Saturday August 8 – the daily story

Second mass trial hearing opens

Clashes mark second day – Families of those detained and other protesters were chased by basij as the trial opened.

French woman, British embassy worker among defendants – Clotilde Reiss, the academic arrested as she was leaving Iran, and Hossein Rassam, the British embassy employee who was freed on bail, were among today’s defendants.

The ‘confessions‘ – What some of the defendants told the court.

Prosecutor outlines Western plot — The intention, it is claimed, was to destabliise and weaken Iran by introducing Western democracy.

Summary of indictment – The “Western plot” against the Islamic Republic.

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US strike on Iran ‘credible’ — An American military strike against Iran is “a technically feasible and credible option” if dialogue with the Islamic republic fails, Charles Wald, the now retired former deputy commander of US forces in Europe has written. In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Wald says that despite America’s outstretched hand of negotiation, Iran has yet to respond. He argues that there has not been enough discussion about the military option which would have to be a vital component of any “Plan B”. He suggests America could apply military pressure without firing a single shot, by such measures as making overt preparations for a strike, amassing a menacing battle fleet off Iran, or even by blockading Iran’s petrol imports.

Wald, a four-star Air Force commander who oversaw the initial stages of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, writes: “A peaceful resolution of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions would certainly be the best possible outcome. But should diplomacy and economic pressure fail, a US military strike against Iran is a technically feasible and credible option. … The US military is capable of launching a devastating attack on Iranian nuclear and military facilities.”

The article, published yesterday, came as the Israeli website YNet News carried a claim that Israel had asked the US for permission to hit Iran during the post-election riots but had been rebuffed.  The report, quoting the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida, said the Israel request  to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities and “other vital facilities”, was sent by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, with the added signature of President Shimon Peres. According to a “US diplomatic source in Jerusalem”, President Obama ignored the letter.

Yesterday a US government intelligence estimate published yesterday said  Iran is unlikely to be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon until at least 2013. Wall Street Journal,   YNet News,  IPS News

In other news:

The Majlis’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission  will meet  Sunday to  look at the case of the three Americans arrested for illegally entering the country from Iraq. Hossein Sobhaninia, the commission’s deputy head, said: “What we know about the case is what the media has reported.” Security officials say the three are being held the Western city of Marivan. Meanwhile, Hoshyar Zebari , the Iraqi foreign minister,is reported to have had a meeting with the Iranian ambassador to Baghdad on Thursday to ask for more information about the arrests. The two agreed on the need to to accelerate a programme for the definitive demarcation of their land and sea border, much of which is disputed. PressTV, bnd.com,    PressTV

Manuchehr Mottaki, the foreign minister, today stirred the nuclear debate by questioning the effectiveness of nuclear weapons in promoting foreign policy. In a speech at the ministry, he said: “Looking back at the past 20 years, we can see that the world faced numerous crises where global powers had a role to play. Those powers had stockpiles of the most threatening weapons, but they ultimately did not come to their help. One of our arguments is that nuclear weapons have lost their efficiency. If they could solve anything, why did they not protect the Soviet Union from collapse, although it had stockpiles of nuclear weapons? Why did they not prevent the US failure in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine?” PressTV

President Ahmadinejad said a threat he is said to have made to slam his opponents’  heads “into the ceiling” after his inauguration was a distortion.  Etemad-e Melli newspaper reported that during his last visit to Mashad Ahmadinejad said:  “Let the swearing-in ceremony occur. Then we will take them by the collar and slam their heads into the ceiling.” The President now says the heads he was talking about were actually those of the countries that “interfered”  in post-election events. “After speaking at the meeting a number of media outlets reported that I was referring to my opponents, but I was in fact referring to the bulling and interfering powers,” he told a  ceremony marking Journalist Day. He blamed the error on “psychological warfare against the government”. PressTV

Ashkan Kooshanejad, 24, and his girlfriend Negar Shaghaghi, 23, stars of  director Bahman Ghobadi’s award-winning film No One Knows About Persian Cats, are seeking asylum in Britain after the arrest and subsequent disappearance of a member of their band in Iran. The Independent

And finally … an excellent video compilation of cartoons about the election and  its aftermath. I especially like the Nokia ones! YouTube

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