Friday August 14 – the daily story

Ali Larijani, the Majlis Speaker, is locked in a war of words with reformist leader Mehdi Karoubi over claims of sexual abuse of prisoners.  After Larijani initially dismissed the claims, Karroubi scorned his rush to judgment without seeking more information first. But Larijani now says more than 100 cases were examined before he made his comments – that would be 100 out of what the regime itself now acknowledges to be at least 4,000 prisoners held since the election. Karoubi, meanwhile, insists he will not back down and has called for an independent commission of inquiry.  link Link

— Getting bolder by the day, the pro-green mowjcamp website quotes an unidentified conservative MP as naming Hossein Fadai, the Tehran MP and chairman of Isargaran, the society of war veterans set up by President Ahmadinejad, as the man behind the crimes committed at  Kahrizak detention centre. link

— Amidst clear fears of the row getting out of hand MPs complained that they had been ordered not to discuss the issue, even though they were aware of documented examples of the abuse. Rooz quoted one MP as saying several prisoners had talked about it to the special Majlis investigating commission. The Assembly of Combatant Clergy said it had sent evidence of abuse to the authorities. The response of the hardliners was to launch a series of attacks on Karoubi from the usual suspects, but this time according to several posts on Twitter, echoed by a large number of Friday prayers leaders throughout the country. In Tehran’s Friday prayers  Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami said Karoubi’s letter had been proven to be a lie and the work of the US and Israel. link

Several Persian websites reported that President Ahmadinejad had put forward a plan to arrest  Moussavi, Karoubi and ten other senior reformist figures (but not Khatami), to the National Security Council. The reports said that the President insisted that until Moussavi and the other 10 were locked away the unrest would continue. However the plan was rejected for fear that it would simply make a bad situation worse. The mowjcamp website went so far as to suggest that Ayatollah Khamenei had said the plan would have caused the entire political system to fall. link

— Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, head of the Revolutionary Guards political bureau, repeated his demand for the arrest of Moussavi, echoing Ahmadinejad’s point that until it was done “the flame of sedition” would continue to burn bright. He also accused Mohammad Khatami, despite being an ayatollah, of pursuing a secular agenda. link

The Editor in Chief of Etemad-e Melli, the newspaper of Mehdi Karoubi, has written to the Prosecutor-General of Tehran seeking protection following threats made at Tehran’s Friday prayers ceremony that the basij would surround the newspaper building in a protest on Saturday. link

Just how much of a gift Hillary Clinton’s comments about helping the opposition were to the Iranian regime became clear today when hardliner Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami picked up on it in his Friday prayers sermon in Tehran. He said the remarks showed the Obama administration had not learnt its lessons on Iran. link

The inauguration of Mohammad Sadeq Larijani as the new head of the judiciary has been postponed amid suggestions that he is refusing to take up the post until the issue of detainees has been satisfactorily sorted out and he is handed a clean slate. link

The French Ambassador today visited Clotilde Reiss in Evin prison, where she is still being held despite a purported Iranian offer to let her stay in the French embassy during her trial on spying charges. Iran says the French have not responded to its offer. link

One line missed from a day back that needs recording is the declaration by Ayatollah Mohammad-Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi that President Ahmadinejad is as close to God as it gets. “The just jurisprudent is the representative of the hidden Imam [the Mahdi] but the president is chosen by the people… When the President is endorsed by the leadership he becomes the leader’s agent. When the president receives the leader’s approval, subservience to him becomes subservience to God.” So now we know. link

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