11:00 pm When we last heard from our contact in Mashad (Iran’s second largest city) on Sunday night, things sounded desperate:
“[We] are still safe, but to tell you the truth, all of us are feeling sick of what we have to see on streets these days. This afternoon, [we] saw five policemen attack a middle age lady. They beat her brutally, with no mercy. She tried to escape with her young daughter but they got her. I stopped and tried to help her, but three men in civilian clothes attacked my car, and I had to drive away because [my daughter] was with me. Tonight, people shouted “Allah o Akabar” from their roof tops, but hundreds of police forces on bikes swept the streets and marked houses from which they could hear voices. Tomorrow, I will go to a lawyer to ask for a [foreign] visa. This country will not be a safe place anymore, and I don’t want to repeat my parents’ mistake in 1979 by staying and watching.”
But we are thankful that our most recent update indicates that violence has abated somewhat:
God saves us from violence until now, and I trust him to keep us far from their dirty hands. Mashad was calm tonight and only “Allah o Akbar” was heard from roof tops. They attacked Ferdowsi university last night but the security of university kept them out.
Today all the exams have been canceled by students and TEACHERS. When university manager (A.N. hard supporter) ordered students to go back to the exam room, teachers left the building and told him that only they have the authority to decide about the exam date and they decide not to take it. So brave.
P.S: GOD has sent us a beautiful rain tonight to wash our souls. Very rare this time of year. Thank you the merciful.
He didn’t mention if they applied for the foreign visa or if they’ve decided to stay through the turmoil.
(We’ve shortened these threads to keep the page loading quickly. Click below for the rest).
10:57 pm President Obama made another statement about the situation in Iran.
Forgive us for not posting this sooner — between our regular jobs, blogging, and putting on a major policy conference tomorrow, we have all been working extremely long hours. Everyone has been doing an incredibly job, and I must say, before tonight I’d never seen an intern stay at an office until 9pm to get a job done. You all are amazing.
Well, I think first of all, it’s important to understand that although there is amazing ferment taking place in Iran, that the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised. Either way, we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons. And so we’ve got long-term interests in having them not weaponize nuclear power and stop funding organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. And that would be true whoever came out on top in this election.
The second thing that I think’s important to recognize is that the easiest way for reactionary forces inside Iran to crush reformers is to say it’s the US that is encouraging those reformers. So what I’ve said is, `Look, it’s up to the Iranian people to make a decision. We are not meddling.’ And, you know, ultimately the question that the leadership in Iran has to answer is their own credibility in the eyes of the Iranian people. And when you’ve got 100,000 people who are out on the streets peacefully protesting, and they’re having to be scattered through violence and gunshots, what that tells me is the Iranian people are not convinced of the legitimacy of the election. And my hope is that the regime responds not with violence, but with a recognition that the universal principles of peaceful expression and democracy are ones that should be affirmed. Am I optimistic that that will happen? You know, I take a wait-and-see approach. Either way, it’s important for the United States to engage in the tough diplomacy around those permanent security concerns that we have–nuclear weapons, funding of terrorism. That’s not going to go away, and I think it’s important for us to make sure that we’ve reached out.
9:16 pm: Last call for our policy conference.
We invite readers in the greater-DC area to attend NIAC’s policy conference tomorrow morning on Capitol Hill. “The US and Iran: Between Elections and Enrichment” will take place in the Capitol Visitors’ Center from 8am-12. We will have members of Congress and some of the best Iran experts in the world to talk about what is happening now. Obviously, there will be lots to discuss. Find all the details and the list of speakers here.
6:26 pm: Senator Robert Casey spoke on the floor of the US Senate today, and absolutely nailed it when he said this:
President Obama and his senior national security team have refrained from extensive commentary on the elections in recent days. That is as it should be; the U.S. government should not give the Iranian regime any flimsy rationales for a further crackdown on protesters and reformist leaders. However, Administration officials, led by Vice President Biden, have made clear that the strategy of diplomatic engagement with Iran’s leadership to bring a peaceful resolution of Iran’s nuclear program will continue, regardless of who may comprise that leadership or how they have assumed power.
