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The Latest from Iran (7 December): The Marches of 16 Azar

16 AZAR POSTER52150 GMT: To end the day, we've posted a review by Josh Shahryar of the day's events.

2100 GMT: The Assault on Zahra Rahnavard. More on the alleged attack on Mir Hossein Mousavi's wife this afternoon at Tehran University: Persian2English has an English summary.

NEW Iran’s 16 Azar: A Review of the Day’s Events Throughout the Country
NEW Latest Iran Video: The Marches of 16 Azar – 2nd Set (7 December)
NEW Iran’s 16 Azar Protests: An Interim Analysis & Questions for the Green Movement
NEW Latest Iran Video: The Marches of 16 Azar (7 December)
NEW 16 Azar Opinion: “Iran’s Voice Will Be Heard”
NEW 16 Azar Special: A Letter from Inside Iran
Latest Iran Videos: The Eve of 16 Azar “Allahu Akhbar” and “Death to Dictator” Chants (6 December)
Iran Opinion: “Why The Green Movement Will Prevail”
Latest Iran Videos: The Eve of 16 Azar “Allahu Akhbar” Chants (6 December)
Iran Document: Mousavi Statement on 16 Azar and the Student Movement (6 December)
Iran Document: The Rafsanjani Speech to Students (6 December)
Iran: Routes and Information for 16 Azar (7 December)
Iran’s Critical Moment: 24 Hours to Go

2055 GMT: Britain Leads, Will US Follow? British Foreign Minister David Miliband has taken notice of today's events in a statement:

I share the concern of many people about the use of force to stifle demonstrations on Students' Day. This follows the large scale abuses of human rights that have taken place since the presidential elections on 12 June.

Freedom of speech and freedom of political expression are fundamental values which all governments should respect. We look to the Iranian authorities to up-hold the freedoms of their own citizens, not stifle them.

Will Britain's allies in Washington also issue a declaration of concern over "human rights"?

1935 GMT: Mediawatch. Hat-tip to The New York Times, with reporters Nazila Fathi (from Toronto) and Robert Worth (from Beirut) providing a good overview of the events today.

And a thumbs-down to The Daily Telegraph for unnecessarily provocative "news". Even if the claim that police fired "warning shots" is true, the headline, "Iranian police shoot at unarmed protesters during Tehran demonstrations", is a distortion beyond accuracy and common sense.

1925 GMT: Kalemeh, the website associated with Mir Hossein Mousavi, is reporting that Mousavi's wife Zahra Rahnavard, a faculty member at Tehran University, was physically attacked by a group of unknown women on the campus.

1910 GMT: Press TV Politics. Looks like those at the state outlet who are not so anti-opposition have tinkered with the coverage of today's events. The opening paragraph of the story that we reported earlier (1730 GMT) emphasized that the National Student Day had been "hijacked" by "anti-government demonstrations...foiled thanks to the presence of anti-riot forces".

This is the less provocative update: "Authorities on Monday arrested a number of people who damaged public property as opposition protesters and students staged rallies on Student Day in Iran, reports say."

1900 GMT: Back from an academic break. Thanks to TN McLaughlin for keeping an eye on developments. Just catching up with latest news.

1730 GMT: We've just posted the latest videos from Tabriz and and Najaf Abad universities at our latest video page.

1700 GMT: Scott Lucas "has left the building" for a couple of hours and the site is being watched over by EA's new team member, TN McLaughlin.

1633 GMT: Urgent --- Tavakoli Detention. An EA contact confirms the arrest today of Majid Tavakoli, a leader of the Amir Kabir University student movement. Tavakoli was also arrested and injured in detention in 2007.

1623 GMT: More from an EA source inside Iran:
I'm gonna check the streets, Haft-e Tir, and Ferdowsi before going home!

Right now I am getting this news from the students at the University of Tehran. People are pouring into the streets gradually as they are leaving their work, and more protesters are going to Enghelab Sq. Students leaving the university and ordinary people ARE joining them!

