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Entries in Hashemi Rafsanjani (25)


The Latest from Iran (18 January): Firewall

2205 GMT: And Here's Another One. Looks like the campaign against Hashemi Rafsanjani hasn't stopped. Someone in the regime has ensured that he will not be leading the ceremony at Imam Khomeini's memorial on 11 Bahman (1 February), the start of celebrations of Iran's Islamic Revolution.

2200 GMT: Political Teasers. While I've been out, EA readers have been sending in a series of interesting stories on the manoeuvres inside the establishment --- we'll have the best of them, with an analysis, to start Tuesday morning. Meanwhile....

Ayande News continues its campaign against former 1st Vice President and Ahmadinejad aide Esfandiar Rahim-Mashi. The newspaper features the claim that several Rahim-Mashai relatives have been appointed to the board of the state automobile company Saipa, taking a controlling interest.

Rahim-Mashai's son, Reza, has become managing director of Saipa's investment branch while his nephew is now the company's head of business development.

NEW Iran Analysis: How “Mohareb” Death Sentences May Hurt Regime
Latest Iran Video: Marandi on CNN on Detainee Abuses “Mortazavi to Blame” (17 January)
Iran: The Ali-Mohammadi Case “A Political Assassination”

Iran: The Ali-Mohammadi Funeral “The Stolen Coffin”
UPDATED Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January — Parts 3-5)

Latest from Iran (17 January): Setting Aside Diversions

2150 GMT: More on the assassination of prosecutor Vali Haji Gholizadeh, shot dead in front of his home in Khoy City in Iran's West Azerbaijan province, bordering Turkey and Iraq. A police official says, "A special unit has been formed to identify those behind this assassination."

1935 GMT: Another 5-Point Plan (cont.). Radio Zaamaneh has published an English-language summary of the 5-point plan presented by 34 Iranian women (see 1615 GMT). The signatories, call for an “annulment of all discriminatory and anti-women laws, recognition of women’s right to their body and mind, ending violence against women and prosecution of all perpetrators of the crimes committed in the past thirty years” as part of a resolution of the current crisis. They also support "freedom of thought, speech and assembly", call for an end to torture and the death penalty, and demand “the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners”.

The 34 women put their 5 points within the framework of the Islamic Republic, "not changing the president or limiting the power of the leadership; but rather the realization of fundamental and structural changes”.

1920 GMT: Vali Haji Gholizadeh, the prosecutor of Khoy, a town in western Azerbaijan in northwestern Iran, has been killed by a gunshot.

1653 GMT: I'll be away for a few hours for academic and media work, returning about 2100 GMT for an evening update.

1650 GMT: Norooz is reporting that the Qoba Mosque in Shiraz, which was occupied by pro-Government groups who closed the offices of Ayatollah Dastgheib, has reopened.

1615 GMT: Another 5-Point Plan. Responding to and interacting with Mir Hossein Mousavi's 5-point proposal of 1 January, 34 Iranian women have published their own 5-point manifesto for resolution of the political crisis.

1440 GMT: Demonstrations and Trials. One reliable Iranian activist is updating on today's "mohareb" trial of five accused, while another is reporting that 100s of family members of detainees have gathered outside the Tehran Prosecutor General's office.

1145 GMT: Poking at "Foreign Intervention", Chapter 2 (see 0940 GMT). Minister of Interior Mostafa Mohammad Najjar has declared the Islamic Republic will have its revenge on "foreign elements" (and, yes, he means you, Israel) over the assassination of Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi.

1130 GMT: The "Mohareb" Trials. Iranian Students News Agency is reporting that five protesters, detained on Ashura (27 December), have gone on trial, accused of "mohareb" (war against God), a charge that could carry the death sentence. The Islamic Republic News Agency has said the five are members of the People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI).

See our related analysis, "How 'Mohareb' Death Sentences May Hurt Regime".

0940 GMT: Mottaki to Britain "We Will Decide If We Like You". Today's poke at "foreign intervention" comes from Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who says: "Iran has carried out a thorough study on its relations with Britain in different fields particularly over the past six months. There are 10-12 working fields between Iran and the UK. We are currently reviewing each area."

No word yet of British panic over the statement.

0800 GMT: The Regime and Mohareb. We've posted a report by Edward Yeranian of Voice of America which points to risks for the regime in threatening death sentences for protesters because they are "mohareb" (warriors against God).

0700 GMT: More on Target Mortazavi. Press TV's website is headlining the letter by 55 members of Parliament to President Ahmadinejad and the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, "demanding clarification" on the Kahrizak prison enquiry and the case of Saeed Mortazavi.
0650 GMT: And If You're Really Into Battles. On the Ahmadinejad v. Rafsanjani front, Hojetolelam Saghaye Biriaa, an advisor to Ahmadinejad, used a speech to criticise the Green Movement and then attacked the former President, "The Leader’s approach and beliefs are completely different to those of Hashemi Rafsanjani, exactly like Imam Khomeini, whose understanding and beliefs were different to the approach and beliefs of Ayatollah Montazeri."

