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Entries in Mohammad Taghi Rahbar (1)


The Latest from Iran (18 June): Hardliners Criticise Ahmadinejad

1510 GMT: Twitter and Civil Rights. We have posted a response to the latest attempt to set straight the relationship between social media and the post-election political situation in Iran.

1430 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist Ebrahim Rashidi, who disappeared on Monday, has reportedly called his family from Ardebil's intelligence detention centre.

NEW Iran Request: Nonsense about “Twitter Revolution”. Please Stop.
NEW Iran Analysis: How Europe Can Help (Mamedov)
NEW Iran Document: The Tajzadeh Criticism and The Reformist Way Forward (Sahimi)
Iran Snapshot: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Master of Irony
Iran Overview: Striking Poses from Sanctions to Cyber-War to “Terrorism”
Latest from Iran (17 June): Clearing Away the Smoke

Journalist Hassan Etemadi has been given a two-year sentence, and journalist Shahin Zeynali has been handed a term of two years and 91 days.

The former mayor of Ghasr-e Shirin, Ghodrat Mohammadi, has been detained and transferred to a centre in Kermanshah. No reason for his arrest has been given.

1330 GMT: Through the Looking Glass on the Hijab. Reviewing today's Tehran Friday Prayer by Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, I think we are now caught up in a contortion of politics. Iran has suddenly become a place where defenders of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praise him for "a relatively liberal government approach" and turn their fire upon the "hardliners", rather than the opposition.


For the headline from Jannati's speech today, in contrast to his previous appearances, is not the threat of heavy punishment upon the opposition but his criticism of Ahmadinejad for raising the "cumbersome" issue of the "morality police" and their efforts to enforce "good behaviour" such as the wearing of the hijab.

Linking those who acted or dressed inappropriately to "drug traffickers" and "terrorists", Jannati said that women who defied the rules on proper clothing were "worse than poison". No one (he means you, Mahmoud) had "the right to tie the hands" of those enforcing the law.

1005 GMT: Ahmadinejad's Hijab Problem. It seems the President has got himself in a political tangle over his complaint about "morality police" cracking down on supposed social transgressions, including "bad hijab".

The Governor of Tehran, Morteza Tamaddon, has insisted that Ahmadinejad's directives are the basis for his officials' actions.

High-profile member of Parlaiment Ali Motahari has declared that the President has been adversely influenced by his chief aide, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

Ayatollah Alamalhoda, Mashhad's Friday Prayer leader, has asserted, "Unfortunately Ahmadinejad does not give the right attention to implementing religious rules."

Member of Parliament Mohammad Taghi Rahbar says he is ready to discuss the issue with Ahamadinejad on television.

0950 GMT: Today's Khabar Kick on the Government's Shins. Khabar Online, linked to Ali Larijani, has suggested that Vice President Mohammad Reza Mirtajoddini might have to resign because he wants to complete a Ph.D. dissertation.

The website, as reported by Peyke Iran, also points to 11 "suspicious" comments by the President in the last 76 days.

0945 GMT: Take Your Resolution and Stick It. Iran's National Security Council has issued a strongly-worded denunciation of the UN Security Council sanctions resolution on Tehran's nuclear programme:
Contrary to all expectations, the resolution has focused on Iran's nuclear program, without so much as a word about the Israeli regime's criminal activities and its attack on the Freedom Flotilla convoy carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip only 10 days ago.

Also, the resolution brazenly ignores the 11 proposals put forward by Iran during Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, which have been welcomed by world countries.

The council takes issue with the adoption of the resolution, particularly since it came despite constructive cooperation and the release of a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency confirming the non-diversion of Iran's nuclear material for the 22nd consecutive time....

"This clearly shows that Washington's commitment to Israeli security will never allow UN Security Council to fulfill its obligations with regards to securing the safety and the rights of different nations....

