Iran is reeling from demonstrations and clashes with riot police following a presidential election that is widely viewed as rigged. The Interior Ministry was very quick to announce it had made a count of ballots after a spectlacularly large voter turnout. Skepticism was sparked by the exceedingly rapid completion of the count, turning to disbelief for many after it was announced that Ahmadinejad won an overwhelming victory, trouncing main opposition candidate Mousavi. Since then, protests have erupted, at times turning violent. Thousands of people have taken to the streets and a power struggle seems to be taking place withing the political elite. I'll regularly update what I learn on this post. The updates below will be listed from most recent to least recent.
You can reach me via email here: nima(at)nmaleki.com.
June 20, 4:36 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A short video clip of conflict in Iran available here.
I'm taking a break. More soon.
June 20, 4:24 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Juan Cole, a historian on the Middle East, has written an article on his blog analyzing the current situation in Iran. Excerpt below:
"What all the major figures in the ruling establishment must now be watching for anxiously is any sign that the security forces are losing the will to contain the demonstrations. Pious Iranian deployed to quell civil disturbances will be torn when their officers tell them to use force and theAyotallah who they revere warns them that they will be responsible before Allah for following illegitimate orders (as Montazeri as already said).
"If the demonstrations continue for many days, even at the reduced levels seen the day following Khameinei's speech, it is hard to imagine a beneficial outcome for the Leader. His reputation, such as it is, will be further chipped away making him even more vulnerable to criticism from leading clerics. Yet, if an even bloodier crackdown is ordered the regime may insure the unrelenting hostility of many millions of Iranians. Men ofKhameinei's generation will understand the gravity of risk quite well."
June 20, 4:13 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Robert Fisk has today published an article in the Independent, out of the UK. The article, "In Tehran, Fantasy and Reality Make Uneasy Bedfellows," can be found here. Fisk is reporting out of Tehran. Excerpt below:
"When I arrived at the university, the students were shrieking abuse through the iron gates of the campus. "Massacre, massacre," they cried. Gunfire in the dorms. Correct. Blood on the floor. Correct. Seven dead? Ten dead, one student told me through the fence. We don't know. The cops arrived minutes later amid a shower of stones. Filtering truth out of Tehran these days is as frustrating as it is dangerous
"...Now for the very latest on the fantasy circuit. The cruel "Iranian" cops aren't Iranian at all. They are members of Lebanon's Hizbollah militia. I've had this one from two reporters, three phone callers (one from Lebanon) and a British politician. I've tried to talk to the cops. They cannot understand Arabic. They don't even look like Arabs, let alone Lebanese. The reality is that many of these street thugs have been brought in from Baluch areas and Zobal province, close to the Afghan border. Even more are Iranian Azeris. Their accents sound as strange to Tehranis as would a Belfast accent to a Cornishman hearing it for the first time.
"...But the no-smoke-without-fire brigade has a point. Look at the extraordinary, million-strong march against the regime by Mousavi's supporters on Monday. Even the Iranian press was forced to report it, albeit on inside pages. Yes, the authorities have indeed closed down the local SMS service. Yes, they have slowed down – but not closed – the internet. My Beirut roaming phone now rarely reaches London, although incoming calls arrive – unfortunately for me – round the clock. The Iranian government is obviously trying to interfere with the communications of Mousavi supporters to prevent them from organising further marches. Outrageous in any normal country, perhaps. But this is not a normal country. It is a state as obsessed with the dangers of counter-revolution as the West is obsessed with Iran's nuclear ambitions. The Supreme Leader's speech yesterday was proof of that."
June 20, 3:41 pm (GMT -5 hours)
The Asia Times carries an analysis of US strategy toward the crisis in Iran, you can read it here (originally published at IPS). Excerpt below:
"...many hawks in the US are already looking beyond the current political crisis - which some argue will inevitably end in defeat for the protesters - to argue against any diplomatic outreach to Tehran.
"They have held up the regime's alleged rigging of the elections for Ahmadinejad and its repression of demonstrators as evidence that the Islamic Republic's leadership under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is too brutal and aggressive to be negotiated with.
"...A growing sentiment on the right - increasingly held outside neo-conservative circles - holds that full-blown regime change in Tehran is the only acceptable resolution to the Iranian problem.
"However, Mousavi and his supporters have never called for overthrowing the Islamic Republic, but rather have co-opted the rhetoric and iconography of the Islamic Revolution for their cause"
June 20, 3:28 pm (GMT -5 hours)
"The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights."
June 20, 2:40 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Saturday has been full of horrible images and news coming out of Tehran.
A photo from Press TV footage of a bus on fire in Tehran is available here.
Unconfirmed reports of demonstrations and clashes from other major cities in Iran are still coming in.
From TehranBureau: "FB report: shouts of Allah o Akbar in holy city of Mashhad "explosive" -- loudest it has ever been."
It is now night in Iran. The same source as above writes, "WHOLE city is shaking with very loud screams from rooftops. Their loud voices calling only for God is filled with fear, hatred, and hope."
A video, said to be from the city of Isfahan, depicts protestors throwing rocks at riot police and shouting opposition, see it here.
A YouTube video of the gruesome and explicity scene of a young woman said to be shot in Iran is available here. It is the longest clip of this so far. People around her try to help.
June 20, 2:00 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A video said to be shot today from Tehran is available here. It is taken from indoors, and the voices of concerned women can be heard.
Another explicit video of a man, covered in blood, said to have been killed today in Iran is available here.
June 20, 1:50 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A video os street protests said to be from today is available here.
June 20, 1:28 pm (GMT -5 hours)
The blog, Iran after the Election, has a collection of seven photos said to be from today's protests in Iran here.
Another vantage of the gruesome video showing the apparent death of woman, said to be from today's protests, is available on Facebook. One man is repeating, "don't be afraid," as the woman appears to drift toward death.
June 20, 1:01 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A gruesome and graphic video of a woman said to be shot in Iran today is available on Facebook.
Mousavi1388 Twitter feed, maintained by Mousavi supporters often carrying statements from the opposition leader, claims that Mousavi has made the following statement:"I am prepared For martyrdom, go on strike if I am arrested." There is no confirmation that this statement came from Mousavi. However, this quote is being widely circulated via Twitter, and may indicate a hardening of sentiments among many protestors following today's crack down by security forces.
June 20, 12:38 pm (GMT -5 hours)
TehranBureau has a brief report from one of their sources on their site regarding the day's activity in the streets of Tehran. Here is an excerpt:
"I think the government wants neither a massacre nor the marches to continue. Thus they organized their forces in order to prevent the assembly all together somehow without bloodshed. Today many demonstrators stepped in a well prepared situation and police took advantage of its best units and very well organized command and control system to checkmate them."
June 20, 12:31 pm (GMT -hours)
Another video, said to be from today's protests in Tehran is available here. People can be heard shouting "God is great," and "death to the dictator."
Skepticism is growing among some protestors and reporters about the veracity of claims by Press TV and Fars News regarding the bombing reported earlier today at Imam Khomeini's shrine. Some believe this report has made it easier for security forces to crack down on protestors as well as conduct arrests.
Information coming out of Iran today is rapid and often contradictory.
June 20, 12:16 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A video said to be from today's protests is available here.
Another video, from Tehran, showing a sizeable demonstration is available here. The location and date of this video is unconfirmed.
June 20, 12:02 pm (GMT -5 hours)
According to Ghalam News Mousavi has sent a letter to the Guardian Council detailing his accusations of vote rigging. I found this via the Guardian's live blog on Iran. The Farsi language version of the letter is available here. The Guardian links to a rough Google translation into English here.
I will of course try to find a better quality translation.
June 20, 11:42 am (GMT -5 hours)
"English-language state TV confirmed that police had used batons and other non-lethal weapons against what it called unauthorized demonstrations.
"The witnesses told The Associated Press that between 50 and 60 protesters were seriously beaten by police and pro-government militia and taken to Imam Khomeini hospital in central Tehran. People could be seen dragging away comrades bloodied by baton strikes.
"Some protesters appeared to be fighting back, setting fire to militia members' motorcycles in streets near Freedom Square, witnesses said.
"Helicopters hovered over central Tehran. Ambulance sirens echoed through the streets and black smoke rose over the city.
"Tehran University was cordoned off by police and militia while students inside the university chanted "death to the dictator!" witnesses said."
June 20, 11:31 am (GMT -5 hours)
Reports on the number of protestors on the street of Tehran are contradictory, clashes appear to be taking place throughout the heart of the capital and crowds are being broken up into smaller groups facing a strong response from security forces.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Mousavi is addressing protestors in Tehran, and that he has joined demonstrators.
June 20, 11:18 am (GMT -5 hours)
A photo said to be from today, in Tehran, is available here, depicting crowds running by what appears to be tear gas.
Several unconfirmed reports indicate that clashes have taken place in the cities of Isfahan and Shiraz.
TehranBureau reports the following: "Report from source: Mohammad Ghouchani, the editor-in-chief of National Trust newspaper, has been arrested."
Iran is rife with rumours of multiple significant arrests.
Reports are coming in very quickly from Tehran, much of it describing scenes of conflict and sounds of gunshots.
June 20, 11:01 am (GMT -5 hours)
June 20, 10:52 am (GMT -5 hours)
From BNO News: "Reuters witness says Mousavi-supporters set fire at building used by supporters of President Ahmadinejad."
TehranBureau, a source of news from Iran that has shown to be reliable over the post-election days, tweets:
"forces dressed as civilians are beating on people and using tear gas to keep them from entering the square, they are being dispersed into lower streets
"my young sister has taken to the streets as well
"she hasn't returned
"i'm dying with worry. please pray for us."
June 20, 10:33 am (GMT -5 hours)
Widespread reports from reliable sources in Iran that clashes are spreading throughout the heart of Tehran and the many city squares have police and militia presence. A mounting number of unconfirmed reports indicate that protestors are pushing back against and fighting the security forces.
A video said to be from today's, in Tehran, is available here.
June 20, 10:25 am (GMT -5 hours)
Reuters reports on the bombing at Imam Khomeini's shrine:
"A suicide bomber blew himself up near the shrine of Iran's revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran on Saturday, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported.
"A few minutes ago a suicide bomber blew himself up at the shrine," Mehr quoted a police official, Hossein Sajedinia, as saying.
"Two other people were wounded in the incident in the northern wing of the shrine, another news agency, Fars, said."
CNN reports on clashes in Tehran:
"Riot police used batons and water cannons Saturday to disperse protesters at a main square in Iran’s capital, Tehran, state-run Press TV reported."
June 20, 10:16 am (GMT -5 hours)
BNO Breaking News reports that, "Iranian state media reports that up to 400 security forces were injured in recent clashes with protesters over disputed elections."
ABC's Jim Sciutto reports that, "Security forces trying to scatter protesters."
June 20, 10:08 am (GMT -5 hours)
"Iranian police have reportedly used tear gas and water cannon against thousands of people gathering to protest against the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president."
June 20, 9:56 am (GMT -5 hours)
A video said to be of demonstrators in Tehran today is available here. People appear to be running away from security forces. The quality of the video is poor. A tear gas canister is kicked down the street near the end of the video.
TehranBureau reports that Mousavi is said to release a letter, "possibly in an hour."
June 20, 9:40 am (GMT -5 hours)
Opposotion supporters in Iran are tweeting concerns that the reported bomb blast at Imam Khomeini's mausoleum, reported by Press TV and Fars News, could pave the way for the arrest of Mousavi and pave the way for harsh crack downs on demonstrators and its leaders.
June 20, 9:18 am (GMT -5 hours)
June 20, 9:04 am (GMT -5 hours)
Tehran Bureau and two sources who are usually reliable state that the sounds of shooting have been heard in Tehran. Tehran Bureau writes, "gunshots have started, being fired into the air."
Tweets from Iran claim that security forces are trying to disperse people before they can reach Enqlab (Revolution) Square.
"The defeated presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaie has attended a Guardian Council extraordinary meeting, while Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi failed to take part."
BBC Persian reports the same.
June 20, 8:48 am (GMT -5 hours)
Unconfirmed reports continue to come in claiming that security forces are clashing with protestors at routes leading to Enqelab (Revolution) Square, where the opposition rally is to meet. Azadi Street is said to be the site of much of the reported hostilities.
Reports are also coming in of a growing opposition gathering at Enqelab Square.
Foreign journalists are still banned from reporting outside of their offices or hotels.
June 20, 8:38 am (GMT -5 hours)
Reuters reports that, on Saturday, the Guardian Council has offered to recount 10% of the ballots. BBC Persian reports the same.
Today's opposition rally, the same as other days, are deemed illegal.
June 20, 8:29 am (GMT -5 hours)
A picture, said to be from today in Tehran, is available here.
June 20, 8:21 am (GMT -5 hours)
Unconfirmed reports, from tweets of people within Iran, that riot police are clashing with demonstrators.
June 20, 8:08 am (GMT -5 hours)
Reports are coming in of people gathering for Saturday's rally in Tehran, despite supreme leader Khamenei's Friday sermon calling an end to the opposition. Reuters reports that riot police are stationed around Enqelab (Revolution) Square, the meeting point for the rally.
June 19, 11:45 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Friday night in Iran. The link to a very beautiful and moving poem has been provided to me by a friend; video from Friday night, punctuated by cries of protest. View it here, with English subtitles.
It is now dawn in Iran.
June 19, 11:00 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Juan Cole's Informed Comment blog has an English translation of Iranian supreme leader Khamenei's Friday speech.
June 19, 6:05 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Parvez Sharma interviews an Iranian photo-journalist who has witnessed the demonstrations (posted on the Huffington Post). Excerpt below:
"Thursday was again another silent march, very busy very crowded, I could see more middle-aged people especially female. Also a group from Society of Lecturers of Qom Seminary including some of the Molahs. The location was very important, TOUPKHANEH Square, the heart of old Tehran, 2 minutes from the entrance of Tehran's big Bazaar and also right in front of Iran's central Telecommunication center. Mousavi came and spoked with people although I couldn't hear him as I was trying to shoot and not get smashed. I photographed almost everything, people, Mousavi, some friends and families of the Monday's Martyrs were lighting candles and seating in silence and some crying. The mood was sad and happy a very strange mix and weird feeling. People were angry and proud at the same time."
June 19, 5:48 pm (GMT -5 hours)
NPR, out of the US, carries the audio of an interview with a supporter of Ahmadinejad, discussing post-eleciton events in Iran (via The Lede).
June 19, 3:02 pm (GMT -5 hours)
The White House spokesperson reponds to Khamenei's speech. Video available here.
June 2:57 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Mousavi supporter's Twitter feed has confirmed a protest rally to be held on Saturday, in defiance to the supreme leader Khamenei's statement that the election results are accurate:
"Please join Mousavi, Khatami and Karoubi tomorrow at 4pm from Enghelab Sq. to Azadi Sq. in Tehran for a crucial green protest."
June 19, 1:40 pm (GMT -5 hours)
From AP: "In the strongest message yet from the U.S. government, the House voted 405-1 Friday to condemn Tehran's crackdown on demonstrators and the government's interference with Internet and cell phone communications."
June 19, 1:35 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A technical analysis of Iran's internet activity, congestion, and communication transit instability is available at renesys blog.
June 19, 1:28 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Amnest International claims that 15 people have died in Iran, hundreds arrested or injured.
