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 November)
Iran’s New 13 Aban: An Eyewitness Account “I Have Never Seen as Much Violence”
Iran: Josh Shahryar on the Significance of 13 Aban
The Latest from Iran (7 November): Regrouping
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2215 GMT: On? Off? Well, I guess for a day that started with a projection of Government uncertainty, it is appropriate that it should end that way. Having said on Saturday that Iran could reject the Vienna enrichment deal, top lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/1016801/1/.html on Sunday, "Our first option is to buy fuel of 20 per cent (enrichment). But if we cannot buy it we could make a limited exchange on condition that first we get fuel of 20 per cent."
So is Boroujerdi shifting in recognition that pro-deal forces have pressed ahead (see 1640 GMT)? Or is he just manoeuvring for a better position, working with allies, to hold out against any agreement?
2030 GMT: Another day with some releases from prison and some cases going to trial. The file of Mohsen Aminzadeh, Deputy Foreign Minister in the Khatami Government, has been sent to the Revolutionary Court.
1930 GMT: An Iranian blogger reports that Mohammad-Hossein Saffar-Harandi, the former Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, was met by sustained protests when he visited Gilan University in northern Iran today and left to shouts of "Murderer, Get Out!". We have video in a separate entry.
1850 GMT: Three Iranian judges have reported been fired because of their connection with the Kahrizak Prison, infamous for alleged abuse of detainees.
1640 GMT: Nuclear Deal On? Yes, the Ahmadinejad Government is pressing ahead, despite objections from within the establishment.
"Diplomats close to nuclear negotiations" say that Iran will offer a two-stage delivery of uranium to be enriched in Russia. Each delivery will consist of 400 kilogrammes. The total of 800 kilogrammes, or just over half of Iran's current stock of uranium, compares with a single delivery of 1200 kilogrammes in the proposal from October's Vienna talks.
The revelation of Iran's counter-offer may have been prompted by the gathering flurry of voice in Iran's state media saying no deal was possible (see yesterday's updates and 1300 GMT). Or it may be connected with a visit, reported in Fars News, of Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to Tehran.
1620 GMT: Presidential Confusion. Here's the latest explanation for why Ahmadinejad did not appear last night. He was going to speak about his subsidy reform bill but then decided not to appear, since this might pre-empt Parliament's discussion on the measure today. The director of his Public Relations Department now says, "The interview is slated for next week." He added:
Such a relation [between postponement and Parliament's subsidy reform discussions] cannot be denied but other issues may also be involved. However, what Fars news agency has issued is not what we announced and they have offered their own comment. Actually it will be disrespectful to people if we declare that the interview was not conducted due to the president's other engagements.
Understand that? I don't. Accept it? No again.
1605 GMT: For What It's Worth. Parliament's National Security Commission has announced that it will investigate the events of 13 Aban.
1545 GMT: Correction on the Bread Story. An EA correspondent checks in to clarify the economic situation in Iran:
The rising bread prices in Tehran are not a result of the subsidy plan, which has not even been ratified by the Majlis [Parliament] or the Guardian Council. The changes in Tehran's bread prices stem from the Government's experiment with higher-quality wheat in the bread. For this they have to charge more, even with the subsidized price, to bakers. They first did this in Karaj (a suburb of Tehran) after the election. No bread riots there, even though it is a poorer area. Then they expanded it through Tehran slowly.
1535 GMT: Rafsanjani Surfaces. The former President has met members of Parliament from the Western Provinces. He has once again called for a constructive social and political dialogue. Implicitly criticising post-election coverage by state media, he said concerns must be heard and the creation of unity through due legal process and avoidance of extreme and divisive actions is a necessity.
1510 GMT: Appearing in Revolutionary Court, Behzad Nabavi, a senior member of the reformist Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution party, has denied all charges against him.
1310 GMT: Mediaflash --- Iranian Politics Makes Washington Post Columnist's Head Explode. It's not just the headline of David Ignatius' column, "Iran's 'Great Satan' addiction", that indicates ill-informed stereotype and hysterical pseudo-analysis is to follow. There is his ignorance of any aspect to the Iranian post-election crisis other than the "nuclear issue" and his reduction of Iran's politics to Ahmadinejad v. the Reformists (and then Khamenei Jumps In).
