MEANWHILE IN IRAN

Rafsanjani Calls for Release of Prisoners

Iranian opposition demonstrators were pushed back by security forces with tear gas and batons on Friday, as tens of thousands of Iranians gathered downtown for a sermon by the former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Rafsanjani was, however, "more conciliatory than confrontational," according to Time, though he called for the release of protesters from jail and said Iran was "in crisis." Mir Hossein Mousavi also appeared at the sermon, causing chants of support to break out in the crowd. There hasn't been an opposition rally since July 9, and, according to BBC, this could be an important moment in the confrontation between Ahmedinejad's new government and that of the opposition. At least 15 were arrested, including the leading women's rights advocate and lawyer Shadi Sadr, who was "beaten and dragged into a car in front of a crowd of her friends."