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Entries in Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati (4)


The Latest from Iran (31 July): And Now....?

The Latest from Iran (1 August): The Regime Gets Tough

Iran: How Big is the Green Wave?
Iran's "40th Day" Memorial: An Eyewitness Account
Beyond the Wave: Why the US Still Engages with Iran

The Latest from Iran (30 July): Memorial Day
Latest Iran Video: The “40th Day” Memorial (30 July)
Latest Iran Video: The “40th Day” Memorial (30 July – Part 2)

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IRAN 40 DAY 31650 GMT: Release the Prisoners! I am just going to re-print this from Fars News Agency and await confirmation that 25 percent of Iran's prison population will soon be freed:
17,000 prisoners were freed after amnesty and commutation of punishment term of a number of prisoners by the Supreme Leader," State Prisons Organization's Deputy Director for Management and Resource Development Mohammad Ali Zanjirehi told FNA on Friday.

"40 percent of the country's inmates, who account for around 68,000 people, were liable to the amnesty," Zanjirei said, adding that 17,000 out of the 68,000 inmates have been freed and the rest have enjoyed commutation of their terms or will be granted leaves in final months of their incarceration.

The decree, originally proposed by Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, was issued by the Leader on the occasion of the feast of Mab'ath, marking assignment of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) to prophethood.

1555 GMT: Don't Forget That Foreign Threat. Iran's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, who has been gone unnoticed since the 12 June election, popped up today to appear at Friday prayers in Tehran and then try his hand with the "foreign agents" speech:
Western and European countries, with their overt and covert capabilities, interfered in Iran's election... the worst among them being Britain. The countries who interfered through their television networks by telling how to instigate riots, build explosives and other tension creating activities are accomplices in all the committed crimes, murders and are held responsible.

1540 GMT: Some, However, Are Not Ready for Compromise. Defying calls for concilation, the Ministry of Intelligence has threatened the Freedom Movement of Iran (the party of nationalist Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in the 1950s) with dire consequences if they do not stop holding political meetings inside their headquarters. The Party has lodged an official complaint with the head of Iran's judiciary.

1535 GMT: Look Past Jannati. The trend in clerical statements in the last 24 hours, apart from Friday prayers in Tehran, has been a call for compromise and action on detainees (see 1510 and 1520 GMT). That fits a report from Salaam News that Grand Ayatollahs have been discussing vital "issues", and most except Ayatollah Noori-Hamedani (an ardent Ahmadinejad supporter) "have taken a similar stance against the attacks of fundamentalism".

1520 GMT: A Different Prayer Address. If Ayatollah Jannati played the hard-liner in Friday prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Ebrahim Amini played the liberal in Qom. Amini stated:
The young have sensitive souls and do not tolerate injustice, and we must not label the young as being anti-revolutionaries and try to distance them from the revolution....The words of the young must be heard, and if they are correct, [what they say] must be accepted. If it is not right they must be advised correctly with gentle tones and respect. The young must be advised to value this revolution that was achieved at great cost to society....We must keep the young by our side not be words but by deeds and by showing them the real face of Islam.

Amini addressed specific issues such as detention, saying , the directive of Iran's head of  judiciary, Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, clarifying the situation of the prisoners, "must be attended to... to alleviate the anxiety of their families....I wish Mr Sharoudi would have stated that the detainees and the arrested will be treated with Islamic kindness." At the same time, he supported Ayatollah Khamenei's authority, "The principle of supreme leadership is an important foundation of the establ0ishment and we all have the duty to protect this principle."

1515 GMT: Shajarian Wins! We have reported on the case of the Iranian classical singer Mohamad Reza Shajarian, who demanded that Iranian state media stop playing his music after President Ahmadinejad called his opponents "dust". The Deputy Head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting has declared, "From now on, no more Shajarian will be broadcast from IRIB, even during Ramadan."

1510 GMT: Looking for Compromise. Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi, addressing pilgrims at the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashad yesterday, said different political factions should stop fighting and meet with each other to reach an agreement, moving away from the "literature of conflict that exists in the media". The ayatollah said the issues of the prisoners must be resolved quickly; those who are innocent or whose misdemeanors are forgivable by Islamic kindness should be freed immediately, and hthose who have broken the law significantly must have their cases resolved quickly.

