10:30 pm: For further insight into how events are being portayed in Iran by the state media, we prove excerpts from the (hardline) newspaper Kayhan, which quotes Tehran’s sepah commander:

“These interferences in our nation are nothing but a plot set out by the British, American and the Zionists. They have been waiting for the right time to influence our politics. The must stay out of our affairs and their meddling must be brought to the attention of the public.”

With regards to casualties, he indicated that “the casualties have nothing to do with us, on the count that we were not in those areas.”

“The people of Iran have an agreement with Ayatollah Khomeini and Khamenei to protect the Islamic Republic and our values from foreign and domestic enemies, and this is a time that we must deal harshly with hooligans and agitators.”

Thanks to Ali for the translation.

5:26 pm: Vivid description of the basij breaking into Kalameh Newspaper:
According to Dr. Saeed Hosseini Beheshty, [Persian] one of the senior editors at Kalameh Newspaper, “on Monday, June 22, a group of individuals approached Kalameh’s headquarters. They were wearing regular street clothes and began to demand the newspaper’s security guard to open the doors. They identified themselves as intelligence officers. At this point, the chief editor of Kalameh approached the door and requested the officers to present an entrance warrant. However, they did not comply and began to force their way in and broke down the door. Upon entering they started to destroy office equipment and place employees under arrest. Some employees were also beaten up. The arrested writers and editors were transported to police penitentiaries. What they don’t know is they will never break our spirit and the spirits of the Iranian people.”
3:42 pm: ‘Iranbaan’ reported this earlier today:

“In the written agreement the martyrs families have to sign promising not to complain, a clause is inserted saying that Mousavi is responsible for the death of our loved ones and we do not have any complaints against the armed forces.”

3:08 pm: Green balloons

2:44 pm: Mir Hussein is essentially under house arrest
Gooya news [Persian] said today that Mousavi has been “essentially under house arrest since Monday,” according to the reports they have received. Therefore, said Gooya, “any event announced from now on is not linked to Mousavi and is only in his support.” Gooya news also said “all Mousavi’s associates have been arrested and every day more of them are detained. Therefore, Kalemeh website is no longer under the control of Mousavi’s close associates. Even Mousavi’s family members are under surveillance…according to reports by Mousavi’s associates, the number of arrested people has passed 1000 and there is no news about many of them.”
2:37 pm: Human rights activists “Iranbaan” reports that “Neda Agha Sultan’s father was brought on TV and her martyrdom was blamed on the ‘rioters.’”
2:36 pm: Could a strike by Iran’s oil workers succeed? – asks The National:

Oil has proved to be the Iranian state’s Achilles heel before. As well as the strike that brought down the Shah, there is the example of Mohammed Mossadeq, the democratic prime minister. Fatally weakened by a western boycott of Iranian oil, he was ousted by a CIA-led coup in 1953, paving the way for a quarter of a century of the Shah’s authoritarian rule.

It is hard to judge the readiness of NIOC personnel to strike, but in the first round of voting in 2005, the reformist Hojatoleslam Mehdi Karroubi comfortably won Khuzestan Province, the heart of the Iranian oil business, with Mr Mousavi’s current backer, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, in second place and overall winner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a distant third.
This time, official results have Mr Ahmadinejad beating Mr Mousavi even more heavily here than he did nationally, with Mr Karroubi coming nowhere.
There has for some years also been an undercurrent of dissent and unrest among the large ethnic Arab population in this province. Yet Mr Ahmadinejad’s staunch ally, Hugo Chavez, was able to resist a similar strike in Venezuela in 2002.
We must also question, with so many reformist leaders arrested, whether the opposition has the grass-roots organisation to mount a successful strike.
Oilfields can be kept running with a skeleton staff, at least for a while, as threats of sacking and more severe punishment could be used to deter would-be strikers.

1:39 pm: Obama diplomacy with Iran affected by events (Reuters)

“There is no doubt that any direct dialogue or diplomacy with Iran is going to be affected by the events of the last several weeks and we don’t yet know how any potential dialogue will have been affected until we see what has happened inside of Iran,” Obama told a joint White House news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“There are going to be discussions that continue on the international stage around Iran’s nuclear program. I think the direct dialogue between the United States and Iran and how that proceeds, I think we’re going to have to see how that plays itself out in the days and weeks ahead,” he said.
Obama rejected a demand for an apology from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said Obama was interfering in the Iranian election.
“I don’t take Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statements seriously about apologies, particularly given the fact that the United States has gone out of its way not to interfere with the election process in Iran,” he said.
The U.S. leader praised Iranian protesters, saying: “Their bravery in the face of brutality is a testament to their enduring pursuit of justice. The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous.”
He said Ahmadinejad’s chief rival, former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi, had “captured the imagination” of Iranians who want to open up to the West.
Obama reiterated U.S. concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, which Washington fears is to develop atomic weapons but Tehran says is for generating nuclear energy.
“Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons will trigger an arms race in the Middle East that would be bad … for the security of the entire region,” Obama said.
“So even as we clearly speak out in a unified voice in opposition to the violence that’s taken place in Iran, we also have to be steady in recognizing that the prospect of Iran with a nuclear weapon is a big problem.”

