8:34 pm: CNN appears to have an interesting scoop and a photo to go along with it:
In a blatant act of defiance, a group of Mullahs took to the streets of Tehran, to protest election results that returned incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.
6:08 pm: WhiteHouse.gov has the Farsi translation of the President’s opening statement from today’s press conference.
5:47 pm: Trita on Rachel Maddow last night
5:37 pm: Larijani pushing for Mousavi air-time
According to Tahlile Rooz, the speaker of the parliament is trying set up a time for Mousavi to appear on the state TV and discuss his complaints. One of the members of the committee charged with investigating the election violations said “the biased behavior of [IRIB] has fueled the current situation and some authorities including the speaker of parliament are critical of this [behavior].”
According to this member, “Larijani believes that censorship and taking sides by IRIB does not solve the problems or gain people’s trust. Rather, the opposition’s voice must also be heard.”
5:29 pm: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen takes shots at Obama for hotdog diplomacy
Previously, we applauded the Obama administration’s decision to invite Iranian diplomats to 4th of July celebrations at US Embassies around the world. Yesterday, during the State Department’s briefing, a spokesman said that the administration was giving no thought to rescinding the invitations, despite the ongoing post-election turmoil.
Now, in keeping with the tactic that some in Congress have been using to score cheap political points against the President for his prudent use of restraint over the last week and a half, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) is shocked, shocked that our diplomats will be allowed to “comingle” with Iranians on our national day.
“The Fourth of July is a day when we celebrate democracy and reflect on the gift of freedom which all Americans cherish.
“I am stunned that some find it appropriate for U.S. officials to comingle with officials, representatives and agents of the Iranian regime this Independence Day. What kind of message does this send to the Iranian people, who are bravely standing up for the same rights and freedoms which Americans celebrate on this day?
“The Iranian people are no less worthy of freedom and self-governance than citizens of the United States.
“It is time for the United States to rescind this invitation and, instead, express our unwavering support for the Iranian people and their dreams and ideals. This Independence Day, we must stand with all who yearn to live free, instead of fraternizing with their oppressors.”
President Obama has made a number of statements about Iran over the last 10 days, and he has been absolutely unwavering in his support for the Iranian people. It’s just plain disingenuous to claim that he is doing anything other than “standing with those who yearn to live free.”
As for the standing invitation, and what it will mean for the future of US-Iran relations…I think we have bigger things to worry about right now.
5:10 pm: (UPDATED) BREAKING
The newspaper Kayhan, which is closely affiliated with the Supreme Leader, has an article in Thursday’s paper laying the groundwork for Mousavi’s arrest.
This is a strong indication that either the government will attempt to arrest Mr. Mousavi soon or that they want Mousavi to fear that they will do so.
4:58 pm: Tabnak, [Persian] a paper closely affiliated with Mohsen Rezai, reports that Rezai has withdrawn his election fraud complaints.
3:25 pm: Karroubi calls for more demonstrations Wednesday (via his facebook page).
Peaceful demonstrations are scheduled for Wednesday June 24 to condemn the election results, arrests and violence. The demonstrations will take place at 4:30pm in five major squares in Tehran (Vanak Sq. Tagrish Sq. Sadeghie Sq. and two locations that will be announced later). He says “please maintain a peaceful stance and do not engage the armed forces.”
3:13 pm: The spokesman of Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hasan Ghashghavi, condemned [Persian] Ban Ki-Moon’s statements regarding Iran. Ghashghavi criticized Ban Ki-Moon for “meddling” in Iran’s affairs and said “the Secretary General of the United Nations, who has been influence by the negative atmosphere created by biased powers, has overlooked the truth about recent presidential elections in Iran.” Ghashghavi added that “this is a clear intervention into the internal affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” He added that this is contradictory to the Secretary General’s responsibilities and international norms.
2:59 pm: More updates from “http://twitter.com/IranBaan” [Persian]:
“Today families of the detainees gathered in front of the Evin prison to get news about their loved ones but they did not get any response.”
