A voice from central Tehran earlier this morning (Sunday 21 June):
[Translated] Things are so bad. They are massacring people here.
Please tell Obama not to officially recognize Ahmadinjad. He’s not our
real president. He’s a dictator. Please tell people that in Tehran
they’re massacring people.
There’s nothing going on today. There was talk of something at 10 in
the morning [Tehran time] at Enghelab [Square, presumably] but nothing
happened. They had said [at the] UN [?]… I don’t know if it will take
place or not. People are scared. They [officials] kill. THEY KILL.
A voice from central Tehran earlier this morning (Sunday 21 June):
If Obama moves to support the demonstration in strong terms, this camp
will lose and Ahmadinejad will gain ground; also it is not good to make
an American domestic issue from an Iranian domestic issue. Yesterday
was brutal, but not as brutal we still do not know how many were
killed, but from the set up of the riot police it is apparent that they
want to keep people off street with the least casualty possible. This
is not a praise, it is to say that government does not want to escalate
If there is no demonstration today it does not mean it is over. This is just the beginning. The focus is on having an election.
You must see the people, this is a people united, all groups and
sections are out there, war veterans, old revolutionaries, housewives.
The first girl I saw beaten yesterday was wearing a chador, this is not
a western thing here, this is a domestic issue in which Iranian people
have the right to demand a new election.
NY Times reports: Relatives of former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani say all five
members of his family, including his daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, have
been released by Iranian authorities. As we noted this morning, state
television said five members of the Rafsanjani family had been arrested
on Saturday night.
Iran Blames ‘Dirty Zionists’ (perhaps there will be street protests by the leftists and the ummah across the world now?)
John O'Sullivan wrote me this note today.
Thanks for your note. I am
happy to give you my judgment on the Iranian revolt. In brief, it’s one
of the most important movements of our time. It radically undermines
both the realist argument that Muslims are uninterested in democracy
and the Jihadist claim to represent the mass of Muslims. And if it
continues—whether it is crushed or triumphs in the immediate future—it
will add immeasurably to the forces of evolutionary change in the
Muslim world since it strikes me as being more like the Glorious,
American and “velvet” revolutions (i.e., it is a revolution against a
radical revolution) than like the French, Bolshevik, and 1979
The first is a private
e-mail form my senior colleague, Abbas Djavadi, a former head of Farda
and now the Associate Director for the service as a whole. I had asked
him to predict what might now happen. Here is his reply (which I quote
with permission) from a hurried discussion yesterday:
Definitely, but I don't know for how long. Nobody says it loudly but
everybody understands this is about the Supreme Leader and not only
Ahmadinejad. Yesterday after Khamenei's speech I thought they would
back off. Today in the morning I thought it may be primarily students.
This afternoon surprised me. Not only students, not only Tehran. Maybe
Mousavi has been pushed up as opposition leader against will. He had
the motivation for it for the last 20 years when he kept away from
government. He seems to be emboldened now, seeing the masses and the
ripening of something in the society, in "masses" and in most big
wish I could know if it would continue and how. I think nobody knows. I
am seeing here two big issues, based on what I am hearing and reading
the live inputs and feedback from the "foot soldiers":
Mousavi has to further establish himself as a popular leader. Today he
again said he has prayed to God that he is ready for martyrdom, sign of
strengthened resolve. He needs support from more, hundreds of thousands
and millions of middle and upper classes (villagers never attended the
Islamic revolution 1979, workers joined just in the last few months of
the revolution, middle class did it with a bit upper classes). Bazaris,
for example, teachers, doctors, vendors, municipality workers,
mid-level state employees, lawyers… And the most important: he needs
to get more support from moderate or other clergymen opposed to
Khamenei and Ahmadinejad — people who have been critical, but have
rarely spoken out. If we have that trend growing in the next few weeks
and months, we will have a new ball game in Iran. If not, the
resistance will gradually fade out while reprisals intensify.
Security and organization as well as communication of the opposition
leaders (Mousavi and Karroubi). Today and last weeks were typical. Will
they join the demonstrations? Are the meetings cancelled? There were
hundreds of conflicting news, information and disinformation until it
really happened. And it happened, mainly thanks to the websites,
Facebook and Twitter. 20 years ago it would be unimaginable. But the
communication is distorted and disorganized. Security for the leading
figures is also extremely important. What if Mousavi just disappeared?
(detained, under strict house arrest) etc.? Khomeini in 1978 had the
security provided to him in Paris and his big group of executives in
Europe instructing his army of mullahs inside Iran what to do and how
to lead the movement. In the case of Mousavi, once he is out of the
country, he would be disregarded and would play no role after a year or
so at all. [Yet] staying safe in Iran while the movement is
intensifying is a contradiction per se. And we don't have any relieving
indications that they are well organized. That's also bad. Things may
change and would change if both the defiance continues and if the
leadership grows together with the defiance.
