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Entries in Mohsen Safaei Farahani (4)


The Latest from Iran (6 September): Stresses on Authority

2030 GMT: The Attacks on the Clerics. Rah-e-Sabz posts new details about the Qods Day attack on the Qoba Mosque in Shiraz (see 1655 GMT), claiming that parts were set on fire with gasoline and some Qur'ans were burnt

2005 GMT: Parliament v. President. Speaking of the economy, the Majlis may be drawing the line with Ahmadinejad in the battle over the 5th Development Plan.

Hossein Sobhani-Nia the Deputy Head of the National Security Commission, said that if the administration insisted on its request to withdraw the 5th Plan --- made because of dissatisfaction with Majlis amendments --- the Parliament will extend the 4th Plan of 2005-2010.

NEW Iran Exclusive: FM Mottaki Attempted to Resign over Ahmadinejad Foreign Policy
NEW Iran Witness: Political Prisoner Arjang Davoudi From Evin on Human Rights (2008)
NEW Iran Feature: Inside Rajai Shahr Prison (Bijnen)
Iran Feature: An Open Letter to Detained Activist Shiva Nazar Ahari (Vahidmanesh)

Iran Breaking: Uncertainty if Lawyer Nasrine Sotoudeh Arrested
Iran Special: How Do You Analyse a Non-Event? (Lucas)
The Latest from Iran (5 September): Cracking Down after the Disappointment

1955 GMT: Economy Watch. And in the non-nuclear world, the chairman of the Supreme Audit Court, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, has taken apart the Ahmadinejad Government over its development plans, privatisation, imports, and subsidy reform.

Fazli said in areas such as economic growth and control of inflation the administration had failed to achieve the goals set in its Fourth Plan (2005-2010), and the Fifth Plan (2010-15) is not completely based on the goals set out in plans and major policies endorsed by the Supreme Leader.

Fazli said the handover of the state companies to the private sector has not been carried out according to the requirements set in the Article 44 of the Constitution and that most of the firms have been handed over to semi-official companies, coding for entities such as the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps. “The private sector has been involved in at most 15% of the transactions and handovers,” he stated.

The SAC chairman said that Iranian companies could not compete with foreign rivals even in the production of simple products, and he warned that the Ahmadinejad subsidy reform plan "will lead to a rise in prices”.

1939 GMT: Non-Story, Real Story. Prediction: tomorrow's press in the "West" will be full of over-the-top headlines on Iran's nuclear programme, pegged on today's report by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Even though the IAEA's latest findings are pretty much the status quo --- there is no verifiable diversion of nuclear material by Iran to a military programme, but the Agency would like wider access to Tehran's facilities --- the nature of the game over Iran's uranium means there will be ominous headlines restating Nothing New as Very Dangerous.

(Five minutes after I typed the above paragraph, this in from David Sanger and William Broad of The New York Times: "Three months after the United Nations Security Council enacted its harshest sanctions yet against Iran, global nuclear inspectors reported Monday that the country has dug in its heels, refusing to provide inspectors with information and access they need to determine whether the real purpose of Tehran’s program is to produce weapons."

Eight minutes after I typed the paragraph, The Daily Telegraph headlines, "Iran on Brink of Nuclear Weapon, Warns Watchdog".)

Meanwhile, we think we have a far more important story. Through sources in Iran, EA has learned that Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki tried to resign over the President's appointment of four special envoys for international affairs. We put that within the context of new tensions between the Foreign Ministry and Presidency today.

1750 GMT: The Supreme Leader Takes the Podium. The head of the Friday Prayers Committee has said that Ayatollah Khamenei will lead prayers in Tehran this week on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

1740 GMT: Karroubi Watch. A group of prominent political prisoners have reportedly written Mehdi Karroubi to praise his defense of rights and his courage in the face of pressure such as last week's siege of his home.

Those signing the letter included Mehdi Mahmoudian, Isa Saharkhiz, David Soleimani, Ahmad Zeidabadi, Masoud Bastani, and Majid Tavakoli.

The reformist Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution have also written Karroubi to condemn the attack on his home.

1719 GMT: Execution (Sakineh) Watch. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has said he is willing to "do anything" to save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, condemned to execution for adultery conviction.

