Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Wall Street Journal (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."

The Latest from Iran (28 July): The Regime Crumbles 

The Latest from Iran (29 July): The Memorial and the Inauguration
NEW Iran: Or Is It the Supreme Leader v. the Revolutionary Guard?
NEW Iran: Will the Supreme Leader Give Up Ahmadinejad?
Iran Video (27 July): The Nighttime Protest
The Latest from Iran (27 July): A President Dangling in the Wind?

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IRAN 40 DAY 22200 GMT: Late Breaking News. The reformist website Mardomak reports that the memorial ceremonies for the fallen protesters will most probably be held this Thursday. The website asserts, "Although a rather low-level official of the ministry has objected to holding these ceremonies...there has not been any official objection... It seems that the government officials know that if they officially object, the government would then have to shoulder the responsibility of preventing these ceremony to happen." Mardomak also stated that if the doors of the Mosala are not opened on Thursday, all participants will sit down in the middle of Beheshti Street and light candles and recite the Koran.

2115 GMT: And so to close where we began this morning, considering the problems for President Ahmadinejad.

1. It is clear that the President will now be opposed by the "Principlist" bloc in Parliament. The vocal criticism of Ali Motahari has now been joined by the Islamic Engineers Society, which has criticised both the appointment of the First Vice President and the sacking of the Minister of Intelligence: "It seems you want to be the sole speaker and do not want to hear other voices… therefore it is our duty to convey to you the voice of the people." (Significantly, this news was reported on Press TV's website.)

Principlist legislator Hamid-Reza Katouzian told Tabnak: “Allegiance to the rule of just jurisprudence is not embracing the Leader and kissing his hand; allegiance must be practical....Putting the incidents of the past 10 days together, whether they were purposeful or carried out unintentionally, only show a confrontation with the Leader, and it is my opinion and that of other Principlists that Mr. Ahmadinejad needs to determine the nature of his relationship with the Leader.”

2. A "conservative" Member of Parliament, Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moghaddam, has expressed support for Hashemi Rafsanjani and has advocated compensation to the families of slain protesters. He also considered demonstrators to be "young gullible individuals who can be released".

3. Perhaps in response to this pressure, Ahmadinejad has asked the head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi to deal with the situation of the detainees (which Shahroudi had promised yesterday), hoping that the release of these individuals will coincide with the Birthday of Imam Mahdi. Ahmadinejad claims that most detainees have been "hoodwinked into participating these protests by individuals related to certain internal politicians or the propaganda of foreign enemies".

2045 GMT: Mohammad Tavasoli, a senior member of the Freedom Movement of Iran, has been freed after 43 days in detention.

2030 GMT: Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani, who has emerged as a vocal critic of the Government, has issued another statement criticising those who have ignored "the vote of the majority".

1945 GMT: The Memorial is On. Despite the denial of a permit from the Ministry of Interior, Mir Hossein Mousavi's Facebook page announces the gathering will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. local time on Thursday at the Grand Mosala in Tehran. The page also puts up a poster for the event (pictured).

1930 GMT: American Perceptions. After the news of the denial of the permit for the Thursday memorial, a quieter phase in Iran news. Meanwhile, in the US there is a discussion of clerical power, political roles, and individual rights under the Iranian Constitution. Francis Fukuyama started it in The Wall Street Journal, and Kevin Sullivan has continued it on Real Clear World. It's a commentary as notable for the American perception of "Islamic Iran" as it is for insight into the Iranian system.

1755 GMT: The head of the political office of the Ministry of the Interior, Abbaszadeh-Meshkini, has told Fars News that no official permission has been given to any individual or group for a "40th Day" gathering on Thursday. Abbaszdeh said, "Memorial ceremonies are considered to be private issues of citizens and any request for such ceremonies from the interior ministry has obvious political overtones".

1710 GMT: Another Ayatollah for Rafsanjani. Following the public support of Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Zarandi for Hashemi Rafsanjani (see 1205 GMT), Ayatollah Jaleleddin Taheri has also praised the former President and his speech at Friday prayers in Tehran.

1700 GMT: An Iranian website is reporting that politician Saeed Hajjarian will be among the 140 detainees released after a Parliamentary review.