1315 GMT: Ahh, There He Is. Having cleared out of Tehran before yesterday's events, President Ahmadinejad has used a speech in Mashaad today to assure everyone that, despite portrayals by his political rivals, there is no rift between him and the Supreme Leader:
This is not a political relationship ... our relationship is based on kindness. It is like a relationship between a father and his son. Your efforts will bear no fruit. This road is closed for those devils who dream about harming our relationship. Their dream will be buried along with them.

The summary from Reuters gives no indication whether Ahmadinejad referred to the dispute with Ayatollah Khamenei over the appointment of the 1st Vice President, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai. At Friday prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Jannati, while defending Ahmadnejad against "plotters", did bring up the matter: ""Such appointments hurt your supporters ... A key position should not be given to a person who is not respected."

In light of that criticism, is Ahmadinejad's speech a gesture of apology to the Supreme Leader, ahead of his inauguration on 5 August, or will he try to restore some political authority and independence?

1300 GMT: Tehran Police Commander Azizollah Rajabzadeh has said 50 people were arrested in Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery and the Grand Mosala yesterday.

1205 GMT: More on Jannati's Address (see 1130 GMT). The Ayatollah highlighted the statement of 205 Members of Parliament in support of the Supreme Leader (which, of course, does not mean that they support Ahmadinejad). He carried out the confrontation with Hashemi Rafsanjani by returning to the disputed letter from the Assembly of Experts. Even though this was signed by only 16 of 86 members, it was still valid; most of those who could not sign, because they were scattered throughout the country for the summer, supported the initiative.

1145 GMT: An intriguing comment from a participant in Lara Setrakian's summary of yesterday's memorial: "Police were sympathetic with the people [and] told us in which row we could find Neda's grave."

1130 GMT: Getting Tough. Unfortunately, the live tweet of Ayatollah Jannati's address broke down halfway through; however, Fars News has now posted a report, and it's clear that Jannati is ready for a fight.

The Ayatollah claimed that there were those who plotted four years ago to keep President Ahmadinejad out of power, despite his 7-million vote majority and that these people were now trying "to take revenge". In the face of this threat, there should be no question of legimitacy: "If the election is invalid, then all elections of the last 30 years should be declared invalid because the process has always been the same."

Nor was Jannati subtle in his religious context for this political assertion, highlighting Prophet Mohammad's facing of his enemies and his resolve to maintain unity.

It doesn't take a genius to do the rhetorical and political mathematics. In 2005 President Ahmadinejad's second-round opponent was Hashemi Rafsanjani, the man whom Jannati is trying to depose as head of the Assembly of Experts. Welcome to the next round of this heavyweight battle.

1125 GMT: We're trying to track down an English-language summary of Ayatollah Jannati's address. Press TV English's website is silent.

0900 GMT: Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a key member of the regime as Secretary of the Guardian Council, is giving the address at Friday prayers in Tehran today. (Jannati was one of the pro-Government members of the Assembly of Experts who tried to curb Hashemi Rafsanjani last week, putting out a statement signed by only 16 of the 86 representatives on the Assembly.)

So far the address is focusing on the need for unity, citing a petition from the Prophet Mohammad, the Yasrab, and calling on people to follow the regime. It is being "live tweeted" at the moment.

0700 GMT: Two items of note from The Huffington Post. First, Kevin Sullivan asserts, "Western Hubris Won't Reform Iran". While I differ from Sullivan's reading of developments inside Iran, his conclusion is valuable:
All of this is terribly exciting. It's also out of our control, and that's a good thing. History often needs the proper room to breathe, not the breathless instigation of a hubristic few.

Let these "greens" grow on their own.

Which makes it just a bit ironic that, in the same paper, Melody Moezzi is proclaiming, "Iran's Red Tulip Revolution".

Humble suggestion: don't impose a label on this movement. Not a plant like "Cedar". Not a colour like "Orange" or "Rose". And certainly not "Velvet".

0650 GMT: The Wall Street Journal, relying on a leaked document, reports:
A privately owned German company, Knauf Gips KG, warned its Iranian employees working in Iran that they would be immediately dismissed if caught in antigovernment protests....

Iran's government pressured Knauf to issue the order after a senior executive was arrested during Friday prayer demonstrations two weeks ago, according to people familiar with the case. The company, which has 22,000 employees around the world, was told that such a letter would be a condition for the executive's release.

An executive of Knauf, which makes drywall, warned in the letter:
We would like to remind all of our employees to remember that they are not only representing their private opinion when being politically active, but their actions could fall back negatively on our Knauf companies in Iran. Therefore, from now on, if anybody from our company gets caught demonstrating against the current government, he or she will be immediately dismissed.