Kouchner said the initial sentence for death by stoning was "the height of barbarism": "I'm ready to do anything to save her. If I must go to Tehran to save her, I'll go to Tehran."

1715 GMT: Political Prisoner Special. Alongside our feature today on conditions in Rajai Shahr Prison, we have posted a 2008 video message, filmed secretly and smuggled out of jail, from political prisoner Arjang Davoudi.

1710 GMT: Academic Corner. We noted on Sunday that it appeared students were amongst the primary targets of the regime's post-Qods Day crackdown. Advar News, noting the context of threats by Minister of Higher Education Kamran Daneshjoo against universities, offers more on the story.

1655 GMT: The Attack on the Clerics. RAHANA reports that, following last Friday's attack by a pro-regime crowd on the Qoba Mosque of Grand Ayatollah Dastgheib in Shiraz, there have been widespread arrests of those connected with the mosque.

1415 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The wife of Mohammad Nourizad, detained journalist and filmmaker, claims she is being kept in a complete blackout regarding over news on her husband.

Fatemeh Maleki said, "It is 20 days since my husband has retuned to Evin Prison but we have not been even told where he is being kept.”

1410 GMT: Academic Corner. Alireza Salimi, a member of Parliament's Committee of Education and Research, has expressed concern over the rush of "retirements" of heads of Universities and professors.

About 20 University heads have been replaced by the Government in recent months.

1400 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The death sentence on teacher Abdolreza Ghanbari has reportedly been commuted to a prison term.

Reformist politician Mohsen Safaei Farahani, who suffered a heart attack last week, has been returned to Evin Prison from Tehran's Cardiac Clinic.

1355 GMT: Transport News. Peyke Iran reports that bus ticket prices from Azadi Square to Tehran Pars have quadrupled, resulting in protests and clashes.

1350 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. President Ahmadinejad has told a Dutch television station that while dual nationality is recognised by Tehran, it has little significance in the case of Zahra Bahrami, a Dutch-Iranian woman detained since last December. "If the person is originally from the Netherlands, the Dutch Embassy obviously represent his or her interests, but an Iranian-born person is excluded."

Dutch officials have not been able to visit Bahrami.

1345 GMT: Propaganda of the Day. Keyhan reveals the truth: the person who masterminded the siege and attack on Mehdi Karroubi's home last week was...

Mehdi Karroubi.

1340 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Azeri civil activist Hassan Balaei was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence agents at his place of business on Saturday.

0945 GMT: We have posted a guest feature from Loes Bijnen, "Inside Rajai Shahr Prison".

0840 GMT: Execution (Sakineh) Watch. Houtan Kian, a lawyer for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, has said that his client is receiving 99 lashes for a photograph of a woman without a headscarf --- mistakenly identified as Ashtiani --- published in The Times of London.

Ashtiani's son, Sajad Ghaderzadeh, has said that he learned from other detainees that his mother --- who is sentenced to death for adultery --- had received the sentence. The claim, however, was disputed by a former lawyer for Ashtiani, Mohammadi Mostafaei, who is now in Norway.

Kian has not seen Ashtiani since 11 August but said a woman who had been held with her brought out the news that Ashtiani was being punished for "indecency".
0650 GMT: What Happened to Mousavi on Qods Day? Regular EA readers know why Mehdi Karroubi could not join Qods Day rallies on Friday, but there was silence on why Mir Hossein Mousavi did not make an appearance.

Tahavole Sabz offers an answer: all the roads around the residence of Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, were blocked.

0615 GMT: The Jannati Rumour (see 0510 GMT). The spokesman of the Guardian Council, Abbasali Kadkhodai, denied that the Council's head, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, has suffered a stroke, blaming the rumour on "counter-revolutionary elements".

0605 GMT: The Regime Line. In this video, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting criticises five detainees, including student activist Majid Tavakoli, journalist Heshmat Tabarzadi, and labour activist Mansur Osanloo, for writing to Carla Bruni, the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In the letter, the political prisoners expressed gratitude for Bruni's words on behalf of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to death for adultery.

0524 GMT: My Favourite Website. Good news that, with its special news and analysis, is catching on: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty posts a profile.

A bit more respect would be nice, however. The article snaps, "Dig a little deeper and the new website, which says it attracted some 100,000 visitors in its first week, begins to sound more like the news parody site than it does a serious forum for discussion."

