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Entries in Alireza Beheshti (5)


Iran: The Mousavi-Karroubi Meeting 

The Latest from Iran (29 October): Opposition Momentum?

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MOUSAVI KARROUBIWe noted in our updates yesterday the emerging news of a recent meeting between Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. Khordaad 88 has now provided an English translation of the account from the Mousavi-linked newspaper Kalemeh:

At the start of the meeting, Mehdi Karroubi recalled the events in the exhibition for Journalism [Tehran Media Fair]. He expressed his disappointment about some of the wrong and undeserved reaction against him and Alireza Beheshti [a close advisor to Mousavi, and son of the martyr Ayatollah Beheshti] committed on behalf of an organized minority. He added: “It saddens me to see how bans on newspapers have ‘blessed’ the exhibition. An exhibition for journalism that should be the place for thought and dialogue has turned into a lifeless environment. In addition, some act so boorishly and with such a behavior who knows where they are leading the country to.”

On the same subject, Mir Hossein Mousavi pointed to the clips that he has seen from the exhibition and said, “Despite the bans on journalism, I saw a great crowd of enthusiasts attending the exhibition who were supporting you and the Green movement. Apparently, this annoys the minority to an extent that has made them commit such reactions.”

Mehdi Karroubi alluded to the era when Mousavi was the Prime Minister, “You are well aware of the things I have done. Because of the responsibilities I have had in the Outreach Committee (Komitte Emdad), the Martyrs Foundation (Bonyad Shahid) and the Parliament, I have always been and will remain in contact with people. I can see that people are at a very devastating condition. Poverty, corruption, and fraud have increased. These are consequences of the wrong and inappropriate organization and planning on part of the executive and administrative branches.

Mehdi Karroubi continued by comparing past and present and said, “Unfortunately, financial fraud of some of our officials is one of the main drivers of corruption within the country. I remember the days when government was so clean a bureaucrat would not have the money to pay for his family expenditures in a hospital. Today it’s different. My concern is that the new generation sees this and suspects that it has been like this ever since the early days of the revolution. This generation must know that such widespread economic corruption is a very new phenomenon.”

Based on this concern, Mahdi Karoubi added, “I grow even more sensitive when I hear the claims that this government has revived the discourse of the revolution and of the Imam Khomeini. This is a disgrace to the way of the revolution and the Imam. People, and especially the new generation must understand that we, the siblings of Imam, are against the conditions that govern the country today.”

Mahdi Karoubi also added, “Exaggerations that are common these days about some people and places could cause doubts in religious beliefs of some people, especially members of the newer generation. For instance, I have heard that they talk of the ‘Jamkaran mosque’ as though it is as holy as Masjid-Al-Haram mosque (in Mecca, Saudi Arabia) and Masjid-Al-Aghsa mosque (in Jerusalem, occupied Palestine). Such acts would only help ruin the trust of people even in their own beliefs. I have no idea what motivates some of these ‘honorable’ gentlemen to displace all the values and strip people of their beliefs in anything from their religion to their national history."

Alluding to the current problems in running the country, Mir Hossein Mousavi said, “Our painful concerns are mutual. I too am aware of the problems you alluded to, as well as many other issues. We are in agreement. For instance the outcomes of talks on the nuclear issue in Geneva are shocking. If we do commit to the promises they have given in Geneva we would be undermining the efforts of thousands of the scientists across the country, if we don’t we would open up the door for collective action against us in the form of sanctions. This outcome is the result of an adventurous foreign policy that has no regard for rules and national interests. The ‘interesting’ point here is that while they openly, and repeatedly pay homage to the Americans, they accuse the children of the revolution and experienced public servants of relations and tendencies toward the west and the east. People should be told of affairs so that they would know what is going on in the executive management of the country. When I was the prime minister I used to emphasize that military forces must not involve themselves in the financial affairs of the nation.”

