The Latest from Iran (9 November): Nuclear Sideshow and Political Main Event

2100 GMT: At the Movies. Reza Allamehzadeh has directed a new film, „The Iranian Taboo„, about persecution of members of the Baha’i faith.

1730 GMT: Nuke Watch. Weakest reporting today on the IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear programme?

Well, The New York Times tries hard to claim the award. The headline is straightforward, „Iran Escalates Anti-U.S. Rhetoric Over Nuclear Report“, but theTimes slaps on a psychological evaluation that „Iran’s leaders [are] clearly worried that the long-awaited report, released Tuesday by the International Atomic Energy Agency, could sway world opinion and deepen Iran’s isolation“.

As for the report, there is absolutely no consideration of it apart from the dubious assurance that it is „buttressed by voluminous evidence not previously disclosed“ — most of the information has been put out in previous IAEA reports or in „leaks“ from officials — and that it „concluded that Iran had been secretly engaged in behaviors that suggested it was seeking to construct a nuclear weapon“ and „also asserted that Iran may be researching ways to deliver a nuclear weapon via a missile warhead“.

1720 GMT: All the President’s (Arrested) Men. An EA correspondent offers further information on Enayatollah Riahi, the relative of Presidential Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai who has been arrested.

Riahi is Vice President of Iran’s European Economic Chamber. According to Taamol News, Riahilived in the US, pursuing American-Iranian relations on behalf of Rahim-Mashai. He was also named in the alleged financial irregularities over land development deals on Kish Island.

1710 GMT: CyberWatch. The head of the Basij militia within State broadcaster IRIB has said that the Basij social network will be launched this year.

1652 GMT: Larijanis v. the President. A week is a long time in politics….

Just over a week ago, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani was playing the role of saviour for President Ahmadinejad, telling the Majlis — in the name of the Supreme Leader — not to approve the impeachment of Minister of Economy Shamseddin Hosseini.

Yesterday Larijani was declaring that Ahmadinejad was an indecent rascal without manners or honour (see 0740 GMT). And today the Deputy Head of Parliament’s Research Center was saying that Larijani, far from being committed to the acquittal of the Minister of Economy, had „suddenly changed his mind“.

Then there is Sadegh Larijani. The head of the judiciary has replied to last Thursday’s Presidential speech of a „final confrontation“ within the Iranian establishment, saying, „There is no justification for destroying the judiciary, some should hold their tongue“.

Effectively replying to Ahmadinejad’s warning that he could reveal wrongdoers over the $2.6 billion bank fraud, Sadegh Larijani said, „My chest is full of stories which I keep for myself to save unity, but I’ll speak out and say who planned it if necessary.“

1522 GMT: Spy Watch. Zohra Elahian, the pro-Ahmadinejad head of Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, has claimed that Israel’s Mossad, the CIA, and Britain’s MI6 have set up spy bases on Iran’s borders with five neighbouring countries.

Meanwhile, Davood Ahmadinejad, the brother of the President, has a far different story of intrigue: he claims the head of the „deviant current“ unsettling Iranian politics co-operated with the British Government from 1997 to 2005, meeting Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Ahmadinejad says he has the documents to back up the allegation.

1520 GMT: Blackout. Tehran’s Carpet Museum has reportedly shut its doors because of escalating power bills.

1515 GMT: Elite Watch. Digarban passes on a

Jahan News

jabbing at the trend of „cultural aghazadeh“, children who enter the cultural arena through a „phone call by their father“.


The story, however, has disappeared from Jahan News.

1445 GMT: Mousavi Watch. Iranian security forces have raided the offices of 2009 Presidential candidate and opposition figure Mir Hossein Mousavi, currently under strict house arrest, for the second time this week.

1415 GMT: Parliament v. President. Parliament’s Energy Commission has announced that it will report on the Government’s violations in its subsidy cuts plan.

1215 GMT: Nuke Watch. A hat tip to Barbara Slavin, whose concise article parallels our analysis. Slavin summarises, „A new report on Iran’s nuclear programme provides substantial evidence that Iran carried out extensive research into how to make a nuclear weapon prior to 2003 but is shaky about how much work has continued.“

1203 GMT: The Battle Within. A bit more on our report yesterday that a relative of Presidential Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai has been arrested in connection with the $2.6 billion bank fraud.

Although Iran Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei did not give the name of the accused, only the initials „E.R.“, the report in Mehr identifies him as Enayatollah Riahi.