After all, we like The Onion, too.

0520 GMT: Reviewing the Crackdown. Deutsche Welle features an interview with student activist Said Razavi Faqih on matters from the Karroubi siege to to the attack on Qoba Mosque in Shirzaz to the failure of Ahmadinejad Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai to appear on Qods Day.

Headline-grabbing claim? "Plainclothes thugs are Khamenei's private army."

0510 GMT: Sunday's Top Rumour. Late Sunday, the website of former President Abolhassan Banisadr claimed that the head of the Guardian Council and long-time mainstay of the regime, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, had had a stroke and was in a coma.

We'll be looking for any confirmation or refutation of the claim.

0455 GMT: Amidst Sunday's continuing and sometimes accelerating intimidations by the regime, there were two interesting signs of a Government struggling for authority.

As the head of the Basij militia, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, was trying to pass off the siege of Mehdi Karroubi's home to Iran's enemies --- the US, Britain, and Zionists --- the Revolutionary Guard was effectively admitting that the criminals were home-grown. Of course, this was a "rogue element" not connected to the Guard or any other regime agency, but the admission still raised the question: given that the siege lasted five nights before culminating in gunfire, Molotov cocktails, injuries, and a direct assault on the Karroubi apartment, what exactly were the Guard and other security forces doing all that time?

On a more mundane but equally important front, the show of "unity" was exposed once more when President Ahmadinejad's representatives boycotted a Parliamentary commission discussing the 5th Budget Plan. The continuing dispute --- Ahmadinejad does not like Majlis amendments to the Plan and would rather withdraw the measures than implement them --- effectively means that, six months into the Iranian year, the Government does not have policies, let alone a strategy, for Iran's building economic problems.

One of the immediate issues is whether Ahmadinejad's subsidy cuts, an important feature of his economic stance, will be put into effect in October --- the latest declared timetable --- and, if so, whether they are related in any way to wider policies.

The Latest from Iran (5 September): Cracking Down after the Disappointment

1905 GMT: The Story to Watch on Monday. Another rift may be opening up between the President and Parliament....

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.

The Latest from Iran (4 September): A Qods Day Failure?

2045 GMT: Academic Corner. The Deputy Treasurer of Tehran University, Mohammad Hossein Moqimi, has announced that about 40 faculty members have "retired" since March.

Moqimi that all the academics had retired according to regulations and legal provisions and that this must not be seen as a political issue.

In recent months, Iranian authorities have replaced the heads of more than 20 universities and education centres.

NEW Iran Breaking: Uncertainty if Lawyer Nasrine Sotoudeh Arrested
NEW Iran Special: How Do You Analyse a Non-Event? (Lucas)
NEW Iran Overview: “A Small Rally to Make More Enemies” (Shahryar)
NEW Iran Propaganda Special: The Green Sedition Festival
UPDATED Iran Video: The Claimed Attack on Karroubi’s House (2/3 September)
Iran Video and English Summary: Mehdi Karroubi after 5th Night of Pro-Regime Siege (3 September)
Iran Urgent: Breaking News with Video on Day 5 of Karroubi “Siege”
The Latest from Iran (3 September): Qods Day and the Karroubi Siege

2010 GMT: The Karroubi Siege. The reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front has written to Mehdi Karroubi, regretting the poor performance of the police in protecting the Karroubi home from pro-regime attackers.

2005 GMT: Economy Watch. Several hundred people have protested at Sari in Mazandaran province in northern Iran over alleged discrimination in allocation of jobs.

The demonstrators claimed that, rather than employing based on ability, authorities show favouritism towards under-qualified candidates. Some protesters claimed that those who were supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were given preference.

1935 GMT: We have posted a separate feature on emerging news about the possibility that lawyer and women's right activist Nasrine Sotoudeh, summoned to court today, has been arrested.

1925 GMT: The Attack on the Clerics. Radio Zamaneh reports that Grand Ayatollah Dastgheib returned to Qoba Mosque in Shiraz, a day after it was attacked and closed by a pro-regime crowd.

After iron fences set up after the assault were taken down, Ayatollah Dastgheib gave a speech condemning the assault, insisting that even the Supreme Leader could not have supported the attack.