Mir Hossein Mousavi, referring to the mismanagement in the country and to the incidents in the internal and foreign affairs, added: “I have two suspicions. Either some of the gentlemen are on a mission to ruin the country and obliterate the establishment or they are very short-sighted and only think of today. They would only do that which takes them from today to tomorrow. I think the latter is closer to reality. These men only think of today. What happens in the future as a result of their actions is of no importance to them. Otherwise, no other reasoning could explain and defend the risks of this magnitude in the internal and foreign affairs."

Mousavi also pointed out to the trials and detention that take place and the confessions that are broadcast and said, “Some think that such acts can change the things back to the way they were. But they are dreaming the impossible. They do not understand that no threats, detentions, trials, and even forced confessions can change today’s society to that of a year ago.”

Mousavi added, “Freedom of the political prisoners is a national demand. Their freedom can help resolve our situation.”

At the conclusion of this meeting Mahdi Karoubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi discussed ways to improve on the communication between themselves and with people despite closure of most  communication channels and information bridges.

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 from Iran (12 October): Green Shoots?

NEW Iran: The Politics of the Death Sentences
NEW Iran: English Text of Mousavi-Karroubi Meeting (10 October)
Iran: The Washington-Tehran Deal on Enriched Uranium?
Iran: So Who Controls the Islamic Republic?
The Latest from Iran (11 October): The Mousavi-Karroubi Meeting

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IRAN 3 NOV DEMOS 21930 GMT: The reformist Assembly of Combatant Clergymen, paralleling the statements of Mohammad Khatami, have written an open letter to the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, warning about the consequences of the current lawlessness and stressing that the judiciary should be held accountable for crimes, violation of law, and injustices. Among these violations are detentions in solitary confinement and uncertainties about charges:
Our fear and concern is because of the reduction or even destruction of the peoples trust and faith in the judiciary system. How can it be that, with a simple gesture, a newspaper is closed down and thus the artery of information of a party or group is blocked instantly; however, hundreds of newspapers and [Government] media with different kinds of accusations and convictions in their evidence become richer in their unbounded cheek and still the judiciary system is unable to dispense justice and only casts some general conclusions about the reproach of lies?

1910 GMT: A Very Gentle Day. Gentle by post-election standards, with the big domestic news Parliament's approval of Government cuts in food and gasoline/petrol subsidies. Reuters is only now catching up with Saturday's Karroubi-Mousavi meeting, loosely translating Mousavi as claiming, "It seems some people are trying to take us back to the Inquisition era."

1340 GMT: Posturing. After the flurry of political movement over the weekend, relatively quiet today. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is making an appearance in Shiraz, hoping that he doesn't face too many demonstrators. Mohammad Khatami is celebrating his 66th birthday with friends.

Meanwhile, the Iranian Government continues the ritual tough-talk two-step with its US partner, covering up the private movement towards accommodation. Responding to Hillary Clinton's finger-shaking that "the world will not wait indefinitely" for Iranian movement on the nuclear issue, the spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry blustered on Monday, "So far, western powers have achieved nothing by using the language of threats and sanctions against Iran. The West, itself, knows that this language is useless. We have always announced that we advocate negotiations."

0905 GMT: We've posted a special analysis of the politics surrounding the four death sentences handed out by the regime in recent days. And we've updated our feature on "Who Controls Iran?".

0900 GMT: A new poster (left) for the 4 November demonstrations is circulating. It repeats the slogans of previous flyers and adds, "United, we will be on the streets.
Join our million-strong green crowd on 13 Aban [4 November] in support of freedom in Iran. Stay in your car in silence in the areas where people are sitting in."

0720 GMT: Iranian state media is trying to keep President Ahmadinejad firmly in the international arena rather than within internal difficulties. The President's latest statement was the reassurance that Iran, not "the West", was setting the agenda for the next round of talks on Tehran's nuclear programme:
We have already agreed to discuss Iran's latest package of proposals. I don't think there will be any problems in the next round of talks but if someone wants to cause problems, they will fail. And if they succeed to do so, they will harm themselves.

Meanwhile the Iranian military is putting out its own tough reassurances, with a Brigadier General asserting, “Updating the defense systems is moving on an excellent progressive trend at present and (Iran’s systems) can compete with hi-tech systems of the world. Now we are in our best conditions of defensive preparedness."

