PDA

View Full Version : Iran battles to quell violent protests

Pages : [1] 2 3 4

29-12-2009, 09:50 AM
THOMAS ERDBRINK, TEHRAN

December 30, 2009

1011
INTENSE clashes in several Iranian cities that left many protesters dead and scores injured have raised the stakes for both sides as the Government seeks to contain a newly revitalised opposition movement.
The street battles happened on one of the holiest days in the Shiite calendar, a fact that could help spawn further demonstrations.

Iranian state-run television said more than 15 people had been been killed in the riots, while opposition websites reported that the nephew of defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi was among the dead.

Unlike the other protesters, Ali Mousavi, 43, appears to have been killed by assassins in a political gesture aimed at his uncle, according to Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an opposition figure based in Paris with close ties to the Mousavi family.

Mr Mousavi was first run over by a vehicle outside his home, Mr Makhmalbaf wrote on his website. Five men then emerged from the car and one of them shot Mr Mousavi.

Last night his brother Seyed Reza Mousavi said his body was missing, moved from a hospital.
''My brother's body was taken away from the hospital and we cannot find it,'' he told Parlemannews, the website run by the reformist minority faction in parliament.

The website also reported that government opponents had since been arrested. Ebrahim Yazdi, foreign minister in the early months of the 1979 Islamic revolution, and journalist Emadeddin Baghi were both arrested, as were several aides to reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami and Mr Mousavi.
Iran's Government said the police had not used their weapons on the crowds but numerous opposition sources reported that security forces had at various points opened fire.

Witnesses also reported that demonstrators, who numbered in the tens of thousands, fought back with unusual force, kicking and punching police and torching government buildings and vehicles.
There were scattered reports of police surrendering, or refusing to fight. Several videos posted on the internet show officers holding up their helmets and walking away from the melee.
In Washington, the White House strongly condemned what it called the ''violent and unjust suppression'' of civilians by the Iranian Government.

''Hope and history are on the side of those who peacefully seek their universal rights, and so is the United States,'' White House National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said.

The protests recalled some of the largest demonstrations from the northern summer, when hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets after a June presidential election that the Government claims was won by incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a landslide but that the opposition believes was stolen. They have demanded that the results of the election be annulled and that a new vote be held.
On Sunday, demonstrators fanned out across the centre of Tehran, with many fighting vigorously as security forces sought to disperse the crowds.
Police said that at least 300 ''conspirators'' had been arrested and that 10 police officers had been wounded.

At one point, according to witnesses, members of the pro-Government Basij militia fired their handguns while ramming a car through two barriers set up by demonstrators.
''The people's protests have become deeper, wider and more radical,'' said Hamid Reza Jalaeipour, an opposition supporter and sociology professor at Tehran University.

He said he expected the Government to respond with even greater repressive measures. ''Everything will, from now on, be harsher, tougher, stronger.''
The latest round of demonstrations began on December 7 and has been building since then, with protests at universities nationwide.

The protests spread last week after the death of Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, considered one of the leading dissidents in the religious establishment. The demonstrators, the Government said, had deliberately exploited Sunday's ceremonies marking the death of the third Shiite imam, Hussein, whose small band of supporters fought a losing battle against a repressive army in the seventh century.

Sunday's religious commemoration, called Ashura, marks the 10th and final day of mourning for Hussein.
Protesters on Sunday wrapped themselves in the symbolism of the day, shouting slogans that compared Iran's leaders to Yazid, Hussein's arch-enemy. ''This is a month of blood. Basijis will die!'' they shouted.
In Melbourne, up to 70 demonstrators gathered in Federation Square calling for an end to the killing in their homeland.
AGENCIES

29-12-2009, 09:52 AM
Some photos from Iran...

1021102010191018101710161015101410131012
http://sawte.com/vb/images/misc/pencil.png

bigwinnman
29-12-2009, 11:51 AM
The Wavering Guards: Whose side are they on? (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/the-wavering-guards-whos-side-are-they-on/)

December 28, 2009

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/brave-woman-protecting-guards-from-angry-protests1.jpg

The following post is based on the experience of a trusted source in Iran.

Normally it’s the mothers and fathers looking for their arrested sons and daughters, but this time it was the son, looking not only for his mother and father, but his uncle, aunt and seventy-nine year-old grandmother. He waited with parents, in a holding facility, in Tehran which doubled as a resting place for various government forces, in hopes of freeing his family. “Excuse me, could I just get my keys from my parents please?” he lied in the hopes of speaking with his family.
To which the guard responded, “No, just stay with your uncle tonight.”
“But my uncle’s with them.”
“Then stay with your aunt,” said the guard.
“She’s in there too,” he replied.
“Go to your grandmothers, then!” said the guard. Unlike the US, in Iran, it’s safe to assume that one’s extended family live in such close proximity.
“But, you’ve arrested my grandmother too!” he pleaded with frustration.
“Well, then you might as well join them,” the guard joked and perhaps taking pity on him, showed him to his parents.
His family along with many others were arrested near Tehran University without even having had participated in the Ashura protests. Apparently, one Basij told the crowd they couldn’t enter a street near Tehran University. As they were turning around to leave, another guard told them to sit down causing everyone to ask, “Why?”
To which the guard responded, “Everyone, get in the van!”
The men and women were separated in the area, similar to how they are for prayer in mosques. There were about seventy women in a room, all of whom who had to turn and face a wall the moment a Basij or police officer entered the room to rest—a forced gesture of modesty.
The men, which totaled 400, were kept in another room. Guards in both rooms kept asking, “Is anyone sick? Is anyone sick?” out of fear of having someone die on their watch.
Both rooms were filled with camaraderie as the detained shared stories of how they were arrested. It even turned into a reunion of sorts as one fifty year-old protester met a long lost friend who had participated in the 1979 Revolution with him.
The guards’ amateurish behavior even provided the detained with something to laugh at. His mother witnessed one of the robot-dressed militia men, try numerous times to fit in through a door which was clearly too small for him with all the gear he was wearing. After several failed attempts, the guard finally realized he had to turn to his helmeted-head to the side to fit through the door.
Women in Iran are known as shirzan, the lioness, for their bravery and cunning. Yesterday, they proved worthy of the title as they destroyed their cell phones and threw them down the toilette to avoid confiscation—leaving the guards in possession of only ten phones.
With a few pulled strings, this one lucky family was freed, with nothing more than a mark on their record. Well, not all of them. The youth’s uncle went to the bathroom during documentation of the detained, leaving without a trace.
Though the guards proved inept in their administrative capabilities, their inability to confiscate cell phones from seventy women, to walk through doors and to document who was in their custody; their intimidation tactics proved effective. One guard told a 16-year old, “Hey there good looking, I screwed two pretty assholes like you just yesterday.” The family left unscathed physically, but emotionally fired up, vowing to take to the streets more fervently than before.
Perhaps the guard’s failure to do conduct the most basic procedures is due to their incompetence and lack of training. But, this seems doubtful considering the regime dealt more decisively with larger protests after the disputed Presidential elections. Or is their failure to let such straightforward tasks fall through the cracks because they simply don’t care? Perhaps they’ve had a change of heart after seeing women protesters rush to their rescue or their morale is low after witnessing peaceful protesters beaten by their peers? These guards can’t revolt to show their disheartenment, but they can sure do a shoddy job.

Clear Conscience
29-12-2009, 05:33 PM
I said before those demonstrators are fearless now and insistent. They reached a level where they can initiate a change. For sure this change can never come through a flip of a switch. The regime is still strong and it is tweaked till now by those demonstrations but not severely damaged.However, this bloody regime is not stronger than the Shah who was toppled by fearless insistent demonstrators.
As a comment, I dont think Hilter or Sharon stole corpses to prevent its burial or to exert pressure on their families. Khemeni2i is innovative even in his bloody terror.By the way the proxies usually imitate their masters or patrons.As an example we saw the bloody coup of Hamas in Gaza and how they killed members in fateh as if they were Israelis and we saw Hizbalah terrorists at 7 May.
The most important thing in Islam is to hurry up in burying the corpse and this Ayat Ellah is trying to prevent burials as a pressure on the families of the dead people. An Ayat El Allah worst than infidels.

Clear Conscience
29-12-2009, 07:02 PM
By the way, I mentioned infidels in my previous post not to say that they are bad or I am better than them. But I am comparing an Ayat Allah who is supposed to have a maximum Islamic faithfulness to those who dont believe in Islam. I should have said Non-Muslims and never infidels. An Ayat Allah violating Islamic rituals is compared to those who dont believe in Islam.
The behavior classifies us as good or bad and not our religion. Some Islamic clerics are the worst and other non-Muslims can be the best.

bigwinnman
29-12-2009, 10:21 PM
Dec 29 2009
Iran: The Regime’s Fightback? (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/iran-the-regimes-fightback/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/iran-the-regimes-fightback/#more-24805

We awake this morning to look for the results of the Government’s attempt to repair the humiliation of Sunday’s Ashura protests, pushing back through the simple measure of detaining more and more activists, student leaders (http://persian2english.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/former-secretary-of-ardebil-university-islamic-association-arrested/) and journalists (the latest prominent detainee is Mashaollah Shamsolvaezin (http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2009/12/091228_wmt-ir88-shams-arrest.shtml)). All day on Monday, the reports came in of plainsclothes forces entering homes throughout the country to take away those who are supposedly fomenting the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. And this comes on top of reports that more than 1000 protesters were taken to Evin Prison after the Ashura demonstrations.
The regime is also trying, after the failure on the first day of Moharram to show mass support, to mobilise the Iranian public. The Coordination Council of Islamic Propaganda announced that a “large gathering” will be convened (http://ow.ly/Qx0K) in Tehran’s Enghelab Square on Wednesday to protest the Ashura riots. There will also be pro-Government demonstrations in the provinces.
And then there are the token displays of a regime still supposedly in control. The Iranian Foreign Ministry has declared (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114854&sectionid=351020101) it will summon the British Ambassador over the “meddling” remarks of Foreign Minister David Miliband, who criticised the Government’s oppression of protest. (No word, however, whether Iran will challenge the high-profile and more assertive comments of President Obama.)
We are working on a full analysis of these — in our opinion, desperate — responses for later in the week. For now, let’s note two indicators that this is not going to steady the Government’s (sinking?) ship.

First, the arrests have been tried before to break the movement. Indeed, they began even as President Ahmadinejad’s supposed victory was being announced in June. They occurred after the mass marches of 15 and 20 June, the gathering for Rafsanjani’s Friday prayers in July, before Qods Day in September, after the protests of 13 Aban in November….
And yet the Ashura demonstrations still took place. More importantly, they took place even though the regime had disrupted or contained the “leaders” of the opposition through their detentions and threats. The Jamaran memorial, with Mohammad Khatami’s speech, was broken up on Saturday night. Mehdi Karroubi only emerged hours after the protests. Mir Hossein Mousavi was notable primarily because he was mourning the killing of his nephew by security forces.
The Ashura demonstrations still took place, despite the Government’s repeated swinging of its fists. And have a look at the video that emerged — emerged in numerous clips despite the hindrance to communications. Consider: many of those demonstrating were no longer covering the faces.
Second, it is one thing to punish those who defy those with another wave of detentions. It is another to assert your legimitacy. So this morning, questions: where was the Supreme Leader on Sunday and Monday, as his authority was being challenged? Where was President Ahmadinejad on Sunday and Monday, as his Iran — which supposedly is “10 times stronger” in its unity than any Western country — came out on the streets? Where were their Ministers who had been so vocal only two weeks earlier in threatening to crush those who would dared not obey?
Where now is this Iranian regime?

bigwinnman
29-12-2009, 10:25 PM
Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi's sister arrested in Tehran
Iran accuses West of provoking violent protests

Tue, Dec 29, 2009 | Muharram 12, 1431
Year Six, Day 313

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/12/29/95662.html

TEHRAN (Agencies)
Iran on Tuesday accused Western countries of fomenting deadly anti-government protests in the capital this week and said it was summoning Britain's ambassador to file a complaint, as Iranian MPs called for the "maximum punishment" of opposition demonstrators.

The comments by Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mahmanparast added to growing tensions between Iran and the West, which is threatening to impose tough new sanctions over Iran's suspect nuclear program and has criticized the violent crackdown on anti-government protesters in Tehran.

Iran said as many as eight people were killed in Sunday's clashes in Tehran.

Activists arrested
There was no serious violence reported Tuesday, but opposition Web sites said several activists were arrested, including a prominent reformist journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin and the sister of Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi.

"My sister Dr Nooshin Ebadi was arrested by four intelligence agents at her home and sent to prison," Ebadi said in a statement carried by the Rahesabz website.

Speaking to reporters, Mehmanparast said the deadly clashes in Tehran were the work of a tiny minority, and he accused outside countries, including the U.S. and Britain, of "miscalculating" by siding with the protesters.

"Some Western countries are supporting this sort of activities. This is intervention in our internal affairs. We strongly condemn it," he said. "In this regard, the British ambassador will be summoned today."

He gave no further details, and there was no immediate reaction from Britain.

Iranian MPs meanwhile called for the "maximum punishment" of opposition demonstrators after violent protests erupted during a Shiite religious commemoration.

The conservative-dominated parliament condemned "disgusting comments" by Western governments about Sunday's unrest and accused the protesters of being "anti-religion" and "counter-revolutionaries."

"Parliament wants the judiciary and intelligence bodies to arrest those who insult religion and impose the maximum punishment on them without reservation," said the statement read out by parliament speaker Ali Larijani on television.

Condemning violence
But the MPs appeared to be softer on opposition leaders, who reject President Mahmoud Ahmadienjad's June re-election as fraudulent, and urged them to distance themselves from the protests.

"We expect these gentlemen who had complaints in the election to wake up and clearly separate their path from this wicked movement, not to come out and issue statements again and make the air dustier."

The MPs hit out at U.S. President Barack Obama over his "statement in favor of this group which committed anti-religion acts on Ashura" and said it was reminiscent of his predecessor George W. Bush.

"Such praise disgraces you and causes the system to act more firmly," the statement said.

Obama demanded on Monday that Iran free those protesters it had detained and told the opposition that history was on its side as he led Western nations in denouncing the Islamic regime's deadly crackdown.

"The United States joins with the international community in strongly condemning the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens," Obama said in Hawaii where he is on holiday.

At least eight people were killed as security forces used teargas, batons and eventually live rounds to push back thousands who had taken to the street.

More than a dozen dissidents were also rounded up as the regime stepped up its crackdown on opposition after bloody protests broke out in Tehran on the Shiite mourning holiday of Ashura.

Clear Conscience
30-12-2009, 12:46 AM
I think in the coming days there will be a respite and the next sally for the demonstrators or the reformists will be while commemorating the victory of Khoumeini on the Shah.

Peter Pan
30-12-2009, 11:09 AM
Victorious clerics now cast in Shah's role of national oppressor

SIMON TISDALL

Observers are wondering whether this is the second Iranian revolution.
THE remarkable refusal of Iran's reformist opposition to give in, and the regime's increasing air of desperation as it attempts, with diminishing legitimacy, to force it to do so, has left many observers, foreign and domestic, wondering whether the second Iranian revolution is finally under way.
With every fatal bullet, with every ill-directed tear gas canister and every ill-advised arrest, the heirs to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the Islamic coup d'etat of 1979 find themselves stranded ever more invidiously on the wrong side of history.

Those who rose up to bring down the Shah 30 years ago are now cast in his role of national oppressor, with their revered martyr, Imam Hossein, used against them to dramatise the cruelty and inequity of their rule.

The fanatical students who drove an American president to ruin, the faithful warriors who faced down Saddam Hussein and his Western backers during eight years of war, have now become the establishment they so abhorred - incompetent, corrupt and reviled.

''We will fight, we will die, we will get our country back!'' chanted protesters, holding high their ribbons of green. ''Yazid [the caliph who martyred Hossein] will be defeated … This is a month of blood!''
Whether this attempted second revolution, no longer confined to complaints about last June's fraud-tainted presidential election but premised on a wholesale change of regime, can maintain or increase its current momentum will become clearer in the days ahead.

The revived student protests, begun on December 7, gained broader footing with the death of the noted reformer Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. The regime's decision to turn loose Basiji militia on mourners, many of whom were not protesters, at memorial ceremonies in mosques in Qom and Isfahan appears to have shocked and alienated erstwhile supporters.

The unexplained killing on Sunday of Ali Mousavi, nephew of the reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, has created a new totem and a new series of flashpoint ceremonies, following Monday's funeral, that will mark, as is customary, the third, seventh and 40th day of his death. Also in prospect are 15 more national religious holidays following Ashura and a number of political anniversaries - all possible focal points for anti-Government protests.

As the Iranian-Israeli Middle East analyst Meir Javedanfar has pointed out, more killings of demonstrators will entail more funerals and more protests - a cycle of dissension that preceded the Shah's downfall. ''The protests now seem to carry the potential to turn into a full-scale civil disobedience campaign, not unlike the first intifada the Palestinians initiated against Israel in 1987.

''[Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei's increasing attacks against the Iranian public, followed by full-scale assaults against mosques and religious members of the community, are creating the nucleus of an ideology that is legitimising opposition, not just in cities, but throughout Iran.''

Khamenei and his increasingly unpopular protege, President Mahmoud Amadinejad, could probably arrest this downward spiral by relaxing their stubborn refusal to recognise, let alone negotiate with, their critics. But there is no sign they will do so. Instead, egged on by minority fundamentalist political factions and media, they appear likely to move from the current policy of selective control, repression and intimidation to a more systematic clampdown that may involve a declaration of martial law, arrests of the most senior opposition leaders and a media blackout.

In an editorial published this week, the moderate Mardom-Salari newspaper urged the regime to adopt a more flexible stance. ''Ignoring post-election events can create a disaster in the country. It may be possible to close our eyes to the realities but it is not possible to solve it by disregarding it,'' it said.
But strident voices from the right rejected any thought of compromise. The Society of Teachers of Qom Religious Seminaries condemned ''destructive elements'' at work in society and ''expressed the hope that the vigilant nation of Iran will neutralise the plots of the enemies of Islam''.

If previous tactics are any guide, the regime will complement a deepening security crackdown with stepped-up claims of foreign interference. The arrests of several alleged members of an exiled opposition group have already been announced. More claims of American and British government meddling are likely to follow.

But what is changing, as the battle lines sharpen, is that fantasy politics and paranoid posturing can no longer conceal the widening fissures - economic, social and ethnic as well as political - that are splintering Iranian society.

The legitimacy of Khomeini's republic is all but shot. The ''month of blood'' is upon them.
Simon Tisdall is a Guardian columnist.

bigwinnman
30-12-2009, 12:21 PM
ICHRI Calls for Release of ‘All Arbitrarily Arrested’ (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/ichri-calls-for-release-of-all-arbitrarily-arrested/)

December 29, 2009

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran called (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2009/12/release-arrested/#sec1) for the release of Emaddedin Baghi and “All Arbitrarily Arrested” by security forces over the weekend during the Ashura protests. Baghi is a prominent Iranian human rights activist with a heart and nerve condition resulting from his previous incarcerations. The campaign also called for the release of Dr. Nooshin Ebadi, sister of human rights defender and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi. Here’s more:

“Emad Baghi’s arrest, as well as that of Dr. Ebadi, constitutes a blatant assault on the principled human rights community and a challenge to the growing civil rights movement in Iran,” stated Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Campaign.
“There is no reason to arrest Dr. Ebadi other than to intimidate Shirin Ebadi; the arrest is existentially a kidnapping consistent with the tactics of criminal gangs,” he said.
Many other prominent journalists and activists have been arrested during the past two days, including: Ebrahim Yazdi, former Foreign Minister and head of the Liberation Front; Mash’allah Shamsalvaezin, spokesman for the Association in Defense of the Press; Shapour Kazemi, brother in law of Mir-Hussein Mousavi; Badralsadat Mofidi, head of the Journalists’ Association; prominent journalists: Reza Tajik, Nasrin Vaziri, Keyvan Mehrgan, and Mohammad Javad Saberi; Mansoureh Shojaii, women’s rights activist; and political activists: Alireza Beheshti, Morteza Haji, Ghorban Behzadian-nejad, Mostafa Ezedi, Mohammad Taheri, and Heshmatollah Tabari.
Little information is available about the whereabouts and condition of the recently detained citizens who are held incommunicado. Under such conditions, the Campaign believes they may be tortured to produce false confessions confirming official claims that Ashura protests were instigated by foreign governments. Members of the ruling political elite have called for harsh penalties.
The Campaign calls upon the Islamic Republic authorities to release to their families the bodies of those killed by militias and security forces during the demonstrations, so that they may be buried—insofar as still possible–in accordance with religious law.
Dr. Shirin Ebadi released a statement yesterday on her sister’s detainment:

I hereby declare that my sister Dr. Noushin Ebadi who is a Medical lecturer at Azad University of Tehran was detained by four officers from the counter-intelligence agency of Islamic Republic of Iran.
She was arrested at 9 pm today (28/12/2009) at her home in Tehran. At present, we have no information of her whereabouts.
During the past two months, my sister had been contacted by the elements within the government and told in no uncertain terms to contact me and persuade me to cease my activities as a human rights advocate. It was strongly suggested that she should leave her apartment which is within the same block as my apartment in Tehran. She was told that her failure to cooperate with them will result in her arrest. I initially did not take this seriously, but I’m sad and upset to see that this was not an empty threat.
It is important to note that my sister is not politically active nor is she a member of any human right organisation. Her only crime seems to be that she is my sister and her arrest is nothing less than a political blackmail and attempted pressure. This is another method employed by the authorities in Iran to stop my activities.
I hereby draw the attention of the Iranian judiciary to this unlawful and wrongful arrest of a member of my family for political gain by the government of Iran and I call for immediate release of my sister.
Iran is currently in turmoil and these unlawful and illegal actions will only have negative effect. What is needed in Iran is peaceful dialogue and tolerance.

bigwinnman
30-12-2009, 12:24 PM
More Footage from Ashura: Peaceful Protesters Attacked (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/more-footage-from-ashura-peaceful-protesters-attacked/)

December 29, 2009

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

This moving video, also posted on Mir Hossein Moussavi and Zahra Rahnavard’s Facebook page shows hundreds of protesters in the streets on Tehran on Ashura. Amidst peace signs, chants of “Ya, Hossein! Mir Hossein!” “Death the the dictator!” and “Don’t be afraid! Don’t be afraid! We are all together!” security forces attack with batons and one can hear shots of what seem to be tear gas bullets, although security forces did shoot and kill several people captured on other videos during Sunday’s protesters.

bigwinnman
30-12-2009, 12:27 PM
Dec 29 2009
The Latest on Iran (29 December): A Desperate Swing of the Fist (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/the-latest-on-iran-29-december-a-desperate-swing-of-the-fist/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/the-latest-on-iran-29-december-a-desperate-swing-of-the-fist/#more-24809

1930 GMT: Kill Them. Abbas Vaez-Tabasi, a member of the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts has declared on state television (http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKLDE5BQ06J20091229), “Those who are behind the current sedition in the country … are mohareb (enemies of God) and the law is very clear about punishment of a mohareb [execution].”
Today’s Show of Support for the Regime? If you believe Peyke Iran, it wasn’t much. The website reports that residents in Rasht ridiculed a demonstration of 300 plainclothes Basijis (http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=11442) chanting slogans for the execution of reformists like Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mohammad Khatami, and Mehdi Karroubi.
1850 GMT: Javan Farda reports that Shiraz University was closed today (http://www.javanfarda.com/News.aspx?ID=4676).
1845 GMT: The Arrests Move Higher. Government forces have arrested Mir Hossein Mousavi’s chief aide Alireza Beheshti (http://parlemannews.net/?n=6689). Beheshti, the son of one of Iran’s most commemorated martyrs, Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, was also detained briefly in September when the regime tried to disrupt preparations for Qods Day demonstrations.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Today’s University Protest (29 December) (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/latest-iran-video-todays-university-protest-29-december/)
NEW Iran: A List of the Ashura Detainees (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/iran-a-list-of-the-ashura-detainees/)

1830 GMT: The Karroubi Family Speaks Out (Cont.): Mehdi Karroubi’s son Taghi has added to the criticisms (http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/12/29/world/AP-ML-Iran.html?_r=1) by Karroubi’s wife and son Hossein of regime restrictions on his father. He said that Government-provided security has stopped protecting Karroubi when he leaves the house. This is effectively a ”quasi-house arrest’.’
Karroubi’s car was attacked on Saturday by assailants.

1815 GMT: Attacks on the Clerics. Ayatollah Sane’i now appears to be a primary target of the regime: assaults on his offices (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/6657/) by plainclothes men have been reported in Tehran, Mashhad, Kerman, Sari, Gorgan, and Shiraz.
Attacks in Shiraz (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/6663/) on the Qoba Mosque and the residence of Ayatollah Dastghaib have also been reported.
1730 GMT: “Western” Media and the Green Movement. A reporter from The Times of London has asked us to clarify our opening update (0710 GMT). While we mentioned the newspaper as part of “a chorus of affirmation that this opposition is on the point of victory”, he/she wants to make clear that it should not be included in our preceding reference that “most of [the Western media] had written off the opposition only a month ago”.
1720 GMT: The Elm-o-Sanat Protest. We’ve posted three clips (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/latest-iran-video-todays-university-protest-29-december/) from today’s demonstration at Elm-o-Sanat University in Tehran. Gooya reports that more than 10 students were injured (http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2009/12/098325.php) in clashes with security forces.
1645 GMT: The Karroubi Family Protests. Back from a break to find that the family of Mehdi Karroubi striking out at Government restrictions (http://www.zamaaneh.com/enzam/2009/12/fatemeh-karroubi-condemns.html). Karroubi’s son Hossein has announced that his father is “partially imprisoned” because security personnel refuse to cooperate with him. Karroubi’s wife Fatemeh writes that her family has been threatened by “nightly attacks of arbitrary forces” She says that she will hold the government responsible for any incident that may affect members of her family.
1224 GMT: Reports that journalist Nasrin Vaziri, who works for ILNA and Khabar Online, has been arrested.
1214 GMT: Tehran’s Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi said that seven people were killed (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114882&sectionid=351020101) in Ashura clashes (which is kind of strange, since the official line on Monday was that 10 “terrorists” had been slain).
1210 GMT: Here Come the Guards. The Revolutionary Guard jump into the regime’s fightback (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091229/ts_nm/us_iran_27) against the Ashura protests: “The…foreign media…has staged a psychological war. Trying to overthrow the system will reach nowhere…designers of the unrest will soon pay the cost of their insolence…The opposition, which has joined hands with the foreign media, is backed by foreign enemies.”
1205 GMT: Only a matter of time before this “analysis” was attempted — the editor of Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmardari, has accused Mir Hossein Mousavi (http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=11431) of planning the assassination of his nephew.
1155 GMT: Report coming in that Reza Tajik, journalist and religious activist, was arrested today (http://www.twitter.com/sheydajahanbin) in front of the Etemaad newspaper Building. Photojournaist Sam Mahmoudi has also reportedly been arrested.
Another activist reports that Dr. Housein Mousavian, a member of the National Front, has been arrested (http://www.twitter.com/persianbanoo).
1120 GMT: Did Trees Have to Die for This? A Mr Will Heaven seeks his 15 seconds of attention with this blotting of the pages of The Daily Telegraph, “Iran and Twitter”. I have more important things to do, such as using Twitter as a portal to keep up with and report on the latest developments inside Iran, so let me respond Tweet-style:
@WillHeaven: U know nothing of #Twitter, #IranElection, or #Iran (& u rip off #Salon, who tried this shtick last week (http://www.salon.com/news/bogus_stories_2009/index.html?story=/news/bogus_stories_2009/2009/12/21/iran_twitter_revolution))
1115 GMT: We have posted a list of Ashura detainees (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/iran-a-list-of-the-ashura-detainees/), compiled by Tehran Bureau’s Muhammad Sahimi last night before the latest reports of arrests.

1040 GMT: Arrest Them All. The latest detainees include journalist Mohammad Javad Saberi (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/6600/) and Shahpour Kazemi (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/6610/), the brother of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s wife Zahra Rahnavard. Kazemi was detained for months earlier in the crisis before his release in the autumn.
Journalists Badrosadat Mofidi, Nasrin Vaziri, and Keyvan Mehregan have also been detained (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/6609/).
1020 GMT: Ali Larijani — No Compromise. Speaker of Parliament Larijani, commenting on the Ashura protests, has told lawmakers (http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/12/29/iran.protests.larijani/) that officials should “arrest offenders of the religion and mete out harshest punishments to such anti-revolutionary figures with no mercy”.
The rhetoric isn’t significant: it matches that coming from pro-regime media and “hard-line” MPs (see 0850 GMT). The political symbolism is: Larijani — who has clashed with President Ahmadinejad throughout this crisis and was reportedly involved in the discussion of a National Unity Plan —is now declaring that confrontation takes priority over any attempt at a negotiated resolution.
And he is doing so even as the Supreme Leader (is Larijani serving here as a spokesman for Khamenei?) and Ahmadinejad remain publicly silent.
0850 GMT: “Cut Off Their Hands”. Scattered hard-line noises out of Iran’s Parliament (http://www.tehrantimes.com/Index_view.asp?code=210791). Mohammad Karamirad, a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said that the committee will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss the Ashura protests. Security officials from the Interior Ministry, the Intelligence Ministry, and the police will be invited.
Don’t be fooled that this is an impartial enquiry into the demonstrations, however. Karamirad declared, “Rioters who took to streets are challenging the very foundations of the ruling system….They insult Islamic beliefs, and it is our duty to cut off the hands behind such seditious acts and bring an end to the events that endanger the safety and security of the people.” He also called on Iran’s judiciary to prosecute the leaders of the protests.
Hossein Sobhaninia, another member of the committee, joined that call. He said that events, in which the sanctities of Islam were disrespected and government officials were insulted, would not end if the judiciary did not deal with the seditious acts.
750 GMT: Which Way Forward? Following up on our snap 5-point analysis of the significance of the Ashura protests, an EA reader directs us to the thoughts of Ebrahim Nabavi (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/6579/) in Rah-e-Sabz. Nabavi searches for a positive outcome to the conflict, advising the opposition to leave enough space for the regime to prevent a fierce confrontation.
0710 GMT: We begin this morning with a summary and analysis (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/iran-the-regimes-fightback/) of the Government’s attempt to restore some credibility through the rather crude tactic of arresting lots of people it does not like or trust. One of the latest names to emerge (http://ow.ly/QCGI) is Nushin Ebadi, the sister of the Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi.
Meanwhile, it is stunning how the Western media — most of whom had written off the opposition only a month ago — are now a chorus of affirmation that this opposition is on the point of victory. The Times (http://www.astreetjournalist.com/2009/12/29/iran-is-moving-close-to-tipping-point-of-revolution/) of London proclaims (http://www.astreetjournalist.com/2009/12/29/iran-is-moving-close-to-tipping-point-of-revolution/) “the tipping point of revolution”. Abbas Milani in (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703278604574624302036557422.html)T he Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703278604574624302036557422.html) announces (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703278604574624302036557422.html) “The Tipping Point in Iran”. (Note to EA readers: if we ever use “tipping point” in an analysis, pull us aside for a journalistic flogging for the crime Resorting to Overused Cliche.) The Washington Post has the variant (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/28/AR2009122802007.html) of “Iran’s Turning Point”. The New York Times offers support through an editorial (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/29/opinion/29tue1.html) denouncing “Iran’s War on Its People”.

bigwinnman
30-12-2009, 12:30 PM
Dec 29 2009
Latest Iran Video: Warning and Protest (29 December) (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/latest-iran-video-todays-university-protest-29-december/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani: “Imprisonment of Infidels”

Elm-O-Sanat University, Tehran “Clashes with Basiji”

bigwinnman
30-12-2009, 12:38 PM
Wed, Dec 30, 2009 | Muharram 13, 1431
Year Six, Day 314

Top cleric says opposition leaders should be executed
"Nauseating Zionist play" behind protests: Iran

http://images.alarabiya.net/large_17925_95662.jpg
http://media.alarabiya.net/img_en/dot_dgray.gif
Violence erupted in Iran during the commemoration of Ashura

TEHRAN (Agencies)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States and Israel on Tuesday of staging an anti-government protest in which at least eight people died, saying it was a "nauseating play."

His talk of a theatrical piece "commissioned and sold out" by the country's two arch-foes, came as Iran's parliament called for opposition demonstrators to be given maximum punishment, which is the death penalty.

"Iranians have seen lots of these games," the president was quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying.

"Americans and Zionists are the sole audience of a play they have commissioned and sold out. A nauseating play is performed."

Ahmadinejad also condemned comments made by U.S. President Barack Obama and the British government, who have lashed out over Iran's crackdown on protesters.

"We have advised them repeatedly but if looks as if they insist on being humiliated, we are sure they will be humiliated more than their predecessors," he said.

Death penalty
Meanwhile, speaker Ali Larijani said "parliament wants the judiciary and intelligence bodies to arrest those who insult religion and impose the maximum punishment on them without reservation."

Parliament also condemned "disgusting comments" by Western governments about Sunday's unrest, after they unanimously denounced the deadly crackdown in the Islamic republic.

In that vein, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki lashed out at Britain.

"If they (the British) do not stop their absurd comments, they will be slapped in the mouth," Mottaki was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying.

His comment came as Tehran summoned British envoy Simon Gass and as a pro-government website said a Briton was among those arrested at the demonstrations.

Ashura "desecration"
People had taken to the street on the holy day of Ashura, which commemorates the 7th century murder of Shiite Islam's holiest martyr, Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

Eight people were killed as security forces used teargas, batons and eventually live rounds to push back thousands.

Iran rounded up scores of opposition figures and dissidents after Sunday's protests and on Tuesday several reformist journalists and activists were also arrested, reports said.

Hardliners have reacted angrily to what they see as "desecration" of Ashura by opposition supporters and have staged counter-demonstrations calling for tough action against protesters, state media reported.

More pro-government marches are planned for Wednesday around the country.

The opposition, meanwhile, has excoriated the authorities for resorting to violence on Ashura, a day when custom prohibits it.

MPs accused the protesters of being "counter-revolutionaries" and "anti-religion."

But they took a softer stance towards opposition leaders, who reject Ahmadinejad's June re-election as fraudulent, urging them to distance themselves from the protests.

"We expect these gentlemen who had complaints in the election to wake up and clearly separate their path from this wicked movement, not to come out and issue statements again and make the air dustier."

"The British ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry and the Islamic Republic's protest was submitted regarding this country's interference in our internal affairs," Fars news agency said.

On Monday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband had hailed the "great courage" of Iranian opposition supporters.

In London, the foreign office said Gass had "responded robustly... and reiterated (Miliband's) comments that the Iranian government must respect the human rights of its own citizens.

Arrests
In a defiant reaction, Iran's leading reformist party condemned violence against demonstrators and backed the protests.

The Islamic Iran Participation Front, which is allied with opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, called on the government to "reconcile with protesters and stop breaking the law, deception and tyranny."

On another front, Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi said intelligence agents had arrested her medical professor sister, Dr Nooshin Ebadi, on Monday.

"She is not an activist and her arrest is in fact new pressure to stop my human rights work," Ebadi said in a statement on the Rahesabz opposition website.

Meanwhile, the Iranian judiciary confirmed that an Iran-based Syrian journalist for Dubai TV had been arrested on Sunday.

And in other developments, police said it was "terrorists" who had killed the nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi on Sunday in an incident unrelated to the riots that day.

bigwinnman
30-12-2009, 10:19 PM
Video purportedly shows Iranian police running over person at protest

December 29, 2009 7:48 p.m. EST

[URL]http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/12/29/iran.videos/index.html?iref=mpstoryview (http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/12/29/iran.videos/index.html?iref=mpstoryview)

bigwinnman
30-12-2009, 10:24 PM
Iranian hard-liners plan show of strength

30/12/2009

http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=19329

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iranian hard-liners called a series of state-sponsored demonstrations on Wednesday in what they hoped would be a massive show of strength against the reformist movement, while the country's police chief threatened to show "no mercy" in crushing any new opposition rallies.

Wednesday's hardline protests, planned in Tehran and several other cities, were the latest official response to what has become the boldest challenge to the ruling system since the Islamic Revolution 30 years ago.
The government has been systematically arresting top opposition activists, including the sister of Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, limited the movement of a top opposition leader and heavily restricted media coverage in the wake of opposition rallies that left eight people dead early this week.
Iran's police chief, Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam said authorities had exhausted their patience with the opposition and promised tough new action.
"In dealing with previous protests, police showed leniency but given that these currents are seeking to topple (the ruling system), there will be no mercy. We will take severe action," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying. "The era of tolerance is over. Anyone attending such rallies will be crushed."
Tens of thousands of people were expected at Wednesday's demonstrations, which were set to begin at midafternoon. For several days, hard-liners have been imploring supporters to attend, and officially organized buses were transporting groups of schoolchildren, civil servants and supporters from outlying rural areas to the protests.
Sunday's deadly protests coincided with Ashoura, the most solemn day of the year for Shiite Muslims. The observance commemorates the 7th-century death in battle of one of Shiite Islam's most beloved saints, and it conveys a message of sacrifice in the face of repression.
Hard-liners are especially furious that some of the protesters insulted the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, casting aside a taboo on personal criticism of the leader. The government has said the protesters are a tiny minority, and accused the U.S. and Britain of organizing the opposition.
The hard-line criticism has become increasingly vocal, with some activists threatening to take the law into their own hands.
Hardline cleric Abbas Vaez Tabasi, a Khamenei representative, accused opposition leaders on Tuesday of being "enemies of God" who should be executed. "In our judiciary system, the verdict for mohareb is clear," he said. Under Iran's Islamic sharia law, the sentence for a "mohareb," or enemy of God, is execution.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shrugged off new opposition protests Sunday as "a play ordered by Zionists and Americans" and criticized Barack Obama and Britain for allegedly supporting the protesters.
"The Iranian nation has witnessed this sort of play many times," Ahmadinejad said, according to the state IRNA news agency.
Government supporters held rallies in at least three cities on Tuesday, many protesting against the opposition and its leaders.
Opposition Web sites reported about 10 new arrests Tuesday, and those taken into custody included the sister of Ebadi, who won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her human rights efforts in Iran. Ebadi, who has stayed outside of Iran since a day before the June elections, told The Associated Press in a phone interview from London that Iranian authorities were trying to punish her by arresting her sister.
The new arrests, along with the tough criticism of the U.S. and Britain, added to rising tensions with the West, which is threatening to impose tough new sanctions over Iran's suspect nuclear program and has criticized the violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.
The opposition Rah-e-Sabz, or Green Road, Web site reported additional arrests, among them opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi's brother-in-law, Shapour Kazemi, and Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, a journalist who frequently criticizes the government.
Iranian security forces also limited the movements of leading opposition figure Mahdi Karroubi by refusing to protect him when he leaves his home. Police have for years provided leading opposition figures with security.
Without the guards, he cannot go outside safely and is under a "quasi-house arrest," said his son, Taghi Karroubi. If Karroubi leaves unprotected, he risks attack by hardline government supporters. His car was attacked on Saturday when he went out, and assailants shattered his front windshield. Karroubi and Mousavi were the two defeated reformist candidates in the disputed June 12 presidential election, which set off the worst unrest in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Clear Conscience
31-12-2009, 12:16 AM
The conservatives claim that the reformists revolting against the bloody Khameni2i are the enemies of God.
They speak on God's behalf.
Tody Fadlalah opened his mouth and talked about what is happening in Iran. He said there should be a dialogue between the reformists and the conservatives to save Iran. He confirmed that any attempts to weaken the terrorist regime will be a service to Israel and USA. Ye3ne the Iranians should live under the yoke of a bloody cleric just not to serve Israel or USA.

bigwinnman
31-12-2009, 10:10 AM
this is the problem i have when religion dominates the priorities of government. i put no faith in a party that uses the Holy Scripture and God as a reference to government when society demands/needs a government that is aware of the needs of its populace. not everything can be referenced by the Scriptures.

bigwinnman
31-12-2009, 10:16 AM
“If they do not accept you, you do not force them to — and you leave.” (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/30/if-they-do-not-accept-you-you-do-not-force-them-to-and-you-leave/)

December 30, 2009

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/hashemi-rafsanjani-at-teh-001.jpg?w=300&h=180 (http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/hashemi-rafsanjani-at-teh-001.jpg) Ali Rafiei/AFP

In July, much of the discussion revolved around the role Rafsanjani (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/rafsanjani-has-not-caved/) might play in a national reconciliation bid. Since the violence this past weekend, editorial (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703510304574626453406091222.html) pages are abuzz (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703278604574624191585240728.html)a bout the possibility that the regime might soon topple, but few have taken the time to question how such monumental changes might actually occur within Iran’s political system.
A dear friend and colleague of ours has written in to discuss just that:

Today, after a meeting with the Majlis, Iran’s Prosecutor General said that “leaders of the sedition” should be prosecuted. On top of their sedition list is Fa’ezeh Hashemi (Rafsanjani’s daughter), along with Karrubi and Mousavi. Rafsanjani will be more likely to go against Khamenei’s approach if his daughter is prosecuted, jailed or killed (as Musavi’s nephew was Sunday).
On December 5 (the Shiite holiday Eid-e Ghadir), Rafsanjani delivered a speech that was strikingly similar to the one he gave on July 17th–only this time his disagreement with Khamenei was clearer. Rafsanjani said that it is “impossible to rule society by suppressing it,” and that the Prophet Mohammad told Imam Ali that “if the people accept you, then you rule. If they do not accept you, you do not force them to and you leave.”
Several sources (http://www.payvand.com/news/09/dec/1149.html) claim that powerful players like Iran’s Minister of Intelligence are getting ready to go after Rafsanjani himself. These players want Rafsanjani expelled as Chairman of the Expediency Council.
Even if his daughter’s being targeted for arrest won’t force Rafsanjani to choose sides and join the Green Movement, the hardliners might soon make the choice for him.

bigwinnman
31-12-2009, 10:31 AM
Dec 30 2009
The Latest from Iran (30 December): Rallies and Rumours (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/30/the-latest-from-iran-30-december-towards-what/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/

2205 GMT: The Iranian regime, as it blames foreign media for fomenting unrest, continues the attempt to block the services. Voice of America and BBC Persian report sustained jamming (http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Iran-Jams-Satellites-to-Block-Transmissions-by-VOA-BBC--80352412.html) efforts.
2055 GMT: The Hidden Story? An Iranian activist (http://www.twitter.com/persianbanoo) makes the interesting and important claim that the rumours around Mousavi and Karroubi have obscured a major story tonight — “500 thugs attacked students with knives and machetes” at Mashhad University. We’ve got footage of the clash in our video section (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/30/latest-iran-video-university-protests-30-december/).
2050 GMT: Nothing has happened to change our opinion of 1915 GMT. We are treating Iranian state media’s story of “two opposition figures” fleeing to northern Iran as rumour or disinformation.
2020 GMT: Reuters is carrying (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BT37P20091230) the opposition’s denial of IRNA’s story:

Hossein Karoubi, the son of moderate defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi, said his father and opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi were still in Tehran.
“My father and Mr. Mousavi are in Tehran and IRNA’s report is baseless. They are still pursuing the people’s demands,” Hossein Karoubi told moderate Parlemannews.
2005 GMT: Andrew Sullivan (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/12/simply-staggering-footage.html) has gotten wind of what appears to be a five minute video of a group of basiji disarming after being surrounded by a crowd of demonstrators. We’ve added it to today’s video page (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/30/latest-iran-video-university-protests-30-december/).
1915 GMT: Rumours. We’re off on a 90-minute break. At this point, we consider the Islamic Republic News Agency story of the Karroubi/Mousavi flight to northern Iran “unconfirmed”, with the possibility that it is either a rumour being elevated to “news” or a regime disinformation campaign.
Both the Karroubi and Mousavi camps have denied the story. It should also be noted that the rumour was being spread earlier today that Mousavi’s wife Zahra Rahnavard had been detained, and no confirmation has followed.
BBC Persian is interviewing one of Karroubi’s sons about 1930 GMT.
1910 GMT: We’ve posted footage of demonstrations (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/30/latest-iran-video-university-protests-30-december/) today at Shahryar Qods Azad and Mashhad Universities.
1905 GMT: The Regime Rally (cont.). Peyke Iran, which has published photos indicating a smaller rally than the “hundreds of thousands” cited by other outlets (see 1853 GMT), is now off-line (http://www.peykeiran.com/). (1926 GMT: Website is back up.)
1853 GMT: The Regime Rally. CNN’s Shirzad Bozorgmehr claims (http://www.edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/12/30/iran.rallies/index.html) “hundreds of thousands” at today’s gathering. He said that at Vali-e Asr Square, he could not get further because of the dense crowd. From a bridge, he watched an area from Imam Hossein Square to Enghelab Square, a distance of about 18 kilometres (11 miles).

NEW Latest Iran Video: University Protests (30 December) (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/30/latest-iran-video-university-protests-30-december/)
NEW Iran: The Uncertainties of Oppression and Protest (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/30/iran-the-uncertainties-of-oppression-and-protest/)
NEW Latest Iran Video: The Strength of the Regime? (29 December) (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/30/latest-iran-video-the-strength-of-the-regime-29-december/)
Latest Iran Video: Today’s University Protest (29 December) (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/latest-iran-video-todays-university-protest-29-december/)
Iran: A List of the Ashura Detainees (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/iran-a-list-of-the-ashura-detainees/)
Iran: The Regime’s Fightback? (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/iran-the-regimes-fightback/)
The Latest on Iran (29 December): A Desperate Swing of the Fist (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/29/the-latest-on-iran-29-december-a-desperate-swing-of-the-fist/)
1850 GMT: Mousavi Denial? It looks like Mousavi camp is also denying the IRNA story (http://www.twitter.com/jimsciuttoABC) of “flight” to northern Iran, informing American ABC News that Mousavi is still in Tehran.
Read the rest of this entry » (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/30/the-latest-from-iran-30-december-towards-what/#more-24903)

bigwinnman
31-12-2009, 10:38 AM
Andrew Sullivan (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/12/simply-staggering-footage.html)

there is a need to watch this video. the government in Iran is going to fall!

bigwinnman
31-12-2009, 10:42 AM
Tens of thousands gather for pro-government rallies
Iran opposition leaders flee Tehran: state news

Thu, Dec 31, 2009 | Muharram 14, 1431
Year Six, Day 315

TEHRAN/WASHINGTON (Agencies)
Iran's state news agency IRNA said on Wednesday that two leaders of "sedition" in the country have fled to a northern province as tens of thousands of government supporters rallied in cities across the country.

"Two of those who played a major role in igniting tension in Iran following the (June presidential) vote, fled Tehran and went to a northern province because they were scared of people, who demanded their punishment," IRNA reported.

The two mentioned were believed to be opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi who were reportedly in the Mazandaran province, north of the country.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iran's police chief warned Mousavi's supporters to expect harsh treatment if they joined illegal anti-government rallies, three days after eight protesters were killed in demonstrations.

Tens of thousands took part in the government-organized demonstrations, which state television broadcast live, chanting slogans against Mousavi and Karroubi.

"You should repent ... otherwise the system will confront you as a 'mohareb' (enemy of God)," cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda told reformist leaders at a Tehran rally, state TV reported. Under Iran's Sharia, or Islamic law, the sentence for a mohareb is death.
[/URL]Flag burning
In Tehran, crowds burned American and British flags.

There was no word about any opposition supporters on the streets on Wednesday, despite talk of demonstrations on reformist websites. Foreign media are restricted from moving around to report on such protests, which are illegal.

In Iran's bloodiest unrest since the aftermath of the disputed June 12 presidential election, eight people were killed on Sunday and at least 20 pro-reform figures, including three senior advisers to Mousavi were arrested.

Raising the stakes further in the crisis, a representative of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that opposition leaders were "enemies of God."

Television footage of the rallies in various cities showed people chanting "Mousavi is responsible for bloodshed ... We support our Supreme Leader". Some of them carried pictures of Khamenei. Similar rallies took place on Tuesday.
(http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/12/30/95766.html#000)Clashes at Ashura
Since the deadly weekend clashes during the Shiite religious ritual of Ashura, political turmoil has entered a new phase in Iran with the clerical establishment piling pressure on the reform movement to end street protests.

"People want the leaders of sedition to be punished. We will not remain silent over insulting the religion," one speaker told a Tehran rally, state TV reported.

Iran's police chief said on Wednesday "there was no more room for tolerance over participants in illegal rallies."

"Those who participate in illegal rallies will be confronted more harshly and the judiciary will confront them more decisively," said Esmail Ahmadi-Moqadam, the official IRNA news agency reported. "Some of Sunday's protesters are ... considered as mohareb and will be confronted firmly."

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, locked in a row with the West over Iran's nuclear program, said that the opposition rallies on the religious ritual of Ashura was a foreign-backed "nauseating masquerade."

Pro-government demonstrators also chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Britain", state TV reported. Iran has accused foreign powers of meddling in its affairs, which has provoked robust denials.

When the June poll returned hardline Ahmadinejad to power, his reformist opponents cried foul and thousands of Iranians took to the streets in the biggest anti-government unrest in the 30-year history of the Islamic Republic.

Authorities deny vote-rigging but the protests were showing no sign of subsiding six months after the election and despite a determined crackdown on protesters and opposition leaders.
"Suspicious" deaths
The elite Revolutionary Guards on Tuesday accused the foreign media of conspiring with the opposition to harm Iran.

Hardliners who took to the streets on Tuesday also called for the punishment of opposition leaders. The opposition website Jaras said students at two Tehran universities clashed with hardline Basij militia.

"We have asked the judiciary to arrest the leaders of this sedition," said hardline MP Hasan Norouzi, without saying just how many lawmakers made the demand. "Karoubi, Mousavi and all those who ignite tension should be arrested and tried."

Analysts say the arrest of senior opposition leaders would increase tensions in the country. The opposition says more than 900 protesters were arrested on Sunday but police said 500 "rioters" were arrested, with 300 still in detention.

Police said the "suspicious" deaths on Sunday were under investigation, denying opposition claims that the people were killed by police.

Iran's Supreme National Security Council confirmed eight deaths, but Tehran's prosecutor dropped the number to seven.

The semi-official Fars news agency said Mousavi's nephew, who was killed in the bloodshed, was buried on Wednesday at Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra cemetery.
[URL="http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/12/30/95766.html#000"] (http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/12/30/95766.html#000)Nuclear program and sanctions
Iranian President Ahmadinejad said that the nuclear rights of his country were not negotiable

http://media.alarabiya.net/img_en/quotetbl_low.gif

The U.S. and its allies meanwhile are weighing focused sanctions against Iran's leadership rather than broad-based penalties that they fear could harm the protest movement, officials and diplomats said.

Increasingly frustrated by perceived Iranian defiance over its nuclear program, the Obama administration has been crafting a "menu" of sanctions that could be imposed by the United Nations or in concert by the U.S. and its European allies.

U.S. officials, congressional aides and Western diplomats said the administration has grown increasingly cool to broad-based sanctions targeting the oil sector with the aim of destabilizing the Iranian economy.

Such measures, while favored by a growing number of U.S. lawmakers, would not only be a hard sell in the U.N. Security Council and Europe, but could have unintended consequences like undercutting Iranian public support for the opposition movement, officials and diplomats said.

"This is not about trying to bring Iran to its economic knees. It is about stopping the nuclear weapons program," said a Western diplomat. Broad-based sanctions aimed at destabilizing the overall economy "would just feed into Iranian paranoia" about the West, according to the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Diplomats said Washington knows that there is little chance of garnering international support for sweeping economic penalties aimed at the broader economy, citing resistance from Russia and China for far more modest penalties.

bigwinnman
31-12-2009, 09:55 PM
http://www.twitlonger.com/show/1238ca4eabfdca9dd94ae3836203cd5a

On Thursday 31st December 2009, @IranRiggedElect (http://www.twitter.com/IranRiggedElect) said:

Highlights from the police communications recording* from December 27, 2009 (Ashura):

1>> One officer seems to be worried that there are not enough forces around the College crossing. Another officer tells him that there are a considerable amount of forces there, it should be enough.

2>> One or more officers seem worried that dispatching too many forces from a particular police station may leave that station unguarded and prone to takeover by people. The other, apparently more senior officer tells him that people do not want to take over the police stations. He says (starting at 1:36 on the Youtube video*) "I'm telling you, our police stations are in no danger, these people don't want anything from the police stations, we have a 1000 problems in other places. Since the beginning of this whole thing up to now, which police station has ever been attached? Nobody wants to do anything to the stations, leave the normal security there, it will suffice."

3>> One particular commanding officer (called Amir 2 in the video) seems to be either very talented or very well equipped (perhaps with a truck designed to plow through people). An officer who is calling for help in the Taleghani & Valiasr crossing can be heard asking for him (1:56):

Amir 2, is your direction Valiasr square?...Tell them to come to Taleghani & Valiasr for a strike through these people, Taleghani & Valiasr...No I'm watching Taleghani & Valiasr my self, and I'm telling you we have a problem...Talegani & Valiasr, It would help if you came, come yourself and leave your forces there, put someone in charge there and come here help the guys, strike and then go back.

A guess:
Amir 1 and Amir 2 may be code names for the two trucks we saw in this video:

Since Amir 2 seems like a "unit" name but the person is being talked to as if he were 1 individual. It fits with the possibility that he is the driver of a truck. Him and the truck could be the "Amir 2" unit.

4>> The lowest ranking officers on the streets seem to be looking for excuses to NOT clash with people, and they are especially unmotivated to hit people if their commanding officer is not there to push them. One officer complains about this (2:33):

HQ, announce for Davar** to personally position himself on location. The guy's given Tarasht*** to someone else, and has gone to another street himself, now his forces are in the location not acting, not attacking.

5>> From 2:44 to 3:17 there is talk of not having enough forces and being overpowered in some places. Someone says at 3:03 "Amir 2 needs to estimate, and THEN hit into the crowd. When he doesn't have enough forces he shouldn't do that!"

6>> Somewhere/something they refer to as "the mosque" located under College bridge was apparently in trouble (3:23): "Emad, Isar, just hit College bridge from over and under so the mosque can be freed...and if you could extinguish the two fires there, that would be great"

7>> Sign of distress (4:01): "Gentlemen, I ask you not to open your radios like that, we know what we're doing, stop pushing that...***on the radio..."

Other observations:
- The general tone of the officers is quite vulgar.
- Another sign of stress / frustration is that at 3:45 the speaking officer mixes up his east and west.

*Youtube file of the recorded communications:

**There are repeated references to Davar, Davar 5, etc. Davar means referee and seems to be a codename for the commanding officers on the ground.

***The above places marked with three stars are those words we could not make out for sure from the Audio. They may be guesses. Tarasht is an area near Azadi square in Tehran.

bigwinnman
31-12-2009, 09:57 PM
1005 GMT: The Police Recording on Ashura. A lot of buzz this morning around
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BiE45y0u6o, posted on YouTube, during Sunday’s events. The general tone of the conversation, summarised in English by an Iranian activist (http://www.twitlonger.com/show/1238ca4eabfdca9dd94ae3836203cd5a), is of concern and confusion.
1000 GMT: Nervousness. As chatter spreads of a possible opposition rally in Tehran at 3 p.m. local time (1130 GMT), Rah-e-Sabz (http://www.astreetjournalist.com/2009/12/31/iran-opposition-troops-vehicles-moved-to-tehran/) ( (http://www.astreetjournalist.com/2009/12/31/iran-opposition-troops-vehicles-moved-to-tehran/)Jaras (http://www.astreetjournalist.com/2009/12/31/iran-opposition-troops-vehicles-moved-to-tehran/)) claims (http://www.astreetjournalist.com/2009/12/31/iran-opposition-troops-vehicles-moved-to-tehran/), “Hundreds of military forces and tens of armored vehicles … are moving toward Tehran. Some of the vehicles are used for suppressing street riots.”
We have to add that the report is unconfirmed and Rah-e-Sabz, as witnessed by their coverage of the Mousavi/Karroubi “flight” story last night, has been quite jumpy since Ashura.
0955 GMT: Speaking of Students…. Student leader Bahareh Hedayat is another post-Ashura detainee (http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=11535). Her speech on 5 December to a Dutch conference, “International Solidarity with the Iranian Student Movement”,
0940 GMT: Blacklisting the “Star” Students. Farnaz Fassihi offers an interesting article (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126222013953111071.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENextto WhatsNewsTop) in The Wall Street Journal, “Regime Wages a Quiet War on ‘Star Students’ of Iran”. Fassihi explains:

NEW Iran: The Regime’s Misfired “Big Shot” at Legitimacy (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/31/iran-the-regimes-misfired-big-shot-at-legitimacy/)
NEW Iran: How Significant Was the Regime’s Rally? (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/31/iran-how-significant-was-the-regimes-rally/)
Latest Iran Video: University Protests (30 December) (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/30/latest-iran-video-university-protests-30-december/)

In most places, being a star means ranking top of the class, but in Iran it means your name appears on a list of students considered a threat by the intelligence ministry. It also means a partial or complete ban from education.

The term comes from the fact that some students have learned of their status by seeing stars printed next to their names on test results….
The phenomenon started in the summer of 2006, the first academic year in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s first term in office. Some grad-school applicants noticed stars beside their names on the report cards issued by the government-run college-placement agency.
Students with one star could return to school after signing a consent to give up political activism, according to Iranian human-rights and activist groups. Two-star students faced semester suspensions and interrogation sessions, and three-star students were banned from education for life….
More than 1,000 graduate students have been blocked from higher education since the practice began in 2006, according to statements by Mostafa Moin, a former education minister, in official media in September.
Star treatment is reserved for graduate students, although undergrads also face suspension for political activity, according to student-rights activists. Several hundred undergrads have been suspended for as many as four semesters, according to student activists and human-rights groups in Iran. Under Iran’s higher-education law, students are dismissed from school if they miss four terms.
0845 GMT: The Regime Cuts Off Its Defender? An interesting moment in
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mib2rroeFzM on the significance of the Ashura protests.
Kian Mokhtari, a journalist in Tehran, was joining the US-based analysts Gary Sick and Trita Parsi (each of whom made solid points about the political situation). In his first contribution, Mokhtari began, “The Government did not come down harshly on the demonstrators at all.” He assured, “Because it is Ashura, no firearms were issued” to security forces.
But then he added, “Iran Government is investigating the issue as we speak.” Click. Mokhtari was gone, never to be heard from again in the 24-minute programme.
0800 GMT: We begin this morning with two analyses of the regime’s effort on Wednesday to quell opposition by establishing its political and religious superiority. Josh Shahryar offers a reading (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/31/iran-how-significant-was-the-regimes-rally/) of the big rally in Tehran. We connect that event to last night’s rumour of the “flight” of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to northern Iran to ask if the regime was able to secure its legitimacy (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/31/iran-the-regimes-misfired-big-shot-at-legitimacy/) yesterday. (Answer: No.)
That impression is reinforced by the overnight switch-back of State media, dismissing the Islamic Republic News Agency report of “two opposition leaders” scurrying out of Tehran. “Informed sources” (from which part of the Government?), speaking to Fars News (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=115007&sectionid=351020101), “denied earlier reports that Mehdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi have fled Tehran amid security concerns”.

bigwinnman
31-12-2009, 09:59 PM
Dec 31 2009

http://enduringamerica.com/
Iran: The Rafsanjani Interview on France 24 (28 December) (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/31/iran-the-rafsanjani-interviews-on-france-24-28-december/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
We’ve decided to post the video of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani’s interview with France 24 on Monday night. There is little in the discussion on Iran’s internal situation, presumably because Rafsanjani insisted that the subject not be raised, but readers can analyse Rafsanjani’s presentation of Iran’s international position and its relations with other countries, including the discussions over Iran’s nuclear programme.

Clear Conscience
01-01-2010, 12:39 AM
Alarabiya showed a Bassij vehicle passing over the corpse of a demonstrator!!I think it can be found on youtube too. Those Bassij are not humans!!
Anyway the Iranian minister of intelligence claimed that somebody stole this vehicle and commited this crime to throw it on the Bassij.
Everybody should remember that Bassij and their proxies in our region are alike.

bigwinnman
01-01-2010, 07:50 AM
Alarabiya showed a Bassij vehicle passing over the corpse of a demonstrator!!I think it can be found on youtube too. Those Bassij are not humans!!
Anyway the Iranian minister of intelligence claimed that somebody stole this vehicle and commited this crime to throw it on the Bassij.
Everybody should remember that Bassij and their proxies in our region are alike.

the video is in post #23
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ___

NIAC calls for Disarmament of Basij Paramilitary to Ensure Security for Iranian Citizens (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/niac-calls-for-disarmament-of-basij-paramilitary-to-ensure-security-for-iranian-citizens/)

December 31, 2009 http://niacblog.wordpress.com/ Contact: Phil Elwood917.379.3787
For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) strongly condemns the campaign of intimidation being carried out by the Iranian government against its citizens through the Basij paramilitary. NIAC calls on the Iranian government to disarm the Basij immediately and to end the violent repression of the Iranian people.
In the months following the disputed Iranian presidential elections, the Basij has been responsible for a brutal, escalating campaign of violence, both targeted and indiscriminate, aimed at silencing and intimidating Iranians attempting to express themselves freely and assemble peacefully.
The Basij is a volunteer paramilitary force that has evolved from a decentralized morality police into a full scale armed militia that receives orders from the highest levels of the Iranian government.
“To permit an armed, above-the-law, para-military group to roam the streets in the name of security is a contradiction in terms,” said Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council. “Security, free expression, free assembly and the full enjoyment of universal rights cannot occur as long as the Iranian government permits armed groups to suppress the Iranian people.”
Extensive documentation assembled by human rights organizations and the United Nations demonstrate that the Iranian government has utilized the Basij to terrorize its population through intentional physical harm, leading to scores of injuries and deaths. During the most recent events on the holiday of Ashura, witnesses described Basijis bloodying protestors with batons, wooden sticks and metal pipes, firing live rounds into crowds, and running vehicles over innocent demonstrators. Basijis on motorcycles use truncheons, tear-gas, pepper-spray, water cannons, chains, plastic bullets, and live ammunition to intimidate, injure, and kill peaceful demonstrators. In one instance, a protester was tied to the back of a van and dragged through the street. In other instances, students were thrown out of dormitory windows and off bridges.
The Basij’s repression is not limited to the acts of violence committed in public areas against demonstrators and bystanders, but also is carried out through violent nighttime raids in which they seek to suppress protesters chanting from their rooftops. Reportedly, Basijis break into homes, ruthlessly beat residents, destroy property and even shoot live rounds to silence people at their own residences.
It is apparent that the Basijis receive orders from the highest levels of the Iranian government and have significant access to arms, yet there has been no accountability for the violence they have inflicted upon innocent Iranians.
The United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 64/176 on December 18, detailing the “use of violence and intimidation by Government-directed militias” that have resulted in “numerous deaths and injuries.” The resolution expresses concern regarding the Iranian government’s “ongoing, systemic and serious restrictions of freedom of peaceful assembly and association and freedom of opinion and expression,” and calls on Iran to allow entry to and cooperate fully with UN human rights rapporteurs.
The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed shock following the upsurge in state supported violence during Ashura events and called on the government to restrain its security forces. “People have a right to express their feelings, and to hold peaceful protests, without being beaten, clubbed and thrown into jail,” Pillay stated.
Human rights organizations have submitted extensive documentation as part of Iran’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council in February detailing the Iranian government and the Basij’s appalling abuses. These organizations have called on the UN Human Rights Council to address violations by Iran of several covenants to which the government is party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights (ICESR), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials provides that security forces must utilize nonviolent means before resorting to force, and such force must be proportionate and be subjected to an effective reporting and review process. The code also provides that firearms must not be used unless there is an imminent threat to life and only when strictly avoidable to protect life.
“Not only does the Basij paramilitary not abide by these international regulations, it is clear the force is being used in violation of international law as an armed pressure group to inflict fear, injury and death on those who disagree with the government,” said Dokhi Fassihian, of NIAC’s Board of Directors.
NIAC calls on the Iranian government to disarm the Basij, to instruct all security forces to refrain from the use of force against peaceful demonstrators, and to immediately halt state-sanctioned violence against the Iranian people

bigwinnman
01-01-2010, 07:56 AM
Iran state prosecutor warns opposition figures
http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=19342

31/12/2009

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's state prosecutor warned opposition leaders Thursday they could face trial if they do not denounce this week's anti-government protests, the worst unrest since the aftermath of June's disputed presidential election.

The prosecutor, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehei, said the opposition leaders could be accused of supporting people who defy God by protesting against the government last Sunday, when Shiite Muslims observed the sacred day of Ashoura. He said the leaders may face charges of "supporting apostates," or those who go against God. At least eight people died during the protests and hundreds were arrested.
Ejehei's comments, published in state-owned Iran newspaper, deepened the bitter internal strife in Iran.
Also Thursday, a group of government supporters, wearing white funeral shrouds to symbolize a willingness to die in defense of the clerical rulers, staged a rally in southern Tehran and gathered outside the offices of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, state radio reported.
At mass pro-government rallies around the country on Wednesday, some called for the execution of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and another top figure Mahdi Karroubi, both losing candidates in the disputed June 12 presidential election. The opposition contends the election was rigged and that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won by fraud.
The orderly and peaceful display of popular support for the government was in sharp contrast to the bloody crackdown by security troops and hard-line militiamen on opposition protests at the height of the unrest over the summer.
Iranian security forces crushed rallies against the government after the summer but they have regained momentum recently.
Officials said more than 500 protesters were arrested since Sunday's clashes and the number could be even higher.
Many will likely be tried for apostasy, a crime punishable by death under Iranian law, as well as attempts to topple the government and fomenting the post-election turmoil.
Iran has already sentenced five defendants to death in an ongoing mass trial of more than 100 opposition activists and figures. More than 80 were sentenced to prison from six months to 15 years.
Ejehei said prosecution of the opposition leaders would not be forgotten.
"The charge of supporting apostates and those who defied God will be added to their past charges," he said.
Iran's deputy chief of judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi told the official IRNA news agency on Thursday that those detained over Sunday's unrest would be charged with violating public order and "Moharebe," which is Farsi for defying God. The Iranian police released Thursday on its Web site about 100 pictures of protesters involved in Sunday's rallies, asking the public to help identify and report them to the police because they were suspected of "damaging public property and insulting sanctities."

bigwinnman
01-01-2010, 08:01 AM
Security forces fire teargas at Iran protesters: reports

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/12/31/95924.html
Iranian authorities vow "no mercy" to opponents

http://images.alarabiya.net/large_61624_95924.jpg
http://media.alarabiya.net/img_en/dot_dgray.gif
An Iranian regime supporter holds a portrait of Khamenei during a Tehran protest

TEHRAN (Agencies)
Iranian authorities accused opposition leaders on Thursday of links to "foreign enemies" and warned they would be shown no mercy unless they changed course.

"Again we are warning the opposition leaders to immediately separate their path from the foreign enemies and the anti-revolution groups," the Intelligence Ministry said.

"Otherwise they will be confronted with no mercy."

Iranian police fired teargas to disperse a crowd of anti-government protesters who had gathered in central Tehran, an opposition website reported earlier.

"Supporters of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi clashed with police in Haft-e-Tir Square and police fired two rounds of teargas to disperse the protesters," the Jaras website said.

Because of a ban on foreign media reporting on illegal demonstrations, the report could not be independently verified.
[/URL]Protests
Iranian authorities earlier ordered their opponents to cease anti-government protests and denied an opposition website report that troops were heading for Tehran ahead of a planned opposition rally.

The authorities have signaled they will tolerate no more protests after eight people were killed in fiery demonstrations on Sunday during the Shiite ritual of Ashura. A nephew of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi was killed the same day.

State television showed a group of pro-government demonstrators wearing white shrouds and carrying placards that read: "We are ready to sacrifice our lives for the leader" -- referring to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Jaras opposition website said troops and armored vehicles were moving towards Tehran and that security forces had deployed in several city squares to foil the opposition rally.

Officials denied the report that troops, which have not previously been used for crowd control, had been called in.

Independent verification was impossible because foreign media have been barred from covering protests directly.

Iran's Intelligence Ministry accused the opposition leaders of links to "foreign enemies and anti-revolutionary groups" and vowed to confront them with no mercy unless they changed course.

The authorities have often blamed foreign-backed forces for plotting to topple the clerical establishment, which is also locked in a standoff with the West over Iran's nuclear work.
A deadline set by the United States and its allies for Iran to accept a deal designed to calm fears that Tehran's nuclear program is a cover for bomb-making expires on Thursday.

Iran, which may face tougher international sanctions in 2010, says its atomic work aims only to produce electricity.

Hardline leaders have been calling this week for opposition leaders to be punished for fomenting unrest in Iran, which has been rocked by political turmoil since a disputed June election.

Iran's police chief warned Mousavi supporters on Wednesday to halt their "illegal" demonstrations or face harsh treatment.

Authorities have arrested at least 20 pro-reform figures, including three senior advisers to Mousavi, his brother-in-law and a sister of Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

Hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for government-organized demonstrations which saw calls for the execution of Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, both losing candidates in the election won by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The poll, which reformist leaders said was rigged, touched off the worst internal crisis in the Islamic Republic's 30-year history. The government denied any fraud in the voting.

Neither side has shown much appetite for compromise in the six months since then and confrontations look set to intensify, amid a rancorous flood of accusations and counter-charges.

On Tuesday, Abbas Vaez-Tabasi, a representative of Khamenei, said opposition leaders were 'mohareb' (enemies of god) fit for execution under Islamic law.

Prosecutor-General Qolamhossein Mohseni-Ejei urged them to repent or "face charges of supporting apostates in defiance of God", the state-run newspaper Iran reported.

bigwinnman
02-01-2010, 12:56 AM
1245 GMT: Mousavi and the Students. Today’s Mir Hossein Mousavi statement (see 0745 GMT) has now climbed the ladder of the Western media, with a featured place on (http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fgw-iran-mousavi2-2010jan02,0,2347970.story)The Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fgw-iran-mousavi2-2010jan02,0,2347970.story) site (http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fgw-iran-mousavi2-2010jan02,0,2347970.story) and coverage on CNN television (http://www.twitter.com/rosemaryCNN) (but not CNN’s website).
Meanwhile, a student at Azad University Mashhad has given a first-hand account (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/6882/) of the demonstrations and clashes, with more than 200 arrested and some reportedly missing, at the campus.
1120 GMT: We’re Gonna Get Ya (cont. — see 0935 GMT). Iran’s Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi dealt out some more tough talk (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=115104&sectionid=351020101)on Thursday in a TV interview: “The Intelligence Ministry has obtained good clues in respect to the elements who had a role in the recent riots. This unrest is different from that of the past and is a prearranged counter-revolutionary movement, designed by agents of sedition.”
1005 GMT: Going after Sane’i? More possible evidence that the regime sees Ayatollah Yusuf Sane’i as a religious and political threat:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWsMsFBGcnA and photos of claimed attacks (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/6838/) on his residence and his office in Kerman have been posted.

NEW Iran: 2009’s Year of Living Dangerously (Part 1) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/01/iran-reviewing-2009s-year-of-living-dangerously-part-1/)
Latest Iran Video: Protests Against and for the Regime (31 December) (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/31/latest-iran-video-the-pro-regime-rally-in-karaj-31-december/)

0945 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz reports that 210 students of Azad University of Mashhad have been arrested (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/6876/) after Wednesday’s demonstration and clashes with security forces.

0940 GMT: However, in Mashhad…. Nothing low-key about yet another public declaration by Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani (http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8810110335). Speaking before Friday Prayers in Mashhad, he once again brought out all the themes of the Iranian regime defending the nations by smacking down the “hypocrites”, backed by foreign powers, who demonstrated on Ashura.
0935 GMT: We’re Gonna Get Ya. The deputy head of Iran’s judiciary, Ebrahim Raeesi, has introduced Tehran Friday Prayers with yet another warning that protesters will be dealt with firmly. Hardly a surprising line, and one wonders — given that Raeesi is not one of the most prominent players in the regime — whether this is a relatively low-key finger-wagging despite its current first-story status for the Islamic Republic News Agency.
0855 GMT: The Changing Importance of the Story. The elevation of Iran in Western media can be measured by the quick attention given to Mir Hossein Mousavi’s statement (see 0745 GMT)declaring his readiness for martyrdom and proposing a 5-stage resolution for post-election conflict. The BBC website features the story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8436919.stm) as “Breaking News”, and The Washington Post, carrying the Associated Press report, highlights (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/01/AR2010010100196.html) that Mousavi is “defiant after new threats”. Reuters announces (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6000B420100101?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=Iran&amp;v irtualBrandChannel=10209) that Mousavi has declared Iran is in “serious crisis”; The New York Times quickly prints the report (http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/01/01/world/international-us-iran-opposition-mousavi.html).
0835 GMT: We Do Information, You Do Propaganda. No comment necessary, I think, on this article from Press TV (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=115097&sectionid=3510212):

The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has launched a satellite channel to respond to the subliminal psychological programming of western media. The international channel Sahar Universal Network 2, which was launched on Thursday, December 31, 2009, aims to show Iranian society as it really is, and effectively combat western manipulation of media which distorts events, censoring and misrepresenting them.
It aspires to confront the influence of non-Islamic culture in the Muslim world and reveal the hegemonic policies of the great powers, which wish to dominate the peoples and nations of the world. Sahar Universal Network 2 seeks to introduce the rich culture of Islam, as well as political, cultural, social and economic advances made by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
0745 GMT: A weekend Friday has started quietly in Iran, as the country continues to wind down from the drama of Moharram’s last two weeks. EA’s Mr Smith takes advantage of the lull to offer Part 1 of a special review, (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/01/iran-reviewing-2009s-year-of-living-dangerously-part-1/) “”2009’s Year of Living Dangerously”.
There could be some political noise later, however. Mir Hossein Mousavi has issued his first statement (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=231350482605) after Sunday’s Ashura demonstrations. Criticizing the brutal confrontation of the Government’s forces with the mourning nation of Iran, Mousavi offers a five-stage resolution.
Mousavi’s stages are 1) the acceptance by the administration, the Parliament. and the judiciary of direct responsibility for recent events, 2) a transparent law for elections that can create public trust, 3) release of political prisoners restoring their dignity and honour, 4) recognition of the freedom of press and media, and 5) confirmation of the people’s right of legal demonstrations.
Without singling out the martyrdom of his nephew on Ashura, Mousavi reiterates that he has no fear of becoming a martyr in the people’s quest for their legitimate religious and political demands. He declares that any order for the execution, murder, or imprisonment of Mousavi, Mehdi Karoubi Mousavi, or other prominent reformists will not solve Iran’s problems.
We watch to see if Tehran’s Friday Prayers, led by Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, bring a significant show of support for the regime to follow Wednesday’s rally. Meanwhile Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli has issued a statement (http://www.fararu.com/vdcgqu9w.ak9uy4prra.html) on the events of Ashura, expressing his sorrow and concern over violence involving police against protesters. Javadi-Amoli said it was essential that while those who were breaking the law were dealt with, while those were demonstrating peacefully should not be treated justly.

bigwinnman
02-01-2010, 08:29 PM
Jan 02 2010
Iran: A Gut Reaction to Mousavi’s “Martyrdom v. Compromise” Statement (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/iran-a-gut-reaction-to-mousavis-5-stages-to-resolution-statement/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/iran-a-gut-reaction-to-mousavis-5-stages-to-resolution-statement/#more-25151

Over the last 24 hours, what has been almost as striking is Mir Hossein Mousavi’s post-Ashura statement is the division in responses to it. Some activists and observers have seen the letter, with its references to “martyrdom”, as a declaration of Mousavi’s defiance and willingness to take that defiance to a final showdown with the Iranian regime; others, looking at the five steps proposed by Mousavi for a resolution of conflict, have seen the statement — for better or worse — as a proposal for compromise, accepting and indeed affirming the current Iranian system.
For me, the division arises because Mousavi’s letter is actually two statements directed to two different audiences, seeking their recognition and possibly acceptance:

Iran Document: Mousavi’s “5 Stages to Resolution” Statement (1 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/iran-document-mousavis-5-stages-to-resolution-statement-1-january/)
The Latest from Iran (2 January): The Ripples of the Mousavi Statement (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/the-latest-from-iran-2-january-the-ripples-of-the-mousavi-statement/)
Statement Number 1 is to the activists of the Green movement: “I am with you. I am with you to the end against the injustices and betrayals of this regime.”
Statement Number 2 is to the regime: “I do not want to have to go to the end with the opposition. I do not want to do so because this will bring more bloodshed and tear apart the Islamic Republic. So let us move towards an agreement that will restore what is best about our system.”
Thus, the first part — indeed the majority — of the statement is an eloquent, passionate, at times fiery pronouncement (perhaps significantly, written within a few days of the death of Mousavi’s nephew in the Ashura demonstration) that Mousavi stands with the Green movement in its fight. At no point, interestingly, does he claim to lead the movement. Indeed, there is the striking remark that he, as well as Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami, refrained from a call for Ashura demonstrations, but still the movement turned out in force last Sunday.
Because Mousavi does not claim to lead the movement, he does not have to deal with the issue of what that movement’s demands have moved beyond a “reform” of the Islamic Republic. Instead, he moves to the second part of the statement, a pragmatic, point-by-point description of measures which is cool both in tone and in language — let us ease the rushing river that both threatens to overwhelm us and stagnates under the burden of conflict.
Those measures are far from new. Indeed, once the conflict moved beyond the question of the results of the Presidential election and to the illegitimate, unjust declarations, threats, and punishment of the Government, they were set out by both Mehdi Karroubi and Mousavi in the autumn. Respect for the Constitution, freeing of political prisoners with compensation for them and their families, acknowledgement of errors, corruptions, and violations by Government officials: these are the steps of restitution and reconciliation within the system.
Well, the tension between the first part and second part seems evident: as an EA reader concisely pointed out this morning, “[The issue is] if these reformist circles still adhere to reforms within the system, or if they have recognized them being impossible in the velayat-e faqih [system of ultimate clerical authority]” of the Islamic Republic.”
Put even more bluntly, what happens if Mousavi’s 5-point plan is rejected by the Government? The one way out may be the ultimate scapegoating, with the dismissal of President Ahmadinejad both as implicit recognition of the electoral manipulations and explicit condemnation of the corruptions — political, economic, and ideological; note Mousavi’s attention to Iran’s economic issues and foriegn policy — of the Government. Surely, however, that moment passed once the Supreme Leader anointed Ahmadinejad’s second term in August.
So what happens when Mousavi is met not by negotiation but by silence or even by more threats? Does he indeed declare that he is with the Green movement to the end — an end which means not “unity” but more conflict? Does he really declare that not only Ahmadinejad and his inner circle but the Supreme Leader and his have had their last chance?
Does he still stand alongside the factions in the Green movement, not as leader but as “one of them”?

bigwinnman
02-01-2010, 08:31 PM
Jan 02 2010
The Latest from Iran (2 January): The Ripples of the Mousavi Statement (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/the-latest-from-iran-2-january-the-ripples-of-the-mousavi-statement/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/

0840 GMT: We’ve now posted a special analysis (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/iran-a-gut-reaction-to-mousavis-5-stages-to-resolution-statement/), “A Gut Reaction To The Mousavi Statement”.
0740 GMT: We awake this morning to continuing discussion of yesterday’s post-Ashura statement by Mir Hossein Mousavi. We have posted the English translation (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/iran-document-mousavis-5-stages-to-resolution-statement-1-january/), and we are working on an analysis of the political significance of Mousavi’s combination of a passionate condemnation of violence and a readiness to accept martyrdom with his 5-point programme for reconciliation and resolution. In the meantime, EA’s Mr Azadi offers this interpretation, which can set against my own thoughts in yesterday’s updates (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/01/the-latest-from-iran-1-january-mousavis-resolution/):

What is clear is that this statement is to some extent different from Mousavi’s previous statements.
Last week, we saw that not only a number of senior scholars in Iran such as Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, Makarem- Shirazi, and Mazaheri recommended all parties and groups to pursue dialogue and unity but also that Ayatollah Fadhlullah in Lebanon emphasised the importance of that dialogue and unity. The seven-point plan of [high-profile member of Parliament] Ali Motahari, the speech of Ali Larijani in Friday Prayers at Mashhad, and the request of [Presidential candidate] Mohsen Rezaei to the Supreme Leader to carefully considering Mousavi’s Statement: all show that Iranian intellectuals and scholars from all parities have come to the same conclusion that this crisis has to stop as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, there have been rumours in Iran that some private dialogue between the Leader and Hashemi Rafsanjani has taken place for resolving the current crisis. In this context, I think Mousavi’s statement in a way is very similar to Rafsanjani’s plan for exiting from the current crisis.

vampire
02-01-2010, 09:19 PM
??? ?????: ??????? ??????? ???? «?????? ??????» ???? ??? ???? ????? ??? 30 ????

??? ??? ????? ?????? ??? ??????? ?????? ??? ?????? ?? ???????? ?????.. ?????? ???? ???????
??? ????? (?.?)
????: «????? ??????»
?? ???? ??? ????? ?????? ??? ?????? ??? ?????? ???? ??? ??????? ?? ????? ??????? ??? ????????? ??????? ???? ???? ?? ??????? ????????? ?? ?????????? ??????? ??????. ????? ?????? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ??? ????? ???? ??? ????? ??? ?? ?????? ????????? ?? ???? ??? ?????? ????? ????? ??????? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ????? ???? ?? ?????????? ???? ??? ???? ??????????.

??? ?????? ?? «???????? ???» ???? ????? ?????? ?????? ?? ????? «??????? ??????» ???? ??? ???? ???? ????? ??? 30 ????? ????? ??? ????????? ????????? ??? ???????. ????? ??? ?? ???????? ??? ???????? ?? ?? ????? ??? ????? ???? ?? ???? (??????????? ?????????). ?????? ????? ????? ???????? ????????? ????????? ?????? ?????? ?? ?????? ??? ??? ??? ????? ?? ?????? ?? ????? ???? ???? ??? ?????????? ????? ??????? ?? ?????? ???????? ???????. ??? ????? ?? ?????? ??????? ????? ????? ??????? ????? ??? ????? ??????? ?? ????????? ?«????? ??? ??? ????? ??????? ???????».

???? ??? ?? ??????? ?????? ??? ?????????? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ???????? ???? ?????? ?????? ?? ???? ???????? ?????? ?????? ??? ?????????? ???????? ????????? ????? ?? ????? (??????). ???? ????? ?? ??????? ??????? ?? ???? «????? ????? ???? ????? ?????» ?? ???? ????? ??????? ?? ????? ??????? ??? ????? ????? ????????? ?????????? ????????? ?????????? ???? ??????? ??????? ????????? ?? ?????????.

???? ????? ?? ???????? ?? «???????? ???» ???? ?????? ??? ??? ??????: «?? ????? ?? ????? ????? ?? ???? ???????? ??????». ????? ??? ????? ?????? - ?????? ?? ????? 49 ???? ????? ???? ?? ???????? ??????? ???? ?? - ?? ?????? ????? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ????????? ?????. ?????: «?????? ????? ?????? ?????? ?? ????? ???? ???? ??? 1979 ??? 30 ???? ????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ?? ????? ????».

???? ????? ???? ??? ????? ?? ???? ?????? ?? 11 ?????? (????) ??? 1979? ??? ?? ?? ????? ????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ??? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ??? 1980 ??? ?????? ?? ??? ???????. ??? ???? ???? ???? ?? ??????? ?????? ???????? ?????? ????? ??? ?????. ???? ????? ?????: «???????? ?????? ??? ???????? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??????? ?????? ?? ?????? ?? ????? ?????? ?????? ??? ????? ?? ??? ????? ?????????? ??? ?????? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ?? ?? ??????? ??? ?????? ??????? ????? ???? ?????? ?? ?????? ??».

bigwinnman
03-01-2010, 02:06 AM
Jan 02 2010
Iran: The Non-Violent “Watershed” of the Mousavi Statement (Shahryar) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/iran-the-watershed-of-the-mousavi-statement-shahryar/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/iran-the-watershed-of-the-mousavi-statement-shahryar/#more-25172

EA’s Josh Shahryar offers his views, complementing but also differing from those of EA’s Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/iran-a-gut-reaction-to-mousavis-5-stages-to-resolution-statement/), on the post-Ashura declaration of Mir Hossein Mousavi:
Mir Hossein Mousavi today released a new statement denouncing the regime’s brutal tactics against the Green Movement and outlined peaceful measures the government can take to calm the situation. While the statement is quite similar to other statements he has released in the past, several points on closer inspection stand out. The statement also shows Mousavi’s resolve and his continued willingness to finding a peaceful resolution to the current crisis.
One of the most striking features of the speech is Mousavi omitting any mention of the killing of his nephew Sayyed Ali Mousavi in Tehran on Ashura (27 December). It echoes his response and that of his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, response to the imprisonment of her brother, Shahpour Kazemi, which they kept private or months because they did not want to let personal statements speak for the entire Green Movement.
What is more important, however, is that Mousavi for the first time discounts his own influence and that of Mehdi Karroubi. He admits that even though people asked him to call for protests or at least lend his support, he did not do so in the case of Ashura. He also acknowledges the fact that people came out without his call.

