Iran: Rafsanjani to give Friday sermon, Ahmadinejad to speak in Cairo, & more

1. Rafsanjani to give Friday sermon, Mousavi and Khatami to attend: “The semiofficial Iranian Labor News Agency reported Sunday that Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani will deliver the nation’s weekly keynote religious sermon. Rafsanjani, who chairs powerful boards that oversee the office of the supreme leader and adjudicate disputes between government bodies, is the highest-profile backer of opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who lost to Ahmadinejad in an election marred by allegations of vote-rigging. Mousavi’s Facebook page said that he and his ally, former President Mohammad Khatami, would attend the prayer sermon. The Facebook page invited supporters who poured into the streets in recent weeks to attend, though Mousavi’s website,, carried no such announcement. News of the return of reformists and moderates to the official Friday prayer ceremony could serve as a challenge to hard-liners, led by supreme leader Ali Khamenei, on their home turf. Alternately, it could be a sign that the two sides have brokered a truce in their continuing political conflict. The election and subsequent demonstrations, attended by hundreds of thousands of Iranians, have led to numerous deaths and arrests.”

2. Has Ahmadinejad lost his global following?: “For 30 years, Iran has cast itself as a leader of resistance to Israeli and Western policies, and few of its leaders have done as much for that image as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Under Mr. Ahmadinejad, Iran’s ‘resistance’ brand has gone global, challenging Western hegemony in the name of defending the globally downtrodden and winning allies from Lebanon to Venezuela while drawing harsh criticism from the United States. But analysts say Iran’s resistance image has been challenged by Ahmadinejad’s controversial June 12 reelection, after which hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the street to protest what they say is a fradulent vote. Even so, the idea of ‘resistance’ is hard-wired into the Islamic Republic, and many expect the president to strongly reassert it by turning up verbal attacks on Israel and the West.”

3. Israeli Warships Send Signal to Iran: “Two Israeli warships have sailed through the Suez Canal between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, Israeli and Egyptian officials say. Israeli media described the passage of the two Saar class missile boats as a ‘message’ to Iran.”

4. Defeated Conservative Warns of Iran Disintegration: “The defeated conservative candidate in Iran‘s disputed presidential election warned the government and opposition protesters that more postelection turmoil could lead to the country’s disintegration. In remarks published on his Web site late Sunday, Mohsen Rezaei urged the other two defeated candidates — both of them reformists — to drop their push for a new vote and work with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The former commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guard may be trying to position himself as a neutral figure in the dispute who could work to bring Iran’s divided camps together.”

5. “Bush Deserves More Credit on Iran”??? It’s almost as if this former Cheney adviser is taking credit for the demonstrations in Iran. Read the article here.
6. Israelis Speak about Iranians… “Fuck ’em”: See the video here.

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