The website adds more details about Friday's events. They followed announcement signed by “the pious followers of the Supreme Leader in Fars Province and the holy city of Shiraz”, distributed in mosques on Thursday night, calling for the prosecution of Ayatollah Dastgheib. The statement accused the cleric of being the “perpetrator of satanic plans” and “speaking the language of the enemy” as well as “threatening the religious beliefs of the people” by sitting at the head of Qoba Mosque.

The statement demanded that Ayatollah Dastgheib be removed and warned the provincial and city authorities that if they do not comply with their demands, they would have to take matters into their own hands.

The Governor of Shiraz, Hossein Ghasemi, reportedly appeared at Qoba Mosque on Friday, but he was forced to leave when the crowd hurled rocks at his car.

1915 GMT: The Karroubi Siege. A group from the Association of Combatant Clerics visited Mehdi Karroubi at his house today.

1910 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Kalameh claims that officials at Evin Prison have told the political detainees of Ward 350 that they have to write letters of repentance if they want phone lines restored. The telephone privileges were reportedly revoked more than seven weeks ago.

1825 GMT: The Karroubi Siege. Mehdi Karroubi's son Hossein has talked to Deutsche Welle about the attacks on his family's house and messages of support from politicians, clerics, and activists.

Hossein Karroubi said some of the attackers were from a local detention centre, indicating regime complicity in the siege.

An Iranian activist adds to our report yesterday that a man and woman were beaten, with the woman's headscarf removed, by the pro-regime crowd. They were Karroubi supporters Hadi Shirpour and his wife, who were watching the attack. The activist claims that police, rather than stopping the assault, joined in.

Shirpour and his wife were then put into a police van and taken away.

1815 GMT: Execution (Ashtiani) Watch. Sajad Ghaderzadeh, the son of condemned detainee Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, says his mother has been sentenced to 99 lashes for a photograph published of a woman --- falsely claimed to be Ashtiani --- without a headscarf.

Ghaderzadeh said he learned of the punishment from released inmates. Ashtiani has been given the death penalty for adultery.

On 28 August, The Times of London published a photograph that it said was Ashtiani without hijab. Six days later, it said the attribution of the photo was incorrect.

The Guardian of London adds more details about the episode, including the confusion over the mistaken photograph.

1655 GMT: All the President's Men. Omid Memarian writes about the ruthless rise and possible fall of former Tehran Prosecutor General and Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi, who was recently suspended by the judiciary from his post because of complicity in the post-election abuses and killings at Kahrizak Prison.

In 2004, as one of 20 journalists, bloggers, and website managers detained in a regime crackdown, Memarian had first-hand experience of Mortazavi:
In my case, he warned me what would happen if I ever talked about what had gone on in the prison. “Anyone can be in a car accident, from members of parliament to taxi drivers to plumbers. You journalists are no exception,” he said.

1645 GMT: Sanctions Claim of the Day. This has to be one of the most creative economic analyses I have ever encountered....

First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi has declared that sanctions will bring 200,000 new jobs to Iran. His reasoning is that "the West" will lose 150,000 to 200,000 employees because of the downturn in trade with Tehran and Iran will naturally fill that gap.

1625 GMT: The Karroubi Siege. Former President Mohammad Khatami has called Mehdi Karroubi to condemn the attacks on the Karroubi home.

We have posted new claimed video of Thursday night's attack.

1620 GMT: Secure Regime? Tehran Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam has criticised counterparts in Iran's security agencies for ordering the mobilisation of forces on Thursday, the day before Qods Day.

1229 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. An Iranian activist reports that, as expected (see 0855 GMT), journalist and activist Shiva Nazar Ahari has been brought to court to face charges including "mohareb" (war against God). She was brought to the courtroom in handcuffs.

It is also reported that Saeed Haeri, a member of Committee of Human Rights Reporters, went on trial today.

Leading reformist politician Mohsen Safaei Farahani, who suffered a heart attack this week in detention, has called home. He says he is better but he is not allowed to say in which hospital he is being treated.

1224 GMT: It's All in the Terminology. Today's post-Qods Day hot topic on the Iranian news portal Balatarin? Using the model of "occupied Palestine" to present an "occupied Iran".

