The main headlines
Ayatollah Khamenei said today that the upcoming demonstration on Qods Day must focus on the core issue of Palestinian rights and the establishment would not allow the demonstration to be used as an opportunity to create division. This statement challenges the Green movement to abandon its plans to join next week’s marches, something the regime is clearly afraid of. In his Friday prayers sermon in Tehran, Khamenei said that while differences of opinion can be tolerated, the establishment will confront threats to its security under the guise of restoring the revolution’s principles. People would face a harsh response if they drew their “swords” against the ruling establishment. “Those who clash with the establishment and turn their backs on the Islamic establishment become enemies.” He added that even figures with revolutionary backgrounds should not let their differences lead to conflict and warned political movements against trying to undermine the pillars of the establishment. PressTV, Reuters
— The Supreme Leader also insisted in his sermon that Iran must defend its right to nuclear power. “We must stand firm for our rights. If we give up our rights, whether nuclear or other rights, this will lead to decline.” link
— Reports on Friday prayers ceremonies in other main cities of Iran suggest a chorus of demands for the arrest and prosecution of Mehdi Karoubi and other reformist leaders.
The Obama administration today said the United States would accept Iran’s offer of talks, fulfilling President Obama’s pledge to hold unconditional talks despite the Iranian government’s insistence it would not negotiate over the future of its nuclear programme. A senior representative of the US administration would sit at the bargaining table. The decision is bound to raise protests from conservatives who say unconditional talks are naive, and from human rights groups saying the US should not legitimize this Iranian government. NYT
— Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned against a military strike on Iran, which he said would probably not achieve its aim and would increase the danger of terrorism in the region. He also opposed imposing new sanctions on Iran to curb its nuclear programme. But he also called on Iran to take into account Israel’s concerns and show restraint in its nuclear programme. link
— The EU said Iran’s latest nuclear proposals do not answer key questions about its nuclear programme. link
— Iran’s nuclear response was a key issue as China’s chief legislator, Wu Bangguo, met President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House. During an in-depth talk, Biden “stressed the urgency of addressing the Iranian nuclear programme,” the White House said. link
Mohammad Hasan Fallahizadeh, an Iranian journalist jailed for three years in 2007 for spying, was released from Evin prison on medical grounds on Wednesday, Reporters Without Borders reported. His release came a day after he was transferred to the prison’s infirmary as a result of the hunger strike he began last week. link
Hanna Makhmalbaf, the young Iranian filmmaker, was presented with a “bravery” award at the Venice film festival for her daring and contemporary film “Green Days”. Hanna dedicated the award to “all brave Iranians who took to the streets to seek freedom and to all ‘Nedas’ who lost their lives.
In more detail
Mir-Hossein Moussavi’s facebook site carries the full letter of Mehdi Karoubi to the head of Judiciary Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, in which he complains about the raids on his offices a day after his second meeting with the fact-finding committee set up by Larijani. Karoubi vows that no amount of such intimidation is going to shut him up and adds that if the authorities thought they could destroy all the evidence by confiscating all his material they were wrong: he has put copies onto CDs. He ends the letter: “Such old, overused tactics may work to silence some, but they will not work on Mehdi Karoubi and he will forcefully take a stand, and he will not allow a group of nouveau riches to sell off a country and the legacy of an Imam which was attained after a democratic revolution and the blood of many martyrs.” Facebook
Khordad88 has the full text of the open letter written by Mohaghegh Damad, described as a prominent professor of jurisprudence, law and philosophy, to Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi sharply attacking his ten-year stint as Head of the Judiciary. The letter was published in Ettelaat on August 4.