0630 GMT: A quieter start today, so we've taken the opportunity to write a special analysis of what may be next both for the Iranian Government and for the opposition, "How Big is the Green Wave?".

0505 GMT: Press TV English's latest report is one of cautious understatement, both of the events and of numbers: "Police have dispersed hundreds of Iranians who sought to gather in a cemetery south of the capital of Tehran to commemorate those killed in the post-election unrest." The brief item, however, did refer to police use of tear gas, to the appearance of Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi (before he was turned back by security forces), and to the mourners' attempts to gather at the Grand Mosala.

While there was no reference to demonstrations elsewhere in Tehran and outside the capital, Press TV is also refraining from language criticising the protestors and their challenge to the 12 June election.

0500 GMT: News of a death that was lost amidst yesterday's memorial: "On Wednesday, the Paris-based monitoring group Reporters Without Borders urged authorities to explain the death of journalist Alireza Eftekhari on June 15. His body was handed over to relatives on July 13. A news release said Eftekhari died from a severe beating."

Iran: Human Rights Watch Statement on Abuse of Detainees

The Latest from Iran (8 July): The Day Before….?

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EVIN PRISONReprint of the original report on the Human Rights Watch website:

8 July 2009

(New York) - The Iranian authorities are using prolonged harsh interrogations, beatings, sleep deprivation, and threats of torture to extract false confessions from detainees arrested since the disputed June 12 presidential election, Human Rights Watch said today. The confessions appear designed to support unsubstantiated allegations by senior government officials that Iran's post-election protests, in which at least 20 people were killed, were supported by foreign powers and aimed at overthrowing the government.

"The Iranian government is desperate to justify its vicious attacks on peaceful protesters," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "What better excuse does it need than confessions of foreign plots, beaten out of detainees?"

Human Rights Watch has collected accounts from detainees after their release illustrating how the authorities are mistreating and threatening prisoners in a deliberate effort to obtain false confessions.

A 17-year-old boy who was arrested on June 27 and released on July 1 told Human Rights Watch how his prison interrogator forced him and others to sign a blank statement of confession:

"On the first day, while blindfolded, the interrogator took me to a parking garage. They kept everyone standing for 48 hours with no permission to sleep. On the first night, they tied up our hands and repeatedly beat us and other prisoners with a baton. They kept cursing at the prisoners. The atmosphere was very frightening. Everyone had wet themselves from fear and stress. There were children as young as 15 and men as old as 70; they'd be begging and crying for mercy, but the guards didn't care.

"After two days of interrogation while blindfolded, we were asked about everything: where we had studied, what our parents do, who we voted for, who is educated in the family, if anyone in our family is part of the military. We were forced to give the names of everyone. It was a scary situation because they were threatening us and were very harsh. All we could hear were other people crying and screaming.

"They provided us with a big piece of bread once, but no water. On the last day, they took away the blindfold to force us sign a paper that was blank on top but said at the bottom: ‘I agree with all of the above statements.'"

Senior Iranian officials have said that detainees have confessed to their involvement in a foreign-backed plot to overthrow the government with a "velvet" revolution. Mojtaba Zolnour, the representative of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the Revolutionary Guard Corps, said on July 2 that all the prominent detainees except one had now confessed. During his July 3 Friday prayer sermon, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a high-ranking member of the Guardian Council, said that the government would make public some of the confessions obtained from detainees.

State-backed media already have broadcast the confessions of some detainees. Amir Hossein Mahdavi, editor of reformist newspaper Andishe No, confessed on Iranian TV on June 27 that reformist groups had laid plans to create unrest before the June 12 elections. Friends of Mahdavi who saw his confession told Human Rights Watch that it was clear from his demeanor that he confessed under duress.

Among the detainees who were recently forced to appear on Iranian television is Newsweek's correspondent in Iran, Maziar Bahari. He was detained on June 21 and is believed to be held in Tehran's Evin prison, where Human Rights Watch has documented cases of torture and detainee abuse in previous years. He has not been allowed to see a lawyer or his elderly mother, with whom he lives. No charges have been filed against Bahari, who holds dual Iranian and Canadian citizenship.

On June 30, the semi-official Fars news agency reported that Bahari had given a press conference where he denounced efforts of Western media to stage an uprising in Iran similar to the 1989 Czechoslovak "Velvet Revolution," and confessed to a role in covering these "illegal demonstrations." Newsweek has strongly defended Bahari's innocence and called for him to be released immediately.