The Green Movement has partially spiraled out of the hands of Karroubi and Mousavi. What this could achieve cannot be easily quantified or qualified, but it is important that the movement will continue even if Mousavi and Karroubi are no longer alive. Mousavi acknowledges this by saying that he is ready to die alongside other members of the movement, knowing that the opposition would not disappear.
Beyond this, there are three significant new points First off, Mousavi openly speaks out against the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps. It is no secret that the IRGC has been one of the driving forces behind the suppression of peaceful protesters and the main source of the power of the Supreme Leader and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. . Along the Basij – which falls under its command – they have been responsible for most of the bloodshed on the streets of Iran during protests.
Mousavi ridicules the IRGC, possibly sending a message to his supporters that they can now openly denounce the Revolutionary Guard as well as Basij. As he denounces corruption in his statement, Mousavi says, “We say that a large and influential organization like IRGC cannot defend the country and national interests if it wants to calculate everyday how much the stock market has gone up or down; it will corrupt both itself and the country.”
Secondly, Mousavi again questions the government’s legitimacy. In an earlier statement yesterday, presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei denounced Ashura protests and forwarded the preposterous idea that Mousavi has somehow come to accept Ahmadinejad as Iran’s president. Despite this, and possibly responding to it, Mousavi continues to defy Ahmadinejad. Iranian state media’s propaganda regarding Rezaei’s letter — that Mousavi has “retreated” and now acknowledges Government legiimtacy — is promptly disqualified:

Assume that, with all the arrests, brutalities, threats, and shutting the mouths of newspapers and media, you can silence people for a few days. How do you solve the change in people’s view of the establishment? How do you rectify the lack of legitimacy? How do you change the stunned and blaming views of all people of the world over all this brutality of a government against its own people? What do you do with the problems of the country’s economy and living conditions that are getting worse because of extreme weakness of the administration? With what backing of expertise, national unity and effective foreign policy, can you alleviate the shadow of more UN resolutions and international attempts to win more points against our country and our nation?
Mousavi places the calls of pro-regime protesters and Friday Prayer leaders for the killing of Mousavi and Karroubi squarely upon the government:

I clearly and bluntly say that the order of execution, murder, or imprisonment of Karoubi, Mousavi and figures like us will not solve the problem. The announcements made this Wednesday in Enghelab Square (central Tehran) and before that during the last Friday prayer by some figures affiliated with the establishment will make the consequence of any terrorist act the direct liability of the center [of the establishment] and will make the problem of the current crisis unsolvable.
Thirdly, and perhaps most important, Mousavi acknowledges the opposition taking action against security forces during the demonstrations while putting the blame for violence against security forces on the government. He neither endorses these actions, nor asks for further actions in future protests; instead, he also notes that people were compassionate to security forces and tried to save them from angrier protesters.
The passage is significant because it indicates that Mousavi continues to wish for a peaceful political resolution and does not want the government to be violently overthrown:

Watching the shocking footage of Ashura shows that if sometimes slogans and actions moved toward unacceptable radicalism, it is because of throwing innocent people off bridges and heights, shooting them, running them over by cars and assassinations. It is interesting that in some of this footage, people were seeing their [religious] brothers behind the faces of the oppressive police and Basij forces, and in that critical situation and on that deafening and hateful day they were trying to protect them from any harm. If the state-run television and radio had the slightest bit of fairness,to calm the atmosphere and bring people closer together, it would have shown a little of these scenes. But no way! The progress of events after Ashura and the extent of arrests and other Government actions show that the authorities are repeating the same past mistakes this time in a greater scale and think that the policy of terror is their only solution.
Mousavi again calmly asks the government to take steps to resolve the current crisis. This might seem repetitive; however, it comes as no surprise. The Green Movement has repeatedly shown that they are open to talks and that they are not in favor of violence, unless it is required in self-defense and then only in extreme cases. Finally, the movement still hopes for a peaceful and non-violent resolution to the current conflict. Mousavi outlines these points in his five-point proposal:

1. The administration should be held liable in front of the people, the parliament and the judiciary system so that there would be no unusual supports for the administration in response to its incompetence and ineffectiveness and the administration be held accountable for all the problems it created for the country. For sure if the administration is competent and right it would be able to respond to the people and the parliament, and if it is incompetent and inept, the parliament and the judiciary system would confront it based on the constitution.
2. Legislating new and clear election laws in a way that it would regain people’s trust in the free and fair elections without meddling and interference. This law should ensure the participation of all the people despite their differences in opinions and views and should prohibit the biased and partisan interference of the authorities in all levels. The primary parties in early days of the revolution can be considered as a model.
3. The release of all political prisoners and restoring their dignity and honour. I am sure that this move would be interpreted as a strong point for the establishment rather than a weakness and we know that the defeated political movements are against this solution.
4. One of the necessities of the improvement is the release of the banned press and media and letting the shut down newspapers to publish again. The fear of free media should be eliminated and the international experience in this matter should be considered. The expansion of the satellite channels and their growing importance and the decisive influence of this media clearly show the inadequacy of the traditional methods and limitations of National TV and radio channels. Signal jamming methods and internet censorship can only be effective for a short time. The only solution is having various free and informed media inside the country. Isn’t it time to turn eyes back from beyond our borders to domestic political, cultural and social prosperity by a courageous act and based on trusting the intellectual and innovative forces of the society?
5. Recognizing people’s rights for having legal demonstrations and forming parties and groups and abiding to the 27th principle of the constitution. Acting in this matter that can be done with the wisdom and collaboration of all of the country’s enthusiasts can replace the battle between the Basij and security forces and people or people and people with an atmosphere of friendship and national affection.
After all is said and done, Mousavi’s statement can be seen as a watershed. After the bloody events of Ashura, many expected Mousavi to give some consideration to more violent means to change the political situation. In this statement, he could have at warned the government or, at least the IRGC or the Basij, of violent confrontations. Instead, he offered his own life instead of endorsing retaliation.
This is perhaps the last chance for the Government of Iran to act peacefully if it wants to resolve the current crisis. Tensions run high. Arrests are becoming rampant. Violence has increased. Mousavi and Karroubi no longer look as safe as they did a few months ago. In such a climate, Mousavi’s conciliatory statement is a breath of fresh air. Whether the government is going to make use of the time that is running out or not remains to be seen.

bigwinnman
03-01-2010, 02:21 AM
The Oppression of the Iranian Regime Destroys Its Aura
http://www.daralhayat.com/portalarticlendah/92893
Fri, 01 January 2010

Raghida Dergham

The news from Iran is still in the limelight both in the region and in the world at large, and will continue to be so for some time, given that this internal affair has become an international issue, and since the regime in Tehran has been shaken, while its aura, stature and the absolute powers given to the Supreme Leader seem to have collapsed. Thus, the patience battle has started within Iran between reformists and hardliners, both of whom coming from a social fabric and political acumen that uses patience as a strategy and as a tactic, which in turn is an indication that this battle will drag on. Also, it is now too late for any compromises that may have months ago occurred to the senior officials in the regime, most importantly Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, such as offering Ahmadinejad as a scapegoat in order to put out the fire of the reformist revolution, or “coup” as the word also means in Persian. The page has thus been turned on the idea of the “grand bargain”, whereby the United States, Europe and the rest of world recognize the legitimacy of the ruling regime in Tehran, and offer the latter reassurances and guarantees of not supporting those who challenge the regime or rise up against it.
The Iranian leadership’s panic then manifested itself through the oppression by the militias and their brutality against the civilians, while terror was evident on the faces of extremist mullahs and of those individuals who are holding on to the idea of the religious-military monopoly of power in the country.
Moreover, the hitherto overwhelming self-confidence has also been shaken because of economic reasons, amidst the expectations of a large budget deficit that would tie the hands of the regime in what regards its regional ambitions from Iraq, to Palestine and Lebanon, and which would also hinder Tehran’s regional strategy as a result of its inability to spent as it did in the past.
Furthermore, the question of imposing further international sanctions against Iran has now entered the implementation stage, as a result of the regime’s irresponsiveness to the “carrot” offered in what regards the nuclear issue and the regime’s insistence on rendering any compromise impossible. As such, these sanctions will be extremely detrimental and harmful to the regime, no matter how hard the latter is trying to give the impression that these sanctions will have no effect, and that it is now impractical to carry on with imposing further sanctions, regardless of Iran’s domestic strife, or in waiting until the picture becomes clearer in what pertains to the current round of the confrontation in Iran.
As the world has been observing Iran’s neighbouring region, in light of the internal developments in Iran and the effects these may have in regional issues, the role of Saudi Arabia and Turkey came into the forefront, while attention turned to how Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas will deal with the Iranian incidents, and also to what Israel has in store in what regards Iran, at all levels. Iraq, however, remains at the forefront because this country is practically a compass and a balance that measures, even if clandestinely, what is going on in the minds of the Iranian leadership in terms of hegemony and in terms of the deals Iran is willing to reach whilst using retaliation as a bargaining card.
Meanwhile, the rules of engagement with Iran seem to have changed, given the condemnations that were expressed against the regime’s repressive measures. President Barack Obama would have preferred to avoid such an engagement altogether, as he was building a new relationship with the Islamic Republic in Iran. However, a new phase in the U.S relation with Iran has begun, with its slogan perhaps being: our patience versus yours. This is because Barack Obama, too, is good at being patient, an essential part of his nature and his fabric, and as such, he seems to be shifting and adjusting his position while closely watching the terror and panic of the regime in its war against the patience of the reformists.
Today, there is more than one view, and many expectations and hypotheses about what will happen in Iran. For instance, there is a scenario predicting that Ayatollah Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s faction will provoke crises in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, in order to divert attention away from the uprising inside Iran, and to justify suppressing all efforts at protest there. The opposing scenario, meanwhile, indicates that the regime needs to limit focus its efforts on the domestic developments in order to contain the dissidents and circumvent them; this will deplete all of its strengths and tie down its ability to implement any retaliation strategy.
While the first scenario is valid and plausible, and thus cannot be ruled out, the second scenario seems to be more likely to occur. This is because what is taking place in Iran is both terrible and astounding, and there can be no going back from it. It is a battle for survival that requires mobilizing a huge domestic crowd. In fact, the issue of the dichotomy within the Revolutionary Guard is of great importance, and an issue that Ayatollah Khamenei’s close circle does not understate. It is perhaps for this reason that this circle deployed the Basij in the streets, in order to suppress the protestors in the aftermath of the elections last summer.
The Basij were in fact bolstered as a result of haphazard recruitment based on money, and which was carried out by the authorities following the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinjead as president. According to insiders who are closely aware of the security hierarchy within the regime in Tehran, there is a narrow circle around Ayatollah Khamenei characterized by its ability to be chillingly brutal. This group is betting on the triumph of oppression against patience, and is working on uprooting the revolutions completely. However, the divisions within the guard may very well prove to be the thorn in this group’s back, which renders the domestic battle an outmost priority given that any deal between the loyalist camp and the opposition is impossible.
The very fact that the regime resorted to deploying the Basij militia to enforce the law in the country proves that the regime is inevitably on its way to collapsing, whether this takes a short or long time to happen.
On the other hand, the Islamic Republic of Iran has failed in exporting its theological police state. Iran thwarted its own efforts for greatness and regional dominion owing to its oppressive regime that invites hostility with its regional environment, and with both the east and the west, a regime that uses subterfuge as a means for having influence in the countries of the region, while employing militias for the purpose of coups, threats and interference in the affairs of other countries. Thus, the aura around the head of the regime in Iran has fallen.
In fact, Iran’s influence in Iraq waned because of the regime’s excessiveness in the methods it follows, and in its ideology and calculations. While Tehran did indeed reap the benefits bestowed upon it by the George W. Bush administration’s war in Iraq, it has failed in achieving its desires and ambitions regarding dividing Iraq, a goal that it shared with the neo-conservatives in the United States who orchestrated the Iraq war.
Iran strongly wanted to divide Iraq. However, the wisdom of the Iraqis, led by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, thwarted this objective. Even the Shiite leaders who wanted to divide Iraq to satisfy Iran’s ambitions changed their minds. Moreover, the view that religion and politics should be separated, and which was maintained by Ayatollah al-Sistani, triumphed in the end. Even the cleric Ammar Baqir al-Hakim is speaking today about a civil state in Iraq. Hence, Iran’s attitude in Iraq has changed in conjunction with its influence. Iran now realizes that there is no dependency by default on Iran by Iraq’s Shiites, nay, there is no dependency whatsoever when the ambitions touch on a national question such as Iraq’s unity, and the protection of its wealth and natural resources.
Of course, this does not mean that Iran does not have a large influence inside Iraq; quite the contrary, its influence there cannot be compared with that of any other neighbouring country. Moreover, it is clear that Iraq is very basic to the regional Iranian strategy, and to the one it adopts in dealing with the United States. It is also clear that the Iranian regime is in the position to activate its saboteurs in Iraq, and that the options of the first scenario mentioned above are not yet off the strategy table. In addition, it is clear that the comfort margin that the Iranian regime has enjoyed prior to the reformists’ rebellion against it is shrinking. Iran has itself now become surrounded domestically by the reformists’ revolution; regionally, by the Saudis embarking on the extremely important strategy of Intra-Arab reconciliation; and internationally, by the sanctions part of the U.S dual policy of dialogue and agreement, on one hand, and of preparing sanctions and other measures, on the other hand.
This situation requires the regional players to play several roles in order to benefit from the current situation with some deal of positivity, and away from the equation of sectarian competition that generates a harmful mobilization in any circumstances. While it is true that Turkey is playing an important regional role, the Saudi role remains vitally important in more than one area, extending from Iraq to Palestine.
It is not required of Iran’s neighbours to play a direct role in the domestic Iranian scene, because the internal Iranian affairs are not susceptible for intervention, and it is wiser that no Arab countries get involved. Also, the support that the reformists are seeking is an international moral support. Moreover, it is the right of the opposition in Iran to expect from the West, the East and the Arabs to provide a professional media coverage of what is taking place there, on the rooftops and on the streets, as part of the revolution during the course of which young men and women were killed in front of mobile phone cameras in “the internet uprising”, which was set off by the vote rigging that took place during the presidential elections.
Those dissidents are rising up against the regime’s oppressive and extremist side. They also comprise, however, those who have despaired of the worsening economic situation caused by political corruption, and smuggling through the military channels in power. According to insiders, while the Revolutionary Guard is the elite force, factions within it are responsible for the corruption, while the smuggling of alcoholic drinks has led to the increase of supply which manifested itself in cheaper alcohol. It is thus no secret from the dissidents in Tehran that some of those who are now on the side of the opposition, are merely riding the wave of the opposition when they themselves were until a short time ago in power, and made billions during the course of the revolution.
Those who are closely aware of the domestic situation in Iran point out that the senior clerics in Qom are mostly on the opposition’s side today, while only two senior clerics support the loyalist camp. They also point out that the most senior cleric in Qom, the late Ayatollah Montazeri was against vileyet-e-faqih [clerical rule] in the first place, before the latter’s stature collapsed when Ayatollah Khamenei entered as a direct political party in the presidential elections.
Moderation cannot co-exist with the doctrine of a regime, or a party that adopts a religious-militaristic-dominating ideology that is ever mobilizing support for itself; yet, the impact of the events being unfolded may impose a change that was not expected. Morally, the Republic is no longer what it used to be prior to the reformists’ revolution. On the material side, a sudden interruption of financial support will definitely affect Iran’s regional allies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine. This is while the divisions within the Republican Guard will definitely impact the regional ambitions and their supporting strategies in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Yemen.
Last fall, some issued a rash obituary of the reformists’ revolution, or coup in the Persian language. This year, however, the cards will be reshuffled and reconsidered. The reformists’ revolution has thus been unleashed, and Iran is now at the threshold of a momentous change.

Clear Conscience
04-01-2010, 12:23 AM
Anyway, it appears that the reformists are not happy with the initiative presented by Moussawi since they dont want to reconcile the bloody Khameni2i. I think Moussawi made a mistake by this initiative and this mistake will enhance the role of Karoubi and Khatemi among the reformists on the expense of Moussawi's role. Karoubi will be the real leader of the reformists.
The first foreign minister for the Islamic revolution, Ibrahim Yazdy was arrested too from 2 days. The bloody Khameni2i was not closer to Khoumeini than Yazdi. Khameni2i is the real danger on Khoumeini's legacy, especially when we realise that the Khoumeini's family is on the side of the reformists.

bigwinnman
04-01-2010, 12:35 AM
Jan 03 2010
Iran: Authority and Challenge — Bring Out the (Multi-Sided) Chessboard (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/03/iran-authority-and-challenge-bring-out-the-multi-sided-chessboard/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/03/iran-authority-and-challenge-bring-out-the-multi-sided-chessboard/#more-25205

0730 GMT: The streets in Tehran and across Iran are at their quietest in the last two weeks, but behind the scenes, the political challenge is growing, both in intensity and complexity. Bring out the multi-sided chessboard — this is far more than a game between two players. Consider:
1. There is the “regime”, as exemplified by the Supreme Leader and his offices.
2. There is President Ahmadinejad and those who are still his allies in “Government”.
3. There are the factions of the “Green movement”.
4. There are opposition figures like Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.
5. There are the conservative/principlist factions who are pressing for some, however limited, concessions from the Government to defuse the continuing resistance to “legitimacy”
Responding to our queries over the aims and language of the Mir Hossein Mousavi statement, EA readers — who reflected our initial claim that Mousavi’s declaration had divided opinion in the Green movement — have brought out multiple possibilities, both anticipated and unexpected. Perhaps the most intriguing came last night:

Iran: The Non-Violent “Watershed” of the Mousavi Statement (Shahryar) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/iran-the-watershed-of-the-mousavi-statement-shahryar/)
By offering a five point compromise, even each and every point is unacceptable, [Mousavi] has started the argument for compromise amongst the cronies of the regime….The regime collapsing over night is terrible. The regime has to evolve to collapse over a period of time, and the Mousavi plan is a great path forward. It sets a simple basic agenda that if enforced will spell the end of the Islamic Republic of Iran as we know it as a dictatorial theocracy. Any one of the five points is a no-starter, no-go for the regime, however…if the current stalemate continues it is also the end of the regime.

In a sense Mousavi is masterfully acknowledging that he is losing control of the Green wave, but also masterfully turns this to a time pressure on the regime, saying deal with me or deal with the wrath of the people who will rip you apart.

That analysis, however, takes us to individuals and groups who often do not make it to the public microscope. In the last 48 hours — returning to initiatives in the days and weeks before that — the clerics, politicians, and members of Parliament who do not sympathise with the Green movement or Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, but who also are unsettled by the post-election and the political and economic approach of the Government, have been pressing for their own “compromise”. Rule out the Green movement’s challenge, even put it to the judicial sword if protests continue, but also acknowledge some errors in the detentions, the mass trials, the unwillingness to accept any mistakes were made after 12 June.
My initial reading was that this move within the establishment — seen in the letter of Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei, the proposals of MP Ali Motahari, the calls of clerics like Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi and possibly Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli, and possibly even in the general statements of Hashemi Rafsanjani — was a threat to Mousavi, undermining his 5-point proposal and forcing him into either capitulation or ostracism with the Green Wave.
The EA reader’s comment turns that reading around: it is Mousavi who puts pressure on a regime which is far more than the Supreme Leader and the President, exposing and widening its own fissures which persist and possibly mean more, amidst the erosion of its authority, than the supposed strength of its security forces and its punishments.
That reading in turn takes us back to earlier multi-sided chess matches, especially between June and the end of August when Ahmadinjead’s inauguration for a second term was not assured, when the President was battling with other conservative/principlist factions and even the Supreme Leader for control of key ministries, and when Parliament was flirting with the idea of throwing out Ahmadinejad’s proposed Cabinet.
All of that in-fighting seemed to recede by September but the resilience of protest — it just won’t go away — may have revived the contests. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani’s daily show of his fist to the demonstrators may also be an unsubtle display of his power and ambitions; alternatively, it could be an assertion of the Supreme Leader’s wishes, in which President Ahmadinejad could take on the role of cipher or scapegoat. The members of Parliament, who also have the President’s proposed economic programme — still unpassed after three months — as a target, may choose not to bow down in acceptance, as they did at the start of September.
All or none of those possibilities may occur. They are important, however — even as they go unnoticed by many outside Iran — for they are the manoeuvres and the contests that occur between the public surges of the Green Wave. They are the fabric of power, a fabric that may be stitched together yet again or may now fray as a Government unravels.

bigwinnman
04-01-2010, 12:37 AM
Jan 03 2010
The Latest from Iran (3 January): Re-positioning (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/03/the-latest-from-iran-3-january-re-positioning/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/03/the-latest-from-iran-3-january-re-positioning/#more-25210

1245 GMT: Regime Divisions (cont.). Ayande News criticises the attempt (http://ayandenews.com/news/16993/) by Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, in the name of the Qom Seminary Teachers Association, to denounce the marja (eminent cleric) status of Ayatollah Sane’i (see yesterday’s updates).
1230 GMT: Breaking the Freedom Movement. Iran’s authorities have detained (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/7032/) three more senior members of the party: Amir Khorram, Mohsen Mohagheghi, and Sara Tavassoli (daughter of the director of the Freedom Movement’s offices).
1200 GMT: Let’s Crush Them (But Do It Fairly). Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is featuring a story of the head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, speaking about “fair trials” (http://www.iribnews.ir/media/tv/ch1/21-00/700.wmv) for those who have caused “fitna” (secular sedition).
1150 GMT: More Media Follies. This time it’s Paul Harris of The Observer of London who goes Nuclear Critical (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2010/jan/03/obama-talks-terror-iran-yemen). His attention to Iran is part of a wider piece on the challenges for President Obama, but the headline points to Tehran Emergency: “Barack Obama talks tough on terror as Iran raises nuclear stakes”. Harris bases this diplomatic Red Alert on:
— “A deadline for Iran to accept a UN-brokered deal passed on Thursday and raised the prospect of a fresh round of sanctions against Tehran” (as we noted months ago, the Obama Administration was going to let any deadline slip because it has not declared a break-down of the nuclear discussions);
— “A senior Iranian figure said the west had just one month to come up with a better deal for it to swap its low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel” (as we noted yesterday, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki’s “ultimatum” was more a rhetorical defence against likely sanctions and an intervention in the domestic crisis, trying to boost the Government with “nationalist” sentiment)
— “Many experts, however, think any resolution to the situation is unlikely.” (no names, no details)
What “distinguishes” Harris’ analysis, however, is not an omission of Iran’s domestic situation but a distortion of it. He makes a point of noticing “last week, tens of thousands of supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime demonstrated in Tehran in organised protests against foreign interference in Iran’s affairs” — you see, this is not only a Iranian Government on the verge of nuclear weapons, but one with popular support — but he never mentions the anti-regime protests that took place only three days earlier.
1140 GMT: The Domestic Troubles. Testimony to our New Year analysis about the complex challenges to the Ahmadinejad Government — “Iran’s parliament rejected on Sunday (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6020FM20100103) the government’s request to withdraw a bill aimed at gradually cutting energy and food subsidies”.

The Government put forth the subsidy reduction plan as a key plank in its economic programme last autumn. In November, however, the Parliament linked any cut to the overall budget, requiring the Government to put the money into a special account for public spending.
At that point, Ahmadinejad called for the withdrawal (http://www.ilna.ir/fullStory.aspx?ID=99286) of the entire proposal. He got his answer — economically and politically — today.
1025 GMT: Handling the Mousavi Statement. A bizarre article (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=115241&sectionid=351020101) from Press TV’s website, “Mousavi’s statement draws varied reactions” — instead of considering the political responses that we have noted in our analyses (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/03/iran-authority-and-challenge-bring-out-the-multi-sided-chessboard/), the article opens with this clumsy attempt at belittling the opposition leader: “The Tehran Municipality has been clearing the Iranian capital of graffiti containing negative comments about defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.”
The last paragraphs do try to set out a party line, but even this is uncertain: “Some, such as Mohsen Rezaei, another defeated presidential candidate, described the declaration as a “retreat” from the position of denying the legitimacy of Ahmadienjad’s administration. Others however, condemned the statement, repeating their earlier calls for judicial action against the “leaders of Fitna (Arabic for anarchy).”
1020 GMT: Iranian television is reporting that the first trials (http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2010/01/100103_la_ashura_trials.shtml), held in Revolutionary Court, of those arrested on Ashura (27 December) have begun.
1010 GMT: Latest Arrests. Journalist Rouzbeh Karimi and his wife, lawyer Forough Mirzaee, have been detained (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/7022/).
0840 GMT: US Sanctions and the Nuclear-First Approach. After weeks in which the White House seemed to shift to a rights-first vision of Iran, a faction in the Obama Administration appear to have re-staked the “All about Nukes, All about Sanctions” ground.
An article by (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/world/middleeast/03iran.html?pagewanted=2&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss)The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/world/middleeast/03iran.html?pagewanted=2&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss)‘ David Sanger and William Broa (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/world/middleeast/03iran.html?pagewanted=2&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss)d, the go-to reporters for the nukes/sanctions officials, bluntly opens with the statement that the recent internal tension and demands of the Green movement are again pawns in the nuclear game:

As President Obama faces pressure to back up his year-end ultimatum for diplomatic progress with Iran, the administration says that domestic unrest and signs of unexpected trouble in Tehran’s nuclear program make its leaders particularly vulnerable to strong and immediate new sanctions….
Although repeated rounds of sanctions over many years have not dissuaded Iran from pursuing nuclear technology, an administration official involved in the Iran policy said the hope was that the current troubles “give us a window to impose the first sanctions that may make the Iranians think the nuclear program isn’t worth the price tag.”
Beyond the relegation of the internal conflict in Iran to a supporting role in other campaigns, what is bizarre about this public-relations piece is that it promotes sanctions even though the possibility of any supposed Iranian nuclear weapon has diminished in recent months:

Obama administration officials said they believed that the bomb-development effort was seriously derailed by the exposure three months ago of the country’s secret enrichment plant under construction near the holy city of Qum….
In addition, international nuclear inspectors report that at Iran’s plant in Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges spin to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel, the number of the machines that are currently operating has dropped by 20 percent since the summer, a decline nuclear experts attribute to technical problems. [Note: EA pointed this out in the autumn; Sanger and Broad ignored the technical issue until the article today.]
The illogic and the (cynical?) political manoeuvring is beside the main point, however. This articles and others, such as a recent piece in The Washington Post that Israel was quite happy to go with the sanctions route, all point to the Administration’s acceptance of sanctions measures that will be passed by the US Congress within the next month.
0820 GMT: As the drama of public conflict recedes for the moment — although the regime continues to arrest activists, journalists, and key organisers —and is replaced by the political manoeuvres both inside and outside the Iranian establishment, we have posted an analysis (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/03/iran-authority-and-challenge-bring-out-the-multi-sided-chessboard/), “Bring Out the (Multi-Sided) Chessboard”.

bigwinnman
04-01-2010, 09:44 AM
Voice of America ®

A Trusted Source of News & Information since 1942

http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/Iranian-Government-Goes-on-Attack-Refusing-Reconciliation-with-Opposition-80539632.html

Iranian Government Goes on Attack, Refusing Reconciliation with Opposition

Opposition websites indicate more arrests have been made from their ranks

Key hardline figures in the Iranian government are pushing for severe punishment for opposition activists, with no pardon or reconciliation. Opposition websites indicate more arrests have been made from their ranks.

The Iranian government continues to strike hard at the opposition, making more arrests while putting some of the detained activists on trial.

Iranian government TV and key government figures said those who were arrested will be punished by the full force of the law.

Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar began the government's one-two punch, indicating that those individuals arrested in recent days were agents of foreign governments. He says the government has arrested some people belonging to the mujahideen and other elements supported by outside forces and governments, and the arrests were made because (these people) were found to be complicit in trying to create disorder.

Najjar insisted the government would never give in to the demands of the opposition. He says the government will under no circumstances yield, and that is a dream that the mujahideen, the monarchists, the Americans and the British will take to their graves, if they believe their agents can come back and take control of the country, once again.

Iranian judiciary head Sadegh Larijani maintained the government's firm stance protesters would face punishment. He says that in judging those arrested, all laws and verdicts must be in line with sharia law and the law of the land. These, he says, will be the criteria that will determine any ultimate verdict.

Larijani also stressed political insight will have to be used by the judiciary in the sentencing process.He says prosecutors must have political understanding in order to apply the law correctly, but that this does not mean that they interfere in the political process. Unless (judges) have understanding of the political context, he adds, they cannot impose the proper sentences.

The government's hardline position towards the opposition, new arrests, and the start of trials appeared to be a response to the five-point plan offered by opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, Friday, calling for the government to compromise in order to put an end to a six-month old crisis.

Mehrdad Khonsari of the London-based Center for Arab and Iranian Studies says the government has decided to dig in its heels. "They understand that if they were to move along the path of reconciliation, that would require certain compromises on their part, and they feel that if they were to make any kind of compromises at this stage, given the fact that the government has been under severe attack and the legitimacy of the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) has been brought into question, things will never go back to the original position and that would lay the groundwork for further concessions that would ultimately lead to the disintegration of the Islamic Republic," he said.

Government supporters are also trying to intimidate top religious leaders that support the opposition by a call to demote Grand Ayatollah Youssef Sanaei, and the confiscation of the offices and property of Ayatollah Ali Mohammed Dastgheib.

bigwinnman
04-01-2010, 08:57 PM
U.S. Decides to Punish Iranian Regime, Not People (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/u-s-decides-to-punish-iranian-regime-not-people/)
Cross-posted from the Huffington Post (http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=niacblog.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2Fdavid-elliott%2Fus-decides-to-punish-iran_b_408358.html)

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/u-s-decides-to-punish-iranian-regime-not-people/#more-6728

Last week countless protesters across Iran made yet another brave stand against their government, in an event that had political reverberations across the world. The continued demonstration of strength by the Iranian opposition has not only showed the increasing isolation of Iran’s ruling elite, but also helped cement a dramatic policy shift that has been quietly taking shape in the White House. Rather than pursuing “crippling sanctions” against Iran’s entire economy — and crushing the middle class that makes up the backbone of the opposition movement — the White House has decided to instead focus harsh sanctions on specific elements of the Iranian government, according to senior administration officials speaking to the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/29/AR2009122903415.html), LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fg-us-iran29-2009dec29,0,2206428.story), and Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BS3X920091229). This is the culmination of a dramatically changed debate in Washington, and comes in stark contrast to the indiscriminate approach many in Congress favor. But it is exactly the approach that prominent leaders in the green movement and groups like the National Iranian American Council (http://www.niacouncil.org/) have supported (http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1570) for months (http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1482).

The administration appears to have decided that its first rule should be to do no harm to the opposition movement, which is gaining strength and momentum despite six months of violent repression and intimidation. “We have never been attracted to the idea of trying to get the whole world to cordon off their economy,” a senior U.S. official told the Post. “We have to be deft at this, because it matters how the Iranian people interpret their isolation — whether they fault the regime or are fooled into thinking we are to blame.”
Simply by surviving and refusing to be beaten down, the grassroots uprising in Iran is succeeding and forcing Iran’s security forces to decide which side of history they want to defend. Thus, it is imperative that the United States not undermine Iran’s best hope for a brighter future just to apply indiscriminate sanctions that virtually no one believes will succeed in curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Instead, the administration’s efforts are designed to pressure Iran’s ruling elite back to the negotiating table, but without sacrificing the Green movement to do it. It’s a strategy that implicitly supports the opposition, but does not rely on it.
But targeted sanctions do not mean toothless sanctions. Iranian government officials and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), with its many corporate subsidiaries and front companies, will be the primary subject of these sanctions. Newsweek recently reported (http://www.newsweek.com/id/226495/page/1) ”U.S. and European officials have accumulated a lot more intelligence in recent years about the Guards’ business activities–including which IRGC officials have investments and where.”
The administration’s decision to pursue these targeted sanctions means the administration will resist the indiscriminate sanctions racing through Congress, according to the news reports. While the administration will need to show some backbone to keep Congress from undermining the more sophisticated strategy being put together by the White House, the debate in Washington has changed dramatically in the past six months. The bravery of the Iranian people, shared with the world through YouTube and Twitter, speaks for itself. Meanwhile, groups like the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and its allies (http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1585) have been pounding home the message that the United States cannot say it supports the Iranian people while trying simultaneously to impoverish them or deprive them of winter heating oil.
NIAC President Trita Parsi provided testimony (http://www.oversight.house.gov/images/stories/Hearings/National_Security/12.15.09_Iran/Parsi.pdf) to Congress explaining the flaw in the thinking of those who think that inflicting more economic pain on the Iranian people would be a good thing, as if they weren’t already suffering enough at the hands of their government or weren’t upset enough about the blood on the regime’s hands:

What caused Iranians to rise up in June was not economic hardship, but dashed hopes in anger over the fraudulent election. Whereas economic hardships have prompted sporadic protests, hope has brought millions into the streets in a sustained manner. Experience shows that when broad, untargeted sanctions hitting the Iranian people are adopted, the first casualty is hope. Economic misery breeds despair, which in turn kills people’s faith in their ability to bring about change. The result is political apathy, which only cements the status quo and serves the interest of the political faction around Ayatollah Khamenei.
Even Congress is responding to that message. Shortly before Congress adjourned for Christmas, Representatives Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Jim Moran (D-VA) introduced the Stand With the Iranian People Act (http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1587) and the Iranian Digital Empowerment Act (http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1587), respectively. Both these bills make very clear that sanctions that do not target the Iranian government and instead needlessly hurt the Iranian people aren’t just wrong – they are against U.S. national interests and hurt the Iranian people’s struggle for democracy. The White House understands this, and is showing tremendous leadership in heeding its own better judgment, rather than kowtowing to the forces of the status quo.

bigwinnman
04-01-2010, 09:00 PM
Jan 04 2010
Iran: Five Expatriate Intellectuals Issue “The Demands of the Green Movement” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/iran-five-expatriate-intellectuals-issue-the-demands-of-the-green-movement/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/iran-five-expatriate-intellectuals-issue-the-demands-of-the-green-movement/#more-25301

Five Iranian intellectuals living overseas — Abdolkarim Soroush, Akbar Ganji, Mohsen Kadivar, Abdolali Bazargan, and Ataollah Mohajerani — have followed Mir Hossein Mousavi’s recent 5-point statement with a declaration of 10 demands to be met by the Iranian Government:
1. Resignation of Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, renewal of the election under the supervision of the independant organs. Cancellation of the Guardian Council’s oversight and establishment of an independant election
commission.

(http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/the-latest-from-iran-4-january-watching-and-debating/)
2. Release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. Persecution of those involved in murders and torture of recent months in a public court of law with retribution to the victims and their families.

3. Freedom of press and all audio-visual media. Cancellation of censorship, banning of newspapers, filtering of internet. Expansion of satellite services and acceptance of private TV channels. Expulsion of those who
put out fraudulent lies over recent events.
4. Recognition of the activities of political parties, student movement, women’s movement, non-government organisations and civil society, and labor unions, with the right to assembly.
5. Independence of universities and their administrations. Expulsion of military forces from the campuses. Purge of the illegal Cultural Revolution Council.
6. Persecution of torturers and murderers for recent crimes.
7. Independence of the judiciary, with its head an elected official. Cancellation of all illegal special courts.
8. Expulsion of all military forces and law enforcement from the political, economic, and cultural scene.
9. Independence of the religious establishment from the government and administration.
10. All high level positions in the country to be elected by the people, with term limits and accountability.

bigwinnman
04-01-2010, 09:07 PM
Jan 04 2010
The Latest from Iran (4 January): Watching and Debating (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/the-latest-from-iran-4-january-watching-and-debating/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/

0930 GMT: A Platform for the Green Movement? Five Iranian intellectuals abroad — Abdolkarim Soroush, Akbar Ganji, Mohsen Kadivar, Abdolali Bazargan, Ataollah Mohajerani — have put out a statement of objectives. We are summarising in a separate entry.
0920 GMT: Where’s Mahmoud? President Ahmadinejad is focusing on Iran’s regional ties (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=115297&sectionid=351020101), especially in areas like energy and transportation. He is in Tajikistan before moving to Turkmenistan.
0910 GMT: We’ve posted the video of an interview (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/latest-iran-video-interview-with-committee-of-human-rights-reporters-3-january/) with Saeed Habibi, a senior member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters who is in hiding in Iran.
0720 GMT: The Clerical Opposition? We are looking for further information on the tantalising report (http://www.twitter.com/persianbanoo), offered late Sunday, that Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani has met separately with Ayatollah Mousavi-Ardebili and with Ayatollah Sanei in Qom.
0710 GMT: Another low-key start to the political day in Iran, as it appears that the regime ponders — amidst its threats — how to deal with the persistence of protests, the Green opposition gathers itself — amidst arrests — for the next big show of resistance, Mir Hossein Mousavi watches the response to his 5-proposal statement, and conservative/principlist politicians and clerics look for support for their alternative approach.
We have two guest analyses. Babak Siavoshy puts forth a defence of Mousavi’s statement (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/iran-in-defence-of-mousavis-5-proposals/), while Gary Sick praises the “strategic leaking” of Barack Obama (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/iran-the-genius-of-washingtons-strategic-leaking-on-nukes-sanctions/) amidst domestic pressure for US sanctions against Iran and its nuclear programme.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Interview with Committee of Human Rights Reporters (3 January)
(http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/latest-iran-video-interview-with-committee-of-human-rights-reporters-3-january/)NEW Iran: In Defence of Mousavi’s “5 Proposals” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/iran-in-defence-of-mousavis-5-proposals/)
Meanwhile, a Sunday testimony both to Iran’s ascent up the US news agenda and the problems, as well as the possibilities, that this brings. One of the showpiece Sunday talk shows, ABC’s This Week, turned over part of its Roundtable to
Unfortunately, after paying token attention to the internal developments — “Every time this cycle happens, the Iranian opposition seems to come back stronger and stronger” — David Sanger of The New York Times promoted his Sunday article (see yesterday’s updates (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/03/the-latest-from-iran-3-january-re-positioning/)) and declared, “The first priority is the nuclear programme.” Cue another round of chit-chat among the talking heads on sanctions and the reduction of Iran’s political battle to “Is it more or less likely for the Iranian regime to want a deal with the West?”

bigwinnman
05-01-2010, 10:51 AM

PressTV is reporting (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=105190&sectionid=351020101) that the head of the Reformist front in Tehran has been released from Evin prison after nearly two months. Abbas Mirza Aboutalebi was arrested on 10 July in connection with the unrest following the June 12 elections.

Aboutalebi is the deputy secretary general of Hambastegi (Solidarity), an Iranian Reformist party, and was a former deputy at the Iranian Parliament (Majlis).
He was also one of the top campaigners of defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
This could be another sign that the conservatives, under the direction of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, are moving towards some form of reconciliation.
Alternatively, it is an example of head of the judiciary Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani’s stance against the mass trials of reformists. Indeed, rumor has it the brother of Majles Speaker Ali Larijani is working to release three key reformists (including Saeed Hajjarian) before the end of Ramazan. From a New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/world/middleeast/04iran.html?hp) this morning:

Jahan news (http://www.jahannews.com/), a pro-government Web site, reported Thursday that Sadeq Larijani, head of the judiciary, is opposed to the mass trials of political prisoners that the president and his allies have organized.
The report said that he is looking to bring an end to the trials and has ordered the release of three high profile prisoners by the end of the of the holy month of Ramadan, including Saeed Hajjarian, a former deputy minister and reform movement strategist; Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, a former vice president; and Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, a former government spokesman.

According to semi-official Mehr News (http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=939390), Sadegh Larijani has announced he will free some of the prisoners and punish people responsible for abuses at the Kahrizak prisons. He made in these remarks in a meeting with MP Kazem Jalili:

The Speaker of the Special Committee told Mehr News about his meeting with Larijani, saying, “Ayatollah Larijani alluded to the necessity to immediately free some prisoners and punish the agents of the [offenses] at Kahrizak and the dormitories, and that judgments or indictments relating to the post-election events must be accurately based on judicial regulations.
Larijani has made good on part of his promises by freeing a major Mousavi ally and a Principlist cleric that supported him, as we reported below. It remains to be seen if Larijani plans to engage in a full-blown offensive against the actions of the IRGC and the Shahroudi-era Judiciary, or if these are token attempts to restore legitimacy in the Islamic judiciary.

What he did on the afternoon of the Election Day by calling Mousavi and congratulating him on the finalization of his presidency cannot be overlooked. As the head of a branch of power, he is considered to have access to firsthand and classified information and news. When he congratulated Mousvai at a time when voting hours had not even ended yet, it made him delusional and encouraged him to take the seditious and provocative positions and behaviours which disturbed people’s security and calm and significantly harmed the might and honor of the system.
Larijani’s Politics and the Rape Allegations (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/larijanis-politics-and-the-rape-allegations/)

Yesterday, Raja News (pro-Ahmadinejad) reported (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2009/08/iran-wellinformed-larijani-congratulated-mousavi-on-election-day-report-says.html#more) that Larijani called and congratulated Mousavi on the night of the election:

The article is an attack against Larijani and even attempts to cast doubt on his doctoral degree. However, it is inadvertently very damaging to Ahmadinejad and other newspapers are now picking up the story.
Today, Ali Larijani says (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iran-abuse13-2009aug13,0,117405.story) detainees were not raped:

A day after vowing to investigate allegations that election protesters were sexually abused in Iran’s prisons, the parliament speaker dismissed the charges as false.
Ali Larijani said today that a commission set up to look into allegations of prisoner abuse amid the unrest over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection had already concluded that none were raped.
Not so, says (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iran-abuse12-2009aug12,0,7330964.story) the L.A. Times:

Nearly a month later, she can’t erase images of the dying young man from her mind.
All but two of his upper teeth had been knocked out. His nails had been pulled out. His head had been bashed in. His kidneys had stopped working. But what most disturbed her, she said, were the stitches around his anus — a sign, the nurses told her, that he had been raped.
Iranian reformist websites and activists in recent days had identified 19-year-old Mohammad K. as one of the protesters arrested during Iran’s postelection unrest, locked up in the Kahrizak detention facility and severely beaten.
He died in the late hours of July 16 or the early hours of July 17 at a hospital in Tehran, according to the websites.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 9:54 am and is filed under Human Rights in Iran (http://en.wordpress.com/tag/human-rights-in-iran/), Iran Election 2009 (http://en.wordpress.com/tag/iran-election-2009/). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/larijanis-politics-and-the-rape-allegations/feed/) feed. You can leave a response (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/larijanis-politics-and-the-rape-allegations/#respond), or trackback (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/larijanis-politics-and-the-rape-allegations/trackback/) from your own site.

bigwinnman
05-01-2010, 10:59 AM
Jan 04 2010
The Latest from Iran (4 January): Watching and Debating (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/the-latest-from-iran-4-january-watching-and-debating/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/the-latest-from-iran-4-january-watching-and-debating/#more-25270

2330 GMT: Mahmoud Down. Signing off tonight with this news — looks like the latest victim in the cyber-war is President Ahmadinejad’s blog (http://www.ahmadinejad.ir/).
2320 GMT: Another Rights-First Shot from the Obama Administration. Despite (possibly because of) the recent sanctions-related rush of spin in US newspapers, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a moment to focus on Iran’s political conflict (http://televisionwashington.com/floater_article1.aspx?lang=en&t=3&id=16941) today, criticising the regime’s “ruthless repression” of protesters: “We have deep concerns about their behavior, we have concerns about their intentions and we are deeply disturbed by the mounting signs of ruthless repression that they are exercising against those who assemble and express viewpoints that are at variance with what the leadership of Iran wants to hear.”
2220 GMT: Have You Made “The List”? Fars News has published the names (http://ow.ly/SIzo) of the 60 organisations and media outlets “outed” by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence as unacceptable for contact by Iranians.
There are a lot of familiar faces, given that many of these dangerous groups were listed in indictments in the Tehran trials in August: Georges Soros’ Open Society Institute is here, as is the Carnegie Foundation, Ford Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Center, whose scholar Haleh Esfandiari was detained by the Iranians in 2007. Both the National Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute get a mention. So doe the Council on Foreign Relations, the Hoover Institute in California, Freedom House, and of course the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The National Endowment for Democracy, funded but not run by the US Government, also gets a citation, and Human Rights Watch is a definite no-go area.
Looks like we’ve missed out — in the United Kingdom, the conference centre at Wilton Park, where foreign agents must gather to plan regime change, is mentioned as is the “Centre for Democracy Studies”.
Just one question, if anyone at the Ministry of Intelligence is on Overnight Foreigner Watch: why does Yale get to be the one university to receive the Great Satan’s Helper prize? (And, yes, we’re already getting furious e-mails from our Harvard friends.)
2200 GMT: Have just arrived in Beirut, where I will be learning from the best specialists on the Middle East and Iran this week. Thanks to EA staff for finding journalist Maziar Bahari’s interview with Britain’s Channel 4. We’ve now posted the video of Bahari (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/latest-iran-video-maziar-bahari-on-britains-channel-4/), who was detained for four months after the Presidential election.
2000 GMT: Britain’s Channel 4 News has just broadcast a moving interview with journalist Maziar Bahari who was held in Evin prison for 119 days. We’ll post a link when it becomes available. Chief political correspondent Jon Snow also referred back to his exclusive interview (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/12/23/iran-video-transcript-ahmadinejad-interview-with-britains-channel-4-23-december/) with President Ahmadinejad which took place in Shiraz just before Christmas. Ahmadinejad denied troops were intimidating opponents and warned the West not to assume his country was weak.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Maziar Bahari on Britain’s Channel 4 (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/latest-iran-video-maziar-bahari-on-britains-channel-4/)
1540 GMT: I’m en route to a conference in the Middle East (more news tomorrow) so updates may be limited today. The EA team is minding the shop so keep sending in information and analysis.

1500 GMT: The Foreign Menace (see if you are on the list). The Islamic Republic News Agency has just published a long interview (http://www2.irna.ir/fa/news/view/menu-151/8810134547172403.html) with the Deputy Minister for International Affairs in the Ministry of Intelligence ministry. He lists 62 foreign research centres and media outlets, with which all contact by Iranians is considered forbidden. The list includes Yale University, Brookings Institute, Saban Centre, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, New American Foundation, various Iran human rights groups, BBC, Voice of America, and RaheSabz.net.
1415 GMT: Regime Spokesman of Day. Hats off to Kaveh Afrasiabi, who at no point lets analysis get in the way of his re-presentation of the Mousavi statement, “Iran: From Confrontation to Reconciliation” in Asia Times (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LA05Ak04.html).
Afrasiabi, who has been a loud proclaimer of President Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy since 12 June, wears the shoes of Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei in announcing a Mousavi “retreat” (perhaps needless to say, he does not consider the actual statement). He is pleased to report that many figures, including former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, are now behind “unity” So expect “a qualitative turn-around from the tumult of the past seven months”.
And those who haven’t read Afrasiabi’s script? No worries, for the Green movement, given “an opportunity to drum up its democratization demands” with the death of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri”, has been stopped by “a serious miscalculation” with its resort to violence on Ashura
1340 GMT: Engagement Revised. A delegation from the European Parliament has postponed (http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCATRE6032JC20100104) its trip to Iran.
1330 GMT: Reuters is reporting (http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-45134320100104) from Iran state television the assertion of Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi: “Several foreigners are among those who were arrested on the day of Ashura….They were leading a psychological war against the system….They entered Iran two days before Ashura.”
1020 GMT: Irony Defined. Press TV’s website features (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=115302&sectionid=351020101) this headline, “Iran deplores French crackdown on protesters”.
Still not convinced of our definition? Here is the opening sentence: “Iran’s Foreign Ministry has lashed out at France over resorting to violence in dealing with protesters in the country, describing it as violation of human rights.”
0930 GMT: A Platform for the Green Movement? Five Iranian intellectuals abroad — Abdolkarim Soroush, Akbar Ganji, Mohsen Kadivar, Abdolali Bazargan, Ataollah Mohajerani — have put out a statement of objectives. We are summarising in a separate entry (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/iran-five-expatriate-intellectuals-issue-the-demands-of-the-green-movement/).
0920 GMT: Where’s Mahmoud? President Ahmadinejad is focusing on Iran’s regional ties (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=115297&sectionid=351020101), especially in areas like energy and transportation. He is in Tajikistan before moving to Turkmenistan.
0910 GMT: We’ve posted the video with Saeed Habibi, a senior member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters who is in hiding in Iran.
0720 GMT: The Clerical Opposition? We are looking for further information on the tantalising report (http://www.twitter.com/persianbanoo), offered late Sunday, that Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani has met separately with Ayatollah Mousavi-Ardebili and with Ayatollah Sanei in Qom.
0710 GMT: Another low-key start to the political day in Iran, as it appears that the regime ponders — amidst its threats — how to deal with the persistence of protests, the Green opposition gathers itself — amidst arrests — for the next big show of resistance, Mir Hossein Mousavi watches the response to his 5-proposal statement, and conservative/principlist politicians and clerics look for support for their alternative approach.
We have two guest analyses. Babak Siavoshy puts forth a defence of Mousavi’s statement (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/iran-in-defence-of-mousavis-5-proposals/), while Gary Sick praises the “strategic leaking” of Barack Obama (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/iran-the-genius-of-washingtons-strategic-leaking-on-nukes-sanctions/) amidst domestic pressure for US sanctions against Iran and its nuclear programme.
Meanwhile, a Sunday testimony both to Iran’s ascent up the US news agenda and the problems, as well as the possibilities, that this brings. One of the showpiece Sunday talk shows, ABC’s This Week, turned over part of its Roundtable to
Unfortunately, after paying token attention to the internal developments — “Every time this cycle happens, the Iranian opposition seems to come back stronger and stronger” — David Sanger of The New York Times promoted his Sunday article (see yesterday’s updates (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/03/the-latest-from-iran-3-january-re-positioning/)) and declared, “The first priority is the nuclear programme.” Cue another round of chit-chat among the talking heads on sanctions and the reduction of Iran’s political battle to “Is it more or less likely for the Iranian regime to want a deal with the West?”

bigwinnman
05-01-2010, 11:04 AM
Iran to witness the ‘green era’

Sunday, 03 January 2010

http://www.alarabiya.net/views/2010/01/03/96205.html

Ahmed Al-Jarallah
THE Iranian government has taken measures similar to those which led to the fall of the Shah in 1979, without any difference in context except the mode. The government has been trying to deprive the citizens of their right to demand freedom from the clutches of the restless system over the last four decades - after its futile attempt to protect the Shah.

It seems the revolution, which intends to celebrate its 31st anniversary in government, is at a crossroads. It has started corroding from inside and consuming its ‘children’. We do not exaggerate when we say the emergence of this system brought about a deadly virus which existed in previous decades as we witnessed local and foreign tension at the same time.

The period has witnessed nervousness in the populace which indicates a weakness and also a strange attitude towards the yearnings of the Iranians. People who benefit from blood shedding and security concerns have fortified their surroundings and put those clamoring for freedom behind bars. If they really base their system of leadership on Islam, the oppressive ruling system has transformed the fifth oil producer in the world into one of the least developed governments. The hard-hit economy has turned the citizens against anything associated with the government, while the public revolution which occurred after the elections indicates the bankruptcy of the restless government.

The government has been struggling from all directions like a drowning man who is desperately looking for rescue, which does not make sense to Tehran masses anymore. It has been searching the dictionary to accuse the US, Britain and the entire West of interfering with internal affairs and organizing the green revolution. This government has forgotten that it has planted poison in the body, which led to its weakness and frustration, to the extent of placing some of its leaders under house arrest.

The octopus of destruction, which has spread its tentacles over Arab and Muslim nations, is fed up with self-afflictions. Exporting the revolution is the major cause of its collapse because Iranians are no longer ready to accept hunger due to the activities of destructive gangs in Arab and Muslim worlds. For this, the masses have taken to the streets demanding freedom, reversal of the presidential election results and cancellation of the entire system.

The government has been using arsenals at its disposal to counter the protest, which always results in another spate of fiercer crises, due to the insistence of citizens to regain their freedom. If the current Iranian government is busy preparing the last part of its obituary, the entire region should learn how to read between the lines.

We should be wary of the attempts of Iranian spies to divert attention of the whole world from the events on Tehran streets in preparation for a more devastating genocide. This will actually be the end of the road for one of the black pages in the history of modern Middle East. Feb 11 might not be a day to celebrate the 31st anniversary for the hijacking of the Iranian government by the restless leaders, yet it can be the beginning of a ‘green era’ not only in the history of Iran but also the entire region.

*Published in the Kuwait-based ARAB TIMES on Jan. 03.

bigwinnman
05-01-2010, 07:17 PM
Jan 05 2010
Iran: How Outside “Help” Can Hurt the Green Movement (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/05/iran-how-outside-help-can-hurt-the-green-movement/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/05/iran-how-outside-help-can-hurt-the-green-movement/#more-25382

Josh Shahryar writes for EA:
Today 36 members of Iran’s Parliament tabled a bill ensuring that anyone designated by the courts as a “combatant” be executed within five days. The bill seeks to amend an existing law that states that anyone who “tampers” with public opinion, a clause used mainly these days to indicate calling for protests or joining them, can be designated as a combatant. Iranian protesters are being accused of treason and for attempting to stage a “velvet revolution” even when all they are demanding is the rights granted to them by the Constitution.
While observers inside and outside Iran may be baffled by the claims of such a revolution, the Iranian government has some cause. There may be no facts for a foreign-instigated regime change; however, some outsiide the country — both “foregin” and Iranian — may give the regime the pretext to prosecute peaceful protesters.

A current case surrounds Amir Abbas Fakhravar, a US-based Iranian student activist – who has lately been making the rounds in the Western media as one of the supposed insiders of the Green movement. I do not wish to doubt his story of how he was arrested multiple times in Iran, nor do I wish to question his credentials as a bona fide activist fighting for human rights in Iran or his status as a student leader. My concern is that the statements he is making may hurt the Green movement’s cause in Iran, spreading disinformation and ignoring key facts.
Consider his statement in 2007 to the website WorldNetDaily:

Noting 72 percent of Iranians are under 30 years of age, Fakhravar contends many young people are prepared to join the opposition. “We have the ability inside,” he said. “This is the silent army inside Iran, and we need the media to encourage them. American policy should trust us. We could do it.”
His most recent article, published in the New York Daily News, is more of the same:

Months before the 2009 presidential elections, they decided to use the mullahs’ own tactics against them – and to seize and own all of the icons of the Islamic Republic and give them a new identity….So when there was massive fraud in Ahmadinejad’s reelection, the people were ready.
The planning of all those years planted the seeds; the brutality provided the spark. The Green Movement finally gained a complete identity with powerful symbols – even with its own martyrs.
If you haven’t followed the news from Iran, these statements don’t really stand out as dangerous. But they are fuel for the inferno that the Iranian regime is stoking for the Green Movement.
Consider the 2007 assertion of “silent army” from 2007. There is little evidence to suggest that three years ago, Iranians were readying to take to the streets. On the other hand, such an assertion allows the Islamic regime to detain people for supposedly planning protests for two years. An unsupported claim can be conclusive evidence for this regime.
The second statement is even more damning. So month before the election, people were ready to take to streets. For what exactly?The protests did not start as a backlash against the oppression of the regime, but because of perceived fraud in the election. How could one know in December 2008 that the results would be manipulated and thus plan for millions to march to overthrow a regime?
In the New York Daily News article, Fakhravar gives further credence to the government’s claims of a “velvet revolution” against the regime.

What we are witnessing on the streets of Tehran and other cities is nothing short of a revolution –– a carefully orchestrated, years-in-the-making attempt to overthrow a corrupt and repressive regime and replace it with something fundamentally more free, democratic and secular.
So, yes, there is a “velvet revolution”, according to Fakhravar. As Mir Hossein Mousavi continues to hold out that this is not an overthrow of the Islamic Republic, Fakhravar claims exactly that. (The course of events may transform this movement into a revolution, but at the moment, it is a demand for reform. Wishful thinking is not going to alter that.) How can we blame the Revolutionary Guard for claiming that Iran faces “regime change” in the face of this publicity?
And so the supposed “velvet revolution” takes over the public stage. The Washington Times writes:

Amir Abbas Fakhravar, 35, a former student leader who spent several years in prison in Iran and now lives in the Washington area, said contacts are taking place on Facebook and Skype and that activists plan to create a “revolutionary council” of about 15 people inside and outside Iran to lead the “Iranian Green Revolution.”
And here’s an interview from FrontPage Magazine:

FP: So where does the leadership come from?
Fakhravar: This movement doesn’t have a leader, but things like Facebook help. We use social media to help organize events inside Iran. For instance, we are planning a demonstration in February to coincide with the 31st anniversary of the Iranian revolution. Earlier this year, I was giving a speech before Congress and I said, “Iranians don’t want a war. All we need are cell phones, cameras and computers.” Some of the Senators laughed at that. But it has happened. We are close to a cyber revolution in Iran.
The first important point is, whether the West likes it or not, Mir Hossein Mousavi and to a large extent Mehdi Karroubi are the leaders of the Green Movement. Yes, I agree completely that these men have a dirty past. I also agree that under them, it would be almost impossible to ask for a completely secular society, but too bad. That’s just what it is.
Fakhravar’s opinion does not change the fact that when Mousavi or Karroubi join the protests, they are welcomed like leaders. Neither does it change the fact that people openly chant Karroubi and Mousavi’s names during protests even when they are not present. And it does not explain green graffiti exalting Mousavi and Karroubi on Tehran’s walls.
As for a revolution by Facebook, most social networking websites are banned in Iran. Their usage inside Iran is extremely limited and only possible through the use of anti-internet filtering software. It is not realistic to expect hundreds of thousands of people to come out on the streets simply because Iranians abroad are posting information for them on websites that they cannot even access. The “Twitter Revolution” may mean that social networking media can be used by people to quickly inform each other of news, but it is not currently a tool to organise demonstrations. That is one reason why protests are planned weeks in advance.
I have no wish or desire to question Mr. Fakhravar’s credentials or his intentions, but his statements about the Green Movement are, at the least, inaccurate, and he does not seem to know or acknowledge important facts about the current situation in Iran.
While the second error can be neglected, the first will be used by the Iranian regime to persecute peaceful protesters by the Iranian regime. If people like Fakhravar really care for human rights and democracy, they would spend some time studying what is going on inside Iran and then make informed and undamaging statements.
Iranians are already facing enough peril. Let’s not make it harder on them.

bigwinnman
05-01-2010, 07:19 PM
Jan 05 2010
The Latest from Iran (5 January): The Longer Game (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/05/the-latest-from-iran-5-january-the-longer-game/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/

Dear God, In 2009 you took my favorite singer –– Michael Jackson, my
favorite actress –– Farrah Fawcett, my favorite actor –– Patrick Swayze, my
favorite voice –– Neda.
favorite dictator – Khamenei in the year 2010. Thank you.
0530 GMT: Another Jail Sentence. Journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amoui, arrested in June, has been sentenced (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/world/middleeast/05iran.html) to seven years and four months in prison and 34 lashes.
0525 GMT: The Letter of the Professors. A story we saw on Sunday but let slip because we were not sure of the significance — by last night, it was the lead Iran story in Western media such as The New York Times.
Almost 90 academics on the Technical Faculty of Tehran University signed an open letter (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/world/middleeast/05iran.html) to the Supreme Leader calling for the endof violence against protesters: “Nighttime attacks on defenseless student dormitories and daytime assaults on students at university campuses, venues of education and learning, is not a sign of strength. Nor is beating up students and their mass imprisonment.”
0520 GMT: Still No Cyber-Mahmoud. The President hasn’t been able to blog from his travels in Tajikistan/Turkmenistan, as his website is still down (http://www.ahmadinejad.ir/).
0510 GMT: It is becoming clear that the Green movement is in a phase of regrouping and maintaining a lower public profile. There are no immediate markers for protest before the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on 22 Bahman (11 February), although there was some chatter yesterday about a “40th day” memorial on 7 February for those killed on Ashura last week.
After an intense phase of discussion of the Mousavi statement on Sunday, there was less to note politically yesterday. Much of the Internet attention was on the “10 demands” of the five expatriate Iranian intellectuals, although it is still unclear how much impact their statement will have inside Iran.
Less news also from the regime. There was the flutter that “foreign nationals” had been arrested on Ashura, but nothing further emerged during the day. Less news of arrests as well — perhaps because the Government is running out of targets to detain — so last night was led by the seriousness/black comedy of the “blacklist” of 80/62/60 foreign organisations that are off-limits to Iranians.

bigwinnman
05-01-2010, 07:26 PM
Iran says Several Foreigners Arrested During Unrest
http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=19390

04/01/2010

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran said on Monday several foreign citizens were arrested during clashes between opposition supporters and security forces last month, state television reported.
"Several foreigners are among those who were arrested on the day of Ashura...they were leading a psychological war against the system...They entered Iran two days before Ashura," Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi told state TV, without elaborating on the foreigners' nationality.
In Iran's bloodiest unrest since the aftermath of the disputed June 12 presidential election, eight people were killed on December 27 and at least 40 pro-reform figures, including four senior advisers to opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, have been arrested since then.
Iranian hardline authorities have repeatedly accused the opposition leaders of links to "foreign enemies," warning that they will not tolerate any more anti-government protests after the fiery demonstrations during the Shi'ite ritual of Ashura.
Neither side has shown much appetite for compromise in the six months since the disputed election and confrontations might intensify, despite a flood of accusations and counter-charges.
A representative of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said opposition leaders were 'mohareb' (enemies of God) fit for execution under Islamic law.
Hardline officials have urged opposition leaders to repent or "face charges of supporting apostates in defiance of God."
Mousavi in a statement on Friday said he was ready to sacrifice his life for the reform movement in Iran.

bigwinnman
06-01-2010, 11:28 AM
Jan 05 2010
Iran: The 60 Forbidden Foreign Organisations (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/05/iran-the-60-forbidden-foreign-organisations/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/05/iran-the-60-forbidden-foreign-organisations/#more-25459

The 60 foreign organisations “blacklisted”, after an interview by the Deputy Minister for International Affairs at the Ministry of Intelligence, as reported in the Iranian press (http://www.akhbar-rooz.com/news.jsp?essayId=26259). Iranians with any contact with these organisations will be considered to have committed a criminal offense.
The list is drawn from English translations by Neo-Resistance (http://iranfacts.blogspot.com/) and Laura Rozen at Politico (http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0110/Blacklist_Whos_on_Iran_intel_ministrys_list_.html? showall):
1. Soros Foundation — Open Society
2. Woodrow Wilson Center
3. Freedom House
4. National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
5. National Democratic Institute (NDI)

6. International Republican Institute (IRI)
7. Institute for Democracy in East Europe (EEDI)
8. Democracy Center in East Europe (CDEE)
9. Ford Foundation
10. Rockefeller Brothers Foundation
11. Hoover Institute at Stanford University
12. Hivos Foundation, Netherlands
13. Menas, U.K.
14. United Nations Association (USA)
15. Carnegie Foundation
16. Wilton Park, U.K.
17. Search for Common Ground (SFCG)
18. Population Council
19. Washington Institute for Near East Policy
20. Aspen Institute
21. American Enterprise Institute
22. New America Foundation
23. Smith Richardson Foundation
24. German Marshall Fund (US, Germany and Belgium)
25. International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
26. Abdolrahman Boroumand Foundation
27. Yale University
28. Meridian Center
29. Foundation for Democracy in Iran
30. International Republican Institute [again --- see 6]
31. National Democratic Institute [again --- see 5]
32. American Initiative Institute (?)
33. Institute of Democracy in Eastern Europe
34. American Aid Center (?)
36. American Center for International Labor Solidarity
37. International Center for Democracy Transfer
38. Community of Democracies (?)
39. Albert Einstein Institute
40. Global Movement for Democracy
41. The Democratic Youth Network
42. Democracy Information and Communication Technology Group
43. International Movement of Parliamentarians for Democracy
44. ???
45. RIGA Institute
46. The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School
47. Council on Foreign Relations
48. Foreign Policy Committee, Germany
49. Middle East Media Research Institute (described as an Israeli institute)
50. Centre for Democracy Studies, U.K.
51. Meridian Institute [again --- see 28]
52. Yale University and all its affiliates [again --- see 27]
53. National Defense University, U.S.
54. Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
55. American Center FLENA (active in Central Asia)
56. Committee on the Present Danger
57. Brookings Institution
58. Saban Center, Brookings Institution
59. Human Rights Watch
60. New America Foundation [again --- see 22]

bigwinnman
06-01-2010, 11:32 AM
Jan 05 2010
The Latest from Iran (5 January): The Longer Game (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/05/the-latest-from-iran-5-january-the-longer-game/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/05/the-latest-from-iran-5-january-the-longer-game/#more-25374

2225 GMT: Arguing Over the Mousavi Statement. Habib-allah Askaroladi, a leading principlist politician, has declared (http://www.tehrantimes.com/Index_view.asp?code=211457), “Today it is important not to allow the extremists to change the national scene into a battlefield.”
That’s not a surprising statement. This, however, raises an eyebrow: Askaroladi breaks from Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei in recommending Mir Hossein Mousavi’s recent statement as a possible route to conciliation: “Nowhere in Mousavi’s statement is an about-face seen.”
2155 GMT: Diplomatic Protest. The Iranian consul in Norway has resigned (http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/verden/1.6932825) in protest at his Government’s treatment of the Ashura demonstrators. He is also reported to have sought asylum.
A spokesman for the Iranian Embassy would not comment on what he called lies and rumours.
2100 GMT: We’ve posted video of Monday’s CNN interview (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/05/latest-iran-video-haghighatjoo-and-marandi-on-cnn-4-january/) with the former member of Parliament Fatemeh Haghighatjoo and Tehran University academic Seyed Mohammad Marandi. There’s also the transcript of the thoughts of former Obama Administration official Ray Takeyh.
1705 GMT: A Victory for the Government. After months of wrangling, Iran’s Parliament has ratified President Ahmadinejad’s economic bill (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=115408&sectionid=351020102) aimed at gradually cutting energy and food subsidies. Of 243 members, 134 votes for a reform subsidy organization to enforce the plan.
The breakthrough came with a compromise on oversight, insisted upon by Parliament, The Supreme Iranian Audit Court, charged with supervising “financial operations and activities” of organizations which benefit from the state budget, will monitor the organization and submit reports on its performance twice a year.

1635 GMT: Patrolling the Cyber-Revolution. Iranian authorities have reiterated that access to filtered websites is a crime, complementing the declaration by the Ministry of Intelligence yesterday of criminal activity for any association with more than 60 “foreign groups”, such as Yale University, accused of fomenting insurrection.
1630 GMT: Apologies for no update service for most of today, as Internet access has been impossible out of my location in Beirut.

Dear God, In 2009 you took my favorite singer –– Michael Jackson, my
favorite actress –– Farrah Fawcett, my favorite actor –– Patrick Swayze, my
favorite voice –– Neda.
favorite dictator – Khamenei in the year 2010. Thank you.
0530 GMT: Another Jail Sentence. Journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amoui, arrested in June, has been sentenced (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/world/middleeast/05iran.html) to seven years and four months in prison and 34 lashes.
0525 GMT: The Letter of the Professors. A story we saw on Sunday but let slip because we were not sure of the significance — by last night, it was the lead Iran story in Western media such as The New York Times.
Almost 90 academics on the Technical Faculty of Tehran University signed an open letter (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/world/middleeast/05iran.html) to the Supreme Leader calling for the end of violence against protesters: “Nighttime attacks on defenseless student dormitories and daytime assaults on students at university campuses, venues of education and learning, is not a sign of strength. Nor is beating up students and their mass imprisonment.”
0520 GMT: Still No Cyber-Mahmoud. The President hasn’t been able to blog from his travels in Tajikistan/Turkmenistan, as his website is still down (http://www.ahmadinejad.ir/).
0510 GMT: It is becoming clear that the Green movement is in a phase of regrouping and maintaining a lower public profile. There are no immediate markers for protest before the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on 22 Bahman (11 February), although there was some chatter yesterday about a “40th day” memorial on 7 February for those killed on Ashura last week.
After an intense phase of discussion of the Mousavi statement on Sunday, there was less to note politically yesterday. Much of the Internet attention was on the “10 demands” of the five expatriate Iranian intellectuals, although it is still unclear how much impact their statement will have inside Iran.
Less news also from the regime. There was the flutter that “foreign nationals” had been arrested on Ashura, but nothing further emerged during the day. Less news of arrests as well — perhaps because the Government is running out of targets to detain — so last night was led by the seriousness/black comedy of the “blacklist” of 80/62/60 foreign organisations that are off-limits to Iranians.

bigwinnman
06-01-2010, 11:35 AM
Jan 05 2010
Latest Iran Video and Transcript: Haghighatjoo and Marandi on CNN (4 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/05/latest-iran-video-haghighatjoo-and-marandi-on-cnn-4-january/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/05/latest-iran-video-haghighatjoo-and-marandi-on-cnn-4-january/#more-25430

(the video is not available)

On Monday CNN framed the Iran story by interviewing Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, a former member of Parliament who is challenging the system, and Seyed Mohammad Marandi, a Tehran University academic who defends it. The transcript below the video also includes the comments of former State Department official Ray Takeyh:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, has Iran’s opposition movement crossed the point of no return? And is the Islamic republic struggling to survive? We’ll examine what is next for Iran.
Good evening, everyone. I’m Christiane Amanpour, and welcome to our program.

For the past week, Iran has again been plunged deep into crisis, with the outcome far from certain. On the holy day of Ashura last Sunday, Iranian security forces used bullets and batons to suppress the biggest anti-government protest since June. At least eight protestors were killed, including one who died when a police van reportedly ran over him, as you can see in these images.
Now, the government says that that van was stolen. Nonetheless, demonstrators vented their anger against Basij militiamen, burning their motorbikes, attacking their buildings, shocked that such a crackdown could happen on Ashura.
Government supporters, for their part, were also outraged that the opposition had turned Ashura into a day of political protests, and so hundreds of thousands of them came out three days later. We’ll talk with a former Obama administration official about what all this means for the U.S. in a moment.
But we start with some prophetic words from an Iranian woman, a member of parliament who told me 10 years ago that Iran’s conservative leadership was out of touch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FATEMEH HAGHIGHATJOO, FORMER IRAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER (through translator): The Koran gives us freedom of choice. If the conservatives want to disagree with the idea of personal freedom, then they are against the essence of the Koran. But unfortunately, the conservatives are doing this in order to maintain their own power.
AMANPOUR: What happens if you don’t get what you want?
HAGHIGHATJOO (through translator): The reform movement of President Khatami has started, and it cannot go back. How many people can the conservatives throw in jail? They can’t jail the whole population of Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That was 10 years ago. Today, Fatemeh Haghighatjoo lives in the United States after being forced to resign for her outspoken challenges to the regime. And now a visiting scholar at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, she joins me here in our studios.
And from Iran, Mohammad Marandi, head of the North American Studies program at the University of Tehran.
Welcome, both of you, to this program.
Let me ask you first, Mrs. Haghighatjoo, what is your reaction to what you told me 10 years ago? You basically said then that the government can’t arrest everyone.
HAGHIGHATJOO: First of all, good evening, and thank you very much for having me here. As I said 10 years ago and still I am saying, the government is not able to arrest all population in Iran. People of Iran need fundamental change in the country, and I am so optimistic that they will see this change in the country in future.
AMANPOUR: And change for you means what exactly?
HAGHIGHATJOO: Change — change for me, that means people could see their freedom in the country. They — this diversity in the country, in the population could be seen inside the power structure in the country. And also the portion (ph) of the government is important for people of Iran.
AMANPOUR: Let me turn to you, Mr. Marandi. Thank you for joining us. It looks like the situation has really reached a turning point here, particularly with the events of Ashura and then the competing protests — or, rather, counter-demonstrations — on Wednesday. Many here in the United States are calling this a game-changer. How do you see it from there?
MOHAMMAD MARANDI, UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN: Well, I think that the — the so-called opposition — I say so-called, because there is no monolithic opposition, and there is no monolithic conservative or principlist movement. There are many different political groups in Iran that have different agendas.
But I think that the opposition that protested on Ashura made a very major tactical mistake by — by carrying out, by being very brutal towards the police on that day, and also by carrying out these protests on a day of public mourning.
And I think that there was a major backlash on Wednesday when probably the largest gathering of people in protest of Mr. Mousavi and the green movement in Tehran’s history, really, gathered on Wednesday. They were — I think that was a defining movement. I think Mr. Mousavi, his letter that was written the day after the anti-Mousavi demonstration, revealed that he, too, was a bit rattled.
AMANPOUR: OK, well, let me ask you this. You say that they were outraged, the government supporters, and yet the protestors — and as you know, very huge sections of the international public opinion were outraged that the Iranian forces used deadly force, gunfire, against the protestors. I mean, does this not really challenge now the authority of the government?
MARANDI: Well, first of all, the — the protest — the demonstration in Tehran, it was — was not necessarily pro-government. It was pro- Islamic republic. And many critics of the government but who are opposed to Mr. Mousavi participated. As I said, it was a huge rally. But they were not — it’s not a monolithic group on any side of the political equation that we can talk about easily.
But I think that the outrage here was that — that the MEK terrorist organization, which although officially banned by the United States, it is being supported by the United States under different names, they were involved in Tehran, according to their own statements, and they were — as you can see in the footage — they attacked police stations…
AMANPOUR: Which we’ll show right now.
MARANDI: … when a police officer was blinded — sorry?
AMANPOUR: We’re just showing that pictures as you speak.
MARANDI: Right. In any case, I can’t hear you very well, but they attacked police stations, they destroyed public property, and they attacked police officers. And at the same time, as I said, it was a day of mourning. Ashura is the anniversary of the martyrdom of the grandson of the prophet of Islam, and it’s a very holy day in Iran, and that didn’t go down well with a majority of Iranians who saw these protestors clapping and whistling and so on.
But I think that, in general, the protests — the counter-protests, the protest that was critical of Mr. Mousavi on Wednesday, was itself a turning point.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you then, Mr. Haghighatjoo, you are in the reformist camp, obviously. Do you believe that there are violent elements taking part in your demonstration and in your movement? Is that a concern?
HAGHIGHATJOO: You know, what I am going to say is the people of Iran (inaudible) Green movement wanted, you know, requested, demand peacefully without violence. Unfortunately, the government forces try to pull people toward violence. And I would consider (inaudible) scenario by the government, they try to make these crash between — clash between people in both sides.
And if you look at, since disputed election in June 12 to now, we will see that this protest was silent protest, and that shows that people wanted to do — to request (inaudible) demand peacefully. But, unfortunately, the government, you know, especially on day of Ashura, you know, acted very violently, bloody against people and protests.
AMANPOUR: OK. Let’s move — since we’re trying to figure out what’s next, let us ask now about these steps that Mr. Mousavi has put out towards resolution. Now, I’m going to read them off here on our screen. He says, “First of all, the Iranian administration should be held accountable. Secondly, there should be new and clear election laws. Then, there should be the release of all political prisoners, free and informed media, and finally, recognition of legal demonstrations.”
Mr. Marandi, do you think there’s any chance the government is going to agree to those five ideas that Mr. Mousavi has put forward?
MARANDI: Well, I think the problem is that the government sees things in a different light from Mr. Mousavi. And as I said, there are very many different political factions at play, both in the government and in the opposition.
AMANPOUR: Right, but these seem to be — this seems — these seem to be clear requests that seem to manifest themselves under, in fact, the Iranian constitution. Is there any feeling that the government is willing at all to meet Mousavi halfway? Or is this going to be a continued confrontation?
MARANDI: Well, I think that after the anti-Mousavi protests throughout the country on Wednesday, Mr. Mousavi’s position has been severely weakened, and I think that is partially reflected in his letter. But I also think that the government is not going to release people, for example, who’ve blinded police officers or abused police — police officers and so on.
I do think that there are moves to, let’s say, move — go back to more openness, but I think that the major problem, really, is that Mr. Mousavi has affiliated himself with a more extreme faction within the reformist movement. Even people like Mr. Sahobi (ph) have spoken about how the green movement is moving towards violence. And I myself have experienced death threats every time I come on television to talk about these issues. So it is a reality.
But a lot of the more mainstream reformists, they are moving away from Mr. Mousavi, for example, Mr. Tabesh (ph), who is the head of the reformist faction in parliament.
So there are very sharp internal debates in Iran about policy, about politics, about many issues in the country, but I think that the government and many political factions in the country are no longer willing to discuss serious issues with Mr. Mousavi anymore.
AMANPOUR: OK. We want to show some pictures that we have up on our wall, pictures of Mr. Mousavi receiving condolences when his own nephew was gunned down on the day of Ashura. And I want to ask you (OFF-MIKE) is there, do you believe, a split inside the factions in — in Iran? Mr. Marandi has talked about people moving away from the reformist movement. Is this true?
HAGHIGHATJOO: No. I wanted to say that, if we have really — if the government (inaudible) for green movement, then we will see people would side with Mousavi or would side with government. I disagree with Mr. Marandi’s analysis regarding weakening Mousavi’s position, because the government, you know, try to bring (inaudible) by paying money in some place, by bringing paramilitia to the city, by bringing student from school to the (inaudible)
And I would say this is not pro-government demonstration. Let’s see. If the government allow…
(CROSSTALK)
AMANPOUR: So you’re talking about competing rallies to see whose are bigger?
HAGHIGHATJOO: Yes, yes, and then we will see what we’re going on. And then the second issue, unfortunately, I — unfortunately, I don’t think so the government and the supreme leader is going to accept Mousavi’s fair position, because, you know, they think they can control issue. Unfortunately, their — their solution is wrong solution. And this is not real answer to the crisis.
AMANPOUR: One final question to Mr. Marandi. You know, so much has been made and so many fears raised about the actual security of the reform leaders, the opposition leaders, such as Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Karroubi. I’ve been told that actually a decision has been made to step up their security by the Iranian government. Does that ring true to you? Do you think that they’re going to try to make sure no harm comes to those principal figures?
MARANDI: Yes, I think so, especially since his nephew was killed under very suspicious circumstances. He was not killed in the demonstrations themselves. And the fact that he was singled out and assassinated, I think, is something that the many people in the political establishment find suspicious, and they — they believe that perhaps terrorist organizations were behind it to increase tension in the country.
I also believe I — I should add one final point, and that is that, within Iran itself, there are — we shouldn’t be speaking about the government and the opposition, because within the, let’s say, the conservative groups or the principlist movements, there’s no consensus. And the same is true with the reformists. Many key reformists have come — distanced themselves completely with Mr. Mousavi and the green movement, especially since Mr. Mousavi has more and more aligned himself with — or at least silently accepted the support of Western, American-backed television stations being broadcast into Iran, as well as former shah supporters and the MEK terrorist organization.
AMANPOUR: OK, Mr. Marandi. What do you say as a final word against – - you know, many people in Iran, obviously, are trying to discredit the reform movement, saying that they’re agents of — of — of foreign countries. What do you say to that?
HAGHIGHATJOO: Unfortunately, this is analysis of the government and pro-government, you know, people. This is not…
MARANDI: I didn’t…
(CROSSTALK)
HAGHIGHATJOO: Sorry. No reformists in the country will, you know, take (inaudible) Mousavi (inaudible) everybody support Mousavi. After Mousavi’s statement, we see many people outspoken to support Mousavi’s statement and all reformists, such as (inaudible) Mujahideen and also outside of the country, opposition and Iranian people who just (inaudible) for the country support Mousavi’s current position.
AMANPOUR: All right. And we will talk to you again another time. And you, too, Professor Marandi. Thank you both very much for joining us.
MARANDI: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And when we return, is the turmoil in Iran an opportunity or a challenge for the U.S. president, Barack Obama?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What’s taking place within Iran is not about the United States or any other country. It’s about the Iranian people and their aspirations for justice and a better life for themselves. And the decision of Iran’s leaders to govern through fear and tyranny will not succeed in making those aspirations go away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So that was President Obama just a few days ago. We’re joined now by Ray Takeyh, former Obama administration official on Iran and now continuing with the Council on Foreign Relations, joining me from Washington.
Mr. Takeyh, thank you for joining us. You probably heard our other two guests, and we’re just particularly playing that sound bite from President Obama. Has he stepped up his rhetoric? And why is he doing that now?
RAY TAKEYH, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, SENIOR FELLOW: Well, I think it’s inevitable as the situation in Iran deteriorates and as you have a greater degree of human rights abuses and government forceful suppression of the dissent movement that the United States and the president would react in this such manner. It’s inconceivable for me — for the president not to have done so, particularly strong language in terms of depicting Iran as — as a tyranny.
AMANPOUR: What does that mean, then, for his desire to continue or to try to hold the door open for negotiations?
TAKEYH: Well, I’m not quite sure if the two are incompatible. You can have negotiations with Iran, as the United States has had negotiations with many adversarial countries, while also at the same time disapproving of the internal practices of those regimes, now, whether that was the Chinese government or — or other such non-representative states.
I — I think you can do both of them, but the president and the United States will have to stand up and declare that some of the behavior of the clerical regime is unacceptable, but also be open to negotiating some sort of a restraint on Iran’s nuclear program, which also violates Iran’s international obligations.
AMANPOUR: So you talk about the nuclear program. A deadline has come and come for Iran to respond to the — to the proposals of the West. Iran is now putting its counterproposal.
TAKEYH: Right.
AMANPOUR: Where do you think this is headed in the — in the immediate term?
[15:20:00]
TAKEYH: Well, I suspect, in the immediate term, the United States and its allies will try to ratchet up economic pressures on Iran, particularly targeting the Revolutionary Guard organization and its business — business enterprises, maybe even some aspect of the Iranian petroleum sector, so you begin to see intensification of economic pressure on Iran in the hope that external pressure, combined with internal pressure, will cause Iran to adjust its behavior…
(CROSSTALK)
AMANPOUR: This is a tried and true — Mr. Takeyh, this is a tried and — some would say — not so true method, that sanctions and pressure haven’t really worked. Why would it be different this time?
TAKEYH: Well, it may not be different this time, but the idea is that you have a greater degree of international cooperation, particularly with a greater degree of assistance from Russia. That may be more hopeful than real, but that’s essentially what the — what the assessment is today.
Now, second of all, is the Iranian government internally is rather weak and vulnerable and it may seek some sort of an agreement abroad to at least mitigate international pressures.
I mean, as I said, this is — this is a theory. And like most speculative ideas, we’ll see how it pans out in practice.
AMANPOUR: You wrote an analysis on what was going on, and you basically compared the revolutionary situation back in ‘79 to what’s going on right now, in that both seem to have, let’s see, uncertain responses to the challenges of the regime. Do you think the government — go ahead.
TAKEYH: Well — well, it’s important to suggest that history doesn’t always repeat itself, actually, as a matter of fact, seldom repeats itself. Some of the challenges that the Islamic republic faces today are not dissimilar to the challenges that the monarchy faced. But the situations are also different.
I think the Iranian government at this point, for instance, if the supreme leader was receptive to some of the proposals made by Mr. Mousavi, you could perhaps see some sort of a peaceful resolution for this. But however it comes about, in terms of internal compromise, the supreme leader would have to accept that his power will be diminished, and I’m not quite sure if he’s ready to do that.
AMANPOUR: Now, you heard what Mr. Marandi, who supports the Islamic republic, said in terms of saying that it’s — you know, the reform movement is fractured, that, you know, they’re agents of the — of international entities. What is the analysis inside the — inside the U.S. about the strength of the reform movement?
TAKEYH: Well, in my view, that — the — the opposition movement is somewhat incoherent. It doesn’t have a central nervous system. It doesn’t even have an identifiable set of leaders or even a coherent ideology. It is a protest movement.
But it’s been a peculiar protest movement in a sense that it has sustained itself. And the longer it sustains itself, the more ideology and so forth and even leadership will suggest themselves.
And whether they’re agents of the West and that sort of a thing, that’s just obviously nonsense. And I’m not sure if that rhetoric really impresses anyone. It certainly convinces no one.

Clear Conscience
06-01-2010, 11:15 PM
The violence applied by the state on an angry society will not lead to submission. It will lead to a process called political jiu jitsu,whereby violence backfires and weakens the regime. Unfortunately this is above the understanding of Khameni2i. It is weird to see holly people with limited understanding.

bigwinnman
07-01-2010, 08:57 AM
Grand Ayatollah Saanei Succeeds Grand Ayatollah Montazeri (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/grand-ayatollah-saanei-succeeds-grand-ayatollah-montazeri/)

January 6, 2010

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

Grand Ayatollah Yousef Saanei has effectively succeeded Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri (God grant him peace) as the spiritual guide of the opposition. Here’s more (http://www.insideiran.org/critical-comments/ayatollah-saanei-succeeds-montazeri-as-spiritual-guide-for-opposition/) from The Century Foundation’s insideIRAN.org (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/insideiran.org):

Now, stepping into the vacuum left by Montazeri’s death is another prominent reformist ayatollah who has emerged to provide the Green Movement with spiritual guidance and ideological support: Grand Ayatollah Yousuf Saanei declared on December 20 his desire to continue Ayatollah Montazeri’s work and honor his legacy, assuming his mantle as the most prominent clerical reformist. His statement may be found here (http://saanei.org/?view=02,01,01,16,0).
Ayatollah Saanei is known for his dynamic involvement in contemporary issues that serve as sources of contention both politically and theologically. He supports complete legal and social equality for women and condemns both terrorism and nuclear proliferation as un-Islamic.
Saanei’s credentials in both the theological and political spheres are considerable. He is recognized as a grand ayatollah and a source of emulation for Shiite Muslims. His revolutionary background is also notable, having been a trusted supporter of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. Saanei served in the Guardian Council, the Assembly of Experts, and the Judiciary branch in the early 1980s.
And, of course, the conservatives have reacted violently, ransacking his house and office in Qom (not to mention his office in Shiraz) just after Grand Ayatollah Montazeri’s passing. The authorities banned him from attending the late ayatollah’s funeral, but he showed up anyway. Hard-liners Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi and the Qom Lecturer’s Association have declared him ineligible to be a Marja-ye Taqlid, or grand ayatollah (which has “no precedent in Shiite history—ayatollahs may confirm the religious ranking of a scholarly peer, but never have had the religious authority de facto to excommunicate or demote him from the ranking” ).
This has not stopped Grand Ayatollah Saanei, however…

Saanei has hit the ground running in terms of advising the Green Movement and its leaders. Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi stayed in Saanei’s house before attending Ayatollah Montazeri’s funeral, no doubt discussing the current situation with him during their stay. Furthermore, Saanei has been in constant contact with Moussavi.
Even before Montazeri’s death, Saanei and Moussavi exchanged letters (http://khordaad88.com/?p=624) discussing the philosophy and spiritual basis of their resistance to the government. Saanei’s statements also have been posted (http://www.facebook.com/notes/mir-hossein-mousavi-/-english-/180638932605) on Moussavi’s Facebook page in the past few months.
The hardliners’ impotent and largely symbolic actions against him have merely accorded him more status with the Green Movement and have yet to hinder his actions or agenda in any discernable way. Moreover, Saanei’s activism may prove even more dynamic than Montazeri’s, as Montazeri was hampered both by his advanced age and the house arrest imposed on him by hardliners. Furthermore, Montazeri’s house arrest was a result of his fall from Ayatollah Khomeini’s grace. The current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, lacks the spiritual credentials to do the same to Saanei. In short, Saanei is almost impossible to marginalize.

bigwinnman
07-01-2010, 08:58 AM
ICHRI: Authorities Attempt to Crush Remaining Active Human Rights NGOs (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/ichri-authorities-attempt-to-crush-remaining-active-human-rights-ngos/)

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/ichri-authorities-attempt-to-crush-remaining-active-human-rights-ngos/#more-6746

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/) just came out with a statement examining how the Iranian government is systematically attempting to dismantle human rights organizations in Iran:

Iran: Authorities Attempt to Crush Remaining Active Human Rights NGOs
Human Rights Community in the Iran has been decimated
(6 January 2009) Islamic Republic authorities are attempting to shut down the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, one of the few human rights organizations still active in the country, and to stop the human rights activities of the student alumni group ADVAR, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported today. Some members of the groups are being arrested, and others are under intense pressure to halt their work.
“In illegally shutting down independent, domestic human rights reporting, the authorities are attempting to preserve their own impunity before Iranian and international law,” said Campaign spokesperson Hadi Ghaemi.

