Monday September 21 – the daily story

The main headlines

A nation divided by a holiday: It’s a very quiet day. Could it be because all Iran except pro-regime diehards are celebrating Eid-e Fetr on the day nominated by virtually the entire clerical establishment bar Ayatollah Khamenei, who plumped for Sunday?

France attacked yesterday’s statement by Ayatollah Khamenei that Israel was a “Zionist cancer” gnawing into the lives of Islamic nations. “These declarations are profoundly shocking and we firmly condemn them,” the French Foreign Ministry said. AFP

— President Ahmadinejad said he is proud of his claim that the Holocaust never happened, saying it gave his people pride. nbc

Human rights groups urged the United Nations to appoint a special envoy to investigate  abuses in Iran after the election. AP

The Foreign Ministry has finally welcomed the American decision to abandon plans for a land-based anti-ballistic missile system in East Europe, although of course Iran has no direct interest in such a system as it has no current or planned missile to reach Europe or America. ISNA

— The Israeli newspaper  Maariv  said President Shimon Peres convinced Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to back a deal by which the US would scrap its defence shield plans if Moscow backed stiffer sanctions against Iran. Arutz Sheva

— Defense Minister Ehud Barak told his US counterpart Robert Gates that Israel would not take any option regarding Iran off the table and urged Washington to set a time limit on its diplomatic efforts.  Israel’s military chief also insisted all options remain “on the table” in dealing with Iran’s nuclear programme. Haaretz,  msnbc

— Zbigniew Brzezinski, , the former national security adviser, said in an interview that  President Obama should make it clear to Israel that if they attempt to attack Iran’s nuclear weapons sites the US Air Force will stop them.  abcnews

— Iran’s missile potential is greater today than North Korea’s, the former head of a Russian defence industry research institute said. RIA Novosti

The United States believes Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are providing training and weapons to Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan to help them fight Western forces. Post Chronicle

A treasure trove of photographs documenting the summer’s uprising against the disputed election – most of which have never before been published -has emerged thanks to a dedicated network of digital smuggling.  Washington Independent

The Foreign Ministry announced a raft of new ambassadors to European countries. PressTV

Parviz Meshkatian, the  legendary Iranian composer and santur/setar player,  has died of heart failure In Tehran at the age of 54. Radio Javan

Before he departs for New York President Ahmadinejad will attend the first big parade for Sacred Defence Week. Iran’s media outlets have been issuing periodic bulletins on what is likely to be on show. PressTV

Daylight saving starts in Iran tonight. PressTV

In more detail

Mowjcamp has more insight into the reported suicide of Mohammad Javad Parandakh by jumping off a bridge in Isfahan.

The pedestrian blog carries an interesting analysis of why Ayatollahs Rafsanjani and Beheshti lined up behind the Supreme Leader at the Eid prayer ceremony Sunday. Basically, the blog argues, they had to because this is one of the virtually obligatory events in the Persian/ Islamic calendar. However, the blog adds, this makes all the more surprising and intriguing the absence of Ayatollah Mohammad Khatami , the reformist former president.

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