Friday July 31 – the daily story

Today’s headlines:

President Ahmadinejad scoffed at talk of a rift between him and the Supreme Leader, saying his relationship with Ayatollah Khamenei was like father and son. Speaking to basij trainees in Mashad, he defiantly accused his hardline rivals of trying to drive a wedge between him and the leader. AP, Reuters

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati,leading this week’s Friday prayers, implicitly blamed Ayatollah Rafsanjani for the current troubles, saying the seeds for the present discord were sown after Ahmadinejad’s first victory four years ago when “those who could not stand a young man in power colluded against him”. He threatened reformist leaders that they would be punished for fomenting the unrest. But he also warned Ahmadinejad to consulkt with MPs before making his new cabinet appointments.  PressTV, Tehran Times

Ahmad Tavakoli, a Principlist MP, has accused President Ahmadinejad of violating the constitution by personally taking control of the Intelligence Ministry after sacking Gholam-Hossein Mohsen-Ejei as minister. Tavakoli says by law the person who runs the ministry should be a mujtahed, or Islamic scholar of the highest level. PressTV

Three American tourists who apparently strayed across the border in Iraqi Kurdistan have been arrested by Iranian forces. CNN said the three had been visiting Ahmed Awa, a popular tourist destination which lacks clearly marked borders with Iran. AFP

France called on Iran to allow peaceful protests and to release the filmmaker Jafar Panahi and others arrested on Thursday. AFP

The privately-owned German company Knauf has come under fire for sending a letter to all of its employees in Iran threatening them with immediate dismissal if they took part in any demonstrations. Deutsche Welle

The US military says Iranian training of Shia insurgents in Iraq “is more targeted now than it has ever been.” It claims to have evidence of Iranian training and equipping of Shia insurgents in Iraq throughout 2009, with most of the Iraqi insurgents invited to camps in the Teheran area for training and indoctrination. World Tribune

Abolhassan Bani-sadr, Iran’s first post-revolutionary president, said in the New York Times that the Iranian government had become “divided, delegitimised and grown increasingly more weak”, adding that the system off government stood at a crossroads. New York Times

The state broadcaster IRIB has agreed to stop broadcasting the renowned singer  Mohammad-reza Shajarian, dubbed “the Pavarotti of Persian classical music”. He has been fighting a battle since the election to stop the station using his work, which includes a piece used by the state radio  for three decades to mark the end of the fast during Ramadan. Last week the Tehran public prosecutor’s office ordered IRIB to show its licence to broadcast his work. Tehran Times

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