That is the right strategy; we must deal with Iran as it is, not as what we may wish it to be.
Check out the rest here.
5:46 pm: From an anonymous university professor:
Last night (Monday), 94 wounded persons were brought to the [Hazrat-e Rasul (the Prophet)] Hospital [in Sattar Khan]. Of these, 50 were shot and 9 of them died. The doctors stopped work for a few hours this morning and gathered in the yard with slogans in support of Musavi.
5:20 pm: NIAC put out a statement regarding the violence earlier today:
The National Iranian American Council condemns the Iranian government’s use of violence against demonstrators in Tehran and cities across Iran. “We condemn the violations of the human rights of the Iranian people,” said NIAC President Trita Parsi. “The people’s right to freedom of expression must always be respected.”
The violence ensued after elections widely perceived to have been either rigged or stolen. Credible reports and footage from Iran have shown security forces using brutal and sometimes lethal force to break up demonstrations across the country.
The Iranian government is obligated under international law to respect the civil and political rights of its people under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“We unequivocally demand that violence against protesters be immediately halted,” said Dokhi Fassihian, member of NIAC’s board of directors.
5:12 pm: Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana introduced a resolution today on the situation in Iran. The text expresses support for Iranian citizens struggling for freedom and human rights, condemns the violence against demonstrators, and affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections.
4:37 pm: On his facebook page, Mr. Mousavi is expressing appreciation for the international support, especially to his supporters in Hamburg, Germany.
3:33 pm: Trita Parsi answers the question “Who’s Fighting Who in Iran’s Struggle?” on the front page of Time Magazine:
We’re told that a young and restless Facebook generation has arisen in Iran, text-messaging and Twittering away at the fabric of a conservative clerical rule that it is no longer willing to accept. Ranged against it are the dogged defenders of a decrepit regime that has outlived its purpose, surviving only through brute force and its ability to convince the unsophisticated, mostly rural poor folk in their ragged suits and black chadors that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is their champion against corrupt politicians and the treacherous intellectuals and amoral rich kids who support them.
Obviously these are stereotypes — and highly misleading ones at that. The schism in Iran is not reducible to social class, ethnicity, region or generation. A simple glance at the crowds over the past week reveals women in black chadors on both sides of the divide, and women in makeup too. Many kids whose parents were poor have themselves managed to get university degrees as a result of the revolution’s largesse — Ahmadinejad may be a populist, and he may emphasize his humble origins, but he’s proud of his Ph.D. (His supporters call him “the Doctor.”) And many children of rural poverty who are now educated and living in the cities, though still of limited means, don’t necessarily share the outlook of their parents. Absent a proper tabulation of the actual vote on June 12, we’ll never know the exact distribution of political support to each candidate across the regions, social classes and age groups. But even in the rallies in support of the candidates before and after the election, it’s plain that the country can’t be neatly divided along the lines of those categories.
To the mothers of those arrested yesterday in front of the Revolution Court, [the authorities] told them: We won’t free them until this chaos has ended.
2:43 pm: NIAC action alert: What should US officials be doing?
Write your elected officials and give them a piece of your mind.
2:30 pm: Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri has issued a statement supporting the peaceful demonstrations, claiming that “no one in their right mind” can believe the results of the election. In his statement, he told the Iranian people:
1- A legitimate state must respect all points of view. It may not oppress all critical views. I fear that this lead to the lost of people’s faith in Islam.
2- Given the current circumstances, I expect the government to take all measures to restore people’s confidence. Otherwise, as I have already said, a government not respecting people’s vote has no religious or political legitimacy.
3- I invite everyone, specially the youth, to continue reclaiming their dues in calm, and not let those who want to associate this movement with chaos succeed.
4- I ask the police and army personals not to “sell their religion”, and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before god. Recognize the protesting youth as your children. Today censor and cutting telecommunication lines can not hide the truth.
2:17 pm: Back to Basics: A beginner’s guide to the structure of Iran’s military forces (via RAND):
2:01 pm: The NYT is quoting Mousavi’s twitter feed calling for more shouts of “God is great” from rooftops tonight, starting at 10:30 local time (which is right now).
