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The Latest on Iran (29 December): A Desperate Swing of the Fist

ASHURA71930 GMT: Kill Them. Abbas Vaez-Tabasi, a member of the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts has declared on state television, "Those who are behind the current sedition in the country ... are mohareb (enemies of God) and the law is very clear about punishment of a mohareb [execution]."

Today's Show of Support for the Regime? If you believe Peyke Iran, it wasn't much. The website reports that residents in Rasht ridiculed a demonstration of 300 plainclothes Basijis chanting slogans for the execution of reformists like Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mohammad Khatami, and Mehdi Karroubi.

1850 GMT: Javan Farda reports that Shiraz University was closed today.

1845 GMT: The Arrests Move Higher. Government forces have arrested Mir Hossein Mousavi's chief aide Alireza Beheshti. Beheshti, the son of one of Iran's most commemorated martyrs, Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, was also detained briefly in September when the regime tried to disrupt preparations for Qods Day demonstrations.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Today’s University Protest (29 December)
NEW Iran: A List of the Ashura Detainees
NEW Iran: The Regime's Fightback?
Latest Iran Video: Obama Condemns “Violent & Unjust Suppression” (28 December)
Iran: Ashura’s Message “Iranians Are Not Punching Bags” (Josh Shahryar)
Iran: A Point of No Return?
The Latest from Iran (28 December): The Regime’s Arresting Strategy

1830 GMT: The Karroubi Family Speaks Out (Cont.): Mehdi Karroubi's son Taghi has added to the criticisms by Karroubi's wife and son Hossein of regime restrictions on his father. He said that Government-provided security has stopped protecting Karroubi when he leaves the house. This is effectively a ''quasi-house arrest'.'

Karroubi's car was attacked on Saturday by assailants.

1815 GMT: Attacks on the Clerics. Ayatollah Sane'i now appears to be a primary target of the regime: assaults on his offices by plainclothes men have been reported in Tehran, Mashhad, Kerman, Sari, Gorgan, and Shiraz.

Attacks in Shiraz on the Qoba Mosque and the residence of Ayatollah Dastghaib have also been reported.

1730 GMT: "Western" Media and the Green Movement. A reporter from The Times of London has asked us to clarify our opening update (0710 GMT). While we mentioned the newspaper as part of "a chorus of affirmation that this opposition is on the point of victory", he/she wants to make clear that it should not be included in our preceding reference that "most of [the Western media] had written off the opposition only a month ago".

1720 GMT: The Elm-o-Sanat Protest. We've posted three clips from today's demonstration at Elm-o-Sanat University in Tehran. Gooya reports that more than 10 students were injured in clashes with security forces.

1650 GMT: Mahmoud Speaks. President Ahmadinejad has surfaced to comment on the Ashura protests: "The Iranian nation has seen a lot of such masquerades. A Zionist (Israeli), and American ordered [nauseating] masquerade."

1645 GMT: The Karroubi Family Protests. Back from a break to find that the family of Mehdi Karroubi striking out at Government restrictions. Karroubi's son Hossein has announced that his father is “partially imprisoned” because security personnel refuse to cooperate with him. Karroubi's wife Fatemeh writes that her family has been threatened by “nightly attacks of arbitrary forces” She says that she will hold the government responsible for any incident that may affect members of her family.

1225 GMT: Reading Iran from the US. We've just posted the analysis of Karim Sadjadpour and Trita Parsi of the Ashura protests on the Public Broadcasting Service.

1224 GMT: Reports that journalist Nasrin Vaziri, who works for ILNA and Khabar Online, has been arrested.

1214 GMT: Tehran's Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi said that seven people were killed in Ashura clashes (which is kind of strange, since the official line on Monday was that 10 "terrorists" had been slain).

1210 GMT: Here Come the Guards. The Revolutionary Guard jump into the regime's fightback against the Ashura protests: "The...foreign media...has staged a psychological war. Trying to overthrow the system will reach nowhere...designers of the unrest will soon pay the cost of their insolence...The opposition, which has joined hands with the foreign media, is backed by foreign enemies."

1205 GMT: Only a matter of time before this "analysis" was attempted --- the editor of Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmardari, has accused Mir Hossein Mousavi of planning the assassination of his nephew.

1155 GMT: Report coming in that Reza Tajik, journalist and religious activist, was arrested today in front of the Etemaad newspaper Building. Photojournaist Sam Mahmoudi has also reportedly been arrested.

Another activist reports that Dr. Housein Mousavian, a member of the National Front, has been arrested.

1120 GMT: Did Trees Have to Die for This? A Mr Will Heaven seeks his 15 seconds of attention with this blotting of the pages of The Daily Telegraph, "Iran and Twitter". I have more important things to do, such as using Twitter as a portal to keep up with and report on the latest developments inside Iran, so let me respond Tweet-style:

@WillHeaven: U know nothing of #Twitter, #IranElection, or #Iran (& u rip off #Salon, who tried this shtick last week)

1115 GMT: We have posted a list of Ashura detainees, compiled by Tehran Bureau's Muhammad Sahimi last night before the latest reports of arrests.