"Iranian doctors Leyla Farzadi and Jalil Sharbiyanlou, took part in a peaceful protest to show their opposition to the results of last Friday's election. They are now missing, along with more than 24 others who were arrested and whose whereabouts remain unknown," states Amnesty International. This was sent by a reader.
I believe that the above total of deaths is estimated from news reports. Foreign journalists are now restricted from reporting from Iran's streets and the number of casualties as well as other political and security activity in the streets remain hazy.
An article at the Globe and Mail, from June 16, details the experience of a Canadian journalist mistaken for a protestor, detained by the police, and taken to the Ministry of Interior building before being released. This was sent by the same reader. Read it here.
June 19, 1:08 pm (GMT -5 hours)
According to BNO News, Reuters reports that the defeated presidential candidate Karroubi has maintained his opposition following supreme leader Khamenei's Friday speech supporting Ahmadinejad. Karroubi has made a statement calling for cancellation of the election results.
There are unconfirmed reports of fresh arrests in Iran today. I will confirm these if and when I can.
June 19, 12:27 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A translation of supreme leader Khamenei's Friday address is available in English. I have not yet found a Farsi recording of the speech so I cannot personally confirm the translation as accurate. If any readers find a recording of the original, please email me with a link.
June 19, 12:16 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Facebook has rolled out a Farsi/Persian version of its site, permitting users to navigate in that language. This matches Google Translate's launch of a Farsi to English translation tool.
"Today we're making the entire site available in a beta version of Persian, so Persian speakers inside of Iran and around the world can begin using it in their native language."
June 19, 12:00 pm (GMT -5 hours)
The BBC has photos from ayatollah Khamenei's Friday public address, where he expressed his support for Ahmadinejad.
June 19, 11:19 am (GMT -5 hours)
June 19, 11:08 am (GMT -5 hours)
Google Translate can now translate text from Farsi to English. I have not used this service so I'm not certain how effective of accurate it is.
June 19, 11:02 am (GMT -5 hours)
ABC's Jim Sciutto has written an article on Iranian government efforts to reign in the opposition on Twitter. An excerpt below:
"The government is now trying to turn technology against the protesters. Officials have started a number of fake opposition pages on Twitter, which are tweeting propaganda and misleading information. I became an unwitting victim when a user named ‘persian_guy’ retweeted several things under my name which I didn’t write."
Warnings for people to look out for similar misinformation have been circulating for days.
June 19, 9:38 am (GMT -5 hours)
Much of what comes next now depends on the planned protests of Saturday, to be held at 4 p.m. in Tehran. The realization that this could amount to a full a blown conflict appears to be percolating among most people I have heard from Tehran. The government has refused, as before, to give a permit for this demonstration.
The thing to watch is not simply the size and strength of planned protests in Tehran, but to carefully assess the outbreak of similar demonstrations in other regions of Iran. A Tehran only demonstration will prove much less of a challenge to the government. If cities like Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, Ardabil, Mashhad, and Ahvaz, that have seen protests in the past week, join with the capital in defying supreme leader Khamenei's call for a cessation of opposition, then the government will feel much greater threat than if there was a localized resistance.
Let's not forget about the very important, but less visisble, struggle for power among the elite. The Revolutionary Guard seems fully to support Ahmadinejad, though there have been continuous unconfirmed rumours of some officers having been detained. There is some question regarding the loyalty of some of the army and also the police. The Basij militia have proven to be loyal to the government and are said to have appeared in greater numbers today in Tehran.
Meanwhile, Rafsanjani is said to have been trying to win the support of more clerics in the religious city of Qom, capitalizing on his long-term influence and chairmanship of the Assembly of Experts, the body that can elect and impeach the supreme leader. What Rafsanjani does next will greatly impact the momentum of this upheaval. No matter his immense power within Iran, he has entered into dangerous territory: Fars News yesterday reported that Rafsanjani's children are now barred from leaving the country.
Mousavi, and Karroubi have become the public face of the leadership representing this struggle. Their resolve, compromise, or retreat will also determine much of the final outcome.
June 19, 9:15 am (GMT -5 hours)
Martin J. Young has an article in Asia Times that interestingly details and explains the use and control of the internet in Iran. Read it here.
June 19, 8:33 am (GMT -5 hours)
MK Bhadrakumar, previously a long-time diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service, has written another article on Iran, this time outlining China's reaction to events and well as reviewing US strategy.
Here is an excerpt:
"Beijing also warns about letting the genie of popular unrest get out of the bottle in a highly volatile region that is waiting to explode. Tehran on Friday saw its sixth day of massive protests by supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, whom they say was cheated out of victory."
June 19, 8:05 am (GMT -5 hours)
So what next? Iran's supreme leader, Khamenei, has firmly backed Ahmadinejad during this Friday's prayer address, expanding on his earlier support for the official election results.
Khamenei does not seem to have provided any form of compromise. This apppears to leave the opposition leaders with few options: to accept Ahmadinejad as president or to rebel against Iran's leader by pursuing opposition.
The three senior opposition presidential candidates are scheduled to meet with the Guardian Council this Saturday in order to discuss their grievances. The Guardian Council has, up to now, offered nothing more than a partial recount, something the opposition rejected, demanding fresh elections. It is always possible that some sort of deal may be struck during this meeting, though this appears less likely now than ever, following Khamenei's strong admonishment of opposition, and accusing "foreign enemies" of encouraging this upheaval, thus squarely blaming any continued opposition of furthering foreign schemes.
Further opposition demonstrations are planned on Saturday. The size and character of any further protests may well determine, or at least articulate, the strength of popular dissent as well as the willpower of the opposition leaders.
Following Khamenei's speech, further opposition would indicate a direct challenge to him as the supreme leader. The question is, are people willing to go that far, and are those within the political elite who have been openly or clandestinely dissenting ready to face off against the pillar of the republic's establishment and risk fracturing it at its very core?
June 19, 7:20 am (GMT -5 hours)
Iran's leader, ayatollah Khamenei, has clearly backed Ahmadinejad's presidency during his Friday prayer speech at Tehran University. He opposed Ahmadinejad's main election rivals by saying that, "they swore and called the president superstitious and called him names, which is embarrassing. They forgot about morality and law."
Khamenei backed Ahmadinejad's previous claims that the election had been free and fair. "There is an 11 million votes difference. How can vote rigging happen?"
He asked those who challenge the election result to pursue legal avenues.
The top three opposition presidential candidates to Ahmadinejad are to meet with the Guardian Council on Saturday in order to present their grievances.
He also blamed "foreign enemeies" of fomenting violence within Iran, naming the US, Britain, and Israel specifically.
Khamenei's has, in his address, given full support to Ahmadinejad as president. Journalist Robert Fisk is quoted by Al Jazeera that the address seems to say to the opposition, "enough is enough."
June 18, 5:45 pm (GMT -5 hours)
"Saeed Leylaz, an economist and editor of Iran's main financial newspaper, Sarmayeh, was taken from his home at dawn Wednesday. He is a vocal critic of Mr. Ahmadinejad's economic policies. Also taken was Hamid Reza Jalaeipour, a political analyst and professor of sociology and one of Mr. Mousavi's senior advisers. Security forces were still seeking his son, 26-year-old Mohammad Reza, a sociologist who is the chief strategist for Mr.Mousavi's campaign, after failing to find him when they raided their home with arrest warrants.
"One of the best-known faces of the 1979 Iranian revolution, Ebrahim Yazdi, was arrested Wednesday as he was being treated for dehydration at a local hospital, according to his family. Mr. Yazdi, a former foreign minister, was the head of a marginalized opposition party called the Freedom Movement of Iran.
"Other prominent figures in detention include Mohamad Ali Abtahi, a former vice president and reformist cleric who is known internationally for a nongovernment organization he runs on interfaith relations, and Mohamad Atrianfar, editor in chief of a number of newspapers and magazines that have been shut."
The Guardian reports on the importance of the upcoming Friday prayers in Iran and reviews the day's events. Excerpt below:
"Khamenei's address, to be made during Friday prayers at Tehran University, will be carefully scrutinised for clues as to how the Islamic regime plans to proceed a week after the disputed poll triggered the worst unrest since the 1979 revolution.
"...Mousavi appeared at 6pm local time and encouraged demonstrators to persist with their silent protests.
"Supporters shouted "Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein," as police helicopters whirred overhead; some in the crowd showed them the victory sign. Some shops in the city closed or placed black cloth over their doors as a symbol of condolence. Bazaar workers in Tehran and the city of Tabriz were reported to be on strike in protest at the election result.
"As in previous days, the march was met with light police presence as authorities rely increasingly on the Basij militia."
A photo of Thursday's demonstrations is available here.
It is night in Iran.
I am going to take a break. More to come, soon.
June 18, 3:07 pm (GMT -5 hours)
BBC Persian has a collection of 18 photos from Thursday's opposition demonstrations, available here.
June 18, 2:42 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Rumours persist of a number of Revolutionary Guard commanders having been detained.
A collection of photos from today's demonstrations, including images of Mousavi's participation are available on Mousavi's Flickr account, here.
The Asia Times has today published an article on the Revolutionary Guard. The article states that:
"Reformists claim the 125,000-member Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), or Sepah, controls as much as half of the total imports in terms of value through illegal jetties, and governs almost one-third of the whole economy. From engineering and construction to oil, wherever huge sums of money are involved, openly or covertly, the IRGC's presence is apparent."
Below is an excerpt from another article from the Asia Times, this one by Pepe Escobar:
"[Montazeri] endorsed peaceful, civilian protests to "claim rights"; condemned the state-sponsored, mainly Basiji (paramilitary) violence; and questioned the election outcome as a whole. He called for three days of mourning for the reported 10 protesters killed on Monday. (Some Iranian sources have put the total at 32 dead.)
"Montazeri should have been Khomeini's successor; but he questioned in profound detail Khomeini's notion of velayat-e-faqih (the ruling of the jurisprudent) and was isolated in house arrest in the holy city of Qom. Khamenei, a mere hojjatoleslam, was installed in a white coup after ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's death in 1989."
June 18, 2:37 pm (GMT -5 hours)
More images are available from today's demonstrations here. These images depict both protestors and Mousavi.
June 18, 2:30 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A look at Iran's post-election upheaval with reference to the theories of Zizek, Foucault, Deleuze, Agamben, and Benjamin has recently been published online.
June 18, 2:20 pm (GMT -5 hours)
There has been increasing talk of Ahmadinejad not having been seen for some time, and considering the political crisis, the man who has officially been announced as president by the Ministry of Interior would be expected to take charge of the situation.
The Guardian reports on this. Excerpt below:
"Speculation is intensifying about the whereabouts of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed victory in the Iranian presidential election but has not been seen in public since Monday, when he was in Russia for a conference.
"Iranian media have reported only that the president was greeted by a number of senior government officials when he arrived home late on Tuesday.
"Ahmadinejad's last public appearance in Iran was on Sunday, when he gave a combative press conference at his Tehran office for foreign and local media, and compared the supporters of the defeated election candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi to football fans whose team had lost."
A photo from today's protests is available here.
June 18, 1:00 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Foreign Policy has an article on Iran's upheaval, writing that, "yet all of these analyses are wrong, even if events unfold the way they predict. After all, if you make enough predictions, some are bound to look accurate. They are wrong because the outcome of this week's events is simply unpredictable. Unpredictable means that no matter how well-informed you may be, it is impossible to know what will happen next. Moments of turmoil make a mockery of accumulated knowledge."
A photo of presidential candidate Karroubi is available here.
June 18, 12:53 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A photo from this Thursday's protests in Tehran is available here.
CNN has further video coverage of events here. This report very briefly touches on the interest of country within the Middle East regarding the demonstrations and opposition within Iran.
The following is via NIAC:
A translation of Mousavi's statement to his supporters follows:
"I have come due to concerns of current political and social conditions – to defend the rights of the nation. I have come to improve Iran’s international relations. I have come to tell the world and get back Iran’s pride, our dignity and our future. I have come to bring to Iran a future of freedom, of hope and of fulfillment.
"I have come to represent the poor, the helpless, and the hungry. I have come to be accountable to you, my people, and to this world. Iran must participate in fair elections. It is a matter of national importance. I have come to you because of the corruption in Iran. 25% inflation means ignorance, thieving and corruption.
"Where is the wealth of my nation? What have you done with the $300 billion in the last four years? The next Government of Iran will be chosen by the people. Why do all our young want to leave this country? I know of nobody else who places himself ahead of 20 million other of a nation."
Also, NIAC reports that some members of the Basij militia, accused of being behind the worst violence against protestors, have begun to cover their faces. "This indicates they are becoming more scared of retaliation from the general public."
June 18, 12:36 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A peak of 221,744 tweets in one hour. Ben Parr reports on the immense activity on Twitter related to the events in Iran. He writes on the website, Mashable:
The use of Twitter has been immense. #IranElection has been a top trending topic for days, as have terms like Iran, Tehran, Ahmadinejad, and Mousavi. But while there have been 10,000 to 50,000 tweets at any hour mentioning “Iran”, it peaked yesterday at 221,744. This seems extreme, but it makes sense when you realize that it corresponds with when Twitter’s downtime was rescheduled, which had major buzz the entire day.
June 18, 12:30 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Mousavi has called for his supporters to hold a candle-light vigil tonight in Iran.
There is a great deal of excitement regarding the upcoming Friday prayers and how this could unfold. Supreme leader Khamenei is scheduled to lead the prayer in Tehran while Mousavi's supporters have been told to attend in large numbers in order to show their strength and solidarity as an opposition movement.
June 18, 11:35 am (GMT -5 hours)
Reuters reports that Rafsanjani's children are barred from leaving Iran. Excerpt:
"Two children of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a political opponent of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been barred from leaving Iran, the semi-official Fars News Agency said Thursday.
"Rafsanjani's daughter Faezeh addressed supporters of defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi Tuesday when they gathered near the state television building in Tehran in defiance of a ban on opposition protests."
Confirmed reports of Mousavi and Karroubi attending the opposition rallies in Tehran today. Unconfirmed reports indicate that Khatami and Rafsanjani's family members were also present at the rallies.
June 18, 10:35 am (GMT -5 hours)
I have written a backgrounder on Iran's political system that is available here. This piece outlines the various organs of power within the political structure of the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the office of the president, the supreme leader, the Guardian Council, and the parliament (majlis).
June 18, 10:30 AM (GMT -5 hours)
Rumours of divisions within Iran's political elite continue to grow. For a couple of days now many opposition demonstrators have been speaking of divisions within the military, between the Revolutionary Guard and the regular army. That this rumour is being uttered is evidence of how far the crisis has gone, that groups are hoping for the support of military commanders to back their cause. So far, the only evidence of military support has been that of the Revolutionary Guard for Ahmadinejad.
Calls have gone out from opposition leaders for their supporters to have a strong showing during the Friday prayers, where supreme leader Khamenei is scheduled to speak in Tehran.
June 18, 10:07 am (GMT -5 hours)
Mousavi has joined the large opposition rallies in Tehran.
A photo from today's demonstration in the capital is available here.
An increasing number of reports are coming regarding opposition from a number of clerics. This opposition still appears to be restricted to those tied to the reformist movement.