1615 GMT: Must-See Story of Day. It comes from none other than Iranian state media Press TV, who have summarised the significance of 16 Azar:
Students in Iran gathered to commemorate the national Student Day as reports suggest a number of anti-government protesters have attempted to hijack the occasion....

The occasion...provided opposition protesters with an opportunity to stage anti-government demonstrations. However, their efforts were foiled thanks to the presence of anti-riot forces in several parts of the capital....

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that police arrested a number of the rioters who set on fire trash bins. The news agency added that a group of rioters wearing green clothes destroyed the Amir Kabir University's entrance gate on Vali Asr street and attacked the students inside the campus. The rioters, IRNA said, also tore down the security station inside the university. They also threw rocks at a bank on campus. The report added that students in return chanted slogans, calling the rioters "traitors."

We have written Press TV to confirm who and where were the students who protested for the Government today, rather than "hijacking" the occasion. So far, no reply.

1555 GMT: Was Rafsanjani's Daughter at Rally Today? Chatter has persisted throughout the day that Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and a prominent activist, was at a university rally in Tehran. We've posted video which claims to be of Hashemi today.

1545 GMT: Curious. One of the most active sites in the post-election discussion, Revolutionary Road, has disappeared.

1510 GMT: Leaders Who Have Spoken (Kind Of): The one prominent Green Movement figure who is in the media today is Mehdi Karroubi, but it is in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, carried out before 16 Azar. The soundbites, as put out by Agence France Presse, are pretty bland and point towards the theme of "unity":
The solution to arrive at reconciliation is tolerance and acceptance of criticism. We need to work to restore the trust between the authorities and the people. Repression is not at all the solution, neither today nor tomorrow.

Mir Hossein Mousavi's intervention is with an Iranian website, his own Kalemeh, condemning the authorities:
You fight people on the streets, but you are constantly losing your dignity in people’s minds. Even if you silence all the universities, what are you going to do with the society?

1500 GMT: Observations That Make You Go Hmmm.... "No major reformist leader was present during the protests."

1410 GMT: Add Khaje Nasir and possibly Hamedan Universities to the list of locations of protests. Hamedan has been largely free of protests up to now.

One interesting notes: demonstrators in clips in our videos have been waving Iranian flags stripped of the Islamic "coat of arms" in the centre.

1330 GMT: We've just posted a second set of videos of demonstrations from across Iran. Meanwhile, there is confirmation of protests at Azad University in Tehran and Azad University in Arak City.

1250 GMT: Protests in Isfahan confirmed.

1245 GMT: First pictures of large gatherings outside the Universities:




1220 GMT: Protest at Kermanshah University is now confirmed. Heavy clashes near Tehran University, with reports of beatings.

1210 GMT: We've posted an interim analysis from our Mr Smith, asking a couple of important questions about today's protests.

1205 GMT: More from our inside source in Tehran (see 1145 GMT):
All Radios are blocked, and there is no internet connection around University of Tehran.

At the beginning of the Taleghani St. there were - and still are - at least 10 totally BLACK buses and vans, and some vehicles that carried the guard-rails in order to block the streets, but the Buses are not EMPTY! They are full of riot forces! And there is a special van right in front of the eastern gate of the uni full of women commandos to catch the women [protesters.

1200 GMT: A picture has been posted of the demonstration at the Iran University of Science and Technology.

1145 GMT: This in from a source inside Iran:
I've been at University of Tehran since 8:00 this morning and so far there were
only a handful of clashes between the students and security forces.

University of Tehran, UNDER HEAVY CONTROL: The plain cloths forces are in the university and are controlling all gates of the University. The Uni of THR is surrounded by the security forces. They are at all the streets close to the Uni of THR, Enghelab Sq., Qods St., Vesal and Taleghani St.