Vajiheh Marsousi, the wife of dissident intellectual Saeed Hajjarian, whom authorities arrested on June 15, believes that he is under intense pressure to sign a false confession. After visiting him in Evin prison, she believes that his life is in danger due to his poor health and lack of medical care in prison.

Information about the abuse of Iranian detainees in custody continues to filter in. An eyewitness who visited the Revolutionary Court on July 1 told Human Rights Watch:

"Hundreds of the prisoners' families were gathered in front of the entrance of the court. On the court's wall, a piece of paper listed the names of 1,349 prisoners. This was a list of people that the court would be soon releasing. There was also a separate sheet with another 223 names. It said that the authorities were still investigating the people on this list and that their families should come back in a couple of weeks. In the few hours that I spent before outside the court, I witnessed a number of people being released. Almost all of them had bruised faces and hands. Some of the families, after seeing their sons/daughters in such bad condition, started to cry, while other families claimed their sons or daughters were missing and their names were not listed."

The authorities have arrested thousands of people in a nationwide crackdown aimed at ending mass street protests that started in Tehran and other cities on June 13 after the official results of the June 12 elections gave incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a landslide victory. Although authorities subsequently released many of those detained, they have continued to make new arrests. Human Rights Watch has collected the names of 450 persons whom security forces have arrested since June 13, including more than a hundred political figures, journalists, human rights defenders, academics, and lawyers.

Most of the best-known detainees have now been held incommunicado for up to three weeks without access to lawyers or family members, raising serious concerns about the probability of mistreatment and pressure to make false confessions.

In the past, the Iranian government has frequently subjected political prisoners to various forms of pressure, including beatings, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, torture, and threats of torture in an effort to force them to make confessions that they have then publicized in order to criminalize and discredit government critics.

Because of this past record of abuse, relatives, friends, and professional associates of several prominent detainees contacted by Human Rights Watch raised concerns about their probable mistreatment in detention and the likelihood that they would be forced to make false confessions.

International human rights law clearly protects detainees from mistreatment, including forced "confessions." Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party, states that every person charged with a criminal offense has the right "to communicate with counsel of his own choosing," and "not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt." Principle 21 of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment states that, "No detained person while being interrogated shall be subject to violence, threats or methods of interrogation which impair his capacity of decision or judgment." A fundamental rule of international human rights law is that all evidence, including confessions, obtained by torture or other ill-treatment must be excluded.

The Latest From Iran (5 July): Treading Water

The Latest from Iran (6 July): Covered in Dust

UPDATED Iran: Solving the Mystery of The “Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom”
UPDATED Iran: Joe Biden’s “Green Light” and an Israeli Airstrike
Iran: 12 More Martyrs
The Latest from Iran (4 July): Breaking the Reformists? Not So Fast….

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IRAN GREEN2015 GMT: A very quiet few hours, with only a few ripples of political activity that we're chasing. So we've taken the opportunity to work on a mystery: who are the "Association of Teachers and Researchers of Qom", who released a statement criticising the Government yesterday?

1400 GMT: A series of detentions and releases: Press TV reports that Iason Athanasiadis (Jason Fowden), a freelance journalist who reports for newspapers such as The Washington Times, has been released in a gesture of goodwill to Greece. The "mothers for mourning" demonstrators arrested in Laleh Park last week and supporters such as women's rights activist Zeynab Peyghambarzadeh have also been freed.

However, Jalal Mohammadou, another leading member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front Party, has been arrested, and there are reports that journalist Masood Bastani has been detained. Bastani's pregnant wife Mahsa Amirabadi, also a journalist, has been in prison since the early days of the crisis.

1200 GMT: A series of political developments: Mehdi Karroubi's latest statement says people must continue fighting despite the difficulties ahead. He notes that President Ahmadinejad has asked officials to find Neda Agha Soltan's killer while some of those same forces have killed at least 19 other people and attacked dormitories and houses."

The "reformist" newspaper Etemade Melli reports that Mir Hossein Mousavi is forming a new politcal party, while reformist advisor Alireza Beheshti has called on the Iranian Parliament to dismiss President Ahmadinejad.

There are also reports that politician Saeed Hajjarian, who is disabled and in poor health, has been transferred from Evin prison to a hospital in Tehran.

