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Friday
Nov022012

The Latest from Iran (2 November): Ahmadinejad Remains Quiet About Supreme Leader's Warning

A Tehran rally marking the 33rd anniversary of the takeover of the US Embassy

See also EA Video Analysis: The Secret US-Iran Nuclear Talks
The Latest from Iran (1 November): Supreme Leader Tells His Top Officials "Stop Fighting"


2043 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. A revision of our opening item today....

President Ahmadinejad has now responded to the Supreme Leader's warning to the heads of the three branches of Government to stop bickering and "pay attention to responsibilities". While ostensibly pledging loyalty to Ayatollah Khamenei, he continued to throw punches at head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani:

I am convinced that you decisively guard the constitution, particularly the fundamental rights of the people, and safeguard the elevated position of the popularly elected president, the second highest official position in the country, and the institution executing the constitution. And you are opposed to any measure which weakens his sphere of competence and important responsibilities.

1543 GMT: 1979 and Now Watch. Demonstrators have marked the 33rd anniversary of the US Embassy takeover, now labelled National Student Day.

Speaking to the thousands outside the former Embassy, the head of the Bazij militia, Mohammad Reza Naqdi said 10 kilogrammes (22 pounds) of gold would be given to anyone who found a country "more criminal than the United States".

Naqdi added that he would not have to pay out, because the regime has "already done the research and found Washington is the worst [system] on earth". Naqdi's speech was in keeping with the defi

State media feature the statement:

We, the Muslim and revolutionary Iranian nation, along with other Islamic nations once again condemn the blatant insults of the global arrogance and the international Zionism to the Great Prophet.

We call on international organizations and community, including the United Nations, to take effective and practical measures to include respect for the divine religions and prophets in the international charters and regulations, criminalize any insult to them and prosecute the criminals.

The statement also described the Arab uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa as well as the Occupy Wall Street in the US as extensions of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and it proclaimed support for the Palestinian cause and resistance against Israel.

1530 GMT: Your Friday Prayer Update. Hojatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi takes the podium today to denounce foreign intervention --- foreign as in "non-Iranian" --- in the Syrian conflict: "The disaster you have caused in Syria upon the order of certain parties will backfire on you.”

Seddiqi condemned NATO for creating a crisis in Syria under the direct supervision of the US, He accused "certain regional countries" of encouraging youth to "commit fratricide and to kill other Muslims instead of rising against the Zionists and global arrogance".

1500 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Nine female political prisoners have begun a hunger strike to protest actions by guards in Evin Prison.

Amin Ahmadian, the husband of detained student activist Bahareh Hedayat, explained:

On Tuesday afternoon, they took the female political prisoners to the prison’s yard while they searched their cells and confiscated some of their personal belongings. It is not yet clear why they did that, but it appears that they were looking for a cell phone or a communication device.

The female prisoners were bodily searched in a harassing manner. As a result, and in protest of that harassment, they are staging a hunger strike.

Hedayat, Zhila Baniyaghoub, Mahsa Amrabadi, Hakimeh Shokri, Shiva Nazarahari, Zhila Karamzadeh Makvandi, Nazanin Deyhami, Raheleh Zokaei, and Nasim Soltan-Beigi are the nine prisoners on strike. They join attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is in the third week of a protest at the treatment of her and her family by authorities.

Ahmadian said:

[Authorities] threatened Ms. Sotoudeh that she will be transferred to solitary confinement and stripped of family visitation rights if she does not break her strike. They threatened her that the has to break her strike because, otherwise, she must serve a three-week solitary confinement sentence as the punishment for going on strike. They have also threatened the other nine prisoners that they too will be transferred to solitary confinement if they do not end their hunger strike.

0841 GMT: Dissident Watch. Filmmaker Mohammad Reza Nourizad, a prominent critic of the regime, is escorted from a Tehran media exhibition:

0748 GMT: The Battle Within. Yadollah Javani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards' Political Bureau, has jabbed at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's staff, "The BBC is fairer than the head of the President’s political office”.

Ahmadinejad's aide Mohammad Jafar Behdad recently challenged Ali Saedi, Ayatollah Khamenei’s representative to the Revolutionary Guards: "[Ahmadinejad is] hundreds of times more Principalist than the likes of Mr. Saedi and is more concerned about Islam, the revolution and the Leader."

0639 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Iran's leadership may be fighting each other on a range of issues, but they are united on one front: denying secret talks with the US over the Iranian nuclear programme.

Majid Omidi, the President’s Political Affairs Director: "Unfortunately, there were some people who claimed that the President was pursuing negotiations with the United States....Ever since the revolution until now, we have had certain frameworks for negotiations with the United States....Negotiations in themselves are not bad, but we approve of negotiations based on certain frameworks which still do not exist....The government has not had any secret or overt negotiations with the United States."

Abbas Eraghchi, the Foreign Ministry's director for Asia and the Pacific: "If we want to negotiate with the United States, we will not do it secretly."

The General Staff of the military on "suspicious...whispers about negotiations with the United States": "The United States is still the Great Satan and number one enemy of the revolution and the regime of the Islamic Republic."

0635 GMT: Culture Watch. Brian Murphy of the Associated Press follows up a story we noted this week:

It was a VIP audience for what was likely the last performance of the venerable Tehran Symphony Orchestra. Watching from the front row in late August was Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in what was seen as an endorsement from the ruling theocracy, which once tried to stamp out all music as a violation of Islamic values. Just two months later, the musicians are out of work, funding has run dry and a nearly 80-year-old institution that survived wars, coups and the 1979 Islamic Revolution was declared Tuesday in an apparently irreversible "coma" by media.

0545 GMT: Oil Watch. The head of the National Iranian Oil Company, Ahmad Ghalehbani, has said Iran's goal is a "full prevention of selling crude oil" while expanding the production of refined products and other derivatives: "We hope to get to a point someday that, with full implementation of this strategy, we [will] export not even a drop of oil."

Ghalehbani's comment follow a declaration last week by Minister of Oil Rustam Qassemi that the Islamic Republic will halt all oil exports if the West imposes additional sanctions.

0530 GMT: Sanctions All-Is-Well Alert. Seyed Mohammd Marandi explains to Press TV that the international sanctions are not really affecting the Islamic Republic:

They are being seen as trying to make ordinary Iranians suffer...although they are not successful as they like to and this has shown, I think, the very uncivilized side of the European and American politics.

Instead, Marandi explained, it is the publics in the "West" who are suffering:

It is pretty obvious, I think to everyone, that the higher prices of oil and gas right now are partially due to the sanctions against Iran and therefore Europeans and Americans are sacrificing basically the well-being of their own people for the sake of the Israeli regime.

0515 GMT: On Wednesday, the Supreme Leader issued a pointed warning:

The recent correspondence [between President Ahmadinejad and head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani over Ahmadinejad's request to visit Evin Prison, denied by the judiciary] and issues discussed are not at all important, but such differences of opinion should not be rethlated to the public and become pretexts for the foreign media and enemy abuse....Everyone must pay attention to his or her responsibilities under the present sensitive circumstances.

Both Sadegh Larijani and his brother, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, welcomed Ayatollah Khamenei's intervention. Sadegh Larijani said he understood Khamenei's "message of unity" with his "life and heart", while Ali Larijani welcomed the Supreme Leader's advice.

Ahmadinejad, in contrast, said nothing

(Hat tip to the Iran Tracker)

 

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