Ahmadinejad hails ‘new era’ — In a televised speech to the nation tonight President Ahmadinejad called for national unity and said he wanted to put the dispute over the election behind him. He claimed that now the turmoil had died down a new era had begun for Iran. “The election … was completely clean and healthy. In the recount, no fault was discovered. The whole nation understood this,” he said in his televised address. “This election has doubled the dignity of the Iranian nation.” Ahmadinejad blamed “‘foreign meddling” for the turmoil that followed the election, after the massive voter turnout had upset ‘”arrogant powers”. “Unfortunately, some people inside Iran collaborated with them.” And he accused the defeated candidates of failing to offer any proof of irregularities in the election. “They didn’t provide a single piece of documentary evidence.” The president said he planned to make major changes to his cabin et for his second term but did not go in to detail. And, with not a hint of irony, he declared that the new government’s agenda would be compassion, justice and respect for human rights. Guardian, PressTV, PressTV
Is a deal in the offing? — Strong hints were emerging today that Ayatollahs Khamenei and Rafsanjani may be on the verge of some form of compromise deal over the election and its aftermath. In the volatile and murky atmosphere of current Iranian politics it is often too easy to clutch at a few straws to build a gigantic haystack. But it is impossible to ignore the confluence of two different strands of information [NOTE: this corrects an earlier version that spoke of a third strand]: what Khamenei actually said in his speech yesterday beyond the anti-foreign bluster (although that in itself played its part) but the western press in the main ignored; and a statement by Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s party Kargozaran Sazandegi (Executives of Construction Party of Iran) openly rejecting the recent election result.
The statement by the party, revealed in a story by the Los Angeles Times, said: “We declare that the result is unacceptable due to the unhealthy voting process, massive electoral fraud and the siding of the majority of the Guardian Council with a specific candidate.” As the newspaper notes, for the first time this nails Rafsanjani’s colours firmly to the reform mast after weeks of secret negotiations but almost blanket public silence. It can, however, also be seen as significant that Rafsanjani spent time last week commiserating with families of those who had been arrested in the recent troubles. On the surface, however, the party statement seems an astonishing act of defiance coming a day after the top brass of the revolutionary guards declared they had taken over the country’s security and issued an ‘either you are with us or against us’ ultimatum. The only slight query against it is that the only reference to the statement comes in the LAT. But similarly the only previous reference to the party, when it urged Moussavi to form a political party, was in a telephone interview with the Financial Times.
Observers also note that in his speech attacking the West yesterday Khamenei spoke in far more conciliatory tones about the recent disturbances. He acknowledged differences of opinion over the election, but said it was the same as any differences between members of a family, a clear attempt it would seem to reel Moussavi back into the revolutionary fold. At times, Khamenei added, this family competition “may lead to anger, but that is none of the business of foreigners”. He added: “Even if the leaders of the Islamic Republic disagree with each other over certain issues, they will still stand united in resisting enemies and preserving the country’s independence. All of the leaders of the arrogant countries should know that in the event of enemy intervention the Iranian nation, despite differences of opinion, will unite and become one single fist against them.”
Khamenei once again emphasised his support for Ahmadinejad, calling his re-election a “lasting and pure truth”, but he also appeared to commiserate with the supporters of the losing candidates and blamed the American and European media for depicting Iranians “as rioters”. The real rioters, he said, were a few who had been paid by Western governments. He added: “It is natural that some Iranians feel depressed and sad about the failure of their preferred candidate.” But that, he said, did not make them rioters. “The Islamic regime feels compelled to deal with those who threaten people and disturb their life and serenity. But the authorities should be careful to not mistake enemy for friend and consider friends as enemies just for a single error.” This is again a far cry from the determination he expressed at Friday prayers two weeks ago to confront the protests with full force.
