See also Remember Iran: The Protests, the Repression...and the "Hope That Runs The World" br>
Remember Iran Flashback: "The Obama Administration Fails to React" (14 June 2009) br>
Remember Iran Flashback: 14 June 2009 Live Coverage --- "More than 100" Arrested as Greens Prepare Rally br>
The Latest from Iran (13 June): The Reformists and the Next Election
Between June 2009 and July 2011 at least 42 lawyers were arrested and at least 7 lawyers were forced to leave the country. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah was recently sentenced to 9 years' imprisonment and a 10 year ban on practicing law. The security officials have told him that either he will give a televised interview in which he will state that he was given money by foreign governments for defending his client or he has to go to prison....
Harassing the lawyers is not limited to their detention and sentencing. Most of the lawyers who have been detained are repeatedly questioned for having defended their clients. They are summoned and interrogated by security forces in short intervals. Many have been forced to promise not to give interviews to the media regarding the conditions of their clients. For this reason, methods of providing information regarding the conditions of the political prisoners are being blocked more and more every day. Some of the lawyers are told that they cannot accept political case files. For this reason, many prisoners of conscience are deprived of their right to a defense, prescribed by the Iranian constitution.
1510 GMT: (Challenging the) Clerics Watch. Former MP Emad Afrough, declaring that "one should not slaughter the values of the Islamic Revolution to stay in power", has asserted that clergy are too entwined in management in Iran.
An EA correspondent notes the significance that Afrough is challenging Ayatollah Khomeini's command for clergy to be involved in politics.
1430 GMT: Justice Watch. The Ministry of Intelligence claims that it has arrested the "main elements" behind the assassination of two of its nuclear scientists, alleging they were spies working for Israel.
The Ministry said agents affiliated with the "Zionist regime" were involved in the January 2012 assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan and the November 2010 killing of Majid Shariari: "A series of heavy and thorough intelligence operations which begun after the assassination of our first nuclear scientists...led to the identification of a number of agents [gathering information] for the fake regime that rules over the occupied territories."
The numbers, names, or nationalities of the agents were not cited.
Roshan was a deputy director of procurement at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant; his driver was also killed in the assassination. Shariari, a professor at Tehran's Shahid Beheshti University, was slain in an attack which wounded Fereydoun Abbasi Davani, who is now head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency.
Last month Majid Jamali Fashi, a former kickboxer, was executed for his alleged role as an Israeli spy in the assassination of scientist Masoud Alimohammadi.
ISNA, without giving details, reported that the two men discussed the issue of Iran's nuclear programme as well as the breakdown in diplomatic relations between the two countries, marked by the November 2011 storming of the British Embassy by a pro-regime crowd in Tehran.
About 10,000 inspectors will be sent, said Javad Taghavi, the Deputy Minister of Industries, Mines and Commerce.
The ministry has set up a phone number for Iranians to report and file complaints, Taghavi said, adding that offenders will be punished.
0959 GMT: The Battle Within. More interesting rumblings after President Ahmadinejad's Sunday speech criticising the "lies and slanders" of the "bigheads" opposed to him....
Alef carries the reply of Fars to Ahmadinejad: "Are the "bigheads" your followers or those on the list in your pocket?
Even more intriguing, the original article on Fars has disappeared, prompting speculation: could this be because some of those on Ahmadinejad's "list", possibly compiled with documents from the Ministry of Intelligence, close to the Supreme Leader?
0855 GMT: Postcard from Iran. Skip the headline, "Hugs from Iran", and the first half of the account by Nick Kristof of The New York Times of his trip across northern Iran --- it's after he talks about how much Iranians like Americans that he gets to the important observations:
Compared with my last visit, in 2004, people seem more discontented — mainly because of economic difficulties caused in part by Western sanctions. Those sanctions are causing bitter pain, yet a surprising number of Iranians seem to largely blame their own leaders for the woes.
Another difference from my last visit: People are more scared now.
And then there is the punch of Kristof's conclusion:
To me, Iran feels like other authoritarian countries I covered before they toppled. My guess is that the demise of the system is a matter of time — unless there’s a war between Iran and the West, perhaps ignited by Israeli strikes on Iranian nuclear sites. That, I sense, would provoke a nationalist backlash and rescue the ayatollahs.
0500 GMT: Four days before renewed talks with the 5+1 Powers on Tehran's nuclear programme, Iranian leaders are putting out unity and defiance. While the Supreme Leader told Parliament and President to work together for the good of the nation, the Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, used Syria to show "another blow to the global hegemony in the region, on top of their failures over the recent years".
Jayazeri, condemning the "great psychological operation" of the US against the Assad regime, continued, “The region’s resistance is not a matter that the Islamic Republic can be indifferent about and anyone that commits evil deeds against this red-line of the Islamic Revolution will be dealt with." he said.
Given the critical situation in Syria and tensions within Iran challenging "unity", can the regime see its assertions as expressions of strength rather than weakness?
One clue came from an unexpected source on Wednesday. Writing in Al-Monitor, US-based Professor Djavad Salehi-Isfahani asked, "The Iranians do not seem to be behaving as if their economic clock is ticking. Are they bluffing or looking at a different set of facts?"
Salehi-Isfahani then offers his own selective presentation of the "facts":
A comparison with Turkey helps show why Iran’s economy has not performed as badly as is generally believed....The government does not see inflation per se as particularly threatening....There is no evidence that inflation affects the lower-income groups, which form the government’s power base, worse than any other. Not everyone can lose, since higher rents or produce prices must accrue to someone....Apart from the fact that sanctions have disrupted Iran’s foreign trade, the foreign-exchange situation of Iran is the envy of the developing world, with virtually no foreign debt and substantial reserves of various currencies and gold.
[The regime has] reason to be confident that with some policy corrections to improve the domestic climate for business, Iran can weather this storm and the economy can coast for quite a while so that the leadership does not have to give in to what it considers unreasonable Western demands — especially with no prospect of a serious rollback in sanctions.
The article can be challenged on numerous grounds on its economic perspective, but for now, it performs a valuable political service: is this indeed the view that Iran's leaders have of their position at home and abroad? If so, any US and European expectations that Tehran will make concessions in Moscow could be far off the mark.