Thursday September 10 – the daily story

The main headlines

Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani said defiance of the law after the presidential elections had cost the country dear.  He appeared, however, to blame both sides for the problem. The emphasis of the PressTV report was that most to blame were those who tried to evade the law through  “the baseless allegations” that the election was rigged.  Tehran Times, however, adds that he also said the offences that occurred in the detention centres had seriously damaged the Islamic system’s reputation. Larijani said the Judiciary must prioritise the rule of law. PressTV, Tehran Times

—  Mehdi Karoubi has written a letter to the Head of Judiciary complaining about the shutdown of his office, the etemademelli  website reports. He vowed that the threats being made against him now would only make him stronger and more determined to follow his present path.

— Prosecution of those responsible for the torture and killings at the Kahrizak detention centre appears to have been shifted from the civil judiciary to the military courts. Farhad Tajari, a member of the Majlis judicial commission, said: “The judicial organisation of the armed forces will now investigate the incidents.” link

General Abdollah Araghi, head of the Mohammad Rasoulollah Corps of the Revolutionary Guards, said 36 people were killed in post-election violence, including at least three at Kahrizak detention centre. His figure is slightly higher than the last official tally of 30, but well below reformist estimates of 72 and rising. link

The Youth and Student faction of Mehdi  Karoubi’s reformist party Etemad-e Melli issued a statement today strongly condemning this week’s arrests of top reformists. The statement  added that the intimidating actions of the “coup agents” in the days leading up to Qods Day on September 18 “not only will not  cause any fear in people,  but rather will encourage them to attend the epic Qods Day demonstration for sure.”

The Western model of development is at a dead end and Iran must find an alternative based on original Islamic societies, President Ahmadinejad told a gathering of university professors. He said the world had been disappointed by the  western development theory based on liberal democracy, free market economics and moral relativism. “Can the world imagine a template for the past, present and future of human society which is superior to Ali’s and the Mahdi’s society?” he said, referring to the first Shia  Imam and the “missing” 12th Imam. He also appeared to be softening up the professors for the big changes in university teaching that have already been heralded by Iran’s leadership.  “The duty of the universities in Iran is to show us the specifications of our utopia and ideal society, so that all forces and potentials move in that direction, and so that we will have a society in possession of its own economy, culture, politics and art.” link

— A great deal of chatter, and even more puzzlement, surround a recording of comments made by Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff and closest confidant, in which he declares the end of Islamism, the triumph of science  and much else besides that had one blogger asking simply: “What on earth is he on about?” Judge for yourself. link, link

In a hard-hitting open letter in Persian to Ayatollah Khamenei, the noted Iranian philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush has predicted the end of religious despotism in Iran. Soroush, who currently teaches at Georgetown University in the American capital and is dubbed by some the Islamic Martin Luther, wrote: “I know that you are having hard and bitter days. You made a mistake, a big mistake. I showed you the solution for this mistake… twelve years ago. I told you to consider freedom as a method and disregard the fact that it is a right and a virtue.” The letter accuses Khamenei directly of using treason, fraud, murder, rape and other crimes to bolster his rule. The following translation of parts of the letter comes from the blogger homylafayette:

“The fading fear of the people and the vanishing legitimacy of the concept of Supreme Leadership are the greatest achievements of the revolt of honour over plunder. The lion of courage and resistance has been awakened.   We will celebrate the disappearance of religious despotism. A moral society and a government beyond religion are the beacons of our Green nation. …

“You were ready for God to be shamed, so as to preserve yourself from shame.  You were ready to let people turn their backs to religion, but not to you. You said: ‘The regime’s honour has been torn apart.’ I never heard such good news in my life. …

“Treason and fraud were not enough, you turned to murder and crime.  Treason and crime were not enough, you added the rape of prisoners to everything else. Murder and rape and fraud were still not enough, you added accusations of spying and dishonour to the lot. …

“You are now the prisoner of a closed regime that you yourself created long ago in which neither criticism, nor opinions, nor science, nor information flourish.”

Howard Berman, chairman of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs,  said today the committee is likely put forward legislation next month to impose sanctions on Iran’s petroleum imports. link

The Zarand Carriage Production Company, set up in 2005 to manufacture  railway carriages in the Kerman town, has been forced to close. When it was set up the plant employed 500 but by the end this had shrunk to 80 workers, who are still due unspecified sums in wages. Javad Mansouri, the head of the Labour and Social Affairs Organisation of Kerman Province, blamed the state-owned Raja Company for failing to pay for an order of 200 carriages completed by the factory. link

Haj Mansour Arzi, a well known Madah (reciter of  religious poetry), urged worshippers at an Ihya ceremony in Arg mosque to pray for the death of the leaders of the unrest, according to the Tehran Bureau website, quoting Khabaronline. He said the recent protests started after “100 boys and girls were taken to a swimming pool filled with alcohol, where they were given drugs and raped one another before being turned loose on the protesters whom they assaulted and killed.’ link

Several reports from Iranian media outlets say Hossein Safar-Harandi, until recently the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, is the new head of the Etelaat newspaper group, replacing Hojatoleslam Mahmoud Doai. Safar-Harandi, a former editor of the hardline Kayhan newspaper.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov all but ruled out imposing new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, saying he believed the new set of proposals Iran produced on Wednesday offered a viable basis for negotiations to end the dispute. link

—  The US State Department however said the Iranian proposals were “not really responsive” to international concerns because they continue to insist Iran’s nuclear file is closed and “that is certainly not the case.” link

— The US will host a summit of UN Security Council member states on nuclear non-proliferation on September 24, the White House confirmed. The session will focus on nuclear nonproliferation and broad nuclear disarmament rather than any specific country. link

The Israeli Prime Minister’s office admitted it had misled journalists about his whereabouts on Monday but stopped short of admitting he had made a secret trip to Moscow to persuade the Russians to stop giving Iran sophisticated weaponry. “The prime minister was busy with a confidential and classified activity,” was all Benjamin Netanyahu’s office would say. That was not enough to stop a growing sense of outrage. link, link

— France called on Russia Thursday not to complete the sale of advanced air defence missiles to Iran. link

A weapons cache uncovered in western Afghanistan last month included a small number of Iranian-made roadside bombs similar to those used in Iraq, 107 Iranian-made BM-1 rockets and dozens of blocks of Iranian C4 plastic explosives, US officials say. The find has raised concerns that Iran is interfering in Afghanistan much like it did in Iraq. link

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written to the US Ambassador in London to add his voice to protests outside the American embassy, where Iranians are on hunger strike over the Iraqi assault on Camp Ashraf outside Baghdad. link

In more detail

A CBN News interview with leading Iranian dissident Amir Fakhravar who says he is “disappointed” in the Obama administration’s passive response to the Iranian protests.

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