1540 GMT: Ahmadinejad v. Khamenei? Back to our main story today. Parleman News reports that, after the dismissal of Minister of Intelligence Ejeie, President Ahmadinejad has taken direct control of the Ministry by ordering his replacement, Majid Alavi, to report directly to him. The Intelligence Ministry normally is supervised by the Supreme Leader, according to an English-language interpretation of the story.

1530 GMT: Women's rights lawyer Shadi Sadr has been released on bail of about $50,000.

1520 GMT: Fars News confirms that, after review by the Parliamentary Security Committee including a tour of the prisons and a visit to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani --- see 0750 GMT), 140 prisoners will be released today. Another 150 will continued to be held because, according to an English translation of the report, they had weapons at the time of arrest.

(Question: Are detainees like politician Saeed Hajjarian and former Government advisors like Abdollah Ramezanzadeh being held because they were carrying weapons?)Sa

141o GMT: A steady stream of Internet chatter this afternoon about the death of Amir Javadifar in prison. His body was reportedly returned to his family on Sunday for burial. There are also claims of the death of Ramin Ghahremani two days after his release from detention.

1205 GMT: The political battle amongst the clerics of the Assembly of Experts continues. Ayatollah Hossein Zarandi, the representative of the city of Kermanshah in the Assembly, has defied the letter issued by "hard-liners" last week and supported the Friday prayer address of former President Rafsanjani.

1200 GMT: Rumour of the Day. Some Iranian websites are reporting that some Grand Ayatollahs may move from Qom to Najaf in Iraq. Clerical authorities in Najaf have indicated they would welcome any cleric who joined them.

1155 GMT: Tabnak is reporting that Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Sadegh Larijani, a member of the Guardian Council and the brother of Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani, will succeed Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi as the head of Iran's judiciary on 25 August.

0945 GMT: Foreign Policy gives some attention to Iran with an interview with the former cleric Mehdi Khalaji, who is now a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

0940 GMT: We've reposted our first morning update as a separate entry, "Will the Supreme Leader Give Up on Ahmadinejad?"

0830 GMT: Has the State Media Turned? There is a flurry of comment this morning on whether the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has changed its line. Tabnak is reporting on IRIB's "severe criticism of Ahmadinejad". Until recently, IRIB had been very supportive of the President but, after the dispute over the First Vice President, the broadcaster has given significant airtime to critics of Ahmadinejad, such as the cleric Hojatoleslam Seyed Mehdi Tabatabai and the "principlist" Member of Parliament Ali Motahari.

Our correspondent Mani makes an important point, however. This is more evidence of a dispute within conservative ranks rather than IRIB sympathy for the Green Movement. No "reformist" critic has made an appearance on the channel.

(Ansar News has also published an editorial which is fiercely critical of the President.)

0820 GMT: As the Supreme Leader considers what to do with his President (see separate entry), the fired Minister of Intelligence, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie, has chipped in. He has written a letter, which has not been public, to the Supreme Leader.

0750 GMT: Larijani Does Damage Control. Yesterday we reported how the Speaker of the Parliament, Ali Larijani, stepped in to save the President when Ahmadinejad's attempted firing of four Ministers threatened to cripple the Government.

Now Farda News reports Larijani's attempt to deal with, and limit the damage from, the detainee issue. The chairman of the Parliamentary Security Committee, Kazem Jalali, says that Larijani asked the committee "to study seriously the pathology of these issues and treat all of the detainees (especially the university students and faculty) in a manner compatible with Islamic justice and fairness and kindness tempered with a strong dose of forgiveness2.

According to Jalili, Larijani declared, "Parliament is the refuge of people and as MPs we must listen to the complaints of everyone and try to address and solve the issues....Today society needs peace and calm but foreign media is attempting to inflame our society."

0715 GMT: Preparing for the 40th Day. Mehdi Karroubi has visited the family of Neda Agha-Soltan three days before the "40th Day" memorial/rally on 30 July. Karroubi expressed his sympathy to Neda's mother, "None of us knows our fate or destiny and none can say what events are awaiting us....The dear child that lost her life was the ultimate symbol of being innocent and being wronged, [her death] had a huge effect both inside and outside Iran. Neda's death loudly proclaimed the fact that the Iranian people are being oppressed and at the same time prevented further injustices and hopefully will have great beneficial effects upon the current and future life of [the Iranian] people."