June 18, 9:55 am (GMT -5 hours)
The Tehran Bureau carries an English translation of a letter of protest from grand ayatollah Montazeri. Excerpt below:
"I ask everybody, particularly our dear youth, to continue claiming their demands with patience and to be careful and alert about keeping the peace and the nation’s security, by avoiding any kind of violence, in order not to provide any excuse to the thugs who wish to distort their lawful demands, thugs that are embedded among the people and by setting fire on people’s property and creating chaos and destruction wish to create a besieged atmosphere in the country. It is necessary to have an informed presence in the political arena, so as to allow those candidates whose rights have been denied to pursue the legal path.
“I remind all officials and security and military personnel that they should preserve their religion and not sell it out for the sake of others, and be aware that the excuse that they have been ordered [to act unlawfully] will never be accepted by the great God. They should consider people’s protesting children like their own, and avoid any irresponsible and inhumane confrontation [with them], and by learning from the past be aware that sooner or later those who commit unjust acts against people will be punished both in this world and the next. It is not possible in this era to hide the truth from the people by censorship and cutting off telecommunication communications between them.
June 18, 9:30 am (GMT -5 hours)
Unconfirmed report has come in via Twitter that the bazaar in the city of Tabriz is closed. It is said that this is done to protest against the government. There are unconfirmed reports of another day of demonstrations in the city of Rasht.
The possible opposition of bazaaris is significant; they constitute the powerful body of business leaders in Iran and were instrumental in backing the 1979 revolution.
A video is available here of protests in Shiraz. People are shouting "Death to the dictator."
A number of photos from Wednesday's protests in Tehran are availale here.
June 18, 9:06 am (GMT -5)
Multiple news services report that Tehran's rally consists of tens of thousands of people. Many are wearing or carrying black, to mourn those who have died in the post-election crisis. Another image of Karroubi attending today's rally is available here.
Major universities in Iran are closed despite earlier confirmation that exams would still take place. A student in Tehran has written on Twitter that he was turned away by the university's guards while trying to attend an exam.
BBC Persian confirms that many universities are closed and exams are postponed.
June 18, 8:56 am (GMT -5 hours)
Karroubi, reformist presidential candidate and now ally of Mousavi, was sited at today's rally. A photo is available here.
June 18, 8:50 am (GMT -5 hours)
Accounts from protestors in Tehran continue to accuse the Basij militia of violent reprisal.
There are also unconfirmed reports of more arrests of key reformist political figures. I will have more on this when I can.
The BBC carries a story about Twitter's response to its role in Iran's upheaval. Excerpt below:
"Twitter has distanced itself from State Department revelations that it asked the company to delay maintenance so Iranians could continue to communicate.
"The State Department declined to give details of its contact with Twitter except to say 'we highlighted to them that this was an important form of communication.'"
June 18, 8:33 am (GMT -5 hours)
Rumours persist of a growing rift within the clerical body of Iran, with Rafsanjani, one of Iran's most powerful political figures, said to be trying to gather support among the Assembly of Experts in order to apply pressure on the supreme leader Khamenei. The Assembly of Experts has the power to impeach the supreme leader. Also, grand ayatollah Montazeri has openly expressed his dissaproval of the election process (details available in previous updates).
The importance here is that if enough clerical opposition can be solidified, it will not be the Mousavi camp that will appear the rebels but rather the Ahmadinejad-Khamenei camp since they will be seen as opposing the the influencial body of Qom (the religious city of Iran), and it may therefore be said that those who deny Qom deny the principals of the Islamic Republic. Without substantial support from the clerics, Ahmadinejad and Khamenei will be left with dependence on the Revolutionary Guard. Being mainly dependent on support from only the most powerful branch of the military could be seen as a clear coup, and a break from the Islamic Republic's encoded principles of clerical rule and guidance.
Furthermore, if military power is the primary tool of political control in this conflict, the ghosts of the last Shah of Iran will haunt the group, since this method of control is firmly identified with the Shah's dictatorship. This fear and threat is what Mousavi had expressed when, during the televised presidential debate prior to the election, he mentioned that Ahmadinejad's method of politics could lead to dictatorship. This is a powerful cry to battle within Iran since the history of military backed government is, to put it gently, unpopular.
June 18, 8:13 am (GMT -5 hours)
"An Iranian provincial prosecutor has warned that the "few elements" behind post-election unrest could face the death penalty under Islamic law, an Iranian news agency reported on Wednesday.
"Mohammadreza Habibi, prosecutor-general in the central province of Isfahan, said these elements were controlled from outside Iran and urged them to stop "criminal activities," Fars News Agency said."
It should be noted that Isfahan has been reported as a site of a great deal of opposition activity.
June 18, 7:59 am (GMT -5 hours)
June 18, 7:50 am (GMT -5 hours)
The Guardian Council, charged with the partial recount of poll results, has invited the presidential candidates challenging the outcome to discuss their grievances on Staturday. The New York Times reports:
"While the exact motives, timing and conditions for the invitations remained unclear, it was the first public indication that the authorities were prepared for some form of political dialogue after days of protests."
"...Earlier this week, the 12-member Guardian Council — a watchdog body that vets news laws and elections and must certify the election results — said it was willing to conduct a partial recount, but the opposition rejected the offer and said it wanted the vote annulled to make way for a new ballot. The council rejected that demand."
June 18, 7:44 am (GMT -5 hours)
Reports that Wednesday's protests were again very large. The Wall Street Journal writes that "hundreds of thousands of people packed a major throughway in central Tehran for a fifth straight day of protests to support reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi." Images from that day's demonstrations show very large crowds in Tehran.
Though Ahmadinejad held a rally for his own supporters on Tuesday, there has since been no word of any rallies taking place in his support in Tehran.
The same Wall Street Journal article indicated above (found via the Huffington Post's Nico Pitney's blog on Iran).
"Students' Web sites reported mass resignations by Tehran University professors outraged over the incident. One medical student said he and his roommate blocked their door with furniture and hid in the closet when they heard the militia's motorcycles approaching. He heard the militia breaking down doors, and then screams of anguish as students were dragged from their beds and beaten violently.
"When he came out after the militia had left, friends and classmates lay unconscious in dorm rooms and hallways, many with chest wounds from being stabbed or bloody faces from blows to their heads, he said. The staff of the hospital where the wounded students were taken, Hazrat Rasoul Hospital, was so shocked that they went on strike for two hours, standing silently outside the gate in their white medical uniforms."
June 18, 7:23 am (GMT -5 hours)
Demonstrators are holding more protests in Tehran, marked as a day of mourning for those who have died during this crisis. Word is that Mousavi and Khatami will attend. I will confirm this when I can.
Supreme leader Khamenei will lead Friday prayers in Tehran on Friday. Tomorrow's prayers will be a challenge for both opposing parties.
Informed Comment blog has an interesting analysis on the polling of election results in Iran. It is written by Mansoor Moaddel, "who has done a lot of work with polling and statistics." Read it here.
June 17, 6:19 pm (GMT -5 hours)
It is very late in Iran, as unrest continues and it seems at least two more days of opposition are planned.
June 17, 6:01 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Supreme leader Khamenei's planned address during this Friday's prayers is very important given the political crisis gripping the country.
"Civil government officials and protest leaders alike were awaiting an unusual public statement from Khamenei, who planned to deliver a sermon at Friday prayers, the most important religious address of the week — something he generally does only two or three times a year," writes MSNBC.
June 17, 5:53 pm (GMT -5 hours)
There are reports of gunshots in Tehran, the same as the previous evening.
This from a CNN article:
"...witnesses said riot police and militia attacked the dormitory Sunday night after a student protest the day before. Up to 150 students were arrested, according to the account, and at least one was killed. Students were beaten and shot, and one of the buildings caught fire. Some university professors resigned after the incident, the witnesses said."
ABC News senior foreign correspondent Jim Sciutto has a tweet stating that two people they within the last week are reported arrested.
June 17, 5:48 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Juan Cole has written a post regarding today's political activity in Iran. Below is an escerpt:
"Iran expert Ali Ansari says he expects the protests to continue, saying that Iran is in for a "long hot summer."
"Me, I wouldn't be surprised if the regime rolls tanks and pulls a Tiananmen Square, as I told Neil MacFarquhar of the NYT, whose piece today I thought very perceptive. (Not saying that a Tiananmen strategy would work. The shah tried it in September 1978 and it backfired by causing public revulsion over 'Black Friday.' Just saying I wouldn't be surprised.)
"Protesters are even now targeting Khamenei directly, not just denouncing dictatorship."
June 17, 5:40 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Escobar states that the election results was in effect a coup by Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Khamenei as a takeover of the political system by the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij militia. The Ministry of Interio and police, he says, are also on side, constituting the group that attempted to take firm control of the state following the election. This has resulted in a war within the political elite of Iran, the opposition being identified with Mousavi's green movement.
Escobar asserts that Mousavi, as an effective manager who proved himself as prime minister during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, has become the visible figure of opposition, but that this opposition is composed also of Rafsanjani and those within the political elite who wish to resist the inclusion of the military within state power.
Escobar maintains that the election results were a fraud. Some 36 million votes were counted in four hours, between 10 pm and 4 am local time, and the results announced by the Ministry of Interior, giving Ahmadinejad overwhelming victory. Escobar does not believe it possible to count these miliions of votes, by hand, in such a short time. He mentions the implossible case in which it was announced that Mousavi lost by four to one his own province of Azerbaijan. And so, you have a situation that many Iranian believe to be blatant cheating, coupled with the intrusion of the armed forces into politics. This galvanized many to rise in protest throughout Iran's major urban centres, leading to the situation we witness today.
Ahmadinejad, furthermore, has lost the support of the key business leaders within Iran, since his economic policies have resulted in very high inflation and a diastrous business environment. For this reason, these businessmen have shifted their support from Ahmadinejad to Mousavi.
Escobar asserts that Ahmadinejad has a populist platform that is economically dismal, and lacks civil liberties.
Supreme leader Khamenei is only the second person to hold this position, following Khomeyni. The attempted coup, has left the opposition therefore little choice but to take action, and, Escobar says, that Rafsanjani, who is probably the most powerful man in Iran after Khamenei, is likely trying to organize resistance within the Assembly of Experts in order to apply pressure on or even impeach the supreme leader. The Assembly of Experts is composed of 86 conservative theologians, with Rafsanjani as its chair.
The country is currently paralyzed. This situation simply cannot last. The government is not able to function. If a solution is not found soon and if the opposition does not back down, then Escobar worries that we will see heightened confrontation and a major crackdown by the government and military in order to regain control.
Escobar states that the opposition movement has no access to military power, and that they are mainly supported by a popular uprising. He believes the situation would have be such that there would develop a split within the army, preventing the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad-Revolutionary Guard camp from exerting military power as a final measure to reclaim control. Of course, the mounting popular movement has caught many off guard and its continued sustainability may prove to be a very real threat to those who currently control the government.
Finally, Escobar adds that Ahmadinejad depends on hostile Western and Israeli rhetoric in order to, throughout his presidential career, rally support in order to hold power in the face of an external threat.
June 17, 5:15 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Reports indicate that Khatami and Karroubi are to attend Thursday's opposition rallies. Mousavi has asked people to wear or carry black, and has indicated that this next march is to mourn the deaths of those who have died during the past five days of demonstrations.
The mounting violence and deaths seems to be hardnening the opposition. One person on Twitter repeated the following chant: "my brother - my martyr - I will claim your vote for you!"
A video of Wednesday's opposition march is available here.
A remarkable and dramatic video of wounded people in Tehran is available here. It appears that the cameraman, who is audibly winded, may himself be wounded.
An impressively large collection of photos from the days of demonstrations is available here.
Complaints persist that many students are still required to take their exams.
June 17, 1:48 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A video of demonstrators interacting with and joking with police is available here. It is in Farsi with English translation.
The blog, Iran after the Election, has a collection of 19 photos on this the fifth day of protests. View them here.
I found an interesting New York Times article regarding Montezari, the grand ayatollah who has expressed grave concerns regarding the election process, published in the year 2000. I discovered this article via Nico Pitney's blog. The article outlines his one time house arrest due to disagreement with the supreme leader, as well as providing a very helpful profile of the man at the centre of a great deal of controversy, now as before.
June 17, 1:08 pm (GMT -5 hours)
It's night time in Iran.
There is a video of opposition demonstrators from today, here.
The Iranian government accuses the US of meddling in its internal affairs by getting involved in the feud. AP reports that "a state television channel in Iran says the government summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents U.S. interests in Iran, to complain about American interference. The two countries broke off diplomatic relations after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. An English-language state-run channel quoted the government as calling Western interference 'intolerable'."
June 17, 12:48 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Zahra Rahnavard, Mousavi's wife and a well known intellectual, has condemned the security forces attacks against students at Tehran University.
A call has gone out from Mousavi's organizers for people to repeatedly shout "God is great!" from their rooftops. This has been common for several nights, as a sign of protest and solidarity. Rooftops, balconeys, and windows have become the site of this common cry during the night. There seems little break from opposition and the sounds of political action as well as police and Basij reprisals are often heard. This video from June 14.
A photo of opposition demonstrators from today's activity in Tehran is available here.
June 17, 12:25 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A closeup picture of a Basij militiaman is available online, here. The Basij have been accused of being behind most of the violence toward opposition demonstrators, including shootings, besieging and raiding universities, raiding private homes, and damaging property. The Basij appear increasingly to be used over the local police forces, presumably because they are more likely to directly confront protestors and use force when commanded. Also, Basij militia may not be local to the cities they are stationed whereas the police might feel greater common cause with those they might view as their immediate community members.
This would support some of the rumours and reports coming from Iran's protestors regarding the seeming resistance of some police forces regarding using increasing force on demonstrators.
June 17, 12:10 pm (GMT -5 hours)
The Guardian's live blog on Iran reports that the official IRNA news has said that "Gholamali Hadadadel, head of the Iranian Parliament, the Majlis, has invited Mir Hossein Mousavi to participate in a televised debate Friday on controversy surrounding last Friday's vote."
June 17, 12:00 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Robert Tait writes in the Guardian that some 500 people have been arrested in Iran following the June 12 election.
"At least 500 activists, opposition figures, journalists and students have been arrested in Iran in recent days in a growing crackdown aimed at "decapitating" the movement against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election.
"The round-up has included individuals once closely associated with the 1979 Islamic revolution but who have been critical of Ahmadinejad's government."
A current photo of protests in Tehran is available here.
The US News reports on "The Iran Election Protests and Riots a Test of Obama." Here is an excerpt:
"The Obama administration doesn't want to totally alienate Ahmadinejad because the West will have to continue dealing with him over very sensitive and explosive issues, including Iran's nuclear program, the status of Israel, and the overall peace process in the Mideast. In addition, administration officials don't want to be too critical of Ahmadinejad's victory because that might make the anti-Ahmadinejad reformers seem like puppets of the United States and weaken their position internally."
It should be mentioned that, as reported by multiple news outlets, a US State Depatment yesterday confirmed that they met with Twitter in order to delay a scheduled Twitter downtime. The downtime was rescheduled for a time that would be least intrusive for opposition organizers in Iran. Twitter has become a key backbone of communication for Iran's opposition, faced with censorship. Further details on this, a Reuters report, and a link to Twitter's official statement is available in previous updates below.
June 17, 11:42 am (GMT -5 hours)
Time magazine has a short profile of ayatullah Ali Khamenei now online. You can read it here. The BBC has a longer profile that also touches on the tension between ayatollah Khamenei and ayatollah Montazeri. Montazei has, during this time of crisis in Iran, come out openly in opposition of the election process.