1220 GMT: The US and the Battle Within. Writing in OpenDemocracy, Omid Memarian offers a useful overview of Iran's internal situation and this challenging conclusion:
By removing the threat of a military attack, Washington would make the job of Tehran’s hardliners more difficult, and encourage fragmentation among the top layers of the political elite. In the present circumstances, the end of the military option would create space for those in Iran seeking to hold the hardliners in check, and offer an opening to Iranian democracy and the Iranian people.

1215 GMT: Worried Regime? Daneshjoo News reviews the heavy security presence in Babol and Mashhad as well as Tehran on Qods Day.

0855 GMT: Kamran Asa, brother of the slain protester Kianoush Asa, and Bijan Rezaie are scheduled to appear in court tomorrow.

And if earlier reports are correct, activist Shiva Nazar Ahari, detained since last July and facing a charge of "mohareb" (war against God), will be in court today.

0655 GMT: We have three specials this morning: Scott Lucas tries to figure out the significance of the "non-event" of Qods Day, Josh Shahryar looks at a "small rally that made more enemies", and Pedestrian notes the regime's exhibition of the "Green Sedition Festival".

0600 GMT: The Karroubi Siege. Mir Hossein Mousavi has put out a message condemning the attacks on the home of Mehdi Karroubi: "These black and odious measures will not block the freedom of the people."

0530 GMT: Here's the curious thing: for some in the Iranian system, Qods (Palestine) Day is already gone. Hours after the President's speech, the Friday Prayer sermon by Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, the wall-to-wall declarations on Iranian media of Tehran's leadership of the movement against Israeli oppression, and the Government's rally, the occasion is nowhere to be found on Press TV's website this morning.

It has almost disappeared from the homepage of the Islamic Republic News Agency, which has moved to a rather dry statement by key Presidential advisor Mojtaba Hashemi Samareh on Iran as the "guiding harbinger of monotheism...and resistance against the oppressors and the hegemonic powers in the world".

Fars News does have the event as its Number 3 item on its pages, but the story seems a bit desperate to prove significance: "A United Arab Emirates newspaper...announced that a big march in Tehran and other Iranian cities, along with some other countries such as Turkey and India, and Indonesia was held."

And Khabar Online, leading site of the challenge within the establishment to the President, has already --- in its top feature --- returned to the issue of how to achieve "conservative unity", including reaching out to "reformers".

There's more, but I think you know where I'm going with this. Full analysis later today....

The Latest from Iran (2 September): Karroubi, Mousavi, and Qods Day

2030 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Kalemeh reports that leading reformist politician Mohsen Safaei Farahani, one of seven detainees who recently filed a complaint alleging military interference and manipulation in the 2009 Presidential election, suffered a heart attack three days ago and is in the Evin Prison medical facility.

2025 GMT: We are updating urgently in our separate entry on the siege of Mehdi Karroubi's house. Latest reported developments: a bodyguard in a coma, shots fired at assailants, electricity, water, and phones cut off. Fatemeh Karroubi, Mehdi Karroubi's wife, says the pro-regime crowd is "trying to kill her husband".

1905 GMT: Karroubi (and Qods Day) Alert. A fifth night of the "siege" of Mehdi Karroubi's house has begun, with Molotov cocktails fired and Karroubi's bodyguard firing into the air.

Meanwhile, we have posted the first video of tonight's rooftop "Allahu Akbars" (God is Great) . The chants have been a sign of protest throughout the post-election period.

NEW Latest Iran Video: The Rooftop “Allahu Akbars” (2 September)
NEW Pro-Regime Media Asks, “Which is Worse: Stoning or Prostitution?”
NEW Iran Document: Karroubi-Mousavi Meeting on Eve of Qods Day (31 August)
UPDATED Iran: The Latest on the Karroubi “Siege” and the Qods Day Rally
Iran Special: Thoughts on Protest, Stoning, and Human Rights (Shahryar)
The Latest from Iran (1 September): The Threat of Stoning

1900 GMT: Sports! (and Stoning). Football's Francesco Totti, striker and captain of Roma and star of the Italian national side, has signed the petition for clemency for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, sentenced to death for adultery.

1415 GMT: All is Well Update (cont. --- see 1045 GMT). Video of today's "Control in Tehran" operation, taken "discreetly" by observers, has emerged.