Neda's mother complained about the statements of Ayatollah Seyed Ahmed Khatami, leading Friday prayers in Tehran, and Ezatullah Zarghami, the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, "As if the death of Neda was not enough for me, one of these two called my child an actress and claimed that her death was 'generated by a computer', and the other claimed her to be an actress [faking her death]." She concluded, "Neda, like thousands of other young people, cared for the fate of her country, she like other young people protested the results of the election."

0645 GMT: The Meeting of the Ayatollahs. Meanwhile, the negotiations between the Green Movement and the clerics of Qoms are proceeding. BBC Persian reports, via the website of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri,that he has been discussing "issues regarding religious law and politics " with Grand Ayatollah Mousavi-Ardebili and Grand Ayatollah Mousa Shobeiri-Zanjani.

The details of the meeting, taking place at the summer residence of Montazeri in the village of Khaveh, have not been announced. However, BBC Persian implies that the Grand Ayatollahs are now considering the open letter of Karroubi-Khatami-Mousavi and other reformists for intervention on detainees. (Yesterday we summarised the first open response to the letter, offered by Ayatollah Yousef Sanei.)

The roles of Montazeri and Mousavi-Ardebili, who have both been critical of the Government during the post-election crisis, are not surprising. However, Shobeiri-Zanjani has not stated his position, and he is a long-time friend of the Supreme Leader. Therefore, religious analyst Hassan Shariatmadari speculates on BBC Persian that Shobeiri-Zanjani may be conveying messages from Khamenei asking for a solution to growing problems.

The Latest on Iran (12 July): When Is Normal Not Normal?

The Latest from Iran (13 July): Challenge Renewed

Iran Opposition Alert: Friday is the Day?
Iran Idiocy of the Day: Bushmen Claim Credit for “Regime Change”
Iran: Tehran's Immediate Response to the G8 Summit

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2210 GMT: Press TV's website is featuring the six-point programme of Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei for a compromise resolution to post-election conflict (see 1510 GMT). It's one of a number of signs, which we'll discuss tomorrow, that the regime may be willing to make some concessions (albeit limited ones) to ease opposition.

2123 GMT: We have posted in a separate entry what we think may be an analysis of a major development in opposition  strategy, the combination of Hashemi Rafsanjani's leadership of Friday prayers in Tehran with a large march including Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mohammad Khatami.

2120 GMT: Reliable websites are now agreeing that Sohrab Arabi was killed by Basiji gunfire on 15 June in Azadi Square.

1800 GMT: Some confusion over the death of Sohrab Arabi (pictured), who was reported to have died in detention in Evin Prison. According to a website, a family member has said that Arabi was among those killed in Azadi Square on 15 June, the day of the largest post-election demonstrations, when Basiji opened fire.

The report continues that Arabi's mother, unaware of her son's death, had prepared the bail money to release him from detention. She spent days outside Evin Prison, holding Sohrab's picture and asking if anyone had seen him.

1700 GMT: We've posted a separate blog entry on a disturbing, and frankly ludicrous, attempt by a Bush Administration official to claim credit, in the name of Dubya, for Iranian "regime change".

1540 GMT: Families of detainees have gathered once more in front of Evin Prison.

1522 GMT: Political Rumour of the Day. Former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, having declined in recent weeks to lead weekly prayers in Tehran, will be making the address this Friday.

1520 GMT: Yet, even as the dispute over detentions succeeds questions over the elections as the touchstone challenge to the regime, the Government presses ahead. Mohsen Hajjarian, the son of detained politician Saeed Hajjarian, has been arrested.

1510 GMT: As we thought, the issues of political activism and detentions are emerging as the key challenges to the regime. Now Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei has written an open letter. While separating legitimate protest from that spurred by foreign influence, Rezaei has emphasized the "duties of state institutions to establish in law the rights of people": "The Islamic Republic without religious freedom and democracy can not exist."

Meanwhile, Etamade Melli has maintained its pressure by publishing a summary of Mehdi Karroubi's meetings last week with the families of detainees.

1500 GMT: A day after he received Mehdi Karroubi's letter about detainees, Ayatollah Shahroudi, the head of the Iranian judiciary, has been addressed by the Iranian Association of Journalists. The association has asked Shahroudi to observe the Iranian Constitution with respect to detentions, confession, and torture. Human rights organisation have claimed that Iran leads the world in the detention of journalists.

