12:45 am: Gary Sick analyzes what he calls Mousavi’s “manifesto”:
It is apparent from this statement that Mousavi’s movement—and Mousavi himself—has evolved enormously in the past week. The candidate started as a mild-mannered reformer. After the searing events of the past several days, he has dared to preach a counter sermon to Khameni’s lecture on Islamic government. Although he never mentions the leader by name, there is no overlooking the direct contradiction of his arguments. This open opposition to the leader by a political figure is unprecedented.
Mousavi has in fact issued a manifesto for a new vision of the Islamic republic. The repression and disdain of the government has brought the opposition to a place they probably never dreamed of going. And no one knows where any of the parties are likely to go next.
12:15 am: A NIAC employee just spoke with a contact in Tehran, who tells us that Iranian security forces are arresting injured demonstrators after they are released by the foreign embassies. This has not been corroborated.
The embassies reportedly started helping some of the injured because those being sent to hospitals were being arrested.
11:59 pm: From Tehran, a friend of a former NIAC intern sends the following message:
A day after the the black Saturday, you could see people shocked with the news of the killings. We all knew that these guys are savages. But what we did not think was that, in the time of the Internet and mobile phones with cameras, they would show their real face so early.
People want revenge. You probably have read what Iranians are posting on the Internet. “Neda” has become a hero–we will definitely rename the street where she was killed after her. We will fight back. People have not stopped chanting God is Great. The funniest thing is that a government which claims to get its legitimacy from Allah and Islam cannot stand people saying “Allah-o-Akbar”.
Nevertheless, there is nothing they can hide. We still have very slow Internet access which, if people continue to protest, I believe will be shut down completely. The only concern that we have now is the bloody Rajavis (MEK), who now want to benefit from the situation. They are definitely helping the dictators. They are only giving more reasons for cracking down the people. May God protect us all.
11:37 pm: There are now blogs and websites in Persian being circulated that tell you how to stop bleeding, etc. This one tells you how to take care of someone who has been shot, and this one says how to stop bleeding in general.
11:03 pm: Thinking up new ways to protest.
According to Kalemeh News [Persian], people are finding creative ways to protest since they have not been able to get permits for peaceful demonstrations. “People have decided to turn on their [automobile] headlights on Monday from 5pm to 6pm. It seems like this new method of protest is a result of unprecedented restrictions and harsh treatment of the people by the armed forces and militias.
10:27 pm: Mousavi’s statement.
An amazing NIAC member, Arvin, translated Mousavi’s 6th statement, which was posted today. The original Farsi is here: http://ghalamnews.org/news-21185.aspx [The newspaper, affiliated with Mousavi, was reportedly hacked earlier today and now appears down.]
It is worth nothing that unlike his earlier statements he is no longer saying there is doubt about the election or irregularity; he outright calls it cheating as a foregone conclusion. Also when he refers to “unlawfulness by the government” that is code for Ahmadinejad. That is what he called him during the debates, and is what he said he has come to stop. He also urges the people to keep their protests nonviolent.
In the name of God, the compassionate and merciful,
We are all from God, and one day we will return to Him [A Koranic quote, that signifies readiness for death]
The heart-wrenching news of martyrdom of a group of protestors, against widespread cheating in recent elections, has cast a pall of silence and sadness over our society. Opening fire on people, militarizing the city, spreading fear, provoking [the public] and power displays are all illegitimate children of the unlawfulness which we face and it is bewildering that the perpetrators of these acts accuse others of this. To those who call people lawless for expressing their opinions, I say that the biggest act of lawlessness is indifference [to the public] and contravention of the explicit [text] of article 27 of the constitution [allowing public demonstrations] by the government in not issuing permits for peaceful gatherings. Do revolutionary people who, with gatherings like these brought you and us out of the dark history of the Shah’s tyranny, need to be beaten and wounded and be threatened with force?
I, as a mourner, invite the people to self-restraint. The country belongs to you. The revolution and the government are your inheritances. Objecting to lies and cheating is your right. Be hopeful in exercising your rights and do not allow those, who try to instill fear in you to dissuade you, to make you angry. Continue to avoid violence in your protests and treat the disproportionate actions of the security forces as broken hearted parents would their children. Having said that, I expect that security forces will not allow memories of these days to cause irreparable harm in their relationship with the people. That they [security forces] are not informing the families of the martyred, the wounded, and the arrested, and are keeping them hidden and in limbo will not aid in restoration of peace and will antagonize [people’s] emotions. Arbitrary arrests lead to loss of respect and authority of security forces in the mind of the people and the society.
I ask the Almighty to be compassionate towards these martyrs and to give them the highest of honors, and for their stricken families I wish patience and fulfillment of their dreams.
Mir Hossein Moussavi
31 Khordad, 1388 [June 21, 2009]
4:53 pm: Tom Friedman has a column in today’s Sunday New York Times in which he says Iran has found intself in 1979 all over again.