1:20 pm: Chill in Canada-Iran ties (UPI)

The Canadian government chilled relations with Iran over its appointment of an official known as the “butcher of the press,” diplomatic sources said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs Thursday rescinded an invitation to Iranian diplomats in Ottawa to a party celebrating Canada Day next Wednesday, the Canwest News Service reported.

1:16 pm: Update on Iranian embassy situation (AP)

Demonstrators attacked the Iranian Embassy outside the Swedish capital Friday, throwing stones and trying to force themselves in, police said.About 150 protesters, some masked, rushed the embassy gates, but it was not immediately clear if any managed to get inside the building, police said.
“It was chaotic out there,” police officer Jan Hedlund told Swedish news agency TT. “We’re trying to get organized and see what happens. Right now it’s quiet.”
There have been several peaceful demonstrations in recent days outside the embassy.

11:55 am: Russia says it is concerned about the “use of force”
“We naturally express our most serious concern about the use of force and the death of civilians,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency on the sidelines of the G-8 meeting in Italy. Russia was quick to recognize Ahmadinejad as the winner of the disputed Iranian election.

11:46 am: Lara Setrakian of ABC News reports the following:

e-source: “Tehran is very very quiet. There’s anger & passion, but going out to show it doesn’t seem very productive and is very dangerous”
e-source:”there has to be a ray of hope, there doesn’t seem to be any. having said that, things will never be the same. The taboo is broken”

Confirmed firsthand account of another “Allahu Akbar” protester killed on the rootfop, this one in Tehran.

11:16 am: Ahmed Batebi talks about torture in Iran on 60 minutes. (This was originally posted here on April 14 but sadly it is very relevant to today’s events.)
11:13 am: Etemademeli, Karroubi’s official newspaper reported that upon visiting his publication, Mr. Karroubi made an offer to Ahmadinejad by requesting a demonstration permit from Ahmadinejad. “If he gives us a permit to hold a rally, he can hold his own rally at the same time as well, and then we will see who will have more supporters, us – the reformers – or him.”
During his visit to the Etemademeli’s office, Karroubi expressed his appreciation to the staff of the newspaper for their efforts. However, he also reminded them that they must operate within the bounds and ethics of the Islamic Republic.
Karroubi said “the chants of the demonstrators are a clear indication that they are not against the establishment, but by chanting ‘Allah Akbar’ they are demanding rights and recognition. Unfortunately, a group of individuals are categorizing the demonstrations as anti-Islamic; however, their opinion does not matter because the people are very are politically knowledgeable.”
“These days I recommend to people to only follow God and his rules and not those of people who claim to be his representatives on the count that these individuals are perusing their own agenda. Many of the individuals who make claims that the behavior of the demonstrators are anti-Islamic, which is totally at false; I ask them where were they during the days of the revolution? How can you allow yourself to make these remarks? This regime belongs to the people who 98% of them voted for an Islamic Republic.”
10:49 am: Mousavi’s statement to the Iranian diaspora:

In the Name of the God, The Compassionate, The Merciful
Dear compatriots,
Honorable Iranians living abroad,
Your widespread and energetic presence in this year’s 22 Khordad elections is indicative of your ties to our beloved Iran, and your admirable worries about the future of your country, and as I mentioned to you in my election message, Iran belongs to all Iranians and all layers of the populous are responsible for its future, and enjoy the same rights in it.
I feel obliged to thank you for your epic presence in determining the future of your country. Your widespread welcoming of these elections and your green and energetic presence at the ballot boxes was so large that it even forced the government and the organizers of the elections to admit to a 300% increase in the participation of Iranians in the tenth presidential elections outside of the country.
Your trust in this insignificant civil servant and your decisive vote for me in most of the voting stations outside of the country has placed a heavy burden on my shoulders. I would like to give you my assurance that I remain true to my existing pact with you and all layers of the great people of Iran, and using all legal avenues will demand your deserved rights that have been violated at the ballot boxes.
Unfortunately, as you witness in the international media, contrary to the letter of the constitution, and the stated freedoms in the Islamic Republic, all my communication with the people and you has been cut off, and people’s peaceful objections are being crushed. The national media which is being financed with public funds, with a revolting misrepresentation is changing the truth, and labels the peaceful march of close to three million people as anarchist, and the media that are being controlled by the government have become the mouthpiece of those who have stolen the people’s votes.
I’d like to thank you again for your peaceful objections which have received widespread coverage across the world, and would like to ask you that by using all legal channels, and by remaining faithful to the sacred system of the Islamic Republic, to make sure that your objections are heard by the authorities in the country. I am fully aware that your justified demands have nothing to do with groups who do not believe in the sacred Islamic Republic of Iran’s system. It is up to you to distance yourself from them, and do not allow them to misuse the current situation.
Mir Hossein Mousavi

