Ahmadinejad's representatives, who have asked for the withdrawal of the 5th Budget Plan because they do not like the amendments of the Majlis, did not appear in the Coordination Commission on Saturday. MP Mohammad Hassan Abutorabi-Fard was sent to the President's office --- Ahmadinejad is on a tour of Tehran Province --- to convince it to change its line.
So far there has been no movement, and the Coordination Commission has stopped its work.
Peyke Iran notes that, six months after the start of the Iranian year, the 5th Plan has not been implemented.
1900 GMT: The Regime Line. The fervently pro-Government Raja News is repeating the claim of the Revolutionary Guard's Javan that 100 reformists met to plot against Mehdi Karroubi.
1845 GMT: Execution (Sakineh) Watch. Yesterday we reported the claim of Sajad Ghaderzadeh, the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, that his mother had been sentenced to 99 lashes because a photograph of a woman without headscarf --- mistakenly identified as Ashtiani --- appeared in The Times of London. The punishment is added to the death sentence that Ashtiani already faces for adultery.
An unusual development today, as Ashtiani's lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, is claiming that Ghaderzadeh was given false information. Mostafaei, who has fled Iran and is now in Norway, says that the story of 99 lashes is untrue.
Ghaderzadeh has appealed to Mostafaei not to make any more comments either on his mother's case or on his father's death.
NEW Iran Feature: An Open Letter to Detained Activist Shiva Nazar Ahari (Vahidmanesh)
NEW Iran Breaking: Uncertainty if Lawyer Nasrine Sotoudeh Arrested
Iran Special: How Do You Analyse a Non-Event? (Lucas)
Iran Overview: “A Small Rally to Make More Enemies” (Shahryar)
Iran Propaganda Special: The Green Sedition Festival
UPDATED Iran Video: The Claimed Attack on Karroubi’s House (2/3 September)
The Latest from Iran (4 September): A Qods Day Failure?
1630 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Bankers and businessmen report that most banks in the United Arab Emirates, a key trading partner and conduit for Iran, have stopped money transfers after the latest round of sanctions.
Dubai-based Iranian businessman Morteza Masoumzadeh, vice president of the Iranian Business Council, said that the latest sanctions have halved trade with Dubai, an important re-export centre for Iranian goods.
A banker with an Emirati bank said that transfers to Iran in dollars and euros are now forbidden, and have become "very difficult, if not impossible, in dirhams," the UAE's currency.
"Transactions by Iranian clients are closely monitored," the banker said, adding that certain activities by Iranian clients, such as transfers to Asia to purchase goods, are sometimes blocked.
"We used to deal with some banks in Tehran, but now it is almost impossible," the banker said.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Sunday responded to trouble on another front, as Japan announced it is suspending new oil and gas investments in Iran and freezing the assets of 88 organizations and 24 individuals. Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said any country that imposes sanctions on Iran will create problems for their companies, waste their national interests, and pass on business opportunities to their rivals.
Better news for Tehran came with the resumption of gas export to Turkey after 12 days of disruption because of an explosion, thought to be the work of the Kurdish separatist movement PKK, that damaged a major pipeline.
1523 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. More sentences against youths: an appeals court in Mazandaran in northern Iran has confirmed the prison sentences and lashings for 10 university students.
1520 GMT: The Karroubi Siege (Wasn't Us Edition --- cont.). The head of the Basij militia, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, has blamed the US, Britain, and Zionists for the attack on Mehdi Karroubi's home.
1515 GMT: We have posted updates on the detention of defense attorney Nasrine Sotoudeh and on the regime efforts to blame "Western media" for the disappointment of the Qods Day rally.
1425 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Iran's Supreme Court has confirmed the death penalty for Kurdish activist Habibollah Golparipour.
1420 GMT: The Karroubi Siege (Wasn't Us Edition). The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps has issued a statement denying involvement in the attacks on Mehdi Karroubi's home, blaming "rogue elements" for the violence and intimidation.
1415 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. A day marked by news of detentions and trials of student activists (see 0930 and 1105 GMT). It is reported that Sanandaj Azad University student Azad Kamangar was arrested by intelligence agents two days ago. His whereabouts are unknown.
