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Iran Live Coverage: Humiliation of Ahmadinejad Continues --- Advisor Mortazavi Arrested

See also Iran Analysis: Ahmadinejad's Latest Defeat --- Senior Advisor Mortazavi Arrested
Monday's Iran Live Coverage: Has Tehran Agreed to Resume Nuclear Talks?

2112 GMT: Ahmadinjad Watch (Egyptian Front). President Ahmadinejad and Al-Azhar cleric Hassan al-Shafai clash at a press conference after a stormy meeting between Ahmadinejad and Sunni Muslim scholar Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of the 1000-year-old mosque and University,today (see 1755 GMT):

2037 GMT: Ahmadinjad Watch (Egyptian Front). Lots of chatter on the Web tonight about this video of a man throwing a shoe at President Ahmadinejad during his visit to Cairo --- a Syrian man, who was heard chanting anti-Iranian slogans over Tehran's support of the Assad regime, has been arrested:

1924 GMT: The Battle Within. Head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani has cancelled his meeting with Parliament's Development Committee because of an urgent appointment with the Supreme Leader.

1801 GMT: The Humiliation of Ahmadinejad. A series of developments over Sunday's clash between President Ahmadinejad and Speaker Ali Larijani in Parliament and Monday night's arrest of Presidential advisor Saeed Mortazavi....

There is a battle of videos on the Internet. An anonymous poster has put up clips of Mortazavi and Fazel Larijani, the Speaker's brother, supposedly engaged in conversations over a favour requested by Larijani.

In his appearance on Sunday, Ahmadinejad had tried to play an audio implicating Fazel Larijani, but it was inaudible. Ali Larijani then turned the President's gamble against him, claiming Ahmadinejad had shown a lack of "ethical and moral standards",

On his website, Ali Larijani has put up the full video of the showdown with Ahmadinejad. State broadcaster IRIB has only shown an abridged version.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior official in the judiciary, has tried to turn the encounter between his brother and the President, into a positive: "[It is] a sign of the exuberance of the political system of the country."

1755 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch (Egyptian Front). Back from an academic break to find a bit of a glitch for President Ahmadinejad in his trip to Cairo today....

Egypt's leading Sunni Muslim scholar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb urged Iran to refrain from interfering in Gulf Arab states, to recognize Bahrain as a "sisterly Arab nation", and to reject the extension of Shi'ite Muslim influence in Sunni countries.

Ahmadinejad told a news conference after his visit to the 1000-year-old Al-Azhar mosque and university that he hoped his trip would be "a new starting point in relations between us".

In contrast, senior cleric Hassan al-Shafai, sitting alongside Ahmadinejad, said, "There ensued some misunderstandings on certain issues that could have an effect on the cultural, political and social climate of both countries. The issues were such that the Grand Sheikh saw that the meeting...did not serve the desired purpose."

1230 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch (Egyptian Front). Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has arrived in Cairo, in what has become not only a historic trip by an Iranian President but --- more importantly for Ahmadinejad --- an attempt to recover his domestic political position.

As the Iranian President disembarked from his plane, his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi kissed Ahmadinejad. The leaders then walked down a red carpet.

Ahmadinejad is formally in Egypt to attend an Islamic summit that begins on Wednesday. He is the first Iranian head of government to visit Cairo since the 1979 Islamic Revolution,

1100 GMT: Nuclear Watch. Back from an academic break to find the news that Iran has agreed to nuclear talks with the 5+1 Powers on 26 February in Kazakhstan.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi had welcomed the announcement of the 5+1 (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) that they were gathering in the Kazakh capital Astana on 25 February. It was unclear, however, if Salehi had said Tehran would attend.

It now transpires that Iran's Supreme National Security Council had further meetings before the official declaration this morning, following a phone call between deputy Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri and his 5+1 counterpart, the European Union's Helga Schmid.

State news agency IRNA gave no details on the agenda for the talks, so it is unclear what has finally brought Iran to the table. The Iranians had balked at renewed discussions, including a proposed meeting in Istanbul on 28-29 January, because of the reluctance of the US and its European partners to move away from the demand of "stop, ship, and ship" over Iran's enrichment of 20% uranium.

Tehran insisted that any concession on the 20% programme must be matched by an easing of sanctions.

0820 GMT: The Humiliation of Ahmadinejad. Arash Bahmani, writes for Rooz Online, offers a comprehensive English-language summary of Sunday's events in Parliament --- with the clash between President Ahmadinejad and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani and the dismissal of the Minister of Labor --- and its aftermath.

0814 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist Mahsa Amrabadi, serving a one-year sentence, has been returned to Evin Prison after a short furlough.

0810 GMT: Mortazavi Arrested. President Ahmadinejad, before leaving for an Islamic summit in Egypt, has responded to the "very ugly" news of last night's arrest of his senior advisor Saeed Mortazavi.

Ahmadinejad said he will pursue the matter "very seriously" on his return and jibed that the judiciary should be "the nation's judiciary", implying it was controlled by a few people --- or, more specfically, the Larijani family --- who had ordered Mortazavi's detention.

The news of the arrest, combined with Ahmadinejad's humiliation in Parliament on Sunday, has overshadowed his hopes for a political victory with the trip to Cairo --- the first visit by an Iranian President to Egypt since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

0710 GMT: Mortazavi Arrested Last night, less than 36 hours after Mahmoud Ahmadinjead was humiliated in Parliament and his Minister of Labor dismissed by the MPs, Presidential advisor Saeed Mortazavi --- head of Social Security Funds, former Tehran Prosecutor General, "Butcher of the Press" --- was arrested as he was leaving his office.

According to Fars, Mortazavi was immediately taken to Evin Prison.

The advisor was detained over his alleged role, as Prosecutor General, in the abuse and killing of post-election protesters in summer 2009 in the Kahrizak detention centre.

We have a full analysis in a separate entry, "Ahmadinejad's Latest Defeat --- Senior Advisor Mortazavi Arrested".

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