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Entries in 13 Aban (32)


The Latest from Iran (14 November): Political Fatigue?

NEW Iran: The Political Attack on the National Iranian American Council
Iran Text: Khatami on Legitimate Protest and Illegitimate Government (13 November)
Iran: Is This an “Unravelling” Protest Beyond Mousavi and Karroubi?
Iran: Why is Washington Belittling the Green Movement?
The Latest from Iran (13 November): Accusations

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IRAQ PROTEST WOMAN IN RED1330 GMT: Iranian sources report that a fifth post-election death sentence for threatening national security has been handed down in the case of Reza Khademi.

1325 GMT: A summary of Mir Hossein Mousavi's comments in his meeting with Mehdi Karroubi on Friday: "This great movement defends basic values. This movement says, 'Do not tell lies. Falsehood is condemned. Fraud is condemned.'

"Those who beat people must not think that by intimidating people they can make people stay home. Islam has taught people seek their rights without fear."

1145 GMT: Reviving? Mir Hossein Mousavi has met Mehdi Karroubi "to comfort [cleric]. about the physical assult on him by the security forces and plainclothes militia at the November 4th [13 Aban] rallies and to condemn and talk about the violent acts of the security and Basij militia forces against people, especially women on that day".

1140 GMT:Cracking Down on the Students. Abdollah Momeni, the spokesman of the reformist student organisation Darhat-Tahkim-Vahdat, has been sentenced to eight years in prison!

1130 GMT: When Arts and Politics Mix. President Ahmadinejad, acting as the head of the Revolutionary Cultural Council, has changed the existing constitution of the Academy of Arts, possibly to prepare for the dismissal of Mir Hossein Mousavi as the President of the Academy. Under the amendment, the President of the Academy would be appointed directly by the Iranian President, without any requirement for consultation with the members of the Academy.

During President Khatami’s administration, it was established that the President of the Academy would be elected by the permanent members of the Academy’s General Assembly, and the president as the head of the Revolutionary Cultural Court would approve the nominee.

0955 GMT: The Department to Combat US Conspiracies.

The Chair of the Human Rights Committee of Parliament's Human Rights Commmittee has suggested raising the amount devoted to exposing US human rights violations and combatting its conspiracies to $50 million. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Information formed a special agency with a $20 million budget to foreign-backed "velvet revolution".

0945 GMT: Oh, Yeah, We're Tough. A bit of posturing from the Iranian military, declaring that Iran is will mass-produce a new generation of air-to-air, heat-seeking missiles tracking targets via infrared emission.

Air Force commander Brigadier General Hassan Shah-Safi said that the missile haved been successfully test-fired in different situations. It has a range of up to 100 kilometers.

0750 GMT: At the risk of walking into a political firestorm, I have posted a separate entry on the current attacks on the National Iranian American Council.

0630 GMT: Days after the execution of Ehsan Fattahian, another Kurdish political dissident, Shirkooh Maarefi, is facing death for "activities against national security and armed combat".

0550 GMT: A very quiet morning for news from Iran. Indeed, looking back over the updates, a relatively development-free 48 hours. President Ahmadinejad's Wednesday night interview, for all its  important signals on the nuclear issue as well as his grab for power against the Tehran local government, has drifted away with little discussion. On the other side, the Khatami statement to academics on legitimate protest and illegitimate power has also received scant attention --- the reaction I have seen and heard points to scepticism over whether the former President has said anything of significance, particularly given his public absence on 13 Aban. The Mousavi statement on Monday to Jamaran has not resonated, and Mehdi Karroubi has been silent this week.