0600 GMT:  Are we seeing an opposition revival? Consider that in the last 48 hours:

*Mohammad Khatami has made a high-profile appearance in Yazd Province and issued one of the strongest criticisms of the Government to date: “Be sure that people will never back down."

*Mehdi Karroubi, in a letter sent in his son's name, used the call for fairness from Iranian state broadcasting to attack the Iran judiciary's handling of his claims of detainee abuses;

*Karroubi has also re-established his web presence with the re-launch of Tagheer;

*Mir Hossein Mousavi, after seeing senior clerics on Thursday about his "social network", had a lengthy meeting on Saturday with Karroubi. In the summary of the meeting, both in Farsi and in English, their emphasis is on a renewal of pressure against the Government over electoral fraud, "legal" injustices, and abuses.

Add to this the re-appearance of Mousavi chief advisor Alireza Beheshti after the attempt to silence him through detention. Yesterday he issued a sharp response to Ahmad Khamati's Friday Prayer, deriding the cleric's claims of a US-sponsored "velvet revolution" (given that the Iranian Government had just sat across from US delegates at the Geneva talks) and calling for "rights" and "respect" for all Iranians.

Iran: English Text of Mousavi-Karroubi Meeting (10 October)

Iran: So Who Controls the Islamic Republic?
The Latest from Iran (11 October): “Media Operations”

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Translated on the Facebook page associated with Mir Hossein Mousavi:

Yesterday (Oct 10, 2009) Mir Hossein Mousavi visited Mehdi Karroubi in his home to talk about the post-election events. In this meeting both presidential candidates by pointing out the efforts of the IRIB (the state-run TV and radio channels) to diminish the reform movement, emphasised on their legal rights and demanded to appear on TV/radio to defend themselves and reply to the false accusations made against them on the “national” stage.

At the beginning of this meeting Mehdi Karroubi said that the recent presidential election was a great opportunity, and the establishment could have used this opportunity to strengthen its position in the international community. Noting that the behaviour of the government after the election was far from the status and ideas of the system that was founded by Imam Khomeini, Karroubi strongly criticised the illegal arrests of Alireza Beheshti, Morteza Alviri and Ebrahim Amini (senior advisors to Mousavi and Karroubi) as well as the other political prisoners who have sacrificed a lot for the revolution and the country.

Karroubi, the Secretary General of the Etemade Melli party, called the treatment of the students and revolutionary figures by the government as “odd and strange” and by reminding the events that happened during Shah’s time when the military forces attacked the university, called these kinds of behaviours obscene and that after all these years there was no one who could defend such acts and that he considered these as signs for all the officials to be careful with their actions so that so that future generations would have a good memory of them.

Mehdi Karroubi pointed out the recent letter by the Tehran Governor’s office that prohibits the members of Tehran’s City Council from comforting and meeting with the family members of the victims of the recent events, calling this behaviour “very uncivilised”. Karroubi also  pointed out the recent remarks made by Mohseni-Ejei (the new Prosecutor General) in which he had said that the country was in a combat situation, Karroubi stated that these words were to create fear from the revolutionary courts (show trials) and asked why these kinds of statements are made: why one should pretend that the country is in the military mode and everyone should keep quiet and be silent? Noting that some of the military leaders such as the General Commander of the Revolutionary Guards are accusing the reformists of providing topics for the foreign media, Karroubi asked them who is truly providing topics for the foreign media. “Is it us or you? Do we make harsh statement or you? Who is behaving roughly, you or us?”

Karroubi also pointed out the Qods Day rallies. He stated that the position regarding Israel has not changed and that the Qods Day is a day to support the people of Palestine and condemn the violation of their rights by Israel, but he added:
We should be thankful to the many people who attended these rallies. Most of those who participated in these rallies in response to our invitation were chanting slogans about Iran and their country and were concerned about their fate. We cannot ask people to be ignorant about their country, and although the main propose for this day was Palestinian people, I ask the authorities to explain what has happened in the country that suddenly on Qods Day people are split in two groups and some express their concerns in the slogans they were chanting.