0640 GMT: Motahhari v. The Government (Round 45). Just to highlight another running story, the "challenge within" from member of Parliament and Larijani ally Ali Motahhari, here are the weekend's headlines:

Motahhari directly criticised Ahmadinejad, accusing him as being one of the principle causes of the post-election crisis and saying he has to apologize to people for his wrong actions. Ahmadinejad advisor Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai responded to a group of journalists: “Firstly, what Motahhari is saying is cheap and baseless and, secondly, we are in the processes of filing a complain against him."

Back came Motahhari, declaring that Mashai should not interfere in and talk about issues which are beyond his "brain capacity" and that he should continue working on his ridiculous plan of Iran-Israel friendship. Then Motahhari returned to Ahmadinejad: the President is like "the person who has caused a big and tragic (car) accident but he has escaped from the scene and we have to try and penalise and punish the person who has the most responsibility".

0600 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz reports concerns over the deteriorating health of Ebrahim Yazdi, the former Foreign Minister and leader of the Freedom Movement of Iran, who has been detained since Ashura (27 December). The 79-year-old Yazdi was also held just after the June election but, on that occasion, was soon released.

0555 GMT: Cyber-War Update: Mahmoud Silenced. President Ahmadinejad's blog is still off-line, weeks after the website was attacked.

0540 GMT: The lead news this morning continues to be the regime's effort at legitimacy through the investigation of the detainee abuses at Kahrizak Prison. A couple of months ago, the speculation was that former Tehran Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi would be the fall guy, facing a trial and jail for his supposed lead role in the scandal of beatings and deaths of prisoners. That was deflected by Mortazavi's appointment as an aide to President Ahmadinejad, but now it appears that he is the firewall against challenges to others in the Government and regime, including the Supreme Leader.

We've got the video of the CNN interview in which Tehran University academic Seyed Mohammad Marandi lays out, in the guise of reporting and analysis, the strategy. (Apologies to those of you in the US whom CNN have blocked from seeing the video; the alternative, as laid out by our readers, is to download the video from CNN's Amanpour website and play it back on QuickTime.)

Elsewhere, Agence France Presse picks up on the opening provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting debates, in which some reformists have made telling challenges to the regime. While we have highlighted the remarks of Dr Javad Etaat, posting the video and translation of his contribution, AFP notes the exchange between reformist member of Parliament Mostafa Kavakebian and "hard-line" editor of Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmadari.

Latest from Iran (17 January): Setting Aside Diversions

2250 GMT: The Regime Sacrifices Mortazavi (on US Television). What a way to close the evening. In an interview on CNN tonight, Tehran University academic Seyed Mohammad Marandi effectively gave up former Tehran Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi as the man responsible for the detainee abuses and deaths at Kahrizak Prison. We've got the video and a snap analysis.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Marandi on CNN on Detainee Abuses “Mortazavi to Blame” (17 January)
NEW Iran: The Ali-Mohammadi Case “A Political Assassination”
NEW Iran: The Ali-Mohammadi Funeral “The Stolen Coffin”
UPDATED Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January — Parts 3-5)
UPDATED Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January — Parts 1 and 2)
NEW Iran: The 15 Points of “The Secular Green Movement” (14 January)
Latest Iran News (16 January): Ripples

1945 GMT: Don't Look Now But.... Former 1st Vice President and Presidential ally Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai is handing out wisdom, according to Press TV: "The Islamic system's adherence to keep an 'unbreakable connection' between its legitimacy and popularity is the key to its survival."

Don't want to rain on this supremacy parade, Mr R-M, but given recent developments (see 1035 GMT and 1100 GMT), you want to think about your own survival before pronouncing on that of the Islamic Republic.

1935 GMT: Repent! Rah-e-Sabz reports supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi in Borujerd in western Iran are being summoned by the Ministry of Intelligence and asked to sign statements of repentance.

1845 GMT: Zia Nabavi, a "starred" (monitored) student and spokesman for the Right to Education Defense Council, has been given a 15-year jail term combined with 74 lashes. The sentence consists of ten years for association with the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO), three years for gathering and collusion to undermine national security; one year for spreading propaganda against the regime; one year for disturbing the public peace; and 74 lashes for antagonizing public opinion.

During his trial, Mr. Nabavi strenuously denied association with the MKO, saying he was being sentenced for the presence of a few of his family members at MKO’s Ashraf base in Iraq. According to Mr. Nabavi’s lawyer, the main charge was participation in a street march on June 15.

1802 GMT: A new website has been created by journalists and human rights activists to bring attention to the cases of less prominent post-election detainees.

1800 GMT: We've posted the video of the concluding part of Dr Javad Etaat's powerful criticism of the regime which was aired on Iranian state media this week.

1720 GMT: The files of 17 The files of 17 detained killed protesters have been sent by Tehran's Chief Prosecutor to the criminal court of Tehran.

1705 GMT: Two more members of the Freedom Movement of Iran, Solmaz Alimoradi and Farid Taheri, were arrested today. The regime has targeted the group with a series of arrests on and after Ashura (27 December).

(An activist is now reporting that four members were arrested, adding the names of Mamood Naimpoor and Khosro Ghashghai.)

1700 GMT: Oh, Mahmoud, You Crazy Guy. Who needs to worry about an internal crisis when you can do this to highlight the evil wrought by others upon Iran? "A task force assigned by Iran's president has begun their work in estimating the amount of damage inflicted on the Iranian nation during the Second World War."

