Tuesday September 29 – the daily story

The main headlines

There were more university demonstrations today. At Sanati Sharif University in Tehran an estimated 500 students protested as the science minister Kamran Daneshjou visited the campus. Reports said the minister was unable to enter the building to open a new library and his deputy had to stand in for him. Protests also took place at Azad university in Tehran. Radio Zamaneh, Payvand, photos, NYT, Youtube

— Yesterday’s protest at Tehran university must have been somewhat embarrassing for the people in charge of security as Iranian websites report that the head of campus security and the director of the law enforcement unit at the university were both dismissed in the last week and replaced with a single official responsible directly to the Intelligence Ministry.

— The hardline Kayhan daily, in Monday’s front page editorial expressed shock that the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front is still issuing communiques inciting students to commit disturbances when all of its senior members  “are either in prison or have resigned.” It asks:”So who is writing these communiques? Find this street peddler!” Homylafayette

More judges have been assigned to investigate allegations of prisoner abuse because of the high number of complaints and their complexity, said Parviz Sorouri, head of the special parliamentary committee investigating post-election events. Even so, he announced, even under normal conditions it will take at least a year to process all the complaints. He added that 104 cases involving officials at the  Kahrizak detention centre would go to trial soon. Radio Zamaneh

Mohammad Javad Larijani received a big public slap today for his outspoken attack on Mir-Hossein Moussavi, in which he bracketed him with the outlawed Mujahedin Khalq leader Massoud Rajavi, according to Iranian websites. He was due to give a keynote speech to launch a workshop involving several universities at the Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics which he heads. But as he started to speak the students and most professors present rose and walked out. Pedestrian (which has an  amazing picture supposedly of Larijani addressing a virtually empty hall)

The central council of the Assembly of Combatant Clergymen has expressed “deep sorrow” at the treatment of Ayatollah Dastgheib at the recent Experts Assembly meeting, the Rouhanioun website reported. . “The fact that even members of the Assembly of Experts are not free to express their thoughts and opinions is a great danger for the country and in violation of freedom of speech and the principles of democracy.” A council meeting chaired by Ayatollah Mohammad Khatami also condemned the continued detention of  reformist figures in solitary confinement “despite the fact that their interrogations are over and they should be released on bail until their court session.” It urged Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, the Head of the Judiciary,  to end this “illegal and unethical behaviour” and keep his promise to reform the judiciary.

Another false ministerial qualification appears to have been uncovered by the French daily newspaper Liberation, which publishes  a letter in which an Iranian scientist demonstrates how Iran’s Minister of Transport Hamid Behbahani allegedly duplicated work done by colleagues between 2002 and 2004 in a paper published two years later. mowjcamp, Flesh and Stone

A clergyman dubbed “the television ethics teacher”,  Hojatoleslam Mehdi Tabatabai Shirazi, launched what was seen as a scathing attack on President Ahmadinejad and all but called the recent election result a big lie during a live TV debate on the state broadcaster’s channel 2. “Why do you keep insisting every now and then that millions participated in the election and voted for a certain person and then congratulate him? … There is a saying that goes: ‘You told me once, and I believed you. You told me twice, and I got suspicious. The third time I became certain you are lying. … It is better for the man who is now president to ask those who support his rivals what they want so that as president he can [represent] their views too.” Tehran Bureau

Iran said today it would not discuss the Qom enrichment plant at its talks with world powers in Geneva this week. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs responded:  “They may not, but we will.” NYT, Washington Post

— UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Iran’s construction of the Qom facility violates Security Council resolutions requiring it to halt all nuclear enrichment activities, adding that Tehran must prove to the world that it has no intention of developing nuclear weapons. Washington Post

— In an unusually frank disclosure, Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said the Qom facility was built for maximum protection from aerial attack: carved into a mountain and near a military compound of the powerful Revolutionary Guard. The effort at openness was seen as an attempt to counter international dismay over the nuclear site. AP, Daily Star

— China’s foreign ministry urged all sides to try to ease mounting tensions. ynetnews

— Britain’s intelligence services say Iran has been secretly designing a nuclear warhead since late 2004 or early 2005, suggesting Tehran has embarked on the final steps towards acquiring nuclear weapons capability. FT.com

— A French plant that produces a quarter of the world’s enriched uranium is 10% owned by Iran, which has had the stake for more than 30 years. Reuters

Swiss diplomats were today allowed to visit the three American hikers arrested after straying across the border from Iraq at the end of July. The Swiss, who handle American affairs in Iran, gave no details. The US State Department welcomed the decision, viewing it as a gesture ahead of Thursday’s nuclear talks in Geneva. Reuters, VOAnews

Structural changes to the economy, including the energy sector, are essential if Iran is to meet its economic targets, Jafar Qaderi, deputy head of Iran’s Majlis Plan and Budget Committee, has said. “If the government wants to move unemployment and inflation rates toward single figures it must make infrastructure, the business environment and internal and international capabilities properly functional.” UPI

Larry Klayman, the Freedom Watch lawyer who served President Ahmadinejad with notice of a lawsuit over his terror campaign, alleges that New York police prevented  him from talking to a woman who asked for help after being assaulted by the President’s entourage Friday night outside a New York hotel. Klayman said the woman, a .”peaceful protester”, suffered a bloody face as a result of the attack. worldnetdaily

In more detail

Mir-Hossein Moussavi’s Facebook page has now posted the full text in English of his 13th statement extolling the triumph of the Qods Day protests and urging followers of the Green Path to continue with non-violent protest. A few interesting points emerge:

– The word ‘vote’ or ‘votes’ never appears. Not once does Moussavi mention the opposition claim that the election was rigged. This would seem to back up suggestions (and from some reformist circles complaints)  that Moussavi may be following the lead of Ayatollah Rafsanjani in stepping back from a row that is clearly never going to be resolved under present circumstances.

– Instead the message puts a certain emphasis on economic mismanagement and implied corruption on a massive scale, which again it has been suggested will be a key theme of the new onslaught against Ahmadinejad. “Based on official reports of this very same government, economists announce that tens of billions of dollars of this country’s foreign income has disappeared. [Judicial] institutions that ought to respond to these missing sums – enough even to equip several armies – are ignorant and trapped in political games. … There was a time when missing $20,000 in the treasury was enough for a government to fall. Now, warning cries for the loss of such a huge figure are not even grounds for the slightest reaction.”

— The message confirms that Moussavi was not where he would have liked to be on Qods Day, but stuck among hardline supporters. “This year on Qods day I was among people who greeted me with tight fists and who wished my death.”

Rooz Online interviews religious scholar Mohsen Kadivar about the recent Assembly of Experts conference. He says the majority of members, carefully picked by the Guardian Council for the very task they faced last week, are “palace clerics” and the Assembly barely represents 15% of Iranian society.

Pedestrian carries an interesting piece on efforts by the regime to eliminate Iran’s kings from school text books.

Payvand has an alarming pictorial report on how this year’s drought has dried up the Zayandeh river, the largest on Iran’s central plateau.

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