Tonight 10:30-12, “Alaho Akbar” from rooftops.
1:54 pm: There is a video circulating on Youtube that purports to show a demonstrator who was stabbed to death. Warning: This video is extremely graphic.
1:28 pm: Joint statement by Khatami and Mousavi condemning extensive arrests (Translated from: http://mowj.ir/ShowNews.php?7236)
Mousavi’s campaign along with youth and student supporters of Mousavi and Khatami issued a joint statement, strongly condemning the extensive arrests of political activists and reformists.
This statement was critical of the filtering of reformist websites, government interference with text messaging, and blocking of cell phones with the intent to keep the public in the dark. It also condemned the arrest of 120 reformists and young activists for supporting Mousavi and listed the names of fifteen arrested individuals including Mohammad Reza Khatami and Behzad Nabavi. According to the statement, some of these people have been freed but “others are still being held in solitary confinement and security forces have threatened that other people will soon be arrested.” Khatami, Mousavi and their supporters asked the government to immediately work on releasing the arrested individuals and refrain from further arrests.
“The goal of these arrests is preventing legal civil participation by reformists…These arrests will only toughen the young supporters of Mousavi and Khatami who are protesting against the plundering of the achievements of the Islamic Revolution and Imam Khomeini.”
1:22 pm: IRINN reported on the Supreme Leader’s reaction today to the recent demonstrations. The key quote they reported from his speech was:
“Those who have committed crimes of aggression against the state and private properties are not part of the demonstrators, they are those who have the aim of undermining the security of the state. Our intention is to secure and protect the identity of the nation and it’s interests.”
1:00 pm: Mousavi’s Facebook page says that today’s rally was non-violent and there were no reports of aggression on the part of the armed forces.
The page also has a link to the Daily Show’s coverage of the election from yesterday.
12:51 pm: A quick note on the recount: The Supreme Leader has ordered the Guardian Council to begin a recount of the votes from last Friday. Unsurprisingly, Mousavi remains dubious, and is calling for the vote to be thrown out and re-done.
There are obvious questions about the objectivity of whoever the Guardian Council appoints to handle the re-count; who’s to say they won’t have the exact same people do the re-count as the ones who “counted” them the first time?
But also, I’m wondering where the ballots have been for the last four days? Have they been kept in a secure location? Has anyone been monitoring them? Were they even kept at all?
Even the most unbiased counters don’t do any good if the ballots themselves haven’t been preserved. And given the reports of ballot boxes with broken seals and other irregularities that we reported on yesterday, I’m not optimistic…
12:38 pm: Nico over at HuffPo asked for a translation of these photos. Here it is, via the amazing NIAC intern, Sanaz:
12:34 pm: Just a moment ago the IRINN news network was covering today’s pro-Ahmadinejad rally and interviewed a lot of the attendants.
No surprise, they all condemned the protesters and the Mousavi camp for their role in upsetting state security and for promoting instability.
Ayatolah Najif Abaddy: “The protestors are guilty of a religious crime and of a civil crime, for undermining the Islamic republic and for destroying public and private property.”
12:19 pm: From The Lede, New York Times Blog:
At the end of a news conference at the White House with South Korea’s President Lee, President Obama just said that given the history of U.S. relations with Iran “it’s not productive” for the U.S. President “to be seen as meddling in Iranian elections,” but reiterated that he has “deep concerns about the election.”
Mr. Obama added: “When I see violence directed at peaceful protesters, when I see peaceful dissent being suppressed, where ever that takes place, it is of concern to me and it is of concern to the American people. That is not how governments should interact with their people.”
Mr. Obama also said that “something has happened in Iran,” leading to “a questioning of the kinds of antagonistic postures towards the international community that have taken place in the past. That there are people who want to see greater openness and greater debate and want to see greater democracy. How that plays out over the next several days and several weeks is something for the Iranian people to decide.”
Mir Hossein Mousavi created a new website for his supporters to receive electronic messages directly from Mousavi’s organization via email. It is also intended to allow his supporters to comment on events as they happen, but this feature isn’t up yet.