1030 GMT: Today's Washington Post finally catches up with the story, more than 24 hours old, of the criticisms of the election posted by the Mousavi campaign:
[blockquote] In a 24-page document posted on his Web site, Mousavi's special committee studying election fraud accused influential Ahmadinejad supporters of handing out cash bonuses and food, increasing wages, printing millions of extra ballots and other acts in the run-up to the vote.

The committee, whose members were appointed by Mousavi, said the state did everything in its power to get Ahmadinejad reelected, including using military forces and government planes to support his campaign....

The report released by Mousavi pointed out that the Interior Ministry, which counted the votes, is headed by Sadegh Mahsouli, a longtime friend of Ahmadinejad. The secretary of the Guardian Council, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, had publicly supported Ahmadinejad, as had six others on the 12-member council despite a law requiring them to remain impartial, according to the report.

"The law here was completely broken," said Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, a top Mousavi campaign official. "What these documents prove is that the two entities that organized the elections were biased and in favor of one candidate."[/blockquote]

1000 GMT: Reports, via British Foreign Office, that one local staffer of the British Embassy in Iran will be released but one will remain in custody.

0710 GMT: Press TV English Irony Watch.

Number of minutes given in morning news update to Israel's detention of former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney: 5.
Number of minutes given to Iran's detention of hundreds: 0.

0600 GMT: The pattern is now woven in Iran: the daily demonstrations continue, scattered and limited in size by the State's restrictions, but still very present. However, there is unlikely to be high-profile movement until Thursday, with the planned mass march in Tehran.

On Saturday, supporters and mothers of the killed and detained gathered in Laleh Park; at least one prominent women's rights activist, Zeynab Peyghambarzadeh, was arrested. At Kamran University, a non-violent protest was marred by the reported death of a faculty member shot in the head.

It was a quieter day for opposition leaders, with no significant statements. Support did come from the Association of Instructors and Researchers at the seminary in Qom, with their statement calling the Government illegitimate. Meanwhile, a lawyer for jailed reformist leaders said they would be tried on charges of threatening national security leaders.

The regime, including Ahmadinejad also kept a lower profile on Saturday. News continued to be dominated by Friday's threats to prosecute "enemies" from British Embassy staff to Mir Hossein Mousavi. President Ahmadinejad's reported national broadcast after the evening news, if it ever took place, has left no ripples. Instead, his rather silly challenge to President Obama --- let's have a debate at the United Nations --- filled Iranian media space.

So the most significant intervention came from former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, as he spoke to detainees' families. This was not a call for open resistance, but a more measured re-assertion that the election process had been corrupted. Rafsanjani's goal? Continue to avoid a conflict with the Supreme Leader while putting pressure on President Ahmadinejad.

Overseas, a bit of disturbing silliness is going on. The Israelis are stirring up the image of the Iranian nuclear threat, with the prominent spokesman (now Ambassador to the US) Michael Oren talking of a Tehran bomb wiping out Israel "within seconds", and The Sunday Times of London --- a regular channel for Tel Aviv's propaganda --- claiming that Saudi Arabia has sanctioned an Israeli attack on Iran by allowing the use of its airspace.

The Latest from Iran (3 July): The Long Haul?

The Latest from Iran (4 July): Breaking the Reformists? Not So Fast….

Iran: The Statement of "The Mourning Mothers of Iran"
A Song for Iran? “Free My Land”
LATEST Video: “Keeping the Peace” (30 June-2 July)
The Latest from Iran (2 July): The “Gradual” Opposition

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IRAN DEMO 9 JULY1825 GMT: BBC English has posted a video report on the Iranian Government's "public service" campaign on a telephone hotline for people to inform on family and friends participating in demonstrations.

1645 GMT: BBC Persian reports that Ayatollah Yusef Sane'i, a fervent critic of the Government, has condemned televised confessions, saying they have no value as the obvious product of torture. Sane'i emphasized that "endurance is the key to success".

1515 GMT: The demonstration for 9 July is on. Andrew Sullivan has posted a copy of a leaflet (left) for the rally.

1445 GMT: Etemade Melli, the pro-"reformist" newspaper, reports today on the censorship imposed on Thursday by prosecutors and Ministry of Culture officials. The paper claims that its account of how it was closed on Wednesday by authorities was removed. Political stories were replaced by a "social page" and an item on the National University entrance examination.