Excerpt from the BBC profile of supreme leader Khamenei:
"In 1997 he [Khamenei] famously clashed with Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a respected scholar who ranks higher in the hierarchy.
"Ayatollah Montazeri, who is also one of Iran's leading dissidents, questioned the powers of the Supreme Leader. This led to the closure of his religious school, an attack on his office in Qom and to a period of house arrest."
June 17, 11:30 am (GMT -5 hours)
A caller to BBC Persian claims that the city of Shiraz currently witnessing protests. Shiraz is in the south west of Iran and estimated to have a population of 1.2 million. The city is known for its long history of cultural importance.
June 17, 10:57 am (GMT -5 hours)
BBC Persian has shown a photo claimed to be of presidential candidate Karroubi, now an ally of Mousavi, present during today's demonstrations in Tehran.
Several reports place Faeze Hashemi, daughter of the former president Rafsanjani's, as a participant in Tuesday's opposition demonstrations. You can view the video of this here.
June 17, 10:45 am (GMT -5 hours)
Mohsen Rezaie, presidential candidate, former military commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guard has demanded details of the vote count today. Rezaie's candidacy during the presidential election was seen as having the potential to steal some conservative votes from Ahmadinejad.
The Tehran Bureau has a report by Eric Hooglund alleging that the rural vote is not necessarily capable of bringing Ahmadinejad such a large electoral victory. "Is it possible that rural Iran, where less than 35 percent of the country’s population lives, provided Ahmadinejad the 63 percent of the vote he claims to have won? That would contradict my own research in Iran’s villages over the past 30 years, including just recently," writes Hooglund.
June 17, 10:05 am (GMT -5 hours)
Reports have come in that opposition demonstrators are in the streets of Tehran in large numbers. You can view an image that is said to be current from Krimkhan bridge here.
Mounting accusation are being made of attacks by the Basij militia, resulting in injuries, deaths, and damage to property on Monday and Tuesday. It is difficult to confirm most of these reports.
An undated photo of pro-Mousavi supporters is available here.
An image said to be of Tuesday demonstrations from the city of Isfahan is available here.
June 17, 9:45 am (GMT -5 hours)
Global Voices reports that former vice president Mohammad Ali Abtahi was arrested on Tuesday. He served as vice president under former president Khatami. He is the chairman of the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue. Importantly, he is a member of the Association of Combatant Clerics, to which both Karroubi and Khatami belong. This group seems the most visible clerical organization dissenting from supreme leader Khamenei's ruling on the election.
The Guardian reports that "the BBC claimed today that Iran has widened electronic jamming of its services, as the country's Revolutionary Guard ordered domestic websites and blogs to remove any material that might "create tension" amid post-election unrest."
June 17, 9:33 am (GMT -5 hours)
An image of a man covered in blood as a result of Iran's period of crisis and unrest is available here. I'm not certain when or where this picture was taken.
A reader has sent me a link to a short account of unrest in the city of Ahvaz. This city is in Iran's south west, and capital of the province of Khuzestan. It's estimated to have a population of 1.3 million, and was the site of intense fighting during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) as Iraq attempted to annex the region. Many of the inhabitants are Iranian Arabs. Here is a quote:
"Ahwaz resident Ardalan Khaki (not his real name), when reached on the phone says that the city is divided. He says there are parts where there is relative peace, but in the downtown area people are setting fire to trash cans."
June 17, 9:19 am (GMT -5 hours)
CNN reports that the Revolutionary Guard has said it will expand its censorship of the Internet, which currently includes social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, threatening to prosecute websites reporting the event. This in addition to the ban on foreign media reporting from the streets.
The opposition has been able to circumvent some of the government filters by way of proxy servers outside of the country set up to help those inside communicate, as well as through the use of applications designed to bypass restrictions. However, these evasions do not make up for the crack down on access to information, with domestic newpapers, radio and TV under strict control following the election, and foreign broadcasts often blocked. People have come to depend on what has become often slow and filtered internet and continuously disrupted cell phone communication to access information.
TED Blog has recently discussed the impact of the internet on the current crisis in Iran, interviewing NYU professor Clay Shirky (this link sent to me by a reader). Here's an excerpt:
Q: Do you get a sense that it's almost as if the world is figuring out live how to use Twitter in these circumstances? Some dissidents were using named accounts for a while, and there's been a raging debate in the community about how best to help them.
A: Yes, there's an enormous reckoning to be had about what works and what doesn't. There have been disagreements over whether it was dangerous to use hashtags like #Iranelection, and there was a period in which people were openly tweeting the IP addresses of web proxies for people to switch to, not realizing that the authorities would soon shut these down. It's incredibly messy, and the definitive rules of the game have yet to be written. So yes, we're seeing the medium invent itself in real time.
June 17, 8:55 am (GMT -5 hours)
Mousavi had yesterday rejected the government's offer of a partial recount by the Guardian Council. Pro-Mousavi supporters allege that some ballots have been destroyed, while the government stands by its claim that election were free and fair. Juan Cole, a Middle East analyst and historian, notes that the head of the Guardian Council, the body responsible for the recount, is Aytatollah Ahmad Jannati, a notorious hard liner and partisan supporter of Mahmound Ahmadinejad.
Journalist Robert Fisk has written an account of Tuesday's rallies, depicting the meeting of opposing demonstrators, pro and anti Ahmadinejad. In it he alleges a potential shift in the behaviour of Tehran's police force:
"The armed special forces of the Islamic Republic, hitherto always allies of the Basiji, were prepared for once, it seemed, to protect all Iranians, not just Ahmadinejad's henchmen. The precedent for this sudden neutrality is known to everyone – it was when the Shah's army refused to fire on the millions of demonstrators demanding his overthrow in 1979.
"Yet this is not a revolution to overthrow the Islamic Republic. Both sets of demonstrators were shouting "Allahu Akbar" – "God is Great" – at Vanak Square last night. But if the Iranian security forces are now taking the middle ground, then Ahmadinejad is truly in trouble.
"...The two rows of police were now standing shoulder to shoulder, their linked arms holding both mobs back, as they stared at their own comrades opposite with ever increasing concern. An American-Iranian a few metres away, shouted at me in English that "we've got to prove they can't do this anymore. They can't rule us. We need a new president. Either they get their way or we get ours".
"It was frightening, the absolute conviction of these men, the total refusal to accept any compromise, one side demanding obedience to the words of Ayatollah Khomeini and loyalty to the ghosts of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, the other – emboldened by their million-strong march on Monday – demanding freedoms, albeit within an Islamic Republic, which they had never had before. Maybe they now have the police on their side; if last night's example was anything to go by, either some senior officer – or perhaps the cops themselves, appalled at their behaviour over the past four days – decided that the special forces would no longer be patsies to the frightening power of Ahmadinejad's ever-loyal bullies."
I've heard some similar accounts to Fisk's regarding the police sometimes protecting people from the Basij militia, and that perhaps there has recently been some resistance from a number of officers to go as far as might be expected of them in quelling resistance. Of course, we have also seen scenes of police attacking demonstrators. Rumours however persist, that perhaps the police cannot be trusted in fully opposing the opposition, which would explain the increasing reliance on the Basij militia in the later days of the crisis.
June 17, 8:15 am (GMT -5 hours)
The unrest continues in Iran, touching a number of cities. More accounts via email, cell phone, and twitter have been coming in from the cities of Shiraz and Isfahan of protests and clashes with security forces over the days. The crisis has entered it's fifth day and plans are already being discussed for a sixth and seventh day of protests.
Meanwhile, Iran's leader, Khamenei, faces dissent among the clerics. This dissent is not new, prior to the election, divisions seemed to be forming among the leading clerical bodies. In an article by MK Bhadrakumar of the Asia Times (posted and linked in an earlier update), Bhadrakumar argues, the same as some other observers, that Khamenei has been facing increasing opposition within the political elite over the years and that a tension of power exists between the supreme leader and Rafsanjani, one of Iran's most powerful political figures and leader of the Assembly of Experts. The Assembly technically has the power to impeach the supreme leader though this has never been done before. However, there have been rumours that Rfsanjani has been meeting with many members of the Assembly, which also has the role of advising the supreme leader, and that these meetings are alleged to have put additional pressure on Khamenei.
The rift between Khamenei and many other clerics may leading to an increased dependence of the supreme leader on the influence and power of the security forces in order to offset the diminished backing of his peers. This could explain his continued support of Ahmadinejad during this crisis. Ahmadinejad is the first and only president not to come from the clerical body. In fact, he has ties to the military and has been accused of having won the 2005 election in part thanks to the support of the Revolutionary Guard and Basij militia, who have their own newspapers and have the potential to apply pressure to their members to vote for a favoured candidate.
The most striking example of the rift among the leading clerics came yesterday. "A government not respecting people's vote has no religious or political legitimacy," read a statement by one of the Islamic republic's founders, grand ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. Montazeri had fallen out of favour with the first supreme leader, Khomeyni in the 1980s.
The crisis in Iran goes deeper than the presidential race, it has struck the heart of the establishment, touching on the supreme leader Khamenei and also challening the increased role of the military in electoral politics.
It should be mentioned that an alternative to the Islamic Republic is not being offered, the contest is over the dynamics of power and the direction of economic and social policies within the republic.
By maintaining protests into the end of the week, the public opposition, its visible leaders, and its obfuscated supporters are forcing the issue of conflict at the core of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the surface. Friday is a day of prayers, and it will be impossible for prayer leaders, including supreme leader Khamenei to ignore the issue. Statements will have to be made and we may yet see a clearer articulation of divisions from within the clerical body and the political elite.
June 17, 8:05 am (GMT -5 hours)
A video of pro-Mousavi marchers can be seen here. This is from Tuesday, in Tehran.
June 17, 7:17 am (GMT -5 hours)
More opposition protests are planned on Wednesday. Demonstrators are to gather in Tehran at 5 pm local time. There's word of another march in the works for Thursday, this one to mourn those who have died in the days of protest.
Below are videos of events from yesterday and earlier.
This video is supposed to be from the city of Shiraz, a scene of street protests and fire. See it here.
This video is from Tuesday's march in Tehran. See it here.
This very graphic video is supposed to be from the city of Isfahan, showing a dead student with grieving people over his body. See it here.
This video, from Tehran, is alleged to be of Basij militia damaging people's homes during the night. It's difficult to follow, footage is taken at a distance. You can see people with clubs breaking windows. See it here.
This video is supposed to be from the city of Isfahan, showing injured from the university. Isfahan university has been a flashpoint of activity from the start. See it here.
This is an older video from Tehran. People are attacking a Basij militia building and have set it on fire. Basij are on the roof shooting into the crowd. The video shows one person shot and being helped by others. See it here.
This is an older video, I believe from Monday, showing people carrying a man that seems to be injured from a gunshot wound. People are shouting slogans, including death to the dictator. See it here.
June 16, 4:20 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Photos of opposition demonstrators around a burning police motorbike are available here. These images are from today, in Tehran.
A video of Tuesday's pro-Mousavi rally in front of the IRIB (state radio and TV broadcaster) building is available here.
Opposition protestors marched in Tehran today. It was dubbed the silent march as many walked without chanting slogans in order to highlight the peaceful nature of the demonstration. Many of the people wore black to mourn those who died in Monday's protests. A video of this march is available here. I've not heard any reliable estimates of the number of anti and pro Ahmadinejad supporters throughout the captial today, however the previous video of opposition marchers shows that at least that group's numbers are still strong.
A graphic video of a man who appears to have been shot is available here. There's no time stamp on it so I'm not sure when the event took place.
"What the opposition wants is not just a recount, but a recourse to the registration forms, to the actual documentation in each of the constituencies that voted, which is a far more arduous task," Khonsari said.
"There is no doubt that if there is a recount the decision will not be significantly altered.
"What they [the opposition] are alleging is that there has been rigging. [They are not interested in] how many votes there are, but how some of those votes got to be where they are.
"That is not the offer that has been made by the Guardian Council."
..."While the issue at the moment isn't to question the validity of the Islamic Republic, there is no question that it has been seriously fractured.
"If it gives way on this particular issue then the people might become emboldened to demand greater freedoms, more open democracy and fewer restrictions imposed by a theocratic state.
"This dispute is taking place within the ruling constituency. All the disturbances we are seeing prove that it is fractured.
"In my opinion the number [of people] who want to see greater freedoms far exceeds those who just want to see Mr Mousavi take power," Khonsari said.
However, Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the UK's Independent newspaper, does not see the protest as a sign that the Iranian people are unhappy with their existing regime, but rather that they want to see the legitimate person in power.
"Some international [news] stations are giving the impression that this is people power, that they are going to overthrow the Islamic Republic. It's not.
"Mousavi himself believes in the system of the supreme leader. No one wants this to turn into a western nation," Fisk said.
June 16, 3:10 pm (GMT -5 hours)
As the government renews its efforts to reduce ease of communication for opposition protestors, the opposition has responded with fresh calls for cyber attacks on government and government affiliated websites, including that of the supreme leader Khamenei.
The Guardian's live coverage of Iran reports that according to AP, "Iranian television is reporting that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is meeting with envoys for the four candidates and will call for unity."
I'm going to take a little break. More to follow soon.
June 16, 2:38 pm (GMT -5 hours)
The Washington Independent has a report on two Republicans supporting US president Obama's handling of the situation in Iran. You can read it here. I found this report via Nico Pitney's Huffington Post blog.
There are new reports of many mobile phones no longer working, of fresh filtering on instant messaging, webmail services, Twitter, and other social networking sites.
Jun 16, 2:05 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A Reuters report of US State Department speaking to Twitter in order to keep it from shutting down for maintenance at a time when Iran's opposition is heavily reliant on it is available here. Excerpt: "We highlighted to them that this was an important form of communication," said the official of the conversation the department had with Twitter at the time of the disputed Iranian election.
A video from today's opposition demonstrations in Tehran is available here. Demonstrations have remained peaceful and no clashes are reported. Opposition protestors gathered in Tehran's Vali Asr Street while Ahmadinejad supporters gathered in Vali Asr Square. A photo of a march is available here.
A video is available of angered crowds following the gunshots during yesterday's opposition demonstration at Azadi Square, you can view it here. A Basij militia building was set on fire and one person was killed after shots were fired by the Basij. Others were injured.
June 16, 1:47 am (GMT -5 hours)
Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, just gave an address on Iranian TV. He spoke of the post-election crisis, playing it down as a difference between people who should work together. He mentioned that the enemy is trying to destroy the harmony and security of the country. That people should not help this to happen, that people anf the two groups should not anger each other. He called for people to have one direction.
June 16, 1:30 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Mousavi has expressed his willingness to be on live Iranian TV to explain his views on the election and events following it.
From BNO News: "Reuters: U.S. State Department official says they encouraged twitter not to shut down system in Iran."
The BBC has turned it's colour scheme green, emulating pro-Mousavi colours. (Update: various sources say that the BBC has had some different colour schemes in the past and the green is simply one of these).
A video of demonstrators active today is available here.
June 16, 1:00 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Montazeri has said that the government has declared "results that no one in their right mind can believe, and despite all the evidence of crafted results, and to counter people protestations, in front of the eyes of the same nation who carried the weight of a revolution and 8 years of war, in front of the eyes of local and foreign reporters, attacked the children of the people with astonishing violence. And now they are attempting a purge, arresting intellectuals, political opponents and Scientifics."
