Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


« Happy New Year! | Main | Iran: The Rafsanjani Interview on France 24 (28 December) »

The Latest from Iran (31 December): Is That All There Is?

REGIME RALLY21805 GMT: We're taking a break to celebrate New Year's Eve with friends and families.

To all EA readers, we wish you the very best with hopes for a peaceful and prosperous 2010.....

1800 GMT: Reports continue of clashes across Tehran, but with little information that can be verified.

1610 GMT: Setareh Sabety reports the following from an eyewitness source in Iran:
I went a tour around the city, antiriot police are standing in most of main streets....Lebaas shakhsihaa [plainclothes forces] are on their bikes almost everywhere. Many shops from Vali-e Asr Square to Famemi are closed. No slogans or green presence to see.

1540 GMT: Protests, Force, and Mourning. Peyke Iran offers the following summary of developments:

People in shrouds came out to protest at Sadat Abad in Tehran. Government authorities and security forces took control of Enghelab Square by closing the underground stop and dispersing demonstrators. Thousands of people paid respects at the grave of Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew Seyed Ali, who was quickly buried yesterday.

1508 GMT: Conflicting Reports on Clashes. An EA source, passing on information from a witness in Iran, said 7 Tir Square --- where clashes had been reported --- is currently quiet.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Protests Against and for the Regime (31 December)
NEW Iran: The Rafsanjani Interview on France 24 (28 December)
NEW Iran: The Regime’s Misfired “Big Shot” at Legitimacy
NEW Iran: How Significant Was the Regime’s Rally?
Latest Iran Video: University Protests (30 December)
Iran: The Uncertainties of Oppression and Protest

1500 GMT: Setting Up the Clampdown. Well, no doubts about where Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani now stands --- he's alongside those in the Government preparing to bring the hammer down on the opposition. In a speech in Khorasan-Razavi Province, he addressed "rioters":

Who do you think you are that you violate the rights of the people? The public have the right to ask the judiciary to punish you. The people and clerical community should rest assured that by showing up [to condemn the Ashura protests], they have compelled the relevant authorities to take action against the elements of Fitna.

1450 GMT: Unconfirmed claims of clashes throughout Tehran. Rah-e-Sabz reports that security forces have used tear gas on crowds in 7 Tir Square and that conflict continues, with numerous arrests, in Vali-e Asr.

1400 GMT: We've posted first footage from today's demonstration at Azad University in Mashhad, a day after violent clashes between students and security forces.

1315 GMT: The World's Worst Disinformation Campaign. First glance at the Islamic Republic of News Agency shows that the Ministry of Intelligence issues a warning (again) that protesters will be dealt with and that Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani is extolling yesterday's rally as a reminder of the great days of the Islamic Revoluton.

Second glance discovers IRNA exposing its own propaganda stunt on Wednesday. Apparently the rumour of the flights of opposition leaders spread "passivity and confusion" in their supporters. Which, given that IRNA started the rumour, might be translated as we attempted to spread "passivity and confusion" amongst the supporters.

Guys, small tip: it's no longer "disinformation" when you're busted for the "dis-" in the information.

1300 GMT: More from Mashhad. Rah-e-Sabz reports that students, including some injured in yesterday's clashes at the university, are still missing.

1215 GMT: Students at Mashhad University have effectively closed the campus today in protest at attacks on demonstrators yesterdays.

1200 GMT: A Military Presence? Rah-e-Sabz is now reporting that military units are stationed at major intersections in Tehran.

1105 GMT: New Videos. We've posted Hashemi Rafsanjani's Monday night interview with France 24 and today's rather small rally for the regime in Karaj.

1005 GMT: The Police Recording on Ashura. A lot of buzz this morning around a purported police communications recording, posted on YouTube, during Sunday's events. The general tone of the conversation, summarised in English by an Iranian activist, is of concern and confusion.

1000 GMT: Nervousness. As chatter spreads of a possible opposition rally in Tehran at 3 p.m. local time (1130 GMT), Rah-e-Sabz (Jaras) claims, “Hundreds of military forces and tens of armored vehicles … are moving toward Tehran. Some of the vehicles are used for suppressing street riots."

We have to add that the report is unconfirmed.

0955 GMT: Speaking of Students.... Student leader Bahareh Hedayat is another post-Ashura detainee. Her speech on 5 December to a Dutch conference, "International Solidarity with the Iranian Student Movement", can be viewed on YouTube.

0940 GMT: Blacklisting the "Star" Students. Farnaz Fassihi offers an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal, "Regime Wages a Quiet War on 'Star Students' of Iran". Fassihi explains:
In most places, being a star means ranking top of the class, but in Iran it means your name appears on a list of students considered a threat by the intelligence ministry. It also means a partial or complete ban from education.