Two pictures from a set in Mehr, via Peyke Iran, of today's "Control in Tehran" operation....

1315 GMT: Video of Day. Human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, forced to leave Iran this summer because of threat of arrest, has been re-united with his wife and daughter in Norway.

Mostafaei's clients include Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, sentenced to death for adultery. His wife was detained when Iranian authorities could not find Mostafaei to arrest him.

1310 GMT: Economy Watch. Trade union activist Mehdi Kouhestani-Nejad tells Deutsche Welle that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps is now the biggest employer in Iran's petrochemical, communications, and services sectors. Kouhestani-Nejad also claims the IRGC has taken over "bankrupt" companies, arresting managers, in areas such as steel.

1253 GMT: No Hysteria at All Statements of Day. Former Minister of Culture Mohammad -Hossein Saffar-Harandi explains that if security forces had not intervened last year, there would have been one million casualties. He added that Green media are "censoring" the good work of the government.

Pro-Ahmadinejad MP Hamid Rasaei declared that the recent remarks of former President Mohammad Khatami are designed to cover up $1 billion that he has received from foreign agencies for "regime change".

The reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front has responded to similar "$1 billion" accusations from Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi with the claim that he is falsifying reality to avoid the truth about the political and security situation. The IIPF adds that the slander of reformists is a pretext for more persecution.

1245 GMT: Bringing Out a Crowd. The Iranian authorities lay out their plan: there will be special traffic restrictions with 1500 buses to carry people and free use of the metro in Tehran.

1150 GMT: All is Well Update (cont.). The completely secure Iranian regime has reportedly blocked the website of Grand Ayatollah Dastgheib.

1145 GMT: Siege. It isn't just Mehdi Karroubi who has been intimidated this week by regime supporters. Zahra Rahnavard, activist and wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, was accosted by plainclothes forces on a Tehran street.

Kalemeh reports that the incident occurred a few nights ago in an alley close to Rahnavard's residence, as she was surrounded and interrogated about her activities during the Revolution and her commitment to religion. Rahnavard reportedly responded, “I will not respond to a street interrogation but I will be willing to respond to your questions at my office.”

1140 GMT: Picture of the Day. A photograph of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, sentenced to death for adultery, on the facade of a government building in Rome:

1135 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The wife of activist Arjang Davoudi, who launched a hunger strike in jail 50 days ago, says that he is in grave condition.

1130 GMT: Stopping the Lawyers. Earlier this week we wrote about the raid on the office of defence attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh by Iranian authorities. Sotoudeh has now told Rooz Online that she was given a summons to appear in court within three days on charges of “assembly and conspiracy to disrupt national security and propaganda against the regime".

Sotoudeh's case is the latest in a string of arrests and intimidations. Abdolfatah Soltani and Mohammad Ali Dadkhah spent months in Evin Prison on national security charges. Mohammad Oliyayifard is still detained, while Mohammad Seifzadeh awaited his trial later this summer. Khalil Bahramian has been interrogated at Evin, and Saleh Nikbakht has an open case at the judiciary’s branch in the prison. Mohammad Mostafaei has fled Iran to avoid arrest.

Sotoudeh said, “The gentlemen [of the regime] plan to put so much pressure on lawyers to make legal defense, especially of political defendants, impossible.”

1120 GMT: The Battle Within. Hooman Majd offers an analysis in Foreign Policy which, despite his acknowledgement of "the public feuds between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and seemingly everyone else in the entire country", turns into, "Move Along, Nothing to See Here":
Put simply, now is not the time for petty infighting. And even those conservatives who retain their distaste for Ahmadinejad won't want to jeopardize their good standing with Khamenei -- especially as the 2013 presidential election approaches -- by appeasing Iran's enemies, real or imagined.

1115 GMT: Academic Corner. Writing in Tehran Bureau, Ali Chenar reviews the regime's pressure on universities, considering the resignation of Sharif University head Saeed Sohrabpour and the removal of Zanjan University head Yousef Sobouti.

1045 GMT: All is Well Update. On the eve of Qods (Palestine) Day, the regime is already showing the levels of mass public support it is enjoying. Tehran police have launched the operation "Control in Tehran". Police commander Hossein Sajedi-Nia explained that the heavy presence of security forces on the streets was a regular "exercise" to contain "crimes", occupying all "critical points" of the city to guarantee the people's "safety" on Qods Day.

