The main headlines
President Ahmadinejad’s supporters in Parliament suffered a huge blow today as Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani sailed through his reelection as the head of Principlist bloc, by a whopping 24-7 vote of the central council. He was up against the hardline candidate Morteza Agha-Tehrani. In addition the deputy Majlis speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar, a highly vocal opponent of the Ahmadinejad faction, and Mohammad-Hasan Abutorabi were also re-elected as the bloc’s first and second deputy heads (leaving a slight question mark over Rooz Online’s apparent claim yesterday that Bahonar had been ditched from the central council). The votes suggest tough days to come for Ahmadinejad in Parliament from the sizeable Principlist group that dislikes him. PressTV
— Three Principlist MPs have filed a complaint against First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi for allegedly forging his doctorate, the latest in a string of ministers uncovered with false qualifications . Homylafayette, mowjcamp
A not very pretty picture is unfolding of the backgrounds of Ayatollah Khamenei’s latest military appointments. Among other things, the new Basij commander Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi is alleged to have practised widespread torture. But another possibly significant reported fact is that Naqdi was sacked by President Ahmadinejad as head of the Committee to Combat Drug and Currency Smuggling in 2005 after accusing one of Ahmadinejad’s prominent campaign donors of running a smuggling operation. Neo-Resistance, Payvand, mowjcamp, AP
— In the light of possible behind the scenes moves to rein in Ahmadinejad, it may be no coincidence that Ayatollah Khamenei was pictured today in the presence of the military. In a speech he sought to reassure Iran’s neighbours that its military development presented no threat to them “or any other nation in the world”. PressTV, Radio Zamaneh, Mehr
— Commander Abdollah Araghi, head of the special Tehran unit of the Revolutionary Guards, says the corps was in charge of Tehran’s security from June 15 to August 15 after answering a police request for assistance in the face of unprecedented numbers of protesters. Rooz Online
Ayatollah Rafsanjani and Hassan Rohani, head of strategic research for the Expediency Council, jointly expressed concern about deepening divisions in Iran in a meeting with Principlist clergy from the Majlis. Rafsanjani said rumour-mongering and slander were the “scourge of national unity” while Rohani struck home with three sharp jabs at the hardliners: attacking those who think elections should be mere window-dressing, decrying military interference in politics; and accusing those attacking the views and family of Ayatollah Khomeini of trying to break society into pieces and start a “guerrilla war”. Payvand
— Rafsanjani has asked the Head of the Judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, to investigate rumours circulating about his family, according to the website Khabar Online.
— The Tehran prosecutor has squashed reports that about 20 dissidents were on the verge of being Freed, Tabnak reports.
— The family of 76 year-old Mohammad Maleki, the first ever president of Tehran university after the revolution, released a statement expressing concern about his condition after 45 days in prison. The statement said he had already been battling several serious illnesses. mowjcamp
— A bit of pressure seems to be building on Said Mortazavi, the notorious former Tehran Prosecutor General, after he denied discussing the Kahrizak detention centre in a meeting with members of the Majlis committee investigating post-election events. Committee member Farhad Tajari expressed amazement “because in the meeting Mr [Alaedin] Borujerdi and I had with him, the forensic report on [Mohsen] Rouholamini [one of the prisoners killed at Kahrizak] was presented to him in his very own office and he himself offered some information on the issue.” Tehran Bureau
Students at the Azad university in Shahrekord demonstrated against the government today, as did students at the International university of Qazvin, Moussavi’s Facebook page reports.
An Iranian scientist who has been given political asylum in Saudi Arabia either tipped off the Americans about the secret Qom enrichment plant or at least confirmed their suspicions, the Tehran Bureau website reports. Shahram Amiri, a nuclear researcher who worked at the facility, went missing in May after supposedly going on a Haj pilgrimage to Mecca. Iran’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed he is missing. Tehran Bureau
Ezatollah Zarghami, head of Iranian state broadcaster IRIB, has been given a set of conditions for continuing in his job by the Ahmadinejad administration, parlemannews reports. They include changing some of his deputies in key areas and agreeing not to use anyone on a list he was given of ten middle managers, presenters, producers and directors. Tehran Bureau
— A total of three newspapers were closed by the Press Supervisory Committee on Tuesday. AFP
— A High Council of Cinema has been formed by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to overlook all cinematic matters, habaroline reports. It says the council will be headed by President Ahmadinejad himself. Pedestrian
Congressional Democrats pushed the Obama administration to get behind tough economic sanctions against Iran and voiced deep skepticism that direct negotiations with Tehran will prove fruitful. Miami Herald, AP
For the first time since it was formed five years ago, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre in New Haven, Connecticut has had a federal funding request for $2.7m denied. “If there is one time I expected to get funding, this was it,’’ said Rene Redman, the group’s executive director. boston.com
The freed reformist leader Said Hajarian was visited today by former president Ayatollah Khatami. Details of the talks were not immediately disclosed. Photos on Pedestrian
The Majlis intends to file a complaint to the United Nations and other international bodies against the United States for the way it held five Iranian diplomats captive in Iraq after US forces stormed the Iranian consulate in Irbil, Speaker Ali Larijani announced. The report did not make clear where the suit would be filed. Fars, Mehr
Petrol imports this year have left the country with a $6.5 billion budget shortfall and the Oil Ministry will present a bill to the Majlis to plug the gap, described by one newspaper as “an unprecedented and record-breaking budget supplement.” Radio Zamaneh
Arab officials in the Persian Gulf strongly denied a report in the Independent that they are in secret talks to replace the US dollar with a basket of currencies to price oil, an idea being pursued by Iran. WSJ, Reuters, Independent
The Turkish parliament has extended a mandate to launch cross-border military operations against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, as the Turkish Armed Forces prepare for “sweeping operations” in a coordinated effort with Iraq, Syria and Iran. Today’s Zaman
An annual global survey by the New York-based market research company GfK shows the United States is the most admired country, thanks mostly to the Obama effect, while the last two nations were Angola at number 49 and Iran at number 50. VOA