Monday September 28 – the daily story

The main headlines

Growing cracks in the opposition ranks were evident today with the publication of a stinging letter from Mehdi Karoubi to Ayatollah Rafsanjani attacking his failure to confront the Experts Assembly with the need for action over the political crisis and force it to review the performance of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. “Not only did you not make any criticism regarding the current situation of the country, but you didn’t even reflect any other criticism [which you should have done] according to your duty, and it is even more strange that you were absent in the closing session of a meeting of this importance and in this critical situation.” Parttial translations of the letter are carried on Moussavi’s Facebook page and by Neo-Resistance

Students demonstrated at Tehran University today against the Ahmadinejad government, NowRouz News reported. The President was due to have attended the opening and given a speech but reports said he was too jet-lagged to attend.  NowRouz News said about 1,000 demonstrators carrying placards in green called for detained students to be freed and the government to resign. Other reports put the number at up to 300 and said it began when the students were not allowed into an official ceremony  to mark the start of the new term. A counter-protest of about 50 shouted slogans against Mir-Hossein Mousavi. A large number of police officers were in the area but there were no reported clashes. Reuters, BBC, Radio Zamaneh, PedestrianPedestrian

The Revolutionary Guard was today reported to have successfully test-fired the Shahab-3 missile, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and with a range of up to 1,200 miles, which would put Israel, most Arab states and parts of Europe, including much of Turkey, within its range. The missles tested were reportedly upgrades. timesonline, Independent, abs-cbnnews, PressTV, PressTV

— Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi denied any link between the row over the newly announced nuclear enrichment plant and the two days of missile war games. Fars

— The White House condemned as “provocative” Iran’s decision to test-fire missiles capable of hitting targets inside Israel. Press Secretary Robert Gibb said Iran is at a crossroads and has “decisions to make” over its pursuit of nuclear technology.  AFP, WashingtonTV, foxnews

— US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement insisting that America “use the tools at our disposal — from diplomacy to sanctions — to stop Iran’s march toward nuclear capability.” pr-canada.net

— Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov  was quoted by his country’s news agencies as saying Iran’s missile tests are causing concern. AP

—  France voiced sharp concern at the news and demanded Tehran immediately stop its “deeply destabilising activities”. zeenews

— Reformist leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi issued a statement today declaring that financial sanctions against Iran would just hit “the people who have already been agonised by this government”’  and not the government of President Ahmadinejad itself. m&c

— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is lobbying US politicians to impose harsher sanctions against Iran. WashingtonTV

— Israel must comply with the demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency if the Mideast is to become a region free of weapons of mass destruction, Syria’s foreign minister said today. AP

— No date has yet been fixed for UN inspectors to visit the controversial new enrichment  site in Iran the International Atomic Energy Agency said. zeenews

— A militia group reported to be sponsored by Iran has renewed rocket strikes on Israel.  On Saturday at least five Kassam-class, short-range missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel and today the Israel Air Force identified and struck a six-man Jihad rocket squad east of Gaza City. World Tribune

Missiles were not the only thing Iran was firing today. The exercise was accompanied by a veritable barrage of rhetoric from top commanders and officials:

— Iran army commander Major General Hassan Firouzabadi. said the country’s latest military exercise was a “firm response” to Israel. “The US is arming Israel with the taxes paid by its citizens and it is upset that Iran can give a firm response to them [Israel].” PressTV

— Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi warned Israel against launching any attack on the Islamic Republic, saying on state television that  it would only speed up the Jewish state’s own demise. Reuters

— The Supreme Leader’s adviser on military affairs, Major General Seyed Yahya Rahim Safavi, underlined the full preparedness of the Iranian Armed Forces to defend the Islamic Republic sayi g they were “now more powerful than ever and fully prepared to foil foreign threats.” Fars

— Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said the missile launches were part of annual military drills to hone the country’s defence skills “and commemorate the beginning of the Iraq-imposed war on Iran in the 1980s”. PressTV

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki  blasted the West’s double-standards towards violation of human rights in different parts of the world at a ministerial meeting in New York to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Geneva Conventions on International Human Rights. Fars

RouydadNews alleges that President Ahmadinejad has ordered the government to deposit a “large amount of money” in the personal account of the manager of “a certain news agency”. Quoting a source in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, it says  the money is to fund a campaign of “spreading lies, rumours and biased news in society”. The report says the President has formed a five-member committee (news agency head, TV anchor, manger of a news website, a cyber expert and a security-judiciary official) reporting directly to him for this purpose. The source said two key projects underway included the campaign to spread false accusations of a meeting between Ayatollah Mohammad Khatami and George Soros.

— IRNA state news agency last night published an interview with reformist leader Said Hajarian basically repeating the attack on Mir-Hossein Moussavi that he made in his mass trial “confession”. Opposition forces and Hajarian’s family maintain he is under severe torture. Radio Zamaneh

— In his latest statement Moussavi says the unprecedented level of  state violence has only served to increase public involvement in the protests. “Fury is a horse that will topple its rider.” The Qods Day Green protests proved the movement was no passing fad. “We request the full execution of the constitution and a return to the Islamic Republic’s original ethics. We demand the Islamic Republic, not a word less; not a word more.” Radio Zamaneh

Two Iranian security officers and four suspected members of a Kurdish “terrorist group” responsible for recent assassinations were killed in a clash in Sanandaj, capital of the western Kurdestan province, on Sunday night, Mehr news agency reported. However, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, quoted by PressTV, said two of the terrorists were killed and others  arrested, while Fars reported that three terrorists were killed and three arrested. Before the clash the Majlis group investigating the situation in Kurdestan also reported several arrests. WashingtonTV, PressTV, Fars, Fars

Iranian Defence Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi today launched three “major projects” at the Defence Industries Organisation that will go a long way towards raising Iran’s defence self-sufficiency. They involve ammunition production lines. PressTV

Three Iranian female human rights activists, Shadi Sadr, Ladan Boroumand and Roya Boroumand, are due to receive the Lech Walesa Prize, created by the ex-leader of the Polish Solidarity trade union and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, in Gdansk, Poland Tuesday during a ceremony marking Walesa’s 66th birthday. WashingtonTV

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs, Mehdi Safari, arrived in Moscow today for two-days of talks with Russian officials on joint cooperation in the Caspian Sea and other issues of mutual interest. ISNA

The National Iranian Oil Company announced that development plans for 30 oil and 11 gas fields on and offshore will be implemented with the aim of boosting crude production capacity to 5.1 million barrels per day in 2014 and natural gas production to 1,111 million cubic meters per day in the same year. Fars

— China National Petroleum Corp has signed a contract with National Iranian Oil Company  to develop the South Azadegan oilfield. The Chinese company will buy a 70% share of the whole project, according to an agreement signed Sunday in Lausanne, Switzerland. Payvand

In more detail

The Homylafayette blog takes a closer look at the Revolutionary Guards takeover of the Telecommunications Company of Iran.

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