1113 GMT: Nuke Watch. We have just posted the first part of a special analysis, dissecting the IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear programme. Meanwhile, the politics is already overtaking the document:

President Ahmadinejad has launched a defiant attack in a live speech on State TV: „You should know that this nation will not pull back even a needle’s width from the path it is on. Why do you damage the agency’s dignity because of America’s invalid claims?“

Earlier, the President in published comments had called Agency head Yukiya Amano an instrument of Washington: „They have empowered a person in the IAEA that has no authority and violates the agency’s rules by repeating the words of the US.“

The President said Iran did not need an atomic bomb to „cut off [the] US’s hands“. He continued, „TheIranian nation is wise. It won’t build two bombs against 20,000 (nuclear) bombs you have. But it builds something you can’t respond to: Ethics, decency, monotheism and justice,“

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s envoy to the Agency, added, „The IAEA report is unbalanced, unprofessional and politically motivated….[It does] not contain any new issue.“

Meanwhile — as we expected — the US and its allies have moved quickly to turn the IAEA report into political and economic action. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Paris wants to convene the UN Security Council for further measures against Iran: „If Iran refuses to conform to the demands of the international community and refuses any serious cooperation, we stand ready to adopt, with other willing countries, sanctions on an unprecedented scale,“

0843 GMT: The Battle Within. Another conflict emerges — Iran’s Hezbollah organisation has attacked State broadcaster IRIB as the „most lawless organisation“ in the country, claiming that the Supreme Leader appoints IRIB’s head but has no say in its affairs.

Complaining that its people are removed from the broadcaster, Hezbollah — drawing on the : statement of former IRIB host Vahid Yaminpour — claimed that IRIB evades responsibility and that its „defaults“ are no less than the $2.6 billion bank fraud.

0840 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Student activist Mohammad Habiba of Tehran University’s Faculty of Engineering was arrested last Sunday at his home.

0835 GMT: Picture of the Day. It has been snowing in Tehran:

0830 GMT: Clerical Intervention. Mohsen Doagou, the Friday Prayer leader in Shemiranat near Tehran,offers some interesting remarks to the reformist paper Shargh.

The cleric says that „whoever believes reformists have died in society should visit a doctor“ and declares, „Filtered reformist sites are more attractive to people, who use proxies to visit them.“ He continues, „You cannot imprison political ideas. Political prisoners do not bring honour to any government.“

0820 GMT: Oil Watch. Minister of Oil Rustam Qassemi continues to scramble to fulfil his promise to make Iran self-sufficient in energy production. Having declared last week that work at the South Pars field would now be round-the-clock, the Minister admitted on Tuesday that the oil sector lacks $100 billion investment promised by the 5th Budget Plan for 2010-2015 and said he will support private sector purchases of refineries abroad.

0800 GMT: The Declaration of the Intellectuals. Muhammad Sahimi posts the English translation of the statement by 120 expatriate Iranian intellectuals — the concluding paragraphs are notable not only for their response to the recent „war chatter“ and Iran’s nuclear programme, but also for their answer to the recent criticism of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the Green Movement did not seek US assistance after the 2009 Presidential election:


The voices of protests against the policy of oppression and repression [of the people] by the Islamic Republic are rising everywhere, from inside and outside Iran. It is not appropriate for the gathering of some of the opposition [to the regime] to be organized with the help of the foreigners, or be driven by the interests and goals of foreign powers. There should be no secret activities behind closed doors, away from oversight of the people, and without participation of all the opposition forces that are involved in the struggle for democracy and human rights in Iran. 

We the signatories of this letter ask everyone to avoid falling in the dual trap of [a false choice between] „either the Velaayat-e Faqih [Iran’s system of clerical supremacy] or the New Middle East,“ and be alert, and warn others, about both the policy of repression of the regime and the danger of military attacks by foreign powers. Due to the national interests of our country, we stress that the government of the Islamic Republic should take steps to help the International Atomic Energy Agency and international monitors to remove all ambiguities from our country’s nuclear program, so as not to give any excuse for the threat of war and destruction. We ask all the free thinking and researchers of the world to reveal both the vast corruption of the Velaayat-e Faghih system and the destructive results of worldwide militarism.


0740 GMT: We have posted the text of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest report on the Iranian nuclear report, and we have offered a snap analysis: „The IAEA Nuclear Report — Serious, But Not That Serious„. Later today, we will have a longer interpretation putting our point, „An Indefinite Report for the Definite Sanctions Campaign“.

Meanwhile, however, we would like to keep focus on the main event inside Iran. Unsurprisingly, none of the international media who were poring over the spin on the report — if not the document itself — noticed the latest volleys in the fight between President Ahmadinejad and his rivals within the Iranian establishment.

Both former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani bluntly told Ahmadinejad — even if Larijani did not name him — that they would not stand for the President’s threats. Larijani’s criticism turned to insult: with the challenge of his speech last Thursady, Ahmadinejad was crudely trying to agitate the people, showing the „indecent behaviour of a rascal, a certain political person who does have sufficient manners or honour“.


Veröffentlicht am 9. November 2011 in Empfehlungen, Medien, Meinungen, Politik und mit , , , , , , , , , , getaggt. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink. Kommentare deaktiviert für The Latest from Iran (9 November): Nuclear Sideshow and Political Main Event.

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