The Latest from Iran: Back to Political Sniping?

1448 GMT: James Miller is back, and he provides a Cross-post from the Syria liveblog:

Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Saleh warned the „outsiders“ and called on Damascus to recognise the „legitimate demands“ of its people. He said:

The government should answer to the demands of its people, be it Syria, Yemen or other countries.

The people of these nations have legitimate demands and the governments should reply to these demands as soon as possible.

Syria is an important link in the resistance chain [against Israel] and some want to cut off this link in the chain. A vacuum in the Syrian regime would have an unpredictable impact for the region and its neighbours.

1240 GMT: Limited Time Offer. Mansur Arzi, the regime „eulogist“ who said last week that he would pay anyone who killed President Ahmadinejad’s Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, has said the offer is only open until the end of Ramadan.

1125 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Perhaps the most significant show on Friday was the visit of the Cabinet to the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini — President Ahmadinejad declared that his Government would withstand political pressures.

Present for the occasion was Ahmadinejad’s controversial right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai after a long absence from public events.

An EA correspondent ponders, „This cabinet trip is as much as a show as Ahmadnejad’s fierce anti-Israeli statements yesterday — an attempt to gain support of the clergy?“

1120 GMT: Reformist Watch. Former President Mohammad Khatami has asserted that „the wave of demand for freedom will surely seize all tyrannies and dictators“, as people have woken up and want free elections and popular governments.

1115 GMT: At the Bazaar. Aftab reports that some cloth vendors at the Tehran Bazaar are continuing their strike, which began last month, over the Government’s value-added taxes.

Khabar Online writes that the strike is spreading to other parts of the Bazaar.

1110 GMT: Quds Day Photo Challenge. An EA source writes, „Checked out all photos from Mehr and Fars News yesterday — not a single shot of Azadi Square (the gathering point for the largest mass rallies in Tehran)“.

Anyone have further info for the challenge?

1050 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The Guardian highlights the case of journalist and activist Kouhyar Goudarzi, re-arrested last month by plainclothes security forces.

Goudarzi, a prominent member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, was seized at a friend’s house in Tehran on 31 July, but officials are not even acknowledging that he is being held.

Gourdarzi’s mother, Parvin Mokhtareh, was detained the next day in the Kerman in southern Iran, accused of insulting the Supreme Leader, spreading propaganda against the regime, and acting against national security. Amnesty International said the charges stemmed from an interview Mokhtareh gave when Goudarzai was imprisoned in 2010.

Goudarzi was previously arrested after the disputed 2009 Presidential election. He was initially accused of moharebeh (war against God), which carries a death sentence, but was convicted of „spreading propaganda against the regime“ and sentenced to a year in prison.

Released in December 2010, Goudarzi won the National Press Club award for his human rights activities.

1040 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Syrian Front). In another sign of Tehran’s shifting position towards the Syrian conflict, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has said the Assad regime should recognise the „legitimate demands“ of its people.

In an interview with the Iranian Students News Agency, Salehi asserted, „The government should answer to the demands of its people, be it Syria, Yemen or other countries. The people of these nations have legitimate demands and the governments should reply to these demands as soon as possible….We believe that the developments in the region [of North Africa and the Middle East] emanate from discontent and dissatisfaction in these countries.“

Since the Syrian uprising begin on 15 March, Iranian officials and media have generally remained silent about the death toll — claimed by activists to be more than 2200 civilians — while expressing support for the Syrian regime and warning against any change that would benefit the „Zionists“ of Israel. There have been allegations of Iranian security services and military advising Damascus on the control of the protests.

On Thursday, President Ahmadinejad for the first time called for dialogue between the Assad regime and the opposition.

Salehi, while pointing to the new Iranian position, did warn against regime change: „A vacuum in the Syrian regime would have an unpredictable impact for the region and its neighbours.“

1030 GMT: The House Arrests. Fatemeh Karroubi, under strict arrest with her husband Mehdi Karroubi,has spoken of their conditions. She says they are in separated from each other in small, one-bedroom apartments and deprived of all essential rights as fresh air, books, and contacts.

Fatemeh Karroubi says that, despite the conditions, Mehdi Karroubi — a former Speaker of Parliament, 2009 Presidential candidate, and leading figure in the challenge to the regime after that election — remains in „good and strong“ spirits.

The Karroubis were cut off from the world, with security forces occupying their apartment, in mid-February.

0945 GMT: A Day Later. A very quiet post-Quds Day atmosphere, despite Press TV’s boiler-plate declaration of „millions took to the streets across the country to denounce Israel’s atrocities against the Palestinian people and voice their anger at world hegemony and Israeli policies“.

Indeed, the telling sign of the state of Iran may be that the pro-Ahmadinejad State news agency IRNA is back to a focus on economic reassurance. The lead story is the claim of the Ministry of Energy, Majid Namjoo, that electrical generating capacity is up more than 30%, while other top articles include a declaration that the wheat harvest will be plentiful and that cement capacity has reached 100 million tons.Press TV chips in that „Iran has launched the first domestically- run production line of carbon fiber, a strategic material used in defense systems as well as civilian projects“.

0714 GMT: Programming Note. With Scott Lucas back in Dixie, updates will be sporadic for a few hours while the rest of the EA staff tries to squeeze in a few hours of sleep. Thanks for the patience, and please leave comments and news below.

So, International Al Quds Day is over. With the „Death to Israel, Death to America“ chants out of their system (or at least put back in the desk drawer for a while), will the regime return to the political sniping that has characterized Iran’s news for the last several months?

Veröffentlicht am 28. August 2011 in Gesetze, Medien, Politik und mit , , , , getaggt. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink. Kommentare deaktiviert für The Latest from Iran: Back to Political Sniping?.

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