On 2 January 2010, Parisa Kakaie and Mehrdad Rahimi, members of the Committee who had been summoned to the Intelligence Ministry and threatened by telephone, were arrested when they appeared at the Intelligence Office. Activists Shiva Nazarahari, Kouhyar Goudarzi and Saeed Hayeri, also members of the Committee, have been arrested as reported (http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=58532017&msgid=758778&act=KBDP&c=333585&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.iranhumanrights.org%2 F2010%2F01%2Farrests-womens-activists%2F)by the Campaign.
Previously, on 1 December 2009, Committee members Saeed Kalanaki and Saeed Jalalifar were arrested. Kalanaki was arrested at his office, and his house was later searched and his personal belongs confiscated. Jalalifar was arrested in front of his house by Intelligence Officers who were waiting for him. Both are being held in the public ward in Evin prison. Kalanaki was visited by his family once, but Jalalifar has been denied any visits. Previously, Kalanaki was arrested and convicted by the Revolutionary Court to a three-year suspended prison term. Jalalifar was expelled from Zanjan University during the student protests against the alleged sexual abuse of a female student by the University Deputy.
Two other members of the Committee, Saeed Habibi and Hesam Misaghi, have been summoned and threatened by phone, but they refused to appear at the Intelligence Ministry because according to the law, a written summons is required. Previously, Habibi was arrested in November 2007 and released after 70 days on bail of 1,500 million Rials ($150,000) and tried and convicted to a three-year prison term, which has been appealed. In the week of 28 December 2009, Kalanaki and Jalalifar contacted two other members of the Committee by telephone from prison and requested them to stop running the Committee’s website. After they had spoken to their colleagues, their interrogators took the phone and threatened the members, and said that if they did not stop posting information, they would be treated “either within prison or out of the prison.” According to the Committee, the arrested members are being forced to confess that they have relationship with the Mojahedin Khalq Organization, which has been an opposition group operating abroad. The student alumni group ADVAR, which has a unit devoted to human rights violations, still monitors human rights issues from an independent perspective, but the government has arrested key personnel (http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=58532017&msgid=758778&act=KBDP&c=333585&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.iranhumanrights.org%2 F2009%2F12%2Fanni-advar-letter%2F) including members who have studied and worked in human rights. On 2 January, ADVAR members Rouzbeh Karimi, a trained human rights defender and journalist, and Forouq Mirzaie, who is educated in human rights and law, and works in the office of human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, were arrested. Rashid Esmaieli, a human rights student who was expelled from studying and a member of the Central Council of ADVAR, was arrested in Isfahan on 24 December 2009 while suffering from serious health problems. The Committee of Human Rights Reporters and ADVAR are among the few independent human rights monitoring groups still operating in the Islamic Republic, while numerous leading human rights defenders have been jailed or driven into exile. The Defenders of Human Rights Center, headed by Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, was closed by the authorities (http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=58532017&msgid=758778&act=KBDP&c=333585&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.iranhumanrights.org%2 F2008%2F12%2Freverse-closure-of-nobel-laureate%25E2%2580%2599s-rights-group%2F) in December 2008. The director of the Human Rights Organization in Kurdistan, Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand has been in prison since 2007 and is serving a 10 year and 6 month prison term, having been sentenced for his human rights activities (http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=58532017&msgid=758778&act=KBDP&c=333585&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.iranhumanrights.org%2 F2009%2F01%2Fmohammad-sadiq-kaboudvand%2F). The founder of the Association of Prisoners’ Rights, Emad Baghi, was arrested on 28 December 2009 (http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=58532017&msgid=758778&act=KBDP&c=333585&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.iranhumanrights.org%2 F2009%2F12%2Frelease-arrested%2F), and no further information about his status has been provided. bigwinnman 07-01-2010, 09:00 AM Majles Committee Finds Mortazavi Responsible for Deaths (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/majles-committee-finds-mortazavi-responsible-for-deaths/) January 6, 2010 http://niacblog.wordpress.com/ Radio Zamaneh reports (via payvand.com) that former Tehran Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi has been deemed responsible for both the torture and death of numerous election protestors detained in Kahrizak prison. This verdict follows a Parliamentary Committee report commissioned to investigate post election occurrences. The Kahrizak detention center, run by the Tehran police department, held a number of detainees following the June protests in which millions flooded the streets of Tehran to voice their dissent. Purportedly, the Kahrizak detainees were brutally tortured and at minimum three detainee deaths have been confirmed from said abuse. Alef website, a news outlet for conservative Member of Parliament, Ahmad Tavakoli, announced today that the Parliamentary report indicates that detainees were sent to Kahrizak by the order of Saeed Mortazavi who was charged with the supervision of this detention centre by the former Head of Judiciary, Ayatollah Shahroudi. Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larjani has yet to decide whether the report will be publicized. Mortazavi, who adamantly denies any sort of misconduct, is also notable due to his part in arresting journalists and shutting down various publications over the last decade. Perhaps this is Mortazavi’s overdue karma for his lack of respect for basic human rights over the past ten years. Perhaps Mortazavi is also being made a scapegoat for all the brutality afflicted upon Kahrizak detainees. This could be evidence of progress being made towards viable accountability for human rights violators… but not likely. bigwinnman 07-01-2010, 09:01 AM The Latest Tool for Iran’s Opposition: iPhone Apps (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/the-latest-tool-for-irans-opposition-iphone-apps/) Cross-posted from the Huffington Post (http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=niacblog.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2Fjamal-abdi%2Fthe-newest-tool-for-irans_b_413394.html) http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/the-latest-tool-for-irans-opposition-iphone-apps/#more-6753 Iranians will soon have a new tool at their disposal to broadcast their protests and their government’s repression to the outside world. Voice of America announced last week that it will unveil a new application for iPhone and Android mobile devices that will enable Iranians to upload videos, photos and other content to the VOA’s Persian News Network. The app will be available for download on VOA’s website, as well as through VOA’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, and even from the Apple store. This development may seem minor given that Iranians are already using camera phones and Twitter accounts to funnel information to the outside world. But the significance is that, until a recent policy shift, it has been illegal for American software to go to Iran–meaning that the Iranian uprising, which itself could be described as an open source movement, has been denied access to some of the most innovative communication and networking software available due to obsolete US policies. Even as Iranians have broadcast their protests over the last seven months–snapping and uploading photos of brutal government repression to Facebook, circulating names via Twitter of innocent Iranians secretly detained in sweeps–and even as US policymakers have called for the Obama Administration to do more to support the Iranian protesters–it has been official US policy to block Iranians from accessing the very software that helped enable them to share their movement with world. The old policy was a perfect example of what happens when targeted measures are eschewed for broad, indiscriminate sanctions. While it may make sense for the US to deny the Iranian government technology it uses for nefarious purposes like blocking Iranians from accessing the Internet, US sanctions have been so broad that, in the same stroke, they also denied the Iranian people the software to access the Internet in the first place. But in mid-December, the Obama Administration, along with Members of Congress, announced that this would change. On December 15, the Administration stated that it was working to draft new rules to longer stand in the way of communications software going to the Iranian people. Just prior to the announcement, the Iranian Digital Empowerment Act was introduced in Congress, which, if passed, will codify the elimination of these harmful restrictions into law. Now, as a result, the first iPhone app will soon be introduced providing new ways for Iranians to connect with the world. And thousands of application developers will no longer be blocked from writing software that can provide innovative ways to strengthen social networks and Internet communications in Iran. The impact that this particular VOA app will have is yet to be seen; iPhone and Android developers have created apps that to do everything from the useful–such as an app that alerts users of upcoming speed traps on the freeway–to the not so useful–like the “knock on wood” app that provides a virtual piece of wood to rap on. But what’s more important than the application itself is that it represents a new paradigm and may be the first in a flurry of new tools available for Iranians. When the protests began in Iran, the US had few chips to play and there appeared to be little Washington could do to express support without undermining the opposition. But nearly seven months after the stolen election that sparked for the Iranian uprising, the opposition has increased in numbers and diversity, covering broadening swaths of the population. President Obama’s approach of “bearing witness” and speaking out in increasingly strong terms on human rights continues to be vindicated. But even this approach would not be possible if not for Iranians’ access to Twitter, Facebook, and communication software, which the December 15 policy shift and the Iranian Digital Empowerment Act recognize. The Administration has recognized that the US does not need to merely express support, it needs to get out of the way. The US government has been in the business of sanctions for so long, many did not realize that it could actually take a step back and allow Iran’s rulers to fall on their own sword. What is happening in Iran is a movement by Iranians for Iranians. The removal of US barriers to free communication by Iranians represents a new crack in the crumbling wall of Iranian repression–a wall that the US inadvertently helped support through broad, sloppy sanctions, but from which we should now step back and allow to crumble. bigwinnman 07-01-2010, 09:06 AM Jan 06 2010 Iran: Hillary Clinton on Engagement & Pressure with Regime of “Ruthless Repression” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/06/hillary-clintons-new-year-message-to-iranians-dual-track-still-on-the-way/) Posted by Ali Yenidunya (http://enduringamerica.com/author/addein/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/), US Foreign Policy (http://enduringamerica.com/category/us-foreign-policy/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/06/hillary-clintons-new-year-message-to-iranians-dual-track-still-on-the-way/#more-25360 On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked to Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani. At the press briefing, Clinton answered a question (http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/01/134671.htm)regarding Iran. She underlined the “so-far-unsuccessful yet continuing dual-track approach” – engagement and pressure – and emphasized the difference between the “must-do’s” against the Iranian government in the absence of any “amelioration” in the government’s response and the “needs & concerns” to be taken care of when it comes to Iranian people who are facing “ruthless repression”: The Latest from Iran (6 January): Distractions (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/06/the-latest-from-iran-6-january-distractions/) QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, on Iran, President Obama said last year that you’d have a pretty good sense by the end of year whether Iran was seriously interested in pursuing dialogue about its nuclear program. There aren’t a lot of signs that they are, and there are no signs that I’m aware of that they’re interested in carrying out the agreement on low-enriched uranium that was reached in Geneva. Iran is going through a very turbulent period in its history. There are many troubling signs of the actions that they are taking. And we want to reiterate that we stand with those Iranians who are peacefully demonstrating. We mourn the loss of innocent life. We condemn the detention and imprisonment, the torture and abuse of people, which seems to be accelerating. And we hope that there will be an opportunity for Iran to reverse course, to begin engaging in a positive way with the international community, respecting the rights of their own citizens. But we’re going to continue on our dual-track approach. One, from your point of view, is the LEU deal dead? Two, even if the door to talking about the LEU deal is still open, is the Administration now closer to imposing targeted sanctions, particularly on companies or individuals that have ties to the Revolutionary Guard Corps? And lastly, do you not perceive a danger that additional sanctions could play into the hands of the hardliners, who often make the argument that they are engaged in a struggle with foreign forces and try to rally people around them that way? And they’ve made that argument even as they’ve been crushing the protests recently. SECRETARY CLINTON: Arshad, we remain committed to working with our international partners on addressing the serious concerns we have regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Now, our approach, as you know, has always proceeded on two tracks; we have an engagement track and a pressure track. And as I’ve said, the results of our efforts to engage Iran directly have not been encouraging. We’re disappointed by their response to the proposal for the Tehran research reactor. And the Iranian Government announced a deadline to receive a positive response to their unacceptable counter-offer. So yes, we have concerns about their behavior, we have concerns about their intentions, and we are deeply disturbed by the mounting signs of ruthless repression that they are exercising against those who assemble and express viewpoints that are at variance with what the leadership of Iran wants to hear. Now, we’ve avoided using the term “deadline” ourselves. That’s not a term that we have used because we want to keep the door to dialogue open. But we’ve also made it clear we can’t continue to wait and we cannot continue to stand by when the Iranians themselves talk about increasing their production of high-enriched uranium and additional facilities for nuclear power that very likely can be put to dual use. So we have already begun discussions with our partners and with likeminded nations about pressure and sanctions. I can’t appropriately comment on the details of those discussions now, except to say that our goal is to pressure the Iranian Government, particularly the Revolutionary Guard elements, without contributing to the suffering of the ordinary Iraqis [sic] who deserve better than what they currently are receiving. bigwinnman 07-01-2010, 09:08 AM Jan 06 2010 The Latest from Iran (6 January): Distractions (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/06/the-latest-from-iran-6-january-distractions/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/06/the-latest-from-iran-6-january-distractions/#more-25484 2030 GMT: US Walks Tightrope on Green Movement. Earlier today we posted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s declaration about the “ruthless repression” of the Iran Government. Now State Department official John Limbert, who has direct responsibility for Iran, has put out a longer, more balanced statement (http://www.rferl.org/content/Interview_Embassy_HostageTurnedUS_Envoy_Iran/1922654.html). On the one hand, Limbert continues the rhetoric criticising and cautioning the regime, “I think it’s very hard for the government to decide how to react to the legitimate demands of the people. The more violence it uses, the more it will hurt itself in the end….We will never remain silent in the face of state violence and the mistreatment of people.” On the other, Limbert is also assuring that the Obama Administration will not break off discussions with the Ahmadinejad Government: “As you know, the U.S. president is determined to renew ties with Iran despite all the problems — which we don’t underestimate — based on a new beginning.” 2020 GMT: Setareh Sabety has posted an article (http://www.iranian.com/main/2010/jan/unite-under-ten-demands) commenting on the recent declaration of five Iranian intellectuals (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/iran-five-expatriate-intellectuals-issue-the-demands-of-the-green-movement/) living abroad and declaring, “[Their] ten demands…should be embraced because they provide the democratic framework within which we can debate the future of our beloved Iran.” 2010 GMT: Kalemeh is reporting the latest statement of Mehdi Karroubi (http://www.kaleme.org/1388/10/16/klm-7559) that he is “prepared for everything” and “could not have imagine” the behaviour of the regime in the post-election conflict. 1950 GMT: Mesbah Yazdi Calling for Death Penalty? Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, close to President Ahmadinejad, ran out the standard line (http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=11801) on the “evil” protests as the product of the “West” and Jews today. He allegedly added, however, that the demonstrators were “corruption on earth” and, as such, are subject to the death penalty. 1940 GMT: Iran’s Energy Boost. “Turkmenistan has opened a second gas pipeline to Iran (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8443787.stm)….Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated the new 30km (19 miles) pipeline with Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov in a ceremony in the desert near the Iranian border.” What is interesting beyond the story is that the BBC not only reports the development but praises it for “further eroding Russia’s historical domination of its energy sector”. Not sure the US authorities will see the deal in exactly the same way. 1930 GMT: Oh, Please (with an MKO twist)…. We try our bet to limit the damage, but sometimes you cannot keep a bad article down. Laura Rozen of Politico, who normally has the best pairs of eyes and ears in Washington, swallows (http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0110/Iranian_tunneling_complicates_nuclear_diplomacy.ht ml) The New York Times (http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0110/Iranian_tunneling_complicates_nuclear_diplomacy.ht ml) “Iran Nuclear Bunkers/Tunnels” story (http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0110/Iranian_tunneling_complicates_nuclear_diplomacy.ht ml) (see 0640 GMT). What’s more, she inadvertently highlights more reasons for concern, quoting Broad: In late 2005, the Iranian opposition group [Mujahedin-e-Khalq] held news conferences in Paris and London to announce that its spies had learned that Iran was digging tunnels for missile and atomic work at 14 sites, including an underground complex near Qum. The government, one council official said, was building the tunnels to conceal “its pursuit of nuclear weapons”. Hmm…. That’s Mujahedin-e-Khalq, dedicated by all means to topple the Iranian regime. A neutral source for solid, reliable intelligence? 1430 GMT: With continued quiet, I’m off to address the conference in Beirut. Back for evening updates around 2000 GMT. 1305 GMT: Mortazavi Accused? Alef reports that a Parliament committee has unanimously approved a report (http://alef.ir/1388/content/view/61410/), after several months of investigation, naming Saeed Mortazavi — former Tehran Prosecutor General and current aide to President Ahmadinejad — as chief suspect in the death of detainees in Kahrizak Prison. 1240 GMT: The day continues quietly in Iran, and in the lull more media mischief (see 0640 GMT). The Washington Times (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jan/06/irans-al-qaeda-connection-in-yemen/) declares (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jan/06/irans-al-qaeda-connection-in-yemen/), “Iran’s Al Qaeda Connection in Yemen”, based on the suspect testimony of a former Guantanamo detainee, a suspect letter (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/3506544/Iran-receives-al-Qaeda-praise-for-role-in-terrorist-attacks.html) supposedly from Al Qa’eda Number 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the assertion of a Yemeni politician. For sheer stupidity, however, this pales into insignificance beside the Guardian’s allocation of space to a Brian Binley, whose comment, “End Appeasement of Iran’s Regime”, offers this approach to resistance (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/3506544/Iran-receives-al-Qaeda-praise-for-role-in-terrorist-attacks.html): If the British government seriously wishes to find a solution to the Iran problem, they need look no further than the streets of Tehran and the Iranian people’s determination to purse democratic ambitions. For a number of years now, colleagues and I on the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom have worked with Iran’s largest opposition group in exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and its president-elect Maryam Rajavi to strengthen our policy towards Iran whilst seeking increased support for the Iranian opposition movement. That would be the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political wing of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq and its often-violent campaign to overthrow the Iranian Government since 1979. Such political “wisdom” deserves a separate entry, I think. 0920 GMT: Breaking the Movement. Rooz Online reports the Freedom Movement of Iran, many of whose members have been detained, including the recent re-arrest of its head Ebrahim Yazdi, has suspended operations (http://www.roozonline.com/english/news/newsitem/article/2010/january/06//freedom-movement-of-iran-stops-activities.html) for the first time in its 48 years. The organisation added, “While we express our regret at the regime’s unlawful confrontation aimed at limiting the free flow of information and the demand that the Freedom Movement of Iran stop the activities of its official website and its analytical website Mizan until further notice, we reserve the right to legally pursue our rights in this regard.” 0730 GMT: To Be Fair. Disdain for some of the US portrayals of “Iran” this morning should be balanced with a hat-tip to Robin Wright of (http://ow.ly/TciV)The Los Angeles Times (http://ow.ly/TciV), who considers the possibility of “An Opposition Manifesto in Iran”: Three bold statements calling for reform have been issued since Friday, one by opposition presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, one by a group of exiled religious intellectuals and the third by university professors. Taken together, they suggest that the movement will not settle for anything short of radical change. 0640 GMT: Not much breaking news from Iran overnight and this morning, with the outcome that the US papers are awash in distracting rhetoric, tangential stories, and even a forceful call to recognise the legitimacy of the Iranian regime. The rhetoric comes from Emanuele Ottolenghi in (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703436504574640062750299906.html?m od=googlenews_wsj)The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703436504574640062750299906.html?m od=googlenews_wsj). A long-time proponent of regime changes in countries such as Iraq, Ottolenghi grabs the Ashura story of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein to praise “Iran’s Righteous Martyrs”: “This time we should root for [them].” (Presumably the United States was unable to root for Imam Hussein in the 7th century.) The Los Angeles Times, in an article by Robert Faturechi (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-iranian-hikers5-2010jan05,0,66903,print.story), features the claims that the cost of the Green movement’s protests has been the “loss” of three detained Americans: With street protests raging in Iran, political activism is on the rise among Los Angeles’ already vocal Iranian American community. Flag-waving demonstrators clad in the opposition movement’s signature green have been a common sight outside the Federal Building in Westwood, and Iranian-language media is abuzz with debate. But when it comes to the three young American hikers being held in Iran on espionage charges the community has been decidedly silent. No large demonstrations, little conversation, virtually no push for action. For William Broad in (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/world/middleeast/06sanctions.html)The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/world/middleeast/06sanctions.html), the issue is not the politics either of the Iranian protests or the imprisoned US trio, but Nukes, Nukes, Nukes. In yet another piece fed to him by by “American government and private experts”, Broad launches the latest proclamiation of Imminent Iranian Threat: “Iran has quietly hidden an increasingly large part of its atomic complex in networks of tunnels and bunkers across the country.” On a different page of The Times, however, the Iranian Government has a vocal defence team (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/opinion/06leverett.html). Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, in the latest of their numerous calls for discussion with President Ahmadinejad and his representatives, open with the declaration: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is not about to implode. Nevertheless, the misguided idea that it may do so is becoming enshrined as conventional wisdom in Washington.” To bolster their argument that the Obama Administration has no choice but to engage with Ahmadinejad, the Leveretts throw out a confetti of unsupported assertions: Antigovernment Iranian Web sites claim there were “tens of thousands” of Ashura protesters; others in Iran say there were 2,000 to 4,000….Vastly more Iranians took to the streets on Dec. 30, in demonstrations organized by the government to show support for the Islamic Republic (one Web site that opposed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election in June estimated the crowds at one million people)…. Even President Ahmadinejad’s principal challenger in last June’s presidential election, Mir Hossein Mousavi, felt compelled to acknowledge the “unacceptable radicalism” of some Ashura protesters. The Leveretts do put a series of challenges, discussed also at EA, about the opposition’s leadership, its strategy, and its objectives, but this is all to prop up the “default” option that the regime (whose political, religious, economic, and ideological position is not examined beyond that claim of a million protesters on its behalf on 30 December) must not only be accepted but embraced in talks. Just as the US Government set aside the inconvenience of Tiananmen Square 20 years ago, so it should put in the closet the trifling annoyance of those Iranians who demonstrate against rather than for the Government. The Leveretts conclude: As a model, the president would do well to look to China. Since President Richard Nixon’s opening there (which took place amid the Cultural Revolution), successive American administrations have been wise enough not to let political conflict — whether among the ruling elite or between the state and the public, as in the Tiananmen Square protests and ethnic separatism in Xinjiang — divert Washington from sustained, strategic engagement with Beijing. President Obama needs to begin displaying similar statesmanship in his approach to Iran. bigwinnman 07-01-2010, 09:15 AM Former diplomat says dissatisfaction in Iranian foreign ministry Iran consul in Oslo quits over Tehran crackdown http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/01/06/96492.html Thu, Jan 07, 2010 | Muharram 21, 1431 Year Six, Day 322 DUBAI (Al Arabiya, Saud al-Zahed) The Iranian consul general in the Norwegian capital Oslo has resigned in protest against Tehran's violent repression of opposition demonstrators, public television NRK said Wednesday. "It was the Iranian authorities' treatment of demonstrators around Christmas which made me realize that my conscience would not allow me to continue in my job," Mohammed Reza Heydari said in comments published on NRK's website. According to NRK, Heydari had been posted in Oslo for three years. The Iranian embassy denied the report, insisting that the consul's term had simply come to an end about a month ago. "His mission has been over for a month and his successor has arrived two weeks ago. We reject the news," an embassy spokesman told AFP. However Heydari is according to the consulate still in Oslo "on holiday.” "Sometimes they stay longer in the country where they served as diplomats for various reasons, including waiting for the end of school semesters of their children," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told Reuters. Employee satisfaction The former Iranian consul in Dubai, Adadel Asadi, who himself received asylum in Sweden told Al Arabiya.net that the Iranian foreign ministry is currently facing widespread employee dissatisfaction. According to Asadi this is mainly due to many members of the intelligence service or the elite Revolutionary guards being appointed to diplomatic positions despite not having the required experience, causing an atmosphere of resentment in the ministry. Asadi also said that when Iranian diplomats live abroad, many of them develop a different perspective on both life and politics. According to the former diplomat, some begin to compare the political system in their host countries to the regime in the Islamic Republic. In 2001 Asadi, who served as MP for the south western city of Ahwaz four terms in a row, was forced to seek political asylum in Sweden after revealing highly sensitive information regarding the finances of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, the Revolutionary Guards as well as the country’s intelligence service. In the bloodiest unrest since the aftermath of a disputed June presidential poll, eight people were killed on Dec. 27 and over 40 reformist figures, including four advisers to opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, have been arrested since then. The opposition says the vote was rigged to secure President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election. The authorities deny the accusations, which they say were part of a Western-orchestrated plot to overthrow the Islamic system. On Tuesday Iran's interior minister warned opposition activists they risk execution if they continue anti-government demonstrations. bigwinnman 07-01-2010, 09:26 AM Iran from the inside Farhad Bisotooni (http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsAuthorArticles.aspx?Author=Farhad Bisotooni), January 6, 2010 http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=136628 Modern Iran is a lot like the classic story “The Emperor’s new clothes.” In the story, the ruler of a country is fooled into thinking he is wearing a fancy new suit though he is in fact wearing nothing at all. Even though the emperor is parading around naked, all of his subjects pretend to admire the suit for fear of being persecuted. Finally, a brave little child screams, “The emperor is naked!” The Green Movement in Iran is that child. For me, it began one day after I had just finished my class at university and I was driving home. My new shoes were pinching, so, as it wasn’t a crowded street, I stopped to put on a pair of slippers I had in my car. It was a decision that could have cost me my life. A few seconds after I opened the trunk to get my slippers, five armed men had me surrounded and were pointing their rifles at me. I didn’t know whether to feel embarrassed or scared. I slowly changed my shoes and drove away. As it was, I had stopped too close to the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence office, a building I had no idea was there. It didn’t stop there. Last week, I was driving at night on a street in North Tehran when I was blocked by the Basij, the paramilitary volunteer militia founded in 1979 and commanded by the Revolutionary Guards. Most were nothing more than aggressive teenagers, but I was scared. There was no reason for them to stop me; they just wanted to flex their muscles by harassing passersby. It occurred to me right at that moment that back in 1979, the Revolutionary Guards were supposed to be, as the name would suggest, the guardians of the Revolution. Of course, the Revolution was also supposed to be the revolution of the people. But now they have become the enemy of the ordinary citizen. Like me, the people of Iran are unhappy. They are struggling in their everyday lives, in their poverty; they are threatened with execution if they speak up, all while their government is spending billions of dollars to finance organizations like Hezbollah in Lebanon. The riots began in universities around Iran because many students and teachers are dissatisfied with the situation in the country. When you take a look at the high-ranking universities in Iran you can see what I call “displacement”; people who are not in the positions they deserve. Some of the professors cannot pass their own exams, but as long as they can pass the “commitment to the values of the government test”, they are secure. The threat of execution is always there. We must hold our tongue. If we dare to criticize the government, we are deemed to be against Islam, Allah, the Prophet and the Supreme Leader. The demonstrators arrested in the last two weeks all face execution. The dissident Grand Ayatollah Hussein Montazeri declared that we want freedom for the people, not for the government. The people are not free. A year before the elections I witnessed how people in a little city in Western Iran rose against a new policy of fuel distribution. Around ten of them immediately disappeared. They were said to have been taken to the Mehran area, next to the border with Iraq, held in a container without food or water, and locked for two months there, in the desert. The Revolutionary Guards spread rumors about the punishments to set an example for any uprising or resistance. The families were told to keep their mouths shut. But when I look at myself and my friends who graduated from the best universities in Iran I just see disappointment. We don’t even have the right to access the free world, via internet or satellite or any other media. The government is using technology bought mainly from China to control anything we communicate with: mobiles, SMSs, e-mails and even blogs. After the recent Green Movement protests, the filters have become even tougher; you have to use a proxy to reach foreign websites. Checking your emails now takes two hours. The Green Movement has brought hope to Iran. The “children” who scream “The Emperor is naked” are growing in number. I’ve seen people looking at each other and asking “Is this possible?” The answer seems to be a more determined “yes” by the day. Even an illiterate person living in a small town, like my father, who could not even imagine that he could criticize Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is now a critic. “He is not doing well, doing what he is doing. He must respect the people,” he told me the other day. His words mean more to me than any article criticizing the government in Tehran. bigwinnman 07-01-2010, 09:28 AM Iran’s reconciliation with reason Hazem Saghieh (http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsAuthorArticles.aspx?Author=Hazem Saghieh), January 6, 2010 http://www.nowlebanon.com/images/trans.gif [/URL]http://www.nowlebanon.com/images/trans.gifhttp://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=136598 (http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsAuthorArticles.aspx?Author=Hazem Saghieh)http://www.nowlebanon.com/images/trans.gifhttp://www.nowlebanon.com/images/trans.gif[URL="http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=136598#"] (javascript:__doPostBack('ControlContentTools1$lbt nPDF',''))http://www.nowlebanon.com/images/trans.gif

Those who have said, time and again, that the wave that began to surge forward after the Iranian presidential elections will not stop continue to be correct. It might dissipate, it might abate, it might subside, but it will not go away; it will not die. The legitimacy on which the 1979 Khomeini revolution was based, and the regime that followed it, have themselves both become wrought with internal dispute and conflict. Good evidence for this is provided by the fact that both the occasion of Ashura and the Ashura Councils have become exposed to attacks from a group that itself ascribes to Ashura and to its religious and political significance. It is also evidenced by the fact that Qom, the city of the revolution and its ideology, has become a hub for questioning the regime’s authority.
As such is the case, the Iranian regime will not be able to save itself, neither through oppressive language nor direct physical oppression, the two means it has come to rely on today. The regime has begun to use a language marked with increasing references to “conspiracy” and how the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij are ready to crush it. Moreover, the language, used by both Iran and its neighbors abroad, dubiously connects what is happening in Iranian society to the “nuclear file” or to the positions taken by the US and other Western states. Accordingly, the Khomeini regime has begun to carry out acts of oppression with more severity. It conceals news of this oppression while the number of those who fall dead or injured in open street clashes increases. As such, those who have called for Mousavi, Khatami, Karroubi and Rafsanjani to be hanged at the gallows might indeed get their wish.
However, because the ongoing split in Iran undermines the foundation of the Revolution’s enforced legitimacy, the opposition movement is slowly but surely burgeoning in its expressivity and boldness, whereby the regime’s oppression only adds to the movement’s vehemence, even if that vehemence is not always on display. As such, it is easy to notice that criticism has gradually started to extend beyond President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and is now being directed at Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself. Even the proposal described as a “treatment suggestion” put forward by Mousavi was made alongside his call for political democracy, freedoms and plurality. The degree of mobilization from both sides indicates that it takes two to tango, as it were, and, suffice it to say, the fact that demonstrations are spreading out of Tehran into other cities is an indication of the opposition movement’s growth. Meanwhile, it is notable that the two strongest pillars of the regime are now the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij, while nothing is being said about the social forces that support it (is the Bazaar and the religious institution of Qom suffering from the same wide rift that has undermined the legitimacy of the regime and caused fighting among its components?)
The author is not trying to propagate some kind of hurried, misplaced optimism. Somewhere along the line the movement could suffer setbacks and regression, as noted before. However, what is sure is that the regime, when push comes to shove, will not go peacefully, and consequently, will not be able to play the role it now plays in the region.
It is possible to say, without exaggeration, that weakening the Khomeini regime, if not toppling it altogether, would spell the end of that which is backward and irrational as much as it would represent the ascension of reality and reason. Backwardness and deviations from the nature of things are allowed to flourish because Iran controls a determinative position on issues and in areas that stretch from Iraq to Yemen and from Lebanon to Gaza; because the issue of Palestine has become a bargaining chip in Iran’s hand; and because Iran maintains its position at the forefront of global economic decisions owing to its strategic location in international transportation, in addition to its oil wealth.
This stamp of backwardness is can be conveyed by comparing the following mutually contradictive facts and realities:
-The level that Iranian youth have become globalized, or “Americanized” according to several Western media outlets, versus the hostility of the Iranian regime not only to Western policies, but also to Western, particularly American, culture.
-Excessive popular elections – presidential, parliament, local and the like – versus the repression that characterizes systems, which are ideological and make real change infeasible – and this is before we mention the fraudulence of Iran’s latest elections, indicating this system of repression is no longer self-sufficient.
-The contradiction between oil wealth and religious-moralist culture on the one hand and the deplorable economic situation and corruption – one of the highest level in the world – in Iran.
In short, the current regime remains an obstacle standing between Iran and reason and the fruits reason bears, and, as such, betting on the disappearance of that obstacle would be a safe one. Despite that however, there is no harm in cautioning about two frightening possibilities which could dictate events in the future:
The first is a military strike, carried out by the US, Israel, or the US and Israel, on Iran in response to the direction the latter goes with its “nuclear file.” This possibility seems less likely today, particularly when it comes to a US strike. However, were it to happen, it would be the greatest gift one could offer the Iranian regime, allowing it to crush the opposition under the pretext of “treason,” and consequently allowing it to contain the domestic situation. However, fear has allowed the Iranian regime to act provocatively and aggressively, which itself increases the possibility of such a strike. In such an event, all the cards in the region would be reshuffled.
The second possibility is that change would erupt in the form of a civil war neither side could contain. Such a situation could actually afford an opportunity to the country’s most grieving minorities to seek independence or autonomy. Here we should not forget that, after the repression of expression left by years of totalitarian governance, extremism and repression will come out to express themselves. Moreover, it should be kept in mind that, as opposed to what is often thought, Iran is not homogeneous and united around the dual identity of Persian ethnicity and the Shia denomination. Sunnis represent over a fifth of Iranian society and, more importantly, Persians represent less than 55% of the population, with other groups, such as the Azeris, Kurds, Arabs and other minorities, large and small, comprising the rest.

With all this in mind, today it is Iran that is drawing up the region’s agenda and the interests and concerns of that agenda.

bigwinnman
07-01-2010, 07:31 PM
“Shahram, your blood was unjustly shed!” (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/%e2%80%9cshahram-your-blood-was-unjustly-shed%e2%80%9d/)

January 7, 2010

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

Shahram Farajzadeh Tarani was run over by a police car during Dec 27 Ashura protests.

To the world, he is the man that was brutally run over a police ca
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ19naZVCm4&skipcontrinter=1 during Ashura’s protests, but to his family, he is Shahram.
Abbas (Shahram) Farajzadeh Tarani was thirty-years old when a police car backed into him and then ran over him again, killing him on Dec. 27. His death was captured by fellow protesters by this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae4W7E9XKGc. He worked in a paint factory and leaves behind his wife and five year-old daughter. Like many of those martyred during the post-election unrest, the Iranian government has done its best to stop the impact of his death.
As was told to us by a third-party source, after he was hit, fellow protesters and one relative took his body to the hospital. But, when his family arrived at the hospital, his body was missing. Shortly thereafter, government officials called his brother to tell him that Shahram’s body was being buried in Behesht Zahra, the main cemetery in Tehran.
When the brother arrived, he was faced with four intelligence officers and they warned him not to cause a scene. His family was told they were not allowed to hang up the traditional black cloths on his home or his office to notify friends of his death. The government had taken the liberty of washing his body and wrapping it in a white cloth, both of which are important rite in Iranian mourning process normally overseen by close friends and relatives, and then, in proper tradition, wrapped him in a white cloth. They were allowed to see the body for a moment and noticed that he was covered in stitches.
After burying the body, families normally hold a ceremony at a mosque on the third day of the person’s death. But for the Farajzadeh Taranis, each mosque they approached refused them. Apparently the government had threatened the mosques and forbade them from hosting the ceremony.
Like many families who have lost their relatives to the post-election upheaval, Shahram’s family was forced to quietly mourn for him in their home, in fact, his brother had to sign an agreement saying he would not have a public ceremony.
As if the Iranian intelligence community does monitor its citizens’ behavior enough, four intelligent officers oversaw the Shahram’s ceremony at his family’s home. Men filled one room and women the other, all the while, Shahram’s father kept crying out, “Shahram, your blood was unjustly shed!”
Two days ago, on Monday, a week after his death, the Farajzadeh Tarani’s were allowed to mourn the seventh day since Shahram’s death at a mosque. Normally families print out flyers and paste them outside the mosque or near their work places, but once again, they were denied this basic custom. Instead they printed flyers themselves and handed them out to friends who seemed to be unaware of their son’s death. Traditionally, on the top of these flyers is a line of poetry, and his reads, “From every death, rises some sadness, but there are differences between death and death.”
“I feel he died in vain,” expressed one of Shahram’s relatives to our third-party source. So the responsibility once again falls to outside media and Iranian citizen journalism to ensure the world remembers Shahram’s fight for freedom.

bigwinnman
08-01-2010, 08:55 AM
Opinion

Abdolkarim Soroush: The goals of Iran's Green Movement

A new manifesto outlines the aims of Iran's Green Movement, including a free press and the resignation of President Ahmadinejad.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0106/Abdolkarim-Soroush-The-goals-of-Iran-s-Green-Movement

January 6, 2010
Five major figures in Iran's reform movement issued a manifesto (reproduced below) Sunday, Jan. 3, calling for the resignation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the abolition of clerical control of the voting system and candidate selection.
Journalist Robin Wright interviewed for Global Viewpoint one of the signatories, reform-movement founder and scholar Abdolkarim Soroush, about the manifesto, which also calls for the recognition of law-abiding political, student, non-governmental and women’s groups; labor unions; freedom for all means of mass communication; and an independent judiciary, including popular election of the judicial chief.
The signatories, all Iranians living outside the country, also include dissident cleric Mohsen Kadivar; former parliamentarian and Islamic Guidance Minister Ataollah Mohajerani; investigative journalist Akbar Ganji; and Abdolali Bazargan, an Islamic thinker and son of a former prime minister.
Robin Wright, a former diplomatic correspondent for the Washington Post and author of four books on Iran since 1973, is now a senior fellow at the US Institute for Peace in Washington.
Q: Why did you decide to issue a manifesto now?
A: The Green Movement is into its seventh month now, and I and my friends have been following events very closely and have been in touch with some of our friends in Iran. After [the protests on] Ashura on Dec 27, we came to realize that it was a real turning point. It was at that time that the regime decided to crack down on the Green Movement. In one instance, the regime rolled over a protester and killed him. It was a very severe message to all the protesters and defenders and supporters of the Green Movement that it intends to crush the movement harshly.
On the other hand, we have also individually been frequently asked by our friends: What are the real demands of the Green Movement, because the Green Movement was something that jumped on the scene? There was no planning for it. The election was the beginning, and it just evolved and evolved. As it evolved, some demands had emerged, but there was nothing that showed what was in the minds of the leaders of the movement.
The five of us thought that because we are close enough to the leaders of the movement – Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami – and know their demands, we should start drafting a manifesto or statement about the Green Movement. So we started drafting, and then Mousavi’s statement [that he would die for the movement if necessary] was issued [on Jan. 1]. Since we are living outside the country, don’t have to fear [the government] and know what is in the mind of the people, we decided to publish our own statement to make clear what Mousavi’s intentions and goals of the Green Movement are.
Q: Whose views does this manifesto reflect – just the leadership or the wider range of followers?
A: This is a pluralistic movement, including believers and non-believers, socialists and liberals. There are all walks of life in the Green Movement. We tried to come up with the common points for all. We know there are many more demands, many more than these.
Maybe in the next stage, they may demand redrafting the constitution. But for now, they would like to work within the framework of the constitution, and we were careful not to trespass those limits.

One of the suggestions we made was on the border [of going beyond the basic demands], which was the suggestion that the head of the judiciary should be elected rather than appointed by the supreme leader. I suggested that point – if we have changes in the constitution, we have to make the head of the judiciary elected. But the majority of the points reflect the mind of the leadership.
Q: What difference will this manifesto make?
A: It will make the goals and objectives clearer and better defined and articulated. At this stage, we need it. I’ve said for years that the revolution was theory-less. It was a revolt against the shah – a negative rather than a positive theory. I insisted that if there is going to be another movement, it has to have a theory. People should know what they want, not just what they don’t want. So we are trying – in a modest way – to put forward a theory for this movement.
Goals and objectives are based on theories and foundations. And we do have theories about liberty. We have not brought those theories into these points, but they underlie the points. They are invisible to the armed eyes, meaning the regime.
Q: What’s next for the Green Movement?
A: Nobody knows. There are all sorts of cries that the leaders of the Green Movement should submit themselves to the supreme leader, but that won’t take place. Both sides have to be prepared for a serious negotiation. That could be the next stage. [Former President] Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani might step in to start a negotiation for national reconciliation.
Q: Can the regime crack down to the point of eliminating the Green Movement?
A: I don’t think so. It is a product of the reform movement, which was suppressed. Ahmadinejad did his best to remove all sort of reform movements and to start a new era. But the regime could not put out the fire. And now we have the Green Movement, which is a culmination of the reform movement, a new stage.
I hope the government recognizes it has to have negotiations with the Green Movement and will have to sacrifice something for them to be productive. Heaven forbid that it turns into violence, which would be bad for the Green Movement and the country.
Q: Will compromise satisfy the new generation of reformers?
A: Compromise has a negative connotation. But if even one of these demands is fulfilled – such as freedom of press – that will be enough to change drastically the political scene and atmosphere of the country. If they accept one of these 10 demands – and not the rest – it will revolutionize the whole country. Maybe release the prisoners; so many competent people are in prison. Any one of these would revolutionize the atmosphere.
––
<H2>The Manifesto

The following is an English translation (from the Persian) from the Jaras website of the manifesto signed by Iranian reform-movement founder and scholar AbdolkarimSoroush; dissident cleric Mohsen Kadivar; former parliamentarian and Islamic Guidance Minister Ataollah Mohajerani; investigative journalist Akbar Ganji; and Abdolali Bazargan, an Islamic thinker and son of a former prime minister.
We fully support the positions of the leaders of the Movement in Iran (Mousavi, Karroubi, and Khatami), and believe that the optimal demands of the Green Movement of the Iranian people at this point are as follows.
1. Resignation of Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [as the president] and holding a new presidential election under the supervision of neutral organs; abolish the vetting process of candidates [by the Guardian Council] and formation of an independent election commission that includes the representatives of the opposition and protestors, in order to draft the rules and regulations for holding free and fair elections.
2. Releasing all the political prisoners, and investigating the torture and murder of the protestors over the past several months in open courts in the presence of a jury and the attorneys of their [the victims'] own choice, and compensating those who have been hurt and their families.
3. Free means of mass communication, including the press, the Internet, voice [radio] and visage [television]; abolishing censorship and allowing banned publications [such as dailies] to resume; expanding non-governmental TV and satellite channels; ending the filtering of the Internet and making it easily accessible to the public, and purging liars and provocateurs from [national] radio and television.
4. Recognizing the rights of all the lawful political groups, university student and women movements, the NGOs and civil organizations, and labor unions for lawful activities and the right to peaceful protest according to Article 27 of the constitution.
5. Independence of the universities [from political meddling and intervention]; running the universities democratically by the academics themselves; evacuating the military and quasi-military forces from the universities, and abolishing the illegal Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution [that interferes in the affairs of the universities].
6. Putting on trial all those that have tortured and murdered [people], and those who ordered the past crimes, particularly those over the past several months.
7. Independence of the judiciary by electing [rather than appointing] its head; abolishing illegal and special courts [such as the Special Court for the Clergy]; purging the judiciary from unfair judges, and banning judiciary officials from giving political speeches and carrying out orders of higher officials [the president and the Supreme Leader], instead of implementing the laws fairly and neutrally.
8. Banning the military, police, and security forces from intervening in politics, the economy, and culture, and ordering them to act professionally.
9. Economic and political independence of the seminaries, and preventing politicizing the clerics to support the government, and banning the use of Friday prayers sermons for issuing [by the clerics] illegal and anti-religious orders.
10. Electing all the officials who must become responsive to criticisms, and limiting the number of terms that they can be elected.
Not meeting these [legitimate] demands of the Green Movement and increasing the [violent] crackdown and oppression will not only not help us to pass the [present] crisis, but will also deepen the crisis with painful consequences, for which only the Supreme Leader will be responsible.
© 2010 Global Viewpoint Network/ Tribune Media Services. Hosted online by The Christian Science Monitor.

</H2>

bigwinnman
08-01-2010, 08:58 AM
Jan 07 2010
Today on EA – 7 January 2010 (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/07/today-on-ea-7-january-2010/)

Posted by Tricia Sutherland (http://enduringamerica.com/author/trishsuth/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/

Iran: News from and about Iran remains quiet today, although one titbit of information is that the Supreme Leader is reported by Newsweek to be about to dump President Ahmadinejad to preserve his own position. This, and other news – with accompanying links – can be found on our daily blog (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/07/latest-from-iran-7-january-radio-silence/).
Josh Shahryar lets loose his frustrations (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/07/iran-twitter-101-getting-the-facts-right-a-response-to-will-heaven/) at Will Heaven: “Next time, if you’re going to write on this subject, please, inform yourself about the many terms you used and try to show the real picture.” Agreeing, Scott Lucas gives a background summary (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/07/iran-twitter-101-rereading-a-tale-of-two-twitterers/).
Videos from last night’s international football game between Singapore and Iran are posted in a special section (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/06/latest-iran-video-footballs-back-and-its-still-green-6-january/). Iranian State TV reportedly cut the soundtrack to block the sound of the very political, pro-green, chants being heard throughout the stadium.
Israel/Palestine: EA’s Ali Yenidunya analyses the various statements and asks whether change could be in the air (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/07/change-in-the-air-over-israel-palestinian-peace-talks/) over the peace talks.
Israel: We report on an article (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/07/israel-sharon-and-netanyahu-compare-and-contrast/) in today’s Jerusalem Post which compares and contrasts the current Prime Minister Netanyahu with former PM Ariel Sharon.
Gaza: Following a call from Hamas rulers on Wednesday, protesting at the delay of an international aid convoy, a policeman has died and many activists have been injured following clashes between them and Egyptian forces (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/07/the-path-to-gaza-death-and-injuries-for-aid/).

bigwinnman
08-01-2010, 07:33 PM
Jan 08 2010
The Latest from Iran (8 January): Defeating the Wrong Questions (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/08/the-latest-from-iran-8-january-bits-and-pieces/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/

0620 GMT: Trashing Neda. Iranian state media is making another push to turn the killing of Neda Agha Soltan into an act in a foreign plot for regime change.
A new documentary for Iranian television (http://www.rferl.org/content/Iran_State_TV_Suggests_Iconic_Protest_Death_Faked/1923414.html), summarised
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hsayqbXk1w, made Neda both a participant and then the sacrifice of the evil scheme: she allegedly threw imitation blood onto her face as part of a faked shoot to discredit the security forces, but she was later slain by the two men who claim to have saved her live: her music teacher and Dr Arash Hejazi.
Hejazi has responded (http://www.rferl.org/content/Iran_State_TV_Suggests_Iconic_Protest_Death_Faked/1923414.html) in an interview that this is a “shameless and worthless” attempt to shift blame from security forces by a regime which “has been doing everything it can to distance itself from Neda’s death and throw responsibility on others”.
0515 GMT: We begin this morning with a special analysis by Josh Shahryar, taking care of the wrong questions about “the opposition”. As that opposition considers next moves, bits and pieces are now emerging from the relative political quiet.
The Government continues to link the political, legal, and military efforts to crush the Green movement. Days after the head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, declared that all judges must be political (http://www.roozonline.com/english/news/newsitem/article/2010/january/04//sadegh-larijani-judges-must-be-political.html), he reached out to the armed forces (http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=11835) for his deputy, Brigadier General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr.
An EA reader informs us that Dr. Yadollah Eslami, an ophtalmologist and editor-in-chief of the League of All-Term Majlis Deputies, was arrested last Monday (http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=11845) by the Revolutionary Guard. His detention is a reminder of the answers that can be given to the “wrong questions” of those who desire to dismiss or distort the opposition; in October Eslami wrote (http://www.gozaar.org/template1.php?id=1366&language=english):

The green movement is dynamic and growing. By not reacting immediately and prematurely to events and statements, the movement fosters deliberation and wisdom. Its decision-making on any given issue or occasion is an organized process, which seeks to share information and raise awareness. It has a specific goal in mind with every step it takes. It has spawned its own literature, poetry, and music. It has avoided blind violence and proved itself patient and deliberate. This movement’s dynamism and bold approach gave hope to all sectors of Iranian society. It has established a meaningful relationship with religious and ethnic minorities. It recognizes and respects all regional groups and their values. It creates and disseminates its slogans appropriately and in proportional response to prevalent needs.

bigwinnman
08-01-2010, 07:41 PM
Jan 08 2010

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

EA’s Josh Shahryar offers this analysis, also published in The Huffington Post: (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-shahryar/asking-the-wrong-question_b_414544.html)
On Wednesday in The New York Times, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett attempted (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/opinion/06leverett.html) perhaps the most stinging dismissal of the importance of the ongoing opposition protests in Iran.
Bloggers and other foreign policy experts refuted many of the Leveretts’ specific points, especially their overestimation of government-sponsored protests and underestimation of opposition demonstrations. [EA's immediate reaction is in Wednesday's updates.] I have covered the numbers on my blog, but a very good second opinion is offered by Daniel Drezner in ForeignPolicy.com (http://drezner.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/01/06/what_color_is_the_sky_in_leverettland#commentspace ).
Drezner and Kevin Sullivan of Real Clear Politics (http://www.realclearworld.com/blog/2010/01/three_tough_questions_iran_leverett.html) set a wider challenge, however, when they argue that, beyond the Leveretts’ distortions, there are “good” analytical questions.
Those questions need a response, not necessarily because they are “good”, but because if they are not addressed, the Leveretts may get away with a blatant attempt at skewing facts to hammer in their argument that President Barack Obama should forget about the possibility of regime change in Iran.

This is how the Leveretts set out their three queries:

Those who talk so confidently about an “opposition” in Iran as the vanguard for a new revolution should be made to answer three tough questions: First, what does this opposition want? Second, who leads it? Third, through what process will this opposition displace the government in Tehran? In the case of the 1979 revolutionaries, the answers to these questions were clear. They wanted to oust the American-backed regime of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and to replace it with an Islamic republic. Everyone knew who led the revolution: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who despite living in exile in Paris could mobilize huge crowds in Iran simply by sending cassette tapes into the country. While supporters disagreed about the revolution’s long-term agenda, Khomeini’s ideas were well known from his writings and public statements. After the shah’s departure, Khomeini returned to Iran with a draft constitution for the new political order in hand. As a result, the basic structure of the Islamic Republic was set up remarkably quickly.
Let’s see what ancient China has to offer before I add my assessment. Back in the olden days, this man traveled hundreds of miles to meet a Taoist sage somewhere in China. After the necessary greetings, he said, “I have come a long way to ask you something. What is the answer to the ultimate question in the universe?” The sage smiled and barked, “Well, that is not what you should be asking. You should ask: is there an answer to the ultimate question in the universe?”
In this parable, the first question posed by the Leveretts is fair: what does this opposition want?
Well, certainly not what Mir Hossein Mousavi wants. Even if we ignore the protesters’ repeated calls for the freedom of detainees and other chants that call for help from Imam Hossein against tyranny, I think “Down with the Dictator” — heard for the last six months, heard loudly and clearly — is a slogan that embodies the demands. President Ahmadinejad Must Go.
In recent months, however, protesters have also widely started chanting against Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The funeral of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri was filled with noise denouncing the Supreme Leader. Ashura’s protests days later were condemned by the regime for committing the same offense.
Certainly, Mousavi is still bargaining with the government. However, people on the street aren’t ready to chicken out of their demands, even in the face of gunfire. If the government hadn’t forcefully stopped them from presenting their demands through the media, you would have already seen that clearly.
The second question of the Leveretts is one the Taoist sage would have barked at: Who leads it?
The two questioners attempt to fool us into believing that their enquiry is fair by paralleling it with the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Revolutions need leaders and the current protesters don’t have one — quod erat demonstrandum, this is not a revolution.
The first assumption is not true, however: it is not a prerequisite for revolutions to have leaders. Consider the February Revolution of 1917 that overthrew Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. Academics are generally in agreement that it was without what we today consider a definite and centralized leadership. Almost a century later, if you envisage scattered activists working together to bring people out to protest, then Iran has no shortage of those. Mousavi, often considered the de-facto “leader” of the current protesters — didn’t even sanction or support protests that were joined by hundreds of thousands in Ashura.
The third question of the Leveretts made me smirk because it has no immediate relevance: through what process will this opposition displace the government in Tehran?
Well, I wish I knew. But just because the protesters’ demands have not been met yet, does not mean that we need to figure how they are going to achieve them. That is their task, a quest for which they’ve been coming out onto the streets of Iran, chanting as loud as they can, getting arrested, and spilling blood for the past six months to show their commitment to achieving those demands.
Who knows what might overthrow the regime? Maybe the Islamic Republic of Iran Army (Artesh) will finally step in. Maybe millions will turn up and storm Khamenei and Ahmadinejad’s house and the parliament. Maybe the violence will get so rampant that the leaders of Iran will simply board a plane to Moscow and flee. This we don’t know.
But we do know that simply because they have not met their goals yet, does not mean they won’t in the future. The Leveretts’ attempt to parallel this movement with the Revolution of 1979 tries to force us into believing that we need to know how, but we really don’t.
When the change happens, we will know. Until then, all we can do is support the opposition because they’re not just fighting for political rights, but for their human rights. If President Obama believes the Leveretts and discounts the power of the Green Movement, he risks making enemies of the open and secular Iran of the future, just like Jimmy Carter did when he discounted the Revolution of 1979. (Not to mention the fact that he would be guilty of legitimizing an illegitimate regime.)
The Leveretts’ piece made me really grateful to an old professor of mine, Dr. Rick Schubert, bless him. Dr. Schubert gave me a D in Philosophy 101, but he taught me what now has become my Golden Rule: questions are equally as important as the answer to them, so be careful before you ask. Maybe the Leveretts should attend one of his classes.

Clear Conscience
08-01-2010, 09:49 PM
In general Muslims consider Milosovic of Yugoslavia as one of the worst killers in the world. Before his deposal, his people uprised against him in fierce demonstrations. He never allowed any soldier to hit one demonstrator. He cared for those demonstrators although they were calling for his fall. The holly Khameni2i wants to execute every demonstrator. Marching in demonstrations is a crime that will be punished by execution. This is the new law.
Did you ever see something like this before? In the regime of Augusto Penochet or Khemeer rouge, such punishment didnt exist.

Clear Conscience
09-01-2010, 12:02 AM
If we compare the Iranian regime with the leaders of Muslim Bretherens in Egypt, we find the same mentality.
From 2 weeks there was a referendum among members of this organization to change the Shura council that elect the Higher Council of the Bretherens in Egypt and this higher council elect the Supreme leader. The old Shura council and Higher council are controlled by extremists or what is know by the Kotobists or the followers of Sayed Kotob, one of the mosts dangerous member and was executed by Jamal Abdel Nasser.He was dangerous not because he was only violent but because he was an intellectual able to address the minds and mentalities of members to control them.
The results of the referendum was for the advantage of the reformists or moderates among the Bretherens, but the higher council deleted the results and made the old Shura council (its tenure will end after 6 months) elect a new higher council for the next 4 years. This new higher council consisted only of kotobists without any reformist.
Muslims regimes or Muslims organizations can never accept change.

Zina
09-01-2010, 12:57 AM
Clear Con,
Are you Muslim?

Clear Conscience
09-01-2010, 02:32 AM
I can refuse it only and express such refusal loudly and stoutly.

bigwinnman
09-01-2010, 07:28 AM
8th January 2010
Guarantee Safety of Opposition Leaders in Wake of Karroubi Assassination Attempt

Family Member Reveals Evidence of Revolutionary Guard and Basiji Involvement
(8 January 2010) Today’s assassination attempt against Iranian opposition leader and cleric Mehdi Karroubi bears signs of being organized by official structures, which then coordinated with the official Fars News Agency to control information about the crime, according to a member of Karroubi’s family, who spoke to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
“These observations show that opposition figures are in danger of being eliminated by the Revolutionary Guard and Basiji militias acting incognito, to make the assassinations look like crimes by zealous citizens,” stated Hadi Ghaemi, a spokesperson for the Campaign.
“We are calling on Iranian authorities to identify and prosecute the perpetrators of this crime, and to guarantee the safety of other members of the opposition,” he said.
A family member of Mehdi Karroubi told the Campaign:
“Members of the Basij and Revolutionary Guards gathered at their garrisons prior to Mr. Karroubi’s arrival. As soon as he entered Qazvin, they appeared. Their actions were fully coordinated with Fars News Agency. As soon as Mr. Karroubi entered the private home where he was staying, Fars News reported it. The coordination between the Revolutionary Guards and Fars News was extensive.
When the Basij and Revolutionary Guards members assembled to protest Karroubi’s presence in Qazvin, two bullets were fired at his car. Fortunately the car was bullet proof. The front windshield was much stronger and only cracked. Otherwise the bullets would have entered the car and caused serious injuries.
I believe the message to Mr. Karroubi is that he is not safe anywhere he goes and if he doesn’t restrict himself to his house, he will be targeted.”
Local sources in Qazvin confirmed to the Campaign that those protesting Karroubi’s presence in Qazvin, in plain clothes, were well-recognized members of the Basij and Revolutionary Guards.

bigwinnman
09-01-2010, 07:32 AM
5th January 2010 [/URL]
Widespread Arrests of Women’s Rights Activists, Female Journalists and Relatives

[URL]http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/01/arrests-womens-activists/ (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/01/arrests-womens-activists/#respond)

Shirin Ebadi’s Sister taken Hostage to Silence Her

(5 January 2010) Numerous women’s rights campaigners, female journalists and relatives are being arrested and persecuted as authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran attempt to repress masses of Iranians from advocating for their civil rights in recent weeks, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.
“It is evident that the authorities are singling out women’s rights activists and arbitrarily arresting them, as well as female journalists, in the context of recent public demonstrations,” stated Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Campaign.
Dr. Nooshin Ebadi, the sister of Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, was arbitrarily arrested on 28 December (http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=51403200&msgid=758663&act=4472&c=333585&admin=0&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.iranhumanrights.org%2 F2009%2F12%2Frelease-arrested%2F). Nooshin Ebadi has no record of political or human rights activism and her arrest is a blatant attempt to intimidate and silence Shirin Ebadi.
“The arrest of Shirin Ebadi’s sister is an act of hostage-taking by the state and should be strongly condemned by the international community,” Rhodes said.
Some activists have been threatened with execution, while others have disappeared, with no official record of their arrest or whereabouts provided.
Atieh Yousefi, one of the most active members of the One Million Signatures Campaignin the city of Rasht, was arrested on the Shiite Holy day of Ashura (27 December). According to information provided to the Campaign, Yousefi was arrested while trying to assist a young man who had been severely injured by plain clothed agents who had beaten him. Still in detention, a judge has denied her family permission to visit her.
On 2 January 2010, Parisa Kakaie, a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, who had been summoned to the Intelligence Ministry and threatened in telephone calls, was arrested when she appeared at the Intelligence Office. On 3 January, Kakaie called her home and said that she was in ward 209 of Evin prison. Previously, Kakaie was summoned to Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court, along with other women’s rights activists, and was questioned at the Investigation Office of the Intelligence Ministry.