1645 GMT: Targeting Mortazavi. Not a good omen for Saeed Mortazavi: Press TV's website headlines, "Ex-Tehran prosecutor should stand 'trial'". The article carries Mortazavi's denial that he was responsible for detainees abuses in Kahrizak Prison, taken from his comments to Fars News, but closes with this stinger:
Parviz Sorouri, the lawmaker who heads the panel, told Mehr News Agency that the report was "based on undeniable evidence and documents" gathered by his team. The lawmaker insisted a tribunal should be established to consider the panel's report. "Mr. Mortazavi should also present his evidence in this court," Sorouri said.

A total of 55 members of Parliament, led by Sorouri, have written to demand that Mortazavi be brought to court.

1445 GMT: Death Sentence Propaganda. We reported earlier (0823 GMT) that a Hossein Mahmoodi, who had supposedly been sentenced to death as "mohareb" (warrior against God), was the nephew of Hojatoleslam Jafar Montazeri, the head of Iran's Administrative Justice Court.

Only one catch here: Hojatolislam Montazeri is saying he does not have a nephew named Hossein Mahmoodi.

So, if that is true, who is spreading the lie?

1420 GMT: Student activist Majid Dorri has received an 11-year jail sentence.

1328 GMT: Member of Parliament Ali Motahhari (see 1035 GMT) has called for Mir Hossein Mousavi to be allowed into debates on the post-election situation.

1325 GMT: The Mothers of Mourning Persist. A week after their protest was disrupted by 33 arrests, the Mothers of Mourning and their supporters gathered again in Laleh Park yesterday, chanting, "You can occupy Laleh Park, but not our country."

1205 GMT: Another Reformist Put Away. Opposition websites report that senior reformist and former member of Parliament Mohsen Safai Farahani has been sentenced to six years in jail.

1150 GMT: A Newspaper Offensive Against the Regime? If this is interpreted accurately, the "challenge within" to the regime seems to be moving up a notch.

Ayande News has published an analysis by a senior official which, painting a bleak picture of the post-election situation, indirectly blames misjudgments by the Supreme Leader and a disregard for Constitution in siding with “extremists and rogues”. The unnamed official asks where the regime is headed, given the gap between people and Ayatollah Khamenei and the stagnation of the regime and Government.

In Alef News, Mohammad Hassan Haeri Shirazi, the son of Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi, asks whether the intention is to establish an absolute Islamic state or a one-party regime. He criticises the Supreme Leader for manipulating elections, causing a deterioration of democracy and a move towards an oppressive regime.

1100 GMT: P.S. And Khabar Online also has this parting shot of news for Ahmadinejad aide Rahim-Mashai: Iranian state media kept him off TV screens during recent public appearances.

1035 GMT: Ahmadinejad's Buddy v. The Larijanis? We noted earlier (0800 GMT) that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's close ally Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai has been taking potshots at member of Parliament Ali Motahhari, the brother-in-law of Ali Larijani). Well, if true, here is another front in the battle, offered by Khabar Online (which, remember, is a publication connected with Ali Larijani):
In [a] gathering of the members of Ahmadinejad election headquarters held in the grand hall of [the] Interior Ministry, his backers chanted slogans against Mir Hossein Mousavi, opposition leader, as well as Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Ahmadinejad's chief of staff and his top aide.

According to Khabar Online correspondent who exclusively reported on the issue, the event took place at 8 to 12 a.m. Friday and was attended by the officials of Ahmadinejad election headquarters. Among them officials from the provinces of Azerbaijan and Mazandaran made speeches and after a known cleric, Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi delivered the lecture, [the] Iranian President...made a speech.

During his speech, the government supporters shouted "Death to Mousavi!" But interestingly when the ceremony came to an end several attendants chanted slogans against Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Ahmadinejad's close aide: "Mashaei Shame on You! Leave Ahmadi Alone!" and "Ahmadi Replace Mashaei!" They began to shout when the attendants were leaving the hall.

0828 GMT: Not Me. Former Tehran Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi has rejected the Parliamentary report that holds him accountable for the post-election abuses at Kahrizak Prison.

0823 GMT: The Death Penalty and the Regime. Amir Kabir Newsletter claims that Hossein Mahmoodi, the nephew of Hojatoleslam Jafar Montazeri, the head of Iran's Administrative Justice Court, is amongst a number of Ashura protesters who have been marked out for execution.

0817 GMT: Detention Update. As the regime tries to break protests with more arrests, there are claims that Eshrat Abad Prison could become a "second Kahrizak". Kahrizak Prison was site of post-election detainee abuses and at least three deaths before it was closed on the orders of the Supreme Leader.

0815 GMT: A "corrected" issue of the weekly newspaper Hemmat has been printed after the publication was banned, apparently for insulting Hashemi Rafsanjani.

0810 GMT: No "Mohareb". Amidst Government threats to try demonstrators for the crime of "mohareb" (war against God), more than 60 journalists and human rights activists have signed an open letter denouncing the threat.

