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Entries in Mehdi Karroubi (28)


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.

Iran: The Green Movement and "Moral Capital" (Jahanbegloo)

Professor Ramin Jahanbegloo, based in Canada, talks with Radio Farda:

Mr. Jahanbegloo, during the past year, Iran's name has been associated with a new term: the "Green Movement." I know that you have been working on the Iranian movement for the past couple of months. Are there any particular characteristics that you find significant in this movement?

Well, I think what happened in Iran during the past months has introduced two principal characteristic in terms of the movement's image, both for the Iranians and worldwide. One is the aspect of "truth seeking" or, in other words, the notion of reevaluating the truth, which is very important. The other aspect is avoiding violence.

The reason that I brought up the notion of truth seeking is that, in my opinion, the main players of Iran's civil society—which would be students' movement, women's movement, labor activists, rights activists and so on—have set their objectives in combating the immoral policies of falsehood. And this is being done in an approach which deploys a nonviolent method. The aspect of combating falsehood and lie is very interesting, and in my opinion it marks the birth of a new civil maturity in Iran. This is what I call "moral capital." Up to this moment we have been talking about the social and political capitals. But now what I see in Iran is a moral value which eventually, with the current nonviolent approach, would be able to build the future democracy of the country.

So do you think that the Green Movement has the elements of a stable and long-lasting movement?

I do believe this is a long-lasting movement. Why? Because the demands it is seeking are long-lasting demands. During the past 100 years, since [Iran's] constitutional revolution at the beginning of the century, political figures and parties have always looked at violence as a vertical phenomenon, meaning that it is applied from the upper layers of power hierarchy to the base of the society—which is people. Therefore they have always tried to challenge the violence, through toppling the regime or the core of power through what we might call "retribution in kind." Whereas the current civil movement in Iran, which of course is still being developed, casts doubt over violent methods of power transition and sticks to the civil rights movement. This approach has called into question the legitimacy of the very essence of violence. From this perspective I think that the recent movement of Iran has created a sort of moral and civil code which is unprecedented for the country.

Mr. Jahanbegloo, you said you believe that the Iranian people have achieved a "civil maturity." This was actually one of the issues that I wanted to discuss as well. Can we consider the recent movement as a new stage of social evolution, or is it just a short-term reaction to the actions of the government?

See, reactions have always been there. Through Iran's history of both pre-revolution [1979] and post-revolution eras, we have observed a wide range of reactions to the repressive policies of governments. But this time there is another story; it is not just the matter of reacting. This time, you can see a sense of sympathy for moralities, a sense of general solidarity, and new demands which are aroused not only about the current policies, but the very ethics of the politics as well. The range of protests includes denouncing the issue of falsehood and the whole "technology of power." You can trace them in the nature of the slogans which are being chanted. Apart from the moral capital that I mentioned previously, the other serious matter which is being pursued is a sense of responsibility about the future of Iran. And the important point is that the civil society is not expressing these demands in an ideological fashion; they are pursuing the goals in the shape of a civil movement, and through civil protest methods. I believe that it is a very serious movement, and a promising one, too.

Now let's focus a little more on the mechanism of this movement. Many people, including yourself, have considered the Green Movement as a nonviolent movement. According to your studies and researches, what similarities are there between Iran's events and what happened in Eastern Europe, or India for instance?

In my opinion there are a lot of similarities. The thing is that all the nonviolent protests across the world benefit from an old tradition which is rooted similarly in different cultures and religions throughout history. We can even see a lot of similarities between the civil rights movement in the U.S. during the 60s or the Gandhist movement of India with the current movement of the Iranian people. There are similarities in the mechanism of protesting, the involvement of national cultural aspects, and the restraint they show in the face of violence. You can even find a lot of similarities between Iran's movement and the movement of Philippines, which apparently are from very diverse cultural backgrounds. The point is that it's a global essence. When in a society the political power utilizes pressure and force in order to curb people's rights, the citizens who do not possess an equal power, choose to react in a totally different manner, which is protesting in masses and denouncing the violence.

That leads me to the next question; there have been different governmental reactions to different nonviolent movements around the world. The response of the Islamic Republic to Iran's protests might be among the harshest that we have seen so far. Now, why has this violence not led to radicalization of the Green Movement?

Because in my opinion Iran is going through a "post ideological" period, a period in which many of the past ideological leaders and parties have now been denounced by the people for the violence that they have applied. Now it's the parties and groups which are following people. They cannot tell people to accept or follow their ideologies like before. The heroes of today's Iran are civilians and victims like Neda Agha Soltan, not the political elite. This is a new social and political development. The moral legitimacy that these heroes have established in the country is a kind of moral capital that Iran's civil movement had not experienced before.

