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The Latest from Iran (13 July): Back to Politics?

2030 GMT: Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami has denounced President Ahmadinejad for saying that no religious leader has banned the wearing of a tie: "I say to him that many religious dignitaries believe ties should not be worn. The Supreme Guide [Leader] himself has said in a that the wearing of ties or bowties is not permitted."

1955 GMT:Electricity Squeeze. Mohammad Behzad, the Deputy Minister of Energy, has said industrial electricity will be rationed with alterations of working hours and rotating closures of companies.

1945 GMT: Iran Aircraft on Empty? BP and Iran Air have both confirmed that the British company has stopped supplying jet fuel at Germany's Hamburg airport.

Iran Analysis: Grand Ayatollah Golpayegani Criticises Supreme Leader? (and What Could It Mean?)
Iran’s Haircuts Special: The Revenge of the Mullets
The Latest from Iran (12 July): Holidays?

1915 GMT: Where is Mahmoud (Not Going)? Hmm, not sure what to make of this. From Mehr News:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has postponed his visit to Lebanon till after the holy month of Ramadan [which ends on 9 September], the Beirut-based Al-Akhbar newspaper said in a report published on Tuesday.

The decision was made after a consultation between Tehran and Beirut, Al-Akhbar quoted Lebanese diplomatic sources as saying....

Ahmadinejad, who has been invited by his Lebanese counterpart Michel Suleiman, was supposed to visit Beirut before 11 August at the head of a 70-member delegation.

1900 GMT: Today's All-is-Well Alert. From Press TV:
Iran's Interior Minister says Tehran has successfully foiled all foreign plots aimed at destabilizing the country over the past three decades. "Over the past 30 years, our enemies faced defeat in every instance and their latest ploy was [inciting] the seditionists who wanted to break our ranks," Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar told reporters on Tuesday....

The Interior Minister said peace was restored to the country's eastern region after the execution of Abdolmalek Rigi, the ringleader of the Pakistan-based Jundallah terrorist group.

"With the execution of this villain, who was backed by several Western spy agencies and the Israelis, complete peace has returned to the region."

1850 GMT: The Prison Scandal. Writing in Rooz Online, Fereshteh Ghazi offers a lengthy critique of the Kahrizak abuse case. She sets out the case that, while two security personnel have been condemned to death and nine have been given prison sentences, those responsible --- notably former Tehran Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi --- have escaped justice.

1825 GMT: Politics and the Bazaar Strike. An EA correspondent pulls together the latest from the Tehran Bazaar and a statement by the head of the "conservative" Motalefeh Party, Mohammad Nabi Habibi, on growing conflict with President Ahmadinejad and his allies, "The Velayat Party [declared by Ahmadinejad this weekend] does not exist."

Our correspondent, drawing on Motalefeh's traditional power in the Bazaar, interprets Habibi's statement: "If you hit my party, I hit your economy."

1815 GMT: More on the Khatami Statement (see 1510 GMT). Khabar Online's main takeaway from Mohammad Khatami's meeting with youth groups and reformist journalists is his declaration that "many people, professors, students, experts, and journalists are leaving the country".

Parleman News focuses on Khatami's assertion that the "Green Movement belongs to the people" and his reading of the political situation: "Some think they are above the law," deviating from religious principles. Khatami added,  "We have reached a point that even the Majlis cannot stop injustice". In a pointed reference to President Ahmadinejad's statement that Iran needs no other than the "Velayat Party", Khatami noted, "The Shah said as well that we have only one party."

1630 GMT: The Bazaar Strikes. Tehran Bureau sends the following from a correspondent: ""I visited the bazaar today and was quite surprised to see most stores closed there. There were NO security personnel in uniform to be found anywhere. I did see a Basiji directing traffic half a mile away. There was also a flier on the wall (inside the main bazaar) which said the '15% deal is off'."

More claimed footage from today:


1525 GMT: Culture Corner (Revolutionary Guard Edition). The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps has announced that it is establishing an "Association of Cultural Elites" near Tehran University.

1510 GMT: Khatami on "Double-Edged" Religion. Speaking to youth parties and reformist journalists, former President Mohammad Khatami has declared that religion can be "a double-edged sword" insofar as it can pursue rights and justice but it also be a tool to justify exclusion and failure.

1455 GMT: Fighting the Oil Squeeze. Iranian Students News Agency reports that Iran cut its imports of gasoline by almost 50% in March-June 2010, compared to figures of the previous year.

1445 GMT: Keeping the Pressure On. Interesting, given our current attention to possible manoeuvres against President Ahmadinejad, to find Jahan News citing Abdolhossein Ruholamini, the campaign manager for Mohsen Rezaei in the 2009 Presidential campaign and the father of Mohsen Rouholamini, killed in Kahrizak Prison last summer.

