Moussavi ‘an American agent’ –Iran gave ths clampdown screw another turn today with the suggestion from a top hardliner that Mir-Hossein Moussavi is an American agent. An editorial in the newspaper Kayhan by Hossein Shariat-Madari, director of the Kayhan newspaper group who is close to Ayatollah Khamenei, suggested Moussavi should be charged with treason. The editorial saidthere were documents that proved Moussavi had foreign links. “It has to be asked whether the actions of these people are carried out on the instructions of the American authorities.” The article accused Moussavi of murdering innocent people, organising riots, cooperating with foreigners and acting as America’s fifth column in Iran. Javan newspaper reported that 100 MPs had signed a letter to the judiciary calling for the protest leaders to be put on trial, specifically naming Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, another of the defeated presidential candidates.
Iranian websites meanwhile are increasingly reporting the alleged confessions of reformers to plotting a “velvet revolution” against the government. Fars news agency said Mohammad Ali Abtahi, the former Vice President arrested shortly after protests against the election erupted, had confessed to inciting anarchy and riots. One website suggested there was video of Abtahi tearfully welcoming “being defrocked [after confessing] to provoking people, causing tension and creating media chaos”. Fars also said Mohammad Ghuchani, the editor of Etemad-e-Melli newspaper, had confessed to receiving training overseas to organise a velvet revolution. Today Karroubi visited the families of both Abtahi and Ghuchani. He said their detention was illegal and added: “We are facing a cultural and religious catastrophe of huge proportions.” Meanwhile lawyers representing some of the prominent people being held complain that they have still not been allowed to see their clients. They include Saleh Nikbakht, who represents the Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari.
A report in the New York Times suggests the current spate of “confessions” will be used to lay the ground for banning the reformist political parties and nipping the reform movement in the bud. It quotes Hadi Ghaemi, coordinator of International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran,as saying: “They hope with this scenario they can expunge them completely from the political process. They don’t want them to come back as part of a political party.” ctv.ca, AP, Seattle Times, topnews.in, Translation of Shariat-Madari’s editorial
British employee to be charged — The Iranian authorities are preparing to put on trial one of the Iranian employees at the British embassy arrested last week. Hossein Rassam, the embassy’s chief political analyst, has been charged with acting against national security according to his lawyer, Abdolsmad Khorramshi. The lawyer said he had not been able to visit his client in Evin prison or see details of the charge – he had only been told the charge by one of Rassam’s close relatives – but he expected the trial to take place soon. “We have prepared and submitted the defence documents and I have to see the judge next week.” Khorramshi is quoted as saying.
According to Iran, Rassam is the last of the nine embassy employees that were arrested to be still in custody. But Britain continues to say it is unsure of the fate of one other and was still seeking clarification from Tehran . David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, said he was “deeply concerned” about the two but was confident they had not engaged in illegal or even improper behaviour. Guardian, ctv.ca
In other news:
The Sunday Times reports that Saudi Arabia has promised to turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying through its airpspace in any future strike on Iran’s nuclear sites. Several secret talks between Israeli officials and the Saudis have been reported by the Israeli press. Yesterday The Jerusaledm Post also reported that, in a change of policy, Israel had sent one of its three Dolphin-class submarines through the Suez Canal for naval manoeuvres in the Red Sea. The paper said one interpretation of this deliberately visible act was the send a message to Iran, since the canal would be vital if the subs acted as a secondary strike platform and needed to reach Iran without refuelling. Sunday Times, Jerusalem Post
President Ahmadinejad has challenged Presdident Obama to a debate at the United Nations headquarters in New York. This is not a first though: he did a similar thing with George W Bush when he was president. Apparently, Bush never got back. PressTV
About 35 people have been held in Mazandaran province over the unrest and 12 have been identified as ringleaders “carrying out their activities in the guise of students at Mazandran universities,” said the chief prosecutor of Sari, Asadollah Jafari. PressTV
Twenty “convicted drug dealers” were hanged in the western Tehran suburb of Karaj according to Fars news agency. But Sayed Hassan Shariati, Mashad’s chief prosecutor, has denied reports that six protesters have been executed there. “No one has been detained or executed during the post-election turmoil in Mashhad,”he said. mangalorean.com, PressTV
Iason Athanasiadis, the 30-year-old Greek correspondent for the Washington Times who was arrested in Tehran two weeks ago, is to be freed by Sunday morning, according to Iran’s ambassador in Athens. Kathimerini