Thursday October 1 – the daily story

The main headlines

President Obama said today’s meeting in Geneva between six world powers and Iran was a “constructive beginning”, but he told Iran it must allow international inspectors “unfettered access” to its recently disclosed nuclear facility at Qom within two weeks or face increased pressure from the international community. msnbc, Reuters

— Iran has agreed to allow nuclear inspectors to view the Qom plant and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who chaired the talks, says he hopes the International Atomic Energy Agency can examine it within a fortnight. Besides making some other small concessions, Iran has also agreed to hold more serious talks by October 18.  abcnews, foxnews

— Iran has declared all its atomic sites to the UN nuclear watchdog, Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki said, countering suspicions it may have undisclosed facilities. Reuters

— While Iran’s chief negotiator at the talks, Said Jalili, publicly maintained Iran’s firm line on its nuclear rights in public, it was clear from even PressTV’s coverage that one of the most interesting aspects of the meeting was the level of informal bilateral discussions between the Iranians and Americans, including a lunchtime session between Jalili and the chief American negotiator,  William Burns. PressTV, PressTV, PressTV

— Motaki discussed his country’s nuclear programme with two US congressmen during his surprise visit to Washington Wednesday, according to reports in Iran’s official press. ynetnews

— Ground-based interceptor missiles to be deployed in the western United States in 2010 will be able to shoot down long-range Iranian rockets, Pentagon officials said, brushing aside criticism of the Obama administration’s European defence overhaul. Reuters,. ISRIA

The Followers of the Imam and Leadership Front, the ultra-conservative party that backs President Ahmadinejad has issued a fresh call for the prosecution of “the claimants of fraud in the elections”. A statement signed by party chairman Habibollah Asgharoladi says the public has been deceived by the allegations of electoral fraud “and therefore insist that the leaders of the opposition be brought to trial”. The message shows clear concerns among the hardliners over the moves reportedly underway to produce a conciliation plan to end the political crisis, suggesting that the original foreign-inspired moves to provoke “a soft revolution” had been followed by “an internal movement which has become aligned with the aims of the foreign movement”. Radio Zamaneh

— Highly abbreviated versions of Mir-Hossein Moussavi’s latest statement  have appeared on semi-official news agency sites including PressTV, Its report lays emphasis on the reformist leader’s call for national unity, but also quotes him as saying the current situation has created an opportunity for the country to reach a “national consensus”, seen as a clear reference to the  “unity plan” talks reportedly underway. PressTV , ILNA

Behzad Nabavi

Behzad Nabavi

Behzad Nabavi, one the most senior figures in the reformist camp and a member of the Organisation of the Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution, has been taken to Baghiyatallah hospital with hernia-related complications which require surgery, the Mowjcamp website reports. He was originally arrested June 13, freed the next day and re-arrested the following day. According to the website the former minister and MP has refused to make any false confession. mowjcamp

— Three months after being accused of plotting against the government Iranian businessman Bijan Khajehpour has been released from prison, a week after his case was raised by Steve Inskeep of NPR when he interviewed President Ahmadinejad. NPR

— Families of post-election prisoners have written to Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, Head of the Judiciary, demanding to know why they continue to be held without any charges and what is the barrier to the law being properly implemented., according to Mowjcamp.

The Revolutionary Guard is again trying to jam satellite reception using high frequency microwaves, according to several reports. The rouydadnews website says the jamming is the same as was attempted before, but with a much stronger signal. This has prompted public speculation about whether the level of jamming involved is a threat to public health. One report says the Guards are using Russian-made equipment. Stop Fundamentalism

The Foreign ministry has confirmed that the Argentinean embassy attache Sebastian Zavala was stopped by customs officials attempting to smuggle Persian antiquities, including ancient coins, banknotes, handwritten manuscripts and  guns, out of the country. Zavala was eventually allowed to leave but his cargo was confiscated. It may be no coincidence that Argentina’s President de Kirchner, in her address to the UN General Assembly, called for the extradition of Iranian officials wanted over the 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish centre which killed 85 people  Fars

— Former Argentine President Carlos Menem was today charged with obstructing justice in an investigation into the bombing of the centre. He is accused of covering up the possible involvement of an Argentine businessman of Syrian origin like Menem. Menem’s brother Munir is a suspect in the case as well. Arutz Sheva 7, BBC

Iran’s largest car maker, Iran Khodro, has signed an agreement with Peugeot of France to produce the Peugeot 207 for export to 63 countries: mainly Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Belarus and Serbia, as well as Central Asia, Northern Africa and Persian Gulf countries. Fars

It is billed as Iran’s most important football match: Esteghlal take on Persepolis Friday at the Azadi stadium. One team plays in red, the other in blue, but the question on many people’s minds is whether the real winners will be green. There has been a great deal of press speculation about a massive security clampdown to prevent green manifestations, with the Islamic Republic news agency saying two judges would be at the match to hand out instant punishments to transgressors. There was even an unconfirmed report that security forces had bought up all the tickets.Payvand

Iran’s ambassador to London, Rasoul Movahedian, has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury complaining about the support he recently  expressed for members of the outlawed Mujahedin Khalq organisation currently under pressure from the authorities in Iraq. Reminding the archbishop that the Mujahedin are also considered a terrorist group in the West, he said his message of support was “dangerous and has a political consequence.” IRIB News

A Florida company has been fined nearly $3 million for activating thousands of electronic currency accounts for customers in Iran, the US Treasury Department said. AP

In more detail

As usual Homylafayette has translated the weekly Newstalk discussion between Alireza Nourizadeh, director of the Center for Arab and Iranian Studies in London,  and Mohsen Sazegara,  a founder of the Revolutionary Guard who now runs the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The two voice strong scepticism that the “National Unity Plan” currently being discussed by the regime can work.


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