0800 GMT: Indeed, the important issue may not be just the Government's reaction to protests (see 0730 GMT) but to its challengers "within". Consider this provocative statement from President Ahmadinejad's ally and Chief of Staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

No real shocker that Rahim-Mashai would trot out the line that American and Israeli denials of responsibility in the assassination of Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi "are revealing". The intriguing passage, instead, is Rahim-Mashai's allegation that high-profile member of Parliament (and brother-in-law of Ali Larijani) Ali Motahhari has tried to diminish the offences of riot leaders with his criticisms of the Government. So Rahim-Mashai's assurance that legal prosecution is underway is not just a slap-down to the Green movement but to Mottahari.

0730 GMT: Two weeks to go until 11 days of celebration begin, marking the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, and the political manoeuvring continues. Since the protest and counter-protest of Ashura (27 and 30 December), the public scenes have been less dramatic, but the chatter and preparations continue. Those preparations may be supported by the symbol of the death of Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi this week: we have two pieces from Ahmad Shirzad on the "political assassination" and on the drama of Ali-Mohammadi's funeral.

Most of the Western media, however, is diverted today from these events. The Saturday talks of the "5+1" powers (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China) on Iran's nuclear programme were never going to produce any outcome, but just their occurrence is enough for reporters to fill up columns with the non-development. The Washington Post headlines, "Major powers reach no deal on new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program", while The New York Times tries to rescue a bit of significance, "6 Major Powers Move Closer to Considering More Iran Sanctions".

Inside Iran, the attention is on the Government's approach to protests. Prominent cleric and politician Mohammad Reyshahri has caused a stir by breaking from "hard-line" supporters of the regime, condemning extremism and neglect in dealing with post-election demonstrations.

Reyshahri --- Supervisor of Iranian Pilgrims, a former representative of the Supreme Leader and former Minister of Intelligence --- declared, “It is no accomplishment to turn a martyr’s family into supporters of a coup. Transforming coup organizers into martyrs is the real accomplishment.” He added, “We must manage things so that if someone supports Velayat-e Faghih (Supreme Leadership of an expert cleric) only 10 percent and is against it 90 percent, we add to that 10 percent rather than completely destroying that 10 percent.”

The Latest from Iran (15 January): Refreshing?

2200 GMT: Your Late-Night Cyber-Treat. On Google, type "Ahmadinejad President of Iran". Hit "I'm Feeling Lucky".

2140 GMT: We started this morning (see 0715 GMT) by noting the possible significance of the "reformist" criticisms of Dr Javad Etaat making their way onto Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. We end today by posting the video of the first part of the interview and an English translation.

2030 GMT: Cyber-Warfare Strike. Hacking the website of Iran's Hezbollah (Party of God) is one thing. Doing it with the slogan "The End is F***ing Near" is another. And accomplishing it with a diversion to the domain, well... Let's just say that Iran's police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam (see 1220 GMT) may want to get a bigger Internet manual if he is serious about taking on the opposition in a Web slugfest.

NEW Latest Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January)
NEW Iran: Anger, Pain, & Fear — The Funeral of Professor Ali-Mohammadi
NEW Latest Iran Video: Green Protest and the Iran-Belgium Football Match (14 January)
NEW Iran: The Regime Censors the 1979 Revolution
NEW Latest Iran Audio: The Last Lecture of Professor Ali-Mohammadi
Latest Iran Video: Al Jazeera’s Debate Over The Death of Ali-Mohammadi (13 January)
Latest Iran Video: The Life, Death, and Funeral of Professor Ali-Mohammadi (14 January)
Latest Iran Video: “A Message to Armed Forces of Iran” (13 January)
Iran Analysis: Political Manoeuvring Around the Professor’s Death
The Latest from Iran (14 January): The Professor’s Funeral

1935 GMT: Quality Analysis of Day. Well done, Asadollah Badamchian, member of Parliament: “The assassination [of Professor Ali-Mohammadi] and terrorist operation was a previously planned step in the Green Velvet Revolution." The movement, Badamchian said, consists of five sub-groups, “each of which are gradually eroding”.

1825 GMT: That Supreme Leader Message of Condolence (Again). So sorry that Professor Ali-Mohammadi is dead, building up to "the criminal hand that brought this disaster has revealed the motive of the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran to deal a blow to the scientific movement of the country".

1624 GMT: A Bit of US Pressure? From an Indian news agency: "The United States has asked Pakistan to dump its plan of receiving natural gas from Iran through a pipeline. According to sources, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, during his meeting with Petroleum Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, said Islamabad would have to abandon its pipeline accord with Tehran in order to qualify for extensive American energy assistance especially for importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and electricity."

1618 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayers Summary. Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani gets the nod today, and he comes up with the stunning declaration, "The enemy uses every possible means to harm the establishment and the country so we should, in a very real sense, remain vigilant."

OK, not so stunning. In fact, repetitive. But we had to say something.

Oh, yes. Emami-Kashani also "called for televised debates to clear ambiguities about the country's current political affairs".

1615 GMT: We've posted an account of yesterday's funeral of Professor Ali-Mohammadi and its effects on academics and students.

