7:41 pm: Open Letter by Shirin Ebadi to Ahmadinejad – Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi sent an open letter to President Ahmadinejad on Sunday requesting the removal of a ban placed on the operation of her human rights organization, and an end to pressures on civil, political and human rights activists by governmental officials in his administration.

The honorable President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
With a brief examination of the pressures and limitations placed on myself and the members of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, any objective onlooker will understand the level of pressure your government has placed on the defenders of human rights in Iran and the illegal and inhumane treatment you have imposed on them. These extreme pressures have taken place despite the fact that our government in line with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, voted and adopted by the UN members including Iran in 1999, has committed to cooperate with human rights defenders, and to provide them with immunity from prosecution with respect to their human rights activities.
I would like to only address a portion of the pressures which we as human rights defenders have faced in the past 6 months:

Read the full letter here (English).
7:37 pm: Tweets:

“Important: Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, lawyer and member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center has been arrested.”

“Mohammad Reza Yazdan Panah member of the Participation Front has been arrested.”

7:34 pm: Mothers protesting the arrest of their loved ones in front of Evin Prison
7:32 pm: People boycott SMS – According to Etemademeli, SMS customers in Tehran are discussing the boycott of SMS “for a long time” in order to protest its disconnection for several weeks.  “83% of the phone company’s shareholders believe stopping SMS service increases risk and lowers revenues of the company…SMS is one of the most important sources of revenue for this company.”  After the SMS was back in service, one message was sent which said “God freed SMS” but after that no messages were sent.  “Even the time passing and father’s day coming did not change the decision of the protesting people” and unlike last year, no one used this service to send greeting messages on Imam Ali’s birthday anniversary.
7:09 pm: Key points of Ahmadinejad’s speech:
The following summary was posted by an Iranian-American professor to an Iran-centric list-serve. For those who speak Persian and are interested in watching the complete speech, watch it here:

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.2910926&w=425&h=350&fv=]

In his speech Ahmadinejad addressed three topics:
1. Elections: He repeats his position that the recent elections were the freest in the world and that as a result Iran has acquired more prestige and power.
2. Domestic policy: In this part he gave the most conciliatory speech he has given for a long time. He mentioned that his next cabinet will be different because the new era is different from the past and therefore it requires significant changes. He continues that he would retain some of the members of his present cabinet but would replace others who are not suited for the challenges ahead. He promised an emphasis on creation of new jobs to address the unemployment challenge. He promised to safeguard the rights of people. He said that he is emphatically against police tactics in the area of culture and that he will do his best to create a free environment. He said that he had given notices to ministry of interior, judiciary, and the security institutions against the use of police tactics. He said that freedom is a principle and a society must be free otherwise it will die. He said that he is against reactionary policies. But he added that there has to be a balance between freedom and order (moral and physical). He then addressed the youth and said that the Iranian youth come from all backgrounds and have different tastes and that fact has to be respected. No one should impose their tastes on others especially on the youth. The youth have to be trusted. He then ask for active participation of all in building the country.
3. Foreign policy: Here he once again supported an active foreign policy for Iran by arguing that Iran needs to challenge the international power structure that so far has been controlled by few actors. He started by disagreeing with those who argue that Iran should first address its domestic problems by rebuilding itself before getting involved in world affairs. His position was that the international structure of power is such that a weak country can’t build itself if it will remain at the mercy of a minority of powerful actors who rule over the world by designing the rules, standard, and structures for the international regime, and who can change these rules and structures according to their own interest. He then continued that weak countries will never succeed in following a genuine developmental path because that minority in the international scene will not allow it. Therefore, in order to develop domestically the country should make itself be heard at the international arena through an assertive presence at the managerial levels of the international structure. He then, without naming names criticized the powerful enemies who have always meddled in Iranian affairs accusing them of interfering in the latest set of post-election events. And once again he repeated what he mentioned a few weeks ago that Iran is ready to have dialogue for peace and justice but that Iran will do it with dignity by taking its proper place in the world. He finished his talk by saying that the time of empire has passed and that the international regime has to become genuinely democratic.