Bahareh Hedayat, a women’s rights advocate and a leading student activist, was arrested on 30 December 2009, by intelligence agents who presented a written order to detain her. Her home was searched and many of her personal belongings, including her computer and books, were confiscated.
Zohre Tonkaboni, 62, a former teacher and member of Mothers for Peace, was arrested on 28 December. Mahin Fahimi, another member of Mothers for Peace, was arrested on 8 December 2009, along with her son, Omid Montazeri. Fahimi’s husband was executed in 1988 while he was a political prisoner.
On 20 December 2009, Shiva Nazarahari, a leading member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, was arrested on a bus en route to Qom for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri’s funeral, when the bus was stopped by Security Forces in Enqelab Square in Tehran. Nazarahari went on a dry hunger strike after she was arrested, and was transferred to the health clinic of Evin prison’s ward 209 on 1 January, where she was warned that she would be executed if she continued her hunger strike. Previously, on 14 June 2009, Nazarahari had been arrested at her office but was released after 100 days on bail of 200,000, and is waiting for her trial. Before these detentions, she had been arrested in August 2004, in a gathering of political prisoners’ families in front of the UN building, and was sentenced to a one-year suspended prison term. Somayeh Rashidi, a women’s rights activist and member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, was arrested on 20 December 2009 while she appeared before the Revolutionary Court following her summons. She was questioned in court without her lawyer being allowed to accompany her; later, she was transferred to Evin prison. Her home was subsequently searched by agents who took her personal belongings and those of her roommate. Rashidi was previously denied the possibility to pursue her graduate work in women’s studies because of her activities. Maryam Zia, a women’s rights activist who is the director of an organization devoted to children’s welfare, and is the wife of Mansour Hayat Ghaybi, a member of the Executive Board of the Bus Workers’ Union, Vahed Syndicate, was arrested on 31 December at her home. She wasn’t at home when the plainclothes came to arrest her, but her son was forced to call her and ask her to come home. She was taken to an unknown location. Previously, she had been arrested during the women’s rights gathering in Haft Tir square in 2006. Mansoureh Shojaie, a member of One Million Signatures Campaign and the Women’s Cultural Center, has been arrested, but no information about her location or legal status has been released. In addition to these cases, the following female journalists have also been imprisoned: Badrossadat Mofidi, General Secretary of the Journalists Association, was arrested on 28 December 2009 at her home. Nasrin Vaziri, a journalist and reporter for ILNA and other publications, was taken into custody by unknown persons on 28 December at 22:00. According to her family, there is no information about her whereabouts and her name is not on any detainee list. Her family, in an interview with the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, said that the Tehran prosecutor’s office had informed them that the office didn’t issue any order for her arrest, so she has effectively been “disappeared.” Mahsa Hekmat, a reporter for the daily Etemad Meli, was arrested on 1 January 2010. She was visiting Ali Hekmat, a well- known journalist at his house in Saveh. The agents had apparently ordered the arrest of Ali Hekmat, but after they coordinated with their superiors, they arrested Mahsa as well. Other women have also been jailed, some apparently based on their relationships to political and civil society activists. Two daughters of Mohammad Tavasoli, a member of the Freedom Movement (Nehzat e Azadi), Layla and Sara Tavasoli, were arrested in the last four days. Tavasoli’s daughters are not activists and they were reportedly arrested to force Tavasoli to announce the closure of the Freedom Movement. Some of the other female political activists arrested include Azar Mansouri, the deputy of the Iran Participation Front, and student activists Niloufar Hashemi Azar, and Atefeh Nabavi and Shabnam Maddadzad. The Campaign calls on the Islamic Republic authorities to immediately release all women’s rights activists and others who have been arbitrarily arrested. bigwinnman 09-01-2010, 07:34 AM Jan 08 2010 http://enduringamerica.com/ Latest Iran Video: Mehdi Karroubi’s Son on Today’s Gunfire (8 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/08/latest-iran-video-mehdi-karroubis-son-on-todays-gunfire-8-january/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) Hossein Karroubi speaking to Voice of America about the gunfire on Mehdi Karroubi’s motorcade today as he left Qazvin, northwest of Tehran (see our updates (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/08/the-latest-from-iran-8-january-bits-and-pieces/)). Radio Farda also has an audio version (http://www.radiofarda.com/content/F3_Karrubi_Son_Confirms_Reports_on_Fire_Attach_to_ his_Father_Car/1924135.html). Clear Conscience 09-01-2010, 08:18 PM I read an article once for Doctor Ali Nouri Zadah.This man used to be close to Khameni2i in the past and now he is a defector from this criminal regime. He described Khameni2i in the past before the revolution and during the first years of the revolution as Sufi person or mystic, preferring an ascetic existence in the face of all the temptations in this world. He even confirmed that Khameni2i was the most sensitive person he had ever seen. When Khameni2i used to listen to a song for Fairouz for example, he used to cry. This is according to Ali Nouri Zadah. What happened to this man now? Why this drastic change? It seems faithfulness and tenets vanish infront of the allurements of temporal gain and the trappings of power. It seems that incumbency and power are addictive but non-productive or else we would have never witnessed this terrible change in Khameni2i's personality. bigwinnman 09-01-2010, 09:33 PM 08 January 2010 In Implicating Mortazavi in Torture Deaths, the Regime Looks for a Scapegoat – and Reveals Itself Vulernable (http://www.thenewestdeal.org/2010/01/in-implicating-mortazavi-in-torture.html) http://www.thenewestdeal.org/2010/01/in-implicating-mortazavi-in-torture.html After a long, drawn-out investigation, a special investigatory committee of Iran's Majlis parliament has found (http://persian2english.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/saeed-mortazavi-named-as-main-suspect-in-kahrizak-case) Saeed Mortazavi as the "main culprit" behind the death and torture of three detainees at Kahrizak detention facility. After it was revealed that Mohsen Rouholamini, the son of a prominent strategist to conservative presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei was among the deceased, widespread outrage from Iran's political right forced Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to order the closing of the facility. The committee’s findings come after the judicial branch of the Iranian Armed Forces issued a statement in mid-December classifying the cause of death of the three detainees as "torture," and not meningitis as the regime had previously claimed. While Mortazavi personally ordered the transfer of the respective protesters to the facility on July 9th, only twelve officers below him have been arrested in relation to the deaths thus far. Mortazavi has a long history (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6570089.ece) of torture in Iran. As a former judge and Tehran’s Prosecutor General, he was responsible for the closure of over 100 newspapers that were deemed threatening to the regime. In his crusade against the Iranian media – which earned him the nickname “the butcher of the press” – more than 600 journalists were arrested, including Saeed Hajarian, a close aide of former Mohammad Khatami who was also arrested and later released this past summer after making a forced confession in one of several televised show-trials. In 2003, Mortazavi played a role in the death of Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photographer who was arrested (and allegedly raped) for photographing Iran’s notorious Evin prison. A year later, he led a campaign against Iran’s most prominent bloggers, confining at least 20 to solitary confinement in undisclosed prisons for extended periods of time, where they were similarly forced to make coerced confessions implicating themselves in trying to overthrow the regime. Most recently, Mortazavi oversaw the arrest and trial of Roxana Saberi, an American-Iranian journalist who was arrested for espionage. Miss Saberi was also subsequently released. After the outrage over Kahrizak came to a head, Mortazavi was removed (http://www.roozonline.com/english/news/newsitem/article/2009/october/19/mortezavis-deputies-depart-as-well.html) from his post as Prosecutor General by Judiciary head Sadegh Larijani, who was himself appointed in the wake of the Kahrizak controversy. Larijani (brother to Majlis head Ali Larijani) also removed several of Mortazavi’s deputies from their respective posts. Mortazavi, however, was never actually removed but rather “promoted to obscurity” to the post of Deputy Prosecutor General for all Iran. Most recently, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed (http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=210092) him as the head of the Office Against Goods and Foreign Currency Smuggling. While the committee’s finding is the regime's greatest admission of fault since June's rigged election, political calculus is likely behind its disclosure. It increasingly appears that the massive outpouring of protesters during the Ashura demonstrations (http://www.thenewestdeal.org/2009/12/does-ashura-mark-beginning-of-end.html) has rattled the regime. Where protesters (and the Green movement as a whole) were being branded as "foreign agents" only weeks ago, there is now renewed talk of "reconciliation" in the air – this time coming not from the leaders of the opposition, but rather, from more pragmatic conservatives on the right. Mohsen Rezaei, Ali Motahari, and Ali Larijani have all recently weighed in, denouncing "extremism" on both sides of the political spectrum, a not-so-subtle jab at Ahmadinejad and his backers in government. And so, if the regime is coming to accept that it must make concessions in order marginalize threats to its hold on power, Mortazavi's outing by Majlis' investigatory committee should not be read as it holding the main perpetrator of the protesters' deaths accountable, but rather, as the regime looking for (and needing) a scapegoat to placate popular anger and outrage. It remains doubtful that the move will be enough, however. The explicit placing of blame squarely on Mortazavi also symbolizes the political fissures that have emerged between so-called "principalist" hardliners and more pragmatic politicians on the right. While Ahmadinejad loyalists have urged for the continued prosecution (or more aptly, persecution) of protesters and those who constitute the Green movement, traditional conservatives appear to be more keenly aware of the dire situation facing the Islamic Republic. Going forward, the clash between moderates and radicals in the conservative camp may prove just as consequential to Iran's future as the opposition's own showdown with the regime. Will a growing chorus of lawmakers and clerics pressure Khamenei to make concessions to the opposition? Will Ahmadinejad play ball? While what the proceeding months hold in store remains unclear, there is certain to be continued friction between those who are not a part of the opposition. Just as soon as the Majlis committee implicated Mortazavi in the protester deaths, a group of lawmakers rejected (http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/pages/?cid=80233) the report, branding it as "fabricated, untrue and biased." Such conservative disunity not only continues to dilute the Islamic Republic's once monolithic base of support, but also gives the Greens the open political space they need to press forward with their demands. Time will tell if the regime will listen, if only to ensure its own survival. Posted by Masoud Clear Conscience 10-01-2010, 08:37 PM There was a demonstration in the morning for the mothers of the victims who fell due to Khameni2i's brutality. The Bassij arrested 30 mother. They are afraid on the regime from the mothers. The holly Khameni2i is afraid from women. I swear Dictators are the most cowards. Anyway God bless the Iranian women who are always on the forefront of any demonstration or clashes with the bloody Bassij. Clear Conscience 10-01-2010, 09:23 PM The reformists affirm that the Bassij did its best to subdue uprisers and failed. University students are not attending their classes and not applying to exams. It is a form of civil disobedience. bigwinnman 10-01-2010, 09:29 PM Jan 10 2010 Iran Special Analysis: A US Move to “Sanctions for Rights”? (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/10/iran-special-analysis-a-us-move-to-sanctions-for-rights/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/10/iran-special-analysis-a-us-move-to-sanctions-for-rights/#more-25764 The most interesting spin out of the US (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126300060937222569.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLETopSto ries) in recent days is in a Saturday article in The Wall Street Journal by Jay Solomon, “U.S. Shifts Iran Focus to Support Opposition”. The headline is a bit misleading, since the core issue is whether (in fact, how rather than whether) the Obama Administration will be pursuing and presenting additional sanctions against Iran: “The White House is crafting new financial sanctions specifically designed to punish the Iranian entities and individuals most directly involved in the crackdown on Iran’s dissident forces, said…U.S. officials, rather than just those involved in Iran’s nuclear program.” The presentation, however, is telling. For weeks, the set-up for sanctions — for example, in the articles of David Sanger and William Broad in The New York Times — has been that they were essential to punish Iran for breakdown of enrichment talks and Tehran’s move toward a military nuclear capability. Now, for the first time, the message is not just that “rights” should take priority but that there may be a change of power in Iran: “The Obama administration is increasingly questioning the long-term stability of Tehran’s government and moving to find ways to support Iran’s opposition ‘Green Movement’.” Read it: the authority of President Ahmadinejad is no longer assumed, even bolstered, by the US approach. An Administration source declares, “The Green Movement has demonstrated more staying power than perhaps some have anticipated. The regime is internally losing its legitimacy, which is of its own doing.” So which US officials are now tying “targeted sanctions” to this shift away from Ahmadinejad and visions of a new leadership? Here’s the big clue: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered over coffee at the State Department this week with four leading Iran scholars and mapped out the current dynamics, said U.S. officials. One issue explored was how the U.S. should respond if Tehran suddenly expressed a desire to reach a compromise on the nuclear issue. Mrs. Clinton asked whether the U.S. could reach a pact without crippling the prospects for the Green Movement. In September, Clinton and her advisors had a similar discussion (http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0909/Dinner_with_the_Secretary_Iran_on_the_menu.html). The leading Iran scholars on that occasion? “The Carnegie Endowment’s Karim Sadjadpour, the New America Foundation’s Afshin Molavi, the National Iranian American Council’s Trita Parsi, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Ray Takeyh, the Woodrow Wilson’s Haleh Esfandiari, Brookings’ Suzanne Maloney, and George Mason University’s Shaul Bakhash.” In recent weeks, Parsi’s NIAC has been pushing the approach of targeted sanctions linked to rights, not the nuclear issue, and Takeyh has been promoting a rights-first policy. So I suspect that The Wall Street Journal article is declaring a convergence between the Obama Administration and the private sphere. If so, welcome back Green movement. And President Ahmadinejad may have lost his nuclear prop from Washington. bigwinnman 10-01-2010, 09:44 PM Jan 10 2010 Iran: Challenge to The Government in “The Heartlands”? (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/10/iran-challenge-to-the-government-in-the-heartlands/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/10/iran-challenge-to-the-government-in-the-heartlands/ One of the running debates on Enduring America has been the extent of the demand for change across Iran. With most information, because of the nature of media and restrictions on communications, coming out of the capital, it has been hard to guage whether “the countryside” — which is often framed as more supportive than Tehran of President Ahmadinejad — will support calls of the opposition. My own sense, from a series of discussions last week, is that the demands of the Green movement are spreading and growing amongst people outside the capital. Borzou Daragahi of The Los Angeles Times offers the same perspective today (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-iran-heartland10-2010jan10,0,2246472.story): Mohammad knew he had to be careful in approaching his old classmate Hamed, the one from the conservative Iranian family. They come from a small city, after all, and word gets around. When they ran into each other last summer in their eastern Iranian hometown of Birjand, the pair hadn’t seen each other for nine years.As they caught up on old times, the conversation turned to the country’s disputed election in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defeated challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi. “He believed Ahmadinejad’s victory was not fraudulent, and that Mousavi was angry because Iranians didn’t vote for him,” said Mohammad, a 23-year-old engineering student in Birjand, a provincial capital of 160,000 near the border with Afghanistan. “He also thought that the people who protest are some gangsters and not civilized people.” A clever and highly ambitious young man whose dream until seven months ago was to go abroad, get rich and have drinks by a pool in Miami, Mohammad found himself drawn into political activism after the election — and trying to recruit friends and acquaintances to join him. Defying the predictions of some who dismissed it as a phenomenon limited to big cities, the “green” opposition movement appears to have spread to the heartland, with video and credible reports emerging from towns in the provinces. Activists such as Mohammad are the foot soldiers, discreetly reaching out to people in small, tightknit communities that don’t enjoy the anonymity of Tehran. For months the spotlight has been concentrated on the capital: Not only do international news organizations remain in Tehran, but the constant hubbub in the metropolis of 12 million makes it easier for protesters to head into the streets and then make it home without being identified by security forces. But in smaller cities such as Birjand, the police, intelligence officers and allied militiamen have a much easier time recognizing protesters. The activists take enormous risks. Five large military bases guard Birjand, regarded as the springboard for Revolutionary Guard anti-drug operations along the eastern border. But it also has five universities and four colleges, making it a potential opposition stronghold. More than 60% of Iranians are younger than 30, and 70% of college students reportedly opposed Ahmadinejad. Immediately after the election results were announced, angry residents took to the streets of Birjand, as they did in cities across the country. Security forces charged the crowds and dragged away alleged ringleaders and a professor, Mohammad-Reza Agha-Ebrahimi. “So protests were a failure at the beginning,” Mohammad said. But the opposition movement didn’t die, thanks largely to activists such as Mohammad, whose last name is not being published for security reasons. Mohammad and his friends step carefully. They speak with their parents, relatives and friends, and ask them to encourage co-workers at their offices or at the city’s tire plant, tile factory, cement plant or soft drink producer to at least have sympathy for a movement led by their sons and daughters. “We wear green, we act green,” Mohammad said. “We express our beliefs in public.” A computer whiz with spiky hair who earns extra cash selling fancy cellphones, he now risks getting kicked out of school and thrown into prison for being an activist. “If you asked me last year, I would probably say, ‘My dream is to go abroad for my master’s degree and try for a foreign passport,’ ” he said. “But now, my only dream is our victory against the dictatorship, and to gain my own freedom.” His account of what has happened over the last seven months in Birjand, corroborated by former and current residents of the city, and consistent with reports from other small cities around the country, illustrates how the opposition movement has gained a foothold nationwide. In places such as Birjand, universities have led the way. After the election, the Islamic associations on all Birjand campuses began printing political statements distributed by student activists to classmates, cabbies, restaurant employees and fellow bus passengers. Students began organizing small gatherings at their universities. They publicly demanded freedom for the professor, Agha-Ebrahimi. He was released. Students spray-painted graffiti on walls. “Death to the dictator!” they scrawled with green markers on phone booths, just as in the capital. Some went to jail. One of Mohammad’s friends was sentenced to nine months in prison for distributing leaflets. In the classrooms, professors lifted students’ spirits by discussing the Islamic Republic’s missteps, and what sorts of protest actions were effective and which were counterproductive. One professor spoke to students about the difference between real and superficial freedom. “He said something like, ‘We are free to breathe, but not free to live; and not being free to live, we’re dead, actually,’ ” Mohammad recalled. The students followed the news on opposition websites and via BBC Persian and Voice of America, which can be picked up more easily in small cities and the countryside than in Tehran, where the government jams international satellite signals. They learned to avoid having political conversations over the phone or using text messages to organize meetings for fear of the prying eyes of security forces. They have mastered the use of proxy servers to get access to banned websites as well as shield their surfing habits from surveillance technology. Still, it’s an uphill battle to persuade others to risk life and liberty by speaking out. “They feel that they’re not seen,” he said. “They’re not heard, and whatever they do for justice is going to be like an unheard sound.” At first, in his talks with onetime classmate Hamed, Mohammad acted as if he had no particular stake in the issue of Iran’s election battle. But over tea and during walks, he began voicing the points of the opposition. “I talked to him about people’s rights, dictatorship and Islamic fascism,” he recalled. “I set him straight about the history of the government’s sins after the Islamic Revolution.” Then Mohammad handed Hamed a DVD that showed violent confrontations involving security forces and left him alone. Mohammad said most government supporters are not people who can be convinced simply by talking. “I let him do his own research,” he said. “There are many other people I talked to, but I’m not sure whether they changed or not.” The young people of Birjand looked forward to taking part in street protests Dec. 7, National Students Day. But as one opposition blog put it, the city was in a state of “undeclared martial law” in the hours before the scheduled demonstrations. “In all of the streets and squares, Basijis and intelligence officers are on alert,” the blog reported. “In most of the squares the anti-riot police are stationed and patrols can be seen in all of the side streets.” The demonstrations were foiled. “Protests like Tehran’s are not possible in low-populated cities, as they need a lot of people,” Mohammad said. But in the crowd at one aborted protest he spotted a familiar face. It was his old chum Hamed! Since their last encounter, Hamed had joined the movement and become active on his campus in Abadan, the southwestern city where he studies. “I had made him believe from the depth of his heart that these murderers are not at the right side,” Mohammad said. “I found him as green as myself.” bigwinnman 11-01-2010, 07:19 AM Jan 10 2010 Latest Iran Video: Military Commander Mullen on US Options (10 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/10/latest-iran-video-military-commander-mullen-on-us-options-10-january/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) The Latest from Iran (10 January): “Middle” Ground? (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/10/the-latest-from-iran-10-january-middle-ground/) Clear Conscience 11-01-2010, 07:12 PM Alarabiya mentioned that in the past months, 27 Iranian diplomat serving in different countries defected from Khameni2i's brutal regime and the foreign ministry didnt dare to mention this. Also Alarabiya talked about prisoners killed under torture in prisons, while the authorities claimed that they died due to meningitis. bigwinnman 12-01-2010, 08:32 AM http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23693.htm Iranian Regime To Public: Help Us Identify Protestors http://www.thememriblog.org/image/14387.JPG The Iranian daily Javan, which is close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), published, on December 27, 2009, photos of demonstrators in the Ashura unrest, and asked for the public's help in identifying them. Additionally, Tehran security forces have arrested 30 women who are members of the Mourning Mothers, who demonstrate every Saturday in the city against the arrest and killing of their children by the regime. Source: Javan, Iran, January 11, 2010; Persian.iranhumanrights.org, January 9, 2010. Photo: Javan, January 11, 2010. Posted at: 2010-01-11 http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23672.htm Iranian Majlis Member: Diplomat Arrested in Tehran Protests Is a Swede Iranian Majlis Member Zohre Elahian, member of the parliamentary national security committee, said that the foreign diplomat arrested during the December 27, 3009 Ashura Day protests in Tehran is a Swede. She added that his participation in the riots confirms the interference of foreign countries in Iran's internal affairs. Source: Fars (Iran), January 10, 2010 Posted at: 2010-01-10 http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23669.htm Basij Top Commander Hints: The People May Take the Law into Their Own Hands and Eliminate the Protest Movement Leaders Iranian Basij Commander Mohammed Reza Naghdi said that, following the Ashura Day protests, he had rejected an offer by volunteers to eliminate the leaders of the protest movement, on the grounds that the regime would take care of them. However, he also commented that, if the regime does not perform its duty, the people may do so in its stead. Tehran Prosecutor General Jafari Dowlatabadi said that five of the protestors arrested during the Ashura Day protests were members of the opposition movement Mojahedeen Khalq, and that these detainees, as well as others, face execution if convicted. He also said that the Bahais who were arrested during the protests were not singled out for their religion, but were arrested for their offenses, which included the possession of weapons. Human rights activists have expressed their fear for the lives of the 12 Bahais who were arrested recently, as well as the Bahai leaders arrested in June 2008. Sources: Fars (Iran), January 9, 2010, persian.iranhumanrights.org, January 7, 2010 Posted at: 2010-01-10 bigwinnman 12-01-2010, 08:39 AM Jan 11 2010 Iran Analysis: The Regime Beyond the Headlines (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/11/iran-analysis-the-regime-beyond-the-headlines/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/11/iran-analysis-the-regime-beyond-the-headlines/#more-25841 The world is once again watching Iran. A series of weekend developments are in the global press this morning. Thomas Erdbrink of The Washington Post covers (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/10/AR2010011001272.html?wpisrc=newsletter) the Parliamentary report on the abuse of detainees, headlining the allegations against former Tehran Prosecutor General and current Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi, “An Iranian parliamentary probe has singled out a former Tehran prosecutor as being responsible for the violent deaths of three protesters in a now-closed prison facility after anti-government demonstrations in July.” Nazila Fathi of The New York Times writes (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/world/middleeast/11iran.html)on the same lines. Credit to both reporters and to others for picking up on the development. Credit also for coverage of the Supreme Leader’s weekend address as well as notice of President Ahmadinejad’s presentation of his five-year National Development Plan to Parliament. (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/11/the-latest-from-iran-11-january-reading-the-regime/) However, all the information deserves a much closer look. Below the surface of pronouncement and public reports, there are powerful currents swirling within the Establishment. This is no less than an attempt, perhaps the last one before showdown reaches the highest levels of the regime, to find a way out of the political conflict. There are hints tucked away in today’s stories. Erdbrink, for example, has this enticing quote from Abbas Abdi, a former journalist critical of the Government: Mortazavi is the highest official the parliament could accuse without getting in trouble. If they would go after lower-level officials, their probe would have been meaningless.” It is now up to the judiciary to press official charges against the former prosecutor. Fathi goes for the line of a sop to the Green movement: One analyst, a former senior official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that in pinning the blame on Mr. Mortazavi, the government was trying to pacify the opposition. “They might go as far as sacrificing Mortazavi, but I don’t think this is going to fool the opposition,” he said. “This does not mean a major compromise. It is just a tactic, and they are willing to sacrifice him because he crossed the lines.” Both soundbites are half-right: Mortazavi now wears the title of Number One Scapegoat for the post-election excesses. This, however, has little to do with concessions to the opposition. The regime’s tough response to the Saturday march of Mothers of Mourning and their supporters, putting 33 in prison and reportedly injuring several, backs up the rhetoric that continues to come from Ministers, officials, Parliamentary leaders like Ali Larijani, and the Supreme Leader. No more demonstrations. No more resistance. (At best, there may be an argument that the Parliamentary report is a signal to Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who raised the abuse charges back in July, that they should come in from the opposition cold and strike a deal. However, even that possibility — raised in last week’s letter from conservative/principlist leader and Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei to Ayatollah Khamenei — has not been borne out by any other Government moves.) And the Abdi line is incomplete, either in its reading or its representation by Erdbrink. The idea that Mortazavi is the biggest fish/scapegoat (pardon the mixing of animal metaphors) and therefore that the investigations and the allegations stop with the former prosecutor is a misunderstanding: the Parliamentary challenge to Ahmadinejad has come too far to stop with Mortazavi’s punishment. Remember, the President’s response to this report — after it was presented to Parliament — was to proceed with the official ceremony for Mortazavi’s appointment as the head of the unit investigating smuggling of currency and drugs. That’s a come-and-get-me taunt to those in and close to the Majlis — Rezaei, Ali Motahari, Ahmad Tavakoli, even Ali Larijani — who want the President, not one of advisors, to admit errors and injustices. Motahari made that clear in his video interviews last week. So leave the Green opposition to the side for the moment. One of two scenarios happens: 1. Mortazavi falls, and Ahmadinejad takes a blow to this authority. His Parliamentary and political foes will either then accept that they have contained Mahmoud or, smelling blood and victory, they will press on. 2. Ahmadinejad will not sacrifice Mortazavi, and the fight gets even more intense. Into this mix let’s throw in the Supreme Leader. His speech last Saturday was difficult to read because it had two apparently conflicting messages. On the one hand, as we initially updated, he was warning protesters to shut up and go away, a repetition of his 19 June line that tried to validate the Presidential election. On the other, he was indicating that there had to be some acceptance of excessive measures by security forces and assurances that they would not be repeated. How to reconcile those signals? Well, by recognising to whom they are directed. The first is simply to keep the opposition at bay and, indeed, far, far away while the regime tries to sort itself out. The second, more immediately important message is to those who nominally support Khamenei. Read it carefully, and I think you’ve got the Supreme Leader lending some backing to the Parliamentary/political criticism of the Presidential office and, therefore, telling Ahmadinejad and the security forces aligned with him: Be Careful. Another reminder: this isn’t new. Rewind to July and August and there are a series of power plays and disputes between Parliament and the President and even the Supreme Leader and Ahmadinejad. Mahmoud and Company won some of those battles, getting more influence in ministries like Intelligence, and lost some, for example, with the forced climbdown over the appointment of Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai as First Vice President. At that time, however, Ahmadinejad’s biggest victories were getting to be President, with his inauguration in August, and getting his big Cabinet picks the following month. All of this is back in play, however. As a very well-informed source told me last week, “The only way this ends is if and when some [expletive deleted] stabs Ahmadinejad in the back.” Clear Conscience 12-01-2010, 07:31 PM A nuclear scientist was assassinated this morning in Tehran. bigwinnman 12-01-2010, 09:19 PM Jan 12 2010 Iran: How Far Do The Green Movements Go? (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/12/iran-how-far-do-the-green-movements-go/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/12/iran-how-far-do-the-green-movements-go/#more-25893 Monday was distinguished by statements from the opposition (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/11/the-latest-from-iran-11-january-reading-the-regime/). Both Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami issued analyses and, in the case of Karroubi, a five-point proposal to complement the 1 January declaration of Mir Hossein Mousav (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/iran-document-mousavis-5-stages-to-resolution-statement-1-january/)i. As protesters draw breath during a relatively long pause between major demonstrations, the question may not be how the regime reacts to these statements — my reading, set out yesterday (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/11/iran-analysis-the-regime-beyond-the-headlines/), is that the Iranian Government’s immediate concern is challenges within the establishment than with the pressure beyond it — but how the Green movement(s) respond. While Karroubi and Khatami were clear in their criticisms of the regime, both also emphasised that their approach rested on non-violence on all sides and that their resolutions were within the system, adhering to the Constitution. What, however, does adherence to the Constitution entail? Would this just be a question of apologies, compensation, and the punishment of some officials? Or would the demands reach to the removal of President Ahmadinejad for his responsibility in the failures and abuses? Do they include a change in the position of the Supreme Leader? (Our initial evaluation that Karroubi had specifically mentioned Khamenei in his five-point plan has not been followed by other summaries (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2010/01/iran-khatami-karroubi-and-even-rafsanjani-speak-out.html). We are double-checking.) An analysis from an activist (http://lissnup.posterous.com/iranelection-green-movement-moment-of-decisio) sets out the issue forcefully: The green movement, at least when it comes to its slogans, has defined some short-term objectives. Slogans which, at an earlier point, consisted of calling Ahmadinejad a liar or questioning his 63% share of the vote have now become more direct and confrontational, addressing the dictator himself and wanting an end to the dictatorship. Why is it that, when the demand of the main body of the movement has evolved to such an extent, the leaders, namely Mousavi and Karroubi, refuse to announce it openly? Why is there no mention of this demand in the statement issued by Bazargan, Soroush, Kadivar, Ganji, and Mohajerani (the five Iranian expatriate intellectuals who issued their 10 Demands (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/04/iran-five-expatriate-intellectuals-issue-the-demands-of-the-green-movement/) two days after Mousavi’s New Year statement)? The demand for the removal of Khamenei is, in reality, a demand for fundamental change; it is tantamount to the negation of his policies for the last 20 years, but at the same time, it does not equal the overthrow of the regime. This demand does not even mean the negation of the supreme leadership as a principle. Even the most conservatives groups within the green movement can remain loyal to Khomeini’s ideals (that is, loyalty to the supreme leader), while simultaneously agreeing that Khamenei is not competent for the position. bigwinnman 12-01-2010, 09:23 PM Dispelling FUD: Iran and ISP Surveillance January 11th, 2010 http://www.christopher-parsons.com/blog/isps/dispelling-fud-iran-and-isp-surveillance/ Since the election of incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the world has witnessed considerable political tension in Iran. Protests over the questionable electoral results (http://themoderatevoice.com/35541/irans-election-results-deemed-questionable-and-logical/), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58uqU0Lguy8, recurring protests by Iranians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Iranian_election_protests) associated with the Green Revolution (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/29/irans-green-revolution-ga_n_406476.html), and transmissions of information amongst civil- and global-actors have been broadcast using contemporary communications systems. Twitter, blogs, Facebook, and mobile phone video has enabled Iranians to coordinate, broadcast, and receive information. The existence of Web 2.0 infrastructure (http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/interactive/events/luncheons/2009/11/iranelection) has set the conditions under which the Green Revolution operates. The Iranian government quickly recognized the power of cheap social coordination technologies and, in response, drastically reduced the capacity of national Internet links – the government, in effect, closed the nation’s Internet faucet, which greatly reduced how quickly data could be transmitted to, and received from, the ‘net as a whole. This claim is substantiated by Arbor Networks’ (Internet) border reports (http://asert.arbornetworks.com/2009/08/1132/), which demonstrate how, immediately after the presidential election, there was a plummet in the data traffic entering and exiting the nation. (It should be noted that Arbor is a prominent supplier of Deep Packet Inspection equipment.) Prior to trying to dispel the Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) surrounding the contemporary Iranian ISP-surveillance system that is regularly propagated by the media, I need to give a bit of context on the telecommunications structure in Iran. The Composition of Iranian Telecommunications As in Western nation-states, there are a series of ISPs that Iranians can select to receive Internet. The catch is that all data traffic has to pass through the state controlled infrastructure of the Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI). Household connections have a data-transfer ceiling: in the 2006 Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) issued an order that forbade ISPs from providing Internet connectivity to households and public access points that exceeded 128 kilobytes/second. To put this in perspective for Canadians (and others in North America), Bell Canada’s slowest service plan is for up to 256 kilobytes/second (i.e. a 2 Mbps connection). Universities and private businesses in Iran can obtain high-speed access, though as a result of capping residential speeds there has been a substantial reduction in fibre-deployment (and increases in broadband speed), which was rapidly expanding from 2005 – 2007. The limitation of bandwidth speeds was likely meant to hinder (as opposed to prevent) access to rich-format alternate media sources available on the ‘net (e.g. YouTube, media-heavy websites, etc); when it takes ten minutes to load a BBC broadcast, you go somewhere else to get news instead. The benefit of this strategy is that the government could escape claims that they were censoring content: it was just delayed, and who minds waiting another few minutes for something they really care about? Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt and Iranian Digital Surveillance The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran a piece last summer that accused Iranian officials of using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) equipment (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124562668777335653.html) purchased from Nokia-Siemens to survey and censor content. The Journal’s assertions were subsequently picked up by major (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2009/jun/22/iran-nokia-siemens-networks) media (http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/07/20/ottawa-media-iran-internet-spy.html) sources (http://www.democracynow.org/2009/6/23/deep_packet_inspection_telecoms_aided_iran), and the blogosphere (http://germantoenglish.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/twitter-can-get-dangerous/) along (http://www.demdigest.net/blog/toolstechnology/irans-green-movement-needs-strategy-and-leadership.html#hide) with reputable journalism sites (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/willheaven/100021650/my-response-to-the-twitterati-stop-putting-iranian-lives-at-risk/) continue to reinforce the position of the WSJ. The problem, of course, is that that to date there has been little to no reputable reinforcement (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/11/iran-twitter-last-words-on-the-hell-of-heaven-shahryar/) of the WSJ’s initial claim, and Nokia-Siemens has openly refuted the allegations (http://blogs.nokiasiemensnetworks.com/news/2009/06/22/provision-of-lawful-intercept-capability-in-iran/). The WSJ asserted that, “[e]very digitized packet of online data is deconstructed, examined for keywords and reconstructed within milliseconds. In Iran’s case, this is done for the entire country at a single choke point, according to networking engineers familiar with the country’s system.” Moreover, ”Iran is “now drilling into what the population is trying to say,” said Bradley Anstis, director of technical strategy with Marshal8e6 Inc., an Internet security company in Orange, Calif. He and other experts interviewed have examined Internet traffic flows in and out of Iran that show characteristics of content inspection, among other measures.” After the WSJ piece ran David (http://isen.com/blog/2009/06/questions-about-wsj-story-on-net.html) Isenberg (http://www.isen.com/blog/2009/06/more-questions-about-wsj-claims-of-iran.html), Mark Hopkins (http://siliconangle.com/blog/2009/06/26/one-more-time-iran-isnt-using-deep-packet-inspection/), myself (http://www.christopher-parsons.com/blog/politics/iran-traffic-analysis-and-deep-packet-inspection/) separately found fault with various elements of the story as reported. In summary, we argued that: tests for detecting DPI, presently, do not exist; Marshal8e6 is a spam/phishing company; there is no reason why they would have any particular insight into DPI, and a look at their website shows that their core business competencies are not in DPI-related activities; there is no evidence that the Iranian system uses DPI – all we really have is a lone, anonymous, engineer saying that everything is examined for keywords. Keep this point in mind, as we’ll be getting back to it; the WSJ’s primary source, Ben Roome over at Nokia-Siemens, maintains that the company sold only mobile technology capable of lawful access and did not sell DPI equipment. Further, Nokia-Siemens has actually exited the intelligence market, as recognized in the WSJ article. it is, quite simply, easier to leverage existing infrastructure rather than import and embed DPI appliances in an already functioning surveillance environment It’s key to note before getting into the next section that neither myself nor Isenberg are making the claim that DPI isn’t in use, but instead that there is no clear reason to assume that Iranian authorities have incorporated DPI into their arsenal of surveillance technologies (Hopkins is making the full move to state DPI isn’t being used). DPI is expensive to install, and massive inspection comes with a substantial computational and other technical overheads – it’s for this reason that most DPI devices inspect elements of packet streams rather than streams in their entirety when they must be inspected in real-time. To use DPI for full-stream analysis when there are better tools for the job that already are built and running would be mind numbingly stupid, and we have no reason to believe that Iranian IT admins are stupid people. The Composition of ISP Surveillance in Iran A very good report on the status of Internet surveillance in Iran was released by ICTRC in 2005 (http://www.genderit.org/upload/ad6d215b74e2a8613f0cf5416c9f3865/A_Report_on_Internet_Access_in_Iran_2_.pdf), and it’s nicely supplemented by the OpenNet Initiative’s (ONI) report on Iran (http://opennet.net/research/profiles/iran). From these, we learn that the Iranian government uses a series of techniques to filter and censor the ‘net. They include: the use of SmartFilter (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7589) (which blocks particular websites and content) by all ISPs. The Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI) itself has reassumed the role of centralized filtering from the ISPs, according to ONI, though some Iranians still see the old ‘access denied’ images that are branded by their ISP (http://jturn.qem.se/2006/diversity-in-iranian-filters/). ONI’s findings suggest that the technical difficulties of centralized filtering, identified in the ICTRC report, have likely been overcome. New ‘block sites’ are added to the ever-expanding list of blocked websites, many of which are aimed at countering ‘immoral’ inclinations or limiting dissident political communication. Internet ports are regularly closed by ISPs in accordance with government edicts. These ports are used to access proxy servers, such as TOR, which give Iranians access to the uncensored Internet. Prior to data exiting the Iranian telecom environment and entering the global Internet, all requests are passed through proxy servers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxy_server) that permit keyword filtering. Web searches containing particular words may be blocked, and because content is passing through proxy servers there is the possibility of monitoring all unencrypted traffic, including chat conversations, email, and web browsing. In the WSJ article an anonymous engineer stated that “We didn’t know they could do this much … Now we know they have powerful things that let them do very complex tracking on the network.” While the WSJ alleges that this is a reference to DPI, I would suggest that the engineer is probably referring to the Iranian government having backtracked on stated uses of their proxy-based surveillance architecture. You see, in 2006 the Communication and Information Technology Ministry announced that their surveillance apparatus (http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1071706.html): …would block access to unauthorized websites, identify Internet users, and keep a record of the sites they visit. The system administrator would have access to this information. The ministry subsequently denied that the filtering facility could identify users and track their browsing habits, and it stressed that it only wants to block access to pornography. There also were acknowledgements that the previous methodology was imperfect, and a “filtering databank” would be more precise and make fewer mistakes. Given this broader context, from 2006, engineer’s statement – that they hadn’t thought the government’s apparatus was designed to massively identify users and record visited sites – makes quite a bit of sense; he didn’t know that the government had adjusted how they were using infrastructure already known to exist. If you recall, the engineer had made a reference ‘keyword filtering’, and it only requires a proxy to analyze text. DPI is not required. Further, when Marshal8e6 Inc. referred to content analysis having been performed, the corporation might have been referring to the proxy-based keyword analysis and not DPI surveillance. Given that an already impressive surveillance infrastructure utilizing proxy-based servers has existed for several years now, and is capable of the filtering being witnessed today, it’s unclear how the present monitoring of digital communications requires, or indicates the use of, DPI appliances. On the basis that sources for the article can easily be read as referring to already known t0 exist surveillance systems their statements shouldn’t be used to support the WSJ’s claim that Iran is using DPI, but that the proxy-system is more impressive than previously thought. The latter is an entirely reasonable claim; the former outlandish and requiring substantial reporting to guarantee accuracy. Intelligence Through Social Networks Given the supposition that DPI isn’t being used for surveillance purposes in Iran right now one might ask: how is it, then, that seemingly cautious protestors and organizers who practice ’safe computing’ (i.e. encrypt their data traffic) get caught? In response, I would suggest that rather than focusing on ‘how they broke the encryption’ there needs to be a focus on ‘where they find, and how did they exploit, weak links in the network?’ If just one person transmitted unencrypted data and compromised organizers’ names, then the authorities would have a place to start their investigations. Alternately, if someone in Iran routinely encrypts most of their data traffic they likely rise to the attention of network administrators. Administrators could very easily be under orders to pay attention to any non-encrypted data traffic that such persons of attention transmit to the ‘net, in the hopes of gaining content-based insight into what the encryption-user might be doing, saying, or who they are speaking with online. Moreover, even if you’re sending encrypted email to protect yourself against proxy-based traffic analysis, if your email is stored on an Iranian ISP’s server then the messages are unlikely to be secure when ‘at rest’ on the server itself. Protecting the data in transit isn’t sufficient when you can’t trust your ISP. Finally, there are reports of officer’s seizing people’s laptops (http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/defenders/hrd_iran/hrd_iran_page.aspx?item=57&c=i6), but occasionally leaving the people themselves alone, again negating the value of encrypted data transmissions if data at rest on the computers isn’t similarly secured. There is often far more to gain in developing social profiles of people and their related associates than on combing through all the data collected of every person; the situation with the Christmas Day bomber last year demonstrates that an excess of particular information, and failure to develop a comprehensive network intelligence system that identifies key threats, is a critical limitation. Without a system that identifies possible ‘persons of interest’ agencies are limited in their abilities to target the ‘right’ person. In developing relationships of people, it is possible to create profiles and map out who is who in vast networks. With the potential to use social demographics to identify ‘key’ figures in any social organization the ‘danger’ in broadcasting oneself through Twitter, Facebook, or other social media environment arises from facilitating network-level intelligence: Who are the key broadcasters and rebroadcasters of messages? Who generates ideas that are rapidly disseminated through the population? Who are the (largely) passive listeners? The last group is probably non-deserving of immediate persecution, but they will be motivated to identify and listen to the first two groups. Thus, if you just watch to see who the ‘passives’ are almost all listening to, you can pick out ‘key’ members of any revolution that target them, weakening or extinguishing the winds of change. The weakest link in a revolution need not be the leaders, but can come from nuanced social profiling, and the Web 2.0 world arguably facilitates such social profiling in ways beyond even that Stasi’s wildest dreams. Does this mean that even more advanced systems of digital analysis and aggregation won’t be deployed to identify particular patterns of communication in Iran? No. Does what I (or anyone else, for that matter) have definitely written prove that DPI technologies aren’t being used in Iran? No. What I have done, however, is suggest that existing proxy-based surveillance infrastructure can be leveraged in a manner that explains present censorship and content-blocking practices in Iran, and that traditional intelligence gathering processes are likely just being modernized for the social media world. Neither the preexisting surveillance and censorship, nor the intelligence gathering, requires DPI. In light of the evidence and argumentation I have offered, we ought to leverage Occam’s razor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor) to conclude that proxy-based analysis, not DPI-facilitated surveillance, should be the focus of responsible attention to Iranian ISP surveillance practices. bigwinnman 12-01-2010, 09:31 PM http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/01/12/97079.html State TV blames "counter-revolutionaries", foreign powers Iranian nuclear scientist killed in bomb blast http://www.alarabiya.net/track_content_views_en.php?cont_id=97079http://media.alarabiya.net/img_en/picfrm_left_vfade_bottom.gifhttp://media.alarabiya.net/img/spc.gif http://images.alarabiya.net/large_96660_97079.jpg http://media.alarabiya.net/img_en/dot_dgray.gif A Press TV image shows workers sweeping up glass at the scene of the blast Tehran (Agencies) Iranian nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohammadi was killed Tuesday in a rare bomb attack in Tehran which state media quickly blamed on "counter-revolutionaries" and foreign powers. "Massoud Ali-Mohammadi was a professor in the nuclear field and there have so far been no arrests of those behind this incident," the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying. Mohammadi, a lecturer at Tehran University, died when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle was triggered by remote control outside his home in the northern Tehran neighborhood of Qeytariyeh, state media said. Iran's state broadcaster said Mohammadi was "assassinated in a terrorist act by counter-revolutionaries and agents of the arrogance," without naming any sources. Iranian officials usually refer to the United States and some other Western powers as the "global arrogance." Bomb attacks are rare in Iran although several security officials and members of the elite Revolutionary Guards have been killed in bombings by rebels in restive Sistan-Baluchestan province in eastern Iran. Meanwhile five Iranian diplomats filed for political asylum in several European countries in protest of the latest repressive practices of the government against opposition, sources told Al Arabiya. The diplomats’ action came in the aftermath of the arrest of 30 mothers while protesting the death or disappearance of their children in the aftermath of the political unrest that followed the 2009 presidential elections. Blaming arch foes Iran's state-run Arabic-language TV Al-Alam identified Mohammadi as a "hezbollahi" teacher -- a term used for staunch supporters of the Iranian regime. "This assassination may have been carried out by the Hypocrites (Iran's exiled People's Mujahedeen opposition) or planned by the Zionist regime," Al-Alam said. Iranian authorities have consistently accused arch foes the United States and Israel of seeking to foment unrest in Iran. Hardliners have also accused the People's Mujahedeen of infiltrating anti-government protests and carrying out attacks. None of the reports said whether Mohammadi was connected to Iran's controversial nuclear program, which the West suspects is masking an atomic weapons program. Iran has been under international pressure to halt its sensitive uranium enrichment program which is at the centre of fears about Iran's ambitions as the process which makes nuclear fuel can also be used to make atom bombs. Despite three rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions, Iran has continued to expand its nuclear program. World powers seeking to curb Iran's atomic drive are still awaiting a response from Tehran to a U.N.-brokered offer to ship most of Iran's low enriched uranium abroad to be further refined into reactor fuel. Iran has rejected the offer and has offered its own counter-proposal of a staged swap. Some Western powers have dismissed the Iranian proposal and insist the Islamic republic accept the U.N.-backed deal or face further sanctions. Clear Conscience 12-01-2010, 10:29 PM A group called the Iranian Royal committee, assumed the responsibility for assassinating the nuclear scientist Mas3oud Ali Mohamady and he is a hard core pro-Moussawi. bigwinnman 13-01-2010, 08:46 AM Bomb Kills Nuclear Scientist in Iran (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/bomb-kills-nuclear-scientist-in-iran/) January 12, 2010 http://niacblog.wordpress.com/ The LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fg-iran-scientist-bomb13-2010jan13,0,6007483.story)reports that Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, one of Iran’s top nuclear scientists was killed on his way to work this week. Adding ambiguity to the death, officials offer various explanations for the explosion. Some state that a bomb was fixed onto a motorcycle near his car while others report that the explosives were in a nearby trash bin, detonated by remote control. Various sources report that Ali-Mohammadi was an outspoken supporter for Mir-Hossein Mousavi. However, Iranian officials are quick to blame the West and Israel for the assassination, as a reactionary measure to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability. State television described Ali-Mohammadi as a “revolutionary university professor martyred in a terrorist operation by counterrevolutionary agents affiliated” with the West. According to one nuclear physics student who studied under Ali-Mohammadi, he was killed for his support for the student movement. Another student believes that Ali-Mohammadi had cut ties with the Revolutionary Guard years ago. No suspects have yet to be arrested. UPDATE Dr. Ali-Mohammadi’s field of specialization is now being disputed; Tehran University’s website (http://physics.ut.ac.ir/pages/faculty.html) lists Ali-Mohammadi as being a professor of Elementary Particle Physics. The New York Time (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/world/middleeast/13iran.html?hp)s also reports that two Iranian academics spoke out against claims that Dr. Ali-Mohammadi was a nuclear physicist. In fact, Ali Shirzadian, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Agency affirmed that Ali-Mohammadi has no association with the agency in charge of Iran’s nuclear program. bigwinnman 13-01-2010, 08:53 AM Iran Accuses US, Israel of Murdering Nuclear Scientist 12/01/2010 http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=19484 TEHRAN (AFP) – A leading Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in Tehran on Tuesday in a rare bomb attack that the government quickly blamed on "mercenaries" in the pay of archfoes the United States and Israel. The killing in broad daylight comes amid an increasingly bitter standoff between Iran and world powers over Tehran's controversial nuclear drive, which the West suspects is masking an atomic weapons programme. Massoud Ali Mohammadi, a particle physics professor at prestigious Tehran University, died when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle was triggered by remote control outside his home in northern Tehran, state media said. "One can see in preliminary investigations signs of evilness by the triangle of the Zionist regime, America and their mercenaries in Iran in this terrorist incident," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said. The United States dismissed the allegations out of hand. "Charges of US involvement are absurd," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in Washington. Tehran's chief prosecutor too implicated the US and Israel, saying their respective intelligence services were likely behind the attack. "Given the fact that Massoud Ali Mohammadi was a nuclear scientist, the CIA and Mossad services and agents most likely have had a hand in it," Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi told the state broadcaster's news service. Dolatabadi had earlier told the ISNA news agency that Ali Mohammadi died when a booby-trapped motorbike parked outside his house exploded as he was getting into his car. Tehran University's Basij, or voluntary Islamist student militia, said Ali Mohammadi's named had been included on an international blacklist linked to Iran's atomic drive. "Dr Massoud Ali Mohammadi, whose name was on the list of sanctioned individuals ... was one of the outstanding professors of Tehran University's physics faculty," the statement said, as cited by the official IRNA news agency. Sanctions have been imposed variously by the United Nations, United States and European countries on individuals and institutions linked to Iran's nuclear programme but the students did not say on which list Ali Mohammadi's name appears. Bomb attacks are rare in Iran although several security officials and members of the elite Revolutionary Guards have been killed in bombings by rebels in restive Sistan-Baluchestan province in the east of the country. A witness told AFP that Tuesday's explosion was a "strong blast breaking windows in neighbouring houses and cars." Iran's state-run Arabic-language television Al-Alam identified Mohammadi as a "hezbollahi" teacher -- a term used for staunch supporters of the Iranian regime. "This assassination may have been carried out by the Hypocrites (Iran's exiled People's Mujahideen opposition) or planned by the Zionist regime," Al-Alam said. The opposition group denied any involvement in the attack. "The NCRI has no connection with this murder," a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which includes the banned People's Mujahideen, told AFP in Paris. Iranian authorities have consistently accused archfoes the United States and Israel of seeking to foment unrest in Iran and the two countries have never ruled out a military strike to thwart Iran's controversial nuclear drive. None of the reports said whether Ali Mohammadi was connected to Iran's nuclear enrichment programme and a colleague described him as non-political. "He was a prominent full professor but he was not a political figure. He had no political activity," Ali Maghari, who heads the faculty of sciences at Tehran university, told Mehr news agency. However, Ali Mohammadi's name appeared on a list of academics backing Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi for the disputed June 12 presidential election, which gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term. The opposition claims the vote was massively rigged in Ahmadinejad's favour and has for the past six months been staging anti-government protests at every opportunity, many of which have been broken up by police who have arrested hundreds of demonstrators. Iran has been under international pressure to halt its sensitive uranium enrichment programme which is at the centre of fears about Iran's ambitions as the process which makes nuclear fuel can also be used to make atom bombs. Related articles: World powers to meet on Iran sanctions Despite three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions, Iran has continued to expand its nuclear programme, which it insists is for peaceful purposes only. The US, Russia, China, Britain France and Germany will meet late this week to discuss a further round of sanctions against Iran, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week. bigwinnman 13-01-2010, 07:55 PM Jan 13 2010 Iran Special: Interpreting the Death of Professor Mohammadi (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/13/iran-special-reading-the-death-of-professor-mohammadi/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/13/iran-special-reading-the-death-of-professor-mohammadi/#more-25963 Perhaps the first rule of analysis, when considering an event such as yesterday’s killing of Tehran University physicist Massoud Ali Mohammadi, is this: Wait. Wait and watch the analyses of others. Throughout the day, Iranian state media beat out a steady rhythm. Mohammadi was a worthy “revolutionary” for the Islamic Republic, who was involved with its nuclear programme. He had been murdered by “anti-revolutionaries” and “enemies” as part of the plot to overthrow the Republic. The only distinction in the coverage was whether Mohammadi’s assassins were monarchists or members of the “terrorist” Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MKO). Latest Iran Video: The Leverett Line on Killing of Professor Mohammadi (13 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/13/latest-iran-video-the-leverett-line-on-killing-of-professor-mohammadi-13-january/) Latest Iran Video: How State Media Frames Killing of “Nuclear” Professor (12 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/12/latest-iran-video-how-state-media-frames-killing-of-nuclear-professor-12-january/comment-page-1/?trashed=1&ids=21808#comment-21808) The Latest from Iran (12 January): The Killing of the Professor (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/12/the-latest-from-iran-12-january-who-moves-next/) As there was no evidence for this line — apart from an assertion that the “Iran Royal Association” had taken responsibility for the assassination, a report immediately denied by the group — any analysis based on it is spurious. What is more interesting is that the Iranian regime’s declarations were echoed by another source: Israel. DEBKAfile, the website linked to Israeli Government and private sources, should always be read for misinformation and “spin” rather than straight-up analysis. So it was intriguing that the site quickly posted (http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=6457): The covert war against Iran’s nuclear program struck deep inside the Islamic Republic with the death Tuesday, Jan. 12 of nuclear physicist professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi, 50, by a remote-controlled exploding motorbike as he left his Tehran home. He was a senior professor at Tehran University which DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources say is an important hub of nuclear weapons research…. Iranian authorities see Mohammadi’s death as ramping up the Western effort to recruit, intimidate or liquidate the brains behind Iran’s nuclear progress and a warning Meir Javedanfar, the Israel-based analyst whose readings are given more weight in the “mainstream” than the assertions of DEBKAfile, was not as definitive in (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/12/iran-nuclear-scientist-mohammadi)The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/12/iran-nuclear-scientist-mohammadi). However, he started from the premise that Mohammadi was in Iran’s nuclear programme, and all his scenarios were of “foreign” hands in the killing. After putting forth the MKO option, he got to his argument: It is also possible that Mohammadi was assassinated by a foreign intelligence agency. Should that be the case, this recent incident comes amid a series of setbacks for [Iran's] Oghab-2 counter-intelligence bureau. There is evidence of an Israeli covert programme, supported by the US, to disrupt Iran’s nuclear development through kidnappings and killings. However, there is no evidence that Mohammadi was a target. Instead, throughout yesterday, the public record put forth, mainly through activists searching the Internet, was not of a nuclear scientist. Mohammadi was a professor of particle physics who had published dozens of academic papers and had an international reputation in his field (see HomyLafayette’s blog for a summary (http://homylafayette.blogspot.com/2010/01/tehran-university-professor-massoud.html)). Indeed, Mohammadi was even involved in a multi-national project which brought contact with Israeli colleagues (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/12/AR2010011200300.html?hpid=topnews): The regional research project in which Ali-Mohammadi participated, along with other scientists from Iran, Israel and various Middle Eastern countries, is called Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East, or SESAME. It is based in Jordan and operates under United Nations auspices. Iranian and foreign scientists said the project has applications in industry, medicine, nanotechnology and other fields unrelated to nuclear power. The Iranian and Israeli participation in the project is unusual because the two countries have had no ties since the 1979 Islamic revolution, and Iran refuses to recognize the Israeli government. Palestinian scientists also participate in the SESAME project, whose last meeting was held in November in Jordan. So why this Israel-first line for the murder, for which (again) there is no evidence yet, out of Israel? To show that it can. The message to Tehran: if you pursue your nuclear programme, we will get you. Possibly not through military action, since the US Government has objected, but through covert disruption. No one in that programme is safe. In other words, it is irrelevant whether Mohammadi was a nuclear scientist. It is besides the point that Israel may not have had any role in the murder. Just the possibility is enough for a bit of psychological warfare against Tehran. The problem with this too-clever-by-half spin is that it plays into the hands of those in the Iranian regime whose first priority is not necessarily the nuclear option but crushing internal opposition. The US Government, which is not as keen as Israel to be seen as a covert threat to Iran’s ambitions, is staying well away from the line put out by DEBKAfile and Javedanfar as well as Iranian state media, calling the assertions “absurd”. In a curious but convenient alliance, therefore, Tehran will be quite happy for Israeli “analysts” to put out the We Might Have Done It story. But what of the Iranian opposition who might be affected by that story? That brings us to a far different scenario and spin, put out by elements of that opposition, that Mohammadi was killed by agents of the regime. Muhammad Sahimi of Tehran Bureau, picking up on the fact that Mohammadi supported the Presidential candidacy of Mir Hossein Mousavi and the assertion that the physicist had become a vocal critic of the Government, offers an example (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2010/01/who-murdered-prof-ali-mohammadi.html): Given that Professor Ali-Mohammadi was apparently well informed about many of the IRGC [Revolutionary Guard] projects, and was a prominent academic supporter of the reformists and the Green Movement, and given also his prominence, his murder would send a message to others, particularly the academics, that the hardliners may have started a campaign of assassination in order to silence the opposition — that is if the hardliners were behind the assassination. Another characteristic of the hardliners is that they never forgive anyone who deserts them and joins the opposition. The deserters are usually dealt with much more harshly than bona fide members of the opposition. This only adds to the suspicion that the hardliners may have had something to do with Professor Ali-Mohammadi’s murder…. If the assassination signals a new campaign by the hardliners, Iran may be moving toward becoming a second Pakistan, where the military and intelligence services eliminate the opposition with impunity and make the country even more unstable than it already is. The truth is that, for all these scenarios and purported analyses, we do not know who is responsible for yesterday’s murder. What is most important this morning is that a man has been assassinated. What is significant is many participants in conflicts inside and outside Iran — the regime, the Green movement, Israel — will use that death to gain political advantage. Clear Conscience 13-01-2010, 11:51 PM The conservatists are accusing the reformists with the assassination of Masooud Ali Mohamadi, the nuclear scientist who was killed yesterday. bigwinnman 15-01-2010, 09:10 AM Jan 14 2010 Latest Iran Video: “A Message to Armed Forces of Iran” (13 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/14/latest-iran-video-a-message-to-armed-forces-of-iran-13-january/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) An interesting video which surfaced on YouTube on Wednesday, calling on Iran’s military to “stand down” and join the Green movement. There is no indication of whether the video was made by activists inside or outside Iran, and I am looking for signs of how widely it is circulating in the country. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw1VpvA7oPY&feature=player_embedded bigwinnman 16-01-2010, 09:00 AM Jan 15 2010 Latest Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/15/latest-iran-video-translation-dr-etaats-opposition-on-state-media-14-january/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/15/latest-iran-video-translation-dr-etaats-opposition-on-state-media-14-january/#more-26188 Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) There has been a massive buzz all day about the appearance by Dr Javad Etaat, a professor of political science at Shahid Behesti University, on Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. Possibly in response to criticism that it has been one-sided in post-election coverage, IRIB has headlined a series of debates. It may not have bargained, however, for the intensity of Etaat’s comments, made in his discussion with “conservative” MP Ali Reza Zakani. This is Part 1 of the exchange, with extracts translated by the good people at the new website The Flying Carpet Institute (http://theflyingcarpetinstitute.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/reformist-attacks-governement-on-irans-state-owned-channel-3/).Further parts of the video are available via the same YouTube link, and a translation of Part 2 is promised tomorrow by our Flying Carpet friends. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06UU4IFDKmA&feature=player_embedded *I was once invited to hold a speech about the attempt to topple Iran political system with a Velvet Revolution. But we all know that Velvet Revolutions always occur in dictatorships. So basically when you say that some forces are planning to make a Velvet Revolution, you have indirectly admitted that your system is not democratic. When elections, discussions and competition take place in a free atmosphere, why should people want to make a revolution? People make revolutions maybe only every hundred years and only then when they are totally fed up with the situation. It doesn’t matter whether the revolution is a violent, velvet, coloured, white, black, red yellow. So when the Islamic Republic talks about Velvet Revolution, there is an unintended confession that Iran is not a free country and people can’t achieve their goals through the institutions the system offers. So the result is that people want to make a revolution. *As an expert of political issues I’m disappointed by IRIB’s current policies. *Regarding the tearing of Imam Khomeini’s portrait: Someone tore his portrait…it’s not even clear who it was. But IRIB broadcast this scene over and over again. We all know that tearing Khomeini’s portrait is an insult to him, but what about attacking his former residense (Beyte Emam) during Tasua (26 December), when former president (Mohammad) Khatami was holding a speech? Isn’t that illegal? Isn’t that an insult to the Imam? There are not many honourable men like Khatami who love Islam, the revolution and the constitution, like the way he does. But still he was attacked by armed thugs. Why did these people do that? Why is it forbidden to express a different view? Why wasn’t he allowed to interprete the historic Ashura event the way he wanted? It’s a fact that Khatami is critical to many aspects of the regime, but it’s an insult to this revolution that, 30 years after this system was established, people dare to attack other people with batons and knives. Unfortunately IRIB encourages this kind of behaviour. *Regarding Ashura: Everyone loves Imam Hossein (3rd Imam of Shi’a Islam), no matter if this person is a Jew, Christian, Sunni, or Shiite. So if someone committed a misconduct during Ashura, be sure that people will punish him. If singing and clapping is a misconduct during Ashura, then beating and killing people is a much more worse act. Now look how…we are ruling! *IRIB unfortunately had a negative role in all these [developments]. How do you want the people to express their dissatisfaction with current events if you don’t offer them a fair platform? IRIB must think about that criticism. You even admitted that certain people refused to take part in your past shows, because they don’t trust the IRIB. I was one of those people but I wanted to use the rare opportunity to express my dissatisfaction. bigwinnman 16-01-2010, 09:02 AM Jan 15 2010 The Latest from Iran (15 January): Refreshing? (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/15/the-latest-from-iran-15-january-refreshing/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/15/the-latest-from-iran-15-january-refreshing/#more-26117 2140 GMT: We started this morning (see 0715 GMT) by noting the possible significance of the “reformist” criticisms of Dr Javad Etaat making their way onto Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. We end today by posting the video (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/15/latest-iran-video-translation-dr-etaats-opposition-on-state-media-14-january/) of the first part of the interview and an English translation. 2030 GMT: Cyber-Warfare Strike. Hacking the website of Iran’s Hezbollah (http://hizbollah.ir/fa) (Party of God) is one thing. Doing it with the slogan “The End is F***ing Near” is another. And accomplishing it with a diversion to the domain http://www.getasexpartner.com/hiz-bol.htm, well… Let’s just say that Iran’s police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam (see 1220 GMT) may want to get a bigger Internet manual if he is serious about taking on the opposition in a Web slugfest. 1935 GMT: Quality Analysis of Day. Well done, Asadollah Badamchian, member of Parliament (http://www.zamaaneh.com/enzam/2010/01/hardliners-claim-oppositi.html): “The assassination [of Professor Ali-Mohammadi] and terrorist operation was a previously planned step in the Green Velvet Revolution.” The movement, Badamchian said, consists of five sub-groups, “each of which are gradually eroding”. 1825 GMT: That Supreme Leader Message of Condolence (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=116210&sectionid=351020101) (Again). So sorry that Professor Ali-Mohammadi is dead, building up to “the criminal hand that brought this disaster has revealed the motive of the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran to deal a blow to the scientific movement of the country”. 1624 GMT: A Bit of US Pressure? From an Indian news agency (http://newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/143444): “The United States has asked Pakistan to dump its plan of receiving natural gas from Iran through a pipeline. According to sources, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, during his meeting with Petroleum Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, said Islamabad would have to abandon its pipeline accord with Tehran in order to qualify for extensive American energy assistance especially for importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and electricity.” 1618 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayers Summary. Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani gets the nod today, and he comes up with the stunning declaration (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=116206&sectionid=351020101), “The enemy uses every possible means to harm the establishment and the country so we should, in a very real sense, remain vigilant.” OK, not so stunning. In fact, repetitive. But we had to say something. Oh, yes. Emami-Kashani also “called for televised debates to clear ambiguities about the country’s current political affairs”. 1615 GMT: We’ve posted an account (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/15/iran-anger-pain-fear-the-funeral-of-professor-ali-mohammadi/) of yesterday’s funeral of Professor Ali-Mohammadi and its effects on academics and students. 1445 GMT: Supreme Leader’s Message of Condolence to Family of Professor Ali-Mohammadi. Here’s a summary: Ayatollah Khamenei expresses his sorrow (http://farsi.khamenei.ir/message-content?id=8614), to Ali-Mohammadi’s mother, wife, friends, colleagues, and students, and — by the way — this is a terror act that “reveals enemies’ motive to harm Iran’s scientific movement and jihad”. 1245 GMT: Divine Declaration of Day. Hossein Taeb, head of the Intelligence Bureau of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps and former head of the Basiji militia sets it out (http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=12202): the Supreme Leader is unjust are in error, those who follow him will go to Paradise. An Iranian activist offers this translation of Taeb’s words (http://www.twitlonger.com/show/3p7kb): Even though [the Supreme Leader] was suffering under [Grand Ayatollah] Montazeri during Imam Khomeini’s time and despite all insults he had to endure, he did issue a beautifuland gentle message upon Montazeri’s passing and advised that he can be buried anywhere the family wanted. Those who say the Supreme Leader has left the [path of] justice, don’t understand the meaning of it. They think that Supreme Leader is chosen by the Assembly of Experts. Supreme Leader is rather discovered by Experts and that is why they can’t grant capabilities. It is God who does. 1220 GMT: We Will Find You. Is this a declaration of strength or nervousness? Iran’s police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam has warned against Internet and text messages (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h9sxT3siw0x6XNCrn1OX0tIRhJ9g) to spread news of demonstrations: These people should know where they are sending the SMS and email as these systems are under control. They should not think using proxies will prevent their identification. If these people continue, their records will be examined and those who organise or issue appeals have committed a worse crime than those who come to the streets. 1145 GMT: The Resigning Diplomat. Confirmation comes in a Norwegian television interview that Mohammad Reza Heidari, an Iranian diplomat in Norway, is quitting his post (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2010/01/iran-tehran-diplomat-in-norway-quits-post-denounces-hard-line-government.html). Heydari’s intention to resign was initally reported days ago on radio. He claims that an Iranian official came to Oslo to assure him he would not be hurt if he retracted the resignation: “I refused to agree to that. They suggested I’d do an interview in which I denied my defection in order to return to Tehran. But I know I made the right choice and that my conscience is clean.” 1140 GMT: We’ve posted the latest video (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/15/latest-iran-video-green-protest-and-the-iran-belgium-football-match-14-january/) in our running series on football and protest, opposition chants at the Iran-Belgium indoor football match. 1010 GMT: Iran “Analysis” of Day. Islamic Republic News Agency presents the findings (http://www.irna.ir/View/FullStory/?NewsId=898070) of an “Office of Research and Studies” that there was a “deep intrigue”, courtesy of the US Government, for disorder and sedition after the Presidential election. For those of you who aren’t convinced about this exposure of “soft war”, there are footnotes. And it’s great to see Bush Administration has-been John Bolton and Thomas Friedman of The New York Times in the same “research” paper. 0840 GMT: One Less Death Sentence. Kalemeh (http://www.kaleme.org/1388/10/25/klm-8370) reports (http://www.kaleme.org/1388/10/25/klm-8370) that Hamid Ruhidnejad, arrested before the elections but condemned to death this summer, will now serve 10 years in jail. Ruhidnejad’s father contends that, as his son suffers from multiple sclerosis and is half-blind, he is unlikely to survive the punishment. 0735 GMT: We’ve posted a separate entry (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/15/iran-the-regime-censors-the-1979-revolution/), courtesy of Pedestrian, on how the regime is censoring videos and images of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in the run-up to its 31st anniversary on 22 Bahman (11 February) 0715 GMT: The Opposition Emerges on Iran’s State Media. Dr. Javad Etaat, appearing on the Ru Be Farda programme of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, IRIB (“Ru be farda” magazine), criticised the “failed” economic plans of the Government, pointing to Iran’s high rate of inflation. He also got political, denouncing the prohibition of demonstrations and the banning of newspapers. Perhaps most pointedly, he refers to Imam Ali, the first Imam of Shi’a Islam, to challenge any prohibition of dissent. Etaat is a professor of political science (http://etaat.ir/) at Shahad Behesti University and a former member of the Parliament’s Cultural Commission. Unsurprisingly, the http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_GsUUCZNzM is now racing around YouTube. 0705 GMT: The Scholars Protest (cont.). An EA reader writes us with a clarification, “That 300+ scholars lettter (see 0630 GMT) started a very long time ago! Deutsche Welle covered it on July 10th (http://www.deutsche-welle.de/dw/article/0,,4472101,00.html).” 0645 GMT: The Battle With Rafsanjani. Hamid Rohani, a fervent supporter of President Ahmadinejad, has continued his attack (http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-37074.aspx) on former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. Asked about his recent claim that Imam Khomeini had warned Rafsanjani could be “deceived” (noted in our updates earlier this week), Rohani insisted — despite the lack of this claim in Khomeini’s published letters — that the incident was in 1973, when the Friday Prayers leader of the city of Rafsanjan wrote Khomeini. What is more: Rohani claims the exchange arose from Rafsanjani’s request for religious funds for the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI), which the regime now considers a “terrorist” movement. 0635 GMT: Mousavi’s Reference to Government “Enemies”? We noted last night that Mir Hossein Mousavi had sent condolences to the family of the murdered physicist, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi. This phrase, however, deserves attention: Ali-Mohammadi was assassinated by “enemies of the people” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2010/01/100114_u04_mousavi_mohammadi.shtml). Who is that “enemy”? 0630 GMT: The Scholars Protest. Iranian academics working and studying abroad are circulating an open letter to the “Honourable People of Iran” (http://naame88.com/naame88-english.html): “Preparing the grounds for the free exchange of information, opinions and beliefs, and most importantly the security of university students, academics, and thinkers, are the responsibilities of the government and are the most basic conditions for scientific and social growth of a nation.” More than 300 scholars have already signed the letter. 0625 GMT: It’s the weekend in Iran, and we’re expecting a bit of a lull after the furour over the killing of Professor Ali-Mohammadi. We have posted the full audio of the physicist’s last lecture (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/15/latest-iran-audio-the-last-lecture-of-professor-ali-mohammadi/). That said, there have been so many fissures in the “establishment” this week that there may not be a pause this Friday. And there’s a sign that the Green movement has even gotten a foothold in the broadcasts of Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting — we’re working on the video and story. bigwinnman 16-01-2010, 09:10 AM http://www.thememriblog.org/iran Iran Friday Sermon: Ayatollah Kashani Condemns Assassination Of Iranian Nuclear Scientist 'By Agents Of The World Hegemony' (http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23880.htm) http://www.thememriblog.org/image/14472.JPG In his Friday sermon, Tehran interim Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani condemned this week's assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Prof. Masoud Ali Mohammadi (see Who's Behind Assassination Of Iranian Nuclear Scientist? (http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23724.htm) and Larijani: U.S., Israel Assassinated Iranian Nuclear Scientist (http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23759.htm)). Addressing a crowd at the Tehran University campus, Kashani condemned the assassination, which he said was carried out by the agents of the world hegemony. He also expressed condolence over the scientist's martyrdom, and said that such plots hatched by the enemies only served to further advance the country. Referring to the massive turnout of people in a rally in support for the Islamic ruling System on December 30, Ayatollah Kashani said that the people's presence in the scene foiled the plots of the enemies. Then Ayatollah further said those who opposed the Constitution and the Velayat-e Faqih (rule of the jurisprudent) within the country should open their eyes and realize that their presence on the streets would bear no fruit. Sources: Fars, IRIBnews, Iran, January 15, 2010 Read full entry (http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23880.htm) 01-15-2010Iranian Police Commander: The Regime Is Overseeing Emails, Text Messages (http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23868.htm) Iranian police commander Isma'il Ahmadi-Moqadem has said that the regime is overseeing text messaging services and emails, and warned that there is no use in connecting via proxies because the user's identity cannot be concealed. He announced that anyone who continues to use these media in order to organize anti-regime demonstrations is committing the most serious of crimes, and that any violators will be treated harshly by the police and by the courts. Source: Fararu, Iran, January 14, 2010 Read full entry (http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23868.htm) Iranian FM To Libya, Pakistan (http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23867.htm) Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has met in Libya with Libyan officials to discuss regional and Islamic issues and political and economic cooperation. From Libya, he is expected to continue on to Pakistan today, for meetings with his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts. Source: Press TV, Iran, January 14, 2010 Read full entry (http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23867.htm) Ahmadinejad: India, China Are Next Target Of U.S.'s War (http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23862.htm) During a visit to Ahvaz, in southwestern Iran, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran would prevent the actualization of the West's "dream" of taking over the Middle East, which he said was disguised as spreading democracy. He hinted that Saudi Arabia supports Al-Qaeda and noted that despite the repression of human rights on its soil, the country is supported by the U.S. He said that India and China were the next targets of the U.S., after Pakistan and Afghanistan, because of the American desire to lay waste to their economies, which are flourishing as the West's economy sinks. Source: IRNA, Iran, January 13, 2010; Press TV, Iran, January 14, 2010 Read full entry (http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23862.htm) Kuwaiti Paper: Iran, Hizbullah Planning Strike At Pakistan Embassy In Beirut (http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23855.htm) The Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, which is known to be anti-Syria and anti-Hizbullah, reports that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Hizbullah are planning to strike at the Pakistan Embassy in Beirut, and to blame Al-Qaeda for the attack. The move is aimed at avenging the October 18 attack by the Iranian opposition group Jundallah, which operates out of Pakistan, in Baluchistan in southwestern Iran, in which 42 IRGC members were killed. Source: Al-Siyassa, Kuwait, December 26, 2009 Read full entry (http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/23855.htm) bigwinnman 16-01-2010, 09:34 AM Police warn against SMS, Email protest calls Iran arrests cleric close to Montazeri: Web http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/01/15/97396.html TEHRAN (Agencies) Iran arrested a cleric close to late dissident Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri And warned opposition supporters against using text and email messages to organize rallies, opposition media and ISNA news agency reported Friday. Mid-ranking cleric "Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Taghi Khalaji was arrested at his home in the city of Qom on Tuesday," Norooznews said. "The cause of his arrest is not known yet but he had on several occasions backed protests against election results" which saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad returned for a second term amid allegations of massive fraud. Meanwhile, Iran’s police chief has warned opposition supporters against using text and email message to stage anti-government protests, ISNA news agency reported. "These people should know where they are sending the SMS and email as these systems are under control. They should not think using proxies will prevent their identification," Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam said. "If these people continue, their (data) records will be examined and those who organize or issue appeals have committed a worse crime than those who come to the streets," he warned. Iran's cyber-savvy young opposition supporters have used the Internet effectively since unrest erupted in Iran after the disputed June 12 presidential election to organize demonstrations and spread news and pictures. Despite a heavy crackdown by police, opposition supporters take the streets on every possible occasion to stage anti-government rallies against what they say was massive rigging of the presidential vote to secure hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term in office. Reports are now circulating that the opposition plans to take to the streets again on the anniversary of the Islamic revolution on Feb. 11. Iranian authorities have vowed to show no tolerance towards any new protests by opposition supporters, who often hijack official events to stage their rallies. bigwinnman 16-01-2010, 08:13 PM Jan 16 2010 Iran Analysis: The “Opposition Within” and the Regime (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/16/iran-analysis-the-opposition-within-the-regime/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/16/iran-analysis-the-opposition-within-the-regime/#more-26195 Our running analysis at EA has been of a political conflict in Iran which is far more than just Green Movement v. Regime. One aspect of this has been the disputes and tensions between members of the Iranian establishment. Writing for InsideIran.org, Arash Aramesh develops this theme (http://www.insideiran.org/media-analysis/is-iran%E2%80%99s-regime-trying-to-manufacture-its-own-opposition/): Recent statements made by high-ranking conservatives in Iran and the reaction of ultra conservatives to those statements have lead many Iran watchers to believe that the rift within the conservative establishment s is widening. The most recent instance was the war of words between Ali Motahhari, a conservative member of parliament, and Hossein Shariatmadari, the ultra conservative editor-in-chief of Kayhan and a staunch supporter of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There are other instances of such clashes. For example, the radical Ansar News published an article by Fatemeh Rajabi, the wife of Gholam-Hossein Elham who is now a member of the Guardian Council, accusing Ali Larijani, the speaker of parliament, of aiding the opposition. The resignation of Ruhollah Hosseinian, a pro-Ahmadinejad deputy in parliament, was another episode highlighting the widening cleavage among conservatives. In his letter of resignation sent to Larijani, Hosseinian accused some conservatives, including the leadership of the parliament, of assisting the reformists and isolating true conservatives like himself. [Editor's Note: Hosseinian, in a direct letter to the Supreme Leader, rescinded his resignation this week.] There are two theories about this apparent rift. A number of observers and political activists, who spoke to InsideIRAN.org on the condition of anonymity, believe that the ruling establishment is trying to trade in the reformists and the Green Movement for a moderate conservative alternative. These moderate conservatives include senior Iranian officials such as Larijani, Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, the deputy speaker of parliament, and Mohsen Rezaei, the former commander of the IRGC and candidate in the June 12 presidential election, and others. All of those mentioned above come from a conservative political line with close ties to the bazaar and traditional clerics. They are more moderate in their criticism of the opposition and at times voiced their dissatisfaction about the government’s treatment of protestors and the handling of events following the June 12 election. Some even called for national unity suggesting that the elders of the tribe meet to discuss the current crisis. Two weeks ago, Rezaei wrote a letter supporting a statement issued by Mir Hossein Moussavi and asked the Supreme Leader to lead the country in the direction of unity and closure. Rezaei’s letter, which was written with ultimate respect to the Supreme Leader, received an angry response from the radical wing of the Islamic Republic. According to these observers, the Islamic Republic is waging an orchestrated effort to introduce viable anti-Ahmadinejad alternatives to the public in order to diminish the influence of figures such as Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi. Arab governments have taken similar steps to boost the popularity of Islamists they support who then become rivals to more established Islamic groups opposed to the state. The second theory advanced by a number of political commentators revolves around the notion of “regime survival.” Members of this group believe that some conservatives, who do not approve of Ahmadinejad’s radicalism, are genuinely worried about the survival of the Islamic Republic. Moderate conservatives also fear that their fate might soon mirror that of the reformists, who have been tortured and imprisoned. The Ahmadinejad wing and the IRGC have dramatically expanded their sphere of influence in all three branches of government. The executive branch is now entirely in their hands, while many members of parliament have close ties to the IRGC and belong to the pro-Ahmadinejad faction. In the judiciary, the appointment of IRGC Brig Gen. Zolghadr to the post of Advisor to Chief Justice was an unprecedented move. Zolghadr, who has no legal experience, is one of IRGC’s most radical generals with close ties to Supreme Leader Khamenei. Moderate conservatives in Iran are concerned. Their ideological differences with the reformists bars them from forming a viable coalition with them. At the same time, they fear the policies of the radicals can gravely jeopardize their political survival, and the survival of the Islamic Republic. bigwinnman 16-01-2010, 08:14 PM Jan 16 2010 Latest Iran News (16 January): Ripples (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/16/latest-iran-news-16-january-ripples/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/ 0750 GMT: While Friday was a relatively quiet day after the open drama and tensions earlier this week, there were more than enough developments to point to the ripples of continuing conflict and manoeuvre. Some of the ripples were far away from the central wave. For example, some media were looking forward to today’s “5+1? (US, UK, Russia, China, France, Germany) meeting (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60F0PO20100116?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=Iran&amp;v irtualBrandChannel=10209) on Iran’s nuclear programme. Even if that gathering had significance for the internal situation in Iran, it is unlikely to produce any results: China has declined to send a high-level official, blocking any move towards further sanctions on Tehran. Some of the ripples bring a smile, such as the latest episode in the cyber-war between the regime and the opposition. Iran’s police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam may have most seriously warned (http://www.zamaaneh.com/enzam/2010/01/protesters-warned-against.html) the Green movement(s) not to use e-mail and text messages to plan any protests, but “Iranian Green Army” got last night’s last laugh with the attack on the website of Iran’s Hezbollah (http://hezbollah.ir/fa) (Party of God). The unsubtle message, “The End is F***ing Near”, and the new domain name, www.getasexpartner.com, are still up this morning. There are the day-in, day-out ripples from the Government. The head of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Mohammad-Ali Jafari declared (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=116250&sectionid=351020101), in a speech in western Iran, “The enemies of the Islamic Revolution have come to the conclusion that they can not achieve their mischievous goals; therefore they do not abandon threats against the Islamic Republic.” Israel, “filled with fear and scared of going into war with Iran,” got a special shout-out as the force behind economic sanctions. The biggest ripples on Friday, however, came with yet more challenges to and within the regime. The appearance of dissent, via Dr Javad Etaat, on Iranian state media has brought heated discussion inside and outside Iran, and chatter continues this morning over the criticisms of a former top commander (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/7878/) of the Revolutionary Guard, Sardar Safavi. Safavi, urging respect for senior clerics and avoidance of any extreme actions, has some words for “power seekers” who ran for President but then acted outside the law when their defeat was announced. Then, however, he takes aim at current leaders for their attacks on the “old guard” — allies of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini — as “hypocrities”. He also pointed to the Government’s mismanagement of post-election politics and the economy, warning that this is bringing “unpleasant” deeds by frustrated Iranian youth. As EA readers noted yesterday, Safavi, in his call for unity, condemned attacks (http://www.google.com/sidewiki/entry/109487357106585871616/id/huwFMsrza-lOsJfDMGERcfRnruc) against senior clerics such as Ayatollahs Dastgheib and Sane’i etc.) and the labelling of protesters as “mohareb” (enemies of God). He emphasized that Revolutionary Guard and Basiji should serve the people rather than suppressing them. bigwinnman 17-01-2010, 09:15 AM Jan 16 2010 Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January — Part 3) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/16/iran-video-translation-dr-etaat%e2%80%99s-opposition-on-state-media-14-january-%e2%80%94-part-3/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) Like the first two parts of the video (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/16/latest-iran-video-translation-dr-etaats-opposition-on-state-media-14-january/), translation is by our friends at The Flying Carpet Institute (http://theflyingcarpetinstitute.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/reformist-attacks-government-on-iran%E2%80%99s-state-owned-channel-3-part-iii/): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybYjWnReM3Y&feature=player_embedded Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January — Parts 1 and 2) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/16/latest-iran-video-translation-dr-etaats-opposition-on-state-media-14-january/) *Among all those people you have put in jail, Behzad Nabavi (prominent reformist detained after the Presidential vote) told me that, four days prior to the elections, they had already issued his arrest warrant. Let’s assume that (former US Secretary of State) Henry Kissinger was responsible for Nabavi’s political activities. Now I ask you, since when does Mr.Kissinger decide for an Iranian? You pretend to love the Imam (Khomeini), but it was he who saidm “America can’t do a damn thing”! Kissinger was decades ago the foreign minister of the United States and now you make him bigger than he is. If Kissinger had so much power to organize protests inside Iran, why couldn’t he avoid Ahmadinejad’s re-election, who by your claims won the majority of the votes. So please don’t say things that might ridicule yourselves. *You put a lot of people in jail and that is contradicting with the values of Islam. And now people are critical to you. They are critical both of your economic and political policies. *Imam Ali (the first Imam of Shi’a Islam) said, “Keep those people close to yourselves who criticize you. Their words might even be bitter but in the end you will benefit from them.” *You closed many newspapers. Keep in mind Ali’s words and please tell me now why you did that. Did they do anything else but express their dissatisfaction? Didn’t they just criticize you the way Ali wished? *When I talked with students before the election, they said that they consider (Mir Hossein) Mousavi a conservative and a representative of the establishment. Mr. Mousavi, who is a conservative, is according to you now the leader of the Fitna (sedition) and a counter-revolutionary. Even Ali saidm “If you want to rule be wise and fair because nobody is free from error and even I can make mistakes.” But whatever your opponent says, you try to crush him. An opponent who even has not the opportunities you have…. Please tell us how we can express our opposition. I will be very thankful if you could help me out. We say that according to Article 27 of our Constitution it is allowed to protest publicly. We even demanded a live TV debate where at the end of it people can decide by SMS (text message) who is right and who is not. *One of your parliamentary colleagues once said that the price of fuel must be maximum 30 Tomans. Now your colleagues say 600-700 tomans? What does that mean? My conclusion is that the government has absolutely not a clue what it is doing….You don’t have a proper plan to solve the country’ss problems and that makes the people angry. Again, you forbid the people to have their own free media, you forbid them to hold rallies and you generally forbid people to gather. Please tell me, what are we allowed to do in this country? bigwinnman 17-01-2010, 09:31 AM Jan 16 2010 Iran: The 15 Points of “The Secular Green Movement” (14 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/16/iran-the-15-points-of-the-secular-green-movement-14-january/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/16/iran-the-15-points-of-the-secular-green-movement-14-january/#more-26219 The 15 points, published Thursday by “The Secular Green Movement” (http://www.seculargreens.com/) and now signed by more than 150 Iranians working and living abroad. Many thanks to an EA reader for translation: 1. Iranians are suffering from different types of discrimination which have been a historical burden, especially Shi’a as official religion since the 1906 law of the Constitutional Revolution. 2. The solution is to build a new society without any discriminations. Latest Iran News (16 January): Ripples (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/16/latest-iran-news-16-january-ripples/) 3. Iranians, as the real proprietors of this country, should strictly abide to the International Convention of Human Rights. 4. National unity and integrity can only be guaranteed by overturning all types of discriminations. 5. Iranian identity, besides its legal connotations, arises from our “national and historical” identity. Conservation of all kinds of cultural heritage, of all Iranians and all epochs, is necessary to strengthen this identity. At the same time critique of all periods is necessary to preserve it. 6. Iran will only belong to all Iranians when every office is open to anyone, regardless of religion, ideology, language, ethnicity, or gender. 7. The most important solution to ensure “acceptance of differences in a realm without discriminations” is the principle of qualification. 8. All natural resources belong to all Iranians. Private ownership must be respected, but should not be misused for social superiority. National policies should be made to foster social equality. 9. Dismissing discrimination from a multiple society requires a non-religious and non-ideological government, This should meet the demands of “all Iranians”, represented by a legislatory parliament, whose members are elected without any interference. 10. No group is allowed to impose its values, festivities, or mournings upon others. 11. There should be acceptance of the inherent needs of different groups of society, prohibiting the imposition of a unified religion, rules, language, etc. 12. Every official is responsible for the duties of his office. 13. Political parties are essential, but should not impose their ideology or religion on government and social life. Any party can present its own programme, but it has to govern for “all Iranians”, ruling in a democratic and secular framework. No ruler or party can govern without restriction; all officials serve the people and are not above them. 14. In an Iran without discrimination, which we demand, people must always have the right to criticize, protest, gather peacefully, and go on legal strikes. In parallel, freedom of press and media must be guaranteed by government. Complaints against published news must be judged by independent courts; government has no right to interfere. Freedom of speech requires that only national unity, freedom of the people, and installation of democratic organisations are “holy”, and even these can be criticized. 15. Armed forces and security forces are not allowed to participate in political and economic affairs, except as private citizens and without state funding. They should abide to their legal duties, obeying the government and the people. bigwinnman 18-01-2010, 07:51 PM Jan 18 2010 UPDATED Iran Video: CNN & Marandi on Detainee Abuses “Mortazavi to Blame” (17 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/18/latest-iran-video-marandi-on-cnn-on-detainee-abuses-mortazavi-to-blame-17-january/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) An interesting interview on CNN with Tehran University academic Seyed Mohammad Marandi over the Parliamentary report into detainee abuses, notably the violence and deaths at Kahrizak Prison. Below the analysis we have the video of CNN’s report on Kahrizak and Mortazavi, accompanied by an extract of the Marandi interview. Note how quickly Marandi invokes the name of Abdolhossein Ruholamini, the medical professor and advisor to Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei, to declare “satisfaction” with the report and investigations by the Government, including the role of Ayatollah Khamenei. It was the death of Ruholamini’s son Mohsen in Kahrizak that spurred “conservative/principlist” pressure for the closure of the facility, which was ordered by the Supreme Leader this summer, and then for an enquiry. All of this, then, is to convert the stigma of the abuses into “legitimacy” by showing the Government’s readiness to investigate and correct the post-election mistakes. However, that also means there has to be an official who is prosecuted/punished/sacrificed for that legitimacy. Thus Marandi’s pointed comment, again in the name of Ruholamini: “The problem was…the response of the judge, Mr Mortazavi, was slow, and he blames Mr Mortazavi for [the death of the Kahrizak detainees].” Indeed, Marandi claimed that the Supreme Leader ordered the closure of the prison before the killing of the younger Ruholamini and the other prisoners. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JcGmoBCDq8&feature=player_embedded# bigwinnman 18-01-2010, 08:14 PM Jan 18 2010 The Latest from Iran (18 January): Firewall (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/18/the-latest-from-iran-18-january-firewall/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/18/the-latest-from-iran-18-january-firewall/#more-26335 0800 GMT: The Regime and Mohareb. We’ve posted a report (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/18/iran-analysis-how-mohareb-death-sentences-may-hurt-regime/) by Edward Yeranian of Voice of America which points to risks for the regime in threatening death sentences for protesters because they are “mohareb” (warriors against God). 0700 GMT: More on Target Mortazavi. Press TV’s website is headlining (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=116414&sectionid=351020101) the letter by 55 members of Parliament to President Ahmadinejad and the head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, “demanding clarification” on the Kahrizak prison enquiry and the case of Saeed Mortazavi. NEW Iran Analysis: How “Mohareb” Death Sentences May Hurt Regime (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/18/iran-analysis-how-mohareb-death-sentences-may-hurt-regime/) Latest Iran Video: Marandi on CNN on Detainee Abuses “Mortazavi to Blame” (17 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/17/latest-iran-video-marandi-on-cnn-on-detainee-abuses-mortazavi-to-blame-17-january/) Iran: The Ali-Mohammadi Case “A Political Assassination” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/17/iran-the-ali-mohammadi-case-a-political-assassination/) 0650 GMT: And If You’re Really Into Battles. On the Ahmadinejad v. Rafsanjani front, Hojetolelam Saghaye Biriaa, an advisor to Ahmadinejad, used a speech (http://www.farsnews.net/newstext.php?nn=8810260162) to criticise the Green Movement and then attacked the former President, “The Leader’s approach and beliefs are completely different to those of Hashemi Rafsanjani, exactly like Imam Khomeini, whose understanding and beliefs were different to the approach and beliefs of Ayatollah Montazeri.” 0640 GMT: Motahhari v. The Government (Round 45). Just to highlight another running story, the “challenge within” from member of Parliament and Larijani ally Ali Motahhari, here are the weekend’s headlines: Motahhari directly criticised Ahmadinejad (http://www.ayandenews.com/news/17519), accusing him as being one of the principle causes of the post-election crisis and saying he has to apologize to people for his wrong actions. Ahmadinejad advisor Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai responded to a group of journalists: “Firstly, what Motahhari is saying is cheap and baseless and, secondly, we are in the processes of filing a complain against him.” Back came Motahhari (http://tabnak.ir/fa/pages/?cid=81716), declaring that Mashai should not interfere in and talk about issues which are beyond his “brain capacity” and that he should continue working on his ridiculous plan of Iran-Israel friendship. Then Motahhari returned to Ahmadinejad: the President is like “the person who has caused a big and tragic (car) accident but he has escaped from the scene and we have to try and penalise and punish the person who has the most responsibility”. 0600 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz reports (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/8105/) concerns over the deteriorating health of Ebrahim Yazdi, the former Foreign Minister and leader of the Freedom Movement of Iran, who has been detained since Ashura (27 December). The 79-year-old Yazdi was also held just after the June election but, on that occasion, was soon released. 0555 GMT: Cyber-War Update: Mahmoud Silenced. President Ahmadinejad’s blog (http://www.ahmadinejad.ir/) is still off-line, weeks after the website was attacked. 0540 GMT: The lead news this morning continues to be the regime’s effort at legitimacy through the investigation of the detainee abuses at Kahrizak Prison. A couple of months ago, the speculation was that former Tehran Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi would be the fall guy, facing a trial and jail for his supposed lead role in the scandal of beatings and deaths of prisoners. That was deflected by Mortazavi’s appointment as an aide to President Ahmadinejad, but now it appears that he is the firewall against challenges to others in the Government and regime, including the Supreme Leader. We’ve got the video of the CNN interview (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/17/latest-iran-video-marandi-on-cnn-on-detainee-abuses-mortazavi-to-blame-17-january/) in which Tehran University academic Seyed Mohammad Marandi lays out, in the guise of reporting and analysis, the strategy. (Apologies to those of you in the US whom CNN have blocked from seeing the video; the alternative, as laid out by our readers, is to download the video from CNN’s Amanpour website and play it back on QuickTime.) Elsewhere, Agence France Presse (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jkeYNJZiM9z8Xl0hK3ZMI3v6K3qg) picks up (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jkeYNJZiM9z8Xl0hK3ZMI3v6K3qg) on the opening provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting debates, in which some reformists have made telling challenges to the regime. While we have highlighted the remarks of Dr Javad Etaat, posting the video and translation (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/17/iran-video-translation-dr-etaat%E2%80%99s-opposition-on-state-media-14-january-%E2%80%94-part-3/) of his contribution, AFP notes the exchange between reformist member of Parliament Mostafa Kavakebian and “hard-line” editor of Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmadari. bigwinnman 18-01-2010, 08:19 PM Jan 18 2010 Iran Analysis: How “Mohareb” Death Sentences May Hurt Regime (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/18/iran-analysis-how-mohareb-death-sentences-may-hurt-regime/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/18/iran-analysis-how-mohareb-death-sentences-may-hurt-regime/#more-26352 Edward Yeranian of Voice of America reports (http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Iran-Demonstrators-Facing-Death-Sentence-81930617.html): Iran will put 16 opposition demonstrators on trial, Monday, and several are to be charged with “offending God and his prophet.” Sixty journalists and intellectuals are expressing outrage over use of the charge of being “mohareb”, which carries the death penalty. The Iranian judiciary will put 16 opposition protesters on trial, Monday, in connection with demonstrations last month on the holy day of Ashoura. Press reports and recent statements by Iranian prosecutors indicate several will be charged with the offense of “mohareb” or “making war against God and his prophet.” Conviction on such a charge carries the death penalty. The Latest from Iran (18 January): Firewall (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/18/the-latest-from-iran-18-january-firewall/) In an open letter to the Iranian judiciary, a group of 60 Iranian journalists and intellectuals, most of whom live abroad, are demanding a stop to using the religiously-based charge of “mohareb” against opposition protesters. They say in their letter, that “if protesting is making war against God, then we are all warriors.” Some pro-government supporters are also unhappy about the use of the charge against opposition protesters. In a recent interview with Iranian state TV, Javad Etaat, argues the government is contravening the principles of Islam by using an iron fist against protesters. He points out the first Imam of Shi’ite muslims, Imam Ali, said ‘keep people that criticize you close to yourselves, because even if their words are bitter, you will benefit from them in the end.” Former Iranian president Abolhassan Bani Sadr, who now lives in exile in Paris, argues the use of the term “mohareb” by the Iranian government is excessive. He says the regime is not respecting its own laws, because the term “enemy of God” means someone who takes up arms against a just regime, and people did not take up arms against the regime, they were merely demonstrating to protest against dictatorship, a right which the law of the Islamic Republic gives them. Secondly, he argues, in the case of an unjust regime, the Koran says a muslim has not only the right, but the obligation to revolt against it. Thirdly, he adds, it was the government that fired on the people during Ashoura, when they were exercising their legitimate right to demonstrate. Scott Lucas of the University of Birmingham in Britain, who is behind the popular Iran blog “Enduring America,” says government tactics such as charging protesters with being “enemies of God” are starting to cause a rift within the government itself. “If you look at what Dr. Etaat said during that extraordinary (Iranian TV) interview this week, this is a very telling point, which he said: when you use the term “velvet revolution” and the terms “enemy of God,” what you are pointing to is a revolution against an unjust system. You are highlighting how unjust the system is by using the terms. So, “mohareb,” rather than unifying people behind the Islamic Republic just risks causing more splits and rifts, and rifts within the regime. There is some really serious opposition within the regime, which is saying “look, back off, stop doing this,” and one reason is because they are using this term “mohareb,” he says. Lucas says the judiciary appears to be downplaying the latest trials, unlike the “show trials of opposition activists during the summer.” bigwinnman 20-01-2010, 09:08 AM [/URL][URL="http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/opposition-websites-begin-to-spread-word-on-22-bahman-11-february-rallies/"]Opposition websites begin to spread word on 22 Bahman (11 February) rallies (http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/iran-green-opposition-poster41.jpg) January 19, 2010 http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/iran-green-opposition-poster41.jpg?w=181&h=210 (http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/iran-green-opposition-poster41.jpg) A Poster for 22 Bahman (Payvand) http://niacblog.wordpress.com/ Radio Zamaneh (http://radiozamaneh.com/enzam/) (via Payvand (http://www.payvand.com/news/10/jan/1170.html)) is reporting that the Opposition has begun a major online offensive to spread the word: the Anniversary of the Revolution, 22 Bahman (22 February), will be the next major day of rallies. Despite repeated warnings by the government that they will confront any more disruptions with non leniency, the messages defiantly suggest that the planned February 11 demonstrations could become the climactic point of all the protests and street confrontations that have marked every significant date on the Islamic Republic calendar in the past several months. The Islamic Republic establishment has been dealing with deep divisions over its current crisis and even a significant section of the clergy have come out in favor of protesters and their demands. While one [Opposition leader], Mir Hossein Mousavi, was fired from his government post at the Academy of Arts and the other, Mehdi Karroubi, has been the repeated target of physcial and even armed attacks, they have defiantly refused to accept the legitimacy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government which they claim was fraudently re-elected in the June presidential elections. Clear Conscience 20-01-2010, 08:15 PM I think next month, while commemorating the islamic revolution, the reformists will conduct strong demonstrations too,like Ashoura or more, inspite of the threats about persecuting demonstrators with accusations like defying God and his prophet. Imagine those who defies Khameni2i, will be defying God and his prophet!!. bigwinnman 20-01-2010, 08:51 PM ‘Mercy’ Period is Over (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/%e2%80%98mercy%e2%80%99-period-is-over/) January 19, 2010 http://niacblog.wordpress.com/ The NY times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/16/world/middleeast/16iran.html)reports that Iran’s national police chief, Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, issued a warning that the “mercy” phase was over: Iranian authorities would soon begin cracking down even more severely on opposition activities. The police chief warned that this crackdown would not be limited to protesters but anyone who used technology, such as cellphones, twitter alerts, and e-mails to publicize the street protests. This proclamation does not come lightly; since the June 12 disputed presidential elections opposition groups have relied heavily upon such technology to help organize their movement. The government has repeatedly tried to block websites and shut down opposition newspapers, and the battle over access to information is a daily struggle. “After all the evidence we saw on Ashura, our tolerance has come to an end, and both the police force and the judiciary will be confronting them with full force,” Mr. Ahmadi Moghaddam said, according to Iran’s semiofficial news service ILNA. The December 27th Ashura protests was one of the most violent outbreaks since the initial summer protests, as hundreds of dissidents were arrested and at least 8 were killed. More opposition protests are expected next month during the celebration of the founding of the Islamic Republic. bigwinnman 20-01-2010, 08:54 PM I think next month, while commemorating the islamic revolution, the reformists will conduct strong demonstrations too,like Ashoura or more, inspite of the threats about persecuting demonstrators with accusations like defying God and his prophet. Imagine those who defies Khameni2i, will be defying God and his prophet!!. i see plenty of trouble ahead, either this regime is going to cave or there will be a general uprising and i don't see much of the armed forces standing with the government if it happens. bigwinnman 20-01-2010, 09:06 PM Jan 20 2010 Iran Analysis: The Supreme Leader Warns Rafsanjani (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/20/iran-analysis-the-supreme-leader-warns-rafsanjani/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/20/iran-analysis-the-supreme-leader-warns-rafsanjani/#more-26458 Hat-tip to a valued EA source for this story: On the surface, the meeting was simply the greetings of a Supreme Leader (http://khabaronline.ir/news-38334.aspx) to those organising the anniversary celebrations of his Islamic Republic. It was an occasion to declare that the most important aspect of any ceremony is the presence of the Iranian people, and it is important to protect them and guarantee their security. The Latest from Iran: If Khamenei’s Other Shoe Drops (20 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/20/the-latest-from-iran-if-khameneis-other-shoe-drops-20-january/) The Latest from Iran (19 January): Cross-Currents (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/19/the-latest-from-iran-19-january-cross-currents/) Not so far below the surface, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has just told other important Iranian political figures — not those in “the opposition” but those within the establishment: Get Beside Me. Of course Khamenei referred to the Green movement but he did so primarily to shoo it away (http://www.payvand.com/news/10/jan/1173.html): this was “merely a small deceived group”. Behind them was the bigger threat of “the enemy [who] is trying to shaken our great national treasure, February 11 (anniversary of Iranian Revolution)”. The important passage in Khamenei’s speech came after he declared, “Our real need is understanding that this is an important time for making decisions….We need to be in the arena in full force and make wise moves.” He asked, or rather demanded, that all people with responsibility in the “elite” should “make their approach clear” and end their “two-sided stance”. They should do so “without any ambiguity and playing of tricks”; the silence of the “elite aids the sedition.” Hashemi Rafsanjani, you have just been served a warning. In the midst of the current battle between conservative/principlist critics and the Ahmadinejad Government, symbolised by the hostility over the alleged role of former prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi in the Kahrizak prison abuse case and the influence of close Ahmadinejad ally Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, Rafsanjani spoke to a group of students and university lecturers. He praised the current televised debates as an alternative to protest on the streets but said little about specific political issues. Far too little for the Supreme Leader. Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech points to his frustration with Rafsanjani’s cautious, ambiguous statements. But, going public with that frustration, it also shows the Supreme Leader’s growing worry over the situation. Seven months ago, Khamenei could talk tough but still praise Rafsanjani, believing that the incipient opposition could soon be defeated. Well, the opposition is still here, Rafsanjani still hasn’t chosen sides, and Khamenei must be hoping that this does not last another seven months. (Indeed, he may be thinking that, if this does last seven months, he may not be in a position to lecture Rafsanjani or the opposition any longer.) bigwinnman 20-01-2010, 09:10 PM Jan 20 2010 The Latest from Iran: If Khamenei’s Other Shoe Drops (20 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/20/the-latest-from-iran-if-khameneis-other-shoe-drops-20-january/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) 0930 GMT: The Khamenei-Rafsanjani Dance. Press TV spins (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=116607&sectionid=351020101) yesterday’s speech by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani (and ignores the Supreme Leader’s address (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/20/iran-analysis-the-supreme-leader-warns-rafsanjani/)) to portray unity: “Hashemi echoes Leader in observing law”. 0900 GMT: Where’s Mahmoud? President Ahmadinejad handles the economic crisis by riding a bike. And jogging. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-FAypZ2JKQ&feature=player_embedded 0845 GMT: The US-based journalist and scholar Mehdi Khalaji has written a long article (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/01/19/revolutionary_ayatollah) about his father, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Khalaji, who was arrested last week: By initiating a crackdown on peaceful protesters and suppressing the first generation of the Islamic Republic, the government has simultaneously discredited its Islamic legitimacy and undermined its revolutionary credentials. This regime has transformed my father from a man concerned with keeping Ayatollah Khomeini’s shoulders warm into an enemy of the state. This is a revolution that eats its own children. It places its survival at risk. 0600 GMT: It’s a curious but effective phrase: “Waiting for the other shoe to drop” is not just waiting, but waiting with an expectation based on nerves and fear. So this morning we start by looking around for reactions to the Supreme Leader’s speech yesterday. Our initial line, based on a very good source, was that Ayatollah Khamenei had dropped the first shoe to warn Hashemi Rafsanjani that it was time to choose sides. However, as an EA reader helpfully intervened last night, the warning could have been intended for others in the “elite”. Again, we emphasize those within the establishment — an elite whom Khameini said could assist “sedition” with their ambiguity — rather than the opposition. In weeks after Ashura (27 December) and before the Supreme Leader’s statement, the conservative/principlist challenge to the Government neared insurgency, setting the immediate goals of taking down former Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi and Ahmadinejad’s right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai. The insurgency, carried out through newspapers as well as around the Iranian Parliament, has not yet achieved either immediate goal, but it is likely that Mortazavi will have to resign as a Presidential aide, possibly serving jail time. So one reading of Khamenei’s warning to the elite is that the challenge stops there. That said, if this was a throw-down to those in the establishment beyond Rafsanjani, there’s a risky slippage in the Supreme Leader’s words. Critics like Ali Motahhari have not been ambiguous in their interviews; they want the removal of President Ahmadinejad or, at least, his reduction to a humiliated figurehead as he gives a public apology for the post-election failures and abuses. If the critics don’t back away from that demand, Khamenei will face a moment beyond yesterday’s speech and possibly any declaration he has made since the week after the election: does he drop the other shoe and offer his unconditional backing to Ahmadinejad or does he back away and let a far from ambiguous “elite” despatch the President on a permanent holiday? Clear Conscience 20-01-2010, 10:41 PM By the way, some reformists living outside Iran and a lot of reformists inside Iran, refused a weird initiative, about asking Hassan Nasralah to mediate in such crisis between the reformists and conservatives. The reason for their refusal was that Hassan Nasralah is not that righteous or neutral to mediate in such crisis. I want to add too, that a lot of reformist's websites displayed photos for Hizbullahis joining the Bassij in attacking the demonstrators. They even gave the names of those Hizbullahis. I wonder how could some reformists believe that Hassan Nasralah is virtuous enough to help in solving such crisis?? The man who considered his crimes against civilians in 7 May as a glory, is devoid of vitrues. bigwinnman 21-01-2010, 09:27 AM A Day of Green Silence (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/a-day-of-green-silence/) January 20, 2010 The power of texting as a means of organizing the opposition was displayed during a popular sports show called Navad (http://www.90tv.ir/) (Ninety) last week in Iran. Though the show mainly deals with analyzing and covering the Premier League and following the Iranian National soccer team, it has recently become very political. As NBC rearranges talk shows due to economic reasons, IRIB has moved around the time slot for Navad because of political reasons. Adel Ferdosipour, (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Adel-Ferdosipour/49596012125#/pages/Adel-Ferdosipour/49596012125?v=wall&viewas=1513975) a graduate from Sharif University, is the show’s host and has been critical to Navad’s rise in popularity. Though the government would probably prefer to cancel the show, they would run the risk of galvanizing the opposition, so they have moved the show back from its original time of 8:00pm to 11:00 pm. Despite the move, viewers are still eagerly tuning in. Just last week, Ferdosipour asked his viewers to text their answer to the question, “What’s the reason for the Iranian national team’s latest losses?” The players The staff & coaches The departure of the Golden Players http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/ali-karimi.jpg?w=300&h=180 (http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/ali-karimi.jpg)The Golden Players means the old school players who led the team to the World Cup back in 2006. But more importantly it refers to players such as Ali Karimi and Mehdi Mahdavikia and two others who were kicked off the team and forced to retire after wearing green wrist bands (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/23/iran-football-protest-ban) in protest of the June Presidential elections. The show was inundated with texts choosing #3 as they continued to received texts into the wee hours of the morning. The response echoes sentiments after Iran’s failure to qualify for the World Cup where many saw the team’s failure as a reflection of the Ahmadinejad –led government. To keep up the momentum of the text-organizing, the latest Green Movement has called for a Sokoot-e-Sabz, a day of Green Silence, from 7 am to 8 pm. Though I initially asked myself, “what use is it to be quiet for 12 hours? Would that be the opposite of civil disobedience?” But the opposition is using this lull in the protests to keep in touch with their base. It’s also an attack on media and cell phone companies who have been colluding with the government to monitor communications among the opposition. As one young protesters told me, “It’s a small sacrifice and I hope my friends will notice and ask me ‘Hey, why was your phone off?’ and I’ll tell them, ‘Oh you didn’t hear, it was the Green Silence!’” bigwinnman 21-01-2010, 09:35 AM Two-faced Tehran Farhad Bisotooni (http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsAuthorArticles.aspx?Author=Farhad Bisotooni), January 20, 2010 http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=139901 My uncle used to be a fan of the Islamic Revolution. We used to have arguments about it. He was a passionate advocate for Islam and Imam Khomeini. He even believed he could see the Imam’s face in the moon. Once, he actually got angry with NASA astronauts. “How can they go to the bathroom on the moon on the face of the Imam?” he said. We still have conversations about the Revolution, but my uncle is no longer a fan of the regime. And he’s not alone. Because of the Iranian government’s oppressive methods and violent response to the massive protests that broke out in the wake of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election, proponents are losing faith in the system. When they know they are being lied to about corruption, violence and murder, even staunch loyalists begin to have doubts. They say that we are all equal in the eyes of Islam and the government, but the Iranian leaders seem to think that some people are “more equal” than others. Nobody can be a politician or access any high-ranking position in Iran without the cooperation of the intelligence services. Therefore, you need a clean file. Attending meetings of the Basij paramilitary organization, performing Friday prayers, and sporting a beard are vital requirements if you want to pass the intelligence service loyalty test. You need to portray yourself as a zealous fan of the supreme leader, become friends with the “brothers” and enroll in organizations linked to the Basij. They never ask you about your studies or your talents, just about your loyalty to the government. And your sacrifices pay off. I visited a wealthy friend of mine in the north of Iran a while ago. He lives in a so-called “protected city,” where all his neighbors are state officials. That’s where I witnessed, for the first time, the life of the establishment. Most of the castle-like buildings in my friend’s neighborhood belong to famous mullahs, but according to my friend, every house has a ballroom and the mullahs all hold parties. Many of the houses have expensive cars parked at the front door. The religious figures are also known to have several wives: four permanent ones, as is the legal limit, and many more sighe, or temporary wives who they only marry for sex. The politico-religious class also has access to the prostitutes who walk the streets of Tehran, even though they are publically viewed as a menace, and last year the government launched a program to combat prostitution. The person in charge of the operation was police General Sardar Zarei. A month later, he was arrested after being caught with six women. Apparently he was ordering them to pray naked. The media outlets that published the news were silenced. The state media, meanwhile, is busy talking up the plethora of bright young scientists who live and work in Iran. News programs say Iran is one of the few countries in the world that is home to such a wonderful and talented group of scientists. In the meantime, all the talent and intellect in Iran is squandered, as most educated people leave the country at their first opportunity. Most successful Iranian scientists live in the United States or Canada. They know that if they stayed in Iran, they would struggle to put food on the table. Meanwhile, so-called university professors who are accused of plagiarism can become cabinet ministers. On September 22, 2009, prominent British magazine Nature revealed that the current minister of Science, Research and Technology, Kamran Daneshjo, copied large chunks of text, figures and tables from a paper published in 2002 by a South Korean researcher. The validity of his PhD has also been widely disputed by Iranian bloggers. But nobody seemed to care about it. He is still a government minister. To get a good job in Iran, you don’t need a diploma; you only need connections. With no connections in the establishment, you have no options, no voice and no freedom. And eventually you are forced to accept anything just to make enough money to feed your family. bigwinnman 21-01-2010, 08:01 PM Jan 21 2010 Iran: How Should the US Treat the Green Movement? (Haghighatjoo) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/21/iran-how-should-the-us-treat-the-green-movement-haghighatjooin/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/21/iran-how-should-the-us-treat-the-green-movement-haghighatjooin/#more-26565 insideIRAN publishes an interview with one of the most prominent US-based expatriate Iranians: Fatemeh Haghighatjoo was a member of Iran’s Parliament from 2000 to 2004, and a prominent advocate of women’s rights and political reform. She resigned in 2004 after a crackdown on reformers and left Iran in 2005. She is now a visiting scholar at the University of Massachusetts–Boston. Q: The Obama administration has been reluctant to express support for the opposition movement out of fear that doing so would end Iran’s cooperation in the nuclear negotiations. But now that those talks are at an impasse, what should the United States do regarding the opposition? A: I would say the United States should carefully and delicately support the opposition movement based on United Nations conventions, because Iran is a signatory to many UN human rights conventions. Second, the United States can help the flow of information in Iran by providing technical support for Internet and satellite access. For example, one important question is how to increase the security of domains, hide the identity of dissidents who run websites and social networking sites, and also provide a free place to move blocked websites from different servers, once the authorities shut down opposition websites. This would help the dissidents. There are many volunteers who are running the websites and they need to deal with the blockade on the Internet. The Internet and other forms of information are having a huge impact on the opposition movement. Look at the impact of BBC Persian TV during the past six months. Q: How do you view the opposition at this stage? A: The green movement encompasses a wide spectrum of protestors. At one side of the spectrum are protestors who are loyal to the regime and just have objections to the fraudulent election, and their ultimate goal is the removal of President Ahmadinejad. And at the other side are dissidents who fight to bring the regime down. Although the opposition is incoherent, it does have the common goals of removing Ahmadinejad, ending the violation of people’s rights, and releasing all political prisoners. The internal leadership of the Green Movement is loyal to the foundation of the regime, so after increased demands that threaten the nature of the regime, movement leaders may be increasingly concerned about both the fundamentalists inside the government and the extremists within the movement. Former presidents Mohammed Khatami and Hashemi Rafsanjani have warned against radicalism. Also, there is an effort to have negotiations between opposition leaders and Supreme Leader Khamenei, even though Khamenei still talks tough and tries to convince all influential figures to condemn the protests. The situation today is very different from past unrest. Even if the authorities arrest Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the protests will continue. There are more cracks now among the political elites than ever before. There is a rift between Khamenei and former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. We also see a crack between the regime and the clergy. In every aspect of the regime, you will see that the crisis is deepening. The movement is deep and spreading. On the one hand, the regime’s strategy is the continuation of the crackdown, the arrests of activists and political leaders, to block the flow of information, and not allow any protests in the near future; and, on the other hand, the regime is trying to attract people to state-run TV by running debates at least through the end of the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in February and to recruit people for a huge pro-state rally on February 11. It is important for the West, especially for the United States, to act correctly. Q: Can traditional conservatives, such as Rafsanjani and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani reform the system? A: I do not see that they have such ability to reform the system because of the contradiction within the system. Khamenei does not tolerate any initiation for reform. They are unable to meet the people’s needs. Q: Given the political instability inside Iran, what are the options available to the United States in dealing with Iran? A: I understand that the United States wants to see progress on the nuclear side, while wanting to help the opposition movement, and these two things can be at cross-purposes. Inside Iran, because of the crisis and the cracks among political elites, they can’t reach ultimate decisions on international affairs. In domestic issues, the Supreme Leader, Khamenei, prefers to use his power to make decisions, and to some extent, he may be successful for now through the branches of government. However, he has not fully succeeded in gaining the support of most clergy, prominent politicians, and influential figures. We see this lack of agreement on the nuclear issue because members of the regime keep changing their position. This, more than anything, shows the splits among the factions. Since 2005, Iran has bought time. But this time, it is different. First, they know that some countries do not like Iran’s regime, especially the current government. Khamenei fears that, in the future, the West might do something against him. But he believes that if he can acquire knowledge on building a nuclear weapon, this would give Iran the upper hand in future nuclear negotiations with the West. I guess the ultimate goal of some of Iran’s hardliners is a nuclear weapon, either to counter a likely air attack or to force toleration of the actions of a nuclear Iran. But right now, Khamenei can’t reach an agreement on the nuclear issue because he can’t manage two crises at once, and for him the domestic issue is more important. He understands that this movement, the opposition, could overthrow his government. He understands that the dissidents are not just about removing Ahmadinejad from power; now, the dissent is about much more than that. Iran is in the process of transitioning to democracy. Supporting smooth transition would strengthen regional security. However, any sort of attack on Iran under any circumstance would dramatically hurt the movement. The Obama administrative and his allies, aside from maintaining negotiations with Iran regarding the nuclear program, should pay more attention to human rights issues in Iran and put more pressure on Iran’s government to release all political prisoners and stop the executions. bigwinnman 21-01-2010, 08:04 PM Jan 21 2010 2009: The View from Inside Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/21/2009-the-view-from-inside-iran/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/21/2009-the-view-from-inside-iran/#more-26563 In (http://www.iranreview.org/content/view/5261/36/)Iran Review (http://www.iranreview.org/content/view/5261/36/), published in Tehran, Dr Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh considers the domestic and international landscape for Iran over the last 12 months. What struck me in particular is the careful, even coded, treatment of the post-election conflict: “What is important for an expert in Iranian affairs here is the capability to distinguish superficially changing trends from the profound and reflective developments within the establishment and the society.” The year 2009 was a very significant and decisive year for the Islamic Republic of Iran. In fact, on the 30th birthday of the Iranian revolution (1979-2009) some kind of transformation or rebirth occurred in the scene of internal developments so that for the first time over the past three decades, domestic politics overshadowed foreign policy. In other words, the events before and after the June presidential elections caused many of the conceptual frameworks in the IRI establishment’s interactions with the internal and external environments to be revised, transformed or reconsidered. In the meantime, during the same period of time, Iran’s foreign policy faced its own ups and downs like the previous years. Among Iran’s foreign policy priorities in 2009 mention can be made of the nuclear issue, relations with the US, relations with the EU, interactions with neighboring countries, continued hostility with Israel, regional role in the Persian Gulf and Middle East, expansion of ties with various corners of the world including Latin America, and efforts to play an effective role at international organizations through promotion of multilateral diplomacy. The following report discusses some prominent points and significant events and interactions Iran went through and experienced in 2009. Domestic Policy The presidential elections began to overshadow all internal issues and developments in Iran from the early days of the spring 2009. Nonetheless, no domestic analyst ever predicted that within a period of just two months the elections would become the hottest issue in the entire society. The kind of programs given by the candidates who had made their ways into the final stage, radio interviews and heated TV debates by the presidential hopefuls and their repercussions in the society which in turn caused street lineups by supporters of the candidates that sometimes continued until the early hours into the morning had brought a climate of excitement reminiscent of the early days of the 1979 revolution though it came as a big surprise and sounded very unusual to those who were too young to remember those days. The presence of nearly 85 percent of eligible voters in the polls demonstrated the great impact of the competition climate as well as the importance Iranian people attached to their inalienable right in the field of democracy. However, the post-election days were not peaceful days and in fact marked the outbreak of incidents which continued towards the end of 2009 and well into the year 2010. This trend will most probably continue in the coming months. Irrespective of all peaceful and violent protests and clashes, position-takings, commentaries, rifts, patch-ups, unifications, transformations and many other developments that have occurred in the domestic scene in Iran, the nation and the ruling establishment gained experiences which would take years to acquire under normal conditions. In the meantime, it would be a superficial analysis to say that the IRI establishment has been shaken after the presidential elections and that its collapse is near. Likewise, it would be wrong to say that no changes have occurred in the IRI policies and approaches and that Iran is the same Iran before June 2009. If we leave behind the attractive media propaganda and spot news reporting, it would be possible to reach a deeper analysis of this trend. Nowadays, although many state officials and experts, particularly those who have left behind the difficult years early after the revolution as well as the hardships of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) are not happy with the status quo yet they maintain that the revolution has gone through much more difficult days before. These officials and experts are convinced that despite the extremisms shown by certain individuals from the opposing camps after the presidential elections, the IRI establishment has displayed and will display high tolerance, forbearance and compatibility. They opine that all these incidents will eventually lead to a better and deeper understanding and more dynamism on behalf of the IRI system. In other words, by accepting criticisms from within, the IRI would identify and mend its vulnerable points, would have a more comprehensive and more thoughtful look at internal and international issues and take stronger strides in compliance with the conditions and requirements of the day with knowledge about the demands and potentials of the nation and civil society. In reality, what is important for an expert in Iranian affairs here is the capability to distinguish superficially changing trends from the profound and reflective developments within the establishment and the society. As mentioned before, it is inevitable that the climate of Iran’s interactions with the internal society as well as the international community will be quite different from the past. But to expect Iran to turn into a bankrupt state engulfed with internal riots and become internationally weak is so inappropriate that even many of the current protest leaders would not agree with. Foreign Policy Although the scene of Iran’s international interactions was to a great extent influenced by domestic dynamism in the last months of 2009, the events and as a result Iran’s reactions fell mostly within the framework of the policies formulated by the Islamic Republic system. Some of the most important interactions and developments in key areas were as follows: 1. Nuclear Issue On the whole, Iran received three reports from the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency on June 5, August 28 and November 16, 2009. In all of these reports, as had been the case before, the IAEA chief adopted an ambiguous approach by saying there was no evidence to prove Iran’s intention to use nuclear energy for military purposes. At the same time he said Tehran had not suspended enrichment activities and failed to implement the Additional Protocol. In his November report, Mohamed ElBaradei voiced concern over existence of other secret nuclear sites in Iran and took stance by adopting a harsher tone. Also in the last meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna, the draft resolution proposed by P5+1 was reviewed and in the voting which took place on November 27, a resolution was passed under the pressure of Western countries against Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities. The Iran-IAEA dispute over the way the news about Fordo nuclear installations (near Qom) was disclosed, was among issues which helped adoption of this resolution. Failure of Iran and P5+1 to come to an agreement on ways of supplying fuel for Iran’s nuclear research reactor, which has not been finalized so far despite negotiations and fluctuations, also overshadowed Iran’s nuclear case and its interactions with the West. 2. Ties with the United States Although some Iranian experts still believe that there is a better chance for interaction with Barack Obama than with George Bush, what happened in 2009 raised the number of advocates of the viewpoint in the Iranian society that Obama has an iron fist in a velvet glove. Increasing the number of US troops in Afghanistan, the little difference in the policies adopted by US administrations towards the Middle East peace process, and continuation of the US policy of “everyone except for Iran” in the political and economic interactions in the northern and southern spheres of Iran were among signs that further supported this perspective among Iranian experts. Yet, the US position vis-à-vis Iran’s nuclear case and the kind of stance Washington adopted towards the post-election events have further escalated the existing tension. The Obama administration’s persistence on suspension of Iran’s nuclear activities including uranium enrichment, giving a month-long deadline (until January 1, 2010) to Iran to accept a plan on supply of fuel for Iran’s nuclear research reactor through uranium exchange (of course based on their conditions, that is first to send uranium out of Iran and then receive the fuel in intervals, which faced Iran’s opposition) prompted Iran to propose a simultaneous exchange of fuel inside its own territory or a third country. This made the complicated relations between the two countries to become even more complicated. Here, the adoption of Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act and the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act by the US Congress on December 15 targeting Iran’s oil products further aggravated the climate. Meanwhile, the US administration’s position vis-à-vis Iran’s post-election events – considering the fact that based on historical experience, any foreign intervention in domestic issues is considered despicable and disagreeable - is reminiscent of the bitter era of colonialist rivalry between Russia and Britain and later the United States in Iran. This has considerably reduced the possibility of improvement in Tehran-Washington relations and paving the way for an atmosphere of fair talks on issues between the two countries. However, the increase in the number of American experts and researchers who have admitted in their Iran analyses that no interference should be made in this process indicates that the process of having a better knowledge about Iran is a process forward that can be used in creating better opportunities for acquaintance, interaction and fair relations between governments and communities of both sides. 3. Relations with Europe Ties between Iran and the EU in 2009 were greatly influenced by human rights issues and post-election developments besides the nuclear issue. Release of numerous statements in condemnation of death sentences carried out in Iran, as well as objection to the existing procedures in the judicial system in probing into charges of some political activists during the election protests were among Europe’s interactions with Iran which escalated after the June presidential elections and arrest of a number of local staff of certain European embassies as well as that of a number of European nationals in street riots in Iran. Although the Swedish prime minister, whose country took over the EU chair as of July 2009, called on his partners to show self-restraint and warned that Europe should refrain from pitting Iran against other world countries, yet 27 member states of the European Union summoned their ambassadors from Iran on July 3 in protest to the detention of staff of the British embassy in Tehran. The decision was made following a meeting of the EU member states in Brussels. According to an official affiliated to the EU, participants in the meeting agreed to take gradual punitive measures against Iran. In continuation of these developments, an EU spokesperson said on August 6 while justifying these negative position-takings that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s victory in the elections was open to question and the Iranian people were suspicious about its authenticity. The spokesperson made these statements under conditions that some ambassadors of the EU countries such as France, Britain and Sweden had taken part in the swearing-in ceremony of Mr. Ahmadinejad after his reelection. On the whole, ties between the two sides in 2009 were full of ups and downs and in fact nothing occurred to reduce future ambiguities in these relations. 4. Iran-China Ties Stability and growth are among characteristics of mutual relations between Iran and China, which also continued in 2009. In fact, with respect to the vague prospects for improvement of relations with the United States and the European Union, and also the kind of interaction of China and Russia with issues related to Iran, Iranian officials are unintentionally more inclined to promotion of ties with China, particularly in economic fields. The conclusion of a three billion dollar contract between Iran and China to expand Abadan refinery, a five billion dollar deal to develop phase 11 of the South Pars gas field which led to the replacement of French Total Company with the Chinese National Oil Company in this project, increase in trade exchanges between Iran and China to more than 25 billion dollars, an agreement between the two countries to construct Tehran-Isfahan railway and turning Iran to the third biggest oil exporter to China were among important developments in Tehran-Beijing ties in 2009. 5. Iran-Israel Encounter Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu announced during his election campaign that countering Iran’s nuclear program was on top of his priorities in case of coming to power. He even announced after formation of the new government that he might launch an air strike against Iran to destroy its nuclear installations because he called Iran the biggest threat against the Zionist regime ever since its inception. On the whole, not ruling out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations has been one of the most important conflicts in bilateral relations. The regime in Israel follows this policy by intertwining the Middle East peace process with Iran’s nuclear issue and all-out efforts to show that Iran’s peaceful nuclear program is a threat and in return diverts public attentions from its tension escalating policies and nuclear arsenals, which are the main source of insecurity in the Middle East. Nevertheless, this policy seems to have lost its efficiency with respect to the current realities and its propaganda dimension has outdone its executive one. Also, the Israeli regime’s use of psychological warfare tactics to create political crises against the Islamic Republic, such as accusing Iran of building A-bomb and magnifying the political events after the June 12 elections, has prompted Israel to intensify its media attacks to undermine the establishment and reduce public loyalty and acceptability. However, experience has shown that no matter how big the differences of Iranian people may be on domestic issues, they will certainly not be inclined towards two things: Israel and the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO). 6. Relations with Neighbors Iran’s efforts to improve ties with the neighboring countries and restore calm and tranquility towards security of its borders continued in 2009. In this respect, relations with Afghanistan, Turkey and other Central Asian and Caucasus countries continued its growing trend at different paces. However, expansion of ties with the Persian Gulf countries experienced more ups and downs. As for Iraq, along with some fluctuations in relations, termination of presence of MKO garrisons along Iran’s borders after 24 years was among important developments in Tehran-Baghdad bilateral ties. On the whole, the ups and downs in international relations as well as domestic dynamism in Iran in 2009 were in some cases more than what was expected at the beginning of the year. In the meantime, the international dynamism has had its special impact on the way Iran has acted. The heavy recession in world economy, the fall in oil prices, the global impacts of environmental pollutions on the climate cycles in Iran and the world, the changing global trends in the area of armaments, human rights, globalization, internet media, etc. all left their impacts on the developments in Iran. Therefore, it can be said that irrespective of their possible consequences, the year 2009 was a year marked with profound experiences for the Iranian society and the Islamic establishment. bigwinnman 21-01-2010, 08:07 PM Mashaei to be ousted or resigned (http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-38743.aspx) Published Date: Wednesday 20 January 2010 - 23:53:43 http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-38743.aspx ENGLISH > Politics - Although the controversial Ahmadinejad's chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei has rejected reports on his resignation as spread rumors, some influential figures in the principlist fraction of Iranian Parliament (Majlis) observe the issue differently. A lawmaker who critically observes the economic practices of the government refused to directly comment on Rahim Mashaei. They simply told Khabar Online correspondent: "We regard him as a spent force." Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the leading member of a principlist party backing the administration in the Parliament has also asserted: "The problem of Mashaei is going to be resolved." It seems that the government is waiting for a convenient time to remove Mashaei without being in the media spotlight. Mashaei's controversial statements in various past occasions, for example on the possibility of a friendly relation between people of Iran and Israel have sparked the anger of top Iranian authorities. After the June election, Ahmadinejad appointed him as the first Vice-President. But several officials, above them Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei opposed the choice, forcing him to replace Mashaei by Mohammad Reza Rahimi. Delivering a lecture, he recently commented on the mission of the prophet Noah (S), saying that despite living so long, he was not able to implement justice for his nation. His remarks were criticized by clerics and religious experts. bigwinnman 21-01-2010, 08:09 PM Jan 20 2010 Iran: Ahmadinejad and the Labour Movement (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/20/iran-ahmadinejad-and-the-labour-movement/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/20/iran-ahmadinejad-and-the-labour-movement/ Bill Balderston of Labor Notes interviews a labor organizer (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/20/iran-ahmadinejad-and-the-labour-movement/www.labornotes.org/blogs/2010/01/interview-iran-labor-activists-face-repression), “Homayoun Poorzad”, based in Tehran: Labor Notes: How has the Iranian labor movement fared under the Ahmadinejad regime?* HP: This has been the most anti-labor government of the Islamic Republic over the last 30 years. The 1979 revolution was not regressive in every sense; it nationalized 70 percent of the economy and passed a labor law that was one of the best in terms of limiting the firing of workers. This is a target for change by capitalists, both private and those in the government bureaucracy. The economic crisis has helped Ahmadinejad ram thru a new agenda. This is also aided by the acceleration of the percentage (60 percent to 70 percent) of the workforce who are temporary contract workers. Iran, like other countries, has had an import mania. Bargaining power has suffered, with labor supply far outstripping demand. The Ahmadinejad government has been “bailing out” firms, but the government is running out of money. The situation for labor is at its lowest status since the start of the 20th century, leaving out the years of the two world wars. LN: What government actions have led to tensions with Iranian workers? HP: The Ahmadinejad government is trying to make it easier to fire workers. There have also been massive privatizations, including turning over many firms to the Revolutionary Guards and the armed forces. Again, this has intensified the pushing of more workers into temporary contracts. In addition, there is a “subsidies reform law” that is imminent. Previously, the government has provided the equivalent of billions of dollars to subsidize utilities, transportation, gasoline, heating oil, electricity, and water This will have a double effect: it will lead to massive inflation, but the main damage will be that when factories’ costs increase, it will lead to massive layoffs. We believe this will spark huge labor actions, in somewhere between three months to a year. LN: How does this situation relate to past developments with workers’ struggles and rights in Iran? HP: There have been major reductions in labor actions in the last five or six years. Most workers can’t afford to strike, and temporary contract workers have virtually no rights. Full-time workers can engage in peaceful protests, according to the Iranian constitution, around working conditions or being paid on time. That leaves more than 8 million workers prevented from organizing themselves. Six years ago, under former president Mohammad Khatami, the situation was better. ILO covenants were signed, which provided some freedom to organize, combined with some encouragement by certain government spokespeople. It must be said that since the Islamic Revolution, it has been harder in many ways for workers to organize than even under the Shah. After 1979, there were workers councils (these were politicized organizations). But after 1982, they were expelled and replaced by the Islamic Workers Councils. They pushed the politics of the regime and stymied independent labor action, but they did defend some workers. They have an umbrella organization called the Workers House, which has a newspaper and is represented in the Iranian parliament. In order to maintain their base, they have actually opposed changes in the labor law, and their representative was the only outspoken opponent of the new subsidies cutbacks legislation. The older workers of the earlier revolutionary period are still respected by younger workers and in that way exert an indirect influence on labor activism. LN: What sectors of the workforce are active? HP: The main sectors of the workforce in Iran are in oil and gas, followed by automobiles, steel, textiles, and mining. There are over a dozen nuclei of unions underground and 10 or 11 sectors of the workforce involved, despite the fact there are many less labor actions than 10 years ago. The best example of recent labor activism is the bus drivers union in Tehran. They have set up workshops and classes on organizing, the history of the labor movement, and legal and constitutional rights for workers. In a work stoppage around wages and working conditions not long ago, they brought Tehran, a major city, to a halt. Even the baseej [the Islamic paramilitary assigned to communities and worksites, at the center of the recent repression] were sympathetic to their strike; the mayor of Tehran addressed more than 10,000 of their members. After a second strike, the union was banned and the security police arrested their leaders, including Mansoo Osanhoo. [Editor: After last May 1st, other Iranian labor leaders were also arrested--see the U.S. Labor Against the War<http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org/>website.] Over 40 of their leaders were fired and some are still unemployed. The government started privatization; over half the buses are now “owned” by individual drivers. There has also been an attempt to co-opt the bus drivers with some small benefits and pay raises. The other important union involves the sugar cane workers. They are active in an area near the oil fields and have massive (over 90 percent) support of these agricultural workers and their families. After petitioning for work improvements and meeting with bureaucrats, which led nowhere, they took direct action and blocked a freeway. They have been involved in a three-year struggle. LN: What has been the role of workers in the recent post-election protests? How do workers view the election of Ahmadinejad? HP: Some people in the U.S. saw Ahmadinejad as a populist; but workers are not fooled; they know it is a police state, with a right-wing ideology. He has a base in small towns and rural areas amongst the poor. The regime gives handouts of money and coupons to such people before the elections. The recent protests are often portrayed as just a middle-class movement, but workers are in support of the Green Wave actions. The protests are centered in Teheran, especially in the northern part of the city, which is more middle-class. There are less agents there of the regime, like the Basiji, so people are not so easily identified. That is the second reason there are not many workers currently out on the streets in these protests. If they are arrested, they would lose their jobs and starve; middle-class demonstrators don’t face starvation as a result of their activities. Overall, there is an ongoing danger from a core of religious radicals, especially the baseej, who believe that by imprisoning and torturing those opposing the Islamic state, they are gaining access to paradise. The labor movement does not identify with any political faction in the current struggle, but once the labor movement becomes strong, it can effect an overall change in policies, including at the international level. We could stop people such as Ahmadinejad from making such an outrageous speech in the UN about the Holocaust. LN: What is the Ahmadinejad regime’s agenda in this crisis? HP: First, the whole regime supports an IMF (International Monetary Fund)-type structural adjustment [which usually includes privatization, deregulation, and government cuts to education, public health, and social safety nets]. Second, the government is desperate, facing a possible U.S. or Israeli attack, and is seeking funds for its political agenda. They are sensitive to other oil producers (and their unions), but any outside intervention (even more sanctions, which we believe are not now helpful) will allow them to label any Iranian labor activists as agents of foreign powers. Third, there will be major layoffs, which would be aggravated by sanctions as well as government policies, which can lead to huge labor actions, especially amongst industrial workers. It is a unique opportunity to go on the offensive and push the government. The current regime desperately wishes to join the WTO (World Trade Organization), which requires meeting certain ILO (International Labor Organzation) guidelines. Therefore, union members and leaders in the West can pressure their national and international federations to demand union organizing rights in Iran as well as freeing imprisoned labor leaders. Hopefully, there could be a delegation sent by such federations to Iran and perhaps a committee of trade unions to demand such rights. [I]The Network of Iranian Labor Unions can be reached at niluinfo@gmail.com and a new website, Iranlaborreport.com. bigwinnman 22-01-2010, 08:32 PM Jan 22 2010 The Latest from Iran (22 January): Breaking News (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/22/the-latest-from-iran-22-january-breaking-news/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/22/the-latest-from-iran-22-january-breaking-news/#more-26641 0845 GMT: The Opposition Manifesto. More than 30 expatriate Iranian intellectuals and artists (http://www.iran-chabar.de/news.jsp?essayId=26666) have issued a statement in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=256432667986). 0835 GMT: Slamming the Opposition. Last night’s debate on Iranian state media was a non-debate, as MPs Ruhollah Hosseinian and Alaeddin Boroujerdi were generally in agreement. An EA correspondent describes it as a “Love-Making discussion in which both side were praising and appreciating each other”. There was some drama, however. In addition to his claim of “a plot within” to topple the Government (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/22/iran-the-plot-against-president-ahmadinejad/), Hosseinian talked of the “Axis of Revolt” of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. He offered this advice: the Supreme Leader was too patient with the opposition — “if we had the authority; we would have sorted it out straightaway”. 0820 GMT: An Iranian activist has posted a list (http://www.twitlonger.com/show/4mcto), with English translation, of the arrest and current state (if known) of 229 people arrested on 16 Azar (7 December) or in the Tasua-Ashura demonstrations (26-27 December). 0655 GMT: We are putting the last touches to what we believe is a significant story: a high-level plan to move against President Ahmadinejad and possibly remove him from office. As soon as that is completed, we will update on latest news. (We have now posted the story (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/22/iran-the-plot-against-president-ahmadinejad/).) bigwinnman 22-01-2010, 08:35 PM 22 2010 Iran: The Plot Against President Ahmadinejad (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/22/iran-the-plot-against-president-ahmadinejad/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/22/iran-the-plot-against-president-ahmadinejad/#more-26643 UPDATE 0810 GMT: In last night’s debate on Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Hojatoleslam Ruhollah Hosseinian, a member of Parliament and fervent Ahmadinejad supporter, alleged that “some people in charge want to overthrow” the Government with the help of the Parliament. For months we have reported on the challenge to President Ahmadinejad, not just from the Green movement but from conservative and principlist members of the Iranian establishment. Since Ashura (27 December), we have noted a rising intensity in criticism, for example, from member of Parliament Ali Motahhari and his brother-in-law, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, as well as the Parliamentary report on detainee abuses charging Ahmadinejad aide Saeed Mortazavi with responsibility. The question still remained. Were these criticisms being made by high-profile individuals or were they part of an organised effort to limit Ahmadinejad’s authority and possibly even remove him from office? Here is what we can now report from reliable sources: 1. THE MEETING MAKES A PLAN: Sometime after the demonstrations of Ashura (27 December), three well-placed Iranian politicians met to discuss current events. The protests, with their scenes of violence and, in some cases, the retreat of Iranian security forces before the opposition, had been unsettling, raising fears not only that the challenge would persist but that the authority of the Government might collapse. The three men were 1) Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Parliament; 2) Mohsen Rezaei, former head of the Revolutionary Guard, former Presidential candidate, and Secretary of the Expediency Council; and 3) Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, Mayor of Tehran. The meeting reached agreement on a general two-step strategy. First, the crisis with the opposition would be “solved”, either through a resolution with its leaders or by finally suppressing it out of existence. Then, there would be a political campaign to get rid of the unsettling influence of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Each of the three men brought not ideas but key groups to the table. Larijani, of course, commanded a good deal of backing in Parliament and was close to the Supreme Leader. Rezaei not only had the background in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps but also, in the Expediency Council, worked with Hashemi Rafsanjani. Qalibaf, although mostly quiet during the post-election crisis, had the base of support from his solid reputation overseeing Tehran. (It is likely, according to sources, that Rafsanjani knows of the plan, especially given the connection with Rezaei. It is unclear whether the Supreme Leader knows its details.) The plan, however, soon ran into trouble with its first objective. The group was unable to get the support of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. Despite the sustained wave of post-Ashura arrests, striking at the top levels of the Green movement, the prospect of large demonstrations on 22 Bahman (11 February), the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, remains. And it is that prospect that was reportedly worrying the Supreme Leader when he spoke last week to ask the “elites” to choose sides and stop being “ambiguous”. So the possibility arose that the second step — the removal of Ahmadinejad — would take priority over the first. Newspapers connected to the three men stepped up their articles criticising the Government over the post-election crisis, over the Kahrizak Prison scandal, and over the economy. Larijani went public in statements alleging mismanagement by the Ahmadinejad administration and referring to the dangers of “extremism” within, as well as outside, the Government. Meanwhile, a key distinction was being made at every opportunity. While the Government could and should be criticised, Ayatollah Khameini should not be challenged. Larijani in particular set out the line: velayat-e-faqih, the system of ultimate clerical authority, is beyond dispute. The immediate goals are the downfall of two men in Ahmadinejad’s camp: former Tehran Prosecutor General Mortazavi, who is vulnerable because of the detainee scandal, and former First Vice-President and current Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, whose management skills as well as his character are being attacked across a range of issues. It may be possible for Mortazavi to be removed and for Ahmadinejad to survive, assuming that none of the Kahrizak scandal sticks to him. Victory over Rahim-Mashai, however, would be a major blow to the President. After all, this was the fight of the summer, where Ahmadinejad had to give way over his relative and friend as First Vice-President — notably because of pressure from the Supreme Leader — but then brought him back as his closest aide. To lose Esfandiar once is misfortune; to lose him twice political calamity. Ahmadinejad’s authority would be open to further attack, and the post-election crisis could be brought upon him personally. Which brings us to…. 2. THE FATHER EXPRESSES HIS ANGER. “It may be possible for Mortazavi to be removed and for Ahmadinejad to survive, assuming that none of the Kahrizak scandal sticks to him.” Abdolhossein Ruholamini is a prominent Tehran University professor who was the chief advisor to Mohsen Rezaei. He is also the father of Mohsen Ruholamini, who died from abuse this summer in Kahrizak Prison. That death was instrumental in prompting both the closure of Kahrizak, by personal order of the Supreme Leader, and the Parliamentary enquiry into events there. Abdolhossein Ruholamini, however, is still campaigning. Last week he met with the student movement, Islamic Community from European Countries to Iran. In a forceful speech, he declared his anger with Ahmadinejad and the Government. He made clear that he and others had decided to “claim and appeal” over the authorities at Kahrizak, Saeed Mortazavi, the police, and the judiciary: (I paraphrase) “We have much evidence against Mortazavi, against police, against some judges. (Ruholamini said that, in one case, a single judge had condemned 700 people to jail in one day.) We even have phone conversations over the killing of the doctor [Ramin Pourandarjan] in Kahrizak.” Ruholamini made clear that his claim and appeal is also against President Ahmadinejad. And he has also said that he met the Supreme Leader over the matter and Khamenei said (paraphrasing), “Go ahead. The way is clear for you.” 3. THE OUTCOME? EA sources report the sentiment of those in and around the Larijani-Rezaei-Qalibaf meeting and the statements of Ruholamini: “We have decided to replace Ahmadinejad”. At the same time, the group is insisting that the removal has to done within the framework of law. It is notable, for example, how Mohsen Rezaei — in an extended interview with Press TV last week — insisted repeatedly that the difference between him and other Presidential candidates (Mousavi and Karroubi) in the post-election conflict was that Rezaei had always made his complaints within Iran’s system, rather than on the streets. The most likely path for that campaign is Parliamentary removal of Ahmadinejad — similar to the US process of impeachment and conviction of a President — for negligence in carrying out his duties and leading the country in a good direction. This was the process used to oust the first President of the Islamic Republic, Abdolhassan Bani-Sadr, in 1981. That case, however, raises a question and possible complication. In 1981 Ayatollah Khomeini was behind the removal of Bani-Sadr. In this case, it is still not clear if the current Supreme Leader, and those close to him such as his son Mojtaba, are fully aware of or in line with the campaign against Ahmadinejad. Which in turn brings us back to the earlier disputes of summer 2009, when the Supreme Leader — after protracted battles with Ahmadinejad including not only Rahim-Mashai but also control of key ministries — proceeded with the President’s inauguration. This time, given the mounting fears over 22 Bahman, which way does he turn? Does he intervene or stand aside, letting others play out this political showdown? bigwinnman 23-01-2010, 11:24 AM Jan 22 2010 Iran: A Response to “The Plot Against Ahmadinejad” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/22/iran-a-response-to-the-plot-against-ahmadinejad/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/ A valued and well-informed EA correspondent comments on our article (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/22/iran-the-plot-against-president-ahmadinejad/) on the plan to limit President Ahmadinejad’s authority and possibly remove him from power: The reference to the 1981 scenario is a correct one. It should be reminded that Ayatollah Khomeini’s support for the impeachment and removal of [President] Bani Sadr came very late in the day, after the leaders of the Islamic Republican Party succeeded in alienating Khomeini completely from his former lieutenant. Essentially, it didn’t happen till pretty much a week or so before the actual impeachment. Guess who was instrumental in the latter happening? One Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was at the time Majlis Speaker. Rafsanjani was also the man behind the ejection of [Grand Ayatollah] Montazeri from the successorship to Khomeini. In short, he’s the man with the required CV for the job of removing Ahmadinejad. Whether the latter will happen or not, also depends on the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps leadership. One of the big remaining enigmas of the post-election events in Iran is the exact relationship patterns in the IRGC-Ahmadinejad-Supreme Leader triangle. Different scenarios emerge. If the IRGC leadership is, as stated on paper, loyal to the persona of Khamenei and reflexively behind AN because of the former’s hitherto unswerving support for the latter, then we could see change happening if and when Khamenei reassures his IRGC flock that they will not be affected by any change in the Presidency. Another way out for Khamenei is to bring back the old IRGC leadership into the fold. [Yahiya] Rahim Safavi has been making interesting noises of late, essentially aligning himself to [Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer] Qalibaf in calling for a “third way” out to get past the “power-hungry” group (Government supporters) and the “destabilising” (opposition) one. Whatever the outcome of this power tussle, we won’t be seeing a Mousavi or Karroubi led administration. The only two people I can see fitting the bill in case of the removal of Ahmadinejad are either [Ali] Larijani or Qalibaf. I think I would gladly accept Qalibaf if I were the Green wave leadership, as they will at least be able to get a semblance of proper political activity (newspapers, party meetings, etc.) going under him. bigwinnman 25-01-2010, 10:53 AM Karoubi’s party calls for free Iranian election January 24, 2010 http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=140747 The political party of Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi called on Sunday for holding a free election and permission to stage demonstrations, its website said. Karoubi’s Etemad Melli party also insisted that its leader, who claims President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in June last year was the result of fraud, had the evidence to back his accusations up. "Hold a free election or allow a free gathering by providing security to supporters of Karoubi and [opposition leader Mir Hossein] Mousavi,” Sahamnews.org website said. "It is necessary for you to know that Mr. Karoubi is standing firm and tall and has evidence for all his comments," it added in an address to the country's regime. Hardliners have called for Karoubi and Mousavi to be prosecuted over their backing for anti-government protests that erupted after the presidential election. Karoubi has been particularly outspoken about mistreatment of detained protesters, even alleging several protesters were raped in jails, a charge denied by Iranian officials. -AFP/ NOW Lebanon bigwinnman 25-01-2010, 06:59 PM Jan 25 2010 Iran: Listening to Rumours, Whispers, and Shouts (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/25/iran-listening-to-rumours-whispers-and-shouts/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/25/iran-listening-to-rumours-whispers-and-shouts/#more-26841 Of course, there has never been a phase in this post-election conflict which has been one of clarity, even over the basic demand — expressed in the march of hundreds of thousands on 15 June — to overturn the result of the Presidential election. This phase, however, has been particularly complex and often confusing, with manoeuvres and statements coming from all directions outside and inside the Iranian establishment. Mehdi Karroubi’s Etemade Melli party tried to put out a clear signal (http://sahamnews.org/?p=557) yesterday that the fight, both over the election and the direction of the Iranian system, goes on. Using the symbolic event of Karroubi’s visit to the family of Ali Reza Beheshti, the detained chief advisor of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the party’s Saham News website declared that the regime had been ignoring the rights of people for years and now did not understand the meaning of the arrests of the arrests of “sons and daughters of the Revolution”. (Ali Reza Beheshti is the son of the late Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, a key figure in the 1979 Revolution who founded Iran’s judiciary.) It again cited Karroubi’s case on detainee abuses, which he has pressed since July, with the example of Kahrizak Prison. (English-language summary (http://theflyingcarpetinstitute.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/saham-news-karoubi-threatened-by-intelligence-and-security-oranisations/) of the statement) Responding to a hard-line newspaper’s claim that Karroubi had been “asleep” and only just woken to realise he had been manipulated by foreign agents, Etemade Melli declared: Do you want to know who else is asleep and when they should wake up? Hold a free election or give permission for a free and safe gathering for the supporters of Karroubi and Mousavi then watch and see how people will wake you up. So it is necessary that you know that Karroubi is standing firm and confident and has proofs for all his remarks. Etemade Melli’s statement has received surprisingly attention so far outside Iran, however, in part because of the chatter over the country’s economic situation. The rumours that Iran’s banking sector is on the point of collapse only strengthened on Sunday, fuelled by news of individual cases of bank shutdowns and conflict. Peyke Iran, for example,featured the story (http://peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=12594) of a bank in the Sadeghiyeh district of Tehran, where security forces had to disperse crowds who were demanding (unsuccessfully) the funds from their accounts. The rumours sit, sometimes eerily, alongside other reports that there is no crisis. An EA source from Tehran reports, for example: One can still write checks for any amount. Also, most people with bank accounts in Iran now have debit cards, and more and more stores are getting little debit card chargers. I paid my phone bill at the government office last week with my debit card. That is not an economy on the brink. On the political scene, the biggest distraction was the story that Javad Larijani, a key official in Iran’s judiciary and brother of Speaker of Parliament Ali and head of Judiciary Sadegh, had used a racial slur (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2010/01/weekend-headlines-1.html) when denouncing Barack Obama. The episode overshadowed the important passages in Larijani’s speech where he both praised and criticised Hashemi Rafsanjani, apparently in an effort to get the former President to declare his political position over the Ahmadinejad Government (see yesterday’s updates (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/24/the-latest-from-iran-24-january-watching-carefully/)). bigwinnman 26-01-2010, 09:39 AM Karroubi ‘recognizes’ Ahmadinejad… (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/karrubi-recognizes-ahmadinjead/) January 25, 2010 http://niacblog.wordpress.com/ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports (via www.payvand.com (http://www.payvand.com/news/10/jan/1247.html)) that opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi recognizes Ahmadinejad as being the head of Iran’s government, although he is quick to maintain that the June presidential election was rigged. Karrubi’s new found stance could demonstrate a ploy to extract similar concessions from the ruling elite–sort of a quid pro quo. Hossein Karrubi, the opposition leader’s son, explained to RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that his father still believes the presidential election was tarnished by fraud. Karrubi, who stood against Ahmadinejad in the disputed June vote, was asked by the semiofficial Fars news agency whether he recognized “the lawful and elected president of the Iranian people.” He was quoted by Fars as responding, “I still maintain that there were problems, but with regard to your question, I should say that I recognize the president.“ A opposition source adds that security fears told RFE/RL that Karrubi’s comments did not represent a shift in his previous stance. “He didn’t say he recognizes Ahmadinejad as the elected president, he said he recognizes him as the head of the government. There is a government in the country and its head is Ahmadinejad,” the opposition source said in a telephone interview from the Iranian capital. Many are anticipating more protests next month following the commemoration of the 1979 Islamic Revolution; perhaps Karrubi’s seemingly calculated stance is a consequence of the Revolution’s impending 30th anniversary. bigwinnman 26-01-2010, 09:40 AM Even More Crackdowns on Iranian Media (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/even-more-crackdowns-on-iranian-media/) January 25, 2010 http://niacblog.wordpress.com/ Radio Zamaneh reports ( via www.payvand.com (http://www.payvand.com/news/10/jan/1197.html)) that Iran’s Ministry of Culture has cautioned fifteen newspapers for publishing criticism of Iran’s domestic unrest following the June presidential election. Iran’s Ministry of Culture has issued warnings for 15 newspapers for “spreading rumours” and “representing a false image of the country’s situation.” Seven of them were reprimanded for publishing the statements of Mohammad Khatami, the former president, who is currently considered as one of the chief leaders of the opposition. Five other dailies were reprimanded for printing statements by Ali Motahari, a conservative member of the parliament. In an interview, Ali Motahari had criticized the actions of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the candidate debates of the presidential campaign and claimed they were at the root of the “sedition” that took place after the elections. Motahari thus added that “if leaders of the sedition are to apologize to the people, it is only fair that Ahmadinejad also apologizes to the people too.” Following Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in June, the Iranian government’s crackdown on objective media and the detention of journalists has increased significantly. Reporters Without Borders is reporting that the Iranian government currently has 42 journalists and bloggers imprisoned. bigwinnman 26-01-2010, 10:05 AM Jan 25 2010 Iran Special Analysis: What Karroubi’s Statement on “Mr Khamenei”/”Head of Government” Means (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/25/iran-special-analysis-what-karroubis-statement-on-mr-khameneihead-of-government-means/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/25/iran-special-analysis-what-karroubis-statement-on-mr-khameneihead-of-government-means/#more-26900 EA staff have just had a conference to go over all the information we have — from websites and sources inside Iran — on Mehdi Karroubi’s statement today, reflecting on the Presidential election and his acceptance of Mr Ahmadinejad as the “head of the government of the regime” because it had been decreed by “Mr Khamenei”. To ensure an accurate reading of the political significance, we will post a full analysis in the morning. Here are our headline points: NEW Iran Snap Analysis: The Karroubi and Khatami Manoeuvres (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/25/iran-snap-analysis-has-a-deal-been-struck-between-establishment-and-reformist-factions/) The Latest from Iran (25 January): Who Makes A Move Today? (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/25/the-latest-from-iran-25-january-rumours-whispers-and-shouts/) 1. KARROUBI HAS TAKEN A STAND AGAINST THE “PRESIDENT” AND THE SUPREME LEADER We are treating the statement put out on Karroubi’s website (http://sahamnews.org/?p=588), Saham News, as the cleric’s primary line. (We note the interviews given by Hossein Karroubi to a series of reporters, including Radio Farda, BBC Persian, and Associated Press, but there are ambiguities and some confusion in how those interviews are being written up.) This is the key line: Due to the fact that Mr Khamenei has ‘confirmed/given legal validity to the decree which stated that Ahmadinejad has been elected, for this reason, I consider him [Mr Ahmadinejad] to be the ‘head of the government of this regime’. Ahmadinejad is not the President and holds his position not by the will of the voters but the pronouncement of Ayatollah Khamenei. He thus does not have legitimacy. (The most important follow-up to the Saham News statement is a story fed to Rah-e-Sabz, in which Karroubi repeated that he stood with the people and said he did not expect Ahmadinejad to last four years.) And it’s not the Supreme Leader, or indeed Ayatollah Khamenei, but “Mr Khamenei”. That is not a slip, because the statement has been unchanged on Saham News for hours. And that is not respect but an insult. 2. DID KARROUBI INTEND TO TAKE THIS STAND TODAY? This is still not clear, given the chain of events. The confusing series of events started when Fars News, granted an interview with Karroubi (we are scratching our heads why the cleric would go to Fars today), printed his statement as recognition of Ahmadinejad as “the President”. So, in one sense, Hossein Karroubi’s series of interviews throughout the day and even the Saham News statement were “damage control”, protecting his father against charges that he had sold out to the regime. “Damage control”, however, did not require that Karroubi take his political shots at Mr Khamenei and “the head of the government of the regime”. So whether or not the cleric started the morning with a plan for a fight or whether he was bumped into it by the Fars episode, the outcome is the same. 3. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CHALLENGE OF THE “ESTABLISHMENT WITHIN”. My first attempt at analysis connected the Karroubi manoeuvre with the initiative by Ali Larijani-Mohsen Rezaei-Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf to curb or even topple Ahmadinejad. Just forget I wrote that — I was wrong. 4. BUT THIS DOES DISTANCE KARROUBI FROM KHATAMI The interesting sub-plot today has been obvious “clear blue water” between Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami. As Saham News was putting out the right line on Karroubi v. Khamenei/Ahmadinejad this afternoon, it was also taking shots at former President Khatami. In particular, Saham News was playing up the story (http://sahamnews.org/?p=587) — which has not been confirmed — that Khatami had sent a letter to the Supreme Leader seeking reconcilation. What’s more, Saham was pressing the point that Khatami had “recognised” the current Government, thus distinguishing his position from that of Karroubi. Why the divergence? Well, that’s a story to be considered over following days. But let’s be clear: Mehdi Karroubi is out front on this political challenge. 5. AND MOUSAVI? But is Karroubi also far ahead of Mir Hossein Mousavi? So far Mousavi has been silent on the day’s events, apart from his website Kalemeh reprinting the Saham News statement. 6. COULD EVERYTHING CHANGE? As we broke up the meeting tonight, an EA correspondent said, “You know, Karroubi may well have another statement out when we wake up in the morning.” Indeed, he could, even to the point of issuing another clarification that withdraws/modifies his “Mr Khamenei” position. But, at the least, we can’t see Karroubi withdrawing his now sustained condemnation — sometimes explicit, sometimes in a bit of coding, as today — of President Ahmadinejad. At most, he separates Mr Khamenei from his criticism. So pull back all those headlines that came out earlier today (and are still in some “Western” publications). This is not recognition of the President. This is, to adopt a US term, “dis-respecting”. It’s not a question of if, but how far, Karroubi wants to push it. bigwinnman 26-01-2010, 10:12 AM Jan 25 2010 UPDATED Iran Snap Analysis: The Karroubi and Khatami Manoeuvres (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/25/iran-snap-analysis-has-a-deal-been-struck-between-establishment-and-reformist-factions/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/25/iran-snap-analysis-has-a-deal-been-struck-between-establishment-and-reformist-factions/ UPDATE 1915 GMT: First, an apology. I got this wrong earlier — I missed the important nuances in Karroubi’s statement and made the wrong connection: it is not linked to the Larijani-Rezaei-Qalibaf initiative. Second, a top EA correspondent is finishing checks with sources and will have the best analysis of this situation later tonight. UPDATE 1630 GMT: An EA reader points us to a curious piece (http://sahamnews.org/?p=551) that appeared in Mehdi Karroubi’s Saham News this past weekend. The apparent confusion and even dispute between Karroubi and Khatami over a supposed approach to the Supreme Leader has been at the back of my mind while trying to read latest events. Any assistance from readers appreciated. UPDATE 1500 GMT: EA sources, as well as readers, offer important amendments to our reaction: First, it should be noted that Hossein Karroubi contacted a number of press outlets after Fars News claimed that Mehdi Karroubi had declared, without reservation that, he “recognised the President”. Given Fars’ past record, as well as the unlikely scenario that Karroubi would make such an important statement through that outlet, the scenario is that Hossein Karroubi was putting out a hasty “clarification” to prevent the Fars story from getting any traction. Second, Hossein Karroubi’s clarification had two important qualifiers. First, he made clear that his father saw Ahmeadinejad as “selected leader” rather than “elected President”. Second, even though that selection was on the basis of the Supreme Leader’s endorsement, there was a pointed reference to this as the action of “Mr Khamenei”. So the story seems to move away from a concerted response linking Karroubi and the “establishment” critics of the Government. Still, questions remain: Why did Hossein Karroubi not give a simple repudiation of the Fars report? For the statement he offered has a curious tension: Mehdi Karroubi accepts the overriding verdict of the Supreme Leader (and thus velayat-e-faqih) even as he diminishes leader and system with the “Mr” tag. And perhaps more importantly, is the Khatami letter to the Supreme Leader legitimate? For if so, Karroubi’s response is not only to Ayatollah Khamenei; it is to the former President’s attempt to bring together a group for reconciliation. A quick reaction to emerging events, combined with the inside information Enduring America received last week: Last week, as part of our articles on a possible “Plot Against President Ahmadinejad”, we noted that the key participants (Ali Larijani-Mohsen Rezaei-Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf) had extended invitations to Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to join the move. This morning, we are processing news that 1) Mehdi Karroubi, through his son, is saying that he is recognising Ahmadinejad as President (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/25/the-latest-from-iran-25-january-rumours-whispers-and-shouts/) because of the Supreme Leader’s endorsement; 2) Mohammad Khatami has written to the Supreme Leader (http://www.radiofarda.com/archive/news/20100125/143/143.html?id=1938808) upholding the process of reform but recognising the legitimacy of the Iranian system and has suggested the arbitration of Hashemi Rafsanjani in a resolution of political issues. No one has yet been able to put forward a reason for the apparent shift, so here goes: the overture by the “establishment group” was not rebuffed. Instead, a deal may have been struck: the Supreme Leader and velayat-e-faqih are beyond dispute. The June election will not be overturned (primarily because Ayatollah Khamenei endorsed it), but the “reformist” leaders can put their grievances and recommendations for change to a working group. And Ahmadinejad remains on the outside of the process. A lot of holes at this stage in the hypothesis. After all, this assumes that the Karroubi and Khatami statements are as reported (I tend to think that is the case). Mir Hossein Mousavi has not made a declaration. And, of course, there will be nothing in public to connect this to a Larijani-Rezaei-Qalibaf initiative. But, given how much rough water will be stirred rather than smoothed by these developments, best to cling on to something…. bigwinnman 27-01-2010, 09:51 AM That’s Mr. Supreme Leader to You? (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/thats-mr-supreme-leader-to-you/) January 26, 2010 http://niacblog.wordpress.com/ Following the news of Mehdi Karroubi ‘recognizing’ Ahmadinejad as head of government, many are quick to label him as a traitor, or wonder why the sudden softened stance from Karroubi. Although both Khatami and Karroubi dropped their demand for a new presidential election, the reformists still maintain that the presidential election was fraudulent. According to The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/26/world/middleeast/26iran.html), Karroubi’s equally controversial and ambiguous statements have created quite a frenzy. Mr. Karroubi’s son, Hussein Karroubi, contacted Saham News, a news service affiliated with the reform movement, to clarify that his father had not backed off any of his charges of fraud, or of protesters’ being raped and sodomized by prison staff members. “I stand firmly by the belief that cheating took place in the election and the results were doubtful, and I believe the vote count was completely rigged,” the younger Mr. Karroubi said, quoting his father, in an interview with Saham News. “However, since Mr. Khamenei endorsed Mr. Ahmadinejad, for this very reason I consider him the president of the current government of this system.” He referred to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. What is most interesting about Karroubi’s statements is the fact that he clearly defines Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy as coming from the Supreme Leader, and not the people of Iran; Karroubi continually upholds the belief that the results of the June presidential elections were fraudulent and rigged. Beyond that, referral to Supreme Leader Khamenei as “Mr.” Khamenei, rather than the more proper title of “Ayatollah Khamenei” or “Supreme Leader Khamenei” also adds to the bold nature of Karroubi’s comments. Perhaps this was meant as a tacit jab to Ayatollah Khamenei’s own authority. Some (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/26/iran-special-analysis-what-karroubis-statement-on-mr-khameneihead-of-government-means/)report that Karroubi’s use of “Mr. Khamenei” referral was not an accidental slip of the tongue, but rather meant as a deliberate insult to the Supreme Leader, citing that the comments remained unchanged on Saham News for hours. bigwinnman 28-01-2010, 10:04 AM Payvand Iran News ... 01/27/10 Zahra Rahnavard: We don't compromise or recognize Ahmadinejad's government Source: Mir Hossein Mousavi's facebook (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=276918527611&id=79757303129&ref=mf) Full transcript of the interview with Zahra Rahnavard, university professor, author and Mir Hossein Mousavi's wife is as follows: Rooz online: Mrs. Rahnavard, after Mr. Mousavi's 17th statement was published, some suggested that Mr. Mousavi recognized the legitimacy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government. Is this an accurate interpretation? Zahra Rahnavard: My personal understanding of this statement is that it stresses the fraudulent and unhealthy nature of the election. When the statement stresses such a matter how can anyone have such an interpretation? I believe that from the tone of this statement we can clearly see that Mr. Mousavi does not recognize a government that was established based on fraud. Rooz online: Recently there have been a lot of rumors about a behind the scene compromise by Mr. Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami and today some outlets reported that Mr. Karroubi has recognized the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad's government. Some have interpreted Mr. Mousavi's previous statement and Mr. Karroubi's remarks today as behind the scene compromises. Zahra Rahnavard: This is absolutely not true, no compromise whatsoever is in the works. I don't see any compromise in that statement, rather I believe it lays out the minimum desires and aspirations of the people of Iran that the current regime could easily fulfill. Rooz online: The current government has however, not accepted these demands to date. Do you believe they will eventually acknowledge and accept these demands? Zahra Rahnavard: I cannot foresee what will happen in the future. I can only hope that whatever happens is in the best interest of the people of Iran and that it honors our nation. I want to emphasize the fact that we neither acknowledge the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad's government, nor are we making any behind the scenes compromises. Rooz online: The new wave of arrests that took place after Ashura have lead to a more closed atmosphere and included many who have provided much service to the revolution. Do you believe that these arrests are going to have an effect on the people's movement? Zahra Rahnavard: These arrests are not only wrong and unacceptable, but they unfortunately continue. Arresting those who speak on behalf of freedom and people's rights has no legal basis. Let's not forget that aspiring towards freedom and desiring the rule of law and religious democracy are the foundation of the people's demands and their "vote" is therefore also integral to this issue. Arresting people, whether they be normal citizens, political activists or journalists, has no legal basis. What good did it do these gentlemen to arrest a figure such as Dr. Beheshti who is a symbol of human rights, one of the intellectuals of this movement and an avid supporter of the universities? I don't just mean Dr. Beheshti, rather I use him as a symbol for all our loved ones who have been arrested because of their humane and compassionate aspirations. Here I want to particularly emphasize the issue concerning women. Arresting Iranian intellectual lionesses will only lead to a great blow to the reputation and respectability of the Islamic Republic. Women who should be active in our society and working in our universities are currently spending their days in prison cells. This is a huge disgrace for the Islamic Republic both vis-à-vis our nation and in the eyes of the world. Rooz online: Do you think these arrests will have any effect on the people's movement/Green movement? Zahra Rahnavard: These arrests have no effect what so ever on the desires, demands and movement of the people. Our people are fully aware and have a very high political acumen. Today it is our people who are vanguards of our intellectuals, in many ways our intellectuals are following the people of our nation. Rooz online: Mrs. Rahnavard, many of those close to you and your husband have been arrested. Your brother was arrested once again and Mr. Mousavi's nephew was also martyred. How have these issues affected your personal and family life? Zahra Rahnavard: We live and breathe with the Green movement. I myself have always been suppressed by these ultra conservative circumstances, but have nevertheless expressed my opinions. Unfortunately their focus has been on myself and other freedom fighting women. The recent insults and marginalization are nothing new and have been going on for years. They are designed to suppress us, but have been taken too far. There was a time when they would not allow me to publish my books and they went as far as making me limit my activities and work to teaching at the university, but the pressures continued. Now it has been intensified. Their goal is for me not to exist, not to breathe, not to be. They even try to flare up and marginalize our love life. But everyone knows what type of life we lead and these pressures and threats have no effect on our life, our activities and our aspirations. Rooz online: I would like to better understand the effects of such sacrifices and the price that your family and those close to you have had to pay. Have they not effected their relationship with Mr. Mousavi? Zahra Rahnavard: These prices have not been paid for Mr. Mousavi, but for the Green movement. We are not focused on the individual and individualism and our family is no different than the rest of the people making sacrifices and paying a price. My brother is a scientist and specialist and has never been politically active, but like many other people he has also had to pay a price. We have made a shield of our chests and are ready for any kind of attack and terror. Rooz online: Mrs. Rahnavard you yourself have been attacked three times so far. It has been reported that those who attacked you are members of the "Basiji Sisters". Can you elaborate on this issue? Zahra Rahnavard: I can't say with all certainty if they were Basijis or not; but I know that they were under orders, and from the day before the 16th of Azar and up to the 18th of Azar I experienced very unsafe circumstances. They pursued me on a regular basis and once they even attacked and insulted me. On one occasion the university security forces removed me from the premises by car and a motorcyclist pushed his hand into the car, spraying pepper spray, which made me very sick and lead to my hemorrhaging from the kidneys. Those four days until the 18th of Azar, they either insulted me or attacked me physically and I had no sense of security. They stopped after the 18th of Azar and so far it has been quiet. Rooz online: Are you not afraid that something might happen to you? Have you thought about such an event? Zahra Rahnavard: Fighting for freedom and peace has always been an integral part of my life. That is why I am not afraid to die. As I said before, we have made a shield of our chests and I am personally ready for any attack or terror. ... Payvand News - 01/27/10 ... -- bigwinnman 28-01-2010, 10:12 AM Jan 27 2010 The Latest from Iran (27 January): Battle Renewed (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/27/the-latest-from-iran-27-january-battle-renewed/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/27/the-latest-from-iran-27-january-battle-renewed/#more-27022 1715 GMT: Satellite Wars? Iran’s Al-Alam television service has again been taken off-air (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSDAH727701) by its Saudi-based satellite operator. Al Alam was also briefly suspended in November. The cited reason was a contractual breach by the Saudi and Egyptian owners of the satellite service, although political tensions between Tehran, Riyadh, and Cairo may also have been involved. 1700 GMT: The German Menace. Oh, dear, it is a slow news day. Media are running with the Iran regime/media baton of the “German plot” behind the Ashura demonstrations (see 1130 GMT). Reuters put it on their newsfeed (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60Q3JR20100127), and The Los Angeles Times’ Babylon and Beyond has devoted a blog entry (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2010/01/iran-intellligence-officer-alleges-link-between-germany-and-opposition.html) to the whipped-up story, which goes back to the brief detention of two German diplomats during the protest of 27 December. At least the LA Times piece has some interesting related information, beyond the silliness of supposed German code names “Yogi” and “Ingo”. For example, the Iranian intelligence official pointed to the Facebook page, from which EA often takes information and English translation, supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi: “Through his Facebook page, Mr. Mir-Hossein Mousavi had called for his supporters to turn out. Mr. Mousavi has never denied the page was run by him.” (Message to our friends in the regime: in fact, Mir Hossein Mousavi has never had a connection with the page, which was set up by an Iranian in Germany who became enthused about the Mousavi Presidential campaign. That is why EA never cites information from that page as a reflection of Mousavi’s views) The Iranian official also put out the latest “directorate of exiles” supervising regime change: cleric Mohsen Kadivar, journalist Akbar Ganji, former culture minister Ataollah Mohajerani, filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf and former lawmaker Fatemeh Haghighatjoo. (Message to our friends in the regime: of those 5, exactly 0 are based in Germany — 4 are in the US and 1 in France. If you’re going to keep up this “German plot” thing, may want to find someone who actually has a resident’s-eye view of the Brandenburg Gate.) 1445 GMT: Sanctions Spin. A “senior US official” has told media (http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N27165947.htm) that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will use meetings in London this week, primarily devoted to Afghanistan and Yemen, to press other countries to accept new international sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme. 1345 GMT: On the Economic Front. The story is throughout “Western” media that the German manufacturer Siemens is ending all interests in Iran (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,674320,00.html). 1200 GMT: A Pause in Service. I’m off to Dublin for 24 hours so EA colleagues will keep an eye out for developments. Keep sending in any information — it’s a slow day so far…. 1130 GMT: OK, Let’s Try Blaming the Germans. Slow day today so nice of the Government and Iranian state media to raise a smile with their latest “findings” (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=117177&sectionid=351020101): Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said Wednesday it has found evidence that German diplomats played a role in last month’s “anti-revolution riots” in Tehran. “Anti-Islamic Revolution agents, networks backed by Western intelligence services” and those who seek to promote sedition in the country had planned the Ashura riots in advance, the Iranian Students News Agency quoted a deputy intelligence minister as saying…. The intelligence official also said an advisor to the defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi had also been arrested. “Based on documents obtained from this person, he transferred confidential information to foreign countries through the ringleader of intelligence services of a European country,” the official said. 1000 GMT: We’ve posted the video (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/27/latest-iran-video-when-karroubi-met-fars-25-january/) behind the fuss over the Karroubi statement on Monday — his encounter with Fars News even includes a kiss on the head for the reporter. 0800 GMT: The Economic Front. An EA reader writes: For what it’s worth, spoke with a close family member in Iran today. It seems panic there is building about the economic situation. For one, there is fear about what is going to happen with money in the banks and more generally to the economy if the banks break down. But that is the lesser fear. Most Iranians I know never fully trusted banks (or the rial) and so put money that they have (if they have it) into land, gold, and other assets. On the other hand, real panic building about the pulling of subsidies. Most Iranians I know live a middle middle-class lifestyle. They will not likely get any “direct payments” from the government, but will see their gas and utility bills quadruple. They don’t know how they are going to afford it. 0715 GMT: For the first time in 48 hours, we’re drawing breath amidst a lull in breaking news. We have posted a morning analysis (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/27/iran-karroubi-why-this-is-much-ado-about-something/), “Much Ado About Something”, to go through the latest developments on the Karroubi statement and to draw out its political significance. And, for those who missed it last night, we have also cast an eye over Hashemi Rafsanjani’s latest statement (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/26/iran-rafsanjani-chooses-a-side/) to see if it has any immediate importance. bigwinnman 28-01-2010, 08:53 PM Jan 28 2010 Iran Document/Analysis: Karroubi’s Statement on the Political Situation (27 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/28/iran-documentanalysis-karroubis-statement-on-the-political-situation-27-january/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/28/iran-documentanalysis-karroubis-statement-on-the-political-situation-27-january/#more-27085 Britain’s Financial Times has published a lengthy interview (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9cfd2964-0a65-11df-ab4a-00144feabdc0.html) with Mehdi Karroubi. The full interview, covering Karroubi’s political involvement from 1979 to the present, is well worth a read, but these extracts get to the heart of Karroubi’s current move for reform and his challenge to the Ahmadinejad Government. The cleric’s comments appear to provide clarity on his proposed resolution, after his statement on Monday put him back in the centre of events: 1) once again, the call is for unity between “conservatives” and “reformists”, working within the Iranian system to remedy injustices and to ensure that the Constitution is upheld; 2) Ahmadinejad must go; 3) the man who needs to ensure this is the Supreme Leader. “Conservatives” like Ali Larijani, what say you? Ayatollah Khamenei, your response and agreement, please? ….. FT: How do you feel now when you see your opponents call for your prosecution or try to put you back in Evin, the same jail you were in before the revolution? MK: I have mixed feelings. One is that of sorrow. I feel sad to see some of those in jail now are the children of the revolution and had spent years in the Shah’s prisons. They have served the Islamic establishment for years. I wonder what has happened to the revolution? It was supposed to spread its umbrella and attract even its opponents. The revolutionary circle was not supposed to be this tight that even its children are not tolerated. This makes me sad. I believe in reform, which means to have the Islamic republic we promised during the revolution. I am committed to the promises of providing independence and freedom and establishing the Islamic Republic. We promised to respect people’s rights, give them freedom. We said if our opponents did not resort to guns and conspiracies, they could freely express their opinions and criticise the regime. These promises have been seriously damaged. FT: But your opponents say these acts are aimed at overthrowing the regime. MK: We do not want to make another revolution and do not seek to overthrow the regime. We are attached to the real Islamic republic, the one we promised to people which was approved by 98 per cent of the people [in a 1979 referendum]. You can see republicanism within Islam and you can see Islam within republicanism. I have put my young-hood, life and motivations to this belief. If one day the Islamic republic is taken away from me, I would feel emptied. One cannot spend decades for a cause and then conclude it was a waste of time. So, the Islamic revolution and the Islamic republic are the principles. Of course, this doesn’t mean we are denying weaknesses and shortcomings. FT: What has happened that the children of the Islamic society who founded it are now accused of trying to destroy it? MK: It is because neither the Islamic part of the Islamic republic has been paid the attention it deserved, nor the Republican part. The republicanism necessitated free elections in which the criteria had to be people’s votes. In other words, people are the final decision-makers. Islamic republic means state organisations and military bodies should not interfere in elections to damage the republicanism side of the regime as is happening now. On the other hand, Islamism of the system has been hurt. It means Islamic is presented in a very superficial way in discussions while superstitious and illusionary beliefs are spread. Islam is not restricted to prayer and fasting. Respecting people, not humiliating them, and observing their rights are other major parts of Islam to attract followers not to dispel them. We say a political current has been created which is weakening republicanism on one side because it doesn’t believe in votes and is undermining Islam. FT: How could they become so strong and sweep to power? MK: In sum, some power centres helped them to take control of some economic, political and cultural centres. Those who believed in putting Islam in a tight framework have swept to power and have expanded their belief to republicanism. How they managed to do so cannot be discussed now. Some immature acts in the first decade of the revolution – a period we are proud of – could be justified for a newly established system which had just got out of the Shah’s corrupt system and was struggling with a war with Iraq. But even at the time Imam Khomeini believed security forces should not search for drugs if they go to an opponent’s house to confiscate his weapons. Now, family albums are searched. Imam Khomeini believed some rogue acts in foreign policies, judicial matters and financial issues like confiscations of people’s properties had to stop after a certain period. FT: How much do you blame Mr Ahmadi-Nejad himself for the recent political turmoil? MK: Both Mr Ahmadi-Nejad himself and the political current behind him are very guilty for recent developments. Mr Ahmadi-Nejad is surely not alone. There is a group behind him who have a lot of influence on him. The group working with him is neither left nor right. Traditional lefties and righties believe in serious competition while keeping friendship. But this trend doesn’t believe in this kind of relationship. FT: Do you see Mr Ahmadi-Nejad and his backers as a risk to the Islamic republic? MK: They are not a risk in a sense that they are hand-in-hand with foreigners. I would not say that, because it needs to be proved. But isolating associations, thoughts, students, academics and the reform-minded clergy is really worrisome. Look at how [badly] the press, students, prisoners and students and even the senior clergy are treated. FT: Are you worried that such behaviour could cause the collapse of the Islamic republic? MK: These behaviours have made damages and will strike more blows but would not lead to the overthrow of the regime. I believe the Islamic revolution has strong roots. It is true that the Islamic regime has opponents, but the roots of Islam, the revolution and the Islamic republic are deep. I also believe there are still many power centres, including political, non-political and religious institutions, which can stop the trend of radicalism. Many senior clerics are unhappy with the current situation. They would not tolerate when they see serious damages are being made. They will surely stop it. FT: Do you think the government of Mr Ahmadi-Nejad can finish its four-year term? Is there any chance it might be dismissed? MK: When similar comments were made about the first four-year term of Mr Ahmadi-Nejad, I never agreed and insisted he would finish his term. It happened. Considering the political and economic problems plus a controversial foreign policy, I personally believe Mr Ahmadi-Nejad would not be able to finish his term. Look at the way he runs the country. He presented the budget to the parliament only yesterday [Jan 17] which is too late. I want to say that from cultural, foreign policy, economic, management and security points of view, the government has serious problems. Taking all these problems into consideration, I think the government cannot survive. FT: How much have the street protests against the government added to your doubts about the government’s survival? MK: This is one of the problems. The government was unable to act logically, hold healthy elections and set up a group to study protests over the election. If the government were far-sighted, these problems would not have been created. FT: Are the moderate forces of both sides getting close to each other to save the Islamic republic? And do they believe that one solution could be to dismiss the government? MK: This week, Mr [Akbar] Hashemi-Rafsanjani [former president] once again said that moderate forces from both sides should get together and find a solution. He rightly said the best person who could help this happen is the supreme leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei]. I agree with him. The forces from both sides who care about the Islamic system will join forces when they see, God forbid, the revolution, the system and the Islamic republic are at stake. This will happen quite soon. FT: How soon? MK: I don’t know how long it will take, but I think it won’t take too long. Look at certain indices: inflation, stagnation of the economy, closure of economic centres, in particular industrial units, which are working with 20 or 40 per cent of their capacities, increasing unemployment, poverty line standing at 7m rials (700) which means above 40 per cent of people are poor.
The continuation of this situation will create problems. The government is unable to tackle the problems and does not have the capability [to]. Look how many times the government changed its interior and economy ministers.
FT: If such a meeting of moderate forces is convened in the not-too-distant future as you say, what would be your vote? Would you insist that Mr Ahmadi-Nejad should go? Or will you compromise and give legitimacy to his government?
MK: It will all depend on what kind of discussions and options are raised. One option would be to reshuffle the cabinet by which not all the cabinet members but those who are inefficient are changed and [the president’s] interferences in ministries are stopped.
Mr Ahmadi-Nejad says one thing every day and creates problems for the country. What I’m seeking is an efficient government.
But knowing this man, I believe he would not change his behaviour.
FT: So, you recognise the government and have retreated from your earlier position that this government is not legitimate?
MK: Whatever I said about the election is still valid and, I repeat, it was not a healthy poll.
But the truth is that the parliament has voted for him and he was sworn in. But I assure you the same parliamentarians who won the election because over 2,000 reformists were disqualified by the Guardian Council [the constitutional watchdog], are ready to remove Mr Ahmadi-Nejad in one month if they put aside some considerations and cautiousness.
FT: You used to say this government was illegal and illegitimate. Now you want to make the cabinet more efficient or restrict Mr Ahmadi-Nejad?
MK: What I said is that if a group sits together, which was your question, they will decide whether Mr Ahmadi-Nejad should go or stay. I cannot decide on my own what should happen to him.
If the majority in such a meeting says he should stay and change his behaviour, I cannot oppose this. But I personally say this man does not have the capacity to continue. The oil revenues Iran earned under his presidency – about $350bn – were extraordinary. FT: What you are saying now is quite similar to what Mr Moussavi and Mr Khatami said recently. Does this mean the opposition leaders have decided to make a compromise because they see the future of Islamic republic at stake? MK: My personal view is that the government is incapable and does not have the votes of the people. But it is the government with which we have problems. I think the government should go, but if others don’t say so, I cannot push for it. The country’s problems will get worse and no choice will be left [for the regime] but to find a solution. But the truth is there is no news yet that the other side seeks a solution. The other side still thinks the post-election event was “sedition”. They believe things are going back to normal and the so-called sedition is being put off. FT: As I said, this was not your position before, that the government could go through some changes? MK: What did I say before? That the Islamic republic should go? FT: No. But you were refusing to recognise the government. Now you say the parliament has sworn him in. MK: You say what is the solution and I say it’s not only with me. We should first accept to sit together and talk. FT: The factors you cited that the government would not survive all existed in the first four- year term of the government as well. It survived last time. Why shouldn’t the government finish its term this time? MK: You have a strong body but you can be weakened following incidents and illnesses. The Islamic republic has paid enormously for these four or five years of Mr Ahmadi-Nejad. It does not have further strength. What happened in the presidential election [in June] had happened in the previous presidential election [in 2005] and the last two parliamentary polls. But the pent-up anger showed itself in an explosion this time. Such things don’t happen overnight. The hefty oil revenues have been a good cover so far. Now, the banks’ overdue payments have exceeded$40bn. It is similar to a strong body which could bear hardships for a limited period. That body is weak now.
FT: Demonstrators first targeted Mr Ahmadi-Nejad in their street protests after the election. But as you know that it’s been quite some time that the whole system and the supreme leader have been targets. People now call for a secular state. What do you think?
MK: I think these slogans are 100 per cent wrong and won’t bear any fruits. I am even suspicious of such slogans and don’t know if it’s truly by the youth who are emotional and immature or by certain [power] centres try to make people over-react and then use it as an excuse for suppression.
Our slogans are within this system and this constitution. Our constitution has some weaknesses but has lots of [democratic] capacities.
FT: Why don’t you tell your supporters not to chant the slogans?
MK: I do tell them. A small number of people chanted “Neither Gaza, nor Lebanon, My life is for Iran”. You saw how much it was misused by the other side. Some wise people believed the slogan should have been “Both Gaza and Lebanon, My life is for Iran”.
MK: I accept velayat-e faghih [the rule of supreme jurisprudent envisaged in the constitution]. I accept the Islamic republic and I accept the constitution. I don’t agree with slogans that call for changing power structures.
FT: Your allies are arrested. Your office and newspaper were shut down. What are your plans now?
MK: As far as it’s been possible, I have continued. But I feel sad that many of my friends are in jail. My pride is hurt that the Islamic republic has reached a point that it arrests its ministers, lawyers, vice-presidents, deputy ministers, governor generals and journalists. These people served the revolution for many years and were in jail under the Shah.
As for the limitations on me, I feel under semi-house arrest. The [state] policy is not to pay the price for putting me under an official house arrest. But in the meantime as soon as I have some kind of meeting somewhere, a group of basijis are dispatched to disrupt the gatherings.
I release statements and have some meetings with families of political prisoners. I do work to some extent. But these limitations are behind the radicalisation of slogans which I don’t agree with. Too much pressure backfires. When you hurt people, they chant radical slogans.
FT: Aren’t you worried that the gap between you and people might be widened now that you say their slogans are wrong?
MK: I back people but don’t want to cheat them. I tell them that we have reforms and believe in your freedom.
I have said repeatedly that people are their own leader. I’ve said many times that we are not leading the movement. People are protesting against the way they are treated. They feel humiliated. Iranians don’t accept to be dictated. They might tolerate for some time, but then they explode.
The most important factor behind Imam Khomeini’s success was that he valued people and respected their votes.
Yes, people are ahead of me. Being ahead means they are more determined and more prepared to achieve their rights without having any personal ambitions. Look at how women demonstrate sacrifice.
My agreement or disagreement with the regime wouldn’t have much impact on these people. The regime should be wise to find a solution and clear the mess to prevent further radicalisation.
People would take it positively if their demands are addressed and if free political debates are held in press.
FT: Do you think people now want to overthrow the regime?
MK: A majority of people do not want to overthrow the regime. In fact, anyone who cares about the future of this country is not after toppling the regime because it is not clear what would come out of it. If it was not thanks to the extraordinary leadership skills of Imam Khomeini, God knows what would have happened to Iran with the 1979 revolution.
We have to try to protect this system and the Islamic republic that we had promised should come into reality. In that case, the majority of people would be happy. We have to sit and see where the loopholes are and correct them.
FT: But your opponents say this is in fact an act of overthrowing the system.
MK: They wrongly say it is because they say that the US and Britain support us ,therefore we are wrong. And that the BBC supports us. BBC did the same during the 1979 revolution [backing the revolution].
We are neither after overthrowing the regime, not are its opponents. We are against monopolies, dictatorship and short-mindedness which would discredit Islam.
FT: Do you see Mr Moussavi regularly?
MK: Yes. We exchange views quite regularly.
FT: Do you co-ordinate policies?
MK: Yes and no. Mr Moussavi and his allies have certain views. The same is with me and my allies.
FT: Do you agree with his suggestions to end the political crisis?
MK: Yes, largely.
FT: Is there any sign that those suggestions are taken seriously by the regime?
MK: There is no sign yet.
MK: I see him less than Mr Moussavi.
FT: Why?
MK: That’s the way it is now. Mr Khatami does not release statements as we do.
FT: How about Mr Rafsanjani? How do you assess his role now?
MK: He should be assessed within his own framework. The favour he has done to us is that he has not condemned us even though he has been under a lot of pressure to do so.
He will have a significant role if there is supposed to be consensus one day. No one else could play his role between reformists and fundamentalists because of his background in the revolution and the role he played in choosing the supreme leader. He also holds two important positions at the Experts Assembly and the Expediency Council. He is able to do things that none of the elites in either sides can do.
FT: Is Mr Rafsanjani still waiting for the right time to come to intervene?
MK: I think he is under a lot of pressure and attacks in the media not to play any mediating role. The radicals know he can do certain things that we are not able to do.
Mr Rafsanjani threw his weight behind Mr Khatami [in 1997 presidential election] and Mr Moussavi [in June election].
FT: Will you attend the February 11 rally [to commemorate the revolution victory]?
MK: Definitely.
FT: You might be attacked. Your car was only recently shot.
MK: I was not scared at all. I was so calm. Thank God, my spirit is so high. I even welcome any risks to my life. I love to live like every human being and when you get older you feel more attached to your family and grandchildren.
This, however, does not stop me to go into the middle of crowd and travel around with sometimes a crappy car, as my wife complains [laughing].
FT: It is not always a question of risk to your life. As you know the nephew of Mir-Hossein Moussavi [the top opposition leader] was killed recently. Do you have any fears for your family?
MK: Without any exaggeration, I can say I have no fears. This is because I strongly believe in my ideas. My sons are now old and have white beards [laughing]. The youngest son is 31 years old. What can I do? Let them kill anyone they like?
FT: Last question: you created a storm by raising rape and torture in prisons and you came under a lot of pressure. Did that make any difference?
MK: Prisoners say their situation has improved a lot. I have no regrets for raising it, because I didn’t say the regime was systematically doing it. But there was some carelessness that I wanted to stop.