I also wanted to ask your opinion about the issue of leadership in this movement. So far it seems that Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have been acting more like opposition candidates than leaders of a movement. For instance, most of the gatherings and demonstrations have been organized by people communicating through social media and not by any invitation from the opposition. Now, do you think this kind of people's collective leadership is a positive point, or would it be better if the movement had a classic leadership?

I think the aspect of being self-esteemed should be considered as an advantage for the movement at this point. Of course maybe if the movement had the capacity of ascending a leader such as Mandela or Gandhi, it could be an important inspiration for its followers. But the point is that this movement is a post-charismatic movement, which is something quite new for Iran. Almost all of the movements during the history of the country have been dependant on a charismatic character, but this time what you see as the symbols of the movement are the members if it—ordinary members who are young, innocent and nonviolent. kids like Mohsen Roohol Amini or Neda Agha Soltan, who have been victims of brutality, while all they wanted was truthfulness and respecting the ethics of democracy. For instance, it was very interesting to hear the remarks of that young boy who said he was raped in the prison [by security guards, after he was arrested during the protests]. He said, although, after divulging what happened, he would be ashamed of going back to his family, he still wants everyone to know what he went through in Kahrizak [detention center in Tehran]. This notion of seeking the truth among young protesters is very much interesting for me. Their passion for fighting the falsehood is so intense that they are willing to break any taboo over it. You see, the issue for them is not just a shift of power anymore; it is condemnation of the violence which has gotten solidified in the society. They want to break out of the vicious circle of violence. I think if we closely study such details, we would reach the assumption that we are walking towards a new phase of the civil society.

And do you believe this new path would lead to any result in future?

Yes, I think that it would succeed if it turns into a sort of social and political behavior, if the civil values take stronger roots in the society, and if the movement keeps human rights as its priority. Such capabilities can sustain the existence of the movement and step-by-step broaden the demands. Of course the most vital condition is that it would not turn into an ideological path, and stay nonviolent.

The Latest from Iran (6 May): Rattling the Cage

1500 GMT: Posturing. Michael Theodoulou of The National posts a concise article summarising the possible Brazilian mediation effort on Iran's nuclear programme and Tehran's naval exercises in the Persian Gulf.

1400 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Another statement from Hashemi Rafsanjani to decode. Meeting with a group of journalists and young political activists, he said:
Promoting awareness in people is the main and fundamental element of any progressive movement....Today all the people in any corner of the country have become more aware, cautious and knowledgable. Don’t doubt it, the growth of awareness among the different classes of the people will reform the society....

Wrong management of the resources and wealth of the country will cause under-development for future generations....Giving space for criticism and review at all levels should not be abandoned in the country....Be sure that honest efforts for the high principles of the revolution won’t be in vain and will have effective outcomes.

NEW Mahmoud’s Iran Wonderland: Ahmadinejad Says “I’m in Favour of Protestors”
NEW Iran Snap Analysis: Ahmadinejad’s Nuclear Roadtrip
Iran Follow-Up: Ahmadinejad “Bin Laden Lives in Washington DC!”
A Female Detainee in Iran: “Stripped by the Basiji”
The Latest from Iran (5 May): “Protest is Not Provocation”

0915 GMT: The Reformist Front. Speaking with the family of student activist Milan Asadi, detained since 1 December, Mehdi Karroubi claimed that the pressure on Iranian people had arisen because of the lack of independence of Iran's judiciary.

Former President Mohammad Khatami has written an open letter to Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, the "hard-line" leader of Tehran Friday Prayers, suggesting that he should not sacrifice his salvation for the well-being of others.

Reformist member of Parliament Mohammad Reza Tabesh has complained to Speaker of Parlaiment Ali Larijani over attacks on reformists' offices in several cities, alleging that Iranian authorities have not guaranteed security.

0910 GMT: Watch Your Back, Mahmoud. While President Ahmadinejad has been away, conservative member of Parliament Ali Motahari has been making big noises about the need for major reforms in the Iranian system (see yesterday's updates).

Motahari has now restated his case in Khabar Online, calling on First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi --- who, far from coincidentally, has been pressed by MPs over corruption allegations --- to answer the claims of Government mismanagement of the post-election crisis.

