Wednesday October 7 – the daily story

The main headlines

National police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam said today that an investigation had found no evidence that any protesters were raped in the Kahrizak detention centre. However, he admitted that “heinous crimes” had been committed there by prison guards.  “I do not seek to justify their actions. What happened in Kahrizak was truly horrible, but I repeat, none of the inmates were raped.” He added that more than 700 complaints had been lodged against police treatment of protesters after the election. and promised to bring security up to the proper standard. His comments were somewhat more credible than those earlier of his deputy Ahmad-Reza Radan who described what happened at Kahrizak as a “minor mistake”. PressTV, Rooz Online

— Reza Moini of the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said Moghadam’s denial had no value because he denied the same allegations even before any investigation took place. VOA

The Americans were today accused by Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki of kidnapping Shahram Amiri, the Iranian nuclear scientist who disappeared on a “mini-pilgrimage” to Saudi Arabia earlier this year. Reports yesterday suggested Amiri had sought and been granted political asylum by the Saudis. But without mentioning this, Motaki said: “We have found documents that prove US interference in the disappearance of … Amiri.” He said the case would impede moves towards rapprochement between Iran and the US “because it would be considered as a hostile act by the Iranian people on the part of the United States. Kidnapping the citizen of one country is unacceptable.” He also held the Saudi  government responsible for failing to protect the pilgrim. PressTV, timesonline, AP

The closure by the Press Court earlier this week of three newspapers, one close to Ayatollah Rafsanjani and two that backed the reformists, came after the court’s jury lost its remaining moderates in a hardline putsch, it has emerged. Dariush Ghanbari, spokesperson for the Majlis reformist faction, said 10 of the 21 jury members were ditched, including the wife of reformist leader Mehdi Karoubi. “Not even a single critic of the administration is among the new members.” Rooz Online

— New charges have been laid against Mohammad Ghouchani, the imprisoned editor of the banned daily Etemad-e Melli, which will prevent his immediate release, according to his wife. The original investigation of his case was completed 15 days ago and he had been expected to be freed on bail. Radio Zamaneh

Serious concern has been expressed for the wellbeing of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeini Borujerdi, who has been held in prison since 2007. The prisoners committee of the Human Rights Activists in Iran organisation said Borujerdi fell and injured his head and right hand on Saturday in the clerics’ ward of Evin prison where he is being held. But the committee says that despite his poor condition – among his many afflictions he is said to suffer from Parkinson’s disease – officials refuse to let him  leave prison and have even “confiscated his drugs and provided the grounds for a deterioration in  his physical condition.” Borujerdi was an outspoken critic of religious involvement in government. HRAI, rfel, Wikipedia

If you only read PressTV’s report of a speech given by Ayatollah Khamenei in the north today you would think he was back squarely on the Ahmadinejad bandwagon, once again hailing the huge election turnout and accusing “the enemy” of trying to undermine this “huge political victory”. If you read the IRIB news agency’s version, however, you would also learn that he said the country’s officials should ”avoid dictatorship, sycophancy and indifference to the people.” He also advised officials to respect people’s values, reputation, personality and identity. Did PressTV think that was too boring to report?  PressTV, IRIB

President Ahmadinejad suffered a fresh snub Tuesday night when only 70 out of 290 MPs turned up for the second joint session of the government and parliament, which were inaugurated to improve relations between the two, parlemannews reports. Notable among the absentees was Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani (who had been such an enthusiastic backer of the plan when it was first announced as the new cabinet was about to be approved on the explicit orders of the Supreme Leader – read this and reflect on how times change).

Reliable posters on Twitter said 12 members of the teachers union arrested Tuesday as they gathered to mark World Teachers Day were freed today. HRAI, homylafayette

Workers at the Pars Wagon Company have gone on hunger strike to protest delays in salary payment, the ILNA news agency said. Washington TV

Iran  is reviewing options for purchasing uranium for Tehran’s research reactor, President Ahmadinejad said today. “The purchase of nuclear fuel has not been finalised yet.” PressTV

Seven Iranian Arabs have been sentenced to death the assassination of a Shia cleric in the southern city of Ahvaz, the Amir Kabir university student newsletter reported today. Washington TV

Iran has threatened to cease cooperation between the National Museum in Tehran and the British Museum in London if the British don’t lend Iran the  Cyrus the Great cylinder to display. CAIS

An Iran Air Airbus was forced to abort takeoff from Zahedan airport Tuesday after one of its tyres burst. When a replacement tyre was finally flown in the plane again took off for Tehran 13 hours late, but had to return to Zahedan after a short time because of a hydraulics leak caused by the original tyre burst. Aviation Herald

Iraq has released 36 members of the Mujahedin Khalq organisation arrested in a bloody raid on the group’s Camp Ashraf north of Baghdad nearly three months ago. The Iranian dissidents have been on a hunger strike for weeks and recently began refusing water. ABC News, BBC

Saudi King Abdullah and Syrian President Assad have agreed to “remove the obstacles” to closer ties, the Syrian state news agency reported. Gulf Times, The National, Reuters

— Growing concerns over its Gulf neighbour Iran have prompted Saudi Arabia to negotiate another major order of F-15 fighter-jets from the United States. worldtribune.com

A Russian newspaper claimed suspected pirates who boarded the freighter Arctic Sea were actually agents of the Israeli Mossad secret service trying to stop it from smuggling arms into Iran. mina

In more detail

Tehran Bureau reports on Said Mortazavi’s denial that he discussed the Kahrizak detention centre with the Majlis fact-finding commission, which seems to have got him in a spot of trouble.

Pedestrian also gives us some interesting background on the Kahrizak investigation.

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