“Chants of God is Great and Death to Dictator in Tehran and other cities are as loud as before.”
2:45 pm: NIAC President Trita Parsi was on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last night. Check it out here.
2:08 pm: Nico was called on to ask a question at the President’s press conference today, and he didn’t miss the opportunity to provide a voice for the Iranian people themselves. Nico relayed a question that he received from an Iranian last night: “Under which conditions would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad, and if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there, isn’t that a betrayal of what the demonstrators there are working towards?”
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: GOLI FASSIHIAN
Washington – The National Iranian American Council welcomes President Obama’s condemnation of human rights abuses by the Iranian government and its use of violence against peaceful protesters.
“I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost,” President Barack Obama said today.
According to Trita Parsi, President of NIAC, “condemning violence is different from taking sides in Iran’s election dispute. People in Iran have told NIAC’s Iranian-American membership that they don’t want the US to get itself involved in the conflict, but they do want to see the government’s use of violence condemned.” Calls by Republican lawmakers to explicitly side with a specific candidate or movement in Iran can be extremely harmful to that candidate or movement. “If our intention is to help, we have to first listen to the people in Iran rather than to pretend to speak for them without ever having had consulted with them,” Parsi added.
Yesterday, Parsi published an op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor pointing out that the Obama administration’s new posture towards Iran has enabled internal Iranian dynamics to bring about the current stand-off. “If America’s posture returns to that of the Bush administration, these indigenous forces for change may be quelled by the forces of fear and ultranationalism,” he wrote.
The National Iranian American Council has strongly condemned the government of Iran’s escalating violence against demonstrators and demanded that the government cease using lethal force against unarmed protesters and bystanders.
The only plausible way to end the violence is for new elections to be held with independent monitors ensuring its fairness.
1:25 pm: President Obama’s statement condemning violence and human rights abuses:
The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost. I have made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not at all interfering in Iran’s affairs. But we must also bear witness to the courage and dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.[…]
This is not about the United States and the West; this is about the people of Iran, and the future that they – and only they – will choose.
12:47 pm: BBC Persian is reporting that Mousavi’s staff at this newspaper and web site have been arrested.
“Armed forces on Monday night entered the offices of ‘Galam,’ the official site of Mr. Mousavi, and ‘Kalame Sabz,’ Mousavi’s official newspaper, and arrested all the staff.”
Among the arrested is Ali Reza Beheshti Shirazi, the chief editor of ‘Kalame Sabz’ newspaper. Mr. Beheshti is also a close adviser of Mr. Mousavi.
12:00 pm: Stratfor: This analysis of the election results from George Friedman over at Stratfor is very highly recommended.
The gist of it, according to a colleague of ours: “We stole this election fair and square.”
11:50 am: Guardian
The guardian just reported that the Iranian authorities have taken revenge on four of the six players who wore the green wrist bands in the world cup qualifying game held last Wednesday in South Korea.
“According to the pro-government newspaper Iran, four players – Ali Karimi, 31, Mehdi Mahdavikia, 32, Hosein Ka’abi, 24 and Vahid Hashemian, 32 – have been “retired” from the sport after their gesture in last Wednesday’s match against South Korea in Seoul”.
“The fate of the other two players who wore the wristbands is unknown. None of the team members were given back their passports upon returning to Tehran after the match.”
The four players have also been banned from speaking to any media sources.
11:30 am: Iranbaan
“Instead of the Guardian Council, the Interior Ministry responded to Mousavi’s letter about the election violations.”
“The Interior Ministry’s response to Mousavi: You should have refrained from participating in the elections by announcing the elections annulled to begin with.”
11:06 am: Nikta sent us this one a few moments ago:
10:56 am:According to BBC Persian, Karoubi is urging demonstrators to come out on Thursday and show their respect to those that lost their lives during the Saturday demonstrations. In addition, Karoubi has written a letter to Seda o Sema (State media/TV) in which he expressed his disappointment for their lack of coverage of the violence that was used by the armed forces.