That is the judgment of a shrewd and experienced observer of Iranian politics.
second item, just below, is the most recent in a series of letters from
Tehran by one of the many opposition protesters. Much of the time the
Western media has to post items that cannot be confirmed. I’m not
criticizing this. We all have to do it in these circumstances and,
provided we are absolutely candid with our readers and listeners, they
can judge the worth and reliability of such reports. But our services
are fortunate in having ordinary Iranians whom we know and trust to
keep us informed in very vivid personal accounts. The writer below is
one. I think you’ll be impressed by what he writes.
Dogs of war
started our march somewhere close to the Tehran University. Near the
gates of the University the “Dogs of war” (including all of the
militia, police, guards, sarrallah, plain cloth paramilitary,..) pushed
people to the south side of the street beating anyone near the gate and
we found out why as Hooman (who is about six feet tall) reported to us
“daneshjoo haa daran shoar midan,…” (the university students are
chanting behind the gate and the dogs are standing right outside the
gate) he reported. We saw about 100 guards in black armors that looked
like a full blown Japanese Samurai army facing the gates of Tehran
University which was and is a symbol of defiance (the picture of people
demonstrating under the gates of Tehran University are printed on some
money notes). By the time we got to Enghelab square tension was
mounting. People were walking in small groups of five without chanting
and without showing off any colors. But all that changed at 4:10pm
right after we passed the Jamalzadeh avenue (west of enghelaab square
towards Azadi square) as the small groups of people slowly joined each
“Natarsim, Natarsim Maa hame ba ham hastim”
short figured girl who was walking next to me reached in her purse took
out a green wristband and then raised her hands up in the air with a
Victory sign. We all followed and the crowed automatically became a
quiet and defiant freedom seeker band; “be tarafe azadi..” (towards
Freedom) Hooman said aloud in a muffled bass voice. Azadi means
freedom in Persian so towards Azadi can mean either going towards Azadi
square or going towards freedom. His voice was horse from nights of
chanting “Allah Akbar” on the rooftops. The guards had all things
planned and they stopped us in front of the Dampezeshki University
(Veterinary University). They actually blocked us from the front, back
and from the streets. So we pushed ourselves into the street and then
the war started. The evil guards charged towards us and scream
replaced the victory signs. Jaleh, Hooman and I held each others hands
as the wild dogs attacked and the people scrambled and fell over each
other. Within seconds they reached us and they were swiping people up
their feet with clubs, chains, and some innovative black rubber piece
(that looked like a short water hose). We hid behind Hooman but he was
hit on the leg and fell on top of us, Jaleh was hit on her face and I
fell on my right ankle. Screams and yells were everywhere and we were
at first very scared but it seems that the fear disappears after the
first hit. People started chanting “Natarsim, natarsim maa hame ba ham
hastim” (we are not afraid cause we are united).
From the wonderful Iranian ex-pat Amil Imani
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” – John F. Kennedy
Today, all Iranian expatriates are united in solidarity with the
Iranian people in Iran. Today, we are all standing tall to let the
world hear our continuous aspiration for a free and democratic Iran.
Today, we pledge ourselves, under the divine inspiration, to stand
beside the Iranians in Iran and echo their voices around the globe.
Today, we make history, yet again.
It is critical that freedom-loving people, governments and media, rally
behind the Iranian people and end the tyrannical mullahcracy that is a
scourge on Iran as well as the world. The Iranian people themselves are
fully capable and are determined to remove the cancer of Islamism from
their country. The United States and Israel and other democracies have
a huge stake in the success of the Iranian people to rid themselves of
the Islamic oppression and tyranny.
Please do read it all.
4:15 pm: From MEMRI:
2:10pm: US EXPORTS TO IRAN ON THE RISE UNDER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION hat tip Armaros
2:07 pm: How cancerous is leftist thinking? It knows no bounds and infects the very souls of people. Who can forget all those "death to the Jews" marches back in January during the Gaza defensive when Israel finally attempted to put an end to the 8,000 plus rocket attacks from Gaza. The leftists and the Muslims took to the streets in Europe, Asia and the US screaming for the death of the tiny Jewish nation. Tens of thousands of haters.
Where are these voices now? Where is the left now? Where are the fellow Muslims of the victims of the Iranain revolution? Where's da ummah?
Where are the tens of thousands of hypocrites, liars and degenerates? At Trader Joe's?
1:23pm: Obama To Demonstrators:
"We Are Bearing Witness". Ugh. Longing for Bush. Longing for testicular fortitude. Longing for a president that sides with freedom not jihad.
Commentary has a special preview of the abandonment of democracy.