Of course, none of this means that everyone can pack up and go home --- no more to see in this post-election crisis. It does highlight, however, the debate over the path of the Green movement as it moves towards the next marker of 16 Azar (7 December) for mass demonstrations. Throughout this conflict, I have thought of the necessary linkage of a widespread movement "from below", with its energy and demands to be recognised and respected, with the political moves of political and clerical figures. However, Hashemi Rafsanjani is now pursuing a divergent agenda. Mousavi appears at a loss how to act beyond periodic statements, especially as he cannot link them to a symbolic public appearance. While Karroubi continues to inspire interest and hope in many, the last few days illustrate the fragility of relying on him. And, lacking that political lighting rod for their criticisms, the dissenting clerics of Qom have been muted since 13 Aban.

So, given the effect of the Government's constrictions and the toll of political complications on the efforts of "leaders", can the linkage be set aside for a different movement? In other words, can the Green Wave not only be propelled but directed from below? 13 Aban was a success in the sense that it proved resistance was ongoing, despite the lack of leadership from the top. The question may be whether that resistance, planning its next big move in just over three weeks, can translate symbolic defiance into pressure upon the regime between as well as during those high-profile moments.

Iran: Why is Washington Belittling the Green Movement?

Iran: Is This an “Unravelling” Protest Beyond Mousavi and Karroubi?
The Latest from Iran (12 November): Ahmadinejad Moves for Nuclear Deal

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GREEN MOVEMENTRecently I had sharp words for an article by Borzou Daragahi of The Los Angeles Times because it was "so partial, so distorting, so wrong that it verged on sabotage of the demands, aspirations, and ideas of the Green movement". Daragahi cited a few "analysts" who, more from their personal interests than from knowledge of the opposition, denounced Mir Hossein Mousavi and called on the US Government to recognise the outcome of June's Presidential election.

Fortunately, in my opinion, Daragahi quickly walked away from that piece, recognising that the 13 Aban protests would be "significant". However, he has now posted an interview with Karim Sadjadpour, one of the most prominent US-based analysts of Iran, which revives my concerns: "Is Obama administration dissing the 'green' opposition movement?"

Sadjadpour claims, in support of the headline, "There are certainly analysts in Washington, including within some branches of the U.S. government, who believe that Iran’s opposition movement is either dead or does not deserve to be taken seriously," then adding --- in an apparent contradiction --- "[But] I’ve never found them to be dismissive or unsympathetic towards the green movement". However, whether Obama's officials love, loathe, or have no time for the Green Wave, "They feel they can’t put all their eggs in the basket of the opposition."

My concerns are not over Sadjadpour, whose analysis I appreciate. Instead, it is with the "they" who he is invoking. I do not know their names. I do not know on what basis they are making their judgements. And I certainly do not know their motives for proclaiming the Death of the Opposition.

Sadjadpour throws out clues. Part of Washington's distance could be benevolent: "The Obama administration worries that if it is seen as too vocally supportive of the could end up sabotaging the movement." On the other hand, it could be the calculation that a nuclear deal with Tehran trumps all other considerations: "The prospect of political reform in Tehran appears to be at best a medium-term process, while the prospect of Iran reaching a nuclear weapons capability is an immediate concern.

The point remains, however: We Just Don't Know. And my concern remains and now grows with each article --- the original Daragahi piece, the snide comments of Jackson Diehl on "Iran's Unlovable Opposition" in the Washington Post, and the distortions of David Ignatius in the same paper  --- that claims to "know" the Iranian opposition. Are the ignorance that poses as knowledge and the insults that pose as analysis not only representative of the authors but of Government officials who stand as unnamed sources behind them?

Is Obama administration dissing the 'green' opposition movement?
Borzou Daragahi

As the United States attempts to grapple with Iran over its nuclear program, some worry that it will sacrifice the Islamic Republic's grass-roots opposition movement.

Karim Sadjadpour is an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. He's regularly hobnobbing with Beltway policymakers and advisors as well as those within the kaleidoscope of think tanks issuing reams of recommendations for them.

He says that opinion in Washington is mixed. Though he himself believes that Iran's opposition movement remains a force to be reckoned with, some disagree.

"There are certainly analysts in Washington, including within some branches of the U.S. government, who believe that Iran’s opposition movement is either dead or does not deserve to be taken seriously," he said.