1220 GMT: In an interview with Rooz, legal scholar Mohammad Seifzadeh and lawmaker Dariush Ghanbari announced that confessions extracted in prison lack legal validity and only serve political purposes. On the contrary of what is written and broadcasted by pro-government media organisations, Seifzadeh accused officials of defaming detainees.
Moreover, lawmaker Dariush Ghanbari, who is also the spokesperson for the Line of the Imam faction in the Majlis and Emad Hosseini, who is also member of the same faction claimed that the government was "imposing certain views on society." Rooz reports that many members of the judiciary ignored the significance of the situation when asked whether rights of detainees were violated.

1200 GMT: Another young martyr? Twitter users iranriggedelect and iranbaan report on 19 year old Sohrab Arabi, who they say died in Evin prison despite being due for release on Tuesday. Two reports on Rooz (article 1: Persian / English translation; article 2: Persian / English translation) suggest that he was involved in post-election protests, and remained in Evin even after his mother posted bail. Iranbaan also links to a video which she says shows his mother showing his picture to released detainees outside Evin in the hope that they will recognise him.

1145 GMT: CNN reports that, "A top Iranian general said government troops are "ready to sacrifice our lives" rather than back down in the face of protests over June's disputed presidential election." [link via iranrevolution]

0710 GMT: The First Post-election "Reform"? Press TV's website reports that the Expediency Council has ruled that, in future, a member of the President's Cabinet cannot also serve on the Guardian Council. Currently, Justice Minister Gholamhossein Elham, who also serves as President Ahmadinejad's primary spokesman, and Ebrahim Azizi, deputy head of the presidential office for human resources, are also on the Guardian Council.

0655 GMT: An important sign that "uneasy settling" (0615 GMT) does not mean that the situation has been resolved. A reader has confirmed, from Iranian media, yesterday's report of a statement that much of Tehran is a "crisis zone". The claim of police commander Ahmadi-Moghaddam was made in Aftab News.

Blame for the crisis was placed on people using computer software, encouraged by the BBC.

0650 GMT: Josh Shahryar's latest "Green Brief" claims, "Vast weekly protests and the heavy presence of Basiji’s have had a negative impact on Iranian bazaars; they are finding it harder and harder to stay open. As a result, commerce is slowly coming to a standstill."

0615 GMT: On the surface, there is an uneasy settling of the political situation in Iran. For the second day in a row, there were no significant open demonstrations, and statements were limited, with the most significant challenge coming in Mehdi Karroubi's letter to the head of the Iranian judiciary, Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, calling for the release of detainees (see yesterday's updates). Ayatollah Montazeri also issued a fatwa condemning the Government as "un-Islamic" for its support of violence against demonstrations. Rooz Online offers a summary (in Farsi) of the clerical debate over the political and security issues.

In short, the impression was that both sides were catching their breath before next moves. This, however, should not be mistaken for "calm". As long as the Iranian Government continues to hold hundreds of detainees without charge, including leading politicians and activists, then there will be an immediate cause for protest that could always be the platform for wider criticism of the system. On Saturday, for example, the women’s wing of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s Participation Front wrote an open letter, saying that Iranian mothers were awaiting the release of their loved ones with teary eyes and aching hearts.

That is why a lot of Internet discussion yesterday was about the alleged mistreatment of detainees and poor conditions in Evin Prison. And that is why there has been so much attention to the Basiji and the Revolutionary Guard. We were caught up in the debate over the authenticity of the leaked audio tape of Revolutionary Guard discussions on how to handle protest (although we are still unsure whether the tape is from 1999 or 2009), and much attention was paid to an article in The Wall Street Journal giving inside detail on members of the Basiji, closing with the puzzlement of one Basij over why his fiancee had left him.

There is also discussion on a possible "cyber-attack" on Twitter, with the key topic "#iranelection" being flooded with spam to obscure the latest posts on political, clerical, and security developments.

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

The Latest from Iran (7 July): Sitting Out a Storm

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
The Latest From Iran (5 July): Treading Water

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2145 GMT: The death toll in Tehran may be far higher than official figures suggest. Fintan Dunne has posted this English rewrite of an article in Le Figaro:
One of a pair of Iranian doctors, who fled the capital to France says an unofficial tally by medical staff at Tehran area hospitals counted 92 violent deaths related to conflicts with security forces. The death toll is considerably at variance with an official figure of 17 deaths.