bigwinnman
28-01-2010, 08:56 PM
Jan 28 2010
The Latest from Iran (28 January): Trouble Brewing (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/28/the-latest-from-iran-28-january-trouble-brewing/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/28/the-latest-from-iran-28-january-trouble-brewing/#more-27082

0940 GMT: The Executions. The Iranian Students News Agency identifies the two demonstrators killed this morning, for “mohareb” (war against God), as Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour. Both had been detained before the elections (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/10/14/iran-the-politics-of-the-death-sentences/) as members of an outlawed monarchist group, and both had been put on television in a special Press TV documentary in August to “confess” (see separate EA video (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/10/09/latest-iran-video-the-confession-that-means-death/)).
However, what is unsubtle is the further twisting of the two cases to fit the more recent show of resistance to the regime. The Tehran Prosecutor’s office declared:

Following the riots and anti-revolutionary measures in recent months, particularly on the day of Ashura, a Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court branch considered the cases of a number of accused and handed down death sentences against 11 of those. The sentences against two of these people… were carried out today at dawn and the accused were hanged.
The sentences for the other nine of the accused in recent months’ riots are at the appeal stage… upon confirmation, measures will be undertaken to implement the sentences.

0925 GMT: As I make my way back from Dublin, two important pieces on EA:

We’ve posted extracts from Mehdi Karroubi’s lengthy interview (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/28/iran-documentanalysis-karroubis-statement-on-the-political-situation-27-january/) with the Financial Times of London, adding a snap analysis. The discussion seems to clarify Karroubi’s position after this week’s drama: he wants Ahmadinejad out and, while adhering to the Islamic system, he wants the Supreme Leader to be the man to defend the Constitution by pushing the President off the political cliff.
Alongside this, and indeed offering a contrast, is a guest analysis (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/28/iran-analysis-leadership-in-the-green-movement/) from Elham Gheytanchi on “Leadership and the Green Movement”: “The Green Movement…has avoided centralized leadership and instead has mobilized ordinary people beyond what was previously thought possible.”
0740 GMT: Britain’s Sky News is reporting, from Iranian state media, that two Ashura demonstrators have been executed.
0700 GMT: A gentler — if that is a word which can ever be applied to Iran’s post-election crisis — news day on Wednesday. There were no high-profile statements, and none of the drama of the Karroubi declaration of Monday.
There are reports that the Number One Target of both the “conservative” and “reformist” opposition, former Tehran Prosecutor General Saeed
Mortazavi, will not take up his position as head of the President’s unit to combat smuggling. That brings Mortazavi one step closer (http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=12749) to taking the public responsibility for the detainee abuses, especially at Kahrizak Prison. And the other primary target of the anti-Ahmadinejad forces, advisor Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, was attacked in the newspaper Mardomsalari. (http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=12744)
On the economic front, Ahmadinejad’s subsidy reduction proposal is beginning to run into trouble with Parliament. Three days into the 10-day period to comment on the President’s Development Plan, legislators forced the Government to withdraw “income bracketing” (http://www.roozonline.com/english/news/newsitem/article/2010/january/28//government-retracts-income-bracketing-scheme.html) for the subsidy cuts.
And another foreign firm, a US chemical company, has declared that it is ending any involvement in Iran. (http://www.astreetjournalist.com/2010/01/28/us-chemical-firm-stops-sales-in-iran/)
There was a piece of good news for the opposition (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/8882/), with journalist Mehdi Hosseinzadeh released after more than 7 months in detention. However, Persian2English posts on the “catastrophic situation” (http://persian2english.com/?p=5283) in Section 350 of Evin Prison.

bigwinnman
28-01-2010, 08:59 PM
Jan 28 2010

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

New EA correspondent Elham Gheytanchi writes:
The civil unrest that swept Iranian cities in the aftermath of the contested June 12th 2009 election escalates despite the Government crackdown. Violence has been intensifying. On Ashura (27 December), armed plain-clothed forces associated with the Basij paramilitaries beat and killed demonstrators who were also mourning the 7th day of the passing of dissident cleric Ayatollah Montazeri. Hundreds of human rights activists, journalists, opposition clerics, and women’s rights activists were detained on Ashura and the following weeks.
The question is now whether the state can suppress a grass-roots movement, albeit one without a leader, that has blossomed into broad and heterogeneous movement well-known to Iranians and to the world?

Hardliners have until now successfully headed off any attempt at organizing and institutionalizing progressive movements, while the Basij and Revolutionary Guards have freedom to organize, recruit and prosper. In the past, hardline elements in the Iranian state succeeded in suppressing the students’ semi-organized movement as well as the reformists who came to power in the 1997 election that led to the presidency of Mohammad Khatami.
Khatami’s failure to deliver reform first became evident in 1999 when the student uprising in the University of Tehran was violently crushed and the perpetuators went unpunished. In an open letter in 2004, Ayatollah Montazeri wrote to Khatami that he had let the Iranian people down by giving into the pressures exerted by the hardliners in the government. When the Alumni Association of the Office for the Consolidation of Unity (Advar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat) tried to organize students, the Iranian authorities arrested their leaders and indefinitely detained many of their activists. Nonetheless, for many of those hopeful for change, it took the second term of Khatami’s presidency to convince them that, given the unwavering support of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the hardliners would not relinquish their hold on power.
The most dynamic part of the women’s rights movement, the One Million Signatures Campaign to Change Laws Discriminating against Women, did not emerge under Khatami’s watch. This grass-roots movement has prospered during Ahmadinejad’s presidency (from 2006 onwards), despite his government proving itself to be harsh in its treatment of women. The Campaign works horizontally, without a leader and as a network of activists, and it has succeeded in becoming a widespread movement active in sixteen provinces in Iran.
Similarly, when Mousavi first started his presidential campaign about a month before the election — the time allotted for presidential campaigns by the Iranian Constitution — he asked his supporters to create “setads” or stations that could work independently. “Pouyesh” and “Setad 88” were examples of these independent campaign centers, part of a horizontal network of pro-Mousavi campaigners, comprised mostly of young and enthusiastic students. Later in June, when the demonstrators marched in the streets asking, “Where is my vote?”, Mousavi asked of his supporters that each one of them act as a news medium and spread information about protests, marches, demands and future actions among their family members, colleagues and in their communities. The horizontal structure served the Green Movement well, as the state-backed media refused to cover demonstrations and later denounced protesters as “agents of Western powers” or supporters of the “monafeghin” — a derogatory term meaning “religious hypocrites”, referring to the MKO (Mujahedin-e Khalq) stationed in Iraq.
As the Iranian state intensified its crackdown on protesters, Mousavi issued his 17th declaration on 1 January. This pointed to what has long been the case in Iran: civil rights movements forge ahead without much central planning or leadership. Mousavi stated that the Green Movement, like the One Million Signature Campaign, does not have a leader, and that the Ashura demonstrations took place without his leadership and without appeals from Mehdi Karoubi, other protesting presidential candidate, or Khatami.
As the use of naked violence by plainclothes forces on the streets reaches its peak, and state television and hardline newspapers show protesters’ faces in order to identify and arrest them, there is even more reason for the Green Movement to continue its existence without a leader or leaders. The stakes are high, and Mousavi has maneuvered cleverly by declaring himself not as a leader but as a strong supporter of mass protests. His proposals communicate a strong message to the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards: “You are directly responsible for the bloodshed.” The protestors showed their preference for non-violent methods on Ashura as they marched adjacent to the famous Pasteur Street where Ayatollah Khamenei lives and where Ahmadinejad’s office is located, without attacking his residence. They have done so without a leader.
The history of community organizing in post-revolutionary Iran shows that grass-roots movements flourish under harsh political conditions, relying on a horizontal structure and without much central leadership. Labor unions, city councils, students’ committees, teachers’ unions and women’s rights activism have been suppressed by the hardline-controlled Ministry of Information. There is a deep conviction in the ministry that any attempt to organize Iranian citizens for reform is led by foreign powers determined to destroy the entire Islamic Republic. Under these circumstances, the Green Movement has behaved much like women’s rights movement, which has avoided centralized leadership and instead has mobilized ordinary people beyond what was previously thought possible.

bigwinnman
28-01-2010, 09:02 PM
Obama pledges to counter bio-terrorism threat
US warns Iran of “growing consequences”

Thu, Jan 28, 2010 | Safar 13, 1431
Year Six, Day 343

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/01/28/98652.html

WASHINGTON (Agencies)
The United States on Thursday warned Iran would face "growing consequences" if it doesn’t halt its nuclear program and promised to take steps to ensure a faster response to possible biological attacks.

"As Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: they, too, will face growing consequences," said U.S. President Barack Obama in the annual State of the Union address.

Obama came to office pushing a new approach toward Iran, but his policy, notable for its different tone and offer of direct talks, has so far failed to convince Tehran to curb its nuclear program.

Iran has not responded to pressure to abandon its nuclear enrichment program, despite warnings of tougher action from the United States and other members of the P5+1 negotiating group, which including China, Britain, France, Russia, the United States and Germany.

Tehran acknowledged the existence of a second, secretly built nuclear enrichment facility in 2009. And it rejected a confidence-building measure that would have enabled it to ship partially enriched uranium out of the country for further enrichment so it could be used in a research reactor. The powers are considering further sanctions against Iran.

Countering bio-terrorism

Meanwhile, Obama promised to take steps to ensure a faster response to the threat posed by bio-terrorism and infectious disease.

"We are launching a new initiative that will give us the capacity to respond faster and more effectively to bio-terrorism or an infectious disease -- a plan that will counter threats at home, and strengthen public health abroad," Obama said.

Obama offered no further details but the White House issued a statement saying government officials would "re-design" medical contingency plans to ensure the speedy delivery of drugs in the case of a major biological attack or the spread of infectious disease.

The effort would take advantage of "market forces" and enlist the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to reduce the risks posed by biological weapons and infectious disease, it said.

Obama's vow came a day after a bipartisan panel warned the government had failed to take sufficient action to respond to the threat of possible biological attack.

The Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism said in a "report card" that the government's botched response to the swine flu epidemic showed a lack of readiness which it said dated back to previous administrations.

bigwinnman
29-01-2010, 09:40 AM
2 More Executed in Iran (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/2-more-executed-in-iran/)

January 28, 2010

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

The NY Times (http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=niacblog.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2010%2F01%2F29% 2Fworld%2Fmiddleeast%2F29iran.html) reports that Mohammad-Ali Zamani and Arash Rahamipour were hanged before dawn for their suspected role in the April 2008 mosque bombing in Shiraz, Iran. The mosque bombing killed 13 people and left 200 others wounded. 9 others were also found guilty of “moharebeh”, or being enemies of God, as they were arrested in the midst of the December Ashura protests.
This is being viewed as an attempt to frighten protesters before the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Republic on February 11, where anti-government rallies are to be expected.

“Following the riots and anti revolutionary and foundation-breaking actions of last few months, especially on the day of Ashura, Tehran’s revolutionary court has sentenced 11 people to death,” the semiofficial ISNA news service reported.
Amnesty International (http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/amnesty_international/index.html?inline=nyt-org) further reports that Iran is second to China in rate of executions; President Ahmadinejad’s execution rate has nearly quadrupled, from 86 in 2005, the year he initially took office, up to 346 in 2008. Human rights groups additionally report that over 115 have been killed since the disputed June presidential elections and Ahmadinejad’s August inauguration.
Notably, Zamani and Rahamipour’s family members state that the two were arrested before the election, and were not involved in the post-election protests.

In an interview in October with the Rooz Online Web site, Mr. Rahmanipour’s lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, said that his client was actually arrested in late March or April. “He has nothing to do with the election or the post-election events,” Mr. Sotoudeh said at the time. “They tried to create fear when he was arrested and even arrested his pregnant sister.”
Adding to the confusion of Mr. Alizamani’s arrest, some Iranian news sites report that he was detained before the protests. Regardless of the causes of arrest, the executions are seemingly intended as defense; the Iranian governments is apparently gearing itself for another round of opposition come February 11th.

bigwinnman
29-01-2010, 09:43 AM
Jan 28 2010
Iran Document: Karroubi Maintains the Pressure (28 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/28/iran-document-karroubi-maintains-the-pressure-28-january/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/28/iran-document-karroubi-maintains-the-pressure-28-january/#more-27113

Yet another forthright declaration comes from Mehdi Karroubi in an interview with his website Saham News (http://sahamnews.org/?p=639) today, following his detailed statement to a British newspaper on Wednesday.
In case anyone is still unclear, Karroubi hammers home the message: Ahmadinejad is an illegitimate and irresponsible “President”. And those who back him, not those who oppose him, have betrayed the Islamic Republic. (Supreme Leader, what say you?)
Translation from the Facebook page supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi, and passed on by The Flying Carpet Institute (http://theflyingcarpetinstitute.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/mehdi-karoubi-there-is-no-retreating-when-it-comes-to-peoples-rights/):
SAHAM: Mr. Karroubi, Recently there was news from you regarding the status of Ahmadinejad’s administration that was followed by different interpretations. The most important interpretation that bothered many people was the idea of your retreat from and overturning of your position after the election. Did your remark mean retreating and entering a new phase?
KARROUBI: It is really strange for me that the experts misunderstood my clear and blunt remark. I ask the experts to pay attention to the introduction and conclusion of my remark.
I have emphasised my criticism over the problems with the election and its results which were the outcome of fraud and engineering OF the votes and continue to do so. However, Mr. Ahmadinejad is the head of the administration, whom despite all the protests has taken the power in the Executive Branch and thus must be accountable for his actions. Currently everyone, inside and outside [the country], in favour of him or in opposition, calls him the head of the establishment’s administration, meaning the one who controls the Executive Branch. Therefore, they demand [from him] that which s the responsibility of the head of the Executive Branch.

This is not something new and does not mean retreating from the previous position at all. This is just like other countries that, when someone takes the power, regardless of how, he/she is called with the relevant title. The protestors’ and my criticism about the legitimacy of this power is still intact, and I still believe that the people’s right to determine their fate was ignored in the 10th presidential election. If the election had been held correctly and the Guardian Council had really safeguarded the constitution, the outcome would have been different and the country and people would not have paid such cost. As I have said before, since this administration has not risen from the people’s vote, it cannot continue with its work.
SAHAM: You criticized the Guardian Council but Mr. Jannati [Ayatollah Jannati, head of the Guardian Council] in his latest remarks, has said that the Islamic Republic conducted one of the healthiest elections. He called the claim of fraud in election by people inside and outside the country ridiculous and stupid and said those people have sold themselves and have committed a betrayal that no one has done before. What is your opinion about these remarks that are a clear insult to this country’s nation and its senior figures?
KARROUBI: I read Mr. Jannati’s remarks too.
It is close to thirty years that Mr. Jannati [Editor: Note Karroubi, like the questioner, uses "Mr Jannati", diminishing Jannati's clerical status] has been in the Guardian Council and for many years he has been the General Secretary of this council and has had a decisive role there.
The talent of Mr. Jannati and his friends has been to turn the legal stature of this council to this pitiful situation. He considers the claims of fraud in election ridiculous and calls it betraying the country, but who is that does not know the one who betrayed this revolution, the martyr’s blood, Imam [Khomeini], and the dear people of Iran is he himself that has brought the country and the revolution to a point that even funerals are held with the presence of the riot police and plainclothes militia?
Pre-approving candidates in the elections and extensively disqualifying this country’s experts in various elections such as for the Assembly of Experts, the Parliament and the Presidential election, making up results as they please, and even changing results after the announcement of them are some of his talents. These betrayals are not only evident to him but also to the people.
Mr. Jannati, today the cry of Iranian people is the response to your betrayal of the people’s votes, the Constitution and Imam Khomeini’s and martyrs’ ideas by making the principle of the election meaningless and slaughtering the Republic.

bigwinnman
29-01-2010, 09:52 AM
Jan 28 2010
http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/28/iran-document-resignation-letter-of-diplomat-in-japan-join-the-people/#more-27102
Iran Document: Resignation Letter of Diplomat in Japan “Join the People” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/28/iran-document-resignation-letter-of-diplomat-in-japan-join-the-people/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/iran-green-revolution-facebook-lead-150x150.jpg (http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/iran-green-revolution-facebook-lead.jpg)Last week Abolfazl Eslami became the second Iranian diplomat to resign (http://persian2english.com/?p=5238) over the Government’s conduct in the post-election crisis. He then wrote his fellow officials at the Iranian Embassy in Tokyo, asking them to join the opposition movement. Translation from Persian2English (http://persian2english.com/?p=5238):
With respect,
Today, we have all heard about the Supreme Council of National Security`s statement on the Kahrizak scandal. The statement addresses crimes that Ayatollah Montazeri spent an entire lifetime to expose. We in the foreign affairs ministry failed to listen and the Almighty humiliated these criminals by forcing them to publish their own statement of humiliation. Ayatollah Montazeri had to go through a lifetime of detention and accusations to allow blind people like us see what has been exposed by this statement. But instead, we heard criminals accuse Ayatollah Montazeri, and we laughed about it.

Dear Colleagues,
After the release of the statement on the Kahrizak scandal, we must concede that we have served a lifetime defending a regime that has killed and tortured innocent people. We knew about these atrocities more than anybody else. We have not forgotten that in Khatami’s term, Mr. Ali Akbar Yasaghi, the head of the Prisons Organization, admitted that 100 detention centers were not under our supervision. Mr. Shahroodi ordered the illegal prisons to come under the supervision of the Prisons Organizations. Has the order of Mr. Shahroodi been executed?We have all read the secret report of Hojat ol Eslam Abasali Alizadeh, the head of the Justice Ministry in Khatami’s time. He wrote on the illegal prisons, the killing of innocent girls and boys in prisons, the ‘circle murders’ in Kerman and Karaj, and the ‘chain murders’ in Tehran. Additionally, we all witnessed his dismissal by the Supreme Leader the day following [the release of the report].
Dear Colleagues,
Oppressed people like Ayatollah Montazeri had to go through a lifetime of suppression. We observed these crimes and excused them. We lived in residences payed by the dollars of the same people who were killed. Yet, we hugged and kissed our children in our wealthy households. We boasted to foreigners about a Saadi poem inscribed in the United Nations building: “One Limb impacted is sufficient.” We boasted that Imam Ali cried when a Jewish women was humiliated. We boasted that it is our religious duty to disclaim tyranny and to take the side of the oppressed. Now that the Supreme Council for National Security has confirmed the killings of youth under torture, have we forgotten all of that?
How many verses of the Prophet and Imams did we memorize about justice and oppression?
“If one sharpens the pen of an oppressor, he shares the oppression.”
“If one gives a bit of silk for an oppressor to use in his ink, he shares the oppression.”
We prayed, we fasted, and we went to Hajj, only to be paid for it by the government. If we had not prayed, we would not get our jobs. We would not be secretaries and ambassadors.
Is fighting the tyrant only part of our religion when it comes to Mecca demonstrations? Why did we forget it when our own people were killed?
Dear Colleagues,
We were naive to think that God almighty would not distinguish between us and Ayatollah Montazeri. Montazeri was truly a “Montazer” (waiting) for a lifetime. He waited for the Supreme Council of Security to declare the humiliation of the Yazid regime. He waited for truth to be obvious to everybody. Now we have no reason to remain in Yazid’s regime.
We, ambassadors, consulates, and staff of foreign affairs were among the founding columns of a regime that detained Montazeri and killed his supporters under torture. If we are guilty today, we cannot ask him to forgive us. He is in the heavens with his beloved and we are still on the payroll of a bloodthirsty regime.
I am begging you to come to your senses. There is still a way out. God is our greatest saviour.
Abolfazl Eslami

bigwinnman
29-01-2010, 10:33 AM
US strongly condemns Iran executions
Iran executes two over post-election unrest

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/01/28/98658.html
Fri, Jan 29, 2010 | Safar 14, 1431
Year Six, Day 344

TEHRAN (Agencies)
Iran executed two people on Thursday over widespread street unrest that erupted after the Islamic Republic's disputed presidential election in June, an Iranian news agency reported.

The two were among 11 people sentenced to death on charges including moharebeh (waging war against God), trying to overthrow the Islamic establishment and membership of armed groups, the ISNA students agency said.

The United States strongly condemned Iran's hanging of the two men, calling the executions a "low point" in Tehran's crackdown on dissent.

"Further isolation"

"It will only serve to further isolate Iran's government in the world and from its people," White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters.

"We see this as a low point in the Islamic Republic's unjust and ruthless crackdown on peaceful dissent. Murdering political prisoners exercising their universal rights will not bring the respect and legitimacy that Iran seeks," he said.

The executions were the first carried out for election-related incidents and may further increase tension in Iran ahead of possible new anti-government protests next month.

The presidential election, which was followed by huge opposition rallies, plunged Iran into its deepest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution and exposed widening establishment divisions.

In the most serious violence since the aftermath of the election, eight people were killed in clashes between opposition supporters and security forces on Ashura, the holy Shiite day of ritual mourning, which fell on Dec. 27.

"Following the riots and anti-revolutionary measures in recent months, particularly on the day of Ashura, a Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court branch considered the cases of a number of accused and handed down the execution sentences against 11 of those," ISNA said.

"The sentences against two of these people ... were carried out today at dawn and the accused were hanged," ISNA said, adding the sentences had been confirmed by an appeal court.

It named the two as Mohammad Reza Alizamani and Arash Rahmani Pour

Rahmani Pour's lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh denied that her client had any role in the post-election riots.

"He was arrested in Farvardin (the Iranian month covering March-April) before the (presidential) election and charged with cooperation with the (monarchist) Kingdom Assembly," Sotoudeh told AFP.

Sotudeh said that Rahmani Pour was arrested at the age of 19.

Sotoudeh said she was prevented from representing Rahmani Pour at his "show trial" in July and that many of the charges related to the time when he was a minor.

"The sentences for the other nine of the accused in recent months' riots are at the appeal stage ... upon confirmation, measures will be undertaken to implement the sentences," ISNA said.

ISNA said the charges included membership of two anti-revolutionary groups, including a pro-monarchy association.

The reformist opposition says the June election was rigged to secure hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election. The authorities deny this.

Officials have portrayed the protests as a foreign-backed bid to undermine Iran's Islamic system of government.

Internet messages have been circulating about new protests on Feb. 11, when Iran marks the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed shah.

bigwinnman
29-01-2010, 08:23 PM

January 28, 2010

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

Just over an hour ago, the Senate passed a sweeping expansion of Iran sanctions by unanimous voice vote. The bill, S.2799 (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:s2799rs.txt.pdf), was introduced by Senator Dodd last Fall and would require the President to impose draconian sanctions on a broad range of activities involving gasoline imports in Iran.
Some, including NIAC (http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1643&Itemid=2), have criticized the bill for imposing mandatory sanctions that the President must enforce (or else issue a waiver on a case-by-case basis), rather than giving the President options. Many Obama administration officials have weighed in as well on the measure, recommending that it be altered to preserve (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/images/091211_200912110001.pdf)the President’s flexibility in matters of foreign policy and that it be tailored (http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1644&Itemid=2) so as not to harm innocent Iranians.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had this to say prior to the bill’s passage:

McConnell: Madame President. Frequently these kinds of unilateral sanctions measures make little or no difference. This measure, however, is crafted in such a way that it could actually be effective with America alone, not having to depend on cooperation of other countries that tend to be less concerned about whether Iran ultimately becomes armed with nuclear weapons. So this is an important piece of legislation as the Majority Leader has said, as Senator McCain has said, as Senator Lieberman has said. It can actually make a difference.
The timing for this move was unexpected, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced only days ago that he expected the bill to be brought up “in the next few weeks.” (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jUPFaeGcJ2QIl9BHg45EUHEYjbKA)

bigwinnman
29-01-2010, 08:30 PM
Jan 29 2010
The Latest from Iran (29 January): Sideshows and Main Events (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/29/the-latest-from-iran-29-january-sideshows-and-main-events/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/29/the-latest-from-iran-29-january-sideshows-and-main-events/#more-27142

0750 GMT: Remembering Montazeri.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cF3xSTmvvmI at Najafabad, the birthplace of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, was empty on Thursday to mark the passing of the cleric in late December. Memorials for the “40th Day” of Montazeri’s death were planned for both yesterday and today.)
0650 GMT: There are a number of obstacles to clear this morning before getting to the important developments. Foremost amongst these is last night’s news that the US Senate, the upper house of the Congress, has approved tougher sanctions against Iran. The focus is on petroleum, denying loans and other assistance from American financial institutions to companies that export gasoline to Iran or help expand its oil-refining capacity. The penalties would extend to companies that build oil and gas pipelines in Iran and provide tankers to move Iran’s petroleum. The measure also prohibits the United States Government from buying goods from foreign companies that do business in Iran’s energy sector.
Even if sanctions are central to a resolution of Iran’s political crisis, as opposed to their place in the manoeuvres over Iran’s nuclear programme — personally, I don’t think they are — there is a lot of bureaucratic road to cover before they are in place. The Senate has to agree its version of the bill with the House of Representatives. More importantly (and The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/world/middleeast/29briefs-IranBrf.html) story (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/world/middleeast/29briefs-IranBrf.html) ignores this point), the Obama Administration so far has opposed the petroleum measures because they are unlikely to be effective. The White House and State Department prefer “targeted” sanctions, aimed especially at economic interests of bodies like the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

Then there is the Washington sideshow of Very Important People battering each other in the guise of offering the Very Best US Policy on Iran. The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012803560.html) announces the boxing match (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012803560.html) between Richard Haass, formerly of the State Department and now head of the Council for Foreign Relations, and the Flynt/Hillary Leverett duo, formerly of State and the National Security Council. The punches are entirely predictable — Haass, while proclaiming himself a “realist”, has joined the chorus of US experts singing of “regime change”, while the Leveretts are staunchly defending the legitimacy of the Iran Government — and pretty much swatting air when it comes to the complexities of the Iranian situation. (But Haass was best man at the Leveretts’ wedding, which turns a marginal story into a “quirky” one.)
So where are the significant stories? Well, there is yesterday’s execution of two detainees, Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour, who were jailed in April 2009 for endangering Iran’s national security. In one sense, this is another sideshow. Obviously, neither Zamani and Rahmanipour were involved in post-election protest and the “monarchist” group to which they allegedly belonged is not significant in the Green movement.
However, the regime was far from subtle in linking the hangings of the two men to the demonstrations of Ashura (27 December), and that linkage — inadvertently — displays its fear of the forthcoming marches on 22 Bahman/11 February, the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution. What’s more, by promising the executions of nine more detainees if everyone didn’t just shut up and go away, the Government made a risky commitment. Either it goes ahead with the executions, making more martyrs for the protests, or it backs down.
And then there is The Week of Mehdi Karroubi, with the cleric launching another broadside against President Ahmadinejad and his allies yesterday (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/28/iran-document-karroubi-maintains-the-pressure-28-january/). Some media continue to be led astray by confusion over Karroubi’s loud and emerging strategy — The New York Times, for example, mis-reads Karroubi’s latest statement (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/world/middleeast/29iran.html) as “conciliatory remarks…shifting the blame for the violent postelection crackdown away from Ayatollah Khamenei”.
They are not. Karroubi is both giving the Supreme Leader (or “Mr Khamenei”, as he was labelled on Monday) a chance and setting him a test: do what you are supposed to do under our Constitution and Islamic Republic, Supreme Leader, and make your President accountable for injustices and abuses.
Enjoy all the sideshows, folks, but in this political circus, that’s your centre-ring main event.

bigwinnman
29-01-2010, 08:38 PM
Bill punishes non-Iranian firms doing business in Iran
US Senate votes to slap new sanctions on Iran

Fri, Jan 29, 2010 | Safar 14, 1431
Year Six, Day 344
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/01/29/98742.html

WASHINGTON (Agencies)
The U.S. Senate early Friday approved legislation that would let President Barack Obama impose sanctions on Iran's gasoline suppliers and penalize some of Tehran's elites, a move aimed at pressuring Tehran to give up its nuclear program.

The sanctions, approved on a voice vote, would target companies that export gasoline to Iran or help expand the country's oil-refining capacity by, in part, denying them loans and other assistance from U.S. financial institutions.

"The Iranian regime has engaged in serious human rights abuses against its own citizens, funded terrorist activity throughout the Middle East, and pursued illicit nuclear activities posing a serious threat to the security of the United States and our allies," said Democratic Senator Chris Dodd.

"With passage of this bill, we make it clear that there will be appropriate consequences if these actions continue," said Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and a key sponsor of the legislation.

The sweeping measure must now be blended with a similar bill in the House of Representatives to forge a compromise measure for both sides to approve and send to President Barack Obama.

Punishing non-Iranian investors

The Senate bill aims to punish non-Iranian firms that do business in Iran's energy sector or help the Islamic republic produce or import refined petroleum products like gasoline by blocking them from doing business in the U.S. market.

Oil-rich Iran, which denies the West's charges that it seeks to develop nuclear weapons, lacks refining capability and relies on imports to satisfy 40 percent of its thirst for gasoline.

U.S. Senators have increasingly favored unilateral sanctions as Obama's year-old offer of engagement has failed to get Tehran to freeze its uranium enrichment program, which can be a key step towards an atomic arsenal.

"The Iranian regime has shown no interest in limiting its nuclear ambitions. And an entire year was lost as Iran moved closer and closer to its goal," said Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"Iran is closer to realizing its nuclear aspirations, and the U.S. has nothing to show for the outreach," he said.

The bill would close U.S. markets to Iranian carpets, caviar, and pistachio nuts -- which then-president Bill Clinton exempted from a U.S. trade embargo in an olive branch to Tehran.

It also requires that the president report to congress when non-U.S. companies become eligible for sanctions, under a 1996 law that punishes investments of more than 20 million dollars in Iran's energy sector.

Iran gets most of its gasoline imports from the Swiss firm Vitol, the Swiss/Dutch firm Trafigura, France's Total, the Swiss firm Glencore and British Petroleum, as well as the Indian firm Reliance.

The measure also expands the 1996 law to cover oil and gas pipelines and tankers, and requires the administration to freeze the assets of any Iranians, including members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, found to be active in weapons proliferation or terrorism.

It would also enable U.S. investors, including states' pension funds, to divest from energy firms that do business with Iran.

It would prohibit the U.S. government from purchasing goods from firms that do business in Iran's energy sector, or provide sensitive communications technology to Iran -- a measure that could affect telecommunications giants Siemens and Nokia.

U.S. lawmakers have also expressed growing frustration at resistance from other countries -- notably China -- to impose new UN sanctions on Iran, and have even accused Beijing of expanding its commercial interests there.

But the Senate bill could yield results "with America alone, not having to depend upon cooperation of other countries that tend to be less concerned about whether Iran ultimately becomes armed with nuclear weapons," said McConnell.

bigwinnman
30-01-2010, 09:16 AM
http://www.rferl.org/content/Where_Is_The_Color_Green/1943192.html

Where Is The Color Green?

January 29, 2010
Iran's flag is composed of three bands of color: green, white, and red. But in at least two official ceremonies in recent days, images of that flag have been used where the green color has been replaced by blue.

The move has led to speculation that the Iranian government is trying to get rid of the green in the Iranian flag because it's a symbol of the opposition movement that has been challenging the disputed reelection of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

This picture (http://isna.ir/ISNA/PicView.aspx?Pic=Pic-1480967-10&Lang=P) of the Iranian flag in which the green field has turned blue was used during the January 27 introduction of the new head of Iran's state news agency IRNA. (Note: this link is an ISNA photo).

"Ayandehnews" website reports (http://www.ayandenews.com/news/18003/) that during a meeting between Ahmadinejad and organizers of the Fajr Film Festival, the Iranian flag also appeared without the green color.

The website suggests the move might have resulted from the inexperience of the designer and is an insult to the flag and national symbol. It adds that officials should remain committed to Iranian symbols and values.

The opposition website "Rahesabz" meanwhile asserts (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/8877/) that government bodies have recently tried to avoid using the color green in their programs and gatherings.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari
__________________________________________________ _

http://enduringamerica.com/

Jan 29 2010
Iran Patriotism Special: Wiping the Green From The Flag (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/29/iran-patriotism-special-wiping-the-green-from-the-flag/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) Yesterday we noted (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/28/the-latest-from-iran-28-january-trouble-brewing/) that the Iran flag had morphed from Red, White, and Green into Red, White, and Blue in a speech by President Ahmadinejad to officials:
I thought this might have been a production slip-up, with the Iranian flag melting away into the sky, but now a 2nd photo has emerged, from Ahmadinejad’s introduction of the new head of the Islamic Republic News Agency:
Golnaz Esfandiari of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has more on the story (http://www.rferl.org/content/Where_Is_The_Color_Green/1943192.html).

bigwinnman
30-01-2010, 08:14 PM
Jan 30 2010

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

Dear Mr. Larijani, the honorable Head of the Judiciary,
The news of the execution of two prisoners accused of being Moharebs warriors against God) created a spark of surprise and astonishment amongst the nation of Iran. During a time when the political atmosphere is one of fervent hope to wipe out the dark clouds of hatred and vengeance, this faulty action by the judiciary system was only further proof that there is no willingness and desire to create calm in the country’s political atmosphere.

The judiciary, already accused of political maneuvering and ignoring justice and fairness because of its illegal and doubtful behavior towards reputable political forces arrested and jailed unfairly after the elections, will now be questioned even more after issuing suspicious death sentences for nine people and hastily executing two others.

A death sentence is regretful regardless of whom it is issued against, or whether or not that person deserves the punishment or is guilty of the crime. Even though we have no intellectual or actual kinship with these people, we are worried that the judiciary system is under the influence of forces that continue to move towards ordering further bloodshed and executions.
You are well aware that the death sentence is the only sentence that is irreversible. The legislators have therefore deliberately and knowingly created bureaucracy intended to lengthen the process between issuing and implementing a sentence in order to minimize any possible errors and unfair sentencing. The hasty executions of Mr. Rahmanipour and Mr. Alizamani have created much ambiguity and many open questions.
These two young men were naturally executed with your approval. In order to provide clarity to a highly inflamed public — in particular the supporters of the Islamic Revolution, who view this type of behavior against Islamic principles — to enlighten the public and eliminate any unnecessary advertising and propaganda against the system, and, more importantly, to protect the dignity of the judiciary and make sure that it is not compromised, it is important that you respond to the myriad of open questions which have been raised, some of which we will present in this letter.
If these sentences were fair and based on the law then calm will return to the political atmosphere. If God forbid, it is determined that unknowingly, these sentences were unfair and wrong, then you need to make it clear who will take responsibility for this heinous act, so that we eliminate the need to create committees such as those created to deal with the crimes at Kahrizak [Prison, where post-election detainees were abused and killed].
1) When were these individuals arrested? What was the reason for their arrests?
2) What was the logic for trying these individuals in the courts dealing with the aftermath of the elections, when they were clearly arrested a few weeks before the elections?
3) How were confessions obtained from them? In addition to their confessions, what other valid evidence was used to document their crimes?
4) Were fair judiciary procedures observed in their proceedings? Did they have access to legal representation? Were their lawyers allowed to visit them? Were their lawyers provided with sufficient time to review their case?
5) Is there any validity to the claims that the defendants were encouraged by interrogators to provide false confessions with the promise of lighter sentences? If true, does this not undermine the foundation of such a court?
6) Can the confessions given at the show trials, directed by those who committed the crimes at Kahrizak and who were also responsible for interrogating the accused, be the basis for issuing such heavy sentences?
7) Was the minimum Islamic compassion shown towards the accused, allowing them to meet with their families one last time before their execution?
Mr. Larijani, these questions and many more that have remained unanswered, have led the public to believe that the issuance and implementation of these sentences had no legal basis, was politically motivated and without logic and, God forbid, used to create political pressure and generate fear amongst the nation.
Mr. Larijani, we are aware that many of the penal codes based on constitutional principles were ignored in the the issuance and implementation of these sentences, in particular Rules 168, 165, 38, 35, 32. The lack of response to these ambiguities will cause irreparable damages to the country and the system.
“I will share the truth with you / You can either learn from my words or take offense”
The Islamic Iran Participation Front
29 Jan 2010

bigwinnman
30-01-2010, 08:23 PM
Jan 30 2010

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/30/iran-analysis-the-regimes-ultimate-challenge-we-will-kill-you/
Iran Analysis: The Regime’s Ultimate Challenge “We Will Kill You” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/30/iran-analysis-the-regimes-ultimate-challenge-we-will-kill-you/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/JANNATI-300x202.jpg (http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/JANNATI.jpg)Sometimes a story doesn’t take shape immediately. Sometimes words are put out for the public, their possible significance only emerged when they are repeated, reprinted, recycled. Sometimes the speaker may not even realise how “big” his declaration is going to be.
Sometimes, even when two people have their lives cut short for reasons far beyond their specific place in this world, the act is only fulfilled in days and weeks to come.
So it may prove with the hangings of Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour, two men whose arrest for alleged membership of a “monarchist” group took on its imposed meanings in the conflict which began two months later and is still ongoing. So it may prove with the speech of an Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a man whose long, confirmed membership within the Iranian regime reaches the point where he argues that Iranians could and should be put to death.
It may prove so for, twelve days before the anniversary of 11 Bahman (22 February), Jannati — as not the speaker at Tehran’s Friday Prayers but as the head of the Guardian Council, the body that supposedly gives legitimacy to Iran’s elections — saw not the ballot box but the coiled noose, the cocked trigger, the unsheathed blade and said, “Do it!”:

God ordered the prophet Muhammad to brutally slay hypocrites and ill-intentioned people who stuck to their convictions. Koran insistently orders such deaths. May God not forgive anyone showing leniency toward the corrupt on earth.
Only weeks after the Presidential election in June, another Friday Prayers speaker, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, had held up the possibility of death for “rioters”, albeit less dramatically than Jannati. The regime, however, did not opt for executions. It tried the security measures to disperse and even beat demonstrations out of existence. It tried the mass, loudly public trials of August. It tried hundreds, thousands of arrests in the night. It tried the expulsion, “filtering”, detention of those who might provide information that the protest continued. It tried firings and termination of studies.
Still the protests continued. Even in the “lull” after 13 Aban (4 November), the university campuses maintained the show of resistance. Then, when the regime may have convinced itself that it was primarily the students who were troublemakers and they could be contained and separated from “good” Iranians, tens of thousands (how many tens of thousands?) who were not students came out on the streets of Tehran and other cities on Ashura (27 December). They demonstrated and, in some case when they were confronted, they pushed back the security forces who had tried to remove them from visibility for the past six months.
When the history of this conflict is written, Ashura may take its place — alongside the march of millions of 15 June and the demonstration five days later which ended in more lives lost — amongst the most symbolic moments. For if 15 June showed the possibility and 20 June the danger, Ashura revealed the endurance of the challenge to the regime. The regime — frustrated, concerned, panicked — initially responded by calling from the highest levels for “good” Iranians to demonstrate their loyalty. And even after tens of thousands (how many tens of thousands?) responded, the regime was possibly still frustrated, concerned, panicked.
It did so in the thought that this might not be enough. This Government, this Supreme Leader had to prevent the mantle of the 1979 Revolution from being wrested from its grip on 11 February.
So more, many more detentions during the demonstrations and during the night. More disruptions of communications. More finger-wagging and shaking of the head from the Supreme Leader. More, shriller declarations of the “foreign menace”.
But this might not be enough. So on Thursday, less than two weeks before a public display which may or may not signal that this regime will never again be legitimate, its officials put to death two men. And even those two men had no connection with the post-election events, they were bound to it — as they had been with their “confessions” during the Tehran trials of August — by the pronouncement that nine others, some of whom were Ashura demonstrators, had been sentenced to the same fate.
So on Friday, an Ayatollah who has claimed leadership in this system since 1979, who is a staunch supporter not only of the “system” but of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the “head of the system”, defined that legitimacy not by elections, freedoms, discussions, public and private compassions but by the shout:
“Do It!”
He does so, I think, without the full recognition of the challenge he has set, not to those whom he opposes but to those whom he is nominally defending. For now, to make the warning real, the regime must put to death a few representatives not only of the pre-election “threat to national security” but of the post-election resistance and even of the specific defiance on Ashura. It must act before 11 Bahman, hoping that it suppresses the opposition rather than supporting it with more martyrs, more symbols of injustice and abuse.
To make the warning real, it cannot come just from an Ayatollah Jannati. It must also come from the head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, whom Jannati called out yesterday. And it must be endorsed by the Supreme Leader. Ayatollah Khamenei may wish to stand aside from this ultimate threat but this week he has faced his own challenge — Mehdi Karroubi speaks, speaks again, clarifies, reiterates a different “Do It”: get rid of this President and this illegitimacy that threatens to crumble not just a Government but an Islamic Republic.
For what Jannati set out — not only to the Green movement, not only to Mssrs Mousavi, Karroubi, and Khatami, but also to his Government and Supreme Leader — was this command, a command that defines how far this regime has advanced since June 2009:
To Assure Your Legitimacy, You Must Kill.

bigwinnman
31-01-2010, 12:01 AM
Jan 30 2010
The Latest from Iran (30 January): Threat (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/30/the-latest-from-iran-30-january-threat/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/30/the-latest-from-iran-30-january-threat/#more-27210

1215 GMT: Press TV has published its English-language report of today’s trial (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=117429&sectionid=351020101), recycling the points made in Iranian state media and summarised below.
1105 GMT: Taking a Stand. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, after meeting this morning, have expressed sorrow over Thursday’s executions, denounced other sentences and the “continuation of the current situation”, and called on their supporters to participate (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=278622532605&id=45061919453&ref=nf) in rallies on 22 Bahman (11 February).
With the statement, Mousavi and Karroubi have gone beyond their positions on Ashura (27 December). On that occasion, neither made a call for public demonstrations.
0945 GMT: The Trial. IRNA’s website simply lists the charges (http://www.irna.ir/View/FullStory/?NewsId=927149) against each of the 16 defendants. Everything from “support of terrorism” to “Communist tendencies” makes an appearance. Significantly,as previewed by Iranian officials this week, five of the 16 are charged with mohareb (http://www.rferl.org/content/Iran_Puts_16_More_Protesters_On_Trial_/1943804.html) (war against God), a crime which carries the death penalty.
Fars’ repor (http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8811100271)t focuses on the prosecution’s opening statement, headlining the “terror training” abroad for the protesters. Here is an example of such training: the well-known terrorist centre The Brookings Institution in Washington apparently put out a report, a few months before Iran’s Presidential election, setting out economic strategies.