But, he said, "in numerous conversations with the key formulators of Iran policy in the Obama administration I’ve never found them to be dismissive or unsympathetic towards the green movement."

Still, for a whole bunch of reasons, the administration is also hedging its bets.

"They feel they can’t put all their eggs in the basket of the opposition," he said.

or one thing, they worry that Iran's drive to master nuclear technology is moving faster than its move toward democracy. "The prospect of political reform in Tehran appears to be at best a medium-term process, while the prospect of Iran reaching a nuclear weapons capability is an immediate concern," said Sadjadpour, who was last in Iran in 2005.

But there's another matter, says Sadjadpour. The Obama administration worries that if it is seen as too vocally supportive of the opposition, as has been demanded by some commentators, it could end up sabotaging the movement.

"They’re concerned that enthusiastic U.S. patronage of the opposition movement could prove more hurtful than helpful to their cause," he said.

The administration's uncertainty stems in part from mixed messages it's getting from Iran and supporters of the opposition.

"Some think the U.S. could and should be doing much more, others argue that this is an internal Iranian drama and further American support would be counterproductive," he said.

Following the beatings, mass imprisonments and televised trials of opposition members, Sadjadpour said he thinks the administration could get away with being more outspoken in criticizing Iran for failure to measure up to globally accepted standards of human rights and justice.

"I have no illusions that raising the issue of human rights will compel the regime to have second thoughts about employing repression and brutality," he said. "But if we continue engagement while neglecting to talk about human rights, the United States sends the signal to the Iranian people that America is a cynical superpower willing to 'do a deal' at their expense."

While dialog with Iran is important, diplomatic engagement is not an end in itself, but a way to curb Iran's nuclear program and moderate its foreign policy, he said.

Sadjadpour, for one, said he very much doubts that the current ruling establishment in Tehran seeks an accommodation with the U.S.

"As long as Ahmadinejad remains president and [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei remains leader, I am skeptical about Iran’s willingness to make and adhere to meaningful compromises on issues like the nuclear issue and Israeli-Palestinian conflict," he said.

That doesn't mean the U.S. should revert back to the "regime change" policies and rhetoric of the Bush administration. In fact, Sadjadpour said he was convinced that that Khamenei and Ahmadinejad would actually welcome a military strike.

"It may be their only hope to silence popular dissent and heal internal political rifts," he said.

But ruling out war doesn't mean the U.S. should get all lovey-dovey with Tehran's current establishment.

"We should certainly refrain from employing policies that dampen the momentum of the green movement, or alter its trajectory," he said. "This means treading carefully on 'engagement,' broadening the conversation beyond just nukes and avoiding military confrontation."


The Latest from Iran (10 November): Uncertainty and Propaganda

NEW Iran: The Mousavi Interview with Jamaran (9 November)
NEW Latest Iran Video: Khaje Nasir University Hunger Strike (10 November)
NEW Iran: The Neda Agha Soltan Scholarship at Oxford University
Iran: An Eyewitness on 13 Aban “Protest An Inseparable Part of People’s Lives”
Iran’s Nuclear Programme: Washington’s Unhelpful Misperceptions
Latest Iran Video: More from 13 Aban & from Today (8-9 November)

The Latest from Iran (9 November): Assessing the Government

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IRAN GREEN1920 GMT: We have posted, in a separate entry, the English translation of Mir Hossein Mousavi's interview with the Jamaran website.

1845 GMT: Mohammad Saleh Jokar, a senior official in the Student Basij organization, has announced that 6,000 Basij units will be created in elementary schools, seeking to promote Basij and revolutionary ideals among pupils from a young age. Jokar added that about 4.5 million students at elementary and high schools and 320,000 teachers are members of the Basij force.

1830 GMT: Rooz Online has published an English-language version of Ferehsteh Ghazi's interview with Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. The cleric asserts,
The confessions that have been extracted in prison have absolutely no religious or legal value and cannot be the basis for the death or prison punishments that have been issued. Those who are responsible and their accomplices for such confessions, are religiously and legally guilty and criminal.

