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Entries in Mohsen Rezaei (14)


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?

UPDATED Iran Video: CNN & Marandi on Detainee Abuses "Mortazavi to Blame" (17 January)

An interesting interview on CNN with Tehran University academic Seyed Mohammad Marandi over the Parliamentary report into detainee abuses, notably the violence and deaths at Kahrizak Prison. Below the analysis we have the video of CNN's report on Kahrizak and Mortazavi, accompanied by an extract of the Marandi interview.


Note how quickly Marandi invokes the name of Abdolhossein Ruholamini, the medical professor and advisor to Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei, to declare "satisfaction" with the report and investigations by the Government, including the role of Ayatollah Khamenei. It was the death of Ruholamini's son Mohsen in Kahrizak that spurred "conservative/principlist" pressure for the closure of the facility, which was ordered by the Supreme Leader this summer, and then for an enquiry.

All of this, then, is to convert the stigma of the abuses into "legitimacy" by showing the Government's readiness to investigate and correct the post-election mistakes. However, that also means there has to be an official who is prosecuted/punished/sacrificed for that legitimacy.

Thus Marandi's pointed comment, again in the name of Ruholamini: "The problem was...the response of the judge, Mr Mortazavi, was slow, and he blames Mr Mortazavi for [the death of the Kahrizak detainees]." Indeed, Marandi claimed that the Supreme Leader ordered the closure of the prison before the killing of the younger Ruholamini and the other prisoners.


Iran Analysis: The "Opposition Within" and the Regime

Our running analysis at EA has been of a political conflict in Iran which is far more than just Green Movement v. Regime. One aspect of this has been the disputes and tensions between members of the Iranian establishment. Writing for, Arash Aramesh develops this theme:

Recent statements made by high-ranking conservatives in Iran and the reaction of ultra conservatives to those statements have lead many Iran watchers to believe that the rift within the conservative establishment s is widening. The most recent instance was the war of words between Ali Motahhari, a conservative member of parliament, and Hossein Shariatmadari, the ultra conservative editor-in-chief of Kayhan and a staunch supporter of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

There are other instances of such clashes. For example, the radical Ansar News published an article by Fatemeh Rajabi, the wife of Gholam-Hossein Elham who is now a member of the Guardian Council, accusing Ali Larijani, the speaker of parliament, of aiding the opposition.

Latest Iran News (16 January): Ripples

The resignation of Ruhollah Hosseinian, a pro-Ahmadinejad deputy in parliament, was another episode highlighting the widening cleavage among conservatives. In his letter of resignation sent to Larijani, Hosseinian accused some conservatives, including the leadership of the parliament, of assisting the reformists and isolating true conservatives like himself. [Editor's Note: Hosseinian, in a direct letter to the Supreme Leader, rescinded his resignation this week.]

There are two theories about this apparent rift. A number of observers and political activists, who spoke to on the condition of anonymity, believe that the ruling establishment is trying to trade in the reformists and the Green Movement for a moderate conservative alternative. These moderate conservatives include senior Iranian officials such as Larijani, Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, the deputy speaker of parliament, and Mohsen Rezaei, the former commander of the IRGC and candidate in the June 12 presidential election, and others.

All of those mentioned above come from a conservative political line with close ties to the bazaar and traditional clerics. They are more moderate in their criticism of the opposition and at times voiced their dissatisfaction about the government’s treatment of protestors and the handling of events following the June 12 election. Some even called for national unity suggesting that the elders of the tribe meet to discuss the current crisis. Two weeks ago, Rezaei wrote a letter supporting a statement issued by Mir Hossein Moussavi and asked the Supreme Leader to lead the country in the direction of unity and closure. Rezaei’s letter, which was written with ultimate respect to the Supreme Leader, received an angry response from the radical wing of the Islamic Republic.

According to these observers, the Islamic Republic is waging an orchestrated effort to introduce viable anti-Ahmadinejad alternatives to the public in order to diminish the influence of figures such as Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi. Arab governments have taken similar steps to boost the popularity of Islamists they support who then become rivals to more established Islamic groups opposed to the state.

The second theory advanced by a number of political commentators revolves around the notion of “regime survival.” Members of this group believe that some conservatives, who do not approve of Ahmadinejad’s radicalism, are genuinely worried about the survival of the Islamic Republic. Moderate conservatives also fear that their fate might soon mirror that of the reformists, who have been tortured and imprisoned.

The Ahmadinejad wing and the IRGC have dramatically expanded their sphere of influence in all three branches of government. The executive branch is now entirely in their hands, while many members of parliament have close ties to the IRGC and belong to the pro-Ahmadinejad faction. In the judiciary, the appointment of IRGC Brig Gen. Zolghadr to the post of Advisor to Chief Justice was an unprecedented move. Zolghadr, who has no legal experience, is one of IRGC’s most radical generals with close ties to Supreme Leader Khamenei.