1040 GMT: Arrest Them All. The latest detainees include journalist Mohammad Javad Saberi and Shahpour Kazemi, the brother of Mir Hossein Mousavi's wife Zahra Rahnavard. Kazemi was detained for months earlier in the crisis before his release in the autumn.

Journalists Badrosadat Mofidi, Nasrin Vaziri, and Keyvan Mehregan have also been detained.

1020 GMT: Ali Larijani --- No Compromise. Speaker of Parliament Larijani, commenting on the Ashura protests, has told lawmakers that officials should "arrest offenders of the religion and mete out harshest punishments to such anti-revolutionary figures with no mercy".

The rhetoric isn't significant: it matches that coming from pro-regime media and "hard-line" MPs (see 0850 GMT). The political symbolism is: Larijani --- who has clashed with President Ahmadinejad throughout this crisis and was reportedly involved in the discussion of a National Unity Plan ---is now declaring that confrontation takes priority over any attempt at a negotiated resolution.

And he is doing so even as the Supreme Leader (is Larijani serving here as a spokesman for Khamenei?) and Ahmadinejad remain publicly silent.

0850 GMT: "Cut Off Their Hands". Scattered hard-line noises out of Iran's Parliament. Mohammad Karamirad, a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said that the committee will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss the Ashura protests. Security officials from the Interior Ministry, the Intelligence Ministry, and the police will be invited.

Don't be fooled that this is an impartial enquiry into the demonstrations, however. Karamirad declared, "Rioters who took to streets are challenging the very foundations of the ruling system....They insult Islamic beliefs, and it is our duty to cut off the hands behind such seditious acts and bring an end to the events that endanger the safety and security of the people." He also called on Iran's judiciary to prosecute the leaders of the protests.

Hossein Sobhaninia, another member of the committee, joined that call. He said that events, in which the sanctities of Islam were disrespected and government officials were insulted, would not end if the judiciary did not deal with the seditious acts.

750 GMT: Which Way Forward? Following up on our snap 5-point analysis of the significance of the Ashura protests, an EA reader directs us to the thoughts of Ebrahim Nabavi in Rah-e-Sabz. Nabavi searches for a positive outcome to the conflict, advising the opposition to leave enough space for the regime to prevent a fierce confrontation.

0710 GMT: We begin this morning with a summary and analysis of the Government's attempt to restore some credibility through the rather crude tactic of arresting lots of people it does not like or trust. One of the latest names to emerge is Nushin Ebadi, the sister of the Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi.

Meanwhile, it is stunning how the Western media --- most of whom had written off the opposition only a month ago --- are now a chorus of affirmation that this opposition is on the point of victory. The Times of London proclaims "the tipping point of revolution". Abbas Milani in The Wall Street Journal announces "The Tipping Point in Iran". (Note to EA readers: if we ever use "tipping point" in an analysis, pull us aside for a journalistic flogging for the crime Resorting to Overused Cliche.) The Washington Post has the variant of "Iran's Turning Point". The New York Times offers support through an editorial denouncing "Iran's War on Its People".


Latest Iran Video: Warning and Protest (29 December)

Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani: "Imprisonment of Infidels"


Elm-O-Sanat University, Tehran "Clashes with Basiji"


The Latest on Iran (29 December): A Desperate Swing of the Fist
UPDATED Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27/28 December — 3rd Set)

Elm-o-Sanat University, Tehran






Latest Iran Video: Parsi & Sadjadpour on The Meaning of Ashura Protests


The Latest on Iran (29 December): A Desperate Swing of the Fist

Iran: A List of the Ashura Detainees

IRAN GREENMuhammad Sahimi of Tehran Bureau posted this list last evening, before the reports of the arrests that we have confirmed this morning in our LiveBlog:

Haleh Sahabi, a daughter of Ezatollah Sahabi, leader of the Nationalist-Religious Coalition; she had also been arrested after the rigged June 12 presidential election;

Mohammad Taheri, a son of Ayatollah Seyyed Jalaloddin Taheri, a progressive cleric and close friend of the late Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri;

The Latest on Iran (29 December): A Desperate Swing of the Fist

Mohammad Moein, a son of Dr. Mostafa Moein, former Minister of Science and Research in the administration of Mohammad Khatami, a former Majles deputy, and a reformist candidate in the 2005 presidential election;

Habibollah Nouri, a brother of Abdollah Nouri, Khatami's Interior Minister and an outspoken reformist. In addition, his son Reza and nephew Mehdi have also been arrested, all in Isfahan, where it is estimated that up to 500 people were arrested yesterday.

Leila Tavassoli, a daughter of Mohammad Tavassoli, a leading figure of the Freedom Movement, a reformist group, and Tehran's first Mayor after the 1979 Revolution. Tavassoli is a niece of Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi, the leader of the Freedom Movement.

