2220 GMT: Bubbling Over? Back after an evening's break to find a swirl of rumours --- if this morning started with tensions bubbling under, the evening has brought the prospect of them bubbling over.
The furour over the alleged burning of Imam Khomeini's picture, stirred by pro-Government media, is now being read as a pretext for possible aggressive action against opposition leadership. Kalemeh, the website associated with Mir Hossein website, has posted this note:
WARNING: Beware that an event is unfolding!
Kaleme: Following the planned scenario for disgracing Imam Khomeini and accusing the Green movement and the students of this act, since yesterday official pro-Ahmadinejad media have started a heavy propaganda with a hidden agenda and based on the information available it seems that they are preparing for some harsher crack downs.
All supporters of the Green movement are strongly advised to be extremely vigilant and make sure to stay on top of the latest news.
Because of the extreme restrictions on informing people, Kaleme (Mousavi's official website) is advising other news media to warn their users about the necessity of being watchful!
You Are The Media !
The Kalemeh post has in turn prompted other sites such as Norooz to speculate that Mousavi's arrest may be imminent. We are monitoring the situation but must emphasize that, at this point, these reports are just rumours.
1650 GMT: The Back-and-Forth on the "Burning" of Khomeini. EA's Mr Smith, after consulting sources, checks in to work through the possibilities of the story:
Many remain convinced that the act was indeed really anti-regime. However, whether or not the burning of the photograph was genuine, the follow-up was predictable: Iranian TV trumpeted the footage as proof of the Green Wave's anti-revolutionary stance.
A veteran Iranian journalist has written, "It is not suspicious. It is opposition to the Islamic Republic. The people are clearly stating that they don't want to go back in time to the period when [Mousavi was] Prime Minister [in the 1980s]. Rather, they want to move forward, past the Islamic Republic. Mr. Mousavi, you should publicly state where you are positioned in all this."
This was a reply to to Mousavi's own reply to Jomhouri Eslami newspaper, in which he deftly distanced the Green movement from the burning and rather flimsily labelled the burning of Khomeini's poster as the work of agent provocateurs. Very interestingly, though, he omitted any reference to Khamenei's image, which you will recall was torn and burnt alongside Khomeini's in the YouTube footage. Mousavi's respect is only centred on the figure of the "Holy Imam", no mention of his successor whatsoever.
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Iran: The Arrest of Majid Tavakoli “His 16 Azar Speech on Video”
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1530 GMT: Worst "Analysis" of the Day. Congratulations to Abbas Barzegar for his conclusion pulled down from the sky, "Revolution Halted in Iran".
To do the injustices of this piece suitable justice would require a separate entry. Let's just say that Barzegar extrapolates from a suitable premise --- that the political movements do not simply consist of 2President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei on one side versus Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Ayatollah Rafsanjani, and the entire Iranian nation on the other" --- to wandering and unsupported claims on the Green movement: "a dispersed core of intellectual and political elites with no clear agenda or ability to mobilise".
To put this caricature into perspective, let's just refer back to another Barzegar "analysis":
Ahmedinejad turned the election into a referendum on the very project of Iran's Islamic revolution. Their street chants yelled "Death to all those against the Supreme Leader" followed by traditional Shia rituals and elegies. It was no match for the high-spirited fun-loving youth of northern Tehran, [defeated as they] sang "Ahmedi-bye-bye, Ahmedi-bye-bye" or "ye hafte-do hafte, Mahmud hamum na-rafte" (One week, two weeks, Mahmoud hasn't taken a shower).
The date of the proclamation of that Ahmadinejad victory? 13 June.
1520 GMT: Sentences for Shiraz University Students. Nine have been handed down jail terms, ranging from six months (suspended) to six years, for participation in 13 Aban (4 November) protests.
1420 GMT: The Arrests of 16 Azar. A website has posted the names and status of 34 protesters arrested last Monday, and an Iranian activist has provided an English translation via Twitter.
1320 GMT: Grand Ayatollah Sane'i has added his denunciation of alleged regime disinformation with the burning of Imam Khomeini's picture:
When some reach a dead end, they don’t even spear Imam Khomeini’s dignity and take advantage of him for their own purpose. Oppressors set Imam Khomeini’s picture on fire [themselves], then claim that the students did that; while the students support Imam Khomeini and are in debt to him, and if they are protesting, it is based on Imam Khomeini’s saying, “The scale is the people’s vote."
