Monday October 5 – the daily story

The main headlines

The cracks in the majority Principlist faction of the Majlis are widening as hardliners, having reportedly ditched Mohamamed Reza Bahonar from the faction’s central council, have now set their sites on ousting  Ali Larijani as their head. Morteza Agha-Tehrani, MP for Tehran and a cleric close to President Ahmadinejad, revealed he was standing against Larijani for the position while Rooz Online quotes several other Ahmadinejad supporters whose names are in the frame. Agha-Tehrani said the Principlists could have performed much better in the two years they had held sway in the Majlis, and blamed what he said was Larijani’s insistence on considering the views of other MPs and not just the Principlists. The hardliners are even spreading the suggestion that Larijani may be prepared to stand down so he can continue as Majlis Speaker –m splitting the two is said to be part of the discussion. Even Bahonar, the deputy speaker, has indicated that Larijani himself would prefer not to have both roles. Rooz Online said Bahonar, a well-known opponent of Ahmadinejad, sealed his fate by declaring publicly that he only supported the new cabinet in the recent Majlis vote because of the Supreme Leader’s letter. However, the moves are worrying the minority reformist faction who today voiced their strong support for Larijani to continue as Speaker. Spokesman Dariush Qanbari said: “Because of his independent position, the pro-government bloc is trying very hard to eliminate Larijani from the Majlis. If this occurs, then nothing will be left of the independence of the Majlis, and the assembly will fall into the hands of the government.” PressTV, Mehr, Rooz Online

In a statement posted on his website last night Ayatollah Rafsanjani advised people that the only accurate information on the current political situation is that put out by the PR office of the Expediency Council, which he controls. The statement implies that this includes news about the National Unity Plan supposedly being hammered out behind the scenes. Some observers, however, suggest the statement is part of Rafsanjani’s attempt to maintain control over what is eventually decided in the discussions, a position others involved in the process have found irksome.  In his statement, Rafsanjani said his “friendship” and relations with the Supreme leader are excellent and he remains committed to the four pillars of the regime: its revolutionary princples, leadership, the marja  (Grand Ayatollahs) and the people. He said discussions on the national plan are ongoing. The message also repeats concerns Rafsanjani has voiced before about the existence of a “secret current” that has infiltrated the government, media and other sensitive positions. This is taken to be a reference to the Hojatieh.

Mohsen Rezai, beaten candidate in the election and secretary of the Expediency Council,  has been granted permission to publish a newspaper, Mellat-e Ma (Our Nation) by the Press Supervisory Committee. It also approved the publication of another newspaper, three monthlies, and 11 seasonal magazines. However, reports on Twitter quoting Persian websites say the committee also suspended Farhange Ashti (Conciliation Culture),  a newspaper close to Ayatollah Rafsanjani.  PressTV

If Iran is not fully involved in developing nuclear power technology today it will be ;left behind when the world finally starts to develop fusion plants, “the technology of the next 40 to 50 years“, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi said on Channel 2 television. He also explained in some detail about plans for the Fordo enrichment plant near Qom, including the installation of a new generation of centrifuges. PressTV

— Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqai hailed the Geneva meeting last week as a “national success”. He said: “We achieved the outcome of Iran’s resistance [to foreign pressure].” He pledged that Iran would head into the next round of talks with a “positive” approach. PressTV, news24

— After his weekend talks in Tehran the head of the UN atomic agency Mohammad El Baradei has concluded that Ian is moving from confrontation to co-operation over its nuclear programme. BBC, myfox

— General James Jones, President Obama’s national security advisor, said Washington was pleased by some positive signs of cooperation from Iran. “For now, things are moving in the right direction.” WashingtonTV

— Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said an agreement reached between Tehran and six world powers for Russia to help enrich uranium for an Iranian reactor will be finalised at a meeting of experts in Vienna “in the near future”. AP

— US Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman said in Baku he had discussed new sanctions against Iran with top Azerbaijani officials, including the President.They also discussed Western market access to Azerbaijan’s gas stocks. apa

— The president of the United Arab Emirates has signed a law to regulate the development of a civilian nuclear programme, clearing the way for construction of a nuclear power plant with help from the United States. Taiwan News

— Foreign Ministry spokesman Qashqai said safety at the Bushehr nuclear power plant is of paramount importance and Tehran would never override it to speed up completion of the Russian-built project, which is now more than  a year overdue. Fars

Mohammad-Javad Larijani, the brother of Iran’s Speaker and Head of Judiciary, is in hot water again, this time for an attack on Ayatollah Khomeini’s grandson Hassan who is in charge of his mausoleum. Parlemannews says Hamid Ansari, the director of the Institute for the Compilation and Publication of the Works of Imam Khomeini, has hit back in an open letter warning against the widespread insults and rumours being spread in the country. He declared that, while there is no velvet coup, there is an “ethical” coup under way..He also asked why those who say any refusal to research the Holocaust issue raised by President Ahmadinejad is undemocratic  will not allow research on the presidential elections. Payvand, meanwhile, has more on Larijani’s run-in with students at Sharif univsirsity,  including some excellent pictures. Payvand, Radio Zamaneh

