Embassy two ‘to be tried’ — The head of the Guardian Council, Ayatollah Janati, fanned the flames of Iran’s row with Britain by saying those British embassy Iranian staffers still held had confessed to playing a role in the recent unrest and would be prosecuted. Shortly after, EU countries summoned the Iranian ambassadors in their capitals in a co-ordinated protest. Leading Friday prayers – reportedly in place of Ayatollah Rafsanjani whose turn it had been – Janati said the British had planned a “velvet revolution” by inciting riots. Two of the embassy’s staff remain in custody after Iran freed the other seven it arrested over the weekend.
Meanwhile the US has indicated that although it expects sanctions to be a hot topic at the upcoming G8 summit in Italy, it will not support any sanctions initiative.
Mashad ‘troubles’ — Fresh questions about President Ahmadinejad were circulating today after it emerged that he had called off a plan to celebrate his election victory with a visit to the holy city of Mashad. He had previously been forced to cancel a trip to Libya to address the Arab Council summit, amid signs that some member countries had objected to Col Gadaffi’s surprise invitation. But the reliable NightOwl column on the Anonymous Iran website suggests the reason for the Mashad cancellation was the fear of possible protests. The column says it has received reports of further demonstrations at Mashad today. “Sources also indicated that so far, at least 5 people have been killed and more than 200 have been detained during protests in Mashad.” The column adds that in closed-door meetings Mashad clerics have give their blessings to the demonstrators . There has been no independent confirmation of the reports.
In other news:
Grand Ayatollah Yusuf Sanai, a former head of the Guardian Council, has issued another statement condemning the crackdwown. He said the use of force against civilians was an unforgivable sin and no order by any authority could justify such acts. Anonymous Iran
Either Ahmadinejad has a wicked sense of humour or he fails to see the irony in the news that he has ordered the implementation of a new law that requires the government to review and if necessary curtail relations “with any state sponsoring terrorism”. PressTV
The rock group U2 joined in the sea of green protest on the second night of its Barcelona gig, bathing the stage in green light as farsi script scrolled on a screen during their rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday. The group’s website describes it as “a symbolic shout-out to the protestors in Iran demanding a re-run of their elections”. U2.com
Yukiya Amano, the new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, said he could see no hard evidence that Iran was trying to gain the ability to develop nuclear weapons. Reuters