Kamangar's uncle, Farzad Kamangar, was one of five Iranians executed on 9 May for alleged ties to the Kurdish separatist group PJAK.
1410 GMT: Execution (Sakineh) Watch Update. As the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani asks Pope Benedict XVI (see 1220 GMT) to intervene on behalf of his mother, sentenced to death for adultery, the Vatican has issued a statement condemning stoning.
The Vatican's spokesman, the Reverend Federico Lombardi, said the Vatican had not received a formal appeal but was "following the case with attention and interest". He added, "When the Holy See is asked, in an appropriate way, to intervene in humanitarian issues with the authorities of other countries, as it has happened many times in the past, it does so not in a public way, but through its own diplomatic channels."
1220 GMT: Execution (Sakineh) Watch. Peyke Iran reports that Sajad Ghaderzadeh, the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, has appealed to Pope Benedict XVI and the Italian Government to seek clemency for his mother, who is sentenced to death for adultery.
Coincidentally, Keyhan newspaper --- which last week called French First Lady Carla Bruni a "prostitute" and said she should die after she joined the calls for leniency in Ashtiani's case --- has declared that Italian President Silvio Berlusconi, who publicly supported Ashtiani, is a "Mafia leader" and "a symbol of decadence, moral corruption, and sexual addiction".
1120 GMT: Academic Corner. Writing in Haaretz, Zvi Bar'el reports on tensions within Iran's universities. Included in the piece....
*An Iranian academic who writes Bar'el, "We will no longer be able to correspond using the previous e-mail address. I have begun work at Amirkabir University and I am afraid that the supervision of e-mails will be far more stringent," and notes difficulties with resources: "We try to glean whatever we can from the Internet, but the problem starts much earlier, with high-school students. They don't learn anything --- and I'm talking about top students who passed the exams with very high marks."
*The Supreme Leader's plan for the construction of another 1,000 mosques in schools at all levels and the addition of new religious subjects
*The difficulties for graduates in finding suitable employment, with some waiting more than three years to find suitable work.
1105 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Reformist politician Mohsen Safaei Farahani, who suffered a heart attack last week in Evin Prison, has been transferred to the Cardiac Clinic in Tehran.
The final court hearing has been held for two student activists, Bahareh Hedayat and Milad Asadi. We await word on further sentencing: in May, Hedayat received a 9 1/2-year prison term and Asadi was given six years.
1100 GMT: Stopping the Lawyers. As we await word on the fate of defense attorney Nasrine Sotoudeh, summoned to court yesterday, and note the general crackdown by the regime, we flash back to a November 2007 article in the Los Angeles Times, "In Iran, A Cadre of Lawyers Takes the Case of Justice".
0930 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Tehran’s court of appeals has confirmed the sentencing of Mohammadreza Rashad, a student activist at Azad University, to two years of suspended imprisonment. Rashad was arrested a few days after the demonstrations last December at his home and was held in detention for 3 months.
An appeals court has upheld the two-year sentence of Mohsen Abdi, a student activist at Hamadan’s Bou Ali Sina University. Abdi was also detained just after the Ashura demonstration.
0745 GMT: We have posted an open letter to journalist and activist Shiva Nazar Ahari, facing trial and a possible death penalty, from her colleague Parvaneh Vahidmanesh.
0715 GMT: Parliament and Government. Lost this week, amidst Qods Day and the Karroubi siege, is the news that 13 of 21 ministers in the Ahmadinejad Cabinet have been summoned to the Majlis. The ministers --- in science, education, social welfare, labour, foreign policy, oil, health care, interior, communications, industry, energy, and justice --- will be answering queries in several commissions. A list of 78 questions has already been posted.
0710 GMT: Film Corner. Director Jafar Panahi, detained for three months earlier this year and barred from leaving Iran, tells the US film newspaper Variety by phone, "I have learned something, and that is that I never lose hope. I hope that things will change even tomorrow, or in the next year so that I can start working again."
