Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


Entries in Mohammad Sadegh Larijani (4)


Iran: The Latest on Mehdi Karroubi

Iran: Karroubi Responds to Government Threats “Bring. It. On.”
The Latest from Iran (14 October): Watching Karroubi, Rafsanjani, and the Supreme Leader’s Health
The Latest from Iran (13 October): Government Threatens Karroubi

Receive our latest updates by email or RSS SUBSCRIBE TO OUR FEED
Buy Us A Cup of Coffee? Help Enduring America Expand Its Coverage and Analysis

KARROUBI3From an Enduring America correspondent inside Iran:

Karroubi's many offices have all been closed down. The only way to meet him now is to go to his house in a northern neighborhood of Tehran, but this is a problem as well since the house is being watched 24/7 and only immediate family and house workers can go in and out freely. This does not mean that he is under house arrest, but there are some unwritten restrictions in effect.

Karroubi is going to be sued by the government for things that he said with regards to the post-election victims of rape, but this will not put an end to the speculations about the abuses, nor will it end the support that he enjoys from the rest of the Green movement. His moves should be considered in relation to those of others, such as the second letter sent by the Association of Combatant Clerics to the head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, warning him not to be ignorant toward the truth about the claims over the Government of President Ahmadinejad.

Karroubi is not a man to give in to threat. The advantage that he has over [Mir Hossein] Mousavi, for example, is that he is a cleric wearing the famous clothing which makes it more difficult to discredit him. Karroubi was the only person that Imam Khomeini trusted with the authority over all his assets and belongings; it is not an easy task to tip over such a trustworthy individual.

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

Receive our latest updates by email or RSS SUBSCRIBE TO OUR FEED
Buy Us A Cup of Coffee? Help Enduring America Expand Its Coverage and Analysis

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.

UPDATED Iran: Rafsanjani Makes A Public Move with "Friendship Principles"

The Latest from Iran (4 October): Waiting for Developments

Receive our latest updates by email or RSS SUBSCRIBE TO OUR FEED
Buy Us A Cup of Coffee? Help Enduring America Expand Its Coverage and Analysis


UPDATE 7 October 1815 GMT: A specialist on Iranian politics adds to the debate, picking up our Tuesday item on Rafsanjani's comment to clerics, “In order to exit this crisis, we need 2 identify the ‘true culprits’ of divisions and provocations and confront them decisively.”
I think it's very important, when reading the tea leaves, to give  the larger picture. While your entry makes it sound like Rafsanjani is directing his comments at the government, reading the full report you link to makes it clear he doesn't mean the government. Rafsanjani emerged last week having pledged his support of [Ayatollah] Khamenei, and it is claimed he said that those who say there's a rift between him and Khamenei are trying to create disunity. The notion of unity in post-revolutionary Iran is more often than not used by the non-reformists as a way of indirectly criticizing the

His talk you quote from was given to some of the clerics in the principalist faction of the parliament, and comes after he thanks them for their efforts. While the comment you quote by itself is vague enough to be something for everybody, considering his audience and his comments in the past 10 days, I think he's talking about the rumors of a rift between him
and the leader and also [denying] that he's on the side of the opposition.

UPDATE 0930 GMT: A top EA correspondent, working with information from inside Iran, is pessimistic about the impact of the Rafsanjani statement, “there seems to be very little enthusiasm over this latest communique”:

"Rafsanjani has driven many to exasperation with his infinite ambiguous language (if anything, yesterday's statement is a masterpiece in this art), and it looks like his main aim, as in July before and after his Friday prayers, seems to be that of getting his own people and the top reformists out of jail and keeping his family safe (his son Mehdi Hashemi is currently visiting Britain and his daughter Faezeh Hashemi is probably out of the country too); there is little more beyond this."
There are strong doubts that Rafsanjani will break the mould and come through with a solution that will really assuage Mousavi, Karroubi, and the Green crowd. Besides, and this is the question that keeps returning to the foreground, how much power does he really have? There is still the tendency to consider Rafsanjani as the real kingmaker, the one with the keys to all doors, the one that, given time to work it through, WILL eventually come up with the solution. My gut feeling is that Rafsanjani had this ability only in the past, and now we are past the stage that he will be listened to by all segments of the regime. He might be trying to portray himself as the deal maker he was in the past, but whether he is still so is very debatable.

