Thursday October 8 – the daily story

The main headlines

The first death sentence for involvement in the post-election protests has apparently been handed out to one of the defendants in the recent televised mass trials. Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani was told of the verdict on Monday, Persian websites reported. It is understood he was charged with assault and membership of a banned monarchist organisation, the name of which is variously translated as Council of the Kingdom of Iran, Iran Kingdom Association or Iranian Empire Society. His ”detailed confession” was among those televised during the second of the mass trials. Reuters, second mass trial report

— The US has called for the immediate release of two foreign nationals, the American-Iranian scholar Kian Tajbakhsh and Canadian-Iranian Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari, who have been held captive by Iran for roughly three months. WSJ

A group of more than 100 Iranian academics and scholars working at institutions outside Iran  have issued a statement calling on the United States to tackle the critical issues of widespread repression and abuse in Iran. “The West, and especially the United States, must not forget the plight of the courageous Iranians who are trying, under the most dire circumstances, to move their nation toward a democratic system of government and respect for the rule of law.” Tehran Bureau

The deputy governor of Tehran province for social and political affairs, Safarali Baratlou, would appear to have been caught out in a big fib. At the beginning of the week the parlemannews  website said Mehdi Chamran, head of Tehran City Council, had confirmed that it had been ordered by Baratlou to stop meetings with families of victims of the post-election unrest. A letter from the deputy governor said such meetings were “against the national interest” and should be left to the Red Crescent society. The report was denied by Baratlou, who said  there was no such order, simply a request for “coordination” with the governor’s office. So parlemnanews has now published the actual letter – which supports the City Council version of events.  homylafayette

Things are looking bleak at the Wagon Pars factory in Arak, about 200km south-west of Tehran, where 1,700 employees have reportedly gone on a hunger strike saying they are owed 75 day’s pay and pension. They are now threatening to block road access to the city. But equipment is already being taken out of the plant on court orders over other non-payment claims. Radio Zamaneh,  wagonpars

Israel and the United States will hold their biggest joint air-defence exercise next week, testing missile interceptors that would serve as a strategic bulwark in any future showdown with Iran. Reuters

— The US House of Representatives called on President Obama to report by January 31 on the progress of his diplomatic outreach with Iran over its nuclear programme and demanded that sanctions be levied against Iran if it fails “to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities” related to its nuclear ambitions. AFP

— US lawmakers have said the sudden decision to deny federal funding to the  Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre in Connecticut – after five years of funding approvals – is “disturbing” and a significant shift in America’s approach to dealing with Iran. Fox News

— The US has denied “baseless Iranian allegations” of being involved in the disappearance of an Iranian nuclear scientist. gulfnews

Iran warned companies that sell petrol not to halt deliveries to the Islamic Republic in response to Western sanctions, saying they would be dropped from its list of suppliers. Forbes

Syrian President Assad and Saudi King Abdullah buried the hatchet over Lebanon and urged the formation of a national unity government, but there was no hint of what of anything they had agreed about Iran. AFP

The Ministry of Culture has lifted a ban on the Iranian film The Colour Purple. a political drama directed by Ebrahim Hatamikia. payvand

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