He also states that, "Given the current circumstances, I expect the government to take all measures to restore people’s confidence. Otherwise, as I have already said, a government not respecting people’s vote has no religious or political legitimacy."
That the urban youth and women are seen as a strong component of the opposition to Ahmadinejad is no small matter. Iran's median age is 26 and women make up about half of the population.
June 16, 12:45 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Iranian state TV reports that Mohammed Ali Abtahi has been arrested. He is the adviser to the presidential candidate, Karroubi. Karroubi has allied himself with presidentual candidate Mousavi to protest the election results.
CNN has a report on today's pro and anti Ahmadinejad rallies. Ahmadinejad's supporters preemted their opponents by hoding a rally in Vali Asr Square, in central Tehran, one hour before the opposition was scheduled to meet at the same location. Opposition demonstrations have moved to a new location, and this main body of opposition has not faced violence.
The three senior presidential candidates, apart from Ahmadinejad, has met with the Guardian Council. They are Mousavi, Karroubi, Rezaie. They were to present their reasons for contesting the official election results.
Foreign journalists are heavily restricted today, being told to stay in their offices. CNN filed their latest report from their hotel.
June 16, 12:25 pm (GMT -5 hours)
US president Obama has publicly addressed the situation in Iran, that people's voices should not be suppressed, and also saying that he was distressed by events, and that "it is up to Iranians to make a decision about who Iran's leaders will be." He also said that "we respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran."
The LA Times has a report from Tehran - excerpts below:
"Dueling rallies assembled in Tehran today, one for loyalists to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and another made up of a diverse group of young and old, including students and women, gathering for a quiet, impromptu march in a different part of the city.
"...The loyalists' gathering was heavily advertised on state-controlled TV and radio, urging Ahmadinejad supporters to show up in force as a display of popular support for the president and against "looters and arsonists."
"...Mousavi supporters, who had been told by the candidate to stay away from the square... The crowd, holding green banners and flags, marched in near silence. They held up posters of Mousavi and placards calling Ahmadinejad a "liar." Anti-riot poice stood along the roadways but did not interact with the demonstrators."
Bloomberg has an analysis of the situation in Iran suggesting that a recount is not likely to calm the situation. The video is available here.
There are unconfirmed reports of increased police presence in the city of Rasht. The same source says that "Ayatollah Montazeri has issued a statement saying 'No sane mind can accept these results.'" Montazeri was previously viewed as a potential successor to Ayatollah Khomeyni for the position of supreme leader, and was one of the leaders of the Islamic Revolution but later became a critic of the republic.
June 16, 11:45 am (GMT -5 hours)
Reports are that opposition demonstrators gathered in front of the national television and radio broadcaster (IRIB) building in Tehran have not faced resistance and that their numbers are said to be very large.
NIAC reports that "Mousavi announced [Farsi] that he is prepared to participate in live TV programs to talk about his position on the elections."
Tehran Bureau has a telephone interview with an eye witness from yesterday's conflict with the Basij militia that resulted in one death. Listen to it here.
June 16, 11:20 am (GMT -5 hours)
There are reports of more arrests of influencial opposition supporters. I will confirm these if/when I can.
See a BBC video of a spontaneous demonstration from Monday here. Demonstrators help the reporters continue their work and includes the pro-Ahmadinejad rally of that day as well as other scenes of opposition protests.
There are unconfirmed reports of security forces around universities and univeristy dorms in several cities of Iran. Universities were especially hit hard by raids on Monday. You can view images of the attacks and their aftermath within earlier updates.
June 16, 10:55 am (GMT -5 hours)
CBS radio reports that opposition demonstrators have been seen wearing black to mourn those killed yesterday.
Please note that I have not named many sources in the past while. A call has gone out from many opposition demonstrators on Twitter for anonymity due to fears of tracking and arrests. Apologies for not sourcing properly but it's for the security of some in Iran. A guide on this is available, called the Cyberwar guide for Iran elections.
June 16, 10:35 am (GMT -5 hours)
You can see an image of three opposition demonstrators here. It's unknown when this was taken.
Throughout last night, political activity persisted by the opposition to Ahmadinejad, with many shouts of political slogan and God is great.
There are reports that cell phone communication may have gone down again. The opposition is concerned that a major crackdown is being planned, explaining the especially fierce attempt to restrict communication this Tuesday. Instant messaging blocking seems to have widened, GMail is reported blocked, and many calls for proxies and tunneling applications are going out from opposition activists.
Ahmadinejad supporters have rallied in the thousands in Tehran. State television showed this gathering on Tuesday. Al Jazeera reports on this.
June 16, 10:25 am (GMT -5 hours)
The Washington Times cites the Cyrus News Agency report that 16 senior members of the Revolutionary Guard have been arrested in Iran this morning. Rumours of this were circulating earlier. The report is unconfirmed, but is a depiction of the many similar rumours flying around regarding various arrests and plots. An excerpt of the article:
"These commanders have been in contact with members of the Iranian army to join the people's movement," CNA reports. "Three of the commanders are veterans of Iran-Iraq war. They have been moved to an undisclosed location in East Tehran."
Another unconfirmed rumour is that the army is being moved into Tehran. This is mentioned as one of the reasons for the arrest of the 16 IRGC members, and is fearfully being exchanged among some opposition demonstrators as a reason for the government ban on foreign media. This often mentioned rumour is representative of the confusion and fear among many in the opposition. I'll try to find confirmation on this when I can.
June 16, 10:15 am (GMT -5 hours)
Basij militia and riot police are in Tehran. No news of violence. A pro-Ahmadinejad rally is taking place in Tehran, with thousands of supporters attending. This rally is within walking distance of the main convergance point for the anti-Ahmadinejad rally. Foreign journalists have been told by government officials that they will be arrested if they cover the news in Tehran outside of their offices.
June 16, 10:10 am (GMT -5 hours)
There are reports that Gholam Haddad, who is the former majlis/parliament speaker, has given a speech at a pro-Ahmadinejad rally urging Mousavi and his supporters to accept the official election results. Thousands of pro-Ahmadinejad supporters have gathered for a rally in Tehran.
There are increasing reports that foreign journalists press passes are being revoked and they're being told by Iranian government officials that they cannot cover the day's demonstrations. This from CBS:
"Iran's hard-line regime, starting to show stress under the mounting pressure of massive opposition rallies, has told foreign media that if they're seen on the streets of Tehran today with a camera, they will be arrested.
"...Tuesday, the regime's Ministry of Islamic Guidance, which strictly controls where all foreign media go and who they speak to in Iran, told CBS News and, we believe, all other Western media, that the rally scheduled by opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi's supporters for Tuesday afternoon was illegal, and so, therefore, was covering it."
June 16, 9:55 am (GMT -5 hours)
There are unconfirmed reports that the head of Tehran University has been arrested. Opposition demonstrators have been gathering at Azadi Square in Tehran as well as Vali Asr Square. There are other reports of similar demonstrators gathering in other parts of Tehran. Police have been seen in the streets. There have been no reports of violence.
Doctors and nurses have been recorded protesting outside of a hospital, you can view it here.
June 16, 9:43 am (GMT -5 hours)
Mk Bhadrakumar has written an in depth analysis of the power struggle within Iran's political elite, and argues that the current turbulance is an outbreak of this struggle between two of Iran's most influencial power blocs, one led by the supreme leader Khamenei and the other by previous president Rafsanjani. The article provides detailed history of the struggle and argues the case that the election was a proxy war. Read the article here. Excerpt below:
"Mousavi's electoral platform has been a curious mix of contradictory political lines and vested interests but united in one maniacal mission, namely, to seize the presidential levers of power in Iran. It brought together so-called reformists who support former president Mohammad Khatami and ultra-conservatives of the regime. Rafsanjani is the only politician in Iran who could have brought together such dissimilar factions. He assiduously worked hand-in-glove with Khatami towards this end.
"...Rafsanjani's plot was to somehow extend the election to the run-off stage, where Mousavi was expected to garner the "anti-Ahmedinejad" votes.
"...The regime was already well into the election campaign when it realized that behind the clamor for a change of leadership in the presidency, Rafsanjani's challenge was in actuality aimed at Khamenei's leadership and that the election was a proxy war. The roots of the Rafsanjani-Khamenei rift go back to the late 1980s when Khamenei assumed the leadership in 1989."
June 16, 9:00 am (GMT -5 hours)
Reports are coming in that the Iranian government is cracking down quite hard on communication networks. Yahoo messenger is reported blocked. Proxies that Iranians have been using to bypass government filters are being blocked though continued effort on the part of opposition activists has maintained this line of communication. Rumours have been circulating since Sunday that satellites are being torn down by government officials in order to prevent outside news from getting in. Electronic jamming has been reported to block satellite signals and many people in Iran interviewed via cell phones by outside media have stated that they cannot access foreign television.
It's also rumoured that the government is tracking people on social media and fear is growing that a loss on the part of the opposition could see certain individuals being targeted for punishment.
Rumours also persist of phone tapping and of house raids. One man interviewed by BBC's Farsi broadcast, on Monday said that his house had been searched by the police and that he believed they were looking for students.
An article from April, published by the Washington Times, reports that Nokia Siemens Networks last year installed electronic surveillance systems for the Iranian government so that it could monitor and intercept cell phones within the country. You can read the article here.
June 16, 8:45 am (GMT -5 hours)
Afshin Salimpour reports the following for Tehran Bureau:
"State media today reported 7 killed in what they described "an attack on a military post." The reality was far less clear cut, as suggested on Iran's own English language news Web site PressTV.com, which reported that an "unidentified gunmen" had fired shots into the crowd after a "peaceful rally."
"That "peaceful rally" ended in gunfire, explosions and the ominous sight of flaming Molotov cocktails spinning through the air.
"With five reportedly killed at the Tehran University dormitories the night before, it was all the more surprising that anger had not boiled over immediately. On Monday afternoon at least, far from venting the rage which might have provoked a police reaction, the peoples' anger was displayed on hand-drawn placards carried in silence.
"University Alley, University Alley, murder scene, murder scene" was the written message held aloft on a makeshift paper banner. Rather than ring out in the air, the rhythmic message reverberated inside the minds of all who read it."
You can read the entire article here. The above is an excerpt.
June 16, 8:30 am (GMT -5 hours)
Repeated calls have been going out for opposition protestors to keep their demonstrations peaceful.
Asia Times carries an article on Iran by Syed Saleem Shahzad indicating the possible advantage of unrest in Iran to armed groups that have for years been fighting the government in outlying provinces of the country. An excerpt below:
"The current turmoil could give the MKO in Iran's Sistan and Balochistan province a boost. Over the past few years, the armed opposition group has lost a lot of its momentum, although it has killed hundreds of Iranian soldiers in its decades-long struggle against the government. The decline began with the US-led invasion in 2003 of Iraq, where Saddam Hussein had provided the MKO with sanctuary.
"At the same time, Jundallah, an insurgent Sunni Islamic organization based in Pakistan's Balochistan province, has gained in strength, and recently it formed a loose alliance with al-Qaeda and the MKO."
June 16, 8:00 am (GMT -5 hours)
A video, of poor quality, probably from someone's cell phone, of demonstrations supposedly in the city of Ahvaz is availablle here. Dissent and protests have been common throughout Iran, in many major cities beyond the capital.
There is growing concern that Ahmadinejad's planned counter-rally of today will result in or is intended to lead to violence among opposing camps. The appearance of citizens in open conflict may give reason for security forces to take more direct action. The opposition rally is illegal, I assume that the Ahmadinejad rally is deemed legal since it is being organized by the government. Another concern is that the Ahmadinejad rally will have members of the Basij militia within it. Basij is accused of shooting and killing one person at Monday's rally as well as injuring others. Channel 4 news has a clip of this event from Monday, and a link to this video is available within a previous update.
June 16, 7:43 am (GMT -5 hours)
Confused news and reports of the number of dead and injured have been coming in from Monday's demonstrations and action by security forces. The Guardian yesterday claimed that 12 students were killed.
Rober Fisk has written another article on Iran for the Independent here. Excerpt:
"The day started badly with another of those dangerous, frighteningly brief statements from Tehran's loquacious police commander, Bahram Radan. "We have identified houses which are bases for the political mobs." This was the only reference the authorities would make about the outrageous street battles in which Radan's black-clothed cops beat Mousavi's supporters insensible on the streets of Tehran.
"Then there was the front page of "Etemade Melli" – "National Trust" in English – which belongs to another of Ahmedinejad's enemies, Mehdi Karoubi. After the election results at the top of the front page – Mousavi officially won only 33.75 per cent of the votes and Karoubi 0.85 per cent – there was a caption: "Regarding the election results," it read, "Mehdi Karoubi and Mirhossein Mousavi made statements which we cannot publish in our newspaper." Beneath was a vast acre of white space. You could doodle on it. You could construct a crossword on it. You could draw a red light on it. But you couldn't read those statements."
June 16, 7:20 am (GMT -5 hours)
Mousavi has rejected the government and Guardian Council's announcement to recount the election results (though the scope of the recount still remains unclear). Below is from CNN (read full article here):
"Ahmadinejad's main opponent, conservative reformist Mir Hossein Moussavi, Tuesday rejected the vote recount, calling instead for a fresh election, an official close to the opposition leader's camp told CNN."
June 16, 7:15 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Ahmadinejad has left Iran and is visiting Russia for a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. He arrived on Tuesday, delaying the trip by one day. News of this on AP.
The Guardian Council has announced that it will carry through with a recount of votes. The scope of the recount is uncertain. The Guardian has a report on this here.
The opposition rally is officially still on this Tuesday. Rumours are rampant that the government is busing in Ahmadinejad supporters into Tehran in preparation for the counter-rally.
June 16, 6:50 pm (GMT -5 hours)
It seems that concrete demands are being made by opposition demonstrators. A document called the Seven Point Manifesto is circulating online and is said to have hit the streets in Iran. I'm not certain who is the source of this document. The document demands a complete reordering of government. Here it is in full (you can also read it here).
The following document, known as the Seven Point Manifesto, calling for the resignation of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, has hit the streets of Iran. Hundreds of thousands of copies have already been circulated throughout the country.
A copy was sent from Tehran to filmmaker and activist Ardeshir Arian, who has translated it for Pajamas Media:
The Seven Point Manifesto calls for:
1.Stripping Ayatollah Khamanei of his Supreme Leadership position because of his unfairness. Fairness is a requirement of a Supreme Leader.
2. Stripping Ahmadinejad of the presidency, due to his unlawful act of maintaining the position illegally.
3.Transferring temporary Supreme Leadership position to Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazery until the formation of a committee to reevaluate and adjust Iran’s constitution.
4. Recognizing Mir Hossein Mousavi as the rightfully elected president of the people.
5. Formation of a new government by President Mousavi and preparation for the implementation of new constitutional amendments.
6. Unconditional release of all political prisoners regardless of ideaology or party platform.
7. Dissolution of all organizations - both secret and public - designed for the oppression of the Iranian people, such as the Gasht Ershad (Iranian morality police).
June 16, 6:38 am (GMT -5 hours)
Iranian state TV has announced that the Guardian Council, to which an official complaint regarding election irregularities was sent by Mousavi, has ruled out annuling the election results.