UPDATE 5 October 0745 GMT: I've got back over Rafsanjani's statement, the interpretation of the EA contact who translated it, and helpful comments from our readers.

I lean towards the interpretation that Rafsanjani's reference to a "secret movement" (which I too literally translated as "mysterious" in the original post) is targeted more at challengers within the system, rather than the Green opposition. But, to ask a perhaps more important question, is this a head-on challenge to President Ahmadinejad, his political allies, and possibly the Revolutionary Guard? Has Rafsanjani "thrown down" with this statement or has he left himself enough room to say that he does not question the legitimacy of the Government but only seeks reform of its practices and policies?

The former President has posted a statement on his website, setting out these guidelines: 1) his "perfect" friendship and relationship with the Supreme Leader; 2) the pillars of the regime -- revolutionary principles, leadership, senior clerics (marjas), and the people; 3) a plan of national unity, pursued in conjunction with the Supreme Leader.

Rafsanjani adds that the only "reliable" source of news on the regime's politics is the public-relations office of the Expediency Council, which Rafsanjani heads. Most intriguing is Rafsanjani's claim of a "secret movement and its efforts to create divisions and weakness in the structure and organization of the Islamic Republic", a reference which could be to the Green Wave, to other agencies and individuals within the establishment, or both.

What can be clearly be said is that Rafsanjani, with the statement, is warning the Iranian public not to accept any "National Unity Plan" as valid unless it has his endorsement. What is still unclear is the content of the plan that the former President supports.

In another statement, Rafsanjani has asked the head of Iran's judiciary, Mohammad Sadegh Larijani, to investigate "accusations and slanders against my family" and anounce the results.

The Latest from Iran (4 October): Waiting for Developments

NEW Iran: Rafsanjani Makes A Public Move with “Friendship Principles”
NEW Video: Sharif Uni Protest Against Javad Larijani (4 October)
You Make the Call: Leaked IAEA Report on Iran Nuclear Programme
The Latest from Iran (3 October): Debating Mousavi’s Strategy

Receive our latest updates by email or RSS SUBSCRIBE TO OUR FEED
Buy Us A Cup of Coffee? Help Enduring America Expand Its Coverage and Analysis


1705 GMT: Establishment Battles Resume? Parleman News is claiming that supporters of President Ahmadinejad have tried --- and failed --- to unseat Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani as the head of the Principlist majority group. If true, this could be a sign that the temporary reconciliation of conservative and principlist factions, prominent at the start of September with the approval of the Ahmadinejad Cabinet, may be breaking down.

And that in turn raises the question: is this split being fostered by the imminence of a National Unity Plan which may seek to marginalise Ahmadinejad?

1640 GMT: We think Hashemi Rafsanjani's statement, which we noted here earlier, is important enough to warrant a separate entry.

1625 GMT: The Unity Gesture? EA's Mr Smith predicted that this step would occur in the Supreme Leader's speech at the end of Ramadan on 20 September. Looks like he was only two weeks off: "Iran is to release on bail around 20 people accused of post-election violence, including top reformists and an Iranian-American scholar."

According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, citing a source inside Iran's judiciary, those who may be freed include former Vice President Mohammed Ali Abtahi, journalist Mohammad Atrianfar, reformist leaders Shahab Tabatabaei, Saeed Shariati and Abdollah Momeni, and Iranian-American academic Kian Tajbakhsh.

1430 GMT: Pointless Analysis of Day. A Jeffrey Kuhner, the declared President of the "Edmund Burke Institute", is allowed to take up space in The Washington Times with this: "War with Iran is now inevitable. The only question is: Will it happen sooner or later?"

