Ahmadinejad sworn in as protest leaders boycott ceremony; Bloody weekend as troops killed in Afghanistan; Plague hits China; Israeli foriegn minister faces indictment; and more
Top of the Agenda: Ahmadinejad’s Second Term
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei formally endorsed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection (NYT) on Monday. His disputed election over opposition candidate Mir Hossein-Mousavi has spurred massive political unrest lasting nearly two months.
Opposition leaders and some senior Iranian political figures mostly avoided the endorsement ceremony, including Mousavi and former presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami. According to PRESS TV, leaders from the three branches of Iranian government were in attendance, including Secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, an unsuccessful conservative presidential candidate who at one time questioned the election’s outcome.
The endorsement ceremony comes a day after Iran began the trial of 100 one hundred reformists who object to the reelection of Ahmadinejad. The trial faces wide condemnation (Reuters) from opposition leaders, including Khatami, who said it would “directly harm the system and further damage public trust.”
Reformist figure and former vice president Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who is charged with involvement in the protests, testified that he has changed his opinion of the election (Telegraph), and that he now believes the “issue of fraud…was a lie.” Opposition leaders said Abtahi was coerced into making that statement through torture.
On NPR, Farideh Farhi, an Iranian specialist at the University of Hawaii, says the protest movement has ultimately been directed at Khamenei, because he has "chosen to take responsibility not only for the fraud that occurred during the election, but also by threatening violence after the election and actually implementing violence after the election."
GlobalPost correspondent Iason Athanasiadis, who reported on the demonstrations in Iran and was imprisoned for three weeks, writes about Iranian journalists who remain in jail.
This CFR Backgrounder looks at new questions about the role and power of the Iranian president raised since Ahmadinejad’s reelection.
PACIFIC RIM: Three Hundred Arrested in China
Chinese police arrested more than three hundred (Bloomberg) in connection with last month’s ethnic clashes between Uighurs and Han Chinese in Xinjiang province. Authorities encouraged the public to turn in those involved in the clashes.
China Plague: Thousands of people are quarantined in northwest China after two people died of pneumonic plague (Xinhua). The World Health Organization said the spread of the plague should be relatively easy to contain due to the area’s sparse population.
Malaysia: An estimated 15,000 people demonstrated (Sun Daily) in Kuala Lumpur against the Internal Security Act, which allows people to be detained without trial. Police used tear gas and water cannons to break up the protest, and arrested more than 580 demonstrators. Most of them were released on Monday. Prime Minister Najib Razak said he had already agreed to review the law.
Reuters has a Q&A on the protest.
Insurgents kill NATO troops in Afghanistan
Police recommend indicting Israeli foreign minister
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org