Iraj Fazel, a prominent surgeon and academic, wrote, “Why are our dear university students and girls and boys with pure thoughts and concerns being viciously attacked without reason and being thrown into dungeons? Why should a nation that is still showing signs of fatigue from a great revolution have so many political prisoners?”
2015 GMT: The Tehran Demonstrations Today. Persian2English has published a detailed account, translated from the version offered by Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran, of the protests in Toopkhaneh Square. An extract:
People started shouting: “Allah is great,” “Death to Dictator,” and “Release political prisoners.” The police started coming toward the people again and stopped them, forcing them to change their route.
Plainclothes forces moved around the people to identify youth who were shouting slogans against Khamenei. There was a 16 year old among the people who kept on saying: “Death to our leader, Khamenei; shall he perish” and people responded with a loud voice, “Amen.” One of the plainclothes forces approached him slowly, without other people noticing, and grabbed his hand as if he was going to arrest him, but a number of women started noticing, and saved him.
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The plainclothes man kept shouting and asked other plainclothes forces to go after the teen because he had slandered the Leader. Then a number of youth attacked one of the plainclothes forces. The plainclothes force picked up a bar and started beating the youth. Women stood up against him and did not let him continue beating the youth. Plainclothes forces had electrical batons hiding under their clothes.
Whenever they felt threatened, they brought it out and attacked the people. People were dispersed, but eventually united again. At 3:55 pm, the youth started gathering in Toop-Khane Square and shouted slogans like “Allah is Great,” “Today is a day of mourning, our green nation of Iran is mourning today.”
Drivers, even Vahed Bus Drivers and private cars supported people by honking their horns. Motor bike forces attacked people with batons and tear gas. Around 4:00pm, plainclothes forces, police, and even guard forces gathered around Toop-Khane Square and ordered shopkeepers to close down their shops.
1815 GMT: Video is now emerging of today's demonstrations in Zanjan.
1730 GMT: The Investigation of the Election. Groups supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have issued a 170-page report on the conduct of the Presidential election in June.
1715 GMT: The Battle over the Memorials. HomyLafayette offers some additional information on the contest between mourners/protesters and the regime over the memorials for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. He notes, for example:
On Tuesday, Ayatollah Khorasani managed to organize a ceremony at Kashan's Shamkhi Mosque, but in order to overcome security measures, the hour and location were announced at the last moment. The next day, another larger event was organized at the city's Hossein Mosque, but this time the regime's forces were forewarned. Attendants who arrived at the mosque saw [a] banner hoisted over the entrance.
The banner reads, "According to an announcement of the Supreme National Security Council, any gathering for Mr. Montazeri is forbidden anywhere in the country except in Ghom and Najafabad."
1700 GMT: Back from a holiday break to post the video from today's demonstrations in Tehran.
1340 GMT: Season's Greetings, Iranian People (Here's a Bomb for You). Amidst the wealth of attention now being given by "Western" media to the protests in Iran, a horrific display of journalism in The New York Times today: the newspaper handed over a large space on its opinion page to Alan Kuperman, "Director of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program" at the University of Texas. And how was that space used?
Negotiation to prevent nuclear proliferation is always preferable to military action. But in the face of failed diplomacy, eschewing force is tantamount to appeasement. We have reached the point where air strikes are the only plausible option with any prospect of preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Postponing military action merely provides Iran a window to expand, disperse and harden its nuclear facilities against attack. The sooner the United States takes action, the better.
I can't be bothered to run through the flaws, holes, and leaps of illogic in Kuperman's narrative on the nuclear issue --- Marc Lynch suitably summarises, "Truly awful: shoddy reasoning, thin evidence. B- undergraduate paper". Instead, let's just note Kuperman's blithe assertion: "As for the risk of military strikes undermining Iran’s opposition, history suggests that the effect would be temporary."
And let's put Kuperman aside and address the editors of The Times: next time you claim to have concern and respect for the views of the "Iranian people", remember that your concern and respect extended to letting an ill-informed "analyst" advocate US bombing in which those people (if they were
noticed at all) are expendable.
