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Entries in Ali Larijani (11)


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.

More Time, Please: Ahmadinejad's Legitimacy and Iran's Nuclear Talks

Iran: Text of Ahmadinejad Speech in Mashaad (29 October)
Latest from Iran (30 October): Now to the Real Contest
The Latest from Iran (29 October): Opposition Momentum?

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AHMADINEJAD7Here is what President Ahmadinejad said in a nationally-televised speech from Mashaad on Thursday.

Iran is strong. I am strong. Iran is strong because I am strong.

While the President covered a range of domestic and international issues, the passage on the talks on Iran's nuclear programme will receive the most attention today. As The Daily Telegraph of London declares, "Iran claims victory in nuclear battle with the West".

Unfortunately most coverage in the West will miss the significance of the speech. The New York Times, relying on usual on unnamed "diplomats in Europe and unnamed officials", is already proclaiming, "Iran Rejects Deal to Ship Out Uranium, Officials Report", a journalistic approach echoed by the Los Angeles Times.

That is untrue, at least according to both the Iranian Government and the International Atomic Energy Agency: Tehran's reply accepts the "framework" but raises issues over timing and amount of uranium stock to be delivered to Russia for reprocessing. More importantly, it shoves aside Ahmadinejad's presentation:
I don’t want to repeat history for you but can you remember where we were a few years ago? Back then, they shouted at us, issued resolutions against us, waged psychological warfare against us and issued sanctions against us. They told us that we should completely give up our nuclear program. Where are we today? Today, they pursue nuclear cooperation with the Iranian nation.

There were days when they said that we should not have the technology at all, but today they say: let us cooperate. Iran’s position in nuclear industry is well-established. Today, Iran’s nuclear activities are considered to be a normal and obvious procedure and an absolute right of the Iranian nation.

That is not a rejection of discussions with the "West"; it is an embrace of them. But it is an embrace based on the premise that the US and other countries have knocked at Tehran's door, gone down on bended knee, and asked forgiveness. Iran is no longer an international outsider; it is an accepted nuclear power.

Iranian state media is running quickly with this line. Press TV, for example, is featuring, "Israel worried by IAEA draft accord on Iran", noting, "Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says a draft accord presented by the IAEA would lead to recognition of Iran's nuclear enrichment program."

This is only part of the story, however. Let's get personal: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is fighting for his authority, not only against the Green opposition but against those within the establishment who object to his high-profile assertion of power. Remember how, only a few days ago, the stories were of Parliamentary leaders like Ali Larijani trashing the nuclear deal and of indications that the Supreme Leader was stepping in both to cast a veto and to put Ahmadinejad in his place?

No sign of those nay-sayers yesterday. Instead this was Iran as the President and the President as Iran.

That's not to say that, for the sake of Ahmadinejad's legitimacy and Iran's international position, Tehran will soon accept the US-led plan for third-party enrichment. To the contrary, the Iranians have serious objections to the details. The most straightforward is that the 80 percent of uranium stock to be shipped to Russia is far more than is necessary to keep Iran's medical research reactor --- the catalyst for this proposal in June --- operating for the rest of its lifespan. So, in Tehran's eyes, the current document is intended as much to keep most of its uranium "hostage" as it is to provide a stable supply for Iran's civilian needs.

And, given Ahmadinejad's position, the political advantages of spinning out the talks are there to be grasped. If there are alterations in the plan to reduce the amount shipped below 80 percent and to send it out in stages rather than in one delivery, these will be concession to Iran's and the President's strength. If the "West" walks away from the table, this will be an indication of their continuing deceptions and mistakes --- despite their apparent request for forgiveness from Tehran --- and Iran will be in the right as it maintains nuclear sovereignty.

Of course, there will be pressure in the US Congress for sanctions (the House of Representatives, despite the ongoing talks, has already passed a measure for tougher economic restrictions). Those, however, are President Obama's worry, as Russia and China are unlikely to give any support for multilateral steps.

So give Ahmadinejad credit for a political victory in Mashaad yesterday. But think of that victory as only a preliminary skirmish on an outside battlefield.

For the next time Ahmadinejad is due in Mashaad is on 13 Aban (4 November).

Latest from Iran (26 October): After the Fair

NEW Latest Iran Video/Translation: Karroubi on Events in the Iran Media Fair
NEW Iran’s Political Confusion: Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, and the Nuclear Agreement
NEW Iran: Turning Bombings into an Alliance with Pakistan
NEW Video: The Media Fair Demonstrations (25 October)

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KARROUBI MEDIA FAIR 22105 GMT: Mehdi Karroubi's website Tagheer is back on-line (see 1438 GMT).