Ruholamini asks, given that the criminal verdicts over Kahrizak have been announced, why has Saeed Mortazavi, the former Tehran Prosecutor General and now aide to the President, not been dismissed?

1435 GMT: Statements Present. Mir Hossein Mousavi has said, in a meeting with a group of faculty of Tarbiat Modarres University, that everyone who defends rights is a member of the Green Movement.

Mousavi declared, "Soon Green Hope will win because people are looking for the realization of rights. The seeking of human freedom is the defence of rationality and logic against oppression and lies."

1425 GMT: Statements Past. Khordaad 88 has posted the English translation of the Mousavi-Karroubi press conference on 8 June, held four days before the anniversary of the 2009 Presidential election.

Rooz Online has published the English translation of its interview this weekend with Zahra Rahnavard on the diversity of the Green Movement and its welcoming of criticism.

1420 GMT: Broadcast News. The head of SWR, part of the German broadcaster ARD, has defended the recent visit of the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Ezzatollah Zarghami, and an IRIB delegation by saying that there were no cooperation agreements during an "informational visit". The clear implication in the letter is that the reception of IRIB ensures that ARD can maintain a journalistic presence in Iran.

1410 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Four detainees in Rejai Shahr Prison have written the Tehran Prosecutor General, Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi, asking, "Where is the human dignity you have claimed?"

A letter from 160 activists demands the release of Azam Veysameh, a journalist arrrested on 10 June.

1400 GMT: Political Changes. Hossein Saberi, the Governor of Lorestan Province in western Iran, was suddenly replaced. So sudden, in fact, that he learned of his dismissal from an announcement on Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

1355 GMT: And now claimed footage of the strike at the Tehran Bazaar today:


1345 GMT: The Bazaar Strikes. Rah-e-Sabz claims, with supporting photos, that "strikes continued today and were even more extensive than last week".

Khabar Online is also carrying the news, which has been picked up by Agence France Presse. The Government has been declaring that a compromise deal of a 15% tax increase --- down from the original 70% --- has been agreed.

1340 GMT: Parliament v. President. MP Omidvar Rezaei has said that Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani "reminded" President Ahmadinejad, at the meeting of the heads of the executive, legislative, and judicial brances, of violating Article 138 over the implementation of laws.

MP Emad Afrough has declared that the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, at the centre of the dispute over Islamic Azad University, is far from acceptable because of members' inability, too many jobs, and low expertise.

1325 GMT: Execution Watch. The international furour over the sentencing to death by stoning, now temporarily suspended, of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been matched by questions within Iran. Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani has pronounced that stoning is not in the Qu'ran while reformist Masoumeh Ebtekar, a former Vice President, has asserted that Ayatollah Khomeini said many times that stoning should not be carried out.

1020 GMT: The Battle Within. Ali Larijani has used the economic front to take another jab at the Government. He has underlined the importance of a "relationship between hardliners and clergy" (a call for a front to challenge Ahmadinejad?) and added that the meaning of Iran's Article 44 regulating state and private economic spheres was not for the latest sell-off of four companies.

1015 GMT: Sideshow of the Day. A bit off the key terrain of Iranian politics, this curious case continues:
An Iranian nuclear scientist who Tehran claims was kidnapped by the United States has sought refuge at the Pakistani embassy's Iranian interests section in Washington and is seeking to return home to Iran, Pakistani authorities said Tuesday.

Shahram Amiri, a onetime researcher at Iran's Atomic Energy Organization who disappeared during a trip to Saudi Arabia last year, appeared at the Iranian interests section office at 6:30 p.m. Monday, said Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit.

0828 GMT: Break Time. Off to teach at the Clinton Institute Summer School so updates will resume briefly in about 90 minutes and then again this afternoon.

0825 GMT: The Battle Within. Secretary of Expediency Council (and 2009 Presidential candidate) Mohsen Rezaei has given a long interview to Khabar Online. Lots to be worked through, but an EA correspondent notes his claim
that Hashemi Rafsanjani's manoeuvre is "to bring back reformers and divert (enheraf) hardliners".

That would seem to be a swipe at Rafsanjani, which is at odds with my weekend analysis of planners against Ahmadinejad, including Rezaei, reaching out to the former President.

0810 GMT: Electoral Change. The Guardian Council has approved a Parliament bill to hold Presidential and city council elections at the same time, effectively the next municipal ballot by two years to 2013.

0807 GMT: We Want Our Money. According to Peyke Iran, President Ahmadinejad has claimed that banks owe the Government 10 trillion toman (about $10 billion).

0805 GMT: Economic Salvation? Borzou Daragahi of the Los Angeles Times investigates continued and growing links between Germany and Tehran:
Chancellor Angela Merkel can warn companies all she wants to stop doing business with Iran. Yet commerce between German firms and the Islamic Republic keeps expanding, as businesses here continue longstanding relationships with Tehran.

