9:34 pm: We received this email from an Iranian now living in the US. She told us she escaped to the US following the 1999 student uprising:

dear sirs/ ba arze salam:
I came across your site recently while following up on the iranian events.
I cannot identify myself other than saying that I was one of those seriously injured previously in a iran protest and reside here now. I have read fairly thoughtfully regarding obama’s response to iran in your site. It is clear that taking the imperialist intervention card from the regime was obama’s intention which was effective. he has been consistent here by refering to the regime as the islamic republic of Iran as he did repeatedly in the norouz message and by speaking about the plight of the Palestinians in cairo. he explicitly has moved away from regime change. however I believe that it would not be taking sides or interfering in iran if ahmadinejad’s government and his envoys to all western countries be held to be without credentials when his term ends. this can be done within the context of respecting the constitution of the islamic republic which is in accordance to the US government’s acceptance of the plebecite in Iran in 1979. This simply raises iran above the level of a third world country that need not explain its legitimacy past its guns. For your information in the last protest and probably this time I witnessed iranians hoping the the americans would step in and got hurt in the process. As Iranians we know that if this protest is crushed it would have been a exercise to the benefit of the regime. the anti government forces would have been brought out imprisoned and hurt. the regime in fact attempts this today by having its agents cry allahuakbar in the streets. leila m.

9:25 pm: From a Tehran resident today:

I cannot sleep and not write this.
Today in Haft-e Tir, there were so many members of basij that they outnumbered the demonstrators 3 or 4 to 1. They were less focused on women. This must be related to the murder of poor Neda. And this was also why whenever they got hold of a man, women would surround them and shout don’t beat him, don’t beat and they would turn and anxiously say we didn’t beat him. It was astonishing. They explained; they talked.
But they didn’t allow us to congregate; they kept telling us to walk and the crowd walked quietly for 2 hours in the circle (meydaan) and spontaneously gathered in whichever area they were not present. About 2000 of us were walking around the circle and only shouting Allah-o Akbar until they were forced to disperse us with tear and pepper gases. I thought people’s patience and persistence was great, although there were also many bad scenes and I cried.
They arrested a whole bus load of people. There were many intelligence folks in the crowd too. They would point to a person and the basijis would arrest that person. There was no one from Sepah and the police was obviously sympathetic to the crowd. I swear some of the Basijis were only 14 or 15, or at least what they looked like to me. On the other hand, women are playing an amazing role in the streets; both in terms of numbers and effectiveness.

4:47 pm: Global solidarity Thursday
Cartoon 2
Mousavi’s facebook page just announced that they want to hold global solidarity demonstrations on Thursday “for the martyrs that have been lost so far in our fight for justice.” In Tehran, the demonstration will be held at Imam Khomeini Shrine, according to the announcement.
4:30 pm: Spotted – Mousavi/Mossadeq photosmousavi460x276
The indispensible Stephen Kinzer–one of the best sources anywhere on Iran–has discovered pictures of Muhammad Mossadeq starting to pop up among the crowds.

Carrying a picture of Mossadeq today means two things: “We want democracy” and “No foreign intervention”. These demands fit together in the minds of most Iranians. Desperate as they are for the political freedom their parents and grandparents enjoyed in the early 1950s, they have no illusion that foreigners can bring it to them. In fact, foreign intervention has brought them nothing but misery.

America’s moral authority in Iran is all but non-existent. To the idea that the US should jump into the Tehran fray and help bring democracy to Iran, many Iranians would roll their eyes and say: “We had a democracy here until you came in and crushed it!”
President Barack Obama seems to grasp this reality.

