Rafii-Forushan was arrested on 27 June 2009 and held for 43 days in solitary confinement during his interrogation.
2130 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Arshama3's Blog lists the individuals, institutions, and companies subjected to new sanctions by the European Union.
1915 GMT: Going after Jannati. The reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front has joined Mehdi Karroubi's attack on Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council (see separate entry), demanding that Jannati “clarify how and when he has secured...documents" that allegedly show a US-Saudi $50 billion plot for regime change. They question, "How can an individual that does not refrain from committing the biggest sins, be in charge of two positions that have justice as their first criterion?"
This, however, may be the most intriguing sentence: "Has he made these revelations with the authority of the relevant officials?” EA sources indicate that, because Jannati is seen as being close to the Supreme Leader, the criticism of him is an indirect challenge to Ayatollah Khamenei's authority.
NEW Iran Music Video Special: The Award-Winning “Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone”
NEW Iran’s Persecution of Rights: The Pursuit of Lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei (Shahryar)
Iran Document: Karroubi Strongly Criticises Head of Guardian Council (29 July)
Iran Analysis: Twisting & Turning to Prove the Leader is Supreme (Verde)
Iran: How “Ahmadinejad v. Paul the Octopus” Became a Global Showdown
The Latest from Iran (29 July): 22% Support?
1910 GMT: Containing the Cleric. It is being reported that Molana Abdolhamid, the Sunni Friday Prayer leader of Zahedan, has been barred from leaving country and his passport has been confiscated.
1830 GMT: Poster of the Day. Courtesy of the Iranian Government, "A Woman without Hijab is like a Chair with Three Legs".
1800 GMT: Client and Lawyer Watch. The Guardian of London has a lengthy profile of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman sentenced to death for adultery (on the basis, the article claims, of a 3-2 decision amongst the judges), who has sent a message from inside Tabriz Prison.
Deep in the article is this sentence about Mohammad Mostafaei, Ashtiani's lawyer, who is hiding after authorities tried to detain him and arrested his wife and brother-in-law: "The Guardian has learned that Mostafaei is safe for the moment and plans to publish an open letter to Tehran's prosecutor."
1730 GMT: Larijani Watch. Today's claim of "strong Iran leader" by Ali Larijani comes in the pages of the Islamic Republic News Agency.
Stressing that Iran's motives in the Middle East, as it does not seek an empire, Larijani declared, "If the Zionist regime bullies Palestine we will stand against it, and if it decides to attack Lebanon Hezbollah will confront it."
As for uranium and sanctions, Larijani emphasised Iran's pursuit of peaceful nuclear capability: "When the US questions why Iran has nuclear and missile technology it is because [it is unhappy that] we have the ability to obtain such technologies.....Had we been producing fruit juice, mineral water, and tomato paste, it (the US) would never have raised an objection....They claim that Iran has nuclear weapons, but they never say [a word about] the Zionist regime, which is their friend [and] possesses nukes."
1645 GMT: Do Not Panic. Might be worth noting this reference from Mehr News to Ayatollah Emami Kashani's Tehran Friday Prayer: "He...called on people who have deposited their money in foreign banks to return their funds to Iran."
1620 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Back from a break to find a far-from-unexpected tweak in the sanctions tale. The Chinese Government has said that it does not approve of new sanctions imposed by the European Union while welcoming Tehran's offer to return to negotiations on uranium enrichment.
A Foreign Ministry statement declared, "China does not approve of the European Union's unilateral sanctions on Iran. We hope that all relevant parties can support a diplomatic solution and appropriately resolve the Iran nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations."
1300 GMT: Your Friday Prayer Update. Have to be honest, it's hard working up enthusiasm over Ayatollah Emami Kashani's Tehran Friday Prayer.
The cleric called for Iranian cohesion --- political, economic, and cultural --- in the face of sanctions. However, any white-hot rhetoric seemed to be cooled by the Iranian Government's indications this week that it would enter discussions, even with the "enemy", over its uranium enrichment programme. (Earlier on Friday, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said it was "out of the question for Iran to promise never to enrich uranium" but said the move for 20% enriched uranium could be suspended if talks were held.)
That left Emami Kashani's defiance with the line that the great Iranian nation would not need "outside help" to produce the necessary uranium for civilian purposes.
1255 GMT: Mahmoud's University Push. Hmm, I get the feeling that the dispute over control of Islamic Azad University, supposedly resolved by the Supreme Leader's intervention, could flare up again....
Speaking to a student organisation, President Ahmadinejad warned that "enemies" are trying to create space for their activities within Iran's universities.
1215 GMT: Conspiracy Theory Update. First it was President Ahmadinejad with warnings of an imminent American strike on two Arab countries allied with Tehran , then it was Ayatollah Jannati, the leader of the Guardian Council with revelations of the US-Saudi $50 billion "regime change" scheme, now it's the "nuclear-pig-blood cigarette plot".
Mohammad Reza Madani from the Society for Fighting Smoking said contraband Marlboros, part of the 20 billion cigarettes smuggled into Iran each year, have been contaminated with pig hemoglobin and unspecified nuclear material.
