Sunday August 16 – the daily story

The headlines:

President Ahmadinejad seems unafraid of problems in the Majlis, announcing six members of his new cabinet on state television. Adding possible fuel to the fire, two of them are women and  he says he intends to appoint a third, plus more young ministers. The Principlist faction in the Majlis won’t be pleased, not least because they have insisted he talk to them before making cast-iron choices. As it is MPs still have to ratify his decisions when parliament opens next Sunday. link, link

— The key appointment is that of Hojatoleslam Heidar Moslehi as Intelligence Minister. No friend of the freedom-loving masses he. He was formerly the Supreme Leader’s representative in the ground forces of the Revolutionary Guards and in August 2005 became an adviser to Ahmadinejad. He is currently director of the State Endowment and Charity Affairs Organization.

A group of doctors, scholars and clerics from Qom, Mashad and Isfahan have written an open letter to the Assembly of Experts asking them to re-evaluate whether, in the wake of various post-election developments, Ayatollah Khamenei is still qualified to continue as Supreme Leader under the requirements of article 111 of the Constitution, according to the mowjcamp website. link

Judge Salavati opened the latest mass trial session in Tehran by insisting the court was unbiased and would rule based on “law, equity and justice”. The 28 on trial seemed of a much lower order than  the previous two hearings, although the opening prosecution statement still tried to blacken the reformists. The deputy prosecutor put especial emphasis on a comment one of the defeated presidential candidates made in an interview with American television that ‘there is no way back from this path’.  link, link. link

— One of those accused, Yaghoghil Shaolian, a 29-year-old Jew, apologised for taking part in the illegal demonstrations and added: “I have been treated with good behaviour in jail, especially considering that I am from a religious minority.” link

— Another to “confess”, Mohsen Jafari, admitted setting fire to public amenities and throwing stones at the security forces and said he had been deceived by the pre-election propaganda of certain politicians who raised strong suspicions of election fraud. link

Habeus corpus, Iran style: Green Brief, which quotes more examples of different types of torture, says three prisoners who had detailed their torture to the special parliamentary investigation committee have now disappeared from Evin prison. link

— Mehdi Karoubi has hit back at all the Friday prayer imams who had criticized his letter to Rafsanjani, the Green Brief says, accusing them of having sold their faith to slander him. Karoubi’s son later said his father had evidence that proved his allegation of rape beyond any doubt.

— The Green Brief reports that the Mourning Mothers group that has been meeting regularly at Laleh Park in Tehran was denied entry by security forces Saturday and told they were no longer allowed to gather there. Among them was the mother of Neda Agha-Soltan. link

The group Human Rights Activists in Iran has published a list of at least 13 Kurdish “merchants” killed in the by security forces in the area in the last 20 days. The suggestion is that at least some of them might be involved a crackdown on smuggling. link

— Fear of troubles in Kurdestan may be one reason for the involvement of more than 3,000 police forces in “massive manoeuvres in Zanjan province in the north-west. link

Amid further reports that President Assad of Syria will make a one-day visit to Tehran in the near future, Le Figaro reports that one of his aims is to appeal on behalf of President Sarkhozy for the release of the detained Frenchwoman Clotilde Reiss. link, link

The World Net Daily website, quoting an Egyptian intelligence official, reports that President Obama is coming under serious pressure to consider an Israeli military strike against Iran not just from Israel but also Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia alarmed by Iran’s nuclear plans. link

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