But now, having voted with their ballots, Iranians who want a change will have to vote again with their bodies. A regime like Iran’s can only be brought down or changed if enough Iranians vote as they did in 1979 — in the street. That is what the regime fears most, because then it either has to shoot its own people or cede power. That is why it was no accident that the “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Khamenei, warned protestors in his Friday speech that “street challenge is not acceptable.” That’s a man who knows how he got his job.
And so the gauntlet is now thrown down. If the reformers want change, they are going to have to form a leadership, lay out their vision for Iran and keep voting in the streets — over and over and over. Only if they keep showing up with their bodies, and by so doing saying to their regime “we cannot be bought and we will not be cowed,” will their ballots be made to count.
Friedman hopes that the Iranian people will continue to demonstrate in the streets in such numbers and with such fervor as to eventually challenge the ruling authority for control. He has no idea about how this will all end–nor do any of us–but I’m not entirely sure he’s on the right track with this.
Watching the images of the demonstrators clashing with security forces, and seeing the carnage that is being inflicted on totally innocent citizens just for being out on the street, it is hard for me to hope that this will go on any longer than it already has. I believe as strongly as anyone that the people of Iran should be granted the freedom to choose their own future, without fear of intimidation or coercion. But the pictures and videos, many of which we’ve posted on these pages, are so heart-wrenching that I find myself just hoping it will all stop.
Am I inspired by the chants of “Allahu Akbar” as they crescendo every night from the rooftops? Absolutely. Am I heartened by the courage and selflessness of those demonstrators who stare down the barrel of a gun for something so ethereal as a more representative form of government? Yes. But I am also finding myself increasingly hoping that some compromise may be struck to avoid the seemingly inevitible brutality that all of the last week’s events appear to be leading up to. I’m asking myself if it will be enough for the Iranian government to moderate itself in some way, accommodating some of the demands of the population while still maintaining its ultimate hold on power.
Obviously, this is not for me to determine, but rather a question that the demonstrators themselves–and the handful of leaders that have yet to really step up to the plate–will have to decide. Are they willing to accept anything less than full revolution? Tom Friedman may think they shouldn’t, but the answer to that question will actually mean life or death for a lot of people.
3:23 pm: According to Taban News, Mohammad Khatami released a statement expressing deep concern about the violence and militarization of society, and says that the suppression of peaceful civil disobedience will have dangerous consequences. He calls on security forces and Iranian leaders to respect the people’s civil and political rights, to immediately release those detained, and restore all internal and external communications that have been blocked. He also calls for an independent commission to be established to investigate and find solutions to the crisis. The Farsi text can be found here.
2:57 pm: According to this video, protests continue today in Tehran despite yesterday’s violence. At first you will hear the cries of “God is Great!” Followed by “Don’t be afraid! Don’t be afraid! We are all together!” And then “Death to the Dictator!”
2:53 pm: According to Twitter almost all of Mousavi’s campaign managers have been arrested.
1:54 pm: Al Arabiya follows up on the story we translated yesterday, examining what Rafsanjani is doing amid all the turmoil. (h/t Nico)
Iran’s religious clerks in Qom and members of the Assembly of Experts, headed by former President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, are mulling the formation of an alternative collective leadership to replace that of the supreme leader, sources in Qom told Al Arabiya on condition of anonymity. … [Ed: Note the glaring mistake. Rafsanjani is the head of the Assembly]
Members of the assembly are reportedly considering forming a collective ruling body and scrapping the model of Ayatollah Khomeini as a way out of the civil crisis that has engulfed Tehran in a series of protests,
The discussions have taken place in a series of secret meetings convened in the holy city of Qom and included Jawad al-Shahristani, the supreme representative of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is the foremost Shiite leader in Iraq.
1:29 pm: Rallies in DC –
There were 300 people at the Iranian Interest section chanting “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, we are all together” and “Democracy for Iran.”
That number has grown to 500 people in front of the Russian Embassy chanting “Russia, Russia, shame, shame.” Russia was quick to recognize Ahmadinejad’s disputed victory.
A reader notes that it wasn’t just Iranian-Americans at yesterday’s rally:
I was there, too, as a plain-old American woman brokenhearted over the situation in Iran. I marched out of love for the Iranian people, and to support them and Iranian-Americans in their fight for peace and justice.
12:57 pm: Reuters reports on the latest:
- Ayatollah Montazeri has called for three days of mourning.
- Former President Khatami issued a strong statement: “Preventing people from expressing their demands through civil ways will have dangerous consequences.”
- Meanwhile, the state media is calling the demonstrators “rioters” and “terrorists”
12:46 pm: A reader, Mersedeh, sends us a note about the information gap in Iran:
Despite comments from some of the Iranian commentators on CNN, it is *not* true that everyone in Iran is aware of the current situation or happenings on the street. I “just” got off the phone with a family member in Tehran who was under the impression that nothing happened yesterday (Sat, Iran time) and that the city was calm. When I told her of the gatherings and lives lost (both in Tehran and violence in Shiraz, etc…) she was shocked and exclaimed that “they are not allowing us find anything out”. Without newspapers, real media coverage on TV and satellite dishes that have been taken away, many are left in the dark.