Whenever the execution of a religious punishment leads to negative consequences on religion or society, the judge can and must stop the execution. (see also "Ayatollah Montazeri’s Interview on Eve of 13 Aban")

1820 GMT: Labour Activists Jailed. We reported in late October on the threats to detain leaders of the Syndicate of Workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company after protests. Four of them --- Fereydoun Nikoufard, Jalil Ahmadi, Ghorban Alipour and Mohammad Haydari --- have now begun prison terms.

1800 GMT: Publish and Be Damned. Tehran's Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi has warned that he will pursue sites that “publish baseless news”. The statement follows Monday's declaration by Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, Iran's commander of security forces, "There is need for greater supervision over the internet....Every time we have entered this scene, the media and individuals who show off as intellectuals attack and we step back.”

1330 GMT: A relatively quiet period, as we try to track down an English translation of the Mousavi statement on Monday to the Khomeini-owned Jamaran website, but as an EA correspondent notes: "This was a master stroke by the Khomeini family, as it places Mousavi under its own tutelage and wards off attempts to arrest him."

Meanwhile, we have video of today's hunger strike at Khaje Nasir University.

1130 GMT: US Tells Ahmadinejad, "We've Got You Covered". US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have just given the clearest message that Washington will work with the Iranian President, whatever obstacles he faces, to get an uranium enrichment deal.

Speaking to the US Public Broadcasting Service, Clinton said, "Look, we don't have to trust or love each other to understand that it is in our interest to try to stabilize the world." Then, noting the post-election crisis, she extended a helping hand to Ahmadinejad: "We understand the internal political dynamics, and we've been, I think, patient in helping [Iran] to see that we're serious."

0850 GMT: More on "Neda's Scholarship". The Iranian Embassy in Britain has fiercely criticised the award of a graduate scholarship in the name of Neda Agha Soltan by Queen's College, Oxford University (see separate entry).

Writing to Oxford's chancellor, the embassy expressed surprise at "a politically-motivated move", which involves the university "n a criminal case which is still under investigation by the Iranian police".

The embassy adds that Neda's death was "far from the scene of protests [which] erupted after the June presidential election". Indeed, the Iranian officials hint unsubtly, her slaying was part of a "complicated and planned" scenario.

So, the embassy concludes, "The involvement of the university in Iran's internal affairs, particularly in the country's post-election events of which the British media played a leading role, would lead to the loss of the university's scientific prestige and academic goal. This has nothing to do with the university's position and goals and will not help Iran and Britain improve their relations."

0835 GMT: More Than Meets the Eye on the Nukes? President Obama has told Reuters, ""Although so far we have not seen the kind of positive response we want from Iran, we are as well positioned as we've ever been to align the international community behind that agenda."

On the surface, that is an unexciting, hold-the-line statement. Yet it appears prominently in Iranian state media via Press TV, and it follows the clear signal from the US, via its ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (see yesterday's updates), that Iran has time to negotiate the Vienna uranium enrichment deal.

So are there talks behind talks for a US-Iran agreement? And, if so, by whom with whom?

0735 GMT: EA readers have followed up our news about the petition to commute the death sentence of  Ehsan Fattahian, arrested in July 2008 and scheduled for execution tomorrow for "war against God". They point us to his open letter, "I Never Feared Death".

0730 GMT: EA readers point us to a video of a heated debate at a Tehran university between Mostafa Kavakebian, a reformist member of Parliament, and his counterpart Hojatoleslam Hamid Rasaee, about the rule of law in post-election Iran.

0725 GMT: We've posted a separate entry on the announcement of Queen's College, Oxford University, of a graduate scholarship in Philosophy in the memory of Neda Agha Soltan.

