Wednesday September 30 – the daily story

The main headlines

There are growing signs that Iran’s leaders might be groping their way to some kind of accommodation with the reformist movement,  but the situation remains clouded in confusion. Heavy hints were dropped today in a report of a meeting Tuesday between Mir-Hossein Moussavi and  opposition MPs of the Imam’s Line faction. Amidst talk of discussions on a “National Unity Plan”, Moussavi’s comments laid strong evidence on national unity. He re-emphasised what he saw as the correctness of his policy of pursuing a broad movement rather than forming a party and suggested that the reason a more tolerant atmosphere was emerging in Iran was down to the success and growth of the Green Path of Hope. But he also hinted that all this could be undone if intemperate words and behaviour fuelled further violence. This could be seen as a plea to protesters not to demand the end of the Islamic republic and to stop direct verbal attacks on the Supreme Leader. He added: “It is vital for everyone to prevent more radicalism in society by patience and especially by avoiding unwanted confrontations  with security and military forces.” The reformist MPs now plan to meet Ayatollah Rafsanjani and former President Mohammad Khatami, presumably to discuss the “unity plan”. Facebook

— Talk of some form of reconciliation plan, first suggested by Ayatollah Rafsanjani at the recent Experts Assembly meeting, gained traction overnight when Fars news agency published what appeared to be a draft plan worked out by the committee mentioned by Rafsanjani. The agency then withdrew the report, but it returned later. According to the Twitter posts of Mikverbrugge, quoting an “insider”,  three panels are to be formed: one to investigate the election and its aftermath which will allow Moussavi to present any evidence he has that the poll was rigged; a conciliation panel; and bringing them together an over-riding arbitration panel. The panels are intended to be representative of the  countrys’s key groupings and will include a reformist representative. The plan is being brought together under the aegis of the Expediency Council headed by Rafsanjani, who has not been involved in its drafting but, it is assumed, will have the final word bar one – nothing will go ahead without the explicit authorisation of the Supreme Leader. mikverbrugge

— In his latest broadside against the regime, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri warned the authorities to learn from what happened to the Shah, the mowjcamp website reports. In reply to a letter from the Assembly of the Reformist Women condemning the regime’s “brutal repression”, Montazeri said the  government could not rule by “creating an atmosphere of fear, militarising society, arresting activists and opposition figures, filling prisons with intellectuals and freedom-seekers and forcing them to false confessions … In a situation where political activists and opposition intellectuals are in prison and under pressure, and those who deceitfully praise the government are the only ones approved of, society will never have progress, prosperity and growth.”

There were reports of further demonstrations by students for the second day running at Tehran’s Sharif university.

Said Hajarian, the severely incapacitated reformist whose “confession” formed the centrepiece of the first mass trial, has been freed from Evin prison on bail. PressTV, pictures

Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki  made an unscheduled visit to Washington today, ostensibly to visit the Iranian interests section at the Pakistani embassy. The US State Department said it granted him a visa “as a courtesy” and there were no plans for him to meet US officials. AP, VOA, PressTV

— US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Iran must meet its international obligations over its suspect nuclear programme or face “greater isolation.” AFP

— The White House is weighing sanctions targeting Iran’s dependence on gasoline imports and insurance firms that underwrite the trade. Reuters

— Iran is “on the wrong side of the law” for its delay in revealing its Qom nuclear complex, the head of the  International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad El Baradei said. “Iran was supposed to inform us on the day it was decided to construct the facility. They have not done that.” sanluisobispo.com

— The US negotiating team for tomorrow’s nuclear talks with Iran arrived in Geneva, headed by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns.  The Iranian delegation is led by nuclear negotiator Said Jalili and Ali Bagheri, the foreign policy chief of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. Politico, VOA, Foxnews

— Most Jews in the United States favour  an American military strike against Iran’s nuclear sites, according to a survey conducted before the second Iranian uranium enrichment site was revealed. ynetnews

Ten police officers have been arrested in connection with prisoner abuse at the Kahrizak detention centre, Police Chief Esmail Ahmedi-Moghadam said. Tehran Times

— The Human Rights Activists news agency says several Iranian judges have been questioned in connection with the Kharizak investigation, including the notorious Said Mortazavi, the former Tehran prosecutor-general. However, the report is sceptical that the investigation will lead to the punishment of “those most-deserving of punishment”. Keeping the Change

Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi has announced that 14 members of a “Wahabi terrorist group” affiliated with Al-Qaeeda have been arrested in the recent crackdown in Kurdestan. PressTV

In what  the Tehran Times described as a bizarre decision, the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance,  Mohammad Hosseini,  has  appointed Hushang Tavakoli, described by the paper as a minor film and TV series actor, as deputy culture minister for artistic affairs.  The paper makes the point that the job involves major decisions concerning the visual arts, music and the dramatic arts. Tehran Times

Iran’s  delay in constructing facilities has forced the second World Islamic Games to be postponed for close to eight months. New Vision

In more detail:

Khordad88 carries the full; text of Ayatollah Dastgheib’s controversial address to the Experts Assembly last week.

IranWiki has the full text of Mehdi Karoubi’s second letter to Ayatollah Rafsanjani attacking the performance of the ayatollah and the Experts Assembly.

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