1945 GMT: We cannot corroborate but it is being reported that flyers of Karroubi's webcast statement (see separate entry) are being put up across Tehran.

1935 GMT: Families of political prisoners have announced that they will demonstrate on Wednesday, protesting the continued imprisonment of their relatives. If the authorities do not heed the protest, the families will continue demonstrations and begin a mass hunger strike.

1925 GMT: Kalemeh, the website associated with Mir Hossein Mousavi, has published its account of the appearance of Mousavi advisor Alireza Beheshti at the Tehran Media Fair yesterday. Beheshti was with his wife and daughter, as well as supporters, when they were surrounded by 50 to 60 people who began yelling loudly against Beheshti. Kalemeh invokes the memory of Beheshti's father, the assassinated Ayatollah, claiming that many were reminded of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq's chant of “Down with Beheshti”. (English summary on Mousavi Facebook page)

1515 GMT: Radio Farda is reporting that 50 striking workers at Ahvaz Pipe Mills were arrested today. Employees have not paid for 10-14 months.

1445 GMT: Mediawatch. Credit to the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and Time magazine for picking up on the internal dynamics affecting Iran's decision on the enrichment deal, with varying degrees of success.

Borzou Daragahi in the LA Times is the most effective, noting Ali Larijani's criticism of the proposal. He conflates this, however, with a statement from another high-ranking member of Parliament "close to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad", Alaeddin Boroujerdi --- Boroujerdi's shot fits more with moves by the Iranian Government to get better terms, while Larijani's is a direct attack against the negotiations.

David Sanger in The New York Times opens with a reference to Larijani but gets distracted by the Western perspective --- "even some of President Obama’s aides are wary that Iran is setting a trap". Andrew Lee Butters in Time asks the key question, "Why the delay?", but struggles to understand the internal situation.

1438 GMT: Coincidence? While Karroubi seizes the political initiative, his on-line newssite, Tagheer, is down.

1435 GMT: We've posted the video of Mehdi Karroubi, with English translation, drawing lessons from the events at the Iran Media Fair: "We will not retreat."

1355 GMT: A Signal? State television is quoting the Supreme Leader's blame upon foreign agents, seeking Shiite-Sunni conflict, for recent violence: "The bloody actions being committed in some Islamic countries, including Iraq, Pakistan and in some parts of the country (Iran), are aimed at creating division between the Shiites and Sunnis.....Those who carry out these terrorist actions are directly or indirectly foreign agents."

This is a far from surprising statement for Ayatollah Khamenei, but the timing, given our current thoughts about a move to cut off engagement with the West, may be significant.

1345 GMT: Playing for Time. Amidst what could be an extraordinary political story in Iran over the enrichment deal (see analysis in separate entry), Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki offered a very ordinary, non-commital statement today, "Iran's decision on the provision of necessary fuel for the Tehran reactor will be announced in the next few days. There are two options on the table ... either to buy it or to give part of our fuel for further processing abroad."

0930 GMT: We've posted an analysis from Iran, courtesy of Iran Review, pointing to Tehran's move for closer relations with Pakistan in the aftermath of the Sistan-Baluchestan bombings.

0735 GMT: The Story to Watch Today. If we're right, Iran may be on the verge of one of the most important political decisions --- with effects inside and outside the country --- since 12 June. Weekend statements by Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani and Mohammad Reza Bahonar point to the Supreme Leader's intervention to block the Vienna nuclear agreement and engagement with the US. If this happens, the even bigger effect could be on the legimitacy of President Ahmadinejad. We've got the story in a separate entry.

0720 GMT: National Unity Latest. No words for days since the National Unity Plan supposedly went to the Supreme Leader for his consideration. Mizan Press has a useful summary of the political situation, without offering any new details.

0710 GMT: Nuclear Hype. While Iranian state media plays up Washington's alleged backed of "terrorist" organisations, "Western" media --- with the considerable assistance of unnamed Government officials and diplomats --- plays up Iran's imminent Bomb.

In this case, the drum-thumper is Reuters and "imminent" is 18 months. There's no evidence in the article, only the bland assertion of one of the officials, "It's not a formal assessment or formal agreement but a rough agreement that we can all work with more or less."