10:42 am: Iranian Cleric Calls for Harsh Punishment for ‘Riot’ Leaders (via WaPo)

An influential Iranian cleric told worshipers Friday that those stirring unrest in connection with the recent election should be punished “ruthlessly and savagely” and convicted for waging war against God, a crime that under Shiite Islamic law is punishable by death.
The sermon at Tehran University by Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami was broadcast live on state television, amplifying the ominous tone the state has adopted this week towards the tens of thousands of demonstrators who have massed in the streets to question the results of the June 12 presidential balloting.
“I want the judiciary to . . . punish leading rioters firmly and without showing any mercy to teach everyone a lesson,” said Khatami, an influential cleric close to Iran’s supreme leader ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Based on Islamic law, whoever confronts the Islamic state . . . should be convicted as mohareb . . . They should be punished ruthlessly and savagely.”
Iran’s judiciary said Tuesday that a special court would be set up to make an example out of “rioters” arrested during the demonstrations. According to Iranian state media, more than 450 have been arrested. International human rights groups say this amount is higher, and includes both demonstrators and well-known dissidents who have called for years for more political freedoms in Iran.

10:40 am: There are reports in “Parliament News” [Persian] that Saeed Hajarian has been transferred out of Evin prison’s clinic despite still being in poor physical condition. Saeed is a senior political advisor to President Khatami.
10:23 am: Mousavi’s open letter to Iran’s national security council regarding illegal activities of the plainclothes individuals

In a letter to Iran’s security council, Mousavi asked them to take immediate measures to prevent un-uniformed individuals from using violence. Mousavi said that armed individuals without uniforms or ranks have been frequently attacking demonstrators before the armed forces arrive, destroying property and injuring people. “I remind the council that this evil phenomenon – that the authorities in charge of providing order and security use plainclothes agents among their forces – proves that the armed forces are aware of the contradiction between their actions and their legal duties; therefore, that they are not willing to be associated with such appalling acts.” Mousavi then asked the council to take immediate action to stop these individuals.
10:01 am: Iranian Americans Hold Vigil – Excellent video at Washingtonpost.com
9:52 am: White House responds to Ahmadinejad’s attack:

In Washington, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Iran’s president was attempting to deflect attention from events at home.
“There are people in Iran who want to make this not about a debate among Iranians in Iran, but about the West and the United States.
“I would add President Ahmadinejad to that list of people trying to make this about the United States,” Mr Gibbs said.
He was speaking in response to an angry statement made by Mr Ahmadinejad on Thursday in which Mr Obama was told to avoid “interfering in Iran’s affairs”.

9:50 am: Guardian Council calls election “cleanest” ever:

“We have had no fraud in any presidential election and this one was the cleanest election we have had,” the electoral body’s spokesman, Abbasali Kadkhodai, told the Irna news agency.
“I can say with certainty that there was no fraud in this election.”

9:37 am: Iran succeeding in shutting down opposition media outlets?
Mowj.ir and kalemeh.ir are down.
9:25 am: WSJ takes a closer look at how the concept of Vilayat-e Faqih is being affected by the current turmoil:

The concept, known as wilayat al-faqih — literally “guardianship by a jurist” — holds that, in an Islamic state, a divinely anointed scholar of Islamic law must exercise unquestioned authority over elected officials and the rest of the government.
Iran’s current such incumbent, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, isn’t just the top arbiter of the country’s affairs. He also serves as the marjaa, or spiritual guide, for many Shiites outside Iran. Mr. Khamenei’s image graces billboards in south Beirut, mosques in Shiite shantytowns of eastern Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and the walls of Shiite lawmakers’ offices in Kuwait.
But, in recent weeks, this moral authority — and the wilayat al-faqih ideology that underpins it — has been shaken by Ayatollah Khamenei’s handling of Iran’s disputed June 12 presidential elections.

The article also includes this nugget about the relationship between Grand Ayatollah Sistani and Ahmadinejad:

The Shiite religious leader with the biggest influence, Najaf-based Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani — who rivals Ayatollah Khamenei as a marjaa for Shiites around the world — has kept quiet on the Iranian crisis. But a person familiar with the matter said this week that Ayatollah Sistani declined Mr. Ahmadinejad’s request for a meeting during the Iranian president’s visit to Iraq last year. At the time, Mr. Ahmadinejad said he had canceled a trip to Najaf because of a tight schedule.

9:16 am: Yesterday’s gathering at Neda’s grave

News is increasingly difficult to get out of Iran, but the LA Times‘ Borzou Daragahi is still producing quality reports from Tehran:

Security was tight around the bare grave of Neda Agha-Soltan on Thursday. Militiamen and police stood nearby, witnesses said, and it was difficult for visitors to hold a conversation within sight and hearing of the glaring officers.
But the visitors come nonetheless to pay their respects to Agha-Soltan, who was fatally shot by an unknown assailant during the protests Saturday over Iran’s disputed presidential election.

Neda’s family was forced to leave Tehran, according to the Guardian.

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