0630 GMT: A relative lull in the post-election crisis yesterday. The Government is still caught up in the detailed debate over its economic plans and the two-front confrontation --- at home and abroad --- over its response to the Vienna uranium enrichment deal. President Ahmadinejad is abroad, the Supreme Leader is silent for the moment, and surprisingly little has been heard from the military and security forces.

But only a "relative" lull. After each major gathering since June, there have been quiet phases, and yesterday was far from quiet. Mir Hossein Mousavi followed Mohammad Khatami into the post-13 Aban pages (and, again, note that the interview is being featured by the Khomeini family, which should be treated as an ally of the opposition) with his declaration for unity and warning that the Government could not hide behind the claim of an immutable Constitution, given that it was not living up to that document. Demonstrations are occurring each day somewhere on an Iranian university campus, and word-of-mouth is spreading the message that the mass gathering for 16 Azar (7 December) is less than a month away. And all of this is happening despite much, possibly the majority, of the Green leadership in prison or abroad.

This morning the news from the regime is of more uncertainty and mis-information. Kazem Jalili of Parliament's National Security Commission is pushing the anti-deal line that enrichment must be done inside Iran, using uranium purchased abroad, rather than in a country like Russia. Fars is claiming a private hospital refused to treat injured security forces, only treating a "certain group of people and turn[ing] away all bearded individuals who had a Basiji appearance".

And Khalil Hayat Moghaddam, a member of Parliament's judicial commission, has taken the propaganda that Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have split (recall the false interview with Karroubi's son) to new depths:
These two have forgotten that they made a name for themselves under the banner of the Revolution, Leadership and martyrs...,as the tears of the mothers of the martyrs and the blood of the martyrs are what protect the establishment and the Leadership [from harm]. Mousavi and Karroubi's story brings to mind the tale of those people who were fighting over imaginary spoils of war; they have forgotten that they will not be able to inflict harm on the establishment and the Revolution. The harsh stance adopted by Hassan Karroubi against Mir Mousavi Mousavi clearly shows that disagreements are increasing between the supporters of the two political figures, and it will come to spelling each other's end. (English summary at Tehran Bureau)

The Latest from Iran (9 November): Assessing the Government

NEW Iran: An Eyewitness on 13 Aban “Protest An Inseparable Part of People’s Lives”
NEW Iran's Nuclear Programme: Washington's Unhelpful Misperceptions
Latest Iran Video: Mehdi Karroubi on the 13 Aban Protests
NEW Iran: An Opposition Renewing, A Government in Trouble
Iran: Question for the Regime “What’s Your Next Punch?”
NEW Latest Iran Video: More from 13 Aban & from Today (8-9 November)

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ahmadinejad62030 GMT: We're still waiting for an English translation of today's Mir Hossein Mousavi newspaper with Jamaran, the newspaper of the Khomeini family (see 1015 GMT). The headline is Mousavi's declaration that Iran is "vulnerable" in the current political situation: “People who entered the scene of the Revolution did not do it to suffer such difficulties. They came to secure their freedom and welfare, and if the system fails to deliver, it will lose its legitimacy for certain.”

2020 GMT: An EA reader has sent us the petition, printed in full in the comments below, to the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, to commute the death sentence of Ehsan Fatahian, a 28-year-old Kurd who is scheduled for execution on Wednesday. Fatahian was initially given a 10-year prison term for “plotting against national security” but this was changed to a death sentence by an appeal court when the charge “waging war against God” was added.

2000 GMT: Back from a break to find excellent material from readers. With university demonstrations continuing today, we've posted four clips from a rally at Azad University, Khomeini Shahr, outside Isfahan.

An EA reader describes, in a comment below, today's  ceremony awarding the Human Rights Defenders Tulip to Iranian lawyer and human/women’s rights activist Shadi Sadr in The Hague.

Tomorrow (10 November) at 12:00 CET she will present a film, Women in Shrouds, and hold a Q&A about human rights in Iran. If anyone here would like to ask her a question through me, please post it here in these comments.