Moderate conservatives in Iran are concerned. Their ideological differences with the reformists bars them from forming a viable coalition with them. At the same time, they fear the policies of the radicals can gravely jeopardize their political survival, and the survival of the Islamic Republic.

Iran Analysis: The Regime Beyond the Headlines

The world is once again watching Iran. A series of weekend developments are in the global press this morning. Thomas Erdbrink of The Washington Post covers the Parliamentary report on the abuse of detainees, headlining the allegations against former Tehran Prosecutor General and current Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi, "An Iranian parliamentary probe has singled out a former Tehran prosecutor as being responsible for the violent deaths of three protesters in a now-closed prison facility after anti-government demonstrations in July." Nazila Fathi of The New York Times writes on the same lines.

Credit to both reporters and to others for picking up on the development. Credit also for coverage of the Supreme Leader's weekend address as well as notice of President Ahmadinejad's presentation of his five-year National Development Plan to Parliament.

The Latest from Iran (11 January): Reading the Regime

However, all the information deserves a much closer look. Below the surface of pronouncement and public reports, there are powerful currents swirling within the Establishment. This is no less than an attempt, perhaps the last one before showdown reaches the highest levels of the regime, to find a way out of the political conflict.

There are hints tucked away in today's stories. Erdbrink, for example, has this enticing quote from Abbas Abdi, a former journalist critical of the Government: 
Mortazavi is the highest official the parliament could accuse without getting in trouble. If they would go after lower-level officials, their probe would have been meaningless." It is now up to the judiciary to press official charges against the former prosecutor.

Fathi goes for the line of a sop to the Green movement:
One analyst, a former senior official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that in pinning the blame on Mr. Mortazavi, the government was trying to pacify the opposition.

“They might go as far as sacrificing Mortazavi, but I don’t think this is going to fool the opposition,” he said. “This does not mean a major compromise. It is just a tactic, and they are willing to sacrifice him because he crossed the lines.”

Both soundbites are half-right: Mortazavi now wears the title of Number One Scapegoat for the post-election excesses.

This, however, has little to do with concessions to the opposition. The regime's tough response to the Saturday march of Mothers of Mourning and their supporters, putting 33 in prison and reportedly injuring several, backs up the rhetoric that continues to come from Ministers, officials, Parliamentary leaders like Ali Larijani, and the Supreme Leader. No more demonstrations. No more resistance.

(At best, there may be an argument that the Parliamentary report is a signal to Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who raised the abuse charges back in July, that they should come in from the opposition cold and strike a deal. However, even that possibility --- raised in last week's letter from conservative/principlist leader and Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei to Ayatollah Khamenei --- has not been borne out by any other Government moves.)

And the Abdi line is incomplete, either in its reading or its representation by Erdbrink. The idea that Mortazavi is the biggest fish/scapegoat (pardon the mixing of animal metaphors) and therefore that the investigations and the allegations stop with the former prosecutor is a misunderstanding: the Parliamentary challenge to Ahmadinejad has come too far to stop with Mortazavi's punishment.

Remember, the President's response to this report --- after it was presented to Parliament --- was to proceed with the official ceremony for Mortazavi's appointment as the head of the unit investigating smuggling of currency and drugs. That's a come-and-get-me taunt to those in and close to the Majlis --- Rezaei, Ali Motahari, Ahmad Tavakoli, even Ali Larijani --- who want the President, not one of advisors, to admit errors and injustices. Motahari made that clear in his video interviews last week.

So leave the Green opposition to the side for the moment. One of two scenarios happens:

1. Mortazavi falls, and Ahmadinejad takes a blow to this authority. His Parliamentary and political foes will either then accept that they have contained Mahmoud or, smelling blood and victory, they will press on.

2. Ahmadinejad will not sacrifice Mortazavi, and the fight gets even more intense.

Into this mix let's throw in the Supreme Leader. His speech last Saturday was difficult to read because it had two apparently conflicting messages. On the one hand, as we initially updated, he was warning protesters to shut up and go away, a repetition of his 19 June line that tried to validate the Presidential election. On the other, he was indicating that there had to be some acceptance of excessive measures by security forces and assurances that they would not be repeated.

How to reconcile those signals? Well, by recognising to whom they are directed. The first is simply to keep the opposition at bay and, indeed, far, far away while the regime tries to sort itself out. The second, more immediately important message is to those who nominally support Khamenei. Read it carefully, and I think you've got the Supreme Leader lending some backing to the Parliamentary/political criticism of the Presidential office and, therefore, telling Ahmadinejad and the security forces aligned with him: Be Careful.

