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Entries in Mehdi Khalaji (3)


The Latest from Iran: If Khamenei's Other Shoe Drops (20 January)

2240 GMT: Balatarin Lives (for Real). An update and possible correction on our earlier story (1914 GMT) about the fate of Balatarin, the Iranian news portal. The site is back up, and some Iranian activists are saying that the supposed "successor" Agah Tarin was actually a regime attempt at imitation.

2000 GMT: An Iranian activist reports that journalist Nasrin Vaziri has been released after 23 days in prison.

1950 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz reports that Ali Reza Beheshti, Mir Hossein Mousavi's chief advisor, has suffered a heart attack in detention. It adds, however, that Beheshti has contacted his family and said that he is now better.

1914 GMT: Balatarin Lives. Balatarin, an Iranian website similar to the Digg or NewsVine portals, has been an important news source during the post-election crisis but was knocked off-line recently. Now a successor, Agah Tarin, has appeared.

1910 GMT: Mohsen Safai Farahani, recently sentenced to six years in prison, will be released today on bail of $700.000 $ for five days during the appeal against the verdict.

NEW Iran Analysis: “Supreme Leader Warns Rafsanjani” — The Sequels
NEW Iran: Ahmadinejad and the Labor Movement
Iran Analysis: The Supreme Leader Warns Rafsanjani
Iran Special: Breaking Mousavi’s Movement — Beheshti & Abutalabi
Iran Analysis: Reality Check (Yep, We Checked, Government Still in Trouble)
The Latest from Iran (19 January): Cross-Currents

1900 GMT: The Battle Against Ahmadinejad. For all of our attention to the manoeuvres around the Supreme Leader's speech, this may be the most important news on the in-fighting in the establishment. An unnamed influential member of the hardliners who supports the Government declares that Ahmadinejad Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai "is out".

The website that prints this news, adding, "It appears as if the Government will put away Rahim-Mashai at an appropriate quiet moment"? The pro-Larijani Khabar Online.

1845 GMT: A group of economics professors have asked for the release of Professor Ali Arab Mazar of Allameh Tabatabei University, one of Mir Hossein Mousavi's top advisors, arrested after Ashura.

1840 GMT: Journalist, writer and critic Mehdi Jalil-Khani was arrested on Monday in Zanjan. He was brought blindfolded and handcuffed to the intelligence, accused of "insulting the leader".

1830 GMT: Now Poets are Banned. This entry from Pedestrian deserves to be quoted in full:
Ferdowsi is a monumental 10th century Persian poet. His Shahnameh (Book of Kings, translated into English by Dick Davis) is a national epic read and revered across Iran.

Now the wife of imprisoned journalist, Bahman Ahmadi reports that one of the charges for which he will have to serve an eight year prison sentence is, according to the judge’s verdict: “publishing an epic poem by the poet Ferdowsi on June 12th, 2009 in order to invite the public to protest and revolt.”

It is noted that Bahmad Ahmadi himself was not even allowed to read the verdict.

1455 GMT: The Coughing Protest. Rah-e-Sabz claims that a recent "political education" event at an Iran army barracks had to be cancelled when hundreds of soldiers starting coughing, apparently when the speaker criticised the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. Commanders have asked for a list of the dissident coughers.

1445 GMT: Toeing the Line. In a prolonged Press TV advertisement for the regime, Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei has blamed the post-election conflict on opposition candidates (Mousavi, Karroubi) who refused to act within the law and on foreign powers trying to unsettle the regime.

The only hint of Rezaei criticism of the Government was the invocation to distinguish between "protesters" and "rioters", both amongst security forces and Iran's state media, but he was happy to support Press TV's uplifting image of "democracy in Iran", with both sides learning to "act within the law".

Rezaei did throw out a conciliatory lifeline to the "Green movement" in the last part of the discussion by invoking the current televised debates as a reason for hope that opposition demands will be considered. Strange, however, that he would allow Press TV to push maybe the most important part of the interview --- Rezaei's letter for "unity" sent to the Supreme Leader earlier this month --- to the final minutes of the conversation.

1440 GMT: Black Comedy. University professors have published a "last will", to be retrieved after their demises: "I, Professor XXXXXX, killed by a bomb/bullet/fallen from a high floor/ suffocated with a string/fallen in a sulphuric acid bath hereby declare that 1) I was not a nuclear scientist, 2) I was never a supporter of Ahmadinejad."

Ebrahim Nabavi offers helpful proposals to Iran police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, who seems to have recently discovered the difference between BMW and SMS.

1435 GMT: Academic Purges. Six prominent professors of Allameh Tabatabei University have been relieved of their duties.

1400 GMT: The Follow-Up on Khamenei & Rafsanjani. We've posted a separate entry on varying responses to yesterday's speech by the Supreme Leader.