1445 GMT: Supreme Leader's Message of Condolence to Family of Professor Ali-Mohammadi. Here's a summary: Ayatollah Khamenei expresses his sorrow, to Ali-Mohammadi's mother, wife, friends, colleagues, and students, and --- by the way --- this is a terror act that "reveals enemies' motive to harm Iran's scientific movement and jihad".

1245 GMT: Divine Declaration of Day. Hossein Taeb, head of the Intelligence Bureau of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps and former head of the Basiji militia sets it out: the Supreme Leader is unjust are in error, those who follow him will go to Paradise. An Iranian activist offers this translation of Taeb's words:
Even though [the Supreme Leader] was suffering under [Grand Ayatollah] Montazeri during Imam Khomeini's time and despite all insults he had to endure, he did issue a beautifuland  gentle message upon Montazeri's passing and advised that he can be buried anywhere the family wanted. Those who say the Supreme Leader has left the [path of] justice, don't understand the meaning of it. They think that Supreme Leader is chosen by the Assembly of Experts. Supreme Leader is rather discovered by Experts and that is why they can't grant capabilities. It is God who does.

1220 GMT: We Will Find You. Is this a declaration of strength or nervousness? Iran's police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam has warned against Internet and text messages to spread news of demonstrations:
These people should know where they are sending the SMS and email as these systems are under control. They should not think using proxies will prevent their identification. If these people continue, their records will be examined and those who organise or issue appeals have committed a worse crime than those who come to the streets.

1145 GMT: The Resigning Diplomat. Confirmation comes in a Norwegian television interview that Mohammad Reza Heidari, an Iranian diplomat in Norway, is quitting his post. Heydari's intention to resign was initally reported days ago on radio. He claims that an Iranian official came to Oslo to assure him he would not be hurt if he retracted the resignation: "I refused to agree to that. They suggested I'd do an interview in which I denied my defection in order to return to Tehran. But I know I made the right choice and that my conscience is clean."

1140 GMT: We've posted the latest video in our running series on football and protest, opposition chants at the Iran-Belgium indoor football match.

1010 GMT: Iran "Analysis" of Day. Islamic Republic News Agency presents the findings of an "Office of Research and Studies" that there was a "deep intrigue", courtesy of the US Government, for disorder and sedition after the Presidential election.

For those of you who aren't convinced about this exposure of "soft war", there are footnotes. And it's great to see Bush Administration has-been John Bolton and Thomas Friedman of The New York Times in the same "research" paper.

0840 GMT: One Less Death Sentence. Kalemeh reports that Hamid Ruhidnejad, arrested before the elections but condemned to death this summer, will now serve 10 years in jail. Ruhidnejad's father contends that, as his son suffers from multiple sclerosis and is half-blind, he is unlikely to survive the punishment.

0735 GMT: We've posted a separate entry, courtesy of Pedestrian, on how the regime is censoring videos and images of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in the run-up to its 31st anniversary on 22 Bahman (11 February)

0715 GMT: The Opposition Emerges on Iran's State Media. Dr. Javad Etaat, appearing on the Ru Be Farda programme of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, IRIB ("Ru be farda" magazine), criticised the "failed" economic plans of the Government, pointing to Iran's high rate of inflation. He also got political, denouncing the prohibition of demonstrations and the banning of newspapers. Perhaps most pointedly, he refers to Imam Ali, the first Imam of Shi'a Islam, to challenge any prohibition of dissent.

Etaat is a professor of political science at Shahad Behesti University and a former member of the Parliament's Cultural Commission. Unsurprisingly, the video of his comments is now racing around YouTube.

0705 GMT: The Scholars Protest (cont.). An EA reader writes us with a clarification, "That 300+ scholars lettter (see 0630 GMT) started a very long time ago! Deutsche Welle covered it on July 10th."

0645 GMT: The Battle With Rafsanjani. Hamid Rohani, a fervent supporter of President Ahmadinejad, has continued his attack on former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. Asked about his recent claim that Imam Khomeini had warned Rafsanjani could be "deceived" (noted in our updates earlier this week), Rohani insisted --- despite the lack of this claim in Khomeini's published letters --- that the incident was in 1973, when the Friday Prayers leader of the city of Rafsanjan wrote Khomeini. What is more: Rohani claims the exchange arose from Rafsanjani's request for religious funds for the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI), which the regime now considers a "terrorist" movement.

0635 GMT: Mousavi's Reference to Government "Enemies"? We noted last night that Mir Hossein Mousavi had sent condolences to the family of the murdered physicist, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi. This phrase, however, deserves attention: Ali-Mohammadi was assassinated by "enemies of the people". Who is that "enemy"?

0630 GMT: The Scholars Protest. Iranian academics working and studying abroad are circulating an open letter to the "Honourable People of Iran": "Preparing the grounds for the free exchange of information, opinions and beliefs, and most importantly the security of university students, academics, and thinkers, are the responsibilities of the government and are the most basic conditions for scientific and social growth of a nation."

More than 300 scholars have already signed the letter.

0625 GMT: It's the weekend in Iran, and we're expecting a bit of a lull after the furour over the killing of Professor Ali-Mohammadi. We have posted the full audio of the physicist's last lecture.

That said, there have been so many fissures in the "establishment" this week that there may not be a pause this Friday. And there's a sign that the Green movement has even gotten a foothold in the broadcasts of Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting --- we're working on the video and story.