1700 GMT: An Iranian website is reporting on a meeting that Mir Hossein Mousavi held with "friends and acquaintances" on the occassion of Imam Ali's birthday. Mousavi said that the election had shown the problems of the Iranian system and repeated that the State faced questions over its legitimacy at home and abroad. He declared, on the issue of protest, "The movement will continue," but this would be within a legal framework.

1635 GMT: The Regime Wins One? Mehr News Agency reports that the Speaker of the Parliament, Ali Larijani, has finally congratulated President Ahmadinejad on his "victory". Larijani had caused some friction for the post-election procession with his querying of the neutrality of the Guardian Council and his demand for an enquiry into the raids on the dormitories of Tehran University. (hat tip to Nico Pitney)

1555 GMT: But here's the real significance of the Khamenei statement: yes, there is an fight going on within the rgime. According to Press TV, Khamenei "pointed to the internal disagreement among Iranian officials", although he then "explained that despite such disputes these officials stand united against the enemy". That's the point to remember amidst his bluster, "In the event of enemy intervention, the Iranian nation, despite differences of opinion, will unite and become an iron fist against them." 

1550 GMT: Look! Over There! The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has again brought out the foreign menace. Speaking on Monday, he warned Western countries against "meddling" in Iran's internal affairs: ""Such governments should be careful with their hostile approach and remarks. The Iranian nation will react." Khamenei also referred to protesters as a "depressed" and "distressed" minority.

1545 GMT: Expect a standstill in developments tomorrow. Confirmation that Tehran will be "shut down" for 24 hours tomorrow because of dust pollution.

1515 GMT: The LA Times is carrying confirmation of Mousavi's apparent decision to launch his own political party (which we reported yesterday).

1300 GMT: Another Lemming Jumps. The Wall Street Journal runs with Sunday's inaccurate and misleading New York Times story, plus a lot of general background, to try and catch attention with a Clerics v. The Regime story.

1240 GMT: Rumour of the day: a significant portion of the Revolutionary Guard have turned against the Supreme Leader. Twitter user MikVerbrugge claims the source of this information is an Iranian officer they are in contact with.

1230 GMT: Another British embassy worker has been freed, leaving one member of staff still in detention.

0920 GMT: And a nice reminder of the political tension behind the scenes. The German service Deutsche Welle reports that Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, a staunch supporter of President Ahmadinejad, sent a stern letter to the Speaker of the Parliament, Ali Larijani, warning him to "obey" the Supreme Leader.

0915 GMT: Press TV's website also features the comment of police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam that "two-thirds" of those arrested in post-election conflicts had been freed or released on bail. The missing detail? Neither the police chief nor Press TV mention how many people were detained.

0845 GMT: Last night we began received reports of a large duststorm moving across Iran from the west, reaching Tehran today.

That's an apt metaphor for the current political situation. There's been an uneasy settling of conflict over the last few days but the sense that, even though public activity was reduced, there could soon be another clash. Ironically, even though there is almost no breaking news coming out of Tehran, that sense is heightened this morning.

On the clerical front, there is enough intrigue to fill several crises. That intrigue has been elevated (and, indeed, exaggerated) by Sunday's misleading New York Times story of a dramatic challenge to the Supreme Leader from Iran's "most important" clerical faction, the "Association of Teachers and Researchers of Qom".. We've sorted out fact from fiction in a separate post.

On the political front, both the regime and the opposition are manoeuvring ahead of the planned demonstration on Thursday. Protest will continue today, "Father's Day" in Iran, as relatives of detainees gather in front of Evin Prison. On the other side, the Islamic Revolution's Guard Corps (Revolutionary Guard) used a Sunday conference to put out warnings. The political head, General Yudollah Javani declared:
Today, no one is impartial. There are two currents; those who defend and support the revolution and the establishment, and those who are trying to topple it. Those who wanted to topple the revolution made a mistake in their calculations. They had ignored the awareness of the people and the role of the Leader.

The Commander of the Revolutionary Guard, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, added, “We are convinced that the IRGC must play a deciding role in the preservation and continuation of the revolution.” (He added that this should in no way be interpreted as “meddling” by the IRGC in politics.)

Iran's Chief of Police, Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam, chipped in with a public statement keeping the foreign menace alive: "The BBC and the British Embassy, spearheaded efforts aimed at provoking unrest and incited people to commit civil disobedience and go on strike." It is still unclear whether any local staffers of the British Embassy will stand trial for "endangering national security".