Iran: Global Protests, Vice President Sacked, Team Googoosh and Ganji, & more

1. Global protests over Iranian crackdown: “Protesters in dozens of cities worldwide on Saturday demanded the release of hundreds of detainees in Iran who were arrested in the bloody aftermath of the Islamic republic’s disputed presidential election. Saturday’s global day of action across about 100 cities in six continents was organized by United For Iran and supported by several human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders. In London, England, protesters waved green flags and wore green wristbands — the color is symbolic of the opposition movement in Iran. The British protesters outside the Iranian Embassy in London wanted to show solidarity for those Iranians ‘who feel too intimidated, too fearful’ to go back out on the streets to protest, reported CNN Correspondent Paula Newton.”

2. Iran vice-president ‘sacked’: “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, has bowed to pressure and dismissed Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, his choice for the key post of first vice president, Iranian media has reported. The decision on Friday came after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, ordered Ahmadinejad to reverse his decision regarding Mashaie who had been under fire for comments he made last year in which he was quoted as saying Iranians could be friends with anyone, including Israelis.” [You know these are troubling times when Khamenei is intervening in politics as much as he has been doing lately.]

3. Googoosh and Akbar Ganji make common cause: Read the story here. Watch the video here.
4. Iran accused of ‘Zionist’ tactics: “A letter to Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei posted on Mr Karroubi’s website says that “women were attacked with clubs and beaten and thrown in the gutters” during the protests. ‘This is more painful in comparison to crimes committed by the Zionists against the oppressed people of Palestine… The Zionist aggressors have some reservations when it comes to confronting women.'”

5. Closing Ranks Behind Ahmadinejad: “High-ranking clerics from both sides of Iran’s political spectrum stepped up sharp warnings against each other’s camps, while hard-liners continued to simmer over the appointment of a controversial aide to the inner circle of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But a majority of the Assembly of Experts, a powerful committee that oversees the office of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a statement today declaring support for him and Ahmadinejad’s presidency, a blow for moderate cleric Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is a supporter of the opposition camp and hoped to rally clerical support against hard-liners.”
6. Russian Planes Kill: “A passenger plane burst into flames and skidded off the runway as it was landing in a northeastern city, killing 17 people, said the state news agency. Footage from PressTV showed the front end of the plane had been sheared off, leaving mangled wreckage where the cockpit had once been. The Russian-made Ilyushin plane from the privately owned Aria Airlines was carrying 153 passengers and flew from the capital Tehran to the northeastern city of Mashhad, 600 miles (1,000km) away. On 15 July, another Iranian passenger plane crashed soon after take off, killing 168 people on board.”

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