT: Supreme Leader v. President. Gholam-Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam, a leading member of Parliament's Economics Committee, has claimed that President Ahmadinejad is seeking to hand over "edareyeh ouqaf" --- religious foundations offices, currently overseen by the Supreme Leader --- to provincial governors.

If true, Ahmadinejad's step is a significant over against the power of Ayatollah Khamenei.

1415 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. One of the signatories of the petition to interrogate President Ahmadinejad, Mehrdad Lahouti, has denied that 30 of the 100 MPs backing the move have withdrawn their signatures (see 1035 GMT).

1045 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Syrian Front). Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Reza Raouf-Sheibani has labelled the Thursday-Friday visit of the US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, to the flashpoint city of Hama, as a clear diplay of American interference in the affairs of other countries.

Raouf-Sheibani said the "meddlesome move" by the US came as the Assad regime was pursuing a national dialogue to ease the unrest.

Ford visited the city, where hundreds of thousands have defied military pressure to protest against the regime, to hold discussions with residents and to express sympathy with the aims of the demonstrators. He was enthusiastically greeted:

1035 GMT: Parliament v. President. Fars claims that 30 of the 100 MPs who signed a petition to interrogate President Ahmadinejad have withdrawn their signatures. If true, this would leave 70 signatories, below the required minimum to move to questioning.

Ahmadinejad supporters have made similar claims of withdrawal of signatures in recent weeks.

0825 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Peyman Roshanzamir, who had protested over the death of fellow blogger Omid Mirsayafi in detention in March 2009, has been imrpsioned for 17 months.

Journalist Niloufar Laripour has been summoned to Evin Prison to serve a two-year sentence.

0820 GMT: The Protest Goes On. A banner unfurled over Tehran's Hemmat Highway yesterday, "We Will Fight Until Freedom":

0815 GMT: Cartoon of the Day. Nikahang Kowsar maintains his criticism of former President Mohammad Khatami and his call for "reconciliation" between people and the regime. Kowsar does so by referring to the declaration of prominent reformist Mostafa Tajazadeh --- serving a nine-year prison sentence --- that there can be "no middle way" over participation in the 2012 Parliamentary elections. Conditions, initially set by Khatami, such as freeing of political prisoners and a free and fair political process must be met.

Tajzadeh: "We won't vote unless Khatami's conditions are met."

Khatami: "Psst, I was joking, why do you take it seriously?"

0805 GMT: The Supreme Leader and Ahmadinejad. MP Ali Motahari, who has led the campaign to interrogate and possibly impeach President Ahmadinejad, has indirectly admitted that the Supreme Leader halted the process, at least for now.

In a televised interview, Motahari said the questioning of the President was to prove the authority of Parliament and "break Ahmadinejad's pride" in not observing legislation.

0725 GMT: Revolutionary Guards Do Politics. Looks like the Supreme Leader's camp are trying to pull the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps back into line after last week's intervention by the IRGC commander, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, claiming its authority to arrest members of the "deviant current" around President Ahmadinejad and to define "acceptable" and "unacceptable" reformists....

Mojtaba Zolnour, the former representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC, declared Jafari and the IRGC have no say over political participation, with the Guardian Council deciding who can enter. Zolnour said Jafari's remarks were his "private" views.

0715 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Ayatollah Hojjati Kermani asks a sharp question of Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, the one-time "spiritual mentor" of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has now claimed "satanic" influence behind Ahmadinejad's advisors: "Wasn't it you who raised Ahmadinejad to this point?"

0710 GMT: Unity Watch. Lots of manoeuvres amongst conservatives/principlists over the "unity committee", which had been appointed by President Ahmadinejad several months ago but which has been little-noted until the recent spate of political conflict....

Meeting the demands of conservative/principlist critics of the Government, the committee has been expanded beyond its initial membership of three. Prominent MP Mohammad Reza Bahonar, former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki --- fired by Ahmadinejad last December --- Motalefeh Party leader, Mohammad Nabi Habibi, and MP Mohsen Kouhkan have now been presented as members.

0540 GMT: We have now turned our initial update into a separate analysis, "Supreme Leader's Son Turns Against Ahmadinejad? --- What We Really Know".

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