1255 GMT: We Didn't Start the Fire (against Imam Khomeini). The reformist Islamic Association of Students of Tehran University has strongly condemned broadcasting of the “suspicious” footage of the tearing and burning of Imam Khomeini’s picture on state-run TV.
The students offered a religious analogy to condemn the regime's disinformation: they warned that the desecration of Imam Khomeini’s dignity to create new crisis in the society harks back to the enemies of Imam Ali, Shi’a Islam's first Imam, abuse of the dignity of Quran by holding the holy book up in the middle of war for their own benefit. As a result, a group of extremist and foolish individuals took the power over the people.
Officials of the Imam Khomeini Institute have also expressed their suspicions over state media's use of the alleged images.
1245 GMT: Today's Regime Attack. And it's Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami stepping up to the plate to take a swing at the opposition. Looks like he's hoping to hit the soft pitch that they're tearing down the system" out of the park: "What they are after is to have a thin layer remaining of the Islamic Republic."
Khatami is also building on this week's theme of the "burning" of the image of Imam Khomeini: state media is reporting that "hundreds" of theological students staged a rally in downtown Tehran to protest against the "insult", with similar events were also held in other Iranian cities.
1145 GMT: We've posted a new entry on Iranians leaving the country amidst the post-election conflict and possible Government measures against them.
0945 GMT: And Keeping the Door Open. Foreign Minister Mottaki added that Iran would be happy to attend another meeting with the "5+1" powers on uranium enrichment. He is doing so on the basis of the fuel "swap" idea, however, with the exchange of Iran's 3.5 percent uranium stock for a 20 percent enrichment supply taking place inside the country.
0925 GMT: Holding the Line. Speaking at a regional security conference in Bahrain, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki neither closed the door on nuclear negotiations nor offered concessions. He nodded towards the ongoing talks, "First I think we could just totally abandon the whole thing or we could propose something more moderate, a kind of middle way ... Iran has done that." At the same time, he emphasised that Iran wanted to ensure control of the process, "We need 10 to 15 nuclear plants to generate electricity in our country."
0915 GMT: Taking Iran's Money. In what may be the biggest seizure of Iranian assets abroad since the Islamic Revolution, it has emerged that more than $2 billion allegedly held on behalf of Tehran in Citigroup accounts was frozen last year in a secret order by a federal court in New York City.
While the case is not directly tied to the US Government's sanctions on Iran, the court action was supported by information provided by the US Treasury.
The frozen assets are in the center of a legal battle between Luxembourg's Clearstream Banking, the holder of the Citibank account, and the families of hundreds of U.S. Marines killed or injured in a 1983 attack on a Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.
0825 GMT: A quieter start (and later one, we needed the rest) to the day, after the intensity of Friday's speculation over the purported letter/tapes from military groups "standing with the opposition" and the growing opposition campaign linked to the regime's treatment of detained student leader Majid Tavakoli. The excitement and confusion even swept away the Government's threats against those within (Hashemi Rafsanjani) and those without (the opposition who supposedly burned the pictures of the Supreme Leader and Ayatollah Khomeini on 16 Azar).
Quieter, however, does not mean silent. The campaign sparked by Tavakoli, with the videos and pictures of "We Are All Majids, All in Hejab" has both mobilised protest in the run-up to Moharram and boosted the swing in international attention and support. The Guardian of London has picked up on the Facebook campaign. Even Fox News picked up the story on one of its blogs, and The New York Times has a follow-up today, with prominent US-based academic Hamid Dabashi joining the movement. The conclusion of the article brought a smile and a "Really? No kidding!": "Six months after the June 12 presidential election, the dispute over its outcome appears nowhere near at an end."
This morning the campaign continues. Josh Shahryar has posted "An Ode to Majid Tavakoli".
On the military front, I am afraid we have little so far to solve the mystery of whether the letter/audio from eight Iranian units is authentic. There is an outstanding debate amongst readers on our post yesterday, which raises possibilities but no resolutions so far. We'll keep watching; however, the most important issue for the moment may be whether people --- both those supporting the Government and those opposing it --- think the message is real. For if so, then the uncertainty caused is a victory in itself for the opposition.