1320 GMT: The Zanjan Memorial. It appears that the authorities have been successful in banning the memorial for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, to be led by Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani, in Zanjan. The chatter is that the memorial will now be at 8 p.m. local time (1630 GMT) in Bayat-Zanjani's home.
1300 GMT: Tehran Demonstration. Activists report about 2000 people have gathered at Toopkhaneh Square in Tehran, watched by anti-riot and plainclothes forces. The crowd is chanting, "Death to the Dictator", "Political prisoners must be freed", and "Death to Khamenei".
1230 GMT: The Isfahan Events. A video has been posted of the reflections of Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri, who was supposed to give the memorial service for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri in Isfahan yesterday, on the cancellation of the memorial and the subsequent clashes.
1210 GMT: The Arts Council Fallout. A second member of the board of the Iran Arts Academy, Mohammad Mehdi Heidarian, has resigned in protest over the dismissal of Mir Hossein Mousavi as President. Heidarian was Vice-Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance in the Khatami Government.
1010 GMT: Six Years for Ramezanzadeh. Fars News is now confirming reports from yesterday that Abdullah Ramezanzadeh, the former spokesman for President Mohammad Khatami, has been sentenced to six years in jail for acting against national security and propaganda against the Islamic system.
1000 GMT: Protest and Harassment in France. An EA reader sends us news of the alleged detention and harassment of four women from the Green movement by staff of the Iranian Embassy in Paris. The women were among demonstrators protesting outside an Embassy function.
0830 GMT: Great Minds Thinking Alike? Just discovered that Ramin Mostaghim and Borzou Daragahi in the Los Angeles Times are taking a line similar to our analysis today: "Large-scale protests spread in central Iranian cities Wednesday, offering the starkest evidence yet that the opposition movement that emerged from the disputed June presidential election has expanded beyond its base of mostly young, educated Tehran residents to at least some segments of the country's pious heartland."
0815 GMT: The Trouble in Apadana. An EA reader reminds us that conflict is no longer just a matter of big demonstrations. In the Tehran district of Apadana, there has been ongoing tension with security forces, with Peyke Iran elevating the situation to a "state of emergency". Apadana is the location of the home of Sohrab Arabi, who was killed in the 15 June demonstrations, and his death continues to serve as a catalyst for protest.
0800 GMT: High-Profie Denial. After we finished our morning analysis, it only took 15 minutes to find more evidence of our assessment that President Ahmadinejad is trying to fly high as a "world leader", blissfully floating above the reality of political events and demonstrations in Iran.
Press TV features the President's Wednesday night interview on Iranian television. After four days of demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of his citizens, Ahmadinejad focused on his appearance at the climate change conference in Copenhagen: "The summit was a test for the world's dominating economic powers. It showed that they only think of themselves. They are not prepared to cut pollutants for the sake of human life."
This concern about the flooding and pollution caused by others in turn brought Ahmadinejad to his reassurance, apparently unaware of the slogans in Iranian streets this week: "At the moment, Iran has the upper hand in the Middle East. And, who ever has the upper hand in the Middle East, has the upper hand in world affairs."
0745 GMT: We begin the moment with a glance at the last few days for a special analysis, "The Momentum of Protest: It's No Longer 'Just'...", as in "It's no longer just Tehran" and "It's no longer just students" who are now pressing their claims and raising their voices against the regime.
Testimony to that assessment this morning: the official website of Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani has published the invitation for all to participate in today's memorial service in Zanjan, led by Bayat-Zanjani, for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. The ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. local time (1130 GMT).
Of course, the regime is not standing aside as the momentum of protest builds. Iran's police chief, Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, warned that continued demonstrations would be "fiercely confronted". The Revolutionary Court is reported to have handed down prison sentences for up to 50 students and faculty from Shiraz University. Seyyed Hamed Kavoosi, arrested on 13 Aban (4 November), was sentenced to three years for "actions against national security" by participating in illegal gatherings and chanting slogans. Mohammad Taabeie Mohammadi was sentenced to four years while 45 others received short or suspended terms.