From what I'm reading there is trepidation from opposition demonstrators on whether they will attend the rally planned today at 5 pm at Tehran's Vali Asr square. There are fears that Basij militia, Revolutionary Guard, police, and a counter-rally may be there and violence could take place. I'm reading confusing contradictions on this, that Ahmadinejad has moved up the time of his counter-rally to 5 pm and is also holding it in the same square. Some opposition demonstrators are saying their rally is cancelled, others calling for it to be cancelled, and others mentioning that it's still on. I'll have more on this when it's clear. The core opposition that provides the most reliable information seems to say that the opposition rally is still on. There may be a lot of misinformation spread today by the government, and this may be part of the problem. The opposition is dependent on Twitter for communication, and this medium is susceptible to propaganda. State TV may have announced an Ahmadinejad rally at 4 pm at a location not too far from Vali Asr Square.
Mousavi has asked his supporters to keep the rally peaceful and take flowers for the soldiers (this on Monday). This is a reference to the 1979 revolution: the popular image of the time being that flowers given to soliders were followed by mass desertions. I cannot remember this from my childhood, my father does remember his encounter with soldiers in 79, and I've heard the stories of those desertions of 30 years ago from both past revolutionaries and from soldiers.
A very graphic photo of a dead man being held up by crowds of demonstrators is available here. His face is caked with blood. Opposition demonstrators are spreading the word to wear black in today's rallies in honour of Monday's dead.
June 15, 8:05 pm (GMT -5 hours)
It's been reported that Ahmadinejad is planning a counter-rally on Tuesday at 3 pm. I don't have confirmation on this though it might have been announced on state TV. This might lead to a confrontation. Unconfirmed though very widely disseminated reports state that anti-Ahmadinejad rallies are supposed to be held at an hour after Ahmadinejad's planned rally on Tuesday. It remains to be seen what the final plan may be for demonstrators.
The Times Online has an article on the review of the polls in Iran ordered by Khamenei. An excerpt below:
"Behind the scenes there has been much frantic negotiation. Hojatoleslam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Hassan Rohani, the former chief nuclear negotiator, have reportedly been in Qom, seeking an emergency sitting of the Assembly of Experts, the constitutional body with the task of supervising the activities of the Supreme Leader. It may be that the threat to enlist this body encouraged Mr Khamenei to shift his position and ask the Guardian Council to report on the allegations within ten days.
"But is the Supreme Leader being genuine or simply playing for time? The consensus on the streets would suggest the latter. The answer was demonstrated by the tremendous crowds that gathered on the streets of Tehran on Monday. The crowds, estimated at several hundred thousand, were addressed by Mir Hossein Mousavi, in his first public outing since the election. A message from Mohammad Khatami, the former Reformist President, demanded that the election results be annulled and the contest held again.
"The stakes are getting higher by the day. The opposition leadership is rebounding after the shock of the results and, if anything, the protests are likely to become more organised. It is unlikely, in this case, that time will be the healer some hope it to be."
I have to take a break. More updates will follow.
June 15, 7:55 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Twitter was scheduled to have a critical system maintenance at 9:35 pm Pacific Time, yet it has rescheduled maintenance due to protests within Iran. Maintenance will now be held at 2 pm Pacific time, which is 1 am in Iran. Also, maintenance will only be one hour long rather than 90 minutes long. From Twitter:
"A critical network upgrade must be performed to ensure continued operation of Twitter. In coordination with Twitter, our network host had planned this upgrade for tonight. However, our network partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran."
Twitter is playing an important role as a backbone of communication for opposition demonstrators in Iran and has become one of the best sources of news on events within the country.
June 15, 5:50 pm (GMT -5 hours)
You can view a picture of events around Tehran University here. A video of another gunshot wound victim is available here. There is also a video of a girl that injured (possibly shot) being carried onto an ambulance, see it here.
There are rumours of activity and clashes between security forces and demonstrators in the west and north of Tehran. More rumours coming in of clashes and wounded in Iran's other cities though I'm getting news of these from people who are within the capital and in contact with these other regions via mobile phones.
I'm going to take a break.
It's night time in Iran. Political activity continues.
Twitter is supposed to be out of commission for 90 minutes at 9:45 pacific time. Activists in Iran have tried to contact Twitter to prevent this maintenance from taking place since they use it extensively to organize, communicate, and also to share videoes, news, and photos with those outside of the country.
An op-ed in the New York Times by Roger Cohen reviews some of Monday's activities. Here's an excerpt:
"To witness these passions is to witness an Iran close to the brink — a place where it has been on other occasions since the 1979 revolution, but without finding any resolution of its long quest for a form of governance reflecting the country’s democratic yearning, Islamic faith and proud independence.
"As dusk comes, people gather on the roofs of their apartment buildings and the haunting sound of “Allah-u-Akbar” — God is great — and “Death to the dictator” echoes across the megalopolis.
"The Iranian yearning in these cries is immense, a measure of all that was not delivered by the 1979 revolution, when the same cries went up and liberation was promised."
June 15, 4:38 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Channel 4 news has a clip of the gunshots fired at demonstrators that it says resulted in the death of the one person confirmed dead at today's rally in Tehran. View it here. Demonstrators near a Basij (a paramilitary force under the command of the Revolutionary Guard) building seem to have set fire to the structure. The video shows a Basij gunman fire shots into the air then the militia seems to fire into the crowd from the roof of the building, resulting in a death and several injuries.
June 15, 4:25 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A remarkable image from today's Tehran rally today in Azadi Square can be viewed here. It shows a very large gathering of people around Tehran's iconic monument.
You can find more images here: a collection from demonstrations of Monday, all from Azadi Square save one of protestors attacking a Basij militia building.
It remains to be seen what people want as a result of these demonstrations. The reason is not as simple as a direct response to suspected election fraud, the election result was a catalyst that launched widespread action of protests due to festering sense of anger and frustration toward the government in general. The difficulty here is that when I've heard demonstrators interviewed regarding their specific goals, they've not been able to answer very clearly - to me this signals that the actions are generally a reaction, may cross a wide range of political views, and have not necessarily found roots in a central vision of alternative to the current government of Ahmadinejad, or in favour of specific reforms or fundamental changes to the political system. The default seems to be that Mousavi gains power in some manner, though the means to this are not immediately clear to me yet (recount? new election?). The common response from those interviewed in BBC's Farsi broadcast is that people are determined to take action and rally on Tuesday in opposition to the government.
June 15, 4:05 pm (GMT -5 hours)
One demonstrator is confirmed dead earlier today, and the Basij militia is blamed for it. Protestors have today attacked the homes of Basij militia, as heard in a cell phone interview on BBC's Farsi broadcast. Two photos of a Basij home being attacked can be found here.
Wired magazine carries an article on the cyber battle taking place in Iran. Here's an excerpt:
"Pro-democracy activists on the web are asking supporters to use relatively simple hacking tools to flood the regime’s propaganda sites with junk traffic. “NOTE to HACKERS - attack www.farhang.gov.ir - pls try to hack all iran gov wesites [sic]. very difficult for us,” Tweets one activist. The impact of these distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks isn’t clear. But official online outlets like leader.ir, ahmadinejad.ir, and iribnews.ir are currently inaccessible. “There are calls to use an even more sophisticated tool called BWraep, which seems to exhaust the target website out of bandwidth by creating bogus requests for serving images,” notes Open Society Institute fellow Evgeny Morozov.
"...But some observers warn that the network strikes could backfire — hurting the very protesters they’re meant to assist. Michael Roston is concerned that “it helps to excuse the Iranian regime’s own cyberwarfare.” Text-messaging networks and key opposition websites mysteriously went dark just before the election. Morozov worries that it “gives [the] hard-line government another reason to suspect ‘foreign intervention‘ — albeit via computer networks — into Iranian politics.”
June 15, 3:40 pm (GMT -5 hours)
You can view a video of Monday's demonstrations at Channel 4's website here. The clip contains images from the rally along with a clip of an interview with reformist presidential candidate Karroubi, who has allied himself with opposition leader Mousavi.
From Channel 4:
"State television reported that supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has upheld the election result, urged the 12-member Guardian Council to "precisely consider" the complaints.
"A spokesman for the council, which must formally approve election results for the outcome to stand, said they would meet Mr Mousavi on Tuesday. They are expected to decide on the complaints by next week"
With the death of a protestor today in Tehran, the funeal procession and period of mourning may turn into a politically charged scene that could draw out many people to honour a man they would consider martyred, to show their support for the opposition, and in order to defy the government and security forces. More on this at Juan Cole's blog, Informed Comment.
June 15, 3:20 pm (GMT -5 hours)
It's been reported that Mousavi has announced another rally to be held Tuesday at Tehran Vali Asr Square, 5 pm local time (this news via StopAhmadi tweet). Also, a call had earlier gone out for a national strike on Tuesday.
Video of a man alleged to be shot in the arm here.
Talk of attempts at misinformation is spreading once more within demonstrators' tweets from Iran. Claims are of spying by the government, and attempts to spread confusion in order to disrupt the capacity for organization. This was attempted before, with accusations from demonstrators of fake twitter accounts and what was said to be a rally plan (on Sunday) that was denounced by pro-Mousavi supporters as not having been announced by them and set as a trap by the government. People avoided that particular rally, so, if it was a trap, there was no chance to spring it.
I don't have enough information on what Ahmadinejad and Khamenei might be doing during this period of crisis. I will share news on this as soon as I have more.
June 15, 2:40 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A very graphic photo of the man said to have been shot in Tehran's Azad (Freedom) Square by Basij militia can be seen here. The man is lying dead on the ground with blood on his head and face.
There are rumours of harsh action from security officers in cities outside of Iran's capital. The tone of reports coming from within Iran's demonstrations has changed somewhat following the shooting and death of one opposition protestor by Basij militia. Crime and criminal are being uttered and more attention is being paid to rumours of violent responses from government officials outside of the capital, Tehran.
A video of demonstrators in a university here.
A picture of riot police attacking demonstators here. This next one is a photo of what is said to be Basij militia beating a downed man, see it here. The following photo is of a policeman spraying a protestor holding a club, view it here (this via StopAhmadi tweet).
Here are some common chants from demonstrations:
"Mousavi! Mousavi! Rayeh ma ro pas be did!" > Mousavi! Mousavi! Give us back our vote!
"Magbar dictator!" > Death to the dictator!
"Allah akbar." > God is great.
I have less commonly seen clips of people chanting regarding oil money and also telling the army to keep their hands off.
June 15, 2:20 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Demonstrations are ongoing. Video here. It's evening in Iran. Video streams show continued demonstrations with people chanting political slogans and "God is great."
Another image from today's demonstrations here.
The above are from madyar's tweets.
People seem to be gathering in another of Tehran's square since it's said (unconfirmed) that Karroubi will be giving a speech there. Karroubi is working with Mousavi during this opposition protests. He was one of the reformer candidates during the presidential elections.
Protests from June 13 to June 15 have taken place in the following major cities in Iran: Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Rasht, Tabriz, Ardabil, Mashhad, Babol.
June 15, 2:00 pm (GMT -5 hours)
BBC in Farsi confirms that shootings in Azadi square resulted in dead and injured. Reports from international press and local sources on the ground state that one person was killed and others injured. BBC video clip showed a dead body covered in blood carried by people, and blood splattered on a nearby car.
Reports indicate that the shots were fired by the Basij militia.
More photos from demonstrations and political activity in Iran here. The photos span a period of time from June 13 to June 15. There are 38 photos.
June 15, 1:40 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Pictures of the aftermath of raids on Tehran University found here. These raids took place on Sunday.
News of gunshots continue to be confused. It's uncertain if the shootings were ordered or from independent action of a number of Basij militia. Also hearing/seeing conflicting reports of whether the shots used live bullets or rubber bullets.
June 15, 1:20 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A video from today's demonstration at Azadi Square can be found here. People are chanting political slogans, including "Death to the dictator."
Photos of last night's demonstrations in Iran are available here.
There have been reports of a couple of foreign journalists missing. I don't have details on this. One is supposed to be from the Washington Post.
Some important questions need to be answered: where could this political action lead if demonstrators win, if they lose? What will be the affect on Iran's supreme leader Khamenei, who has officially backed Ahmadinejad's electoral victory? Will there be a rift among clerics since a number of ayatollahs are reported having opposed the election results? Will there be a rift in the army (the Revolutionary Guard's Basij militia has been active but the main branch of the army, apart from the Revolutionary Guard, has not been seen in the streets)? What kind of change could Mousavi bring and would he want to go that far if he was to be victorious? Mousavi is himself fairly conservartive in many regards. What sort of impact will this high pitched opposition have on the fundamental character and stability of the Islamic Republic? Traditional political alliances seem to have fallen, and new coalitions forged prior to the election as well as following the election. A major power struggle is taking place among the political elite.
June 15, 1:10 pm (GMT -5 hours)
The websites of two conservative newspapers have gone down due to opposition cyber attacks. I'm not certain where these attacks are originating, I believe most are from outside Iran, judging from a quick glance at hacker sites spreading the word and calls of support from within Iran. The papers now crippled are Kayhan and Rajanews.
Press TV, Iran's English langugage broadcaster reported gunshots fired at demonstrators in Tehran. This is unusual for them to do since it signals opposition strength and the security forces feeling they need to take more direct action. There have been (unconfirmed) reports of other media outlets in Iran talking about the demonstrations this Monday. This may mean some of the media is bucking and resisting government clampdown.
It's confirmed that Ahmadinejad has cancelled his planned trip to Russia (source Al Jazeera).
June 15, 1:10 pm (GMT -5 hours)
AP photographer has reported that gunshots have killed one person and injured other opposition demonstrators. The gunshots are said to have been fired from a building associated with the Revolutionary Guard. I will try to confirm this news when I can.
A video of Mousavi addressing demonstrators in Tehran is available here. It's from a CNN broadcast. The street around Azadi (Freedom) Square is filled with people. This is quite an amazing site of mass gathering within the capital. It shouldn't be forgotten that demonstrations are taking place in a number of other cities throughout Iran, and that these same cities have had continuous political activity as well as clashes with security forces. Images and videos of those scenes from Iran's other cities are available in previous updates below.
June 15, 12:45 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Reports have been coming in via twitter and BBC's Farsi broadcast that shots were heard being fired from Azadi Square in Tehran. Azadi Square is the location of much of today's demonstrations, having been identified as a focal point for people to gather by Mousavi's camp. Images from around the square have shown seas of people gathered in that area of the city. AP news alert just confirmed that one of their photojournalists witnessed security forces firing at demonstrators. Read the alert here. Word is that Iran's national broadcaster has also reported shots fired.
June 15, 12:20 pm (GMT -5 hours)
June 15, 12:10 pm (GMT -5 hours)
The UN secretary general has commented on the situation in Iran. Xinhua reports; here's a quote:
"The position of me and the United Nations is that the genuine will of Iranian people should be fully respected," Ban told reporters in the U.N. headquarters, adding that he was watching how an investigation about the poll would turn out."
BBC (Farsi) just had a brief clip of Mousavi giving a speech from earlier today in Tehran.
A few sources claiming that people demonstrating in the city of Rasht are surrounded by Basij militia. Not certain if there have been any clashes or if it remains peaceful there.
StopAhmadi in Tehran tweets that demonstrators are chanting "Khomeini, wake up, Mousavi is alone."
