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The Latest from Iran (31 October): Karroubi to March on 13 Aban

NEW Iran: Mousavi Statement for 13 Aban Demonstrations (31 October)
Iran: Why is Israel Now Endorsing the Enrichment Deal?
Iran: Human Rights is a Problem…in the US and Europe
Video: Tonight “Allahu Akhbars” at Sharif University
More Time, Please: Ahmadinejad’s Legitimacy and Iran’s Nuclear Talks
Latest from Iran (30 October): Now to the Real Contest

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MOUSAVI42040 GMT: It's Official: Bring It On. First we had Mir Hossein Mousavi's statement, now we have Mehdi Karroubi's signal that he will be joining the crowds on 13 Aban. The cleric has promised further details soon but indicated that he will be joining students at the "Polytechnic" in Tehran. This may refer to Amir Kabir University, although earlier chatter said Karroubi would be going to Sharif University.

2020 GMT: Handing Down "Justice". The deputy head of Iran's judiciary, Ebrahim Raeesi, has announced that sentences for 50 post-election detainees have been issued. Some detainees are appealing the verdicts, and Raeesi urged colleagues to speed up the processing of the cases.

For Raeesi, it is clear, has made his mind: “Those who have proposed the elections were fraudulent and created doubt in the public’s mind have undoubtedly committed a grave crime and naturally will have to answer for the crime they have committed.”

1930 GMT: We've now posted the English translation of Mir Hossein Mousavi's statement welcoming the 13 Aban (4 November) demonstrations (see 1200 and 1215 GMT). The declaration is a spirited presentation of and for the Green movement in the context of the history of 13 Aban, Ayatollah Khomeini, and the Islamic Revolution.

And it is also a spirited criticism of Ahmadinejad's negotiations over the nuclear programme with the United States and other countries, accusing the President of selling out Iran for the sake of his personal position: "Today, it appears that a large proportion of the product of Iran’s nuclear program, which has caused much chaos and brought a number of sanctions for the people, must be handed to another country, in hopes that they will be kind enough to offer us some fuel later on.

1740 GMT: Former President Mohammad Khatami has met with members of the Central Council of the Islamic Association of Tehran University and Tehran Medical Sciences. Khatami warned that surveillance into personal affairs of people is not allowed even in the cases of those who do not believe in the Establishment or in God, as long as they do not use weapons.

The former President emphasised that the Green movement is against violence but in the opposite side there are some who only think and act violently. Khatami said it must first be accepted that there is a crisis in the society, and then one can find the solution; if there are mistakes in analysing the current situation, there will be more problems in the future.

1730 GMT: Morteza Alviri, Mehdi Karroubi’s representative in the joint Karroubi-Mousavi committee formed to investigate prison abuse cases, was released from prison on bail this afternoon.

There is confusion, however, over Behzad Nabavi, a senior member of the reformist Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution who has been illegally detained since June. It was reported that Nabavi had been released, but this has been denied by his family, who say he is still in hospital after surgery last month.

1405 GMT: Alef News carries a purported interview with mathematics student Mahmoud Vahidnia, who challenged the Supreme Leader with a series of questions on Wednesday. Vahidnia denies that he was arrested after the incident.

1340 GMT: The reformist cleric Abdollah Nouri has visited Mohammad Ghoochani, the editor-in-chief of Etemade Melli newspaper released yesterday after more than four months in detention.

1215 GMT: How Not to Report Breaking News. Reuters summarises the Mousavi statement, "Opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi appeared to urge his supporters on Saturday to take part in rallies next week marking the 30th anniversary of the U.S. embassy takeover by radical students in Tehran."

Appears? Yes, in the same way that the Pope "appears" to be Catholic and many students "appear" to be concerned about the Iranian Government. And nice touch by the news service to frame 13 Aban as just an extension of "radical students" who took Americans hostage in 1979.

1200 GMT: We return from a break to find that Mir Hossein Mousavi has issued a statement, his 14th of the post-election crisis, ahead of the 13 Aban (4 November) demonstrations. The statement is a rallying call, praising students for their determination and encouraging them to remain strong for "the Greenest day of the year". Mousavi stands against extremism, as he declares that the "Green path" is the "rational way".

0935 GMT: Meanwhile, President Ahmadinejad is not going to be deflected from his strategy of continued engagement as a sign of the acceptance of the legitimacy of Iran's Government. He told veterans today that "the best way forward" for the "West" was "co-operation with the Iranian nation".

0855 GMT: A gentle morning in Iranian politics, so we've been working on other stories from the role of money in US politics to the latest on Israel-Turkey relations as well as an item on Iran's condemnation of the US, Canada, and Europe for human rights violations.

There are increasingly interesting developments on Iran's nuclear talks and US-Iranian relations, however.

Our suspicion about Ali Larijani's renewed attack on Washington for its supposed involvement in the recent suicide bombing in southeastern Iran --- this is a tactic to challenge the Ahmadinejad Government's continued discussions with the US on nuclear issues --- is reinforced by  statements from other high-profile conservative and principlist legislators. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Parliament's National Security Committee, repeated his objection from earlier this week:
We are completely opposed to the proposal on delivering uranium with 3.5 percent enrichment in exchange for uranium with 20 percent enrichment. There is no guarantee they would give us fuel with 20 percent enrichment in exchange for our delivered LEU. We have deep mistrust in relation to the Westerners.