In the first four months of 2010, trade between Iran and Germany totaled nearly $1.8 billion, up 20% from the same period last year, according to the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce in Hamburg.

0800 GMT: Trouble in Qom? Alongside our special look this morning at a claimed rebuke of the Supreme Leader by Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani, Rah-e-Sabz claims concern amongst clerics about a change in identity of the seminaries (howzeh).

0755 GMT: Watching the Bazaar. Iran should be back to work today after an extended holiday since last Thursday. We're watching for news out of the Tehran Bazaar, amidst chatter both about continued strikes and about a settlement between the Government and the vendors, reducing the business tax increase from 70% to 15%.

0725 GMT: We begin this morning with an analysis of a reported message from Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani to the Supreme Leader: has Ayatollah Khamenei been told that his earthly life has been wasted and his heavenly one is in doubt?

And it looks like there is a new player in Iranian broadcasting: welcome to Mir Hossein Mousavi TV.

Reader Comments (31)

Kahrizak Watch

Father of killed Mohsen Rouholamini protests: why Judge Mortazavi's dismissal order doesn't get implemented?" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Reformers Watch

Reza Khatami, brother of former president, in interview with Shargh daily: hardliners are out, reformers' current is only way to save the country" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

India-Iran Trade
Underwater pipeline back on India-Iran talks" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Green Movement & Minorities

Journalist Yousef Azizi Bani Taraf on necessity of aligning GM demands with other groups (women, workers etc.) and ethnic minorities at UNPO conference in Rome (28-29 June):" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Judiciary official says woman to be stoned for husband's murder, not just adultery

In a surprise announcement on Sunday, Malek Ejdar Sharifi, head of East Azerbaijan Province's judiciary, , told the Islamic Republic News Agency that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who had been convicted and sentenced to stoning for adultery had also been convicted of murder.

That's fresh news. Up until Sharifi's comments, Iranian officials and her lawyer said she was only convicted of adultery. Her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafai, said his client had been convicted of having a hand in her husband's death but that the charge played no role in the death sentence against her, especially since her children did not want to pursue the murder charge against their mother. She was handed a 10-year sentence for the murder, her lawyer said.
More:" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Desire to Turn Ahmadinejad Into Putin
Administration Supporters Seeking Islam Without Clergy

In the latest incident of increasing divisions among the Principalists, Morteza Nabavi, the editor-in-chief of the conservative Resalat daily, warned against the “emergence of a deviant faction within the Principalists” that support Ahmadinejad, and other Principalist group that strives to turn Ahmadinejad into a “Putin”." rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Follow-up on story I've already posted on a couple of times here: the implementation of the Iranian "health house system in the Mississippi Delta area:

Iranian Cure for the Delta’s Blues" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

RE: 0810 GMT: Electoral Change. The Guardian Council has approved a Parliament bill to hold Presidential and city council elections at the same time, effectively the next municipal ballot by two years to 2013.

Radio Zamaneh's report on this ends: "Still Mahmoud Ahmadinejad administration had expressed opposition against this bill." Could this be because it will allow Tehran mayor Baquer-Ghalibaf to remain in office until 2013 and thereby retain a perfect platform for launching a presidential bid?

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

The tremendous welcome of president by the thousands favor of Islamic republic of Iran in Nigeria" rel="nofollow">

You'd think his official website would have managed to post at least one photo of the thousands - even if it was fake!

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine


Impossible, because the Holy Photoshop Division (Mahdi Branch) has left for summer vacancies ;-)


July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Kahrizak Watch II

Names of Kahrizak culprits published:
Colonel Faraj Kamijani, chief of K. detention center: 25 months prison, or payment of 700.000 Toman (ca. $700), and 6 months off duty
Colonel Ravanbakhsh Fallah, head of NAJA supervision: 14 months of prison, payment of 700.000 Toman, 4 months off duty
Colonel Mohammad Amerian: 17 months of prison, payment of 700.000 Toman, 3 months off duty
Brigadier general Azizollah Rajabzadeh, head of Tehran's security forces: acquitted!" rel="nofollow">

"Judge" Said Mortazavi? Never heard of !!!

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Does anyone think Iran is now busily engaged in influencing the US November mid-term elections with all its announcements (that will have follow-ups) regarding 20% enriched uranium, increasing its stock of enriched uranium sixfold by September 2011 and delivering nuclear fuel rods to a research reactor as early as August 2011?

As Jim Lobe writes in the article of his I posted on 11 July, "a familiar clutch of Iraq war hawks appear to be preparing the ground for a major new campaign to rally public opinion behind military action against the Islamic Republic.

