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Entries in Islamic Republic News Agency (5)


The Latest from Iran (23 May): Is This The People's Month?

1820 GMT: Joined-Up Government? Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Sunday that Iran had not yet delivered a letter outlining the procedure for the uranium swap agreed last week with Brazil and Turkey.

Islamic Republic News Agency reported earlier Sunday that the letter had been delivered (see 1515 GMT). Iranian officials now say it will be submitted on Monday.

1815 GMT: Claimed video of a clashes between protesters and government forces today at Elm-o-Sanat University:


NEW Iran Document: Khatami “Khordaad is the Month of the People”(22 May)
Iran Nuke Analysis: Reading the US-Turkey Discussions
The Latest from Iran (22 May): Karroubi’s Letter, University Protests

1810 GMT: Resistance. Seven opposition websites have issued a joint statement that they will “resist and persevere” in their mission of informing the public until the fall of “despotism” and the moment of “victory”.

Emrooz (Today), Tahavole Sabz (Green Evolution), Jaras/Rah-e-Sabz (Path of the Green Movement), Neday-e Sabz-e Azadi (The Green Voice of Freedom), Raymankojast (Where’s My Vote?), Mizan, and Saham News declared that that “resistance, defending the rights of the citizens, unity and avoidance of all forms of violence” are the pillars of their media activities. They urged the public to contact them with suggestions about “disseminating information” and to “resist and persist in their legal demands to restore the lost principles of the constitution.”

1800 GMT: Nourizad Still Imprisoned? An Iranian activist notifies us that Mohammad Nourizad's daughter has denied the report that he has been released from prison (see 1520 GMT). Pro-Government websites are still carrying the news.

1520 GMT:  Political Prisoner News. Tabnak is reporting from Khabar Online that filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad has been released from prison. The article also denied Nourizad's claim that he was beaten by guards last week.

1515 GMT: The Uranium Dispute. The Islamic Republic News Agency reports that Iran has officially handed a letter to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, setting out the terms for a swap of uranium, based on last week's joint declaration by Iran, Brazil and Turkey.

1510 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Rah-e-Sabz is reporting, from "sources", that film director Jafar Panahi will be freed this evening from Evin Prison.

Iranian activists are writing that student leader Majid Tavakoli has been moved back to solitary confinement.

1230 GMT: Election Manipulation? Further information on the claim (0740 GMT) that entire villages were "resurrected" --- 60 around Tabriz alone --- to provide votes for President Ahmadinejad in the 2009 election: context and details can be found in Ayande News, Tabnak, and other citations in the Green Voice of Freedom article.

1220 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Press TV, drawing from Iranian Students News Agency, writes:
The Chairman of Iran's Expediency Council, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, described the Islamic Republic as "determined" to defend its rights and in particular its nuclear rights on the international stage: "Iran will not give up its rights in the face of such psychological warfare, threats, and intimidation."...

According to the senior Iranian official, the region and the world will pay a heavy price if "hostile and unethical ways" are adopted to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue.

ISNA highlights Rafsanjani's remarks about the 28th anniversary of the Iranian defence of Khorramshahr against Iraqi attack. No word, however, about his views on internal matters.

1010 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Iranian Azeri activist Behboud Gholizade, the head of the NGO Yashil, has been arrested.

1000 GMT: Mousavi and Karroubi Meet. Kalemeh, the website of Mir Hossein Mousavi, reports that Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have had a new discussion today. "Further news" is promised later.

0830 GMT: Corruption Corner. Fazel Mousavi of Parliament's Article 90 Commission, has asserted that files  alleging corruption against senior government figures are being investigated.

0825 GMT: Economy Watch. Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghaddam, a leading member of Parliament's Economy Committee, has again urged the Goverernment to declare details of its subsidy cut plans, warning that otherwise there will be negative economic effects.

0815 GMT: Labour Front. Iran Labor Report sets out the regime crackdown on the Tehran and Municipality Bus Workers Labor Syndicate, with detentions, firings, and disciplinary action.

0810 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Writing for Tehran Bureau, "Hana H." has a lengthy profile of Mehdi Hashemi, Hashemi Rafsanjani's son, and the pressure upon him and his family.

Hashemi is living in Britain and has been threatened with criminal prosecution if he returns to Iran.

0745 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Kurdish activist Mohieddin Azadi, detained since March 2008, is reportedly on hunger strike.