11:47 am: A reader, Hooman, passed on this letter, which he translated:
To All Iranians Who Voted for Ahmadinejad
I don’t know how many of you who read my blog voted for Ahmadinejad. I know three of you who did. Do you know why I have never asked? Because elections mean just this — you vote for Ahmadinejad, I vote for Mousavi, and someone even votes for Googoosh [a famous Iranian singer].
So, we all are worthy of respect. Last week, a large number of our countrymen developed some doubts about the results of the election. Simply doubts. They took to the streets and asked that the election be re-done. Today, they are being killed. As long as it was only their protest, you had no responsibility for the situation. You had cast your own vote. But today, it is your right too that is being squandered. Through these killings, your precious vote is being questioned as well. Today, it is your turn to ask for new elections. You know that with a margin of 10 million votes, you will always end up victorious. So let the doubts be put to rest. Let us not allow anyone to die
I have not stopped shedding tears today. It is not important to me who the dead that I see before me are — whether or not they think like me. I only know that they are my countrymen. My countrymen and yours. A countryman is very dear. Believe me. I swear that if Mousavi had won, and you were in the streets today, and someone was forcing blood from your nose, I would have taken to the street. I swear to my loved ones that I would have come.
I don’t vote so that blood may fall from anyone’s nose. I respect the development of my nation. The sound of your cries of pain in our mother-tongue would destroy something deep inside me, such that the wounds would never heal. If you read my blog, go. In these thirty years, this is the first time that such doubts have been raised. And these doubts destroy your rights too.
I feel that today it is no longer important who you or I voted for. We didn’t vote for these events. We didn’t vote for killings. If a new election can calm our nation — avoid the loss of the forty lives we are losing every day — keep our votes alive — then why not? I refuse to believe that 24 million of my countrymen have no problem with the killing of the rest of the country. I know that you too are crying. You too cannot even open your eyes. You too did not vote for death. Please come. I am afraid.
11:19 am: (Updated) Press TV runs Larijani’s criticism of the Guardian Council, IRIB:
Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani suggests that some of the members in the Guardian Council have sided with a certain candidate in the June 12 presidential election.
Speaking live on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Channel 2 on Saturday, the speaker said that “a majority of people are of the opinion that the actual election results are different than what was officially announced.”
“The opinion of this majority should be respected and a line should be drawn between them and rioters and miscreants,” he was quoted as saying by Khabaronline — a website affiliated with him. …
Larijani, however, believes that the Iranian people have lost their trust in the country’s legal system. “Although the Guardian Council is made up of religious individuals I wish certain members would not side with a certain presidential candidate.”
“The Guardian Council should use every possible means to build trust and convince the protesters that their complaints will be thoroughly looked into,” the parliament speaker added.Larijani who, was formerly in charge of IRIB, criticized the organization, saying that “the IRIB should not act in a way that provokes people.”
The authorities should provide an atmosphere in which people feel free to express their opinion, he concluded.
10:53 am: A reader at Huffington challenges the story in the Iranian media, which we picked up, that the Assembly of Experts came out in support of the Khamenei’s Friday sermon:
I just wanted to point out that the letter of support written by assembly of experts in support of Khamenei’s sermon is only signed by the deputy leader of the assembly, who is a former head of the judiciary and a staunch supporter of ahmadinejad, as well as a rival of Rafsanjani for the assembly’s leadership election. He is the only one signing the letter and the government sponsored news media are reporting it as a letter from the full assembly.
This emphasizes a point that we made when we reported on the alleged bombing of the shrine of the Imam Khomeini – state media reports should be read with a skeptical eye.
10:38 am: The New York Times describes the scene:
A day after police and militia forces used guns, truncheons, tear gas and water cannons to beat back thousands of demonstrators, a tense quiet set over this city Sunday as the standoff between the government and thousands of protestors hardened into a test of wills that has spilled blood and claimed lives.
It was unclear how the confrontation would play out now that the government has abandoned its restraint and large numbers of protestors have demonstrated their willingness to risk injury and even death as they continue to dispute the results of Iran’s presidential election nine days ago.
Iranian state television reported that 13 people were killed in the clashes Saturday.
State television also reported that the government had arrested five members of the family of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president who heads two influential councils in Iran, a move that escalates the government’s crackdown against the reform movement.
There was no sign on the streets early Sunday of the heavy security forces from the night before, but there were reports that protestors planned to demonstrate again later in the day, beginning at about 5 p.m., giving both sides time to regroup, or reconsider.
9:56 am: From a contact in Iran on why he protests.
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I’m not doing this to prove I’m brave, because I’m not. The people that run towards the Basij with bare hands and the ones that have died are the brave ones. I’m doing this because we deserve more.
There are no clear rallies for today but most of us are just going wherever there are crowds…Don’t let people forget us so quickly.