1148 GMT: Labour Issues. Deputy Oil Minister Seyfollah Jashn-Saz has warned, "If payments in oil sector continue like this, some employees will leave the country." Not leave the sector, leave the country.

Meanwhile, we've posted an interesting interview with an Iranian labour activist about the situation under the Ahmadinejad Government.

1140 GMT: Baghi's Detention. The wife of journalist Emadeddin Baghi, detained just after Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's death (supposedly for his interview of Montazeri), has spoken about her husband's arrest and detention.

1130 GMT: Where's Mahmoud? Well, in addition to biking and jogging (see 0900 GMT), President Ahmadinejad has met Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdel Mehdi. No mention of Iran's internal situation but Ahmadinejad did put out the line, "Maintenance of unity and integrity among regional countries will be the only way to thwart the conspiracies of enemies."

1125 GMT: While almost all of the Mothers of Mourning detained in recent weeks have been released, Persian2English highlights the case of one supporter who is reported to be in solitary confinement in Evin Prison.

1115 GMT: Who Killed Professor Ali-Mohammadi? Everyone (except us). The "hard-line" newspaper Kayhan reportedly has identified those responsible for the explosion which killed physicist Massoud Ali-Mohammadi last week. Iran's judiciary should go after Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mohammad Khatami, and Mehdi Karroubi who are partners with the "black triangle" of the CIA, Mossad, and Britain's MI6.

0930 GMT: The Khamenei-Rafsanjani Dance. Press TV spins yesterday's speech by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani (and ignores the Supreme Leader's address) to portray unity: "Hashemi echoes Leader in observing law".

0900 GMT: Where's Mahmoud? President Ahmadinejad handles the economic crisis by riding a bike. And jogging.


0845 GMT: The US-based journalist and scholar Mehdi Khalaji has written a long article about his father, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Khalaji, who was arrested last week:
By initiating a crackdown on peaceful protesters and suppressing the first generation of the Islamic Republic, the government has simultaneously discredited its Islamic legitimacy and undermined its revolutionary credentials. This regime has transformed my father from a man concerned with keeping Ayatollah Khomeini's shoulders warm into an enemy of the state. This is a revolution that eats its own children. It places its survival at risk.

0600 GMT: It's a curious but effective phrase: "Waiting for the other shoe to drop" is not just waiting, but waiting with an expectation based on nerves and fear.

So this morning we start by looking around for reactions to the Supreme Leader's speech yesterday. Our initial line, based on a very good source, was that Ayatollah Khamenei had dropped the first shoe to warn Hashemi Rafsanjani that it was time to choose sides.

However, as an EA reader helpfully intervened last night, the warning could have been intended for others in the "elite". Again, we emphasize those within the establishment --- an elite whom Khameini said could assist "sedition" with their ambiguity --- rather than the opposition. In weeks after Ashura (27 December) and before the Supreme Leader's statement, the conservative/principlist challenge to the Government neared insurgency, setting the immediate goals of taking down former Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi and Ahmadinejad's right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

The insurgency, carried out through newspapers as well as around the Iranian Parliament, has not yet achieved either immediate goal, but it is likely that Mortazavi will have to resign as a Presidential aide, possibly serving jail time. So one reading of Khamenei's warning to the elite is that the challenge stops there.

That said, if this was a throw-down to those in the establishment beyond Rafsanjani, there's a risky slippage in the Supreme Leader's words. Critics like Ali Motahhari have not been ambiguous in their interviews; they want the removal of President Ahmadinejad or, at least, his reduction to a humiliated figurehead as he gives a public apology for the post-election failures and abuses.

If the critics don't back away from that demand, Khamenei will face a moment beyond yesterday's speech and possibly any declaration he has made since the week after the election: does he drop the other shoe and offer his unconditional backing to Ahmadinejad or does he back away and let a far from ambiguous "elite" despatch the President on a permanent holiday?

Latest Iran News (16 January): Ripples

2210 GMT: Wow, Couldn't See That Coming.

What we wrote at 0745 GMT: "Some media were looking forward to today's "5+1" (US, UK, Russia, China, France, Germany) meeting on Iran's nuclear programme. Even if that gathering had significance for the internal situation in Iran, it is unlikely to produce any results: China has declined to send a high-level official, blocking any move towards further sanctions on Tehran."

What Associated Press reported an hour ago: "Top diplomats from six key powers focused on possible new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program at a meeting Saturday, but reached no agreement, Russia's deputy foreign minister said."