There are a bunch of at least 50 security forces at every corner of all junctions close to Uni. The Valiasr-Taleghani, Vesal-Taleghani, Enghelab Valiasr Junctions. The Traffic Police doesn’t allow any car to stop even for a second in Valiasr and Taleghani St.

Student of the Uni of THR gathered in front of the Western Gate of the Uni and were chanting "Death to Khameneie and Death to Dictator", where security police attacked them and spread them soon. Uni of THR is under HEAVY control and the Plain Cloths forces with their radios are controlling every gate of the Uni.

1120 GMT: First picture of protest at Elm-o-Sanat University.

1105 GMT: Take That! Al Jazeera English, which has been struggling to report from Iran, just led with video of the Tehran University demonstration and the voiceover, "The Pictures the Government Didn't Want You to See".

1100 GMT: Confirmed. Tear gas used in at least two locations in Tehran.

And pictures are up indicating the size of the gathering at Sharif University.

1055 GMT: Catching Up with Protests. After posting a series of videos, here is our view: Protests in Tehran at Tehran Uni, Amir Kabir University, Sharif University, with clashes at Vali-e Asr. Protests outside Tehran at Mashhad University and Shiraz University, although the latter appears to be relatively small (100s rather than 1000s) at this point.

1015 GMT: This in from an EA correspondent with excellent links inside Iran:

"The number of students is increasing by the minute. There are a great number of plainclothes officers present at this rally. Through raising their hands and giving the victory sign, and by presenting the symbols of the green movement, the students are circulating in and around the university.

The chants are 'Down with the Demagogues', 'Mahmoud the traitor, You have destroyed us and the soil of this country, You have killed the country's youth, God is Great, God is Great…'

There are clashes between students and guards standing outside of the university at Vali-Asr. Some photographers and cameraman are taking pictures and filming in order to identify the students. According to the news, there are buses parked at the Somaie Park Street to transfer the arrested students.

There is an organized group of Basijis moving towards the Vali-asr gate. This group includes plain-clothes officers and a small number of university Basij and has clashed with green students."

1005 GMT: Claimed picture of gathering at Amir Kabir University


0949 GMT: First article from a major US newspaper (as opposed to wire service report) --- Borzou Daragahi in the Los Angeles Times, "Students, security forces face off in Tehran".

0945 GMT: We are treating this report, from Josh Shahryar, as confirmed. Two women have been arrested near Tehran University, while 30 buses have brought security forces to the area.

0940 GMT: Unconfirmed but Important? We are being flooded with reports, from good sources, which we are trying to verify. Here goes:

Students gathering in large numbers at Amir Kabir University in Tehran, possibly clashing with security forces, and at Tehran University. 1000 students at Shiraz University.

Clashes at Enghelab Square near Tehran University. Chants of "Mousavi is an excuse, the entire regime is the target".

0935 GMT: We've posted the first videos of the day, the gathering of students at Sharif University in Tehran.

0855 GMT: The First Reliable Snapshot? Rah-e-Sabz, the reformist website, reports that all quiet so far in Tehran with no violence. Cellphones have been cut off.

0845 GMT: Reza Sayah of CNN, from a source: "Pockets of crowds chanting 'God is Great' along Revolution [Enghelab] Ave near Tehran University".

0825 GMT: Reports are coming in of clashes and "beatings" by security forces, both via Twitter and ePersian Radio.

In other post-June marches, there has been a pattern where these reports emerge early in the day. On occasions, they have proven to be true; on others (such as the gathering in front of the Iranian Parliament in June), they have been exaggerated.

So, for now, we are treating all of these as unconfirmed and will not post until we have reliable source for confirmation.

0815 GMT: Report - "School of Veterinary Studies on Gharib Street, Tehran also surrounded and occupied by police"

0755 GMT: Report - sounds of protest being heard from inside Sharif University in Tehran.

0735 GMT: Report that Tabriz University surrounded by security.

0730 GMT: More photos appear to verify the security presence around Tehran University.

0725 GMT: Going to Be a Long Day. With the security clampdown around Tehran University, protest routes have been revised. The first "official" marches will begin about 3 p.m. local time (1130 GMT).

