The main headlines
An office of Mir-Hossein Moussavi dealing with the reformist investigation into prisoner abuse was raided today by individuals who confiscated documents and other items. Nowrouz News said the officers did not provide any form of warrant or document to support their actions. “When asked by the staff present … to at least document the items being taken, the attackers said there was no need … as they would never be returned.” link, link
— Tehran Bureau reports that a photojournalist personally well known to Ayatollah Khamenei informed the Supreme Leader directly of how he had been raped in the Kahrizak detention centre, and it was this that prompted the ayatollah to order it closed. link
— The mowjcamp website published the names of five more people who had died in custody to add to the current opposition list of 72. link
— Maziar Bahari, the Canadian-Iranian journalist for Newsweek accused of being a Canadian spy in Iran, has been acquitted of minor charges but remains in a Tehran prison for undoisclosed reasons, the Liberal Canadian MP Dan McTeague said. link
A new round of international sanctions against Iran looked almost inevitable today after, Mohamed El-Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said talks with Tehran were stalemated. He told the agency’s board in Vienna that Iran had not stopped enriching uranium or answered long-standing questions about its nuclear programme. He said Iran needed to “substantively re-engage” with the IAEA and “respond positively to the recent US initiative” on dialogue. link
— There seemed little chance of that as President Ahmadinejad declared that “from our point of view the nuclear issue is finished”. Although he expressed Iran’s readiness to hold “fair and logical” talks with the UN Security Council, he made it clear this would be about global disarmament and nuclear energy issues. Talks about Iran’s nuclear rights were out of bounds he said. “Iran will never negotiate on obvious rights of our people.” link, link
— There was a row at the IAEA meeting as France repeated its accusation that the agency was hiding key facts about Iran’s atomic activity, El-Baradei said he was dismayed by the “politically motivated and totally baseless accusations”. link
Ayatollah Khamenei laid down some strict guidelines for President Ahmadinejad’s new government today at a gathering of the old and new cabinets. Top of his list was that the government “thoroughly observe the law”. If the government breached the law, he said, society would also defy it.
He also told the government it must:
— Pay attention to criticism from opponents. Some criticism from opponents of the government comes “with the best of intentions”;
— Heed the advice of top religious authorities. “Their advice is based on compassion and empathy and should be prized”;
— Welcome the advice of university leaders;
— Avoid vanity which could lead to “downfall”;
— Rebuild the economy and cut inflation;
If he had a message for the reformist opposition it was ‘get over the election already’. The true understanding of the huge turnout and big majority for Ahmadinejad was that it proved the strong republican nature of the country. “If the intellectuals and political elites in the country truly understand [that] a lot of problems and deadlocks will be resolved” link, link
— Rooz Online provides a handy guide to the new ministers. link
PressTV carries a short report of a speech by Ayatollah Rafsanjani at a religious ceremony on Sunday in which it says he declared it was a “vital need of the Islamic Republic and establishment to find a way to strengthen national unity and establish peace in the country”. On post-election developments, he said the various sides “should act in a way which will guarantee national unity”, with an emphasis on guaranteeing people’s rights. link
The howl of protest over the threats made by Revolutionary Guards commander General Jafari continued apace today with the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom issuing a statement strongly criticising his comments and accusing him of breaking the law in making them. link, link
MPs and religious scholars have expressed anger and dismay that President Ahmadinejad took the non-Muslim Venezuelan President Chavez inside the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashad, parlemannews reports.
Enquiries by security organisations into the three Americans arrested after straying across the border from Iraq could take some time, Iran has told the Swiss Ambassador, who handles American affairs in the country. link
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates urged America’s Arab allies to strengthen their military capabilities and defence cooperation with Washington as a means of pressuring Iran to back off its nuclear program. link
President Ahmadinejad “lashed out” at the Arab media for their “improper performance” during the election, complaining that the media outlets involved acted under “enemy inspiration”, Fars news agency reported. link
Interpol says it has not issued an international arrest warrant for Iran’s new Defence Minister, Ahmed Vahidi, but has issued a “red notice” that there is a warrant out for him in Argentina. link
Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi, the outgoing Science Minister, may be denied a promised diplomatic posting after Iranian werbsites published a photograph of him together with Raleb Majadele, then Israel’s science, culture, and sport minister. link
China is investing 280 million euros in Iran’s Rudbar hydroelectric dam project in Lorestan province, Mehr news agency reports. link
In more detail:
Rooz Online on the fury of the Ahmadinejad camp at the way the deputy Majlis speaker let slip about Khamenei’s letter.
Tehran Bureau has more on Karoubi’s response to the judicial officials who said he had not come up with any evidence of prison rope (scroll down).
today.az has an interview with Yevgeny Volk, who heads the Moscow office of Azerbaijan’s Heritage Foundation, on issues over the Caspian Sea currently being argued over by the littoral states.