1645 GMT: Daftar-Tahkim-Vahdat, the main reformist student and alumni organisation, has issued a statement announcing that it will withstand the oppression of "coup agents" with all of its organisational power, even as almost half of its key members are imprisoned or sought by the security forces.

The significance beyond this general assertion is that when the organisation issued a statement of defiance on the eve of 13 Aban, the regime arrested three of its leading members. So renewing this show of resistance is a clear signal that, less than a month before the next mass rally on 16 Azar (7 December), the students will not be cowed into silence.

1630 GMT: Hillary Responds and Iran's State Media Takes Note. No surprise that Secretary of State Clinton would offer a boiler-plate response to the news of the charging of the three hikers:
We believe strongly that there is no evidence to support any charge whatsoever. And we would renew our request on the behalf of these three young people and their families that the Iranian government exercise compassion and release them so they can return home. And we will continue to make that case through our Swiss protecting power, who represents the United States in Tehran.

More interesting, perhaps, that the statement would be prominently featured on Press TV's website.

1440 GMT: The Story Beyond the Headline Story --- 3 US Hikers Charged with Espionage. Western media will be dominated for the next 24 hours by the breaking news that three Americans who strayed across the Iraq-Iran border will be charged with spying, according to Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi.

Here's the unreported dimension of the event. The news came through only hours after the US representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Glyn Davies, offered Washington's olive branch in the nuclear talks:

"There have been communications back and forth. We are in extra innings in these negotiations. That's sometimes the way these things go....We want to give some space to Iran to work through this. It's a tough issue for them, quite obviously, and we're hoping for an early positive answer from the Iranians."

Davies' kind words appear to be tied to the new Iranian counter-proposal (see separate entry), which in visit may be linked to Russian intervention through the visit of its Deputy Foreign Minister to Tehran this weekend.

So is the Iranian Government playing a cunning game where it can engage the US with one hand and strike at Washington, via its citizens,  with the other? Or are we now seeing a schizophrenic Government in which one group is pursuing negotiations while another is going for intimidation?

1225 GMT: Ahmadinejad and the CIA. The politics around the President's "engagement" with the US, given the regime's simultaneous post-election use of "velvet coup" to crack down on opponents, is getting very confusing.

The Iranian Labor News Agency features an interview with conservative activist Mojtaba Shakeri, who says that  some of the journalists and scholars who met with Ahmadinejad, presumably during the President's trip to New York, were undoubtedly CIA operatives. Shakeri says this is common US practice and occurred in previous encounters with Presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami.

For Mir Hossein Mousavi's Kalemeh, the interview is enough to become the sensational revelation that the President has met CIA officials. That, of course, is part of the current opposition campaign to question the President's duplicity in negotiating with the Obama Administration while denouncing the evils of the US.

1145 GMT: We have received a moving and thoughtful e-mail from an EA reader, offering an eyewitness summary of the importance of 13 Aban. It is posted in a separate entry.

1110 GMT: Saeed Mortazavi, the former Tehran Prosecutor General who organised the first post-election trials and has been linked to the abuses at Kahrizak Prison, may be moving post for the second times in three months. Mortazavi became Iran's Deputy Prosecutor General but may now become head of the economic crimes division of the Justice Ministry.

1015 GMT: Green Publicity. Mir Hossein Mousavi has spoken with Jamaran, the newspaper of the Khomeini family, about the need for unity through adherence to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic. This is the second major interview Jamaran has featured in 72 hours, having spoken with former President Mohammad Khatami this weekend.

0945 GMT: Why are Bread Prices Rising? EA correspondent Mohammad Khiabani, who specialises in analysis on the Iranian economy, has a look at the recent increase in bread prices (see yesterday's updates), "This is not completely unrelated to subsidy removals, since merchants often increase prices in future expectation of inflation, which of course leads to inflation." This from the US Open Source Center:
In its November 8 issue, Hemayat said that the two traditional breads including Barbari and Sangak were being sold for 600 and 2,000 tomans, respectively (approximately 1,000 tomans = US $1). The newspaper said that, coming before the announcement of the new rates for bread, evidence shows that the increase in prices is more than what was officially declared. Officials had declared new rates for the traditional bread in the first week of November. Under this scheme the price per bread for unsubsidized Sangak is 400 tomans and in subsidized bakeries it is 175 tomans.