Saham News claims that disturbance of G-Mail services started hours ago to prevent people from forwarding routes for tomorrow's protests, and ADSL service is also disrupted.

0830 GMT: Thought for the Day. Film director Jafar Panahi, detained earlier this year and barred from leaving Iran, in an interview with Middle East Online:

"There have always been restrictions, but over the past year it was the worst. I cannot be pessimistic though. Limitations have always existed, and this era will eventually come to an end too. It's important to have patience and resistance."

0825 GMT: Talk to Us. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Wednesday that Tehran is still waiting for a response from the Vienna Group (US, France, Russia, International Atomic Energy Agency) on resumption of talks on uranium enrichment: "They have still not officially announced the date and venue for the new round of talks."

0740 GMT: We have posted a feature, "Pro-Regime Media Asks, 'Which is Worse: Stoning or Prostitution?'".

0710 GMT: Academic Corner --- The Counter-Attack. We have been reporting all week on new regime threats against universities. There is news from the other side, however....

An open letter from the "Islamic Association of Democracy", claiming to represent students of Tehran University, asks Minister of Higher Kamran Daneshjoo: "Wasn't it enough to attack the dormitories [after the June 2009 election] and dismiss students and professors? Do you have to u try to destroy free thinking and security at the universities?

A letter to Daneshjoo from 38 professors demands the restitutition of Professor Yousef Sobouti, recently replaced, as head of Zanjan University.

And students of Mehdi Karroubi's campaign committee have asked Green supporters to join Qods Day processions: "come to the streets for your lost rights".

0705 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Peyke Iran claims that the sister of detained journalist Abdolreza Tajik was interrogated for four hours and that Tajik's lawyer Mohammad Sharif has been blocked from meeting him.

0655 GMT: Karroubi Watch. Mehdi Karroubi met with the family of the political prisoner Mostafa Tajzadeh, a prominent reformist politician, yesterday.

0630 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Der Westen claims that up to 100 "front" companies in Germany are moving arms to Iran.

0605 GMT: Flu Alert! EA took great pride in its front-line coverage of the 2009 swine flu crisis. So we have to note the video, posted by Peyke Iran, in which Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami --- who is leading Friday Prayers in Tehran on Qods Day --- declares that swine flu is the outcome of the sins of the West.

0600 GMT: Sports! The US defeated Iran, 88-51, in the qualifying rounds of the World Basketball Championship on Wednesday. We wait to see if Max Fisher's pre-match prediction comes true:
After all the harsh rhetoric and low-level violence, three decades of Iran-U.S. tension will come to a close this afternoon. If the U.S. wins, Iran has agreed it will give up its nuclear program and cede power to the Green Movement. If Iran wins, President Obama says he will implement sharia law, although he was probably going to do that anyway.

0550 GMT: Execution (Ashtiani) Watch. Rooz Online publishes an open letter from the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, sentenced to death for adultery, to "human rights defenders across the universe". Sajad Ghaderzadeh writes:
Why do they extract false confessions from my mother by force and broadcast them? Why have they prevented my mother from seeing her attorney or us since then? Is it not because signs of torture are still visible on her body and they do not want any witnesses? Have they delayed visitations until the signs are healed? Why do they plant false evidence against my mother? Why do they open a case that was previously closed? Why have my father’s murder files gone missing? Why do they not allow my mother’s case to proceed normally like any another case? We are truly disappointed that we were born in the Islamic Republic; and that we were abandoned by our own family after the sham show on the Islamic Republic’s television; and that we are forced to tolerate this life of humiliation.

Life killed us. Death, where are you?

0540 GMT: We open this morning with two features. We have an English translation of Tuesday's meeting between Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, discussing tomorrow's Qods (Palestine) Day and the general state of Iran. The discussion was primarily about economic, political, and legal problems; despite rumours, there was no call for an opposition rally on Friday.

We also post an update on the harassment of Karroubi by pro-regime groups, as his home was surrounded for a fourth consecutive night.

Despite the intimidation, Karroubi remains vocal. Rooz Online summarises his recent remarks on military interference and the "fraud" of the 2009 Presidential election.