Friday July 17 – the daily story

Wikileaks blocked after nuclear accident claim — The whistleblower site Wikileaks today accuses the Iranian authorities of crossing “an important human rights line” by blocking the main addresses of the whistleblower site. In a statement it says the action was taken to stop Irtanian whistleblowers “getting the truth out”. It adds: “In censorship terms, the blocking of WikiLeaks is Iran’s Berlin wall moment; it is not an attempt to keep enemies out, rather, it is an attempt to lock Iranians in, and as such must be condemned.” The actions of the Iranian authorities may be linked to a Wikileaks note alleging a serious recent nuclear accident at the country’s Natanz site – a key plant in the country’s uranium enrichment programme – two weeks ago. Headed ‘Serious nuclear accident may lay behind Iranian nuke chief’s mystery resignation’, the note quotes “a source associated with Iran’s nuclear programme” and says “WikiLeaks had reason to believe the source was credible. However contact with this source was lost.” The note said that normally Wikileaks would seek further corroboration of such reports, but was persuaded to publish because of the reported resignation of Iran’s nuclear boss, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, 20 days before. Wikileaks statement, Wikileaks note

Habeus corpus, Iran style (cont) — Reporters Without Frontiers has crafted a video interview with photographer Ali Zare about his brief detention by the authorities. YouTube

–Amnesty International called for the immediate and unconditional release of Shadi Sadr, the lawyer and women’s rights activist detained on her way to today’s Friday prayers. Reports said plainclothed security officials beat her with nbatons as she tried to escape, than put her in a car and drove her away. Washington TV

— Reporters Without Borders has accused Iran of launching a manhunt for photographers and cameramen to try to prevent damaging images leaving the country. It says at least seven have been arrested, including Said Movahedi, a French-Iranian cameraman. IFEX

— Human rights activists are expressing mounting concern over the fate of Behrouz Javid Tehran,said to be the last remaining poltical prisoner from the 19999 student demonstrations, amid reports that he is currently held in Section 1 of Gohardasht Prison which is also known as “torture chamber”. Canada Free Press

— Yones Aghayan from Miyandoab, one of five adherents of the Ahl-e Haqq religion arrested five years ago and convicted of fighting against Islam and the state, was hanged last Sunday at Urumieh central prison.  Three others had previously been exiled and the fifth hanged some time ago. Iran Press Watch, Wikipedia

In other news

The Guardian Council has published a 90-page report giving full details of the complaints that were handed to it about the presidential election, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodei, the council spokesman, has announced. He said it had been published to resolve ambiguities about the election process. The report also includes the council’s correspondence with presidential candidates who complained about the results. The (Persian) report is available on the Guardian Council website. PressTV, Guardian Council

Mohammad Hadi Ayazi , spokesman for Tehran Municipality, has called on parliament to reject a new bill that gives the Interior Ministry the right to appoint mayors. “We hope the parliament will consider the principles of democracy and the importance of the people’s entitlement to choose their preferred mayors before making it the right of the Interior Ministry.” PressTV

Pressure is mounting on Siemens over its involvement in supplying telecoms monitoring equipment to Iran in a joint venture with Nokia.California politiciams and human rights activists are putting pressure on the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority to consider the German company’s involvenemt in Iran when deciding who should win contracts. One such decision is due next week on supplying rail cars for Los Angeles County. Nokia, however, have hit back at the Wall Street Journal report that kicked off the storm, saying the article was incorrect. Reports suggest a boycott has cut Nokia sales in Iran by as much as half.Trading Markets, The First Post

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Vice President for Tourism, has been appointed First Vice President by Ahmadinejad. Mashaei, whose daughter is married to Ahmadinejad’s son, became a controversial figure recently when he declared that Iran was a friend of the Israeli people. Ennahar Online

Ali Akbar Salehi has been appointed the new head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation after the surprise resignation of Gholamreza Aghazadeh. The US-educated physicist was  a former envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Al Jazeera

Iranian Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, the Intelligence Minister, said Israel had plotted with the outlawed Mujahedin Khalq organisation to assassinate President Ahmadinejad during last month’s election. AFP

Relatives of the victims of the Caspian Air crash near Qazvin were flown to the crash site from Tehran today.

The 15th Non-Aligned Movement summit ended in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, yesterday after agreeing on Iran to host the next summit in 2012. Nhan Dan

Bryan Robson, the former Manchester United and England footballer, has turned down an offer to coach  top Iranian football club Persepolis to continue his job as an ambassador for United.

And finally … an unintentionally amusing audio clip on YouTube of the chanting preliminaries to today’s Friday prayers where, as has become customary, the people are encouraged to shout  ‘Death to America’,  ‘Death to Israel’ and death to various other pet hates of the regime. Trouble was, this time the crowd weren’t playing ball. Every time the  “cheerleader” came up with another Death to America, Death to Russia, death to this and that, the response from the crowd was almost unanimous –  ‘Death to Russia’.  There’s  one expression this guy really does need to learn by heart – when you’re in a hole, stop digging. YouTube


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