NEW Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January — Part 3)
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)
NEW Iran Analysis: The “Opposition Within” and the Regime
Latest Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January)
Iran: Anger, Pain, & Fear — The Funeral of Professor Ali-Mohammadi
Latest Iran Video: Green Protest and the Iran-Belgium Football Match (14 January)
Iran: The Regime Censors the 1979 Revolution
Latest Iran Audio: The Last Lecture of Professor Ali-Mohammadi
The Latest from Iran (15 January): Refreshing?

2205 GMT: Writing in Exile. Nazila Fathi, The New York Times correspondent who fled her native country in June, has written an emotive account of post-election events and her departure. The article, however, also offers a powerful insight into how "new media" has re-shaped both opposition and coverage of it:

Last month, during and after the funeral of the reformist Grand Ayatollah Hossain Ali Montazeri, one of the demonstrators’ most useful tools was the Bluetooth short-range radio signal that Americans use mainly to link a cellphone to an earpiece, or a printer to a laptop. Long ago, Iranian dissidents discovered that Bluetooth can as easily link cellphones to each other in a crowd.

And that made “Bluetooth” a verb in Iran: a way to turn citizen reportage instantly viral. A protester Bluetooths a video clip to others nearby, and they do the same. Suddenly, if the authorities want to keep the image from escaping the scene, they must confiscate hundreds or thousands of phones and cameras.

The authorities have tried to fight back against such techniques and the Internet itself, but have fallen short. In November they announced that a new police unit, the “cyber-army,” would sweep the Web of dissent. It blocked Twitter feeds for a few hours in December, and an opposition Web site. But other blogs and Web sites mushroomed faster than the government could keep up.

2155 GMT: Ayande News continues to poke at the Government. It asks if Iran's police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, who warned Iranians against using e-mails or text messages to organise protests, has read the Constitution, since it forbids the monitoring of private communications.

2150 GMT: Fars News is reporting that a suicide bomber has been killed in an explosion in Mashhad.

2145 GMT: We have returned from a break to post the video and translation of the third part of Dr Javed Etaat's sustained criticism of the regime on an Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting programme.

1840 GMT: On a fairly quiet day, we'll be on limited service this evening. Do keep sending in information, comments, and ideas.

1650 GMT: Mehdi Khalaji, the US-based journalist and scholar, has written an open letter to the Supreme Leader concerning the arrest of his father, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Khalaji.

1640 GMT: Atomic Diplomacy. Iran has launched a website to explain and promote its nuclear programme.

1630 GMT:Journalist Nader Karimi, who was arrested in November 2008, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

1550 GMT: A Technical Announcement. The "diversion" attack on Iran Hezbollah, and the counter-attack, are on the Persian landing page The main page is now 100% Hezbollah with no Iranian Cyber-Army/Iranian Green Army/getasexpartner messages.

1520 GMT: Battle of the Cyber-Warriors. A twist in the tale of the hacking of the Iran Hezbollah (Party of God) website (see 0750 GMT). The takeover of the site by the "Iranian Green Army", with a rather rude message and alternate domain name, has been superseded by a counter-takeover by the "Iranian Cyber Army". There is now a smiling Ayatollah Khamenei with the statement, "Site has been returned,and the Hacker(s) Has Been Traced By Iranian Cyber Army , We will catch them as soon possible."

Ahh, yes, the Iranian Cyber Army, the same outfit that claimed the diversion-of-traffic attacks on the opposition website Mowj-e-Sabz and Twitter. Given their service to a group close to the Iranian regime, should we conclude that the ICA is not just a collection of punk kids causing trouble?

(Just a tip, guys. If you are working for Hezbollah and the regime, you might want to check that domain name. The Supreme Leader now appears below the domain "".)

1510 GMT: Ali-Mohammadi's Protest. Iranian activists have posted a letter, including the signature of Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, asking for a cessation of violence against students.

1500 GMT: Iranian state media is reporting that the trial of French student Clotilde Reiss, arrested this summer, concluded today. There is no further word of verdict or sentencing.

1455 GMT: According to Rah-e-Sabz, Reza Talalei, a member of the Expediency Council, said at the Council session today that “post-election events are a result of the Government’s wrong actions”. He called for freedom of political activity, freedom of speech, and humane treatment of Iranian people, who would “answer such in kind.” A return of peace to society and an opening up of political to all groups was “paramount”.

1445 GMT: Thanks to our friends at The Flying Carpet Institute, we've posted the video and translation of the second part of Dr Javad Etaat's criticisms of the regime, which aired on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting on Thursday.

1420 GMT: Thanks to an EA reader, we've posted the translation of the 15 Points of "The Secular Green Movement" (see 0920 GMT).

1335 GMT: Judiciary Head Denounces Big Liars. Iran’s Head of Judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, has warned the "minority (reformist?) faction of the Parliament" that those those who have “claimed that the elections were rigged, have broken the law....This allegation of fraud was a big lie which became the source of extensive damage.”