0930 GMT: Threat. It is no pleasure to report how quickly both our headline and our morning analysis have been upheld by the regime this morning: “Iran Puts 16 Protesters on Trial (http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/01/30/world/AP-ML-Iran.html?_r=1)“. Both the Islamic Republic News Agency and Press TV feature the hearing for demonstrators arrested on Ashura (27 December), with the prosecution putting out the ritual rhetoric: “The defendants have confessed to spying, planning bomb attacks and damaging public and private properties….The defendants sent videos on the clashes between protesters and Iranian police to the ”foreign hostile networks.”

bigwinnman
31-01-2010, 02:17 PM
31 2010
Latest Iran Video: Defending the Executions (30 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/31/latest-iran-video-defending-the-executions-30-january/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
An interview from Al Jazeera English in which a Tehran University academic declares that the executions of Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were absolutely justified and then says, “I don’t know very much about this case.” Indeed, the academic says that one of the two was a member of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO); all Iranian officials, including the Tehran Prosecutor General, have claimed that both were “monarchists”.
(Note near the end of the interview the declaration by the academic that the father of one of the Kahrizak prisoners who died spoke to him and “is very satisfied with the way things have been conducted”. That “father”, Abdulhossein Ruholamini, launched a scatching attack on the Government’s conduct last week.)

Iran Document: Mousavi-Karroubi Declaration on Rights and 22 Bahman (30 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/30/iran-document-mousavi-karroubi-declaration-on-rights-and-22-bahman-30-january/)

bigwinnman
02-02-2010, 10:58 AM
31 2010

http://enduringamerica.com/
Latest Iran Video: Foreign Minister Mottaki on Elections & Protests (31 January) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/31/latest-iran-video-foreign-minister-mottaki-on-elections-protests-31-january/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
Take this as you will, as Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki responds to the challenges of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.
I do have to note that Mottaki needs to brush up on US politics — the disputed election of George W. Bush was in 2000, not 2004, and the Supreme Court that ruled in his favour was not appointed by him. He might also want to check the situation in his country — the Supreme Leader never held out the option of a full recount of the Presidential vote, and he might want to reconsider the claim that protesters were firing guns. And, as he holds on to the lifeboat claim of massive support on 30 December, three days after Ashura, I’m not sure that is boosted by compared Iran’s crackdown on protest to the response to demonstrators at the Copenhagen climate change summit.

bigwinnman
02-02-2010, 09:35 PM
http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/pic/mlogo.jpgFebruary 1, 2010
Special Dispatch No.2783
http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/pic/redline.jpg

http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3945.htm

Saudi Columnist: There Are Hundreds of Al-Qaeda in Iran

Recently, it was discovered that several of Osama bin Laden's children have been in Iran since 2001, where they have been held under house arrest. The discovery was made after bin Laden's daughter Iman called one of her brothers from the Saudi embassy in Tehran, to which she had fled after evading her jailors.[1] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3945.htm#_edn1) Subsequently, it was reported that the Saudi authorities were negotiating with Iran to permit her to leave the country and return to Saudi Arabia.[2] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3945.htm#_edn2)
In a sarcastic article, Saudi columnist Muhammad Al-Milfy wrote that this incident sheds light on the ties that exist between Iran and Al-Qaeda.
Following are excerpts:[3] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3945.htm#_edn3)

"A Young Saudi Girl Has Turned the Spotlight on the Ties and Relations... between Al-Qaeda and Iran"
"A young Saudi girl has turned the spotlight on the ties and relations which have existed between Al-Qaeda and Iran since the U.S. military's attack on Afghanistan in 2001... Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki responded to [the reports about] her presence in Iran during a New Year's Day [press conference], delivered in his famously jolly style. [His words] were at once amusing and saddening: he expressed amazement that Iman, bin Laden's daughter, had appeared at the Saudi embassy in Tehran, [and said] that the Iranian government had no idea how she had entered the country.
"The Iranian Foreign Minister, known for his amiability and his tendency to joke with his fellow statesmen around the world... ushered in the new year by giving the most prominent countries in the international community [an ultimatum of] one month to respond to the Iran's proposals [on the nuclear issue], putting Iran 'on an equal footing' with the superpowers. This, apparently, was his response to the extension [that the West] granted to his country [when it gave Iran] until the end of the previous year [to resolve] the nuclear crisis."
"How Can a Country that Demands to Participate in Running the World Let Its Border be Breached by a 17-Year-Old Girl?"
"Let us say, for the sake of the argument, that Iran can converse with the world's greatest countries from a position of equality. Does this mean that the Iranian authorities can [also] convince their citizens that they are able to defend the country's borders and protect its security in the case of a catastrophe? Such a catastrophe seems quite imminent considering that a young girl [apparently] managed to infiltrate these borders. Perhaps she and 30 of her relatives, most of them children, crossed the border wearing invisibility cloaks?...
"The baseless excuses with which the Iranian regime justified its refusal to allow bin Laden's daughter to leave the country – namely that she had entered Iran illegally and must be interrogated [and then] brought to the border checkpoint – are ludicrous. How can a country that demands to participate in running the world let its border be breached by a 17-year-old girl – especially in these sensitive times, when [the security forces are] on the alert for any unusual incident, great or small?!"
"It Is Estimated that [There Are] Hundreds of Al-Qaeda Fighters [in Iran], If Not More"
"Iman bin Laden and her siblings, along with their children and spouses, are not alone in Iran. It is estimated that they are accompanied by hundreds of Al-Qaeda fighters, if not more. Prominent among these [fighters] is Saudi national Salah Al-Qar'awi, who appears on the list of 85 most wanted [terrorists] issued by the Saudi authorities in January 2009, and who has called his relatives from several different numbers in Iran!... There are also Suleiman Abu Gheith and Muhammad Makkawi. [Abu Gheith], a former officer in the Egyptian Special Forces, is known in [Al-Qaeda] as Sayf Al-'Adel ['Sword of Justice']. He is thought to be the organization's military mastermind, who plans its operations from Iran. Maybe he [works] in the building whose existence was exposed by Iman bin Laden after she took refuge in the Saudi embassy last month. She and her brother found themselves in [such a] dire situation [only] because of their father's deeds, and it is possible that throughout [their stay in Iran], this country and its proxies used them like commodities in the market, in order to carry out political blackmail.
"[I am afraid that] there is no room for hope that Tehran will let Iman leave the country, alone or with her brothers, [and join] the bin Laden family in Saudi Arabia, Syria, or Qatar. Considering what she knows about the complicated ties between Al-Qaeda and Tehran, she will not be allowed to leave so easily. It's possible that the Iranian secret services will sabotage the official understandings [in this matter], for they are the ones handling the relations with Al-Qaeda and other organizations of its sort. Don't be surprised if the Basij places thousands of its members outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran – in what will be presented to the world as a [spontaneous] civilian [protest] – and eventually [the crowd] will storm the embassy and the girl will be kidnapped.
"The Iman bin Laden affair exposes the depth of the ties that [Osama] bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri maintain with Iran. This affair does not require a strenuous investigation to explain it. Will clever people draw the obvious conclusions?"
Endnotes:

[1] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3945.htm#_ednref1) [I]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), December 23, 2009.

[2] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3945.htm#_ednref2) Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), December 27, 2009.

[3] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3945.htm#_ednref3) Awan (Kuwait), January 7, 2010.

Clear Conscience
03-02-2010, 12:35 AM
Today Moussawi considered the Islamic revolution as devolving toward a system similar to the Shah regime. He said too that the dictatorship in the name of religion is the worst types of dictatorships.
God Bless him.

bigwinnman
03-02-2010, 10:32 AM
Dictatorship remains despite revolution: Opposition leader
Iran to hang nine more over election turmoil

Wed, Feb 03, 2010 | Safar 19, 1431
Year Six, Day 349

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/02/02/99153.html

TEHRAN (Agencies)
Iran said on Tuesday it would soon hang nine more rioters over the unrest that erupted after the June presidential vote, and the leader of the opposition said such repression showed the 1979 Islamic revolution had failed.

"Nine others will be hanged soon. The nine, and the two who were hanged on Thursday, were surely arrested in the recent riots and had links to anti-revolutionary groups," said senior judiciary official Ebrahim Raisi, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The two men hanged last week were among a group of 11 people sentenced to death on charges including "waging war against God" and being members of armed groups.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, said on Tuesday the repression showed the 1979 Islamic revolution that overthrew the U.S.-backed Shah "had not achieved its goals".

The ex-premier, once rated as a key pillar of the Islamic revolution, added in a strongly worded interview posted on his website Kaleme.org that present day Iran showed the "attitude of a historic tyrant regime everywhere."

"Filling the prisons and brutally killing protesters show that the root of ... dictatorship remain from the monarchist era," he said.

"Dictatorship in the name of religion is the worst kind. The most evident manifestation of a continued tyrannical attitude is the abuse of parliament and judiciary. We have completely lost hope in the judiciary," he added.

Mousavi also slammed influential cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati for praising the hangings and for urging the judiciary on Friday to execute more.

"The cruel cleric praises the judiciary for the hangings despite serious concerns over the methods used for getting confessions from detainees," Mousavi said.

Eight people, including a nephew of Mousavi, were killed in demonstrations during the Shiite ritual of Ashura on Dec. 27 and officials said over 1,000 were arrested.

"The 'green movement' will not abandon its peaceful fight ... until people's rights are preserved," Mousavi told the Kalemeh website. "Peaceful protests are Iranians' right."

Anniversary of revolution

Celebrations marking the 1979 return from exile of hardline cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini began on Monday and will climax on February 11, the anniversary of the fall of shah who had ruled Iran for nearly four decades.

Mousavi’s comments may encourage supporters to take to the streets again. If so, clashes are expected.

Since a disputed presidential election in June that gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term, the opposition has used state rallies to stage anti-government protests. Mousavi and another defeated candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, have urged their supporters to attend the Feb. 11 events.

"Under no condition will we let the 'green movement' show up ... it will be firmly confronted by us," said Hossein Hamedani, a commander of the Revolutionary Guards.

The poll, which reformist leaders said was rigged, touched off the worst internal crisis in the Islamic Republic's history. The government denied any fraud in the voting.

bigwinnman
03-02-2010, 10:40 AM
02 2010
Iran Document: The Rallying Call of Mousavi’s 14 Points (2 February) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/02/iran-document-the-rallying-call-of-mousavis-14-points-2-february/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/02/iran-document-the-rallying-call-of-mousavis-14-points-2-february/#more-27404

We’re awaiting the full translation of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s statement today in Kalemeh. (Khordaad 88 is working on the text, and Pedestrian has posted the English text (http://www.sidewalklyrics.com/?p=3491) of the answers to two of the ten questions.) But, to emphasise the importance of the answers he gave in the interview, an EA correspondent has brought out the 14 high points:
1) The Constitution is not an unalterable Revelation. It was changed in 1989, and we can change some parts of that [version], based on needs and demands of the people and on our national experience.
2) Those who have limited the media and monopolise Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting for their demands weaken the basis of the Islamic Republic.
3) Based on that (the restriction of the free flow of information in Iran), the foreign media have become more important than Iran’s but Iranian people do not give up their national interests and religious and historical value for foreign propaganda.

4) Overthrowning the Constitution has many problems. The first of these is that it will not be supported by the majority of the people.
5) The second problem is that we would fall in the face of the religious beliefs of people, as the people did vote for the Constitution of the Islamic Republic.
6) I think Iranian people have no grudge against police and Basiji (militia), as people know them for themselves (i.e., they are having to serve the regime).
7) I advise police and Basij to be kind and respectful to people and suggest the Green Movement also respect national and religious beliefs of people.
8) In the Green Movement, every person is the media.
9) Today justice, especially economic justice, is tied to liberty.
10) We should support less fortunate people, not only for our campaigning, but for the improvement of their lives. This is a principle of our actions.
11) Even though the report from the Kahrizak Prison scandal has been send to Parliament, it is clear that Parliament in some cases which are its duty can not control the government.
13) The anniversary of the Islamic Revolution is held every year to show that we, the Iranian Nation, are against dictatorship and that we are the supporters of liberty and democracy.
14) We are very disappointed at the Judiciary as they brought Alireza Beheshti (the son of the first head of the Judicary, Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti) to the court in pyjamas.
15) Today our prisons are now filled with educated people, and now I am sorry that I am not with my friends.

bigwinnman
03-02-2010, 08:28 PM
03 2010
Iran Special: Full Text of Mousavi Declaration for 22 Bahman (2 February) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/03/iran-special-full-text-of-mousavi-answers-for-22-bahman-2-february/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

Translated by Khordaad 88 and posted on the Facebook page supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi (http://www.facebook.com/notes/mir-hossein-mousavi-myr-syn-mwswy/mousavi-says-he-will-continue-fight-for-reform-full-english-myrsyn-mwswy-nqlb-tm/283762677605). The Facebook page also has the Persian original of the answers to 10 questions put by Kalemeh:
Q: We are approaching the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. How can the recollection and commemoration of those days benefit us today?
MOUSAVI: First and foremost, I want to congratulate all of our people on the 31st anniversary of our [victory in the] Revolution, particularly the families of our martyrs, our [war] veterans and prisoners of war [with Iraq].

(http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/03/the-latest-from-iran-3-february-picking-up-the-pace/)
Analyzing the Islamic revolution has not come to an end yet. There have been thousands of books and articles written about it and many still to come. It is interesting that the recent elections and the events following it have brought forth new critiques of the Revolution.

Some of these analyses mainly focus on the similarities between [these events[, some explore the similarities as well as the differences, and others seek the roots of the Green Movement in the Islamic Revolution. In any case, these critiques are very beneficial, particularly for the younger generation who are the main moving force of the Green Movement.
There were many factors that converged in bringing together our people, particularly the marginalized [people], under the brilliant leadership of Imam Khomeini, and led to the [victory of the] Revolution. There is much to say about this, but what I think is particularly relevant to our current situation and would like to mention now, at the beginning of this interview, is that in the 1979 Revolution, all of our people had united and were present in shaping the Revolution. This unity was so strong that it even took over the military bases. The historic picture of the officers of the air force saluting Imam Khomeini on the 8th of February is important in documenting this.
In the days leading to the revolution we didn’t have two groups, a majority and a minority, in the streets. Because the unpopular and dictatorial regime of the Shah had completely lost the roots of its legitimacy , it had no base left, even among the military forces. In those days even specific political groups with very distinct positions lost their differences and, some even reluctantly, joined the masses of millions in asking for “independence, liberty, Islamic Republic”.
Q. Can we say that the fall of the Pahlavi regime was inevitable?
MOUSAVI: The regime had completely lost its legitimacy. Of course, the [regime’s forces] killing civilians on the streets had a lot to do with this. The murders of 17 Shahrivard [8 September 1978] were a defining moment. If we look back, we see that if the Pahlavi regime had not betrayed the achievements of the Constitutional Revolution [which saw the establishment of Parliament], the monarchy would have survived and continued to rule with the role that the Constitution had carved out for it, and with the backing of the people’s vote.
From the beginning, many warnings were given to the Pahlavis regarding [their disregard for the Constitution], and someone like the late [Ayatollah] Modarres sacrificed his life for this goal. But all these warnings and reminders were useless, and within a few years of the Constitutional Revolution, despotic governance had taken over once more, although this time with a modern façade. The relatively long rule of the Pahlavis shows that during the Constitutional Revolution, the roots of despotism were not completely destroyed. And these roots continued to live on, within cultural, social and political structures.
I remember that in those years, one picture which the Shah constantly used to promote himself was a photo of a farmer kissing the Shah’s feet. In his view, this demonstrated the deep love that the people had for him. But of course, wise men saw much more in that photo.
Q. Would you say that the elements which, according to you, reinforce despotic regimes were eliminated with the Islamic Revolution?
MOUSAVI: In the first years of the revolution, people were convinced that it had completely destroyed all of those structures through which despotism and dictatorship could be reinforced. And I was one of the people who believed this. But today, I no longer do.
Today we can identify those very structures which have lead to despotism [in the past]. We can also identify the resistance people have shown against a return to dictatorship. This is the invaluable inheritance of the Islamic Revolution, clearly demonstrated today with the people’s intolerance for deception, lies and corruption. Similarly, the tight control of newspapers and media, the overflowing prisons, and the brutal killing of innocent people who are peacefully requesting their rights all reveal the lingering roots of despotism.
The people are after justice and freedom. Moreover, they are aware that the arrests and executions are politically motivated and unconstitutional. They despise the monarchy but are also aware that people may be condemned to death based on frivolous accusations and without even being subject to a legal trial. [The people know that these executions are only carried out] so that a brutal, ruthless leader of Friday Prayers [Ayatollah Jannati], one who has constantly defended corruption, violence and deception, can applaud them. It matters not to him that there are abundant forced confessions, and he doesn’t care that [those executed] have had nothing to do with the election. For him, what matters is the power of the executions to generate fear. He is ignorant of the power of innocent blood. He doesn’t know that it was the blood of martyrs that caused the Pahlavi regime to collapse.
From the revolution onwards, people have believed in freedom, independence and the Islamic Republic. The courageous resistance and the strength of our people and our soldiers during the eight-year war [with Iraq, 1980-1988] was a sign of the fundamental changes that had taken place in our society. We should remember that parts of our country were lost in the wars, crises and political games created during the time of the shahs.The courageous resistance of our people during the eight-year war ended this vicious cycle. And now, in the courageous, defiant, and Green rows of people who demand their rights, we see a continuum of the very resistance we saw during the war and the 1979 revolution.
However, we can conclude that we were too optimistic at the beginning of the Revolution. We can see today that the government, its newspapers and its national broadcasting network easily lie. Our people can see that in reality, the security and military forces control cases in the judiciary, that the judiciary itself has become an instrument of the security forces.
I believe that the martyrdom of men like [Ayatollah] Beheshti, [Ayatollah] Motahhari, and others during the Islamic Revolution was [a result of] the extended despotic roots of the previous regime that had not been destroyed completely. Therefore, I do not believe that the Islamic Revolution has achieved its goals. The Fajr festival [the 11 days leading to 22 Bahman (11 February)] held each year is, in reality, [a medium for people] to be vigilant and reinforce [their] strength in order to remove the remaining roots of despotism. Today, people are actively present on the scene to pursue justice, freedom and [the right] to rule their own destinies. We should remember that our nation has produced hundreds of thousands of martyrs in the pursuit of these goals.
The Islamic Revolution is the result of the efforts and sacrifices of our great nation. [Even] a slight ignorance and retreat will lead us to a darker dictatorship than before, because dictatorship in the name of religion is the worst kind.On the contrary, [the pursuit of ] knowledge as well as the primary goals of the Islamic Revolution, [which include] serious demands for freedom and justice, will carry us from a dark past to a bright future. This will destroy the remaining residues of dictatorship and pave the way for life in a free [society] where diversity, pluralism, freedom of speech and human dignity are all respected. I believe that the understanding of Islam which encourages calling people goats and is responsible for social divisions is [actually] influenced by pre-revolution dictatorial culture. The right thing for the judiciary to do was to pay attention to these roots and [influences] instead of executing a number of young men and teenagers amid serious rumors regarding the ways in which they were forced to confess.
However, as I mentioned before, we have lost all hope in the judiciary. A system that imprisons an intellectual, freedom-loving and religious son [Alireza Beheshti] of Martyr Beheshti, as well as others like him, sitting him under his father’s photo in the hallways of the courtroom, has moved far away from the ideals defined during the revolution.
Today, the prison cells are occupied with the most sincere and devoted sons of this nation: students, professors and others. [Security forces] are trying to prosecute them with espionage or charges related to financial or sexual misconduct, charges based on expired formulas, while the real criminals and thieves who steal public money are free. Instead of looking for the real spies, they accuse decent religious people. I should take this opportunity to express my regret that all of my advisors who are decent, honest and educated individuals have been arrested and that I am not with them. These days, there is not a [single] night that I don’t think of Imam [Khomeini], Martyr Behesti and others. I whisper to them that what was achieved is far from what they wanted. I did not name any of my advisors in order to pay my respects to all political prisoners. Iran will remember their names and their sacrifices.
Q. Can you give some examples of despotic mentality that are evident in the behavior of officials?
MOUSAVI: One can see the influence of this mentality as well as the remains of the despotic regime alongside the spirit of awareness and freedom everywhere. But perhaps the best example we can observe is the distortion of logical and legal relations between [different] branches in the system. It is very obvious now that Parliament does not have enough sway over the government in matters that fall under its jurisdiction. This is not an argument made solely by those who oppose the Government. Moderate conservatives who are aware also complain about these issues. Not responding to issues raised by the Supreme Audit Court, lack of transparency in oil sales and revenue spending, disregard for the fourth [development] program, destruction of the budget office to avoid audits and reviews, and so on: all are clear examples of a return to the pre-Pahlavi time. There is no need to look too far. A few days ago it was in the media that a minister objected to a question asked by reporters about teachers’ incomes by saying that it is no one’s business how much they earn or if that figure is low. You can hear similar comments from other officials as well as security forces.
Also, while Parliament has [openly] discussed the unprecedented atrocities committed in Kahrizak [Prison], one official says that the issue has been blown out of proportion unnecessarily. Another example given these days is the relationship between the Judiciary and its so-called forces. It is a question of whether the judges make the decisions or the security forces? To what extent can the Judiciary exercise its privileges when, in the Constitution, a great emphasis has been placed on its independence? In my opinion, one of the obvious cases that demonstrates the persistence of a despotic mentality is the injustice done to the [roles of] the Judiciary and the Parliament. Can both divisions exercise all the power bestowed upon them in the Constitution?
The similarities between today’s elections and those held during [the time before the revolution] are another sign. Compare the voting process for Parliamentary elections during the early years of the Revolution with that of today’s to see if we have moved forward or backward.
Q. One of the perennial demands, reflected in the slogans of political parties, is social justice and economic equality in particular. Sometimes, freedom and justice have been interpreted as opposites. With this in mind, is it possible to recognize a specific trend in the Green Movement?
MOUSAVI: In the Constitutional Revolution, people were demanding justice, and from this justice, a desire for freedom was born. In the history of human thought, the desire for justice has always existed, to a point where some scholars and philosophers believe that justice is above all virtues. I do not believe we must choose between justice and freedom. Take a look at our society, you can see that the $850 poverty line and simultaneous existence of inflation and unemployment are limiting the pursuit for freedom. It is exactly at this point of greed for dominance and repression of people that demands for freedom rise up to show themselves. It is because of declining family budgets that distributing potatoes and welfare economy turns into a means to attract votes [by exploiting the] needs of people. An examination of the country’s current situation shows that the tight grip of demands of justice, especially on economic justice, on demands for political freedom is a necessary connection between the two. Before revolution, it was a principle that the revolutionary forces and the academic class defended the lower class. It was their honour to be their friend. In my opinion, the point that all of us should have in mind is that of supporting the hard-working class. Of course, [that is] not for the purpose of using them as instruments but with the intention that the movement’s destiny will be tied to the destiny of all the people and especially with the classes who are productive in economy and science: the workers, teachers, and the academics. I regret that the intense political problems resulted in less attention to the lower class of the society, their problems, and their rights. When people’s standard of living improves, the roots of the freedom grow deeper in the society and unity and growth flourishes among people. Today, those who are responsible for the misery of our people and the backwardness of the nation, and those who are responsible for inflation and unemployment and economic ruin of the country, those who are responsible for closing huge projects and setting us back compared to our neighbors, are misusing this situation by carrying out distorted, deceptive policies like injecting painkillers [into a body]. They are taking the country to the verge of ruin with the way they are handling the justice shares and pensions and the incorrect methods with which Article 44 of the constitution [on privatisation] is carried out. The future of the Fourth Development Plan and the yearly budget is of great concern, especially with the [Government's] incompetence that has resulted in the probability of increased sanctions. In any case, the underprivileged classes of the society who care for Islamic values potentially have the same demands as the Green Movement. Those who are after a national consensus for change should become more integrated with these classes and also pursue their concerns and demands. Additionally, today we should all follow and be sensitive to economic news and analyses, because the economy has such a determining and crucial role in the fate of our country. These days the quantity of social and economic stories we see in the news [about Iran] is far less than the politics, and people are not informed as much as they should on these issues. Q. A number of people see the solution to the country’s difficulties in moving beyond the Constitution. In your opinion, is this a real solution to our problems? A. God willing, all of us entered the arena in the cause of reform, not for the sake of revenge or obtaining power or to destroy things. Solutions which involve a transition beyond the Constitution are fraught with difficulties. The first of those is that the proponents of such a request do not have the capacity to attract the interest of the majority of our people. Without attracting the interest of the majority and, I have to say, without the creation of a consensus, we should not expect any fundamental or meaningful changes. For this reason some of the slogans which lean toward moving past the Constitution have been treated with suspicion by the devout and by traditionalist institutions. Unfortunately, it must be said that sometimes these kinds of extremist slogans harm the movement more than the extremism of the authoritarians [who repress the movement]. That you are opposed to superstitious leanings and petrified beliefs and practices is a good thing. That, however, in the middle of battle, a debate is opened up that is incompatible with the religion and faith of the people is something of dubious value. The next reason why moving beyond the Constitution is problematic is that, with such a solution, we are simply stabbing in the dark. If we lose hold of this connecting cord, the product of the struggles and efforts of past generations, we will be turned into little fragments without any character. Then naturally we would see ordinary people turning away from all this disorder and movement in the dark. Those who are pursuing aims based on moving from the Constitution may well have control of the loudspeakers today, but in the heart of the society their aims are viewed with deep suspicion. In particular, alongside the heralds of [those] moving beyond the Constitution are to be found, whether their presence is wanted or not, the repugnant figures of some monarchists who have seized the opportunity to display their hatred for the people and the Revolution. Those who include monarchists in the programmes they announce have apparently forgotten that the people have an extremely good memory. In any case, everyone should expect to be accepted in accordance with his or her weight in society, and not more [than that]. The slogans that are useful today are those which unequivocally help to make clear the aims of the movement, or which attract the sympathy of ordinary people to stand alongside the elites and the middle classes. They have to know that a decisive majority of the people consider 22 Bahman and the Islamic Revolution as belonging to the hundreds of thousands of martyrs [of the revolution and especially the 1980-8 war with Iraq] and that the history and character of our nation is, in city and village, bound to the yesterday of the Revolution by the chain of these martyrs. Seven months of television programming coming from abroad, which has unfortunately become important because of the restrictions placed on media inside the country and because of the excesses of state television, has had its effects. Yet these effects are too weak for the people to give up the interests of their nation and their religious and historic demands. They [the authorities] should not exploit such a weapon [claims made on foreign channels] as a pretext for accusing people and suppressing the realities of our society. In my opinion, efforts to push people to chant limited and pre-prepared slogans are an insult to the people. Slogans must well up from the heart of popular movements, in a spontaneous manner, not an autocratic one, in the same way that in 1978/9 the slogan “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic” welled up naturally from people’s hearts. Q. Is it not true that reliance on the Constitution would close options for the future? MOUSAVIE: I have said before that the Constitution is not a something that cannot be changed. It has changed before in 1988, and it can change again. By considering what people think and demand and what their collective experience as a nation dictates, we can take steps to improve the constitution. Nevertheless, we must be aware that a good constitution by itself is not the solution. We must move towards a [political] structure that imposes a high cost on those who attempt to disobey or ignore the laws. I believe that the Islamic Republic is meaningless without the Constitution. In addition to care in safeguarding against violations to the rule of the constitution, we must also consider lack of attention or ignoring of the rules as a violation to the Constitution. It is exactly for this reason that the demand of “unconditional execution of the constitutional rights” is one of the determining demands [of this movement]. Furthermore, for the same [reason], we must remind those who advocate the continuation of the Islamic Republic that if significant parts of the Constitution, especially those articles in the third section [on freedom and other right of people] are ignored, they would start to have consequences for the establishment in the form of other causes. We must all be aware [of this]. Violating the rights of people numerated in the Constitution and refraining from recognition of people as masters of their own destinies could lead to falsification of this invaluable national legacy. For example, those who promote spying and surveillance to such an extent that it is normal are destroying the establishment from its roots. Those who constrain the media and assume an exclusive control over national TV help destroy the pillars of the Islamic Republic. In the 17th statement [of 1 January] I had alluded to springs [of clear water] that could calm the strong currents and clear the muddy and wavy river if they flow to the river. One of these clear paths is to officially announce that we want to return to the Constitution. Q. For our last question, please give us your opinion about the rallies and demonstrations. MOUSAVI: Rallies and nonviolent demonstrations are among the people’s rights. I don’t think that anyone — men, women, middle-aged people, or seniors — holds a grudge against the Basij [militia] and the security forces because they are seen as equals. Conflicts break out when these forces stand against a calm movement. You can produce a documentary out of the thousands of photos and video clips from the days of Ashura, as well as the days prior to it, that would demonstrate how these conflicts and tense environments are formed. My advice to the basij and security forces is to be calm and kind in their treatment. My advice to followers of the Green Movement is to reduce their identifying features, whether they are used to help them stand out a little or a lot. This movement has grown out of a people and it belongs to them. Everyone should be extremely mindful of beliefs, values, and traditions. But we should never forget our final goal — to create a developed, independent, free, and united Iran. This goal can only be achieved with the collaboration of all men and women from all layers of society, of all opinions and [political] appetites. Let me stress this point: when we say Iran, we must take into account all Iranians inside and outside who promote our land with its [ancient] culture and religious beliefs. God willing, the Green Movement will stop at nothing in its moral and nonviolent methods to fight the revival of our nation’s rights. This movement has always benefited from its choice of green: the color of the prophet and his family as well as the symbol of an Islam of love and affinity. The Green Movement respects human dignity, freedom of speech and the people’s right to hold different opinions. It welcomes all movements that aim to promote our nation’s development. It represents the [civil and constitutional] rights of citizens, among which is social justice. Q. Do you have a representative or a spokesperson outside the country? MOUSAVI: In the Green Movement, every citizen is a media outlet. But the green path does not have a representative or spokesperson outside the country. This is one of its beauties. Everyone can talk about their ideas and the movement expands within a collaborative environment. As one of the members of the movement, I too will express my comments and suggestions in this environment. Q. You are sometimes quoted on websites, Facebook, and other online sources. To what extent do you approve these articles? A. My pieces are written by me and are issued via very few websites. I do not have a personal weblog or anything of that sort. The quotes that you refer to are an inevitable results of virtual environments, and I am not associated with any of them. bigwinnman 03-02-2010, 08:33 PM Feb 03 2010 The Latest From Iran (3 February): Picking Up the Pace (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/03/the-latest-from-iran-3-february-picking-up-the-pace/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/03/the-latest-from-iran-3-february-picking-up-the-pace/#more-27435 0915 GMT: And For Our Next Showpiece. Today’s latest hearing in the trial of 16 Ashura detainees is also being pushed by Iranian state media. The Islamic Republic News Agency is declaring the repentance (http://www.irna.ir/View/FullStory/?NewsId=938262) of one of the defendants, who was misled by Hashemi Rafsanjani’s Friday Prayer address in July (Regime to Hashemi: Take note and stay in your box) and by those seeking trouble on Ashura (27 December). 0850 GMT: Quick, Look Over There! Can you pronounce “diversion”? This morning Iranian state media (http://www.irna.ir/View/FullStory/?NewsId=938327) have been splashing rivers of ink over the launch of a satellite-boosting rocket (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=117739&sectionid=3510208), the Kavoshgar-3, and President Ahmadinejad is now speaking about it on national television (http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8811140541). No difficulty reading this move: this is the bid for legitimacy at home, trying to draw attention away from conflict and protest just over a week before 22 Bahman. Any power-posturing in the ongoing manoeuvres with the “West” over the nuclear programme and regional influence is secondary to this. 0845 GMT: We have just posted the English translation of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s declaration (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/03/iran-special-full-text-of-mousavi-answers-for-22-bahman-2-february/), in an interview with Kalemeh, yesterday. Forgive me for dropping journalistic objectivity. Wow. “Game-changer” indeed (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/03/iran-snap-analysis-game-changers-from-mousavi-and-ahmadinejad/). Any media outlet that gets diverted today, by Iran’s posturing with the launch of a satellite-boosting rocket or even by President Ahmadinejad’s statement on a nuclear deal, and misses the significance of Mousavi’s statement needs to get its credentials checked. 0735 GMT: The Call to March. More than 80 Iranian civil rights activists have issued a statement (http://www.roozonline.com/english/news/newsitem/article/2010/february/02//participate-in-22-bahman-march.html) denouncing the “naked violence” of the regime and calling for mass demonstrations on 22 Bahman: We, the signatories to this statement, invite the wise and courageous people of Iran to demonstrate to the world their demands for justice and liberty with their peaceful and calm presence on the anniversary of the 1979 revolution, once again showing to the dictators that the right-seeking movement of enlightened Iranians will never be decapitated with the blade of violence and terror, and the execution of innocent Iranian youth and the injustice and violence of the coup agents will not leave the slightest impact on the national determination of Iranians to realize the dreams of democracy, human rights, and respect for the human dignity of all Iranian citizens, regardless of their gender, ideology and ethnicity. 0730 GMT: So much for a quiet day yesterday. Mir Hossein Mousavi’s statement on Kalemeh emerged as a big boost for the opposition just over a week before 22 Bahman and the marches on the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, and President Ahmadinejad had his own surprise last night with an apparent shift in Iran’s position on its nuclear programme. We’ve got a special snap analysis (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/03/iran-snap-analysis-game-changers-from-mousavi-and-ahmadinejad/). Those important events, however, should not overshadow the steady patter of news as the regime sends out conflicting signals over its tough stance on protest. On the one hand, detainees are now being released each night to the crowd waiting and demonstrating in front of Evin Prison. On the other, there have been more arrests of activists, journalists, and key advisors. Norooz reported last night that Mohammad Davari, the editor-in-chief of Mehdi Karroubi’s website Saham News, is still jailed after five months, (http://norooznews.info/news/16455.php) ostensibly because he cannot post bail. This morning, another act unfolds as the trial of 16 Ashura detainees, five of whom are charged with mohareb (war against God), resumes. Best read? The Government is now caught up in some confusion over its approach to detentions, trials, and even executions — witness the contradictory statements within 48 hours of Saeed Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary, and his deputy, Ebrahim Raeesi — which means that the harsh fist of We Will Arrest, We May Kill You is matched by the open hand of Maybe We Will Let You Have Bail. Overall, if there is a strategy before 22 Bahman, it appears to be letting “smaller fish” go while ensuring that those whom the regime sees as key organisers/mobilisers in the opposition are kept well out of sight. bigwinnman 03-02-2010, 08:39 PM Feb 03 2010 Iran Snap Analysis: “Game-Changers” from Mousavi and Ahmadinejad (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/03/iran-snap-analysis-game-changers-from-mousavi-and-ahmadinejad/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/03/iran-snap-analysis-game-changers-from-mousavi-and-ahmadinejad/#more-27437 UPDATE 0905 GMT: We have now posted the full English translation of Mousavi’s statement (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/03/iran-special-full-text-of-mousavi-answers-for-22-bahman-2-february/). UPDATE 0900 GMT: An intervention from an EA reader: “Mousavi ‘had been accused of being too reticent, cautious, and even compromising toward the regime at the end of 2009? almost exclusively by Iranians abroad. Almost unanimously, those inside Iran have understood the game he is been playing and the domestic rules under which he’s had to operate.” In sports, a “game-changer” is a play by an individual that changes the course of a match: a 30-yard (27-metre, if you must) strike in football, a three-point play in basketball, a crushing hit in ice hockey. Well, both Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tried to become game-changers on Tuesday. Mousavi’s statement on his website Kalemeh, given in the form of answers to questions, was one meant to build up strength throughout the day. That it did — it received prominent and, in most cases, accurate coverage in almost every media outlet, and the message was clear: a politician who had been accused of being too reticent, cautious, and even compromising toward the regime at the end of 2009 was now standing tough. More importantly, he was calling on the Green movement protesters to take to the streets — within the law, but loudly and forcefully — to challenge a Government of “dictatorship” and “tyranny”. Ahmadinejad’s move will release less notice amongst opposition activists. We poked fun at a “Fox News military analyst” yesterday who said the President might test a nuclear device on 22 Bahman, the anniversary of the Revolution. We did not know that he would try something far different. With his offer last night to send Iran’s 3.5-percent uranium outside the country in exchange for 20-percent stock, the President was reversing a line that had been maintained for months. Iran would no longer inside that a swap had to take place inside its borders. That is a major shift, and it remains to be seen why Ahmadinejad made his move (and note that he made it in a hastily-called interview on national television), as well as signalling that there was talks about trading three US detainees for Iranian prisoners held abroad. The immediate speculation would be that there have been behind-the-scenes talks with brokers such as Turkey; the International Atomic Energy Agency and the US had both signalled in recent days that a deal was still on the table. At the same time, although the President is staying clear of the internal crisis in his public comments and actions, I have to wonder if he has also made this unexpected move to try and grab some “legitimacy” before 11 February. Now, however, Ahmadinejad may have renewed the fight, but with “conservatives” within the establishment. It was the challenge of high-profile politicians like Ali Larijani that derailed the President’s autumn efforts at a nuclear deal to shore up his position. So keep eyes wide open as to how Larijani and his Parliamentary allies react and even if the Supreme Leader offers any signals. Eight days to 22 Bahman. bigwinnman 04-02-2010, 10:06 AM Human Rights: A Transformation for US-Iran Policy? http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1650&Itemid=2 Written by NIAC Staff Wednesday, 03 February 2010 Washington, DC - "Why isn't the International Community holding Iran accountable on human rights issues?" asked Hadi Ghaemi from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. "The people want to be recognized. They exist, and the nuclear issue is not the only prominent issue that should be reported on in Iran," he said. At a panel presented yesterday by the Center for American Progress, Ghaemi was joined by Geneive Abdo, Matt Duss and Michael Signer to discuss how the US can elevate the role of Human Rights within its Iran policy. The panel collectively agreed that greater focus is needed on human rights issues involving Iran. As the government in Iran executes prisoners for participating in anti-government protests, the world must condemn the mistreatment of the Iranian people rather than focus entirely on the nuclear issue, they argued. Importantly for the US, shifting focus toward human rights could be a way for America to "rebrand" itself within Iran, and shed its image as the "Great Satan," according to Signer. The US has spent so much time focusing on Iran's obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), Mr. Ghaemi said, but it has neglected to mention Iran's obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). According to Ghaemi, a new multilateral approach to Iran would be best for the US, utilizing the upcoming Universal Periodic Review that the United Nations will be carrying out in February. This review, which looks at UN member states' human rights records every four years, will present a prime opportunity for the world to bring greater attention to the post-election crackdown in Iran, with the possibility of authorizing a special rapporteur to monitor human rights in Iran even closer. Ms. Abdo commented that, though the nuclear negotiations are at an impasse, "there is overwhelming evidence on human rights violations," which the international community should act on. Within the United States, there is a vibrant debate going on about how policymakers might support the opposition movement in Iran. Particularly, Ms. Abdo adds, types of "concrete, tangible support" such as increasing Iranians' ability to access technological resources like Facebook and Twitter, sites that the Iranian government actively blocks. The panelists cautioned against providing financial support, though, as it risks undermining the indigenous nature of the movement. The opposition worries, according to the panelists, that Washington places greater importance on regional security and the nuclear issue than on the cause of human rights. Current proposals being considered by some in Congress call for sanctions on Iran's petroleum sector, though Ghaemi dismissed these proposals, saying broad, crippling sanctions will not work and will only harm the innocent people. Under similar sanctions, he said "Saddam Hussein's rein did not budge. The regime did not change. But rather [the sanctions] weakened civil society and the infant mortality rate drastically increased, more than any African country." He further warned "Saddam Hussein enjoyed a gasoline embargo, and the new gas bills will simply strengthen the hands of Revolutionary Guard's control of Iran's political and economic sphere." Targeting Iran's demonstrable violations of human rights, the panelists concluded, is a far more effective way to bring added pressure on the government in Tehran. While Iran's leaders can accuse the West of denying their rights on the nuclear issue, Tehran has no moral high ground when it comes to their abuses of their citizens. bigwinnman 05-02-2010, 08:08 PM Iran: Will the Guard Switch Sides? 05/02/2010 By Amir Taheri http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=2&id=19763 Almost two months ago, General Muhammad-Ali Aziz Jaafari, Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), vowed to stop further anti-regime demonstrations and break what he termed "this chain of conspiracies." Over the past eight weeks, however, the "chain" has appeared to be as strong as ever, with protestors across the nation defying the general and his political masters by organizing numerous demonstrations with increasingly radical slogans. The various opposition groups that constitute the pro-democracy movement have already called for another series of demonstrations on 11 February, the anniversary of the Khomeinist revolution. Talks are under way between the administration and the opposition to trace separate routes for rival demonstrations, one organized by the regime and the other representing the opposition. The fact that such talks are taking place shows that the regime has already agreed that we now have two Irans: one that tries to cling to a system that is no longer viable and the pother seeking a new departure for the country. The official calendar of the Islamic Republic includes 22 days during which the regime organizes demonstrations to flex its muscles and terrorize its opponents. After the controversial presidential election last June, the pro-democracy movement, in a jujutsu-style move, has succeeded in using the official "days of demonstrations" against the regime. The regime is left with the choice of either abolishing its "revolutionary calendar" or allowing the opposition to demonstrate its growing power. The anti-regime movement started as a protest against the alleged rigging of the June election that produced a landslide victory and a second four-year mandate for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The crowds' initial slogan was "Where Is My Vote?" The movement's accidental leaders, including former Prime Minister Mir-Hussein Mousavi, who insists that he, and not Ahmadinejad, won the election, tried hard to keep the protest confined to limited demands such as a recount of the votes and, ultimately, a run-off in accordance with the Election Law. Over the past eight months, however, the movement has developed beyond those objectives. The initial slogans that focused on vote rigging have all but disappeared. Their place has been taken by unambiguously anti-regime slogans such as "Death to the Dictator", "Freedom Now", and "Iranian Republic, Not Islamic Republic!" Both Mr. Mousavi and Ayatollah Mehdi Karrubi, another defeated presidential election, also tried to prevent attacks on the "Supreme Guide" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the hope of eventually making a deal with him. As part of such a deal they promised to "maintain and defend" the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. The crowds rejected that by shouting: "Abandon uranium enrichment! Do something about the poor!" It is clear that the pro-democracy movement is in no mood for deals with Khamenei, who is castigated for having betrayed his constitutional role of arbiter by siding with Ahmadinejad even before the official results of the election were declared. Khamenei was supposed to stand above factions. By joining the foray, he has become another wrestler in the mud-pit. Therefore, it is no surprise that demonstrators now burn his effigies, tear up posters showing his image, and chant violent slogans against him. One popular slogan goes like this: "Khamenei is a murderer! His guardianship is invalid!" This point has just been underlined by former President Muhammad Khatami. In an exceptionally courageous statement last week, Khatami effectively declared the termination of Khamenei's role as "Supreme Guide." The position, Khatami argued, was tenable only if the man holding it proved that he was a leader for all Iranians and not just one faction within the establishment. By choosing crackdown as its strategy, the regime has radicalized the protest movement. Even such notorious dealmakers as Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former President now opposed to Ahmadinejad, have made it clear they would not accept any formula that would leave the "landslide winner" in place. A study of the 20 most popular slogans used by demonstrators across the country shows a clear switch to a position of regime change. Even rumors that the regime is working on scenarios for ditching Ahmadinejad, ostensibly on "health grounds", after the Iranian New Year in March, have failed to halt the spread of regime-change sentiments. Understanding the mood of the nation, Mousavi and Karrubi have abandoned their earlier talk of "realizing the full potentials of the existing constitution". More significantly, perhaps, Mousavi appears to have put his plans for an ill-defined "green organization" on the backburner. He is beginning to understand that the anti-regime movement is too wide and too diverse to fit into a centrally controlled framework. The movement's diversity and plurality make it hard for the regime to contain and ultimately defeat. Over the past eight months, thousands of people have been arrested and hundreds killed in the streets. And, yet, the "decapitation" promised by General Jaafari appears to have produced no results. To make matters worse for the regime, the Shi'ite clergy, often regarded as the backbone of the Khomeinist system, is beginning to distance itself from the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad tandem. Some ayatollahs, such as the late Grand Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri, Bayat, San'ei, Borujerdi, Amoli and Zanjani have expressed especial concern regarding Ahmadinejad's claim of being in contact with the "Hidden Imam". The Ahmadinejad-Khamenei tandem is also coming under attack for its alleged incompetence. Plagued by double-digit inflation, a massive flight of capital and unprecedented levels of unemployment, the economy is in meltdown mode. At the same time, divisions within the ruling clique mean that the president is unable to fill scores of key posts at middle levels of government. Rapidly losing its popular base, the Khomeinist regime is becoming increasingly dependent on its coercive forces, especially General Aziz Jaafari's IRGC. At some point, the general and his colleagues might decide that they have nothing to gain by risking their lives and fortunes defending a regime whose time may have passed. These days, IRGC commanders are appearing on TV almost every night presenting themselves as "guardians of the system". Jaafari himself says he is attracted by the "Turkish model", in which the army acts as a bulwark of the republic. However, the general may not have all the time in the world to ponder his next move. The opposition movement is deepening and growing. Much work is under way to connect it to independent trade unions and hundreds of formal and informal associations that lead the civil society's fight against the evil of Khomeinism. Iran has entered one of those phases in which history hesitates about which way to turn. What is certain is that the status quo has become untenable. Despite the threat of a military takeover, Iran may still have a chance to move toward a pluralist system of government. bigwinnman 05-02-2010, 08:18 PM 05 2010 The Latest from Iran (5 February): Into the Tunnel (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/05/the-latest-from-iran-5-february-persistence/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) 0900 GMT: The “Siege” of Qoba Mosque. Footage has been posted of claimed damage and injuries after Wednesday’s pro-Government rally outside Qoba Mosque in Shiraz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm0Fd5bm4SE&feature=player_embedded# 0805 GMT: Not-Hysterical-At-All Statement of Day. Video of one of our favourite US talking heads, Charles Krauthammer, as he gets agitated about the Iran rocket launch: “If you can put a mouse into space, you can put a nuke in New York, in principle.” 0755 GMT: MovieFail. The Fajr Festival, Iran’s premiere international gathering for film, has already been beset by withdrawals of leading Iranian and foreign directors. Now it has gotten a satirical thumbs-down from (http://ayandenews.com/news/18277/)Ayande News (http://ayandenews.com/news/18277/), which has presented its own “Golden Barberry” (the equivalent of the “Golden Raspberry” in the US) awards for not-so-glorious movies. 0740 GMT: Beyond Detention to Death. Persian2English, drawing from the International Committee Against Executions, lists 56 political prisoners at risk of execution in Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/05/the-latest-from-iran-5-february-persistence/). 0730 GMT: Cyber Ups and Downs. The Amir Kabir university student site, a leading source for information in the post-election crisis, is still out of service this morning (http://autnews.de/) after a cyber-attack. However, a new Green website, Mizan Khabar, has been launched (http://mizankhabar.net/index.php). 0720 GMT: And On the Detention Front. To back up our initial analysis this morning of the regime’s crackdown, we note this from the Committee to Protect Journalists (http://cpj.org/2010/02/with-47-journalists-in-jail-iran-sets-notorious-re.php): Iranian authorities are now holding at least 47 journalists in prison….At least 26 journalists have been jailed in the last two months alone, CPJ found. The number of jailed journalists is the highest CPJ has recorded in a single country since December 1996, when it documented 78 imprisonments in Turkey. 0715 GMT: On the Economic Front. The Italian company ENI is declaring that it will cease activities in Iran (http://www.radiofarda.com/content/o2_eni_to_pull_out_of_iran/1949021.html). We are monitoring to see whether this is just an immediate posture, linked to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s loud denunciation of the Iranian Government this week, or a definite plan. 0645 GMT: By the end of Thursday, it seemed — as it did just before other demonstrations such as the 13 Aban (4 November) and Ashura (27 December) protests — that Iran (or at least what I could see inside Iran) was going into a tunnel. The regime’s dedicated effort to break any possibility of a mass gathering on 22 Bahman (11 February), the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, meant an escalation in the already high level of crackdown, with widespread reports of arrests of activists. Internet communications are now being slowed, if not stopped. Still, protest is now sufficiently established to ensure at least a flashlight-glimpse. Beyond the assertions in Washington of “What the Iranian People Really Think” (see separate video (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/04/latest-iran-video-what-do-the-iranian-people-really-think-4-february/)), we have posted claimed video of a public demonstration in southern Iran on Monday (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/05/latest-iran-video-claimed-protest-in-southern-iran-1-february/) and a workers’ strike on Wednesday (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/04/the-latest-from-iran-4-february-the-relay-of-opposition/). There are also the latest official figures on the Iranian economy (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/04/iran-analysis-the-missing-numbers-in-the-economy), which — perhaps inadvertently, with their gaps as well as the published numbers — point to serious structural issues and even “decline”. bigwinnman 05-02-2010, 08:20 PM 05 2010 Latest Iran Video: Claimed Protest in Southern Iran (1 February) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/05/latest-iran-video-claimed-protest-in-southern-iran-1-february/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) Reports from Monday, which we could not verify, indicated that there was a demonstration in Larestan in southern Iran. This video emerged yesterday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZortjh8k5c&feature=player_embedded bigwinnman 06-02-2010, 08:14 PM 06 2010 Iran Document: Iranian Journalists Write Their Overseas Colleagues About 22 Bahman (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/06/iran-document-iranian-journalists-write-their-overseas-colleagues-about-22-bahman/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/06/iran-document-iranian-journalists-write-their-overseas-colleagues-about-22-bahman/#more-27646 Dear Fellow Journalists (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=470885470354), We are writing to those of you who have been invited to go to Iran in February 2010 to provide media coverage to the celebrations of the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution. We are a group of Iranian journalists who have been forced to live in exile. There are many others like us around the world, 45 of whom will be in Iranian prisons when you arrive in Tehran. They will be under torturous conditions in Iranian prisons that are, as you know, among the most hideous in the world. As imprisoned or exiled journalists our crime is nothing other than our desire to report freely on events in Iran, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides. Since the electoral coup that took place in Iran last summer, the Iranian regime has intensified its suppression of press freedom this year and along with it is striving to remove the country’s peaceful movement through sophisticated suppressive means. After failing for eight months to achieve its goals, the illegal and fraudulent government has now prepared a new show. We have received precise information that Ahmadinejad’s electoral coup-perpetrated administration is busy preparing to muster its own crowd in Tehran through the use of all possible means and the government’s extensive resources. Its plan is, on one hand, to prevent the pro-Green Movement million strong group from approaching the location of the celebrations in Azadi circle in Tehran where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to give a speech, while on the other, fill this area with pro-government demonstrators. Inviting foreign journalists to provide media coverage of the anniversary of the 1979 revolution on February 11, 2010 is another part of the deceitful plan of Ahmadinejad’s illegal administration. As you know, this government has till now arrested many foreign journalists and accused them of being spies while banning the activities of most international media. Now, it is using them, through its invitation, so they can show the world that it is a government that enjoys popular support. The goal of the Iranian government is to direct journalists towards the pro-government demonstrations and prevent them from going to other locale. You are going to Iran not only as media representatives of the free world, but also as representatives of your Iranian fellow journalists who are either in prison or in exile outside Iran. Your host is a government that is anti freedom, anti free media, and one that practices the most basic human rights of people. You will be stepping onto streets that still bear the blood of Iran’s best and the brightest. You must have seen the film that shows how Neda Soltani was murdered. This young woman is a symbol and representative of those who have been arrested, raped, tortured and murdered by Iran’s coup administration. While Neda and others like her were killed on the streets, there are hundreds of others who have been raped, tortured and murdered in dungeons, prisons or unknown places by this government. We are providing you the names of Iranian journalists who are now in prison, based on the list prepared by Reporters Without Borders and request that you search for them and find them. Ask them and their prison wardens why are they in prison. As you go to our country that is under a dictatorship not to be duped by the schemes of those who murder freedom. We draw your attention to these points: * Demonstrations will begin on the night of [before?] February 11. The Allaho Akbar cries that will fill the night in Iranian towns will be the cries of people’s protests and the start of the march of million green Iranians who will fill the streets at the invitation of Mohammad Khatami, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi. * The main march will start from Enghelab street in east Tehran — go through Imam Hossein Circle — and end at Azadi Circle in west Tehran. The Passdaran Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) has already made plans to close the streets leading to Enghelab street and to crackdown people as a measure to prevent them from taking to these streets. The Green Movement should be visible around this route and all over Tehran and not only on the paths that pro-government demonstrators will be provided. Like on other similar occasions, the coup government will attempt to control all the paths so that the only people that will come in view of your cameras will be the Basijis, who will present a caricature of the Iranian nation for your television cameras. You will hear the protesting voice of the Iranian people clearer than ever if you look beyond the fences, cordons, and barriers and look at the real people of Iran. We are confident that you will push aside the bloody hands of the coup perpetrators and that you will shake the hands of the suffered people of Iran. You are going to a historic trip. We will see you off with our hearts filled with dreams of freedom and eyes filled with tears. We look forward to seeing the leading media headline in February 2010 be: “The Victory of a Nation”. Do not be fooled by the deceptions of your hosts, look at everything that is worth looking at, expose their shows, and listen to the true calls of the Iranian people. And on this historic trip relay and report the innocence of the Iranian people. This is the expectation that your suffering fellow journalists have of you. Nazi Azima, Samnak Aghai, Houshang Asadi, Nooshabeh Amiri,Asieh Amini, Farahmand Alipour, Shabnam Azar, Fariba Amini, Maryam Aghvami, Nima Amini, Massoud Behnoud, Arash Bahmani, Maziar Bahari, Babak Dad, Farzaneh Bazrpour, Hadi Ebrahimi, Pouyan Fakhrai, Farshid Faryabi, Fereshteh Ghazi, Maryam Ghavami, Saghi Ghahraman, Massoud Ghoraishi, Arash Ghafouri, Manouchehr Honarmand, Linda Hosseininejad, Vahid Jahanzadeh, Nikahang Kowsar, Maliheh Mohamadi, Javad Montazeri, Roozbeh Mirebrahimi, Mehdi Mohseni, Searajedin Mirdamadi, Hanif Mazroui, Ebrahim Nabavi, Javad Moghimi, Alireza Noorizadeh, Nahid Pilvar, Shahram Rafizadeh, Bahram Rafizadeh, Saman Rasoolpoor, Khosrow Raesi, Ferydon Shaibani, Mohamad Sefriyan, Beniamin Sadr, Vida Same, Mohamad Tajdolati, Hamed Yousefi…. bigwinnman 07-02-2010, 02:57 PM 06 2010 Iran: “Conservative Opposition” Offer to Mousavi “Back Khamenei, We Sack Ahmadinejad” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/06/iran-special-conservative-opposition-makes-an-offer-to-mousavi/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/06/iran-special-conservative-opposition-makes-an-offer-to-mousavi/#more-27703 At the end of an intriguing political day, another twist: the high-profile member of Parliament, Ali Motahhari, an ally of Ali Larijani and a critic of the Ahmadinejad Government, has written an open letter to Mir Hossein Mousavi (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/9619/). (Note “open”, which raises this to a very public signal of the position of the “conservative opposition”.) The summary of the letter, published in (http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=213858)The Tehran Times (http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=213858), deserves to be quoted in full. At one level, the reason for publication is obvious: Motahhari is asking Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to make clear their allegiance to the Supreme Leader and the system of velayat-e-faqih (ultimate clerical supremacy). There is another level of significance, however, Motahhari’s unsubtle implication is that, if Mousavi and Karroubi come “within the system”, then the abusers in the Government can be dealt with — and “dealt with” may include the President himself It is left up to readers to consider whether this move is linked to our analysis last month of a post-Ashura plan (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/23/iran-the-plot-against-president-ahmadinejad/), involving Speaker of Parliament Larijani, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, and Secretary of the Expediency Council and Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei, to isolate and possibly remove Ahmadinejad: I have read your interview in the Kalemeh website and saw positive and negative points in your remarks. I believe that you have stated the pains well, but you have not suggested remedies appropriately. The gist of your remarks is that you have entered the scene for making reforms not for seeking power, taking revenge, or devastating (the country). This approach can be the pivot of unity and the common cause to deal with the current political crisis, especially when one of the bases of the Islamic teachings is continuous social reform. You in your statements have talked about the administration’s tendencies for breaking law and an inclination towards totalitarianism. You have said that the administration does not account for his actions to the Majlis (Parliament) and the judiciary. You have also mentioned explicitly and implicitly the violent treatments towards the protestors and a negligence by those who been managing the crisis. Don’t you think that those who are blamed for such offences are seeking to make the current situation continue? Don’t you think that unity and calm are a deadly poison for them? Don’t you think the current situation makes it hard for the Majlis and the judiciary to deal with lawbreakers? For example in the current situation, it is possible to ask the president questions about some lawbreaking and cultural liberalism, but currently such legal actions are regarded as joining the leaders of protesters and attempting to intensify the crisis. So you and Mehdi Karroubi have become obstacles in the path of making reforms that you and other considerate revolutionary figures call for. I am pretty sure that the grand Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution will deal with the offenses of the respected President, the totalitarians, and some extremists who claim to uphold principlism, if he has peace of mind about the actions of you two respected (figures). At least try (my advice) for several months, if it was not the case, then you can continue your path; the path that I believe is futile and damaging. Some positive points and unifying steps are seen in your interview such as denouncing the foreign-based media outlets, distancing yourself from anti-Islamic slogans, and emphasizing to be committed to the Constitution. But according to the Constitution, the Leader says the last word on the political and social issues, even if some people are not convinced (about the decision). You have not heeded this principle in your interview duly. Some sections of your interview reveal that you are not willing that the crisis end and you think you are defending people’s rights. However, by preparing the ground for lawbreaking, people’s rights are violated. The foreign enemies will take advantage (of the current situation) and our system and national interests are undermined. Our gracious Leader in his recent speech has mildly described the actions of you and Karroubi as “negligence.” These are signals for you to change your position with the aim of strengthening national unity. Even if you are right about the recent events, you should take Imam Ali (AS) as a model and give up your rights for Islamic unity and the preservation of Islam, and the public’s rights will be pursued somewhere else. This expectation from you who has a good revolutionary record is not a remote possibility. bigwinnman 07-02-2010, 03:01 PM 06 2010 Iran: The “Reconciliation” Proposals of Karroubi’s Etemade Melli Party (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/06/iran-the-reconciliation-proposals-of-karroubis-etemade-melli-party/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/06/iran-the-reconciliation-proposals-of-karroubis-etemade-melli-party/#more-27712 Hours after Mehdi Karroubi made his latest high-profile declaration (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/06/iran-document-karroubis-open-letter-for-22-bahman-6-february/) sanctioning protest on 22 Bahman (11 February) and criticising the Government, his party Etemade Melli have consolidated the initiative by posting their proposals for reconciliation (http://sahamnews.org/?p=795): 1. The immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners; 2. Providing an open atmosphere for the media and press, recognising criticism, offering justice in use of the national media (state-run TV and radio) for all the levels of people and different political groups; Iran Document: Karroubi’s Open Letter for 22 Bahman (6 February) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/06/iran-document-karroubis-open-letter-for-22-bahman-6-february/) 3. Removing the obstacles against the activities of different political organisations, groups, and parties; 4. Removing the security atmosphere, the police state, and the environment of fear; 5. Removing the appointed oversight of elections (Guardian Council), holding free elections, and preventing fraud in elections; 6. Preventing [the interference of] armed forces in economic and political affairs of the country; 7. Putting an end to the shameful analogies made by some media outlets and authorities between the true owners of the revolution — honourable veterans of the Iran-Iraq war and allies of Imam Khomeini (the Green leaders and senior reformist figures) — with terrorists who betray their homeland and nation, and using this comparison to lay the grounds for repression. These movements do not even show respect to Imam Khomeini and, to achieve their hideous goals, distort and selectively use Imam Khomeini’s remarks so that the family of Imam Khomeini has strongly objected to this as well; 8. Following justified methods in the judiciary and holding open trials with the presence of juries when dealing with political charges, carrying all the principles of the Constitution in these cases; 9. Holding a referendum to discover the clear and lawful opinion of the nation regarding some of the most important issues of the country. The Etemad Melli party urges Grand Ayatollahs, religious figures, scholars and intellectuals, academics, students, and all different classes of the society to have a wise presence in all aspects [of Iranian life] and, by resisting any violation of the fundamental goals of the Islamic Revolution, make the conditions suitable for resolving the current crisis and not letting the Revolution get in the hands of deceitful and untrustworthy individuals. bigwinnman 07-02-2010, 10:18 PM http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/pic/mlogo.jpgFebruary 5, 2010 Special Dispatch No.2794 http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/pic/redline.jpg http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm In Run-Up to Islamic Revolution Day 2010, Iranian Regime Steps Up Oversight, Censorship on Media, Citizens Immediately following the mass anti-regime demonstrations in Iran on 'Ashura Day, December 27, 2009, and in advance of the festivities marking the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, set for February 11, 2010, the Iranian authorities have toughened their policy of oversight of the country's citizens and censorship of the media. As part of this newly harsh policy, a cyber police force was formed, under the aegis ofIran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Also, the regime issued orders and warnings to the public and to the media, mostly about the regime oversight and monitoring of private civilian electronic communications such as email and text messages (SMS). It warned against using proxy websites and banned satellite broadcasts, with the aim of making it impossible to organize anti-regime protests. It has also set restrictions for both the press and websites regarding coverage of events, and has prohibited criticism of regime figures. Restrictions, Censorship Have Ideological/Religious Backing In a January 26, 2010 speech in Mazandaran province in northern Iran, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warned against criticizing the regime, and issued a fatwa reiterating the religious ban on using satellite dishes and watching satellite broadcasts; only authorized bodies are exempt from the ban.[1] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn1) Also, Ayatollahs Makarem Shirazi and Safi Golpaygani, who are supporters of the regime, issued fatwas banning watching satellite television and visiting or making contact with foreign websites.[2] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn2) The IRGC Cyber Defense Command In late 2009, the Iranian prosecutor-general issued a 45-item list of "cyber crimes" that would lead to the blocking of websites. Among these were insulting the founder of the Iranian revolutionary regime, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, or Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei; encouraging ethnic tension; and propagandizing against the regime.[3] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn3) On January 11, 2010, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported that the regime had set up a cyber defense command, under the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), to oversee cyber crime connected to terrorism, espionage, economic corruption, and social crime, in cooperation with the state intelligence and judiciary apparatuses.[4] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn4) Saluki, a senior official in the command, said, "The IRGC warns all those who are trying to bring down the regime by means of a velvet revolution," and added that the command would carry out its mission "with determination and with full force."[5] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn5) As part of the command's activity, the IRGC arrested several website managers for allegedly insulting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Basij on their websites, and for posting lies about the killing of protestors and about election fraud.[6] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn6) Iranian army deputy commander Brig.-Gen. Masoud Jazayeri warned Iranian citizens against conspiring with foreign media connected to the U.S., Britain, and Israel, saying that those who did so were exploiting the Internet in order to bring down the regime. He called on the Majlis to pass appropriate legislation to deal with such transgressions.[7] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn7) In mid-January 2010, Iranian police commander Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam announced that the regime was overseeing email and text message (SMS) traffic, and called the use of these media to organize anti-regime protests "a grave crime." He warned the public against trying to use proxy websites that circumvent regime blocking of foreignand domestic websites, because the regime was fully capable of identifying anyone who did so – and that the police and the judiciary would deal harshly with violators.[8] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn8) In addition, the authorities warned that citizens who used programs to circumvent blocking on Iranian websites would also be punished.[9] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn9) On January 20, the Ahmadinejad government warned 15 daily newspapers, all reformist papers and supporters of protest movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, about their publishing of criticism of the government and of statements that the government was responsible for the crisis in Iran.[10] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn10) Following the 'Ashura Day demonstrations, Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi called on the public to provide his ministry with any incriminating evidence about protestors.[11] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn11) On January 11, the Javan daily, which is close to the IRGC, published photos of 'Ashura Day protestors taken during demonstrations, and asked for the public's help in identifying them.[12] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn12) Police commander Ahmadi-Moqaddam later said that due to the public's cooperation, 70% of the 'Ashura Day protestors had been identified.[13] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn13) Blocking and Disruption of Websites by the Regime Along with this, the BBC's Persian Service announced that it had switched to a new satellite, after the Hotbird satellite dropped its broadcasts because of the Iranian regime's constant disruption of all its transmissions.[14] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn14) Basij deputy commander Mohammad Ali Naini said that the enemy had invested many resources in wagingan online "soft war" against the regime. He promised that the Basij, as the ones in charge of the struggle against this "soft war," would next year (that is, the Persian year, beginning March 21), conduct operations to conquer cyberspace.[15] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn15) There are at least two groups of Iranian hackers known to exist: Ashyaneh and Iranian Cyber Army. In recent months, they have been launching attacks against websites identified with Iran's Green (Protest) movement, among them Mowjcamp, as well as against Twitter, as well as against websites operating outside the country, such as Radio Zamaneh, which works for Iranian human rights and is funded by the Netherlands government, and Khandaniha.eu.[16] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn16) In October 2009, a leader of Ashyaneh acknowledged that the group was operating in cooperation with most of the government organizations as well as with the Iranian army.[17] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_edn17) Endnotes: [1] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref1) Fars (Iran), January 26, 2010; Khamenei.ir, January 24, 2010 [2] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref2) Rasanews (Iran), January 12, 2010; Kayhan (Iran), January 24, 2010. [3] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref3) Iranian prosecutor-general's website (Iran), December 29, 2009. [4] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref4) The command's official website is www.gerdab.ir (http://www.gerdab.ir/). [5] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref5) IRNA (Iran), January 11, 2010. [6] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref6) Fars, Iran, January 6, 2010. [7] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref7) Mehr (Iran), January 16, 2010. [8] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref8) Fararu (Iran), January 14, 2010. [9] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref9) Jahannews (Iran), January 19, 2010. [10] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref10) ISNA (Iran), January 20, 2010. [11] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref11) ILNA (Iran), December 30, 2009. [12] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref12) Javan (Iran), January 11, 2010. [13] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref13) Kayhan (Iran), February 1, 2010. [14] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref14) BBC, December 31, 2009. [15] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref15) Mehr (Iran), January 30, 2010. [16] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref16) http://khandaniha.eu/items.php?t=sarmaghaleh&id=69 (http://khandaniha.eu/items.php?t=sarmaghaleh&id=69); http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKLDE60U09R20100131 (http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKLDE60U09R20100131); http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2009/1218/Iranian-Cyber-Army-hack-of-Twitter-signals-cyber-politics-era (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2009/1218/Iranian-Cyber-Army-hack-of-Twitter-signals-cyber-politics-era) [17] (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3956.htm#_ednref17) IRNA (Iran), January 17, 2010; The MEMRI Blog, "Iranian Hacker: We Work in Cooperation with the Regime (http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/21040.htm)," October 17, 2009. Clear Conscience 07-02-2010, 11:26 PM The course of events shows that there will be a military strike against Iran because of their Nucleur aspirations but I think this will be a terrible mistake now. The sudden leniency disclosed by the Iranians, whenever the world prepare for a harsh action, whether with sanctions or preparation for war, shows that the regime is afraid from such strike.The world should give a chance for the reformists. A strike will mobilize the people with the regime. For the time being the opposition now led by the reformists can debilitate the regime by time even in its present pace and mode. The world should give time to the opposition and support it. The crackdowns adopted by any regime cant quell righteous opposition, but will motivate it more. bigwinnman 07-02-2010, 11:36 PM the problem is Iran is playing brinkmanship, taking it to the edge as in the foreign minister talking of trading low enriched uranium for higher enriched uranium and Ahmadineijad, on the same day, authorizing enrichiching the uranium themselves. this can't go on forever, something has to break. Clear Conscience 07-02-2010, 11:37 PM Every Shiite in the region will move if Iran was attacked, from Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq and KSA till Lebanon. Such choas will cause a lot of death. If Israel dared to attack, it will open on itself four or 5 fronts and we are not in 1967 anymore.The world can subdue Iran by supporting the opposition. Clear Conscience 07-02-2010, 11:50 PM the problem is Iran is playing brinkmanship, taking it to the edge as in the foreign minister talking of trading low enriched uranium for higher enriched uranium and Ahmadineijad, on the same day, authorizing enrichiching the uranium themselves. this can't go on forever, something has to break. Ya khayeh, they are excellent in evasive diplomacy and till now the world didnt learn how to cope with such evasive diplomacy. The world should impose the worst sanctions and support the opposition, for the time being. If the Iranians are still evading and playing games till now, this goes back primarily to the West's mistakes in dealing with this issue. When a regime reaches a level to execute demonstrators, this proves that such fascist regime is shivering from those demonstrators. If this opposition was naught, the regime will never impose the harshest crackdowns, so it must be supported instead of the military attack for the time being. bigwinnman 07-02-2010, 11:52 PM i'm not advocating that Iran should be attacked but they need to step back from the game they are playing. sanctions are being held up by China giving Iran the time they need to play this game. Iran, in the meantime, is exporting its terror network throughout the region hoping to relieve pressure on itself. meanwhile the security council is hung up. where do we go from here? bigwinnman 07-02-2010, 11:54 PM Ya khayeh, they are excellent in evasive diplomacy and till now the world didnt learn how to cope with such evasive diplomacy. The world should impose the worst sanctions and support the opposition, for the time being. If the Iranians are still evading and playing games till now, this goes back primarily to the West's mistakes in dealing with this issue. When a regime reaches a level to execute demonstrators, this proves that such regime is afraid from those demonstrators. If this opposition was naught, the regime will never impose the harshest crachdowns, so it must be supported instead of the military attack for the time being. you got this one in just before i replied. i agree Clear Conscience 08-02-2010, 12:40 AM Greg China needs concessions from USA concerning Taiwain \to reciprocate in the Iranian issue. Ye3ne USA should never expect a Chinese leniency in the Iranian issue, while signing arms' deals with Taiwan. This is a stupidity worst than Bush mistakes. Really USA is in urgent need for leaders from the calibre of Bush the father or Clinton or else it will continue its down trend. bigwinnman 08-02-2010, 01:04 AM Greg China needs concessions from USA concerning Taiwain \to reciprocate in the Iranian issue. Ye3ne USA should never expect a Chinese leniency in the Iranian issue, while signing arms' deals with Taiwan. This is a stupidity worst than Bush mistakes. Really USA is in urgent need for leaders from the calibre of Bush the father or Clinton or else it will continue its down trend. while this may be true, we also have to consider the massive monetary debt America owes China. this gives China the upperhand in any negotiations. i believe that China is more interested in the oil that Iran supplies and with the SC looking to place heavy sanctions on Iran's oil industry, that this is keeping China away from backing the sanctions. as far as a Bush sr or Clinton goes, i think you have a good point. bigwinnman 08-02-2010, 01:55 AM 07 2010 The Latest from Iran (7 February): Tremors (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/07/the-latest-from-iran-7-february-tremors/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/07/the-latest-from-iran-7-february-tremors/#more-27733 Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) 1415 GMT: More Detained Journalists (see 1205 GMT). Mahsa Jazini of Iran newspaper has been detained (http://mizankhabar.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=321:1388-11-18-08-05-57&catid=43:2010-01-09-15-51-03&Itemid=123). 1400 GMT: The Other Side of the Mottaki Visit. While the international media was dwelling on the nuclear issue during Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki’s jaunt to the Munich Security Conference, others were highlighting the internal situation in no uncertain terms. http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/MOTTAKI-NO1-200x300.jpg (http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/MOTTAKI-NO1.jpg) A United for Iran activist explains the issues in an interview with Germany’s Welt TV (http://www.welt.de/debatte/kommentare/article6281835/Der-Iran-spielt-mit-dem-Westen-Katz-und-Maus.html#media-Video). 1300 GMT: Here We Go. The Islamic Republic News Agency is featuring a statement from the Ministry of Intelligence, putting out the grand narrative — four days before the demonstrations of 22 Bahman — of protesters supported by the US and Israel: Seven people organisationally linked to the counter-revolutionaries, the Zionist media and elements of the sedition have been arrested….A number of them were officially hired by the U.S. intelligence agency, the CIA. The detainees, who were not named, were allegedly involved with a U.S.-backed Farsi-language radio station and received training in Istanbul and Dubai in disrupting public order, spreading rumors and conducting sabotage. The seven supposedly played a significant role in “post-election riots”, especially on Ashura (27 December). 1205 GMT: Latest arrests include journalists Zeinab Kazemkhah (http://hra-news.org/news/12759.aspx), Samiyeh Momeni (http://www.hra-news.org/news/12751.aspx), Ahmad Jalali-Farihani of Mehr (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/9641/), and Akbar Montajab of Etemade-Melli (http://www.hra-news.org/news/12749.aspx). 1155 GMT: Coming Out for 22 Bahman. Rah-e-Sabz has published a summary of calls (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/9615/) from reformist and Green groups, including the Mohajedin of Islamic Revolution and Etemade Melli parties, for people to demonstrate this Thursday. An English translation of the statement of the reformist Association of Combatant Clerics (http://khordaad88.com/?p=1130) has now been posted. 1145 GMT: This Has Nothing to Do with 22 Bahman. Really. I can only report this “straight” and let everyone draw their own judgements. From Agence France Presse (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100207/wl_mideast_afp/iranpoliticstelecominternet): Iran said on Sunday its Internet connections will remain slow this week due to technical problems, ahead of anticipated protests by opposition supporters. Connections have been slow since last week and some email accounts have been unavailable for several hours each day. “The cause of the reduced Internet speed in recent days is that part of the fibre-optic network is damaged,” Communications Minister Reza Taghipour told Iran’s state broadcaster. “The breakage will be repaired by next week and the Internet speed will be back to normal”. ["Next week" begins 13 February.] Taghipour said the undersea optic fibre across the Gulf between the Iranian port of Jask and Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates had been damaged due to shipping traffic and anchoring. He also acknowledged that text messaging in Iran had been disrupted, blaming it on “changing software.” 0940 GMT: Nuclear Fiddling (cont.). So why did Ahmadinejad shift again this morning on Iran’s enrichment of uranium (see 0835 GMT)? Consider the setting, the exhibition of Laser Science and Technology Achievements (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=118087&sectionid=351020104): you can’t exactly prove you’re setting the scientific/technological worlds on fire if you put forward dependency on the “West” for your advances. And consider the immediate cause: Ahmadinejad’s declaration of self-sufficiency, as framed by state media, was “to meet the demands of the country’s cancer patients”. In other words, Iran is on the verge of running out of 20-percent uranium for its medical research reactors. That is the same concern that took it to the International Atomic Energy Agency last June with the offer to negotiate. And that concern is still very much present. 0840 GMT: Economy in the Pocket of Government? The Iranian Labor News Agency, in the context of the Government’s budget proposals, offers an interesting overview of the Iranian economy (http://www.ilna.ir/newsText.aspx?ID=106624). 0835 GMT: Nuclear Fiddling While XXX Burns. Days after he tried the headline approach of a deal on uranium enrichment with the West, President Ahmadinejad doubles back this morning (http://www.irna.ir/View/FullStory/?NewsId=947047) in a televised speech with the declaration that Iran can be self-sufficient (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100207/wl_nm/us_iran_nuclear_fuel): We had told them (the West) to come and have a swap, although we could produce the 20 percent enriched fuel ourselves. We gave them two-to-three months’ time for such a deal. They started a new game and now I (ask) Dr Salehi (the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization) to start work on the production of 20 percent fuel using centrifuges….The doors for interaction are still open. I leave it for readers, in light of our analysis this morning (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/07/iran-special-the-weakness-of-the-regime-its-deja-vu-all-over-again/), to fill in the XXXs with their interpretation. Meanwhile, the non-Iranian media — apparently oblivious to the internal developments in Iran in the last 24 hours — are following over themselves to feature Ahmadinejad’s latest statement without considering why he made it. 0830 GMT: Journalist Jamileh Darolshafaie and her sister, music teacher Banafsheh Darolshafaie, have been arrested (http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=13165). 0815 GMT: We begin this Sunday morning, four days before 22 Bahman and the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, trying to put together the dramatic and somewhat unexpected developments from the declarations of the opposition to the letter from a key MP to Mir Hossein Mousavi seeking the deal “Accept Khamenei, Reject Ahmadinejad”. Our special analysis sets out (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/07/iran-special-the-weakness-of-the-regime-its-deja-vu-all-over-again/) why all of this is a sign of regime weakness. A couple more supporting pieces of evidence this morning: Ayatollah Dastgheib, a persistent critic of the Government and indeed of the system, has declared (http://www.facebook.com/notes/mir-hossein-mousavi-myr-syn-mwswy/yt-llh-dstgyb-y-nfr-h-nmy-twnd-hftd-mylywn-r-drh-bnd-ayaollah-dastgheybone-perso/292136902605), “One Person Cannot Rule 70 Million People”. That’s a pretty direct challenge to the Supreme Leader and velayat-e-faqih (clerical supremacy). Dastgheib, echoing the demands (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/9635/) for freedoms made in last night’s manifesto of Mehdi Karroubi’s Etemade Party, declared: It seems like today all the affairs of the country is in the hands of Revolutionary Guards and police and people have no say or will and this is the basis of the diversion from the principles of the revolution…. The armed forces, police, Revolutionary Guards and military should consider people’s benefit not their own benefit; they should guard people’s lives, belongings and dignity….The police should support the religious figures and scholars and not do something to isolate them, leaving no dignity for anyone except those who obey them bigwinnman 09-02-2010, 10:04 AM Feb 08 2010 Iran Feature: Human Rights Round-up (1-7 February 2010) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/08/iran-feature-human-rights-round-up-1-7-february-2010/) Posted by Tricia Sutherland (http://enduringamerica.com/author/trishsuth/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/08/iran-feature-human-rights-round-up-1-7-february-2010/#more-27844 Overview Optimism and a refusal to be cowed, bullied or intimidated: that’s the message from human rights activists this week. Despite the Iranian Regime’s best efforts to thwart the preparations for 22 Bahman — with intimidation and coercion in the form of mass arrests of both students and journalists, continued threats to execute execute the nine “mohareb” Ashura protesters, and other propaganda — the protests will proceed. Iran Special: The 57 Journalists in Iran’s Prisons (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/08/iran-special-the-56-journalists-in-irans-prisons/) The Latest from Iran (8 February): Staying with the Real Story (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/08/the-latest-from-iran-8-february-staying-with-the-real-story/) The Week In Brief: Monday 1 February Vahid Abedini, (University of Tehran) arrested (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=106) with two others. Navid Abedini, (University of Shahid Beheshti) arrested (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=106) with Vahid Abedini and Esmaeel Izadi Khah (student at University of Shahid Beheshti). Reports from Kashan indicated further arrests: Mohammad Mokhtari (formerly but recently dismissed from the University of Kashan) arrested with two others who were subsequently released. Shirin Alam Hooli (http://persian2english.com/?p=4166), recently found guilty of being a member of the Kurdish opposition group PJAK, wrote a letter “from death row” (http://persian2english.com/?p=5548) on 18 January. Parisa Kakaiee, a member of CHRR and Mehrdad Rahimi, one of the Committee members arrested (http://persian2english.com/?p=3354). Two other members, Saeed Habibi and Hesam Missaghi were not arrested, but were reportedly receiving repeated calls from officials from the Ministry of Information. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRR) said there was no information about Mehraneh Atashi (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/02/mehraneh-atashi/) (the internationally acclaimed photo-journalist) and her husband, who remain missing, presumed detained. Tuesday 2 February ICHR reported alleged protester abuse (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/02/alleged-protester-abuse-at-mashad-revolutionary-courts/) at Mashad revolutionary courts. Three civil rights activists (Reza, Mohammad and Hassan Akvanian) arrested (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=239) in Yasuj (a city in South-western Iran). More than one month after the arrests of Alireza Firoozi and Sourena Hashemi (student activists from Zanjan University), their whereabouts remain unknown and no-one has accepted responsibility for their arrests. However, security agents are suspected of fraudulently using their internet IDs (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=114) in an attempt to elicit information from family and friends. Ali-Mohammad Eslampour, Editor of the weekly newspaper Navay-e-Vaght summoned to the 9th branch of the Revolutionary Court where he was arrested (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=103) by order of Judge Najjar. Kayvan Samimi (MD of the now-banned Nameh Magazine, and the website Kharabat) received a six year prison sentence (http://persian2english.com/?p=5640) and a lifetime ban from political activity. [/URL] Amnesty International issued a statement (http://persian2english.com/?p=5640) and appeals campaign urging the Iranian authorities not to execute the nine mohareb protesters. Niloofar Laripour arrested (http://www.rhairan.com/en/?p=91) after being summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence. Amnesty International launched a letter appeal campaign (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/015/2010/en/4396af16-c097-4ae6-91a5-7e1325398fed/mde130152010en.html) against student leader Majid Tavakkoli’s sentence. Wednesday 3 February Literary writer and journalist Javad Mahzadeh still held (http://persian2english.com/?p=5714) at Evin Prison, despite being given a suspended four year sentence. Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshahi, human rights activist, member of the Central Council of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, and journalist, arrested at home (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/02/kermanshahi-arrest/). Sahar Ghassem Nejad, Nazanin Hassan Nia, and Alireza Saghafi arrested (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/02/new-arrests-sahar-ghassem-nejad-nazanin-hassan-nia-and-alireza-saghafi-2/). Sagar and Nazanin do not belong to any political organisation. Alireza is a journalist and labour rights defender. Mohammad Amin Valian, member of the Central Council of Islamic Association at Damghan Science University, appeared in a show trial (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/02/moharebeh-and-corruption-on-earth-charges-for-student-activist-amin-valian/) presided over by Judge Salavati. Mohammad was charged with: mohareb and other associated charges. He did not accept these charges in court. Ardavan Ghara’ati, Karroubi’s campaign manager in Kohgilooyeh & Boyerahmad province arrested (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=196) during a raid at the home of local activist Reza Akvanian, who was also arrested. Thursday 4 February Massoud Shafiee, lawyer for the three American hikers (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/02/three-americans-to-call-home-and-have-meetings-with-attorney/) detained on the Iran/Iraq border, said he had met with the authorities who had promised him a chance to meet his clients over the coming days. They also apparently promised that the three would be permitted to call home over the coming 72 hours. Bahar Tarakameh, daughter of the acclaimed author and critic, Yunes Tarakameh arrested (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=213). Several arrests (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/02/arrests-of-online-publication-members-ardavan-torakemeh-maziar-samiee-yashar-darolshafa/) of those connected with internet publication Sar-e Peech : Yashar Darolshafa, Maziar Samiee, Bahar Torakemeh and Maziar Samiee. Shiva Nazarahari’s mother issued [URL="http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/02/shiva-nazar-aharis-mother-release-my-daughter-she-is-innocent/"]a plea (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/02/arrests-of-online-publication-members-ardavan-torakemeh-maziar-samiee-yashar-darolshafa/) regarding her daughter’s ailing health and the fact that she remains in solitary confinement. Student activist Eftekhar Barzegarian, transferred (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=276) to Mashad’s Vakilabad Prison’s notorious ward 5. The names of seven Kurdish students arrested (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/02/missing-kurdish-students/) following a student rally at Tehran University in November released: Ahmad Ismaili, Amanj Rahimi, Abdullah Arefi, Pakhshan Azizi, Leila Mohammadi, Sarveh Weisi and Hajhar Yousefi. Their location remains unknown. Three female students from Tehran University (Sarveh Weisi, Leila Mohammadi, and Pakhshan Azizi) reportedly on hunger strike in prison for more than 8 days. Mahsa Hekmat (journalist who writes for many newspapers including Etemad) released (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=236)from Evin after 34 days. Golnaz Tavasoli, student at Tehran’s Azad University, arrested (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=267). No information available on her whereabouts. Kurdish human rights activist Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshi, allowed to contact his family (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=252). Kermanshi arrested on 3 February and taken to an unknown location – reported to be rejecting charges being put to him. Morteza Samyari, of the Advar Tahkim Vadat Organization, visited in Evin Prison by his family. An anonymous person allegedly contacted the family asserting that Samyari had been charged with mohareb (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=248). News emerged from the previous Sunday (31 January) regarding University of Shiraz student, Kazem Rezaee’s appearance at Revolutionary Court (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=229). Eyewitnesses reported that, 3 months after his arrest, he had multiple marks of torture and injuries all over his body. Persian2English posted the International Committee Against Execution’s (ICAE) list of 56 political prisoners awaiting execution in Iran (http://persian2english.com/?p=5778) in full, in Farsi and in English. Friday 5 February Mourning Mothers issued a statement objecting to the executions of political protesters, execution sentences for several political prisoners and demanding the revocation of death sentences for political prisoners. They also demanded the release of prisoners of conscience and trials for those: “who were responsible for and who ordered their children’s murders” (http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/02/mourning-mothers-stop-the-executions/). Morteza Samyari, student, tried during the 3rd Ashura sessions, allowed a family visit (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=269). 40 days after his arrest the family of Omid Ali Mehrnia, the 70-year-old retired school teacher, arrested and accused of being connected to the MKO, issued a statement about his ailing health. (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=319) The husband of Bahareh Hedayat’s (from Advar Tahkim Vahdat Organization) continues to try to visit her (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=269) in Evin Prison – she is not allowed visitors and has only been allowed one telephone contact since her arrest. Touran Kabiri & Kaveh Darolshafa, arrested on 4 February, released (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=307). Yashar Darolshafa arrested hours before his mother and his brother, remains in prison – no charges have yet been made. Koohyar Gudarzi, Shiva Nazar Ahari, Mehrdad Rahimi and Parisa Kakayi, four members of the CHRR (Committee of Human Rights Reporters), allowed a family visit in Evin Prison (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=269). Amnesty International issued appeals letters (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/017/2010/en/742ac7ce-66be-41aa-94e9-0c556987c7c8/mde130172010en.html), for the seven members of the CHRR being detained in Tehran amid fears they will be forced to confess to crimes leading to conviction of mohareb, leading to execution. Saturday 6 February Interrogation of CHRR journalist Saeed Jalalifar ended. He has been charged (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=287) with “propaganda activities against the regime”. Saeed Nour-Mohammadi (arrested January 2010) said he was accused of sending emails and text messages (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=291) in a phone call to family members. Sunday 7 February Arash Rahmanipour’s family were pressured not to hold a funeral and memorial service (http://persian2english.com/?p=6012) for their recently executed son. Ali Kalayi arrested (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=340) at Emam Ali military college. Eighth CHRR journalist to be arrested. The seven previously arrested are detained in Evin Prison. The complete list : Shiva Nazar-Ahari, Koohyar Gudarzi, Saeed Jalaifar, Parisa Kakayi, Saeed Kalanaki, Saeed Ha’eri, Mehrdad Rahimi and Ali Kalayi. Saleh Noghrehkar, Zahra Rahnavard’s nephew and an adviser to Mousavi’s presidential campaign, told to present himself to Evin officials to answer questions (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=355). Hamideh Ghasemi, (student Tehran University) arrested (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=364) on Wednesday 3 February by agents from the Intelligence Ministry. However, her family only found out about her arrest on 7 February. Abdolreza Tajik, journalist imprisoned at Evin since Ashura, reported to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=366) following the execution of his cellmate Arash Rahmanipoor. Ehsan Mehrabi, parliamentary correspondent of Farhikhtegan harrested (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=368) at his home. No word on his location and that of others apparently arrested on the same day. Siyamak Nadali, the former secretary of Lorestan University islamic student association, arrested (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=362) by agents from the Intelligence Ministry. Prominent journalist Emadeddin Baghi remains in solitary confinement (http://www.rhairan.net/en/?p=371), unable to receive visitors, in ward 240 of Evin prison despite the fact that his interrogation has reportedly ended. Journalist and One Million Signatures Campaign (OMSC) member Somayeh Momeni arrested (http://persian2english.com/?p=6018) by Ministry of Intelligence agents. Mohammad Yousef Rashidi (expelled Amir Kabir University student) moved to public section 7, along with 40 other prisoners (http://persian2english.com/?p=6022). *Hat-tip to friends, too many to mention, and to Persian2English, Amnesty International, RAHANA (Reporters and Human Rights Activists in Iran), ICHRR (Iran Committee of Human Rights Reporters) bigwinnman 09-02-2010, 10:09 AM Feb 08 2010 Iran Feature: Human Rights Round-up (1-7 February 2010) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/08/iran-feature-human-rights-round-up-1-7-february-2010/) Posted by Tricia Sutherland (http://enduringamerica.com/author/trishsuth/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/08/the-latest-from-iran-8-february-staying-with-the-real-story/#more-27809 2045 GMT: But There are Limits. One leading international media organisation is proclaiming that it has mobilised itself to cover Thursday’s events in Iran. It has even set up a dedicated Twitter accoun (http://www.twitter.com/CNNIranDesk)t for Iran, announced throughout today in a series of tweets. Only problem is that this broadcaster/website hasn’t quite got the hang of using Twitter for gathering latest news rather than for self-promotion. Total number of Twitter accounts it is following? 7, all of whom happen to be its own staff. 2020 GMT: 22 Bahman is Back! The “Western” media, which only 12 hours ago seemed to be oblivious to anything Iran-related unless it had the word “nuclear”, has re-discovered the internal events and tensions. Numerous services are carrying (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/08/khamenei-vows-to-deliver-_n_453242.html) the report of the Associated Press on the Supreme Leader’s speech (1245, 1420, & 1940 GMT), while The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/02/08/world/international-uk-iran-opposition-sentence.html?_r=1) picks up (http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/02/08/world/international-uk-iran-opposition-sentence.html?_r=1) on Reuters’ summary of the statements of Mir Hossein Mousavi (1635 GMT) and Mohammad Khatami (separate entry). Even America’s ABC News has taken notice (http://abcnews.go.com/International/iran-opposition-leader-karroubi-attacks-unworthy-tehran-government/story?id=9776299), catching up with Saturday’s interview of Mehdi Karroubi in a German magazine. And CNN, declaring that it was going to cover Iran closely before and on Thursday, has launched a special section on its website (http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/02/08/iran.revolution.anniversary/index.html). 2015 GMT: Shutting Down the News. Pedestrian follows up on the arrest of photographer Amir Sadeghi, the creator of the excellent Tehran Live (http://tehranlive.org/), and the detentions of both sisters of blogger Agh Bahman (http://aghbahman.blogspot.com/2010/02/blog-post_06.html). 1940 GMT: We Are Number One (and We Will Punch You). More on the Supreme Leader’s tough talk today (see 1245 GMT), one in which he did not walk out because of an inconvenient question (see 1420 GMT): Today, there exists no system like the Islamic establishment (http://www.ilna.ir/fullStory.aspx?ID=107316) in the world that can stand unshakably in the face of heavy, hostile propaganda, political and economic pressures and sanctions….[Because of our] reliance on God…whenever the people fear for the Revolution and sense threats and animosity, huge crowds of people, spontaneously and without convocation, take to the streets across the country. 1935 GMT: Blocking the Airwaves. An Iranian activist has reported that Voice of America Persian can no longer be received (http://www.twitter.com/manic77) in Tehran. 1655 GMT: This Just In. Heading off to an academic commitment, but had to note this statement by the US Government and European Union, released by the White House: The United States and the European Union condemn the continuing human rights violations in Iran since the June 12 election. The large scale detentions and mass trials, the threatened execution of protestors, the intimidation of family members of those detained and the continuing denial to its citizens of the right to peaceful expression are contrary to human rights norms. Our concerns are based on our commitment to universal respect for human rights. We are particularly concerned by the potential for further violence and repression during the coming days, especially around the anniversary of the Islamic Republic’s founding on 11 February. We call on the Government of Iran to live up to its international human rights obligations, to end its abuses against its own people, to hold accountable those who have committed the abuses and to release those who are exercising their rights. 1635 GMT: Summary of Mousavi’s Statement. Mir Hossein Mousavi told a group of youth and student activists (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=294947062605) today: Disgracing and insulting people and the freedom of thought has nothing to do with Islam. I believe that the nation knows what is best for it and the collective wisdom is the superior wisdom and that is why the Islamic Revolution happened. If we want to save Islam as an asset for the nation, our own interests should not endanger the interests of Islam…. The only demand of the force that has come to the scene today is to return to the main laws and values of the Islamic Revolution, but it is being falsely accused. The Green Movement of the nation of Iran is independent, rational and peaceful. We are not opposed to Basij, the Revolutionary Guards or the police; but rather we are opposed to violence, beating and killing. 1630 GMT: Claim of the Day. The Los Angeles Times, citing a source inside Tehran’s police headquarters, claims up to three million opposition protesters (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2010/02/iran-tensions-rise-ahead-of-thursdays-anticipated-22-bahman-confrontations.html) may be on the streets on Thursday. The source compared that number to 500,000 pro-Government demonstrators who were out in Tehran on 30 December. The article also claims that about 12,000 Basiji militiamen will be moved into the capital from around the country. 1445 GMT: We’ve just come out of a discussion of EA’s coverage for 22 Bahman to see the English translation of today’s statement by former President Mohammad Khatami. We’ve posted in a separate entry (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/08/iran-document-khatami-statement-for-22-bahman-8-february/). 1420 GMT: Challenging the Supreme Leader. Khodnevis reports that, during Ayatollah Khamenei’s recent meeting with academics, Hojatoleslam Javadi-Amoli (the son of Ayatolah Javadi-Amoli), asked a pointed question (http://www.khodnevis.org/persian/%D8%B1%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%87%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A 7%DB%8C-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%AF%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C/%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA/4611-javadi_amoli_rahbari.html) about the President. Javadi-Amoli referred to an encounter between his father and Ahmadinejad, in which the President claimed that, during a speech to the United Nations General, he was covered by a halo of light. The video of the President’s account was posted on YouTube but, during the 2009 campaign, Ahmadinejad claimed the story was lies made up by the enemy. Javadi-Amoli asked the Supreme Leader, “We see many times in religious texts that the ruler of Islamic countries, in order to protect the interests of his country’s people, is permitted to hide parts of the truth, but he cannot say that his own saying is a lie and attribute it to the ramblings of a sick mind. Can one expect justice from such a ruler?” At that point Khamenei says that he did not have time and left the meeting. 1300 GMT: The reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front has issued its call (http://norooznews.info/news/16514.php) for Iranians to accompany Green and opposition figures in the 22 Bahman rally. Green movement activists in Ahvaz have also put out a statement (http://www.tahavolesabz.com/new_show.php/295). 1255 GMT: Another Media Detention. Amir Sadeghi, photographer for Farhange Ashti, has been arrested at work (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/9750/). 1250 GMT: We Will, We Will Rock You. The Tehran commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, General Hossein Hamadani, has declared again (http://www.radiofarda.com/content/f2_Iran_postelection_22Bahman_revolutionary_comman der_tough_action/1951742.html) that the Revolutionary Guard will “deal severely” with any protesters on Thursday. 1245 GMT: We Will, We Will Punch You. That is the Supreme Leader’s latest line for Thursday, as he told Air Force personnel (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g0BBhSbO2gAqYqxblvEw6QQ-HCwQ), “The Iranian nation, with its unity and God’s grace, will punch the arrogance (of Western powers) on the 22nd of Bahman in a way that will leave them stunned.” Using the foreign agents gambit to rule out legitimate protest, Khamenei said that the “most important aim of the sedition after the election was to create a rift within the Iranian nation, but it was unable to do so and our nation’s unity remained a thorn in its eyes”. 1135 GMT: The Next 22 Bahman Move? A group of youth and student activists have met with Mir Hossein Mousavi (http://www.facebook.com/mousavi/posts/294765809305) today, declaring that they will march on Thursday (http://www.tahavolesabz.com/new_show.php/306) with Green symbols to seek justice and freedom and announcing “to the totalitarians” that sooner or later they will free the Islamic Republic from oppression. We are awaiting a text of Mousavi’s remarks. 1125 GMT: Another High-Profile Sentence. Former Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Aminzadeh has reportedly been given a six-year prison term (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100208/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iran) for “disturbing” national security and spreading propaganda. 1110 GMT: Targeting Mortazavi. 57 members of Parliament have written to the head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, and President Ahmadinejad to demand the immediate dismissal and trial (http://alef.ir/1388/content/view/64182/) of Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi for his alleged role in the Kahrizak Prison abuses. 1100 GMT: Khomeini v. The Regime. Ezzatollah Zarghami, the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Republic, has replied sharply (http://www.farsnews.net/newstext.php?nn=8811190785) to the complaint of Seyed Hassan Khomeini about IRIB’s “censorship” of the speeches of his grandfather, Ayatollah Khomeini: “If only you had written a protest letter to condemn the shameful events after the election….” 0940 GMT: Million-Dollar Defendant. After 216 days in detention, Feizollah Arab Sorkhi, a senior member of the reformist Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution party, finally stood trial on Sunday (http://en.irangreenvoice.com/article/2010/feb/08/1042). Proceedings are ongoing; Arab Sorkhi’s bail has been set at more than$1 million.
Meanwhile, journalist Emadeddin Baghi remains in solitary confinement (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/9722/) despite the end of his interrogation.
0935 GMT: A New Voice. The Green Voice of Freedom website, from which we are pictured up some latest news items, has launched an English edition (http://en.irangreenvoice.com/content/1032).
0930 GMT: Freed. Amidst the dominant news of arrests, a belated notice of released: last week 10 students from Elm-o-Sanat University, detained on and after Ashura, were let out of prison (http://en.irangreenvoice.com/article/2010/feb/07/1028).
0920 GMT: And Now the Real News. Following the complaint from Seyed Hassan Khomeini, the Imam’s grandson, to the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Ahmad Montazeri — son of the Grand Ayatollah, who died in December — has sent a letter of protest (http://www.amontazeri.com/farsi/article_read.asp?id=262).
The issue is an IRIB interview with former Minister of Intelligence Ali Fallahian, who launched a fierce criticism of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri.
0910 GMT: It Gets Worse. The BBC’s top radio programme, Today, having done a muddled but creditable effort (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8503555.stm) to get beyond the misleading headlines on Iran (see 0715 GMT), threw it all away with an appalling interview an hour ago (http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8503000/8503596.stm).
The fault lay not with the interviewee, Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, but with the interviewer, Evan Davies, whose obsession was to establish that Iran might soon have The Bomb. That distortion was only corrected at the end of the discussion, when Fitzpatrick — moving from theory and fantasy to reality — noted that Iran does not have the technical capacity to maintain its current civilian programme, let alone establish weapons capability.
Meanwhile, the Green Movement made a fleeting appearance as the device to get a “more acceptable regime” in Iran on the nuclear issue.
Across the Atlantic, Juan Cole does an effective job (http://www.juancole.com/2010/02/more-nuclear-scaremongering-about-iran.html) taking away Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “scare” rhetoric in her interview with CNN on Sunday and then putting the Ahmadinejad declaration in appropriate context.
0820 GMT: And This is Just Silly. Reuters reports (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6170YR20100208?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=Iran&amp;v irtualBrandChannel=10209), without blinking an eye, Salehi’s declaration, “”Iran will set up 10 uranium enrichment centers next year.”
Hmm…. At least that’s not quite as extravagant as President Ahmadinejad’s snap announcement last autumn that Iran would build 20 centres (an event that EA readers recalled yesterday). Reuters might also want to note, beyond its sentence, “Analysts have expressed skepticism whether sanctions-bound Iran, which has problems obtaining materials and components abroad, would be able to equip and operate 10 new plants”, that Iran cannot even keep one centre, Natanz, functioning at more than 50 percent capacity.
0745 GMT: Nuclear Kabuki. Tehran keeps up the sideshow this morning, with Iranian state media headlining the declaration (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=118142&sectionid=351020104) of the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akhbar Salehi, “We have written a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to announce our intention to enrich uranium to 20 percent. We will send this letter to the world’s atomic watchdog on Monday and then start enrichment on Tuesday in the presence of inspectors and observers from the IAEA.”
Dramatic? No. This is no more than a restatement of what Iran is allowed to do under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, since the 20-percent level is for civilian rather than military uses. Indeed, that is (and has been for months) the real uranium issue: whether soon Iran runs out of fuel for its medical research reactor.
0715 GMT: The gap between image and reality has widened overnight in coverage of Iran. The “Western” press, with few exceptions, have now done their lemming jump into a simplistic portrayal of President Ahmadinejad’s Sunday media stunt: his declaration that Iran would immediately start producing 20-percent enriched uranium so it can ensure self-sufficiency if there is no “swap” deal with the West.
This morning, BBC’s top radio programme has one of the better stories, noting both the obvious (that Ahmadinejad’s expectation is “unrealistic”, given the technical issues with Iran’s nuclear programme( and the important (that the move, in large part, comes from domestic pressure). Even so, the piece opens with the overall declaration that this is “yet another step” in “Iran’s nuclear confrontation” with Western powers, which is a bit curious since — less than a week ago — the Iranian President was reviving the possibility of a “swap” of enriched uranium outside Iran.
And, beyond that, the bigger picture of the post-election challenge to the Iranian Government (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/07/iran-special-the-weakness-of-the-regime-its-deja-vu-all-over-again/) and possibly the Iranian system fades.
CNN, for example, is making a big noise on Twitter that it is launching in-depth coverage for the demonstrations of 22 Bahman, Thursday’s anniversary of the 1979 Revolution. Yet its feature story (http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/02/07/iran.nuclear/index.html) is solely devoted to Ahmadinejad’s Sunday proclamation, with the internal situation distorted into two concluding paragraphs:

Sunday’s announcement of the new enriched uranium plans falls within the 10-day period marking the 31st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed shah.
Celebrations commemorating the overthrow began last week and will culminate on February 11.
The immediate damage is that the important developments inside Iran escape notice. This morning, for example, we have published a list of 57 journalists (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/08/iran-special-the-56-journalists-in-irans-prisons/) who are detained, amongst hundreds of other political prisoners.
The wider significance of such blinkered and sensational visions is that it is unlikely that the complexities of the contest for power will not be understood on Thursday. Instead, 22 Bahman will suddenly leap into the media frame as a breathless and somewhat confused story of “What are the numbers?”, “Where is the violence?”, and “Where is the video?”, with little appreciation of the real pressure on President Ahmadinejad.
That pressure is coming from inside the Iranian establishment, as well as outside it. Perhaps more importantly, Thursday could be a marker of whether that pressure builds on other parts of the regime, including the position of the Supreme Leader.
22 Bahman is three days away.

bigwinnman
09-02-2010, 09:26 PM
Feb 09 2010
The Latest from Iran (9 February): 48 Hours to Go (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/09/the-latest-from-iran-9-february-48-hours-to-go/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/09/the-latest-from-iran-9-february-48-hours-to-go/#more-27900

0740 GMT: Putting on the Show. Latest on the uranium enrichment front — Iranian state media is loudly proclaiming that Tehran, under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has begun the attempt (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=118235&sectionid=351020104) to enrich its stocks from 3.5 to 20 percent.
0730 GMT: Qalibaf v. The Government. Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, relatively quiet in the post-election crisis but still a key political player — and possibly a central figure in a move against President Ahmadinejad — has again attacked incompetent officials (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/09/the-latest-from-iran-9-february-48-hours-to-go/), comparing them to “rioters”.
0723 GMT: An Appeal to the Supreme Leader. Ayatollah Mousavi-Ardebili has visited Ayatollah Khamenei (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/9816/), seeking the unconditional release of all political prisoners and exclusion of “radicals” from the Government.

