Saturday September 5 – the daily story

The main headlines

Mir-Hossein Moussavi hit back defiantly at his political enemeies with a long statement urging his supporters to continue their peaceful protest against the “rigged” election. He called on his followers to create a wide opposition network using meetings such as family and union gatherings, as well as sporting and cultural events. “I do not recommend anything but the pursuit of the green path of hope which you have followed in the past few months through small and large gatherings,” he said in a statement on his website and Facebook page.

“Contrary to what the government’s propaganda apparatus tries to imply, it is we who are calling for the return of trust and calm to society and it is we who are staying away from any hardline and violent measures. We have very clear and logical demands. We are asking for the preservation of the Islamic Republic and strengthening of national unity.”

Moussavi’s statement laid out a nine-point plan to resolve the current crisis:

1. Form a truth-finding commission and establish arbitration acceptable to all sides to investigate the crimes and fraud and punish all wrongdoers;
2. Revise the election laws to create the conditions for fair and just elections that people can trust;
3. Identify and punish the parties involved in the atrocities that occurred after the election in all police, military and media institutions;
4. Attend to those who have suffered in the aftermath of the election, and the families of the victims. Release all political activists and people who were arrested because of the election, and put an end to their trial, redeem their dignity and cease the threats and harassment they are still subject to;
5. Enforce article 168 of the constitution to define political crime, and try the political crimes in the presence of a jury;
6. Guarantee freedom of press, stop the biased behaviour of  the state TV broadcaster, remove restrictions on political parties and groups, allow different perspectives to be presented in the media, especially the state TV and reform the state broadcaster’s constitution so it can be held accountable for its illegal actions;
7. In line with the 44th article of the constitution create the conditions for the establishment of  private television and radio;
8. Guarantee the fundamental rights of people including freedom of assembly by enforcing the 27th article of the constitution;
9. Legislate to ban the interference of military officials in political affairs and prevent the intervention of military forces in economic activities. Reuters, The full statement

— Mehdi Karoubi vowed to defend the values of the revolution and national interests “until the angel of death comes for me”,  according to etemademelli website.

— Grand Ayatollah Dastgheib strongly condemned the post-election repression and asked how those who so brutally confronted the people could call themselves Muslims, the mowjcamp website said. He added that these “vicious acts and crimes by coup agents” had tainted the face of Islam in the world and made young people lose faith in Islam and convert to other religions.

— Following his talks with Grand Ayatolah Sanei yesterday, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri met members of the Unity Consolidation Bureau,  a key student body. In his speech he complained  that today they are explicitly saying the criterion is one person’s vote rather than the people’s vote.

Mohammad Hashemi the brother of Ayatollah Rafsanjani and a member of the expediency council, has said the revolution’s future must be regarded as uncertain in a society where Khomeini’s shrine enjoys no immunity from pressure, a reference to the cancellation of annual Ihya ceremonies at which Ayatollah Khatami was due to speak. He was quoted by the ILNA news agency as saying: “In his will Imam [Khomeini] had repeatedly advised against allowing civil and military forces to enter politics, but we saw in the previous Majlis election that the Guardian Council’s interpretation of this matter was the other way around.”

— Nasrollah Torabi, the reformist MP, also attacked the decision to cancel the Ihya ceremony. “It would be a tragedy to find out that political pressure forced the cancelation of the Ihya ceremonies in the Imam’s mausoleum. They were probably scared that someone would wrap a green shawl around his neck or that the people would see Khatami, Karoubi and Moussavi at the ceremony,” However, he suggested the authorities would meet their nemesis during the month of Moharram, when the devout mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hossein on the day known as Ashura. Shias traditionally carry green banners and chjant ‘Ya Hossein’, which has become the rallying cry of the reformist movement. “Are you going to tell the mourning processions not to say ‘Oh Hossein’ and not to carry green banners?” he said.

President Ahmadinejad’s media adviser, Ali-Akbar Javanfekr, hit out at the Majlis Deputy Speaker Mohammad-Reza Bahonar over his claim Friday that the strong backing of MPs for the cabinet was influenced by the message from the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Javanfekr said Bahonar was trying to justify “his unfulfilled attempts to spoil the vote of confidence for at least eight nominated ministers.” link

President Chavez of  Venezuela arrived in Tehran today for a two-day visit on the latest leg of his swing through the Middle East. Chavez expressed full support for Iran’s nuclear programme, while President Ahmadinejad emphasised the two countries’ deternmination to form a united front against imperialism. link, link

The government has prepared itself for pressure, and “no withdrawal from the principles  – not even one iota  – will take place”, President Ahmadinejad told a meeting of war veterans.  “If some believe that through accusations, impoliteness, insults, and spreading of lies they can force us to retreat from the values of the revolution, they are gravely mistaken.” link

Abdollah Ramazanzadeh , official government spokesman during the  Khatami presidency, revealed details of his nearly three months in prison during a break in a hearing he was attending at the media court. He said he and his teenage son were badly beaten during his arrest and that he had come under intense pressure to make a televised confession. link, link

Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari, commander of the Navy, suggested Iran’s patrols in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia to protect ships against piracy had another motive – blocking any Israeli ships that might try to sail out of the Red Sea. He said the Iranian Navy is “constantly making efforts to have an active role in international waters, in addition to defending the interests of the Islamic Republic. Therefore, it has a duty to block routes used by the enemy, should the necessity arise.” The Israeli Navy  recently sent vessels through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea  in what was seen as an exercise to prepare  for possible strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities. link

The Arctic Sea cargo ship that vanished in the English Channel was carrying arms to Iran and was being tracked by Mossad, the Israeli security service, The Sunday Times reports quoting sources in both Russia and Israel. The Kremlin claims the ship was hijacked by criminals who demanded a £1m ransom.  But the newspaper’s sources said Mossad had tipped the Russian authorities off to the fact that the ship had been loaded with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in the  Russian port of Kaliningrad.  link

— Mikhail Voitenko, a maverick journalist who first alerted the world to the disappearance of the Arctic Sea, has fled Russia for Thailand, saying he fears for his life but intends  to uncover the full truth about the incident. link

Start them young: the latest of the YouTube offerings is a fetching video of a lusty young protester leading the night’s cries against the regime. link

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