At the end of his remarks, Karroubi stressed that some are talking about the presidential elections as if nothing has happened and are telling people that there has been no fraud in the election. He asked, "Why are the Government telling people these lies as if people don’t know what has happened to them? If that is true then what are all these protests?"

Karroubi added that the authorities are claiming that Ahmadinejad had 300,000 votes in 10,000 ballot boxes, while Karroubi did not even have a single vote in those boxes....

This is despite the fact that some of the observers at the polling stations say that in a ballot box I had 100 votes but they counted only one for me. At least say something that people won’t laugh at you over it. If you are telling the truth then in response to tens of hours of denying the fraud on the “national” media and putting pressure on the innocent detainees to obtain false confessions from them, give us some airtime too so that we also present our evidence and reasons.

Mehdi Karroubi believes that the public opinion and their trust is the greatest resource of the system. Karroubi said:

The greatest resource of Imam [Khomeini] was the public trust and had said so himself several times. Therefore the trust in the system should not be destroyed and no one should move in that direction. Some of these gentlemen knowingly or unknowingly are moving in that direction and are constantly preparing material for the foreigners. Let’s make a right move to come out of this situation. Let’s announce the real statistics. IRIB, which has become a biased and destructive media with every day destroying its credibility more, should follow the right course and should try to win the trust of the people again.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, pointing out the events after the election, strongly criticised the behaviour of the government. He said that it is a bitter irony that the revolutionary figures who were active from the very beginning of the revolution are today in prisons: “I don’t know why these events are happening and why they are doing this to the religious and revolutionary figures.”

Mousavi believes that these actions are causing wounds to the people’s souls and spirits that will not be easily treatable in future. He pointed out the show trials for the reformists, staged with a lot of propaganda, and asked: “What did you gain from this show? Are you seeking to hold inquisition courts? Do you understand the downfalls of such actions in the society?”

Mousavi referred to the great number of revolutionary figures who have been pushed aside and said:
In the past four years, many wrong actions have taken place that have made the revolutionary figures either go to the sidelines or lose their enthusiasm for working. Have a look and see how many ministers, members of the Parliament, and revolutionary figures were eliminated. The sidelines of our revolution have now become greater and more important than its core. How many Presidents we have, how many ministers we have [who have been marginalised]. We have members of the Parliament, managers, leading intellectuals who have all been pushed to the sidelines. Why are all these talents eliminated?

Pointing out his warnings over the past year, Mousvi expressed sorrow over the abuse of the county’s financial resources by some of the power centers, such asthe questionable transfer of telecommunications to the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps and the methods of financing the $8 billion cost.

Mousavi then referred to the accusations [by the Government] of "velvet revolution" and said: “Unfortunately these days from every podium, there is a remark being made to destroy the revolutionary figures. The holy podium of the Friday Prayer is now specific to a party and the hardliners are using any means to eliminate everyone who has a different opinion from them.”

Mousavi, pointing out the history of Russia and the Communist period, said that in an era some people took power that tried to eliminate those who were active in that revolution by removing the images of them from books and pictures and by forging the history to deceive their people and the people of the world, but [eventually] their government was overthrown and historians wrote the real history. He emphasised:
The few should not think that the events of the beginning of the Revolution and the years after that are gone from people’s minds. Recently, one of the gentlemen who had a position in my cabinet and then resigned over some differences has made comments that make you wonder. It is three or four months that he is spreading lies at IRIB and his media against me, Mr. Karroubi, and people who have supported us and tried to destroy our characters. Don’t we have the right to defend ourselves on “national” TV too?