3:55 pm: Guardian Council Speaker: “Initial investigations shows no violations took place and elections are healthy”
According to Jame Jam Online, [Persian] the speaker of the Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaee, rejected any “significant violations” during the Presidential election based on preliminary investigations. In an interview with IRIB, Kadkhodaee said “our initial investigations show that no significant violations took place and it may be better for me to say that no violations took place at all.” When Kadkhodaee was asked about the ballot boxes which contained more votes than the eligible voters, he said “some media published false news; I have contacted some of them and given the necessary explanations.”
3:34 pm:Website dedicated to Neda, created in Iran: http://weareallneda.com/
3:32 pm: Our own Trita Parsi evaluates President Obama’s performance in dealing with Iran on the Christian Science Monitor:

The Iranians want to make sure that the world knows and sees what is happening on the streets of Tehran and other cities. And they want the US to stay out of the fight – at least for now.
But here is one legitimate criticism , the Iranians are missing two words from Obama: “I condemn.” Protesters and political leaders I’ve spoken to in Iran want the US to speak out forcefully against the government’s human rights abuses and condemn the violence. Philosophical formulations about respecting the wishes of the Iranian people aren’t enough: The president should clearly condemn the Iranian government’s violations and use of brutal force against its own people.
After all, condemning violence is different from taking sides in Iran’s election dispute. Not only would it be compatible with American values, it would also reduce pressure on the president to entangle the US in Iranian politics. Clarity on the human rights front strengthens the president’s ability to avoid siding with any political faction in Iran.
Second, few in the US debate have taken note that Obama’s pro-engagement, anti-confrontation approach may have directly contributed to the developments in Iran. President George W. Bush sought to destabilize and bring about regime change in Iran for eight years through isolation, threats, and financial support for anti-Tehran groups. For all its labors, the Bush administration failed. The Iranian elite closed ranks, and hard-liners used the perceived threat from the US to clamp down on human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists.
Obama’s diplomatic outreach and removal of this threat perception has not necessarily created fissures among the Iranian elite in and of itself, but it has weakened the glue that created unity among Iran’s many political factions.

3:15 pm: Message from an ordinary Tehrani – This message was forwarded to an Iran-focused listserv in the hopes that it would find its way to officials in the American government.

Dear friend, if you have any contacts within the American Administration, please send them this message on behalf of us, ordinary Iranians in Iran (whose interests and concerns are very different from those of the exiled Iranians in the United States and in Europe who do not yet understand the mentality here and who have been cut off from the Iranian society for too long). Tell your contacts in the Administration that their point of view regarding Iran is by far the best position that an American Government has ever taken. We appreciate this and thank the President.
During the last two or three decades not one American president had “understood” Iran. All of them got caught in the traps of the mollahs, despite themselves having to play the bad cop .. but this time the intelligent president has decided not to join in their game, bravo.
It is normal that he is criticized vividly by most of the Los Angeles Iranians (and by most Republicans): since a long time they have been asking for just one thing : that America attack Iran and change the regime so that they get their possessions and their former jobs and privileges back, without wanting to know what today’s young Iranian wants here and now. It makes me think of the Cubans in Florida … they don’t consider the interests of their country but only what is due to them.

2:57 pm: Hamshahri is reporting that the regular Iranian Army and Air Force (as opposed to the IRGC forces) are carrying out large training exercises, with the Army’s maneuvering in the south of Iran and the Air Force operating in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.
2:35 pm: Another statement [Persian] by Karroubi:
In another statement issued today, Karroubi expressed his sympathy with the families of the martyrs and wounded and invited the people to participate in a ceremony to honor them. Karroubi said that he has not yet been able to find a location but will continue the efforts to secure a venue and will let the people know as soon as the time and location are set.
Karroubi also asked the authorities to:

1. Immediately release all the arrested individuals and political activists

2. Provide the resources for treatment of recent casualties

3. Return the bodies of the martyrs and allow their families to hold ceremonies

4. Stop censoring and restricting the newspapers and other media

2:20 pm: Roger Cohen at NYT pens another excellent op-ed from Tehran:

The third question — the strategic goal of the uprising — is increasingly fraught. Khamenei said, “The dispute is not between the revolution and the counterrevolution,” and that all four electoral candidates “belong to the system.” He was right, if his words had been spoken the day after the vote.
Ten days on, however, the brutal use of force and his own polarizing speech have drawn many more Iranians toward an absolutist stance. Having wanted their votes counted, they now want wholesale change. If Moussavi wants to prevail, he must keep his followers tactically focused on securing a new election. That’s essential because it’s the one position the opposition within the clerical establishment will go along with.