85 Iranian filmmakers have urged the judiciary to release detained director Jafar Panahi.

0740 GMT: Remembering the Election (Manipulation)? Green Voice of Freedom claims a new fact from the 2009 Presidential vote for consideraiton: dozens of villages which were recorded in 1976 but had ceased to exist by 2007 suddenly appeared for last year's ballot. The website cites the example of 60 "resurrected" villages around Tabriz.

0735 GMT: Show of Force. Rah-e-Sabz reports heavy security in Khorramshahr in southwestern Iran on the eve of a visit by President Ahmadinejad.

Rooz Online claims two million Basiji militia have been mobilised for 22 Khordaad (12 June).

0715 GMT: Yesterday we began with a defiant statement from Mehdi Karroubi. Today we start with a gentler but pointed call by former President Mohammad Khatami for the Iranian people, leading up to the 12 June anniversary of the 2009 Presidential election, to claim their rights and for the Government to respect that claim. The text is in a separate entry.


Government Spin: Look Away. Far Away....

More emphasis by President Ahmadinejad and his men on events beyond Iran. On Saturday Ahmadinejad spoke with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, who helped broker last week's agreement on a procedure for Tehran's uranium enrichment. Press TV gives the public line:
Iran's nuclear declaration is the beginning of a new era in the international political arena and offers a great opportunity for interaction and dialogue. Tehran is to create a new atmosphere in international relations based on fair and constructive cooperation with its friend and brother countries.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, meeting UN special representative Staffan de Mistura, settled for calling the US the main perpetrator of radicalism in Afghanistan.

New Green Website

Sabzlink, a new "portal" offering readers the latest in Iran news, has gone on-line.

The Latest from Iran (21 May): Friday Rest?

1935 GMT:More Diplomatic Games. The Islamic Republic News Agency reports:

After the joint announcement of Iran, Turkey and Brazil, Iran's permanent ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency announced the country's readiness to submit the letter to the agency. In a meeting with the agency's chief Yukiya Amano on Monday, Iran will hand over the letter.

1920 GMT: Diplomatic Games. Back from a break to find that the US has denied a visa to Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mehdi Akhondzadeh Basti.

Basti was planning to attend the month-long conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the United Nations.

In a more positive development, the European Union's foreign policy director, Catherine Ashton, claims that Iran has signalled that it is ready to speak to representatives of the "5+1" powers (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China) about uranium enrichment.

NEW Iran Analysis: Four Perspectives on the Uranium-Sanctions Dance
Iran Document: Simin Behbahani’s Poem for the Executed
Iran Videos: Former Diplomat Heidari Reveals the Regime
The Latest from Iran (20 May): Back to Business

1540 GMT: Friday Rest, Indeed. A quiet day on the news front. Press TV now has the packaged summary of Ayatollah Jannati's Friday Prayer (much politer than our assessment at 1235 GMT), focusing on his portrayal of the Iran-Brazil-Turkey agreement on procedure over uranium enrichment: "This move by Iran is another step towards building trust and leaves no room for Western excuses."

The mothers of the three detained US citizens, arrested for crossing the Iran-Iraq border last summer, have met their children for a second time.

I'm off to chat with the Islamic Student Society at the University of Birmingham about US-Iran relations.

1240 GMT: Detainee Connections? Borzou Daragahi of the Los Angeles Times notes Iraq's release of two Iranians --- one arrested seven years ago and one in 2007 by US troops --- and speculates that there is a link to Tehran's permission for the mothers of 3 detained Americans to visit their children.

1235 GMT: Your Friday Prayer Summary. It's Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, at the podium today, and he's taking the audience on a global tour. The G-15 Summit of non-aligned nations, President Ahmadinejad's speech to the United Nations on nuclear non-proliferation, and the Turkish and Brazilian talks lead to Monday's agreement on a procedure over uranium enrichment: it's a buffet of international triumph.

But that's not to say that Jannati stayed away from the domestic scene. Here is a summary: Chastity good. Hijab very good. University students, take notice. Thank you and have a lovely day (if you're chaste and wearing the veil).

1225 GMT: Panahi Bail Hearing Tomorrow. The wife and lawyer of detained film director Jafar Panahi have told media that his case will be heard in Revolutionary Court on Saturday. Lawyer Farideh Gheirat said,  "Based on the promise I got (from the judiciary), I am hopeful that he will be released until the date set for his trial."

Panahi was arrested in early March and has recently gone on hunger strike to protest his treatment in prison.