Actually, "imminent" is not so imminent in this case, perhaps indicating a bit of breathing space for Obama-led engagement as Tehran considers an enrichment deal --- previous media spin has been of an Iranian bomb within a year. Still, we offer this naive question:

Given that Iran cannot even enrich uranium to 20 percent for a medical research reactor --- the technical reality behind Tehran's consideration of third-party enrichment --- wouldn't this indicate obstacles to enrichment of uranium to the 90 percent needed for a weapon?

0650 GMT: More Finger-Pointing at US over Jundallah. Last week La Stampa and Enduring America featured the comments of the retired head of Pakistan's intelligence service, Lieutenant Hamid Gul, linking the Baluch insurgent group Jundallah and last week's deadly suicide bombing to American intelligence services.

Now Iranian state media are headlining the assertion of the former chief of staff of the Pakistani army, General Mirza Aslam Beg: "Helping the Rigi terrorist group launch terrorist attacks against Iranian civilians and military personnel in the border regions is one of the main strategies pursued by the US to confront Iran."

The Islamic Republic News Agency is featuring the interview, which also includes Beg's praise for "the positive steps Iran has taken in Afghanistan and its all-out cooperation with Pakistan", and Press TV is also pushing it.

0630 GMT: The excitement and uncertainty stirred up by Mehdi Karroubi's appearance on Friday at the Tehran Media Fair continued on Sunday, as rumors swirled around possible Green demonstrations and Government reactions. The most prominent story in the end, given that Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mohammad Khatami did not follow up Karroubi's attendance, concerned Mousavi advisor Alireza Beheshti at the Fair. The cycle of Friday --- arrival, chants of Green support, a response from those backing the Government, Behesti's departure, and opposition celebration of another symbolic victory --- was repeated.

The events of the last 72 hours are now getting some attention outside Iran. Ramin Mostaghim and Borzou Daragahi, writing in The Los Angeles Times, pick up on the Karroubi episode and also note earlier stories such as the political back-and-forth over the "Kayhan guestbook" (see our updates throughout last week).

The Latest on Iran (25 October): Expectation Rises

NEW Iran's American Prisoner: The Case of Kian Tajbakhsh (Continued with 15 Years in Jail)
Iran: Football’s Going Green (with the help of Press TV)
Iran: The Karroubi Effect
Iran: Karroubi Statement on Events at Iran Media Fair
Video: Karroubi & Crowd at Iran Media Fair (23 October)

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IRAN 18 TIR0825 GMT: Norooz has published the names of 19 reformist activists and family members, out of 71 arrested on Thursday night at the home of detainee Shahabeddin Tabatabei, transferred to Evin Prison.

0753 GMT: Nuclear Deal Still On? Your latest clue, courtesy of Press TV, that the Iranians want an agreement on enrichment: a high-profile splash on the US and Russian positions, "Medvedev, Obama find talks with Iran 'positive'".

Your latest clue, courtesy of Press TV and Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Tehran will spin out the process a bit longer, manoeuvring for best possible terms on "third-party enrichment" and assuring the Iranian people that it is negotiating from strength: "Iran asserts that its offer to buy nuclear fuel from the West is purely a confidence-building measure, as it has the technology to enrich uranium up to 20 percent."

0750 GMT: We've updated the story of Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh, now sentenced to 15 years in prison, with an article by Karim Sadjadpour.

0615 GMT: A morning where the significant movement is on the Iranian nuclear question. The inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency should begin their work at Iran's second uranium enrichment facility, at Fardoo near Qom, today --- Al Jazeera has video. That story will dominate "Western" coverage of Iran, possibly matched by speculation and worry over Tehran's deliberations on the Vienna agreement on enrichment. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani stirred up confusion yesterday, as we noted, with his criticism of the proposal --- still no clue, in the dramatic US-UK coverage, whether Larijani speaks for anyone (say the Supreme Leader) other than himself.

Inside Iran, however, the hot-button question yesterday was whether Mir Hossein Mousavi and/or Mohammad Khatami had showed up at the Tehran Media Fair, a day after Mehdi Karroubi appeared.

Hours later, there was no confirmation, only the continuing rumours that Khatami had been inside the Fair and Mousavi had tried to enter but turned away on the advice of security forces. Personally, I do not think either happened --- the story about Mousavi, in particular, was being pushed by pro-Government media to show the opposition leader's weakness when challenged.