Ahmadinejad is said to have a planned trip to Russia and that it has been delayed.
June 15, 11:40 am (GMT -5 hours)
Image of riot police within a crowd of demonstrators here. I've heard of police action in peripheries and in cities outside of Tehran. I have no confirmation of this.
More pictures from today's demonstrations here.
I haven't heard what Ahmadinejad has been doing. His website is down due to cyber attacks so I can't access it for information. There are various tweets from Iran that Ahmadinejad is perhaps trying to organize a counter-rally.
June 15, 11:40 am (GMT -5 hours)
News reports now say that protests in Tehran have drawn out hundreds of thousands of people.
More picks from today's protests in Tehran here. Via StopAhmadi tweet. Demonstrators in Iran have learned to bypass filters set up by the Iranian government. This seems to have been done with help from outside the country, with many websites and especially tweets providing moment by moment IP addresses to new proxies set up that allow demonstrators to bypass filters for a time.
June 15, 11:15 am (GMT -5 hours)
BBC in Farsi interviewed a person from within Iran claiming that university students in Rasht have been under siege in the university. The woman interviewed says that they have been able to stay in touch with Tehran via occasional mobile phone contact. Images on the broadcast showed a wide avenue packed with demonstrators from end to end. The number of people in the street appears enormous.
Mousavi is giving a speech now in Tehran. Live feed not available but I'll try and find audio or videos of this when I can.
Iranian's demonstrating in Malaysia have faced action from local police who are said to have used tear gas to break up protests. Reuters reports on this here. An excerpt:
"Malaysian police used teargas to break up a crowd of around 500 Iranians demonstrating outside the United Nations mission against Iran's contested presidential election, a Reuters photographer said."
IRNA news within Iran has reported that university exams will go on as usual, of course many students are demonstrating instead.
The following is quoted from the National Iranian Council blog:
"A note from Ayatollah Mohajerani, Khatami’s first Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, posted on Mousavi’s website:
"The End of the Islamic Republic, the Beginning of the Islamic Government
"A friend called who with a shaking voice asked me for an explanation on what is happening in Iran, in our country.
"I said, the Supreme Leader has decided to replace the Islamic Republic with an Islamic government and that we all have to participate in this “great celebration” and be “deeply happy…”
"These young people who are being beaten in the streets of Tehran and other provinces, whose faces look stunned, Mr. Mousavi and fighting clergies who issue statements, think it is possible to protect the Republic and the people’s votes. It is very clear to me that 22 Khordad 1388, four months after the revolution turned 30, the time of Republic has come to an end in our country. Ahmadinejad, with confirmation of the Supreme Leader, has obtained the necessary votes and won. Congratulations on this victory…Although no celebration happens without victims and the bigger the celebration, the larger the number of casualties…
"22 Bahman was the beginning of the Islamic Revolution and 22 Khordad is the beginning of the Islamic Government.
"My friend started crying louder; bitterly crying."
June 15, 11:00 am (GMT -5 hours)
A video of protestors in Tehran today can be found here. The streets are clogged with people. Other videos show similar scenes from Enqelab Square to Azadi Square in the capital city.
A picture of riot police on motorbikes attacking demonstrators here. Note images are going down at places so some earlier links may no longer work.
News has been coming in of police attacking demonstrators in side streets of Toronto and also in the city of Ahvaz.
Communication in and out of Iran has become difficult again. Reports coming of mobile phone connections faltering again.
June 15, 10:40 am (GMT -5 hours)
I've heard and seen reports from cell phone interviews (with poor connections), emails, and tweets of some homes being searched by police for youth and students.
Rallies have been taking place in a number of cities around the world in support of pro-Mousavi demonstrators in Iran.
Iran's government has been said to be applying pressure on foreign governments to formnally recognize Ahmadinejad as president. Some have (I'll put together a list of this if/when I get the time). The government of Iran has also been said to have complained to Twitter for letting the opposition organize and disseminate information via tweets. Attempts have been made to remove videos from YouTube as well.
The contest for access to information and communication between government and opposition forces has been interesting to witness. The opposition has been able to adapt to filters to some extent in order to use the internet for communication despite various barriers, also a number of government affiliated sites have been going down due to cyber attacks.
June 15, 10:30 am (GMT -5 hours)
CNN reports on Mousavi's appearance at the rally today in Tehran and claims that hundreds of thousands of people are participating in demonstrations in the captial (estimate from a reports at Press TV). Excerpt below:
"There was no chanting of political slogans among the marchers, with demonstrators quieting anyone who tried to shout, Amanpour said, because the Interior Ministry has banned political demonstrations.
"The rally is a repeat of a march which Moussavi supporters staged Wednesday, before the election.
"Mousssavi will urge his supporters to refrain from violence if he manages to address the crowd, backers of the candidate told Amanpour.
"...The country’s election authority said Monday it will investigate allegations of ballot fraud, the government-funded Press TV reported.
"Iran’s Guardian Council — a body of top clerics and judges that supervises elections — will look into Moussavi’s complaints that Friday’s election was marred by irregularities, the network reported. It is expected to issue its findings within 10 days."
The Guardian reports that data contradicting official election results are being leaked from Iran's state officials who may be disgruntled due to the situation. This seems still confused though, if true, it's evidence of deepening rift within the political elite.
The BBC's Farsi broadcast just reported that a couple of universities have finally pushed back exams. Many students had complained about the demand that they attend exams and were going to boycott them in order to attend demonstrations. Students appear to have been targets of the worst response from security forces on Sunday.
June 15, 10:00 am (GMT -5 hours)
I just saw more videos of demonstrators in Tehran from today, near Azadi Square. The streets had thousands of people in them and no motor vehicles were in use. I wasn't able to see any security forces. The clip was very short and broadcast in the BBC's Farsi program.
It's been announced that universities are not closed in Iran. Students have even been told to attend their exams.
The Guardian's reporter, Julian Borger has a brief profile of Iran's supreme leader Khamenei here. Below is an excerpt of a commonly related story of why Khamenei and Mousavi have a history of past tension between them:
"In August 1981, when Iran's president, Mohamed Ali Rajai, was killed in a bomb attack, Khamenei took over the presidency. He came to power as a hardline conservative and soon entered into a conflict with his prime minister at the time, Hussein Mousavi, who was on the left wing of Khomeini's ruling party. The parliament, or Majlis, stood by Mousavi, humiliating the new president. Khomeini stepped in, dissolving the party, but the battle of strength left a bitter personal history between Khamenei and Mousavi."
June 15, 9:45 am (GMT -5 hours)
BBC Persia just showed a very short video clip of people in the streets of Tehran from one hour ago. There were very many demonstrators out, the streets were full.
The protests have been widespread in Iran's urban centres, showing a common front in many major regions. The cities that have seen demonstrations since the election are: Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tabriz, Rasht, Mashad. Fighting with security forces have been worst at Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan, and it seems the universities and students within them were targetted for harshest treatment.
For Farsi speakers, you can see a live stream from BBC here.
June 15, 9:30 am (GMT -5 hours)
More reports from today's march in Tehran state that Mousavi, Karrubi, and Khatami are addressing crowds. Reports coming in from tweets, emails, and cell phone interview through BBC in Farsi. Another rumour from StopAhmadi tweet that grand ayatollah Saanei is travelling to Tehran in order to join the opposition to Ahmadinejad and try to influence supreme leader Khamenei. Khamenei has asked Mousavi to follow the law in protesting the election results. The march is deemed illegal. Marchers are said to be shouting God is great and the main route is planned from Enqelab Square to Azadi Square (Revolution Square to Freedom Square) in the capital.
June 15, 9:10 am (GMT -5 hours)
From BBC in Farsi. People are marching to Enqelab Square throughout Tehran. I have to confirm this but crowds are supposed to be very large. Word is Mousavi is going to appear in public or has already appeared in public to address marchers. Rumour that other opposition leaders are converging on Tehran for a consolidated push and show of strength.
June 14, 11:30 pm (GMT -5 hours)
I believe that the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) website is crippled as well. I just tried to visit it but I can't get passed the banner. I imagine that it is also under attack from cyber supporters of anti-Ahmadinejad demonstrators.
June 14, 11:25 pm (GMT -5 hours)
In addition to a planned anti-Ahmadinejad march on Monday, a national strike has been called for Tuesday. The march will likely become the centre of dramatic confrontation since the police, Basij militia, and government will have time to prepare in opposition to it. It's now Monday morning in Iran, people on both sides must be gearing up for the march.
There are many more reports of cyber attacks against government websites. Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Khamenei's blogs have gone down on Sunday after calls by demonstrators for denial of service attacks. I just tried visiting Ahmadinejad supporters' organization webpage and it also was down. An attack is also taking place against the public broadcaster IRIB's website via multiple fronts. IRIB has backed Ahmadinejad. This has made IRIB a prime target for cyber demonstrators. You can read about this attempt here.
Indeed, IRIB is currently down. I'm not certain what other sites might be under attack.
June 14, 9:00 pm (GMT -5 hours)
This link is to a YouTube video of a large group of demonstrators marching in Tehran at night. The video is taken from a rooftop.
It's remarkable that protests are taking place in so many Iranian cities. You can find a video of demonstrations from the city of Ardabil here.
A video of demonstrators attacking a bank at night is availabble via Iran after the Election.
This next site has images of what it claims are a result of attacks on the university in the city of Isfahan.
I found this video that claims to portray some of the damage done to the University of Tehran (found via the Huffington Post).
I will continue to update throughout Monday. I may take a break soon for the evening. It's morning in Iran and the sky there must be receiving sunlight.
There are rumours that hospitals in Tehran have police stationed at them. I'm not certain what's happening at these locations.
A new proxy server has been set up for protestors to bypass Iranian filters in order to post information from within Iran: IP 220.127.116.11 port 2100.
June 14, 7:00 pm (GMT - 5 hours)
A statement from the EU presidency recognizes Ahmadinejad as the president though it cites concerns over irregularities. Via Huffington Post, at EU2009.cz.
I haven't heard anything from the parliament/majlis. They don't seem to be uttering a word on political developments in the country.
There are many reports of fighting around the University of Tehran. This is unconfirmed but people are claiming to hear gunfire in that area following a raid by Basij paramilitary.
A CNN video from earlier today shows the University of Tehran grounds being hit by tear gas. It also shows a small clip of a bank machine that was smashed. Some other sources mentioned that some banks had had their windows smashed. View the video here.
I read the first mention of clashes in Tabriz. This is a large Azeri city in the north west of Iran. I believe that security forces were especially careful to keep this city under control since it's nearer to the border with country of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkey. I need to confirm this.
June 14, 6:30 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A PressTV article has confirmed supreme leader Khamenei's support for the election of Ahmadinejad to the presidency. This would make it the second time he has given his support for the process despite continued demonstrations throughout the country, as well as protests from other ayatollahs. Ahmadinejad received nearly 63% of the vote according to the Interior Ministry, a result that has led many unbelieving people in Iran to protest in opposition to what they believe to be a sham election. Here's an excerpt from the report:
"The 10th presidential election was an epic and ominous event," Ayatollah Khamenei said on Sunday.
"The Islamic nation of Iran proved that it attaches significance to national dignity and considers resistance against tyranny powers and extremists with the aim of restoring its rights as its major values and honor."
"The wise and vigilant Iranian people showed they are still committed to the path of the architect of the Islamic Revolution the late Imam Khomeini," the Leader added.
June 14, 6:00 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Mousavi's camp has confirmed that they request people throughout Iran to demonstrate on Monday at 4 pm. This has the potential to be a major confrontation, not that the clashes taking place Sunday night haven't been intense. However, this gives the government, police, and military the time to prepare a counter and has the potential to become a confrontation of powers, turning has become hit and run demonstrations into an organized march that can more easily be targeted and opposed.
Mousavi has sent a letter to clerics in the religious city of Qom and, according to TehranBureau, has received positive response from some ayatollahs. From TehranBureau:
"The Association of Combatant Clerics, which consists of moderate and leftist clerics and includes such important figures as former president Mohammad Khatami, Ayatollah Mohammad Mousavi Khoiniha, and Grand Ayatollah Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardabili, issued a strongly-worded statement, calling the results of the election invalid.
"...Grand Ayatollah Yousef Saanei, a progressive cleric and a confidante of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, has declared that Mr. Ahmadinejad is not the legitimate president and cooperation with him, as well as working for him, are haraam (against Islam and a great sin). He has also declared that any changes in the votes by unlawful means are also haraam. Several credible reports indicate that he has traveled to Tehran in order to participate in nationwide protests scheduled for Monday (June 18). It is said that he has planned a sit-in in some public place, in order to further protest election fraud. His website has been blocked.
"Credible reports also indicate that security forces have surrounded the offices and homes of several other important ayatollahs who are believed to want to protest election fraud. Their websites cannot be accessed, and all communications with them have been cut off.
"The nation is waiting to hear the views of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the most important ayatollah living in Iran and the strongest clerical critic of the conservatives. He has been asked to issue a clear statement, explaining his views about the election fraud."
June 14, 5:45 pm (GMT -5 hours)
A video, availabe some time ago has become very popular. It shows a crowd of protestors being rushed by motorbike riot police. Finally, one of the policemen is caught in the crowd and his bike catches fire. The crowd of demonstrators protects the injured policeman, helps him to a safe corner and provides him help and water. Watch it here.
Some tweets from Iran have been getting by the government filter by accessing Twitter at 18.104.22.168 Port:80.
June 14, 5:25 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Reports from TehranBureau: many major intersections in the capital have security posted at them. It also reports that there seem to be armed Arabs working with government forces. I ignored this rumours until now. It persists, and is being repeated from multiple sources. These sources claim that the Arabs are Lebanese. This is unconfirmed, if true, it is unusual that Arabic speaking guards would be there. I have a hard time believing this. TehranBureau: "news from Kermanshah that the gov't has trucked in what may be Lebanese." I can of course see the advantage of using foreign groups who would not feel loyalty to the local population but remain skeptical.
June 14, 5:00 pm (GMT -5 hours)
There are various reports of continued political action in Shiraz and Isfahan, two of Iran's largest cities.
Iran's state media has announced that Monday's planned demonstration is deemed illegal. This appears to be yet another line being drawn in the sand.
Here's a video (in Farsi) of Zahra Rahnavard (well known intellectual and Mousavi's wife) speaking to people regarding the illgetimacy of the election and restrictions placed on Mousavi's camp. It's difficult to hear her, the recording is poor. She received the loudest response (cheers and claps) after expressing anti-dictatorship sentiments.
It seems the picture of previous president Khatami potentially being arrested was old and not relevant to the post-election events.
Communication still difficult from Tehran. Connection to the internet is said to be often slow, mobile phones again sporadic, text messaging controlled, and many websites blocked.
June 14, 4:25 pm (GMT -5 hours)
There are unconfirmed but repeated reports of increasing violence in Iran from multiple sources. The paramilitary Basij has been fighting to bring Tehran under control for several hours now. I've seen a couple of reports from Tehran of youth struggling against large number of these soldiers.
The spike in violence may have pushed some elements of the resitance over the edge. There are reports of the police being attacked. I've received two reports that demonstrators may be trying to get their hands on weapons though this is certainly unconfirmed. The fact that this could even be mentioned as a rumour signals a more serious resistance than expected.