Kazem Jalali, another key member of the committee, declared, "The demand that we should deliver all enriched nuclear material to other countries so that they would supply Tehran's fuel needs is completely out of the question."

Andrew Lee Butters of Time magazine has a good overview article picking up on the "storm of criticism from across the Iranian political spectrum", highlighting the remarks of Mir Hossein Mousavi as well as the Government's Parliamentary challengers:
Conservatives had accused moderates of treason over previous attempts to reach a nuclear agreement with the West; now the country's embattled opposition leaders are getting their own back, perhaps fearful that rapprochement between the West and Ahmadinejad would reinforce the regime that has cracked down hard since the election.

UPDATED Latest Iran Video: Tonight's "Allahu Akhbars" at Sharif University (30-31 Oct)

The Latest from Iran (31 October): Parliament’s Challenge to Ahmadinejad
Latest from Iran (30 October): Now to the Real Contest

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31 October


30 October


Iran: Full Translation of Mousavi Statement for 13 Aban Demonstrations (31 October)

The Latest from Iran (31 October): Parliament’s Challenge to Ahmadinejad

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Adapted from the Facebook site associated with Mir Hossein Mousavi:

In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful,

In our modern history, the 13th of Aban (4th of November) is reminiscent of three events. The first was when Imam Khomeini was exiled, and the movement went into a 13-year recession. After being able to silence the movement by sending the Imam into exile, the Shah’s regime marveled at why such a thing was not done sooner. There was one uprising and one Imam, and when he was far from it, there was nothing left of its spirit. Was the Imam truly alone in the movement he had begun? Never. It is never such that one person can create change in society. He had many followers, but they were not like the friends that would surround him years later, when he said: “our leader is that 13-year-old child".

The second 13th of Aban is the day of 13-year-old leaders --- students who had gathered at the University of Tehran for a protest and faced a most violent death. It was the regime’s experience with the events of the 40s [the 1960s] that caused such a bloody reaction. They [the regime] thought that if they act as determined as before, they will once again achieve the same incredible results. But the base of society had changed. The monarchist establishment was no longer facing one Imam. This time, people had surrounded the Imam, who may not have known him as well as their fathers did or who had not heard his speeches, had as much spirit and strength in their hearts as the Imam himself. Unlike their fathers, they did not need to be repressed or to see as much evil to join this movement

Much has been said about the third 13th of Aban. It is unlikely that anything of that event has remained unsaid, including the fact that in that event, the Imam followed the Muslim students. On the surface, the students called themselves the followers of the Imam, but in reality, it was the Imam who followed what they did. None of the leaders and commanders of the revolution had a role in shaping what came to be that day. Even the students themselves thought that everything would be over in a few days and they would return home. But the Imam followed the events and called it a revolution greater than the first revolution. Only an Imam who has experienced the bitter taste of 13 years of exile knows that a society which has lived under rigid and severe rule does not have spirit and does not have a healthy existence. He preferred to let people lead because he knew simply passing one historic milestone is not enough in the prosperity of a nation. The nation must have such knowledge and insight to be able to tell right from wrong in every day and age, and to be able to walk the right path. Today, our people are the leaders and this is the great wish that the Imam had for them. He invited us to those things which promise life.

And now, the 13th of Aban, this greenest day of the year is approaching. Today, is it conceivable that the flame of the people’s movement may be extinguished if a fellow countrymen is kept silent? If such a thing happens, we will lose the fruit of 45 years of our history and our struggle. And if it doesn’t happen, this will show the roots of our revolutionary spirit. It is reliance on these roots that have made us green, If we leave these roots neglected, we will have turned to those very things that our opponents wish. It is thus absolutely necessary that we carefully approach any such extreme efforts.

Our movement will not benefit from leaving Islam to the hands of worshipers of superstition, leaving the revolution to the incompetent and the devious, neglecting the fruits of 100 years of struggle and replacing that heritage with misconstrued and twisted images and alienating ourselves from that heritage. If some foreign governments insist on such tendencies, that may be because they have personal gains in such an effort. If need be, they will sit at the negotiation tables while turning their backs on the current movement of the Iranians, and they will be content with the little freedom and political progress that exists in neighboring countries, and we can not reprimand them for such actions. It is we ourselves who must be reprimanded if we do not tell wisely the interests of our own country.

These days, people are all asking of victory. When will we achieve it? How will we get there faster? And what will add to its perfection? Our entire existence is prayer and inquisition, and we are filled with the lords words who has said that he will grant us some of whatever we may wish [from the Koran: "And he granted some of whatever you asked for."] The mere fact that a demand has been created in society means that no one will be able to get in its way, and governments can only attempt to influence factors like time, scale, and the shape of its realization.

Can we too influence these factors? Yes. [As the Koran says] people will only reap rewards to the extent to which they use their intelligence and insight. In the past few months, our people have been blessed with the rewards of their own wisdom.