Video Of Nighttime Home Invasion In Iran
The NY Times is reporting:
Screw the clerics. They are trying to make this a religious revolution? I don't think so. Call me crazy but it's a violent reaction against the religious regime.
1:15 pm: “Have no fear, we are all together,” and then “Down with dictator.” The video is said to be of a demonstration on Sunday on Shirazi Street in Tehran.
1:06: There's been a lot of speculation that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani is very much a player behind the scenes…………. in support of the revolution. Must be some truth to it. They arrested his daughter.
State TV has shown pictures of Faezeh Hashemi, Rafsanjani's eldest daughter, speaking to hundreds of opposition supporters last week.
12:57: CNN is showing amateur video of Tehran. The streets are packed with protesters.
12:25pm Twitition (twitter petition): Since the Iranian government is blocking internet access, Google should update the satellite images so people can follow the movement of protesters.
12:05pm: Over at Boston.com: PARIS—Iranian authorities have arrested 23 journalists and bloggers since post-election protests began a week ago, according to a media watchdog that says reporters are a "priority target" for Iran's leadership.
The man who leaked the real election results from the Interior Ministry – the ones showing Ahmadinejad coming third – was killed in a suspicious car accident, according to unconfirmed reports, writes Saeed Kamali Dehghan in Tehran.
Mohammad Asgari, who was responsible for the security of the IT network in Iran's interior ministry, was killed yesterday in Tehran. Asgari had reportedly leaked results that showed the elections were rigged by government use of new software to alter the votes from the provinces.
Asgari was said to have leaked information that showed Mousavi had won almost 19 million votes, and should therefore be president.
We will try to get more details later.
The Guardian is reporting:
As the Iranian authorities continue
their crackdown on opposition rallies, foreign journalists, and the internet,
what next for the protest movement? Follow live updates on the aftermath of
Iran's disputed presidential election
The youth draw on videos like this for inspiration before they hit the streets and put their lives on the line.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali
Khameni has condemned the protests as "vandalism", according to state
But he also endorsed the guardian council's decision to conduct a partial
recount of Friday's ballot.
"Those in charge of supervising the elections are always trustworthy people,
but this should not prevent an investigation into possible problems and
clarifying the truth," Khamenei is quoted as saying.
yesterday that Twitter had delayed an upgrade to its network because of the
vital role it is playing in the Iran protest. It has now emerged that the US
state department requested the delay, according to the Washington Post. This
despite Barack Obama's
stance of not meddling in Iranian affairs.
On the subject of Twitter,
we face a tricky dilemma.
We have been contacted by a number of people urging us not to link to
individual Twitter users in Iran. They claim that this puts people in real
danger, although Twitter users in Iran have not repeated this concern.
On the other hand Twitter
users are providing vital updates on the situation at a time when foreign
journalists are facing severe restrictions. Linking to tweets (which are of
course published on the internet) helps readers to asses the veracity of what is
being reported. If we don't link won't this simply help silence opposition and
citizen journalism in Iran?
It's a difficult issue.
More disturbing video
footage of the clampdown on protesters has been posted to YouTube (and talked
about on Twitter). As is so often the case it is impossible to know when this
was filmed, but I haven't seen it before.
More Iran cartoons: this
one shows Ahmadinejad erasing the "public"
from the Islamic Republic of Iran; this show a military boot crushing a voter; and here's
Steve Bell's take on Ahmadinejad's
problem with counting.
Twitter linking update:
My bosses (our own Guardian Council) have decided that it is best to err on the
side of caution and not to link to Twitter updates from Iran for now.
opposition protest is being planned for today, according to the BBC and Reuters.
Reuters copy is now accompanied by this warning: "Reuters coverage is now
subject to an Iranian ban on foreign media leaving the office to report, film or
take pictures in Tehran."
The Guardian's Tehran correspondent, Saeed Kamali
Dehghan, writing in Index of Censorship, describes the struggle
in getting information out of Iran.
"I will continue to report, but I fear that I may be arrested," he
Ominously the blog of
the reformist Mohammad Ali Abtahi is no longer available. In his last post he
described the election as a "swindling". Abtahi,
who was a senior adviser to the former president, Mohammad Khatami, was arrested
Our Middle East editor,
Ian Black, says the opposition movement is "amorphous and leaderless" in
contrast to the power of the state. He says the outcome of the current power
struggle could hinge on a partial recount of the election ordered by the
guardian council. "How many people are going to believe the outcome?" he asks.
A man from Tehran,
tells Small World News that
most people are worried about their safety and fears more trouble at today's
demonstration. In a three minute call he also says that internet bandwidth
has been reduced and websites have been closed or hacked.
The English language
version of Iran's state media, Press TV, reports that Mousavi
supporters have called for another rally in Tehran this afternoon.