0645 GMT: Regrouping. A series of items on attempts by some conservatives and principlists to re-establish a common front....
Habibollah Asgarouladi used tough talk, denouncing those who "try to increase tensions everyday" and declaring that "system-breaking reformists have broken all bridges behind them" and "cannot return to the Revolution, Supreme Leader, and people". He added that some had tried to divide the clergy, but the clerics were too clever to accept this.
Asgarouladi capped out his move by saying that the "fitna" (sedition) movement was passing its last days, and the leaders were related to Al Qa'eda.
Other principlists are publicly discussing whether to make approaches to reformists or to focus on the reconstruction of their movement. Emad Afrough summarised that the solution to actual problems is that "the Revolution gets back in the hands of well-founded persons", declaring also that "there is unity in diversity".
0635 GMT: The Battle Within. Khabar Online reveals what occured during a meeting between the President and Mohsen Rezaei, Secretary of the Expediency Council and 2009 Presidential candidate, two months ago.
Khabar asserts that Ahmadinejad was given nine points of advice. These included strengthening legal institutions, support for private sector, creating a uniform management structure and opposing sanctions, supporting the domestic economy, and supporting relations with neighbouring countries.
If the report is true, this meeting took place around the time that --- according to our sources --- Rezaei was meeting Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani and key MP Ahmad Tavakoli to discuss the limiting of Ahmadinejad's authority and possibly his replacement.
Rumours of three other meetings with the President have been denied by the Rezaei camp.
0630 GMT: Speaking of Legitimacy. Prominent commentator Babak Dad has praised the letter of Fatemeh Karroubi, Mehdi Karroubi's wife, to the Supreme Leader during the siege of the Karroubi home. He notes that the mere fact that a woman would dare to write to Khamenei is an insult to the regime.
In the letter, Fatemeh Karroubi challenged the Supreme Leader by asking if he condoned the "unethical acts" of the pro-regime crowd around the Karroubi residence.
0625 GMT: The Regime Line. Javan, the newspaper linked to the Revolutionary Guard, has tried another line of attack, claiming that a group of about 100 members of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front members staged a rally against Mehdi Karroubi.
0620 GMT: Speaking of Legitimacy. The Palestinian Authority has struck back at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denunciation, in his Qods Day address on Friday, of the Israel-Palestinian direct talks.
It did so by going to the heart of Ahmadinejad's claim of authority. A spokesman said, "He who does not represent the Iranian people, who forged elections and who suppresses the Iranian people and stole the authority, is not entitled to talk about Palestine, or the President of Palestine."
0615 GMT: The Karroubi Siege and the Supreme Leader. This extract from an interview of Mehdi Karroubi's son Hossein, conducted by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, is striking: “My father believes the attackers were organized by the security forces and government. There is no point in filing a lawsuit against these actions, as we know it’s not going to go anywhere. The attackers have complete impunity.”
0610 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. An Iranian activist, drawing from RAHANA, has updated the list of known political prisoners, posting 591 names.
0600 GMT: A busier than expected Saturday, with lots of follow-up on the apparent disappointment for the regime of its Qods Day show and some signs of quiet satisfaction amongst the opposition. One activist asserted, "The regime was heavily duped by the Greens.They "jaa khaali daadand" (sidestepped) and left Ahmadinejad alone with his misery."
The twist on Saturday, however, is that the Government was not ready to be left alone with misery. Instead, the evidence was of a follow-up --- as has happened on other occasions --- of intimidation. While more information came in of last week's attacks on Mehdi Karroubi's home and the Qoba Mosque in Shiraz, there was more propaganda against "enemies" and detentions.
Perhaps the most significant development was the widening of the campaign against defence lawyers with the summoning of Nasrine Sotoudeh to court. She was held overnight, and we'll be looking today to see if she has been arrested.
We're also keeping an eye out for the outcome of the trial of prominent journalist and activist Shiva Nazar Ahari, which was supposed to take place yesterday.
One correction: last night we reported a demonstration of several hundred people in Sari in Mazandaran province in northern Iran was over discrimination in university admissions. It was actually over discrimination in alllocation of jobs.