0720 GMT: Today’s Prison Numbers. Two students have reportedly been released by Iranian authorities, but 16 more have been detained, including 14 from Amir Kabir University (http://en.irangreenvoice.com/article/2010/feb/08/1055).
0705 GMT: Baghi, Montazeri, and the Interview That Led to Jail. Emadeddin Baghi’s interview with Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, filmed two years for the BBC but never aired, has now surfaced. Baghi has been detained since December, in part because of this video. This is part 1 of 3

0700 GMT: Add another journalist to our list of those detained. Vahid Ostadpour has been arrested (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/9829/).
0655 GMT: Amidst the articles on Iran this morning, full marks to Reza Aslan at The Daily Beast as he previews 22 Bahman (http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-02-09/iran-on-the-brink) and puts the President’s nuclear move in its place: “Ahmadinejad is trying everything in his power to change the subject….These announcements are a joke; they cannot be taken seriously.”
0650 GMT: Imprisoning Dissent. On Monday, former Deputy Foreign Minister Mostafa Tajzadeh was sentenced to six years in prison for his threat to “national security”. Here is an example of that threat in a speech before the election (hat-tip to Pedestrian (http://www.sidewalklyrics.com/?p=3605)):

In the days of the Shah, the people of Iran had every kind of freedom, except for political freedom. When one of the slogans of the revolution became esteghlal, azadi, jomhooriyeh eslami [independence, freedom, the Islamic Republic of Iran], by “freedom” they only meant political freedom. Which other kind of freedom was it that we didn’t have? You could freely practice your religion. If you were the type who wanted to go to the mosque, you could, if you wanted to go to a bar, you also could. The path was open. The freedom we did not have was political freedom. We did not have a free press, we did not have free political parties, we did not have free elections, we did not have free unioN….
With what rationality did the Imam [Khomeini] put aside the Constitution [during the time of the Shah]? His most important reason, the brightest, most historic [reason] he put forth, was when he said: “Our fathers, our mothers, in another time, thought that this Constitution [the one under the shah] was the best. Today, their children are mature and wise, they recognize that they want a new Constitution.” He thus acknowledged the right of every generation to govern its nation on its own….
It is imperative that the election be free, and if for any reason, anyone undermines this freedom, they are acting against the law. They tell us: “Don’t worry” [about fraud in the election].” Well, we are worried. I personally am very distraught over what Mr. Mahsouli [Ahmadinejad's Minister of Interior in 2009] is doing over at the Interior Ministry. They are shuffling around and changing everybody these days, even the secretaries. I don’t know what they are doing in there that has become so secretive and confidential.
0645 GMT: We’ve posted the debut of what we hope will become a regular feature: Tricia Sutherland looks over the past week in a “Human Rights Round-up” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/08/iran-feature-human-rights-round-up-1-7-february-2010/).
0620 GMT: So another day in the countdown to 22 Bahman begins.
Monday was more a day of manoeuvre and anticipation than high drama. The Supreme Leader did put out a high-profile statement but, despite the headlines of “punching” Iran’s enemies and declaring the Islamic Republic’s supremacy, there was little beyond the rhetoric. Both Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mohammad Khatami used meetings and interviews to reiterate demands and determination, while making clear that their approach was not tainted by foreign intervention and within the framework of the Republic.
And, of course, the regime continued its efforts to ensure that their supporters, rather than the opposition, have the public space to themselves on Thursday. There was a steady stream of reports of detentions. Loudspeakers were set up alongside the likely route of the Green movement’s march, and communications continued to be restricted, with claims that stations like Voice of America Persian are now jammed.
What is harder to read, in part because of those fogged communications, are the preparations for the demonstrations. Is the claim of “3 million on the streets” — taken not from an opposition spokesperson but from a source inside Tehran’s police headquarters — best assessment, a bit of sensationalism, or even disinformation to set up a let-down when the crowds fall short of that number?
Wait-and-see time.

bigwinnman
10-02-2010, 09:47 AM
Iran: The Good News is Really Bad

09/02/2010
By Tariq Alhomayed

http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=2&id=19816

It may look like some of the western statements concerning Iran are good for Tehran however this is not the case. This is because after Ahmadinejad announced that his country is set to begin producing nuclear fuel enriched at higher levels, France said that they are not certain of the possibility of imposing international sanctions on Iran due to Chinese non-cooperation, while the US Secretary of Defense said that "the only path that is left to us at this point, it seems to me, is the pressure track, but it will require all of the international community to work together."

These are statements that seem at first glance to be an Iranian victory with regards to its dealings with the West, especially since Iran – according to the German Foreign Minister – has "repeatedly bluffed and played tricks. It has played for time" and this is in order to prevent any attempt to unify the international community against Tehran. However is this in fact good news for Tehran or an Iranian success?
I don't think so. For if the Iranians, as a Turkish official described them "invented chess [and] there are no short cuts with them" then the bad news for Iran in this case is that the possibility of Israel launching a military strike against it is now greater than at any time in the past. If the West – whether this is the US or Europe – merely announced that negotiations with Iran had reached a dead-end, this would be a good opportunity for Israel to persuade the West to launch a military strike against Iran, especially since the Iranians have succeeded in using up the time allotted to them by US President Barack Obama. This is a point of weakness that the Republicans are using to attacking Obama in Washington, and the best example of this are the attacks in the media made by Sarah Palin against the US President, particularly when she said "we need a commander-in-chief not a professor of law standing at the lectern."
Therefore we say that what seems like good news for Iran is in reality bad news, and this is because Iran has become more vulnerable to an Israeli military strike than at any time before. The Iranian regime is [also] facing an internal crisis, and Iran backing away from its nuclear rights will cause a violent confrontation with the [political] opposition that has now permeated the Iranian street. In this event, the question will be; why have the mullahs wasted time [on this nuclear program] and put the country's economy at risk? This is an issue that the Iranian opposition is exploiting with great intelligence.
In the event of a military confrontation taking place and the regime suffering genuine injuries – which is what is expected to happen – the mullahs will also be facing a critical situation from the growing domestic anger. Therefore the Iranian regime is facing a crisis – as noted above – because it is more concerned about maintaining its internal legitimacy. In the event of a military confrontation, internal collapse would mean the end of the mullahs' rule, whereas failure in the face of an external military strike would give the regime the opportunity to violently suppress the opposition in the name of defending the homeland in the face of "treason." However should this happen, the question remains; will the Iranian regime be able to survive?
Therefore we say that the good news for Iran is accompanied by a lot of bad news.

bigwinnman
10-02-2010, 10:11 AM
09 2010
Feb 09 2010

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

Less than two hours ago, we reported (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/09/the-latest-from-iran-9-february-48-hours-to-go/) on an extraordinary story from the Green website Rah-e-Sabz that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani had asked the Supreme Leader to arrange for the release from prison of Alireza Beheshti, Mir Hossein Mousavi’s advisor and the son of the late “martyr” Ayatollah Beheshti. This evening, whether or not it was because of Rafsanjani’s intervention, Beheshti was freed.
There was more, however. Rah-e-Sabz claimed that Rafsanjani had given an “ultimatum” to Ayatollah Khamenei to act against the post-election abuses.
We are still treating the story with caution; however, an EA correspondent has considered the implications if the report is accurate.

The Latest from Iran (9 February): 48 Hours to Go (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/09/the-latest-from-iran-9-february-48-hours-to-go/)
Let’s assume that the Rah-e Sabz news about the Rafsanjani meeting with Supreme Leader, spurred by the attempt to arrest Alireza Beheshi’s wife, is accurate.
We could say that trying to arrest the daughter-in-law of Shahid Beheshti and traumatizing his grandchildren is just too much for Rafsanjani and he has finally snapped. In this case this could be the first “public” crack in the Rafsanjani-Khamenei relationship. This could create opportunities both for Ahmadinejad & Co. and for the Greens.

On the coup side, they could use this to isolate Khamenei even more and get him to agree to their strategy of further suppression and crackdown. On the Green side, they could use this to draw Rafsanjani (and those within the Iranian establishment who look up to him) away from Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. This would further undermine the legitimacy of Khamenei and the whole Islamic Republic as it stands.
There may be another explanation too….
As you recall just before 16 Azar (the protests of 7 December), Rafsanjani went to Mashhad and said that if the people do not want us, we will leave. At the time that was seen as distancing himself from Supreme Leader, and it may have encouraged more students (especially in smaller towns) to come out. One could argue that he was blowing onto the fire from a distance.
A few days ago, Ayatollah Mousavi-Ardebili went to Tehran to meet Khamenei. This was their first meeting in 17 years. Leaked details of the discussion suggest that Ardebili criticized Khamenei’s handling of the state affairs and asked for Alireza Beheshti to be freed. It is reported that the Supreme Leader dismissed the criticism and refused to help with Beheshti. This information was most probably leaked by someone close to Ardebili (as Khamenei would not want it to be known that he was criticized and is behind Beheshti’s detention).
Now a few days after that meeting and a day after the leaking of the details of the meeting, it is reported that Rafsanjani has criticized the state of affairs and the treatment of Beheshti. And again the news is leaked.
This comes soon after Mir Hossein Mousavi stated that the Revolution has failed to get rid of the roots of tyranny and dictatorship and that he is seeing signs of both in Iran today. Mehdi Karroubi has said that he does not believe in this kind of Islamic Republic. And Mohammad Khatami has indirectly accused Khamenei of being a partial arbiter. (Others like Ayatollah Dashgheib have also criticised the SL). All of these could lead to one logical conclusion: that Khamenei is not fit to lead the Islamic Republic.
Now it may be that Rafsanjani is also putting Khamenei under pressure, not just by his strong protest and “ultimatum” but by allowing the news to be leaked. If this is the case, Rafsanjani would have skilfully used the attempt to arrest Beheshti’s wife to his advantage. In this case, Khamenei should be very mad at the people behind the arrest.
This leaked news may also be an attempt by Rafsanjani to say to the protestors: go out on 22 Bahman, and we (Rafsanjani and his people) will ensure that the regime does not crack down too hard.
If so, this could be a tactic which Iranian insiders call “feshar az paeen, chaneh-zani az bala”: pressure from below, negotiations at the top. Khatami tried this during his Presidency, with limited success. At that time one could argue that there was not much pressure from below, but now it seems the pressure from below is quite strong. It remains to be seen how skilful the negotiators are.

Clear Conscience
10-02-2010, 06:22 PM
Well this regime is the travesty of religion and righteousness but a solemnity in the worst forms of dictatorships.

bigwinnman
10-02-2010, 08:55 PM
Feb 10 2010
The Latest from Iran (10 February): Pink Floyd Comes To Tehran (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/10/the-latest-from-iran-10-february-waiting-and-watching/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
0905 GMT: 22 Bahman MTV. Performed by Blurred Vision and directed by Babak Payami, “Hey, Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone”:
0855 GMT: Pressure on the Government. Ayatollah Dastgheib has criticised the “un-Islamic behaviour” (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/9871/) of the Basij militia, and Ayatollah Ostadi has attacked the ideas (http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-43138.aspx) of President Ahmadinejad and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.
And the pro-Larijani Khabar Online will not let up: a series of “guest blogs” featured on the website call for respect of the press (http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-43145.aspx) and warn that “self-made wars” serve only Iran’s enemies (http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-43143.aspx) and that some “will use every pretext to prevent criticism” (http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-42375.aspx).

0845 GMT: Pressure on IRIB. The dispute between Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and Seyed Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the Imam, continues. Following the publication ofKhomeini’s letter of complaint (http://www.parlemannews.ir/?n=8269) over the “censoring” of his grandfather’s speeches, a reformist MP claims that many of his colleagues want to withdraw their support (http://www.parlemannews.ir/index.aspx?n=8332) from IRIB and an ally of Ali Larijani, Ahmad Pournejati, has attacked (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/9907/) the head of the broadcaster, Ezzatollah Zarghami.
0830 GMT: The “Mohareb” Sentences. Press TV — curiously, almost a day after the news broke — has repeated that one detainee has been sentenced to death (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=118317&sectionid=351020101) and eight given long prison sentences for their “mohareb” (war against God) activities on Ashura. The Iranian regime had threatened to execute all nine.
0810 GMT: The Professors Write Khamenei. Iran Green Voice publishes a signed letter from 116 academics (http://www.irangreenvoice.com/article/2010/feb/10/1148) at Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran, calling on the Supreme Leader to deal with the “cruelty” that has arisen within the Iranian system.
0805 GMT: Karroubi’s Confirmation. Mehdi Karroubi’s office has just announced (http://sahamnews.org/?p=849) that the cleric will be demonstrating tomorrow and has repeated the call for Iranian people to state their demands firmly but calmly. He is reportedly joining the march from Sadeghieh Square to Azadi Square at 10 a.m. local time (0630 GMT).
0800 GMT: Ebrahim Yazdi, former foreign minister and leader of the Freedom Movement of Iran, has been moved from prison to hospital (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/9908/). Yazdi, detained since Ashura, has been in poor health for months.
0745 GMT: Less than 24 hours to 22 Bahman, and the report of Rafsanjani’s “ultimatum” to the Supreme Leader, including the snap analysis (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/09/iran-snap-analysis-the-rafsanjani-ultimatum-to-the-supreme-leader/) from our correspondent, is still provoking lots of comment and speculation. Beyond that event, we have posted an analysis of the political situation (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/10/iran-the-eve-of-22-bahman/) on the eve of Thursday’s demonstrations.

bigwinnman
10-02-2010, 08:59 PM
Feb 10 2010
Iran Analysis: On the Eve of 22 Bahman (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/10/iran-the-eve-of-22-bahman/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

By yesterday, political battle lines had pretty much been drawn (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/09/the-latest-from-iran-9-february-48-hours-to-go/) for the protests on 22 Bahman, the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, this Thursday. The regime had made its threats and tried to disrupt the opposition, key figures such as Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and other reformist parties and clerics had made their calls for peaceful demonstrations, and the Green movements (less visibly for obvious reasons) had put their preparations in place.
Then two events — one confirmed, one rumoured — shook up our analysis. First, Alireza Beheshti was released from prison last night after several weeks in detention. Mousavi’s chief advisor had also been freed in the autumn after a brief spell in prison, but this move was more surprising. Ever since Ashura (27 December), the regime has been using arrests to try and break resistance, so why — on the eve of 22 Bahman — make an apparent concession?
Hours later, a possible explanation emerged. Rah-e-Sabz made its sensational claim that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani had personally intervened with a visit to the Supreme Leader after Iranian authorities attempted to arrest Beheshti’s wife. He asked not only for a cessation to that threat but for the freeing of Beheshti, the son of one of the most famous figures of the 1979 Revolution. (See separate entry for analysis (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/09/iran-snap-analysis-the-rafsanjani-ultimatum-to-the-supreme-leader/).)

Iran Snap Analysis: The Rafsanjani “Ultimatum” to the Supreme Leader (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/09/the-latest-from-iran-9-february-48-hours-to-go/)

And there was more. Rah-e-Sabz claimed that Rafsanjani, having been “ambiguous” in his statements since early December, had given an “ultimatum” to the Supreme Leader to act against the abuses and injustices of the Iranian Government. The unsubtle implication, as Beheshti was freed last night, was that Ayatollah Khamenei had listened and accepted the former President’s criticism.
Well, we’ll see, since neither Rafsanjani nor the Supreme Leader — or anyone else, for that matter — is stepping up to confirm the report.
What is important, in the meantime, is that there is a significant difference on the eve of this event compared to the political environment before Ashura (27 December). On that occasion, the only prominent opposition figure who made a move was former President Mohammad Khatami, and his memorial speech for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri was rudely broken up by pro-Government protesters. Mousavi, Karroubi, and other senior clerics were all muted about the demonstrations to come. And, after those protests, “conservative” figures such as Ali Larijani were unstinting in their criticism of the “violent” and “foreign-backed” Green movement.
Now all these figures are in play. Mousavi, Karroubi, Khatami have put down their political markers for a big opposition show on Thursday and promised more to come. Rafsanjani, for the first time since early December, may have made his manoeuvre to challenge the Government. And Larijani, joined by others within the establishment, is now targeting Ahmadinejad as much as any Green protester.
This political change should not overshadow the importance of the demonstrations on the ground tomorrow. The demands “from below” for legitimacy, justice, and freedom are just as necessary as any high-profile statement or even “ultimatum”.
Instead, what we now may have, for the first time since November, are the two halves of the challenge to the Government, and possibly the Iranian system, coming together. If the numbers are large, and even more if those multitudes are peaceful, then the Green wave for change will carry more possibilities for the politicians and clerics; conversely, each move by those politicians and clerics will bolster the demonstrators who are risking arrest and condemnation just by stepping foot into the streets and squares of Tehran and other cities on Thursday.
“From top” and “from below”: it is less than 24 hours to 22 Bahman

bigwinnman
10-02-2010, 09:04 PM
Homafaran 2.0 (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/homafaran-2-0/)

February 10, 2010

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

Feb. 08, 1979
“The nation will stun the world on the 22nd of Bahman.” Those were the exact words of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei when giving a speech to the commanders, fighter-pilots, and personnel of the Air Force division of the Iranian Army yesterday. What was more stunning was the ambiguity of support – one might say – from this historically authoritarian challenging Army. The 22nd of Bahman in the Persian calendar is equivalent to February 11th, the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Exactly 31 years ago, a fairly large number of the Imperial Iranian Air Force, Homafaran, defected and submitted their support to Ayatollah Khomeini in the revolutionary days of Iran. That was a significant build up to the movement that toppled the Pahlavi Dynasty only three days later on February 11, 1979; a day which many believe changed the political dynamics of the Middle-East forever.
The Iranian Army has a history of neutrality when it comes to internal disputes, and has repeatedly refused to pick up arms against its own citizens. That culture and attitude is still alive today. The Iranian Army, which is consistent of its own ground, air, and naval forces, is the only military wing of the armed forces of Iran that has stayed out of the post-election battle. Every other armed group including the police, commanded by the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has contributed support to the brutal post-election crack down inside Iran. Taking into account the sensitivity of the political arena in Iran today, a lack of clear support for Ayatollah Khamenei, the “Supreme Commander of Armed Forces” of Iran, is an audacious move by the Army. However, that is exactly what happened when the Air Force personnel of the Army met with the Supreme Leader yesterday.
Feb. 08, 2010
Contrary to the photographs printed in the hard-line media that suggest salute and obedience to the Supreme Leader, the content of the report presented by the commander of the Air Force had no reference to the current political affairs of the Islamic Republic. According to the pro-government newspapers, the report only had a summary of the recent military advancements of the Army in recent military exercises. Ayatollah Khamenei would have certainly appreciated a more concrete support, especially on a symbolic day like yesterday.
The Army has a reputation among Iranians for being a “sanctuary for the people” in difficult times. In an anonymous recent statement that circulated in the internet, many high ranking Army officers from across the country expressed outrage at the brutality of the IRGC and all the forces under its wing during the recent crack downs. The statement specifically mentioned that even though the Army has taken an oath to stay away from politics, it will not be quiet against violence toward its own countrymen.
There is certainly some stunning to be done on February 11. Let’s wait and see who will stun whom.

bigwinnman
11-02-2010, 09:09 AM
Several arrests made as opposition urges protests
Iran bans foreign media from revolution day

Thu, Feb 11, 2010 | Safar 27, 1431
Year Six, Day 357

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/02/10/99990.html

TEHRAN (Agencies)
Iran has for the first time banned foreign media from covering Thursday's street marches marking the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution, amid opposition plans for anti-government protests.

An official coordinating the media told AFP that reporters and photographers were allowed to cover only the speech of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the historic Azadi (Freedom) Square in southwestern Tehran, and not the traditional street marches across the city.

Every year hundreds of thousands of Iranians participate in marches in Tehran and other cities to mark the toppling of the US-backed shah in 1979.

But since a dispute over Ahmadinejad's re-election erupted last June, opposition supporters have hijacked regime-sponsored events to stage anti-government protests.

Iranian authorities are bracing for such protests on Thursday and have warned of a severe crackdown against protesters.

Several arrested

Iran has arrested several people who were preparing to disrupt rallies on Feb. 11 marking the 1979 Islamic revolution, police said on Wednesday, in a clear warning to opposition supporters planning new protests.

Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have urged a large turnout by their supporters on Thursday.

"We are closely watching the activities of the sedition movement and several people who were preparing to disrupt the Feb. 11 rallies were arrested," Fars News Agency quoted police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam as saying, giving no details.

Playing down possible unrest, the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying: "There will be no worries in this regard. We are fully prepared for holding a safe and glorious rally."

He said police, the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij Islamic militia were "ready for any possible incident ... and they will let no one create insecurity".

The hard-line leadership is also facing increased international pressure after the Islamic state announced this week an expansion of nuclear work which the West suspects is aimed at making bombs, a charge Tehran denies.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday the international community was moving "fairly quickly" toward imposing broader sanctions on Iran, a major oil producer.

"Many people are worried"

Some Iranians said they were apprehensive before the annual events marking the 31st anniversary of the revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed shah. "Many people are worried," one young academic said in Tehran, declining to be named.

Eight people were killed in clashes between the security forces and opposition backers in December, in the most serious bloodshed since the aftermath of the vote, when dozens died.

The opposition is showing no sign of backing down, despite many arrests in a continuing crackdown by the authorities.

The opposition says the June poll was rigged to secure Ahmadinejad's re-election. Government officials have denied the charge and portrayed the protests that erupted after the vote as a foreign-backed bid to undermine the Islamic Republic.

After the June election, thousands of people protesting against the conduct of the vote were arrested. Most of them have since been freed, although more than 80 people have been jailed for up to 15 years, including several senior ex-officials.

In January, Iran hanged two people sentenced to death in post-vote trials and at least nine others are appealing such sentences. The West and rights groups condemned the executions, accusing Iran of seeking to intimidate the opposition.

bigwinnman
11-02-2010, 09:14 AM
Basij militia hurled stones at Italian, French & Dutch embassies
Italy says Iranian militia tried to attack embassy

Thu, Feb 11, 2010 | Safar 27, 1431
Year Six, Day 357

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/02/09/99897.html

ROME (Agencies)
Italy said dozens of members of Iran's religious Basij militia had tried to attack its embassy in Tehran on Tuesday, but Iranian media described the incident as a protest by students and denied there was any violence.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told a Senate hearing: "About a hundred Basij dressed as civilians tried to assault the embassy shouting "Death to Italy" and "Death to (Prime Minister) Berlusconi."

He said similar incidents had occurred at the French and Dutch embassies in the Iranian capital.

Frattini later told reporters the attackers were "certainly or most probably Basij. We did not recognize them, but because of the type of demonstration and the slogans chanted it looked a bit suspect."

He said the attackers had hurled stones at the embassy but caused no serious damage. Iranian police had intervened to "stop a full-blown assault".

"Contacts are under way at the European level" to reach a consensus on sending a "signal of strong concern" over the incidents, Frattini said.

Italy has traditionally been one of Iran's main trading partners in Europe but Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's close ties with Israel, and diplomatic pressure over the nuclear dispute with Tehran, have led to a sharp reduction in Italian investments in Iran.

On a trip to Israel last week, Berlusconi said his government would block new investments in the oil and gas sector -- where Italy's ENI is active. Iranian media later condemned Berlusconi as "a slave of Israel".

Iran's semi-official Fars news agency said hard-line students protested outside the French and Italian embassies, but there were no reports of violence or attempts by the students to attack the embassies.

Frattini said Rome would not send its ambassador to celebrations on Thursday marking the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

A spokeswoman for the Dutch foreign ministry said she was not aware of any protest at their embassy. There was no immediate comment from French authorities.

bigwinnman
11-02-2010, 09:17 AM
Communication minister says due to ‘damaged optic fiber’
Iran internet down ahead of expected protests

Thu, Feb 11, 2010 | Safar 27, 1431
Year Six, Day 357

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/02/07/99636.html

TEHRAN (AFP)
Iran said on Sunday its Internet connections will remain slow this week due to technical problems, ahead of anticipated protests by opposition supporters.

Connections have been slow since last week and some email accounts have been unavailable for several hours each day.

"The cause of the reduced Internet speed in recent days is that part of the fibre-optic network is damaged," Communications Minister Reza Taghipour told Iran's state broadcaster.

"The breakage will be repaired by next week and the Internet speed will be back to normal," he added.

The Iranian week runs from Saturday to Friday.

Taghipour said the undersea optic fiber across the Gulf between the Iranian port of Jask and Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates had been damaged due to shipping traffic and anchoring.

He also acknowledged that text messaging in Iran had been disrupted, blaming it on "changing software."

Iran's anti-government protesters have effectively used the Internet and SMS services to organize rallies and spread news and pictures of the demonstrations.

Opposition supporters have used every opportunity to take to the streets for protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose re-election in June they reject as fraudulent.

They have held demonstrations alongside state-sponsored events over the past months and plan to take to the streets again on the February 11 anniversary of the Islamic revolution when annual state-backed marches are held.

Clear Conscience
11-02-2010, 07:00 PM
In reality I was surprised to see reformists in demonstrations today after the bloody crackdowns imposed by the bloody Khameni2i and his bloody puppet Najad. God Bless such freedom fighters. They are fearless.
FTV mentioned now that Karoubi and Khatemi were attacked physically by loyalists to the bloody khameni2i.

Clear Conscience
11-02-2010, 07:03 PM
Najad is bragging about the one who controls the Middleast will control the world. Well let him contol the Iranians first before aspiring for controlling the Middleast.
The funny thing also, is that yesterday during his call with Assad, Najad confirmed that if Israel starts a war, than he will erase it. Tayib if you can erase Israel, why dont you do it now?? What are you waiting for??
He is an ugly bloody clown.

Clear Conscience
11-02-2010, 07:06 PM
Mohamad Rida Khatemi, the brother of President Khatemi, was arrested before a while.

Clear Conscience
11-02-2010, 07:06 PM
The son of Karoubi was arrested too.

Clear Conscience
11-02-2010, 07:09 PM
Zahra2 Ishraqi, the grand daughter of Khoumayni, was arrested too. Khameni2i is celebrating the victory of Khoumayni from 31 years but at the same time persecuting Khoumayni's family. What a hypocrite he is!!!!!
I dont know if she is an anglo saxon traitor!!!

bigwinnman
11-02-2010, 08:41 PM
http://enduringamerica.com/

“Marg Bar Dictator” on Tehran subway today

Pro-Mousavi slogans being chanted on the subway

0905 GMT: To Prove Our Analysis. An example of the hit-and-run confrontations comes from Rah-e-Sabz (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/10026/), which reports clashes between security forces and people trying to reach Azadi Square, as the crowds chant “Death to Dictator” and “Death to Khamenei”.
Of course, none of this is making it onto State media, whose propaganda strategy is in overdrive. All of their coverage is focused on the rally in Azadi Square, with the theme being “Iran v. the West” (in other words, no mention as well as no images of internal conflict). Press TV is trotting on “analyst” after “analyst” talking about resistance to Western domination — one example is the Beirut-based Franklin Lamb.
Two questions: 1) how long can this regime effort last, if the crowds have done their bit and are ready to go home? 2) what happens for the day, as opposition groups (whose size we cannot yet estimate) regroup and marches at different points through Tehran, even as the security forces try to prevent a single, large demonstration?
0900 GMT: Meanwhile, Back to the Real Story. So far, this morning is a repeat of the mornings of other protest days. While the regime tries to hold its showpiece rally, the priority of security forces is to prevent any mass gathering of opposition.
So the running violence throughout the capital is of Iranian security forces pushing back at crowds as they move towards squares. The most dramatic examples was the aggression against the entourages of Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami, but the episodes is being repeated in numerous places.
0855 GMT: The Ahmadinejad Showpiece. President’s speech was 1 hour, 15 minutes, but you could pretty much wrap it up in the snippets we’ve posted below.
Key take-away: Ahmadinejad was almost entirely focused on the “external”, with Great Iran v. Duplicitous/Evil/Scheming “West”. He avoided the internal issues.
Press TV has followed the script, paying particular attention to the “20% uranium declaration” and the nuclear issue.
How does this play, not only with the “Iranian people” but with the opposition and his critics “within the establishment”? Wait and see.
0832 GMT: Fereshteh Ghazi have confirmed that reformist leader Mohammad Reza Khatami and his wife, Zahra Eshraghi (the granddaughter of Ayatollah Khomeini), have been released after a brief detention (see 0815 GMT). They have been warned not to return to the streets.
0830 GMT: President Ahmadinejad still going on about Iran v. The World: “Iran does not welcome confrontation….Obama should make great changes”, etc., etc.
0827 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz now carries the report of Ali Karroubi’s arrest (http://www.rahesabz.net/mobile/10021) (see 0805 GMT).
0815 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz is claiming that Mohammad Reza Khatami, first Secretary-General of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front (and not to be confused with former President Khatami), and his wife, Zahra Eshraghi, the granddaughter of Ayatollah Khomeini, have been arrested. (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/10019/)
0810 GMT: That Ahmadinejad Speech. “World powers need us more than we need them.”
0805 GMT: Urgent — Ali Karroubi, son of Mehdi Karroubi has been arrested. The news has been confirmed by his brother, Hossein Karroubi.
0757 GMT: And Khatami? Parleman News is reporting that former President Mohammad Khatami was present in marches between Zanjan St and Azadi Square, supported by loud chants, but he was soon forced to pull back and leave after pressure from pro-Government force. (http://www.parlemannews.ir/index.aspx?n=8416 (http://www.parlemannews.ir/index.aspx?n=8416))
0749 GMT: The Karroubi Attack. We are treated as confirmed, given the report from Fereshteh Ghazi on her Facebook page:
Karroubi was subject to aggression on Ashrafi Esfahani Street. Batons and “coloured bullets” were used to attack his bodyguards. Windows of his car smashed. He was forced to go back home in someone else’s car. Karroubi was unscathed but unable to proceed.”
Rah-e-Sabz also reports. (http://sawte.com/vb/[07:49:51] Siavush Randjbar-Daemi: http://www.rahesabz.net/story/10017/)
0748 GMT: More Ahmadinejad: “Domination of the world depends on control of energy. Imperialist Britain managed to subjugate most of the world in its empire through the cheap Middle Eastern energy. The engines of war were successful becuase they extracted and appropriated cheap Middle Eastern energy.
From a geopolitical standpoint, major potential is linked to our regime.”
0745 GMT: Attack on Karroubi. The best report so far re the claimed assault on Mehdi Karroubi comes from a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist who talked to Karroubi’s son: “Karroubi and his car came under attack by hardliners, people being beaten up.”
Parleman News and Fereshteh Ghazi are now reporting the attack as well.
0730 GMT: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has begun his speech in Azadi Square. He has begun by praising 22 Bahman, declaring that “this Revolution goes beyond Iran’s border….It affects the globe….The future of humanity is inter-connected.”
0715 GMT: Press TV’s correspondent in Azadi Square is going a bit over the top in the effort to show how massive this is for the regime: “Each year I see something more interesting….This year, in the beautiful skies, it’s the skydivers. And the speaker is calling on the judiciary to take action on events that happened after elections.”

0710 GMT: State media is featuring film of large pro-Government crowds moving along routes to Tehran University and Azadi Square. No footage, however, from Sadeghieh Square.
0700 GMT: An EA correspondent, from reliable Tehran sources, reports heavy security presence in 7 Tir Square and Hafez Street, armed with batons but no visible firearms.
0650 GMT: Web Issues. The websites of Islamic Republic News Agency, which was taken off-line yesterday, or Press TV are not loading.
0640 GMT: There are reports of clashes at Sadeghieh Square, where Mehdi Karroubi was due to arrive about 10 minutes ago. These come from reliable Iranian activists (http://www.twitter.com/onlymehdi), but we are treating with caution for the moment.
0620 GMT: Reza Sayah of CNN, from a witness, reports (http://www.twitter.com/sayahCNN) “pick-up trucks with speakers roaming streets blaring pro-govt slogans and songs”.
0610 GMT: The Green site Rah-e-Sabz is reporting extensive deployment of security forces (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/10009/), including detachments in Amirabad Street and around the state television complex. (EA correspondents note that this probably should be Karegar rather than Amirabad Street.)
0600 GMT: Press TV and Fars are now putting out state media line: “People across Iran have begun celebrating the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution”. Live shots of people standing about in Azadi Square. The studio anchor is on a “looped” script, repeating over and over the basics of 22 Bahman and “tens of millions” of Iranians coming out on this day to support the regime.

CNN International, in contrast to previous protest days, is already going big on its coverage. It’s now running an extensive overview with interviewees like Mehdi Khalaji and Behzad Yaghmaian.
0550 GMT: Well, Press TV English hasn’t quite gone to special coverage. It’s showing “In Prison My Whole Life”. Thought at first this might be a subversive reference to post-election detentions, but on second glance, looks like it is a study of US injustice.
0545 GMT: Reports, which we are checking, of several hundred gathered in Tabriz. People are on the move in Tehran, where it is 9:15 a.m.
0540 GMT: Activists reports that “Death to Dictator” is already being chanted (http://www.twitter.com/IranStreets) by people gathered in the north and northwest of Azadi Square, the official gathering point for the pro-Government rally and the unofficial destination of the opposition marches.. Basij militia have gathered at bus stops at the northwest corner of Azadi Square. (iranstreets)
0530 GMT: Here we go. It is 22 Bahman, the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, and we, like many others, start the day with nervous expectation of what is to come.

bigwinnman
11-02-2010, 08:46 PM
Feb 10 2010

http://enduringamerica.com/
Iran: Enduring America’s Coverage of 22 Bahman (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/10/iran-enduring-americas-coverage-of-22-bahman/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in News & Announcements (http://enduringamerica.com/category/news-announcements/)
http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/22BAHMAN-300x253.jpg (http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/22BAHMAN.jpg)Enduring America’s coverage of the marches of 22 Bahman, the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, will start at 0600 GMT (9:30 a.m. in Tehran). We’ll have a LiveBlog with the quickest updates on events, the latest videos, and snap analyses throughout the day.
In Britain, Scott Lucas will anchor the coverage, with Ali Yenidunya and Tricia Sutherland keeping an eye on the hot news and video footage. Josh Shahryar will be updating from the US, and our German Bureau will be bringing in other information from their sources. With the help of EA correspondents, Mr Azadi and Mr V, we will be drawing on our sources in Iran to make sure we have the best reading of the developments.
And, of course, we will drawing from our best reporters — EA’s readers — as they offer information and comments.

bigwinnman
11-02-2010, 08:55 PM
Detain granddaughter of revolutionary leader Khomeini
Police attack Iran reformists on Revolution Day

Thu, Feb 11, 2010 | Safar 27, 1431
Year Six, Day 357

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/02/11/100037.html

TEHRAN (Agencies)
Iran’s security forces attacked a number of reformist leaders, including Mehdi Karroubi and ex-president Mohammed Khatami on Thursday as Iranians mark the 31 anniversary of the Islamic revolution, opposition websites reported.

Karroubi's son Hossein told AFP that his father was "not injured but his guards who were accompanying him were."

"They (police and plainclothes men) fired tear gas and were brandishing knives when they clashed with our supporters" before the cleric reached western Tehran's Sadeghieh square from where he was supposed to join the marches.

Rahesabz website reported that also ex-president Khatami's brother Mohammad Reza and his wife were arrested by security forces.

Security forces detained the granddaughter of late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and her husband, the Jaras opposition website reported.

Zahra Eshraqi and her husband Mohammad Reza Khatami, a brother of reformist former president Khatami, were detained during rallies marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, the website reported.

State television showed footage of men, women and children carrying banners reading "Death to America! Death to Israel!" as they headed to Azadi (Freedom) Square in southwest Tehran to mark the day the U.S.-backed shah was toppled in 1979.

This year's Feb. 11 celebrations come as the simmering dispute with world powers over Iran's nuclear program approaches boiling point after the Islamic republic on Tuesday defiantly began work on high-enriched uranium.

Iran has produced its first consignment of 20 percent enriched uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told thousands of Iranians gathered in central Tehran.

Celebrations to mark the day the U.S.-backed shah fell in 1979 have been traditionally festive, and an opportunity for Iranian leaders to showcase popular support for the establishment.

But this year, opposition groups -- led by some of the founding fathers of the Islamic republic -- look set to hijack the national day as they continue to reject the legitimacy of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government.

The elite Revolutionary Guards and police said would leave no stone unturned in their bid to prevent opposition protests.

Police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam said on Wednesday the Revolutionary Guards and Basij Islamic militia were ready for any incident. "We are fully prepared for holding a safe and glorious rally," he told Fars news agency.

"We are closely watching the activities of the sedition movement and several people who were preparing to disrupt the Feb. 11 rallies were arrested," he said, giving no details.

The U.S. State Department said it could not confirm a report in the Wall Street Journal that Iran planned to suspend Google Inc's e-mail service in the country.

"Virtual walls won't work in the 21st century any better than physical walls worked in the 20th century," said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.

Internet connections have frequently been slow or unreliable during times of political turmoil over the past eight months. Tehran residents were able to access their Gmail accounts early on Thursday morning.

Display of unity

The Islamic Republic has survived many challenges, not least a 1980-88 war started by Iraq's Saddam Hussein, whose forces were propped up by Gulf Arab oil money and Western weaponry.

But the national unity forged in that trauma has long given way to rifts within clerical and political elites that widened after Ahmadinejad was re-elected. Street protests have flared periodically ever since, sometimes around official rallies.

Iran's all-powerful Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says he wants Thursday's celebration to be a show of unity and to deliver a stunning "punch" to "arrogant" powers.

Khamenei -- the commander-in-chief who has the final say on all key national issues -- has openly sided with Ahmadinejad, dismissed allegations of fraud in the election, blamed the West for the post-poll unrest and slammed continuing dissent as "sedition".

"The most important aim of the sedition after the election was to create a rift within the Iranian nation, but it was unable to do so and our nation's unity remained a thorn in its eyes," he said on Monday.

bigwinnman
11-02-2010, 09:05 PM
http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=129630[/URL]
The latest from Iran

February 11, 2010

February 11, 11:00 a.m.

There were clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces at Azadi Square in Central Tehran early Thursday morning during ceremonies to mark the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Authorities have called for large-scale participation in official government rallies, but opposition leaders have urged their supporters to also attend.
The “[URL="http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/11/the-latest-from-iran-12-february-today-is-22-bahman/"]Enduring America (javascript:checkSize2('size'))” blog wrote Thursday morning that “The best report so far on the claimed assault on [opposition leader] Mehdi Karroubi comes from a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist who talked to Karroubi’s son: ‘Karroubi and his car came under attack by hardliners, people being beaten up.’ Parleman News and Fereshteh Ghazi are now reporting the attack as well.”
IranNewsNow (http://www.irannewsnow.com/2010/02/live-blog-22-bahman/) has also been providing live internet coverage of the event.
Balatarin.com (http://www.balatarin.com/) reported that internet access in Tehran has become extremely slow. So far there are no videos, pictures or audio files of protests inside the country.

bigwinnman
11-02-2010, 09:09 PM
http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/getstory?openform&F61E8CCB3BA4EAA6C22576C7002AEA56

Iran Marks 1979 Revolution Amid Tight Security

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians gathered Thursday at a Tehran square to mark the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution amid tight security and reports of opposition protesters massing on the streets.
State television showed footage of men, chador-clad women and children carrying banners reading "Death to America, Death to Israel!" crowded into Azadi (Freedom) Square in southwest Tehran to mark the day the U.S.-backed shah was toppled in 1979.
"The 22 of Bahman (February 11) is the symbol of Iranian unity," said state television as it reported that a million Iranians had gathered at Azadi Square.
Opposition website Rahesabz reported that thousands of anti-government protesters were also in the streets of Tehran. There was no independent confirmation as the foreign media has been banned from covering street marches.
An AFP reporter among a group of journalists taken by Iranian officials to cover a speech at Azadi Square by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said security forces had been massively deployed in the area.
Celebrations to mark the day the shah was toppled have been traditionally festive, and an opportunity for Iranian leaders to showcase popular support for the establishment.
But this year, opposition groups -- led by some of the founding fathers of the Islamic republic -- look set to hijack the national day as they continue to reject the legitimacy Ahmadinejad's government.
If the opposition does succeed in mounting protests, this would be highly symbolic given the anniversary's historic significance.
The elite Revolutionary Guards and police have warned they will crack down heavily on any protests which, since they first erupted last June, have threatened the very pillars of the Islamic regime and split the senior clergy.
"If anyone wants to disrupt this glorious ceremony, they will be confronted by people and we too are fully prepared," police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam warned on Wednesday.
Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election last June plunged the Islamic republic into one of its worst ever political crises, with the opposition refusing to take the fight off the streets despite often deadly crackdowns.
Most recently, eight people were killed on the Shiite holy day of Ashura on December 27 and hundreds were jailed as authorities battled protesters they accuse of seeking to topple the regime and siding with Iran's enemies abroad.
Iran's all-powerful supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says he wants Thursday's celebration to be a show of unity and to deliver a stunning "punch" to "arrogant" powers.
Khamenei -- the commander-in-chief who has the final say on all key national issues -- has openly sided with Ahmadinejad, dismissed allegations of fraud in the election, blamed the West for the post-poll unrest and slammed continuing dissent as "sedition".
The opposition is led by former stalwarts of the Islamic republic, including one-time premier Mir Hossein Mousavi, who says the 1979 revolution failed because the shah-era "roots of tyranny and dictatorship" still exist.
Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the other main opposition leader, have urged a mass turnout by their supporters in what is known as the "Green Movement," but also urged them to show restraint.
"I feel we have to participate while maintaining the collective spirit as well as our identity and leave an impression," Mousavi said on Monday. "Anger and bitterness should not take our control away."
Karroubi's son Hossein told AFP that his father would be participating in the annual march on Thursday but his "mother was contacted and told not to allow him (Karroubi) to go out." The deadly Ashura protests saw Mousavi's nephew shot dead, and in January Iran executed two men for seeking to overthrow the regime and has said nine protesters were on death row on similar charges. Ahead of the anniversary, Internet connections slowed to a crawl and text messaging services were disrupted, with the government blaming technical glitches.(AFP)

Beirut, 11 Feb 10, 09:58

Clear Conscience
11-02-2010, 09:31 PM
Any Western pressures will be exploited by Iran to turn the people on the internal level against the reformists. Such ossified regime can never revel except by isolation. So the West should give the reformist time. Maybe they can exhaust the regime, before moving against Iran. Sanctions should be imposed on the revolutionary guards and official institutions but not comprehensive sanctions, or else everything will trun against the reformists. There will never be an agreement on the nuclear issue with Iran. The ideology of the regime prevent it from agreeing with the West on anything. So the war is coming for sure, but the West should try the reformist for a while.

Ali_81
12-02-2010, 04:03 AM
I wish that you and your political gang from the saudis to the hariris would work against the israeli nuclear program with the same energy as you work against the Irani nuclear program!

But what to expect from your bankrup political camp! On al arabiya they made the traitor saudi prince a hero because he "stood up against the israeli" embassador and shook his hand !!!

Any Western pressures will be exploited by Iran to turn the people on the internal level against the reformists. Such ossified regime can never revel except by isolation. So the West should give the reformist time. Maybe they can exhaust the regime, before moving against Iran. Sanctions should be imposed on the revolutionary guards and official institutions but not comprehensive sanctions, or else everything will trun against the reformists. There will never be an agreement on the nuclear issue with Iran. The ideology of the regime prevent it from agreeing with the West on anything. So the war is coming for sure, but the West should try the reformist for a while.

Clear Conscience
12-02-2010, 04:20 AM
Ali if I replied now, you will start complaining that I am victimizing you. Next time before knocking the door, keep in mind that there will be a reply. Dont classify me. Go read my debate with Sam and you will realize el 3ayb li 7akayto inta hala2 and you will apologize.
Ya 3abkareh when the Iranian minister of tourism shaked the hands of the Israeli minister of tourism in a cordial conversation we didnt see any suburban like you denouncing this act. This happened last month. Tell me now, that you didnt hear of it.
Being a pro-militia like you is plentiful in useful politics but others are bunkrupt. Shaghel 3a2lak before you turn yourself a prey in hastiness.
Being a pro- Ali Ammar and Nabih Berri is a plentiful culture for you but we are bankrupt.lol
On 14 Feb check the people in downtown and come tell me how bankrupt are M14ers. Maybe they should learn the militia values from you to be plentiful.
You forget me sometimes.

Clear Conscience
12-02-2010, 05:11 AM
Ali ya 3abqareh this is one of my posts here to Sam:
"Sam, you want to eliminate Hizbalah, because you are worried on your Lebanese friends, or because you want to destroy everything standing in the face of Israel? I want to eliminate Hizbalah, but I cant accept this advice from you. I am giving you a glimpse on how to advice people like me next time. I am talking about myself here and not on the behalf of others.It is not you who tell me how to deal with errant compatriots. After all they are compatriots even if they were errants. I am not attacking your person here! Be sure of that.
The Jews wont allow Iran to kill them by its nuclear bomb, but what about the Israeli nuclear bomb? Ba3dein Iran is in a state of war with Israel and not the Jews, I wonder if this generalization was for sinister puposes or a mistake. Why the Israelis are allowed to kill the Palestinians? The government in Israel is better than Khameni2i?? If Iran is not allowed to have nuclear bombs, than the same thing should be applied on Israel.Sharon or Barrack are better than Najad or Khameni2i?
Why dont you ask us, what kind of Lebanon we can build if Israeli stop protecting the minority Alawite regime in Syria? Why dont you ask us, what kind of Lebanon we can build if Israel begins to tolerate an entity of 17 sects on its borders? I personally dont think that Israel will ever tolerate such 17 sects entity, since Israel wants to turn itself into a one-sect state."

Next time use your mind ali before you act as a suburban to classify others.

bigwinnman
12-02-2010, 02:42 PM
folks, this is a thread dealing with the ongoing protests that are happening in Iran not a debate on Israeli vs Irani nuclear capability. i will say this when it comes to debating this, Israel has never threatened the region with their nuclear arms. we cannot, however, guarantee that Iran would follow suit as it is quite plain to all that they are seeking supremacy over the region.

Clear Conscience
12-02-2010, 03:09 PM
Greg he must turn it into a Sunnite Shiite debate or else he can never thrive. Once I asked him not to turn it like this always infront of the members here, but he doesnt understand, since he was raised on such approach. He had to spew what is imbued in his mind. He wants to criticise Torky El Faysal for shaking hands with Ayalon, but he never dares to mention what the Iranian minister did before few weeks, as if I cant expose his suburban hypocrisy. He is excellent in turning himself a prey.
Sorry for you Greg for being aggressive in my posts, but this is the language he understands.

Clear Conscience
12-02-2010, 04:02 PM
Greg, I want to make a statement out of context, I hope you will allow me.
Once Salah El Din El Ayoubi was fighting the Franks lead by Richard the Lion Heart. When Richard got sick, Salah El Din sent his doctor to treat King Richard. This means Salah El Din is a traitor and there should have been Persians or suburbans near him to teach him real nationalism.
The most evident signs of intellectual dimness is when we start classifying others according to our suburban whims.

Clear Conscience
12-02-2010, 06:19 PM
Well Najad yesterday was heckled many times during his speech by reformists exclaiming "death to the dictator", in his face.
For the first time, there was a huge number of Bassij around Khameni2i's home to prtoect him. The coward Khameni2i is afraid from his people. I said before, dictators are the most cowards.
The largest demonstration was in Ahwaz for the Sunnites. As the Iranians seek to plant sedition in Arab countries by arming shiite terrorist groups like Hizbalah, the 14 miliion Sunnites in Iran can shake this fascist regime.
The white house today said that Najad is lying about his nuclear capabilities.

bigwinnman
12-02-2010, 09:06 PM
Feb 12 2010
http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/12/iran-analysis-the-regimes-pyrrhic-victory/#more-28312
Iran Analysis: The Regime’s Pyrrhic Victory (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/12/iran-analysis-the-regimes-pyrrhic-victory/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/22-BAHMAN-SECURITY1-300x225.jpg (http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/22-BAHMAN-SECURITY1.jpg)Pyrrhic Victory (noun): A victory won at too great a cost (after Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, who suffered staggering losses in defeating the Romans)

Mr Verde writes a guest analysis for EA:
This year’s 22 Bahman anniversary must have been the most widely discussed since the 1979 Revolution, but with disruption of communications in Iran, the flow of information about the events was always going to be slow. So, reserving comment about the actual events for a later date when more information is available, here’s a look at the “big picture” for the Islamic Republic.
The regime has demonstrated that, as with other occasions, it can bus in people, or entice them with free food or fear of their government jobs, for the setpiece event. It has also demonstrated that, again as with previous occasions, its security forces are very capable of beating peaceful protestors and dispersing them.
And here comes the problem: this year’s events were less like celebrating a Revolution that freed the country from tyranny and dictatorship and more like a tyrannical dictatorship celebrating its continued survival.

The more one pays attention to the words and actions of the officials of the Islamic Republic, the more it becomes apparent that there is something wrong. From the start of the post-election protests, the regime has been adamant that the protestors are few in number and do not have a real agenda except causing chaos and mayhem. (There were exception when officials, desperate to explain specific situations, talked about millions being on the streets in June, but these were single officials trying to explain away a difficult fact.) If the protestors are so few in number and so insignificant, there is no reason for such heavy security presence. How to resolve this contradiction? Either the regime knows that opposition is widespread or we are witnessing a totalitarian regime in action.
The protests have been ongoing for eight months. This period from June to February has covered almost all of the Islamic Republic’s official occasions where it has traditionally encouraged the population to take part in public events and used them as proof of its popularity and stability. But since 12 June, during each one of these events the regime has had to resort to naked violence to keep people off the streets. There are only two such days left in this year’s Islamic Republic calendar that have not been tarnished yet by clashes on the streets: the anniversaries of Khomeini’s death (4 June) and the 15 Khordaad uprising (5 June).
The Islamic Republic is a regime that is built upon ideological symbols and heavily depends on them. Friday prayers are supposed to be weekly affirmation of the public’s support for the regime (both in a religious and a political context). Qods Day in September is to celebrate Islamic Republic’s support for oppressed Palestinians. 13 Aban (4 November this year) was meant to commemorate the killing of schoolchildren by the Shah’s security forces and, perhaps more importantly, the start of the US Embassy hostage crisis (referred to by Khomeini as the second revolution and the Islamic Republic’s proof that it stood up to superpowers). 16 Azar (7 December) is supposed to be the commemoration of student movements that stood up to the Shah’s regime. Ashura (27 December) is to commemorate the uprising by Imam Hossein (the third Shi’a Imam) against tyranny and his martyrdom. 22 Bahman is to mark the victory of the Revolution that brought about the Islamic Republic.
All of these events are now remembered not for their original symbolic importance, but for the fact that the security forces of the Islamic Republic have on every occasion beaten and at times killed peaceful Iranian demonstrators.
Beyond this public demonstration, the regime has managed to discredit many of its notable officials and personalities. Many of the Islamic Republic’s former leading figures are in prison on charges of sedition or acting against national security. Some very senior politicians and activists are treated as the enemy these days. On the eve of Ashura, government thugs disrupted a speech by former President Mohammad Khatami, in in no less a place than the home of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini. Mir Hossein Mousavi, Prime Minister during most of the eight-year war with Iraq, and Mehdi Karoubi — revolutionary cleric during the Shah’s regime, former head of the Martyrs’ Foundation, former Speaker of Parliament — are insulted by regime officials on a daily basis, prevented from taking part in official commemorations and at times shot at with tear gas and beaten.
The problem is not just that the current leadership of Islamic Republic owes all it has to such people. The real problem is that, only eight months ago, two of them (Mousavi and Karoubi) were both passed through the formidable filter of the Council of Guardians as Presidential candidates. The regime is now calling them leaders of sedition.
The question for the regime is: have these people, who have impeccable revolutionary credentials, always been leading an insurrection? If so, how is it that for 30 years the Islamic Republic’s many intelligence organizations and intelligence officials missed this? Or could it be that the state of affairs of the Islamic Republic is such that even loyal servants are forced to protest? No enemy would have been able to undermine the ideological symbols and tarnish the reputation of the Islamic Republic with such efficiency.
The regime is fast losing any claim of being Islamic, popular, just, or merciful. And its showpiece events have become occasions on which its forces are mobilized to attack its own citizens, even as it pours resources into a show for TV cameras so that it — and some foreign media with superficial view of the events — can call it a “victory”.
So a Pyrrhic hypothesis: For any regime, especially one that claims to be a popular republic based on Islam, pointing TV cameras at the right-looking crowd while beating the “wrong crowd” with all its might, especially on the anniversary of its formation, is not a victory.

bigwinnman
12-02-2010, 09:09 PM
Feb 12 2010
http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/12/iran-the-events-of-22-bahman-seen-from-inside-tehran/#more-28309
Iran: The Events of 22 Bahman, Seen from Inside Tehran (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/12/iran-the-events-of-22-bahman-seen-from-inside-tehran/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/22-BAHMAN-300x224.jpg (http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/22-BAHMAN.jpg)EA correspondent Mr Azadi, who was in close contact with sources in Tehran throughout Thursday, writes this summary:
At 10 p.m., Iranian television began its news with part of the Supreme Leader’s declaration, “Iran will be safe to the day that we follow Velayat-e-Faqih (ultimate clerical authority).”
This was followed by the images from the Azadi Square rally, as the narrator said that the day was mainly to show “our” support for the Supreme Leader and the defeat of foreign enemies and those who would deceive “us”.
It was a symbolic end to 22 Bahman, with all the noise coming from the regime: many Green Movement supporters believed that, even though they were “countless”, they still were not able to show their presence.
What Happened:

From the early hours, plainclothes security forces and the Basij militia were stationed around various streets, putting them . under the control and surveillance of undercover and uniformed security forces. All entry and exit routes around Tehran, as well as bus terminals, were controlled as well. Government buses had transferred Basij forces and plainclothes officers from different parts of town to the demonstration routes.
From Imam Hussain Square to Ferdowsi Square, there were fewer forces. But from Ferdowsi Square onwards, anti-riot force bikes and trucks loaded with batons and tear gas were on standby: on Keshavarz Blvd, from Aria Hospital to Palestine Avenue, and especially around Tehran University.
The security forces were preventing the people from reaching Enghelab and 7 Tir Squares, as a large group moved along the streets leading to Enghelab Square. From Enghelab to Azadi Square the number of anti-riot police forces was low; instead, there was an increase in the plainclothes forces, who could be identified easily from their walky-talkies.
As there was high probability for students protesting at (state broadcasting) IRIB, a large number of military and Basij surrounded the broadcasting complex, on Jam-e-Jam Street, around Karegar and North Amirabad streets.
Tehran’s Sadeghieh Square was one of the focal points of protesters. Mehdi Karoubi had announced the place as the starting point of the demonstration, and thousands of supporters of green movement had gathered here. Large crowds of green-clad protesters moved from Apadana, the home of Sohrab Arabi (a martyred protester) towards Azadi sq. and Mohammad Ali Jenah Street. A large crowd of people were moving from Sadeghieh Sq. towards Azadi Square; even under tight security in the area, the slogans of “Down with the Dictator” could be heard.
In Asharafi Esfehani Street, people were shouting slogans such as “Death to Dictator and were tearing photographs of Khameini. The sound of car could be heard, which led to severe clashes between people and government forces. Tear gas was thrown and gunshots were heard. The first cases of arrest were reported from Azadi and Sadeghieh Squares.
Around 10:30 a.m. Mehdi Karroubi was attacked in Asharafi Esfehani Stree by plain-clothes officers. His bodyguards and others around him were beaten by batons and hit by “paint” bullets, while his car windows were broken. Karroubi left in another person’s car but the windows of this car were shattered as well. Two of Karroubi’s close friends, who also act as his bodyguards, were arrested by intelligence services and were sent to Evin Prison. (The two, Askarian and Anbar Nejad, each lost a limb defending their country during the Iran-Iraq War.)
Around 11 a.m. Mohammad Khatami joined the protesting crowds at the intersection of Zanjan St. and Azadi St., but was immediately forced to leave as a result of an attack on his car by plain-clothes officers. About 12 o’clock Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard joined the rally but again they were harshly attacked by plainclothes forces, and they were forced to leave the rally immediately.

In Azadi Square, the people on the East side were shouting “Death to Dictator!” and chanting: “Courageous Iranians: Support! Support!”; however, loudspeakers in the area were extremely loud and appear to have been arranged to overpower anti-government slogans. Government helicopters were spotted in the sky, flying just above the crowd of people. Rumours went around that the helicopters were taking videos of the crowd.
During Ahmadinejad’s speech, at some points, people could be heard shouting, “Liar, liar’, possibly causing him to lose his concentration on a couple of occasions. After the speech, because of security concerns, he left by helicopter.
The official pro-government march of 22 Bahman was finished, yet sporadic clashes continued in different areas of the city. More anti-riot police forces were called in to suppress the protesters, and eyewitnesses reported armed anti-riot police on motorcycles heading toward central Tehran. A large number of military forces were reported to be stationed around the Supreme Leader’s residence, the IRIB building, and North Amirabad Street. Until 11:30 p.m. local time, the sounds of siren and slogans could be heard in Shahrak Gharb and Vanak Square near Tehran University.
Those involved in the day assess that Green Movement was not able to show itself as well as it wished, even though there were many people on the streets:
1. The city was like a military base, and the control of the police was extensive.
2. Opposition leaders were stopped m participating in the rally, to prevent the formation of a Green Wave
3. People carrying Green symbols were arrested quickly.
4. The Green Movement made a mistake with the instruction to hide Green symbols until Azadi Square. This caused confusion amongst Green protesters, as it was hard to identify who was with and against them.
5. It seemed that people were waiting for others to make the first move and then follow them.
In conclusion, all involved declared that, while the Government used the day for their propaganda, 22 Bahman was still an important experience for the Green Movement to continue on its path.

bigwinnman
12-02-2010, 09:23 PM
Feb 12 2010
http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/12/the-latest-from-iran-12-february-the-day-after-22-bahman/
The Latest from Iran (12 February): The Day After 22 Bahman (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/12/the-latest-from-iran-12-february-the-day-after-22-bahman/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/IRAN-GREEN55.jpg (http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/IRAN-GREEN55.jpg)0955 GMT: Regime Beat Goes On. Uranium enrichment, rockets, satellites. Repeat as necessary.
Press TV has two more pieces this morning. Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi told a rally (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=118450&sectionid=351020101), “”Today Iran has emerged as one of the top ten forerunners in the field of space research and technology. Our stellar progress in space science is only one of the many benefits derived from the victory of the Islamic Revolution more than thirty years ago.” And former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter said on a Press TV broadcast (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=118449&sectionid=351020104), “I see the truth about Iran’s nuclear program prevailing over the fictions” put out by analysts on “Western” media.
0950 GMT: The Green Re-Assessment. One of the key developments of 22 Bahman, beyond superficial judgements (see 0845 GMT), is the re-evaluation amongst the opposition of its political strategy and tactics for protest. Rah-e-Sabz already features an article (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/10103/) on the subject.
0910 GMT: Peyke Iran (http://peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=13403) is claiming (http://peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=13403) that more than 1000 people were detained in Tehran yesterday.
0845 GMT: How the Foreign Media Was Blinded (Almost). One of the most striking reports on 22 Bahman by a “foreign” correspondent appears in Slate, written by Jason Rezaian (http://www.slate.com/id/2244429/). It’s not the headline, “On the 31st anniversary of the Iranian revolution, the regime drowns out opposition protests”, or the reports of the Azadi Square rally that are significant but Rezaian’s (sometimes inadvertent) glimpses into the regime’s control of the story:

For the first time in months, several members of the foreign press were allowed to cover a public event in Tehran. We all gathered at the foreign-media office of the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance early this morning to receive credentials for the day, neon-colored vests marking us as press, and chocolate milk. We then boarded three buses and made our way to Freedom Square. I kept my eyes glued to the window waiting to catch signs of protests, but there was nothing….
We were led to a raised platform less than 100 feet from where President Ahmadinejad would deliver his speech. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to mingle with the crowds, and those near us, mostly teenage girls, were told not to speak with us, but instead to show off their propaganda signs proclaiming “Death to America,” “Death to Israel,” and “Death to the U.K.” Several minutes before the president began his speech, text-messaging service was cut…..
Despite the restrictions, some telling counter-points sneak out. Rezaian estimated “tens of thousands”, not million, coming into Azadi. He notes, “Before the president had finished his speech—but after he had made his main points—the crowds began to disperse,” as he concludes, “These events…are intended more for foreign-media consumption than for the crowds that are present. Any support won or reinforced among the locals is just a bonus.”

Yet, in the end, Rezaian too falls victim to the regime’s manipulations. For based solely on his glimpse out his bus window into and out of Azadi, he declares, “Today it seems clear that the street phase is over. The protests have been pushed underground, which means that the green revolution everyone has been waiting for will not be televised.”
0830 GMT: The Nukes! Look at the Nukes! And here is one of those signals we mentioned below: the Ahmadinejad Government is putting its foot to the floor to ensure the nuclear issue takes precedence over any internal quibbles. Press TV declares (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=118441&sectionid=351020104):

“Iran’s nuclear chief [Ali Akhbar Salehi] confirms that the country has produced its first batch of higher-enriched uranium for use in a medical-research reactor in Tehran. This comes after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had announced on Thursday that the country has successfully managed to complete production of its first stock of uranium enriched to 20 percent.”
0820 GMT: A bit of a late start for us this morning, as we try to assess and move beyond the events of 22 Bahman. We have an insider’s view of the day (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/12/iran-the-events-of-22-bahman-seen-from-inside-tehran/), provided by Mr Azadi from eyewitnesses in Tehran, and two analyses: Mr Verde writes a guest piece for EA (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/12/iran-analysis-the-regimes-pyrrhic-victory/) on the regime’s “Pyrrhic victory”, and Scott Lucas considers the political significance (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/11/iran-on-22-bahman-ahmadinejad-wins-ugly-this-time/) for the Islamic Republic, the opposition movement, and especially President Ahmadinejad with his “ugly win”.
We have also posted an interview (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/12/iran-greening-youtube-an-interview-with-mehdi-saharkhiz/) of one of the most prominent post-election activists, Mehdi Saharkhiz, with America’s ABC News on social media and the Green Movement.
Now, however, we’re moving to the day after 22 Bahman. We’re going to be watching for the reactions and manoeuvres of those involved with the political developments. While Iran is now in the midst of a four-day holiday, there may be some signals, not only with the setpiece of Friday prayers but with individuals and groups trying to re-align their positions.
So, not quite back to normal following yesterday’s tensions, dramas, and letdowns. But then again, when has the day ever been “normal” since 12 June?

bigwinnman
13-02-2010, 09:11 AM
“Iranian Cyber Army” Hacks Opposition Websites (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/iranian-cyber-army-hacks-opposition-websites/)

February 12, 2010

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/cyberarmy.png?w=400&h=270 (http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/cyberarmy.png)
Several pro-opposition websites in Iran have been hacked today by the “Iranian Cyber Army”, widely believed to be associated with the Iranian government’s security apparatus.
Rah-e Sabz, the leading opposition website (also known as Jaras), cautioned its readers to ignore incoming e-mails from any organization claiming to be “Jaras” or “Rah-e Sabz” due to possible infiltration of personal data and e-mail addresses.
Also hacked were Kalemeh and Tahavolehsabz. Similar to previous attacks by the “Cyber Army” against Twitter and the Chinese search engine Baidu, each site displays a banner stating “This Site Has Been Hacked by the Iranian Cyber Army”, and a logo–this time featuring the Iranian flag and an AK-47.
Rah-e Sabz has rerouted its site to http://www.rahesabz.org (http://www.rahesabz.org/) and http://www.rahesabz.info (http://www.rahesabz.info/) at this time. The hacked website is at http://www.rahesabz.net (http://www.rahesabz.org).

bigwinnman
14-02-2010, 06:41 PM
Feb 13 2010
http://enduringamerica.com/

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/MOTAHHARI.jpg (http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/MOTAHHARI.jpg)EA readers will know the attention we have given to Khabar Online, the website affiliated with Ali Larijani, as a possible outlet for a challenge to the Government. However, tonight — less than 48 hours after the supposed victory for the President in the 22 Bahman rally — the poking at Ahmadinjead seems more than blatant.
Follow this: yesterday Khabar featured an interview in which Larijani ally and high-profile member of Parliament Ali Motahhari (pictured) called on the Government, as well as the opposition, to admit mistakes and demanded freedom for all political prisoners and a cessation to bans on the press. Later on Saturday, the Los Angeles Times featured the interview.

The Latest from Iran (13 February): Re-assessment, Renewal (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/13/the-latest-from-iran-13-february-re-assessment-renewal/)
So did Khabar recoil in horror that one of the leading newspapers in the US — you know, where the press is supposedly responsibility for the “foreign intervention” which the Government claims is threatening Iran — had lifted its pieces to illustrate internal tensions? No, not at all. Instead, Khabar proudly features the LA Times piece (http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-43600.aspx).
And here’s more. Khabar also highlights (http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-43635.aspx), without criticism, the statement of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front claimed that the large numbers at 22 Bahman rallies were due to the Green presence. It has a special feature (http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-43552.aspx) noting that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is visiting Qatar only a few days after Qatari officials invited Ahmadinejad’s right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai to the country. The website surmises that Rahim-Mashai is in secret talks with the US — despite Ahmadinejad’s Friday posture that Iran would enrich its uranium without foreign help — for a nuclear deal; it backs up that assertion with Motahhari’s criticism that the President could be selling out Iranian interests to Washington.

bigwinnman
14-02-2010, 06:51 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fg-iran-prison14-2010feb14,0,1651228,full.story

Imprisoned Iranian protesters share a bond forged in hell

Former inmates describe the horrors they endured during five days in Kahrizak prison in Tehran after their arrests during postelection unrest.

By Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim
February 14, 2010

Reporting from Tehran and Beirut - "What is this place?" the guard shouted.

"The end of the world!" the prisoners replied.

"Are you happy with the food?" he demanded.

"Have you been tamed?" he asked.

"Yes, sir!"

As ordered, they answered as one. And over the next five hellish days, they forged a bond that would remain even when they were freed. Cut off from the world, the 147 Iranian protesters rounded up during a July 9 demonstration in Tehran and stuffed into the notorious Kahrizak prison found they could rely only on themselves.

At first some of the prisoners hogged the space in their cramped cell or stretched their legs out. But as hours turned into days, they all began to cooperate.

"As our stay in Kahrizak lingered, a trust grew among us, and the selfish inmates were outnumbered by the unselfish ones," recalled Hatef, 22, who asked that his last name not be used out of fear for his safety.

He was among several former detainees, their lawyers and relatives who provided a rare inside account of a prisoner abuse scandal that continues to serve as a rallying point.

Some of the protesters had been horribly beaten even before they arrived at Kahrizak, and the prisoners banded together to care for the most seriously wounded: the aspiring filmmaker, the nephew of one of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's security chiefs, the son of a conservative politician.

On Thursday nights, the evening Iranians devote to the souls of the dead, some of the former detainees contact one another via coded text messages.

And they meet at the cemetery to honor the dead of Kahrizak.

Thrown together

It began in a police station courtyard.

Their legs lashed together with electrical cables, the demonstrators -- part of the protest movement that sprang up after June's disputed presidential election -- were lined up while a judge read out the charges: acting against national security, arson, damaging public property, clashing with law enforcement and colluding with foreign news media.

"All of you will stay in jail at Kahrizak and by the end of summer you will be tried in court," said the judge, identified -- by two of the former detainees and an attorney pursuing legal action -- as Sohrab Heydarifard, deputy to Saeed Mortazavi, the notorious former Tehran prosecutor general.

They signed the confessions they were ordered to sign. At 5 p.m., they were placed on buses and driven out of town toward the desert, said Saleh Nikbakht, an attorney who is pursuing a case on behalf of the family of one of the detainees.

Security forces ordered them not to look out the windows. They drove south of the city to a barren stretch of land about 10 miles from the city center. Still handcuffed, they were ordered to get out and squat in the dirt. Later, they were ordered to strip and put on prison uniforms.

The young men were hustled into a metal cell of about 700 square feet. There were no beds, so the prisoners tried to sleep on the ground or on filthy, bug-infested pieces of carpeting. The toilet was a hole in the ground. By evening they numbered 180 to 190, as common criminals joined the protesters, and the July heat radiated off the room's tin walls.

"Some of us fainted, as there was no ventilation and the weather was hot," Hatef said.

But at night the desert heat receded and the room became bone-chillingly cold.

They tried to drink the fetid, salty water that smelled of urine, when it was even available, but wound up mostly using it to cool and clean themselves.

Exhaust from generators outside came into the room when the wind shifted. "The inside of our cell was from time to time unbearably polluted," Hatef said.

The guards said the food rations would be given only to the criminals, not the protesters. The few demonstrators who spoke out were ordered to walk on all fours.

On the second day at Kahrizak, two or three dozen more inmates were added to the room. They had come from a place the guards called "the cage," for inmates thought to be suffering from infectious diseases.

"They were zombies more than human beings," Hatef said.

Beatings and abuse

Over the five days, beatings came regularly -- when someone complained or whenever the guards felt like it. To make an example of an inmate who protested about the conditions, guards hung him by his ankles and beat him with plastic pipes.

Amir Javadifar, a young filmmaker and actor, had been badly beaten even before he got to Kahrizak, and his condition worsened.

"From the first night in Kahrizak, he lost sight of one of his eyes due to being battered by a hard object, as later we would see in the report of forensic doctors examining his dead body," Nikbakht said. At night, the soldiers stomped on the tin roof, or smashed the walls with their batons or the butts of their rifles. "The noise drove us crazy," Hatef said.

One morning early in the detention they awoke to find Mohammad Kamrani, a nephew of an official working in Ahmadinejad's office, in dire condition.

"He was unconscious," Hatef said.

They also found that they couldn't revive Mohsen Ruholamini, the son of a political advisor to one of Iran's top conservative politicians. The guards had been pounding on him.

"He was suffering from a broken head due to being hit by a plastic pipe," Hatef said.

The guards showed no mercy to those who were already badly injured.

"Amir was reportedly fainting, but his torturers said that he was acting and beat him more," Nikbakht said.

Hossein, 30, said he was beaten several times simply because he didn't reply to questions fast enough.

"When they were taking roll call, we were expected to call out clearly our full names and answer by our father's name," said Hossein, who is pursuing a legal case against his former jailers. He also asked that his last name not be published. "As I failed to answer promptly, I was beaten on my palms. Six strikes with a pipe was standard punishment."

Over the course of the five days and nights, before they were transferred to another facility, the prisoners tended to one another's wounds. "They were ready to help in the hot weather all day long to fill the plastic bottle with tap water and pass it down to the thirsty and weaker inmates or fan them with a piece of cardboard to cool them," he recalled.

Hossein befriended Javadifar and tried to help him forget his pain. The young man told Hossein he dreamed of making documentaries. He'd already made 11 short films and was gathering money for a feature film.

"Everybody forgot their suffering and worried about him," Hossein said.

Refusing to be quiet

The story of Kahrizak might have disappeared without a trace if not for the high-profile connections of some of the prisoners.

The well-known Iranian photographer Saeed Sadeghi approached supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei one day in mid-July and disclosed a secret.

The two had met at the front during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, when Khamenei was president of Iran. Now Sadeghi had become a supporter of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi, and was among the protesters arrested and taken to a place so horrid that he could barely mention its name without weeping: Kahrizak.

He wasn't the only detainee with such connections. Word of three deaths at Kahrizak began to slip out, among them that of Ruholamini, the son of prominent scientist and political advisor Abdul-Hossein Ruholamini.

Kamrani, 18, also had family ties to the elite. He died shortly after his family found him at a hospital.

Javadifar, 24, was dead by July 14, but the family didn't find out until July 25, Nikbakht said. "His father and brother were searching for him and went to any place they could get any news about him," the attorney said.

Finally, the police called the elder Javadifar and told him to come fetch his son.

"When the father went, the police officer was kind now and wanted to be affable and mollify the father, and finally said, 'Your son is dead.' "

The cause of death was blunt trauma injury from severe beating, according to an autopsy report obtained by The Times.

Twelve law enforcement officials, including two ranking officers, are in military custody awaiting trial, Nikbakht said.

On July 28, officials announced that Khamenei had ordered Kahrizak closed, labeling it a substandard facility.

'Agony and ordeals'

Once word about the conditions spread, lawmakers called for the arrest of those responsible. Opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi alleged that some prisoners had been raped, an accusation corroborated by former inmates who came forward. Some of the ex-prisoners and their families began hiring lawyers.

"I am still obsessed with the agony and ordeals of the late Amir," Hossein said.

A parliamentary committee assigned to investigate Kahrizak released a report in January implicating former prosecutor-general Mortazavi as the man behind the abuses.

The report alleged that law enforcement officials kept the 147 protesters in unhygienic conditions and encouraged guards and "violent thugs" to harshly beat them.

"The main reason behind opening the facility was to house dangerous criminals, rapists and hardened drug traffickers; therefore, transferring the detainees of postelection turmoil to this facility with a different crime is unjustifiable and the judiciary must be answerable," the report said.

But days before the report was issued, Ahmadinejad appointed Mortazavi his special advisor on smuggling, in effect attempting to shield him from any prosecution.

Remembrance

One by one as twilight fades, the former prisoners and some of their relatives gather at Behesht Zahra cemetery to honor those who lost their lives at Kahrizak and in demonstrations. Cloaked in darkness, they share news about their cases and about other former prisoners.

It is gray and drizzly when Hossein and Hatef and a dozen others arrive at Sections 211, 221 and 222 in the vast necropolis on the southern edge of the capital.

Ruholamini's grave still has not been entombed in marble, apparently on the insistence of his father, who says he will wait until his son's killer is brought to justice before he covers the site.

They spot Kamrani's father and siblings in Section 221. Everybody knows and greets one another. Kamrani's relatives are chanting verses from the Koran, rinsing Mohammad's grave with rose water and setting out candles despite the rain.

They offer well-wishers dates and hot tea out of a thermos.

"God willing, the Lord will avenge my son," Kamrani's father says.

They say the Kahrizak experience has only made them more determined. Few of the ex-inmates have given up their political activities. Hatef says he's trying to prepare for a long fight. When he sees the riot police approach at demonstrations, he draws comfort from a popular slogan that has become a signature of the protest movement.

"Don't be afraid, don't be afraid!" it goes. "We are all together."

daragahi@latimes.com

Mostaghim is a special correspondent.

Clear Conscience
14-02-2010, 10:47 PM
I want to say something. When the mother of faithfuls Aisha was fighting Imam Ali and lost, Imam Ali protected Aisha and her female entourage. He even joined the guards to protect her. He ordered his soldiers never to approach her, although she declared war on him. It is a pity to see loyalists to Ali arresting and humiliating female adversaries.
Khameni2i and his terrorists have nothing to do with Imam Ali.

bigwinnman
14-02-2010, 11:08 PM
there is something happening in Iran right now as we speak. there was a blurb about ongoing protests on CNN's news header but i cannot find any reference on any news media.

bigwinnman
15-02-2010, 09:00 AM
Calls on Khamenei to protect detained protestors
Iran opposition head’s wife says son “tortured”

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/02/14/100371.html
Mon, Feb 15, 2010 | Rabi al-awwal 01, 1431
Year Six, Day 361

Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi's wife on Sunday pleaded with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to take action against those who had "tortured" her son and several other detained protesters.

In an open letter, Fatemeh Karroubi, described to Khamenei what happened to her son Ali after his arrest last Thursday, the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

"The arrest of Ali was a triumph for this group who tortured him in order to intimidate other detainees," she said in the letter published on her husband's website, Sahamnews.org.

The website also published a picture of Ali with bruised back and hand.

She called on Khamenei to "take care of the situation of unknown children of this country, especially the young people arrested recently."

Iranian opposition leaders Mohammad Khatami and Karroubi also came under attack and their supporters clashed with police as vast crowds massed in Tehran on Thursday to mark the revolution anniversary.

"I persistently and humbly ask you to take care of people who have gone under tyranny. Ask the judiciary to deal with those who ordered and those who are behind the crimes in ... detention centers," Fatemeh Karroubi said.

She said "when the order came in for Ali to be released ... the officer who was torturing him said 'if you had stayed 24 hours more here, I would have delivered your dead body.'"

Karroubi, who lost to hardliner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a disputed June 12 election, has repeatedly accused authorities of abusing protesters detained in jails, including raping several males and females.

bigwinnman
15-02-2010, 09:16 PM
Feb 15 2010
Latest Iran Video: Gary Sick’s Analysis of Political Situation (12 February) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/15/latest-iran-video-gary-sicks-analysis-of-latest-situation-12-february/)

http://enduringamerica.com/

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
Although this interview on CNN is a few days old, I think that Gary Sick’s evaluation of the political situation in Iran — from the Green Movement to the state of the regime to the nuclear talks — is amongst the best to come out of the US. I am struck in particular by his assessment that short-term “success” for the regime (repression of protest) conflicts with long-term “success” (legitimacy):

bigwinnman
15-02-2010, 09:21 PM
Feb 15 2010
Iran: The IHRDC Report on Violence and Suppression of Dissent (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/15/iran-the-ihrdc-report-on-violence-and-suppression-of-dissent/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/15/iran-the-ihrdc-report-on-violence-and-suppression-of-dissent/#more-28518

Yesterday, three days after a Human Rights Watch report on the same topic (see separate entry), the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center released its initial findings, “Violent Aftermath: The 2009 Election and Suppression of Dissent in Iran”:
INTRODUCTION
On June 13, 2009, the day after the tenth presidential election in the Islamic Republic of Iran, demonstrations erupted in cities across the country. Demonstrators protested what they viewed as widespread fraud—calls of “Where is my vote?” predominated. The Guardian Council had permitted only four men to campaign: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the incumbent; Mohsen Rezaei, a former head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (Sepah), considered a conservative; Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister of Iran during the war with Iraq, considered a reformist; and Mehdi Karroubi, a former speaker of the Majlis, also a reformist.

Iran: Human Rights Watch Report on Post-Election Abuses (11 February) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/15/iran-human-rights-watch-report-on-post-election-abuses-11-february/)
The Latest from Iran (15 February): Withstanding Abuse (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/15/the-latest-from-iran-15-february-withstanding-abuse/)
Mousavi had declared himself the winner late on Election Day. The government immediately announced that Ahmadinejad had won by 62 percent of the vote. The regime also responded by cutting off electronic communication avenues within Iran and with the outside world. As the week progressed, cell phone and internet services were regularly shut down and slowed. On June 16, the authorities announced that foreign journalists were forbidden from reporting from the streets, and that their visas would not be renewed. Hundreds of domestic journalists and members of the press were arrested and intimidated.

Despite these efforts, demonstrations continued throughout the country on an almost daily basis through the month of June. On at least one occasion, the crowd numbered in the millions. In response, the government confirmed that Ahmadinejad had won and unleashed the Sepah (commanded by Mohammad-Ali Jafari) and the Basij (headed by Hossein Taeb) upon the crowds. As the crowds became larger and persisted in exercising their rights to peaceful assembly, the security forces became increasingly violent.
Demonstrators were attacked, beaten and shot in the streets. Many demonstrators were killed in the street. Thousands were arbitrarily arrested—the Judiciary reported that 4,000 people were arrested in the initial weeks. Daily demonstrations finally slowed after a particularly harsh crackdown on June 20 during which at least thirty people were killed.
However, throughout the summer and continuing into the winter, demonstrators flooded the streets on remembrance days, and the security forces continued to brutally suppress all expressions of dissent. Objection to alleged fraudulent elections gradually developed into broader expressions of dissatisfaction with the government. Over the course of a few months, the protests became less focused on the election and more on the general repressive nature of the regime. On December 27, Ashura, reportedly hundreds of demonstrators were arrested.
The Iranian regime also arrested people who were not demonstrating but whom the government charged with fomenting a “velvet revolution.” The exact number of arrests remains unknown, but circumstantial evidence indicates that hundreds were arrested and detained merely for exercising their rights of association. The arrests captured broad segments of civil society, including leaders and members of political opposition and minority groups, members of the political establishment, lawyers, students, and academics. The arrests continued through the winter.
Many arrestees were threatened but released after a few days. However, many others faced torture, rape and sometimes death while in custody. Detainees were, and continue to be, subject to solitary confinement, lengthy interrogations, beatings, rape and other forms of torture. Many were not permitted contact with their families or lawyers, and many were coerced into providing public confessions. Some demonstrators were sent to the Kahrizak detention facility, where they were treated so brutally that the government ordered its closure and transferred detainees to Evin and other prisons. Three Kahrizak detainees died, due to lack of medical care, on the way to or shortly after arrival at Evin Prison. The families of many murdered demonstrators and detainees were denied permission to hold proper burial rites for their loved ones.
On August 1, a series of mass show trials began in Tehran. The first two were broadcast on Iranian television and showed hundreds of disheveled detainees dressed in pajama-like prison garb, looking dazed and confused. Although a list of defendants has never been made public, many were recognizable by the public including former vice-president Mohammad-Ali Abtahi and Dr. Mohsen Mirdamadi, the secretary general of the Islamic Iran Participation Front. The mass show trials bore little resemblance to criminal trials, under Iranian or international law. At each, the prosecution read a political document accusing the detainees and others outside of Iran, including foreign governments, of fomenting a “velvet revolution.” The readings were followed by confessions by select defendants.
Since August, detainees have also appeared on television confessing to crimes involving national security, belonging to terrorist organizations and conspiring with foreign powers. On October 5, the government began announcing sentences. The first four were death sentences handed down to men who had been arrested before the elections. As of December 31, at least a hundred sentences of lengthy prison terms, flogging, or banishment have been announced. However, the identities of many of those detained and tried remain unknown.
This preliminary report that documents and analyzes the Iranian government’s brutal suppression of dissent following the June 12 election. To meet publication deadlines, it ends its coverage on December 31, 2009. However, the Islamic Republic’s suppression efforts continue to escalate, and Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) fully expects that in the coming weeks, months and years, further details will come to light.
This report begins with a brief description of the presidential election, which is followed by a catalogue of the regime’s brutal suppression of the demonstrations. The regime’s refusal to issue demonstration permits to opposition groups, its use of excessive force to suppress the demonstrations, and its murder of demonstrators violated the rights of the demonstrators to freedom of assembly, protection against the use of excessive force by law enforcement, and their right to life under Iranian and international law. The killing of demonstrators was simply murder.
The third section covers the arbitrary arrests of demonstrators and the brutal treatment they suffered while imprisoned in violation of Iranian and international law. Demonstrators were imprisoned without charge, and once imprisoned, were not afforded fundamental due process, including contact with their lawyers and families. Detainees were mistreated, denied medical care, beaten, raped, tortured, and killed. The regime’s failure to inform families of the whereabouts of their loved ones also constituted forced disappearances in violation of international law.
This is followed by a section describing the arrest and imprisonment of large swaths of Iran’s political and civil society. The arrests, interrogations and torture of the non-demonstrators violated Iranian and international law for the same reasons these acts violated the rights of the demonstrators. Political detainees were held for extended periods of time, often in solitary confinement, with minimal access to family or their chosen counsel. Those who were assigned legal counsel were allowed little contact with their chosen lawyers. If it is found that the torture, killings or forced disappearances were widespread, systematic, and with the knowledge of the perpetrators, each also constitutes a crime against humanity.
The last section of this report describes the five mass show trials and the sentencing of both demonstrators and activists. The parading of detainees in mass show trials, and subsequent sentencing of election-related arrestees violated Iranian and international law, both of which require observance of basic due process, including presumption of innocence, and the right to an attorney of one’s choice, and prohibit reliance on forced confessions in criminal proceedings.
The responsibility for this brutal wave of suppression begins at the top of the Iranian regime with the Supreme Leader and flows down through Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the heads of the law enforcement organizations, including the Sepah , the Basij and the police (NAJA), the heads of the Judiciary, and continues down through the ranks to the Basij on motorcycles running demonstrators down on the street, sadistic prison guards and other judicial employees. The perpetrators and their superiors are responsible under Iranian and international law.
Much of the material presented in this report is from thirty-two interviews conducted by IHRDC with activists, experts and victims of the government’s suppression. Most have chosen to remain anonymous for security reasons. Given the Iranian government’s concerted efforts to hide and distort the record, this report also analyzes and compares witness testimony with reports in the official Iranian press and the international press.

bigwinnman
16-02-2010, 09:19 AM
Feb 15 2010
Latest Iran Video: US Analysis (Gary Sick) v. Overreaction (Stephens, Haass) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/15/latest-iran-video-gary-sicks-analysis-of-latest-situation-12-february/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
Although this interview on CNN is a few days old, I think Gary Sick’s evaluation of the political situation in Iran — from the Green Movement to the state of the regime to the nuclear talks — is amongst the best to come out of the US. I am struck in particular by his assessment that short-term “success” for the regime (repression of protest) conflicts with long-term “success” (legitimacy).
Later this morning, I came across the opposite on the analytic spectrum. Richard Haass, head of the Council on Foreign Relations, gets so tangled up, amidst his recent call for “regime change” and the snap perception that the Green Movement “failed” last week, that he declares, “Preventive strikes. The earlier we do them, the better.” That plays into the hands of Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal, a long-term advocate of an aerial attack: “I think the question that is raised by the failure of the so-called Green Movement to come out in force is whether the movement has actually crested. It gained strength after the election. I think it had its high point in December.”