10:52 am: Iranbaan:
“Tomorrow Mousavi’s supporters will gather in Baharestan Sq. at 4 pm. It is still not known whether Mousavi will be there or not.”
10:42 am: Tweets:
“Mousavi and Karroubi supporters have announced they will gather in front of the Majlis in Baharestan on Wednesday at 4pm.”
“It is said that the armed forces have entered the Tehran university carrying a warrant.”
“People of Sanandaj, Saghez and Mahabad joined the public demonstrations by closing the bazaar today.”
“Majlis representatives will meet with Khamenei tomorrow morning regarding recent situation in the country.”
“Reports say Tajzadeh, Abdullah Ramezanzadeh, Mohsen Aminzadeh and Abtahi will be freed if they confess to running the protests and velvet revolution.”
“Seyyed Alireza Beheshti Shirazi the editor in chief of the Kalemeh Sabz [Green Word] newspaper and his son, Seyyed Sadrodin Beheshti Shirazi have been arrested.”
“Mousavi and Karroubi supporters have announced they will gather in front of the Majlis in Baharestan on Wednesday at 4pm.”
10:35 am: Khatami released a statement on Mousavi’s facebook page about 2 hours ago:
On Tuesday morning, from 9am all of us all over Iran will make our way towards the markets (bazaar). If they try to block us the market will shut down, and if they don’t then we will create such a swarm that the market will still close down. If the telephones/mobiles are cut off from first thing in the morning business will be disrupted all over the country and markets will close, and with our movement towards the bazaar with the goal of closing it down we will gather others to walk with us.
Bring your children too and very calmly – without shouting slogans – without wearing green – we will look as though we are going shopping but we won’t buy anything and will think only of shutting down the market, and will not leave any traces of ourselves. We will not even show the victory sign with our hands… under no circumstances …
Think only of victory and bring children throughout all the cities in Iran without slogans, without slogans, without slogans, calmly, calmly, calmly without green, without conflict. If someone interferes, don’t engage in conflict because in appearance we are a crowd shopping, there’s nothing to fear and everyone will come – no clashes, no bloodshed, no slogans, no conflict. If they try and stop us we will return home easily because our goal is to shut the market down not protest. If they throw tear gas the market will be closed down, we are clever and we won’t engage in conflict and any conflict on the part of the security forces will cause chaos in the market and it will close, but we will not engage in conflict. We will calmly think of victory and the market will either close from our swarms or from a lack of activity. Either way we are the winners. Moosavi needs your support and needs your leadership to make sure that this goes ahead on time.
10: 24 am: Statement released by the Organisation of Combatant Clergy, June 22 2009
Millions of informed and decent people who believe that their votes have been tampered with, and that their intellect has been insulted, and for the defence of their rights and dignity have in a spontaneous manner come into the streets to express their pain and sense of oppression. You (the regime) insult them, and have stolen thousands of them from the streets and from their homes and taken them to unknown places. You have attacked the students and to these people who call out God is Great or Ya Hossein – you attack them like Moghuls.
You dare to blame these attacks on the people themselves.
We strongly support Mr. Mousavi – especially against the accusations that all the unrest and damage is due to his actions. This damage is the responsibility of those who turned our city into a barracks. They should be identified, arrested and charged.
Senior clergy across the country have told us that they have been put under severe pressure (by the state) to stand up against the millions of people. Until now, they have resisted. We thank them.
For the return of people’s trust and confidence we ask for the formation of a committee of neutral people, experts, and those familiar with the law who can investigate and address the complaints made by the candidates in the elections. May they issue a fair judgment… and help return our country to harmony.
10:18 am: A leadership vacuum: From human rights activist “Iranbaan”
“Getting reliable news has become extremely difficult. Most of my sources have been arrested and I think about the few remaining ones and am very worried.”
This is a problem we’ve been hearing about from a number of sources. Most of at least the top two tiers of leadership for Karroubi and Mousavi’s campaigns have been arrested. This has left much of the movement lacking any real direction beyond what people can glean from facebook and other semi-reliable sources of information.