Madani claimed Philip Morris International, which sells Marlboro outside the US, is "led by Zionists" and deliberately exports tainted cigarettes.
1055 GMT: Mousavi's 1988 Resignation Letter. Mr Verde stops by to discuss Mir Hossein Mousavi's letter of resignation as Prime Minister, reprinted yesterday on the website of former President Abolhassan Banisadr:
The letter in general accuses Ayatollah Khamenei, who was President in 1988, of meddling in affairs which are not directly his responsibility. This is similar to the accusations about his current activity as the Supreme Leader. It also shows the internal workings of the Islamic Republic to be chaotic and haphazard.
Point 2 of the letter talks about “external operations” and lists: a plane hijacking, a shooting in a Lebanese street, and discovery of explosives on Iranian hajj pilgrims. It says that these operations are disastrous for the country and could be repeated any moment.
The tone of the letter is suggesting that all of these are carried out by the Islamic Republic's officials and that Khamenei is involved in them, although it says that the Prime Minister [Mousavi] is in the dark about it.
These accusations are not coming from regime opponents or foreign governments. They are coming from the Islamic Republic's Prime Minister.
1. Mousavi is accusing Khamenei, as President, of being involved in terrorist activity overseas. This could be used to embarrass Khamenei further, placing the activity next to the actions of the Islamic Republic after Khamenei became Supreme Leader, e.g. Chain Murders, attacks on student dormitories, street killings, prison rapes, etc.
2. The letter suggests that the Islamic Republic was regularly involved in terrorist activity overseas, an allegation which could be damaging to the current regime .
Will Mousavi confirm this, deny this, or, as he had for 22 years since the letter was first leaked, ignore this?
What will Khamenei’s side do? Will they “leak” letters and information which would counter this letter? If they play the card of Ayatollah Khomeini, then Supreme Leader, it would mean tha,t despite his best efforts, Kahmenei has again have been forced to hide behind Khomeini.
Although the current intra-regime arguments started with the dispute over the 2009 presidential elections, this episode has the potential to cause trouble well beyond that. One can't help get the feeling that events --- in this case but not only in this case --- may spiral out of control.
1040 GMT: EA's Hot Tips of Day. Based on information from sources:
1. Discussions earlier this month between Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, key member of Parliament Ahmad Tavakoli, and Secretary of Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei on action against the President --- which we covered on EA --- have been followed by several meetings between Larijani, Rezaei, and Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf.
2. The Supreme Leader's "I am the Rule of the Prophet" fatwa followed a visit to Qom, and specifically to Grand Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi, by member of Ayatollah Khamenei's office. Makarem-Shirazi said he could not support a unilateral declaration by the Supreme Leader but he could accept a declaration framed as an answer to a question from a follower. The question and answer followed two or three days later.
0945 GMT: We've posted a separate entry on the music video, "Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone!", which has just won an award in Britain, including an interview with the members of the Iranian band, Blurred Vision.
The Independent of London has also posted an interview with the band members.
0815 GMT: Talking Tough. Hojatoleslam Mojtaba Zolnour, the representative of the Supreme Leader in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, grabs the spotlight with the warning that there should be action against Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
Zolnour said Tehran would "act correspondingly" if its ships were challenged. He added, "Sanctions will backfire and have grave consequences for [these countries]."
0610 GMT: Watching Karroubi (and the Reaction to Karroubi). We're keeping eyes open for the reaction to Mehdi Karroubi's open letter to Ayatollah Jannati, head of the Guardian Council (posted in a separate entry). To call this a "criticism" is a major understatement: Karroubi is effectively accusing one of Iran's leading political and religious figures of being --- at the least --- an accomplice to election fraud and Government repression.
0600 GMT: We start today with a focus on human rights, specifically the regime's attempt to limit or even prevent the defence of them. Josh Shahryar offers a feature on the Government's pursuit of lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, who is missing as his wife and brother-in-law sit in prison.
Mostafaei's colleague Shadi Sadr, who was forced into exile by the regime, has written to the Iranian Bar Association:
It appears that the legal-security system, while forced to stop carrying out the stoning sentence [against Mostafaei's client Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani], is hell bent on taking revenge on Mr Mostafaei by some trumped-up charges. Since they were unable to find him, they have arrested his wife and brother-in-law....
This is not the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran that the family of a civil activist have been taken hostage. The policy of oppression of activists by pressurising their family members by different forms, from threatening them to extracting "confessions" by torture, has been used brutally in the past few years. In one of the recent cases, the husband of Mrs Shirin Ebadi, a member of the Bar Association of Iran, human rights activist and Nobel Laureate, was forced to speak against her on camera after several days of incarceration....
As a lawyer, a member of the Central Court lawyers, also as a client and defendant, I urge you, who lead this oldest civil law society in Iran, not to remain silent on state kidnap and retaliation....If we do not act against this policy, whose victims today are Shirin Ebadi and Mohammad Mostafaie, it will attack every single one of us tomorrow.