[Please note that I was incorrect to attribute further statements about Imam Ali to Khamenei – this was due to a misunderstanding of certain posts which the author has now kindly put straight]
To add to this there is supposedly informed talk on Twitter that talks are taking place between Rafsanjani and Khamenei on the introduction of a temporary government to iron out the differences between the warring factions. And, since we are now firmly in Twitters’ uncharted waters, another generally informative tweeter suggests on the Anonymous Iran website that the letter of support for Ahmadinehad from the powerful Qom Jurists and Teachers Society and reported two days ago may not have been all it seemed. The poster says: “It is my understanding that all 12 members were expected to sign the congratulatory note. … Only one Imam signed. This is of profound significance. Of further significance are the regime’s efforts to make said note appear to have more validity.” Clearly, interesting times lie ahead. Fars News, ILNA, LAT1, LAT2, Financial Times, Anonymous Iran (scroll down)
‘Free all detainees’ — The three main leaders of Iran’s reform movement demanded the immediate release of all arrested protesters at a meeting they held late on Monday night. Mir-Hossein Moussavi, Mohammad Khatami and Mehdi Karroubi said it was vital to end the intense security situation before it led to extreme political acts. They were also reported to have set up a group to seek the release of the detainees. PressTV,
Sarkozy ultimatum — French President Sarkozy stepped in personally today to demand the immediate release of a French academic arrested in Iran. Clotilde Reiss, aged 23, was arrested at Tehran airport on July 1 as she was about to board a plane home. She had been working at Isfahan university for five months as a French language teaching assistant. According to the French she was arrested after taking pictures of a protest in Ishfahan on her mobile and emailing them to a frend in Tehran. Speaking at the Elysee palace, Sarkozy said: “Let me say in the clearest and simplest way possible: we demand the release of our compatriot. These accusations of espionage are pure fantasy and there is no reason for them. No one can accept that French nationals are kidnapped and detained on the pretext of espionage. All of this is not a good sign.” It is believed Reiss is being held in Tehran’s Evin prison, but the Iranian authorities have so far said nothing about the case.
Meanwhile Norway today summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in Oslo to express its concern over human rights in Iran. “The authorities in Iran do not respect basic human rights,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere. And three European ambassadors representing the EU Troika met Iran’s deputy foreign minister in Tehran to call for the immediate release of the remaining British embassy employee in detention and to condemn the arrest of Reiss. Japan also stepped into the fray, with the Foreign Ministry voicing concern over the election aftermath and calling on Tehran to respect the opinions of the protesters. canada.com, Washington TV, M&C, Washington TV
In other news
The Anonymous Iran website carries a translation of an article in Le Figaro in which two Iranian doctors who have fled to France say an unofficial tally among staff in Tehran hospitals came up with a figure of 92 killed in the post election disturbances. Anonymous Iran
The Tehran Bureau website has an article that puts some meat on the bone of reports of a big showdown in the streets on Thursday July 9, the tenth anniversary of the student uprising at Tehran University that was brutally supressed by the authorities. The report says: “Websites and blogs have published lists of the locations in each of Iranian’s main cities — Tehran, Shiraz, Mashhad, Esfahan, Tabriz, etc. — where protests are being organised. This anniversary is remembered each year, but it is loaded with a new significance this year, and with a determination to, perhaps, finish what was begun ten years ago.” Tehran Bureau
After a meeting with his Turkish counterpart in Istanbul, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said Iran should acknowledge concerns over its nuclear programme and work with the International Atomic Energy Agency “to earn the trust of neighbouring countries because there are environmental concerns over a nuclear plant in Iran”. He also accused Iran of refusing discuss what he called its illegal occupation of the three Gulf islands Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb. Emirates News Agency
President Obama set the record straight today by stating the US has not given Israel the green light to attack Iran’s nuclear facilitiers. However the Global Research website says Israel Air Force pilots are to be trained in the US and Europe in “long-range flights as a precautionary measure against possible Iranian attacks and in test-runs for potential strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities”. The Washington Times meanwhile says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not formally asked for US permission to hit Iran because he doesn’t think he’ll get it – oh and Saudi Arabia has denied offering to turn a blind eye to Israeli overflights to bomb Iran. Clear now? Reuters, golbalresearch.ca, Washington Times, bi-me.com
Saudi Arabia is to send an ambassador back to Damascus after leaving the post vacant for a year. The move is the latest sign of warming relations between the Syrians and Saudis. The Peninsula
Habibolah Asgharoladi, who heads the Islamic Coalition Party which is close to Khamenei, has criticised Ahmadinejad for failing to listen to his critics, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The recent happenings show that a sizable portion of the population, particularly the young, were more interested in the opposition candidate. Their voices should be heard.” Asgharoladi, whose party has strong ties to influential bazaar merchants, has previously ticked off the Presidenmt, notably for describing his opponents after his victory as “dust and pebbles”. LAT
Six United Nations human rights experts today issued a joint statement expressing grave concerns about the mass arrests and ill-treatment of opposition supporters in Iran and calling on the Iranian Government to allow independent scrutiny of the current situation. UN News Center
Tehran will remain closed Wednesday because of the dust storms. PressTV
Exiled former President Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr said in Vienna today that Khamenei was personally behind last month’s election fraud. Maktoob
The father of Ahmadinmejad’s son-in-law has disowned his boy in a row over the election. The two fell out when the father, Ahmed Khurshidi Azad., revealed he had voted for Mohsen Rezai rather than Ajhmadinejad. The row got so heated that Ahmed finally declared: “From now on, I have no son called Mehdi.” Al Arabiya