Barring an unexpected breakthrough on the diplomatic front, that campaign, like the one eight years ago, is likely to move into high gear this autumn, beginning shortly after the Labour Day holiday, Sep. 6, that marks the end of summer vacation.

By the following week, the November mid-term election campaign will be in full swing, and Republican candidates are expected to make the charge that Democrats and President Barack Obama are "soft on Iran" their top foreign policy issue."" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Not quite related, except for the fact that a "holy" image is involved :-), but did you see my reply to you in this older thread?" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Refugees Watch

The city of Duesseldorf has granted asylum to 50 Iranian refugees from the UNHCR contingent. She reacted to an initiative of the German section of United4Iran. Actually 4000 Iranian refugees in Turkey are trying to get asylum in other countries." rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

@ 0755 GMT: Watching the Bazaar

Settlement? Jaras reports that "strikes continued today and were even more extensive than last week"" rel="nofollow">
Still unconfirmed, but probably true...

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Excerpts in English from Zahra Rahnavard's Interview with Rooz Online:
'We Welcome Criticism of Green Movement'
Zahra Rahnavard says, “those who are not criticized become stagnant like a marsh, and we welcome all criticism that is made out of friendship and concern for the movement.”" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Iranian Speaker Receives Support From Qom Religious Figures
The statements this weekend in favor of Larijani came in response to earlier verbal attacks against him. Larijani, a parliament deputy from Qom, had faced calls for his resignation as speaker 10 days ago from other conservative factions.

Paris-based Iranian political analyst Mohammad Jawad Akbarian told Radio Farda on July 11 that the attacks on Larijani and the response "show a clear divide among governing officials from the public perspective."" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Amiri Watch

Clinton says Iran scientist free to come and go:" rel="nofollow">
Quoting NedavaSohrab from Twitter: His Nuclear Rap Concert was a flop and his record company do not want to sign him up!

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Re 1015 GMT: Sideshow of the Day. It gets ever more curious...
"But a Pakistani embassy official tells Danger Room that the reports of Amiri turning up in the embassy are ”incorrect information” and “we have no one here” matching his description. That’s from an individual at the press office who didn’t identify herself and said she could not speak for the record. She added she couldn’t explain why a spokesman for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry in Islamabad told reporters that the scientist is at the embassy’s Iranian interest section, about two miles away from the main facility in D.C.’s Glover Park neighborhood. But she also didn’t split hairs: “He’s not in the embassy at all.”" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWitteKr

Back to politics or back from Iran ;-)

With special regards to all American readers:" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

What's next??? Iran president runs into trouble over neck ties!
"Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has run into trouble with a conservative cleric over whether men are allowed to wear ties in the Islamic republic, the news agency ISNA reported on Tuesday.
"I say to him that many religious dignitaries believe ties should not be worn," said Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, who is normally a close ally of the president, a fellow hardliner. "The supreme guide (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) himself has said in a fatwa (religious edict) that the wearing of ties or bowties is not permitted," Khatami said.
In the latest such controversy, Ahmadinejad has gone on record as saying that no religious leader has banned the tie, which since the 1979 Islamic revolution has been regarded as a symbol of Western culture."" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWitteKr

Agree good article for the "everyday" American to read. Hopefully HP's website gets lots of traffic and the article is linked to the front page. Unfortunately such articles/discussions do not make it to "main" US media where it would receive a larger audience.

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan77

This could explain a lot... "President Dmitry Medvedev has devised sweeping changes in the Russian foreign policy: he is unequivocally turning to the West for the sake of modernising the country. He announced the new foreign policy concept at a meeting of ambassadors and Russian permanent representatives abroad, held at the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday. (...) The president's sensational thoughts include a statement that such a problem-raising country as Iran "behaves itself not in the best way" and "is approaching a potential that can be used for manufacturing nuclear weapons". At the same time, to the president's mind, termination of the dialogue with Tehran will be "our collective failure". (...) "Under conditions when it is necessary to invite innovations and technologies, it is relations with the West that become the key priority for Russia," RBK Daily quotes vice-president of the Political Technology Centre Alexei Makarkin. "There is nothing to borrow in this respect from Iranian Islamists or Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez."
Russia turning West for the sake of modernisation:" rel="nofollow">

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWitteKr

Airport Watch

Oil major BP has ceased supplying jet fuel to Iran Air at Germany's Hamburg airport, both parties confirmed on Tuesday... Rival supplier Royal Dutch Shell plans to let its contracts to supply Iran Air with jet fuel lapse in response to the latest U.S. sanctions, an industry source said last week." rel="nofollow">

Camels are surely better for AN and his cronies, 100% non-western!

July 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

@ 1630 GMT: The Bazaar Strikes

The Bazaar on Strike, Students Join In:" rel="nofollow">

Hopefully they unite...

July 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

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