Iran Analysis: Political Manoeuvring Around the Professor's Death

0600 GMT: News this morning continues to be dominated by the political moves around the killing of Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi.

Non-Iranian media are picking up on the messages of condolence from former Presidents Mohammad Khatami and Hashemi Rafsanjani (see yesterday's updates), noting that both call the murder an act of terrorism but that neither attributes blame to a particular group.

Khatami echoed the language of Iranian state media with the declaration, "The dirty hand who did this murder with no doubt was the enemy of Iran," and he condemned the group trying to "further destabilise the crisis". He stopped there, however, with no further indication of what that group was. Rafsanjani's reference to "cowardly terrorism" may have taken one step towards the regime by denouncing "a new era of intrigue", but he stopped ther

Iran Analysis: Nuclear Myths, Rogue Elements, and Professor Ali-Mohammadi’s Murder
Iran Special: Interpreting the Death of Professor Ali-Mohammadi
Latest Iran Video: The Leverett Line on Killing of Professor Ali-Mohammadi (13 January)
Latest Iran Video: How State Media Frames Killing of “Nuclear” Professor (12 January)

The Latest from Iran (14 January): Fighting for Position

That is significant, of course, for what is not said. Neither Khatami nor Rafsanjani are going to provoke a confrontation with the regime but hinting at responsibility of any element within it, or even a "rogue element" whose actions are being covered up. At the same time, neither are going to join in the state strategy of US-Israel-MKO-monarchists killing Ali-Mohammadi to disrupt Iran's nuclear programme and/or to destabilise the Government.

Equally important, the same is true of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, senior clerics challenging the Government, and almost all in the Green Movement. The speculation of an "inside job" has generally been limited to bits and pieces of circumstantial information on blogs and websites. The overwhelming majority of words have been devoted to Ali-Mohammadi, in particular confirming that he is not directly involved in a nuclear programme and that he supported the Mousavi Presidential campaign and had sympathy for the post-election protest.

This, in other words, is not the pretext to advance the legal and political demands upon the regime. To be blunt, there is no evidence to establish Government responsibility for the murder --- even Mr Smith's well-considered suggestion of "rogue elements" is based largely on an assessment of motives and past events such as the 1990s "Chain Murders" --- and one killing, no matter how tragic, should take over the Green movement's presentation. (For those who want to follow up, "Neda" is a different case because of the symbolism surrounding her death at the hands of a Basij gunman.)

The same is not true of the regime, where there is a sustained effort to turn the Ali-Mohammadi death into a rallying call against the "enemy" within and without. The latest volley comes this morning from the head of the Basij militia, Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, "People are angry at those who paved the ground for the recent incidents and assassinations. The revenge for these crimes should be taken on the US and with the support of God we will do so."

Watch for pro-Government analysts, as well as officials, to continue this line, which both replaces earlier lines of defense/attack (such as the alleged defacing of Imam Khomeini's image) and links to them. The story will be that the grave insult to the Iranian nation and Islam on Ashura (27 December) was met three days later by the millions who defended the nation and regime. This latest insult --- to a dedicated "revolutionary" as well as scientist --- will be met by more affirmation of Iran's resistance to and triumph over all its enemies.

The Latest from Iran (13 January): Speculations and Realities

2125 GMT: More Fun with the MKO. I guess one "Dumbest Strategy of Day" Award isn't enough. Following Euro MP Struan Stevenson's cheerful advocacy of an alliance with the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran, the political wing of the Mujahedin-e-Khaq "terrorist" group (MKO), Allan Gerson, a lawyer who has worked for the State and Justice Departments, drops by The Huffington Post to assure:
As a practical matter de-designation of the [Mujahedin-e-Khalq] as a terrorist entity will only enhance Washington's desired outcome of a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear crisis. It would strengthen America's hand in bringing a faltering regime to the negotiating table by letting Tehran know in no uncertain terms that we have taken off the kid-gloves.

Oh, yeah, I'm sure that the Tehran regime, which has been trying to rally opinion by claiming a US-MKO plot to overthrow the Government, will be absolutely traumatised and have no close what to do if Washington follows Gerson's recommendation.

(Oh, so sorry, I took Gerson at face value as an objective if pretty dim commentator. He is in fact co-counsel representing the MKO in the case to take it off the US Government's terrorist list.)

2055 GMT: Former Presidents Mohammad Khatami and Hashemi Rafsanjani have written messages of condolence to the family of President Professor Ali-Mohammadi.

2030 GMT: Battling with the Clerics. A series of skirmishes between Government and clerics today. Ayatollah Sadeghi Tehrani, taking offence at remarks by Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, has declared that the retention of the former First Vice-President and current Presidential Chief of Staff in any official position is “haram” (religiously forbidden).

And Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani, a persistent post-cleric of the Government but relatively quiet in recent weeks, has re-emerged to declare that the principle of velayat-e-faqih (ultimate clerical authority) is not a principle of Islam and denying it is not a sin.