By the way, many of our regular readers will find the dramatic story at the end of his op-ed familiar. That is because it is a story one of our four incredible interns, Sanaz, translated Friday!
1:53 pm: New statement from Karroubi (Persian):
In an open letter, Karroubi complained to the speaker of the Guardian Council about the provinces where the number of votes exceeded the number of eligible voters. According to Karroubi, there are more than 200 such regions. “But the problems are not limited to these regions… the interesting thing is why the Guardian Council, which oversaw the qualification of the administrators, did not report such widespread fraud on the day of the election?” Karroubi said. Therefore, he asked the Guardian Council to save the country from great danger by canceling the elections instead of “wasting time” by recounting the votes.
1:05 pm: A Poem for Neda (translated from meydaan):

A Poem for Neda Agha Soltan (1982-2009)
Written by Mandana

Stay, Neda—
The twittering birds,
Green-garbed forests,
Scented blossoms… all sing
of spring’s arrival
Don’t go, Neda…

Stay, Neda—
Sing with your people in the streets
Say, Long live life!
Down with death!
Tell the sun to shine,
the cold to depart
Don’t go, Neda…

Stay, Neda—
Look at this city
At the shaken foundations of palaces,
The height of Tehran’s maple trees,
They call us “dust,” and if so
Let us sully the air for the oppressor
Don’t go, Neda

Don’t be afraid
It is the sound of fireworks, not bullets The offspring-sparks of a great flame We are aflame, Fueled by baton-cracks and gunshots We are ablaze Don’t go Neda…

Oh Neda, Neda!
Shatter the cage
Break through the bars
Don’t go, Neda

Don’t go, Neda—
Look beyond the clouds
Lady sun is breaking through
She is just like you
Don’t go Neda
Oh God, don’t go…

12:55 pm: Could Rezai split the IRGC? From a well-regarded Iran expert and former professor of mine:

I would like to raise the factor of Mohsen Rezai. Even though he did not have a real chance as a presidential candidate but I think he has been ignored too easily by most analysts during the post-election events. As we know he was for a long period of time (if I am not mistaken from 1981 to 1997) the head of IRGC. As such he must still have some ties with many of the older members, including the elite members, of this force. If he remains true to his objection to the result of the elections, then the question is could he play a role in how the IRGC might behave if the order for a crackdown will be given to it? Could his ties to IRGC lead to a defection of some of its members to the side of the opposition?

12:42 pm: A possible split in the IRGC?
According to unconfirmed reports in Balatarin [Farsi] , Gen. Ali Fazli, the head of revolutionary guards in Tehran, has been arrested after refusing to execute Khamenei’s order of using force against demonstrators in Tehran. He is a war veteran who lost an eye during the Iran-Iraq war. (h/t Boushveg)
12:32 pm: BBC Persia reports that there are 300-400 armed forces personnel in the Tir Sq. right now, alongside about 1,000 demonstrators. Witnesses have reported use of batons and tear gas by the armed forces.
Also, BBC Persia just reported that Karoubi is organizing a rally on Thursday, in commemoration of those that passed away on Saturday. BBC has reported 10 deaths and 457 arrested so far.
12:28 pm: From Mousavi’s facebook page:

“Turning on the carlights: New method of showing protest”
Also: “thanks for the international support, specifically to VPN who have provided free accounts of filter breakers for Iranians to use”
“There are about 1000 demonstrators in “Tir Sq.”

12:02 pm: WSJ examines Iran’s efforts to censor and control the internet –

The Iranian regime has developed, with the assistance of European telecommunications companies, one of the world’s most sophisticated mechanisms for controlling and censoring the Internet, allowing it to examine the content of individual online communications on a massive scale.
Interviews with technology experts in Iran and outside the country say Iranian efforts at monitoring Internet information go well beyond blocking access to Web sites or severing Internet connections.
Instead, in confronting the political turmoil that has consumed the country this past week, the Iranian government appears to be engaging in a practice often called deep packet inspection, which enables authorities to not only block communication but to monitor it to gather information about individuals, as well as alter it for disinformation purposes, according to these experts.

