Rafsanjani, one of the main organizers of the Islamic Revolution, was the most powerful official in Iran at the time of Khomeini’s 1989 death. He remained so for at least four years as Khamenei, who was named to replace Khomeini, built up a power base among the security agencies and the Revolutionary Guards.
Rafsanjani, 75, who heads the Assembly of Experts, a clerical body which has the power to appoint or dismiss the supreme leader, is likely to try dislodge Khamenei, 69, said Anoush Ehteshami, a professor of international relations at Durham University in the U.K.
“Rafsanjani is being forced to come out into the open,” said Ehteshami. “The arrest of his family members is a direct challenge to him.”
The Rafsanjani family members, including his daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, were detained late June 19 in connection with the protests, the state-run Fars news agency said.
While the British Broadcasting Corp.’s Persian service reported that family members were released late last night, Iran’s state-run Press TV says Rafsanjani’s daughter, seen on state television addressing demonstrators at a protest, remains in custody. Rafsanjani is a behind-the-scenes supporter of Mousavi.
[ from – ]
Split Deepens Within Iran Regime as Rafsanjani Family Targeted
By Henry Meyer
June 22 (Bloomberg) — Splits within Iran’s ruling elite deepened, with police arresting family members of an ex- president and a former nuclear negotiator saying most Iranians questioned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s electoral victory.
Security forces detained five relatives of former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of the most influential politicians in the country, state media said yesterday.
(from CNN article – )
A spokesman for the Guardian Council, Iran’s election authority, told state television that Wednesday is the last day it can recount the votes disputed by candidates. The council earlier had said it received more than 600 complaints of irregularities from the three candidates.
[ etc. ]
The message came a day after hospital sources said 19 people were killed in clashes between anti-government protesters and police. Unconfirmed reports put the death toll as high as 150.
[ . . . ]
Thousands of riot police and members of the Basij militia lined the streets of the city, according to eyewitnesses. Security personnel surrounded the headquarters of the country’s state television and radio.
[there’s more – and pictures, video, and IReports ]
Riot police out in force in Tehran
updated 10 minutes ago
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN)
(also from this article – )
“Police have not been given permission to use firearms in confronting protesters, Tehran Police Chief Azizollah Rajabpour told Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency. Police have not used firearms on the public, he said. Allegations to the contrary are false and “spread by those who want to muddy the waters,” the agency reported.”
[ – this is obviously a lie since there are currently at least 19 confirmed deaths including shootings by police, riot police, state police and secret police / military in Iran captured in video during the protests. Do they not know the rest of the world can see what they are doing? – my note]
TEHRAN, June 19 (UPI) — Iran’s defense ministry claims that it has reverse-engineered the MIM-23B Hawk surface-to-air missile manufactured by the Raytheon Corp. and is producing the system to bolster sits defenses against possible US or Israeli air strikes.
Iran’s state-run media reported that the defense minister, Gen. Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, formally inaugurated the production line on June 6. The Iranians call their new missile the Shahin, which means Hawk in Farsi.
Iran claims SAM breakthrough
Published: June 19, 2009 at 6:27 PM
(more from this article – )
In the meantime, The Iranians have been hardening their missile silos against airstrikes and restructuring their military forces to improve air defense.
Gen. Ahmed Mighani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the main Iranian military force which controls Iran’s ballistic missiles, announced Feb. 16 that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had ordered the formation of a separate air-defense command within the armed forces to coordinate operations to repel airstrikes.
The Iranians have been pressing Moscow to provide the more advanced truck-mounted S-300PMU-1/2 missiles (NATO designation SA-20). The S300 is considered to be one of the world’s most advanced air-defense systems.
[there’s more in this article of great interest including the ranges of these military equipment types – see link above]
June 22, 2009
Iran’s Air Force starts maneuvers Monday
Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN – Iran will carry out an air maneuver today to strengthen the operational might of the air force.
The air exercise that is called “”Milad-e-Noure-Velayat”” aims at increasing the logistical power and jet fighters’ capability.
Fueling and refueling operations will also be carried out during the air show.
The fighters will fly at low altitude at a distance of 700 km over the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. They will test new ammunition that was produced by the Air Force.
The reconnaissance and surveillance aircrafts will also be used during the war game.
This maneuver is to promote the efficiency of the Air Force personnel in loading the ammunition into the fighters.
The Air Force also carried out a war game named ‘Ra’ad 2’ over the Persian Gulf waters and the Sea of Oman earlier this year in which the war planes flew distances of approximately 2000 kilometers.
The Army carries out war games on a regular basis in order to enhance coordination among its different forces and to test the newly developed military weapons produced by the country as well