NEW Iran Analysis: Nuclear Myths, Rogue Elements, and Professor Ali-Mohammadi’s Murder
NEW Iran Special: Interpreting the Death of Professor Ali-Mohammadi
NEW Latest Iran Video: The Leverett Line on Killing of Professor Ali-Mohammadi (13 January)
Latest Iran Video: How State Media Frames Killing of “Nuclear” Professor (12 January)
Iran: How Far Do The Green Movements Go?
Iran & Social Media: Dispelling Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (Parsons)

The Latest from Iran (12 January): The Killing of the Professor

Look also for some repercussions from the Government's arrest of Mohammad Taghi Khalaji (see 1745 GMT). He is the father of prominent Mehdi Khalaji, who is based at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Expect WINEP and their allies in the Washington network of "think tanks" to get vocal --- indeed, WINEP has put out a special alert and Danielle Pletka, a Bush-era proponent of US power now at the American Enterprise Institute, has already jumped in, "Iran’s Nazi-Fascism and How You Can Help Fight It". (John Hannah, former advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, has now joined the chorus.)

2015 GMT: The Scholars and Mousavi. 54 Iranian university professors, scholars, and expatriate intellectuals have written an open letter to express firm support for Mir Hossein Mousavi’s "5-proposal" statement, issued on 1 January, as “a step toward the consistency of the Green Movement” with "a minimum political platform with specific demands upon the government”. The signatories specifically praised “the four sections related to free elections and the preconditions for having free elections, including the release of all political prisoners, free and independent press and media, and the emphasis on the rights of forming political parties and holding gatherings”.

Interestingly, the 54 openly referred to the unstated test of the proposals, the removal of the President: “Mousavi while giving the priority to the democratic movement of the people of Iran proved that for advancing the demands of this movement is ready to negotiate with the ruling powers. His indirect position regarding the “legal” removal of Ahmadinejad through the parliament is a signature of these democratic tendencies.”

1745 GMT: BBC Persian reports that Mohammad Taghi Khalaji, a cleric close to the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, has been arrested.

1735 GMT: Trotting Out the Lines on Ali-Mohammadi. Al Jazeera English's "Inside Story", covering the Ali-Mohammadi killing, has just started. Another appearance for Tehran University academic Seyed Mohammad Marandi (see separate video), who declares --- without presenting evidence --- that "the evidence points to the Israelis" and diverts into a declaration of American support for the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO).

Nothing new there, but an interesting twist with the other guest, Siavush Randjbar-Daemi of the University of London. Ranjdbar-Daemi, who has very good sources on Ali-Mohammadi, is able to set out that the Tehran physicist has no connection with Iran's nuclear programme. He also brings out Ali-Mohammadi's support of Mir Hossein Mousavi.

This brings out the quote of the day from Marandi: "The Iranian Atomic Energy Organization did not say that he had absolutely nothing to do with them; they said that he did not work for them." Which somehow proves that Ali-Mohammadi was indeed involved in the nuclear programme.

Oh, sorry, this is the Quote of the Day: "The fact that someone voted for Mr Mousavi does not mean he is a Mousavi supporter. Most of my colleagues who voted for Mr Mousavi no longer support him today. That issue is long gone."

1730 GMT: Ali-Mohammadi's Last Lecture. An absolutely reliable EA source has confirmed that the audio file of Professor Ali-Mohammadi's statement at Tehran University last week (see 1450 GMT) is genuine.

1555 GMT: Dumbest Strategy of Day "Let's Promote MKO". A great day at The Washington Times: having scooped the Dumbest Exploitation of the Ali-Mohammadi Case award with "War with Iran Nears" (see 1045 GMT), they give space to a member of the European Parliament, Struan Stevenson, to call for support of the People's Mujahideen of Iran, the political wing of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq armed resistance (see 1005 GMT).

Stevenson seems oblivious to the notion that almost none of the groups in the Iranian opposition want to work with the PMOI/MEK or that taking the organisation off the US Government's terrorist list would feed the Iranian regime propaganda line that Washington is backing a group which has sought regime change --- often with violence --- for more than a generation. Indeed, he seems oblivious to any consideration of realpolitik as he concludes, "This is intervening in Iran's internal affairs in favor of the mullahs - and now realpolitik dictates this has to be changed."

1545 GMT: Don't Look Here, Look Over There! Another of President Ahmadinejad's "Let's Talk About the World but Not About Iran" televised speeches....

West trying to dominate the Middle East and Central Asia:""All their planning is aimed at this goal. Human rights, fighting nuclear weapons and terrorism are all a big lie....With the pretext of September 11 they started the fire of war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and today in Yemen."

Israel will be vanquished: "The supporters of Zionists should know that the Zionist regime is on the way down to collapse and no one can save it. The Iranian nation will cut from the arm any hand that has been extended to it with the aim (of committing) a crime."

And Saudi Arabia should get on the right side (against Israel) and not on the wrong side (in Yemen): "We were expecting that Saudi Arabian officials act like a mentor and make peace between brothers, not that they themselves enter the war and use bombs ... and machineguns against Muslims. If only a small part of the weapons of Saudi Arabia were used in favor of Gaza and against the Zionist regime, today there would be no sign of the Zionist regime in the region."

1450 GMT: Ali-Mohammadi Recording? An Iranian activist has posted claimed audio of a statement by Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi at Tehran University last week.