0920 GMT: Economy Watch. Iran Labor Report surveys layoffs, unpaid wages, and problems for factories in Tabriz, including the threat to close one of the largest industries in the city, Tractors Manufacturing.

0915 GMT: The Afghanistan Protests. Demonstrations continue in Afghanistan over the jailing of Afghans in Iranian jails: the latest was outside the Iranian Consulate in Herat, with chants of "Marg bar Khamenei" (Death to Khamenei).

0910 GMT: Cyber-Wars. Revolutionary Guard commander Ebrahim Jabbari announces, "We have the second biggest cyber army of the world."

0755 GMT: Fashion Warning. Mohammad Hosseini, the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, has warned that women are not appropriately dressed in Iranian films.

0750 GMT: Conspiracy Theory of Day.Hojatoleslam Ruhollah Hosseinian, an Ahmadinejad supporter in Parliament, has "revealed" that, after meeting global financier George Soros, former President Mohammad Khatami anointed Mir Hossein Mousavi for leadership by "putting the green shawl around Mousavi's neck".

0740 GMT: Global Analysis of Day. Ahmadinejad Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai hands down a lesson in politics at home and abroad. He pronounces that "near to nothing is left over" from Israel, which exists only to serve superpowers in the Middle East". In contrast, Iran is a model where "no one has to be jobless", so "in 15 years millions of people in the world will be at our service".

0625 GMT: Brotherhood, Defence, and Hikers' Moms. A glance at Press TV's "Iran" section this morning is instructive: none of the lead stories are about internal matters. Instead, there is the platform of a meeting with the Speaker of Kuwait's Parliament for President Ahmadinejad to declare,
"The age of threat is over and (the) future belongs to brotherly talks."

The commander of Iran's ground forces, General Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan responds to the age of non-threat with the announcement that Iran will deploy remote-controlled weapons on its border areas: ""So if any enemy enters these areas it will face either soldiers or weaponry that act as soldiers and will target them."

Elsewhere, it is Iranian goodwill that dominates, with features on Thursday's hotel visit by the mothers of three detained US citizens with their children, arrested for crossing the Iraq-Iran border last summer.

0555 GMT: So to the end of a week with both the artificial drama of the Iran-Brazil-Turkey agreement on uranium enrichment and the US-led response of a sanctions resolution introduced to the United Nations Security Council and the escalating drama of a Government, struggling to maintain legitimacy, stepping up intimidation and detentions.

We've posted a separate entry with four incisive and very different perspectives on the uranium dispute.

And now to watch for developments on the domestic front....

LATEST Iran Urgent: The Deal on Uranium Enrichment (and US Response)

UPDATE 18 MAY, 1445 GMT: Ahh, so here's the apparent response of the Obama Administration, or at least Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: reduce the Iran-Brazil-Turkey agreement to "a number of unanswered questions" and push forward with the high-profile sanctions drive in the United Nations. Clinton's statement, just made to a Senate committee:

“We have reached agreement on a strong draft with the cooperation of both Russia and China. We plan to circulate that draft resolution to the entire Security Council today. And let me say, Mr. Chairman, I think this announcement is as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide.”

Iran Document: Text of Iran-Brazil-Turkey Agreement on Uranium Enrichment

UPDATE 1745 GMT: The US Government has now made its formal response to the Tehran agreement. It's little more than a "hold the line" statement, issued by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. It gives no clue as to whether Washington was supportive of the Brazilian-Turkish mediation; instead it sets the next challenge: let's see the proposal go to the International Atomic Energy Agency and, possibly, let's see Iran suspend its unilateral push for 20-percent uranium:

We acknowledge the efforts that have been made by Turkey and Brazil. The proposal announced in Tehran must now be conveyed clearly and authoritatively to the IAEA before it can be considered by the international community. Given Iran’s repeated failure to live up to its own commitments, and the need to address fundamental issues related to Iran’s nuclear program, the United States and international community continue to have serious concerns. While it would be a positive step for Iran to transfer low-enriched uranium off of its soil as it agreed to do last October, Iran said today that it would continue its 20% enrichment, which is a direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions and which the Iranian government originally justified by pointing to the need for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor. Furthermore, the Joint Declaration issued in Tehran is vague about Iran’s willingness to meet with the P5+1 countries to address international concerns about its nuclear program, as it also agreed to do last October.