1240 GMT: Good Cop, Bad Cop. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has provided the critical counterpoint to the positive signals from this morning's briefing by IAEA head Mohammad El-Baradei (0905-0920 GMT):
The [IAEA] is an international authority which should supervise all nuclear activities of states, but the agency's records indicate that it was not successful in this regard for political reasons. The agency acted successfully with regard to nuclear activities in certain places like Japan, but it bowed [to pressure] where it faced political barriers and proved unsuccessful.

The head of Iran's nuclear programme, Ali Akhbar Salehi, sounded a different tune after his press conference with El Baradei. Confirming the late October inspection date for the second enrichment plant and discusions on "third-party enrichment", he said, “As far as safeguards are concerned, Iran's nuclear issue has been fully resolved."

1200 GMT: Report that two members of the reformist student group Daftar-Tahkim-Vahdat (Unity Consolidation Bureau) are still in Evin Prison, with 16 released yesterday. Original reports were that there were 15 detainees, and all were freed.

0920 GMT: El Baradei calls for Iran to rejoin the Subsidiary Protocol (Code 3.1) of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which provides a stricter framework for inspection and monitoring. Iran left the Protocol in 2007 after a dispute with the IAEA over access to information on military programmes as well as the nuclear facilities.

0915 GMT: El Baradei says, "All in all, a positive development," but he reiterates, "I have been saying for a number of years we need transparency on the part of Iran and cooperation on the part of the international community." This is "the critical moment...shifting gears from confrontation into transparency and co-operation".

0910 GMT: El Baradei praises Iran "very positive" response on both the question of access to the second enrichment facility and "third-party enrichment" of low-grade uranium for radiomedicine use.

The date for inspections of the facility near Qom is 25 October.

0905 GMT: IAEA head El Baradei and the head of Iran's nuclear programme, Ali Akhbar Salehi, are now briefing the press on their discussions in Tehran.

0620 GMT: There is little information on the biggest story in Iran because talks on the draft National Unity Plan have gone very private. For example, little has been heard from Mehdi Karroubi, for a week, possibly because discretion is needed in this critical period of negotiations.

There is also little so far on the visit of International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohammad El Baradei to Tehran beyond the Iranian insistence that this has nothing to do with the Geneva talks and is instead aimed at the "continuation of cooperation to supply fuel for Tehran research reactor which produces radiomedicine".

We are left instead with overheated "revelations" on Iran's nuclear programme. Once again, it's David Sanger and William Sanger of The New York Times who are leading the rush with the headline, "Report Says Iran Has Data to Make a Nuclear Bomb", soon picked up by everyone from Reuters to Fox News. The report in question, a study by IAEA experts, says that "sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable implosion nuclear device based upon HEU [highly-enriched uranium] as the fission fuel".

Now note that this does not mean that Iran has embarked on the process of putting highly-enriched uranium into a warhead. It does not indicate that Iran has embarked on the process of converted low-yield uranium into highly-enriched uranium. It does not establish that Iran has enough low-yield uranium to produce the HEU for a Bomb. It does not even say that Iran has a design for a nuclear weapon. It only says Iran has "sufficient information".

This, however, is enough for Broad and Sanger to pretend that this is a dramatic revelation of a super-secret plot, as the information "go[es] well beyond the public positions taken by several governments, including the United States". And it is the platform for them to take a swipe at El Baradei for refusing to make the study public.

Heck, the extracts from the study are not even "new". They were revealed in an Associated Press article by George Jahn on 17 September. What is significant is the timing of the Broad-Sanger piece, published less than 72 hours after the Geneva talks. If they really wanted to give us some meaningful information, they would reveal whether their Page 1 quest started with a reading of the Jahn piece, notice of a 2 October report by the Institute for Science and International Security (which mentioned Jahn's article and published extracts of the IAEA report, but which is only mentioned deep in The New York Times piece --- we've posted full text in a separate entry), or  a helpful pointer from an Administration source.

It's perfect fodder for bang-the-war-drum headcases like Elliott Abrams, the former Deputy National Security Advisor under George W. Bush and convicted criminal in the Iran-Contra scandal. Here's Abrams explaining that "most Iranians" would accept a military attack on their country: