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Entries in Mohammad Moghaddam (1)


The Latest from Iran (14 September): Countdown to Friday

NEW Iran: The Rafsanjani Statement on Qods Day
Latest Iran Video: The Allegations of Detainee Abuse
Iran: The Protest Goes On
Iran: English Translation of Judiciary Report on Karroubi Allegations
Iran: The Soroush Letter to the Supreme Leader
The Latest from Iran (13 September): Lull — Storm?

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IRAN TRIALS 72110 GMT: On the day after Grand Ayatollah Montazeri denounced Iran's "military state", his three grandsons --- Mohammad Mehdi, Mohammad Ali Montazeri, and Mohammad Sadegh --- have been arrested.

2045 GMT: Over to You. What do you think Hashemi Rafsanjani is intending for Qods Day? We've posted a translation of his statement today, including his reference to "an absolutely illegitimate, fraudulent, and usurping Government".

1910 GMT: Got It in One. Our prediction at 1450 GMT: "the Speaker of the Parliament asked Karroubi to please refrain from taking to the streets this Friday on Qods Day, promising in return a genuine Parliamentary review of the claims of detainee abuse."

From Rouydad News: "Larijani asked Karoubi to keep quiet for a while. Karoubi said I will die but I won't keep quiet."

1830 GMT: Did Rafsanjani Just Bless the (Green) Cause? Our sharp readers will have noted our caution in the previous entry. While Hashemi Rafsanjani had asked Iranians to march on Friday, he had referred to the cause of Palestine.

The Internet is buzzing, however, with the reading that the former President has now signalled that he is with the opposition. The key sentence? The Iranian version of "It is always darkest just before dawn".

1738 GMT: The website of the Supreme Leader has denied the claim that Hashemi Rafsanjani, in a talk with Ayatollah Khamenei, threatened to resign all his positions if Mehdi Karroubi was arrested.

1735 GMT: Report that Majid Nayeri of the Mojahedin-Enghelab party was released Sunday night after 89 days in prison.

1730 GMT: Hashemi Rafsanjani has issued a statement calling on people to march on Qods Day, ostensibly for the "Palestinian cause".

1450 GMT: More on the Ali Larijani-Karroubi meeting (1100 GMT). Reports indicate the discussion lasted two hours and both sides agreed not to reveal details.

For what it's worth, I'm speculating that the Speaker of the Parliament asked Karroubi to please refrain from taking to the streets this Friday on Qods Day, promising in return a genuine Parliamentary review of the claims of detainee abuse.

1410 GMT: Mehdi, Mir Hossein, Hashemi, We'll Take All of You On. Fars News is featuring three articles on today's Tehran trials. Two are the detailed recitations of Karroubi and Mousavi computer-whizzes trying to take out the system with a "velvet coup". The other, however, deserves a moment's attention: Hashemi Rafsanjani's son, Mehdi Hashemi, is the accused culprit trying to ensure a Mousavi "victory".

1345 GMT: Khomeini --- He Once Led the System, Right? Because his family sure are giving the regime a rough time. There's the lawsuit against Kayhan newspaper (1305 GMT), yesterday's warm reception for the freed Alireza Behesti, and now the pictures are out of an equally effusive greeting for the released activist Mohammad Reza Jalaeipour.

1335 GMT: The Clerical Challenge. From this morning's analysis: "If Karroubi remains a presence and if senior clerics continue their challenge to the legitimacy of the Presidency, then the wave [of resistance] will come ashore again and again."

We've featured Karroubi already (1315 GMT). Now for the senior clerics via a letter from Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, claiming that the Islamic Republic is no longer a system led by religious tenets but a "military state".

1325 GMT: Parleman News reports that General Mohammad Moghaddam, head of the Veterans’ Section of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s election campaign, was released on Friday night. Moghaddam had been arrested on Tuesday as part of the crackdown on Mousavi and Karroubi staff investigating charges of detainee abuse.

1315 GMT: Karroubi's "Bring It On". More news to add to our morning analysis "The Protest Goes On". Mehdi Karroubi has offered a pointed response to the three-member judiciary panel that has rejected his evidence on abuse of detainees and the threat to arrest him. He has written to the Iranian people, describing the post-election events that led him to protest through his letter, initially sent to Hashemi Rafsanjani. An Iranian activist has a running summary in English on Twitter.

1305 GMT: Back after a break to an avalanche of news. The Financial Times of London reports that the Imam Khomeini Institute, run by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's grandson Hassan, has filed a complaint against Kayhan newspaper over an editorial that alleged that the Khomeini household was infiltrated by “riotous agents”.

1110 GMT: Meanwhile, the Engagement is On; the Nuke Deadline is Off. The European Union's Javier Solana and Saeed Jalili, the Secretary of Iran's National Security Council, have decided after a morning phone call, to meet on 1 October, well after President Ahmadinejad's forthcoming in NewYork City.

An EA correspondent: "The venue of the Solana-Jalili meeting is not clear, but it appears that United Nations General Assembly meeting, as well as Obama's informal September deadline, can now be classified as irrelevant in the nuclear battle between Iran and the West."

1100 GMT: What is Ali Larijani Saying to Mehdi Karroubi? The Speaker of the Parliament is meeting this afternoon with Karroubi at the Parliament building; Qodratollah Alikhani, the secretary-general of Karroubi's Etemade Melli party, is also in attendance.

The meeting was requested by Larijani. So a question, from an EA correspondent, "Has he been ordered by the Supreme Leader to instill some 'reason' into Karroubi?

0940 GMT: Oops. Much credit to The New York Times for persisting in coverage of the internal Iran situation when others have walked away (CNNWatch: six days and counting since their website had a story). Unfortunately, this morning's article by Nazila Fathi on the release of chief Mousavi advisor Alireza Beheshti goes astray: "[He] has been released in what appears to be a sign of retreat by the hard-core conservative authorities running Iran."

Retreat? I would love to concur but, pre-Qods Day and amidst a new trial, the threats against Mehdi Karroubi, and arrests of other activists, this is more a re-drawing of battle lines (see our separate analysis).

0930 GMT: Prediction Fulfilled (Within Two Hours). From our morning analysis: "The regime can now offer token concessions on investigations — a few officials reprimanded for Kahrizak prison, a prominent prisoner released on bail — while maintaining control of the process." Well, this just in from Press TV:
The Iranian judiciary panel looking into post-election events says its work is not over, despite having rejected claims that prisoners were sexually abused. "The three-member panel is still active. Its first report was about claims made by [Mehdi] Karroubi," Iran's Chief Prosecutor Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei said during a Sunday night televised interview.

“However, the panel is still investigating other issues such the [attack on Tehran] University dormitories and the events that took place in Kahrizak [prison],” added the prosecutor, who is one of the three panel members.

0825 GMT: New Media and Old Journalists. A happy coincidence to replace my unhappiness with the recent column by Roger Cohen mis-understanding New Media and reducing the Iranian people to helpless bystanders. Mahasti Afshar has a must-read corrective, "Twitter is Now All I Have", in The Huffington Post.

0815 GMT: Reuters, drawing on the Iranian Republic News Agency account, has noted the trial. There are six defendants today, including activist Abdollah Momeni. Fars continues to offer the fullest account, now aiming at the "IT staff of Mir Hossein Mousavi".

0705 GMT: The 5th Tehran trial has begun, and here are the buzzwords, courtesy of Fars News: "velvet coup", "psychological warfare", and "cyber-space pathology".

The prosecution's rhetoric is familiar and, to be honest, a bit tiresome. This, however, raises an eyebrow on the Iran Government's perception of the power of social media (are you reading, Roger Cohen?): "25 million Iranian users use the network site Facebook and have been able to contact 200 million people in cyberspace". Some Iranian media had used these networks for "agitation" of "incorrect actions".

0655 GMT: The story this morning is likely to be the 5th Tehran trial of post-election detainees. The symbolism is clear, after last week's high-profile attacks on Mousavi and Karroubi campaigns and attempts to quash any investigation of the abuse of detainees: We're in Charge Here.

Yet, for all the drama of its move, the Government --- at least in my view --- has not succeeding in quashing the Green opposition. We've posted a special analysis, "The Protest Goes On".

The Government's confrontation with the opposition still has some carrot on the stick. One piece of news from yesterday that we wanted to confirm: the human rights lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah has been released on $500,000 bail.