The United States will continue to work with our international partners, and through the United Nations Security Council, to make it clear to the Iranian government that it must demonstrate through deeds –-- and not simply words –-- its willingness to live up to international obligations or face consequences, including sanctions. Iran must take the steps necessary to assure the international community that its nuclear program is intended exclusively for peaceful purposes, including by complying with U.N. Security Council resolutions and cooperating fully with the IAEA. We remain committed to a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear program, as part of the P5+1 dual track approach, and will be consulting closely with our partners on these developments going forward.

The European Union and Britain have put out similar statements.

UPDATE 1245 GMT: A group of Iranian political activists have declared that today’s uranium agreement, from a “political and economic” stance, is in the interest of the Iranian nation.

Mohammad Bastehnegar, Ezzatollah Sahabi, Taghii Rahmani, Hosein Rafii, Reza Raistoosi, Hossein ShahHosseini, Azam Taleghani, Reza Alijani, and Nezameddin Ghahari asserted that the agreement could end economic sanctions against Iran and lead to “transparency” in Iran’s relationship with the world.

The statement calls for collaboration of both conservative and reformist political activists in supporting this government initiative.

UPDATE 1110 GMT: Trita Parsi gets to the heart of why this arrangement was struck when last October's very similar deal, which reached top-table discussions in Geneva between Iran, the US, and other powers, collapsed. He notes talks between Brazil's Lula and the Supreme Leader: "This is no longer Ahmadinejad's nuclear deal, this is Khamenei's nuclear deal."

UPDATE 1015 GMT: Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has offered more details of the proposed uranium swap at a press conference. From Press TV:
Iran will ask the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] to station its personnel in Turkey to monitor the safe-keeping of the dispatched LEU [Tehran's 1200 kilogrammes low-enriched uranium]....The top diplomat underlined Iran will inform the IAEA of its decision "through official channels" within no more than seven days from the Monday meeting.
"Upon the positive response of the Vienna Group --- which includes Russia, France, the United States and the IAEA --- further details of the exchange will be elaborated through a written agreement and proper arrangement between Iran and the Vienna group that specifically committed themselves to deliver 120 cages of fuel needed for the Tehran research reactor (TRR)," noted Mottaki.

If the Vienna Group accepts Iran's terms and conditions, Mottaki said, both parties will "commit themselves to the implementation" of the deal, which requires Iran to deposit its LEU in Turkey within one month, and in return, the Vienna group will deliver 120 kg of fuel required for the Tehran reactor in no later than one year.

UPDATE 0755 GMT: How big is this story for Iranian state media? Islamic Republic News Agency, noting that "Ahmadinejad raised his hands in victory", devotes 6 of its top 9 stories to the agreement. (Fars, on the other hand, has not stepped into line: its top story is on British Foreign Secretary William Hague speaking about the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai.)

UPDATE 0645 GMT: The Iran-Brazil-Turkey agreement is for a swap of uranium outside Iran, and just as signficant, it involves the 1200 kilogrammes of Tehran's stock that the US and "Western" countries were seeking last autumn.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Monday that the Tehran government has agreed to a draft proposal whereby Iran will send some 1200 kg of its 3.5 percent enriched uranium over to Turkey in exchange for a total of 120 kg 20 percent....

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will officially receive a letter with regards to the swap deal "within a week".

According to a Press TV correspondent, the swap will take place nearly a month after receiving official approval from the Vienna Group, which consists of representatives from Iran, France, Russia and the US and the IAEA.

Now watch carefully for the reaction from Washington. If it is favourable, even cautiously favourable, we've got a major breakthrough.

The dominant story in both Iranian and non-Iranian media today is likely to be the announcement between Iran, Brazil, and Turkey of an agreed procedure for a deal on enrichment of Iran's uranium.

No details will be available until later today, so significant questions remain. It is not clear whether Tehran has given any way to the essential demand of the US and other members of the "5+1" (UK, France, Germany, Russia, China) for a swap of uranium outside Iran. Politically, Washington's position --- has it privately supported the Brazilian and Turkish discussions? --- is murky.

The seriousness of the talks, however, is indicated not only by their 17-hour duration on Sunday but also by the level of involvement. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's postponement on Friday of his trip to Iran did not, in the end, mean that Turkey had withdrawn altogether. Rather, this seems to have been a case of wait-and-see: Turkish "ministers" were involved throughout Sunday: once it was clear that an agreement was possible, Erdogan reversed his position and flew to Tehran, joining Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The core issue is how Iran's 3.5-percent uranium will be exchanged for 20-percent uranium, needed for the Tehran Research Reactor producing medical isotopes.

The Latest from Iran (11 May): Opposition Surfaces

2220 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. A Tehran appeals court has upheld the guilty verdict against Hamzeh Karami, manager of the Jomhouriyat website. Karami will serve one year in prison for propaganda against the system and 10 years in prison and permanent dismissal from government services for embezzlement.

Karami was acquitted of collaboration and collusion with to disrupt national security, which would have added five years to his jail term.

NEW Iran Document: Maziar Bahari’s Response to His 13-Year (and 74-Lash) Sentence
NEW Iran Special: A Renewal of Protest for 12 June?
UPDATED Iran Video: Protest Against Ahmadinejad at Shahid Beheshti University (10 May)
Iran Background Video: Protest in Kurdistan Over Political Prisoners
Latest from Iran (10 May): Will the Executions Matter?

1905 GMT: Behave Yourselves! Minister of Interior Mostafa Mohammad Najjar has said police will deal firmly with those who violate socially accepted standards, including disregard for the Islamic dress code: “As the president has ordered and the people have demanded, police will take firm action against those who break the norms."

1555 GMT: Getting over the MediaFails. I was considering an entry about a series of media trainwrecks in Iran coverage --- Bronze Medal to CNN's Rick Sanchez, as the broadcaster decided to notice opposition because of yesterday's 8-minute video from the Shahid Beheshti University protest, for his statement that "five demonstrators died" on Sunday; Silver Medal to Reuters for simply dressing up the Islamic Republic News Agency press release on Sunday's executions; Gold Medal to The Huffington Post for skipping Iran coverage in favour of a food-fight between Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett and their critics.

But why spend the time and energy on failures? Instead, we have posted the response of journalist Maziar Bahari to his 13-year, 74-lash sentence by an Iranian court.

1515 GMT: The Executions. Zahra Rahnavard has issued a statement denouncing Sunday's hangings as a demonstration of the "extreme provocative and violent rule of the regime".

1345 GMT: Promise of the Day. First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, accused of corruption by leading members of Parliament, has reportedly said in a government meeting: "If one of these frauds is confirmed, I'll cut off my hand."

1335 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Is former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, in the run-up to 12 June, coming off the political fence? Speaking to reformist youth, Rafsanjani reporting said that the imprisonment of “concerned critics” of the government will enhance people’s awareness of the situation and stressed that “silence” in the face of political issues is unacceptable.

Rafsanjani, according to Mir Hossein Mousavi's website Kalemeh, said that arrests have made a significant number of people “more persistent” and added, “Do not lose heart!.....When you enter political activism, you should not think that the equations are simple and the matters will be resolved with a few demonstrations.”

1332 GMT: The Executions. Human Rights Activists News Agency has posted a report with pictures and video of a demonstration in Washington DC against the hanging of 5 Iranians on Sunday. The National Iranian American Council has issued a statement condemning the executions.

Pictures have also emerged of a protest in Iraq's Sulaimaniya.

1330 GMT: Sniping at Ahmadinejad. In another show of defiance, the Iranian Parliament has pronounced that 11 rules of implementation of the Ahmadinejad Government, covering areas such as money laundering and budget reform, are illegal.

1320 GMT: Khamenei's Man Attacks. The Supreme Leader's vice-deputy to the Revolutionary Guard, Hojetoleslam Muhammad Bagher-Zolghadr, has declared that Grand Ayatollah Sane'i, a hate figure for many in the regime, wanted to become Ayatollah Khomeini's successor and that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani is seeking "to be a pillar of Revolution".

1315 GMT: Video Game Corner. Rah-e-Sabz, citing the Islamic Republic News Agency, claims that a new computer game, "Fighting Sedition", has been released. It is supposedly based on a fighter aircraft attacking targets that look like opposition figures Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mohammad Khatami.

1154 GMT: Economy Watch. The government has announced that implementation of the Ahmadinejad subsidy cuts will begin on 21 May.

1150 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Medical student Maryam Abbasinejad, arrested on 2 May, has been released. It is unknown whether the decision by the authorities is linked to a letter from 60 professors from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences to the university’s president, calling for the freeing of Abbasinejad.

1040 GMT: An EA correspondent, drawing on information from inside Iran, reports that it was not only Shahid Beheshti University students who came out to demonstrate against President Ahmadinejad. The university's lecturers were also present in significant numbers.

0855 GMT: The US Hikers. International media are buzzing about the announcement by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki that Iran will give visas to the mothers of three US citizens arrested along the Iraqi border last July to visit their children in a Tehran prison.

It is just our speculation, but there may be a connection to Iran's apparent efforts to get a deal, possibly brokered by Turkey and Brazil, on uranium enrichment. There is likely to be more on this later today or tomorrow....

0825 GMT: Panic Stations. Here's the first paragraph ofthis morning's story from The Times of London: "Iran is focused on improving a growing arsenal of ballistic missiles but needs at least four more years to be able to target London and more than a decade to threaten the East Coast of the United States, a leading think-tank [the International Institute for Strategic Studies] said yesterday."

However, that measured conclusion is not nearly dramatic enough for The Times' editors. Their headline? "UK could be target for Tehran missiles ‘in four years’".

0800 GMT: The Oil Squeeze. Reuters reports, from the Iranian newspaper Siyaset-e-Rouz, the statement of Minister of Oil Masoud Mirzakemi that Iran needs $25 billion of investment to develop its oil and gas industry.

0715 GMT: Government Gets Tough on Itself! Khabar Online reports that the Government is to fine officials 1000 Toman (just over $1) for each minute they are late to meetings.

0710 GMT: The Economic Battle. After his venture to New York, President Ahmadinejad finally returned to domestic contests yesterday, declaring over his subsidy cut plan, "I stand to the end for justice and will not be fooled by anyone."
0700 GMT: The Executions. Political prisoners in the Gohardasht facility have published a letter of solidarity with those executed on Sunday.

0635  GMT: More Hangings? In the aftermath of Sunday's hanging, The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran warns that at least sixteen Kurdish detainees and eleven post-election protestors are in danger of unannounced, sudden executions.

0625 GMT: Considering the context of the executions and yesterday's response, an EA reader sends us a discussion in Sweden including Hassan Shariatmadari and Farrokh Negahdar on "Perspectives of the Green Movement".

0620 GMT: Silencing the Families of the Executed. Fereshteh Ghazi reports that the Iranian authorities are refusing to release the bodies of the five Iranians put to death on Sunday to their families, who are waiting in front of Evin Prison. Ghazi claims that the families are being told they must sign an oath that there will be no protests in their towns.

0615 GMT: Ghazi on Ahmadinejad and Journalists. We notice video of a speech by Fereshteh Ghazi, one of the foremost chroniclers and analysts of Iran, at George Washington University. In the extract, she considers the Government's attempt to "frame" political discussion with its repression of journalists.

Fereshteh Ghazi (@iranbaan) from Mehran Divanbaigyzand on Vimeo.

0610 GMT: We begin this morning with a special analysis, "The Renewal of Protest Before 12 June?", considering the catalyst of Sunday's executions of five Iranians, the anti-Ahmadinejad demonstration at Shahid Beheshti University, and the wider political context.

Latest from Iran (10 May): Will the Executions Matter?

1920 GMT: Protest Videos. We've now posted three videos of today's anti-Ahmadinejad protest at Shahid Beheshti University and a video of a student walkout at Elm-o-Sanat University over the speech of a Government official.

1910 GMT: Executions --- A Correction. An Iranian activist puts out an important note: Mehdi Islamian, one of the five Iranians hung on Sunday, was not a Kurd. Islamian's brother and three other people were convicted of a bombing in Shiraz and accused of connections with monarchists. The activist claims that Islamian's "crime" was money given to his brother.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Protest Against Ahmadinejad at Shahid Beheshti University (10 May)
NEW Iran Background Video: Protest in Kurdistan Over Political Prisoners
Iran: Farzad Kamangar’s Last Letter “Is It Possible to Teach and Be Silent?
Iran First-Hand: Assessing Life and Opinions in Tehran (Majd)
Iran, Meet Kafka: The Web of Internet Censorship Catches All (Farokhnia)
The Latest from Iran (9 May): 5 Iranian Kurds Executed

1900 GMT: Mousavi on the Executions. Mir Hossein Mousavi has issued a statement on Sunday's execution of five Iranian Kurds (English translation):

The sudden execution of five of the citizens of this country without giving any clear explanations regarding their charges, prosecution procedure and trials to the people, is just similar to the unjust trend that in the recent months have led to the surprising sentences for a lot of caring women, men and citizens of our country.