1440 GMT: So We're NOT Deporting Iranians? Word in from the National Iranian American Council that the author of a proposed US law (which is idiotic on the whole, let alone in parts) has at least dropped a measure that could have sent Iranians in the US packing:
Congressman Gresham Barrett's (R-SC) office has confirmed to NIAC that he will drop language aimed at deporting non-immigrant Iranians from the U.S. when he reintroduces the Stop Terrorists Entry Program (STEP) Act today....

When the STEP Act was first introduced in 2003, it contained provisions that would have mandated the deportation of all Iranians on student visas, temporary work visas, exchange visas, and tourist visas from the United States within 60 days....

Though the elimination of the deportation provisions constitutes a significant victory for the Iranian-American community, the bill remains problematic. It would make it illegal for Iranians to travel to the United States, though some exceptions may be made for medical emergencies and political or religious asylum after "extensive federal screening."

1335 GMT: Students on Ali-Mohammadi. Students of the Physics Department of Tehran University have issued a statement condemning the assassination of Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi and expressing their condolences to his family. The students claim that Ali-Mohammadi was outspoken in recent months in support of the Green Movement and university protests. They add that Ali-Mohammadi was not involved in Iran's nuclear programme.

1305 GMT: A Sit-In Success? An Iranian website is claiming that students at Razi University in Kermanshah, after sit-in protests and boycotts of final examinations, have succeeded in getting release of their classmates from detention.

1215 GMT: Motahari presses ahead. The campaign of Ali Motahari, high-profile member of Parliament and brother-in-law of Ali Larijani, against the Ahmadinejad is now being waged on a daily basis. Today Motahari wrote an open letter to the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani. Opposing the appointment of Saeed Mortazavi as a Presidential aide, Motahari has asked Larijani to investigate the role of Mortazavi, formerly Tehran's Prosecutor General, in post-election detainee abuses.

Ali Shakrokhi, the head of the Juridical Commission of Parliament, has added a twist by suggesting that Ahmadinejad could sue Motahari over allegations that the President is responsible for post-election crisis.

1155 GMT: Stay the Course. The regime is not giving up on its quest to portray Professor Ali-Mohammadi's murder as a foreign plot. To the contrary, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani declared today:
We had received information a few days before the incident that intelligence services of the Zionist regime intend to carry out terrorist acts in Tehran in cooperation with the CIA....After the failure of all its hostile policies, it currently resorts to the physical elimination of Iranian nuclear scientists.

Larijani even got personal with a verbal assault on President Obama:
Such filthy actions are easy to carry out but such adventurism will do you no good....You have practically promoted acts of terrorism....This black spot will be recorded in the dossier of US crimes against the Iranian nation.

1045 GMT: Dumbest Exploitation of the Ali-Mohammadi Case. The editorial staff of The Washington Times know what it all means: "War with Iran Nears":
The coming conflict will not be an overnight air strike followed by bellicose language, like the Israeli attack on the Syrian nuclear site in September 2007. Disrupting Iran's nuclear program will require Israel to undertake a sustained campaign. Iran will launch reprisal attacks through its proxies in Gaza and Lebanon, encourage Syria to respond, foment chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan and potentially order terror attacks on Western targets.

1005 GMT: Strange But True. On the same day that Iranian state media was claiming Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO), backed by the US Government, may have killed Professor Ali-Mohammadi, the political wing of the organisation --- the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI) --- was appearing in a Washington court to get itself removed from the US Government's list of terrorist organisations.

The PMOI lawyer claimed, "The organization has foresworn violence. We walk the walk. There have been no terrorist acts by PMOI for eight years." He had no success, however. US Government lawyers declared that Washington would not negotiate with "an organization that for at least 30 years has been involved in terrorism, violence, assassination, et cetera" and that "classified material" made clear that the group should still be listed.

1000 GMT: In a separate entry, EA's Mr Smith uses excellent sources and knowledges to consider the political significance of the murder of Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi.

0910 GMT: The Mothers of Mourning. Persian2English offers a vital addition to our report last night of the freeing of those Mothers of Mourning who were detained during their Saturday protest: they were released on bail, so criminal charges are still pending.

0900 GMT: The Ali-Mohammadi Case. The "Iran Royal Society", who --- according to Iranian state media --- had claimed responsibility for the killing of Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, have denied any involvement.

The Los Angeles Times has a full report on the murder and on Mohammadi, and The Washington Post adds useful information.

And The Guardian of London offers an interesting editorial comment:
As the regime in Tehran loses its last vestige of legitimacy with its own people, it is important that international sanctions do not restore to the Iranian leadership its role as defender of the faith. The US must not play into the hands of an Iranian president keen to cast domestic opponents as foreign agents. The temptation in Washington is to think that it can influence events in Iran. It has in the past, but rarely, if ever, for the better.

0845 GMT: Overnight news continues to be dominated by the murder of Tehran University physicist Massoud Ali-Mohammadi. We have a special feature considering the politics and propaganda around the case, and we also have a video of Flynt Leverett using the episode to set out his line on the US pursuit of regime change and support of "terrorism".

Beyond the furour, there is a useful, first-hand reminder of the conflict in a letter from Tehran claiming, "The Regime is Over".