Our Green path is a path of rationality and shows that we are persistent in standing up for our demands. If we were to be extremists, be certain that there would have been nothing left of us. Extreme enthusiasm leads to unenthusiasm. If you need an example of this, look no further than the foreign policy of this government. The same time when they were busy infusing our international relations with propaganda and refused to utilize moderation and intelligence, it was obvious that they would soon bargain the interests of our people with nothing. Sixteen years ago, neither the media nor statesmen considered developing nuclear fuel for Tehran’s program very important news. Today, it appears that a large proportion of the product of Iran’s nuclear program, which went on to see this much chaos and was to bring a number of sanctions for the people, must be handed to another country, in hopes that they will be kind enough to offer us some fuel later on. Is this a victory? It is an obvious deception when they call this “the greatest of victories”[as President Ahmadinejad said on Thursday].

The statesmen neither solved the problems of the world [as Ahmadinejad claimed he would] or stressed the rights of their own people, but rather they were willing to forgo those rights all together. They showed that in surrendering too they are extremists. Even if with the help of friends, losing the achievements of Iran’s nuclear program will be thwarted, we have not seen the last of this extremism and their actions will pave the way for more sanctions and isolation for Iran.

What we can learn from this is to avoid extremism ourselves. Sooner or later --- and, with the help of God, sooner --- those who stand against the people will leave. On that day, will only a ruined country remain for the nation? What we must be worried about today is the interests of our country and except for its rightful owners, no one else will be occupied with this. Building tomorrow must begin today. We must be so prepared that if tomorrow suddenly presents itself, we will not be taken by surprise. Each of us must feel the great responsibility that rests on our shoulders.

Our constant demand for the constitution to be carried out is a key solution to building the future. With such an approach, we will have a light to guide us in the dark, and we will not be stepping on the struggles of generations past. Whatever remains in our hearts and desires [that is not in the constitution], we will strive for in our life because formal structures do not reflect, for the most part, the greater realities that exist in society.

The greater reality is what goes on in our lives. The superficial structures can arrest the children of this revolution and imprison them like criminals and dress them up in degraded clothing, but the people can look at those images and feel pride and create heroes out of those very images. Who is the winner in this confrontation? The superficial structure can condemn these people in show trials and the people will be the final judge in those trials. Which of these is the true ruler of society? The superficial structure can degrade these families and attempt to shame them with its abusive behavior but while these families suffer, the people will always know them to be courageous and honorable. Which of these two views will win the hearts of these families?

Pay attention.  Up to now, we’ve only been talking about the power that exists in the view of the people, and not about power they have to actually do other things. The superficial structures can sentence these families to isolation and the people can embrace them. Truly, which of these will triumph? The superficial structures can deprive the students of dormitories for the crime of expressing their opinion and deprive them of a livelihood and the social networks can back them with their support. Which of these groups is more powerful?

But this is a wrong way to frame the question because in essence, there is no confrontation between these two entities. One is, and the other isn’t. It is our life that gives meaning to any matter in the external order of society. In the past few months we have changed society not by breaking this external order but by changing its meaning. We have no need to break order when it is we who give it direction in every circumstance.

This will be our path from now on as well. When so many parts of our constitution go unnoticed, the truth is that there is no difference between good law and bad law. Even if the political structure of our country were in the best of orders, what difference does it make when our lives do not give it credibility? Does not give it meaning? Does not approve it and does not ask for it? In the same way, if this structure was backward or wrong, we could only attempt to correct it if we could first correct the meaning and we do this through the path we live in our lives.

There are so many nations who do not choose to exercise this power, who choose to leave power in the hands of the powerful. They will not lead their societies, but we will.

The 13th of Aban is that pledge which reminds us that among us, it is the people who are the leaders. I send my deepest wishes to the people of Iran for this day, and I ask the Lord for freedom, patience and rewards that are worthy of the creators of this day, some of whom are now in prison, and the other hostages of the Green movement.

Israel & Lebanon: Tensions Rise

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Lebanon_Israel_flags_012On Friday, Lebanon's ambassador to the United Nations, Noaf Salaam, warned that Israel is planing to attack Lebanon. He condemned Israel's artillery fire on the village of Houla on Tuesday and said that the Israeli response delayed and prevented Lebanese forces from investigating rocket attacks in the area.

The Katyusha fire launched from the Upper Galilee region of Lebanon was the first rocket attack since September and the ninth one since the end of the 2006 Lebanon War. A day later, Lebanese troops found and dismantled four rockets near the border.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman stated on Thursday that Israel had deliberately planned and organized the Katyusha attack "to keep the tension high".

Video: Goldstone Latest Comments on Israel & Hamas

Palestine: Goldstone Report Goes Back to UN General Assembly

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In his latest interview with CNN, Richard Goldstone rejected criticisms that he was "a traitor to Israel" and "anti-Semitic". When asked about his thoughts whether there has been any movement from Israeli and/or Hamas following the release of his report, he stated that there is a clearer movement on the Hamas side whereas there is a split in the Israeli Government.