When the Judiciary shifts its position from supporting the oppressed toward supporting authorities and those in power, it is hard to stop people from judging that the judiciary sentences are unjust. How is it that today the courts pass on those who ordered and committed the crimes of Kahrizak Prison, [the attacks on Tehran] University dormitories, Sobhan residence [3], the days of 15th and 20th of June, and Bloody Ashura [27 December], and closed the massive corruption cases before opening them and then suddenly on the eve of the month of Khordaad [June], the month of consciousness and seeking justice, hangs these five individuals with so many unanswered questions? Is this the Alavi [those who follow the first Imam of Shi'a, Imam Ali] justice that you were after?

1625 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has declared that he still believes the solutions he presented in his Friday Prayer address last July --- the last time he spoke from the Tehran podium --- still provide an exit from the current post-election conflict.

Meeting former governors, Rafsanjani said adherence to the Constitution was the most important basis for "moving forces" towards a resolution.

A reminder of Rafsanjani's 17 July speech, which was accompanied by mass protests against the handling of the post-election conflict by the Government:

The most important thing that has happened is that the trust that brought the people
to vote in such large number is not there anymore.
We need to return this trust.

We all need to follow the law. And I’m talking about the government, the parliament, the Islamic Courts and the security forces.
We need to follow the laws.
All problems can be solved if we only follow the framework of the laws.
We need to create an environment where all sides could come together and discuss their issues.
We need to be able to sit down like brothers and sisters and talk about our differences.
The chance that was given to the Guardian Council of five days to get people together and regain their trust was not used.
That is not there anymore.
But we still have time to unite.

We shouldn’t imprison our own people,
We should let these people return to their homes,
We shouldn’t let our enemies laugh at us because we’ve imprisoned our own people.
We should sit together with mourners,
And we should console them,
And bring them back closer to the system.
We should not be impatient now.

Please do not censor media outlets that have legally obtained permits.
Let them do what they want to do legally.
Allow a peaceful and friendly environment to prosper.
We are all together in the Islamic Revolution,
We’ve all spent years in suffering,
We’ve all given martyrs for the cause of the revolution,
This unity needs to fostered.

I’m hopeful that we will be able to achieve this unity in the future,
And I’m hopeful we will get out of this situation,
Based on the wishes of the people,
And consensus among the leaders.

1500 GMT: The Executions. Education International has issued a statement that it is "deeply troubled to hear reports that Iranian teacher trade unionist Farzad Kamangar was among five people who were summarily executed in secret on 9 May". The International Trade Union Confederation has also condemned the hanging.

1430 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Sixty professors from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences have written to the university's president, calling for the release of medical student Maryam Abbasinejad from prison.

Abbasinejad was arrested a day after Ahmadinejad’s sudden appearance at the university on 1 May. There is no information on her physical condition or the reason behind the arrest.

1420 GMT: Getting Rid of Bad Books. The Supreme Leader, meeting officials of the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization, has urged authorities to prevent the publication of books which contradict Iran's religious and cultural values: "The country's cultural atmosphere, especially in the field of book publishing, should be protected as there are some who seek to distort history and spread issues which are against our values."

Ayatollah Khamenei's remarks come after reports that the Tehran Book Fair barred works by figures such as Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, a hero of the Islamic Revolution, Grand Ayatollah Sane’i, and Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. (Press TV notes simply, "The meeting [with the IIDO] comes as the Iranian capital of Tehran is hosting an international book fair which runs until May 15.")

1415 GMT: "Hardline" Editor Acquitted. Hossein Shariatmardari, the editor of the "hardline" Kayhanhas been acquitted by a Tehran court of all charges of libel, brought by, amongst others, activists such as Shirin Ebadi and Shadi Sadr and journalist Emaduddin Baghi.

1410 GMT: Maziar Bahari, Master Criminal. An EA correspondent reports that Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari was today, in absentia, has been given a sentence of 13 years imprisonment and 74 lashes by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. This is the longest jail term imposed on a journalist in the post-election conflict.

Bahari was detained in Iran for four months after the election but was released in October. He returned to the United States, although he still has family in Iran.

1345 GMT: Kicking Out the Oil Companies (This Time We Mean It). Iran has issued a new two-week ultimatum to Royal Dutch Shell and the Spanish company Repsol after the expiry of a previous ultimatum last month.

Referring to long-standing contracts for development of natural gas fields, Reza Kasaiezadeh, director of the National Iranian Gas Export Company, said, "The oil ministry has now issued an ultimatum to Shell and Repsol, holding them responsible to determine the situation surrounding contracts on South Pars phases 13 and 14 over a period of two weeks."