Recalling the meeting with Ayatollah Hashemi-Shahroudi (the former Head of the Judiciary), Mousavi said:
Mr. Shahroudi called me and asked if I could go to his office. I went there. Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani (the Head of the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Council) was there too, but I was not originally informed about his presence. We talked about the events that happened after the election and then Mr. Shahroudi asked me what I would do. I said that we were clear and that they should give us time so that we could also defend ourselves in live broadcast from the national media in that environment of destruction. Prior to that Mr. Larijani had also asked me if I would go to the television and I said yes. In the meeting with Mr. Shahroudi, he suggested a legal gathering and I accepted. Right then he called the High Commission of National Security, they spoke and they agreed too. Then they told us to write a request. We prepared a request [for a gathering] signed by me and sent it. A few days later we received a note from the High Commission of National Security that they had rejected our request according to some article and it was also signed by some managers.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, criticising the extent of lying among some officials, added:
They are constantly giving false information to the public and think that people will believe them. How many times have the number of people killed after the election changed? Then they claim that the fraud in election is a lie. There are people who are determined to pretend that there was no fraud in the election. This was repeatedly propagated from the television.

Well, if you are certain of your action, why are you worried of our presence on television or why are you preventing the presence of our experts there? If you are truthful, then establish a roundtable with the presence from our experts so that both sides could put their views.

Mousavi, pointing out the restricted vironment that has been created, said: “Today the environment is in such a way that no one can criticise the administration. Anyone who says something [against the administration], even if he is one of their own people, is linked to the enemy, is said to be against Imam [Khomeini], and will have false accusations made up against him.”

Mousavi reiterated: “I asked them why you, who voided 700 ballot boxes during the sixth parliamentary election so that you could get one specific figure elected to the parliament, don’t open a hundred ballot boxes in a live television broadcast so that people can see how many ballot papers without a serial number are in there?”

At the end Mousavi expressed hope that the devotees of the system think and resolve the problems that have been created. In his opinion it is impossible to ignore the public’s awareness and to ask the students to be quiet, as they are sons and daughters of this people and demand an answer.

The Latest from Iran (6 October): Loud Noises, Quiet Manoeuvres

NEW Video: 4 Clips from Tehran Azad University Protests (6 October)
NEW Iran: Talks and Legitimacy - Takeyh and Marandi on CNN
The Latest from Iran (5 October): The Difficulty of Signals

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IRAN GREEN1940 GMT: Isn't It Ironic, Don't You Think? The Iranian Government has celebrated Teachers Day by arresting 12 teachers. (To clarify, in light of comments below, World Teachers Day is 5 October. Iran's Teachers Day is 2 May.)

1745 GMT: Rumours and Audits. Tomorrow could be a very interesting day in the Iranian Parliament. The hot whisper is that former Tehran Prosecutor General and now Iran Deputy Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi could be set up as the "fall guy" for abuses mentioned in a Parliamentary report.

More substantial --- at this point --- is another criticism of President Ahmadinejad, this time over Government expenditure. The National Audit Report to the Parliament claims mismanagement, embezzlement, and fraud and accuses the Government of 2005-2009 of harming the nation.

1725 GMT: The release of the editor-in-chief of Etemade Melli, Mohammad Ghoochani, has been delayed.

1635 GMT: Another Player on the Pitch. OK, the reformists are in play with their meeting with senior clerics (1555 GMT). Rafsanjani's gone public with his meeting with clerics (1608 GMT). And now Alireza Beheshti, Mir Hossein Mousavi's chief advisor, re-enters after his recent detention. He has written an open letter of scathing criticism of the Revolutionary Guard and its commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari.

1618 GMT: Larijani Win, Ahmadinejad Defeat? Mik Verbrugge adds vital information on Ali Larijani's re-election as head of the Principlist group in Parliament (1605 GMT). Despite days of reports that pro-Ahmadinejad MPs would try to unseat Larijani, their candidate received only seven votes.

1615 GMT: More Student Protests. Reports and videos are coming in of demonstrations at Shiraz/Sadra University and Azad University in Tehran.

1608 GMT: Another Rafsanjani Message? As some senior clerics meet reformist politicians (1555 GMT), others have met Hashemi Rafsanjani to express grave concern over the national crisis and ask Rafsanjani to take all steps towards resolution. Rafsanjani reportedly answered, "In order to exit this crisis, we need 2 identify the 'true culprits' of divisions and provocations and confront them decisively." He further explained that such culprits were those "who accuse, slander, float rumours, and those in the media who help them".

1605 GMT: Ali Larijani has been re-elected leader of the Principlist group in Parliament with 24 of 32 central committee votes.