The term comes from the fact that some students have learned of their status by seeing stars printed next to their names on test results....

The phenomenon started in the summer of 2006, the first academic year in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's first term in office. Some grad-school applicants noticed stars beside their names on the report cards issued by the government-run college-placement agency.

Students with one star could return to school after signing a consent to give up political activism, according to Iranian human-rights and activist groups. Two-star students faced semester suspensions and interrogation sessions, and three-star students were banned from education for life....

More than 1,000 graduate students have been blocked from higher education since the practice began in 2006, according to statements by Mostafa Moin, a former education minister, in official media in September.

Star treatment is reserved for graduate students, although undergrads also face suspension for political activity, according to student-rights activists. Several hundred undergrads have been suspended for as many as four semesters, according to student activists and human-rights groups in Iran. Under Iran's higher-education law, students are dismissed from school if they miss four terms.

0845 GMT: The Regime Cuts Off Its Defender? An interesting moment in a discussion on Al Jazeera English's "Inside Story" on the significance of the Ashura protests.

Kian Mokhtari, a journalist in Tehran, was joining the US-based analysts Gary Sick and Trita Parsi (each of whom made solid points about the political situation). In his first contribution, Mokhtari began, "The Government did not come down harshly on the demonstrators at all." He assured, "Because it is Ashura, no firearms were issued" to security forces.

But then he added, "Iran Government is investigating the issue as we speak." Click. Mokhtari was gone, never to be heard from again in the 24-minute programme.

0800 GMT: We begin this morning with two analyses of the regime's effort on Wednesday to quell opposition by establishing its political and religious superiority. Josh Shahryar offers a reading of the big rally in Tehran. We connect that event to last night's rumour of the "flight" of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to northern Iran to ask if the regime was able to secure its legitimacy yesterday. (Answer: No.)

That impression is reinforced by the overnight switch-back of State media, dismissing the Islamic Republic News Agency report of "two opposition leaders" scurrying out of Tehran. "Informed sources" (from which part of the Government?), speaking to Fars News, "denied earlier reports that Mehdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi have fled Tehran amid security concerns".

Reader Comments (39)

Unconfirmed: Jaras reports that troops and vehicles are moved to Tehran, where opposition plans to hold a rally at 3 pm this afternoon:

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterArshama


Are these guys regular army (artesh) or IRG?

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMegan


I really don't know. Peyke Iran says that regular police forces are installed at central places like 7 Tir, Vali Asr and Enghelab squares. About an hour ago tanks and armed anti-riot vehicles have started from Karaj (West of Tehran) as well as hundreds of armed forces. The term "nezami" can mean both artesh or sepah, must wait and see...
Another "Sundis and Teatop" rally at Karaj today, the Persian commentator says this is the bunch left over to the regime, funny remarks:

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterArshama


Thanks. I just hope they do not open fire on people.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

P.S. I forgot to mention the Persian title of this video "Millions on Karaj's streets", just look and see! anche ke ayaan ast che hajat be bayaan ast ...

Please spread: Saturday, 2 January, worldwide solidarity action "A candle for the heroes of DEMOCRACY-Movement“ (Persian links at bottom of page)

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

regime is trying to portray unity and show that they are in control. They are not. They had 30-40 thousand in Tehran yesterday who were paid to be there. That is pathetic.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermark

There is more to the story of the flight of Mousavi and Karoubi from Tehran to the North and the fight between IRNA news and Fars News that ensued. One is controlled by Pasdaran and the other by the SL. Here is another area where the Pasdaran are enforcing control, encroaching on the SL sphere of influence and will make a grab soon. Expect to see the Pasdaran use a crisis to take full control of IRIB and IRNA news.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwhereismyvote

And this is what the chief of police and his deputy in Tehran says as quoted from yahoo news.

"When asked about the video and whether police trucks intentionally ran over people, Moghaddam became enraged. "Don't ask lies," he said. "There are no pictures showing police cars running over people."

The deputy, Radan, said police have a video showing a black car running over two people during Sunday's violence. He said the owner of the car had been arrested and that the car had been stolen for that purpose."

Lies, lies lies and more lies...

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCecil

Here is the link for the video.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCecil

Lies are what they do best.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFoxButters

it is imploding. Iran is no China.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterteez negah

Both mosavi and karoubi have about a handfull of body guards with them at all times(8 to 10 ) Karoubi has a bit more. These men create a circle of protection around them 24/7.
But since the day of ashura another circle of security protection has been created around them as well. this one from the intelegance. a biger circle around the small one they already have. about 20. so they know where they are anytime of the day or night and accuratly control trafic in and out. if any one kills any of them it makes no different who since its the regiem who would be held responsible with further unrests inavitable. therfore regiem more concerned about their safety than themself. if foreigners agents are active in iran now then they could pull the trigger for the islamic republic by having them killed by means of calculated doesnt make differnc who launches the firts missile ? does it ?