3:31 pm: : State media: “Mousavi is a bully; his political party illegal” – Kayhan, a state-run newspaper supporting Ahmadinejad, said today that the defeated camp “is a combination of law breaking, bullying and cooperation with sworn enemies of this country.”  According to Kayhan, Mousavi, Khatami and Karroubi’s meeting on Monday “resulted in nothing but baseless and repetitive whining and also the discussions about the necessity to end arrests of political activists – read leaders of the turmoil.”  Kayhan also claimed that the political party Mousavi is planning to form is “illegal and 100% rejected” because the “prerequisite of a party is the political health of its creators which does not even exist at the slightest in the movement supporting Mousavi and Khatami.”
2:48 pm: The Islamic Participation Front party issued a statement today, protesting the continuation of cruel arrests of political activists:

“What kind of nasty game are you playing?”
The instigators of the coup d’état against the republican aspect of the regime, in their opinion, want to destroy the base of the great and deep-rooted reformist movement by eliminating faithful and pure elements from the social sphere; unaware of the fact that today, reform is the desire of the majority of this nation.
Illegal arrests and the treatment of detainees is not within the framework of law, religion, ethics or fairness…and it shows the fact that a group, who intended to reach their ancient dream of eliminating republicanism with a velvet revolution, want to destroy the root of all legal political and social movements.  They try to misrepresent the realities of the Iranian society…and in this process they first targeted renowned political figures and then did not spare the student, professor, cleric, artist, old, young, man and woman.
Today, what concerns those who care about this country deeply is the publication of a wave of vague news and heedless positions and psychological attempts in state media which portray the prisoners’ claims as baseless…and demonstrate illegal and inhumane processes for getting confessions…
At a time when this force speaks of rule of law, it not only denies prisoners basic human rights but also refuses to inform the families of the detainees of their health status.  This is what concerns us deeply.  If there are no malicious acts occurring in the prison, why do they insist on keeping the innocent families of a helpless prisoner in dark?
In a country which thinks of itself at the source of [Imam] Ali’s justice…why is it not possible to pursue the minimum human rights of the families of detainees….on the birthday anniversary of the Imam of justice and fairness? What kind of a nasty game have the arresters started that not only they harm their prisoners physically, but also torture them emotionally day and night? Is this the Alavi (descendent of Imam Ali) justice and Mohammad’s Islam? Is this the gift of the rulers to the nation at beginning of the decade of justice and progress? Is this religious populism?
The Islamic Iran Participation Front is repulsed by these behaviors…and sees all the authorities, who know about this and do not do anything, as responsible for the consequences of these behaviors.
In addition to protesting the violation of political prisoners’ rights, the Islamic Iran Participation Front believes the first priority at this time is to protect the lives of the prisoners and ensuring their mental and physical health…
Islamic Iran Participation Front, in a security environment where no legal entity take responsibility to respond…calls on all civil and legal agencies to fulfill their humane and legal roles and asks all international organizations…and freedom lovers of the world to act on their historical responsibility to save these freedom-seeking prisoners.
Islamic Iran Participation Front particularly expresses its deep concern about the health of respectable detainees including Saeed Hajarian, Mustafa Tajzadeh, Behzad Nabavi, Mohsem Aminzadeh, Mohsem Mirdamadi, and Abdullah Ramezanzadeh and prays to the benevolent and merciful god for immediate release of all the detainees and patience for their families.

1:24 pm: [Updated] House trying to reinstate Iran “regime change” fund – Under the Bush administration, Congress appropriated up to $75 million–under the guise of “democracy assistance”–for regime change in Iran.  The money, some of which went to legitimate democracy organizations, played right into the hands of the hardliners in Iran who used it as justification for clamping down on all types of activism.  Even worse, the existence of the program tainted any and all civil society activists in Iran as “agents of the West” and effectively painted a target on their backs.  Ultimately, the overwhelming message that civil society activists in Iran sent to the US was: if you want to help us, stop sending us money.
But just now, as the House gets ready to consider the 2010 State Department and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, members of Congress are proposing amendments that will reinstate the regime change slush fund.

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Amendment #59: Would increase by $65 million funding for Economic Support Funds for democracy assistance to the people of Iran to compensate for cuts in democracy assistance to Iran, given recent events.

Not only would this repeat one of the most costly mistakes the Bush administration made on Iran, but it would do so at exactly the time when the Iranian people are at their most vulnerable.  Hopefully Congress–which has passionately supported the Iranian people–will know better than to cut the legs out from under them once again.
12:57 pm: Iranian Commander says 500 demonstrators still detained
Over 2,000 individuals have been arrested since the start of the demonstrations, 500 of which remain in detention, according to the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces.  He said, “we will release 100 of the arrested within the next two days.”  “The reason that the remainder of the arrested have not been released is due to the fact that many of them have committed acts of property damage and hence they must face prosecution,” he added.
12:51 pm: Prayer session scheduled for political prisoners

Mousavi’s website Mowj announced a prayer session that has been scheduled in honor of recent detainees and political prisoners.  The session will be held tomorrow after the evening prayer at Dar al-Zahra Cultural Institute.  Families and interested individuals are invited to pray for the freedom of the detainees.
12:47 pm: 15 soccer players have been arrested since election