The Islamic Republic of Iran will respond fittingly to any attempt to violate the legal and legitimate rights of the Iranian nation," the statement added.

0845 GMT: We have posted an analysis by Eldar Mamedov, "Iran: How Europe Can Help".

0840 GMT: Economy Watch. Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili has complained that people are still not informed about the Government's subsidy reduction plan.

0805 GMT: A Boast (and an Admission?). Tehran police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, trying to wash away criticism of last year's attack on Tehran University's dormitories, has said, "We were prepared for the elections one week in advance." The dorm incidents were predictable because Communists and neo-Marxists following Mehdi Karroubi had come onto the streets.

Not sure if Ahmadi-Moghaddam realises this, but his statement gives indirect support to allegations of a manipulated election --- the security forces were preparing for violence because they knew in advance that there might be anger over an "adjusted" vote. (More on this on Saturday....)

Meanwhile, member of Parliament Elyas Naderan has kept up his pressure on the Government, saying that the Majlis never completed a full report --- despite its promises --- on the dormitory attacks: "Only parts of it exist and are in our minds."

0800 GMT: The Attack on the Clerics. Some more pressure on the regime: Ayatollah Abdolnabi Namazi, the Friday Prayer leader of Kashan, has said, "If attacks on marja in Qom become normal, the future is not predictable."  Hojatolelsam Mehdi Tabatabai asserts, "God will not forgive those who insulted the 14 Khordad [4 June] ceremony."

0645 GMT: The Attack on the Clerics --- An Apology? Hmm, wondering if this might be an important signal....

In a wide-ranging interview on Parleman News, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani makes the statement that "whoever does not respect the marja (senior clerics)... shows his worthlessness". Larijani asserts that the marja "are the pillars of nezam", the Iranian system, and "the Supreme Leader up to the chiefs of Iran's forces see them as such".

An EA correspondent gets to the point with the question, "Is this an indirect apology from Ayatollah Khamenei?"

0640 GMT: The Economic Squeeze. Reuters publishes a summary of foreign companies who have pulled back from operations inside Iran and those who continue to do business.

0550 GMT: A Victory in Britain. It is reported that actress and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights activist Kiana Firouz has been granted "leave to remain"' in the UK, removing the threat of deportation to Iran.

Firouz had been refused asylum on two previous occasions, prompting a campaign to prevent her return to Tehran.

0535 GMT: The Attack on the Clerics. It is reported that the website of the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri has been filtered.

Kalemeh publishes a letter from Ahmad Montazeri, the son of the Grand Ayatollah, to senior clerics in Qom. Montazeri describes Sunday's attack on the Grand Ayatollah's home and offices and asks for a denunciation of the assault.

0515 GMT: Today's white noise starts out of Washington rather than Tehran, as the Obama Administration --- trying to hold back the tide of Congressional action on Iran --- plays up rhetorically to the legislators.

Speaking at a hearing on Thursday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gave the rationale for the adjusted approach of the White House to US missile defence:
One of the elements of the intelligence that contributed to the decision on the phased adaptive array (approach) was the realization that if Iran were actually to launch a missile attack on Europe, it wouldn't be just one or two missiles, or a handful.

"It would more likely be a salvo kind of attack, where you would be dealing potentially with scores or even hundreds of missiles.

An editorial aside:I wonder if and when the Administration will ever realise that this appeasement --- not of Iran but of Congress --- will never free up its approach towards Tehran but will limit and even undermine any hope of crafting a thoughtful policy towards the Iranian situation.

Meanwhile, getting back to significant developments, we catch up with this week's potentially important analysis by reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh. A Deputy Interior Minister in the Khatami Government and post-election detainee, Tajzadeh has published a lengthy consideration of today's Iran through a review of the past, apologising for the reformists' role in the detention and execution of political prisoners in the 1980s.

We've posted extracts from the Tajzadeh analysis, accompanied by interpretation for Muhammad Sahimi of Tehran Bureau.