1435 GMT: Reports that Sara Sabbaghian, lawyers and women's rights activist, was freed from Evin Prison on Thursday. In contrast, the regime's pressure on those present at the death of Neda Agha Soltan continues; in addition to pursuit of the doctor who tried to help her, Arash Hejazi, an eyewitness to the killing claims his family is being harassed.

There are also claims that three people have been killed, more than 200 injured, and many detained in the eastern city of Mashaad.

1315 GMT: Was Ayatollah Jannati's "foreign enemies" claim, with the threat of espionage trials, too embarrassing for Iranian state media? Press TV's website makes no reference to the allegations against Britain, saying cryptically that Jannati "warn[ed] that powers in the West would derive great benefits if the internal dispute continued to drag on". Instead, Press TV headlines, "Cleric urges end to election dispute in Iran". The Islamic Republic News Agency takes the same path, "Ayatollah Jannati: Presidential Elections Were Accurate".

An alternative explanation is that, whereas foreign media jumped on the Jannati reference to a possible trial, the focus of his speech was indeed on providing reassurances about the election process and warning that it was now over. The broader interpretation is unchanged, however; the regime is not yet secure that it has overcome the challenge on the streets and behind the scenes.

1250 GMT: We're keeping our eyes open for a text of Ayatollah Jannati's address at Friday prayers but my initial sense is that it indicates some continuing regime concern about protests: they have risked a heightened  invocation of the foreign threat, which may damage relations with Britain, Europe, and the US, to ensure public support for their maintenance of "order".

1245 GMT: More on the report below that Iranian staff of the British Embassy may be tried on espionage charges. The warning was issued by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the chairman of the Guardian Council, as he led Friday prayers in Tehran: "British foreign office had said last March that there may be riots during the elections in Iran and they said that they should warn their citizens to be careful. What do these predictions mean? And then some people in the U.K. embassy, who had a hand in the disturbances, were arrested and will surely be put on trial."

The context of the warning being issued in Friday prayers, rather than by a security or judiciary official, is significant --- it may even be good news for the detainees. This seems more of a political posture, reinforcing the regime's continued excuse of "foreign intervention" for its crackdown on internal dissent (see our prediction this morning in "What To Watch For Today", than a specific move towards formal prosecution.

1000 GMT: Watch Out. Both the BBC Persian service and Agence France Presse are reporting the statement of a Guardian Council member that local "staffers" of the British Embassy will be tried on espionage charges.

The plural should be noted, as earlier in the week Iranian authorities said all but one of the nine people detained had been released. And, if true, the report marks a significant escalation of tensions by Iran with Britain (though not directly with the US).

0930 GMT: Lara Setrakian of ABC News (US) posts a firsthand report from Tehran:
It's kind of changed from the first week, but it's definitely not over over. it's just going to be more drawn out, I think.

It's become a lot more localized in a way. People just do what they can on their own with their circle of people. Demonstrations are smaller but in different places now. I don't know how widely circulated the information going around is but there's a pretty large amount. You can feel it with strangers even like taxi drivers.

It's not that they're less pissed. If anything, they're more pissed. Because of the state and how blatantly they're lying.

0700 GMT: More on the claim that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani declined to lead Friday prayers in Tehran last week. The original story is on a pro-Khatami, pro-Mousavi website. It is supported, according to Josh Shahryar, by one of his reliable sources.

0610 GMT: Josh Shahryar's daily "Green Brief", which we highlighted yesterday, again offers an essential overview of developments. Almost all of the items match up with information in our updates and other reliable sources. However, this item (which we will try to confirm) is both new and significant:
It has been reported that Rafsanjani, who is one of the Imams that lead Friday Prayers in Tehran's largest mosque, has declined to lead prayers there again. Last week, his spot was first filled by Khamenei, but Khamenei pulled out at the last minute leaving Ahmad Khatami to lead the prayers. Rafsanjani is not planning to attend this Friday's Prayers either.

0555 GMT: The challenge in Iran is now close to a non-story for major international outlets. There is nothing on CNN International's website and no appearance in the headlines of the BBC or Al Jazeera English. The BBC website only has a limited article on the removal of the block on SMS messaging, while Al Jazeera is still running the news from Wednesday that Mir Hossein Mousavi may face criminal charges.

Press TV English, meanwhile, is featuring the story of Israel's detention of former US Senator (and Press TV presenter) Cynthia McKinney and other activists, who were trying to break the Israeli sea blockade to get humanitarian aid to Gaza. (Ironically but significantly, the incident has been a non-story for US media.)