On Saturday, Minister of Oil Masoud Mirkazemi had threatened that Iran will expel foreign firms for delaying development, but he did not a specific company. Shell, citing the prospect of Western sanctions, suspended operations in South Pars earlier this year.

1210 GMT: What Demonstrations? Islamic Republic News Agency has posted an article on President Ahmadinejad's speech at Shahid Beheshti University praising Iran's "astonishing speed of scientific progress". Nothing, however, on the student demonstration that greeted news of the visit.

1155 GMT: MediaWatch. Non-Iranian media are gradually picking up on the significance of Sunday's executions. The BBC has now posted a short article, and The Guardian of London goes further with references to demonstrations (although the newspaper's story, "Kurds to protest after Iran executions", misses the fundamental point that many Iranians who are not Kurdish may be demonstrating and linking the hangings to wider post-election issues of injustices and abuses).

1150 GMT: Silent Demonstrations at Universities? Rah-e-Sabz writes that silent protests against the executions of the Iranian Kurds are planned for Wednesday and Thursday at Tehran University.

1140 GMT: We've posted two claimed videos of a protest against President Ahmadinejad's visit to Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran.

1000 GMT: Add Toronto to the list of cities where protests took place against Sunday's executions.

0810 GMT: Mousavi "An Enemy of God". Gholam-Hossein Elham, a member of the Guardian Council, has reportedly said that Mir Hossein Musavi is a "mohareb" (enemy of God).

Elham, quoted by Fars News from a speech at a university, would be the most significant Government official so far to make the allegation --- which carries the death penalty under Iranian law --- against Mousavi.

0800 GMT:  Diversion? Amidst the uproar over the execution of five Iranian Kurds as enemies of the state, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has tried to hammer home the themes of Iran's defence against foreign-supported "terrorism". Speaking at the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Turkey, Larijani claimed direct US backing and involvement of groups operating out of Pakistan.

Larijani's comments are made in the context of the recent capture of Abdolmalek Rigi, the leader of the Baluch insurgent group Jundullah.

0700 GMT: MediaWatch. Nazila Fathi writes in both the print and versions of The New York Times this morning about the execution of the five Iranians, taking the line: "Although the authorities announced that the five people executed Sunday had been found guilty of carrying out fatal bomb attacks, the executions were widely seen as intended to discourage people from rallying against the government on June 12 [the anniversary of the Presidential election."

The Washington Post has a shorter, muddled Web-only piece by Thomas Erdbrink. For some reason, the article distinguishes between the hangings of four of the Kurds and the execution of Mahdi Islamian, leading to the distorted headline, "Reported executions of four Kurds could increase tensions in Iran". The report is largely drawn from the account of Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency, so there is no consideration of wider political issues.

0630 GMT: Nuclear Front. In advance of the visit by Brazilian and Turkish leaders to Iran which may signal a brokering of an uranium enrichment deal, Tehran has restated its willingness to reach an arrangement.

The head of Iran'a atomic energy organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, told reporters, "Some countries have been seeking to impose a series of conditions on Iran, but our condition is receiving concrete assurances."

Salehi continued, "Our stance toward the nuclear fuel swap has not changed. We will give 3.5 percent enriched uranium and receive 20 percent enriched fuel. Our purpose (of continuing negotiations with the West) is to give the Western countries an opportunity to save face and find a way out of the current situation."

0515 GMT: Crackdown on Kurdish Teachers. An Iranian activist reports that four leading members of the Kurdestan Teachers Union were arrested by Iranian intelligence on Sunday.

0500 GMT: It has been a long time since a single story from Iran galvanised reaction outside the country. Iranians and activists throughout the world responded with sadness and fury to the Sunday morning news that five Iranians --- Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, Shirin Alamhouli, and Mehdi Eslamian --- had been executed for alleged bombings and/or membership of the Kurdish organisation PEJAK. Demonstrations took place in London, Berlin, Paris, Milan and Hamburg, with dozens arrested at the French rally.

But what will the response be inside Iran? Will the hangings provoke public anger or will any display be muted? We have posted video of a demonstration in Sanandaj in Kurdistan in July 2008 over detentions, including that of Farzad Kamangar, who was hung on Sunday. Families of the executed reportedly called for a protest in front of Tehran University at 11 a.m. local time (0600 GMT).