0855 GMT: Brazil Denies Role in Uranium Talks. It may be just for public show --- a mediator doesn't necessarily want to be known as a mediator --- but Brazilian officials have popped Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declaration that Brasilia is acting as a broker for a possible deal on Iran's uranium enrichment:
A Brazilian foreign ministry spokesman told AFP [Agence France Presse] that no such plan had been proposed during a visit to Tehran last month by Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.

"We were informed that an official Iranian government website mentioned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad supported a Brazilian 'program'. But there was no presentation of a formal program during the foreign minister's visit," the spokesman said.

Even more interesting, however, is the confusion demonstrated by the denial from Ahmadinejad's Chief of Staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai that Brazil was acting as a go-between. Since the original report of Brazil's involvement came from the President's office, one has the sense that Ahmadinejad's advisors aren't quite sure what they are supposed to be saying.

0840 GMT: Fantastic Interviews. Proof that, if you put the President and his advisors under pressure, you get answers that verge on fantasy.

In a separate entry, we've posted Ahmadinejad's declaration to The Boston Globe, "I'm in Favour of Protestors". Then there is the commentfrom Ahmadinejad's Chief of Staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, in conversation with Laura Secor of The New Yorker that "there are actually not too many people in the prisons" before he proceeds to tie himself up in illogical knots.

0630 GMT: We've started the morning by dealing in a separate feature with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's US Nuclear Roadshow: "Will it get him enough political space to bolster Iran’s position abroad and his authority at home?"

Now to the important matters:

Head of Judiciary is Not Happy

If the regime is feeling secure about its suppression of post-election opposition, Sadegh Larijani, the head of Iran's judiciary, sure isn't showing it.

Speaking to clergy in Hamadan, Larijani declared that some of the confidants of Ayatollah Khomeini have acted even worse than the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, the political wing of the "terrorist" Mojahedin-e-Khalq.

Larijani added that the “seditious movement” has not ended, and it has caused confusion amongst the “pious”.

The Resurgence of the Labour Movement

Iran Labor Report has a powerful analysis/polemic of the state of the labour movement --- past, present, and future. The article concludes:
Fortunately, some in the labor movement have belatedly come to change their anti-Green approach somewhat, and this is welcome. Clearly, only with Green-labor unity can we stand up to the tyranny of the regime and free the country of its despotic rule. The popular struggle in Iran isn’t going away. The street demonstrations may have dwindled – for now – but a luta continua. Which side are you on?

Shutting Away Ayatollah Beheshti

Rah-e-Sabz claims that the organisers of the Tehran Book Fair removed the booth devoted to the works of the late Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti.

Beheshti is one of the heroes of the Islamic Revolution. leading the new Iranian judicial system until he was killed in the mass 7 Tir assassination by the Mojahedin-e-Khalq in June 1981. However, his son, Alireza Beheshti, was Mir Hossein Mousavi's chief advisor during and after the Presidential election, possibly putting the Beheshti name beyond the acceptable for the regime.

Another UK Deportation Case

The deportation of Bita Ghaedi from Britain was postponed by British and European courts on Tuesday, but another case reaches a critical point today.

Nadia Arzane and Bashir Foris, a married couple in their early 20s, are scheduled for forced removal on a Thursday afternoon flight from London Gatwick. Arzane is a Christian human rights activist who participated in protests in Iran in July; her father was allegedly detained and tortured for two months by Iranian authorities.

The Latest from Iran (4 May): Beyond the "Main Event"

2005 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. University student Masoud Babapour has been sentenced to two years in prison.

1945 GMT: Mahmoud's Big Show. We've posted a video and transcript of President Ahmadinejad's extended appearance on US television on Monday.

1830 GMT: Economy Watch. Writing for Reuters, Alistair Lyon draws on the observations of several analysts to offer an overview of the Ahmadinejad Government's position: "Iran's home-grown economic ills pose a knottier challenge for its hardline leaders than possible new United Nations or U.S. sanctions over its nuclear programme."

NEW Iran Video and Transcript: Ahmadinejad on Charlie Rose (3 May)
NEW Iran Document: Mehdi Karroubi “The Movement Has Spread Everywhere”
NEW Iran: Bin Laden Lives in Tehran Shocker!
Latest Iran Video: Clinton & Ahmadinejad Speeches at UN Nuke Conference (3 May)
The Latest from Iran (3 May): Mahmoud’s Road Show

1515 GMT: The UK Deportation Case. The partner of Bita Ghaedi, who fled Iran because of alleged domestic abuse and who has participated in protests against the regime, writes that her appeal against deportation has been refused by British authorities.