Mousavi appears to have called on people to march from Tehran's Enqelab (Revolution) Square. Starting 4 pm. Word is he has called for a march with or without official permission. Tweet from IranElection09. The same source tweets that there were tanks in front of the Interior Ministry building in the capital.
June 14, 4:00 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Increasing restrictions are being placed on foreign journalists in Iran. Via Huffington Post:
"ABC's Jim Sciutto tweets: 'police confiscated our camera and videotapes. We are shooting protests and police violence on our cell phones.'
"Alex Hoder tweets: 'NBC offices in Tehran raided, cameras and Equipment confiscated. BBC told to get out Iran immediately. Cell/internet shut down'"
German broadcasters have made similar complaints. You can read notice posted earlier today from Reports Without Border here. An excerpt from their post:
"In addition to the 10 or so pro-opposition websites already censored, two Farsi-language TV stations were partially jammed yesterday and the mobile phone network was disrupted. Ahmadinejad supporters continued to pressure Iranian news media not to carry reports about election fraud. Four of the main pro-reform newspapers have been closed or prevented from criticising the official election results.
"Reporters Without Borders has been able to confirm that journalists Reza Alijani (winner of the 2001 Reporters Without Borders-Fondation de France press freedom prize), Hoda Sabaer, Ahamad Zeydabadi and Taghi Rahmani have been arrested. There is no word of about 10 other journalists who have either been arrested or gone into hiding."
In response to communication clampdown, requests have gone out to flood and take down Ahmadinejad and Khamenei's websites. According to StopAhmdi, Ahmadinejad's blog was successfully taken down. I tried it, and all I get is "Server is too busy, please try again later..." Neither could I access Khamenei's site.
June 14, 3:35 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Confusion and broken telephone reigns supreme in Tehran. A photo has started making the rounds suggesting that perhaps previous president Khatami may have been arrested.
Roger Cohen has an interesting article of events in Tehran, written for the New York Times. Read it here. Here's an excerpt:
"Khamenei, under pressure from Rafsanjani, appeared ready to let the election unfold, but he reversed course, under pressure, or perhaps even diktat, from the Revolutionary Guards and other powerful constituencies.
"A harsh clampdown is underway. It’s unclear how far, and for how long, Iranians can resist.
"On Vali Asr, the handsome avenue that was festive until the vote, crowds swarmed as night fell, confronting riot police and tear gas. “Moussavi, Moussavi. Give us back our votes,” they chanted."
June 14, 3:20 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Since yesterday there have been unconfirmed rumours of clerics criticizing the supreme leader, Khamenei. If true this is a first. Grand ayatollah Saneyi is reported to have said the election was unlawful and he may be under house arrest.
The Hunffington Post reports the following: "emailer Babak sends over this note: 'Never thought I would see [Ayatollah] Mohajerani (former Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance) on BBC Persian TV talking about how "velayat faghih" (Supreme Leader) is not free from making mistakes, and he can be replaced because of dishonesty!"
There have also been some rumours since Saturday that former president Rfsanjani has been probing political waters in the background perhaps to see if there might be some clerical disgruntlement with supreme leader Khamenei. Rafsanjani is the head of the Assembly of Experts, a body that technically has the power to vote to oust the supreme leader from power. This has never been done before and the Assembly has been accused of being ever compliant to the leader's wishes.
By not staying neutral and in fact throwing his support behind Ahmadinejad, the supreme leader may have exposed what was once the untouchable executive office to risk of open or partial criticism from the political elite.
June 14, 2:30 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Demonstrations in the city of Rasht. I've heard unconfirmed reports of confrontation with riot police beating protestors. One of the focal points seems to be around the university there. I don't have much information on Rasht.
I've seen several reports of people hearing gunfire within Tehran. I've read several accounts of the Basij (a paramilitary force under the Revolutionary Guard) mobilizing in Tehran. Reports seem quite confused and sporadic.
Video from the night, people on rooftops of Iran shouting death to the dictator and God is great. View it here.
14 June, 2:15 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Video of riot police clashing with and running away from protestors in Isfahan here.
14 June,2:00 pm (GMT - 5 hours)
Julian Borger has written an analysis of events in Iran for the Guardian, read it here. Borger tries to answer some key questions regarding events since the election.
The government appears to have become fairly effective in claming down on the capacity of anti-Ahmadinejad demonstrators to organize. It has key leaders under watch or has arrested many, social networking sites are restricted in the country cutting down on communication between groups and leaders - Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, news sites, blogs, etc are restricted and text messaging is under control. Disinformation has also been used to confuse the opposition and spread some level of organizational confusion. Images of events from Sunday have become sparse compared with Friday and Saturday. At the peak, the government went so far as to cut electricity to parts of the capital, Tehran. A lot seems to ride on how far Mousavi might be willing to go in opposition though he has expressed his wish so far to work within the system. Demonstrations seem in great part to be spontaneous this Sunday. University builduings have been raided, dormatories included, to disrupt the activity of student leaders, including arrests. The BBC reports that electonic jamming has been used to disrupt its satellite broadcast in Iran.
There are reports of renewed clashes between demonstators and police as the day drew to a close. Reports now are often coming in confused emails from people sending messages to families, friends, and acquaintances.
Since Saturday, clashes with the police have been reported in multiple cities: Tehran, Shiraz, Mashad, Isfahan, and Gorgan, even unconfirmed reports of clashes in the religious city of Qom at Mousavi's local headquarters.
People in Tehran seem to be observing events from their roof tops and also chanting slogans from above. I've heard accounts of increasing activity in Tehran's Vali-e-Asr.
14 June, 1:15 pm (GMT -5 hours)
Smaller anti-Ahmadinejad demonstrations are taking place in Tehran this Sunday. With the coming of night, the big quesiton is whether larger demonstrations will take place when the sun is down. Many people are watching events unfold in the streets of Tehran while fast and mobile motobike riding riot police zip across the city to sites of spontaneous demonstration.
I'm still unclear if Mousavi is under house arrest or if he's gone underground. I also can't tell what sort of power struggle is taking place within the political elite. The traditional alliances between political factions were already fragmenting prior to the election. The key in any struggle on this front is that Ahmadinejad and the supreme leader Khamenei have formed a common front, making dissent from the political elite quite dangerous for them since it would potentially signal opposition to the two columns of the state and call into question the very fundamentals and current direction of political transformation under the existing state structure.
Israeli prime minister Netanyahu is speaking on Israeli policy currently (live on various news channels) and briefly mentioned Iran: "The Iranian threat is still in front of us as we learned yesterday."
14 June, 12:20 am (GMT - 5 hours)
Tension remains in Tehran, it seems consideration is being taken on whether the demonstrations against the election results should pick up again, fully expecting that a second bout of open public resistance would be faced by strong and agressive government response. Riot police are on alert.
A large pro-Ahmadinejad rally during his public address might have given people pause due to the potential of open clashes between various demonstratiors as well as a mobilized riot police.
There are reports that major universities are surrounded or watched by the police. Students have been the backbone of anti-Ahmadinejad demonstrations.
The US has not yet officially recognized Iran's election results. They are being careful in their responses, mainly stating support for a democratic process and lively debate within Iran.
Nico Pitney reports that grand ayatollah Sanei has called the election unlawful.
Journalist Robert Fisk has a good report from Iran in the Independent. Mousavi's headquarters has been under siege, with smoke grenades thrown in. The government has been coming down hard on the opposition.
Another article, this one at the New Yorker.
Twitter has been very instrumental in disseminating information and there have been complaints from some citizen journalists that fake Twitter accounts were set up spreading false information, some impersonating these same individuals.
14 June, 11:15 am (GMT -5 hours)
A collection of photos from Saturday's demonstrations here.
Rumours persist regarding opposition from senior clerics. One of the latest rumours is that grand ayatollah Saneyi is under house arrest. I can't confirm this.
14 June, 10:45 am (GMT -5 hours)
Excerpts from Mousavi's letter, linked in the previous entry. Mousavi, the main opponent of Ahmadinejad in the Iranian presidential election of 12 June, expresses his opposition in writing:
"Those who after massive cheatings have declared these unbelievable results for the presidential elections are now out to establish these results as undisputed facts and start a new chapter in the history of our country. I repeatedly warned about the danger of ignoring the rule of the land (cheating) before and during the elections, and pointed out that such measures will lead us only to dictatorship and tyranny, and today, this exact same fate in looming in the horizon for our nation. We respect and abide by the constitution and the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran and regard our supreme leader as one of the important bases of our regime and (thus) will peruse our political struggle within the structure of the law.
...Today, I officially asked the guardian council (who oversees the elections in IR) in a letter to nullify the outcome of this election and I regard this (the nullification) as the only possible way for regaining the people’s trust and cooperation with the government. I strongly urge you again to peacefully protest and defend your legal rights civilly and without confrontation and violence all over the country. We have officially asked the authorities to give us the permission for large scale demonstrations in every major city throughout the country for tomorrow, so that people can demonstrate their protest against the way the election was conducted and its results peacefully. I believe that the authority’s compliance with this request is the best way to manage the current outbursts of anxieties."
14 June, 10:35 am (GMT - 5 hours)
There have been consistent rumours of several Ayatollahs opposing the election results. I can't confirm this.
Mousavi has made an annoucement telling his supporters to continue their opposition yet keep it peaceful. Al Jazeera has reported that Mousavi had lodged a complaint with the Guardian Council, stating that the elections were flawed.
Via the Huffington Post, an English translation of Mousavi's last letter is available online here.
14 June, 10:15 am (GMT -5 hours)
US vice president Biden has expressed his doubts regarding the recent Iranian election. From AP: "Biden says the U.S. and other countries need more time to analyze the results before making a better judgment about the vote."
14 June, 10:10 am (GMT - 5 hours)
Ahmadinejad spoke to a crowd of his supporters this Sunday in Tehran's Vali-e-Nasr Square. This follows a press conference.
He spoke of illwishers having to bow to the election decision, and that some people outside of the country say that the process was irregular and a fraud, but Ahmadinejad denies this. "The main enemy is not mentioned here," he said.
He said that he spoke to the Guardian Council (this body vets political candidates and can veto parliamentary bills), and asked them if any official complaints were lodged with them from political opponents, and that the Guardian Council responded that not a single cokmplain was received by them.
Ahmadinejad then accused opposing political candidates of running illegal presidential campaigns and defaming him. He claims that many media reports following the election have been propaganda campaigns and that people are unified in Iran and that they will take the country to "summits of development and progress.
Ahmadinejad commonly mentioned that he represented justice and respect and that "time for tyranny and opression is over."
He went on to say that he will not accept the recommendation of his opponents, those "pillars of riches and powers," in appointing the new government's officials.
14 June,9:40 am (GMT - 5 hours)
From Iraqi journalist Mina Al Oraibi: "Deputy head of Iranian police says 160 arrested&denies Mousavi under house arrest - as reported by Mehr news agency." On Twitter.
Mousavi has not been seen in a day and conflicting reports have been heard about his whereabouts. Rumours are rampant, and firm information is difficult to come by due to firm government clampdown.
14 June, 9:20 aqm (GMT -5 hours)
PressTV is now showing Ahmadinejad address a crowd in Iran.
14 June, 9:00 am (GMT -5 hours)
Iranian president Ahmadinejad held a Sunday morning press conference, during which he stated that the election was "real and free." This was hist first news conference since the official announcement of his re-election. CNN quotes Ahmadinejad as saying, "Sentiments are high and sometimes they do some stuff on the streets, but in the end we had 40 million people participating and what is happening on the streets is like a football match."
According to an AP interview: "Authorities released the brother of former reformist President Mohammad Khatami on Sunday after he was arrested at his home late Saturday, Mohammad Reza Khatami's wife, Zahra Eshraghi, told The Associated Press.
She said at least two other top leaders of Iran's largest reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, including the party's secretary-general, were also released early Sunday after they were arrested when police stormed the party's headquarters on Saturday. Several others remained in custody, she said."
Via the Huffington Post:
"CNN's Christian Amanpour got into a bit of a verbal scuffle with Ahmadinejad during his press conference just now. Her questions were: "What is the situation with your challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi and will you guarantee his safety? And why have opposition reform individuals, officials, been arrested?"
Ahmadinejad responded (CNN's translation):
The situation in the country is in a very good condition. Iran is the most stable country in the world, and there's the rule of law in this country, and all the people are equal before the law. And the presidential election has witnessed people's massive turnout. As I said, even in a soccer match, people may become excited and that may lead to a confrontation between them and the police force. This is something natural. A person coming out of a stadium may violate the traffic regulations. He wil be fined by the police no matter who he is, an ordinary person or even a minister.
So these are not problems for the people of Iran. 40 million people have participated in the election and these 40 million people will safeguard the elections, based on the Iranian culture. There is no partisanship based on the Western concept. In fact, the people are friends with one another, and they're going to cast their votes in favor of any candidate they like, and of course, such a voting process will not lead to any hostility among the people. And you go to the streets you see that people are friends with one another, and in Iran, no one asks the other whom you're going to vote for.
The situation is very good, and Iran is on the threshold of making considerable progress. And definitely in the next four years, the status of Iran in the world will be further promoted."
14 June, 5:00 am (GMT -5 hours)
Multiple sources from within Iran report that a call to rally today at Mousavi's HQ at 12:30 in Tehran may be a trap. I'm not certain what's going on on this front.
From Juan Cole's site, Informed Comment: "The wife of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is said to have called for protests, according to Javan as translated by the USG Open Source Center: (after casting her vote) I hope Ahmadinejhad and his Khavarej friends (according to the Koran, a group of traitors who betrayed Imam Ali in the Saffeyn war) receive their response from the people. Hashemi-Rafsanjani's wife referred to the president's statements during the debate with Musavi and said: Why does he talk such rubbish and accuse my children of stealing? Mar'ashi claimed that if there is no cheating, Musavi will become president, but we hope to God that they do not cheat, because if they do people will pour into the streets and will protest."
Faramarz Hashemi's site, Iran after the election, is a good source of information, videos, and photos.
14 June, 4:40 am (GMT -5 hours)
Demonstrations have been reported in the capital, Tehran, also in Shiraz, and Mashhad. You can view videos and photos of these here and here. There have been clashes with the police, motor vehicles set on fire, demonstrators attacked by the police. Tens of thousands of people have clogged streets, calling for new elections, and demanding Ahmadinejad's resignation.
Ahmadinejad insists the elections were free and fair. Supreme Leader Khamenei has announced his support of the election results. Mousavi's statement following the election claimed fraud. Mousavi and Karroubi, and many other political leaders have been placed under house arrest. Here's a quote from Mousavi's letter of protest: "I object fully to the current procedures and obvious and abundant deviations from law on the day of election and alert people to not surrender to this dangerous plot. Dishonesty and corruption of officials as we have seen will only result in weakening the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran and empowers lies and dictatorships." You can read it here.
Cell phone stopped working in Tehran for some time though they're back up now. The internet has come to a crawl in the country. Many news websites are no longer working. Iranian journalists have been reported arrested in large numbers.
It's morning. Judging from the many great bloggers in Iran, a lot of people have not been sleeping much. Twitter has become the best source of information from inside the country since it requires very little bandwidth to operate and people on the streets can update regularly. Many key social networking and news sites are reported blocked.
Universities have been closed since students are part of the backbone of political resistance. This morning, Tehran's streets are quiet and people seem to be staying home, so the city has come to a standstill and people aren't going to work. Al Jazeera reports on this.
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