Yet a non-story is still a signal. The buzz over Mousavi and Khatami amplifies the message, which we noted and evaluated yesterday, that the opposition movement is ready for another go at the regime. Fatigue and resignation give way to excitement. How much that translates into hope, rather than the energy for another show of frustration and anger, is an important but as of now unanswerable question.

Still, I think it's notable that yet another high-profile if confused Government attempt to break resistance --- the arrest of the 60 reformists and their relatives this week --- has lost its force. Indeed, the continued detention of some of the 60 contributes to the anger/frustration seen at the Media Fair and beyond. That, I suspect, will be doubly true because of the taking of women who have no "political" position in this conflict apart from the relationship to their husbands.

Caveats have to be played on the above reading. Once again, we are seeing events which are almost exclusively in Tehran. While there are significant reports of demonstrations outside the capital, especially at universities and in factories (EA sources in particular are watching Shiraz), it is impossible to assess how far the challenge to the regime extends. At the same time, what happens in Tehran --- even if it is propelled by a "minority", as pro-Government interpretation will claim --- will have a ripple effect, 4 1/2 months after the Presidential election.

It is 10 days to 13 Aban (4 November).

The Latest from Iran (24 October): Resurgence at the Fair?

NEW Iran: Football's Going Green (with the help of Press TV)
NEW Iran: The Karroubi Effect
NEW Iran: Karroubi Statement on Events at Iran Media Fair
NEW Video: Karroubi & Crowd at Iran Media Fair (23 October)
Reading Afghanistan and Iran: Scott Lucas on “The Beautiful Truth” Radio

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KARROUBI MEDIA FAIR 21935 GMT: A Note from the Media Fair. As the rumors and discussion continue over the events and protests of the week, another incident, reported by the Iranian Labor News Agency and passed on by an EA correspondent:
A stand for the "Wave of Law" website (a deliberate twist of the term "Green Wave") was dismantled at the press exhibition in Tehran for collecting signatures for a petition seeking a complaint against Mir Hosein Moussavi. The stand faced reluctance from exhibition visitors.

Permission to set up the stand for this new website was given in circumstances in which eligible applicants had been refused. Warnings from the organizers of the Tehran Press Fair were instrumental in the stand's ejection.

1920 GMT: The reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front has intervened again with an open letter to the former prosecutor of Tehran, judges, Revolutionary Guard, and the Ministry of Intelligence:
We do not open this letter with “greetings”, as it is a symbol of all that you and your colleagues have denied us and those like us....The mass assault of the agents of the former Tehran prosecutor on the central office of the Participation Front, the election headquarters, and newspapers as well as the mass arrest of the members of the Participation Front, other political, and media activists happened not long ago, and the wave of arrests still continue.

This time you and your colleagues have created a new wonder. Thirty years after the establishment of the “Islamic” system, you silenced the “O God! O God!” prayer in the throats of this nation’s sons and daughters and the innocent families of [political] prisoners by your weapons and handcuffs. We remind you of this because it is the duty of every Muslim to stop their religious brothers and sisters from committing bad deeds that we hope are not being committed deliberately and knowingly but rather unintentionally and under pressure.

Before it is too late come to your senses and don’t be the tools of oppression for the tyrant masters of power. Someday that God willing is coming and is not too far away, they will be too caught up as the results of their words and actions to be able to help you.

1715 GMT: We haven't forgotten you. It is just a relatively quiet period in Iran, and we're heading out to catch up with friends and colleagues. Back later to round up the day's events.

1530 GMT: Saturday Football Story. Looks like the Green wave has made it into a photo of the Iran national team on the Press TV website --- see separate entry.

1455 GMT: The Curious Development with the Nuclear Deal. Something very strange is happening as the Iranian Government deliberates whether to accept the Vienna proposal on uranium enrichment.

Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani has now come out against the agreement, declaring, "Westerners are insisting to go in a direction that speaks of cheating and are imposing some things on us. They are saying we will give you the 20 percent [enriched uranium] fuel for the Tehran reactor only if you give us your enriched uranium. I see no link between these two things."

Larijani's remarks follow those of the Deputy Speaker, Mohammad Reza Bahonar. Neither have had a role in the current negotiations with the "5+1" powers, although Larijani was the former head of Iran's nuclear programme.

So is Larijani, like Bahonar, just staking out some Parliamentary autonomy over whether the deal goes through (and, if so, why)? Or is he reflecting the views of the Supreme Leader, whose endorsement is required for the agreement to proceed?