In addition to these arrests, Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew, Seyyed Ali Mousavi Habibi, was shot dead on Ashura. Reports indicate that he had been threatened for several days prior to this religious holiday. His body was snatched by a security agent from Ibn Sina hospital and transferred to an unknown location.

Among the journalists arrested were:

Mostafa Izadi, who worked for the reformist daily Etemad [trust]. He was the founder and managing editor of Ava [sound], a reformist publication from 1997-2000. It was closed by the hardliners for "propagating [Grand Ayatollah] Montazeri's thinking." He has also published a book about Grand Ayatollah Montazeri.

Dr. Alireza Beheshti, the managing editor of Kalame [word], Mousavi's official site. He is a son of Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Beheshti, a close aide of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the first judiciary chief after the 1979 Revolution killed in a bomb blast in June 1981. [Important Correction: It is not Alireza Beheshti, the close aide to Mir Hossein Mousavi and the son of Ayatollah Beheshti, who were reportedly detained. It is Alireza Beheshti Shirazi, who is the managing editor of Kalemeh.]

Emad Baghi, the distinguished investigative journalist and head of the Society for the Defense of the Rights of the Imprisoned. He has already been jailed twice in the past. When he was arrested at his home today, he told his family that, "he would be strong in jail, and resist pressure [by hardliners]." The security agent arresting him reportedly responded that "He [Baghi] will not live that long to resist."

The university activists arrested include,

Dr. Mohammad Sadegh Rabbani, a retired chemistry professor at the University of Tehran, who was active in human rights issues;

Hashmatollah Tabarzadi, a university activist who has spent an aggregate of seven years in jail;

Mehdi Arabshahi, Secretary General of Daftar-e Tahkim Vahdat [Office for Consolidation of Unity (OCU)], Iran's most important organization for university students;

Rashid Esmaili, a member of the central committee of the OCU;

Reza Nikookar and Mehdi Ebrahimi, two university activists at Sari University [in northern Iran], and

Twenty five university activists at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad [in northeastern Iran]; it is not even clear where they have been taken.

These are in addition to Majid Tavakoli and Milad Asadi, two well-known university activists who were arrested after large demonstrations on 16 Azar (December 7), Iran's Student Day. In addition, Salman Sima, Mehrdad Bozorg, and Kouhzad Esmaili, members of Advar-e Tahkim [an organization representing the graduates of the OCU] had been arrested a short time earlier. The president of Advar, journalist Dr. Ahmad Zeidabadi, and Abdollahh Momeni, a former president of the organization, have been languishing in jail for months.

Of those arrested, the following represent the second layer of leadership of the Green Movement (they are close aides and senior advisers to Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami):

Morteza Haji, former minister of education in the second Khatami administration, and head of BARAN, the NGO that Khatami established for promoting dialogue;

Reza Rasouli, deputy to Haji;

Ghorban Behzadinejad, Mousavi's campaign manager;

Mohammad Bagherian, a senior aide to Mousavi;

Ali Forouzandeh, Mousavi's Chief of Staff;

Dr. Ebrahimi Yazdi, leader of the reformist Freedom Movement, who was also arrested for three days after the June election as well;

Abolfazl Ghadyani, a member of the central committee of the Islamic Revolution Mojahedin Organization (one of the most important reformist groups), who was also active against Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi before the 1979 Revolution;

Seyyed Abolfazl Mousavian, Secretary General of the Association of Teachers and Researchers of Qom, a reformist clerical organization.

Reports indicate that security agents had gone to the home of Mohsen Armin, the spokesman for the Islamic Revolution Mojahedin Organization, to arrest him, but he was not home. So his arrest appears to be imminent.

Even family members of those who lost their lives to political violence have not been immune from arrest. Zohreh Tonekaboni, Mahin Fahmini and her son Omid Montazeri have been arrested. Both women have been active in the Mothers for Peace group, an NGO for mothers who have lost children as a result of political violence or war.


UPDATED Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27/28 December --- 3rd Set)

Attack on Protest (27 December)


Police Car Running Over Protester (27 December)


The Latest from Iran (28 December): The Regime’s Arresting Strategy
Latest Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27 December — 2nd Set)
Latest Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27 December — 1st Set)
Latest Iran Video: Attack on Jamaran Memorial/Khatami Speech (26 December)
Latest Iran Video: Eve of Ashura Protests (26 December — The Jamaran Videos)
Latest Iran Video: The Eve of Ashura Protests (26 December)

The Latest from Iran (27 December): The Day of Ashura

Fighting the Anti-Riot Squad (27 December)


Hashemi Rafsanjani's Daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, at Protest (27 December)

Valiasr Square, Tehran (28 December)




Tehran At Night


Violent clashes between protesters and security forces


Security officer arrested and "treated nicely by the people"


Protestors attack and overturn a police vehicle


Pushing Back Security Forces


"Hey You Dictator - Tehran has become Karballa because of you"


Khatami Among The Crowds


Tonight's Chants in Tehran


Opposite Amir Kabir University


Clashes with Basiji Filming People


Freeing Protesters from a Police Van


Death of a Protester (Mir Hossein Mousavi's Nephew?)




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