It notes the previous crackdown on similar rallies. "Tehran's governor
general Morteza Tamaddon is quoted as saying: "Seven people were killed and 29
injured during the illegal rally on Monday."
The report adds: "While Mousavi backs the right of his supporters to express
their dissatisfaction with peaceful protests, the candidate, who suffered a
crushing defeat, has asked his supporters to keep calm and vigilant and to not
fall into 'traps'."
Iran's foreign ministry
has summoned European ambassadors to criticise their "interventionist
and impudent" stances on the disputed election, according to the state news
The Iranian authorities
have intensified their crackdown on communications by blocking access to Yahoo,
writes Saeed Kamali Dehghan from Tehran.
Yahoo Messenger had played an important role since Friday, when the
Iranian government began to block Iran's mobile phone network and satellite TV
channels, including the BBC's Persian Service.
"Yahoo Messenger was one of the most important means that Iranians could
still distribute information after the government filtered Facebook and
Twitter‚" said Mahmoud Mirhashemi, 24, an engineering graduate from the Iran
University of Science and Technology.
"In the early morning I couldn't log into my Yahoo Messenger account. First I
thought that's because of the government clampdowns on the internet but then I
found that I have access to other websites but not my Messenger," he said.
"The internet has a very important social function in Iran in comparison to
Europe and other countries. We are one of the top 10 world's active blogging
communities because of the level of censorship inside the country and now the
government is cracking down on the internet as well," he said.
An Iranian blogger, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "Iran's blogging
community has been very quiet this week – mostly because they are afraid of
being arrested. The government has already filtered thousands of websites and
blogs since Friday's election."
Iran has already blocked access to Facebook, Twitter and at least 20 websites
affiliated to Iran's defeated reformist candidate, Mir Hussein Mousavi, although
some users still can update their profiles by using proxy sites.
"Before this we could bypass filtering by using proxy websites, the links for
which were distributed daily among friends by email. But now the Iranian
communication ministry has also begun to tackle proxy websites too‚" said Majid
Farahani, a 21-year-old student.
"But there is still a small number of people who update their Facebook and
Twitter profiles by using special anti-filtering programmes installed on their
PC rather than regular proxy websites. The problem is that many people don't
know how to use this software‚" he said.
Guard, an elite military force answering to Supreme Leader, warned bloggers to
remove any materials that "create tension" or face legal action, AP reports.
Meanwhile, the US-based International Campaign for
Human Rights in Iran says there has been mass arrests
of leading reformists including politicians, intellectuals, activists and
It is getting reports that in the city of Tabriz more than 100 prominent
figures have been arrested.
Iranian protesters after the helicopters released some sort of chemical liquid.
Tweet: Call from Iran reports severe skin burns due to the unknown liquid dropped from helicopters.
If the Islamic regime would do this to their own people, it's not hard to imagine what they would do to Israel, America or any perceived "threat".
BBC has these developments:
- Thousands of police, militia and secret
policemen blocked access to Enghelab and Azadi squares, and protesters
were throwing stones in surrounding streets
- A BBC correspondent saw one man shot in a crowd and another with injuries from a razor-wielding secret policeman
3,000 protesters were reportedly gathered at Enghelab Square, according
to Associated Press news agency. They chanted "Death to the dictator"
and "Death to dictatorship"
- One witness told Reuters news
agency that protesters loyal to defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi
set fire to a building in southern Tehran used by backers of President
- A column of black smoke is hanging over the city centre, our correspondent says
Iranian news agencies reported that the suicide bomber died and two
people were injured in the bombing at the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini,
leader of the 1979 revolution.
Some reports could not be independently confirmed. Foreign news
organisations – including the BBC – have been subjected to strict
controls which prevent reporters from leaving their offices.
BBC correspondent in Tehran says his impression is that the police have
broken up large crowds into smaller groups to prevent them assembling.
on Saturday, the wife of Mr Mousavi and an aide to another rival
candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, said the rally would go ahead, although this
was later contradicted by his party.
Speaking on state TV,
deputy police chief Ahmad Reza Radan warned police would "certainly
fight against any form of illegal gathering and protest". He also said
protest organisers would be arrested.
The result triggered
almost daily street protests – a challenge to ruling authorities
unprecedented since the Islamic revolution of 1979.
had been expected, along with fellow challengers Mr Karroubi and Mohsen
Rezai, to discuss more than 600 objections they had filed complaining
about the poll at a meeting of the Guardian Council, which certifies
elections, on Saturday.
But neither Mr Mousavi nor Mr Karroubi
attended the meeting – which suggests, our correspondent says, they
have abandoned their legal challenge to the election results.
State TV quoted the Guardian Council as saying it was "ready" to recount a randomly selected 10% of ballot boxes.
had previously offered a partial recount of disputed ballots from the
election, rather than the full re-run of the election demanded by
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