Ghaedi is booked on a Wednesday flight to Tehran. Her last chance against deportation is a request for a court injunction.

1510 GMT: Today's Karroubi Contribution. We have posted Mehdi Karroubi's latest statement, "The Movement Has Spread Everywhere", in a separate entry.

1440 GMT: "A Proud and Progressive Iran". Former President Mohammad Khatami, meeting former members of Parliament, has said:
We have always wanted and still want a proud and progressive Iran which also follows the moral, Islamic and humanitarian rulings; the spirit of reformism that we have talked about is the same thing....We are repeating again that the most important steps are the release of prisoners, avoiding unjustifiable conflicts, easing of the [political] atmosphere based on the Constitution, freedom of political and social activities, providing freedom of speech and thought, moving toward joyful and healthy elections and valuing criticism, and, on top of everything, defending the dignity, respect, freedom, and fundamental rights of the society and people.

1230 GMT: Here We Go Again.

Step 1: Iran Comes Under Pressure Over Its Nuclear Programme (as in this week's US approach to the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Conference)

Step 2: The Iranian Military Puffs Out Its Chest and Says --- As Much to Iran's People As to the Rest of the World --- "Don't Mess With Us. We're Very Tough" (as in today's declaration of "new naval war games" in the Persian Gulf and the assurance that it had photographed a US aircraft carrrier or the Iranian Minister of Defense blessing a new production line for an anti-aircraft missile).

Step 3. The International Media Jump to the Iranian Bell and Bark "Crisis, Crisis, Crisis".

1110 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch (At the Movies). The American entertainment writer Anthony Kaufman, who organised the petition by prominent Hollywood filmmakers calling for the release of Iranian director Jafar Panahi from Evin Prison, has an update on his blog.

Kaufman summarises the campaign and notes the response of Tabnak in Iran: "“It’s up to the government security agencies and the justice system to counter such poisonous media activities against the regime with providing clear explanation of the reasons for Panahi’s arrest and offering all the available evidence and documents against him. They should prevent such subversive behaviors against the regime and not allow the foot soldiers of the West’s media war to distort the truth by portraying Panahi as being innocent.”

1030 GMT: Iran and the Status of Women. The controversy over Iran's accession to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women rumbles on. Mission Free Iran has launched a vigorous campaign to rebuke the UN and those governments, including the US, who voted by acclamation to seat Iran.

0745 GMT: Tuesday Funnies. Fox News gives us a present of one of the worst --- and thus funniest --- pieces of "investigative reporting" we've seen recently. We've posted it in a separate entry: "Bin Laden in Tehran Shocker".

0740 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Rah-e-Sabz alleges that a dubious record has been set with more than 40 years of prison time handed out to political detainees in a single day.

RAHANA reports new accusations against journalist Emaduddin Baghi, with bail set at 200 million Tomans (more than $200,000).

[More on Baghi: see "A Birthday Message from His Daughter"]

The website also claims Professor Davoud Soleymani is in critical condition in Section 350 of Evin Prison.

0730 GMT: Greens and Azeris. Yesterday we summarised the discussion between between Mir Hossein Mousavi and Iranian Azeri reformists on how to maintain communications and promote the demands of the opposition. A couple of additional points of interest.

The meeting took place in Tehran, which brings to mind how the Iranian regime blocked Mousavi from traveled to Tabriz, the largest city in Iranian Azerbaijan, on 22 Bahman (11 February). So if Mir Hossein can't go to the mountain, then....

In addition to seeing Mousavi, the Azeri delegation also met Mohammad Khatami, Mehdi Karroubi, Behzad Nabavi, and Mohsen Mirdamadi.

0725 GMT: Preventing Unity? Reformist member of Parliament Majid Nasirpour has claimed that "hardliners" are trying to cut any relationship between moderates and reformists.

0720 GMT: Cover-Up. Reformist member of Parliament Jamshid Ansari has repeated his claim that the Majlis had no "truth-finding commission" to investigate the June 2009 attacks on Tehran University's dormitories and that no report will be produced.

0635 GMT: Kahrizak Reopened? A few days ago, Mehdi Khazali, who holds markedly different views from his father, the "conservative" Ayatollah Khazali. asserted that Kahrizak Prison --- notorious for the abuse and death of post-election detainees and supposedly closed on orders of the Supreme Leader --- had been reopened under a different name.

The allegation is now getting political traction: the reformist member of Parliament Darius Ghanbari has asked for an immediate Majlis investigation.