1555 GMT: Now It Gets Interesting. Members of the Parliamentary reformist minority, the Imam Khomeini Line, will consult with marjas (senior clerics), including Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib. The news comes 24 hours before a Parliamentary committee is due to report on its enquiry into alleged abuses of post-election detainees.

1545 GMT: No Sympathy Allowed. Back from academic seminars to find a rush of developments. Yet another sign that the ruling authorities are feeling some pressure. The Vice Governor of Tehran has ordered City Council members to refrain from meeting freed detainees and families.

1210 GMT: I Love You (Spell It with Tractors). Mowj-e-Sabz, the website of the Green movement, has a delightfully naughty article about the dubious background of Ahmadinejad's latest selection for First Vice President, Mohammad Reza Rahimi. There's little to support claims such as "allegations of stealing land from a University", but this allegation made up for lack of evidence with a sense of style:
He later assumed position as the governor of Kurdistan Province in the early 90s when Rafsanjani was in his second term as Iranian President. According to sources supporting the current coup government, during Rafsanjani’s visit to his province, Rahimi ordered farmers to place their tractors in a way that would read phrases in praise of Rafsanjani.

Meanwhile, three members of Parliament have filed a complaint, requesting investigation of claims that Rahimi forged his doctorate.

1155 GMT: Poke, Poke, Poke. You might think that the Ahmadinejad Government, having gotten agreement to a series of talks and averted the prospect of tougher sanctions, might want to take a quiet, steady line.

No chance. The latest jab of the stick comes from the head of Iran's nuclear programme, Ali Akhbar Salehi, who tells Kayhan that the second uranium enrichment plant at Fardoo will have the latest in high-technology centrifuges. In other words, the calmer narrative of Fardoo as a back-up to the main plant at Natanz will now be replaced, both by Tehran and by "Western" critics of engagement, with the portrayal of Fardoo as a front-line component in Iran's drive to nuclear energy (Iran version) or nuclear weapons ("Western" critics version).

1000 GMT: Former President Mohammad Khatami has visited the home of the recently-released reformist leader Saeed Hajjarian. No details of the discussion have been offered.

0945 GMT: Earlier we noted the closure of Farhange Ashti, a newspaper close to Hashemi Rafsanjani, and the pro-reformist Arman-e Ravabet-e Omoumi by the Press Supervisory Board (0715 GMT). It is now reported that a third newspaper, Tahlil Rooz, has been shut.

0830 GMT: News arrives of a new Web project to offer English translations of German media on the post-election crisis in Iran. Some interesting material is already on-line.

0745 GMT: We've posted a brief analysis and transcript of an interview of former Obama Administration official Ray Takeyh and University of Tehran academic Seyed Mohammad Marandi on CNN. It's a textbook example of how, as Washington pursues engagement, the Ahmadinejad Government will link the talks to international and internal legitimacy.

0715 GMT: A quiet Tuesday so far. The Ahmadinejad Government has been playing up its international profile, calling the Geneva talks on the nuclear programme a “national success” for “Iran's resistance” to foreign pressure and emphasising that the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad El Baradei “praised Iran's cooperation" in his Sunday press conference. (There was no reference to El Baradei's call for transparency from Tehran.) Ahmadinejad also proclaimed Iran's support for the Iraqi Government, framing it as an ally against unnamed opponents: "With fine qualities such as theirs, the Iraqi nation has a bright future ahead of it. It will undoubtedly stop its enemies in their tracks and take up its responsibilities with the understanding and foresight that it has."

Nothing further on the “National Unity Plan”. Nor has there been much from the Green movement or even from leading reformists since the weekend. So we are still stuck in trying to understand the politics behind a plan whose details are not known.

However, there was one very powerful signal on Monday of the internal battle between forces allied with Hashemi Rafsanjani and those who oppose his manoeuvres for “political reconciliation”. Farhange Ashti, a newspaper close to Rafsanjani, was closed on orders of the Press Supervisory Board. The pro-reformist Arman-e Ravabet-e Omoumi has also been shut.