The main headlines
There were mounting signs today of the regime cracking down on dissent and closing ranks behind the Supreme Leader:
— Ali Reza Beheshti, Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s top adviser and the son of the assassinated Ayatollah Beheshti , was arrested today, according to the mowjcamp website. Beheshti was Moussavi’s representative on the special committee the reformists have set up to investigate prisoner abuse. Earlier it was reported that Morteza Alviri, a former mayor of Tehran and Mehdi Karoubi’s representative on the committee, was also arrested. link
— Officials today evicted Mehdi Karoubi from his north Tehran office and closed it down. Esmail Gerami-Moqaddam, spokesman for Karroubi’s Etemed-e Melli party, said: “The forces, with clearance issued by Tehran’s prosecutor-general, inspected his office and collected documents, CDs, computers and films.” The editor of Karoubi’s etemademelli website was also arrested. link, link
— 15 prominent journalists were summoned to the Information Ministry today, “threatened” and warned not to leave the country – in some cases they were not even allowed to leave Tehran. The 15 are among the 330 journalists who signed a letter to the Tehran Prosecutor-General on Monday demanding an end to the illegal practices during Said Mortazavi’s tenure of the post and the lifting of the ban on opposition newspapers. link
— It was announced that Ayatollah Khamenei himself would be leading Friday prayers in the capital this week. link
— Ali Larijani, the Majlis Speaker, said politics stood at a “critical juncture” when disputes needed to be diminished rather than exaggerated. Where there was doubt about issues, he said, “we should heed the Leader’s views and advice”. link
At the same time the clergy appear to be creating an increasingly bold front against the hardliners and there are a flurry of reports on Twitter and elsewhere suggesting urgent meetings between top clerical figures. One highly regarded Twitter source says a number of grand ayatollahs from Shiraz, Mashad, Qom, Tabriz and elsewhere are about to publish a collective fatwa possibly denouncing the “military coup”. The voteforiran blog also reported that on the day Grand Ayatollahs Montazeri and Sanai held their first meeting for 20 years to discuss a common strategy, Sanai also issued a long list of religious leaders he has been consulting about the crisis during Ramadan. Other reports say some top religious authorities in Qom have told victims of the regime’s crackdown to go to Qom and present their evidence there. The mowjcamp website says a number of victims of rape in prison have taken their case to Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli in Qom. link
Atefeh Emam, the 18 year-old daughter of a jailed leading reformist, was set free more than 24 hours after her arrest, abandoned by security forces without any money near the Imam Khomeini mausoleum and left to find her own way home. She said she had been deprived of sleep while being questioned the entire time and put under pressure to “confess” to having “unethical” relations with imprisoned political activists. Her father, Javad Emam, is a member of the Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organisation and was Moussavi’s campaign manager. link
— A number of victims of rape in prison have taken their case to Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli in Qom, where they have testified to having been violated, the mowjcamp website reports.
Some authorities appear to be rallying to the cause of the President in trying to establish a case that enemy saboteurs were responsible for the violations that are causing the regime so much difficulty. Tehran Governor-General Morteza Tamaddon told Fars news agency that it was a mistake to think the plainclothes agents that raided the dormitory shortly after the election were Basij forces as has been widely claimed. “We have found clues that some individual saboteurs attended rallies who will be introduced to the Iranian people later,” he said. link
— MP Farhad Tajari, however, has called on President Ahmadinejad to present his evidence for saying rogue elements in the security services were behind the violation of prisoner rights to the parliamentary committee probing the post-election violence. link
The moves to shut down ceremonies and celebrations that might turn into protests continue with the report that of the cancellation under official pressure of a memorial ceremony in a Tehran mosque for the widely revered Ayatollah Taleghani, the first time the ceremony has been halted. Instead the Taleghani family says it will hold the memorial in the office of the Ayatollah’s daughter, Azam Taleghani, and inviteded all supporters to attend.
The Irancell mobile phone company has denied several claims made by Fars news agency in relation to a dispute it had with the son of Mehdi Karoubi. On Monday Fars said an arrest warrant had been issued for Ali Karoubi on charges of financial misconduct.
— Fars said Irancell filed a complaint against Ali as the CEO of Persian Tagam. Irancell says there is no such company. Did they mean Persian Telecom by any chance?
— Fars said the complaint accused “Persian Tagam” of failing to provide agreed “advertising services” for the operator. Irancell: “The [advertising] claims are totally false… Persian Telecom has never had any role in Irancell’s advertising and public relations groups.”
— Fars said Irancell had provided “Persian Tagam” with around $2.4m of SIM cards, but the company had refused to pay back the sum after selling them. Actually, Irancell says, the lawsuit involved a cheque signed by Karoubi and another person that had bounced.
— Fars said Irancell acted as a sponsor for Mehdi Karoubi in the presidential elections. Irancell: “Irancell is a service provider. It has and will never sponsor any presidential candidate. It has also never engaged in any political activities and will not do so in the future… therefore the above claims are completely incorrect.”
— Oh, and Persian Telecom also denied that any arrest warrant had been issued for Karoubi, who is one of its directors.
At least Fars managed to spell Irancell correctly. link
Iran has decried an informal summit of countries bordering the Caspian Sea to which it has clearly not been invited. The Presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are to meet their Russian counterpart on Thursday to discuss “sub-regional cooperation.” link