11:54 am: More updates from Iranbaan [mostly Persian]:

  • Karroubi will release a new statement soon
  • “Frightening reports coming from Tabriz (Mousavi’s hometown)”

10:42 am: Lara Setrakian of ABC news sends an update on the demonstration we mentioned below via twitter: “People are trying to gather in 7 Tir square, but being dispersed before they can gather momentum. Many many Basijis. People btwn 1000-2000. they’re preventing others from joining. As soon as they gather somewhere they attack, so they run away & regroup” (h/t the indefatigable Nico)
10:38 am: BBC Persian is reporting [Farsi] that Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is considering the expulsion of some European ambassadors in response to their positions on recent events. Hasan Ghashghavi, the speaker of Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that the behavior and statements by these countries and appropriate actions are being examined and evaluated.
Ghashghavi has accused the European countries and the United States of supporting the “agitators” instead of inviting the people of Iran to participate in democratic processes and emphasizing the rule of law.
10:10 am: Updates from the reliable twitter source, Iranbaan [mostly Persian]:

“Head of parliament’s judiciary committee: Mousavi accountable for illegal protests, can be pursued legally.”
“Iran MP: Ground ready to legally pursue Mousavi for ‘acting against national security.”
“Head of the Judicial Commission of Majlis has requested the judicial pursuit of Mir Hussein Mousavi.”
“Ali Larijani, Hashemi Shahroudi, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei about elections and recent events.”
“People have clashed with plain-clothed individuals and special forces in 7 Tir. These clashes are continuing.”
“Laleh Park and Shiroudi Stadium have become the command center to organize anti-riot police and plain clothes.”
“A group of people holding candles have sat down silently on the ground in 7 Tir Sq. but the special forces are planning to disperse them by attacking them.”
“Laleh Park and Shiroudi gym have become the centers for organizing anti-riot and the plain-clothes forces.”
“Laleh Park is taken over by the anti-riot guards; where they have set up tents and have brought more than 2000 forces.”
“People will demonstrate after 5pm everyday from Enghelab to Azadi to protest the repression and killings.”

10:04 am: This excerpt from a Swedish documentary discusses how Khamenei became supreme leader (h/t Nico):
9:44 am: Chattam House analyzes the legitimacy of the Iranian election results:

Working from the province by province breakdowns of the 2009 and 2005 results, released by the Iranian Ministry of Interior, and from the 2006 census as published by the official Statistical Centre of Iran, the following observations about the official data and the debates surrounding it can be made.

  • In two conservative provinces, Mazandaran and Yazd, a turnout of more than 100% was recorded.
  • At a provincial level, there is no correlation between the increased turnout and the swing to Ahmadinejad. This challenges the notion that Ahmadinejad’s victory was due to the massive participation of a previously silent conservative majority.
  • In a third of all provinces, the official results would require that Ahmadinejad took not only all former conservative voters, all former centrist voters, and all new voters, but also up to 44% of former Reformist voters, despite a decade of conflict between these two groups.
  • In 2005, as in 2001 and 1997, conservative candidates, and Ahmadinejad in particular, were markedly unpopular in rural areas. That the countryside always votes conservative is a myth. The claim that this year Ahmadinejad swept the board in more rural provinces flies in the face of these trends.

9:38 am: Rafsanjani ally calls for formation of a “political bloc” to undermine the “illegitimate” government –

A political party affiliated with Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the former president and key member of the Iranian regime, on Sunday called on Mir-Hossein Moussavi, the opposition leader, to form a “political bloc” that would pursue a long-term campaign to undermine the “illegitimate” government.
Hossein Marashi, spokesman for the Kargozaran, stayed clear of directly challenging the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but told the Financial Times in a telephone interview that Mr Moussavi was now the leader of an opposition that was not without options.

Three of the relatives were released but Mr Rafsanjani’s most outspoken daughter, Faezeh, was still being interrogated on Sunday. Fars news agency insisted the detentions had been made to safeguard the women’s safety.

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News-clips on Iran– June 22, 2009

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