The main headlines
What a difference a day makes. Ayatollah Rafsanjani was present today when the Experts Assembly, having completed its business apparently in something of a hurry, gathered in the presence of the Supreme Leader. According to PressTV he even declared: “The recent session of the Assembly of Experts, despite the recent events, was very satisfactory and good debates were conducted.” That was certainly not the impression he was giving Wednesday after leaving the meeting in apparent disgust. Ayatollah Khamenei in his speech returned to his favourite theme of a western (especially British) soft coup conspiracy against the revolution which had been comprehensively beaten. Again, according to the PressTV report, there was no hint of a reference to Rafsanjani’s statement Tuesday of a plan being drawn up to end the crisis. However, a Tehran Times report made a point of picking out comments by Khamenei saying that there was nmo room for political factionalism in the assembly. “There has never been and will not be any room for personal matters or political factionalism or affiliations in the Assembly of Experts,” he said. PressTV, Pedestrian, Tehran Times
— A blog by Mikverbrugge, who has up till now supplied the only “insider” information on the assembly meeting, claims the walkout came after the assembly received “orders” from Khamenei to publish the pre-arranged text read out by Ayatollah Khatami. According to the blog, Rafsanjani and those supporting him “were disgusted by the catastrophe of the Experts Assembly being reduced to a stage play by threats … Rafsanjani is extremely angry.”
— One of those who shared Rafsanjani’s dismay was Grand Ayatollah Dastgheib who, according to his website, was openly critical during the meeting of the assembly’s failure to carry out its duty to review the violations of the constitution that had occurred after the election. “He warned that the constitution is being ignored in the country. He also condemned the recent baseless attacks and false accusations made against reformist figures, especially by the state-run TV.” According to the report Dastgheib openly accused followers of the Hojatieh ideology of “easily defying the law these days”. The report added that Dastgheib had suggested an opportunity would be available for Moussavi, Karoubi and Mohammad Khatami to explain their views either in the Assembly or on state-run TV. In the light of what subsequently transpired, this now seems unlikely.
— The reformist rahesabz website described the outcome of the assembly meeting “a historical mistake”. It added: “ Perhaps the absence of [Rafsanjani] during the announcement of the final statement of the Assembly is a sign of dispute over the content of the statement, but this does not change the outcome. The statement was issued in a hurry and on the second day of the session instead of the third day; while it did not contain anything even closely resembling the promises [Rafsanjani] made during the opening session, saying that the senior figures of the country are preparing a statement that would be a resolution to the current crisis in the country. The Assembly of Experts by issuing a statement similar to its previous ones has closed its eyes on the reality and showed that is not capable of fulfilling its duty to save the country from the current critical situation.”
— Grand Ayatollah Sanei has expressed his full support for the Green Path plan outlined by Mir-Hossein Moussavi and stressed that it offered an opportunity to “unify the innocent and oppressed against the tyrants, so that they can regain their denied rights”, the ayatollah’s website reported.
The UN Security Council approved a resolution proposed by President Obama setting a series of goals to eliminate nuclear weapons, ban production of the fissile material used to make them, outlaw atomic tests and safeguard stockpiles in the meantime. It also advocates action against nations that put civilian nuclear technology to military use in violation of the international Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The resolution also expressed concern over steps by some nations – taken as a reference to Iran and North Korea – to develop nuclear weapons. The council also gave Iran an ultimatum to suspend its nuclear programme and warned it will face economic sanctions unless it makes a “serious response” by October 1. LAT, Independent
— Pressure against Iran increased today when the world’s eight top economic powers or G8 gave Tehran until year’s end to cease enriching uranium or face new sanctions. But resistance from China could undermine the effort. NYT
— In his speech to the UN General Assembly Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a blistering tirade against Iran, hinting anew that Israel might take matters into its own hands. Referring to President Ahmadinejad’s that the Holocaust never happened he said Iran was the incarnation of the greatest threat facing humanity, representing the “marriage of Islamic fanaticism and weapons of mass destruction”. The Independent
— British MI6 chief Sir John Scarlett has been told that Saudi Arabia is “seriously considering” whether Israel should be given permission to fly over the kingdom to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites, according to a report on a specialist website. worldnetdaily
— According to a WorldPublicOpinion.org poll, two-thirds of Iranians would agree to their government ruling out the development of nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. worldpress.org
— The outlawed Mujahedin Khalq organisation says it has identified two previously unknown sites in and near Tehran where Iranian scientists are researching and trying to manufacture detonators for nuclear weapons. Washington Post
Clearly revelling in all the attention he is getting in New York, good and bad, President Ahmadinejad has been having a very busy time:
— He told Newsweek/Washington Post Iran was prepared to buy high grade enriched uranium from the US. “In the meeting in Geneva, we are ready to discuss some issues, including our willingness to purchase 20% enriched uranium for our domestic needs.” PressTV, the interview
— And when he wasn’t giving interviews he was meeting American students to assure them that religious minorities in Iran enjoyed full freedom and protection under the constitution. It was not clear from the report if anyone asked him about the plight of the Bahais, or if anyone raised reports that Iran’s millenias-old Jewish population had shrunk from more than 150,000 in the Shah’s time to an estimated 30,000 today. PressTV
— The anti-Ahmadinejad protests continued, with a green banner unfurled the length of New York’s Brooklyn Bridge with signatures from around the world saying “Ahmadinejad is not Iran’s president.”. WSJ
— A class action seeking more than $10 billion in damages for the torture and death of prisoners in Iran has been served on Ahmadinejad in New York, the lawyer for the case said. worldnetdaily
— More NY coverage from Homylafayette
— Several Iranian filmmakers used the San Sebastian film festival to condemn the Tehran regime and President Ahmadinejad’s speech at the UN General Assembly. AFP
Shiva Nazarahari, a human rights activist arrested on June 14, was released from Evin Prison Wednesday on bail of 200 million tumans [$200,000]. Iran Press Watch
Two executives of a Dutch aviation service firm pleaded guilty in a US federal court today to charges of trying to illegally export aircraft components and other items from the United States to Iran via the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus. expatica.com
A website called Strategy Page claims the air crash during Sacred Defence Day Tuesday that claimed seven lives involved a collision between an F5 fighter jet and Iran’s sole Awacs aircraft, one of two purchased for a nominal sum from Iraq during the 1990-91 Gulf war. Strategy Page
About 250,000 barrels per day of gasoline, diesel and other fuel are smuggled out of Iran every day, about 15% of Iran’s demand, according to Deputy Economy Minister Mohammad-Reza Farzin. TradeArabia
In more detail
Khordad88 publishes a full translation of the letter from Mir-Hossein Moussavi to Grand Ayatollah Montazeri and the ayatollah’s response.
The Pedestrian website looks again at “the strange case of Saideh Pouraghayi”, one of the supposed victims of prison abuse whose case was raised by Mehdi Karoubi. What puzzles the author to the point of believing it was a the whole thing was an official, set-up, was the strange vagueness of the state broadcaster’s documentary on the subject.