Friday August 21 – the daily story

The main headlines

Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani says MPs are ready to listen to Mehdi Karoubi’s allegations of prison rape and insisted the parliament did not intend to carry out any whitewash.  “We do not want by any means to cover up the issue or conceal the facts from the public.” link

— The Rooz website says Iqbal Mohammadi, a member of the Line of Imam faction in the Majlis, had revealed that Karoubi had written a confidential letter to the Majlis detailing his concern over reports of rape in prisons 20 days before openly demanding an inquiry. link

— Rooz also reports that parents of detainees are strongly challenging claims by the special committee investigating the situation that prisoners are satisfied with their conditions. “If the conditions of these prisoners are as good as these officials claim, why has Mr Saharkhiz lost over 40 pounds’?” asked a relative of the journalist Mehdi Saharkhiz. link

— The Tehran Bureau website carries the following quote from Karoubi: “I visited a family of Sadats [decedents of the prophet]. Their son is in a sickbed. They have made a hole in his stomach and feed him through a tube, one of his eyes has been removed and his other eye is losing its sight. This young man has a skull full of round metal balls [the ones used in BB guns], has undergone surgery several times and still needs further surgery. When this family was recounting its sufferings, I felt ashamed that these incidents have happened under the banner of the Islamic Republic.” link

— The bodies of dozens of “John and Jane Does” were taken to Tehran’s Behesht Zahra cemetery on July 12 and 15 under extreme security measures and buried in section 302 after burial permits were forcibly issued, Nowrouz News reports, quoting unnamed cemetery employees. link

In  a televised interview introducing his new cabinet Thursday night, President Ahmadinejad said
it would be “one step ahead of the previous one, which itself was way ahead of its predecessors in terms of the compatibility of expertise with posts.” link

— Differing reactions to his interview:  the Los Angeles Times suggested the President had softened his tone (link) while the Washington Post said he took a confrontational line (link).

— The US expressed concern over the appointment of Ahmad Vahidi as Defence Minister because he is on Interpol’s “most wanted” list in connection with a 1994 bomb attack on a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires  which killed 85 people. link

In today’s Friday prayers sermon in Tehran, Ayatollah Ahmad Janati said the first thing the new judicial line-up should concentrate on was the arrest of the “leaders behind the riots”, taken as a reference to Mir-Hossein Moussavi and other reformist leaders. link, link

— After a “strong sermon” by Ayatollah Amini at Qom’s Friday prayers, supporters of Ayatollah MesbahYazdi called off  a planned protest against Grand Ayatollah Sanai over his recent speech against the regime, the mowjcamp website reported. Earlier Sanai had told his supporters not to carry out their plans to demonstrate in his support outside his office. More details of Amini’s speech can be found here.

The Tehran Prosecutor’s office said no order had been issued to close the daily newspaper Kayhan, as reported Thursday.

The Holy month of Ramadan, or Ramazan as it is commonly called in Iran, begins Saturday, Ayatollah Khamenei’s office announced. link

There’s a lot of huffing and puffing over a column in the Huffington Post by Kaveh Afrasiabi, the US-based scholar and author, urging Obama to congratulate Amnadinejad. Posts on the Anonymous Iran website say he is an ardent fan of the Iranian President. link, link

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