11:14 am: Psychological Warfare:
We have an unconfirmed report about police intimidation. The source tells us that although he did not take part in the protests yesterday, an individual contacted his residence and left him a chilling message. The person on the phone told him that “we know that you took part in the rallies and as a result of your participation, you will be dealt with.” The source says that many people are getting this message.
10:54 am: More rallies are scheduled around the globe. Where is my vote? (Global) on facebook is where you can get the updated information on all the protests. Check these links for demonstrations in California, Portugal, Belgium, Montreal, and Sweden. A rally in the Greater Boston Area will be held today, June 16th from 5pm- 7pm in front of Boston City Hall on One City Hall street. Also, one in Raleigh, NC from 5-8pm at the 300 block of New Bern Ave in front of the Federal Building.
10:46 am: We have one report from Tehran that the internet is completely down. We are seeking confirmation from others. [There are many internet providers in Iran, and this is probably the case of just one being down.]
10:42 am: Yesterday we reported that Larijani set up a committee to investigate reports of violence, including the attacks at Tehran University. Now this, via Reuters:
Iran’s influential speaker of parliament has condemned an attack on university students that they say was carried out by Islamic militia and police. One student activist who declined to be named told Reuters four students — three men and one woman — were killed during the assault late on June 14 on the dormitory of Tehran University. Tehran University Chancellor Farhad Rahbar denied anyone had been killed, the students news agency ISNA reported. “What does it mean that in the middle of the night students are attacked in their dormitory?” speaker Ali Larijani was quoted as saying by the same news agency. The incident took place during widespread street unrest sparked by official results showing hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad won a landslide against moderate Mir Hossein Musavi in last week’s election.
10:38 am: Twitter feeds from Tehran are reporting that today’s worker strike went according to plan, with most offices in Tehran deserted.
10:33 am: Mousavi announced [Farsi] that he is prepared to participate in live TV programs to talk about his position on the elections.
10:10 am (EST): Mousavi to the People: Don’t fall in the government traps (Translated from Mousavi’s campaign website and his newspaper.
Mousavi’s organization, while emphasizing that Mousavi will not participate in the [today’s] Valiasr Sq. demonstrations, asked the people to avoid falling in the calculated traps. According to Ghalam News, Mousavi’s party and other supporting groups are trying to acquire the necessary permit by invoking the 27th provision of the constitution on freedom to assembly. The statement issued by Mousavi’s organization further states that “based on great limitations imposed on the media by the current government, it is impossible to report information in a timely and suitable manner. The consequences of this situation, which strengthens the role of foreign media in passing on information, is the responsibility of the ruling government.”
According to Mousavi website, there are also reports that the location of today’s demonstrations will be changed from Valiasr Sq. to yesterday’s route from Enghelab Sq. to Azadi Sq. This change of course was reportedly a result of massive TV advertisements by Ahmadinejad’s camp encouraging their supporters to gather in Valiasr which could lead to conflict and violence between the two opposing groups.
Where do we stand?
-As of this morning, Ahmadinejad is in Russia for a summit meeting, where he made no mention of the violence that is rocking his home country, or of the disputed election from last week. He did, however, declare the age of empires is over and fling his usual venom at the United States.
-The Guardian Council has agreed to a recount, but Mousavi is demanding that the election results be thrown out and the country vote again. The reason is, the Guardian Council consists of Khamenei loyalists, giving opponents reason to believe that the recount will simply be a tactic to stall for time and re-certify Ahmadinejad’s election.
-State-run news media have confirmed at least 7 dead in the violence over the past four days.
-Ahmadinejad supporters and Mousavi supporters both scheduled competing demonstrations for early this morning (US time), but Mousavi issued a message, urging people not to attend “to protect their lives.”
-Foreign press is now prohibited from reporting on the streets, and may only work from their offices over the phone and through official sources such as state television. AP says they are prevented even from sending independent photos or video of street protests or rallies. It goes without saying that foreign journalists whose visas are expiring are not being issued renewed visas.