1430 GMT: For almost two hours, rumours have been racing that Mohammad Khatami and/or Mir Hossein Mousavi have been at the Iran Media Fair this afternoon. The Iranian Labor News Agency was even reporting that Khatami was inside the Mossalla, where the Fair is taking place, before removing the article.

Latest rumours include that Mousavi approached the Fair but did not enter on the advice of security and that one man disguised as Khatami was arrested.

1100 GMT: "Western" Media Foolishness. If Iranian media are highlighting their capacity for distortion and misinformation in their coverage of the Karroubi-Media Fair events, their British counterparts are giving them a run for their money with their representation of Iran's position in the uranium enrichment talks (as we predicted at 0845 GMT). The Times proclaims, "Barack Obama's policy on brink of collapse",while The Daily Telegraph --- citing that most reliable of sources, Mr John Bolton --- yells, "Israeli Military Strike More Likely".

1035 GMT: More Other Side of the Story (see 1015 GMT). The strategy of the Islamic Republic News Agency is to use a member of the Parliament's Cultural Commission to argue that Mehdi Karroubi and his supporters planned yesterday's events at the Media Fair as part of their strategy for "overthrow" of the Iranian system.

Fars News, meanwhile, continues to push the story as one of pro-Government crowds confronting Karroubi with the "Death to the hypocrite" chant, to which Karroubi's bodyguards responded by brandishing guns.

1030 GMT: Deaths in Tehran. Iranian state media is reporting six people, including a judge, have been killed in the Iranian capital. The incident, however, appears to be unrelated to post-election conflict and instead stems from a "family dispute".

1015 GMT: The Other Side of the Story. It is illuminating to compare Mehdi Karroubi's account of the Media Fair experience with that from state media. Press TV portrays a balanced reception --- "Former Iranian presidential candidate Karroubi has been met with slogans both in favor of and against himself....The opponents shouted 'Liar, get lost' and 'Death to Monafeq [hypocrite]' while the proponents chanted, 'Long live Karroubi'." There's also a balance in blame for the violence, "The fair turned into a scene of clashes and some booths were damaged after the politician was attacked by a shoe."

No balance or indeed context in the headline, however: "Karroubi's bodyguard fires into air at Tehran fair".

0920 GMT: We've posted the English translation of Mehdi Karroubi's statement on yesterday's events at the Iran Media Fair in a separate entry.

0855 GMT: Responding to Karroubi. In a signal of the interaction of yesterday's events with the growing clerical movement against the regime, Grand Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani talked with Mehdi Karroubi by phone after the incidents at the Media Fair. Bayat-Zanjani expressed his admiration for Karroubi’s resistance in front of obscene and hideous acts, calling him a fighter and a true believer: “The more influential you are, the more they [Ahmadinejad supporters] resist you and these insulting attempts [just] reveal how successful you are.”

0845 GMT: The Enrichment Deal is On. Just to be clear, while there will be much huffing and puffing about devious/manipulative/dangerous Iran today, Tehran's delay in signing the Vienna deal on third-party enrichment is --- for now --- only another step on the path to agreement.

The US signalled that it would allow more time for Iran's decision, while making the necessary tough noises, in a statement by State Department spokesman Ian Kelly:
Obviously we would have preferred to have a response today. We approach this with a sense of urgency. We can stretch things for a few days, and that's really what we're talking about. But we're not going to wait forever.

An EA reader adds that there is also an easing of hostility in the French media on the Iran nuclear issue, with newspapers like Le Monde accepting that Tehran's response will come next week.

0745 GMT: Pedestrian has posted an English translation of Mir Hossein Mousavi's remarks on Wednesday to the staff of his Kalemeh Sabz newspaper, which was raided and closed by Government forces on 22 June: "We must not allow the events of the past few months to create pessimism about the revolution."

0725 GMT: Inevitably we are picking up on two major stories this morning.

On the international front, the signs continue that the Iranian regime --- albeit several days after a deadline because of its gamesmanship and the rumblings of its bureaucracy --- will accept the uranium enrichment deal. While it deliberates, the Government has offered another significant concession to the "West"; officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency will arrive in Iran on Saturday to inspect the second uranium enrichment plant at Fordoo near Qom. The visit will last 2-3 days.

However, it is the Mehdi Karroubi story that dominates our initial thoughts this morning. As conversation continues to buzz about his appearance at the Iran Media Fair, the crowd enthusiasm, and the subsequent scuffles, we've posted an analysis of the significance.