Jomhouri Eslami headlined: "New wave of expensive bread". The report pointed out that the offenders are overcharging while the authorities are only giving warnings. Jomhuri Islami reported the cost of bread in various Tehran neighborhoods. In southern Tehran Barbari costs 150 tomans, Pasadaran (northeast) 200 tomans, Saadatabad (northwest) 250 tomans, Shahrake Gharb (northwest) 300 tomans, Shahrake Omid (northeast) 500 tomans, Ketabi Square (north) 600 tomans.
As for the Sangak, which uses a more expensive flour and baking process, it was sold in Pasdaran for 1,000 tomans, Saadatabad 700 tomans, and Shahrake Gharb for 2,000 tomans.

0900 GMT: Iran's Telecommunications Privatised. Press TV reports:
An Iranian consortium has signed a deal to buy 50 percent plus one of the shares of Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) for around eight billion dollars. According to the deputy of Iran's Privatization Company, the related contract was signed Sunday with an Iranian consortium named Etemad Mobin Development that includes three firms.

"The historical deal was signed after an article was added to the $7.8 billion text of the contract according to which the buyer will be committed to the charter of TCI," said Mehdi Oghadaei.

0805 GMT: The muddle inside Iran on the nuclear negotiations and a useful but disturbing New York Times article this morning prompt us to offer an analysis, "Iran's Nuclear Programme: Washington's Unhelpful Misperceptions".

0640 GMT: Unsurprisingly, Iranian state media are playing up the meetings of President Ahmadinejad with Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul. No details are offered, though Erdogan has recently been supportive of Iran's line on its nuclear programme, criticising its Israeli counterpart.

0610 GMT: An EA reader sends in a piece of interesting information about Internet trends inside Iran. The search volume for Mohsen Sazegara, a founder of the Revolutionary Guard who is now a fervent opponent of the regime from his exile in the US, is twice that for Mehdi Karroubi.

Not sure of the significance of this; any ideas would be welcome.

0600 GMT: We'll be trying to put the pieces together on where the Iranian Government is heading, even if those involved don't know where they fit.

President Ahmadinejad is in Ankara for the meeting of the economic committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which raises the possibilities of the Government going into a holding phase or (more likely) others manoeuvring while Ahmadinejad is away.

One of the events which may or may not be significant in those calculations continues to be debated today. We initially speculated that Speaker of Parliament, Ali Larijani, travelled to Najaf in Iraq to see senior clerics because of the internal discussions in Tehran. EA correspondent Josh Mull has been putting the alternative that Larijani saw Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and others to encourage passage of the law for Iraqi elections in January, and other observers also back that view.

On the opposition side, there is a lot of Internet chatter this morning about Mehdi Karroubi's webcast yesterday, recounting the events of 13 Aban and criticising the Government's manipulation of the issue of relations with the US. And discussion is picking up over a planned demonstration at Shiraz University today.

Latest Iran Video: More from 13 Aban & Today (8-9 November)

Iran Video: The Tribute to 13 Aban’s Protesters
Latest Iran Video: The 13 Aban Protests (4 November — 4th Set)
Latest Iran Video: The 13 Aban Protests (4 November — 3rd Set)
Latest Iran Video: The 13 Aban Protests (4 November — 2nd Set)
Latest Iran Video: The 13 Aban Protests (4 November — 1st Set)

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Azad Uni Khomeini Shahr, Outside Isfahan (4 of 8 Videos from 9 November)




Claimed Protest Against Former Minister Harandi, Gilan University, 8 November



Filming Plainclothes Forces Attack, Shiraz




Writing Slogans on the Police Cars