The deputy director of the Iranian Football Federation announced that, in the wake of the disputed elections, 15 soccer players have been arrested for “attitude problems,” according to Amir Kabir Newsletter. Their article doesn’t say what the current status of the players is.
11:38 am: Rafsanjani still missing from Friday prayers
According to BBC Persian, Hashemi Rafsanjani will for the fourth consecutive week not attend the Friday prayer. This week’s Friday prayer will be held by Mohammad Emamy Kashany. Rafsanjani has previously stated, “I don’t know any conscious person that is satisfied with the way things are.”
11:04 am:Arrests must stop immediately and detainees must be freed” – Karroubi, Khatami and Mousavi met on Monday in their first joint meeting since the election.
The meeting which was held at Mousavi’s office was designed to formulate a coalition that seeks the release of those arrested and also to establish a council that aims to follow up with those who have been wounded.
According to Ghalam News, “the attacks on innocent people, dorms and peoples’ homes were strongly criticized and examples of viciousness by the plainclothes agents who are supported by the security forces were reviewed.”  In this meeting, “the regrettable speech of a Friday prayer speaker, who approved of the inhumane, illegal and anti-Sharia behaviors such as false confessions, was also discussed and it was said that this is how the pagan Arabs treated people such as the Ammar Yasir (one of the four of the companions of the prophet) and it is strange that a preacher who should be the protector of Islamic values, is proud of and approving of such behavior.”
“All three individuals have been appalled by the recent events and the treatment of their fellow Iranians, desired to formulate a network that provides a greater voice to those who have been physically and mentally harmed.”
At the end of the meeting, Dr. Alireza Beheshti, Dr. Moqadam, Mr. Alviri and Dr. Amini were selected to follow up on issues relating to the detainees and the families of the martyrs and injured.
10:07 am: On the front page of today’s Etemadmeli (Karroubi’s official newspaper) is Karroubi’s office number in which individuals can use for reporting on the conditions or facts about arrested, wounded or tortured individuals.
The office also aims to operate as a ‘help line’ for those who have been physically or mentally hurt as a result of beatings, arrests and torture.
The number, which should only be used by those in Iran, is: +9821-2271-3135
10:02 am: Editorial cartoons of the day:

9:39 am: Mousavi’s campaign slams state media; tells truth about Obama
Mousavi’s facebook page has a video [Persian] that exposes how Iranian state media has intentionally mistranslated President Obama’s statements in an attempt to portray them as “foreign agents.” This  shows the value of President Obama’s deliberate approach of condemning the violence while being careful not to lend any credence to the government’s claim that demonstrations are the work of meddling foreigners. The state media can lie, but the people will find out the truth.
9:26 am:
Fasle 2
Mousavi’s facebook page released another poster for tomorrow’s demonstrations. It’s called “Second Season,” indicating that the movement is not over yet, and that the second season has only begun. On the poster is stated:

The second season, 18 TIR (July 9) starting from the afternoon call to prayer (AZAN) in Iran and all over the world.  We will chant ‘Allah Akbar….Allah Akbar” to wherever we can.
We are the media.

9:19 am: Saudis deny Israeli overflight permission – The Saudi Embassy in Washington has sent out this statement refuting reports from the weekend that Israeli planes have been given permission to use Saudi airspace for an eventual attack on Iran. (h/t Laura)

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
Information Office


WASHINGTON, [July 6, 2009] – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today issued the following statement in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia:
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia totally and categorically denies accounts published by a British newspaper regarding contacts with Israel or permission to use Saudi airspace for any hostile activities. The Kingdom is greatly puzzled by the publication of this false information, which directly contradicts the established, firm and clear policies of the Saudi government regarding relations with the occupying government of Israel and the Kingdom’s prohibition against the use of its territories or airspace for aggression against another nation.”

The honorable President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
As you know, after the victory of the Revolution in February 1979, limitations were placed on female judges and they were disallowed from serving in this position. As such, I was forced to resign from my position as a Judge, in which I took great pride. As an Iranian woman I felt it my duty to work toward the realization of human rights, which is aspiration resulting as a result of continuous human struggle over the past several centuries. As such, with the cooperation and collaboration of a number of social activists and human rights lawyers, I took steps to establish the Society for the Protection of Children’s Rights, the Defenders of Human Rights Center, and the Organization for Mine Cleanup.
After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, and given the critical situation of our country, I felt it my national and religious duty as a human being to work even harder for the realization of human rights in our country, because clearly the receipt of such an award brings with it certain responsibilities.
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