0715 GMT: First photo from today in Tehran, if authentic, verifies the security presence around Tehran University (see 0600 GMT). There are forces on motorcyles and a white screen to prevent people from outside seeing into the University.


0700 GMT: "Modarres Highway and the Abbas Abad and North Mofatteh intersections have been quiet. Motorcyclists and plain-clothes officers can be seen in the surrounding streets."

0635 GMT: Reuters is the first "Western" media outlet to pick up on today's events: "Iranian police surround university to prevent protest".

Reports that G-mail, Ultrasurf, and Freegate are NOT working inside Iran.

0630 GMT: "The situation around Karim Khan Bridge is normal, and no one has so far witnessed the security forces and the anti-riot police in large numbers. However, the presence of plain-clothes officers has been quite noticeable."

0615 GMT: Mediawatch. CNN International TV has run a 60-second overview "Dissent in Iran", with the country "bracing for more student protests" and a Government crack-down. Don't expect much soon from the station, however, as it is struggling for information and sources; its Twitter feed declares, "Monitoring all information from Iran today on possble protests but being very careful as there"s confusion about."

The BBC has issued an open call for information from anyone inside Iran.

Andrew Sullivan, who provided excellent live-blog coverage early in the crisis, has promised to return today, but as he is writing from the US, his "Daily Dish" will swing into action around 1200 GMT.

0600 GMT: We're preparing for the day. A full English translation of Mir Hossein Mousavi's statement on 16 Azar and the student movement will soon be posted, there is video of last night's rooftop "Allahu Akhbar" protests, and we have published a letter from an Iranian who recently returned to the country. We also have an analysis of the significance of today's event and an opinion from Iran News Now, "Why the Green Movement Will Prevail".

First reports indicate "all sidewalks around Tehran University occupied by security forces and main gates covered by scaffold"; Sharif University also said to be surrounded by security. There is a report of "Basij militia and plain-clothes officers concentrated around the following streets: Fatemi, Karagar, and Enghelab". Internet traiffic is very slow"

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Reader Comments (44)

[...] برچسب زده شده با:16, 16 آذر, آذر, اخبار لحظه ای 16 آذر [...]

gmail, Freegate, and Ultrasurf are NOT working, not "Now" working.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterIranRiggedElect

An article in yesterdays Washington Post about the rift between Iranian leaders about handling the protests

@Scott and others at EA: thank you for keeping us so well informed. I hope for a succesfull day for the greens with not too much violence!

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNelly

[...] enduringamerica [...]

[...] Live-Blogging bei enduring america Veröffentlicht in News, Vor Ort. Schlagworte: Bassidji, Demonstrationen, Iran, Proteste, Studeneten, Teheran. Kommentar schreiben » [...]

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTeheran, 7. Dezember « F

live report from Iran on is ongoing. People are calling from the protest and are gving report. CNN is with epersian radio.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMegan


Belated thanks for picking up the unfortunate typo. Thanks as well for all your reporting,


December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

Here is the coolest chant from today: Mousavi is the excuse, our aim (target) is the regime

And here is another one: voice of our nation, separation of state and religion

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

[...] Thomas v. der Osten-Sacken Wie immer mit ein er zeitnahen Berichterstattung und Live Updates: Endurinamerica und Planet-Iran. Veröffentlicht in News. Kommentar schreiben [...]

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterUpdates aus dem Iran « F

The BBC is there in spirit if not in the flesh:

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

[...] via enduring america [...]

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDer neueste Slogan! « FR

1105 GMT: Take That! Al Jazeera English, which has been struggling to report from Iran, just led with video of the Tehran University demonstration and the voiceover, “The Pictures the Government Didn’t Want You to See”.

thankyou that would be me that put that on air!

