Sunday August 23 – the daily story

After being challenged by a pro-Ahmadinejad MP about the authenticity of its story of the secret burial of prisoners Behesht Zahra cemetery south of Tehran, Nowruz News has published the burial permit numbers  inscribed on the graves, the only visible identification of the plots, and suggested MPs might like to investigate.

— The Los Angeles Times quotes reformist MP Majid Nasirpour as saying he will ask the Majlis’s  Social Affairs Committee to investigate. link

— Zeynab Hajarian, the daughter of Said Hajarian, the jailed reformist journalist, says that Said Mortazavi, Tehran’s Prosecutor-General, is trying to dismiss his lawyer and replace him with an appointee who is the prosecutor’s  close friend . She said her father’s lawyer had still not been able to meet his client or review the case against him.

— Mahmoud Salarkia, Tehran’s Deputy Prosecutor-General, has denied reports that some prisoners are in a grave condition. He specifically rebutted claims that Feizollah Arabsorkh was in hospital after a severe beating and  that Ahmad Zeidabadi was also in poor health after being forced to break a hunger strike.  link

— Ali Larijani, the Majlis Speaker, has ordered the committee investigating prison conditions  to meet Mehdi Karoubi and take any documents he has on his allegations of sexual abuse in prisons, the Etemad-e Melli website reports.

— The Anonymous Iran website carries videos of prisoners’ families breaking their fast outside Evin prison on the first day of Ramadan.  link The Moussavi website also provides a link to a video of the families chanting  Allah-o Akbar outside the prison. The prisoners couldn’t have failed to hear that surely! link

— The Iranian Human Rights Activist Groups in Europe and America have sent a message to the UN Secretary-General urging him to send a special envoy to examine the state of Iran’s prisons, saying that arbitrary arrest and torture, among other things, are rampant in the country. link

A group of MPs has written to Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, the new Head of the Judiciary, urging him to lift the ban on Etemad-e Melli, the newspaper of reformist leader Mehdi Karoubi. The office which hanbdles press cases said the paper was closed until further notice a week ago  for “publishing unlawful and criminal material”, believed to be a reference to Karoubi’s allegations of sexual abuse in prisons. link

Grand Ayatollah Assadollah Bayat-Zanjani, an avowed Moussavi supporter, has declared that the Iranian people deserve an apology for what they have been put through after the election, and those responsible for the bloodshed should be prosecuted as soon as possible. In a swipe at President Ahmadinejad, he also warned that anyone claiming to be the representative of the hidden Imam would be punished by God for two sins: lying and manipulating religious concepts.

The Anonymous Iran website posts videos of football crowds chanting anti-regime slogans at a match played at tehran’s Azadi stadium on Friday. link

The Majlis passed a bill setting aside $20m to fund a programme to expose “breaches of human rights” in the United States. “We must respond in kind to America’s injustice and tyranny and the interference of this country against Iran,” said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee. link

After Argentina expressed outrage over the nomination of Ahmad Vahidi – tied to the bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires – as Defence Minister, Iran hit back today by accusing the Argentinians of meddling in the domestic affairs of the Islamic republic. “We strongly condemn these illegal actions. It is an insult to the intelligence of the Argentinean people that their judicial system pursues judicial cases in line with interests of the Zionists,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi .  link

— Alaeddin Borujerdi, chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said the Argentine allegation was a baseless lie and would not influence the Majlis vote on the nomination. link

The Jerusalem Post reports that the hijacking of a Russian cargo ship last month may have been carried out at the behest of Mossad to prevent the shipment of cruise missiles and anti-aircraft rockets to Iran. link

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