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The Latest from Iran (15 July): Remembering the Post-Election Dead

Poster of the three post-election prisoners killed in Kahrizak detention centre (see 0625 GMT)

1910 GMT: Reformist Watch. Arshama3's Blog has posted a useful critique of the comments of Mehdi Karroubi's advisor Mojtaba Vahedi (see 0815 and 1440 GMT), considering not only the approach to the 2012 Parliamentary elections but also "his refreshingly open comments" on "taboo topics" like the killing of dissidents in the 1980s.

1900 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Over the last two days, we have been considering the claimed statement by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, the President's one-time "spiritual mentor", backing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but criticising the "deviant current" around him. Now Bibak, a site close to the Ayatollah, is denying the interview --- supposedly with Mehr --- ever took place.

1655 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update. The message of Ayatollah Emami Kashani was blunt today --- in the Iranian system, only one word counts, and it is that of the "representative of all Muslims of the world". (I believe he means the Supreme Leader.)

Ememi Kashani also said we should give more support to the disabled.

1645 GMT: It Ain't Over. Is the opposition to the Iranian regime dead, more than two years after the 2009 Presidential election?


At least, that's the opinion of Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi, who said that the Ministry must identify and thwart "all ploys and conspiracies of the enemy in all cultural, economic, and social spheres".

Moslehi pointed out the "mega soft war", backed by the US and Israel, to topple the regime, although he admitted, “This is a serious warning and not an analysis.”

1500 GMT: Nuclear Front. We've been watching for a regime answer to the high-profile suggestion of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, made in a press conference with his US counterpart Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, for a phased, step-by-step approach to the issue of Iran's uranium enrichment.

Under the plan, negotiations would be resurrected as Iran alleviated individual concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency over nuclear activities and, in return, was rewarded with the partial removal of sanctions.

Well, we've got a signal. Mohammad Karamirad of Parliament's National Security Commission has said that the Lavrov proposal is "unacceptable".

1455 GMT: Nothing-to-Do-with-Him Watch. On the 2nd anniversary of the deaths of political prisoners in the Kahrizak detention centre, supporters of the Supreme Leader have hastened to declare his firm opposition to the abuses. Hojetoleslam Mahmoud Alavi declared that Ayatollah Khamenei prohibited torture as he ordered the closure of the facility.

1440 GMT: Opposition Watch. More on the remarks of Mehdi Karroubi's advisor Mojtaba Vahedi (see 0815 GMT), as he takes a firmer line against participation in the 2012 Parliamentary campaign....

Vahedi declared, "Free elections would be the death of the regime", and in a video interview, he ranged over a number of topics put to him by readers of the Web portal Balatarin, including the mass executions of political prisoners in the late 1980s --- Mir Hossein Mousavi was then Prime Minister --- and Karroubi's with the Coordinating Council of the Green Path of Hope.

1430 GMT: A Different Kind of Battle Within. Back from a travel break to find that all is not going well with the Government's merger plans --- Ministry of Housing employees reportedly threw out furnishings and changed the door locks as they took over rooms in the Ministry of Transport building.

0815 GMT: Elections Watch. Mehdi Karroubi's advisor Mojtaba Vahedi has said that the regime will not allow free elections --- therefore, Karroubi will probably oppose participation in the Parliamentary elections in March, as they would legitimise the system.

Karroubi has been under strict house arrest for five months.

0810 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. And now a twist in the tale of the conflict surrounding the President....

Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, apparently pulling back from his recent criticism of the inner circle of President Ahmadinejad, denied that he had ever said that Ahmadinejad's advisors might be Freemasons, historically considered in Iran as agents of Britain. He added, "I still believe in Ahmadinejad and support him." Ayande News, close to former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, responded by publishing a claimed record of Mesbah Yazdi's claim.

It should be noted that the quarrel is over a specific point --- although he expressed support for Ahmadinejad and denied the Freemason remark, Mesbah Yazdi repeated his denunciation of the "deviant current", the label for the President's inner circle.

0800 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Rah-e Sabz reports that another 11 members of the Baha'i faith have been arrested in Isfahan and Birjand.

0745 GMT: Elections Watch. The Governor of Tehran Province, Morteza Tamaddon, has declared, "We will prevent any interference in people's votes" in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.

Given the regime's assurances that the 2009 Presidential election was entirely legitimate, with no manipulation of votes, this seems a rather curious statement.

0645 GMT: Campus Watch. Twenty-one Iranian scholars, now living abroad, have written an open letter to Presidents of Iranian universities, calling for opposition to any gender segregation on campuses.

Some universities had announced the separation of first-year students from September, but President Ahmadinejad last week issued an order demanding a halt to any plans for segregation.

0640 GMT: Justice Watch. Four Gonabadi dervishes --- Sufi Muslim ascetics --- have been sentenced to six months in prison and 40 lashes for “disturbing public order".

The four were charged with participation in a protest last August against the Sarvestan Governor’s office.

The regime has put pressure on the dervishes in recent years, sentencing a number of them to prison. Iranian media have been banned from reporting on the situation.

0635 GMT: Claim of the Day --- Deleted. On Thursday, Iranian media were reporting that Ali Rezaei, the second son of Mohsen Rezaei, the Secretary of the Expediency Council and 2009 Presidential candidate, had fled to Britain.

The story has now disappeared from the Ammariyon and Alborz News websites.

Instead, Aftab reports that Ali Rezaei was at the memorial for the Kahrizak detainees, denying that he and his father were running for Parliament next March.

0625 GMT: We begin by noting yesterday's commemoration of the 2nd anniversary of the murders of protesters in the Kahrizak detention centre. Mohsen Ruholamini, Amir Javadifar,  and Mohammad Kamrani, detained during demonstrations against the disputed election of President Ahmadinejad, were abused and killed by security forces.

A memorial service for the three men was held in the Nour Mosque in Tehran. Those attending included 2009 President candidate Mohsen Rezaei --- Ruholamini was the son of his campaign manager --- and former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

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