Another reminder: this isn't new. Rewind to July and August and there are a series of power plays and disputes between Parliament and the President and even the Supreme Leader and Ahmadinejad. Mahmoud and Company won some of those battles, getting more influence in ministries like Intelligence, and lost some, for example, with the forced climbdown over the appointment of Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai as First Vice President. At that time, however, Ahmadinejad's biggest victories were getting to be President, with his inauguration in August, and getting his big Cabinet picks the following month.

All of this is back in play, however. As a very well-informed source told me last week, "The only way this ends is if and when some [expletive deleted] stabs Ahmadinejad in the back."

The Latest from Iran (9 January): Watching Carefully

2225 GMT: More on Khamenei Speech (see 1445 and 1850 GMT). An EA reader who watched the Supreme Leader's address today sends an interesting e-mail, "His speech did not sound aggressive. It sounded more as a request for calm and acting with wisdom after the fallouts of Ashura. It appeared that he was lacking in confidence. Same for the crowd."

2220 GMT: Halting the Mothers of Martyrs. An Iranian activist reports that, during their weekly march in Laleh Park, about 30 of Mothers of Martyrs in the post-election crisis and their supporters were arrested and taken to Vozara detention centre.

2200 GMT: Mortazavi --- Scapegoat or Valued Official? Iran-watchers may want to set aside a few moments for former Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, whose future may turn upon the developments in the internal contest amidst conservatives and principlists.

Days after Mortazavi was reportedly named as prime "suspect" in the Parliamentary investigation of the deaths of Kahrizak detainees, he was formally named as President Ahmadinejad's advisor to combating smuggling of drugs and currency.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Sharif University Demonstration (9 January)
Iran: Four Responses to the “Wrong Questions” of the Leveretts (Lucas)
Iran: “What is This Opposition?” Right Answers to Wrong Questions (Shahryar)

The Latest from Iran (8 January): Karroubi Under Attack

Interpretation? Mortazavi is now the proxy in the battle between key conservatives/principlists and Ahmadinejad. The President wants him as a sign of Ahmadinejad's authority and as a firewall to any move by Parliamentary challenges; Ahmadinejad's critics see Mortazavi's downfall as a necessary victory in their battle.

Another marker in the dispute is a statement by a "pro-Government" student organisation criticising Ahmadinejad for the appointments of Mortazavi and for Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, the former First Vice-President --- a few days after his appointment, he was removed from office amidst vehement criticism from the conservatives/principlists  who may be aiming at Mortazavi ---  who is now Ahmadinejad's chief of staff.

2150 GMT: A Release. An EA reader writers that Reza Najafi, an Iranian translator, was released from jail on Thursday. Najafi worked for Caravan Publishing, which is owned by Arash Hejazi, the doctor who tried to save the life of Neda Agha Soltan.

1920 GMT: The Khamenei Manoeuvre (Part 2). This article, from Payvand, should be read in conjunction with the passage of the Supreme Leader's speech offering some rhetorical concession on violence:
Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani has criticized the people who made derogatory remarks about Mohsen Rezaei in regard to his recent letter to the Supreme Leader about Mir-Hossein Mousavi's recent proposals. Larijani made the remarks at a meeting with national police chiefs in Qom on Thursday.

"Rezaei has been a real mujahid (one who struggles in the cause of Islam) and strived wholeheartedly during the (1980-1988) Iran-Iraq war. Naturally, since he has entered the political scene, some of his ideas may be criticized. But why do some political figures question his career as a mujahid?"

"Today, society needs convergence not discord and not steps meant to undermine recognized figures' positions," he added.

It is not too speculative to treat Larijani as a channel for the political views of the Supreme Leader, and this manoevure is a clear call --- "Back Off" --- to those "hard-liners" who have criticised Rezaei for suggesting that a deal may now be struck with Mir Hossein Mousavi.

And there's more. Larijani said, "We should not call anyone who has different views a dissident and a hypocrite. In line with the Supreme Leader's directives, all people should try to create unity in the country to prepare the ground for economic activities, investment, and development."

That passage walks hand-in-hand with this week's declarations by high-profile MP Ali Motahari, on video and in print, calling for some negotiation of views and approaches to get out of the current post-election difficulties.

1850 GMT: Mixed Messages. Borzou Daragahi of The Los Angeles Times picks up on a passage from today's Supreme Leader statement (see 1445 GMT) that may point to some pull-back from all-out confrontation:
Relevant bodies should fully respect the law in dealing with the [post-election] riots and the ongoing events. Those without any legal duty and obligations should not meddle with these affairs, Everyone should hold back from arbitrary acts and everything should go within the framework of the law.

The obvious connection to make is that Khamenei's message is, first and foremost, to the conservative/principlist politicians who have been pressing for some sign of regime concession on the crackdown. That has including Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei's letter and the challenge of member of Parliament Ali Motahari (covered in this week's EA updates).