0630 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Rah-e-Sabz, claiming sources close to the Expediency Council, claims former President Hashemi Rafsanjani (the chairman of the Council) is continuing to refuse his role as a Tehran Friday Prayer leader for two reasons: "unkindnesses of officials" and fear of possible uproar and harm to demonstrators.

Rafsanjani last presided at Friday Prayers in mid-July.

0625 GMT: Parliament's New Campaign. Another front in the contest between the Majlis and the Ahmadinejad Government is opened, as MPs propose the impeachment of Minister of Interior Mohammad Ali Najjar for "militarisation" of his Ministry and ineptitude.

0620 GMT: Meeting Across the Fence. How was it that Mehdi Karroubi engaged in friendly conversation last Saturday with his opponents, such as Ali Larijani, at the memorial service for the father of Minister of Culture Mohammad Hosseini? Peyke Iran offers context with a profile of four Hosseini brothers with very different political views.

0615 GMT: The Stabbing Victim. An update on Amir Kabir University professor and former minister Ahmad Motamedi, who was stabbed in his office yesterday. He is out of danger after four hours of surgery. Rah-e-Sabz reports he was attacked with a long dagger (ghameh), cutting the artery between liver and kidney.

0540 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. An Iranian activist reports that the manager of Mir Hossein Mousavi's campaign amongst Tehran students, Ali Vaghfi, has been sentenced to one year in prison with a further five years suspended.

0530 GMT: The showpiece speeches of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hillary Clinton (videos in a separate entry) have been delivered at the United Nations conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The expected grandstanding came from both sides: Ahmadinejad trying to bury the discussion of further sanctions on Iran and seeking to score big in the Middle East with his denunciation of the US and Israel and 11-point proposal for global disarmament, Clinton castigating Tehran's "diversion" while holding out the prospect of "weapons-free zones" in Africa and the South Pacific.

There was no commitment, however, to disarmament in the Middle East, the one initiative that could make a real difference in the US-Iran case, because of the one word missing from Clinton's speech (clue: it begins with an "I"). So one can only hope that the month-long conference, if it is to have any success, gets beyond yesterday's reduction to a US-Iran scrap and that attention to "Iran" goes beyond the nuclear focus.

Iran Document: Mehdi Karroubi "The Movement Has Spread Everywhere"

A statement from Mehdi Karroubi, speaking with journalism students and alumni:

We emerged from a revolution and we are the outcome of the experiences and ups and downs of a revolution; a great revolution for which the people’s fight started in 1962 and achieved triumph in 1978 with the leadership of Imam Khomeini. This revolution neither was an immediate act nor gained power by a coup. But it was the result of deep resistance and people from different classes participated in it. Unfortunately selfishness and escaping from the law has led the country to a dangerous point which the results of it have been the bitter recent events and the deplorable current situation of the country. Today unfortunately we are witnessing that some have possessed all positions and are using them as tools [for their own agenda]....

The Latest from Iran (4 May): Beyond the “Main Event”

The ruling powers are trying to indicate that the movement has failed. It seems that, because of the use of violence and the acts that cannot be justified in any way, people have become more cautious and more careful (which by itself is due to the wisdom of the people when facing the violence-seekers), but the question is whether the mind and thoughts of the people have also changed. Certainly not, because it is impossible that those ugly behaviors, repressions, tortures, and rapes by the fanatics would be diminished in people’s minds....

In my opinion certainly the movement has grown qualitatively and this growth is rapidly increasing in the various classes of the society. The movement has spread everywhere and the most important proof to this claim is the continuation of the more severe confrontations against the people; otherwise what could be the reason for the continuation of these methods?...Although they have all the resources (financial, state-run TV and radio, etc.) but yet they strongly feel concerned and at risk from the growing influence of the movement and therefore they are afraid from every single one of the people.”

The movement should not fall into emotions or defiant actions. We are alive as long as we continue the movement as a wise and well-thought one, a movement based on executing the constitution. This, however, does not mean that the Constitution unchangeable message from God. The constitution is the result of a popular revolution and has very suitable capacities which, if utilized, will bring the totalitarians to their knees. But what is important and experience has also proved many times, is that what is gained easily is lost easily too.

The movement must be logical, peaceful and consistent so that people are purified. We know that paying a price for democracy is inevitable because it [democracy] threatens the benefits of a few; therefore, while we are moving forward, we should perform internal reviews so that, after achieving victory, we value it and do not lose it easily. By focusing and insisting on free elections and unconditional execution of the Constitution, we should all, side by side, push the movement forward and use all our capacities in this path.