President Ahmadinejad has presented his cabinet list to the Majlis, just inside the deadline. It will undergo a confidence vote on August 30. link
— Most of his picks appear to be cronies, many with strong links to the Revolutionary Guards. They face a rough ride in the Majlis, with MPs suggesting as many as five might not get through the vetting process. link, link
— A juicy sidebar: Mir-Hossein Moussavi’s Facebook site highlights a YouTube excerpt from Ahmadinejad’s later television interview on his appointments in which he introduces Dr Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi as Health Minister. But instead of talking about her he devotes the time to the outgoing minister, Kamran Lankarani, likening him to “a peach, you just want to eat this young, religious man”. link, link
Iran has given UN inspectors access to its Arak heavy-water reactor for the first time in a year and allowed increased monitoring of the Natanz uranium enrichment site, according to a UN official. link
— The International Atomic Energy Agency has summarised in a report all it knows about Iran’s nuclear program, but it is not clear if this will be made public when agency publishes its latest report on Iran within two weeks. link, link
President Ahmadinejad said Iran has taken “all necessary measures” to cope with possible US-led sanctions on its petrol imports. link
— But while he was at his favourite sport of US-bashing, Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan was making far friendlier noises towards the “Great Satan” according to PressTV, “welcoming” President Obama’s overtures to Iran and offering to join the US for talks about Afghanistan if the Obama administration adopts a “unified and single” approach toward Tehran. link
— Back in Iran, though, Iran’s police chief scoffed at suggestions that the recent show trial confessions were obtained under duress, pointing out that Hillary Clinton’s recent “admission” that the US was doing all it could behind the scenes to help Iran’s protest movement was not obtained under duress either. link
The upcoming regular meeting of the Assembly of Experts, the only body with the power to challenge the Supreme Leader, has been put back a month, ostensibly because it falls in Ramadan.
— The delay comes amid growing signs of the clerical divide engulfing the holy city of Qom. The Nowruz News website reports that hardliner clerics supporting Ahmadinejad have been distributing leaflets in the city insulting Grand Ayatollah Sanai for his speech damning the election and subsequent detentions, and calling for protest demonstrations to denounce him. In return Sanai’s supporters say they will demonstrate outside his office “to thank him for his courage”.
There are fears that Mehdi Karoubi is being sucked into a trap over his campaign against sexual abuse in prison. One of the cases he is pursuing is that of Taraneh Moussavi, the young girl who is reported to have been heavily sexually abused before her burnt body was left on the roadside near Karaj. The regime subsequently tried to insist that no one of that name existed, Now Karoubi says the regime is trying to pressure Taraneh’s family into silence while “persuading” another family to state that their daughter Taraneh Moussavi is alive and well and living in Canada. In an open letter to a newspaper, however, Karoubi now says his source for all this information, the brother-in-law of the Canadian Taraneh, is actually a relative of Hossein Taeb, the notorious head of the Basij. All this is well documented by the Neo-Resistance website, which worries that Taeb has set a trap to trick Karoubi into a lie that his opponents say would warrant jail and 80 lashes under Islamic law. Karoubi’s open letter is a response to a letter published by the brother-in-law in the Jam-e Jam newspaper expressing dismay that Karoubi has not told the story correctly. link
— Families of post-election detainees have issued a statement fully supporting Karoubi’s campaign.
— In the wake of the closure of his newspaper Etemad-e Melli, Karoubi is reportedly looking at reviving a plan to set up a satellite TV channel based somewhere in the Middle East. link
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, the man who Ahmadinejad was forced to ditch as First Vice President and now works as his advisor, has been suspended from his government post for two months after being convicted on unspecified financial charges, the Islamic Republic daily reports. link
The ILNA news agency reported that a judge had ordered the closure of the hardline mouthpiece Kayhan newspaper because its editor-in-chief, Hossein Shariatmadari – Ayatollah Khamenei’s personal representative on the paper, had twice failed to attend court to answer charges of spreading false accusations and lies against Mir-Hossein Moussavi. So far, however, the order does not appear to have been carried out. link
Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani is moving swiftly to restructure the judiciary, and a couple of key appointments according to press reports are Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, the Intelligence Minister sacked by Ahmadinejad, to replace Qorban-Ali Dori-Najadabadi as Prosecutor General, and Morteza Bakhtiari, the Isfahan governor, to replace the notorious Said Mortazavi as Tehran’s Prosecutor General. It had been expected that Mortazavi would be picked by Ahmadinejad as his new Justice Minister, but he now seems to be out in the cold and, according to some Twitter posts, is being investigated over the treatment of prisoners. Another sign of change is Larijani’s decision to halt the planned execution on Wednesday of seven convicted criminals, including a youth who was under 18 when he stabbed a boy to death. link, link
President Peres of Israel says Russia has agreed to reconsider selling anti-aircraft systems to Iran after he warned they would upset the region’s balance of power. link
The head of any or state organisation who buys foreign-made ships in future will be sacked, Ahmadinejad declared as he launched the first Iranian-built ocean-going container ship. link
PressTV claims that Saudi Arabia has agreed to bankroll the Baluchestan separatist organisation Jundullah to set up suicide-bomber training schools in Pakistan. link