What really gives offence is that Ignatius won't admit that the "Great Satan" problem lies not with the Green movement but with his own inability to appreciate 1) that opposing the regime does not necessarily mean giving up a claim to Iran's sovereignty over nuclear energy and 2) that opposition to Ahmadinejad's tactics of negotiation with the US has more to do with criticism of the President's quest for legitimacy than it does with anti-Americanism. Thus this well-connected Washington columnist throws out the Green opposition as a movement tainted with an incurable Iranian disease:
Rather than speak up for dialogue with the United States, many of the reformists gathered around former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi decided instead to score political points against Ahmadinejad. The past month has been a reminder that the very existence and legitimacy of Khamenei's regime are interwoven with a defiant anti-Americanism. This legacy infects even the reformers who protest against Khamenei.
1300 GMT: Nuclear Deal Off?A "well-informed" Iranian source has rejected the compromise "third-party enrichment" proposal of Mohammad El Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Only yesterday Iranian state media were featuring El Baradei's suggestion Turkey to replace France as the third country with Russia and Iran in the enrichment plan, but the source claims, "It seems the IAEA chief is trying to take advantage of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Turkey to gain media coverage on a closed issue."
It remains to be seen whether the source is part of the Ahmadinejad camp, indicating that third-party enrichment is now dead as a negotiating possibliity, or whether he is connected to Iranian politicians trying to undermine the deal (and possibly the President).
1255 GMT: An Ahmadinejad Victory. Amidst the apparent turmoil within the Government, the President did pick up a big win on Sunday when the Parliament approved proposals to redistribute money saved from subsidy cuts. The Parliament, however, retains a say in the plan, as the cash in the state budget where the legislators have oversight powers.
1145 GMT: Press TV is now featuring news of Ali Larijani's meeting with senior Iraqi clerics, including Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Unsurprisingly, there are no indications of whether the talks focused on Iranian or Iraqi politics, only general platitudes such as Larijani "underlin[ing] the importance of religious authorities' viewpoints in resolving various issues among Muslims".
0910 GMT: We have posted Mehdi Karroubi's video statement on 13 Aban.
0835 GMT: With news coming in of the Karroubi video and uncertainty over Ahmadinejad's moves, we've split off our initial update as a separate analysis, "An Opposition Renewing, A Government in Trouble".
0825 GMT: Yes, Challenge Renewing. Mehdi Karroubi has just released a video statement on the 13 Aban protests. He declares that the Government has failed to put down the opposition with force and points to the Ahmadinejad hypocrisy of backing anti-US protests while negotiating with Washington.
0815 GMT: Busted! Ahmadinejad's Cancelled Speech and the Trip to Ankara. And here is the revelation that the President's 2nd postponement of his post-13 Aban speech is a sign of a Government in trouble. From the Chinese news service Xinhua:
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will depart to Turkey on Nov. 8 to take part in the economic summit of Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in the country, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday.
So Ahmadinejad knew he was going to Turkey 48 hours before 13 Aban. And that exposes his excuse, more than 48 hours after 13 Aban, that he had to cancel his Saturday speech because he suddenly noticed he was going to Ankara.
0750 GMT: Will Russia Shift on Sanctions? As those opposed to the enrichment deal sent out their message yesterday through MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev declared, in an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, that Iran must abide by international rules and not hide its nuclear facilities. He added that it would be better to avoid sanctions, but they cannot be excluded if there is no progress in the talks.
It should be remembered that Medvedev offered a similar statement after the "revelation" of the second enrichment facility in September and that Der Spiegel has a tendency towards sensationalism in its coverage of Iran. So this feels more like a bit of pressure from Moscow for Iran to keep negotiating on an enrichment deal, rather than a threat of imminent sanctions.
0735 GMT: A Symbol? Today's update picture (left) is of an empty University classroom. The inscription on the wall, "Death to Khamenei".