Doesn't look like this part of Khamenei's message has filtered down through the ranks, however. Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, the head of the Basiji militia, preferred to pick up on the Supreme Leader's passage praising action against the "corrupt" and "rioters":
Now, all our people expect the security and intelligence organs as well as the judiciary to take action. People will jump to the fray if they feel these bodies are lax in their duties. People are critical of the laxness of security and judicial bodies against conspirators.

And Islamic Revolution Guard Corps commander Brigadier General Abdollah Araqi has proposed involving the Basiji militiamen, who are now within the Revolutionary Guard, in some IRGC operations.
Most Basijis are not inclined to militarism and so we have trained those interested in military activities separately within the framework of several battalions. The most-trained Basijis are now with Imam Hussein Battalions and their employment in security issues could be influential.

1840 GMT: Getting It Right About the Opposition. Following our responses to this week's attempt by Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett to promote the legitimacy of the Ahmadinejad Government by belittling the opposition, Abbas Milani adds his critique in The New Republic. The take-away quote: "The U.S. can either stand with the people of Iran, and support their quest for democracy—a democracy, incidentally, that offers the only solution to the nuclear problem as well—or it can side with those who defend the moribund regime."

1815 GMT: The University Demonstrations Continue. Compared to the tumult of last month, Iran's universities have been relatively muted in terms of open protest (though not, it should be noted, signed of opposition such as exam boycotts). Today, however, students at Sharif University came out in a show of protest over detentions of their classmates.

We've posted three clips.

1510 GMT: I'll be back in a couple of hours to round up latest news and analysis. Thanks to EA readers for keeping the information coming in.

1500 GMT: For Mahmoud, It's the Nukes. President Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, is staying away from (or being kept from) the internal situation, as he declared in his nationally-televised speech that that further UN Security Council sanctions will not deter Iran from pursuing its nuclear programme:
[Other countries] issued several resolutions and sanctioned Iran ... They think Iranians will fall on their knees over these things but they are mistaken....We are not interested in conflicts (but) you are continually demanding things.

They should not think they can put up obstacles in Iranians' way ... I assure the people ... that the government will whole-heartedly defend Iran's rights and will not back down one iota.

1455 GMT: Reza Razaghi, one of the members of the central legal committee of Mir Hossein Mousavi, was arrested early this morning and moved to an unknown location.

Yadoolah Eslami, a former member of Parliament, has also been arrested.

1445 GMT: Khamenei's Back. Just arrived back in snowy Birmingham to find that, a few thousand miles away, the Supreme Leader has appeared publicly for the first time since Ashura. (You can have a peek at the video.)

Textbook stuff from Ayatollah Khamenei, speaking to visitors from Qom, about how appropriate it is to come down hard on the demonstrators: "The officials of the three forces saw for themselves what the nation is asking for, therefore, they must perform their duties well towards the corrupt and the rioters." (Note: I would be grateful if readers could verify whether Khamenei referred to Ahmadinejad by name.)

The Supreme Leader also played the foreign-spectre-behind-the-opposition card: "The U.S. and Britain and other arrogant powers, as well as their domestic misguided (allies), acted under the banner of struggle against the Imam (Ayatollah Khomeini) and the revolution since the very beginning of the victory of the Islamic revolution. The situation is the same now."

0320 GMT: The Newest Deal has an analysis, which matches up with some information I've received, of the offering-up of former Tehran Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi as a sacrifice for the deaths of detainees at Kahrizak Prison. A broader way to consider this is that Mortazavi's fate is a "firewall" for the Ahmadinejad Government. If he is punished, the line might be held against pressure on others, including the President.

0300 GMT: Friday was a day, apart from the drama of the gunfire at Mehdi Karroubi's motorcade, to pick up pieces of information and put them together. I had the pleasure of a long chat with a couple of top Iran-watchers. Parts of the discussion will be shaping analyses in forthcoming days, but the two general lines of note were "marathon, not sprint" and "change is coming".

Meanwhile, some of those pieces to note before making my way back to Britain....

The Western media is now responding quickly to headline news from Iran: within hours of the Karroubi incidence, The New York Times, The Times of London, and The Guardian of London, amongst London, had posted stories.

Iran human rights organisations reacted by building the incident into another demand on the Government, referring to possible Basiji and Revolutionary Guard involvement in the events in Qazvin and calling on the regime to ensure the safety of opposition leaders. Reformist members of Parliament, such as Mohammad Reza Tabesh, are asking Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani to safeguard "insulted" legislators.

The Government is definitely going to use the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) "terrorist" line as a battering ram against the opposition: state media indicated on Friday that 5 Ashura detainees going on trial will be charged with membership of the organisation.

More news is emerging of students at Iran universities boycotting final examinations in protest at detentions of classmates.