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter@mojonojo3

Heads up there are unconfirmed reports of 50 military personnel arrested at Qom airbase for supporting the opposition.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Translations of slogans heard in/near Tehran universities so far today, courtesy of the Persian2English blog:

Counter-insurgency police/ Go Wash Ahmadinejad (this funny slogan rhymes in Farsi and it is reckoning of how “dirty” Ahmadinejad is that he has to be “washed”-Translator’s note).

Khamenei is a murderer/ his rule is void

Support of Torture / Disgrace on this leader (i.e. Khamenei – Translator’s note).

O, You Liar Basiji / Where is your Student ID?

Are not Gaza and Lebanon, enough? / They are also going after Yemen (a note of Islamic Republic’s aid to Shia militants in Yemen-Translator’s note).

The Slogan of our nation (is) / Religion separate from politics

Student is awake / s/he hates the dictator

Mousavi is only an excuse / the whole regime is in our target

Don't be scared, don't be scared / we are all in this together

Free Political Prisoners

Death to Khamenei

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Just giving a quick update and going back to demos
- Heavy battles are going on around Tehran University. All gates are closed and many students are stuck there. The traffic is stand still around the Uni. The area is full of Plain cloth forces.

There has been a shooting around Sharif university, which I heard it myself. There is an un-confirmed report from a hospital, saying three people have been shot.

for the past two days, the nightly demonstration on roofs were going on, in spite of heavy rain. My neighbor who is a 70 year old lady, in chador, who has come from a small village near Babol, joined us last night for nightly demo. She is religious, but she prayed to have the chance of experiencing the fall of this regime.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlborz

Our people are amazing; they are brave , clever, intelligent, brillant;
We are so proud of you ; We love you !!
As soon as, our turn will begin, less dangerous than yours of course, but it's in solidarity with you, on the place of Sorbonne in Paris 5 !!
Inshallah bezoudi dar Iran !! zendeh bad Iran va mardomeh an !! VIVA !!!!!!!

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterange paris

So it appears that the regime has simply accepted that the Universities are going to be centers of protest against the regime. That is substantial, as Gene Sharpe might point out, they are clearing space for dissent, which would have been unimaginable a year ago.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Scott, I think we should be very careful what we report. I've been hearing about this anti-Mousavi slogan and I have to say it sounds all too fishy to be true. Most of these tweets are not from Iran. Quite a lot of them are Iranians on the outside and some tiny minority of them have an agenda of their own. MEK has been doubling their effort to post misinformation in order to further radicalize the populace inside Iran.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnhtony

Per twitter, Safir news confirms rumor of police unit(s?) moving against plain clothes Basij.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDM

Re: Your message to PressTV Where are the students protesting FOR the government. I'd imagine they are in the same secret location as the 63% who voted for Ahmadinejad, ;)

It seems as though today's protests weren't as limited as originally thought. I have fallen into this trap several times, where I am disappointed with the protest turnout early in the day because I am forgetting that this is not real time footage... the regime has banned all journalists from the streets of Tehran, so everything is hours delayed and only roughly caught by cell phone cameras. Then later in the day I realize that the protests were not only more successful than I'd thought earlier, but even more successful than I'd imagined they would be before the day.
Today seems to be the same story. In particular it sounds as if in the last few hours the protests have spread further outside the universities. The fact that the regime has resigned itself to allowing mass protests INSIDE the universities is a major unsung breakthrough in itself.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Saeed Valadbeygi (revolutionary road blog) and his group are active at these urls:

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterIranRiggedElect

Another important breakthrough that many may have overlooked. In the past it was known early that there were protests in Tehran, but it was unclear whether there were protests in other cities. Today there was absolutely no doubt from the beginning of the protests taking place across the nation.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

We are all with you in your fight for democracy and a better Iran

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertega

[...] who are interested might want to check out this liveblog at Enduring America. December 7th, 2009 | Category: [...]

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStudents’ Day Protests i

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