All very much in line with Larijani's recent finger-waggings and threats of prosecution, as he said that the lying claims have “hurt the feeling and sentiments of the public and the pious”. This reference, however, is curious, either in translation or in Larijani's intent: the post-election crisis also arose from the “silence of the elite and their lack of foresight”.

1330 GMT: Media Twist of the Day. Press TV's website starts its story, "Former Iranian presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi says Iran's enemies are behind the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Masoud Ali-Mohammadi."

And you're thinking, maybe Iran's state media has been infiltrated or corrupted and switched to the Dark Side of the opposition.

But wait....Here's the last paragraph: "Iran's Foreign Ministry has announced that it has found traces of US and Israeli involvement in the assassination of the Iranian nuclear physics scientist."

You see? One touch-up of the "facts", and Mir Hossein Mousavi believes the US and Israel killed the Professor.

Well played, gentlemen. Very well played.

0930 GMT: The Battle Inside the Regime? Again prompted by EA readers and alongside this morning's analysis, I wonder if this ripple has any significance:

Fars News, considering President Ahmadinejad, linked to a blog "Ahestan" which was not too flattering about close Ahmadinejad ally and aide Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai. Iran Khabar, which noted the item, claims that, with state media now assisting, "criticism of Ahmadinejad has become cheap".

0925 GMT: Setting Up the Greens? A thought, spurred by EA readers, that has been niggling me.

We noted yesterday the statement of member of Parliament Asadollah Badamchian that the opposition was behind the "terrorism" which killed Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi. Well, the satirist Ebrahim Nabavi has noted Badamchian's assertion, before the death of Ali-Mohammadi, "Soon explosions and assassinations will start."

So, that thought: did Badamchian know of a scheme to carry out violent acts and blame them on the Greens?

0920 GMT: How Big Will This Ripple Be? As some EA readers noted yesterday, the "Secular Green Movement" has emerged with a statement, signed by Iranians living in North America and Europe, of views and 15 demands for reform, rights, and justice. We are watching carefully for reactions to see if move parallels or intersects with the 10 Demands of 5 Iranian intellectuals living abroad, issued on 3 January, and the 5-point post-Ashura statement of Mir Hossein Mousavi.

0905 GMT: We've posted an analysis from of the tensions inside the Iranian establishment, "The 'Opposition Within' and the Regime".

0750 GMT: While Friday was a relatively quiet day after the open drama and tensions earlier this week, there were more than enough developments to point to the ripples of continuing conflict and manoeuvre.

Some of the ripples were far away from the central wave. For example, some media were looking forward to today's "5+1" (US, UK, Russia, China, France, Germany) meeting on Iran's nuclear programme. Even if that gathering had significance for the internal situation in Iran, it is unlikely to produce any results: China has declined to send a high-level official, blocking any move towards further sanctions on Tehran.

Some of the ripples bring a smile, such as the latest episode in the cyber-war between the regime and the opposition. Iran's police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam may have most seriously warned the Green movement(s) not to use e-mail and text messages to plan any protests, but "Iranian Green Army" got last night's last laugh with the attack on the website of Iran's Hezbollah (Party of God). The unsubtle message, "The End is F***ing Near", and the new domain name,, are still up this morning.

There are the day-in, day-out ripples from the Government. The head of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Mohammad-Ali Jafari declared, in a speech in western Iran, "The enemies of the Islamic Revolution have come to the conclusion that they can not achieve their mischievous goals; therefore they do not abandon threats against the Islamic Republic." Israel, "filled with fear and scared of going into war with Iran," got a special shout-out as the force behind economic sanctions.

The biggest ripples on Friday, however, came with yet more challenges to and within the regime. The appearance of dissent, via Dr Javad Etaat, on Iranian state media has brought heated discussion inside and outside Iran, and chatter continues this morning over the criticisms of a former top commander of the Revolutionary Guard, Sardar Safavi.

Safavi, urging respect for senior clerics and avoidance of any extreme actions, has some words for "power seekers" who ran for President but then acted outside the law when their defeat was announced. Then, however, he takes aim at current leaders for their attacks on the "old guard" --- allies of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini --- as "hypocrities". He also pointed to the Government's mismanagement of post-election politics and the economy, warning that this is bringing “unpleasant” deeds by frustrated Iranian youth.

As EA readers noted yesterday, Safavi, in his call for unity, condemned attacks against senior clerics such as Ayatollahs Dastgheib and Sane'i etc.) and the labelling of protesters as “mohareb” (enemies of God). He emphasized that Revolutionary Guard and Basiji should serve the people rather than suppressing them.

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".