The new head of the Basij, Brigadier Geneneral  Mohammad Reza Naqdi,  is among those named in a UN Security Council resolution last year as working to circumvent UN sanctions . The resolution also links him to Iran’s alleged proliferation of sensitive nuclear activities and development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. AP, Radio Zamaneh

— Rooz Online says there are unconfirmed reports that Hojatoleslam Hossein Taeb, replaced as Basij commander,  may become the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence director, where he would work with Gholamhossein Ramezani, the Guard’s counter-intelligence and security director, to expand the corps’s intelligence-security apparatus. Rooz Online

The special parliamentary committee investigating post-election events will release its findings to the Majlis on Wednesday, committe head Parviz Sorouri has announced. He added that so far 104 individuals had filed lawsuits alleging mistreatment at the Kahrizak detention centre. Mehr

— Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari, who has been imprisoned in Iran for more than three months, has been told his wife is having a difficult pregnancy and will be delivering their first child without him. AP

— Three well-known journalists, Badrossadat Mofidi, secretary of the Association of Iranian Journalists, Zahra Ebrahimi, experienced parliamentary reporter for Hamshahri daily, and Farzaneh Roostaei, editor of Etemad daily’s international section, have been barred from leaving the country by airport forces and their passports confiscated. Rooz Online

— Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, said efforts are underway to recruit qualified judges and insisted that everyone should help maintain the judiciary’s independence. Mehr

Hojatoleslam Mohammad Hossein Mousapour, a former deputy interior minister, has been appointed as governor of Qom, the first cleric to take such a post since the revolution. The move is intended to establish “proper contacts” with the religious leaders in the city. Alireza Zaker Isfahani, director of the centre for strategic studies at the presidential office, was also named governor of Isfahan province. Mehr

Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, is due in Sanaa Tuesday for urgent talks with President Ali Abdullah Saleh, amid growing alarm in Arab countries over the war with Shia rebels in the north who Yemen says are backed by Iran. Guardian

— A leading Yemeni religious leader, Sheikh Abdul Majid al-Zandani,  accused Iran of inciting violence in the north to promote the Shia ideology. “The way events are moving in this country latest indicates to us that Iran wants to export the Shia ideology by force, which we utterly reject.” mwcnews

— The Iranian culture attache in Cairo recruited Yemeni students studying in Egypt and arranged for some to make two-week visits to Iran, Hassan Abu Talab, deputy editor in chief of al-Ahram newspaper, told a symposium on Yemen in the Egyptian capital. Yemen News Agency

— The Islamic Republic of Iran has always laid emphasis on Yemen’s sovereignty, independence and national unity, said a statement released by the Iranian embassy in Sanaa today. Fars

Meir Javedanfar, a Middle East analyst who has written a biography of President Ahmadinejad, has written an article in The Guardian debunking the story that Iran’s leader has Jewish roots. Guardian

Muslim states were warned by Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki today that “expansionist powers” are using the media, think-tanks and research institutes to change the world order to their own interests. Addressing the third general assembly of the Islamic Radio and Television Union he said: “Using the media as a tool by certain countries has gifted them the upper hand.” Fars

An Iranian man and woman convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning have been freed on appeal in Isfahan, the ILNA news agency reported. They had spent six years in jail. WashingtonTV

— Amnesty International today welcomed a move by the Iranian authorities to postpone the execution of an Afghan national accused of committing a murder while still a child. Amnesty

Cyrus the Great’s palace, known as Charkhab and located in the Borazjan plain in Bushehr Province, is on the verge of total destruction if no action is taken soon, according to the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage news agency. Some sections have already been completely destroyed and the remaining edifice is on the verge of collapse. littleabout.com

Now scientists have been told not to speak to strangers. Ali Ahani, director for education and research at the Foreign Ministry and one of those cleared out in the recent purge of ambassadors (he was Paris),  has warned of the danger of the “theft of scientific information” by foreigners from Iran.  “We must protect the professors and researchers against the ploys of some countries and foreign organisations to prevent the unwanted presentation of scientific information to others.” PressTV

Iran’s non-oil exports between March and September fell by more than 15% to $11.3 billion, while imports were also down by more than 21% to $23.6 billion, mainly because of the falling dollar. PressTV

— Iran’s crude steel exports in the six-month period to September 22 exceeded 582,232 tons, worth some $237 million, a 48% increase in volume compared to the previous year, according to the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organisation. Mehr

Indian Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said his country would review its energy cooperation with Iran. India’s oil diplomacy suffered a setback last week when China snatched a deal to develop the South Azadegan oilfield, one of Iran’s biggest. This was followed by an Iranian decision to trim ONGC-Hinduja Group joint venture’s promised 60% stake in Phase 12 of the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf, according to highly placed sources. commodity online, Business Standard

In more detail

Tabnak (Persian) has published pictures and a TV programme on the notorious Kahrizak detention centre. Tabnak says the crimes actually took place in an area called “the Quarantine” which is not shown in its pictures, which it claims are doctored to obscure the bad conditions.

Tehran Bureau gives a little more information on the draft unity plan published by Fars at the end of last month.

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