The Latest from Iran (15 February): Withstanding Abuse (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/15/the-latest-from-iran-15-february-withstanding-abuse/)
Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

bigwinnman
16-02-2010, 09:23 AM
Here’s the transcript for those who can’t watch a video when you see this post:
AMANPOUR: Welcome back. As Iran steps up its uranium enrichment program, a new U.S. intelligence estimate is expected to say that Tehran has resumed limited work on developing a nuclear weapon. This would revise a previous such assessment which said that Tehran had stopped its weaponization program.
This week, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said that Iran had produced its first batch of 20 percent enriched uranium. He made his comment during a — during a massive display of support for the regime on Thursday during celebrations marking the anniversary of the Islamic revolution. In the speech, President Ahmadinejad declared, quote, “The Iranian nation became a nuclear nation.”
But as he was speaking, Iran’s security forces were beating back anti- government demonstrators nearby. Some demonstrators were calling for a referendum on Iran’s future.
Earlier, I spoke with Gary Sick of Columbia University. He dealt with Iran for the Carter White House during the 1979 Islamic revolution.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
AMANPOUR: Professor Sick, as we heard there, what do the people want? What does the opposition movement want, do you think, as it stands today?
GARY SICK, MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, you know, that keeps changing, and because initially what they wanted was simply a recount of the election in June. As the — as the regime has cracked down harder and harder, they’re getting better at it.
[15:35:00]
I mean, repression does work. And they now are much more organized in terms of keeping things quiet and keeping the opposition down than they were before.
As they’ve done that, however, the price that they pay for it is that the demands of the opposition go up.
AMANPOUR: And yet it really does seem that, since the June election, it’s been a constant shadowboxing. Neither side has delivered a knockout punch. The regime has not crushed the opposition; the opposition has not changed the regime. Where is it leading?
SICK: Well, you know, we watched the Iranian revolution in 1978 and ‘79, and the reality is, you had no idea where it was going to go, and there was great difference of opinion.
And, basically, it kind of depends on who blinks first. The regime is trying very hard to give an image that it is unbeatable, that it’s strong, that it can’t be intimidated, and that it will give nothing, it will give nothing whatsoever to the opposition.
The opposition keeps increasing their demands, but, again, as you say, not able to deliver a knockout punch.
AMANPOUR: In the limited vision that we’ve had of what happened in Tehran and around Iran, how do you assess what the opposition achieved or what the government achieved?
SICK: I think the opposition — certainly, it was there in spots in various places. The — as I say, the government has gotten better and better at its repressive techniques. And they’ve identified paths and where the opposition was likely to come. They’ve closed those off. They have troops surrounding them. They use tear gas at the very earliest sight when their leaders began to appear. As we heard, they beat them up or scare them away or force them to turn back.
And as a result, I think — it was very sporadic, and it was very isolated, in terms of what the opposition could do. So in that sense, I would say the — the regime accomplished its short-term goals.
The problem is, the short-term goals of repression and holding things down oppose the long-term goals, which would be really long-term legitimacy and support, and basically they’re losing that all the time.
AMANPOUR: Well, as they lose legitimacy, they’re also publicly sort of attacking the descendents of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the revolution, who have clearly stood with the opposition, with the reform movement. Isn’t that an irony today, 31 years later?
SICK: You know, it’s really astonishing. But, you know, the people who were closest to Khomeini, with the exception of a very, very few people around Khomeini himself, those people have all moved to the reform side. They are all on the side of change, and they all believe that the revolution has not, in fact, met its goals, that it has cheated the people, in terms of what it promised and what it actually delivered.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Mousavi himself said he was very close to Ayatollah Khomeini. He was one of the first prime ministers.
SICK: Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Karroubi both have made statements saying, “You know, I was a true believer. I really felt that the — that the revolution has accomplished great things, that — a wonderful future.” And both of them now say, “But I’ve changed my mind. It simply isn’t true anymore.”
AMANPOUR: The West seems to try to — it seems to be stuck in how to — how harshly to deal with the government over its nuclear issues, not knowing how it’s going to affect and how it wants to affect the domestic political situation.
SICK: When President Obama originally came up with his idea of engagement and opening up, holding a hand out to Iran, that was — it seemed very attractive to–
AMANPOUR: Would you say it’s pretty much failed, it just hasn’t worked?
SICK: Well, I would say that he was unwilling to quite follow through on what he said, and the reason that he couldn’t really follow through is because of the elections in June, because the sudden uprise of opposition to government.
And so what do you do?
AMANPOUR: Many people — some of the Iranian think-tank groups outside are saying, “You’ve been wasting your time, you in the West, talking just about the nuclear issue. Focus on democracy. Focus on human rights.” Has the strategy been wrong from the start?
SICK: You know, it’s nice to say those things, but what do you actually do? I mean, you want to support democracy in Iran. If the United States intervenes in any direct way to assist the people who were out in the streets trying to do something, we basically undercut their legitimacy, because then they really do look like Western stooges.
AMANPOUR: Going back to the — to the other — well, going back to the nuclear issue, Iran — well, you heard President Ahmadinejad today declare that Iran is now a nuclear nation. Where do you think they stand right now? And how is this going to affect the international community?
SICK: Well, actually, they’re not really any closer than they were two years ago. And, in fact, their centrifuges are not working very well. They have not made very much progress at all. And, of course, Ahmadinejad has been saying for years that Iran was a nuclear nation.
[15:40:00]
He can announce that every time there’s a celebration, but the reality is, nothing much has happened. And if they’ve produced a gram of 20 percent enriched uranium, well, hooray, but, you know, it’s not a great accomplishment, frankly.
AMANPOUR: To be continued. Professor Gary Sick, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.
SICK: Always a pleasure.
(END VIDEOTAPE)
AMANPOUR: I also spoke with a senior Iranian diplomat who’s now defected to the West. Mohammed Reza Heydari was Iran’s consul general in Oslo, Norway.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
AMANPOUR: What about when you resigned? Did you talk to other Iranian officials in diplomatic posts? Did you encourage others to follow your example?
MOHAMMED REZA HEYDARI, FORMER IRANIAN CONSUL GENERAL (through translator): I started a campaign of “green embassy,” along with my friends who thought the same way I do. I had e-mails from different embassies. And so I told my friends to choose to side with the people before it’s late, because the Iranian people are embracing all of us right now.
But tomorrow, when the people will define their own future, they will not accept any justification for our actions then. Right now, we see the government is easily killing our young people, trapping them, executing them.
It is unacceptable by the people for us to remain silent and to not show any reaction. And so I hope they will join the campaign that I’ve set up and to basically define what they want from the government.
AMANPOUR: But nobody has joined you yet, is that correct?
HEYDARI: Actually, a few friends have. But because of security reasons, their names have not been disclosed yet. And right now in our embassies, right now there’s a chaos, and they are split. The diplomatic corps and the intelligence corps are split at our embassies right now.
(END VIDEOTAPE)
AMANPOUR: And we have videos of Thursday’s events in Tehran. To see them, go to cnn.com/iran, where we have a special section on the anniversary of the revolution and the latest unrest.

bigwinnman
16-02-2010, 09:27 AM
Karroubi Son Brutalized After Feb. 11 Arrest (updated) (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/karroubi-son-brutalized-after-feb-11-arrest/)

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/ali-karroubi-2.jpg?w=150&h=112 (http://niacblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/ali-karroubi-2.jpg)

Fatemeh Karroubi, the wife of Mehdi Karroubi who is one of Iran’s main opposition leaders, claims her youngest son was arrested, tortured and threatened with rape after the February 11 anti-government protests. In an open letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran — Mrs. Karroubi discusses the current political turmoil in Iran and pleads for due process and restoration of the rule of law in the country.
After giving a brief history of her and her husband’s key involvement during the revolution, Mrs. Karroubi describes the events of the Feb. 11 and what led to her son’s brutal treatment by the Basij and the anti-riot police. She claims that her son, Ali Karroubi 37, was arrested with no legal basis then beaten and humiliated in a nearby mosque.

They took him to the Amiral Momenin Mosque and he was beaten along with other detainees. He was recognized when they were registering the detainees by name. Then, after ten minutes, after the agents got the order from higher officials, he was separated from the other detainees and beaten severely. They used the Mosque as a place of torturing the children of the people of the country. Along with physical torture, Ali was subjected to verbal assault against his parents and was under severe psychological torture. When Ali protested the insult against his parents, the physical and psychological tortures were increased.
Once Ali Karroubi was ordered to be released by the higher ups, she said, the agent in charge expressed his regrets that they could not keep him for another 24 hours, or else “he would have delivered his dead body.”
At the end of her letter, she appeals to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and asks for his direct intervention in stopping these appalling acts of injustice by the current elements in power. She despises the “lack of an independent judicial system” and demands the Supreme Leader to intervene before it is too late.
***
update: Jaras (http://jarasbahman.com/story/10300/) reports that Tehran’s District Attorney, Jafar Dolat-Abadi is denying Karroubi’s arrest. “If he claims that he was arrested then he needs to show reason and provide proof to his place of detention.”
“Through systematic investigations within the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the Ministry of Intelligence and the Police it appears that no individual with this name was ever arrested,” Dolat-Abadi continued.
No word yet on how a person can convince the District Attorney they were arrested…

bigwinnman
16-02-2010, 09:34 AM
Sunni group says first ever talks with govt failed
Jundullah threatens to resume attacks on Iran

Tue, Feb 16, 2010 | Rabi al-awwal 02, 1431
Year Six, Day 362
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/02/15/100476.html

DUBAI (Saud al-Zahid)
Iran‘s Sunni insurgent Jundullah group said on Monday it would resume armed operations against the Islamic Republic after the failure of negotiations with Tehran and called on other ethnic groups in country to join the fight.

Jundullah engaged in negotiations with Iranian authorities for the first time ever at the request of local tribal leaders, the group revealed in a statement obtained by Al Arabiya. But the talks failed because the government pursued a policy of procrastination in responding to the nationalist and doctrinal demands of the Baluch population in the southeastern province of Baluchistan, it added.

The talks came following a suicide bombing that claimed the lives of more than 40 people, including 15 commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards last October in Pishin district near the border with Pakistan, the group said.

The Iranian government did not confirm or deny talks with Jundullah. If confirmed, the talks would be the first of its kind, marking a significant shift in Tehran's policy toward ethnic and doctrinal armed groups in the country as it has consistently rejected any sort of engagement with opposition groups.

Undeclared truce

"The movement raised basic, legitimate, logical and reasonable demands in order to solve problems in the (Baluchistan) region and continued to negotiate in good faith and committed throughout this period to an undeclared truce and to the halt of all military operations," the group said in its statement.

The group added that it would give the government in Tehran a "last opportunity" to respond to its demands before it would resume its attacks in the Baluchistan region, stressing it would use suicide operations.

Tehran considers Jundallah a terrorist organization linked to U.S. and Pakistani intelligence, and accuses it of targeting Iranian civilians. But Jundullah says it attacks military and government targets only in defense of nationalist and religious rights of the Baluch people.

Jundallah called on other Iranian ethnic groups such as Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen to join the fight against the Iranian government by launching their attacks from Kurdistan, Khuzestan and Turkmen desert regions.

(Translated from Arabic by Mustapha Ajbaili)

bigwinnman
16-02-2010, 09:01 PM
Feb 16 2010

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/16/iran-why-the-beating-of-mehdi-karroubis-son-matters/#more-28601
Iran: Why The Beating of Mehdi Karroubi’s Son Matters (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/16/iran-why-the-beating-of-mehdi-karroubis-son-matters/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
Imagine for a moment that the son or daughter of a Presidential or Prime Ministerial candidate in the US or Britain had been taken away by plainclothes security forces and kept in an unknown locations for days. Imagine that he or she had been beaten and threatened with rape. Think of the headlines and furour.
Consider that this is what allegedly occurred in Tehran last Thursday. According to the son of Mehdi Karoubi, Hossein, his younger brother Ali was detained when Karroubi’s entourage was confronted by security forces. Fatemeh Karroubi, Ali’s mother, has written an open letter to the Supreme Leader, detailing the claimed torture and rape threats, which allegedly took place in a mosque. Ali Karroubi’s wife, Nafiseh Panahi, has said that her husband suffered a broken arm and fractured skull.

The Latest from Iran (16 February): Un-Diplomatic Declarations (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/16/the-latest-from-iran-16-february-un-diplomatic-declarations/)
The response of the regime? Tehran’s Prosecutor General, Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi stated that there was no warrant for the arrest of Ali Karrroubi and that he concluded, from his enquiries of the police, intelligence agencies and Revolutionary Guards, that such a person was never detained. He added that Ali Karroubi shoulld prove his allegation by stating why he was detained and where. (Fatemeh Karroubi had already stated in her letter that the location of the alleged detention and abuse was Amir-al-Momenin Mosque in Tehran. It should also be noted that it is normally the arresting party who puts forth a reason for detention, not the suspect.)

With the Prosecutor’s denial of any such detention, let’s work through the scenarios:
1. Ali Karroubi was never touched by anyone and the entire story is a fabrication. In that case, his brother Hossein, his mother, his wife, and he should be arrested immediately: the first three for lying and Ali for posing in a photo with the alleged bruises. (Many people have been arrested and handed harsh sentences for allegedly causing far less damage to the Islamic Republic’s reputation than alleging torture and threat to rape in a mosque.)
2. Someone other than the Iranian authorities kidnapped and tortured Ali Karroubi. Hossein Karroubi says that Ali Karroubi was snatched in the Sadeghiyeh area, just north of Azadi Square where the official 22 Bahman event was taking place. There is also footage of Mehdi Karroubi being attacked by tear gas in that area.
In this case, the Tehran Prosecutor General is admitting that the regime, despite massing security forces last Thursday, was unable to prevent the kidnapping of the son of a senior revolutionary .
3. Ali Karroubi was snatched by authorities, tortured, and threatened with rape in a mosque, but they lied to the Tehran Prosecutor, who is so gullible that he publicly repeated that lie without checking out the facts. Where does this leave the credibility of post-election prosecutions and court sentences, including capital punishment?
4. Ali Karroubi was snatched by the authorities, tortured, and threatened with rape in a mosque. The Prosecutor General is aware of this but is lying. If a high-ranking official is attempting such a fabrication, what credibility does Iran’s Judiciary have?

bigwinnman
18-02-2010, 08:38 PM
Feb 18 2010
http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/18/iran-another-rethink-on-green-opposition-ansari/#more-28767
Iran: Another Rethink on Green Opposition (Ansari) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/18/iran-another-rethink-on-green-opposition-ansari/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
For the first time in thirty-one years, Iranians across the world and across the political spectrum welcomed the anniversary of the Islamic revolution in 1979 as an opportunity to assert their sovereignty. The result may not have been what most of them wished for, but their expectation was justified in one respect: 11 February 2010 has indeed turned out to be a defining moment for the Islamic Republic and the “green movement”, as well as for the international community.
The manner in which the regime enforced control and the huge cost of its operation confirm that it recognises its failure to command genuine popular support. But the greens too now recognise the limits of their capacity, not least that their dependence on domestic communication-networks to mobilise their supporters makes them vulnerable. As a result they understand that it is time to refocus their efforts: to propose more defined ideas, to articulate ultimate goals, to refine tactics, and to establish other (non-internet-based) means of communication.

In the approach to 11 February, green voices in Iran campaigned hard with the intention of bringing millions of their supporters onto the streets. Some even announced plans to storm the dreaded Evin prison to free political prisoners, and to seize the state’s broadcasting facilities. Their allies abroad disrupted official Iranian engagements and organised demonstrations in major capital cities. The most fervent greens had such high expectations that they genuinely believed that the final victory was in sight.
But while the green movement had been raising its hopes, the Tehran regime was making its plans. It implemented a dual strategy based on incentives and concessions mixed with increased repression and brutality. The results were pitiless but effective. The state’s security forces paralysed the greens’ own plans through mass-arrests of political and civil-society activists and journalists; they summarily executed two young students (but refrained from further executions); sought to divide the opposition, including by allowing some voices of dissent limited access to the media; declared a five-day holiday both to entice Tehran residents to leave town and prepare to transport core supporters and state employees to the official rally; and launched a cyber-war to cut their opponents’ access to the net and independent news-channels.
This stringent approach extended to the day itself. Thousands of security personnel – including masked and plainclothed special units from the Revolutionary Guards – were deployed on the streets; around 300,000 people (the regime’s core supporters among them) were bused to the most strategic points in Tehran and the cordoned-off area where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was to speak. The dissident analyst Mohsen Sazegara estimates that the regime spent around $300 million to mount the entire operation. It was martial-law in all but name. Even then, the opposition managed to launch protests in Tehran and several cities around the country – albeit they fell well short of its stated plans. This suggests that the greens may have reached the limit of their present operational capacity. At the same time, the general disillusion and frustration that generated the movement remains; the state’s economic policies are chaotic; and there are bitter enmities within the ruling elite. Abroad, a number of leading states have become more vocal in supporting the campaign for rights and freedom in Iran and condemning the regime’s behaviour. The discussions over a new round of United Nations Security Council sanctions, linked to concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme and intentions, are gathering pace. Iranian activists argue that sanctions should be targeted quite precisely at the pockets of the regime and its cronies, and should impose such measures as freezing foreign assets and bank-accounts and imposing travel restrictions. Some activists go further by demanding that sanctions should be extended to western companies and banks that do business with Iran; among them, technology companies (such as Nokia Siemens Networks and Sony Ericsson) whose products can be used for surveillance and censorship. These Iranians struggling for change are in desperate need of sophisticated technical assistance of their own in order to operate and protect their communications. The various groups that compose the green movement are entering a period of stocktaking and reappraisal. The international community seems ready to prove to Iran’s people that it can play the role of a sincere and constructive partner. The Tehran regime continues to regard its own citizens’ aspirations as an existential threat. This is still an emergency. bigwinnman 19-02-2010, 10:22 AM Feb 18 2010 Iran Document: Today’s Mousavi-Karroubi Meeting (18 February) (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/18/iran-document-todays-mousavi-karroubi-meeting-18-february/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/18/iran-document-todays-mousavi-karroubi-meeting-18-february/#more-28816 Khordaad 88 provides an English translation of the report (http://khordaad88.com/?p=1219) on Mousavi’s Kalemeh website of today’s meeting at Mir Hossein Mousavi’s house: Last night Mehdi Karroubi met with Mir Hossein Mousavi for two hours. They appreciated people’s peaceful demonstration on 11 February (22 Bahman) and criticized those who wanted to use the presence of different sections of the society for their political agenda. In this meeting, they also criticized the violent extremists in Tehran and other major cities of the country who denied the peaceful demonstration of people by violent means. They made it clear that, for the first time in the last 30 years on the day of the victory of the Revolution, which belongs to every Iranian, the country witnessed a complete militarized situation and an atmosphere of fear. They criticized the attack on the symbols that are a part of the country’s flag and emphasized that this is a sign of weakness in the violent extremists in the Green presence of people. Karroubi and Mousavi emphasised the need for the execution of all the articles of the Constitution, especially those that are related to the rights of people and are violated or ignored today. They stressed that the informed presence of people seeking of their rights and their effort to reform the current detour in the Revolution, which has highly damaged the national interest, are very important. At the end of the meeting Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Karroubi mentioned that they will talk to people in this regard very soon, and they will inform people of the matters and the ways to peacefully seek their rights and demands in the near-future bigwinnman 20-02-2010, 09:01 PM Feb 20 2010 http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/20/iran-its-all-over-for-the-green-movement/#more-28917 Iran: “It’s All Over” for the Green Movement? (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/20/iran-its-all-over-for-the-green-movement/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) It is one of the most striking articles (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/19/AR2010021905033.html) to come out of Iran in recent weeks. A journalist for a US newspaper, who has stayed behind when his colleagues have left or been expelled, sits in a kitchen with four Iranian activists: The opposition supporters nervously smoked cigarettes in the kitchen as loud music blared from the empty living room. A student, a businessman, a writer and an artist had planned a victory party but instead were mourning their defeat. “It’s all over,” said the student, a young woman in a sleek black dress. “Our only option is to leave the country.” That is the opening of Thomas Erdbrink’s atmosphere piece in The Washington Post this morning, and the bleakness is unrelenting: “It was impossible to join up with other protesters,” the student at the party said as she tried to reconstruct what went wrong. “There were just too many security forces.” She took a puff from her 10th cigarette that evening. “We were all supposed to meet up at the main square where Ahmadinejad would speak. There, we would all bring out green ribbons, to show how many we were,” she said. Instead, she found small pockets of protesters in side alleys, not knowing where to go or what to do. “We ended up with a couple thousand people running from the security forces,” she said. “Our movement needs new tactics, but I have no idea what we should do.” After (or before?) the encounter in the kitchen, there are the thoughts of the Iranian blogger: “I hope they can come up with new strategies, but I have no idea what those should be,” said an influential blogger who is a member of an unofficial opposition think tank made up of Web activists. He suggested turning the first anniversary of the disputed June 12 presidential election into a day of protest. “But I guess the government would just repeat what they do normally: declare each protest illegal and flood the streets with security forces,” he said. “In the end, the street is the only place where we can show how many people we are, but few people are ready to go to prison or get hurt,” he said. During recent demonstrations, he recalled, his friends would call him from their homes and offices while he was running from the police. “If they are not ready to sacrifice anything, why should I be?” he asked. “My personal strategy out of this mess is to apply for a visa for Canada.” After the inclusion of former journalist Abbas Abdi, “There are moments that one person should say: This is how we will do this, whether you like it or not”, Erdbrink returns to the gloom of the kitchen: At the party, there was consensus on one issue. “Just because our protest failed, that doesn’t mean we have lost our anger,” the student said. “We have a very simple demand: freedom. But I don’t see how we can get it.” So that’s that, then? With The Post headline blaring, “Iranian opposition demoralized after failed protests at revolution’s anniversary”, has the white flag been unfurled? Hmm…. Erdbrink is a very good journalist, and I don’t it is possible to overestimate his tenacity in trying to report from Iran when most foreign reporters have deparated the country. That tribute, however, should not stand in the way of critiquing an article which quickly jumps from being an interesting snapshot to posting a once-and-for-all declaration. A useful start might be another look at that opening paragraph at the failed “victory party”. That indicates that Erdbrink’s kitchen interview took place on 22 Bahman (11 February). That was, indeed, a depressing day for many in the Iranian opposition. But I don’t think it is a wild claim to suggest that the mood might not be permanent and/or fatal to the movement. In the following nine days, there have been re-assessments and renewed declarations. There has been not only the signal of the meeting between Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi but also statements from other reformist groups and activist organisations. Of course, it would be a jump from analysis to speculation to argue that these numerous but often scattered signs mean that the opposition has regained the momentum of Ashura (27 December). For Erdbrink, however, all of this can be set aside on the basis of his four depressed partiers, one blogger, and one “political analyst”: “The government’s strategy might eventually backfire, but for the time being, it has served to justify authorities’ dismissal of the opposition as a meaningless band of foreign-backed counterrevolutionary rioters.” Reporting, especially first-hand reporting, is valuable. Sweeping predictions are dangerous. Erdbrink’s article is likely to race around the Internet and discussion boards today as the definition of “defeat”, but another nine days from now, its declarations will likely be another footnote to this ongoing conflict. Marathon, not a sprint. bigwinnman 21-02-2010, 12:52 PM http://enduringamerica.com/ Feb 20 2010 Iran: A Tale of Cricket, Andre the Giant, and Protests (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/20/iran-a-tale-of-cricket-andre-the-giant-and-protests/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Uncategorized (http://enduringamerica.com/category/uncategorized/) Josh Shahryar writes for EA: Every so often, I read the news about Iran and it reminds me of growing up as a refugee in Pakistan. The latest reminder came on 11 February, my birthday, which happened to be the Islamic Revolution’s birthday as well. The occasion brought Green protesters and government supporters to the streets. The government, holding its one mass gathering in the western part of Tehran, blocked off all entries with hundreds, perhaps thousands of security forces. It then transported foreign journalists to the rally and back again, instructing them to write. about their rally and nothing else. Meanwhile, thousands of Iranians gathered on the streets of Tehran, Mashhad, Tabriz, Shiraz, Isfahan, and other cities to deminstrate against the government. They were beaten, arrested, and denied entry to main squares. Their leaders were attacked, sometimes arrested, sometimes forced to return home at all. The regime had blocked Internet access, jailed as many bloggers as possible, and attempted to prevent the flow of news out of the country. The government’s big move could have backfired if the protesters managed to make it through to the regime’s mass gathering and put themselves on live national and international TV broadcasts. But the demonstrators could not. Suddenly there was uproar by pundits previously sympathetic to the Iranian government: “The Green Movement is dead.” Reporters tired of covering the Iran affair published articles stating, “It’s all over.” These biased and uninformed assessments reminded me of a series of cricket games I played in Pakistan way back when. (For anyone who doesn’t understand cricket, here’s a quick lesson: One guy stands in front of three sticks with a bat and another tries to hit those sticks with a ball from 22 yards out. The guy with the bat tries to hit the ball as far as possible, but if he misses and the ball hits the sticks, he is replaced. The scoring is similar to baseball.) At 17, I was the best thrower of a cricket ball in my neighbourhood in Peshawar, Pakistan. I was energetic, fast, but most of all, I was accurate and consistent. When I threw the ball, if the batsman missed it, it would hit the sticks 90% of the time. I recall when our neighbourhood had a best-of-three match with the guys from another part of town. The reward was about$10 in prize money, but it was more about boosting our testosterone levels than anything else.
Our rival’s ace in the hole was a guy the size of Andre the Giant who could make the ball disappear every time he swiped it with the bat. In the first game, he started thrashing our bowlers, including me. After a while, I got angry and frustrated, and the thrashing went epic. We lost the game.
Later that evening, I was smoking a cigarette in the general hang-out area in my neighbourhood; it was just a concrete bench where we all gathered and told each other lies about how we’d lost our virginity. I felt horrible.
A friend snuck close to me and said, “You did everything you could. Just keep doing that. He’s terrified of you,”
“But I’m good at getting thrashed,” I said.
“No,” he said, “You’re good at being consistent. In the beginning, he was just terribly lucky, then, you got angry and stopped being consistent. You’ll hit the sticks if he misses; he just hasn’t missed, yet. He’s just big. He has no game.”
I took that sage advice with a grain of salt. Come on, it was Andre the Giant….
Yet the next game, I hit the sticks the third ball and we won.
The Iranian government, like that Andre, has no game. It’s strong, but it is scared of the Green Movement. It is having internal problems, most of its people are against it, and the international community is slowly tightening the noose around it day after day.
The key to the Iranian opposition’s success is consistency. Every time it has called for a protest, now over more than eight months, it has put people on the ground.
The government, on the other hand, has failed to keep the streets clear. It may have managed to keep foreign news correspondents from covering the protests on 11 February, but just because no one noticed the tree fall in the forest, does not mean it didn’t. Whether or not the Washington Post, The New York Times or CNN cover the protests is irrelevant to their occurrence.
The Iranian opposition will continue to be successful. The Iranian government can only attempt to stop people from coming out to streets, but that’s just one, highly visible option. The people have other ways to challenge the regime.
This time, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad managed to hold his rally in peace. He used the occasion to continue his rant against the West, with the broadcast ending just as he was about to announce the coming of the 12th Imam.
But what if the Greens manage to storm the government’s rally next time? Ahmadinejad won’t get to announce the date for the 12th Imam’s appearance; worse, the government will be humiliated.
To put it in cricket terms: Watch out, Andre; consistency pays off.
(Oh, you ask, what about the final game of the series? It ended up in a massive brawl. That was even more fun than if we’d won the 10.) bigwinnman 21-02-2010, 07:50 PM Feb 21 2010 Iran Analysis: Re-alignment v. Crackdown — Which “Wins”? (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/21/iran-analysis-re-alignment-v-crackdown-which-wins/) Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/) http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/21/iran-analysis-re-alignment-v-crackdown-which-wins/#more-28962 Forget all the talk and newspaper articles (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/20/iran-its-all-over-for-the-green-movement/), which EA correspondents like Josh Shahryar (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/20/iran-a-tale-of-cricket-andre-the-giant-and-protests/) took apart on Saturday, about this conflict being settled in favour of a heavy-fisted Government. While the opposition is still considering its next moves, there was more than enough to show that 1) this is far more than a simple narrative of Government putting down the Green Movement and 2) that Government is far from secure in its supposed victory. First, the less dramatic — frankly, quite mundane — but significant political move. The “ambiguous” Hashemi Rafsanjani is no longer ambiguous. His statement at the Council reaffirmed his basic position of siding with the Supreme Leader, but equally important were his call for unity and the need to make changes to ensure the security of the Iranian system. Still a bit vague? Well, you have to join the statement to that of Mohsen Rezaei: Secretary of the Council, Presidential candidate, and Rafsanjani ally. Yep, ally. Rezaei’s own declaration to the Council was for alterations to the electoral law that governed last year’s unresolved campaign. That might seems a bit too bureaucratic for much attention, but the significance of “alterations” is that they would take away power from bodies such as the Guardian Council, the group that tightly oversees and restricts Iran’s political process. And that in turn means an opening up of space in the system for factions, parties, and individuals — even critical parties and individuals if they stay within the legal framework of the system. A Rafsanjani-Rezaei alignment is not new — think “National Unity Plan” and the possible January initiative to clip the authority of President Ahmadinejad. In this case, however, it is narrower but more focused. Take away some of the political power wielded by the executive and hand it to an ostensibly “neutral” body (http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5269746,00.html). So how will the Government respond? Well, not directly. Saturday was another day where it was defending against attacks on the economy and trying to show its authority with more threats against the supposedly vanquished opposition and, perhaps, even “conservative” elements who are not on-board. Iran police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam declared that media are the collaborators of intelligence services (http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5269261,00.html), assuring anyone listening that Iran’s security services will take care of the foreign media (http://en.irangreenvoice.com/article/2010/feb/20/1250) in time to prevent any regime change. Justice Minister Morteza Bakhtiari pronounced that you can forget the “official” figure of 300 detained on Ashura (27 December); it was actually 700 (http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=13772). So let there be no doubt that the regime would also “get” Karroubi and Mousavi to prevent any significant challenge. Ahmadinejad’s media advisor Mehdi Kalhor chipped in with the news that the first “velvet revolution” in Iran was on 2 Khordaad 1397 (http://www.radiofarda.com/archive/news/20100220/143/143.html?id=1963867) (23 May 1997), the day that Mohammad Khatami was elected President. Neat twist, this. It is not the Ahmadinejad 2009 victory that is fraudulent but that of Khatami, who just happens to be one of the leading opposition figures, and the “reformists”. In Qom, Ahmadinejad’s clerical backer, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, analysed that “the devil” played a role in the recent “riots” (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/10678) in Iran. Satan’s companions includes “jinnis” and devious people, and democracy is another example of his ferocity and tyranny. Not exactly the statements of a regime secure in its skin. Hmm…. Well, one easy read is that Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi haven’t exactly gone away. They met for the second time (http://www.sahamnews.org/?p=910) this week on Saturday, this in Karroubi’s home. No details given by Karroubi’s website Saham News, but the point is that they met. The Government watches and frets that 22 Bahman did not settle matters. But it should not only be watch the devil’s foreign and domestic minions. The situation is such that any shift, even with “the system”, of power and oversight is a slap-down to a President and his advisors who have escalated this crisis to the point of no compromise. So expect more threats against Hashemi Rafsanjani in the near-future. Look for more counter-attacks from members of Parliament who no longer have any respect for Ahmadinejad. And bring back the recurrent question. What say you now, Supreme Leader? Clear Conscience 21-02-2010, 08:21 PM Greg there is an attempt now from the government to solve this protracted crisis by releasing the captives from the reformists and taking from them promises to never participate again in activities against Najad. It seems the government is taking seriously the possibility of an attack against it and trying to pacify the local level by such plan. By the way, Ali Akbar Mohtashami, the founder of Hizbalah with Fadlalah in the 80s, is with Moussavi and Karoubi. I noticed him yesterday meeting with them. bigwinnman 21-02-2010, 08:43 PM there are too many conflicting stories coming out of Iran since Feb 11. it seems, though, that there is a great amount of reports being generated that the movement has been defeated since this date. usually when this occurs it means that the media has taken up the call of the authorities to spread stories attributed to the opposition in the hope of reducing or outright defeating a cause. it maybe that the movement is going to have to become more clandestined in its approach. i don't believe that this is the end but simply a regrouping. i believe that the movement leaders, the grassroots people, will take charge and combine their efforts regardless of the more prominent personalities or their positions. i believe there is a wholesale change in the political situation in Iran coming. the government, as it stands now, cannot be so arrogant to believe that it is going to survive in its present form. there is one trouble with this and that is that IRGC may attempt its own coup, not that it hasn't already started to. bigwinnman 21-02-2010, 08:51 PM Showing Repentance? 50 Prisoners Released from Evin Wednesday Night (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/showing-repentance-50-prisoners-released-from-evin-wednesday-night/) February 19, 2010 http://niacblog.wordpress.com/ Over the course of the past eight months, thousands of Iranians have been placed in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison; this round-up includes protesters of the fraudulent June elections, members of the media, and other political prisoners. Many of these recent detainees have been sentenced to unusually long prison sentencing, and others have even been condemned to death. This is why it’s shocking that Radio Zamaneh (http://www.payvand.com/news/10/feb/1178.html) reports (via payvand.com) that 50 Iranian political prisoners were released from Evin’s macabre confines on Wednesday night, albeit in most cases through temporary releases tacked with high bail amounts. Shahabeddin Tabatabai, Islamic Iran Participation Front member and head of reformist youth in support of Mousavi and Khatami, was one of the high profile detainees which was temporarily released last night, according to Neday-e Sabz-e Azadi website. Tabatabai, who has been sentenced to five years in prison, was released by the authorities for a period of five days on an 800-million-touman (800,000) bail.
Member of Human Rights Reporters, Parisa Kakai, and student activist, Maziar Samii were also among the detainees released last night.
One must ponder- why the sudden unprecedented purge of prisoners? This could possibly stem from The Human Right Council’s Universal Periodic Review on Monday (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/16/world/middleeast/16geneva.html?scp=1&sq=iran%20human%20rights&st=cse), in which Iran’s abysmal human rights record was put to light and Iran was chastised for their gross violation of basic human rights.
Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, Secretary General Mohammad Larijani, asserted on Monday that any allegations of human rights abuses were prompted by western critics seeking to exploit Iran’s human rights record for their own political means, rejecting all evidence that highlights Iran’s notorious human rights record. Iranian officials were uncooperative and rejected any sort of investigation surrounding Iran’s human rights record, and opposed many suggestions brought forth by the Human Rights Council.
However, Iran is expected to seek membership in the Human Rights Council in the upcoming May Council elections; thus, this could be one possible reason for the sudden release of prisoners on Wednesday night. The purge could also be an attempt to appease protesters, especially following the crackdown on the February 11th protests, and the chokehold Iran is imposing within its borders. Or, perhaps Tehran really has taken to heart the suggestions brought forth by the council Monday, and is on the path to legitimately better their human rights record. The latter is far less plausible, and Iran feigning an improvement in its approach to basic human rights within its borders would be unsurprising, unlike the sudden release of prisoners.

bigwinnman
22-02-2010, 08:44 PM
Feb 22 2010
New Jersey to Iran (and Back Again): The Activism of Mehdi Saharkhiz (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/22/new-jersey-to-iran-and-back-again-the-activism-of-mehdi-saharkhiz/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/22/new-jersey-to-iran-and-back-again-the-activism-of-mehdi-saharkhiz/#more-29032

I first encountered Mehdi Saharkhiz as “onlymehdi” on Twitter last June. He has been one of the most important sources of information, especially photos and videos, for EA and many others on the post-election crisis.
From Ashley Kindergan at NorthJersey.com (http://www.northjersey.com/news/international/84879602_From_Ridgewood_and_Wayne__Iranian_nationa l_gets_word_out_about_opposition_movmement.html?c= y&page=2):
From coffee shops in Ridgewood, his home in Wayne and anywhere there is cell service, a 28-year-old Iranian is broadcasting the ongoing uprising in his home country — one of a growing number of people intent on helping share with the world what happens on the streets of Tehran.

Mehdi Saharkhiz — known as “onlymehdi” on his blog, YouTube channel and Twitter feed — has been posting photographs and videos of opposition protests in Iran since the disputed Iranian presidential election last June sent thousands of protesters into the streets and triggered a brutal crackdown by the regime.
“For me, it’s about getting the word out there,” Saharkhiz said.

Videos and images like the ones Saharkhiz posts have become crucial to scholars, journalists and ordinary people who want to know what’s going on inside an increasingly closed-off Iran.
“I think it’s been critical, and we’ve seen what may in fact be a real birth of citizen journalism,” said Gary Sick, an Iran scholar and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. “The coverage basically after the initial demonstrations in June has been extremely sparse except for the things that people are sending out.”
Indeed, much of the post-election media coverage has centered around Iran’s military ambitions and the possibility of imposing more sanctions on the country. Just a few days ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cautioned that Iran’s armed forces were becoming increasingly important in the country’s decision-making. And a recent report by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency accused Iranian leaders of having worked to produce a nuclear warhead.
But the story of the opposition movement continues, recorded and shared by an online community.
For example, on Feb. 11, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was largely successful at keeping demonstrators out of a main square in Tehran when he gave a major speech celebrating the regime’s anniversary.
Satellite images available through Google — not television cameras — showed a square that wasn’t filled and buses that brought in supporters from outside Tehran. Saharkhiz showed photos of the buses on his site, too.
Sick noted that the Iranian regime has closed down many newspapers, especially those affiliated with the opposition. There are 47 journalists — including Mehdi’s father, noted reform writer Isa Saharkhiz — imprisoned in Iran, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Getting information out of the country has also been made difficult by technological roadblocks and fears of government spying. And the fear reaches beyond Iran’s borders, with Saharkhiz being careful about identifying his home and other North Jersey Iranians reluctant to even speak about communication with their home country.
The Iranian government recently blocked Gmail, Google’s popular e-mail service. The regime has also frequently disrupted Internet service by slowing it to a crawl or shutting off some servers altogether, experts and Iranians here say. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are reportedly monitored by the government to track the opposition.
“They’ve been trying to effect another blackout where nobody knows what’s going on,” said Kelly Golnoush Niknejad, a Boston-based Iranian-American journalist who started a Web site, Tehran Bureau, as an independent source of in-depth Iran coverage. “[People] have to be really sophisticated and keep on top of everything to continue to surf the Web and occasionally access a Facebook page or whatever.”
Niknejad and Saharkhiz were both reluctant to talk about the specific ways in which their sources got around cyber obstacles in order to communicate. They didn’t want to put sources in danger or to risk getting the avenues of communication shut down. But both said that people seem to adjust to each new obstacle.
“Seventy percent of Iran’s population is under 35 years of age,” Niknejad said. “The young population came of age with the Internet. … They have just had to get more sophisticated.”
A ‘conduit’ to Iran
Mana Mostatabi, an online community organizer with the San Francisco-based United4Iran.org, said Saharkhiz’s videos have been critical to spreading information, even as she hears from her own friends and relatives about increasing difficulty accessing Web sites.
“Mehdi has been such a key figure in getting that footage in and out,” Mostatabi said. “He’s acting as a conduit to people who are just snapping it on their cellphones.”
Saharkhiz said he was not interested in Iranian politics before the 2009 elections. But then he saw footage of a crackdown on university students.
“These are just normal students going to school,” he said. “They went out and voted … and now they’re being massively arrested. That’s when I feel it’s my duty as an Iranian citizen to get their word out.”
Isa Saharkhiz, Mehdi’s father, worked as a journalist for many years, bringing his family to the U.S. in 1994 when he headed the New York office of IRNA, the official Iranian news agency. Isa Saharkhiz served as head of domestic publications under former President Mohammad Khatami and later published a monthly reformist newspaper that was shuttered in 2004.
In 2009, Isa Saharkhiz was active in the presidential campaign of opposition candidate Mehdi Karroubi. He was arrested eight days after the election.
Mehdi Saharkhiz, who moved to the U.S. permanently in 2001, said his family suspects that his father was tracked down on his Nokia cellphone.
Hiding Internet use
People are working on solutions to make communication safer.
Austin Heap, executive director of the Censorship Research Center, has monitored the blocks placed on the Internet by the Iranian government. The center is now waiting for a license to distribute a technology called Haystack that would allow users inside Iran to hide their Internet use.
“Haystack does two things: First, it encrypts the data and, second, it coats the data to look like normal traffic,” Heap said. “It just removes the middleman’s ability to filter.”
That would be a boon for Iranian-Americans in North Jersey who track the news. Several people interviewed said they read multiple news sources and keep in close touch with friends and family to hunt out credible information about Iran.
Still, getting information has been more and more difficult.
Mehdi Shahpar, a West Milford resident and president of the New Jersey-based Persian Cultural & Humanitarian Association, said he watches CNN and reads American newspapers, and also checks sites written largely by Iranians, such as Iranian.com. But the best sources are the firsthand ones, he said.
“The best sources of information are those videos that are coming out from individual people that are taken by cellphone cameras and smuggled out,” Shahpar said. Friends and family “used to be able to talk more, but recently they’re afraid of talking on the phone because of the phone tapping and checking everything.”
Shahpar said he had no problem using e-mail when he visited Iran before the elections, but his sister had enormous trouble accessing the Internet on a recent visit.
Nahid Ahkami, a Clifton resident and co-founder of the Persian Cultural & Humanitarian Association, said she reads Tehran Bureau and her husband runs his own Web site that gathers Iranian news.
Ahkami said she believes the opposition movement will ultimately succeed.
“It’s going to flourish,” Ahkami said. “It’s not going to go away. Iranian people are very resilient people and patient people.”

bigwinnman
25-02-2010, 10:42 AM
Rafsanjani: National Healer? (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/rafsanjani-national-healer/)

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

As one of the main pillars of power in the Islamic establishment, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani played a significant role in what became the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979. Depending on one’s political affiliation, Rafsanjani to this day is still either highly respected or highly feared in the internal political circles of Iran.
Rafsanjani 75, a pragmatist who deep inside believes in reforms to sustain the Islamic Republic, is the head of two very important institutions; the Assembly of Experts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assembly_of_Experts), which is an oversight and an electoral body to choose the Supreme Leader, and the Expediency Council (http://www.majma.ir/index.aspx) that is the author of all macro policies in Iran. The Expediency Council is also a mediator for the legal disputes between the Guardian Council and the Parliament.
This past summer, it wasn’t long after the first bloody protests and after Ayatollah Khamenei issued his ultimatum to the protestors that Rafsanjani proposed his own solution to the crisis. Eight months later today, he continues to reiterate his previous positions. He is moving forward to try to build a process for reconciling the reformists and hardliners in the hopes that they might pull the country out of the present crisis.
Hasan Rouhani, head of the Defense and National Security Commission within the Expediency Council, is now moving forward on a piece of legislation to decrease the Guardian Council’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guardian_Council) role in the election process. The proposal would create a new National Election Committee to oversee the election process, cutting the influence of the Supreme Leader and eliminating the role of the Guardian Council.
Although this legislation has to be approved by the Supreme Leader to become law, it is such a compelling idea that Khamenei might have to think twice about rejecting it. If it does win approval, it just might be the momentum Rafsanjani is looking for to seek a national reconciliation.

bigwinnman
25-02-2010, 10:44 AM

February 24, 2010

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/

Although plenty of Washington policymakers say the US should “support the green opposition in Iran,” how to do so remains a puzzle.
One proposal in today’s Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/24/iran-protest-internet-satellite) has caught some attention: provide Iranians with high speed internet access.

One of the pillars of [Iran's] repressive policy has been media propaganda depicting protesters as vandals and stooges of foreign powers. In pursuing this policy, the government actively curtails alternative sources of information in the country (especially the BBC and VOA broadcasts in Persian), thoroughly filters sensitive websites used by protesters to communicate (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc) and reduces internet speed to just about nil to render video streaming or uploading impossible. It has even moved to ban Gmail.
Thus, one answer could be to beam high-speed Internet into Iran via satellites:

The technology to overcome this already exists. Households and businesses in areas with poor infrastructure connect to the internet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_internet) through satellites. A Japanese satellite, Kizuna (http://www.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/winds/index_e.html), was launched in 2008 to provide mountainous areas (http://www.betanews.com/article/New-Japanese-satellite-could-boost-Internet-speeds/1203970459) of Japan and other parts of East Asia with the world’s highest-speed internet connection using 45cm aperture antennas (the same size as existing communications satellite antennas widely used in Iran). The Japanese intend to expand this project into an international one.
A number of satellites currently covering Iran’s territory can be used to provide internet access. Indeed, the US army, through private subcontractors, successfully provides its troops (http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release/new-satellite-internet-service-offered-to-soldiers-in-afghanistan-135821.php) in Iraq and Afghanistan (where infrastructure is poor or inexistent) with near-high-speed satellite access.
One problem, though, is that US sanctions are actually contributing to the Iranian government’s ability to censor information in Iran by impeding the legal distribution of anti-filter software to Iranians and even outlawing downloads of popular networking software such as ‘Google Talk (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/a-license-to-chat/)’.

Foreign companies have blocked almost all access to online shopping and financial transactions from Iran. If anyone in Iran buys software from abroad using a foreign account, their internet address will reveal their location and the bank account will be frozen.
Websites selling internet domains and hosting services will not provide services to Iranians and internet phone company Skype, which would provide Iranian dissidents with a safe means of communication via its messenger, does not allow Iranian internet addresses or let Iranians buy credit.
Even a large open source software resource recently changed its rules to stop Iranians from using it.
Access to high speed Internet in Iran is currently subjected to the whim of the ruling elite. By providing broadband internet access for common Iranians, and giving them a more active, less censored voice, the United States will be able to support the Green Movement, without ever being directly involved within Iran’s domestic affairs.

bigwinnman
25-02-2010, 10:54 AM
Pedestrian (http://www.sidewalklyrics.com/)

The sidewalks of Tehran in quest of glory.

http://www.sidewalklyrics.com/?p=4168
Rafsanjani’s Daughter Takes on the Basij (and vice versa) (http://www.sidewalklyrics.com/?p=4168)

Feb 23rd, 2010 by pedestrian (http://www.sidewalklyrics.com/?author=1)

Watch this fascinating, frightening video.
Rafsanjani’s daughter, Faezeh Rafsanjani is in the car, she is fully veiled, in the traditional black chador.
Apparently she was at the university for a talk.
They, a group of men, are forcing asking her to come out of the car, the one in front throws out her belongings, they say: “why were you here giving a talk? what were you saying?”
She responds: “Because I wanted to.”
Basij: “so we want you to talk to us too.”
All the time the men are also arguing amongst themselves which is the most interesting part of the conversation. Their use of the words “debate”, “discussion”, “dialog”, “conversation” … these are all words they’ve openly taken from the reform movement.
Basij: “weren’t you the one who was just making the speech? About the student movement having demands? Walk outside your car, and let’s have a conversation. We’re students too, we want to talk. Be certain, we don’t want to be rude, we just want to talk. Only talk. ”
Faezeh: “you can talk anywhere you want. Go and talk.”
Basij: “no, we want you to repeat some of the things you said.”
Faezeh: “what did I say? Tell me what I said.”
Basij: “you don’t know what you said?”
Faezeh: “I said what I said. If you have any comments about what I said, well, you can state them now.”
A number of the men start shouting together: “when are you going to end this? How long is this going to continue?”
Another man: “how long are you going to continue this?”
Faezeh: “continue what?”
The men respond together, each stating one of the words: “this”, “this green …” “Omavi movement” “American movement” [The Bani Umayyah, Omavi, had been enemies of the Bani Hashim, the prophet's family. So they are indicating that the movement is against the prophet and Shi'a Islam.]
Basij: “are you against this movement or for it?”
Basij: “you claim that you came here to study today, but the doors were closed so you went amongst the students to give a speech?”
Faezeh: “Go inside and ask anyone you want what I was doing here.”
Basij: “we want to ask you. You’re standing here, we can ask you. We want to have a debate”
Faezeh: “I’m not going to answer you. I don’t want to answer you. A debate has to be two-sided. I have a right not to have a discussion, not to have a debate.”
They keep pressing her to have a “debate”. “Why did you come here today? To incite the students?”
Faezeh: “I had a class today.”
Basij: “show me the print of the class” [note sure what he means by "print"]
Faezeh: “if you have a class, you keep the print? Nobody keeps it.”
Basij: “do you have the documents with you? Do you have a student ID?”
Someone from the back shouts: “do you have the ownership documents of this building with you?” [hitting at Rafsanjani's rumored fortune] “this is her father’s land after all, this is all her inheritance.”
Another basiji says: “no, don’t smear. don’t be rude. Put her things back in the car.”
She says: “you can’t use force, you can’t …”
A basiji says: “thank god, she has started talking, everybody praise Allah!”
As she starts driving they shout: “pour some water behind her” [pouring a glass of water behind a traveler is a custom in Iran, symbolizing a safe journey and a safe return. They are saying it to mock her.]
As she drives away she says: “be certain, you will not reach your aims using these methods.”
And they all shout together: “and you will?!”

bigwinnman
26-02-2010, 10:49 AM
Feb 25 2010

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

2110 GMT: Not-Over-The-Top Statement of Today. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, testifying to a Congressional committee, reveals that the current manoeuvres over Iran’s uranium enrichment are just like the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100225/pl_afp/usirannucleardiplomacyun):

My reading of what happened with President Kennedy is that it’s exactly what he did. It was high-stakes diplomacy. It was pushing hard to get the world community to understand, going to the UN, making a presentation, getting international opinion against the placement of Russian weapons in Cuba, making a deal eventually with the Russians that led to the removal of the weapons.
That is the kind of high-stakes diplomacy that I’m engaged in, that other members of this administration are, because we take very seriously the potential threat from Iran.
2100 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. After all the political positions (take your pick) he adopted at the Assembly of Experts, Hashemi Rafsanjani used a ceremony at the tomb of the late Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a warning (http://www.payvand.com/news/10/feb/1264.html) about “uninformed individuals” (who are they?): “These individuals shirk from their responsibilities and make irrelevant declarations, thus causing the leadership to bear the responsibility of all the actions that the people reject.”
1935 GMT: Diplomatic Poses (cont.). Well, I guess Washington had to strike its own posture given the statements of President Ahmadinejad and his Syrian counterpart Bashir al-Assad in Damascus today (1335 GMT). Here’s State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley:

As the secretary [Hillary Clinton] reiterated yesterday, we have expressed our concern directly to President (Bashar) Assad about Syria’s relationship with Iran. This is ultimately a decision that Syria has to make, but as President Assad assesses Syria’s long-term interests, he need only look around the region and recognize that Syria is increasingly an outlier.
We want to see Syria play a more constructive role in the region. One step would be to make clear what Iran’s need to do differently and unfortunately there was no evidence of that today.
The key here is that it is a spokesman making the statement, not the President, not the Secretary of State. Yes, of course, the US would prefer that Damascus put Iran into isolation. But they know that, given the regional dynamics, Syria will not publicly cut off Tehran. So the real diplomacy will take place away from these statements.
1925 GMT: Back from a lengthy academic break — the US Ambassador to Britain was in Birmingham today — to catch up on the full force of Iranian propaganda. Here is the “confession” of Jundullah leader Abdolmalek Rigi, tailor-made to put the US as the main sponsor of his terrorism:

After Obama was elected, the Americans contacted us and they met me in Pakistan.They met us after clashes with my group around March 17 in (the southeastern city of) Zahedan, and he (the US operative) said that Americans had requested a meeting.
I said we didn’t have any time for a meeting and if we do help them they should promise to give us aid. They said they would cooperate with us and will give me military equipment, arms and machine guns. They also promised to give us a base along the border with Afghanistan next to Iran.
They asked to meet me and we said where should we meet you and he said in Dubai. We sent someone to Dubai and we told a person to ask a place for myself in Afghanistan from the area near the operations and they complied that they would sort out the problem for us and they will find Mr. Rigi a base and guarantee his own security in Afghanistan or in any of the countries adjacent to Iran so that he can carry on his operations.
They told me that in Kyrgyzstan they have a base called Manas near Bishkek, and that a high-ranking person was coming to meet me and that if such high-ranking people come to the United Arab Emirates, they may be observed by intelligence people but in a place like Bishkek this high-ranking American person could come and we could reach an agreement on making personal contacts. But after the last major operation we took part in, they said that they wanted to meet with us.
The Americans said Iran was going its own way and they said our problem at the present is Iran…not al-Qaeda and not the Taliban, but the main problem is Iran. We don’t have a military plan against Iran. Attacking Iran is very difficult for us (the US). The CIA is very particular about you and is prepared to do anything for you because our government has reached the conclusion that there was nothing Americans could do about Iran and only I could take care of the operations for them.
One of the CIA officers said that it was too difficult for us to attack Iran militarily, but we plan to give aid and support to all anti-Iran groups that have the capability to wage war and create difficulty for the Iranian (Islamic) system. They reached the conclusion that your organization has the power to create difficulties for the Islamic Republic and they are prepared to give you training and/or any assistance that you would require, in terms of telecommunications security and procedures as well as other support, the Americans said they would be willing to provide it at an extensive level.
1350 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist Hengameh Shahidi has been arrested again (http://advarnews.biz/humanright/10493.aspx).
Ebrahim Yazdi, former Foreign Minister and head of the Freedom of Movement Iran, underwent open heart surgery soon after his 10-day release yesterday. His family said that the surgery was a success (http://mizankhabar.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=438:1388-12-05-11-17-35&catid=43:2010-01-09-15-51-03&Itemid=123).

1340 GMT: Trying to Shut the Door. The Supreme Leader has returned to his rhetoric of last June. In a statement reported by Iranian state media (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/25/AR2010022501602.html), he said those not accepting the results of the Presidential election “would be disqualified from participating in the Islamic system, and they have already lost their credibility”. Certain individuals caused the post-election turmoil because they wanted to “deny the vote of the people.”
Assad gave a lecture to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her comments that the US is “troubled” by Syrian ties with Tehran, “We hope that others don’t give us lessons about our region and our history. We are the ones who decide how matters will go and we know our interests. We thank them for their advice.”
Ahmadinejad was even bolder, “(The Americans) want to dominate the region but they feel Iran and Syria are preventing that. We tell them that instead of interfering in the region’s affairs, to pack their things and leave.”
No real surprises in either man’s pose. What is more important is whether there is any substantial support from Damascus for Iran, and more specifically Ahmadinejad, beyond the rhetoric of increased cooperation and cancelling of visa restrictions.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, vowed increased cooperation during a meeting in Damascus and canceled visa restrictions between the countries.
1330 GMT: Political Prisoner Update. An activist updates (http://www.twitter.com/persianbanoo) that Mousavi campaign aide Asghar Khandan has been sentenced to 2 years and 74 lashes. Another aide Jahanbakh Khanjani, a former senior official in the Ministry of Interior, has been released on bail after eight months in detention.
1038 GMT: Claim of Day. According to (http://www.kaleme.com/1388/12/06/klm-12370)Kalemeh (http://www.kaleme.com/1388/12/06/klm-12370), Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Mohammad Hosseini, has said that “there is no censorship” of the press.
1035 GMT: Where’s Mahmoud? President Ahmadinejad is in Damascus (http://www.rferl.org/content/Irans_President_In_Damascus_For_Talks/1967919.html) for talks with Syrian President Bashir al-Assad. Let’s see if he can trump Ali Larijani’s political manoeuvre.
1000 GMT: Larijani’s Nuclear Move. This looks like it may be big news. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, after talks with Japanese officials, has said Japan’s offer to enrich Iran’s uranium (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=119449&sectionid=351020104) “has the substance to be worth discussing. We want to deepen the discussion on it.”
That would be a major shift from Iran’s line since November that uranium had to be enriched or swapped inside the country, and it is a dramatic change in Larijani’s previous hostility to third-party enrichment. A likely assumption is that the Speaker is representing the views of the Supreme Leader.
So now the key political question: is Larijani also speaking for the President or is he making a move to claim personal credit, surpassing and pushing aside Ahmadinejad?
0950 GMT: The Rigi Mystery. It may be that Iranian state media, when it finally settled on the story that the leader of Jundullah, Abdolmalek Rigi, was detained on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan, had it right (and that our reports of Rigi’s detention last week were inaccurate). The deputy chief of Kyrgyzstan’s national airline has confirmed that a plane was forced to land (http://www.rferl.org/content/Kyrgyzstan_Confirms_Iran_Intercepted_Plane_Arreste d_Two_Passengers/1967264.html) in Bandar Abbas in southern Iran on Tuesday (in fact, other information indicates that the interception occurred Monday night) and two passengers were taken away by Iranian authorities.
0905 GMT: The Wrong Lawyers. An unexpected but still stunning story from Rooz Online (http://www.roozonline.com/english/news/newsitem/article/2010/february/25//iranian-bar-association-under-government-control.html) about the screening of “unsuitable” human rights lawyers:

Last week the administrative committee of Iran’s bar association has disqualified nearly half of the candidates seeking to serve on Iran’s bar association.
The official website of the Iranian Bar Association reported yesterday that 36 candidates running for management positions at the Association’s headquarters were disqualified. The Association’s President, Seyed Mohammad Jondoghi-Kermanipour…said, “Today we received a letter from the administrative judicial tribunal, which stated that, pursuant to their previous letter, only 43 candidates were qualified, the remaining candidates having been disqualified for failing to meet the specified criteria.”
0855 GMT: Satire of Day. Ebrahim Nabavi sets a Philosophy Quiz (http://www.roozonline.com/persian/tanssatire/tans-satire-article/article/2010/february/22//-2892a8645a.html) for readers. A sample question:

[Government spokesman] Gholam-Hossein Elham said, “Cutting off AN’s government is the insurgents’ next project.” What is the logical mistake in this sentence?
1 – There exists no government to be cut off.
2 – The government will be cut off by itself. There is no need for the insurgents to do anything.
3 – Even if the insurgents killed themselves, they could not stop the downfall of the government.
4 – The Agha [Supreme Leader] himself has started this project a long time ago.
0840 GMT: The Forgetful Assembly. Amidst the confusion over the statement/non-statement from the two-day meeting of the Assembly of Experts (see separate analysis), the Green website Rah-e-Sabz offers an overview (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/10973/) of the divisions within the body since the election and declares that it is suffering from “Continuous Alzheimer’s”.
0825 GMT: Comparing the Numbers. Iran News Now, using video and photographs, compares the non-crowd at the President’s speech in Birjand, Khorasan, yesterday with the masses who turned out for a Mir Hossein Mousavi campaign rally and concludes (http://www.irannewsnow.com/2010/02/tiny-crowd-for-ahmadinejad-in-birjand-helps-put-things-in-perspective/):

Let’s look at the crowd gathered in Birjand for Ahmadinejad…and let’s be realistic. This thing is FAR from over. The aspirations of the Iranian people will not go unheeded.
EA’s Mr Verde adds, “The interesting fact about the turnout (if one can claim it is interesting at all) is that even in a place close to Ayatollah Khamenei’s hometown of Mashhad, people don’t really care about Ahmadinejad.”
0820 GMT: Economy Watch. Mohammad Reza Khabbaz, a member of Parliament’s Economy Committee, has denounced President Ahmadinejad’s proposed budget (http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-45761.aspx) as “unrealistic”.
0815 GMT: This is a Secure Regime? Revolutionary Guard commander Hossein Hamedani, in his statement yesterday, announced that the number of Basiji bases in Tehran would be increased (http://peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=13900) from 6 to 22.
0800 GMT: Wednesday was marked by loud proclamations from the Government. There were the attempts to limit the damage of the video of June’s attack on Tehran University dormitories, the aggressive promotion of the “terrorist” threat from Jundullah to Kurdish groups to the Green Movement, and the President’s sparsely-attended speech in eastern Iran (see inset.
However, the most intriguing statement by far was the supposed proclamation of the Assembly of Experts supporting the Supreme Leader and warning against the “sedition” of opposition leaders. This morning, however, it looks this was a non-statement, an attempt by pro-Ahmadinejad members of the Assembly and media to create the image of a regime ready to crush Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mohammad Khatami (and, probably, to back Hashemi Rafsanjani into a corner). We have a special analysis (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/25/iran-analysis-the-assembly-of-experts-mystery/).

bigwinnman
26-02-2010, 08:13 PM
Iran’s “Shark” Survives Another Round (http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/irans-shark-survives-another-round/)

http://niacblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/irans-shark-survives-another-round/#more-7376

Persia House (http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=niacblog.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.persia-house.com%2F), the Iran policy shop of Booz Allen Hamilton, has their latest take of the continued maneuverings of Ayatollah Heshemi Rafsanjani:

Despite Rumors of Rafsanjani’s Possible Demotion, the “Shark” Survives Yet Another Round in his Battle with Hardliners
The widespread talk of Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s possible demotion surrounding the latest Assembly of Experts meeting (held after a one-month delay (http://www.radiofarda.com/content/f4_Expert_assembly_session_Iran/1827947.html) [2] due to the post-election unrest) illustrates the serious challenges that the Chairman continues to face from powerful hardliners, who have for years been attempting to sideline him. A pragmatic, wily, and extremely wealthy politician, Rafsanjani exists as a major obstacle in the hardliners’ struggle to gain unchallenged control over the regime’s levers of power.

Rafsanjani has frustrated observers attempting to pinpoint his political stance, as he has swayed back and forth in the months following the disputed June 2009 presidential election, drifting along with the political tide. Early on in the post-election unrest, the regime heavyweight excited supporters of the Green Movement by appearing (http://persia-house.com/node/826) [3] to support the opposition against his bitter rival (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2009/08/iran-ahmadinejad-and-rafsanjani-letting-bygones-be-bygones.html) [4], Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This was followed by a period in which he was relatively quiet (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2010/01/iran-rafsanjani-so-silent-because-he-gets-no-respect-brother-says.html) [5], perhaps out of concern for his and his children’s (http://persia-house.com/node/1086) [6] well-being. In recent weeks, however, Rafsanjani has made a point of stressing his revolutionary credentials and of emphasizing the “strength (http://persia-house.com/node/1105) [7]” of his relationship with Supreme Leader Khamenei. During the February 11 Islamic Revolution’s anniversary, for example, he marched alongside regime supporters at the same time that opposition protesters were being beaten by security agents. Furthermore, in his February 23 address (http://ilna.ir/newsText.aspx?ID=109649) [8] to the Assembly of Experts, Rafsanjani surprisingly declared his support for President Ahmadinejad’s subsidy (http://www.persia-house.com/node/1074) [9] reform plan, saying that, although the removal of government subsidies will place short-term pressure on the country, “in the long run, it will have sweet results.”
The rift between hardliners and Rafsanjani is exemplified by his ongoing dispute (http://persia-house.com/node/1077) [10] with Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi (who did not attend the important Assembly of Experts meeting; he was placed (http://www.rahesabz.net/story/10910/) [11] in the intensive care unit of Qom’s hospital the night before) over the role of velayat-e faghih, or the Supreme Leadership. Yazdi contends that the Supreme Leader’s legitimacy is derived from God and cannot (http://eja.ir/1388/02/07/%D9%85%D8%AE%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%AA-%D8%A2%D9%8A%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87-%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF-%D9%8A%D8%B2%D8%AF%D9%8A-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%8A%D9%8A-%D8%B4%D8%AF%D9%86/) [12] be questioned. Rafsanjani tends toward the belief that the individual in that position should be subject to the oversight of the 86-member Assembly of Experts, which has the (little exercised) constitutional authority to select, supervise, and remove him. Furthermore, Yazdi and other hardliners have been upset with Rafsanjani for a number of years because of his suggestion that a three-man leadership council replace the position of Supreme Leader following Ali Khamenei’s death; realizing the low likelihood of his being chosen as the new Supreme Leader, Rafsanjani likely feels that such a council would allow him to maintain his influence.
As for predictions that the Assembly meeting would be a bloodbath for Rafsanjani, a participant relayed (http://www.sarkhat.com/fa/group/CTtnWJ3JCSgWQ4cFdlKTNSiJfjBCAGyD/) [13] that the atmosphere “was a lot warmer than previous sessions.” And pictures (http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/pages/?cid=87615) [14] of the February 25 meeting of the Assembly with the Supreme Leader showed Rafsanjani and Khamenei holding a cordial conversation—an indication that the Chairman has survived yet another round. Notwithstanding the animosity felt by Yazdi and his allies, the Supreme Leader would almost certainly prefer that Rafsanjani be brought back into the fold and unequivocally back on the side of the regime.
The impact that the past few days’ machinations within the Assembly of Experts will have on the Green Movement remains to be seen. Some may see Rafsanjani’s statement (http://ilna.ir/newsText.aspx?ID=109649) [8] during the proceedings—that the solution to resolving the post-election unrest lies in working within the framework of the Islamic Republic’s institutions—to be an attempt at mediation. Others will likely be disheartened by his claim that “some [protesters] have been deceived” by those operating against the Islamic Republic.

bigwinnman
26-02-2010, 08:28 PM
Feb 26 2010
Iran Analysis: Khamenei’s Not-So-Big Push (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/26/iran-analysis-khameneis-not-so-big-push/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/26/iran-analysis-khameneis-not-so-big-push/#more-29289

No doubt this morning about the big news out of Iran. On Thursday, the Supreme Leader tried to lock down the security (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/26/world/middleeast/26tehran.html) of his position once and for all, declaring that opposition leaders “have lost their credibility by denying the results of the elections. They did not surrender to the law and committed a great sin….[They] have stepped down from the rescue ship and have lost their credibility to remain within the framework of the Islamic establishment.”

Iran Follow-Up: Interpreting the Assembly of Experts “The Certainty of the Uncertain” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/26/iran-follow-up-interpreting-the-assembly-of-experts-the-certainty-of-the-uncertain/)
Iran Analysis: The Assembly of Experts Mystery (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/25/iran-analysis-the-assembly-of-experts-mystery/)
So that’s an unambiguous warning to Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to shut up, for example, giving up on Karroubi’s latest call for a referendum on the Guardian Council and for the regime’s permission for mass protest. But Khamenei has made such statements before: he did so just after the June election, before the Qods Day marches in September, and before the Ashura demonstrations in December.

What is distinctive this time is that the Supreme Leader issued his declaration in a meeting with the Assembly of Experts, which had just finished its two-day meeting. The regime blueprint was for the Assembly to add its 86-member weight to a resolution of the crisis; the problem is that, for reasons which will take some time to establish, it did not so. The “statement” published on Fars News condemning the “sedition” of the opposition (was it a draft? a “leak” from a few pro-Khamenei or pro-Ahmadinejad members of the Assembly?) was never officially confirmed.
So, in the absence of that resolution, here was the Supreme Leader’s message. It was not the authorisation of the arrest of Mousavi and Karroubi (although, if either make a high-profile declaration with further demands and the prospect of a rally, this may change). Despite the insistence that the June election was settled, it was not support of President Ahmadinejad.
It was, to use the language of American football, “Protect Your Quarterback”. Me.
Personal security, for the moment, equates to the security of the system of velayat-e-faqih (clerical supremacy). And, for the moment, that is accepted by all high-profile political figures. For all his ambiguities, Rafsanjani has done somersaults to be unambiguous on this point. Mousavi has never made a direct attack on Khamenei’s position. And Karroubi, despite his “Mr Khamenei” statement last month, has ensured that his demands are narrowly focused on certain institutions — the Iranian judiciary, the Guardian Council, the Presidency — and not on velayat-e-faqih.
So, Supreme Leader/Quarterback, you’re OK. And that is about all that can be settled….for the moment.

bigwinnman
27-02-2010, 10:01 AM
What we have in Iran is an unfolding revolution

Sat, Feb 27, 2010 | Rabi al-awwal 13, 1431
Year Seven, Day 8

http://www.alarabiya.net/views/2010/02/26/101603.html

Though Iran’s elections last June were fraught with irregularity and pitted the conservative leadership headed by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, against reformists led by Mir Hossein Mousavi, they have also set the tone for the future course of the nation, both domestically and externally.

Khamenei openly sided with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the post-election turmoil, and remained steadfast in his support even though Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the former chairman of the Iranian Parliament who was also a presidential candidate, openly declared that the presidential elections were rigged.

Hundreds of thousands of pro-reform Iranians took to the streets once Ahmadinejad was declared the victor: scores were killed by state police and thousands were arrested. The situation came as close to a revolution as you could come. Recently some of those detained were hurriedly tried and sentenced to death. Some of them have already been executed.

This, therefore, represents an unfolding revolution in Iran. The process has yet to come to fruition but it bears all the hallmarks of being deeply rooted. For this reason, enemies of the reformists have consistently alleged that the reform movement is in cahoots with the West. This conspiracy theory rests on the premise that the United States and its allies, including Israel, are determined to weaken Iran and deny it a nuclear capability that might threaten regional security and stability.

Indeed, Iranian officials are fully aware that Western powers are concerned about recent pronouncements by Ahmadinejad serving notice to other Middle Eastern capitals that no regional conflict, including the Arab-Israel conflict, could ever be resolved without the consent and cooperation of Tehran. Iranian warnings to Saudi Arabia not to “meddle” in the affairs of Yemen were another ominous signal that Iran, under its current leadership, aims to extend its hegemony over the entire region. Iran already has strong leverage with Hizbullah in Lebanon and strong influence over Syria and Gaza. Recently it has been trying to build bridges with Turkey, another regional power.

Against this backdrop, the conspiracy theory suggests that Western countries have long concluded that armed conflict with Iran could get out of hand and, as a result, another strategy to contain Iran is needed. Western powers, therefore, have come to the conclusion that instead of waging a war against Iran, they must seek to change the regime from within. Ending the Iranian dictatorship and its strict theocracy would mean the end of Iran’s military nuclear program.

The tug of war between the hardliners in Iran and the reformists, however, is poised to continue for some time yet. Obviously, though, the wind of change has already swept through the Iranian landscape and there is no turning back. Sooner or later, the rigid and ultra-conservative Iranian regime will have to change, as all revolutions do. Khamenei is also aging and his years in active political life are limited. The recent announcement by Washington that it will deploy “defensive” missiles in four Arab Gulf countries, Qatar included, is meant to apply additional pressure on Iran’s current leadership.

Iran has a long history of succumbing to external pressure only to renege when the pressure subsides. The current Iranian leadership contends that time is on its side and believes that as long as it can succeed in avoiding an open confrontation with its foes, it will come out ahead. Still, the leadership should not underestimate the impact of economic and financial sanctions on its ability to confront both internal and external enemies. With Moscow apparently now closing ranks with Washington, London, Paris and Berlin on the standoff with Tehran, Beijing remains the only major capital that has not yet totally committed itself to the US-orchestrated strategy vis-à-vis the country.

The heat on Iran can therefore be expected to increase in the foreseeable future, both from within and without. Nevertheless, with Iran having recently celebrated the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution that toppled the late shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the regime remains defiant. Recently, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran would begin to produce 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel.

There is only one explanation for such a defiant mood: the government does not believe that a war against it is a viable option for the United States. Tehran is also aware that an attack against it would require a United Nations Security Council resolution. Given that Beijing and Moscow would not necessarily vote in favor of any such resolution, Iran’s resolve to defy Washington and the West remains high.

Nevertheless, the internal and external standoffs over the future course of Iran can be expected to come to a climax sooner rather than later. For now, though, the odds are evenly divided on whether that will entail the country becoming more cooperative with the international community.

*Published in Lebanon's DAILY STAR on Feb. 26, 2010

bigwinnman
27-02-2010, 10:23 AM
Feb 26 2010
Iran Document: Latest Karroubi Interview “The Shah Didn’t Behave Like This” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/26/iran-document-karroubi-interview-the-shah-didnt-behave-like-this/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/26/iran-document-karroubi-interview-the-shah-didnt-behave-like-this/#more-29326

An interview in Italy’s Corriere della Sera (http://www.corriere.it/International/english/articoli/2010/02/26/mehdi_karroubi_iran_green_movement_leaders.shtml) with Mehdi Karroubi,first published in Italian in 22 February:
Physically, my son Ali is feeling better. In the first days, his condition was terrible. Now we are worried about his mental state. The damage Ali suffered is a small example of all that is happening to the children of this nation. But the regime is already paying for this.
What happened on February 11?
The repression was violent, no doubt. There was an unprecedented conflict with the population. This time, the regime didn’t want to allow any gathering of protesters and it used all its strength; it gathered its forces from all the different governmental organs. They arrested our friends and family members, and they threatened the others. But their mobilization and organization didn’t stop us.

I knew how it would end, but I went to demonstrate anyway. I will go again if there will be other demonstrations, even if the outcome is worse than the last one. The newspapers wrote that the people prevented the conspirators (e.g., Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi) from entering the square. I would like to ask those newspapers, which are controlled by the regime and the government: do you think that ordinary people use tear gas? Do you think ordinary people use metal bars and knives? The masters need to know that these days will pass but their sign will remain.
The events of these months have often been compared to the Revolution of 1979. You compared the violence of the repression to that of the Shah’s time, but you said that his army had shown more restraint. Do you see other similarities between our times and those?
The Shah’s regime was corrupt at its core, but he didn’t behave like this with the people. What do the armed forces have to do with the election’s results? Why did they treat the people like this on the 22nd of Bahman (11 February)? During the reign of the Shah there were rules; they did not take the people arrested to the mosque to beat them to death even before they appeared in front of the judiciary. These people make arrests without a warrant, beat them and keep them in detention. Not to mention the rest (such as the alleged rape of detainees).
Under what conditions would you be ready to find a compromise with Ahmadinejad and recognise him as the legitimate president of Iran? Do you consider yourself to be a leader of this Green Movement?
I don’t consider myself the leader of the popular Green Movement. I consider myself a member of this movement and of the reformist movement. My actions aim to a return to the will and the ideals of the people, that is to say to the people’s sovereignty. I don’t have a personal conflict, nor a reason to reach an agreement or make peace with Ahmadinejad. We consider Ahmadinejad’s government an established government that has to answer for its actions, but not a lawful or legitimate government. I am nobody: it’s not up to me to find an agreement or a compromise. It is the people who have to decide whether or not they want a compromise with the government. It is the people who are in conflict with the government, and who do not accept its management of the country. The people don’t agree with the strategy that puts us in conflict with the world taken on by Ahmadinejad, and we are a part of this same people.
You said that chanting slogans against the Supreme Leader and for a secular state is wrong. What slogans should people chant?
The things should be kept separate. We are not trying to make the regime fall. On the other hand, the Constitution is not a divine revelation and therefore is not unchangeable. But, at the moment, not even this Constitution is applied in this country.
Before the election could you imagine that the Iranian people would go so far in asking for their rights and that their anger would grow so much?
I did not imagine or foresee that the Iranian regime would go as far as rigging the popular vote as it did. On the other hand, the regime has adopted an obstinate and non conciliatory attitude with the people, which is the cause of the current problems. In the first days, the people said, “Where is my vote?” The people are still the same. So what happened that lead them to adopt the current slogans? The people want healthy elections and to see their votes counted.
As a student of Khomeini, I read that you were extraordinarily absorbed by him. Is he still a model for your actions?
I loved the Imam and I still love him. Yes, he is a model and an example for me. He was a devout cleric, he had insight and far-sightedness. My love for him increased after his death because of what happened. The Imam lead the country in its most difficult time: the first decade after the Islamic Revolution. The country was at war, prominent figures and other important politicians were killed in attacks and in the war. In that situation, perhaps some special and sometimes excessive measures were taken. I don’t say that he was a perfect model. But actions and decisions have to be evaluated taking the times into account.
What is the worst thing that has been done in the name of the revolution? What were the most joyful moments of the revolution? Why do you still believe in the Islamic Republic?
The Islamic Republic consists of two concepts: republicanism and Islam. The worst thing is the damage done to both those concepts and principles. I’m not saying that nothing is left anymore, but the damage done is very serious, both to Islam and to the concept of “republicanism” which means “the opinion and the vote of the people”.
The Imam said that the final decision is up to the people. He always considered the public opinion and never allowed, even under the worse conditions, ambiguity and lack of clarity during the elections. What was damaged were the promises that we made to the people. The issue is not to make the regime fall, but to reform it.
I still believe in the Islamic Republic, but not in this kind of Islamic Republic! The Islamic Republic that we promised the people had the support and the vote of 98% of the population: it was the Islamic Republic of free elections and not of rigged elections. I believe in modern Islam, an Islam full of kindness and affection, not a violent or fanatic Islam.
Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi pledged to reduce the business with Tehran and to support new international sanctions. Do you think these measures would help the opposition in any way? What effects do you think UN sanctions will have on the government and on the people?
When I was the speaker of the Iranian parliament, the relationship between our parliaments was excellent. My official visit to Italy at that time, and the visit of two presidents of the Italian House to Iran are a sign of the good political relationship between the two countries. Even the letter sent by the presidents of the Italian House and Senate to the chiefs of the Iranian regime regarding the consequences of my (possible) arrest is a demonstration of the good relationship we had at that time. For this, I am grateful to the presidents and to the members of the Italian parliament. But I am absolutely against sanctions; they increase the economic pressure that the people already suffer because of the wrong policies of the government.

bigwinnman
27-02-2010, 10:29 AM
Feb 26 2010
Iran: Mousavi, The Regime, & “The Prerequisites of Escalation” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/26/iran-mousavi-the-regime-the-prerequisites-of-escalation/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/26/iran-mousavi-the-regime-the-prerequisites-of-escalation/#more-29309

In his 17th statement (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/01/02/iran-document-mousavis-5-stages-to-resolution-statement-1-january/), Mir-Hossein Mousavi made five specific points that he deemed necessary to start the political (and national) reconciliation process. The proposal lead to a noticeable uptick in the weeks leading up to 22 Bahman in talk of the need for national “unity” and also garnered much attention (http://khordaad88.com/?cat=15) from Iranian intellectuals and dissidents. Ultimately, the regime’s more radical elements reemerged and silenced the chatter before the security apparatus prevented (http://www.thenewestdeal.org/2010/02/battle-but-not-war.html) a strong opposition showing on the revolution’s 31st anniversary. But Mousavi’s “five points,” as they have come to be called, still carry much weight. Generally, they are:

Government accountability for post-election violations
Legislation of new election laws that would safeguard reform-minded candidates from regime’s current vetting process
Release of all political prisoners
Freedom of the press and political-neutrality on state-run IRIB television
Freedom to assemble, as guaranteed by the Islamic Republic’s constitution
Were these five conditions to be met, the Green movement would arguably have the breathing space it needs to mobilize and begin the long process of transforming Iranian society. For if anything became apparent in the weeks leading up to and after the June election, it was that Iran has undergone an awakening. It has simply been the repression that the above five grievances capture that has prevented the social movement’s aspirations from coming to fruition.

Therefore, perhaps an alternative frame can be adopted to view Mousavi’s five points. As a recent Tehran Bureau profile (http://www.thenewestdeal.org/2010/02/mousavi-story-behind-man.html) wonderfully captured, the reluctant leader of Iran’s opposition has matured into a rather shrewd, cautious, and patient figure. While circumstances prevent him from voicing such a sentiment in public, the leader of the Green movement likely recognizes that the regime has reached a point of no return. The tyranny, the executions, the outright fascism — all of it is, to quote his Mousavi from an interview on the eve of 22 Bahman (http://khordaad88.com/?p=1097), an outgrowth of the “revolution’s failures” and the “roots of tyranny and dictatorship” that persist in society from the reign of the Shah. These are damning (and yet still very measured) words from one of the Islamic Republic’s own founding fathers.
Thus, seeing the regime in this light gives Mousavi’s five points new significance. The demands would no longer be five steps the regime must take in order to rescue the country from its current crisis, but rather, five blatant and particularly egregious shortcomings that the regime will inevitably be unwilling to address, and that will thus escalate the conflict between the Greens and the regime. For in the wake of the June coup d’etat, if one thing has become clear it is that those currently in control will never meet any such conditions, even if moderate voices within their camp plead otherwise. Political calculus has been replaced by megalomania, with the possibility of reconciliation falling victim.
And so if these five points are instead five tests that the regime must fail before confrontation with the regime escalates to the next phase, the news emerging this week from the Expediency Council and Assembly of Experts — both bodies chaired by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani — is indeed very telling. First, the Council began considering aproposal (http://www.iranunfiltered.com/journal/2010/2/20/proposal-to-eliminate-guardian-council-control-of-elections.html) being pushed by Rafsanjani and Mohsen Rezaei that would take away the Guardian Council’s vetting role and instead give it to a new “National Election Committee” of sorts, which would conveniently be under Rafsanjani’s supervision in the Expediency Council. (Ironically, the proposal to revise the country’s election laws was made to Supreme Leader two years ago (http://www.payvand.com/news/10/feb/1212.html), after which he ordered for a new plan to be drawn up).
Make no mistake: this would essentially be a first step in meeting the second condition laid of Mousavi’s 17th statement. Were the change to the vetting process be enacted, the Guardian Council would no longer be able to disqualify candidates from running for president or parliament, as it did when it disqualified all but four candidates from running in the 2009 presidential election.
The chances of the plan coming to fruition, however, appear slim. With the regime still reeling from the aftermath of the June elections and still off-balance going forward, it would have no reason to suddenly invite more political opposition in Majlis through freer elections in 2012. Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the ultra-conservative Kayhandaily and someone who is regarded as being close to Khamenei, has already come out (http://uskowioniran.blogspot.com/2010/02/irans-electoral-laws-under-review.html) on the attack, stating that any propsoal to create such an electoral commission would be “against the Islamic Republic’s constitution.”
No sooner than the proposal was being discussed, more divisive conservative rhetoric emerged from the other body Rafsanjani chairs, the Assembly of Experts. In a statement reported by Fars News (http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8812051735), the Assembly allegedly declared that the regime’s patience with the opposition “ended in December after sedition leaders missed numerous chances to repent and return into the gown of the revolution.” (Enduring America notes (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/25/iran-analysis-the-assembly-of-experts-mystery/), however, that the statement is missing on the Assembly of Experts’ official website and that several prominent members were absent from the Assembly’s two-day meeting). Khamenei, for his part, has reiterated (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/25/AR2010022501602.html) the statement’s pronouncement in his own statement, saying that those who still do not accept the June presidential election result “would be disqualified from participating in the Islamic system.”
The obstacles in revising the regime’s election laws aside, the other four points from Mousavi’s 17th statement have gone unheeded as well. Saeed Mortazavi, though implicated (http://www.thenewestdeal.org/2010/01/in-implicating-mortazavi-in-torture.html) by Majlis in the Kahrizak torture-murders, remains a free man. Rather than having political prisoners freed, the country recently saw the greatest wave of arrests sweep dissidents since late June and early July. Meanwhile, state-controlled media remains entirely propagandized while any questions regarding citizens’ right to freely assemble were surly answered by the enormous security presence deployed on 22 Bahman.
Not even appearing to consider the proposals, the regime seems bent on acting counter to each of Mousavi’s five points. Despite the intentions of some [I]del-soozan, (or “heartbroken” moderate conservatives), any promise for political reconciliation also appears dead. Rather, the crisis seems destined to continue indefinitely, and with neither side refusing to back down, Mousavi’s five grievances may come to be prerequisites for the regime to unconditionally reject before the opposition begins to decide on how to take the uprising to the next level.

bigwinnman
28-02-2010, 09:38 PM
Feb 28 2010

http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/28/iran-analysis-understanding-assembly-of-experts-statement-the-crisis-continues/#more-29488
Iran: Understanding the Assembly of Experts Statement “Crisis Continues” (http://enduringamerica.com/2010/02/28/iran-analysis-understanding-assembly-of-experts-statement-the-crisis-continues/)

Posted by Scott Lucas (http://enduringamerica.com/author/expatbama/) in Middle East & Iran (http://enduringamerica.com/category/middle-east-iran/)
http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/ASSEMBLY-OF-EXPERTS-300x199.jpg (http://enduringamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/ASSEMBLY-OF-EXPERTS.jpg)First, a summary of the official statement of the Assembly of Experts after their two-day meeting. The statement only emerged yesterday, 72 hours after the conclusion of the meeting and after a “leaked” document (possibly a draft of the statement pushed by “hard-liners”) appeared on Fars News:
1. Opening point on God and the Iranian nation standing against Iran’s enemies.
2. Post-election: there has been much damage. The people passed the test, but a few of the elite did not in these difficult times. [No direct condemnation of the opposition, the door is still open to atonement]. Our triumph is due to our great Supreme Leader, which adds another golden page to the history book of the Islamic Republic. Abiding with the Supreme Leader is necessary for keeping our holy Republic united.
3. Fitna [sedition] has been finished, and the patient people have wiped out wrong-doers [or those on the wrong path].
4. Warning to all enemies who seduced their own people: our duty has not ended, we stand openly by the side of your Supreme Leader.
5. A thousand thanks to our devoted and self-sacrificing security forces for extinguishing the fire. God bless them and congratulations to them for catching the leader of Jundullah’s “terrorists”, Abdolmalek Rigi.
6. Iranian academics have achieved brilliant victories in all fields of science.
7. A reminder of Khomeini, hoping to bring the Revolution to its real owner, the Imame Zaman.

Mr Verde analyses the meaning and significance of the statement:
Not much of a surprise to be honest.
The basics: the Assembly statement is to show the people that their eight months of protest have not made any difference (they have, but this is what the regime wants people to believe).

It is also to show high-ranking religious figures who have been unhappy with the Supreme Leader’s management of the country since June that the Assembly of Experts is not only approving Khamenei as the best person to be leader but is also approving his methods and actions, to the point that it is saying that it has had enough of the protests (this is exactly how the Supreme Leader must feel about the protest: he must be fed up with it all).
The original idea of the Assembly was to include very high-ranking clerics, with impeccable personal and religious credentials, who were supposed to represent the different views of religious scholars and Grand Ayatollahs. They were supposed to be elected by the people, bringing together the Islamic nature and republicanism of the Republic.
What we have instead is a group of people, most of whom were not known at all until they were “elected” to the Assembly. And even now, most are only known for their membership of the Assembly or their political activity, not their religious credentials (for example, Ahmad Khatami).
The candidates of the Assembly have to go through a very strong filtering process by Council of Guardians and in many seats, there are usually only one candidate for people to vote for or two candidates, both of whom have the same views. So there is no choice in most Assembly constituencies. In fact the process is so flawed that members of the Council of Guardians are also members of the Assembly (e.g. Ahmad Jannati, Ahmad Khatami), a serious and obvious case of conflict of interest.
There is also a fundamental flaw with the implementation of the idea of the Assembly. The Assembly is supposed to select the Supreme Leader, oversee his actions, and, if required, remove him from the post.
But the members of the Assembly have to go through the Council of Guardians filter. The Council has 12 members (six clerics, six lawyers). The six clerics are appointed directly by the Supreme Leader. The six lawyers are nominated by the head of Judiciary and voted on by the Parliament. The head of Judiciary is appointed by the Supreme Leader and the members of Parliament have to pass through the Council filter to stand for election.
This creates a closed loop assuring the full control of the Supreme Leader and making oversight of him impossible. Only his people get to become members of the Assembly; with the exception of very few people like Ayatollah Dashgheib. (I’ll talk about Rafsanjani below.)
Through its history, the Assembly of Experts has never been what it is supposed to be. Instead of being the supreme body that oversees the top person in the regime, it rubber-stamps decisions that have already been taken elsewhere.
One example was the assignment and later removal of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri as deputy Supreme Leader in the 1980 (both of these were Khomeini’s decisions, not the Assembly’s). The same was true when Khamenei was selected as Supreme Leader. Rafsanjani got together with the right-wing factions (Motalefeh and conservative clerics) of the Islamic Republic and started a plan that resulted in the left (the current Reformists) being gradually pushed away from power. The outcome was Khamenei becoming Supreme Leader on the say-so of Rafsanjani and a few others who were supposedly recounting Khomeini’s wishes on his death bed. Ever since, the Assembly has rubber-stamped whatever Khamenei wants. All the Assembly sessions result is a communique that says that all is well and the Supreme Leader is doing the best job possible.
I view this latest statement exactly the same way. A few days before the latest session started, Kayhan published a report which predicted the final declaration. Remember that Kayhan’s editor is appointed by Khamenei, and the newspaper usually says what Khamenei wants to say. It is the journalistic version form of plainclothesmen (lebas shakhsi) for Khamenei: an unofficial spokesperson that will allow the Supreme Leader to deny everything.
Why the statement was put on the website so late? It could be that they just forgot to post it. Or it could be that someone was trying to indicate some dissatisfaction with the statement, holding back its publication.
I don’t think it matters. The institutions of the Islamic Republic are unable to pull it out of the current crisis. All that have any power (at least on paper) are under the direct, and at times illegal, control of Khamenei.
The root cause of the current crisis is Khamenei and his actions and decisions. And he will not change his mind until there is a lot of pressure on him, not from within the institutions of the regime, but from some area where he does not have full control.
I honestly believe that Khamenei and his advisors are not able to see what they are doing to the regime and to themselves. Maybe 20 years of absolute power does this; they are trying to control a country of 70 million people like a village in the outback with a big stick, lots of superstition, and big lies. The problem they have, and which will get worse, is that many young people in Iran are quite well-educated and well-informed and will not stand for this. Children of the establishment’s figures are part of this group, for example, Mohsen Ruholamini. [Mohsen Ruholamini, who died in the post-el