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterartemiss

Larijani is playing this all very, very well. Without a doubt the Next President of Iran.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

Samuel I hope you are right but matters are escalating and moving fast...

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterteez negah

Happy new Year to you all
That includes our sponsors of terror, rape and torture Samuel and Co...

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAfshin

teez negah,

It is a very good thing that Larijani is taking the lead on the issue right now. The pro-revolution factions are uniting and closing ranks against the radical MKO/Green movement which is taking shape. One of the reasons why I've never been a big fan of Ahmadinejad is because of his tendency to pick unnecessary fights and feuds whether with Larijani, Naghdi in the past, and even Rafsanjani.

Larijani is a serious, highly intelligent statesman and not a demagogue at all; Iran and the revolution will benefit greatly from his leadership.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

Dear all
Happy new year and dear Samuel

Thanks for one small moment of honesty to distance yourself from the falling president. Perhaps this shows the SL is ready to throw him under the bus. However you stated that Mr. Larijani is without a doubt the next president of Iran. How can this be when there is free elections in Iran? For only two to three months a go, I remember you personally defending the free and fairness of elections in Iran. If I believe that earlier statement, does it mean then that there is doubt, for without a campaign and the vote of people, then Larijani is no where, or am I to believe the second statement that in the backrooms of Mr. Khamanei's compound we have the selection process happen and then a token vote counting? Or am I to believe that since the last debacle, we shall have only the selection process?

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwhereismyvote

the report on 1000 gmt is incorrect about Jaras. They never said that rifomist leaders had escaped from tehran. that was IRNA the state run press agency.
Jaras actually denied the news published by IRNA.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenternegs ir

To Samuel,
Larijani will save the "revolution" LOL

Revolution : a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system. (Oxford dictionary)

Happy New Last Wear to IRI !

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGloumdalclitch

Translation of article in Liberation
"I tore the portrait of the Leader"
An interview with a green activist about Ashura demonstrations

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGloumdalclitch

In the comment thread for "Iran: The Regime's Misfired Shot at Legitimacy" the urban/rural/North Tehran/South Tehran motif was raised. Gonna comment here b/c this thread is more active.

I find most comments about that matter to be overly general and unsupported. Does anyone know of any formal studies on this issue?

My experience with so-called traditional religious types in Tehran was generally very pleasant. Many of them were aware of the widespread corruption among clerical leaders, and they held a negative view of the regime, albeit in a wish-washy way. Their fear was that any other alternative will destroy the place of religion in society, so they passively accept the staus quo.

Out of politeness I never remonstrated with them, but I wish I pointed out that religious government had turned Iran into a drug-saddled nation where the excesses of the youth culture makes Western society seem puritanical by comparison.

Their reasoning is similar to other religious conservatives: if religion doesn't have a strong public role then society will degenerate into materialistic anarchy, and religion is the best shield against Western cultural encroachments.

They struck me as conflicted bunch, who would often fall back on this type of thinking to justify their passive acceptance of the status quo.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBozorg

Happy New Year!

And Samuel, please move to Iran. The government is in dire need of support right now!

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAZ

To second the emotion, happy New Year to all.


I don't recall ever being very positive about Ahmadinejad with the only exception being the fact that he is not corrupt at all. The man lives pretty much the way he did when the only people who knew him were probably related to him.

It is not that Larijani is going to "save" anything only to point out that the factions who support the revolution are putting aside idiotic personal feuds to confront the MKO/green radicals.

I have said that there were free and fair elections in Iran. How else did a man named Khatami become president and then reelected without the Supreme Leader, the Pasdaran or the Basij touching a single hair on that well groomed head?

Elections in Iran have always had certain lines that could not be crossed. The MKO/green movement ran with the intent of overthrowing the revolution, a counterrevolutionary project, if you will, disguised as a democratic political campaign.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel


The government of Iran has a LOT more support than you believe.

If the footage of the huge rallies aren't put out on the usual suspects news, then it doesn't mean they didn't happen!

There were MILLIONS yesterday.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAli


"And Samuel, please move to Iran. The government is in dire need of support right now!"

I certainly will now that I know that the food is so delicious and so FREE. AND CAKE!!! Who doesn't like cake?? Wasn't it AN who said "let them eat cake"?? I am still waiting for Chef Bozorg to provide those special recipes.

December 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>